This week started kind of slow. And it doesn’t appear to be speeding up much. Oh sure, we’re just as busy as we always are. Work, School, workouts, activities for the kids, homework and we threw in beginning to potty-train Vincent into the mix, too.
I can’t deny that Friday’s date looms heavy on my my heart. I know we delivered Gregory on March 1, but February 28 was the day that I went in for the ultrasound and found out that Gregory had already died.
It’s funny being a year removed. So much has changed…but so many emotions are still there, just buried and faded.
A year later, here I am, active, healthy, living my life with my family as full as I can with our busy schedules. I’ve lost about 43 pounds since last year, I’ve gotten heavily involved in Crossfit and am taking new challenges by the horns every day.
And I think…where would I be had Gregory not died? What if he were here with us? He would be about 7 months old, most likely starting some table foods, probably trying to crawl to keep up with Vincent. Financially, our family would be in a very different place as we would be juggling daycare for two small children (again) plus providing formula and diapers. Since Vincent is just now potty-training, we’d have two kids in diapers for quite a span of time which would also impact the financial situation. Emotionally, we’d be in a different place, too. We might not have the grasp on this Gift of Life that we do as a result of our suffering.
God has always provided the Grace to get through whatever came our way, whether it was another child, or a financial struggle, or emotional turmoil. I feel blessed that growing through suffering the loss of my child is possible. Of course, Gregory is not with us. And so, Vincent acts like “the baby” as he is. My other children do not think of Gregory often, or at least I don’t know it if they do. And somehow, I find that I feel content with my status as a mother of five + 1 (in Heaven).
I remember the days and weeks following February 28 last year and sometimes the tears well up in my eyes as I remember how long I cried. For some reason, the other day, I thought of our first night at home after delivering Gregory and the loud sobs and the punches in the gut I felt all night and the ache in my heart that didn’t go away. Even now, I can still remember quite vividly the feeling in my chest — it was like a “silent scream” you might do when you are dreaming a bad dream that makes you scream/cry.
These days, I don’t cry all the time. However, I think of Gregory every single day — many times every single day — but I don’t cry every day for him. I have one of the plants we received from family in my office and one, received from Gregory’s godparents, at home. Both plants, when I see them, remind me of my baby. It’s a small miracle both plants are still alive since Craig and I have never been able to keep anything but our babies alive once they come home with us. I have Gregory’s birth stone (March) on my Mother’s Ring, so many times a day, I see it and I always think of him. I have the items the hospital sent home with us along with my letter to Gregory from the day after printed out. I have the pictures they took. I don’t always pull them out, but every so often I will…just so that I can look at him.
As Friday draws closer, it seems I lack focus, but I suppose that is to be expected. I would imagine in the years to come, it will get a little better. Will I always want to take that day off work? Or will I be okay, over time, with keeping a normal schedule? I don’t know. I plan to head up to the cemetery on Friday to see the Memorial that has been placed for Gregory there. Our visit is long overdue, but I’m grateful we’ll actually know where he is now that the Memorial has been placed. Craig and I will spend the day together. The girls have school and I’ve arranged for the boys to go to daycare that day. We’ll get a Crossfit workout in, go to the cemetery and maybe go to a movie or just hang out and do nothing.
I do miss Gregory, but at the same time, I find that I am grateful for the short time I did have with him. I remember those sweet, short months of thinking about whether he would be a boy or a girl. I still chuckle at the fact that I figured it had to be a boy because God knows how much symmetry mean to me and having three girls and then three boys would just be perfect for me. I had fun coming up with potential names (Victoria for a girl; I thought of Victor for a boy along with Gregory). I wondered what we’d do about our vehicle situation (Get a huge 12-passenger van? Or stick it out with the two vehicles we had?) and I thought about how we’d fit all three boys in one bedroom.
Yes, we really did have some good times there, thinking of the future and planning for a new baby. I don’t want to lose sight of the joy Gregory’s pregnancy brought me. I may have been tired, but I was happy. We may have been (a little) surprised, but we spent 4 months in joyful expectation. God blessed us a sixth time. And like every other time, it was so much more than we could have ever have anticipated or felt that we deserved.