Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Post 107...Cradling Heartache

Last year was the first time I celebrated Mother's Day. I felt a bit odd doing so since I was only pregnant. Since I hadn't really had to do much mothering, I felt like I didn't deserve to celebrate quite yet. But nonetheless, my family still bought me Mother's Day gifts. My husband surprised me by taking me to the jewelry store and buying me a beautiful pearl necklace. My in-laws took me to buy some new maternity clothes. And my parents surprised me with a crib. So although I felt a bit odd celebrating the holiday, it was a big turning point in the pregnancy. It was the day I realized I was a mom. As I ran my hands along the smooth edge of the crib, I imagined looking down at my sleeping baby, excited with the realization that our baby was on the way. For that blissful moment, I was a mom-to-be with nothing but hope and excitement for the future. I had no idea what was coming in just two short weeks to follow...

After the miscarriage, the crib remained at my parent's place. I couldn't bring myself to look at it after losing my son. I felt so angry at myself for feeling so blissfully happy on Mother's Day. I felt like I had been so ignorant, celebrating before I had done my job successfully.

The next time I saw the crib was at Joey's memorial. After decorating it with his things, we gently set Joey's urn in the crib where he stayed until the end of the day. When all the candles had gone out and the guests had said their goodbyes, we gathered up Joey and his things and went home. The crib stayed behind.

Since then, the crib had stayed in my parent's attic, awaiting the day it could be used again. But with Mother's Day coming up again, I wanted to bring the crib out of storage and set it up on Mother's Day. I still don't feel like I deserve to celebrate Mother's Day. I couldn't even do the most basic of motherly duties and carry my baby full term last time. And this time, even though I am successfully carrying Andy, I still feel hesitant to celebrate before the job is done. But in spite of all that, I still wanted to at least set up the crib on Mother's Day to recognize that we have come full circle. It was my Mother's Day gift last year and, since we're further along now in the pregnancy, I felt it was safe enough to finally bring it home and set it up. It was the last thing that belonged to Joey that had yet to be brought home, and I wanted desperately to share it between my sons. In a way, it was my way of keeping a little piece of Joey close to his brother. And as hard as it is to be reminded of the loss, I wanted to set up the crib again as a way of closure. The crib had become a symbol of new beginnings, allowing myself to once again feel that blissful hope and excitement about our baby on the way.

In order to have the crib in time for Mother's Day this weekend, I asked my parents if we could pick it up early. So on Sunday, when we were visiting my in-laws, my mother-in-law and I stopped by my parents place to talk about more baby shower plans, and to pick up the crib. Since the crib was a bit too big to fit into our car, my mother-in-law agreed to keep the crib in her car over night and drop it off on Monday, yesterday. So yesterday, I eagerly awaited the arrival of the crib, anxious to finally have it come home. It was the last part of Joey to come home to us, and the first big part of Andy's room to be assembled. But on her way over to our place, my mother-in-law called my husband. I could tell by the tone of my husband's voice that it was not good news. After getting off the phone, he told me that his parents had done some research on the crib last night (his parents being very particular about user ratings and safety regulations for anything and everything that they buy, which can be both a blessing and a curse). From what they found, the crib had been recalled by the factory due to safety issues. The crib wasn't safe to use. I immediately burst into tears. The one thing I wanted to do for Mother's Day, the last part of Joey to come home, the symbol of new beginnings for Andy...all of it suddenly taken away. All evening I cried. Once again I was being asked to let go of a part of my son. Even though I knew in my heart that we couldn't use a crib that wasn't safe, I was angry and upset that I had to let it go. I was angry that my in-laws felt the need to look into it, feeling like they didn't trust what my parents had bought for us. But what could I say?...Their research proved to be right. It was hard to let go of my family pride and realize that my in-laws were just trying to do what was best and make sure everything was safe. But I still had a hard time letting go of the hurt feelings. All the sadness of our loss resurfaced along with my anger at myself for getting so excited for Mother's Day again. Last night, I tried to sleep with tears in my eyes, hugging around my little Joeybear that I got from the hospital the day Joey was born.

Today I had to make the difficult call to my parents telling them why we can't use the crib they bought us. It was hard to hear the sadness and embarrassment in my father's voice. I don't blame them at all and I wanted so badly to use the crib they bought us, but what else could I do? I knew they would eventually find out, and since we'll be seeing them on Mother's Day this coming weekend, I didn't want to face questions about how setting up the crib went. So what could we do? Family pride set aside, the research had been done and we couldn't argue against the results. I knew my father was hurt that my in-laws felt the need to double check his work on buying us a crib, although I don't think my in-laws meant to be hurtful. But when it came down to it, we were glad that we at least found out before it was too late. Plus, in the grand picture of all things, if needing a new crib is the worst thing we're dealing with right now, I'll gladly take that over another premature birth.

Well, shortly after talking to my dad, he called me back and said he would like to buy us a new crib to replace the old one. He looked up the safety reviews online and found a few top brands and he wants to take me shopping to get one. So this Thursday my dad and I are going to get together and look at a new crib for Andy. And to feel like there is still the connection between the old crib and the new one, we will be using the mattress from the previous crib so my boys can at least share that together. I am extremely greatful for my parent's support and understanding in all this. This whole thing has been very emotional. If I cry anymore, I think my eyes will swell shut!

I may not be able to set up the crib for Mother's Day, which I'm still feeling a little blue about, but at least we'll know that our son will have a safe crib. And honestly, I'm still fighting the feeling that I don't deserve to celebrate Mother's Day just yet. So I guess I feel like it's sort of justified that I don't get to do what I had originally wanted to do anyway. I don't say that to guilt those around me into doing what I want. I say it because I still feel shreds of guilt for not being able to hold on to little Joey. My body allowed our son to die, so how could I possibly celebrate being a mom? I realize that this time is different, but until Andy is here in my arms, healthy and happy, I don't feel like I've earned my keep just yet.

So even though I don't get to set up the old crib, I suppose the symbolism and message is still there: I'm saying goodbye to the past, and welcoming in new beginnings.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Jenny, this was an amazing post! I love the way it has worked out for you, a new, safe crib for Andy, with Joey's mattress. We're all so excited to meet Andy!