I am having a really hard time lately. As Kenley's birthday approaches, my anxiety increases. I am having flashbacks of that last week of her life. I think about going to the doctor for that last happy check up, hearing her heartbeat, and talking about keeping my blood pressure down so we wouldn't have to induce early. I remember the baby shower my co-workers threw for me in the school library, with the sign "Welcome Baby Kenley" hung up over the bookshelves. I remember the owl cups and napkins and the wonderful gifts I opened. An adorable green owl table lamp, several stuffed owls, and countless onesies. I remember my friend placing her hand on my belly at the end of the shower and Kenley giving her a swift kick in the palm. That afternoon, when I had my feet up as ordered, I had a little bit of crampiness, which I wrote off as Braxton Hicks. (which it probably was) I remember talking to my sister on the phone about how swollen I was and her saying to me that I wouldn't make it full term. Kenley was going to come early. Horrified at having to shift my sub plans, I said, "She'd better not! I'm not ready!" That weekend, Mike and I sorted through all the things we had gotten so far and organized the nursery. We took a trip to Target for some last minute items. A friend and I purchased some colorful ribbon and spent Sunday afternoon weaving that ribbon around the bottom of Kenley's crib - something I'd seen on Pinterest as an alternative to a bedskirt. That day, I'd noticed Kenley was very quiet. I couldn't remember if she'd moved lately, but I was sure she had. Obviously, I'd just missed it. Sunday night, I was starting to get nervous, so I found an old stethescope and tried to find her heartbeat. I thought I did at the time, but it turns out it was only mine. I didn't know it yet, but my little girl was already gone. I'd find out the next day at my doctor's appointment. An appointment that should have been routine and quick, where I should have heard a steady "whompa-whompa-whompa" and gone on my merry way, instead became the catalyst that threw me into a nightmare.
I feel like I am reliving that week now. Like I am watching myself in my memories - an audience member in a horror movie who knows the monster lurks behind the kitchen door while the main character happily skips around in the rest of the house. Watching as she makes her way to the kitchen, unable to stop her. And I'm also afraid that monster is just waiting to come back for me - and for Bean. As I count down these last few days of Kenley's life, part of me fears that Bean's life is on the line as well. That somehow, none of my babies can ever make it past February 25th. I know this is irrational, but I can't help it. Nothing about any of this has ever made any sense anyway.
I don't know what her birthday will bring. Many of the ladies in my online groups say that the anticipation of the date is often worse than the actual day. While that was true for Halloween and Thanksgiving, it wasn't for Christmas, and this date is so much more important than any of the others. In any child's life, the first birthday is celebrated and considered special. Next week should be a day of joy and excitement. A day where I marvel over how much my baby girl has grown and matured. Instead, it will be yet one more day of silence. One more day she is gone. One more day in a chain of forever. This week should be the week I am running around trying to get her birthday party organized. I should be shopping for snacks, deciding on a recipe for her cake, and getting decorations together. This weekend should be filled with happiness and parties. Instead, I'll spend this week feeling just as broken as those first foggy days.
Yesterday, I had a really tough time keeping myself together. I cried, ragged and hard, several times. Today, has been just as difficult. I'm trying to stay calm and focused, but my mind is not my own. It wanders off, floating away from me. Like a pink balloon.