Life as a mom to a newborn after loss is a different ball of wax than before. Before I was grateful that they were here and just assumed that if I installed outlet covers and cabinet locks, made them wear helmets on bikes and use car seats all would be well. Now when I watch my son and daughter breath as they sleep I am simply happy that they are, in this moment, here now.
I don't assume.
Sometimes fear still strikes a month after my son Paiden's birth. He slept for four hours the night before and I woke up terrified. I had a moment where I thought I hadn't turned on his monitor and he had died. Across the room 'his blinker' flashed green and red and I felt an exquisite sense of relief.
In some ways he is worse than the children of others for fear inducing moments, because he is mine and I fear his loss with an intensity that you have to have been where I have to understand. That moment before his shirt shifts with his breathing is terrifying.
There are other reminders too at times that my life has not be normal these past couple of years. I took Emily and Paiden to the mall for pictures with the Easter bunny. I took a toy of Perry's as his place holder and was fairly happy with the set up, even though Paiden had decided he was quite happy sleeping and the Easter bunny would simply have to hold him patiently. The scene in reality made me feel a little contentment, as I felt that one day I will see them all together with God's grace and there would be a little boy or a man there in place of a rubber teething toy. The scene on paper however was a differet matter. The colors were washed out for some reason (perhaps they were seeking a 'soft' pastel look for Easter?). Paiden looks a lot like Perry at times and while intellectually I like the picture, at a gut level it unsettles me. Paiden looks too pale.
The other reminder was a simple guilt sell. My MIL had bought pictures from Walmart of Emily and Paiden. I didn't really want to buy additional photos from them because I had taken some really nice ones with Ms. Merri. Walmart included extra pictures for a reduced amount that they would 'throw away' if I didn't want them. I had a moment where I wanted to explain that this was a low down tactic, because after losing a child you simply can't throw away pictures, even if they aren't 'good' ones and you didn't really want to buy them... because in your mind you know you deleted or refused 'bad' pictures of your lost child and you are afraid that by refusing you are making this same mistake.
But in the end I didn't. The store was closing permanently, this woman had been notified a couple days ago while she was on vacation that the 'studio' was closing, and I didn't want to drop an emotional bomb on her- although really someone knows that they are jerking heart strings with this sales tactic even if not to the true extent.