As expected, life with Paiden has been a blessing but a trigger as well.
Paiden is definitely his own little man. He is more assertive and looks more like his sister than his big brother. To us, the assertiveness while it translates into a bit more crying, is a relief. I think he would make a loud protest if in a difficult situation. I worry that Perry, being laid back, didn't cry to let Chris know he needed help.
It is sad in a way that he is so used to being poked and touched to check to make sure everything is ok that he simply goes back to sleep. To assume something is wrong rather than that the baby is simply sleeping is our new normal. His big sister is also used to being a watcher. Now when traveling in the back of the Explorer with Paiden, she checks for breathing automatically and reports on her own.
But a new baby brings first smiles, almost giggles, and excitement at simple progress like beginning to play with toys by batting and grabbing. In this way he triggers memories of Perry and Emily doing the same thing and has helped us disassociate the good memories of Perry from the bad. It is nice sometimes to remember Perry happy and not cry automatically.
We also find ourselves trying to make sure we hurry up to do things we regret not doing with Perry. Paiden now is the proud owner of a passport, complete with the world's cutest passport photo. We hated getting into the important documents folder, the death certificate and autopsy has tainted what was once a fun area of the safe. But we filled out the paperwork and were rewarded with one of Paiden's first full blown toothless grins in a diamond sweater handed down from his big brother. The photographer captured it, and we hope that this photo will accompany us on many family adventures.
I think perhaps the worst trigger I have recently faced was going back to work. I cried. I held Paiden longer than necessary, afraid it would be the last time I saw him as I placed him grudgingly in his crib. Big tears fell at work and I wasn't sure whether I felt relief or regret at passing the combat test to get back on shift. I didn't sleep much during the nights and felt an exquisite joy as my muscles relaxed when I heard that he was still there in the morning.
My Mom stayed overnight with Chris so he wouldn't be alone and we fumbled through somehow. I am hoping this feeling of fear will gradually fade. I understand why many parents change jobs after facing a loss, but I also remember the support I was given after Perry's loss. I have been blessed by them.