Oh where to begin? I've opened and reopened this post, cried and shut it because ya know, the feels. A lot has been going down in the Bennett tribe and I thought I'd grace our extended tribe with updates. The holidays snuck up on us, like they always do, and sucker punched me right on in the gut. Halloween and Thanksgiving gave me emotional whiplash as I soaked up my new brand of firsts with Birdie and continued to grieve Pipes. Sunday, I hung my tiny, red P stocking on our tree feeling sweaty, nauseous and really sad. How is it even possible that there will be another Christmas without our Piper girl? I can hardly type it because at this time last year I was belly crawling through life desperate to survive. If you thumb back through last Decembers posts, the pain we felt was insurmountable, hanging on to everyone's holiday cheer, battling panic attacks at family gatherings while buffering life with champagne punch. Birdie B. is pure heaven, brings endless joy and so so much hope that we are excited about all things Christmas. Even though she could care less and her presents are really my presents. It's, for better lack of a word, weird to feel oh so happy and oh so sad in a second.
I went back to work (part time, barely, thanks Beau) Don't worry I have loads to say on the subject and I'm slowly working my way through those feelings. If you are a stay at home Mom, you are my hero. It can be hard and isolating and scary. Driving in my car, to and from work, alone is the time I let it all fall away. I bring those hazy moments in to clear view and dig in to the too few memories I have of Piper and replay them over and over in my head. I don't hold back on the ugly cry or snot. I stopped putting mascara on, again.
But what I really had on my heart is what a fellow PAL mom touched on in her blog post.
Rainbow babies cry.
For those of you less familiar with the term. A rainbow baby is a baby born following a loss.. a rainbow, a promise after the storm. I fought the term for the implication that Piper girl was a storm to weather but began to embrace it as the grief that followed blew like a category 5 hurricane. This time we were all were so focused on my pregnancy then the NICU, by the time we brought home a 4 lb 14 ounce Birdie Bennett, Beau and I looked at each other like
My rainbow baby is, a baby. She needs all the baby things and shows a strong preference for 2 am parties where she cries and one lucky parent paces the house. I was under the impression that she'd be that, a rainbow trailed by butterflies and soft music. She'd smile and coo and sleep at night. You laughing? You should.
By my third sleepless night, where I sat straight up
on the couch in a fully lit living room watching the rise and fall of her tiny chest until exhaustion won and I'd dozed restlessly for moment or two, decidedly Beau or I would sleep in shifts. Don't worry we now ALL sleep in our room with her bassinet within reach. It's Birdies world and we all live in it. Sunday night, we all had an up til 1 am jam session and two wardrobe changes.
She cries. Granted no more, no less then the average tiny person but it goes down. She has a healthy set of lungs that we prayed over, and likes to remind me of a sleepy me asking a NICU nurse "why doesn't she cry?". Fun fact: sometimes NICU babies and in Birdies case a baby with a feeding tube , who was cared for and fed round the clock had NO need to cry.She now looks at you adoringly then unleashes a banshee like shriek.
Yes, we are completely smitten with her and even in the depths of her banshee nights very much in love. But I'm here to tell you, your rainbow baby, is a baby. We do ordinary things like panic when she won't stop crying or sleep. Beau and I have had less than romantic conversations circling the color of poop, how much she drank, what's the teeny red mark on her face. We've bickered about who has and hasn't slept more and who did what last.
There was this unspoken expectation (by all, me included) that upon her arrival, I'd be "normal" or as close to it as I was prior to babies. False. The anxiety was at an all time high. I had spent my entire pregnancy coping with Pipers death and in a hyper vigilant state. I couldn't turn it off. I was humming. That's how I describe the feeling, ready to jump out of my skin drank 13 cups of coffee, crazy. I'm working hard to turn down the volume and it seems to be working with a lot of help from my tribe, with Beau, Lolly and my counselor heading the charge. They held up a mirror to my unsettled behavior and made me take a deep look at myself. Beau is the calm parent, go figure. You laughing again?
So no actual rainbows over here. She is our miracle, she is a baby, a delicious dose of real life. My ordinary journey as a mom, fills my heart to the brim. If I haven't bored you enough, I can regal you with what I ate for lunch.
Rest easy PKB.