October 15th is Infant & Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day. Once a year, at 7pm, there is a Wave of Light, candles are lit to honor babies that are no longer with us. This is my first year participating in this day. I honestly never heard of it before Evelyn.
I always think I am mentally prepared for days like this - due dates, birthdays, angel-versaries, whatever it may be. Subconsciously though I am a wreck! The closer it got to 7pm, the more I fell apart. I have never been in denial about her death, even when it first happened. But there is something about participating in things like this that make it more "real". It sucks that instead of birthdays, we have remembrance days. It sucks that instead of a nursery, we have an extra storage room. It sucks that I am able to stay late at work instead of rushing to the daycare to pick her up before 6pm. It just plain ol' sucks!
My life is an awkward mess. Being a childless parent is awkward! I have had to turn down friends' baby showers and avoid old stomping grounds to make sure it doesn't send me into a spiral. I didn't want it to be this way. I thought I would be stronger, but the truth is - it's hard. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about her. There's not a day that goes by that I don't stop and say "what would I be doing if Evelyn were here?" 9 times out of 10 I probably would just be in our apartment...feeding her, cleaning her, complaining that I am exhausted, longing for a bigger, better apartment, wishing I had a free babysitter rather than paying for daycare in the city (which is INSANE!). The thing is, I was prepared to be tired, a mess, broke, scattered...I was also a little excited to be all that.
However, I refuse to focus on what would have been. I will never forget Chris & I explaining to the nurse that we promised not to be bitter or angry because of our loss. Evelyn did a lot for us. If you are ever looking for a reason to get your sh*t together - get pregnant. Suddenly, NOTHING else mattered. Our mindset from then on out was Operation: Prepare for Evelyn. New jobs, new apartment, daycare, health insurance, holidays, babysitters for weddings, SAVING FOR COLLEGE!! (yes, that early). I could not have cared less about co-worker drama or keeping up with my favorite stores' sales. Life suddenly became about budgets and security.
I don't believe that this happened for a reason. There is no good enough reason in the world to take my seemingly healthy unborn daughter away from me. But I absolutely believe that I can still be grateful for her and my experience. I am thankful that I was fortunate enough to get a glimpse into what getting pregnant feels like and what I should be looking for during it. I also now know what to expect after you give birth - the pain! the leaks! the exhaustion! Good Lord...
Because of Evelyn, I know more than I ever wish I knew about miscarriages, stillbirths, and SIDS. I have a better idea of what to say to those grieving, no matter what the loss. I am more comfortable with death than I have ever been.
I am thankful for her. If I had the option to go back and choose this path or not getting pregnant, I can honestly say I would still choose this path. She was our baby. She was the perfect combination of Chris & I. She was our hope. She was our happiness. She was our reason to grow. She was our love. I wouldn't change it for the world.