He's here, he's here, he's here! Adam Waid Lands is here!
This sweet little boy that I felt grow inside me arrived July 27th at 9:58am. Weighing 8lbs 14oz & 20 1/2 inches, he's the perfect mix of brother and sister- the spitting image of his brothers size and his sisters sweet profile.
I still can't believe he's here, that 40 weeks have passed and we did it! He did it! He made it to us, safely, healthy, whole and alive. I can breathe freely now.
His pregnancy (falling four years after his sister died) has allowed much of our life to return to normalcy, not the normal it was before Ruthie Lou, but the normal that we have grown to know and be grateful for. But that said, my fears felt so much greater this pregnancy. The combination of Ruthie Lou dying and Reids delivery being traumatic, left so much fear of the unknown as we waited to see if Adam would survive pregnancy, then survive birth, and be born to us healthy with all his chromosomes. It was a huge and heavy burden to bear, all while creating a space of peace and faith for him to flourish inside me.
Chris and I process our grief so differently. We were both just waiting for our boy to arrive to exhale. It's hard to feel your own feelings, all while allowing space for your partner to do the same, and doing so with patience. Both of us were unable to really tend to the other, except for supporting each other from afar. Even saying we were scared that Adam might die felt like tempting fate.
This pregnancy was private. We never announced that we were expecting. Although my belly was a walking billboard, unless you saw me, it was not something I wanted to talk about other than a select few who probably heard my worries more times than not. I can't explain why, other than I was holding my breath and it took all my strength to maintain my emotional sanity in this pregnancy, that I couldn't dare speak about it publicly.
I am happy that I held Adam quietly inside me, it felt safe. He felt safe. We have lived in the public eye so much with Ruthie Lou and in our love obsession of Reid, it felt good to hold this baby close before he met the world.
Adam felt different than his siblings. Like them, he is so sweet, but he also holds such a gentle presence. He seems like one of those strong silent types that goes with the flow but when they speak up, you listen because they're only expressing them self when it's truly important.
His story is completely different than his siblings. I was so certain he would come early as his brother and sister did. I never considered the alternative of going full term. I expected his labor to mirror theirs too, and imagined what that would feel like for the third time, but that never happened. I worried that his delivery would be as scary as theirs, was but it was the most beautiful of all deliveries, even in a surgical operating room. I thought I would feel crazy for lack of sleep but instead, other than sore from a poor latch, he spends all days nursing and most of the night sleeping.
He is nothing as I expected, and everything I could have ever wanted.
I love Adam.
I have always (in my adult years) believed that these two cannot reside in the same space, they are opposite forces so you cannot hold one if you are in the midst of another. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real and Faith is the ability believe in something that you cannot yet see. Both are beliefs, both require a ton of energy.
I have tried, am trying, and will continue to try to sit in faith that all is well with this baby. It is my constant struggle. I feel this baby move in my belly and I want to believe with all my heart that there is nothing but perfection growing inside me which I know to be true because my other two babies were also perfection. But, then again, one of my perfect babies died.
The fear that lives inside my soul runs deeper than I can explain in words. My daughter whom I carried under my heart and in my arms, who I loved and love, died as we held her. It is terrifying, it is overwhelming, it is nothing I want to re-live ever again. And so, for the most part, my fear is best kept at bay. When it rises, I work through it. When I know I am being neurotic, unreasonable and illogical I acknowledge that I am experiencing fear and process it, giving honor to the work that I have done on my heart while also accepting that this work may never fully be done. How could you ever be done processing that your child has died? You can't. You absolutely can be healthy and live in this world again and even find joy in your heart again, but there is no understanding or rationalizing the death of your baby.
In normal life, I can manage. I can talk myself out of the irrational fears that I hold regarding Reid and the potential unsafe situations that could befall him. I remind myself that he is safe and I do not project my fear into him, that is my burden to bear, not his to carry. But this pregnancy, as was with Reid's, is traumatic in ways that I wish I never had to experience, both for me and this baby.
Being pregnant when your baby has died, is like being in the same car accident and knowing the outcome but expecting different results. It is putting your whole faith and trust into something that you have already bet on but lost, and hoping that this time is different. It's truly not fair. Not for me and not for this baby.
I am spending the last days of this pregnancy wanting this baby to arrive so fervently that I am not even enjoying the miracle that this life brings. I love being pregnant, I even love giving birth and I am letting my fear steal that joy from me. This is my last baby, I want to savor this time, these kicks, these special moments that I hold this baby before anyone else in the world gets to meet him/her. I already know this baby, right now this baby is mine and soon enough I will have to share and I want to treasure this special time. But, I also need to acknowledge aloud that this fear is real.
I wish that others could acknowledge this fear with me. I am tired of the check-ins and small talk of this pregnancy. The daily messages that are innocent and kind but ultimately feel stressful. It's not that I don't appreciate them, I am just tired, also anxious, emotional and hormonal. I am anxious, too... Yes, I am huge. No, I am not overdue. Of course, I am ready. All that chitter chatter just mounts my anxiety of the real words that I want to hear.
"I am scared, too."
"I hold the space for you."
"I am hoping for life with you."
"I don't know if it will be ok, but I love you."
I am not (really) physically uncomfortable. I am not "over" this pregnancy yet. If I could be certain that the outcome is positive then I would actually want a little more time in this sacred place of growing a human. But ultimately, I just want to know that this baby will survive delivery and be healthy to live a long life that we have imagined in our family. I also want to feel sane. Not be reassured that everything will be ok when there is not one person (other than this baby) who can know that for sure. And for that, I must wait.
As we have been for months, I am still waiting....
Hidden in that space of wanting you here so badly is the fear. The fear that you are too large for my body to birth, the fear that I will not open enough for you to fit, the fear of you being unhealthy or dying. I am walking a tightrope of faith and fear right now.
Strangers ask me 100 questions that the billboard of my belly cannot answer so it fills this empty void of silence everywhere; in a grocery store, the bank, the pool, the gym, the locker room shower.
"How may weeks are you?"
"Is this your first?"
"Do you know the gender?"
All questions that I am curious to know when I stumble upon a beautiful pregnant mama, but in my life I have learned to smile at her while silently wishing her peace and a living and healthy baby.
It's not that these questions are anything but naive conversation, but it forces me to be taken out of the present moment to be thrusted into the future, a place that is not guaranteed.. Living in the present is the only space I have control over and any thoughts to this baby's birth and imagining baby at home feel like dejavu, and propels me back to the time in my life where pregnancy equaled life with a baby at home & quite honestly to remember that space traumatizes me.
It's so difficult for others to picture a glimpse into this time, the weight of it, how keeping my composure is a moment by moment task. But I am here, I am present, I am working minute by minute to prepare my body, mind and soul the job that lay ahead, labor and delivery.
My heart is ready for you sweet baby. My chests longs to feel the weight of your beating heart, and I am scared. I am scared I won't get to keep you. I am scared that something is wrong or that your birth will be harmful. What I want to feel is full faith that I am capable to birth you, that you will fit my body perfectly and that you are as anxious to meet me as I am to meet you. .
These waiting days are hard. I have survived the worst, I am waiting to celebrate the best. I hope it's my turn to experience a peaceful delivery this time.
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.