How do I prepare our home for a new baby and prepare my heart that our new baby may never come home?
Simple: I can’t.
Dreaming of Annie as a newborn in her bedside bassinet, as a toddler tumbling down our stairs, as a little girl racing around the backyard, and as a teenager with her downstairs bedroom door locked seems so natural to an expectant mother. But for me, each of those dreams is interlaced with such heartache because I know it may never come true. So I’ve tried not to allow myself to dream of those blissful days of motherhood ahead.
A few months ago, I told a friend that I wasn’t going to buy Annie anything. I reasoned that technically nothing new was a necessity. We have plenty of clothes from Audrey that she can wear, a car seat, a stroller, crib bedding, etc. “Yes, but don’t you WANT to get a few things that are especially for Annie?” she challenged. I admitted that I didn’t; no, I couldn’t. How will I bear it if the crib waits empty, if we never cut the tags off her ruffly homecoming outfit, and if her newborn diapers stay neatly lined along the changing table?
I don’t know how I will.
But a better question is, How can I keep myself from dreaming about our little girl? My friend helped me get started by buying the first piece of clothing that is strictly Annie’s. Then I received a care package from Sisters by Heart, a nonprofit started by moms whose babies have HLHS. It was really fun to get a whole bag full of things for Annie! To picture her in the leg warmers that she’ll need for the NICU. To pin ideas for room and crib decor. To listen for the future murmurs of her and Audrey’s late-night laughter.
Then I accepted it. I cannot wait till I know Annie is “safe” to fully love her. (To be honest, it wasn’t working anyway.) I am choosing to live expectantly. I am choosing to soak up each little kick in the ribs. I am memorizing the sensation of each squirm and wriggle, laughing with joy as I watch my stomach bounce and roll. I am enjoying Annie’s life. Because it’s here and it’s now, no matter what tomorrow holds.