So as I lay here with Sam sleeping on my chest, I continue to think about our angels that never got to come home with us. With our upcoming trip to Indy, I've constantly thought about Jake and Livy, specifically. We've been looking forward to this trip for awhile. It was originally going to happen over Labor Day weekend -- the same weekend that marks the 8th Angelversary of our first son, Jacob Tyler. Because of that, we were looking forward to having a family member watch Samuel for a couple hours while we go out to dinner at Morton's in honor of our first son. We always try to do something to honor him on his day and last year consisted of dinner at Morton's among other things, so we thought we would do that again. However, our trip has been pushed up by a few weeks -- immediately making me think of the change in plans for Jake's day. Sure, we'll still go out and celebrate, but it will be a little early...
I suppose all of that may sound minor, but since we can't celebrate with Jake, his Angelversary prompts a lot of thoughts as it nears each year. We will forever long to hold that little guy again and miss him with each day that passes. He's always on our minds and the moment I hear of a little guy with his name, he's the first person that I think of. Not to mention the fact that when I look at Sam, I think of Jake and wonder if he would've acted the same way, given the same looks, etc. After all, he was Samuel's big bro and took after his dad with his physical characteristics -- much like Sam. When I look at the calender, I still can't believe that on September 4th, it will mark 8 years since we said goodbye to our little Jacob Tyler. How can it be? How has time crept by that quickly? And to think of all that has happened since then, yet that period of time will forever feel like it was just yesterday.
Then there's Jordan. Since we lost Jordan almost as soon as we found out we were having him/her, we lack much of a connection other than that intense love that you feel the moment you find out you're pregnant. We still wish that we would've had more time with our second baby and wish that we could've gotten to know him/her like we did Jake and Liv. Just yesterday, I saw someone mention April 21st and it immediately made me think of what happened on that day back in 2006. It just goes to show you that even when you lose a child so soon, you will never forget, nor will you ever "get over" the loss of that child.
With continuing on, I think about Olivia even more. She was with us the longest of our three angels and her passing was the most recent. The grief is still so fresh with our daughter. I suppose it has been 19 months now since she passed away, but it feels like just yesterday that we last held her. Since bringing Samuel home, we constantly find ourselves talking about Olivia...how Samuel reminds us of her in little ways -- like the wavy hair that Sam has right after a bath...much like his sister's hair -- and how we wish so badly that while one of us was holding Sam, the other was holding Liv. It's hard not to have all of those thoughts. It's hard not to look at her picture and think about how it would be if she and Sam were both here together. When playing with Sam, James has said on multiple occasions how even though Livy was my clone and Sam looks more like James, he still sees a lot of her in him and that there's no denying that they were siblings.
Along with honoring Jacob's day while we're in Indy, we also fully intend on taking Samuel to Livy's grave. While he's still too young to understand much of what we tell him about his siblings, we will show him where his sister lays and tell him all about her. Heck, I'm sure we will probably visit Olivia daily, much like we did on our last visit to Indy.
This grief business sucks. We're more at peace with Jacob and Jordan's passing than we are with Liv's. I know we will find more peace with time -- at least I hope so! -- but we still have a long way to go. After creating a birth announcement for Samuel, I couldn't help but want to send one to Livy's doctor, Dr. Herman, and write some venomous comment on the back about how had he done his job, maybe Sam's older sister would be here. I know that's not right and I clearly won't do it, but it sure was a temptation at first thought. I suppose that comes with having no answers and not feeling like our medical care was as good with Liv as it was with Sam. I've said it over and over (maybe not on here, but in person) how grateful I am for the amazing medical staff that I had during my pregnancy with Sam. Between our awesome OB, our perinatologist, and my wonderful nurse that I saw on a weekly basis...I can't thank them enough. They did their best at calming my nerves, making sure Sam was healthy and thriving, and got that little guy out of there early like we wanted. I sometimes wonder if we would even have Sam in our arms had it not been for them.
So with the joy that we feel on a daily basis with Samuel in our arms, there is also still grief that surrounds us. I sometimes wonder if people that have come to my blog since Sam's birth even see that, as I have talked more about him than our other babies...but know that it's still a constant battle. I have said it before, but there is a whole new type of grief that comes with a rainbow baby. With each new stage and exciting moment, you're reminded of what you missed out on with your angels. With each new smile that Sam gives us, I think of Liv and wonder what her sweet smiles would've looked like. With each cry (we're blessed, as there aren't many), I wonder if his brother would've sounded that way or would he have been louder/feistier/etc? The pain doesn't stop with this new exciting life, but it's different. Instead of just being sad, you feel like an emotional mess -- as sadness is mixed with joy all at the same time.
I know that we will always remember and honor our first three babies, just as we will soak up every second that we have with Samuel. The pain is definitely easier to bear while having our healthy little man in our arms, but it's clearly not gone -- nor will it ever be. Heck, how's this for depressing? (I know it depressed my sister, Deb, when I told her.) Because we have lived with so much grief over the last 8 years, I can't help but think sometimes when shopping for Sam or when thinking about things that we will get to do with him in the future...I hope he gets to wear those larger clothes one day or I hope he gets to do those things when he grows older. How is it that even though he's here with us now, I still can't shake the if's/hope's? He's here. He's with us. Yet, I still think with that mentality. I know things can always happen. They always say that the stress and worry doesn't end when they're born...that now you'll worry about SIDS, accidents that can happen, etc. Sure, that will always be there for ANY parent -- baby loss or not -- but I feel that maybe because of our history, it's a stronger feeling that looms over me. I hope that I can shake that mindset one day, but for now, it still sneaks in every once in awhile. I guess it's just part of this crazy journey that we have been on for so long. I suppose that with it comes the fact that we will always appreciate EVERY little moment that we have with Sam -- which is a good thing. We sure love that little man and thank God on a daily basis that we have him!
So with all of that...I suppose it just goes to show you that while things may get a little easier, it's always some kind of struggle -- there will always be that hunt for the right balance of emotions. It's all worth it though, and I'm glad that we didn't give up after Olivia's passing. We wanted to call it a day at times -- many times -- and attempt finding acceptance in the fact that we would never have living children, but I'm glad we didn't. Several people have said that this appears to be one of the best years of our lives -- a healthy baby, a promotion for James, etc. They're right. From June 2010 to June 2011, I would definitely say it had to be one of the best years of our lives. James got home from a hellish deployment, we spent an amazing week up in Alaska during the perfect getaway after such a stressful year, we had many memorable road trips around the PNW and across the country, we got a fresh start with our move to GA, we had our healthy little man, and ended it with a promotion for James. I really don't think there's one complaint about how the last year has gone...it's just the grief and loss leading up to it that's hard.
Right where I am...Loving life with our little family, while finding a balance in our grief while remembering our angels that were gone too soon. In the midst of all of this, pictures like this bring a massive smile...