The outpouring of love we were shown after Sarah's death was overwhelming. We read each of the over 200 cards we received in the mail within the first week. Bags and bags of food, dinners, flowers, stuffed animals, all made their way into our home. It really was amazing. We were showered with so much love during those first couple of weeks, but just like anything else, life had to go on and return to a new state of "normal".
The question of whether to leave Sarah's room as it had
been, a shrine of sorts, or to pack it up, was never really a question
to me. I didn't like the idea of leaving it as if she was still there;
after all, she wasn't, and the idea of someone else coming in and
clearing it all out seemed like an utter violation to me. Packing up
her little frilly dresses, touching and smelling her soft little
blankets, all helped to acknowledge the fact that she was indeed gone,
in spite of the fact that her baby fragrance still filled the room.
Maybe someday we would have another little girl who could use them, but
for now, they had no purpose. It helped to solidify the idea that she
was gone; it helped to bring closure.
Rob had returned to his job shortly after the funeral; I returned to mine a week or so later. Sitting home in an empty house was not good for one's heart or emotions. I was working on a Med-Surg floor at the time, and my co-workers were nothing less than awesome in how they treated me and welcomed me back. Life had begun to take on a sense of "normalcy" once again....a welcome respite from the continuous thoughts of Sarah and the great loss I had just endured. I could once again begin to focus on the pain and suffering of someone else- someone whom I could have a hand in bringing comfort and healing to. Someone who would actually get better and go home.
I had been doing really well; strong. God knew what He was doing, she was in a better place, she was His more than mine, and on and on. I had stuffed anything remotely negative so far down, I thought I was totally over this whole grief thing. Yes, I missed my baby, but it was okay. Then came Mother's Day. We went to church that morning. They had a wonderful tradition of giving something small to all the Mothers that were in church, usually a single stem flower, a bookmark, or something similar. I think it was a flower that year. As the service progressed, I began to feel an uneasiness rising inside me; I knew what was coming. During a point in the service, the Pastor would ask all the mothers to stand so that the rest of the congregation could honor and acknowledge them. I was beginning to panic. I was a mother, but I had no child to show for it. Do I stand? Do I sit? Emotions began to fly inside my heart and head, and as the Pastor began to ask them to stand, I bolted for the door. I couldn't take it. I was followed out by another dear friend who had seen my pain, and she grabbed me and held me as I began to weep. "You are a mother!" She said little else, but just held me until I regained my composure. Obviously, the little things that some people do are huge. We remember the "little" things that made an impact on us.
Not long after Sarah had died, Rob and I had a heart-to-heart about having other children. Knowing there was a 25% chance of each child having the disease made the decision a little more complicated. Do we wait for awhile? Do we try again right away? What if the next baby has it too; can I live through that pain again? But what if we beat the odds and are blessed with several children who don't have the disease? We wanted several kids; was that dream now shattered? There would be no guarantees, no matter what we decided. We would have to take a chance, or have a home with no children. We finally agreed that we would try for another baby right away, mainly out of the fear that if we waited, we would be afraid to ever try again.
By the end of May, I was pregnant.