Night time was always the worst. Usually its where I come up with all the topics I want to blog about and forget to do in the morning. Its a time when I reflect upon the events that went on throughout the day; replaying moments in my head. Its also when I list in my head all the things I need to accomplish the next day. Sometimes I will lay in bed trying to force my exhausted body to get to sleep. I remember, towards the end of my pregnancy with Heidi, images of my birthing experience with Hudson would play like a video over and over in my head. It would start at the beginning – the week before when I felt something was wrong, then to the first time I went to get checked out, then the story I read online about one woman’s stillbirth experience, the doctor’s office, our the time in the hospital, and then the trip empty handed. It wasn’t like I was reflecting – it was if I was actually there witnessing these memories. Everything in color – I remember every detail right down to what color my underwear was during those days.
I would dread going to sleep because I would be haunted by sadness. I would begin to imagine going through the same experience again, but only this time it would be Heidi that didn’t make it. Even my dreams would not let me rest. Then Heidi was finally here – safe, healthy, and perfect. You would think all of that would instantly go away, right? Nope. Next it was the fear that something was going to happen to her. I would lay in bed just staring at the rise and fall of her chest. I would have her sleep on top of me to protect her and to feel her breathing. Then there were the night time feedings which were dreadful. Her latching on hurt so bad it would make my toes curl and my eyes water. The pain felt unbearable at times. I did not want to have to keep feeding her, but I did. I kept on trucking knowing that eventually things would get better. Kind of like how I kept on going after Hudson, knowing that eventually life would become more bearable to live and go on.
Next we discovered that Heidi liked to fight sleep when on her back, so we started letting her sleep on her tummy. It drove me insane! I would sit and stare at her laying in the pack-n-play. Watching for her little butt to move up and down as she breathed. Who am I kidding, I still watch her. I read Lindsay’s blog about her sweet little Ayden and I sat and sobbed as I imagined Heidi leaving us. I knew how much it hurt to grieve a son that I never got to meet, but losing Heidi too? So needless to say I hated when it was time to go to to sleep. Once, the power went out during one of the summer storms and it was still early. I looked at my husband and said, “this is what I dread – night time, the darkness. i’m all alone while you sleep”. I knew I wasn’t alone. I knew my little family was here. I knew that God was there to listen to me as I bargained with Him to let Heidi be okay. My prayers continued to sound like begging and pleading because I was still so scared that something was going to happen to Heidi too.
I don’t know when it happened, but when I laid my head on my pillow tonight (because seriously, I am pooped…) I instantly started seeing Heidi’s sweet little toothless grin. She has the best smiles – so big and she smiles with her whole little body at me. That’s when it hit me. Night time isn’t a time I dread anymore. I am not afraid to go to sleep. Instead of sadness in my reflections I see only happy moments. Its now my favorite time to feed Heidi when she wakes up because she is so excited and happy! Of course the pain from breastfeeding stopped a long time ago, but it is such a joy feeding her and making her so happy. So now, instead of seeing the memories of sadness they have been replaced with the current memories that are being made now. I still have moments when I long for Hudson to be here with the rest of his family, but somehow and sometime the past few months it has become easier to grieve. There are times when I wonder what it would be like to have 20 month old running around while caring for a 3 month old. And yes, there are still times when I would like to slap people for saying, “oh try doing it with a 2 year old and a 6 month old (or whatever the ages are)” or “just wait until Heidi does this or that” because it can still sting, but I guess it really does become easier with time.