Saturday, March 13, 2010

Stuck in Jelly

Sometimes I have days where I wonder what hit me. I wake up feeling fine but by midday, I'm a mess. Today was just such a day.

For the last year or so, I've been thinking about the massive amounts of baby clothes that we've stored for the past 6 or so years. I ended up saving 5 large bins full of LJ's gently used clothing so that we would have them for "the next one." Well, obviously we've hit a bit of a bump in the road. Still, it's been an incredibly difficult thing to even think about. Each outfit holds such significance for me.

Finally, I mustered up the nerve to make the drive the the storage unit and fish out the many totes. One of my SILs is expecting her first baby- a girl - in May and I figured I'd offer them to her to help out. As I sat in my living room Thursday night sorting through the piles of pink fabric, I was astonished at how much I remembered about each outfit. When I'd find a stray pair of pants, I could remember exactly what top they went with. I remembered which items were given to me as gifts (and by whom), and I easily recalled which items were the first I had purchased for our soon-to-be baby girl. I reflected on the many excited shopping trips I made with DH, where we shopped, and which outfits we bought from each place. It was so bittersweet for me. Looking at all of these clothes helped me remember so many things that I had forgotten, and yet it made my heart hurt so much more to know that all of these experiences are some that I may never have again.

Although I had meant to save only a couple of items, I ended up keeping one of the larger totes - nearly full, because I couldn't bear to part with them. I couldn't help but think that maybe a piece of her babyhood is snugly resting within the intermingled threads of each onsie, dress, and outfit. I kept a particular pair of pajamas, labeled 3-6 months because I remembered putting her in it after an evening bath. Although the true aroma has long since faded, I swear I could smell baby lotion when I placed it near my face. I kept a pile of printed onsies because I remembered that they were the first things that I washed and placed in her dresser, weeks before she was born.

I even kept the darling little pink jelly shoes that I received at a baby shower... even though she never fit in them. I thought about opening the gift bag that they came in, and pulling out the soft "Mommy loves me" bib that accompanied them and then reaching in to find the shoes. They were so tiny! I thought about how my baby would look in them, and how I was sure to get so many comments on how adorable she was, and "would you just look at her shoes?!?" When I got them home, I proudly displayed them on top of the baby organizer next to the bottles of baby wash and lotion. Each time I entered the room, I would look at those shoes, and each time I'd get a little more excited to meet my precious daughter. I simply couldn't bear to give them away.

This afternoon I met with my SIL, J and sat with her as she selected which items she'd keep for her baby. She could barely reach over her swollen tummy to pick up the tiny clothing from within the bins - exactly how I was at my baby shower. I want so badly to experience that again. Watching her progress, with almost the exact same time line (She is due 4 days after LJ's birthday) as I did is even harder for me. It makes it easier to remember exactly how I was feeling at this stage.

The eagerness was overwhelming as the temperature got warmer and my due date got closer. I still remember feeling a gentle breeze and the sunshine on my skin as I walked into the hospital, on Mother's Day to deliver LJ. It's the same thing I think about each spring. The memory is almost crippling now. I wish I would have taken the time to remember such details throughout my pregnancy.

It is so hard to let go. For me, much of today was like admitting defeat. I don't know if I will ever accept that this may be it. That the only babies I will ever hold from here on out, will never be my own. This whole thing is entirely consuming. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of what we are missing in our lives. The guilt from these thoughts is almost crushing. We have so very much to be thankful for, and we are surrounded by blessings. I am beyond humbled to know that for whatever reason, we have LJ. She is amazing, brilliant, funny, charming, witty, kind, and an overall delight to be around.

It's just that those adorable pink jellies may remain unused forever. And I don't know if I can live with that.


AnxiousMummyto3 said...

Hello darling.
What can I say? It cuts me to the quick that you are hurting so bad over this. As usual, you took the words right out of my mouth. I was just thinking about assembling DD's autumn/winter wardrobe-but I can't do that without getting rid of stuff. I don't want to, either (we don't have a storage facility!) Those jelly shoes are so adorable. I know exactly what you mean about how you wish you'd savoured every moment of the pregnancy, not knowing you might never have that again. This is the hardest situation to be in. Please believe that we will get through it together, somehow. I am so grateful for your friendship-just knowing there's someone out there in exactly the same place just means so much. There is a time when we will be past all of this. Hang in there.
PS. Love what you've done with the place!

Penny said...

I like the new blog. You know, your infertility history reads a bunch like mine. "unknown" is the worst. What are your thoughts on IVF?

When I was going through my thing, I would get ultra sad when I encountered the baby items in the basement, and my thoughts were exactly the same as yours: what if I never use this stuff again?

It's just stuff, right? But it's the memories that are the things that are really boxed up. All those cravings about babies, all those good times you're so afraid you won't experience again.

The weird thing is, even with a baby you don't experience them again. Not in the same way, anyway. Its new memories all over again. I sure hope you can get some new baby memories real soon.

The Prices said...

First of all, I love the new blog layout. Secondly, I am sending you a big virtual hug right now! This blog post was so heartfelt and amazingly well written. My heart is breaking with you. I know how tough it is- the longing, the wishing, the praying. I can't imagine how you feel, already knowing what a blessing a baby is. I will continue praying for you, everyday!

Waterbishop @ An Older Version said...

I have not been trying for #2 for very long, but it took seven years to get #1 and so I have plenty of fear it may not happen. I have a closet full of bins of my son's tiny baby items. Getting rid of those would be a very hard moment. I have been obsessive about getting several photos of him in every outfit. It makes for very monotonous albums, but I panic if i don't capture it all.
Take care.

(from the creme)

Mr. Thompson and Me said...

Hope is a fragile thing. I have it for you. This was a beautifully written post and I'm now following from Creme de la Creme.

Sara said...

Here from creme,

I understand exactly. I have a friend who is due in three weeks, and I still haven't been able to bear to look into my daughter's things to figure out if there are some things that my friend would find useful. It's just so hard.

Lut C. said...

I have a stash too. I lend out things too, and it such a bittersweet thing to do.
Every so often I think about whether the time has come to simply give it all away, but I can't just yet.

(Arrived from the crème de la crème list)