Since Gabriel's birth, I've been avoiding babies, baby showers, and baby stores. I just haven't been up for it. A couple of our friends had their baby yesterday morning, a little boy. They had him at Derrick's work which is the same hospital I had Evelyn and Gabriel.
Walking in I was very very nervous. I didn't know if I was going to keep it all together. But I had to try, I had to prove to myself that I could do this. My palms were sweaty, my heart nearly beat out of my chest as I walked past the same room where Gabriel was born... and passed. It was empty as I looked in, and very vivid flashbacks of that morning came rushing through my mind.
I settled on a couch in the waiting room with Derrick and Evelyn, two of my very close friends were also there. The nurses even gave me a second look - as if they were thinking "is she ready for this?" (they know Derrick and what we've been through). Nobody had to say anything, I knew they were sort of waiting to see how I'd do, as is expected. But I felt the support, from our friends, and from the staff. I knew they would understand if I couldn't handle it or lost it a little.
I couldn't get myself to hold the baby, although Derrick did and he did it with a smile on his face. I did look at him and touch him, but I just wasn't ready to hold him. Not yet, not during my first experience with a newborn baby boy. We chatted and socialized and nobody put any pressure on me to hold him or be near him.
Somehow I managed to hold myself together and just enjoyed socializing with some friends.
I felt sad as we left, partly because I hadn't gained the courage to hold their little guy, partly because I was struggling with my emotions the entire time (I hoped they hadn't noticed too much). But I have to take things one step at a time and not jump out of my comfort zone. I think if I'd held him, I might have lost it. I'm glad I didn't.
But now, although my heart aches with the pain of missing Gabriel, I also feel stronger than I did before. I know now that being around a new baby is not going to be the end of my world and it isn't going to send me a million miles backwards in my healing process... I feel that I've healed just a little bit more from this experience and that now I won't have to dread the next baby that comes into the world, I can approach it with caution and only push myself as far as I'm comfortable.
Hooray for progress, and congrats Blair and Celeste!