Today I woke up and hugged the blanket Bubba knit for you, as I do every morning. Its softness reminds me of your cheeks, almost silky to the touch.
I started today like any other day: I showered, brushed my teeth, washed my face, and picked out what I was going to wear to work. While my routine was the same, today was different. Today, I am pregnant.
I promised myself earlier in the week that I would wait until Friday to take a test. Today came and anticipation got the best of me.
Sure that I was setting myself up for disappointment, I sat staring impatiently as the test strip slowly unveiled two red lines. I am not disappointed. I am pregnant, Ruby.
I’m ecstatic, I’m terrified, I’m shocked that it happened so fast, I’m lucky that it happened so fast, I miss you.
Part of me was scared to tell you because I didn’t want you to think that this changes how much I wish you were here. If anything, it makes me miss you more. But something tells me this is not an eerie coincidence, Ruby. You’re going to be a big sister, an IRISH TWIN even, and in my core, I believe you wouldn’t have it any other way.
My eyes swelled with tears. I heard your Daddy turn over in bed behind me, “Do you have news for me?”
“I think I’m pregnant…” I told him, shaky.
He literally jumped out of bed to look for himself. Two lines means positive. Disbelieving, he read the package instructions to confirm that I was right. (I was.)
“Holy $&*t,” he says.
We hugged for a long time because that’s all we could really do. We are two grieving parents simultaneously mourning our loss and celebrating another life. We hugged knowing that you are irreplaceable and that everything will be different this time, but elated at the thought of bringing home your sibling.
After some quick math, we figured out the due date would be April 29th…Uncle Chris’ birthday. I felt more at ease knowing that May would still be your month. There’s something poetic in that. But I am 4 weeks pregnant, with a long 36 to go. Cautious excitement, we decided, would be our motto.
How can I make time move faster? Will I be able to separate this new pregnancy from yours? I ran 3 miles yesterday, should I have done that? Is everything OK in there? I had beer and sushi on the road trip, I should have been more careful. Will you help me through this?
I hesitated about writing you this letter. Couldn’t I just visit you at the cemetery and let you know the news? Ultimately, I decided that the purpose of these letters is to capture our family’s story. For nearly six months, that story has been one about accepting heartbreak, seeking recovery and embarking on a path toward healing. Today, our story found a new character. And while it’s scary to introduce this new character for fear of “the unknown”, I cannot deny that their existence changes everything.
I don’t know why you died. I never will. I will never be “ok” that it happened. I will always feel robbed of the lifetime of memories we didn’t get to make. I will always think it is unfair. But I woke up this morning after many months of asking myself “why” and for the first time, I felt like I had a reason.
It makes me think about the song, “For Good” from Wicked (though I’m partial to the Glee version).
“I’ve heard it said, that people come into our lives for a reason.
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are led, to those who help us most to grow, if we let them.
And we help them in return.”
Maybe I needed to learn that not everything is within my control, that nothing is guaranteed and that every day we wake up is worth celebrating. Maybe I needed to learn to appreciate heartbeats. Those sorts of lessons come at no small price and we paid handsomely.
But today, there is a life growing inside of me that simply wouldn’t be there if we hadn’t gone through all of this. Maybe you knew before we did that this was how it was going to be. Maybe this is your reason. Maybe this is “why”.
I’ll always wonder. You’re going to be a great big sister, Ruby.
I love you,