It's been a big few weeks in our family. We went on a short holiday, starting planning some renovations to the homestead, we went to our first SIDS and Kids kids holiday program, we went for my six week check up with my OB. And my sister had her much anticipated fourth child.
I'm not going to lie. I've been terrified of her baby arriving, so soon after Poppy died. They were due just 10 days apart. They should have grown up together. But they wont, and it kills me a little every time I think of it.
It's not that I'm not happy for her and her family. I am so happy for them. Babies who arrive safely are a blessing, we know only too well. But I've been robbed of the chance to be totally happy for her. Whenever I see her baby, I'll think of mine. And it just shouldn't be like that. It's unfair on all of us. My sister is worried about upsetting me, and I'm worried about her being worried about me. When life should be simple, it just isn't. People have babies and everyone is happy for them...but not in my world.
My first panic was whether to go and see her at the hospital. I wasn't sure I had the strength for that. I wanted to see her, but could I cope with a brand new baby, wriggling and crying, when Poppy was so still and silent? Would it be terrible for my sister if I broke down in tears and couldn't stay? Would I just grab the baby and make a run for it? (I thought about it) G was wonderful, as usual, being guided by my rapidly changing decision of 'I need to go'/'I can't go'. "Whatever you want to do," he assured me, which was very gracious given he desperately wanted to see the new baby.
I cried all morning. I didn't want to hold my sisters baby. I wanted to hold my own. I ached for Poppy, to hold her, more than I had for some time. I did all the things I usually do to help me feel near to her. I cuddles her teddy, and cradled her clothes. But this time, it just wasn't enough. I was missing out. Missing out on being the one who got to make everyone happy. Missing out on being a new mum with bleary eyes and spew on her shoulder. And I realised that having another baby wasn't going to make it better. I would always be missing Poppy, no matter how many other children I have.
And I guess that was the turning point. I realised that holding my sisters beautiful baby wouldn't be the same as holding Poppy. It could never be as amazing as holding my own living, breathing baby. But it could be wonderful seeing a baby who was here to stay. Hopeful. Gut-wrenching, but hopeful that it can happen. There are no guarantees, that's for sure, but mostly babies make it. I wish our baby girl had made it. We were robbed of her. But I would not be robbed of meeting my nephew. Enough has been stolen from me.
So, off we went to the hospital. My parents and G watched me with a slightly worried expression, as if they were waiting for me to crack under the pressure and pain of it all. But I was oddly calm, having made my decision. I would see this through. First step: Get out of the car. Sounds so easy... Get in lift and press the 5. Listen to terrible music for 11 seconds. Step out and ask which ward my sister is in. Head for said ward. Realise it's the same ward I was in when I had my ectopic. Turn onto ward and get faced with...poppies. Painted poppies on ever wall. Pink ones.
I stop dead. Oh, shit. Wasn't expecting that.
Poppy is here, I decide. She saying, "I'm here, mummy! It's OK!" and I am comforted. 20 steps, 10 steps, 5 steps (that's the room I was in, on the right), 3,2,1...
And there he is, cradled in my sisters arms. I give her a kiss before I look at him, in case I can't after I look down. Here goes nothing...
He's breathtaking. So little, with beautiful dark hair and olive skin. And I want to hold him. My nephew whose birth is joyous regardless of what pain we have felt. I feel that little bit of hope in me flair that I might get this again. The chance to grow another human in me. Not instead of Poppy, but for her. Because life is precious.
"Hello, Hamish," I whisper, "I'm your Aunty Bec." And I give him one of my newborn baby kisses. One I realise I was keeping especially for him.