When we first got home from the hospital, I knew there would be a lot of “stuff” to deal with. Physical stuff that would be in my face as a constant reminder of what we were going through. And I’m not talking about just a few things here and there. I’m talking stuff in every single room of our house. The Pack N’ Play from my friend, Jami, waiting in our bedroom. The bottles, bibs, and drying rack in the kitchen. The Rock N’ Play from my friend Kelly sitting in the living room, fully assembled and ready to go. The donor breast milk in the freezer. The bins full of clothes and the two strollers in the garage. The ultrasound pictures on our fridge. The washcloths and towels in our linen closet. The baby shampoos and medicines in the bathroom. The stack of baby and parenting books on my nightstand. The baby bath tub on a random chair in our dining room, because I wasn’t quite sure where to keep it.
And then there was her room. Our nursery was ready to go, despite the fact that Elise wouldn’t have spent much time in there for the first few months. But the diapers and wipes and changing table and crib and rocking chair and books and blankets and burp cloths and swaddles and stuffed animals and hamper and washed clothes (from newborn through 3 months) and socks and baby mittens and headbands and hooded towels and quilts -every item a reminder of what could have been, and a reminder of the people who so generously gave to our baby girl because they, too, believed that we would be bringing home a baby.
The day after we got back I went around the house and gathered up most of the things and shoved them all in the nursery and closed the door. I found a new mom in need of the breast milk, so she came over and took it and now I can look in my freezer without bursting into tears. There are still ultrasound pictures on my fridge. I’ll probably move those to the nursery soon. I think I need to take the car seat out of my car soon too – it feels weird to be driving around with it, but I guess I had some grand fantasy where I would get some magical call and would need to rush somewhere to get Elise and they wouldn’t let me leave take her without the car seat.
I know I don’t need to make any decisions about any of this “stuff” right now. For the most part, it’s mostly contained in a room in our house. I can walk by the closed door and go about doing normal “life” stuff if I want. Or I can go inside, sit in the rocking chair, and spend some time being swallowed up by the sadness. I’ve done a lot of both over the past two weeks.
**Update – tomorrow will be four weeks since we said goodbye to Elise…I was just a little late getting this post up. The car seat is now in the garage and the ultrasound pictures are in the room – I think I’m making progress.