Through it all, there was Bella.
So many of you have asked about how Bella is doing these past few weeks. She’s even received some gifts from you all and pictures drawn by your kids – how special is that? We’ve really appreciated those tokens of love and remembrance for her in this hard time.
Because we’ve had such a rough few months in general (since I was incredibly sick from 4-16 weeks and even some after that), I have to say that it all really took a toll on her – emotionally.
I’ve been told many times, “Children are resilient.” Thank goodness for that. However, that doesn’t mean Bella hasn’t had to deal with a lot of change and trauma.
For months I was barely able to get off the couch most days and she played by my side. She came to know my Zofran really well, seeing the bottle made her say, “Mama’s tummy hurt.” She was at every ultrasound, every appointment. She went through all the tiny clothes with me, we started a bin for all the things the babies were given. She was the only one home when my water broke, and saw the firefighters rush in the house with me on the floor sobbing, then carrying me off on a stretcher while one stayed with her till Daddy got home. Then for a week I was gone and only go to see her every other day for a little while in a hospital bed. When the babies were born at 3am, Daddy woke her up to take her to the hospital with him, where she stayed with Nana in another room till around 6am. And when I came home I was short tempered and cried easily, while she was all out of sorts and temper tantrums were her way of showing it.
We had a rough time getting her back into a routine and out of being the center of 4 people’s attention with both my mom and dad here to lavish her with it. She has been extra sensitive, really clingy, and gets frustrated easily. Some of this is simply being 2 1/2, but a lot of it came in such a short time span that I understood it’s her way of dealing with so much upheaval.
As I was able to take over more, we slowly got her back onto our schedule.
She talks about the babies every so often. Mostly saying, “No two babies in Mama’s tummy.” She loves to find their ultrasound pictures and to say goodnight to them after prayers. This is sometimes really hard on me to hear, but I don’t want to pretend like it never happened. I’m not sure how much she comprehends but I’ve told her the babies are in heaven and not in my tummy, and I always let her carry around the pics. When I’m upset she’ll take my face in her hands and say, “Mama sad.”
It’s been a tough ride for all of us, but in all honesty I don’t know what I would have done without her. Even though I wanted nothing more some days than just to fall apart and lay in bed, it was so much better to have her needing me to pull through it and get moving again. As frustrating as she can be when she’s in a mode, she’s been my biggest joy and light during the day when things are rough.
There are times watching her that make my heart ache so badly. When I realize I’ll never see my sons her age, when I look at her playing and wonder what it would have been like to see two little ones toddle after their big sister. When we go somewhere as a family and I think of how two others are always going to be missing here. I think often about how much they would have looked like her, what features they would have had that resembled each other.
As we move forward and work through all of this together, I’m hoping one day she’ll understand what happened and how we dealt with it to make sure it bound us together tighter and didn’t drive us apart. I hope she’ll know Preston and Julian in her own little way and see the impact they made on so many.
I hope she’ll see the path our lives took was because of our love for all three of them.
Find me over at Military Family today writing on Memorial Day and family traditions.