Change

In one month’s time we found out Sweet Pea is a boy, walked away from our stable income, moved to a new state, got Kyle started on a 3-year grad school program, and lost my mother-in-law unexpectedly. I’m a different Ashley than the one who wrote posts just a few weeks ago, and the change has happened so rapidly that I feel worlds away from the girl I used to know as myself.

Did you know that today marks 24 weeks into the pregnancy? We quietly slipped past the halfway point during the first week of September. I hardly had time to mention it before our lives shattered into a million pieces. Up until around that 20-week mark I had been terrified to be too happy or comfortable, but slowly I was starting to let myself believe we’d actually get to bring home a baby this winter. Over the last several months of pregnancy we hadn’t bought a single thing for Sweet Pea, reasoning that it would be too painful to have it in the house if something were to go wrong. But now that we knew his gender and were just a few months from his birth, I wanted to try venturing into the very stores I had avoided for years.

Just walking through the door of a shop that sells baby clothes made me feel like a huge fraud. I remember hoping that the cashier would think I was still in my first trimester, too early to be showing. I even pushed my belly out a little as I stepped up to the counter, desperately wanting to be recognized as a mother-to-be, though I do not look like one. Would we ever feel comfortable in a place like this? It was bizarre to think that someday buying clothes for a growing Sweet Pea would be a normal occurrence.

As we stood among the racks and racks of clothing made for tiny humans, Kyle put his arm around my waist and pulled me close so I could hear him quietly say, “I can’t wait to have a baby.” And while it was exciting to finally feel brave enough to buy things, there was still a lingering sadness in waiting for Sweet Pea to join us. Some days he just feels too far away. Eventually we settled on a little outfit with a matching cap as well as a red & gray striped sleeper with a little white dog on the chest to represent his big brother Orion. I still had to fight back the impulse to return it immediately– just in case– after being handed the bag, but by the time we got to the car, I was filled with more elation than trepidation.

With the first purchase behind me, I started to think about the nursery. I had already planned to use Paddington Bear as inspiration for a theme but hadn’t gotten very far. During the last few weeks of the summer, Kyle’s mom had been asking us to pick something out for her to buy for the nursery, but in my fear, I had put it off. Now Sweet Pea has nothing from his grandmother. There is nothing in his room that I can point to and say, “Your Mémère bought this for you.” It is something I will regret for the rest of my life. Why couldn’t I have just made a decision for her so she could do this one thing for him? I spent the entire summer afraid that we would lose Sweet Pea. He is still with us, but his grandmother is gone. And all of my worry did nothing to stop us from experiencing that loss. I had finally gotten to the point where I felt like I could enjoy the pregnancy, and now…

After spending a week in Florida with my father-in-law, I flew home for a few days before heading back again for the funeral. It seemed strange somehow that everything here was just as I had left it. The browser on my laptop still displayed the area rugs I’d been looking at for the nursery before she died, the two little outfits we’d bought for Sweet Pea still hung on the knob of my dresser drawer, and already I felt a million miles away from that time in my life. What had recently felt like such an accomplishment now seemed so frivolous.

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10 thoughts on “Change

  1. Ashley, it’s the middle of the night here but I woke up and thought I would check blogs. I am so sad for you and Kyle right now! That is just heartbreaking about Sweetpea’s mémère. I hope you realise that she was so looking forward to meeting him and that you can get some comfort from that… I know it must be so raw right now. I’m sending you so much love. Xx

    It seems like you have reached a milestone and that is wonderful, even if it’s not exactly how you envisioned it. I love how Kyle whispered to you in the baby store. You are having a baby! The little outfit sounds adorable (well you know I love anything with dogs! And big bro Orion sounds so cute!). It’s one step towards it being more real. I’m sure it will get real-er as things progress… I can’t wait to find out about the next milestone in your journey!

    Finally – huge change! I bet that’s fun and scary at the same time. It sounds fun to me, but I’m the kind of person who enjoys change! 🙂 In less than the time you’ve already waited, you’re going to be a mama! That’s amazing. You’re amazing! I am sending you middle-of-the-night wishes all the way from the uk! Xx

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    1. Thank you for the love and middle-of-the-night wishes from across the pond. 🙂 As soon as I saw you were having trouble sleeping I was worried you were in post-op pain! I hope you are feeling better every day treating yourself during your recovery.

      I agree that some of the change is exciting. I do like to explore new places, and this area is beautiful with lots to do and see nearby (keep that in mind for when we switch places! 😉 ). Knowing that we will be here for a relatively short time also makes me want to take advantage of it, and I will have to focus on that more than the stress of trying to get Kyle through this grad program!

      I really appreciate all of the thoughts and support. Life seemed hard enough a few weeks ago when we committed to living an unstable life for the next three years, and now I often feel like it is downright impossible. I don’t know how we will keep going but I guess there isn’t much option otherwise. I do hope that it will be easier to heal from it all once Sweet Pea has joined us.

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      1. Aww, I hope it is everything you hoped for and more – it will be, as you will soon be a mum! You’ll be frazzled and busy with parenting and won’t have much chance to look at the scenery, haha! Sending you lots of love xx

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  2. Also, Paddington Bear! As you know, we are close to Paddington Station in London. We have the statue and everything! If there is ever anything Paddington related that you need and can’t get over there, let me know! X

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    1. Yes! I love that statue! We went out to Windsor through Paddington last year and I got my little bear from the second-level shop while Kyle was distracted by Starbucks. It has become our symbol of hope through this process and we even went to see the Paddington movie together for good luck right before starting my pre-cycle treatment last January. So I thought it would be a fitting theme. (Plus it also lets me sneak some British-themed items in there without coming off as TOO much of an Anglophile, haha). I may actually take you up on that offer though! We do have a good bit of stuff here, but there is at least one book I haven’t been able to find and I know they have a whole wall of them on the left side of the shop so I feel like it would HAVE to be there.

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      1. Hey. Tell me which book you want (or message me it). We leave in a week so if I can get it before then I will bring it for you! If not, don’t worry… I can post it to you when we are back! X

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  3. You have such a beautiful and honest way with our words. It makes my heart hurt for all of you. I hope that as the days and weeks pass, you’re able to find more elation in preparing for your little boy. <3.

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  4. As difficult as the subjects are you are writing about, you are able to articulate the deepest feelings that reach and touch all of us who read them. Thank you for your sincere honesty. God’s blessings on you and Kyle, Sweet Pea, Elle and the Anderson family. Lots of love, Gram

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