My doctor told me I'd have to wait a few months until I could try again to get pregnant. It was excruciating. I couldn't imagine getting to Matthew's due date with empty arms and not being pregnant again. I thought I would fall apart.
His due date was December 19 and as I was out shopping for Christmas decorations, I decided I needed new stockings for my family. For some reason, my heart told me to buy an extra one because I'd need it. Little did I know I was already pregnant and I would not be remembering Matthew's due date alone. His little brother would be with me.
My entire pregnancy with Zane was scary. I couldn't relax the entire nine months. I was seen at my doctor as if I was a high risk patient, though I don't think I really was. My doctor was as anxious to get my baby here safely as I was. Maybe not as anxious, but pretty close.
One day during church, I went into the prayer room and prayed over my baby. I prayed that he would be active and I would never have to worry whether he was okay or not because he would move so much. As I moved over to the open Bible in the corner of the room, it was open to Luke 1:41, "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit." I laughed out loud at God's sense of humor and felt like my prayers had been heard. I know now for a fact that it was. I know now that I should have been more specific in that prayer. I should have asked that he be active DURING MY PREGNANCY, not his entire life. Matthew had seemed to be pretty chill with his movements, but Zane never, ever stopped moving. He moved in the middle of the night, he moved all day, and to this day, he still never stops moving, especially his mouth!! Oh, God hears my prayers and answers them, of that I have no doubt.
At 37 weeks, my doctor and I were both very eager to get him here. When my contractions started after an exam, I came back in to Labor and Delivery and she went ahead and admitted me. This was around 6:00 p.m. On August 22, one week before Matthew's first birthday. I labored comfortably with an epidural through the night with headphones and praise music. I prayed, worshiped, and thanked God for this gift He had so sweetly given to me and that I was able to redeem my last birth experience into a sweet, worshipful time instead of a deep, dark sadness.
At 6:16 a.m., August 23, Zane Kenneth was born weighing 6 lbs, 14 oz, but he wasn't breathing well, so as quickly as I saw him, they took him away to the NICU. It was a scary day of waiting to see if my baby was okay. I could not go home empty handed again. I wouldn't survive. Finally, they let Brad see him. When he came back with pictures of him, I couldn't quit staring at him. He was so perfect.
Zane spent almost a week in the NICU, but was home just in time for us to celebrate Matthew's first birthday. Brad and I picked the girls up from school and we headed to the cemetery to introduce Zane to his older brother. I felt the need to tell Matthew that Zane was not a replacement, as one well meaning, but insensitive woman had said to me during my pregnancy. "I'm so glad you're having another boy. He can replace the one you lost!" All I could do was laugh at her absurd statement. He could and would never be replaced. I would never forget him. Zane did not heal my pain, but he did help me regain a new sense of purpose. Matthew will forever be my first son. He will always be tiny, beautiful and perfect.
Zane has helped restore my joy. My laughter has definitely returned thanks to Zane. I have said that Matthew must have given him some of his energy, his personality and his words, because there is no way one little person has that much life inside of him without some help.
I thank God for the gift of Zane, while considering the bittersweet reality that the two would never coexist if everything had gone according to my plans. That's a hard pill to swallow. I have guilt when I feel so glad to have him because it feels like a betrayal to Matthew. It feels like I'm glad Matthew's gone. When I miss Matthew, does it mean I'm not grateful for Zane? It's hard for me to process.
A new pregnancy brings a mix of emotions. It doesn't heal the painful feelings of loss. When you feel that only another baby will make you feel better, don't be fooled into believing that it will fix your broken heart. It brings on a whole other wave of emotions. It does help ease the loneliness. It does distract from the overwhelming feelings of grief. It does bring sweet joy to your life again, that you thought you'd never feel again, but it doesn't heal the pain of losing your child. I'm so thankful for Zane and the blessing he is to me and to our family. Our family would be incomplete without him. I know that with Matthew, life would have been completely different, and someday, we will meet him and understand what that would look like. Someday, God willing, we will be together with Zane and Matthew. What a glorious reunion that will be.