I thought once I reached this point in my pregnancy after loss that my anxiety might ease up some. I’ve passed my loss gestation. I still have an active little baby with a strong, steady heartbeat. I even decided that I might feel brave enough to celebrate this little one with a baby shower. Now, I feel my anxiety growing. Maybe it was too much too fast. Maybe it just feels too good to be true.

Whatever the reason, anxiety has come to visit again.

Hannah and her daughter - Bump Day Blog, Week 21: Sibling Love

Author’s Personal Collection/Hannah Kirk

Sometimes it’s completely irrational. I will feel obvious movements from the baby and still question if maybe I was mistaken. Until recently, I was in denial that I even looked pregnant. Once I saw myself in the mirror and realized how much my bump had grown, it shocked me. This pregnancy has not dragged on like I thought it would. It actually seems to be going by quickly. I think that overwhelms me just as much. The thought of giving birth again scares me, and not for the reasons that it might have before. Once my eyes were opened to the reality that babies can die for no apparent reason, it became impossible for me to go back to the innocence I once held. That’s not to say I’m expecting the worst. It’s just hard to ignore those nagging what-ifs sometimes.

Right now, I’m taking things one step at a time, one week at a time. I’m starting to plan for birth and opening myself up to the idea of preparing our new home for this baby. My anatomy scan is scheduled for this week. So much emotion is tied into this milestone. While I’m hopeful that everything will be ok, it’s hard not to be nervous. I’m so ready to put it behind me.

This week, my almost three-year-old has really been bonding with her unborn baby sibling.

She wasn’t quite two when I found out I was pregnant with her brother, Koda. She was so excited about him and loved the ultrasound pictures. When we lost Koda, the first emotion I allowed myself to feel was guilt. Having to go home and tell my daughter that our baby wasn’t coming home was heartbreaking. She was still so young, but she had an understanding that made her seem wise beyond her years. Since then, she has loved her little brother in her own way. She looks through his photo albums with such gentleness. She talks about how cute he was. She loves to hold the items in his memory box. This wasn’t forced upon her, but a choice that she made. She’s such a special, loving little girl. She’s a big sister.

Her excitement was instant with this baby also. She found out at our nine-week ultrasound. I didn’t plan to tell her so soon, but circumstances required her to be with us at the scan. I wondered if she would understand what was happening, but when she saw the screen she instantly exclaimed, “baby!” For a few weeks after that, she would ask to listen to the recording of the baby’s heartbeat before she went to bed at night. She has been attached since day one.

Big sister is not a new role for her.

She has been loving her little brother from the start, even though she never got to meet him. She’s been loving the baby I’m carrying now from the moment she saw that first ultrasound. Lately, she’s been even more involved. She talks to the baby and kisses my belly. She’s been trying to feel kicks, but hasn’t been able to sit still long enough yet. It’s so special to watch her love both of her little siblings. She’s never known what it’s like to be a sister to a baby that she can physically see. All she knows is this blind, unconditional love. That’s heartbreaking yet beautiful.

I wasn’t prepared for how scary her excitement would be for me. Initially, I felt an increased responsibility to keep this baby alive (as if I had any control over what had happened before). I was so scared something would go wrong, and I’d have to break her heart again. While that fear is still present, it’s become less crippling over time. I’m starting to see the joy in her excitement instead of just worrying over the “what-ifs.” I hope and pray that she will get to meet this baby face-to-face in a few months. I’ve been anticipating that sweet moment for a long time now. Whatever happens, this I know for sure: she is already a good big sister, and we’ll all love this baby no matter what.

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