This week, we hired a doula. I’m so thankful that we were able to make this happen. Moving in the middle of my pregnancy after loss has not been easy. Having some consistency and support has already been so comforting for me. Our doula is a fellow loss mom. I’m thankful for the connection though I wish neither of us had to know the heartache of loss. We had a meeting this week and talked through my birth plan. She helped my husband and I discuss our goals and hopes for this birth and get it down on paper – something we haven’t been able to do on our own. I’ve had a hard time thinking about birth. This sort of forced me to face it. It was just the push I needed. No matter how unready I feel, time continues to move forward. I need to try to prepare both physically and emotionally. Hiring a doula has given me the tools to make that happen.

Baby's nursery - Hannah's Bump Day Blog, Week 31: Preparing for Birth

Author’s Personal Collection/Hannah Kirk

I thought maybe I’d reach a point in this pregnancy where things started to feel normal. However, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Pregnancy after loss is far from normal. Though I’m taking steps to prepare for the baby, I can’t seem to fully commit. The crib has been put together for a few weeks, but it took me a long time to start hanging up nursery decorations. The changing table is set up, but I can’t make myself fill the caddy with newborn diapers. His clothes are organized into drawers and bins, but I have yet to wash any of them. The logical side of me knows that whether I do these things or not has no effect on the outcome of my pregnancy. Still, I can’t bring myself to take that final step. It’s not that I don’t believe this baby will be coming home. I really am so hopeful that he will.

I think there are a lot of layers to it. Of course, there’s the fear of the unknown and the what-ifs. That looks like starting to open a box of diapers and immediately thinking – but what if I don’t need them. Another layer is the sadness and grief over everything I didn’t get to do with my first son, Koda. That looks like holding a special outfit in my hands for a little longer before I fold it and put it away. Another layer is finding the line between honoring my baby who died and giving the baby in my womb space to be his own person. That looks like trying to decide which of Koda’s things to pass down to his little brother and which things should be set aside. Some of the nursery decorations we have were intended for Koda. Making the choice to use them for this baby didn’t come easily. Every decision, big or small, regarding this pregnancy and this baby has been carefully thought out and thoroughly discussed. Nothing has come easy. Maybe that’s why it takes so long to make a commitment and move forward. Not only are we trying to decide what is best for our son, we’re also trying to protect our still broken hearts while they grow to love another little life.

I’m thankful that I have been able to bond with my unborn baby.

I struggled with it for a while. I was afraid to get attached, but it happened anyway. The truth is I’m completely in love with this baby and nothing could change that. That’s both comforting and scary. I’m a mother to children both in Heaven and on earth. I know how precious it is to love so deeply, and I know how much it hurts when that love has nowhere to go. However, I have to keep reminding myself that in this moment, my baby boy is with me. He’s growing and thriving in my womb. He responds to my touch and his sister’s voice. Though we have yet to hold him in our arms, he is a part of our everyday lives.

My daughter has a book that talks about pregnancy and birth from a kid’s perspective. Now that I’m nearly eight months pregnant, she has asked to read it more frequently. One day, she kept telling us that she wanted to go to the hospital. I couldn’t figure out why until I read the book to her that night. It talked about how the mommy and daddy went to the hospital and eventually came home with a baby. I think she’s starting to associate that hospital trip with her baby brother coming home. She’s so excited and so ready. Part of me is, of course, scared of something going wrong. Another part of me is starting to feel that growing anticipation that she is feeling. Throughout my pregnancy, my daughter has helped remind me that this can be exciting even in the midst of so much unknown. At times, her excitement has scared me. Other times it has carried me through another day. It’s still hard to talk about anything definitively with her regarding the baby. However, I’m hopeful that soon my daughter will know what it’s like to love a baby brother on this side of Heaven too.

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