I am in project mode. I’ve recently finished sewing a set of soft stacking blocks–fox themed. Next, I filled an IKEA basket (now waiting for my kind dad to collect and deliver the goods and help us build them) for a dining room improvement project. I spent longer than necessary scrolling through the same shelves and baskets in various iterations before deciding the perfect combination. Then, while waiting for delivery, I turned back to the sewing machine and my basket of fabric, taking my time to plan a patchwork quilt.

Time is passing, and I’m helping it along with plans and distractions (and also a lot of binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy). This week, my mood has been mixed, with some very anxious days, when I retreat into myself and feel as though I’m just waiting for the day we lose this baby, too. But other days are better, when he wriggles around first thing in the morning and reassures me that he’s strong; when I talk to the midwife about arrangements for the birth and what happens after, and it actually feels real. It feels like we might make it, we might bring home a baby after all.

I think a burst of nesting set in this week.

Candle with Dorothy's name on it - Issy's Bump Day Blog, Week 30: Preparing the Way

Author’s Personal Collection/Issy Jorden

We often sit in the nursery together in the evenings, Tom and me, and read our books before bed. One evening this week, I looked around, and all I could see was dust and clutter, baskets once bought for practical baby storage now filled with half-finished craft projects and remnants of the last nine months of grief. How could we bring a baby home to such a mess?

But it wasn’t a simple cleaning job. The shelves were full of mementos to Dottie, the baby we didn’t bring home–her name in decoration all over the room, clothes she never wore, cards and pictures dedicated to her, the memory box we brought home from the hospital. The thought of tackling the room filled me with anxiety, but so did the thought of bringing home a new baby into the clutter.

So the next day (why does the nesting urge always kick in last thing at night?!), we started. We emptied the shelves and surfaces, dusted, watered the plant, and worked out how to rearrange, what to put back, and what to put in storage. We packed away the clothes intended for Dottie and the memory box from the hospital and moved some of the photos and trinkets around the house. It was hard not to feel guilty. The nursery was her space, we prepared it for her, and now we’re trying to make way for someone new. Of course, her presence isn’t gone completely. Her name and her photos are still all over our home. But some of her things will, for now, be going safely into storage.

Baby sweater with Dottie embroidered on it - Issy's Bump Day Blog, Week 30: Preparing the Way

Author’s Personal Collection/Issy Jorden

When we came home from the hospital last summer without our baby, there were painful memories all over the house.

Furniture we had bought intended to be filled with toys. Nappy caddies, filled and organized only days before. Clean clothes and sheets ready to be used. It was painful, but we couldn’t regret any of it. We said to each other, “We prepared for her because we love her.” And although there’s fear around this baby’s arrival, and whether making preparations will be a waste, we can’t not do it. We prepare for him because we love him. We want to be ready, to have a special place for him to come home to. I hope Dottie doesn’t mind sharing.

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