At 8:51 am every Thursday, and on the 27th of each month, times seems to stop. I'm awake for it every time. Whether it's hours before or just minutes, I'm awake for it every single time.
For nine months, I counted down the number of weeks and now, I'm counting up. And it's not counting up the age of our baby; I'm counting up from the worst day of my life, holding myself in its misery and beauty because I never want to forget a single second of it.
This has become my new normal. Lack of sleep not from late night feedings and changings, but from late night thoughts and tears. Lack of social interaction not because we have a newborn taking all our time and energy, but because social anxiety peaks in grief. New traditions started not at home with a baby, but at the cemetery with our baby below us.
The new normal has positives too. A newfound strength in Brandon and myself individually, but also in our marriage. A love so deep and so strong that I didn't know was humanly possible. A new confidence in myself to rely on others and let them take care of me. A deeper appreciation for things that really matter.
But it has been two months since we lost Carter, and I would gladly give up my new normal for a different kind of normal. One that includes him here at home, and us being tired, overjoyed, parents of a newborn. I would never trade this experience to never have had him at all, but I would give anything for him to be here right now.