15 weeks.

I know I've said it before, but it is so strange to be counting up, when I was counting down for so long. I remember when we had 15 weeks left until our due date. We had just gotten home from our vacation to DC and New York, and were in the thick of setting up the nursery and preparing for our little guy to arrive. I don't even remember what it was like to be 15 weeks pregnant. I didn't feel pregnant yet, but I know we were so excited. And now, we're fifteen weeks out, and it's just so weird.

When people ask how I'm doing, my usual answer is "fine. some days are harder than others." And I realized about two minutes ago that that's a total lie. Not that I'm not fine, because I am. Not good, not bad, just fine. I worked with someone once who told me that "fine" is the worst F word you can say, because it's vague and always a lie. And though me saying I'm fine is sometimes a lie, the real lie I tell is that some days are harder than others. Because really, some minutes are harder than others. One second you can be mopping the floor, and then you remember that the last time you prepared for your family to stay with you, you were also prepping to go to the hospital to deliver your son. You can be plugging away at work, getting shiz done, and remember how it felt to have him placed on your chest. It's the strangest thing. When I think about it from a metaphorical standpoint, I just picture myself getting hit in the face with a fish. It comes out of nowhere, it's messy and unwanted. I'd rather go fishing and bring on the grief by myself.

Grief is just weird in general. When Brandon went back to work, if he was even five minutes late getting home I freaked out, worrying that he was in a car accident or something. Even today, my family is driving down to see us, in three different cars, and I know I will be full of anxiety until they all get there. Fear isn't going to stop me from doing things and living my life, but I don't want to deal with more than one loss in my whole life. Every person I know has to outlive me, got it? That means you!

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine that lost a baby over the summer. We were talking about how, for me, it is hard to have all of Carter's things, because I feel like I just prepped for a baby in case we ever got pregnant. But at the same time, it's so nice to have all those things, because I can just go into the nursery, sit in the chair, and just kind of be with him. She had a dream that her son was still at the hospital, and that no one told her she could go visit him, and I wanted to say, well luckily that's not real, and you have his ashes at home with you. How stupid is that? Luckily. Saying luckily in any situation right now is just plain ridiculous. But she said "there's no right or wrong way to lose a baby" and basically nailed it on the head. There's no right or wrong way to navigate through the muddy waters of loss and grief and anger and sadness. You can use your hands or a boat or snowshoes or whatever, but it's still going to be hard and you're still going to feel stuck sometimes. But as long as you're trying, you're moving forward.

There are new pieces of brightness in my life that I never would have thought I'd have to deal with. Get to deal with? I don't know. No right or wrong answer with this one. But it's strange to get excited about something and share it with someone, only to have their look of sadness as a response. I know it's sad, trust me, but it's also okay for people to be excited about the things I'm excited about! I found the coolest thing on Etsy yesterday! There are companies that make necklaces with engravings of a sound wave. So you can send a voice recording to them, and the sound waves for that recording onto the necklace. Go one step further...they can engrave sound waves for a heartbeat. I'm trying to get a better picture of Carter's heartbeat sound waves (thank goodness for the fetal echo that we did? I guess?), but I'm going to get that necklace soon! I shared that with a lady I work with, and I felt bad because she was sad, but also happy? I feel like life is a giant question mark at the end of every sentence haha.

These are some strange things to be excited about, but if we can't have our boy at home, then we should find some sunshine in the little things we get. All the necklaces I have that are pieces of him, the headstone we were able to purchase with the help of friends and family that has Brandon's drawing on it, the drawing from a sweet stranger, pictures, molds, and support from the kind lady who was there to share in our grief, airplanes galore, and the knowledge that there are so many people who love him even though they never got the chance to meet him. I don't know if you would call these silver linings, I don't know that there are ever silver linings with loss, but there are beautiful coincidences and tender mercies that make the hard times just a little bit easier. 

**cover photo is me at 15 weeks pregnant.