When you lose a baby, you don't just lose the baby.
You lose dreams and hopes, goals and milestones. Plans you once had for holidays, vacations, life in general, they are all gone. You miss out on baby snuggles, late night changings and feedings, watching them sleep. You miss out on that first smile, first steps, first words. You miss out on the phase when they begin to explore anything and everything around them, when they start to develop their own personality. You miss out on first days of school. You don't get to watch them learn how to drive, go off to college, get married, and have babies of their own.
You don't just lose out on the one moment of delivering a live baby, you lose an entire future.
There is a lot of preparation for bringing a baby home. You buy a crib and a dresser and a stroller and a carseat and a diaper bag and blankets and clothes and diapers and wipes and bottles and pacifiers and sheets and a pack n' play and toys and socks and bibs. We had all those things. We'd had lengthy discussions about how to do Disney with a baby, and how we would learn to travel differently and slow down once we had a little one with us on our trips. We had planned to go to Hawaii around Carter's first birthday. We were so excited to do Thanksgiving and Christmas at home just the three of us. I was excited for Carter's uncles and grandpas to teach him about cars and sports and bikes and music and techy things and bad jokes. I was excited for his grandmas to cover him in kisses, and become the kind of grandmas that always had new pictures and videos of their grandson to share with everyone. I couldn't wait for the cats to meet him and love him. I was excited for Brandon to be his dad, and I was excited to be his mom.
When we lost Carter, we lost a huge piece of ourselves. We lost our naivete, our innocence, and a little bit of our joy. When we lost little bean, we lost some of our optimism. And when we lost the third pregnancy, we lost some of our hope. Maybe I shouldn't speak for Brandon on this, but those are things I've lost with each baby.
I think this is why losing a baby, or anyone that is gone too soon really, is so hard. Dying of old age is natural, and even though all the time in the world is never enough, there has at least been enough time for memories and milestones and just time together in general. We never got any of that with Carter or little bean. I'd still be pregnant with little bean, technically; we'd be about seven weeks away from meeting her. But instead, we have to try and make a lifetime of memories out of the weeks and months we had with each of them in my belly.
It's fun for us to think about what they would have been like. We don't do it so much with little bean, but we think about Carter's personality a lot. When we were at Disney World, we both agreed that Animal Kingdom would have been his absolute favorite. I could almost picture him getting so excited at seeing all the animals. It made my heart hurt. We bought a stuffed Safari Mickey to leave in the nursery for him, because I could see him wanting that toy. I like to think that he'd be a bit of a mama's boy, and that as much as he'd want to run around and explore, he'd want me right behind him the whole time. I can see him giving Brandon a run for his money, but also wanting to chill next to dad on the couch every night. And I can see him being gentle and sweet with the cats, and them loving him right back. I don't want to idealize him or make it seem like he would have been the perfect child, but I don't call him our sweet boy for nothing. He would have been the most tender soul.
But we can only imagine those things; we'll never get to know for sure. We lost out on so many things that we were looking forward to, but we also lost out on getting to see our sweet Carter grow into the great man I know he would have been. He would have been just like Brandon, I'm sure of it. Knowing that the world missed out on getting another Brandon is a tragedy in and of itself.
Our life itself is not lost. Brandon and I still have each other, and there are still so many things we can accomplish if we are left to do life just the two of us. But from the moment we found out we were pregnant with Carter, at around 5:15 pm on March 7, 2016, our children became our life. And I don't know that you ever really come back from losing something, someone, so special and instrumental to every day living. There are a lot of things we don't get to do with our little man, and a lot of things we are doing that we'd really rather not, but he is still ours. We will make new goals and hit different milestones. He is our child, and a part of our lives forever.