5 months old.
Noelle is 5 months old today.
I was so anxious and stressed-out when she reached the actual day of Link's death, but not until she has now hit 5 months do I feel like I can breathe a little easier. Her brother was so close to reaching 5 months. For the past year and a half, every time a mother would tell me that their child was 5 months old, my heart would feel a stab of pain. Why did their baby get to reach 5 months old and not mine? I have been so obsessed with making sure she reached 5 months old. I know the SIDS risk is far from over at this point, but she is getting closer and that makes me a bit more hopeful. Last night I could hardly sleep. At 1:30 when she woke up to eat, I was almost in tears, just thinking, OKAY. Okay. She has finally made it to 5 months old. She will LIVE.
I can't really even begin to describe the emotions over this past month. It's been like a huge, heavy weight pushing down on my chest. I didn't feel like I could breathe. Even with the Snuza on her. Even with the video monitor on her all the time. Even with the Sleep Guardian, I would check on her. Again & again & again. I HAD to see her chest rising & falling. I HAD to hear her breath. I HAD to make sure her color looked all right. It's horrific, the effects of March 26, 2013 still have on my heart and mind. I mean, I am looking at her, seeing her beautiful smile, thinking "oh, she is so sweet." and then the next thought - "maybe that smile is her telling me goodbye?" and my heart would start racing. I would take a cute video of her, or hear a song on the radio & think how perfect it would be in her funeral slideshow. These are NOT things a normal mother thinks. Yet... it is life after losing a child. Your mind and heart are NEVER the same.
Holding Noelle these past few weeks. Seeing the things she's doing - the sounds she's making. My mind processes all these things and automatically compares it to my time with Link. This is the way he felt in my arms before he died. These are some of the sounds he was making. This was how his skin felt against my lips as I kissed his cheeks again & again & again. There are moments when I think "Well, he was only 4 months old. People have lost children much older than that." But I look at Noelle & think "She is as much a part of our family as our 9 year old daughter. She is a little PERSON!" And I cannot fathom losing her. And it makes my hurt & longing for Link that much deeper.
I pray that now that she is 5 months old, I am able to actually ENJOY her a little more. I feel like my sole purpose has been to keep her alive. There is a part of me that has been guarding my heart against her, saying "don't get too attached! It will hurt more when you lose her!" (again - NOT things a normal mother thinks). Of course, of course I am too attached. She lodged herself into my heart the moment I found out she was coming. But now that my fear is a little lessened at losing her, I hope my heart will open up that much more to enjoying her.
Noelle truly does bring light into our family & our home. I believe her brother watches over all of us, but takes especially good care of our sunrise baby girl. I have a large picture of our family on Link's blessing day right by my computer. She sits on my lap a lot when I type & she will just stare up at that picture. She loves to talk to it as well & I cannot help but think she recognizes that day and was present when that picture was taken. I tried to take a picture of her looking at it, but this is as good as I could get. Can you see her reflection?
We love her SO much. And my heart is daring to believe that we will get to witness all the milestones that we never got to see her brother reach. WE LOVE YOU NOELLE!! Happy 5 months! :)