Saturday 7 March 2009

Prepared for anything

Birni's last post before she went away for a few days struck a cord with me.

How to prepare for the possibility of a new pregnancy? What, if anything, to prepare?

Physically, apparently, I'm ready. Emotionally, I am so so so so SO ready and absolutely not ready at the same time.

We had nothing. There was plenty of time. Nothing at home anyway. I had a few things stored at work that no one would let me bring home because it was "unlucky". Now I have the feeling that I want those thingsat home ready (those that haven't been sold without asking me anyway but that's another story).

We didn't want to know George's sex before his birth but now I wonder if we should find out as soon as possible. (I am of course assuming that we can get pregnant again) If it were to happen again I want to know that I'm losing my son or my daughter. I don't want to find out the sex of our baby when his or her lifeless body is lying in front of me.

Beautiful Birni is preparing a bag.

I think I might want one too.

There used to be the tradition for unmarried women to build up a trousseau, a bottom drawer, a hope chest ready with some of the linens and clothes she would take with her when she left her family home to get married. It's a similar feeling to want to prepare such a thing for a baby. Surely not all the women who had hope chests got married? That's where the word hope comes in to it.

It would be a sort of hope bag, a wish bag and a what-if bag of a few things ready for any eventuality. Any at all. Should I buy these just because I love them and I hope to have two little feet to dress in them? I found my own baby blanket a while ago, and never thought to ask for it to wrap our son in. Maybe it should go in the bag and then I would have something made with love to wrap our baby in if it dies and a lovely blanket to keep it warm in if it lives?

My grandmother used to crochet the most beautiful baby clothes. Many years ago I asked her to make some things for a friend who was pregnant with her third (I'm SO late at this babymaking business) and when she gave them to me there were two piles. One for my friends baby and one for my one-day baby. My Gran died 15 years ago. I still have the pile for my one-day baby. Of course none of it would have fitted George but they can go into the bag.

In the end it didn't really matter. Anything we did or do for Geroge after his death is really something done for us. Done for our grief, for our healing, for our memories. But still...

I debate with myself about this. Can you tell? Start now, in hope of what might be? Wait until a positive test? Wait until 12 weeks? Wait until after the point at which we lost George? Not prepare anything until the very last moment?

I know we have cultural differences but I'm sure this is a common theme going through many of our minds. Somehow I feel I have to do things differently. It's as if by changing the only things I have the power to change I will somehow change the outcome. Because we had nothing maybe if our next baby to be has it's own things ready for him or her, he or she won't be able to leave?

Do you dare to plan? What would you do? What did you do?


  1. I think on so many levels you have to allow yourself to hope and dream. Life isn't worth living without those, and I gave into being hopeful even though I worried and so anxious. Follow your heart, B, because so much of this is outside of our control.
    I wish I had a magic wand or genie in the bottle, so please accept my sincere and good wishes to you and Ray on these next steps.

  2. Her post spoke to me, too. I don't know if you read my comment to her's, but in the interest of laziness I'll repost :) The bottom line is that I'm torn between wanting to buy nothing at all until the baby is home safe and sound - and wanting to buy (and pack) everything I can.

    I've had many of the same thoughts. I've thought that if I get pregnant again I won't buy a thing until after the baby is home with us safe and sound . . .but wait! I must at least buy one blanket. I cherish our Babies' blanket (on which their photographs were taken) so very much - wouldn't it be special if our next baby has a blanket that we picked out ourselves? Then I, like you, think of hats and clothes. . . but then I stop myself, and feel guilty - why should another baby have all these things and our Babies were stuck with whatever was in the hospital closet?? Ugh. What a strange world it is we live in now. We are truly changed. . . I can do nothing but continue to hope and pray that going through these crazy motions brings us some sort of peace - but that we will never again need anything other than a beautiful outfit in which to bring home our babies :)

  3. If you were to hand me a baby today, I'd have enough stuff to see me through the first six months. I guess that comes from a) having carried to term b) having an easy pregnancy with no warning signs of danger ahead and c) just being super damn excited because she was my first and wanting to be organised. I'm not sure I could buy much again, and I wont even need to! Hope's nursery remains completely set up and ready to go. I guess when baby 2 comes along, I'll just wash the sheets in the cot and we'll be good to go. I will find out the sex this time though, so if I do dare to dream, I can buy a few pink or blues things. If I feel game.
    We'll be here to navigate this tricky road with you Barbara. (ps: do you like being called Barb, or just Barbara??) xox

  4. This post broke my heart. Buy the shoes! We can't go through life thinking "if the next baby lives" it's just too sad. Sure, it's a possibility. But it's just a sad way to look at something that SHOULD be filled with such happiness and promise. I'd like to think that this only has to happen once to us, but we all know there are some out there, even reading this blog, that have lost more than one baby. But, I'm big on denial. I say buy the shoes Barb. Buy the shoes for Georges little brother or sister to be.

  5. Martha, I'm always trying to assume good things but you know, those worries are always hanging about.

    Bluebird, I did see your post in Birni's blog, I wish we didn't torment ourselves so much!

    Heather, I just might allow myself to hope... I wasn't expecting the go-ahead so soon, so I'm catching up to myself at the moment!

    Sally, I go by both names, Barb or Barbara will do just fine! Hope's brother or sister will be so loved, I know it, you've got so much stored up!


  6. Buy the shoes. Create the bag. Yes. Definitely. I have a few things, not many for Isa and Jovi - the little vans shoes and onesie with the skulls on them - those can't be anyone else's. Those go in the memory box. But the bedding still in the boxes, the blankets I knit...those are tucked away for the next of kin.

    One of the things that brought me the most peace during those early days of grief was picking out names for the next baby. The hope of what comes next.

    I'm hoping we'll be able to pull out that list sooner rather than later.

    I'm hoping there are still some things you set aside left at the shop for you.

  7. I trust that after thinking out loud and exploring the range of emotions on this blog, you already have some inkling what you want to do.

    Hope lots, dream more and one day being open to possibilities will bring much fulfillment and joy.

    Sending peace and love your way.

    P.S. I have NO idea what to do with my blogger...maybe it needs a hope chest too!

  8. Oh the questions.... the consequences.... the Hope.

    I had everything, EVERYTHING, ready for Liam. His room, the borrowed bassenett in the dining room, the wipes and diapers, the potty pad lining the crib. All of it waiting, patiently for Liam. But then he did not come home from the hospital. The baby bag I carefully packed weeks in advance stayed packed for months until I could bring myself to unpack it. After almost a year, his room, all his things, were finally packed away. I still see the stroller waiting in the closet each each day...

    So, do you prepare and buy things? Do you create a hope chest? I can only say follow your heart. Do what feels right for you.

    What would I do if I found out I were pregnant again? Would I buy new things before the baby was home? We have most everything we need for a baby, but shouldn't a new baby get some new things?I guess I can only Hope and wait for this situation to come, and see what my heart tells me.

    If you want to buy the shoes, buy them. Add them to your Hope chest. I do like that idea.

  9. Culturally, Jews are superstitious enough not to gather anything before the baby is born. We didn't have much- the things we had were gifts from friends, and I cherish them now because it reminds me of how much they shared in our excitement and joy.

    I didn't want to know the sex when we were waiting for Kai- now I think I'm with you. I hate that we didn't know who we had until we lost him. I somehow have the idea that finding out next time, if there is a next time, would help me be connected to this baby in a different way.

    So much is out of our control- I think that the only thing we can control is whether we allow ourselves to hope. So yes- buy away.

  10. I read somewhere that green and new shoes are lucky gifts for newborns. I think these are a lucky charm and you should reach out for them with both hands.

  11. I planned Barbara.

    I expected.

    I found out the sex of River as soon as I possibly could so I could connect more to her, that I could give her a name, well thats not so true, we decided on River before she was conceived. It didn't matter if she was a boy or girl. River would be her name.

    I wasn't ready emotionally, but really when is anyone ever ready. Scarlett was a permanent souvenier from Broome, Christian was a complete surprise and Riv baby was planned - oh so very planned. We were never ready for any of them. There is never a perfect time.

    I think your Hope bag sounds so beautiful. You do whatever feels right and whatever helps you get emotionally and physically through to those 2 pink lines.

    Beautiful post by the way :)

    All my love to you x

  12. Would I prepare anything?

    In my culture nothing is brought for the baby before it is born. Nothing! The first set of clothes that the child wears is also what somebody would have handed down (from within the family or friends'). I have never thought of buying clothes or shoes...but toys have called at me, tugged at my heart. I keep on thinking as to what all soft toys, I will buy for my baby.

    Call me baby would go nude, but would certainly have toys!

  13. After I lost my daughter my husband had a vasectomy. A part of me is still hurt that I can never again try, because inside I want to fix that pain. I instead got to write a book about my baby Shirley and this helped me to heal. If you care to check it out go to,


  14. I think you need to do whatever will get you through and I hope that includes, well, hope! I struggle with this too - get excited or not. This will likely change from day to day. I'm just relieved we're here for each other as we navigate this path.



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