Towards the end of B's pregnancy, when I was facing the fact that I needed to make at least a few basic preparations in case we got to bring home a baby, I had to make a decision about my grandmother's hope chest that housed all of Micah's things.
Irrational as it is, I couldn't have the same furniture in the room as I did when we were pregnant with Micah. The dresser we put his lovingly washed baby clothes and cloth diapers in and screwed his changing pad to, well, that got sold. The chest of drawers in the closet that housed all the other baby paraphernalia was sold as well. I brought in my daughter's old changing table/dresser and we did not put up the crib (not that we really planned on using it anyway) and I tried my best to have the furniture arranged in a different way than it had been at the end of his pregnancy.
Unfortunately there is only one way to fit our king size bed and furniture for a baby into our room, so our bed had to be moved back into the same spot it was when our room doubled as Micah's nursery. The first night sleeping in it after the move was terrifying for me. I really shouldn't say 'sleeping' because 'sleeping' is not what I did all night long - no, what I did all night long was lay awake crying and praying for B to not up and die on me. I couldn't sleep on the side of the bed that I usually do and tearfully asked hubby to switch with me. You see it was in that bed, hard in labor, laying on the side next to the rail we had already installed for him, when I woke up with a start and felt something was wrong. A rock-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach kind of feeling. That's when I told hubby we needed to get to the hospital, now. That's when I got up and went to the bathroom and saw a little bit of blood and then felt his last movements. What an awful night that was, the first night sleeping in my bed (and a new bed at that!) remembering those moments over and over again and so incredibly fearful it would happen again.
Anyway, so there was the decision to make about the chest and about his things in the chest - do we use them again? Or do we leave them be, forever to be his and his alone? After much agonizing we decided to take out the things we might use (we're cheap and buy a lot of non-gender-specific items) and pack the rest into a storage bin or two to store in the closet and move the chest to L's room to store her stuffed animals and double as a window seat.
Wavering between guilt (how could I usurp his place? how could I move all his stuff to the closet like it's not important? am I trying to replace him with the new baby?) and the knowledge that if he had lived I would have packed up all his stuff and moved that chest in a heartbeat and that part of being in our family is the fact that mom is forever moving furniture and rearranging your stuff, I went through each and every item in the chest and either put it out for B to use or put it in the storage bin. I did like the idea of seeing his things in rotation, just as L's would be, and that felt right and like an acknowledgement of his short life, an acknowledgement of his place in our family that yes, he had things, and yes, just as if he had lived we would use those things for a subsequent baby.
But I have found that many of his things I just can not use with a subsequent baby. Mostly, his clothes, because if I dress B in something unisex then she just looks like him to me. And it's spooky and bittersweet and heartbreaking and I end up crying and, well, I just can't handle it. So I have had to resort to all pink and purple up in here so that I don't end up a blubbering mess each morning when changing her out of her pajamas.
Coming up on two years since his death and still little things throw me for such a loop. At what point do I get to be just 'normal' again? Ever?