Making room for baby

When I was pregnant with Nash, I was beyond excited, to say the least. I got on Pinterest right away and started pinning ideas for his nursery. It killed me that Todd was in no rush. I wanted it done when I was two months pregnant, and his thoughts were that we had eight months before we needed to really start it. One day, I was in the room we had picked to be his nursery, the one closest to our room. As I looked around and pictured how I wanted it to be,  I could not hold back my smile. Todd walked in as I was sitting there and said, “If you could have anything you wanted done in this room, if money wasn’t a thought, what would you want?” I smiled at him and started telling him every detail. I pulled out my phone to show him things on Pinterest, as he laughed. I don’t think he was expecting how much thought I had already put into this. I told him I would like a dresser to fix up, nothing special, but one I could use as a changing table as well. I went on to say what color I wanted the nursery to be and what wall decal I wanted. If money wasn’t an object, “crown molding would be nice,” I said with a smile. He just smiled and said, “I think we can do all that.” I knew the moment he asked me what I wanted that he was going to do whatever he could to make it a reality. Todd has always been a sucker when it comes to making me happy.

One day when I was around six months pregnant, I stopped at a garage sale. In the back corner of this man’s garage was this long beat up dresser he was using to hold tools. It was the perfect height for a changing table. I asked him how much and he said “five dollars.” I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I had just won the lottery!  I called Todd and told him where I was and to bring the truck. I was so excited to show him. When he got there, the man was helping me take tools out of it that had probably been there for the last twenty years. It was a dark brown dresser with huge gaudy, golden handles and scuff marks everywhere. I smiled at Todd and said, “Isn’t it perfect!?!” I’ll never forget the look on his face as he asked, “How much did you pay for that?” I said with excitement, “Only five dollars!” Todd replied,  “I think you overpaid.” I didn’t care. I knew I could make it nice. After we loaded it in Todd’s truck, I followed behind him on the highway. He was going just a little too fast with my precious cargo in the back, so I called him. I yelled, ” Slow down or you are going to break it!” He said, “If I drive fast enough, it may just fly out of the back of my truck and save us the trip to Goodwill.” Now, it felt like a challenge. I wanted to prove to him I could make it nice.

It took me about a month to fix it up. I removed the handles, painted it with chalk paint and put colorful knobs on it. I’m not meaning to brag, but it turned out pretty awesome. Every time someone came over, Todd would say, “Shelly fixed that up, you should have seen it before!” Every time he would brag, I couldn’t help but smile. When the wall decal came in, Todd watched YouTube videos that gave step-by-step instructions on how to apply it. He is beyond anal about these things. I would tell him to just slap it up there already. As he started applying it, we both quickly realized that wall decals are not the easiest things to work with. The decal said “owl always love you” and had a picture of an owl on it. It was the sweetest thing watching this “guy’s guy” putting something so precious up on his baby’s nursery wall. I wanted to make sure to catch it on video. I would say about two seconds into recording, Todd had dropped ten swear words, followed by yelling that a woman had to have invented this because it made no sense at all! I decided it wasn’t the moment I thought it would be and laughed and shut off the video. Next, I washed clothes I had received for the baby and started putting them in the dresser drawers. My father-in-law came over and helped put up the ceiling fan. Before Nash was born, I would go in there and sit in the rocker and look around and smile. I couldn’t wait.

It’s funny, so many people told me that I wouldn’t even use the nursery. They would laugh and say, “You will do all that work and never even go in there.” I’m happy to say I used it all the time. I would rock him, change him, feed him, and play with him in there. When I would rock him to sleep, I would always stare at the crown molding and decal on the wall, and his dresser of course. There were so many memories. I would put him in his crib and turn the projector on that painted cartoons on the ceiling as he slept. I loved his room. I loved that we put so much love into making it.

Since we have been pregnant with our rainbow baby, we have planned nothing. I figured he would be in our room all the time anyway. Why make another room when we could use Nash’s room if we needed? I saw my friend Leslie painting her son’s nursery to prepare for her rainbow baby. She had written how hard it was.  I couldn’t begin to imagine. Even when I thought of selling our home, the thought of someone else painting over it killed me, let alone having to do it ourselves. As she posted pictures of the finished product, it reminded me of how much I enjoyed making a room for Nash. I decided I needed to, at the very least, take the clothes out of the dresser and put new clothes and some of Nash’s smaller clothes in to prepare for the new baby. All it took was the opening of one drawer, and I felt sick. Todd looked at me and said, “I don’t want you to take his things out of there.” In the last couple of months, my excitement has been building. I was ready to meet our new baby. Todd, however, seemed down. It’s one of those things they tell you causes problems in grieving parents’ marriages. One is up, when the other is down. I asked him if he was excited about the new baby and he said, “I just want it to be Nash. It feels like we are replacing him.” My heart broke. Todd is usually really ambitious with a lot of energy, but since Nash passed, he is lacking in both departments and he would be the first to tell you that.

I decided, why not fix up a room for the new baby? We have two extra rooms. Why rush into something we are not ready to do if we don’t have to? I called Leslie and asked what she thought. She said, “By all means, if you have another room, do it! It helps!” In her case, it was hard because she had to use Rayce’s room. She didn’t have another option. She said it felt like erasing him. I could understand that completely. She encouraged me, and I started getting excited. I decided, because Todd had been lacking energy lately, that I didn’t want to put more work on him. I called his family to help me. I wanted to surprise him and do the nursery on my own. Everyone was in. I even called his uncle Mike who owns a local carpet store to pick out carpet for the room. When I told him it was for the nursery and a surprise for Todd, he practically gave me the carpet for free. The room I chose, I like to call the “dragon” room. This is because when we first moved in, it had this huge mural of a dragon on a bright red accent wall. You could tell that whoever painted it had spilled a ton of paint on the carpet because it looked like someone was murdered in there. The dragon creeped me out so much that I painted over it about a year ago. Let’s just say, I painted it with the same skill level of the previous painter, and I think they were probably a teenager, or maybe younger.

I found out fast that I am not good at keeping secrets from my husband. It didn’t take him long to catch on. I thought he would be angry or not want to do it. As I walked him into the room, I started discussing all my ideas. This conversation was familiar, and I could tell Todd noticed too. He started smiling and said, “You are going to have to repaint this room.” He started telling me how awful of a job I had done last year, as I scowled at him. He said, “You will have to wash and sand the walls before you paint.” I looked at him sourly and said, “I never sanded Nash’s room.” I honestly can not remember doing that but Todd swears up and down that I did. He chuckled and replied, “Well, I guess this baby isn’t good enough to have his walls sanded like Nash did.” Then he looked around at some paint I had gotten on the ceiling last year and said we would have to paint the ceiling. I said with a smile, “Or we could just do crown molding.” Todd said, “Do you know how much that stuff costs?” I smiled and said, “I guess this baby isn’t good enough for crown molding like Nash was.” He laughed out loud and said, “You shit.” I knew right away that working on the new nursery was going to help him just as much as it was going to help me.

Todd started painting and shopped with me for curtains. He even made his very own curtain rods! That’s when you know you have a good husband. When you are in the store looking at forty dollar curtain rods and he is on Pinterest saying that he can make them for three dollars. He saw a child’s laundry or toy bin that had a cement truck on it. His dad drove a cement truck for years, and Todd said, “We’ve got to have it.” This nursery has turned into a labor of love. Another room done. A room of his own, one we will make special just for him while creating all the memories that come with getting ready for a baby. Carpet goes in soon, decal is ordered, dresser picked out that we will paint. Even though I doubt this baby will sleep in there until they are at least one, we needed to do this. To get excited, to prepare. I needed to do this to see my husband smile again, to show him we are not replacing, we are adding to…to not only make room in our home for our new baby, but also to make room in our hearts.

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3 thoughts on “Making room for baby

  1. Shelly I was hoping to get in contact with you. My name is Julie and someone had sent me your story that was featured in the Detroit Free Press. In short, we manufacture a line of air permeable (breathable) crib mattresses here in Detroit. The three founders all share the loss of a loved one to SIDS/positional asphyxia. I wanted to speak with you and make sure you receive one of our mattresses for your new little miracle. My direct email is: julie@securebeginnings.com (www.securebeginnings.com)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, I’ve been reading your blog for about a month now. Thank you for sharing. Our daughter was still born in 2012. We then tried for a year before we were able to get pregnant with our son who is now six months old. Reading your blog, my heart hurts for you so much, there aren’t words. I realize our losses are different, but your recent posts have mirrored so much of how I feel/felt, especially the one about the replacement baby, and this one. Right after we lost our daughter I desperately needed her back and also desperately needed to be pregnant. I knew that the new baby would never replace our daughter, but I did worry that every moment I had with our future children would be bittersweet. I was afraid I would constantly be wondering, “What would this moment be like with her?” My aunt who also lost a baby told me that you will never think “instead of” but will always think “in addition to”. That was very comforting and has proven to be true. After losing our daughter, I didn’t think I could ever be happy again and I didn’t really care if I was happy again. It just seemed like too much work. After we were finally able to get pregnant, I was only terrified that our pregnancy would once again end in a silent delivery room. Since having our son I have never been happier. He has brought so much joy. There are still bittersweet moments, but for the most part it is just sweet.

    Another piece of wisdom my aunt gave me reflects your post about how you feel like you’ll be more of a grandparent to your second child. I thought it was a good analogy. My aunt told me that losing a baby will give you an appreciation for your other children that you wouldn’t experience otherwise. My husband and I look at it as our daughter giving us gifts. One of the gifts she gave me is the gift of being a better mother. I remember listening to people complain about their kids or talk about how hard it is to have a new baby. I would hear these comments after we lost our daughter and while we were trying for our son and it was maddening. I would have given anything to be sleep deprived and covered in someone else’s vomit! I’m six months into being a mom to our son and that feeling hasn’t gone away and I don’t see it going away. His cries are comforting instead of frustrating. I’m happy to get up multiple times a night. I don’t care that my laundry has tripled. I’m not worried about sleep training or “spoiling him” because I like to hold him while he sleeps. My family worries that I need a “break” but absolutely not. I will not miss a moment of my son’s life because I missed everything with my daughter! I have nothing but patience, love, and appreciation for this little life that I get to take care of. He is a gift that I am grateful for every day. I can’t imagine being upset or frustrated with him because I know what it feels like to sit in a silent but perfectly organized nursery rocking in a chair alone. I will not take him for granted. Good for you for doing a nursery for your second son. I was worried about using our daughter’s things for our next baby before we were pregnant with our son. My first thoughts were that they were hers! My husband pointed out that it is normal for the second child to get hand me down’s from the first and that we should look at it as if our daughter was taking care of her sibling.I changed my mind immediately and decided that was a much better way of looking at it. I look around our son’s room now and their are traces of his sister everywhere. It is comforting. There are certain things I kept back because they are only hers, but for the most part she has “handed down” her things to take care of her brother.

    One last thought, I love how you and your husband are working through your loss together. My aunt who lost her baby also lost her husband. She had a marriage that you knew they not only loved each other but were friends. Her marriage was the kind of marriage I model my own after. The last thing I’ll share from her is this: “I had a marriage that was “built” on depending on each other, and God. Loving each other through difficult times, welds you together in a way nothing else can. That kind of love, does not always come easy, and few experience it, but….you are in the middle of what makes that happen right now.” Right after we lost our daughter both sets of our parents were worried for our marriage. The strain that the loss of a child can place on a marriage and the different ways two people grieve can be crushing. My aunt’s words made me feel like this was another gift from our daughter; a stronger marriage. Instead of her death tearing us apart, it has welded us together. Before losing her, I loved my husband. I respected my husband. I was fully committed to my husband. All of those feelings from before seem so shallow now. There is a new depth that has been added to our relationship. It is the kind of depth that is only brought on by tragedy. I feel like now I really love my husband. I really respect my husband. And I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I made no mistake in who I chose to be by my side to walk through this life. I know that I made the right decision. I know this because I had the opportunity to really see the man that my husband is capable of being. I have been able to see my husband shine in ways that I never would have before. It seems like you and your husband are really considerate of the other and are careful of each other’s feelings. The love you have for each other comes out through your writing.

    I’m so sorry if I have overstepped and if this wasn’t helpful at all but was just a bunch of unsolicited advice. I never comment on anything and pretty much always keep my mouth shut because I always worry about overstepping or saying something that will cause more harm than good. I’m sorry if I’ve done so.Thank you again for sharing your story.

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