I've written before about the tension in life that everything we've been through in the past year or so has made so evident -- how life is not in fact black or white, good or bad, joyous or painful. It is all these things almost all the time. And sometimes holding both feels like a push toward the edge of sanity.
As we are finalizing our choices about Ewan's grave marker, we also received news of a glad nature -- news that lightened our hearts even as we felt the knife twist from having to make choices about what our firstborn's grave marker would look like.
We just found out that Ewan is a big brother. We just found out that we are expecting Baby #2.
We've waited and hoped for this day for awhile now. And while in my mind I know that rejoicing over Ewan's sibling is in no way a dishonor to Ewan, there is something terribly bittersweet about it. This pregnancy can't help but call to mind my first, and the joy and anticipation with which we looked forward to the pregnancy and birth of our first child.
In the one hand, I hold hope and joy and the promise of a new beginning. In the other, I hold a knowledge of the world that I did not possess a year ago -- the knowledge of CHD, of fatal defects in those who are still being formed in the womb, of holding a son while his heart beats its last. I am not so naive anymore.
There is no reason to expect any of that will happen again. Statistically, what happened to Ewan was unlikely. Perhaps not so rare -- about one in one hundred according to some figures. But there is still a weightiness to this hope that, in the early stages of this pregnancy, surprises me somewhat.
In the one hand, hope and joy and new beginning. In the other, the memory and the ache of the child who left. One does not cancel out the other. They are the realities I hold, one in each hand.
Even so, my joy is great and this new child -- this little poppyseed who even now is kicking my butt -- is a reason to celebrate and hope for the best.