In a normal pregnancy, there are certain "rituals" that women tend to find very exciting. Picking out names, baby clothes shopping, creating the perfect space for their future bundles. Expecting moms can't wait to get started on these things and often find themselves on Pinterest, scouring the web for ideas before they've even seen their first ultrasound picture!
After getting our HLHS diagnosis, I was met with lots of worries and questions. While I wanted to be excited for baby names and making the perfect nursery, I tend to err on the side of caution. Here's a peek into my mind on the car ride home after our first echo:
Should I have a baby shower? Will we even have the opportunity to use all the "stuff"?
No point in buying newborn clothes when her first few weeks will be spent in the hospital.
Do I even need to get the things that healthy babies use?
What do I do about a nursery? Should I get a crib? Changing table? What if she doesn't get to come home? What would I do with a complete nursery if, God forbid, our baby never left the hospital?
I know... not super pleasant thoughts, but I'm trying to keep it real and candid, here. It's easy for people who have healthy babies and healthy pregnancies to tell us that everything is going to be okay and we should go about planning like normal. I think only people who have been through it themselves really understand that everything is not fine and everything is not normal. It will, however, become our new normal and we opted to move forward with as much optimism as possible. We had a lovely baby shower. We have a beautiful name for our beautiful girl. And we are right in the midst of creating the perfect space to which we will bring our baby home.
I knew a few things going into our planning. I wanted grey walls, white furniture, and pink/yellow accents. I also had dreams of hanging some happy, fun, delightful paper lanterns to brighten up the room and contrast against our dark walls. Here were a few of my inspiration pictures.
Lovely, right? And so easy and simple!
Well, we hit a small snafu in the paper lantern department. Hanging paper lanterns requires you to be a bit carefree, placing them randomly in a whimsical fashion. I am anything but random. I'm precise. I take measurements. I space things evenly. I like order and consistency. I am not equipped to hang paper lanterns.
And. I. Completely. Lost. It.
So as I'm standing in our perfect nursery, ugly crying over paper lanterns, I had to ask myself why.
Why am I crying over a couple of colorful orbs hanging from the ceiling?
It wasn't about the paper lanterns. It was about the idea of perfection. My child is sick. My child will be sick for her whole life. There is nothing I can do about it. I want so badly to fix her. I want her to lead a normal, healthy life with a whole heart that functions like 99/100 other kids' hearts do! She won't ever have that, though, and it's out of my hands. But, what can I do? What is within my reach?
DUH! A perfect nursery. I can plan and create the perfect nursery, with nice furniture, bright colors, and happy happy happy! All was going well until I was defeated by the paper lanterns, and that is truly how I felt... Defeated. So what did I do? Did I re-hang the lanterns? Nix the idea all together? Call in reinforcements? Nope. I left them... exactly how they were. 4 paper lanterns, in an AB pattern, in a straight line, evenly spaced and centered right above her crib. It may not be whimsical. It may be nothing like our inspiration pictures. And it is certainly not perfect. But it represents us. Our little family is not perfect... it is flawed. We aren't "normal" and we'll never know what "normal" feels like, but maybe normal is a little bit overrated. We have more love than most families will ever get the opportunity to know.
And, we have some raggedy looking paper lanterns to show for it.
Bring it on, world, we can't be defeated.