Little Clifton left us with no doubt that he's on the way and not Ava. We also think we see the beginning of Daddy's little duck-lips that show up when he's concentrating. I'm sure this is only one of the traits he'll share with his big sis, Ryann.
Just yesterday, Jared and I were talking about what a strange mix of experiences we're having and will be having. We're second-time parents and that comes with a fair bit of experience and calm. However, there will be no big sister coming to visit in the hospital. No juggling a toddler and an infant. And because of the trauma we went through with Ryann, I think we may always struggle with a hair-trigger panic that something is going very wrong.
It makes me so angry for the rest of our kids that they'll never get to know their sister for themselves. Losing Ryann has changed our entire family dynamic and it can make everything seem so out of control. We had purposely planned on being young parents. We wanted to have our third and final child before I turned 30, a timeline that is forever skewed. My body will now have to withstand four pregnancies (or five, if we hit a string of boys). The oldest sibling will now be a brother rather than a sister. And the memory of Ryann will always be present. A sibling not-there. A sister not-known. A life-unlived.
I miss my naive happiness. And as much as I can't wait to hold Clifton in my arms, sometimes I feel so guilty that he's being born into a fractured, half-healed home.