Saturday, September 24, 2011

My baby has a Grandma

I'm not talking about Finn. For the record, Finn has two wonderful Grandmas that are a big part of his life. He gets to see them often - he knows them, trusts them, has fun with them and loves them to death. And they are so in love with him. I should write more posts about them (or just more posts in general....). But they are exactly what grandmas should be and I am so happy he has them both in his life.

But this post is not about Finn and his Grandmas. I'm talking about my other baby. My baby who didn't make it.

When I was pregnant the first time, G$ and I did not want to find out the sex. I really wanted that ultimate surprise, what I imagined would be a moment like no other in my life. After nine long months of pregnancy and hours and hours of labor and pushing to finally give birth to your baby and have the doctor say "It's a....!" before placing him or her on your chest and you meet face to face for the first amazing that must be. So we told people over and over that no, we were NOT going to find out the sex of the baby (apparently that is just not done very often anymore), we planned on painting the baby's room blue no matter what (yes, I think girls can have a blue room), we expected to get tons of yellow and green clothes, and we worked on picking out two names. I can't even remember the boys names that we discussed but I know there wasn't a frontrunner. But we both had a girl's name we really liked. Naomi. That was G$'s beloved grandmother's middle name. We hadn't officially decided since I was only 5 months pregnant, but I know its what we would have gone with.

After we lost her, we did not name her. At the time, it just didn't feel necessary to either of us. Maybe it was too soon, too painful. Maybe I just didn't know that it was an option. A loss at 5 months is a weird thing. Not a miscarriage, not a stillbirth. I don't know. Even to this day, when I think about her, I mostly think of her as simply "my baby." But a year or so after we lost her, I felt the need to acknowledge her with a name. I just started to feel like she deserved a name. She never got to be a living baby or a real person, but she was a little life who mattered so much to me and to my husband. She was worthy of a name. Naomi. Its not on a birth certificate or a headstone. In fact, until the last few weeks, I don't think I even told another person besides my husband. But I knew. And I'd like to think that she knew.

A couple of months ago, a friend's daughter had a baby and they named her Naomi. This person is a very close family friend - one of my parents best friends. The "celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas together" type of friend. He has two daughters, one of whom is a very dear friend of mine. I am not particularly close to the daughter who had the baby, but I still felt so happy that a baby who will be in the lives of people who are like family to me will have this beautiful name. A living, healthy baby is named Naomi and people I love will know her and love her. They will hold her and hug her and watch her grow and get to do all the things over the years that I will not get to do with my Naomi. And that makes me happy. I don't know if saying that it also feels bittersweet is quite right because I don't really feel bitter about it at all. But it makes me happy and want to cry at the same time.

So our family friend went to visit his daughter and the baby a couple of weeks ago (she lives out of state). I sent him with a gift for the baby and a card for his daughter saying basically what I said above. I think telling her about my baby was important for me - another small way of acknowledging her life and small impact on the world. The thank you card she sent back really affected me and actually changed the way I think about my baby. But timeout for a little backstory.

Her mom Kathie (who was my mom's best friend) passed away 7 or 8 years ago. She fought a long and tough battle with breast cancer. She was one great lady - a real character. I have a tattoo of a pink ribbon with her initials on my left breast in the spot where her tumor was. Her daughter (my friend, not the one who has Naomi) and two other friends have the same tattoo. I have watched my friend struggle with the loss of her mother over the years and I just can't imagine what it feels like. And like I said earlier, I am not very close to her sister, but I imagine that not having your mother as you become one yourself is incredibly hard.

So back to the thank you note. She wrote: "Thank you for sharing with me about Naomi. One thing I do know (or believe) is that my mom is loving on your Naomi. I am sure they are together all the time." I read this and just cried and cried. For one thing, it is huge that someone else called my baby by her name. Someone knows her name and a bit of her story and acknowledged her. And that means so much to me. But more importantly, I love the thought of my baby and Kathie together somewhere. I'm not a religious person, but I still believe in the idea of a "heaven" or something like it or SOMETHING. The soul or the spirit or the essence or whatever you want to call it of my baby is SOMEWHERE. I believe this. And it gives me comfort I have never felt to imagine my baby with someone I knew and loved. I have this picture in my head of Kathie holding my baby and it just fills my heart with so much emotion. My baby has someone to be her grandma and Kathie has my baby to love on. What a gift this person gave me - two lines in a thank you card that brought me so much joy. And another step forward in my grief. I'm not a good enough writer to properly put it into words, but it has really shifted the way I think about my baby. It makes me smile. And that does not happen very often when I think about her.

Its been over four years since I lost her. And in those four years I have mostly focused on the pain and sadness of losing her. Which I think is understandable because it was such a traumatic experience. And the sadness and pain are not gone. I don't think they ever will completely go away. But now for the first time, when I think about her, I can honestly smile and picture her a in a beautiful place. And that brings me so much comfort. Grief is such a complicated journey. But for this moment at least, I have found some more peace.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My name is Leah Wilson and I am not trying to get pregnant.

So why am I writing today after months and months of NOT writing? I've actually been thinking about writing for the last couple of weeks - feeling like I had some things to work out (that's pretty much the only time I feel like writing). You see, my son turned one in December and I have been thinking about the whole trying again thing. And then when I logged on to catch up on my blog-reading this morning, I quickly scanned through the titles and saw that several of the ladies are pregnant or maybe pregnant or thinking about trying to get pregnant again. I guess when your baby turns one you start thinking about having another? Is it because the kid has been sleeping better and you are starting to feel like a normal human again? Or maybe its because everyone starts asking "when are you having another?" And while the rest of this post is mostly about how happy I am and how blessed I feel, please allow me a moment of bitterness - if one more person tells me that they are sure that this time it will be easy because "now my body knows how to do it," I swear to God, I will punch them in the face. I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure that's not how it works. There. I feel better.

I have always imagined myself with more than one child. For most of my adult life, I pictured myself with a house full of kids. Than after the losses and the fertility issues, I resigned myself to two. But now I am not so sure. I know I WANT another child. I want that for myself, for my husband. I want my son to have a sibling. And ever since he was born, I was of the mindset that after he turned one, we would go back to fertility treatments and try again. I would get pregnant within the year and boom - we would have another baby before I turned 40 (you would think that I would have learned my lesson about making plans and timetables and all that, but some habits are hard to break ya know?).

But here's the thing. I am very, very happy. I feel better and more complete and more content than I have felt in years, maybe my whole life. Having my son, being his mother, watching him grow, parenting with my husband - these things bring me so much joy. I think I would be okay if he was my only child. In fact, I would be much more than okay. Its not what I PLANNED, but so much of the last few years are not what I PLANNED. I never PLANNED on losing my baby. Or having a miscarriage. Or having trouble getting pregnant. Or having a c-section. Or having chronic pelvic and abdominal pain (which is a whole 'nother post entirely). So maybe the whole "having another child" part of the plan will not happen either. Could I live with that?

I admit, around the one year mark, I started going down the planning road again. I completely weaned my son (BECAUSE I WAS READY) so I would get my period back and my cycles going (I never had a period while I breastfed - but a week after he was weaned Auntie Flow came rearing back with a vengeance. Oh and my big boobs literally disappeared overnight and I am left with what a friend of mine calls "Flapjack Titties." Boo.). I started thinking about the timeframe (we'd start trying in March or April because I've gotten pregnant twice in April so of course it would happen again right? Duh.). I called fertility doctors and centers to find out some cost information (I have different insurance now so we would need new doctors - oh and we have NO fertility coverage anymore). I made a budget and started working a temporary part time job to try to save some money.

But then I started to feel like, oh we go again. The "trying to have a baby" train - schedules and planning, worrying about timetables and money, thinking about injections and bloating and hormones and mood swings and lots of doctors visits with a toddler in tow and the waiting and the potential (inevitable) disappointment or, God forbid, losing again. I know I don't have to say this but, for some us, trying to pregnant is awfully hard on your heart and your body. Not to mention your bank account. And I will admit, the money is a big issue for me. It would all be out of pocket for us. We had 50% coverage at Kaiser before. And two incomes. So our three IUI's were totally financially doable. But now we have no coverage, one income and even older eggs. Multiple IUI's, IVF? We could blow through our savings. Money we might need for me to stay at home with my son for another couple of years. Money we definitely want to use someday to put down on another house (since we can't sell ours - we are SO underwater) so that our son can go to a better school. If the fertility treatments cost us nothing, I honestly think we would try. I think I could probably deal with the other stuff. I've done it before. But I don't think I want to spend all our money trying to have another baby when I need some of that money for the child who is here now. Before I had Finn, I would have spent my last penny trying to have a a baby. And I don't think I need to say that all the stress, heartache, waiting, injections, bloating, etc, etc feels MORE than worth it now that we have our son. I was willing to do almost ANYTHING to have a baby. But I feel different now that he is in my life. I feel content. I feel at happy and at peace. I am so very blessed. Do I want to do it all again? Do I NEED to do it all again?

So anyway....a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch on a rainy afternoon while my son was napping, thinking about all of this when it just occurred to me that.....I would be okay if my son was my only child. The thought sort of just came to me. I thought - "You are so happy right now. Finn makes you so happy. Things are good. You don't HAVE to try again. You would be OKAY if Finn was your only child" And this was a big shift for me. I had never, NOT ONCE, thought, believed or imagined that I would only have one living child. And once that thought was out there, it felt okay. I didn't say anything about this to anyone for over a week. Not even my husband. I just wanted to see how I felt about it after a few days. How that thought made me feel when I thought it again. And it continued to feel okay. When I talked to my husband about it, he was pretty much on the same page as me (have I mentioned how wonderful my husband is? Well, he is WONDERFUL.). He has many of the same reservations and concerns about doing fertility treatments again. We talked about possibly just trying the old-fashioned way.....knowing of course that this most likely means that we will not get pregnant again (I'm not gonna lie, he also mentioned perhaps just having lots of sex for the fun of it for a little while). We talked about adoption. We talked about how much we love our wonderful little son and how life would not be horrible if it was just three of us. It was a good talk.

So I think at this point we are not jumping back on the train. And I feel good about this.

But I will admit that when I saw the blog posts about some of the ladies being pregnant, it made me a little sad.