Friday, November 4, 2016

Life changing news.

4 years ago, on Nov 3rd I came home from a work trip exhausted but excited. I was on my second round of clomid. We had been trying for a while to have a baby, and it was getting to be the part where you start wondering if the universe just doesn't want you to have a baby.

I knew I could be pregnant but I couldn't take the test on work trip. I couldn't see another lonely pink line in a hotel room by myself, so I waited until I got home to take one. I even decided to wait until morning, to avoid the possibility of a false negative. So it fell on the next day November 4 th to be the day we found out.

Thanks to the time change and the excitement I was up at 5 that morning. I'll never forget the shock as the second pink line started to develop.

I ran in to tell a still sleeping David. Those women who keep it a secret and tell their partner in some sweet memorable way have a LOT more patience than I do. I just ran into our bedroom yelling "is positive! It's positive! We after going to have a baby!

Some quick math and we decided to tell people in person. We had a trip to Oregon planned for right around the end of the first trimester. It was perfect. We could tell the future grandparents for Christmas. 

We decided to go for a walk to help me contain this exciting secret and we walked a few blocks from our rental duplex to confederation park. It was a beautiful snowy morning and I will never forget how fast it was. How fast we went from hopeful adults to wishful parents. How I could already see this baby's future, stretched before me like a road map of possibilities. 

You see, I don't believe that life begins at conception. At just a few weeks along, that little cluster of cells is just that, a cluster of cells. An embryo.  Like the rest of my body, it's just cells doing their job with no sentient reasoning. Biology is running the show.

But to me, from the first second that stick turned pink that baby, not the cluster of cells, was what was real. Baby having birthdays. Graduating. Falling off a bike. Reading books and making cookies. This possibility of a life is what filled my mind.

That's why these losses cut so deep.

I spent 31 weeks from that day in confederation park watching my baby grow up in my mind. Would he be like me? I'd picture helping her at a science fair. Planning his birthday. Teaching her to swim.

When they told me there was no heartbeat, it wasn't the 31 week old fetus who died. It was my baby who would never take first steps, or take my car without asking and be out late. Those birthday parties dissolved in an instant, never to be.

I often have trouble reconciling my scientific beliefs with emotion. How can an embryo that is not a person carry all those hopes and dreams? How can those little cells with all that possibility not be the person we want then to be.

And here comes the hard part, it's because that person isn't in your uterus. That person you imagine isn't your child. They might be like your child. Share a name with your child. But the life you wish for them, isn't that baby's path. This is the gift my living children have given me. Knowing that if Oliver had lived and been born, the 3½ year old I'd have today wouldn't be the same as the one I pictured. Similar probably but the child you have is never the child you anticipate exactly.

So Oliver can live in my what ifs the way he did 4 years ago when he was 2 pink lines. When he changed my life just by existing. His little cells, dividing away, and packing the way for me to be the kind of mother I want to be.

I'll never get to know what kind of person he would have been, but I know i can always be the mother I decided to be.

I love you forever
I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Celebrating Mother's Day

I spent my first mother's day delivering a baby I would never get to know. 3 years ago I thought that mother's day would be forever tarnished by our loss. By losing Oliver.

We were lucky and a year later I didn't have to spend the day childless. Elliot was just a few months old, sweet and wonderful he saved us and brought back the joy, but I wasn't ready yet to celebrate. Better to spend the day on quiet reflection, and the bittersweet knowledge that my sons are mutually exclusive. It felt like celebrating Elliot was letting his day go too soon.

Last year we celebrated quietly, on a picnic with friends who understood. We visited Oliver's memorial tree and celebrated his birthday a few days later.

This year I felt like I could separate things. The family we have with 2 beautiful children, as well as the community of  mothers that I'm incredibly lucky to be a part of is something that feels like celebrating. On the 12 th we will morn Oliver, but I decided that today is about celebrating motherhood and family.