May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Love is defined as "a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection" at  While this is listed as definition number two, it is the meaning I want.  Love is a feeling.  A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection.  A simple yet eloquent description.  There is no additional specificity, no rules, no strings attached.

Love is not defined by any person, in fact it doesn't mention anyone at all.  It is a feeling experienced by one person.  It is not measured  in telephone calls or visits, there is no amount of minutes or hours which can solidly constitute "deep affection" or "warm personal attachment".  The absence of counting or tallying up those minutes or hours probably signifies a deeper personal attachment or affection. There is no list of people whom we must love or should love or even cannot love.  Only we can make those choices.  Because we feel them.

The warm personal attachment or deep affection lives within me, it is mine.  Because of this, it is so easy and so hard to love.  I love Wyatt and Eli every time my heart beats, even when I thought it was irreparably broken.  I've loved Wyatt every single day of the 3,161 days I have lived without him and will continue to do so until I don't have to live without him and Eli any longer.  This is perhaps the purest sense of love because they are not here.  Their deaths have wounded me so deeply and their absence stings so strongly.  There is no earthly word or action that can affect the love I have for my sons.  That is the bitter and the sweet.
A heart in the big blue sky above, sent from heaven by two little boys I love.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Path Not Opened

Yesterday in church I found myself staring at yet another young couple with a beautiful newborn prepared for baptism.  These couples are in abundance lately.  In them I see a path that was never opened for me.

My very first pregnancy was Wyatt.  One I enjoyed every minute of, nausea and all, until our first ultrasound.  Those few simple words "incompatible with life" changed our lives forever.  Up until that point I had not purchased one thing for our impending delivery.  In just a matter of hours I went from an expecting mother to a mourning mother.  Instead of preparing to bring our baby home I had to begin preparing for our baby's death, funeral and burial.  Wyatt and I never received a baby shower, my pregnancy was not celebrated and I mostly suffered in silence for the remaining months of my pregnancy.

Even though I became pregnant with a healthy little girl less than four months after Wyatt's birth that pregnancy too, was marred by the previous one.  I was employed full time during that pregnancy and found myself pregnant and due within weeks of a couple co-workers.  The closest I have ever gotten to a real baby shower is one thrown by either my or my husband's co-workers.  No family, no friends.

That path was never opened for me.  It was closed the minute we saw that first ultrasound screen.  It is a small thing to mourn but one that occasionally crosses my mind nonetheless.  I have always lived with the very real and likely fear that my baby could and would die.  I have never even had the opportunity to be a blissfully ignorant pregnant woman.  It just wasn't an option.

I practice cautious optimism - and I often wonder where that path would have taken me.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Living in Shadow

It is hard not to reflect on where I was one year ago yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Then I was pregnant with a baby that we couldn't name because we didn't know if baby was a he or a she.  All we knew was that our baby had no kidneys and despite my small but growing belly come spring there would be no baby in our house.  It was a dark shadowy time and many days I barely made my way through.  

Now I am expecting Eli's sister and we know she has kidneys and this spring will bring the promise of new life into our house.  What I know and what I feel can be two terribly different things.  Some days still have that heavy shadowy feeling, clouded over with memories of what was and what could and should have been.  The shadows are there even on cloudy days.  Self-pity lingers.  Self-pity which I know has no place.  I lost, yes.  Twice, yes.  Am I alone?  No.  Have others lost more?  Yes.  Am I extremely blessed with what I've been given and the promise of what is to come?  Absolutely.  Again, knowing and feeling can be oceans apart sometimes.

I know that in just a few short months this will all be gone in the blink of an eye.  Every long dark day that I passed while pregnant with Eli last winter is just a foggy remnant of that real twenty-four hour period.  Time has passed and will pass and it will hopefully bring things I have imagined and things I couldn't begin to imagine, each posing challenges and opportunities for me to learn and grow and change.  The shadows will always be there and so will the sun.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Something to Snack On

Words of wisdom on my refrigerator taken from a most sinfully delicious
piece of dark chocolate's foil wrapper.
Chocolate is my sanity.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Finally Just GOOD News

We had our third and what should be last ultrasound this pregnancy.  This time I finally got to hear just good news, no ifs . . . ands . . . or buts.  One of baby's kidneys remained slightly enlarged but the other and bladder looked normal today as did everything else with baby.   My placenta, cervix, amniotic fluid and baby's measurements were all great.  Baby even measured at 27 weeks and I'm only 26 weeks which is actually 25 weeks since my doc bumped up my due date by a week based on prior ultrasound measurements!  Considering that our last little girl was a whopping 8lb 14oz at 39 weeks I'm a little anxious about this baby's potential size.  But oh, so thankful to have that be one of my only remaining "worries".

I cannot put into words the relief that has flooded through my veins since hearing those words. I now feel ready to move forward, to not only visualize a little girl sleeping right next to my bed, but ready to eventually put up a co-sleeper for her to sleep in.  Emotional detachment was my primary coping mechanism after Eli's Potter's diagnosis and I have noticed that to a lesser extent I have utilized that same mechanism lately.  I look forward to letting my whole heart fill with love for this little one growing within and now can truly begin counting the days until her arrival into our family's hearts and home.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Since When?

While watching television the other night I noticed a commercial that was advertising a special MLK sale.

Since when did a day of celebration in honor of a great man with great ideas that changed the face of our nation become a sale-able event? A day off school, sure, because every year our daughters bring home projects and little books that they have done to learn about the accomplishments and dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr. A day off work, okay, assuming that all of us understand it is not just a day off work, it is an opportunity to reflect on the words which still ring true today and an opportunity to perform a day of service for others. But a sale, really? You can't sell Martin Luther King, Jr. His words are priceless, his dreams should be ours and his legacy is timeless.

I am deeply offended by this practice. Call your sale ANYTHING ELSE. Please.

To use Dr. King's inspiring words,
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Monday, January 9, 2012


I have not shared much about this pregnancy because I have been in an almost constant state of waiting. For the first fifteen weeks I waited for pictures of kidneys, amniotic fluid and a bladder. Then when that ultrasound came, the radiologist could not confirm existence of kidneys (even though my husband and I were confident after seeing so many prior ultrasounds that they were there) so we had to wait for the next ultrasound to confirm the existence of these oh-so-important organs. That ultrasound came and then we were told that this little girl has slightly enlarged kidneys and bladder so now we are again waiting for another ultrasound to tell us something that will hopefully end our waiting.

I am now about 25 weeks but I find myself just stuck in this waiting cycle. I am waiting for a good reason to believe this little girl will cross our home's threshold before getting any baby things ready. I am waiting for that same reason before contacting the church to discuss our daughter's baptism. Even though enlarged kidneys and bladder are not even in the same ballpark as missing kidneys and bladder I am just waiting for more - more something to end that waiting.

I am tired of waiting. Waiting for babies to die. Waiting for babies to live. Waiting to see what happens.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Boy, Oh Boy

Followers of this blog know that we have lost two little boys to Potter's Syndrome, specifically bilateral renal agenesis meaning that neither boy had kidneys. I carried both boys to at least 36 weeks after their initial diagnoses at 19-20 weeks of pregnancy. Our first son, Wyatt, was born in June 2003 and our second son, Eli, was born in March 2011. In between those precious little boys we were blessed with three healthy little girls in June 2004, March 2006 and August 2008. I am currently expecting another little girl due in April 2012. All of my children have been delivered by c-section.

We were lucky enough to get pregnant quickly (3-4) months after Wyatt's birth and honestly with that pregnancy I had no gender expectations. I was completely focused on having a child with kidneys, nothing else mattered. We were thrilled to find out that we were expecting a girl and dove head first into the world of pink. But, we planned on having more children and even then purchased some yellow, green and even blue onesies. Our baby swing, carseat, bouncer and even crib sheets were neutral.

I had boy fever by the next pregnancy and was hoping to see a little something extra on the ultrasound. I was a little disappointed when we discovered another girl would be joining our family but nonetheless thrilled to see a healthy baby so I quickly moved past the gender feelings into celebrating a healthy pregnancy. Plus, it was easy to bring another girl home since we were fully equipped!

By the time of my next pregnancy my yearning for a boy weighed heavily. I wanted one so badly and it was emotionally wrenching to discover another little girl was on the way. That one was the hardest for me because she was to be my fourth c-section and my doctor had cautioned me that she could be my last. I have always known that when my doctor tells me no more children due to prior c-sections there will be no more children, period. So carrying her believing that she was to be my last baby, thus closing the door on my opportunity to raise a son was difficult. At no time did I take her health for granted and honestly the minute I saw her face I feel completely in love with her and have been ever since.

Now you may be wondering what does my husband think of all this estrogen. Oddly enough I want a son more than he does. He has always maintained and I truly believe him when he says that gender does not matter to him. But it does to me, it really does. For eight long years I have wanted to change a little boy's diaper, to buy a little boy outfits, to see my husband with his son, to find out what has been missing from our lives.

Then came Eli. From the moment of his conception I knew he was a boy. I had never felt anything so strongly during a pregnancy. My husband felt he was a boy too. We didn't know that we were right until the moment he was born. Then when he died less than an hour later I was left wondering all of those things all over again. In less than an hour I found out that I now had two sons, neither one for me to raise to manhood, but also that even though I had undergone five c-sections, I was able to attempt one more.

While I was pregnant with Eli after his Potter's diagnosis I had a very very strong feeling that I would have another child, a little girl. I believe with my whole being that Eli gave me that. Those feelings stopped completely after he was born. And now I find myself pregnant with his little sister, our fourth daughter and our last child. I knew she would be a girl, it was written before she even came into being. When she is born, we lose our chance to raise a son. Yet, I find myself struggling with her gender less than in any of my pregnancies. I'd like to say something spiritual like I'm okay with this because I know I will see my son's again in heaven and that maybe I will even get the chance to raise them then, but I'd be lying. I honestly don't know why I feel like I do. I will also admit that I don't miss those excruciatingly conflicted gender feelings of some of my past pregnancies. I remember the guilt, the blaming, the questioning and all that goes along with wanting one gender while expecting another after having lost a baby. The constant struggle and reminders to myself that I should just be happy to be having a healthy baby and not care what color that baby will wear. I have never found a way to quell those feelings but I can share that for me, at least, they have disappeared entirely the moment I've laid eyes on each of my daughters. That doesn't mean that I haven't found myself staring at their faces and picturing their brothers or imagining little boys but the feelings change once that rainbow enters my life.

Now I am just left with what could have been in another life and what I have in this world.


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