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

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.


  1. Though I can't completely know what these feelings are I'm sure they are hard. To me as soon as TanaLee was born preemie...I decided it didn't matter what gender...I just want to bring home a healthy LIVING baby. Im glad to hear that though you struggle with these emotions of what could have been (I do too) you are able to calm them for the baby that you do have. Hugs and congrats on the new pregnancy....somehow I missed that post of announcement.

  2. I read through your blog and could not stop crying. Thank you so much for openely sharing your story and for letting other women know that there is hope after the loss of 2 children. Your story also reminded me that I need to allow myself to grieve. For months, I have hid my feelings deep down inside and acted as if I have been okay. I miss my son & daughter dearly and appreciate that you reminded me to allow myself to feel again. Thank you.

  3. Anonymous,
    Thank you for sharing this with me. That is all I can hope for by sharing my story. While I was pregnant with Eli, our second son we lost, I felt so awful and hopeless. There are many stories of loss once but not as many with two, or more (thankfully), but finding others who had lost what I would lose somehow was comforting to me.

  4. Mandy,

    I found your blog through Babycenter and really enjoy it. You are an inspiration to many. Have you ever thought of adding a little blue through a special needs adoption? There are so many infants, toddlers and elementary school children with mild or more signifcant needs who are desperate for a mom like you. I mean this with the most respect and hope you are not offended by the suggestion.

    Check out this web site

    If you go to the link of "Sponsor a Family" and read through some of the family's backgrounds you will find that there are others like you who have lost infants or children and have found joy in helping another child.


  5. I think you're in the same place (gender concern-wise) as you were during your first rainbow pregnancy. Then, it really did not matter because you had JUST been through something so traumatic and I think your feelings right now, reflect that same thought process. Even though this is my second rainbow, I'm still in "don't care" mode. Part of me wants a boy, part of me wants a girl...each for completely different reasons.

    I think Eli's birth has renewed your desperation for "healthy" if that makes sense. I'm not saying it's a good thing or a bad thing, but just my thoughts since that's what's going on in my head. I'm DESPERATE for a healthy baby. I'm so happy that your pregnancy is going well. I think about you daily!

  6. Thank you for the link, Anonymous. I actually considered adopting a little boy many children ago and have discussed it repeatedly with my husband. My husband is opposed to adoption for a variety of reasons, some of which make sense to me. So, at least for now, I do not see the possibility of adopting a little boy in our future though I would really love to explore that option - but not at the risk of my marriage. I keep it in my heart and hope that someday his feelings may warm.

    I am not offended in the least and I thank you for sharing!

  7. Thank you, Felicia, I send so many rainbow thoughts your way ALL the time!

    Brittany, I think you may be on to something with your thoughts - they've crossed my mind too. I am just more thankful than words could ever express to see a baby with kidneys and amniotic fluid in my womb. I wasn't sure I'd ever get to see that again and was equally terrified by what would happen if I didn't.

  8. I'm glad I didn't offend you in any way! After rereading it, I can see how someone could be offended... I think after time, we get kind of comfortable in our grief. Acceptance, maybe? But we start to slip back into "normal" as in pre-loss. We are surrounded by people who worry about tons of silly things and it kind of rubs off! I hate that you had reality slap you in the face the way it did. Like a kick in the teeth. Ick, HATE that. But, as with anything, there is some good in the bad in that it has renewed your perspective. You've renewed my perspective when Eli was diagnosed with Potter's. You really are an inspiration. I know you don't feel like it, but you're living. You're putting one foot in front of the other and I'm proud of how you're dealing with all of this. I hope I never have to lose another child, but I know that if I do, I have someone who has been there. I can come back here and read about your struggles and know that I am not alone. Keep blogging girl!

  9. Oh Mandy I am so glad I found your blog. I totally understand your feelings. So happy to hear that you are having another baby. I miss chatting with you on share....I can never get over seeing cute Wyatt's face popping up. Brings back such comfort.

    1. Thanks for commenting Holly, and for the kind comment about Wyatt! I miss Share too and it is so nice to hear from you again.



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