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.