The last time I wrote there was a little someone who hadn’t quite made her initial tiny appearance in the world. It was April of last year when I wrote about the passing of my beloved Jake. At the time I left one part of my experience out. In hospice I took a few moments to ask him that when he got to heaven to put in a special request that we could be blessed with a child.
I had spent the greater part of the previous 2 and a half years asking that same request through the prayers of many friends and family members. My prayer was now headed to heaven in those bittersweet final days of Jake’s life. I sent it as honestly and earnestly as ever a prayer had made its way to God’s ears.
Now I am no hero just because we had a challenge waiting for our family to begin. This is more common than you could ever really know. In the waiting we did our best to keep positive. After a while we realized we didn’t want the desire to have a baby overtake our lives and take away the desire to accomplish goals and dreams. We did our due diligence to check into any medical issues and that certainly made a difference. However, we were open to opportunities for me and Robbie that would set us up better financially and professionally to be parents. And in this time of waiting we were so immensely blessed. Things came our way that were beyond our greatest dreams for our future.
But that waiting and hoping for a baby follows you into everything you do. You look forward at what may be coming. For instance you imagine how going to work or the grocery store would be different with a baby in the mix. You look back at memories and experiences that you so wish included a sweet little soul by your side. You wonder if it will ever happen and consider if it doesn’t how you will cope? How will your arms feel, how will your heart feel if they are never full? And eventually you realize you know exactly how it does feel because you are I the midst of it, coping however you can.
Something a good friend who had been through a similar experience really helped me to understand the core feeling of sadness and despair when you are ready for a baby and it doesn’t seem to be happening. She said “The sadness and disappointment is the same the second and third month as the fifteenth or twentieth.” Once you are open to start the journey to have a baby that train cannot be turned around. You cannot let go of the mental choice to be parents.
Hindsight makes all this seem so beautiful and profound to me now. But I know that hindsight is not reality and waiting for our family to begin was painful and never easy.
It was about a year ago we found out we were pregnant on a Sunday afternoon in our old apartment when the sun was shining and my skinny skinny jeans still fit. I peed on a stick, closed my eyes, placed the test on the counter, looked at it, and the result was undeniable. I took a deep breath and let out an excited ‘Robbie! Robbie! Look, look!’ The disbelief was numbing for a few hours. It didn’t seem comprehensible. We did another test a few hours later just to confirm it again. Robbie wanted a But our little tiny baby, our Magdalene, was already being formed in my womb. She was being knit together in the safest and most sacred place. It was the best work I’ve ever done.
Pregnancy really made me feel like no one could have gone through this kind or ordeal or blessing ever in history. If they had they would never be able to stop explaining the great heights and depts, the nausea and the kicks, the sweat and the glow, the fear and the joy. Admittedly I had a breezy pregnancy and again hindsight plays into this, but I would do it again in a heart beat to make another heart beat begin.
Magdalene Anne Marie came earth side on April 26th. Her entrance was frantic, peaceful, sacred, holy and very hard. It was one of the best series of days not just in my life, but specifically in our marriage. We were so in tune with each other. I mean, what else should we focus on in labor? Going to Costco? Picking a new rug out? Getting your hair cut? Not so much. You are totally involved in this one consuming event, as it should be.
I am still astounded at how beautiful Maggie is from her first moments until now. She blows my mind all day, every day. Her sweet face, her fuzzy hair, her exceptionally cute toes, her lovely spirit, her determination when she really doesn’t or does want something to happen. She is an incredible mix of me and Robbie. She seems to be more adventurous than me, more like her Pops. But she does love and desperately need her sleep like me. These comparisons will never end and they seem a little unfair to me. Most of all I want her to reveal to us just who she is.
I haven’t paused much since then to consider how the journey of waiting for a child has ended and the beginning of waiting on one has started. If I do stop, there is a new peace within me. It is so good.
There are a few new things that have popped up though like the endless fears that my baby will be in pain or worse. And there are the constant flash forwards to terrible events taking place. I’m working on it, but it will likely never totally subside.
The other new feeling is for those who are still waiting for a child, their own or an adopted little soul. Within me there is also a new sense of sadness for those who have lost their most precious babies. I can’t even begin to fathom. I know stories like mine can be a source of bitterness and not joy. They make you wonder ‘Why that girl and not me? How it is fair? Am I not worthy of this calling?’
I have no problem with that kind of pain or bitterness. Keep your distance if you need to from babies and mamas. But when you are ready, I am ready to talk about it and share my experience with you. I am ready to talk it out or wait in silence as you hold my Maggie and work through the angst you feel in your core. The angst that babies will be a source of sadness and despair even though that is what you desire the most. It is so confusing. It is confusing for me too.
My prayer sent with Jake isn’t the only reason Maggie is here. It was his prayer and hundreds of thousands more that gave us strength and courage to bear what we did. It was not impossible because of those prayers.
Life is a miracle. Cliché I know, but I feel as though I know this now in a personal way. I don’t know why Mags came to us when she did, but her irrepeatable life is one I am resolved to enjoy, to relish, to honour and to bask in.
On that note, I’m off to change a poopy diaper.