Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What Was One Is Now Two

Dear Sophia,

As I type, your little sister is perched in my lap. Just a minute ago, she was holding onto my index fingers and essentially supporting herself. She was born two months ago, on March 7th, and I couldn't be more in love. My pregnancy with her was a lot harder, physically, than mine was with you, and we had to spend her first week in the NICU due to unexplained desaturation spells.

As the ambulance technicians wheeled her off that first morning after her birth, your daddy and I sobbed, feeling like we were losing her like we had lost you. Thankfully, the Lord hasn't asked us to deal with losing another child at this point, and Charlotte came home on the 14th of March. It was so strange to be home with our child and no foreseeable end to having her there with us.

Sophia, I LOVE being a mother. You made me a mother for the first time, and your sister has carried that on. However, you were and always will be the most perfect baby. Though you never should have been able to cry, you gave us a few of your cries. Though you should have never been able to open your eyes, you peeked out at us. Though you shouldn't have lived at all, you gave us 4.5 days to soak up your love.

Here I am, about a year and a half later, and your darling sister is much more demanding. I love being a mother all the same. No amount of heartache, hopelessly soiled diapers, warm vomit, breastfeeding discomfort, days without showering, hours without sleep, etc, will make me want to ever not be a mother - to either of my angels.

I have grown so much since the birth of your sister. I have learned to love the sweet sound of your sister sucking on her pacifier, what it means to hold your child close to your heart for hours as they sleep, the absolute terror of thinking your child is in danger, the feeling of helplessness when you determine you cannot adequately provide for your child, and many other things.

You taught me to love unconditionally, to endure even the worst of trials, that I am stronger than I ever knew, and I truly can overcome anything the Lord sees fit to allow in my path. You are my first child, and my only Sophia. Nothing can or ever will replace you, but I am so very grateful for the time you allowed us to spend with you.

I look forward to the day when I can get to know you even better, and I hope until that day you will keep a close, careful watch on your dear mother and sister. Don't tell Charlotte or Daddy, but I don't always know what is best. I pray to our Father in Heaven daily for safety and guidance to do what's right for our little family. For the most part, I think I have chosen well for us.

I love you, my precious girl. I think of you often.


(P.S. For Mother's Day, Daddy bought me a Willow Tree figurine with an angel holding a baby - you as the angel and Charlotte as the baby. I look at it every single day. I also got into contact with an amazing woman who made a "Sweet Pea" necklace with a dark blue "angel" pea representing you, and a light blue pea representing your sister. I absolutely love seeing things which represent my two beautiful girls together, and treasure both of these gifts.)

(P.P.S. Your sister was born with a BUNCH of hair at the nape of her neck too, and she even looks a bit like you. It's endearing.)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

One Year

Dear Sophia,

I'm sorry I haven't written in a while. I haven't really known what to write about. However, just as this blog is being posted, we have survived one year since your miraculous birth. One year since I really became a mother for the first time. One year since I held your beautiful, tiny self in my arms as your daddy blessed you and gave you a name for the records of the Church. I was in awe that day, and so unsure of the future... but as long as I had you then, I was content.

So what's going on with your mommy and daddy now? Well, we're expecting your little brother or sister! But I'm sure you knew that already. I'm 14 weeks, 6 days along. When we found out, we initially thought it would be fun to announce the pregnancy on your birthday. Things didn't quite go that way, though. We were too excited to share the good news! You know what else? We've already gotten a glimpse of his or her full head!

We'll be a little more at ease after getting the AFP screening done, but we have hope that everything will be well. A few days ago, I was texting a friend and the pregnancy came up. I mentioned how I was anxious to make certain this baby would survive, and my friend said something very thoughtful: "My mother won't let that happen." Her mother, a very sweet, kind, encouraging woman, passed away several months ago. I know she would have been so excited to welcome your sibling into the world, as she was always very interested with you and how we were doing. It's nice to think she would be looking over our little one on the way.

I've been a lot sicker with this pregnancy, sweetheart, which gives me a whole new appreciation for the relative ease I had with you. Though we traveled on an emotional roller coaster, had the usual aches and pains, and the last few weeks were slightly more taxing, most of the pregnancy was not physically strenuous. For that - I realize now - I am very grateful.

It's time for your mommy and daddy to go to bed now, but I want you to know we still love you and think about you. Every time someone says something about their baby cutting their first tooth, starting to walk, or hitting some other milestone you might be hitting around that time, I think of you. I think of what we might be experiencing with you had you been able to stay here with us. Please keep close, my darling girl. Your little family loves you and is eagerly anticipating seeing you again.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Body Betrayal

Dear Sophia,

Remember what I wrote about before? Well, I did go see the doctor last Friday. Unfortunately, she needed some fasting blood work to be able to tell anything, so I had to go back in yesterday for that and a sonogram. I had been hoping the sonogram would show a little baby growing inside me, but what it showed was something quite the opposite: My right ovary looked like a boring gray blob, and the left? Well, it looked like a gray bean bag with little black golf balls in it. As soon as I saw it, my heart sank. I'm not a medical professional, but one ovary or the other was irregular and I was sure it had to be that one. Oh, and on the way out, the sonographer asked if we'd conceived you naturally. That made me feel wonderful. After returning home, I looked up pictures of poly-cystic ovaries online - they might as well have had my sonogram on there.

Joy. Another way my body has decided to betray me.

Daddy was really sweet about it. When I told him, his first reaction was "Okay, so we can't have any more kids then?" I said "Not necessarily, and the doctor said she'd be willing to give me medicine to help." His response was "Okay. I love you honey. We will get through this together."

For some reason, that was just what I needed to hear. I started crying. I'm a cry baby.

Daddy always knows what to do or say to help me feel better. Before we went to bed, he held me tightly and let me soak his shoulder in tears. Before that, he played a game with me which always makes me squeal with laughter. It felt great to be laughing when I felt so miserable. I am so lucky to have him, and you're lucky to have such an amazing daddy.

Although this is yet another road block in our quest to be parents of some of Heavenly Father's children, I feel hopeful that we will make it some day. We had you, and that is a good sign. Even if we don't have children here on earth, though, Daddy's just the kind of person I'd love to spend the rest of eternity enjoying.

We love you honey.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

They Are All HIS Children

Dear Sophia,

Still no answers for your poor mommy. I guess I'm gonna just have to break down and go to the doctor. I was hoping to not have to go, but maybe they can shed some light on the situation. Fingers crossed that there's a healthy baby developing in there, although it seems unlikely that that's the case. If it were up to me, I'd just wait until my body decides it's a good time to have a period. After all, that's what I did before Daddy and I got married. Back then I could go a couple months every time and be just fine... but I wasn't trying to have a baby either. Although it would be nice to just write my lack of a cycle off, my desire to have a baby trumps my desire to stay away from the doctor's office.

We so badly want a baby. It stinks that wanting a baby can make it more difficult to actually get a baby. On a slightly-related-yet-still-unrelated note, a friend of ours contacted us, asking if we might be interested in adopting. My heart stopped. Daddy and I had only passively considered adoption before. We haven't been married long enough to do it through the LDS adoption services, and there's no way we could afford to do it through an agency. Of course, we hadn't expected to have the issues we've had with having children.

Infertility was my worst nightmare while growing up. I've always known I wanted to be a mother, and not being able to have children with my spouse was a terrifying thought for me. I was relieved when I became pregnant with you, but then the news came that we couldn't keep you. We had to decide whether to abort or  let you stay as long as you naturally would. One of the main reasons we chose the latter, other than the fact that we wanted to see if we could spend some time with you before you went back to be with our Heavenly Father, was that I didn't want to damage my body. Aside from potentially making me infertile - which would be awful, considering the circumstances - abortions are very dangerous. How awful would it have been if Daddy lost both of us at once because we'd decided to abort the development of your perfect little body?

Sure, it was difficult. I swear I sweated by the gallon that summer, sleep was elusive, and don't get me started on the "joys" of childbirth (read: two and a half days of misery and jello cups.) But I wouldn't change anything. I'm glad we didn't abort. Even though we spent a tiny amount of time with you, it's more than we ever would have gotten had we aborted, and my body healed up rather nicely. Plus, my conscience is clear. Don't get me wrong - our bishop said he supported our decision, whatever we chose. But I know, had we aborted, I would have longed for the time we never got to have even more than I do now. I would wonder if you were a boy or a girl, and whose features you would have, among many other things.

Over the last few months, I have been in contact with a woman who did choose to abort her baby. She yearns for her child, and desperately wishes things could be different. I understand her pain, but I cannot even imagine what it must be like to know absolutely nothing about the precious little being I created. To think that the Lord would trust me, of all people, with one of His children was amazing - even if I spent a limited time with her.

Abortion doesn't have to be the answer. Many women are blessed with healthy pregnancies, but for whatever reason they don't want or can't care for the child. I know some people who were adopted, and you wouldn't even know they were adopted. Their families love them just the same, and they are happy, healthy individuals. Adoption is a wonderful institution where children who previously had very little chance of a good life are taken in by parents who are grateful they even exist. Sure, there are the exceptions, but there will always be exceptions.

We are not one of those exceptions. When we heard of that baby, my mind started racing. Adoption? Could we do it? However, in the time it took me to call the person who'd contacted us, she told us the mother had chosen not to adopt - that she would rather abort than have to go through the torment her family would heap upon her. My heart aches for this mother. It's amazing how awful some families can be to their own children when they make decisions they don't agree with. I've had first-hand experience with this.

To this mother, people in similar situations, and those who might torment them I say: they are all His children. You are our Heavenly Father's child. The baby in your womb is His child. Your family, and everyone around you are His children. All of you deserve a chance. All of you are entitled to use of the Savior's Atonement. You have no right to judge. Supporting these mothers even though you might not agree with their choices is a great way to show your love for all of your Father in Heaven's children.

Thankfully, there are many people who are willing to help and support mothers in these kinds of situations. There is hope. Even babies unwanted by their birth parents can have the blessing of a loving home if they are given the opportunity to live. I hope and pray this mother and those who might find themselves faced with a similar dilemma will seriously consider adoption rather than abortion. Please don't hesitate to ask for help if you don't know what to do. Someone will help you. Many are waiting to do just that.

As the birth mother of a friend once said, she felt as if she was only meant to bring the baby into the world. Another couple was meant to be her earthly parents. I don't think my friend would have changed a thing.

Please let our Heavenly Father's children fulfill their missions. You will not regret it, and the joy you will be bringing to someone else's life simply by providing them with a baby is priceless.

I'm glad we took you full-term. I'm grateful for the time we got to spend with you here on earth, and I look forward to the day when we will finally get to meet you in all your glory and talk about the time you've spent serving our Father in Heaven on the other side. I hope at that point we can talk to you all about our experiences raising your siblings, whether I gave birth to them or not.


Thursday, March 21, 2013


Dear Sophia,

I wasn't sure where to write what I'm about to say. I knew you wouldn't begrudge the space here, so here it will go.

I need to vent, and maybe cry. There's a part of life I despise, which I have currently been stuck in on different levels for a while now: I like to call it limbo. Limbo and I don't get along, mostly because limbo never gets anywhere or achieves anything. Limbo may have a beginning, but no foreseeable end, and I can't stand that.

You could say I'm currently in childbearing limbo. It started October 29, 2012, when Daddy and I got married. We wanted children right away, and immediately proceeded to try. After about three months of frustration, I finally got the answer I wanted: "Pregnant." This, however, was followed by an awful, sinking feeling before each appointment with the obstetrician, and soon, a terminal diagnosis. While I will never say I am not grateful to have had you, I was in a constant state of worry. Should we just let you go? Would you come early? Would you die in the womb? Would we have time for Daddy to bless you before you passed away? Every day, I waited and waited, so unsure of everything except that I loved you.

Now, here we are again at square one, except square two is nowhere to be seen. As it is, I'm six days late, and have no solid idea if I'm pregnant or not. Each day, I wonder things like "Will my period come today?" or "Will I finally get a confirmation of pregnancy?" or even this gem: "Am I going to have a miscarriage since my levels aren't even high enough to confirm pregnancy at six days past my expected period?"

Pregnancy test manufacturers would like you to believe you should spend money on their test because it can tell you 4/5/6 days sooner than other brands. They claim it's 99% accurate, and you'll have great results if you test the day after your missed period. Well, that day has come and gone five-fold, and I still have yet to receive any definitive answer. What's even better is I called the office of the doctor I'll be seeing for this next pregnancy and they basically said not to even bother trying to see them, that they don't usually even see patients until they've missed a complete cycle. In other words, just wait until you're completely messed up in the head and then we'll see you, kthxbye. Great.

So, there it is. Wait, wait, and wait some more. Maybe my period will come. Maybe it won't. Maybe I'll turn green, shrink a few feet, and join a horde of ravenous, flesh-eating leprechauns. At least I'd be doing something! Ugh. I just feel so frustrated. At least if I'd gotten my period, I could move on to trying to get the next cycle. As it is, I don't even know when we'll be able to try again if I'm not pregnant. I just don't do very well with unknowns. I like definite goals and destinations, and this whole "wait and see" thing just doesn't sit well with me.

I have not been praying for patience, but apparently I'm in need of some anyway. *insert giant, frustrated sigh*

That is all.


(P.S. For those reading, prayers would be very much appreciated. If you couldn't tell, I'm going a little crazy with this whole waiting thing. Thank you.)

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Waiting Game

Dear Sophia,

I know I haven't written in a while. I haven't really known what to say. I wish I could talk to you; could know what you know now. I'm sure you're busy at work, and I'm sure you're Daddy and I's biggest supporter. We've been trying to call down one of your siblings, but I'm sure you know that already. I get so built up every month with hope, only to come crashing down with the simplest spot of red. Just yesterday I had tears pouring all down my face during sacrament meeting, then proceeded to blubber to one of my dear Snow Clan friends. Daddy is a huge help, and so sweet about everything, but sometimes a woman needs another woman to cry on.

If it helps, I'm not "out" this month yet. I'm sincerely hoping this is our month. The baby would be due a day or two before Thanksgiving, which is definitely ironic, plus it would be really great in general to have another baby on the way. As you know, Daddy and I want nothing more than to raise little ones together. We wanted you, but the Lord had other plans in store.

Until we know for sure whether we've gotten a grasp on one of your siblings or not, it's the waiting game for us (which, in case I haven't mentioned, is the most terrible game in the history of games.) I love you, my perfect little angel. Don't give up on your poor ol' Mommy and Daddy.


Friday, December 7, 2012

"That's Not Suspicious."

Dear Sophia,

It's been a while. In fact, I think I skipped over November entirely. Don't think I haven't been thinking about you though. I think about you at least once every day. You know, even after two months, it's still hard to believe I had you. Every time I really let myself think about you and what you were like, I tear up or cry.

I was reading on another mother's blog today. She had a couple statistics saying anencephaly occurs in 1 out of 1,000 pregnancies but only 3 out of 10,000 live births. Additionally, 95% of babies with your condition are aborted for various reasons. That means there was a 0.1% chance of you having anencephaly, a 5% chance you would have parents who would let you take all the time you needed on this earth, and 0.03% chance you would be born alive. That's not even to mention the unlikely-hood of your miraculous 4.5 day life. Take all that in for a minute.

There's no question you were and are a miracle. You had so much going against you, yet you braved it all and amazed everyone who would hear your name.

It's twelve days short of your three-month birthday, which means it's twenty-two days before Daddy and I will have been married for fourteen months. I've been thinking of a missionary friend I've been meaning to write, but I'm not sure what to tell her. "Hey Sister G, guess what? You know how I got married shortly before you left? Well, I got pregnant, but don't expect to meet her. Don't ask why."

That's not suspicious.

Oh well. I'm sure she'd just enjoy getting a letter, regardless of the contents.

Since moving into our new place, I've had a lot of time to think about what I might like our next baby's nursery to look like. At the moment, we've got a mostly-empty room with just a changing table I might paint, depending on how I decide to decorate the room, and a few empty boxes we used for moving. And I will be decorating it, don't you worry. I didn't get to do that with you.

Our next child - poor thing - is going to get twice the crazy new parents would usually have. Not only will we have a new baby, the baby will be our first living child and the recipient of both the affection we've been dying to pour onto you and the affection he or she deserves as our precious baby (some would call them our "Rainbow Baby.") It's a blessing and a curse, I guess.

Another point also came up while reading the other mother's blog: "What will we tell our other children?" Sure, I guess it would be easy to explain that one of their older sisters passed away when she was a baby, but what do we say when they see she is missing the top of her skull? Children can be so brutally honest sometimes. I guess we'll just have to take those conversations as they come, and bite our tongue if our little ones don't have quite the gentleness we'd like.

I love you sweetheart. That will never, ever change. I think of you often. I imagine what you must look like as a spirit - beautiful and elegant, of course. Big, blue eyes; long, brown hair; those long fingers and feet, and the sweetest, cutest, pair of perfectly pink lips. Truly, even if you look nothing like that, I will love you endlessly. Thinking of you, angel.