Monday, April 2, 2012

It's a girl...

I haven't written about Jordan's birth yet because it had such profound implications to me and to our family. First of all, she is our final baby. We are done. I'm feeling more confident about putting that in writing because we are hopefully going to be taking steps soon to make that a permanent decision. We are done. I've had 7 pregnancies, 5 babies and 4 living kids in the past 10 years and I think my uterus is done. I know there are people out there whose uterus has done more (in some cases MUCH more), but I'm getting older and part of this choice is a somewhat selfish desire to get my body back to myself. Another part of it is our desire as a family to do more travel together and if we are always lugging an infant/toddler, that limits our choices to some extent. We are ready for the next phase of parenting (no diapers!).

But in addition to all the practical reasons to be done, we are feeling as if our family is as complete as it will be able to get. Going back a bit, I know I've written about this before, but when I was pregnant with Evan, I needed him to be a boy. Really and truly, he had to be different from his older, missing sister. The last thing I needed was for him to be a third girl and for people to say to me (or think to themselves) Well, at least Sophie has been replaced and you are all set! Evan's birth brought so much love and healing into our family, but he did NOT bring Sophie back. Duh! Fast forward three years to my husband and I walking around the block while I was in labor with Jordan. Chris and I were discussing an issue that had been an undercurrent during the whole pregnancy, but, for some reason, was the first time we spoke of it. "If this is a boy, will you still feel done?" he asked me. I couldn't answer that question. Neither could he. We would still be done, but would we still feel done? To be clear, if a boy was what had been working his way out of me at that moment, we would have been THRILLED! Evan would have been thrilled! Two older girls and two younger boys--it would have been PERFECT! But would we have felt done? Chris and I were walking down the street holding hands, about to be parents for the 5th time, facing a very difficult reality. If this baby was a boy, the bottom line was that we were never going to hold a baby girl in our arms again. The reality was that our last baby girl had died. Died...and that would never change. How could we feel complete with that reality?? We knew that boy or girl, this baby was going to be our last. And we knew that if it was a boy, we would really, truly be head over heals in love with him. AND, we knew we would have to struggle with this intense sense of loss all over again. Walking around the block with Chris, feeling mild contractions, it all swirled around us like a fog. Yes, we would be done, no, we would not feel complete...but in a different way than we currently don't feel complete...if that makes any sense.

Later that afternoon, an 8lb baby girl was placed on my chest. A baby girl. Can you believe it?? No, she absolutely did NOT bring Sophie back and she absolutely IS her own person and I will never, ever compare her to her lost sister. She is NOT a replacement. She is, however, the soul that completes our family of seven and the living being that completes our family of six. She is the baby girl we were meant to have at this time and in this space. She is the one who makes me feel landed and grounded in a way I haven't for the past 5+ years. Here I am, a mom of five making my way solidly through a world that will only ever see a mom of four. But, because of this little baby girl, I feel secure in our decision to be done. I can look back at where we were five years ago and feel truly, deeply sad for the woman (and the family) standing there, in that deep dark pit having lost an indescribably priceless treasure. I can see her, feel that sadness, and then turn around and face front. We are here, right now...because a baby girl was placed in my arms. Forward we go.

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