Saturday, February 26, 2011

Not my whole story...

I was sitting at my daughter's dance studio, reading my kindle when I noticed a woman walk by. She was pregnant- only two months- and though I tried to focus on my book, I couldn't help but be drawn to the conversation she was having with two other mothers.

As I listened, I smiled. They were all sharing their 'pregnancy stories' comparing them. They had such fun sharing their stories- it was as if they couldn't take a breath- they had only a half hour to chat and they needed to get it in- the details... Part of me wanted to join in and share!

There were two! The way my husband almost passed out when he found out- He was trying to get used to the idea of being a father- He wasn't sure why our baby had 'two heartbeats'. I smile remembering the way his face looked that morning. When the reality of what 'two heartbeats' meant.
I was so sick! I lost so much weight- 13 pounds that first trimester. I joked that I should have gotten pregnant BEFORE I got married so I'd be so tiny on my wedding day...

I had PUPP- A horrible itchy rash- a reaction my body had to my babies. It was absolutely miserable!

I loved every minute of it! I was huge (measuring 40 weeks at just 6 months) and near the end of my pregnancy I had to sleep in a reclining chair. The babies were too heavy on my lungs and it was hard to breathe laying flat or even on my side for too long.

But I loved it.

And yet, I sometimes feel I can't share my story- even though I loved it- love telling it to my children. Because then I get to the end, the delivery- and then... well, the laughter stops and that uncomfortable feeling settles in.
And my story stops the laughter.
That is what I hate about my story. The way it stops the laughter- skips the record- cancels eye contact- and as much as I want to share it with pregnant moms, be part of the conversation, I can't- and I feel terrible for those first time moms who know my story- the way it ends.

On New Year's Eve we had my old college roommates over to ring in 2011. One roommate and his wife knew our story, lived it with us. I had spoken often with his wife about Andrew and she was so sweet to ask questions, show concern. She knew my pregnancy story.

The other roommate I hadn't seen in years. It was great to see him and meet his pregnant wife. This was her first pregnancy and she was over the moon. She saw our house full of children and naturally started asking questions about pregnancy... delivery...

We were much like those girls in the dance studio, comparing stories, laughing... I had commented that I couldn't wait to get my tummy tuck since my body was so wrecked after my first pregnancy. When the pregnant mom asked how much Joey had weighed, I paused. Six pounds. I felt foolish talking tummy tucks after delivering a 6 pound baby- but I couldn't finish my story... he had a brother who was six pounds 11 ounces... they were in separate sacs... separate placentaes... I was huge! I carried all out front! I had to sleep in that reclining chair...
But I stopped.

I let her think I was crazy and probably a little vain but I sipped my wine and enjoyed listening to the stories. And then it was on to talk of the delivery. Me? I had had an emergency c-section so then all my other children were delivered that way. I don't even know what a contraction feels like.
"Why?"
Oh... it's a long story... the recovery was horrible. I had never been in such pain (from my surgery and my broken heart), but the other sections weren't as bad. I knew what to expect...

I chose that night to keep Andrew's existence a secret. Or rather- not share his story.- the whole story. I had a choice and I didn't share- and even now I know I did the right thing.

But that wasn't always the case... I remember that day (months after delivering my boys), someone asked me if I only had one (referring to Jonasen) and I remember nodding. Yes.
As soon as I nodded I felt sick to my stomach and needed to get to my car. I drove home hysterical. I pulled over to the side of the road- head in my hands. Oh forgive me Andrew. I don't know why I said that. I don't have one, I have two. Forgive me. Forgive me.

But that New Year's Eve night, I looked at her face- beautiful with the glow of pregnancy and I told her she would do great. That there was nothing like becoming a mother. I didn't tell my whole story- because I looked at her and I saw me-

So happy.
So excited.
The nursery was ready, the baby books already being filled out.
She was beautiful.
And I would have been so angry had someone told her that this would be her story- taken that glow- that smile that she wore everywhere.
For she only had it that first pregnancy- and she never got it back.

Ignorance is bliss- and after she has that beautiful baby in her arms, maybe I'll tell her the whole story. I'll tell her how beautiful you were- how beautiful you all were- and how with every heart that beat in me, I grew to be a mother, and I have a story for each precious soul and what a blessing that is.
My story.

11 comments:

  1. Oh Laura, you were such a good person that NYE. I know how hard it can be to do that. And then feel so guilty about it afterward, like you denied your sweet precious child. I have only done it a few times, and I hate it. I feel like I am sparing someone else, and then beat myself up about it.
    It's always hard when you meet new people, you debate telling or not especially if they know none of your other contacts. I recently faced this in my college course. A classmate had to introduce us briefly, the girl who did me, knew me from the previous course and naturally the only children she heard me talk of was the 2 living. So she just announces she has 2 kids... I HATED it, but how could I interupt her in a class of 30, and explain to a group of strangers. I let that eat at me for days, the next time I saw her, I somehow worked it into conversation, I at least had to tell her, and another girl, the 2 people I study with and actually talk to in that class. Of course I felt like they thought I was weird bringing it up, but I just had to.

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  2. This is so beautifully written. I have been in this position many times, struggling to decide whether I should put a damper on a joyful conversation by sharing my whole story or not. And I get that same feeling, the guilt if I leave Hadley out. I hope to find a little more peace, as you have, as time goes on.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this beautifully written post. I think that stopping your story where you did was a sweet choice on her behalf. I hope you will be able to finish telling her the rest of their birth story. ((HUGS))

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  4. Thank you for sharing! I find myself answering often, yes, this is my first baby, and then I think in my head, I hope it is my first baby to make it here on earth to be held and loved and treasured physically, but who says at the checkout at BRU, maybe, but this is my third pregnancy. So, like you I try to temper the times I share and the times that I don't! I always love reading your posts and truly get excited when I see new one up! You are a dear for not dampening that mother's excitement, as she hopefully will never know our pain!

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  5. This is such a beautiful, wise post. I always seem to leave the same comment here Laura, that one day I will have your grace. I truly hope that one day I will be able to feel the same way about what happened to my first pregnancy. Having twins is such a exciting story, the two heartbeats, the preparations, everything. It feels as though everyone is interested. And then, when you don't bring two babies home, it is hard to know how to talk about it. I've also driven home hysterical when I feel I've made the 'wrong' call, mentioned her when I shouldn't have or not mentioned her when I should have acknowledged her.
    I think you did a very kind thing, protecting that mother to be who reminded you so much of yourself. Because some of us will never have that glow or that innocence back and perhaps that means we want to protect it even more in others?

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  6. Thank you for sharing. I've often found myself in the same situation of wanting to share things about my pregnancy but often find myself silenced b/c my ending was not the expected. I sometimes feel bad when someone asks me if I have children and I just say I have step children. I once thought i had an acceptable answer of saying "2 step children and 3 in heaven" but lately that hasn't seem to come out .

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  7. Laura,
    This post made me cry. You were so strong that night. I have felt the same way as you so many times..I know that deep pain and guilt you feel after. You did do the right thing and I am sure someday you will tell her his story.
    ((hugs))
    Love, Chrissy

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  8. Thank you for writing this. Like you, my twin pregnancy was perfect until the end. Me and my husband were so excited, so happy. It was such a beautiful period in our lives, until the end. And because of that painful ending, I still find it hard to go back into that innocent, blissful time, because the ending is much too painful. I can't even look at my pregnancy pictures without feeling that knot in my stomach...
    Maybe someday it will get better.

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  9. Thank you for sharing. I've often found myself in the same situation of wanting to share things about my pregnancy but often find myself silenced b/c my ending was not the expected. I sometimes feel bad when someone asks me if I have children and I just say I have step children. I once thought i had an acceptable answer of saying "2 step children and 3 in heaven" but lately that hasn't seem to come out .

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  10. Laura,
    This post made me cry. You were so strong that night. I have felt the same way as you so many times..I know that deep pain and guilt you feel after. You did do the right thing and I am sure someday you will tell her his story.
    ((hugs))
    Love, Chrissy

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  11. Beautifully written. It made me tear up... remembering that I used to also be that naive, joyful pregnant girl.

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