"I knew from the time I was a young girl that I wanted to have children. I remember being about 6 years old, picking up babies in church and trying to rock them or hold them while their mothers would reach frantically to grab them away from me.
A very strong memory from when I was around 10 is of me standing in a department store baby section looking at outfits and crying because I had so long to wait before I could be a mom. (In my mind you had babies when you turned 18!)
By the time I was 18 I was not only NOT a Mom but I was also not even in a relationship! I had some flings and wished for an "oops" but nothing like that ever happened. I entered my first serious relationship when I was 20. We lived together, got engaged and didn't try to prevent babies. In the entire time we were together I never got pregnant.
I struggled with that and began to realize that my dream of being a mom was not going to be an easy one - if it ever even happened.
We eventually broke up and I moved back home. I kind of withdrew for a while and focused on other things. When I was around 24 I became involved with my (now) husband. He was coming out of a marriage of ten years where they had tried to have children but had failed. I think we clicked on that level, of grieving that we may never be parents.
We entered our relationship knowing we were going to get married even if we never had children together. We never prevented because we assumed neither of us could have children. We were shocked when two months afterwards, I missed my period. I took a test and saw double lines and just about passed out with amazement.
Our families were excited and we were of course over the moon! I began prenatal care right away and did everything I was told to by the doctors.
We had multiple ultrasounds and saw our baby growing. We watched my belly grow and I began to feel those first movements. We passed the 1st trimester and set up a nursery. Life moved smoothly.
Then came January 6, 2005. I got out of the bath and felt a trickle down my leg. I was only just entering my 5th month of pregnancy. We called the hospital and I was brought to the ER. They checked me and said I was dilated to 1 cm. They had me listen to my baby's heart beat but I shut my eyes and just cried. I knew that my baby was leaving me.
They said there was nothing they could do for me. We tried to have my nurse midwife paged but she wouldn't come down. I was told to go home so I did. In the night my contractions worsened and I moved to my bathroom and filled the tub. I slid under the water and breathed through my contractions. My husband called the family in the early morning and everyone gathered in our home. Just after 7am I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy we immediately named Reuben. He was so perfect and so tiny. My husband cut the cord and carried him carefully out to show the family. I remember feeling dead inside.
I let out a deep, low wail and to this day still remember how it echoed in that bathroom. We buried our son that day on our farm. And many of our dreams with him.
Over the next few years I heard it all. The encouragement, the questions, even sadly, the finger pointing. We were told to look into adoption. Told to just accept our lives as they were. Told to be thankful. I couldn't understand how God could give us both this gift and then take it away so harshly. I wondered if we were being punished.
In 2006 we took in a boy with the intent to adopt. He was 12 and very troubled. We did our best by him but it became obvious he was too much for us and in the end he was moved from our home for everyone's safety. Shortly afterwards we took in two foster children, a sibling pair of toddlers. Our hearts burst open in full as they quickly began calling us "Mama" and "Daddy" but we were temporary care for them so we quickly set about trying to become permanent foster providers. This dream was dashed as the social worker decided to place them closer to the agency. The day they were driven away crying and reaching out the window for us was like losing our baby all over again.
We never gave up trying for another baby in all this time but we continued to not have luck. I would have early miscarriage after early miscarriage. Seeing a specialist was never an option as our income was meager and our insurance would not cover TTC. It was in 2009 when we finally gave up on the dream to be parents. I admit I was really hard hearted at that point. I gave away everything child related that we owned.
One day I just felt "off" so I took a test and two lines stared back at me. This was my 7th time being in that situation. Six times I had failed.. was this my lucky number? A few days later I began to bleed. I just about lost it. But then the bleeding stopped. I made an appointment with a doctor we had recently found. My husband had seen her for an injury and during conversation he had told her our story of our son Reuben. She had said she could help us. She immediately placed me on progesterone pills once she confirmed I was indeed pregnant.
During the years between my first pregnancy and this one I had read many articles, had stumbled into the attachment parenting side of the web and had learned all about natural and peaceful parenting. I didn't want to have this baby at the hospital if it survived pregnancy but I was worried my dream of a home birth would not be realistic especially with my history. Many people scoffed at me or questioned me. I was even called selfish for wanting to birth my baby at home.
My new doctor had birthed her babies at home and fully backed me. She worked closely with me and when I found a midwife she worked with her. I had the best of both worlds and was in control of every aspect of my pregnancy...talk about an empowering experience! I still had fears of going early into labor but soon I hit the 36 week mark.. then the 38th.. then 39 and a day before 40 weeks I was getting out of the bath and felt a trickle down my leg much like I did with my very first baby.
This time I went on to give birth to a healthy, beautiful baby boy we named Levi (the biblical brother to Reuben) in my bedroom surrounded by the most amazing midwife team and my husband.
Though we were warned not to TTC quickly after Levi's birth we never did stop preventing. I've always known I want a large family.. however we have been facing the same struggle of trying to have another full term baby to give Levi a sibling. This time though the pain is not as raw for me. I am incredibly grateful for this amazing two year old boy.
My heart is sad when each month comes by with no pregnancy but at the same time it is full of appreciation for the one child I DO have standing here today.
But I do often stare at those empty chairs around our table....."
|Reuben's brother, Levi|