So remember that part about me having to explain everything about myself? Yeah about that... this is me trying really hard not to explain myself.
Something has happened. Dreams are taking shape. little nubs for legs, the rhythmic beat of a life, the meaningful size of a grain of rice.
We have come such a long way in this last year. And yet in so many ways I still feel stuck at diagnosis day. Like my psyche hasn't moved on. Well I am working on that part, but a huge journey we have traveled is the thought of more babies after a special baby. When we brought John Michael home after his diagnosis I had a strong desire in my heart to have another baby... SOMEDAY, even if it was far far away. Even though that is what I hoped would be the truth I wept that it might not be a choice. Was it a universal rule that if you have a child who needs extra care there is no way you can add more members to your family? How would I even make it through pregnancy while taking care of a special child let alone have a newborn?!? The thought that if John Michael never learned to nurse and I would never get to be so intimately close and bonded through breastfeeding with another baby ripped my heart. I wasn't ready to say goodbye so unexpectedly to such a special part of my life--my identity!
I was surrounded by nursing mothers whose babies were held skin to skin, and got that drunk look. All the while the only time I saw that look on my own baby was his first NG tube feeding when he had, for the first time in his life, a full tummy and could relax. Then as the babies grew they gazed in their momma's eyes like she was a magical lady. They reached for her face like she was a flower. It was these little moments of connection that I missed more than anything. I did have it with sound though. I was blessed to know from the very beginning without a doubt. My baby knew my voice. He knew if I had left the room. He lit up when I started singing. I was so glad to have that! And the things John Michael hasn't been able to have made me stand, eyes wide open jaw hanging at all the other babies and children in my life. I love seeing my kids reach for a toy and make the sound that goes with it. That little thing seems miraculous. I love how I just show my young dancers a new step and they follow behind me. Just like that! It is the "life is a miracle" eyes that John Michael has gifted me that put an even stronger desire to grow another baby in my heart. I want to have those eyes with my own baby that I can see them for the miracle they are.
I can't speak for everyone on this, but it seems that anyone who has had anything happen to their child through loss or trauma either has a strong desire to get pregnant again right away or they can't fathom taking the risk and going through it again. I felt that there was mentally no way I would survive a pregnancy. Even though John Michael's pregnancy was amazing and the birth itself was not traumatic the thought of forming a baby was terrifying. I thought I should probably recover for many years until I was emotionally stable. Then my language changed. Instead of "IF we ever have another baby" it became "when." Then all of a sudden a huge transformation happened in both my husband and I. The details are too close to my heart to just put out there in cyber space but there were two instances where God made it VERY clear to me that not only would we have another child, but that it was HIS way of healing the pain my heart had been through. My husband and I talked and where six months ago we would have said "no way, no how, see ya" we were both on board for what seemed to be our hearts screaming at us even if it didn't seem logical.
I know I still have a baby. If you think about it even when a woman gets pregnant weeks after giving birth, her baby is usually mobile by the time the newborn comes along. I am not guaranteed this. So it is like choosing to have twins, only one big one little. People have twins right?!? not the end of the world. With the possibility of us moving within a few years time we knew we wanted to have the baby while we still lived here surrounded by our support system who knew firsthand what we have been through and the extra struggles that come with it.
The amazing thing is it was one of those beautiful one time "okay God if you really are saying we need another baby to heal we are giving you ONE shot." we didn't try for months (or even days) and we knew that timing wise looking ahead in the next year if it didn't happen this one time it would have to wait till we knew our plans for seminary. Re-reading that I realize it sounds like it was a spur of the moment all of a sudden I have a hankering for having a baby. Even though it was sudden it wasn't. It had taken us many miles to get there.
...and so 7 weeks later, sick as a dog and miserable as ever I have finally come to terms with the fact that the overall the formation of this baby is out of my hands as was John Michael's. So much guilt I carried has been lifted. I really did do the best that I could, as I will this time. When I pray over this baby I say "God protect it..." and I can't help but add "just like you did John Michael." It seems strange, but I recognize even with the severity of the damage He really did protect him. His presence is a daily reminder that God protected him, and still does every day.
I have already had THE conversation with God about placing my order for a typical child who nurses with no problems and go ahead and make it a girl for Juliah! I am sure he gets a good chuckle out of my demands. In my heart I know I am not exempt from more heartache just because I feel like I have gotten my share. I can't hold up the "I already have a special needs child" sign. There are people that have multiple special kids. I can't expect perfect. Though God knows what we need and what kind of child this needs to be. So I leave that up to him. (But I am telling you now if he sees me fit to go through something similar again I will beg to differ).
The amazing thing is the instant transformation that occurred after finding out about this baby. I automatically started seeing John Michael differently. Like all the things that I had lost with him this last year are now put onto someone else. I am sure he is relieved :). Having this baby is stepping out with tremendous faith and courage. It is making a statement that our dreams live on. That what we wanted for us as a family doesn't have to be taken away, we just have to work harder than some to make it happen.
No matter what, this baby has already become our Rainbow Child. The child that brings signs of hope and new dreams after lots and lots of rain.
Yes it is crazy. completely. And I am totally NOT in the mood to be pregnant. But I couldn't ignore my heart.
When Kelle Hampton found out that her daughter had Down Syndrome she looked at her doctor and said,
I am going to do this like you have never seen before... and it is going to be amazing."
That is how I feel about this choice. I don't know have anyone close to me that has done this, nor have I. So instead of predicting how hard it will be we are just going to pave our own way. And it will be awesome.
I am reading "Nurturing the Soul of Your Family" by Renee Trudeau, and this rings true in this season of life;
"It takes tremendous courage and desire to live an awakened life: a life where your actions are in alignment with your deepest values, where you're making decisions that support your family's emotional and spiritual well-being. Is there anything more important? Is there ever a better time than now?"
This baby will be good for each of us in a different way, and we all want it so badly.