Saturday, October 15, 2011

little brother

Two months after Natalie passed away we found ourselves with an unexpected pregnancy. We had talked about adding to our family but planned on waiting until we had some time to get back on our feet emotionally.

In reality, I would probably be long into menopause before I felt emotionally ready to take on another pregnancy, so in retrospect I am grateful that we were caught by surprise.

It is hard to explain what this was like-hoping to welcome a new life all while reeling from the loss of a beloved child. After my miscarriages all I wanted was another baby. After losing Natalie all I wanted was Natalie. It was hard to imagine making room in my heart for a new person. Some things worked themselves out easily on their own-the first time I saw this baby move on an ultrasound my heart jumped and I thought "well, of course I am going to love you!" Other aspects of being pregnant remained a struggle to the end.

Frankly the pregnancy with Natalie left me feeling traumatized. The idea of living with that fear and vulnerability again was overwhelming. This was my 5th pregnancy and I had one living child. I no longer looked at a positive pregnancy test and trusted that we were having a baby. I could no longer think of a rare complication and trust that it would not happen to me.

Every pregnancy milestone was an emotional battleground for me. I can not say that I spent those months in a happy, peaceful glow. Emotionally I was curled in a ball with my hands over my ears and my eyes squeezed shut. I was just trying to hold out and reach the end, hoping that we would have a little one to bring home. I could not relax and look forward. Talking about the pregnancy set me on edge and I had a hard time sharing the news.

We waited several months before telling Annie. She had been asking daily for another sister so I knew she would be excited. The night we told her she was just thrilled. It was bedtime and she went from sleepy to hyper instantly. I stayed up late with her while she paced the floor and made plans for her new sibling. So much of what she said mirrored her plans for Natalie and it was bittersweet hearing her make those plans for someone else.

When she finally crawled into bed she became quiet and stared into space. She said "Mommy, I don't want the baby to be sick.....I want the baby to come home." I told her that I know, I want the baby to be healthy and come home, too. It broke my heart that at 3 years old this is what she has to worry about. Her biggest worry should be having to share her toys, not worrying if the baby will live.

We were so fortunate that emotions were our only complication this pregnancy. Baby Boy Teegarden was very well monitored the entire time and he thrived. He does have bilateral club feet, but after all we have been through it was a small concern. Certainly I wish he did not have to endure the treatment, but I also have a whole new perspective.

On August 31, we welcomed sweet Elliot. He has been a wonderful addition to our family and is dearly loved. He clearly resembles both of his sisters and has traits that are just his as well.

And now here he is.....

At one day old

As he is now at 6 weeks old

With his adoring big sister


  1. This brings tears to my eyes....I remember Natalie and always will. I am glad your new posts showed up on my google reader. You will always miss Natalie but I hope your son brings some healing to your heart.

  2. Lovely so glad to see a tiny new life in your midst. Love that Natalie is looking down smiling upon your new busy path. She is not forgotten.

  3. I stumbled across this in the sea of the Internet. It is late and I am staring at my 9 month old son laying in his crib sleeping. Chances are when I am done typing this i will bring him in the bed with me. My daughter is in her room sleeping. She is 11. My other daughter is buried in the same plot as my grandmother; 1200 miles away. She was born and died in just a few short hours in November of 2004. I was 28 weeks pregnant when i went into labor. I really thought it would turn out ok. Your words about your living daughter wanting her new sibling to be healthy echoed the words that came from the mouth of my, then 4 year old daughter, when we told her we were expecting in July of 2005. I was already 14 weeks along. That baby is buried under an orange tree in the yard of a house we no longer own. I was 16 weeks along. I wasn't going to tell my daughter about the pregnancy in 2010 until much later than I did, but I was so excited. Again, to see my childs anxiety magnified my own. This was my 6th pregnancy and I only had one living child. Your words reminded me of how many times I made that statement at the OB or the maternal fetal specialists office. "This is my 6th pregnancy. I have one living child." the words were terrifying Everytime I said them. Everything worked out, though I guess. My daughters baby brother came home with us. He is amazing. I lost another baby on April 2nd of this year. I had my tubes tied. I didn't want to end on a loss, but I caught my rainbow. He is asleep in his crib right now.