*I have been a mother to 13 different children… Read on!!
Being a mother has been my dream since I was a little kid. I was a tomboy, for sure, growing up. My only sibling, a brother, is 6 years older than me and I followed him around everywhere. I wanted to do anything he did, and firmly believed I could do anything too. He put up with me for the most part, but definitely got tired of his little sister following him around… I’m sure there will be more stories involving him as we go along with this thing, but this one is about being a mother.
When I wasn’t following after my brother and his friends and playing whatever sport they would let me join in on, I was carrying around a baby doll. I didn’t have many barbies, because I didn’t like them. I didn’t want to play with an adult doll… or even a teenager… I wanted the babies. I had a cabbage patch kid (as did every child in the 80’s), but my favorite was a doll called a “Real Baby”. I tried to search for this to show you what it looked like or even see if they still make them, and I couldn’t find anything about my baby. What I did find was baby dolls that look so real it was scary. So… just picture a doll that looked like about a 3 month old baby. I had a boy, of course, because I didn’t want baby girls. Anyway, I carried this baby with me everywhere. I’m sure I threw him down somewhere when it was time to play sports of some kind, but mostly I took great care of him. I even named him AJ (Andrew Joshua)… The story behind the name may be revealed in a story one day too!
When Ron and I got married, many years after AJ had gone away, we both had some pretty cemented thoughts about children. I wanted to have 4, he wanted 2. That was the only thing we disagreed about. He wanted them to be able to do whatever they wanted with their hair because “it might not be there long” (his hair started falling out when he was 16.. this was particularly devastating to his hair-band-loving self). I didn’t have an opinion about hair, so that one was okay (I was just praying their hair wouldn’t be as kinky, curly as mine). I wanted to adopt children. I didn’t care where we adopted them from, but I knew I wanted to adopt. He didn’t seem to have an opinion about this at all.
We were married in July of 1999, and in May of that year I had gone to the gynecologist for the first time and gotten on birth control pills. (We wanted to wait at least a year before having a baby, but not really any longer than a year).
I took those pills for exactly one year, and then I stopped. I assumed that I would just get pregnant. I didn’t occur to me that it wouldn’t happen. That my dream might not happen just as I had planned it. We were living in a parsonage with 3 bedrooms, a huge formal living and dining room, and it was just too much room for us. I wanted to fill those rooms with babies. Instead, it was just us… the whole time.
In 2003, after fertility treatments, I got pregnant the first time. Our son was born March 15, 2004. We decided since we had so much trouble the first time, we wouldn’t worry with birth control and I’d probably just get pregnant again soon.
In 2006, after more fertility treatments, I got pregnant again. Our second son was born on November 28, 2006. That was the end of the fertility treatments for me.
I decided that I was done with all of the mess that went along with those things. Infertility posts will definitely be coming because that defined the first years of our marriage, and even longer in my heart.
We became foster parents and have fostered 8 children. I know each of their birthdays and have a tiny celebration inside each time one of them rolls around, but I only get to see pictures of 3 of them. We would’ve adopted every one of them, but that’s not exactly the way the system works, so they all ended up somewhere else. Not with me physically, but with me in every other way.
In 2015, we finally got our girl! 🙂 We didn’t adopt her, but we do have custody of her, so I claim her every chance I get. She was 16 when she came to live with us, and we had known her since birth, so it wasn’t as hard as if we had taken someone from foster care whom we’d never met. Not that this isn’t still one of our goals, but I know it’ll be different from what this is.
In 2015, I got pregnant again. This time I didn’t even know it. My body, at least the reproductive parts of it, had been messed up for so long at this point that I just thought maybe I was going through menapause early. I had just turned 38, so maybe I was just early. I didn’t take a pregnancy test because I didn’t think I was pregnant, and after so many years of taking test after test, month after month and really feeling like I was pregnant, and test after test, month after month seeing a negative test wasn’t something I wanted to repeat again. So, I just didn’t do it.
When I was 12 weeks pregnant, the baby died. No one knows why, and no one even knows exactly when. On November 28, 2015, I started to bleed. I was in a store (near the hospital, thankfully) and blood just started running down my legs. I knew something was wrong, but there was no pain. My first thought was miscarriage, but I didn’t think that could be true because I didn’t think it was possible for me to even be pregnant.
The baby died months before my body decided it needed to get it out. The doctor thinks that the baby was dead for two months before my body let me know. It’s rare, but it does happen that the body just hangs on. I have the ultrasound picture of my third baby, but that’s it. Not with me physically again… and not even a mental picture to go with a birth day. I could figure out about when the baby would’ve been born (at least around the month), but I’m not sure I can handle it right now. It’s been 6 weeks and I’ve not even begun to know how I feel about it. On one hand, it seems like madness to miss something I didn’t even know I had. On the other hand, I feel like I’ve missed something wonderful and magnificent by not knowing this baby. There are a million what-ifs, but none of them really matter. Nothing brings that baby back, and nothing gives me more than an ultrasound photo. We just keep walking forward… that’s what this is about… my journey forward!
and still I say….
Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!