Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sibling rivalry

I used to wonder if there were sibling rivalry in heaven.

If our babies can see us (and I don't know if they can or not)... But if they could... Would they be up there comparing notes?

Would Baby Lewis turn to Olivia Joy and say, "You know... Mom had a lot harder time when she lost you. I think she loves you more." or "Hey... So why did mom publicly give you such a great name, and I'm stuck at Baby? As though I'm just a generic little thing?"

I'm clinging to the fact that they are perfect now... So I have to believe they are perfectly understanding, and know that I love them all the same. Even if it doesn't look or feel all the same to me.

I think about what Baby Lewis and Olivia talk about up there. Do they joke about the fact that mom got their genders all confused (???). Do they look at me with longing, or sadness, or just love and happiness?

Do they know their aunts and uncles up there? The siblings I have but haven't had a chance to meet. Is it like one big, amazing reunion that never ends?

What was the reception like, I wonder, when we lost our littlest one recently? Were my other two babies there to greet him?

Back to Baby Lewis....

When I decided to refer to him by that name, it was more because I had decided on a name, but Ryan wasn't 100% on board. And maybe I had hoped that Baby Lewis would have been our only other loss. But now that we have two more... What am I to name this newest baby?

Baby Lewis 2.0, the newest model?

Ummm... No.

So, here are my babies' names. (sorry ryan, I hope you like them.)

Olivia Joy -- 7 weeks
Caleb Michael -- 8 weeks (otherwise known as Baby Lewis)
Elliott James--- 5 weeks

Part of why I name my babies is because their personhood is so important to me. Their little personalities and physical traits may not have had the opportunity to develop... But they were already designed. They existed ... Even if none of us got to see it.

The other reason is because I now have been pregnant 4 times. I have had 1 live baby. It is much easier, I think, to categorize my experience by name ... Not by pregnancy number.

"I wasn't sick at all with Baby Lewis and Olivia. I was desperately sick with Maddy and somewhere in the middle with Elliott " is much easier for me, than to say:

"pregnancy # 2-3, I wasn't sick for. Pregnancy with maddy was awful. Pregnancy #4 was somewhere in the middle."

Besides the name issue... Recurrent loss is just a confusing place to be.

I have felt each loss differently. I have responded accordingly.

Each loss gets easier to deal with. And harder at the same time.

With Olivia, I was rocked to the core. Grief was new to me. Living with death was new to me. I didn't know if I could survive intact. I didn't know if my family could survive. I had to become a new person. My world had forever changed.

With Caleb (Baby Lewis), my grief was compounded. My grandma died at the same time. I had to function in spite of my loss... Take a trip to KY, attend a funeral, mourn two deaths simultaneously, and work Arbonne. In fact, the day my miscarriage started was the day I had a big Arbonne event my upline (and friend) flew in for.

She did the hard work to organize it, and thankfully, did most of the presenting. But I stillI pulled myself out of bed, put on my dress and heels, and got out there.

With Caleb, grief was not new... But it was changed. I realized that maybe I was dealing with a recurrent issue. Maybe my body really was screwed up.

Caleb is the only one we planned for. It took way too long (in my opinion) to get pregnant with him. We knew we would probably lose him from the get-go. But I don't think I actually let myself grieve him until December -- 3 months after we lost him.

Elliott was a surprise. Things were looking up (at least my doctor seemed to think so). I felt more pregnant. My hcg was higher. The people around seemed to be optimistic, and it's hard not to get your hopes up when you're around optimistic people.

A few hours after court (exactly one week after we found out), I went to the bathroom and noticed blood on my panties. And I knew it was the end.

When we saw my empty uterus (again) on the ultrasound, it felt as though I was disappearing inside myself. I tried to convince myself that miscarriage should be old-hat by now. And who was I anyway to even let myself think that a positive pregnancy test might actually produce a baby? That's for other people, I tried to reason.

Not for you, Rachel. Not for you.

My sister asked how I was doing after our loss. I texted back:

"I'm not feeling very strong or brave or ok. My heart feels shrivelled and old."

I feel old and weary. Some days I feel like I am drowning. Every time I start to get better, something hits. And as much as a blessing little miss is, it's my first tine grieving while having a baby to care for at the same time. I can't lose it. I can't. So sometimes I'm stuffing the pain, and pretending like nothing has happened. Other times, I'm a shriveled, crumpled mess. And some days, I'm actually doing pretty well in spite of it all.



  1. I think your babies sit up there and gaze down at the marvel you are -- being able to care for two children while grieving their loss. You are much stronger than you think, dear friend. Praying for you.

  2. Rachel you are an amazing writer! You will go far with this gift. I am so very sorry for your pain.

    1. Thank you so much, Becky, for your kind words!