“Is she your first?”

As a mom to a new baby, I get this question a lot. And you’d think it would be a pretty easy question. Or maybe, if you are like me, it isn’t such an easy question.

Is she your first
Photography provided by Danae Wheeler {www.dwdesignandphotography.com}

Reagan is my only living child, but she isn’t my first child. In fact, Reagan is my third.

A few months after ditching the birth control, J and I were thrilled to see that positive sign on the pregnancy test (and at least 3 more … just to make sure!). We couldn’t contain our excitement and called our parents and siblings to let them know right away. Unfortunately, just a few days later I miscarried. And our hearts broke.

“Dear Lord, I would have loved to have held my babies on my lap
and tell them about you, but since I didn’t get the chance,
would you please hold them on your lap and tell them about me?”
{author unknown}

That’s when I learned that nearly 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. That didn’t make me miss my baby any less nor did it ease the ache over the lost dreams I had for the precious life taken-too-soon, but it softened my heart to other mothers who grieved silently, never having the chance to hold their little ones.

After a physical, I was given the green light to start trying again and we were blessed to get pregnant right away. I tried to contain my excitement, in case. This time we waited until after we saw our baby’s heartbeat to begin sharing the good news. When we passed into the second trimester, I breathed a sigh of relief. “We made it!” or so I thought.

Just before hitting the halfway point {20 weeks}, signs of trouble began. When I made it in to the doctor’s office we were shocked to discover that my cervix was dilated to 4cm*. I was rushed to the hospital but before my doctors could try any interventions, my water broke. There was nothing that could be done. Twelve hours later I delivered my stillborn son. We named him Samuel Evan after his grandfather and because of the story in the Bible {Samuel means “asked of God”}.

“The mention of my child’s name may bring tears to my eyes,
but it never fails to bring music to my ears.
If you are really my friend, let me hear the beautiful music of his name.
It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul.”
{author unknown}

Reagan was born almost exactly 12 months after Samuel went to Heaven. She is my rainbow baby and brings her Daddy and I great joy.

But I still have struggled with how to answer the question, “Is she your first?” I have found it best to craft my answer based on who I am talking to. For the most part, when I am asked {by a sweet stranger in the grocery store or a new acquaintance at church}, I simply answer “yes.”  But when I am asked by another mom who I know will understand my heart and my loss, I share, “She’s my third. I’ve got two other precious babes in Heaven.”

Who do you share your mom-heartaches with? MOPS is a community of moms who gather together to talk about the highs and lows of motherhood. From first smiles and steps to potty training and starting school… and everything in between. MOPS mourns with moms who are hurting and celebrates with moms through each life victory. Find a group in your area!

Today I am giving away a FREE MOPS Membership (valued at $23.95 but worth so much more!).  Comment below for your chance to win. I will draw and announce one winner (using random.org) on Friday, September 20.

*I have since been diagnosed with Incompetent Cervix. More on that later.

A Tub Full of Toys

We’ve recently entered into a new era in our household – with something that has taken over our tub – bath toys! I’m not really sure that at five months old Reagan cares about entertainment during bath time {other than Mommy} but it still felt right. During that first bath time, I showed her each water creature and how they all have little spouts to blow water out. I practiced on the side of the tub, on Reagan’s arms and tummy and on Daddy when he peeked in to see what all the commotion was about. She was happy just trying to stuff the purple walrus into her mouth.

bath-toys

Fast forward to today. Today I’m tired. It’s been a long week. So during Reagan’s nap time I decided to indulge in a hot bath. I turned on the water, grabbed a cold bottle of water to drink and dipped my body into the glorious heat. I closed my eyes and leaned back… “squeak!”

I knew the toys were in the tub but I was too lazy to scoop them all out into the bathroom sink and I haven’t made it to the store to buy one of those mesh bathtub-toy bags yet. I assumed they would just gently float around me while I relaxed. I would hardly know they were there. And yet almost all had wedged themselves between me and relaxing recline.

Kind of like motherhood.

Reagan has brought joy and entertainment to my life but also requires a lot of extra work. She refuses to gently fit in to my schedule, my routine, instead changing every part of my life from the inside out. And if I don’t acknowledge her presence, her method of notifying me sounds an awful lot like “squeak!” Or it did until she found her lungs. Reagan has wedged herself into every crevice of my heart until the thought of life without her brings me physical pain.

Life as a mom is wonderful and hard and messy and beautiful. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world, even if that means that my little restful moments alone are met with a tub full of toys.