Thursday, March 5, 2009

Our little surprise

We closed on the property at the end of August and went away for Labor Day weekend, our last holiday because the next day we started bringing home the goats.

We had a little surprise for the children, and decided to tell them when we were all together that weekend.

The surprise was that I was pregnant.

I was elated. The whole concept of self-sufficiency, a family effort, was built in my mind around family. And since the early days of thinking about getting a farm, or perhaps even earlier, I had had dreams of more children.

Way back in my girlhood, I had wanted a big family. As a teen, I cried myself to sleep thinking how long it would be till I had my babies. I decided I wanted 14.

The reality of motherhood set in with our first, VJ. I breastfed him with great joy, but he seemed to have an insatiable appetite and a desire not to sleep and within a few weeks, I was exhausted. (Something I didn't know for another 30 years is that he would always have a voracious appetite and an inability to sleep.)

When VJ was several months old, I had shrunk in size to several pounds below my normal weight, and was jittery. It turned out to be a hyperthyroid condition that over time went away, possibly with the help of the iodine the doctor had me consume in copious amounts.

Then we joyfully had child #2. By this time I was definitely questioning the big-family idea. Margo reacted to many of my favorite foods and was uncomfortable throughout her infancy. And the thyroid problem hit again.

And 4 years after the first, we had #3. The thyroid problem hit very hard and I was miserable. It was so severe that the specialist we found in Boston declared I would never have children. When I told him I had just had my third, he did not believe me until John showed him a photo from his wallet. He put me on strong meds and I had to quit breastfeeding to use them, which broke my heart.

One of the most tender moments of my life happened right after that. I had 2 days to quit breastfeeding, so I began to wean Fritz onto a bottle, all the while mourning the change. But I did it with complete dedication, even while still feeling very sick with the thyroid condition. At the end of second day, we were done. I nursed him in the evening, but gave him a bottle for his last feeding before I went to bed. Then I crawled under the covers and laid there crying to myself with the loss of it.

And in his crib Fritz lay awake, restless, not crying but not settling down. He was 2 months old.

The hours went by and we each lay there awake. I could hear him. He never fussed, he just made baby noises. My heart was fully turned toward him and I felt that his was turned toward me.

Finally the sky began to lighten. It was probably 4:30 in the morning. I got up and went in to him. He was awake. I picked him up and carried him to the living room, sat in my rocking chair, and nursed him one last time with the last bit of my milk. He looked at me and I looked at him and we said our goodbyes. We acknowledged it would be ok.

Then I was at peace and so was he. We went to bed and slept well. We adapted. Life went on.

So now I was pregnant. Fritz was 6. It had been a while, and I was ecstatic.

The children were excited beyond words. It was a big unknown to them, and a bit abstract when we told them the baby would not be born till April or May.

From that point I felt a lot of fatigue, and some queasiness. It was obviously a good solid pregnancy, for which I was grateful. But it interfered with my ability to do as much around the farm as I wanted and had expected to do, primarily because I was so tired.

But I knew that in three months I would be feeling myself again and would be in full bloom of a happy pregnancy, feeling robust and in excellent health.

And it was true. I began to feel myself again by the middle of November.

A few weeks later, at the end of my 4th month, I miscarried a beautiful, perfect, but much too tiny baby.

It made no sense.


Eloise said...

Nothing that CAN be said-- but big hugs and love!

Toni-Shaklee Rep said...

I'm sorry... that's so sad.

Last night surround by family at the dinner table we were talking about the older sibling that my boys should have had... He or She would have celebrated their 17nth birthday the end of January.


Tessie258 said...

Peg I just read this!
I was totally unprepared for it and tears sprang to my eyes when I read it. So sorry you had to go through that. I pray the Lord lets us keep those babies that don't go full term. I lost one at almost 5 months and it was devastating. (((HUGS)))