Wednesday, February 22, 2006


This is the stage of pregnancy where I start to think of the baby as not just a possibility inside me, but a person. And since that's happening, it's made me think about lots of things in a new way.

I'm thrilled that the Pad is going to be a girl. Of course, I'd have been happy either way. But this is such a strange feeling of deja vu, as well. As I start to get to know her as a person -- as I start to know what her little kicks and pokes feel like, as I learn when during the day I'm most likely to feel her moving, as I start to imagine what she'll look like -- I remember this same getting-to-know-you period with Joseph. And I feel sad, thinking that I only got to know him for such a short time, on the inside.

I'm afraid to be happy, and I'm afraid not to be.

A few days after the ultrasound I went into the room we'd decorated as a nursery. (I started to say "Joseph's nursery." And that's just what I'm about to say here anyway - is it ever not going to be Joseph's nursery for me?) Not being a pink-ruffles or blue-with-trucks person anyway, I insisted on doing the nursery in as gender-neutral a manner as possible. The room has pale yellow walls, white and pine furniture, and bedding in bright primary colors - a patchwork quilt and bumper in reds, yellows, light and dark blues, and a bit of light green. I used pale blue as a major accent color - curtains, etc. Overall I love how it came out - it's bright and cheery and it doesn't scream "boy!" or "girl!"

I always envisioned being able to use the room for any siblings Joseph would have. But of course, things are a little different now. I looked around the room, and the idea of keeping everything the same somehow seemed...unfair. Like I'd be trying to squeeze this little girl into a spot prepared for Joseph, as though I'd just be expecting her to magically take his place.

I don't feel that way about the baby gifts we got at my shower - the activity gyms and car seats and strollers. Most of that is still in boxes - it has no significance that's specifically about Joseph. But somehow, the room does.

I don't want to redo everything - it's never even been used. But I feel like I need something to make this a space of her own, something just for her, something she won't have to share with the ghost of her brother. How can I do that? I thought about putting away the Curious George pictures I had framed on the walls - I don't think of them as boy-specific, since I loved Curious George myself. But I did find these, and I love them, especially since Alice is one of the names we're considering.

Part of me feels shallow, like maybe I'm just looking for an excuse to do foofy baby things. But even that - maybe I am, in a way. Maybe I think this baby deserves some anticipatory foofiness. There's nothing we need to do to get ready for this baby, since we did it all with Joseph. And before we were pregnant, we swore we wouldn't do anything that implied we expected to take a baby home. But now that doesn't feel realistic - I don't think I'm capable of that level of detachment anymore - and in a way it also doesn't feel fair. I know she won't know or care what I did/felt while I was pregnant with her, but I would know. I want to be able to look at her and know that she was joyfully anticipated.

I don't think I'm making much sense. I'll bet it isn't obvious that I write for a living, is it?

One thing we HAVE been able to do that has given me some of that sense of anticipation is talk about names. Neither of us wants to pick the One True Name ahead of time, since a) personally I find it creepy to talk about a baby by his/her name while still in utero and b) we want to see what she looks like. We'd rather have a short list and go in with that. So, after many hours of discussion and a few arguments (can I just say my husband is impossible when it comes to this?) we have our short list:

* Alice, with either Margaret, Virginia, or Eleanor for a middle name. (Margaret = my mom's name and his mom's middle name; Virginia = his maternal grandmother)
* Iris as a first name, with the same choice of three middle names
* Susannah Gayle (for my maternal and his paternal grandmother)

(Morbid thought I just had - every time I try to type "Alice" it comes out as "Alive.")


At Wednesday, February 22, 2006 12:44:00 PM, Blogger JN said...

Good luck to you and your family.

At Wednesday, February 22, 2006 10:24:00 PM, Blogger lauralu said...

i understand 100%. i'm not ready to bring the baby stuff back out yet (we turned the room back into the den it was before it was hans's room), but i've been thinking about when to bring it out. i don't want to wait until z comes home. i don't want to feel foolish if something bad happens, but i feel like z deserves my anticipation as much as hans did, as well as a room that is special for z.

i love the alice pics. the colors in the room sound perfect for the palette in these pics!

At Thursday, February 23, 2006 2:30:00 PM, Blogger Julian's Mom said...

I absolutely hear where you're coming from. I have been starting to feel a bit foolish (and foofy) lately myself. I think I hit a milestone in this pregnancy that I really didn't expect to reach. I now relate to the baby as a person, not as "The Pregnancy," and I have actually allowed myself to buy a few things specifically for this baby, to add to the things we already have set up in the nursery we still refer to as Julian's room, although he never lived there. I want to protect myself from the pain of potentially losing another child, but I also want to give this baby the same amount of pre-birth attention, preparation and love I gave to Julian before he was born. It's hard to let down my defenses, but I guess it's been feeling natural lately, as things progress a bit. I'm still anxious as hell. I'm so looking forward to next week when we hopefully get to find out the sex of the baby and are reassured that things are okay so far. Then I can get really foofy.

At Thursday, February 23, 2006 4:33:00 PM, Blogger Mrs.X said...

Remember when I said that I didn't really enjoy my pregnancy with Hurricane? That I had a hard time believing that this was one pregnancy that was going to stick and end in me bringing him home? I get it. Everytime I started thinking about the negative, I did something baby positive. Bought an outfit. Put something into the nursery. Wrote a letter for whoever they would be.
Had it ended differently, I would have at least had those moments. He, obviously, will never know. But I do. And that means something to me.
Joseph will always be there. But that doesn't mean that baby girl will be forever overshadowed by him and what could have been.
Get foofy. Celebrate a little. You all deserve that.

At Friday, February 24, 2006 8:28:00 PM, Blogger cat said...

A girl! Just catching up with you and wanted to say congrats and so many blessings your way.

One day at a time chica and we will all hopefully meet each other on the other side before we know it.

At Saturday, February 25, 2006 12:53:00 AM, Blogger the ockers said...

I love the name Iris. Iris Margaret is sweet, or with the other 2 middle names virginia, or Eleanor. Alice is very nice name also and I like it very much but it's very trendy where I live (in Melbourne). My daughter is only 2&1/2 and there are 5 Alice's that frequent a playgroup she goes to. Almost all the little girls around here are known as Ali, Ally, Eli or Elly - mostly short for Alice, Alison, Alissa, Alisha, Ella, Elisha, Elissa, Elle... and so on! Not so into Susannah or Gayle, sorry, maybe as a middle name only.Prefer Susannah to Gayle. & Good luck with all that name game stuff. WOW!!

At Saturday, February 25, 2006 8:04:00 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

I understand what you mean. I've already thought about how there are a few things i want to buy the next time around, instead of borrowing from friends like we were intending with kate. I feel like i need at least a little of the excitement of bringing home something for the new baby.

At Wednesday, March 01, 2006 4:47:00 PM, Blogger Josefina said...

I have a lot of things to comment, given the fact I read all your blog! (sorry for my lousy english, I'm chilean-spanish speaker- as other commenters already know)
1) it almost freaked me out to find out that we're alike in a lot of ways, but what amazed me most was the thing your husband say to you about inventing something to worry about. My h. says the exact same thing! (I'm a really nervous person also, with I.I.S(irritable intestine sindrome, is it that way you call it?)
2) I understand you SO well when you have those "bad feelings" for your brother and SIL, it's so normal and EVERYBODY has those bad feelings for close ones, but few are honest enough to recognize them, so unlike "annonymous" I really appreciate your honesty and also share a lot of your feelings: my brother and SIL are also pregnant (I had a chemical m/c only, but it was really sad), and I've envy them too many times for being so "damn lucky" to have gotten pregnancy at the first (máx 2º) try, and not having m/c, but OF COURSE I've never wished they had a m/c or anything like that, but I get mad thinking everything goes so well ALWAYS, eventhough my brother is BL (borderline personality) and have a lot of problems because of that, but finally everything turns out almost unfairly well for them. (I'm getting a little bit TOO extended, sorry!!)
3) TMI is really something my H. hates about modern times (and my ability to find the most strange and dramatic illness and tips and etc...): he thinks looking for information (specially about pregnancy, m/c,etc)(we are re-trying now) makes me so anxious it could be perjudicial (do you have that word??) for an eventual baby. So I understand you perfectly well at that point, also.
4) Ok, enough for today, I'm starting to keep track of several hard-to-get pregnancies now, so I'll come by and check how're you doing
5)for next vacations you could think of coming to Chile, it's really different and really cheaper than USA...specially Boston!!
Best wishes!!!!
PD: for information on my country try it's the turist service from the government (hopefully in english) that can give you a rough idea...

At Saturday, March 04, 2006 11:51:00 AM, Blogger Lorem ipsum said...

I like the names. Congrats on not feeling compelled to be 'unusual' by choosing Alyss, Marrgret, Vyrgna or Allanor. Hooray for traditional names spelled right! (Although I do have a girl name picked out that is a little unusual, but then it's a cultural thing.)

But more seriously, yes it is Joseph's nursery. But he's letting his sister use it. And you don't need to 'redo' anything. The fact that she is there will make all the difference.

At Saturday, March 04, 2006 11:56:00 AM, Blogger Lorem ipsum said...

ps Josefina, if you return, know that there are a lot of us in every nation going through this. You are not alone. I went to your blog and unfortunately all the Spanish I know is 'Dos mas cervezas, por favor,' but wanted to let you know.

At Sunday, March 05, 2006 11:57:00 AM, Blogger Lorem ipsum said...

There's a story in the San Francisco Chronicle today about stillbirth that actually dares to ask, 'When are we going to find out why it happens? And when will we start talking about it?' In case you're interested, here's the link.

At Sunday, March 05, 2006 3:48:00 PM, Blogger Josefina said...

Just wanted to let you know, I've just created "MY ENGLISH BLOG", as to be able to share my thoughts with all of you.
Hope to see you around!!

At Sunday, March 05, 2006 3:49:00 PM, Blogger Josefina said...

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