It’s April, and I want to tell you about my daughter.

I know I haven’t finished telling you about my father. We’re almost there. I figure two more posts ought to do it. But for now, I want to take a detour and talk about my daughter, the girl who gave April back to me. Her name is Morrigan.

I have always known that I wanted to be a Mom. Perhaps it’s the result of being the elder of “Irish twins”. I was 11 months old when my brother was born, and by all accounts I immediately adopted the role of Mother Hen. I also knew that I wanted two children.

I had Henry when I was 28 years old. I had Morrigan when I was 38. There were two pregnancies between. The first of those ended in miscarriage in the fifth week. The second ended in miscarriage in the thirteenth week.

Since I was over 35 years of age when I conceived Morrigan, the pregnancy was subject to more scrutiny than it would have been otherwise. My obgyn wanted me to have an amniocentesis, but because of my history of miscarriages, I refused. I was sent off to the perinatologist‘s office for a sonogram in my ninth week of pregnancy.

I will never forget that first visit. The sonographer did her thing, then told me to hang tight for a few minutes; the doctor would be in to see me shortly. He came in, introduced himself, and immediately started scrutinizing the pictures. He said, “There’s something going on with this baby’s heart,” and mine stopped for a moment.

At first the concern was that my baby might have Down Syndrome. The obgyn pressed me hard to have that amniocentesis. When I continued to refuse she told me that my risk for having a child with Down Syndrome was greater than having a miscarriage as a result of the procedure. That wasn’t a good enough reason for me. She also presented me with the option of terminating the pregnancy.

At the risk of starting a debate I’m not interested in having, I am pro-choice, but I personally did not want an abortion. T was not so sure. He had a lot of concerns about trying to raise a child with special needs, particularly in light of his own disability.

We did a lot of research. We took the time to find out what resources would be available to us in the event we did have a child with Down Syndrome. Ultimately we decided–together– that we would go forward with the pregnancy so long as there was no reason to believe it was not viable and that we could offer any child, special needs or not, with a good, strong, loving family.

Dr. Obgyn discussed termination with me two more times. I finally told her that T and I had made up our minds and were not interested in discussing it anymore. After that I was told that I would need to see Dr. Perinatologist once a week for a 3D sonogram. Man, that was a bitch, especially as my pregnancy progressed. I’ll get back to that later.

In my thirteenth week of pregnancy we had a preliminary diagnosis. I can’t remember for the life of me what the correct medical term was at that time. I can tell you that just a few weeks later we got the final diagnosis: pulmonary sequestration. (The preliminary diagnosis was almost the same EXCEPT that there is no direct blood supply. If that had been the case there would have been a chance the mass would shrivel on its own.) She did not have Down Syndrome.

If you read the pulmonary sequestration link then you know that they are generally not fatal. In Morrigan’s case, however, the mass was pushing against her heart. As a result, her heart was shoved to the right. We had to monitor her development carefully and watch for signs of heart failure. We were advised she might be stillborn.

The following months were…

I’m sorry. I’m at a loss for words. I’ll try to show you:

In addition to everything else, Morrigan was in a transverse lie. It was extremely painful for me. It also added the possibility that I might have to have a cesarean section on top of everything else (there were other reasons a c-section might be necessary as well. Fortunately I didn’t have to go through that). Lying on that flat hard table once a week for the sonogram was tortuous. (I told you I’d get back to that five paragraphs ago.)

Henry was seven when I had my second miscarriage at thirteen weeks. T and I had barely informed him he was going to be a big brother (he wanted a sibling SO BADLY). Telling him the baby died was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. He cried and cried. Now we had to tell him that there was a chance this baby wouldn’t make it either. He was almost nine.

We knew it was important for the baby’s health to be as positive as it was possible to be. We tried. Every day, we tried.

Sometimes, we failed.

Every week the sonogram showed the same thing: no polyps around Morrigan’s heart, but it also stubbornly remained right of center. We were in limbo land for a long time.

I started getting antsy around the beginning of the third trimester. We knew we were having a girl, but we didn’t have a name for her yet. It became very important to me that we choose one. I felt a need to tie her to us in that way. Every time I tried to discuss it with the boys, however, it devolved into the two of them suggesting names like “Booger Face” and “Stinkbutt”. I don’t blame them. Humor was our armor. So… why Morrigan?

Did you read that first link, way at the top?

 

The Morrigan is a goddess of battle, strife, and fertility.

 

In addition to being battle goddesses, they are significantly associated with fate as well as birth in many cases, along with appearing before a death or to escort the deceased.

 

… the Washer at the Ford, another guise of the Morrigan. The Washer is usually to be found washing the clothes of men about to die in battle. In effect, she is choosing who will die.

 

The first gifts we give our children are the greatest ones: we give them life, and we give them a name. We named our daughter Morrigan, and in so doing we symbolically gave her a third gift: we gave her the choice to live or to die in her first battle.

She’ll be six years old on April 28th.

She made a good choice.

 

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49 thoughts on “It’s April, and I want to tell you about my daughter.

  1. wow…just wow…my pregnancy was easy, being 23 helped, I can’t imagine in a million years how horrible that must have been. You’re family is beautiful. This piece played my heartstrings. (Btw: my fellow older female irish twin with mental and physical problems, my daughter is Morgan!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow what a story. You have a beautiful family! I’m sorry for your two losses. Hubby and I can’t have children. Long story short three rounds of IVF seven embryos implanted, 7 died.

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      • It is and I’m sorry you know.

        With IVF there is a known term called the TWW. (Two week wait) It’s after the embryo has been placed until the time we can do a pregnancy test. I lost two of three rounds in the first three days, but you still have to wait and do a pregnancy test just in case. It was the longest two weeks of my life each time.
        Add in horrible medical care, almost dying during egg retrieval, the long trip every other day for an invasive ultrasound (up at 4 am) mean docs…judging people…$15000 no family support on my side at all…it was horrible.

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        • Oh, sweetie. I hate that you had to endure that.

          Please forgive me if I triggered you in any way. I would never do it on purpose. I am, however, always here if you want to talk or vent or have someone make silly jokes at you. When my ears stop smoking, they’re pretty good for listening.

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          • πŸ™‚ Stupid ears.

            I will get over there and read them. This was another excellent reason to trim my list. It gives me the opportunity to concentrate on getting to better know the people with whom I’ve already begun forging relationships.

            Dang. I think I need to let my participles dangle more. :p

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          • HA! I’m actually pretty good with the grammar and the spelling. These always came easily for me, and I used to have an excellent vocabulary, too. Within the last couple of years my brain has gotten so scrambled, though, that I often have to stop mid-sentence and shut my eyes real tight in an effort to remember what word I was about to say. Either that or I will think one word and type another; hence “preposition” somehow became “participle”. It’s kind of scary. I worry that I’m going to end up with dementia.

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          • English history were my strong points too. I could be trauma related or you’re in a lot of pain most of the time right? My memory is really bad. I know it’s at least partly trauma connected. Then there is epilepsy and the meds for it that don’t help.

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          • I don’t think it’s trauma related, but then I can’t be certain. I’ve been triggered by a few posts here and there lately. I’ve found I’ve had to go much more slowly in revealing things about my abusive childhood than I thought. I honestly believed I was “over” it. I was so wrong. (It was also part of my mini freak-out yesterday.)

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          • I totally understand. It’s happened so often on here when I blog, that I end up realizing I’m not okay and things really hurt. It’s not always a bad thing, but you definitely have to go at a pace that is tolerable for you!

            If you’ve been triggered and are feeling some things intensely right now it would make sense that you’d be struggling with language.

            On a side note: I forgot to mention that you didn’t trigger me with that last post, no need at all to apologize. I felt like in one small way I could relate to you.

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          • I’m glad. I really don’t want to do that to you, but I also understand that it’s unavoidable at times. I actually don’t have a problem feeling triggered. I take it as a cue that this is something I obviously need to re-process. Even if it hurts I see it as a positive thing. And empathy is always a good thing. It’s one of the things I think makes us better than our abusers: we aren’t so afraid of our own feelings that we lose the ability to empathize with others. It means we have an opportunity to not just survive, but to thrive.

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  3. What a handsome family πŸ™‚ Morrigan is a beautiful name, artfully picked.

    I am so sorry to hear of your miscarriages, that must have been hard. My Dad was baby number 11 yet he is the oldest child, the ones before didn’t make it. It was incredibly hard on his Mum but she was such a strong lady. I have never known someone as strong as she was. Pure love for her children. A strength I don’t think everyone has but you most certainly do.

    Sending big hugs!!

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    • It was hard, both of them were hard. The second was hardest because of the effect it had on Henry. Also, I knew from experience to keep quiet about the pregnancy until after I reached the second trimester (12 weeks). We had *just* made the big announcement to friends and family, and then I lost the baby. I can’t even begin to imagine what your grandmother went through.

      Your Dad was probably the best loved, most spoiled child in his neighborhood. πŸ™‚

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      • Most probably haha πŸ™‚ Yeah he loved his Mum very much, she passed a few years ago now.

        I can’t even begin to imagine what you went through, I am so sorry it happened to you and your family, your friends, it must have been hard on everyone 😦

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          • And when you are, you will be fantastic. I know this about you. πŸ™‚

            Do you know, I left an important part of the story out! The week after we decided on her name we went for our weekly sonogram. It was at *that visit* when we got our very first piece of good news: the pressure from the mass on her heart had eased up, and her heart was closer to the position. I guess I’ll save that tidbit for when I talk about her surgery. (but YOU will know!)

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          • Well, if we want to call it that, who’s going to stop us?

            No. Actually, we were INCREDIBLY fortunate to have *fantastic* doctors watching over us. They are all amazing people who love what they do and are devoted to their craft. I am so thankful to each and every one of them–including Dr. Obgyn! (She also delivered Henry, by the way.) πŸ˜€

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  4. Wow, what a heartbreaking, and heartwarming story at the same time. I often can’t find a good reason for the bad stuff that happens in life, but sometimes I do think that living through it makes the joyous moments just a little bit sweeter. You have a beautiful family! I admire you for standing your ground against the pressures to follow doc’s orders… or simply give up πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you. I’m fortunate to have the best people I’ve ever known in my family. πŸ™‚

      As for docs… you do *anything* for your kids (and… I might maybe have what could be described as a “strong personality”. heh.)

      Like

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