Thursday, June 2, 2016

Mourning the Baby Girl I'll Never Have

I was 31 years old when I got pregnant with my first.  What excitement ensued!  I remember checking the baby tracker almost daily to see what was new with the baby that day.  I cheated by reading what to expect in weeks ahead, and I bragged to my husband when he reached the size of a kumquat.  I was obsessed with knowing the gender, even though in my heart I was absolutely certain it was a girl.  I checked with the Chinese baby calendar online to determine the sex, and on my first try I landed on a blue square.

I immediately reassured myself.  First of all, this is a silly, meaningless, non-scientific calculator.  Second, I’m not 100% sure about the month I conceived.  It was during a New Year’s eve getaway so maybe it was December instead of January… Let me try that. 

Pink square.  Relief.

I grew up babysitting so I could make extra cash in my High School days.  In fact, I started when I was 11 years old.  Obviously things were different back then – I was still afraid of the dark but I would happily watch your kids on a Saturday night for $5 an hour, and parents trusted me - no questions asked. 

Both families I worked for on a regular basis happened to have two girls. We enjoyed braiding hair and watering the dandelions outside before playing My Little Pony at bedtime.  In my senior year, however, a new family moved around the corner who had two young boys.  Little did I know what I was in for when I was hired for that particular gig. 

Never in my career did I have to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and peel wild boys from my body as they pounced on me over and over again.  I think if you saw my face during my first day at the job, you might have described it somewhere between shock, fear and a bit of disgust. Thankfully I was off to college shortly thereafter and never looked back. 

So when it finally came time for my sonogram, I was already bursting with joy over the expected words “it’s a girl” before they were even spoken.  When the sonogram technician instead pointed out the opposite, my heart sank just a bit.  Surely she’s mistaken?  I recovered quickly and realized how incredibly happy I was regardless, but I was totally surprised and caught off-guard nonetheless. 

We named him Ty and he was the love of my life from the moment he was born.  I remember watching him with pure wonder and awe.  “Boys are crazy!” I would say to myself with a smile.  Instead of watching TV, he was throwing his toys at the screen.  Instead of playing with his learning cube he was trying to smash it into pieces with his toy tools.  He zipped up the ladder and down the high slide at the playground before I could stop him, and he couldn’t even talk yet!

It was around that time I went in for the second baby sonogram.  THIS TIME, it was a girl for sure.  

Wrong again.

You know what?  How nice for Ty.  He will have a brother so close in age and they will be the best of friends.  In my heart I knew I would have more children so getting the boys out of the way first was probably a blessing.  Soon I would have a girl and it will be so sweet to know she has 2 big brothers to protect her.  Life will be perfect.

As most of you know, this is where my story takes a very sad turn.  Ty got cancer when he was 2 years and 10 months old.  His little brother, Gavin, was just 16 months old at the time.  For the next two years we focused on saving Ty’s life, missing out on so much of the childhood they both deserved, and in the end we lost him anyway.  He was gone just days after his fifth birthday, and I am broken.  I am half the person I used to be, the other half left with him on that crisp October afternoon. 

It took my husband and I a very long time before we could even talk about the idea of maybe having another baby.  Years went by.  I woke up one day and the woman looking back at me was suddenly old and turning gray!  My baby boy was in first grade and he was always so alone!  How did we get here, this is not my life. 

My husband and I agreed to try for another baby, but it didn’t happen.  I was so upset and angry.  I never had trouble getting pregnant in my earlier years, it seemed so unfair that I couldn’t get pregnant now – when the pressure of the clock was loudly ticking away in my ear.  We decided together that we wouldn’t try and medical procedures, if it was meant to be it was meant to be.  And by the time my 40th birthday rolled around, I believed it wasn’t. 

It wasn’t until I accepted this fact and started to actually fear the idea of going back to diapers and car seats that I did, in fact, get pregnant.  I am still in shock.

I decided that we should name her Faith as a testament to all we’ve been through.  I began filling shopping carts with tutus, tiaras and delicate floral crib sheets.  I spent weeks thumbing through pink or lavender nursery ideas.  The idea of watching my husband with a little girl in pigtails made my heart skip a beat.  I intentionally started visiting Zulily again on a regular basis, and went straight to the pages on little girls. 

Once again, my heart was set on a baby girl.  Once again I am emptying those shopping carts one by one, and feeling oh-so uninspired by cargo shorts and navy blue everything.  It took me a few days to mourn the fact that a girl just isn’t meant to be.  I am in love with my baby boy already, and I wouldn’t trade him in for a million tiaras, but I can’t promise I won’t be tempted to play with his hair when he sleeps.  My talent is being wasted – not everyone can French braid like I can! 

Having a baby boy is so fun, don’t get me wrong, and I dream about how much I love to put a newborn into a soft, fresh one-piece with blue trim.  To pick him up and nuzzle his hair under my nose.  It’s my favorite thing.  But a baby boy also comes with a ton of mixed of emotions that I need to cope with.  Would Ty feel we are trying to replace him?  What if he looks like Ty, will it break my heart?  What if he doesn’t look at all like him, will I be disappointed?  What if my mind starts thinking crazy thoughts in hopes that Ty can be reborn in this baby.  I used to say things like that in my darkest days, begging Lou to have another baby, and it terrified him.

I am okay.  I am happy.  I am in a good place and I can’t wait to have another baby.   


  1. Hi beautiful not old at all lady! I'm in awe of you. I share the same feelings like you. I'm a girly girl. I have two sisters. Our dog was a girl and I never even though I would have a boy. The first time I was shocked. The second time I cried. I'm embarrassed. And now when I'm almost forty I gave it another try. My husband was sure it was afire but I knew that it would be a boy. When it was confirmed people would tell me that it shocking and I should go for number 4. Crazy right?! And now I am just like you. Mom of three boys! Welcome to the club of girly girls who are wasting their hair technique talents on fighting and playing soccer and basketball all over the house. Boys are crazy, funny, wild, loud. They will never accompany us to mani pedi, or enjoy to go shopping. ����. But boys rock all the way. Congrats from the bottom of my heart. Ty is so happy and proud and Ty will never be replaced! So happy for you. Enjoy your pregnancy. I can't imagine how over the moon Lou and Gavin are!
    Ty you are such a beautiful boy and I miss you dearly.

  2. Cindy,

    I read your post a few weeks ago about the baby and I wanted to email you! However, I tend to say the things people think but are too polite to say, so I refrained until this post. First of all, I am so happy for you guys. I know you will love this baby to pieces. You and Lou are absolutely amazing parents, and I think Gavin is going to be in awe. :) But I was afraid for you. Everything you said in your post I thought. I remember saying why wasn't it a girl, what if the baby looks like Ty, will this be difficult? What if you start thinking Ty coming back to you reincarnated. Not saying I believe these things, but I don't know. . .it crossed my mind. But how could I say these things? Well, I just said them now and I truly hope you understand. . .

    But, after reading this post I now am smiling. This baby couldn't ask for better parents! You two are amazing parents, you two are the most selfless individuals. You are already an amazing mom, and Lou is an amazing dad. I am so happy for the two of you!

    Joy Marielle <3

  3. How lucky this soul is to be taking this ride of life with you, Lou and Gavin. He has a wonderful guide in Ty. You are the bravest woman I know (sort of know. lol)

  4. Cindy, I don't know you or Lou, but I started following your blog when Mahopac friends posted it on FB, when they were organizing prayers for Ty. I wanted you to know that I understand how you feel about not having a girl. My first pregnancy, we didn't find out the gender, but the baby was constantly moving in my belly, from kicks and jabs early on, to actually being able to watch him roll around in there! Yes, he was a boy, and it was still is, even with the (mild autism and) teenage attitude (he's 15 now). A couple of years later we were ready for more, and I told myself it didn't matter, but I hoped for a girl. Pregnancy came quickly, but 12 weeks later, we lost that one. It was hard, but 6 months later, we were ready again, and again, pregnancy came easy. However, again, we lost this one around 12 weeks. Tests showed a non-hereditary, chromosome abnormality incompatible with life, for our GIRL. 6 months later, pregnant again...12 weeks...another miscarriage. After a year of testing and different therapies, I again became pregnant. I had a hard time connecting with this one...couldn't allow myself to feel happy about it. But, this one was healthy at 12 weeks...13 weeks..14 weeks...15 weeks... This one felt completely different than my first...a few little limb movements, but not the activity of the first...and I just knew she was a girl. On to the 16 weeks ultrasound...BOY! I tried so hard to be happy...after all...shouldn't I just be glad i had a healthy baby?! And of course, I was. As time passed, I did accept that I would not have a girl...there was no way I could risk losing another...I couldn't go through the age thing. But most definitely, the best moment ever, was having that healthy boy placed in my arms. Aidan (contrary to in utero) is the most active kid I know...far more than his older brother! At 10, he is still a cuddler, he's funny, smart, has lots of goals, and I couldn't love anyone more than James and Aidan. It took some time, but i can now say that my family is perfect for me! I just wanted to say that feeling disappointed about not having a girl, doesn't mean that you won't love both your boys with all your heart, and be the best mom there is. I wouldn't have my family any other way.

    -Erin T.

  5. I am so happy for you! You are meant to be a "boy" mom, embrace it. You will always be their first love!

  6. Awe Cindy! Love and hugs and smiles and tears. And then more and more and more! XO.. I am truly honored to know you. To share in your story and to join in all the emotions it brings. The strength You offer and that Is gain ed is indescribable. Can't wait to see you at messfest ❤️❤️😊😊

  7. I love how you are so honest in your posts! I have a few friends too that said the EXACT same thing about having a girl. Its just a girly thing I suppose :) :) but I love that you can write about it! So excited for you and this new addition to your family. I have been checking up constantly for an update!

  8. I say you take this one blessing and. Get another. Adopt a girl!!! Why not? It's in you to care for a child that need s love.

  9. My heart soars with happiness for the thought of a new baby in your home. I can see the conflicting feelings you have- I don't think he's at all going to replace Ty or be Ty- though I look at pics of both your boys and sometimes I can't tell who I'm looking at
    so I'm willing to bet he will look like Ty! I think just like how Gavin saved you both in your darkest time, this child will give you so much light and some of the healing that your hearts so desperately need. In no way will it take from who Ty was. It's more love to share- another childhood cancer advocate in your family, and a baby brother for Gavin! Maybe this little guy will somehow give Gavin peace in his heart and a new sense of responsibility (maybe he will even change a diaper!!). I care about your family and your story so much- I'm so glad that you continue to share. I work for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (we have a fundraising office in Seattle- ALSAC), and it's the hardest and most rewarding thing I've ever done- being an advocate for kids with cancer. I will never stop working to raise the funds necessary to eradicate this horrible disease. Ty gives me daily inspiration to keep working for all of these amazing kids, and he also gives me daily inspiration to be a better mom and not sweat the small messes in life- but to let my kids play in them.

    With so much love and respect,

    Jennifer O'Dell
    Seattle, WA

  10. I'm so happy for you all...I know the new baby is going to be something that gives you new memories...and you deserve them. Your post was really honest and I appreciate it. Having 2 boys myself...I felt the same way...I actually thought both of my boys were girls. So much for the Mom knowing -- and I always felt guilty that I didn't know. But having the 2 boys is awesome. They love me so much and I don't get the same attitude my friends with girls seem to get...none the less I'm still longing for someone to dress up or do their hair or take to get a pedicure...since I'm 42 I don't think it's going to happen for me but I really do pray that something happens (maybe a niece or special kid somewhere) I get to find a girl who wants to do some girl things...Anyway -- I can't wait to hear more about your new boy...I love that you all are going to be parents again as you are some of the very best.

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  12. I don't think, there is anything wrong to have a baby girl. When I started reading your article, I feel it quite interesting as you have added lots of your own memories here. I am feeling like you are very much happy with your baby girl. Thanks a lot for sharing so much. Keep posting.

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  14. I haven't been by your blog in a long time. He will be beautiful. I understand the mourning of the loss of a girl, but at the same time, when you hold him, it will be so cathartic and beautiful, and you couldn't imagine what it would be like if he were a girl. So thrilled for you and can't wait to hear of your beautiful baby's arrival.

  15. I haven't been by your blog in a long time. He will be beautiful. I understand the mourning of the loss of a girl, but at the same time, when you hold him, it will be so cathartic and beautiful, and you couldn't imagine what it would be like if he were a girl. So thrilled for you and can't wait to hear of your beautiful baby's arrival.