Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Prelude to the Next Chapter and a Note About Names

I am overjoyed, relieved, and thankful to announce the birth of our twins--our daughter Matilda Plum and our son (yes he surprised us by being a boy!) Milo Juniper, who were born on Friday, February 8th at 10:30 a.m. and 10:31 a.m.. I am also heartbroken to share that Milo lived three hours before passing away peacefully in his daddy's arms. Since my blogging was lacking at the end of my pregnancy, I have much to share both about it and about my babies' birth and current joys and sorrows. Although I was feeling down that I didn't do a lot of painting at the end of my pregnancy, I realized that there was actually a good deal of art-making going on. I will be sharing it along with my thoughts in my upcoming posts.

Before getting to those, however, I wanted to say a few things regarding using names in my blog. Up until this point, I have not been using my or my husband's name and I originally had planned not to use the babies' names either. When I started the blog and knew that I would like to make it public someday, I followed other bloggers' practices of remaining anonymous so as to protect my own and my family's privacy to some extent. Much of what I share here is pretty personal, so I thought that it would probably be best if I did not use our names so that someday down the road when our children were older they could decide if, where, and when to share their story. I didn't want some friend of theirs finding the blog lurking on the internet and using it to make fun of them about their unconventional conception or their kooky mom who shares things that should not be talked about publicly. However, since Matilda and Milo's birth I have changed my mind about using our names in the blog for a couple of reasons. First, it is inevitable that as the days and weeks and months pass by, those around us will be less and less inclined to speak of Milo or to mention his name. They will be afraid of bringing him up out of fear of upsetting us or making us cry. The truth is that we will long for people to ask about him and say his beautiful name day after day and year after year. So I am choosing, in part, to share our names here so that I have a place to say Milo's name, to type it and see it in print, so others will recognize that he will not be forgotten. Second, I will now share our names because I want my daughter to learn the power of sharing her story. I do not wish to teach her that we should shy away from sharing our names along with our tragedies simply because we are afraid of what others might think, say, or do. If Matilda's friends find out her story someday by reading my blog, it is my hope that I will have taught her that our story of infertility and loss is something to be embraced. I hope that she will have learned to recognize that sharing her story when so many will not and cannot is heroic. Having said this, my name is Erin and my husband's name is Mark. The names of our first babies, whom we lost to miscarriage, are O.B., which stands for Our Baby, and B.W., which is for Baby Willer (our last name). And now, we have our Matilda and our Milo, the sweetest sounding names we could possibly imagine.

We have had Matilda's name picked out for years. It's been my favorite name and I can say that one of the most tragic aspects of my infertility for me has not being able to use it. Mark and I choose it for a number of reasons. First, it comes from the book Matilda by Roald Dahl, which is a beautiful story of redemption for an unusually smart, sassy, and sweet little girl. Second, Mark is a huge Tom's Wait's fan and the lovely song "Tom Traubert's Blues" hosts the lyrics "waltzing Matilda." Third, one of my favorite beers is Matilda made by Goose Island. We lived in Lincoln, Nebraska for a few years, a time that we treasure deeply. During that time, I drank a lot of Matildas in the bar below our apartment. I remember sitting at the bar and telling Mark and the bartender that I loved the name Matilda. The bartender said, "Yeah, and you could call her Mati." And so we do sometimes. We thought of Milo's name at the start of the pregnancy. It was actually our second girl name rather than our first choice for a boy. (For those of you who know I love the show Gossip Girl, we had the name picked out before nasty Regina came into the picture with her baby Milo!) Because our Milo had little amniotic fluid around him the entire pregnancy, it was difficult to see his sex on ultrasound. We had the perinatologist and sonographers check a number of times, and their best guess was always girl (up until a couple of weeks before the birth when our OB thought he saw a penis). Since we were never positive and we wanted to be able to call him by name during the pregnancy, we decided that Milo would work if he ended up being a boy even though it was our girl name originally. The babies' middle names, Matilda Plum and Milo Juniper, are both names of trees. When Mark and I got married, the theme for our wedding was "growth" which involved such things as planting a unity flower and giving out vegetable seeds as favors to our guests. We loved the metaphor then for planting a life together as a couple and wanted to carry it through to our new family. I also love the color purple so plum was fitting for Matilda (and fit Mark's criteria for a one-syllable name following a lengthy three-syllable name!).

I don't have a painting to go along with this post yet. Instead of feeling guilty and waiting to post until I do, I am accepting that motherhood is busy and that sometimes my words will have to be enough. Instead of a painting too I also thought I would share some pictures of the tree that Mark and I made for Matilda's room. It serves as a reminder of that love that inspired Matilda and Milo's names. The tree is made out of paint tarps, twine, and pvc pipe. The flower (by stylist Ahndea May, and purple silk embellishments were a part of our maternity picture session (see my post Breeching Birth).