So! Hello again! First of all, let me start by saying that I am absolutely overwhelmed and humbled by all of your sweet comments and prayers that we've received since we announced our pregnancy a couple of months ago. Many of you seem to be just as excited as we are! A handful of you who I lived and worked with over the last year and a half have witnessed a sort of transformation in me - from putting on a fake smile to genuinely being happy. You've seen me cry, you've seen me get angry at my loss, you've seen me get jealous of others, and you've seen me take my burden and use it for good. No words can thank you enough for your support.
You may find yourself wondering "How does it feel to be pregnant again after that type of loss?" "What kind of emotions...?" "How does it feel to be expecting another BOY?" Well, let me tell you. We were very adamant to make sure that we did not get pregnant too quickly after losing Lucas. Physically, my doctor told me to wait at least a year to help lower certain risks after having had a c-section. Emotionally, we knew we needed to give ourselves plenty of time to grieve. There is no finish line or time limit when it comes to grief, but there does come a time when it becomes much easier. I personally wanted to make sure that our next baby was in no way a replacement for Lucas...I was afraid of it FEELING like a replacement even if that was not our intent. Turns out, from the moment I saw that positive pregnancy test, I knew that this baby was a completely different individual. As all second time moms do, I'd often compare this symptom and that symptom with my first pregnancy, but still more than capable of understanding that I'm carrying a different individual. So, that was never an issue for. me.
Seeing that positive pregnancy test...I kind of had a "Here we go again..." feeling. Excitement, anxiety, adjectives that I don't have a big enough vocabulary to describe. It was all there. I was excited to think that maybe I'll be able to bring this baby home. But I was nervous that, well, what if I don't? I am having a little trouble allowing myself to get too excited. I want to shop and plan, but what if I lose this baby too? That is still a real possibility. My heart says go ahead, my head says wait. I don't want to buy anything big until at least 30 weeks. I actually did go straight to the store from my appointment. Bought 2 outfits and little shoes. But that's it for now! I used to go into Lucas' room every day and admire my growing baby stash. And I know what it feels like to have to box it all up. Hurt is not a strong enough word. But, as I type this, I realize I should let myself enjoy this time! With so many complications, this is our last chance. No matter what happens, I am going need to remember this smile I have on my face today. I am so blessed to get the opportunity and I guess I better make the most of it. This brings me to a certain subject. I'll try not to get too long-winded with this, but it's something that people don't usually talk about It has become somewhat of a taboo subject, and it shouldn't be! Let's talk about miscarriage.
Unless you've had a miscarriage, you probably don't realize how common it truly is. It's so common that I guarantee you know a handful of women who've been through the heartache of a miscarriage and you never knew about it. Why didn't you know about it? Because women aren't "supposed" to talk about it. "Don't tell anyone you're pregnant until 12 weeks in case something happens!" That's the rule right? I had two miscarriages. I missed my period. I took a test. I got a positive. I told my mom and sister. Ryan told his parents. I started having morning sickness. It was our first "try" after deciding to get pregnant again after Lucas. Ryan said "If I got you pregnant on the first try, I deserve a gold medal!" So I went to a trophy shop next door to my work and got him a gold medal. Here's a pic of an excited Ryan accepting his baby-maker award as if he's an Olympic medalist or LeTour De France winner...
I lost that baby a week later. I was "glad" that it happened quickly rather than weeks down the road like other women I know. Every week gets you more excited. And of course, the further along you are, the more difficult it is physically. Some women even require surgery. So I cried for a while about it, but I accepted it and handled it well, knowing that we obviously don't have any problems conceiving and I can be grateful for that. A couple of months later, it happened again. This time only lasted a few days and to be honest, I felt kind of numb to the feelings having been through worse. My mom and sister were in town (I told them at the airport the day I got a positive). We were so busy, I didn't have time to be sad.
Anyway...think about this. SO MANY women can't conceive at all! SO MANY women have been through several miscarriages. 8, 10, 12+ weeks into their pregnancies! For most women, the SECOND you see that positive pregnancy test, you see your whole life with THAT baby. It flashes before your eyes. You look in the mirror and see your growing belly. You imagine holding your newborn for the first time. You look over to the side and see that baby laughing and cooing in a bouncer while you're getting ready for work. You think about the nursery...you plan the rest of your life with THAT baby in a single split second. And when all that is taken away from you...that whole life you never got to have...it's devastating. No matter how long you were pregnant. What about the women who never get to enjoy a facebook announcement. Who never get to have fun registering. Never get to plan a nursery. Never get to ooh and ahh over adorable tiny clothes. I just want you all to chew on that for a while and say a little prayer the women who have had to say goodbye to something they never had the chance to say hello to.
Ok, moving on....
So, we're having a boy! I honestly knew it was a boy from the start. I just had an overwhelming feeling that it's a boy. When looking online at clothes and baby gear, I didn't even look at girl stuff unless I forced myself. I just didn't want to look at girl stuff because I knew so deeply that it wasn't. I can't explain it. I would have been extremely happy with a girl...I love the baby dolls, and clothes, and toys, and little kitchen sets. But I also have a huge box of little boy stuff packed away in the garage that would have gone to waste. Again, I say, in no way is this baby a replacement for Lucas, but it's comforting to be able to realize the plans and hopes that we started 2 years ago. We got excited about a little boy and then it was gone... and now we can finally live it out...God willing.
So what are we going to name this little guy? We can't call him Squishy forever! Although Squishy was growing on me! Squishy Wemyss? No? Everyone, let me introduce you to:
Andrew Lucas Wemyss
Let's talk about why we decided on these names. Well, Andrew has been my favorite name since as long as I can remember. Probably sometime in high school when lonely girls name their kids before they ever even have a boyfriend. I know I mentioned it when we were naming Lucas, but I really don't remember why it never made the cut. I DO remember going through a list of over 1000 baby names and we could agree on TWO! Lucas being one of them. So picking out names is not one of our strong points as a couple. So of course Andrew came up again this time. I even had a "presentation", if you will, to convince Ryan that this was the way to go.
#1 Andrew was the first disciple of Jesus Christ. Talk about someone to name your kid after!
#2 He's also known as Saint Andrew...Patron Saint of Scotland. This speaks to Ryan's Scottish heritage which he is quite proud of.
#3 We were married at the home of President Andrew Jackson. A Tennessee guy...need I say more?
In case these arguments weren't convincing enough, I reached a little further...
#4 Andrew Carnegie...born in Scotland, but played a MAJOR role in the history of Pittsburgh
#5 Andrew Mellon...a Pittsburgh guy.
Reaching out even further....
#6 Andrew McCutchen...outfielder for the Pirates
#7 Andy Warhol...Pittsburgh guy
#8 He likes Andy Roddick...
I don't know about Ryan, but I don't know a lot of Andrew's. Really, just one. Grew up with him...from the first day of Kindergarten...grew up in the same church...graduated high school together. Although I haven't communicated with him, other than Liking a few Facebook statuses, in over 10 years, I happen to know that he has grown into a Christ-centered adult, strong in his faith and a leader in his church. And I'm not saying I'm naming my child after this Andrew (Sorry, Andrew, if you're reading this), but it helps to know that the association I have with the name is so positive and comforting. Nothing is worse than giving your child a name that reminds you of the loser crack-head you went to high school with. Or the person that bullied you and made 6th grade miserable. So Ryan decided he liked the name and didn't have any better ideas. So Andrew it is!
Now, as for Lucas....It may seem obvious why we chose this name. But there's actually more to it. I was a little skeptic when Ryan first had the idea to use Lucas as the middle name. I wondered if it was wrong, somehow. That's LUCAS' name. This baby is not Lucas. So I thought about it...a lot. Here's what I think:
Lucas was, is, and will always be a huge part of our lives. LUCAS IS OUR SAVING GRACE!!! After we lost him, I really got to questioning my faith. Why God? Why me? I think I covered this in a previous post. I slowly came around and decided that we really needed to go to church. I craved answers and craved to be closer to God. Although, I jokingly said a couple of times "I've got a little boy in Heaven waiting on me! I don't want any lip from Saint Peter when I get there!" So, last December, Ryan and I went to church for the first time in our marriage. Our eyes were opened. I had been describing my new found faith like this: Lucas was a little light that came into our lives, a little shining light that lit our way back to God, back to church. Without having had and lost Lucas, I don't know that we would have ever gone back to church. I remember Bro Jerry saying during one of his sermons "God only lets you wander so far away from Him before he starts pulling you back in." This sentence plays in my head multiple times a day, every day. Was that Lucas' purpose? To draw Ryan and I closer to God? If so, it worked! Bad things happen to people all the time. We have free will. We can whine about it and get mad at God and turn away from Him for doing this bad thing in our lives. We can get mad and question Him. We can look for answers. We can decide to look to God or turn away. I chose to get answers, look to God for answers, and I believe I found answers. I found my way back. And I can thank my son, Lucas, for that. Come to find out, I just recently learned that the name Lucas actually means "light"! How appropriate.
Lucas' ashes are sitting a little cross-shaped box on our chest of drawers in our bedroom. His name and dates are engraved on the box. And it also reads " May God bless you and keep you, and may his light shine upon you always." I just bought that box because I thought it was pretty. It had a nice "saying" on it. Not long ago, I got to wondering, is that a bible verse? So i looked it up. Turns out, it's from the OT, Numbers Ch. 6 to be exact. The actual blessing is a little different, but they could only fit so much on the box. So I got to wondering what it's all about. I read the whole chapter.
Disclaimer: I'm not good at explaining things, and I was not lectured on this by a professional, so it may not be completely accurate, but I did a lot of research and this is what I came up with...
Numbers ch. 6 talks about Moses and the Nazirite Vow. It's quite difficult to understand, but here's what I get out of it: To summarize, God instituted this vow as a way for people, anyone, who wanted to be closer to God, who wanted to do something for God, wanted to give all of themselves to God, could do so without having to be part of a certain family lineage. A man or woman could take this vow (or bestow it on their children for life). They separate themselves TO God for a specified amount of time and during this time, they are to devote themselves ONLY to God. Samson, John the Baptist and Paul were all under this vow. Of course, as everything else in the OT, there are all kinds of rules, and rituals, burnt offerings, etc...In the end, God instituted that blessing...May God bless you, keep you....to be a blessing on His people. Basically, anyone who wishes to be closer to God can do so, and he will be blessed. How can this be translated into Christian life? We should all take on something of a Nazirite vow. We should give our all to God. Jesus showed us how to do it. We all know that we aren't supposed to conform the ways of this world. That's how God wants us to be. My son...my little "light"...who lit my path back to God, is in a little box that reminds me that Lucas is God's blessing to me. Lucas got me closer to God, and God promises to bless His people. May Lucas always be my reminder that God is real, and he moves in our lives in ways that pull us back to him...not meant to push us away. I am blessed.
One day, when Andrew is old enough. We'll tell him about his name. We'll explain who Lucas is and how he changed our lives. We'll use his story to teach Andrew about God's plans for our lives, and his grace and blessings. Without Lucas, we wouldn't have Andrew. Both of our boys are blessings.
And today, I bought Andrew this. I'm going to have his name put on it. His first Bible :)
For the last name, Wemyss. Well we chose that because that's our last name. There wasn't too big of a debate about it. ;)
I'm seeing a group of high-risk OBs this time. So, with Lucas I went into preterm labor at 24 weeks due to placental abruption and probable incompetent cervix No known cause for either one. So these docs are watching out for me. Extra bloodwork, extra testing. I'm having weekly hormone injections...progesterone, which supports a pregnancy...and the idea is that the extra "umph" of the hormone will hopefully prevent my body from going into early labor. I'm also having a lot of ultrasounds. The original plan was to have them every other week starting at 16; however, at my 16 wk ultrasound, my cervix measured right on the border of "safe" and "not safe". 25mm and up is safe, 24mm and lower is considered weakened or shortened cervix and measures will be taken to prevent labor. I measured at 25mm. The doctor said that even though it is still in the safe zone, being only 25mm at only 16 weeks isn't ideal. They would have liked to see it closer to 30. So we've been doing ultrasounds every week in case I am actively shortening, they'll catch it in time. 16, 17, and 18 week ultrasounds all were the same...no changes. So we're going to do 1.5 weeks, then if that's ok, we'll do 2 weeks. I also have partial placenta previa, which I didn't have with Lucas. It's not causing any problems, and should actually resolve itself, but the doctors want to keep an eye on it. So while things aren't ideal, Andrew seems to be doing well, and everything is stable for now.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We need to stay positive and strong for each other. We're meeting some people at our church and I just adore them. One of the things we're having trouble with is the "Is this your first?" question. As much as we love to tell people about our son, it makes others feel awkward. Then what typically happens is they feel obligated to say something...usually trying to say something so deep and meaningful and they think it's going to change our lives...and it's usually something stupid. Or we get the, "Oh, my sister's boyfriend's cousin-in-law went through that...blah blah blah..." and turns out it's a completely different situation and the child is a happy healthy 6yo. Well, good for them? BUT, what about when someone who you might get to know down the road asks. A couple of people from our church group asked and we blurted out "Yes, first child, sort of..." with no explanation, so now they don't know what we've been through when it's something that our church family needs to know about us. Or, like the other night, as we're walking out of a restaurant after a girl's night, I meet a girl I hadn't talked to during dinner and she lives in our neighborhood. She asked "the question" and I froze sold. I was like, "well, uhh, umm, yee..noo...No, it not my first, but we won't get into it." Poor thing looked as awkward as could be. So that's something we're working on...gotta figure it out..meeting a lot of new people these days!
I've kept you all long enough. I know it's a novel, I'm sorry. Love to all!