Because She Wanted A Child

I watched our pastors baptize a precious baby today at church. I realize this is a fairly common thing that happens, and usually it’s not that big of a deal. But, as is the case with many things lately, it just hit differently today and left me desperately trying to hold back tears and hide my emotions from anyone sitting next to me.

I spent a lot of time thinking about that moment today, trying to decide why a simple ritual brought such a strong wave of grief. It seems weird to cry about a baby getting baptized, right? Well, maybe not if you know the plans Emily and I had… plans that will never happen now.

Baby Talk

When you’re friends with someone for a significant amount of time, you learn a lot about their dreams for the future, and Emily and I were no exception to that. We both shared many of our hopes and future plans with each other, even before we ever started dating. And although I eventually want to share many of those dreams in this blog, there’s only one that’s relevant to this post, and that’s Emily’s desire to be a mother.

I knew that Emily wanted kids one day. And, because I’d watched her with my own kids and heard her talk about her nieces for hours on end, I knew that she was going to be an amazing mom when the time came for that.

But then, life took an unexpected turn, and Emily and I became much more than friends. And, as most anyone who is likely reading this already knows, I have kids from a previous marriage.

So, fairly early on in our relationship, I decided to ask Emily more pointed questions about future children because, although I knew she wanted kids, I didn’t know much more than that.

I learned that she always dreamed of having two girls and a boy. I also learned that she wanted to name one of the girls Eleanor, after an Eleanor in her family. So, because she’s Emily, she said, “It looks like I’ve got the two girls now and one of them is already named Eleanor, so my dreams will come completely true if we have a little boy together.”

As we continued this conversation, I learned a lot about pregnancy risks and issues Emily would face if she carried a child. It would have required her to completely change all of her transplant medications, which scared her more than a little bit since the medications she was on were working well. She also had concerns about how the bodily changes of pregnancy would affect her mental health, especially since she’d finally found a fairly stable point in her eating disorder recovery. And, of course, there were all of Emily’s fears related to her health in general, and how many things like her short stature, congenital heart defect, and hyper mobility, were genetic.

I told her, “We can figure all of this out. There are doctors out there who can help with the genetics, and surrogacy is a thing, so we can use your egg and I’ll just carry the baby if that’s what is safest.”

Emily liked the idea, but said if her eggs were “messed up,” she wanted our backup plan to be using my egg with a redhead sperm donor because “a redhead baby would be so cute!”

Then, it was Emily’s turn to ask the questions, and I could tell there was something on her mind she was hesitant to say. Finally, she said, “This might be weird, but how would you feel about naming the baby after my donor?”

I didn’t think it was weird at all. In fact, I loved the idea. We agreed that Victor would be an adorable name for a little boy, and settled on Max for a middle name, after Emily’s grandfather. As I explained to her, I already got to name two children, so my only request for this one was that we at least consider hyphenating his last name.

And, just like that, we had a plan.

More Plans Laid To Rest

I’ve thought a lot about the little boy we wanted since Emily’s death. After watching an episode of Virgin River a second time after the fact, part of me almost wishes I would have had the time and brain capacity to think about these kinds of things right before she went, but my mind was too focused on praying for her to live. After having people say, “You can still make that dream come true for her,” I’ve cried because I just don’t feel let it would be the same for me to have a baby on my own and name it after my dead fiancée’s organ donor. So, it’s just another part of the love story Emily and I shared that was laid to rest with her.

I think that’s why today hit me so hard. There was a baby boy, alive and with his parents, beginning his life in the church. It’s a moment I saw happening for Emily and I in the next few years. A moment I desperately wanted to experience with her. A moment I’ve never gotten to nor ever will get to experience now.

Let me tell you, it’s heartbreaking to rehash your person’s death over and over again each time you encounter something that perfectly mirrors the dreams you had for your own future.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my two children with every fiber of my being. And, I also know that Emily loved my children as if they were hers. She always did.

But, I always dreamed of more kids than two. I just thought that dream died when I had a miscarriage back in 2017. That is, until Emily came along and brought it back into the realm of possibility.

I couldn’t wait to see Emily holding a baby that shared DNA with her. A baby who would have been so loved and cherished by her, by me, and by his siblings. A baby who would have been named after the man who made his existence possible.

Because of Emily, I was completely sold on having another child. But once again, I can’t help but feel like I did something to ruin my own dreams. I’m just heartbroken over a child I never got to meet, and I can’t even turn to Emily for support… And saying that makes my heart start breaking all over again.

I’m so sorry, Emily.


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