Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Is this your first?"

It's a question I've dreaded from the moment I found out I was pregnant. I can always sense when it's coming - but it never fails to make my heart sink. I still ask myself what the right answer is... respond with the truth? Or respond with the easiest and most comfortable answer - for the poor unsuspecting person who asks. It's not that I blame them for asking... I've done it myself a hundred times probably... although there's a possibility I may never again., and there are worse questions to ask a pregnant woman I suppose...

My answer 99.9% of the time to the question, "is this your first"?:
And each time I silently beg Ricky from my heart to forgive me, and understand why I choose to lie.

I've heard several suggested alternatives to my response... but somehow this assumingly innocent question - usually presented in passing - rarely seems to justify the explanation that I would love to give. And while it hurts to feel that I am denying his existance, it somehow hurts more at times to endure the awkward and un-thought out responses of someone who is completely caught off guard and has no idea what to say. And so, to make it easy on them... I give them the simple answer they are looking for. "Yes". After all... in asking they no doubt are referring to "biological" children... right? And... this truly is - my first pregnancy. That alone, to many, should make it special - and unique.

Still, the reality is, this pregnancy is bittersweet for me. I don't mean to sound ungrateful - as I am well aware of countless friends and family who would give their right arm for the simple gift of being able to carry a child of their own. I am grateful... and feel overwhelmingly blessed for all that God has walked me through, and put into my life today. The truth is however... this baby is no more special to me than Ricky is. I hope that doesn't sound terrible... but it is how I feel. The circumstances of how each child got into this world in the first place really has no effect whatsoever on my outpouring of love for them. Ella, (we have decided on a name finally), will most definitely be special to me since she is a part of both Eric and I, but both she and Ricky were given to me by God... via very different miracles.

I am overjoyed by the possibility of becoming a mom again to a living child, but Ella in no way "cancels out" the void that Ricky left. I miss him more than ever... and sometimes while I know it really is not necessary, I wish that I could reach up to heaven and reassure him that while she will be sleeping in his crib and swinging in his swing, those things will always have been his first and foremost. It's silly I know... since those worldly possessions have absolutely no value in heaven whatsoever... and Ricky likely has no recollection of them in the first place. But for me, they are still - all that is left of him here... and they mean a great deal.

I guess since I never get the chance to say all this to the people that I choose to lie to - the people who I really want to say it too... I might as well at least share it with cyberspace. I doubt much of this is really news to any of you... and I can't really tell you how grateful that makes me feel.

If you'll humor me... here is how I always wish the conversation would go:

"Is this your first?"

"Nope, second. My son lives in heaven, and I'd tell you all about him, but there really aren't enough minutes in the day... or even days in the week, to even begin to tell you just how amazing he was. I wish you could meet him - but I do have pictures...":


Randi Jo :) said...

aww that is tough..

maybe you can just say simply, "this is my first pregnancy" when asked....

then it will answer it simply enough for them...and it will be the absolute truth ...and you won't have to feel like you are doing Ricky an injustice -

not like you could - because he's in glory and I am sure if he sees you at all -- he sees your heart/spirit & not your earthly words.

melissa said...

Oh, Meg, I love you! Here's a big hug for you. I know that nothing will change your love for Ricky, and nothing should. I'll be praying for you, m'dear.

By the way, I think the name you picked - Ella - is beautiful. She's a lucky little girl to get you and Eric for parents.

AMANDA said...

Meg - you're so great. And you are going to be an AMAZING mom again! I like the approach Randi Jo mentioned above. Blessings, hugs, and prayers... Amanda

yellowgirl said...

Oh, tears. There's a bit of me that thinks you should leave it somewhat unanswered by saying something like "kinda". But I like Randi's answer a lot.

I wonder, in the conversation, how you wish it would go... how would the asking party then respond?

Christy said...

Ahhh...that is a tough one Meg. I am really gald you shared it with us. I feel like The Holy Spirit will lead you to share with the people he sees fit. Maybe it will just roll off your tounge and you won't even expect it. Ricky and Ella are both so blessed to have you help raise them to be mighty followers of Christ! You are a beautiful mother!!

andrew,betsy,& noura said...

i love how beautiful and real you put it. Sadly though, even if you explained it to strangers, many would still not understand. BUT you may be able to minister to others who lost a child. I remember struggling with love with my stepmom, because I didnt want my mom in Heaven to feel like I loved her any less. But reality is, she's hanging out with Jesus, so I think she's better off than me!:)
We love the name Ella, and cannot wait to meet her.

Adrienne said...

Meg, there will never be enough minutes or days to share how full, and empty, your heart is for knowing Ricky. I know God will give you the words and open the doors for the conversations that will be truly life changing. My eyes have been so opened to 'questions not to necessarily ask.' They are harmless and quite normal, but for countless women, they impact in different ways. I think from here on out, whenever I meet a pregnant lady in passing, I'll simply say, "YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!" And Meg, YOU ARE! xoxox

Jessica said...


I agree with Adrienne...God will lay it on your heart to know which conversations will be life changing. I continually thank the Lord that he layed it on your heart to email me back when I first visited Ricky's site! My life has forever been changed for meeting you!

I thank you for being so open and honest about what you are feeling. I cannot even imagine...but I want you to know that I love you.

I also wanted you to know that last night when I was reading your post, I could not help but think about how proud Ricky must feel that Ella (LOVE the name!) is using his baby things! Brothers are so protective, something in which I never understood having all sisters! My boys are fiercely competitive with one another, but man do they love each other and protect one another!!

I know that no one will ever replace Ricky...and they shouldn't. He is and always will be in that special place in your heart, reserved for only him. I love those two pictures of him that you posted. The one of you and him is my all time favorite!!

Happy Valentine's Day Meg...I love you, and you are a beautiful preggo mama!! Thank you for putting some pictures up hot mama!!


Bart Saunders said...

Hope you had a good V-Day... whenever it is that you can celebrate around your work schedule.
I'm so glad I got to see you are Ricky at least a couple of times... he adored you Meg... I imagine he would have had a hard time sharing you... we can understand why! I can't fathom what it will feel like to lay little Ella down for the first time in that sweet crib...so many moments... can't wait to see you and her together soon.

Anonymous said...

Ella will always be my second grandchild. She may have blonde hair and chubby cheeks of the Brunsting side of the family and the adorable dimple in her chin like her father. She may even resemble her Grandmothers a bit. But I will be a better grandmother for Ella because my life was touched by a tiny little boy who did not resemble us one bit---'little man Ricky'. His love, His perseverance in the midst of great pain and compromise, his gracious, trusting spirit even in the last hours of life, opened my heart to the joy of helping one of God's precious little ones to find their way in this big world. In so many ways I look forward to meeting Ella, a gift from God who will teach me far more than I will ever teach her.

I will choose to say, " I have two grandchildren.... One in heaven and one in Whitestown, IN....and I'm on my way to see both just any day now."

Bart Saunders said...

Mrs. B-- we just adore you! Hope you get to take lots of time away from your busy life to enjoy little Ella. She is being born into one of the best families out there!

Sorry to hear the back pains have set in Meg! I'll try to catch you on your cell this weekend. LOVE YOU

Anonymous said...

I admire your courage and strength through this time. I feel whatever you say will be what is right for that moment. Sometimes you won't have time to explain things to a stranger, or give Ricky the respect of an explanation, but I think either Randi's response is good, just say it's your first pregnancy, or why not just say, "This is my second child." Moreoften than not, people won't ask for details, but if there is time for details, there will be time to share your experience with Ricky.

I'm adopted, and I can't tell you how it thrills me to hear that Ricky was so special, and that even though Ella will be your first biological child, Ricky will always be special to you, as if you'd given birth to him. You might not have given birth to him, but you gave him unconditional love. Ella is fortunate to have you for a mommy!

Emily said...

Hi Meghan, thanks for sharing your thoughts. This is a question that I also dread and have thought long and hard about how to answer. I thankfully have not gotten the question too many times yet but as the belly grows (I am 19 weeks now) and it is more obvious that I am pregnant I know that it is going to become more frequent. It is a natural question that I myself have asked dozens of pregnant women in the past without even thinking twice. The few times that I have been asked with this pregnancy I have said “no, I have a little boy in heaven” or “no, this is my second” and I haven’t explained anymore unless the person asked. It is a difficult situation because I don’t want the other person to feel bad for asking or be put in an uncomfortable situation but I also don’t want to pretend like Carter didn’t exist. He will always be my first child and nothing is ever going to change that. I am also preparing myself to answer similar questions after the baby comes because I know that they won’t stop. People always ask things like “how many children do you have?” These are never going to be easy questions to answer and I think that I will always feel a tug on my heart when I am asked but I hope that with time I can learn to deal with them a little bit better.

I hope that the remainder of your pregnancy goes quickly. Ella is a very lucky little girl to have such a great mommy!

Take care,

Leah Desserich said...

What a hard situation to be in. Ricky loves and appreciates you and is taking really good care of Ella while you are carrying her. Ella is one of the most lucky little girls because she has her own personal angel. I always felt like Hudson has his own Angel. My best friends son died at 7 weeks old (Hudson is named after him). Every hard situation ends with a blessing.

Anne said...


Hi. I'm an old friend of Eric's from Kokomo. I found your blog from Janet's. I've spent some time tonight reading your posts and stories--so beautiful, sad and happy at the same time. Thank you for sharing. Many prayers and blessings to you and your family!


ps--I have an Ella too! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your mother's heart. I'm sure so many feelings have been felt during these past few months, and even though Ella is yours and Eric's, Ricky was yours and God's.
I had a dream about you guys last night...You were pregnant, Eric was there and then Ricky walked over. He didn't say anything, but he was with us. I have not had a dream about him a really long time and then today I read your blog.
You will be able to teach your daughter that she had the bravest older brother, and even though she will have to wait to meet him, his story will only continue.
I love you and miss you,
Reno, Carrie

Luke and Lydia Martin said...

I understand exactly how you feel. I struggled with those questions all the time when I was pregnant with Sarah, and I still struggle with them now. I want to answer people in a way that will justly express the lives of my heavenly children. Yet, I don't want to recklessly toss their memory to those who aren't willing or ready to cherish them. They are always in my heart and nobody's 'reality' will take away from their beautiful lives. I think of the story I will someday share with Sarah when she asks about her brother and sister. God bless you in this time as you prepare for a new and exciting season!