Genesis & My Story

Genesis' Story

It was late 2006 and my husband and I had been married a little over 2 years and we finally decided it was time to start a family. I took very good care of myself and even took my prenatal vitamins months before so that I would be in the best condition to get pregnant. We had no idea how long it would take to get pregnant but we thought that it would probably take a few months. To our surprise we got pregnant on the first try. I found out Thanksgiving Day 2006 that we were expecting our first bundle of joy! I was so shocked when I saw that positive pregnancy test that my hands were shaking and I remember glancing at myself in the bathroom mirror. My jaw was on the floor and I was pale as a ghost. But I was so incredibly happy. There was a life INSIDE me!

We were so excited we just had to share with my family, who lived next door, and they threw us an instant party. My mom rushed to the store to get a cake before they closed. It read "Congratulations!" On it. 
She also brought home with her a little yellow bib with stars on it. It said "Daddy's little star" on the front. We had sparkling apple cider (of course!) with strawberries. It was the beginning of the best chapter of our lives. Here are the photos from that night:

As the weeks went on I was able to have two ultrasound visits with my little one and the doctor was able to print out some pictures for me. Pictures that I will treasure the rest of my life. I remember my mom came with me to my appointments, not only because I was nervous since I had no idea what to expect, but also because this was her first grandchild and she loved seeing the baby when she could. During the second ultrasound I remember my mom was so happy to see that little bean jumping around in there moving around its little arms and legs. She started to cry from the joy. That ultrasound video is burned in my brain to this day, I'll never forget my baby waiving hello to me. Here are my only ultrasound photos I got with Genesis. The second photo is the one where she was bouncing all over the place:

I was into the second trimester and was itching to buy stuff for the baby already. I went and bought all neutral colored baby clothes because we still didn't know what gender the baby was. Though in my heart I felt it was a girl. We also went out and bought all the baby gear we needed. A crib, changing table, swing & playpen. Around 18 weeks the time came to do the AFP test. My husband told me I should decline the test since we were young (23 & 24) and there was no history of any illness or anything in either of our families. I knew he was right but something told me to do the test anyway. I went to the lab and they took my blood. As I was sitting in the waiting room I was feeling very confident that this was just going to be a routine testing and they were going to tell me everything was great just as they had so far through my pregnancy. The lady who took my blood was having a casual conversation with me:

Her: How far along are you?
Me: About 18 weeks
Her: Is this your first?
Me: Yes.
Her: You know, no matter the outcome of this test, you are blessed to have this baby.

I was a little surprised that she said that last statement to me. I just smiled and nodded and after she took my blood I went on with my day. I had no idea what she may be referring to. I was the young and blissfully ignorant pregnant lady we all see walking around on cloud 9. But perhaps I should have paid more attention to this indirect warning as it turned out to be a sign of things to come.

A week later I got a call from my doctor telling me that the results were positive for the AFP test. I asked what this meant. She went on to explain to me about spina bifida and the possibility that was the problem. She also told me that it could be something or nothing. But she wanted me to go to a specialist that could do a 4d ultrasound to either confirm a problem or put me in the clear. There were no available appointments for 2 weeks. So for the next two weeks I carried a heavy heart thinking my child was very ill, but that I could do it and no matter what I would not terminate my baby. The doctor never mentioned my baby could die.

Finally the big day of my appointment arrived and both my mother and my husband came to this appointment. I was incredibly nervous. I remember sitting in the waiting room full of pregnant women just wondering about the possibilities of what could happen. I sat there and watched pregnant women get called in before me... all of them. Even the ones that came in after me. They saved me for last. I was scared about this. Terrified actually. They finally called my name and I had to have a chat with a genetic counselor first. She went over family history on both my side and my husband's side of the family and I don't really recall what else she talked about. I do remember the last sentence that she spoke though, "Don't be surprised of the demise of your baby." That one sentence changed everything for me. Demise? You mean my baby could actually die? Or already be dead? I only thought that my baby may be sick. This almost put me in a panic attack. They finally had me go into the ultrasound room and the specialist came in. I tried to get my mind off things and asked him if we could find out what we were having since I was well into my 20th week. He said yes and that gave me something to look forward to. As soon as he put the ultrasound machine on my belly I saw my baby. I saw the heart beating and I saw the baby move. I was relieved my baby was fine. Or so I thought. He scanned for a few minutes and was quiet the whole time. Finally he put the ultrasound machine down and said, "Did your OB talk to you about Anencephaly?" I had never heard that term before and I said no. He went on to explain it to me. The sentence that stood out to me the most was, "the baby developed without a brain." At that very moment he didn't need to say anymore. I knew that you can't live without a brain. I knew it was the worst news I could get and I started crying. I felt this big. My mom and husband didn't quite get it yet. Then came the horrible phrase those doctors keep saying. "It's a condition that is not compatible with life." Then silence. My mom started crying and hugging me saying "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry..." over and over again to me. I think my husband was in a state of shock because he wasn't saying anything. He wasn't doing anything. Not crying. Not talking. Nothing. Just standing there. The specialist and the assistant with him left us in the room for a few minutes for us to grasp what just happened. My mom and I just cried in each others arms. 

I left the appointment forgetting to ask for any photos or what gender the baby was. I will regret that for the rest of my life. We walked out of the office to the elevator and then to the car in a stupor. I can't remember anything. I can't even remember walking. But yet we made it to the car somehow. We all got in the car and just sat there. My husband started to cry. We held each other crying for who knows how long. We lost all sense of time. We got home and I received a call from my doctor who wanted me to come in the next day before business hours. I did a google search later that night on Anencephaly and was bombarded by gruesome photos. I was horrified that my baby had that. And I felt guilty for having those feelings about my baby. I should have never looked online.

My husband came with me the next morning to my doctor's office. She had "the talk" with us. About what we wanted to do...go to term (or as far as we could before the baby died) or if we wanted to induce. At first I was against induction. My doctor told me that at this gestation the baby's nerves are not fully formed and would feel no pain if it passed now. I had no idea if that was true or not. I was rushed to make a decision right then and there. I had no time to think about it. I'm not sure why she was pushing for an answer right then, because in the end the outcome was going to be the same. She left my husband and I to talk about it for a little while in the room. I certainly didn't want my baby to feel any pain so what she said earlier stuck with me. I also remember thinking that I wanted a baby and the longer I stayed pregnant now, the longer it would be before I could get pregnant again. Selfish, I know. I feel so guilty thinking back at my thoughts then, but what can you do. I was young and naive and selfish. After being pressured by everyone I finally gave in and decided induction would be best. It was the best decision I could have made at that moment in my life. I didn't see it as a termination of pregnancy. I still don't. What it was, was me turning off life support. My baby could not live outside me. And even inside me it's days were numbered. I could not imagine giving birth to a live baby only to let it suffer in it's first and last moments of life. Struggling for air, maybe feeling pain, being scared and feeling alone, as most babies with this are both blind and deaf. Those thoughts scared me, so my husband and I decided to take the baby off life support and induce.

We went to the hospital the next morning. The lady at the front desk of the hospital that we had to check in with left a lasting impression on me. Here is our conversation.

Me: (fighting tears back) Hello, we are here for an induction
Her: Ok, how many weeks are you?
Me: Almost 21.
Her: Isn't it a little early to be having a baby? (In a trying to be funny way)
Me: Yes. (As I walked away)

I was so angry that she said that. And even angrier at myself for not saying something. I was told I should be home by the evening. Boy were they wrong. It took 5 days of Cytotec and no eating for my labor to begin and the whole time while waiting for thing to start they told me I had to plan my baby's funeral. Im supposed to be happy Im having a baby, not in agony because I have to decide if I want it buried or cremated. 

When it was time to push both my husband and my mom were with me. I closed my eyes the whole time because I didn't want to see the baby. I thought my baby would look like those horrible pictures I saw on the internet and I didn't want to remember my baby like that. I wanted to remember my baby just as it was in my dreams, perfect. When I pushed my baby out one of the nurses said "It's a girl." I just knew it! I was so happy yet so sad that hello meant goodbye. They immediately took her out of my room. A short while later my mom and husband went to go see her in another room. They came back and my mom told me she was beautiful. With a head full of dark hair. I asked my husband if she looked like the photos on the internet and he said no. She was gorgeous. I was so happy to hear this but I was exhausted and the only thing I could think of was falling asleep. I wasn't taken to the postpartum ward even though I just had a baby. I was taken to oncology for a room to sleep in for the night. I already felt gypped as a mother and it had only been a few hours. I slept in a cold dark room feeling the emptiness in my arms for the first time. I knew as well as my body knew I should be holding a little bundle. Little did I know I would never be able to rid myself of that lonely feeling ever again. I decided to name her Genesis. And to my surprise this was on one of the machines in my room:
I just knew this was supposed to be her name. The next morning I asked to see Genesis. They told me she had already been picked up by the mortuary and that they could arrange a viewing for me. So I left the hospital without so much as seeing my baby. I left with not only an empty womb and empty arms, but with an empty heart as well. They gave me a little pink blanket that she had been wrapped in to take home with me. I cherish that blanket so much. It still smells like baby to this day. Here is a photo of that blanket along with some candles to remember my baby:

My husband and I got in the car to go home and to figure out how to live life without our daughter. Before I even got home I got a call from my brother telling me that he and his wife were pregnant. I can't even begin to tell you the emotions that overcame me. I was crying and so mad yet I had to force myself to say "congratulations." He knew what had happened and he had the nerve to call and say that? I hated him. To this day I hate that he did that to me. But this was the beginning of a disregard of the daughter that so many thought I never had or thought didn't count.

A day later I was able to visit Genesis in the mortuary for the first time. I got myself all dolled up for my baby girl. My entire family came with me. My husband, my mom and dad, and my brother and sister. Here is a photo of the outside:

I walked into the mortuary almost holding my breath, not knowing how I was going to react. If I was going to pass out or not. We walked into the room where my baby was laying out on a table. I cried so much as soon as I saw her there. I just ran over to her and started crying on top of her. My tears fell all over her tiny body. When I was able to clear the tears and finally get a good look at her, I felt a feeling of calm and peace come over me. I checked her out from top to bottom. Gosh she was gorgeous. She was really something even at just 21 weeks gestation. I remember her gorgeous big lips. She had my chin already and my feet. (My feet have a high arch and her daddy's feet are super flat. I could already see she had a high arch) They were tiny little feet. She was wrapped up in a little blanket with her feet sticking out the end and I wanted to unwrap her so bad and hold her and see her whole body. I wanted to see it at least once but my husband told me not to. She had a little hat on covering where the hole in her head was and I wanted to see that too but once again my husband would not let me. I took a camera to take pictures but I just could not bring myself to take any at that moment. I was still in shock and could barely process everything that was happening. I will regret these things the rest of my life. 

My family then had a turn to see her and say goodbye. My mom, aside from myself, was the only one who kissed her. They then left the room for my husband and I to be alone with our daughter. For a split moment in time we were a whole family. We had our first and last family prayer with her. I brought her a bracelet and I wore the matching one. I placed it on her little body and told her that I would pass this on to her sister in the future. Here are the bracelets:

I told her how much I loved her and held her little body in my arms. When it was time to go I didn't want to put her down. I didn't want to leave her all alone in that room only to be put back in that box and then later cremated. Putting her down and turning my back to walk out that door was the hardest thing Ive ever had to do. As I was walking away down the hallway I wanted to go back and hold her again, but I didn't. I just kept walking knowing that that was the one and only time I will ever see my daughter. We went to eat right after and a survey was placed in front of me for joining their club program and already this horrible question was waiting for me. How many kids do you have? I looked at my husband and we both paused a moment. He grabbed the pencil from my hands and put 1. It made me so sad I just cried all through the meal. This was the beginning of the rest of my life without my baby. I still miss her to this day and cry as I type this story. What I wouldn't give to just see my baby again for a moment.

My Story

My story picks up where Genesis' ends. I was hurting so bad after Genesis died that I just HAD to get pregnant again ASAP. My doctor gave us the OK to try again after 8 weeks. We thought that it was going to be just as fast as before. We had our 3 year wedding anniversary the month we were hoping to get another bfp. Instead while we took a trip to Monterey I got AF. I was so disappointed that this month was not our month. Luckily though, we didn't have to try long. The next month I got my bfp. I was pregnant with our rainbow. I found out I was pregnant 2 days before my edd for Genesis. Just 1 week after getting our bfp I started spotting. Not much, just beige spotting. But having just lost my daughter a few months prior and I had a lot riding on this pregnancy. So needless to say I was terrified I would lose this baby too. I called my doctor and she told me the usual, just try to relax there isn't anything we can do this early anyway. I stayed on the couch and just rested. In the afternoon that same day my husband told me he just had to get out of the house. I understand wanting to get out but I thought it was odd that he would want to go at that very moment where I thought I might be losing another baby. But I said ok, do what you have to do. He assured me that he would take his cell if I needed him if something were to happen. He even promised to check in on me. I thought that sounded fair and kissed him goodbye. 

The spotting stopped and as it began to get dark I called him to see where he was. No answer. I texted him in case he was in a area with bad reception. No answer. 10:00 pm came around and I had still not heard from him. Now I was getting worried but what could I do? He didn't even tell me where he was going. Midnight came and went and I just could not stay up waiting for him any longer. I went to bed. I hardly got a restful sleep. For all I knew he could have been in a car accident. I hear him come in at 8:00 in the morning. I was shocked. He had never done this before and there was no reason for him not to come home. We were not fighting or anything. When I saw him standing in the living room right away I could tell he was different. I don't know how to explain it but his eyes looked different to me. He used to have such kind eyes, and the eyes of the man in my living room were not those eyes. Something had changed over night. Literally like a flip of a switch. Here is the conversation we had:

Me: Where were you? Are you ok?
Him: I'm fine. I slept in the car.
Me: What? You slept in the car? why?
Him: (long pause) I want a divorce.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. I had no idea where this came from. I had no idea what prompted it or anything. I still don't to this day. As he refused to give me any real answers. He packed up his things that day and left. He never looked back. I was a mess to say the least. I had just lost my daughter and now my husband and now facing the prospect of being a single mom, all at the ripe age of 23. I could not believe this was happening. I woke up every morning hoping that it was just a nightmare and that I would wake up and things would go back to the way they were. But instead when I woke up, I woke up to an empty bed reminding me that this was my reality. If it wasn't for me being pregnant, I'm not sure I would be here today. I had nothing to live for at that moment in my life. My husband left without a trace. He changed his address and phone number and I had no idea how to reach him. He left me with a enormous amount of debt and I couldn't pay for this myself and had no idea how to get him to help. 2 months later I get an email from him saying he got fired. Fired for stealing something at work. I was shocked as this was nothing like the man I knew. I guess he emailed me so that I wouldn't expect money. Then a month later I lost my job. The company that I worked for went bankrupt and everyone lost their job. I was devastated. A pregnant single mom to be with no income. It was the end of the world to me. I was so very depressed I thought for sure I was going to have postpartum depression once this baby was born. I went on job interview after job interview on several jobs that I was qualified for and they all expressed how much they liked me...BUT I was obviously pregnant at this point. Though no one came out and said it bluntly, they all tippy toed around the fact that my pregnancy was an issue. Eventually I had to get on government assistance, though I really did not want to, I had to. That program saved my life more than I could ever put into words.

Then 1 month later my husband finally calls me. He says he wanted to meet up and that he wanted to see if we could work things out. I was skeptical at first but agreed to meet him at a park. I hardly recognized him when we met up. He grew a beard and was dressing differently. Once again, I had no idea who this man was. But I agreed to meet with him on the weekends for "dates" to see if we could get past this. All our "dates" were very awkward. I didn't know what to say or do. I wasn't allowed to even hold his hand. I could tell he wasn't really trying to make this work. After about 5 or 6 of these dates he asked to come in to see our dog that he supposedly missed. I thought about it and decided it was ok. I let him in and he waited in the living room and I brought the dog to him. While I had left the room, I found him snooping in my belongings. Of course I made him leave as soon as I saw that. The next weekend we were supposed to meet to have him sign something in front of a notary so that I could cash in an old pension plan to help pay the bills. He signed and when I asked if he wanted to get a cup of coffee he told me to "go f- yourself." I was shocked. I saw him light a cigarette as he pulled away in his car. He had never smoked before, so once again this was a surprise. That was the end of our "dates". What had happened with that was that he wanted to get me to trust him enough to let him back in the house so that he could steal stuff. And like a fool I played into his trick and he did just that. 

I was approaching my due date and had about 5 weeks to go when I get the news that he is engaged to another woman. My mouth dropped to the floor. Engaged? How is that possible when I am his wife? Once again, something new to worry about. After everything I had gone through in this pregnancy, I was afraid that my baby was going to be born with some sort of nervous disorder. I did not want my estranged husband to be at the delivery so I did not tell him when I was in labor. I did however agree to call him once the baby was born because I didn't want to be accused of hiding the baby from him. I had my baby boy D with the help of a doula. I didn't want to do this alone, especially since it was my first time delivering a live baby. So my doula Emi was a godsend to me. 

About a week after D was born I tried calling my estranged husband to let him know but he would never answer the phone. I tried calling various times within the next month when I finally got the hint that he didn't care. About 3 months later I found out he got that other woman pregnant. Once again, he managed to hurt me. Shortly after news got to me that they were having a girl. I was beyond devastated. How come my baby girl had to die and now my soon to be ex-husband can up and leave me and do all these horrible things to me and be blessed with a baby girl? Life was so unfair. As the months passed I got used to being a single mom and I was becoming more and more calloused from the things my soon to be ex-husband did. He was not the man I married anymore and I didn't love this man. This new person that he became was not a good person. So although in my heart it saddened me that D's own father wanted nothing to do with him despite the loss we had before and despite how most fathers want a son, it was actually much better for him not to be in our lives. He has nothing to offer D except a bad example. 

Fast forward a year or so. Genesis, and having my own doula at D's birth, inspired me to become a doula and I launched my own doula business named Genesis Birth Services. And I loved being a single parent. It really was amazing. D and I have an awesome relationship that is just beautiful. But all the while my heart was still aching for another child. Preferably a girl, but really just a child. I was supposed to have "children" now, not just a child. I didn't want to rush into a relationship just to get pregnant and because of my beliefs using a sperm bank was not an option. I was still a married woman and could only have children with my husband. So I contacted my estranged husband and asked him to be a donor for me. I knew that I could do this I just needed him to be the donor. I know it sounds crazy, and I would have never thought in a million  years that I would ever do this or want to do this but here I was. To my surprise my estranged husband agreed. It took about 4 months of artificial insemination but I finally got pregnant with another rainbow. I didn't care what gender the baby was I was just so happy to be pregnant again. This would be the first pregnancy that I could really enjoy. Of course after a loss you are never not worried. 

Our divorce was getting done and I was pregnant. And honestly, I couldn't have been happier at the time. It was the smoothest pregnancy so far with no morning sickness or anything. I went on to have another daughter, G in mid 2010. Our divorce was finalize only about 2 weeks after G was born and just 4 days before what would have been our 6th wedding anniversary. 

Fast forward a few years. I decided to give dating a try again. In early 2012 I met Marlon. We dated and fell in love. Not only did I fall in love with him, but so did the rainbows. And he fell in love with all of us as well. We got married in 2013. Sadly we had a chemical pregnancy on Mother's Day 2013. That ended up being a little girl named Exodus. We were blessed with rainbow #3, D2, in 2014. Marlon has stepped up to the plate in more ways than I could have ever imagined. He legally adopted D & G in early 2015. Not only is he an incredible daddy to the rainbows but to Genesis too. He remembers her all the time. He considers her his daughter. And makes sure to mention her often and visit her stone that we had installed at Garfield Park. Its absolutely amazing. Im also thrilled to share we are expecting rainbow #4 due in late 2015. Marlon knows he is the father of 6.

Despite everything that I have been through in my life so far, I am very happy with life right now. It made me a stronger, wiser, smarter, more self reliant and confident person. It has made me an incredible mom for my kids. I wouldn't change a thing if I could. Of course if there was a way to have all my kids with me I would change that in a heartbeat. But my first husband leaving me, the divorce, all the heartache, I wouldn't change. Also after having G I did have some comfort in knowing what it was like to have a living daughter. But it also made me miss Genesis that much more, because now I knew exactly what I was missing. No matter how many kids I may go on to have in my life I will always be short one. I will always miss Genesis. But I can always count on my husband and kids to keep her memory alive.
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