T. likes to say that Henry is my “golden boy”, and of course, a mama always has a special place in her heart for her first-born son. But Ivy and I, even though she’s only 2 1/2, have more history. I’m not sure why I wanted to write about this, except that maybe it’d be therapeutic for me and could possibly help someone else. So here goes nothing…

Henry was 14 months old and I was only 7 weeks pregnant with Ivy (at the time gender-neutral and unnamed) when J., my first husband, was killed by a drunk driver. He and I were the only ones that knew I was pregnant, so when he was in the ICU, I was throwing up in the bathroom and exhausted but couldn’t tell anyone. When we were all told that J.’s brain was dying and that he would either die or be a vegetable, I sobbed in the hallway of the hospital to my mom, asking her what I was going to do without him. Of course, this had more significance to me than her at the time, as I was about to become not only a single mother, but a single mother of two. I ended up telling my parents about the pregnancy as we left the hospital for the last time a few days later, and told everyone else a couple of weeks later, after the funeral and things had settled down a little bit. I actually wrote a letter to everyone, since I couldn’t imagine speaking the words, and most people got them right around Christmas of 2006.

The following spring and summer went by too quickly…I honestly don’t know what I would have done without my parents. Henry and I were living with them, and preparing a room in their house for the new baby. We were all dealing with court dates, it seemed like all the time, and I remember J.’s mom going to my ultrasound where we found out that I was having a girl, while my mom and dad and J.’s stepdad went to court.

My mom and I decided to have a “party” in the hospital room when I went into labor, in an effort to keep the occasion joyful. We both went a little overboard with the luau theme…

I ended up having the baby girl at 11:01 pm on J.’s birthday that year. She came via emergency c-section when the cord prolapsed, otherwise she would have been born the next day. Two of my sisters-in-law, my mom, and my good friend were in the hospital room with me. The few hours after she was born were spent with endless surveys of my labor partners, the nurses, and anyone else who happened to pause long enough in the hallway, trying to decide on the baby girl’s name. We finally came up with Ivy Mari-Laurine.

That first year with baby Ivy is a blur. I remember a few things about it, and most of them aren’t good. A couple of weeks after she was born, I became pretty severely depressed, to the point where I really didn’t want to deal with her at all. When she started crying, I started crying and just wanted to leave. My doctor prescribed an antidepressant, and things slowly got better. I still needed my mom during a lot of those late nights, though, when Ivy wouldn’t stop crying or go back to sleep. If it wasn’t for her….I don’t even want to think about it. I often feel guilty that I was very present during Henry’s infancy, and am very present now for Essie’s, but I don’t remember much about Ivy’s. But it wasn’t because she was any less precious.

She and I have bonded over the last year, and I’m grateful for that. She is two….so things aren’t always perfect….but we understand each other.

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22 thoughts on “Ivy

  1. I am so happy you wrote about this! I have always wondered and never had the courage to ask you what happened. You are truly a strong and courageous woman, wife, and mother! I can't think of anything else to say because everything is so dang blurry right now…Henry and Ivy are very blessed to have two dad's and I couldn't be happier to have you guys as a part of our family now too!

  2. I have been reading your blog, and this post has me sobbing. You are so strong, Greta, and such a great mother. I am sorry that Ivy's infancy is fuzzy – I can relate – but it is heartwarming to see how close the two of you are now.

  3. Greta I don't have the right words to say much. But that you are a strong and brave person. I have not lost a husband but have lost in other ways and know the heavy feeling on your heart. And am happy to hear that the heavy feeling is lifting and just about gone. Just keep smiling and keep enjoying your life day by day!!!!:):):)

  4. She is beautiful!! A friend of mine lost her boyfriend last summer to a drunk driver. she was pregnant with their 1st child. She's doing raising her daughter alone and I think she is one of the strongest women I've ever met. At only 21. I don't know how she's doing it….I heard someone say that grief is bitter and cruel in that it only feels like you're going to die, but you never do.

  5. I am so so sorry for your loss and everything you have been through! I just can't imagine. You are such a strong woman. Thank you so much for sharing your story. <3P.S. Your little girl is beautiful!

  6. I could not imagine going through an entire pregnancy and then raising a new baby and a toddler alone.Amazing courage and you have a beautiful little girl to show for it.Visiting from lovelinks

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  9. My god girl, the more I learn about you the more I love you (sorry, totally not in a creepy way). I cannot even imagine how hard this must have been and just look at how strong you are now. Simply amazing!

    Don't be hard on yourself for not being present during Ivy's early years, you were under all sorts of stress and your mind did what it needed to do.

    Love ya hun! Big hugs!!

  10. You know. I never read this story before. I knew something had happened to your first husband but didn't quite expect this. I'm so very sorry you had to go through all this but I'm happy that you found joy and love again and added two more precious babes to the bunch!!!!

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  12. I had no idea about this.
    First time I clicked on the "widow" link.

    I am so very sorry, I can't imagine, and yet you've survived.

    I know what you mean, about the blur of the PPD and not being feeling like you were present for the PPD baby, but let me tell you, it's the best mamas who worry like that.

    I'm so sorry, such a story, so many stories in the world, we never know about the people we meet, do we?

    xo LOVE TOYOU this thanksgiving.

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  14. I so feel everything you say here about Ivy. My son turned 4 months the day before my brother was murdered. I feel like I missed the entire first year of his life. It is sad and time we will never get back, but we both did the best we could with the cards we were dealt. So sorry for your loss. Hugs to you and yours. Julie

  15. I wanted to read this story ever since I found your blog on the #hugsfortheholidays list (and then visited again for Galit). My tears caught in my throat when I read that Ivy was born on J's birthday. I don't know why that did it out of all the other painful difficult things. Were you blogging yet when it happened? Did you blog about meeting and falling in love with your current husband?

    I struggle with depression and loss and am gluten free too. But I don't live in Kansas. 🙂 Hugs

  16. Wow, what a strong and amazing woman it takes to go through what you did and come out on the other side. I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose my husband after such joyful news. Thank you for being an inspiration to others!

  17. She is abundantly beautiful.
    So very sorry for your loss.
    —-you are a GREAT inspiration for other women. Xx

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