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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