Monday, February 28, 2011


Today feels like some sort of intersection.
First, upon waking, it is the two year anniversary of one friend's baby loss. Here, I mourn for another.
Then, upon some strange realization, I am exactly the gestation (27 weeks, 5 days) of another friend's baby loss (and the two know each other). Here, I hold myself up to another's pain: I feel vulnerable, and simultaneously mourn for her.
Then, I got a card in the mail that my sweet, old, lovely friend from college whose baby died a year ago this month has had a new baby, a beautiful, sweet, living son. I wept opening the card. It was the most beautiful surprise. Joy, joy, joy. I am so thrilled. I feel the joy of possibility.
At lunchtime I spent 72 minutes on the phone with a woman who was interviewing me for a community service award for my loss support program. I feel so empowered, so proud.
I had a few minutes to play Uno with my blossoming, precocious son who is home with a cough, when the school nurse called to alert me that a classmate of his, unvaccinated, had been attending school unknowingly with pertussis for the past month. When she saw Liam was out with a cough she wanted to alert me, to have me take him to the doctor to be checked out. While he has been vaccinated, there is still some risk-- and while it's easily treatable for him, it's a much greater risk for Fiona and also, go figure and OF COURSE, for women in their third trimester of pregnancy. Vulnerability floods me, fear as well.
This sent me reeling; although I was not able to find anything to conclusively truly freak me out about what might happen to the baby should I become infected (and trust me, I did not look too hard) I still had an hour or two of harboring some recurrent feelings that I have about what I see as a public vs. private debate, and others see as a government and health care conspiracy: vaccinations. Here I have vaccinated my children for the better health of society (not to mention their own), and somebody else who chooses for her own personal convictions (to which she is entitled) not to vaccinate hers has put my child (moreso my baby) at risk. It causes me to heave a sigh, to know that it's all out of my control no matter what I choose. Please do not enter into this debate with me in a comment. It is not a conversation I wish to have, having studied public health and medical sociology I have made what I truly feel is an educated choice. (and by this I don't mean to imply that others have made uneducated choices, but just that I am past the debating stage). Here I only wish to express the frustration I feel at having been put at some sort of risk, and the irony that I feel that it seems sometimes that with pregnancy and me when something can go wrong, it will. (I hadn't mentioned the exposure to Cocksackie at about 8 or 9 weeks, another one of those moments, which only just preceded the Rh sensitivity scare).
So find me the part of my day that Charlotte didn't impact, will you?
I often say that she's just everywhere in my life, everywhere, and it's really true. With every breath I draw, she's changing the taste of the air I breathe. Just as her loss has changed the children I've birthed, the career I've chosen, has changed it all.

As a last aside, I have had a kickass boys name brewing for a few years now, just waiting for a recipient. But the girl's name is evading me.
Who do you see as the baby sister of Charlotte, Liam, Aoife, and Fiona? What rings beautifully in your ear? I am so very weary of reading baby name books. I've tried asking the baby, but she doesn't answer. (Maybe she's a boy, offended at my suggestions)


Jenni said...

i know you didn't ask for a boy's name, so this is not a suggestion but rather a guess: geordie? baby sister: june? nell? i like the old fashioned names.

thank you for remembering us today. funny about the randomness of dates and ages. sometimes feels more like connection than coincidence.

dearly hoping that pertussis will pass by you and liam and unnamed little one peaceably. sending love. xo

Ya Chun said...

I am wondering if you have had a whooping cough booster lately that you forgot about? I think we adults still get it with the 10 -year tetanus booster. ?

And I am with you on the unvaxed kids. Grr.

kris said...

was thinking of you this weekend as i spent time in that cozy yellow house...though not writing, but chasing kids.

hope all stay relatively healthy...spring is coming, i know she is.

girls girls girls...grainne is a fave in the irish column these days. maeve. nell. mairead.

Hope's Mama said...

For some reason when I read the list of your children's names, William just jumped out and popped in to my head. It seems to fit. Take it or leave it. Also a name I love myself. Tess was the girls name that came to mind. Both very random and I did not spend time thinking about them, they just appeared in my thoughts so I am sharing them with you here in the hope that they might help!!
And yes, yes, yes on the vaxxing non-vaxxing issue. And a huge sigh.

C Tam said...

I know you've implied you don't want to read more baby name books, but just making sure you knew the Baby Name Wizard book has sibling matchups that are so correct, it even connected my name/my sibling's names right 4 out of 5 times. Does that sentence even make any sense. Anyway, it's a great book, and in a whole nother league than any other baby name book, so I'd recommend it. Because it does get trickier to name children the more children you have...if you are the sort of person who wants name harmony among siblings anyway. I named my son Liam too, btw. And the suggestion "Nell" above for a girl sort of clicked to me as well.

Charlotte's Mama said...

I actually had the baby name wizard but just gave it away. I did like it, but it doesn't have that many names in it-- I have read it thru and the suggestions for not only sibs of my kids names, but also the sibs of the names I like or would consider... but I'm still having a tough time. I love reading these suggestions, though! More, more!! Somehow getting suggestions feels helpful, less random than reading a book.

Erika said...

Thanks for remembering us, too. What an odd intersection, but Jenni is right about connection. (And yes, there is always that unfortunate side effect that in supporting one another we learn more than we ever wanted to know about the bad things that can happen.) Sending you healthy vibes - and love.

Baby sister names... Kiera/Kira/Kyra, Chloe, Colleen, Caitlyn, Kayleigh, Kayla, Callie. But I think he's a boy. ;) I have a copy of the Baby Name Wizard; let me know if you don't have it and want to borrow it. The website is good too, especially the "namipedia" part that gives the pronunciation, origin, and meaning. xo

Erika P said...

I posted at the same time as you. And used the wrong google account so I showed up as just Erika instead of Erika P, but you know who I am. No, the Baby Name Wizard book doesn't have a whole lot of names, which is why I like that namipedia part of the website - huge lists of names for each letter and when you click, you get the kind of info on the name that is in the book - origin, associations, popularity, etc. There's also, which generates a list of names based on names you like. Have you ever played with that?

Hope's Mama said...

Ok, silly me. I lay in bed last night after I commented and thought, you can't have a Liam and a WilLIAM! That doesn't work.
So Benjamin and Oliver came to mind. But of course, you can also have Angus if you like!

rebeccaeee said...

I really wanted to name my little Phoebe something else. Claire and Cassandra were my tops. We *love* Phoebe, of course, but you can't have a Fiona and a Phoebe. I like June as well. Miranda (from The Tempest). Siobhan would fit in nicely with the Gaelic names in your home. Boys? Who knows. Mine is Johnny. Straightforward, simple, strong.

Sara said...

I love your children's names - I loved when you named Fiona "Fiona" - so beautiful.

Anna, Juliet, Eden, Clara, Ida, Caroline, Lucy. And I loved the earlier suggestion of June (although I think you're due in May...) Chloe is lovely (I'm biased there). I remember you once pointing out that her name contains the same letters as "Charlotte," in the same order.

Jenni said...

chiming back in to ask if you've seen the "name voyager" online. it graphs the popularity of children's names through the years. brian and i used it when we were looking for something a bit different. of course i also like it because it is a graph and i am sort of a dork. another girl name: june. my paternal grandmother was irish catholic and named mary, and when she took her confirmation name she really wanted it to be "june." but the nuns wouldn't let her and she got stuck with "mary patricia"- and was forever annoyed about it. xo

jojo said...

Wren was our baby name for a girl, but since I am done reproducing it's all yours! And I agree with the folks who said Maeve. It fits with your other kids' names very well, and it's sweet and beautiful.

Rika said...

You have the BEST names. Hmm other girl names: Olive, Penelope, Annika, Sage, Nola


LoritheOverchiever said...

I have a friend who named her daughter Eowyn, yes, from Lord of the Rings. The immediately popped into my mind when I read your post.

Elizabeth said...


Emma in Canada said...

I'm going to go with some of my favourite Irish ones....Saoirse (my daughter!)- we pronounce it Soar-sha rather than the more common Seer-sha, Maeve (her middle name), Caoimhe, Fionnuala, Grainne, Niamh.