Friday, April 8, 2011

Only a name

When we stopped using birth control over 8 years ago my (then boyfriend now) husband gave me a baby-names book for my birthday. We worked our way through it in the car the next week, on the way to his parents. Giggling at most, laughing out loud at some, writing down others. When we got to his parents house we'd found one name that was IT for both of us. It was a name that could be used for both a boy and a girl, but we instantly reserved it for our firstborn girl. She would be named Robin, and she would of course be born within the year (because we were still blissfully ignorant and stupid back then).

For many years, we would dream about our baby girl Robin. It's not that we preferred a girl over a boy, not at all. But we couldn't agree on any boy's names. And having a name for our imaginary girl made it easier to fantasize about her. Dreaming about 'some kid' is a lot harder than imagining holding hands with the little girl you already know the name of.

So for many years, we held onto that image of our little girl, Robin. She started of as a little baby all those years ago on the way to my parents in law, our little daughter-to-be. As the years went by and the children around us grew up, so did she. With every year that passed, I'd think about how old our Robin would be, had we gotten pregnant right away. I'd imagine what she'd look like, what she would be doing, how we'd cuddle her and play with her. After a couple of years I even started imagining her playing with the little sister (told you we couldn't agree on any boy's names) she might have already had, had we not been infertile. Our imaginary daughter playing with her imaginary sister.

They were what kept us going during all those years. Through all our treatments, at all my hospital visits, they were what kept me 'sane'. Our two little girls.

Then, after 4 years of dreaming and a whole bunch of fertility treatments, we finally saw those precious double lines. We had transferred two, and for some reason we both instantly referred to the still unknown inhabitant(s) of my womb as "our children". When the ultrasound 3 weeks later showed TWO heartbeats, we weren't surprised. We freaked out, cried, got scared and wondered what the hell we'd gotten ourselves into, of course. but we weren't surprised. Those tiny heartbeats couldn't be anything else then our two baby girls. We'd been imagining them for so long, we were sure they had finally come to us!

Imagine our surprise when the 20-week ultrasound showed a BOY! They couldn't see what Baby-A was going to be: s/he was doing everything humanly possible to stay out of sight. But Baby-B was most definitely male.

It took us a couple of weeks to wrap our minds around the fact that we were going to have a son. We dug up the babyname book and frantically started discussing boys' names, never agreeing on one for longer than a few days. What the hell would we do when Baby-A would turn out to be a boy as well? We couldn't even agree on the ONE name, let alone TWO!

Baby-A and Baby-B decided to show themselves to the world two months early. We named Baby-B, our firstborn son, Ivo. We now know it fits him like a glove, but had he been born a couple of days earlier or later, he'd have been given a completely different name. We named Baby-A, our firstborn child and daughter, Robin.

Our son was GIVEN his name. Our daughter was BORN INTO hers.

We have a second son now, too. Born from the same IVF-cycle as his big brother and sister. He was GIVEN his name, same as his brother. Our bonus-baby. Our Joris.

We still have one name waiting. Waiting for a child to be born into. A daughter. A little girl.

She will most likely never be born. We are infertile. We are all out of embryo's. We will never start another fresh cycle. We've been there, done that. We are well and truly DONE with treatments. Besides: never in our wildest dreams had we ever thought we would be the parents of THREE children. We hoped for TWO, but for a long time feared we'd never even have ONE. Three is nothing short of a miracle!

She will forever be a part of our family, though. Growing up together with her two brothers and her big sister. She will always be a part of me, even though she's never actually 'been'. She's only an image. Only a dream.

Only a name...