Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sighs and Signs

"Peyton's birthday is in a few weeks."

My husband says nothing, only letting out a heavy sigh and looking off into the distance. I wonder if he sees her there, in those moments when the grief takes him away.

It is an awful reality to face. Another year without her here. Another year that she should have grown and hit milestones. Another year of wondering what, if anything, we can do to appropriately honor her. Another year of knowing that as soon as the anniversary of her birth passes, we face down another long hard month before that of her death.

Another year...

My town has decided that now, during my first trimester, is when they should chip seal and perform work on all of our roads. The smells, and my fears of exposure, have had me on various days heading for the hills. The "hills" on one particular day last month, was the air conditioned respite of Barnes and Noble. I took some time to work on my novel, crafting and re-crafting bits of chapter 7. It is a funny beach read, a little romance, a lot of adventure, and a book that has been a welcome place for me to escape to over the last year.

As I write this now, I am missing that book. Morning sickness has made reading, typing, and editing it nauseating.

So there I was in Barnes and Noble. I had just found out I was pregnant, and though I knew in my heart it was twins, had not yet had an ultrasound to confirm it. When the battery on my laptop died, I started thumbing through the sections of books.

I love books. I love the smell of them. The feel of them. The fresh crack of their spine when you open a book for the first time. I could never own a Kindle, or other reader. I would miss the way the pages draw oil from my fingers, the awkwardness of holding them open. I need the physicality of books.

I find inspiration in running my fingers along their titles. I like to think of all the other authors who have come before me. I like to think that they, like me, started by writing and re-writing with no connections in the industry beyond the deep desire to one day be published. I like to think that if they made it, I can too.

I walked aimlessly through Barnes and Noble that day. I found myself going past self help books, sex books, and finance books. I meandered over to the YA section where I learned that Lauren Conrad, from "The Hills," is now a best selling author. I found my way to the memoirs, reading the back pages, and moved through the cookbooks. Before I knew where I was, I looked up to find myself in the Pregnancy section, and that easy feeling I had all around me disappeared.

My heart caught in my throat when I realized where I was. I looked around, half expecting someone to come along and tell me I didn't belong there. That I was trespassing on private property. I wondered if I could safely take a peek at those books without feeling pain, or ever again truly be a member of that club.

I had joined the blissfully pregnant club once. I had put my whole heart into it, and I had been burned.

The titles called out to me like a series of flashbacks to a different time. A simpler time. A time where everything in life felt possible.  The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy, What to Expect When You're Expecting, Your Pregnancy Week by Week.

Like bullies reminding me of all I had lost, they taunted me and I stepped back, wimping out, too afraid to peruse the possibilities contained within their pages.

I didn't want to read them and get my hopes up. I didn't want to see drawings of developing babies. Those expectations were meant for someone else. Someone naive. They were not for those who have learned with heartbreaking detail that there are just no guarantees in this life.

My anxiety pushed me further and further down the line of books, ready to move to another place, a safer place, when a title stopped me. It seemed harmless enough. Fun even. I reached up and touched its spine: 10,001 Baby Names. 

Okay, I thought. We'll start here. That's not too scary. I'll just flip it open and point, and wherever I land, that is the PERFECT baby name. 

The book creaked with newness as I flipped it opened and pointed. I peeked to see where I had landed. There, beneath my finger, midway down page 198 was a name and it's definition that took my breath away: Peyton: Village of the Warrior.

My warrior. My perfect, little warrior.

10,001 names in a book, and it was that of my lost child that I had been called to. A sense of calm washed over me, as I felt her spirit surround me. She had, in her own little way, reached out to me, and I felt in that moment that all would be okay.

"You're right little girl," I nodded, "you are right. Your name was perfect. And so were you."


  1. So exciting that you are writing! Sorry you have having so much morning sickness. Those two babies are letting you know that they are there and growing :) Peyton's name is perfect. I love that it means warrior. She was indeed your perfect, little warrior.

  2. She and her name were- and remain- perfect.


  3. I'm so sorry that you're suffering.

  4. Oh .. I got goosebumps reading the end about how you landed on her name .. what a wonderful way for Peyton to let you know that she is with you (and those two belly babies) :)

  5. Wow is all that I can say. Your writing is amazing and I look forward to walking in Barnes and Nobles and finding you too have become a best selling author. What an gift your received that day in the baby book. I hope that you took it home with you. :)

  6. You are a wonderful, gifted writer, and I always appreciate reading what's on your heart. Today, I can especially relate to your love for the smell, feel, and existence of books. I love them, too. Love to bury myself in a good book, love the feeling of walking into a bookstore and finding myself surrounded with books in all of their glory...inhaling the newness...feeling boistered by the sense of possibility each one holds within. Tales, yet unread.

    And, then...you came to the baby book aisle...a place that will forever put a hitch in my step, a stop to my heart, and a catch in my breath. All of the innocence and hope that once awaited us the first time that we gave ourselves wholeheartedly to the possibilities and dreams that lie within those books. We were one of them. What to Expect When You're Expecting...nothing turned out the way we expected, did it? You know, of my four pregnancies (one being twins), none of them turned out the way I expected. Their were concerns, circumstances, imperfections, struggles...in each one. Two ended in the loss of three of my children. And two ended in the birth of the two boys I walk this life with today. Can I just say this...all four of those riddled-with-circumstances-outside-my-realm-of-expectation-pregnancies were worth every moment. I know you feel the same. I know you get it.

    Also...love that you were led to Peyton's name when you opened the baby name book. You are a beautiful mother. And, Peyton is a beautiful daughter.

    Praying for you and your sweet babes...

  7. Wowie, how beautiful. And the definition of her name makes so much sense...

    Take good care of yourself. Try to relax, take deep breaths of fresh air and nice strolls, read books... :)

  8. And there it is again. The reminder that we are not alone. Not alone. Wow....it takes my breath away. I feel greedy for wanting more when the spirit world is SO available. They keep telling us we aren't alone; but empty aching arms just beg for them.

    It's so hard to be in two places at once.


    Yet...Peyton...she's here...Simon and Alexander...always near....

    We aren't alone.

    We just miss them...

    Peyton knew her name--it was delivered to you in a haze...and you knew it, and she did too.


    I'm in awe...

  9. *Tears* I love reading moments like these! I love these little Godwinks! Praying for you and your sweet little blessings! (((HUGS)))

  10. Wow! That is such an amazing moment! Another way Peyton is telling you she's with you. I believe she's also telling you that it's okay for you to feel a part of the pregnancy club again. She was right there in the middle of the pregnancy section of Barnes & Nobles waiting for you.

  11. Precious, precious, precious. 10,001 names in that book and you are exactly right--you were drawn to the one you needed to be that day...the one that speaks volumes about her sweet little life and character and impact on the world.

    Love it.

    Hating the nausea for you, though!!! Yes, it's all very, very worth it but it still doesn't feel great to feel icky!!!


  12. What a perfect name for a beautiful baby girl. She's with you and wants you to know. My heart breaks for you as you draw closer to her birthday. My wish for you is peace and love.

  13. What a beautful sign from your beautiful little girl.

  14. Wow. Amazing. I know what you mean about not feeling like you belong in that section. Now, even though I'm showing, I feel awkward and uncomfortable there. XOXO

  15. What an amazing sign. Thanks for sharing.
    Great, vivid post.

  16. Oh my gosh I got goose bumps, that is amazing! I am so happy that Peyton sent you that wonderful sign. She is with you my friend every step of the way.

    I am not prego (yet-crossing my fingers) but to think of the fears that come along with that just take me back. I wish could be naive and think innocently about pregnancy. Hopefully soon we will think differently. ((HUGS))

    Hope you start feeling better soon. Tell those little one's how special I think they are.

  17. Stopping by from my very first Little Ones To Him Belong Wednesday and I am so touched that I came across your blog tonight. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family and little precious Peyton that is always with you.


  18. Wow! That is powerful! I believe in it. I believe in the power of it. I have shared similiar experiences such as this. Thank you for sharing. It warmed my heart today.

  19. Yes. It was a beautiful, strong name for a beautiful strong girl.