About Me

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My name is Robin. I live to create - anything I can do with my hands and my head. I'm a messy creator - an imperfect creator who loves beauty and aesthetic with a real edge. This isn't a blog about perfection - its a blog about the beauty in real life - the small triumphs and epic failures - trying to get homework done with a tired 5 year old after a 12 hour day and still getting a smidge of weaving in before the crash. Figuring out what the dream is when you finally realize its not the house and the car. Its about not letting the years get the best of you and cherishing all that you love in life. Mostly its just a place for me to put all the things that I love and that inspire me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The baby in the picture

Yesterday I had a very moving and emotional realization with Kenji, one that I want to record here to remind me of how blessed I am to have him, though I am not likely to forget that. Also I think this story may help someone else who has faced times when they question if they will ever have "their" child or question the reason why some of us suffer so much for that child. I had all those feelings and sometime the "wisdom" of others that this was in God's plan seemed absolutely ridiculous to me, I could not see how any of the things I experienced could possibly be part of a plan or have any meaning other than just being horrible.
I have never been big on writing about the "dark times" when Brian and I went through all of our losses. Mainly because there have never been words that could convey my feelings during those times, and the feelings were just too powerful for me to ever write. However I think I have to put it down here otherwise the relevance of my "moment" with Kenji yesterday looses some of the power of it's emotion.
About 5 years ago Brian and I started getting serious about starting a family. We were pretty lucky because the first real try after I got off the pill we got pregnant. Of course we told everyone right away. Unfortunately we found out in my 13th week that our baby had a trisomy 18, a severe genetic disorder. He would have had a huge cystic hygroma on his neck, he probably would have needed feeding tubes because trisomy 18 babies have mouth and throat malformations which make it difficult to feed, he would have been profoundly mentally disabled and maybe would never have smiled or laughed. He probably would not have lived for a year. If I said this was the hardest decision we ever made, it would be a vast understatement. We decided to end the pregnancy. We had to do it at an abortion clinic and Brian held my hand. I felt like my soul was being ripped right out of me, here is the part that words don't work.
About a year later we were pregnant again, with the assurances that these things very rarely if ever repeat themselves. Sure enough we got past the 13th week and our first trimester genetic tests and found our baby boy was healthy and genetically sound and everything was perfect. We sat at a coffee shop afterward and cried because the awful time was over. We were finally going to have our family. We announced the pregnancy to everyone over the next two weeks. At 15 weeks I had contractions, too early for the meds that stop labor to work. I gave birth to our son Carlton Graff who weighed 1 ounce and lived for a few minutes. This time was even harder than the first time for us. So bad that my body rebelled against me and I had to have 2 back surgeries.
2 years later I was pregnant again. During this time I was working in the newborn area of Target. I can tell you that this was very hard for me. Being around baby clothes and baby pictures constantly. It was not an easy time. There was a picture of a baby that someone had printed to hang on a rolling rack to divide the clothes into categories and during my 3rd pregnancy I became obsessed with that picture. It was of a chubby baby boy with dark brown eyes, fat dimpled checks, and curly black hair. He was wearing a little white t-shirt. This baby became my fantasy baby, the baby I knew Brian and I would have someday. Well I don't have to tell you that I miscarried the 3rd baby. This time at 8 weeks. I miscarried at home over the Thanksgiving holidays and went straight back to work afterward. I was haunted by that baby picture, he was there everyday looking at me, and I began to feel like I would certainly never have him. God or fate or whoever did not want me to have him for sure.
6 month later I was pregnant again. This time everything seemed to be going well and we just knew that it was not possible to loose another, all the doctors we saw felt that we still had a great chance of coming through a pregnancy successfully since all our incidents were independent in the causes and not linked to any one problem.
One day at 10 weeks along I told Brian that I didn't feel sick. I knew then that I had lost the baby. He said I was just getting over the sick feeling, but when I went for an ultrasound the next day the baby had died the day before. We found out from genetic testing that it was another boy. This time as soon as I could manage to get out of the house I went to the book store and bought every book I could on adoption. The thought that we would adopt was the only thing that sustained me through that 4th loss.
Needless to say adoption was not as immediate as I had hoped. We spent a year in counseling to manage and deal with our grief, and to find an agency. And I had to make a lot of adjustments during that time. For one I had to start letting go of that baby in the picture. I had to realize that we might adopt a girl, or a blond blue eyed bald baby, or a Hispanic or African American baby. I also struggled with my grief quite a lot during that year. I could not reconcile myself with all of those losses. Everyone would tell me, it is God's way of dealing with a baby that would not have been healthy, yet 3 out of our 4 babies were genetically healthy and there was no reason for their loss so that did not fly with me. This seemed like pointless suffering to me and I felt for a long time that somehow we were being punished. Maybe not by God per-say, but somehow we had done things wrong, started trying to late, maybe we didn't want a baby badly enough to deserve one, maybe we wouldn't be good parents, I think if any of you have been in similar situations of having to make sense of things that just do not make sense you will understand that grasping at ridiculous ideas because you need so badly to have a reason, it so hard to have no reason. We did so much healing during the adoption process.
Then of course we brought home Kenji, which brings me to the whole point of this long tirade (no it was not just to get you to feel sorry for me).
Kenji has been getting plump and smiley lately and he was sitting in my lap grinning and laughing at me and I realized that he is the spitting image of the dream baby from the picture. Ok ya'll knew that was coming right. The thing is that suddenly it all finally made sense to me. Not just in my head but I felt it in my heart. If I had not lost all those babies I would not be holding this dream baby in my arms right now. He is the one I was waiting for. I truly cant believe that we got, not just any baby, but THE baby, the right baby for us. I must say it still seems like we had to pay an awfully high price in heartache, I mean was all of that really totally needed? But now I know that God heard our prayers. I am not a terribly religious person but I will tell you that it enough to make me a little more faithful in the future.
Anyway, I hope that if anyone out there is struggling or wondering when,and why and how, I hope you will take courage from this story, because believe me I have come from the depths of despair (for real) to this place of happiness, so I know it will happen for those of you out there waiting. You are waiting not just for a baby but for the right baby to find you. I hope someday that I can help others with our story because I took so much hope from the stories I heard on our journey through both infertility and adoption.
Thank you God and Allie for this beautiful boy who I love so much. The baby from the picture.


  1. Thank you for your words Robin- they mean more than you know. Your story has truly been an inspiration to me- and your beautiful family a reminder of hope to me! Thank you!

  2. Beautiful Robin! I always knew from the minute I met you and Brian that you were genuine and loving and so very nervous about this whole adoption thing. I told Craig that night after our training that I wished I could somehow explain to you that it would happen and that it will be okay. Now look at you! God's grace at work--for sure! :0)

    Lindsay! It will be okay. You have to believe us! :0)

  3. Robin, all I can say is...Thank-you!