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Monday, March 15, 2010

Dear Fetus

Dear Fetus,

Can I still call you that? Fetus? Or have you graduated to the level of "baby" by now? Why don't I just break all societal rules for a moment, and call you what your dad and I have known you to be for some time: Sean. Sean Murphy LeMoine, that is. As in Sean Connery. Sean Penn. The late Sean P-Diddy Combs. A humble, boring, single-syllable Irish name. Not very creative, but this is the name that spoke to me and your dad the loudest, spoke of all things real and simple, outdoorsy, saltwater-scented, grounded - just like the you of our imaginations. Not the fluffy and frivilous name of someone who might disappear at any moment, like Copernicus or Octopusian or Atticus Dillwinkle.

Just plain Sean. A strong, shimmering, earthly name that seems most likely to keep you here.

Allow me introduce myself - the woman I am at this moment, eight-something PM on Monday, March 13th, 2010. I am your mother, the person inside of whom you are now floating blissfully in a cocoon of dark watery warmth. I know; isn't it weird? That's me, the sound of that heartbeat trumping yours in loudness and vibration, the whoosh of blood through vein and arteries, the shrill voice belting out songs in the car!

What's a car, you ask? Never mind. You'll figure those things out later.

Back to introductions. Monica Murphy LeMoine is the name, age 34. Pisces and proud. Irish and English descent, not that that's unique in any way. Thinker, emoter, flawed. Frequent laugher. Loud. College English instructor, wannabe writer, extrovert. Born as Monica Lee Murphy in Hollywood, California. College degrees in French and English. Coffee addict. Red-wine hater. White zinfandel-lover. Bacon-obsessor. Dance-party maniac. Studied abroad multiple times. Spent 2.5 years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan, known to foreign service people as "Ickistan" (and with good reason). Loved it. Married to a brilliant, quiet guy with loads of common sense, which you'll certainly inherit to make up for marked deficiencies on your maternal genetic side.

You are 39.5 weeks along today, and due to emerge any minute. That's a remarkable feat! You are, after all, the first to make it this far in this particular mother's body, the small string of siblings before you having lived too-short lives due to things we can't control. Yes, pat yourself on the back for showing such perseverance and fortitude! You kept chugging along when my own capacity to hope felt weak and shrunken, when cynicsm took over. You've kept going, kicking my insides, relentlessly optimistic about your own positive destiny - like an obnoxious little Polyanna fairy landing on the shoulder of a grumpy old scrooge who thrives on grumpiness. You've stamped out my grumpiness, and forced me to hope.

Oh, there's still plenty to be grumpy about. Pay attention to your first big life-lesson: life itself is a miracle, and nothing is ever guaranteed. I finally realize that now. Something could still happen - anything - to keep you from entering this world alive. Even after you make it through the tremendous hurdle of birth itself, you could still be snatched by the billowy, translucent arms of Mother Nature. Who knows what that old broad is up to, what plans she's brewing up for you.

But don't let that scare you, snuff out your own optimism. Because ultimately, you've become a symbol of hope - not just for me, but for the handful of eager and loving people surrounding you and awaiting your safe arrival into the "outerworld." That is, the place that I'm writing you from.

(Are you sufficiently freaked out by this conversation?)

Just a quick preview of what your new space will look like - because it sure as hell isn't going to match the dark reddish globe in which you now float. It's a room, just an ordinary room that we still use as a semi-office space. But there are some things in here that make it yours, and that - hopefully - will help connect you to the past. I thought long and hard about how to do this in a non-ghoulish way, how to create a space that's yours, yet that honors the male-this and male-that which came before you but didn't make it this far. Particularly, I want you to have a piece of Zachary with you, to know that you have brothers in some strange cosmic form. Zachary would have been a nice older brother to have, right in the midst of his terrible twos by now, probably throwing shit across the room and head-butting you at random. Wouldn't you have loved that? Of course you would.

Notice, on the walls in the pictures below: Mom's Amateur Stillbirth Art. A fish, a butterfly, and two primary-colored flowers. Everyone told me not to throw these out, so I didn't. And now they're yours. These were painted just days after Zachary's death, in a time span of ten heavily-focused hours, with hardly a break to pee or have a snack. Just paint flung furiously on canvas, powered by all the sadness and yearning building up in my heart.

Ultimately, though, they were pictures of hope - and that hope is now you.

Notice the hanging mobile of folded cranes. See that? Yes, that's a handmade gift from B, a treasured friend of our family - and one who has struggled for some time to have a baby of her own. See how compassionate, gracious, and kind she is - thinking of you even despite her own frustrations and disappointments? It's a lesson we can all learn from, one that I'm hoping you'll pick up through osmosis as you stare up at those origami cranes. Plus, they're just cool-looking.

And there's us, your dad and I - waiting for you. And Tebow, your canine family friend, already guarding your space fiercely. And books - your own personal library - all gifts from people waiting for you.

See how cool the world looks?

C'mon over.


namastemom said...

Monica - I hope Sean arrives soon and very safe. I'm sending you the most calming and upbeat vibes that I have right now~~~
I'll be watching this space for further developments.

shelby said...

Hi Monica - I live down the hill in VH, and have been keeping up with your blog since my own son was stillborn in March of 2008. I have since had a baby girl, born April 2009. I am hoping every good thing for you and little Sean. He's so lucky to have you for a mother :-) Take good care of yourself and know that you are being held in the thoughts and hearts of many.

Lara said...

Think he's holding out for St Patty's day! Drink some of that zin you like, walk, jump, and get ready for Baby Sean to make his grand Irish entrance.
We will be celebrating here as St Patty's is the anniversary of my husband and I meeting. Our 6 year old loves to tell everyone she is Irish and Jewish-she'll celebrate anything. She is a fun hog like her mother. Sean will know Zachary. Lily our 6 year old talks about baby taz all the time and now our 20 month old is saying his name!
Thinking of you all the time and can't wait to hear about the healthy cry of little Sean as his strong Irish Moma pushes him out. Accupuncture and some nipple stimulation along with sweeping the membranes can't hurt to get things going. WOOOOO HOOOOOOOO! You are a wonder. Love Lara

Sophie said...

Sean is indeed a very fine name! You are so close! Looking forward to hearing about his safe arrival.


Sharon said...

Love his name!!! Can't wait to hear about he's safe arrival to this world!

Hope's Mama said...

Great name. Great parents. We're all ready out here for you, Sean. Come on out. Can't wait to hear the big news.

AnxiousMummyto3 said...

Great name! I think it captures your description of him perfectly :) Can't wait to see him out in the big wide world. Good luck. You are awesome!! I have something embarrassing to ask you which I will send in an email.

Pundelina said...

I can't wait to see who you've been growing Monica. I'm here in the outerworld eagerly waiting for little Sean-whose-name-I-adore! What a lovely letter for him.


Oh, and I'm sending easy labour vibes to you both.

Reba said...

love his name, his artwork, his room, his parents and dog. thinking of you all.

Barbara said...

I'm wishing Sean a safe and chilled entrance into the world.

Can't wait to meet him!


myskytimes said...

What a sweet and funny letter you wrote to him! Love his name, his room and his parents are awesome. Just few days longer... thinking about you!

Sean, see you soon.

angie said...

Holy cow, 39.5 weeks. Sean is almost here. May everything be uneventfully beautiful during Sean's entrance into the world. I know he will be surrounded by a lot of laughter and love. xo.

AnnaMarie said...


I don't think Sean is a boring name at all, it's wonderful! I have a brother named Sean :)

Come on into the outerworld new Sean!

Wishing you a safe, healthy, and positive delivery.

KuKd Chick said...

Anxious Mummy, something embarassing to ask me? Oh, do tell! I hope it has to do with sex, drugs and rock-n-roll! Or vaginas in general! The possibilities are endless...

Mrs. Lovely said...

Just beautiful.

Abbie said...

So happy for you! I will be praying that everything turns out well and Sean will join us here in the Outerworld soon!

BluebirdSinging said...

We can't wait to meet you Sean!

Logical Libby said...

Now, that's an Irish name. What a lucky kid.

Sissy said...

I love the name and I love this post! It made me cry at work (might be due to my own crazy hormones). I cannot wait to hear of Sean's safe arrival!

jen said...

made me cry too. be sure that you save this letter for him. it's so sweet and i hope the first of many that he will get to read later.

Desiree said...

Oh geez, I'm bawling! What a wonderful name, what a wonderful post, what a wonderful mommy!

Oh my gosh, I can't wait until you introduce us to your Sean!! I'm totally sending you happy and healthy labor vibes - it's going to be wonderful!

Okay, I have to stop saying wonderful. :-)

It's going to be so kick-ass awesome!! There.

Tina said...

Oh my...I can't believe you are so close!!! And Sean is a wonderful name, I can't wait to meet the little guy! xx

therootofallevel said...

sean! sean! YES, YES! i almost started crying when i saw the painting again!

come home sean so we can all meet you!

Kristen said...

Come out and play, little Sean! Look at all those cool books you've got to read and the cozy bassinet and the gorgeous mobile. Plus those super-cool parents.

Be gentle with your mommy on the way out! :-)

Emerging Butterfly said...

I just wanted to tell you how very very glad I am to see that you are sharing your art with Sean...that you are sharing Zachary with him. Good job mama....that is one lucky lil' boy on his way to a wonderful life with you!

Brenna said...

What a great name, and a fun-to-read intro for Sean (and us)! Love seeing the pics of his space, and of course I grin every time you post Tebow because that's my last name (spelled the Frenchy way with an "ault", but now that I know you were a French major you'd probably be one of the few people in this country to pronounce it correctly! :). You're so, so very close to welcoming Sean into this world...oh my gosh, I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!!!!

Leslie said...

Your nursery is so beautiful. And I hope you read Sean this letter one day!

He is so lucky to have parents whose primary aspirations for him are 'alive'. If I ever manage to reproduce, my kids will have the same privilege.

Who cares about Harvard or Dental School or Popular or even Pretty Hair? We're going with 'alive' for our kids!!!

Of course, the whole 'alive' expectation could be kind of a drag for him when he starts wanting to jump his motorcycle over parked cars or something.... :)

MB and Frank said...

wishing you and sean all the best in the coming days! said...

Smile. I can't wait for Sean to make his grand entrance and start his life in such a thoughfully prepared and lovingly crafted space. He's a lucky little fetus (or feti as we call them in my house) indeed.

Wishing you all things good my dear as you approch the birth of your son.

Kara's Mom said...

Can't wait for Sean's arrival. I've followed your blog for so long now, I just can't wait for the birth. Birth after stillbirth is still a mystery to me. I look to you to pave the way so that I can successfully bring my twins into the world in July. xxoo

Kahla said...

I think Sean is a perfect name and can't wait to "meet" him. I know it's scary and I so wish I could say that you'll stop worrying and wondering once he's here, but that would just be a big fat lie. I used to tell myself that though. I'll stop worrying once they are safe in my arms, but now I know you never stop. I have so much hope that everything will go just fine and in the years to come Sean will wreak total havoc on your life... after all, that's what little boys are supposed to do! Good luck and thinking of you!

PFM said...

Mon, I am in tears. I LOVE this post. Oh, Sean we cannot for your arrival. And thanks for thinking latke is the coolest.

Michelle said...

What a beautiful letter! Thanks for sharing it with us.

I LOVE the nursery! The pictures you painted after Zachary could not be more perfect.

I am so excited for you and that Sean is almost here! BTW I love the name to!

AnxiousMummyto3 said...

What's really embarassing is that I can't figure out where your email is because I am so techno-illiterate. So I will just have to ask you here and leave you my email addy.
I would like to send a present for Sean after he is born. This is embarassing because, hello, I don't want you thinking I'm a stalker or general weirdo!! Anyway, I'm putting it out there now. Also, would you be more comfortable if I sent a book as opposed to a toy or other item, like what you had at your shower??
Ok...I'm putting this out there now!!
PS. My email addy is (wait for it) So original!

PFM said...

Monica- Please consider entering a post in our Blog Entry contest to help educate others on IF, adoption and loss. Your point of view would be so great and you are a wonderful writer. The details are on teh sidebar of the blog. I post the winners on our website.

glasshalffull said...

Love, light, and hope to you Monica!! You are so brave and as I approach three months since the loss of my Sweetie at 36 weeks I continue to look to you for strength and optimism. A wordsmith you are and a wonderful mother to the children you have carried and those you will hold in your arms.

KuKd Chick said...

Anxious Mummy - cool! That is so not an embarassing question. You can't find my e-mail because it's not on here, but I need to add it somewhere conspicuous. I'll shoot you a message right now!

PFM - arriight, going over there to check it out. Woo-hoo.

PFM said...

the info is under the blogher ads. email to info (at) parenthoodforme dot org. Should say PFM Essay Contest

monkey momma said...

I just wanted to say a pre-emptive congrats. I can't imagine the pain of your past, but I hope the love and joy-filled future helps overshadow it.

My son is also named Sean. Same spelling. And it too, called to my husband and me. Something simple. Something strong. Something grounded.

My son has embodied all those attributes. At his core, he is happy. He makes the rest of my life seem simple in comparison to being his mother. He's strong in so many ways -- both before he was born and after. And he's grounded. I can tell already.

He also got a bit of the Irish temper from my husband. Be wary of that part. =)

I wish you well and both of you a safe delivery.

Cassie said...

I just wanted to add my own voice to this chorus of happy-feelers for you---so so happy, so so glad :) I keep seeing Wllm Blake's beautiful illumination "Glad Day" (wish I could post it here)--(am a fellow college English prof). Much love you you and yours, Monica--all of them.