April 23, 2010.
I was laying in bed, at my mom's house, in her guest room - which is my old room - in my old bed. Jeff was at work - he was working graveyard shifts. My mom was in Florida. She had gone there about 2 weeks prior to help take care of my Grandpa, who was very sick with cancer, and my Grandma, who was suddenly very sick with pneumonia and in the hospital. I was laying in bed, with my dogs on the bed with me, but otherwise alone. There isn't a tv in that room, and I didn't have the radio on. I tried reading, but I couldn't focus.
On April 8th, 2010 Jeff and I went to the gender scan ultrasound appointment and learned we would be bringing a daughter home, sometime in August. We were overjoyed (admittedly, I was a bit nervous and shocked - I'd always dreamed of having a boy one day, even my pregnant-lady dreams all involved a son), my mom was excited for a grand-daughter and she and my Grandma joked about my getting "payback" by being blessed with a daughter.
But now Jeff and I had to pick a girl's name! We already had a boy's name picked out, but hadn't given much thought to a girl's name. (I already, briefly, talked about how we settled on Madeline's name, but most of the emphasis was about her middle name - Jo - being picked in honor of my Grandpa. This is about how Madeline came to be.)
We went to Disneyland to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary on April 9-11, 2010 and went back and forth on girl's names, ending up with a short list of about 8 names on the back of an envelope by the time we got home that weekend. After we got back from California is when my Grandma got sick and my mom flew to Orlando to help my with grandparents.
My mom called me early the morning of April 16th to tell me that my Grandma passed away. I didn't see that coming. I cried and cried and cried. I woke Jeff up - who has just gotten home from work an hour before and had just falled asleep - with all my crying. I called my boss to tell him the news and told him I wouldn't be in. And then I sat. And cried. And sat. I had an OB appt, scheduled far in advance for that day and decided to go - to make sure everything was ok with my daughter - but all I remember of that appointment is crying to my Dr about my Grandma's death. I'm sure she checked her heartbeat. I'm sure she told me what new changes to look out for, what new milestones to expect, but I don't remember any of it. I just remember crying. Thankfully, Jeff was there to drive me to and from because I don't remember the drive there.
I went back to work the next Monday. I don't remember much that whole week. I was in a weird haze. I'd call and talk to my mom every day. I'd ask her how she was doing. I'd ask her how my Grandpa was doing. I sent flowers. I tried to not cry very much to my mom since I knew her pain must be a million times worse. And she was being so strong for my Grandpa's sake, so I didn't want to make her cry by my crying.
At some point during that 1st week without my Grandma I stopped crying, but I still don't remember doing anything specific.
Which brings me back to the night of April 23, 2010. Where I was laying in bed, at my mom's house, all alone except for my dogs. The book I was trying to read was The Art of Racing in the Rain (which has a pretty sad part in it, by the way, I don't recommend reading it following the death of a loved one) but, like I said I just couldn't focus so I put it down.
I was alone in a dark, empty house, at night... feeling really alone - emotionally - and kinda numb and then I realized - yes, REALIZED, suddenly after a week of being so detached from the world - that I wasn't alone, after all. My daughter was with me. Always with me. So, I put my hand on my stomach and started talking - out loud - to her. I apologized for not talking to her much lately. I told her I loved her. I asked her how she was feeling. I was trying to re-connect with her.
I was told early on in my pregnancy that I had an anterior placenta. Which meant that my placenta was positioned on the front of my uterus, which made feeling my baby's movements harder than if the placenta was positioned on the back wall of my uterus.
I was talking, out loud, to my daughter as if she was going to respond to me. At one point I asked her, "Can you hear me? Let me know if you can hear me." Nothing happened. But I kept talking. I told her about my Grandma. I told her I was sorry that she'd never get to meet her, and told her about how much my Grandma loved her. How excited she was to meet her. I cried some more, but I kept talking. Eventually, I declared that she needed a name! And I reached over to the nightstand and grabbed the envelope of names. I asked her if she liked Johanna? (nothing.) Arabella? (nothing.) Amelia? (nothing.) Madeline? (kick.) My heart jumped. I held my breath. I smiled involuntarily. And I went on. Josephine? (nothing.) Kendall? (nothing.) Isabelle? (nothing.) I said Madeline again. (kick. elbow-roll. kick.) I laughed and told her I was going to tell her Daddy that she picked her own name.
And when I told him how it happened he just smiled and said, "Well, ok then. Madeline it is." ♥ And it was. From that night on I never thought of her as anything else.
I swear, I came out of that sad, dark, lonely haze after that night. My daughter had a name - that she picked - and I was talking about my Grandma again. I was still sad, I'm still sad, but I wasn't numb anymore. As super-cheesy as it sounds, my Bean-girl pulled me out of that haze and reminded me that I had something wonderful to look forward to.
People would ask me how we picked Madeline, and I would usually give a generic answer about finding it in a baby book, liking the meaning, etc etc... but it's sort of hard to explain that we didn't pick Madeline. Madeline did.