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Fertility Diaries: They Dreamed of Motherhood Together

WebMD Feature from "Redbook" Magazine

By Gina Shaw

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As Jenny, Jody, and Carrie each face their own unique challenges, the friendship that has supported them on the path to becoming moms only grows stronger.

For the past several months, REDBOOK has followed the lives of three friends from the Cleveland area on their moving journey through infertility and pregnancy and into parenthood. In this installment, Jenny Taylor, 27, faces the anniversary of her son's death from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) along with her first Mother's Day with 9-month-old Nora. Carrie Brainerd, 31, who had no difficulty becoming pregnant, enjoys her daughter's first months while recovering from a debilitating labor injury. And after a long struggle to get pregnant through infertility treatments, Jody Urbas, 33, finds out if she's having a boy or a girl.

For Jenny Taylor, Mother's Day 2007 was bittersweet. She reveled in the sunny personality of her daughter, Nora, who was now enthusiastically crawling around the house in pursuit of the family cat. "We had a barbecue picnic in the park with my husband's family for Mother's Day, and it felt so good to finally be celebrated as a mother," says Jenny.

But she couldn't help missing the child who had first made her a mother — son Andrew Wyatt, who had died of SIDS two days after his birth in May 2005. Just a week after Mother's Day, Jenny wrote in her journal: "Andrew would be 2 today. Happy birthday, son. I hope you know how much Mommy and Daddy miss you." Two days later, she and husband Sean, 37, mourned the anniversary of Andrew's death on May 22, a day they call his "angel day."

Jenny: I can't believe it's been two years. Some days it seems like yesterday. I can still get that same feeling — you know, the one that feels like not only did you just have your heart ripped out of your chest but you also got run over by a Mack truck? And then, sometimes, it seems like a lifetime ago. His birthday fell on Sunday this year, and some of the songs we sang during Mass just hit home with Sean and me, so we shed a few tears. Then we visited Andrew's grave site. I was feeling so thankful for Nora, but I also miss him so much. You have all these thoughts like, I'd have a 2-year-old now instead of a 9-month-old. But if I had him, I wouldn't necessarily have her. As much as I try to just be thankful for having her, ultimately there is still some anger at not having him.

As the poignant anniversaries of Andrew's birth and death passed, Jenny found herself wishing that more people would talk to her about her son. "It seemed like people had forgotten him for the most part, or at least they didn't remember his birthday and angel day," she says. Some close family members did remember, though, with flowers on Andrew's grave and words of comfort for Jenny and Sean. And Jody and Carrie sent flowers to arrive on Andrew's angel day. "We just wanted to let her know we're thinking of her — we're not going to forget his dates," says Carrie. "She doesn't want people to forget him, like it never happened or he wasn't real — when he was."

Jenny and Sean have pledged to make sure that their son is always real in the heart of the little sister he never met. "We already talk to Nora about him and point out pictures of him," says Jenny. "Obviously she doesn't grasp it now, and it will probably be years before she can really understand, but we will always tell her about him."

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