Sylvia's Brother

The moment I got a positive read on my pregnancy test with Sylvia I knew she was girl. I just knew. We found out at about 8-9 weeks with blood work that, yes, for certain, she was a girl. In that intermittent time we still tossed around boy names just because thats the direction most conversations of hopefulness in the beginning stages of pregnancy go. Carlos was adamant about her name being Sylvia and in fact long before we even went off birth control, he had told me that his first daughter would have that name. Boy names were hard for us though, we couldn’t agree and every name we came up with sounded wrong. Looking back, I am sure this was because I knew she was girl so the idea of a boy name seemed crazy. But in that time I could not get the name ‘Leo’ out of my mind. It was the only one I even liked and it was the only name I could even envision using for our son. Carlos didn’t love it and eventually, the week or so before we found out official results we agreed to just not talk about names because the conversations truly were going around in circles. Sylvia’s name is perfect. It fit her, poetically now that she has died and sometimes I can’t believe we came up with such a beautiful name for an equally beautiful little girl. 

I begged and pleaded that our next child would be a girl. When we found out we were pregnant again I sobbed hoping for the opportunity to continue what we had started and what we were so ready for…bringing a little girl home. I wanted to give her sister all of Sylvia’s things and tell her that they were all her sisters. Though her nursery is kind of gender neutral, it certain says more girl than boy. I wanted to bring a baby girl home and place her where her sister should have been.

I think I knew Sylvia’s sibling would be a brother when my pregnancy felt so different. I fought it, illogically emotionally reasoning that if I thought it was a boy, then it would be. When the ultra sound revealed a boy wiggling and squirming and growing, I held it together until we got in the car and then I lost it. I put my head in my lap and sobbed. It felt like another daughter was taken from me.

I can understand that this might be interpreted as ungrateful and truly I have no response. Some families I have met in a similar situation want the opposite gender as a subsequent pregnancy so I wish the psychology was easier to explain. What I can tell you, is that the life growing inside of me is innocent and pure and so eager to grow and love and be loved and that has nothing to do with my desire for a daughter. The desire to have a living daughter somehow almost has nothing to do with my current pregnancy or any other future pregnancies. Somehow, and at least not now I can’t explain it, it is two separate entities. I am so grateful for this life I am growing. But it doesn’t mean that the feelings I feel are less valid, less real or less raw.

As I took the time to accept the fact that Sylvia would have a brother, Carlos and I knew that his name would be Leo nearly instantly. Sylvia’s astrological sign is Leo so it seemed, again, poetically fitting. His middle name we went back and forth on. Wanting to have a name equally as beautiful as his sister and for it to include meaning and pride and hope and love we took our time to process. San Diego is a place that is important to us. We went there on the final leg of our road trip we took when Sylvia died and what started as an one night stay turned into four. We went back for Carlos’ birthday, unknowingly pregnant at the time, and had a blissful escape for a long weekend. Next to San Diego is the island of Coronado. It is, in one word, paradise. We wandered the white beaches there for a day during our last visit and even one morning just went to the dog park there and watched all the crazy dogs playing in the ocean while sat in sand and ate left over pizza. Carlos and I randomly and without much thought really decided on a trip to grocery store on his middle name. I blurted it out as an example of a significant word. Carlos looked at me and said, ‘Thats it.’ Coronado not only holds a special place in our hearts but means, ‘to be crowned’…and thats exactly what Leo is, our little Lion King.

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Teresa Mendoza1 Comment