Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Sunflower

When we returned home last night, there was a present waiting for us in the garden. The first of my sunflowers had bloomed while we were gone. It was like being handed a smile. I've been cultivating these sunflowers since late April, when I planted many seeds in a pot inside, shooing the cats away and watching them sprout. As it warmed up in May, I moved the pot outside. Some of them wilted and died, but many of my sunflowers took root, and eventually I dug them up and replanted them throughout the garden. I've continued to cultivate them, pulling weeds and staking them where necessary as they grew higher and higher. The ridiculous June rains (it rained something like 24 out of June's 30 days this year) helped too. And now a first bloom! There are a number of others ready to pop within the next week or so. I love sunflowers!

The fact is that I have always loved sunflowers, they always make me smile. My dad used to grow them in the backyard for me when I was a kid. My college dorm room was adorned with posters of Van Gogh's sunflowers, and whenever they are cheap and available I've been known to buy cut sunflowers for myself. One of my dearest friends bought me a mug and a plate painted with sunflowers, and they are my favorite to use for breakfast. David knows better than to buy roses for my birthday or our anniversary...I'm a sunflower kind of girl. Sunflowers are bold and beautiful, and they never cease to cheer me up, no matter how low my mood.

Over the past number of weeks, we've been cultivating a different kind of sunflower, a ray of hope, that also makes us smile. As of today I am 12 weeks pregnant. We've been calling this baby the Sunflower since the very beginning, because despite all the sadness, she can't help but make us smile. (We are both utterly convinced the Sunflower is a girl, even though it is way too early to know).

So far everything is very healthy and good. Now being considered squarely high-risk, I've already had 3 ultrasounds, and the Sunflower continues to have a steady heartbeat and to grow and grow. My belly is beginning to swell, and soon the Sunflower will be apparent to everybody.

Over the past 12 weeks, joy and hope have had a more steady presence in our lives. We can't help ourselves. I try to stay as present in the joy and hope as possible. We already talk to the Sunflower and let her know how loved and desired she is. But the Sunflower has unearthed a full palette of other emotions...sadness, anxiety, fear. I have been so emotional throughout this pregnancy....terrified of losing the Sunflower, grieving my blissful pregnancy with Ezra. Physically and emotionally this pregnancy has been so very different than my pregnancy with Ezra.

I haven't told that many people about the Sunflower. In some ways I have an overwhelming desire to hide in a cave for the 9 months, and emerge only if/when I have a live baby to show for my efforts. For the people I have told, mostly close friends, babylost mamas and my coworkers, I have felt compelled to share the news but within the same breath make clear I'm both excited and terrified. I need those around me to understand that although I am happy, I also have no illusions about the risks involved.

But the joy is there, ever present, always growing. Afterall, sunflowers always make me smile.

Here's some shots of the Sunflower:

And finally, here's some gratuitous shots of my garden. Its really come together this year:


Mirne said...

Sending you many wishes for a sticky healthy and uneventful remaining pregnancy ... I hope you get you hold Sunflower in your arms and take her/him home with you.

As for not telling people ... I didn't tell people until I was about 20 weeks!!! That's when my mum found out. Some friends still don't know!!! Take your time.

Michele said...

when i first read about your sunflower, i immediately thought of Ezra... Every now and again a bloom will open here that, for whatever reason, makes me think the kids are saying 'hi mom'.

Congrats on your pregnancy! what wonderful news! i look forward to hearing all about Ezra's little sister. :) Many prayers for a safe and happy journey.

AnnaBelle said...


Your Sunflower, sunflower, and garden are lovely!

marlie said...

CONGRATULATIONS! I'll keep you and David and Sunflower in my thoughts and prayers throughout the summer and following months.

Catherine W said...

Little sunflower. That is a beautiful nickname.

I am so very happy for you both. xx

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, Sarah. Sending you so much love and hope for an uneventful, healthy pregnancy & thinking of Ezra always. xo

Hope's Mama said...

Welcome Sunflower. We all love you so much already.

Jacinta said...

Hooray for Sunflower! I hope you guys get a long and peaceful pregnancy. Glad that there is some light on the horizon amongst everything you've gone through.

Sophie said...

Congratulations on Sunflower! Hoping for a calm and healthy pregnancy for you.xx

erica said...

Hurray for Sunflower! I understand the instinct to hide in a cave very well, but I'm glad this little one is giving you some glimpses of hope and joy. I am hoping hard for you.

Dani819 said...

Beautiful garden. Beautiful post. With you all in love and hope.

Funsize said...

Oh my goodness, I am so excited for you! Congratulations!!! Hoping your little Sunflower continues to grow taller and taller.


Rachael said...

Sending all our love to little Sunflower and to you and David. How lovely, how very lovely. xxx

still life angie said...

Sunflower is a perfect name. They are opening all around me too, and now I will think of her when they smile at me. With love, as always.

CLC said...

I am so excited for you that all is going well. Excitement and fear the second time around go hand in hand. I am here to read and listen whenever you need to vent your fears. I hope the next 2 trimesters are problem-free.

Ya Chun said...

I am so sorry about your FIL. Isn't it just the way of life? New hope growing within you, while others are leaving? And fear and anxiety comingled with hope and love? Loving all the sunflowers and your garden...

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your wonderful news and all my best wishes for a wonderful pregnancy with your little sunflower.

Love Jess xx

(I saw your news on LFCA and I recognized your name from a number of the blogs I read.)

Sara said...

This post made me smile. I'm so happy for you. And I understand the mix of excitement and anxiety.

Keep growing, little Sunflower.

Cara said...

I'm so glad for both of you that Sunflower is growing so well. You know my heart is bursting with excitment for you!!

Jenni said...

wow, congratulations. so very happy for you - thank you for sharing your news with us. many many blessings on you and your little sunflower.

ps - may i ask a question? where did your man get his memorial dogtags? thinking of something similar for my hubby. you can reply on my blog if you get a chance amidst all your happy anticipation! thanks!

Anonymous said...

wonderful news :)

i planted a row of sunflowers along the side of the house not long ago, they are coming up but still small yet! i can't wait.

i am happy for you and your husband.
also that was a beautiful eulogy he wrote below. i'm glad you have this new life and hope.

Nuwie (i am a friend of Chris n Lani)

k@lakly said...

Oh THAT'S AWESOME!!!!! I am so thrilled for you, for all of you. I hope this sunflower brings you so much joy and light and 6 months of a quiet uneventful pregnancy too. You and your garden(s) seem quite bountiful, I hope the growing and blooming continue on into the fall, as they should.
I know it is soooo scary, this journey of pg after loss. Just take it slowly, one moment at a time and know that every step you take gets you closer to the happy ending you so deserve.
If you ever need to talk, I'm here.

and YAY!!

Carly Marie said...


I am so happy for you Sarah, so very happy and hopeful.

Your garden looks magical.

I am praying for your sunflower xxx

aliza said...

sending love to both of your sunflowers

and so glad that a little joy has crept back into your lives


Gal said...

Beautiful! The garden AND the little Sunflower growing in your loving womb. Desired. Mighty. Keep feeling the joy, keep trusting. Huge love to you, Sarah.

Laura Borden said...

I am so happy to hear the news. My mother told me just today. I'll be thinking positive thoughts for Sunflower.

Paige said...

I'm so thrilled for you Sarah, and sending lots of love on this new journey. xo

Fireflyforever said...

I don't think I've ever left a comment here before so I hope it's okay to start with a big, happy one! I'm so pleased to hear about your beautiful Sunflower. May she continue to grow and thrive.

Lea said...

I totally missed your news! Very happy for both of you. The sunflower is the perfect analogy for your growing little babe. I LOVE sunflowers (they were our wedding flower).

Also: I wanted to let you know that I made a pair of Angel Wings for Ezra. Please check out the sidebar on my blog - Angel Wing Memorial Boutique.

If you would like an original mailed to you send me your mailing address and I would be happy to send them!


Ange said...

Wonderful fabulous news. Wishing you only good things with this little one. Will be watching and waiting xx

Lani said...

how did i miss this post? well, since we chat a bunch, you know how i feel about all this. i love your sunflower and can identify b/c i love them too! i've been trying to grow some around our apt as well- a few are looking pretty good so far, but none close to blooming yet.

sending you love and strength-

Barbara said...

Sarah I feel dreadful.

How, how, HOW could I have missed such momentous news!

I am SO very pleased for you and David.

Smiling with you!