Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Lily by Any Other Name...

Lily is rarely just called “Lily.” It’s usually something like Lilybean Jellybean, Lilster, Lil’Faith, Little Lil’, Lilypop, Silly Lily, Bones. All nicknames need apply.

When Lily was born, I was under the impression that, “Once I see her, I’ll know what her name should be.” Truthfully, once I saw her I was more like, “Holy cow, I really did make a human!” Then I melted into a puddle of tears as I held my little blue-eyed girl (who later turned into my brown-eyed girl - yay! just like me). I remember that just as the doctor handed her to me, her eyes caught mine first. In true Lily Faith fashion, she winced a little to let everyone know she was alive. Then she just looked around the room and then right into my eyes. I swooned, Martin swooned, and I’d like to think that Lily swooned right back.
"Babygirl" Frey
Just then the nurse asked, “What’s her name?”  I looked at Martin and he shrugged. Then he looked at me and I shrugged. You’d think that after nine long months, we could've come up with a name by then. All the names that I had written down in my junior high journal under the header "What I Will Name My Future Baby Girl" were either extremely outdated (I mean, it had been almost thirty years since I had jotted those down) or just didn’t fit this little flower girl. So her interim name became "Babygirl" Frey.

By Day Three, the doctors came in and said that she needed to be Life Flighted to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City because something was wrong, though they weren’t exactly sure what. Both Martin and I knew that something was wrong as well. When we held her, she would shake about every minute as if she had been shocked.  She was also really squishy like a bag-o'-bones (hence the nickname "Bones"), and when we picked her up, her limbs and head would flop around like a little rag doll. It was all very disconcerting, and we knew it couldn’t be ignored, so we were almost relieved that the doctors acknowledged these concerns and had her on a Life Flight within a half hour of the decision.

The Life Flight crew came in and took her so quickly that I wasn’t even dressed and was a bit confused about all that had just happened in the space of 30 minutes. The EMTs began working on Lily immediately as they rolled her out of the room and whisked her away from me, leaving me alone in the nursery, staring at her empty crib. What I should have done was say, “She is not going without me, I’m her mother!” But I was in shock and I didn’t know mom protocol yet. So before I had a chance to digest it all, she was already gone.
Packed and ready.

As a new mother, there really isn’t anything sadder than leaving the hospital with an empty car seat. That was so hard for me. For years, I had imagined the day that I would be rolled out to the curb, balloons tied to the back of the wheelchair, maybe straddling a vase full of flowers between my knees with a little bundle of baby snug in my arms. (Cue screeching of a record sound effect.) Instead, we had to drive to a hospital about 30 minutes away with just the sound of tires hitting the icy cold road. We sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity. We were in a state of shock. And in true Kym form, I began to think immediately about Babygirl Frey’s future. Again, I melted into a puddle of tears, but this time, they weren’t joyous.

On the drive to Primary’s, Martin kept saying that I just needed to have faith. Not necessarily faith that she would be okay, but faith for me to be okay with whatever was wrong. We talked about a few different faith-testing stories and shared our thoughts on the subject. Then Martin suggested that one of her names should be Faith, so it could remind us to always have faith in God's will and in our little girl. I thought that was a lovely idea.

When we got to the hospital, we were taken to the sick, sick baby floor to see our daughter in a room full of sick, sick babies. So sick that I felt guilty for crying so hard about our little girl’s future since hers looked so much brighter than most of the other babies that were in the cribs around her.
I feel like I stood over her like that for days, making sure she wouldn't miss a breath.
That night, Martin and I each made a list of names as we were determined to give her a complete name. Then we showed each other our lists for approval. Why hadn't we done this sooner? Oh, I know. For a long time, I thought I was just giving birth to an alien. Every name on Martin’s list was a proper name (think something better suited to royalty or someone found on a southern plantation). Or they were names of girls that I had had a bad experience with in my past. You know, we all have those names. And there is no way our sweet little girl could share the same name as the high school harlot.

Then we got to my names. After his list, of course Martin thought mine were too progressive. By no means was I thinking “Apple” (I mean, that is only acceptable if one of the parents is a rock star and we, by no means, are rock stars), but I thought something a little different might be fun. Alas, we did not agree, and Babygirl Frey remained Babygirl Frey even after she was released from Primary Children's.

A few days after we had brought Lily home, I remember holding her one night, thinking how her lips looked like rosebuds. Of course, I knew Martin would never agree to “Rosebud," and besides, Orson Welles had already swiped that name decades earlier. Right about then, Martin came over and sat next to me as we both just stared at our nameless baby. Then he said that she looked as delicate as a little flower. Now we were getting somewhere! At least, we were both thinking in the flower category. Then I said, “I’ve always loved the name Lily.” And it was true. Plus my mother's name is Susan, which means Lily, so it kind of felt like that might be a way of naming her after her without going completely retro. Martin perked up and said, “Lily Faith. That is her name.”  He said it with such conviction that I couldn’t disagree. He was right. Though we didn’t come to realize it until that moment, she had been Lily Faith all along.

Our little flower girl.