Friday, December 18, 2009

Just for tonight...

Is it because it's December?
Is it because his name is all over my tree?
Is it because all the talk of angels? Of joy?

This December has been going so fast.
A new babe at home and my children fighting illness.
Presents to wrap- cards to sign-
Going so fast.
No time to pause-

Until today.
I was at his kindergarten party-
Watching him make crafts and eat treats amongst his friends.
I was there-
snapping pictures of his party-

When I left.

I could see him.
The outline of him-
Near his brother-
Stringing beads on an ornament that would go on our tree.
Stringing beads.

How I wanted to focus though-
to see his face-
but all I saw was a shadow-
a shadow of him-
a dream.

What had made me go there?

As I snapped my picture, I saw my son.
Sandwiched between two boys-
two boys-
wearing the same thing-
the same hair-
the same eyes-
the same last name-
two boys-
brothers.

I took this picture of him- of him between them- and my mind was far away from the reality of the room I was in.

The rawness of when I first learned that Jonasen was in a class with twin boys has worn off. I can look at them- I watched them interact and I wondered what it would have been like... what it should have been like...
I watched their father helping one and I desperately wanted to go to him- to tell him- Jonasen was a twin- he was a twin- I had twins too- I had them- I had him- I did-

Slow motion-
My fog-
My black and white-
Only his outline-
Fuzzy.

I sat there with a heavy heart- hidden by my plastic smile-
No one knew-
No one knew I had gone there-
To where I had him-
in my dreams.

I miss you sweet Andrew. I'm missing you tonight.

I'm looking at the mantle and wishing you had a stocking to fill.
I'm looking at the tree and wishing you had ornaments with your face sewn between pieces of felt.
I'm looking to the heavens and although I feel peace and I know you are safe...
I look to your heaven and I dream
and wonder
and wish
Wish you were here with me... just for tonight-
here-
in my arms.
I love you my sweet boy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Curveball

My prayer.
Andrew's Story.
My curveball.

This blog began when I was asked to talk about my curveball.
About my baby.
About the day my baby died.
About the journey this curveball has set me on.

I was asked to share my story with my church congregation and after I did, I felt the memories come rushing back. I paused and so was born this blog.

To hear where it began, my voice, my story, you can hear the sermon here.

Praying for you this season.
Praying for families all over the world that are missing someone this season.
Knowing how cold it can feel.
You are not alone.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

One more stocking-

As a teacher I chose to go back to work one week before the holidays. To ease myself back into reality- Answer the questions of curious second graders- I was ready.
It was good.
I needed to be back.

They asked me about him- His name- What he looked like- Was I sad-
And I answered their questions and answering them felt so pure and real. They were not afraid to mention his name or ask what was on their minds. They didn't tip-toe around my fragile heart in fear that I may shatter right there in front of them- or wonder what they should or shouldn't say- they just said it.

And I was thankful. It was December and life had gone on. It had been three months... But it was the first Christmas and my return just before this major holiday drew attention to that.
That first Christmas-

But the children asked. And I could answer with a pure heart. A heart growing with each question they asked- each time they spoke his name- I could feel myself becoming lighter- I was going to make it.

And then a coworker came into my classroom while my students were having a snack and enjoying talking to one another about what they wanted for Christmas. She welcomed me back put her hand on my shoulder and said, "I just keep thinking that when you look up at your mantle you must wish there were just one more stocking up there..."

Though I felt a sort of shock and horror at the honesty of her statement-
-students not far from where I stood-
I swallowed, looked her in the eye and said, "Yes. Yes I do."

I am still amazed that she said it.
I am still amazed I found a voice to answer her.

I kept seeing my mantle-
Three stockings
And one giant hole where one should have been-
She was right.

One more stocking.
One more stocking should have been up there.

Sure I could have hung one more stocking- but why? All I had to put in it were dreams and hopes and to see an empty stocking- empty dreams- empty hopes... with his name...
Well- that broke my heart too.

I look at my mantle now and it is full- I am full-

And yet I wonder
What it would have looked like-
What Christmas could have looked like-
With just one more stocking-

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Therapy

It became my therapy.
There came a time I think that others were tired of hearing me.
I know it.
But I still needed to talk, and monthly meetings were not enough.

It was my therapy.
My pen.
In those days I took his journal with me to his garden. I wrote him there.
In those days I would write in the nights, curled in a chair in my home. I wrote him there.
I wrote, and I wrote.
And those letters- composed in journals- became my therapy.
My release-

I knew he would never read them, the letters, but the moment they left my pen it was as if I spoke them, as if he heard and that made me feel better. I could write and write and write and he was never tired of hearing about how I loved him, how I missed him, how I wished he were here.

Oh how I wish he were here.

On his last birthday- his sixth birthday- I took his journals with me.
And I read.
I read through tears as I remembered the words. I remembered where I was.
My anger.
My guilt.
My pain.
So many, many pages and I could see myself.
Remember myself.
On all the hills and valleys of this journey I find myself on.

Now my pen has changed. I write him here. I write of him here.
And sometimes I find myself going back and reading what I had said, where I was on that night...
And I read your stories.
Your Therapy-
Where you were that night.
And I wonder where you are now.
And I hope you are well.



And to my fellow bloggers, I turned my blog into a book so I can go back and read it. If you are interested in doing the same to your blog follow this link. Thanks for writing!
Hugs-
Laura

Friday, November 20, 2009

Our Story

It is amazing sometimes.
The friends that I have made simply because he's not here.
Friends that stretch cities, states, and even countries.
All because of his story- our story.


Holly, an amazing mom I 'met' from Caring for Carleigh, emailed me these pictures. Such a simple gesture, but one that took time, took thought, took effort.

I've been thinking about it. How if it weren't for Andrew's story, for Baby E's story, for Carleigh's story and countless others- I would have no idea. No idea of the community that is out there- waiting in the shadows- one that no one knows about- has ever heard of- until you need them- until you become one of them.

So many stories-
Like the leaves in these piles- all with names- details- stories.

I've spoken of the 'secret society' on here, of the many (mostly) women that I've met. Stories that I've heard. And I've wept for them. Thinking about how horrible it must have been to have lost their child- their children.

And though I've lost a child.
I've lost children.
Their story isn't mine.
I can only imagine.

I've had people tell me that they can't imagine. It must have been so hard to go 39 weeks and had to say goodbye. To have carried so long...

And I would tell them- I can't imagine. It must have been so hard to lose a baby you could fit in the palm of your hand. A perfectly formed, but tiny babe. To not have had more time...
I can't imagine.

Because it isn't my story.

We would unpack our stories at meetings. Those hard details- the pain- the tears-
We'd unpack them all.

But in the end if we could choose- we'd take our story back. Each of us. We've talked about it- because in the end it is our story- our children- who have led us to this point- made us who we are.

I choose him.
A 6 pound 11 oz boy.
I choose him.
His eyes closed- I never did get to see them.
I choose him.
And those little fingers that seemed to wrap around mine.
I choose him.
And the little spark- full of hopes and dreams- that just left one day- for reasons unknown.
I choose them.

It's my story.
One of millions-
Like a single leaf in the forest
A grain of sand on the beach
A lone star in a brilliant night's sky

And yet I'd find him again
and again
and choose him.
Choose them.

Our story.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Secret Garden Meeting

The Secret Garden Meeting is a wonderful blog for women who have lost children. It asks them about their experiences and then allows them to post and read about one another's experience. This is my experience- October.

So this meeting we would like to talk about where you are. Where are you at in
your grief. Has it been years or just weeks since you lost your baby. How are
you feeling. How do you hope you will feel in the future. Have you found any
peace at all?
It has been such a long journey, but I can say it now-
It has been the greatest gift-

Full.
For the first time ever, I am full.

It has been six years since I began my journey.
Six years ago I became a mother.
Six years ago I became so much more.

I never dreamed that I would lose a child.
I never dreamed that one could have such a healthy, happy, uneventful pregnancy-
one could get so close-
so very very close-
and yet miss.

Hours-
Mere hours-
but we missed him-
and he left.

I never dreamed I'd feel full. I had one baby but it wasn't enough. When I was pregnant I was expecting babies not a (one) baby. And so I needed to have that feeling again- to be pregnant- to have 'babies'.
And I did.

And I thought it would make me full.
But I wasn't full.
And we added to our family.
And we added to our family.
And I remember talking about it... Were we trying to fill a void that could never be filled. Would we just keep adding to our family in hopes that one day we wouldn't miss him anymore? Would we keep going and never feel 'full'.

But it wasn't my living children who made me full.

I began to see-
By a little boy that I talk to all the time.
By a little boy who has journals all filled with letters that he'll never read- but I think he hears.
By a little boy who gets the kisses I blow each night.
By a little boy who has watched and smiled as his mom grew- and forgave- and healed-
and loved
again.

And my heart has grown, and grown, and grown and grown-
And though there are two pieces gone-
I am full-
I am done-
I am at peace-

Peace is something I thought would never really be part of my story and yet I had glimpses of it- little tastes-
Peace came when I first laughed again
(and didn't feel bad about it-)
Peace came when I chose to live
(and not feel bad about it-)
Peace came when I could take in a deep breath of the crisp fall air
(and be thankful)
Thankful that he was sent to me- even though he flew away too soon.

He was my son.
He is remembered
And I will meet him again.

Full and at peace.
It took a long time.
The greatest gift I've ever received-
And the greatest gifts are not to be kept, but to be shared.
I wish you peace- that one day you would feel it too.
When you're ready-
Full.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Questions.

At six his questions are coming.
They come faster now than before.

He was writing in his notebook. I was writing in mine.
I noticed him glance at me as I rubbed my belly- a belly swollen with a life of a baby to be delivered in just a few weeks.
He went back to his writing when it came-

"Why do babies die?"
I felt the air leave me and I caught myself wanting to say-
'Why would you ask such a thing? Babies don't die! This baby won't die! Don't worry!"

But I couldn't say it-

I know why he was asking-
and sometimes babies do die-
I don't know what tomorrow holds and while I don't want you to worry- how can I tell you not to when I can't stop the worry in my own mind...

There was a silence as I searched for the right thing to say to him.

"Why do you ask that?"

"Andrew died."

"Yes he did. And I don't know why God needed him when He did- but I do know that He wanted you here to be part of this family right here, right now- that he knew we needed you- and I know that this baby will join our family too Joe, I know it. Don't worry. It'll be o.k"

My answer seemed to be enough as he went back to drawing pumpkins and writing 'stories'. He doesn't dwell on his questions- or the anwers- but for me they linger-

It was the first time I felt that I was lying to him. At that time I didn't know about the baby I carried. I didn't know that it would all be o.k. but I wanted it to be and I didn't want him to worry- I didn't want him to ever worry about things like babies dying... I wanted to protect him- I want to protect all my children-

But this is what his reality is- our reality- and as much as we don't dwell on it, he knows.
He knows he had a brother.
He knows his brother died.
And he has questions.

As his questions come I try to answer them the best I can-
I try to shelter him the best I can-

Because the truth is for some questions, I don't have the answers-

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Charlie

I remember sitting in meetings where moms of angels would be reviewing their lives-
Thinking about them-
Examining them-
Wondering what in the world it was that they had done in the past that could possibly have brought them to this moment.
This heartache-
This brokenness-

Wondering what in the world it was that they had done that allowed God to let this happen.

I wonder if they're wondering that tonight.

The wonderings-
The whys-
They seem to be recurring thoughts that moms to angels have.
There is no stopping the thoughts-

And still today- I am wondering
I am asking why...

I've written about my October 9ths lately.
The eve of October 9th.
What October 9th has meant to me.
What October 9th was to me this year.

But today I am thinking about their October 9th.
Charlie's October 9th.
His family's October 9th.

Sarah's nephew, Charlie, was born.
On October 9th.

Births are always so exciting to people like Sarah and me- to hold a baby who makes it!
-Because both of us have had children who have left us on the days they were born.

Births are blessings to people like Sarah and me- People who know that not all births have happy endings.
-Because both of us have had children we've had to say 'goodbye' to on days we thought we'd say 'hello'

Births can be happy and we've both had our angels smile from heaven as they have watched us welcome other babies into this world.

Charlie was born.
Charlie is alive.
And it looks as if Charlie will teach us more lessons- but not from this lifetime.

Charlie makes me think of Jet and other babies who have joined family members (children) already in heaven.

In this case, it appears that Charlie will be meeting his big cousin, Audrey.
In this case, it appears that this birthday will not have the happy ending we had hoped for and prayed for.

Why?
Why should one family have to suffer another infant loss?
Why should any of us have to suffer loss?

I will never know.
But I will be praying for Charlie's family. Tonight and on every October 9th. A day that once held hopes, and dreams for a little boy who it seems may, like his cousin, fly away too soon.
I hope you will join me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

We have been blessed!

I must thank everyone for their outpouring of support, and love.
Thank you for your encouraging comments.
Today was a wonderful day.
Today, as his siblings smiled from heaven, we welcomed into this world our last child,
Sean Asher.

Genesis 30:13
"How happy I am! The women will call me happy." So she named him Asher.

And we are, so very, very happy.
With Gratitude and Love,
Laura

If you are interested in reading the details of Sean Asher's arrival into this world, please click on the link below.
http://dorandays1.blogspot.com/2009/10/it-boy.html

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Eve

Tomorrow.
Tomorrow I will meet the baby growing inside of me.
The baby I have been praying for.
The baby I have been dreaming of.
Singing to.
Pleading with.
Tomorrow.

Today is the eve.
And the eves have always been safe.
I feel the movement.
I know it is o.k.
They were all o.k.
On the eve.

But today I cried.
Knowing that tomorrow my life will change.
How I was such a different person on that first eve.
So different than the woman I am now.
And while the transformation has been a process-
And the person I am now is one I am proud of- and that I love-
The transformation has been painful-
Scary-

Today I cried.
Knowing that tomorrow my life will change.
And in so many ways I do not know what that change will be.
Boy? Girl?
Full? Broken?

But I know that whatever that change will be- I will not be alone.
I've never been alone.
God has always been by my side- and has sent me His angels- and so many, many people who have been praying- holding me up- keeping me here.
Where I need to be.

But it's the eve.
And I cry for the unknown-
the what will be-
the peace that seems to be tested-
on my eves.

Tomorrow is October 9th.

95 years ago, my dear Grandpa Jonasen was born to this world.
34 years ago, his son left this world.
All on October 9th.

This day has been a day that has changed my family.
Sometimes growing hearts-
Sometimes breaking them-

Tomorrow our life will change again.

But today is the eve-
And through wet eyes, I will think and ponder all that is good-
all that is right-
and know that whatever will come.
I will be blessed.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Secret Garden Meeting

The Secret Garden Meeting is a wonderful blog for women who have lost children. It asks them about their experiences and then allows them to post and read about one another's experience. This is my experience- September.

What has helped you through out this new life the most. Is it your family? your faith? Support groups? A ritual? Music? Physical activity? A new interest? It could be anything. Tell us about how whatever it is has helped you.

Peace.

If you told me that I would find it- or have it six years ago- or even perhaps five- I would have told you that you were crazy. My new life? Well- it wasn't what I had signed up for- what I wanted and somehow I found myself treading water- trying to find my way- survive with a broken heart- and for a time I was stuck.

Literally I was stuck- stuck in a place I didn't want to be anymore. I have an amazing family- an amazing network of friends- of support- and a faith that is so very strong- and still I was stuck. My writing helped me- but in the end I kept coming back to that place... The place where I felt so hollow and wanting to come out of it... but stuck.

What helped me most was the Secret Society- A group of amazing people that I met with each month at the hospital where I delivered- The hospital. The very place where my new life began. The name of this 'Secret Society' was/ is HUGS and you will still find me there- every third Thursday of the month, in Meagan's room. HUGS helped me in my new life. Helped me become 'unstuck' on the journey of my life.

Each month I met new people- mostly women- and it amazed me how different we were. We were so different in so many ways and yet we had this common bond- an unspoken understanding of each other that even our closest friends couldn't quite understand- not completely anyway. For we all knew what it was like to lose a child, to lose dreams, and to be 'stuck'. And whether I met them once- or talk to them still- they touched me- and I took something from their stories- from knowing them- from listening.

Each month these women comforted me, carried me and listened to me. They did not judge- they listened- and they shared- and in their sharing I was no longer alone in my new life. I had others. And I liked them. I longed to see them each month- to know them- because though our time together in Meagan's room was limited I felt that they knew me more than most. They understood me and my new life.

And now I can tell you that this group of women- amazing women- whom I have met through the blessings of lives that were never lived- have helped me heal. The friendship. The friendship is what helped me most. A true gift from God. And now it is no longer all about our angels. It is about us. Where we are. Who we are. Acceptance. Peace.

And now you may see us having meetings at coffee houses, restaurants or even our living rooms- because born out of grief has been an amazing bond of friendship. One I would guess will last a lifetime.

A support system like no other. Our secret society.

http://momentsofpause.blogspot.com/2009/01/secret-society.html

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stay with me.

Today she handed me a paper.
On October 9th she will deliver my baby.

Holding the paper made it feel real.
For a moment.
I haven't really imagined a new baby coming to live with us.
I haven't given it much thought- boy? girl?
But holding that paper- my mind began to wonder.

I walked to my car.
Turned the key.
And began my ride home.

And my mind began to write- to compose- words- ideas swirling in the air...
A new baby coming to live with us?
A boy a girl?
Wonder?

And in the background of my thoughts- I saw the backdrop of my life.
My life as a mother-
How I have tried to protect myself- shield myself- from the unknown...
or in my case- the known too well...

As my mind began to wander- it stopped- and listened.
For on the radio came some familiar notes.
From a familiar band.
A song I heard so many times-

The Lyrics:
She's so scared
So very frightened
Anything could happen
Right here tonight-
-Beautiful Girl (Stay with me)

And while I do not know if the baby growing inside of me is a boy or a girl-
the song spoke to me-

And I started thinking about him.
The reason I am so scared
So very frightened
Anything could happen
Right here tonight-
-Beautiful (Stay with me)

Stay with me...
It's what I wrote last year this month in my journal as I miscarried my baby

Stay with me...
It's what I secretly prayed in my mind when I saw the ultrasound- the absence of his heartbeat.

Stay with me...
It's what I begged as I held his lifeless body- kissed him-
begged him...
Stay with me!

And it's my prayer now.
And though these recent months have gone by-
And I haven't really imagined a new baby coming to live with us.
And I haven't given much thought- boy? girl?
Today as I heard those notes- my mind began to wander and wonder
and beg-
Stay with me...

(The Band: INXS- The Song: Beautiful Girl)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where it began... Two minutes-

September 15, 2003
Where it all began-

And today I thought about it... This time six years ago- I was different-
I was happy
I was me
I was whole

But in the matter of two minutes my life changed.
It changed forever-
I am happy
I am me
But I am no longer whole

At 10:35pm my life changed- I remember the dim room- the silence- the feeling of him being pulled from my body-
The silence.
And I was changed.
For with him, went a piece of me- never to return- never to be as it was- changed.

At 10:36pm my life changed- the same dim room- the silence- the feeling of him being pulled from my body-
The cries.
And I was changed.
For with him, went a piece of me- never to return- never to be as it was- changed.

One living- one dead- and yet both had such a role in my transformation.

Part of my heart died that day

Part of my heart exists outside of my body-
in the little boy
who lives in heaven
and in the little boy
who lives before my eyes.

Two minutes.
In one- I wanted to die- to go with him- for how could I live without him?
In another- I wanted to live- live for him- for how could I ever leave?

And so it began.
My journey.
My life as a mom of twins that no one ever saw.
My life of reflecting and writing and searching for my purpose- my meaning- my reason.
My life with part of my heart- gone- yet living outside of my body.

It began on September 15, 2003.
My life. A life worth living and sharing. A life that grew and aged and changed. A life that suddenly understood.

It is about lives- living them to the fullest and not letting a day go by where you don't learn and grow and change.
It is about taking a moment-
A moment to pause-
and think about what you DO have- even when your arms are empty- for they didn't leave you alone- while they took a piece of you- they left a piece too.
Peace.
Find it.
Pause-
Just for a moment...

On September 15th I changed.
I'm changing still.
And I welcome it.
For through the letters I've written in his journal- the words I've written here and the thoughts that have crossed my lips- I have changed.
And I am all the more blessed for it.

And yet I still wonder where that 'other' path would have led me on this day... six years later had he lived- close my eyes- I can almost see it...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Raw

It's here.
I knew it would come-
I didn't know the circumstances-
or the details-
but it has come.

My scab has been ripped off-
Again back to that place-
So very very raw...

Not the moment I learned he was gone-
or when I kissed him goodbye-
No.

It was the middle of the night-
As I watched my new baby sleep-
My husband sleep-
that I realized....
He's gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Six years ago I sat in my hospital bed with my journal and pen in hand- writing- cursing- WHY?
And I find myself there now...
Back in that place-
That dark, dark place I thought I had left.
When was the last time my heart went there?

The place where you can't find your breath-
Your eyelashes glued together- unable to wipe away the tears that flow-
and flow-
and flow-
Will they stop????

The place where you can't talk- but you gasp-
gasp for your next breath-
before your next STOP!!!!!
before your next WHY?????????

I'm there.
I'm raw.

Twins.
Identical ones.
One seated next to my dear son.
One seated behind.

Where are you Andrew???
Why aren't you here???
WHY??

Where is my strength?
Where is my breath?
Where is my reason??

I'm lost.
I'm raw.
I'm broken...

I'm back there and I don't want to be.
Not yet.
Not now.
Not twins.

God why?
Why? Why? Why?

To see twin boys for me hurts. I smile and nod- but deep down it hurts.
I see two in strollers and I think... I didn't cry- I didn't hurt-
Acknowledgement-
Twin boys.
Fucking Twin Boys.

In his class-
at his table-

And so next week- when I am home from work- remembering- writing- crying- dreaming- and wishing- I will travel to his garden and I will write him- and thank him-
But right now I am so very angry with him...
Why didn't you stay?
How can I do this alone?
How can I walk into his classroom with cupcakes of celebration- with a broken heart and fake smile on my face while seeing two-
two-
What I should have had.

Oh dear God-
It's so raw again....
Please, please help me find my peace once more...
I know you will.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

He knows.

It's September and my heart is heavy.
Torn.
Just like it was 6 years ago.
10:35pm- My heart broke when I heard the silence
10:36pm- My heart grew when I heard the screams
Torn.

And last year-
September-
Our little spark disappeared.
Gone.
Torn again.

And I can feel it coming.
The heaviness of the dreams- the memories-
Torn.
September again.
And I can feel it coming.

Today in church my heart was heavy as I heard my husband strum his guitar leading the congregation in the song, "I can only imagine"- and I could feel my eyes swell at the thought. Of meeting my Savior. The one who helped me off the floor- so many, many times and wonder if I'd also see them- Standing at His side.
But I don't know.

The sermon- about heaven- and the pastor began-
"What is heaven like? No one really knows..."
To which my six year old son whispered with a smile, "My brother knows."

Six years he's lived without his twin.
He's so strong and he doesn't even know it.
It's all he's ever known.
So strong in his faith.
So strong in his assurance.
So secure in his peace.

Heaven?
He's right.
He knows.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sweet Recognitions



I want to thank anyone who has read this blog, who has followed, who has commented, who has shared.

I was recently 'tagged' in the 'Honest Scrap' award by two angel Mamas... Heather at http://twoinheavenoneonearth.blogspot.com/

and Isla's mommy at http://toobeautifulforthisearth.blogspot.com/

Someone also nominated me at the Secret Garden Meeting which was also so very nice so to that anonymous person- Thank you! Your feedback and comments have meant the world to me- especially the ones praying for Baby F. What an amazing 'blogging' family I have.

This award was to write ten honest things about myself. Because some of those things contain joys about my living children, I've decided to post them on the blog where I write about my family. I do not like to talk about them here as the last thing I wanted to hear about in my 'earlier loss days' was someone's joy of motherhood.

So if you're interested... go here... http://dorandays.blogspot.com/2009/08/its-honest-scrap.html

And if you're not... that's okay too. I've been there. Sending you all peace and hugs- thanks for reading and thanks for writing! If you don't have a blog- start!

Hugs-

Laura

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Secret Garden Meeting



The Secret Garden Meeting is a wonderful blog for women who have lost children. It asks them about their experiences and then allows them to post and read about one another's experience. This is my experience- August.

If you created a bedroom for your baby tell us what it was like. Did you have it ready for them before they were born?If so how did you cope coming home to it without your baby?Did you pack it all away?What is your baby's room now?If you lost your baby after they had come home what is it like going into there room now?If you are trying to conceive again, or are pregnant again how do you feel about setting up another room before your baby is born?

The bedroom.
Yellow walls- green bedding- a dresser full of clothes- a shelf full of books- two cribs- and the chair.

Yes it was ready- it had been ready for weeks.
The days passed, and yet they didn't come.
But the room was ready.
So very ready for two little babies.

But then they came.
One week late.
They came on September 15, 2003.
They came- But one left.

Only one baby would sleep in that room.

In the hospital my father and brother asked me. What did I want...
And I wanted it gone.

I didn't want to see the crib-
the empty crib-
I thought it would haunt me to see it there.
But it wasn't the crib-
Its absence in the room...
It was the chair.

The chair was what broke my heart.
I wrote of it here.

The chair.

And we have been blessed.
We have had others-
But they have had no room.
No clean clothes in a dresser-
No crib-
No chair.

Just prayers.
Prayers that soon, we would build another room- full of love- hope- and dreams.
Dreams that wouldn't be taken away.
My daughter was born 15 months after my heart broke, but if you came to our house and looked around, you would have no idea that someone else was expected to come to our home.
Because I didn't expect it.
I couldn't.

The pain of seeing things gone.
Of knowing a baby wouldn't sleep there-
Wear those clothes-
Be read to in that chair-
Was too much.
And too fresh.

And so went the instructions: IF the baby comes, please take out the appropriate clothes from the bins in the basement. Please find the car seat and the bassinet. IF...
IF...

And so now- six years later- a baby is expected to come home in October.
October 9th.

But you wouldn't know it by walking in our home.
But perhaps you would feel the prayers- the love- the hopes- the dreams-
But you won't see things.
But there are things in the basement.
If.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Rain

I have had nights like this.
Nights when my mind won't stop.
And I don't know what it's saying- but it just won't rest.
On nights like these I would get out my journal-
And the words would come- without my choosing which direction they would go.

Nights like this come when I hear about the rain.
Like when she died of cancer- at 10.
So full of grace, and strength and beauty
And my mind wouldn't stop.
But the words came without my knowing.
Maddison.
And then I'd feel a peace come over me- flow over me.
But- oh the rain.

Nights like this, when we lived through our rain.
A mother diagnosed with cancer.
A son we held and kissed as we said goodbye forever.
A father diagnosed with cancer- taken before the year was out.
Our rain.
And I wrote and wrote and wrote.
The peace would come and flow, but the rain would fall- staining the pages I wrote upon.
Oh the rain.

It's raining tonight.
Not outside my window-
but inside my mind.

I have been thinking about her.
The diagnosis-
The thoughts-
The feelings-
And I don't know.
My words- stuck.

And then I learned of more rain.
More rain for her family.
Their 8 year old.
Gone.
Their rain.
And I'm so sorry.
So very, very sorry.

There is no direction- no course-
A meandering-
Thoughts-
Feelings-
Sorrow.

I'm praying for the rain to stop.
For her rain to stop.
For your rain to stop.

For peace to flow again.
God, let it flow.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Butterflies...

When I first lost Andrew, I wrote his name everywhere-
I signed his name to every card I sent (and I sent a lot)

But as time went by, things changed. Not my love for Andrew... but something changed in me...

I thought about my Nan. Who lost her son in a car accident when he was 27 years old. She didn't sign his name to cards- Would I still be signing Andrew's name at 27 years? And if not... when would I stop?

At the time, I was writing my living children's' names to cards- since they were too small to print...

I felt myself in an odd place. I didn't know how I felt, or what I wanted to do-
I know this is so different for bereaved moms- and I don't think that there is a right or a wrong to this- but I also knew I had to find what felt 'right' for me.

I didn't know how I wanted to remember Andrew- but I also knew I couldn't forget him-

And then I thought of the butterfly.

I saw them so regularly it seemed and they always made me think of Andrew.

Butterflies-
so beautiful-
And yet they always, ALWAYS flew away too soon...
Much like he did...

So I found myself being drawn to butterflies and put them everywhere-
in my garden-
in my children's' rooms-
in my jewelry-

And my friends knew about the butterflies-
Gifts-
Notebooks with butterflies-
Clips to hang in my classroom of butterflies-
And when I lost Baby E, a beautiful plant and flowers- complete with two butterflies.

And so while I still say his name-
I now rarely print it in cards-
But I do draw two butterflies-
For my two babies 'who flew away too soon...'

Thank you Bree for these beautiful butterflies- What a treat it was to get them- and thank you for the parade of Butterflies you have created for other bereaved moms- for while our children flew away too soon- the love we feel from others, like you, has remained...

To visit Ella's parade of butterflies, click here... http://butterflybaby15.blogspot.com/2009/06/ellas-parade-of-butterflies.html

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Strength- in the form of a little boy-

I remember when they arrived.
I didn't think I'd really ever get them...

The hospital stay was really such a blur-
So many choices given-
Choices made-
In a moment.

What would you like to do with his body?

I don't know? What are my choices? I've never done this before... I just came here to have a baby not to lose one...

Choices.
Burial, Cremation, Donation...

What is 'Donation'?

You can send your baby to the University of Michigan. There a doctor will perform an autopsy- in hopes to learn more about stillbirth- to further the knowledge of perinatal loss- He would be with one doctor, not a class. The doctor would be in contact with you. Let you know. That is one choice you have.

Helping others learn more? Perhaps preventing another mom of this heart-ache?

"Yes. I'd like that- that beautiful body is his container. It's not him. I like his life having a purpose- a help to others. Yes. Yes. I'd like that."

I signed on the dotted line knowing that after the autopsy he would be cremated but it was not custom to receive his ashes. But I was o.k. with that... Wasn't I???

Months later I began to panic.
I needed those ashes.
What had I done?
A container yes- but that precious beautiful body held his soul.
I held him. I loved him.
What had I done????

And then- as if God had answered my prayers I got the letter.
It had changed... IF families wanted them, they could get their loved-one's ashes back- but they needed to know by a certain date. Before burial.

I made calls! YES I WANT THEM!
I sent emails! YES I WANT THEM!
I faxed faxes! YES I WANT THEM!

I knew they would come- and I waited and waited and waited...

And then came the package.
So very small.
And I knew what it was.
I opened it up and looked at what was left. Fingered its contents. My six pound eleven ounce baby. So full of life inside of me- I could now hold in one hand- and I fell. My legs gave out on me. I fell to the floor in uncontrollable sobs. My baby! My God! My God- Why have you forsaken me? The pain was unbearable and I felt in the moment- knew in that moment that I could not get up alone. I still remember that floor- the shaking- the pain.
The pain.
I remember that moment as if it were yesterday. Though as I write these words- 5 years have gone by. Five years.
And yet I will never forget it.

For while on that floor, my God sent me strength- which came in the form of a little boy- crawling to his mom- watching his mom as she wept.
Wept so much for his brother- for not being able to keep him here. Not being able to keep him safe. Keep his spirit here. In that beautiful container. Safe.

My God sent me strength- which came in the form of a little boy-
crawling to his mom- resting his head upon hers.
Comfort.
Strength.
Breath.

He watched me as I wept. And I hope he doesn't remember the pain in my eyes. The hurt in my soul. I don't think he does. For he was sent to me- and he came- and in that moment he saved me- saved the pieces of my already shattered heart.

It's moments like this- I am so very grateful to my God. My Comfort. My Strength.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Permission- The Littlest Angels

Like so many moms who have lost babies, I've tried to find the reason- the why...

In Andrew's life and loss I have learned so much over the years. I have met women at support group meetings and felt like for a moment perhaps I gave them hope- that there was a light at the end of the tunnel- I got it- I understood- I knew they would begin to breathe again- to laugh- to smile- I could relate to the moms who had stillbirths- who had to kiss their babies goodbye because our stories seemed to follow a similar path a similar story-line...

At the meetings I also met moms who had miscarried and while I felt so sad for them, it wasn't something that I truly understood because I hadn't been there- I hadn't stood in their shoes. I had been blessed not to struggle with fertility and in general it was later in my pregnancies that I started to worry- started to wonder- Would I be bringing this baby home? -Kissing her goodbye?

But that changed.
That changed on September 9th of last year when I did stand in their shoes. I wore them. The shoes of the mom who had an early loss- a loss that was nothing more than a 'miscarriage'- everyone has them- A blip on the ultrasound- A peanut-

Why did God take our Baby E from us? Why?

Perhaps to give me a new understanding- a voice of what it was like to share with 'later loss' mamas who while incredibly sympathetic couldn't quite understand to the fullest why an early loss mama would come to such meetings. Would cry like they do- Would ache so- They hadn't had to hand over their babies...
A miscarriage?
Everyone has them.

And so when I lost our Baby E- I grieved. So much like I did when I lost Andrew- but Andrew had a face, had a name, had a body I could hold and the sweetest face that when it was time I was able to kiss goodbye forever. I saw him. And others 'saw' him too as I grew.
With Andrew I grieved for the future- a lifetime of dreams never to be had...

And likewise with Baby E- I grieved- but in addition to the future- a lifetime of dreams never to be had...

I grieved a face I would never see, a name (boy? girl?), a body to hold, and a sweet face to kiss goodbye. I grieved that others did not get used to my attachment to the baby because of my expanding waistline, I grieved because others didn't and because I was expected to 'move on' so much sooner than with Andrew- Returning to my classroom just a few days after my surgery to remove what was left of my baby- my baby's insufficient home.
So many didn't even know- my students and their parents thinking perhaps I had had my appendix out...
Where with Andrew- the school knew- the community knew- They knew about him.

I know that the lessons to be learned from our Baby E are many- and I know that in time I will find purpose revealed to me as to 'why'- but being able to share Baby E's story- to write- to help others understand how I felt has been reason. Reason enough to change someone- for when they hear about miscarriage- perhaps they won't shrug it off with a "Everyone has them." but will reply with sympathy for lost dreams, a lost future, a lost baby...

Kerri T., I was so touched by your words and I thank you for commenting and having the courage too. I've been thinking of you non-stop since reading your comment- and searching for words to describe the pain of a loss so early in pregnancy- but we all know that your dreams begin before you even see those two lines...
But when you see 'positive' it gives you permission to dream, permission to love, permission to hope. Please give yourself permission to grieve, permission to remember, permission to smile again.

So today I'm thinking of all the moms with the littlest angels, like my Baby E, Kerri's babes and the Bucki Boys and so very many, many others and thanking God for you. Thank you for reading my words and commenting, allowing me to share my story and for sharing your stories with me- and with others-
And to quote a famous author- so very wise who perhaps said it best...
Remember my friends,

"A person's a person
-no matter how small." -Dr Seuss

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Odd... And Yet...

It's an odd feeling.
Which is probably why so many people can't relate.

It's odd.
That your home can feel so empty from his absence- and yet he was never really there.
That your car looked so strange without his car seat-and yet he never sat there.
Odd.

I can't find the words to explain it- but my guess is that those who haven't had their babies live in their arms have felt it too- at some point- the emptiness- the feeling of absence so strong for someone who was never really 'present' in your home.

It's an odd feeling.

While they were growing inside of me, I didn't know they were boys.

And yet when they were pulled from my body and I learned they were boys... my dreams came- like a flood- a flash before my eyes of what could have been.

I had them as best friends.
Playing T-ball at 6-
Driving together at 16-
Best men in each others' weddings.

And yet when I knew they were boys- I knew he was gone.
And yet I still had all those dreams- in a moment-
And yet they were gone- why did they come to me? The dreams?
Odd.

How is it that you have no idea of the dreams that you had until they are unfolded before you- in their own time- in their own way. Some of them were so sudden- in the absence of his cry- that night as I sat in my hospital bed with just one baby- and yet others have unfolded as the time has passed- as the world began to spin again.

He must have been 2 and I was washing his little feet and I suddenly thought- I wonder if Andrew's feet would have been like these.
Odd.

When he was four he laughed jumping off the dock and I suddenly thought- I wonder what his laughter would sound against his brother's.
Odd.

And will I think about it at T-ball as I did that night?
Will I think about it as he drives for the first time?
His Wedding?
Or will they continue to unfold at the oddest of times, when he skirts into my thoughts for a moment- a little nudge- mom don't forget- I'm here.

But life goes on- and yet I don't forget- these little thoughts-
Peaceful- So peaceful to me now-
And yet so odd-

But comforting.
They won't be on the ball fields, or at weddings and yet somehow he's always there- in the background waiting to be seen- or heard- by me.
Quiet.
He's there-
in me.

Odd...
And yet so my normal.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Secret Garden Meeting


The Secret Garden Meeting is a wonderful blog for women who have lost children. It asks them about their experiences and then allows them to post and read about one another's experience. This is my experience- July.


How do you see/or imagine your babies now that you don't have them with you?


My sweet Andrew.

I close my eyes and I picture him at five.
I dream about what his laughter would sound like next to his twin.
I wonder if his hair would be curly and thick like his brothers' or thin and straight like his sister.
I wonder what his favorite ice cream flavor would be.

To me he is five. He has grown along with the little boy that shared a space with him for the first 39 weeks of his life. In my mind he has grown and watched us- watched us as we've dreamed about him- whispered about him- loved him- and wondered.

He's five.


Our Sweet Baby E.

Perhaps frozen in time as a baby.
Taken away from us so soon.
Too soon.
Was it only 10 weeks?
And yet I had seen that heartbeat three times- fallen so in love.

It was almost a year ago that we lost our little dream- who would be four months old now.
Are you our forever baby?
Or will you grow too? Like your angel brother?

I guess only the future will answer that.


How did the loss of your babies affect your choices/ decisions in subsequent pregnancies?
I found myself pregnant so soon.
Just 6 months after we lost Andrew.
I was so scared. So scared to lose another baby.
Andrew was so pink, so beautiful-
But that cord was so long-
And I would think of his twin- also wrapped in so much cord-
One more week?
He wouldn't have made it either?
That cord.
And so as the weeks went by I shuddered at every kick- every sommersault and I wondered about that cord.
I dreamed about it.
As the weeks went by I wanted nothing but to get her out of my body-
Safe into my arms-
Even if it meant early-
Even if it meant having her attached to machines.
I just wanted her to come home. To live with us.
To live.
I wanted her just like I wanted her brothers.
She was born at 37 weeks after an amnio determined it was safe.
Her younger brother was born the same way.
The baby I carry will do the same.
But I have changed.
The girl who was so happily pregnant with twins is no longer there.
When I carried our boys I was so happy- so carefree- the cribs set up- the clothes washed and folded in the nursury. Two cribs and the chair...
I came home changed.
One crib...
and the chair...
The night before I delivered my daughter, I called my mother. I told her where the bassinet was. I told her where the bins of baby clothes were and I told her she could wash the appropriate things IF the baby came home.
There was no planning.
No decorating.
No excitement.
I couldn't do it again.
I wasn't strong enough.
We did nothing to prepare for her.
We did nothing to prepare for her younger brother.
We will do nothing for this baby.
Except pray.
Pray for a healthy baby to live not only in our hearts, but in our home.
Thank you for coming to the Secret Garden Meeting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Kindness of Others

There are people out there who make a difference.
There are people out there who have turned their sorrow into comfort.
Comfort for others.

When I first went to support group meetings, I met a woman who had lost many children and I remember that she was leaving the state to do mission work over seas. I remember her showing me that she and some of the other moms had bought 'real' tissue (not the sandpaper, hospital variety) for families who lost a baby. While I had probably dried my tears with those donations, I had no idea. I remember being touched and thinking that small act- just felt so big to me. So huge that someone would look at that little detail... Remember that detail, and I would benefit from it.

I have met others. Other families who have donated teddy bears, hand-made blankets and hats, CDs with songs, and notes letting new families know that they aren't alone. They aren't alone and they don't have to be. This is a family of sorts- more than a 'secret society' that I wrote about in a previous post. A family- in time of comfort, in time of sorrow. And that family extends past your town, your state, and even your country.

Today I went to the mail and found a package waiting for me from Deborah. Deborah found my blogs and left me a message. What a simple act- a reaching out- a caring simple act! Deborah made this especially for me, for moms like me, for families like mine, to dry our tears. To dry the tears of those who wonder if the tears will ever stop falling.

I think about the kindness, I think about care, and my eyes swell.
My heart swells.
The kindness of others.

If you are interested in learning more about Deborah- I have added a button for you to go directly to her site.

Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your inspiration. I know that many have turned their sorrow into strength- strength for others.

If you've done something and want to share your ideas here, please do. Around the world people are suffering, but people are drying their tears, or perhaps working as they fall to help others!

May God bless you all in your strength- and in your kindness.
You are an inspiration to others!
You are an inspiration to me!

Friday, July 24, 2009

A New Day!

This blog is so different from my other. It's my thoughts of the day- A peak into my mind- My moments where I pause, reflect, and think about life and how often my biggest challenges have brought me the most happiness. For perhaps without the pain I wouldn't truly appreciate (at least to the extent I do) the true joy of motherhood- the blessings of life- the lessons in each new day.

I am always so touched to read the comments that people leave here and to see followers on this blog. I love looking into your journeys and learning from you as well. Thank you all for the wonderful support and prayers and comments you left about my Nan- and on all my posts- I have new news to report! It's a new day!

Monday night when I left her, I felt such despair. I cried and cried and wondered why? It felt as if we should have some type of reprieve from sadness! A break! And for some reason looking into the eyes of someone I know so well and those familiar eyes not recognize me was something I hadn't experienced. I wondered secretly if it would happen to me. My mind is constantly moving, talking, playing with words and phrases in my head... is this my future too? To think that one day my children could look into my eyes and I not know them- not find the words? Well there are no words for that.

But-
Tuesday's visit was a little better.
Wednesday's vist the kids were there and there was laughter.
Today felt normal and all I could do was look to the heavens and whisper- Thank you! Thank you for today- Thank you for giving her back to us today!

I know that this will be a long journey but if there is one thing that Andrew's life has taught me it's to take each day, each hour, each moment and appreciate what you have. I will live in the now- and never wish it away.

The truth is, I can't imagine my life with a living Andrew in it now. I have been writing him now for five years in his journals. I feel like he knows the deepest corners of my soul and has helped me to discover myself, to unpack the person that I am. A best friend of sorts. I feel him and I know he's safe. I know he's where he's meant to be, and that I am where I am meant to be. I don't think I would have examined my life like I have had he not been in it, and had he not left it.

I remember, perhaps it was that first year, telling my mother. You know, I don't think that other moms love their children like I love Jonasen. She smiled. Of course every mom loves their child with all their heart and all their soul. What I said came out without much reflection. I think about that statement and I know what I meant, but the words failed me and therefore didn't quite convey what I was feeling.

What I probably meant was- I don't think that other moms perhaps appreciate those little things as much as I.
A screaming baby...
A pouting child...
A sassy daughter...

I don't think I would have appreciated those things either, but this journey has helped me to reflect upon such things so very much that I've changed myself- trained myself.

When my daughter had a touch (though it felt like more than a 'touch') of colic and would cry and cry and cry and I would pace the floors with her, screaming in my ear. I would walk and rub her back and say to her out loud. "It's o.k. sweetie- you are o.k.- you are loved- I know what it's like to not have a screaming baby- I will outlast you- Your screams are a blessing to me- These screams are a blessing."

I know that as I spoke those words they were for me.
To allow me to keep my patience, to appreciate the hard times, because it is the hard times that have taught me the most.

The hard times have helped me to appreciate the new days of 'normal'.
The days that the screams aren't there.
The days that we can drive all the way home without me having to pull over because of a whining child in the back seat.
The days that she looks into my eyes and I know she remembers.
I know she loves me.
I know that she knows how I love her.
It was a new day.
Thank you for your prayers all! You are a blessing to me!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm Sad

I'm sad.
And since I cannot drink a glass of red wine in my current state (pregnancy- if you've been following this you knew about that- but if not... now you do...), I am doing the next best thing that usually makes me feel better...
Writing.
I'm praying this will work.
This is not about the babies that I'm missing, but it is about a grief that I am feeling and the odd thing is, it's for someone who is still alive.

Those who know me in 'real' life, know the deep connection I have with my grandparents. Perhaps it is because I (their first grandchild) was born shortly after their 27 year old son was killed suddenly in an accident (on his father's birthday) and I gave them hope. Perhaps it is because they only had two children and my brother and I were their only grandchildren so they poured themselves into our lives. Or Perhaps it is because they were/are just amazing people that I treasure. I miss the long talks and letters from my grandpa...

I never cry when I blog, but right now I can feel a sting of tears as I think of how I wish he was here- and I wonder... would things be different?

My Grandpa Jonasen passed away shortly after he moved to our town from out of state. They actually moved to the end of our street where there is an active independent living community. So close we could walk, and see them a few times a week. He moved to be closer to us, so that we could take care of his beloved, my Nana. I'm sure he sensed it then. I know he did. She was beginning to forget things.

And we've joked about it. I still can hear her laugh. (Gosh I long to hear her laugh- the kind of laugh that makes you smile.) How she can't remember things- or that she's forgetful. We could tease her about it, she would tease herself. Such fun she was!

Why am I talking about her in past tense?

On the fourth of July my Nan fell and broke her hip. I recognize that these things happen to people in their 90s, but not her. She's in amazing shape! She walked in a parade that morning and only started getting some grey hairs in her 80s. Doctors do a double-take when they compare her age with what they see before them... On her 90th birthday she even beat me in golf! (So I'm not that good- but she did squeak by me with a 52 on 9!)

She was walking down to the lake, getting a better look at the great grand-kids. My kids- who she often is seen crawling on the floor with. My kids who were playing ball in the yard at my parents'. She'd done it countless times before, walked down those stairs... but this time she wasn't paying attention. She stepped off to the side and fell.

I had no idea then how that simple step would change things.
I had no idea then how angry I would be at myself for not watching closer and being there for her.

Since that time she has had the doctors replace her hip. She is learning to use it again and the doctors tell my mom that she is doing well. She took 70 steps today!

Only she doesn't remember it.

And today she didn't remember me.

When I went to visit her she looked at me and smiled. I said, "Hi Nan, it's me Laura!" (And no- her eyes are fine, but I knew from talking with my mom earlier that she had a hard time remembering me.) My mom was there too. (She always is- and my dad and I take turns so she can have moments away.)

My Nan never said that she didn't remember me... but I could tell in her eyes that something
was different. Something was gone and I wanted to break down right there and wrap my arms around her and tell her NO! Please God NO!- Don't leave me! Don't leave us this way!

I have been so blessed by her and my Grandpa Jonasen. So much so that while we planned to name our first born son after them, we named our first LIVING son after them. The Jonasen name needed to live on- their spirit needed to live on, not only as it does in us, but in name too.

I have been so blessed to have grandparents live into their 90s on both sides of my family- and for the most part- healthy. But with that blessing, also comes this. Unlike the pain of losing a child, this is a pain that you expect. You expect to outlive your grandparents. But right now I can't seem to bear the thought of losing her like this. I can't bear the thought of her losing us before she's actually gone...

So I'm praying for a few things tonight...
A sense of calm after my tears (which happens with red wine and seems to be subsiding through my writing) and the second is an odd thing and I feel guilty writing it, but I already talked to God about it and since He knows the truth of my heart, and I spoke it aloud (in the privacy of my car), I might as well write it here.

I pray for the end of suffering.
The end of suffering for an amazing woman who is in physical pain from trying to learn to use her hip again.
The end of suffereing for an amazing woman who by just looking into her eyes you can tell is pained that she can't remember- can't recall things that she knows she should.
The end of suffering for my mom who doesn't know what to do or where to go next with the care of her mother.
And I pray for what I always do, in all my trials, for all my friends...
I pray for clarity.

Thanks for being my red-wine tonight blog world... I'm feeling a bit of an exhale and looking forward to a brighter tomorrow...
I hope.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Perhaps... The CRAZY Me...

I remember those early days-
Though perhaps they weren't so early-
The days I went crazy-
Or at least I thought I was...

I remember shopping for a new jacket. I hadn't yet lost all of my pregnancy weight and needed something bigger. I was nursing, but at the time had a few hours between feedings so was able to escape to the mall.

It was so odd. Going out alone. Without my son. I remember finding a jacket and bringing it to the nice unsuspecting cashier. I remember making small talk with her.
"I needed to buy a new jacket because I had just had twins a few months ago six pounds and six pounds eleven ounces... and the weight wasn't coming off as quickly as I'd hoped."
"Oh how wonderful, what did you have?"
"I had two boys. But one DIED!"

I remember the look on her face.
She needed to escape.
She was at a loss for words.
And yet I left her in her discomfort.
I didn't break the silence.
It felt oddly comforting to share my sorrow with this complete unknowing stranger.

She said how sorry she was. I thanked her and took my purchase and went to my car.

I remember sitting in my car feeling horrible. I don't know why I did that. I don't know why I had to make that poor woman feel so badly albeit just for a moment- but I did. I should have gone in- apologized... but I didn't. I was crazy and I knew it.

The sad thing was, I did it again, and again.

Returning shower gifts-
I couldn't wait for them to ask me why I was returning something.
So I could tell them-
See that look on their face-
Shock-
Horror-
MY BABY DIED!

And again after I would feel so badly. I knew something was wrong with me. This couldn't be normal- and I knew that I couldn't keep doing this. It wasn't right. It wasn't ME!

I saw a counselor.

I told her my story.
I told her how I was going 'crazy'-
That I kept imposing my pain on others-
That it felt good to see them squirm, search for the right thing- anything- to say- to get out of that uncomfortable moment I had drawn them into.

Telling my story I could see their faces- how they wanted to run- get out of it- get away from me and the moment I had put them in- but they couldn't.

She gave me some advice that I still share. It made sense to me.

She said that having a baby was a lot of work. Your body goes through changes- Your hormones go through changes- You give up your body- You share it. It's work- It's tough.

She said that though people don't say it, they know that you 'did that'- that you went through a lot to get to that moment. To have that little baby you push in the stroller. While they don't always say it, seeing you as 'a mom'- well... they know.

Perhaps that is where you are stuck. Perhaps you went through all this work, carrying two, loving two and perhaps you want the world to see it. People see you as a new mom but they don't see the true picture- the real picture- the picture that YOU see. Perhaps that is why you feel the need to tell them.

Perhaps she was right.

I think that she was right.

That was the last time I saw her, but she taught me something about myself. Something that I needed to understand- that I needed to hear from someone else. A stranger. Her.

What I had done was WORK- Yes it was physical- but more importantly what I went through emotionally was even more WORK- To hear her say that- Her acknowledgement- Her words, in the way she did- That was enough.

Perhaps I didn't need to tell everyone.
At least not in the shocking way I was.

Perhaps I could share him differently.
Perhaps I could let them off the hook.
Rescue them from me.
Perhaps I learned something from that counselor.
Perhaps.

That session was worth every penny. It saved many people from the 'crazy' me. It saved ME from the crazy ME.

Perhaps you have had moments?
Moments of crazy too?
Perhaps?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Labor

If you are familiar with my story you may be wondering, "What does she know of labor?"

I missed that.
I wanted that.
But it was taken from me.

Once it was confirmed that Andrew was gone, they needed to get my babies out.
See what was happening.
What went wrong.

There was no labor.

There were doctors.
There were shots.
There was a blur.

There was no labor.

And because of it there was no labor for my daughter, no labor for my son, there will be no labor for me come October.

But I did labor.
My labor was a labor that perhaps was much more painful than that of delivering a baby.

My heart labored when he took that piece of it with him.
My body labored healing from the pains of a c-section that happened so very fast.
My mind labored for years wondering why? why? why?

I had a physical ache. A physical pain. A physical labor on this journey of love.
My labor continues. It ebbs and flows. Perhaps like contractions, though again I have no knowledge of what that feels like.
Another experience
Taken from me.

To remember him.
To love him.
To share him.
My labor.
My labor of love.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Whatifs

It was like that Shel Silverstein poem.

As if in the night the "Whatifs" would crawl into my ear.
Late at night...

Whatif I had gone in a day earlier?
Whatif I had complained and asked to be induced?
Whatif I had done something- anything- to start labor?

Would he be here?

The Whatifs were horrible and they consumed me. I wished I could somehow turn back time- even if just a day- just a few hours...

But I couldn't. I couldn't turn back time. I couldn't change things.

And so they came,
usually at night.
My Whatifs.

They held me captive and I wondered if I'd ever escape their whispers.

I'd seen other cases too.
So many of the Secret Society members.
So many talking of the Whatifs- The control they had over them was heartwrenching.
It was tragic.

They talked about their Whatifs
Even when the cord had taken them-
Their placentae had failed them-
Their babies were sick-
Their babies were born too early-
Too late-

Whatif?
Whatif?

But IF you could have. You would have.
IF you could have them here-
They would be here.
There are no Whatifs about that!

One night they came to my ear
and instead of listening, I spoke.

Whatif he were here?
Would my daughter be?

Whatif he were here?
Would my younger son be?

Whatif?

And in that moment I said goodbye to the Whatifs.

No longer will I allow you to come-
come and whisper and take over my nights-

No longer will I be consumed by what I could have done-
or could have not done-

And though I've said goodbye to the Whatifs-
Sometimes I can still hear them-
And their whispers
And I still sometimes wonder...
Whatif?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Forgotten Fathers

I remember the way that he looked that night. I'd never seen it before.
I'll never forget the pain in his eyes- the hurt-

He couldn't speak that night.

His only words were our son's name.
And then silence.

For hours-
No sound.
Silence.
Silence and tears.

I remember having made the phone calls that night- to our friends our family- he had no voice.

He was grieving that night for our son- a son who was given the name he dreamed of- a son who was supposed to be here.

But he was also grieving for his wife. Someone he loved so much- and someone he saw hurting and he knew that despite his best efforts- everything he had- there was nothing he could do- nothing he could say to help.

He felt helpless.
He lost his breath.
He was broken.

But he was the 'man'-
He was the strength.
Men don't cry.
Men don't hurt.
Do they?

And as the days passed, weeks, months, years- People have asked me how I was doing- how I was feeling- but so often he was forgotten. I have seen people ask him about me. But not about him. Was he forgotten? Not supposed to grieve? Not in need of the comfort I had received?

He was the man.
He was the strength.

We talked about him sometimes. But only us. He didn't talk about him with others.

But he wrote about him.
He visited his garden alone.
His guitar played for him.
He grieved.

Forgotten.

When five years later we lost our baby- I saw it again. We pulled over- he couldn't drive- gripped again by that sudden loss of control- again- he couldn't fix things- not this. I remember watching him slump- and cry and I hadn't seen that. Not in five years.

He hides it.
He's a man.
He's so very strong.
He's my husband.
He's the love of my life.
He's the father of my children.
My best friend.

But he's also been forgotten.

Perhaps he prefers it that way- to fade in the background- keep his hurts hidden- keep them guarded- safe. Safe like he has kept his family.

My husband is forgotten.

But I remember. I remember his strength.
The strength that has gotten me through my darkest days- when I didn't think I would- or could- he got me through. He held me. He listened. He carried me. He is the only person who knows exactly what we went through that night. He is the person who held my hand when we learned we had children-
Children in heaven.

I remember him today. And I know that he has children in heaven who are so proud of who their father is. And I am so very proud. Proud of him.

His love.

They feel it still because he remembers. He remembers them.
Thank you my love for being so strong.
And when the weight has brought you to your knees sometimes I wonder if you want to be forgotten or if you'd want someone to ask you... Want me to ask you...

I haven't asked enough.
Been there enough.
For you.
Perhaps I will ask today.
Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day- to the Fathers who have gotten us through- been our strength- carried us.
Happy Father's Day to the Forgotten Fathers.
I remember.
and thank you.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Why? But Why Not?

When Andrew died, and then I lost Baby E- I remember thinking, "Why?" "Why me?" "Why did you do this to me?" Sometimes I would think about it- Other times I would scream it! Scream it at Him! "God Why? I love you! Why ME?"

Children are a blessing from God- there is no doubt about it- but they are not rewards for how we live our lives- As a teacher I know of children who are abused, neglected- and often times are surrounded by a house full of siblings and it breaks my heart-

And then I have dear friends who should have a home full of children- Who would be amazing parents- and they have no one. I don't understand it? Why?

But children are not a reward nor are they a punishment if we do not have them- or they are taken too soon. But still I wonder why?

"Why?" was a question that I asked often when I thought of my childhood friend.

When I was pregnant with my little girl, she was pregnant with her little boy- her first- Our children were due three days apart from each other-

My friend.
My sweet friend.
A person who clearly the sun shone on.
She is grace. She is beauty. She is kindness.

Her son came early. Too early. But he hung on.

She learned early that tomorrow was unknown. Tomorrow. I wondered about her tomorrows. For two years she lived that- unsure- unknowing what tomorrow would bring.

He fought, and though he was not healthy and it was so hard- he lived- he lived and he was loved. He was beautiful and no one saw that more than my dear friend. No one loved him more. I'd watch her with him- loving him- gazing at him and I'd wonder- "Why?" "Why her?"

I was in awe of her. How she could live each day not knowing if this would be the day he would be called home. The day the suffering would end- She lived each day and was the best, most wonderful mom to her son for as long as she could be- and she continues to be- an amazing mom.

When he passed I spent days and weeks and months thinking about them. Wondering. Imagining the empty house. The murmur of the oxygen tank gone. I felt pain for them. I ached for them and I wondered, "Why?"

And it wasn't long into my wonderings and my journaling that I found the answer. I think that God had a very special boy who deserved two very special parents. The question of "Why?" suddenly became, "Why not?" What better choice for this boy than his amazing parents who loved him and honored him from the day he was born until the day he took his last breath- and beyond. He was chosen for them. A special boy for two very special people.

As angel parents we have a choice- we can say "Why me?" and I would gather that the majority of us have asked that question- I know I have... (many times)

But now ask yourself "why not?" If you're reading this, perhaps there is someone's memory that you're keeping alive, or thinking about- right now.
Someone who came into your life for a purpose-
Someone who touched your life so that you could touch others.

I've heard your stories at meetings and been changed-
I've read your blogs and been changed.
You have been given a gift- to share your gift- share the love you had- and still have.

Who is your someone?

Don't keep them to yourself-
Share your story-
Share them-
Share your lessons and remember that each life is a blessing-
Each life has a story-
Each life has a purpose-

Will you share it?
I hope so!
Why?
Why not?

You were chosen- and for it you will be stronger- you will be wiser- you will be blessed.
You will see it-
One day.
If you haven't felt it yet- I pray one day you will- In the quiet moments I pray it will find you- tiptoe silently into your thoughts- in quiet moments I hope you will pause and say, "thank you." Thank you for choosing me- A special parent- for a special and precious life.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sweet Relief- and Fear

This is not my memory talking now.
This is my here.
This is my now.

I found myself driving to my appointment and when I learned my husband wouldn't be able to make it I could feel myself begin to tremble. Didn't he know that this was the big ultrasound? This was the one where so many of my friends had gotten the news- something was wrong- what they had dreamed and thought would happen had suddenly changed? This was the day they went down the other road- the path I've traveled- I didn't want that! I wanted to stay on course!

I began to tremble and I began to think...
And perhaps that's why I haven't thought- and haven't dreamed.

When I found myself pregnant six months after I lost Andrew, I thought that I had put my pregnancy out of my mind- but the truth was I hadn't. I was angry at God- but still in love with my baby and praying that my heart wouldn't be taken from me again.
And it wasn't.
It grew!

Two years after that- pregnant again and it was a little easier- my heart grew again.

And then E came and left- and we were broken- back to square one.
Afraid to be pregnant, afraid not to be.

And so my belly has been growing, and people have been asking- but not me. I don't talk too much about it. I don't think about it- I consume myself with thoughts of work, family, friends and the happenings of the day- not the kicks that I feel- not my lack of energy- my expanding waistline-

Am I protecting myself again?
I'm sure of it.

But my guard is down- my armor stripped-

And so today when I was told- 'perfect' and I saw a little foot upon the screen, and heard the strong heartbeat- I tried to fight the lump in my throat- but it was no use- the tears came-
like floods-

Sweet relief.
And fear.

Now it is real. Now it could happen. A perfectly healthy baby-

But a perfectly healthy baby was who he was-
albeit a cord-
the very thing that gave him life, took it away.

So please- keep my baby F in your prayers- keep me in your prayers-

It's officially begun.

I'm pregnant
I'm in love
and I'm terrified.