The Gifts

After losing my baby girl, a friend sent me a gift. It was a shawl, knit by a member of her church. I tried to wrap myself in it several times, but I just couldn’t. It hurt too much.
The shawl sat in my closet, neatly folded, all these many, many months. Recently, I pulled it from its spot. I tucked it into the bag that I will be taking to the hospital. Though I could not wrap myself in it, I intend to wrap my baby in it.  Continue reading

The Seeker

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”  -TH White, The Once and Future King

I have needed distractions for months. Years, really.  After losing Nelle, there was hardly time to regroup myself before becoming pregnant with Iris, and then I lost her too.  Then there was the doctor-mandated waiting period.  How to cope with the empty waiting?  And then, once pregnant again, how to cope with the insanity of how slowly the days passed? Continue reading

Inside the Box

There is a small white box in my closet.  It held Iris’s ashes before we scattered then.  I don’t need the box; it was only a delivery mechanism, a transportation method to her final resting place.  I did not keep Nelle’s box. But I have been unable to throw away Iris’s box.  It is one of the few things I have. Continue reading

Unique Process

My healing might include laughter, tears, throwing something, creating something, talking, not talking. In other words, it will be as unique as my fingerprints and DNA. And my grieving process will be as predictable as the weather – a completely frustrating mystery.  -Unknown

I lack any sort of “green thumb.”  At best, I can keep succulents alive since, since as long as I manage to remember to water them every few weeks, they seem to do ok. I have had to fill my yard with hardy hostas that require little attention.  When we lost Nelle, we were given a plant that I have more dutifully taken care of, but every once in awhile it droops and I realize that I have neglected it. It always manages to perk up though.  Continue reading

That One Night

The kids have been in Arizona since Tuesday. At the time we planned for my parents to take them for a few days, it seemed like it would be a welcomed reprieve: late in pregnancy, days without early-morning wake-up calls, no swimming lessons or taekwondo, quiet evenings. Since they left mid-morning on the 4th of July, it gave me the rest of the day to myself.

It was then that I started to become unbalanced by the quiet. I lay in bed, hoping to sleep, but instead I started to shake. No interruptions allowed me to become lost in my “what-if” scenarios.  It felt like a ghost of the days after losing Nelle and Iris, when I could not even get out of bed. I realized that the kids have kept me tethered, in their never-ending demands for attention. The moments in which I can focus solely on my anxiety are only in between a myriad of activity. Without them, it was too much on “me.”

Ger slept, and I am glad that he has been able to sleep. I was finally able to crash and sleep soundly one night, only to be deeply disturbed by a dream. In it, the baby failed a non-stress test and I was being sent to the hospital immediately for delivery. I called Ger and his phone kept ringing; I couldn’t get through. I woke in a quicksand panic of feeling alone.

We had planned a single night getaway to downtown Chicago since no kids are around. We never did any kind of “babymoon” before Theo or Quentin arrived, but this time we had the opportunity so we took it. Boutique hotel, nice dinner. An evening of recognizing the good things in our lives: Ger’s upcoming birthday next week, selling our condo, and the end of this pregnancy. The restaurant even brought a cake with a candle for Ger’s birthday, making it feel like even more of a celebration.

While we were eating, I pointed out to Ger that pregnancy is 280 days, total. I have 31 days left, which is more than 10%. When looking at it that way, it still feels like a lot. And my pregnancy will be shortened by 2 weeks! He pointed out that we are counting down in days though, not weeks. Every day means chiseling away at what is left.

As we drove home this morning, I became distracted by not feeling much movement. All of the previous day’s celebration and normalcy melted away into my fear. I didn’t say anything to Ger though; there would be no point until I could get home and lie quietly and focus on kick counts. Of course, everything was fine once I was able to complete that exercise.

Thankful for the night away, a night to devote to just us. Now back to the endless attention to the remaining days of pregnancy.