Practicing Gratitude in Many Ways

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I began seeing a therapist, Alexia, five days after Nelle was stillborn.  I remember making the phone call to a counseling services group that had been recommended to me and when asked for the reason for wanting the appointment I had to say the words out loud “Because… because my baby died.”  The person on the other end of the phone gave the immediate, automatic “Oh, I’m so sorry….” Ger and I went to the first appointment together but then I began to see Alexia alone. Continue reading

In Honor of a Father

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This past weekend was Father’s Day.  Celebration, reflection, and sometimes hard.  I cannot make it through Mother’s Day without thinking about the two babies that we lost.  How can I not, when their birthdays are tattooed on my back, an ever-present reminder that I have five children?  I need a day of distractions. Continue reading

For Better or Worse

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Before I was discharged from the hospital after delivering Iris, I asked the doctor to write me a prescription for an anti-depressant. I knew that losing two babies inside of six months could send me into a dark place. When placed on a six-month holding pattern before trying for a baby again, I became rigorous in my self-care. The medication, weekly therapy, yoga multiple times per week, baths, and natural beauty products became a ritual to stay afloat. I hear the words loud and clear from the grief community: take care of yourself, take care of yourself.

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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.