Her Birthday

I had it all planned out. I knew that I would be meeting some people for the first time today, in a professional context, and when asked “How many children do you have?” I would answer honestly, the way that I always answer in my head. “I have five children. I have three at home and we lost two.” It is Iris’s birthday today and what better way to honor her than to say those words out loud. As I drove to the meetings, I practiced the scenario and the words over and over in my head. Continue reading

No More Zero-to-Three


For the last time, I have packed away zero-to-three-month baby clothes.

When I packed away Theo’s clothing, it was with a lot of eagerness.  My baby boy was growing!  On to the next stage!  With Quentin, I thought nothing of it.  There were no immediate plans for a third child, but I assumed it would be “someday” so everything was folded and stored in labeled totes.  After losing both Nelle and Iris, and packing away some of Quentin’s much larger clothing as he outgrew it, I thought “What if that was the last time I was going to ever pack away baby clothes, and I didn’t know it?  What if Quentin was my last baby, and I missed savoring all of those ‘last time I will do this EVER’ moments?” Continue reading

Birthday Thoughts 

Another year, another birthday.  This is the first year where I have really felt my age: now 34.  My 20s brought a lot of changes in our lives and then early 30s was just adding a number to the year, but I have become increasingly aware of my age. I think it is directly related to how much time I spent around pregnant women in my support group for women who had experienced losses.  At 35, you are high-risk for age alone.  When I was first pregnant with Nelle, I was 31.  Now it feels like I have aged 100 years since then.  Continue reading

What I Heard for a Few Minutes

Last night, I listened for Baby’s heartbeat with my monitor. And it was my worst fear: I couldn’t find it quickly. I dragged the monitor around, slowly. I thought I caught it for a fleeting moment, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I re-lathered myself up with more coconut oil. I adjusted the volume, trying to find the precarious balance with being able to hear, and hearing too much (like pumping blood, stomach sounds, or my own heartbeat).

I thought “This is it. When I go in for my appointment next week, there will be no heartbeat.” I considered calling my OB’s office in the morning, a Saturday, to see if I could get an appointment. But on Sunday, I will be 20 weeks. Medically distinct. A stillbirth versus a miscarriage. It always bothers me that Iris is classified a miscarriage since I had to go through labor and delivery. She was born. So if I have had a loss, that threshold matters to me, where so little else matters.

I applied coconut oil again. And finally found a heartbeat. I sat quietly and listened for a few minutes. I have heard it so many times now that I could tell it was a little slower. That sent me into another frantic round of googling, but that seems to be normal. Baby could be sleeping.

However, the incident sufficiently scared me that I swore I would not listen again before my ultrasound, at least not until maybe the night before. My own heart was racing.

Today was another day.  I needed that reassurance.  Heart rate monitor again, found the heartbeat quickly, and at the pace I was used to hearing.  As I tucked the monitor away, I realized though that finding the heartbeat is doing little to calm me down.  I am using it as a substitute for my bigger fear, which is that growth will not be normal during the ultrasound next Thursday.  Now, I suppose, I expect that a heartbeat will be found.  It is all of the other unknowns that are driving me to look for something, anything, to indicate to me that everything is progressing normally.

I examine myself in the mirror, trying to assess my size, which is a futile effort.  I have gotten to the point where I can no longer easily see my lower abdomen for my daily injections of Lovenox and have to rely instead on the bathroom mirror.  Growth is there, but is it enough?

I still refuse to wear maternity clothes, covering myself instead in loose shirts and sweatpants.  At this point, now I’m scared that if I pull out my maternity clothes, I’ll just need to pack them away soon.  I keep buying more loose clothing, justifying it that if I have another loss, I’ll need to hide that post-pregnancy shape while I try, once again, to lose weight after an incomplete pregnancy.  Trying so hard to shield myself in any way possible.

I go back and forth, almost to the minute, between “everything will be fine, stop worrying” to “it’s almost over.”