Sunday, August 9, 2009


I am twenty one weeks pregnant today. Today, I woke up, went to work. Today, I smiled about the sunshine. Today, my mother felt your brother kick for the first time. Today your brother has been bouncing around in my belly more than usual. Maybe he is saying "look mom, we made it!" We made it, 21 weeks, and nothing is falling apart. We are still here, both of us. Surviving. Today I celebrate that fact.

But I have not forgotten. Today is the 9th again. Seven months ago at this very point in my pregnancy with you, I took a drive to a hospital in another city, I filled out the paperwork, I changed into that hospital gown. Seven months ago, I started to feel the contractions, I got the epidural, I felt you move for the last time.

Seven months ago, you were delivered in your bag of water and my family wrapped their arms around me and one another and we cried around my bedside because you couldn't. We cried big, heavy, crocodile tears, and the nurse whisked you away to prepare your little body.

Seven months ago, my dad returned from his visit to the hospital chapel and wanted to share what he had read...

"Today we weep, tomorrow we rejoice"

Only his voice caught, and he cried, the only time I have ever seen him cry, and I felt that huge, overwhelming pain so intensely in that moment. This hurt, it was hurting everyone, there couldn't possibly be rejoicing in the future. Surely, the world had ended and I would not feel happiness again. This vast, gaping hole in my heart was certainly too big, there was no room! You died, and a very big part of me died with you.

Everything had changed. There is no denying that, at least.

I am not the same as I once was. And sometimes I have days, weeks, of missing that old person, the one who did not know this sorrow, did not have this wound in her soul. Sometimes I feel so desperate to turn back the clock and change things so that everything would have been fine the first time. You would have been just another healthy baby. We would have gotten up and gone to work after the ultrasound, sharing the good news. January 9th would have been just another day.

But I am learning and slowly beginning to accept that without this wound, the gaping hole, that these moments, these milestones would not be so sweet (even if they do come with hints of bitter sometimes). I know that if this baby is born alive, crying, warm on my chest, it will be an incredible moment made even more incredible by the knowledge of what a truly profound accomplishment it really is.

And that, my beautiful, tiny little daughter, is one of your many gifts.

As I look back on these past seven months, the quote from the chapel has never been so poignant Turns out the "today, tomorrow" is not so black and white, but more of a gradual transition. Sometimes the weeping and rejoicing often get intertwined and tangled up and happen simultaneously. But it certainly feels as though the dawn is breaking on that proverbial tomorrow.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

the pursuit of happiness

Lately I've been feeling like I need a vacation.

It's not even that I'm very busy, I've just been having this overwhelming urge to just get away from it all. Unfortunately, I think what I am trying to escape from is a state of mind. Not that I am wallowing in sadness or anything, there is just an incredible mundanity in my every day life as of late. I still feel as if I am in a bit of survival foot in front of the other without worrying much about the direction.

When it really comes down to it, there has not been a lot of joy in my life since you left me. I feel I am just beginning to find the joy in this new pregnancy, but it is hesitant, careful joy that I seem to entertain only here and there, in fear of putting it back on the shelf in defeat for a second time.

The sun came out today for the first time in more than a week and suddenly I felt myself transported back to that moment, the morning of September 9th, sitting on the deck with the sun on my back, shaking with joy and excitement and nerves as I announced your beginning to my mom, who sat speechless on the other end of the phone. I can almost remember what it felt like, that giddy uncontrollable joy unleashed in the pit of my stomach. It was all so new, so unexpected, so exciting. It consumed me.

And after it was all ripped away, I remember sitting in the car with rain on the windshield and tears all over my face, the new normal setting in around me like dead air, and sobbing to my mom, "but I was just so happy..."

Surely I would be happy again someday, even though it seemed impossible at the time. And yes, here I am, halfway through a second pregnancy with a healthy baby, but things are different this time. I don't think I will ever get that kind of happiness back. The more I fall in love with this little being in my belly, the more I worry that he will be taken away from me too. Sometimes I want to cry at the very thought. Sometimes I want to cry because he gets to keep growing and you did not. Sometimes I want to cry because I don't get to have both of you the way I wanted. Sometimes I can dig down through all the protective layers I have built and really feel the loss of you all over again.

I decided to hang up the bunch of clothes that my mom already bought for him this afternoon. Among them, there still hangs the tiny handful of things that are yours: the yellow dress we bought for you on the day we went to the hospital, the pumpkin Halloween costume that I carefully chose in the 6 month size, anticipating how old you would be when the holiday came around. It will never fit him at the right time, and yet I can't bring myself to pack them away. At one time, I thought I would have a 5 month old on Halloween this year, a 7 month old at Christmas, a two month old at this very moment. Today, for the first time in a long time, I wondered what you would be like right now, if things were different. What would we be doing today, in the sunshine?

I spent so much time imagining and expecting you and now the reality that you are gone, you are really not joining me in this life, hits harder sometimes than others. What I would give to have just a moment in that sub-reality I created of "how I thought things would go." There, you are healthy and happy and growing, crying at this very instant, certainly not giving me enough time to write lengthy rambling posts on a blog that would not even exist.

It's too quiet around here.