Saturday, December 24, 2011

a little bird

My dad told me yesterday that when he goes out to shoot pictures in the wee hours of the morning, there is a bird that separates itself from a crowd and watches him. He said he knows it is Layla Wren.

I am not the only one who remembers. ♥

I always think the holidays will not be hard for me, until they actually arrive and everyone is assembling and there is always someone missing. I miss her a lot today.

Friday, December 9, 2011

the 9th

I noticed it was the ninth today, for the first time in I don't know how long. It hit me than next month it will be three years. THREE. I'm not sure where this year has gone. The flashbacks are starting again, without my control as usual. I don't know if it is the light, the cold, that triggers them? Either way, I am feeling that heaviness in my heart again and missing her more than usual. I realized the other day how strange it is that all of it has become normal, part of my past, something that is no longer all-consuming, it just is. My heart has been nagging me with longing for another baby lately. But I still wonder if it is just missing her, still waiting. Three years seems like such a very long time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

tis the season?

What is it with August? It seems, now, that it is the beginning of my grief season. This is the month it all began, a tiny spark and a flutter of excitement in my heart. In the last few days I have felt the memories sort of crowding in around the edges of my consciousness. They have never really left, but they seem heavier, a little bit harder to bear right now. Maybe it is something about the light at this time of year, or that feeling of being at the tail end of summer, that makes me yearn a little harder for that magical button that would transport me back three years. Back to being that 22 year old whose dreams of a surprise baby (because it was completely impractical to have one on purpose) were about to come true. Sometimes I wish we had just been more careful. Twenty-two is so young to have your life fall apart. Or maybe my magical button would even allow me to change the course of history, to take the vitamins and deliver a healthy girl in May. But would I really choose to change it, knowing what I know now? I don't know. Probably not, now that I have this incredible boy who is so clearly meant to be in my life.

And then there is the fact that my cycles are suddenly lining up within days of those in 2008. After two pregnancies, 18 months of breastfeeding, and a whole range of irregular cycles in between, my cycles have regulated and the calendars are matching up almost to the day. Which means I am feeling dangerously close to throwing caution to the wind and trying it all again at the end of this month. I don't even know why there is a pull to have another pregnancy that would line up with all the dates. In the early days of my grief it would have been the last thing I ever wanted. And, in reality, it would be completely impractical for us to get pregnant again right now (although that would also be much like Layla's pregnancy). But I can't seem to stop thinking about it, imagining being taken by surprise again, announcing it to the world, seeing healthy a healthy spine and feeling tiny feet in my ribs.

I think there is a part of me that feels like I know what to do now, like I can fix it, make it work this time, if I only had the chance. I feel crazy, like that instinctual mother has taken over again and all logic is lost to that deep desire to nurture another little being.

I should probably stay far, far away from my husband for awhile. ;)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

babies, babies, everywhere

I have a baby bug today. I think it's because I am about to ovulate, and suddenly tiny babies are everywhere and bringing up that unmistakable pull of longing that I started feeling years ago. This time, however, I have two feet firmly planted in the reality of parenthood and know that I am definitely not ready for another just yet. A newborn, maybe, but not so much the stages that follow. I am just enjoying the return of full nights of sleep too much right now.

I do dream sometimes of another surprise pregnancy, conceived at the end of August of course. With a due date in May. And it will be a girl and she will be healthy this time. And maybe some part of me believes that this will bring her back, like I can hit the reset button and do it all over again and this time she will come home with me. I can't believe that these little bits of craziness still linger, two and half years later, but they do. There is still a part of me that feels unfinished. The truth is that no matter how many babies I go on to have, that feeling will probably still be present. It reminds me of the term that was used in genetic counseling: "interrupting the pregnancy." Not ending it. It's like my body/heart/whatever didn't get the message. It still wants to go back and finish what it started.

I do feel another baby waiting to join us, but I am letting her wait awhile (yes, I feel that it will be a girl, just like I knew Orrin would be a boy!). I have a few things to do before I can think about inviting another soul to share my body again, including giving my heart the space to continue healing so that I can just maybe enjoy pregnancy a little bit the next time around.

Orrin noticed Layla's picture for the first time the other day. He pointed and said "baby." Eventually I will have to tell him about his sister. I can't wait to hear what he has to say, being the closest to that other side where I imagine her to be.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

right where I am : two years, (almost) five months

Thank you to Angie for giving me a reason to write again. Sometimes I do feel a pull to this place, but I feel as if I have written myself in circles about the same feelings, the same grief, the same tiny girl who came and went so quickly.

I still have her ultrasound picture on the fridge. I keep the ones from the ultrasound on display in the open, because they are the only proof that, at one point, she was alive. I still stare at it sometimes, my heart twisting in on itself sometimes, agonizing over the "hi mom" inscription, but only sometimes.

The grief is different now. The load is so much lighter.

We talk a lot about how much it has changed us. I feel more withdrawn than ever. I don't relate to most people anymore. I still wonder what it would have been like to be one of the normal ones, to have been able to take my first baby home. I still feel a little winded when someone announces they are having a girl. I worry about everyone's ultrasounds, and then I have twinges of bitterness when they go well. I still get mad when people smoke/drink/don't take their vitamins and still get healthy babies.

I still think of Layla all the time. It is not usually with such crushing sadness though. It seems she floats into my mind most often while I am in the bathroom (maybe because this is one of the only times I am alone these days). I wonder wonder wonder if I did the right thing, and usually come to the same conclusion. I feel so deeply that she was not meant for this world, and yet I wish she would have been.

Sometimes I have intense flashbacks of her birth, of holding her tiny little body, and they shake me back down to that place. I don't ever want to forget, and yet I try to avoid going too far into those corners these days. I still have this big fragile wound on my heart--the injury is healing, but when I bump into it, the pain is searing again. This wound governs my life more than I realize I think.

We have sort of unintentionally turned one of the blankets from her birth into Orrin's go-to blanket. It was the one we passed around, each of us holding it, putting our energy into it. In the end, we didn't wrap her in it, but I remember it on the bed with me as I labored. It has always been in a large rotation of blankets, but lately it has been the one we pull out at bed time.

I sometimes struggle with being the only one who remembers these kinds of things. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one who remembers that she existed at all. It's frustrating that people forget. Not many people in my immediate circle really understand the gravity of her life and death for us. It was a long time ago now, but it is still rippling into every aspect of our lives. I think we finally have two feet in the new normal, but the world looks different from here.

Lately I have been wishing I could have one more day in the fall of 2008, when I was just pregnant, before the ultrasounds and diagnosis, when everything felt so sure and right and exciting. All I can think is, I was so young. I never could have imagined how much I would change in two and a half years.

In general though, I have reached that point that I once thought was unattainable, where the loss is integrated into my life and I...maybe...almost...know myself again.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

So, here we are on the other side of two years. You would think I would be over the little things, the surprises that cause the wound to flare up again, but I'm not.

A little girl on TV, about the age you would have been, named Layla. Spending time with a cousin that was born on your due date.

My mother in law and I were going through fabric weeks ago, and she held up a little unfinished dress and told me she thought it would fit an 18 month old girl. My heart twisted in on itself, and that instinctual mother in me, the one who has still not quite reconciled with the fact that I don't actually have an 18 month old daughter, was confused for just a split second before it all settled in again. No little girl to put in dresses.

She is here in my heart, but she is not here. It still feels wrong, sometimes. I still wish I could have both my babies.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Dearest baby girl, has it really been two years since I held you? Two years since I examined every inch of you, slept with your delicate little body wrapped up and tucked beside me? I slept, somehow, and yet I remember being fiercely aware of your presence, terrified that if I were to move in such a way you would fall. And my rational brain argued that it wouldn't really matter, would it? You couldn't feel anything, you couldn't die again.

I have thought of you nearly every second today, replaying the events of two years ago over and over. I let the tears fall when they needed to, but they came and went without a lot of lingering sadness. We went down to the beach and lit candles for you tonight. Two glowing lights for the years we have lived without you, shining against the backdrop of a brilliantly pink and golden sunset. It was beautiful and simple and perfect, your brother squealing with delight as he stepped across the sand, reminding us of all we have to thank you for.

Without you, we would not have Orrin. We would not have known about the MTHFR and the extra vitamins I had to take. I would not have realized how much purpose I found in motherhood. I would not have known my own strength, or that I could love a baby so much that I would choose the unthinkable. I would not have united with so many other strong and courageous women who have walked this path before me, along with me, and after me. I wouldn't have discovered my more local soul sister, or been by her side as she joined me in this journey.

I have so, so much to thank you for.

So, two years later, I celebrate you. I love that you chose me, that I had the honor of knowing your little soul, even for just a little while.

You will always be a part of me.

I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be

Happy birthday baby girl.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

more flashbacks

There is an underlying current in my heart these days. Every once in awhile I stop to think of what it is I am feeling so unsettled about. Everything is fine, two years later. But my body remembers, even when my mind tries to forget. There is a constant stream of memories playing, even as I go about my day like normal, and I am remembering things I haven't thought of since they happened.

It was New Year's Day when I made the call to my midwife. I spoke the words, full of finality, admitting the decision we had come to. I had realized it was a holiday halfway through the ringing in my ear, and wondered if it mattered that I was calling her then. She sprang to action and assured me that she would get back to me about my next step.

For days I existed in a removed state. I stood alone, all the sound in the world muffled, and watched as it kept going on without me. People smiled, laughed, drank coffee, like nothing had happened at all. I went to Starbucks one day and ran into someone I knew. She smiled and asked how the pregnancy was going. I lost it, right in the middle of a crowded cafe full of people, and she rose out of her seat and wrapped me in her arms, even though we didn't know each other that well. She didn't ask questions, she just hugged me and let me go, told me about her sister who had just lost a baby. It was the first time I had told anyone outside of my immediate circle that something was wrong.

For days, there seemed to be birds everywhere. My mom would gasp and call us over, and we would flock to the window to find a brilliantly colored bird in the backyard. There was only ever one at a time, spread out over days, all spectacular in some way or another. To this day, I have never seen these kinds of birds again. Sometimes I wonder if it was only my imagination; maybe these birds were ordinary and I was on the verge of insanity? Still, I felt like she was sending me signs, and this is how Wren came to be part of her name.

There were so many days, in retrospect, of this in between. How I made it through, carrying a baby who I knew would be leaving us in a matter of days, is beyond me. I cannot imagine that girl, how she kept moving even though she didn't want to anymore.

I am so much more present with these memories this year, than last, and I have a feeling this anniversary is going to hit harder. In a way, I want it to.