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Showing posts from June, 2010

Sad, but calm

I'm sad today. Melancholic. Not cry, cry, cry sad, but calm sad. One of the definitions of calm is to be nearly or completely motionless. That's how I feel tonight; as if I am pinned to the couch, unable or unwilling to move in case a shift in posture will trip calm sad into cry sad. There's a lot happening in my mind right now. I haven't slept very well the past two nights because I cannot stop thinking. And when I do fall asleep I inevitably wake up in the middle of the night. I don't know what wakes me up, but I open my eyes, look around the room, my mind starts going and I realize I will be lucky to fall back asleep. I suppose I need to get back on the Valerian root. I was doing so well without it. It was smoothies at the river for dinner tonight. When it gets warm outside we do this every other week or so. We met up with Jon's good friend, sat on the bank and watched the dogs play in the water. I soaked up a lot of sun, but couldn't sha

Ducks Meet Row

This morning I set up a couple appointments. We will head down the ttc road soon (I hope) and for the sake of my sanity a few things need to happen before we do. Tomorrow I am getting the rubella vaccine. I know I've had it before, but I have been told I am lacking in that area and I have decided to get the vaccine. July 16th I am meeting with a naturopath to find out if there is any way to manage my hyperthyroidism naturally. Cue panic attack. I have gone back and forth on this issue for years. I know Charlotte did not die because I have Graves Disease, but I was taking a Class D medication the entire pregnancy. If I can remove the drugs from the equation I will feel a lot better. However, uncontrolled hyperthyroidism can lead to miscarriage. When I talked to my former endocrinologist about ttc and medication, he switched me over to the better option, PTU, which crosses the placenta less. It was his opinion that it was better for me to be on the medication than try to

Lunch, six week check up, and a painting in the mail

It really is true that grief comes in waves. Friday I was a mess, Saturday and Sunday I was so angry I wanted to break something. I wanted to tear Charlotte's pictures up, smash the beautiful framed lavender picture that is one of my dearest memories of my little girl on the tile in front of the fireplace, and scream until I felt better. Today I am calm. A little shaky in my soul, but calm. My midwife and her apprentice came over for my final postpartum check. We went to lunch downtown at Wild Pear. I've wanted to eat there for a while and it did not disappoint. Cool building, good food, early summer outside - a near perfect day. And I loved having my six week check up at home. It included a pap smear and I have to admit I much prefer having a pap at home. It's more comfortable than going to a doctor's. No paper gown - yea! I have been thinking about my nephew today. My mom sent me a package and when he heard it was headed to Nana Annie he popped a painti

Dirt Brings Joy

I will be the first to admit I am terrible with plants. I don't know anything about gardening and I really don't want to learn. Yesterday we moved two lilac bushes from the backyard to the front. Lilacs need full sun and the previous owners planted them under a tree. I may not be good with plants, but when the tag says "this plant needs 5-7 hours of sun a day," I know you don't plant it under the biggest shade tree in the backyard. Needless to say, the lilac bushes are not doing well and I am hoping they will revive in the front yard. Last night we went out to dinner and on the way I had my husband stop at Fred Meyer so I could buy a watering can. The lilacs, the butterfly bush start (still need to plant it in the ground) and our new Charlotte rose all need lots of water everyday. Or so my husband says. So I went to Fred Meyer, I picked out a watering can, and I am so excited to water these plants. This is embarrassing. I am excited about watering p

Charlotte's Tree

In a forest many miles from here the trees possess carvings of precious names. I am so sad to see all the names carved on the trees, but glad Charlotte is not alone. Yesterday was really hard. The day just would not end. We went for a walk around the block at midnight because we were so sad and could not settle down to sleep. Today is a little easier. At least I feel like I can breathe. Thank you for all of the support fellow baby loss mamas. Thank you for adding Charlotte to the forest Kristin.

Six Weeks Part Two

My midwife called to check in on me and to tell me this: Charlotte's lungs were fine structurally, but they would not inflate. This problem is usually seen in stillborn babies. (I have questioned if Charlotte was born alive, but I know she was. I heard her cry, she opened her eyes and looked at me when she heard my voice). They don't know why it happened in Charlotte's case. My midwife talked with the doctor on the phone, now I have to call on Monday and request the autopsy report. It's an answer, but it's more of a non-answer. I am mad at today. I am mad at Charlotte's lungs. I am mad at this whole situation.

Six Weeks

From "For Jane" by Charles Bukowski "when you left you took almost everything. I kneel in the nights before tigers that will not let me be. what you were will not happen again. the tigers have found me and I do not care." I am having a down day. Lots of tears and feeling sorry for myself. I knew today was going to be hard, but facing the sheer weight of another day without Charlotte is impossible to prepare for. I try to take deep breaths, I tell myself a hard day is coming because I have had a few easy ones, but when it hits it hits hard and I am left feeling boneless and wrung out. My midwife was going to come over for my six week check and lunch today, but had to cancel because of a birth. I am glad she cancelled because I don't want to do anything today. She sent me a text message from the birth and I wanted to throw my phone out the window. I feel like I am bad luck and I didn't want my dark cloud to wash over someone else's b


It's Thursday and I am calm. This is the first Thursday since she died when I have not felt anxious and restless. Six weeks tomorrow. Bracing myself for a bad day, but hoping for a gentle one. Surely I can't dread Thursdays and Fridays for the rest of my life ... ?

This is our life now

I was on the verge of losing my mind last night, but I backed off the ledge and settled down a bit today. I went to the farmer's market downtown for lunch with my husband's best friend's mom (whew), and then we walked around and window shopped. Her son died a couple years ago. He was 28, not a newborn, but it was still good to talk to her. She has been a maternal figure in my life for a long time now - somewhere in the six or seven year range. I love her so much sometimes I wish I would've married her son. Then I remember that would never, ever work. And I really love my husband. Especially right now. Yesterday I had lunch with a former co-worker who has also filled in on the maternal figure front. I need a lot of mamas in my life. I guess it's just the way I am. We talked for a long time at the restaurant and then she followed me across town to the grocery store near my house and helped me shop. She is a wonderfully funny person, but also so kind and ca

Angry, Frustrated, Sad

Sorry for two posts in one day, but today has been awful. First there was the call from Dr. K. When I had my husband listen to the message this evening he agreed it sounds like there will be no answers. Jonathan called on his way home from work nearly out of his mind with frustration. He was stuck in construction traffic, his car was overheating and his gas tank was on empty. After thirty minutes of sitting in traffic with his heater on he pulled into a gas station near our house, filled the car up, turned the car on to leave and ... nothing. I had to go down there and steer the car across the street to some random garage while Jonathan and a stranger pushed. He knew the starter was going out, but he didn't do anything about it because something is always dying on that old car of his. Tomorrow we will get an estimate from the garage on how much it will cost to fix the car. We should probably junk the old broken thing, but I would rather not deplete our savings to buy him a

When you least expect it

Woke up, took a shower. Wandered into the bedroom to see if my friend had called with a time for lunch. Pick up my cell phone - one missed call. I don't recognize the number but it is a local number so assume friend is calling from her house. Dial voice mail, put phone on speaker, continue to get ready. "Hi Angela this is Dr. K. Just wanted to let you know Charlotte's death certificate will be signed in the next couple days ..." Oh - ouch. Not what I was expecting. I was so proud of myself for having three lunches scheduled this week. I am getting out of the house! I am talking to people! I am feeling okay! And then a punch in the face I did not see coming and I'm knocked down once more. I would like to crawl under the covers and lick my wounds for a while. Maybe in a year I will feel like coming out again. Dr. K didn't say anything about the results. He said a few metabolic tests had yet to come back, but the results from those probably would

Just another day

I was reading through some of my old blog entires a few nights ago. I like to read about when I was pregnant with Charlotte. It reminds me that there was a lot of joy before the pain. On February 13th I wrote this: Sometimes it seems like everything goes wrong at once and all a person can do is step back, let things fall apart, and then sift through the wreckage and try to repair what can be repaired. There is a lot of wreckage to sift through these days. I am surrounded by huge piles of grief, loss, sadness and guilt. I am doing my best not to create more damage. My husband and my kind loving friends are doing their best to hold me together, to keep me going, to repair my soul. I am having a lethargic day. I don't want to do anything, don't want to talk to anyone. I'm sad and a little grumpy. My phone keeps ringing, but I haven't had the energy to answer it since Charlotte died. I let the calls go to voice mail and for every ten calls I return one. I don&

Escape Part Two

Last weekend we went to Newport. This weekend we went to Depoe Bay and stayed in this gorgeous house: I had one of those weekends where I cried constantly. It didn't matter if we were at the house, walking around Depoe Bay, playing on the beach, or driving to dinner. I cried and cried and cried and then I cried some more. That old refrain that runs through my mind constantly (this is not how it was supposed to be!) was particularly loud this weekend. We laughed some. We danced some. But mostly I cried. The skin on my face is peeling off. At first I thought it was a stress reaction, or maybe a result of all the hormone changes, but now I think it's from the crying. I fear I am literally crying my face off. Isabel was absolutely overwhelmed by the size of the house. She spent the first night running around frantically. The house is three stories with many, many bedrooms and she ran around and around and around in confusion. Eventually she found a quiet corner in

Songs for Charlotte

These are the songs I have listened to over and over since Charlotte died. Bright Eyes - Art Garfunkel This song is incredible because it so perfectly captures how I felt in the immediate hours after Charlotte was born and passed on. I Will Carry You - Selah A beautiful song a good friend shared with me. Borrowed Angels - Kristin Chenoweth For All We Know - Donny Hathaway Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley version I have loved this song for a long, long time. The week after Charlotte died I listened to it constantly. Merrimack River - Mandy Moore “Don’t say you’re not amazed when you know you are Don’t say you’re not afraid when you know you are” These two lines ran through my head continuously while I was pregnant. Falling Slowly - The Frames version When I think of what happened immediately after Charlotte was born this is the song that I hear in my head. Dreams Collide - Colbie Caillat I’d Do It All Again - Corrine Bailey Rae I think the title says it all. This song is fro

5 Weeks

There is a chart in my mind. Each time I do something, even something small, I add a gold star to the chart. Hey, it helps me get through the day. I never thought getting out of bed would be considered an accomplishment for me, but these days it is. I add a gold star for everything, even small things like brushing my teeth. The first two weeks after Charlotte died there were quite a few days when I forgot to brush my teeth, comb my hair, or shower. Leaving the house is worthy of two gold stars. It's strange, I'm strange. I'm a completely different person now. I've always been a bit of a homebody, but I could leave the house without feeling anxious and sick to my stomach. If I'm with somebody it's not so bad, but going out on my own is hard. Sometimes I don't even realize how hard it is until I am home. I walk in the door shaky and weepy, collapse on the couch and realize I am drained and exhausted. A day of errands is usually followed by a day o

A moment of peace

Charlotte I dreamed of you this morning. The first week after you died I dreamed of you all the time, but those dreams were more like nightmares. This was the first time since you died when I dreamed of you and didn't wake up screaming, crying or panicking. You were sleeping, little bird. In my dreams you are always sleeping. You briefly opened your eyes for me, but you were so limp I never saw you as a viable, living baby. So you were sleeping on my shoulder and I laid you down in your crib. You put your thumb in your mouth just like you did in your ultrasound pictures and you looked so peaceful and beautiful. When I woke up I came into the living room and saw a tiny bird sitting on the branch below the bird feeder in the front yard. There are lots of birds who visit our bird feeder, but this was one was so small and it hopped on the branch for a few moments and then flew away. Was that you, my little bird? Did you want to say hello today? You are always with me, I carry


We’ve all read the poem by Emily Dickinson: “Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul, … For me hope is what I am relying on right now. It’s been one month since Charlotte died and all I can think about is the next baby. I have read that it takes most women four years to process the loss of a child. I am young, but I am not waiting four years before trying to get pregnant again. And really can one ever process the loss of a child? (Especially here in America where we can’t believe babies die. Oh this hubris, this pride. It always trips us up doesn’t it?). I am battered, bruised and bloody, but I’m not willing to leave the ring yet. One more round, one more fight, and if I lose this one I will definitely walk away. I need to go through the entire process again or else I will never be able to get back to a recognizable me. And, okay, yes I will never get back to exactly who I was before, but I need at least some semblance of that person to step forward into

Glad it's over

I've been dreading this day. First of all it's the 14th, one month since Charlotte's birth date (and death date). There really should be a better term for that. Second, I had to head to Portland for a visit with the nurse practitioner who took over for my endocrinologist when he moved to Indiana in January. (For those who don't know I miss Dr. G and I wish he would've stayed in Oregon. I cried when I received his announcement in the mail. He is the best doctor I have ever had). When I arrived at the office there was a new receptionist who could not figure out my insurance. I was getting really frustrated and annoyed but I worked on breathing in and out and managed not to scream at her. She would look at the card, look at me, sigh and say "Look, I'm not very good with insurance. Can you tell me what to do here?" After three rounds of this, with me informing her that it was new insurance and I didn't know what to do, she called the company.


Our friends called and asked if we wanted to join them for the weekend. They were going away for their annual family and friends weekend at a rustic house on the coast and one room was vacant. We said yes we will come, but only for one night because we are not good company right now. They encouraged us to stay longer, but one night was enough for me so we left this afternoon. I thank the Lord daily, and sometimes hourly, for these friends. How did our time away go? I cried. I held my friend's baby for hours. I cried some more. We walked on the beach. I laughed. The sun shone. We went shopping. I laughed. We played games. We stayed up late, the girls talking, the guys playing ping pong. I laughed. I talked and talked and talked about my baby with my dear friend as she sat next to me holding her baby. We cried together. I breathed in this gorgeous, peaceful view: And I felt a tiny piece of my broken soul heal. Losing Charlotte is hard, the hardest thing I have bee

One Month

4 Fridays ago Charlotte was born. According to dates Monday June 14th is officially one month. I was in labor almost 26 hours. Charlotte will forever be 1 hour and 37 minutes old. She will never be 1, or 12, or 30. Yesterday was June 10th, our four year wedding anniversary. 4 years, 1 dead baby, 2 parents left behind. This is going to be a hard weekend.

Sweet Memories

Charlotte, I went to the bookstore today. I was a little anxious about going, because I thought it may be hard to make the drive. I could’ve gone the longer way, but if I was going to McMinnville I wanted to go the hard way so I would have that obstacle behind me. I drove past Bella Vie, past the field where Life Flight picked you up, and past the hospital where you died, but the drive wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. We spent a lot of time together on that road, baby girl. During the first trimester I was very sick to my stomach and I was afraid I would have to pull over and throw up on the side of the road, or in a field full of cows. During the second and third trimester we discovered how much you liked music. I would drive to and from work, or out to the birthing center for an appointment, flipping through music channels and finding the songs you liked best. You loved country music, especially female artists, and your favorites were Carrie Underwood and Taylor

A dream

I was scrolling through The Drudge Report this morning when a story about a stampede at a World Soccer Cup caught my eye. Images started flashing through my mind as I recalled a terrifying dream I had when I was pregnant with Charlotte. I don’t remember when I had the dream, but I know it was in the third trimester of my pregnancy. Until today, I didn’t even recall having the dream. Now, looking back, I remember waking from the dream and rolling so I could press my back against Jonathan’s side. I was frightened when I woke up from that dream, absolutely scared out of my wits. And now of course I wonder if it was a sign. My memories of the dream are so fragmented now I will never be able to paint a full picture. Honestly I’m amazed I remember any of it. Here is what I do remember: Jonathan and I were at a big event, maybe a political rally. We were in a large plaza, surrounded by tall buildings. I was very pregnant and wearing a black shirt. I think in the beginning I was alon

For Charlotte

Our friend Greg made this for Charlotte. It was supposed to be solid blue in color, but the gases from the kiln added the dusky red streaks. I love it. Greg offered to make a new one for us, but I told him this was perfect, even though it wasn't what he intended. I'm glad Jonathan decided to have Greg make the urn for us instead of choosing one from the funeral home. When I look at Charlotte's urn I think: ocean, beach, sky, heaven, peace. It sits on the coffee table, awaiting her ashes. Bringing her ashes home is a bridge I'm not ready to cross yet. Maybe tomorrow.

Three Weeks

These are a couple of the pictures from when I was in labor. My last hours with a living, breathing Charlotte. We have lots of video from that day, but I don't know if I will ever be able to watch it. Laboring in the backyard before we went to the birth center. Sometime during that long, long night. Jonathan had a hard time getting a good picture because I would not hold still. Talking to the apprentice who checked on Charlotte and me during the night. I love you, Charlotte. I hope you are safe, happy, and well in heaven. - Mama

Is This A Joke?

Today we received an explanation of benefits from the insurance company. The bill was addressed to Charlotte. Was that really necessary?? I understand we have to receive bills and explanations of benefits for our dead baby, but do these slips of paper need to be addressed to our dead baby? The insurance company was nice enough to include this letter: To the family of Charlotte, We were deeply saddened to learn of Charlotte's passing. We would like to express our sincere sympathy to you and your family on behalf of all of us here at PHT. We will make every attempt to consolidate mailings associated to the medical care that was provided. Okay, thank you for your thoughtfulness, but will you please stop sending things to my dead baby?


I've been very selective about who I let in the door right now. I'm in a strange, dark place and I want very little company while I am here. I am thankful for the people who love me despite my silence. They don't comment on the unanswered e-mails, phone calls and texts; they just keep sending them my way. Tina stopped by for a visit today. I thought I was having an okay day, but as soon as I saw her I started to cry. I don't know what it is about Tina and Patricia, but I often cry as soon as I see them. Tina brought me a beautiful picture of a stone angel holding a baby. She said she has had it in her life for a long time, but she thought it was my turn to have it. Tina helped me do the laundry and started a load of dishes. She also sat with me on the couch and let me talk through everything that has happened. She wasn't there for the birth, but she did teach our birth classes and she helped me immensely the day after Charlotte died. Even though I didn