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Showing posts from July, 2010


I think one of the hardest things about being a baby loss mama is the loneliness. The only people who understand how hard it is are fellow baby loss mamas. Men experience loss and grief so differently it is possible to spend many hours in the company of someone who was there every moment of your pregnancy and still feel alone when it ends. You carried the baby. You birthed the child and then she died. He stood by you, helpless, and desperate to save the baby, but his experiences are different. You both feel failure, but it’s so different for each of you it could almost be labeled something else. And this is where I admit that a baby dying is hell on a marriage. I don’t say much about my marriage here, because it is sacred and I feel protective of it. But I will confess that we have had more “I feel” discussions in the last eleven weeks than I thought we would in our entire life together. Sometimes it’s like a constant therapy session around here, but we are communicating and

Be Well

I'm at 40+ followers. Wow. Way back in 2008 when I started this blog I would write every so often and I don't think anyone read it. Now I write nearly every day and quite a few people are reading. Thank you. I'm here, grieving and living my life, and I am so glad you all are listening. Today was appointment #2 with Dr. B. I like her a lot. She greeted me with a hug and "I am so excited to see you!" Dr. B and my midwives have spoiled me. This is the kind of medical care I expect now; personal and kind with lots of hugs and encouragement. Dr. B was very proud of me for doing Aquafit. If you give me praise, or a cookie, I will do something I hate doing. I never thought I would be the type of person who exercises. Now I'm walking four days a week, doing Aquafit once a week, and lifting my 5 lb. weights twice a week. All Dr. B has to say is "I'm so proud of you. That's a great step!" and I continue on despite the little monster in m

"Sometimes learning can be just as painful as not knowing."

Isn't it strange when you scream at the universe and it responds? After my post on guilt and wanting to know why Charlotte died I came across the line that is the title of this post in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. (Amazing book, one of my top reads for this year). And I thought I may be able to live with the unanswered questions surrounding Charlotte's death. Perhaps knowing would satisfy my curiousity, but also lead to more hurt. If I can have a second baby and he or she lives, maybe not knowing is okay. Then, yesterday, late afternoon, the autopsy report arrived with the mail. I ditched my Zen attitude regarding knowledge and hardship and tore into the envelope. No answers. I didn't think there would be. I think we would've been notified by phone had they found something significant, but I am human and we humans tend towards hope. The main finding is that "it looked as though she had lungs of those of a stillborn." W

Prepare yourself

I am having a good day. Can you believe it? I have been so down the past few days. So full up of anxiety, sadness, and grief I felt as if I might float away. I woke up this morning and the last thing I wanted to do was go to Aquafit. But my friend was coming to pick me up at 8:30 and I couldn't very well hide while she sat in the driveway wondering where I was. I trudged out to her car, we drove to the Y, got changed and then jumped in the water for class. And I had a really good time. I worked hard today. When we were in the deep end, doing sets of crunches, then relaxing, I felt better then I have in days. I was on my back, one noodle under my arms, one under my feet, floating, focusing on my breathing and completely calm. Do you ever have moments where you let yourself go and just exist? It was like that. I was completely in the moment and I felt so weightless (okay, you can probably attribute that to the pool) and serene. Afterwards I felt like I had washed out my

Hello guilt

In the past few days I've found myself circling back to guilt. I thought I was done with guilt, but I guess it still wants to hang with me for a while. Like the tide, the feelings of guilt ebb and flow; sometimes I walk and do not notice them, but other days they inch closer and closer until eventually they lap at my knees and try to pull my feet out from under me. What brought this on? Lots of small incidents, but mainly the neighbor who put her foot in her mouth but good. I know it's hard to come up with something to say when someone tells you their baby died. However, asking where the baby is in July, when you know she was due in May, is not the best place to start. Last night Isabel shot out the door, tore across the driveway and headed straight for this neighbor. I trailed after her and Jonathan went to fetch the leash from the car so we could go for a walk. Isabel came back to me and the neighbor called, "How's the baby?" My initial response, th

Seeking Sanctuary

When life becomes too much, I read. Cracking open a book has always been a respite. Turning the pages and becoming lost in a story provides the room to breathe and regroup. The last few days have not been good ones. I’ve regressed to retreat and hide mode. Historically, churches have provided sanctuary to those who request it, and lately I have spent a lot of time knocking on the covers of books and seeking sanctuary. I’m inching through the days and I’m pretty sure I’m teetering on the brink of depression, rocking back and forth on the edge, and doing my best not to tumble over. I’m reading books as if consuming words as fast as I can, until I become stuffed and sick with stories, will rescue me. My head is so full of sorrow I cannot abide there anymore so I am packing up and moving into books. Right after Charlotte died I had a really hard time reading and I couldn’t focus on anything. I really wanted to read, to escape, but the text overwhelmed me. ..................

Ten Weeks

Today was a blah day. I mean really pathetically blah. I didn't do anything all day. I sat on the couch, streamed Boston Med, and felt sorry for myself. All. Day. Long. I ate a bit of cereal and some chips and felt sorry for myself. I watched episode after episode of Boston Med and thought about how there are no guarantees in life; we may die at any moment and death does not care about our age, our sex, our religious background, our race - it just takes. Around 3:30 I rolled off the couch and made myself take a shower. I watered the flowers, cut and plated the brownies I made the night before, and prepared myself for an evening with friends. Good friends, lovely friends, but friends whose second baby was born one month before ours died. We both cried on the drive over, but the night out ended up being a good thing. Nights with these friends always end up being a good thing. I played with their 22 month old. I held their 3 month old. We ate hamburgers and brownies

Trying to love myself

This morning was my first attempt at Aquafit. I was a bit of a failure, but I enjoyed bouncing around in the pool for an hour. The instructor told us what to do, but didn't tell anyone they were doing the exercises wrong. Well, except for the one time she corrected me. It's a random grouping of people and there is no real order to the class. A lot of people do their own thing. There was a sweet older man, the only man in the class, who had his own exercise program going. I liked him a lot. We were kindred souls; both a little lost and confused as to what we were supposed to be doing. After the class my friend and I could not get the combination lock on our locker open. My friend had to go find someone to cut the lock off with bolt cutters. I was waiting for her by the locker when a group of 4 and 5 year old girls came through. They surrounded me and started taking off their bathing suits. One little girl came up to me and asked for help with something. I leaned

Some words

I wrote out a post, went to publish it, and deleted the entire thing. Somehow it didn't save as I was typing it. Frustrated. And taking it as a sign to go in a different direction. Are you tired of me yet? I certainly am. Every night I feel the urge to sit down and write out how I'm feeling. It won't remove the pain, but it lessens the sting a bit. I may be repeating myself, in fact I'm sure I am, but I need these words on this page. I need to say over and over, I'm sad, I'm lost, it hurts, I miss her. So. I'm sad. I'm lost. It hurts. I miss her. I'm exhausted, worn out, wrung out. I am angry. Upset by the unfairness. And I'm tired of listening to my words and living in my head. This is what I really want to say tonight: Charlotte, "Your absence has gone through me Like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color." W. S. Merwin - Separation I have some things to do tomorrow and then I am stayin

Look what I found

Charlotte, I can't believe I tucked this scrap of paper in a drawer. I think I will add it to the pictures I am putting in your photo album. Your daddy really wanted to name you Quinn. I liked Harper. And initially I thought you would be Madeline. When the ultrasound tech said you were definitely a girl I sat up on the table, hugged my belly, and thought, hello Madeline. I love the name Lorelai, but it means seductive temptress and that did not sit well with me. Your daddy and I would pick a name from the list and try it out for a few days. One day I started calling you Charlotte and we never moved to the next name on the list. I loved the name Ava Grace, but daddy didn't like it. However, he let me use Ava as your middle name since I was so attached to it. And that is how you, my dear, went from Blueberry to Charlotte Ava to Little Bird. I've been missing you a lot lately. I will be doing fine, going about my day, and then suddenly I will start crying. I was f

New things and some fretting

What do you think of my new look? The husband did it for me. Much love to him. He is still working on it, but I like it so far. We finally got our stove today! It took us a long time to find one for a good price. It needs a bit of cleaning, but it will be worth it. And of course it will be in the fireplace instead of sitting on the hearth. This stove was supposed to keep me and Charlotte warm through the long, rainy Oregon winter. I am excited to have it, but so sad because I imagined toasty days at home with my baby girl. This Christmas we were going to have a roaring fire, hot chocolate, a baby, and much love. Now that Charlotte is gone Christmas has been cancelled. I don't know where I will be for Christmas, but there is no way I am sticking around. On Wednesday I am starting an Aquafit class with a friend. She is kind and doesn't mind the odd brand of crazy I bring with me these days. I contacted her to ask if we could work out together one day a week. Maybe

Love, support, kindness

Let me start with a request: Please go give Jennifer some love. Her sweet Kai was born still on June 16th. And sorry for two posts in one day. My visit with Dr. B, the naturopath, went really well. I am going off the thyroid medication! It is going to take time, it means pushing our trying to conceive plan back a month or two, but for the first time in five years I am going to be medication free. I am switching from medication to natural supplements and that makes me feel much better about a second pregnancy (fingers crossed, toes too). I love Dr. B. A lot. My appointment was a full hour, I talked about many things, and I didn't cry even though it was strangely akin to therapy. My favorite moment was when she looked at me and said, "I want to rescue you and put you back together." Oh, well, please do. I would appreciate that ever so much. One simple sentence and yet with those words I shed a great deal of anxiety. I offloaded a bit of this journey into her c

Wherever you go, there you are

As you all know I’ve been trying my hardest to outrun the grief. Feet to the ground, running my heart out, focusing on getting away. Guess what? It didn’t work out for me. Surprise, surprise. Grief caught up to me last night and made its presence known with a full on tackle from behind that slammed my body into the ground. Face meet dirt, meet tears, meet screaming. Last night was not as bad as the first few nights after Charlotte died, but it was reminiscent, there were faint echoes of that time. Once again I was a collapsed heap on the bed, sobbing, wondering where my daughter was, what I did wrong. Nine weeks ago I screamed at the top of my lungs for Charlotte. I screamed “Where’s my baby? I want my baby!” over and over while the equally upset, but less able to express it, husband sat near me and rubbed my back. Last night was same story, different day, but with whispering instead of shouting. I went to the dark place, friends. I hate the dark place. For days I’ve bee

First day

First day back at the bookstore. I got up, dropped Jonathan off at work, because his car is in the shop AGAIN, came home, got ready and went on in. Scary. I stayed in the back, hidden in the office I used to share with a co-worker. I worked on data entry. It was nice, simple. I didn’t have to think, which is a nice break right now. I don’t really feel like I’m working, because I am not getting paid. I work, I get books. The perfect combination for me. Low key, no pressure. It’s hard to be back at the store, to remember the years I was there before Charlotte, and the months I worked there with Charlotte growing in my belly. There are a lot of questions I cannot answer right now, but I can sit in the back of the bookstore, take one catalog into my hands at a time, and input information. I can flip through the glossy pages and know I ordered a title in hardcover and it sold well so I should order it in paperback. There is comfort in the familiar, in the knowledge that I can

Two Months

Can you believe it, Charlotte? Two months without you. I feel like I've lived ten years of sorrow, but it's only been eight weeks. You are forever loved and forever missed. Every moment of every day I think of your beautiful face and your short, lovely life. I finally received my memorial necklace! I picked out what I wanted, but it's from all of your grandparents. We are still waiting on your daddy's ring. I love having a reminder of you I can carry with me. The front is your hand and foot print along with an emerald for your birth stone. Both of the charms have your name and date of birth on the back. Someday I would like to find a chest I can put everything in. For now you have these three memorial boxes. One from the hospital, one from the church we attended in McMinnville, and one from your Aunt Christina. Your sweet hand and foot prints. You had so much hair baby girl. It was long enough that it curled up just a bit at the sides. And you h


Tomorrow is the official two month mark and I feel absolutely, completely stuck. I can't go back, but I'm not sure if I can go forward either. I think I need to break out of my routine. The dead baby routine of no work, no Charlotte, lots of sitting at home immobile. But I'm not sure if I am ready to go back to work. I am going in on Thursday to do a few things, but it's all going to be behind the scenes. I'm not sure I can commit to work again. I have plenty of days where I sit on the couch unable to move for the sadness. I think I am confused that this is my life now. All that is required of me is to get through each day. My husband works, he works hard, and his job pays him well enough that I can sit on this couch day after day. He doesn't require anything from me. A clean house is nice, coming home to dinner is nice, but he doesn't expect me to do anything. He understands that I need some time to absorb what has happened to us. But I feel

My poor baby

Received medical records from Life Flight and the hospital today. Ugh. It's important to have these things as we go forward, meet with the perinatologist, try to decide what to do next. But why do I sit down and read them? My favorite part from the hospital report is when the phrase "impending doom for the patient" is tossed out. Impending doom. Really? What a way to put it. Still waiting for the autopsy report. I'm afraid I may have to request it again. My poor baby. Less than two hours of life outside of me and those two hours were chaotic. I think I will tuck these papers in the folder labeled 'C - Medical Information' and not look at them for a while.

Reading the night away

My sleep patterns are wonky. I need to buckle down, take the Valerian root, drink the sleepy tea, get back in a routine. I'm running on three to five hours of sleep a night and doing okay with it. For now. I read constantly. Book after book after book. Out of these books come words and impressions and images I want to save. So many things remind me of Charlotte now. I am rereading a lot of books. Going back to the ones that have brought me comfort before. I write down quote after quote and I have finally decided to put them all in one place . It's creeping up on 1 am so I am going to put down the books, shut down the laptop, creep into the bedroom where my husband and the dog sleep peacefully, and try to sleep.


You stand up. Stretch. Look around. Something is missing. Or maybe you are forgetting something. You pat your pockets. Look around once more. You check the ground, the chair next to you, the kitchen table. You wander the house looking in each room. You see nothing, shrug, and turn to leave. As you start to walk away you pause. Perhaps this is past you, not present you. You place a hand on your belly. Flat. Well, almost flat. Not as flat as it used to be, but certainly not as round as it used to be either. That answers that. Definitely present you. As one final test you touch a hand to your arm, to your bare skin. Ouch. The simplest touch stings. Yes. It is the present. You are open wound you. A new you that still requires adjusting to. You wake up each morning, look in the mirror, and startle. Day in, day out. Present you looks old, worn out, gray, awful and it is disquieting and unsettling each time you see it. You continue to walk away, still confused, sti

Less words, more pictures

I had a good day yesterday. I went to McMinnville with my mom and bought a fabulous dress that was on sale. I snagged some books at my favorite bookstore (the to read pile is out of control. I also have two 'need to read someday' shelves ....). I talked with a midwife I haven't seen since Charlotte died, received some good serious hugs, ate lunch at The Sage, ate dinner at Adam's Rib Smokehouse, ate more food than I have in a long time, and had my first good Friday since Charlotte died. Today we went to the river with the dog. She loves to swim and we have not taken her out as often as we should. It was nice to have a few good moments. I've been struggling with who I am now that Charlotte is dead. I've spent a lot of time reflecting on who I am, who I was and who I want to be now that my life is going in a completely different direction. Isn't grief fun? This crisis of self makes me feel like I'm back in junior high. Altho


I’ve been feeling discontented lately. The anger has been all-consuming and I don’t like that. In trying to shake it off I sat, went deep into my head, and thought about Charlotte’s birth. I’ve talked about it, I’ve written it out, but I haven’t sat with it. In doing so I realized I needed to process the incredible emotions that come with birth before I could move forward. Birth is a contentious topic. People have strong, fierce, insane emotions and thoughts about birth. My personal belief is that most babies don’t need to be born in hospitals. I believe most hospital maternal care is cold, distant and unkind to women. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but the majority of hospitals wrest control from the birthing mother’s hands and apply medical processes to a normal, natural procedure. Have I ever given birth in a hospital? No. But I have talked to lots of women, read many birth stories, and watched a few documentaries. Even though my baby died I believe low r

Out of sorts

That is the best phrase for how I am feeling. Trying to work through some things. Calm down some. I need to eat better and more often. I need to get more sleep. I need to work through the incredible rage that has cropped up recently. I don't feel very sad - a little lost, but not sad. I think I'm going to be quiet for a day or two. Sit with myself, work through some things. I'm putting myself in time out, if you will. My sister and I were talking the other day and she said I'm on an island, the island of Angela. Yes, I am. And this island is small. Few can fit on my island and even fewer are allowed. Every now and then I will send a boat to someone on shore, but usually I am here alone. And for a couple of days there will be no boats. There will be no invitations to keep me company. There will be no communication with the outside world. I am no longer comfortable with myself, with sitting in silence and doing nothing. This inability to sit with my ow

The Meadow

Charlotte, When I think of you, of where you are, a meadow comes to mind. That meadow is in heaven for I believe that is where you are and where I will be someday too. You are a toddler, two, maybe three. You have red blonde curly hair, just like I knew you would. You are wearing pink rain boots, even though the sun is shining. Maybe because we live in Oregon and I was looking forward to buying you pink rain boots? You are wearing a skirt and a little sweater and you, my dear, are beautiful. You are surrounded by friends. Your laugh rings across the meadow and you run and run and run with your friends. I imagine you surrounded by the babies that belong to the mamas I have met. It helps me to think of you playing with babies I know. I know their stories, I know why they left this earth and I imagine all of you running through that meadow and having a wonderful time. Each baby has a name that floats above their head and every time I encounter another parent who has lost a chi