Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Please Keep Katie in your thoughts and prayers as she prepares to give birth to Rebecca today. She is just shy of 24 weeks. Katie is one of the most amazing women I know. Having met her through my support group for babylost parents, she has showed such peace, strength and faith during her harrowing ordeal of the last few weeks.

She lost her son Jimmy at 36 weeks, just a little less than a year ago.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Masks we wear (writing challenge for faces of loss)

The mask I have worn for the past 8 months has been a fright mask. One contorted in pain, tracks of tears visible down my face. One that looks as if I'm screaming in silence.

Sure I've covered the mask with my "I'm fine, look, I'm wearing pants!" mask.

The other night I had a conversation with a very wise man. One who, in the beginning didn't understand why my pain was eating me alive. Didn't understand exactly what the last 8 months have been like. During our conversation, which had me in tears, I explained to him that our daughter had died in my womb, that my body had failed her. That we labored and delivered our child, the one who's bones were broken. The one who's ribs were all fractured. We delivered her into silence. I think he understood why I am the broken one now. I think he got it.

He picked his words carefully and with great weight and meaning. He told me I need to open my heart, and let her go. Not forget her. Just let her go. I have been desperatly holding onto Leta, this child that I never met, this child of my body. I have been clinging to her. I need pray, and I need to let her be in peace.

Now anyone else saying this to me would have fighting words. It would have raised my hackles and I would have POUNCED. But this man, is a wise one. I respect his words, his truth, his peace. So I listened.

What I took away was there will be a time that I am ready to say goodbye to Leta Blue. To "Let her go" To give her to a higher power. That time is not now, but I feel that it will be soon, has to be soon.

So my mask will remain, both of them will. The terrible scary heartbroken one that I show only to a few. And the "I'm okay, lookatme i'm wearing pants" one that I show to everyone else.

I do see, in the future the mask that I will wear. I see the peace on her face. I see the acceptance. I see the faith. However, that mask will come complete with an empty baby shaped spot in my heart. I can let her go, but I can never, ever forget her. My baby. My Leta Blue.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Being an agoraphobe has it's advantages. Or how to lose friends in 8 months

Again I sit at a loss for words. I've lost my baby and my ability to speak, apparently.
Sunday at church, every Sunday, this one couple invites us for dinner. So thoughtful and lovely of them, really. But. But. They have a passel of kids. Mostly 3 and under. Girls. And I can't. I just cannot. So we've begged off. Too many times. Not wanting to be rude and appear as a bunch of jerk faces, Jim took the husband aside and explained to him about our loss, and that I have massive social issues of late and cannot be around tiny children right now. He was so very kind about it. But I wonder what he said to his wife. I wonder if SHE understood? Or if they now think I am a total freak. (I am, but that's a different post)

There is such a paradox inside of me right now. I am broken and torn, and miserable and just a giant ball of ICK. But I also, at times have this wonderful positive tiny spark of hope. I hope we will conceive again. But no. I hope we will BRING a baby home this time. I hope I don't ever have to tell my kids again that their sibling died. That I failed.

I can't talk to people. I can't pay attention to what they are saying. I can't DO anything lately. All my friends and family are losing patience with me. I'M losing patience with me. My pain is so on the surface and palpable right now, more than ever before and it makes people uncomfortable. I cannot keep nodding my head, smiling and saying I'm fine. No one wants to hear how unfine I really am, and I cannot really talk about it anyway. I can write, sure, but I cannot speak about Leta right now. I just cannot.

I can't talk about how imaginary she feels. Where is the proof that my Daughter existed? It sits in a blue urn. In a box filled with obituaries, and tiny buntings. In my heavy, broken heart. That's all I have.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 12 (i'm playing catch up!)

Something I am OCD about.

PILLOWS. Particularly MY pillows. I have my basic head pillow, and then my beloved "snuggle" pillow. They can only wear a certain set of pillow cases that are soft and wonderful (and don't match my bedding, but whatever)

I emphatically do NOT ALLOW anyone else to lay on my pillows. I am a freak about flipping my head pillow over to the cool side a million times a night.

Shortly after Leta died, I decided to wash my beloved snuggle pillow. It is a king size synthetic down pillow and was looking kinda manky. So I filled the machine with hot water and bleach and soap and waited. Upon finish of the cycle I encountered a horrific site. My beloved pillow, the one I've had for 10 years, had ripped in the wash. The machine was full of wet pillow fluff. FILLED. I shrieked hysterically, sobbing and was incoherent, only able to point to the machine of death. Jim, confused as to what was happening, slowly opened the machine. Saw the destruction, and led me to lie down quietly while he scooped the remains out. This man, my husband, salvaged every last piece of fluff, put it back in the remains of the case, and sewed that pillow back together for me. He's a good man, that Jim :)

day 11 a recent photo and how it makes me feel

I feel like I'm trying too hard to be happy. I hate photos of me.

day 10 a photo taken over ten years ago

And how it makes me feel today; This girl. I don't even remember her. I miss her innocence, . I miss being happy and carefree. If I could go back and talk to this girl, I don't think I'd tell her what pain and agony was in store. I think I'd hug her, and tell her to always be herself. Not to settle. To be kinder to others.

(I'd also tell her, psst.... those boobs are gonna come, so quit stuffing your bra, girl!)

Day 9 a photo taken after my loss

Missing Leta one day while we were driving, I snapped this with my camera phone. The light was stunning. I know where my baby is. I just wish it was here with me.

A woman named Elsa

Back in the early days, before I had kids of my own, I worked as a CNA in a nursing home.

Lately I've been thinking about one lady in particular. Elsa, we called her. She looked like she had been a beauty at one point. Her hair still long and wavy, white as snow. Elsa was dependant on her aides. Immobile, limbs frozen, hands clenched tight. She was also in the throws of dementia.

Elsa couldn't speak, but you couldn't mistake the absolute panic in her eyes. Terror, as if she could speak she would tell of all her grief. She would take to fits of rage, gutteral sounds, crying. This went on for weeks. No one could calm Elsa. Not her aides, nurses, or even the Haldol the doctors prescribed.

Elsa didn't have any family that visited her. A lonely, decidely crazy old lady living out her latter years in a place that was unfamiliar and scary. We tried to calm her, tried to engage her. Nothing doing. She became combatant and though she was old, she was STRONG.

One night, while I was charting, I looked through her history and there it was. Elsa had had a stillborn baby. The nurses and I decided, and we were really at our wits end here, to buy Elsa a baby doll.

When presented with the baby, Elsa lit up. Her limbs relaxed. Her eyes softened, and she rocked and crooned to this tiny plastic dolly. From then on, as long as Elsa had her baby, she was a different woman.

Such a nice happy ending, but the real point is, this woman in her dementia was reliving her grief for her dead child. In having this doll, she could mother the child she had mourned for so long.

I often wonder what became of her. I know she couldn't have lived much longer. I hope she was able to reconcile her grief. I hope she was happy for a moment. I hope that as a young and ignorant aide, I was able to help Elsa.

And now I feel her pain. I feel her grief. The difference is I'm able to speak out about it. To grieve out loud. I grieve for Leta, yes. I also grieve for all those women, past and present that aren't able to talk about it, aren't encouraged and supported to feel the grief. Because the feeling of it, as awful as it is, the feeling is paramount to our recovery. There will be beauty from this pain. There will be a rainbow. Elsa showed me that.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Please Say a prayer for a dear Angel Mommy who lost her sweet Jimmy at 36 weeks last November. She is now 21 weeks pregnant with Sweet baby Becca, and is 5 cm dialated with the bag bulging. Please pray for her and her family. Thank you!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

sprinkle me with glitter and sequins to hide the ugly truth

I just returned from Church, the land, apparently of good fertility, based on the number of pregnant women who were carrying babies ( I mean, they had a baby in their arm and one in their belly). Perhaps I should rethink my "no drinking from drinking fountains" phobia, and start drinking the water there?

Whatever. I love Church, but hate it at the same time. I love the Gospel, the scriptures, the message. But it is HELL for me to be around so many fertile women who have no idea that it can all end so very tragically. And you know, I could be a total lunatic and shout it out, shout "Stop! Stop and enjoy every second, it's gone too soon. You might be the next victim!" But I'm planning on saving those gems for my later years, when I become the crazy bird feeding bag lady sitting on the library steps, creeping everyone out.

But I digress. What I want to really say here, and I've totally gotten off topic. What I have been thinking about. Does Leta see me? Is she here, somewhere close by watching me, shaking her head at how I've become this deranged selfish person in the last 8 months? Is she with me? Why don't I feel her? I didn't really know her. I never "met" her. Would I know if she was there? Does she know how very sad and destroyed we are? I am? Does she see my pain, my tears, my secret heartbreaking, pillow punching WAILING? Does she see her Mother falling apart?

I want to badly to put the pieces of my life back together. To assemble them all into their neat little slots, but the pieces are jagged and broken, and they just do not fit together, any longer. It's going to be, if I can ever do it, an amalgam of hurt, and trust broken, and betrayal. Perhaps, as the time passes I will add happy, and laughter, and joy. But it's going to be a puzzle smashed together, crammed with all this garbage, and hopefully someday, sprinkled with some sequins and glitter and bows to wrap up this hellish pit of desolation. To make something beautiful out of something hideously ugly.

I hope she sees that I try. Am trying. There is sunshine, and glitter and shiny things, I can see them, but cannot reach them yet. The summit is too far, and I have no energy nor will to climb out yet.

Giant oozing suckfest of self pity

Today Autumn has come. The leaves have been turning for a while, but it's been HOT and miserable still. Today though, today Autumn is here. It's wet and crisp and breezy and cool. The sky is overcast, which makes me happy, because it reflects my heart which is overcast.

My heart is overcast and cold. Rainy. So it's Autumn. I love Autumn. Usually. But I don't really care. All I can see in the near future are "this time last year" days. This time last year I got pregnant. This time last year I was overjoyed, rich, blessed. Now, so much has been taken from us. I know we still have a lot. We have J, S, and C. I know. Thank God. But so much else was robbed. We lost a baby, but we lost a lot more. We lost our innocence. We lost our trust. We lost our will to... to what? I don't know. Believe that life isn't scary or sad or devastating?

Halloween is soon. I have always hated it, but this year, the year after the year, I want to hide under my covers till all the damn holidays have passed. I don't want to celebrate a trite holiday with candy and merriment. I want to do nothing. But I can't. I have to celebrate this piece of crap day with candy and costumes and a big fake smile.

I can't even think about Thanksgiving right now. I told Jim that we need to go away for Thanksgiving. To some out of the way crappy hotel. I want to make a point of ignoring Thanksgiving. I don't want to spend it with well meaning, but ignorant family. I want to do NOTHING. Last year I was sick as a dog cooking dinner for family. Sick but so HAPPY.

Christmas, the thought of it, paralyzes me. How do I celebrate. The year after year.
Dead baby land is a giant oozing suckfest, isn't it?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 8 a photo that makes me sad or angry

I took ONE picture of me pregnant with Leta. ONE. And a super crappy one at that. This was taken a few days before she died. It makes me both sad and angry, seeing this, knowing she was still alive, and knowing, now how that story ended.

Friday, October 8, 2010

day 7 a photo that makes me happy

This summer, in the midst of our grief, My kids and I went to Utah for a month. We had a blast, hiking, fishing, roasting weenies, watching fireworks. It was good for us. We were able to relax and just "be" for a while. This picture captures my babies, in a rare moment of all of them getting along, goofing around and just having fun :) These guys are so amazing. Each so different, and silly and wonderful. Jakob is such a joyful person. Always willing to help. Almost always smiling. This is my first baby, my only boy and I treasure him so very much. Claire, in the red, is my "me" child. She is so much like me when I was her age. Shes sensitive and needs lots of reassurance. She's hilarious and sweet and such a cool kid. Stella, my tiny Stella, is the sweetest little soul. She's quiet, but funny. Her and Jake are thick as thieves and are always cooking up some scheme or another. I love these little souls and thank God that I am their Mother.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 6 twenty things that calm you

1. My husband. Sounds lame I know. But just his being in the same room brightens my day, calms me down and tames my grief a bit.
2. Music. I have totally changed my style of music since losing Leta. I like Indie music a lot. I listen all day and night. I have a night time play list called "in the wee small hours of the morning" that is so peaceful and soothing.
3. Photography. I'm no good, but I love doing it. I love editing pictures. I love lomography. The bright over saturated colors make my heart happy.
4. Thrift stores. I heart thrift stores. I dig anything vintage. I love cheap bargains!
5. I'm not gonna lie. Xanax. God bless Xanax.
6. Girls night out. I don't leave my house often (I'm a bit of an agoraphobe lately) but I try to go out with a few girlfriends once a month. The two in particular make me laugh, allow me to speak candidly without judgement, encourage me, and love me. I never imagined a year ago that I would have such amazing women in my life, but I do. They didn't know me "before" but I am so grateful for these two ladies!
7. Faces of loss website. Reading other peoples stories makes me feel so much less alone.
8. Notes from my children. They are charming and wonderful and I treasure them.
9. Anything Blue. Anything.
10. Reading. Reading anything. I devour books. I read sometimes two a day. I've been trying to read scriptures more as well.
11. Naps. I love naps. LOVE ell oh vee ee naps!
12. The way my children smell. Weird i know. But it's so intrinsically THEM.
13. My husbands neck. It smells incredible, always the same. I wish I could bottle that smell. I think I must be a freak.
14. Collage. Right after Leta died I made this HUGE collage that really expressed my feelings of grief. I think it's beautiful.
15. Creating anything! Drawing, painting, gluing, sewing. It stops my brain and slows me down a bit.
16. Writing.
17. The river. I am so drawn to the river and I can't quite explain it. I can sit there for hours and do nothing but absorb the sights and sounds. It's a 5 minute walk from my house and I go a few times a week.
18. My bed. The way my blankets feel. The softness of my sheets. My pillows (I'm a freak about my pillows) I feel safer there than anywhere else.
19. You wouldn't believe it, but laundry. The routine, the washing, drying and hanging up.
20. Lame I know, but seriously My husbands eyes. He has these amazing eyes. I can just look at him and know he loves me, doesn't judge me, and is willing to care for me in all my craziness and grief for as long as I need. I really don't think I realized how much I love him until Leta died. Sad I know. But he has been and is such an amazing human. I'm glad to know him.

Allow me to catch up on the days please?

Day one: My favorite song AND one that reminds me of Leta is "Baby Blue" by Dave Matthews band.

Day two:A movie that has helped or jumped out after your loss; I don't know why, but "Into the Wild" It allows me a cathartic cry and made me become obsessed with Eddie Vedders voice.
It's in my top 5 Favorite Movies. 1. Harold and Maude (soundtrack alone is killer!)
2. Into the Wild
3. Garden State (again with the soundtrack? wow)
4. Gone with the Wind (Sigh. It's just!!)
5. Moulin Rouge (guilty pleasure I'm sure!)

Day 3; A television program that gets you through hard times.
Hmmm. I don't have one. I tend to rent whole seasons and get lost in them though. I like to be distracted. Desperate housewives, King of Queens, and Friends. Yeah I'm original right?

Day 4; My favorite book has changed since my loss. I read "Expecting Adam" during my pregnancy and could totally relate to the odd spiritual experiences she had during her pregnancy with her son Adam, who was dx with Downs. She refers to her life being led by "bunraku puppeteers" I can relate.

Day 5; favorite quote. I usually find quotes trite and annoying. But I love this one; "Mourning is not forgetting. It is an undoing. Every minute tie has to be untied and something permanent and valuable recovered and assimilated from the dust." Margaret Allingham

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

it's dark in this place called dead baby land

I've sat here trying to articulate what I need to say, but somehow cannot. This past week I have had a really tough time. And that is the understatement of the century. I do not yet know what my triggers are, but I know that something has set me off, and I am in the midst of a mental breakdown (so it seems to me) The nightmares are back. The waking in the middle of the night hearing a baby cry. The flashbacks. The guilt, the blame, the anger. It's all back. I'm sad. But that doesn't begin to describe it does it? I'm broken, and destroyed and, and. And I don't think there are actually words to describe it, are there?
Why does it feel as if I take two steps forward, then fall back into this pit of despair?
There are some that don't understand my pain. I've heard the term "she wasn't even human yet" tossed around. I swear to you this was said to us. And it broke us. It broke my Husband, it broke me. It turned us bitter and cold. There were those that refused to come to our child's funeral. Saying that we were ridiculous to hold a funeral for "products of conception" But they don't know. Didn't ask. Didn't realize. I LABORED for 15 hours. My body writhing in pain. My soul breaking in pieces. I labored, my water broke, I pushed my child out of my womb. Into silence. Instead of buying bottles and diapers, we bought an urn. Instead of sleepless nights due to a newborn, we had sleepless nights due to grief. Instead of a baby shower we had a damned funeral.
So I'm bitter, WE are bitter. I am angry. WE are angry. My husband, me, our family we are broken. But we are together. And together, with Jim, With Jakob, Stella and Claire, we will find a way to be okay. Sadness will always tinge our family. But it won't ruin us. No it will not.