Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pregnancy after Loss

Before Molly was born, I scoured blogs looking for women who had a child after a loss. I specifically wanted to find mothers who had lost their first child and went on to have other children. Unfortunately the first time mothers whose blogs I was reading had not yet birthed a second child. (Many of them have since, praise God!)

I wanted to know what that experience was like, giving birth to and loving another child. All I knew was deep, deep sadness as a mother. From my perspective (and it's the only one I know intimately) having your first child born stillborn is extremely difficult. We didn't know the prize at the end of a pregnancy for a year and a half. Our house sat quiet for too long. We didn't have another child to love on, to make us smile through our tears.

It was never our intention to wait so long for Molly. We tried to get pregnant right away, and tried, and tried, and succeeded, then failed, and tried, and tried, and tried. In that time of trying and failing, what happened was Cara took up residence in our lives. We were forced to confront our grief and make space in our lives for our daughter. Looking back, I'm thankful for that time, because the work we did was important. Cara, in that time, found her place as our daughter. She wove herself into our thoughts, traditions and words.

By February of last year, we were pregnant with Molly. During those 9 months of pregnancy, I studied everything I could about gestating. I told Tim recently that it felt like a bit of a hobby. In all that time, I never really allowed myself to connect with Molly fully. I just couldn't believe that she would really be born alive.

If I could back to that time, I would tell myself to grieve Cara as much as I possibly could even up until the moment Molly was born. Because in October when Molly emerged from my womb, perfect in every way, joy burst into my life again. God gave us the most beautiful little girl. She is super laid back and easy going. She smiles frequently and has the ability to literally draw strangers across restaurants and stores. She has eased us into parenting a living child and made the transition a healing process.

I'm thankful for our story of hope after loss for some are not so lucky. We are two years and almost 4 months into our grieving process. The grief still remains as think of Cara daily, but our household is also filled with a lot of laughter and smiles, something we never believed possible until Molly found her way into our lives.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

My morning started with my adorable (hungry) little girl handing me the sweetest card. She then started to cry, because while we were celebrating mommy, baby still needed to eat! Daddy made us a delicious breakfast complete with lattes.

This was my first Mother's Day at church since losing Cara. It was a gentle ease back in. I ended up having to leave with Molly half way through the service because of her inability to settle, but it was a good time for me to reconnect with the church and my motherhood while still caring for my little one.

We went to visit Cara and that was a difficult part of the day for me. I lay one hand on the foot of my sleeping Molly and the other on the ground. Two babies connected by one mother filled with emotions and love for each.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the backyard. My parents came from a brief visit and then A and Ra drove through town with the boys. It was a fun, whirlwind day. I was able to take a few minutes to reflect quietly as I nursed Molly in the nursery late in the afternoon. No real thoughts, just being present in my grief and not hiding from it.

The boys loved meeting Molly and she delighted in them. In fact, she hasn't been the same since they left. Mommy is clearly not cutting it on the entertainment factor. It has made me realize how much I'm missing out on not seeing my two girls interact together. It's the first time I have really felt that Molly would enjoy having a big sister and a reminder of what she doesn't yet understand, what one day we will have to explain to her.

Friday, April 2, 2010

3 Years in Photos

My laptop is on the fritz. Actually it's beyond that. We have had a love hate relationship the past couple of weeks. I love it, but it hates me. There is another laptop in the mail, which can't arrive soon enough.

In preparation for my new beloved's arrival, I have spent the past week deciding what to trash and what to keep. In doing so, I backed up all my pictures. Twice. I decided that I should go through every picture beforehand, so I only backed up those that were most treasured and purged all the blurry, out of focus, pictures I took 10 times to get one good shot.

In the last week, I have relived the last three years of life. Watching friends get pregnant. Beach trips. Sharing the news we were pregnant with Cara. Baby showers for friends and then our own. Her birth day. Life after her. A rich marriage, but two very broken hearts. Holding children, loved but not my own. My body, which told the story of a pregnancy but didn't bear the fruit of its efforts. Pregnancy. Miscarriage. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Planning for adoption. One last try. First birthday. Babies, babies, babies, still not my own. Months of gestating. One glorious day in October. Finding a part of myself again. A second birthday without our first little one. Six months of wonder.

Life. Not what I imagined, yet still sweet in its own bitter way.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stillbirth & SUID Prevention, Education, & Awareness Act (S 1445/HR 3212)

Below is a quick synopsis of pending legislation for stillbirth & SIDS. If you click on the link below it, then on "Take Action" on the next page, "New Users click here", you can complete a quick form which generates an email to your representatives and senator. It's quick - less than 1 minute - and let's your voice be heard! First Candle started circulating this campaign in case you are interested.

Every year, there are more than 25,000 stillbirths in the United States. Many of these deaths are the result of birth defects, infections, umbilical cord problems, and chronic conditions of the mother. However, there is no known cause for as many as half of all stillbirths, leaving many parents without answers to the reasons for these deaths. This bill would expand current activities related to stillbirth and increase education and awareness among health care providers and families.

In addition, there are more than 4,600 sudden unexpected infant deaths each year and another 200 children between the ages 1 and 4 die without any obvious cause for their death. Many such tragedies could be prevented if there were a better understanding of the reasons why these infants and children died. The Act encourages states to complete scene investigations to better understand why these children died and establishes a national database to track these deaths and identify risk factors to prevent them in the future.

The Stillbirth and SUID Prevention, Education, and Awareness Act is the single largest movement towards the end of these tragedies that our country has ever seen. Please "take action" below by using our form to email your federal representatives and urge them to support and co-sponsor this important act of legislation today!

This is democracy in action- let them hear us! This opportunity is too great to pass up. Thank you again for your unfaltering support!

Click the link below to take action on this issue:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


In the fall I'm planting daffodils, hundreds and hundreds of daffodil bulbs. (Ok, probably tens of tens, but hundreds of hundreds sounded more dramatic.)

Daffodils and cherry blossoms are in bloom right now, and they are beautiful. Interestingly, the Bradford Pear which has been in bloom this day the past two year is not in bloom. I'm somewhat thankful.

But the daffodils, they are a welcomed surprise and life I have not remembered from this time in years past.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Please Vote

These are friends of my cousin. Please watch their video and vote for their cause.

Vote here to help another grieving mother:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Are you there?

Last night your daddy walked past the nursery 45 minutes after I put Molly to sleep and heard the lamb mobile playing. Molly woke up at 3:30 this morning for a bottle. As I sat feeding her, the mobile once again came on.

I just have to wonder if it was you in there. Playing with your sister.

The mobile has been giving us quite a bit of trouble. Frankly, we can't get it to play. These are the only two times that it has played on its own, coincidentally when we are very close to Molly and the nursery. We would have heard it on the monitor if it played any other time.

So it just makes me wonder. Are you in there with Molly? Are you watching out for her and playing your little sister sweet lullabies?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Every baby is a miracle.

Every baby is a miracle.

Our friend was leading the children's message at church. He was talking about how ordinary people perform miracles and how lots of miracles were happening in Haiti. Somewhere in the midst of his message one line struck a cord with me. "Every baby is a miracle."

A woman my parents age, who I look to as the 'church mom', reached over and squeezed Molly's foot. My heart instantly went to not the one in my arms, but the one I held only once, who our church knows of only figuratively. What does it mean for a baby to be a miracle? Was Cara a miracle? Even though she didn't make it here breathing, alive? Of course I believe she was a miracle, for it was my body not hers that failed. She, she was perfect.

What is so intoxicating about a (living) baby? I watch how people respond to Molly and how enthralled they are with her. When does all of this change? When do they (we) become less innocent, more infiltrated by the hurt and brokenness of the world?

I smile at Molly's innocence. How big her smile gets when I look at her. How desperately she wants to talk to me, I just have to glance her way. The ease with which her life takes. It must be so fun to be her right now.

Tim and I sense an unspoken message when people communicate with Molly. There is tons of attention heaped on her, but behind it, although rarely spoken we hear something else, their love for Cara and regard for the beauty of her life and death. It is tender and it is appreciated. ::thank you::

Friday, January 8, 2010

Another Year

Flip. The page turned on the calendar and thus we find ourselves in a new year.

All I have been able to think about is we are nearing Cara's birthday. The day two years ago that my life blew up into a million pieces. Months later I stood there most of the pieces having flown away, trying to grasp at the few still swirling around me.

This week has been particularly draining for me and Tim. We have started the daunting process of interviewing nannies. Besides the fact that it is every night of having someone come into our home, it's also choosing who is going to take care of Molly, a decision we do not make lightly.

We had the absolute pleasure of interviewing a lovely British nanny last night. I say 'lovely' because she says lovely. And 'what is your Christian name?' And 'I once offered care to a Lord and Lady.' In our effort towards full disclosure, I shared with her that we lost our first little girl. In turn, she shared that they had lost their first son at 5 years old to cancer. It was not what I expected to hear at all, but instantly felt that she understood us. She also talked about going to Compassionate Friends meetings in the UK. (CF actually started in England 40 years ago.)

This woman shared with us how her last job was for a mother who had just given birth to twins. She told of how the woman had to stay in the hospital for quite some time and that when she came home she stayed in bed all day. The nanny eventually shared with us what I was already suspecting, the mother suffered from postpartum depression.

I just couldn't help but think how sad. Here this woman has two healthy children who need her and love her and need to be loved by her, and depression has stolen that very special time from all of them. I couldn't help but think about my own situation two years ago. How I would have loved to get out of bed and take care of a child, but there physically wasn't a child to care for.

January brings for me a lot of sadness. Many would say it does for them as well. We come down off the holiday high to find ourselves in houses that darken early without the magical twinkle of lights and enchanting smell of pine. Tim and I reflected numerous times during the holiday season how this year it felt a little less magical for us. We loved having Molly with us and making Christmas special for her (although she was completely unaware.) But the entire season just felt a little 'off'. As Tim finally put it one night, "the innocence is lost." Exactly the words that my incongruent emotions were longing for.

And so back to where I started, we find Cara's second birthday looming in just the near future. I'm again faced with how to celebrate (is it even called celebrating?) another birthday. Another year without her.