Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Bird Day

Thank you to everyone who left kind words, wishes and thoughts for me and my family this past week. It has been unimaginable the emotions, the feelings, the reality. I still wake up in the middle of the night (lots) and look at Cason and wonder if I really am awake. I hope to put to paper, well, internet, the words that might express it, but it is hard, harder than hard.

I have so much to write about but am having trouble finding my voice...things are good, really good and I guess that makes me suspicious. I wonder if I ever won't feel that the quiet is really just a precursor to a storm? Will any of us?
Meanwhile I continue to stalk all of you and keep you all close in my heart. I hope this Thanksgiving finds you with the ones you love, fills you with all sorts of yummy niblits and of course, for those of you who are able, I hope there is liquor involved:), lots of it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Here he is....CASON PATRICK!!!! 7lbs 12oz, 20 inches--mom and baby doing GREAT!!!!

Fw: You had me at hello

Well, its a BOY! He was born @ 5:20 p.m. my time.
His name is Cason Patrick, 7lbs and 12oz and 20 inches long. He is absolutely beautiful with strawberry blonde hair and gorgeous pink skin.
I am drugged up but not so much that I can't tell you how completely over the moon in love I am. I just can not believe this. Ill try and post pix later but my sister may do it instead so stay tuned. And thank you so much for all of your support, it really made a difference in my heart.
I love you guys!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Words of encouragement from an 11 year old DB big brother...

"So baby tomorrow mom?", "I hope this one's not a dud, I hated that."


Bowie - Under Pressure - Live

I may be posting all night..


It's crazy here. People have been here all day. Well, not people, my parents. Trying to help. Hanging curtains, grocery shopping, cleaning, laundering, cooking, directing children..."where do you want this?" "Where does this go?" "What do you want me to do with this?" all trying so hard to help. People are calling, wishing us good luck, reminding us to call when we have news. Ring. Ring. Ring. It's chaos.

I want to crawl under my covers, wrap my arms around my belly and fade away.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I live in hell. Seriously. Here are some snaps I took from my house this afternoon. I don't know what kind of national coverage our wildfires get but it's all we are hearing about here today. The city where I live is surrounded by not one, not two, but three burning out of control fires being fueled by wind and unlimited supplies of dry brush. The temperature here is in the high 80's to 90's. The relative humidity is about 4% or 5%. It's what we call a lovely fall day here in SoCal. I hate it. I want to move. Today.
In the second shot you can see the smoke from one fire at the top of the pic and then the smoke from the other fire at the bottom of the shot, we are hoping that the two fires don't meet up. The air quality is horrendous. There is falling ash the size of pennies and then debris being blown around by our not so beloved Santa Ana winds. Perfect for a pregnant woman. Needless to say I am house bound. Painting trim and breathing those fumes is actually refreshing compared to being outside.
Already homes have been lost, the count will only go up.

What a wonderful place to bring a baby home to.


Friday, November 14, 2008


It's a bit unsettling, walking out of your doctors office after your last prenatal appointment. Knowing it was the last. I'm sure for them it's normal, "OK, see ya, good luck!" but not for me. It's the realization that you're on your own. They've done what they can now it's up to me and this baby to get through the next few days and show up at the hospital where my doctor will, hopefully, deliver a healthy baby into my arms.
Similar words were shared as I left the stress testing office. "Promise to bring the baby by after, o.k.?" they asked, while I thought in my head, "...if...". Out loud, "Sure thing." One of the most bold faced lies a db mom can make, right? "Sure thing." There's no such thing.

Even with all of the uncertainty, I still find myself feeling melancholy about nearing the end here. Before I entered this club being pregnant was one of the best times of my life. I've always had easy pregnancy's and I loved the transformation of my body and the feeling of a life stirring inside me. Amazing how carrying your dead child inside you and then delivering him can change that. The anxiety has taken much of that away, replacing it with anxiety over whether the kick I just felt would be the last or if I am feeling nothing at all spending anxious minutes or more desperate to provoke some movement to reassure me that there is still life within me. Now though, I am spending as much time as I can just sitting and watching my belly move. Feeling this life inside me, trying to burn the memory of it into my brain. Knowing I will never again feel anything like this. Knowing this is truly the end of my life as a pregnant woman. In the back of my mind I mull over the idea of it not being over. If I was younger, if...and then I realize, I will never feel like I have finished because I will always be one child short of where I should be. One child will always be missing and so this journey will never feel complete. Not even if I had 10 more kids. There is no way to fill the void left by a child's death. Anyone who ever says to a parent who has lost a child that by having another child you are somehow moving on and letting go has never held their dead baby or child in their arms, has never experienced the penetrating grief of burying a baby, has never had to live the life after, and will never understand that a life, any life, but especially a baby's life is not replaceable or interchangeable. The impact of a child's life is not measured in the length of days it lives and to believe otherwise shows only ignorance and callousness.
So here I sit, marveling in this little one as he or she moves inside me, seemingly unaware of all that has surrounded it's journey. I try to picture who it is that has occupied my body all these days, given me what would be considered an easy pregnancy by anyone who hasn't been where I've been. And yet it's been the hardest pregnancy I've ever had. I hope, along with all of the other things I hope for, that when this baby comes out, if everything goes right, I will be able to untangle this baby from all the strings and ties that are wrapped around it's very existence. But I wonder, will I ever really see this child and not think about Caleb.

It's a hefty burden from all sides. One I hope I am strong enough to carry for both of us. Which makes me realize, again, how grateful I am for all of the support I have received here. From those who have been here with me literally since my first post to those who we met along the way. We have all worked, worked like hell, to figure this all out. We get up and we go on and we fight on and sometimes we get knocked back down and still we keep fighting. Together. It is a woman's work, the fight to go on. And you all have shown me how to do it. Even when we don't know how, we at least have been able to look around and know that we are not fighting alone. Strength in numbers. Never has that made more sense to me than it has here. For all of you who have shown me the grace and fortitude of the will and strength of women, this one below, is for you.

Don't Give Up, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush.

Don't give up

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Signs revisited.

I'm at a loss for words. There is so much going through my head and yet I can't speak intelligently about any of it. We are mere days away from knowing how this will all turn out and I still can't picture that happy ending. I try to, I really do. But it just seems so unrealistic to me that I am reduced to tears almost immediately and have to change the subject in my head. Morbidly, it is actually easier for me to imagine how I will react to the bad ending, what I will do differently this time, how I will make decisions, what I want done for the baby. It's awful, really awful. Then, even when I can think about a live baby, there is something wrong with it. They missed Downs in the nuchal screen and 5 million ultra sounds I've had, or some other horrible, life altering disease or diagnosis that will be delivered to us along with our baby.
There is something in my head that has convinced me I don't deserve a healthy, alive baby. That I have been greedy and I should have stopped with the two beautiful children I have. Many months ago I wrote about "signs" and I pondered the notion that the universe was trying to tell me something with my miscarriage and then the f'ed D & C and then of course Caleb. I am back there now, wondering if I forged ahead, ignoring the warnings and on Monday, I will be handed a child who is so severely ill that our entire lives will be consumed by the care of this little one. And I will forever look back and say, I should have listened. I should have been happy with what we had. I deserved this because I was....I don't even know.
I'm not proud of what I have been thinking, but it is what it is. F'ed up. Kinda like me. I know it's too late to do anything and I should just let it go until I know, but it's hard. There is something about being a db mom that makes me, maybe others too, feel undeserving of anything good any more. I am always looking around the corner, waiting, knowing it is coming. Learning the hardest way that you can walk into a doctor's office a shiny, happy pregnant person and walk out an empty shell of the person you knew, never to be the same again. Never able to trust that anything good will come your way or that anything good ever lasts and isn't always topped off by a heaping dose of 'take that'.
Sometimes, if I am still and I feel the leprechaun moving, I just want to freeze the world and keep everything just as it is. Perfect for that moment.
I'm headed down another long dark tunnel, I don't know what is waiting for me at the other end anymore. But as I think I said before, I sure as hell hope that the light I see isn't a train headed straight for me.

How's that for a 100th post??

Monday, November 10, 2008

Caleb's Place

He needed his own place. We've been making room for the leprechaun, clearing out the room that would have been Caleb's, redoing the kids bathroom, moving computers and old school crafts, papers from years gone by, photos, lots of photos have been filed away into boxes (I have visions of one day actually getting them into albums but realistically speaking....yea, never) and even daring to move some new baby things into 'the room'. But with all of this chaos going on around here, there he sat. Where he has always been. Quietly resting on my dresser. The tiny truck placed on his urn by his big brother would occasionally slide off and need to be repositioned, but for the most part, he is quiet. As any dead baby always is, right?
Every time I walk by the dresser, now more cluttered with things that have yet to find a new home, littered with dust and socks without partners, I see his hand print, his footprint, his name engraved on the silver top of the urn with just one date underneath. That's all he got. One date. September 1, 2007. That's it. And the sadder thing for me when I see that date, is that while to others it marks the date he died, to me it doesn't. I know he died many days before, maybe even almost two weeks before. The doctors knew he died the day before. August 31. September 1, only speaks to the day he left my body and slipped right through this earth and all that was waiting for him and went on to some other place. Maybe on the other side of the rainbows. Maybe.

He deserved more than that. He deserves more than a cleared space on my desser. He is not an afterthought, or a single date. He is my son and he is gone from me forever. I do not know what he would have looked like had he lived, I can not close my eyes and see his shining eyes or hear his voice or even his cry. I know so little about this tiny boy who has forever changed me and I can give him nothing to make up for the life that was denied him.

But I want him to have a place that is just his. A place where it is his story that will be told. A place that says you were important, you mattered, you are loved.

Last night, your dad and I built you a place. It's right above my desk where I can see you when I am writing about you. That is when I feel closest to you. I don't know where you are or what happens to babies that die. I don't know if there is a place that keeps you safe and loved while you wait for your parents and family to come. I don't know if that place on the other side of the rainbow exists. I want to believe it does. I hope it does.

I put the candles we lit at our wedding on the top shelf with the card that holds a single hand and foot print, prints I took from you at the mortuary. The card has your nameplate, made by a good friend and the date. Your date. The candles are there because when we took the two candles and lit one together, you became a reality. We didn't know it then, but that promise we made gave life to you. So it seemed the right thing to have them there with you.

Your two urns, the one with your name and the one with the cherub, the truck from your brother and a red glass heart all share the lower shelf.

While we lit the candles at our wedding there was quiet music playing in the background by a string quartet. People commented to us that they recognized the songs melody but couldn't place it without the lyrics. They said the song had made them feel melancholy, almost sad but not quite. It was a familiar song that brought back feelings of days gone by. Of things that are lost but hopefully not gone forever. Of dreams and beliefs and magic.

We chose the song purposefully, for all of those reasons. And everytime I see the candles, sharing your space with you, I hear it in my head and I hope it's true.

I am putting it here for you Caleb, in your place, so you can hear it too.

the rainbow connection

For Caleb.

the rainbow connection

For Caleb.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

That day...

I had to go over to sign some checks. That's what she said anyway. As Pres.i.dent of an organization, my signature is required on all of our checks, makes sense to me. We just finished up a huge event and now the piper had come calling. The checks needed to be signed. I fit in a time in between my fetal monitoring, doctor appointment and running a million errands trying to put my house together before next week. When I got to her house, in a hurry and anxious to be moving along to my shopping, she opened the door and before I could finish saying hello, about 25 of my friends shouted "Surprise!" and about scared the living daylights out of me. They had thrown a baby shower for me. I never suspected a thing. This compounded by the fact that I still haven't wrapped my brain around the whole actually bringing a baby home idea, my head was spinning and the tears were flowing.
These women, many of whom were at my doorstep last year with food, flowers and comfort, had again reached out and said to me, we won't let you not enjoy this, at least not for today, not for this moment. Just for these few hours, you will be a mom to be who is allowed to hope, to dream, to believe, that in a few days, you will bring a healthy baby home to love. Just for now, put the fear down, release the worry and revel in this child who is here, now. Just for this instant, let us surround you with our faith and our love and our conviction that this baby and you will be okay.

These women, many whom have known tragedy in their own lives very recently, a son's death, a grandson's death, a father's death, a son in Iraq, a brutal divorce and yes, even a stillbirth (which preceded Caleb and was only told to me after he had died, in quiet confidence but with the telling came the beginnings of the realization that I could survive and live despite my belief to the contrary), bestowed upon me and this baby, new beginnings, tiny new sleepers, tiny new slippers, quilts made by hand, each stitch its own gift, hangings custom worded for the wall wishing a little one Sweet Dreams, a diaper bag stocked with all the necessities for travel, at the ready and crafted by the fingers of a grandmother to a little boy named Caleb, (who was in my daughter's class last year and who was the first child I had to work with, on my first day back to volunteer in her class, after losing my own Caleb, calling that little boys name out that day nearly broke me but I told myself if I ran out at that moment I would never be able to return and so I sat with him and worked on phonics while holding back tears and visualizing the za.nax that waited for me in my car) each gift a small reminder of the women who have stood beside me in the last year and who have quietly but ever so strongly said to me day after day, you can do this.

So for a few hours I let myself be the happy(well, mostly, it was hard) pregnant woman, opening gifts, eating cake, sharing stories of being pregnant, and detailing the nursery developments and painting escapades. My Caleb wasn't far from my mind that afternoon, all the things that were never to be for him and me, our story will always be one of sadness and loss. But that day was not about him anymore, it was about a new life, a new beginning, a new baby.

When I got home I brought it all inside. I didn't leave it out in the garage, hiding it away until certainty was upon us. Instead it all sits downstairs, cards lined up on the shelves, gifts in neat piles on the floor, waiting patiently for the room to be finished so that they can take their place and wait, like the rest of us, for a new baby to come.

Feeling a bit brave and a little feisty, I took the kids and the ever growing belly of mine and we decided to mark the moment. No matter what happens, I want to remember that day. I want to remember the day I lived my life like a shiny happy pregnant person....even if it was only that day.

So this is what we looked like, the leprechaun and I...that day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Many years ago I went with a bunch of friends to work the Ironman in Hawaii. No, for goodness sake I didn't compete in it, we volunteered to work the different stations/transitions in the race. First directing the swimmers out of the water and leading them to their bikes, then 'catching' their sweat and pee soaked bikes (yes, they really do pee right on their bikes while they ride, something I wasn't told until after I grabbed the first bike by the seat as the rider jumped off and made his way to the changing room, my coworker nicely said to me, "You might want to try for the bar, just in case...."yuck) and then finally waiting at the finish line, well into the late night hours, as each triathlete made their way across that coveted "FINISH" line. My job was to catch the runners as they crossed the line, handing them their towels and doing a quick but vital check of their state of awareness and consciousness, being trained by the docs to look for glossy eyes, incoherence and other indicators that the athlete was in trouble and in need of immediate medical assistance and interventions. The docs explained to us the power of the will of these athletes to finish the race, that they literally would at some point lose their mental faculties and go into an autopilot mode that would allow them to continue racing, well beyond what their bodies and minds could handle. They would stay in this state for as long as they needed to get to the finish line and then they would collapse. It was our job to spot those athletes and catch them before everything shut down and they were injured or worse.

In the early hours, they would jog across the finish as easily as if they had just finished a light workout, not a grueling, all day under the burning sun, triathlon. One guy even proposed to me, yes, I did think about calling for the medical team for him, knowing he was clearly delusional, but I let it slide....And then as the day wore on, the first athletes who showed the signs of trouble began to show. It was amazing to me, how strong they looked coming across the line, all the way up to the line even, good posture, measured stride, an outward appearance of total awareness of their surroundings. And then, as they crossed that line, when I would look into their eyes, I could see it, total vacancy. Nobody was home. And it was only a matter of seconds before everything would shut down. Sometimes they would even manage to utter a few words to me, seemingly able to converse, "I did it." and then I would feel their muscles go limp, their bodies literally collapsing on themselves, as I would yell for a medic and a stretcher.

The power of the human mind is an awesome thing. The ability to will oneself to a certain point. A finish line. To be able to mentally see a goal and then to, by sheer force of will, compel your body onward, even when every ounce of you has said no, it's too much to go on, it's stunning really. Because you do it, without even thinking about it. I wondered all those years ago if the athletes really ever knew when they had crossed over into that auto-pilot mode, if they felt themselves slipping and if so, what happened within them to coerce their mind into the takeover of the body. What was the difference between the ones who crossed the line and the ones who collapsed before they got there.
At some point I think, they must have stopped focusing on the steps they were taking, they just kept looking for that "FINISH", believing it must, surely be, just around the next curve in the road. Just keep moving everything the same way and somehow you'll get there. Don't stop, don't look back, don't think about anything else, just keep moving, just keep moving.
I never thought I'd ever see anything like that again, certainly never experience it myself. But I wonder, if I get to my "FINISH" line, will someone look into my eyes and see the vacancy, see that I am on auto-pilot, will someone be there to catch me when this is all over? Because even though I am no athlete, certainly no triathlete, I think I know now, why they call it the "Ironman".

Monday, November 3, 2008

the TWW

So as it began, it ends, with the two week wait. That's where I am now. Back in March when I started the official tww I got to kill some of the time hanging out with the lovely Ms. C., my first ever IRL meet with a db mom. We talked for hours as though we'd known each other for, well, ever. She got to drink cocktails and I had a Spr.ite. I told her I didn't think I was pg but that I wasn't willing to risk the guilt of a few stolen alcohol laced beverages if I actually was and then lost the pg later. As we sat there late into the evening talking all things db, I never thought for a moment that some nine months later I'd be nine months into a pregnancy. It never did. I remember thinking what a shame it would be when the next week I had to shop for more tampons and how pissed I'd be that I'd missed a great opportunity to throw some back with the perfect drinking partner for a db mom, another db mom.
I left C., that night feeling better than I had in months. Lighter and almost giddy from being able to sit and really let it all hang out, no pretending, no covering or protecting the listener form the gory details of having a dead baby. I left her that night feeling happy. That happiness and new found friendship carried me over the next days and every time I felt a cramp or some other symptom, real or imagined, that told me there would be no need for a pg test that month, I thought to myself, it'll be ok, I have company, I have a friend who knows and who will be there when I need that cocktail...cuz everyone knows I love my cocktails.
I ran all the scenarios through my head. How I would react, what I was going to do if the news was bad. If I was going to go to the doc and seek intervention, if the husband would even want to go that far. Every plan I made had to do with how I was going to react to the bad news. Preparing myself for the negative outcome, not the positive. Then came the day. March 17th. I peed on the stick and got the shock of a second line. The tww was over and a whole new, much longer wait had begun.
And now, I am right back there again. Sort of. TWW. I'm scheduled for two weeks from today. I find myself right back where I was mentally in those days of March. Preparing myself for every possible bad outcome. Every negative result. I can't for the life of me imagine the good outcome. When I try to , I am so overcome with sobs and tears I have to stop. It literally is easier for me to plan how I will react to a dead baby than it is to plan how to react to a live one. My family and friends are all helping to get things ready, shopping and painting and running errands for me and all I can think is we shouldn't be doing any of this until we know, for sure. I am trying to keep things actually brought into the house to a minimum, the less we have to take back out is what my mind says. We've made a list of names, which I told myself, either way we have to have names, so this isn't like actually planning for an actual live baby. Not really.
Even when I do imagine a real live baby, I am convinced there will be something horribly wrong and I will lose it anyway. Or we will be forever challenged with a lifetime of guilt caring for this ill child, because we wanted to have another baby when the universe was obviously against it and us.
And then in the moments when the crazy isn't smeared all over my brain and I am able to imagine this baby, unencumbered by the legacy that created it, I think how awful it is that this tiny creature has done nothing so far but grow and thrive and blossom within me and still it is shrouded in the tragedy that preceded it. I wonder, if it does make it out alive, will cutting the cord relieve it of the enormous burden that is it's past? Will I be able to separate this baby from the loss of Caleb and let it live a life free from his death? If I can get this baby to a safe place outside of me, will that release us, all three of us, from the ties that now hold us so closely together that I can't extricate any of us from each other?
The mind games are exhausting. The waiting, eternity. It's enough to make a girl crazier than she already is, trying to explain to people how, "No, you're not excited yet." People don't get it. How can you not be excited with only 2 weeks to go?????? Oh, I can tell you how, you just won't like the story. You'll think I'm crazy. And you'll be right.
Let the countdown begin...