Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's the most ?wonderful? time of the year...

I didn't send out holiday cards this year. Just didn't feel like it. Figured that the annual letter would be pretty much a downer - "hi, had a shitty year, my daughter died. Happy Holidays!" (stick a pencil in my eye) I figured that those that knew about Shannon would probably understand, those that didn't would figure that we didn't care about cards this year and everyone else could just piss off. When I told my mom that I wasn't sending out cards, she said, and I kid you not, "who died?" And I looked at her and said "excuse me?" And then she said, "Oh, Shannon, sorry." Seriously, I cannot make this stuff up.

This Christmas was much harder than I thought it would be. A lot of tears, which I didn't expect. Tears at random TV stuff, tears at stupid holiday specials, tears at dumb music... Instead of thoughts of sugar plums dancing in my head, I re-lived my time in the hospital the day Shannon was born. And I remembered every second of how sad I was. And I really, really missed her alot. Correction - I really, really miss her alot.

I accept that I'll never be over this. I accept that there is an empty place in my heart, and an empty spot in my home, where my little girl should have been. I know that I am not the only mom who knew that, no matter how nice I made this holiday season for my living child, there was a member of our family missing. I didn't buy a special ornament, I'm still considering buying one when I go out today, maybe.

Even after the Thankgiving baby hit and run, my sister has gone incommunicado again, and my parents haven't mentioned a thing about her to me. Other than the holiday card deadbaby gaffe by my mom, there was no mention of Shannon by anyone in my family or my husband's family. It's all very surreal. It's like I spent my entire year down the rabbithole, and no-one even noticed that I was gone.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

10 months

Well, I guess 10 months and a few days, since Shannon died. It's been a weird year. We (I) decided that we were not going to send holiday cards this year, because the thought of writing a holiday letter that is about how much everything sucks after your baby dies seemed to be a bit of a holiday downer. So, I'd rather be a grinch. Because, no matter what, when you have a living child, you can't pretend that there are no holidays. You get excited for them, because, in some ways, your life has moved on in those 10 months since your life turned upside down. And, my life has moved on in many ways.

Except for the fact that I still miss Shannon every day, and wish that there was a different reality where none of this happened and that there was a little girl staring up at our tree, alongside her brother this year.

Shannon - we miss and love you lots. The butterflies are away for the winter, but they'll be back soon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The lost tribe of Thanksgiving

Last Thanksgiving, I shared with my family the happy news that Shannon was on her way. Well, we all know how that turned out. So, I was particularly worried about going home this Thanksgiving, because it was like returning to the scene of a crime, except that all of the bodies were missing. And it was particularly weird because I was supposed to see my sister, who I hadn't heard from since Shannon died. (there's an earlier blog post about this, but I am too lazy to link right now - I'll do it later). She never called, never wrote, nothing... Then, about a week before Thanksgiving, I get a "sorry I was a thoughtless shit" e-mail apology from her. Ok......

So, what do you do with that? After 9 months, I am supposed to respond with something. So, following the advice of people much more sage than I, I responded with a vanilla "thanks for letting me know. See you next week." What else could I possibly say? After 9 months, I don't think that anyone is entitled to show up when I am doing better and expect me to go back to those deep, dark early days after my loss and revisit my pain for (or with) them because they were too thoughtless to have been there when those dark days were all too real. So, the public face is that I am fine, everything is fine, yes, how sad, Shannon died, yes, it sucks... No, nothing is new with me. Quite a complicated public face, I must say.

But, the true bottom line showed itself at the very end of the day, when goodbyes were being said for my sister's long trip back to the far away place from whence they came. The bombshell, the coup de grace, the true turkey of Thanksgiving and the justification for my belief that I really was hatched from a different family and placed with this one as a joke - my sister is pregnant. Yep, when they were basically walking out the door, this little nugget of *information* was pitched onto my plate. No eye contact, no cushioning, no prefatory language - just there you go. My overbalanced, tenuously stacked, complicated public face had to absorb that one too. And everyone in the house knew it except for me and my husband. Yep, guess the joke was on us. I guess that if I had been wearing anything other than my "everything is fine" poker face, they wouldn't have told me at all. (maybe I would get another e-mail) I get the impression that they waited until the end of the day so they wouldn't have to witness what they assumed would be my super-spectacular nuclear meltdown or blowup, depending on which side of the wall you live on.

No one should ever wonder why parents who have lost a child feel like they don't belong anywhere.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

How do you measure a year?

One year ago, just a few days ago, I found out that I was pregnant with Shannon. Never did I think that one year later, I'd be sitting here still mourning her death. A lot can happen in a year. For most people, it seems that they don't get to spend their time wondering what could have been... But, I guess that I am not like most people.

This week, while America was voting in change, babies were born, some lived, some did not. Someone who I have come to consider a friend, even though we've never met, suffered a terrible loss. And my sadness for her is deep, because it reminds me of the fragility of life and reminds me that we should never take things for granted. I marvel at people who, in the face of unspeakable tragedy, maintain a perspective that I just don't have. Even now, a year after seeing that second line, 9 months after losing my little girl, I don't have that perspective. I don't suppose that I ever will.

How do you measure a year - boxes and boxes of tissues, the gain and loss of friends, the fact that I am still here, a year later, still wondering what the hell happened to me and my life... Some things will never change.

Friday, October 24, 2008

More than a river in Egypt

This has been a divisive year. First, losing Shannon, which has sucked beyond suck. Then, dealing with the aftermath of losing Shannon, which includes my inability to successfully get pregnant (still). Then, dealing with some less than supportive siblings, parents and friends, who don't know quite what to do or say, so they kinda just want me to get over it or hope that I have (they don't know if I have because they don't ask.)

It's also a divisive election year so, like anyone else who is trying to distract themselves from being a grieving mom, I've been engaging myself in other things, like election debate and discussion. It's interesting, fun and educational (and a great distraction)

Until yesterday. Yesterday, someone pissed me off. Big time. And it wasn't really about an election issue, per se. And I want to get it off my chest because it really bothered me, as the mom of a deadbaby.

A pregnant person yesterday pitched a fit over someone posting a photo of their stillborn son on an internet discussion board. She said that it was going to give her nightmares and that it ruined the rest of her pregnancy. And told the mom that photos like that don't belong.

Wow. Just wow. So, to her, oblivious pregnant woman, I say SUCK IT. And get over it. And a great big fuck you. Who are you to tell any mom that their photos of their child, living or dead, do not meet your standards of what is acceptable. I don't care that you want to go through your pregnancy pretending that people like us don't exist and that bad things don't happen. Lalala, better get your fingers out of your ears before you cross the street. We do exist and there are an awful lot of us, and what you said was stupid, hurtful and showed your ignorance of reality. Not every pregnancy boils down to 9 months = baby. Get over yourself.

You are not better than anyone else. And just because you don't want to think about the unthinkable, guess what, it's our life. We are living your nightmare every day. And we hope and wish every day that you don't ever know our pain or what it is like to not get to bring our babies home alive.

Don't demean us by acting like we are supposed to pretend that we and our children don't exist. Because that only pisses us off. And you made my friend cry, which really pisses me off. We are allowed to publicly post our birth announcements, we are allowed to show pictures of our children, we are allowed to call ourselves moms. And if you don't like it, well you can kiss my fat ass.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

days of atonement

So, yesterday was really the 8 month mark of losing Shannon and today is the 8 month mark of when she was born, but I was crazy at work yesterday defending my client against an asshat, and I was so tired when I got home that I was ready to puke, so reflecting on my loss didn't make the cut. How do I feel after 8 months? I am fucking frustrated that I am not pregnant yet. Let's start with that because never in my life has it taken me 8 months to get pregnant. I am totally frustrated that I conceived Shannon a year ago this month and I still have jack shit to show for any of my reproductive efforts. And, I am probably about to get my period tomorrow or friday, which will just let my raging bitch continue her tirade. And the march towards 40 with no baby continues on.

I am at the point now where I have to donate all the formula samples I got because they expire in June 2009 and I won't have a baby by then, even if I find out I am pregnant today (which I am not). So, then I will have empty cupboards to go with the empty uterus and the empty heart. And man does that suck.

And I still miss Shannon immensely. I close my eyes and I can see her as clearly as I did in February, wrapped in her blanket, all small and dead. And it seems like no time has passed as I can still cry just over the thought. And I wonder if I will ever be *better* when so many parts of my brain and my heart can't let go. And I wonder if I am meant to let this go, or if this is how I am supposed to live the rest of my life - avoiding pregnant people and baby showers and christenings and going to work on the weekends so I don't have to go to the playdate at the house with the new baby.

And I am tired because this is the person I have become. I am not being full of grace about my situation. I am angry, sad and pissed off. This journey sucks. SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS. I am not a shining beacon of patience and light. I fucking don't want to be me or to be living this sad, apparently barren life. I have nothing much to say. I don't care if people think that I should be acting some other way or that people who are less twisted about their situation are somehow better than me. I don't believe in any of this anymore. I don't think that I believe that I will ever get pregnant or have another child any more. I am glad that I don't believe in god, because I don't need more disappointment in believing that some sort of higher power knows all of this crap is going on and keeps my beautiful friends from having the babies they deserve so much. And I don't know why that is right.

And I apologize for ignoring my blog for a few weeks at a time lately. And I don't want to remember that I am old and tired and wanting so badly to have the one thing that is just not there - my child.

In Judaism, today is a day of soul-searching and repentance. I am pretty sure my soul escaped out of one of the cracks in my heart, so if anyone finds it, please mail it back.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

stepping on my soapbox to create a better world for my children - born and hopefully to come

Ensler, the American playwright, performer, feminist and activist best known for "The Vagina Monologues", wrote the following about Sarah Palin.

Drill, Drill, Drill

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists. But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story - - - connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war. I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke.

In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity. Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin's view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, "It was a task from God."

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not. She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes. Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States . She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air. Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S. , but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, "Drill Drill Drill." I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain. Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?

Eve Ensler September 5, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Seven months

Yesterday, one of the deadbaby moms said to me that I need to come visit her after her baby is born, but that she would totally understand if I couldn't do it. And that was nice. Because there are so very few people who realize that time doesn't always make it better, and that watching other people move forward with their lives while you are still swirling around the drain in yours might not always be the best thing. But what I realize that is feeling bad is subjective and discretionary - more specifically, there are some people (and their babies) that I know that I will be ok with, and some that I know that I won't. It's not rational, it's entirely a gut feeling, but it's the best that I've got. And I know that I would be ok with her. Other people, not so much. Oh well.

I found out that Shannon died 7 months ago, today. This day has been floating in my head all week, but it has been (and continues to be) pretty distant and abstract. Like I am not entirely sure how I should feel, so I just sort of feel tired about it all. I miss my baby all the time, but it's farther away now, I still remember her face, and my time with her, but it seems like it was a lifetime ago. Maybe it was.

Shannon - mommy misses you. It's wrong that you are gone and I am sad every day without you.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I lifted this from someone who lifted it from somewhere else...

So, what do you think people would say to you if you were paraplegic instead of infertile?
(author unknown)

1. As soon as you buy a wheelchair, I bet you'll be able to walk again!
2. You can't use your legs? Boy, I wish I was paralyzed. I get so tired of walking, and if I were paralyzed I wouldn't have to walk anywhere!
3. My cousin was paralyzed but she started shaving her legs in the other direction and she could walk again. You should try that.
4. I guess God just didn't mean for you to be able to walk.
5. Oh, I know exactly how you feel, because I have an ingrown toenail.
6. Sorry, we don't cover treatment for paraplegia, because it's not a life-threatening illness.
7. So... when are *you* going to start walking?
8. Oh, I have just the opposite problem. I have to walk walk walk - everywhere I go!
9. But don't you *want* to walk?
10. You're just trying too hard. Relax and you'll be able to walk.
11. You're so lucky... think of the money you save on shoes.
12. I don't know why you're being so selfish. You should at least be happy that *I* can walk.
13. I hope you don't try those anti-paralysis drugs. They sometimes make people run too fast and they get hurt.
14. Look at those people hiking... doesn't that make you want to hike?
15. Just relax, you'll be walking in no time.
16. Oh do my legs hurt, I was walking and walking and going up and down the stairs all day.
17. I broke my leg skiing, and was on crutches for weeks, and was worried I'd have a permanent limp, but I'm 100% healed.
18. I'd ask you to be in my wedding party but the wheelchair will look out of place at the altar.
19. You're being selfish, not coming on the hike with us, and looking at all of my track & field trophies.
20. Don't complain, you get all the good parking places.
21. If you just lose weight your legs will work again.
22. If you would just have more sex, you could walk!
23. You don't know how to walk? What's wrong with you? Here let a real man show you how to walk!
24. You are just trying too hard to walk. Give up, and then you'll walk.
25. Here, touch my legs, then you'll walk!
26. Just take a vacation, and the stress-break will be sure to get you walking!
27. When *we* were young we only had to worry about having to walk too much.
28. And I bet a paraplegic going to a bookstore doesn't find books about paralysis stacked next to all the books on running...

So here's a little hint. If someone you know tells you that she's trying to get pregnant and it's taking longer than expected, DON'T tell her to just relax. Don't tell her to adopt and then surely she'll get pregnant with her own child. Don't tell her that God has a plan for her. Don't say, "At least it's fun trying!" Scheduling sex with the person you love isn't fun. Getting vaginal ultrasounds every other day and intramuscular injections in your rear twice a day isn't fun. Finding out every single month that - yet again - it didn't work this month either is Just. Not. Fun.

DO tell her that you're sorry she's going through such pain/grief/frustration. Do tell her that you're glad she told you. Do tell her that, even if you don't bring it up (because you want to respect her privacy and understand that she might not feel like talking about it sometimes), that you're there for her if she ever wants to talk or vent.

And DON'T feel that because she told you that it's okay for you to tell your other friends, children, co-workers, neighbors, cousins, mailman, whomever - unless she tells you that it's okay to do so. Your need to share news pales in comparison to her need to maintain a shred of privacy and dignity.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

toppings are extra

When people ask me how many children I have, I pause. Part of me really wants to say how many I have been pregnant with (five), but then I think about it some more and I always say one. When people ask me if my son is my only child, again, I have to pause. Because he isn't. He is now one of five, the oldest of five, the one who got to live. Whether by luck or happenstance or the cosmic meanie missed one, I don't know. But he is all I've got. Up until this past week, he was one of four. But then, last week, I found out I was pregnant again, but this one didn't even make it through the weekend. So, is it a loss? Does it count as another deadbaby on the ever growing list? I guess it does (to me). How many cells does it take to make it a "real baby." What is the difference between a late period and an early miscarriage. Is there really a difference? Physically, I can say for me the answer is yes. I never had a "natural" miscarriage (not that there is anything natural about losing a child.) My early losses ended in D&C's because my body stubbornly refused to accept that it wasn't pregnant anymore and stubbornly hung onto whatever it had. This time, my body did it on its own. And it was different. It was slightly numbed by the amount of beer that I decided to drink (since I wasn't pregnant any more) and the fact that I was so glad that I wouldn't have to go back to the doctor begging for something to make my body give up its pregnancy, but the inescapable fact was that both my husband and I were markedly saddened by yet another loss. Just a few days before, we were stunned to find out that we had managed to create a baby at all, given all the crappy fertility news that we'd been given lately. We barely had a chance to revel in being pregnant before we weren't anymore. No one knew. The food from our traditionally yummy pizza, yay we're pregnant again dinner had barely digested before I wasn't pregnant anymore. It's amazing how quickly things change. Yet, in the end, because all I want is to have a healthy baby, and because it remains out of my reach, everything stays the same.

If I'd have known how it would have turned out, I would have had the prosciutto pizza. And I didn't even cry.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The longest year ever

One year ago, I was embarking, for the second time, on trying to conceive after a first trimester loss. I had spent July and August 2007 as a human science experiment, having every test in the universe run on me to try to figure out why my babies kept on dying. In the end, there really wasn't anything wrong that they could find, just a few little things that probably didn't amount to much. Along the way, I got a lot of pity and a lot of bad pity advice. Let me tell you, for the record, that having a child before your losses is actually not a good thing. No, it doesn't make the losses easier to take, and no, it doesn't prove out the theory of "well, at least you know you can have kids" No, what it means is that I know that I can have one kid, the one that didn't die, but that doesn't mean that I possess the ability to have any more. Fertility problems after a loss, secondary infertility, whatever you want to call it, just freakin' the inability to get (or stay) pregnant just sucks. And it is very lonely, because no matter how many people are trying to get pregnant right along with you, your personal hell is yours alone. And, as time marches on, you get more and more alone. All the friendship and support in the world doesn't take the place of that healthy child that you want so much.

It doesn't matter how you try to sugar coat it, the bottom line is that Shannon should be 6 weeks old now, not dead 6 months. I should be worried about taking her into the sun, not getting mad because her urn got moved. If Shannon hadn't died, I would't be mortified of seeing all of the new babies born to our friends in the past few weeks. Oh, and the fact that they were mostly girls doesn't help. Moving backwards, if I hadn't had my first loss in Feb. 2007, I'd be preparing for a first birthday party now. If I hadn't had my second loss in June 2007, I probably wouldn't have been crying over a child who was about 8 months old in the doctor's office the other week. Because I wouldn't have found it sad to see a baby the same age as my second dead baby.

It's a pretty fucked up bunch of milestones that you get to measure time by when your whole life has become about loss. And it doesn't go away. I, and mom's like me, do the math reflexively. We always know how old our child would have been. We can guess by looking at other babies what ours might have been like. And when we hear pregnant women and new moms complain, we wish our diamond shoes were tight too.

So, I'm off to ride roller coasters with my child. At least, unlike the roller coaster I've been on for the past 20 months, I like these roller coasters.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mindless memes (part deux)

I got this from who got it from another blogger.

The things I have done are in bold.

Bought everyone in the bar a drink
Swam with wild dolphin
Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
Been inside the Great Pyramid
Held a tarantula
Taken a candle lit bath
Said I love you and meant it
Hugged a Tree
Bungee jumped
Visited Paris
Watched a lightning storm at sea
Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
Seen the Northern Lights
Gone to a huge sports game
Walked the stairs to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Grown and eaten your own vegetables
Touched an iceberg
Slept under the stars
Changed a baby’s diaper
Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
Watched a meteor shower
Gotten drunk on champagne
Given more than you can afford to charity
Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
Had a food fight
Bet on a winning horse
Asked out a stranger
Had a snowball fight
Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
Held a lamb
Seen a total eclipse
Ridden a rollercoaster
Hit a home run
Danced like a fool, not caring who watched
Adopted an accent for an entire day
Actually felt happy about your life, even for a moment
Had two hard drives for your computer
Visited all 50 states
Taken care of someone who was too drunk
Had amazing Friends
Danced with a Stranger in a foreign country
Watched wild whales
Stolen a sign
Hitchhiked in Europe
Taken a road-trip
Gone rock climbing
Midnight walk on the beach
Gone sky diving
Visited Ireland
Been heartbroken longer than you were in love
In a restaurant sat at a stranger’s table and ate with them
Visited Japan
Milked a cow
Alphabetized your CDs
Pretended to be a superhero
Sung karaoke
Lounged around in bed all day
Posed nude in front of strangers
Gone scuba diving
Kissed in the rain
Played in the mud
Played in the rain
Gone to a drive-in theater
Visited the Great Wall of China
Started a business
Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
Toured ancient sites
Taken a martial arts class
Played a computer game for more than 6 hours straight
Gotten married
Been in a movie (one of 10 million extras in Major League 2)
Crashed a party
Gotten divorced
Gone without food for 5 days
Made cookies from scratch
Won first prize in a costume contest
Ridden a gondola in Venice
Gotten a tattoo
Rafted the Snake River
Been on television news program as an “expert”
Got flowers for no reason
Performed on a stage
Been to Las Vegas
Recorded Music
Eaten shark
Had a one-night stand
Gone to Thailand
Bought a house
Been in a combat zone
Buried one/both of your parents
Been on a cruise ship
Spoken more than one language fluently
Performed in Rocky Horror
Raised Children
Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
Picked up and moved to another city
Walked on the Golden Gate Bridge
Sang loudly in the car and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
Had plastic surgery
Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have
Wrote articles for a large publication (well, one anyway)
Lost over 100 lbs
Held someone while they were having a flashback
Piloted an airplane
Petted a stingray
Broken someone’s heart
Helped an animal give birth
Won money on a TV game show
Broken a bone
Gone on an African safari
Had a body part below the neck pierced
Fired a rifle, shotgun or pistol
Eaten mushrooms gathered in the wild
Ridden a horse
Had major surgery
Had a snake as a pet
Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
Slept for more than 30 hours over 48 consecutive hours
Visited more foreign countries than US States
Visited all 7 continents
Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
Eaten Kangaroo meat
Eaten sushi
Had your picture in the paper
Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
Gone back to school
Petted a cockroach
Eaten fried green tomatoes
Read the Illiad
Selected one important author who you missed school to read
Killed and prepared an animal for eating
Skipped all of your school reunions
Communicated with someone without sharing a common language
Been elected to public office
Written your own computer language
Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream (and nightmares too lately)
Had to put someone you love in hospice care
Build your own PC from parts
Sold your own artwork to someone that didn’t know it was yours
Had a booth in a street fair
Dyed your hair
Been a DJ
Shaved your head
Caused a car accident
Saved someone’s life

Et vous?

Six months is a long time

I still miss her. Every day. I got irrationally mad this past Friday because the cleaning lady moved Shannon's urn. They don't ever even dust my dresser, so why in the world would they have reason to move her? Super annoying.

Then, last week, exactly six months to the day that we found out that she was dead and I went to the hospital to deliver her, I get a call from the hospital where Shannon was born. Seems that they were doing some housekeeping and found all of the photos of her that they took. The ones that they told me were lost forever because they never got them because the camera wasn't working that day. Yea, guess they were wrong. So, they asked me if I wanted them. Hello? What do you think? Of course I want them. But, of course, I started getting upset and told them that there was no way in hell that I was going to go to L&D to get them. So, the nurse offered to bring them down to the parking lot for me. I can't go back there. I've been there 3 times in the past 2 years and I have no babies to show for it. Pathetic. If I hadn't had my son there, I'd probably believe that the building was cursed. But I can say now, six months later, that should I ever get pregnant again (please), I never want to go to that hospital again.

I never knew that just pulling into a hospital parking lot could make me sadder than I was. (who knew that the hospital would find that one last band-aid and yank it off?) (who am I kidding to think that was the last band aid?) But sure enough, there I was, holding an envelope full of photos and crying. And these weren't very good photos. Unlike living babies (correction - most living babies, some are just fug), dead ones don't get prettier as time wears on. Shannon will always be beautiful to me, but just the same, I recognize that, like my grief, there are some things that I will always keep for myself. Like my pictures of my beautiful baby from the hospital. But thanks just the same for the note cards with the matching envelopes.

I guess that's it. There are likely few traces of Shannon in the outside world, only in my heart and in the hearts of her dad and brother. No more photos to find, no more bills to fight over. But my heart still hurts. Every day. I guess six months is not really a long time after all.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

reading meme's

The National Endowment for the Arts has an initiative they are calling the big read. The website states its purpose is to "restore reading to the center of American culture."The premise of this little exercise is that the National Endowment for the Arts apparently believes that the average American has only read 6 books from the list below.

what to do:

1. Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2. Italicize those you intend to read.
3. Underline (or mark in a different color) the books you LOVE
4. Reprint this list in your blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 or less and force books upon them

the list

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Bible
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch - George Eliot
Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
Bleak House - Charles Dickens
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (I've tried and tried...)
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (I tried to read this, couldn't finish it)
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
Emma - Jane Austen
Persuasion - Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
Animal Farm - George Orwell
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Atonement - Ian McEwan
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Dune - Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
On The Road - Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick - Herman Melville (in HS, we cut a deal to watch the movie instead - does that count?)
Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
Dracula - Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
Ulysses - James Joyce
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
Germinal - Emile Zola
Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession - AS Byatt
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web - EB White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
Watership Down - Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet - William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

So, I've read 33/100. Not too bad. I am like 5 1/2 average people, or just one lonely geek who read a lot in high school. I have to say, looking at this list, that the nuns at the academy must have known something, because they made me read a lot of this stuff. I am kind of surprised that Gulliver's Travel's isn't on the list, but again, keep in mind that I am a geek.

Monday, July 21, 2008

to every thing...

I feel like I've been in a creative slump for the past week or so. It's not a bad thing entirely, because I feel like the passing of Shannon's due date has signaled some sort of shift in the cosmic process. I miss her terribly and I always will, but my life, my life has finally started to move somewhat (maybe) It's hard to explain, but I feel like I am done with a lot of stuff. (more mental garage sales) It's like I have started the shift to a second purge, and this time the purge includes some of the things that I clung to in those sad, dark, dark first days. I can't say that things are getting brighter, but things are certainly an acceptable level of blah. Am I still depressed? Yep. Do I still have no interest in participating in a lot of life? Yep. Am I still bitter? Yep. But, at the same time, I am better.

It is a more solitary life that I crave now. And it's not a worsening depression kind of wanting to be alone, but a need of wanting to be normal again kind of alone. It's hard when you feel like your life is on display. And I am not really sad that some of the people that I considered indispensible are, in reality, not. Not all of them, but some of them have moved on, and I too, now need to move on. I am not Feb. 6 anymore. I am post-February 7. And that is a whole different universe and not a lot of people are making the jump with me.

I have no idea where I am going with this. But my son is benefitting from having a mom who is trying harder to be present for him and trying to let him be a kid again, as opposed to being a sponge for mom's sadness. And he is the only kid I have on this planet, and he may be the only one at the rate this is going, so I should probably try to make sure that he is not entirely screwed up before he starts kindergarten. I've got plenty of years to screw him up. Rome wasn't built in a day...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Six by one

1 How would you describe your relationship to fear before and after the loss of your baby?

before - I was afraid of stupid, trivial things. I was the horror movie, zombies rising up kind of fear person. Then - fear was just some part of living. After - Fear is reality. I don't need horror movie fear anymore. I have my life. Now, fear exists with me everyday in my personal life and creeps out of the corners when I am most vulnerable. Its shadows change the color of my life.

2 Is your lost baby/are your babies present in your life? In what way?

Shannon is more present than my early losses. I carry her photos everywhere I go. I carry her in my heart everywhere I go. I see her in every butterfly that passes by me. I see her in my son's profile when he is sleeping. She is my reason for being in this blog world.

3 Tell us about something said or done after your loss that left you feeling nurtured or supported.

One of my dear friends sent me a charm with a july birthstone, to commemorate when we were supposed to meet Shannon. People have reached out to me, through my blog and in real life, to help me feel less alone. Someone said "What happened to you sucks and I am sorry." (that's all I've ever wanted to hear)

4 Tell us about something said or done after your loss that left you feeling marginalized or misunderstood.

The world moved on... the people who said nothing hurt me, but the one's who think it's ok to send me photos of their newborn babies when they weren't there for me when I lost Shannon just really piss me off.

5 What's taken you a long time to do again? How did it feel, if you have?

I have a hard time thinking that 5 months is a long time. I've only started to react less with anger at the drop of a hat from feeling like society marginalizes my feelings as a deadbaby mom to some sort of resigned bemusement that the world is as stupid as it ever was, and that it mostly isn't directed personally at me. There's some relief in this mindset, but I still think that stupid is not really an excuse. And forgiveness still isn't an option.

6 How would you describe yourself as a partner before, and after?

Before - I would have considered myself pretty selfish. We have always had an excellent partnership because it was based on the full disclosure that I was the way I was and wasn't likely to change, which in my mind allowed me to put in as much (or as little effort) as I felt like as far as household responsibilities go. Now - our ways of dealing with grief are different, and it is easier to accidentially hurt him because he doesn't express his hurt like I do. I am more present in our relationship, in part, because it takes more effort to be present through my sadness. I am more honest. I am more brittle but, at the same time, our loss has brought us closer together and we are stronger for that.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Happy birthday butterflies

What mom thinks that she will spend what should *would* *might* have been their baby's birthday writing about how much she misses her baby? In my new world, probably more than I'd ever have guessed. And as I look out my office window at our beautiful flower garden, I cry for the first time today - made it to after 6 pm. Not too shabby. (I guess) It was lighting the candle that did it. Stupid fucking candle. Doesn't make me miss Shannon any less. Just made me cry.

A few months ago, I embarked on a selfish task. I decided that my son would ask for a butterfly habitat for his birthday because I wanted butterflies. Shannon's dad and I felt an affinity to butterflies after losing Shannon. Don't know why, it was just something we both felt, separately and together. So, someone actually bought the habitat (we actually got 2). And we diligently sent away for the caterpillars and did all the stuff that we were supposed to do and waited for them to be butterflies.

We went away yesterday, because I didn't want to be at work because I just didn't want to be there on the day before Shannon's birthday and I should be on maternity leave and I just didn't want to be there. We went to an amusement park, and we had fun. Because pregnant people can't ride roller coasters. And even if my brother-in-law thought it was appropriate to tell us about his friend's colicky new daughter. Whatever...

So, when we got back today, we found butterflies. All of them (5) hatched. All of them were alive. I guess it's nice to know that something was born alive on the day that I would *might* have been enjoying mediocre grilled cheese sandwiches at the hospital and marveling at my beautiful daughter, who would have looked an awful lot like Sean, because she did in February, when she showed up way too early and not in the least bit alive. I'd like to believe that Shannon sent me some butterflies today, becaused I'd like to believe that she's the kind of girl that would send a sad mommy something to remember her baby girl.

Shannon - happy due date. I wish you were here with me and daddy and Sean. We miss you every day. And we love you. Mommy sends you hugs and kisses on butterfly wings. With all my heart...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Grief across the lines

These letters appeared in the Washington Post, in Carolyn Hax's column, back in March, shortly after Shannon died. The first deals with the grief of a family, following the death of a family member, and the sheer exhaustion that results from the well-meaning 'intrusions' of friends and family, into someone's suffering and dying and the family's grief. It resonated with me because the process, and the feelings, don't seem so different than what a family that has lost a baby goes through. Of course, the situation is different because Shannon didn't have a circle of friends that went through the dying process with her, but the exhaustion and the grief felt by the family that was left to forever carry her loss with them while the rest of the world moved on, still is....

The second deals with someone who was diagnosed with cancer and was dealing with the fact that none of his/her friends wanted to address the simple reality that they might die and that there were things that the friends could do to help the sick person in dealing with that eventuality. Avoidance of other people's grief and need is wrong. It is also all too common. The family of a deadbaby deals with a lot of the same denial and outright avoidance from their friends. At the time of Shannon's loss, I was feeling it quite acutely. I still feel it today, but it is a lower level hurt, like that white noise hum, it's always there, but I don't always notice it.

¿ On the other victims of terminal illness, the caregivers:

My mother died last year from cancer. Most people refused to believe she was dying. My mother knew a lot of people and had many friends and admirers. Of course, they all cared about her and wanted to be supportive and see her. My dad and I bent over backward trying to accommodate everyone. We were trying to do the "right" thing. If I had it to do again, my father and I agree that we would limit if not outright bar visits in those last few months.

While people's intentions are good, they need to recognize that sometimes their presence is more of a burden or outright detriment to the ill person's well-being. My mother had to summon extra energy to appear "well" and reassure people.

My mother's best, best, best friend is a wonderful woman whom I still respect and adore. However, she practically demanded access and if we tried to politely sidestep, she would just show up at our house at 10 p.m. trying to "catch" my mother. She would then stay while being completely oblivious to my mother's fatigue. Our friend was scared and wanted to be present. We understood that. Truthfully, though, she was also being selfish. She needed the comfort of seeing my mother, but that's not what my mother needed.

As politely as he could, my father finally had to tell my mother's best friend and her husband that my mother really needed more rest time. Her best friend had her nose completely out of joint because of this. The husband, however, understood and intervened on our behalf.

Intrusiveness is also hard on the caregivers. My dad and I basically ended up entertaining. We would be up all night taking care of diarrhea accidents, medications, trying to keep my mother calm during paranoid moments, then turn around and have to spend the daytime being social coordinators. Would visitors feel included and comfortable being there for incontinence or screaming/crying delusions, too? People want to pick their moments and that's not fair.

Sometimes it's simply not appropriate and oftentimes those inappropriate periods can go on for quite a while. As a patient, would you want everyone seeing you at your "worst" and feeling judged and gossiped about? We knew we'd be the bad guys if we restricted access more.

Knowing that, I'd still absolutely do it if I had the chance again. If nothing else, I didn't really get much time with my mother those last few months. There was always someone in the house and I didn't have the opportunity just to sit with her and talk. I so regret that.

The truth is that all of those people have gone on with their lives. As much as they cared and loved her, they don't live with her death day in and day out like I do. We were her family and we feel it at every holiday, every milestone, and during every daily, mundane activity, like eating dinner without her. They don't.

and, another one.....

Dear Carolyn:

I was recently diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and have been dutifully if miserably going through treatment. The prognosis? Who knows. The whole "every day is a gift" thing has somewhat cruelly -- and somewhat wonderfully -- become a daily, waking thought. How do I get the people in my life to confess out loud that this could, and in all likelihood will, kill me? Everyone around me is insistent on being optimistic and denying the truth that this disease kills people every day, and I could be one of them. I try to talk to them about what will happen to my things, and what their plans are when and if I die of this, just as if I were hit by a bus, but they stick their heads in the sand and refuse to have the conversation with me. Carolyn, I could die from this. I will die someday. These are both factual statements. So why will no one discuss it with me? -- V.

I am sorry. I am sorry about the cancer and the miserable treatments and, in the spirit of your question, I am even more sorry that your well-meaning but cowardly intimates have left you no choice but to suffer alone.

Your question is, why? And my answer is, I don't know. I can guess, though: You live in a society that can't get enough of fictional death, but prefers the real thing to be pat, antiseptic and (this is key) offstage. The difference may be as simple as the ability to click "off" when the emotions start feeling too real. The only thing we have to fear, apparently, is awkwardness itself.

You probably can't call people cowards as easily as I can -- you want openness about your impending demise, after all, not enthusiasm. However, I do think you want to use almost that level of bluntness to get your point across. As your "somewhat wonderfully" observation suggests, you have clarity, urgency and courage on your side here.

Gather these up, then recruit two more allies: specificity and selectivity. Narrow down exactly what you need, zero in on the person who represents your best shot at a straight answer, then ask. For example: "I will need someone to distribute my things. Will you please help me?" And when you get the oh-it-won't-come-to-that answer: "Yes, it will, and you will die someday, too, and I feel better talking about it than avoiding it. Will you please help me?"

And when heads start hitting the sand: "Can you explain why you won't help me?" Clearly this is pressing someone well beyond the point where, under normal conditions, I advise backing off; you can't "get" anyone to confess, or even pretend, anything. But these aren't normal conditions, and your needs warrant extreme measures to flush loved ones out of hiding -- as a favor to them, I could argue. Target the overlap between people you trust, and people who have said to you, "If there's anything I can do . . ." Collect on these offers, and tell people you're doing it.

Ideally, it wouldn't come to this, I know. Ideally, people wouldn't try to escape life's inescapable fact. But, ideally, you wouldn't be sick. I am so sorry you are. As you've been with cancer, be with people: unflinchingly matter-of-fact.

Beautiful people

'The most beautiful people we have known are those who known defeat, know suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way of the depths. These persons have an appreciation , a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not happen.'

-As I sit here, months out from my loss, and days away from what would have been my baby girl's birthday, I can't help but think about the people who I have met on this journey. The collective wisdom of the world of deadbaby moms has provided me with strength, support and a lot more tears that I thought possible. Before I lost Shannon, I would see the posts by these people on the BBC boards, and I would think, 'whew, glad that isn't me'. I would read the stories and they would make me cry, but it wasn't me. And then it was me. And here I am. Five months later and I feel as if I am part of the collective wisdom and the burden on the world that is the deadbaby mom.

And these supportive women that I have encountered, the ones who have left little notes here, the ones who have e-mailed, are extraordinary. And I thank them. I don't know where this journey goes, I don't know if it gets easier (even though some say it does), I don't know if I get my living baby in the end, but I am glad that sometimes I feel a little less alone because I am not alone. And even though this experience has turned me into a more bitter bitch than I was before it, I can deal with it because it just is what it is. Now, if I can only get the universe to find a new punchline for its cosmic joke other than me, then maybe stuff will start to look up.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

in the spotlight, alone

I don't know when, if ever, this pain ends. I thought that it would get easier, but when it seems like it is, then it just goes and starts hurting again. I thought that I'd be pregnant by now, and hoped that a new pregnancy would lessen the pain. But I am not pregnant, and I'm not sure that it would have helped anyway. I thought earlier this week that I had gotten a positive pregnancy test, but it appears that it was either a dud test, or something, because none of the tests since then were positive. In the past weeks, it seems that at least 4 of my friends have found out that they are pregnant. And several people I know have given birth to healthy girls. And I can't bear to hear about it, read about it or see it because it's not me. And it makes me feel bad to feel this way because I feel like I should be able to be there for people who have been there for me, but I can't right now. And, I hate that my body is not cooperating in getting pregnant and I hate that every month, I hear the same thing - that people are pulling for me, that it's my month, that people have a good feeling, that I'll get my rainbow baby soon. None of it matters. And none of it makes me feel any better. I wish it did, because I appreciate the support. And I appreciate that people care. But I also recognize that I have always found it is easier to support other people that it is to have any hope for myself. Believing it myself if entirely another story. And I'd like to believe that when I say crap like that, that it makes someone feel better, and not worse because, more than anything else, I don't want people to feel bad.

All of this just makes me feel like I am under a spotlight - star of the "she's still not pregnant show" and it seems like it is becoming a show that has 1 star - me. This month was my last chance to get pregnant before Shannon's due date. And it looks like we failed again. And it makes me want to just crawl under a rock and not come out. Having another baby won't replace Shannon. But it would be nice to have something go my way. I really really miss her. And I feel like the tears that I do cry aren't even getting close to the well of tears that hasn't opened yet - and I don't know when (or if) it will open, but I am scared. I feel like I am on the edge of an abyss and that if I fall in, I will be gone for a really long time.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Something really drives me nuts - it is people who are pregnant and who are complaining about every little bit of it. I would give just about anything to be pregnant again. You don't know how lucky you are. So stop complaining.

There is a board on babycenter full of people due in a few weeks, like I would have been, who are just moaning about being 9 months pregnant. Hello??? I am so tempted to go over there and tell them that I'd gladly switch places with any of them if my baby gets to live. Really, sometimes people should go suck it (thanks for that new phrase Christine. It really fits)

One step forward, two steps back

And I've started crying again...seems like it has been weeks, until Friday since I've really cried, then it all started again. The conversation started simple enough... him: well, Matt's a father... me: "well, good for them"-(as if I care). Then the part he didn't want to say - me: well, was it a boy or girl or a tree. him: a tree. me: really? him: they had a girl. me: . . . (except for the stupid tears.) I decided shortly thereafter that I guess it didn't matter because I was never going to meet this child, unless by accident.

Before you think I am more of bitch then you already do, keep in mind that this was the guy who was the best man at our wedding and my husband's best friend since they were kids. And he didn't call for over 6 weeks after we lost Shannon. And he hasn't said a word to me at all. I get that maybe you don't want to talk to the lady who gave birth to her dead baby in her second trimester when you were pregnant with your first child at the same stage - and with a girl to boot - but fuck you - you are supposed to be my husband's best friend and my friend too. So, I'm done. I don't need to get to know your child who is going to be doing everything my little girl would have done, at the same time she would have, except for the being dead part. To me, watching that would be like chewing tinfoil. And I need it like I need a hole in my head.

It's interesting, I don't feel this way about my friends who all had girls earlier this year. I like their babies. I can be with them without crying. I enjoy being with them. It's just the ones who are popping out the kids right now. Because I would have been in the home stretch of my pregnancy, a place where I could have gotten my doctors to induce (as early as this week). And that hurts. And I see how many people who were my indispensible pregnant friends having a baby (or getting close) and suddenly finding me dispensible. And that hurts too.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Dance

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared beneath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known you’d ever say goodbye
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance
Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn’t I the king
But if I’d only known how the king would fall
Hey who’s to say you know
I might have changed it all
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance

- Garth Brooks

awful but functioning


This blog is wonderful. As far as deadbabyblogs go, it's good to feel less alone sometimes...

6 by 6

Another group of lostbabymama's posted this 6 by 6 on their blog -

1 In a word, how would you characterize yourself before your loss, and then after?

before - sarcastic .... after - bitter

2 How do you feel around pregnant women?

Anyone due around my due date (or who looks it) is just out of luck. I feel sad and angry around pregnant women. Much less so around those who I know had losses like mine.

3 How do you answer the 'how many children' question?

Sometimes, I mention Shannon. Most times not. It's hard because so few people knew that she was there before we lost her.

4 How did you explain what happened to your lost baby to your living children?

My son knows that he had a sister, who had an accident and died. He was very excited to be a big brother. He still asks questions, and we answer him. He is very curious about death, but that could just be because he is 5.

5 What would another pregnancy mean to you, and how would you get through it—or are you done with babymaking?

A health pregnancy would mean everything to me. It is what we are hoping for. I hope that I am not too old to do this again, and I hope I get my chance. I will get through it like MacGuyver, with chewing gum, tinfoil and a paper clip with which I will create an alternative universe where I will wake up in 9 months with a baby.

6 Imagine being able to step back in time and whisper into the ear of your past self the day after your baby died. What would you say?

I would say that it hurts a little less down the road and I would tell me not to go to the hibachi restaurant where they sing happy birthday every two minutes because it was my baby's birthday too and that really sucked.

thought for today

My storehouse burnt down,
There is nothing to obstruct
The moon-view.

Mizuta Masahide (1657-1723)

Today, my dear old friend from college, Phil called. He told me that he wanted to call me in February, after Shannon died, but he figured that I'd be deluged in calls, and he didn't want to be part of the crush. When I finished laughing at the thought that people reacted to the death of a baby that way, I told him that reactions like that are just not what you get when your baby dies. Most people don't say anything. He wondered what is the right thing to say - I told him it was simple. "man, that sucks. and I am sorry for your loss." That about sums it up.

But, as old friends do, we started catching up on what was new in the million years since we last spoke and he asked me how I was. And I said that, putting aside the great suck that is losing Shannon, I am ok. I am a different person than I was before I lost Shannon, but that I was ok with the person that I was now. I also told him that I was ok with being bitter, it sure beat crying all the time.

He shared with me the haiku above after I told him about how I started purging my life after Shannon died because none of the material things mattered anymore. He understood. It is so nice to be understood sometimes. It is wonderful to have a voice from your past cruise out of the ether and just remind you that you are ok and that you will be ok and that you have friends out there who are going to randomly call you on a Tuesday night because they want to be sure that you are ok. Sometimes it does suck a little less.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Strategic reserves

Much like my son's birthday party, which was just overwhelming in terms of the amount of psychic energy it took not to completely fall apart entirely , I found my son's graduation from pre-school to be a bit too much as well. First off, there were at least 3 massively pregnant women there, two of whom are due in July, just like I was. Then, the kicker, a brand spanking new tiny baby from the mom of one of my son's classmates. This little girl could not have been more than 2 or 3 days old, and she was obviously a bit on the early side. So, essentially, she was what Shannon should be. Except right in my face. And not dead. And it made me cry only because after I said that I was going to go because there were just too many babies, another one of the moms said that she was sorry for my loss and then asked how I was. It was nice that at least someone got why I was sad, my husband pretty much just was encouraging me to leave. Nice. This woman got the sad because she had an early loss a few years ago. Not the same, but still, in some ways, the same.

I think that every day we start off with a finite amount of psychic energy which has to last us all day long. When you are grieving though, a big chunk of that energy is being diverted to every day tasks that previously didn't require any energy. So, when something big comes along, like a birthday party or a graduation or anything else, you just don't have enough there to manage really well and you don't have a reserve to pull from. So you just flounder along and hope that no-one notices that you are a basketcase.

At my son's party, I ended up tuning out a big part of the day and ended up involved in a long conversation with all my fertility and loss moms about fertility and infertility and loss stuff. Anyone happening upon that conversation would have been pretty confused. And I didn't care that I think that I was a terrible hostess. My mother sat there eavesdropping on the whole fertility conversation and I didn't care. She doesn't know about any of the conception issues we are dealing with now, or about my second loss, and if she found out at the party, she hasn't said anything. And my mother in law and mother ended up standing in the kitchen, while I was trying to warm food (in front of the hot oven, no less), and I just about screamed at all of them. Fortunately, only one person saw/heard the mini meltdown. But, truthfully, I just really didn't care.

AND, the pregnant person showed up. I thought she wasn't coming because she had to work, but no, she ended up essentially being the first person there. Yep, that didn't help either. Now, mind you, I love my friend dearly, but enough is enough. I don't need any more reminders of my dead baby who is not coming in July in my house. If she has a girl, I may just go around the bend. But, I only cried once, because all of the pity got to me (I hate pity) I just want my life to go back to normal.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Elective surgery

That is what my insurance company has deemed the delivery of my daughter. Elective fucking surgery. Like I elected this to happen to me. Like I woke up on Thursday, February 7 and decided to check myself into the hospital that afternoon to give birth. Asshats. I guess that, on the bright side, they paid the doctor *something* so that they will finally get off my back about the unpaid bill for my "elective surgery."

Shannon - I love you. Thank you for sending me the beautiful butterflies that like your garden so much. They are not you, but it's something. -- Mommy.

double time to nowhere

Seventeen weeks and five days ago I found out that my seventeen week five day old baby girl was dead. Shannon has now been gone for as long as she was even here. The amount of time that I have been so deeply grieving the loss of my child now exceeds the amount of time she existed as a living being. That blows.

And every day, I wonder, will I ever be happy again? Not sometimes happy, which I am most of the time, not truly happy, which I am not sure I ever was, but just happy? Some mundane, livable version of happy? Every day, I am asked to do the most mundane of things - wake up, shower, go to work, take care of my kid, make sure I look before crossing the street. Some days I don't want to do some or all of these basic things, but I do them. Then, on some days, more is expected. I am expected to host 40 people in my house for a birthday party. I am expected to donate my time. I am expected to speak to people who don't know what to say to me because my daughter died. And sometimes I am expected to be happy for other people who are pregnant. And just like remembering to cross the street, I am. Kinda sorta.

But mostly all I am is sad for me. Sad. sad. sad. I feel terrible that I am so sad, but that is just the way it is. I don't want to be sad. And, in much the same way, I feel terrible that I am not able to be sorta mostly truly happy for others who are closer to getting their baby than I am. I just can't. I can't. If I had some ability to figure out how to unshatter my heart, I would. But there are so many pieces missing right now. I am not sure how I am supposed to get up every day and do all the other things that are expected of me and not be heart-numbingly sad. I hate pity from others, but not as much as I hate pity from myself. I hate feeling like I have to act like everything is ok every day, when every day, I just die a little inside because I am one day further away from my little girl and the life that we were supposed to have. And that really blows.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Otherwise, I am doing mostly ok

I actually kinda marveled at myself for typing those words in an e-mail the other day. I have tried so hard, since my loss, to be honest with people about how I was feeling, about the sadness that is overwhelming, about the anger at losing Shannon, about the crushing loneliness that comes from feeling like you might be the only one still missing your baby. Other that that stuff, I guess I am mostly ok. Sad, angry and lonely, but ok. So, while at first I thought that I was being a big fat liar for saying that I was mostly ok, I guess that I am not a liar. Do I still have terrible days when I just cry? Absolutely. Do I still know that every day that passes is another day closer to my EDD? Absolutely. Is my frustration at trying to conceive again multiplied by the fact that I miss Shannon so much? Absolutely. But I am mostly ok. Will I ever be totally ok? Nope. But that is ok too. Because I will always be me.

I have to make a note to myself to post about how absolutely not prepared I was emotionally and psychologically to have a house full of people for my son's birthday party. I was not ok.

Shannon baby, 17 weeks ago you left me. And I miss you terribly. I will always love you so very much, my first daughter. In just a few short days, you will have been gone for as long as you were here, and that is really hard for me to comprehend. I wish you were here. I hope wherever you are is better than here, because then at least you'd be in a better place than here. For what that's worth. Mommy loves you.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Loose "change"

Our children change us... whether they live or not. Lois McMaster Bujold, "Barrayar", 1991

Change is something that moms who've suffered the loss of their children know all too well. In a moment, a heartbeat *the stopping of a heartbeat* everything changes. Hopes and dreams are shattered and an unspeakable sadness creeps into your life and fills up all your empty spaces. What do you do with that? In some ways, I guess the answer is nothing. There is nothing you can do. There is nothing you can do to change what happened to your baby. There is nothing you can do to change what happened to you. It just IS. And you putter along though whatever shitstorm life has just thrown at you and you hope for the best and you make it up as you go along and you hope that no-one can see that you are not strong, that you just are trying to keep your head above water long enough to make it to the other side of this terrible thing. I don't know what that other side looks like, I am not there yet, but I think that I will not be surprised to find out that it looks like more of the same old, same old.

One of my more recent favorite quotes is from the Jam - 'bullshit is bullshit, it just goes by different names' I'd heard them sing that line probably thousands of times over the past 20 years or so, but I heard it after I lost Shannon and I wrote it down in my little book of stuff that I write down when I want to remember it. There is an immense amount of BS in the world, and a real lack of understanding of what it means to be a grieving mother. There is no handbook, there is no memo, there are no guidelines for how people can relate to you.

I am having a birthday party for my son this weekend. Other than a few close friends and family, no-one has seen me since the baby died. I am a little worried about that. I am worried that someone will say something and make me cry. I am more worried that no-one will say anything, which will make me cry later.

Shannon - I found out 16 weeks ago that you were gone. I miss you, little one. That's all. I just miss you. Love, Mommy

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Strange dream

I had a dream the other night. In my dream, I went to a book signing, and I was waiting in a chair for my turn to get my book signed. There were a lot of people there, and someone was telling people when it was their turn to go and get their stuff signed. I kept waiting, and then I realized that I was still sitting there while others who came in later than me were being told they could go. Then, a woman sat next to me and almost right away, the person in charge indicated that it was her turn and she got up and went. At that point I had enough. I turned to the guy and said "I have been waiting. The lady behind me has been waiting almost as long as me, and that guy has been waiting too. You are letting people go ahead of us and it isn't fair." At that point, the guy just let everyone get up at the same time and go. I think I just wandered off at that point, and I don't think I ever got my stuff signed. Then I woke up.

I am not one for dream analysis, but the big point was that the burning question in my mind was "when will it be my turn?" I have been waiting for my happy baby ending since December 2006 and watched while others got to go ahead of me, even some who came later. It was like an "anvil" dream, not even a crucial plot point and almost like bad TV writing, because it seemed so obvious. But this has been a week of little mental breakthroughs where the wall that I've built between my loss and my life has been passing information though.

I don't want to be "that person" - the one that people are concerned about. It's not the concern that bothers me, per se. Its that people asking about me makes me terribly sad because I hate to be in the place where I am the person that people ask about. I have lived all of my adult life as the person who got by on their own. I've never really asked for help, and I've never needed it. People always assumed that I was ok. That I was the strong one. That I would be fine. And it doesn't seem that people think that anymore. But what hurts the most is that I don't believe that anymore. I am vulnerable because I lost someone that was terribly important to me, and now I want to be pregnant again and there is no guarantee that it will happen or that, if it does happen, that I won't get another tragic outcome. That is really scary. And I am not one who lives life scared. Before, I always knew that I would be ok, even when things really sucked. And I don't believe that anymore. And I never needed it, but I always thought there was a net. And I've found out that there isn't one. And that is really scary.

Shannon - it's your big brother's birthday today. Please send him a hug. We missed you a lot today. We love you. - Mommy

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My little boy is turning 5 next week. It is a huge milestone for him. He is starting kindergarten, and moving on to a whole new chapter in his life. He misses his sister a lot. It shows in subtle ways, like when he mentions babies nonchalantly and asks for a sibling, and not to subtley, like when he says he misses the baby and asks why the baby died. He acts out sometimes, and gets angry because he can't always process what he feels.

He is obsessed with yard sales and garage sales, like his dad, and he sometimes asks if we can have one to get rid of his "baby" things. I can't part with those baby things because I really want another baby. I want it more than just about anything. Some mental health professionals say that for moms who are mourning the loss of a baby, often one of the only things that helps the healing is to have another baby. Not a replacement baby, but a baby that somehow helps to take the hurt away a little by allowing the mom to focus on something other than her pain of loss. I wonder how true that is. I don't think that I will ever be over losing Shannon, but I would like to believe that we'll have another baby. I'd also like to believe that someday I'll be able to think about her and not cry so easily.

Another baby would make my son very happy. He'll be a wonderful big brother someday. He would have been a wonderful big brother to Shannon.

Sometimes a reminder is helpful...

When things go wrong,
as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low,
and the debts are high,
And you want to smile,
but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
when he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem their worst that you mustn't quit!

C.W. Longenecker

Thanks Leana, for that reminder.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

14 weeks - yep, still sad

It really doesn't go away. I wasn't entirely sure that was true, but I guess it is. I think, for me anyway, the enormity of having lost 3 in a row may be part of the reason why I am still so sad but, that said, it really sucks to always be so close to tears. What I have found too is that it is sad that so many of the people who were such supports have kinda moved on, not in a really overt way, but they have gotten on with their lives and there are a lot fewer e-mails and stuff. And that is ok, I guess, because in some ways I have gotten on with my life too, except for this gaping hole in my heart. And, of course, except for all the freakin' tears.

My flower garden is doing well. As long as I keep up with pulling the stupid vines (Bishop's weed) that are trying to choke out the flowers, the flowers continue to do well. It's morbidly ironic that some stupid vine keeps trying to choke Shannon's flowers, particularly given how Shannon died. But that is morbid humor for you.

I found out this week that I actually had a placental abnormality, extrachorialis, with my pregnancy. The doctor didn't think that it had anything to do with Shannon's death but it probably would have caused her to come early. Another irony. I have accepted that the cord accident is probably the closest we are going to come to an answer on how Shannon died, and that is going to have to do.

I had an ok Mother's Day. It's hard to be sad and happy at the same time, but I was. It was bittersweet. Last Mother's Day I found out that I was pregnant with what turned out to be my second angel. This year, I am mourning yet another loss. But, at the same time, I am blessed to have a wonderful little boy who loves to say "happy Mommy's day" to his partially unhappy mommy. Who's mostly ok, except for the freakin' tears.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone important is missing from all the important events in your family's life.

Normal is feeling like you can't sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don't like to sit through anything.

Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if's & why didn't I's go through your head constantly.

Normal is reliving that day continuously through your eyes and mind, holding your head to make it go away.

Normal is staring at every baby who looks like he is my baby's age. And then thinking of the age they would be now and not being able to imagine it. Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.

Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness lurking close behind, because of the hole in my heart.

Normal is telling the story of your child's death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone's eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of my "normal."

Normal is having some people afraid to mention my baby.

Normal is making sure that others remember them.

Normal is that everyone else goes on with their lives, but we continue to grieve our loss forever.Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse sometimes, not better.

Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn't compare. Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.

Normal is realizing I do cry everyday.

Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother, talking and crying together over our children and our new lives.

Normal is not listening to people make excuses for God. "God may have done this because..." I love God, I know that my baby is in heaven, but hearing people trying to think up excuses as to why healthy babies were taken from this earth is not appreciated and makes absolutely no sense to this grieving mother.

Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did laundry or if there is any food.

Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have more than one child, because you will never see this person again and it is not worth explaining that the other children are in heaven. And yet when you say you have one children to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed your other babies.

Normal is knowing I will never get over this loss, in a day or a million years.And last of all,

Normal is hiding all the things that have become "normal" for you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are "normal".

missing you

Today marks three months since I found out that my baby was gone. I wish I could say that it didn't hurt, but it does. It hurts and it sucks and I still feel this gigantic hole in my heart and my life. I miss my little baby.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Dear Shannon

mommy was thinking about you a lot today. It was a beautiful day and it reminded me that if life was fair, or even a little reasonable sometimes, you would be coming to meet your family soon. But life isn't fair or reasonable, and you are gone. In the alternative world, where you lived, I'd be getting ready for your first summer here and figuring out what we'd be doing during the weeks before I went back to work. We miss you a lot.

It's kind of amazing the stuff that you had to be undone because you aren't here anymore. You have to cancel the daycare and reverse the leave and undo the benefits and reorganize your home, your job, your marriage and your life. The stuff that my husband and I had planned to finish before Shannon came, sits in large part unfinished because there is no sense of urgency anymore and, frankly, why should there be? Our July baby turned into no baby and I am still searching for answers why. My son wants to have a yard sale to sell his little kid toys because there is no little sister or brother coming anytime soon. We're not ready for that sale, because we're still holding out hope that there is still a maybe baby. I thought 2008 was going to be the year that my maybe baby came, maybe my luck will change for 2009. Maybe....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Food for thought

I got this in my e-mail box the other day.

Don’t miss our Mother’s Day offer of a FREE meal for those who became a mom (or became a mom again!) in 2008!

FREE Dishes for New Moms
Being a new mom is the hardest and most rewarding job we’ll ever have. Well, it just got a little easier… and more rewarding! This Mother’s Day Week, Let’s Dish! will give a FREE Ready Made meal to anyone who has become a mom ( or become a mom again) in 2008. Just come into any of these Let’s Dish! locations between May 4 and May 11 and pick up your free dish (serves 4-6). No obligation. No small print. See just a few details below.*
Pass it on!>

View your “Free Meal” invitation online> Use our email “Email this” tool above to pass this on to your new mom friends! Or, share to your favorite group on Facebook or more using our “Share This” tool below!

*Meal selection is subject to availability. Offer valid at Let’s Dish locations in Baltimore (Timonium), Columbia, Gaithersburg, and Rockville Maryland; Alexandria, Ashburn and Fairfax Virginia. Offer is NOT valid at Bel Air, MD and Leesburg VA locations. Meal recipient must provide valid email address for mom, and proof of birth or adoption (valid proof includes birth certificate, birth announcement, hospital bracelet or other item with child’s name and date of birth or adoption between 1/1/08 and 5/11/08). One meal per child. Yes, moms of twins get two meals.

I am going to see if I can get my meal ... maybe I will bring Shannon's memory box as proof of her birth since we can't get birth certificates in D.C.

Twelve weeks down, a lifetime to go

What have I learned and accomplished since Shannon has died:

1. I finally wrote the letter to the stupid insurance company explaining to them, with exhibits, that my daughter died before she was born so, it is legally and physically impossible for her to have been an abortion. Maybe now they will pay the freakin' claim so my doctor's office will get off my back.

2. I forced my doctor's office to find my chart today, which has been "misplaced" since February. Yes, they lost my file after I had Shannon. Today, in response to my records request, they gave me stuff from my previous 2 miscarriages. I explained to them that I was a repeat customer, and that I actually needed the medical records from this most recent pregnancy, not any of the others.

3. I planted a rainbow garden for my little girl. Except for the white flowers, which something keeps eating, the other flowers are doing great. Especially the purple ones, which is nice, because purple is my favorite color. I'd like to think that Shannon would have liked purple too.

4. I got called bitter. I like that one a lot.

5. I've discovered who some of my real friends are, and learned that some people just are not or cannot be there for you when you need them. I've been bitterly disappointed by some people, and filled with hope and comfort by some that I least expected to step up to the plate and be there for me. I've also learned that you don't choose your family, so there is little you can do, except be kind of appalled, if they don't check up on you after you lose your child. Important lessons to learn but the timing could have been better. All I can say is that the karmic wheel evens everything out in time.

6. I've met some wonderful people in the world of the dead baby blogs, and at babycenter on the 2nd/3rd trimester loss boards and the TTC after a 2nd/3rd trimester loss board. They have been family, friend, companion and life preserver.

7. I've realized that I am entitled to how I feel, no matter how crappy it might be.

8. I've learned that grief is deep and it doesn't go away just because you want it to. The process of moving on is just that, a process, and you just have to let it come in time.

9. I've learned that I am not alone, even if I feel that way sometimes.

That is a lot for one quarter. Only a lifetime left to go...

Shannon - mommy misses you lots and lots and loves you more. So do Sean and Daddy and the birds. Happy May Day. Love you squirt.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


The other day, my mom called me to say that random relative x had child #(insert number here). And she was miffed that I asked her why she chose to share this news, about someone that I hadn't seen in forever, with her child who is obviously having difficulty producing a living child. And she thought that I should care that some random relative has popped yet another living child out like Pez. Whoopie. Now, don't get me wrong, I wish happy (and even unhappy) pregnant people well. I wish them nothing but success and none of the heartbreak that I have endured. But don't be dense and expect me not to be sad or wistful when you tell me that so and so is pregnant or just had a child, because my own experience of the past 16 (almost 17 months) has been of pregnancy without living child. I've been pregnant for over 35 weeks since December of 2007 and I got nada, zip, zilch - well, I have 3 dead children that I love and miss very much, but I think you can see what I mean. So, I don't have to be happy for someone else. I don't have to really care, if it's not in my being to do so. I don't have to send a card, or show up for a baptism or deal with my loss on anyone else's terms but my own, because that is all I can do. It is enough to try to keep my own cup full. Getting mad at me because you choose not to recognize that I am sad about losing my beloved babies is not my problem. So, thanks anyway, but I'll pass on the pez.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

sad momma/angry lawyer

Coming home from very lonely places,
all of us go a little mad:
whether from great personal success,
or just an all-night drive,
we are the sole survivors of a world
no one else has ever seen. - John le Carre

Separation of personal pain from professional brain is a concept that is very strange. How does someone live with intense personal pain yet be fully functional, even successful in their daily life? With the exception of having lost Shannon, which overshadows everything in some way, the rest of my life goes on with, of course, the exception of the baby stuff. No baby. Maybe baby. Someday baby? I hope. I plot, I plan, I do my work, I am a wife, mother, daughter and friend, yet I am very alone. Other people feel pain over the loss of Shannon. But no one knows my pain. How people asking me how I am doing brings me back to the brink of tears. How I just miss her. How I would give anything to go back 11 Wednesdays ago and hear her heartbeat again. How 11 Thursdays ago, I cried more tears than I knew a human being had in them. How these 11 weeks since I found out she was gone have been hell. No-one lives in that hell but me and it's very lonely.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

three lines

I used to write a lot. For me. My job involves a lot of writing too, but that is work and it uses a different set of brain cells. Most of my poetry and writing comes from places of sorrow or transition in my life - and it's no different now. My thoughts when I write come from a place that I can't access with my daily brain, it is a place that I can't get to, it just is there on the paper or on the screen when I am done. I write for myself. I've started and ended many journals since I first started journaling. I guess the crisis or whatever prompted the journal faded from my thoughts, and the urge to write faded with it. Shannon doesn't fade.

Wednesday you were there
By Thursday morn you were gone
life's forever changed.

three lines. One about the day before she died, one about the day she died, one about life now.

Why doesn't the loss fade? Why doesn't letting it all out just be it - why is there always more? I accept that there will always be more, if I have another child, if I don't. Learning to live again, learning to breathe again, it's all new now and it is all done knowing that everything has changed. I don't like change. I've stayed at my job for 9 years because I don't like change. I listen to the same music I listened to in the 80's, because I like it more than anything else. It is comfortable. It is familiar. It is safe. When life changes, we try to cling to those things that are familar, comfortable and safe. We try to cling to our past. But the past is gone, my baby is gone, and I have to be and breathe in this new world, without a net. Life's forever changed. And I don't feel familiar anymore.


I see trees of green

"What a wonderful world" was my wedding song. It reminds me of New Orleans and happier times but, at the same time, it is a sad and wistful song. I hear it now, and it makes me think of Shannon, and how she never got to see this world, or experience any of its wonders. And I wonder why. Spring is such a beautiful time of the year, I should be happy, I should have so much to look forward to, but I don't feel as if I do. My little boy is growing up, and my baby is dead, and it feels pretty lonely here sometimes in mommyland. Here I am, more than 10 weeks out from my loss, and I am still fighting with the stupid insurance company over paying for Shannon's delivery. And when I have to call them, it still makes me cry, and I feel so weak for crying because the stupid insurance company made a mistake, which they will have to fix in appeal, or I will sue them over it. It is such a stupid little thing, but it is so huge to me because it is just another indignity that has to be endured after the biggest indignity of all - the loss of my little girl. Someone told me that you are ready to try again for another child when you have the emotional ability to deal with it. I don't think I know what that means anymore. I think the better answer is that you are ready to try again when the fear of loss is outweighed by the desire to have a baby. Because I don't think I will ever *not* be so very very sad about losing Shannon. Not a day goes by when I don't miss and love my little baby. And now, when she should be 28 weeks, just a stone's throw away from meeting her mommy and daddy, instead she is in the ether... and mommy and daddy are really sad. What happens when your baby has been gone for as long as she was here? And what about the day she was due - July 12th? And what about after that? And I think to myself, what a wonderful world?