Adam’s Angelversary #3

Today is the third anniversary of the birth of my sleeping child, A.G. The sting of his death always comes back as I remember him, but today I also get to be grateful for a new year full of new beginnings.

I spent a portion of this morning on my veranda with Son Three on my chest. Deep, primal gratitude soaked up the moment. As much as the birth of Adrian thrills me, there is also the sad longing for what could have been with A.G. Each moment I get with Adrian reminds me of what I missed with A.G. since this earth was not part of his soul’s journey. 

Things I never thought about missing out on with A.G. are now part of my thoughts. These do not come to me in desperation. I do accept his death as his natural way. But, these thoughts come to me with interest – curiosity – and sadness that is entirely human. Would he have looked like his brother? I suspect his personality would have been calmer and a little sweeter (not to say Adrian isn’t a good or sweet baby because he is!). 

Anyway, I just didn’t want to miss the occasion to remember my dear A.G. on his day. Life feels more paradoxical today than normal – sweeter, sadder, and more peaceful in some ways too. Today, I am thankful for both of my boys and what they continue teaching me. 

Quick Baby Update – 37 Weeks

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We have made it to 37 weeks! We are over the moon excited! I am still feeling great and Son Three is doing wonderfully each time we check in on him with the doctor. He moves around day and night and the wiggle worm was head down, but now has flipped and is transverse…so we are hoping he keeps doing his gymnastics and gets back into place before labor!

Minor symptoms include (I find it very hard to complain about anything when we are so joyful to get this experience!) insomnia, some heartburn, tiredness, restless legs…but I am still enjoying walks with my pup and my adorable hubby and trying to make it to the gym twice a week still. So, this is a powerful, happy time. I feel incredibly grateful for feeling so well and being healthy this late in the pregnancy. I really am embracing every moment because I know how lucky I am to be experiencing this phase of womanhood.

My husband and I have taken some birth classes together and have now talked to my doctor about our birth plan (where I clearly stated that as long as the child is born healthy we are NOT going to fret any details!). The birth class was good, but I had some residual sadness about A.G., Son One, that I had to work through over the next day or so after the class. There are always funny moments like when the teacher says “induction can take up to 24 hours” and I know from experience you can quadruple that number when your body knows it is months too soon. I decided to keep that to myself and not freak out any new moms.

All in all, I feel like I am processing the emotions in a healthy way, considering all the baggage I could be bringing into this process. I now see how not being pregnant from Fall 2014 to Fall 2015 was such a good thing for my healing process…I needed that time to just NOT have more miscarriages and learn that I was going to be okay with or without a biological child. I always knew that actually, but when you are actively trying to have one and losing babies, it’s hard to keep that truth at the forefront of your mind.

Anyway, this is getting longer than planned, so I will just say: we are all healthy, we are all happy, and we are all grateful in my corner of the world. Life is soooo good…and it took a long time to feel that again.

To The Angel Baby Mothers

*Repost from 6/18/2016 because the original did not appear on WordPress subscribers’ newsfeeds. 

This morning, at a few strokes after midnight, an amazing woman in my life gave birth to her second angel baby. This was her second trip to the hospital to deliver a child she knew she wouldn’t bring home. This was the second child she named, knowing she would not be saying the name out loud daily as the child grows into his or her own being. This was her second heartbreak on a level I understand, but still cannot fathom when I really soak in the facts and feelings.

So, to all the angel baby mothers: I know you. I am you. I know what it’s like to wonder what life on earth would have been like for your sons and daughters. I know that you have their names engraved in jewelry, little tiny urns in hidden corners, and trees planted in their memory in your yards. I know you have dates on the calendar that come with no ceremony, but can reduce you to a puddle on the kitchen or bathroom floor.

I know the triggers. The hospital shows. The birth announcements. The innocent questions asking how many children you have or why you’ve waited so long to parent (because, you know, you aren’t getting any younger). I know you want to celebrate with pregnant friends, but sometimes it is more painful than others. I know seeing a baby bump walking through a grocery store can spiral you for a few hours as you remember your grief.

I know my dear friend who gave birth early this morning is going to be okay. I know she is stronger because she’s experienced this before, and accepts her son’s too-short journey with her more easily because she intimately knew this could happen, and had accepted the risk before getting pregnant again. I know how brave that is. I know how the most horrendous reality can become true in a moment in the doctor’s office.

I know she loves him. I know she knows him best. I know she will never forget him and, as cruel as life can be, neither will her birthday ever be the same since she was celebrating her own special day when it became special for this different, less welcoming reason. I know on her birthday next year, she will remember the hospital, the delivery, and her sweet little son coming into the world minutes passed midnight.

Angel baby mothers have a special knowing. Their hearts ache eternally for their sons and daughters. They will support you and grieve with you if or when you join their ranks. They will share the details of the birth and the appearance of their too small children…they will help you however they know how so you can start to deal with a reality no one ever should know. They will make it less scary if that’s possible.

They will also remember you and your child’s name. I have so many angel baby names swarming in my head, and a special place for each of them in my prayers. So, today, I add Beckett’s name to my list. Beckett, we love you forever. We know you had a perfect journey in a perfect little body with the perfect mom and family for you. We know you are perfectly at peace, and we accept your sweet place in our lives. Please pray for Beckett’s family if you are the praying kind. Much love to all the angel mommies I know will be reading. Xx

To The Angel Baby Mothers

This morning, at a few strokes after midnight, an amazing woman in my life gave birth to her second angel baby. This was her second trip to the hospital to deliver a child she knew she wouldn’t bring home. This was the second child she named, knowing she would not be saying the name out loud daily as the child grows into his or her own being. This was her second heartbreak on a level I understand, but still cannot fathom when I really soak in the facts and feelings.

So, to all the angel baby mothers: I know you. I am you. I know what it’s like to wonder what life on earth would have been like for your sons and daughters. I know that you have their names engraved in jewelry, little tiny urns in hidden corners, and trees planted in their memory in your yards. I know you have dates on the calendar that come with no ceremony, but can reduce you to a puddle on the kitchen or bathroom floor.

I know the triggers. The hospital shows. The birth announcements. The innocent questions asking how many children you have or why you’ve waited so long to parent (because, you know, you aren’t getting any younger). I know you want to celebrate with pregnant friends, but sometimes it is more painful than others. I know seeing a baby bump walking through a grocery store can spiral you for a few hours as you remember your grief.

I know my dear friend who gave birth early this morning is going to be okay. I know she is stronger because she’s experienced this before, and accepts her son’s too-short journey with her more easily because she intimately knew this could happen, and had accepted the risk before getting pregnant again. I know how brave that is. I know how the most horrendous reality can become true in a moment in the doctor’s office.

I know she loves him. I know she knows him best. I know she will never forget him and, as cruel as life can be, neither will her birthday ever be the same since she was celebrating her own special day when it became special for this different, less welcoming reason. I know on her birthday next year, she will remember the hospital, the delivery, and her sweet little son coming into the world minutes passed midnight.

Angel baby mothers have a special knowing. Their hearts ache eternally for their sons and daughters. They will support you and grieve with you if or when you join their ranks. They will share the details of the birth and the appearance of their too small children…they will help you however they know how so you can start to deal with a reality no one ever should know. They will make it less scary if that’s possible.

They will also remember you and your child’s name. I have so many angel baby names swarming in my head, and a special place for each of them in my prayers. So, today, I add Beckett’s name to my list. Beckett, we love you forever. We know you had a perfect journey in a perfect little body with the perfect mom and family for you. We know you are perfectly at peace, and we accept your sweet place in our lives. Please pray for Beckett’s family if you are the praying kind. Much love to all the angel mommies I know will be reading. Xx

International Adoption Hold

It’s been a while since I have posted about the adoption, so this may be a bit of a dry post, but I wanted to give you all an update. It’s officially been 2.5 years in process and, by the end of August, our dossier will have been registered in Haiti for over 2 years. We have never received an official referral in that time. We’ve watched friends lose multiple matches, and others even lose the lives of their sometimes legal children while they wait for the rest of the paperwork to be finalized so they can come to the U.S. To state what probably seems obvious, this process hasn’t gone according to anybody’s plan. It’s been a test of patience, incredibly sad, and harrowing. Because of all of this and Zika concerns, we have decided to put the adoption on hold.

We have told our agency that we’d like our paperwork held until December. This means it will stay in its place, but no one will be working on a match for us for the next several months. We will decide at that time whether a) we need more time to bond and breastfeed our biological son, holding our paperwork for longer, b) if we will ask them to proceed forward with the adoption, or c) if we will drop out of the program in favor of a different international program or even a pursuit of a domestic adoption.

The other thing is, as we were originally promised the Haitian program was getting more stable, we have not experienced this to be the case at all. Haiti, as  a country, seems to have more political unrest all the time and one of my Haitian friends even believes they may be headed toward a civil war. The next few months of waiting will let us also assess the safety of moving forward with this specific adoption path.

As this pregnancy has progressed and I have been able to believe in the viability of this Son Three a little bit more, it has become clear that we need to give him the same love and care we’d like to give any other child we will parent. Bonding time is important, as many of my reader friends have previously suggested, and we are feeling really secure in this decision to put the adoption on hold for now and concentrate on this first child home (Son Three).

The Delicacy of Life

I have been thinking about life a lot lately. Life, meaning the breathing, thinking, touching part of ourselves. As a (liberally) religious person, I believe our souls – our energy – live on…maybe in an after-world, but maybe just as material transformed into something else (a new kind of life, as science would agree). Either way, I think what we call our souls still have a bit of structure (togetherness, if you will), although I think the structure isn’t an important quality; the importance remains in the spirit of that soul – the fact that our spirit (in terms of quirks, loving, experience, etc.,) lives on in another way.

…have I lost everyone yet?

Anyway, regular readers know I have lost four children through miscarriage. The ones I’ve carried the longest seem clearer to me than the early losses. There is a sense of knowing. Now that I am pregnant again – almost 32 beautiful weeks of gestational life behind the little guy – I have been thinking about my connection – my knowing – of this Son Three, and wondering if him being born will confirm what I suspect about his personality and aura, or whether I will decide maybe my knowing is a bit of fluff. Regardless, I hope I get the opportunity to find out soon.

I didn’t allow myself to bond with this little guy at first. Even though this would have been the fourth ultrasound I had, I couldn’t help but fall in love with him a little bit at 11 weeks gestation. Readers might remember, I talked about him doing flutter kicks on his ultrasound. Even though I had been pregnant for a combined total of – let me count – 50 weeks by then between the five pregnancies, this was the first time I had seen such a beautifully formed little baby body, scooting around and wiggling for us. I couldn’t help it…I felt that puppy love feeling you get when you start crushing hard on someone. I was smitten.

Having fallen down the rabbit hole of infatuation at this point, I still was super aware of the delicacy of life and still am today. I know tomorrow I could walk into my specialist’s appointment and they could find something on the ultrasound they haven’t previously detected. I know that one night, without anyone suspecting, this baby boy could get his neck fatally entangled in his umbilical cord. I know where the nightmares are coming from…the three I have had about losing him, including the one where – shortly after an early birth – I didn’t care that he had 16 toes all together on his feet, but I started to panic when his heart rate started plummeting and I realized I was at home without a car seat to get him to the hospital – even if he could make it there in time (obviously, in real life, you would forget the worry about the car seat and just rush to the hospital!). Those nightmares are coming from the reality I have lived of losing children. Logically, it looks like I should be having a healthy baby in roughly eight weeks, but my reality has made it hard to trust that logic.

And then I digress even further…as we’ve lost a family member to suicide this week, I think of her parents (whom happened to be two of my favorite people in the world and two I admire in the highest regard). I’ve written endlessly about losing children, but this suicide makes me look entirely dramatic. What I mean is, if I feel this shaken by what I have lived through, how can any people possibly go through a loss of an adult child whom they have loved, cherished, and known for several decades? How do you transform that grief into something positive? Where do you begin integrating that loss when you have so many, many memories and reminders?

So, I remember that life remains delicate. It continues to allude what our brains can fathom as possible scenarios or outcomes. It thrills us. It disappoints us. It leaves us wounded like no one else can possibly understand.

Rarely, has Son Three ever given me a little kick that I haven’t said a silent “Thank God.” The gratitude for his life continues to be front and center for me, and even more so – if that is possible – after the tragedy my extended family is directly facing. I am embracing every moment of life I get with this tiny spirit. I am remembering my time with Son One, A.G., and cherishing the sweet memories of carrying him in my body so blissfully and happily three summers ago. With every additional pound of weight, I am pausing to relish in the miracle my body is creating. With every breathless stair climb, I am smiling at this little boy pushing on my lungs with his feet, or rump, or maybe even elbows.

Today, I get to enjoy the tangible life of a child. I don’t know how long I will have with him. I realize he won’t always make what I think are good decisions. I know he will want his space and push me away at times. But, perspective is everything and I can’t think of a better time to cherish life than now. And, the opposite of what I am calling “life” is not “death.” I believe it’s just transformation. I will try to embrace past and future transformation with openness and acceptance. I will try to see beauty in it, even though it is a real loss to us still on earth. Today, I re-commit myself to staying fascinated and in awe of the delicacy of life.