When You Have to Avoid Your Favorite (Internet) Things

I talked a bit previously (here) about how I’d been needing to avoid my pregnant friends and family and the resulting babies.  I noticed the other day, though, that there are more pieces to this puzzle.  I am a huge online consumer.  I follow hundreds of blogs with topics ranging from lifestyle to food/cooking to fashion.  I love a good blog.  I am also a major Pinterest user.  Then there is online shopping.  I mostly window shop, but I even buy our trash bags online.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, my search history, blogs, and Pinterest feed started to reflect that.  On Pinterest, I had a board where I stored general baby ideas (called “Maybe Baby”).  I had a board called “Baby Instruction Manual” filled with tips and tricks for managing every detail of a newborn baby’s life.  I also had a board full of nursery ideas.  I was following every major baby brand’s pins.  Pinterest and other similar platforms recognized this baby trend and filled my feeds with ideas and advertisements geared towards a mommy-to-be.  Every time I scrolled through there were ads for diapers, tips for getting your infant to sleep through the night, and guides for how much milk your baby needed at each stage of infancy.

In my blog reader, I had a full section of baby/pregnancy blogs.  These blogs varied in subject matter but generally featured some picture-perfect pregnant woman or new mom writing about their perfect lives.  Then, there was the shopping.  I had signed up for some ridiculous number of shopping newsletters trying to get the best deals on the million items it seemed we needed in preparation for Isaac’s arrival.  I received daily offers from companies like Giggle, Munchkin, Pottery Barn Kids, Baby Gap and the list goes on (and on and on).

I certainly had moments during my pregnancy where I couldn’t believe that I would actually have a baby boy to take home and care for.  Especially in a first pregnancy, I think it is difficult to picture a real living human inside of your belly that will one day kick and scream.  I worried something would go wrong as many expectant mothers likely do.  However, at the end of the day, I didn’t really think that at 32 weeks we would suddenly lose Isaac.  Somewhere around 27 weeks, it sank in that this baby boy was healthy and with some assistance could live outside of my body.  Maybe he’d be born early or have an unforeseen problem and need to spend time in the NICU, but we were having our baby.

Then we heard the words no pregnant couple ever wants to hear.  “I don’t see any cardiac activity.”  Then I woke up cozily propped up in a hospital bed at dawn on July 16th to realize it wasn’t a dream and our baby was gone.  Here’s the thing about all of the Pinterest boards, blogs, and email promotions.  They don’t magically disappear when you lose a baby.  My husband did a fantastic job of sneakily deleting all of the pregnancy tracking apps, kick counting apps, contraction counting apps and calendar reminders from my phone.  He even smartly kept my phone away for the first week or so.  I didn’t miss it.  I did, however, have my iPad once I left the hospital.

Browsing through Pinterest and blogs was a favorite activity long before I was pregnant.  I opened up those apps, desperate to distract my mind from the traumatic loss, labor and delivery of Isaac.  I did realize that there would be some reminders, but I seriously underestimated the level at which the “baby stuff” had taken over my digital world.  I had to wait another week before going into Pinterest and Feedly (the RSS reader I use) and painstakingly eliminating all things baby.  With Pinterest it took an entire afternoon of unfollowing users, marking posts as “not interesting”, and eliminating ads.  With the blogs, I had to get on a computer to eliminate each baby blog one by one.  There are still a number of blogs in my feed where the blogger just happens to be pregnant or have adorable little kids.  I still have to swipe through those posts without reading them.

I have a feeling I will either be pregnant again (hopefully) or we will be expanding our family in a less traditional fashion, and I will still periodically be receiving email promotions from baby brands that I have overlooked in my unsubscribing marathons.  I cannot count the number of email lists I have unsubscribed to over the past four and a half weeks.  However, at least once a day, I see another email from some adorable baby brand.  Each time it breaks my heart a little bit more.

No one wants to be surrounded with reminders of what they have lost.  To clarify, I want reminders that my baby boy was real, but not regular reminders of what could have and should have been.  Then there are the moments when I have to open those baby emails to unsubscribe.  I still see adorable onesies in those emails and have an inexplicable urge to buy them for a baby who will never wear them.  That is not fun.

Maybe I should invent a service that helps couples purge the baby reminders from their digital lives after this type of loss.  I might create a page that provides instructions for each platform that directs you how to actually eliminate the baby pins, blogs, and emails.  It was not as easy as I had hoped.

The Wrong Sort of Milestone

Today was my second appointment with my grief therapist.  First, to those going through something similar, I strongly recommend talking to someone who is experienced in dealing with the loss of a baby.  I’m a big believer in therapy as a general matter, but in this specific instance, in particular, it is good to have someone who will be able to recognize whether you are dealing with things in a healthy fashion.  Second, today’s appointment got me thinking about milestones.

When you are expecting a baby, you go through a huge list of milestones.  There’s the first time you see the heartbeat, finding out the gender, viability – and the list goes on. Then there are the milestones you expect to have going forward.  There’s the birth of your baby, hearing the first cry, baby’s first smile, crawling, walking, and limitless other things that you are excited to experience with your baby.  These are the things you look forward to when you are pregnant.  These are the things you daydream about.  These are the things I daydreamed about.

Then we lost Isaac.  We won’t get to experience those milestones with Isaac.  We won’t see him smile, or find out who he would have most looked like.  We won’t know the sound of his cry or when he would have decided to crawl.  Instead, we face a different set of milestones.

I had my first solo outing last week.  My husband had to have a first day back at work.  Eventually, I will make it to the grocery store alone or to the mall alone.  Each time I see a new person, who hasn’t seen me since I was big and pregnant, is a milestone.  Someday, I will have my first up close and personal encounter with a friend or family member’s baby, or a pregnant woman.  Today is a milestone.  Today marks exactly one month since Isaac’s birth.  September 3rd will be the day I was expecting to be induced.  September 10th will be Isaac’s due date.  I was once counting down to those last two milestones with excitement, now I look forward at them with dread.

Pregnancy seems to make you hyper aware of time.  You count every single week.  Then when a baby is born, you mark the passage of time by counting how many weeks old your baby is now.  Those instincts don’t go away just because you no longer have your baby.  Rather, you just end up looking at a new sort of milestone.  They are sad milestones that remind us of what could have and should have been, but they are all we have.

Doctors Are Supposed To Know Everything

I still haven’t shared the full story of losing Isaac and his subsequent birth, but I wanted to talk about the missed signs that something had gone wrong in my pregnancy.  Of course, I have no way of knowing whether Isaac could have been saved – he did, after all, have a knot in his cord.  I also do know that it is normal to want to blame someone when you lose a baby or anyone for that matter.  However, in our case, there were concrete signs that all was not well with my pregnancy.  Perhaps the other doctors I have spoken to are just humoring the grieving mother, but it does not seem I am entirely alone in thinking that my doctor failed us in this case.

I should start at the beginning.  I was a high-risk pregnancy from the start.  I am the lucky owner of two defective blood clotting genes that can be triggered by the massively increased estrogen associated with pregnancy.  To prevent a dangerous clot from harming either me or Isaac, I began daily injections of blood thinners as soon as I was confirmed pregnant.  I was also sent to a perinatologist after my first OB appointment.  This is the first point that something was off.  I didn’t realize it until I was in the hospital after losing Isaac, but I should have been seeing the perinatologist regularly throughout my pregnancy.  I saw one of the doctors at my first visit for a discussion, and he simply made recommendations to my OB (of which I constantly had to remind him). Another one of the perinatologists came in to tell us everything was normal at our 28-week growth scan and told us he thought the other doctor was being overly cautious with my care.  He and my OB had told us that it was fine to wait until 33 weeks (rather than 32) for the first weekly non-stress test.  That’s a test that could have shown Isaac was distressed, that could have shown us something was wrong.  I learned at the hospital that I should have been regularly overseen by a high-risk specialist.

At 29.5 weeks, I saw my OB.  My OB isn’t just a random doctor I found online.  He is the doctor that delivered me and my younger sister.  He is a very capable doctor.  I had seen a different doctor at the practice 3 weeks prior to this appointment and had found myself questioning my choice of doctor briefly when I realized the other doctor seemed to pay a bit more attention to my situation.  At this visit, however, it felt like something was off.  The first warning was that after gaining weight at a healthy rate throughout my pregnancy, I had gained 9 pounds in 3 weeks.  I hadn’t changed anything.  I was just quite swollen.  My cheeks had taken on a chipmunk appearance, and my boney ankles had been replaced with cankles.  When the nurse came in, she took my blood pressure.  She even asked me if I had a history of elevated blood pressure.  I had not.  In fact, I’d never had elevated blood pressure.  The nurse suggested that I was nervous and that must have triggered it.  I did tell her that I was not at all nervous, but she didn’t suggest that they try to take my blood pressure again.

The doctor came in and told me that I had passed my gestational diabetes test and that I was the least anemic patient in the practice (at least I had that going for me?).  He listened to Isaac’s heartbeat (I wish I had known that was the last time I would hear it).  Everything was fine.  He asked how often he was seeing me at the moment, and, upon noticing the previous doctor had picked 3 weeks, he suggested I return in 3 weeks.  I explained that I was planning to be out of town and that he had previously and repeatedly given us the all clear for that week.  I suggested I would be home in 2 weeks (for a high-risk pregnancy, in particular, that would have been normal) and in 4 weeks, unless that was a problem.  He said, “See you in 4 weeks!”  As he sat me up, I told him I had some questions.  I asked him if I should be concerned about my “elevated blood pressure” (I didn’t know what it was until I was in the hospital).  I also told him that I had been seeing spots and noticed significant increases in my swelling.  I asked if that was normal.  “Totally normal,” he said as he patted me on the back and ushered me out the door.  I went on to ignore these symptoms for too long, having been told by a medical professional that they were normal.

I learned later that my blood pressure was such that they should have retested me in 4 hours to see if it remained elevated.  If it had remained where it was, even in the absence of protein in my urine, I would have met the criteria for diagnosis preeclampsia.  I also learned that my out of character weight gain should have been a red flag.  It was so clear that I was retaining too much fluid.  Further, the swelling and seeing spots were two standard symptoms on the checklist for preeclampsia diagnosis.

To the perinatologist, who suggested that his colleague was overly cautious with my care: you were wrong.  To the OB, who told me my symptoms were normal: you were wrong.  The problem seems to be that these doctors see TONS of patients around here.  I became just another statistic to them.  It’s not just their fault, I should have stood up for myself.  My doctors were making me feel like a crazy pregnant woman for asking questions when really I was just a concerned mother-to-be.

There is a clear lesson to be learned here.  If you have doubts about your doctor, change doctors.  Insist that your questions be answered.  We, as human beings, are not just statistics.  If you don’t stand up for yourself, you could end up like me, full of “what ifs” and other regrets.

 

 

The Girl Who Runs Out of Movies

There seems to be a very delicate balance between not being ready to face certain emotional triggers and just not wanting to at all.  It’s hard to discern whether things are too raw for me and I should wait, or I have to just push through a bit of discomfort and basically face my fears.  Yesterday we accidentally misjudged which category a particular outing fell into.  There are a number of movies out right now that I want to see.  One of those movies is The Secret Life of Pets, and in an effort to get me out into the world, my husband bought tickets for us yesterday.  That it was a children’s movie didn’t even cross our minds.  We’ve always loved animated movies.  The first movie that my husband and I ever watched together was How to Train Your Dragon.

When my husband booked the tickets (it’s one of those theaters with reserved reclining seats), not a single ticket had been reserved yet.  The movie had been out a while, and we expected an empty theater.  We were quite wrong.  When we arrived, it was empty.  Then a steady stream of mothers with little boys walked in and took their seats.  I sat there anxiously and mentioned to my husband that this might have been a bad idea.  A few years from now, that was supposed to be me with Isaac and his little buddies from pre-school.  However, I decided that these were emotions that I could push through.  I probably could have.

As the previews started, I continued to doubt our decision to go to an animated movie. The first preview was for a movie called Storks, a movie playing on the tales parents tell their kids about where babies come from.  The preview put a lump in my throat, but as it ended the feeling passed.

Then the unthinkable happened.  A couple came in, right as the movie was about to start, and sat down in the empty seats to our left.  So we weren’t the only adults in the area who wanted to see a kids movie on a Friday at lunchtime – no big deal.  However, this wasn’t just any couple.  The wife was extremely pregnant and happy.  I’d venture she was about as pregnant as I should have been right now.  Today I would have been 36 weeks pregnant.  I couldn’t stop peeking over at her.  Did they know how lucky they were?  Did they know how quickly it could be over?

Maybe the pregnant couple shouldn’t have been so upsetting to me, but – you see – there was a reason we didn’t see the movie right when it came out.  I was saving up movies to see as a way to escape the August heat while waiting for Isaac to arrive.  We were supposed to be that happy pregnant couple, but instead our baby boy is already gone and I am the woman who can’t stop staring at the pregnant girl in the movie theater.

I had mentioned to my husband that I was struggling, and he told me that if I was unable to enjoy the movie he would gladly leave.  However, I wanted to see the movie.  I tried to get distracted by the cute animated animals that were doing ridiculous things on the screen.  It didn’t work.  It was hard to breathe, and I was overheating despite the AC.  Eventually,  I whispered to my husband that I couldn’t do it.  I tried to get up slowly and leave, but it turned into a weird high-speed escape.  I got into the hall, where I knew I needed to wait for my husband and his mother, and immediately started crying.  I cried the entire drive home, curled up in bed, and then cried some more.  I spent the whole afternoon and evening trying to distract myself in bed.   Day over.

So, as it happens, this was a case of not being ready to face certain realities.  It’s too soon to surround myself with reminders of what could have and should have been us.  This isn’t the first time I have ended up in a situation that I needed to escape, and I am sure this won’t be the last.  To those of you in this same depressing boat, there is no shame in not being ready.  Grieving is going to occur on its own schedule.  There is no need to force it.  Know that you aren’t alone.

HELP – The Whole World Is Pregnant

Ok – the WHOLE world isn’t pregnant, but it certainly feels that way.  While I was pregnant and still filled with hope for the future, the fact that so many people around me were pregnant or had young babies was exciting.  I’m not one to fixate on fitting in normally, but this was something I was looking forward to.  My husband’s twin sister gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, my godson, back in January.  It was just days before we broke the news that we were expecting a baby that would join this adorable new generation.  My nephew/godson is amazing.

A few months ago, my husband’s younger brother and his sweet wife announced that they too were expecting a baby around Christmastime this year.  I was so excited.  I couldn’t wait to help her pick out maternity clothes and to have someone else join this little club.  We were all having babies in the same order/timing we got married a couple of years ago.  This felt so right.  At the same time, 3 out of 7 wives in my husband’s group of southern friends were pregnant.  One gave birth just the day before we lost Isaac.  Her daughter is precious.  Another is due just two weeks after I was due in September.  Our kids were supposed to grow up together.  Even celebrities seem to be joining in on the trend.

This situation was perfect . . . when I was still part of the club.  Now it is torture.  I am so painfully jealous of my friends and family with their perfect chubby babies and still cute baby bumps.  I don’t do well with pregnant women and babies at the moment.  I have avoided baby sections in the few stores I’ve visited like the plague.  The grief specialist had to take me in through the back entrance to ensure I didn’t see any of the mothers with babies that the other doctors in the practice treat.  I haven’t even been able to talk to my still pregnant sister-in-law since we lost Isaac.  I’d love to call her and vent and let her know how much I love her, how much I hope she is doing well.  Right now, I just can’t bear it.

I want to be these girls, but instead, I am sitting here wondering if I will ever know what it’s like to give birth to a chubby screaming baby of my own.  My mother promises me that I will, but no one can promise that.  I have an unfortunate collection of genetic “stuff” and now a history of Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome.  I have a 1 in 4 chance of getting sick again, and if it happens, it is likely to happen earlier in pregnancy.  At 32 weeks, Isaac would have needed some NICU time, but had such a high chance of survival.  Earlier will complicate things.

All I want is to turn back the clock.  I want to rejoin the pregnant girl/newborn baby club.  Having so many pregnant women around me doesn’t feel as amazing anymore.

Day 19

Agust 5, 2016

Dearest Isaac,

Your Daddy went back to work today.  I missed him so much even though it was not a whole day.  I did OKAY.  I woke up, I took care of Mowgli and I even took my medicine.  TI took me 4 hours, but I eventually ate my breakfast (and lunch).  I didn’t feel like doing anything, so I watched TV.  I never realized how many TV episodes have pregnancy, birth or baby loss in them.  One episode featured the birth of twins.  I thought I was fine.  I thought that if I could watch, I’d get closer to being able to go places.  When the babies gave their first cries, I totally lost it.  I knew I was missing out on cuddling you, nurturing and loving you. I didn’t realize how much it hurt that you were silent and still when you were born nearly 3 weeks ago.  I guess it didn’t hit me because I was so out of it that night.  I don’t even remember what it felt like to push.  I just remember how you felt coming out (it was nothing compared to the contractions, though).  We were robbed of that happy moment when the baby finally comes out and cries.  At least it was peaceful, I suppose.

Your grandpa reached out to CHOP to help us find the best medical care for the future.  We ended up speaking to one of their doctors. She was nice as can be.  She can’t treat me, but she can help get us the right team. She already had someone in mind for us to contact.  She basically confirmed my suspicion that you and I didn’t have sufficient medical care.  I am so sorry I did not realize it sooner.  She did, however, put some hope back in Daddy’s and my life.  She said we CAN try again.  She also suggested that trying could commence at 4 months instead of the 6-12 months we heard previously.  It would still be risky.  Now that I have had HELLP Syndrome, there is a 1 in 4 chance it will happen again and it would likely happen earlier.  BUT if it happens, they would catch it sooner.  Things didn’t have to end that way and, hopefully, they never will again.  Mommy couldn’t bear it.

I am so broken over losing you, but now I have a spot of hope on the distant horizon.  I have to get healthy, to eat well and to exercise.  It’s what I know you would want and what must happen for the sake of your future sibling.  I will still count the days and weeks from your birth, still count down the days until your due date, until we could have taken you home.  But now I can also count the days until we can try again.  To be fair, “trying again” seems wrong.  We succeeded, the first time.  We made a wonderfully beautiful miracle named Isaac.  Nothing can ever change that.

Love you to pieces,

Mommy

Day 18

August 4, 2016

Dearest Isaac,

Daddy gave me a pleasant surprise this morning.  I remember being cuddled by Daddy in the middle of the night.  It amazes me the myriad of ways you have changed me.  For years, I have despised cuddling, but now? Now, I need that closeness.  Anyway, even in my state of semi-consciousness, I was panicked about daddy returning to work.  This morning, I woke up and rolled over, crushed that I didn’t have your Daddy to ease the wave of sadness I now wake to every morning.  So I grabbed my phone and sent him a panicky face.  As it happens, your intuitive Daddy knew I wasn’t ready to be alone yet.  He had woken up and decided he needed to stay home.  I was so epically relieved.  This does, however, mean he will be gone tomorrow.

The good news is that we did check some stuff off the to-do list.  We got Mowgli’s medicine, grabbed my mini cooper’s title, got some groceries, and even stopped to get some more embroidery floss to practice with.  Afterward, we stopped by the house I grew up in.  I didn’t make the connection until now, but I grew up on East Grand Oak Lane, a street named for its big strong oak trees.  Now, we’re planting oak trees for you.  Fitting, I suppose.  It was nice to show Daddy where I grew up.  We even r grabbed Pepper Mill cheesesteaks on the way home.

This afternoon, I practiced my embroidery.  You won’t be shocked that I am using your name for practice.  I told you I would write your name everywhere, and I plan to follow through.  I am waiting for nicer fabric to arrive for some more practice.

I have faced some harsh realizations today.  So far, since losing you three weeks (not sure how that’s possible(, I’ve had this weird sense of waiting.  It’s like I have the flu.  If I rest, hydrate and wait, eventually I’ll wake up feeling better.  With time, you forget  exactly how terrible the flu felt and life returns to normal.  That’s not going to happen this time.  No amount of time can fix this.  No amount of sleep and soup can fix you being gone.  Even a smudge on the wall from Daddy smushing a scary bug hurts me now.  I was laying right here nearly 7 months pregnant, and your daddy saved the day by getting rid of a scary bug on the ceiling.  Just seeing that smudge hurts me so badly because it reminds me that I was pregnant with you.  I miss you so much, and nothing can “fix” that.  I just want you back with every fiber of my being.  I wanted to give you the world and I never got that chance.

Love you dearly,

Mommy

Day 17

August 3, 2016

Dearest Isaac,

I still can’t believe that it’s August.  I keep finding myself mentally arranging furniture to make room for your bouncer or other accessories.  Then I remember you’re in another place where you don’t need a bouncer.  I hope it’s a better place, baby boy.  I miss you dearly.  Your magic butterflies and goldfinches were still here today.  I think all things happy and whimsical will belong to you in my mind.  Beautiful birds, butterflies, and even rainbows will belong to you.  Although, you will have to share rainbows with your great Bup Bup Sandy.

I’m writing to you with my new Isaac pen.  Your daddy and I each have one and will forever think of our love for you when we use them.  They are beautiful and have your name engraved on them.  I also love how it writes (never underestimate the impact of a great pen).

Daddy had some appointments today and I was alone at the house.   I struggled with his absence.  I am terrified about being here alone tomorrow when he goes back to work.  I even forget to eat when he isn’t here.  I panic.  I find myself doing dangerous research about what happened to us and what it means for giving you siblings.  I get myself worked up and we won’t have any answers until we start going to doctors again at the six-week mark.

I swear I do not want to replace you.  I never could and I never would.  However, I do need hope.  I do need to fill my days looking to the future.  I just don’t know what I will do if the doctor says that this hopeful future simply cannot be.  This ordeal could have taken both of us.  I’d trade myself for you in a heartbeat.  I just need this future that involves your baby sibling in our lives.

I sought help today.  Your grandma insisted on it.  It was a very hard phone call to make.  It only took five tries, but now I am going to see a bereavement next Tuesday.  I told her our story.  I know from past experience that talking helps.  Unfortunately, talking can be the hardest thing to do.  I have a lot of processing to do still.  I hope this helps.  I’ll never get over this – never get over you.  I do need to find some way forward.  However we get “forward” we will do it together.

I love you very very much, even more than I love myself.

Mommy

Day 16

August 2, 2016

Dearest Isaac,

Today Daddy and I went through the boxes that came while we were in New Hampshire.  Lots of great things came for you from people who loved you.  There was so much to love in such a tiny package.  We tucked some away for another day, but other things I had picked for your room we decided to keep out as reminders of you.  We kept and adorable bright textile from Australia.  We kept a mini globe that says “Adventure Awaits”.  I hope you are on a fantastic and dreamy adventure somewhere.

I missed you so much today.  Hardly a second went by that I didn’t think of you.  Today’s fixation was your smile.  I think I can imagine what it would have looked like.  Gosh – you were cute.  I would do anything to make you smile.  I would also do anything to hold you again one last time.  I also wish beyond anything that I had known our time together was about to end so abruptly.  I wish I could have said goodbye, or known that I needed to memorize the way your kung fu kicks felt in my belly.

Today we saw one of those things that is as close to magic as we will ever get.  It started with your Daddy convincing me to go outside with Mowgli.  Then I saw a big yellow butterfly.  No big deal – right?  But then I realized that the entire bush below was covered in perfect yellow butterflies.  I don’t know why they were there, and they were gone a few hours later, but they were so perfect in that moment.  I called your Daddy out to show him and he found a way to top the butterflies.  The trees next to our house were filled with tiny gorgeous goldfinches.  I’ve never seen anything like it – there were tiny yellow creatures flying all around us.  It had to be you.

Until that moment I felt so lost today.  Even eating felt like a chore.  It scares me.  Your Daddy has a haircut and an interview tomorrow, and I wish I could say that I will be OK tomorrow.  I just haven’t felt up to the chores of daily life.  Daddy wants your Grandma Cindy and Aunt EB to come up and keep me company and take care of me.  I don’t want them to see me so broken.  I don’t enjoy not wanting to get out of bed and not wanting to do anything.  I am embarrassed enough that your Daddy has to see me so destroyed and pathetic.   Anyways, Mommy could use an extra dose of strength from you tomorrow, baby boy.  I know that’s a bit backward.  The Mommy is supposed to be the strong one.  I promise I will be your strong Mommy again.

Love you forever,

Mommy

Day 15

August 1, 2016

Dearest Isaac,

Grief is a funny beast.  One second I feel like I see a path forward or I pause and I think I can enjoy things, the next I fall totally to pieces.  I miss you, I obsess over you and I feel like my heart and soul have been torn out.  Being back in Pennsylvania feels like torture.  Your Daddy continues to be a champion, my hero and my rock.  I know how lucky I am to have him.  He keeps reminding me that we are a family.  It just feels so broken right now.  I have told you before, but i will tell you again – I will someday fill this journal with happy stories.  I will tell you about your Daddy, your grandparents, your aunts, and uncles.  I’ll tell you about fun things we do.  Someday, I’ll tell you about your little brothers or sisters.  For now, I will vent.  I keep feeling guilty about it, but I’ve promised to always be honest with you.  To be honest, things are still too raw to write letters with any joy.

We took Mowgli to get some much-needed grooming today.  We dropped him off and went to the grocery store.  Your mommy stinks at grocery shopping.  We did get some good frozen ingredients.  We bought a freezer to fill with meals in preparation for your arrival.  I had always wanted an extra freezer.  I said I would fill it with meals for rainy days.  I do wish I had filled it sooner.  The days sure feel rainy right now.  I will fill it eventually.

After the store, we picked up Mowgli.  He is fluffy and adorable.  As I write this, he is rolling around in our bed like a big goober.

We received some news about you today.  You were a beautiful, perfectly normal baby.  In my sadness and anxiety, I had convinced myself that something was wrong with you – that perhaps I thought you were perfect just because you were my son.  I can see how someone might get blinded by love.  The doctors, however, agreed that you were perfectly normal.  There were not infections, not a hair out of place on your adorable head.  In part, I am relieved.  Yet the guilt – however unfounded – is overwhelming.  But for my body’s failure, you would have been okay.  I’ve never wanted to change something so badly in all my life.  In fact, I can’t remember wanting something so badly in life that I could not obtain with some amount of effort.  Maybe with things I wanted previously I did not put in the effort, but I always could have.  Losing Bup Bup was similar, but despite how much I loved him, it is nothing compared to this.  There is nothing I can do to bring you back.

I hope, at least, that I can be a person, a mother, you would be proud of.

I love you,

Mommy