Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Darkest before the Dawn

Once very recently and not so far away, there lived a little girl in the deepest valley of the world.  This little girl walked through this deep valley, aware that there must be a place beyond that she had never been told about.  She didn't know how she knew this, but she felt sure of it.  Every day, she would wander through the trees in the hopes of finding a path that would lead her away from the valley that enclosed her.  One day, she came upon a path that she had never seen before.  It seemed rocky and narrow and she was afraid that it might not lead her anywhere.  Nevertheless, she found her self climbing it slowly. As it grew dark, she looked back from where she'd come and knew that not only could she not find her way back but that she was perfectly sure that there was no way to return to the life she had decided to leave.  She walked on.  The blackness of night chilled her to the core, and she felt a distinct glimmer of fear well up within her.  Tears flowed down her cheeks where the grime collected from her journey turned into muddy tracks.

She walked on.

And on.

Her feet bloody from the rocks, she walked on.

It seemed that the night would never end.

Owls hooted in the trees where the wind whispered encouragement to the little girl.

And as the sun made its way into the sky once more...the little girl saw the new dawn.

The colors swirled purple and golden over the horizon and the birds sang a lullaby to the night owl that lulled him to sleep.

The little girl walked on and as the light brightened the world, she saw herself in a land that existed above and beyond the valley below where the flowers bloomed and rainbows danced in the misty air.

She was finally home. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Doing it differently

There are people who believe that it is best to forget the past.  Perhaps they feel that remembering negates any beauty of the present?  Honestly, as a person who feels that one must remember in order to fully appreciate what IS, I can't pretend to understand the desire to forget implicitly in the name of "being healed".

What IS healing, anyway?  Is it not remembering?  Is it turning the other way when the sharpness of a memory permeates the present moment?  Or is it being able to see the contrast, acknowledge the pain and longing, and then...continue living.

Once upon a time, (many times actually...) I was called diarrhea mouth. This "loving" nickname hurt me deeply.  It was an effective way to express that what I had to say was so abundant that it was sickening and uncontrollable.  Funny that I would go on to become a writer: ie: a person who has much to express.  Call it diarrhea mouth...or call it being expressive.  My parents chose the former...and as I watch my rainbow baby coo and croon and babble and chat in beloved baby expression, I am choosing the latter.  Expressive.  Not diarrhea mouth.  Beautiful.  Not nauseating. Precious.  Not dismissible.

There are those who would wish that I wouldn't think of what I was called as I give my daughter the warmth I feel she (and I) deserve.  Instead, I say to her "Sweetie!  You have SO much to say and I LOVE to listen to you!"  or "Oh Ali V.  Tell me MORE of that sugar!"  or "You go sweet Venus...tell the people what you want!"  there are those who feel, to this day, that they wish I didn't express what I feel or call it like I see it.  But...there is a discrepancy between the sentiment of wishing a person could find healing while wishing they would shut up about their pain. Diarrhea vs. Constipation??  Better out than in!!!

Oh yes.  I hear, in the words of a parent not as enthusiastic as I happen to be, the groan of "there goes diarrhea mouth again...." in the depths of my own childhood memory.  Because I love my own beautiful little girl so much, I feel the contrast, and it aches in my gut.  That I, a beautiful baby girl...a rainbow baby myself (!!!)...would not have been cherished...that my earliest sentiments would have been viewed in a similar fashion to something as wretched as diarrhea...well, all I can say to that is---wow.  I deserved better.  I'll give my daughter better.  That is my promise to her.  That is my promise to me. Healing.

As I love my daughter, I am learning that I deserved just as much love.

That is true healing.  See the now.  See the past.  And do it differently in honor of the love you honor of the love deserved by all.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Past...

This morning, I am thinking about what has been.  I am thinking about what has been in the light of what is now.

It is, surprisingly, not making me feel sad.

When I look at what has been, all by itself, I typically feel a wave of grief.  I can look behind at my footprints and see that there are so many tears about so many things.  I can find myself falling back into those footprints, wishing I could change them.  Or, at the very least, make them more palatable.  That isn't the way footprints are though.  You can't erase them, or turn them in another direction without messing up the rest of the journey.  So, as I look at my footprints, I found myself realizing that it was those very steps that have led me to now.

I found myself feeling...grateful.  Yeah.  I said it.  Grateful.

I started thinking this way because my on and off again boyfriend of middle school years found me on facebook.  I had to smile, because this boy was one of my happy memories of the past.  I remember...  I remember him passing me a note in Mr. Mormon's class in 6th grade.  I was new to the school, and had pretty low self esteem after my torture from a particularly mean girl in the school I'd been in previously.  He passed me a note.  It simply said..."I think you're cute."

Harmless enough, but...being the silly fool I was at the time, I thought he was making fun of me because I knew without a doubt that I was everything BUT cute.  I ran out of the classroom in tears because I was horrified that this very cute boy was making fun of me.  I wasn't cute.  I was ugly.  I was fat.  I was stupid.  I was....worthless.  I cried and cried until another girl came out of the classroom onto the field to console me.  She assured me that I was cute, and that if this boy, whom she also agreed was as cute as I'd thought, said I was cute, he meant it!  I was elated!  Have you ever seen Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?  The old one...with the fur-mation and the snow monster?  The scene when Rudolph leaps into the air, flying better than all the reindeer because the girl reindeer tells him he's cute?  Well...that was me.  All because of being given a letter (a confirmed one at that!) that said I was cute.  He became my boyfriend, and gave me my first kiss.  Of course, we were kids, and we broke up, he went with my best friend, they broke up, we got back together, we broke up, we got back together...and then, he met another girl.  A girl whom he married.  I remember her...she was sweet, pretty, and smart.  They were perfect for each other.  Everyone agreed about that fact.  When he told me he'd married his high school sweetheart, I was elated!  It was meant to be.  It was perfect.

I saw our footprints of the past join happily, and then move apart to join other footprints.  Just as it needed to be to bring me to my husband.  Had I stayed with my 6th grade crush, the first boy to tell me I was cute, well...I wouldn't have my husband.  I wouldn't have this life. 

I saw my footprints join with the wonderful man whom I love with every fiber of my being.  I saw tiny foot prints walking beside us.  I saw tears in some of the deeper prints and sparkles in others.  The most recent footprints are filled with the light of rainbows.  Deep, sturdy prints are these.  No mistaking that these prints have been taken with determination.  With purpose.

I walk more carefully now-a-days.  I'm not as flitting and fleeting as I was once upon a time.  I feel like I know where I am going, though I can't chart the course on a map of any kind.  As I make new footprints, I realize that the past has made the present and the two combined will make the future.  We all carry baggage with us on our journeys through life.  One of the things I carry in my pocket is a little note with the penciled scrawl of a boy who gave me back my self esteem.  The boy who first told me I was cute.  And meant it.

If it wasn't for him, I might have never known that.

I might have believed a lie told by a mean girl instead.

To all the people of the all the things that have been...To all the smiles, and all the all the loss and all the gain...

Thank you.  Thank you for being part of my now.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Of panic attacks and wishful thinking...

There is a sleeping bundle of girlishness on my bed.  She's sleeping in the pseudo-starlight of  her turtle nightlight.

And I...I am here.

I had a panic attack last week.  Two of them actually.  It's amazing to me that the nervous system can really get fried badly enough that it misfires even when you're feeling just fine.  Because, I really was feeling fine.  Or...was I?

Apparently...I wasn't feeling fine enough.  I get that there is this underlying anxiety that lives in my chest at all times.  I get that I'm hyper vigilant.  I get that I'm basically damaged goods.  But...I also get the psychology of grief.  I get the human psyche.  I understand what I've been through and I've been working hard to heal.  And...she IS here.  Sleeping on my bed.  Right next to the co-sleeper that she never sleeps in, because...that is too far away.  I can hear her sleepy noises from where I stand right now.  She is 10 steps away from me at this very moment.  She is here.  Alive.  A big gorgeous girl with bright blue eyes and a presence that say's "Mama...I am here to stay!"

She's vibrant.  Unscathed by life. grand-babies are within her body right now.   All the babies she could ever have....inside her ovaries.  And that was what did it.  I was holding her.  Loving her smell.  Cherishing her presence.  Knowing all too well how very very very lucky I am.  It was that moment when my heart clenched.  My breathing shallowed.  My eyes swelled with tears...and it began.

I couldn't really protect her.  Not forever.  Not in every way.  Not from loss.

As I held my tiny 2 and a half month old daughter...all 16 pounds of her...I was deeply aware that I was also holding all her babies...her future darlings...and the fear poured over me.  I quaked.

I lost it.

She slept through my jerky sobbing and my sudden fear that I might just die from the despair that was racing through my veins.   She slept through my wails.  Cuddled on my chest...peaceful.

As if to remind me that she wasn't worried.

As a have to remember not to push your fears on your children.  I bite my lip hard when I see a spider...and calmly try to act like I'm not terrified that it will run up my leg.  I feign composure when we drive on narrow roads near mountain cliffs.  (Of course...I typically lose that battle...My boys are all too aware of my fear of heights, but, I haven't passed it on.  They just think it's silly....)
I don't want my daughter to fear bearing a child.  I don't want her to fear loss.

But mostly...I don't want her to experience loss.


And that isn't something I can force.  It isn't something I can protect her from.

I can only watch.

I can only hope it isn't on her path.

And I fear that it isn't enough.  Hope isn't enough to protect her from pain and tears and loss.

It isn't enough, but it's all a mama has.

When she wants me, she calls for me.  She actually says "Ma mam! Meh Mem!"  She only says this when she wants me.  She can talk.  She's been doing this since birth, and there is no disputing the communication.  She trusts me to protect her.  She trusts me to know what she needs.
I know that she trusts me to have the answers.  She needs to know that I can help her when she's gassy or hungry or lonely or just plain...needy.  She turns to me for help.

My panic attack was over knowing that there will be times that I can't help.  Won't have the answers. Won't be able to take away the pain.

The thing that eased the second panic attack was remembering that I don't need to know the answers.  I found a peace in my being by remembering my sisters on this journey that is being a woman who has lost babies.  I remembered all you have done and all you have been to me.  You've been HERE.  You couldn't take away my pain.  But you witnessed me in it.  You couldn't change the fact that loss was part of my being.  You understood and validated my pain.  You couldn't promise me that it wouldn't happen again.  But you held my hands and gave me hope.

And in that, I suddenly realized that hope is more than enough.

Hope is everything. It's all we have.  It's not desperate and it won't change hard events.  It gives you a reason to go on. To find your path. To know that doors will and DO open, even if they aren't the doors you thought you'd venture through.  Experiencing life isn't a bad thing, though it can be a hard journey.  When I look back, I understand that there is hope.  I can give that to my little girl when she needs it...even though I hope she won't need it in the way I did.

Hope.  It saved my life.  It brought me to this moment, where I can hear her breathing.  Where she is only 10 steps away.  Where she is being watched carefully by a loving furry sheepdog who wants nothing more than to lick her tiny feet, but is resisting the temptation....for now.

Monday, November 28, 2011 has to be that.

I know I am not the only one in the world who thinks her mother in law is lacking.  In wit.  In brains. In common sense. In tact.  In everything.

Last night I lay awake wondering, once again, how it was possible that my beautiful, loving, intelligent, spiritually competent, sensitive, amazing husband came from her loins.  How did such a miracle occur?

She does it every time---she whacks me from some unexpected place that only she possess the key to.  I've gotten agile over the years.  Seventeen years of practice...and yet, she knocked me over again.

I was on my guard for this visit.  I'd been practicing my mental fencing techniques, just to be sure I wouldn't get poked again.  I was on my guard.  Practiced.  Seasoned.  Ready.  I've gotten pretty adept at fending off abuse over the past few years...since our loss....

When you realize that life is too short to tolerate anything but the best, you have to be prepared to defend your heart.  Fragile as it can be, people still can be careless about it...stepping on it as they go their merry way.  I've been so lucky to have met amazing people on my journey.  People who go above and beyond to love and support me.  Wonderful friends.  My true family.  My sisters and brothers in life.  People who understand.  I'm married to my best friend.  I'm truly blessed.

And broken.

It is the broken parts...the weak parts...the fragile parts---which I defend the most vehemently. 

My mother in law...she was here for Thanksgiving.  It's been two years since she was last here.  It didn't go very well.

I was pretty good about standing up for myself.  For my children.  For my husband.  In general, if I felt she was out of line, I told her.  Again.  And Again.  And Again.  I was kind.  I was firm.  I was honest.  She didn't like it, but the thin line of her lips would close stiffly and she would stop in her tracks.  She was obviously trying too.

Hour after hour, I would spend in polite conversation...trying to make things run smoothly while my husband was at work.  Trying.  Trying.

The effort was exhausting...

The last day of her visit, I must have let my guard down or something...because she nailed me hard.

She was talking about some celebrity.  She looooves media life.  I know very little about anything in that realm.  It's not my thing.  Never has been.  Even as a young teen, I didn't have posters of the hotties of the day on my walls.  Never fell in love with a celebrity.  Didn't dream of hooking up with someone rich and famous.  Didn't want to BE famous either.  So....I don't really care about who did what or who went where or who married who or which loaded billionaire had another baby.

My mother in law, on the other hand, cares A LOT about this.  So...she was talking.  Very animated. About some famous person...maybe you know who it was...I can't even remember the name.  Honestly.  I'm totally serious.  I was simply nodding and acting like I gave a damn just to keep her happy.  But the midst of my nodding and smiling, I suddenly found that her words were clear as a summers day...and they were ripping me apart.

She was going on and on and on about someone who has new twins and all about how cute they were. "Oh Sara!  They are the sweetest little twins!  I just love twins and always hoped I would have them, but I didn't.  Don't you think having twins would be fun?!"


I stood frozen.  My rainbow baby in a sling sleeping soundly at my breast.  Frozen in time.  Frozen in memory.  Numb.

Do I think having twins would be fun????  Did she REALLY ask me that?

It took me a moment as I looked at her smiling, completely idiotic, sunburned face to really register that she really had said what I thought she said. 

My voice sounded dull to my ears.  "Yeah.  I would have loved to have had my twins.  I would have loved that."

She brightened..not really taking in my reply.  "I KNOW!  It would be SO fun to have twins!"

She babbled on for the rest of the afternoon.  She had no idea what she'd done.  No idea.  When my husband came home from work, he saw my face and knew right away that something had happened.  He told his mom that he wanted to go on a walk with me and asked if she'd watch the boys (who, for the record, don't need a baby sitter anymore.)  We put Ferdinand on his leash and headed out for the gully.  We walked in silence holding hands.

When we came to our rock...the rock that houses our twins ashes...I sat down and held our little rainbow girl tightly against my chest.  I sobbed.  And sobbed.

Would I have thought it would be fun to have twins?


Would I have liked twins?

Yeah.  Yeah I would have liked that.

My tears fell on the rock.  My baby girl nestled into my body...warm and alive.

I have much to be thankful for.

Perhaps, the next time my mother in law comes, I should actually don full body armor...just so she doesn't forget who she is talking to next time.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Funny things happen in this seemingly material world.  Things that aren't "supposed" to happen, but happen nonetheless.

My doctor can't explain it.  But, then again...there are a lot of things that have happened in my life that doctors can't explain. 

That hole in my belly is apparently....smaller.  Much smaller in fact.  So small that they wouldn't even think of operating.  So small that they are wondering why they even suggested surgery in the first place.

This is something they said "never" heals on its own. 

And yet....  a two inch hole has turned into a two centimeter a matter of a few weeks. 

They tell me the hole will never go away, and I believe them.  Of course, I am still talking about the one that is innate in my gut.  The one that yearns for twins that should have been.  The one that aches.

They can't explain why that hernia is suddenly....pretty much gone. 

They are chalking it up to "grace".  What else can they do when medical science fails them once again as they glance at my chart and decide I'm...weird.

My Venus girl slept for 5 hours without waking last night.  Snoozing in the crook of my arm as I looked at her face in the shadows of the night light that casts purple stars on the ceiling.  I thanked Simon and Alexander for healing my heart...for keeping her safe...for reducing the hole within me. 
I thanked them for keeping my family together...for bringing us a furry sheepdog who "knows"...for being.  Yeah....for just....being. 

The fact that they were....that they ARE....
that's grace.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Brick Walls

Somehow, being told one has a hernia from a pregnancy seems like a microscopic occurrence when one has also been told that one's baby is dead.


I happen to have a hernia at the moment.  A tiny little rip in my umbilical region which occurred during my pregnancy with our little Venus girl who is, at the moment, bouncing happily in a little chair as she makes dear little vulture sounds that seem to be the precursor to laughter.  This tiny little rip in my abdomen seems like the most insignificant occurrence I have endured in the past three years. 

Looking behind me, I see a young man with a smashed in skull...a dead own blood running out of a hospital room...another dead baby....a sudden head on collision in my marriage which, luckily, took no one hostage...and a tearful pregnancy full of terror and fear that resulted in the longest labor of my life....

But all of that....all of that...brought me here.  To the coos of my rainbow girl who squawks and squeaks with joy. 

They told me I should get the hernia fixed.

I agreed.

They told me it was a simple operation.

I agreed.

They told me it wouldn't be a big deal to give my baby a few bottles of breast milk.

I sort of agreed.

They told me I'd be under general anesthesia instead of the spinal I requested and that I'd be out for an entire day and wouldn't be able to breast feed for at least 2 days or pick up my 13 plus pound 2 month old for six weeks.

I did not agree.

I insisted upon the spinal.

They protested.
I insisted.
They refused.
I cried.

Yeah.  I cried.

After all I've seen.  All I've been through.  Everything I've worried'm not leaving her for the whole day.  I'm not doing it.

I'll keep the hole in my gut.  In a way, it's symbolic.  Of course I would have a hole in my middle...of course there is a gaping spot in my center....of course there is.

It's not just a metaphor.  There's a hole inside of me.  In may lessen, but, it will never go away.  I'll have to treat it with care...paying attention to it, least it should get bigger.  That's just the truth of my being.  I have a hole inside of me.

Medical science...they might have been able to sew me up---good as new.  However, in reality...the hole would still be there.  No matter how many sutures they apply, that hole can't be repaired.  I'm not about to make that hole bigger with a separation from the little girl who makes my every moment worth living.

I just can't do it.  I've hit a brick wall.

I'm keeping the hole.  It's part of who I am as a whole.
I know that this hole in my body is a symptom of the hole in my spirit.
I can hear my little one bouncing in her chair, and I know that there are worse things than having a hernia.  There could be silence.  The sound of nothing.  The sound of dead babies.  Gone. 

This is nothing. 

There are much worse situations.  I've lived them. 
I have the hole to prove it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A bad mother...

I felt like a bad mother today.

I sat here...with a beautiful, perfect, softly snoring baby girl in my lap.  Tears rolling down my cheeks as my older boys made salmon chowder upstairs. 

My heart was aching.

There was nowhere to go.  Nothing to do about how I felt.  No place to feel differently.

So I cried in silence while living perfection slept.


desire.  Desire for the ability to turn it off--the thoughts--the memories--the regrets.

I sat here just wishing to feel like the me I once was.  Oblivious to the pain. 

My first grand-baby was born on Sunday.  He was early.  His poor mamma has only held him twice due to complications.  I've been crying for her pain as well.  Her worry is my own.

I feel like a bad mother for not just keeping my focus on my girl....for letting my heart wander from her to what is the  tears of the past...and the tears of others.

A bad mother....for even momentarily...feeling sad after her living presence.   Or maybe...I just feel like a bad sister.  Bad for having reasons to smile when my sisters in life are still crying.  Bad for being lucky.  This time. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On manipulation...

Did you know there are people out there who really believe that loving a baby "too much" can lead to a personality defect called "manipulation"?

Oh yes....according to this lore, if you respond to a baby, particularly a female baby, who exhibits a lower lip pout in her sadness over...uh...anything at all...with affection, love and are creating a manipulator.

"You'll have to watch THAT if you don't want her to become manipulative."


I'll have to watch "THAT"???


As I care for this little sweet one month old baby girl, I can only shake my head in massive disappointment in my "elders".   Suddenly, all the neglect and abusive techniques I experienced as a girl make sense.  It was all in the name of not spoiling me.  All in the name of making sure I didn't really think I was worth much...not worth listening to...not worth attending to...not worth caring for.  My tears were laughed at.  Photos even taken of my proof that I was a little "diva".  A drama queen.

Or maybe I was hungry.

Perhaps even exhausted?

Or...maybe I was just....manipulative.

or would have become manipulative had anyone shown a glimmer of tenderness.

Thank GOD they saved me from myself.

Now...excuse me while I barf a little in my hand.


This isn't what you get when you respond to a baby's distress---even if she happens to have a vagina and is prone to become "a manipulator".


This isn't an innate quality in a baby who is nurtured, attended to, even adored.


This isn't something that develops from being treasured.  Loved.  Honored.

No...I see something very clearly.  People who withhold love from a baby in the fear based non reality which sees NEED as a personality flaw are severely mistaken.  In fact, this false belief is really based on a desire to perpetrate the insult that was bestowed upon them so that they can continue the tradition of selfish neglect that allows the adult to manipulate the baby's very tender psyche.  This, in my opinion, borders on insanity.  "Don't let your baby turn into a manipulative little girl or you'll be sorry!"  Hmmmmmmmm...... what I hear is "Don't let your baby think you actually care about her or she might grow into a human being who actually knows her worth, and then, she will be harder to control with manipulation."  oops. 

In the meantime...I am going to keep responding to my daughters very appropriate need, her tender cries for assistance, her emotional honesty, and her baby-ness with prompt sincerity and total abandon!  I couldn't love her too much.  I couldn't care for her too much.  This abundance of love won't spoil her or taint her.  She can have free access to my heart.

Anyone who worries that she will become manipulative as a result can go take their outdated dogma to a much much warmer climate and roast them over a pit fire.

So, please excuse me while I go, without any worries, to snuggle with the brightest light in the nighttime sky--My Venus girl--Ali V.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


It is October.  My husband and Ali V. and I went for a long walk in the woods yesterday, with shaggy Ferdi in the lead.  The boys opted for some uninhibited "gaming" instead of enjoying the fall colors I was so eager for.  It was o.k....I wanted time to just..."be".

October is beautiful in Montana.  Truly stunning.  We have all the color of Vermont maples in's Montana, so it's all on a much bigger scale, and there are more open places to romp and admire.  We chose the woods near the river that "runs through it".  Beautiful.  Red, orange, yellow, burnt umber...and...purple?

Yes.  Purple.  Purple and yellow flowers.  Everywhere.

I guess we haven't had a frost yet.

Ever since we lost Simon and Alexander, purple and yellow have reached out to us from season to season.  This year, as I felt the crunching of leaves underfoot, I was absolutely taken with the presence of flowers.  Taken...with memories.

I've walked these woods before.  Trying to find myself.

Trying to get a grip.  On sanity...on life.

With a sleeping bundle of girlyness in my arms, and a two year old sheepdog leaping up ahead, I felt my husbands hand in mine.  He saw the flowers as well...and they mean as much to him as they do to me.

Our little rainbow baby is a loud sleeper...she coos happily in an audible mantra of life.  It's a good thing, because I'd be apt to try to wake her if she was too quiet...just to make make sure.

As she cooed noisily, I felt the tears rimming my eyes.  They felt cold in the autumn air that I was breathing.

They would have been toddlers.  They would have been chattering to each other in twin-speak.  They would have...been.

When Ali V. stirred in her sleep, groping for the ever present nipple which she assumes access to on demand, I didn't hesitate to pull out my breast as we continued to walk in the woods.  My husband laughed at my native look.  Boob being suckled in the woods near the river as I trekked on without pausing even a step.  I smiled...wiping the tears away.

I can do this.  Yes.  THIS I can do.  Being "Ma MAM!"  is easy for me.

It's the loss that was hard.

It's the loss that still stings.

Not only my own losses....but the losses that lay in the breasts of other mamas....the losses that continue.  It's the loss that stings my heart as I listen to my darling daughters coos of contentment with full belly in the magical woods of Montana.  The loss that has been...and will be.  I felt a stirring of guilt in my wondrous fortune having become the grateful mother of this precious being who needs me...who actually gropes for me in a sleepy request for sustenance and comfort. 

I felt the breeze flutter past...and I could almost hear their laughter.  The way it should have been.  It echoes in the woods...

Where purple and yellow flowers continue to bloom in the depths of October...

And...I remember.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Regarding Sleep...

"You look tired." 

"Are you getting enough sleep?"

"Is she a fussy baby?"

Questions...these are the questions people ask. 

My Ali V. is three weeks old.  I do look tired.  I am not getting "enough sleep".  And no...I wouldn't say she is fussy.  Not fussy.  Particular.  She requires consideration.  Attention to how she feels.  But fussy?  No. 

In reference to sleep...  I honestly don't care that I'm tired.  I don't care that dark circles shadow under my eyes.  I was up last night until 2:30...falling asleep while standing up swaying with a small girl in the darkness.  "It's o.k. my Ali's o.k...."  And....I meant it.  It really IS o.k..  It's o.k..  Better than o.k..

For the many of us who know the wakeful hours of tear filled loneliness due to empty arms where a small being should have nestled.  .'s better than o.k. to be walking the halls in a sing song sway of hip in an effort to soothe someone in need of comfort as they get used to having a human body.  It's better than o.k.. to feel tired due to the need a newborn insists upon than the feel tired at a soul level as you try to convince  yourself that hearing a baby that isn't there cry loud enough to wake you up, and vividly enough to remind you of all you have lost.

My husband held me close the other day as I walked those midnight hours.  His confession of finally understanding the depth of our loss as he watched me care for our tiny daughter was comforting. is true...every single moment of every single day for the past two and a half years was spent, for me, in the stark reality that presented empty arms and a broken heart.  No babies.  No twins.  No....anything. 

As I look down at this little girls "finally" sleeping face and admire the sweetness of an existence which allows for her to sleep during daylight hours in the comfort of my arms just as easily as it allows for her to protest the night in those same comfortable arms, I am overcome with the love that is profoundly healing.

I find myself feeling a profound thankfulness to my twins for bringing this little girl to us safely.  I yearn for them.  I tear up as I look at her...and the thankfulness fills my being.  I know that our twins know better than any other how deep the scar was that they left behind as I groped for healing the bleeding wound in my heart.  I know they were there witnessing the pain of losing them.  I know they were protecting this little girl as she made her way into this world, and into our arms. 

In the nighttime solitude that I share with my tiny daughter...yes, I am tired. 

And...I've been waiting to be this brand of tired for several years.  I am tired.  I am not getting "enough sleep".  And little girl is not fussy.  She's alive.  And she needs me.  And that is exactly how it should be.

There will be time to sleep later.  When that time comes, my dreams will be filled with the bliss of remembering those well worn pathways walked with my little girl.

And with the understanding that I will never forget what it feels like to walk them empty handed.  She is not "fussy."  She is Ali V. She is of stardust and rainbow light. And she is HERE.


Friday, September 30, 2011

she is here!

Oh my....

That is all I can say as I look at her.
Oh my...

The wonder that is found in her little face.  Oh my....

The beauty...
The precious innocence...

Oh my....

She is here.

She took forever....forever to get here.

Oh my.... has taken me some time to acclimate.  To realize it's over.  And, that it has also just begun.

A  new page.  A new chapter.  A new life.

All because rainbows DO occur.

In spite of my fears.  doubts.  tremors of terror.

She is here.

She is REALLY here.

Eyes of sky blue that open and look at me.  Soft downy light brown hair on a warm head.  Softer than peach fuzz.  Or baby rabbit fur....  A rosebud mouth that smiled this morning.  Long slender fingers that really grasp mine.  And hold on.  Tiny toes that clench as warm water from her bath drips off...

She is here.  She made it.  She really did.

I didn't believe she would...until she did.

Even at the last push, when I heard our midwife say "There's a little cord here..." and I thought to myself in terror "Oh god...she's not going to make it..." And I pushed harder to get her here faster....and then...

I heard her voice.  My baby girl.  "MA MAM!" It was all she said.

It was enough.

She was HERE.  She made it.  She cried out for me. "MA MAM!"

And the tears in the room were visible on every face.


I saw my sons...smiling widely as they discovered that babies don't always die.
I saw my husband.  Tears dripping as he said "baby...she's calling for YOU!"
I saw my best friend in the world...who held me two years ago, offering the sweetness of kumquats in the painful reality of loss.  Of total and complete loss.  Her eyes bright with the tears of healing.  Of witnessing that life IS.
I saw our midwife...who never quaked...and yet...the tears were there.  For all of us.  For our joy.

And She IS here.

Our star baby.  Our rainbow girl.

Born after weeks of contractions.  Even with a cervix that would NOT budge without help...the terror holding true release back.  Born after 9 months of fear.  Worry.  nightmares.  and...unrelenting hope.

She is here.  Sweet Alicia Venus.  Our Ali V.

Rainbows do happen.  They really do. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

I take it back.

My last post talked about how I'm not patient. 

I want to retract that.

I am 42 weeks patient.  I am 4 days in labor patient.  I am 2 and a half years waiting to hold my living baby patient. 

I am the most patient woman on the planet.

I am also tired.

I am also afraid.

I am also....lost.  Lost as to WHY this is taking so long.  Tired from being in labor for a million years, or so it seems.  Afraid...because....what if after all this health, life and vibrance....after all the waiting and worrying....after all the support and love from around the world...what ends badly.  What if she doesn't make it. 

My midwife says there is no reason to worry.

My readers know differently.

I know differently.

There are reasons.

Reasons that happen.

That have happened before.

To me.
To you.

I have to look the other way, because if I glance in that direction for too long, it scalds my heart and the inflammation is more than I can bear.

Waiting for a rainbow.  Waiting for the storm to fade.


In patience.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On Patience...

I am impatient.

Well, maybe that is an overstatement.  In general, I'm a pretty chilled out gal.  Or at least....I used to be.  I used to be. 

I remember, 8 years ago, holding a little baby boy in my arms, and nursing for endless hours as bewildered friends openly commented that they could never sit so still for so long.  I a word...patient. 

I loved the baby pace.  The pace of tandem nursing tranquility.  The pace....before. 

Before trauma. 

Before loss.

We were always "poor".  That wasn't a big deal.  Give me an empty bank account any day over personal loss.  I have an empty bank account today for that matter!  It rocks.  Having nothing, you can only go upward from there.  That's how I see it anyway.  When you have can't lose anything.  Well...I have zero dollars. 

Actually...I have exactly 6 dollars and 89 cents.  hah!  Not completely broke.  Almost...but not quite. 

My due date is today.  August 30th.  The day I impatiently awaited with fearful breath.  The day I worried would only be marked by more tears.  And's here....and my buttercup rainbow star child....she's moving about in her limited cocoon of love....she's moving. 

She's moving even as I type.

That's wealth to me.

Abundance. far as feeling patient???  No sir.  I want her.  NOW. 

Not later.

Not after.



I want my cake and I want to eat it too!  I have never felt so impatient in all of my life. 

Impatient to know....that she is alright.  To know she can see me.  To know she can hear me.  To know she has her fingers and toes in tact.  To know she is healthy.  To know she will live....

Patience.  I saw it on my eight year old sons face at the water park on Sunday.  It was the last day of the swimming season, even though it has only just become summer in Montana.  The last day of the soothing waters and waterfalls of this playful park with slides and bubbles and joy.  My husband was laughingly taking each boy in a double tube in turn down one of the bigger slides.  I floated in all my bikinied glory (for I enjoy a bikini only while pregnant....and the sun felt soooo nice on my golden belly...) around the lazy river...over and over and over in pregnant bliss.  I'd come around the corner to spy one of my sons waiting his turn....and when I saw my eight year old waiting, I was amazed.  He sat there, a little golden skinned buddah.  Full lotus position, with arms carefully poised in a chosen chakra stance.  I could see his rosebud lips...still with all baby teeth in tact...carefully parted as he whispered "ooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmm" to himself. 

This was how he waited his turn.  In patience.  In mindfulness.  In peace.

It is his way.  I taught all of my sons the art of yoga and suggested meditation to them all at one point or another.  But my eight year old....he actually practices it.  Every day, at some point, he can be found in a quiet location...meditating.  It's what he does for inner peace.  It's what he's been doing since his eldest brothers head injury at age five.  Completely un-coached.  He found his peace. 

And he uses it.

We can learn a lot from our children.  They take what they see around them, and then, they implement it in ways we can only imagine. 

Today, as I attempt to find patience in my very unpatient state, I will be taking a page from the book of a small boy we call "Bear"....I will find a quiet place....and I will remember who I used to be.  The lotus mother...who could sit...with a smile....

and breathe. 

and breathe....

Monday, August 15, 2011

It has made all the difference...

The first poem I learned by heart, as far as I can remember, was Robert Frost's "Walking by Woods on a Snowy Evening...".  I learned it, and loved it with all my heart. 

As I walk through this life full of FULLNESS, the words are etched in my brain.  "And I...I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference..."

These words speak to me like no others.  "I took the road less traveled by..." 

It's been an interesting road, with plenty of unknowns up ahead. 

On this road, I've discovered that I am walking toward wholeness.  Healing.  And, if I may be so bold...perhaps even wisdom.

My mother-in-law told my husband the other day "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".  This was in response to him expressing hurt at some things she has done and said.  Of was a phrase only meant for him...and not for her. He and I have been working hard at the work of relationship...of healthy relationship.  It's been very successful within our own home, and with friends and family who are interested in healthy relationships...but not so much with those who wish to remain stuck...stagnant...sticky...and, unfortunately, hurtful.  My aunt told me a few weeks back "When given the opportunity to choose between being right and harmony, choose harmony."  Of course, this was only directed at me for expressing that I felt it was dysfunctional to remain in co-dependent abusive relationships. My other aunt wrote me that she felt "between the judgements of right and wrong, there is a field, I will meet you there."  And yet....I felt distinctly that somehow, the only way to that field was the path less chosen...the path of saying..."Enough." 

Is there a right?  A wrong?  I suppose one could say there isn't.  From where I stand there are many occurrences that feel that they shouldn't have been, but they are anyway.  Things you can not change.  Things you would not choose.  Like losing someone you love deeply.  For no reason.  Perhaps these are the things that are not right...or wrong.  They just are.  No matter how devastating.  Or beautiful.  We can't change them either way.

But, there are other things we have to be discerning about if happiness is to be found.  We can choose to end relationships that refuse to grow.  We can avoid those who would abuse us as they saw fit.  We can opt for communication and the people who understand how to partake in it.  We can select friends and family who desire healthy, loving, peaceful relationships that nurture and sustain hope.  We can move forward...and away if needed.  We can choose the road less traveled by. 

We can make choices about some things, and have to just live with others.  As that reality remains, I stand firm in my understanding that changing the things I CAN change, while perhaps not a popular idea in dysfunctional circles, is what I am given to do.  In that, I may be able to cope better with the things I can not change.  The things I can never change. 

As I strive for this...change...I find myself walking the road less traveled by.  It's funny, but I feel strangely and surely led by the purple and yellow light...and a sparkle of star energy.  I feel my twins and my unborn daughter clearing the path in approval.  "yes, mommy....this IS the way....go this way can do it.  We know you can." 

And so, I follow their guidance, knowing they are far wiser than I.  I follow the road less traveled by.  It is making all the difference. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Werewolf Child...

He's been here for three weeks.  My eldest son.  My werewolf child.

Yeah, I's not nice to label people.  Especially your kids.   But, after 21 years of interactions, I think it's pretty safe to say that he is, without doubt...somewhat of a werewolf.  It's the bipolar.  I never know who he will be.  Sensitive and needy.  Aggressive and confrontational.  Grandiose and manic.  Depressed and Sleepy.  It's all the same kid.  The

He has been staying here.  Each week gets a little more...uh...tense.

It's the full moon tonight.

I remember, back when he was small...wondering if the moon was somehow connected to the fits of rage.  The defiance.  The...look.

His looks change.

He doesn't sprout whiskers and claws...his teeth don't show fangs...He doesn't morph into a creature of horrific proportions.  But...he looks different.  His sea blue eyes start to grey.  His sparkle fades.  His back stiffens.  His walk gets heavier.  And...his scary.

I remember my father looking like that.  I remember being afraid.

It's hard to look at the 21 year old that came from my body...and see someone I'm afraid of.

He won't take medication.

And, at 21...I can't make him.

No one can make him.

I'm 37 weeks pregnant.  Struggling to maintain some sense of peace within.  Fighting the worry that comes from pregnancy after horrific loss.  Trying to nest.  Trying to smile.

Trying to give my family the sense that everything will be just fine.

Even though I can't know such a thing.

No one can.

Ferdinand has started growling when my eldest comes into the room.  He senses that I don't feel safe right now.  He doesn't trust the tall, slender young man with the steely grey eyes.  He licks my tears away and tries to comfort me.

This isn't how I imagined preparation for my little girl would be.

If anyone wonders why it is that I no longer put up with ANY crap anymore...they need only look at my eldest son.  Maybe then they will understand.  After 21 years of being obligated to understand beyond reason, after 21 years of bending so far backward I feel as if my spine should have snapped long ago, after 21 years of crying in helpless horror as a mental illness raced through my happy home causing pain, sorrow, and the stuttering of young children....I have NOTHING left to give anyone who exhibits aggressiveness, hostility, poor communication skills, and a lack of empathy.  I have NOTHING left in my being for abusive behaviors, carelessness of spirit, or just plain...sloppiness of soul.  I've given it all to my son.  The son who, though loved deeply, has literally sucked me dry.

He reminds me of my father.  Of my mother.  Of the mental illness that drips through my family.

He is all I can handle...and even that is too much.

My other children...they've been blessed.  Spared.  They don't deal with the same thread that runs through my ancestors.  My eldest got it all.  My younger children...they know what mental illness looks like because of him.  And, they want nothing more to do with it.

But, he is my son.

22 years ago, a foolish, sad girl of 15 stopped saying "No"...because she felt there was no longer any point.  22 years ago...she was given a task that others would have crumbled under.
22 years's been 22 years.

And still.  .  .I am crying over it.

Crying when I should be breathing. Crying when I should be smiling.

We were so...relieved...that our daughter would be born into a house where he was no longer living.

And then..he came back.

It all seemed fine at first.  At first.

I am 37 weeks.  My daughter is healthy.  We both are.  Alive. We both are.

And though I am ever so anxious to know she will be born know she is HERE to stay...

I am asking her to wait.  Just wait 10 more days at least my love...wait until your brother has moved out again.  Give us all some time to heal from his presence.  Let yourself be born to parents who have had a good nights sleep. A chance to find some laughter. Some light.  A chance to make love. A chance to heal from the assault of steel grey eyes with hate behind them.

Please.  Be safe.  Be patient. Be safe.  Be mentally sound...please.

Be safe.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Peripheral Vision...

I keep seeing it. 

Little lights out of the corner of my eye. 

I wouldn't think twice about it...but..they are purple and gold. 

I saw three crows flying two days ago.  They soared and swooped over the trees and billowy grasses of the Montana field I was in, while my sheepy sheepdog romped with butterflies.  Three crows...and then, they parted ways and one of the crows flew away into the pink clouds of sunset.  The remaining two crows danced together in the remaining light. 

A yellow butterfly landed in my garden last night.  Sucking the nectar from a purple cluster of flowers.

And the lights....I see them all the time.  flickering.  I look around, and they disappear. 

"Simon?  Alexander?  Is that you?"

I remember the birds, all three of them flying together.  I wonder if our little girl...our with our twins.  I wonder if they are staying close by her side, until she makes it into my arms.  I like to think so. 

I like to imagine that they are with her.  That she knows them.  That they are telling her it will be alright, that she is coming to a mother who adores her children with all her heart.  I wonder if she will remember I remember them. 

I see them in the corners of my eyes. 

And I welcome the yellow butterfly.  The satin backed crow.  And...the lights.  I will always welcome the lights. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On waiting...

Thirty six weeks. 

That's what the calender says today. 

Thirty six weeks.

This is a road I've not traveled before.  The thirty six week mark of pregnancy...without confidence.

Oh sure, it flutters here and there...the sense that all will be well. 

But doubt follows closely.  Fear.  Grief.

It's the grief that gets me down.  It's the understanding that while "she" seems to be coming..."they" never will. 

It's the stark truth that while "she" may make it...."they"...did not.

It is that eye opening fact that makes me wonder if pain will ever leave this heart.

Even when rosebud lips smile in my direction.

Oh yes...I love her already.  Treasure her more deeply than one would think possible.  She is my rainbow light.  My one and only daughter.  My star child. 

She will, I'm sure, radiate her brilliance throughout my world.  And, it pains me to know that as she grows...she will see that unspoken tear in my eyes...and she will know of loss even without touching it herself, which I pray she never will. 

I am waiting.  Thirty six weeks today.  The midwife will do her non stress test, which, while she finds it comforting...I simply find it stressful to be in what seems like a completely healthy and normal pregnancy which is being treated like a time bomb.  All the tests.  All we wait....for the glimmer of normality. always there. 


So I wait...

For the end.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Of Baited Breath and Furry Sheepdogs...

I've logged in several times.  Wanting to express myself.  Wanting to share.

But being...paralyzed.

Unable to utter the words I want to hear.  Unable to wonder in front of everyone else.

Is it really happening?

Is it possible?

I am now in my 35th week of pregnancy.  Buttercup is still alive.  She moves about in comforting regularity.  I don't have heartburn.  I'm not nauseous.  I don't feel overly tired.  I'm still walking daily.  I'm still writing.  I'm still...being.

I've noticed that I seem to need Ferdinand close by even more than usual.  His comforting presence calms the nerves which feel raw and tender.  As if he can chase away the worry...the pain of fear.
He watches me constantly.  He even wakes me at if he is concerned and wants to make sure I'm o.k..

It might annoy someone else, but honestly, it feels really good to be so nurtured and cared about.

My husband laughs that my beloved furry friend is neurotic.

I prefer to think of him as protective.

Everything is fine.  Better than fine.  No signs of trouble.  No reason to worry.
I've a bounty of friends, sending me encouragement in the form of beads, and girly beauty in all forms.  I've never had so much support in my life.  Everything points to a positive outcome.  I'm trying to be brave.

I'm trying.

As these summer days linger slowly... I am reminded of the necessity of breath.  It's not a unique breathe.  We all need to do it, though it may be harder for some of us than others.

It appears that my little girl is really coming.  It appears that she is safe.

And in the meantime, while I am forced to assume the best possible outcome...I must breathe.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Forced optimism?

I woke up this morning feeling that one shouldn't have to "TRY" to feel better.  One shouldn't have to make an "EFFORT" to feel joy.  One shouldn't have to "CONVINCE" oneself that everything will be o.k..  A person should not have to "FORCE" optimism.

And yet...that's who I am.

I'm not someone who typically used to be a whiner.  A complainer.  A worry wart.

And yet...when I look in the mirror lately...that is the woman I've become.  Someone who tries to blink away tears when a smiling person says "How's it going?" or "How are you today?"  I've become someone who knows that each corner may have something lurking.  Something I don't want to encounter.  I complain.  I whine.  I worry.  And mostly....I panic.

It doesn't take much to rock my boat any more, and that feels strange and kilter.

I consider myself a pretty resilient person when I look at my resume of life.  I survived abuse, neglect, all around poor parenting, sexual violation, and an icky, sad childhood and I was still a pretty sweet, happy kid.  I survived being a teen mom with all the nasties and judgements that go along with that and I was still a really great and attentive mama. I've lived through parenting a child with undiagnosed bi-polar disorder and I can't say that my parenting skills were lacking even without knowing what I was dealing with.  My son felt loved and nurtured through it all.  He still does.  I've had to let my parents, who suffer with untreated mental health issues, go their own ways in order to stop the hurts they inflict, even though letting them go has been like a ripping apart of my heart.  I've gone through bumps in my beautiful marriage, and bruises in my personal life. I've risen through places no parent wants to encounter as a child hung near deaths door.  I've lived through several miscarriages....I've lived through stillbirths...and my own death.   Twice.

And now, I am here.

Standing here.  A writer.  A mother.  A wife.  A competent healer and educator.  A friend. 

And, I feel weak.


As if I've never had a child before.  As if I have no idea what to do.  As if I am in a freeze frame of fear that I can't move away from.

I feel lost.

I look at the items I've collected.  Just a few sweet things...for my little girl.
I know I need to gather more.  I know I'm totally deficient in the baby supply category.

But...I'm so afraid to ask for more.  And really, who would I ask?

Who is going to take care of me?

Of us?

And why?  Why is it that after a lifetime of being totally control...

that I feel lost.  Alone.  And...mostly...sad.  Why do I even want anyone else to take care of me when I've spent most of the past 37 years taking care of myself and others?

My little girl is coming.  She has beautiful older brothers and the best daddy in the world to greet her with smiles.  She's on the wings of our twins and I have to believe that she WILL be here.

I see the tears in my husbands eyes.  I see the stress on his shoulders.  I grab them, and try to rub away the mounting tension that I know is related to the worry that is plaguing him too.

The worry, caused by all the what if's.  The worry, caused by the absence of elders who seem to know anything about anything.

I look in the mirror, and I see silver strands, and I realize that there are no elders.  Not for me.  I am the elder.  I look at my husband, who yearns for a father to tell him what to to stay strong...and there is no one...just the image of a sweet balding man with beautiful blue eyes and emotional pain etched in the lines emerging on his forehead.  He is the elder.  There isn't anyone else to lean learn ask questions of.  We are the elders we are seeking...and it is a crushing blow to realize that there is no one else.  For either of us.

I'm lost, just like the people who were supposed to love me when I was born and all the way to the now where I stand.  I'm lost, just like the adults who were supposed to know the way and point it out to me so that I wouldn't stumble.  I'm afraid, just like the grown ups before me were afraid.

But...there is a difference.  You see....I'm a fighter.  I'm going to keep on trying.  I'm not going to give up.

I'm worried.  Afraid.  Alone.  Unguided.

And if my past has anything at all to do with my future....I will make it, and when I do, you can be sure that my children won't feel so alone.  I'll be there.  I'll be whispering support and showing affection.  I'll be pointing the way with a smile.  I'll be offering a hand.

The road will be open, because I am currently working my ass off to clear the jungle ahead of us away in the hopes that when I look back over my shoulder, what I will see is the freedom I want for my children that comes with the ability to move forward unencumbered, but supported. 

Sweet baby you swim around in the sea of hormones that your terrified mama can't seem to curb...know that all of that worry is because she loves you more than she could ever express, and please...don't be afraid.  I promise to love you forever...and to care for you always.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Storm Clouds

Spring is still somewhat elusive in the pacific northwest mountain city where I live.  Oh yes, there are flowers, and gardens have been carefully, if hesitantly, planted...but, still the sky remains an ever present threat of stormy weather.  The river that runs through "it" is nearing peak capacity as the watchful residents who opted to prop their lovely homes on river front property look warily at its continuous rising levels.  We had more snow this year than in the past 80 years apparently.  More rain too.

The storm clouds drawn in on the 10 day weather forecast indicate lightening storm warnings and the risk of flooding.

I live on a mountain over-looking the valley below.  I live on a mountain that was once lake front property of the bowl that was once, very long ago, filled with clear blue water and probably a few prehistoric critters.  I live on a mountain in a home not threatened by the rising waters and the fear of flooding.

It's not something I need to worry about.

It's not my problem.

It's not my personal story.

And yet...

These people, who look at the rushing, roaring river, with wide eyes and whispers about what to do in a flood...these people are my neighbors.  My brothers and sisters in this world.  Their losses are my losses.

I know this because that is what has happened within the baby loss community.  Their stories are my stories.  Their losses are my losses.  Their tears are my tears...and if they are lucky, truly lucky, their rainbows are mine as well.  Messages of what might be...what could be--if I'm truly lucky...this time.

I have moved into my 7th month.  The third trimester.  The final stages.  My baby girl's rainbow potential looks brighter and brighter each passing day.  Her kicks are stronger.  Her vitality clear.

My story alone would indicate that I have little to fear at this point.

But, my story isn't the only story.

Babies die.

I keep telling myself that after the first trimester, most babies are bornBorn alive.  I keep telling myself that my risk of loss, now past the 2nd trimester, has gone dramatically down.  I keep telling myself that I should be careful about what I pray for, for I am told again and again that little girls are harder than boys. I'm told the teen years will be murder.  I have trouble believing boys aren't "normal" why should my girl be a typical "normal" drama queen? But, I'm told to hold my breath...

But being told stories that indicate that I should fear having a little girl is futile.  I'm in love with her.  I imagine holding her hand, brushing her hair, teaching her about what it is to be a woman...and that it what breaks me. I want her so much...and I know the stories.  I know the stories of losing a baby, a healthy, beautiful baby in the last few weeks.  In the last hours of pushing.  Even in the first month or two...or three...or the first year of life.  I know the stories.

And I am afraid they will become my story as well.

I cannot go back into the world of the unknowing.  I cannot be the mother who once, with a bright smile of confidence BELIEVED that her babies would be born safely.  I cannot pretend I do not know what has happened to my sisters in this life, or pretend that it hasn't already happened to me before.

When we lost our twins, I was told by many that "it could have been worse."

Yes.  It could have been.  It still could be.

I watch the bursting river, tip top to the edge of borders that will not hold back much more...and I know it could get worse.  That it probably will get worse.  I fear for my neighbors down in the basin of this mountain town where a lake once thrived.

And I'm reminded of our vulnerability.

I look at the storm clouds and I beg them to pass.  To show us all rainbows and to hold back the storms.  Another storm will mount the flood potential.  Another loss would destroy my core.

We need rainbows.  Rainbows.  Of all kinds.  In all forms.  And especially in the form of a beautiful baby girl who is, at the moment, known as my buttercup. 

We, collectively, need the storms to pass.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Butter colored beads...

Butter colored beads.  
But not just any bead.  Not really.  They are Baltic amber beads.  High in succinct acid...or something like that.  They apparently reduce inflammation for all kinds of things.  Including teething.  

I recently bought a strand.  

It arrived in the mail yesterday.  A tiny little necklace, for a tiny little girl.  Each bead carefully knotted in between, to prevent the risk of choking on a stray bead should it break.  Each bead, a beautiful butter yellow.  High in succinct in the color of a buttercup.  

I felt my heart breaking as it lay in my hand.  

The yearning to know.  To really know...that we won't lose her too.  

The crushing desire to be sure that I will get to screw the clasp around her beautiful little neck, complete with a small pulse to indicate life.  

The debilitating fear that comes with knowing what it feels like to hold a child with no life in it, and to know we are never immune to that cold reality.  

The panic that emerges when you realize, fully, just how much you love this little person you have never seen.  To know how deeply you need the smell of your newborn, the sound of her breath, the feel of her skin, warm against your own.  

Butter colored beads.  They look like pretty yellow beads to anyone else.  

They are draped over a picture of four of my sons in the yogic "tree pose" that sits on the upright piano in my living room.  It's a pose that symbolizes ultimate balance and inner peace, which is something I'm yearning for.  I draped "her" necklace over the picture in a prayerful gesture that begged the universe to allow her to join her living brothers in this bring us all peace and balance once more.  I whispered her name.  The name we've chosen.  The name the universe whispered into my husbands ear.  The name that has meanings in several languages.  Truth.  Noble one.  Protected by God.  Her name.  I whispered it to myself.  

When my husband declared joyfully that he wanted to shout it out to the world.  Her name.  I irrationally felt my chest grip with fear as I glanced over at the butter colored amber.  

And the tears erupted. 

Crushing his joy. 

Making him think I was still in doubt about her name.

Which I am not. 

Butter colored beads.   The healing force that Amber promises strung into a tiny necklace destined for a buttercup princess growing where twins died.  Growing.  Alive.  Moving.  Alive.  Thriving.  Alive.

I can only whisper her name.  I can only imagine how lovely she will be.   

I want to embrace that boundless joy my husband had..before I crushed it with fear.  I want to give it back to him with the promise that I will deliver his lovely daughter alive into his arms.  

But I can only whisper her name.  

Monday, May 16, 2011


Sometimes, or if I'm really honest, A lot of the is confusing.

Emotions are confusing.

Happenings IN life...are confusing.

Like losing a child.  It doesn't really make sense to my heart. 

And yet, it happens.  All the time.  Every day.  Every minute.  Every second. 


But not to everyone.  And not to most babies.

Most babies that make it past the first trimester are born. 

They really are.

I keep telling myself this as I feel my growing daughter moving inside of me.  (finally, I can feel her!)

I tell myself that she will be born.  That she will make it.

But I feel a twinge of fear whenever I see another pregnant woman.  I hear my thoughts..."Will her baby make it?  Oh please...let her baby make it to life."   I don't know who I'm begging.  I don't know why I keep talking to the air as if it can hear me.  I don't know why I have the compulsion to ask for miracles...for it really IS a  All of it.

And yet, there it is.  Asking.  Praying.  Begging. 

For life to work.  To emerge. 

My 7 year old asked me who God was the other day.   I know lots of people have ideas about this.  Whole religions even.   But I had to be honest.  I told him I didn't think God was a who.  I told him that I felt that God was a reality.  A wholeness. An everything.  I took him outside and we watched the trees in the wind, fruit blossoms with all their wondrous color and honey bees dipping happily into the nectar they possess.  I squeezed his hand and said, "Baby bear....this is all God.  All of it.  God's not a who.  God's an everything. God is within and without and intertwined and beyond anything anyone can ever understand.  God is reality. God is all of what you see, and even more than you can comprehend." 

He smiled and said "I thought so!" 

Then, for the first time in this pregnancy, he kissed my belly. 

I felt the tears well up in my eyes, because this little boy-child has been looking sideways at my belly ever since we told our sons we would be having another baby.  Looking at me with concern.  Worry that should never be seen in a small boys eyes.  I've been watching him watching me. 

But...somehow, with the idea that God was more than an almighty BEING...he felt safe again.  Safe to wonder about the world.  Safe to love a little growing girl nested in his mothers womb.  Safe from a God that mimicked the unfairness of the Greek Zeus. 

No, the comfort came from God being everything.  Everywhere.  In that, he could find enough peace to love his baby sister.  In that...he left his fear behind. 

God is real. 

It's just not an it.  Not a he.  Not a she.  Not an identity. 

God is Reality. 
And as my sweet husband wrote in his beautiful book, Being Ourself Ourself. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The road less traveled by...

We celebrated Easter this weekend. 

Something felt like it was missing.

The sky was a brilliant blue, and the warmth of the sun was gratefully received as we trekked through the mountains playing Frisbee golf with four little boys...who aren't so little any more.   The Frisbee's were found in morning Easter Baskets with smiles of joy.  Four little baskets...and a fifth one...for our buttercup. 

I am the mother of five living sons.  I am the mother of twins...who are not.  I am the mother of a daughter...who I hope upon hope will be.  Four baskets...and a fifth.  The fifth contained a little white duck-platypus with a pink bow...a platy-puck.  Just like the purple and yellow one we bought two years ago...before.  Before.  It sat next to a tiny chocolate bunny.  The same kind as the white chocolate one we bought two years ago....before.  Before.    The basket was small.  Feminine.  It had a label..."To Princess Buttercup" 

I got out my memory box this morning.  I've been doing that a lot lately.  Tiny little hands and little feet captured in clay....perfect.  The same size as my daughter must be right now.   I read the little label from the Easter basket given...before.  Before.  "To our Sweet Baby Boy"  The white chocolate bunny looks exactly the same.  Amazing how long candy can last.  Preserved. 

Four baskets for my sons.  My eldest son was not expected.  His bi polar mania has stolen him again.  He isn't speaking to us.  Alienation. 

Manic energy and paranoia tells him that we are against him.  It tells him he is alone. That we are not to be trusted with his heart.  It warns him against the family that has loved him from the beginning and will love him till the end.  A missing Easter basket reminded me...that he was gone too.  Just like Simon and Alexander.  By choice. 

We trekked through the mountains, in awe of a bald eagle and an abundance of blue birds, hawks, and robins.  We felt the glow of sweat on our brows as we munched the innards of carefully painted eggs that once boasted the artistic endeavors of a family determined to live life to the fullest.  Bunnies, flowers, butterflies, dots, spirals, wavy lines...and even a lion.  The most beautiful eggs I've ever seen on an Easter day.   The colored shells littered the path behind turn into the earthy soil of the wooded trail.  An egg I was holding was purple.  A beautiful purple.  With three yellow buttercups painted by the attentive hand of a sensitive boy-child...who remembers.  I put it back in my pocket.  I couldn't break it open.

This morning, I went to look for that egg, to take a picture of it.  But it was gone.  Someone must have eaten it.  I could see the fragments in the garbage.  Purple and yellow egg shells in little pieces.  Gone.  Like my twins.  Next to the purple and yellow were also fragments of a bright red egg...bright the heated passion of bi-polar anger.  I dug up the fragments...separating them from freshly ground coffee remains and a crust of bread.  I carried them outside, and buried them in my garden.  Under the leaves of some buttercups that were emerging.  I sat there awhile, and while I sat, I felt the tears in my eyes as a butterfly landed on the spot of color those tiny buttercups offered. 

This road...the road of walking forward amist different forms of loss....

It is marked by tears and a love as bright as the colors of a rainbow...or an Easter egg. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

2 years ago...

Earth Day.  

This was the day.  The day you were born.  The day I died.  For the first time.  This was the day.

Your daddy thanked me today for giving you both to him.   He asked me to remember what a gift you are to us all.

I cried because I have so much pain about giving him dead babies.

I cried because I wish you were here with all my heart.  Two two year olds....two two year olds. 

I cried because I love our little buttercup rainbow baby whom I feel you protecting. 

And I'm afraid. Afraid I will lose her too.

Two years ago...

You were born.  And taken away. 

I never wanted to let you go. 

I still don't.

Happy birthday my sweet babies. 

Mommy misses you.

Oh how I miss you. I miss simply the dream of who you both might have been.  I miss you.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mental Blooper and the Resulting Panic!

As many of you know, I am a completely anxious wreck. Not only am I doppler crazy and constantly worried that my baby girl is dead, I'm also hyper-vigilant. This morning, I was really tired after a ridiculous night of waking up crying out "HELP!" for no reason what so ever and then going upstairs around 3 A.M. to use the doppler (again) to just check on her heart beat...which I couldn't find for 15 minutes (PANIC) scared.gif...and then falling asleep with the doppler ON while listening to her so long that the battery wore out only to wake up to find a thin CRUSTY goo on my belly where the gel had solidified....I went to the bathroom to take a shower, and of pee.

As is my usual paranoid routine, I sleepily glanced at the toilet paper...just to make sure.

And it was bright pink. jaw2.gif

I FREAKED out! Totally freeked. Jumped up from the toilet, and gasped at the bright fushia water. Oh god...I LOST it. Totally started sobbing. mecry.gif

And then....I remembered. And I felt like a total idiot. idea.gif

I made BORSCHT for dinner last night.

For those of you who don't know...borscht is a soup made primarily of BEETS, which will turn your pee and otherwise "refuse material" to all manner of pink and red! duh.gif

So...nothing wrong. Except that I'm completely batty. hide.gif

Oh...and my husband and I will be eating Borscht all week, because my kids thought it looked like a blood bath and refused to eat it, once one of them SAID it looked like blood, it was all over for the rest of them. It was amazingly good. For any of you who would like the recipe:

Butterfly Borscht:

3 large beets, chopped coarsely. (by hand or food not over want small chunks.)
3 large carrots and leftover beet greens, pureed in 1 cup water.
1 large yellow onion, sauteed in olive oil till golden brown and slightly crispy brown on edges. (caramelize)
4-5 cups vegetable broth
sea salt and pepper to taste
4- 6 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (depending on personal preference)
1 small red cabbage, finely sliced into strips. (reserve)

Add beets, pureed greens and carrots, caramelized onions, veggi broth and sea salt/pepper to large pot and bring to a mild boil. Reduce immediately to a simmer. Cook while stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. Use a potato masher to correct any larger beet chunks a food processor might had missed. Don't over mash. Add the reserved shredded cabbage and balsamic vinegar and continue cooking till cabbage is soft, about 15 minutes. Add another cup of broth or water as desired for consistency. Serve with a dollop of organic sour cream and a sprinkle of green onion and a crusty loaf.


Just be forewarned. There will be evidence for don't freak out like I did. Sheepish.gif

Monday, April 11, 2011



It's April again.  Soon, I'll be confronting the two year anniversary since my world was turned upside down...never to be the same. 

My baby girl is nestled within.  Hopefully safe.  Hopefully alive.  I never really know.  I can barely feel her on rare and wonderful occasions.  Anterior shields her movements.  A perfectly awful joke to a mom who is already anxious.  An Anterior placenta.  I can only know she is o.k. with a doppler.  A completely paradoxical joke for a mom who has always been hesitant to use ultrasound during pregnancy.  I can't know she is o.k. without it.  I can't really feel her and I can't hear her without technology. 

I really wish that wasn't the case.

I woke up this morning grabbing my belly, and wondered if it was too soft.  Wondered if maybe she was dead.  I didn't voice my feelings to my husband.  But...he was blue anyway.  Just randomly blue.  We've all had the flu, so, he's still getting over it.  We all are.  But unlike the rest of us sickies, he still had to trek off to work.  He missed 4 days already...4 days of lost pay.  Half of one of his paychecks.  He had to go. 

I reminded him that it was April.  I saw the tears well in his eyes for a moment.  And he nodded.

It's been two years.  People have been greeting our pregnancy with joy.  Some, because they know how much we want this baby.  Some, because they know they were completely unsupportive LAST time, and they feel like jerks.  Some...because we are finally having a girl.  Some....because of all three reasons.  And some...because they have also lost babies.  And they understand.  They get it. 

The latter group...they also know that it's not so simple as being pregnant.  They know it's not so simple as even having a healthy baby.  The ripples into life.  It becomes part of the landscape. 

I think I foolishly thought that being pregnant again would simply be joyful.

I AM joyful.  But...I'm also, unexpectedly, terrified.

I'm terrified of loss.  I'm terrified.

When I see my husband's tears, I beg the universe to spare him from more loss. 
When I watch my children tentatively glance at my blossoming belly, I remember how joyfully they embraced it the last time..when we were to have twins.....and I pray that they will never know loss again.
When I feel a sudden doubt, or fear...or, lets be honest...a total engulfment of terror...I know that we can't take it again.  That I can't take it again.

I need my little girl to be healthy.  To be whole.  To be....alive.

It is April.  The month that began our season of loss.  For it wasn't just a day.  It was a season.  An entire season of death. 

I can't wait for the end of summer. 

I wish I had a fast forward button. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Some people....sheesh!

A bowel obstruction. 

That's what we are told my mother in law has.  She's in a haze of foggy morphine induced stupor after a successful surgery for...a bowel obstruction.  She's developed an infection, and that's not so good, though the surgery went well.  She won't have a colostomy bag....and that is good news.  She's recovering...and that's good too. 

However...she happens to be in a relationship with a man that is, for lack of more appropriate words, crazy.  Oh yes...he's from the same "background", which makes him acceptable to her...but, the guy is certifiable.  Literally.  He's bi-polar, and has brain damage.  He may come from the country club arena she is so committed to, but...he's a homeless ex-hippie guy.   So why does this matter to me at all?  In general, it's none of my beezwax. I could care less. I don't have to deal with him, and if she likes her homeless boyfriend who lives off trust funds and friends in between bouts of irritable mania...more power to her.  But, it matters to me when he calls my home and starts trashing my husband because he can't just pick up and leave to take care of his mother (who is going to be fine.).  This homeless crazy guy seems to think that my husband, who spends his days counseling the poor, the abused, the sexually violated and the mentally ill, and then comes home to nurture and care for four little boys and his pregnant wife, is somehow...negligent in his duties because he doesn't say "screw it all!  I have to leave my life and take care of my hell with the fact that I have a mortgage to pay and children to feed." 

Now, in a more comfortable world, my husband would have unlimited paid vacation a homeless guy who has a cozy trust fund...but, he doesn't, and we don't, and it isn't AND, his mother isn't dying.  She simply had bowel surgery for an obstruction.

I don't like it when mentally ill a**wipes interfere with my families hard fought for harmony.  We struggle every day to maintain peace and joy in a world that seems very unstable.  We grope for calm as we endure pregnancy while knowing that it could end any day...that we could lose our little girl, for no reason.  We strive for love as we watch the world fight and kill our earthly brothers and sisters.  We pray for hope as we deal with an eldest son who ALSO struggles with mental illness and brain injury. 

We don't need this.  We don't have the energy for it.  And is like a relentless waterfall of drama.

My 12 year old broke his wrist.  I spent all afternoon in a clinic to find that out.  Tomorrow we get to spend all day getting it in a cast.  I spent the morning sobbing in my midwifes office about my anxiety and stress levels and fears.  She loaned me a doppler so I can hear my ever elusive baby's heartbeat while she hides sweetly behind an anterior placenta that prevents me from being able to feel her.  My husband spent his day caring for his clients and listening to their pain, trying to find ways to help and comfort the broken hearts placed before him.  I spent the evening driving kids to Aikido and band practice and then, I made an amazing Thai meal of bison panang.   All this BEFORE the phone call that stole my evening with my husband away with the transformation of chaos into the attempted peace we were striving for in spite of a crazy day. 

This man, my mother in law's boyfriend, friend...whatever he is......he had the gall to tell my husband that he is a failure because the book he wrote that was published and released in the same week that our twins DIED...has not done better.  He mocked it and spit on the love that carefully tended to each and every word.  It didn't do better because we had nothing to give in the way of promotion as we dealt with broken hearts and shattered dreams.  The book is wonderful.  The timing sucked.  I still believe in that book, by the way.  It's beautiful.  I pray that one day, someone will read it and give it to someone else, who will give it to someone else, who will give it to someone else......etc.  It's worth reading. 

It broke my husbands heart to be so trashed about something so precious to him.  His book.  Losing his babies.  But to be seen as "a failure" in the eyes of a man who has done little more than pamper his own whims...well that was enraging. 

Mental illness.  Personality disorders.  Brain injury.  Abuse.  Trauma.  Selfishness.


My husband took my hand after that phone call and said..."Sara, I know we wanted to spend time together, but I don't want to rage all night...I need to play the drums.  I need to go out and hit something I'm allowed to hit.  I need to play the drums." 

And...I understood...and kissed him goodbye. 

My husband doesn't drink his pain away.  He ROCKS it away.  With rhythm and soul.  With passion and heart.  Tonight, people will dance to his impromptu beat, and he will come home in the wee hours of morning, exhausted...and cleansed.   I know he knows how to heal...he knows what he needs....and when I go outside later on to throw a ball for my sweet Fur-friend...I will ask the stars to keep him safe in the night.  To bring him home to me.  Safely.  Healed.

I'll also be sending healing thoughts to my mother in law.  A woman whose bowel obstruction ironically mimics her interpersonal constipation.  I don't say that to be mean...I just notice it.  I'll be sending prayers for clarity to her manic boyfriend...may he see the truth and stop abusing people in an effort to control others while trying to evade a need for control in his own life.  I'll be sending hope to my eldest son...may he remember how much he is loved and stop pushing away the source of that love.  I'll be sending warmth to my sleeping boys, may they always be the best of friends...and to their little the hopes that she will grace our home with her laughter and joy...and to my twins...who I will love forever.  Sending peace to the world....may we all remember we are not separate.  May we all remember we are star-dust.  Together.