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three tiny rings, grief, loss, commemoration, parenting, miscarriage

Today, I woke up and remembered that I should be snuggling a 3-year-old in my lap this morning. Celebrating with giggles, random hugs and sweet, baby voiced, “I love you”s. Instead, my lap is empty. The only things I have to commemorate what should have been are three thin stackable rings, the birthstones of the three babies that grew inside me once.

Two I kiss and adore and hug and cuddle into my lap every single day, one I never got to hold, not even once. I looked down at that ring a thousand times today, a secret for only me. Suddenly, these three little stackable rings are my most prized possession. They are not worth much money but to me they mean everything. They are tangible, right there on my finger to look upon at will.

Sometimes I feel like that baby was a figment of my imagination. My third baby is like a whisper that lingers for always in my heart; like the sweet smell that lingers after a breeze carries in the smell of fresh flowers on a warm sunny day. It’s a glimpse of happiness quickly followed by sorrow and only for a moment; never enough time to make it tangible.

For three years, I’ve spent this day alone in my head. There are always people around. Sometimes I wish there weren’t so I could wallow a bit in my sadness rather than pretending that the day is like any other day.

Every year on May 1st, the day I miscarried, I allow myself to feel my loss to my very core. Sometimes it hurts terribly. Sometimes not as much. But to do it again on what should have been the day my baby was born, feels overindulgent. I feel like making the leap from one day to two takes me from normal grieving to “weird” as if you can quantify grief.

I don’t know how this is supposed to work or when/if November 24th will feel like just another day. In actuality, nothing of distinction happened on that day. It’s just a due date that was printed on a scan of a baby that I never got to hold. But to me, that day is imprinted on my heart and I’m afraid it always will be.

Does it ever get easier?

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alone, loss, life perspective

It just happened. I just drove past the parking lot of my OB/GYN on the way to take my oldest to get a “purple” tooth looked at. It seems innocuous enough but I’m reminded of the last time I let my mind believe that nothing was wrong. It almost shattered me.

The place where I went to my car, all alone, after seeing the ultrasound that showed my perfect baby’s heart no longer beating. It’s the parking lot where I lost all of my humanity and I roared and sobbed in such a primal way that I was unrecognizable as human. I died a little that day. Something like that changes you forever.

The same parking lot that faces the hospital where I had to go that terrible morning when it happened. The place where time and space were suspended so slowly that I could audibly hear my heart breaking. I remember the entire thing felt like a heavy fog. I remember being angry that this was happening to me. I remember mourning what was being taken. I remember sitting there, silently praying that I wouldn’t wake up. The pain was all consuming. It hurt to breathe and facing my 4-year-old who so badly wanted a younger sibling, the same one whose tiny heart ached congruent with mine,was too much to bear. I was a broken failure and I felt every bit of it.

I just passed that place and I found myself driving, once again on a beautiful spring day feeling removed from my body. I’m trying to hold it together because my 10-year-old is next to me, excited to be in the front seat on this rare occasion. She’s excited about everything. She has no idea that I’m dying, right here beside her. Pushing down feelings, swallowing lumps and afraid to blink…ever again .

Oh no, the lump is growing. I hope I can keep it hidden from her, from everyone.This week. I dread it every year. But I didn’t expect this. I had no intention of driving by this building today, or ever if possible. The only thing that could make this moment worse is if that damn Christina Perri song, A Thousand Years, started playing like it did in those wee hours of the morning 3 years ago as we drove in deafening silence to the hospital to have our baby removed from my body, extracted from our existence. I hate that fucking song now.

But I’m here now. Headed for the dentist office to inquire about a little girl’s purple tooth when all I want to do is go home and cry until all the tears are gone. But they’ll never be gone because they replenish anew, whenever they are needed.

All I want to do is cry. I feel small and overwhelmed and utterly alone. I do talk to the Big Guy when I feel these small hurts getting too big for me to keep inside. He tries to empathize but the truth is even though we both lost something that day, I am the one who lost a physical part of myself. I am the one whose body failed. I am the one who had the extraction. I am the one who can never forgive myself.

The truth is 3 years later, he knows that this day is hard especially for me but it doesn’t effect him in the same way it does me and that makes me reluctant to talk to him or anyone about it. I feel like I have to whisper it so that the words are out but no one hears because if they do, I’ll get the look you give a child whose dog died and they want to talk about it…again. You feel pity and sadness for their pain but inside you only wish they’d stop bringing it up because it makes  you uncomfortable.

The hardest part aside from feeling so alone in all of this is that while today is the day I grieve, tomorrow is my daughter’s first communion and the next is my husband’s 40th birthday. All I want to do is crawl into bed and stay still, shut the world out but instead I have to push my feelings down, put on a smile and entertain all weekend. I have to be happy for the people I love the most, the day after I feel sad for the one I lost.

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grief,loss, parenting, miscarriage

I wrote this one for me, to move through the grief that I still feel on occasion. I call them my emotional time-bombs and they go off without discretion. I wrote this last week, before I started feeling this crazy happiness high that I’m on but after I had a good, hard and ugly cry.Or maybe I should say, while I was having the ugly cry. It was cathartic, as was writing this out but I won’t be listening to any Joni Mitchell anytime soon, just to be sure. I’d like to hold on to the happiness for a while longer.

It’s almost May 1st. You know how I can tell? It’s the lingering feeling of trepidation that I’ve been feeling. At first, I didn’t know what was causing it. Just the slightest tinge of sadness, floating around the edge of my existence; smoldering beneath the surface. I can feel it; the loss. It’s been three years, when does it stop feeling fresh?

Most days, I push it down. I try to forget to pretend that something’s not missing. I’ve stopped crying. And then other days, like today, I hear a song like Both Sides Now and my heart just breaks open into a million pieces and I bleed all over my keyboard. I can’t stop the flood of tears and I’m not even sure that I even want to. Life is sad sometimes.

Bad things happen to good people and it’s not fair. Not one bit. I’m an awesome mother. I would have been a great mother to my third baby. I would have loved him so fiercely. There wouldn’t have been a single day that he ever wondered or doubted it but we’ll never know, he and I.

This hole. It is not something that I will ever be able to fill at all. It will always be there and I’m not sure that I know how to feel about that. I look fine to everyone. They don’t know that I walk around feeling totally and utterly incomplete. Part of me is missing and it always will be. That’s the saddest part of all.

I think there are profound things in this world that can alter your life forever. I’m a survivor. There is not much that you can throw at me that I can’t move past. I refuse to be knocked down by life but this one thing, of all the shit I’ve gone through in my life, this thing, I’m having the hardest time moving past.

Grief is a tricky b*tch.

Every April, I walk around like an exposed nerve and it takes me a couple weeks to figure it out. I try to forget the hurt but I can’t. It will not be forgotten. It demands attention. This is how I commemorate what almost was. This is how I slowly fill the hole. I allow myself to acknowledge that it matters to me. I allow myself to be vulnerable to it. To give myself completely over to it. I allow myself to flood my keyboard from time to time and to cry so hard and so ugly that my face stings and hurts.

I miss all of the “what could have been”s. As I type this, I am painfully aware that my house should not be quiet and still. There should be a toddler running amuck, walking and talking and making my life fuller. I shouldn’t have this much time in my day. My lap should be filled and tiny giggles should be everywhere but there is only silence.

Every year at this time, I feel more alone than I should and the loss feels fresh. I recoil a bit but not enough to be noticed. This is my sorrow, my hurt to feel. I don’t want it to be a “thing”. We have so much going on at this time every year and I don’t want this to be the wet blanket on life. This moment is mine and mine alone. It makes me feel closer to the baby I lost, to feel the pain so I write it out.

I’ve never been the person who screams out in pain. I hold it in and I draw strength from it. That is how I survive it. I have to feel every single ache in order to get through it. Sometimes that does mean screaming and raging against the world in my own way, other times it means an almost catatonic silence. I’m not sure what it will mean this year. I only know that right now a song by Joni Mitchell playing in the background crept into my soul and brought me to my knees.

What is the expiration date on grief and how do I make this pain go away?

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loss, miscarriage, remembrance

I thought I had forgotten but it’s never far from my heart. I lied to myself and I believed the lie. Recently, I was at a family holiday party, surrounded by people who I love and love me, and there he was; my beautiful reminder. With his tender, sweet, barely 2-year-old smile, he tore the wound wide open. There should have been two 2-year-olds playing at the party but there is only one.

I sat in silence, with a vaseline smile plastered on my face, trying to mask the pain of the deep wound. Trying to remember to breathe. My eyes were burning but I dared not blink for fear that my secret might be revealed. I made small talk but I don’t remember a word that I said because I was so engrossed in my own inner monologue reminding myself not to cry; to be happy because I have so much to be thankful for.

In the background, I could hear my dear, sweet, amazing 1-year-old niece giggling and mouthing what might be words, or near enough. She is fully engaged. I am smitten with her. Simultaneously, the worn bandage that holds my heart together begins to pull and yank. So much happiness, only makes the emptiness that much more unbearable.

I fool myself into believing that I forget, then I punish myself with guilt but when I allow my heart to remember,to feel the full weight of what I’ve lost, it’s almost impossible in these moments. The moments that sneak up on you in the midst of your everyday life and cut you to your quick,  reminding you that you’re not whole. That you will never be who you were before that day; that single moment that changed you forever.

Don’t blink. You’ll miss what’s happening because you’ll be blinded by what could have been. It’s hard to look directly into the sweet face of what should have been and know that it never will. I was overcome by anger, sadness, envy and then all-consuming guilt because I have more than I deserve.

Sleep in heavenly peace, my dear sweet one. I’ve survived another year without you, but you’re always with me. I carry you; I carry your heart in my heart; forever and always.

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signs of miscarriage, miscarriage symptoms, causes of miscarriage, grief, sadness, loss, miscarriage, lost baby, how to carry on after a miscarriage

I forgot.

I didn’t cry.

I didn’t mean to. I would never.

It’s the day I stop.

But this year, I was so busy prepping for Thanksgiving and Special Person’s day for my second grader.

I was caught up in minutia. I was planning the rest of my life. I was living and I totally forgot what today could have been.

What it should have been…

My baby’s 2nd birthday.

I was supposed to be wrangling a toddler. Entering the terrible twos.

Instead my lap is empty.

My heart has a hole.

Worst of all, I forgot to be sad about it.

I forgot to remember that it was the anniversary of what could have been.

I feel guilty.

I feel ashamed.

I feel like I should be flogged.

There is no guilt quite so terrible as that of a mother to a child who almost was.

To a child who you loved with all your soul but lost before you got to tell them so.

A mother who forgot to remember.

I forgot.

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loss of a pregnancy, miscarriage, pregnancy, birth, the first pregnancy

Have you ever suffered the loss of a pregnancy? Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. I know October is National everything month but I would like you all to pause for just a moment today and remember all the mothers who lost their everything and children who never got to be held. We can’t forget the loss of a pregnancy is the loss of our child that would’ve been; it’s how to survive a miscarriage.

My story is not unique or special but my loss was life-changing for me. In that one moment, my life was altered for eternity. The loss of a pregnancy sounds so simple but I’ll spend the rest of my life learning how to survive a miscarriage. The statistics all say that it is common but it doesn’t feel statistically accurate. I can’t imagine how so many women are suffering so stoically, such a deep and profound sorrow. My heart was irreparably damaged and in its place, a gaping wound remains that can never be filled. It’s a kind of primal pain that is indescribable. 

READ ALSO: Mourning Mother Won’t Let go of Baby

I don’t think that the loss of a pregnancy or infant is like anything else, we will ever experience in our lifetime and I can say for certain that it is nothing I would ever wish on even my worst enemy.

It’s like dying but still being alive. It’s having to carry on when you want to crawl into yourself and cease to exist. It’s survival at the most. It’s a vulnerability that, to this day, still brings me to my knees on occasion. The only thing worse that I can imagine is losing a living child who’ve you’ve spent years loving and knowing.

The worst part about the loss of a pregnancy or infant is what a single solitary loss it is. Surviving a miscarriage is like surviving the apocalypse and your entire family dying, do you even want to survive?

You will never feel so alone as you do when your womb is empty because you feel like your body failed you and no one feels it the way you do. Others know that you lost your pregnancy or your infant but in a few weeks or months, they can forget it if they choose and carry on. And they usually do and you are left feeling like a crazy person who misses terribly this tiny person we never met. You begin to question your sanity, especially when others look at you like “when is she ever going to get over this.” Worse, they actually are afforded the luxury of forgetting that it ever happened to you. Oh yes, they do and no I never will “get over it”.

Every May 1st (The day I survived my miscarriage) and November 24th (our child’s due date), I observe as days of remembrance. I feel the loss every single day but on those two days of the year, I allow myself to feel all of my feelings. Sometimes, I sob the entire day, sometimes I am numb and others, I am still and thankful that even for that short time, my baby was with me and for the two beautiful children that I do get to hold because there are those of us who never got to hold any of their children.

I am past the point of feeling raw or envious when friends tell me that they are pregnant. I am happy for them. In fact, I love seeing them get to experience that love and complete sense of purpose. I no longer ask “why me?” because there is no point. My little one has finally stopped asking for a sibling, and that has helped immensely. My guilt is beginning to alleviate some. My feeling of failure is slowly fading like an old photo.

I do however know how fragile and fleeting life is and that has made me a different kind of mother to my children. If I am being completely honest, I still don’t think that I could survive a loss of one of my girls. (That’s not a tempt fate, so please forget that I even thought that) but the pain nearly killed me and for a little while, it completely destroyed my sanity. It’s hard to be rational when you are a frightened, exposed nerve in the world. I am aware that I am a little more protective of my girls than maybe I should be but you have to understand, they are my everything.

READ ALSO: When a Tattoo Heals Your Heart

I’ve been searching for something to immortalize the baby that I lost, to give me closure in a way. I feel like I need something to mark his existence, proof that he ever existed at all. That he was here. That the Big Guy and I loved him more than anything else in the world, just like we do our two girls. I know that nothing can fill that hole in my heart but I want people to know that I am the mother to 3 children. I was pregnant 3 times. It happened. I’m not crazy. I didn’t imagine it. I am not over it.

I’ve finally decided on a tattoo that I think is perfect. It’s a poem, one that I’ve quoted to my girls since they were babies. I am going to have it tattooed on my left-hand side rib cage, near my heart because that is where my children always are with me, in my heart, forever…even if you don’t see them or forget they exist. For me, they are always right there with me.

If you’ve ever experienced the loss of a pregnancy take today to feel your feelings.

Be kind to yourself. There is no right or wrong way to feel. There is no expiration date on loving a child. It doesn’t matter who else remembers or cares, you do.

We all have our wounds. They might not show on the outside but they are there. Be kind to one another and cherish every single moment with the people you love, especially the little people, because time is fleeting.

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loss, grief

I’ve been a little quiet on here lately. I’ve been wiped out physically and emotionally with life. I don’t really know how to tell this story because it’s not mine to tell without making it “all about me” which it is not but I need to write it out because that’s how I process emotions. This is just me feeling the ripples on the peripheral and it’s been enough to knock me on my ass. This is life, try as we may to resist, we personalize and internalize all tragedy that touches us; no matter in how small or large a way.

We received a passing text that a young girl, a cousin’s 16-year-old daughter, had been in an accident involving a vehicle. It did not seem life threatening. It seemed like a courtesy call, just to let us know. We prayed for her. We prayed for her parents because that is what we do. When family is in need, you suit up, you play, you fight and you pray.

A day later, the innocuous “accident” necessitated an induced coma. We prayed harder. A couple days later, we found out that everything was going well but she would need surgery. No big deal. We prayed harder still.

I started to get twinges of residual fear of loss. Everything was “fine” but for me, I’m always afraid of losing those I love. I’ve experienced loss before. I’ve experienced the overwhelming fear that engulfs you during near loss. Losing a 9-year-old student to meningitis, in the matter of a weekend, changed my perspective on life. I KNOW the fleetingness and fragility of life. These experiences, they are what have shaped me and made me the mother that I am today. Losing children is different than losing grown ups because it is so unexpected. I am terrified of losing my children. That’s why a cold is never just a cold. It’s the reason why I still wake up to check that they are breathing in the middle of the night. I am painfully aware that every single moment could be our last together. I hate that I know this. I envy those who do not.

Then last week, my husband texted me to look up to the sky. It was once more filled with paper lanterns, ascending to heaven. I ran outside in my nightgown to stare, silently and reverently at those beautiful lanterns ascending higher and higher into the night sky, disappearing among the stars. My heart stops every time I see this sight but tonight, it was almost too much to bear because you see, just prior to this, I had gotten the text and nothing more.

“They are taking her off of life support” all the air left my body and the scar tissue that covers my heart slowly started to tear away and then was suddenly and violently ripped open. In that moment, I knew that even our emotions have a never-ending echo in this world. Even those wounds that we thought have long healed have only scabbed over and the slightest pull at the wound can refresh those terrible pains.

My heart broke for her parents and everyone whose life she had ever touched, who’d heard her laughter or seen her smile for the friends and family who were left behind to mourn the devastating loss; to feel that unfillable void that never leaves, especially a parent.

The day of the wake, I was nervous. Terrified to face the pain, to see another parent experience that all consuming, never recovering, life changing, spirit crushing, faith testing pain of losing a child. I immediately recognized it on the faces of the parents, the blank stare of heartbreak so complete that if someone touches you, you might literally crumble to the ground. If you’ve ever felt it, you recognize it in others.It’s like being a head to toe exposed nerve, everything hurts; even the air you breathe. Just existing is almost too painful to tolerate.

I KNEW there was nothing I could say to make it better and after my own emotional break down 2 weeks ago on stage, I knew my own wounds were still healing. I KNEW what that mother was feeling; I’ve felt it myself. I KNOW there is no comfort to be had. I KNOW that THAT pain is inconsolable and there is no recovery. I lost my child before I ever got to hold him in my arms, I can’t even imagine the pain it is to lose a child that you held and loved for 16 years. But I wanted her to know that I understood, that we loved them and that we are here for them in any way we can to help them survive this because that’s what happens when you lose a child, or a pregnancy, you survive it. I would not try to tell her that it gets better, or that it ever stops hurting. I would not tell her those lies.

She asked me in her exhausted, numb, wanting to die state if she would ever feel better. I hugged her tighter and told her that I loved her. I did not answer because her wounds are still too raw for the truth.

The truth is this, you just keep living until you feel alive again but you will never be the same ever again and the honest answer is that eventually you will feel better than you do at this moment but every moment will be tinged by the loss of something that you loved more than life itself; something you will never get to hold or look upon again and that is almost unbearable if you think about it too much. You slowly have to let it go. You have to forgive yourself for living and you go on, with the hope that one day, you will hold them again, even if it’s just in your mind and only for a little while.

So, as this beautiful young girl’s mother told me through her sobs, I am telling you,

“Hold on tight to those babies of yours because you never know which moment is the last.”


If you are the praying type, please keep these parents in your prayers. They need them. They will for a long time.


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miscarriage, loss, grief, May 1st

Is there a right or wrong way to experience loss? Is there a time limit on grief? I don’t think so.

May 1st is my annual day of mourning. I don’t know if this is normal or not but it’s what is normal for me. My miscarriage changed me forever. It’s how I get through this. It’s the one day of the year that I am completely still and I allow myself to feel all the feelings because quite honestly, this week just knowing that the anniversary of such a terrible event in my life was approaching had me walking around feeling like an exposed nerve. I changed forever on that day and I‘ll never be the same. No matter how hard I try or pretend to be.

I have cried at song lyrics and at the sound of the giggles of my daughters, knowing that one is missing. There is a hole in my heart that will never be repaired; not for my entire life. When my littlest daughter cuddles into me at bedtime and asks me for baby brother or sister, I hold my breath, push down the lump and pray I can hold back the tears long enough for her to fall asleep. Most days it’s a tiny little ache that I hardly even notice anymore but other days, it’s a sharp shooting pain that steals my breath away and others that confine me to my bed and the space in my head where I am allowed to dwell in my heartbreak.

It’s just one day and it doesn’t seem enough but at the same time, how do you quantify loss?

When I had my miscarriage, I wanted to die. All I could do was cry.I wanted to sink into one of my deep, tear stained sleeps where I had sobbed myself into exhaustion and never wake up. I was given pain killers and sleeping pills to help. I can’t tell you how many times in that first month that I mixed them, hoping to “accidentally” not wake up. The only thing that kept my weary mind and body grounded in this world were my girls and the Big Guy. I’ve never told anyone that.

May 1st is the day that I had my D & E. Two years ago, I went in to my obstetrician’s office for a little spotting, just like I did in both pregnancies previous. Today was the day that my entire world crashed down around me. Then, it became real. My body failed me and my heart shattered into one million tiny scattered pieces. May 1st is the day that I lost my baby. I was 10 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I will mourn that day for the rest of my life.

I feel like people don’t understand; not my family or my friends and certainly not the general population. I feel like people are thinking that I should get over it. After all, “It” was just a pregnancy. It wasn’t like I had a child who lived and then he died. The thing that I feel people fail to understand is that “IT” was not an “it” at all. It was my child; it was a Bella or a Gabi. In my heart and in my mind, I loved that baby just as much as I love the two I get the privilege of kissing good night every blessed night.  I lost everything and I won’t ever get over that.

I don’t linger in my loss anymore these days. I live each day knowing that a piece of my heart is missing and it hurts when I think about it. I give myself this ONE day of the year. I don’t need permission or to explain it to anyone. I just need this one day to not buckle under the weight of my own heart, to not choke from the lump in my throat, to cry until there are no more tears left and to be mad as hell that where my baby should be, my arms are empty and will always be.

The pain of losing a pregnancy or a child is like no other pain. If you’ve never experienced it (and I pray that you don’t) just take that all-consuming, unimagined love that you felt for your baby the first time you held her and then multiply that by a million in the opposite direction. That is what I feel like on May 1st, like I am being hit by a Mack truck and the worst part is that I know its coming.

I know I’ll always take pause in remember the day that my world was shattered. Some years the anniversary will hurt less and some years it will hurt more. But every year, on May 1st, I am giving myself the day to feel all of my feelings , even if I feel absolutely nothing but flat exhaustion. Or maybe one of these days, I will be happy dressing my daughter for her wedding or witnessing the birth of my 1st grandchild  and I won’t be overcome with grief or even tinged with sadness. No matter what I feel, it’s okay but I have to do this for myself.

Part of me shut off that day. I pushed it down, way down so I could function but it’s there bubbling beneath the surface. There are feelings that are so overwhelming that I’m afraid to let them in and that is what today is for, to sit still, alone and feel whatever feelings come up.

Can we ever truly recover from loss?

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It’s been one of those weeks. You know the ones where you are bone tired but at the same time there is something inside that won’t shut off. It’s like your flight or fight response has kicked in and you have no one to fight and nowhere to run because the cause follows you because it is within you.

The week started with a midnight ding on my laptop; a comment on a blog post about my battle with anorexia. God that seems like a lifetime ago in the miserable state of affairs my body stands in today. The comment was left by a 15-year-old girl in New Zealand who is struggling with eating disorders. She is crying for help but no one believes her. I know how this turns out if no one pays attention; the story ends with her dying. Gone. No more because even her own parents wouldn’t take her seriously. I reply. I give her some number and emails to a hotline. I am triggered. I want to swoop in and save her but I can’t. I am here. I can only offer assistance, listen, believe her and hope she takes the next step. Fight.

Then a couple days later, I hosted a twitter party. I was really excited about it because it meant that I could giveaway  a prize that I thought would make some little girl’s Christmas morning. That meant something to me because I know there are mothers out there who can’t afford to give their children anything for Christmas and I could help a mom give her child the best Christmas ever. It took a lot of work. I’ve been planning and negotiating this since August. Then I even got to give away 2 houses and then after it was all said and done, I was called a liar and a cheat by two participants who didn’t win. I know I shouldn’t take it personally but I do. Fight.

Then I read a post by an asshole man called, Five Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder. You know, the disease that kills women, the disease that might be killing a 15-year-old in New Zealand right now and the disease that could have killed me. He makes light of this disease that I suffered from for 8 years; the very same thing that I will be in recovery from for the rest of my life; the disorder that kills women. He obviously has no understanding of it or is the most callous and unkind human walking the face of the earth. Fight.

Then today, November 24th, what would have been the first birthday of the baby I lost. I accidentally watched a 1st birthday video of a friend’s daughter and that’s when it hit me like a MACK truck. I should be celebrating but instead my lap is empty and my heart is heavy today. The air is thick and it’s hard to breathe. I don’t know when this will stop happening. I don’t know if we ever really get over our hurts in life. I think maybe they grow to be a part of us and change us. Flight

I’m here, hammering out deadlines and avoiding my reality. My heart is pretty fragile this week and the slightest push of pressure in the wrong way may break me completely. But in this moment I thank God for what I have; a man who loves me with all my flaws, children who I can hold in my arms a little longer than I need to today, a best friend who reaches out from across the universe to make sure that my heart is still in tact and work. Work that keeps my mind occupied and tears at bay.

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pregnancy, loss, miscarriage, how to know when you're done

We are on baby watch 2014. My brother-in-law and his wife are in the hospital, as I type, being induced with their first child. I am so thrilled for them to welcome their little girl into the world. It brings back all those nostalgic excited feelings of expecting our first and then our second and then abruptly ends with a little pain in my heart that fills the hole left by loss. The hole is getting smaller but some days it’s a little rawer than others; a little less compact and clean. Some days it’s messy like the days when my 6-year-old begs me for a little brother or sister and I find myself not completely opposed to the idea.

Gabi is back on her “I want another baby” kick.  She wants to be a big sister in a big way. I tried. I really did and then we lost the baby and it scared me off the entire thing. Only now, when I should be planning a first birthday, I am trying to explain to my Gabi that I just don’t think a third baby is in the cards. She’s begging me. She spent the entire 30 minutes that we were cuddling before she fell off to sleep last night bargaining with me to just try just one more time. “Just try one more time mommy and if it doesn’t work. I won’t ask again!” Only I get pregnant if you breathe on me too hard, the scary part is the staying pregnant part.

Part of me wants to say yes. We are supposed to be five and we are only four but part of me is overcome with logic and memory and says hell no, remember that pain? To win big you have to be willing to lose big and I am not sure that the risk is worth it; for my heart. But still, my Gabi, my sweet dear child, has been asking for a baby to love for 3 years.

I thought maybe my new niece could help fill that space in my Gabi’s heart but she wants what she wants and she won’t let it go. She doesn’t know that with every ask she reminds me of my failure. How could she? She only knows that she loves me and a baby brother or baby sister would be a piece of me that she could hold in her arms and care for the way that I care for her. She really is an amazing child. Her heart is bigger than I could have imagined and her brain, she is wiser than most adults I know. If I could only give her this one thing. If things were different. If I were younger. I’d do anything for her.

For a long time after we miscarried, I thought anyone who tried again must be mad. How the hell can your heart take it? Mine couldn’t. I swore to myself that my heart couldn’t take it but I think I was wrong. We said the only way we would try again is if Gabi asked, if she meant it. I think her little heart broke as much as mine on that day I miscarried. She was able to verbalize her pain, even better than I was. I tell you, that kid is amazing. I wish I could do this for her but I don’t think I can. Not because I am afraid of losing but because there are so many things that could go wrong; so many ways to fail. The stakes are too high.

I’ve only miscarried once and it was after already having given birth twice so for me, losing my pregnancy was not losing a fetus, it was losing my child. As soon as I knew I was pregnant, the pregnancy was a Bella or a Gabi, not some far off could be someday, he/she was here and he/she was loved and when I lost him/her, it left a howling, primal pain in my heart that scared me. It scared me because I preferred to die than to live with that pain.

I am more cautious now because I know what it feels like to lose a child. I am overprotective and I worry a lot. Every potential threat is treated like the enemy because I don’t know who I am without these children. They complete me. I am broken. I will never be completely whole for the rest of my entire life. I will know that part of me is missing. Still, my head tells me that another child is not a possibility but my heart, my heart wishes it could grant my daughter her one wish.

After the miscarriage, I had convinced myself that I was done but there has always still been that little part of me that holds tightly to what if. I know many women just know they are done. I think it is something quite different to feel that you have no choice. It’s the difference between choosing to walk away and being turned away. One is a choice the other is a rejection; a failure; an unanswered question. How do you reconcile a decision under these circumstances? Is it wrong that I am looking forward to the day when I actually don’t have to think about the answer to the question of whether I am done having babies or not and just know that I am?

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? How did you deal with it?

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