Friday, December 23, 2005

Hang in there, peanut.

So far, so good (phew). New EDD (based on LMP) = 7/30/06.

I am a bird now

In loving memory of Julian Innes Fader (12/20/04 - 12/23/04)

"Still Here" - Jill Scott

I am a boisterous river
I am a mountains story
I am a quiet feeling
I am a fragrant flower
I am a moonlit evening
I am a peaceful night
I am a writers thinking
I am a wealth unfathomed
And if you don’t recognize my presence, I am here
And if you don’t recognize me, I am here
I am a source of power
I am excited journey
I am the rock of patience
I am a whisper singing
I am unbridled freedom
I am the thought from thinking
I am a love unshattered
I am the great orgasm
And if you don’t recognize my presence, I am here
And if you don’t recognize my presence, I am here
And even if you don’t recognize me, I‘m still here
And even if you don’t recognize me
And even if you don’t recognize me, I‘m still here
And even if you don’t recognize me, I am, oh, I’m still here
Even if you don’t recognize me, I’m here, I’m here, I’m here

[The title of this post is taken from one of this year's most powerful albums, by Antony & The Johnsons.]

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Happy birthday, Julian

Our beautiful son Julian came into the world a year ago on 12/20 at 7:10pm, with a head full of dark hair and beautiful brown eyes. He weighed 6 pounds, 3 ounces,and measured 19 inches long. I spent my whole pregnancy trying to picture what he would look like, but when I met him for the first time, it was likeI had known him for my whole life. It was at the same time the proudest and the saddest moment of my life because I knew that the time I would have with him would be limited. Julian struggled to be with us for 3 days before he died of heart failure caused by dilated cardiomyopathy. He only gave up the fight for his life when my husband and I held him and told him we loved him and that it was okay to let go, that he didn't need to be strong for us.

My husband, Robert and I spent the day together in quiet reflection (slightly distracted by the NYC transit strike). We are so thankful for each other and for the handful of family and friends who did manage to acknowledge Julian on what would have been his first birthday.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What not to say to a SPALS mom

I am only 5 1/2 weeks pregnant and already, I have been making a mental list of "What not to say to a subsequently-pregnant-after-a-loss mom." People can be really clueless. In no particular order, here are my new guidelines for how to behave around a SPALS mom such as myself:

1. Don't keep asking a woman who has suffered through pregnancy or infant loss if she is "pregnant yet." Planning a subsequent pregnancy is not exactly a joyous experience (especially when it doesn't happen quickly), and constant inquiries only add to the stress and isolation she feels on a daily basis.

2. If and when she does inform you of her subsequent pregnancy, be happy for her, but not overly celebratory. If she lost a full-term baby, she is bound to feel very vulnerable and anxious during her subsequent pregnancy, and knows too well that a positive pregnancy test doesn't automatically guarantee a successful pregnancy or a live healthy baby at the end of 9 months. She needs your care and support, but not a cheerleader. If you're unsure about the appropriate tone, follow her lead.

3. Don't perceive her new pregnancy as a sign that she has "moved on" or is "over" the baby she lost. She will never be over it, and will probably struggle a great deal with how to celebrate her pregnancy and bond with the new baby, while continuing to grieve for the baby who died.

4. Similarly, if you haven't done such a good job of listening to, supporting, visiting, or staying in touch with her since her baby died, don't take the announcement of the new pregnancy as a signal for you to try to resume your friendship where you left off before she lost her baby, as though you are relieved that she is "normal" and back to her "old self" again. Not only is this a false perception, but she may resent this kind of fair-weather friendship and may even be reluctant to tell you about her pregnancy for fear that you will respond in such a way.

5. Don't assume that she no longer wants to talk about the baby who died. Most SPALS moms love it when you remember their babies, especially (but not only) on anniversaries and holidays.

6. Don't assume that she now wants to hear about other peoples' pregnancies or other peoples' babies. Despite the fact that she is herself pregnant, she may feel very removed from those who have had an easy time of getting pregnant and bringing home a baby. Try to continue to be as sensitive and mindful about what you say to her (and within earshot of her) as you hopefully would have been during the months immediately following the death of her baby.

7. Please do try to keep your feelings about God, religion, etc. to yourself in relation to her pregnancy and/or the baby she lost (i.e., references to "God's will," "God's plan," "angels," or her "faith"). It is possible to offer secular or non-religious responses that sound more sincere and authentic than those that may be meaningless to her, depending upon her beliefs. Otherwise, there is a risk that your truly supportive sentiments may be clouded by religious imagery that she may be offended by if she is an agnostic, atheist, or has a nontheistic worldview.