Fall

WARNING: This content might make you blush if you are part of my family or I am part of yours … or if Christian Grey makes you blush in NOT a good way.

A November Night

I peered into a bassinet and saw a full-term baby. My baby was a girl, and she resembled Rowan. Through a translucent, heavenly membrane—only a dream can produce—I saw Rowan with her father. Rowan was as she is now—a spunky, beautiful toddler. These two were in their own little world—separate from mine. I was occupied in my world with my full-term Rowan-resembling baby girl. I had nothing to offer them, over there, in that moment. Rowan was happy, healthy, and well taken care of by her daddy. Within those moments, my new baby consumed me—that world was hers and mine.

*Nine.

I placed my new baby upon my breast, and she latched on perfectly. I felt that pull on my breast and the sweet relief of my milk releasing. Following those moments, I placed my new baby upon my second breast.

All was perfect and easy and heart-warming. She was not pale or discolored; she was ripe and beautiful. There was no darkness, no syringes, no chaos. We were not in Room 14; we were in Heaven. My new baby was a healthy, precious, six-pound baby; she was not just 1.5 pounds.

And when I awoke, my heart did not hurt; I did not wish to fall back to sleep. My heart was at peace, and I felt happy. I felt grateful for this beautiful gift I was given in my sleep.

I was grateful to find healing. I need much more healing, as I’ve neglected my heart for too long.

Flashback to October

She lost herself. Somewhere between the inability to conceive a child, the money she didn’t have to conceive a child; somewhere between the shots, the egg retrievals, the lack of control over her own body and happiness. She lost herself somewhere between her very first, ill-fated pregnancy and the blood that poured out of her while tears streamed down her face. She was lost and did not understand who she was when she realized her babies could not be conceived by her. Pieces of her died when the happiest months of her life were taken too soon as her body proved unable to fulfill the needs of her babies in her womb. Her heart migrated from numb to shattered to bitter because her baby died that morning. And she was not her anymore.

She put one foot in front of the other. Saggy, unflattering leggings. Unattractive, over-sized t-shirts with milk stains. The frizzy buns. With her shoulders slumped, with her broken heart, living in fear and desperation, she just put one fucking foot in front of the other and gave the universe her middle finger for torturing her in such harsh, hellish ways.

730 days of this was too long to endure this grief. But what will “talking” to someone do? Could there possibly be any medication that could help? Was she depressed, or was her happiness doomed because her baby died? I mean, how does one carry on, and who really cares anyway? Of course her heart was hardened; of course she wanted to hurt those closest to her; of course she didn’t need anyone. She was dead inside. But—this girl carried a fire with her, a fire she always had. Deep down inside, there was a desire to burn bright. Her heart was numb; the next best thing was a drug.

The feeling he gave her was intoxicating. His kindness and flattery—she took the bait. With each **encounter, her fire burned a little brighter. What a sick drug; so addictive that she turned her back on her family—on her husband.

She’d hit the bottom. Absolutely rock bottom.

He craved her body, and she craved those feelings. A woman’s body can be so convincing, and she was that woman. A Queen. She was so heavily desired—until she wasn’t worth it anymore, because he loved someone else. Of course he did; he loved someone who was so unlike her. She was no longer worth the effort. What a stupid girl. What a stupid girl for being so smart but falling for a player. The hard crash and withdrawal from this drug left her feeling used, rejected, broken. How cruel of her to break her own heart—to betray the one who loved her the deepest and the hardest. She betrayed the man who touched her body in all the right ways and gave her more pleasure than anyone ever could, finding secret places with his body and making her cry out of pleasure. She left the man who studied her—inside and out—and cherished every ounce of her.

Present Day

I finally surrendered.

I’ve been seeing a counselor for about six weeks now, and it is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. In addition, my medication has been adjusted, and I feel grateful for what I have versus angry for what I don’t have. My heart carries hope and has softened. I feel the depths of my emotions—the overwhelming, romantic love I have for my husband. My counselor has encouraged me to look at him differently; to feel him differently. She’s encouraged me to study my daughter’s beautiful face and embrace her touch when she hugs me or even rests her little arm on mine.

My counselor has advised me to live in fun. To have fun and be silly—live in my baby girl’s world for a bit each day. I asked her how I should heal my marriage. She knows our foundation is strong; she smiled and said, “Start with fun. Go have fun with your husband.”

We have spoiled our marriage rotten! Expensive dates; words of affection and admiration. Gifts and obsession and “I miss yous” … and—the best sex of my life.

Our bed hosts our dirtiness, our filth. Oh, if our walls could talk. The pleasure; the vulnerability. His body; his eyes. He yearns for me and takes my breath away. I’m obsessed with his sex; it builds my confidence and heals pieces of my heart. He is smitten with me and lights my fire.

I am happy today, and I will work hard every day of my life to maintain this spirit. I am grateful to have finally hit the bottom—for there is nowhere else to go but up.

*I was born and she died on the ninth—a day that belongs to her and me.

**Sexting; a single make-out session with some heavy petting.

Even Before

I’ve struggled.

I’ve struggled to know the realness of God even before my baby died right in front of me.

Believe me, I begged Him. Real, fake, compassionate, cruel – I begged Him.

I begged Him. “Please, God, I’ll do anything. Dear Jesus, please heal my baby.”

How do you recover from that? I mean; you don’t I guess.

“I’ll go to church every week; I’ll stop saying Your name in vain out of frustration; I’ll be better for You. Whatever you want; just please save her.”

How do you invite Him to coffee for a little chat? I hate you. You are mean. You took and took and took from me. What did I ever do?

What did I do to deserve any of this?  I don’t understand the workings of the world sometimes.

Life’s problems are so trivial. I CARRY THAT. Misunderstandings, pinched feelings, logistics, political correctness, hierarchy, pride. Don’t bring me your pride; my daughter is dead.

I could not imagine a life outside of the hell I was living. I thought I’d lived it. But I suppose there is an elevator – or descendator – in hell, and I guess I arrived to a lower tier of hell in Room 14.

I don’t understand. I never will. And science does not understand. And now she rests in our home. I have a lock of hair and her ashes.

But maybe she lives …

I have never doubted that I will see her again.

But that is because she’s with Him.

So, where do I go from here?

I can’t do it on my own anymore.

There comes a time …

There comes a time in every girl’s life … when she starts her period.

It’s exciting. It’s also physically and emotionally uncomfortable. It’s just new and different.

I felt kind of vulnerable because I was on the younger end of my peers who “got” her period earlier than most. I felt a little isolated; I didn’t feel more mature, but I guess I was, at least physically…? I don’t know … a whole host of emotions really, which I guess is kind of the point. Hormones and emotions.

Nurses ask when the first day of my last period was. I tell them it was waaaaaaay back when in March 2014. But it was so much more than a period, emotionally. I even call it a “fake” period because it was induced by birth control pill-withdrawal after a two-week menstrual cycle. I barely even bled; my nurses were just trying to sync me up with Mary + intended mommies. I’d been holding up the show, so I did a quick “run-through” before spotting then preparing my lining …

My last “real” period was during Valentine’s Day 2014. I remember it well because I actually bled through my pants and onto my desk chair at work. My [male] boss saw my chair and inquired, but I literally did not think it was actually blood. Surely it couldn’t have been. But it was. And he knew it before I did. Aaaaaand it was pretty mortifying.

So, as I recall the first day of my last cycle in March of last year, I can’t help but acknowledge how much hope my heart held. Even though it had been and was broken, I prayed and begged for it to be THE last period. I so desperately wanted it to mark the end of hopeless and the beginning of my dreams coming true.

And it *did. It was the last period.

Today I got my period.

I went to the ladies’ room while holding Rowan. And then I saw it.

I looked into my baby’s eyes with some tears in mine and said to her, “Rowie, Mommy got her period!”

Today was monumental for reasons I’m still sorting out in my heart …

*Statements like these can never be completely true because of the place in my dreams and heart I hold for Emmanuelle.

September

She grins from ear to ear when her eyes meet mine. She is sunshine, and she is perfect.

I am preparing for a very difficult season. I can’t believe my Emmanuelle is so far away from me; I can’t believe it has almost been a year. How dare time pass so quickly. How dare she be a distant memory. She is not distant to me.

How very quickly we forget.

We prepare for celebration. We strategize and contemplate the logistics and decorations and food of an event to celebrate a person’s first birthday.

Damn straight.

This occasion will not be remembered by Her Majesty – THE babe-turned-one-year-old whom we celebrate.

“It’s really for the parents.”

Rowan has put my heart back together. I look at photos of her and wish I could tell her that I did not realize how truly broken-hearted I was before I had her. I mean, I walked around with a shattered heart, but I live now. I live.

I shower my baby with kisses and affection. I shower her with constant affirmations and speak often of her beauty. This child would have an ego one size too big if she could comprehend my words.

How do I raise a young girl who knows her self-worth, yet does not inhabit an entitled attitude? I hope to serve as a role model; I know she will see me as the definition of “woman”. I want that definition to contain words like “compassionate; gracious; hard-working; independent; polite.”

I know how to love this child, but how do I raise her?

That’s all for now I suppose. More later, hopefully…

Breathe

I hold her close ‘neath the covers.

I feel her breathe; her body rises and falls.

I hear her breathe. She’s a top notch breather, my friends! A champion.

It’s hard to believe that this delicate girl required assistance ever … at all.

She breathes in and out. So natural. So involuntary.

*I have a confession to make …

It seems I’ve known her for five months, but – yet – she’s a completely different person from the stunning fetus displayed in her magnificent isolette. 

I stared at her today and almost told her Daddy, “There she is, that face. That look. Emmanuelle.” The resemblance. I did not want to bring him heartache; I kept it to myself. But I saw her.

I saw you, my darling.

I wish I could have her … because she’s my baby. We created her, our dancing Emmanuelle.

I want to know what she’d look like. I want to know what it’d be like … because that’s how it was supposed to be.

Lord, I miss her. 

My Rowan is the light of my life.

Oh, the heart. The matters of the heart.

*Co-sleeping: Something I never thought I’d do.

Unfinished

6.12.14

My booboo babies, I remember when I first started to feel your presence.

And now you look like little, precious humans. You have blessed me! You have brought me so much joy!

Your daddy says I am lighter now. He says that he doesn’t have to carry so much of my burden anymore; he can let his mind wander and question the world just like he always has. He finds it entertaining! I would have to disagree.

You have a good daddy. He does little things here and there for Mommy that just melts my heart—makes my day a little bit easier.

I am so happy you’re finally here. I knew you would bring me happiness. I can’t believe I get to feel this every day.

1.9.15

There’s very little significance associated with today …

… except that it is the ninth of the month.

I just hope she didn’t suffer. I hope she didn’t suffer in my womb. I hope Jesus numbed her discomfort in Room 15.

1.28.15

It’s a blessing to just be … after three years of infertility.

This winter I am not preparing for an IVF cycle. My first began two years ago.

My mother remarked how nice it must be to come home from work and spend time with our daughter … our baby.

No shots. No meds. No IVF.

We’re in family mode now—not at a stand-still. Our life isn’t on hold anymore. Our dreams have come true. Our hearts ache too, but for a very good *reason—she’s worth it.

I still hurt, and **it still stings—but the weight is gone. The heaviness is lifted.

After all the times I asked God, “When is this going to be over?”

I just want this to be over.

It’s over—done. I’m living it now. I’m living now.

It’s quite simple actually. *blessed*

*Emmanuelle

**infertility

Joy wakes me up in the middle of the night—because she’s hungry and is ready for her “diddy” to be changed. She eats well now—rarely turns blue.

Joy welcomes me in the morning and rests with her daddy while I go running. I have joy when I run—she’s mine; I no longer just daydream about her.

My running is going well; four mornings per week, I log some miles. Pumping is a phenomenal work out. *wink* I’ve reached my pre-pregnancy weight; in fact, I’m about five pounds lighter. *confident mamacita* I wear a bit more eye make-up these days; I put in a little more effort. Because I’m a mother, and it makes me feel beautiful.

Joy.

She keeps me on my toes and bursts my heart. There aren’t enough kisses. Her eyes couldn’t be more bright.

Her wardrobe is PINK. We cannot escape it; pink suits her complexion.

She talks about everything—sleeping, playing, stretching, eating—but she’s quiet too. A content little girl with those big eyes. Physically, she is very strong. And her strawberry hair grows—a head of peach fuzz after her baths.

WHICH SHE LOVES.

My little water princess for sure. She belongs in Nana’s Floridian pool.

My Papa is not well. Please, please pray for him. I want him to stay with us; he has lived a long life. I am grateful for his longevity and the memories created, but I want him to stay with us.

I pray for his comfort. I pray that he knows he is deeply loved and cherished.

My sweet Papa.

The Crisis

In a moment of perceived “crisis” I literally ask myself, “Is someone going to die?”

The answer is often no.

But that means nothing, I suppose. It means nothing to those whom I see nearly every day … and they still can’t just say, “Oh by the way, I’m sorry you lost your daughter.”

Heartless.

I don’t expect the world to stop turning because I can’t have Emmanuelle here with me. My world stopped—yes—but life keeps moving.

I started crying at work yesterday. I pictured her sweet face, and it was just too much.

That’s my crisis.

I place my head in my hands, crying, hysterical. “I’m so screwed right now.” My husband comes home from work and—like a hero—rescues his damsel in distress while our baby wants nothing more than for me to hold her. She wants her mother to hold her, but I deal with the crisis. It’s the crisis that must be dealt with—NOW.

I close my eyes and picture Room 15. “I am not in Room 15 right now. No one is going to die. On the spectrum of crises, this just isn’t one.”

And what really ticks me off is that the crisis receives more attention, more tears, more anxiety, more elevated blood pressures than it ought to.

Time is of the essence.

I race against time to solve the crisis.

Her doctors raced against time to save her life.

And guess what—world that keeps on moving? I solved the crisis. I nearly fell apart, but with mascara-stained cheeks, the mother of all crises has been solved.

But I still don’t get to have her.