3/3/15

Today was a hectic day. Meeting after meeting. Project after project. Email after email. I cranked all day. But there was something that was never far from my mind today.

Today, our little girl, our second baby, was due. I felt such hope about that pregnancy. Surely after our first loss, G-d would help us keep this baby. All the signs were there. We found out we were pregnant on Dan’s birthday. The baby was due on 3/3, one of the alternate dates we picked for our wedding. But also, if the baby was born on 3/3, we would share a hebrew birthday 13 Adar. We would both be Purim babies. And if this baby came two weeks late (just like I did) we would share an English birthday. My in-laws, my stepmother and I all share March birthdays. See?! So many signs.

I carry you in my heartBut that little girl was not meant to come home with us. She was very ill, we found out after we lost her and it was (we learned from the doctor) better that she wasn’t born. But she and her older sibling (due 12/13/14) are never far from my mind. I wear a little heart necklace all the time now. It reminds me of the two little hearts that aren’t here with us. I know that they are in our hearts though and their little brother who, G-d willing, will join us in June will be a very special part of our family.

A loss mom said to me once, “I was so sad about my miscarriage but after I had my son, I realized that without that loss, I wouldn’t have the amazing boy I have today.”

So I was sad on 12/13/14 and 3/3/15 but I am so thank-full and joy-full that this little man is growing perfectly inside me. Baby Boy Haykin – we can’t wait to meet you! (But stay safe in there as long as you need to!!)

It’s been a while…

I have to stop feeling guilty for not writing. I get so busy with life and neglect my blogs and then I feel guilty for not writing and then the cycle continues. However, in recent days I have been sending people to my blog for a multitude of reasons and it has amplified my guilt…

So here’s an update. After our two heartbreaking miscarriages last year, I am pregnant again and this one is looking really good. Currently I am 23 weeks and 4 days pregnant with a little boy. He will be, G-d willing, making his appearance in June.

The road to this place has been really bumpy. And I have had a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head. I have chastised myself for not blogging through a lot of these thoughts at 1am when I can’t sleep… because I am often so busy during the day (and my ‘baby brain’ is so intense) that I always forget my thoughts and never get them down. It’s usually the quiet moments when my son is bouncing around inside of me like I am a human bouncy castle and the insomnia is on full blast, that I think of these things. It’s also when I remember all the work I’ve forgotten to do and the errands I forgotten to run.

I’m proud of my body for getting us here. In three short days, we will hit our next milestone… viability. Meaning if our son was born, he would have a chance of surviving. He’s kicking me as I type this… haha, maybe he’s mad at me for not being able to see 40 (or 42) weeks as the end point. I’m just too jaded to get that comfortable with assuming it will completely work out well.

This pregnancy, we only went week to week. In the first trimester, we got weekly ultrasounds and our lives built up until that moment when we saw his heartbeat. Then we nonchalantly talked about dinner and a grocery store run and forgot about it all until the next week. After we got out of the first trimester, I kept putting off telling people. I was just so afraid to lose the baby again. At 10 weeks, we had a free cell DNA test. They take my blood, separate the baby’s DNA from mine and tell us if anything is or could be wrong with him. That’s also when we found out our boy was going to be a boy. By 12 weeks, we had the results back… he was perfectly healthy as far as they could see and he was a he. It was then when we decided we could celebrate, just the two (three) of us. Finally, around 14 weeks we told friends and family with a note in our holiday cards and then a facebook post.

soba annoucement

 

I had so many creative ideas during the first two pregnancies… and I was going to take week by week bump pictures… for this pregnancy, I couldn’t even think that far in advance. I was barely making it to our Friday appointments. But as it became public and I became very obviously pregnant and there weren’t any more tests the doctor could run to make sure he would be ok… we started to believe this is our reality. I’m still not quite at the “My son will be here in June” place yet… but my big ole’ belly and his incessant kicks before bedtime make sure I can’t ignore the life inside me.

So Thursday is 24 weeks… the next milestone. Then we will get into the third trimester around the middle of the 27th week. Then I am traveling to Florida for work (with Dan in tow to carry the bags, or me, or my barf bag… flying and I don’t agree when pregnant… but it’s not stopped me), then Passover, then my little cousins’ bar/bat mitzvah (twins), then time to plant the garden, then a long distance Mazal Tov to my cousin getting married in Rhode Island because I can’t travel at 37+(!!!!!!) weeks, then my brother’s 30th (!!!!) birthday, then either my son will be here or we will be celebrating his father’s birthday and then he will be here!

When you put it all into one paragraph… it doesn’t seem that far from now… But then I look back at the YEAR I have spent pregnant (yes, off and on) and I thank G-d it’s not that far from now.

Last March, when I was starry eyed about starting this family, I would never have guessed that I would be here. Twelve whole months later, pregnant THREE times, and six months pregnant. It’s beyond belief.

Here’s us – me at 21 weeks, Dan at… well… handsome.

Denver Jewish Film Fest Opening Night

What’s In A Name?

This piece originally appeared at ModernLoss.com under the title “Call Me A Mother.” Understandably, it was edited and trimmed down. Here are my musings on my losses and what the hell to call me, in full ramble.


“What’s on your mind?” asked Facebook.

The empty box sat there. Staring at me. Prompting me to say something. Do you say something? What do you say? Who are you now?

Mother’s Day, 2014. Not seven days earlier my husband and I lost our first baby. Perhaps we should zoom further back.

My husband and I got married on 3/10/13 (I have a thing for numbers). The moment we got married, the questions started. When are you going to get pregnant? Are you pregnant?

We decided that after a short 11 months of knowing each other before we got married that we would take a year of “just us” time before we started trying for a family. I would tell everyone who asked me “my husband demanded a year of marital bliss first” and that seemed to work. But after our first anniversary, the voices got louder.

On 4/4/14 (see, numbers) I found out that we were expecting our first child. Welp, that was easy, I thought. Until a month later when I started bleeding and cramping… On 5/5, the loss of our baby was confirmed at almost 8 weeks. On 5/7 I had a D&C (dilation and curettage) surgery to complete the process. On 5/11, Mother’s Day, I felt bombarded.

Beautiful babies and proud mommies filled my newsfeed. “Thanks to my baby girl for making me a mom!” “Happy Mother’s Day to the amazing moms I know!”

The whole week prior I just wanted to crawl under a rock. I stared listlessly at the tv screen and computer, unable to rally myself to any action. But something about Mother’s Day made me want to speak out. So, for the first time, I told the world (aka my Facebook friend feed) that I was a mom. For only 8 weeks, I carried a baby in my belly but I still felt like a mom.

Fast forward through the doctors’ visits and the “actually it happens to one in four women” conversations, my husband and I were lucky to get pregnant again. We found out the day after my husband’s birthday, 6/25. But by 8/15, we found out that we had lost our baby again, this time at nearly 12 weeks.

By now I feel like a mother, though I’ve never held my babies in my arms. But what would society call me? They don’t seem to see me as a mother because they’ve never seen me push a stroller down the street. Someone close to me, who also lost a baby, said to me one day, “you know, they have a word for when you lose your parents and they have a word for when you lose your spouse but what do you call a parent who has lost a child?” She had brilliantly encapsulated exactly how I felt that Mother’s Day, staring at the Facebook prompt “what’s on your mind?”

WHAT AM I?

And it seems I’m not alone. There are numerous articles and questions floating around the internet about this. One in particular struck me. A woman, who lost her 19-year-old son, titled her blog “Always A Mom Of Four.” I know that even though my sweet babies were lost before I met them, I am now a mom to two and my future (G-d willing) children, will know of their siblings lost. Why? Because that is life and it’s our reality.

But again, what do you call me? Some circles have started using the Sanskrit word “Vilomah.” It literally means, “against a natural order” and not entirely out of the blue to use since the origin of the word widow is also Sanskrit. Some use the Greek, “Tethligons,” which means, “bereaved parent.” In Hebrew we have, “sh’khol” (שכול) and perhaps that is the word I am searching for. There doesn’t seem to be an English equivalent. It is often translated to “bereavement” but that is not accurate. It is an adjective used in relation to the loss of a young family member, thus for a child. So that would make me שכולה אם – em shakula – a mother who lost her child(ren).

But really, I just want you to call me a mother and respect the journey I’ve been through. Not to trivialize my loss since they weren’t born or to tell me I’ll have that same kid another time. Not to tell me my feelings aren’t real since I never met the babies. To respect my unfortunate expertise here.

Oh and please don’t call on 12/13 or 3/3. Those will always be important dates for me (their due dates) but, this year at least, I will probably be staying under the covers with my puppy and husband, avoiding all Facebook prompts.

Thanking G-d

There are just moments when thanking G-d comes so easily. You don’t even think about it. Before you eat, after you eat, on shabbat, Rosh Hashanah… we all just say the prayers and don’t think about it.

And then there are the moments when you choke over the praise. When tears fill your eyes and the words trip over your tongue. How can I praise you right now? How can I thank you for your wondrous blessings when I am hurting? Continue Reading…

Twitter Spoofing

Recently, I had an interesting situation. A friend emailed me to tell me that someone was tweeting under a very similar username to mine, and mentioning my friends in the tweet. She had sent my usual “Shabbat Shalom” tweet on a Wednesday and @’ed my friends.

Odd.

I looked her up.

Turns out, she had used my header image, my username, and every few hours… tweeted my tweets.

I felt violated. Continue Reading…

Life|Love|Loss

Life is full of love and loss. Anyone who tells you differently hasn’t lived.

Dan and I have talked about this a lot lately. By deciding to start a family, we opened ourselves up to pain and hurt and sadness. We could have decided to wait longer or indefinitely. We could have planned more fun trips around the world, vacationing and buying ‘stuff’ but we both agreed that ‘really living’ includes children for us. Many children. And children, by default, bring happiness but also sadness and pain and challenges. They are an incredible blessing but they are also challenges. I don’t think either one of us expected the pain so soon. We knew that it was in our future. Children rebel and argue and do stuff that we don’t like. But they also bring so much joy and happiness and blessings into our lives. Continue Reading…

Blink of an eye

Life can change in a blink of an eye. Everything is so delicate. We may not realize it because our world is hard and fast but it’s not always. And in the most tragic times, we often close up on ourselves and stay quiet. We create a safe space and control that space. But as I think about this, I am reminded of an episode of the Dennis Prager show’s “Male/Female Hour.” He discusses the importance of having ‘couple’ friends that you can open up to. Often we lie or ‘vaguebook’ or pretend that the world is so perfect for us when in reality we are struggling just like everyone else. And why can’t we share? Well we are afraid someone will exploit this knowledge of us or we won’t be seen as perfect. Continue Reading…

A Special Poem on Mother’s Day

I am not yet struggling with Infertility (IF) because we only had one miscarriage. But here is a poem that was shared in one of my groups for those who find this day challenging.

For the 1 in 8:
Happy mother’s day
it comes around every year
but when you have empty arms
it’s sometimes hard to hear Continue Reading…

Let’s be honest

I’ve not been very good about blogging since marrying that fabulous man I married. Let’s be even more honest… my blog has been a big aimless even for a while before that. It started out being life as a single, Jewish woman in the social media field with some love of Sherlock Holmes thrown in. But it was aimless. I didn’t feel like I had a strong topic. I found a voice when I was in Israel and Israeli life and Jewish learning was all around me. But I lost my voice when I came home… just as I lost my focus on Jewish learning. Continue Reading…