8 years old

I am sitting down on my couch
to write this post
not knowing where it will take me.

It’s been so long since I have regularly blogged
but something keeps pulling me back
to write
on
my baby girl’s
birthday.

Today marks 8 years.

Eight years.

It is starting to feel like a long time ago.

Malou Amelia
lives with me every day
so she feels close to me
but the raw emotion
and the feeling
of losing her feels like it happened a long time ago.

And I guess it did.

Today
is the first time her
birthday
has felt like a day to remember
What Happened
rather than
a Birthday.

I can see that in how I wrote this post…

I haven’t even written
Happy Birthday, My Darling Girl!

Somehow
I don’t think she minds.
It has never been about the day she died (May 26th)
or the day she was born (May 28th)
or the day of her funeral (June 7th)
or the day we buried her (July 4th)
or the day she was due (July 24th)

but it’s always been about her.
Her beautiful, innocent soul
and
the transformative power
she has had over my life.

It’s about
the intense, all consuming love and pride
I have felt being her mother,
which I have felt since the day I found out I was pregnant with her (November 18th, 2007).

Dates have always meant something to me.
I’m not sure why.

But I know I am entering
the Season of Malou
where she is on my mind
even more
than usual…

No one knows
how much I see her and feel her
in every single part of my life.

I have integrated it into the way I live
so I honestly don’t notice it anymore.

It feels natural to think of her,
and see her beautiful face in my mind
in even the most mundane situations.

I wouldn’t mind sharing with anyone who asks
but I no longer need to share
the how and why
that a smell or or a specific street or a type of bird or a song or a glimpse of my sons or niece or nephew
bring me right into a memory of my girl.

Back when I wrote this blog regularly,
I needed to share.
And you were all here listening and holding me up.

I am still so grateful for that.

And now I am continuing on a path
leading me further and further
away from the day I saw
Malou Amelia’s face
but at the same time
I believe with all my heart
also leading to the day
where somehow
I will see her again.

In the meantime
I am trying to live my life
in a way that honors all the
Malou Amelia
taught me:

I try to
*Be compassionate with others and myself*
*Focus on the good and fill my heart with love*
*Let go and forgive the mistakes of others (and myself)*
*Be open and vulnerable*
and always ready to
*Connect with people*

Today
when we visited
Malou’s grave
we walked past a man
planting a tree in a nearby cemetery plot
and had a wonderful conversation.
We connected with him over the love we have
for the people no one else can see.
Over the fact that love and connection doesn’t die
just because a heart stops beating.

The thing is, though,
I fail.

I fail every day at being the person I would want
Malou Amelia
to see.

My messy, imperfect life
is full of failure and impatience and tears and insecurity and worry.

But messy and imperfect means
my life is also full and that I am willing to take chances on something new
even if that risks failure.
And my impatience means there are opportunities to learn and forgive,
and my tears mean there is passion and emotion,
and my insecurity and worry means I am always
trying to to do best.

I feel this blog post coming to an end
and yet I am not sure
if I have said what I want to say.

That’s a change.
Usually this blog
as helped me process things
and every post
has led me somewhere I needed to go.

Maybe that means today
– 8 years out –
I am beginning to find full peace and acceptance
in what has happened
and therefore
I have less of a need to process things as such.

I am not sure.

But I am sure
Malou Amelia
was meant to be my daughter.
And I wish more than anything our life
turned out differently
and she was here with us
and I woudn’t have to answer Liam’s questions
“But why did she die?”
over and over…
because there is no good answer.

And when there is no good answer,
an inquisitive little boy will keep asking the question
trying to make sense of it.

Someday
he too
will come to the conclusion
that there is no sense in it
but there is still

beauty
and
value
and
worth
and
love
in the short life
that was his sister’s.

Happy 8th birthday, my darling girl!
My entire heart is filled with love for you, now and forever. I hope you are safe and happy and content and completely surrounded by
peace and love.

Published in: on May 28, 2016 at 22:02  Leave a Comment  

7 years down

7 years ago

Malou Amelia

was born.

I remember back then

getting to know of people who had survived

the stillbirth of their child

and not being able to imagine

myself

so far out.

I couldn’t see that time would march on

and life would go on

and joy would return.

It just wasn’t comprehensible.

And now here I am.

I have survived.

My daughter died.

I lost two small babies-in-the-making.

I birthed two healthy boys.

I lost my marriage.

I found love again.

What do they say?

What doesn’t kills you, makes you stronger?

I don’t love cliches

but there is a bit of truth I think in this one.

Some things you want to kill you

but they don’t.

Some things you don’t want to learn from

but you do.

Sometimes you want life to move faster

to escape the pain

– or move backwards

to find happiness again.

But life just keeps going on

at its same steady pace.

We have no choice.

Our only choice is to keep

waking up

&

breathing

and slowly but surely

the amazing spirit of life

pushes us on

and with some luck

life becomes good again.

I wish that for all of my fellow babyloss mamas

and all of the people I know right now

who are living through their own

tragedies.

We all have them.

Some of us luck out a little more than others

but none of us can deny that

Life is hard.

It has its trials.

It ends.

But it can also be

so so sweet.

One of the sweetest blessings in my life

is my daughter.

Happy birthday, to my beautiful, silent daughter. I hope you are looking down from somewhere peaceful and you see how many people in this world love you. I can’t wait to see you some day, but wait I will. 7 years down…I promise I will live each year until I see you with joy and love and adventure and I will take you along in my heart wherever I go until we meet again.

Published in: on May 28, 2015 at 09:00  Comments (3)  

Happy 6th Birthday, Malou Amelia!

My darling daughter,

Today is your birthday.

Six years has lessened the pain but not the intensity of my love for you.

You have taught me about love compassion strength and what how to keep focused on what really matters.

You continue teaching me even though time marches on.

I am so grateful to be your mother.

Your big/little brother Liam has been asking about you a lot recently.

We watched some balloons float up into the sky and he exclaimed, “They’re on their way to Malou!”

I couldn’t help but agree.

He hears church bells and thinks of you.

He knows it’s your birthday this week and will fight with Nohi to decide who gets to blow them out.

He asks to see you and look at your pictures and tries to understand something I cannot explain:

Why are you not here with us?

All I can do is reassure him what I believe that someday we will see you in heaven.

As always on your birthday we blow out a candle for you to celebrate your life and the love you bring to the world.

All my love, always… Your mama

Published in: on May 28, 2014 at 10:00  Comments (2)  

A guest post by Malou’s daddy

To my baby Malou and your loving mom,

I am writing for the first time in six years to tell a littleof my story. Maybe some think it is too late? Maybe it’s a terrible mistake? I hope not.

I do this because it is first now that I have almost finished reading through what your mom wrote on this blog. I am so sorry that I could not be there for here the way she needed it when we lost you. I tried to in my own way. But i see clearly now that I did not manage to do it the way she was crying out for.

Six years have passed since we lost you. I am not anywhere near over the loss i still feel. Not only did I lose you, I also think today I somehow lost your mom from the day you died. I haven’t finished the whole story yet that your mom put out there to the whole world. I just can’t get through it. Because every time I read parts of it, I start to cry and i cannot stop. It just hurts so much and I also feel so guilty for not being able to read it when it first was posted. Still so many years later, the pain your mom went through was, and is, just too hard for me to read about because I saw it in her every single day for years. And I just couldn’t handle it. Please please forgive me for not doing it the right way.

At that time I felt I did the right thing. I somehow managed to block out my own sadness and pain in losing you. My first child. My only daughter. I did not do it on purpose. I did it because I was so afraid, so scared, to lose someone else that I also loved deeply. Your mom. I did say many times to her that it would get better one day. That time would heal. But it was a terrible mistake at that time. I did get angry because I felt helpless. I did not ask for help. I just got more and more frustrated and bitter to see your mom suffering so much.

I did too! Blame myself for losing you. I still do even today. I know I was the reason we had such a hard time getting pregnant. So I still can’t stop thinking it was part of the reason you did not manage to live in this world.

I cannot believe six years have passed being without you. I miss you. But I am also so grateful for having two wonderful boys, your brothers Liam and Nohi. Thank you, Stephanie.

Why am I writing this? Because it is coming back to me now. The time where I tried to block the pain out. Things also changed in my life that does I have to look at myself in a different way.

Maybe I too need a closure to let go of the past? To not feel guilty anymore. To cry out to the world. To let people know a little about where your dad has been and still is in all this. I am also in a place now where I need forgiveness from you and your mom. I am so so sad. I also hope writing it out there will somehow help me get through this hard time. Just like it helped your mom.

With love,

Daddy

Published in: on May 28, 2014 at 08:00  Comments (3)  

5 years

Happy 5th Birthday,

Malou Amelia!

I am writing this in
the wee hours
of the morning of May 26th,
the day you died.

But as I mentioned last year,
it is also the day your second brother was born.

This is a good day.

Nohi Oliver is a sweet, cuddly, mellow little guy
with the most amazing smile.
He loves his big brother Liam so much it’s crazy,
and I know he loves you too.

So I don’t know why I have been up for hours,
or what propelled me to check your blog,
but when I did and started crying,
I realized the date
and that I needed to write to you.

5 years old
seems like a big deal.

A nice round number.

If we lived in the US,
you would be starting kindergarten
in the fall.

Kindergarten!
Imagine!

I do imagine.
Not always,
but sometimes.
Usually,
you remain my baby girl.
But I always know how old you
“should” be.

Although as the years pass,
I let go more and more of the
“should haves.”

It helps that I know
your life
is not over.

You live in me,
in your dad,
in your brothers,
and in the thoughts
and memories
and good deeds
of many many other people.

You were alive.
You are real.
You are beautiful.
You are precious.

I will love you forever.

You are love perfected.

Darling girl,
We have had quite the year.
You would have loved it.
We are just back from 5 months of travel,
visiting your aunt and uncle
and new cousin Annabelle
in Panama
for two months
and then your American family
in Washington
for three months.

It was an amazing trip,
but somehow I think you know that.

You were never out of my thoughts,
and your name was written in the sand
of the Pacific and the Caribbean,
and I found heart-shaped stones
even when I wasn’t looking.

I miss you so much,
still,
but I know you are here.
There.
Everywhere.

There was a time
that I thought I could never leave
your grave.

5 months away would have been
unimaginable.

But now I feel at peace,
knowing that
yes, this is where your ashes are buried,
but your beautiful spirit
is soaring
all over the world
and you are
always
in my heart.

I love you, daughter of mine. Always have and always will. Happy, happy birthday! Love, your mommy

Published in: on May 28, 2013 at 09:01  Comments (8)  

Happy 4th Birthday, Malou Amelia!

There is no
full circle for me.

But it has been four years.

Malou Amelia
has been buried in the ground
7 times longer
than  she was alive in my womb.

She has been dead for all of her birthdays.
Every single one.

Now that doesn’t seem fair, does it?
Of course not,
because it isn’t.

My poor baby.
I wish she was here
for me to love and cuddle and kiss.

I wish she was here
so I could bake her a cake
and watch her face light up
at all the candles.

But she’s not.

But her little brothers are.

As I write this now,
her little brother Liam is napping
and her other little brother,
due to arrive right before her birthday,
is gently kicking me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you,
I constantly breathe to the universe…
in my thoughts, my tears, my laughter…

I am so grateful.

I know how lucky I am.

But it doesn’t mean I have come
full circle.

My family is still incomplete.
It always will be.
It doesn’t matter how many children we have,
none can replace
Malou Amelia.

I am so grateful to have had her
for the short time we did,
but I am also still so sad
that she is always missing
and there is nothing I can do about it.

***

I wrote the above just a few weeks before
Malou’s
birthday.

I wanted to schedule it
to automatically post on her actual birthday
as I knew (well, hoped)
I’d be busy tending to her
little brother.

But I never scheduled it
because I was scared.

And superstitious.

As if,
by scheduling it,
I may jinx my
good luck
and something would happen
to baby brother as well.

Thank goodness that wasn’t the case.

I spent the anniversary
of the day
Malou
died,
the 26th of May,
laboring her precious
little brother.

I spent the night alone
with my thoughts
in the hospital…
remembering how four years before
I was in the hospital as well,
unknowingly spending my last moments
with my beloved daughter.

I prayed my son
would make it through that night
and he did.

Just before 10 in the morning,
with four easy pushes (or so)
little Nohi
arrived safe and sound.

We were able to leave
the hospital the same day.

As I announced on Facebook,

“4 years ago today
Malou Amelia
died.
4 hours ago today,
her little brother was born.
From now on,
this is going to be a
Good Day!”

And I mean it.

I want to reclaim that date…
May 26th
represents life and happiness and goodness
for me again.

I want to leave
the sad power of that day
in the past.

From now on
it is a day of celebration.

Not that we will forget…
but every time
Nohi has a birthday,
I can look at him
and
be grateful…

that we survived,
kept going,
and the universe
gave us something
beyond wonderful
to replace the something
beyond sad
that it once was.

We still have the 28th of May
to celebrate
Malou Amelia…
that’s her day,
her birthday.

This year, we took
both of her brothers,
along with grandma, auntie and uncle,
to visit her at her grave.

Then we had some ice cream
on the nearby lake.

Later on in the evening,
I made her a cake.

I couldn’t bring myself
to ask anyone to sing
Happy Birthday.

I do that
in my head
for her.

For me,
it’s just too sad
to sing to her in heaven.

So I think it instead.

It was a pretty emotional day
for me,
cuddling my brand new boy,
dark-haired like his sister,
and remembering that
four years before
I was cuddling my firstborn,
dark-haired beauty.

My head filled with all the
could-have
and
should-have-beens.

And I cried.

But no matter how much
I wish my complete family
was here in the flesh,
I know there is nothing
I can do about it.

So I try to count my blessings
and
always,
always,
include
my girl
in those.

Here is 2-day old Nohi visiting Malou on her birthday

Grateful

Malou’s family

*Boys*

Warning: This post is about a pregnancy.
I wrote it in February but I for some reason never published it, so here it is now after the safe arrival of Malou’s second little brother. 

I am overjoyed
to be pregnant again.

It is very different this time.

Very different from being pregnant with
Malou
and with Liam.

I am now a “working mom”…
so my days are very full.

I don’t have the time to
think about every little move
this baby makes.

Maybe that’s a good thing.
Probably.

As I worry less.

My biggest fears were in the beginning,
but that is because
I had two miscarriages
(one at 5 weeks and one at 9 weeks)
earlier last year.

Both were spontaneous pregnancies,
as was this little boy moving inside me right now.

Hard to believe, right?
After all our struggles
to get pregnant with Liam?

Months of hormones, IUI and eventually IVFs…

Anyways,
I was very worried I would miscarry again.

But fortunately
this baby has given me nothing
but peace of mind,
with not a single bit of spotting
(something all of my other pregnancies have had,
at least a bit)
and with lots and lots of movement!

I am over half way now…
almost 24 weeks.

I have made a lot of plans
for our future,
for this baby’s future…
sometimes that feels scary,
usually it feels good.

Exciting.
Hopeful.

But not the same.
I am not naive,
like I was when pregnant with
Malou.

I am not terrified,
like I was when pregnant with
Liam.

I am cautious,
but not overly so.

I am anxious,
but it is manageable.

Surprisingly,
I am finding I have more anxiety and worry
about something happening to
Liam
than I do about something happening to
his little brother.

A part of me feels guilty about this,
as if I don’t love baby boy #2 as much.

But I know this isn’t true.

Another part of me feels guilty
that I (still) want another daughter.

I am incredibly happy
to be having a seemingly healthy baby boy,
and really excited to see him and Liam
grow up together,
and hopefully be good friends,
as they will be less than 2.5 years apart.

But as happy and excited I am about that,
I can tell I am still grieving
the loss of a daughter.

Having another girl
would in no way make up for
the loss of
Malou.

But it would give us the chance
to raise a daughter.

An experience
I feel I lost.

I don’t like it when people tell me
how much easier boys are
(during the teenage years, at least ;))…
as if I should be happy I am having
another boy for this reason.

I am happy to be pregnant.
Period.

I am happy to be having a
(by all indications, so far)
a healthy baby.
Period.

I am happy we were lucky enough
to get pregnant naturally.
Period.

It has nothing to do with
the gender.

And everything to do with
appreciating the miracle of life.

Published in: on July 16, 2012 at 22:01  Leave a Comment  
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70 days after

“Yes, it can.”

Talking about my marriage.

“Don’t tell me it’s for the best,
because the best would be my healthy daughter alive with me.

Don’t tell me I am strong,
because I have no choice.

Don’t tell me I can have another,
because I want this one.
And because you don’t know if I can.

Don’t tell me time heals all pain,
because time has no meaning.
And you’ve never felt this pain.”

I don’t know if I wrote this or found this somewhere. But it still sums up how I feel. Shallow words of condolence always come from a place of good intentions, but they can only come from someone who hasn’t experienced true loss. Because anyone who has would never say any of the above statements. All I ever wanted was for people to acknowledge Malou – that she lived, even if she died. 

(later)

“I miss you so much, baby. I love you so much. I think about you all the time. I can’t bear to think of my future without you. All I can do is get through one day. I can’t look forward because you’re not there. I just want to look back.”

Much later, I read something that comforted me and gave me the courage to look forward. And it was imagining that once I die, I will see Malou again. So in that way, I can look forward to the future – because only by living (and eventually dying in the future), will I be reunited with her. I realize this thinking doesn’t work for someone who doesn’t believe in the afterlife, and I also realize that it can sound very disturbing to someone who has never lost someone so much that they wanted to die to be with them. But it helped me – to imagine that Malou isn’t just in the past, but also in my future.

Published in: on January 28, 2012 at 09:00  Comments (3)  
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68 days after

“Can our marriage survive this?”

I didn’t open up towards others, including my husband, in my grief. I thought I did. I tried. I went to counseling. My husband went to counseling. But the only time I really opened up was when it got so bad, I couldn’t help it. Otherwise, I tried not to cry in front of others. I hated having to say out loud what I felt. I much preferred (and still do) to write it down. But that didn’t do me any favors. I wish I was more open in my real life…when I talk about Malou now, I do it without tears. I always cry alone.

Published in: on January 27, 2012 at 09:00  Leave a Comment  
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63 days after

“Oh, baby, I need you. I need you right now. I miss you so much, Malou. What am I going to do without you? I don’t know how to live in this world without you. Oh, sweetie, please come back to us. Please please please. I need you. It’s not fair. I want you so much. I love you so much. You deserve to live. Oh my darling daughter, I hate my life without you.

What do I do?? Oh, God, I don’t know what to do. I want to go back in time. I can still feel you kick, Malou – why aren’t you with me?

Oh, God, how could this happen? Why me? Why Malou?

Before May 26th I was living. Now I’m dying.”

This entry makes me cry, 3.5 years later. I don’t feel the pain in the same way anymore, but reading my words reminds me of what I felt then – that horrible hopelessness. I struggled so much with seeing a future – it was just blank. I didn’t allow myself to dream, since my biggest dream was taken away. And now here I am with the future I wanted but was afraid to dream for – here. I have Liam in my arms and a new hope in my womb. I feel lucky and grateful, but still very much aware of how much is missing.

Published in: on January 26, 2012 at 09:00  Leave a Comment  
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