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)  

It’s still so hard

Yes, we get that show called “Hoarders”
here in Denmark too.

And one hoarder
had a stillborn son named Aiden
three years ago.

And that was all it took.

It’s still so hard.
The pain still feels so fresh.

I’ll I can think to cry out, is
“WhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyOhGodWhy???!!!”

Malou Amelia
is so precious to me.
I love her so much,
and yet I look at her pictures
and it kills me
that I don’t know her.

I think I see more and more of
Liam
in her, which is strange,
considering Liam is growing up
and hence away
from her,
at least in terms of age.

She feels so far away.
But she is so close to me.
I think of her every single day.
But she is still so far away.

Look at how tiny her little hands and feet are.

I look at all the pictures
I have of her,
and so few are “appropriate”
to share.

Because as much as they are just pictures
of my baby girl
they are also pictures of a dead baby.

I want everyone to see her
as the amazing person she is
but I have to accept that
the only way people “know” her
is through death.

That is her life story.

Yet then I read through copies of letters
we placed in the coffin with her,
and I am reminded of how much
love her life
brought to my family.

These are just a few pieces
of the many letters and tributes I have for
Malou.

I wrote,
“I’ve wanted you and loved you my whole life, and you were worth the wait…You gave me and your daddy so much happiness in the short time you were here with us – and I know you will continue to do so for the rest of our lives.”

Her daddy wrote,
“Du bragte glæde til vores liv…Jeg er så stolt af dig.”

Her uncle wrote,
“I know for your parents, you were the child they had been waiting for their entire lives. They loved you before they knew you were a possibility, which means you were loved for every single second of your life…for you, I wish now and I only ever would have wished for you to be happy, safe, and loved.  And in my soul, I know that right now you are all of those things.  I know you are safe now.  I know you are happy now.  And I know you are in a place that is filled with love. You are as safe and unafraid now as you were in the womb. For sure you are loved here on earth.  I have seen how the bond between you and others can grow even now, after you have passed away.  I guess in that way you are still alive.  The thought of you is carried by your family, and it always will be.” 

These words remind me that
Malou
IS more than her death.

Her life was all about love.
Not death.

It is a comfort,
but it is very small
on nights like these.

I love you and miss you so much, baby girl.  Sometimes I can’t believe I have survived this long without you. I miss you every day and I always wish you were here with us. I don’t think I will ever understand why you had to leave us just as your life started, so all I can hope is that everything makes sense to you and that you don’t miss us like we miss you. All I want for you is to be happy and loved. Love-love-love you, your mama.

Published in: on August 25, 2011 at 22:21  Comments (2)  
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Happy 3rd Birthday, Malou Amelia

Where does the time go?
My little girl should be 3 years old today.

I see Liam playing with
other little girls
the same age,
and he LOVES it.

It both breaks and melts my heart.

I told my mom the other day
that he is just meant to be
a little brother.

He is happiest when he has a little person
to follow around
(but not so interested in younger kids
following him around :)).

Every night
Liam kisses the picture of his sister
Malou…
he used to just stare at it
and hold the picture frame,
then he started blowing kisses to her,
and now he gives a full-on
puckered-lips smooch.

It is adorable.
And it makes me realize
that it will be normal for
Liam
to grow up loving someone
he has never met.

I have to believe
that that will make him
a more loving, compassionate,
sensitive soul.

I hope he gets only the good
from his sister’s death…
extra love and snuggles,
security in knowing that death
isn’t the end of everything
(at least not love),
and avoids the painful grip of sorrow.

Because he won’t know any different.

We’ve had two other (early) losses
since we’ve had
Malou…
so I like to think that
she has some little siblings
playing with her.

It is Liam who is all alone with us.

I’m glad she has company,
but oh my goodness,
how I want them all here.

 Life is so very different from how I planned it,

But it is also so very good right now.

I don’t know how,
but somehow I ended up here…
in a place where my grief and longing
don’t overshadow my love and appreciation
for my life…
at least not daily.

I remember so clearly
the suffocating feeling of knowing that
the rest of my life,
the rest of my whole entire life,
would be filled with emptiness, sadness
and the sharp pain of loss
at every thought or reminder of
Malou.

I didn’t believe it would ever,
could ever,
get better.

Because how could it?
The only cure was impossible.

But somehow, slowly,
partly by choice and partly by luck,
I crept back into truly living life again.

And I haven’t done this by
forgetting
Malou.

To the contrary,
I think about her and look at her picture
and talk to her
every single day.

Some days I shed tears,
most I do not.

But there is not one day
that goes by
that I don’t think about her and love her.

I am always conscious that I am a mother,
two times over.

My dear girl, I love you so much. Three years ago today, I first saw your beautiful face, touched your soft skin and wavy dark hair, and tried to memorize the shape of your fingers, ears, mouth and nose. I held you in my arms and died myself, letting a large part of me go with you into heaven. I didn’t want you to go alone, and I didn’t kow how to live without you, so a part of me just died. But my battered and torn heart kept beating, and now I have a new life and I am a new person. I am a better person for being your mama, but I know you would have given me that gift if you were born alive and still here with us today too. You were, you are, magic. You have spread so much love into this world – you have made the world a better place, and I don’t know why you had to leave it so soon, but I know your life mattered and that you have made a difference. I wish you were here, as we celebrate your birthday jointly with your daddy’s, to blow out your own candles. For now, your daddy will do it with you, and later your little brother will. And one day, hopefully a long, long  earthly time from now, we will all be together as a family and I hope the pain of  years apart will disappear and all we will know is love and happiness together.

Love

“I’ve decided it’s important to love the life that you get and somehow learn to let go of the life you dreamed of.”  – Lolly Winston

I can still see the life I dreamed of
so very clearly.

But it’s not to be…
so I do have to let it go.

I don’t mean I have to let
Malou Amelia
go…
but the life I dreamed of with her,
the plans I made,
the visions I had of her
as my daughter and as a big sister,
the hopes I had for her
future…
all of those
can no longer be,
no matter how I much
I wish it weren’t true.

How is it that
almost three years later
acceptance
can still be so hard?

Published in: on March 16, 2011 at 11:08  Comments (4)  
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A gift

I was amazed
when my brother’s girlfriend gave me
this gift last week:

It depicts the first moment
I held
Malou…

one of my favorite pictures,
one of my favorite moments.

Larissa has only known me
“after Malou”
but I am so grateful
that she remembers her with love too.

I couldn’t put it better than Larissa herself
in the inscription on the back:

Malou is forever loved
and never forgotten.

Thank you, Larissa,
for this gorgeous painting,
which we will treasure forever.

Published in: on August 4, 2010 at 09:15  Comments (5)  
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Anniversaries

Two years ago
today
marks the last full day
Malou
was alive in my belly.

I was blissfully happy,
unaware that my life
was going to change
forever
within 24 hours.

I’d say it was the last time
I was
happy without reservation.

One year ago
today
marks the first full day
Liam
was alive in my belly.

I was
hopeful with reservation.

Today
I am joyous
when I look at my son
and hear his sweet laughter
and I am heartbroken
that I will
never hear
Malou’s
laughter.

That she will never see
the love in my eyes,
never feel me hugging her,
never feel my lips against her cheek,
never giggle as I blow raspberries
on her belly,
never feel my cheek against her soft head
as I rock her to sleep,
never see the tears of joy
and happiness she brought me…

everything Liam gets…
because I don’t take a single second
of him for granted.

But I guess I am thankful
she never heard
the scream in my lungs
as I gripped my belly
when the doctors told us
her heart wasn’t beating
and
she never felt the
sobs ripping through my chest
as I clutched her to me.

Because she was already gone.

I need to take comfort,
because there is nothing else,
that all she ever heard
in her short life
was the steady thumping of my heart
and the murmur of my happy voice
every single day she was alive.

She knew nothing else.
I have to believe
that she never felt pain,
only warmth and comfort.

And I have to believe
that one day
I will be able to shower her
with all the love in my heart
that was reserved for her,
but instead drenches
her brother.

I know she wouldn’t mind.

She creates Love.

***

And when Liam,
some day far far far from now,
sees her too,
he can give her back all
the extra love
we give him.

I know he wouldn’t mind.

He spreads Love.

Life, love & loss

A new category added…
“Parenting after loss.”

I was desperate to one day add
“Pregnancy after loss”
but I think a part of me always doubted
I would get to the point
where I’d be able to add
“Parenting after loss.”

I am so eternally grateful
that I just did.

I know there are many,
way way too many,
baby loss mamas out there reading
and I hope I never unknowingly
hurt one of you by writing about
Malou’s
new little brother here,
butI know I cannot avoid writing about him.

He is here, safely, alive,
thank God,
and my life is forever changed.
He is a part of it
just like
Malou
and I can’t,
nor would I want to,
separate the two.

So I am sure that future posts
will mention
Liam.

That’s my warning.
I hope I don’t alienate anyone
and I hope that every person
out there
who wants to parent,
whether after loss or not,
gets to.

One of the first things
I realized
since Liam has been born
is that I love both my children
equally.

Everyone always says this,
but I didn’t know how losing a child
I never really got to know (fully)
would affect this.

After all,
everyone who told me this
had living children.

When
Malou
died,
I didn’t want any other children;
I only wanted her.

I loved her so much
that I worried I would never be able to
love anyone
as much, ever.

Then I think a part of me
worried that when/if
Liam was born alive
I might love him more
because I would have him
in my life physically every day
to cherish.

But neither is the case.

My love is the same.

Intense, overpowering, tender, protective, wonderful.

I love the feeling of being a mother,
of loving my children.

Loving
Malou
has always been tinged with sadness
over losing
her.

Loving
Liam
has always been tinged with fear
over possibly losing
him.

I guess I can’t escape
what loss does to me.

One unexpected “benefit” of loss
is that I love my children
more, better,
than I think I otherwise would.

Knowing, not just imagining,
but knowing
what it feels like to lose
the one you love most
makes you appreciate
what you have so much more.

Every day,
I am so grateful
to feel Liam’s
soft, warm cheeks,
his sweet breath,
his squirming body,
to gaze into his beautiful eyes,
to see his funny faces,
to hear his grunts and cries,
to change his dirty diapers…

it’s all so much better
than I ever imagined.

And it makes me so sad,
again,
to only ever have felt
Malou’s
soft, cold cheeks,
and held the weight of her in my arms.
Nothing else.

I didn’t know her,
but I do.

And I love her.

Tom holds
our son
and talks to him about his
big sister.

He thinks he understands,
and believes
Liam knows
Malou.

I also think
babies in the womb
have a special connection
to the “other side”
and I like to think
Liam
and
Malou
were in contact
for the last nine months
and that
she’s still out there
looking out for us,
and knows how much
we miss her.

We are a family of four.
Not everyone can see it,
but Tom and I know,
Malou
knows,
and we will make sure
Liam always knows too.

I am thankful…

…to my daughter,
for showing me a mother’s love.

…to my husband,
for giving me the most beautiful gift ever
and sticking with me even when I have nothing
left to give.

…to my son,
for restoring my hope for the future.

…to my mom,
for shouldering the pain with me,
every step of the way.

…to my dad,
for being such a proud grandpa
and keeping Malou’s memory alive.

…to my brothers and sister-in-law,
for their sensitivity, love, devotion, support and patience.

…to my cousin Becky,
for her amazing ability to empathize.

…to the women relatives in my family,
who, through words, deeds and prayers,
reassure me I am not alone.

…to my girlfriends,
who flew to my rescue (literally).

…to my work colleagues,
especially Nina,
who are never afraid to say Malou’s name.

…to my fellow babyloss mamas,
whose words are my lifeline
and who prove life can go on. 
We are all normal and we are surviving.

…to all those I am not mentioning,
my parents’ friends and colleagues,
commenters on my blog or video link,
doctors, nurses, midwives,
my favorite authors and musicians,
to all of you,
I can feel your presence in my heart,
and I bet Malou can too.

Thank you.

***

As you know,
I am going to be slowing down
my postings here.

It has been 14 months
since I started writing,
and 19 months since
Malou Amelia
died and was born.

Expressing my thoughts here
has helped me more than
you can ever imagine.

Your support
in real life
and in comments
has made otherwise unbearable days
bearable.

Although I am not “healed”
and doubt I ever will be,
I do feel as if I am mending.

My heart is not perfect or whole,
and I envisioned it last night
just before falling asleep
as having a big ugly scar on it
from breaking
on May 26, 2008.

And that’s okay with me.
I don’t need a pretty, intact heart.
I just need a heart that is not afraid to love and live.

I was afraid for quite awhile.
But now I am much more hopeful than fearful.

And I don’t need to
get “hope” out through words
like I do with “fear”…
I can live with hope.
I have a much harder time
living with fear. 

So that’s why I’m slowing down…
I do have things to say
(as you can see by
the fact that I’m posting two more
today)
so check in every once in a while
– on a Wednesday of course
since I’m weird like that 🙂 –
and know
that I’m thinking of you.

Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 20:56  Comments (4)  
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*Grateful*

Just spent Christmas
with my family
via skype,
which cheered me up,
and also got an email from a friend
who visited
Malou’s
grave today
and sent me a picture. 🙂

So we’re off to bed soon,
but I’m glad that even if we didn’t start
Christmas off very grateful,
we are ending it that way.

Malou’s
spirit
and her little brother’s health
are enough to make me
one very happy mama today.

That’s the best gift.

Published in: on December 25, 2009 at 23:05  Comments (2)  
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*Breaking down but looking up*

I always miss
Malou,
but I haven’t had that
all-encompassing,
can’t-imagine-having-to-go-on
feeling that I had many days in the
first year after losing her.

I was also doing, I thought,
surprisingly well during my
recent hospital stay,
all filled with memories of her.

But not long after being discharged,
I broke.

Malou
should be here.
This should be her first Christmas
in Denmark
(her first was going to be spent
in the US).

Instead I spent most of the yesterday
 lying in bed in pain,
with the familiar feelings
of hating my body
for betraying me yet again,
(for not keeping my daughter safe,
for not letting me get pregnant,
for ruining Christmas,
for potentially hurting my son)
and realizing that
Baby Boy
is not a sure thing.

Realizing that I miss
Malou
terribly, but I don’t even know
what to miss about her.

I can’t imagine her as
a year-and-a-half year old.

I can only see her as
a sweet, little baby,
lifeless but so perfect.

As I heard the women
laboring the other night,
and the cries of their newborn babies,
I realized that I just can’t envision that
for myself.

That’s not how it was with
Malou.
And I have no guarantees with
her brother.

This is going to be a long 5 weeks,
but I can do it
because I have no choice.
And because the hope
I hold in my heart
is worth the fear and the pain and the doubt
that creep in.

I hope, I pray, I need to believe,
that this will be our last Christmas alone.

I know we’re not alone.
In fact, we’re quite lucky to have such good families,
and I feel very grateful that
I have Tom.
We spent last night
with Tom’s sister and her husband,
eating a traditional
Danish Christmas dinner.

But today we,
Tom and I,
are alone.
And missing our girl.
And impatient for our boy.
But yet when writing this,
I realize
we’re not alone.
I can feel my family and friends,
my Malou,
and my fellow babyloss mamas
right here with us.
And I can feel
my son kicking me,
reassuring me,
every step of the way.

Thank you, all, for that.
It means more than I can say today.

***

Again at Christmas did we weave
the holly ’round the Christmas hearth,
the silent snow possessed the earth,
and calmly fell our Christmas eve.
The yule-log sparkled keen with frost,
no wing of wind the region swept,
but over all things brooding slept,
the quiet sense of something lost.
-Alfred Tennyson

***

Our dearest daughter, we wish you were here with us to make our Christmas happy and full of joy. We have so many traditions we want to share with you, so many family members and friends we want you to know. We miss you every day, but your absence is felt even more when we are with family and you are not here with us physically. I can’t say it better than your grandma, that we love you immensely and that no one will ever take your place in our hearts. We love you, baby girl, and hope you are safe and sound and happy and loved wherever you are.
Glædelig jul, vores dejlige datter!
Vi elsker og savner dig så meget.

 Mor og Far