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

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)  
Tags: , , ,

My Malou

My dad wrote a song after
Malou
died,
inspired by the words
I wrote on my video montage
but the tune
is all his own.

You can click here to hear my dad sing it.

Thanks, Dad.

Published in: on June 8, 2011 at 20:50  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

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.

Just a day

3 years ago
today
was the worst day of my life,
as it is the day that
I found out
Malou’s
heart had stopped beating.

2 years ago
today
I was one day
pregnant
with Liam,
so even though I didn’t know it
at the time,
it was one of the best days
of my life.

1 year ago today
I had Liam in my arms
and there isn’t much
that is better than that.

And today
I found out some of the best news
I could hope to hear
(but it’s not my news to share,
so I will wait to share it)
AND
Tom and I won a week-long trip
to southern Europe
from a magazine
running a competition
about love stories.

So today, too,
is one of the better/best days
of my life.

I like to think
Malou
has a little something
to do with it all.

That she doesn’t want me
to be defined
by the worst day of my life,
but instead celebrate
that life goes on…

no matter what.

Sometimes that thought is comforting
and other times it is terrifying.

But three years later
I am starting to realize
that days and dates don’t have power.

I think of
Malou,
I love
Malou,
I miss
Malou
every single day.

So all the other dates
that I associate with her
don’t make me “more” sad.

They are just another day.

On her 3rd birthday
this Saturday
we will celebrate her dad’s birthday…
he will blow out her candles,
again.

It’s not how we want it,
but it’s how it is.

***

Last night
at midnight
Liam woke up screaming
and writhing in pain.

We couldn’t comfort him
and so we called urgent care
who told us to come right in.

By the time we arrived
only 10 minutes later
he was fine.

But my brain couldn’t let go of the date,
worried that something
was really truly wrong
(instead of just gas and teething pain).

My fear started to overwhelm me,
Oh, God, no,
I can’t lose two babies,
please don’t let
May 26th be the day
my world falls apart again.

 And thankfully it wasn’t.

Instead
later today
we received two bits of
wonderful news.

And I have to remember,
it’s just a day.

It’s just a day.

Even though it’s the day
my baby girl
died,
it’s just a day.

My dear girl, Malou Amelia. I remember you every single day. I think about what you might have been like and looked like, I imagine what it would be like to hug you and have you hug me back, to tell you I love you and hear you say you love me too. I say your name aloud when I am alone, just to hear it. To imagine that I am talking to you. There are no words for how much I miss you and want you in my arms. There are no words to describe how devastated I was 3 years ago today. But I am so very thankful that you are my daughter, and that gives me happiness. Not joy, because the grief won’t allow it, but I am truly happy and grateful that you are my little girl. You were a newborn baby in my mind for a long time, but now you are starting to grow up. I can see you as a three-year-old and I miss that part of you too. You are loved and missed, my sweet girl, and your family is thinking of you and sending so many prayers up to you today and always, so you can feel our love. Love from your mama

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)  
Tags: , ,

Normal

What is normal?
Normal is always changing,
for all of us.

A lot of people
told me after losing
Malou
that they don’t know how I do it.

Not knowing that,
without a choice,
a new normal just creates itself.

All it requires
is a beating heart
and
breathing in and out.

Automatic bodily functions
that happen without our control
(or even desire).

And pretty soon
life keeps moving
and things keep happening
and time passes by
and before you know it
your new normal
is
just plain
normal.

I was out at a work function
last weekend
and for the first time in
a really long time…
maybe since
Malou
was born…
I felt normal.

Usually
I am thinking of
Malou
or thinking of
others who may be thinking of
Malou,
wondering if when they look at me,
they are thinking to themselves,
“Isn’t that the woman
whose baby died?”

But even though
I am back to work
in a new team,
a lot of people
know of
Malou.

But yet
I didn’t feel like
the girl
with the elephant in the room.

I just felt
normal.

In fact,
I didn’t even think of
Malou
all that night…
until I was coming home,
and then I realized
how “normal” I felt.

And then I felt strange.

Go figure.

Oh, Malou, I never wanted this to be my normal life. I wanted you for so long and I still long for you. I feel like you are the missing key…so many things would be so much better with you here in this world. Your daddy and your brother and I think of you and talk about you every day. We love you so much, sweetheart. And we miss you. Even though we are getting accustomed to this life of ours without you in it physically, it doesn’t mean that we are forgetting you. You and your brother are the biggest and most important part of my life. You are here with us – your family – always and forever, in our hearts and in our memories and we will carry you into our future by the strength of our love for you.

Published in: on March 2, 2011 at 21:13  Comments (2)  
Tags: ,

Who’s a big boy now?

Liam turned 1.

Malou
didn’t even live long enough
to survive
the day of her birth…

now Liam has been here
for two of his birthdays.

For which I am forever thankful.

But I can’t help that think
Liam is now the big brother.

He still has his “little brother” shirts,
he was still born 2 calendar years after
Malou
but for some reason
he feels like the big brother to me now.

He’s walking, babbling,
smiling, laughing,
cuddling, kissing,
teasing, playing…

he’s living.

For which I am forever thankful.

He’s achieved all of these things
Malou
never got the chance to do.

So even though
she IS the big sister,
she is starting to feel like the
little sister to me instead.

I’m not sure how I feel about that.

When we put Liam to bed,
we always say goodnight to
the picture of
Malou
and play the music on her snow globe.

We always say,
“Say goodnight to your big sister,
Malou” –
well, at least Tom does.

I keep slipping
and wanting to call her little sister,
so instead I’ve started
saying goodnight to
“Little Malou.”

Because she remains the same in my eyes.

I can’t picture her growing up.

I want to,
I just can’t seem to get there.

I try to imagine
how she would look,
what she would sound like,
how she would be.

And it’s just so hard.

She’s just my little baby
and always will be…

***

Liam got a birthday gift
from some friends.

We see these people only a few times a year,
so it was really sweet that they even
remembered that it was Liam’s birthday.

But what was even sweeter,
which touched me more than I can say,
is that they told Tom
they stopped by
Malou’s
grave on the way over to our house.

And that they’ve visisted her
several times before.

I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it.

They never even saw me pregnant…
and yet they visit my daughter
at her grave.

What a gift.

Published in: on February 9, 2011 at 20:39  Comments (3)  
Tags: ,

One year ago today…

my salvation came to me.

Liam’s birthday isn’t until tomorrow,
but it was a year ago in my mind,
in the wee early hours of a cold, snowy Friday.

After three years of actively trying to make a baby,
we finally looked into the open eyes
of our child.

My hope and prayer
is that there is never
another baby who is stillborn or dies…
that there is never
another healthy baby who is aborted
because he or she isn’t wanted…
that there is never
another baby who isn’t created
due to infertility.

I am so lucky.
I can’t say I am blessed…
but I can say I am lucky.

Lucky to have my
Malou
and Liam,
lucky to have my amazing
friends and family,
lucky to have met so many wonderful
women in this world,
who are walking the same sad path I am.

And showing me that it can be done.

You are all so brave and wonderful.

I love each and every one of you,
and I will always remember your beautiful babies.

I wish those of you who need it right now:
strength
peace
love
hope.

Especially hope.

The hardest of all.

Happy (early) birthday to my sweet boy, Liam. My firstborn son, but not my firstborn.

My happiness is great, but always tinged with sadness.

But you know what?
I think I have made my peace with that now.

Prayer and vomit

Odd post title, I know…
but this is where my mind has been lately.

You see,
Liam got sick.
And for the first time in his life,
we had a *real* throw-up experience with him.

We’re talking a surprise spew
over himself, Tom, a down comforter
and the couch.

Fortunately, it didn’t seem to bother him
and it didn’t bother me either.

We immediately cleaned him up
and Tom cuddled him
while I cleaned up the mess
and started the laundry.

And it occurred to me
that this is (part of)
what parenthood is.

It’s the nitty gritty part
that either people
forget about
or
exaggerate
when you are pregnant
and they are telling you
what to expect. 😉

But I really felt like
a *mom*
and it felt nice.

That night, I felt the same way
when Liam woke many, many times
since he wasn’t feeling well.

I thought to myself,
this is what it is about.

Giving comfort and love…

I remember so clearly
after
Malou
died…
wishing for everything…

including all the
dirty diapers and sleepless nights.

Because it’s not like
we just want
Malou
for the good times.

We want her all the time,
the good days and the bad.

In the months after she died,
I remember crying myself to sleep,
thinking that I should
be awake with a hungry baby,
not awake with a living nightmare.

And now that I have that,
I appreciate it
so very very much.

I love and appreciate it all.

Good times and bad…

So how does this relate to prayer?

Well, as I was comforting Liam,
rocking him in my arms
in the middle of the night,
I prayed
that he would soon feel better.

But then I had to qualify it
and add,
“And please keep him alive.”

As if God might misinterpret my prayer
and think “feeling better”
could be done in heaven…

I’ve said this before,
that I don’t really believe
God answers prayers…
because otherwise
a LOT of things in this world
would be very different.

But still,
I couldn’t take the chance.

I feel I have to be *very* careful
in my word choice nowadays…

even though I hope
God
understands the words of my heart
and my spoken words are just superfluous.

Sigh.
I wonder if I will ever
be able to just relax?

Tom and I love and cherish
and just plain enjoy Liam every day,
relaxed or not.

In fact, Tom said the other day
that he gets tears in his eyes
just watching him,
because he is so darn cute and amazing.

I feel the same way.

(Maybe you can see why…)

I cherish every second,
not just because it is all so precious,
but because who knows when the last second will come?
And it’s that scary thought
that I could do without
on a daily basis.

But grief runs deep
and causes
a lifetime of changes inside a person.

I mean,
I didn’t know
that this picture

taken at 11.32 am on May 25th, 2008,
would be the very last picture of me
pregnant with
Malou
alive.

And I never could have imagined
that this

 

would be the very last time
I would ever touch my
beautiful daughter.

Looking back,
of course that one week
changed me more than any other week
in my life.

But I really want to learn
to let go of the fear
that it brought to my daily life.

In some ways,
the fear is “good”…

it helps me live in the presence
and appreciate what I have.

But in other ways,
it’s bad…

it makes me feaful and anxious.
And nauseous.

And then I pray.

See?
Prayer and vomit.