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

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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.

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.

I want to go back there…

I want to go back
to being
unreservedly happy.

I want to go back
to the world where
Malou
is still alive.

I want
Malou
to be in my world
right now,
in the room
right next to her
brother’s.

I want to go back
to the moment
I held her,
as painful as it was.

It was also beautiful.

I visited
Malou’s
grave yesterday
and talked to her.

I was alone,
a rarity these days.

It felt nice
for just the two of us
to be together
alone.

I told her we moved,
I told her we loved her
and missed her,
I told her
I hoped she didn’t understand
why I was crying,
that she could only feel
love and happiness,
warmth and comfort,
peace and contentment.

I told her
we’d never forget her,
I told her that
I bet she’d be a better
big sister
than I ever was
(I believe I hit Hank
when mom brought him home
from the hospital,
and I asked mom if we could switch
Zach with a baby girl
when he was born…),
and I called her
my sweet pea.

Sometimes
I just want to go back.

I don’t want to start over
the whole process of
Grieving…

because I feel like
I have come a long way
and that I have more good days
than bad.

I enjoy
being able to talk about
Malou
without it always being sad.

But, oh my God,
how I would love to hold her again.

One more time.

Stroke her hair,
hold her cheek against mine,
feel her fingers grip around my own.

I’m not even asking
to feel her warm breath
on my cheek,
or her heart pounding those
quick baby-beats…
things I never, ever, ever
take for granted with
Liam
(in fact, I am always
compelled to give a silent
prayer of thanks
every single time).

I just want to see her again.
To hold her again.

I want to go back to that time…

I want to go back to this
type of happiness…

Don’t get me wrong…
this

is happiness.

No question.
Liam makes life wonderful
in a way I didn’t know was possible.

But
Malou
is still missing
in our daily family life…

here she is represented
in her daddy’s cross necklace
(and I also like to think
in the sun streaming
over us)
but we want her HERE.

We want her with us.

I guess that will never change.

But as my elderly neighbor,
who lost her 9 year old daughter
in a tragic car accident
many years ago,
said,
Life can still be good.

Hoping paid off…

Tomorrow is
our 4th wedding anniversary
and we have a living child.

That was my biggest hope last year.

I am grateful beyond words
for our little boy…

we are living life,
enjoying life,
and looking forward to the future

but always, too,
looking up…

…and remembering our girl,
a beautiful daughter,
a sweet big sister.

We love you so much, Malou Amelia. Liam loves little kids your age and it makes us realize how much he would have enjoyed playing with you. You are such an important part of our family, Malou, and your daddy and I will always make sure Liam knows what a great big sister he has in heaven.

Published in: on August 18, 2010 at 23:51  Comments (2)  
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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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Are you moving, baby?

Or,
I could just as easily say

Are you alive, baby?

Two thoughts
that were never far from my mind
when I was pregnant with
Liam.

Never far from
any babyloss mama’s mind
in a subsequent pregnancy,
I am sure.

Days and nights
filled with the nagging worry
and horrible thought…

Is today the day
I am going to lose my baby?

Sounds morbid,
I know,
but it is there.
It is a hard way
to live for
the many weeks
it takes to carry
a baby…

but it is so worth it.

Something else that I have found
is worth it
(at least for me)

is the movement sensory baby monitor
I just bought.
Basically
this acts like a normal baby monitor
but will also sound an alarm
if your baby doesn’t move
for more than 20 seconds
(and is therefore, presumably,
not breathing).

Yes,
this is the perfect gadget
to prey on a parent’s biggest fear.

Tom thought I was crazy
and would make myself even crazier,
but when I found out I could buy it
and return it
if I didn’t like it
(even if it was opened)
I was sold.

My main worry
was that the sensor
would be too sensitive
and would sound the alarm unnecessarily.

But so far
that has not happened once.

I LOVE it.

Whenever I wake up in the middle of the night
I can see a little light flashing,
which indicates Liam is moving.

No more
waiting with baited breath
every single time
I wake up
to make sure Liam is okay
(I always listen for his breathing…
but since he sometimes sleeps so deeply
that I can’t hear anything,
I often have to get up and put my ear
right to his mouth…
and one memorable night
I actually had to wake him up
to calm my fears).

Well, okay, I still do that.
Listen, that is…

but that momentary wait
isn’t filled with the same
horrible fear…

So I am really happy with the monitor.

And yes,
I realize SIDS is most common
from months 1-6
and Liam turns 6 months tomorrow…

but if I have my wish,
my little guy will be sleeping with it
until he leaves for college.

Perhaps it will be a good way
to ensure he doesn’t sneak out at night
when he is a teenager. 😉

Although
a baby with a face this
sweet and innocent
would never do anything like that,
right?

Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 07:01  Comments (2)  
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Missing

She was missing then
and she is missing now.

That’s what I thought
when Tom, Liam and I
drove through the beautiful
Columbia River gorge.

Two years ago
we were here
grieving our loss
and now we are here
with our adorable son,
visiting the same spots,
taking pictures of the same things,
and I swear,
I could feel her presence.

It felt like a little foot stretching against
the back of my seat in the car,
probably because
I know that’s where she should be sitting…

***

The weight of her absence is
tangible,
heavy,
physical.

She is like sand
slipping through my fingers
(or toes).

I can try to catch every grain
but it is pointless.

It slips effortlessly threw my fingers
no matter how hard I try to stop it
so I am at the point
where I realize
I should not even try,
because it stops me from
enjoying the sensation.

Even if she is slipping through my fingers,
she is there,
and I can feel her
if I just allow myself
to enjoy that fleeting moment.

It is better to just let
the sand do what it is meant to do
and appreciate the moments
when
my girl
comes to me.

It’s better to try not
to hold on
but just let her come and go
in peace.

Oh, Malou, I live for those moments when I can really feel your presence. I try not to get sad or desperately find a way to make the feel of you last, but instead just appreciate that you are with me, but it is hard. I miss you so much, my dear girl, but you are teaching me what life and love are all about.

Published in: on July 14, 2010 at 09:41  Comments (2)  
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