Leaving Home

moving-tools-2-1529662-1280x960Today, I go from a city dweller to a suburbanite, and while I’m extremely excited about moving, there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to go. It isn’t that I’m leaving the buzz of city life for the quiet of the suburbs. It’s that I’m leaving my home where we found out we were pregnant. Where we found out we weren’t. And where we finally got to bring our boys home.

It’s where we celebrated and where we grieved.

In the nine years we’ve lived here, we’ve experienced such a wide array of joy and sorrow, as I’d imagine is true of many people living in one spot for a long time. This home has been a gathering spot for family and friends for holidays, BBQs and Super Bowl extravaganzas. And it has been a safe sanctuary for Double A and me when we need to be alone, together.

I know that home is where you make it, and I know we’ll be happy in our new house. But leaving here feels like I’m leaving a connection to Baby K, Sarah, Benjamin, and those we never met. I guess it is more a reminder of the times. I look around and I see the path from our bedroom where my water broke, and curl up on the couch in the exact spot where I had to make the first call after losing Baby K. I stand in the dining room where the doctor called to say that the amnio results on the twins came back perfectly normal, and walk out the door where we knew everything was not.

These experiences are the only physical connections I have Baby K, Sarah, Benjamin, and those we never met. I’ll never get to see them take their first step. Go to school. Or get married. There’s so little physical evidence that they existed, so it feels like I have to hold onto these just a little bit tighter.

These seem like painful reminders, and they are. But they are also part of limited experiences I had with those children. Of course there are positive memories as well. Like the floor outside the bathroom where Double A and I laid waiting for the results of that first pregnancy test. Or opening the front door to his parents after just finding out we were pregnant for the second time without wanting to give it away. And standing at the counter when we got the call we were matched with BB, or in the kitchen when I told Double A that I was pregnant with Little Guy.

I realize these memories—good and bad—will always be a part of me, no matter where I live. So maybe leaving the physical “here” is just another part of this ongoing and ever-changing grieving process. In the end, we may leave some aspects behind, but as long as we keep telling it, the story is still the sum of its parts.

*Photo credit.

Stories We Tell. 7 Came Before You: Pregnancy After Loss Support

heartsun_Mayur-Gala_croppedI’m over at Pregnancy After Loss Support today talking about the challenges of telling Baby Boy and Little Guy the story of their siblings who came before them. Here’s a snippet:

“Keeping these stories secret wouldn’t be fair to them, or their siblings. Part of it is simply the notion of talking about death to kids. But deeper than that, how do you talk about death, when you can’t share about their life?”

You can check out the full post here. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

*Photo credit.

You Can Always Adopt: Pregnancy After Loss Support

hand-in-hand-1428232I’m over at Pregnancy After Loss Support today with some thoughts on the emotional side of deciding to adopt after loss. Here’s a snippet:

“The notion of ‘You can always adopt,’ makes it seem like it is an easy process, both emotionally, and on the pocketbook. I’m here to say it’s not. But that shouldn’t necessarily dissuade you.”

You can check out the full post here. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

*Photo credit.

The World is Listening to Mark Zuckerberg, But Not for What You Think

Mark Zuckerberg is no stranger to being in the news, with the press often scrutinizing his every move. But today, Mr. Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan sought out the public by announcing that they are pregnant. Pregnant after surviving three miscarriages. Sharing that, in itself, is huge, but he didn’t stop there. He went on to talk about the emotional side of loss:

“You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience. Most people don’t discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you — as if you’re defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own.

So far over one million people have liked this announcement. More than 27,000 people have shared it. And that’s not including all of the media outlets who have reported on and shared it as well. What a tremendous step toward breaking the silence surrounding miscarriage and baby loss. He added:

“In today’s open and connected world, discussing these issues doesn’t distance us; it brings us together. It creates understanding and tolerance, and it gives us hope.”

It’s safe to say that when Mark Zuckerberg talks, people listen. And people talk.

Thank you, Mr. Zuckerberg for putting a spotlight on a much needed, and long overdue conversation. We hope this empowers others to speak up. We hope this helps to take away the stigma associated with loss. And we hope for a continued healthy pregnancy, safe delivery and lots of joy to come for you and your family.


Perseverance in Loss: Pregnancy After Loss Support

falldownseventimesstandupeight2I’m over at Pregnancy After Loss Support today with my first post as a monthly contributor. I’ve shared some insights on how—and why—we kept trying. Here’s a snippet:

“How do you do it?” This is a question my husband Aaron and I have often been asked over the years. It being, survive and carry on after seven losses. It being continue to try for a family with living children. It being handle each pregnancy after each loss. It being navigate the adoption process. And most recently, It being parent our 2 year old and 11 month old boys.

You can check out the full post here. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and how you do it.

*Photo credit.

Two Years, Eight Months and 10 Days After Loss

Most parents would love to see their kids’ names in print. A marquee. A byline. A scorecard. A ballot. But you know where they don’t want to see it? On a gravestone.

Two years, eight months and 10 days later, Sarah and Benjamin’s marker came in and was placed on Friday. While we’ll have the official dedication soon, we went yesterday for Father’s Day to see it. And it is beautiful. Well, as beautiful as something signifying your dead children can be.

It wasn’t that it took two years, eight months and 10 days to make it. Rather, it was that Double A and I couldn’t move forward on it. It was like we were paralyzed by the emotion of it. Baby K’s was taken care of right away, as there was only one choice for her marker. My mom and aunt (who works for the cemetery) coordinated it, and Double A and I signed off on it. But with the twins, it just sat. A heavy guilt weight on our shoulders that we couldn’t move.

And then my Papa died in February, and going to his funeral also meant going back to the cemetery for the first time since we lost the twins. It’s not something I’m proud of, but at the same time, neither of us feels like we need to go there to remember them. That said, I hated that we had to view their temporarily marked grave for the first time in front of a crowd. I was ashamed, especially when the temporary marker spelled Sarah’s middle name Hannah instead of Hana.

Here we were, celebrating my 96-year-old Papa’s life, while a couple of plots over were our children who never took their first breath. It was an awful juxtaposition, and at the same time, we left the cemetery with a renewed sense of strength and courage. Sarah and Benjamin deserved to be recognized.

We hadn’t planned on the timing for Father’s Day, and quite frankly, I was surprised that Double A said he wanted to go to the cemetery. But there we were, with Baby Boy and Little Guy too. The sun from the blue skies made Sarah and Benjamin’s names and the bronze edging shine bright, and brought a warmth I didn’t think was possible. We had the boys gather rocks to place on Sarah and Benjamin’s joint marker, and on Baby K’s while we explained to them about their brother and sisters, and how we put rocks down to show that we had been there, and continue to carry on their memory.

Of course tears were shed. But for the first time, it wasn’t big, ugly tears. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that we are any less sad. Maybe it was that we got to go there on our own choosing, and not for another funeral. Maybe it was because we had our living boys in our arms, smothering them with hugs and kisses with all of the gratitude we feel for their existence. Or maybe it was because there was a huge sense of relief that Sarah and Benjamin’s name was finally in print, for all the world to see and know what we already knew: our children exist, and they matter.

Sounds of Pregnancy Loss Replayed

On my drive home from work, the song Breathe by Alexi Murdoch came on, and it actually took my breath away. You see, not long after we lost the twins, I came across this song, and used it as a way to remind myself to step back, take a breath, and realize that somehow, someway I was going to get through this and be okay. It was one of many songs that helped to get me through the darkest of days.

My iTunes must have been onto something because next up came Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, whose lyric, “We could have had it all.” used to taunt me. Then, for good measure, Hasa Diga Eebowai from The Book of Mormon came on. It has some choice words for G-d, which, at a time when we didn’t know what to believe in, resonated with us (and truthfully just made us laugh).

Listening to this trilogy of songs, nearly two and a half years later, brought me right back to the exact moments: Every feeling. Every sadness. Every anxiety. Every bit of grief that encompassed me then, flooded my back over me once again. I almost had to pull the car over.

Music has always been such a meaningful part of my life. It’s something I’ve relied on as my trusty companion. It has gotten me through, and taken me back to so many moments—good and bad—with a single note. And sitting there, listening to these songs, I realized just how powerful music was for me during that time. While I don’t want to be reminded of all that pain, suffering and sadness (many of these songs I still can’t won’t listen to), I realize just how far we’ve come. I’m reminded of our perseverance. Of our determination. Of our survival. And I’m reminded that we wouldn’t give up on ourselves, or our dreams. So when John Hiatt’s Rest of the Dream came on next, I was a puddle.

I’ve listened to that song numerous times, but apparently never heard it until that instant. These days, I often feel like I’m living in a dream. I look at our boys and can’t believe they are really here. I think of all we’ve been through and can’t believe Double A and I are still here. But they are. And we are too. I don’t know what part of my dream this is, but I do know that the sounds of the past never leave you, even as the new soundtrack plays on.

Does music affect you? What are your songs?


Follow Will CarryOn with Bloglovin.