Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rosh Hoshannah with Sprout

In services last night and today, standing next to Ruth, surrounded in song and chanting, I remembered that Sprout can hear, and that these are some of the sounds - community voices chanting and singing, that this child is hearing already - and I was both touched and pleased. I caught mysef imagining next High Holy Days - looking at babies present this year and wondering if Sprout will be bigger or smaller, will sleep through services or need to be walked - such wonderful happy things to be able to wonder.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Alive and kicking

at twenty one weeks - a cliche I like. Rut and Chris both have felt SProut's movement now - a very good thing!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thankful (even though Ruth is frustrated)

Today at work I learned of a couple who have just learned, at 20 weeks, that their baby has anencephaly and cannot live. Ruth had an extra ultrasound today which failed to determine Sprout Lilliam's sex. It did confirm the normalcy of Sprout's development. Ruth is really frustrated about the unknown sex, and frustrated with herself for caring. She just wants to be able to call her son or daughter by name already. I think I might be frustrated too if I hadn't learned today of the other family, with a baby just Sprout's age, who is facing sure death. I keep writing here over and over, life is so uncertain. And tonight I'm more thankful than frustrated.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Twenty weeks (such a nice round ring to it!)

Half way to due date with Sprout - Ruth has been pregnant longer than she is likely to be pregnant with this baby. Wow! And Sprout is estimated to be about the length of a banana, may weigh as much as a pound, and can hear and is likely to cover her/his ears when alarmed by a sudden sound. I remember that with my babies, how they jumped and seem frightened when their was a loud noise in our environment. Bob and I are buying Sprout's stroller as a welcome gift and I am keeping my hands and eyes off little outfits until we have gender identification (at the parents' request because they have enough tiny gender neutral outfits already) I still get scared, still remember Mira with tears, still know how much could go wrong with this baby - but most days I have nurturing cuddly hopeful thoughts - new baby in my arms come winter thoughts. Sweet sweet thoughts!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A change ( toward hope with tears)

When Mira died I set up my AOL icons with dragonflies, the symbol Ruth and Chris chose for that sweet baby. Today, as we pass the time that she would have been born into our arms, I am changing those icons to sunflowers for Sprout. And I'm hanging a silver, amber and garnt dragon fly for Mira permanently in my kitchen, where her memory will be triggered many times a day as I go about my business. We humans (at least this human) sure depend on symbols and rituals to get through the tough emotional stuff.

I know Ruth and Chris spent this night quiety together mourning their daughter and I feel so sad for them. I hate it when the people I love hurt. And I know they also have rejoicing and hoping in them. Love really is stronger than loss. And loss hurts like hell.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mira - on the day you shoud be born

I wonder what tonight would be like if you had lived, little one. You might be here already, safe in your parents' arms. I might know your hair color and the taste of your neck. Or we might still be waiting to meet you. But we will never know. I'm sad tonight that we will never know.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Ruth and Chris brought beautiful grandparent journals to Bob and me today - like them not standard cutesy, but really deep and full of meaningful questions. I am touched and eager to start weoking on my journal for Sprout - Lilliam

Saturday, September 13, 2008

contrastng feelings

Ruth wrote a beautiful post in her blog about her contrastng feelings about Sprout's development and Mira's death, as contrasted by her sonograms experiences.

Family resemblance
I was reluctant to say anything about this when first posting Sprout's most recent picture because I didn't want Lilliam's debut to be overshadowed by Mira's death.... but it's reality that the two are connected and it seems artificial to try to avoid the inevitable points of connection between the two pregnancies so I've decided to post.

We had the scan done at Seton Medical Center--the very same Seton to which I checked in for Mira's D&C. We were there less than a week before Mira's unfulfilled due-date and walked in the same door we last entered for her memorial service. The last time I'd had an ultrasound at a hospital was the last time we saw her and Sept 11th (for which the appointment was originally scheduled) marks the 6-month-a-versary of her death (and the 12th, on which we did have the appointment the 6-month-a-versary of the D&C).

It would have been impossible not to be thinking of Mira when we were walked back into the hospital imaging area. I remember thinking how grateful I was to be walking under my own volition instead of riding a gurney. Chris stood on the same side of me holding the same hand he had when we found out that our Miraculous Mira was still alive and kicking despite the hemorrhaging. And when the first image flicked on the screen we saw the sweet picture I posted last night--the tech smiled and pointed out the hand by the face. I smiled too--but in my mind I saw this:

Sprout's first image is a near perfect mirror image of Mira's last.

I think part of me was waiting for the similarities to continue--I KNEW that Sprout had a strong heartbeat. In my gut I really did feel that everything was okay (I've felt remarkably certain about this pregnancy even before we actually conceived--I KNEW we'd get pregnant that month and I was certain the early "negative" tests were wrong, etc.) But there was that part of me that kept expecting the tech to turn to us and say that something was wrong... that, yes the heart was beating, but that Sprout was not growing properly or that really we'd been mistaking my heartbeat for Sprout's all those months, or something..... but none of that ever came. I saw Chris get misty and shed a few tears and I watched our little guy wiggle and writhe on the screen-- alive and healthy and waving his hands about as if putting on Broadway show and let myself bask in the happiness and relax a little more into the reality that we are having a baby in February (or maybe January).

It's a strange thing to see the Mira parallels so clearly and to, at the same time, feel so unafraid for Sprout. It feels like hubris to feel so comfortable. I know that my gut feelings aren't a guarantee. I know that the current diagnosis of "no obvious abnormalities" is not a promise of perfect health. After all I am a logical person and I have had people I love die when they weren't supposed to... I KNOW that anything can happen and that anything can destroy the world as you know it in a single breath. So I will continue to say more "if"s and think up more bad scenarios than other people are comfortable with. And I will fill out the advance directive paperwork before I go into labor because I DO believe in planning for the worst--but for right now I'm enjoying feeling so good.
Posted by Ruth at 7:48 AM

Friday, September 12, 2008

Still "Lilliam" and healthy

The anatomy scan today did not show sex, but did show a healthy babe developing on schedule with all appropriate parts in apparent working order and the ability to move about - I care much more about health and presence than the sex. Happy day!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Ruth posted that today is day 130 of her pregnancy with Sprout and day 260 is full term. Halfway home! Home to waiting arms and a painted nursery and all kinds of hopes and dreams and kisses and rhymes and LOVE - so much love.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Eighteen weeks and smiling

Ruth and Chris and I wto our small, sweet synagogue last night and, during the "joys and oys" segment, when people talk about what's going on in our lives, Chris told the congregation both about Mira's death (the last time he made an announcement was of pregnancy with Mira) and of Sprout's presence and apparent good health. The group responded warmly and with support. I'm glad Ruth and Chris are making progress feeling at home in a community (something I'm not very good at). Ruth looked beautiful last night in a dress bought hopefully when they were trying to conceive - which now flows gracefully over her slightly changed shape. I kept wanting to stroke her hair and kiss her shoulder during service ( refrained at least two thirds of the time I wanted to). I love the way she loves Chris, the way he loves her, the whole welcome net they are building for this babe.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Normal Quad -Screen for Sprout

Ruth got the call today telling her that the results from Sprout's Quad-Screen look "normal, normal, and normal". Apparently that means no signs of Down's syndrome or spina bifida or some other problems. No guarantee of safe passage for sure - but so far so good. And Sprout even owns a car seat - a gift from her/his other grandmother. A baby with good test results and a car seat is seeming more and more real.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Mira's month

It's September, the month Mira would have been born. I imagine how excited the family would have been with her birth approaching, and remember the September 31 years ago when I was pregnant with Joanna. I wonder what Mira woud have looked, felt, smelled like, and I grieve for her presence in our life. I also think about Sprout, due in February, and think how much sadder I would be this September without Mira if Ruth and Chris had not conceived this new little hope for life. Circle of life and death just keeps on spinning. Life is hard and life is good.

Missing Mira

September 18 should be your birthday
but you died in March, unborn, unseen,
unheard, unknown, unsung, unkissed.
But mourned and missed - so missed.