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Thursday, January 15, 2015


Dear Josie,

I know too much.

At my doctor's appointment last week, I told him about the dreams...well, nightmares, and the anxiety and the guilt and the isolation, and the intense, intense fear and the helplessness and the desperation. 

I asked him if there was anything to be done.  I just knew I was doing it wrong somehow, that my paranoia wasn't justified.  This particular doctor is brilliant, and has worked with many loss moms before me.  I asked him if he had any "tips", managed a chuckle, though I was incredibly serious.

He looked up from his notes, right into my eyes.  "No."

I like a brutal honesty as much as the next guy.  Don't tease me, don't lead me on.  I mean, I have been through the very worst thing, I can take it, just be honest with me.  And he was. 

I thought back to my first postpartum appointment, six weeks after you died.  My "regular" OB whom I still see, in conjunction with the high risk doctor.  I had asked her the same thing, in so many words.    "It will be terrible." She told me.  "Your next pregnancy will be terrible."

And 18 weeks in, I would have to agree.

You see, this time I have too much information.  I wish I didn't know so much.

I wish I didn't know what it felt like to harbor death, how it feels when the kicking stops.  I long for the days before my dreams were filled of static sounds, lone heartbeats on dopplers and the faces of panicked nurses.  I wish I didn't know that most funeral homes will absorb cremation costs for babies, or the price of a memorial tree in Forest Park, or how a grocery store cashier's eyes change when my son proudly declares he has a sister in Heaven.

I wish I didn't know these things, that I could pretend they didn't happen.

I wish two days after Christmas, when I first felt this baby kick, that it only provided an additional comfort to my black flannel pajamas with white polka dots.   I wish it hadn't made me cry, staining the couch with my oreo blizzard as I went running for your father.   I wish the right things hadn't preceded the wrong ones.  The best before the very worst. 

I wish the mundane details of January weren't so foreboding, that I didn't taste death in the frost that rimes my eyes.  I wish that the process of warming my car in the morning didn't remind me of my time with you.  A time cut far too short.  A time nearing its end as the snow fell.  A time I will never get back. 

I wish the Valentines displays didn't steal my breath, didn't send me spinning mid-aisle amidst the chocolate covered fruit.  I wish that candied hearts didn't break mine, didn't make me long for the girl I used to be, buoyant and na├»ve she peruses these same arrangements, one week before you left her. 

I wish that I could skip February altogether.  And March and April for that matter.  I wish I could wake up in May, on induction day.  I wish someone could tell me this baby will make it.  I wish I could believe them. 

Last week I took your brother to his doctor's appointment. As always, he asked to bring a toy and, as always, I said he could choose one.  His choice?  The large Ninja Turtle Blimp he has been sleeping next to since Christmas.  When I shook my head he asked me, quickly shifting the attention from my coffee.

"But I love it so much, Mom.  Why can't I have the things I love?"

And so we drove to the doctor.  Myself, your brother, and the two foot something green blimp in the seat just beside him.  And he smiled the entire way there.  And so did I. 

Maybe it's because that morning, I didn't have the requisite energy that an argument with a four year old entails.  Or maybe it's because I didn't have the answer, that I ask myself the same question every day.  But I think it's because of what I know.  This world of information that I have lived, this realization that I could, very easily, have been standing alone in that kitchen.  Or in another place entirely, never knowing how that mess of dusty waves feels against my cheek at bedtime, sitting just above those bright blue eyes.  Perhaps it's because I know all too well how grateful I should be, for this tiny slice of perfection staring up at me in confusion, just bursting with a love I couldn't possibly deserve. 

Or maybe I'm a pushover. 

Either way, we get ice cream on the way home.  


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