Tuesday, July 28, 2015

More Tidbits

As we expected, my Oma died last Monday.  My mom was with her, and she tells me it was peaceful.  It made me wonder, for the millionth time, at what moment Lydia died.  And I told myself, it was peaceful.  It was peaceful, whenever it was.

In order to make the funeral, I had to reschedule my MFM appointment.  Which scared the crap out of me.  What if something happened between Thursday and Monday?  What if something could have been caught on Thursday but by Monday it was too late?  What if Bowie died because I attended my Oma's funeral?

I managed to talk myself out of my crazy and rescheduled the appointment, but with increased anxiety.

And we headed up to Canada.

To be honest, the hardest part of the week was not my Oma's death.  My Oma had not been well in a long, long time, and though I would hesitate to call any death "a blessing," she did not have a good quality of life.  I started grieving her years ago.  I will miss her, but I have been missing her for years now.  I hate Alzheimer's.

The hardest part of the week was dealing with triggers about Lydie's death.  Hearing people say things like, "It was her time."  (Great.  I can get on board with that.  But let's also acknowledge that many, many people don't die when it's their time.  Sometimes they just die, and it's not their time at all).  There was a lot of talk about my Opa meeting her at heaven's gates and I don't even know where I stand on heaven, but it made me wonder: who greeted Lydie?  Who greeted Lydie when the people who love her most are stuck here on earth without her?  There was talk about angels welcoming her home. 

There was the baby that was due one day after her.  I couldn't believe how big he was.  I didn't want to be anywhere near him, and yet I found myself staring at him.

There were a lot of thoughts of Lydie.

I appreciated the few people that realized that my tears were not just for Oma.  That could make the connection that the reason I might be sobbing through the opening song at my almost-88-year-old grandmother's funeral was not just that I will miss her, but that we sang that song eight months ago at my own daughter's memorial.  And that she should be in my arms right now -- but she's not. 

There was the obituary, which included Lydia's name.  I told Justin that it's fucked up that I'm so grateful to see her name in print, even when stating her great-grandmother was predeceased by her.  Justin told me it's because she's included, because she counted.  True. But I think it's also because I don't get to see her name in print very much at all.  And have I mentioned how much I love her name?

We have a big family.  Oma and Opa had 7 kids, 2 of whom died, 23 grandchildren, 2 of whom died, and currently have 15 great-grandchildren, 2 of whom have died.  That's a lot of loss.  There's "Lydia" listed last.

Each great-grandchild walked up the aisle to lay a rose on my Oma's casket.  I walked up with Ben, holding a rose from Lydie.

As my Oma's casket was led from the church, the choir erupted in an unplanned burst of "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine."  I pictured my Oma singing it to us all those years, and in her final days, singing those words even though she no longer knew her own name.

But I also know that the second verse is: "The other night dear, as I lay sleeping.  I dreamed I held you in my arms.  When I awoke, I was mistaken.  And I hung my head and cried."

And at that moment, I cried for both my Oma and my daughter.


We stopped by to see Lydie's tree after calling hours.   Spend some time with our girl.  Her tree is directly next to my cousin's son's tree.  Caleb was stillborn in the spring of 2013.

We weren't planning to visit her tree again, but when we were there for my Oma's burial, Benjamin recognized the cemetery.  "Lydie's tree?" he asked.  How could we say no to that?  And I looked at my nephew and niece and knew it was important they spend some time with our girl too.

And then Oma Jo rushed over, holding a rose for Lydie.  The rose from Oma's casket.

In the green of the grass... in the smell of
the sea... in the clouds floating by...
at the top of a tree... in the sound
crickets make at the end of the day...

“You are loved. You are loved. You are
loved,” they all say.

When most people talk about cord accidents, they are referring to nuchal cords, or the umbilical cord around the neck (which is actually what Benjamin had that resulted in an emergency c-section).  Lydie didn't have a nuchal cord.  But she had a small narrowing in her cord, a spot that lacked Wharton's Jelly, and she managed to twist and turn in a way that kinked her cord at that exact spot.  Just like a garden hose.  The Wharton's Jelly is supposed to prevent that from happening.  It clearly did not.

I saw the cord myself.  It didn't leave much room to wonder what happened to her.

And now every time I see a garden hose, I grimace.  I think of Lydia's cord.

So we know WHAT happened, but we don't know WHY it happened.

My rescheduled MFM appointment was yesterday.  I was a bit more anxious about it, because the MFM had told me he would measure the cord.  I pushed him on this issue back in January, when this pregnancy was just an idea.  He agreed to measure the diameter of the cord at both insertion sites as well as a short distance out.  To check for narrowings.  I told myself that hospital bed rest was a possibility if a narrowing was discovered.

Of course, when I reminded the sonographer about the measurements, she informed me that she's worked for Dr. F for 8 years and she's never measured the umbilical cord.  But it looks perfect; nothing to worry about!

There's so much we don't know about what happened to Lydie.  So much doctors don't know.  There's conjecture, yes, but sometimes that is even more frustrating.  Sometimes speculating is worse than saying "I don't know."

Why was there a narrowing in her cord?  Why did one small part of her cord lack Wharton's Jelly? When did that narrowing form?  At conception or soon before she died?  Would it have been visible on an ultrasound, had anyone looked?  Did Lydie only constrict her cord once, or were there other times that she constricted it and managed to straighten it back out?  Would nonstress tests or biophysical profiles have shown anything was wrong?

How do we prevent it from happening again if we don't know why it happened in the first place?

Dr. F reminded us that Bowie's growth is right on target, and that's the best sign that the cord is working well.  I reminded him that Lydia's growth was always right on target too.

She was always perfect, until the moment she wasn't.

I have to remind myself it's still GOOD NEWS that Bowie's cord looks "perfect."  Afterall, we could have been given bad news by now, and we haven't.  But there's no peace of mind to be found.

We did find out that Bowie has hair already.  I wonder if it's dark like Lydie's and her dad's.

Eleven weeks to go, and it feels like an eternity.


My aunt and uncle got these two rocks for us.  One is sitting at the cottage, right by the stairs to go down to the water, and served as the perfect way to take our weekly photo last week.

The other we placed in Lydie's Garden.  Also perfect.

I love them.


A friend recently asked me what we are doing to get ready for Bowie, and I almost laughed out loud.  Obsessing about whether her heart is beating?  Going to multiple doctor's appointments a week?  Hoping, hoping, hoping she doesn't die?

I'm not sure that's what she had in mind.

Lydie's nursery is sitting the same as it was last November.  We call it "Lydie's room" although I am trying to switch to "Lydie and Bowie's room."  Maybe "the girls' room" would feel more natural?  I don't know if I want to change everything because this is a different baby or change nothing.  I get overwhelmed when I think about it.  So I try not to.

I do know, rationally, that there's not much that needs to be done.  We were so prepared for Lydia.  And Bowie can wear all her hand-me-downs (are they still hand-me-downs if big sister never got to wear them?)  The bottles can stay in the basement until she comes home.  And the bouncy seat.  And the swing.  And maybe my mom can bring the carseat to the hospital if she's born alive?

I took a leap recently and bought a few items for Bowie at Gymboree.  (My first time in there in 9 months; it felt like a big step).   I reasoned that if Bowie is born alive at 37 weeks, she will need some newborn-sized clothes, which her 41 week brother never needed and I did not expect Lydie to need. I felt furtive about it, like if the sales woman asked me if I was having a girl, I would throw all the clothes down and run out of the store.  I asked their return policy.

I have to remind myself; Lydie did not die because I planned for her.  Lydie did not die because I thought she was coming home.

Or as another BLM's therapist told her: Hope never killed a baby.

Still, the extra clothes feel I'm tempting fate.

I picture myself, with a deflated belly and gorged breasts, standing in front of an even full-er closet.  Asking myself, "How could you be so stupid?"  And... "How could you be so stupid twice?"


I've written a lot about how pregnant women raise my anxiety.  And here I am, almost to the third trimester, and it's worse than ever.  I sense pregnant women trying to catch my eye, wanting to share that knowing glance, or perhaps wanting to complain "don't you miss wine?" or "are your feet swollen yet?" or "it's so hot and I'm so pregnant!" Or perhaps it's to talk birth plans or to ask whether it's a boy or a girl or pick my brain on nursery colors.

I look away.

I want to shout, "WE ARE NOT THE SAME!" 

I want to let them know that sometimes babies die.  Sometimes babies die after a perfectly uneventful pregnancy.

I want to tell them they are "pregnant" but maybe they shouldn't be "expecting" anything.

I want to tell them just to see how things go, that showers should really be given after a baby is born, that there's no "safe time."

I look away.


We seem to have Bowie's REAL name narrowed down to two.  One week we are settled on one.  The next week we are settled on the other.

I asked Justin recently, "What if we decide in the hospital?"  We've never done that before.  I'm all for doing things differently this time around.  You know, see if she's living or dead before we make such decisions.  See what she looks like.

Justin says, "I'll probably just call her Bowie regardless."


  1. As always beautifully written!! Love the picture with you,Justin,Ben and the rock with her name on it...still pray for you every day.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this--she didn't die because you planned. Hope never killed a baby. Yes, exactly. Sending my sympathy for the loss of your Oma, and lots of peace for you and Bowie and Justin and Ben.

  3. I love the family pic!
    I'm sorry for the loss of your Oma. My Grammy died with Alzheimer's, it sucks so much!
    What a hard life burying children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren, just so wrong. I'm glad Lydie's name was in the obit. Seeing it in print matters, she matters. My uncle wrote my grandfather's recent obit with no mention of Bear. In fact, it even specifically says: four greatgrandchildren (my sister has three). A dagger to my heart.
    Maybe her name will be Bowie. I like it.
    You are not being stupid by buying clothes. Hopeful, even optimistic at times, and full of love. You don't regret loving Ben. You don't regret loving Lydie's. You will not regret loving Bowie.


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