Friday, September 18, 2015

33 weeks and 5 days.

So here we are... the point of Bowie's pregnancy where Lydie unexpectantly died.  In the pregnancy after loss community, we call this the "point of loss."  And for many women, it's one of the hardest parts of their subsequent pregnancies.  (And yet, most claim it doesn't get any easier after that either...)

It's the point where the little sister suddenly becomes older than the big sister.

Actually, I'm not sure when exactly Bowie and I get there, as I'm not sure exactly when Lydia died.  I know it's consuming me right now, as I can't sleep with this heavy 33 days and 5 week belly. Was she alive right now?  What about right now?  When did she silently slip away? And what was I doing?  And how the fuck could I not know?  And please, please Bowie, give me another nudge.  Wake up, Bowie!  No resting from you right now.

I know that the morning of 33 and 6, Lydie's heart was no longer beating.   I know she was delivered at exactly 34 weeks.  I just don't know when that perfect little heart stopped.

One of my friends said she was really angry at her point of loss in her subsequent pregnancy.  To quote Nora, "I'm angry that this happened to you, to me, to our family.  I'm angry that you were robbed of your chance so close to the finish line.  I'm angry that I was allowed to plan for you for such a long time, to feel you and grow you and know you for so long only to have you ripped away.  I'm angry that everyone I love was deprived of this connection I will always feel.  I'm angry because the same thing could still happen to this baby.  I'm angry because I have to know that."

I know.  I've been angry for 10 1/2 months now.

It's the most unfair thing in the world.

Yesterday, a colleague asked me how far along I am, and I responded, "one or two days from when my daughter suddenly died."  Granted, this was directly after a conversation where another colleague couldn't stop congratulating me and telling me how "excited" I must be.  Finally, I said, "Well, it's complicated, because my daughter was stillborn last year."  Well, he responded, I heard about that. But you couldn't have been so far along right?

Right.  Because babies couldn't possibly just suddenly die when they were so fucking close.

It's been heavy on my mind all week.  And I think - if possible - the anxiety has been worse.  It has only taken about six minutes since the last Bowie movement to start to wonder if she's dead. And maybe about 20 before I start to poke and prod.  Much longer would lead me to full-on panic.

Taking our chalkboard picture this week, it was impossible to not think about how this was the final update of Lydie's chalkboard.  How Lydie's chalkboard never turned to 34.

The last time I'll be able to compare my three baby bellies.  I can't help but notice my Lydie belly is the smallest, and I don't think it's just the photo.  I was told at 32 weeks I was "measuring small" with the super-accurate (note the sarcasm) tape measure on the belly.  But when we did an ultra-sound, Lydia was measuring at the 50th percentile and I was told all was well.  However, Lydie weighed 3 lbs 10 oz at birth at 34 weeks, while we were told that Bowie weighs about 4 lbs 8 oz at 32 weeks.  Perhaps Lydia wasn't getting everything she needed after all?  It's another question I constantly wonder... but that I'll never actually get answers to.
Lydie's chalkboard on the left.  It sits in our china cabinet now.  Bowie's chalkboard on the right (this is the first time I've realized they are not the same size.)  Here's hoping Bowie's is updated on Sunday.  (Benjamin's chalkboard has long since been turned into his own to scribble on).

This is the last time I'll be able to compare the three bellies of my three babies.

(And side bar but worth noting is how Benjamin and I got rear-ended on the way home last night.  Really, universe?  Is that what I need right now?  It was some silly teenage girl who "had the sun in her eyes."  She actually reminded me of myself, because I had quite a few driving "incidents" when I was 16.  And I told her that.  I told her I did stupid stuff when I was her age too.  But now I'm 8 months pregnant with a two-year-old in the backseat and I'd really appreciate it if she'd keep the stupid stuff away from me and my family.  And for once, I didn't even mention Lydie.)

I wonder what Sunday morning will bring.  It will be another hurdle down, for sure.  Maybe I'll be able to do things like look at the waiting list for daycare that was sent home in Ben's backpack weeks ago or the email from HR a month ago about "parental leave."  Maybe when I'm told that Bowie looks perfect at an appointment, I'll no longer want to defend, "But Lydie looked perfect at this point in time too!"  Maybe with that will be some relief?

I wondered in the early days of this pregnancy at what point I would stop wishing for Lydie to be here and healthy, and that I wasn't pregnant with Bowie.  30 some weeks later, what I know now is that I will never stop wishing for Lydie to be here and healthy.  But what I want is for both of my daughters to be here and healthy.  For all my three of my children to be here and healthy.  It's not Lydie over Bowie or Bowie over Lydie.   I just want all my kids.


Just as another side note:

Eight days after beginning our fundraiser for a cuddle cot in honor of Lydie, we met our goal.  We are so grateful to everyone who supported the effort.  You not only help us to honor Lydia but help other families who are forced to endure the devastation of stillbirth.

Because we are working with several other families to place more cuddle cots in other Ohio hospitals, we are continuing to accept donations.  I'm also making plans for the official donation of the cuddle cot,  as well as working with the hospital staff about how to educate medical professionals on infant loss and how to best support grieving families.  You can follow updates here:

Thank you for helping us to make a difference in Lydie's name.


And another side note:
A few of my lovely friends asked to see a photo of Lydie's blanket after my last blog post.  Happy to oblige.

"You are loved, you are loved, you are loved."  


  1. A stunning blanket and a beautiful photo. Thanks for letting us see it. I have to say, my heart was in my mouth reading your feelings about hitting the point of loss. And those photos, so poignant. This is surely one of the bravest things a mother can do.

  2. I have been following your blog from the beginning. My son graduated high school with Justin. I pray for all of yo every night (although I know you don't like to hear that). You both are so strong. You WILL make it.

  3. Wow your colleagues just keep churning out the comments! I really like Nora's quote. I feel angry for you, too. You deserve to have all three of your children. That's not too much to ask for in this life, and that was taken away from you and your whole family. It's okay however you feel after passing the point of loss. You are bravely keeping Lydie's memory alive while continuing to hope for Bowie and parenting Benji and whatever, however you get through the Herculean task of continuing on in all those things is exactly the right way. I'm so sorry about you getting rear-ended! I wish you could have only relaxing, comforting things happen until you're holding a screaming Bowie in your arms. Sending you so much support!!

  4. Heather I have been thinking of you all week. I hate when people say that to me, "I've been thinking of you," but I really, truly have. You and Bowie and Lydie. My POL was definitely my angriest of times, although I am always angry, so some extent. But then it was so consuming. I was angry at my body, I was angry at the world, at my husband for not having to endure this the same way I had to, I was angry at every doctor who told me things looked good, and pretty much anyone who looked my way. I'm still shocked at how I continued to function at work and at home and how I could even drive myself from A to B and eat my cereal in the morning. It was such an emotionally exhausting time and I really learned a lot about myself, most notably that I hadn't fully allowed myself to realize, until that point...that exact day...just how close we were.

    I know it doesn't help to hear that it was all worthwhile. It never helped me to hear that because I wasn't sure that it would be. I was semi-confident that my rainbow would die too, so it wasn't helpful until I could say it myself. But it was, instantly, so very finally and so very intensely...worth it worth it worth it.

    Keep going, love. You've got this.



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