I used to sing to E all day long, making up songs about what we were doing, where we were going, what we would have for lunch. Silly songs that made her smile and skip along beside me. I found myself, this morning, singing a toothbrushing song and as I watched E’s face light up I realized how long it’s been since I’ve done this, since I’ve made up a song just for her. About seven and a half months, I’d say.
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Last night a friend from my support group sent me the link to an album containing recently touched-up photos of her son, who was stillborn, full-term, in January, just 8 days before A. The photos were gorgeous. A perfect baby boy, who looks just like his older sister. The album also included a photo of the birth card prepared by the nurses for Baby Boy (last name). On the card are his apgar scores: 0 at 1; 0 at 5; 0 at 10.
How do we manage to go on? How do we make up songs about toothbrushing and stories about Edgar J. Squirrel, who lives in the big tree at the edge of the park, when beautiful, perfect, loved babies die?
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Last night I was lying in bed doing a Sudoku puzzle on my phone, wondering if I should take an Ativan already so I could just fall asleep, when a notification from f***book flashed across the screen. It was from my brother’s friend, who is halfway through a pregnancy she’s been posting about since Mother’s Day. All I could see in the notification is: “Dear Jen, With heavy heart and swollen eyes.” My body went cold, my face hot, and I felt sick to my stomach. I knew exactly what the rest of the message would say. 21 weeks and her first baby is gone. A girl. A very much loved and wanted girl. My heart is broken for her and I feel almost desperate to help, when not too long ago, I was quickly clicking away from pregnancy photos, from her happy glow and perfect oblivion. How do we manage to go on?
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I am working at the university today. I drove up here with the radio turned up as loud as I could stand, just as I used to when I came up here all the time, before E was born and then when I was teaching and she was just a baby. I still love listening to loud music in the car, but I don’t sing along the way I used to and I don’t feel the freedom it used to bring me. I just listen to the songs about young love, young heartache, young hope and let my mind wander until I get where I’m going.