12 Months and Counting

Every time I sit down to write an update to the pregnancy journey, most of what I find is frustration.

  • Frustration that I’ll have been pregnant for at least 18 months, just to walk out of the hospital with a living child in my arms, when every other woman in the world seems to be able to do it with nine.
  • Frustration with non-medical professionals giving advice and pressuring me to “make the right choices” this time.
  • Frustration with strangers’ rampant excitement, because it feels too much like counting your chickens before they’re hatched.

Sadly, that’s the tip of the iceberg. The arrival of the second trimester has been an exercise in faith and emotional management, to say the least. Though my belly grows by the day, it seems, and I’m starting to feel the baby’s kicks (hurray!), and each appointment brings a gently positive affirmation from my doctor, I find myself in an ever-watchful stasis: barely daring to hope and hesitating to fear the worst. Limbo.

I’ve even hesitated to touch and talk to the baby the same way I talked to Michael, so daring that action feels — it’s like claiming this child as mine, presumptuously, when I know that this child truly belongs to God until such a time as he or she is placed screaming in my arms to take care of. I have sneakily done it, and then found myself praying that I haven’t just counted a chicken too early, that I haven’t tipped the cosmic scales of life and death in a direction I’d rather not see.

Michael's feet.

Michael’s feet. During my pregnancy with him, he squirmed and kicked me OFTEN. I look forward to seeing how active his little brother or sister turns out to be. :-)

Grief and psychology experts like to say that a pregnancy after a loss is often “the longest nine months of a woman’s life.” I so wish that weren’t true, and yet the time cree-ee-ee-eeps by and I resort to distraction tactics to keep myself from worrying myself silly. As long as I can ‘float’ through my time between appointments by keeping my music and SCA schedules full, I do okay. I do my best to find joy where I can (in each moment I’m kicked or shoved by the little one, in each day I look at my pregnant belly in the mirror and see how fast it’s growing, in each shared smile or touch of my belly by my husband), but there always is an undercurrent of frustration.

So, here I am: 12 months pregnant and counting.

April is National Organ Donor Awareness Month

Sometimes I catch myself wondering who my son was able to save.

On that 11th day of June, not only were J. and I wholly unprepared for having to say hello and goodbye to our son, but we had not entertained the possibility of donating his organs. Who does? What expectant couple sits down and considers that outcome? None of us. It was a big shock, finding ourselves on the phone with a tissue donation service. I know I, for one, didn’t think a child was capable of donating until they were much, much older. But when the donation center representative confirmed my questions that yes, our son, tiny as he was, could help others, I turned to J. and asked him what he thought.

580175_543792902352732_2015848107_nThere was barely any hesitation and we both said “why not?”

What followed was a series of phone call interviews and paperwork determining Michael’s eligibility. And when it was all said and done, we were told that his heart valves could save up to two other babies, and that his eyes would go to a research study aimed at finding a cure for infant and child blindness.

My son. My little boy doing such big things before he was ever an hour old. (Possibly) giving two children healthy heart valves and saving two sets of parents the heartache J. and I felt. (Possibly) letting some infant see their mom and dad for the first time.

I will probably never get to know these children, or their families. That entire week was such a blur I can’t remember now if I told the donation representative that it was okay to be contacted or not. I’m not even sure I knew the answer to that at the time.

But I smile and my heart swells and my throat chokes up with a tearful sort of pride thinking that my beautiful, perfect, little boy has left a legacy that has touched at least six lives (two children and two sets of parents) besides those of his daddy and I.

Maybe more. <3

fiftylives_social_pic_2April is National Donate Life Month, also known as National Organ Donor Awareness Month. If you’d like to know more, please visit:

Listening, and Where I am Now

The other night I found myself listening to the song I wrote for Michael’s funeral. I haven’t listened to it or played it since that day, and yet it has withstood the test of time. Not all songs do, I’ve written so many that sound good for a week, a month, or three months — but then start sounding like crap. Not this one. It still chokes me up, it still resonates deep within my heart, and the tender simplicity of the structure soars clear and clean over any imperfections of performance.

It is beautiful, and I think, one of the best songs I have ever written.

Why are the poignant moments — the tragedy, the heartache, the despair — the ones that come through with startling clarity? Is it because those are the moments that show us who we really are inside? Because that’s when we find out what we’re truly made of?

Because we know ourselves most intimately when we are climbing over that mountain?

It might be time to write another song. One that tells about the climb, and the triumph at having faced your darkest fear to watch the sun rise again. No, I’m not there yet, but each day brings me closer and little by little, I’m seeing the blackened sky turn to light.