Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Yesterday, I received a package from Kodak. I finally ordered a few prints of Lucy. I have been so afraid since my computer crashed of losing them forever. Oh, my beautiful, beautiful girl. Yesterday, though, they were hard. I don’t obsessively look at her picture anymore. When I opened the package, it startled me that she looked so bruised, hurt, and well, so dead. I don’t remember her like that. I don’t even remember her picture like that, even though it has only been a week since I saw them. And when I sit with her picture for a few moments, I only see the Lucy I once held with whom I imagined a lifetime. The one without trauma. The one with the perfect nose, and those lips, and the aching I feel just writing about her. It is almost too much to bear.

Yesterday, they came, along with some prints of Lucia’s name on Christian’s seashore. As I made dinner, I walked into the living room to find Beatrice has taken them out of the package and was throwing them around the room as the dog pounced.

I. Lost. My. Shit.

I wish all the things sacred to us glowed a fiery red and hissed, or somehow triggered a door where clowns and a monkey came into the other side of the room juggling candy, or better yet, the sacred objects should come with the ability to throw chocolates in the other direction to distract approaching mothers, babies and puppies. My meditating mama had hair, as you probably noticed in this picture, but by the time I birthed Lucy, my nephew somehow broke her hair off. No, really, just the hair. It ended up being so apt, because when Lucy died, I wanted to pluck each hair out of my hair and stay bald for the rest of my days. But at the time, I was devastated, even when I knew it was my own fault for leaving her accessible to small hands.

I ran and gathered the photographs, and said over and over again, “NO, no, no, no, no…we do not touch Lucy’s pictures, no. Not now, not ever. NO. No. No. These are not toys.” And then, all at once, I broke into wide sweeping sobs. Bea stared at me, and just said, “Sorry.”

I do my best thinking in water. With a mug of tea, and my hands too wet to write effectively on anything, I memorize my amazingly eloquent, yet fleeting lines, and scamper out of the bath, making puddles in the hall along the way until I somehow get it all out. It is never as brilliant as it was in bubbles. Generally, it is solidly mediocre, or the original intent is lost somewhere between tile and rug. And I usually end up frustrated, cold and with a huge Angie print on a piece of furniture. After dinner, Sam offered to draw me a bath, and make me some tea.

I have not been doing very good. Not at all really.

I needed it—a good soak to clear my mind, and construct something brilliant. When I popped into the bathroom, he was lighting a candle to rest on the edge of the tub. The girl and the dog were giggling and bouncing respectively, so he herded them out and ran them up and down the house. Sometimes the best support is time alone.

The water is never hot enough anymore. I don’t even turn on the cold. Just hot. Sam puts the kettle on for a mug of herbal tea, and the rest to warm the bath. Apparently, I need it to be almost boiling to feel warmth. I sat still by the candlelight, and found myself weeping with my whole body. Being quiet makes me cry now. A lot. I cried because my days and evenings shouldn’t be like this. I shouldn’t have to miss my daughter. I shouldn't have to freak out when a picture of my daughter is on the floor, because I should be able to take more. I shouldn’t be comforted by the stories of suffering and dead babies. It breaks my heart.

Yesterday, in the rain and storms, during extended naptime, before the pictures arrived, I just read the same blogs over and over…it’s what I wanted to do. I was in a deep funk before the pictures. I wanted to remind myself how universal this is. I wanted to read birth stories, and weep. I wanted to know that people survive this. I am comforted by the survivors, even when they are barely surviving. I wanted to cry for us all, for the aching I have for the babies and their parents.

You know, even when I don’t search blogs out, people tell me stories about death. Does this happen to all of us babylost? People tell me stories about how their friends are affected by death, stories about a child's death in their community, stories of disaster, horrible accidents, senseless tragedies...in some way, I think tragedy and compassion are what I have now. In quite another way, it feels so cruel to keep being reminded how chaotic and cruel the universe is. Realizing that others have it worse than me isn't comforting; I simply want to be the last of the sufferers. A dying breed, so to speak. I would search for stories about random acts of kindness perpetrated by perfect strangers if they didn't read like fairy tales to me now. Fantastical. Yesterday, I just wanted to be around the babylost all the time, surrounded by swirling talk of our babies, our community, death, our real life friends, and whatever else comes up.

I am most comfortable in a world where I am alone in person, and together in spirit with perfect strangers crying. And I hate that about me right now.


  1. First of all,the verification word today is "redsheap"- an image to meditate on when we get rattled?

    I am at my calmest underwater, too. These days my dream house is all bathtub with an ocean view.

    I'm so sorry that random kindness feels like such a fantasy and that there's danger and hurt lurking around so many corners right now. Hoping one of those corners surprise you soon with a bit of beauty.

  2. (((Angie)))

    I'm so sorry that it's been a tough time lately. Me too. I think maybe it's surprising us because we feel like it should be getting better.

    A bath always relaxes and focuses me as well. I say don't beat yourself up about what you need right now. Read the blogs over and over again, whatever you need. Hang in there, Mol

  3. Oh Angie, so much of what you write resonates so.It is Just. So. Damn. Hard. isn't it? Keep crying, keep writing, keep taking baths...whatever it takes to heal through this. Much love as always

  4. I can't tell you how much I relate to what happened with Bea and the pictures. I had the same meltdown about my ultrasound pictures-- minus the dog, but add crayons. It is hard to deal with grief, raise a toddler who is doing normal toddler things, and then feel guilty for being a shitty mother because you're grieving and not handling life.

    Too bad you are are 12 hours away from Chicago, otherwise I would have come over with a bottle of wine, my daughter to play with Bea, my Jizo, and we could cry, talk, and look at Lucia's pictures.

  5. hugs to you, angie, hugs to you....a bath always works for me too, maybe because i don't notice the tears through all the water. sometimes i feel like the water is suddenly brackish from all the tears. i love you. if you need to cry on my lap for awhile and drink some chai, just come by...

  6. angie, i've spent a lot of time lost in babylost blogs and then a lot of time away from it. i need both in order to survive this. we do what we need to do when we need it. i seem to be drawn to tv shows where people have sad stories. i guess we need that when grieving. to know we're not alone perhaps?
    your writing seems to always resonate with me deeply and your clay sculpture of the meditating mama is so beautiful.
    i have been wanting to thank you for your nomination- obviously we haven't followed through on posting that thing but we're so not good at that!! thank you for your endless support and kind words.

  7. Oh Angie... sending you strength.

    I feel the same way about Nicholas' table. If the kids even come close to it, I freak. I don't want to freak, but I do. It's that mama bear instinct again... we have to protect our children - no matter what form that protection is in.

    Hang in there... xo

  8. Sorry about the massive long comment yesterday (hangs head in shame) I get a little emotional these days.

    Love the image of the clowns and the monkeys.

    I wish you didn't have to miss your daughter. I wish you could take more pictures of her.

    I'm all for boiling hot baths as well. I don't know why they help but they do. xoxo

  9. beautiful words angie. i too find comfort and endless support in this babylost blog land. it's so important to know that i am not alone in my crazy awful thoughts. that you all get it. i remember when i was in the hospital i asked the nurse if this had ever happened to anyone else that she knew...i really felt like the only one on the planet that lost a baby just like that, in the safety of the womb, just before birth.

    "I am most comfortable in a world where I am alone in person, and together in spirit with perfect strangers crying". YES.

    keep taking hot hot baths and letting your hot tears flow. we are here with you.

  10. "I am most comfortable in a world where I am alone in person, and together in spirit with perfect strangers crying". YES.

    oh angie i wish i was there to share a mug of tea with you and let our tears flow together.

    i can relate to so many of your words. i gain so much comfort knowing i'm not alone, that others have walked this babylost path and are surviving with me. with hot hot baths, blog writing, virtual hugs and open hearts.

    sending you so much love

  11. ok. i guess my first comment did go through. sorry. now you've got two from me (or 3)...

  12. oh angie.... ((hugs))
    cry, cry, cry all you want.
    Let us all soak in salty tears as we hold our babies in our hearts.

  13. Dear beautiful Angie, I hear you say you're "not doing good" and I think, but she is. How doing good goes together with feeling awful I don't know, but when you want to be the last of the sufferers, dear Angie, that was Prince Siddhartha's wish too. And every time you open it up and lay it down like this, you're doing good for your fellow travelers in grief and for those of us who love you. But I am so sorry there is so much weighing on your shoulders and wish, wish, wish your heart were light.

    Bless that Sam, by the way.

  14. The water is never hot enough anymore. I don’t even turn on the cold. Just hot. Sam puts the kettle on for a mug of herbal tea, and the rest to warm the bath. Apparently, I need it to be almost boiling to feel warmth.I thought this was just me..unless the water is nearly scalding, it is not warm enough...I just miss the warmth of my body when my girl was still alive within me, and long to reclaim those moments.

    I'm so thankful that you share this blog, and your thoughts and feelings with us all. Sadly, I feel such a kinship with your story, your words, your feelings and your pain.

  15. Oh Angie, yes yes and more yes.
    "I shouldn’t have to miss my daughter. I shouldn't have to freak out when a picture of my daughter is on the floor, because I should be able to take more. I shouldn’t be comforted by the stories of suffering and dead babies. It breaks my heart."
    I too lose myself in loss blogs, I need it. Then I step back and freak out that this is my life now - this is real, and it happened to me, and to all these other beautiful women.
    Like Aliza, I asked in hospital if this had ever happened to anyone else, because in that very moment, I felt so alone, like such a freak. Turns out, not so much. And that brings on a whole new level of terror - as what's to stop it happening to anyone one of us again. We are not safe because its already happened once.
    I wish I lived an ocean closer. I would love to sip tea with you and talk about Lucy, Hope and all our lost babies All. Day. Long.
    We love you Angie xo

  16. Your words resonate with us all. Your beautiful, sad, bitter sweet words.

    I screamed like a made woman when Minnie found my hospital bracelet and was running off with it. It wasn't hers. It was mine. One little connection to Alice. Some times I can be such a crap mum.

    Thinking of you. xxx

  17. I missed this post the other day, but I wanted to offer my support today. Grief is such an unpredictable wave. It can be compounded by still having to parent an unpredictable toddler. I feel guilty even writing that. I know we are both grateful for our living children. But, their chaotic energy often sends me over the edge. Other times, it pulls me up. It's a constant ebb and flow.

    I try to go out into the real world, but I always end up retreating back here after trying to find the 'new me' in the real world where chit-chat is prevalent and death is taboo. Sometimes blogs become overwhelming for me too, I'll admit. It's an ongoing struggle to face my own grief, yet try not to get sucked even deeper into this hole by grieving every single one of our babies. Sometimes it gets to the point where death is the only subject I feel is worthwhile discussing. Everything else is frivolous.

    On a practical note, I store my pictures on shutterfly.com. I try to transfer everything there right away so that I have both my computer pics and my offsite storage.

    I'm sorry you are hurting. That sounds so trite. It's just that sometimes there are no words for the desperate sympathy we feel for each other.

    Peace, my friend.

  18. One of the wonderful nurses in NICU made a valentine "from Maddy" for Bella -- it's amazing, with her handprints and picture, and says something to the effect of "Here's how big my hands were when I became your sister." It sits on the tippy top shelf in her room, so high I can barely reach it, and she is only allowed to handle it in my presence. She would have to wear gloves and take it out of cold storage and only view it on velvet if I had my way.

    Just a thought: I printed out some pictures and put them in one of those stupid cheapy plastic picture books for in my purse. I started carrying them to group therapy, but they never left my purse. And Bella loves to go through my purse and the photos. I really don't worry about them much in that context.

    I was so amazed, like someone had just turned on a light, to discover how the deadbaby trope rattles around popular culture. I guess I'd never paid it much attention, but now it seems to be the classic "well! There you go," in every novel and tv program I watch. I can now catch it coming miles away.

  19. Oh Angie

    you write: I wanted to read birth stories, and weep. I wanted to know that people survive this. I am comforted by the survivors, even when they are barely surviving. I wanted to cry for us all, for the aching I have for the babies and their parents.

    I am inspired to write these things down, now. Over 10 month later. Maybe they can help. I'll send you a link when I've uploaded my birth story and the pictures I couldn't look at because Fionn was so dead in them. But somehow I'm revisiting all that happened at the moment and I read my notes from then and look at the pictures and I smile and cry and smile, again.

    For now a poem I found when I went though my old stuff.
    This was posted on the MISS forums, I hope it's ok to copy/past it here.

    To the Child in My Heart (Kyra, Sean's Mommy)

Precious, tiny, sweet little one
    You will always be to me
    So perfect, pure, and innocent
    Just as you were meant to be.


We dreamed of you and your life
And all that it would be
We waited and longed for you to come 

    And join our family.


We never had the chance to play,
To laugh, to rock, to wiggle. 

    We long to hold you, touch you now 
And listen to you giggle.


I'll always be your mother. 

    He'll always be your dad.
You will always be our child, 

    The child that we had.

    But now you're gone...but yet you're here.
We'll sense you everywhere.
You are our sorrow and our joy. 

    There's love in every tear.


Just know our love goes deep and strong.
We'll forget you never- 

    The child we had, but never had, 

    And yet will have forever.

  20. Hi Angie -
    I know these awful days, still. Yes, take to the water and cry. And then write.

    And, oh, pictures. I'll never have the courage to develop the disposable camera they gave us, the pictures the nurses insisted we have, taken hours after her birth, days after she was gone. Much too late to document a daughter I could recognize.

    I can just imagine your freakout at your daughter playing with those photos, not knowing. I have fears of something, sometime, happening with the jar of ashes - an accident, a clumsy houseguest, a future child playing and destroying. Makes my stomach hurt just to think of it.

    I've just recently found your blog and wanted to let you know I'm here with you - reading, nodding, supporting. I'm really grateful you're so generously sharing your words and feelings on this spot.

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