Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween (beware there is no theme or organization to this post)

Thank goodness we were inside with the World Series all night - I know I wouldn't have been able to handle walking out with all the children out on the street. E said to me tonight (after perusing FB and then bursting into tears) "I'm going to be like 60 years old before I have a kid to take trick or treating..."

He and I are on the same page right now - I feel so old. Too old to do this again. I've run out of time, according to my brain. (I know science and medicine and reality tell me otherwise...but I am so scared that I'm too old.) We hike our loop and see so many families out there, and also see a fair amount of pregnant ladies and the tape just keeps playing in my head "How old is she? How old are they? So they had that baby when they were how old? And therefore could I?" and so on and so on and so on.

I don't know when we'll be able to even start trying again. Warning - TMI in 4...3...2...1... As I type this, I am sitting on my trusty new donut cushion because FFS my episiotomy scar-in-progress has started hurting like a mofo in the last few days. Scarily enough, nothing hurt that first week postpartum - I was just totally and completely numb - emotionally and physically. 7 weeks later, it's like feeling is returning and everything is getting worse - emotionally and physically. The last few days the grief has felt more all encompassing and more hopeless and more overwhelming and more permanent than it ever did before.

Tonight after the game we walked the dogs and saw a few of the last straggling Trick or Treaters. I walked along doing mental math, like I always do, "Could I be pregnant by next Halloween?" (yes, please) "Could I have a baby by next Halloween?" (likely no) "Will I ever be able to feel happy about Halloween or will it always be the first holiday we had to 'celebrate' after Otis died?" (hopefully both, I guess. no good answer to that question.)

I just feel like everything is one big no win situation for me. I don't see how this is ever going to shift, though I hear (and read) that it does - for better and for worse. I keep hearing about the "it gets more difficult" and I just can't bear the thought. I feel like the depths of the dark just keep getting deeper. Darker than anything I ever even imagined could exist. And every time I hit the (perceived) bottom I think "Oh, this must be the worst it's going to get" and then I'll be damned if three hours later I am writhing in pain ten times worse.

My list tonight is short: I am grateful for my husband and my dogs. My family. They are keeping me alive right now.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Today I am stuck in the midst of hell. Stuck, stuck, stuck and it feels like there's a big hand from above actually holding me down in all of it.

A different kind of list today, an antilululist of sorts.

FFS #1: Got a call from the NICU social worker today to set up a meeting to go over pathology and autopsy...And yes, this is a meeting we need to have. We have a lot of unanswered questions. Otis was without oxygen for 90 seconds in his shoulder dystocia, but everyone we've spoken with (both at the hospital and outside of the hospital) agrees this shouldn't be enough to cause fatal brain damage. My placenta was small but not small enough to cause fatal brain damage. My baby was big...and I knew he was big...and I asked repeatedly at prenatal appointments if anyone was concerned about how big he was and they kept saying no. But they never even did a fucking growth u/s after 20 weeks. (I know, I know, they are notoriously inaccurate. And I would've been upset if they had tried to push me into a c-section, most likely.) And yet, he was huge, as I knew he was going to be. Too big for my pelvis to birth. Why did they take off the monitors in those last five minutes when they had me holding to wait for the doctor to do the catch? And if I hadn't had to wait for the doctor to do the catch, would he have lived? Was it in those five minutes that we lost him? Was his cord compressed before the dystocia as well? Today my mindset is saying that I should be researching attorneys and getting a lawyer to attend this meeting with us. I know that nothing can bring my baby back, but more and more I am thinking that they seriously effed things up in those last minutes of my delivery.

FFS #2: Last night's dinner delivery was from a couple from our childbirth class. I knew they were coming, I expected them to come, and I even thought I was going to be okay seeing their 8 week old son. They were enormously considerate, left the baby in the car and were ready to just drop off the food but we invited them in. I really thought I wanted to see them and wanted to meet their baby. I haven't been so wrong about assuming something would be okay for me in a while. I was absolutely destroyed. His hands, his lips, his squishy perfect little arms -- they reminded me so much of Otis, so much of what we don't get to have, so much of what we lost. I fumbled for words, reeling as soon as I saw him. I felt like I was going to pass out. I felt like I was going to throw up. I stumbled awkwardly. I stuck my foot in my mouth. I tried to stay composed. I probably should have just started screaming like I wanted to. I tried to signal E that I needed to get the hell out of that situation, but I couldn't get him to read my mind. It was awful.

FFS #3: The new elliptical is having issues. I got on it today in hopes of pounding out some of my stress, and the damn thing started this clinkety clinking sound that had me yelling profanities loudly at it ten minutes into the workout. I tried to schedule service for it - but I can't get the damn serial number because it requires me to lift the behemoth and turn it over onto its side.

FFS #4: The elementary school had their Halloween parade this morning and we are right on their parade route. I thought that looking out the window might cheer me up. Umm, second horrible assumption gone wrong in less than 24 hours. I saw all the adorables in their adorable costumes, and then saw like 5 moms holding young babies in adorable costumes, and just started howling. I should be holding my Otis in his adorable bat costume that we bought five days before I went into labor. I should NOT be scheduling meetings to go over his autopsy.

FFS #5: Oh, and last night in the mail I got my hospital bill for my postpartum stay and Otis's stay at the NICU. They are trying to charge me an extra day because they say I was discharged at midnight so they charge for the extra day. Umm, I was discharged at midnight because I spent six hours that afternoon/evening holding my son as he lay dying in my arms, not thinking about completing discharge paperwork but THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN and then when I asked for discharge paperwork to be completed at 10 PM (and I have discharge paperwork with a 10pm timestamp on it) but it took them two hours to "find a wheelchair" to wheel me out of the hospital (even though I had been walking around for two days at that point.) Apparently the wheelchair BS was a way to keep me there until midnight so they could charge me for an additional day of hospitalization? Bogus. Beyond bogus. Trust me, they have already gotten an earful from me. And I know some of this is displaced anger, anger that I didn't wheel out of there with my healthy baby boy, but I also think I have the right to be angry that someone didn't flag my file with "umm let's finetooth comb this one because we should probably be super cautious and respectful with them right now..." Even the NICU social worker that I spoke with today told me that it was BS and she'd see if she could speak to people in the business office to get it resolved.

FFS #6: Our effing doula had the nerve to try to refriend me on FB today. Umm, I dropped you for a reason, lady. I didn't want to continue to see all your effing stupid BS postings about how beautiful and successful all the births you attend are and I certainly didn't want your voyeuristic eyes spying on my recovery process (or as much of it as you can see from FB, that is.) I saw your damn page once and all it said about our birth was that it was long. Fess up, our baby DIED. You were there. Own it. I don't care if it looks bad for business.

She hasn't made any effort to reach out to us since the birth - probably a good thing since she'd get an earful and a half from me - but a friend request on FB (after I "unfriended" her, even!) is just about the stupidest most dysfunctional way of reaching out (from her) that I can think of. No note, no card, no message - just a fucking friend request. You are not my friend, lady. I will never forgive you for some of the shit you tried to pull with me during my labor. Do NOT think I want you on my facebook page. EVER.

I am so mad. So sad. Shattered and devastated today. I keep bursting into tears and screaming profanities into the air. I am so so so angry that I don't have my boy with me. Angry at the hospital, angry at the doula, angry at the world today. Angry at the mamas out there with their damn ladybug babies and damn pumpkin babies and damn bumblebees and damn bats. Angry that their biggest worry this weekend is whether their child should be an elephant or an owl. Angry that they're all over facebook, out in front of my house, everyfuckingwhere I go.

I am also really scared because every time I hit a low like this, it freaks E out and he gets so worried about me, and then usually within 24 to 36 hours he hits a similar level of devastation himself...

I know it will pass. The waves pass. I'm just stuck under a really powerful one today.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another 8

It's been a good 24 hours, following a really, really, really difficult weekend and Monday. I lost it Sunday night, cried and moaned and wailed for a long time, and then E met me in the grief abyss the following day and he cried and moaned and wailed for a long time. It often seems like this is a pattern we have found for ourselves - one person hits the bottom, deep deep deep and dark, and then shortly thereafter the other finds him/herself there. It takes everything we can muster to work ourselves out. It's scary. Lonely. Terrifying. In the midst of it on Monday night, E said "And you were right...this IS what breaks couples apart, and there's no way we can make it through this..." or something to that effect; and it's so hard to hear my husband say that, and know that it's his pain talking, not the truth, and I did my best to stay strong, and tell him I loved him and I believed we COULD make it through this, we WILL make it through this, TOGETHER...

and yet...I still find myself wondering the same thing, often. I know this is normal. (I think I'd like to find a new word for "normal," by the way - a word that better encompasses this bizarre reality that is our new normal, and even "new normal" has already become cliche to me in these short six weeks.) But I digress. I know it's normal for both E and I to have doubts that we can make it through this, alone OR together. I know that the more we fall down and the more we pick ourselves up and keep moving along that we will build confidence and trust that we can weather this. Or at least I hope that's the way it works.

I have become so clingy in these last six weeks, and I kind of like it, actually. It goes against all my resolve to be a fierce independent strong woman, everything I was raised to be. I'd made it this far being a fairly good "I am a rock, I am an island" but this has knocked me to my feet and made me cling to others for help and support in ways that feel totally unfamiliar, new, and sometimes unsettling. But it has actually drawn E and I closer. Whereas I used to get mad and retreat, get into my "I can do this on my own much better than this crap..." mode, now I find myself in "Pleasepleaseplease, there is NO way I can do this alone, please don't make me try..." and it's odd and foreign and at the same time, oddly comforting to recognize this vulnerability in myself. I fall asleep making sure every square centimeter of surface area on my body that can touch my husband's body is pressed against him tightly. I wake in the middle of the night and find that he's on the other side of the bed and I burrow into him and hold on for dear life. I grab his hand while we are out walking. I hug him and kiss him and sit closer and ask him to move closer to me all the time. This is not our Old Normal way of interacting with one another. (Though I'm not necessarily proud of that fact.) But it's totally working for us. (And to many of you this may seem atrociously obvious, of course it's working...but, trust me, this is a new lesson for me here.)

Today is a beautiful, cool, crisp, bright full of sunshine autumn day. I'll take the good feelings while they last. I know the rain is supposed to start tomorrow, and my emotional patterns so often mirror the meteorological patterns, so, I'm going to feel grateful for today while I'm in it.
I'm starting to learn to trust the waves of grief, that a "good day" doesn't mean "I'm over it" and a "bad day" doesn't mean "I'll be stuck in this forever." (So I say on a "good day," right? Remind me of this on a "bad day," because it's in the dark that I never trust that the wave will pass.)

Here's my 8 for today:
1. Sunshine, clear, crisp air, blue skies, and an autumn breeze.

2. Oliver the wonder dog - the amazing, trusty, best friend wise old soul that he is. The way he crawls into bed in the morning and snuggles in with me. His grumbly snores as he sleeps.

3. The way The Woo's tail wags when he's happy; straight up in the air, a dancing little wiggle to it, it's absolutely the most perfect expression of delight.

4. Our trail up in Redwood Park. We've "done" this loop up there for years, first just with Oliver, and now with The Woo along as well. It's better than any couples therapy we've ever had - E and I have some of our best talks (or silent talks even) while walking/hiking/running this loop.

5. Again, on the loop - there's one part that we always have called "the grove of ancestors" - it's this certain spot where it has always felt to me like there are ghosts in the trees - not spooky ghosts, but just spirits. I've always felt them there, watching me, guiding me, dropping in to say hello. I've gone there to "see" my dad, and cried when I've felt his presence in the trees. Yesterday as we approached the grove, E said to me, "I wonder if Otis will be in the trees." I had just thought the exact same question not minutes before. It's one of my favorite places on earth, this grove. Angels fly low there.

6. We bought tickets to Maui yesterday. Two weeks in Jan/Feb to celebrate E's 40th birthday. It feels really indulgent to have done this, to take two weeks off, and E and I are both feeling a little like people might judge us ("They should be grieving, not vacationing!") but I think the two can and will coexist on this trip. (Huge gratitude that I have a college friend who lives on Maui with a guest house and she is hosting us for the two weeks.)

7. We also bought an elliptical machine yesterday. I can't face going to the gym right now and seeing any of my yoga students unexpectedly. Timewise, it makes the most sense to have a piece of equipment I can jump right on in the morning, sweat and get my heart rate up and my head semi-cleared, all in the comfort of my home. No parking hassles that a gym here would have. No additional driving time. No landmines of people discussing postpartum bodies or baby weight gain or me being triggered by "gym talk." Plus, our therapist strongly encouraged E to be getting some cardio for his anxiety and stress lately too, so he was on board for the purchase as well. We found this one at an outlet for more than 50% off, and it's really nice. It gets delivered tomorrow and it's rare that I feel this excited about something that will screw up the aesthetics of our home so completely. No more "clean, sparse, airy" lines in our bedroom...I think the trade off is worth it, at least for now though.

8. Seeing a neighbor today in the cafe and his acknowledgment of Otis and our loss. It still makes my eyes well with tears any time someone says "I'm so sorry for your loss" but, as I told him, I would always rather have people cross that threshold and speak to me, rather than just observe me from afar as "that woman that had THAT thing happen..." The connection that is made in the acknowledgment of Otis, of my loss, of my grief, albeit heartbreaking and sad for everyone involved in the conversation, feels like a glimmer of hope in the Grand Scheme of Things for Humanity.

We're off to take the dogs back to our loop today. Breathing in the crisp autumn air and taking in the sunshine before tomorrow's forecasted rain.

I send you all love today.

Monday, October 25, 2010

And for old time's sake

(For those of you who didn't know me in my former incarnation blogging about Other Stuff, some background: I often did these lists of 8: lists of 8 moments of grace in my day, 8 things to be grateful for, 8 things of beauty. I used to blog under the pseudonym lulu, and these became known as my lululists. I was inspired ever-so-briefly today to try to start writing them again. Here's my first attempt.)

1. Hearing Michael Jackson's "Shake Your Body Down to the Ground" on the radio today and losing myself for just a moment, and dancing in my seat in the car.

2. The dandelion pillow at C's house today.

3. Snuggling with The Woo.

4. Oliver's soft ears and freckly muzzle.

5. Coconut butterscotch cookies delivered to us a by a friend yesterday.

6. Sunshine today after a rainy weekend.

7. Flannel sheets.

8. Hearing Otis' name spoken, seeing it written, carrying him always in my heart.

Can't Swallow, Can't Breathe

Oh, sending so much love out to a dear friend tonight who is going through a really rough time. She's at the forefront of my heart. (And not, incidentally, the woman I am writing this post about.)

This world is so fucking cruel. So. Fucking. Cruel.

And so unfair.

I talked about this with my new therapist today, the "why me" syndrome and the "really, Universe? REALLY?!?" It just seems like there are too many people in my world right now having to deal with Really. Awful. Things.

The woman who brought us our dinner last night is an old family friend. I've known her since I was maybe 3 or so. She's always been a bit of an older sister, but our families lost touch for a long time in there. Her brother was killed in a car accident when he was 16. She was 18, I think. Devastating. It was the first taste of mortality I got, I was still a preteen I think. It was heartbreaking to watch her family go through it.

We fell out of touch for a long time, but recently my work has collided a bit with her social circle, so we've been casual acquaintances - facebook friends, etc. But not really involved in one another's lives, certainly not deep-secret-friends. She signed up for dinner delivery so I was looking forward to seeing her and catching up. I figured that our tragedy spoke to her mostly on the level of relating to the loss of her young brother 20+ years ago.

Last night when she dropped off dinner, I invited her in for a bit. We got to talking. She shared that in addition to losing her brother at such a young age, she also has had several "run-ins" with pregnancy loss, many late term, including a 25 week stillbirth. Devastating.

We talk, we laugh, we cry together. As she's getting ready to leave, I notice she's got a bandage on her hand. "What happened to your hand?" I ask.

I know the look in her eyes, the look before she answers. I know it because I've had the same look on my own face in these last six weeks. For me, it's the look I got when someone asked me "When are you due?" and I then had to explain that I had already given birth, at 41 weeks, to a baby who died 36 hours later. It's the same look I had when the cable guy on Friday asked me "Do you have any kids?" and I had to explain, "Well, umm, yes...I have one son, but he died." (And then had to swallow, breathe, and answer that, well, actually, it had just happened six weeks ago.)

It was that same look that A got on her face last night when I asked about the bandage.

"Well, umm, I just finished my second round of chemo....."

I gasped. Swore. Sighed. And tried to breathe. Tried to swallow.

She's 45.

She's got breast cancer. The second of my friends IN THE LAST WEEK to share this news with me.

I told my husband the other night that if the sun came up tomorrow morning and it was purple, I might not bat an eye. My world feels that confusing. That nonsensical. That Wrong.

Why me? Why A? Why any of us?

And yes, I've read the "Why not me?" theory as well, and it resonates with me in my core, in my heart. But, tonight, let me be selfish and shake my fist at the heavens and scream WHY ME? Dammit, why why why.

The word "cruel" has never meant so much to me as it has in these last six weeks. Cruel, cruel world. I always thought the phrase was reserved for the melodramatic. Not feeling that so much anymore.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The New Normal Part Two

Today I'm back to wishing I had died in childbirth.

This is too hard.

I miss him so much.

We caught the end of Slumdog Millionaire on tv this morning. The part where it flashes to the two children dancing together on the train platform at the end -- it had me crumpled into a ball on the floor, wailing and sobbing. (Though, to be fair, I had already been there a few times already this morning.)

The thought that kept devastating me, as I watched that scene, was that my boy will never get to know what it feels like to fall in love. To dance with a best friend, full of joy, exuberance, life force.

And that I may never know those feelings again either.

I had so many hopes. So many dreams. So much love for him. The love remains. The hopes and dreams are totally and completely shattered.

While the autopsy results (I will write about those at some point) should be providing me with "looking forward" hope - I could theoretically get pregnant and have a living child in the future (and the perinate assures me of this)- there is nothing specific to my pregnancy other than the trauma of the last five minutes of delivery that caused Otis to die - I feel like reading the autopsy and hearing all of that information has somehow shattered my hope more. That I will never get to love a living child like I love Otis. That I will never feel even hopeful enough to WANT to try.

What I am doing, feeling, being right now -- this is not living. And I can't see how it can ever feel any different.

Those last five minutes. He was with us until then. He was as perfect as I knew he was. With a shoulder that stuck in the wrong place, and all my love and all my power couldn't get him out in time.

I guess I'm no longer worried about whether or not I'm not grieving enough. Because now it feels like I will never get out from under this pain, and my worry is that I may not ever feeling like living again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Today I'm wracked with questions about what I did to "make this happen."

Both on a very practical level (Was it lying on my left side? He never seemed to like it when I was on my left, despite what all the pregnancy manuals said. And after I got my morphine shot 24 hours into my labor, I slept for 4 hours on my left. And the next day was the day I was really panicky about his slowed/lack of movement. Was it during those four hours? Was it cumulative from the pregnancy?)

And a very emotional level (Was it my hesitance about "being ready" for a baby? Was it my anxiety about whether or not E and I would be good parents? Was it my fear of PPD or losing my independence or losing our "coupledom" as we became a threesome? Did I scare him out of deciding to stay with us?)

The questions wake me up in the morning. I lie in bed for usually close to an hour, with a steady stream of questions running through my mind. They almost always include a lot of "What Ifs" - and a lot of "Why Did I" and a sprinkling and smattering of "Will I ever feel/think/be/do..."

Monday, October 18, 2010

The New Normal

I've heard that phrase, "the new normal" said (both by me and by so many others) more times than I can count in these last five weeks.

But I suppose I'm settling into it, little by little. As much as I don't want to.

Today I saw a new therapist. She was fine. I don't even pretend to harbor a hope that she'll somehow fix everything. I explained to her, as she asked me at the end of the session how I felt, that I had no expectation that anything could, with any predictable rhyme or reason, make me feel any "better" right now, so did it really make a difference? And really, I felt fine about her. I think she is a good therapist. I think working with her is probably a good choice for me right now. I said right now that making decisions, ANY decision, any assessment, any thought, really, feels a lot like asking a person who has recently lost ALL five senses what she thinks. My "new normal" feels that disorienting. I'm flying blind, to say the least. Following the "there are no rules to what to do in this situation" rulebook. I hate it.

Then I went back to acupuncture. Haven't been there since the day before I went into labor, though our acupuncturist came to our memorial and cried loudly and hugged me tightly. She is a gift. She offered to come to our house to treat us if I felt uncomfortable coming to the office again (I was there everyday for a week leading up to my labor.) She has waived our charges for treatments "until [we] feel ready to pay again." E and I went, sat in the private room, got our needles. She gave me an ayurvedic supplement for my poor digestion/elimination. I sat there, got my treatment, I didn't cry. I didn't have any of my panicky ptsd flashbacks to the hospital room(s). I didn't sleep, but maybe I did relax a bit.

And then we went grocery shopping at that landmine filled store where we used to wander the aisles, blissfully and naively pregnant, buying organic-this and whole-grain-that and grass-fed this and pesticide-free that...the same store where two weeks ago, the sushi chef told me "Oh, but you can't eat raw fish" and I burst into tears and then, with just a little venom, told him "I am NOT PREGNANT. I had the baby. He died." And then I proceeded to sob, loudly, through the rest of the store while E finished grabbing his dinner. Today, though, I made it through the store without a landmine. Without tears. Granted, I still couldn't find a single thing I wanted to eat in the store, but I did get a kombucha and I figure that's progress.

I went back to work, at least a little bit, today. Went to tutor at C's, she booked me for two hours, but her daughter had finished most all of her work already and really, it was more like they booked me to check in, to visit, to get me out of the house. It was good to be there. Good to feel loved like that. Little C (not so little, as she just celebrated her thirteenth birthday) had drawn me a picture and made me a card. She clearly was really happy to see me. I love her so much. So yeah, it was good to be out of the house.

I have some pangs of guilt for having had such a "new normal" day. No big sobbing fall apart tears today, though I did cry pretty steadily through my hour with the new therapist. I began the day with my usual panicky anxiety, lying in bed for an hour while I snuggled with Woo (little dog) attempting to forget why I'm lying in bed snuggling my dog instead of my son...But, for the most part, the day felt manageable.

I catch myself. It's too soon for it to feel manageable like this.

I have so much fear that I'm doing this wrong. Grieving wrong. Too soon, too slow, too fast, too long...That I'm going to be blindsided because I'm doing it wrong. I'm trying to trust my instincts, trust that I am doing the best I can, trust that I'm doing this the only way I can...

But that's how I did my pregnancy, you see, and we all know how well that turned out.

Will I ever learn to trust myself again?

Or, better yet, will I ever trust again?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dog Tags

E gave me a beautiful necklace. Originally, the intention behind the gift was that it was to be my "push present" - incidentally, a concept that we had a few good laughs about during my pregnancy, the idea that I needed a present (other than a baby, of course) for doing something I was so excited to do...and the idea that somehow a diamond would be my "reward" for hard work - it just seemed a little silly...but sentimental, I suppose.

E gave me my gifts just minutes after Otis was born, and minutes after he had been whisked away to the NICU. A beautiful ring with a blue stone, a gold O encircling the stone. It was purposefully bought quite large, to fit my oversized sausage fingers. (And a whole nother story in that ring - the comfort it brought me in the day to come, and the security it continues to bring to me today...) A necklace with a charm - "brave warrior goddess," the charm said. (And now I'm having momentary panic/anxiety - where is that charm?) And finally, the "real" gift - a deposit at a local jeweler to go and pick out a necklace commemorating Otis' birth. Her work is lovely, and I'd always admired it. Her necklaces are a bit like dog tags, charms with your child's name hand-engraved, but so beautiful, so elegant, so simple and lovely.

The week after he died, we had an appointment at the hospital for my first of many awful, agonizing appointments trying to "fix" all my postpartum issues (recurrent UTIs, bladder nerve damage, abdominal muscle pain) and afterwards, E suggested we go check in at the jeweler to pick out my charm and my necklace.

"HEY! Did you have your baby?" the beautiful, creative, mother-of-two jeweler called out when she recognized us walking in the store...

Our faces fell. "Umm, yeah," I responded.

"AND?!?" she cried out, that all too familiar look of hope and excitement on her face..

"Umm, he didn't make it." I responded, through a muffled sob-choke-gutteral roar. (I was starting to get used to saying it. I wished for my imaginary calling card, the ones that speak the truth that I never want to say...but I still managed to get the words out.)

Her face fell.


Then the usual. Stammer. Stutter. Stammer. Oh I'm so sorry. Oh, I'm so sorry. Oh my god, I'm so sorry. And then some variations on those words. And then my obligatory, "thank you."

We settled on a beautiful charm. A rose gold piece with his name in a simple script on the front, his birth date on the back. She offered that she then would add a small birthstone, a raw sapphire, to the necklace as well.

It should be ready in two to three weeks, she told us.

Two to three weeks. Though I knew our wounds would still be raw and painful, I assumed or imagined that I'd be in at least a slightly easier place by then. Though others had cautioned "It gets harder" I assumed I'd be different somehow. How could it possibly be any harder than what I was feeling at that moment? How could a bottomless pit get any deeper?

The necklace arrived last week. (Coincidentally, we got the call that it was ready while I was waiting at the hospital for yet another prescription pick up for one of my many aforementioned postpartum ailments. I'm ready for my body to begin cooperating with me, is that too much to ask?)

The necklace is beautiful. Simple. I love wearing his name so close to my heart. My hands nervously fidget with the piece throughout each day. At the end of the day, I take the necklace off and whisper my prayers to my boy. In the morning, I put on the necklace and whisper my wishes to my boy. My tears roll down the metal throughout the day, my postpartum hair, falling out by the handfuls, catches in the necklace by the end of the day.

I knew I would love wearing his name so close. I knew I would love having this piece to wear. What I didn't anticipate, and what I love perhaps the most, is how the raw sapphire that the jeweler chose to add jingles as it hits the metal of the name piece. It makes a little sound, much like how a dog's tag jingles and you know the dog is in the room with you. (As I write, in fact, Oz's tag is jingling as he scritches behind his ear...and jingling in perfect timing with me explaining this...)

And everytime I hear the jingle, just like that, Otis is there with me. My baby boy. My sweet, sweet, magnificent, beautiful baby boy. The necklace rings throughout the day - bending down to pick up dog poop while out with the dogs on our evening walk Hi Otis. Standing up off the sofa to answer the door Hi Otis. Getting out of the car Hi Otis

Of course, he's always on my mind, sure. But the jingles seem to hit at these least expected moments, moments when I'm not already caught in thought about him, and they bring him back. It's like he's there, ringing a doorbell, calling out to me, Hi Mama.

It's a poor consolation prize, of course. But at this point, I take what I can get.

Here We Go

If you've found me here, welcome. Though I'm sorry you're here.