No place called home

Four walls, a floor. A roof, and a door. Doors leading to other four walls, windows leading to the other side, the outside. Maybe even a window looking up at the sky? All this, and our things, our dreams, our moments, our memories.

This is what made a home to me. Real estate can assess location, square footage and price all it wants, all I wanted were walls, a floor, and a roof. A few doors and a few windows. All I wanted was a place for my children to grow up in, to make mischief and messes in, and to spread their wings from. A vagabond my whole married life, I wanted permanence, mundaneness, busyness, tiredness. Just an ordinary life bringing up, running with, holding up, my two children.

The walls fell down. The floor cracked, the roof gaped open. The door led in cold, frozen air. The windows were fogged with the breathlessness of death. When the carnage was over, and death left our broken little family stranded in the dark, all that remained of my home was the window to the sky. A suspended window that I look out of every day, toward the sky. Toward the new home of my little explorer.

Do Raahi-s, do explorers, do those on a constant, eternal journey, ever have a home? Surely there is a symbolism in her spending her whole life in a hospital, traveling with us after coming to live with us, and dying in a hotel?

We have spent this past month and half looking for a house to buy. Our means are limited, our list is not long either. We don’t need a lot of space. We just need a place to call our own.

And yet, after a day of looking at homes, making and comparing lists, and focusing on little and big things, as I lay in bed one night, I wondered, is there a place I can really call my own? Should there truly be the security, the certainty of a home for Raahi’s family, when they have been through the harshest insecurity and uncertainty of life itself? Our smallest, newest member, true to her name, never claimed anyone, anything as her own, and lived and died in two temporary places, from where people come and go, and never stay for long. She did not have a room assigned to her, nor a dedicated nursery awaiting her big arrival. Depending on her graduate student father’s new employment, however, her parents had rented the biggest home they would ever live in, in a place far away from her birthplace, and the hospital she was born and lived in.

Her mother, rocking Raahi every day on a hospital-provided rocker near her crib in the NICU, with the clock ticking to the time she would have to put her baby down and head home alone, wished for no new furniture, but a rocker, in her new home. She dreamed of placing it next to the big glass door leading to the backyard. There, after her husband and son would leave for work and school, she would sit and hold Raahi, hold her all day long. She would get up to change and feed her, and sit back again. She would sing to Raahi, play with her fingers, look into her big bright eyes, move her fingers gently on her face, her neck and arms, and tell her that she is finally home, never to go anywhere again, never to be away from her family again. Her mother had promised Raahi, putting her back every night into her crib in the hospital, that she would never put her down at home, and hold her so much and so long, that they would both forget they were ever apart. She had dreamed of taking her little baby out on walks, and of placing her on a mat in the backyard. There, she had promised Raahi, they would have their own little picnic. Raahi would play, lying down, the warm sun on her cheeks, the gentle breeze blowing her black hair, and sometimes making her bright eyes blink, as her mom sat next to her. In the evening, after “the boys” would come home, they would gather near the kitchen, and Raahi would play with her brother, in her playpen, as Ma and Baba watched and cooked dinner.

That was my dream for a home. That was my dream home.

Nine days before our rental home became available, Raahi died in the hotel. She never came to this home, and I vowed never to sit on a rocker again. I seldom go near the door to the backyard, and I do not like the warm sun or the gentle breeze on my face or hair anymore. Her few things were placed in a box, her playpen never unpacked from the move, and they were all stowed away in the guestroom closet. There I sometimes sit, closing the door and liking the darkness and the closedness of the closet. I often stop at the driveway, and look at this home, thinking how it can be home if she never came here. I often wonder if I would have been able to live here, if she had died here.

Owning a home is a big step and a lifestyle change. “You don’t need to compromise, you have to be happy in it,” chimes our confident realtor. She often comments on how easygoing and “reasonable” clients we are, liking most things, accommodating others. She knows about Raahi, and is patient with us not knowing how many bedrooms we need in a home. “If I were to have another baby” is a sentence I utter during every showing she arranges for us. Even the uncertainty of a future pregnancy seems to be a stronger determinant of our needs than the reality of a lost child. Raahi is never assigned a room. She has no need that we know of.

Here, in our quest to plant our roots in a new community, I feel uprooted as Raahi’s mother. I, a true gypsy who felt unsettled her whole life, had come home with my daughter. My explorer had settled me. Then she left alone on her voyage. Am I true to her legacy if I settle down? Can there be a home for us when she is on a journey?

Four walls, a roof. A floor, a door. A few windows, one always, always opening to the sky. A place to live and grow old in, and a place to house my broken family. Maybe a refuge from the storm, maybe a hideout from the outside world. But never to fill out the empty space, and always temporary, always by the road, always incomplete.

Never a home.


What thoughts did you harbor about bringing up your family in your home? What does "home" mean to you after the death of your child(ren)?

The train brother and sister

This post is about my older living child. If you are feeling sensitive about others' living children, please skip this.


I am a boy. She is a girl.

I am big. She is small.

I am her brother. She is my sister.

I am the Metra. She is the El.

We were three. Now we are four.

Gender. Stature. Numbers. Opposites, new formations, favorite things, references. The unequivocal, irreversible way a three-year-old’s awareness of self was cemented, and his knowledge of the world expanded, as we announced to him gently about his unborn little sister.

Days later, we stuck two little Lego figurines – that of a little boy and a little girl – to a yellow Lego platform. The boy wore a hat, the girl had pigtails. They were my little son and my littler daughter, and we were very proud of our favorite ‘sculpture’. As we were fulfilled with our little children.

The Lego figurines still stand on my dresser. My children’s Lego avatars are together there, close to each other, on the same plane, in the same world. And around them plays a little boy, alone, his eyes not even daring to look at the figurines or claim them anymore. Now he calls himself “the boy who doesn’t have a girl.” Now he doesn’t want to grow up, turning his head side to side whenever someone calls him a ‘big boy.’ But even now, irreversibly, in his beautifully numbered world, we are four. When I burst out crying because he says that he always thought she was going to come out of my tummy and play with him, but she left without playing, he instantly assures me from the backseat, “Don’t cry Maani. I know she is always with me.”

Where do I begin this story of love, who do I tell about them? About a little boy and his undying love for his dead sister? What should this story be about? Should it talk about the truncated promise of camaraderie and companionship? Should it talk about love, pure and strong, that he poured from his heart? Yes, maybe. Maybe this story is about all of that. Yet, along the way, it becomes a murky tale of destruction, betrayal, abandonment, of meaningless loss. This story is about unfulfillment, of breaking apart, of having all this love but not having the one to give it to.

And then, this story is about a journey. Of a train brother and his train sister, running on parallel tracks. Never to meet again, never able to touch or hold hands. But always running together.

We rage on, angry, livid, that this happened to him, that our baby is having to unlearn all that he learned, and walk backwards at a time when the only road for him should be the one ahead. We are heartbroken that he was made to lead, and then left alone midway without a sense of direction. We watch helplessly as he eyes friends’ siblings longingly, coming home to tell me someone’s ‘baby is growing teeth,’ or another’s ‘baby is walking and falling down.’ Then we talk about what his sister would have been. Would. Have. Been. You would think it is too much for a little boy to imagine. It is.

But he smiles as he imagines “Bonu walking and falling down, walking and falling down.” He looks at my lost eyes, and smiles wider. I wonder if he would have smiled like this if she were here, walking and falling down. She. Were. Here. You would think it is too much for a mother to imagine. It is.

Then we travel together to what-if-land, stretching our imagination as far as it would go. Yet, it never stretches to reality, bouncing back like a big colorless knotty yo-yo. The imagined shapeless vision lays bare a very defined and empty reality. So we let our minds come back, shaken, frozen, broken. We let our imagination break away and freeze up, little by little, as we wander back to what-is-land, still smiling, and never looking away from each other’s eyes.

Those who know and love Aahir often tell me how he has had to grow up in the past year. That is partly true. Aahir, who is my knight in 5T clothes, grew up too much, too soon, long before Raahi died. He watched his Maani cry the day Baba left for Columbus, and there were still three toothbrushes in the caddy. They hugged and talked about her fears for Bonu, and he watched her make countless trips to the hospital alone. He grew up into a sheltering tree the morning he found his mother scared and needing to go to the hospital, since Bonu appeared to be coming that day. Sleepy-eyed, yet wide alert, he offered to wipe the spilled milk at breakfast, and again they worked as a team, he the fearless comrade, hurriedly putting on his shirt, she the tireless fighter, getting his bag together. When he said that he loves Maani, Baba and Bonu, as Maani buckled him into his carseat to go to his school, and then to the hospital, her eyes were full and her mental reserves empty. She desperately hung on to his faith, as hers was gone. He was three years old.

Those three-year-old hands would pull Raahi’s rolling bassinet to a private room we were finally allowed to bring her to, after her second surgery. His toes would get hurt every day, as the wheels rolled over them. He pulled on, never looking away from the bassinet. At the hospital, he stayed way past his bedtime, his eyes fixated on his little sister. He often fell asleep on the couch, waking again when it was time to go, his sleepy fingers pulling the bassinet back to the hospital nursery. All of the nurses knew Raahi’s big brother. All of them said he was the most caring big brother a little sister could ever have. When we would visit her by ourselves, they would all ask for my “big helper.” They didn’t know that he was less a helper and more a sustainer.

His “Big Brother” shirt hung in his closet, waiting for the day he would bring her home. He wore it for the first and only time, on the morning of July 15, 2013, as he danced around, readying his trains to welcome his baby sister into his home. He pulled at the “standy,” the feeding bag pole, at the hotel and the airport during our move, and ran ahead of us, alerting everyone, “Watch out, watch out! My little sister is coming!”

In the early morning eight days later, all he could do was scream. “Don’t hurt my Bonu Baba!” as a distraught Som gave CPR to an unresponsive Raahi. “I don’t want to go Ma!” as I pushed him into the neighboring room in the hotel. I could hear him screaming from behind the closed door, in there with strangers, as a war was raging outside. My comrade, my warrior son.

After we brought him back from a friend’s house that evening, he was quiet. He didn’t ask any question about his missing sister and the missing swing he had put together with Baba two days back. He lay next to me, ears perched like a wounded deer, sometimes holding my arm, often curling closer. He listened intently over the pouring waters as I sobbed in the bathroom. “Maani is crying,” he would alert everyone.

In the following days and weeks, Aahir got to know that his sister had “flown away,” and that he was never going to see her again. He remembered the little box in his chest, which housed the trains in Evanston and Tiki Mashi (my friend Katie), wondering if Bonu will be living there from now on. I had told him that everything and everyone we love live in a little box in our chest, and we carry them everywhere, when he was heartbroken at having to leave the Metra, the El, and Tiki Mashi back in Evanston. And I had said that the trains are going with him. “The Metra is Aahir, as it is big, and takes serious, heavy steps. The little colorful El Train in Raahi’s favorite purple, the color of my university, is Raahi herself. It flits by next to the Metra, hurrying along, running fast, just like she will soon!”  Aahir loved to think of himself and Raahi as the train brother and sister, and from then on, he would often talk about the many journeys they would take us on, and how he would always run ahead of her, showing her the way.

We didn’t know that the littlest train would outrun us all in four days.

A week after Raahi left, Aahir asked me, “Has she gone on to her next station Maani? Why can’t the Metra go there?”

I ask myself that question every day, and try to understand it. Was this earth one of my little explorer’s many sojourns, was her brother her fellow traveler only for this one short journey? Did she know how much we loved being on this journey with her? Has she gone on to her next station? Is she saving us all a seat on her train?

I don’t know. I know that right now, we’re on the magical Metra. We tell him every day how much we love riding with him. We watch every day as he gazes into space, still looking and wishing for his colorful little El train to run by his side, and the emptiness, the meaninglessness of this drive clouds his eyes. Then he smiles back at us, and takes us on a spectacular journey, holding my hands tight, leaning on his father. Showing us what lies ahead, and what comes along the way.

We wave the flag, clear our throats, and blow the whistle for the train brother and sister.


How have your living children responded to their loss(es)? Is there any special imagery/story you have created or found that helps them address the absence of their sibling(s)? What have you, as parents, learned about them from the way they are growing up with and despite loss(es)?

Letting Go

The water covers me on all sides. It is warm and clear in the afternoon sunlight. I am somewhere between the surface and the floor of the sea. Above me, I can see the soft tossing of waves, the sun poking and prodding around every crest. The sand below is perfectly white, and the sea floor takes on shapes and patterns among the rises and dips of the sand, on the rocks scattered about. The vastness and purity of it makes me feel like the sand must keep traveling farther down into the center of the earth, as if there were nothing else.

The hair on my arms sways in unison under the gentle currents. I am motionless underneath the surface, arms and legs floating listlessly. My eyes are open, staring out through the clear water without actually looking at anything at all. I am completely alone. There are no fish or creatures or reefs with life springing from them. It is beautiful, and desolate.

This is where I go to meet my lost daughter, the one who didn’t make it. This is where I go to sit with my sadness, where I allow the anguish and longing to settle on me, without judgement or care or distraction or hope. It’s here where everything is quiet, where all of the noise dissipates into the nurturing sounds of being submerged. I’m present down here, under the waves, in a way I can’t be above the surface. I feel half dead and relieved.

It’s here in this state of floating that I find her.

She appears before me just as I am, floating with her arms and legs outstretched in the clear warm water. The dark hair that covers her head waves from side to side. I stare at her perfect little eight pound body, the rolls in her thighs, the way her Momma’s cheeks swallow up her Daddy’s nose. I marvel at the size of her hands and peek around every nook and cranny of her body that I failed to look at it in the fourteen hours that I had her in my arms.

She is still dead before me, but she is here.

After three years of wrestling with the tragedy that took her life, there it very little in the way between us now. The anger is gone. The missing has eased. The preoccupation with my own fragile state no longer rules my waking hours. The fucked up ness of how she died has been analyzed and regretted with enough energy that I no longer have any left for it. I have thoroughly changed from losing her, slowly and completely, but even the changing seems to have run its course.  It is just us now.

I grab her naked body and pull her into my chest. With my hands and elbows and arms I pull as much of her flesh into contact with mine. Her head rests against the beating of my heart, her toes and feet push against my stomach. Her hands are clasped together under my chin and I kiss them.

I used to tell her in this moment that I loved her. That I missed her. I would sing her songs. I would say a thousand times over that I was sorry. But there are no words anymore, nothing left that needs to be said.

The two of us float together, embraced, a father and his daughter, under the surface of the vast sea, drifting aimlessly.


For three years now, I have sat with my anguish. I have allowed grief to consume me in the way that grief requires us, without agenda or timeline or a set of rules. I have shaken my fists and thrown myself at the world and I have knelt down on my knees in brokenness and defeat. I have felt brave and wickedly vulnerable, the two feelings coming and going as easily as the wind. I have learned to live with that strange duality of feeling happy and sad in the exact same moment. I have felt the crushing blow of missing my daughter who can never return, how it makes you physically sick and short of breath. In the slow, arduous task of healing, my emotional, mental and spiritual state have taken on new forms and new meaning. I am not who I used to be.

I can feel the grip of grief letting go of me, like slowly pulling away from someone you may never see again. It comes with a certain level of fear and trembling, knowing how much my grief has tethered me to my missing daughter. In all these years of wishing the pain away, the irony now is realizing how much I will miss the pain.

I can feel the joy returning. There is a space in my brain again for new dreams and pursuits and adventures. There is a steadfastness in the present, a contentment that I never thought would be possible to feel again. I, too, am letting go.


The sound of music tugs at me to come up for air. Our sacred moment is coming to an end and I close my eyes and hold on to her for as long as I can stay under.

It’s easier to stay with her, to forget about the future, to leave the world behind. There is fear up there, and chaos, and worse yet, the possibility of more tragedy. And yet.

I loosen my hold on her until she is before me again. I kiss her forehead. And then I let go and swim up to the sounds coming from above.

Life, awaits.



If you're in a similar place, how have you coped with letting go? Or perhaps this idea isn't even something to be considered? Is there a space where you go to meet your missing children?

In this being my last post for Glow, I want to thank you for abiding with me over the past three years, first as a place of refuge and now as a place of community. Peace and gentleness to all of you, wherever you find yourself these days.


a midwinter's night dream

I brush my daughter’ hair off her forehead. We reflect on our day, say some prayers of gratitude to the universe, ask to stay in our bed all night, pray for good dreams. "Mama, I prayed to have a dream of rainbow and unicorns last night, but I dreamed of poopy."

I search her face for cheekiness, but there is none. She is quite earnest. She really did dream of poo. She says she wants to dream of special places, and other people, maybe even people who died.

"Dreams thin the walls between the living and the dead, my love, and even though you cannot pray for a dream and expect it every time, you can ask someone who died to visit you in a dream."

"Like Lucy?"

"Yes, like Lucy."

"I had a dream of Lucy before."

"Did you?"

"Yes, I was playing in the kitchen, and under the stepstool I found twelve ladybugs. The lady bugs came together and formed a girl. She looked just like you with black hair and brown eyes and brown skin. She said to me, 'I won't go back to where I was. Not ever again. I will stay here forever and ever. I can sleep with you if you are scared.'"

"Wow, Beezus, that is amazing. What was she wearing?"

"A red dress with white spots, and she had two little pony tails."

"Like a lady bug."

"I guess so. She was very happy skipping around. She told me and Thomas to get Rodys, and we bounced all around the house while you did dishes."

"I remember that day, Beatrice, because I saw you and your brother bouncing and imagined Lulu bouncing with you too."

"She was there."

"You can play with your sister in your dream. That's amazing. I wish I could play with her in my dreams."

"Just pray for ladybugs, Mama."


I dreamt of Lucia only once. It was before her death. It was the only time I held her alive, and she was just barely alive. Her purple eyes blinked open and I smiled at her. Now, I believe it more a premonition of her death, then a premonition of her life. But naiveté and stupid arrogance couldn’t grasp the idea that the baby in my belly could die. In these four years, I have never felt jealousy of other pregnancies, or living children, or the earth people who never grieve their poor dead babies, but I am jealous of those who dream of their dead as though they live. Even my daughter, (I must whisper now, because I am ashamed of myself) I am jealous that she gets to dream of my baby, even as I want that for her. For everyone. I just want it for me too. A clear portal to our babies that we can access whenever we want.


photo by Douglas Brown.

All my prayers and pleadings have not yielded one dream of her. I carry dreaming crystals to bed, place them on my third eye. I drink teas of mugwort and lavender, write my wishes and put them in the pillow, but still nothing. Though I have not dreamt of Lucy since she died, I have winter solstice. I wake in the middle of the longest night, and look at the sky—a dream-like ritual of bitter cold and release. I watch for ravens and northern lights, cover myself in snow and a woolen cocoon that reminds me of the womb that killed her. I keep releasing the anger and guilt around her death, though I will never really release her. All of this, I think, is like inducing a dream of my dead daughter. Perhaps it is a lucid mid-winter's dream of fire and night and blurry meditations, calling to the ravens to bring her soul to me. It transcends solstice and continues through January, February, March...I commune with Winter herself. Winter belongs to my girl, even if she never comes to that particular cocktail party.

It may be presumptuous to take a whole season for my daughter. Though selfishly, I want more. I want the year. Or at least, just the night. I want one dream with my beautiful dead baby of the snow. I deserve it, or maybe not, but I want something more. Not this vast tundra of nothingness, dreams of wastelands, and empty arms, and ravens who tear at the skin of grief, but never carry my daughter with them.


Have you had dreams of your child or children since their death? Before their death? What was the dream? Was it comforting or disconcerting? Have your children, or other people, dreamt of your baby or babies? How did you explain it to them? How did you feel about it?

Zoë, reimagined

The first in our series of monthly guest posts submitted by Glow readers. Robynne's daughter, Zoë, was stillborn at full-term last July. Zoë was her first child. We are so grateful for her words and perspective. --Angie


In my dreams, you are alive. It is a trick my imagination plays.  Like when I was carefully putting away your baby things, sorting what to keep and what to return.  I held a toy in one hand, and said aloud, "I think I'll save this one for Zoë."  My mind just couldn't wrap itself around a future without you, around the idea of a child that would someday play with your toys and would not be you.  It is still a future that makes no sense to me, just as the present now lacks the logical outcome of my healthy, full-term pregnancy.  I have the baby weight, and the silvery stretch marks, the insomnia, and the instincts of a new mama, but I am missing the most essential piece of this puzzle that I started long before your arrival.

I dream that I go to the hospital where I delivered my daughter, and they give me her body, wrapped in blankets. I decide to take her home because I want her with me. Suddenly, she wakes up...she is alive! I am so happy; I want to show her to everyone. I can hardly believe the miracle that has happened. She is just as I remember her - beautiful, perfect. She speaks to me, almost telepathically, telling me things I need to know. Her words touch the deepest places in me, and I wake up crying in the dark. 

Nine months.  You would be nine months old now.  How have I come this far?  The books say you would be playing with sounds, syllables, even "ma-ma," the two-syllable word I long to hear most.  You wouldn't quite be talking in full sentences as you did in my dream, but you might repeat things after me, and copy my facial expressions.  The other day, I saw a photo of my friend's little boy, born the same day you were.  He was sitting in the bathtub with a huge smile on his face.  He looks more like his mother now, and has lost the look of "newbornness" and taken on infancy.  I cannot believe you would be this size, that you would be smiling at me in pictures and growing into yourself.

I dream that Zoë has grown suddenly from a newborn to a little girl of 5 or 6. She runs around the house screaming with laughter as I pretend to chase her. It is bedtime, and she needs to put her pajamas on. It is her birthday. I catch her and tickle her feet, and then kiss them. "I love you so much!" I tell her. I never want this dream to be over. I play it over and over for days, never wanting to forget the sound of my daughter's laughter. 

I want to believe that these dreams are more than dreams. I want to believe that somehow in sleep the part of me that cannot grasp other realities falls away, and that you are alive and laughing in a place where time dances easily between childhood and infancy.  I want to believe that there is more to this world than what I can see here, in front of me.  I watch a TV show that follows a medium through her day-to-day life, giving people messages from their deceased loved ones.  She reads mothers who have lost children, and assures them that their babies are with them all the time. I want to feel such confidence, to know that you are out there, that you can hear me when I tell you how much I love you and miss you.

I dream of the grief I have over the relationship I lost with my daughter, the connection I felt with her and all it opened in me.  Emotion fills the dream, eclipses any scene or series of events.  I remember it only as a knowing, and a sense of my loss.  Then, in the dream, I am told that I still have this connection with Zoë, but that it can only be like this, in dreams. 

I do not know much of anything anymore.  I find that the ideas I had about life, about religion and spirituality, about things beyond or unseen, have all been scattered and broken open to reveal a deep sense of unknowing.  A realization of how little I have been designed to comprehend.  A sense of humility about what I am meant to know, and see, and understand.  If there is a God, I am like the blindfolded men around an elephant, trying to describe it, and thinking it is a trunk, or a tail, or a rump because that is all I can feel at the moment.  I do not know where you are now - if you are in heaven, or in my dreams, or if Nature just took you back and you became a part of everything.  But I know that you were here.  I did not imagine you.  I know that my love for you is immense, and infinite, and all-encompassing.  I know that you are my daughter, and I will always be your mama.



Do you dream of your baby or babies? Do you dream of grief? What kinds of dreams do you have? 

What It Feels Like To Almost Have A Child After Losing A Child

Two weeks from today, on May 7, around 12:30pm in Los Angeles, we are scheduled to meet our third child, a boy, who if anything like his older sisters, will be long and thick and blue eyed and full of hair.

We have a name picked out for him. We have a few things ready for his arrival; an old car seat, some hand me down articles of clothing, an aqua colored swaddle blanket and a scattering of other necessities, like baby soap and a sealed bottle of whiskey. Barring any unforeseen calamity or early entrance, he will come into the world after spending thirty-eight and a half weeks inside his Mother, the same amount of time his sister spent in utero before dying.

Seventy-five weeks of pregnancy has come down to this.


We are dancing more and more these days. My three year old and I run around the house singing wildly off key to the vibrations of Florence + The Machine, cranking the volume during the “loud parts,” as Stella refers to them, and pumping our fists and spinning in circles and group dancing with Momma, which involves an awkward three person and one belly swaying hug.

We have been doing this sort of tribal dance ever since Margot died. It was always a brief respite from the agonizing grief, a tangible way for us to contrast the sadness surrounding Stella’s life with some joy. But something feels different now. As the song ends and we throw ourselves onto the couch in exhaustion, the sadness that once lingered after the dancing is now replaced with anticipation, the light at the end of another long pregnancy tunnel, the hopeful gift of a son, out of the ashes of his sister.


I have been growing a beard since we entered the third trimester because I don’t know what else to do for my son in utero, because it’s the only outward sign of hope I can think of, because the simple act of not shaving feels like something I have control over. It is thick and black and surprisingly vigorous after two months. And it’s mostly awful looking, something my partner says “doesn’t look bad or good.” But it’s there, growing simultaneously with my son, exuding love and hope every time I pick food out of my mustache or my daughter yanks at it in laughter or I itch it at work or gently pull at it while I’m thinking or reading.


Thirteen months and one day ago, as my partner bled and bled with no clots in sight, we were twenty minutes away from a hysterectomy.

Thirty-six and a half weeks ago we got lucky, damn lucky, that the cells of a tiny egg and a tiny sperm entered into a union that has, up to this point, stayed the course. There is gratefulness in abundance.

Mostly though, there is this inescapable feeling like our lives are hanging in the balance, like we’re standing on the edge of a cliff, overlooking a rugged coastline, waiting to be pulled back or kicked off the ledge.

I don’t know how we could go through this again.

I really, really, don’t know how we could go through this again.  

It’s damn near impossible to keep myself from looking over the cliff, from imagining the free fall should this little boy not make it. The fear, which introduced itself early on in the pregnancy, as if on cue, has successfully set up iron gates around my hopeful heart, holding me in a perpetual state of doubt, my gaze nearly fixed on the rocky coastline below. The emergency run to labor and delivery at thirty weeks didn’t help. Nor have the poor non-stress numbers, the abnormal blood work, or the two dozen times we had to get the doppler out to see if he was still alive. The only relief from the fear and worry is that it’s persistence has become commonplace.

And then there is the hope. Hope that this baby will live, and keep living. Hope that I will hold him in my arms and look into his eyes and tell him that he is my favorite boy in all the world. Hope that I will get to introduce my three year old to her live sibling, to see the two of them together, a dream of such vivid beauty I can hardly even think about it.

Hope that in two weeks time, we will pick up what’s left of ourselves, step back from the cliff, turn around and walk back towards home.


If you have had a subsequent pregnancy, what was your experience like? If you haven’t had a subsequent pregnancy, how does it feel to read about other members of the baby loss community who are pregnant? Is it hopeful? Diffiicult?