Dear Boys,

Untitled-1I debated telling you the news that truthfully ran on in the background the entire day while you were at school; it’s always a debate as to whether to shelter or share. Complexities of a world that’s ever-changing. And not always in a direction we want it to.

Initially you had a lot of questions, most logical like “how could he carry that many guns?” and “did he have a car?” and others that offered matter-of-fact answers, like “how many people did he kill?”. It’s the questions of why that I cannot answer; your helpless eyes looking to me, always, for all the answers.

We talked about good and evil before going to bed and I asked that you hold the victims in your heart. We joked about being hearts for Halloween because we’re all on the same page that the world needs more love. You asked about gun laws and, on your own, came up with the novel suggestion that only the police should have guns.

I agree boys, I agree. You are my light, my life. The good in a sometimes evil world.

I beg you, grow to be good.

Love,

Mom

Image by Walter Chappell, words in response to the Las Vegas massacre. 

Childhood Unplugged

San clemente family photographer-9230

There’s much to be said about the light in the Pacific Northwest. But there’s even more to be said about an evening, with 6 kids, that went better than any script we could have wrote. None of the usual tantrums or whining or fights. Just kids playing late into the long summer night; complete with…

Read More

My sister

San clemente family photographer-4227

Wanted to share a post my sister recently shared. Also, I’m about to be an Aunt. Well, I already am an aunt to my brother-in-law’s kids. So I guess I’m about to be an Aunt, again. Point being, my sister is due with her first, in just a couple weeks. Here’s a glimpse into her journey:

I know, I’ve been quiet about my pregnancy. Protective is the better word. It’s not because this is my first; it’s because it’s my fifth. I like to keep my personal life private, but I share this because I know how lonely it is to go through it, and if I can let just one person know she isn’t alone, that makes the self-disclosure worth it.

A few years ago, Chris and I decided we wanted a kid. It wasn’t a decision taken lightly. There were lots of long discussions. We thought that was the hard part–deciding. As if the universe was just waiting on us: “Whenever you’re ready, guys.” How naive we were. My first pregnancy was ectopic–Greek for “out of place.” The embryo was stuck in my left fallopian tube–life-threatening for me, life-ending for the embryo. I had emergency surgery and lost the tube, the baby, and a lot of faith. We decided to try again some months later and when I got pregnant, we assumed all was well. We asked ourselves that jinx of a question: “What are the chances of something going wrong again?” Then the doctor called and said the baby wasn’t viable. I miscarried some weeks later.

The third time, we said, “Well, either the third time’s a charm, or three strikes and you’re out.” We were leaning on cliches at this point. I got past the first trimester and we thought we could breathe. A boy was on the way. We started discussing names. Then, weeks into the second trimester, they said my amniotic fluid was low. I was on bed rest for two weeks. At our next appointment, our son’s heartbeat was no more. After another surgery, we thought we were really done. This was too much for us. We didn’t know why these things kept happening. There was no common thread, medically, and all the professionals we consulted said “bad luck.” It felt like tempting fate to keep trying. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…. You know how it goes.
Eventually, though, we decided to try again. What’s that infamous definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome? We were crazy, I guess. The fourth time resulted in another ectopic. They didn’t even know where the embryo had implanted, meaning surgery wasn’t an option. I had to do shots of methotrexate, which is a drug they use for cancer because it stops cells from multiplying. It took two months for me to be “unpregnant” again. I asked my doctor, point blank, “Should we just give up?” He said, “No, I don’t think so.” We consulted with IVF doctors, thinking maybe if someone could just put the embryo in the right place, we’d save ourselves a lot of heartache. They wouldn’t work with us though. They said I didn’t have enough eggs, that our chances of success would be 5%.

We could either try again on our own or give up. I felt we had to try again.  And now I am 37 weeks pregnant with a little girl.

It was just a few weeks ago when I got up the nerve to ask her for one of her ‘Mama Bird’ shirts and she took some photos of me. Wearing the shirt feels dangerous, arrogant. I still live with fear of loss every day. It hasn’t gone away. But, I AM a mother.  I think anyone who has lost a child in utero is a mother. For a woman, it starts the day you find out you’re pregnant. It must be a function of nature, preparing us for the responsibility to come.

If you have lost a baby, I feel your pain. And if you ever need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to send me a message. I’m working on a book about our whole experience because this is something I feel so passionately about. It’s a terrible thing to go through, and so many go through it. You are not alone, and there is hope.