May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bouncing Back

I found myself pondering this phrase while looking in the mirror one morning admiring the very non-bouncy non-taut skin that I call my midsection and covers what I can only assume was once abs (which I've now been informed by my OB are almost nonexistent and she first informed me this 3 pregnancies ago!).  Physically, heck yeah, I've bounced back.  I ran a 5k this past weekend just a few days prior to baby turning five months old and I ran a full minute better than this same time last year when I set a new personal best after running the 5k while eight weeks pregnant with baby.  My body is strong, I've worked it hard and I can honestly say I have new respect for my body.  The body which has given me six children, endured six c-sections and is probably now more physically fit than ever before.

Emotions are not so easy.  I've managed to resurrect some abdominal muscles from the ashes by working them pretty hard.  Even then, my husband and I joke how I've maybe got a half-pack hidden in there somewhere.  For emotions it's different, I can't isolate a particular emotion or flex it repetitiously.  Grief is not always so easy to access.  Nor is happiness for that matter.  It is a conscious effort to feel or not to feel at times.  Some days one or the other just doesn't work.  It's the emotions that bounce back really.  Nine years after Wyatt's death I can tell you they still haven't stopped.

I wonder how those close to me perceive the Mandy of now.  To them have I "bounced back" from Eli's death?  Am I different than I was before to them?  What do they call it?

More importantly, do I even want to know the answers to these questions?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Never Again

I am drawn to loss, specifically Potter's Syndrome because that loss I understand all too well.  I follow communities of Potter's Syndrome parents and hope that my words provide some help to those pregnant with and preparing to deliver their precious babies as well as those grieving their little ones.  I am also drawn to multiple losses.  You see, once you've lost a baby it seems that you feel a kinship with those who have also lost a baby.  But even more of a kinship with those who have lost a baby in the same way that you have lost yours.  The death of a baby is isolating when surrounded by a sea of healthy round bellies and beautiful breathing infants.  It's something to find a place of understanding and belonging.  Well, when I lost my second child that group, though comforting, wasn't enough anymore.  I needed to find others like myself.  Others who had lost more than one baby.  Sad though it was, I found a few other families who had not just lost more than one baby, but like myself had lost more than one to Potter's Syndrome.  I needed to find those people and needed to hear their stories of the future.  Because I knew I wasn't done.  I knew there would be more children in my future and it was so very important to hear of ones that had survived.

Now I've walked that path and begun a different one.  One that no longer involves monthly charting, pregnancy tests, heartbeat checks or ultrasounds.  I will never again be laying on an operating table waiting to see if my newborn cries.  For the most part I have moved beyond the bittersweet of that moment, propelled in part by the blissfully angry cries of our newest daughter as she took her first breaths - yes, breaths - just four and a half months ago.  My body changed that day but so did my mind and my heart.  I am no longer a vehicle for life.  I will never again give that gift.  Now my job is simply (hah, simply) to nurture life.  For that I am thankful.  It breaks my heart to read new stories of Potter's pregnancies and to know the gamut of emotions that those families are experiencing.  That will not be me anymore, not my pregnancy and not my children.  Selfishly I am relieved.  Watching one of my babies die was enough, two was almost too much.


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