One year ago today we got the news that our first frozen embryo transfer (FET) was successful and that we were pregnant. I had been excited and anxious all day waiting to find out if our “overachieving embryo” had stuck. I posted here on my blog a number of times to help settle my nerves. I posted that day after I got home from my blood draw while I was waiting for the call. I posted again later that afternoon when there was still no call. My initial blog about our positive beta was on the shorter side, at least in relation to the length of many of my posts here, however the next day I took more time to share what Bob and I were thinking and feeling so soon after we received the news, though in many ways it still felt like a dream…
I am feeling very emotional today, more so even than I felt on Friday (the six month milestone since Molly was born and died), likely in part because it was a busy day with me chaperoning Sean’s school field trip among other things. It probably goes with out saying, however right now I just wish so much the outcome of our journey with Molly had been different. I wish that I was holding Molly in one arm (as I use to do when Sean was an infant), while typing this with my free hand and celebrating the day we found out Molly had stuck around after the embryo transfer (ET). I do still want to celebrate the memory of this day last year and I hold Molly forever in my heart, it is just very bittersweet for me.
I understand that grief is a process. The “Stages of Grief” was actually the topic at my perinatal bereavement support group meeting on Monday night. Lately I have been feeling like I have been “working my grief” and healing very well, but today I am back peddling a little and feeling emotionally fragile. I know there will be days like this and I need to honor my feelings and emotions as I continue to learn to live life without Molly here.
There are a few miscellaneous stories I want to share today from the past week or so:
First, on Friday, the six month milestone since Molly was born and went to Heaven, as I mentioned above, it was a very busy day and I knew that I or we would not likely make it to the cemetery to visit Molly’s grave. Overall I was okay with it, as we had gone the previous Sunday and I knew I would go again this week. However, I was still feeling somewhat sad and wishing I had planned our day differently, to allow for us to go. As we were riding on a school bus to Sean’s preschool field trip to a children’s farm (pictured here are Sean and I at a pumpkin patch there) I happened to notice the route the driver was taking seemed to be heading right towards the cemetery where Molly is buried! I tried not to get my hopes up, in case he turned one way or another before we passed it. I also decided not to say anything about it to Sean, as he was enjoying chatting with his school friends and I didn’t want to take away from field trip school bus ride fun.
Interestingly, the bus driver did not turn and as we got closer to the cemetery, Sean happened to stop talking with his friends for a bit and started looking out the window of the school bus. Without me pointing it out or any prompting at all, Sean turned to me across the aisle (as he was sitting with one of his buddies and I across from them in another seat) and said, “Mommy, is that the cemetery where Molly is buried?” I replied, “yes, it is.” Then Sean said, “that’s so cool!” Sean’s buddy that he was sitting with did not seem to notice or hear our conversation, nor did his other friends surrounding them or any of the other parent chaperones on the bus. It was a very special moment for me to share with Sean as we drove by Molly’s resting place, on the six month milestone since she went to Heaven, and it helped me to make peace with the fact that we would not be directly visiting her grave that day.
Later that day at the children’s farm Sean and his classmates were given many opportunities to pet different kinds of animals. Sean kept saying that he wanted to pet a cow and only a cow. This was in part because that week in school his teachers had polled Sean’s class as to which animal they most wanted to see at the farm and Sean had voted for cow. So I think Sean wanted to make good on his vote and was most excited about seeing a cow. When we did finally get to the cows, there were two and we found out that they had been born in April of this year. I heard our farm tour guide say to the kids, these cows are six months old. As I heard those words, I though of our Molly-girl and how if she had lived, that she too would be six months old and that her big brother would be able to proudly stroke her curly brown hair, the way he finally got to pet one of the cows that day (pictured here).
Yesterday was Bob’s 33rd birthday! It was a very nice day for him and our family. Our celebration was low key, but that is the way my dear husband likes it. I made brownies for him to share with his colleagues at work and then a cake for Sean, he and me to enjoy after the carry-in pizza that he requested for dinner. Last year’s birthday celebration for Bob and our family was a bit different, as we were waiting to find out the next day if he was going to be a daddy again. I wrote a poem that night last year, to the rhyme scheme of the Night Before Christmas, called Beta Eve and found it interesting to re-read it this morning, knowing how that chapter in our life turned out.
Yesterday I also visited the cemetery. This time of year there is a “Fall clean-up” there. They ask families to clear their loved ones graves of decorations so the grounds keeping staff can prepare for winter. We had taken the decorations around Molly’s grave down that Sunday after the Walk to Remember and will return them after October 31, when we were told the clean-up will be complete. It felt very different to arrive and see that most of the babies’ graves in Molly’s section were barren. As I approached Molly’s grave my heart sank when I noticed nearby that there appeared to be a newly dug grave with a board covering it, a cone on top and sod to the side. Being the curious and caring mommy of angels that I am, I saw a tag attached to the cone and went over to read what it said. The label read “Baby Higgins.” So I gathered that a family named Higgins has sadly lost a child who will soon be buried there. Please say a prayer for the Higgins family as they lay their baby to rest in the near future, if they haven’t already as I write this or by the time you read it.
Soon after I read about Baby Higggins, I returned to Molly’s grave where I planned to visit for a bit before I would be heading out to pick up Sean from his park district tumbling class. It wasn’t long before a local cable TV truck pulled up behind our minivan and a man got out and started walking towards the baby section. As I have shared here recently, I have only met a few family members of babies buried in the same section as Molly. Since my last experience talking with the parent of one of the babies had gone so well and I think had been therapeutic for the mother I spoke with and for me, I decided to speak to this man. I found out that he is the father of a boy named Dominic who was born, lived for four precious hours and then died in August 2006. His wife was about 37 weeks along when it was discovered that their son’s umbilical chord had detached from his placenta and tragically he was drowning without that connection (as his father explained it). He told me that if Dominic had only been born a bit earlier, before it happened, that maybe he would have/could have survived.
Dominic’s daddy explained that he works for the local cable company and drives the truck by the cemetery almost daily. He said he visits his son’s grave at least once a week, but that sadly his wife chooses not to come very often. I thought this was interesting, as it seems in many cases it is the other way around, with the wife/mommy wanting to visit more frequently than the husband/daddy. He told me that they just recently had finally ordered and received his Dominics grave stone and he was looking forward to seeing today if it had arrived and been placed in the ground. We walked around together to find it and I appreciated sharing that moment with him. He also shared that he and his wife have two older children who are now 11 and 6 and that his wife almost died after the Dominic’s birth. He said that she is fine now overall, however she cannot have any more children. Dominic’s daddy asked me if my baby girl was stillborn and I said no and told him briefly what happened with our Molly-girl. Then I left to give him some time alone at his son’s grave, as I had already been there for some time and felt I had connected enough with Molly there for the day.
As sad as it is to meet the families of the babies buried in the same section as Molly at the cemetery, I also find to be very comforting to get to know them and their stories, as it helps me to not feel as alone in my grief. Though I desperately wish it wasn’t so, I do like the idea that there is a community of babies and families that are in this together, learning to live without our children here on earth, as I believe they watch over us from Heaven. Please say a prayer for this father, his wife, their living children and their angel baby boy in Heaven.
A few more prayer requests, if you don’t mind and have the time… One is for an online friend, whom I have known for over three years now since we met in a buddy group, on a mommy discussion board website, when we were both in the early stages of TTC#2. She has a daughter close in age to Sean and until early this summer had sadly not been able to conceive another child. Miraculously she and husband found out they were pregnant in June and due in February with a baby girl. Up until this past week her pregnancy had been fairly normal. Unfortunately she recently went into pre-term labor and is now on bed rest at the hospital until she hopefully reaches 32 weeks gestation or her baby girl is born.
They have been able to stop the contractions at this point and the baby has received steroids for her lungs, however she is only 24 1/2 weeks gestation. Please pray that her baby girl is able to cook a lot longer ideally, but at least a bit longer, to give her the best possible chance of survival. This friend and her family sent us a beautiful peace lily plant (pictured here) after Molly was born with a message that said “Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. Molly will not be forgotten! I hope this plant will thrive as she should have. We are so sorry for your loss…,” which meant so much to Bob, Sean and me. It is the only plant we were given after Molly died that I have managed to keep alive (I don’t have much of a green thumb) and I am determined to see to it that it does thrive “as Molly should have.” I want so much for my friend’s baby to be born healthy and join her mommy, daddy and big sister here on earth. Heaven has enough angel babies.
Lastly, as I alluded to in a recent post, Bob and I are very honored to have been asked by his brother and our sister-in-law to be their new daughter’s Godparents when she is baptized this Sunday. We adore our niece and look forward to helping her grow in her faith throughout her life. As I have said here before, because her due date was only six weeks after Molly’s we will always feel an extra special connection to our Goddaughter, as Molly and she would have been so close in age. Please say a prayer for our Goddaughter as she and our family prepare for her baptism.
Thank you for reading this somewhat disjointed post on this first anniversary of the day we got the news that we were pregnant with Molly. As so often seems to be the case, writing here has helped me to work through my feelings and emotions on this bittersweet day in my life. Thank you for your continued support, encouragement, thoughts and prayers. I hope this finds you and your loved ones in good spirits. Take care and God bless.