Moments & Mementos
We just passed the 2nd year anniversary of our 2nd loss, and my first ever surgery. My first ever surgery was my first D&C after the unsuccessful use of misoprostol.
In a few days we will pass the 1st anniversary of our first, only and subsequently last good news ultrasound when we saw a healthy fetal heart rate. When we were so full of hope that it was finally our turn and this baby would live.
In a few more days we will celebrate my birthday.
And then, just 2 days later we will pass the 1st anniversary of finding out our healthy and hopeful 4th baby died.
Needless to say, the next few weeks will be full of hard moment and triggers. February is no longer a month I enjoy as I now despise Valentines Day and my birthday is something I seem to dread. The celebration this year will be the fact that we will not be watching or expecting our baby to die.
With all of our positive pregnancy tests, I never once bought any baby stuff to celebrate our baby, our excitement or our hopes. I was too scared to jinx it and I just didn’t.
With all of our countless ultrasounds, I have never once been given or asked for an ultrasound picture of any of our babies.
With each of our five losses, I threw out each pee stick as quickly as I saw the results. And I almost never peed on a stick more then once once after a positive result as I learned very early to rely on beta results.
The only memento I have to signify our losses is a list of dates in my notes app on my cell phone. 2.5 years of my life tracked based on CD 1, positive OPK’s, beta results, procedure results, thyroid test results, confirmed fetal demise dates, surgery dates, etc. I’ve thought many times about deleting it, but sadly it’s all I have and I just cannot bring myself to push delete.
Really, all I have to show for everything we have been though and all five of our losses is mine and Mr. MPB’s silently beating broken hearts.
I have never been one to keep mementos and stuff. After the loss of my mom and sister I made a point not to attach meaning to stuff as to prevent a war with my brother who valued stuff. And, to this day I firmly believe that stuff does not bring us closer to those we have lost, rather we keep those we have lost in our memories and in our hearts.
But today, I wish I had something. I wish I had some visible reminder of our lost babies – not for other people, but just for me as I remember what was and what will never be. It has been suggested that I get a tattoo, plant a tree or buy a piece of jewelry. But honestly, I’m not a fan of pain or permanent ink and I cannot see how me killing a tree would be anything more then ironic. Maybe one day I’ll splurge and get a necklace or a ring with 5 interwoven bands and then maybe one day find a way to integrate our future adopted children’s birth stones into it somehow – a subtle tribute to our family that I can carry with me daily. But for now that’s just a dream, as I am way to practical to spend our pennies on something for me, when we need to focus on saving for our adoption.
So, as we get through the next few weeks, my focus will be on holding a special place in my heart for all the memories we have – the happy moments when we celebrated life and dreamed about our future, and the sad moments when we said goodbye much to soon. As I have nothing to signify my babies, I will focus on the fact that we hold our babies in our hearts today and everyday. And, really, that’s all that matters.
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I will be sending you special thoughts and prayers in the days and weeks to come. These anniversaries are always so hard. One thing I had to learn early on is that forgetting doesn’t help me heal, but remembering does. I hope you find a momento, someday, to help you remember your babies. I love the ring idea. But for now, I hope the happy, hopeful memories and the love you have in your hearts brings you comfort.
Thank you so much for your thoughts and love. I completely agree that forgetting doesn’t help. Also, I always find the anticipation of the date turns out to be worse the day itself.
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Yes! That is so true!
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This post (like the last one I commented on) had quite an effect on me.
I, too, have an “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” philosophy and do not like to attach significance to material things, when all we really have are our memories. My sister is like your brother, in that she attaches a lot of significance to things (in particular, our Mother’s things).
I, too, observe the 2nd anniversary of our 1st loss this month (Feb. 25th to be exact). I’m sorry that February is a bad month for you, too 😦
I will say though, that I have purchased things in memory of my losses and in hopes of welcoming a child–children’s books. I like your idea about creating a ring to represent your journey.
When I want to remember or connect with lost loved ones (namely my Mom and babies) I light a candle and think about them, and talk to them if I need to (privately, of course). XOXO
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and understanding. We really do have a lot of similarities! I am sorry you too are observing your 2nd anniversary this month.
I love that you have purchased children’s books – I think that’s a wonderful idea! I love books, maybe I’ll start doing the same in anticipation of our future child. 🙂
I also love that you added privately to the fact that you light a candle and think and talk to them when you want to connect. I do the same thing, and always privately.
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I’m sorry this is such a rough time for you. There’s so much you have gone through, it kinda makes it worse that it’s all right on top of each other right now. I’m the opposite of you in this aspect…I like to have something from every important moment, so that when I look at it I’m reminded of what happened. When I miscarried last fall, I threw the positive pregnancy test away in anger…now I wish I had kept it. I love your idea of creating a piece of jewelry that will symbolize both the babies you lost, and the ones that are to come. I think that would be absolutely beautiful. I hope you’re able to find some peace over the next couple weeks.
I really appreciate hearing your experience. I get why you threw out your positive test in anger, but I so wish you hadn’t thrown it away.
Thank you so much for your wish of peace, I suspect my anticipation of it all will be worse then the reality of it all.
Yup, but we can’t change the past, so hopefully I’ll have a new positive in the near future to keep. 🙂 I think the anticipation is almost always worse. Thinking about you.
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Bless you, I’m so sorry to read this. Im like you and have never bought any mementos or anything for our three babies, but sometimes I think it would be nice. Really hope you can take care of yourself and feel a little better xx
I’m sorry you understand the desire to have something to remember and acknowledge your three babies by.
Thank you for you support and sending you love and hugs.
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I only have ultrasound pics from one of our four miscarriages. I wanted to have something to remember them by so I settled on a necklace with the infinity sign. I love the quite from The Fault In Our Stars:
“I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”
It reminds me that even though I only had them for a little while, it wasn’t any less important to me.
Hoping the next few weeks are as peaceful for you as possible.
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Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Your necklace sounds beautiful, and the poem you shared is perfect in so many ways. Thank you.
My tattoo and ring helps, gives me the tangible for something so seared into my heart and soul but I think it’s different for everywhere. Thinking of you during this difficult times of your significant seared dates. Love you!
I agree, everyone will have a different special tangible item that is right for them. I’m glad to hear that you have your ring and your tattoo.
Love to you as well.
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Firstly, sending hugs to you. Anniversaries are hard, no matter how much time passes. We named the first baby we lost Gabriel, and Tim got me a silver pendant the following Christmas with Gabriel the archangel on it. I used to wear it a lot, but now I don’t like to anymore because it makes me feel stuck in the past rather than looking forward. Maybe one day I’ll want to wear it again. I don’t have anything physically yet to remind me of Anna, but I’m thinking this time we might plant a tree or a rose bush or something for her.
In a way, I think your Eames rocking chair is your memento for your babies. You bought it before you started trying, so it’s a reminder of everything — your innocent hope when you first purchased it, the loss of each of your babies and, soon, your living baby that will come to you through adoption. That chair represents your family, and all of the sweetness, loss, hope, beauty and love that goes along with it. I’m picturing you holding your baby in that chair, and all the loving souls of his or her siblings that were gone to soon gathered around you guys, filling that space with peace.
There was a very powerful moment for me when I was holding Lettie in her glider, about a year and a half after my mom died. As I sang Lettie some bedtime Christmas carols, I swear I felt my mom’s arms around us, I heard her signing along with me in her awful, off-key singing voice. And I knew then that even though Lettie and my mom had never met, in that moment the three of us were finally together. Like you said, those babies are part of your family, even though you never got to meet them, and in that way you, Mr. MPB, your new baby and those five precious souls will always be connected. Xo.
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Thank you so much for sharing your experience having a memonto to remind you of Gabriel and now choosing not to wear it. I do hope you find the right way to honour Anna as well. I find it fascinating that now you choose not to wear the necklace, but I can understand why at the same time.
Thank you for pointing out the innocence of our Eames chair and your experience holding Lettie and feeling a deep connection with your mom at the same time. What a beautiful thought.
Such a beautiful post about such a painful experience, one that goes on and on. I am so sorry the next few weeks will be difficult (seems not a strong enough word). We had two losses, both in the summer, and we do have mementos for those but they aren’t tattoos or trees or jewelry. We didn’t want something living like a garden or a tree (what if we moved? would we dig up what we’d planted, or replant elsewhere? and like you said, what if it failed to thrive?). When we had our insane ectopic loss, we received a memento from a friend who is an OB nurse, who makes little clay stars for her moms who lose their babies. It came with a beautiful letter, and hangs on a rustic piece of twine. Then when we miscarried a year later, we struggled with what to do, but landed on a beautiful child Buddha statuette that was meant for the garden (but lives in our dining room, on the baker’s rack, with the star hanging above him). We just couldn’t risk anything happening to him. I don’t know if we’ll keep these things in plain view always, but having a small memento is helpful for us. I like the idea of incorporating your lost babies into your future parenthood jewelry. I would have a hard time deleting that memo, too. And this, “Really, all I have to show for everything we have been though and all five of our losses is mine and Mr. MPB’s silently beating broken hearts.” was beautiful, if understandably sad. I also loved this, “As I have nothing to signify my babies, I will focus on the fact that we hold our babies in our hearts today and everyday. And, really, that’s all that matters.” I wish you peace and self-care during these rough weeks (and always), and healing for your broken hearts.
Your mementos sound beautiful. I get that you may not always keep them in plain view, but it sounds like for now they are right where they belong.
Thank you so much for your love and support, I plan to focus on self-care over the next few weeks and to focus on the happiness that is yet to come.
I am not a stuff person either. Since my mother died, I have been wearing a few for her necklaces more often, but not in a “talisman” sort of way… more like “Aw, didn’t my mom have good taste.”
I feel closest to her when I’m doing something she loved, or something that she loved my doing. Though my mom wasn’t a runner, she loved that I ran– she even traveled to my first half marathon to cheer me on. I feel closer to her every time I run and feel how proud she was of me. She also really loved eating ice cream, so when I’ve missed her, I pick up a pint. (Again, my mom had great taste.)
Of course, you’re dealing with a long, much more complicated legacy of loss. I suppose what I’m saying is that we all find a way to connect with who we’ve lost, and we have to do it in a way that is genuine to who we are. A little trial and error, perhaps? May I suggest some Ben & Jerry’s?
I love read about the relationship you had and memories you have of your mom. I absolutely get what you mean about feeling closest to her when your doing something she loved. I hope you mom’s love for your running and ice cream are things you can always hold onto!
And I think you are right about two things. First, I should buy some Ben & Jerry’s. Second, we do find special ways to connect with those we’ve lost. This is an individual process, but whatever we choose to do will be what is right for us.
Love to you.
sending love. february has turned into a difficult month for me too. I”m so sorry so many anniversaries are so close. sending strength as well. xxx
I’m sorry February is also a difficult month for you. Sending you strength and love.
February is an awful, no good very bad month. My first D&E was a year ago on the 26th. We should just take it off the calendar. Nobody needs it or Valentines Day.
I like you idea of finding a way to erase February from the calendar. Knowing that’s not possible, I wish you (and I) as much peace as possible in the coming days. I’ll be thinking of you.
I will be thinking about you as your anniversaries approach. The anticipation of them is certainly worse. February is my birthday month too and I no longer look forward to it because of the simple fact it means I am a year older and have less chance of becoming a mother. This experience taints so many good things in life. I am a stuff person, I have a box with my baby’s scan pictures, pee sticks, the box that my baby was in and a few other bits. It is important to me but I do not often open it and think more knowing they are there comforts me. The idea of a piece of jewellery is lovely, I have looked myself but not seen anything right. I like how your idea would be meaningful to you but not obvious to anyone else what it signifies, that makes it pretty special. Your post is so beautifully written and echos so much for a lot of us. I also feel hope when I read your posts, you have real strength coming through so much and you are now reaching the light….you are getting so close to having your baby in your arms.
Thank you so very much for your kind words. I am beyond touch to read your words about my writing and my personality.
I’m sorry that your birthday is tainted, just like mine. Some days it feels like the calendar is full of landmines, and part of me wishes that my birthday didn’t have to be part of it. But, like you, I know that my birthday just means I am one more year older and in so many ways so far away from our dream.
Also, I love your box, it sounds beautiful.
The nice thing about not having any objects to associate with your losses is that you can avoid those “punch to the gut” moments when you open the closet while searching for something else and then wham–there’s that box you tucked away and you feel like your heart is about to be ripped out. I have a box like that, and as much as I don’t want it, I also can’t bring myself to let go of it. I love the idea of having a necklace or something made someday because it means memorializing your losses on your own terms. In a meaningful way, rather than a “catch you off guard and ruin your day” kind of a way. I am so sorry for all of the feelings and memories this month brings you, and I hope that it gets easier with time. You are in my thoughts.
You are so right, by having nothing I also have no horrible triggers lurking in my closet. I can only imagine how hard it must be for you to see that box, and yet I can totally appreciate why you don’t want to get rid of it. ,I cannot seem to push delete on the list in my phone, and it’s just a list of dates.
Maybe one day I’ll get a necklace or a ring, as you said it would be something special and meaningful for me. And until then, I will just hold onto my feelings and memories.
I love your necklace idea! My clinic gave me a little gold ring along with my only ultrasound pic. I put the gold ring on a chain and where it constantly. The only time it gets taken off is when I dye all my gray hairs! Sending you so much love and many hugs over the next few weeks!!!
A necklace with the little gold ring sounds beautiful. What a touching thing for your clinic to give you. Love and hugs to you as well.
P.S. I laughed about the grey hair – I hear you on that one!!
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So many hugs. Dates and anniversaries and more dates never seem to leave the mind. It’s hard to untangle that once it’s woven into your mind so deeply. My husband purchased a necklace for me with stones for our lost one’s birthdates, and for my own sanity I made a box that holds ultrasounds and “get well soon” cards and “I’m sorry for your loss cards” that we received. Everyone is different. I’m hoping that as these dates pass you feel overwhelmed with love and support and remember your littles with so much affection and honor! Remembering with you, hugs!
The necklace your husband gave you sounds just beautiful and so incredibly thoughtful. I also think the box sounds like a wonderful keepsake.
And thank you for sharing such beautiful words – “as these dates pass you feel overwhelmed with love and support and remember your littles with so much affection and honor!”
Remembering with you as well my friend.
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I am sending so much love to you! I wish I had some magical words to say that would make things better. ❤
Thank you so much. Love always seems to help and ease the burden. Love to you as well.
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Anniversaries for lives lost, those we never held and those who once held us, are the stinging reminders that we are alive, and there is enough blood coursing through our veins, albeit at very sad rhythm, to carry us through this day, even a white-water-rapids-this will-kill-me or I-will-survive day.
The only good is that your aching arms will someday, hopefully not too far away, hold a child who is aching to be held. A child who may this very day be coursing down a similar, terrifying stream of loss.
Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and touching comment. Your thoughts on anniversaries are beautiful and your words of hope for our future are also beautiful.
I particularly like that you pointed out that our journey and our child’s journey will be tied together through our histories of loss beyond our control – part of me despises that thought because I don’t want that for any child. Yet, a bigger part of me loves the thought that together we will help ease our histories of loss while building a family – and that’s a pretty awesome way to look at our adoption journey. Thank you for opening my eyes to that.
I’m thinking of you and wishing you peace and comfort in the weeks to come. I know how hard these dates are, and with every loss our calendars start to become land mines filled with these tough reminders. Big hug to you. xo
Thank you so much for your love and positive wishes as we get through the next few weeks of dates. Love to you.
They actually gave me the ultrasound picture of what ended up being my first miscarriage. I was carrying it with me for months, just holding onto this Schrödinger moment, when I still didn’t know the future. I have one from my second miscarriage as well, but then I was so crushed that I just shoved them both somewhere, and I don’t remember where they are. I’ve been thinking too of getting a tattoо, but I am too chicken about it for now. Maybe I am just not ready to move on.
My best wishes to you. February is the shortest months, so it would soon be over…
I suspect one day, when you least expect it you will find those ultrasound pictures. Hopefully when you do, it will be a moment of peace rather then heartache.
I suspect you will know when you are ready to move on, in whatever form that takes. Some days I feel like I’m moving on from the pure heartache, then other days I feel like I never will. I wonder if we will ever truly move on?
Best wishes to you as well.
RPL is much harder to mark… I know many people who’ve had one loss, and it consumes them – they name the baby, they talk of him/her as if they knew them… it becomes a part of their identity. For us… how can we deal with the dates, the names, the markers, the milestones? It is overwhelming. We never chose names, or marked the occasions. I can’t remember most of the exact dates unless I go and look for them. I like the idea of a piece of jewellery, with a number of beads, or crystals on it, or maybe a significant piece of art… but we haven’t done that either (because we still don’t know what is to come). Like you, I have very little. The only thing I cannot bring myself to delete is the doppler sound of one of our babies heartbeats, which I recorded on my iPhone just a few days before he died. It’s not even a minute long. I listen to it every few months in a maudlin moment and wonder what on earth I will do with this piece of digital data that means so much to me it almost tears my heart in two. I hope February passes peacefully for you. You have so much to look forward to, so don’t feel bad for not spending more time looking back xxx
Thank you so much for sharing, it sounds like you guys are a lot like us, and we too don’t know how to rightfully signify our losses and our potential successes, because we don’t know where it will all end. While we are planning on adopting, we have no idea how many children we will have, or if maybe one day we will try again. There are still too many unknowns for me to get something that would signify the end in my mind.
The doppler sound of one of your babies heartbeats is too precious to delete – I couldn’t imagine getting ride of that.
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