Monday, December 29, 2008

Letter to Shiloh #5

A few weeks ago, Daddy and I hung up a star for you at Light Up A Life. Your star was the most beautiful- we put your photo on the front; ah, how gorgeous you are.

It was so hard to contain our emotions, so we let the pain wash over us. Crying, of course, came naturally and was a welcomed release. We still cannot believe that you are gone forever, Shiloh. It’s so damn final and I hate that we can do nothing but accept it.

It has been a tormenting 9 weeks and the pain does not seem to subside. For every week that passes I think about how old you would be and what you would be doing by now. You would be lifting your head, looking at me, smiling, cooing… doing cute baby things.

The apartment feels so empty without you. Even though you never came home with us after you were born, we are surrounded by your belongings and consumed by the memories of when you were alive, inside of me. Those memories are still so vivid and I cherish each and every one of them. And I promise you Shiloh, you will always be remembered, not only by me and by daddy, but also by family, friends and even strangers. Your brief life has touched so many other lives and we are so very proud of you.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Light up a Life

On Dec 7th, Andreas and I hung a star in memory of Shiloh at Light up a Life hosted by SB Hospice. A memorial tree at the Labero Theater was illuminated with hundreds of sparkling lights, each symbolizing a tribute to a loved one, as well as a donation to Hospice in memory or in honor of that loved one. It was an extremely sad moment for us. We still cannot believe Shiloh is gone forever.

We also hung a star in honor of my father who has pancreatic cancer at the young age of 63. Life is so cruel.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Letter to Shiloh #4

My grief continues to devour me. Everyday is such a struggle- to get out of bed in the morning, to force myself to eat at mealtime, to watch the hours drag by, and then to go back to bed in the evening, without you. My body and mind are programmed to mother you, but I can’t. I’m being denied of motherhood. I don’t know a worse tragedy to befall a person.

I feel like I’m going in circles with my grief; I have days when I feel like I am regressing. The numbness and shock are phased in and out of the realization and anger. I’m trying to separate out these feelings, to label them, so I can understand why I’m feeling certain emotions at certain times, but nothing seems to make sense. I’m starting to believe that there really is no sense in such tragedies.

I’m not sure where I should go from here, Shiloh. I’m so confused, so unfulfilled. The things that I wanted before you were born no longer interest me. I’m sick of this small, dark apartment, of going nowhere in my PhD, of daddy’s unhappiness with his job, of living in this materialistic country…. But, our routine is sadly the same- nothing has changed, but everything has changed. You were going to fix a lot of things for your daddy and me. We were going to take all these other complaints with a grain of salt because we were just so, so happy to have you. So what do we do now that you aren’t here with us? There is no moving on… but giving up is not an option either.

I have so many unanswered questions. Will I be able to find meaning in life now that sorrow has found a home in me? Will joy be part of my life again? Will there ever be a time when I can smile again, unreservedly? When will I feel life inside me again? Will I be able to safely bring your future siblings into this world? Have we been punished enough or will we contend with more tragedy in the future? In time, there will be answers to these questions, but for now, I linger in the dark, thinking only of you and what our life together should have been like.

You will always be a newborn baby in my mind, but in my heart- an inquisitive toddler, a blooming child, a rebellious adolescent, and a beautiful woman. I love you endlessly.

Monday, December 15, 2008

All we have left...

Some of our amazing memories of Shiloh.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Imagine trying to desperately remember the last time your baby moved.
Imagine willing your baby to move, talking to her, playing her music.
Imagine racing to the emergency room with the fear that something terrible has happened to your baby.
Imagine being told that your baby no longer has a beating heart, but not knowing why.
Imagine being in the hospital, knowing that you are going to give birth to a baby that will never take its first breath, all the while hearing the first cries of other babies- live babies- just in the next room.
Imagine hearing a dad yell to his son, “Quick the baby is coming”, while being wheeled in a wheelchair through the labor and delivery ward after 12 hours of fruitless labor.
Imagine returning to your car with the new baby seat still installed in the back.
Imagine going to the hospital pregnant and coming home from the hospital empty-handed.
Imagine returning home full of dread and walking into the cold, empty nursery.
Imagine putting all of the newly assembled baby paraphernalia back into their boxes.
Imagine having a distended belly and feeling the kicks of a baby who is no longer in your womb.
Imagine your milk coming in, but having no baby to nourish.
I don’t have to imagine. This is my nightmare.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Letter to Shiloh #3

Shiloh, my sweet baby, I miss you so terribly much. You are constantly on my mind. Not a day goes by where I don’t envision the smooth lines of your jaw, the texture of your skin, the magnificence of your face. Sometimes I even feel like I am still pregnant with you. I think I feel your rapid heartbeat and your eager kicks. But eventually I wake up to reality- the depth of my sorrow and the ugliness of life. G-d, I feel so mortal.

The past 6 weeks have been unbearable. I’m so tired and I feel that my life has turned into one big cliché… “just breathe”, “one day at a time”, “one foot in front of the other”, “there are no words”…. I know that everyone wants to help us get through your loss, but I don’t know that I want to get through it. I want to hurt, I want to yearn for you. You should be here on earth, with us, but you’re not.

I was the happiest woman on this planet the entire 40 weeks of being pregnant with you. I read so many books, checked weekly on how you were developing, ate well, took prenatal vitamins, exercised- everything a good mom should do. Towards the end of the pregnancy, I even started to worry that I wouldn’t be able to wrap you properly in your sling or receiving blanket, to breastfeed you, or to remember all the words to the nursery rhymes, but I never once worried about losing you. The thought was inconceivable. Little did I know….

There is this misconception that, after the first trimester of pregnancy, losing a child never happens. How untrue. I am so angry with my doctor for telling me that your death was a freak accident, that the chances of it happening a second time are almost nil. Again, entirely untrue. It has been shown that women that have an umbilical cord accident in one pregnancy have a 5-fold chance of having another cord accident in a subsequent pregnancy. Why do doctors think that they know everything? Why do they not keep up with current research when it can save innocent lives? Didn’t they go into obstetrics because they like to welcome lives into this world…?

Since you’ve passed away, I’ve been beyond distraught and hungry to hear about other women’s losses, to feel like we hadn’t been singled out, like we hadn’t done something to deserve this terrible fate. I wanted any and all information I could find on cord accidents, and have searched endlessly for the last 6 weeks. I was instantly directed to the Pregnancy Institute headed by Dr. Collins in Louisiana. Dr. Collins is the only doctor that I know of that has been researching cord accidents- he has done so for that last 25 years. Luckily he gave his contact information on the website, so I emailed him for some answers and asked him how I go about being a part of his study in the future, so I can be sure that your younger brothers and sisters-to-be come safely into this world. He called the next day and talked to me about you for almost 2 hours. He tried to assure me that there was nothing that I could have done differently to save you, short of being constantly monitored by a doctor before the critical time. Nevertheless, this does not make me feel any better. You are still gone, and this, most unfortunately, will never change.

So I’ve gone from being the happiest woman in the world, to being the most miserable and bitter. It is now such a slap in the face when I see a pregnant woman or a woman with a baby. And all of the sudden, there are pregnant women and babies everywhere! Before, I loved seeing families because I was well on my well to having my own, and I loved seeing pregnant women because I knew that they could relate to my joy, that we had an unspoken bond of sorts. But now I’m just broken-hearted and empty-handed, making wishes on fallen eyelashes.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A letter about your mommy

The day we found out that we were pregnant with you, your mommy started reading tons of books to make sure she could do everything possible to bring you into this world happy and healthy. She stopped eating food she liked because it was not good for you, she got lots of rest to make sure you had enough energy to grow, and still she managed to work, study and take care of other people around her. Yes, your mommy is the most loving, loyal, focused, and caring person I know in the whole world.

She wanted to meet you so badly, and so did I; so badly that we could not stop talking and dreaming about you. I know you know all this because you were with her for an incredible nine months. I know how happy you must have been inside of her, hearing her voice, experiencing her moves, and feeling her warmth. She was certainly the happiest person on earth, and I would do anything to bring this happiness back into her life.

All she wanted was to take care of you, to watch you grow up with us, and to be a mommy to you. But she can only do that in her heart now. Shiloh, your mommy is such a fighter. Even when she was told that you fell asleep inside of her, she wanted to give you the birth that you deserved. I have never seen a stronger person in my life. She loves you so much, that she would have done anything not to hurt you.

You would be 6 weeks old today, and everyday without you breaks your mommy’s heart. She doesn’t want to live without you, but she knows daddy needs her so much. Yes Shiloh, your mommy is a fighter. She will not give up and you can be so proud of her.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Letter to Shiloh #2

I watch the bricks and mortar fall away from each other, piece by piece. I feel like my world is crumbling around me and I can’t do anything but watch. My hands are tied. My feelings are no longer mine to control. I’m trapped on this rollercoaster of emotions, being thrown side to side, upside down, into loops, all the while feeling sick to my stomach.

Most days I feel like I can’t go on without you. Other times, I have a tiny glimmer of hope where I feel like I can pull through this, that this will make me a stronger, more compassionate person. But these times are few and far between. Mostly, I’m directionless, blindly walking through this ominous pit of darkness, thinking that I’ll never see the light on the other side.

I honestly can’t say where I am finding the energy and the courage to get through the days in the face of such darkness. But having your daddy as my rock, to cry to, to cry with, to lean on, is invaluable to me. The only good that has come out of this tragedy is the renewed intensity of our love for each other. Together, united, we wade through this endless journey of grief and healing.

But I’m re-evaluating life now that you are not here. What seemed so important to me before you left us is so unimportant now that you are gone. My focus has shifted from trying to zealously plan the future, to living for every single moment in the present. Your departure from this world, even before you were able to breathe your first breath, has made me painfully aware of just how fragile and unjust life is.

To be a childless mother is above agonizing. To say it is agonizing, miserable, painful- these are vast understatements. These words are so tangible, so minimizing… the feelings I have are indescribable, no words can do them justice. But all I can ask for is that, over time, the dominance of these feelings wanes so life without you, here on earth, is more livable.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Baby Shiloh

We are in awe of your raw beauty.