Every year, 26,000 babies are stillborn in America. In 2003, one of them was my son.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Feeling Complainy

I think I need a vacation. Yes, I've already had one this year, a really lovely one with my sister, but fall is closing in and winter is looming and I hate winter. I'm tired, I'm discouraged, my husband is currently in India and the kids had no school today because of Rosh Hashanah. Mommy needs a break. And a really good massage - I hurt my shoulder a few months ago while I was weight lifting and it has never recovered. Picking my 3-year-old up all day long probably doesn't help. And I've had a nervous eyelid twitch in my right eye for months; it comes and goes but mostly stays.

I didn't want to complain here; I feel I should try to be inspiring or useful, but I'm just not today. And I feel guilty about not posting very often, but I just don't always know what to say. (This is a recurring problem in my marriage, too. What fun.)

More another day...anybody want to propose topics for me to write about?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Before and After

September 11, 2001, I had just put my 8-month-old daughter down for her morning nap at 9 a.m., and I entered my office to do some work. I turned on NPR, as I always did, and heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I figured it must have been a small, private plane that had gotten in trouble, but decided to go downstairs and turn on the TV. There I saw a 2nd plane fly into the other WTC building; there I watched people jumping to their deaths; there I watched, on my hands and knees in front of the TV, crying and praying, the buildings fall down in a mass of ash and fire.

It took me days before I even realized that, as those buildings came down, people were dying inside. Days before I could allow myself to think it. My parents and my husband were supposed to board flights that day, flights that were cancelled. My daughter was scheduled to be baptized two weeks later, and my in-laws, who were to fly over from England, cancelled their flights because of September 11.

In the following days, the world was so quiet. No planes flew over my house; generally dozens did. There were no cars racing down my urban street; the neighborhood was unusually subdued. That's what I wanted after Ben, as well, for the world to stop and acknowledge he was gone.

At the time, I felt that this was most likely the defining moment of my life as an adult, the moment where everything changed for us in America, that we - none of us - would be the same ever again. This was the permanent "Before and After" for my generation, like Pearl Harbor was for an earlier generation.

And although I was stunned by the events of that day, I wasn't surprised. When I was in college, I travelled to England and Ireland, and that was when I "got" the fear of terrorism. This was during the time of the Irish Republican Army, and while travelling through the airport in Dublin, I saw members of the Irish military in their uniforms, with automatic weapons strapped to their bodies. I got it then, a little bit of what it is like to live with the threat of terrorism every day, which much of the world has been doing for generations. Later, I lived in England and commuted to London for work, and was always aware of the terrorist threat, had train service cancelled because of IRA threats and suspicious packages placed in underground stations. I knew, somehow, that something like this day was coming for us.

I remember boarding an airplane for the first time after September 11th, sobbing in my husband's arms as I thought of all those people on those planes, what they must have felt, how frightened they must have been, how innocent they were. I thought of the families left behind and prayed to God to help them find some peace. I remember standing in the Newark airport and seeing New York City on the horizon, with two buildings so obviously gone.

I was wrong, however, about this defining moment for me. September 11th was not the defining moment of my life. Ben's death was my defining moment, my own marker of a time Before, and a life After.

Today, I remember all of them - all those who lost their lives that day, and all the ones they left behind. I remember Ben, and I remember all the babies who, every day, don't come home. I remember that 7 years ago, in hospitals and homes across America and the world, babies died, grandparents died, moms and dads and siblings and aunts and uncles lost their lives, and their deaths have gotten lost in the horror of the terrorist attacks.

I remember you.


If blood will flow when flesh and steel are one
Drying in the colour of the evening sun
Tomorrow's rain will wash the stains away
But something in our minds will always stay

Perhaps this final act was meant
To clinch a lifetime's argument
That nothing comes from violence
And nothing ever could
For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are

On and on the rain will fall
Like tears from a star Like tears from a star
On and on the rain will say
How fragile we are How fragile we are

- Sting

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pink Rose Award

Monica, over at Hopeful Momma, very kindly gave me a Pink Rose Award, given "to those who inspire you or need to be inspired, to those who have encouraged you or those who need encouragement.” She sweetly said that I am one of the bloggers who encourages her, post babyloss, with my story of loss and my life-and baby-after Ben.

I can't figure out how to post the Pink Rose Award icon on the side of my blog - perhaps I'll figure it out soon. Or maybe someone can tell me how?

Anyway, thank you, Monica, for giving me this. I'm glad I have been of some help to you in your journey.

I hereby give this award to Jen, at The Comfy Place. She has inspired me as she battles cancer and raises her children - she is a remarkable human being. I also give this to C., who, after two devastating losses, is struggling to keep going.


Here's what to do:
1. On your blog, copy and paste the award, these rules, a link back to the person who selected you, and a link to this post: http://smartone.typepad.com/smartone/2008/05/pink-is-my-favo.html. You will find the story behind the Pink Rose Award and other graphics to choose from there.
2. Select as many award recipients as you would like, link to their blogs (if they have one), and explain why you have chosen them.
3. Let them know that you have selected them for an award by commenting on one of their posts.
4. If you are selected, pass it on by giving the Pink Rose Award to others.
5. If you find that someone you want to nominate has already been selected by someone else, you can still honor them by posting a comment on their award post stating your reasons for wishing to grant them the award.
6. You do not have to wait until someone nominates you to nominate someone else.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Support Early Infant Death Research

First Candle is an organization devoted to making sure babies don't die. They do research and support work relating to stillbirth and SIDS. Over the summer I received a newsletter from them with the news that the website www.goodsearch.com allows users to search the web for free, and donates money to the charity of your choice for each search.

Here's the blurb from the First Candle newsletter: "GoodSearch.com is a new Yahoo!-powered search engine that donates half its advertising revenue, about a penny per search, to the charities its users designate. Use it just as you would any search engine, get quality search results from Yahoo! and watch the donations add up for First Candle!"

I say we give it all a try - anything to help.