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

Friday, May 29, 2009

Free Chocolate!

Yes, really. Free chocolate from the Mars company!

Click here: https://secure.realchocolate.com/

Then go back again next Friday, and request again. Up to 4 free coupons!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Because I am Tired, Another Poem

Not only because I'm tired, but also because I had what is quite possibly the world's largest margarita last night. And also because I think we should all read more poetry. This poem was written by a Chinese man following China's devastating earthquakes last year. It first aired on NPR last year, and they replayed it recently to commemorate the first anniversary of those earthquakes.


Thousands upon thousands of anguished cries
Returning to silence and tranquillity
Heavenly acts cannot be predicted
The moon over Wenchuan
Still, a question mark
Aftershocks extend to Chengdu
Sorrow engulfs half the world
Tears turn to ice
Let candlelight melt them away
Children, climb on a dandelion
and line up for heaven

- He Xiaozhu

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Because My Life is so Exciting

Or not.

(And also because I am feeling tired and sitting down blogging gives me an excuse to look productive while sitting on my arse.)

Hubby and I spent the afternoon cleaning the laundry area of our basement, which has been filthy and cobwebby for quite some time (um, since perhaps we moved in nearly 4 years ago. Ahem.). We had the other part of the basement redone last year - we had a mold issue that needed to be cleared up, ancient, stinky carpet that smelled like mold and cat pee, and horrible knotty pine paneling, which I hate.

The other portion of the basement we didn't have renovated, as it's separate from the "nice" part, and, quite honestly, that's more money than we could spend.

I have been wanting a new washer and dryer, as the ones we currently have came with the house and aren't very efficient, not to mention fairly old. On Friday, the washing machine started gushing water out of the bottom. Yippee! We decided spending money to repair the darn thing was not worth it, and went out yesterday afternoon to purchase a new one. We got a good deal on a higher-end model than we would've looked at (it was the floor model) and it will arrive on Wednesday.

This meant, however, that the laundry room really needed a good cleaning. So we spent the afternoon with lots of bleach and cobwebs, shifting the washer and the dryer around, cleaning up.

See? My life really IS exciting.

We considered getting a dryer as well, but there were no special deals or rebates on dryers to be had. Also, the saleswoman we spoke to said we should check the dryer vent to see if it's blocked, as that is a likely reason the dryer doesn't work so well. So, we cleared it out and are keeping our fingers crossed it actually helps.

Wow. I feel so immensely boring writing that. And it's rather sad to tell you how happy I am to have purchased a new washing machine. There will be even more excitement tomorrow, when the roofer comes to assess the amount of repair work we need to have done on our roof, which sprang a big ol' leak this winter.

Cleaning, bleach, roofers, repairmen. Who says domestic diva-dom isn't a rip-roarin' barrel o' fun?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Another Mother's Day

This post isn't going to be so much about me - this is my 6th Mother's Day without Ben, but I always had Charlotte, so I never had to experience a Mother's Day having given birth, but without a child. Oh, I still miss him, of course, and think of him every day, and especially on Mother's Day, but I have learned to be grateful for the two beautiful babies I have, and I treasure every Mother's Day with them.

I have reason to believe some of my lurkers are new here because of a recent loss - and I'm so sorry. And I know you are facing this day, wondering what you are going to do, how will you survive it?

I hope, for your sake, your friends and family rally around you with hugs and flowers, meals and support. Yes, you ARE a mother, even without your baby here. So, how will you get through this coming Sunday?

If you need to hole up in bed, or in your home, and not come out, that's ok. If that's what you really want to do, then do it. If you want some kind of ritual that will honor your child, there are all sorts you can do. Some people plant a tree, or a rose bush, or some other special flower, they can tend to, year after year, and watch grow. Regular readers of my blog will know that my husband and I make a donation in our son's honor every year on his birthday, to the hospital where he was born (we had exceptional care from a compassionate staff) and to the charity Save the Children, which supplies food and medicine for children in need. I know of one family who had a special place at the local zoo that meant something to them in relation to their son, and they dedicated a bench in his honor there.

You may wish to purchase a special piece of jewelry to wear, from someplace like Shannon Schoon's site. Alternatively, go online to an organization like Share, or First Candle, to make a donation or for more suggestions on how to honor your baby.

Regular readers, please offer your suggestions in the comments for newly bereaved parents.

If you're reading this because you're a friend or family member of someone who's lost a baby, and you're wondering how to help, it's pretty easy. Call them or send them a note before Mother's Day (and Father's Day), just to say, "I know this is a hard day for you, and I wanted you to know I'm thinking of you. And that I'm sorry." Believe me, it will mean the world to them. Ask if they want to talk about their baby, or show pictures or share memories. What most parents who've lost children want more than anything is for people to acknowledge the child they lost. If you want to do more, perhaps you could help them with one of the rituals I mentioned above. At the very least, please, please, acknowledge what they've lost.

For all the parents out there who've lost a child, I wish you peace.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Actually, I Do Remember You, I'm Just Ignoring You

So. Yesterday morning I went to an exercise class - Zumba - very fun, dance-y, kick-my-butt kind of class. It's held in the basement of the church I belong to.

This was my third time going, and James and I were the first ones there. (James was not exercising, he was being good with toys in a corner.) The next person to arrive, after us, was this woman I'll call "X." I haven't seen her in a while; she was a member of the church several years ago, then left, and now, she tells me, is back.

"You probably don't remember me," she said. "We left for a while, but now we're back. How old is your son?"

Superficial pleasantries, etc.

The thing is, I DO remember her. And yes, I do my very best to ignore her presence in the world.


Not really.

The Christmas I was pregnant with Ben, she and I were at an Advent wreath making workshop at church. She asked me when the baby was due, and we exchanged random tidbits. One month later, Ben was dead.

The following Christmas, there we are at the Advent wreath making workshop again. And "X" turns to me and says, "Where's your baby?"

I stared at her in utter disbelief. Didn't say anything. She asked again, and I stumbled over the words, "He died." Which, you might think, would lead most people to say something along the lines of, "Oh, I'm so sorry," and perhaps drop it.

But no. "X" starts questioning me incessantly, almost as if she didn't believe me. And believe me, people in the church knew, without a doubt, that Ben was gone. It was announced verbally in services, in the bulletin, in the church newsletter. We had a funeral for him. At Easter, one of my friends gave flowers in Ben's memory. His name was in the bulletin for All Saint's Day. On the Sundays when I attended, I wept the entire time. And there sat "X," not believing me, too thick and socially inept to shut the hell up. After a whole year of seeing me there WITHOUT a baby. I mean, hello?

One of my friends was sitting across the table, and after the whole exchange was over, she looked at me, in nearly as much disbelief as I was in. "I was ready to lunge across the table and throttle her," she said.

I was just stunned. Completely stunned.

So there she was, yesterday morning. And I pretended that, no, I didn't remember her. When, in truth, I don't think I will ever forget who she is, and what she said.