Sunday, June 15, 2014


20 minutes after Ethan died I gingerly walked around my hospital room, trying to pack up my things...trying to give back the hospital grade breast pump that I had just rented 4 hours ago and somehow no longer needed. I remember Josh telling me to let him do everything. I remember looking out of the corner room view, 9 stories high, as twilight settled in over the triple deckers that are a Boston staple. I had forgotten what fresh air felt like. It had been 2 weeks since I had been outside.

 I'm not very good at sitting still, aside from the bed rest mandated during that pregnancy, I'm always moving. I just walked around that little room. Sitting down carefully - no longer feeling the countless stitches from my complicated c-section. The shock was setting in. I sat down. Stood up. Nurses walked in the door one by one, offering their condolences. These had been the people who watched me shuffle to and from the NICU. The people who brought me water the night after I delivered when I was in too much pain to get it myself. Josh was back in New Hampshire, staying at home with our other 3 little kids. One nurse tried to gently remind me not to pick up my 34 lb 11-month-old alive baby at home. He was too heavy for my stitches or something. All I knew was that he was alive. Unlike the baby I had just let go 20 minutes before. My favorite nurse Sally stayed with us as I wandered around the room. A mom who was lost. With nothing to do.

Josh pulled out a pen for me to sign something. Discharge papers perhaps? Can't remember. The pen said Kent and Pelczar Funeral Home on it. Ironic. They were the ones to pick Ethan's body up the next morning. Sally, my favorite postpartum nurse, offered to drive us home. We weren't a blubbering mess. We weren't even crying at this point. The fog of shock was settling in nicely. This wonderful woman offered to leave her shift early and drive our car to another state for us. I have no doubt she would have done that either, if we had accepted. When I remember this offer I wonder how she would have gotten home? Would she have called her family or friend to follow us to NH? I have no idea. Sally told us that her nephew lost their baby 6 months before, to a similar reason.

I remember thinking that I was functioning rather well given what had just happened. I remember not crying as we packed up. As I was wheeled out in that huge wheelchair they make postpartum moms sit in. The kind with the space in the back for your boppy, bags and balloons people brought to you while they visited. I remember Sally calling down quietly to the valet, telling them what had happened to us, to our baby. So they wouldn't charge us for parking or say congratulations to us I guess. Or ask where our baby was? I remember sitting in the wheelchair, and the nice transport kid (he was so young) got lost on our way out. Nurses had told him to have us leave through the ER exit, rather than the main exit ... an attempt at some privacy for the parents who may break down at any moment I guess. He took a wrong turn and tried to take us out at the ER ambulance door. No worries, I had been at the Brigham enough to know how to get back to the ER.

I remember fresh air. Cold air for late May. Sitting in the front seat of the highlander instead of the usual back seat, looking over a baby. Music for the first time in 2 weeks. Driving home...and for some reason we stopped at Chipotle to get some food? We weren't hungry. But hadn't eaten that day and was taking narcotics that made me throw up on an empty stomach. And we drove away from Boston. Away from the life where babies always lived. Away from my life where my children didn't die.

Towards a new life. One I didn't want. Yet one I have. There is beauty in my life. The hard days I just have to look for it. But it's always there, waiting...

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to's about learning to dance in the rain.
                                                                                             ~ Vivian Greene

Maybe Vivian's baby died too.

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