Five Years Later... on Gratitude and Loss

[From 8/2/16 - I never published this for some reason...]

I swim in these emotions daily - gratitude and anxiety. Grateful for Isa and the happiness and utter joy she has brought into our lives. Every night, she still falls asleep on my chest, and I sometimes shut my eyes and feel her little heartbeat against my body. Her breath as she slowly drifts to sleep. Her little head on my chest, and I can smell her hair and sweaty head from running around in the dirt and sun all day. My sun-drenched miracle. My rainbow baby. I’m grateful that Chris’ cancer is gone. The chemo has kept the cancer at bay, showing no signs of return so far. Isa has a father who gets to play with her and read her stories and make her breakfast, lunch and dinner (yes, he does all the cooking). I have a husband that I get to sleep next to every night, that I can tell my dreams, wishes, fears and anxieties to. He’s alive. And I’m so thankful. And then there’s the fear and the anxiety at how close we al…

Welcome to the world! Isabella Grazia

After four days of labor - yes you read right - four days - we finally welcomed our beautiful daughter, Isabella Grazia, into this crazy crazy world.  She was born on Sunday, April 7th at 11:38pm weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces and 19 inches long.  With a nice full head of black hair.
She's already 10 weeks old and just now am I finding the time and energy to write again.  The picture above really describes the whole birth experience in a nutshell.  I'm exhausted.  Chris is so happy and overwhelmed with joy.  And baby Isa came out with her eyes wide open and alert to everything around her.  She is about a half hour old in this picture and you would never know that she had a four day journey through my womb to get into our arms. I love this picture.  The crocheted blanket in the background was given to us as a gift when I was pregnant with Nico.  I call it "Nico's blanket" and I carried it with me throughout this pregnancy.  I felt like his spirit was with us that day.

The past 38 weeks...

I've stayed away from this space for quite some time.  Still not sure if I'll be back at writing again.  I've tried to come back with some profound words or updates on my life.  But I've been busy holding my breath.  Today I'm 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant.  The eve of the birth of my rainbow baby is just around the corner.  Our little daughter should arrive this week, hopefully.  I can't express the range of emotions I've gone through during these past almost 10 months.  

I've spent the past 9 months going to way-too-many doctors appointments, having way-too-many ultrasounds, taking way-too-many vitamins and giving myself way-too-many injections of blood thinning medicine.  It's the farthest thing from my hands-off approach I imagined I'd have during this pregnancy.  No midwife this time, no birth center is scheduled.  Instead, we have a doctor that comes into our appointments with a huge file with my name on it.  There's alot of history in t…

Eleven months, 2 weeks, 4 days

Today:  eleven months, 2 weeks and 4 days, I am farther away from the grief that overtook me almost 1 year ago.  It lays dormant, reappearing whenever it wants, regardless of what I'm doing, where I am or who I'm with.  The grief comes with a vengeance, and can bring me back to the moment I knew Nico's heart stopped beating.  And when it does, the grief shows itself as a knot in my stomach, a lump in my throat and a wave of tears welling up behind my smiling facade. 

Mostly, I think my friends think I'm fine now.  And I am.  Most days.  These days, I can go about my day without the fear of breaking down at the drop of a hat.  I can go to the grocery store and not have to avoid the aisle with the pregnant mother.  More importantly, I can go to the places where people remember I was pregnant and not be afraid of them asking me about my son.  This still happens.  At the farmers markets, with the farmers from last summer still remembering me big-bellied and asking "Ho…

Muffin top

I joined a gym this month but I still can't seem to find the time to go.  I'm planning on going tomorrow, I promise.  Really, I will.  I still have most of my pregnancy weight and lost only a few pounds.  I can't seem to get rid of it. I have what people would call a 'muffin top.'  This is what I imagine I look like when I think of it, just not as delicious:

So, off to the gym I go to lose the "baby weight." 
I'm starting to get that antsy feeling I get when I'm anxious.  The list of projects is growing, yet I can barely find the time and energy to do anything.  Getting back into shape is on my list.  I would love to fit into my clothes again.  I need to slow down and breathe.  Take my time and not worry so much.  But so much is happening these days, and I struggle with letting go of control and just let things "be."  How does everyone else do it?

Sewing 101

Holy moly, I've decided to take a sewing class!  Not a simple, Senior Center sewing class taught by nice elder ladies who love to sew. Nope, a full semester of sewing 101 at a community college with "kids" about 20 years younger than me (now that makes me feel old!).  I'm not so sure what I got myself into, or my friend into.  I convinced a good friend of mine to take the class with me and I don't know if she'll ever talk to me again once it's over.  The class is taught by a young, skinny lady who worked in New York City for Calvin Klein (or someone equally famous and fancy).  I'm not so sure she can teach, really.  The first day started off with her saying "go pick a machine and begin to thread your needle and wind your bobbin.  Then just free sew for a while."  HuhWhat the heck?  Now, I know what a needle and bobbin are (I'm not that uneducated in sewing lingo).  But where do I start? 

After some time (and lots of cheating) I finally…

Sometimes, when I look back

Sometimes, when I look back on that day and the days that followed, I feel this incredible sadness.  Not only for you and what you went through, not for the fact that you died and being without you, but also for my own life, my own heart, for Chris' life.  The pain, hurt, loss and heartbreak during the month before you died, your death, and the time afterwards, is just so horrifying that this happened. And to me, my son, my husband.

I tell myself that there are much worse things that happen to millions of people every day.  When I compare our situation to all the suffering around us, we have so much to be grateful for - the love and support we received from family and friends, the knowledge that you knew nothing but love from those around you, and that you died peacefully.  I try not to get weighed down feeling sorry for myself that such a terrible thing happened to my first child.  But I don't deny that pain.  To deny it would minimize or take away from the joy and happiness t…