It’s 10:30pm the night before Poppy was born. This time last year I was going to bed knowing I wouldn’t sleep through the night. It was our due date and the baby was coming. I’d had mild contractions all day but they were changing and I felt confident this was it. I got into bed and imagined what was ahead. More contractions, the pain of labor, and meeting our child. The wait was finally over.
I woke up around 12:30am. In that brief 2 hours my contractions really kicked in. I walked downstairs and Eli was awake surfing on his computer. I remember strongly suggesting he get his buns in bed if he ever wanted to sleep again.
After helping me download a contraction timing app on my cell phone and making sure I had everything I needed to be comfortable, he went upstairs. I labored alone with my yoga ball while Dumb and Dumber played on TV.
Before I knew it, it was 4:00am. I woke Eli up by calling him on the phone — I couldn’t make it up the stairs. He was a nervous wreck as he gathered up our pre-packed bags and escorted me into the car. We got the green light from the midwives to head to the hospital. My contractions were strong, persistent, and coming quickly.
I’ll stop there with the reminiscing because the rest of the story is tragic. Our baby dies. A horrible twist on what promised to be my beautiful fairy tale. But here I am, one full year since the day she was born and I’m stronger than ever.
I hadn’t allowed myself much space to reflect on these final days and hours before Poppy was born, but my mom mentioned it earlier this week and it caught me off guard. She said something like “I know you must be thinking a lot about this time last year.” I stopped her. “No, I haven’t.”
It’s not that I haven’t been aware of the date, but the reality is I have to focus on now. My head and my heart are here — experiencing what it’s like to be here, a survivor. Today. Now. I have come so far. That’s what I keep focusing on.
I feel strong. I am a fortress within myself. I am vulnerable and brave. I am fallible. I have crawled through hell. I have burned through the rage. I have melted off the pain. And for the most part, I’m doing remarkably well.
I am in love with my husband. I am smitten by my puppy whose adventurous spirit and gentle soul brighten every day. And I am deeply touched I was chosen to be Poppy’s mommy.
I have come to believe Poppy needed me to help usher her soul onto the next realm, whatever and wherever that may be. I believe that her soul’s mission was complete when she died and during her brief time on earth she accomplished what she needed. She was held perfectly in my womb. She was warm and protected. She was loved completely.
Now that she is no longer a baby, rather a bright spiritual force, she is leading me on a new path. I feel her love every day. When she died, a part of me died. Because I’m still in physical form, my spirit had the great honor of moving through the pain, rage, sorrow, depression, guilt, fear, and anxiety of grief. I have a whole year of surviving and I’m so thankful to be here.
Last night I was in the shower washing my hair when the song “Seasons of Love” popped into my head. It’s from the Broadway musical Rent. I knew every word to every song when I was in high school, but I haven’t thought of it in over a decade. The song’s central question is “How do you measure a year in the life of a woman or a man?” The song encourages us to measure our life in love, to sing out and remember the love. The idea isn’t new, but it’s one worth remembering and worth getting stuck in your head. ;-)
So I’m doing just that. I’ll remember this last year as an incredible journey into the depths of what it means to be human. To hurt. To heal. To celebrate. And to love. Always to love.
Signing off with lots of love,