broken road

We were done. We were totally sure we were done with that pregnancy. Its part of why I especially hoped that baby would be a girl. I really appreciate having a sister and I wanted that for Jennifer.

I will never every forget her coming to my bed at the hospital and meeting her baby sister for the first time. The way she ran over while the boys entered sheepishly. Came straight to me and asked “is it a girl mommy? is it Charlotte? Is is my sister? This is the first time she held her.. I love the way she looks down at her with such love.. such pride.. And a contentment.

I remember the swell of love and pride I felt getting to tell her yes. She has a sister now. My bookend girls. Exactly perfect. She helped me with Charlotte right away. Real help. Pretty much everybody thought I was insane that I let my 5 year old carry my newborn.. but I did and I just knew it was ok. Every time we saw somebody for the first time she made sure they got to see her carry her baby sister. What a big girl she was. She did great too.. always such a natural knack for it.

Sometimes pictures say so much more than my words can
Simple joy and pride in Tonys face..and Jennifer comfortably care taking and watching a show.

 

With every baby I had one overriding thought when it came to gender. I wanted whatever would be best for Jennifer. She was the only one adopted so I worried most about how she felt… especially with a girl. Seeing her so full of exuberance and joy over a sister meant everything to me.

That never changed for her.. in the end. She wanted Charlotte here. . even just knowing she was in the house helped Jennifer. At just 9 months old Charlotte soothed her big sister in a way nobody else could.

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It feels so strange this time to not be wanting a gender that’s best for Jennifer. It seems unimaginable that in 6 months she won’t be running up to my bedside in the hospital to find out boy or girl..

When Jennifer got sick we talked about it for about 5 seconds and both agreed we were still done having kids. Then she died. And we were still done. .. But I ran .. a lot.. and I thought.. a lot..

And then one day I knew.. I wanted another. So I was brave.. I came in and told Tony. I believe his words were “no fucking way”. We talked about it 2 other times. . Open. Honest. And surprisingly brief conversations. Then one day he told me to stop taking the pill. After he said that was our only intense conversation about it. I had to be sure that he was sure.

I got pregnant quickly. I found out on July 28th. 9 months from the day she was diagnosed. It seemed so meaningful. I didn’t tell Tony right away .. I never do. But there were problems.. no heartbeat when there should have been one.. then it came and we were so happy. But then it got slower.. and then it stopped.

Even though we have experienced 5 miscarriages I thought there was no way we could have another.. not after.. Not after losing Jennifer.

I was wrong.

That same day her headstone was ready. .. It was time to bury our first born. I got in the car and heard Brave for the first time since the Sara Bareilles concert.

Tony took me for a d&c, he had never done that before. .. We always decided it was best for both of us to let somebody else handle those logistics those days. But this time.. I think we both needed it to be him. To be us.

Driving there I was so nervous.. my stomach was in knots. I wondering if that was how she felt every Monday driving to Stanford for another week of radiation. Pinkie in both of our laps.. She used to scream and cry and beg me not to go. I felt very much like doing just that.

She would cry so hard wiping her nose became pointless to her
She would cry so hard wiping her nose became pointless to her

..oh baby i am so so sorry you had to endure that.. and i am so sorry it didn’t help you..

So many songs came on during the drive to the hospital that had meaning.. The one that struck me the strongest though.. It was my anthem after she was placed in my arms. After all the shots and procedures.. heartbreaks and losses.. They lyrics say God bless the broken road that lead me straight to you..

I hoped that was her reminding me.. that she knew she was worth all the pain.. and somehow this would be too.

… i know it will be jennifer. i know.

We got to the hospital and went to check in. The same one baby Charlotte was born in a little more than a year before. We were both overwhelmed with it. But not for the reasons I am sure they assumed. .. Everything about this loss was connected to Jennifer for both of us.

So she let us know she was there. These signs are sacred.. I always debate sharing.. We gave our information . the same we have given time and time again. All of Tonys information since he carries our insurance, except this time it was Jennifer’s birthdate in the computer and not his. .

I just sat in the chair as the tears began to fall. So silently. So seamlessly that the lady behind the desk didn’t even notice. We went back to a little room and I got changed. We talked. Not about the baby. Not about the loss. But all about Jennifer. This whole experience was about her.

When I talked to the anesthesiologist I had some very specific instructions. I wanted to go under just like she did. I wanted to feel what she did everyday for 7 weeks. I wanted to know if I did a good job helping her with that transition daily. They must have thought I was crazy .. but I didn’t care. I knew the names of everything I wanted. I gently cried on the way back. Again not for this baby.. but for her. For knowing how much she had to go though. How much she trusted in me to make it all ok.

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And for just getting this experience that I wanted.. to see just a tiny little glimpse into one piece of what my daughter had to experience that I had no understanding of. I wish they let parents go through a treatment before their kids.. So we can be better equipped with how to help them.

When I fully woke up.. I saw I had all the nurses crying. Apparently I woke up and I sobbed. I called for her. I begged for her. These nurses so prepared for a mother in grief over one kind of loss taken completely off guard by the loss I was in agony over in that moment.

I think I was too. But it was ok. It was a gift of sorts. I am actually grateful for the miscarriage as it gave me a glimpse into what she had to go through. And Tony being the one at the bedside as the primary caretaker a glimpse into what I went through. And I think it also paved the way for me to be ready for this baby growing inside of me now.

you were right sissy miss

God bless the broken road

that lead me to dandelion..

and back to you.

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..until there is a cure…

18 Responses to “broken road”

  1. I laughed at the “no fucking way,” and cried about the other miscarriage. I still feel a little crazy missing a little girl who I never met. I feel like I knew her from all of your posts. Keep writing, keep sharing Jennifer with us.

  2. Libby I love you and your family, Jennifer is truly adored by many I miss her even though I never met her. Congrats on the new baby Jennifer will be estatic; until there is a cure.

  3. Oh Libby. I ache for you, and know that ache is nothing, maybe worthless. But I will continue to think of you and JLK and your family, and help make a difference.

  4. My heart breaks for the hoops you and Tony have had to jump through to fulfill your dreams. Thank you for sharing and being so honest with us. Sending you lots of love and light.

  5. Hey Libby, We are strangers, but I spent my morning thinking of you and your family. And your road. I spent so much time thinking about it I wanted to send a message to you. I went to your site to write you a note THEN read this blog. It’s kind of creepy because it was totally the message I was going to try to somehow articulate to you. Remember this broken path when you feel like you have failed Jennifer. You haven’t. You are exactly what she needed. You had a path that led her to you but SHE also had a path that led you to her. Much love.

  6. I too had many miscarriages before Nils… Your perspective is good to hear… Lots of love for you and your family!

  7. Your words and pictures are always so powerful. Usually I cry and pray during and after reading your posts. Today I sobbed. The picture of Tony and Jennifer and sweet baby Charlotte initially, then all the way to the end. You all are in my thoughts every day. I read every post-sure I could skip reading and save the myself my aching heart that realistically I shouldn’t have because we are only connected through words. But I can’t, your family and Jennifer are a part of my life. Your words are so important, and touch me deeply. Sending prayers for signs and guidance, always. The signs when you share them are so very, very beautiful.<3

  8. Oh Libby, I’ve been following your story and this entry made me sob. On so many levels. My heart reaches to yours tonight, to your family, to Jennifer, to your baby in utero. I wrap you all in a blanket of love.

  9. Oh Libby, this entry made me sob. I never know what to say, but I felt compelled to let you know that I’m still here after all this time. I pray for you and your family daily. By the way, I think you will have a girl this time (sent by Jennifer of course) so that Charlotte has an “earthly” sister. I really, really do! God Bless!

  10. Oh Libby, in the midst of everything, you went through another miscarriage. I’m so sorry. There are days I can’t believe your resilience and your fighterhood….you are my hero in so many ways.

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