Today

Today, I dedicated my dissertation to you, my little love. I wrote your name and your stillbirthday on the first page as I prepared the document for filing.

Today, you are in my mind as your little sister grows in my belly. I hope, pray, beg that she makes it, missing you all the same.

Today, I am 22 weeks 4 days pregnant – exactly how far along I was when I lost you. I miss you. I love you. I lost you.

Today, I caress my growing belly, and your little sister moving under my skin. It reminds me of my pregnancy with you and how you moved. I did not know you were dying. You never moved as much as your sister. I did not know how to help you. I need to forgive myself. I hope you forgive me.

Today, I am terrified like every other day but I also catch myself believing in this new pregnancy – letting hope in, sometimes even dreaming a little. And then I come back and feel even more terrified.

I had bleeding a day before Thanksgiving – exactly the day we found out you were gone last year. It began to snow as we drove to the OB office. I was sure I was losing this baby too but it turned out to be inexplicable. The doctors think it had to do with straining as it happened with bowel movement. Since then everything seems to be going well. We have ultrasounds every two weeks, and this little girl is growing. I hope, pray, beg that she makes it.

fear

It has been so long since I last wrote. I am still here, and, if everything is still fine since the nuchal screening, almost 15 weeks pregnant now. I felt so sick and tired in the last two months that it must have made the anxiety manageable. I am now feeling better. I stopped throwing up and am able to eat healthy things and keep my medicine down – and the fear began to consume me. I have a doctor appointment on Friday, and I am dreading it- the doppler in particular.It takes so much effort to silence my own heart during the time it takes for them to put the gel on my belly and find the heartbeat. And the “what if, what if..” But I go to my appointments, I lie down, close my eyes, and hope – hope for this child to make it. That is all I can do.

…now, waiting

I think, oh I so hope, I am 6 weeks + some days pregnant! We found out almost 2 weeks ago. I was utterly shocked how much happiness this pregnancy brought to our lives in such a short time. How much we actually want to be happy again despite beginning every sentence “if this baby lives”

I defended my dissertation 2 days ago, and am now officially a “Dr.” I am about to start a good job in two days.

This morning, after a bm, I spotted! Light brownish discharge and that was all. Again in an hour or so, and this time light pink. It has been more than 10 hours now and it stopped. I talked to my new dr’s office as well as the previous dr, who was there when we lost Snow. As far as we know, it is good that it has stopped and that I do not have other symptoms, but it seems it could go both ways.

S is in the UK, and will hopefully arrive NYC soon. He will be back home after midnight. I do not know whether I will still have this baby then.

I am shocked, terrified, lonely, sad, and maybe hopeful!

We told this pregnancy to our parents because we had to. S had to live for the UK the day we found out, and I could not go through the first few weeks alone, not telling my mum. I also told a very close friend, who asked about it, and I did not want to lie. I do not know how I would tell them that we lost this baby too if that were to happen.

Please, baby, stay..

This is not real

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I have a Film Studies certificate in addition to my regular BA degree in literature. I then changed fields and got my PhD from a different social science area, but there was a year in my early 20s when I thought about specializing in film studies. Probably I was confused about life and my choices, but primarily it was because of my love of the visual. The therapist I started seeing after losing Snow diagnosed me with first PTSD, and then, during the last 2 months when I developed an intense fear and anxiety about future, with intense visual imagination. The moment she uttered the phrase, I thought, of course. This also why I love the things I love- stories, movies, literature. This is why I think visually. Whether it is good or bad thoughts, I think through imagery. I think I always had this. Losing Snow simply exacerbated it, and sent me to the darkest corners of my mind. As a child, I was the one who devised the most ridiculous games. As a teenager, I thought I should make movies. As I became an adult and lost my daughter, I began filming catastrophes with my imagination.

I studied artsy movies (of course- that was cool!), but there is also this other side of me which indulges in trashy movies. Name any movie or TV series which involves apocalyptic imagery (yeah, there is no good in denying: I love The Walking Dead) or the fantastic, I have probably seen it. In that spirit, two nights ago we saw The Divergent! It is really bad. But here is what I saw in it. There is a scene in the movie where the protagonist is forced to take a mental test wherein she is medically induced to confront her deepest fears. The catch is as she is trapped in her fears and fantasies, those who are administering the test could visually map her mind and dreamworld and watch her fears/ordeals.But she has this talent that enables her to realize that her mind is being manipulated. That the terrors she finds herself fighting against are actually not real. When things are at its worst, she can stop and say “This is not real!” And then comes liberation. The nightmarish structure crumbles the moment she can distinguish fact from fantasy. The bars imprisoning her come down with a touch of her finger.

This is the talent I hope to have. Every time I am afraid of things, every time my over stimulated imagination throws at me terrible images of my suffering (my loved ones suffering), I would like to be able to say “This is not real!” And thereby liberate myself.

And one part of me wants to write this too: I wish that losing Snow was a bad, bad dream I was trapped in, and I could have said “This is not real!” and that nightmarish dreamland of my imagination could crumble into pieces.

But I just cannot let my self go there.

Snow’s story

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I wrote this after being released from the hospital – after the 2 day long induction that brought to the world my dead baby..I cannot stand reading it now and it is badly written..but given the fact that this blog is for my little girl, I thought it should be here..

 

Since I was a child, I took it for granted that bad things happen at distant places – in news, in movies, or at worst, to other people. You read or hear about people talking about how unexpectedly tragedy struck them – an accident, cancer, loss of a loved one –, but the news do not really register. You feel deeply sorry for them, of course, and even reach out and try as well as you can to relieve their suffering, but it is hard to put yourself in their shoes. You do not really want to do it – why would you? In fact, one does not know how. At least, I did not. Until, my life was shattered one day, quite so unexpectedly. It was the happiest of times. My husband, S, and I were expecting our first child. Wine smelled terrible, cheese was unthinkable, and I banned the use of perfumes and perfumed toiletries at home, but there was this unbounded happiness in every breath. In expectation of our child, we indulged ourselves. We moved into a cartoonish yellow house, which we could barely afford. It had red tiles on the roof, and it looked as if it was imported from a funny children’s story. We bought a new and safer car. We probably only own the wheel at the moment, but it seemed perfect for a small family. S bought a new camera and a new TV, which had millions of web functions and could do Skype. We wanted to capture every moment of this new life, frame it in images, and share it with friends and grandparents dispersed in different continents. And we did all the other things that expecting parents do. Timing our days on the rhythm of the little kicker in my womb, we felt, dare I say, invincible!

And our baby kicked! At nights especially. In bed, I would hug S from behind his shoulders, pressing my womb gently on his back, hoping that he would feel the kicks, and whisper to his ear: “A boy or a girl?” He changed his mind almost every night. A dancing girl one night, and a playful boy the other. We did not know, you see, not because we love surprises but because our little one did not disclose her/his gender to us. We tried hard, 50 minutes to be precise, to a get a glimpse of what is between the legs at the 19th week ultrasound, but s/he refused to uncross them. The world was full of mysteries then, and everything had a hidden significance. Maybe we were not meant to know, I thought. Until we meet her/him in person, a few more months ahead.

Then one day, towards the end of my 22nd week of pregnancy, I felt no kick. It was a weekend, and I had to wait for Monday to get it checked. I was not alarmed, just slightly worried. I read far too many books about pregnancy, and knew regular movement was not to be expected before week 24. Monday morning I called my OBGYN office and in half an hour we were waiting for the midwife in the medical center. Even then, I was not worried. In fact, I was reading Martin Luther, whom I was supposed to teach to my freshmen students the next day; and S was busy with preparing for his American Political Thought class. We were almost sure that this extra visit would ultimately be unnecessary. Once we hear the baby’s heartbeat, we would go back home, and joke about how much Aetna would charge me for it.

But, I know now, life has a million ways to surprise you. If I could go back to that room where we were waiting for the midwife – I will call her Diane – in that cold, late November morning, I would stop reading, lie down, caress my baby, and imagine. Imagine our lives together rather than waste time with other things. Devour every second when I still thought that life to be a sure thing – scratch those seconds, indulge myself, go wild in daydreaming. Not knowing how terrible things could get, I did not do any of these. I waited, bored, for Diane to come, find my baby’s heartbeat, and just be done with this.

Diane finally came in the room, really late. Timeliness was not the best part of this OBGYN practice. She asked a few questions, looked somewhat concerned, dropped the liquid on my belly, and began the search for that glorious sound of a little heart beating. No sound at first, and then the racing sound of my heart, gradually grasping what that meant, in pieces, and all alone. She sent us to an ultrasound scan, which confirmed that our child died in utero at 22 weeks of gestation. Our child, not yet born, but so real. Not yet here but at the center of our lives. I could not look at S. I could not even cry at first. Everything felt so profoundly unreal. It was as if we were forcefully inserted into another, a cruel life. But at the same time, this was the most real thing that ever happened to me. Unable to endure its crushing force any longer, I collapsed to the floor. The feeling of the sharp edges and the icy cold of the concrete on my skin. This was real. White walls rose above me, like giant empty pages. I hugged S like never before, and we cried, loudly and for a long time.

Then Diane came back into the room, forcing us to raise our heads from each other’s shoulders and hands, and face the world again. She was sorry. I could see it. She was also surprised. There had been nothing wrong with my pregnancy, she said. I was young and healthy, and the baby had been doing wonderfully until then. I had too many questions but I did not know how to ask them. I did not have the force to ask them. There was no time anyway. I had to give birth.

In the intricate world of pregnancy loss and intrauterine fetal demise, which I unfortunately know a lot about now, weeks of gestation matter. While terminologies and regulations differ (a result, I suspect, of religio-political as well as medical reasons concerning the right to abortion, insurance polices, and whatnot), in most U.S. states, after 20 weeks of gestation, pregnancy loss is considered stillbirth, not miscarriage. The baby needs to be vaginally delivered – unless there is no other complication. Diane wanted us to go to the birth center that evening so that they could start inducing me. “We do not want to lose time,” she said, “and risk the mother’s health.” The process could take up to 3 days, so we were told to prepare for an extended stay.

Words flew in and out of my ears. I listened to this madness and clung to S – still on that concrete floor, soaking in the cold from underneath my legs. I wanted to run away – leave that room, the ultrasound machines, Diane, all of it! Just take S with me, and keep our baby in the dark and deep interiors of my uterus. Its birth and death place. As angry as I was at my own body – Why the hell did it not do what it was supposed to? Why did it fail me? Why did it let my baby die? – I did not want to let her/him out. I did not have enough of my child. Images and instances of the life that we will never have, and which I was not even aware I imagined, raced through my head. The first sickness, the first fight, the first time s/he gets angry at me. This was not right. It just wasn’t.

Why was this happening? Diane had no answers. There is usually no answer, she said. Nobody knows! It is such an understudied topic, despite its devastating impact. Terrible luck? Losing a child for no apparent reason at the 22 weeks of gestation. It happens so rarely. According to her, 1 in every thousand pregnancies. The Internet has many different answers. 0.03 % chance according to one study. Others claim 1 in every 160 pregnancies. In fact, once you find yourself at the wrong end of statistics, you do not really give a damn. God’s plan? Many old relatives said so. What kind of a plan is this? A little baby – my baby! My mum said on the phone, and I know she was trying to make sense of this: “God must love her/him more.” I thought I would lose it altogether. “I really, really doubt it.”

Diane said they will do tests before and after birth. It could be an infection, a cord accident, or a blood clotting disorder. But then again, and in fact, most of the time: “We just do not know.” On that note, she urged us, we should go home, get ready, and get to the birth center by 6 pm.

The birth center! People were raving about this particular one. How wonderful it was! How low the rate of c-section was! Like many expecting women, I had imagined the birth of my child, of course. Everything would be natural. Back then I trusted my body and nature. I wanted to avoid all interventions. Holding S’s hand, I would defeat the pain. And I knew it would be worth it when I heard my baby’s first cry, then the first kiss, and then her/his head on my shoulder: Hello my darling.

This was not going to be the birth I imagined. As we entered through the doors of the birth center, my legs began to tremble. Could I really go through this? Pictures of babies everywhere, toys, happiness. This was the worst day of my life. The staff saw us enter. S explained the situation. Oh, they were expecting us, and they were so sorry. They took us to our room at the far end of the corridor. An act of decency to spare us the cries of healthy babies. Welcome to the land of stillbirth! At the far end of a birth center.

A series of nurses, OBs, technicians got in and out of the room, starting each conversation with “This is terrible, I am so sorry.” No trace of the usual Western discomfort about physical contact here. I always found it surprising that my British husband turned red with a feeling of alarm when I touched strangers in this country – a child’s head in the supermarket, the shoulder of a waitress I liked, the new “friends” we made at a bar that I felt like hugging at the end of the evening. “You are not supposed to touch people you don’t know,” he would say. “They may get irritated.” He was right. Body was sacred and private in this country. Remember, my Pilates-Yoga teacher asked permission to touch before she helped us with moves. Even doctors needed confirmation to touch you. So different from where I come from, where touches and kisses are no big deal, and where bodily privacy is frequently interrupted. Mostly as a sign of affection, of course, and sometimes, unfortunately, the opposite. Back to the room for stillbirth, the land of heartbreak, where affection was abundant. Caresses and pats were interrupted only by the blood they took – and lots of it – and by the descriptions of the terrible things that awaited us.

First, the OB on call described the process of induction in detail. They will first use Cytotec, administered vaginally in 3 to 4 stages, with around 6 hours in between each dose. Because the baby was small, cervical dilation need not reach 10 cm, but at least 6-7 cm was necessary for the head to get through. The OB administered the first dose around 7 pm. We started waiting. I was now worried about S. He had a terrible headache. I wondered how he really was. Because I could not, he had to be strong for both of us. I could still see the shock in his eyes. As I did, he felt powerless, but all the more loving and kind. For this, my love for him magnified. I held his trembling hands hour after hour as we waited for the contractions and our baby to arrive in this longest of nights.

1 am. Still no contractions. The second dose was administered, and they gave me sleeping pills. S took some painkillers, and lay down with me.

I must have fallen into a drug-induced sleep for a few hours. When I opened my eyes, it was around 6 am. S was dozing in the chair-bed next to me. I felt cramps and pain around my abdomen. Our baby must have been on its way. The nurse brought breakfast, which neither of us had any appetite to eat. It was terrible anyway. Then another OB came in to check how much I dilated. Cold hands through my vagina reaching out to my dead child. She could touch the feet she said, but I was only 3-4 centimeters dilated. It was not enough. They administered the third dose of medication. And we continued to wait.

This was when it started snowing. No, this is not right. It also snowed the night before, but now there were lots of it. The first snow of the year. I got obsessed with it. They have already told us our child needed a name for its birth and death certificate – depending on how you look at it. S had been thinking about a name since the previous night. I hated the fact that we had to name this baby, and now. Like I hated all the other decisions we had to make like whether we wanted an autopsy or not – we did not – or whether we would like to arrange a cremation or burial – we chose cremation. But having to decide on the name hurt most. Staring out of the window, S asked: “What about Snow?” My eyes were full of tears. It was perfect. “Snow Kar,” I said, adding the Turkish for snow. Elegant, fragile, and unique as a snowflake, and as short lasting as our poor, dead, dear child. It was late afternoon of the second day now, and Snow Kar was still not coming.

But the contractions were really intense. The OB wanted me to have the epidural. There is no use in going through all the pain she said. It is hard as it is. Also they may have to go in and remove the placenta manually if it did not come out on its own. Having the epidural now will save time then. I said yes.

An anesthesiologist came in the room roughly half an hour later. He was a tall, middle-aged man. He explained the risks of taking the epidural. He showed me the forms that I needed to sign. In pain and shock, I could not even read properly. Did I give my consent? The illusion of choice! I signed. He asked the nurse how long I had been on the IV. You have to be very hydrated before taking the epidural. She replied that unfortunately we just started. He seemed a bit concerned. Worse, they had forgotten the IV in the fridge. As the freezing saline water mixed with my blood, I started shivering. The more that went in, the less able was I to control my limbs and jaw. I now think it must have been such a fitting image for how I felt. I had no control over my body, and what was happening to me, to us, and all I could feel was the cold in my veins. But, S was visibly startled. I wondered if he was afraid of losing me too.

The anesthesiologist said, “We have to start.” Despite trembling limbs and the possible dehydration. I needed to sit very still for around 20 minutes so that he could locate the correct spot on my spine, get into it, and administer a small dose to make sure he is in the right place, and then we would go ahead and administer the whole dose. Because my body was shaking, the nurse and S had to hold me from my shoulders. It was like a science-fiction movie, and I felt like a robot being un-made. He explained each move. Now he was touching my hips and cleaning the area three times to prevent infection. “Oh, this will be super easy,” he said, “you are so thin.” An incomplete pregnancy! This man began to annoy me. Then, he was anesthetizing the area so that he could get into the spine with something that S says looked like a screw-driver. He finally administered the trial dose. How did I feel? Any pain? “There is pain on my left side.” He did not hear me, or he did not understand. I am a foreigner, you see, with an accent. And I expect it takes some effort to understand a foreigner when she is giving birth to her dead child with refrigerated saline water moving through her veins. So instead of making the effort, he decided to talk to S and the nurse. They are native speakers: “What did she say?” I repeated: “I have pain on my left side.” A second time, he did not get it. “What did she say?” S was angry now, and worried. He and the nurse, who both understood me, interrupted each other frustratingly: “She says she has pain on the left side.” In any other setting, I would have taken a fight with this man. But I was too weak, and in too much pain. And he was playing around with my spine. I had to let it go.

But he did not. “What kind of pain?” I find this question to be particularly difficult. I don’t know. I cannot grade it on a scale of 1-10. “It is a sharp pain on my left side. I think it is getting better now.” Now I was also not talking to him. S asked: “Is it really better now?” “It is.” “OK,” said the anesthesiologist. My legs grew numb. We were in the right spot. He administered the full dose and laid me down. I was not supposed to move for 20 more minutes. When the contractions get worse, they will increase the dose.

The nurse and the anesthesiologist left the room and S and I were finally alone. I was shivering even more now as the effect of the epidural joined in the cold saline water. It was hard to form sentences. My jaw was uncontrollable. I looked at S: “Kiss me.” He later told me he found this a strange request. But I needed it. His lips on mine felt warm and momentarily stopped the trembling. He kissed me, and we cried like that, lip-to-lip.

I could no longer feel the lower side of my body. It was weird. But then I felt something leaking in between my legs. And a foul smell. I thought I pooped myself. This was getting embarrassing. We rang the bell and a nurse came in. I apologized and told her what I felt. “Let me take a look. Hmm, no you did not poop yourself dear, but I think our baby is coming out soon.” It was blood that I felt. She told me authoritatively that I should get some rest, and left the room. In an hour or so, I started to feel the contractions again. They were really intense now. Another anesthesiologist came in the room to increase the dose of the epidural. This one was a kind man. He said, “I am sorry for your loss,” as he left the room. Why are all anesthesiologist men? And all OBs and midwifes are women? The topic of another reflection.

A short while later, my legs grew so numb that I could not feel anything. It was now completely dark outside and it was still snowing.

Diane came back in the room with a trainee midwife. A lesson in tragedy. She checked my cervix. “We are almost there.” How about a little Pitocin to finish it all? Why not?

The final stage of labor began. S and I were alone in the room, and both of us were tired. It was around 6:30 pm now. We started to talk about the good things that happened to us in 2013. It was hard to remember but we tried anyway. “We got married,” I said. S looked at me with a little concern. “That was in the summer of 2012, canim.” He was right. I could not think straight. But then I remembered other things, and correctly. S defended his dissertation. I was about to finish myself. We conceived this wonderful baby. Yes, s/he did not stay with us, but gave us tremendous joy for 22 weeks. I felt so much love for S and for this child that my heart was about to burst.

But then I felt something. It was 7.04 pm. “Something happened, as if something is leaking.” We called in the nurse. She looked down at me, and said somewhat alarmingly, “Let me get Diane.” I then knew that our baby was there somewhere underneath the sheets. But I could not look down, or say this to S. I think I was afraid. I think S was as well. We waited. In 5 minutes or so, several nurses came into the room. Diane was on her way. And yes, our child was born.

As they descended on me, something I did not see coming, or indeed, thought possible happened. I started talking to God and to our child. If you could call that talking. At God, whom I did not know existed or not, I was angry. “Why, why, why?” To my child, I was apologizing – in million words and languages. Some of the nurses started crying. S was holding my hand. He was also crying.

I turned to one of the nurses and asked: “A boy or a girl?” A girl.

You were a girl, sweet, sweet baby. You had your father’s eyebrows, and I think my hands and feet. You had no hair yet, but if you did, I think it would have been brown and curly. You were as light as a snowflake, but all the nurses admired how tall you were. Your father and I held you long, memorized your features, and dream about you every night. We eventually brought you home, in a small blue urn. I keep you warm, lighting candles around your urn each night. This is a love letter to you; and I hope you will read it one day. I will not say farewell, but say this instead, in our secret language: “Annen seni çok seviyor.”

News

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One of my best friends told me today that she is pregnant. The news came after finding out from a friend a few days ago that another friend has just had her baby. I did not even know she was pregnant. They live far away and the news was skillfully kept from me. I am very happy for them. I really am. But after each such conversation, I cry. I pity myself. I remember how I felt last August when I found out I was pregnant..how innocent and blissfully happy I was.. and then shit happened.

I hate the fact that there is this bitterness in me that prevents me from fully rejoicing in the happiness of my loved ones.

I hate the fact that I am that person from whom either the news of pregnancy is kept, or it is introduced with careful design and planning.

I hate the fact that we have been trying for almost 6 months now and I am still not pregnant. I was not prepared for this. It feels like another failure. And I am just tired of feeling this way.

Her name is Snow

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When I was walking L this rainy morning, we saw a beautiful dog approaching us with her owner. As much as L likes human beings, he hates other dogs (to say the least!). But he really liked this one. They sniffed each other, and then stayed cheek to cheek. And we shared the stories of our dogs – that they are both rescue dogs, that ours is probably a Havanese mix, and so forth. And then he asked what our dog’s name is. I said ‘it is L.” I asked what his dog’s name is. And he said “Her name is Snow.” My heart, oh my heart started racing. I touched Snow’s beautiful head, and said, “Hi, Snow! It is so nice to meet you.” And I cried all the way back home, as we walked different ways.

Alone and afraid..

S left for a conference today. He won’t be back before a week. And I am trying to finish my dissertation. Two weeks left before I submit the rough draft. I should talk about how I am not feeling any gratification or even a genuine relief about finishing – how my self confidence is so shattered (after losing Snow) that my mind is not able to register the completion of this long PhD journey with a work which I actually feel good about. Perhaps it is my body, not my mind. I can no longer feel calm, at ease, content. No. The tightness in my stomach, my clenched jaws – as if I am constantly trying to unmake myself.

All of these things I should talk more about. But the overwhelming feeling I have at this very moment is fear. I cried in the afternoon, before I drove S to the train station. I don’t know what I am not afraid of. The list is so long. I am constantly expecting the worst. I am afraid that something bad will happen. I am afraid of being alone- although our dog L is here. Am I afraid of being alone with Snow? I don’t know.

We have been through so much in the last two months. And not just grief. S had a small operation. We waited for the biopsy results. They came fine. But it was just so much. I constantly feel under pressure and scared. I am so grateful for what we have – this is what sickness or the threat of it reminds you: Focus on what you have, not what you have lost. And most of the time, I do, I can.

But then at other times,the yearning for her is so profound, so unbearable.

I never smelled her. I never kissed her. I never looked at her eyes.

She will never walk, never smile at me, or hold my hand.

I can complete many dissertations. Yet what I want most is permanently incomplete – she is the greatest mystery of our lives.

Signs..of you

We have an ultrasound image of you from week 13. Your father and I were so naively shocked to see how much you had grown since we last (and first) saw you as a little bean with a heart-beat at 7 weeks. As the specialist lady was checking your neck and my blood, I shed happy tears and marveled at your beauty, your existence..so much loved, so wanted, so perfect..

The image has three different shots at you from different angles. In the middle one, you are sticking your tongue..really..We laughed and laughed. We imagined you as a feisty little one, with inappropriate humor.. already communicating with us..sticking your tongue at us. Already.

I am haunted by this image. Did you already know? Were you trying to warn us? Already?

Is that why you refused to disclose your gender in your 19th week scan? Oh, how much we tried; how many tricks the technician made me do, moving my belly from one side to the other. No, you did not want us to know.. until we knew in such an untimely winter night, waiting for you to arrive for 24 hours, knowing that you died a few days ago..

Your father was in that same ultrasound facility yesterday morning. He was in the room we saw you dead..your heart not beating..of course, I did not really see you, because I was so afraid to look..but your father did..and yesterday, he was there getting an ultrasound himself to see whether he has something bad, something we really feared, and something we today found out, with so much gratefulness, that he did not have..Now, we will try to find what is wrong with him, other than the immense sadness and worry he constantly carries as your absence..

He told me there is a crystal decoration hanging from the ceiling in that ultrasound room. I have not seen it; I had no eyes to see when I was lying there. But he did see, and he looked at it, probably diverging his eyes from your stillness on the screen. Yesterday, as he was on that table where I laid with you, already gone, inside me, he said, he stared at that same crystal image. Stared, and stared, and thought of you. Now, I know, you were there; waiting for him, watching over him, making sure he is all right; watching over me..over my broken heart, yearning, yearning for you, but also so content and grateful today..for your father, for having you with your father, for the future we have to miss you with your father..Thank you, my dear one.

I love you.

“I love you: I want you to be.”

I want to re-write the story of her silent birth, a story better than I wrote elsewhere, a few days after losing her, in those rawest moments of grief. But I wonder whether I will ever be able to write that.

Instead, I write this for you, my little girl. Today, in a friend’s academic paper on Hannah Arendt and the power of the will, I read this quotation from Saint Augustine: “amo, volo ut sis,” which means,  “I love you: I want you to be.”

This is what I want to write as your story: your life story, your death story, your birth story, and in that terrible, cruel order.

Million, million times, over and over again: “I love you: I want you to be.”