Monday, January 12, 2009


It's not all angst, I swear. There is a lot of good in post-loss mothering too. I was just surprised by how much more aware of my loss it has made me. I know I said over and over again that I knew a new baby wouldn't take away that pain of losing Owen, but on some level I must have believed it would. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been surprised when it didn't, right?

I was talking the other day to another deadbaby mama and she was telling me that after her daughter died she had a physical. During that physical, her doctor discovered a heart murmur that was never there before. I can't stop thinking about it. It's like losing her daughter literally left a hole in her heart. I know it's crazy of me, but I think its the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.

It got me thinking about the hole Owen left behind. I see it more clearly now, since having Eden. When I look at her with J & K, Owen's absence is more glaring than it was before Eden's birth. I can actually see a hole in our family now. It's become more concrete for me. Between the preschooler and the infant, there is a toddler missing. I know that nothing, not Eden, not any other child, can fill that gap.

What Eden does, though, is fill up other spaces in me, holes I didn't know were there.

She makes my heart sing, holes and all. I've missed that.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Question Unasked, Unanswered

So with the New Year, I guess it's time for this post. The real reason I haven't been writing much since Eden was born. It's not really because of the day to day stuff, or fear of hurting others (although there is some of that), the real reason I've been avoiding writing is because I knew that if I started blogging here regularly again, I would eventually have to write this post. I mean, how long can words circle around in your head before they have to come out? It seems for me that answer is about 5 months.

I think I killed my son.

Let me back up. I didn't always think this. In fact, I know the exact moment that phrase came in to my head for the first time. It was August 11th, I was in the hospital and the hematologist was explaining my diagnosis to me. I.TP or idiop.athic thromb.ocytopenia pu.rpura, or in layman's terms low platelets for an unknown reason.

Dr. R was reading over my medical records and said to me "I see you lost a son to abnormal bleeding in utero- so you've had episodes of this before?" It was half question, half statement.

"No." I said quickly. "or...not that I know of..." A feeling of horror swept over me. "Could I have had this and not known?"

He looked at me. Then he shook his head. "Oh no, they would have tested you here before you delivered him. It's just that the intracranial bleeding....well that is not uncommon with ITP pregnancies. But it must have been something else."

"He wasn't born here. I had testing after he was born but not for a few months. I don't think I was tested when he was born." I was getting frantic.

"No, no. I'm sure they tested you. Let's deal with what's going on now." And he changed the subject. Not unkindly, he was just preoccupied with getting me safely through the current crisis. (In appointments since then Dr. R has confided how afraid for me he truly was those first few days. He didn't sleep and he and the OB did not leave the hospital until my platelets started rising.)

In every quiet moment since then I have wondered. What makes me crazy is that I do remember having lots of bruising that summer. I remember remarking to JD about it. I remember one of the midwives asking me hesitantly if I was "safe at home." But I don't remember any platelet testing.

I shared all this with JD after Eden was safely home. "I have all my records in the trunk with Owen's things. I could look...."

"Ashleigh, don't go there. What would it help? What would it change?"

"No. no. You're right. I should let it go."

But I didn't. I didn't let it go.

In my records are the results from all the various tests they ran the day Owen was born. No where among them is a simple CBC. No where is a platelet count.

I think I killed my son.