Frozen

On a cold night in January I made Chris take me to see a movie in the theater. I was feeling badly- my mood was really low, which was not uncommon. When you’re told that the baby you’re carrying, your first child, a strongly desired baby, will likely die because her kidneys are broken, making low fluid and causing her lungs to be really small, sometimes your mood gets low. In was one of those days and I just couldn’t shake it. Chris asked me what would make me feel better and I told him going to the movies. It was a good idea too even in our hopeful times. Our baby’s death was not a certainty. It was possible she could live and if she did she would be medically complicated needing lots of care. If she survived, a night out at the movies would be impossible, so might as well do it while we could.

“Frozen. I want to see Frozen,” I told him.

“Are you sure?” he asked me. “There are likely going to be lots of kids there.”

I was sure- I wanted a movie that wasn’t real and I’ve always been a fan of kid movies. So after a near miss (the first movie theater we went to had lost power), Chris and I found ourselves walking carefully across an icy parking lot to the theater. He held my arm the elbow as I maneuvered my thirty two week belly around.

“I can’t fall!” I said to Chris almost jokingly. “We’re not monitoring!”

In pregnancy, if you fall, especially in the third trimester, it’s standard to be seen in the hospital for some monitoring of the baby afterwards- to make sure there are no contractions or signs of a placental abruption. We had had to make some difficult decisions regarding monitoring of our baby. With no fluid, there was a great risk for stillbirth. The baby’s heart rate could be monitored for signs of distress, but it’s an inexact science and most stillbirths in these circumstances happen practically in an instant. We had the option of being admitted from the diagnosis at 27 weeks and monitored 24/7 or we could do weekly (or any other chosen interval) monitoring or we could do no monitoring. Choosing monitoring meant we were willing to have an emergent c-section- potentially affecting my future fertility- and allowing our baby to be born prematurely. We made a highly researched and educated decision (met with many specialists) that our baby had the best chance of life if she was born after 34 weeks. We chose no monitoring until then, recognizing if she had distress before then we would lose her. Upon admission we would take no chances and I would be admitted for 24/7 monitoring. So at 32 weeks, if I fell, I would have to decide whether I’d want to break that plan and be monitored, risking early delivery if there was distress. On the flip side, if there was distress, we wouldn’t know about it and my baby could die inside me.

“No falling!” Chris assured me as he gripped my arm tighter. The ground glistened with black ice. We slipped and slided with several close calls but made it safely into the theater. I watched Frozen and was delighted.

When Mabel died, my family came for her services. I found a little joy in the innocence that was my niece. At 3 years old, she was rightly obsessed with Frozen. She would sing, somewhat unintelligibly and very much off key, the words to “Let it go” and dance around the living room. She built her very first snowman (a big deal for a kid who has only grown up in southern California) and named it “Snowloff.” In the weeks that followed, long after my little niece left, I found myself saving “Let it go” to my playlist. I’d sing along to the lyrics in my somewhat unintelligible and very much off key voice:

“Don’t let them in, don’t let them see

Be the good girl you always have to be

Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know!”

A perfect anthem for my grief.

This week I went clothes shopping. A secondary gain since my daughter died (I hate that term- is there a better one? An unintended benefit?) is that I’ve lost some weight. Extra time on my hands and needing an outlet for my anger and grief has brought me down below my pre-pregnancy weight. I know I am fortunate that this happened this time- in the past I’ve been a very emotional eater and gained when I was down. Now I’ve found that I don’t fit into my clothes. So I finally put the hopes of a future pregnancy aside and decided to invest into some clothes that fit. I needed to look somewhat professional in pants that weren’t super baggy. A quick trip to Kohl’s and I found some duds that fit the bill. As I was headed to the check out, a sweater caught my eye. I had wandered past the juniors department and just kept staring at this one sweater. I went up a size, figuring the juniors sizes would be ridiculously small and tried it on in front of the mirror. I was smitten.

photo (37)

I like warm hugs

Chris rolled his eyes when I showed it to him at home. He said “o-kaa-ay” in that two tone mild sarcasm when I put it on to wear it out to the movies (now with no baby, we have the freedom to do so whenever we want). But I told him in the car how when I wear this sweater I think of Mabel- pregnant with her skating across the theater parking lot, my niece singing it before we went to Mabel’s wake and the lyrics of it’s main song that was the anthem to my grief. He held my hand proudly in the theater afterwards.

Mabel has her carrots, but she also has Frozen. I know I’m not alone in these comforts- there are Hugo’s stars and Gideon blue.

Do you have something you wear that makes you think of your baby?  

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12 thoughts on “Frozen

  1. I mean, plus, of course, Olaf has a carrot nose. I don’t think that’s a coincidence :). I am horrified to admit I have not yet seen “Frozen,” though I too am obsessed with the song “Let It Go” – as I wrote on my blog, it’s become one of my mantras!

    • right! I forgot to put that too! the carrot nose. double meaning there 🙂

      frozen is pretty fun- it wasnt the most amazing movie I’ve ever seen (there was a lot of hype when it came out), but nonetheless totally enjoyable. broke some gender stereotypes which I appreciated.

  2. Carrots are now firmly associated to Mabel in my mind. This week, my partner found tiny twin carrots that look like they hug each other. he thought we should offer them to Paul because they were so full of love, and i thought of Mabel…

  3. It’s amazing how things have such resonance for our babies. I love your jumper, with its cute little carrot nose – perfect tribute for Mabel. I’ve never watched Frozen, but having read those lyrics, I think I’ll have to! x

  4. I don’t really have clothing that reminds me of my babies (apart from remembrance jewelry, which is a no-brainer), but there are songs that resonate with me. Let it Go is one of them. Another is a Tori Amos song called Promise. It’s a duet with her daughter, whose voice blows me away. It makes me bawl, but I love it. I couldn’t figure out at first what it was about that song that spoke to me, as it’s not about loss, unlike plenty of other Tori songs. I realized that it’s because it’s about this beautiful mother-daughter relationship. This precious thing that I lost. There are all sorts of other songs as well. Too many to list here.

  5. So true, so many precious reminders and “Olaf sweatshirts” do really make me smile. It is a perfect way to carry our children with us, I grapple at any way I can. I think it is actually become a little embarrassing the way I throw Gideon blue on regardless if it matches, or clashes, or needs to be a fancier occasion yet I am still throwing on my Gideon Blue Star earrings. Anything that helps right? Grief over fashion that is what I say 😉

    • anything that helps! I love how you have Gideon blue- and how others, friends and family, can share in that with you- an easy adornment that makes such a nice statement.

  6. These things are so important. Maybe it’s a way to hold on for dear life to those we lost, I think we LOVE being reminded, not of the loss, but that we still think of and miss our little ones. I am that way with Owl’s now, simply because it reminds me of D. Lucky for me they’re “in” these days, so not hard to find… but still. I know what you are saying. and BTW, Frozen is easily one of my favorite Disney movies. 🙂

    • yes- I love being reminded of the memories (not of the loss). I love Owls- we debated doing the the nursery in Owls (before being given the news we probably woulndt need one). i;m sure she’s everywhere these days for you!

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