Out to dinner with friends this past weekend, a piano player filled the room with oldies like Elton John and Simon & Garfunkel. It was a bar restaurant in the town next door. Chris and I live in a sleepy suburb, where Italian restaurants abound, but little is to be found for nightlife. So on this Friday night, we met up with some friends in a more bustling town that offered several places to chose from. We ended up at Jake’s- a hopping martini bar, with a front room for a nice dinner and a back room for local bands. On this night we dinner diners were treated to the musical musings of a man, a piano and a microphone. His style of music and song choices reminded me of a musician Chris and I heard at a little tavern in Mystic, CT, while we were checking out wedding venues. We sat in the bar saying we both loved the seaport and decided then, that was where we wanted to get married. We ate our dinner contentedly listening to a guitar player singing songs that I loved. At the end of the night we got his card and a few months later hired him to play at our after party in that very tavern.

I found myself singing along quietly to the piano player, while juggling conversation and nachos all at once. I paused when I heard the familiar notes of our wedding song, “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley. I checked out for a moment and lost myself in the lyrics.

“You reminiscing back to your wedding day?” asked my friend who recognized the song.

“Well, yeah. But it’s also the song we played to Mabel.”

After Mabel died, Chris and I asked for time alone to say our final goodbye to our daughter. We both were falling asleep after being up all night into the next day, so when everyone left the room, we say on the sofa, taking turns holding her lifeless body that was quickly growing cold as I played the one song I had on my phone – “Hallelujah.”

Oh, my baby.

At the end of the song, I got up and gave the pianist a darn good tip.



This post was inspired by a thought provoking post on one of my message boards (thanks Carole!).  Do you have a song that reminds you of your lost one?  

10 (non-grief) Things About Me

An online magazine, Still Standing, which is popular in my babyloss community recently posted an article encouraging us to share about ourselves beyond what we usually share related to grief.  I’ve had several bad days this week and so the timing was good.  I need to remind myself that there is more to me than just grief, because some days it’s hard for me to believe that. I enjoyed reading Baby Boy Blue’s post and was inspired to write my own.


1. Where were you born and where do you live?

I was born in Providence RI, lived my first months in Warwick RI, then off the Belgium for two years, returning to Warwick before I was potty trained.  I spent the rest of my childhood in a small town in Massachusetts.  I went as far away as I could for college- California- and found my way to Connecticut by way of a short stint in DC.


2. What is your favourite food?

Chocolate, Hands down.  Bread is a close second.


3. Where have you traveled to?

Living in Belgium my during the first two years of my life I’ve traveled all over Europe, but I couldn’t list where.  In my memorable life, I’ve been to the east and west coast plenty and had my first real introduction to the Midwest after meeting my husband’s family who lives there.  I’ve been to Hawaii and Puerto Rico.  Internationally I’ve been to France, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, England, Switzerland, Italy, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Panama.


4. What are you reading right now?

The second in the Divergent Trilogy.  I read the first one a while back, felt it was just another version of The Hunger Games only less good.  But then I saw the movie Divergent and now I want to know what happens next.  As I read I’m reminded why I stopped after the first one.  Just finished The SIlver Star by Jeannette Walls.  I bought it at a library book sale in a quiet town in CT while biking during a camping trip.  I usually read on my kindle so it a total throwback to have a paper book.  Also recently finished The Empathy Exams: Essays by Leslie Jamison for my book group (which I didn’t attend- though it would have been a good book to talk about).  I recently gave up reading Pap Smears and Pet Goats by Pamela Wible, MD because she was too cheery on trying to solve the health care system- just quit and start your own practice! just like that! Bleh.


5. What is your favourite colour?

Purple. I wrote about it here.


6. Your favourite book?

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant-  You know the bible story of Joseph and all his brothers?  Well, he had a sister and mothers.  This is the story of the women left out of the bible.  It spoke to me as a woman, as a former catholic and as a midwife.  I also hold a favorite place in my heart A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The BFG.


7. Most amazing day of your life?

Aside from the birth of my baby (also the saddest day), my wedding day! I had lots of fun planning- we kicked a kickball down the aisle (we met playing kickball), had a cake eating contest and did a choreographed thriller dance.  I would plan another one in a heartbeat if anyone would like to fund it.


8. What have you been procrastinating on?

There’s pair of pants Chris needs hemming, a poster needing framing, rooms needing cleaning.  Plus there’s a bunch of hobbies Ive been meaning to start.  Chris got me a sander as a gift one year.  I wanted one because I had this great idea that I’d start refinishing furniture.  I’m the kind of girl who loves picking up perfectly good furniture on the side of the road.  I could sand them and repaint them.  I even have an old little side table ready to practice on. Someday….


9. What is a strange fact about you?

I am polydactyl! I was born with six fingers on my right hand.  As an infant the doctors did a highly technical procedure to remove it- they tied string around it until it fell off.  I lived my childhood with a little nubbin that people often thought was a wart.  So in high school a dermatologist removed it and it grew back!  In grad school I had another dermatologist try again and now all that is left is a faint scar.


10.  What is your perfect idea of a night in?

Homemade BBQ chicken pizza eaten on our patio on a warm summer night, chocolate chocolate chip ice cream and a movie with my boo.


The view from my patio.

The view from my patio.

I am Still Standing in memory of Mabel.

The Wedding

My friend got married and it was beautiful.  This wedding played an important role in my pregnancy.  I had a lot of worries while pregnant, most of them for good reason, and since I worked with pregnant women, I often needed a “safe” distraction, something unrelated to babies, something I enjoyed.  The wedding was just that.  These were closest friends getting married and Chris and I were both in the wedding party.

I had envisioned the day differently.  I envisioned all the ladies getting ready together.  I would have brought my baby for that part, so I could nurse and not leave my one month old home for so long.  I could picture my baby in a carrier, with her little legs in casts sticking out.  I could really picture it.  That vision got left behind when we learned of the oligohydramnios.  I started crafting a new vision, one that meant possibly missing the wedding because my baby was in the NICU.  Or relinquishing my role as a bridesmaid because I couldn’t leave my baby for an entire day.  Toting her to the church to watch the ceremony and leaving her with my mom for just the reception.  All these visions involved a baby that lived.  So being at the wedding, living a reality that I didn’t let myself envision was hard.  I was proud that I held it together all during the day.  Even while the makeup artist asked if I was happy (a very complicated question to answer).  Even while one of the other bridesmaids pumped.  I smiled and stuffed that pit in my stomach out of my thoughts.

It was during the reception that I broke down.  I missed the cake cutting and the dances with the parents.  I had several moments where I had to excuse myself to cry in the back room or pace outside in the fresh air.  I cried for a couple reasons.

It is so hard to see people who were pregnant at the same time as me.  It feels like a slap in the face.  It’s not their fault, people are allowed to be pregnant, have babies and be celebrated.  I am just so mad at the universe that I am not one of those people.  And seeing these bellies is a reminder of just how awful I feel.

I cried while slow dancing with Chris.  In my head I thought of how we looked to an unknowing someone watching- a couple, in love, having an intimate moment on the dance floor.  I couldn’t help but think- they don’t know.  They don’t know that our baby died.  That the intimacy was love but it was also sadness.

Seeing pregnant women and dancing with Chris both brought me to tears.  This was not how it was supposed to be.

I love weddings.  I love eating good food.  I love the happiness of the occasion.  I love dancing with Chris.  I want my friends to do this wedding all over.  In six months, when maybe I can breathe more easily.  When I can make it through a day without crying.  When I can celebrate them selflessly, the way it should be.