Sunday, November 29, 2009

Guest post by Ezra's Daddy: Love's lessons from loss

Hi everybody,

Below is a link to a piece I wrote about Ezra, my father, and my personal experiences with grief over the past year or so.  It was published for Thanksgiving in the NBC News website,

Friday, November 27, 2009

32 weeks, 6 days ~ On Fragility

I feel like I'm on the edge of a precipice. Since coming home, my blood pressure has hovered around the highest range of normal acceptable (130s over 80s), while every so often dipping lower, but never higher. My protein levels remain normal. So the goal at this point is to just keep my blood pressure stable, and keep me pregnant for at least another week or so, if not longer. I've been exhausted, I'm not sure if from the two nights of no sleep in the hospital or the elevated pressure or both, so its not hard to convince me to stay put. With the exception of enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with my family yesterday (I so needed those hugs and snuggles from my niece and nephew!), I have pretty much spent my time in bed. And with the exception of all my many doctors appointments, that is how it will be.

Lying here I am reminded of just how very fragile this business of bring a new life into the world really is. An understatement in this babylost community of course, but something I didn't understand on any meaningful level before losing Ezra. Things escalated so quickly with Ezra -- one minute I was in the hospital on a fetal monitor, granted with elevated blood pressure and protein levels, but everything was ok, we were just going to keep an eye on things....and a half hour later he was gone. Even if I had still been on that fetal monitor, it is highly unlikely there was anything that could have been done - even an emergency c-section wouldn't have been quick enough for the lightening speed with which my body cut him off.

I remind myself that this time is different - we know my history now, what my body is likely to do, so there will be no deliberation about early delivery if my levels begin to creep up any higher than they are now. Sometimes it feels like my firstborn was sacrificed so that we'd know 'my history.' But given that "history," I know all too well there are no 100% guarantees -- all the medical monitoring and bedrest in the world does not 100% guarantee that Sunflower will arrive safely. Most days and moments I trust that he will, that sometime in the coming weeks I will be holding him in my arms. But it all feels so. damn. fragile.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Sunflower and I are back home. This morning I jointly decided with my ob and mfm that sending me home would likely be the best thing we can do to keep my blood pressure low and me as relaxed and comfortable as possible. Being in the hospital was pretty miserable and the longer I was there, the more I was decompensating emotionally, not helped at all by the fact that I've barely slept the past two days. So the care plan is restricted activity at home, to continue with daily monitoring of blood pressure and protein at home, along with going in 3 times per week for fetal monitoring, and weekly doctor appointments. Of course if anything seems the least bit off I will be back in the hospital in a heart beat.

So we're home - happy to be here but exhausted beyond belief. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

32 weeks, 4 days ~ A quick update

Thanks for all the support and well wishes I've received. The good news is that (a) my blood pressure has come down since being in the hospital, and (b) all the labs came back stone cold normal, I.e. no elevated protein levels (these tests are more precise than what was done before). So its looking less likely I am developing pre-eclampsia again, at least not yet. Sunflower continues to sound great on the 24 hour monitoring, although I'm learning quickly that 24 hour monitoring and sleep are less than compatible.

Today I will make a decision jointly with my ob and mfm (high risk doc) about whether I will be doing hospital or home bedrest. A lot of people have commented or emailed to say they feel I should not leave the hospital. Of course I will stay if it is warranted and best for me and Sunflower. But from what the doctors are saying, a lot of this comes down to what will manage my anxiety best - I personally am beginning to think I'd be much more relaxed at home. I can do much of the monitoring they are doing at the hospital on my own, and I will have 3 times a week doctors appointments for additional monitoring.
Of course I'll let you know what we decide. I am oh so grateful for all the love that's been coming my way.

Monday, November 23, 2009

32 weeks, 2 days ~ An Unexpected Yet Somehow Expected Turn

I've been admitted to the hospital. Despite a stunningly beautiful and relaxing weekend retreat with a group of 10 amazing and wonderful babylost mamas, my blood pressure decided to inch a bit high over the last couple days. A visit to the doctor this morning revealed still high blood pressure as well as minutely elevated protein...all of which suggests I may be developing pre-eclampsia again. In abundance of caution, my doctor decided to admit me so we can get a more full picture of what's going on. Have I mentioned I love my doctor? So here I sit in a hospital bed, listening to Sunflower's heartbeat gallop away (oh how I love that sound) as they watch me like a hawk. In fact, the blood pressure has come down some now that I have been on bedrest all day.The doctor is saying that tomorrow we will likely make a decision about early delivery v some sort of bed rest in the coming weeks.

I have to say I'm surprisingly ok with this turn of events...I guess on some level I've expected it all along. I couldn't quite imagine making it through this end bit of pregnancy without some version of this happening. I'm glad that the self-monitoring worked to catch things early, and that my 'history' means there's a different protocol this time round. Let's just hope and pray I have a happy ending to report sooner or later.

Monday, November 16, 2009

31 weeks, 2 days

The fear is palpable now, as I head into what feels like the danger zone.

Ezra died when I was 33 weeks, 5 days pregnant. The first indication we had that anything was wrong was a slightly elevated protein test at my 32 week OB appointment. This was followed by another test, which several days later resulted in my being directed to the hospital for more tests. Which all came back within the high range of normal. And so we were sent home. And Ezra likely died on the way home.

I don't question the doctors' decision to send me home. Nothing about the test results suggested I needed to stay in the hospital. Nothing suggested that Ezra wasn't safe. The light was yellow...proceed with caution. I was scheduled for an appointment to return 5 days later so they could keep an eye on things. Who knew that would end up being a post-partum appointment.

I know all too well how quickly all can go drastically wrong. So the fact that everything is healthy and good as I type, only gets me so far. What might tomorrow bring? What might the story be by next week?

Yet the other thing that feels palpable is meeting Sunflower in person. I feel like he's so close I can taste it. Less than 6-9 weeks to go. Unbelievable. Despite swearing that I would do nothing to prepare for Sunflower, I found myself spending a day off last week doing load after load of baby wash, and folding tiny onesies and footsie pajamas. The nursery is organized, all our baby things sorted. I've chosen a pediatrician, picked a mohel. What can I say? The nesting instinct has taken over.

Half the time I find myself wishing that I could just be put in a coma and woken when its all over - when there's a healthy happy son in my arms. But since that's unlikely to happen, I guess I'll be getting through this the same way I've made it this far - one day at a time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


One year ago today, Election Day, was a day of tears for me. So many of our hopes and dreams for our little Ezra Malik intertwined into the election of our nation's first black president. It took me hours to pull myself out of bed to go and vote, something that I had envisioned for months doing with a baby Ezra strapped in a sling to my body. When Obama's win was announced that night, my own tears became an unstoppable flood.

But that same day brought an unstoppable flood for another family just 100 miles away in New York City, as
Danielle and Alan unexpectedly welcomed their son Kai to the world. Kai, meaning water, or 'of the sea', arrived way too soon, and thus another set of babylost parents joined our ranks. Kai's Japanese name is nod to the mizuko jizo, which in Japanese culture guards the spirits of miscarried and stillborn babies as they travel into the next life, because they are believed not to have built up enough karma to make the passage safely. Kai only ever knew the water of his mama's belly as his home.

Danielle and I met here in babylost blogland in the weeks that followed, but when we met in person a few months later, it was as if we had known each other forever. I treasure my friendship with Danielle deeply and adore her sweet husband Alan. I hate that the devastating loss of our firstborn sons is what ties us together, and yet I can't imagine traveling this journey without Kai's beautiful parents.

At Ezra's unveiling, I asked Danielle to read a beautiful poem by Zelda titled 'Everyone has a Name'. The last lines seem written for Kai:

Each of us have a name
Given by the Sea
and given by
Our death.

Today as always I am remembering sweet baby Kai, and holding his parents Danielle and Alan close in love.