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Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Best Present

Last year this time I was seven months pregnant and my colleagues threw a baby shower for Tracy and me. Tracy, my wonderful colleague and friend, was 8 months pregnant and we were both so excited about our babies. Since my colleagues are English teachers, one of the games we played was to write poems, stories or songs for the two babies using words from a list. I saved everything that was written for Akul because I wanted him to read what was written for him some day. I wanted him to experience the love I was experiencing in that gathering that evening. Tracy wrote this beautiful poem for Akul and what better place to put it other than in Akul's "space" and what better time to do it than christmas.


I hope this christmas brings you all peace and joy. Hugging all our beautiful angel babies and their wonderful loving moms.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Big Thank you to Barbara

I got a packet in the mail - it contained something I had been waiting for. A month or so ago, Barbara from Burble (http://barbaraboucher.blogspot.com/ ) had this giveaway and I was lucky enough to win a pendant. I opened the packet excitedly ..and there in a small blue box was this very clean and beautifully made pendant with AKUL's name perfectly inscribed on it. On the other side was Akul's date of birth. I kept it on a table at night but when I woke up in the morning, I remembered. So at 7 am I went looking for my silver chain, went to Sunil and asked him to clasp it around my neck. I ran my fingers over Akul's name and cried. I wish I could feel Akul close to me - his fingers against my skin where this pendant rests now. Barbara thank you so very much for giving me this beautiful gift. I treasure it. It has brought me a deep joy that words cannot express. I run my fingers over Akul's name and date of birth so many times each day. I cannot imagine going through my day without this any more. This tiny pendant has become extremely important to me and it helps me scream to the world - I am a mom. I have a son. His name is Akul.

Today Akul would have been 10 months old. Barbara, I bet you he would not have let me wear any chain. He would have probably pulled at it every time I held him in my arms. But he is not in my arms and all I have is this beautiful pendant you made me. This pendant binds all four us in a strange way - beautiful angel baby George and you and angel baby Akul and me. Thank you Barbara for such a beautiful gift. This is my most treasured piece of jewellery.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

She was there again

That lost baby mom with compassionate tears in her eyes, her arms stretched out to hug another grieving mom - there she was.
A face I have been seeing all semester, chubby cheeks, bright shiny eyes and smiling lips. She sat in the fourth row and always smiled happily at me. She never showed a care... till today... she asked me, "Do you have any kids?' I have anticipated this question ever since I went back to teaching, but was asked this for the first time today and that too in front of a group of 12-13 students. "My baby boy passed away this year." Silence... and a muffled murmur "sorry" and then those glances from others there asking, "why do you have to ask such questions?" But you know what..I am glad you asked..I am glad you got to know the pain I carry in my heart when I smile for the two and half hours that I teach you and when I smile as you tell me you cannot come to class because your child is sick..and when I read your writing which is mostly about your child....I changed the subject..picked up my books and back to business.
Then during break she came to me her eyes filled with compassion, her hand reaching out to touch me...she came really close and whispered "I understand...you know I lost three of them...one in Mexico and two in the US." She reached out and held my hand. "Do you have any kids now?" I asked. She shook her head, "No, I have been married 13 years but have no child." She told me about her plans to do an IVF because she is now over 35. She said she has the courage to try again because her husband looks at every child with such love and longing...I sighed "Just like my husband." I told her I had no strength to try again ...I am no longer that young..another loss would kill me...she smiled her sweet sweet smile and said "We will both have our babies ... my mother in law had her baby when she was 48 years old..it is possible." She gave me a tight hug and said "happy thanksgiving...remember we will both have our babies."

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Love/Hate relationship with Friday the 13th

It was in February of this year when Friday the 13th became such an important "thing" in my life. I remember going to my OB on the February 10th. After we finished the testing Akul's heart beat, I was asked to go to the reception to make my next appointment. We had the option of coming in again on Friday the 13th and I shuddered. I do not know why, but I did not want to go in on Friday the 13th. Then on Friday the 13th, I felt my baby was not moving as much. I decided to go in and get his heart beat checked - and he was delivered through a c-section. My beautiful baby boy - wide eyed and rosy - pure as a budding white rose... He came to me wrapped in a hospital blanket and all I saw were his wide round eyes - open in amazement. Drugged and worried about my tiny 3 and half pound active little baby, I asked the nurse to take him and ensure he was OK. I thought I had a lifetime to hold him. Little did I know...But it was on Friday the 13th that I saw my little boy for the first time. Yet every time Friday the thirteenth comes around I am reminded of what I have lost instead of what I got.

Today Akul is 9 months old. He would be crawling around the house and jabbering inchoerently. According to literature this is the time he would have "parting anxiety" and would not want me to leave him. I wonder if I would be able to continue teaching if he got anxious every time I left the house. I don't know. But I sure wish I was given a chance to know.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

We Are Everyhwere

Ever since I lost Akul, I find lost baby moms everyhwere. They are students in my classrooms, they are my colleagues, they are mothers of my friends, they come to my support group, they write blogs, they treat patients, clean houses, work in grocery stores...
This weekend I went for a haircut after 7 months or more of supporting an unpruned crop of speedily depleting hair. A young woman, with a decorative flower pinned into her short hair, cut my hair. She looked about 6 + months pregnant and I could feel her belly against my arm as she shampooed and dried my hair. So we got talking and I told her about my loss because we were talking about what she thought was my thick hair growth and actually I have lost so much hair after I lost Akul. She then told me about the lady who was styling hair in the booth next to ours. She told me this girl had just had a miscarriage. I looked at her. She looked beautiful - very nicly put together, her hair piled on top of her head in a 60's style film satrrish way, a beautiful sparkly yellow flower tucked in her dark hair, every feature on her pretty faced enhanced by makeup... a picture of a normal happy young lady who had not a care in this world. But I knew she had suffered a miscarriage. And then my hair dresser told her about my loss. The connection was made. She sat down in a chair next to me and just looked at me. I told her I was so sorry for her loss and she teared up. She told me how she had had 3 miscarriages and how she has one child but losing three has been very hard on her and her relationship with her boyfriend. I told her how hard losing Akul has been on us. How it has changed our relationship forever ...and the tears began to flow. I forgot someone was cutting my hair and she forgot where she was. We were just two lost baby moms who were sitting there crying ...two strangers who felt closer than sisters in that moment. For a few minutes we were oblivious to everyone. And then her boss came and gave her a hug, her coworkers got us hands full of tissue and we were shaken out of our temporary respite from the world around us. We wiped our tears, blew our noses, hugged each other and parted.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The number 13

The number 13 now holds a special place in our lives. Akul was born on February 13 and the date is entrenched in our hearts. I have blogged in the past about Akul's visitations... I talked about American idol selecting 13 finalists and the 13th finalist being an Indian. I talked about Akul visiting me in my dreams, but I never told you that Sunil, a numbers person, has been encountering the number 13 in the strangest of places. So many times, he looks at the clock and it is at the precise moment when it is 13 minutes after the hour. He showed me scenes from movies where the number 13 was written on buildings. I have always dismissed this as coincidence. I always nod to make Sunil happy but in my heart I think we notice the number because it has special significance for us. But today I felt the power of "13". My husband has been on the lookout for a restaurant for quite some time now. Today we went to the mall where he is interested in renting a space. He had invited a friend who has worked in the food industry for years, to get a second opinion. This friend told us that one way to check the place out would be to use a counter to see how many people actually eat in that food court. He handed the counter to Sunil. Sunil took one look at the counter, blinked, looked at me and said "look at the number here." I looked at the counter and a 13 looked me straight in the eye.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This Time Last Year

This time last year I was happily pregnant, convinced my lifa was about to change forever. I was in the second trimester of my pregnancy and was filled with happy hormones. Sunil was so full of joy and excitement. We exercised regularly and I was in excellent physical shape. I went for walks every morning and then on the weekends I spent a couple hours doing water aerobics or just floating and dancing around a heated pool. This was my special time with Akul. The pool was usually empty and I coud sing to my baby. I sang all the nursery rhymes I remembered in hindi and English. One day when I was singing "hush little baby, don't say a word...papa's going to buy you a diamond ring..." Sunil joined us. He told me he would not buy his son any "rings." He said his son will not want any jewellery...if it was a girl it would be different. So I rewrote the nursery rhyme.

Hush little baby, don't say a word
mama's going to buy you a singing bird
If your singing bird won't sing
Dad's going to buy you a basketball ring
If the basketball ring is too high
Dad's going to buy you a rocket that flies
If that rocket were to ever break down
You will still be the cutest little baby in town.

When they got Akul off the life support and put him in my arms, I sang this to him. It is his poem, but he barely got to hear it. My baby never got the chance to grow up. To me he will always be the cutest little baby in town.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Festival of Lights

Today is Deepawali or Diwali. It is the hindu (Indian) festival of lights. Mythology tells us the story of one of the hindu gods, Rama, who triumphed over the evil Ravana and returned home on this day. He had been away from his family and his kingdom for 14 years. On his return, the people were very happy and to show their happiness they lit oil lamps all around their homes. This evening, most hindus will light candles or lamps outside their sparkling spring-cleaned homes and invite God into their homes. And what will Sunil and I do? We don't know. The light has gone out of our lives. It went away the day we were told that our son had a brain bleed and that we have to "let him go." When our son breathed his last breath, we were engulfed in a dark blackness and that darkness is here to stay. The only candles we light are candles lit in remembrance of our lost baby.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Eight Months of Empty Cradles

Akul would be 8 months old today.

After we lost our son, we got a memory box to take home with us from the hospital. This was created by a support group called "Empty Cradles." We lost Akul on Feb 16 and the first wednesday in March we went for our first "Empty Cradles" meeting. I still remember that was one meeting for which no one had showed up when we reached there. The coordinator was there and she had a candle buring in one corner, a coffee pot with freshly brewed coffee, a few stuffed brown baby bears sitting on one table and some literature about this organisation. She also provided the group with a box of tissues. Sunil and I went there but we were unable to tell our story. The group leader or coordinator talked to us about her own loss and then a few more people walked in and started sharing the stories of their losses. I just sat there and cried. I was so numb and my husband was so angry. By the end of the evening we were able to tell the few people who were there our story. It was a disjointed jumbled version of what happened and I knew that many did not even understand what we were saying. But they all sat patiently listening and shedding tears. This was our only outing during the first few months of our loss. The one place we could go and vent. So we did. We went month after month till everyone heard Akul's story and they all started talking about "Akul" and not "your baby."

This month our meeting was very special. October meetings are memorial meetings. The Empty cradles website reads,
"This is one of the most important and moving meetings of the year…a time to remember, reflect and connect with your beloved baby(ies). We’d like to invite you to share with others at the meeting the various ways that you have memorialized your baby(ies). Perhaps you have a memory album, pictures, a poem, a quilt, a box, special mementos or some other cherished items that helps you to remember and keep your baby’s spirit alive. Please bring any memorial items that you would like to share to the October meeting and join us for our candle lighting memorial."

We went and sat in a circle. We had the option of reading poems from a book they provided us, or reading something we wrote ourselves for our babies. I read something I had written for Akul. It was really hard to read it but I was honoring my son. I had to do it. I also took Akul's baby boy album and a little diary I write which is entitled "Letters to My Son." We were given cards and we had to write messages for our babies which were read as we lit candles for them. After lighting a candle we were asked to pick up a rose from the bunch of roses arranged in a vase and return to the table with our rose. I chose a white rose because I associate Akul with white roses. We had a little break from teh ceremonies and during this time we were able to share our babies pictures and items we had brought with us.

This month I also decided to start volunteering and went for the "Empty Cradles" volunteer meeting. I think about Akul every day, almost all the time. However my time at my support group meeting is always special and it is something for me to look forward to. We smile, talk and reach out for the box of tissues that occupies a very important place in our monthly meeting. If you can spare a minute, visit their website. The section on internet resources has helped me in the past.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Time Stands Still

Today I went to the hospital for an appointment. As I was entering the main door, I saw a proud dad standing, car seat in one hand and a boppy pillow in the other. Next to him was a nurse whose hands were full of new born things. My thoughts went running to the day I left the hospital, empty handed, defeated, old and tired. Ofcourse I cried as I entered the hospital. Then as I sat waiting for my turn to see the doctor, I saw a mother with a little baby in a car seat. The baby looked at me and smiled. She must be about the same age as what Akul would have been were he with me today. She had beautiful golden brown skin, laughing dark brown eyes and chubby cheeks. I was totally mesmerized. I could totally see my little son in her. The only difference was that she was a girl. I felt the distance I had walked from outside the hospital to the doctor's waiting room was the distance time had travelled from February 16th of this year to today. The only problem was that I had not moved. I am still standing outside the hospital empty handed and tearful, waiting for my ride home.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Touched by an Angel

"A life is not measured by the number of days, months or years that it is lived, but by the effect that life has on other people who touch it.It is not measured by the length of its days or the height of its achievements, but by the breadth of its influence."

I read this on another angel baby mom's website. I reflected. If I measure the length of Akul's life on the basis of this, my beautiful Akul has definitely lived a very very long life in the eight month he spent in my womb and the three days he spent in our arms. Before I had Akul, I did not know what the love of a child was - The love of a child who is silently growing in a mother's womb. During pregnancy, I could feel his butterfly kisses purify my insides. His soft fluttering kicks made me bloom with joy. I was radiant with love and my eyes softly mirrored my motherhood. I loved having Akul with me. He changed me completely. I was totally oblivious to the outside world. It was as if everything lost its importance and he became the focus of my life. I ate oranges because he liked them, I had frozen vanilla flavored yoghurt because that is what Akul wanted, I listened to the kind of music that made him kick in joy, and I fought with Sunil because he did not talk to his son enough. I argued that Akul would not recognise his voice when he came out of my womb. We planned Akul's entire life and fought over everything. Sunil said he wanted Akul to be a doctor and I said that my son would have the freedom to decide what he wanted to be. Sunil and I went for morning walks and we argued all the way home. I used to tell my husband that his son is going to be his carbon copy - stubborn and bull headed just like him. I warned him that the two of them would get into big fights. Sunil always asked whose side I would take if that happened and I would say that I will walk out and let the two of them handle their disagreements. So before we even had Akul, we were playing make believe and pretending he was here with us, that he was a baby and we were teaching him things and then he was a teen and was getting into big fights with dad....and Sunil always said "you will make him a mama's boy."

Then, on February 13 this year, Akul came into my arms. I looked at his beautiful round eyes and finely boned face in awe. He was so beautiful and so perfect. I started believeing in miracles. I could not even imagine something so amazing being formed within me. I became a mom. I saw my husband go crazy with joy. He just stood there and called just about anyone and proudly told the world about his gorgeous son. Akul made us so proud and ecstatically happy.

And on February 13th he was put into my arms again. Just taken off life support he did not have much life left in him. I held my life close to my heart. I could not believe my own strength - both physical and mental. How can a woman who has had surgery a day before hold a baby all day and all night? How can a mother live after her baby passes away in her own arms? I did both. I guess I am very very strong and this strength of mine is my cross to bear during this life time. I am strong so I live - hopeless but functioning.

After Akul I have changed in subtle ways. My heart is softer and my words kinder. Nothing is important enough to warrant my attention for a prolonged period of time and I value every child. I feel each child is such a miracle. I remember many months ago, when I was pregnant with Akul, I had asked my students what was the most dangerous thing they had ever done. My Japanese student told me the most dangerous thing he had ever done was to be born. I laughed as did the rest of the class. Akul's life and death have taught me that that is indeed the most dangerous thing a fragile little child can ever do. So I value all babies. Also, as we journey this childless road, my husband and I have become more spiritual and have made God an important part of our lives.

Akul has changed the two people who love him unconditionally. Even though he spent such little time with us, his life has impacted us like no other. He has put himself in a place where he will never be punished or reprimanded by his parents. Our parenting will only be one of loving him and weeping for him every day of our lives.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Christy, at "almost a mother" and Kristy at "I love you to the moon and back", nominated me for an award! It is the Friendship Award! Thank you for thinking of me!

Ok, so here are the rules:

"This award is bestowed on to blogs that are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to six bloggers who must choose six more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

I want to pick each and every baby lost mom but I cannot. Some of you have already been given this award and I know eventually you will all get it because you are the best support group anyone could wish for. The six people I pick for this award are:

Mirne @ http://freyja-kees-lovedsomuch.blogspot.com/2009/09/raw-pain.html
Beth @ http://safeinthishouse.blogspot.com/2009/09/biltmore.html
Ezra's mom @ http://ezramalik.blogspot.com/2009/09/22-weeks-6-days-staying-present-in-joy.html
bir @ http://allthelittleponies.blogspot.com/2009/09/candles-for-jet.html
Malory @ http://mommyofanangel09.blogspot.com/2009/09/mothers-love-does-not-forget.html
Karen @ http://busyhandsbc.blogspot.com/

I know that Mirne is taking a break from the world of blogs. I also see that her blog is not accessible any more. But I still want to give her this friendship award. When I fist started blogging I was a confused broken dead baby mom. Mirne always commented on all my posts and supported me. Her not being in the world of blogs does not change that, so she is included in this friendship award. Bree, I did think about you but you got the award from Nan.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Seven Months Old Today

I just read that:

"Your 7-month-old baby grasps by cupping his entire hand around an object.
He is beginning to use his thumb to push things into his hand.
When lying on his tummy, he creeps forward.
He can support his weight and stand if he holds onto furniture.
He recognizes voices and his name and tells tunes apart.
He prefers to look at complex objects and changes position to seek a better view."

Akul would have been 7 months old today. He would have been doing all this. I would have been the lucky witness to all his beautiful milestones. I would have shed so many happy tears and smiled countless smiles.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How was your weekend?

So I came in to work this morning and was asked the usual question,"How was your weekend?"
If you want to hear the real answer, pull up a chair and sit down. I will tell you all about my sad, dreary weekend. I will tell you how I sat amidst a pile of laundry, papers, mail, and books because I had no desire to get up and clean. I will also tell you how I spent the entire long weekend doing nothing but reading blogs, writing comments and crying. You will know how conversations in our house never take place because we are just not interested in talking about anything. You will also know that when people lose babies nothing is fun. My life is not and will never be fun. If you need fun, go elsewhere. And please do not ask me about my weekend because you know that you do not want to be burdened with my answer.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thinking about Mirne, Craig and Jet

Mirne at http://freyja-kees-lovedsomuch.blogspot.com just announced that her son Jet is now her third angel child. I am so shocked, saddened and shaken by this news. I do not know Mirne and Craig, and yet I do. I have never met them or talked to them but I feel so connected to them. Please pray for Craig and Mirne so they have the strength to endure this pain. Please pray for baby Jet. Craig and Mirne, your three angels will always live in my heart.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Dead and the Living

My husband is putting in new flooring in one of our bedrooms. He got the carpet out and is putting laminate. This last saturday, we got all the furniture out of the room and my job was to sort through the drawers and throw out what we did not need any more. I found many audio tapes that belonged to my mother. She loved music. She would pop her audio tape into her cassette player early in the morning and listen to religious music. Later in the afternoon she would play semi classical songs in hindi and at times folk music. She had touched all those tapes. I also found diabetic magazines she used to read and her glucose tablets (she was diabetic). I found old pictures in which I was a seven year old and my world was complete. I had my grand father, my parents and my siblings (my brother and my sister) around me. How I yearn for the innocence of yesteryears!!! Also, I found an audio tape that had my dad's writing. He had titled it in pen.
One huge dresser drawer is full of Akul's things. I found some stuffed toys, a teething ring, a baby tape player, and a soft toy that squeaked. I even found a light green hospital bracelet that Akul wore during his short stay at the hospital. I picked it up, held it against my nose to see if I could smell my son. I could not. I held the bracelet against my heart for a few minutes and then defeatedly put it away in his memory box.
It hit me once again that today I know - I mean really really know and love(crazily) more people who are dead than people who are alive. My world has crumbled.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Ezra, Sarah's precious little angel baby (http://ezramalik.blogspot.com) was born into his mother's arms on August 29 last year. To honor Ezra on this day, I have added another slide "EZRA" to the presentation in the side panel which is titled "Akul's Fairy Land." I think all our children are probably in the same land and since they are our babies, I prefer to see them in the land of fairies where everything is perfect. I know how hard this day must be for Ezra's mom. Sarah, I am thinking of you and Ezra. I really wish Ezra was here today, in your arms, cutting his first birthday cake.

I have also added names of Ella (Bree's angel baby) and Tracy's treasures to "Akul's Fairy Land." Tracy, my wonderful colleague and dear friend, had two miscarriages before her beautiful daughter was born. Every time I see Akul's fairy land, Tracy, your babies are in my thoughts. I really hope they communicate with Akul in that fairy land just as their sister communicated with Akul when both our kids were in our wombs.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I've been given an Honest Scrap award by Mirne, at http://freyja-kees-lovedsomuch.blogspot.com/ and by Shanti mama at http://shantimama.blogspot.com/ Thank you Mirne and Shantimama for following my story, supporting me and almost never failing to comment on my posts. Mirne, you and Craig have been in my thoughts all day today. It is Friday in this part of the world and I know that this is your important day. All I can do is pray and I have prayed for your happiness and the wellbeing of "rainbow" so many times today.

According to the blog posts of these two very amazing women, "This award is for bloggers who post from their heart, those who write from the depths of their soul." My thoughts are ..we are lost baby moms. The ink we use is our tears, the words we write are agonizing cries of our broken hearts. I know each one of us will be awarded this award because we all cannot help but write from the depths of our souls. Our sorrow has permeated every particle of our being.

There are some simple rules to accept this award. Firstly, pass the award on to 7 other bloggers and secondly, list 10 honest and hopefully interesting things about yourself.

SO, I pass on the Honest Scrap award to the following bloggers:

Bree - http://butterflybaby15.blogspot.com
Sally -http://tuesdayshope.blogspot.com/
Ezra's mom - http://ezramalik.blogspot.com
Sophie & Aiden's mom - http://almostamother.blogspot.com/
Jane - http://letterstonoah.blogspot.com
Tina - http://livingwithoutsophiaandellie.blogspot.com
Kara - http://missingyoualwaysjordan.blogspot.com

10 honest things about me:

1) I have aged so much since I lost Akul..when I look in the mirror I see so much gray in my hair and so much pain in my eyes.

2) Before Akul I was uncertain about having a child but Akul changed me forever.

3) I never wear heels.

4) I find cooking very restful and soothing.

5) When I was about 6-7 years old, I knew I wanted to teach.

6) I hate to clean and find it very hard to throw things away.

7) My husband and I dated "online" for many years before we got married. He lived in India and I in the US so....

8) I can bathe and get dressed in about 10 minutes.

9) Sunlight makes me happy.

10) I have always been a very satisfied person. I don't need a lot to make me happy. If Akul were snuggled against me, I would have been complete.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back To School

I go back to teaching, my students, colleagues, busy days and tired nights this coming Monday. I dread it. I keep thinking I will not have much time to devote to my blog. The blog has become so important to me. I attend to it every day as I would have attended to my child. It is my connection with Akul. I weave my thoughts about Akul in this blog, and I connect with mom's whose children are friends with my son, Akul. I am known here as Akul's mom and I know Ella's mom Bree, Hope's mom Sally, Ezra's mom ....like I would have known if our children were in kindergarten together. I cannot let go of these connections which have been formed because of Akul. I do not want to lose myself in lesson plans and grading when I can dress Akul's blog. It is really sad that I have become so dependent on this inanimate blog. I have to remind myself that the blog is not Akul. It does not need constant care.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Hope is Sally's angel baby of the "Tuesday's Hope" blog. So many lost baby moms whose blogs I follow have wished Hope a happy birthday that I cannot help but blog on Hope. It is really hard to live through the first anniversary of the day you gave birth to your angel baby. This day should have been different. This is the day you should be celebrating your child's first birthday like other parents do - with cake and laughter, family and friends and most importantly with your baby in your arms. It should not be a day when you cry your eyes out or go through pictures of your dead child. This is not how it was meant to be.
Hope grew wings and flew away but hope lives on. You can see hope in all the rainbow babies and in the eyes of moms who are still trying for a rainbow baby. Hope is what keeps us going. Happy birthday Hope. I am sure you and Akul are somewhere peaceful and know that your moms support one another.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Six Months Old Today

If Akul were with us, he would have been six months old today. This week we were lucky to have a teacher of vedas (ancient books of knowledge of the self) and transcendental meditation visit us. The first day he was with us, I saw him look at Akul's pictures (which we have put in electronic picture frame), with deep concentration, for long periods of time. Later, I had long talks with him about my sorrow and about how much I miss my son. I told him about the dreams I've had about Akul and what I perceived as visitations from my son. This learned teacher (Acharya in hindi) told me that there are many layers or dimensions of existence. His perception is that Akul came to us from a higher dimension. After being with us for some time he decided that his existence in the other dimension was more blissful, so he returned to it.
I have a choice. I can believe or I can not believe. I choose to believe. I believe that the soul is immortal and it is only the body that dies. I choose to believe that my child is in a better place and that he chose to be in that place because it is more blissful. I choose to belive that this is not the only dimension of existence and that people we love and care about are still around us even if they are in a different dimension. I also believe that some souls can transcend different layers or dimensions, else how will I explain Akul's visits.
Akul is six months old today. I choose to believe that the last six months have been ones of bliss for him and not of sorrow and darkness. I will take a life time of sorrow and darkness in exchange of bliss for my child.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The mom , The dad and The baby who grew wings

In the last year or so, my relationship with my husband Sunil has seen so many ups and downs. During my pregnancy, my husband took extremely good care of me. He cooked every meal I ate after researching the internet to find out what I could eat or not eat for hours, he had an alarm system set up for all my vitamins, he woke me up every morning at 5:30 am and we went for our walk, he sat down on street benches with me when I got tired, he kept a record of my blood sugar levels ( though I di d not have gestational diabetes), he took my blood pressure every morning and most nights (though I didn't have high blood pressure), he went with me for every doctor appointment and he got to know more about my pregnancy than I could ever dream of knowing myself. Yes, he was a very involved dad. The three days Akul was with us he was there crying with me, holding our baby and trying to do little things for Akul that would make his last hours better. I fell head over heels in love with the man who loved his/my/our child so much. The day Akul passed away I felt closer to my husband than I had ever done. He held my hand all night and he even realized my milk was leaking and how I felt when that happened. He held on for about a week and then suddenly he crumbled. He stopped talking, stopped answering the phone, stopped doing everything. He created a big thick wall around himself and only I would be let into it every now and then. I dealt with all the phone calls and visitors. I dealt with my own grief and I worried about him immensely. I was also very lonely. For my own sanity, I went back to work and kept going through the motions of doing things all day long. I sat for endless hours at my laptop planning for my classes, and doing whatever anyone asked me to do at work. This was the time when Sunil really needed to talk about Akul and I did not have the capacity to do so. I was so tired, so drained that I had nothing left in me to give him or even to sit and mourn with him. We started moving apart. My husband felt that I had "moved on", I had forgotten Akul and was back to what I had been before I was pregnant. I, on the other hand, was struggling with my own grief, my husband's deteriorating health and the absolute silence in our house. After seven weeks schools closed for summer break. I remember being paranoid. I asked myself, "how will I live through summer?" "What will I do?" "Where does my life go from here?"

We planned a prayer session in our house a week after summer vacations started. My husband cooked dinner for almost 70 people single handedly. We were doing this with Akul in mind and he wanted everything to be just right for that one reason. That evening, when teh prayer started, I sat on the stairs that lead up to our bedroom and wept. The session went on for almost three hours and I just sat there and wept. My husbnad came and sat next to me and held my hand. He wept with me. We were back to that night in the hospital, the night after Akul passed away. We were heart broken, lost and hopeless. We just held hands and cried....a month later I started blogging.

Sunil, my husband, never writes any comments, but he is an ardent "Aajaa Akul" follower. He reads every blog I write over and over again, and cries more tears reading it than I do writing it. I know through this blog he gets to see Akul through my eyes and gets to spend time with Akul. He gets to know me as I really am - a lost heartbroken tortured mom who has lost everything when she lost Akul. If miraculously I do have another child, he/she will be child #2 because no one can take Akul's place in my heart. The blog helps us communicate at this most difficult time in our relationship.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

And Then your tiny heart stopped...and so did mine

Today I have been thinking about Akul's last night with us. That was the last time I pumped some milk for him. He could not suckle, so the NICU nurse Pam told me to feed him with a dropper. He took in a few drops which satisfied me. Then he lay skin on skin with me, sleeping peacefully. Akul did not cry at all once his life support was removed. He did not open his eyes either. AT about 4 am I needed to go to the bathroom. I called out to my husband, Sunil, and asked him to hold Akul while I went to the bathroom. Sunil took our little son and held him against his chest. A minute later, I heard Akul cry. I could not believe it. He cried loud and clear. Sunil called out to me and asked me to ring for the nurse. We were not used to our baby crying. By the time I came out of the bathroom, Akul was quiet. He was nuzzled against his dad and looked peaceful again. The nurse came in a few minutes later and checked him. She wrapped him up, and handed him to my husband. At about 7:30am my husband gave Akul back to me. He said, " Akul wants you. He wants to be with you." I held my baby close to me. After a few minutes Akul changed color and then nuzzled against me, cuddled in my arms, he breathed his last breath. I held his lifeless body in my arms for hours afterwards.. Praying for some miracle.

Don't ever ask a dead baby's mom if a c section hurts, because I felt no physical hurt. Don't ever ask a dead baby's mom if she is able to get up and walk after a c section...I did not even know I was walking because right before that I was told my baby was going to die. Don't ever ask a dead baby's mom how she stood for hours during her child's services...

A dead baby's mom is numb. She has put her heart to rest in a tiny satin lined coffin, her dreams are in the small urn that sits in her closet, and the only fingers that clasp hers are mere imprints on a white paper.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Who Knows?

I have not blogged for over a week, but there has not been a single day when I have not missed Akul or cried silent tears of yearning. This last week Sunil and I were attending funeral services for a family member and we both ended up outside the church weeping for Akul. As we lay white and orange roses on the departed, I thought about that wise old soul whose physical body lay motionless before us, meeting my Akul. I silently closed my eyes and begged her to give Akul lots of love and then wondered if she would tell Akul how much his parents miss him, and how meaningless and empty their life has become without him. Would he then come to visit us? If he did, would he see the smooth round stones in the water fountain that read, "Always in our hearts - our sweet baby AKUL"? Would he notice that every picture frame is filled with him? Would he feel the pregnant silence that fills the house we once called home? Would he see the darkness in the oil lamp we light every time we join our hands in prayers? Would he see his little clothes, toys, bedding and bottles all tucked away in closets we are afraid to open, yet unable to close? And if he did see all this, would he decide to come back?...Who knows?

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Walking With You was created to help support those who have lost a child. They are a group who together share stories, helpful information, scriptures, encouraging words, prayer requests, and more. This week some lost baby moms who follow "Walking With You" are blogging about how they chose their baby's name and the special meaning behind the name. I learnt about this from Ella's mom's blog, and decided to join them this week. Deciding a name for a baby is a task that is time consuming. Like other new moms and dads, we too gave a lot of thought to what our baby would be called. After all our son would be stuck with this name for life and we wanted the name to bring him success and happiness.

Both Sunil and I poured over Indian names all day long and decided if we have a girl, her name would be Ida. We were undecided about a boy name. During our 14th week u/s, we found out we were having a baby boy. That time on, I saw Sunil surf the net for hours each day looking for a name for his son. Sunil read articles on numerology and sounds before deciding that the baby's name would start with the letter "A" and it would have even letters (4, 6, 8). We also wanted a name that would be easy to pronounce and one that would not be distorted by other kids at school. I really liked the name Aarush, which means the first rays of the sun. It had a soft sound to it and suited my child who to me was as pure as the sun's first rays. Also the first rays of the sun brighten the dark sky just as he was going to brighten our life. Sunil disagreed. He said "Aarush" was too common in India and too soft a name for his son. Sunil liked the name "Akul". "Akul" is another name for the Indian Lord of destruction, Lord Shiva. He is the destroyer of all that is evil. There is a story in Indian mythology that when the world was created, a pot of venom was found. If this venom was left unattended in the world, it would destroy the world. At this time Lord Shiva, offered to keep the venom in his throat to save the world. As Lord Shiva drank the venom, his throat turned blue and he was called "Neelkanth" i.e blue throated. This form of Lord Shiva, where he sacrifices himself for the good of the world, and has a blue throat, is "AKUL." We then googled the name and found that in Russian this name means "A Shark", in native American culture it is someone who is "looked up to" and in slang English it means "A Cool Kid." We had all our American born nephews and nieces say the name over and over again to ensure it will be easy for everyone to say in the US. I even asked my colleagues to pronounce it and asked if they thought the name "Akul" could be distorted. "Akul" passed all tests.

Little did I know that this name would come back to haunt me. As my baby lay almost limp in my arms, I noticed the blue tinge he had developed because of his brain bleed. He became AKUL of the blue skin tone. My husband remarked that we should have kept a more selfish name for our child and then perhaps he would not have had such a short life. However, I cannot imagine my "Akul" as having any other name. The name was meant for him.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A butterfly for Akul

Bree (Ella's mom) created a beautiful butterfly for Akul. Bree lost her baby, Ella, in March and we met in a local support group. Bree invited me to view her blog (http://babybutterflyella.blogspot.com/) and inspired me to start one about Akul. I remember her telling me that we need more support than what we get once a month at our support group.

Bree emailed a picture of Akul's butterfly to me and it is the most beautiful butterfly I have ever seen. She was able to capture my son's essence without ever seeing him. I saw Akul's peaceful patient face in that butterfly. Bree, I want you to know that Akul's butterfly is now the background of my laptop and is my profile picture in Facebook. I use Facebook to keep in touch with my family and friends all over the world and they all commented that Akul's butterfly is special. They described it as "fragile", "fits perfectly in the heart" and "perfect." The butterfly you made has acquired an identity all its own and it has become a part of Akul for me. I cannot thank you enough for your compassionate gesture.

Questions that may have no answers

So Annette came and our conversation centered around Akul. I enjoyed being with her. I felt she wanted to talk about Akul and was not bored or weary. I have not blogged about what happened to Akul because we do not know to date what went wrong. When Akul was born he was a small baby, he had a low platelett count and low blood sugar. However, he was very active. Annette was there and she helped him take his first breath. We heard a normal baby cry and we all heaved a sigh of relief. Akul was here to stay. My OB came and told me that I would take my baby home as soon as he put on some weight. His APGAR scores went from a 5 (1 minute after birth) to a 9 (10 minutes after birth.) His beautiful eyes were wide open and he looked at me when the nurse got him near me. He was so beautiful and even in my semi drugged state, I fell in love. He was transported later that day for blood platelets and the next day we were told he had a brain bleed. He was taken off all life support and brought back to us. When I saw him again, he was very different from the baby I had sent to "Children's." He did not open his eyes, though he would protest if I handled him a little. I had already lost my child. We are still searching for answers which we will probably never get. I was tested for blood disorders and all tests came out negative. We had an autopsy done on Akul and got no answers. He had no genetic defects, no infection - nothing at all. He was almost 36 weeks gestational age when he was born so that rules out very premature birth complications. No one has any answers for us and that really bothers my husband. It is almost like he needs to know this to preserve his sanity. So, apart from our grief that is what we are struggling with. This blog of mine is probably very different from my other blogs. Perhaps because today I am blogging for my husband. This is what he thinks about day and night. I hope some day we will have some kind of an answer that will bring him peace.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's all about Akul

Tomorrow Akul's NICU nurse and godmother, Annette, is coming to see us. I am really happy I will get to see her because in some strange way she is an "Akul" connection. When I called her the other day she told me that many times she looks at a new born and remembers Akul. I cried when she told me that. I was so happy to hear someone remembers my child other than my husband and myself. I know tomorrow we will talk a lot about Akul. I do not usually talk to people about my loss or the pain I am going through because everyone has their own agenda and I really have nothing new to say about my child. But I have not seen Annette since Akul's services, so it may be a little different. I baked a strawberry flavored cake for tomorrow and when I got the cake out of the oven, I cried. This was my mother's favorite cake. I lost my mother three years ago and mourned for her till I was pregnant with Akul. Then the joy of having Akul took over my life and everything else faded away. Now I miss my mother and Akul. I wish my mother were here. She always knew how to soothe me and make things better.

Actually a few weeks after we lost Akul I dreamt that I was holding Akul in my arms. He was old enough to crawl and wanted to get away from me. I looked at him and said "say mama." He just gurgled and finally said grandma ("naanima" in hindi). I called out to my mom (who was not to be seen but I heard her voice) and said "look at him. He said "grandma" before saying "mom" or "dad." My mother just laughed. Meanwhile Akul managed to slip ou of my arms and crawled away. I woke up with a start. Akul was definitely not in my arms. He had flown away. Perhaps he is with his grandma. But I wish he was with me. I miss him so much.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


A lost baby mom at our support group "Empty Cradles" told us how her angel baby comes to say hello to her every now and then. Her baby "Angelica", says hello to her in strange ways. Either her baby's date of birth or her name shows up every nnow and then. She has spotted her daughter's name on the backs of trucks, on coat labels and even on boxes containing dolls. I came back home that dayand talked to Akul. I asked him how he would show me he is around me. His name "Akul" is from hindu mythology and would be really hard to come across in the US.

The next evening my husband and I were watching "American Idol" and for the first time in the history of American Idol the judges decided to have 13 (Akul's D.O.B.is Feb 13th) finalists instead of 12. And wonder of wonders, the 13th finalist was an Indian, "Anoop." My husband and I looked at each other and I said to him, "Akul has told us he is here."

Again, we were in LA the week of father's day for my nephew's graduation. The night before father's day, I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed. The bathroom door was slightly ajar. Suddenly I felt Akul was looking at me, peeking playfully from behind the half closed door. He was not the 3 day old baby I last saw, but about 3 years old. My heart skipped a beat. I spent the next 12-15 hours crying. I cried for what could have been and what was not. I cried for my child who I miss so very much.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Here is something I wrote on Mother's Day:

Mother’s Day came and went. I am a mom, but have no child to love and hold. Our son, a three day old, small, under weight, dearly loved little baby, passed away on February 16th 2009. He left behind an empty space where dreams once existed. He also left behind a closet full of unworn baby clothes and picture frames of us, his devastated parents, holding our tiny baby. My husband bought me a mother’s day gift, a beautiful white budding rose which is as pure and as innocent as my child. The note attached to it read, “to the best mother in the world” and it was signed from my son, Akul. If my son were here, I would be tired because of sleepless nights. My breasts, heavy with milk, would probably ache from feeding him. Our house would smell of baby smells – baby powder and dirty diapers. We would probably be fighting over every little thing one of us did with him and we would worry and stress about him all day and all night. But we would be complete. Our dreams would be intact and our arms would be full. Now all I have is a single white rose that sits on my table and a note in my son’s memory box that reads, “to the best mother in the world.”


I have been blessed with an exceptionally loving and supportive family, very caring friends and amazing colleagues. My brother, sister and brother-in-law were by our side the entire time. The moment they got to know Akul was being taken off life support, my sister and brother-in-law drove down from LA and my brother took the next flight out of New York to be with us. We hardly talked to them during the days we had with Akul and the days following Akul, but I think they know how much we appreciate their being with us. We would not have been able to go through this without them. They were with us for over a week making arrangements for the services, attending phone calls, housekeeping, and praying. My uncles and aunts, Sunil's brothers in India, our family in India, London, Australia, our friends, all called and showed their support. Wonderful friends drove long hours to be with us on the day we had services for Akul. We recieved flowers and cards every day for 2-3 weeks. My colleagues - administrators, faculty, support staff and students all supported me during this time. There is not enough I can say to thank them all for being there for me. So if I am quiet, keep away , or am even short sometimes, please don't think I do not care or am not thankful for the love and caring given to me. I count all the very many blessings in my life ....


This little piece is dedicated to all the nurses who helped us through those very dark days of our lives. They were absolutely wonderful. They said very little, ensured we had everything we needed, and shed many tears with us. Annette, one of the NICU nurses spent time taking pictures of Akul as he lay skin on skin with his dad. She would come in every few hours to check on Akul. Perhaps she had a special connection with our baby because she was there when he was born and she saw what a fiesty little baby he was. She came in to see us even when she had the day off and my husband, Sunil, asked her to be Akul's godmother. Annette spoke at the service we had for Akul because both Sunil and I were unable to say anything. Another nurse I need to thank is Pam. She is also a NICU nurse who helped us during this difficult time. She helped me pump milk and feed it to my child and for that I will always remember her.


I just started blogging today and it seems like I cannot stop. I do not feel like doing anything but pouring five months of my thoughts on these blog pages. There is so much to say because we have lost so much. When we lost Akul, we lost not just our baby, but also our dreams and with him we feel we have cremated our future. Many of my loved ones told me about others who were having problems in their lives, but somehow, to me nothing can compare to losing a child - a child I had nurtured, loved held and cuddled. I remember my three days in the hospital, the absolute numbness I felt when I was told that Akul will be removed from life support, my fear of holding my tiny baby and my desperation to find one clue that would warrant putting him back on life support. I remember all the wonderful things my husband, Sunil, did. He asked that Akul be brought to us so he could spend the few hours he had with us. I remember his telling me that our baby is starving. I pumped milk that night andf we fed Akul with a dropper. I remember walking out with him and Akul into the "Healing Garden" situated in the center of the hospital, where for the first and last time he showed Akul trees, flowers, a stream of water and birds. I can not thank my husband enough for giving me those moments with my child. I was so numb and so stricken that I would have never thought of all this on my own.

Akul spent those last hours cuddled against me or skin on skin with me or my husband. For days after that we could feel his warmth against our chests. I sang him many songs and children's rhymes that I had written just for him. My husband wiped and cleaned him and wet his lips with glucose water. He used a balm on Akul's very dry lips. We desperately tried to squeeze a whole life time into those 36 hours. We cried many tears as we begged Akul to end his suffering and let go of life. How can one ask for something one dreads? I learnt that one can. Finally, on February 16th, cuddled against me, my son started to change color. I called out to my husband. He looked at Akul and then at me and said, "Our son is dying."

Today Akul would have been five months old. I can see all his 3-6 month old outfits in his closet and can imagine him in each one of them. He was a perfectly formed baby. His limbs, eyes, nose - all so beautiful. He looks so much like his dad. If you take a picture of Akul's and place it next to one of a younger Sunil, you will see how alike they look.


A few days after Akul passed away, I penned the following:

We waited for you
mom and dad
weaving dreams
“Whatcha doing?”
asked dad
every day
as he ran
down the stairs
“kick” “kick”
you replied
vanilla ice-cream
cold strawberry milk
you showed mom
foods you liked
Then you came
Friday, the 13th
roses and cream
a 3lb 3oz miracle
your cry rang out
My Beautiful Baby!!!!
I saw you next
in an incubator
I called “Akul”
You turned, looked at me
Your eyes said, ”Mom! my Mom”
then off you went
I smiled
my baby will be back
with more blood, more platelets
stable blood sugar
I’ll wait, I’m patient
God is merciful
I waited….we waited
Next day
my heart skipped a beat
“My baby” it cried
I called your dad
Dad would not
pick up his phone
“he’ll be fine”
I told myself
But my heart beat hard
Dad came
with empty eyes
defeated, he held my hand
“We have to let him go”
numbed, I stared
“go where?”
“go away” – “NO” - my heart wept
“not my baby…….he’s mine”
We were asked
“you want to go to him or
should he come to you?”
My little baby, you came to me
They took off
the ventilator, the tubes and all
you came into
my scared uncertain arms
my miracle – my love – my life
I looked at you …my metamorphosis
I became “Akul’s mama”
held you close
sang all the songs I had saved for you
cradled you, talked to you
I love you so….it hurts
my beautiful prefect baby
We could hold you, they said
for hours – maybe 6 maybe 8
but you my valiant warrior
stayed 36 more hours in our arms
skin to skin with mom
heart to heart with dad
Your tiny little body nestled in mom’s bosom
your beautiful artistic fingers
curled around dad’s
your perfectly chiseled face
framed by a blue cap
Our life! Our joy!
we poured love on you
2 nights and a day
in our arms
then Monday morning
cradled against me
you left
leaving us
our empty hearts
empty lives
empty nest
and your
empty cradle

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Our darling son, Akul, was born on February 13, 2009 after 35 exciting weeks of pregnancy. I enjoyed every minute of my days with Akul. Life without him is colorless, an everlasting gray day, but I thank God for giving me a child to love, eventhough it was for a short time. He lived in my womb for about eight months and in my arms for 2 days, and passed away on February 16, 2009. He spent his short life partly in the NICU of Children's hospital and partly with his mom and dad in a nursing home room. I was not able to share my perfect baby with anyone. No one oohed and aahed over him, no one had the opportunity to know him and resultantly no one remembers him. However, he came into this world and changed forever the two people who love him more than they love anyone or anything else - his mom and dad. He took us to others who have the misfortune of walking in our shoes and made us realize how meaningless life without a child is.