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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.