{Lucia} Double Digits

How can it already be ten years? Ten years since I heard your heart beat, held you in my womb, and saw you on ultrasound. You my son, have had ten glorious birthdays with the King of Kings. You’ve welcomed your brothers and looked on as your mom continues the fight for a baby she can keep.

My heart, she still aches for you. You are and will always be my first son. You are the soul that brought me hope, the soul that brought me more strength than I could ever image, and mostly you are the soul who taught me to hold onto faith. You are the child that I prayed for, you were the silver lining to my storm, yet God needed your more. He called you home before my heart was ready. A piece of my heart went to heaven and I walk this earth with a broken heart. For I gave my son back to God, he was simply to beautiful for earth.

I often wonder Lucia what you would look like, would you have my curls or your dads black hair? Would your laughter be filled with warmth or would you be a soul filled with quite? Would you be a gamer like your dad or would you have your mother’s wanderlust? Your voice? How I long to hear it. Your smile will always be a mystery to me. These questions will go unanswered until my name is called and I can wrap my arms around you. How I long for that day, the day I get to hold you in my arms and never let go.

Letting go of you was the hardest thing I had to do. No mother should ever hear the words “I’m sorry, there is no heart beat.” Those words killed the dreams I had for you and I turned away from God. I was angry, I was hurt, I wanted my silver lining. Instead, I got brokenness. With time my anger faded and my faith began to seep into the darkness, it cleared the way for the light. The light allowed me to see that I am the daughter of the King and your death was apart of HIS plan. My faith is because of you. Your little soul renewed your mama’s faith and that is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. You are the gift that I never planned for. Your life although short, matters more than you will ever know. My baby, you will always be.

Alucious Gregory Beaulieu Cohen, I love you more than you will ever know, you were desperately wanted and you are deeply missed. You were the child I planned for and I will love you for all of my days. From heaven to earth my love knows no bounds. Happy 10th Birthday Lucia, my son you will always be.

{Lucia} Happy 9th Birthday

It’s hard for me to believe that you would be nine this year. It doesn’t seem like nine years have past since you’ve left this earth. My heart sings your song daily and I forever wonder who you’d be today.

My love for you has never ceased, my son you will always be. You Lucia made me a mother. A mother to a child I never got to hold. A child I never got to raise. I’ve been cheated out of hearing the sound of your laughter, your first words or watching you take your first steps. I wonder if you would have loved dinosaurs as much as I do or if you’d be reserved like your father. If you would have my curls or your dad’s dark brown eyes. These things will always be a mystery to me. Your life although short changed mine forever. You may be gone form this earth but your light shines bright. Your spirit is strong and you my son are with me always.

Your death consumed more than just me and your dad, it includes your big brother too. You Luica made Nylan a big brother. He was so excited for you and he desperately wanted to name you Kevin. My heart broke into a thousand pieces on the day that I told him you died. Watching the hope and love drain from Nylan’s little body cut through me like a knife. No child should have to learn that not all babies come home. He was yours and you are his. His little brother you will always be.

You had the role of little brother for five years until Baby E promoted you to big brother. I can only imagine what that day looked like in heaven. I bet you are an amazing big brother who looks out for his siblings. That you my sweet son showed Baby E the way and that the two of you welcomed Emmett. That the three of you are as thick as thieves causing shenanigans in Heaven. You will always be my first, my first son who gave me the strength to try over and over again for a living child. You are and will always be the hope that carries me for all of my days.

You my son grew my heart so big that I was able to give three pieces of it back to God. One day I will give the last final piece to Instant kid. Lucia your death did not make me weak, it made me strong. Your death did not break my heart, it made it grow ten sizes to big. Because of you Lucia I live this life. For I know you did not get to live an earthly life. Instead you got eternity before your feet even hit the ground.

Happy 9th Birthday my sweet son❤️

Alucious Gregory Beaulieu Cohen

Born sleeping 5/13/2010

{Emmett James} Asleep in Heavenly Peace

In my heart I knew this day was coming. I watched the days tick by as the months moved forward on the calendar. March 5, 2018 you were born into this world sleeping and my heart was broken once more. Emmett James you left this world with more love than your soul could ever handle. You were wanted. You were needed; yet God our God needed you more.

My heart still wonders who you would have been. Would you look like your mama with a head full of curls or would you have your dad’s eyes. Would you giggle at your muppet like dog or would you frown when Dexter’s tail crossed your face. Would you have your Grandmas wrapped around your finger or would you be toddling after your Papa with eyes filled with wonder. I dream of the outfits you never got to wear and the steps you never got to take.

I dream of the life you never got to live. Emmett my dear you were cheated and so were we. We were cheated out of a lifetime together and because of that our hearts will be forever broken. Your life though short taught us to have faith and to believe in miracles. You my son were the child that we had prayed for and you were worth the struggle. Our baby you will always be.

Emmett’s turtles were thrown in Lake Superior

I walk this earth with a broken heart; because three piece of it rest in heaven. Apart of me was jealous when you left. Jealous because you got to meet your brothers before I did. I have no doubt that Lucia and Baby E were waiting for you and now you are the big three causing trouble in heaven. I can only imagine what you three are up to. This life I live is for you and I will carry you with me for all of my days. My babies you will always be.

Emmett’s beach

If I had to do this all over again; we would always choose you Emmett James. You are ours and we are forever yours. Our baby you will always be.

{Infertile Me} Wave of Light

This is my battle cry “I AM A PARENT!” And no one can ever take that away from me. My womb has been a place of life and a silent tomb. Three babies I have carried, their hearts beat in the same rhythm as mine, and when their hearts fell silent, a part of mine died too.

I walk this earth with a broken heart. On May 13, 2010, I gave one piece back to God, his name was Alucious Gregory. On July 7, 2015, I gave a second piece back to God, his name is Baby E. On March 5, 2018, I gave a third piece back to God, his name is Emmett James. I myself wonder how I can still stand, how I can still move, and mostly how my heart still beats. I have one piece left and she beats on, for her sons need her to be strong.

Strong for the moments when she tears up and utters “there should be five,” as she watches Sophia and Jack climb hay bails. Strong for the moment when she walks through the orchard and utters “this should be Emmett’s first trip.” For the moment when she utters “Emmett’s first Halloween costume could have been Dr. Brown.” They need her to be strong when she proudly hangs Emmett’s ornament next to Lucia and Baby E’s on the tree. They need her to be strong so that she can live a life of what could be instead of a life of what ifs.

Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett need their mama to be strong for they believe that she can. Their deaths cannot be in vain, they to believe that their mama deserves a living breathing baby to spoil and love. A baby that will take the breath that they never got to breathe. A baby that will get to lay eyes upon the women they never got to call mom. A baby that will nuzzle into her neck and dream a lifetime of dreams that they never got the chance to dream.

Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett are the tiny voice that whispers, just one more step on silent nights. They are her fuel, her fuel to not give up on this dream called MOTHERHOOD. Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett are her battle cry! She is a parent to three boys, her sons they will always be. Their mother she will always be. She will light three candles, one for each of her sons, and a forth to remind her that as long as she is breathing, Hope is still alive. A reminder that she most always follow the light until she reaches the ends of time and never give up for her sons need her.

{Infertile Me} Hope Addict

I am starting to believe that just maybe unicorns, trolls, and mermaids do exist. Lord knows I am pretty much a medical unicorn. A girl with complicated anatomy that prevents her from getting pregnant the natural way. I must have been late when God was handing out the good cervixes. Because I got the broken one that came from the bottom of the barrel. Even though she’s broken, she’s mine and I wouldn’t trade her in. She’s caused me a lot to trouble and now she’s held together with scar tissue and hope.

I’ve faxed and scanned my records to more clinics than I can count. For one reason or another all of them told me no. I drove to Green Bay and was told no. The doctor waited until that morning to look at my records. I was to complicated for him. My BMI was .3 to high for him. So he sent me packing and I was defeated. It stung, the hope that I had instantly left my body and in my heart I was done.

Four hours on the road gives you time to contemplate and to organize a plan. In that moment I wanted to walk away from all of this. Yet something in my gut told me “take one more step, one more leap, we are not done yet. We can go a little bit further.” That little embryo of ours is counting on me, counting on me to bring it into existence. Embryo #3 deserves a chance to become a baby.

You can call me a hope addict. I am addicted to hope with a dash of fear. Do I regret getting fired from CCRM Minneapolis? Nope not one bit. In m my heart I always knew CCRM was not the right place for me. I stayed because I felt held to the wall without options. Did I receive good care form CCRM? Nope, my complicated anatomy and I were treated like an inconvenience. I was a lepar in their books, I didn’t fit the mold, and no matter how much they tried my fat ass wouldn’t fit in their box. CCRM’s lab is all you really need and any qualified doctor can do a frozen embryo transfer.

I think to myself “one day Embryo #3 will read this very blog and will know how hard we fought for him or her.” When you are addictive to hope you do not know how to stop fighting. When life throws you a block you curve to the left and find a solution. Google and I have become BFFs as we search for a clinic capable of taking me and embryo #3. Somewhere out there is a doctor just waiting to put a feather in his or her cap and that doctor will say “yup I will take you on.” I will continue to scan and fax until I find them. Motherhood is something I have always dream of and I am to addicted to give up.

{Infertile Me} Emmett James 03/05/2018

I have been trying to will the month of September to move slowly. My heart, she is not ready for the calendar to turn to the 23rd. She is not ready for that day to arrive for her womb is empty; Emmett left this world earlier than expected.

Right now Jay and I would most likely be holding Emmett in our arms and cooing over him as he looked up at us. Due dates are not concrete, we knew that I would deliver early via a planned c-section. Jay should be out in the parking lot making sure the car seat fits just right, while our mom’s are at our house making sure bottles are washed and the crib is ready. I should be posting photos of our sweet Emmett to Facebook as friends stop by to hold him. This time should be about our Emmett, a miracle that defied the odds. But it isn’t. The little embryo that could left this world all too soon.

Life she makes us strong before she gives us what we long for. Fate called Emmett home on 03/05/2018 at 11weeks 1 day, his heart it stopped at 10weeks 3 days. His story was done before the first words were written and our hearts are forever broken. Emmett was the child that we prayed for; the child that we so desperately wanted. He is our boy and we are his.

Emmett’s ultrasound photos sit in a book on Jay’s desk. In the beginning they made me sad, but now they are a reminder that he existed. That he was apart of this world and that he will forever be apart of our story. For 11weeks and 1 day he was our entire world and for that I am grateful. Our heats were filled with anticipation and awe because the little embryo that could was our baby and no one can ever take that from us. He was a 9.4 beta that turned into a heartbeat at 6weeks 1day. Even the fertility clinic was surprised by that.

When we found out that Emmett died I asked Jay if we could do a bucket list of things that we would have done had he lived. One of those items was a trip to the North Shore. On a beach just outside of Duluth we said goodbye to our son and threw two small stone turtles into the turbulent waters. The power of the lake washed over us and as tears flowed we said our goodbyes to the baby we never got to hold. I have faith that one day we will find Emmett’s turtles on the shore, the lake she will return him to us.

We chose to have Emmett James cremated and his ashes were spread in BabyLand at LakeWood Cemetery in Minneapolis. When I moved to Colfax Avenue in 2010 I had no idea that the cemetery just down the street would be the final resting place for two of my children. I walked by it and through it quite a bit. It’s a beautiful place and BabyLand has a view of Lake Calhoun a place that is near and dear to my heart. Emmett is not alone here, Baby E’s cremains we’re also laid to rest in BabyLand. I cannot bring myself to visit BabyLand it’s to painful right now but one day I will have the courage to go and put tobacco down for my sons.

The memory of my children is alive and well in our home. We have 3 Jizo statues one for each of my sons. Red for Lucia; Yellow for Baby E; and Purple for Emmett. A sign in our hallway reads “because someone we love is in heaven we have a little bit of heaven in our home.” My Dad is working on a memorial garden at the cabin with three dogwood bushes, a plant that is sacred to the Ojibway. Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett will always matter, our babies they will always be.

Emmett was proof that against all odds miracles do happen. I have no doubt that all three of my son’s will be watching over Embryo #3 for they want him/her to live the life that they never got to see.

{Emmett} Walk Boldly with Answers

Over the past couple of months I have been checking the boxes in preparation for our upcoming transfer. I saw the hematologist, she was very informative and shared that Lovenox does in deed cross the placenta. That information was both a blessing and a curse. A curse because it could mean that Emmett’s demise was due to Lovenox. We will of course never know for sure why Emmett died, everything is in theory.

On Tuesday I met with a new perinatologist and the first question she asked me was “why were you on 80 units a day?” I honestly didn’t know. I did what the previous doctor told me to do. Although I did question the 80 units, again I was told because of my history 80 was the dose I needed. Turns out AJ doesn’t need 80 units…….she only needs 40. 40 fucking units is all I need. 80 units was to high for someone with my history and my weight. An 80 unit dose is for someone who has a clotting disorder or a BMI of 50.

Two weeks before Emmett’s heart stopped I increased the dose to 80 units. Emmett most likely bled to death, his little body couldn’t handle the Lovenox. Only Emmett knows how he died. I only know that he was genetically perfect and there is no reason for his leaving. In this moment I wish I had fought harder to change the dose. Then again I went along with what the doctor said to do and in the end it didn’t save Emmett nor did it help me.

Am I angry!? Of course I am angry. I am angry that no one would listen to me. That the doctor didn’t take a moment to really look into my history to see what and why my blood clot happened. I am angry that she shoved me into a box and pounded me until I fit the mold. In my gut I knew 80 units was to high. I should have just nodded my head and continued on with 40 instead of 80 units. If I did, maybe Emmett would still be here and I’d be seven months pregnant. I cannot go backwards, I cannot weigh the what if’s, I can only go forward, forward with a broken heart.

My heart she is broken. Yet she is relieved that someone with MD behind their name finally listened to her. We have a plan, a very good plan and with a little luck we will bring a baby home. The new Lovenox dose is 40 units a day with no increase along with a side of prednisone, baby aspirin, and anti-biotics. With a little luck this protocol will be our ticket to a take home baby.

Emmett taught me to continue to advocate for myself and to fight for what my gut knows. Just because a doctor is a doctor doesn’t mean they know everything. I am a walking talking example of “fuck, we messed up her care!” I of all people know what it’s like to be discounted and unheard. I know what it’s like to hear the words “um Im sorry but your pulmonary embolism and stroke didn’t need to happen.” I know what it’s like to be misdiagnosed and have forged a path in the aftermath. And I will not be silent, I will walk boldly with answers and I am not going to dwell on what might have been, I can only carry hope for what could be.

{Infertile Me} Emmet James

As the blizzard poured down around me I looked out the window and remembered that the doctor said Snow Pea’s results would be in on Friday. Friday went without word, so I logged in to my online chart, “1 new message” it said. I held my breath, my heart raced, I knew what the message was. It was the answer, the answer that Jay and I had been waiting for. It took a while for the words to sink in, “normal (46 chromosomes) XY.”

In the moment I couldn’t remember if XY was a boy or girl, Dr. Google told me XY = boy. Jay and I had a perfectly normal boy. Snow Pea was a boy. There is no how behind the why, and the why has yet to be answered. It’s a blessing and a curse. My baby, our baby was a healthy little boy whose heart just stopped. The placenta was perfect and Jay & I are genetically normal, it doesn’t add up, but in the end we still had to give a healthy baby back to God.

Emmet James was called home before his feet even touched this earth. Emmet James was born sleeping on March 5, 2018. This little boy was loved beyond measure, deeply wanted, and is desperately missed. Emmet was courageous, he was the little beta that could, he proved that low betas can grow into healthy heart beats. I carried his little heart for 11 weeks 1 day. He was ours and we were his. Emmet James, my baby you will always be.

Emmet James is my second and Jay’s first son. A son that we had to give back before our hearts were ready. I have to believe that Emmet found his siblings in heaven. That Lucia was waiting for him with Baby E at his side, welcoming Emmet to the other side of the rainbow. I am a little jealous because Lucia and Baby E got to meet Emmet before we did.

Emmet James was cheated out of a lifetime. He will never get to go finishing with his Papa and he will never get to play tic tac toe with his Nana. Emmet will never get to take a plane to California to visit his Nana and Papa, Jay’s parents they got cheated too. I will never get to teach him how to ride a bike, tie his shoes, or take him on a road trip. Jay will never get to teach Emmet about World of Warcraft, computers, and Back to the Future. Yes, Emmet’s name comes from Back to the Future, Doctor Emmet Brown. Emmet deserved a life time, to feel the grass on his feet, to laugh, and to love beyond measure. His life was cut far to short and we sent him off with more love than one soul could ever handle. Our baby, he will always be. Emmet James you dear, will always be ours.

{Lucia & Baby E} Christmas #7 without you

This time of year makes me both happy and sad. Happy because I get to spend time with family and friends. Plus hello I love Christmas lights and all things to do with Christmas including Movies and cookies. Now that I have a niece and nephew Christmas is even more fun because I get to experience it through the eyes of children.

Jack is two and he is adorable. He tells me “Auntie I miss you so much” and holds on tight and then asks for another Christmas cookie. On Thanks giving day I took him shopping for Christmas gifts. I watched him as we carefully walked through Walmart looking for the perfect gift for mama and nana. He thought both of them would like Thomas the train because well he is obsessed with Thomas. We settled on something that wasn’t train related and he very happily dropped them into the cart. In that moment he was having fun and didn’t realize that I was teaching him the lesson of giving. It’s better to give than receive.

Sophia is five. She lets me know she is actually 5 and 3/4 as her birthday is in January. She artfully and patiently decorated Christmas cookies while we tell her not to lick them or her hands. Because no one wants to eat grubby cookies. She twirls in the kitchen while reading off her Christmas list. Which by the way is very short. Making sure that Auntie knows what emojis are. These are moments we’ll never get back and I will cherish them for a a million years plus one day.

In these moments my heart yearns for Lucia and Baby E. Lucia would be 7 and Baby E would be almost two this year. Both of them would have eyes filled with wonder and hearts filled with love as they anticipated Santa’s arrival. I can’t help but wonder what Lucia would have on his Christmas list. Would it be filled out with requests for Ninja turtles, dinosaurs, trucks or trains? Or maybe he’d be like his dad and ask for Star Wars, video games, and Superman. Only God knows what’s on Lucia’s list and his earthly mother will always wonder what he would like. Baby E would be easy, I’d just load him or her up with fisher price little people toys, a trike or even a ride on dinosaur. Baby E’s likes and dislikes are only known to God and that is alright with me.

Lucia has been gone for seven years, will 7.5 years to be exact. Seven years does not heal the heart, it just grows to make more room for love. Baby E was never meant to be ours, our little one has been gone for 2.5 years and he/she is proof that a woman can walk this earth with a twice broken heart. I miss my children every single day and especially at Christmas. Yet I am comforted by the fact that they get to spend each Christmas with each other and our Heavenly Father. I have to believe that Christmas in heaven is incredible for children.

Because God needed my children more than I did I will never get to decorate the tree with them. A stocking with their name on it will never grace our mantel. I will never get to load them in the car to go look at Christmas lights on the way to visit the mall Santa. But mostly I will never get to wrap a present for Lucia or Baby E. My children have given me a gift that cannot be wrapped. They taught me the meaning of love, strength and faith. It takes a lot to walk this earth with two piece of your heart in heaven. I am still a mother and my babies they will always be.

Sophia and Jack are too little to know that Auntie has babies in heaven. They just know that I am Auntie and that Auntie loves them without question. Christmas is magical. I like to believe that on Christmas Eve the veil is lifted and our babies and loved ones get to spend it with us. So leave an empty seat at your table, a special ornament on the tree and mostly talk about your loved ones as they will always be apart of your lives. Your loved ones they will always be.

To my fellow STILL and pregnancy loss mamas: “I see you. You are loved. You are strong and you my dear are fucking brave. You’ve got this. Your baby(s) matter and as long as you say their name they will never truly be gone.”

{Lucia} Back To School

Over the past week my Facebook feed has been flooded with back to school photos. Normally I click like and move on my merry way. This year the “today is my first day of first grade photos” are hitting me harder than I’d like. The photos of smiling first graders with carefully packed backpacks are tugging at my heart strings causing me to hit like as I fight back tears. This year is hard, my son his photo is missing in my feed. My Lucia is seven and he should be holding a sign grinning back at me as we wait for the bus to arrive.

There will be no bus pulling into our street. There will be no backpack and schools supplies to purchase. No shopping for clothes and the perfect pair of tennis shoes. No lunchbox to fill and no child to send off to school. My son he died, 7 years ago he died and all of the firsts died with him. Lucia got cheated out of a life time of firsts and moments in the sun.

Part of me wonders if Lucia would have been like me, brilliant with the worlds shortest attention span. ADD is a label I’ve been sporting since I was 7, yes 7 is when I was diagnosed. I have to believe that if Lucia did have it his elementary years would be better than mine. That his teachers would not shy away from teaching him, that they would see and harness his potential. Maybe he would learn cursive, lord knows I couldn’t help him practice because I was never taught. His brilliance is lost to this world, only God knows how bright he is and I pray that one day I’ll find out too.

The other day I watched Sophia and Jack barrel down the sidewalk on their bike/trike and thought “Lucia is missing.” In my mind I could picture Lucia racing Sophia down the street on his batman bike as Jack struggled to keep up shouting “Sissy! Lucia! I see you.” Jack would be the third wheel as Sophia & Lucia raced around the neighborhood. I thought about how Sophia and Jack have no idea that they are missing a cousin and that they got cheated out of a lifetime of fun. When they are older I’ll tell them why Auntie really has four paw prints tattooed on her foot, and that Auntie has two babies in heaven, for now they don’t need to know that babies die.

Babies die. Its a hard and lonely fact. I learned this not once but twice. I got cheated out of a lifetime of firsts with Lucia and Baby E. My babies died before they even got a chance to make an impact on this world. One thing is for certain even though the world will never know them, they changed my world forever and a piece of me will always be in heaven.