Ex Husbands Ex#1 Kids

Abby Annette

March 25, 2010

Today would have been my daughter’s 18th birthday.  Not the little one who keeps me on my toes but my first born daughter, Abby Annette.

I was going to write a post like this last year but my son totaled my car four hours after getting his drivers license and I ended up posting about that. You can read it here if you want.

Abby Annette was diagnosed with spina bifida and anencephaly about two weeks before she was born. She never had a chance.

I had been experiencing contractions that were strong enough to bring me to the hospital but like a car that makes a noise until you bring it to the mechanic they stopped as soon as I got to the hospital. After the third trip down there and seeing how big I was the doctor decided to do an ultrasound.

Because I had been down to the hospital so many times, and it was getting to be routine, I sent my husband off to his meeting. I could tell something was wrong by the look on my doctor’s face but he wanted to wait until my husband returned. I’m sure you all know I wasn’t going to stand for that.

I heard the words and the explanation and I understood that my daughter was going to die. I however, was not going to cry at that moment. I would later but I knew if I let go I wouldn’t be able to stop. I bit my lip and started singing a song in my head. A song we must have heard on the way down to the hospital. Justified and Ancient by KLF featuring Tammy Wynette of all things. I didn’t like the song and I could only remember the chorus, and I didn’t quite “get” the lyrics. In fact to this day I have no idea what the song is about. All I know is that it distracted me enough to keep me from losing it.

All bound for Mu Mu Land
All bound for Mu Mu Land
(hey hey)
All bound for Mu Mu Land (justified)
(hey hey)
All bound for Mu Mu Land

I thought it was Moo Moo Land. Which struck me as somewhat amusing.

When my husband arrived I told him what was happening. The doctor came in and told us that for now the contractions had stopped but due to the circumstances they wouldn’t try to stop them. They told me I could go into labor at any time. I asked if I could drink and they said yes.

On the way home I made my husband stop at the gas station to pick up a pack of cigarettes for me, then I made him stop at the liquor store.

When we got home we started making phone calls. I made one call. I called my father and told him what was going on. We lived next door to my parents, if I made the call in my kitchen and my father picked up in the kitchen I could see him. I told him what the doctors had told me, that the baby had spina bifida and anencephaly and that she would most likely die within minutes of birth.

My father was a doctor. He questioned me about the diagnosis. He wanted to make sure they had said anencephaly rather than hydrocephaly. Hydrocephaly is an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain, it is a common companion of spina bifida but it is treatable and the baby can live. With anencephaly the child is born without a forebrain and can not live. I explained that I had not gotten the diagnosis wrong.

That was the first time I had ever heard my father use the word “fuck”.

I asked my father to make the calls to the rest of the family. I didn’t have it in me to explain to everyone. I also asked him to tell my mother even though he suggested I do it. I couldn’t deal with her at that moment. My mother had short term memory loss as well as other brain damage from a stroke when she was 29. I couldn’t tell her the sad news and then tell her again and again and then comfort her for not being able to comfort me.

About ten minutes after hanging up with my father my brother called me. He didn’t say much, just that it sucked and then we sat there on the phone for about 15 minutes not saying anything. There was just nothing to say but it was comforting to not say anything with him.

The next night my brother stopped by with a lasagna and his daughter. My husband was the gate keeper and tried to keep them out. His heart was in the right place, he thought seeing my niece, who was only a year old at that time, might upset me. My brother wasn’t having any of it and forced his way in the house. My niece ran into my arms and though I did cry a little it was because she was such a wonderful sight to see. My niece and I had bonded from the moment she was born, I was the first person besides her parents to hold her. I was her aunt Nenny. Seeing her was and always is one of the best things in the world. They didn’t stay long but wanted to stop by to say hi. My brother mentioned that my sister in law was going to stop by a little later.

When my sister in law arrived we sat in the kitchen and smoked and drank. We cried too. I was playing a waiting game and drinking was probably not the best thing considering it relaxed me which prevented me from going into labor. I am forever thankful to my sister in law for sitting with me night after night. She had a family to care for, she had work, she had a life to get to but she spent each night of that week with me.

After two weeks and no contractions my doctor said he could induce labor. He started my on Pitocin. A lovely drug that makes your uterus contract. At the rate they were giving it to me they anticipated I would go into labor in about three days. Three days would have brought us to March 25th which happened to be my husband’s birthday. I suggested we wait a day or two to start the whole Pitocin routine but my husband said he didn’t mind if everything happened on his birthday. He was not convinced that it would necessarily happen on schedule.

The doctors and nurses had briefed us on how the delivery would most likely happen. If the baby was born alive they would do everything to make her comfortable, but the general consensus was that she couldn’t feel anything. They said she wouldn’t be able to live more than a minute or two beyond birth.

The baby had been active the whole time. I could feel her kicking and hiccuping up until the night before I went into labor. I was sitting in my kitchen by myself. I hadn’t felt any kicks for an hour at least. I tried to make her move by pushing on my stomach, something that had always worked before, but it didn’t work this time. I knew she had died. I didn’t tell my husband. I don’t think he was home, but I am not sure at this point. I just didn’t.

The next morning we went into the hospital for another dose of medication and the doctor decided to hurry things up just a bit more by inserting seaweed sticks into my cervix. Apparently the sticks then expand and dilate the cervix causing labor to begin. I’m not entirely sure how they work because as he was inserting them he broke my water. Because of the birth defects I was carrying a lot of extra fluid. As bad as things were at that moment it felt wonderful to get rid of some of the pressure I was feeling.

I was in active labor for no more than half an hour. There were no monitors wrapped around my belly. The whole room was incredibly quiet. After she was born the nurse cleaned her up and took her foot prints. I was checked to make sure everything was okay. At some point the priest from our church came in the room. I wasn’t fully there. I was in Mu Mu Land. Trying to hold it together so I could get out of the maternity ward and go home.

Shortly after a nurse came in and dressed Abby Annette in an outfit with yellow bunnies on it and some booties that had been knit by someone who hung out at the hospital or something like that. I couldn’t understand why she was dressing her up until she pulled out the camera. She posed the baby with toys, in my arms with my husband standing beside me and in several other positions. It was surreal. I didn’t want pictures. The nurse said maybe not now, but one day I might. She took four or five Polaroids and two rolls of film.

I didn’t want pictures. At that moment I just wanted to move on. In my minds eye my daughter was an adorable little redheaded girl. In reality she was not. She had many birth defects that are probably part of the whole neural tube defect. Her spine had not closed, she had very long limbs but this was an optical illusion due to the fact that her head didn’t exist beyond her face.  She had what the nurse called a cleft pallet. In reality she had two mouths. I kept laughing because the phrase a face only a mother could love kept running through my head.

And I did love her. I knew her as only a mother could. I had already planned her life out. She would be smart, funny, beautiful. She would grow up to do the things that she had a passion for. She wouldn’t settle for anything less.

We tried to donate her organs but they were too deformed to be of any use.  After making arrangements with the funeral director we were allowed to go home. Because the hospital was expanding the regular entrance was closed. To get out we had to walk through the children’s hospital, the cancer ward. As bad as things were at that moment I knew they worse for someone else.

The next week, hell, the next month, was a blur. We made all the appropriate arrangements. I received flowers and cards from friends and family and from people I didn’t even know. I received one of the nicest and most heartfelt cards from the cashier at our neighborhood grocery store. The kindness of people never ceases to amaze me.

I held it together for the most part. I was busy making arrangements, canceling my baby shower and just trying to get through each day without screaming at any pregnant women or moms walking down the street with baby strollers. I probably could have used a little therapy at that time.

My husband and I decided to bury Abby Annette in the cemetery where his mother was buried. This was one of the few things that made me happy. I had never met my husbands mother, she died when he was 15, but it gave me great comfort to know that my daughter would be with her grandmother. She couldn’t be buried next to her, she had to be buried in the childrens section of the cemetery but it was close enough. As a mother I felt as if I had let her down. I wasn’t sure what I believed as far as an after life but I felt horrible that I wasn’t there with her to take care of her. I didn’t want to die but I didn’t know how to be her mother given the circumstances. Having her grandmother there helped a lot.

My husband and I didn’t talk about any of this. Our marriage was already ending I just refused to see it. I had held it together pretty well I thought. I knew I would eventually have myself a good cry, maybe for a couple of days, but I wanted to get through all the ceremony first. I didn’t want to make anyone more uncomfortable around me.

We had a small funeral, just immediate family. I don’t recall what the priest said, I wasn’t really listening. I was just singing the Mu Mu song to myself. When my sister in law saw the casket, the tiny little casket, she lost it and started crying. This set me off and suddenly we were both bawling our eyes out. Something my stoic family just didn’t do. Of course it set all the women off who were in attendance.

I don’t remember much that followed the funeral. Life returned to normal for everyone else but me it seemed. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had quit work in anticipation of being a mom. I could have gone back to work but that didn’t seem like something I was ready to do. I decided to get pregnant again. My husband wanted to wait but I wasn’t going to not be a mother for long if I could help it.

He didn’t understand. When mother’s day rolled around a couple of months later he didn’t get why I was so mad at him for not making any kind of deal about it.

“But you aren’t a mother” was his defense.

I’m pretty sure I was. I gave birth to a child, I named her, I buried her. That makes me a mother in my book. He didn’t understand and really wanted to wait but when we had to put down my dog only a few weeks later I think he knew, as I did, that having another child just might save my life. And it did.

My son was born less than a year later.

If you are still with me I’m wrapping it up.

Like the bag I have of all the cards I received and the rolls of film I never developed I never know where to put her in my life. When people ask me how many children I have, I tell them two. I don’t mention Abby Annette because for the most part it isn’t something I want to explain. It makes people uncomfortable and it makes them sad for me. When I get to know people better I have no problem telling them, it just isn’t something for acquaintances.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my first born child. It isn’t something my ex and I discuss but it is a bond that we have between us. My children know they have a sister but it isn’t something that comes up in everyday conversation. Life goes on.

Around the time that Abby Annette died, in fact only a few days before, Eric Clapton’s 4 year old son died when he fell off a balcony. I don’t recall it being in the news at the time, though I am sure it was. He wrote the song Tears in Heaven for his son. That song pretty much sums up everything I have tried to convey here.

And it’s much better than Mu Mu Land.

* It’s funny what no longer seems pertinent but I should say that the neural tube defects could have been caught in a series of tests in the first trimester. I chose not to have the test. I figured I was 25 and healthy and if something was wrong we would deal with it. I never imagined that they would or could discover something like this. I was thinking about Downs Syndrome. I knew if I took a test and it revealed something was wrong I would be faced with decisions I didn’t want to make, nor was I willing to make. When I found out I asked if they terminating the pregnancy was a possibility, if I could have a c-section. I was told that that would be considered a third term abortion which my doctor was not permitted to perform. He could induce labor but he could not terminate the pregnancy. I was also told that a c-section was not a possibility because there was no reason for one. It was shortly, only a few months later, that it became public knowledge that taking folic acid supplement greatly decreased the risks of these kinds of neural tube defects. Now breads and other foods are supplemented with folic acid. I should also note that I had had a miscarriage before this pregnancy. Knowing that, I was put on progesterone to help maintain the pregnancy. I had been on Clomid to get pregnant and I was also on Lipitor at the time of conception. I don’t know if there is any correlation to taking a statin and birth defects but they now they say if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant you shouldn’t take them. While in the hospital I was approached by an ambulance chasing lawyer. I told him to go to hell.

Please don’t feel sad for me. I got 8 1/2 months with my daughter which is something no one else had. If this hadn’t happened I would not have my son who was conceived five weeks after Abby’s birth. I don’t know why things happen I just know that sometimes they do. I have been blessed with two wonderful children and I have an angel looking over me. Not everyone can say that and I feel pretty lucky.

One more side note. When the diagnosis was made my brother suggested that I shouldn’t bother playing the lottery since I already hit my one in a million chance on something. Actually the odds were much better something like 1 in a 1000 if I recall correctly. In those five weeks between pregnancies my ex and I went to the opening of a casino in our area. I hit the jackpot three times winning over $10k. I haven’t bothered to play ever since.

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  • Reply Sandie Russo March 25, 2010 at 1:38 am

    I’m glad you shared the story of your daughter. It was incredibly touching.

    Hugs from a fellow SITStah.

    .-= Sandie Russo´s last blog ..Meet Singer/Songwriter Sara Lynn ~ Review & Giveaway! =-.

  • Reply Nicky March 25, 2010 at 4:56 am

    Thank you for sharing that story Jen.
    .-= Nicky´s last blog ..And Like Genital Warts….He’s Back! =-.

  • Reply peedee March 25, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Its a sad story Jen but a beautiful story about a little girl who became an angel too soon. Thank you for sharing the story about little Abby. Big fat bear hugs for you.
    .-= peedee´s last blog ..Just call me Carlton Fisk =-.

  • Reply love2eatinpa March 25, 2010 at 6:52 am

    i’m so sorry that you had to go through that. i’m sure it was very difficult for you to write that all out, but hopefully it was cathartic in some way.
    thanks for sharing that painful story. at a time when most of us take things in our lives for granted, we need to be reminded that bad things happen to nice people sometimes.
    .-= love2eatinpa´s last blog ..Wednesday Words =-.

  • Reply Erin March 25, 2010 at 7:03 am

    This is powerful and moving and incredible. YOU are incredible. You are strong. You are a mother x 2. My heart is overflowing for you.

    I have an Abby, too. And that made me cry even harder. And I had that KLF album. Now that song is running in my head.

    I do not claim to know your pain. But I well know the desire to become a mother. My husband and I had to have fertility treatments and it was only after 2 rounds of in-vitro that we conceived our twin daughters (Abby and Izzy).

    Love and hugs to you. I am giving you a standing ovation over here in my little corner of Kansas. You are brave and inspiring.

    I’m so glad to have found you. I am carrying you in my heart today, Jen.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Greetings from The Father Load, a.k.a. A Post Written by My Hubs! =-.

  • Reply Anne March 25, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I am so sorry that you had to go through all of this. I am sure it was very painful. It is something to share because it has helped to shape who you are now. Yes, it doesn’t come up every day and there are probably chunks of time when you don’t think of it, but it has still contributed to who you have become. My thoughts are with you today.
    .-= Anne´s last blog ..Tiger, Taxes and Ugly Crap =-.

  • Reply Maureen@IslandRoar March 25, 2010 at 7:30 am

    So sad. I’m so sorry for all you went through. This is so beautifully told.
    Thank you for sharing it.
    .-= Maureen@IslandRoar´s last blog ..Worrying =-.

  • Reply Katherine March 25, 2010 at 7:35 am

    I simply could not breathe by the end of your story Jen. Sweet, sweet Abby. God bless her, and God bless you….
    .-= Katherine´s last blog ..I Make Someone Happy! =-.

  • Reply mrsblogalot March 25, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Yeah, we’re still with you Jen and always will be. Thanks for sharing this with us. It was beautifully told.

  • Reply Joe Cap March 25, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Jen…on that day you became a mother. And Annette will see you in heaven along with Eric’s child.
    .-= Joe Cap´s last blog ..Special Effects in the Dark =-.

  • Reply Jennifer March 25, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I was with you all the way through this one. And I am so sorry. This was beautifully written and now you have passed the memory of your daughter on to the rest of us on her birthday.

    As you may know, my first child was stillborn and that pregnancy was under very different circumstances and I, too, am never quite sure how to answer questions like “is this your first [or only] child”? And the grief over that pregnancy and death has never quite left me, though it’s so mixed up with other stuff that it is hard to separate it out. So I understand some of it.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Cat from the past =-.

  • Reply Alison March 25, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Happy Birthday Abby. I know you are playing the angels today and they are giving you a grand old party.

    Thank you Jen for sharing your story. I am sorry that you had to go through that.
    .-= Alison´s last blog ..Blockbuster Express Kiosks =-.

  • Reply joann Mannix March 25, 2010 at 8:03 am

    What a beautiful tribute to Abby Annette.

    So heartbreakingly sad. I am so sorry. And yes, you were a mother the day your little girl passed through this world. Your beautiful words show what kind of mother you are.
    .-= joann Mannix´s last blog ..The Superficial Beliefs I Live My Life By— Updated =-.

  • Reply babs-beetle March 25, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I can’t even begin to imagine what you went through. This beautiful tribute tugged at my heart. You must be one strong woman!
    .-= babs-beetle´s last blog ..What is wrong with some people? =-.

  • Reply Kim - In Search of Me in Mommy March 25, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Wow…what a beautiful, heartbreaking story! As I was reading, there was silence. I couldn’t hear my kids playing, my dog barking, music… My thoughts were all with you. Thank you for sharing!
    This day, 18 years ago, is the day you became a mom – a wonderful mom.
    .-= Kim – In Search of Me in Mommy´s last blog ..Brothers and Friends =-.

  • Reply Sarah P March 25, 2010 at 9:30 am

    This is beautiful. What a lovely way to honor Abby Annette.
    .-= Sarah P´s last blog ..Juicy confessions =-.

  • Reply GDad March 25, 2010 at 9:32 am

    I have no words. Thanks for sharing such an intense memory.
    .-= GDad´s last blog ..Spring =-.

  • Reply Katie Krank March 25, 2010 at 10:00 am

    This post is a lovely tribute to your Abby! I lost my first when he was 3 months and consider myself blessed for every moment with him, he’d be 19 in a few months. You captured the surreal feelings and things that go through a persons head better than anything I’ve ever read. I think you put it best when you said that you are never sure where to put Abby and her things in your life..I often feel the same way but have never put it so well.
    Of course you were a mother and should have had a fuss made over you that mothers day! It certainly makes me appreciate my daughter all the more and I’m sure you feel the same about your children.
    God bless you it certainly took a lot of courage to write this post!

  • Reply Comedy Plus March 25, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Big hug from me too. What a heart breaking/heart warming story all rolled into one. 🙂
    .-= Comedy Plus´s last blog ..The Water Hole =-.

  • Reply Ianq March 25, 2010 at 10:35 am

    That is one of the most powerful posts I have ever read. I am so very sorry.
    .-= Ianq´s last blog ..Getting to know you, the 3/23/2010 edition, plus an award for Kato =-.

  • Reply Jayme March 25, 2010 at 11:01 am

    I am so sorry that you had to go through that. You are an amazingly strong person for sharing your story.
    .-= Jayme´s last blog ..Throat Punch Thursday =-.

  • Reply Linda Medrano March 25, 2010 at 11:31 am

    I’ve got tears rolling down my face. This is such a powerful tale. You are such a strong woman. What happened to you breaks my heart. I love that Baby Abby is next to her grandmother. I have a grand daughter Abby too. Oh Jen, I’m so sorry this happened to you and your ex-husband.
    .-= Linda Medrano´s last blog ..The Flock of Seagulls "Do" =-.

  • Reply Samantha March 25, 2010 at 11:36 am

    You have a great outlook..my very best friend died in a car accident on Saturday and she leaves behind one child, who is in the PICU from injuries from the accident, and another at home.

    Anyhow, I have had the best outlook I think I could have given the circumstances…and it is nice to hear someone else who has a positive outlook after the loss of a loved one.

    I am so glad Ian suggested your post.

    oh, and I have horrible luck, but I play the lottery with hopes that I just might win one time!

    Have a great day!!!

  • Reply MadMadMargo March 25, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Jen – Many years ago I worked for The March of Dimes. So many of the children who benefited from our work were born spina bifida. I became very close with several of those families over the years.

    My heart truly goes out to you, I’m sad for your loss. This is a beautiful tribute to Abby Annette.
    .-= MadMadMargo´s last blog ..Queen For A Day =-.

  • Reply Ally March 25, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Found you from a post on Ian’s Daily Dose fb page post. My heart hurts and I’m tearful, but I refuse to feel sorry for you ONLY because you asked us not to. I’m so happy to hear you were able to have another baby. What a beautiful post. I think the outpouring from your friends and neighbors is so wonderful.
    .-= Ally´s last blog ..I Loved Davey and Goliath =-.

  • Reply Buggys March 25, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Oh Jen, I’m emotional drained after reading this lovely, heartbreaking story. I’m so glad you shared this with us today on Abby’s birthday. I too would have felt better knowing that my angel baby was laid near her grandmom. My prayers and hugs are with you and Abby today.
    .-= Buggys´s last blog ..Judge Douchbag ? =-.

  • Reply injaynesworld March 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    What an eloquent and loving way to commemorate your daughter’s birthday.

    Hugs, Jayne
    .-= injaynesworld´s last blog ..injaynesworld much has been made of "My Ass…" =-.

  • Reply Metallman March 25, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Hey there Jen,

    My sincere condolences. It’s tough not to bawl your eyes out when someone so young is taken from us. It reminds me of my experience with a cousin’s baby who was still born. They did the same as with Abby; dressed her up, took pics and all, but it’s so so hard to keep it together. I, being only a cousin, found it extremely difficult, so I can only imagine how the parents felt during one of their most difficult times. You’re a strong woman, Jen! I’m not sure that I would have been able to keep myself together the way you did.
    .-= Metallman´s last blog ..Women and Their Love for Bags =-.

  • Reply SuziCate March 25, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    It takes an amazing woman to be able to find the beauty and wisdom from such a tragic event. You were blessed and touched in ways that many of us will never understand. I can’t say that I have experienced it but I have a sister who lost a baby at six weeks to SIDS, and a friend who had a stillborn child. As I always say, it’s what we do with our life experiences that make us who we are. And I think it’s safe to say that you are incredibly brave and giving. Thank you for sharing your story.
    .-= SuziCate´s last blog ..The Card He Didn’t Buy =-.

  • Reply meleah rebeccah March 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Jen, I know you told me NOT to feel sad for you, but I am sitting here with uncontrollable tears running down my face. I can’t stop sobbing thinking about your loss.

    I already thought you were amazingly awesome, but I am incredibly impressed with the way you gained so much wisdom from such a heart-wrenching experience. I honestly do NOT think I would ever be a strong as you if I was ever faced with these terribly unfortunate circumstances.

    Thank you for sharing this with us on Abby Annette’s birthday.

    All of my love.
    .-= meleah rebeccah´s last blog ..Public Service Announcement – TMI Style =-.

  • Reply Mandy Allender March 25, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    A terribly sad, and yet beautifully written story. My heart breaks for you and your sweet Abby. I’m so proud of you for having the strength.

    I also hate your ex for telling you you weren’t a mother. I could scream at him. My son was only 3 months old on my first Mother’s day, and my husband didn’t acknowledge it. He said, “You’re not MY mom.” I went to Chik fil A for lunch, and they saw the carseat and gave me a pink carnation. I cried for an hour. Chik fil A recognized how important being a mother was, and my husband didn’t. I know a little of how you feel. *hugs*

  • Reply Nicole March 25, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    You are such a strong woman to endure that. You may feel like you had no choice, but you really did. I’m glad you are able to remember Abby Annette with joy instead of bitterness. You can’t feel it, but I’m giving you a big cyber hug.

  • Reply Heather March 25, 2010 at 1:58 pm


    I’m glad you made it through…
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Spin Cycle: I Used to Sing… =-.

  • Reply Angel March 25, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    My heart is just broken for you. Tell people you have 3 children for that is exactly what you did. If they don’t understand so be it, she was yours you carried her and loved her.. You were her mother and she was your daughter.. this was simply beautiful
    .-= Angel´s last blog ..Please go show my friend some love… and she has a giveaway!! =-.

  • Reply Jen March 25, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Thank you everyone for such kind words. It isn’t a sad day for me so please don’t feel sorry for me. I do appreciate all of your very kind words.

  • Reply Mimi March 25, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    I am so sorry you had to go through that. I had a miscarriage who would’ve been my 4th child. It happened right away, but I still felt the loss. I was so surprised. It was the only time in my life that I almost fainted. I was away from home when it started happening. Like you, I don’t count Taylor Lee in the numbers here on earth because there always has to be an explanation.

    Hugs, Mimi from the Round Up
    .-= Mimi´s last blog ..i heart faces "Focusing On Angles" =-.

  • Reply Doctor Faustroll March 25, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    I am reminded of a poem by Henri Michaux called I Am Writing You From A Far Off Country, in which Hank says something along these lines: I do not say these things to wound. I would say other things if I really wanted to wound.

    The flip side of course is that old saw: if you don’t have anything to say that will wound, don’t say anything at all.

    I don’t miss anything or anyone and surely don’t have time for their pain, as Carly used to sing, or almost did, except she had no balls.

  • Reply Blythe March 25, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    18 years….
    You are always so unafraid to express raw emotion.
    We can’t pretend to make sense of all this – we can only connect with the hearts of others. This is what humanity means. You do it so very well.
    .-= Blythe´s last blog ..Last of Winter on Hurricane Ridge =-.

  • Reply Kristy March 25, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    My cousin had a baby with spinal bifida. He lived for about a year, and he was a very sweet baby. He didn’t get to have much of a life, but he did live longer than anyone expected… I can’t imagine what it’s like to know that your child isn’t going to make it, as heart wrenching as it was for the rest of us, his parents had to have felt it a thousand times more.
    .-= Kristy´s last blog ..235 – Cleaning out my drawers =-.

  • Reply Debbie March 25, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Usually when I see a post of this length I do not read it. Not this time. I don’t know what made me sit and start that first paragraph, but after that I could not stop. I don’t know how you kept it together during that time, as I could not keep it together while I read it…and seldom do I cry, damn it. So, now I will wake up with puffy red eyes tomorrow and it will be so worth it, for this story, though heartbreaking, is proof that the human spirit can endure…especially that of a redhead.
    .-= Debbie´s last blog ..GOD TAKES CARE OF HIS MISTAKES =-.

  • Reply Jude March 25, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    I’m sad for the dreams you had for Abby that you never got to see and the sadness of your loss hurt my heart, but it makes me grateful that I at least had my Son for 38 years and had so much time to fight with him.
    .-= Jude´s last blog ..Disciplinary Actions/Verify A License/Lodge A Complaint =-.

  • Reply MikeWJ at TooManyMornings March 26, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Jen, one of the things I love about your writing is that you can be a total goof–Emmanuel Lewis meets Obama!–one day, and then put a column like this together the next. This is transcendental writing–very moving, a tribute to a lost daughter, a peek into a unique range of emotions that are particular to you and your experience and yet shared on some level by everybody. This is amazing work, and an incredible expression–remarkably honest, for one thing. I can’t get the image of those unseen photos out of my mind: The sadness of them, the beauty of them.

    My mother had a daughter–she would’ve been my older sister–who also died hours after being born with spina bifida. I would’ve like to have known her, and maybe some day I will. Maybe someday we all will.

    Mu Mu Land, curiously, has some very interesting spiritual connections. Basically, it’s a reference to the lost continent of Mu, which is said to have sunk beneath the ocean at the dawn of human history, leading to a diaspora that peopled ancient civilizations. It’s also referenced in a number of religious writings. It’s an odd song, but it’s interesting–more than interesting, really–that it was the song that comforted you.

    I am quite moved by this post. Thank you.
    .-= MikeWJ at TooManyMornings´s last blog ..Oublier Jamais! =-.

  • Reply Sheila Sultani March 26, 2010 at 4:55 am

    God Jen, I’ve got cold chills running up and down my arms and legs. I knew you had been through something similar to me but I was too busy thinking about my story. I went back to a blog post I wrote about my daughter and re-read the comment you had left and felt like kicking my own ass – I just can’t imagine having to wait like you did, knowing their was something wrong with your baby and you couldn’t do anything to make it ok – the ONLY good thing about this kind of experience (once you get through the EXTREME pain and depression) is that it changes you. You see everything different. You appreciate things a little more. I wasn’t afraid of anything – I mean, once you’ve been through something like that – nothing could hurt you again. Happy B-day to Abby Annette!!

    Lifenet, the group that donated my daughters organs sent me this poem, I still get tears every time I read it.

    A Child of Mine

    “I’ll lend you for a little time,
    a child of Mine,” He said,
    “For you to love the while she lives,
    and mourn when she is dead.

    It may be six or seven years,
    or twenty-two or three,
    But will you, till I call her back,
    take care of her for Me?

    She’ll bring her charms to gladden you,
    and should her her stay be brief,
    You’ll have her lovely memories
    as solace for your grief.

    I cannot promise she will stay,
    since all from earth return,
    But there are lessons taught down there
    I want this child to learn.

    I’ve looked the wide world over
    in My search for teachers true.
    And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes
    I have selected you.

    Now will you give her all your love,
    nor think the labor vain,
    Nor hate Me when I come to call
    to take her home again!”

    We fancied that we heard them say,
    “Dear Lord, Thy will be done!
    For all the joy Thy child shall bring,
    the risk of grief we’ll run.

    We’ll shelter her with tenderness,
    we’ll love her while we may,
    And for the happiness we’ve known,
    forever grateful stay;
    But should the angels call for her
    much sooner than we’ve planned,
    We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes
    and try to understand.”

    — Edgar A. Guest
    .-= Sheila Sultani´s last blog ..My Eyes Are Up Here! =-.

  • Reply JD at I Do Things March 26, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Oh, Jen.

    OK, I won’t feel sad for you. I’ll feel grateful, instead, that you chose to share this story with us in such an eloquent and articulate fashion.

    I hope writing about Abby Annette’s brief life brought you some comfort and peace.
    .-= JD at I Do Things´s last blog ..I Ate Spaghetti Squash so you don’t have to =-.

  • Reply Amin March 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

    All my pray with God Bless you

  • Reply Pricilla March 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    goat hugs
    .-= Pricilla´s last blog ..AbbyDay – I Inspect the Hay Pile =-.

  • Reply Fragrant Liar March 26, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    That was an incredibly powerful and heartbreaking memoir. Happy birthday to Abby Annette and the age in which you became a mother. I cannot even imagine how difficult that must have been for you.

    My best, warmest thoughts I send to you.

    .-= Fragrant Liar´s last blog ..Grind and Rewind, or Just Say No to Recycling =-.

  • Reply Junk Drawer Kathy March 27, 2010 at 4:26 am

    You said not to feel sadness for you and I won’t. I shall feel joy that you had her as long as you did. And happy that she’s been safe with her grandmother and in your heart all this time. God bless sweet Abby Annette.
    .-= Junk Drawer Kathy´s last blog ..The Venus Flytrap of Doors =-.

  • Reply Rebecca April 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    .-= Rebecca´s last blog ..Why I Love Paint Shop Pro =-.

  • Reply Becky April 12, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Thank you for sharing, Jen.

  • Reply Tracy O'Connor June 18, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Jen, thank you for sharing your story with us. Much love to you.

  • Reply Margaret (nannygoats) June 18, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    That was an incredibly moving story, Jen. I'm so glad you were able to share this.

  • Reply Marms March 25, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    First, I say from the beginning of your pregnancy, you already became a mother. I wished your baby have lived. And I can imagine how loving and sweet she would become. You have a strong system around you.

    Hey! I am jealous of you winning in the casino!!! 😀


  • Reply Star Traci March 25, 2014 at 10:18 am

    I’m sorry for your loss, in fact, I am crying. I’m sorry your husband didn’t understand but you were a mother and your loss was tremendous. I am happy that you were blessed with two more healthy children but that doesn’t mean your loss wasn’t real. Thank you for sharing your truth. It is powerful.

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