Eleven Months

Dearest Maya,

You would have turned 11 months old today!  Oh my goodness!  Where has the time gone?  I can’t believe the next letter I will write you will be on your birthday.  I imagine by now you surely would have been walking and saying some words.  You would have favorite foods, favorite books, and a solid routine.  The weather has finally gotten consistently nice and I know you would have loved being outdoors.  I would have taken you down to the playground to swing on the swings every day when we got home.  I think you would also have had a full head of hair by now!  I would put it in the most adorable pigtails every day.

It’s been rough for Mommy.  Mother’s Day has come and gone and you weren’t here to wake me up with the gorgeous smile I know you would have had.  You weren’t here to pose in the big family picture and play with all your big cousins who you would have known as aunties and uncles.  Your absence was felt greatly and it was a sad day for Mommy.  This time of year is also hard because Mommy’s birthday is coming up and again, you won’t be here to smile at me and celebrate with me.  I know you would have loved this time of year as much as I do.

I think you’ve been hanging around a lot.  I want to believe that, anyway.  Daddy shut the door to your nursery when he was working on the bathroom so sawdust wouldn’t get in there and when he came back from the store, it was opened.  Was that you?  When the channel changed from the dreadful news to Sesame Street – I think you had something to do with that too.  I also think you’ve developed a special little connection with Halee.  She’s been sleeping in your room a lot and waking me up at odd hours of the night for no reason.  This morning when she was intent on making sure I was up, I had a thought… is she trying to tell me you need me?  That sounds so silly, but I think that’s what she would have done.  I think Halee would have been my little baby monitor – sleeping by your crib and alerting me when you were in need.  Rather than think of it all as strange or spooky, I’m comforted by it.  I know you’re around.  I feel you on my shoulder and know that you are watching over me.

We’ve planted your garden!  We were going to plant one cherry blossom and some other perennials, but then Mama fell in love with a second kind of cherry blossom so you got two trees!  Only the best for my sweet girl!  We’ll dedicate this garden to you the day before your birthday.  There are many people who love you very much who are going to come and be a part of this special day.  I hope you will be watching and I hope you will bring us sunshine!  We’ll be sending you bunches of balloons with messages from all those who love you so so much!

I can’t believe just how fast these 11 months have gone by.  Sometimes, I am grateful that time is moving and I am living life and finding joy.  Other times, I feel sad – the more time that passes, the farther away our time together becomes.  I will always hold the memories close though.  My time with you still seems like just yesterday.  I hope it stays that way.

I miss you so much Maya.  I say it every month because I will never stop missing you.  I wish so badly I had you here, my sweet 11 month old, and that we were planning your birthday party.  Still, I am grateful.  You have given me so much – to be a better, nicer, and healthier person.  To cherish the time I have, find joy, and smile in hopes of brightening someone else’s day.

I love you my sweet angel.  Always and Forever.

Lots of love,

Mommy

This Time Last Year

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about this time last year.  I know exactly how pregnant I was and I remember specific details of what was going on at the time.  This period of reflection started for me in anticipation of Mother’s Day.  Over the course of the last few weeks, there has been a lot said in the baby loss community in regards to Mother’s Day – strategies for getting through it, words of encouragement that we are mothers even though our babies are not physically with us.  I ignored most of it.  Mother’s Day was planned for me.  Every year my mom’s family (aunts, cousins, etc) gather for Mother’s Day.  This year, it was decided to also do the unveiling of my grandfathers gravestone (a Jewish tradition) since the whole family would be together anyway.  I didn’t have a choice – I had to be there.  So I didn’t think much of Mother’s Day until a few days before.

Last year, Mother’s Day was so different.  I was exactly 30 weeks pregnant and we hosted the family gathering at our house because many of the members of my family hadn’t seen the house and we wanted to show off the gorgeous mural Hackie had painted in the nursery.  All spring, we pushed to have things around the house done by Mother’s Day – and we did!  It was a beautiful day and I remember so vividly thinking about this year’s Mother’s Day and how wonderful it would be to get to have my own baby at the family gather and to get to pose in the traditional mom picture.

Of course, this year’s Mother’s Day was nothing like what I had pictured and as the day grew closer I began to feel very sad as I focused on what life was like one year ago.  I approached the day with this attitude: No matter what happens, the day will end and it will be one more thing that I lived through.  The day started at the cemetery and I really did not know what to expect.  To those who have never been to a Jewish unveiling, it’s basically funeral part 2.  My grandfather died 10 days after I found out I was pregnant with Maya.  He was 88 and a truly wonderful man.  The unveiling was hard – very hard.  I cried harder than I have cried in a very long time.  I tried so hard to focus on my grandfather but so many of the words read applied to my sweet Maya.  We left stones that spelled out her name on his grave and I spoke to him – asking him to protect my sweet baby and keep her safe.

After the cemetery, we all gathered at my mom’s house for food and togetherness.  I couldn’t eat any of the food, but I was able to enjoy my family’s company.  We took lots of family pictures that included Maya bear.  And I made it a point to be in the traditional mom picture.  All in all, it was a hard day, but it wasn’t a bad day.  I was recognized as a mother, which is all I can really ask for.  I received many messages, texts, and emails.  I got two beautiful cards, flowers, and new bracelets from my amazing husband.  And I received a beautiful gift and card from my mom.  I think I was long overdue for an intense day of grieving.  Though I was not prepared to cry as hard as I did, I needed it.  I needed to feel the sadness in order to feel close to my daughter.

Now that Mother’s Day has passed and I have had a few days to recover, I continue to reflect on this time last year.  It was such a busy time and it was filled with such excitement – my birthday, my baby shower, getting the crib, putting the finishing touches on the nursery, frequenting Babies R Us – I remember it all.  It brings about a new wave of sadness on this journey through grief.  All of these memories signify that Maya’s birthday is so close – 4 weeks and 3 days away.  I am proud to say that I am looking forward to her birthday.  We are planning on dedicating her garden and have invited our closest family and friends to celebrate her life with us.  I think it will be a beautiful day and will bring some peace and closure to the year.

What I’m not looking forward to is after her birthday.  When the year of firsts is over and we begin our second year without our precious daughter.  Will it be easier?  Harder?  What will we do?  Will others have expected us to “move on”?  Will we have our rainbow baby?  There are so many unknowns.  But that’s all this journey has been – unknowns.  I walk this path so blindly never knowing what to expect or where or when my grief and sadness will become louder.  After Maya’s birthday we will continue to march forward as best we can.  We will overcome obstacles, make huge leaps, and fall a few times too.  The one thing I can be sure of is that I will continue to have the support of my incredible husband.  “Together” has become the theme of our year and it is so comforting to know that he is always by my side.

Big Changes

I’m going to start by backing up quite a ways.  As I’ve discussed on here many times, Hackie and I have been trying to conceive our rainbow baby for quite some time now.  I have thyroid issues as well as irregular cycles, which complicate things.  Since we started trying for baby #2, my thyroid dose has been changed five or six times in both directions.  With each new cycle, I think I’ve got it under control and that this will be the month.  It has been beyond frustrating.  In January/February, I did what I always do – charted, counted days, wished every time the clock read 11:11 or 2:22 or 5:55.  On February 11th, I was home sick with pink eye and a horrid sore throat.  I took a pregnancy test and saw the faintest of faint lines.  This was a Monday.  Tuesday, the test wasn’t any darker.  I didn’t have a good feeling, but I was still hopeful.  I went for a blood test after school and my amazing OB sent me the results later that night… HCG = 10.  Pregnant, yes… but just barely.  That Friday, I started bleeding.  I had a miscarriage, or in medical terms, a chemical pregnancy.  Hackie and I were pretty bummed.  We’ve become pretty resilient though and were able to enjoy our weekend and I was able to enjoy my week off from school that followed.

I then had another change in thyroid dose and another full unsuccessful cycle.  I had had enough.  Something else had to be done.  I consulted with my OB and, with her support and encouragement, searched for an acupuncturist.  I found someone local who practices acupuncture and nutrition and who specializes in fertility and endocrine issues.  It almost seemed too good to be true.  After a quick email, he felt confident that he could help me and I set up my appointment.

In preparation for my appointment, I had to gather three years worth of medical records, which included everything from my labor and delivery.  That was hard to read through.  With everything nicely organized, I went to my first appointment.  He spent two hours with me discussing my medical history and diet.  He confirmed for me that the severe anxiety I had experienced in 2006 was probably the start of my thyroid problems, which I had always suspected.  He also explained that I probably have a lot of inflammation and that my immune system is working overtime.  This is very common with people who have Hashimoto’s which is the type of thyroid disorder I have.  The inflammation and antibodies in my system can lead to a host of various symptoms including irregular cycles, trouble losing weight, fatigue, pregnancy complications, miscarriage, and pre-term labor – all of which I have experienced.  The recommendation was to tackle this problem where is most likely begins – diet.  I was afraid of that…

After this initial appointment, I was feeling quite overwhelmed and bummed out.  It felt like one more thing I had to deal with – first the loss of our sweet Maya, then after a few months the devastation of not being pregnant with our rainbow, and now add to that all of these ailments and isms that I have to deal with.  It’s a lot all at once.  Still, I am determined.  There is one ultimate goal – experience a healthy pregnancy and bring a healthy baby into this world.

What came after my first appointment was a blood test – it’s called the MRT food sensitivity test and it tests about 150 different foods and chemicals and how the blood reacts.  I had to wait a week for the results.  In the meantime, I cut dairy and dramatically reduced the amount of refined sugar I was eating (I have a big sweet tooth).  I had already started to feel better and lose some weight.

My results weren’t as bad as I thought.  I’m most sensitive to spinach (haha) and moderately sensitive to about 20 other foods and chemicals which include cocoa, vanilla, cow’s milk, and cheese.  The cocoa was the biggest bummer as anyone who knows me will tell you that my favorite food is chocolate.  From these results, I was put on a very strict diet of the least sensitive foods.  I’m currently on day 3 of the first phase, which is 12 days.  There are about 20 foods I can eat and I am eating no processed foods.  I’m pretty amazed with how well I’m doing and how quickly I’ve been able to give up so many of the foods I like to eat.  It was a really good thing that I cut gluten about three months ago.  That way, I didn’t have to cut so much all at once.

We grow up in a society where eating is multipurpose.  Food is social, food is celebratory, food is reward.  Really, food should have one purpose – to sustain life.  I’m starting to learn this more and more.  I’m confident that I will be able to stick with this new way of eating and I’m blessed to have the support of my husband and so many other close friends and family.  I’m determined to feel better, have more energy, and again, reach that ultimate goal.  This will work.  This has to work.

Ten Months

My dearest Maya,

I have pondered long and hard on what to write to you today.  Tragedy struck our beloved city of Boston yesterday and I am struggling with what to say to you.  I have been working very hard these last 23 hours since I found out to focus on the thousands upon thousands of people who did good in the wake of tragedy – the people who committed selfless good deeds as they rushed to help.  I have found myself wondering – is it better that Maya is not growing up in this world?  This world that, in our country alone, has seen three heinous acts in the 10 months since your birth and death (Aurora, Newtown, Boston).  My answer to that question is absolutely not.  You should be here.  It is not better.  It is devastating that these kinds of things happen, but what happens after is a true testament to the human spirit.  Love, support, and uniting together in the wake of tragedy is what defines us as people.  I wish you could know that.  I wish you could grow up to feel the pride for Boston that I feel.  Boston is our city.  Boston is where Mommy went to school, where Mommy and Daddy spent so much time together, and it’s where we took you to the circus just about a year ago.  It’s also where Mommy and Daddy held you for the first and last time.  You would have loved Boston and OUR city will prevail and come out of this stronger and more united than ever before.

I’ve also spent a lot of time wondering what we would have done today if you were here.  Spring has FINALLY showed up!  We’ve been taking Halee on walks through the woods and I keep picturing your Daddy wearing the baby carrier with you in it.  It’s school vacation week and Daddy and I are both off.  We would have planned our week around you and have probably experienced many firsts together.  First trip to the zoo where we would have met your Mima, first ride on the swings, first picnic… who knows?  We would have taken full advantage of being together as a family and enjoying the nice weather.

I imagine by now you would have been close to walking.  Sure, you would have been just 10 months, but like I said before you would have been very advanced :)  We’d all be marveling at how much you’ve grown and what a wonderful personality you’re developing.  We’d all be wondering where the time has gone.  10 months is such a fun baby age – they all are.  I wish we could have experienced them with you.

Mommy is preparing to make some big changes, which I’ll write more on later.  In a nutshell, the goal is to live a healthier life.  You have taught me just how precious life is and how quickly it can change.  I have to be my best self for you, for your Daddy, and for myself.  I’m willing to do whatever it takes to feel the best that I can and squeeze every ounce of joy out of every day.

We miss you so much, Maya.  I can’t believe 10 months has come and gone.  I want time to stop.  I want to move backwards to the time when I held you in my arms.  I would have held you longer, given you more kisses, taken more pictures, and savored that moment.  I know that I need to move forward in time and continue through life.  I know that’s what you want for Mommy and Daddy.  I just wish you were here.

I love you my sweet angel.  I miss you more today than I did yesterday and I will miss you more tomorrow.

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Always and Forever,

Mommy

What’s In a Name

I decided to link up with the journey over at Still Standing today.  I haven’t really written about Maya’s name so I thought this was a good opportunity to share.

Hackie and I started talking about our future children’s names within the first year we dated.  We were 19 and clearly both looking forward to having children.  Over the years it would come up every once and a while.  Once we decided to start trying we decided on a boy name right away, which is still our boy name.

When I got pregnant we felt a sense of urgency at finalizing our name choices.  We still both loved our boy choice but could not come to a consensus on a girl name.  Since we wanted the gender to be a surprise, we had time to figure it out.  Still, I was very anxious and pushed to finalize our choice.

We constantly went back and forth suggesting and vetoing each other’s name choices.  Since I teach, there are many names that get thrown out right away because of name association.  Also, with our names being so unique, there was a certain level of pressure to choose names that weren’t the most common.

After much debate and many lists, Maya was the only name we both liked and we kept coming back to it.  It went well with our boy name – both very classic, not too common, but not too out there.  We had known all along that her middle name would be after my mother (Francine) and we both loved the sound of Maya Francine.

We’ve found sources that claim Maya was the name of the mother of the Buddha, and that it means princess. According to Baby Center, Maya means “divine creative force in everything”.  I think this is the most fitting.  Everything I do now seems driven by my darling Maya.  Life now has a greater purpose because of her.

Maya’s middle name was easy.  My mom and I are very close and I owe so much of who I am today to her.  As I thought about becoming a mother, I was comforted with the knowledge that I was raised by the best there is.  I was so excited to be able to honor her with Maya’s middle name.  It kills me that Maya does not get to grow up knowing that her middle name is the same at her Mima’s first name.  I know it would have made their connection that much more special.

Maya Francine Warrensford – a classic and beautiful name for a little girl who will always be my baby.  I say it daily.  I try to work her name into conversations and refer to her as often as I can.  I will not get to call to her that dinner is ready or that it is time to leave for dance class.  I will not get to write her beautiful name on Kindergarten registration.  So, I will say it as often as I can.  The best thing anyone can do for bereaved parents is say their baby’s name.  We love to hear it.

Sadness

I’ve been neglecting this blog.  I think about writing on a daily basis.  I read several baby loss blogs per day and nod along feeling better that I’m not the only one living through life after loss.  My hope is that I have loyal readers who nod along when they read my posts, which brings me to the guilty feeling I’ve had about not writing.  Almost daily, I plan to write.  I have several posts composed in my head, and then when it comes time to sit down and write, I don’t want to.  I think I’ve figured out why, which I’ll get to in a moment.

For over a month, I had a post in my head.  A post about “acceptance” (though I hate that word).  A post about turning a corner in my journey through grief.  A post about feeling better, more productive, and happy.  For now, that post will have to wait.  I’m no longer feeling that way.

I’m feeling so sad.  It has been nine months.  Summer changed to fall changed to winter and now spring (though it doesn’t feel that way).  Holidays have come and gone.  Days, weeks, and months pass by.  Nine months.  Nine months without Maya.  Nine months trying to make the best of a life I wasn’t supposed to have.  Nine months dreaming of what could have been – what should be.  What I’m struggling with most is how to balance my feelings.  I miss Maya terribly.  I long for the life I was supposed to have with her.  I also want so badly to be pregnant.  I never thought it would take this long, and it is beyond frustrating.

So here I am.  So stuck and so sad.  I find myself wanting a break from it all.  I think about the movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and I wish for just one day I could have a break from my memory.  This sounds awful, but this is a place for honest, raw feelings, and sometimes that’s how I feel.  I will never forget my precious Maya, but with the memory of her comes this heart-wrenching grief that is exhausting.  This is why I haven’t written.  I’m crying as I write this.  To write, I have to go to my darkest place.  I have to feel the sadness in every inch of my body and completely focus on it.  I haven’t had the strength to do that lately.

I want so badly to mother Maya here on Earth, and I can’t.  I want to have a living child that I can take care of.  The moment Maya was born, I felt the love that every mother describes – the love for a beautiful life that I helped create.  I still have that love for Maya but I’m limited in the ways in which I can show it.  I am so ready to mother a child here on Earth.  I read so many stories of women getting pregnant with their rainbows very soon after their loss.  I thought for sure that would be me.  I feel like life is laughing in my face making me feel like the biggest fool for thinking that I can plan out and then execute the life I want.  We have now been trying for 7 months with no luck.  Now, the reality I am facing is another holiday season with no baby.  A full calendar year with no baby.  It makes me so sad.

So where do I go from here?  Was I a fool for thinking I had turned a corner in my journey?  I don’t think so.  I have said from the beginning that grief is not linear.  I have been in this dark place before.  I turned a corner, felt more positive, and then turned another one.  This is how it will always be as I live through my grief and sadness for the rest of my life.  As I’ve said before, it’s my constant companion – growing louder and softer on a daily basis.

I was hesitant to write today.  I actually stayed at school to write this because I knew if I went home it wasn’t going to happen.  Though I had to dig deep, cry, and be brutally honest with my feelings, writing this has helped.  I need to remember that exposing my sadness for the world to see helps me acknowledge and release those feelings.

I will be OK.  I am OK.  This is my life now.  Some days and weeks will be more sad than others and I am learning how to live through them.

 

 

Nine Months

Dear Maya,

Oh my has this month flown by!  Mommy has been very busy at work but there still hasn’t been a day when I don’t think of my sweet girl.  This weekend, the show that Mommy assistant directed is performing.  It’s so fun – lots of bright colors and fun music.  I’ve been thinking all weekend about whether or not I would have brought you to one of the performances.  I think I would have tried.  I think you would have been mesmerized by the whole thing – falling in love with musical theatre early just like your Mommy.

It feels like winter doesn’t want to end.  I think both of us would have been itching to be able to go outside and play at this point.  The sun is shining and the snow is melting (slowly), but there is still a chill in the air.  Mommy and Daddy have lots of things we are looking forward to doing this spring/summer that involve being outside and finding joy in the beautiful world around us.  We both wish you were here to enjoy it too.

We continue to find things we can do to honor you and keep your memory alive.  Two weeks ago, Daddy and a whole bunch of Mommy’s friends ran into the frigid ocean wearing pink!  It was a fundraiser for one of the many organizations that has honored your little life.  We had a really great time and it was so nice to spend a day focused on you and only you.  I hope you realize Maya just how many people love you!

Mommy still gravitates towards anything pink!  Everything pink reminds me of you and it’s starting to catch on with others.  Occasionally, I’ll receive a message from a friend of something pink that reminded them of you.  It definitely would have been your color!  Today, I purchased pink tourmaline earrings that I will wear daily.  This way, on the days I’m not wearing pink you are still with me (I still wear my necklace daily too).  I absolutely LOVE these earrings!  They are the prettiest shade of pink and I know you would have loved them too!

At this point, we’d have been marveling over how much you’ve grown.  You’d probably have some words that we understood and dozens others that we didn’t understand.  You’d have favorite foods and a solid routine.  You’d have been a great sleeper just like Mommy.  We’d have gone shopping for a beautiful spring wardrobe and Daddy would have to remind Mommy that you were going to outgrow your clothes quickly and that I shouldn’t go too crazy.  This would have been such a fun time of year with you!

I say it every month Maya and I mean it – we love you and miss you so much.  We love you and miss you more and more with each passing day.  We feel your presence and see the lives you have touched.  We live life differently finding ways to keep your memory alive.  We love finding new ways to include you in the things that we do.

I love you my angel – always and forever.

Love always,

Mommy

Doing Your Taxes After Your Baby Dies

I must apologize first for neglecting this blog.  Writing has been so therapeutic for me and I always have the desire to write.  The problem that I am having is that finding the time and level of focus required has become difficult.  I have several posts in my head – they are coming, I promise.

I feel that this post is important for several reasons.  First, I want to get my own thoughts and feelings out on the subject.  Also, I feel this can be one of the most educational posts I write, and I am hoping that at least one other family will benefit from my story.

For our taxes this year, Hackie and I decided to seek the help of a “professional”.  I will  not identify where we went, but it’s a very popular tax-filing business, so to speak.  We sat down with the gentleman and immediately felt uncomfortable.  We explained the changes that took place in 2012 and then dropped the bomb:

Us: “We had a baby.”

Tax Man: “Congratulations”

Us: “She died shortly after she was born.”

Begin even more awkward appointment.  We asked the question – “Can we claim her as a dependent?”  He turned to his trusty book clearly rattled by this unusual(?) set of circumstances.  He quickly told us that he thought we could and nodded in delight of his findings.  Hackie: “But we never got a social security number for her”.  The tax man’s face changed, he slammed his book closed, and stated, “Well that stops us right there.”  He advised us to move forward and try to get a SSN for her.  We could then file an amendment on our return.  I felt very uneasy about this whole thing and frustrated that we were told by more than one person that getting a SSN for Maya was unnecessary.

The appointment proceeded in all its uncomfortableness and we got to the end.  We were told that we owe, AND that if we could claim Maya, we would not owe.  Talk about a punch in the gut.  We were missing some things so we left unfinished and very frustrated/upset.  After a week of putting off the follow-up appointment, we decided to discontinue with awkward tax man and find a different means of filing our tax return.  We also continued to ponder this SSN business.  Something just didn’t seem right to me – get a SSN for a child who lived 9 hours just to be able to claim her on our tax return????

Hackie turned to his Aunt who is an accountant and with whom we are very close.  He explained the situation and she offered to do some research for us.  Within about 10 minutes she texted Hackie this, which she found on the IRS website:

Born and died in 2012.  If your child was born and died in 2012, and you do not have an SSN for the child, you may attach a copy of the child’s birth certificate, death certificate, or hospital records instead. The document must show the child was born alive. If you do this, enter “DIED” in column (2) of line 6c of your Form 1040 or Form 1040A.

Take that Mr. Tax Man!  My first thought after seeing this was an immense amount of relief.  Hackie and I were very stuck and torn about whether or not to get a SSN.  After relief, I felt somewhat stupid for not doing the research myself.  In the end, this news really lifted my spirits.  Sure, I am happy and relieved that being able to claim Maya will make it so we do not owe the government money.  However, this whole experience and outcome stands for so much more…

Often times I look at my life now and am bothered by how, on the surface, it looks so similar to my old life – my life before Maya.  On a daily basis, I wonder what I would be doing if she were here, how our weekends would be different, and how the daily mundane tasks like running a quick errand would not be the same.  When I reflect on the new normal versus the old normal, I sometimes feel like my precious baby girl faded from our lives.  We planned for her and counted on our lives changing for her, and then she was gone.  The tax ordeal and the thought of not being able to claim our daughter again made me feel like she’s just faded away, remembered by only a handful of people.  Getting the news that we could claim her without a SSN made Hackie and I both feel like she matters.  She matters not only to us and our family and friends, but to the government.

In all the baby loss things I have read and communities I belong to, I have yet to find anything related to taxes.  I’m hoping that someone benefits from reading about our experience.  In 2012, we had a baby.  Though that baby lived for 9 short hours, she was born alive and she lived.  She mattered.  She matters.

Eight Months

My Dearest Maya,

I can’t believe so much time has passed.  I think this is the first time since the day you were born that the 16th falls on a Saturday – so I counted the weeks: 35 weeks since you were born and left us far too soon.  I carried you for 34 weeks, 6 days.  You have now been gone longer than you were with us and that breaks my heart.  It reminds me that I will live the rest of my life without you here and that time must pass.  I want so badly to go back to that day 35 weeks ago – I would have held you longer, given you more kisses, and taken more pictures of your beautiful face.

It’s now the middle of winter, which is always a tough time of year.  I can’t help but wonder how having you here would have made it more fun.  Adorable sweaters, cute little hats and mittens, and a little red nose would make this time of year not so bad.  We had our first major blizzard last weekend.  I thought about what it would have been like to dress you up as a little snow bunny and take pictures of you out in the snow.  I thought about holding you up at the window watching Daddy shovel as you marveled at the pretty snowflakes falling.  I thought about us all being cozy and warm inside the house together grateful for some extra family days at home.

We’ve passed what would have been your first Valentine’s Day.  I would have dressed you in the most adorable pink outfit and put pink bows in your hair.  You would have made Mommy and Daddy some kind of Valentine craft while at day care and we would have loved all over you when we got home.  We also would have given you some kind of Valentine themed toy or book.  It would have been a special day.

I imagine at this point you’d be trying lots of different kinds of foods, crawling all over the place and possibly pulling yourself up.  You’d be discovering new things every day and babbling all the time.  I think you’d love your room.  Every time I walk by I think of you looking at the beautiful mural your Daddy painted you.  I wonder if you’d have had a favorite character that you enjoyed looking at.

I hope you know how much you are loved and missed.  We think of you all the time and every day we find more and more that reminds us of you.  I’ve noticed that most mornings the sky is pink when I leave for work.  I think that’s you saying good morning and I hope you hear me saying good morning back.  As we slowly move into spring and the flowers start to grow, I know I will feel you around us more and more.

I miss you Maya.  I love you so much and am forever blessed that you are and will always be part of my life.

Love and miss you always and forever!

Love,

Mommy

Making a Change

I had my annual appointment with my fabulous OB/GYN yesterday.  I was very anxious and emotional.  I thought I would be in there pregnant before being due for my annual.  My doctor was amazing as usual and helped put my mind at ease.  She validated my feelings and concerns around my thyroid and together, we came up with a plan that I feel comfortable with.

One thing she asked me about was my diet.  I threw out the wide range of excuses that I use for not eating well – the main one being that the bad foods I eat make me happy.  (Awful, I know.)  She asked if I’ve ever thought about going gluten free.  Though I’ve thought about it and even tried some gluten free cereals and cookies, I never jumped fully on that bandwagon because many gluten free products contain soy, which is toxic to the thyroid.  She told me that she’s done a lot of research recently and that gluten has been closely linked to decreased thyroid function and fertility.  She suggested I try it, assuring me I would feel better.

I left my appointment feeling reassured and optimistic.  I had a lot to think about.  I told Hackie how the appointment went and we discussed our options.  I told him what my Dr. said about gluten and he jumped on board almost immediately.  I told him I wanted to do more research and really think about what it would mean for us to go gluten free.  We went out to dinner and both ate a lot of bread – perhaps we knew what was going to happen next.

This morning, I got up feeling a sense of enlightenment.  There are lots of things in this world that make me happy.  I do not need to overindulge in food to feel joy and happiness.  I need to eat, first and foremost, to live.  Maya taught me that tomorrow is not a guarantee and that life can change in an instant.  The only way for her to live on is through me, and I need to live the healthiest life I can for her.  I need to feel my best and be my best every day – that’s what she would have wanted.

I started researching and quickly found that nearly 100% of people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis have at least gluten sensitivity, if not gluten intolerance.  My basic understanding is that the gluten increases the thyroid antibodies, which are what attack my thyroid gland and decrease its natural function.  My first reaction upon learning this was to be really pissed.  I’ve discussed my thyroid problems with several doctors and none of them ever recommended I go gluten free.  I feel like I fell victim to western medicine – the idea that a prescription drug will fix everything!  Then, I was pissed at myself for not doing this research sooner.  I am so grateful to my OB for opening my eyes to something so simple that has the potential to make a huge difference.

Hackie and I headed to Trader Joe’s and stocked up.  We both agreed that, to avoid feeling deprived and resentful, we needed lots of foods that we know we will like.  We realized that there is very little that we have to completely give up and that many of the foods that we like are naturally gluten free.  When we got home, we cleaned out the fridge and the pantry.  I threw the half a pan of amazing brownies that were left in the trash and we compiled two bags of food to give away.  Our fridge and pantry now look lighter and healthier.

We were told we would feel better in a week.  I’m looking forward to feeling the effects of going gluten free.  I know it will not be easy and I know there will be times when I am tempted by certain foods.  I am beyond grateful that my dear husband is doing this with me and is as excited (if not more) by the idea of living a healthier lifestyle.  There have been times before when I’ve dramatically changed my eating and it works really well and then I fall off course.  This is the first time Hackie and I are doing something together.  This is the first time we have literally cleaned out the foods that are off limits.  This is the first time it feels like a lifestyle change and not a diet.  This is the first time it will work and it will stick.

I’m doing this for myself, my husband, Maya, and my future children.  I fully believe it will make a difference and can’t wait to come back here and report on my progress!