I’m hoping today might be your birthday. I’m hoping today might be the day I finally get to meet you. I’ve yearned to be your mommy since I lost your brothers a little less than a year ago. I hoped I would be lucky enough to get another shot. I’ve worried about you everyday since I found out you existed. I can’t believe we made it. We did it baby girl. We’ve got one more thing to get through love. When you get here I am going to smother you with so many kisses. I can’t wait to feel your warm baby skin on my lips. I can’t wait to smell you and smooth out your hair. I can’t wait to feel the joy I know you’ll bring. I love you Hannah Rose Magee.
On September 18, 2013 I was in my 18th week of my twin pregnancy and was eagerly awaiting my ultrasound appointment. Eric and I were going to find out the sex of our babies. We were on top of the world when the tech told us they were both boys. We had picked out the best boy names: Thomas Bear and James Bane. We couldn’t believe that we were getting blessed with two little boys who could be the namesakes of two beloved Magees lost far too soon, Eric’s Dad Tom and brother Jimmy. I was beyond happy that I could repopulate the world with some Magee Men.
To good to be true.
What happened next felt at first like just a bump in the road but quickly progressed to the most devastating moment of my life thus far. A little snowflake that fell and soon would turn into an avalanche on the mountain of my perspective.
The tech left and the doctor came in to deliver us some concerning news. My cervix appeared to be softening and shortening, and if things didn’t change I could deliver the twins in 5 weeks. 5 weeks! That would only put me at 23 weeks, that was far too soon…
But even still, I was skeptical that I really needed to go on bed rest. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the severity of the situation. I was rattled for sure. Felt fragile in a way I had never before experienced. But things would work out OK. I just knew it. I was meant to have twins. I felt it in my bones.
A week later when I went back for my next appointment I was confident that there would be no change. Probably no improvement, but I didn’t think my cervix could have possibly gotten worse.
Wrong. It was worse. And it wasn’t until that moment that I realized I could lose it all. But I continued to follow doctor’s orders and I continued to be positive. I was scared to death but not hopeless.
After another week on bed rest, surely my cervix would be holding up. No. Worse again. After an internal exam, it was discovered that I was actually already dilated. At 20 weeks.
Then came the options from the doctor: Option 1. Terminate the Pregnancy this way. Option 2. Terminate the Pregnancy that way. Option 3. Head to the hospital and hope for the best. When the doctors left the room to allow us to absorb what was going on, I just looked at Eric in disbelief. This can’t be happening. Luckily neither one of us are quitters so the decision was easy. We were going to hang on to every last shred of strength we had and hope for the best. We’d take our chances. So we headed to the hospital where I’d stay for the next 15 days.
Not once during my stay did I ever envision I’d be leaving the hospital without my babies. Call me naive. But I believed I could hang on long enough. They’d be born premature, sure. But they’d be born, and they’d live. They. Would. Live. I believed it with every ounce of my being.
But I was wrong again. After a night of fighting with my body’s agonizing contractions and grappling with the burden of the inevitable, we decided it was time. On October 17, just one day shy of one month from the date that we first learned there was a problem, I delivered my twins.
James first. And I wailed when I saw him because I knew then that it was over. I knew then that I would be leaving the hospital without my babies. Fifteen minutes later I delivered Thomas. And then….it was over. And something new was beginning. Something so painful that I cry every time I think of it, and can’t bare to share the details of because they haunt my memories every day of my life.
So here I am a year later. Eagerly awaiting the arrival of my daughter Hannah Rose. Full term, at 37 weeks and counting. And still, deep down, scared to death. You see, I’m not fixed. I’m lucky to have gotten pregnant so quickly. I’m grateful to be pregnant still. I’m really good at putting on my game face. I’m optimistic through and through. But I’m not fixed. I’m still broken. Part of me always will be.
I want to bring home a healthy baby from the hospital. And I believe I will soon. But I will always wish things were different. I wish I could bring home all three.
It just hit me. In about 6 weeks I’m going to have a baby. The countdown has been on the entire time, but something just got real. This Sunday I’ll be 34 weeks. 6 weeks away from my due date. 6 weeks is nothing. Holy smokes. I think I’m really doing it this time!
At 29 weeks I had a maternity photo shoot done by Samantha Makenzie Photograpy. I love how the photos came out and am planning on hiring her to do Hannah’s newborn photos when the time comes. She does beautiful wedding photography and family portraits as well. Check her out at www.samanthamakenziephoto.com
When I look back at those photos I remember thinking I had a pretty big belly then. But the growth spurt is ON! Just about 3 weeks later someone took this photo of me and I can’t believe how much bigger I look.
Every time I look in the mirror I just can’t believe it’s my body reflecting back at me. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and think to myself, “I don’t feel like I have a huge belly right now.” And then I roll over and get out of bed, and rest assured, it’s still there….which is a good thing. It’s just so mind blowing at times.
Growing another human being inside you is honestly one of the most amazing things. I truly don’t think you can appreciate it until you go through it yourself. Everyone always told me, but I didn’t respect the immensity of it all until my journey into motherhood began over a year ago. To feel her moving around inside me all the time, and knowing that a little creature is literally living inside of me is so….I have no words to describe the depth of what I feel. It is the most important, most profound thing I have ever done. Nothing has ever made me feel more alive than being pregnant.
I have imagined the moment I get to hold my little Hannah Rose. And every time I imagine it, I cry. I cry for my Thomas and my James. I cry because I know that holding Hannah for the first time is going to be such a bittersweet moment. A moment of promise. And a moment of memories. A moment to cherish what we have and a moment to grieve what we have lost. Looking in Hannah’s eyes, for the first time and every time, will remind me of my boys. I imagine their spirit will live on in hers. I imagine I’ll hear their laughter in the echoes of hers. I imagine I will see them in her. And that will be comforting and challenging all the same.
But I can’t wait. I am so eager to meet my baby girl. To hold her. To hear her breathe in my ear. To feel the warmth of her body. It will be worth all the aches and pains, all the heartburn and constipation, all the cellulite and lost muscle. It will all be worth it when I can hold my little one for the first time. To hug her tight and smother her with kisses….and continue to do so for hopefully a long, long time.
I sent my mom this photo at the end of May accompanied with a text that said, “Don’t remember seeing this last year. What is it?. She replied, “Azalea, I think.”
It was growing in my backyard and I didn’t remember seeing it the previous spring. It struck me at the time because the blooms just seemed to appear out of nowhere, and they were so bright and vibrant. More than anything though, I had this feeling in my gut that it might be something I had been so desperately wanting…
I had just had a conversation with someone at work about how I really wanted to have a dream about my boys so that I could see them again. Eric has dreamt about them. Other people I know who have lost someone have dreamt about that person. But I have never dreamt about my boys and I want to have that connection with them so badly. So my colleague said I should ask them. Ask them to show up in my dreams or ask them for a sign. So I did.
When I saw this in my backyard I remember thinking that it was strange that I didn’t see it the previous year. Then I remember noticing the blooms. Three. Two clustered together on the left and another little one on the right. Could it be? My twins and their little sister? Probably not. It would grow more flowers. This was just a coincidence.
I was just out in my backyard again today looking at my plants, remembering these thoughts. All spring and summer that plant never had any other flowers than what you see here in this photo. Just those three. That was it. Maybe it was my babies after all. That’s what I want to believe.
What happened to June? It was gone in a flash. I feel like it was just the beginning of June and now it’s over. It’s been a busy month. School came to a close for the year. We hosted our Grand Opening Event at CrossFit Hingham-a lot of work, but a success, I think. My mom and I ran our only week of Art Camp for the summer. I turned 35 on the 30th. Yikes! And now I’m looking forward to a very lazy July.
Actually, who am I kidding? I will fill up my July with all sorts of commitments and projects. That’s just how I operate. But in the grand scheme of things, it will be a lot lazier than the rest of my year.
Things with baby Hannah are going well. So far, so good. I go for another ultrasound this week. They’ll be taking growth measurements so we can know exactly how big she is. It’s so crazy to think about having this mini human inside me.
I remember being shocked at how big the twins were when they were born. Not because they were exactly big (just over a pound a piece). But more so because I just couldn’t imagine how all of that was inside me. I never really got very big with the twins so I was shocked that those two little guys were taking up that much space inside my belly. I imagined giving birth to preemies that were the size of my hand. But they were much bigger than I imagined. Just over 12 inches long. Still very tiny, but bigger than I’d pictured. Which made it so much harder to accept that we couldn’t save them but….we couldn’t.
Even with Hannah, I still am in awe when I think about a little two pound body being inside me. Where is she? I mean, I can feel her, and I know my belly is growing and I’m getting bigger, but still….it’s crazy to think how much bigger she must already be than the twins were when they were born. And yet, I struggle to really picture her in there somewhere!
I guess what I’m getting at is that we picture these little tiny things inside us. But they are really not as teeny as we think. You picture a pound and think it’s nothing. But yet, when that pound comes out, and it’s an actual baby…it’s amazing. And that little pound becomes larger than life. My pregnancy apps tell me that at 26 weeks my baby is now the size of a large zucchini. But I’ll tell you what. My twins at 22 weeks were bigger than a zucchini. So unless they are talking about a blue ribbon, prize winning zucchini at the state fair….I know my two pound little Hannah is bigger than what many of us would imagine.
I can’t wait to meet her. I’m so curious! I wish I could take her out and look at her right now and compare her to the twins and what they looked like, but then put her back safely inside me to finish the job. As eager as I am to meet her, I’m hoping to keep cooking this little bun in the oven right up to the 40 week mark!
“Ah, no one knows who makes evil storms. We only know that they come. When they come we must live through them as bravely as we can, and after they are gone, we must feel again how wonderful is life. Every day of life is more valuable now than it was before the storm.”
-Kino’s Father from The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck
I’ve hit a major milestone today. I am 22 weeks and 5 days into this pregnancy. I’ve never been here before.
There is so much I could say. So much about how I’m feeling. But ultimately, all I want to say is thank you.
I am so grateful. For all of this, for all of you, and for this gift of life.
I love May. It might be my favorite month. The weather is warmer, the sun light sticks around longer, and I get to spend more time out doors. I am, without a doubt, a summertime girl, and my heart just sings a completely different tune this time of year.
But my heart has been singing an especially happy tune lately. Let me share with you some of the little pleasures in my life this month!
10. CrossFit Hingham opened the doors to it’s new 10,000 square foot facility mid-April. This month my focus has been to work on promotions and community outreach. It’s exciting to see the gym grow and brainstorm ideas for the future.
9. Baby K will be here soon and will make me an aunt for the first time. We had my sister’s baby shower at the beginning of the month. I got to spend some quality time with my mom making the favors for the shower, and they came out so cute. Everything pulled together beautifully and it was just what she wanted. Yay!
8. Eric turned 30 on May 9th and I enjoyed spoiling him with gifts and good food all weekend! I bought him a big expensive gift but I think what he liked most was the basket of 30 treats for his 30th that I put together for him. We also discovered a great restaurant , Orta, right around the corner from us and had an outstanding birthday dinner there!
7. Giuseppe’s Cakes didn’t disappoint! I found out about this great bakery last year and I’ve ordered several birthday cakes from them. This year, though, I decided to ask for a custom cake with PBCs on top and in the middle layer. Holy cow was this cake awesome!
6. I’ve been taking the dogs out for a walk on Sunday mornings. It’s been beautiful out the last two Sundays and they get some much needed exercise. We have a nice little loop that we do that takes us about 45 minutes and I think we all feel better after.
5. We just wrapped up one of my favorite projects at school. I have the kids imagine themselves as a super hero and write a story featuring their super hero self. They always come up with great stories, but this year’s crop of kids were just really into it. The stories and pictures were some of the best I’ve seen in several years doing this project.
4. The grilling season is here! Food always tastes better when cooked on the grill. My go to lately has been burgers, dogs, and grilled pineapple. We started buying these Apple Gate hot dogs and I can’t get enough!
3. I just turned 20 weeks and am still allowed to work out with just a few restrictions. All things considered, I have gotten some really good workouts in lately and still feel relatively strong. Hoping I can keep it up as long as possible.
2. To celebrate the fact that I’m still in the gym and not on bed rest, I bought myself a new pair of kicks. Can’t wait for these to arrive!!
1. ……and the single most important reason that my heart is just full of happiness and purpose……I’m growing my little Hannah Rose, complete with the cutest little button nose I’ve ever seen. So in love already.
I’ll confess, I’ve been avoiding my blog. Truth is, I didn’t want to write if I couldn’t be genuine. And I wasn’t quite ready to put it out there. But I think it’s time. Time to start writing again, and time to start sharing what’s really going on in my life.
Pregnancy #2. And I’ve passed a major milestone. I got a great report at my 18 week ultrasound last week. No cervix issues as of right now. That’s when everything started to fall apart with the boys so I’ve been holding my breath this entire time, not letting myself really get too excited.
Words cannot express the relief I feel.
I’m not kidding myself into thinking that everything will go just fine this time. There’s a million other things that could go wrong and trust me, I’m not going to be that naive again to think that it couldn’t happen to me. BUT. I am letting my guard down just enough. Enough to get excited about this pregnancy.
It’s been exhausting. And lonely. Everyone’s always so excited and happy and hopeful when it comes to pregnancy and babies. No one wants to hear an expectant mom say negative things about her pregnancy. “You can’t think like that,” they’ll say. “It’ll be fine this time, I just know it will.”
Well, the reality is, I do think like that. I can’t help it. My only experience with pregnancy has scarred me. And you don’t have a crystal ball so unfortunately your words do nothing to soothe me. Only time will tell if it really will be fine. I’m hoping for the best but you better believe I’m bracing for the worst.
You have no idea how exhausting it is to make small talk about pregnancy when inside you are filled with tremendous anxiety about it. You have no idea how lonely it is to feel like you are the only one who isn’t excited about your pregnancy. For me, pregnancy does not equate to baby. Pregnancy equates to a roll of the dice: healthy baby or tragic loss. And I STILL don’t know which one I’m going to get this time. I won’t know until it happens.
It’s terrifying and confusing and bittersweet and everything all at once.
I try not to think too far into the future. I fell in love with the dream of being a mom to twin boys. And now that dream haunts me. But I’m taking small steps. I’ve allowed myself to start to envision giving birth to this beautiful baby girl. I started to imagine what she might look like and what her personality will be like. But I’m still hesitant to plan too far ahead.
As exhausting as it is to stay positive and hopeful, it’s what I’m striving for. I really, really hope things turn out differently this time. Each day is one step closer.
I’ve fallen significantly short on my blogging goals this month. I have had no desire to write, and no inspiration either. It’s been a long month. I’ve done absolutely nothing exciting. I’ve spent my weekends mostly on the couch watching movies or TV by myself or with Eric and it’s been great. Movies I’ve watched: American Hustle, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Wolf on Wall Street, Captain Philips, and The Counselor. TV Series I’ve gotten into: Black Sails. Book I’ve read: The Fault in Our Stars. I have been a bit of a recluse this month and I’m totally OK with it. I haven’t really had too much energy for socializing lately so it’s felt great just to chill out when I can.
We’ve been running the CrossFit Open during my Saturday classes at the gym. It’s required some extra planning, set up, and extremely on-point class management on my end so I, for one, am glad to see it wrap up. I chose not to compete this year so I’ve been able to view the whole thing a bit more objectively this year than in the past. I definitely have some mixed emotions about these CrossFit competitions, especially this year. I’ve always said that competition is not for everyone. I’m starting to think that it’s probably not for the majority. I also think in many cases it brings out the worst in people. Every so often we hear the story of the resiliency of the human spirit witnessed during competition. But for every one of those stories, there is a whole host of catty shit talk, poor sportsmanship and ill will wished toward other competitors. It’s kind of gross. Are my opinions tainted by the fact that this year my training has not been what I wanted it to be? Probably. I still love training, still love training other people, still love to see the difference CrossFit and CrossFit Hingham make in people’s lives. I’m just not 100% into the CrossFit Open. That’s all. I’ll end my negative rant there.
On a positive note…since we turned the clocks forward mid month I have been LOVING the later sunsets. Ahhhh. That’s seriously how I feel when I get in my car at 5:45 when I leave the gym and it’s still light out. I know that I can take the dogs out into the yard for a little while and let them run around (or chew on fallen tree branches, which they seem to prefer doing lately). Now if it would just warm up..
My after school art club wrapped up this week. The kids were awesome. It kind of made me wish I was certified to teach elementary art full time. I think watching kids create art is one of the most inspiring things. You give them an idea and they RUN with it and come up with things that are so outside the box. It’s refreshing.
And that’s been March in a nutshell! Here’s hoping April brings more blogging!
“Grief doesn’t change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”
-Peter Van Houten in The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I have discovered a truth about myself. It may be true for other people, and if it is true for you then I hope my words will resonate with you. It may not be true for you, and so you may feel my words are a judgement of your behavior and emotions, but they are not. My words are simply MY truth.
I have come to realize that we are truly the master of our own ship. As I navigate through this ever changing abyss of grief I can only really rely on one person: myself.
That is not to say that family, friends, and professionals do not help along the way. But the only one who can feel, understand, and live this moment is me. Therefore the only one who can truly heal me IS me. I can look to others to offer me support and company in trying times. But in the quiet moments, when it’s just me and my beating heart and my spinning wheels, I have to be able to provide myself with the comforting thoughts. I have to be okay with the sadness, let it in, feel it, and then let it go, move on. I have to be the one to decide that this life is one I want to spend LIVING.
My life is not defined by other’s lives nor is it defined by the loss of other’s lives. My life is defined by MY life. By how I choose to spend my days. And I do not want to spend it in a fog of grief. I do not want to spend it looking back. And I’ve learned that looking too far ahead, for me, can become futile. I want to spend this life just simply being content in every moment. And I don’t need other people, or activities, or events, or even things to achieve that. I just need belief. Belief that this life, with its heartaches and all, is one that I want.
I just need to let my heart continue to sing its tune, melancholy though it may be at times. We all experience things in our lives that we wish could be different. But I love being alive. So I want to do more than just exist in my grief. I choose to keep living. I choose to let my emotions exist and then I chose to seek out the sunshine. I chose to keep singing my song. It is the singing, not the tune, that allows for healing and ultimately brings contentment.