Thursday, August 5, 2010

Maternity leave comes to an end

Tomorrow I must return to work. While I love my job, it is really breaking me up inside to have to be away from Gabriel for any length of time. I haven't been away from him for more than 45 minutes during his entire life, and that was only on two occasions. I have taken care of him and loved him practically every minute of his young 12 weeks and four days of life. He is such a treasure. Tomorrow he will be taken care of by his dear Daddy, the next best person to his Mommy. I have pumped milk and stored it in the freezer so he'll have his nourishment. I just hope he doesn't feel that I've abandoned him. I hope he will make the transition easily. He is a pretty easy-going little guy, I just hope it all goes OK.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Natalie's birthday

July 29 is Natalie's birthday. She would have been 5. We should be celebrating, but instead we cry. I miss her so much, it hurts beyond words. I think of her every day, but it has become so incredibly painful that I often have to push the thoughts of her from my mind. Usually when I do let myself really think of her, it's when I'm nursing Gabriel. And I often end up bawling my eyes out. Gabriel has triggered my grief in ways I could never have predicted. I am so in love with him and so grateful he is here, but at times, it is all very confusing.

Here's Natalie on her 1st (and only) birthday with blueberry cake all over her. Tomorrow we will eat blueberries and we will cry and we will remember and we will smile. I love you Natalie. Happy Birthday, sweet girl.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Welcome Gabriel

We are so excited to welcome our son, Gabriel Robert Adamo to our family. We chose the name Gabriel because we liked it a lot, but also because Gabriel is an angel and we wanted in some way for it to have some special meaning in relation to Natalie. Robert is after my dad, who died suddenly of a stroke in 1984 when I was 18 years old. We wanted to honor him, too. Plus, his initials are GRA and Roslyn's are RGA (for Roslyn Grace Adamo), so they're like bookends. A nice symmetry.

We are in awe that Gabriel is here with us — finally!! As many of you know, he didn’t seem to want to come out EVER! At 13 days past his due date, we finally had to give him a nudge. My midwife broke my water at 9:20 p.m. on May 9, Mother’s Day -- or, as my husband says "we emptied the pool." Within a short time of walking around the hospital corridors, contractions started and labor was in full force. One of the places I sat for awhile was directly above the new main entrance to the hospital where they have the brick pathway. We purchased a brick for Natalie since she was also born at Women & Infants' Hospital and the chair where I sat and had my first contraction was directly above Natalie's brick. It felt right to be there and I know she was helping me. I made several trips up and down the halls, checking back every 15 minutes so they could check the baby's heartbeat. He was doing great. Then on one of my solo trips, I had such a powerful contraction, I couldn't walk and had to lean on the arms of a chair and call for Chris to
come and help me. Somehow he got me back to the labor room and the contractions were now coming every minute or two, it seemed. I didn't get much of a chance to rest in between. I noted the big clock on the wall directly across from me as midnight came and thought, "oh well, he's not going to be born on Mother's Day, but he'll still have a very auspicious birthdate of 5-10-10." My midwife was so great, giving me updates and telling me that "very soon" he would come out. Then, after 10 minutes of very intense pushing, Gabriel emerged at 12:55 a.m. Once his head and shoulders were out, Chris pulled him out and placed him on my chest and I snuggled him. He was whimpering and I started to talk to him and the sound of my familiar voice calmed him down and he looked up at me, like "I know you." It was magical. After awhile, Chris cut the cord and they took him away to weigh him and do what they do.

I can’t tell you how relieved I was to have
gotten through the pain of my third natural (drug-free) childbirth and to see him for the first time!! I couldn’t believe it when they told me he weighed 9 lbs 5 oz!! He was huge compared to Roslyn and Natalie who were 7.8 and 7.1 respectively. Definitely a big boy and so, so healthy! It is all we could have hoped for and definitely worth the wait!

He is now 10 days old and seems to be settling into a good rhythm of sleeping at night (the past two nights he did a 5-hour stretch followed by a 4-hour stretch!!), nursing well, making lots of dirty diapers, and being incredibly cute and charming. It’s pretty cool. I am starting to feel more like myself again, now that I'm getting on average about six hours of sleep at night.

This hasn’t been an easy journey but we are so thrilled that Gabriel is here and part of our family. His big sister Roslyn is so excited and in love with him. She keeps calling him “sweetheart” and wants to hold him as much as she can. He seems to enjoy being in her arms. And we know that his other big sister Natalie is watching over him. Our precious angel. The pain of losing her is magnified a million times right now. I cry a lot and relive the events of March 18,, 2007 in my mind. It is still so unbelievable, the pain is still so raw. It is a very difficult thing to be so happy one minute and so terribly sad the next. But that's the way it is. I am so full of love for all my children no
w, it is overflowing.

Thank you to everyone for all your prayers, love, and support. Here are some pictures of Gabriel and our family, and Natalie's magic brick at the hospital.

Beth, Christopher, Roslyn, and Gabriel (and our angel Natalie)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Waiting for baby

I am now 7 days from my due date, April 27. I am ready whenever he is... Getting very excited to meet this little guy, hold him, look into his eyes, and not have to keep carrying this watermelon in my belly anymore. But trying to stay relaxed and be patient. I have another checkup tomorrow, so I'll find out how things are progressing. Two weeks ago I was 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced, but that apparently doesn't mean anything except that things are starting to "ripen." It's starting to feel like a long time that I've been pregnant.

But the waiting continues for now. Here's Roslyn and I with our neighbor's new puppy who decided to take a nap in my coat!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

My little bunnies

Here's Roslyn and Natalie with Grandma Adamo on Easter 2006. We only got one Easter with Natalie. She was such a sweet little bunny.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 18th

It is here, this horrible day. It is actually an incredibly beautiful day -- sunny and warm. In fact, it's so nice that our purple crocuses decided it was a good day to make their first appearance of the season. I thought it very fitting that it should be the purple ones that bloomed for the first time today, of all days, for purple was Natalie's favorite color.

I am tired and I just want to sleep now. I just want it to be over. But I know that even though this day will come to an end, the pain of losing my baby girl will never go away. It is now a part of me, as much a part of me as my flesh and blood and all of my life experiences, thoughts, feelings, and everything that makes me who I am. I have no choice but to welcome that pain and just let it be.

I'd like to thank my mom and all my dear friends who reached out to us today, sharing their memories of Natalie and expressing their sorrow and love for her and our family. It is truly a lifesaver. I thank my beloved Christopher and Roslyn, too. And of course, dear Natalie, to whom I am ever grateful that she shared her life with us if only for such a short time.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ice cream in memory of Natalie

March 15th has come again, the day I took my precious girl to Cold Stone Creamery three years ago. Three years. Sadly, the store on Thayer Street where we went has closed (it's now a Verizon store -- no fun!), so we decided to have our Cold Stone fix at home. Yesterday, while out braving the rain and feeling completely disoriented from the "spring forward" time change, Roslyn and I picked up our Cold Stone out in Seekonk. Thank the universe they had banana and a nice dark chocolate close enough to the kind I had with Natalie. We got a quart to go.

Tonight, the three of us held hands as we remembered our beloved little Natalie. Tears streamed down my face and I did my best not to "lose it" in front of Roslyn. Roslyn said "I love Natalie" and we all said how much we wish she was still here with us. Roslyn wondered what Natalie would talk about (and if she would be able to talk). We assured her that Natalie would definitely be able to talk since she'd be almost 5 by now. I said I bet she'd be quite a little chatterbox, which made Roslyn laugh. We all savored every bite of that delicious, super-creamy ice cream. My thoughts kept returning to Natalie who was so excited to be out that night, a rainy night just like tonight. She kept going over to the window to look out at the people and lights on Thayer Street, returning to where I was sitting nearby with her mouth open for another bite of ice cream. She loved it and I loved that she loved it. We had so much fun.

As March 18th approaches, the dreaded anniversary, Chris and I have both been feeling the heavy weight of that day. We're tired, exhausted. The tears come easy and often. It is an exceptionally difficult time of the year. This year, as we are now six weeks away from meeting our baby son, there's an added layer of emotion. It doesn't make the anniversary easier to deal with or the loss of Natalie any less painful, but it does give us something good to look forward to. And something more to worry about.

For now, I will look forward to more banana ice cream in the coming days. And with every bite, I will think of my little girl who I love and miss more than words can ever express.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 7th

February 7th. Roslyn's birthday (2003) and the day Natalie had her febrile seizure (2007). I celebrate this day, the day my first baby girl was born, but I can't help thinking also of that scary day three years ago when Natalie suddenly started convulsing in my arms, I called 911, and we took her to the hospital in an ambulance. The doctors said she was OK and that it wasn't anything to worry about (it was "common"). At the time, I believed what the doctors told me, but now I have this nagging feeling that it was a first clue that something was wrong -- and nearly six weeks later, she was gone. A week following her seizure, February 14, Natalie had her 18-month check-up. Again, the doctor gave her two big thumbs up. She was healthy, strong, in the 90th percentile. Solid as a rock. Yet, five weeks later, she was gone. I don't know if I will ever be able to reconcile these facts. It just doesn't make sense and I don't think it ever will.

But February 7th is Roslyn's birthday and we are so happy and so grateful she was born and that she is still here to celebrate her birthday. The coincidence of Natalie's febrile seizure is just a coincidence and I try not to let it cloud the joy and celebration of Roslyn's big day. We had a fabulous party and a wonderful time -- all worthy of our big girl who is now 7. Happy Birthday, Roslyn. I love you.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The New Year

For me, the New Year has always been a time to reflect back and look ahead. This year, as in the past three years since Natalie died, I am filled with contradictions. Highlights of 2009 include the completion of our new kitchen, Roslyn’s graduation from kindergarten and starting first grade at a new school, our trip to see dear friends in Michigan, and the conception of Baby Boy Adamo, who will be born sometime around April 27th.

We are thrilled beyond words that soon this new little person will be joining our family. I cannot help but feel that his existence is nothing short of a miracle. After countless failed attempts to get pregnant, I was almost ready to give up. And then in August, the pregnancy test was positive. Those first weeks and months were plagued with worry, a feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Amazingly, it didn’t—and now we are more than half-way through (24 weeks), and this little boy is kicking up a storm.

Despite my burgeoning belly, I am still in a mild state of disbelief that this is really happening, that soon we will have a new baby to love. Roslyn is so excited to meet her brother. She dedicated a section of our Christmas tree to him, including special ornaments she made for him. She never forgets to include him as part of our family—just as she never forgets to include her precious sister, Natalie.

Roslyn is growing up to be a compassionate, caring girl. I can only imagine her confusion at times over what happened to her little sister. This past year, she has become much more conscious of the depth of the meaning of Natalie’s loss and is able to express herself in ways she couldn’t when she was younger. I am immensely proud of her.

The anticipated arrival of our son gives us hope for the joy he will bring to our family. But this hope is mixed with fear. In the coming months, we must undertake the task of putting away Natalie’s things to make room for the baby. Natalie’s room is going to change. It is an enormous burden, as I have tried so hard to cling to whatever remains of her—down to every detail. Yet, now I am finding that there are some things I need to let go of. It is time to “move on,” a term I have despised thus far because it seemed to mean leaving her behind, something I cannot ever do. But, time is helping me to understand that this is not true. She will never be left behind. She will never be forgotten by those she touched. She will live in our hearts forever. And soon, she will have a new brother who will grow to love her, too. Her clothes may not be in the drawers anymore, but this will not diminish in any way the love we feel for her or the place she holds—and will forever hold—in our family and in our hearts.

And so, we forge ahead, or as Christopher says, “we muddle through.” Here’s to the anticipation of starting another chapter in our lives. We remain forever grateful for the love and support from our family and friends. And we wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.