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Monday, October 5, 2009


The day after Gracie’s funeral, we went to upstate New York for even more decompression time.  We spent a few days more or less by ourselves, with the exception of a few visits with friends who live in the nearby and a day trip to Niagara Falls.  The trip helped, but coming home felt like falling flat on my face.  We came home to more flowers, more cards, more March of Dimes donation certificates and 90% of Gracie’s things still in the living room.  Over the course of the next week, I worked on taking all of the baby clothes, with the exception of the N-3 month stuff in the dresser, to the attic.  Also carried to the attic were the pack & plays, stroller and car seat, swings, bouncy seat, high chair and toys – all still in their boxes.  Baby food that I had jumped the gun in purchasing went to our little friend Finn.  Gracie’s temporary 1st floor nursery remains intact, and will likely stay this way until we have another baby or the 2nd floor of the house is finished (I am taking bets on which happens first!)

After the dust settled from the first week, we realized that we still needed to pick a headstone for our little girl.  Again, we had no idea where to start.  We made a list of memorial distributors from the yellow pages.  It was a surprisingly ‘easy’ task, as we found something that we ‘liked’ and was suited for our little peanut at the first place we went to.  A photo will likely follow at some point once the stone has reached Gracie’s resting place. 

My sister left American soil, exactly two weeks after Gracie’s funeral, headed to Namibia (Africa) for a 27 month assignment with the Peace Corps.  This is something that I will likely touch on in later posts, but suffice it to say that her departure dumped lots of salt in my already raw and gaping wounds. 

We both returned to work a few weeks later.  It was rough.  We had spent the previous weeks basically avoiding people and unwanted conversation, and now there was no more hiding or avoiding.  Most of my patients were aware that we had lost Gracie, so I primarily encountered the ‘What happened?’ and ‘Why?’ questions.  Once school started, things were different.  Many people knew what had happened, but many others did not.  I eventually lost count of the people who noted that I was obviously no longer pregnant and asked how the baby was.  Jeff encountered a lot of this as well.  Eventually you just press play and allow them to listen to the pre-recorded information and it phases you a little less each time. 

We had a follow-up with our midwife on August 20th.  Essentially, the labs that were drawn before I left the hospital all came back unremarkable with regard to finding a cause for Gracie’s demise.  We were surprised to learn, however, that my placenta was found to be 25-30% infarcted.  Generally speaking, anything over 5% is abnormal.  I left the appointment with another lab slip for more blood work, which will determine whether or not I have an underlying clotting disorder.  I will have these tests drawn during the week of September 14th and then follow-up with Susan again on October 8th.  Until then, we wait.  

September 21st we attended a support group meeting.  There was a couple there who lost their daughter at 35 weeks, and it was really good to talk with them.  I felt pretty good after leaving the group meeting, but then crashed pretty hard when we got home.  They say that the higher you go, the harder you fall.  Truer words were never spoken.  We plan to attend the support meetings for a while - I think that they will help us both.   

In one of my previous posts I referenced that I had slept all night the night Gracie died, with one exception.  I have not yet gone back to touch on that exception, so I will do so now.  At 0130 that night, I sat straight up out of a sound sleep due to what I believed was more gall bladder pain.  As quickly as that pain set it, it was gone - literally less than 1 minute.  I was grateful at the time that it was not going to keep me up for hours, as it had in preceding nights, and I went back to sleep very quickly.  I am now convinced that that is the moment Gracie died.  Strange as it may sound, for me there is now no other plausible explanation. 

Go here to read the prevailing theory about Gracie's cause of death.  It's in the third paragraph)

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