When I started writing this post, I was 26 weeks pregnant. For the first 19 weeks, I wore baggy clothing to hide my rapidly growing belly. I tried to make excuses to my 5 year old for why I couldn’t pick her up and dance around the kitchen. I did all I could to hide suspicions from the sweet parents at Daisy’s school- I didn’t want anyone asking me if I was pregnant, in front of Daisy. We needed to protect her. Because 9 months ago I was also pregnant. And at 16 weeks, when we thought it was “safe”, we told Daisy. A baby sister was coming, we told her. Her face lit up like Christmas morning. We posted on Facebook an adorable picture of Daisy holding a sign saying she was going to have a baby sister. People were so kind and supportive. It’s like our amazing community breathed a sigh of relief- “they would be ‘okay’ because they were going to have another baby” many probably thought. There were also shakes of the head- like “haven’t you people been through enough?” “Why tempt fate again”….

But fate we did tempt. And sadly, it wasn’t to be. Two weeks later, there was no more heartbeat. No more Christmas morning, and we had to break our daughter’s fragile heart again.

This time was going to be different. We would keep the pregnancy a secret as long as we possibly could. My belly was big. Daisy even commented that my belly was growing. We waited until 20 weeks, until after I had done the anatomical screen and we saw with our own eyes how his heart and brain were growing. How his organs, arms, and legs were all where they were suppose to be. Even then we were nervous to tell Daisy. She expressed happiness, but it was guarded. Just like our hearts are guarded. “I hope it doesn’t die like Ezra and baby sister did…” This was the first thing Daisy said after we told her. Death. Our daughter’s first worry is for death.

Many people have a vision for how they picture their families in terms of whether or not they want children, and if so- how many. Some want one. Some want 4 or 5. We always knew we wanted at least 2 kids. We thought Ezra completed our family, and sadly after he died, we knew we needed to keep trying. Not to replace him. No one can replace Ezra. Not to “make it okay”. Nothing will make losing our baby son “okay”. But because our family, and our hearts desire another child.

I am finishing this post now- 10 weeks later and our family has suffered another tragic loss. Last Wednesday, I had a sense that the baby boy that had been thriving in my belly had fallen a little quiet. My struggle this entire pregnancy has been trusting that everything would be okay. That this child would be born healthy and strong. So I contacted my midwife and she came over, Doppler in hand. We immediately could hear his heart beat- strong and steady. Tears flowed down my cheeks as this is the most reassuring sound in the universe. The next day, he still seemed quiet to me. I called my midwife again and she recommended I go in for an ultrasound- just to put our fears to rest.

A trip to the L&D floor. The Doppler is rolled in. No heartbeat. The OB comes in with an ultrasound machine. There it is- his 4 chamber heart- once fluttery and active is now dark. It feels like the room is closing in around me. I was 36 weeks pregnant. He was a healthy, active little boy. We had allowed the fragile veil of hope to blanket us and in a matter of minutes, we find ourselves raw and angry and devastated. Yet again.

And then came the worst part. Having to tell our Daisy that again our baby had stopped growing. The sound that came out of her mouth was heart wrenching. It makes me shudder just to think of it. We are left wondering, how much loss can her little spirit take? How much loss can our spirits take?

We spent the next 3 days in the hospital using every medical intervention available to drag my body into labor. And then there he was… he arrived just as quietly as he left.

Leo David Bessey… 7 lbs 20.5 inches… he had strawberry blonde hair. Just like his sister. Just like his brother.

Leo was named after my great uncle,  Leonard Granoff. Uncle Lenny was kind, incredibly silly, and very loving. He and my great Aunt Shirley never had children of their own, but they shared a love for the ages. Back in the day, he played the drums in various Big Band groups. He called himself “a man of the cloth” because he worked at a fabric store. I miss his goofy smile, his stories and the way he called me Shana Cup (pretty face, in Yiddish).

Leo’s middle name, David, was my grandfather’s name and it was also Ezra’s middle name. The namesake of three important males in my life whom I miss every day.

And so now, our family of three has to figure out how to let go of the planning and dreaming we have been doing for the last few months. Daisy’s questions of “how old will baby brother be when I’m 12 or when I’m 16 or when I’m a mama” have been replaced with “why am I your only baby who has lived?”

The day after Ezra’s funeral, there was a storm that covered the world in a mountain of snow. Yesterday, a similar storm hit Maine. I lay in bed with the snow and the wind whipping around at my window feeling grateful for the wildness outside. And today the sun shone bright on the peaceful winter wonderland that was created. I can only hope that one day I will stand in the sun and feel a similar sense of peacefulness. For now, that time seems a long way off…

xo