37 Weeks: Please Get Here Safely & Soon, Little One

Thank you everyone for your kind words of condolence on my last post. It means a lot to feel surrounded by love and good thoughts during this crappy time.

It probably comes as no surprise to you that I’m feeling, uh…crappy right now.

I vacillate between wanting to scream about my brother and feeling debilitating anxiety about this pregnancy. I suspect much of my grief is currently being channeled into anxiety — probably my brain’s way of protecting myself. Because it is just too much right now. Some days I feel like a robot that is incapable of feeling anything but fear. As I type this I am crying because I am sad and scared and just ugh. I don’t know how I’m going to get through the next two weeks until my induction. I am a mess. I just feel like I can’t handle anymore.

Things have not been going smoothly with the end of pregnancy, but ultimately everything is fine. Baby continues to fail all of her non-stress tests, but then looks ok on the biophysical profiles. The maternal fetal medicine doctor assured me that this is completely fine, that baby girl looks overall great. But still, it freaks me out. I’ve been itching like crazy, so I was tested for cholestasis, which is this liver condition that is bad news for the baby. So far I’ve had two rounds of tests and they’ve both been very strong negatives. I’m getting one more round of tests, so we’ll see, but it looks like I’ve dodged the cholestasis bullet and am just having random pregnancy itching. Then, most recently, I switched from Lovenox to Heaprin a week ago and since then I’ve been getting large red patches around the injection site. They look and feel like sunburn. I went to labor and delivery on Monday to have it checked out and they tested my platelets (which is what they are most concerned about), and all was well with those. My doctor, who is super cautious, looked at my abdomen again on Wednesday and wasn’t concerned about it. She thinks my skin is just so stretched that it can’t handle the injections anymore. I was ok with this explanation until this morning when a nurse at my monitoring appointment looked at it and was like, “That doesn’t look right! It could be an allergic reaction. You need to call us right away if it get worse!” This of course made me freak despite the fact that two different doctors on two different occasions weren’t worried about it. The nurse is right, though–it doesn’t look right. Ugh.

My doctor told me that at my next appointment she’d check my cervix and make an official plan for induction. So things are moving along. Just not fast enough for my strung out self.

I can’t go to my brother’s funeral because it’s in California and I will likely be giving birth or have the teeniest of newborns the day he is laid to rest. I can’t be with my family right now, at a time when we all need each other.

Everything is just too much, you guys. I cannot handle any more right now. Not one more single thing.

I just need this baby to get here safely. Please, baby, make your way out into the world soon — healthy and pink and screaming. Please.

Something nice did happen today, though, so I’ll leave you with that. A few weeks ago, I commissioned my friend, Danielle Kroll , who is an artist and illustrator to paint a something for the baby’s room. She sent me a picture of the final piece this morning. She painted something for Lettie right before she was born, which I adore, but I think I love this one even more. Without further ado, here is is. I really needed a reminder of hope today.





Goodbye, My Brother


Last Friday, my brother David went deep sea diving in Turks and Caicos with a guide and a small group. He never came back to the boat. They found his body on Saturday. We don’t know what happened—we’ll have more answers once we get the autopsy report back.

I’m not even sure how to begin processing this loss. With my mom, we knew for months that she wasn’t going to make it. Not that the knowing made her death any easier to bear—it didn’t—but there is something to be said for being prepared.

But this? This was fast and furious and shocking on every level. As of Friday morning, I had two brothers on this earth. Now I only have one. Just like that.

David only lived in the same house as me until I was three years old, and after that he moved to California, where he would reside for the rest of his life. One of my earliest memories is of me begging him not to go. “I’ll stay if you lick my feet,” he said. Then he shoved his foot in my face. Ah, big brothers.

Although we were on opposite ends of a very large sibling age spread—he the eldest, me the youngest—people always told us that we had the most similar personalities out of any of the siblings. As children we were both energetic, fiercely independent, spirited and not afraid to speak our minds. In this way, I’ve always felt a special connection with him. He got me and I got him.

One thing I most definitely did not share with my brother was his sense of adventure. The man was fearless. He tried every extreme sport known to man, and he excelled at them all. I am a total wuss, you guys. One Thanksgiving I went quad riding with David in the California desert. After riding around on some baby dunes for a few minutes, I stopped the quad and started crying. I was terrified of tipping over and dying. My brother turned around, comforted me and then escorted me back to the campsite. He and everyone else in the group spent the rest of the trip riding on serious dunes, and I drove around on the flats near our campsite. This was A-OK with me—my brother could be adventurous for both of us.

In addition to being a badass thrill seeker, David was many things—tough on the outside and a sap on the inside, determined, kind, always up for a good fart joke, outrageously charming, mischievous and the most generous person I’ve ever met.

One day he was all of that, filling the world with his larger-than-life personality, and now he is just gone. I still can’t believe it.

The last time I talked to David was a few weeks ago. He called and said, “Did you notice I haven’t called in a while? I didn’t want you to think I forgot about you.” I’m pretty sure I said something jokingly and unintentionally salty, like, “Well it’s not like you usually call a lot.” He was on his car phone. The connection kept cutting out. I felt like I had to yell so he could hear me. It was, quite honestly, an overall awkward conversation. But damn, am I glad he called. He seemed happy, content and at peace. We talked about how much he loved being a stay-at-home dad. We lamented over our kids growing up too fast. Best of all, I got to say I love you to him, one last time. And for that, I will be forever grateful.

So here’s my one request to you. It’s nothing new. People always say this when someone dies, but I don’t think it can be said too much: call your parents or your sister or that friend you haven’t spoken to in years. Hug your babies. Give your dog a nice, big squeeze. Leave a sweet note for your spouse or partner to find. If you love someone, let them know—as often and in as many ways as you can.

Because life is too precious. And far, far too short.

My two brothers at my wedding.
David and his son.
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Hanging with my mom at a Padres game.
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A back-in-the day shot with my sister.
Family shot at the beach. This was taken the summer Tim and I got engaged.
David and Lettie.
David having a moment with his son. This was taken at my mom’s grave site. We all hung around for a while after the service and shared stories about her.
Last summer: the last time the whole fam was together.
This is one of my favorites. My siblings, minus one sister.