Tuesday, November 6, 2012


i have a five minute break in the middle of drawing class. the coffee shop is a block away. i left class quickly and started a very slow jog, quick walk, down the hall. a toddler coming the other way saw me with my silly run and grinned. as i passed her, she turned around and copied my run, chasing after me. the *before nathaniel* brain kicked in, smiled at her, and said, come on! and we ran down the hall together, giggling.

my *after nathaniel* brain said don't ask. you don't want to know.

"how old is she?" i asked anyway.

"15 months."

i'm an idiot.


i didn't get through the front doors before the tears hit and i was plotting to never leave my house again.


"get a goose," she said. "cut it up into 20 pieces, wrap each piece separately, and put the pieces in the freezer. use the whole goose. head, feet, everything. every day, make a little soup. put one piece of goose in the pot with some water, cook it up, and then drink the juice from the bottom. don't drink the top - that's all fat, and you don't need that part. drink it up from the bottom. just a little soup. you'll have a healthy baby. one month, two months."

this, in response to the sentence, "we're going to try to have a baby." a sentence i had never uttered before. words like marbles in my mouth. a new language.

i don't know if i believe it. i try to sense how i feel when i say the words.

we didn't really try, but we didn't prevent. i'm not pregnant, and that's okay right now. i think i have to wade slowly into the land of maybe baby. this month, i drank more coffee, more wine, and consumed more sugar than i've had in the last year. which isn't much, but i surprised myself with my behavior. what am i doing?

it's so complicated. so many layers of this and that. yes, i'd love to have a baby. i haven't held a baby since nathaniel. i've never been in a better position to parent a child. i've travelled the road from birth through high school already. but there are so many risks. many other factors to consider.

two living children graduating high school this year.

one of my closest friends from jr high and high school just became a grandmother. i'm 39. three of my older siblings are grandparents.

if we had a baby, he or she would have only one living grandparent.

i bought the goose. it did not come with either a head or feet. i took it apart with a big knife. i started making the soup every day - my family called it my goose juice. i made it for six days in a row. it was disgusting.

and then i stopped.


  1. Oh Suzanne. I've been thinking about you.

    And ' we're going to try to have a baby' has a very different feel from the conspiratorial silence that goes before. Or the surprise that goes before.

    It's very complicated. And I hope that you can find a way forward that is right for you and for your family. I can't help hoping for a fourth for both of us x

  2. Complicated is right. And the age thing: sometimes I torture myself with thoughts of when future baby is such and such age I will be...HOW OLD? Will I get to know any grandchildren? Will E and her maybe sibling end up resenting their decrepit old parents? When I was pregnant with Anja, I started crying on the treadmill at the gym once thinking that I might never know what kind of adult she would ultimately become. But I knew, then, that I wanted as much as I could have with her. It is harder after losing her, though. There is so much more doubt, so much more fear. We didn't really try this last time. We couldn't bear to talk about it, to say it out loud, to acknowledge what we were doing. Sometimes it just all seems such a mess. I want to reach out and give you a big hug, though; at least we are not in these messes alone, right? It is a brave, brave thing to try again, even if you are not trying.

  3. Goose juice! Bleck!!! Bit you do what you gotta do. I think about the age thing a lot. I was so glad that I was going to have Camille a few months before I turned 35. And then she died. And I was getting older. I hope trying to have a baby is gentle on you. It was a complete anxiety ridden mess for me. I know it is difficult to muddle those words in your mouth. We are here to support your old lady self :) (that's a joke) from one old lady to another.

  4. I had to come back and say one more thing. I wrote the other day about compulsion vs. want and I find it just so hard to sort out what is what. It sometimes seems like there is only one acceptable ending to the story of a dead baby and that is a new baby and I sometimes feel driven by that narrative arc, driven to finish the story; but as for how I feel about an actual new baby...? Even though I am (to my enormous surprise) entering the second trimester of a subsequent pregnancy, I am not entirely sure how I feel about the new baby. I know if this baby is born alive I will love it (and I will love it if it dies, too), but there is more than love and want this time around; there is a grimness, something I haven't figured out yet what to name. At any rate, I understand drinking the goose soup and I understand stopping.

  5. Oh Suzanne complicated is an understatement. The possibility of a new baby brings up a myriad of intense emotions. I hope you have support from your Hubby and others in your real life and like Renel said above, we are all here for you too. To listen to the pros and cons and feelings from opposite ends of the spectrum and venting and everything else you are experiencing.

    Try to be gentle with yourself.

  6. Opening up to the idea of another baby also opens up to the possibility of more pain - but it is also opening up the possibility of a living healthy child... It is so hard to roll those dice. Especially with a lingering feeling of being targeted by the universe. Maybe you don't want the responsibility of making a firm decision?

    p.s goose juice...!! You have a stronger stomach than me!

  7. I stopped, too.

    You've often been in my thoughts, Suzanne. Sending you much love. xoxo

  8. It is so complicated yes. I get so much of this Suzanne. I used to see a herbalist in Chinatown trying concoctions to try to get pregnant. I also get the age thing. I had Liam at 37, now pregnant with this bub at 38, going on 39 in three months. I never imagined i'd be having babies this late and after Liam died I jumped straight into IVF because my doctors told me I couldn't waste any time. 2 failed IVF's later and here I am. We really don't know what's next. Trying again is terrifying, but like Aoife says it is also opening up the possibility of a living healthy child.

    I'm thinking about you. So much love being sent your way. xx