Sunday, Full of Grace

Yesterday morning Tori crawled into bed with me declaring she needed cuddles. Before long we both got up and dressed, filled our bellies, and headed off to meet my friend Annie at the Wissahickon to go for a morning hike.

It’s been unusually hot here in Philly – 86 degrees on Saturday – so we were quickly bathed in sweat, but it was a good sweat, the kind you want when you work out. The trail was particularly beautiful on Sunday, the path covered with fallen leaves in amazing colors highlighted by the cloudy day. Some of the reds of the fallen leaves practically glowed. It was gorgeous.

After three miles, we made it back to our cars and drove to a nearby Agricultural High School. We’d brought some sliced apples and carrots to feed the horses pastured outside. Tori is crazy about horses, as am I, and the horses are well used to visitors and willingly accept head rubs in exchange for a snack. We divided the snacks up between the eight or so horses, including a foal born at the start of the summer, but ran out quickly. The foal announced his displeasure at this fact by nipping my arm.

We drove home, stopping briefly at a grocery store to restock Tori’s lunch food for the week, and grab some potatoes for dinner. Once home we relaxed. I read a book and Tori played some video games, pressed into my side as she did so, still clingy after my long trip away.

Eventually I cooked dinner, got Tori ready for bed, and tucked her in with tickles and lullabies.

In other words, it was a perfectly ordinary Sunday.


This was exactly the kind of day I’d hoped for when I began trying to get pregnant eleven years ago. I had no idea it would take four years the first time we ditched the condom. I’m not sure, frankly, if I’d known what the road ahead had entailed, I would have done it. But then, that’s the nature of faith, isn’t it? We can’t see the road ahead, but we move forward anyway.

October is a sad month for me. Nine years ago, I was pregnant with Nicholas and Zachary. Nine years ago I’d shaken off my sadness about not having a girl and had finally fallen madly in love with my boys. Nine years ago I was just beginning to register for my baby shower, having successfully made it into my third trimester of pregnancy.

But nine years ago, I was incredibly sick. My legs were swollen and tight with fluid, and I was nauseous nearly all the time, often severely so. I was incredibly exhausted; showering required a nap afterwards. I was still trying to work, although I felt awful all the time. At lunch I would lie down on my left side for an hour trying to ease the strain on my heart.

And of course, nine years ago, at the end of October, we got the news that one twin had passed away. Nine years ago my blood pressure soared, my weight went up a dozen pounds in a week, and my urine was full of protein, so much so it turned the little stick test completely black.

Nine years ago, at the end of October, I was admitted to the hospital. I was told my son and I would both die if the pregnancy wasn’t terminated. I still remember Charlie’s tears at the news; I couldn’t cry, not yet.


Last night Tori and I spent about an hour looking at Halloween costumes. She’s decided to be Neru – a Japanese vocaloid – which is not exactly the sort of costume you find at Target. I’m trying to figure out if we can fake it with stuff from the new Goodwill that opened in our neighborhood (I’ve recently changed my mind about shopping at Goodwill; they got some inaccurate bad press, but once again I believe we can support our community by shopping and donating at Goodwill).

But I also remembered that Halloween nine years ago. I’d been home from the hospital only a day or two when Halloween hit, but foolishly insisted I sit on the porch and distribute candy to the trick-or-treating kids of our neighborhood. It was torture, and eventually I went back inside because I couldn’t stop my tears.

It was then, finally, I found the willingness to cry. And the tears are still here, nine years later. I still love my sons, and miss them every day. I will for the rest of my life, I imagine, although the pain is far less acute now.

Like I said, October is hard.

I still miss you, Nicholas and Zachary. I hope you’re safe.

Comments Closed


  1. says

    My friend, 9 years ago, I was still in the trenches with you. I remember how thrilled I was when I found out you had become pregnant and how devastated I was when I heard you lost Nicholas and Zachary. I will always remember them and will always be here for you.

    Abiding with you and praying for peace for you.

  2. says

    sending you big, warm hugs. So happy you and Tori took a beautiful Autumn hike an are enjoying much-needed snuggle time. xxoo

  3. Pris says

    So very sorry for the loss of your twin boys.
    So many people are supporting you on this journey.

  4. Jen says

    I feel your pain, in my own way. August is hard because I found hubby #1′s body. He killed himself. And even though I am remarried to my BFF and he somehow things I am the most wonderful thing in the universe, in August, my heart is heavy. Especially this year, because I have out-aged #1. #1 was three years older than me. Now I am older than #1. Still a head trip.

    I feel for you, in my own way and will light a candle for your sons. Many hugs,

  5. celticfeminist says

    I have no real words of wisdom or comfort, as I’m not sure any exist. Just know I’m sending you, your family, and your sons much love.

  6. Kathleen says

    Actually, your Nicholas and Zachary brought me to you as well. I didn’t know who you were until Tertia posted about lost babies and the names Nicholas and Zachary were there. Since my own Nicholas and Zachary were just a few months old, it felt like my heart stopped a moment, and then I had to click and go find out about the mom who lost her twin boys with the same names as mine. And yours would have been the same age as mine. Mine were born Dec. 20, two weeks. early.

    Every year you post about your boys it makes me cry. I just can’t imagine what it must have been like, and I am grateful all over again for my boys. And so glad for you that you have Tori.

  7. Sarah Earles says

    My friend C. always says, if asked, “I have four children, three girls and one son. My son has passed though.” She honours him everytime she is asked that question or talks about her children.

    And, 20 years on, she smiles as she says his name. He will always be her son and always remembered.

    For the future, I wish you only the best.

    • says

      That’s lovely. I never know when to mention them when people ask me how many kids I have. It feels like a burden to put on the asker of that casual question.

  8. Susan says

    My condolences on your terrible loss. This year, in November, I will think about my son Derek, and how 29 years ago, he was born without crying-an awful, soul crushing silence-and passed away three hours later. A year later I had his twin brother and sister-but Derek’s passing always makes November the 9th bittersweet, no matter what year the calendar says.

    PS-find a way to get that costume. Kids are only into Halloween like this for such a short time…

  9. says


    Thank you for sharing such a personal and profound pain. I’m so terribly sorry for your loss. I know you will love them and think of them for the rest of your life. Please accept my sincerest and warmest “air hug.”

  10. Sarah says

    You’re much stronger than you know. I wish you peace and comfort during this difficult time.

  11. chickenpig says

    Thinking of you and your boys during this time. I usually think of them during the spring when the daffodils come up…which reminds me, I have to plant some more. Some day I will have a field of them and I will send a picture to you. They live on in my heart :)

    Every Halloween I am filled with thankfulness, joy, and amazement. It was always dressing my future kid(s) up and trick or treating that I thought of when in the darkest days of infertility.

    I feel your pain about the costume. My son wants to be a ceiling fan. How the F$%k am I going to make a ceiling fan??!?

    • says

      I love the idea of a field of daffodils! That would be an amazing thing to see.

      A ceiling fan? I LOVE YOUR KID. That is awesome. LOL.

  12. Tessy says


    I had found you about nine years ago when I was pregnant following two miscarriages. I was devastated to learn of the loss of the boys and mourned with you. I followed you through your subsequent struggles and then Tori’s conception, pregnancy, birth and younger years. Time and life got in the way and I haven’t read your blog in a couple of years, but would occasionally think of you and your family. I’m not sure what made me look you up tonight, but it’s as if I were meant to stumble upon you again as you remember that difficult time and those cherished boys. They were loved by many and will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with you and Charlie and Tori as you go through this difficult time of year.

  13. says

    Cecily – huge hugs to you during this hard time. I had a friend who lost her 16yo daughter at this time of year and every anniversary is hard.

    As for Halloween costumes – have you tried Instructables?