BLM Chicago 2013: I found where I belong

I am relatively new to the blogging community. I began to write in May 2012 in an effort to connect with other Mama’s during Lillian’s pregnancy. I was an avid BLM blog reader for over a year. When Ava died, no support group seemed fitting and HELLP syndrome was so isolating that I took to the computer in search of others whom had lost. The very first blog I ever found was about a wee boy named Otis.
From there I read about Eliza.
And Andrew.
And Cale.
And Jack.
The list grew and grew. So many Mama’s. Writing. Reaching out. Trying to make sense of their world without their babies. Trying to cope with the stressors and difficulties of a subsequent pregnancy after loss, a Rainbow baby. I consumed each word and thrived off of the comfort found in shared sorrow. I hoped one day I would be able to write as well and when I was 18 weeks along with Lillian I began to do just that.
Imagine my elation when the women whom I had followed for so long reached back! They reached out! They shared our triumph and joy of Lillian’s birth and continue to validate and shoulder me in my grief of her big sister. It was with that same elation I felt when I was invited to a weekend, BLM Chicago 2013. I remember the moment when Caroline sent me the invite. I must have scared the life half out of Matthew because I ran over to him, holding my laptop saying “Oh! My! Oh! My! Matt! MATT! We HAVE to go! We HAVE to go!” He just laughed and told me it would be easier to go wherever I was talking about if he knew what I was talking about.
We immediately made plans to head to Chicago for the weekend. Yes, it was over our 6th wedding anniversary. Yes, we would have to drive in late Friday night and leave first thing Sunday morning.  Yes, Lillian was recovering from an ear infection and Matt just began a new job and this meant taking a day away but we were going. And am I ever glad we did.
As long as I live I will never forget the moment of walking up to Brandy’s house. We pull up to this beautiful home, a driveway filled with licence plates from all over the country. As we walk up the drive I hear Molly yell “Melissa’s here! Guys! It is Melissa and Lillian!”
My best friends I have never met.
Instantly we are surrounded by love. Instantly I see the faces of the women whom I have cherished from afar, for whom I cried when their rainbows were born and mourned along side them. So much love, so much belonging.
There was no set schedule for the day, a picnic in the park and time together. 14 Mama’s and their rainbows along with a few Dad’s as well. There was an instant acceptance and ease in the air. I did not have to explain nor did they, exactly how incredible this moment was. I found myself speechless as we watched our babies play together, it was surreal to watch the rainbows run around under our feet and interact like they had known each other their entire lives.
Maybe, through osmosis they have.

Picnicking 

All the Mama’s and their babies.  Should be so many more babies in this picture.

Thank you Sonja for this fabulous picture!

Rainbow Madness!

I can say the most incredible part of the day for me was the sense of belonging I felt. As an infant loss Mama, I do not belong at Mom’s groups…I do not belong at child loss groups… but here, we instantly belonged. The love was palpable. As we shared pictures, drank wine, ate, laughed, cried and allowed our grief to flow. One of the Grandma’s knit a personalized rainbow hat for each baby and we gleefully put the babies all together for a photo. This was the moment that broke my heart wide open. Seeing all the mayhem, the screaming, the hat removing, the LIFE…our babies, ALIVE, together. I could barely hold myself together in the midst of the beauty of our living hope. It was, beyond a doubt, one of the most beautiful and cherished moments of my life.

When we left that night, after lighting a candle for Ava and sending up a wish paper to her I broke down in the car and sobbed. I sobbed for the relief of finally knowing I am not alone, I sobbed for Lillian and all the life she and her rainbows share. I sobbed for Matthew who found comfort in other loss Dad’s. I sobbed for Ava whose loss brought us into this community. I sobbed for each of the Mama’s and their babies. How we ended up together I would never repeat but I cannot express how much it means to me to have you with me. Thank you, ladies. Thank you.