Thursday, February 11, 2010

Six Years Ago....

Never Ever Let Go - Made to Order

It's not a special number, anniversary wise. I mean, it's not the first, the fifth, the tenth. But this year is the first time that I felt like blogging about it. Six years ago yesterday, I lost a person that I had never met. I lost my little baby girl before she was born, before she was able to live outside the womb. She was 22 weeks and she had such major complications that she wouldn't have made it to term, let alone live after birth.

But she was a kicker. How that little one kicked! This was February of 2004, and it was my second pregnancy. My first one ended in miscarriage at 10 weeks. Of course, we were devastated, but thrilled when we found we were expecting a few months later. All the early scans and exams were fine, the baby had a heartbeat, and I was gaining weight normally. And she moved all the time! It seemed that everything would be fine, and after I made it past the 3 month mark, I relaxed and started planning.

At the end of January '04, we went in for the Level II ultrasound, the anatomy check...and where we would find out the sex. We had plans to hit Babies R Us afterwards, to go shopping for clothes and everything. Looking back, I remember how quiet it was during the scan. The technician didn't say anything and after a while, I asked her if everything was ok. She said that was going to get the doctor. At that, I started crying and my husband was trying to calm me down. When the doctor came in, she did the scan again. She said, "I am so sorry, but your baby is not going to come into a good life." She said those exact words, and at first I thought she meant that the baby had some syndrome that meant lifelong health problems, but I didn't care. For a minute, I was ok, thinking that at least we would have our baby. It didn't matter if it would need special care. Then she said, "What I mean to say, that they baby has complications that are incompatible with life." When she said that, I went all numb. I had no idea what she was saying anymore and it made no sense at all. She told us that there was too much fluid around the brain, that the heart had only 2 chambers, and a host of other things that were not good. We were stunned, had no idea what to do. Both the doctor and the tech kept apologizing and right before she cleaned me up, I suddenly asked what the baby was. They looked again and told me that it was a little girl. All I could do was sit lay there and nod and try to stop shaking.

As I was getting myself together, the tech asked me if I wanted a picture. I just looked at her like she had 2 heads. She gently told me that most parents still want a picture of the baby, even when they know the outcome. It gives them something to hold on to. TO this day, I send blessing to that tech, because I am so grateful to have that picture. It's a perfect outline of her profile, you can see her little arms and hands. You can't tell that anything is wrong. It is proof that she existed, if only a little while. But she was here and she made sure I knew it.

We went to our OB-GYN's office and he showed the appropriate amount of professional sympathy before moving on to our options. We could either wait for a miscarriage, wait until full term (if it got that far), or terminate. The doctor who was at the scan was a specialist in maternal0fetal medicine and she again told us that there was no way possible for the baby to live. They were 99% sure that I would miscarry in a few weeks. I was in no state to make any kind of decision. Even now I remember that I just couldn't think. So Nasir told the doctors that he didn't want me in any more pain and that we would terminate. At that, I woke up and asked again if there was any chance, ANY at all that the baby would survive. They said that the biggest thing was her heart, it only had 2 chambers and that it was only a matter of time before it failed.

The first available appointment wasn't until 11 days later, on February 10th. The reason for that was because I was so far along, there was only one specialist who could perform the surgery. In those 11 days, while the baby kept on kicking, I changed my mind a thousand times. I cried everyday. It was the only time that I saw Nasir cry. It was horrible.

I know there are other people who have gone through worse. My heart goes out to them. I can't even imagine going through the loss of a child that you have loved and held and cared for. But for us that time, it was the worst thing ever. On the day of the surgery, I was so sad and scared. They took me in to the OR and I was shaking so bad. I asked if the baby's heart was beating and they told me us. I wanted them to stop right there and the doctor took the time again to tell me all the facts. They put me under and afterwards, when I was awake, the doctor came in and told us that everything was fine, but that she had been a very sick little baby, that she would not have held on much longer.

I know there are people out there that will say that I should have waited, that her heart was still beating. But I am also anemic. If I had waited for a miscarriage or until term, there was a chance that I would either hemorrhaged out or have had to have an emergency hysterectomy. So we made the decision with a lot of thought. Even taking account of all the facts, it was the single most hardest thing I have ever done. We later found out that the baby had a severe form of Turner's Syndrome, and that there was nothing that we could have done to help her.

I was told not to get pregnant for another year, to let my body heal. It was almost a year when we found out that were expecting again, in January 2005. Needless to say, it was joy overshadowed by terror. At every scan, I sobbed horribly. We couldn't sleep the night before the Level II scan. And when we went in, we found out it was a boy and everything was fine. I finally allowed myself to relax.

Fazal was born on August 27th, 2005. He was perfect in every way...and I'm not just saying that. He had every test done to him to make sure that he really was perfect :) We named him Fazal, which mean's "God's blessing." When we had our daughter, Zahra, 2 years later, I finally was able to put to rest my fears of never having a daughter.

I know I am blessed beyond belief. I thank God everyday for giving me my healthy children. And I pray for all of those that have lost their beloved child. It is the worst possible situation for a parent. A friend told me that there is a word to describe every person who has suffered a loss in their family. A wife who has lost her husband is a widow, a husband who has lost his wife is a widower. A child who has lost a parent is an orphan. But there is no word to describe a parent who has lost a child.

The heading picture is of a sculpture that I found on Etsy, just browsing around. It is by Dana Truesdale of The Midnight Orange. She makes stunning sculptures of everything, but her Angel Sculptures were the most heart-wrenching. They are so simple, but nothing has ever touched me like these little pieces that fit in your hand. This one is called "Never Ever Let Go."

I hope no one ever has to buy one.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Paradise at the Feet of Mothers

Clarity - 8x10 print from an acrylic painting by Katie m. Berggren

A well-known hadith states, "Paradise lies at the feet of the mother." Mothers are treasured, not just in Islam, but in every religion, culture, way of life. They give us life, they guide us, nurture us, are there for us. And they come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes the one that you think of as your mother isn't your biological mother. She may be an aunt, a grandmother, a mentor. Whoever she is, she is always there. The painting above is by K. M. Berggren and is titled, "Clarity."

What do you think that this hadith means? To my thinking, it doesn't mean that paradise is automatically found with every mother. You must be a mother in every sense of the word, you must guide your children to be the best that they can be, you must create a haven that is safe, secure, and nurturing for your children. Your childhood has such a big impact on the rest of your life. If you had a happy childhood, that is the best gift that you could have received. And I am sure that as you look back, you really did feel as if your life was a paradise back then.

But mothers are human too. We make mistakes and lose our tempers and all sorts of stuff :) But I think that as long as you try your best, you CAN make your life a paradise for you and your family.

I know Mother's Day is still a looong time from now....but do we really need to wait for a day to celebrate motherhood? I say NO! (emphatically shaking my fist in the air!) Call you mom and just chat for a bit. If you're a mom, just leave everything, all the ENDLESS chores and cuddle with your little ones...or call them if they are older. Just celebrate this beautiful bond and savor it.

I have always wanted one of those mother's necklaces, the ones where you have your childrens' names stamped on metal tags. So I thought, well I am a jewelry designer, so why not make one myself. So I did. Here it is....

Want one for yourself? Order one from my shop and I will have it customized for you, up to 5 kids :) I adore mine! These would make great gifts for any mother or grandmother that you know!

Need more ideas for your mom or as a treat for yourself? Then check out these lovely finds, any one of which would be perfect as a gift!

Here is a gorgeous photograph taken by Amelia Kay Photography. It is called "Love Whisper," and I think that it would make a wonderful gift.

Loves Whisper - 8x10 Fine Art Photograph

Lovely, handmade journals by Robyn's Art would make a very special gift, especially if your mother loves to journal. Robyn can also make art journals that would be perfect for painting, sketching, etc.

This is one of my favorites, the Empress Silk Journal. I actually have this one and I love it!

Empress Silk 8X10 Journal

The Baby Blue Starburst Hemp Choker necklace by The Happy Soul would be great for any mom to wear during the summer!

Baby Blue Starburst Lampwork Pendant - Natural Hemp Choker / Necklace

And of course, what woman wouldn't love gloriously scented luxurious bath products? Here is one of my favorites, Oatmeal Milk and Honey Loofah Bar by Sunset Soaps. A brilliant gift!

Oatmeal, Milk and Honey - Goats Milk Soap (with real oats and honey)

I have so many favorite Etsians and all of their crafts would make the perfect gift for any mom. Even if it isn't Mother's Day, does it really matter? I don't think so, especially since a gift given out of the blue seems so much more special than when it is given on a pre-determined day. As humans, we are all so expressive all about, "let it all out!" So go ahead, let it all out and show your love for that special woman in your life, whether she be your mother, your grandmother, your aunt, a teacher, a neighbor....whoever she is. You'll make her day...and yours :)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Treasured Friend

This amazing photograph was taken by my wonderful friend, Robyn. I met her through that magical place Etsy. You can visit her amazing shop HERE. Have I ever met Robyn? No, not in person. But that is the magic of Etsy, the magic of being an artist, the magic of having that yearning to create. We just happened to connect and click, and I consider her a true friend, always guiding and advising and supporting.

Robyn has started an amazing new series on her blog. They are the Round Table Discussions, and the main purpose is to talk about...everything! To talk, to listen, to learn, to inspire....truly amazing. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to be a part of this series. I am truly grateful and humbled that I was a part of this experience, because I am a Muslim and a Pakistani-American....and not everyone is comfortable with that.

So if you want to know more about me, visit her blog and read the Round Table Discussion, "Walking the Cultural Line."

Thank you Robyn, for making my voice be heard.