Archive for July, 2007

I am still in shock. And I fear there is a deep source of anger just waiting to explode from within me. But right now, I am just too dazed, and too shocked. In disbelief.

I hate coming home with my arms empty. Where is my baby Ferdinand?! For a month I have slept on the sheep skin that both girls had also slept on as a baby, so he will smell me when we lay him, so gently and lovingly on it. But now, I put the sheep skin next to me, rubbing my hands over it, feeling only bareness. No warmth. no baby, no son. No hungry, eager mouth rooting for a breast to suckle. Waking up in the night to sob instead of changing yet another wet diaper and rocking in the glider.

I know we all need to grieve; and we are all grieving in different ways. I wish I can do it with such strength, wisdom and grace, but I CANNOT; and I do not wish to. I want to cry when I wish to. My sorrow flows, like the river, swirling fiercely, and it has no end. Ralf and I both sit and cry and blame oneself, although we may never find the reason. I felt bitter resentment when the nurse last night told me she is sad for our loss, but also that she believes that everything happens for a reason. CRAP.  I believe in that too. I still do. But I did not want to hear it from her. Somewhere down the road, i will utter that wisdom with calm, but right now, I cannot find that great reason. Not yet.

I am sometimes having such deranged thoughts, I am afraid to tell Ralf. I want to sit in-front of the car-seat and stare and stare and stare until a baby materializes in it. I want to rub ashes into my hair and then tear them all out; I want to sit and beat at my chest until the heart numbs and it feels no more, just a gaping hole of blood and sorrow; I want to claw at my tummy and bite myself all over. I’m afraid if I see a baby I will snatch it and run away and hide in the jungle and nurse it.

I hate it when people tell me to “take it easy.” I know they care and they are concerned.  But I don’t know how to take it easy. It hurts to hear them say it’s “Better this way” that he died in the womb as who knows we may raise a very sick child that will give us even more heartaches. I know they wish to dull my pain for me, but it is doing just the opposite. I guess there are just many ways to love…. I know they want me to move on, be healed… …

And so we are glad to be at the cabin, comforted by the nature; knowing that Ferdinand is indeed around us. For the last two days a small yellow butterfly had been fluttering around in the yard. I know it’s Ferdinand watching over us. And yesterday afternoon a young hawk came by and stopped on our deck railing for quite a while. We have ever seen a hawk so up close before. It was pretty amazing…. I look over the yard and see that area where we sat on for the Blessingway, and remember how baby Ferdinand had been surrounded by so much love; it was just immense, and perhaps is the only thing that comforts my heart. He brought us in touch with so much beauty, and love and gratitude, and joy; I feel I have given him back poorly. I asked for another chance.

It is going to rain. Lightning is dancing across the sky and the thunder rolls and rumbles loudly. If only I can pour my sorrow out in this way; on such a grand scale, in torrents, and cares not for any limits! I cry, and I stop. R cries, and he stops. My poor R, how he grieves! But I am proud of him, and I know Ferdinand will be too, to know that he connects with his feelings and showed them. As we drove home this morning after the cremation, he broke down and told Valerie that Ferdinand is already flying amongst the clouds.. and that if it rains this afternoon, there will be a few molecules of Ferdinand in the air. Yes, Ferdinand is around us all the time; he probably sent the rain to wash over our bleeding hearts, to soothe our aching hearts; and arms that yearn so fiercely for a baby to hold!

My baby, I ache and pine for you. I miss you so terribly. But I know you want to travel…… so fly and be free!!! But remember to come visit mama often in her dreams, and tell me stories of all your wonderful adventures and all the places you have been to… …. you are really the other part of your papa’s and mama’s dreams, who loves to travel the world freely and feel the wind blowing in our faces and ruffling in our hair…. you complete our dreams… …


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“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

With grieving, heavy hearts, we announce the birth and death of our baby son, Ferdinand Lenigk (Chinese name Lin Shiyuan). He was born and died on July 29, 2007, at 12.05pm. He weighed 6 lbs 9.9 ozs and was 20.5 inches long. He looked very peaceful, and was a perfect, beautiful baby. He was, and still is, much loved and shall live on forever in our hearts.
Ferdinand means “bravery” and “adventurous” and it also means an “ardent voyager”. We believe Ferdinand travels amongst the stars now.

Our dear friends and family, we acknowledge that interaction with us in the near future may prove awkward and difficult. Please know that it is fine to talk about baby Ferdinand; please do not step around his birth or death, or his brief, beautiful existence. He is very much loved by us and we wish to remember him, not forget him. We can only heal if we take time to grieve, so please do allow us our times of sorrow. We so appreciate all your love and support; thank you for holding the space; thank you for your love for us, and our dear baby Ferdinand.

Ralf, Janis, Valerie & Sophia

“Some people dream of angels. We held one in our arms.”

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Dear Ferdinand,
your name means bravery. It means adventurous. It also means ardent voyager.
Your soul has already taken off, flying off to other stars, traveling all alone. My brave little boy. Mama and papa wishes they could come along… …

We listened to the creek this morning together for the last time, I hope that sound accompanies you on all your journeys. Mama will miss you terribly.

Today will be your birthday for us. It will be beautiful. I will finally get to hold you and see you.

Love and heartaches,

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Dear all,

this afternoon we learned that our baby Ferdinand Lenigk is dead in utero. There was no fluid around the baby and it seems the placenta had a problem. We are heartbroken beyond words.
Tomorrow morning we will be going back to the hospital for induction and we will deliver the baby in as normal a manner possible. It will be a very hard day for us, and the period after even more as we grieve. We ask for prayers and kind thoughts from you, and request that there be no phone calls.

Thank you for your loving support thus far and for your understanding during this time when we will be less than social.

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“Playing catch-up” because I have not touched the computer in a week. I thought I was going to die without internet and email but I did fine, at least the past week!

With the time though, I have been doing some looking-back; reflecting upon this incredible journey, thinking of the entries I have written for this journal, amazed at how much I had written; how long people had stuck around, and how this journey had involved sifting through the dusty pages in my mind, working out some kinks and knots in my heart, and scattering my thoughts out to the Universe.

It had made me feel again that it’s time to write a gratitude journal, because I would not have done it without the tremendous support I had received….

~ from the very beginning, words of encouragement, support and assurance that I can do it; that I was worthy to be a mum third time around

~ all the support through through the first trimester, which was the most difficult

~ all those listening ears and helping hands and people just being there, throughout the entire rest of the journey

~ the wonderful women who hosted and cooked at cooking day; standing by the grill flipping literally hundreds of pancakes; braving the heat and cooking chicken on the grill

~ generous and amazing women who had offered to cook/ bake for after the birth

~ M who organized a wonderful, beautiful Blessingway for me at the cabin; and the women who came and touched me with their beautiful hearts

~ Chiro Jenny, who made a big difference to my physical and mental being; who was so generous with her time and her heart

~ neighbors at the cabin who looked after the girls, offered help, support and love

~ strangers who simply made my day

~ strangers who pushed my buttons and made me think

~ wonderful midwife R and her calm-my-heart assistant M, my powerful birth team, whom I totally trust and believe in

I have changed, in body, in mind, in spirit. No coincidences. An orchestration of the Universe’s intention, my response, and the love and support of all those incredible people around me, who may not even realize what angels and beautiful souls they are. Thank you all.

I wonder if I next write, it will be writing the Birth Story of this Little One?

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Jalal-al-Din Rumi

You come to us
From another world

From beyond the stars
And void of space.
Transcendent, Pure,
Of unimaginable beauty,
Bringing with you
The essence of love.

You transform all
Who are touched by you.
Mundane concerns,
Troubles and sorrows
Dissolve in your presence,
Bringing joy
To ruler and ruled
To peasant and king
You bewilder us
With your grace.
All evils
Transform into

You are the master alchemist.

You light the fire of love
In earth and sky
In heart and soul
Of every being.

Through your loving
Existence and nonexistence merge.
All opposites unite.
All that is profane
Becomes sacred again.

My Dear Little One,

do you remember how you fell into my womb? From a mysterious place, far beyond the stars, the Universe, far from where my bare, foolish eyes will never see… … you came. So sudden. So unexpected. It is as if you heard my wish and granted it immediately, with a shrug of mischievous smile and bubbling, joyous energy.

Yet, I have to apologize… … in the beginning, I did not receive you with joy. I apologize deeply, with shame, blood and tears. Just weeks before, my body was aching and feverish with the thought of another baby. Yes! I wanted another one! Please! I whispered fiercely to your father, my head on his chest, my hand gripping his in fervent wish. He nodded, and I did not see the magical white dove flutter away from outside the window that night. We had our sights set on a year later.

And you came much, much sooner. Now i know why. Joyful things cannot wait. Now, my pure, wonderful baby, I know why. This pregnancy is to be a journey for me… one that will change me, and so, so much for the better. This pregnancy is not just about carrying a seed of life to term, it is also about the nurturing of my heart and soul; it is also about my growth as a person, a human being, a mortal, a woman, a mother. It has taken me so long to realize, my little one! I am ashamed that I have been so foolish and stupid. Dense. Blind. Closed.

But now I thank YOU, my heart full of gratitude, overflowing with love, and aching with joy and happiness!

In the beginning, I was dismayed. Because a baby was not in our plans for the coming year. Not in the budget (can you believe that?!) I was supposed to try to start a business. I was going to embark on a serious venture to get rid of my flabby belly that had clung on to me obstinately and mockingly…. such lofty goals my baby! I guess that’s why you came, to remind me that I can do more than that. To help avert my eyes from the mundane to the miraculous. To help me soar and fly, not writhe and squirm!

Oh, my baby! I am so sorry for my initial pathetic response to news of you! How my large, clumsy and foolish ego, consumed by “plans” and timeline, money and budget, blinded me from the sheer and immense and sacred joy of nurturing a life within me. I looked at the two parallel pink lines on the stick and said, “No! This CANNOT be!” I was filled with fear; images of two past births flashing before my eyes. I was also stupid and so terribly impossible can’t-think-of-a-word-to-describe-it, thinking how I need to change plans, review the budget, and all those silly things! Haven’t I for years, known that plans are just that- plans? In Chinese we talk about Tian shi Di Li Ren he— Heaven and Earth conspires with the human realm. The Universe had grand plans for me. Grandiose plans! Beautiful plans! They have repositioned me gently and pointed me to embark on an incredibly glorious journey, and gifted me with a seed of shining star in my womb and there I was, sitting on the toilet, staring at the light-switch and thinking, “This cannot be!”- still arrogant and indignant that my “plans” had been thrown into disarray! Forgive me, my son, for not having welcomed the announcement of your precious existence with grace, wisdom, joy and gratitude.

On the other hand, know that your father reacted much more nobly than I did. He was joyful. He laughed gently at my dismal, told me the budget can be adjusted and gave me a big, warm, assuring hug. “You can do it; we can do it.” he said. “Didn’t you want another one?” he reminded me with a hint of loving mockery. Yes, indeed. Only the fool weeps upon the granting of a wish.

Slowly, my mind and heart shifted. Slowly, like thick, molten larva moving across a cold surface. Slowly, I awakened from my own stupor. I began to understand, and to remember that things happen for a reason. I started to laugh at our blatant fertility! I began to marvel at the power of Thought! I started to skip; began to smile secretively and laugh like an idiot that my wish had been granted so fast, so easy! I began to see how lucky I am, to not have to wait- something I am so NOT good at. I put my hands on my belly and sigh many happy sighs, and gave myself many mental slaps for my foolishness.

I also came to realize, that my unreadiness told of work to be done. On myself and for myself, and the loved ones around me. Ghosts and spirits of past hung around me, and I needed to talk to them. So I started to journal. I was afraid I will get lazy, or afraid, and give up halfway (or sooner, as evidenced by many journals I have that are only filled for several pages), so I took the leap and invited a few people to read my journal so I stay accounted. And then I just wrote away without a care, because I trusted those who would read. I refused to let myself pause for even a nanosecond and think, “What will these women think of me then?” No. That will again be letting vanity and ego take over. I just wanted to be FREE and write. I trusted the Universe to open its arms and let me just belt it all out. I trusted them to read what they wanted, and think what they wished. It did not matter what they thought, but it mattered that I wrote, and wrestled, and sorted things out. It mattered that I be honest and authentic, and cared more about being myself, about being true to the moment, and not orchestrate my words to impress, or to misguide.

And I was lucky, my son. They just let me write. They pulled their colorful blankets about their shoulders, sat by the roaring fire and listened with compassion. I am so blessed. Because that had healed me. So deeply and totally. I let go of that little girl inside of me who had felt hurt and abandonment for years. That little girl who heard things like: “Now you know you were not a planned baby.”; “You were really so small and ugly when you were born, no one dared to touch or carry you!” The little girl who for years grew up without a “mother” and in fact tried to avoid her mother. That little girl is OK now. She is all good. She has grown, and she is walking with a light and happy heart, honored to be a mother for the third time. She is filled with awe, gratitude and delight for her opportunity to nurture a life within her, and then outside of her.

My dear son, I bow humbly and ask forgiveness for the initial horrific welcome I gave you. It must be awful to be treated like a sore thumb when indeed you should be regarded as an honored guest. You are not only an honored guest, but also have been a bright, shining, beautiful star. You have guided me to a glowing, bright path I know I should now gladly walk on; and you have guided wonderful and beautiful people and things into my life- amazing women, heartwarming experiences and awe-inspiring incidences. These are all gifts to me and i accept them all with great delight and deep gratitude. None were coincidences. Things happen for a reason. Always for a very, very good reason.

I thank you once again, my dear son, for giving me this incredible honor to be your mother. Thank you for allowing me to be the womb that carries a bright, shiny star. Thank you for guiding me along on this incredible, earth-shattering, amazing journey. Thank you for your patience and wisdom. Thank you for this opportunity to learn and discover. Thank you for my third birth; my third swelling; and my third spiraling and opening as a woman. Thank you for expanding my world and opening my eyes. My heart is filled with joy and gratitude . My being is filled with warmth and gratitude from the over-flowing human kindness and universal compassion and wisdom. I know I have much to learn, and people to walk with me on this path, especially my precious children, especially you.

Thank you, thank you.

Sat Nam,

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ok, that’s it! Today is the “last day” the the valley, tonight we drive up, and the next time I step into this house in Chandler again, we will be a family of five!

I am thrilled, really. I feel excited, and sometimes think I am going to pass out.

From excitement, from nervous energy, from the overwhelming amount of things to think of! Stuff for me to eat; for the rest of the family to eat; books, clothes & stuff for the gals, myself, and baby. Cooking equipment and ingreds for the confinement; the recipes, the menu, the instructions, etc etc etc!

A few things I have learnt:
1. EVERYTHING **always** takes LONGER then you think it will take.
2. You are always interrupted in life, esp when there is a timeline dangleing somewhere.
3. Something will always get forgotten.
4. Something is always left undone, or needs to be abandoned.
5. You never ever can cheat your body.

Elaborate Lesson #5: I have cheated sleep a few nights to do stuff, journal, work in the girls’ room. Ralf nags and nags and I wave him off. My eyes feel dry. I do some yoga, and meditation, hoping to work miracles. I go to Jenny, my super-duper chiro, lay on the adjusting table, she touches me and said, “You have been doing too much, haven’t you?” Dang. How did she know? My body betrayed me. My nervous system betrayed me. She tried to release the tension for me, and no joke, after that, even though I went to a friend’s house for a relaxing lunch, I went home with a terrible headache and felt like dying. After dinner I dec’d to take a relaxing bath and just could not get comfy. I broke down and took the last Tylenol in the house and went to sleep.

I’ll have to cook a few batches of fried rice for freezing when at the cabin. Of course i did not do it this week, and please do not let me think about the number of things i will NOT get done when we leave tonight. When Ralf said, you are doing too much and not resting; you are abusing your body and i replied, “But look at the house! The mess!” and he said No matter, this is the crucial stage, rest, rest, rest!! I wanna duct tape his mouth. If he comes up with a decent name for the baby I will forgive him. Upstairs looks great, downstairs is still chaos. maybe I shd have started downstairs, but it just looks too daunting. I need a dynamite, that’s what I need. Or a fairy crew of very good cleaners and packers.

Cecille had offered to make dinner one day next week, she is so thrilled that we will be staying up there for a while; and we are so sad that she is really going to move. next week her house is going to go on the market, sigh* She also wants to bring me and the gals to town for movie one night and we’re going to watch “Ratatouille”, yeah! I’m looking forward to it but sad that Ralf will not be with us. Cecille is so kind and nice to us. She’s like an angel sent to us.

I haven’t been feeling much Braxton-Hicks; not sure if I am not paying enough attention or just really thick-skinned and maybe my system is just totally dysfunctional. Anyway, so I think I will carry baby to full-term. But, who knows?

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