Cast of Characters


I write the blog.  I'm a wife, daughter, sister, friend, democrat, vegetarian, and dog owner.  I finally finished grad school and now I teach at a small liberal arts university.  I used to think I was the luckiest girl in the world--perfect husband, cute little house in the city, two bizarre but endearing dogs, a career I love, and plenty of time to practice my hobbies:  bargain shopping, happy-houring, omnivorously reading, taking yoga classes, being terrible at golf, and teaching myself to sew.  My goal was to have the PhD and be pregnant by the time I was 30, and I did it.

But then my luck ran out.  When our first baby, Eliza, died suddenly at 34 weeks into my pregnancy, I thought my life was over and I'd never be able to pick up all the broken pieces, let alone put them back together again.  Now I'm navigating my way through, and finding that every now and then I catch a glimpse of who I used to be.  Sometimes I even think that actually I can become someone better.  A little darker and twistier, maybe, but much more than just a broken shell of myself.  So this is me trying to figure that out as we parent our "rainbow baby" and balance the combination of grief and joy that is our daily life.

I write this blog for myself, but I thrive on your comments and insights.  If you're too shy to post online, you can e-mail me at bythebrooke (at) gmail (dot) com.  I have no democratic policy about blog posts or comments.  If you post something I don't like, I'll delete your comment without explanation.  Because I am a blog tyrant.


My smart, sexy, long-suffering husband.  He works as an elementary school principal with colleagues who are mostly women, and comes home to be outnumbered by women every day.  He remains unbelievably energetic, relentlessly optimistic, and also he does the cooking.  We make a great team, and no matter what happens in my life (or how annoyingly anal-retentive he is about certain things--and he TOTALLY is), I know I'm lucky to have him.

Little Mac

Little Mac was David's dog when we first met. She's a fourteen-year-old pekingese-poodle mix with a serious attitude problem.  And poor eyesight.  She is the most bizarre little dog I've ever met, but she also has strangely endearing qualities.  She never wants to sit on our laps and always keeps to her own bed, but she jumped up with me onto our bed when I was first home from the hospital without Eliza and curled up on top of me until I went to sleep.  After Zuzu became fully mobile, and we moved from a small one-story bungalow to a bigger two-story house, Little Mac rejected our lifestyle (demonstrated by daily pooping in the nursery).  She has gone to live in a quiet retirement home in a small town in southwest Missouri, otherwise known as residing with my parents.


We adopted this guy as a puppy.  He's a pug-beagle mix (because evidently we can't get enough of the small novelty mixed dogs) and he's totally obnoxious and thoroughly rotten and we love him to pieces.  He likes to snuggle and he likes to eat and he loves everyone he meets, except the mailman, who is his nemesis.  He's afraid of thunder and respectful of his sister's crazy, and his quiet (and sometimes really beagle-barking loud) companionship abides by us in our grief every day.  Zuzu is crazy about it him and he is wonderful about tolerating her love.


Our baby girl.  Our first pregnancy.  Perfectly planned, perfectly timed, and perfectly perfect for eight months.  She was born early and suddenly on December 6, 2010.  We arrived at the hospital when I was in labor, only to learn our baby had no heartbeat.  Three years later, we're still sort of in shock.  We had so many big plans for her.  We love her so much.  We miss her so much.

Caroline "Zuzu"

Our sweet little Zuzu.  Eliza's little sister and a rainbow baby in every way--brightening our lives and making ordinary moments magical.  She arrived on June 29, 2012.  We are so damn lucky that she's here.

Colette "Coco"

Zuzu's Baby Sister and the best surprise we've ever received. While bringing Zuzu home felt like a hard-fought victory, Coco's arrival was more like an unexpected gift when she arrived on August 7, 2014. She doubled our rainbow.