Monday, June 30, 2008
I wept last night, after reading this post. Hard. Bon, you've touched on so many things. So much that resonates.
What did me in, though, was that last big paragraph, and the line preceding. My water broke at almost 20 weeks. One of my sons was already gone. The question was, do we try to save the other or just let him go? No doctor would recommend anything. It was up to us. We talked to expert after expert to find out what our chances were, of making it to 24, 28, 32 weeks. What the effect of no fluid around the baby would be. What kind of problems we would face at birth at each gestational milestone, were we lucky enough to make it that far.
I didn't want to let go. A big part of me wanted to try anyway, but the numbers kept not being in our favor, in the least. Especially for a white male fetus. I kept hoping my body would decide for us, that I would go into labor spontaneously, or that it would be clear infection was setting in. At every ultrasound to check for fluid levels, (heaven forgive me) I actually hoped his heart would be still so the decision would be made for us.
No dice. We had to decide. And hearing what the outcomes would likely be, C and I knew we could not put our son through what would likely be a short life full of painful interventions that probably would not work anyway. Or if they did, what kind of a life would he have?
It occurs to me that so much of the pain I'm feeling (and I'm sure what many of us feel) is that I didn't want to let go. I didn't want to give up. How could I let go of my child? No matter what? It came down to doing what would be best for him, not for me. But how could I let go?
Some of those close to me say that there really wasn't any choice to make. I don't know that I agree. In the end, I realize now, I had to choose my pain over his. The pain I feel now, I feel it so he didn't have to.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I feel lousy, sad, weepy, thinking a lot about the boys and the hospital stuff. What was supposed to be. Lots of lump in my throat, stinging in my eyes and nose. My thoughts are scattered; when I step back later and review, I shake my head because I can't believe I even went there.
I'm sadder than usual, but I am able to laugh a little. We went out to the movies yesterday, and I sort of enjoyed it, even though I was bitchy to C a lot. I know that I'm better than I was at the beginning. But it feels like March instead of June. The balance is not as positive as even a few weeks ago. Up and down, up and down.
I'm more jumpy, easily startled than I've been. Angry. More sensitive to violence or gore (we saw Ir.on Man) than, well, than I expected. I'm distracted, having a hard time focusing again, feeling more anxiety, too.
I had a meeting with one of my profs about my summer projects to make up work and, though most of it was just fine, I was acutely aware of what I did not know, of what academic progress I was not making. This prof is kind of my (unofficial) mentor. His intelligence is tangible and his humanity huge. After meeting with him, I picked up C, we went home, and I curled up on the couch against C for hours. (Of course, I didn't just run upstairs and hide, but it didn't seem
So I couldn't go to B's father's services and she was okay. I was starting to get panicky just thinking about getting on a plane to go . But I can't identify the source of the panic: was it because it was so fast? or was it because I hadn't been to this airport since I dropped off my dad when he visited in December, when everything seemed to be okay?
I'm sure that some of this is my own grief, too. I've known B since 1985. I can't count the number of Easter or Christmas dinners I'd had there since I was a teenager. Countless evenings at her house making cookies or watching movies or just hanging out in the kitchen talking with B. He wasn't very "fatherly" to me, but we had a nice, easy relationship. He was always happy to hear from me when I called, and B's mom sent us our first care package of NY bagels after we moved here. So I guess another part of my family is gone now.
It seems like I'm getting overly-anxious about everything. Too sad. Still pretty immobile.
So, I'm asking: Is this just where I am in the grief or is it a real setback? I'm finding it almost impossible to pick up the phone to call someone trauma-related. Though I am making sure I make it to therapy every week. It helps, but I don't think it's enough. I guess I do need more help.
And that makes me cry more, like I'm a freak who's just oversensitive. I hate that I can't seem to deal with this. That I am just so fucked up. That I seem so much more fucked up than everyone else. Why can't I deal like others seem to be?
I have to call the MFM/High Risk OB for a consult, and that's not happening either.
The birth was literally a nightmare, every time I came to consciousness something else bad was happening. I haven't been able to call anyone to find out what actually happened, if Jacob actually did have a heartbeat when he was born. Who would I call? I really doubt anyone would know or even have any idea at this point. I think that might make it worse.
Nightmare. At first, it was almost comforting, the idea that I might have PTSD. Like it would explain so much, would validate my pain or behavior. Some sort of diagnosis like PTSD or major depression as a result of this would help me get some help. But it would also make me feel like a freak. Why am I the only one who cannot deal? Was my experience that much worse than others'? No, it wasn't.
Is this what six months feels like? Is this just a stumble? Am I special needs?
Does any of this make any sense?
I think I want an honest answer. If I change my mind, I'll turn off comments.
Friday, June 27, 2008
My closest friend here, S, is due in mid-August with #2. (She got pg when I was pg and we were very excited to be able to be pg together.)
Some of her friends from the department (with whom I am friendly with but not friends) are throwing her a shower (a "pamper the parents" thing since they have the baby stuff from #1) in a few weeks. I played phone tag with her friend K for 2 days, finally connected this afternoon. She wanted to let me know what they were planning, and that an "e-vite" would be going out, but didn't want to just send it to me, without talking to me.
Clearly this action was guided by S, who has been very sensitive about all this and is actually including work on infertility/loss/"un.motherhood" in her dissertation. K said that S was fine with me going or not going, just wanted me to do what was most comfortable for me.
I told K straight off that I appreciated her letting me know, and that I would probably not go, but perhaps send a gift. She said something sweet about how she knew she hadn't been in touch, but had been thinking about us and hoping we were doing okay, etc. My voice started to choke at that point, but she changed the subject and we made small talk about summer plans and other things.
The shower is being held 5 doors down in my development. The host, D, is a woman who came out about her pregnancy (or was outed) at S's first baby shower. (She has never looked me in the eye once, and I, for some reason, have always made her appear very uncomfortable). The shower that was held at my apartment. Two and a half years ago. Right after I had made the appointment for the initial consult with the RE.* I got my period on the day of that shower. And found out that my dear friend JK was 3 months pg with #2. On that day.
So, yeah, that shower was a bit fraught for me. Maybe that's why D always looks at me funny. When she looks at me.
K finally reached me as I pulled into my driveway this afternoon. All I could think, as I was crying, walking into the house, up the stairs... I don't even know. Thank god she called to talk to me instead of just sending it. Thank god I didn't feel compelled to go. But goddammit, I should be going. I should be trying to figure out what I'd do with my 2-month old boys while I was there at the shower, part of the club, 5 doors down.
That first shower two and a half years ago was hard. I should not be in this place now. I'm grateful for the sensitivity, but it only makes it more clear what I still don't have. Where I still am not.*
How relieved I was, for a little while, to be moving past that place of infertility and childlessness. How much I want back in that club. The Mommy Club. How much I don't want people to be thinking of me with "oh, how awful" attached.
How broken my heart is. And continues to be.
And it's just not getting better. One or two steps forward = 3 or 4 steps back. Way back. I haven't called any of the trauma people. I was doing better. I was.
And now I'm not. I don't even know if I have the wherewithal to call. I'm at such a loss. I should be doing better.
But I'm not.
*Just to measure that two and a half years in IF-time, that's 9 IUIs (6 clomid, 3 injectible), at least 8 or 10 natural cycles (hahaha), 1 laparoscopy, 3 chemical pregnancies, 10 or more blood tests for RPL, 1 twin pregnancy, 1 PPROM at 20 weeks, 1 IUFD, 1 labor induction, 2 dead baby boys and at least $12-14K out of pocket (thank you, financial aid) for treatments, procedures, copays, medications, hospital stays and therapy. And I'm exactly as close to being a mother of living children as I was at S's first shower.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
A few things about me:
- I don't like heights.
- My sense of physical balance is not great.
- I have never cared for the circus.
And yet, I am living one. I am up on that freaking high wire, hoping the callouses on my twisted feet and my rough soled slippers will keep me vertical on the high wire, will keep me from plunging to the earth in my tacky costume and stage make up.
(Okay, enough of the metaphor. Well, maybe a little more.)
But I actually do kind of feel that way. It's all I can do to keep my balance, literally putting one foot in front of the other, focused on the safe place at the end of the wire. I'm going slowly. Sometimes the foot goes forward, sometimes back to help balance me. I'm holding on to that pole for dear life, hoping it will help.
But I am toppled by a stiff breeze. Or something catches my eye and makes me lose my footing;
I wind up on the ground and crying.
I seem to do fine for a couple of weeks, doing better, getting my feet under me, taking big steps. Standing up straight and almost confident. And then something knocks me. An important date. a challenge to push myself academically, intellectually. A friend could use my support for something important.
I can almost see it in slow motion as I lose my balance and plunge downward. I am lucky to have C as my safety net. To have personal and professional support, and you, my dear internets. Despite the net, it hurts to fall. And it takes so much to get back on that freaking ladder, to get back up on the wire. It shakes and bends with my steps, with my attempts to right myself, or to begin again.
Meanwhile, life is passing by, time is ticking away and there is only so much others can do. They can cheer me on as I climb the ladder, attempt another crossing. They cheer from below, and from the other side. But I am the only one, I am alone in my crossing.
Did I mention my balance sucks?
And I fucking hate the circus.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
But I'm paralyzed.
Why can't I just go? Why is this so hard? A year ago, I would have been on the plane already.
How could I possibly be so fucked up by all this?
I am literally paralyzed.
I sent B a hugely apologetic email saying I'd like to come for a visit soon, or when I'm in the area for the wedding. I also sent her a tower of goodies from H.arry and D.avid, and her mom an arrangement of flowers. She was okay that I didn't come, and looks forward to a visit in July.
So it's fine. Of course it is. I don't know why I keep freaking out over everything.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
It didn't occur to me until I heard the bells in the University tower chiming at 10:00 this morning when I was dropping off C after our coffee run. It was 10:00 am that morning that I woke up and felt something wet, sat up to a gush and ran to the bathroom. We were in the emergency room by 10:20.
In 10 days, both the boys would be gone from my body. Gone from the world. In 10 days, they are gone six months.
It still hurts like hell. Not always, but often.
Six months ago today, my friend JK's father died.
Very early yesterday morning, my friend B's father died. He was 85, and had been ill. Suffering the after-effects of a stroke and years of back pain. It still hurts, though, to lose your parent. She has 2 small children and a husband who needs a heart transplant.
I can't even imagine what she's going through right now. She doesn't talk easily about her feelings. But it weighs on her. We have been friends long enough to know.
I can't go to the funeral. Yes, the flights are expensive, but that's not the reason. I really don't think I would be able to get through the funeral. I get anxious about just jumping on a plane so I can be there for my friend.
Six months and one week ago, I was checking into flights and calling my doctor to see if I could fly at a moment's notice because we knew that JK's father would not live long. I wanted to be there for my friend, but in the end I couldn't, because I was in the hospital myself when he died.
I know she'll understand. I just wish the idea of going didn't give me a panic attack. If anyone needs support right now, it's B. But I can't give it to her, either. And that feels pretty fucking bad.
Six months later and I struggle to find some meaning in my life now. I'm trying, but not invested in my work, not like I should be. I picture my future as a childless academic, wondering what the point is to all my study, all my research, all my classes. The system won't change because of me, my work. I feel so distant, and mediocre. Not quite good enough.
I love my husband and he loves me. I have good friends and family. But my boys are gone. And I don't know if I will ever feel the joy I felt when I carried them. Everything else pales in comparison.
I know, it will get better. I'll find things to get invested in. To hope for. Right now all I feel is anxiety even trying to accomplish anything. Like I'll fail. Or it will all be for naught.
Friday, June 20, 2008
I want to be pregnant again. I'm scared to death, and we are not ready to try to conceive again. But I want it. You would think that the trauma of such a loss would cancel out any of the joy of a pregnancy. Of the anticipation of having a child. The sweet love I felt for my boys.
The trauma is there. The pain and the fear. But I want that joy again. I want that happy anticipation. Such sweet love. Different from my love for C.
Talking with C about this, I've been trying figure out how to find some joy in my life. Reclaim the joy in my research, in my work. Even as I enjoy my work, or even think about something happy (like adopting a dog) the enjoyment is limited. Limited by anxiety. Worry. Sadness.
I know most of this is grief. And maybe trauma. I also know that I was as happy as I had ever been in my life. Happier. My grief is not just for my boys. It's not just for my old self.
It's for my joy. Nothing else seems to compare.
And yet I'm afraid to fall again.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I'm so scattered. And I can't settle on anything. I can't relax.
It's like everything is too hot to touch. Too sharp. Too deep.
I don't even know what I'm talking about.
I'm just so tired of this.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I even sat next to her for a little while.
It wasn't horrible, but I felt like a freak, and I couldn't stop looking at her perfect pregnant self. She looks great.
She's not the warmest person in the world, but she didn't say anything to me that was inappropriate. Everybody (people from C's dept) knew about what happened, but not one person at the gathering mentioned what happened to us, but why would they? They had all given C their condolences in January, why bring it up now? Especially in the presence of the adviser. A bit of Awkward. At the end, I asked her how she was feeling, if she was ready to "go" and we made a little small talk.
It was odd to be sort of, well, near conversations about pregnancy or baby names or maternity clothes and not participate. I felt like it would be awkward, since, well I don't have a baby even though I was pg.
It wasn't horrible. But it was.
I'm so tired of all this. Everything being laden with...I don't even know what. Everything being loaded. Watching for minefields. Feeling like I"m on emotional eggshells or something. I don't know what's going to break me.
I got no work done today. I guess I know why.
Tomorrow I'll post pics of the possible dresses. Back to ignoring the knot in my chest. Thanks for your comments.
Okay: Dresses. They are pretty simple, but I figure that provides more to work with. They look a little darker in real life. I've got them linked to the AT site.
Okay here's the Double V-neck:
Here's the strapless.
Okay, people, thoughts? Votes? Ideas for accessorizing/shoes?
Let's hear it!
We used to like the girl, excuse me, woman who will be his wife, but somehow after the engagement was official all this new information surfaced.
I started to type up the history of their relationship, but it's just too long and boring. To summarize:
They started dating in fall of 2000, when my mom got sick.
She seemed very sweet at first, very involved in our family.
She is first generation American, from a culture that suffered attempted genocide.
Her family said "You'll never marry a Jew."
They dated anyway.
And continued to date.
She was needy.
So was he.
Her family demands a lot of their time. Lots of activities.
On again, off again.
She likes nice things.
She is used to having nice things.
He is emotionally and vocationally immature.
He gave her my mother's ring.
She liked the ring, even though it's small.
He complains that our family is too scattered and that we don't support each other.
They will marry in her church, even though she is not religious.
He converted so they can marry in her church, even though she is not religious.
Even though none of it means anything to either of them.
He does not understand why this is difficult for the rest of the family to accept.
They will raise the (assumed) children Christian, so as not to confuse them.
There will be "nothing Jewish in her house."
Ostensibly, so the children will not be confused.
He does not understand why the rest of the family is so upset, we were never very religious anyway.
Religiously they will be Christian, culturally (theoretically) they will be Jewish and (her culture).
His oldest friend cannot be his best man because he is not baptized in the Christian church.
She asks me and my sister to be bridesmaids in the wedding, set to take place 2 months after my twins are due. I accept with a caveat.
My water breaks at 20 weeks.
He comes to visit, leaves the day of the delivery.
In my grief, I pull out of the wedding.
My sister gets pregnant, with twins, due in October.
Won't be able to travel from LA for the wedding due to 28 wks pg with twins, so she pulls out, too.
My sister loses her twins at almost 18 weeks
Neither of us are in the wedding, but will both attend.
No one on our side of the family attends NY bridal shower.
He feels unsupported.
Sunday afternoon church wedding in July, 3:30 pm
Sunday evening reception, 7pm. Black tie optional.
What the hell do I wear?
Okay, kinda long for a summary. There are a TON of issues in there, which I'm sure you can glean. I'm choosing to focus on the stupidity of an afternoon church wedding and black tie optional reception 3 hours later.
The wedding is in the NY metro area (NOT in the city), reception is probably 30-45 minutes from the church. I went to Ann Taylor and found some pretty dresses, but they are deep red (gorgeous, and a great color on me). They come in other colors, but I don't know which I would choose.
Do I get two dresses, one for ceremony, one for reception? Do I accessorize the hell out of one dress (make casual, make formal) and add make-up/jewelry for the reception?
Really, it doesn't even matter. And would it be bad to wear a deep red dress to a wedding? Really? Even if I wear a shrug or a wrap or something with it? Black dress doesn't work for an afternoon wedding. Deep blue? The bridesmaids are wearing long, strapless graphite colored dresses.
I'll see if I can find pics of the dresses that I found.
In the mean time, any thoughts/questions on clothes and my new sister in law are welcome.
At this point our frustration with the future SIL is less about the religion and more about how things have to be her way. Didn't really go into it on the post, but he kind of lets her dictate a lot of what they do and how. A lot of times he gives in and says, well, the wife usually gets the final word anyway. Like he's given up and is already practicing his "yes, dear." Who is this man? Makes me sad and mad.
There is more, but too much to go into. He seems to think her pushy family is better than ours because they are all there, all the time. Ours is not, but we are there when it counts, I think.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Why do such things fill my heart?
When I was pregnant and exhausted and puking and sick of being nauseous, and crying that i just wanted to eat something and enjoy it...I joked that I understood my mother's expression "I'd rather be 40 than pregnant." I was so happy, silly infertile that I was, to be having twins. My children would each have a sib, I wouldn't feel the need to try to get pregnant again. Secondary infertility wouldn't be a worry. We would be done. I even said it out loud, "it's a good thing it's twins because I'm never going through this again." Or something like that. And I laughed. But really, I was relieved that I wouldn't have to worry about being pg again -- because it would be so hard to get there, so hard to go through it again.
What the fuck was I thinking??
All my life I made jokes about tempting fate. Or, not really jokes, because I sort of half believed it. Before I started spotting, just a teeny bit at 18 weeks, I actually said it out loud: I'm so happy, and things are going so well, like I always wanted. Marriage, career, kids.
Why did I say it out loud? Did the "fates" come strike me down? Did I jinx myself? Did I count my chickens before they were hatched (ugh). Did the universe punish me for asking for too much?
Feels like it. I know, I know. I've discussed this before, this magical thinking. It's not realistic, it's not healthy. If I start to believe that, I start to believe that things happen to people for a reason, that some deserve children and others don't, some deserve pain, some people can "handle" more than others. That there is some force in the universe deciding who gets their wishes fulfilled and who does not.
I am not perfect. I am basically a good person. Usually, I try to be a good person. But I don't deserve this. None of you deserve it. Honestly, I can't think of something a person could do that would make them deserve this pain, and this struggle.
To want this. To have to fight so hard for it. Over and over again. And have it ripped away.
And I want this. Despite all the nausea and all the heartache. Some switch got flipped again, and I want to do this again. I don't think I'm ready. And that pisses me off. But there was something about being pregnant. That is something I want. At the very core of my being.
But I don't trust that I can have it. I don't trust that I can achieve it. I don't trust that I can bring a living child (or two) into the world. And do right by them.
I want to parent. I want to bring a child into the world. And it makes me weep because I want to so badly. And I'm so angry that I got denied this. I'm so angry that on top of infertility, I got denied the pleasure of ever simply trusting in a pregnancy, of trusting a doctor. Of learning to trust my body and my own instincts to take care of myself and my children.
I'm so angry that my children were taken away from me. I'm so angry that I loved them so much and have suffered so much for it. That I let myself love them. And I want to feel that love again. I want the joy of pregnancy. I want another chance.
I'm so angry that I may never get this. And I'm so afraid. Of all of it. What if I never get pg again. What if I do and we lose another child? I honestly don't think I could get through that again.
The sadness and the anger and the pain. Deepest sorrow. The rage. RAGE. (This word can only be in capital letters.) At the loss and the injustice and the struggle. And the pain.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
There are a number images of you, your face, that stand out like photographs in my mind when I think of our pregnancy with the boys, and losing them. One was the huge smile on your face, as you put your hand on my belly, grinning from ear to ear, saying "Boys!" (I know you would have done the same for girls or some combination -- it was the joy with which you said it), and talking about how they were working so hard, growing.
Others that stand out particularly were after we found out that Joshua was gone, and we had to make decisions about Jacob. The sadness on your face, as we talked alone in hospital rooms. It utterly changed you. Grave, but strong. You spoke not just as a husband, but as a father.
You made the phone calls. I could only get through the one to my own father, we called you 'director of communication." You called your family and friends; you called mine, too. You got the hard words out so I didn't have to. I can't tell you how much it still means to me.
I remember your eyes, red-rimmed and sleep deprived, as you held my hand in the darkened delivery room. It was one of the few memories I have of that night. But you were there, helping me to do what I had to do. As you have always done, but this time...this time for the worst reasons imaginable. You put aside your own pain to help me through.
I wish you had had more time with your boys. I wish they were still here with you.
Friday, June 13, 2008
1. What were you doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago, I was 27, almost 28. I was at a decent admin job at a reasonably good company with decent pay, good benefits and a great team. I worked for a consultant who respected me and gave me great assignments on top of my regular stuff. My colleagues (other admins) were fun, smart and I generally enjoyed coming in to work, even though I knew this wasn't my life's work.
I was writing a lot -- involved in at least 2 writing groups, workshops and finding great community that I hadn't really had before. Enjoying life and summer in Boston. Major dating dry spell. Wondering what my options were. This was about 5 or 6 months before I connected with C. A friend of mine left to go on a trip around the world in September, and before she left, she encouraged me to do things that scared me. To challenge myself. Good advice.
2. What 5 things are on your to-do list today?
Read at least 20 pages of Bourdieu. (this may be ambitious)
Set up meeting with prof/advis to talk about project/reading
Call shelter about sponsoring Doggie M
Make list of doctors and shrinks to call
3. List snacks you enjoy.
Chips & (fake) queso
Chips & salsa
Grapes (and most summer fruits)
Veggies (crispy and raw)
4. What would you do with a billion dollars?
Oh, the places I'd go... Well, I would really like to travel. I haven't been anywhere off this continent and I'd really like to see the world. I would like to build a house on each coast, and maybe somewhere in the middle. A house in the mountains, a house by the water, a house in the country.
I would like to set up a lobby for infertility, pregnancy loss and stillbirth funding, and making mandatory coverage for testing, diagnosis and treatment of obstacles to parenthood for every man and woman who would like to parent. Perhaps some sort of funding for IUI/IVF/Adoption so the costs are not so exorbitant. Set up programs in schools that ensure that health/sex ed curricula include information about infertility, to try to dispel some of the myths that problems conceiving are just about stress.
I would also like to pay off my debt and any debt of those closest to me, particularly school loans and mortgages. I would like to set up my dad so he could live exactly as he would like. I would like to pay back the total of the college loans and interest he incurred in supporting my education. Above and beyond the call, most certainly.
As long as I'm setting up funds, I would also like to set up some sort of research program looking into cures and raising awareness about ovarian cancer (which kills as many or more women as those killed by breast cancer). And re-fund Head Start.
I think I'd need at least a few billion.
5. List places you have lived.
New City, NY
Small Town, OH
6. List jobs you have had.
Dry cleaner helper
Jewelry store salesperson
Admin -- building management
Bookstore shift mgr
Admin -- marketing
Admin -- hr consulting
Content editor -- dot-com
Exec admin -- hr/comp consulting
Daycare teacher, toddler room
Teacher's Aide, Inclusion program (middle school)
Teachers Aide, Inclusion program (head start prog)
Academic Adviser -- regional campus of U
College Instructor -- socio-educational foundation in education to pre-service teachers
7. List those who you would like to answer the above questions.
I think just about everyone who I read has done this except CDE.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Thinking: future, past, future, past.
How will it work? Why didn't it work? What if it doesn't work again? What did I do wrong last time?
What can I focus on, what new chaos can I bring into my life to distract me from the old chaos or old catastrophe?
What can I do to keep me from just living my life and having it be okay? okay without children for a while? If we are not trying to have kids, I will be thinking "will we be able to have kids when we're ready? when will be be ready? how will we deal with it?
What if we start trying soon? that will give me something else to focus on, but I'll never get back to work at that rate, because all I'll be doing is thinking about how I don't want this baby to die, please let this baby be okay, let me not fuck this one up, too.
I need to think about school, and getting my head back into that place. I need to focus on my marriage which, while strong is still getting the brunt of all this grief -- from all sides. I don't know how to take care of it or my husband and he deserves so much more than I've been able to give him.
I don't even remember what I used to think about before I thought about having kids. I think I used to listen to NPR avidly. I cared about the news and politics. An occasional movie or dinner out with my husband and/or friends.
When I started school again, I found that I had little patience for much of the radio, or even Sunday NYTimes because my mind was full with other stuff.
I don't know how to bring it back, bring my mind back to me. To quiet it down and remember who I am. Or maybe I don't want to remember.
No, that's not it. Yoga helps. Yoga at my clinic. I spent more money than I'd like to admit on watercolor supplies, since that's what I used to do when I was a teenager and needed to express myself.
I have a gorgeous journal and spent too much money on that, too, way back in January. I've written on 3 pages. I have a half a dozen wide ruled spiral notebooks I got for a buck each at target or cvs or the market, because I write big and there's less pressure to write great things in cheap notebooks. But they sit empty because all I can do is sit here and type over and over again, sad, weepy, sad, angry, sad, tears, sad, hopeless, anxious, better, sad, worse, sad.
It's all I've got, it seems.
All the muscles in my chest, neck and arms are tired from crying. Like my heart just keeps breaking over and over again.
I'm alone and but I'm not alone. I am alienating those who love me. No, really, I am. Especially when I have a good day or two, and then disappear because I've fallen apart. I make myself alone. I reject what and whom I love. I make them feel unimportant. Less important. Like all they do doesn't matter. Even though it does.
I'm so tired of it.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Even before this loss, no one could say I hadn't changed since high school. The words used to describe me by family, friends, even C who didn't know me then: blossomed. blooming.
A scared, sensitive child grown into a sensitive, guarded adult. Until the blooming -- figuring out what made me stand up, what made me shine, what made me feel good. And then I met C, bloomed some more. My mom died, we got married, moved 1000 miles away to what seemed like a foreign place in the middle of the country.
I found myself, again, with C supporting me. My intellectual pursuits, my personal goals, friends. Little S--- was taken care of by a happier, more confident, grown up me.
And then we got pregnant. Really pregnant. Finally. And then we lost them. All our hopes and dreams. I liked to think that I was reaching all my goals, that I was feeling more sure of myself, with a tough program, even with the apprehension of a tough pregnancy, hoping to end with a stressful turn with two infant sons. Scared, but hopeful.
I keep stumbling now. People say, take it slow. Be gentle with yourself. Have I changed a bit? Does it count if you've gone back to a place you thought you'd grown out of?
Scared. Incapable of decision making. Paralyzed by everything. Afraid of hope.
I took piano lessons beginning at age 4, like my sister. I was a passable player (not as skills as A). Not-great rhythm. Not-great confidence. Every once in a while we tried duets: my mom and sister, me and my mom, me and my sister. But I could never maintain the music. I'd start out okay. We'd get going. I'd get caught up in it, find some momentum, connection. Then I'd lose it. I'd start to think too much about what I was doing and lose the rhythm, the connection with what my partner was playing.
So, take your pick on metaphor.
Yeah, people would probably say I've changed. But from what to what? whom to whom?
I'm so fucking tired of changing. Growing. I just want to enjoy my life.
Just went back and looked and realized that I didn't answer the question bon posed: do you want to be told you haven't changed a bit?
I really don't know what my answer would be. It's hard for me to believe that people can't see change in me. And yet, it feels like I've gone back in time -- unchanged. No...
Monday, June 9, 2008
I'm almost embarrassed about my outburst/explosion/freak out, but to be honest, I'm kind of glad it happened. It's like, all the thing I was feeling all the sadness of the loss and, really, the anger came to ahead. I was never in denial of what I was feeling, but I had no idea of its depth.
I, like many people, have trouble with anger. Duh. When I feel angry, I tend to cry, and then sometimes yell. Ranting and raving, really. Not screaming. Usually, the crying is enough to dispel most of the tension around my anger, and then I can talk about it, or fight about it. I can use words.
((This whole experience from infertility to pregnancy to pregnancy loss and grief has been so physical, and I am so not someone who uses my physicality. I've never been athletic (quite the opposite), my interests tend to lean toward the sedate or mind-stretching activities. When I was a kid, I rode my bike, I walked into town with my friends. As an adult in the city, I depended on my feet to get me to the train or bus. I'd go home and take my parents' dog for a walk or run through a local park or woods.
After a year or so of infertility I started taking yoga at my clinic. A very mild, gentle yoga, which was just what I needed, being totally out of shape. It worked my body, relaxed me and, surprisingly, put me in touch with my body. The first day of class, during the very first relaxation exercise, I began crying. At the end of it, too. Because I realized I had been so out of touch with it for so long. The only relationship I'd had with my body in those months was through infertility treatment -- an antagonistic relationship to say the least. With yoga, and also with therapy, I began to forgive myself, my body for not doing what I wanted it to do. I treated it a little better, considered it a bit more gently.
Pregnancy was not easy, to say the least. Then, when my water broke, something clicked in my brain and I was right back to hating my body. It was just the little shove I needed. From that moment to the delivery, the transfusion, the infection, the D&C, the broken arm...the truce was over. I ate crap. Tons of crap. I stopped taking any pills other than those that help keep me from panicking or that would help me sleep. No exercise, no extraneous movement, if I could help it.)) **End of Digression**
So the point of that huge digression, is that such a physical reaction to anger, anything besides tears, is unusual for me. I intellectualize it instead of physicalize, if that makes any sense. I have not thrown an object in anger in probably 20 years.
Reading back over my post from the other day, the word ripped came up -- and it seems so appropriate given how much its come up in the history of this blog, even. Feeling ripped apart. The placenta ripped from my uterus. My heart shredded. My therapist will have a field day with this.
The physicality of the anger kind of scared me. I have really never before felt like I was going to burst, or like I had to do something to release it. Something other than cry. Or in addition to crying. Because that physicality wasn't enough. When C came to me, he made it safe for me to just get the rest of it out. It was scary for both of us I think. I said things I didn't even know I felt. Hadn't realized until I articulated them. Which made it hurt even more. Ripped out of my chest. Leaving me raw and weeping harder. How much all of this hurt. How angry, down to my core, this has left me. Wounded and shaking.
It made me realize how very much I loved and wanted those babies, even more than I knew. How much I wanted to be their mother. How much I want to be a mother. A mommy. How much I want that life of raising a family and dealing with the hassles of kids and work and pets and connecting with all the other people who get to do that. I just wanted to be like everyone else. For once, to feel like a part of the club. To be like everyone else.
Deep down at my core. And how not only sad, but angry I am, that it's been taken away. At the very least for now, and I have no idea if I'll ever get another chance at it. It makes me so sad. And so angry. So angry.
I had no idea how much.
The tears are rolling down my face now. I have a sleeping kitty at my hip, and another on her perch at the window. It's quiet, and I hear a bird, wind rustling through the trees outside the window. The calm after the storm, perhaps.
Like I said, I'm a little embarrassed about my outburst, the intensity of my reaction. But I'm coming to understand where it came from. I don't think I'll have another explosion like that for a very long time -- hopefully forever. I'd like to think I've learned from it. And, like G commented, hopefully, I've addressed one more layer of grief in this process.
Thanks for being there.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
I feel right now like I am in an upswing, moving a bit farther from the gaping hole, though I know it is right behind me, waiting. Recent distractions, newly (re)found, if tenuous, focus on my goals, on my husband, friends.
I fear the moment I feel the swing start to move downward, back toward the gaping hole, wondering about what new misery awaits me, which old misery will hurt most. How long it will take to climb back out of the gaping black hole, what I will need to do it, to let go again of my boys.
I left this comment on a post at Glow in the Woods, in response to a post by Niobe about feeling the wound of loss sort of, well, scar over. Be less raw.
When I wrote this post, I was feeling really good. Hopeful about the future. C had just completed 5 years of intense work and had successfully defended his dissertation. I was starting to get back into my own research and study. There was a minuscule chance that we could have conceived this cycle, and I was feeling okay, even hopeful about it. There was talk of getting a dog. There has been crazy weather here lately, with a big jump in temperature, severe thunder storms and threats of tornadoes. Electricity was literally in the air.
Weeping, hard crying was held to a minimum this last week or so. I was glad to be done with May. I was feeling okay. Almost no crying in therapy, even. I decided that it was time to be done with the Am.bien, that I had been taking it for a while, and I was doing well enough otherwise to try to face sleep without it. So, you know, feeling pretty okay.
But I was getting bitchy. Feeling the anger. A lot. It was coming out in subtle, and not so subtle ways. I thought maybe I was withdrawing from the am.bien, but I also feared it was another downswing.
I don't know if anyone else has experienced this, but for a long time, after a good day or two (hell, after a good hour or two) I would crash. Feel the black, deep sadness more intensely. It's like it would build when I wasn't looking. And so, while enjoying some of the "gee, I seem to be doing well" or "I wonder if I've gotten past the worst of this." there was a little voice in my head that said "brace yourself." I hadn't had the crash. I'd recovered from all the dates in May, I'd been feeling pretty okay, and without the crash.
Without going into specifics, C and I had been talking about doing some things, making some (small) changes in our life, and I was pretty excited (no, this was not about trying again). I took it for a done deal. But for C, it was not. Without knowing that, I was thinking about things, making plans. Looking Forward. Planning. Hoping.
Hmm. Looking forward, planning, hoping. Remind you of anything??
Yeah, well, after several more discussions yesterday, it became clear that those changes, those decisions were definitely not part of a done deal. I was crushed and furious. Furious. After more talking I decided I needed to get out of the house, get some comfort food, or something.
I slammed the door on my way out. I haven't slammed a door since I was 17 years old. I drove 40 mph down our little development street. I took a detour so I could speed around a few curves of empty road, then spent far more money than I should have at C.VS on I don't even know what.
I came back home, slammed the door a few more times and ended up upstairs alone with junk food I didn't even want. Crying. Hard. I felt like I wanted to explode. I don't ever remember feeling so much tension. Like I needed to break every dish in the house. Punch a hole through the wall. I went into my office and threw a couple of things on the floor, but that didn't do it. I saw the Takin.g Ch.arge of You.r Fert.ility book I had bought way back when I thought I had any control over my fertility and I tore it up. Literally ripped pages and binding and covers. A book on grieving that was helpful when my mom died. Ripped it apart. Em.pty Cradle, B.roken Hear.t. Shreds.
Satisfying but not enough. Sobbing in my bed. Sobbing. Weeping. Wailing like I hadn't done since the boys died. I took a couple of steps down the stairs and C came to me, and just held me while I cried like I have never cried in my life. Ever. My chest hurt. I started to hyperventilate.
I cried for my boys. The life they'd never have. The life we'd never have because they were gone. I cried for the things we should have been doing, contending with infant sons. The exhaustion and the joy. I cried for everything we got cheated out of. Everything I wanted and was denied.
I cried with deepest sorrow and deepest anger I have ever felt in my entire life.
I've stopped crying now, more or less. I'm still processing everything that came with the events of yesterday. I'm exhausted. My body still hurts. But I'll be okay. A few days, or a week. I'll be okay. Somehow.
And, I hope, the gaping hole has become a little smaller.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
My husband, the doctor!
I am beyond proud.
Bonus? Today is his birthday.
Cake for everyone!!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
As C noted in his recent post, our new normal is evolving, and I am starting to feel the ice thaw a bit. I have started (just barely) to do school work, and for the second day (woo) in a row I'm hacking away at the laundry threatening to take over our bedroom. I'm checking things off lists, and the squalor in which we have been living has started to become irritating to me -- I find myself cleaning and cursing the mess ("how can we live like this?"). So, I guess, I'm starting to awaken. The old me is starting to walk around in this new life. First shaky steps upon waking, inconsistent, but forward.
And so I find myself thinking about future child-bearing and child-raising. All at once I find myself incredulous that I could have even thought that I could be a parent, wanting a child with all my heart, scared to death that we might not have one and scared to death that we might.
It feels so odd to think that if all had gone according to plan (oh, I make me laugh) we'd be parents of twin boys right now, bleary-eyed from lack of sleepy, but likely celebrating every day with them. I can't even picture it. It seems like another life, another world. Even contemplating having one feels like some fantasy or a dream. Like, what were we thinking? Us? Parents? Come on. Welcome back to reality. Fucking reality.
And yet. Having had the tests that show my fertility (or lack thereof) is maintaining itself, at least in relation to the march of time across my ovaries, I have begun to think that maybe we could try again to have a living child. And here's the progress: It doesn't send me in to a panic every time I think about it. The idea of pregnancy? Well, yeah, there's a little flush, a little racing of the heart (all the problems getting pg, all the potential problems once we get pg, if we get pg). But there is also anticipation. Maybe we could get this after all. Maybe we could bring a child into the world, into our home.
The idea that we might not makes the pulse race, too. Or, like there's this huge lead balloon suddenly expanded in my chest. All the things that could go wrong in a future pregnancy, surviving another loss of this magnitude. It also leads me to those thoughts about "what were we thinking trying to have a child?"
My brain never stops. Endless cycle.
There are a number of deadbabymamas who recently have become pregnant, some who are trying, some who are waiting to try. Some still who don't know if that day will come at all, that day that they would try again and risk another loss. To be perfectly honest, I am so happy for the women who have conceived again. I really am, but, I feel something else I can't quite put my finger on. Part of it is awe for their bravery, part of it is recognition that I am not there yet, emotionally. Part of it is sad for me, because I want that excitement, too. Of course, I know that so-called excitement is fraught with fear of more loss and pain.
I have pulled back just a little, commenting less, taking time to reflect instead of speak, on these blogs. I hope you know that I wish you well, but I do need to figure out a way to manage conflicting thoughts and emotions** that come with it for me. I'm still there, reading, just quieter and, perhaps, from a slightly greater distance.
How do you know when it's time to try again? Is simply that your body has healed? Is there some sort of process -- emotional, psychological, something else -- that you've completed internally that tells you, yes, it's time? Or is it simply that you feel strong enough to balance the risk of loss with the potential joy a new life could bring?
I don't quite know how to think about this. Maybe I'm trying to structure it more than it needs. And, as my (and my husband's) healing progresses, the answers will make themselves known.
When we first knew we were losing the boys, both of them, I thought to myself, "Well, that's it. We're done. I can't do this again." Then, I couldn't wait to try again. Then, just the idea of trying made me panic. Now, usually it brings on varying levels of anxiety.
How did you know it was time to try for another child, a living child? How did you know it was time to stop? I'd love to hear your thoughts about these and the above questions.
** This is not to say I don't want comments from you -- I do. I'm only trying to say why I may have pulled back a bit.