Thursday, September 25, 2008

Losing Track

I can't thank you all enough for your love and support this week. It means a lot to know that you are there, walking with me, and holding my hand, holding me up. I don't really have the words to say it, other than thank you.

Edited to add: Thanks to Tash for posting this. It's how I felt with your love and support.

Our grief counselor from the local hospital called me today to check up on us. I was sleeping (nice thing about depression, you get your rest - WHMS) and got the message a half an hour later. We haven't seen her since June, I think, or maybe it was July... No, it was June, right before C defended his Diss. We were stuck in the hospital during a tornado threat.

It makes sense that she'd call today, the 25th, though I don't know if she did it on purpose. The 25th. Nine months. Or is it 10? No, it's nine months since my water broke. We were scared, but still pretty much in denial on the 25th. JK's dad died on that day, too.

It was on the 26th that reality hit, and hard. JK's birthday, too. On the 26th we got confirmation of what the doctor suggested. We got the falling leaf on our door. We got transferred to the big city hospital.

On the 26th of September, last year, I was puking my guts out. I had spent that weekend "praying to the porcelain god" as I put it in an email to JK, then. Wednesday of that week was the 26th, the heartbeat ultrasound. 8am. I puked 3 times before we got to the RE's for our appointment. (Once behind a S.teak & Shake off the highway at 7:45am -- not pretty).

Considering all my nausea, I felt pretty sure we'd see at least one heartbeat. I wasn't too worried, and I was distracted because of the way I was feeling physically. I was hoping I could get a shot of something to help with the nausea, since I had thrown up the Zo.fran on the way to his office.

We showed up for our appointment and got right down to business. The size of each sac was good, and hey, see that blinking? And that over there? There are the heartbeats. Two of them. Good rates, too. 85% chance of each surviving now. C was speechless.

Yeah, that's great, Doc, can I have some drugs please? Something so I won't puke so much? I had looked forward to the appointment, expecting to be teary and excited. Don't get me wrong, I was really pleased, but really, I expected them to be okay. Somehow, from the week before, I knew they'd be okay, that it was going to work out. I just wanted to stop throwing up.

The doctor sent me to a local medical center to get fluids and IV Zo.fran, and the nurse there told me that she was sick during her entire first pregnancy and had a healthy baby at the end of it. Once the fluids and drugs started working, I was making jokes about how I was only 6 and a half weeks along and my kids were already sucking the life out of me. Hah hah. Isn't that funny. Yeah.

A year ago, I was miserable, physically, but excited. Hopeful.

Now, I'm physically fine, but miserable. Trying to find hope. Not really succeeding.

Did you know yesterday was National Punctuation Day? Someone said that to me at school, that it was NPD, and all I could do was bite my tongue about how perfect it was that I had just gotten my period.

Yeah, yesterday was CD1. I hesitate to say that, aside from the fact that, well, readers, what do you care? And, also, I don't like the idea that it might be suggested that my emotional breakdown the other day was brought on just by hormones. Since my pregnancy, I've been having a lot of pms -- lots of physical symptoms and I've been pretty emotional in the days preceding my period. Symptoms I've only had in relatively mild form in the past.

On Tuesday I had an extremely rough therapy session. Combined with this major depression I've been developing. And then there's the grief. And the reliving of the fall and reminders everywhere of what I had last year. All I went through and how I'm right back where I started with nothing but pain and frustration. More doubts about school. While the class I'm teaching is going better, I'm not nearly as focused on my own studies as I should be. Not nearly.

So, Tuesday. Yeah, so I was talking with S, my shrink, about how I was feeling and we were talking about how I seemed to be punishing myself, how I seemed to be holding on to all this pain. Not moving through, not moving forward with it, but stuck, holding it. We talked about what I went through last year, how I felt when I was pregnant. How I was excited, but anxious. Scared to death of having twins. How would we do it. How physically miserable I was, but how it seemed like things were falling into place: family, school, marriage. Getting what I wanted.

The words that stick out for me from Tuesday: a 20-week panic attack. I think my anxiety may have made the sickness worse. I made mistakes. I didn't get taken care of. I couldn't take my pills. Or I did, but puked them up. I missed some of my love.nox doses. I didn't demand good care. I didn't go to a high risk OB (except the peri). I wanted to believe that things weren't as hard as they were. I pushed myself physically.

I was ambivalent. I had moments where I thought, I just want to eat something. I remembered that I used to love eating. I was frustrated because I couldn't have a normal pregnancy. There were moments where I just... and this is...I can't even say it out loud. I didn't want to be pregnant anymore. I just wanted to feel okay. Not sick. Not dehydrated. Not exhausted.

The rational part of me says, well, that's probably normal, everyone feels physically out of control at some point or another during pregnancy. Lots of people are ambivalent.

But I wonder how much. I wonder how it shaped my actions.

Some mistakes can't be corrected. That's what I said to JK on the phone Tuesday afternoon. I've made plenty of mistakes in my life, some worse than others. I think of how I depended on my inept vet when my 15-year old cat was dying -- how she suffered longer than she should have because I was in denial. I think of other things. But all in all, mistakes I've made have not had long term consequences. They have not hurt anyone like this. Not like I hurt. More importantly not like C hurts. Not like my boys suffered.

My sister happened to call later Tuesday afternoon. I told her a little bit about what I was dealing with. She was supportive, and disagreed that it was my fault, that I failed, and my body failed my boys and my husband. But she suggested approaching this from the other side: what if it was my fault? What could I do about it now? What could I do to live with this, perhaps forgive myself and move forward, live my life?

I really don't know.

I really don't.


Tash said...

"all I could do was bite my tongue about how perfect it was that I had just gotten my period."

This made me giggle. Just had to get that out of the way.

My pregnancy wasn't quite as awful as yours, but it sucked in its own special way, what with bleeding incessantly through 18w. But I was exhausted, and really hated being pregnant too. I guess I'm not of the jinxy/hexy school of "shit, did I ever doom myself" but it's a bit tough reliving some of those internal conversations with myself about how that was it, I was never having another baby, and life would be perfectly fine once she was born.

But I don't blame myself really, at least not for that. I think every pregnant woman has some point where she thinks "fuck, I just can't TAKE this anymore," and she's lying if she didn't. Even the women who say they lurved their pregnancies had their tough moments, whether it was with their bodies, their husbands, or their expectations. And as we well know a lot of those go on to be perfectly fine.

I would ask you to grab the other end of the stick: what if you hadn't felt that way? What if everything was wonderful? What if there was no puking, no meds . . . and you wound up right where you did anyway? Because much like Antigone worrying about having picked up her dog who eventually died, I really believe 30 days down the road she would have had a dead baby and dead dog regardless. And sadly, I feel that way for all of us. No matter how much we enjoyed things, or didn't, or lifted things, or didn't, these aren't issues that effect our wombs and placenta and babies within. Nor do they affect random ass luck. You can blame your insides all you want (hell, I know I've had some choice comments about my DNA), but that has nothing to do with anything you can control.

I'm not asking you to abdicate blame tonight, in one big bite, because believe me I know that's tough. But maybe you can chip away a bit at the you part. Grief has a lot of levels, and I felt so much lighter once I got rid of the grieving me part. It sounds to me a bit like you're grieving your pregnancy on top of everything else, and maybe you just need to be with that grief by itself for a while and work through that. When it's time to put a fork in it, you'll know, and you can move to the next chunk of yuck you need to plow through.

Sorry for the psych-analysis in your comments. Care about you deeply, and thinking of you.

Ya Chun said...

My periods have intensified quite a bit since Serenity's delivery in February- more PMS, more pains, more blood. Maybe pregnancy kicks something up.

Knowing how pregnancy and our bodies work is a double edge sword. Knowing that this part 'failed' or 'didn't work right' is not the same as guilt though.

This last pregnancy, after the D&C, I was really relieved to not feel nauseous anymore. I am not beating myself up over it. And the fact that I don't care for morning sickness didn't do anything to this baby. Neither to yours.

to healing...hugs....

Antigone said...

Sometimes, for me at least, it feels like the pain I feel over the loss of Henry is the last tie I have with him. As long as I have that, I have him.

Mrs. Spit said...

My periods are harder now. Of course, that might be that with the birth control, I actually have periods now. . .

I think your sister has a good perspective. I'm going to have to think on that for a while.

luna said...

sue, I'm really glad you got to talk some of this stuff through with a professional, and also your sister. I like what tash said. grief is so multilayered, as is guilt and sorrow and every other part of this crappy package. it's hard not to have someone to blame. but even if we did, it wouldn't change a damn thing. that's oart of making peace with yourself.

Heather said...

I agree, grief is very multi-layered. Some days I'm grieving the mess my life is in without my baby, sometimes I purely grieve for my baby, that she didn't get the chance at life she deserved. Like you, sometimes I grieve my pregnancy and wish I could have changed A or B and altered the outcome. Of course, it wouldn't have mattered in the end. Sometimes my grief is just that. Hopelessness.

I'm sure I'm not helping here. But I want to you know that I'm thinking of you; hoping for peaceful days ahead.

Aunt Becky said...

STE, as always, I'm thinking of you, my friend. I have no good words to give you now, so I will just tell you how much I care about you.

G said...

Sometimes I wonder if pushing away the guilt isn't as healthy as perhaps, like your sister says, embracing it and then figuring out what to do with it. Forgiving.


CLC said...

I ditto Antigone (and everyone else). But I have often felt that the pain I still feel is my only connection to Hannah. And as much as it sucks, I don't want to lose it.

c. said...

Yes, yes, yes to what everyone else has said about holding on to the pain because it's the only connection to our babies. I get this, absolutely. I'm still holding on for dear life...

This time last year I was celebrating birthdays, throwing parties, waiting for C to be born. And then he was, under very different circumstances than I had hoped.

I am tortured by how and why this happened. Was it me that failed him? And although I'll never really know, I'd rather take the blame for it than put it on him.

I like what your sis has to say about it the issue of blame and fault. It is what it is, isn't it? We're left here sorting through all this shit all the same.

Thinking of you, Sue. XO.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

Nothing I can say will be of any real practical use, so I'll just say this, I am sorry, SO sorry.

I hope this gets better for you, both of you.

niobe said...

I've suffered a couple of major depressions in my life. And in both cases, (neither of which were in any way related to losing my twins), the depression was made worse by a terrible sense of guilt -- that the bad things that sparked the depression were somehow my fault, that if I were a better person, I wouldn't be in so much pain.

Reading this post brought those feelings back so vividly. I'm always reluctant to say "I know how you feel," but in this case, your words transported me back to that dark place.