Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A voice from times past

I can't believe this is my life now.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


How do I fake my way through the largest, most in-depth investment in my mental and professional development and try to salvage some small hope that there is anything of value in the work that I may do? How do I *make* myself do it?

What gets you though the crap every day? The crap that seems to get in the way of your future, the dreams of your young heart?

How do you keep fromkicking it all.

When do I get the joy back?

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want. Agonizing, actually. Struggling to get back to a place of focus on my work so I can continue in my program. But in the back of my mind, I am thinking about IUIs and our schedules and our new infertility coverage (50% of everything: diagnostics, treatments (including IVF) and medications) with my husband's new job. What would happen if I got pregnant. How would people at school react? Would I need bedrest? Would I be freaking? Would any of this schoolwork matter at all?

Maybe it's just easier to focus on babies and pregnancy because I have so little control over it. I can schedule appointments, I can go for consults (not that I have), but this work just comes down to me.

I have to do it myself. And yet... And yet. C will not like hearing this, but I want the baby more.

I am more than a woman. I have many things to offer the world, in addition to raising a family. I'm happy when I'm using my brain in different,*varied* ways. Probably I wouldn't be a stay-at-home-mom. Not for long, anyway.

But I want this so much. So much it scares me. Distracts me sometimes. Feeds my professional insecurities. Allows me to focus on my academic worries *and* my personal, physical ones.


I must have said it a dozen times last weekend: I bet they get pregnant on the honeymoon. They'll be gone for 17 days, it's likely she'll ovulate while they're away. (Yes, this is where my mind goes.) As the wedding weekend carried on, more and more and more people were pushing them publicly to get busy having children. And the way she dotes on her niece and baby cousins tells me she's going to push for it as soon as possible. They are not ready in so many ways: just married, new house, immature, sketchy relationship, financially insecure. She makes more than he does, but I can't imagine she'd want to go back to work after having a baby. They can barely afford the house as it is. And if there's a child, it will take my brother that much longer to come to his senses (a girl can hope) or that much more to make the relationship work. And even if they get divorced, he will be tied to her forever because -- at least in this -- I know my brother will do the right thing. Maybe I give my brother less credit than he deserves, but this is what I see. "Surprise!"

So, yeah there's some sour grapes in that I think she'll be able to get pg without even thinking about it. And she'll be totally rude and/or inappropriate considering she has not said one word to my sister or to me about our losses. Not one word.

The word we use for her is "entitled." She gets her way and she expects to get her way. So she does. And if not, she throws a fit. In public. For example. The wedding cost upwards of $60k* at the reception site (paid for by her father no doubt). They had a contract with a local hotel to get their own room comped if they booked 15 rooms for the wedding. They booked 13, so the hotel charged them. She threw a fit. "They say, look, ma'am, here's the contract you signed." My brother bitched to me that they "got" them $2000 worth of business and complained that the room didn't get comped. Excuse me? $2000 is nothing in the hotel business, and if they spent $60K on this wedding, what's another $139? Seriously. My sister says it's because his wife is used to trying to get something for nothing. Sounds like entitlement to me. My brother went right along with it, and laughed at his wife's hissy fit.

So, the way the universe is working, it seems clear to me that she'll come home pregnant and have a nice easy pregnancy, with a healthy, living baby at the end of it.


I am writing this post instead of doing my work. I need to get back to it. I'm still conflicted. I wish I could just dive into this work for a while and not think about anything else. Not gonna happen. Doesn't look like it, anyway. And at 38, it's not like I have a year or two to stop and think and feel ready for another pregnancy. And even though I was sick, I got a taste for that joy and excitement, anticipation of a new little life. And goddammit. I want it. I want it for C and I want it for myself.

*$60K for at least 200 guests in a high end NY area location. NY tends to be more expensive for functions like this, but yes, this was WAY, WAY over the top. And just like her to be dropping numbers. Though it was my brother. HUGE cocktail hour. A dessert room with three chocolate fountains. Cookies, cakes, fruits galore. On top of a three course dinner. And wedding cake (which, by the way, was pretty mediocre if you ask me.

This was all on top of a huge engagement party thrown last summer for at least 100 people. My understanding: Virtually everything for both events was paid for by the father of the bride.

Except, it seems, that $139 for the hotel room.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Thank you for your welcome back wishes!

I've been thinking a lot about my trip and what details to share, but honestly so many moments were packed with family drama and dripping with double meaning that I'm trying to process it a little, and pare it way down. Some sort of cohesive experience to try to make sense out of it for myself. Maybe I'll start with a list. Though, two words stick out for me, as I just said them over and over and over again through out the trip. Okay, four words:

Oy vey. And
Good Lord.

We were in New York from late Wednesday through Monday afternoon. Most of it pushed the limits of some family dramas, while others were pushed back upon. If that makes any sense.

This was not a wedding most of my immediate family was looking forward to. It was fraught. No one, apparently, thought this was a good idea except my brother and his wife and in-laws. I think. Since it was fraught, a lot of the old family dynamics came right up to the surface. At some point, I realized I was letting Little S___ lead instead of just being me. Me who is strong and capable and can think for herself. Me who feels things and carries on anyway.

Halfway through the visit, my BIL (A's husband) came in for the wedding. He is strongly opposed to the match and actively does not like my brother (I think. They have a rough history). Normally rigid and needy, BIL was in rare form and added cranky and almost hostile to his repertoire. My sister spends a lot of time attending to his needs, but he was outta control (like, the car rental AC wasn't strong enough so he had to ride in my dad's car. It was very hot. Humid. Everyone was uncomfortable. God forbid he sweats or something). So A is stretched, taking care of him, managing my dad somewhat, and working with me to manage Grandma. This is what A does, often. She comes in and takes over. Tries to take care of everything.

For the most part, A and I got along great. I mean, better than ever. But there were times when I could feel us slipping into the old roles. Made me anxious. Really anxious. But it made me stronger. I had to be aware and, as much as I could with everything else going on, I was able to hold it together. And hold on to me. This Me. The one who can socialize and take care of stuff and hold my own in an argument without crying.

My father depended on me, talked to me like a person. Not so much his little girl, but his daughter. A grown woman.

Strong. Social. Opinionated.

I was so angry for most of the trip, I think that kept me energized, but it was exhausting. And I was also so anxious for most of the weekend that I didn't eat very much. I slept 4 or 5 hours most nights. Up until 2 or 3 or 4am working out details or decompressing after an event.

On Friday, though, I got to see B and her husband K and their two gorgeous children. K is very sick, though they said he is doing better now, he is well enough to be active on the transplant list. He tries to keep a good spirit, but it's so very hard. And with two under age 3... Very difficult. Due to extenuating circumstances, B has to be with husband and kids all the time. She never gets a break because there are so few people who can work the machine K is hooked up to. If something were to go wrong, he could die. She feels this intensely.

Somehow, though, it was a really nice visit. I was even trying on some of B's clothes to try to find something to wear for the rehearsal dinner. We went over and saw her mom. B and I go months sometimes without talking, but we always fall right back into sync. It broke my heart to leave Friday evening. I wanted to spend the whole weekend with them. Just easy. Home. Family.


There were other times throughout the weekend that literally warmed my heart with love for and from family and friends. I'm getting choked up just thinking about it. I try to keep that in mind, keep thinking about the positives instead of this terrible mistake I feel that my brother has made. I try to keep reminding myself that he loves me, that he knows he can come to me no matter what. I remind myself that I need to remind him. And resolve to do so.


So it was a weekend requiring constant effort. Constant. And I got through it. With help from C and from family (usually). It was almost completely distracting from the emotional crap I'd left at home. Almost. At yet, I felt good, somehow. Stronger. Trying to look forward.

And then I got home. I couldn't wait to get home. But somehow I feel different, like I don't belong in either world. This weekend reminded me of my own strength, to suck it up and get through it, to deal with personal challenges, practical issues. But it also reminded me of what I don't have: my sons, the life I was supposed to be building with them and C.

When I left for NY, I was feeling tons of anxiety for tons of reasons. I came back, feeling almost positive, like "Yes, okay, I can get through this." But as I become more well rested, fall back into some of the routines, I chafe. This doesn't feel right either.

Where does the grief go? Where do I put it? How do I carry it and honor it (and my boys) and remain positive for the future? Hope for more children, children who live. Focus on my research, my studies -- and that they may impact someone at some point? That I will have good things, good people...a good life after all? Will I?

About six months ago or so, I feel that I lost what was left of my optimism in the world and in my future. This weekend, I got a tiny, tiny piece of that strength back. Courage to continue despite the crap. But now that I'm here, back in my life, I don't know how to incorporate it. I don't know who I am. My identity is faded and blurry like that picture on my license.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm back

Survived the weekend and got in late last night. I'm checking in with all my blogs, about 100 more posts to go. Hoping everyone is doing well.

I have a couple of posts in my head that will hopefully make their appearance over the next few days. It was a hell of a weekend and I'm looking forward to finding out what's going on in blogland!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Good Day

(WARNING: Long and sappy)

Better than expected. I hesitate to say this out loud, but I am feeling good today. I don't know how long it will last, but I'll take it while I have it.

Good drive to therapy, successful last minute shopping for my brother's wedding -- I even splurged on fancy hair conditioner so my hair will curl instead of frizz. Coordinated travel with my sister. Things are much better on that front. We seem to be back in a place where we can communicate and actually talk to each other. As good if not better than before (knock wood). That is a huge gift in and of itself. Time has helped a lot.

Great meeting with one of my faculty to work on a project that I'm making up for him. He's also asked to work with me as part of my TA responsibilities, so I'll be working more in a more in-depth manner on the class we teach and helping with the other TAs. This is a HUGE pat on the back for me, as he is an amazing prof., great guy, and he is highly respected by everyone here at the university and elsewhere; he's kind of taken on a role as mentor to me which is a great compliment. Another gift.

I will even go so far as to say that I feel somewhat hopeful about the future. There is a little troll in my head saying "NO, don't say that out loud! Now you've done it!" and I do feel a little anxious using the words. But I feel okay at this moment. Maybe I'm just over oxygenated from singing in the car. I'll take what I can get. For this moment, things are okay. I have no idea what the next moment will bring.


Tomorrow we leave for my brother's wedding. We will be in NY/NJ for about 5 days and I'm going to get to go visit B&K. Trying to maintain a good attitude, in at least we will get to see family we haven't seen in a year. I want to be happy for him. I am so hoping that things will straighten out and that this will be a good match. I'm a little anxious about being away from the house for so long (haven't since the hospital) and hoping for sensitivity from people. There will be a little weirdness, but hopefully not too much.


On my long drive to therapy and back today almost every song on the radio was significant for me during various periods in my life: high school (Should I Stay or Should I Go), college (It's the end of the world as I know it), post college (You Learn), etc. I sang. A lot. Loudly.

I got emails from my dear friends in DBL* and in the blogosphere, texts and emails and cards and phone calls from people here and IRL telling me that I was in their thoughts, that they were thinking good things for me and for my future. Telling me I was loved. I can't tell you how much it means. And I'm talking about you, if I didn't make that clear. It means so much.

The pinnacle of this musical feel-good-a-thon was when I pulled up to the market to get a few last minute things before our trip for my brother's wedding: Bill Withers' version of Lean on Me. This song invariably makes me cry. I'm a huge sap, okay? But it does. This version, the movie version (with the music teacher and a piano and a whole auditorium filled with young people), and even the 80's version that was released along with the movie will bring a tear to my eye.

Usually the connections I make with this song are to my long time and dear friends, sometimes family. Today it was also with all of you. All of you who struggle with infertility, pregnancy loss, baby loss; all you whose words I read, and who read my words (no matter how whiny or sad or angry or anything else), you who read my words and leave a comment, even a simple "I'm listening" or "I wish you peace."

At the very beginning of this horrible journey, I felt horribly alone. Alien to everyone I know. Who could possibly understand, especially when I have no words but tears? You do. When I have felt my loneliest in this struggle I have been able to lean on all of you, simply by reaching out. By sharing your load, and you sharing mine.

Okay, enough maudlin. I just wanted to say that I realized today, that I am not alone. My friends in real life are here, my family, my biological sister and you, my sisters in babyloss are here, too. Thank you for letting me lean on you. I hope I can return the favor.


I won't be posting, probably until next week, but I will try to keep up with what's happening with all of you. See you on the other side!


*Dead Baby Land

Monday, July 14, 2008


My birthday is tomorrow.

I just wrote a long rambling post about where I was last year and how it feels like 10 years ago with everything that happened and how I'd kind of like to just forget it but that would make me even more depressed.

I wrote about still feeling tongue-tied and broken and having no words, or too many, or not the right ones. I've written a few posts that are sitting in my drafts folder because they're so whiny and annoying even I don't want to read them. I haven't been commenting, for mostly the same reason. Can't string thoughts together very well. Or when I do, they're all about me and how frustrated I am with everything. I have nothing good to say.

Maybe tomorrow I'll find something nice to write about, because honestly, I'm getting tired of hearing myself whine. Tired of hearing myself be sad. Tired of feeling constantly anxious. Do I do anything about it? Not much.

I still can't focus on school because I don't feel like I know where I'm going with it, but I need to figure it out because the deadline is looming and I have a ton of work to do.

I'm doing better. Kind of. But not. And I hate that.

How's that for concise?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fade in

Yesterday, C and I ran some errands, including the renewal of my driver's license. I was kind of looking forward to it since my (now) previous picture was not flattering at all -- I was growing out a pixie cut and just having a bad day dealing with the dmv. Now, I am an average-looking person, and not terribly photogenic on a good day, so yes, I was vain enough to want to get rid of that picture.

When we got to the satellite dmv station yesterday, there was almost no wait, the process was easy and the person behind the counter actually pleasant. Filled out the forms, paid my fee and sat down in front of the blue curtain to have my picture taken.

The nice lady said to smile at the count of three and heaven help me, I tried. I made some kind of face, she snapped the picture and that was it. (Usually they let you see the picture before they finalize it, but this woman just took the picture and sent it off.) Did it come out okay? I asked. She said, "Uhh, yeah..."

She hands me my driver's license and it's quite possibly the worst picture ever taken of me. Ever. Not only is it a terrible angle, terrible face I'm making, it was kind of overexposed, so it's a very light image. Like a ghost. It makes my throat clutch to think about it.

It was horrifying. I can't even look at it. I turned it around in my wallet so I won't see the picture.

Yes, yes, I know my driver's license picture has nothing to do with who I am, but god, could it have represented how I've been feeling more accurately? Ugly, invisible, pale, sad. It's not really me. I am not really me, either. I'm barely here. A shadow, a ghost of my former self.

It's so poetic I could puke.


Today is July fourth. Independence Day here in the good old U.S. of A.

It is also 6 full months since I lost all physical connection to my sons. I was awake last night at the times it was noted that they were delivered. Part of me feels like I should feel "freer" now, like I've passed this milestone so I should be feeling better somehow. I don't know. That doesn't even make any sense.


I cannot thank you all enough for talking me down this last week or so. It was so frightening to be back in that place, and really feel like I was the only one "weeping in the corner." I can't tell you. Really. I am so grateful to you, and feel such relief to not be completely alone, as I sometimes feel. To not be completely losing my mind, as I sometimes feel.

I knew six months was supposed to be hard, but Jesus. I had hoped maybe I had had my setback at 4 months, and that maybe I was getting better. And maybe I would escape the six-month hole. (Remember the one from The Sil.ence of the L.ambs? With the bloody fingernails and screaming?)

So. I'm feeling a little more human now, but even the grief and sadness feel different now. I feel so much older. And yet, as I said above, barely there. Not quite me. I get little glimpses of me, here and there. And then I can feel it fading away again. Me, rather, fading in, fading out.