Wednesday, August 27, 2008



All over the place. Incoherent. I don't take it as a good thing that I can't seem to articulate anything. Don't feel the clarity to write. I've had the start of many posts, and titles. There's so much going on in my head. My heart.

The class I'm teaching started this week, and the classes I'm taking start next week.

Monday was 25. One year since the IUI that assisted the conception of our boys. 8 months since my water broke. Four months physically pregnant. Nineteen weeks, 3 days gestation.

Three full years since we started trying to have a child.

My friend S gave birth to a huge (10.5 lb) baby girl last Friday. Everyone's healthy, doing fine, everyone's home. She's a beautiful baby, and her parents look (at least from the pictures) content. Happy to have her, and filled with love for their family. And they are aware how lucky they are.

She gave birth on the day C graduated. I was out getting coffee, dropping him off at school with his dress clothes and saw her in her car being driven toward the hospital.

The conflict I feel inside is enormous.

Graduation was good, but hard. There were babies *everywhere* and it hurt especially. I had let myself imagine our family at his graduation. The honored guest speaker told of his own PhD graduation and how his year old daughter shouted "Daddy!" when his name was called. Then he spoke of visiting that daughter just a few weeks earlier to meet his new grandson, Jacob.

We hosted our parents and they got along very well, but it was a lot of work. It was very nice, but I didn't really feel like I could even mention the boys directly -- hell, even indirectly -- in front of C's folks.

At one point we had been talking about how in a couple of years well both be working and maybe at the same university. I casually said joked that we'd have to get jobs at different schools so when/if we had a kid they'd have a choice (between the two schools) about where they could go to college. Something like that. Dead silence from everyone, horrified look from my ILs, especially my MIL. I got the message loud and clear that I shouldn't say anything that refers to our children, living or dead. Of course, that didn't stop MIL from talking constantly about her other grandchildren.

My dad was actually pretty good about being appropriate and supportive. We got a little time to talk and I was really glad he was here. I felt for him, also being surrounded by the babies -- at graduation, at the reception in C's department -- the grandchildren being celebrated. (And of course, the speakers comment about getting to meet his own grandson named Jacob...)

But my dad was proud to be there. Really proud of C and all he accomplished. It was great to see.

But so bittersweet. I felt it all weekend. Probably feeling it now, still.

It occurs to me that every big event from now on will be bittersweet. With time, I assume it will be less bitter and more sweet, but that time feels really far away.


I don't want to teach, I don't want to leave the house anymore. I want to hole up again. I just about completed all the work I owed, so I don't know if it's all the pressure of the new school year with my classes, and teaching again, or having sensory memories of a year ago, or just the beginning of awareness of anniversaries (for the next 4 and a half months).


And I'm fat. I never lost the weight I gained this spring (made up more than what I lost with the pregnancy), and I think I may have gained more. Trying on clothes at the mall this weekend was a huge mistake -- and there was some woman with a crying newborn in a twin stroller practically following me through the mall. That was really fun after trying on clothes that I was no where near getting into. What I did fit into looked bad. I have one pair of pants (maybe 2) and a few tops I can wear to teach in. Maybe a skirt or two -- maybe. I'm one of those people squeezing into clothes that don't fit, hoping no one will notice. I think they do.

Guess that's enough of the kvetching/update. More articulate posts to come soon, hopefully. Going to try to start commenting more regularly, too.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Just wanted to stop by and let you all know I haven't disappeared. Craziness with end of summer, graduation, beginning of semester, DBL and bro.adband problems have kept me from participating blogland (reading somewhat, but not commenting). I will be back soon. Hopefully today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I cannot believe how much this hurts.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What is it...

about fertile women that makes it safe for them announce their pregnancy before the pee stick is dry? It's that they're fertile, I guess.

I just read on faceb.ook that my cousin's wife is pregnant with #3 and due in May. "has a bun in the oven" is what her status read. She also announced at about 3 weeks pregnant with #1 (6 or 8 weeks after the wedding). For #2, I didn't hear about the pregnancy until she after she delivered him at full term, 25 months after #1.

She has never had anything but healthy pregnancies, and from what I can see, no trouble getting pregnant in the first place. That's what makes it safe.

And she's really nice. (Except for our little exchange right around her 5th wedding anniversary in July, which basically ended when she said, "I can't believe it's been 5 years (and 2 kids) either!" I just didn't really have a response to that. We had just had our 6th wedding anniversary in May).

I think what pisses me off most about this is that it pisses me off.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fuckin' A (updated)

That's what I got on my paper. Well, without the adjective*, of course. An A.

On Tuesday night, I handed one of the two papers I've been working on, and I got it back with this grade. Along with suggestions that it was so well done that would not take much to make it an article or conference presentation.

I can't freaking believe it. I'm not really sure what to do with it. Feel good, I guess. Despite all my craziness, and my angst. And I still have one paper to do.

But I'm so relieved. And glad that I can still do this. I don't even know what to do with it.

Fuckin' A.

*So, tell me, what's more dorky? That I'm so pleased with the response to my work, or the fact that I categorized the word "fuckin' " by part of speech? It's a toss-up to me...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And I think...

Thank god I'm not the only one.

It's not just me. I sputter and whine, and cry, and kvetch, and then I read. Responses to my posts. Posts from my comrades in DBL. Glow in the Woods.

And then I cry because I have felt all by myself in this terrible land. And I think, oh, I'm making too much of things. And I'm the only one who has not been able to get over this, or do that.

And I find that I am not. And that makes it just a tiny bit easier.


Over at GITW, the medusas have posed a question about what, if anything we get from the discussion on that blog. I have to say that while I don't always comment, I almost always read. And virtually every post has left me thinking. But sometimes it's too hard to gather the thoughts together. Sometimes it's too hard to respond with a voice. Sometimes it's enough for me to just listen, as I pour through the comments.

Actively responding sometimes brings me too deeply back into that world, as I walk the line between the living and the grief. I know, it is possible to grieve and live at the same time, but I am still working on that. Sometimes I look up from the computer and realize where I am, physically. Time has escaped, my mind has escaped, gone to a place few go.

I can honestly say that I have probably thought or uttered just every line on that list. Visiting the cabin, well, it's good to know it's there. It's good to be there, where sometimes I can speak, sometimes I can just listen, but I am always welcome, and people understand. Every once in a while out here I meet another DBM, someone a little further from the process, or someone who understands. They say something, like one of the lines from that list and I breathe. My heart skips a beat and I know that I am not alone.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll be okay.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Quote

Thanks to Mrs. Spit and University.

"In the midst of winter, I discovered that there was within me an invincible summer."

Albert Camus

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ever again?

Does it ever come back? That feeling of peace right before you fall asleep. You know, aside from the bills that need to get paid, and the lawn that needs to get mowed and that report that needs to be completed... Aside from all that.

I'm laying here in the dark pretty much weaned off the amb.ien, down to a very small dose of Ati.van wondering if I will ever be able to go to sleep without the fear/anxiety/sadness/grief/whateverthehellitis hovering over me.

Just that sense of...peace is the only word I can think of, and it may not be the right one.

The being able to sleep without the sadness. Without wanting to quiet the thoughtsbeforesleep.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Week Later

Well, I'm still here.

Thank you for all your responses, and for checking up on me. I'm doing better than I was, still not great, but better. Hard to believe it's (only) been a week since I last posted: it feels like forever, and yesterday. Like many things, I guess.

I'm at school right now, late on a Saturday afternoon because I wasn't getting anything done at home. I've been working in fits and starts, but every so often I feel a bit of the rhythm coming back, if that makes any sense. I need to just get up at the crack of dawn, hole myself up and just do this, but I don't seem to be able to do that.

It kind of feels like, well, it reminds me of when I played the piano or cello, when I was growing up. I was never a great musician I would play, and sometimes engage in the music. I felt the rhythm and the tempo and it sounded good, felt good -- and as soon as I realized it, I would stumble and lose the flow. This is a primary reason I didn't like playing duets, you know, there's so much energy, between the music and the other person and me, and as soon as I realized I was caught up in it, there it would go.

I've experienced similar things in writing and, it occurs to me, when I would run as a little kid. Do you remember just running for the hell of it? Just getting caught up in the movement, the experience, the feeling of your body doing what it's supposed to do? Yeah, that's when I would slow down because it kind of felt like my body was getting away from me, out of control, maybe.

So, I've been stopping and starting, starting and stopping. Afraid to engage too much, I guess. And, yes, I know this is progress from not writing at all. From being caught up only in the pain and anxiety.

I can't tell you how comforting it's been to read your comments from my last few posts. It really makes such a difference to know that it's not just me. The enormity of this experience is amazing. I was talking last week with a woman in my program who has had to cut back on her classes, from full to part time, because her son has been ill. He's about 2 or 3 and is non-verbal, and (I think) non ambulatory. He was born at about 33 or 35 weeks, with severe intra-uterine growth restriction -- only about 2 or 3 lbs. He has lived, but it has been a struggle for both my friend and her son. His father is not in the picture. Since I've known her, she's struggled with getting appropriate home care for him, IEPs for Early In.tervention, medical care -- you name it. In the last year, he has had escalating medical problems and you can see the weariness in her eyes.

"They just don't understand. You can't understand unless you've been through something like this." We were talking about friends and support from our department, colleagues, faculty... "It's amazing how it seems you really have to go through it, or have a loved one go through it, to have any conception of how it changes you, changes your perspective." We are both trying to figure out how our degrees, our experience in this program, fit into our perspective, working out what's important, how this work we are doing may be important. What we really want to focus on and in what way.

That's what I heard from you folks, too. Immense loss, trauma, illness... of course, these things change you. Having a child changes you, but losing that child seems to change you further. The word asea, comes up for me. Adrift. I wonder if having a child, a healthy, living child grounds you. It feels like losing that child -- at least for me -- shakes everything up, leaves you with little or no stable ground at all.

I guess there has to be some level of trust to recover from this. Or hope. That things will get better. That the universe doesn't completely suck ass. That all of our hopes and dreams will not be crushed, even though it feels that way.

There's a line from Camus, I think, that talks about an undeniable spring despite an unending winter, or something (I'll see if I can find it). It's about hope and trust and faith in our own strength, that we can get through, and that there is something worth living for, worth fighting for. That it's not all pain. That every time we stand we will not be knocked down and ripped apart again. That there is a point to all this, something good shining through the rubble.

I want that. As sad and angry and despairing as I feel, and as scary and painful as it is to want it. Even the idea of it, of hope and trust and faith that something will work out, is scary as hell.

I'm working on it.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Crashing and burning

There's an old adage about how it's not the fall from great heights that kills you; it's the stopping. The hitting the ground. I don't remember the punchline specifically, but you get the point.

On the TV show In.tervention, the talk a lot about the addict having to find his or her "bottom" before any real change will take place. Aside from the obvious joke about being able to find your own ass, the idea makes sense.

Is this going to be the end of me?

I don't think so. I'm not sure, but I don't think so.

It's been a really bad couple of weeks. Even as I type that, I can feel my eyes tingle with tears. The pressure is building with school, the relief of wedding drama has ended and I'm looking at the next nine months being filled with mental and emotional exhaustion.

I don't know what to do. I have two papers to write in the next 2 weeks. Ordinarily, I'd say that I know I can do this. That all I have to do is give them something reasonably coherent and I'll be okay. I can "go for the bronze" this time.

And yet I still resist. Is it that I don't think I can do it? Is it that I don't want to? Do I just want special treatment, for someone to say, "hey, don't worry about it. let's scratch all that and we'll just start fresh in the fall"?

The thing is, That's essentially what I'm getting, I just need to show good faith effort.

I can't seem to make myself do it. When I pull out the books, I cry. When I open the documents, I cry.

When I think about it, I cry.

Or maybe...

It just occurred to me that maybe I'm just trying to pretend that none of this ever happened. The reason I have to do this now didn't happen. Isn't real. Wasn't real.


I'm really stubborn. And when I was a kid, if I didn't want to do something, I just wouldn't do it. I didn't put up a lot of fights; mostly, I'd just say, "oh, yeah, uh huh..." and then do what I wanted to.

I won't say that it hasn't crossed my mind that maybe I should just quit school entirely. That I've lost all the hope and conviction a person needs to complete something like this. That I'm really just lazy and don't want to have to do the work.

That I'm finding reasons not to complete this.

When I was little, I was very shy. I would go days without talking, sometimes. I didn't know how to reach out to people, how to make friends. How to talk to people. Being alone was relatively easy. Rejection hurt far more. If I don't try, I don't get burned, don't get hurt.

In therapy this week, I realized that I've become afraid to want anything. A baby. A career. The two biggest, most important things outside of my relationship with my husband. I can still remember that moment -- I've mentioned it here multiple times -- that I realized I was on my way to everything I ever wanted, and that I was happy. Maybe a month later I lost the boys.

I still have trouble focusing my mind on anything else. What's the point in hoping, in wanting, in enjoying anything? It's all going to go away anyway.

It sounds contrived. Self-pitying. Maybe a little suicidal. Nihilistic? I don't know. Probably.

"If I can't have that, I don't want anything."

Yeah, that's mature. Realistic. But I think that's part of where it comes from.

I can't trust in anything anymore. I don't know if I can risk investing in anything, to really enjoy anything when I know it can be snatched away. For no reason. With great pain.


Part of me wants to say "Screw that. I'm not letting the universe ruin my life." I've had loss. I've been knocked down when I was just getting my balance. I've seen my family and friends hurt by the vagaries of the universe: illness, death, other loss. One bad thing on top of another. And another.

What's the point of trying?

And I look at my husband, who despite all his pain, despite his losses and challenges, during some of the worst times in his life, accomplished great things, his degree, the beginning of his career. Head down and moving forward.

I'm not there yet. The self-pitying contrarian in me says, "Screw you. What's the point of it all?" I can't go back, but feels like too much work to find hope in the wreckage. The way forward.

Then the contrarian says, "No way, you're not going to let this be the end of you. You want to do this. You can do this. This is a great reason to get to work."

And I think, "But I can't. I don't know how to do this. I don't want to do this. I don't know what to do. I can't seem to make myself do anything."


This is stupid. I can't even form coherent thoughts in my journal.* How am I going to get anything else done?

How do you know when you've hit bottom?

*I can't tell you how many posts are sitting in my drafts folder because I just gave up on them.