Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Quiet night

I'm sorry it's been so long.  For those of you still around, well, thanks for being around.  It's been a difficult season and, I anticipate, another difficult week or two.  We have some distractions planned, but, well, you know.

My dear friends in the computer (those I know, and those who lurk) and those in real life, I think of you, and of your little ones, very often despite my apparent silence. There is a lot to say, and yet I seem to have no words right now.  (I may be creating a new space, but the same applies there, so...)

I just wanted to stop by briefly to say hello, and to wish you all moments of joy, peace and light during this holiday season.  During this season, and every day.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Never before and never since

These are the days

These are days you'll remember.
Never before and never since,
I promise, will the whole world be warm as this.
And as you feel it, you'll know it's true that you are blessed and lucky.
It's true that you are touched by something that will grow and bloom in you.

These are days you'll remember.
When May is rushing over you with desire to be part of the miracles you see in every hour. You'll know it's true that you are blessed and lucky.
It's true that you are touched by something that will grow and bloom in you.

These are days.
These are the days you might fill with laughter until you break.
These days you might feel a shaft of light make its way across your face.
And when you do you'll know how it was meant to be.
See the signs and know their meaning.
It's true, you'll know how it was meant to be.
Hear the signs and know they're speaking to you, to you.

Natalie Merchant
These are Days (1992)


Four years today since the first beta.  Once this week is over, most of the dates will fade. I just recall feeling this way that week, cautiously, after the first and second beta. And then there's the bit about May, but that's another post; I've spent plenty of time on May, haven't I.)

Thanks for hanging around.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lost in space, or Bookends

Sorry I disappeared.  It's been a summer. You know.  Lots going on, but much of it in my head.

I don't have much time to write right now, but I'm doing okay.  I'm doing well, even.  Therapy continues to be helpful.  I have barely begun the diss proposal, but I have begun.  If I want to be done with all this by the end of next summer (my own potential deadline), I need to have the proposal done and defended by mid-October.  Sometimes I feel like I can totally do it.  Sometimes, I'm frozen. 

My topic is not about DBMs, specifically, but it's about being a woman in the workplace (specifically academia), and the private and public nature of women's bodies, especially around pregnancy -- and then what happens there, at work, when there is a loss? So far, that seems to be the direction.  Academia is an institution focused on the mind, and yet women are (still) valued for their bodies. What do we do with women, what do we do with their grief.  I could go on and on, since I'm not very far yet.  You get the idea.

Like I said, I'm doing good work in therapy. It ranges from loss to IF to body stuff to health to whatever it is in my head, and more.  It's not easy, but good.  I'm weepy lately, though I'm hoping it's part of the process.

I've been distancing myself from this world, I'm sorry to say, but I need to keep from dipping my foot in that pool too often.  I read on my reader, I lurk. My heart is there, but my head seems to need to lead it out a little more.

I'm writing today, probably because of the date.  I can't not remember. Not important ones.  At the very least, I remember the season.  My body remembers the time of year.  The smells of late summer; the feel of the air.

Four years ago today, we had the IUI that conceived the boys. 

IF was getting to me, to us.  Our one last shot (so to speak) with the leftover meds.  Talking about next steps we figured what the heck.

We don't know what the next steps will be.  Back where we started.  Only not. 

More soon.  Thank you for hanging in there with me.

Sending love,

Monday, July 11, 2011

just occurred to me

How much emotion I left out of that last post.  It seems that there's a lot of feeling I'm not articulating.  Not yet anyway.  Perhaps I am out of practice.  Perhaps it will come soon.

We shall see.

That time of year

(Sorry, this is really, really long...)

So, it's my birthday this week. When I was a kid, I loved my birthday, I got excited about it. I was disappointed if the weather was crappy or there wasn't much planned.  it's not that I wanted some huge party, but perhaps just recognition.  And being one step closer to being grown up.  I don't know what I expected to be so great about growing up, but there was *something.*  Maybe I just hoped it would be easier than being a kid, a teenager. It would be when I'd have all my shit together, or married or loved or parenting. Having some control in my life, maybe.  The last five or seven years or so, not enjoying them so much.


I'm in a pretty bad mood today.  There are several possible reasons, but most likely is that I think I skipped some of my pills last night.  I think that pisses me off even more than the other stuff.

Anyway.  C and I are supposed to be furiously cleaning up the house because, as I found out on Friday, C's folks will be coming to stay with us overnight on Thursday.  How did I get out of the loop?  This was mentioned months or weeks back, but somehow I never heard. Or never heard when.  Nothing's getting clean.  He's got mixed feelings and so do I, but I think for different reasons.

The car seems to need a new radiator cooling fan.  It makes this terrible noise if I turn on the fan and the a/c at the same time.  Of course, it's been June/July.  Today it was about 90F, with a "real-feel" of 114.  No A/C in the car.  No idea how much this will cost, but I've had to cancel two different appointments to get it fixed because

There has been much drama with the dog.  She needed emergency surgery in May (the day before our anniversary) for a large foreign body in her stomach.  After a night of violent vomiting (4 or 5 times) and a week of nausea and lethargy, when she finally refused food despite the anti-emetic, we took her to the local city's emergency/referral animal hospital.  Doc did x-rays and an ultrasound which showed that her stomach's movement (peristalsis) had completely stopped because of the foreign body.  It was basically surgery or death, so, obviously we opted for the surgery.  Thank you, Grandma's inheritance for $3,000.

Exactly a month later, Stella started furiously licking the carpet again in an effort to vomit, which she did 3 or 4 times in 15 minutes.  Emptied her stomach. Off for an 11pm visit to the Doggie ER so find a small foreign body.  $1,000 and two x-rays later they gave her fluids and anti-emetics and after she recovered from a "random" period of lethargy, we took her home.  They said, can you keep her from licking the carpet?  I told THREE doctors that she only does this when she needs to throw up.  Hmm. They said, "Can you crate her so she doesn't lick the carpet?" sigh. Make an appointment with the Internist.  This premiere facility has only ONE internist.  She is out all week for a conference. We make an appointment. Stella has another vomiting episode at 4:30 in the morning, and then develops diarrhea in the days before the appointment.

So at the appointment, she runs a test (neg for pancreatitis) or two (neg for Addison's) and wants to do an endoscopy when the Addison's test comes back.  But she can't because she's out of town, again, this time for a death in the family.

Endoscopy scheduled for Monday AM that she comes back.  Internist calls at 11am, says procedure went great and pup was doing great. The scoping showed some areas of "sick" or "unhealthy" tissue, which, when biopsied, was friable and did not bounce back as healthy tissue should. Her initial opinion was that it was likely to be Inflammatory Bowel Disease, though a small chance of Lymphoma.  3 to 5 days for results.  In the meantime, start her on steroids (pred) as initial treatment for both.

I called to check in at three days, and the doc called me back with the results. "It's good," she said, and I breathed for the first time in 3 days. Inflammatory Bowel Disease can be managed, but we'll need to find a new diet for her, one that includes a novel protein diet (like duck or venison, which she's never eaten) because the IBD is likely caused by an allergy to food proteins.  So, the pred for a month and then we start to reduce and change her diet.

The pred, as predicted is making her thirsty and peeing *constantly,* and always hungry.  We are taking her out every couple of hours. She is peeing all over the house.  She is to be on the pred (15 mg x 2/day) prescription food, a weekly B12 shot and daily pepcid.  They start her on an anti-biotic because her digestions seems to be deteriorating.  I called the local vet, overwhelmed and spent a half an hour talking with her about what we'll be doing, and she reduced the pred slightly since she was doing better with all these meds.

After going through tons of paper towels, and leaving puppy pee pads all over the house (totally unused, btw), I went to the dollar store absorbent "chammy", then just went to target for cloth diapers because they are so absorbent.  Floor, carpet -- they work great. We are washing diapers every day.  Yes. Diapers.  And we actually conversations about the color and consistency about the dog's poop.If it wasn't serious, it would be funny. Ironic, even. Perhaps.***

Somehow she makes it 4 or 5 hours during the night, though there is usually a wet spot somewhere.  Fortunately, she is going through so many *big* bowls of water a day the pee just looks like water.

Stella is pretty confused, alternately lethargic from the pred and starving/sniffing out food crumbs on the carpet or under the couch or bed.  We found out the other day she can fit her entire head under the couch and her whole body under the bed.  Awesome.

So far (not counting *all* the food and the last consult with the local vet) we've spent about $6,000 getting the dog diagnosed and treatment begun. Thanks to Grandma (again) and C's high interest emergency credit card. Also, I never got to start looking for a job because Stella's illness began the week we were finishing grading for the spring semester.  We've been constantly running back and forth to the city and the local vet, with crisis, test or consult. For the last two and a half weeks, we have had to coordinate the entire day so that the dog is not alone for more than 2 or 3 hours at a time, to try to reduce the house-peeing.  Or make sure she gets her meds on time.  Or try not to spend money we don't really have. (thanks, again, Grandma).

So, I would use the cc to pay for the car repair, except that I have to find a time to get the car fixed when C will be here -- that was going to be this Friday, but we will be hosting C's folks. Well, after I entertain them Thursday afternoon while he is teaching.  And while I'm not following the dog around with a diaper or dragging her out into the heat to pee. Again.


We had had plans to go to see C's family in the SW and go to NY so I could meet my youngest niece from across the room (don't get me started again) and my dad and elderly aunt & uncle.  And B, my wonderful friend and respite. And I wanted to go to LA to see my sister and niece. Before all this, I wondered how we (I)/she would deal with the dog being boarded, but now, after all this money and time, there is no time.

My sister's daughter just had her second birthday.  She is gorgeous and amazing and has recently had growth spurts, physically and verbally.  And she recognizes me on the skype.  Along with the foof and mew.  I do come in second to my dad, her grandfather, whom she has wrapped around her finger. But that seems as it should be. I'm craving a visit.  I haven't seen C's family/sisters/nieces/nephews in probably 4 or 5 years.  It's been more than a year since seeing A's daughter.  I've never met my brother's daughter who was born at the end of October.


There have been some small good things:  my brother (who has not spoken with/connected with my sister for most of his daughter's life) sent a birthday card and some stickers for nieces birthday last week. It appears that his wife had no knowledge of his actions, and did not even sign the card (he signed for all of them), but we (my sister and I) are really pleased that he finally, finally has shown some independence and understanding of the connection he has with my sister's daughter.  And my sister.  He's been getting therapy, and who knows? maybe it's helping.  It makes me hopeful, even though I need to contain it.  A very small step, but a big one in their difficult relationship.

I got an email from a dear old friend in Boston who has met a man she says may be her "soulmate."  He lives across the country and a bunch of other details.  I've never "heard" such words or tone in her voice from her email. Wonderful, happy, hopeful. A little careful, but so happy.   She had been putting off ending another relationship, but she did it this past weekend. I, being overprotective, want to know details like how she met him.  I am wary, but happy for her.

Therapy is going well.  I am feeling better overall, and want to start getting rid of my drugs, but I know that will take time, and I may never be without them.  I don't know if it is a general sense of happy/hopefulness or what, but I am really craving baby.  This birthday, though, really forces me to understand just how far away I am from that, in a number of ways. I may never raise children.  I'm not ready to accept that. I don't want that.  Not yet. There is a lot of work to do on many fronts.  It makes me tired just thinking about it.

I tried working on the diss proposal at the beginning of the summer, but it was just too much with the dog and the car (and did I mention my feet?) and a bunch of other things.  Hoping to get back to that soon.  It feels really far away, too.  Several of my friends/colleagues (two of whom I started with) are graduating in a month.  C says I need to let that go and forgive myself and understand that everyone has different timetables.  Yes, I know.  Still. It's frustrating to know that this wretched adventure has not only left me childless, broke, deeply depressed, largely medicated and no degree -- yet. I started both, so very long ago.  I started the degree first.

I don't know.


I wish I were as bright as of this writing as I was in my last, but that will come soon enough, I guess.  Meds, birthday overwith, therapy. There will be other things. I just have a lot of work ahead of me.

Thanks for being here to listen.

*** Please don't think that I'm not aware that this is what we would be facing if we -- indeed what many folks face when they -- have/had a child who is ill (and at much higher costs).  Also, the whole, being on call every two hours and the frustration and the worry and the vigilance since early May are just like having a newborn -- and yet nothing so very intense and emotionally exhausting and life-altering...I don't know -- as having a newborn or a sick child.

Friday, July 8, 2011


For most of last semester, I met with my dissertation adviser who was/is supportive in every way.  We'd talk about what I would do for our next meeting, and I would complete it, sort of -- mostly in the hour (30 mins?) before each meeting.  I felt kind of ashamed, like I should really have been doing so much more (and really I should have), but she was always pleased with what I came with, and found really good thinking and focus in what I showed her.  I would leave feeling mixed -- both proud and kind of like a fraud.  Like I'd gotten away with something. 

One day I came clean with her (mostly) and in talking about it with her, and with my therapist and a couple of others, it was universally suggested that I'm simply processing and then getting my ideas, the results of my processing down on paper (usually) in advance of our meetings. My thinking, they suggest, is productive, I just don't work like some other folks do. I need to do a lot of work in my head, rather than on paper. Sometimes.


So.  Hi.  For those of you who still stop by, I'd like to apologize for my long absence.  Much of it has been practical distraction (sick dog, sick car, tired feet) and some has been mental distraction.  Not reading, not reading for school, not reading for fun, not reading blogs much (forgive me, my friends).  I guess that I'm processing.  Therapy, life. You know.

So, I'm off to take care of a few more of those practical things, but I hope to be back in the next few days to share some of the (mundane?) details and some things I've been thinking about. 

It's been an odd summer, I tell you. But I have been thinking about you despite my silence:  So.  How are you?  What have you been up to? 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

where did the words go

every time I sit down to write, to participate in a DBM writing exercise, draw a picture write a freaking word -- I just can't

The notebook closes.
The window closes.
The breath closes.

Pencil down.

I'm doing good work with my therapist.  I don't want to say that "I'm getting close to something," because that doesn't seem to be the way this will work. Some of it is peeling layers, but mostly it seems to be taking bites out of things.  Banging my shin into the chair and trying to figure out what will help to heal it.

Or maybe it's just a matter talking with someone in a different way.  Open to some things, challenging others.  Cracking the door open to see how blinding the light is. Or how bitterly cold.

How long can I go on with the metaphors?

I just deleted a bunch of crap post about guilt and grief.  It's all been said before.  by me. A different context this time, but still. just displacement, I think.

I have been eating constantly for the last 3 or 4 weeks. Or crying or angry.  All the regular stuff, I know. Time of year, sick dog, and what-not.

Surely I am stuffing down some kind of feelings I am not ready to feel. I've picked up all kinds of tools and media to exorcise it from my body.

I pick it up. Put it down.

Not yet.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

In response to Mel's post today about tornadoes


This is my first mother's day with no mothers.  My grandmother died 2 days before mother's day last year. My mother died 9 days before mother's day ten years ago.  The twins I lost at twenty weeks were due (had they survived that long) within a week or two of mother's day.

Last year, my sister celebrated her first mother's day -- the one she had been working (?), trying for for 6+ years -- at the funeral of her last remaining grandparent, our maternal grandmother.

This year is hard. Moreso than usual.  Beyond new therapy and anniversaries, I'm not really sure why. It's quiet. This week has been tumultuous, but today is quiet.  I try to remind myself that I am very lucky to have had the kind of maternal relationships I did have.  As complicated as any, but loving.  I mourn them.  I mourn the frustrations and challenges that come with those relationships.  I know that I am lucky to have had them. I know others whose relationships with their mothers were very different, very difficult, extremely painful.  Maybe that recognition is progress.  Less feeling sorry for myself? Probably not.

(My father called a little while ago; there is always a lot of space when he leaves messages, thinking as he speaks.  He said he wanted to say hello.  He would call later today. I know that he wants to hear that I'm okay, doing something productive, or not really caring.)

I don't. Well, no, I do.  But more than sad, I think, I'm feeling angry.  I'm not sure at whom, though, right now. My new therapist, G, suggested writing a letter to my OB, since I was so angry at him, but it wasn't really cathartic. I tossed around the idea of writing a letter to my body, since I'm hating it, angry at it. But that didn't really get off the ground either. C and I talked about getting a bunch of cheap dishes and glassware and just going somewhere and smashing it all.  Cursing and yelling and crying and all. I don't know.  I'd need someone else there, either doing the same thing or just being there for moral support, or egging me on. Or I could write all the failures, body and otherwise, one to a dish, and smash it. The idea of smashing is satisfying, but I don't know if it would accomplish anything. Or how to work the practicalities.  So, yeah, lots of anger, especially this morning. Now, after a nap, quiet.


As B said in an email yesterday, it's just a Hallm.ark holiday. Both her parents are gone now, and she's navigating new space. This is the first Mother's day without her mom, without her sons' grandmother.  The first anniversary is in a few weeks. I can imagine, but only sort of. 

I don't really know how to end this.  Just thinking.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mom's Day

It was Wednesday, May 4.

As usual, the lead up was worse than the actual day itself, though I did find myself merged with the couch and unable to get up for several hours, despite the need to eat and do work.  I found myself somewhat triggered by the Bin Laden thing; even though I hadn't lost anyone directly in the towers, I did grow up in their shadow, and my father worked in Tower 2 for about 20 years. I think on the 43rd and on the 48th floors.  9/11 occurred about 4 months after my mother's death, just as I was starting to get on my feet again.  Like I said, somehow it triggered something.

Monday was an anniversary of my sister's loss. Wednesday was 10 years since my mom passed away. Today, Friday, is the first anniversary of my grandmother's death.  And, of course, there's Sunday comin.

It occurred to me this week that I have no more mothers.  (I have a mother-in-law, but I don't feel that way towards her, love her as I do.)  And I wept. It's the natural process of things, but I wept.

No more mothers. No children.  (I could say "yet," but that seems trite and let's face it, we have no idea.)

I talked with my aunt yesterday, Tia, the one who addresses everything "Suzi, dear."  Her birthday was on the 30th and I wanted to wish her a happy mother's day, as she is a mother and grandmother, and has been a loving presence in my life, for my whole life. We talked for a half an hour.  It was so good.
Outside of catching up about Passover and family, she asked me about the boy's dates.  She said that she lights candles for them, on the yartzeit, at Passover and for Yom Kippur.  There are two other holidays, but she couldn't remember. :-)  I told her how much it meant to me.  She said that she loved me and and how important I am, and the boys are, to her.  She loves me and she loves them and will always remember them.

In the midst of this, my brother's wife is still experiencing post-partum something: depression, anxiety, psychosis. My request that, after flying 1000 miles to see her,  I get to hold and interact with their daughter, my niece, triggered something else in SIL, exacerbating an already difficult situation. I think she hijacked his phone, his email. She apparently freaks out when anybody even talks about holding the baby, who was six months old a week ago.

She has major mood swings and freak outs over other things now.  My brother is working on setting up time with a therapist for himself to figure out how to deal with all this and get her some help, too. I'm worried about all of them.  My reflex is to get on a plane and go there, but I don't even know what I would do. 

Sometimes it's easier to let go of that worry than others.  I mean, not perseverate.  Doing better.  Though I grieve my brother's relationship with the rest of the family.  My father and my brother went to the cemetery on Wednesday separately.  It's usually something they do together. Most of my father's family is buried there, as well as my mother's (both paternal and maternal grandparents, paternal aunt & uncle, and my mother.  My dad even buried some of my mom's dog's ashes along side her). My father had offered to help with arrangements for something for the boys, but we still haven't done anything.  I doubt we will at this point.

Overall, outside of the anniversaries, I've been doing better.  Trying to work through things and feeling like there's some progress.  Still with the roller coaster, which I know is normal, but really, a pain in the ass.

I bought my sister two mother's day cards (one funny, one sappy) because I was feeling like it, and one for my aunt, but just couldn't send them.  I told my sister I had cards here for her, which she wouldn't be getting.  She told me that of course I didn't have to do that, but I told her the truth:  I was so happy to be able to get them for her.  I really was.  We were talking on my mom's anniversary; she had called to check in.

Despite the cards and everything else, and thinking about mother's day I shared a realization: sometimes I'm really tired of being happy for everyone else.  I love my friends and family, and I'm so glad that they have families and beautiful children.  But sometimes it takes work. And there's the hangover, after.  And the distance that sometimes grows between the haves and the have-nots. I want to talk with them, hear what's going on with them and the kids.  I initiate it even.

It's not that I resent it. I don't think that's it. It's just a whole different life, and sometimes it feels like this huge chasm.  Especially on FB, where I hear about (and see pics of) birthday parties and little league games and nights off when the kids are with grandparents.  And really beautiful pictures of my friends and family with their truly precious children.  And it makes me so happy for them.  And so far away from their lives.  One day I may have that.  I may not.  But right now, it's really hard.

So, in honor of my mothers, I am going to briefly post a couple of pictures of them, but from long ago for some anonymity's sake.

Here is my mother and me on the day of my college graduation, 20 years ago.

picture removed

Here is a close-up of my mom from the picture above.

My grandmother in March, 2010.  This was during a visit from my aunt and a cousin, which she enjoyed tremendously and brought her great joy to talk about.  It was a few months later that she passed away, at 92.

This one captures all three of us, in spirit at least, on my wedding day. My grandmother is helping me put on my mother's pearls. 

picture removed

Did I mention that we accidentally scheduled our wedding for Mother's Day? A story for another day.

ETA:  I took down the two pics that had me in them.  I couldn't take down my mom and grandmother.  And I think it will be nice to come across these -- two of my favorite pictures of them -- when I'm not really expecting it. 

*Please don't let this keep you from visiting or commenting. Please.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

who knew?

Beauty, brains and morals.

Christy Turlington Burns.  The former supermodel. Looking at pre and perinatal care for high risk pregnant women.  A cause I could get behind.

There's a short article and a 1 minute trailer. Take a look.

Real post soon.  Therapy seems to be productive so far, and I'm feeling, well, more stable.  Hopeful, even. The tree in our front yard that I thought was dead?  Sprouting leaves and blossoms.  Not even a metaphor.  Remember those two tulips I posted lo these many Aprils ago?  They have found a friend.

I'm trying to not read into it. I'm just trying to feel my way through effective therapy that leaves me tired, but, well, thoughtful. I' m not saying hopeful again, but thinking. Open, maybe.

This song has been running through my head.  I played it a lot when my mom was sick and in the years following, but not recently.  It just feels so...close these days.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Just saying

There are a couple of new posts up on C's blog.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's okay

Well, no it's not, but I'm okay.  Thank you for all your supportive comments.  I kind of want to leave the comments up so when people go.og.le those sites, they can see what they're getting into.  Though, I don't want to upset anyone randomly coming upon them.  We'll see.

Really, they made me more angry than anything else.  I had had a really crappy day.  I called it "death by one thousand cuts," because it was just a series of minor but pain in the ass crappy things happening all day long. I got 3.5 hours of sleep the night before,  then I got home from 12 hours at school to these comments and I was someplace between laughter, horror and anger.  Pissed off.  If I had been in a better state of mind when I found them, probably I would have been more upset. At first, I wasn't even sure what I was looking at. 

Something that surprised me was not so much that these assholes decided to troll  sites looking to share their hatred of babies and children. They were just being mean. 

Who does that?  I mean, the posts they commented on (at least one of them) was not right in the open and purposely hit nerves. 

Who does that?  Who has that kind of time on his/her hands?  Who has so much hatred for people in general? 

At first I wanted to set up a profile and leave a post on the forum spewing vitriol and four-letter words.  C talked me down.  Really, not worth the effort or, well, anything.


Five minutes after I found these comments?  My dad called.  I hadn't talked to him in almost 10 days, and felt bad enough about that, but I just couldn't talk to him.  I know he's been going through hell with my brother and his wife.  I wanted to talk to him, but I really couldn't.  And after all the little, pissy crap I had to deal with for 12 hours, plus this, I started to cry.  He said that was fine, he'd talk to me on Thursday. And that he loved me.  I held it together and just got teary.  A couple of pills and off to sleep.

Just as an aside, I feel like I'm doing some good work with my new therapist.  It makes me regret all the time that seems to have been lost, but I"m trying to tell myself that I hadn't been ready yet.   There's someone who says that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.  Maybe that's it.

Anyway. It meant a lot to get your support.  It really did.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Anonymous can go suck it.

I just opened two emailed comments on blog, 9:50pm on a really crappy day:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "This resonated for me.": 
dead babies are funny we love ded babies 

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Intake":
hahahahah you killed ur two kids


Fuck You.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Only problem is...

the hole I'm climbing out of?  In my mind it kind of looks like inside of the psycho's pit from Silence of the Lambs.

But that's just when I'm feeling negative.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


There is light today.

It was drizzling this morning, dark-ish, but now, later in the afternoon, sunlight through bare tree limbs, white sky.

Today winter becomes spring. It's my brother's birthday, too.  Even as a little girl, I thought it was cool that this day is his birthday.  The beginning of the season of light and re-birth, flowers and warmth. His birth coincided with the beginning of spring.

Skype session with G went well.  I like her so far.  She has a grounded professionalism, and that calm that I imagine is how people used to describe me.  I dove right into my anxiety about starting therapy again, and all the guilt and digging into all the crap that I haven't been able to shake for very long for more than three years.  She is kind of holistic, in that way that she is aware of and embraces the connections between the mind and body and health and how the experience of infertility impacts it. She just wants to start with baby steps.  Little steps.  Like eating breakfast. One small thing to take care of myself.

I think I will get something out of this.

There was nothing earth-shattering about this first meeting.  She didn't really say anything that hasn't been said before about the immense guilt and responsibility I feel -- the sole cause of all of this, and how I can't climb out.  How can I live a life like knowing that I failed so miserably?  These are things I felt going into the conversation.  I didn't say all that, but I felt it.  What kind of life can I lead knowing I failed at the most important thing there is?  And that I continue to fail at everything else, over and over again.

Talking with C today, I had some revelations.  They are not easy ones, and not ones I'm prepared to share here. But I do sense a...sea change?  a different perspective.  Oh, the guilt is still there.  But something has changed. Maybe.  Something that may help me climb my way out of this after all. I may get bloody and filthy and exhausted along the way.  I may not get all that far.

But maybe I can gain some footing. 

Or maybe it's just the sun behind the white sky encouraging me.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I'm at a loss.  I'm continuing to titrate up to the therapeutic dose of my new augmentation med, but each time, it brings on those, well, those things they warn about in the black box, if you know what I mean.  I'm also getting some of those lack of coordination and bits of aphasia which is really, um... what's the... disconcerting.  My use of language has always been something I could count on. One thing I felt like I could do -- I could find the right word, articulate my ideas, whether for school or otherwise. Actually, I'm even my typing is, um, hampered. Hard to tell if it's depression or the additional drugs.  There are times when my thinking is clearer, or rather, as C says, I seem a bit more engaged.  But, god, it just reinforces my feeling of all having all these holes in my head.  I even forgot to tell Dr. Shrink until almost the end of my appointment this week.  He said to pay attention to it and if it gets worse, we'll stop the med. 

What would be next, I wonder. 

I start my therapy via skype tomorrow, and not a moment too soon. I'm feeling anxious about digging through all the details, whether of my loss or past or I don't know what.  Starting over again. She called to clarify about something on the intake form -- "looks like you've tried a number of meds." Yeah... No judgment implied, she was just asking about them. Something tells me I'm going to open up th computer and just start bawling my eyes out.

I worry about feeling better again.  Isn't that crazy? I've had these ups and downs.  I fear going up again because I fear coming back down again.  Like down is the natural state. Oh, that sounds great.  Down is my natural state?  That just makes me want to cry.

The day I started the next dose up was was a bad day.  Like thinking about calling Dr. Shrink and asking him about me going away somewhere.  That feeling has passed, mostly.  But when I took the dog out I just got the overwhelming feeling of guilt.  I've struggled with this to one degree or another since my water broke.  That really high period I had the summer my niece was born?  Denial.  Somehow I have to come to terms with it. Hoping this new therapist, G, will help with that. But I don't think it was a passing panic like I was feeling earlier in the day.  This was hardcore, horrendous, scaring the dog, weeping out loud in the street guilt.

Dr. Shrink didn't even blink when I told him that I found someone long distance with whom I would meet via skype.  I told him about her qualifications (Psy.D., IF, Health/mind-body stuff, and certified bereavement counselor) and he said it sounds like she's got the approach, covers the stuff I need to work through this stuff.

He also said that most of my symptoms were not ones he associated with the med, and it makes sense.  I'm so twitchy and moody and oversensitive, sometimes fine, sometimes I can't stop talking. Hello, depression and anxiety and lord knows what else. I hate the way I feel. But you knew that.

I know the last few posts have been difficult and raw. I've hesitated to spew all this stuff all over here.  Yes, I know, it's my blog, I should write what I want.  But, as I've withdrawn from a lot of people, this is where all these thoughts and fears and insecurities and bitching come out because I don't really feel like I can talk about these things with folks, or want to lay this stuff on them.  My family worries.  I talk to C and I talk to my sister, mostly.  I talked to B recently for about 3 hours, which was, god, like I have another sister. But I know people worry.  I guess I would worry, too.

So, I've hesitated here, too.  My new diary. To friends who understand a lot.  But it still feels very naked.  I know that I seem to have become the one who didn't make it. The DBM who hasn't moved on for one reason or another -- no subsequent pregnancy, no adoptive child, no resolution.  Not yet, anyway.  How's that for optimistic?  I'm the DBM on every TV show, every movie of the week. 

It seems that once again, I haven't asked for the help that I've needed.  I didn't demand people do what they should. I didn't seek out people who could *really* help me. And my sons.  Failure, again, it seems.  Even C doesn't know what to say anymore.

There's a part of me that feels like this new therapist, this new approach can help me climb back up.  Sort through the guilt and the trauma and everything else. So, you know, no pressure.  It may be that just having someone who understands, who can put words to things, to talk with me about phenomena and feelings of loss and grief around IF and loss.  And forgiving my body.  Forgiving myself.

So, yeah, I still hesitate to write all this down.  I feel crazy.  I feel like there's no good way to respond.  I feel like a freak show.  Three years out, now, and everyone else has moved forward. Integrated things. Grieving still, but integrated.  Like, the only reactions to all this dreck are, "wow, that's fucked up," and "man, how is it that she is still struggling, still up and down?  What else is going on with her that she hasn't been able to deal with this?" Rational or not, that's the hesitation.

And yet I can't seem to write this in a notebook.  I seem to need to share it.

So: Hey, everyone!  Here's all the crazy in my head!  Look out!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Over and over again and I am three years ago grieving, except not just the boys, but my hope for family and connection and achievement and meaningful work.

I am tired of all the pills.  All the false hopes and the "adverse" side effects (normal and humiliating) and crying, and frustration from everyone I know.  Trying to be hopeful that this combo will work. Knowing that if they do, then *that* indicates a closer approximation to exactly how fucked up I am.  And wishing I could just dump them all. And fearing what that would do to me. Physically and emotionally.

I'm tired of watching everything I want go down the drain because I have no guts, no strength in my legs to put one foot in front of the other.  I'm tired of busting my ass for a bunch of students who, for the most part wish they were somewhere else and who know they have a job after graduation so this is just one more hurdle for them to carelessly jump over. And who does the work? Me.  Trying to be fair, trying to engage them.

I want to run away. I'm tired of cycling through all the various feelings again.  Grief. Loss. Infertility.  Fear. Hope. Doubt. Loss. Grief.  This cycle is three years old already.  I'm tired of it. I am left behind.  Special as I always wanted to be.  But as I always feared.

I feel like I have no footing. I have nowhere to go from here.  Up? Until something fails again.  Until I fail again.

My therapist has her work cut out for her, but I wonder if even she can/will want to deal with all this crazy.  Have I mentioned how many times I've cried, just fearing that I am too fucked up for her?

I want to go away. I don't know where. I don't know what good it would do.  Most people I love are far away (please, no guilt).  Those nearby have little clue.  Or maybe I'm just tired of going through all this again with them.  I want empathy. Understanding. I don't want to have to explain.  

I don't care about the dissertation right now.  No ambivalence.  I don't have any idea how to spproach it or even get started writing about it.  All I can write is this crap.

10 years since my mother's gone.  The world is literally shaking on its axis.  Men openly and politically discount and hate women.  Capitalism openly gouges for needed services.

So much pain.  So much loss. We chip at the great wall with a little spoon. we bloody our knuckles for what?

That is another rant for another day.

I feel like I did 2.5 years ago. More functional maybe. But still.

I'm really tired of it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

No words

No. Fucking. Words. 

The P17 shots that help keep women from going into pre-term labor has been branded by a pharmaceutical company who has decided to raise the existing cost from $10 to $1,500 a dose.  That's about $30,000 per pregnancy. Fuckers.

Thanks to Tash for posting this.


Between spring break and the flu, I've been watching a lot of TV.  Well, let's face it, I watch a lot of TV anyway, but that's besides the point. One of the networks was running marathons of the TV show House, from recent seasons. One stuck out for me in particular.  It was season 6, episode 2, when he's at the psychiatric hospital.  I couldn't shake this scene between house and his psychiatrist (played by Andre Brau.gher).

Nolan: Why do you value your failures more than your successes?
House: My mother caught me masturbating… to pictures of her mother.
Nolan: Can we get past these cut deflections?
House: Successes only last until someone screws them up. Failures are forever.
Nolan: So you accept that fact. You accept that there’s nothing you can do.
House: Okay, I accept the fact that there’s nothing I can do. Now, what can I do?
Nolan: You acknowledge failure, and you move past it. You apologize.
House: Wow. Powerful things, these apologies. Get someone to jump off a building and you say two words and you move on with your life. Hardly seems fair.
Nolan: Is that the issue? You caused him pain. If the world is just, you have to suffer equally? [House lets this sink in as Nolan laughs slightly.] You’re not God, House. You’re just another screwed-up human being who needs to move on. Apologize to him. Let yourself feel better. Then you can learn to let yourself… keep feeling better.

I can't do it.

There are some failures that can't be made up for.  I don't believe I have to suffer forever my sins, for my failure to do the very best I could, what I knew my children needed. I thought I could take care of everything.  People failed me.  But I failed them. I didn't demand what I needed -- better care, better doctors, time off from school, more frequent doctor visits.

I don't think I did the best I could.I know I didn't.

I can't make up for it. I can't simply apologize.

I don't know if I can ever forgive myself.  Or, perhaps I can forgive myself, but

I don't know that I can ever trust myself or my body again, and

I don't know if I can trust anyone, any doctor, provider, to take care of me.

I don't know if I can trust anything, anyone.

I don't know how to exist in the world anymore.

Connect with people. Create.

Trust others. Take care of others.

Be taken care of.

I'm trying to get back into therapy to move on. Get on with my life.  Completing the intake form for the therapist was eye opening, too.

Hindsight is not 20/20. Not in this case. There are moments of clarity, but so much that I just don't know -- how things happened, how I behaved, reacted.  Of what I actually needed.

I just don't know.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

This poem is called The Laughing Heart.  It was written by Charles Bukowski, who died 17 years ago today.  It came toward the end of a collection of Bukowski's work, given to me during my poet years in Boston by my brother, then the English major.

Bukowski's work tends to be more raw, graphic, hard-edged -- I don't know how to describe it, and the poet in me winces at the broad, generic terms I just used.  But I was more about Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Anne Sexton, Lucile Clifton, Donald Hall, Jane Kenyon.  I flipped through the pages of book, and found myself enjoying more than I thought I would. Connecting.  And then I came across this poem at almost the end.  I think it was the second to last in the collection.

I was working as an administrative assistant in a consulting firm, and doing a lot of writing. I had a good, well-paying job and overall a good work environment, though nothing thrilling or particularly challenging.

The copy that hangs on the wall of my cubicle at school is not the same one I posted on my cubicle wall at work, though it is beat up, with thumbtack holes and bent corners. My favorite lines: the gods wait to delight in you. I was writing all the time, and while not at my peak, I was feeling good, like I was ready for something, though I didn't know what.  I would stop, occasionally and read the words.

This was before I met C and before my mother became ill and before we moved to the midwest and before we couldn't get pregnant and before we did.

When my mom got sick, I was working a terrible job, in a place I hated with mostly horrid people. I kept this poem up on my cubicle wall.

there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.

It was hard to read it.  "Yeah," was usually my reaction, when I thought about it. "Right."

When my mother died, and when the Twin Towers came crashing down a few months later, this poem was still up on my cubicle wall, a new construction.  It as a new office for an old, old company.  Completely the wrong place for me. Demeaning.

it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.

"Shut up," I thought.

And yet, soon, I found a new job, a new career path where I knew I fit in.  Where I could do some good.  Do something important and do it well.

C and I got married. He was finding his way.  He got into graduate school. We moved halfway across the country. It was hard. It was really hard and really lonely.

I don't know where the poem was.  In a box or drawer somewhere.  In the book on my shelf. In the back of my mind.

I decided to try graduate school, the only way I could really teach, really reach out was to have a degree. I found my way to my department. I made a new copy of the poem. I posted it on my cubicle wall.

your life is your life.
know it while you have it.

And then we started trying to conceive.  And failing and losing and failing and losing.  And then we got pregnant with the boys.

you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.

And then we lost them.

I don't know if I took the poem down for a while after our loss.  Like the "hope is the thing with feathers" pendant, sometimes I just couldn't bear it. 

The semester I got my own section of the course I teach, the semester we were going to try again, finally, I began to hand out a copy of this poem to the students in my class.  Once I did it one class before an exam.  Once I did it at the end of the semester.  I talked to them about making their own meaning from it, and the meaning that I took from it. 

The work we do is hard. Life is hard. It can be really, really hard. But you can do it.  You can get through it. You can do more than get through it.

your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

The gods wait to delight in you.

The poem is still on my cubicle wall. A few inches from where the the pictures of my nieces, were posted up until a few weeks ago.  Even had to come down for a bit. They sit in my desk drawer.

It's been a few really, really dark months.  Dark like I didn't think I would see again.  And, even though I knew I was lucky, I could see those bits of light flickering, oh, it has been dark.

Yesterday, for some reason, I decided to look up the post I had written exactly 3 years earlier, just to see where I had been.  Here it is:

Saturday, March 8, 2008 

Broken Record

I hate this.
It's all bad.
This is so stupid.
I can't believe this is my life.
My babies are dead.
I want them back.

I have nothing else to say. 


I am not in that place.  I have not been in that place, despite the darkness; it's been a whole new flavor of hurt.  Its context has broadened, and deepened. Grown more confusing, despite the simple kernel of truth. Of pain. I need help sorting through all the vines and roots.

I think some of the new medication is helping, though I've been fighting the flu, so it's harder to tell. But I'm feeling better. I emailed the therapist in LA who will skype with me. We will start on a trial basis soon.

I'm not claiming sunshine and light. In fact, it's one of those great, gray rainy days, perfect for tea and a book, curled up with a cat and a blanket.  Hope is too much, too dangerous.

But we will see, I guess.

The Laughing Heart

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Out of foolproof ideas*

This blog is shifting. Changing.  I don't know where I'm going, but I guess that has to be okay.

I think I"m going to try a trial run via skyp3 with the LA IF therapist (if she's willing to) since I'm still having trouble finding folks around here.  Might be time for a new name for this place, too. We'll see.

In the meantime, here's a song (and video) I like and which suits my state of mind (of course). Hope you like it, too.

Crap, can't get the image to fit. Here's the link:

Here are the lyrics:

No words, My tears won't make any room for more,
And it don't hurt like anything I've ever felt before, this is
No broken heart,
No familiar scars,
This territory goes uncharted...

Just me, in a room sunk down in a house in a town, and I
Don't breathe, no I never meant to let it get away from me
Now, too much to hold, everybody wants has to get their hands on gold,
And I want uncharted.
Stuck under the ceiling I made, I can't help but feeling...

I'm going down,
Follow if you want, I won't just hang around,
Like you'll show me where to go,
I'm already out, foolproof idea, so don't ask me how
To get started, it's all uncharted...

La la la-a-a-a.

Each day, countin' up the minutes, till I get alone, 'cause I can't stay
In the middle of it all, it's nobody's fault, but I'm
So lonely, Never knew how much I didn't know,
Oh, everything is uncharted.
I know I'm getting nowhere, when I only sit and stare like...

I'm going down,
Follow if you want, I won't just hang around,
Like you'll show me where to go,
I'm already out, of foolproof idea, so don't ask me how
To get started, it's all uncharted.

Jump start my kaleidoscope heart,
Love to watch the colors fade,
They may not make sense,
But they sure as hell made me.

I won't go as a passenger, no
Waiting for the road to be laid
Though I may be going down,
I'm taking flame over burning out

Compare, where you are to where you want to be, and you'll get nowhere

I'm going down,
Follow if you want, I won't just hang around,
Like you'll show me where to go,
I'm already out, foolproof idea, so don't ask me how
I'm going down,
Follow if you want, I won't just hang around,
Like you'll show me where to go,
I'm already out, foolproof idea, so don't ask me how
To get started, it's all uncharted...

[ These are Uncharted Lyrics on ]

*copyright Sara Bareilles 2010

Friday, March 4, 2011


My dear, wonderful and giving husband has given me the cold/bug he had last week.  It's years since I've had a cold -- or at least a bug lasting more than a day or so, but this is the end of day two and does not appear to be leaving any time soon.  I used to say that my work in a day care center and middle school gave me a rock solid immune system, but this time, it seems to be gravel. And, boy, am I whiny.

So, the work I wanted to do, the writing I needed to do, the grading I promised to do has not been done.

I worry about the writing because my progress this semester has not been what it should.  Of course, if I come back with something brilliant at the end of spring break (starts Monday) maybe I'll be given some leeway. Let's hope.

I called and left a definitive message on therapist's voicemail.  Thanks and goodbye.  Dr. Shrink has called a couple times to let me know he's waiting for call-backs from some local OBs and women's health professionals.  Unfortunately, the first name he came up with is a rec from my RE, an MSW who has been helpful with some of his clients.

The MSW degree doesn't really bother me, although there is weirdness re-creating the connection with the RE and I wonder about experience. I also wonder about the complexity (or lack thereof) of my issues, and where the focus needs to be.  Do I go for the IF specialist who is experienced with IF and general depression?  Or a psychologist versed in depression and experienced in treating women with IF?

It seems to tied together I can't seem to parse out what's going to be most critical to getting me healthy and functional.

I'm also concerned about my diss proposal.  I think I'm going to go back and focus on the questions I was asking a couple years ago for that project I did for class.  I need to really think about it and lay it out.  I think I would be able to do it with relative energy and depth if I can just get started, get past the sneezing and whining.

Lovely thing about being sick is that it reminds me of being depressed:  no energy, weird appetite, foggy brain, poor concentration. Hard to tell if the meds are working, with the cold, but I'm ready to be done with this. All of it. I have some thoughts about therapy and treatment, but I think I've reached my capacity for sentence formation.

Thanks again for all your comments and support.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The next day

I don't have as many details (or maybe the patience to -- titrated up the dose today) as I thought.  Let's see.*

Essentially, she implied throughout the session that I was using the loss and infertility and grief to get in the way of really dealing with my depression (a distraction, like bitching about my brother, or getting off topic). I tried to conceptualize for her that the experience of the infertility and loss and grief seem to be enmeshed (I can't think of the right word) with the depression, and that the only way to get through the depression was to try to parse out what was what and how one affected the other.

But of course, I'm just the depressed client, what do I know.

She even told me about a couple she treated who had tried for maybe 10 years to have a child and got a surprise pregnancy, made it all the way to delivery and the baby died.  And she treated them. And they got pregnant again and treated them through the whole, fraught second pregnancy that did result in a living child.  (See? I can treat you too?!?) I said, she was very lucky to get pregnant a second time if she had been infertile for so long.  The chances are infinitesimal. Yes, she was very lucky, said my therapist.

During my session, I tried to communicate to my therapist the experience of losing not just the child, but his future -- made harder by seeing those his same age going through all the milestones I thought I would go through with him. Caught up in the discussion, I said, "Imagine your children had died at age 3, but you see all their friends going through elementary school, high school, prom..."  And she said, starting to cry "I have to stop you there, because you're starting to make me angry.  My daughters, at age X and X+3 watched their father die a horrible death and I was a widow trying to take care of two fatherless children." I made some comment about me losing my mother, too, but of course as an adult it's different (actually, I agree with that). I don't even really remember much after that. As I left, she asked if I would be back next week and I said I didn't know.

To be honest, I felt a little bad about bringing up something that would be so painful for her and maybe it was a little too much.  But as I took a drive to burn off some anger and sadness, I realized something and called her. I said, "I'll be in touch in a month to let you know what my plans are.  I also called to say that I realized, after our conversation, that it seems that you believe your pain is (greater/more important/more significant) than mine, and I believed that was not necessarily the case.

I can't imagine being a widow with two small children.  For Christ's sake, my friend B was days away from the very same situation. With smaller children.  But I think that, aside from the arrogance (common in the public mind, I think) that there is not complexity of experience and pain in the impact of IF (certainly none she needed to even look into), my therapist believed that her pain was worse than any mine, and I didn't believe that was true.  Can you say medalist in the Pain Olympics?  Guess what? I felt my dead child against my leg but was too drugged to do anything about it.  I delivered my dead sons and held my mother as she died a terrible death.  What medal do I get?

I hate that.

So, the message from my therapist from yesterday?  I didn't want to listen to it, and C didn't want to, so my sister volunteered and I let her.  She emailed me the message:  My therapist still thought we could still work together, and hack away at the work we had to do and was saving my spot for next week.

Holy. Christ.

Finally got to talk to Dr. Shrink, whom I gave the session highlights and told I was actively searching for a new therapist. I told him I felt like we crossed a line and that I wasn't comfortable gong back.  He didn't argue or challenge. He said he'd check with a couple of people locally.  "There's got to be someone who's got some experience with this around here."

I'm still not sure about, well, much -- how I've been feeling, thinking about myself -- is it "simply" depression or IF complicating things or what.  Don't know how to communicate anything, emptiness, hopelessness, helplessness, fatigue, poor concentration, poor sleep -- what to tell whom... it's easing, maybe, I think. And I can eat now. Maybe that's the drugs.  But what does that say about my mental health in general?

Oy. C keeps telling me that I can let it go for a little bit.  I don't have to constantly think about it.  He's right.  But it's hard.

Well, I guess I had more to say than I thought.  Thanks for listening.  And for all your kind, supportive comments on my recent posts.  It means a lot.

*Yes, yes...more than I thought...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

breaking up is hard to do

Broke up with my therapist today. Boy, was that ugly. Really Ugly.

The only satisfaction I have right now is knowing that I was right:  she had not done one moment of research on infertility and its potential impact before I sent her those links last week. So much for respecting your client's experience.  And informing yourself about it, too.

She thought she knew all she needed to know about it.

There's far more to tell, far more, but I'm exhausted.

She just called my cell, too, but that -- along with the story -- will  wait for tomorrow, I think.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

That's fucked up.

I guess there's really nothing to say.  Nothing else to say.

This is why I haven't posted about all this stuff.

Hope vs. Resignation

It's a new day.  And it pretty much sucks.

After many long hours and conversations with C, it has come to my understanding that it's possible that what my therapist has been trying to do is get me to accept that we may never have a family.  For the record?  I have always acknowledged this, but because I do want a family I want to try to focus on doing everything I can before I give up and the hope for a family and resign myself to a different kind of life.  I'm not saying "resign" as necessarily a bad thing, but what has to happen when all our options and attempts and chances have run out.

What I don't understand is why it's so important for me actively embrace this idea that we will not have children when there *are* at least a couple of options down the road for us.  Clearly, right now, we are not in a place to pursue them, but why is it so important to accept and resign before the fight is over?  Or, at least, over in my eyes.

C has, on occasion, asked me where that line will be, when I will know that I am done and we are done and have run out of chances. Will it keep moving?  I don't know the answer.  What I was hoping to get out of therapy was some exploration of what we've done so far, what I might be up for and not up for.  How do integrate these THREE different options into our life, rather than be strapped down and made to accept that we will never have a family ever.

Unless that's what she and Dr. Shrink believe and want me to get.  That IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN FOR US. That I am too fucked up and we as a couple are not fit to be parents.

I talk to my sister, and she says you know, there are still options out there and if you want kids (and she knows how I want kids) there are avenues to pursue when you are ready. You don't have to accept being childless YET. At some point it may come to that, but doesn't necessarily need to be right now.

Or, as C has also asked, am I going to go around and talk to shrinks and REs and adoption agencies until I find one who will tell me, "Sure, I can help you"?

I don't think so.

When my mother was sick, we talked to tons of doctors.  The ones at SK in NYC, cancer doctors all over the country. We all did research we all asked questions until it became clear that not only was her cancer terminal, it was terminal in the very near future.

Where I come from, you do everything you can if you really want it.  I curse myself not infrequently because of the way that I handled my/our infertility, pregnancy and the process of loss because I often feel like we didn't do everything we could.  I was prepared to risk infection and blood clots and god knows what else if it meant holding on for another month or more to try to save Jacob.  It never occurred to me not to until conversations with C made it clear to me he feared for my life, and not without reason. And so the conversation changed.

I used this analogy of how I see this situation with my therapist and all these people who are trying to help me. Well, at least my therapist.  I apologize if it hits a nerve or is offensive to you, but, for me, it seems to illustrate what's going on.

If, for example, some random woman, Jane, were to discover she had breast cancer, her first thought might be, "Oh, my god, I have cancer, I'm going to die." Not unreasonable.

After expert tests and examinations and meetings and second and third and fourth opinions, the doctors come to the consensus that the tumor is not small, but manageable in that a lumpectomy, (possibly mastectomy) and a round of chemo, and a round of radiation should eradicate the cancer and help her live a relatively healthy, long life, as the doctors tell her.  All she can think is, "Oh, my god, I have cancer. I"m going to die."

She is paralyzed with fear, and despite the pleading of her family to get treatment she does not. Think of all the people who love you, your grandchildren -- don't you want to see them grow up? "It's hopeless.  I have cancer. I'm going to die."

Her doctors talk to her and tell her that this cancer, while serious, is treatable, and with careful observation and management after treatment, she can likely live far past the clinical 5-year marker.  Of course there are no guarantees, so Jane is still in despair.  "I have cancer.  I'm going to die."

Her pastor comes to her and tells her that she has options, that despite the cancer, God has provided a treatment that may very well give her her life back.  "We cannot know what the future will bring," says her pastor, "but we can try to live our life to the fullest, to do everything we can to live and live well."

But she does nothing.  Family and friends, clinicians, religious leaders all say, "we have no promises, but we have hope, we have knowledge that may help us save your life."

All Jane can think is, "I have cancer.  The only thing we know for sure is that cancer can kill. All this talk about "maybe" and "likely" and "trying," it's all pointless because I have cancer.  I'm going to die."

And she does nothing to treat the cancer.  And, just as she predicted, she dies less than a year later, knowing she was right.  She had cancer, and it would kill her.

Heavy-handed, I know. I'm sorry.

To me, it's like saying, "You're infertile.  Sure, there are treatments, but they might not work and that might make you really upset, so you should just accept that you are going to live your life without children.  You need to accept this without trying anything else."

To me, a good therapist will help me understand what's happened so far, accept it and forgive myself and the (mediocre) doctors who were involved. Help me integrate that past into my present and my future. He or she would help me explore what my options are now, what the possible outcomes are and how I need to consider handling those.  Or if I could handle them.  How I can strategize living the rest of my life, given the limited options that I have.

Rather than making me accept that this is my fate and I really need to give up now to save myself heartache later.  It feels like all the professionals in my life are wanting me to be Jane and let go of any hope, despite the (albeit small) possibility that we could have a family.

Maybe it's the inverse of my story:  Jane says, okay, this is small, this is manageable.  I've talked to doctors, I've talked to survivors, I've talked to folks for whom treatment didn't work and I want to push as hard as I can so I can live my life. And the doctors all say, well, yes, there are treatments, but they might not work.  You have to accept that they might not work.  And she says, I know that.  But I need to have hope that they might because I want to live a long life filled with my family and friends and I want to see my grandchildren grow up.

And the doctors just say, Really Jane, we know that your cancer is in the early stages, and we could try to treat it, but it might not work. You need to know that, and maybe you should just put your things in order and enjoy what's left of your life.

That's kind of what this feels like, too.

The question of all questions for the infertile: When do I/we give up treatment and decide to live childless?

It seems like some have made that decision for me.  Is it lack of experience with infertility and loss?  Or is it just that I am SO very messed up, we are SO unfit or SO old, that even working to put things in order to get to a place where we can build a family -- biological or not -- is just that bad an idea and no one will say that?

I have to say, I really wonder.

Or maybe I should just let it go. 

When do you let go of something because the chances are bad?  When do you let go of something because it will hurt so much if it doesn't work out?

Jesus Christ, have I -- with the intractable depression -- with my feelings actually on the surface -- with that primal drive left wrought and bloody in a labor and delivery room -- have I proved right all those people who believed I was just a fragile little girl, incapable of dealing with (any realities of) life? 

Maybe I am.

Leaves me very few choices, I think.

Friday, February 25, 2011

So far*

today is not terrible. Not bad, actually.

It's snowing and cold, which is a disappointment after the warm weather we had a week or two ago. Kind of feels like my state of mind.  Up and down and all over the place.

After a week on the super-duper folate supplement, I called Dr. Shrink and told him how I was not only not feeling better, but possibly worse.  Up and down, a lot.  Or rather, okay and then terrible.  A lot.

He asked if I had a family history of Bipo1ar.  Yes.  My maternal grandfather. (and lord knows who else.) He said that in some depression that is resistant to treatment, there may be other things going on like (sub-clinical) bpd.   According to the research I've done, the hyp0mania just looks like normal, active, energetic, productive -- functional. And the depression is the depression. Started me on something for it, about 10 days ago, but it's the very low beginning dose so I have felt nothing.

No, not nothing.  Headaches and poor sleeping.  Sadder, if that's possible.

After my appointment with Dr. Shrink I had an appointment with my regular therapist, which went poorly, then tried to meet with my adviser who, after several delays told me she double booked our time.  Fine.  Teary.

Really tired of being teary.

Dr. Shrink had offered me the folate supp, saying that we may be moving on to another (more intense) antidepressant, the kind that is referred to only by letters, the one that begins with M.  When I asked him, wasn't that kind of drastic, he said, "You're telling me you find no joy and pleasure in your life."  He wasn't wrong. 

Two days later, couples therapy, in which my regular therapist tried to communicate to me her concern about my state of mind, but did so in such a way as to make me feel even worse. Even C conceded this. She was worried, she said.  Worried that my next steps my be ECT and that would have even more major implications on my life. Worried about how depressed I am.

"What can I say in response to that?  Oh, okay, if I knew it was that serious, I'll get right on that."  I asked her again and again, what do you want me to say?  I don't want to feel like this, but I don't know what to do.  It's not *just* grief* it's not *just* infertility it's not *just* depression. I'm going to therapy, I'm taking meds that are doing lord-knows-what to my head, I'm getting up and teaching when I have to, meeting when I have to, trying to work (and failing) I don't know what else I can do.

What do you want me to do?

I'm also failing my friends, feeling distant, far away, isolated from everyone who knows and loves me -- who reach out to me and I can't seem to reach back.  My colleagues are pleasant enough, but I feel like a freak, disconnected -- talking too long, or not enough, or not appropriately.  or so it feels.

And if I want to adopt, I can't be in this state of mind, I mean,  "I wouldn't give me a baby."  And she said it, too. "I wouldn't give you a baby.  I wouldn't give you a baby with you like this. I wouldn't give you a baby.

Three times she said it. After I already acknowledged it.

And I hate my body, I say.  And she says, "well, you've put on weight."


C said there were practically tears in her eyes during this session.  Can you say "in over her head"?

I called Dr. Shrink and said I had concerns about my therapist, who, like C, said, "Well, are you looking for someone who has had the same exact experience as you so they can understand how you're feeling?"


NO. I just don't want to have to educate my health providers about the impact of infertility and loss on those experiencing it. And I told him that.  Both of them.  (Gosh, THAT must be why I hate my body.  The weight.  From all those cookies I ate trying to swallow all those feeling of  gut-wrenching horror and grief. Oohhhhhh.) 

Dr. Shrink said he'd get in touch with my therapist to get her perspective.

So, I did it anyway.  I tried to educate my therapist about what it means to be infertile. About the lived experience of my nightmarish birth experience. I sent her links to resolve, and Mel's place, and I gave her a Word document of the posts I did for the anniversary account of those 10 days.

Tuesday was my next appointment. I gave her a copy of Mel's book and the McCracken book. She had read and went to the links I sent her.  I asked her for her response to what I sent her.

She went on and on about how perinatologists and neonatologists, they try so hard, wanting to give patients hope, but you know, when there isn't any really, and you know, with births and epidurals, you really never know how it's going to go, like this one woman I know who labored so fast she didn't even have time for the epidural.  "Did she deliver a living, healthy baby?" I asked.



And, my brother, he just wanted to help so much, he didn't know what to do.  "Except he left the day the babies were born."  Well, we all grieve differently.

We got into some discussion where she is trying to convince me to let go of all my dreams of motherhood, since treatments so far didn't work, and I was (evidently) such a mess and that of course i couldn't ever adopt.

And somehow we got to the question of what kind of reaction did I want from her, after reading the account.  And I said something like, "I don't know... 'I'm sorry you went through that' or 'What a terrible experience' or even 'wow, what a story.' "  You know, it's not like i was looking for her to weep and tell me god I had been through hell and how did I go on living and no wonder I'm so depressed. 

She said, "Well, in all this time we'd been working together, I thought I'd already communicated that."

All I wanted, expected was just a small acknowledgment.  A reaction, like, after you see a powerful movie for the second or third time and you just think, "wow."  That's all.  (C's response was, "did she say anything supportive at all?"

 I had already handed her the McCracken and Ford books, so as I was leaving, I asked for them back.  She gave me a funny look, hesitated and asked why.  I said something like I didn't think they were relevant or that she already knew what she was going to know, so just give me the books back.  More funny look, more hesitation, and she said I'll give them back to you in our next session.

Fine. Whatever.

I talked to my sister after, while sobbing, and she said, "Okay, that's it. We're going to find you someone who can help you."

And she has been working to help me find a therapist who has some actual knowledge/experience with infertility and might be willing to work with me long distance, like through skype or something.

I talked to one woman in LA who might be good.  And talked to another who seemed totally, like, Wow, you need more than over the phone therapy.  And I've reached out to a few friends in the mid-west and east coast. So we'll see.

If you know of anyone wonderful, I welcome the suggestion.  Especially in SW Ohio. Where they tell me that I was doomed if I wanted to reproduce at age 39 or later.

Friends drop a line.  They can see I'm not doing well by fb or just send me emails I can't seem to return.  I'm weepy.  These past couple of weeks have actually been among the worst.  And it's not simply the loss.  I feel damaged.  broken.  Mentally. Physically. Like I've ruined my career. My brain is so messed up from my biological history of depression and 2.5 years of meds that only sort of work. Or maybe I was messed up to begin with.  Maybe there's bipo1ar to add to the mix. And maybe after all this I shouldn't be a parent, ever, anyway. Or maybe I never should have.

I called Dr. Shrink this week to tell him about my sleeping (waking at 4-6am) issues and that I think I may feel worse.  He was quiet, and asked all the right questions, but I feel like I'm bothering even him. Frustrating.  I can't even do this right.

I started out a superstar in my program and now the chair won't even look me in the eye. I'm disconnected from my work, afraid to jump in.  Quick to anger, quick to frustrate.

I know C is sad and worried.  My family is worried. I don't know what to say to them.

But I do have good hours.  Good chunks of time where there is even some laughter.  And I think, okay, maybe the new drugs are starting to kick in now. Maybe I'm getting better. Maybe just sorting out the fertility and family stuff will give me enough of a bounce that I can start living a little more.

That would be nice.  But just like I had that doubt when folks said Mom's tests were headed in the right direction, I get that weird, disbelief, distrust in my gut.

But that would be nice.

The snow has stopped, mostly, and there seems to be sunlight pushing through.

The dog snoozes.

And it's time for me to take my pill.

(ETA: Today was not terrible. Not all that hopelessness I've been fighting, though I didn't interact with anyone but C. Writing helps, I think.  Thanks for listening.)

*really long post.

Friday, February 18, 2011

What does it mean to be a woman in the 21st century?

Disclosure:  I think defunding Planned Parenthood is horrendously scary, horrifically offensive and yet another attempt to silence and condemn women for trying to control and protect their own bodies. Planned Parenthood provides  not just abortion services but contraception, disease prevention and many other critical services for women who have no other options for health care because they can't afford insurance. 

In the debate in the House of Representatives (hah) Congresswoman (D) Speier from California was moved to share a very painful, personal moment in service of this cause.  For those who could not or did not, she was able to stand up for them and say you will not silence me and you will not judge me for what I needed to do for me, for my child, for my family. This makes me want to move to her district.  It makes me want to be brave like her. 

Truthout had a brief column about her testimony, in which she speaks not just for women, but for every single American.

Make sure to watch her statement and check out the last paragraph for the article. I found it articulated what many of us in this community--- no, check that.  I found it articulated what I find so important about the right to choose.  That most women are intelligent, sensitive individuals who can (with or without their families) make grave decisions about their bodies, their lives and the lives of their families.

Planned Parenthood also posted highlights from the debate (3 mins from 3 hours), which I also found moving:

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Cymb.alta with,Folate,Deplin

My clotting disorder is MTHFR C677T. 

Holy shit.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

I give up.

Monday, February 7, 2011


It's not simply the loss. Or the continued infertility.

It's what comes next.

It's pretty much looking like we're staying here for another year. C has been offered the visiting prof position again and thee job search came up with, well, not much in the way of options.

So. If we're going to try IVF, it's probably gotta be this year.  So, we shell out Grandma's money and get a consult and try to go to the top place in NYC. Except I'll need some baseline testing (day 3 stuff), so where do I do that? Who do I go to to see if I can actually sustain a pregnancy? Who do I see to do that?

Should I actually get pregnant, I'm gonna need a lot of physical and emotional support. I figure I can find a specialist, but what about day to day? As is the nature of grad school and living/working in a college town, people come and go. My dearest friends, the kind i'd lean on are far away, and others in my program who I might be able to call on? I don't know that they'd even be here next year.

Of course, if I asked, I know I could stay with family in NY or LA.  But that would mean being 1000 miles away from C. At least. And leaving this whole life on his shoulders.

Then there's tthe possibility of adoption. Which we are both open to, but which scares the he'll out of me. Finding the right march, the right relationship, hoping that pregnancy is healthy, and that the birth mother, whom I'm asking to make this enormous sacrifice doesn't change her mind. I know the chances are slim in that regard, but i've also learned that chances don't mean much til you're on the wrong side of them.

Besides, considering our grad school debt, living in a rental, year to year i.come, possibly moving in a year and our primary support systems in transition, *I* wouldn't consider us good candidates.  We need to start researching anyway, and try to find at least a support group. To start.

I'm in so much flux. I look at pictures of my newest nieces and my heart aches. I was blowing kisses via sky-pe with the older one the other day.

I just get...flashes of emotion: joy,  fear, anticipation around...I don't even know. Baby feelings, I guess.

And anger. And envy. And regret.

Maybe I'm starting to realize that this may be it for us. I've read others and how they've come to understand it and, despite the grief, they seem to embrace it. Maybe I'm reading into it, or misunderstanding them. But I'm not there.

I need to do something. Or any opportunity we have may pass us by.  I think that would be the worst thing of all.

I can't seem to figure out how to shake the learned helplessness. And to feel hopeful again.

Hopeful is feeling a bit far away at the moment.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I just don't know how to reconcile it all.

Friday, January 28, 2011


This post started out as a comment to a beautiful post written by an amazing woman and DBM I'm glad to call my friend.


This is beautiful, B.

So very relieved and glad that your friends' sons made it to the 32-week milestone.  (I remember what a far-away dream that milestone felt like at 20 weeks.)  My sister has talked a little bit about that realization that the baby is here and (she) is okay .  She recently talked about making plans for pre-school and realizing that she's here to stay.

Your description of the classroom in winter, and understanding the poem in a different way was wonderful. Without you even trying, life...spring revealed itself to you.  It seems, though, that it wasn't just that you saw it, but you were present enough to see it. Some part of you was open to it.  Indeed, a precious gift.

My loss happened in the depths of winter, exactly a year after Natan, and I dreaded the coming of that first spring.  The light I saw was dim, like the first gray light of sunrise, maybe.  But it never got past that.  I had always loved spring, blooming with color and life.  But there was the due date.  There was the death of my mother 7 years earlier. My sunlight was like that at the Arctic Circle during the darker days of fall, as the days disappear.

It wasn't until a year later that I began to actually see light.   About 6 or 8 weeks before the birth of my niece, I found light and hope.  She still holds a special place for me.  Somehow, when I see or hear or think of her, it makes me happy, makes me feel hopeful.  

For a little bit, anyway. there always seems to be a bit of a hangover, letting go of the love that does not belong to me. Or, rather... I don't know how to say it.  When I hear my niece say, "Mama?" and my sister says, "Yes, little one?" my heart fills and my eyes sting. For her. And for me.

But I go back for more. My sister's child, my brother's.  B's amazing son, S's little boy and girl. B's two little boys. J's girl and boy.

I find myself drawn, even, to others' children.  C and I are working on figuring out what will come next.  Somehow, there is always something else to focus on. Stuff to get done, plan, work on.  I'm not strong enough yet to venture out and do research, make appointments myself.  My sister has offered to help me find a real IF therapist, or do anything she can to help with the process, which I greatly appreciate.  Part of me feels like I need to be able to do this myself, if I'm going to be able to get through a pregnancy or the adoption process.  Maybe just some help getting started. We are both (C and I) still struggling to talk about the details of our experience and figuring out together what comes next. 

I still don't know.  I try to be open, hopeful that joy -- that deep joy -- will come back, and not just in the domain of family-building.  Not in a constant way, but here and there... to be anticipated.