Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yoga Didn't Work for This

I don't know how to deal with these sad days after a stretch of good days. Why didn't anybody warn me about how terrible I would feel about getting my first period in a long time? Is this the hormones talking? I don't know. Why do these cramps hurt so bad? This sucks!

It has not been a happy past two days. I am so sad about getting my period. Apparently I would like another "unplanned" pregnancy. (The first one really was, but it would be hard to call another one unplanned.) AFF, seven years younger than I and working a crappy job, (hey, better than me with nothing) does not seem afraid of the idea of becoming a dad in the unplanned near future. (This is why I also call him "the antidote": SS is eight years older with a successful career in IT consulting.) Which is so unbelievably amazing I just don't know how to feel about that. You would think perhaps I have something to be happy about. Yet it seems my one true love is Blue. Last night I went out to meet AFF because I was having a bad day. Tonight I refused to get together with him because I was having a bad day. Sorry, dude. And good luck. He is doing a fantastic job so far, however.

Also, I am "officially" job-hunting, and that is not exactly a confidence-booster. Not that I have even been rejected yet. But whatever.


I just found out my cousin had a miscarriage. My mom told me without any sort of prelude to troubling news. There is such a convoluted web of emotions spinning in my head and heart. Can I be supportive to her? How much is she suffering? How sad is she? How not sad am I? Is this her first loss? Is this better for me to know she had a loss, as opposed to learning she is pregnant? Are we really in a similar situation such that I should so obviously be able to relate, and to therefore be supportive? Because I am not sure that I can. I'm sorry that the news is troubling for my own selfish self. But I feel like my mom could've waited to tell me, could've waited until I wasn't having such a bad day on my own.

And she seemed to suggest that I can't keep asking people to exclude me from real life happening all around me. She wants me to stop feeling this pain so acutely. She thinks I need to work on it. I know she feels this because she is powerless to stop it. But she doesn't actually know if I should be in a different place from where I actually am. She doesn't know how much, weeks ago now, I thought about going to sleep one night and just never waking up. I know I am doing better.


After 3/4 of a bottle of wine, I am not such a good writer. But thank you, 3/4 bottle of wine, for dulling my emotional and physical pain like nothing else can. (And screw you, Aleve!)

And I'm sorry, new loss mamas, if you haven't heard, that getting your first period after losing your baby is another one of those triggers. Beware. And be strong, and be sad, and be okay with whatever and wherever you are. There is no timeline for this.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Good Son

In his family, SS was the good son. The one his dad could be proud of. The child who respected, and probably feared, the father; the child who did not look back unfavorably on the years spent in his dad's care. His dad died about eight years ago. Two weeks after Blue died, when SS told me he was "moving on," I asked him how long it took him to move on after his dad died. "A year." The words hit me physically. My stomach was sick.

I know that SS had unresolved grief from that loss. I know that SS felt some generalized hurt and sadness over the connection of father to son, son to father. But I have too much hurt and anger about the way SS treated me, not just after Blue died, but from when we first learned Blue was alive. I can't help SS. SS doesn't want to be helped. He doesn't want to name his baby. He didn't want to see him, he didn't want to feel him moving around inside me, even when he didn't know his baby was going to die. Who knows what SS has been doing the past three months? But he says "things are coming into focus."

Just when I thought I was going to send off a sarcastic email, for "closure," he IM'ed me. A friend from Colorado sent me a package that was delivered to his place. I had already decided to hold off on the email, actually, but I thought I would ignore any attempts of his (ha!) to get in touch with me. Here's the conversation:

SS:  How are you?
 me:  OK. A lot better. You?
 SS:  Better.... Things are starting to come into focus... I was dazed...
 me:  ???
 SS:  Just in a fog for the loss of the little guy...
 Sent at 1:46 PM on Wednesday
 me:  I figured that is what you are talking about.
what's coming into focus?
 Sent at 1:48 PM on Wednesday
 SS:  I am now able to focus... starting to exercise, work is coming together. I can see beyond the grief of the loss.
Got on the scale... 215lbs..!!! WTF!!!
 Sent at 1:56 PM on Wednesday
 me:  have you been getting any help? reaching out to anyone?
 Sent at 1:58 PM on Wednesday
 SS:  Not Professional help... Talked a little bit with friends. Reaching out is not my style.
 Sent at 2:02 PM on Wednesday
 SS:  Glad you are doing better. Mom and relatives are in town.
Need to spend time with them. Happy Thanksgiving.

I probably do not need to explain to anyone how unsatisfactory this exchange was. First of all, like I didn't know what he meant when he said he was dazed. Oh, we're talking about our dead baby? Oh, now I see. Then we have the chit-chatty "I got fat" comment. Not getting any sympathy from me, ya shit stain. Moving on to "reaching out..." Those are the most extraneous words I've ever heard. "Glad you are doing better." Really? Why? "Happy Thanksgiving." Go fucking fuck yourself you pitiful excuse for a human being. You mean the Thanksgiving we expected to be spending with our newborn? Well, I will not be having a Happy Thanksgiving. I don't think you should be either.

I didn't say anything after that. The thing is, as far as he knows, nothing was wrong. In the world of SS, no reply is necessary after his last comment. Now I am thinking more about sending the email I wanted to send. The email that I thought would help me, but after talking it over with Therapist A, realized it would not in fact help me. The email that I thought was not about wanting an apology, or about getting him to change. I just figured out that's not true. I want an apology. A realization that he's sorry about the way stuff happened. I want a realization on his part that he was wrong. Not because he was wrong and I was right. I'm not sure that I was right. But I am sure he was wrong. Why do I need him to know this himself? I think that talking to him will bring me closure. We never talked. About anything. I am a talker and a sharer; he is not. But how can two people go through something like losing their baby, and never talk about it? He's not going to talk about it. Ever. Not with me, not with anyone. And he's not going to change. And if we have no future together, I don't need to care, right? I guess I want him to admit that he didn't love me, that he didn't want to survive this with me. Confess to the fact that he kept me in the relationship even though it was all a sham. I don't know if he even knows that. But I do. He is not fooling me. No, no, I am fooling myself, fooling myself for thinking I will ever get to have the conversation with him that brings me closure. This is the reality; repeat after me:

We never talked. I left. We never talked.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Goodbye Blue

Due date down, Thanksgiving to go.

Blue's memorial was last Saturday, November 19, his due date. Thirty people--family, friends and neighbors--stood in my parents' yard while we remembered my baby. The weather was beautiful; the sky was high and blue. I asked my dad to open the ceremony. He didn't expect to have to choke out every word. I didn't look around much, but according to others, the other men cried too.

My mom recited a poem, some friends read a few quotes, and then my aunt read Blue's bedtime story, Draw Me a Star. I thought I would sob through all of this, but I mostly just dabbed at wet eyes. After the readings we planted a tree. I sprinkled a small amount of Blue's ashes to mingle in the roots. Everyone helped to put dirt around the tree, some with a shovel, others with their hands. The tree is an amelanchier, small and native to the Northeast. Its flowers are white in spring and its fall foliage is orange. In summer it produces berries that are similar to blueberries. Of course. (That was an accident, actually!) After the planting I spoke aloud to Blue. Told him his story, told him how I missed him, asked for his forgiveness. I told him I would meet him someday through his brother or sister, and that I couldn't wait. I told him he is beautiful and perfect to his mama. Read the speech here.

After the ceremony, my cousin's husband stood in front of the tree and called energy from his heart, through the tree, down to the core of the earth, up through the tree, up to the universe, back through the tree, down to the core of the earth...He held me and we both rocked with sobs as he explained his belief that souls make agreements. Some agreements last for 90 years on earth, some for 40, some for 25 weeks and 3 days of pregnancy. Blue fulfilled his agreement. Blue needed me, and he chose me to help him fulfill his agreement.

Sending love and energy to Blue's tree.

I felt peace on Sunday. I believe I felt some peace on Monday and today. I think maybe Thanksgiving won't be so bad. Though I know this by now: I shouldn't plan on it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

That Guilty Feeling

Earlier this week I felt that guilt creeping in...that guilt that I am not sad enough anymore. I went to the climbing gym with a friend, and walking into a bar for beers after, I thought, "I am not sad. I haven't thought about the baby in hours. I am not sad." And a moment later, "Wait. Is this over? Already?" Ha!

I've heard that the anticipation of the day--the due date--is often worse than the day itself. So I anticipated that the whole week would be hell. And then it wasn't. I think I might have even described myself as "happy" for those gym-climbing and beer-drinking hours. But starting again last night...wham-o! I'd been planning Blue's memorial service with my parents. A few days ago I worried that I wouldn't be emotional enough when I read my speech to Blue. As. If.

The memorial is on his due date, November 19. Three months and nine days after he was born still. It will be lovely. So many friends and family and neighbors are coming. It will be sad. It will be what was supposed to be the most wonderful day of my life.

At 4:00 Pennsylvania time tomorrow look up, wherever you are, and think of Blue in his big blue sky. Here on earth, we mortals weep.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Giving Thanks and the New Joy

First I will be taking away.

One of my bloggy friends told me in an email that I was "very nice" for naming NAWP that way (Not a Whole Person). She very generously suggested that the name captured how I want good things for him even though he has hurt me. But I didn't--and still don't--feel like I want the best for him. So in act of reverse generosity, I am renaming him SS. That stands for Shit Stain.


Thanksgiving this year is going to suck. I do not care to be eloquent in saying that. There will be no Blue. There will be my one-year-old nephew who was three days old on Thanksgiving last year, just to remind me this year that there is no Blue. If there is one bit of light, it is that I had planned to be in DC with my newborn, SS and his family. I won't be having this same new tradition minus the newborn. I will be having the same old tradition of getting together with my family, difficult as it will be.

I had considered going away for Thanksgiving; taking a cool trip with some friends that would be nothing like family dinner. For a few years when I lived in Colorado, I would stay put, always finding a clan of other "orphans" with whom to share the holiday. One of my fondest Thanksgiving memories involves a football game, a lot of Gewurtstraminer, and making out with other girls and Redi Whip. Instead for this year I was thinking about a Utah canyoneering trip, or rock climbing in Red Rocks, Nevada, like old Colorado times. But things are different now. I can't just get in the car and drive to Utah, for one. And not as many friends have time to burn in the wilderness on long holiday weekends. Putting together a last-minute trip on the busiest travel weekend of the year? Boo. Spending time in the airport with happy couples and their happy little babies? Double-boo with a hiss. And I know I need to be around people who will truly care for me this Thanksgiving. I don't mean to say that my friends can't or won't do it--many of them have proven to be far better friends than I had even imagined. But sometimes people forget. Forget what JUST happened (no matter how long it's actually been). Forget how much I miss Blue, and how often I think about him. Forget how my grief turns ordinary molehills into mountains. This Thanksgiving I will be running in the park in the morning, making a new stuffing recipe, and having family dinner. Just like always. If I say it enough times, maybe I will believe it. Just...like...always.


After Taking Away and Thanksgiving, now on to Giving Thanks.

Interesting text message of the week: You are always setting an example even when you don't know it.

This was from a person who did not know that I was blogging, did not know that I had turned to the Internet to find community with other baby lost mamas. I wanted to find someone just like me. So I started this blog partly because I wanted to be able to help other mamas like me--those left with no baby AND no relationship, thereby dashing hope of trying again soon. But I have found that even when our circumstances are so different, many of our feelings are the same. I have also found that even the mamas who are seeking and absorbing help in our community are unknowingly offering help to someone else.We are all setting an example. Whether it is an example to follow, or an example to not follow...we are all helping each other...always.

And so I would like to help with more intention today. Today is Friday, 11/11/11. I wanted Blue to be born today, just like every mama whose due date was/is in the month of November this year. For a few silly moments, in all of this true grief, I was sad that I had lost the opportunity to have my baby on 11/11/11. But today is not as bad as I thought it might be. Tuesday was my terrible, miserable day. Three months since Blue died. Then Wednesday was better. Yesterday was three months since Blue was born still; yesterday was worse. Today is better.

To all the baby lost mamas who have been promised that "it will get better," it will. But not everyday. Grief is not a straight line, and some days you will reel back further than you thought you ever were. And tomorrow may not be better. But if you can find joy in one little thing, if you can find one little thing to smile about, you will make a tiny move forward. Joy is not what it used to be--it's all relative. Redefine the word. Joy is desire, joy is "not sad," joy is distraction.

I have joy today, the new--perhaps distorted--kind. But I'll take it. An acquaintance has asked for my help in possibly starting a climbing gym in my hometown (where I currently live). I am going to Happy Hour yoga tonight, where the people know who I am and how I am really doing. And the guy I have called "attentive friend of a friend," so let's call him AFF, is getting friends together to go out dancing tomorrow night. SS would NEVER make plans, OR go out dancing. I have distorted joy in that realization. I have distorted joy in changing NAWP's name to SS.

If joy is relative, like I just said it is, then I probably have real joy in starting that climbing gym, going to yoga, and going out dancing on a Saturday night. Yes, I'll take it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Other Elephant in the Room

No, not my sadness and hopelessness and lack of ability to answer the question "Do you have children?" No, no, not my biological clock. Just ticking away. How do you bring that up in the passionate throes of a budding relationship? Okay, so there are more than a few elephants in the room. This post is going to get uncomfortably honest: I want to talk about suicidal thoughts.

Even though I just wrote a blog post about not wanting to die.

I recently sent a reply text to a friend that I was okay and had "stopped wanting to die." I didn't hear anything back after that, and even though she is a very good friend, I wondered if that were too much; if it was too honest. Maybe when people ask how you are doing they don't actually want to know that you had ever rather been dead.

As it turned out, the very next day I wanted to die again. That day is today. Three months exactly since Blue died. Yesterday I realized that I didn't cry. For the whole day. I didn't cry for a whole day for the first time since the middle of July. Until I read Blue his bedtime story. Maybe I was feeling guilty for not crying? So I made myself cry last night. But today, the tears were unstoppable.

Last night I dreamt that I'd had four miscarriages. Two boys and two girls. I was painting square, pink murals as I realized that my second boy was gone too. I think in the dream that Blue was the second boy, and the last baby. But maybe he was the first baby. I am not sure if it means anything either way. And I am not sure if the dream had anything to do with my terrible, miserable day.

Maybe my terrible, miserable day had to do with seeing my dear friend's eight-month-old boy, who reminds me of my cousin's two-year-old boy. And I think that everyone has her little boy except me. Then I attended middle school parent-teacher conferences with a Burmese woman whose family my mom looks after, because my mom was sick in bed. I only saw three pregnant women, and only had to overhear one conversation about how a baby should be given a chance at life, and not aborted, because it's a life. I am taking that out of context perhaps...but that is what I heard. I mean, are you fucking kidding me? And let's top it all off with the first time I have been asked the question, by a complete and total stranger, "Do you have children?" So of course I do not have a prepared answer. Though "I don't" seemed to work fine.

If you've never thought that you'd rather be dead, then I don't think you can understand the feeling that underlies the thought. It is utter despair. Hopelessness. Worthlessness. Excruciating emotional pain that laughs at physical pain. It is getting an offer in the mail for life insurance that asks "Is anyone depending on you?" As if you needed a reminder that no, no one is. And so, really, no one is depending on me. Sure, people love me, and want me to not take my own life--and please, listen, I am not going to do it, I just want to talk about it--but how horrible would it be for them? Would they feel as bad having lost me as I do having lost Blue? I can't imagine that anyone else in this world would want to die upon learning that I was dead. I guess I just want to talk about that honestly. I do understand that there are many other reasons to keep living, but can anyone tell me truly and honestly that someone else might die if I die first? And if that is the case, then why must I live? Why must I live in all this pain? In all this hopelessness? Like I said, I am going to keep living, despite the pain and the hopelessness. Because I am pretty sure that someday I will have my happiness. I will have my rainbow.

And I am also pretty sure that the only thing worse than losing your baby is being committed to an institution because of your suicidal intentions after losing your baby.

These are just thoughts. Not intentions.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Did You Just "Should" All Over Yourself?

Yesterday was a good day...for awhile. Today was a good day...for awhile. I guess I should be dividing the days into smaller time periods so I can have a whole good unit of time, instead of just a portion.

Which brings me to the concept of "should." How does it make you feel when you say you "should" do something? Or be something? Rather, how are you feeling about yourself when you say you should do or be something? JS tells me to be aware when I "should" all over myself. That it's not a nice way to treat yourself.

Somewhere in the midst of this conversation I told him that sometimes I feel like dying...but I know I shouldn't. And he said, well in that case, it's okay to should all over yourself. MP also told me a succinct text message: No dying for you.

I get it now. Whether it's thanks to the happy pills, or yesterday's little make-out sesh with a very attentive friend of a friend, or today's beautiful sunshine while I rode bikes and tasted wine with friends, I don't want to die. And not just because I shouldn't.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Too Soon

Please do not one more person suggest that I can adopt! First off, I KNOW my options. I thought about all of them when I first found out I was pregnant. It's like you want to deny me the experience of full-term pregnancy and childbirth. Yes, I did imagine what it might be like to have the baby on my own. No, I did not for one minute think about giving up my baby for adoption. And second, the other half in defective-baby-making is out of the picture, and with just one defective-baby-maker (me), the baby will be fine!

I wish it were that simple. I keep telling myself that we are a vocal few in this baby loss community. That there wouldn't be seven billion people on this earth if something went wrong in most pregnancies. But it is hard now, to not know all the stuff that can go wrong. Damn. Anyway...


I want to take this opportunity to comment on something that has nothing to do with Blue or even NAWP, whose name I am changing to SS going forward, which stands for "shit stain." I was running in the park the other day and I thought that the large, round, blonde approaching looked like she could be my arch-nemesis from high school. She was always big but in a muscled, don't-mess-with-me kind of way. I gave a collegial wave to my fellow runner as I ran by and realized that it WAS my arch-nemesis from high school. Like, forty (fifity?) pounds later. And I pumped my fists together in front of my body after I ran by and whispered "Yeeeeeeesssssssss!" And then a tiny voice in my head said, "I'm sorry I slept with your boyfriend. Or whatever." I ran on and proceeded to develop a rash and have my eyelids swell up grotesquely in some unexplained allergic reaction.


It's been almost three months since I delivered Blue. As predicted, other people are starting to forget. I woke up sad today, but I only cried three times. No wait, five. Six. The day is not over.

It's too soon for me, everybody, to not be sad every day. It's too soon for me to tell you "I'm good," when you automatically--accidentally?--ask how I am. It's too soon for you to treat me like everything is normal. So please don't.

Today I should be 38 weeks pregnant. Two to go. (Though I was hoping for an 11/11/11 birthday.) So, you see, my baby should still be with me, in my belly, if not in my arms. And I am still thinking about him every day. I am still missing him and loving him every day. And still feeling like nothing will take the hurt away.

My Blue, you came too soon.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Kindness of Friends

November. Blue's birth month. I don't know how this is going to go.

Last night I returned from almost two weeks visiting friends in Colorado. I was exhausted from running around, seeing people, exercising a lot (a la Colorado!), telling the same story over again. I was ready to go home. But it was sad to be back, and back with the little guy. I read Blue his bedtime story (Draw Me a Star), disintegrating into tears the moment I opened the book. I looked at his ultrasound pictures, his footprints, and I layed his receiving blanket over me in bed. I didn't want to go to sleep, so I stayed up late and slept until almost noon. I hate when I do that! I keep telling myself it was only almost 10.


I've been meaning to share another experience from the weekend in East Hampton. I met up with my friend PH, whom I'd met in the bike shop the previous summer. He is very tall, young, sweet and overly energetic. He made a point of telling me last summer that his mom is eight years older than his dad. I could be into him, but he is still experiencing life independently. At 26 I was ski-bumming. I wouldn't want to deny anyone else that existence.

PH met me on the beach Friday afternoon, camera in tow. His car was packed to the roof as he was leaving the Hamptons for the season the next day. But he always carries his camera. The morning had been rainy, but the afternoon dried up and as we stood in the sand, the sun actually peeked through the clouds. I wasn't sure if I was going to tell him anything. Earlier in the summer, I made plans to visit and I was going to surprise him at the bike shop with my bump. That was the weekend I had to get the amnio. So I hadn't said anything.

On the beach lay a large stick, one that would make a very good pen. I asked him if he would take some pictures of names drawn in the sand, for some friends...and for me. He looked down at me and said, "Rough summer, huh?" He put one arm around me and I leaned into him. After a few minutes I said "Thank you for not letting go." He put his other arm around me, and he didn't let go with that arm either.


I guess I am just surprised. Pleasantly surprised at the kindness of others. Severely disappointed in NAWP. At 42 NAWP isn't half the man PH is at 26. Maybe I get too hung up on age. I guess I put expectations on older guys. Then again, look at me. Thirty-four, no job, never married, living at home. Oh, I've got empathy! Perhaps I should be looking for a lesbian sugar-mama who has baby fever and biological brothers. But I digress.

I have been told I would be surprised by the people who aren't there for me, and surprised by the ones who are. It's true. And the unpleasant surprises are just too painful to even write about. I try to be grateful for the love that my friends have expressed. In Colorado I could talk, I could cry, I could laugh, I could look away. I could focus on being sad--for a bit--or I could focus on other things, like rock-climbing. (Thanks JS for this pic!)
I am starting to make moves to go back to Colorado. Back where I belong. That is, I think.