Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Moving On: Coda; And My New Blog

Last post I mentioned that I did not want to share my new life here on this blog for Blue. But I kind of got hooked on this blogging thing, plus I would like to be funnier and talk about stuff that is not focused on baby loss. I hope you will join me on my new blog about being a lawyer and a mommy and about becoming both of these things at the same time. I hope to weave in episodes from the past that I wanted to blog about before I had a blog, while including ample attempts at humor. Hey, I said attempts. Don't blame me if you don't actually laugh. I am something like the 141st lawyer/mommy/blogger, so here is my new blogspot URL: If I have 7 followers there I will know you joined me.

Since I'm here for a moment...I have gone a day or two now where I don't think about Blue. And when I don't think about Blue, I am not sad about Blue. And that seems very strange and I am starting to wonder if it was so easy to replace him after all? Which I think I am saying just to be mean to myself. But my second Christmas-without-Blue was a lot more like simply my-first-Christmas-with-Sprout than I thought it would be.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Moving On

One more first anniversary is looming, then I wonder if I will continue to post here regularly. This was supposed to be Blue's space, but I turned it into my own. I want to honor that, that I started this blog because my son died before he was born. Because now I have another son, and something feels...not wrong...but just write about the ordinary joy of having a living child.

November 19 is the anniversary Blue's due date. Or as another blogger put it: the day nothing happened. Actually on November 19, 2011 we planted a tree. We stood in a circle in my parents' backyard on a clear but cold day, and everyone added soil to the hole from which Blue's tree would grow.

This year there will be no ceremony. It will just be another reminder of a day everyone else forgets. Strangely, I do not feel very sad as I think about November 19.


I met a real life BLM today. She came to our home to take pictures of Sprout, who is one month old today. She mentioned that her first daughter was premature. When I asked how early, I heard the hesitation that preceded her reply. Twenty-three weeks, five days. Her daughter's twin brother was born sometime earlier, took one breath and died. I motioned to the picture behind her of the little guy I lost. She scanned the bookcase for a photo of a child; I said it was just his name on the beach. She has one of those photos too. In the ensuing conversation we both cried a little. We talked about the stupid things people say.

I told her that if ever "things happen for a reason," it was true in my case. But that doesn't mean you would sacrifice your child. I think if I have any guilt over what happened to Blue, it is the admission that I didn't want the life I would have had had he lived. Because I know that if things hadn't "worked out"--that is, if Sprout were not sleeping and grunting across the room from me right now--I would still be a total mess of a person.

But I am not that sad right now, and that feels strange. It makes me feel like A Sky for Blue is not the place to move on, to live a new life with a new little boy. So on this blog, I will continue to check in about living life without my missing little person. But not about moving on without him.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Yes I Am Happy, But These Tears Are Sad

I missed the chance to take a picture of Blue's tree in fall colors. I believe it changed early, because even when I saw it a few weeks ago many of the orange leaves had crusty spots of brown on them. But here's a picture of what his tree would look like in fall:

And as more trees fell around it, once again Blue's tree survived. Hurricane Sandy did this to a huge tree on the other side of my parents' house:
Not good!

Sprout lost his umbilical cord last week and because it looks kinda gross, and mostly like the cheap plastic clamp that they use to separate it from the rest of the cord, we are going to bury it with Blue's tree. Brothers.

So...the sun has not come out here for over a week. We are still going out for walks, because what the hell else is there to do? I love the cool air and I wish I could be running in it. But yesterday after the longest walk in a while, I bent down to tie my shoe and good-ness it hurt! Like my back was all stiff and my hamstrings were all tight and I remembered how painful it is to run regularly and I felt old and, well, crappy! Like I will never run again. I will never be a triathlete again. I will never run another marathon (probably true but I am not really sad about that).

And I've had some other thoughts, about life and happiness and having one baby in my arms and one in only my heart. I am still sad about everything that happened, when I think about Blue. Naturally. But when I look at Sprout and I just love him so much, my tears are sad, not happy. Yes, I am happy. But they are not tears of joy. And I wonder what that is all about? And I wonder if there is a part of me that likes to be miserable? And I wonder if that is part of our human condition, our modern human condition, or just a part of me? Maybe if I am not miserable, I will have nothing to write about. I write music...sometimes...and there is no tension in the lyrics, or in the sounds, when there is not conflict in the origin of the song. Or so the troubled artist thinks.

I am a troubled mommy today too: dressed Sprout in a sleeper with monsters on it, and he has been acting like a monster today. They looked like happy monsters to me. Of course, the thing is, I don't care that Sprout's being fussy. He could be not here at all. I'll take this any day:

Friday, October 26, 2012

One for Good Luck (The Birth Story)

It seems to be a thing among BLMs to have natural childbirth. Maybe it is wanting to be as close as possible to our rainbows when they are born? To physically feel everything about the birth? Knowing that no physical pain is worse than the emotional owies on our hearts? Well, I tried to be one of those BLMs. And I almost succeeded.

And I am just so damn competitive that I am still a little disappointed in myself! As I was getting the epidural and could finally think and breathe and even talk, I said to Mr. E, "I'm a wuss."

Let's start from the beginning. My due date was October 25. Two Fridays ago when I left work I got a sort of nesting urge to make a to-do list. I used to work in sales and that was something that was emphasized for sales reps, that if you don't have a road map of the day then you won't know where you are going. I often make to-do lists. But this was a comprehensive to-do list, prioritized and all. I guess part of me knew it was time to just be prepared. I also took home my Fitball, because I thought I might bring that to the hospital with me to help with labor pains (a very good call, BTW). I told my secretary about the list, and we joked that we'd see each other on Monday.

On Saturday I hosted a wine tasting event that I've been organizing for 5 years now. It is supposed to be by bike, but obviously I was just riding in the car this year. We still had a few bikers and a few more also in the car. I had a few tastes of wine and drank a glass with we like to joke that the wine started my labor. A friend on the wine tour who plays poker with Mr. E had guessed October 14 as Sprout's birthday...and there was money on the line. He thought he had picked the 13th and he was getting a little crabby that I hadn't gone into labor by the end of the day. Which is sort of funny because at 4:30 on Sunday morning I half woke up to a few mild contractions. I realized that I was starting labor, and I got up and washed my nursing bras (which only ended up being like 2-3 sizes too small), came back to bed and told Mr. E and he fell back to sleep for a while but I was having trouble relaxing. About 7:30 I was able to fall asleep for about an hour, then I started getting hungry and the contractions were enough to keep me awake.

I sent a few texts to family that my labor had started. Such a funny thing, two of my West Coast cousins called that day. One that I talk to regularly but hadn't for a week or so, so that wasn't weird, but another that, no matter how we try, we fail to connect more than once every few months. It was like we were talking to each other some other way. While I was on the phone a few times I couldn't talk through a contraction. But they were still erratic, even though steadily gaining strength. I had been warned to stay away from the hospital as long as possible. Around 3 or 3:30 I ate something and we started getting ready to go get checked.

We arrived at the hospital around 4:30, and waited in triage until a little after 5 for a resident to come check my cervix. In the meantime I watched the baby's heart rate on the monitor and noticed the number for contraction strength rising as I went through them. The worst was around 50 or 60-something I think. Sprout's heart rate was high at around 170 beats per minute, and when the resident came she thought maybe my water had broken some time before that day and the high heartrate might be sign of infection. Later when I saw the doctor he said there was nothing to worry about. Shew. The resident also bore some good news when she said I was 5-6 cm dilated. I would have cried if she had said anything less than 4. So I was admitted.

The couple who introduced me to Mr. E came by to hang out for awhile. I've known M since first grade. She actually stayed all night and watched the birth. T left, bored, after about an hour or so. He was there long enough to see me doubled over the Fitball a few times though. The contractions were getting really strong and painful and I had to "dragon-breathe" to get through them. At one point when Mr. E raised his voice playfully to M across the room I did, yes I did, tell him to shut the f up.

The nurse wanted me back on the bed to get checked again but I refused to move off the ball until the person checking me was in the room. I was kneeling on the floor and rocking back and forth over the ball, resting my head to the side between contractions. It was getting to the point where there wasn't much time to rest. At the next check I was 9 cm. Which was a bit disappointing because I was going to ask for the epidural. On the other hand I was like, OK, I made it, I can do this, not much longer. But the baby's head was high. As the resident (a different one) reached in to check his head position, another small bag of water broke. I'm not sure if that was relevant or not to her discovery that I had a "ridge" on my cervix. I guess there was some swelling that was created when the baby descended? I'm not sure, it was all a little fuzzy, I know I was checked again at 9.5 cm and the resident was kind of pissed that the nurse said I couldn't have the epidural. M told me that the nurse had said that--the nurse whose shift was over, thank god because I didn't really like her. For that and other reasons. Anyway the resident explained that it was too early to push and I had to wait until the swelling subsided otherwise I would tear my cervix. That sounded bad. She said if the anesthesiologist would agree to do the epidural that I should do it, because I was really feeling the urge to push. I was getting vocal with each contraction and trying hard not to push but it was kind of impossible. (Update: I saw the doctor the other day and I guess the "ridge" on my cervix was just that last half-centimeter or cervix that had to move aside. I'm not sure if I kind of stalled at that point, or if the urge to push, combined with not being fully dilated and the baby still being a little high all indicated that the epidural might be good to slow things down a bit. The doctor also said that if I hadn't had the epidural I "would have delivered a baby." But maybe would have gotten a laceration on my cervix, that he said can be fixed, but still. I think I'm still glad for the epidural.)

He came in and did his thing, I couldn't even look at him I was trying to get through the contractions. He wanted the bed raised up but I wanted to be able to push away with my feet and finally Mr. E squatted next to the bed so I could step on his legs. I thought the guy was taking long and I knew I was going to have another contraction while he was putting in the epidural. And I did so I just breathed and yelled and kneaded Mr. E's shoulders. There were one or two more painful contractions before the epidural kicked in.

And suddenly I could look around the room, hold a conversation, stop cursing at my husband. I have to say that having the epidural was good not bad. I do see how it slows down labor...but I needed to slow down my labor until I could get to 10 cm. I watched the contractions on the monitor without always knowing they were happening. That was pretty awesome. They were going up to 112. M said before the epidural they were up past 120. No wonder that shit hurt.

So at some point the doctor came in and said I was 10 cm dilated and it was time to start pushing and have a baby. That was around 10:15 p.m. on the 14th. Lots of pushing and two hours later...there he was! My gallery was getting bored, and tired. My mom, mother-in-law, Dad and M were there in addition to Mr. E, who held one leg and watched everything! I felt Sprout's head as he was trying to emerge but still rocking back. It felt like I was pushing and pushing for nothing for a very long time. I was feeling the contractions as they happened now, but they didn't hurt. After Sprout's head came out they told me to stop pushing so they could move the cord from under his neck. The doctor said that happens in one out of three births, so it's apparently nothing scary. Then back to pushing and I think when his shoulders came out I felt a pop that actually did hurt and I said "ow." I wonder what I would have said at that point had I not had the epidural! The doctor had asked if I wanted him on my belly after he was born and I said, "Yes, please." That was really the ONLY thing I wanted for the birth that was non-negotiable. Everything was fine and he came straight to me, that's when I said "oh my gosh" repeatedly as Mr. E cut the cord. M took pictures of Sprout on the warming table, getting weighed, the look on Mr. E's face as he watched all of this. She also took a picture of the placenta in the rectangular silver catering dish, haha. I just spaced out a bit and waited for the stitching to stop...I had a small tear that took "one long stitch" as the doctor described it. The resident did the work with the doctor directing her. I recall his saying "you can do it in two if you like," so I don't know if I have one stitch or two. I also don't know if I am still stitched or if it dissolved by now. I just know it gets a little better every day but is still not right down there. (TMI? Sorry.) 

So that's it. I'm a wuss. Jed is great. Since he was born after midnight my discharge date was Weds, but I wanted to leave on Tues. It felt like two nights already to me. And my room was right outside the nurses' station and the nursery and it was loud and annoying and I couldn't go outside and I wanted to take a shower but not in the hospital shower, and on and on. They let me go so long as we went to the pediatrician the next day. We had a deal.

As for two hours of pushing and getting the epidural and slowing down my labor...well, I guess it was meant to be that Jed was born on October 15, the day the real-life rainbow visited our town. Blue working some spirit baby magic? It was a double rainbow, actually, if you look closely you can it was the day of three rainbows. One for good luck? My favorite day in all my life.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Two Rainbows

There was literally a rainbow the day my son was born. Utterly. Fucking. Amazing.

I didn't see it myself, but I heard and saw pictures. It's probably not amazing that there was rainbow somewhere in the world on October 15, 2012, but there was a rainbow in our part of the world on October 15, 2012.

Not only that, but he was born on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day of Awareness. (His due date was the 25th.)

Without further ado, meet my rainbow Jed Leon:

He looks JUST like his dad:
Seriously, if I hadn't spent two hours pushing this kid out I wouldn't be sure he was mine. Oh, actually, he has my ear lobes. :)

Funny we have all these pictures of relatives holding him. A few with his dad holding him. And no pics of me holding him without a boob in the picture!

Here's the one from the delivery room. Our new family.
(Whoa. Babies look weird when they are just born!)

He made his entrance just after midnight on Monday. At 12:13. He was 8 pounds, 2 ounces. I can't believe I gave birth to an 8-pound baby! A week and three days before at the OB the doctor eyed my belly and said he was probably 5.5 to 6 pounds. Not. He was 20.75 inches long. So kind of a big guy.

I am having a little sadness thinking about his brother who isn't here. But for the most part I am just so overwhelmed with joy and happiness. When the doctor put him squirming on my belly and the nurse was starting to clean him up, I just couldn't stop saying "oh my gosh." I'm from the Northeast--we use the actual curse words. I don't think I've ever said "oh my gosh" before except to be polite around strangers.

Speaking of his brother...I think in a way I am lucky now that EVERYTHING is different. Blue would not have been part of THIS family. It would have been a different family. Just me and my baby. So Blue and Jed are so completely separate from each other. (Although when I was pregnant and we were calling Jed "Sprout" I would mix up their names every once in a while. Of course, I also mixed up Sprout's name with our horse Fuzz.) But I am still sad from the sadness of it all. We went for a walk in the park the other day and I was struggling to keep up and I remembered how the day after the abortion I was walking slowly around the National Zoo with my parents and just breaking down crying about every 20 minutes. So there aren't really comparisons, but reminders of how different it is between then and now.

You know, I feel like such a cliche saying this is all wonderful, it's everything I ever wanted. I spent a good number of years thinking maybe kids wouldn't fit my lifestyle. I travel, I rock climb, I do triathlons, I get drunk. Making those things past tense seemed like such a sacrifice. And when I started to feel like something was missing, and I wanted to meet a man and I wanted to have a baby, I still felt like I wasn't quite ready for ALL the changes. And then came Blue and I loved him so much from the moment I knew he existed. I remember a comment another mom posted on Glow in the Woods: I wasn't sure I had time for a baby, now he's gone and all I've got is time and nothing to do with it. Those were my sentiments exactly.

My point now is that...this is not that hard. I know it will get harder, I know there will be nights that seem to never end with a fussy baby. Days of boredom, fatigue, irritability. But I signed up for this. I signed up for all of it. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Next post preview: The Birth Story.
In a nutshell, I got past 9 cm without the epidural. Ended up getting one. Everything worked out.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Nothing to Say, Saying It Anyway

Somebody did some growing in the past four weeks. Here it is. 38 weeks, 2--or whatever--to go. Just please not 4 more weeks.

We have done everything to get ready for Sprout's arrival. Car seats are checked--and no we did not install them properly ourselves. Breast pump purchased, baby clothes and bedding washed. TV hanging on the wall so we can properly arrange all our furniture. My little freak outs about Sprout dying are not as bad as they used to be. Somehow. But I keep thinking about how nobody else's baby is maybe mine will. My cousin had her little guy six weeks early. He's still in the NICU but gaining weight and doing well. My sister-in-law had her little girl right on time and she's just perfect. Friends galore having healthy babies with no complications. I think I would like to stop having this conversation with myself now.

I had a pretty strong contraction today that also lasted a long time, which gave me slightly renewed hope that I could have a 10/11/12 baby. But it's not to be. Ah well, I just wish he would remove his feet from my rib cage and drop and be born! And then I could stop worrying about the pregnancy...and start worrying about whether he's breathing while he's sleeping.

So, yeah, as you can see, I have NOTHING to talk about. But I'm home along tonight since Mr. E has poker and I guess I still feel like talking. Sorry you had to listen. :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


On Sunday I went to a book launch for a book called Moments Like This. The editor is a grief counselor and she got a book deal through happenstance and she compiled a book of essays written by her about her clients, and also written by her clients. This is not about marketing the book, but here's a link to it on Amazon

She is a friend of my mom's and when I asked if I could submit an essay she simply said yes. My mom also wrote an essay about losing her dad, my Giddo (grandfather in Arabic). I was only 18 months old or so when he died, so I don't have any memories of him. Just pictures and stories. His wife, my Sitto, died in May, while Mr. E and I were on our mini honeymoon. It was expected and it was time, and we had a wonderful visit just a few days before her death. I am getting teared up now...just thinking how Sitto told us "young love is the best love," how we told her I was expecting...when I never told her I was expecting Blue. It would have been too confusing for her. I was unmarried, she had Alzheimer's.

Anyway...I asked my dad to go to the book event with me because my mom couldn't go, and though I thought it might be fine to go alone I'm really glad I didn't. Because when Silvia introduced the contributors, and asked me to stand up, I. Lost. My. Shit. I don't know why. I was sad when we got there, because when I think about the essay I wrote for the book, I think about the ending and it still makes me cry. So I was thinking about that. And the couple sitting next to me lost a young adult daughter to a car accident, and the dad was crying and when I see other people cry, not just men, I cry too. I don't even have to know them, obviously. So when Silvia asked me to stand up, and she praised my essay as one of the most touching in the book, or something like that, I don't even remember, I burst into tears. I had to sit down. I even made a little gasping, crying sound! And I saw my dads eyes for a millisecond because I couldn't look at him either because he was crying too. If I remember correctly, I saw my dad cry two times in my life before Blue died. And since, I've seen him cry more than twice. Was he previously hiding his crying from me before because it wasn't about me? Or was he never really crying about stuff? I don't know. I'm balling right now and I don't know why either. (Hormones?)

Another anyway...More than one woman came up to me after the program and shared her story of baby loss. And that was gratifying. Eventually I pulled myself together enough to talk to the people in the room. In the end, it felt so nice to make those connections in the real world, and to be able to help another BLM. That's the whole point of this, right?

Here's the end of my essay. Another gratifying thing was that I advised Sylvia as to an ownership clause for her to publish the work of the contributors without controlling our own use of it. So it's totally legit that I am sharing it here. If you want the whole thing, let me know and I will post. It's only the last three little sentences that get me, but I had to provide a lead in. You may recognize a few lines, as I wrote the essay based on six months of blog posts. (Love to my loyal fans!)

I’m not sure when I stopped wanting to die. Somewhere in the way that life just went on, it started moving on for me too. The heavy fog of my sadness began to burn off slowly, without my really knowing it. I don’t mind thinking that the sun had come out. Still some days my grief is anything but pure. Some days it is so much anger and frustration it is rage. Some days I am still irritable. Some days I am belligerent. Some days, still, I am brittle, unpredictable, and utterly inconsolable.

But these are not the early days, and many days I feel light. The dark days are shorter, are less dark, and are fewer and further between. I may still not like where I am, but I am getting somewhere.

And everywhere I go, I know I’m not alone. My baby travels with me. His name is Blue. With a capital “B.” My baby’s name is Blue.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wearing My Babylost On My Sleeve

I have one of those Facebook friends--well, actually, not anymore--who makes ambiguous posts about strong emotions. The somewhat overly dramatic I'm sad or I'm angry or I'm very hurt but I am not going to tell you why kind of posts. Some girl I knew from the track team in high school was making posts about how she just received the worst news possible. How no one can make her feel better. How if you can't take her sad posts then don't read them. How every time she sees a pregnant woman or baby she just cries. At this point I finally felt like I could help. So I wrote her a message, saying I'm so sorry for her loss, sharing my story, offering to write her baby's name in the sand, to call or email or just be there for her. I cried writing that message, thinking there was another BLM added to our ranks.

Then her posts started reflecting happier things. Carefree things. Her older kids going back to school. And I'm thinking...well that was a quick recovery. Clearly your baby didn't just die. Then like a week later comes the post: "I told all my family so I may as well tell you all too. I'm pregnant!" I am not a huge fan of early pregnancy announcements. But that is not for me to say. I am not a fan of waiting until the end of the first trimester either, so that in the event you miscarry it remains a dark, dirty secret. So good for her, right? I guess her older kids have a different dad, and she and her new husband really did get news that they could not conceive together.

I wrote her another message that said, "Congratulations. I'm so so glad it's not what I thought. Best wishes." And then I hit unfriend.

I felt so...taken advantage of! I know that's not true, she didn't do any such thing intentionally. But there I was, pouring my heart out, crying for her, trying to make her feel better. Wearing my babylost on my sleeve. And there was nothing wrong.

I know. There wasn't "nothing wrong." Just because my baby died doesn't mean someone else doesn't have pain. Even if I think it's nothing like the pain that comes when your baby dies. That's not for me to say. And I wouldn't hesitate to reach out to someone else whose baby died. Even, again, if I just THOUGHT her baby died. But now I might be a little more cautious about making assumptions.

(And yeah, I'm sorry, but I do feel a little like, that's so great for you, you can have your third kid now. And I can have my one dead one. GFY.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Decreased Fetal Movement

So, SOMEBODY had a little freak out and called the doctor this morning to come in a day early for a regular check up. I mean, that's what I am telling myself. I just came in a day early. No big whoop. I wasn't like, up half the night, waiting and waiting and waiting to get kicked or kneaded in the belly. I wasn't miserable and brittle and a moment away from tears when I called the doctor's office this morning. They could take me in 40 minutes.

I got myself worked up when he didn't move while I was lying down and on the phone after work about 7:00, a normally active time. Mr. E and I went out for a walk and of course I didn't feel anything then, but when we got home I started making dinner and maybe, did I feel a kick? I sat down, drank some cold water, and got one weak response. I tied an elastic band tightly around my belly. Nothing. A few weak prods before bed. Lying down in bed...left side...right side...on my back...nothing.

On the 6-minute drive to the OB I think Sprout punched me 11 or 12 times. So I was already feeling relief when I sat down for a quick ultrasound. I could then be disappointed that at this stage you don't get to see that much on the ultrasound anymore! He moved in little motions, mainly with his hands, things I couldn't feel. It was reassuring to know that I don't feel his every move. His little body rose and fell slightly, practice breathing. I forgot to ask how much he weighs.

Then 15 minutes on the fetal monitor. The tech put the kick counter thingy in my hand and I sat there feeling nothing for what seemed like a long time. A few times there were sounds of his movement but I didn't feel it. Even so after 15 minutes I counted at least 25 kicks and wiggles. So. That is why I am a spazz.

But of course they are all so nice and say they'd rather see me 100 times than not see me the one time when they need to. And I would like to point out that he is back to very active tonight, just confirming that last night maybe I WAS experiencing the dreaded and not necessarily discernible "Decreased. [ecreased, ecreased]. Fetal. [etal, etal]. Movement. [ovement, ovement, ovement]."

I wondered out loud to one of the nurses: How much of this focus on kick counts is solely anxiety-provoking, and how much is useful in getting an expectant mom to intervene at the right time? I am going to guess a 90-10 ratio at best. Not that I'm going to stop counting kicks and spazzing out.

But I sort of wonder that maybe if I never heard the term "decreased fetal movement," I just might sleep through the night. As long as my husband stays the fuck away from me. (Just kidding. He's great, we're doing great. It's just that he's 6-2 and I'm pregnant and a double bed is VERY SMALL.)

Here's a 34-week pic for your consumption.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bump Reveal!

I thought it might be time for a happy post. Because I just wrote a brittle, angry post but saved it in drafts because it just feels wrong right now. Even if it's true and it's how I feel sometimes. Um, focus...

Mr. E and I went to the Jersey Shore for two nights last weekend. We didn't have the best beach days, and the waves were really crappy, a violent thunderstorm kept us homebound and up half the night on Saturday, but it wasn't hot so that's pretty much all I cared about. Obviously not. I just wanted to have a few beach days before the baby. This was our last chance! We went away twice to the beach this summer and twice it freakin' rained! OK, anyway...happy post quickly degenerating into whiny post. I think my blog is usually mostly not about happiness. Forgive me while I type out loud...I'm trying.

Ah, let's just skip to the photo evidence.

Here I am!
This was taken August 25, which was 2 months exactly from my due date.

And here at home a few days later. And in my PJs. I didn't leave the house like this or anything. I just posted it to all the world (because my blog is sooooo popular) on the Internet.

What I'm really showing you is that I just got a hair cut and my hair looks awesome when it's straight. Because it's not. Not ever. And it's so curly right now that it winds around itself and I look like Shirley Temple.

I'm going to eat some ice cream now. Hope you liked the pics. And the happiness. :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

And the Days That Follow

Saturday morning I sighed and told Mr. E, "I'm so glad Blue's birthday has passed." Yes, it's a huge relief.

But now I realize I am still swimming in last summer's aftermath. The crushing weight of the sadness, the dearth of support from those around me. I went on job interviews within weeks of Blue's stillbirth. I went to the shore for three or four days (mistake, actually, all pregnant women and small children) and my ex talked about how luxurious my life was because I could go sit by the ocean for a few days. If ever I dared sleep past 9:00, whether because of an extra sleeping pill or extra grief the night before, I could expect to hear about how I wasn't pulling my own weight.

I have over 365 days of perspective now, and it is really painful to look back on those days after, and realize that I had no way to protect myself. I thought I needed to be with Blue's dad. I thought I needed to put back the pieces that had broken for other reasons. Even my parents, who a few weeks later would literally drive four hours to DC one day to take me home, told me I should be with him. When I told him that--you know what? His name is Chris. His name is Chris Hughes and he lives in DC and I'm not going to keep his identity secret anymore like something I say here might hurt him. He is tall with green eyes and he kept gaining weight when we were together. He is very smart and very lacking in empathy and I think he technically qualifies as being a sociopath.

So anyway, when I told Chris that my parents told me to be with him, but what would they say if they knew how he was treating me (we were fighting then but it wasn't like he didn't know he was being pretty shitty most of the time), his response was, "Low blow." Said calmly with venom on his tongue and hatred in his eyes. I never understood that answer.

I am having a hard time now avoiding these thoughts, these thoughts about how bad it was but why didn't I see it then? And I know why. I know why I endured the abuse, just like I endured the all-but-first-two-months of our stupid, shitty relationship: I didn't think I had a choice.

And I couldn't possibly see how bad it was. I was in no shape to be objective. Logical. Reasonable. I was a childless mother.

Now I can see how bad it was. Surviving the sadness. Being with Chris. Trying to function when there was nothing normal, comforting or routine about my life at the time. Maybe the fact that I tend not to like routine, that I tend to seek new places, is what saved me. Because I don't know how I lived. And that makes me so sad all over again, to see, objectively, that I was sad enough that I wanted to die. That I wanted the pain to stop. That I could make it stop if I wanted to.

It's like I have PTSD from my own depression. Is that possible? I think of myself a year ago and I feel so sad for her, the woman that I was. When I read or hear about other people who are just really depressed,  or who actually commit suicide, I get so sad, thinking, I know. I know what that's like.

I know, right now, I will not feel that again. Until I start to freak out about something happening to Sprout. Then I imagine. And imagining is worse than reality. Except sometimes when it's not.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Grief Week Days Four and Five

Blue's birthday. One year ago today. So strange. So strange how much can change in a year. And how much can stay the same. I think I'm in chronic pain mode now, with occasional acute flare-ups. Today was hard, but like many days that carry significance, not as hard as I might have imagined. (But didn't imagine, because I already know this is true.) I changed my profile picture on Facebook back to the plain blue sky. I wrote there:
One year without Blue. Immeasurable joy lost, immeasurable pain displaced and endured.

I never publicly grieved there. So I shouldn't be surprised that there haven't been many comments. The important people know, or would know if they saw, what I mean.

My secretary took a vacation day yesterday but she sent me flowers at work. I hadn't cried all day until I saw them. I knew they were from her when I read the poem on the card. And I was so good about not thinking, "why didn't anyone ELSE send me flowers?" Except I guess I did a little bit. Things have been pretty good with my sister and sister-in-law lately, especially since I got pregnant again. Strike that, ONLY since I got pregnant again. But that's been a while now and I guess I just forgot that they would forget that today is Blue's birthday.

Which leads me to wonder if the ex remembered what today is. I thought about that a lot today. I thought about how he went back to work the next day. I thought about how he once called Blue "a corpse" and not "my son." And I thought, for my sake, for my sake and not even his, I hope at some point he found some compassion. That he had some sort of breakdown, and he realized that HIS SON DIED. For my sake. Do you know what I mean? Yeah, so I'm still angry. But it's not acute and it's not even chronic. It just flares up every now and then. 

I also thought today about how happy I am. I have a wonderful husband. When I need to talk about this stuff, the sadness and the anger, he listens. And he talks too. He wants this life with me. I'm expecting another baby boy. We're having a baby boy. We want this, both of us. And my job is good and I'm really starting to like it here, this place that I used to think was a fine place to grow up but that's all, thank you. It's not the same place where I grew up. And I like it. I didn't forget all that today. Because I don't know where I'd be if I weren't married, if I weren't expecting, if I weren't finally working, if I weren't living here now. I can guess, but I'd rather not.

One year later...I love Blue as much as ever, I miss Blue as much as ever, but I like my life. A year ago today, that didn't seem possible.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Grief Week Days Two and Three

Today came the break down. The pain not as acute as ever, but more than before. Today was double-whammy day, because Blue died on August 8 last year then was born on the Wednesday of this week last year. There's not a lot to say. I just closed my door at work for a while and emailed my secretary (I know! I have a secretary!) that it was a sad day. I told her ages ago that I had another baby, but he died. And she shared too. Two miscarriages as she tried for one more child, neither one especially late nor especially early. Today she asked me if I was sad about my son, and I had settled down temporarily but when she called him my son I just welled up again. Of course he is my son. But not everybody knows that.

I am staying up too late every night and that doesn't help with coping and stuff. And it's about to be midnight again and my eyes are open. Today I remembered when I didn't want to go to sleep because I didn't want to wake up. It's not like that now, but it makes me sad to think that it ever was. And when I think of those things the pain is acute again. I was telling Mr. E that. His shirt took my tears, like it always does.

(And I need to go to sleep now.)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Grief Week Day One

Well, today was fine. I wore the blue star necklace that Mr. E gave me for Christmas. Work was busy and then there was lots to do after work. And also this beautiful sunset.

This is where we live. I told you it was crappy. But it's working out. Well, except for the fact that I rang my neighbor's doorbell at 6am on Saturday. I am not exaggerating. Let's just say it's all OK and I wasn't mean because it turns out her two young sons are both autistic and her husband bailed and helps out only two days a week and life sucks pretty bad for her so I shouldn't get upset about being woken up by loud, reverberating bass notes emanating into my apartment at 5:45 on my days off. But I digress.

Today I didn't feel sad until I took off the necklace, telling Mr. E that I was going to wear it every day this week. Something about the ritual...I don't know. It reminded me of the early days when little things meant so much and I really wanted them to be a certain way or I assigned a lot of meaning to something very small. We made some plans for Friday night, Blue's birthday, so I won't be spending it curled up on the couch. I mean, that's the plan.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Grief Week Overview

How did I make it this far? It's the week of the anniversary of Blue's death and birth.

The weeks and days leading up to this have somehow made me tell three people at work that I lost a baby about this time last year. Which is probably a bit confusing since I am more than six months pregnant and married to a different dad. I guess I just want people to be gentle with me. I want to not be myself and not have people think I'm being myself. My boss tells me I can take a day off. Though I think I'd rather not. Last year I wanted the distraction of work so badly, but didn't have it, so I don't think I could pass it up this time around.

I think it took a year until I could feel that Blue's dying was "just so, so sad." Or to think, "I can't believe this happened to me...but it did." So much has changed in my life and I wonder if, horrendous as it was in the short term, in the long term I am actually better off. "It" being the shitty ex and the no job thing and the nowhere to be and the no one to be there for. Blue's brother will be his half brother, his brother minus the shitty ex part. So I wonder how much I'll wonder how similar the two would be? Yet I hate to feel I'm somehow better off that Blue died.

And how do you mark the day your baby died? If he died on August 8, but wasn't born until August 10, which day is it? If he died on the Monday a year ago tomorrow, does that mean tomorrow is the anniversary of the day he died? Or does it just mean this whole week is Grief Week, and I better strap in for the ride?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

All About the Timing

So. I am now at the point in my pregnancy where stuff started to go wrong last time. And I'm doing fine in this particular moment, but there have been some ups and downs the past few weeks.

I got the news with Blue that BOTH his parents were cystic fibrosis carriers on day 6 and 22 weeks. The next day I went in for an amnio. It was at that point that I started thinking what it would be like to have a child where every time he was sick, every time he coughed even, we would think, "Is this when we lose him?"

As I lay in bed the night before that day in THIS pregnancy, all those terrible thoughts came back. And I was thinking of Blue and my shitty ex and how I didn't hold my baby after he was born. I was turning to Mr. E to tell him I was sad, but he was already turning to me to see what was wrong. I told him what was happening and he said "I know. I know it was that time." He got up with me to eat ice cream and watch TV until we fell asleep on the couch together. He stayed up past 2 and never said a word about it. I write this now and I think some of my tears are in disbelief, and awe, at having a partner like him.

Two days later--amnio day--I was driving across Pennsylvania for six hours by myself, and I was reminded that it is STILL HARD to be alone and not think about Blue. And not feel intense sadness. After the return trip I told myself I am not doing that again.

One day at work last week I had another little break down. Same thoughts. Except this time I also acknowledged how scared I am that I could lose Sprout too. He can't have cystic fibrosis, all the genetic tests are fine, but something random could go wrong. I'm not naive anymore. While my brain is fighting to be rational, telling me that if things went wrong all the time we wouldn't all be here, my heart is trying to prepare me for another dead baby. What if...? Thankfully my brain wins a few arguments here and there. But I wish I wasn't this afraid. Being pregnant and happy is exhausting enough! Sprout gave a few kicks as I was settling down. Sweet boy already, just like his dad.

One week from today will be termination day one, measured in this pregnancy. And after termination day three, everything will be strangely new again. And then Blue's birthday will come on August 10, with the two days prior being hell as well. But what I know so far on this grief journey is that the anticipation of bad days is often worse than the days themselves. Time will tell me. Then I'll tell you.

. . .

In the blahdy-blah boring department: we're moving to a new apartment because the old/current one has mold (and at least one cockroach). Total pain in the ass but in another week that will be all done for at least a year. Upgrades include a gas stove, central air, a second-floor unit with lots of light, and a significant increase in rent. And now we'll be in a crappy luxury complex that is actually walking distance to a Wegmans and coffee shop. Job is great and my boss is the best because he totally doesn't mind that I'll be working for six months then on leave for three.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Stop Posting Ultrasound Pictures on Facebook! (Reprise)

So I went on this rant a few months ago about ultrasound pictures on Facebook. I think it's kind of creepy and way too personal. I mean, that's the inside of your uterus! For all the FB world to see.

After a late pregnancy loss, every one of those wavy-lined pictures that pops up in your News Feed is like a punch in the gut. It seemed to me that the dads were more likely to post them than the moms, like maybe they didn't get it that the pics are of intimate body parts. But that made it much harder to avoid: it's more difficult to defriend every man who could possibly have a child than every woman you know who could possibly have a child. (You know, the age thing.)

Well anyway, what does Mr. E go and do? Posts an ultrasound picture of MY uterus and MY son's penis on Facebook! So far it's received 27 comments and 47 likes. Maybe I am in the minority then?

I'm having a(nother) boy. I'm so happy about that. It's supposed to be wrong or whatever to want one over the other. But I really wanted a son as part of my family, and I'm so relieved to not have to keep waiting. After Blue died, I just felt I was meant to be the mother of a son. And I think I'd be devastated if I had three girls, and I didn't have Blue. This new little guy will never replace Blue, and I wouldn't want him to, but it seems I can now move on in a way.

At least I can when he's born and he's healthy and I can stop holding my breath.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Childless Mothers

So back to Mother's Day reflections.

I read a few articles/essays about adult children without their mothers on Mother's Day. But there weren't any essays about being a childless mother on Mother's Day. And for next year, I want to change that. Why should we lurk in the shadows on that day? Why shouldn't we let people know that we exist? That we are mothers, too? I'm at the point now where I CAN stop to educate people. And I don't always even get choked up. I no longer feel like it's such a burden to tell someone what I'm going through. And how maybe they can help.

Still I bought myself flowers. Yellow mini gerbera daisies. They died. The bouquet that Mr. E gave me? Still alive. Mr. E got me flowers. And a card. So did my mom, where she mentioned Blue and the baby-to-be. My sisters and I sent a group text to each other. My dad said, in an off-hand way, "Oh, yeah, Happy Mother's Day." Three out of four ain't bad.

But someone...anyone?...maybe a mention that this isn't exactly a happy mother's day. That it's sad and weird and I'm not sure I'd like to acknowledge it, as much as I want other people to acknowledge that I AM A MOTHER.

And if I weren't pregnant now, what would that day have felt like? All sadness, no happiness? Would I begin to think of fond memories of Blue? Would I be happy that I ever felt a baby kicking and punching inside my belly?

I don't know. And I'm glad I don't have to know. Getting pregnant again has changed me back to a generally happy person. No I will never be "the same." But this is what not being depressed feels like. It's awesome! I can talk about babies and pregnancies without losing my shit. What I really realized is that other people can talk to me about these things.

Strangely though I still have a somewhat negative reaction to seeing pregnant women, or women with their young kids, or especially Facebook announcements and updates on pregnancy. Thinking they never had to go through what I went through. On Facebook, you can be pretty sure you're right about that. But out in life? How do I know someone's pregnancy wasn't her fourth, after 3 miscarriages? Or a termination? Or a placental abruption? Or an unexplained stillbirth? (Damn I wish I didn't know any of this stuff.)

Oh, the things I don't know and the things I wish I didn't. But I do know one thing: we're all mothers.

Happy/Weird/Sad Belated Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Everything Happening at Once (Read While Hopeful)

So like, it's almost Mother's Day--my first without Blue--and I want to post something poignant and meaningful, but I am just bursting at the seams to share some good news. Then I can go back to being poetic and shit.

AFF got a new name this past week: Mr. E!

Please think this new nickname is as hilarious as I think it is. We got married on May 10 in New York City, in front of two of my good friends who live in NYC (Mr. E and I live 90 miles away), a photographer, and a friend who helped us get to the City Clerk's office and carry our stuff around during the photo shoot. Here we are (identity reveal alert!):

In future posts I will talk about how much crap our families gave us for getting married when "we hardly knew each other." But we're happy and that's what matters. And, there's more good news...

I'm 16 weeks pregnant! I just went for it. We just went for it. I will talk a LOT more about getting pregnant so soon after loss (5 months, maybe not that soon, but I had to go out and find a whole new dad and all). I had an ultrasound to measure my cervix the other day and everything looked good. So I can stop worrying about an incompetent cervix (right?). You know what's funny? I've been thinking maybe I've felt the baby move so far, but as I write this post I have felt 3 undeniable baby flutters. And, there's more good news...

I got a job! I'm going to be a worker's comp attorney. Just like I always dreamed! Just kidding. But I'm really excited to have this thing called a stable income. And I like to learn new stuff and this qualifies. I'll be in a satellite office of a pretty big Philadelphia law firm, so hopefully they won't freak out when I tell them I'm pregnant my first day on the job.

Last (and least) we sign a lease on an apartment next week, to move in June 1. We are both living in our family homes at the moment but my mom said Mr. E can stay over now! He just can't move in with his stuff. Fair enough. Here's the apartment (we have the first floor and that big front porch):

I can't wait to cook in that kitchen!

Okay, I think we're caught up. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hopeful or Horrible

I remember reading blogs back in the "early days," and there were times when someone else's wonderful news--positive relationship, positive pregnancy test, etc.--would make me feel really horrible. Really horrible that nothing good was happening to me. And I had no idea when something good would happen--if ever. But then there were other times when I would feel very hopeful. Hopeful that good things could happen after a very bad thing. That you COULD get pregnant again after a miscarriage or medical termination. That I could get pregnant again.

I say this because I am about to reveal some really good news, of more than one variety, and I want to sort of warn you, gentle reader. (Okay, that's a joke, the "gentle reader" part. Didn't some novelist whose books we read in high school use that term?)

Just make sure to be in a hopeful mood, and not an other-people's-good-news-is-horrible state of mind before you come back for a serving of whatever it is I'm dishing up. And I really truly wish everyone hope and peace every day. But I am all for being realistic.

. . .

On an unrelated note...

I learned not long ago that a friend's wife had a scary miscarriage. She was more than 4 months along, and was high-risk due to some complications from her last delivery (a now 3-year-old son). I am not sure of the details. Her life was not threatened, but her health was and the outcome is that she cannot have more children. I am not very good friends with this guy, but we've known each other since we were kids and two of our mutual friends are very good friends with the both of us. I last saw him with his son at an event in February, and at that point I knew (i.e. thought) his wife was pregnant. He said she was parking the car and would be there, I should meet her. And I thought that the last thing I needed was to see his 8-months-pregnant wife. Well. She had lost the baby at this point. He didn't mention it. I understand why.

But when his mom told me weeks later what had happened, I called him and left a message with my condolences. I offered support if he or his wife wanted to talk, and I think I also said I knew of some helpful grief resources. I know everyone is different, and I didn't expect him to call me back. But I recently was thinking about this: we become a BLM and we look around and we don't see anyone who can help us. So we turn to the Internet to find support and find community, but here I've been here for her in the real world all along. We both just never knew it.

. . .

I was talking with a family friend today about how siblings differ from friends. About the ways you want your sister to be there for you...but it's your friends who come through. And we talked about the difference between real world support and online support. I needed both. I need both.

Thank you, bloggy friends and real world friends, for being there for me. I would not be where I am today without you. And 9 months ago, I sure as hell didn't think I could be where I am today. <choking on lump in my throat>

And get ready for some happy news!!!!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Missing Little Person

How can you miss this little missing person so much? When I am sad and shedding tears for Blue, I can't comprehend it. I never held him, except all those weeks in the womb. I never saw him in the outside world, alive and breathing. And yet somehow I still think he should be a living part of my life today.

And I worry that AFF will confuse my longing for Blue with a longing for the life I would have had with Blue in it, and the ex and the who knows what else? Because I don't want any of that. I just want Blue.

I think I protect AFF from my true feelings, because I don't want him to think that I want the life I would have had. I want the life with AFF in it. I think I also protect myself, by not being truly honest about my sadness, because I am afraid AFF will call me "too needy" like lots of other guys and then he will be gone. I continue(d) to hide that second part from AFF, but as for the first, I told him. I wanted him to be sure I didn't want that other life, and when I said maybe sometimes I hide the longing from him, he said "Don't ever hide your feelings from me." And I think I cried because he is so amazing and understanding, and I knew I would never be too needy for him.

What a difference a year makes.

As for missing Blue, it's going on 9 months now. And I'm sure counting. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Blue in Bloom

Blue's tree is in bloom! Someone told me that new trees can take a few seasons until they bloom. I don't know if he knows anything about horticulture or not. But I took it as a good sign. And added it to seeing the four-leaf clover. Which was recently ripped up by the landscapers. But I know it was there.

Anyway, just wanted to share a few pictures of the tree--an amelanchier. Oh wait, I did think of something poignant today:

All the white blooms on the tree?
A symbol of Blue's love for me.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Remedial Grief Instruction

Eight months approaching (since Blue died), and I'm back on Glow, keeping myself up late, wondering how things might have been. I am not sure what brings me back to the blogs after a period of time feeling good. Never feeling like I don't need them anymore, but feeling like I don't need them right now. Then suddenly I do. And I'm sitting here now and tears are pooling in my eyes but things are going well and I just don't know why I want to cry.

What is different now is that a little cry here and there is simply part of the routine. Part of the way I live. When the tears come, and I think I don't know why, I know they'll stop. I trust that they will no longer come at inappropriate times, although that could be because I'm not all that self-conscious anymore about crying at inappropriate times.

Sometimes I get really sad about the way I used to feel. Like if I read an old blog post of my own, and I mention that I would have liked to go to sleep and never wake up again, I experience that pain again. Only as if I am empathizing with someone else. The me I used to be. I feel bad for her.

Do I cry for her? For my past? Do I cry for Blue? Our lost future together?

Eight months of grief counseling and I can't answer these questions. I just want to cry. And then go watch TV until I stop.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fewer Posts=Happier Me

A very good friend pointed out that my posts have been sounding angry lately. I agree. My therapist says that's because, as the grief softens, the other feelings emerge. The things you didn't deal with "back then." So I guess I am okay with that. It's hard to write about the happy stuff, the things that are happening everyday without your noticing because it doesn't suck. And that is totally reflected in the frequency of my posts. Fewer posts=happier me.

As it turns out, I do have a Good News Alert: I've been off Prozac for three weeks now. One more week or so and it will be gone from my system. And I feel really good!

I am more sensitive. I am a little quicker to cry. Sometimes about things that are not crying things. Like today, I listened to one of my favorite Kathleen Edwards songs, one that (admittedly) used to make me cry. Today I started crying as soon as I heard the intro. But the thing that made me cry about the song? It's not happening anymore. It's never going to happen again. And maybe I cried as I let that go.

The song is called Copied Keys and the lyrics start out like this:

This is not my town and it will never be
This is our apartment filled with your things
This is your life, I get copied keys
Try and force a little smile hold it a little while for you

These are your old streets and you know them well
One way shortcuts all the way downtown
But your favorite find is just my secondhand secret
Try and hide a little pain for the things I can't explain to you

When I first heard it I had moved from Steamboat Springs, CO to Boulder to be with the first man I really thought I would marry. I was about to turn 29. I had wanted to stay a few more months in Steamboat, but the thought of being apart from him seemed worse. So I moved, and I moved in with him, and I got copied keys. He had a drawer full of them.

I loved Boulder and I made it my town. I even moved back for a summer in law school. But that took awhile, and in the meantime I'd needed his help, but he didn't understand what was so hard about moving (Try and hide a little pain for the things I can't explain to you). The end of the song says "This is your town and it will never be ours."

It took only two weeks before I realized the relationship was going to fall apart. He didn't want to have sex with me. He seemed annoyed I was there. He let on that there were things that had bothered him from the beginning. He thought if we lived in the same place, those things themselves out? Go away? He made me move for him! Oops, Anger Alert. But really, it's unforgivable.

And about a year and a half ago, as I drove home from a beautiful day of rock climbing in the Gunks, I cried to this song. I was thinking how this guy had stolen my opportunity to settle down when I felt ready to settle down. How if we had worked out, I'd have a few kids by now (by then, age 33). I'd have a husband, probably a decent job, possibly not as a lawyer. I had been dating a series of New York assholes--not that Colorado assholes were any better--and I felt...left out. Left out of the life I wanted.

Fast-forward about six months, and I'm pregnant with SS's child, against his will. (Except now I feel better about the guy from Boulder, because I'm forming the family I was worried would elude me before it was too late.) A few months later I'm moving into his apartment, picking up my copied keys. Fitting into his life like a missing puzzle piece. Except I don't fit the space available.

Deciphering the parallels between these two guys was...disappointing. How could I make the same mistake twice?

But now, nothing is the same. I have a say in my future with AFF. AFF wants it that way too. We will choose our own place together, and it will be ours.

. . .

I realized something else recently. It's quite obvious, but it helps explain to me why I feel like other people don't understand (and why they actually don't). I see how Blue released me from a horrible life with SS. I think some people think I was lucky to "escape." And they think that not having your sick baby provides some sort of relief, when in your mind your baby was always perfect, just like their babies...until the terrible diagnosis. But, no matter who my baby's daddy was, no matter what life we would have had, I never loved my baby any less. And I think that's hard for people to comprehend. You don't stop loving your child because now he's dead and his dad is an asshole anyway. In the beginning I felt like other people thought I didn't deserve my pain. Because I didn't deserve to be pregnant and happy about it at the time. I'm not absorbing that anymore. Instead I'm absorbing my love for Blue. There is so much of it. I don't care if you can't understand it.

. . .

Back to a sweet story. Around Christmastime, I laid a wreath on the ground at Blue's tree. A family friend made it, a BLM whose daughter lived for 19 days with Trisomy 13. A week ago my dad asked me what I was going to do with the wreath, suggesting that I should remove it, with its dried and brown boughs and all. I picked it up and moved to to a corner of the yard until I could decide to fully remove it. Where I laid it, next to the water hookup to the house, grew a patch of clover. And my eye went straight to a clover with four leaves. I left it in the ground, but I walked away happy and hopeful. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Step Off, Beyonce!

You may recall that in a bout of inhumanity a few months ago, I wished upon Beyonce a stillborn baby. Not really. But I wanted someone public to suffer what we've suffered, to bring attention to miscarriage and stillbirth and medical terminations. So that didn't happen to Beyonce (thank god), but I've still got a bone to pick with her.

Yeah, I'm a little late to have heard the news. That she named her baby girl Blue. I named my baby in August. I just want EVERYONE to know that.

Because you know what else? She named that baby Blue Ivy. And I have had the name Ivy for a girl on my Top Names list for at least a year. And it is was a unique name, but also cute and pretty and not too immature. Now I can't probably shouldn't name my future daughter Ivy Blue. Dammit!

And just how long will it take for Ivy to explode to the top of the names for girls charts? I don't have a lot of time to get to work on having my own little Ivy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Parents Are Not "People"

So could they please stop being idiotic, thoughtless, and awkward at times about my baby loss?

Really this is for my dad. I happened to be in the room in an inopportune moment--as he was telling someone on the phone that he had 5 1/2 grandchildren. I walked out saying "6!" When he soon found me to apologize, in a sort of I'm-not-sure-I-get-it-why-are-you-so-sensitive-but-I-guess-I-can-use-other-words-next-time kind of apology, I asked him who was the half? Blue? Or the baby my sister-in-law is carrying? And he meant hers. So then I asked if Blue counted as 3/4, since he lived for 11 more weeks past her current gestation. And he said "this is awkward." Like I was telling him that he wasn't permitted to talk about SIL's pregnancy. So I got to finally scream at someone, "I'm sorry that MY baby died and THIS is awkward FOR YOU!"

My mom understood. She's made her own...misstatements, shall we say...but nothing like this. She said, "People just don't know what to say." But you know what? My dad is not people. He has been witnessing my grief everyday. And he should know better! I know! It wasn't said out of malice. But I can't just forgive your insensitive, thoughtless, inappropriate comments just because you didn't mean it.

And I'm just tired of it. I'm tired of my family acting like this is awkward for them. My mom said my SIL asked how I was last weekend. That's nice, but how about calling and asking ME how I AM? My sister? Lost cause. I don't have it in my heart to put her at ease.

So, AFF to the rescue again, and I soaked his shirt with leftover tears.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Please Stop Posting Ultrasound Pictures on Facebook!

Just when I think it's safe to go back on Facebook. I've "unsubscribed" to anyone known to have a new baby or progressing pregnancy. I've unsubscribed to women of child-bearing age who may or may not be married and may or may not find themselves pregnant.

And then some GUY posts his wife's 20-week ultrasound picture. Or says something like, "I know the sex, but Wifey doesn't. Should I tell?" And invariably these same guys show two small children in their profile pic. And I just can't help hoping that one of these babies will not make it! I am a horrible human being! I say I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy--and then I secretly wish it on some half-friend I once knew and once bothered to "friend."

At the same time I know two people--one half-friend I once knew, and one real friend--who lost a younger brother last week. And they both seem to be finding solace in their FB communities. So I feel a sort of obligation to be present there, to be there for them. And the fact is, I kind of like having returned to FB-land. And talking about non-kids things. Talking about myself. I went to Craft Night at a friend's house a few weekends ago and I must have been the only "childless" woman there. All they did was talk about their kids. And I guess I was just supposed to chime in with my own anecdotes, because nobody asked me any questions. Eventually I left my blue star watercolor to dry in the basement and went upstairs to talk to the host's husband.

. . .

It's been seven months since Blue was born. Seven months! Exactly today, March 10. It still feels a lot like two steps forward, one step back. Actually in the beginning it was more like one step forward, three steps back. Which felt like progress anyway. My relationships with my sister and sister-in-law remain strained, though I'd be surprised if either one of them has noticed. My relationships with my brother and brother-in-law are close to non-existent, but not much is different there. I don't really feel left out because I realize how much better I am doing without thinking about them and the ways they have avoided my pain. Because when I do think about it, it hurts all over again.

Today my dad asked me how I feel about my sister-in-law's pregnancy. Today. I've know about it for two months. He's known about it for one month. Thanks, I guess. There is more to the story about my sister-in-law, her pregnancy, and how she didn't talk about it with me, even after she knew that I knew. Her (lack of) words/actions were hurtful, insensitive, but not necessarily unforgivable. I will get over it. I guess.

. . .

Tomorrow is the last day of snowboarding at the mountain where I work. I am so grateful for the work, for the opportunity to meet the people I met, to have spent my time outside, engaged in physical work. I am not sad. Instead I look forward to seeing my co-workers again, at one's minor-league soccer game, at another's wolf sanctuary, and many others next year on the snow.

As one thing ends, another begins. The metaphor is so obvious, there is nothing more to say.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Good Day: And the Most Boring Blogpost Ever

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last posted. So much has happened, and yet nothing especially blog-worthy has happened. I am having a really good day today. Which is also strange that I came here to write. I want to say stuff, but I don't want to start getting angry. Or sad. I also want to say stuff that I don't want people with knowledge of this blog to know necessarily. I suppose that is my fault!

Summary of the past few weeks:
  • The counselor that I used to hate says I am doing very well. So I don't hate her anymore. 
  • I finished up a job that was very time-consuming, so I have more time to think about things that I do or do not want to think about. But the point here is that I need more work again. I still teach snowboarding but it was almost 60 degrees today, so there's not too much to do there. 
    • (For the record, there IS snow, and it's still cold enough to make snow at night, but no one is thinking about skiing this season.) 
  • I am sort of feeling hopeful that there are some opportunities out there, that I am ready to make things happen. I probably feel this way because I have not been rejected from a job lately. 
  • What else? 
  • AFF and I said the "L" word, so that's pretty big news.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Baking Makes the Sad Go Away

I came home from work--yes, I am working for pay for three weeks!--and got out the "Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread" cookbook. I have been baking a lot lately, following a slight lapse. But since Blue died I've often buried my sadness in weights and measures of sugar and flour and butter and salt. Last night I had a dream though that I had put on a lot of weight, and SS was there to remind me of that. I am seriously considering a different anti-depressant. I can't stand these dreams.

Anyway...I got my period last week. I am always sad when I get my period, and the sadness just hasn't gone away. Yesterday I ran into an English teacher from high school. The last time I ran into her was in May, and when she asked if I had kids I said my first was on the way. Well, yesterday, she remembered, and asked about my "one," as she had said. I stammered that I'd had a late miscarriage. And she calmly said she was sorry, that she had had one too, but also had three children. In a phone conversation with an old friend who is trying desperately to have her first child, single and at age 43, I was told "you'll get your baby." Everyone seems to think so. But I'm still worried. I wonder if the time is now because it has been for a few years? Or because I am trying to fill the void left by Blue's death? To me, it doesn't even matter. But it seems to matter to the therapist/professional types. If I were married to SS, no one would say boo about my getting pregnant again soon. So why should it be different that I've found someone else? SS was just that, a shit stain. Oh! I called his voicemail the night of "family dinner" (see last, very very angry, post) to tell him he was a piece of shit. I apparently could not be any more insignificant to him, so why care that I took the low road? My friends and family should be happy that I want to move on in a way that feels right for me.

I am finally, happily, falling for AFF. I am so lucky. He is wonderful. He is a wonderful person for me. It's true I had a little freak-out recently that I met him too soon after moving back home, after leaving SS, after losing Blue. But then I realized, WHAT I am still waiting for? It was his shoulder I was crying on two Saturdays ago. It is he giving me advice that doesn't go against my grain. It is he coming to me to vent and ask for help. AFF is everything I said I always wanted but never found. He is not perfect. Neither am I. But he makes me feel so special, in spite of it all. In spite of all my imperfections. In spite of all my sadness. And to not be insecure in a relationship? Damn, that feels nice.

And with that, I will now enjoy a Blondie. With pecans instead of walnuts.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Anywhere But Here Revisited

I wish I could do a little cyber-stalking of my ex. Not sure why I am suddenly curious about him. I guess it just feels strange to go from living together to never speaking again in the course of about a week.

I totally kid myself by saying I am "suddenly" curious about him--I've sort of been wanting to cyber-stalk him for a while now. He has a really common name though, so I can't google him for the news. We never became friends on Facebook. I don't know what is more strange, being Facebook friends with your spouse/partner or not being Facebook friends with you spouse/partner.

My thoughts about SS are softening. I don't feel so angry and hurt when a thought of him flutters across my mind. I would still inflict pain to his private parts if I ever saw him in person, but unfortunately he doesn't have to worry about that since we live 200 miles apart. But I do wonder--is he dating someone? Is he pining for Blue? Is he pining for another baby? Is he happy he got away with not having the child he didn't want to have? Has he admitted to being in love with his best friend, the one to whose son he is a godfather? The one whose son SS wanted to call my son's brother? So gross, I know! (And no, the godson is not actually SS's son. And yes, I have considered that.) A few weeks ago I found myself revisiting the gag-inducing conversations and things that were just weird about SS, and our relationship. I pushed that down thinking that was best for my family. Maybe it was. But it was bad for me. With the benefit of hindsight, I realize that I should have left SS while I was pregnant, before we got the bad news. He insisted he wouldn't abandon his child, and I really thought I needed his help, but now I see that I didn't. SS thought I would need his help too, though I'm not sure he would have known how to give it. He didn't demonstrate to me that he could do anything for someone else except buy things. I know that counts for something. But that just emphasizes our incompatibility. I don't care about "things."

A few weeks ago I lamented in a half-written, unpublished post that I loved my baby, hated my ex, and hated that I couldn't separate the two. But slowly I am. Losing Blue was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Losing SS may have been one of the best. Yet one could not have happened without the other. I still struggle to reconcile those facts. Because they are facts. No SS (good?), no pregnancy (bad; therefore SS good). No live child (very, very bad), no SS (very, very good).

But I am realizing that my grief and my relief are not bound by the same circumstance. Losing Blue (grief), losing SS (relief, albeit painful). I am starting to think about "the early days" as being different from where I am now. In another unpublished post titled "Anywhere But Here," I meant for "here" to mean my life, my state of being.

I may still not like where I am, but I am getting somewhere.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Graduating Class

It occurred to me the other day that other mama's babies have died since I lost Blue. It's going on five months now since Blue was born still...there are a lot of other mamas whose babies have died since then. I wonder whether it's time to become a shoulder to cry on, instead of being a crying mess myself.


I took a break from reading blogs and reading grief books and from submerging myself in the land of the babylost. I stopped staying up late into the night, trying to prolong the day. But I'm back. I have more to do every day, I have to start it all early, and yet I am staying up late, perhaps to find the time to grieve. I sometimes read my own blog posts, and I'm like "right on, yes, I totally relate to that." Right. That's because I wrote that. It reminds me of listening to a mix tape (mix CD just doesn't have the same ring to it) that I made, and each song that plays makes me think "I LOVE this song!" Right. That's why I put it on the mix tape.


I wish I could talk about some awesomeness going on. But there isn't any. I just can't be awesome ununderemployed and living in my parents' house. But there's some kinda-coolness: I started teaching snowboarding at the local anthill. It doesn't pay much but today I got paid to snowboard all day. I live in Pennsylvania, so no, it wasn't the kind of snowboarding you want to spend all day doing. But all in all, a good day of work.

I also feel like I can't be awesome without a pregnancy, without a baby, without a family, without a home of my own. I asked AFF what life might look like if we planned a pregnancy, instead of my hoping for an unplanned one, and his being okay with that. He agreed that other people would think we were idiots. And he agreed that that wasn't relevant.

So, yeah, maybe things ARE coming together just a little bit. I don't think about SS all the time anymore. I went through a spurt of anger over the deficiencies in him and in our relationship all along. Things that I would love to explain, so I wouldn't be the only one scratching my head over some strange behavior or comment by him, but I am no longer experiencing that anger and I don't want to right now.

I don't know. Maybe they're not. I told a friend yesterday that I had decided not to move back to Colorado any time soon. He encouraged that decision, warning that you can't keep running away from stuff. Thinking your happiness pertains to your physical location, and then changing location, is like changing chairs on the Titanic. You're still going down. You have to starting running towards stuff. The words rang true, but also reminded me of the pit of unhappiness that I have lived in, not just since Blue died. I feel like maybe I am running towards something, but in a desperate, lurching sort of way. Does that count?