Sunday, December 15, 2013


As you may or may not know, I've been trying to sort through this anger and jealousy about how life is unfair and how that leads me to have thoughts like "I hate everyone I know (and don't know) who is pregnant."

I have been trying to figure out when and why I first started having these feelings, because a few years ago when I felt like I was really ready to meet a man and start a family, I was also kind of jealous of women who were already there where I wanted to be. I would sometimes think about the guy I met when I was 28, and how he ruined everything because he turned out to be a real dick. I moved in with him, moved to a new town for him, and although I did end up really loving that town, it was only a matter of weeks before I realized the move was a big mistake and the relationship was doomed. And I would sometimes rage at him in my head, usually when making a long drive by myself, thinking that I had been ready then and if he had just been the right person or at least not a dick then I wouldn't have been in the situation of being over 30* and trying to settle down with the New York City men of It's HIS fault I met Chris--who turned out to be VERY MUCH like him--and went on to have a dead baby. But my point is that I was sad and angry before I lost Blue. But it wasn't such a sharp pain. The jealousy was softer, more like an "oh, I wish..." before I would realize that I didn't have "..." because I had made other choices, other choices that I really liked. Even if I experienced some sadness or depression during the times I was living those other choices, it wasn't like I was stabbed in the heart every time I saw a pregnant woman or heard about a friend's pregnancy, birth, or newborn.

As I've been thinking about all this, I realize my jealousy, anger, envy and sadness exist on the babyloss calendar as "Before Loss" and "After Death." Everything feels different in the new AD world. And when I find myself with generalized feelings of just-plain-feeling-shitty because, e.g., someone I know is pregnant (again), I just miss my BL life more than I can comprehend. I just want to go back to being that person who didn't rage about things she couldn't control. (Ha! See preceding paragraph. No, but I would rather be the soft-jealousy-feeling kind of person than the one who hates everyone sometimes. At least that soft jealousy can serve to remind you to pursue the things you really value and want for your life. This other kind just wears you down beyond the nub that you already are.)

The funny thing is that after I thought about this, I felt a little less pressure to get pregnant again ASAP. I mean, I KNOW that other people's pregnancies don't mean I have a reduced chance for having another baby...but I finally have started to feel that way too. In casual conversation I learned that a friend from high school just had her second child, a daughter, recently (I had known she had an older son but did not know she was pregnant), and I wasn't stabbed in the heart. I was aware that I could have been stabbed in the heart by the news. Which is another AD experience, but not as bad as the actual stabbing part.

*Lying about your age to represent that you are under 30 is a double-edged sword. Trust me.

. . .

On to other topics. Let's talk about my dear Aunt Flo. Feel free to stop reading now if you don't want a play-by-play of my vaginal discharge of the past two weeks. To continue, scroll down. :)

A little over a week ago I noticed some very light pink, very light spotting. In the initial moment, I was so thrilled to be getting my cycle back! Something was happening! Something that could lead to my getting pregnant again soon!! Then I was sad, thinking, "haven't I been having enough sex to have skipped the period part and gone straight to being pregnant?" Then I searched the Internet obsessively for posts about implantation bleeding. Over the next few days I had more spotting, mostly light and brown in color. Similar to what was described as implantation bleeding. So of course I peed on a stick. And of course I am not pregnant. I didn't really feel pregnant anyway. More sadness, mixed with some general crabbiness. The bleeding continued for a few more days and never got heavy and never really got red, though there may have been a few patches. So, I have now convinced myself that even though my period took 14 months to return, I had an anovulatory cycle that was discharging some old blood as a result of the light cramping that occurred as my cycle was getting back into gear. That makes sense, right? And I almost went out for OPKs, and almost started having sex on a daily basis...and then I realized that I want to just CHILL OUT about this for a little while and see what happens.

I don't know where this falls on the AD calendar...maybe somewhere around the Renaissance?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I Don't Know Your Story

I wrote the paragraphs below last summer, and never published them as a post because it seemed incomplete. I am slowly creeping out of a fog of heavy grief. I am trying to focus on the positive within myself, and trying not to  compare myself to others I think "have it better." Or who are lucky enough not to have a dead baby in their past. Sometimes, though, I admit it feels better to compare myself to someone I think has it worse. Did I write that I already or only think it? I think it so often, I cannot tell the difference. Not exactly evil, but not exactly nice. I don't know, maybe it's just a variation on the theme of thinking of those less fortunate, and being grateful for what you have.

I was never good at being grateful, or being present, and I am no better in the long, broad wake of baby loss.

Compare and compare and compare I will, but I don't know your story...

And yet I imagine I do. And I hate you because your story is not complicated like mine. It is not grief-ridden like mine. You are young and if not beautiful then you are cute and sweet-looking. Your husband is young and tall and he carries your son, not yet two or even one, on his shoulders. He holds your daughter's small hand and you all walk slowly together. Your daughter is not yet three. You are pregnant and your belly button is slightly sticking out under your blue cotton dress. And I fucking hate you for having these three kids, because you will have your third child without complication, I can tell by the sweet look on your face.

I am 35 and anxiously awaiting the arrival of my second son, hoping with my entire being that this second son will live. The thing that caused his brother's death cannot cause his, but in the world where I now live, lots of different bad things can happen to babies before they are born. And so I freak out now and again and have days of grief and anxiety and moodiness. I think that this isn't fair, why can't I go back to being oblivious? Like you.

But I don't know your story...

I suppose there is a woman watching me, thinking that I look so happy, so glowing, so ignorant, the blissful kind. Maybe she's tried for years to get pregnant and yet no pregnancies. Maybe she's had multiple--or even just one--early miscarriage. She's never felt a baby move from the inside. She's never talked about her baby or strollers or night-feedings with strangers. Maybe she hates my pregnant guts.

...and you don't know mine.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

To Wean, or Not To Wean?

I need help, you guys!

LLL lady says to keep nursing through cold and flu season to keep giving Sprout antibodies and comfort if/when he does get sick. I could take herbal supplement (chasteberry) to help bring back my period. I am not exactly sold on the stuff. And it's contraindicated in pregnancy, so I would be obsessively testing, and that could get expensive. Speaking of expensive...I just looked it up and it is not expensive, so that won't help me decide.

A few mornings ago, Sprout was crying when he got up and after I changed his diaper I set him down for a moment to rinse the diaper and he just stood, crying, staring at me and waiting for me to pick him up to nurse. Two days later he woke up happy and I played with him briefly and just got him breakfast right away and he didn't seem like he needed to nurse. The next day he was really asking for it again. But, that was some progress towards baby-led weaning. I'm just not sure I can hold out the whole way...I REALLY want to try to get pregnant again. I mean, have I mentioned that at all yet? Ha!

I made a plan to nurse--we're down to morning and night, as of this weekend, actually! No daytime nursing yesterday or today. OK, cool!--through the holidays/end of year. Then in January I would scale back to once per day, either morning or night, not really sure, I guess eliminating night would be nice so that I can be out during bedtime on occasion (probably like never, but a gal can dream). Then I imagine that my period will return immediately and I will have another October baby. I was just saying a gal can dream. Ideally I would skip the period and just catch the first egg. Or two. Twins would be nice and give me more hope for having four kids instead of just three. So far my kids only have a 50/50 chance, so I am not about to start counting any chickens! But anyway, that was a recent thought but I still am not sure.

I would keep nursing if I could pregnant at the same time. What would you do...wean now, and maybe force it? Or wean later, when Sprout is ready, maybe after cold/flu season, but continue to wait to try for the next bebe? When I sit in a quiet room and close my eyes and try to really think this through, all I get is tick tick Tick Tick TIck TICk TICK TICK!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's Worse

There is no reason to compare pregnancy loss to the loss of a child, but today I did anyway and I think I have my answer. Losing a child is worse.

I was bored at work this morning and f'ing around on Facebook when I came across a number of condolences messages to a friend and ex-boyfriend from college. We had not kept in touch right after college but, thanks to Facebook, had more recently reconnected and exchanged a few emails. I would say in the past year or two. Actually I just checked my Facebook messages and got sucked into a rabbit hole of reading old Facebook messages. Wow. My friend and I were in touch back in 2009 for the first time since college. More than a year or two ago.

I will get right to it: his 6-year-old daughter was hit by a car and killed on Monday. This is unbelievable. Apparently she walked out between parked cars; there were no allegations of wrongdoing on the part of the driver. He and his wife have an older daughter who is 9, I think. This is just so sad. I cried and wrote something on his wall and spent the rest of the day being really out of it and unfocused at work.

I also told one of the secretaries and we talked about loss for a few minutes. Her sister died of cancer last year and she is a pretty understanding person. She is also known as the office gossip, so I figured after the fact that she was a good person to tell because she would tell other people what happened to explain why I was out of it (if anyone actually noticed). Later that day a card was being circulated for sympathy and condolences for one of the partners who works from home. I don't know her very well is my point. I signed the card, writing simply "my condolences," thinking about my friend and his daughter and whether or not I cared at all about whom this partner lost. I asked the secretary and it was the partner's uncle. On the day I found out my friend's 6-year-old daughter just died, I have to sign a card for someone-I-don't-care-about-at-all's elderly uncle? After that it was late enough in the day that I just chatted with another associate and then left.

But anyway, as I was reading the condolences on my friend's wall, scrolling and scrolling and scrolling to try to find a status update, I was thinking what could it be? He had come up in my news feed quite a bit lately and I was pretty sure his wife wasn't pregnant. He is an only child so it wasn't a sibling and it didn't seem like parents and then some posts mentioned his wife and one daughter but not the other. As I was thinking was it the loss of a pregnancy or of a 9- or 6-year-old child, I just knew in my heart that losing the child at that age would be devastatingly...worse. And I was just speechless and sad and I wish this never happened. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013


My Lilypie ticker is aligned in 2's today. Is that good luck, like when you look at the clock at 11:11?

I have so many plates spinning in my head. This will generally be a logorrhea post. Or should I say blogorrhea? Of course I should! (Sorry.)

Well, I've been thinking about Blue a lot lately. And I'm not sure why that should surprise me. I guess I am surprised at how often I still cry about losing him. I cry about different things, like the way I felt getting the diagnosis or even when I found out both of us parents were carriers. I cry about how Sprout is here and Blue is not. I suppose this is the 2-year anniversary time of when everything felt so utterly hopeless. Then I am amazed that I could have a 1-year-old today. These extremes of emotion are very strange, almost childlike in the way that I can go from sad to happy to sad to happy in the matter of moments. So, I still miss my boy, that's not news.

So here are the things I have been pondering as of late. First, I wonder if there is a moral obligation, not simply a justification, for having an abortion when the baby is unwell. I think about this a lot because medical advancements have allowed the life expectancy of cystic fibrosis patients to soar into the mid-30's. There would seem to be a very good reason to give the chance of living to a CF baby. He could die before age 2 (or earlier), or he could die in his 40's. If you knew you would live to 40, you would still want to live, right? But what if you couldn't live without spending two weeks out of every four in a hospital? What if you couldn't live without dedicating hours a day to "percussive therapy"? What if you couldn't live without taking 40 pills a day, just so you could extract nutrients from the food you were eating? I mean, you would do it, once you were alive. So that is the moral question--if you know what kind of life a person is destined to, and we can all agree that that life is nobody's first choice of how to live (understatement), then is there an obligation to spare that life? Put more simply: you will live a life of physical pain, because you will struggle to breathe; one thing in your life will be certain, and that will be your mortality. If you are not permitted to live, you will never know of it. If you are permitted to live, you will live with the knowledge that your parents knew what pain your life would bring you, but brought you to your life anyway.

Obviously, if you don't know the child's condition until the child is born, then you are absolved of this responsibility for giving the life of pain. I know the problem with this analysis is that we can never know the severity of a prenatal diagnosis. And we can never know what that child would want. Which was the absolute worst part of making the decision I had to make--I would have done what Blue wanted. It was his life. But I was in charge of it. Dammit. . . . I don't wish I hadn't had the abortion. I only wish he were never sick and I never had to make that call.

I have also been thinking about how when you have a medical termination, you have this window of time in which you know your baby is going to die, but he hasn't died yet. I spent a week and three days like this. I remember how Chris stopped thinking about Blue as is if he still existed, but I still felt his every move. One day I was lying on the bed on top of the covers, having already gotten up for the day, and I was just staring at the wall and sobbing. Chris was down the hall in his office, and he came in to say he was trying to work. I don't give him much credit because he doesn't deserve it, but he did not say this unkindly. He took me outside for a walk. There we were in stark contrast--he working, while I was just trying to breathe. That time between knowing what is going to happen, and the waiting for it to actually happen, it is at once agony and a gift. The chance to say goodbye.

As I write this, I wish more than ever that I had held him after he was born. be continued. Mr. E is out with friend tonight and I need to go watch Chopped or something.

Yes, it's been two years, two months, two weeks and two days since we said goodbye. But who's counting? It doesn't really get easier.

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 15

The day has come and gone but I am just now getting the chance to blog about it.

Last week we were in Oklahoma City for a horse show. I may start calling Sprout Sport, because he was such a good sport about getting dragged around to restaurants, the fairgrounds, the bombing memorial and museum, and about celebrating his birthday on the road.

He was so perfectly born 10 days ahead of schedule, on October 15. We ate cupcakes in Oklahoma, but I baked a rainbow cake for his celebration with friends and family at home the Saturday before we left town. I'm not going to be making any frickin' more rainbow cakes, it was so time consuming, but I am glad I did because there is nothing more perfect than a rainbow cake for your rainbow baby on his first birthday. Proof:

I can't believe he is one. I still look at him sometimes, thinking that he's really here and he's really all mine. He is starting to wobble around on two legs now, and today walked across the whole living room to greet me when I got home from work.

True to his nature, he appears to be back on track from the traveling, nursing to sleep before 8:00 tonight, but last night he awoke early enough into the night that it was painful to get up. There is one big difference between getting awoken at one or two--Mr. E and I can't agree as to what time it was--and three or four or five. He no longer gets up to nurse back to sleep, so my only trick is gone. Last night I put him back in his crib when he started squirming around in our bed, and I don't even know if I fell asleep again or not before I trudged back to his room to bring him back to our bed to try again. That time he nursed to sleep and I got to cuddle with my baby for a few hours. He is not as cuddly anymore as he gets more mobile and more curious. And I was thinking today how cuddly he was and has been and that even in utero I think he liked to cuddle. When I was pregnant with Blue and would lie on my belly, he would move all over the place, back and forth and back and forth. But Sprout would be still when I did the same. I had wanted him to move more like Blue did, but I am so happy to have had a cuddly baby. But all good things must end, and I think we are getting to the end of cuddling. i.e. and nursing. I am so torn about whether or not I want it to end! I have made it no secret that I want to get pregnant again ASAP, and nursing is still interfering with my cycle. But when I think about just stopping it seems an overly dramatic reaction to Sprout's turning one. He actually bit me a few times last week, and has been slapping and pinching for quite some time but when he's not generally beating me up I guess I really still love it. But I did wear an old B-cup bra today after realizing that my nursing bra had gaping space between it and my breasts. So, I think the end is near. Then I think how nice it will be to know when I can (theoretically) get pregnant. Or, in the alternative, how nice it will be to be neither pregnant nor breastfeeding for a little bit. Then again, I thought I would quit pumping at 8 months, then 9, then 10, and I didn't do that, so we shall see.

Anyway, that is my update. I lit those two birthday candles on October 12, but I didn't light a candle on October 15. Every day, though, a flame burns for my Blue.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Well...for a variety of reasons. But really because I added the Lilypie ticker and it's cut off and now my name in the sand photo does not fit on the gadget bar either. Can anyone tell me how to fix this in the most loss-maintenance way possible? Love ya's!

Friday, September 27, 2013

I Know a BLD

It happened. Someone I know in real life had to "unannounce" on Facebook that he was going to be a dad because his baby died. I've mentioned before this evil part of me that wants bad things to happen to other people too sometimes. But when I heard that it did, I was in tears. I was so sad for him. He's a baby loss dad, and if ever they existed, it's my friend. Said he wanted to be a dad since he was a kid himself. He is a stepdad to two boys, but he knows it's not the same. I just sent his wife a Facebook email, though I don't know her at all. When I was riding bikes with my friend he was married to someone else. I stopped into his work the other day, which is at a retail store near my office, and he told me about their diagnosis, and their terrible choice to end the pregnancy. So I think I am still wearing my babylost on my sleeve by reaching out to her and sending a complete stranger a sappy email, but at least this time I know that something went wrong. My friend is keeping himself busy and making resolutions to get in better shape and eat better and otherwise distract himself and I worry that she is not understanding his grieving process and thinking that he is not understanding hers. But I didn't say that part in my email. I will see if she wants some BLM company. This sucks.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Why I Run

Literally, like jogging, not figuratively.

Because while running, I decided that I will not berate myself when I feel jealous seeing pregnant women, or women with many young children, or for feeling bad after someone announces her pregnancy. Instead of saying, "I should not feel jealous, this has nothing to do with me and my situation," I will tell myself, "You are sad right now because this is a reminder that you were pregnant for 25 weeks but your baby died before he was born. You got unlucky and something rare and terrible happened to you. You miss your little boy who is not here. It's OK to feel sad, and it's going to be OK and you are going to feel better again."

After the run I got back in the car and the show on NPR was about being kind to yourself and not thinking about what you should do or be, because that only ever makes you feel worse. Truth.

Anyway, I am still thinking so much about pregnant yoga teacher/friend. I just wonder what would make her think that she couldn't get pregnant. I mean, if she didn't really want to get pregnant, or didn't want to get pregnant right now, then why didn't she try not to get pregnant? Maybe there was a reason why she thought she couldn't get pregnant. I don't know. That's the thing, you know? I don't know anything about anybody else's story, I just look at what I see and feel bad about what I want but don't have. And I could say "don't yet have," i.e. more kids, but the fact is I will never completely have what I want because he is dead and gone. So I just think, how could you find out you're pregnant and be not excited to have a baby? I can see why she doesn't have an abortion, but really, if she doesn't want to have a baby, she doesn't have to have a baby. And if she's not excited about having a baby, maybe she could just keep that to herself around people who would do ANYTHING to have their baby who's not here.

I'm not angry with her, I am just really confused. And jealous. Always fucking jealous. Just want to be pregnant again. And yet I say every week I will stop nursing during the day and I just don't stop. This evening I thought, what if I were at least pregnant by the time Sprout is two? And that didn't sound so terrible. I am curious now, I want to be pregnant again so badly because I want more kids and think my clocking is ticking? Or is it because I lost that first pregnancy and it was so devastating that I just want to be back in my pregnant state, as if it never happened? Like will I wish I was pregnant forever now? Or just until I have more kids? And then, what if I can't have more kids? Etc. Etc.

But I will be kind to myself. I will remember why I feel bad, no matter how much it hurts, instead of making myself feel worse for feeling bad. And I will keep running. No matter how much it hurts. #sorehip #tornhamstring #blisters #shinsplints #sciatica

Monday, September 2, 2013

Anniversary of the Aftermath

The anniversary of the aftermath seems harder this year than last year. Maybe because last year I was pregnant and this year I am back to wishing I were?

I thought I was on a break from feeling crappy about other people's pregnancies but it turns out I am not. My favorite yoga teacher and friend just told me she is pregnant. She didn't seem especially happy when she told me and it turns out she is a bit ambivalent. She and her husband were just married in July and she got pregnant a week later. They had decided to just see what happened, not trying but not not trying, and well. That was easy! Her husband is more excited she said, but he also said he wished they had tried longer. She has a four-year-old from a prior relationship and the last I heard her talking about kids and pregnancies it seemed to me she did not want to have more kids. And after thinking about it a lot I realize that if there are fewer people around me who might or could get pregnant, the better. Of course there will be friends, acquaintances, and friends of friends who might get pregnant, but I can try to prepare for that kind of news. I think I am OK for now, as long as my friend whose baby was born in July doesn't get pregnant with her second before I do. I would not be happy about that. Just sayin'. So yoga teacher, I had her moved into the the "low risk of pregnancy announcements" category, but I was wrong. Along with my cousin who had said she wasn't having more kids and then the next timed I talked to her she was pregnant. I mean, sure, people can change their minds. I know. And it's fine...after awhile. 

I totally appreciate her honesty about her feelings. But it is a major grief trigger for me when I am not expecting to see or hear about a particular pregnancy, and especially so in this case because I first started going to her studio when I was pregnant with Blue. I think when I very first went, I didn't yet know anything was wrong. But I do recall going to her class in the week in between the amnio and The News. The next time I showed up to class, Blue was gone but she remembered. And let's just say that she really was this wonderful, kind soul to me, but now that she's pregnant it is bringing back all those memories and I am quite sad again.

It's only been a day or two now, but it feels sort of like depression, not just sadness. If I'm fine tomorrow then I will know it's not depression and I'm OK. I don't want to take medication anyway, even if I weren't still nursing, so there's nothing to do but maybe see my therapist again. I'm also very bored at my job right now, and feeling underpaid and once again like: why the F did I go to law school to be bored and underpaid in my job????

Mr E. and I had planned to have "no plans" today, but then his dad called like two days ago to invite us over for lunch and so I had to deal with my step-mother-in-law commenting that I had never worn a skirt so long before, they are always "way up here," (and my response that I don't even own a short skirt--turns out it's my dresses that are short, ah!) and then telling me that she just throws away pictures so she doesn't want any of the recent pictures of Sprout that I brought over. She says all this without even showing the photos to my father in law. Look, he's not the most sentimental guy, but I THINK he might want to have a picture or two of his first grandchild. Call me crazy!

Overall it wasn't that bad, but after that we had to go to Dairy Queen for my mint M&M blizzard craving. We had to drive a bit out of our way too, but Sprout was asleep in the car and then a thunderstorm rolled in, so it made sense to just drive around anyway. I wasn't feeling depressed anymore, but I still am thinking how I used to be an adventurer and would normally be traveling on long weekends on rock climbing trips or something else cool you get to do BK--before kids. Don't get me wrong, I wanted my kids more than anything, but I still miss that freedom and all that goes with it. Just like everyone else. But at any rate, to feel like I'm not happy because I'm not out doing the things that make me happy, well there is some truth to that. What's definitely not making me sad are my husband and kid. Well, I guess my kid is, kind of!

After Dairy Queen we had plans to meet friends to play tennis, but the rain, oh the rain. It finally cleared up somewhat spectacularly before sunset, so I went out for a quick run, and then there were still 23 minutes in which the pool at our complex so was still open, so we had a ceremonious last swim, taking turns in the pool or holding the baby, who was smiling and waving at the lifeguard. Now we are finishing up Season 4 of Breaking Bad. (Which might be contributing to feeling of sadness and depression, but like any other addiction I can't stop it!)

More on this topic later though...the aftermath stuff I mentioned in the beginning of this post. Ciao for now.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


My niece was baptized today. Her older brother is almost three, and when he was baptized at six months old I was pregnant with Blue. The godmother to my niece is pregnant and due in February. So the sitting in church thing was a big grief trigger for me. I just thought about how I miss my little guy and tried not to tear up too much.

I am sort of jealous of her (the godmother) pregnancy, but I seem to have calmed down from my obsession that I blogged about a few weeks ago. I don't know how or why, I just had to let some of that bad energy go. I still want to be pregnant again soon, but I am still not menstruating. So. And though of course I keep getting older, I cannot keep stressing about getting too old to have more kids. I just can't.

I am also stressing with work and wondering how the heck I can have more kids and somehow less stress with work? So perhaps I have just transferred the pregnancy envy onto work and family stress generally. Sigh.

I'm concerned I may lose my job, because my workload has been very light for quite some time. This wouldn't exactly be the worst thing, but I don't know what else I would do. Looking for work at a law firm again is very unappealing. Looking for work doing something else feels even worse. Starting a business by default when I am the breadwinner in my family? Ugh. I would love to start a business, but I don't feel like I am ready for that just yet.

Maybe, though I don't tend to think of myself as being particularly high-strung or stressed out generally, maybe I actually am. Or maybe it really is just the pressure of working at a law firm that causes this generalized stress. I never really wanted to work at a firm. I just figured it was something you had to do after law school, and after you put in a few years making beaucoup bucks and hating your life in NYC, then you could move on to whatever you wanted. So it's possible that I am harboring stress over how my current career is not jibing with my ideal--or idealized--career. So many questions, so few answers.

In happy news, I have been showing my dad's horse this summer and that is going great. You can watch me do my thing here (but I don't come on until about 5:25 in the video.) This afternoon Mr. E and I walked over to the municipal golf course and hit a jumbo basket of balls at the driving range while Sprout watched from his stroller. I actually hit well even though I have never actually golfed because I haven't graduated from the driving range yet. It was beautiful weather the past two days--perfect timing--and I also took Sprout in the pool both days and he is so dang cute! Proof below: I actually took this picture myself, and didn't have to color or light-correct, which is also exciting. He actually has blue eyes like that. (From his dad. My eyes are the color of caca.)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Two Years

OK, wow. It's been two years since Blue was here and then not here. There is a candle burning as a symbol of my love for him.

For the first time I recently had the thought, "I wish none of it had ever happened." No unplanned pregnancy that I was so joyous to discover. Then no experience with the ex where I watched him curse at the positive pregnancy test, pull away from me emotionally and physically, encourage me to get an abortion, at some point decide to stick it out for the baby, and generally make me feel sad and miserable about the relationship. But the baby would make up for all of this. Maybe then Chris would see that our life together wasn't so bad. I was so naive. About both the relationship and the pregnancy.

I can only imagine where my life would have taken me in that scenario. Probably back to Colorado. Probably into the arms of a man I already knew, who was ready to have a baby, whether with me or with anyone. But in this scenario I am angry again at the man I was dating when I was 28-29. The first man I moved in with, the first man I really thought I was going to marry. He turned out to be a dick. No, he probably was all along, but he started to become a dick to me too. I only take credit for not marrying him. I do realize my role in picking terrible men for me. That ex and Chris were quite similar in the way they made me feel about myself. So if I look at it that way, I am the only one to blame that I didn't meet someone and start a family a little sooner in life. I am going off on a tangent. It's Blue's 2nd birthday and all I can think about is how old I am and how I want more kids but I feel rushed and now I want a do-over in life. A do-over that doesn't include him at all.

And then I wonder: am I better off knowing him? Or would I have been better off not to have known him? Do I cherish or resent those 25 weeks we spent together? Today, I am not sure.

The day I wasn't meant to meet him,
The day he was here and gone,
The days and years go on without him,
But on this day the breeze is always whispering his song.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Anniversary Daze

I have been a bit sad lately, and I realize it's because about this time two years ago the shit started to hit the fan. (That is such a gross visual, sorry!) I am reliving the sadness on various levels. Today, for example, I cried because I thought about how my sister never helped me when I was grieving so violently. She never said, "Hey, I'm coming over and picking you up and we're going to hang out." That hurt as much today as it ever did, if not more. Because today I can see how horrible it all was that no one--actually--said or did that. And I think about how I was trying SO HARD to stick it out in DC, to stick it out with Chris, and FOR WHAT? Why didn't anybody help me? Why did a stranger on the beach think I was going to drown myself in the October ocean off Long Island one morning? I think again how Mr. E saved my life. I do believe that. He was the one calling and saying he was coming over and picking me up so we could hang out.

I realize no one will remember it's Blue's birthday on August 10. I realize this is just so unfair and is just so sad and will never not be. And in a gentler moment I realize that there is still a lot of healing to occur. THIS is what it feels like, two years later.

I keep seeing pregnant women in the park where we live--with their three or four young children in tow. The women who have three or four young children with them, they are always pregnant. Whyyyy? I envy them and their bevy of brats. I try to convince myself that I would envy them anyway, because I started my family a few years later than I really wanted to. I try to convince myself that if Blue had lived, I would still only have one child at this point, that I haven't really lost any time. I try to convince myself that I have all the time I need to have all the children I want. All these things may be true, but they still don't help this bitter, useless feeling to go away. This feeling that many, if not all, of us BLMs feel at one point or all points after loss: that other people's pregnancies suck for us. I want, so badly, to stop feeling bad when I see a pregnant woman. I want to stop feeling the need to stare at her belly, to wonder if she's feeling smug about this pregnancy. Because...we know where the thoughts go next.

So yeah, kinda feels like I've made very little progress in the last year. Which seems impossible considering the fact that I did give birth to a wriggly, wrinkly son (very wriggly, not so wrinkly anymore). His arrival made some thoughts and some feelings better, but not as much as I would have expected. I guess I thought things would be more different by now, more better. But--duh!!--my first baby died, and NOTHING will ever take that pain away.

Two years and a thousand life changes later, yep, it still hurts.

Monday, July 8, 2013

I'm Obsessed with Pregnancy

"I'm sorry I'm crying on your birthday!"

I sobbed in the car between dinner and drinks last Saturday. I was having an emotional day and I was crabbing at Mr. E and I don't know why, or maybe it had something to with his "I can do what I what, it's my birthday" attitude. I told him you don't stop parenting because it's your birthday. What should I expect? He's only 29. (For real.)

What I was really sobbing about was that I AM OBSESSED with pregnant women and with getting pregnant again. I am so envious...of women on their fourth pregnancy, talking about a fifth (I don't even KNOW this person! Why are you telling me this?)...of women with babies Sprout's age or younger who are pregnant again...of women who are younger and have all the time in the world to complete their families. I wish this would stop!

Sprout is almost 9 months old. He is bouncy and beautiful and delicious and is the light of my life. Mr. E suggested the other night that by focusing on a next pregnancy I am losing out on experiencing Sprout, and Sprout is losing out on experiencing his mama. Which I disagreed with and told him was NOT what I needed to hear. I guess I don't expect a man to understand what I feel. He was also sweet to notice that losing Blue affects these feelings as well.

But I do I feel this way because Blue died? Or do I feel this way because I started my family quite a few years later than I really wanted to? (Not because I lost Blue, but because I was moving and traveling around, acting my shoe size, going back to school, etc.) All things I don't think I would give up. But I am paying for that now, a little more than I thought I would. Will I still feel this way after the next kid? And the next one? Will this stop when I feel my family is complete? Will my family ever feel complete? No, it won't, because it can't.

Also I just feel so much pressure to have more kids as soon as possible. Mr. E doesn't want me to have any after 40, which doesn't necessarily matter to me, but that gives me 3.5 more years to make more babies, and I haven't gotten my period yet since Sprout was born! (No, I am not pregnant.) I suppose I also worry that I won't get pregnant right when I want to (like this month) and then how long will it take and how will that affect any possibility of having three kids, or maybe even four. Then I start wondering, how can I possibly work full time and have four kids? Then I just get more mad/envious. Of what? I DON'T KNOW!

There is a silver lining to all of this. When I turned to the Interwebs for help with my pregnancy obsession, I came across this: STFU, Parents. Freakin' hilarious. So thanks, pregnancy obsession that is ruining my life!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Next to Normal, Close to Home

Have you ever seen the musical Next to Normal? There are a few laughs, but it's a tragedy. A tragedy about a grieving mother and a neglected daughter and a stoic, silent father. A very good friend played the role of the mother in a local production, so Mr. E and I got tickets. My own mother warned me about the themes in the play. I took tissues. The wiki page has a good scene by scene summary, but to summarize even that: the family is dealing with the abject grief of losing the son, the first-born, at age eight months.

As we were getting ready I told Mr. E that the play could be sad, but if it didn't trigger my own experience and my own grief, then maybe I wouldn't cry. So clearly I did not know what I was talking about. First, the son (who is represented at 18, the age he would have been) sings to his sister that she cannot compete with him because he is perfect. So that's true. The child who didn't live is everything the parent ever wanted him to be. And then the son invited the mother to join him in his spirit land. I am so far from feeling that way now, but I remember feeling that way. Like nothing else mattered. I just wanted to be with Blue. It didn't matter that I didn't believe in that stuff. And then, as much as anything that resonated with me, came the part where the father refused to tell the mother the son's name. She had electric shock therapy and lost her memories. As they came back she remembered the son, but not his name. And it was just like what happened between Chris and me. Our baby never had a name. He refused to call him anything that resembled a name. My baby, my baby, MY baby had a name.

In the characters you could identify the denial, the dysfunction. And you also started to wonder if the mother was really deranged, or just terribly, terribly sad. So her male doctor tells her she's sick? What does he know? That was another number--that the father did not know what the mother was feeling. Chris never knew what I was feeling. He was terrified of what I felt. He knew he wouldn't have changed places with me for even a moment.

The play was very sad of course, but very good too. My friend was very good. But I did keep wanting the son to free his mother to live with a loving memory and not a haunting memory. To realize that her living is not the same as her forgetting. In the end the father realizes that he needs to get help for his own repressed grief.

After it was over--no, while I was still watching--I felt glad again that Chris and I went our separate ways. Glad that we don't carry this grief together in our own joint dysfunctional and fucked up way. But I still wonder about Chris. I wonder, still, if the fact that his son died ever did bring him to his knees.

I am writing a song--finally, slowly--about this. It's mostly still in the idea phase, but there are these (two) lines:
For how long, did the burying take?
How strong was the flood when it came?

Like I said, it's in the idea phase. But the idea then is that the burying of his emotions parallels the burying of the baby's ashes, and the literal flood exhumes the grave and the physical and the emotional become the same thing. The words, the tune, they make me sad. I don't get anywhere with the writing because I just get so tired in the middle of it.

I don't want to think about Chris. But I have been thinking about what he's doing now, what his life is like. I wrote about that months ago. I still think it. And the ways in which Next to Normal hit close to home involve him, so I'm thinking about him more. I feel like I'm not getting anywhere. Do I need to speak to Chris to resolve this? Would I ever even try to speak to Chris again? The thought intrigues me. Not the speaking to him, but the thinking about speaking to him.

So I'm not crazy! Sad, maybe, but not crazy.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Storm A' Comin'?

Mother's Day, take three. This time, a baby. I don't really feel like this year is going to knock me down, but then again sometimes it happens when you least expect it.

I haven't been sad in awhile. I mean, about Blue. I still think about him a lot, but not so specifically anymore. I think I have recovered from the PTSD. It's not so terrible to remember what things were like right after Blue died. I do still get angry about articles and comments about abortion access and health care access and the right to make a medical decision on behalf of your own child, however.  I mean I always believed in reproductive rights, but not with the same understanding I have now.

See this recent New York Times Motherlode guest blog. North Dakota wants to ban abortions where the fetus has Down's syndrome. Some people in the disability rights community think this is a good idea. They think that to abort for genetic defects is to practice eugenics. As if people would choose abortion over having a brown-eyed child, if only they could. Never mind that genetic defects are evolutionary hiccups, mistakes, DEFECTS...not gifts. So my kid, had he lived, would have been immune to cholera. Great. Anyway...North Dakota wants to ban all abortions. Just say it that way. And then admit that you are wasting enormous amounts of taxpayers dollars when your state chooses to defy the constitutional law of the United States.

Who are these people who think that abortion should be banned where a genetic defect is detected? Do they have special needs children? Did they have a child who died at a very young age? Did they have a child who suffered? Whom they watched struggle to live every day, wondering "is this the day we say goodbye?"

Will they require genetic testing in all pregnancies? Because what if you wanted to get an abortion before the trisomy can be detected? Will we continue to find ways to detect more and more abnormalities, earlier in pregnancy, less that we may ban more abortions?

And why would anyone else think that they knew better than I what is the right health care decision for my child? And why oh why, would anyone think I have anything derogatory to say about those born with disabilities? The fact that I believed my child would be better off not living means I have more compassion for those with disabilities, not less. And when I want the right to choose for myself, I am not asking for the right to take that away from you. I find this entire thread of the argument so lopsided and, well, ridiculous. "I didn't know I was having a special needs child until I had him or her. Now I know nothing else. You shouldn't either." You know, I never thought, "This child's life will be awful. He will not live to be an adult. In order to spare other babies like him this pain, I require abortions." Here is another way to illustrate the ridiculousness of the anti-abortion argument: if you decide not to resuscitate when your grandmother reaches the end of her life, then you believe no grandmothers should be resuscitated, and you think anyone who chooses to resuscitate is...I don't even know. I don't know where that argument comes from and where it goes, because it is incomprehensible to me. That someone else thinks they can make that decision for me. And one more point...who pays for the health care for the special needs baby? Last time I checked, children with pre-existing conditions--that is, children born that way--could be denied health insurance. (Yes, I know, the Affordable Care Act has changed this. And we all know that's going over well.) OK, now I really AM getting angry!


But back to the topic at hand...Mother's Day. Sprout will be almost 7 months old. The day has (almost) lost its meaning for me again.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I'm So Vain

I feel like this is a silly thing to feel that I have lost. And I don't know if it's more of a symptom of the problem, or its own problem. But here it is: I wish I hadn't lost my first pregnancy at 25 weeks so that I could have had the whole that I could have seen how small I might have carried that entire first pregnancy.

I have been known to be a little vain. This looks like vanity. And then I just feel worse for feeling something so superficial and unimportant.

But I feel it.

A friend is 18 weeks pregnant and said she has "no belly to speak of." And somehow, I am jealous. Or envious. I get those too mixed up. I just started feeling bad about not getting my first, tiny pregnancy all the way through.

I look at the picture of me pregnant with Blue at 25 weeks, and even in profile, I barely look pregnant. In the 3/4 view, pregnant.  

And I know that you sort of get what you get, genetically, with carrying big or small, high or low, with gaining a lot of weight or not gaining a lot of weight. (So I'm not really sure why we think small pregnant women are so virtuous.) But we all know that you pop out sooner--and sometimes farther--in subsequent pregnancies than in first ones. And I probably spent more weeks wishing I looked pregnant that first go around than I ever actually was. (I mean did. Look pregnant.) Then the second time I kept trying to convince myself I didn't have an obvious belly at 22 weeks. And I feel like my first pregnancy, and all that goes with it, was taken away. The cute, tininess of your first time. The blissful, invincible happiness that after the first trimester everything will be fine. But I focus now on the physical difference. I wonder then, is that what I really missed out on? Or is this just another way I missed out on having that baby? And that's what I really miss...that baby. But I can't shake this feeling that I really miss not having the tiny pregnancy.

People still told me I was small in months 7 and 8 and beyond with Sprout. Then I wonder, did my uterus stop stretching at that 25 weeks point, so that I am the same size I would have been with Blue at 7 months, 8 months? Like I'm trying to convince myself that I didn't miss out. But if that's the case then how could my uterus have been any bigger at 22 weeks with Sprout than it was at the 25 weeks point with Blue?

Photo evidence of the difference. I actually wore those pants with Blue at 25 weeks (above), whereas with Sprout I just squeezed myself into them for the benefit of the comparison photos. The comparison photos that I now hate.

Why do I care so much about this? Even Mr. E, who has been so wonderful and understanding about all these nuanced and confusing emotions, isn't empathizing.

Another blogger said recently that she was still so angry for being shortchanged when so many other people weren't. (I won't get into how I'm jealous or envious or whatever about the fact that she articulated the sentiment when I could not.) I think that pretty much nails it. Why does my friend get to have her tiny pregnancy and I don't? Why do other people get to have six kids with no losses and no problems* and I lose my first and it shatters me? I envy people who can't seem to stop having children. But I don't even want six kids! I just want to have had my first tiny pregnancy. God, what is wrong with me?

I just feel like I missed out. And it isn't fair. The whole ordeal of losing a baby--it isn't fair. I think I am feeling that more acutely now than before. I am mourning other losses, the ancillary ones that maybe I never focused on before. And maybe they are important. Or maybe I am just having a narcissist's meltdown.

*I know I don't know their story. Maybe they had six losses to go with their six living children. But the people with six kids usually make it seem pretty easy to have six kids.

Here, let's look at 20 week photos:
Can you guess which is which? Actually, I'm not even sure I can tell the difference. OK, so that's it, I am a vain narcissist. Dammit.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fantasy in Blue

I have been thinking about what my life would have been like if Blue had lived. Last summer when I made a drive across all of Pennsylvania, I thought about Blue and I was very sad and missing him and reliving everything I had gone through the summer before. This time I was driving over two hours one way to attend a five-minute hearing for work. I would fantasize to a certain point and then trail off and have to remind myself to keep going. Because I didn't want to keep thinking about this over and over and over. I wanted to think it out to the very end and then be done with it.

Mainly the fantasy involved a healthy version of Blue. He would have been born in DC in the middle of November 2011. His dad and I would have been slogging through a mostly unfulfilling relationship. I never imagined what the birth would have been like. Chris would have been there though. A low bar, I know. But I can say with confidence that he would have wanted to have been there.

I was making new friends in DC and connecting with old friends, including two new moms. But I realized how hard it would have been to see them, as they both lived in Virginia, which is like Brooklyn if you live in Manhattan. So close, and yet so far. Chris would have buried himself in real or imaginary work. I would have been solely responsible for caring for our home and overwhelmingly responsible for caring for our baby. Our only help would come from new, hired help, or from his friend with whom he had the weird, intimate relationship. The one whose son I think Chris would have rather had than his own.

When I was newly pregnant with Blue, a childhood friend who had moved back to our hometown suggested I leave Chris, forget about trying to get a job in DC, and come back "home." I was so convinced at the time that I couldn't have a baby alone, and that I didn't want to ask my dad, yet again, to bail me out from something I had gotten myself into.* Well, I don't think it would have been long after Blue was born that I found myself jobless, lonely, angry and sad and moving back to my hometown, telling Chris that if he wanted to see his son he could figure it out himself. And then I think, what would I be doing for work? Would I be a lawyer now? Or soon? Or would I be working at a bookstore for flexible hours and any kind of money I could get? Would I have settled down with Mr. E? I certainly would have met him, but under such different circumstances.

In the alternative, I think about what would have happened had we found out sooner in the pregnancy that Blue was sick. We wouldn't have tried to stay together. I would have been heartbroken. I would have been angry, thinking Chris got what he wanted somehow. It would have been easier on me, that is for sure. It would have been a less intimate loss at 10, 12 weeks. I'm not saying it would have been easy. At all. Just easier know. This circumstance is the most interesting to me, because in this case I might have moved back to Colorado. I might have made life-changing decisions, like having a baby with a good friend who was in his early 50s and still a little baby-crazy. I'm actually getting a little sad right now, because I think that might have worked. When I told him I was pregnant and that I wanted the baby but Chris didn't, I asked who would have a baby with me right away because now I knew I was really ready to have one? And he raised his hand. We met in Boulder right before I moved back East. We dated for a bit, and saw each other in New York a lot, but I could never get over the 18 year age difference. I see now that we don't really talk much anymore, and I miss him. I'm not going to call him the one that got away or anything, but if I imagine the two of us with a baby, it kind of works.

Finally, I think about what would have happened if I had had an abortion from the very beginning, as Chris suggested. Surprisingly (maybe), I still think that would have been the worst outcome. I wouldn't have ever known there was something wrong with my baby, something so wrong with him that I would rather he not live. And I would have never forgiven myself for not letting the unknown version of him live. I almost can't think about the outcome in this situation. I don't know that the depression that would have followed would have been something from which I could ever recover.

*It's not as bad as it sounds. My first job out of college was an internship paying $1000 a month and my dad offered to supplement my income so I could take the job. Then when I moved to the mountains and got a job selling radio ads I thought I would be making enough money in the next year to pay for the bikes I bought on my credit card. That may have happened more than once, but my point is that I wasn't, like, $50K in the hole from gambling debts or drugs.