Wishing you courage

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow'."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Recent moments

This past Sunday night while on my way to pick A up from the airport, with traffic clear I accelerate and enter the highway - the little car obediently and easily surges ahead and I think "how fun!".

Just over an hour ago I exit the bank and the wind catches my hair and my entire being feels light. I had just opened my own checking and savings accounts. My first "own" accounts in over 11 years. My husband and I have divided our finances.

Three hours ago my hair had 6 inches of length removed. I left the salon wondering if I should ask for the hair to use in a ritual tonight before deciding walking away and not looking back was the ritual. The length I loved is gone but so are the dry, thin, fading ends; what remains is thick and black and wild with so much weight gone.

Before going to the hair salon I read blogs, enjoying your end of year/New Years reflections. Ya Chun posted photos of her daughters name written in the sand and I thought about how I want to write Toren's name over and over in sand as a silent shout to the Universe, but also thought that I wouldn't visit a beach any time soon. Hours later, plans have been made, I'm packed and soon I'll be joining some friends for an impromptu journey to the coast. Tomorrow morning will find me watching the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean.

I didn't realize until just now how urgently I need to get away from my home and daily life. Up until right now I saw the new year as just an extension of 2008, which was all about dealing with the events of 2007. I wish I could have some sense of a new start but with so much past baggage that I'm dealing with I don't know if that is possible. I now approach every day as a new day but in each new day there are still things from previous days that bring about heartache. But maybe, MAYBE, I can feel that things will be different now. Perhaps a visit to one of my favorite cities and the ocean and the sun can restore hope for happier days.

Best wishes to you all for happy dreams to come true in 2009!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Exciting news, as promised!

The arrival of good news was delayed a bit but this afternoon the puppy I adopted was delivered! I only took a few photo's and none are good but this is her drifting off to take a nap.

It's been kind of a rough day for her being in a new place and away from her litter mates for the first time. Tonight we are just hanging around the house together while she settles in.

My family had dogs when I was growing up and I dog sit sometimes but having a puppy around is new to me. Please share any advice you have on raising a dog and wish us luck!!!

I'll tell you more about her later, right now I have a puppy to attend to!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

All I can do is laugh at myself


Last night in group therapy my friends stressed that even though I don't have answers for why so many things have been happening in my life that I find disagreeable, I am exactly where I need to be right now. This is kind of difficult for me but I'm trying it out. Perhaps the tiny car, sized for a single girl, is representative of what I need to be focusing on - my own mental and physical health.

So, I start to come to terms with the car that I didn't want. Now this is where things become absurd. Guess who drove into other cars this evening. I am not even kidding! I caused a 3 car accident tonight! My first accident, beyond bumping into another car when backing up in a parking lot, that was my fault. This comes two days after buying the car and the day after I added the car to my insurance.

Clearly I still need to get used to driving the car but that will have to happen after it gets repaired.

I am in very good spirits though. All that therapy seems to be paying off!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Car talk

You know how people sometimes say they had an out of body experience with a traumatic incident? I had an in-body experience this afternoon! All of a sudden, when signing papers to buy a car, I wondered "what am I doing and how did I get to this point?" It felt like I had been sucked back into a life that I've been outside of. That only lasted a few seconds though and retreating back to the outside has been kind of a relief.

An hour and 15 minutes ago I bought a car I did not want.

Let me tell you a story ...

My car, as in MY real car - not the new thing, is a 1982 BMW model that was never imported into America. Parts for it are getting very hard to come by and mechanics often don't like working on it since it's not what they are used to. It is also the cutest vehicle ever made! And let me just say that with old cars it would be difficult for anyone not to become obsessed with their vehicle, so I make no apologies for my unhealthy attachment with my car, Polly Prissy Pants (she earned that name!). As wonderful as Polly is, she has some issues and it is about time for her to have an understudy while she gets restored.

My wish
So I asked the Universe for a 2009 Toyota Prius in black or a dark smoky color, with GPS. I wanted a car that was common, reliable, had 4 doors, was not a convertible, and was from this century. Later I would stick a car seat in the back so I wanted a family friendly car.

What actually happened
Yeah, Thanksgiving and the whole marital separation discussion... Aside from the entire plan for my life being maimed, money will get tighter so affording a car payment is further away than I wanted. Then last weekend my husband hears about a car for sale and wants to get it for me because he is worried about me living alone with PPP. I think this is thoughtful of him. So the car belonged to a trusted friend, was a good deal, and will serve my purposes of getting from place to place safely. My husband really likes the car and is out driving it now (he drove it home too while I drove his car). I let him decide on whether or not to buy it since I am so very NOT excited about the situation of needed a car because I will be living alone that I had no opinion on whether the car would be good for me or not.

I don't even know what it is! Aside from the unknown make and model it is a small sporty thing with no back seat and a T top convertible. It is exactly what I did not want. But at a friends suggestion, last week I stopped asking the Universe for the specific things that I wanted and began to ask for blessings instead - whatever blessings the Universe would like to send my way. So maybe this car is a blessing. Sigh - a car I do not want for a life I'm not happy about.

Non car talk
I'm doing well though. Still going to craploads of therapy and working very hard towards emotional stability. There are a lot of changes happening in my life so I'm on edge and cry a lot but I'm so glad to have mental health resources available to me and I'm working towards identifying things to look forward to as a single woman.

I've been wanting my life to change back to being good as quickly as it changed to lousy with that one ultrasound. I wonder if things ever get good that quickly. This weekend there have been many changes though and my life actually looks different now than it did Friday when I left work. There's one more thing that happened this weekend which I'm going to keep secret until I'm sure it will work out and if that all comes together things will be exciting around here sometime next week!!!

Take care Friends!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ducks are out of their row

I haven't even looked at my blog since the last pathetic post. I wish I could be saying how much things have improved but alas...

Anyway, I'm here representing those who are NOT COPING WELL. What follows will be a recount of more "not my best moments" but maybe this will help someone else out there.

Since last post, in chronological order
1. Gave up, consumed too many pills and too much alcohol
2. Taken to ER
3. Involuntary inpatient treatment for 4 days
4. Evening outpatient treatment
5. Thanksgiving - husband says he does indeed plan to move out once he gets a job
6. Heartbroken, rejected, but thankfully numb most of the time
7. Gotta see if my outpatient treatment can be extended beyond this week since I can certainly use more therapy and mood managing skills

From this point I think I'm not going to talk about or read about deadbabies for a while without a therapist present since I'm right at the edge of hanging in there. Oh fuck, that's not even true, I have fallen off the edge. I'm not hanging in well but I'm going through the motions of being a person who has hopes for the future.

All of that sounds really bad but right now I'm not a physical danger to myself or anyone else. I'm not drinking anymore. On a positive note I've been communicating with my Mom again and it has been really nice, and my husband understands that I want to live in the house and he will contribute some money to the mortgage every month and in return he'll get what he paid back whenever I sell the house. That way he still has an investment. And the housing market is not pretty here right now so it's a relief to not have to try to sell the house right now.

So ... no hope for a baby any time soon. In fact I'll be even farther away from a baby than I imagined a year ago. So many preparations with finishing degrees, buying a house, a long term marriage, so that a child could have a stable home to grow up in and now a key part of it all is leaving. Leaving without even giving it another chance. But I guess anyone would want to get away from a crazy lady.

You know, this all seems so surreal. While no where near to perfect I really don't try to intentionally hurt people, I really try to be a good person. But my life looks like it must belong to someone who sucks. Surely good people get good things, don't they? At least some of the time?

So this blog is not about rebuilding a marriage and successfully having a child after a deadbaby anymore. If anything, it will be about finding something to do in life once the life you carefully planned is no longer a possibility.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rough week in Terminus

So bad in fact that I felt it was too depressing for my grief blog but I just want to say some stuff.

On the second day of life my friends baby had a seizure and a stroke, or a stroke then a seizure, (doctors were not able to determine the cause) and he has been in the NICU all week. My heart breaks for his parents. The baby is improving and hopefully they will get to take him home on Tuesday and time will tell if he suffered permanent brain damage. So far it sounds like he will be on anti-seizure meds for a long time/lifetime. My prayer is that he grows healthy and has no permanent mental setbacks.

After making sure it was ok with them if I accompanied my husband for a visit tonight (this is the woman I wrote that letter to, people learn from my mistakes, it looks like it is a better tactic to remain a silent deadbabymama when perky prego's gush about their joy), guess who only lasted about 5 minutes in the NICU waiting room before having a panic attack and stumbling out of the waiting room, hallways, elevator, lobby to smoke, cry, and tremble outside.

Not that my week has been shittier than the new parents (since it's hard to top that) but I have experienced so many emotions this week. Although if I had to pick one overriding emotion of the week it would be humiliation. I don't ever want to show my face around them again after freaking out like that. Way to show support huh? I really didn't anticipate such anxiety.

AND that wasn't even the only humiliating moment of the week! I also finally had sex but once it was over I really regretted that act of seduction. HUGE mistake! It very much did NOT have the desired effect. Perhaps I'll save that story for my next installment of "Don't do this!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You all are very much appreciated and your comments have gotten me through some rough days. I'm behind on sending replies to some comments and I still need to thank Meg for the pretty card that arrived a while ago (Meg, the card is so beautiful, you are so thoughtful to provide such support). I periodically review all of the cards I have received and they really help. I have some new books of poetry from a new-to-me poet and there are some poems I'll write into the next rounds of cards I send out. And if anyone else wants to receive some cards of encouragement in the mail just let me know. Seriously, fun activities are appreciated right now.

I did end up taking that post down from LJ after a few friends commented how they were thinking of me but wanted to give me space. These are my dearest humans on Earth and if I'm too open with them they get uncomfortable. Even non maternal types are upset by the idea of dead babies, perhaps even more so by tiny deformed babies, and ones that live happily while in utero but are not able to live after birth.

Now to sound like a complete spoiled, self-involved whiner...
I'm having some kind of mental breakdown. My friend (or ex-friend, who I wrote the letter to) safely delivered her baby boy yesterday. I am incredibly relieved that the birth went well and they have a healthy baby to bring home and raise. I didn't expect to feel more than small twinges of oweeiness over wanting a similar life for myself. Instead I've been stricken with a bad case of the "Why me?"s

Huge, ugly pains of jealousy. Then confronting my husband, asking why he couldn't even just say that we would have a baby too someday soon. But he can't make promises about our future. Monumentous, horrible jealousy then. No baby and no hope right now.

Do you know that my friend who sent out the baby announcement text message really debated over sending it to me? I've become a person who people hesitate to give good news to. It's so shameful.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm pasting in what I wrote in my live journal today. I started this blog soon after I stopped talking about deadbabies there since my friends who know me in person would get upset that I was sad. They want to see me happy and I love them so I filter out the really sad stuff so they don't worry about me. I feel very exposed having said so much to them so I might take it down from there. I don't really know why I put it up there in the first place.

I was going to turn some of the ideas into a nicer post for here but for now I'll just include it as is and add any thoughts later.

"How do you measure a year?"
With all of the crazy musical theater-ish videos I've put up lately I won't include that RENT song here (did you all know that I'm a huge RENT fan? The obsession was really bad a few years ago (10! shoot time flies), now all I want to listen to is Wicked).

Anywho - "How do you measure a year?"

This last year has been measured in bottles of wine, cigarettes, tubes of water proof mascara, stupid thoughtless comments, hurtful purposeful comments, relationships lost/stalled, and amazing support found. I wish I could say I had learned some life lesson that improved my personality / impact on the world / level of care in relationships - positive things that balanced out that sickening feeling and intense longing for my child, but I haven't. Not this year anyway.

Saturday was the calmest, lowest day. I gave up wishing people would offer some support regardless of if they could comprehend this sort of loss, or disapproved of such prolonged mourning; support and care just because someone says they love you isn't as natural as I thought. I didn't mention the anniversary while talking to my dad on the phone since I didn't want to hear any comments from him about his surprise that I'm still upset about this. Seriously people, you hold your dead son and then you may tell me an appropriate time frame for being "upset". My mother hasn't contacted me in months since I told her that some things she said hurt my feelings.

In the past year, for the first time in my life, I spoke my mind, telling people the things I needed to be protected from. It's hard to say if those communications turned out well or not. I never imagined my mother would stop talking to me, preferring to stick to her temper tantrum than show some extra love during the worst time of my life. I know I need to be the one to contact her but honestly she is so difficult that I've been putting it off until I'm actually ready to deal with her shit again. So we probably will talk again but I think I'll always remember how she bailed out when things got tough. Not like I blame people though. I have been miserable to be around - depressed and angry. Again, spend a moment with my memories before being surprised that I'm angry.

On Saturday I thought "this is the feeling that makes people want to joint cults". The kind of cults that provide a close knit family like structure. Living in a compound, severing ties with non-believers, crazy suicide pacts.

So spiritual thought for today... cheerfulness practice.

"Cheerfulness practice is not letting pleasantness or kindness or anything that feels good in your life go by, but actually noting it."

"Don't underestimate the things in your life that bring you happiness."

- Pema Chodron

This is not faking it til you make it, I've come a long way since then - this is living with this lingering sense of loss and emptiness but still enjoying things.

Lovely things today
I worked out at the gym yesterday and today my spine feels wonderful!
I love the view I have from my office of the skyline and the trees turning color.
Afterglow of spending time with my nearest and dearest yesterday.
Despite all of the alcohol I drank yesterday I'm feeling ok and am being productive at work (horray for this impressively high alcohol tolerance!).

Sorry, that was more than I intended to write.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Thank you Sophie for the meme tag! I'm finally getting to it (what a slacker!).

The rule is to give one word responses.

1. Where is your cell phone? Here

2. Where is your significant other? TV

3. Your hair color? Black

4. Your mother? Silent

5. Your father? Happy

6. Your favorite thing? Togetherness

7. Your dream last night? Uncomfortable

8. Your dream/goal? revival

9. The room you’re in? Bedroom

10. Your hobby? pastime? Gardening

11. Your fear? Loneliness

12. Where do you want to be in six years? Undecided

13. Where were you last night? Home

14. What you’re not? Relaxed

15. One of your wish list items? Boulder

16. Where you grew up? All over

17. The last thing you did? Nap

18. What are you wearing? sweatshirt

19. Your T.V.? HUGE!

20. Your pet/s? Shaven

21. Your computer? Portal

22. Your mood? Anxious

23. Missing someone? With every part of my being - or - yes

24. Your car? Smelly

25. Something you’re not wearing? Bra (kind of a personal answer!)

26. Favorite store? None

27. Your Summer Rapid

28. Love someone? Unrequited

29. Your favorite color? Orange

30. When is the last time you laughed? Today

31. Last time you cried? Monday

I think everyone I know has been tagged already but I haven't seen the bling in some of my favorite blogs yet so friends go for it if you are so inclined

Sara, Debbie, Zil, Reba, Msfitzita, Gal

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Step one - CHECK

For months now my silent life wish has been something like this:
1. Obama for president
2. Economy repaired
3. Husband gets awesome job
4. Love, romance, passion, ease rekindled in marriage
5. Baby returns

Poor Barack Obama has quite a large task ahead of him according to this! (Nevermind digging the country out of a huge pit of trouble) Petitioning the Heavens for reincarnation of beloved souls was not included in his campaign ...

The previous 2 presidential elections turned into such depressing nights that I still can't believe that it's over and decided, just like that! No recounting. And it ended in hope. I don't know what the future brings, having become a glass half empty kind of person I recognize that things can go to hell easier than you could ever imagine, but as soon as the afterglow starts, as soon as relief, joy, and hope find room in this cold heart, I will bask in pure hope that things can improve.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Even worse

I've been avoiding visiting the cemetery where Toren's ashes were to end up with the "hospital disposition". I understood that there would be no way of knowing when the urn containing his ashes would be full and then buried in a plot with the ashes of his peers. But today I had an extra hour to kill.

This place is completely depressing and not because of the obvious issues of being a mass grave for the ashes of fetus' and infants but because it is unkempt and lacks even a simple marker stating what the ground holds. This sounds totally ungrateful since the burial of these remains are done free of charge and there is a bench to rest on with a dove engraved, but not a single word about the babies. Like it's something to be ashamed of. The information I received about the plot almost a year ago states that only flowers may be left in a vase next to the bench. There is no vase, but parents leave mementos anyway and I have heard that periodically they are cleared away.

After collapsing on the bench in horror at the lack of a memorial I got up and began frantically pulling crab grass and clearing away fallen leaves only stopping when my fingers became raw and my left hand was covered in welts from an encounter with a fire ant nest. I tidied stuffed animals, brushed the dirt off of tiny clothes and carefully refolded them, wrote a letter to Toren, smoked 2 cigarettes, and left some flowers with Toren's letter.

Next time I'm wearing better gardening clothes and bringing gloves, a bag for yard waste, and some hand tools. I'm contemplating bringing a garden for butterflies on tour by doing some planting there. Sure you aren't supposed to leave anything there but babies aren't supposed to die either so fuck those rules.

I hate this. Seriously, where is the goddamn light at the end of the tunnel? But there are times when I don't care to live anymore and making my memorial garden kept me busy and now clearing the weeds from this grave site provides a new project to pour energy into. I really hate this.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lights on October 31

I can't figure out how to take good nighttime photos, but these vaguely show how my house and garden were decorated for last night.

I imagined I would have plenty to say about life one year after the bad news day but I've got nothing.

After even just a week or so of blogland absence it will take a few days to catch up on all of my favorite blogs to read but I may not have anything to say to you all either. Sorry, I do care for you all very much but words have left me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The ugly dog competition on Animal Planet is too funny. Yeah, it's another fun Saturday night for me! And it's not like there are not things to do - my husband is dj-ing as usual, some friends had dinner out, but while I usually can be pried from the house with food I don't like hibachi.

I had my first deep tissue massage today. At the first painful presses I grimaced, laughed and told my massage therapist, Vera, how a friend of mine (who is also a client) said that deep tissue from Vera was brutal but that you felt like a new person afterwards. Vera asked who I wanted to become. I'm still working on an answer.

Things that gotta go:
Anger towards people who hurt my feelings

There were a few times when I almost cried during the massage. This body has been through so much; it stores a lifetime of life weirdness ...

"Life weirdness" is the best I could come up with to describe neglect, abuse, chronic pain, and an autoimmune disease. On top of that, labor and delivery, pills inserted to soften my cervix, so many hands checking progress, all culminating in seeing my tiny, dead son. The boy who didn't grow all of the necessary organs. He looked so good on the outside...

The weirdest thought I had after hearing that the baby would not live was "of course he will die, because that is the kind of thing that would happen with me as his mother." I had known about my crooked spine with a lumpy spot from an early life fracture, intestines that can't absorb gluten - I didn't know my uterus couldn't grow a complete baby. Even though no cause for the agenesis has been identified I still feel like I did something wrong. Instead of marveling over a fertile, life giving uterus, I've been calling mine the "womb of doom" - Beware all souls who enter here.

So yes, I do want to be someone else, I wanted to turn into someone new today.

Anyway, I didn't intend to say all of that. I was going give an update on my cat. She had a third vet visit today where her toe was drained and she now has more antibiotics to take and we have pain shot to give her. By the time I got home she had one shot, was walking on her injured leg, and was ready to go outside to play. Of course she can't go out because hubby and I are mean. My other cat slept a lot when he had pain medication but she is snuggly, playful, and is eating well. This is not characteristic of her... Tiny Tim is HIGH.

How was that for a blog of randomness?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Memory lane

In the mindscape and bodies of baby lost mama's there are weird anniversaries. Not just dates but events too.

On the very bad day of October 31, 2007 one of the first items on the agenda of a busy day was to get a flu shot. Then a prenatal visit with the anatomy ultrasound, then a fun, joyous Halloween night! Of course, the nightmare began with that ultrasound.

One of the tasks today was to get a flu shot. It's been on my calendar for weeks but any thoughts about it were kept in a quiet corner of my memory. Until driving in to work today when suddenly, there in the forefront "Getting a flu shot was the last thing I did before ..."


Before excited hopes for the future were snuffed out. Before wishes and prayers for this pregnancy to lose the label of "threatened miscarriage" turned out to be misguided. Before holding my son when he was much too tiny and then spending months thinking "I wonder what he will look like when he is born at full term", before forcing my brain back to the reality that I will never know what he will look like as a real baby because he is already dead. Before my marriage slid into stagnation. Before I severed friendships. Before I realized that it is not time to re-instigate communication with my mom because I don't feel up to dealing with her pouting, guilt trips, and troubles. Before I learned to be open and honest with my feelings and then learned to be very selective about who I am open with.

I opted to convince a colleague to wait in line early for our flu shots rather than wait for most people in the building to cycle through the large conference room that was now set up with nurses, sanitizing wipes and syringes. The screening question "did you have any adverse reactions to last years flu shot?" was met with a simple "no". The flu shot didn't cause my baby to die, but it's now part of a complicated and sad story.

I needed to get it over with early so I wouldn't anticipate remembering that last years injection happened just hours before life changed.

If life can change for the worse so quickly is it possible that it can change for the wonderful just as quickly? Today I'm pretending this is the case and that perhaps in a few hours everything will turn around again.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Oww oww oww marriage hurts!

Instead of complaining more I want to see how the words that I want to say look typed out. Imagine I'm sharing this:

My marriage is loving and passionate.

I have happy, healthy children.

I have lost 25 pounds.

Isn't that better? Anything y'all are waiting to be able to say?

Lame cat jokes

Dear Sasha is still not bearing weight on one back leg! Did I mention that at her second vet visit the vet thought she had been hit by a car? She might have a sprain. Anyway, she desperately wants to go outside but the humans in the house feel that she should rest in the house instead. Tonight hubby walked into the kitchen and said "Sasha wants to go out but I told her she doesn't have a leg to stand on." Hahahahaha! It was such a surprise to hear him make a joke! He's also started calling her Tiny Tim, due to the limp. My once gorgeous cats are now shaven, hobbling, and nicknamed "Chicken leg" and "Tiny Tim".

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TMI cycle stuff

FSH test

So you are supposed to go in on cycle day 3 or so. Last Friday, when I made the appointment for the following Monday, I thought I was at day one. Then it stopped. Then I thought Saturday was day one. Then it stopped. Then nothing for Sunday. Then Monday I wondered if I was wasting everyone's time by coming in to have my blood taken when I didn't know if I was on cycle day 4 or 29 (that would be day 4 if this were a new cycle, day 29 if still on the last cycle). Talk about feeling like an idiot.

Some of the people I work with study FSH so I talked to a colleague about the stability of FSH before cycle day 1. It is very stable! Check out the chart below and you can see how FSH and estrogen do not fluctuate greatly during the very end of one cycle and the very beginning of another. So it didn't really matter if I was at day 4 or 29.

Monday ended up being day 1 but I didn't call the office back to give them the play by play of my menstrual cycle.

Yesterday morning I was so upset over not knowing precisely what cycle day it was for my FSH test that I forgot to ask when the results would be back.


New panic (since I don't know what to do with myself if I'm not freaking out about something!). Already I have heard back from my doctor's office, not just with an estimate of when the results will be back but the actual results.

Everything is in the normal range.

I am not currently in premature ovarian failure. My thyroid hormone levels are fine.

I should be really happy but now I'm confused about what to do. Having urging from my doctor to try to conceive immediately would have pushed my marriage in one direction or the other - my husband and I would have been brought together or driven apart - at least either way is an answer. Can I just say how much I hate marriages in limbo! Grrrrr.

I don't know how to repair my marriage. Hubby is NOT the therapy type, and he is so grumpy lately he is almost impossible to be around. And he is not going to relax enough to even work on our marriage until he is employed.

So no rush for pregnancy. What a relief and a disappointment!

And abnormal thyroid hormone levels are not to blame for my weight gain. Looks like someone needs to put down the wine and get her fat ass to the gym more often.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sure this is my place to be a downer ...

... but this is getting to be a bit much even for me. Here are a bunch of random thoughts.

The closer the October 31 terrorversary gets the more unsettled I feel for reasons that I can't even explain.

In general now I don't have anxiety attacks when I see someone who is pregnant. But the closer October 31 gets the more people reveal they are expecting and those who already told me about their gestating tiny precious things are pregnanter by the day. I AM happy for them, there's just a lot of tender belly rubbing going on lately and I find myself ferociously maintaining eye contact to avoid staring directly at rounded bellies.

My boss has a grant application due today so I'm hanging out doing small tasks for her while she finishes it up. If can leave her in time tonight I'll go to a SHARE meeting. I don't even feel like talking though. I just want to slump in a chair in the presence of people who will understand that it's just one of those days where you have been pleasant, helpful, and busy all day while your entire being has been begging to simply go home, put on some slippers, and grab a snuggly blanket (and two shaven cats in this case).

This weekend I'll be helping out at A Walk to Remember, probably by being at one of the tables giving out information or doing whatever else. I'm glad to have something to do there since I'm going alone. Being helpful will be better than standing by myself.

You know when minor sad or frustrating things build up to create sleepless nights and lots of sighing?

Approaching sad anniversaries (even though I don't know specifically why I am sadder about it than normal)
Injured cats (even though they will recover)
Stressed, out of work hubby (even though he is doing some work, it's commission only and he has no paycheck upcoming. I know he is grumpy over not having a job and I hate it when he is like this)

The tipping point between my normal baby blues and wondering if it's time to increase my antidepressant dose is some very sad news.

Do you remember the pictures of my friend's baby Shih Tzu from a while back? He died yesterday in a tragic accident. My friend and her boyfriend are so sad and feel so much guilt since after the fact they were able to identify a list of things they could have done differently to possibly prevent his death. I went over when I found out and sat with my friend as she cried and vomited all afternoon until her boyfriend got off work.

I am worried about them and so sad for them. And I'll miss his puppy snuggles.

If I were to act on how I feel I'd be walking around, head down, kicking dirt all pathetic like. Sigh.

Monday, October 13, 2008

No pretty pictures today!

Nekid picture

Sorry for the action shot, my model moved. I think he is embarrassed of his hack job haircut and didn't want his photo taken. This is Sammy a week after his dramatic injury and he is healing up so nicely but the poor guy has a lot of fur to grow back. Hubby calls him "chicken leg".

No photo of Sasha kitty's oweee toe that was shaved and cleaned out today at the vet's office since she is too angry at the world right now to come out of hiding.

That's right - 2 injured cats. My home has turned into a feline infirmary.

Last weekend when Sammy kitty was hurt I handled the situation so well. No crying, no pleading to the universe for a good prognosis for him. Yes, I was worried and sad that he was hurt but after the pregnancy disaster of 2007 tears and begging for mercy seem useless. By the time we found Sam in the tree the damage had already been done and no amount of emotional display would change what had already happened. All there was to do was stay calm and take appropriate action.

Mostly, this newly found release of wanting to control situations which are out of my control, is a relief. But it's a little sad and unnerving too.

But when Sasha was found to be holding one back foot in the air and sadly hopping along I suddenly felt so frustrated and exhausted. Like seriously, can't a girl get a break? Can't something unexpected but NICE happen?

Ok, I'm sure there are plenty of nice things that happen that I am too blinded by vet bills to see right now.

Last week at a work meeting I was asked about how my cat was doing so I told everyone of his injury and rescue. At the end of the meeting a colleague announces that she is pregnant. It is so depressing that babies and pregnancies are such a sore subject with me, but at that moment I felt worse than normal because it looks like my life continues to suck. Limpy cats, vet bills, unemployed, grumpy husband...

I'll stop before I start feeling so bad for myself I crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep. I started a weight loss plan today so I have to exercise for an hour before I can cry in bed ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The garden today

All of the fading impatiens have been replaced by pansy's and I finally put the statue of Jizo in the garden.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Technical and way too personal

Reasons I was not looking forward to my annual gyno visit:

1. The obvious - spending time and money to change into paper clothing and be intimately examined

2. Getting weighed

3. Seeing happy pregnant women in the waiting room

4. Being asked about my reproductive history from staff members who are not familiar with my file

5. Being asked if I needed a prescription for hormonal birth control which I most definitely do not since I haven't been in a situation to prevent pregnancy since July 19. By the way this is NOT my way of saying hubby and I are trying to conceive, quite the opposite, we have not been intimate since JULY NINETEENTH. No wonder I'm tense all the time.

6. Being asked how I am doing since the deadbaby. I would want to honestly answer and not just say "fine" but I started feeling a little embarrassed to let this doctor know how little progress I have made towards getting pregnant again.

Right as I entered the office and stood in line to check in and was surrounded by pregnant bellies I thought "I need to change doctors". The receptionist asked me how the baby was doing and I said he died and she was really nice about not ignoring it and not expressing too much sympathy. But after seeing my doctor I remembered how much I like her and I don't want to see anyone else.

So the things that were as bad or worse than I anticipated were the plethora of pregnant women, and being weighed.

Some good things about the visit are I asked to have my ovarian reserve tested and after explaining that my cycles are kind of short (23-27 days) and my mother and her mother (my grandmother) both said they began menopause at 35 and I was worried I would do the same, so I wanted to know how long I could push back trying to conceive. I'll return to the office to have blood drawn on cycle day 3 and the results will tell if my pituitary gland is secreting high levels of FSH, which would indicate that it is taking more effort to get a follicle to mature, which is not good when you still want to reproduce someday. The test won't say how many follicles I have left, it only lets you know if something is up at that time, but it is a good place to start. If my FSH levels are low my doctor mentioned that I might want to have them tested every 6 or 12 months. I'm glad she is taking my concerns seriously and is willing to work with me on this to ease my mind. My doctor said if the results are above 10 she will suggest that I start trying to conceive right away, which is exactly the information I want to know.

My thyroid hormone levels are also going to be tested since I commented on how much weight I have gained. The problem is most likely that I've not been exercising and I'm drinking several bottles of wine a week but it is kind of her to address all of my concerns anyway.

All in all, I'm glad it's over and incredibly glad that I expressed my concerns and am taking a proactive approach to the possibility of premature ovarian failure.

Monday, October 6, 2008

October already, which means the countdown for the first anniversary of Toren's delivery is marching steadily along.

Although I haven't read about this being a normal stage of deadbaby grief, I am in the stage of deep regrets. While completely honoring my choices at the time regarding what to do with his body, how I prepared for his delivery, and how much time I spent holding him afterwards, I so wish I had done things differently. It's been almost a year but the memories are so vivid and feel so near that it seems those moments are just out of reach - like if I could stand taller, stretch from tippy toe to finger tip just centimeters more I could change the past.

If I could re-do it I would spend the 5 days between finding out he was incompatible with life and entering the hospital cherishing our last days together. I would find him a special blanket and toy. I would have a photo taken of my husband and I while I was still pregnant. I would prepare for taking my own photos of him after he was delivered. I would have him cremated privately with the soft items I had given to him and have his remains returned to me. I would spend more time with his body afterwards.

I know I've said all of this before - must rehash, re-discuss, re-wish, over and over right now.

What actually happened - The first day and a half (Wednesday and Thursday) were spent crying, vomiting, and researching bilateral renal agenesis and delivery of mid-gestation fetus's. Then my husband took me to Helen, GA. We spent time together. Walked around, stayed in a beautiful bed and breakfast. Were intimate for the first time in about 6 weeks, because pelvic rest in an effort to prevent a threatened miscarriage was no longer applicable. We came back to town on Sunday and I met with a friend who counseled me regarding our choice - she said I needed to make room for the healthy babies who are coming in the future.

After the horror that the baby will die settled in a bit came the fear of entering the hospital. Fear of pain, fear of delivery - the aspect of pregnancy I hadn't had time to learn about yet. Fear of seeing the baby. So much to be afraid of that there was no time to find things that I wanted to give him, and really at the time I would never have imagined that I would have regretted not handling his body differently.

In retrospect I'm also pleased with how those 5 days were handled. My husband and I were close. It was an important time together. We weren't completely focused on what was upcoming. We were actually in public a lot, walking around, eating in restaurants, so we weren't displaying grief. We looked like a normal couple in love. I had a large tummy for me but did not look pregnant. No one looking at us would have guessed that we were just passing the time until our doomed baby left us.

The point of all that is I made the best possible choices at the time however now I would be greatly comforted to know where his body is. I want to honor Toren appropriately for the anniversary of his delivery. I have some ideas. Do any of you have ideas? What did you do, or what to do plan to do, to honor your lost children and express your love for them on special days?

Other stuff
I've been gardening again and I'll post some photos when all the planting is done. Yesterday was a bad day for one of my cats and my bank account. I don't feel like telling the whole story right now but here is what I told my real life friends through lj:

Picking up the story in the middle of it...

As soon as we got home my neighbor who owns the dogs came over to tell us the dogs were current on their rabies shots and they were just used to having a lot of land to run around on and blah blah blah... but it was very nice for him to check up on the situation.

X-rays showed no broken bones or internal injuries so that is good. But Sammy Kitty cannot move his right hind leg without it trembling and the few attempts he has made to stand made him growl and cry. He won't eat and the vet said the medications should be taken with food to guard against tummy upset but we gave him his pain medication anyway because it was clear he needed it.

A is going to bring the futon mattress down to the living room and at least I will be sleeping with Sammy down there. I don't want to put him anyplace high up in case he tries to walk around and falls to the floor, disoriented by the medication. I'll be working from home tomorrow.

So overall a good prognosis to a tense afternoon of rescuing the bloody kitty from a tree and taking him to the emergency vet, and I am so thankful for that, but it still is just very sad to see him in so much pain.

Sorry for this disjointed and rambling post - I took a Vicodin for back pain from gardening all weekend and I think Vicodin works by numbing your brain rather than the actual point of pain.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Not really a proud or shameful moment

Some of you seem interested in how the situation with my "mommy mobile" friend turned out. I would have also been curious to know what exactly one can say under those circumstances - what words do you use to say "oweee, that was my heart you stabbed". I don't necessarily recommend saying what I wrote to her though and I don't not recommend it either. I sent this as an e-mail a week and a half ago and have heard no reply, however I know that she has shared it with at least one of our mutual friends.

I don't need to hear praise over this, in fact, gentle critiques on how this could have been made not so mean would be appreciated (keeping in mind it's too late to change the letter). I do not think a follow up letter from me to her after receiving no acknowledgment of this note is appropriate; reviving the friendship is not a goal here. Right now my goals are to not feel like shit and later I'll want to know how to best handle myself when around her in the future (since that will happen). Not receiving any sort of reply has been harder than I imagined but it will be ok and I do feel relieved having communicated the things that were bothering me.

Hi R,

Congratulations on the new car, you all must be very excited and relieved to have an appropriate vehicle.

The delivery of your purchase news is prompting me to say some things that have been on my mind. I don't think you understand the severity of the sorrow I feel over the death of my son. It has been an incredibly difficult 10 months, with my entire body, mind and soul missing him every single minute, plus the waning of my marriage as A and I both grieve so intensely in our different ways. Living has strictly become about getting through another day so it is important that I am only around people who are sensitive to this disaster that has completely changed my life. When I am invited over to dinner only to be seated facing a brand new stroller parked in the dining room, or receive impersonal notes signed with your sons name, or hear about the "mommy mobile", frankly, I want to die. So I request that you kindly neglect to include me in such communications.

With all of my heart I wish you a safe delivery and a happy life.

Sincerely, A

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thank you Meghan! Words cannot describe the feeling of seeing an envelope in my PO Box; I opened it up right there, standing at a counter in post office. A beautiful card! A beautiful sentiment! Again, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness.


Leaving the hospital with a sad but entirely treasured memory box ... what are the words to describe that? Horrible. Unfair. A whole slew of swear words are also appropriate. The morning after delivery I wanted to see the baby again. "He will be cold", the nurse told me. My husband took the opportunity to haul the belongings we had accumulated the past 4 days in that hospital room out to the car; poor guy is not a fan of deadbabies. Toren arrived nestled in a tiny white basket; I sat in the rocking chair, the nurse handed him to me and left the room, and that was my time alone with him. Together we rocked and I told him all that I could, all that was applicable. No life lessons to be passed on other than sometimes things are entirely, impossibly unfair. Sometimes horrible things happen despite our best efforts and intentions. Pretty heavy stuff for a being aged 20 weeks gestation.

His body was so cold and his blood had pooled, turning areas of his skin so dark. I didn't unwrap him to see his body again; I didn't need to see the feet that were starting to club and the fingers growing in odd directions from his body being crushed by my organs. Since finding out he was not surrounded by amniotic fluid I had done my best not to slouch and crush him further.

Knowing what I know now, I would have sat there rocking him longer. I would not have felt rushed knowing that my husband was waiting or worrying that the hospital staff wanted to clean the room. That was my only time to see his tiny body. It's been almost 11 months and I crave seeing him again.

To leave the hospital room I needed another dose of Xanax. Then, finally, I left the room I had been in for the past 84 hours straight, walked down the hall praying not to see anyone smiling over having a new baby in their family, clutching the memory box.

This is it, the white box.
Now it sits in the bottom part of an end table in my living room. On top is a photo of Toren alive, taken via ultrasound; the photo that was joyously e-mailed to family members as a way of announcing the pregnancy. Also housed in that area are family photos and roses formed from palm fronds (or something) that my husband got for me from a guy on the street in Savannah (one of the most beautiful places on Earth). The box holds the soft blanket Toren was wrapped in, the tiny knit hat he wore, a stuffed dog, hand and foot prints, polaroid photos of him, cards received welcoming him to the world, and a few other various things from the hospital. Cards of condolence are kept behind the box.

Initially, I didn't know what to think of the box. It instantly turned into one of my greatest treasures (like if the house is burning down, grab the cats and the box) however the things inside were not items that he enjoyed during life. He never played with the stuffed dog, he never felt the softness of the blanket. His items, memories of him, but they are not his memories.

I wanted to give him so much.

I don't know if anyone else felt this way, but when I found out there was no way in hell that my baby would live outside the womb, finding things to give him did not cross my mind. I wish I would have selected a blanket or toy for his body to at least lay next to, but I gave him nothing tangible. In response to a post on Glow in the Woods recently I expressed my regret with how I chose to deal with his body, I'm not going to repeat it here. In hindsight, I wish I had selected an item just for him and had his body cremated with it. I wish I knew where his body was right now.

Which leads to the point of all of this ... months later the box is still not enough. All this time and all this effort spent on grief work and it turns out that container of memories just isn't enough. I now have a new card, a new memory, to add to the story of my baby's life. Sure it's the part of my baby's life where there is no adorable cooing, drooling, young human - we are limited to a heartbroken couple who barely speak anymore (and who are frequently drunk), a woman who refuses to move on and a man who (I imagine) wants nothing other than to forget the sight of his dead son.

Ready for the shameful part? The part that is our secret? I'm going to buy the things I had intended to buy for him. A halloween, jack-o-lantern hat and dinosaur pajamas. The things I never dared get since the pregnancy was classified as a "threatened abortion" for so long.

I hate that I was never able to tell him face-to-face, while he was alive, how much he was loved.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Um, yeah...

I haven't mailed out cards yet.

I want to tell you that I've been busy and such but the real issue is I've had too much wine every night this week to write a sober sounding sentiment.

Since being kind is not going so well, at least I will spare you all the details of my adventures in speaking my mind about situations I think lack sensitivity.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

AHC post

I copied it here too because it turned out to be longer than I planned and this place is a record of my wadings through the grief bog. This was an important moment and I want to remember how I feel about it right now.

I just told my tale of woe to a new co-worker who is pregnant. She got the whole story too! Diagnosis, hospital stay, falling apart marriage ...

She was so understanding and sympathetic and I'm glad I told her because I think she is a really great person. But you know how the story starts out rather simple (pregnant once but baby died) then you start to add in the details and it just gets worse and worse? By how she looked at me at times I could see her wondering "how do you even get up everyday?"

My silent answer is "I don't know." I don't know how it is possible that I work, run errands, see my friends, LOOK NORMAL. But I do it all. I get out of bed everyday now, even on weekends, and I am somewhat productive.

It's weird to say that "yes, in all of my life experience, I think this is the worst thing that can happen to someone" but still be sitting at my desk among the papers and things I'm working on. To calmly say that I am completely devastated, to realize I don't care to much if I live or die most days, and yet I go to work everyday. Every single moment I miss my baby, I miss my husband, and I mourn for what almost was, but I still continue to get things done.

It's like leading a double life in a way.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Just photos of good times = no stress post to read!

This is a little dark but you can get an idea of how beautiful the vineyard is. That's me snuggling a puppy.
Here's the puppy. He is my friends 11 week old Shih Tzu and he is even cuter in person. I'm his auntie.


Back to speachless

Thanks for the ideas on how to handle this situation with my friend. After thinking about it for a few days and journaling about the things I could say I haven't thought of anything that is appropriate. My side of the story sounds whiney, the bottom line of every draft is - I think you were mean to me so I don't want to be friends anymore - which is actually true but it just sounds so ridiculous to say it. I will talk/rant to my therapist about it this week though and see if she has suggestions other than explaining it to my friend in the "When you said _____, I felt ____, and in the future please ______." For now I'm not thinking about it anymore.

Happier notes

I picked up the keys for my new PO Box! Number 2142, which is delightful as far as numbers go! The full address is up for a limited time (probably) under my profile and I've e-mailed it to those of you I have e-mail addresses for.

Also yesterday I had a wonderful time at my favorite winery in North Georgia and I will post some pictures soon.

I hope you all are doing well.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Speachless (except for all the stuff I'm about to bombard you with)

Setting the stage...

So, you know I have an EX-FRIEND ... and even though I talk a tough game, friendship breakups weigh heavily on me. It's so hard to let a friendship die. I have had definite bitchy moments with her back in early spring when she was newly pregnant and I was slogging through grief (aided by a lot of alcohol) but I really tried to make it up to her. I sent text messages at least once a week for months asking how she was feeling - rarely a reply and never was the question reciprocated spontaneously. When suddenly asked to dinner several months ago I accepted because I wanted an end to the tension. So I dined and made pleasant conversation while seated facing a brand spanking new stroller that was parked in the dining room. I praised the name they had picked out since they had just recently found out they were having a boy. Then when her husband asked me to help her shop for some evening clothes I actually went to maternity stores with her and helped her find something to wear. Then back to no replies, no asking how I am. So I stop sending text messages; I stop communicating so there is no communication whatsoever between us. Then she gave me a gift a couple of weeks ago... but by this time I am too upset by only seeing her on her terms that I am cold ... I thank her for the gift and hide it in a closet when I get home because I just can't look at it.

Then no communication.

Then tonight a text is received:
"It's official! We got a mommy mobile [her name] style! Crv 2008! Woot!"

And from my mouth comes a maniacal laugh then I send text messages to other friends, just saying hello, just so that the message from her moves down the list so that it is not seen on the screen.

You all really can tell me if I am being too sensitive about this. But the way I see it is that she is clueless at best; competitive and mean at worst.

What would you guys do? Would you say something? I don't think I will do anything, but this is fuel for my golly-gee-we-cannot-be-considered-friends-any-longer fire (and I mean it this time). My completely honest to my inner feelings side (which doesn't exist in real life) would reply "Congrats on the new car you inconsiderate, hateful bitch"

If you said anything, would you want to say something different from what you would actually say?

Edit: How about a lovely note of congratulations like this?

Dear R,
Congratulations on your new car - what exciting news! I remember a time when I was planning to replace my classic car with a vehicle that was more "baby friendly". Of course, finding the perfect "mommy mobile" turned out to be not necessary for me since my son was found to be incompatible with life and thus would not ever be tucked securely in a car seat in any car. Now that my marriage is suffering so much as my husband and I mourn our son in our unique ways, it looks like I'll be driving my classic car for a long time. The CR-V 2008 appears to be a very family friendly vehicle and I imagine you will enjoy driving your son around in it once he is born. Again, congratulations on the new "mommy mobile"!

And I really mean that "sincerely" bit.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Our PO Boxes overfloweth

You all are awesome!

Enough of you mentioned a PO Box that I considered it. I asked my husband what he thought about me giving out our address and he thought it would be fine for a few people. What if it turns out to be more than a few people? He asked how many cards I thought I would receive ... I grinned ... he rolled his eyes. My husband and I shared a cute moment! Ok, it had a bit of that I-can't-acknowledge-the-deadbaby-and-I-can't-believe-you-are-so-open-about-it vibe on his end but at least we communicated in a sort of playful way. I don't expect too many people to be into this but I decided that since I have never had a PO Box before I would like to try it out, so for 6 months I have a PO Box to call my own! I'll pick up the keys and get the number on Monday.

Whoever is interested in having their mailing address shared with others so we can all send each other cards let me know. Otherwise just you and I will mail to each other. E-mail your information to gardening_anna at yahoo dot com (this is especially important if your contact information is not available on your profile page). Non-commenters too - if you want some support and acknowledgment of your fresh or continued hurt please feel free to send me an e-mail.

Something strange is happening ... at this very moment I am too excited thinking about exchanging cards to consider how much I hate my life. Gotta go to Hallmark...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Something crazy this way comes...

Ok...the following is inspired by my therapists...

Remember how my massage therapist, V, suggested that I express emotions everyday? So I've been paying more attention to what I feel ... trying to define it ... trying to indulge feelings. Then today my psychotherapist, K, said she can't tell me how to get to a place where I feel better because I have to figure that out for myself. Although I'm still pissed that she won't just give me the keys to happyland I think what she is saying is that I have to find the belief system that works for me. I have to pull some kind of meaning that I can understand and find some comfort in out of my ass (the usual beliefs/religions/spiritual stuff do not bring me comfort).

Then mzfitzita said "But, sadly, it's one foot in front of the other - and often two steps back - and in the middle of it all, a LOT of just figuring it out on your own - figuring out what works for you - and trying to ignore the people who don't understand and, in their ignorance, make the journey so much harder for you."

Figuring out what works for me... and on that note I propose an experiment of sorts.

A couple of days ago while looking for a greeting card I found some cards specifically for miscarriage and pregnancy loss. I want one. I want one of every kind they have. I received a few cards of condolence right after everyone heard the bad news but 10 months later I still feel like shit and I still need support so I'm going to get my own freaking cards. If times get dark enough I'll even mail them to myself.

According to Still to be Born, I have up to 14 more months to "come to terms with" the death of my son (whatever that really means) so if by November of 2009 I'm still hating life or if I've been committed to a mental hospital or end up in jail (I don't know what for but it would be for something stupid) we will all know that purchasing greeting cards for yourself is not an effective way to deal with grief.

This is such a long process ... the idea of a card specific to pregnancy loss is both smart (to acknowledge the loss) and ridiculous since the sorrow lasts for such a long time. Really friends and family should be able to sign up for a condolence card of the month to be sent for two years.

If any of you need cards of condolence or cards of encouragement send me an e-mail with your address and I'll send you a card in the mail regularly until you say "no more!".

So clearly I've hit another low spot. Back in the spring, I started freaking out about 2 weeks before my EDD so this might be anxiety about the upcoming terrorversaries, which would be very bad since they don't start until October 31. There is something else that may be causing or at least weighing in on these sad feelings and soon I'll give you all the full story, complete with shameful jealousy bits, just like some sort of lame, depressing soap opera.


Lunatic ravings

This sucks.

Really, I hear what the books, support groups, hotlines, and therapists say about grief work... it takes a long freaking time, you have ups and downs, anger is a normal part of grieving, it is perfectly normal to feel how I do.

How can anger be so "normal" when it is such an unproductive part of grief? I am unreasonably, inconsolably angry that the people I have spent so much time supporting and encouraging do not bother to check in every so often to see how I'm doing with the whole deadbaby, crappy marriage, hating life thing. I have heard others say that this is an opportunity to figure out who your real friends are, which sounds ok except that the people who have stopped supporting me include my mother, husband, friend who just months ago said I was like a sister to her ... who exactly is left? This NORMAL ANGER has resulted in me having fewer confidants, fewer resources. Everyone says this is so NORMAL but it feels so wrong and is not resulting in anything good. The problem is the professionals and people experienced with grief all agree that anger is normal, the people who actually interact with the bereaved see them as crazy, mean bitches. People can't handle my grief, anger, and anguish so they have left.

Forgive me for hurting so in such a public way. I am losing patience with this process. I hate that soon an entire year will have been wasted in grief. I hate that there is no end in sight. I hate being told I'm reacting and feeling normally but I still feel miserable. I hate that my family and friends are impatient for me to get over it. I hate that I spent this mornings therapy session crying and crying and nothing my therapist said made me feel any better. Apparently she can't tell me how to feel better - my healing is up to me. I'm afraid I am the least qualified person to get me the point of coming to terms with my son being dead. At the end of the session my therapist said she purposefully did not try to comfort me because she wanted to give me space to express what I was feeling. Throughout the session I was worried that she had joined the ranks of people who can't handle my emotions. I might look for a new therapist soon.

I still hate my life.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My obsession with reading every book on deadbaby grief I come across continues.

Today's excerpt comes from "Still to be Born: A guide for bereaved parents who are making decisions about their future" by P. Schwiebert and P. Kirk. I was given this book at last weeks SHARE meeting.

"Those who have never had to suffer the intense pains of loss tend to underestimate the time required for "grief work" to be completed. That is because they are projecting an assumption based on their own limited experience, for indeed it does not take long for them to "get over" someone else's loss.

The same is true, but to a lesser extent, where friends and relations - other than a spouse or child - are involved. Most people find that it takes no more than from forty-eight hours to two weeks to get their lives back to a normal routine after suffering the death of a close friend or relative not in the immediate nuclear family.

For bereaved parent, however, the readjustment of one's life following a loss of a child takes approximately eighteen to twenty-four months. This does not mean that after twenty-four months the death is forgotten; it simply means that this much time is needed to come to terms with the loss."

This passage compares other deaths with infant death and I'm afraid it may minimize the impact of other deaths but I have not lost a close friend or relative before so I can't know how accurate the claim of 48 hours to 2 weeks until a "normal" routine can be re-gained is. I can attest to the freaking long time it takes to come to terms with the loss of a baby - even though I never even saw him alive outside of my uterus.

So at 10 months post that hellish day of delivery it is both comforting and depressing to think that I can expect 8 to 14 more months of this. And I'm not holding myself to any sort of timeframe like this is how much longer my grief work must take to prove how much I loved my son, really, after spending 10 months in bereavement I am much more stable than early on but honestly I don't see the end of the tunnel yet. Coming to terms with my son being dead is not going to happen in the next couple of months.

The thought "I hate my life" runs through my head at least once an hour, but the passage above at least makes me curious to know if this loathing will still be present after 14 more months.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stumbling towards purity of mind, body, and soul...

...whatever that really means.

Mind, body, and soul are so intertwined that it is impossible to completely untangle their tendrils. In fact even just months ago I would have argued against even trying to treat these three as separate. But in this phase of grief my physical body and emotions, at least, need different things.

Looking back over the last 10 months, considering how the sadness moved through my being, I think the grief actually started in my body. The sudden uterine emptying, days spent medicated in the hospital, bleeding bleeding bleeding, then the horror of lactation - all happening when my body was busy and focused on growing a baby. Next was the strike to my soul - holding my tiny son, becoming focused on THAT being, wanting THAT baby. A much planned for, wanted, and loved human; a baby made from love ... with that much preparation and care how could this baby die? An intense, unreasonable love for him began as soon as I saw him; with this innate and immediate emotional and visceral response how is a dead baby even possible?

Weeks later as the shock wore off depression set in. Every single moment and every single action since then has been hampered by this mind which is so obscured by depression.

Anyway, now my mind gets psychotherapy and my body gets massage therapy, and I'm trying to listen to what my body wants at any given time. This morning my body wanted to listen to the new I:Scintilla album loudly during my drive to the shuttle. Physical senses indulged - loud music, cool breeze through the window, vibration from the engine (ok, also the smells of exhaust which is not nice but goes with the territory).

Care for the soul is harder for me to figure out than care for mind and body. I haven't been disciplined enough to meditate regularly. And on that note here is something to think about from Pema Chodron's mini book "Awakening Loving-Kindness":

"When people start to meditate or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline they often think that somehow they're going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggression against who they really are. It's a bit like saying "If I jog, I'll be a much better person." "If I could only get a nicer house, I'd be a better person." "If I could meditate and calm down, I'd be a better person."

... But loving-kindness - maitri - toward ourselves doesn't mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to change ourselves. Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already."

Pema Chodren presents an interesting way to look at meditation practice. I have felt that I should improve through meditation practice but improvement seems such a daunting task right now that I don't even bother with practice because I simply cannot live up to the expectations of improvement I had.

Enough rambling for tonight.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My purse and work tote bag contain scraps of paper with writings that were scrawled down to be turned into a blog later. There are just too many and too much time has passed to compile anything cohesive from those bits of ideas. But for the most part the ideas centered around my lonely marriage, crying here and there, and un-friending friends because I'm too sensitive and too tired to put up with anything that even remotely resembles thoughtless comments or actions. Same old shit.

Instead I'll pass along the advice my massage therapist gave me last Saturday.
1. Express/release emotions every day. This can be through any means including writing, speaking, or exercise. She said kickboxing is very effective.
2. Do something nice for someone else everyday, but not just like holding a door open for someone else nice, something life changing nice.
3. I need to become pure in body, mind, and soul before trying for another baby. This sounds trite but it is actually what I need to do. I'm not rushing anything but there is no room for a baby with all this alcohol, depression, and unrest.
4. She gave me some intimacy advice to assist with conception too. Not like I'm having sex but if I ever do again I've got some new moves.

Releasing emotions is actually going fairly well. When I feel emotionally out of balance I ask myself what am I feeling and how can I express that feeling. To make this story short, I've been confusing anger with other emotions - what I'm feeling lately is anguish but I express the anguish with anger, which is inappropriate because it isn't effective - I don't feel better after acting with anger. How do you release or express anguish?

In Starbucks a little girl was crying, expressing hiccuping sobs as she is led to a quiet corner of the store for a talk with her mom. And suddenly I realized that is exactly how I would be acting if there were no societal restraints against adults expressing raw emotions. Under the circumstances of being out for coffee alone because the strain of being at home has become too much I should be standing in line with tears streaming over my cheeks, I should be choking over the words "medium coffee - half decaf", sob, "yes, please, room for cream" because it is so sad to be so alone. At any given time, how many people are conducting daily life tasks, outwardly appearing collected but feeling extreme emotional pain?

I went home and cried and cried. I guess I feel a bit better ... maybe...

Anyway, doing something nice for someone everyday has turned out to be more challenging than I anticipated. In the last 4 days I have not done anything nice enough to change someone's life. But at least in trying I see that when I'm dealing with so many pent up emotions I simply don't have the energy or creativity to make a positive impact for others.

I've got to go to bed.

Monday, August 25, 2008


... except there is nothing to update on. Hubby is still at home; I don't think he even tried to find a place to stay. But I feel kind of bad for him because he talked about how utterly depressed he is. And guess what - he said he thinks about the baby everyday. Yes, the very individual who suggested I control my emotions related to the deadbaby thinks about his son that didn't grow right every single day. Of course I'll give anyone who says they miss their dead child tons of leeway so perhaps he just knows the words to say to not have to pack his bags, but I do believe that he is sad about it still and now I want to help him. How exactly do you help a person who has a hard time admitting they feel down and who refuses to seek psychiatric or psychcological help?

Anyway, that is too big of a problem right now, like Scarlett, I'll think about it tomorrow.

Today was hard. Orientation for new students and I was just dropped into this job a week ago. I feel bad when things are such a disaster and I'm the one who is supposed to be making things nice but I have done all I can do with only 7 days on the job. So there I am exhausted from preparing rooms and catering tables and herding people from location to location; I need a break from the questions that I just don't know the answers to right now. Then the photo of one of our returning PhD students where she is holding her infant twins, my colleague asking which cheeses at the reception are pasteurized and thus safe for her gravid body to consume, and another pregnant student smiling and talking about her little bump ... and I think I'm going to lose it. Pregnant people haven't made me too upset for a week or two so it's frustrating to experience these negative feelings again.

Sorry to be such a downer lately.

I'm going home to watch tv and eat take out Thai food.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Didn't I just swear not to write midnight blogs?

Sigh. How to begin? This is not going to be a perky post.

As a wedding gift my husband and I received a bottle of sparkling wine. We never drank it. Never toasted privately to our future together. Instead we moved it with us right after the wedding and it has always been in the back of whatever refrigerator in whatever house we are living in. For 11 years now. ELEVEN! As in more than a decade. Eleven - the anniversary we barely even acknowledged last month.

Years ago I figured it would have since soured but we brought it along on our cross country move from West to East and placed it in it's spot in the refrigerator to chill. Chill for what exactly?

Hours ago, after another incident which found me alone tonight - plans to go out with my husband canceled - I finally feel like I can take care of myself and I call him to ask if he will find a friend to stay with so we can do a trial separation. He says "ok".

As a friend of mine said, there are so many bad things in life that happen which are out of our control, so you have to take control to try to obtain happiness when you can. For me, tonight, this means no more acquiescing with a marriage that has unfortunately become very unhappy. Our marriage has gone through very hard times before but with the whole pregnancy disaster my husband and I have grown so far apart. It's very sad. I really need him to decide to be present and participate in a relationship or to go find his happiness somewhere else. I think that being out of the house will give him the space to be able to make up his mind.

Ten minutes ago I opened the bottle of sparkling wine and you know what, it hasn't turned nasty! No fanfare, just me in pajamas taking a break from cleaning the kitchen. The bottle that has remained, saved, ever chilled for the appropriate moment of celebration will be drained tonight and placed outside for recycling pick up this week.

I'm lonely and sad, but I've been lonelier and sadder. Perhaps the most alarming thing about tonight is that this is not my worst moment; I have felt more alone in marriage before.

So tonight I pathetically toast myself. Here's to loving to the best of my capabilities for 11 years. Here's to a future of unknowns, may it not completely suck.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This post is not totally depressing!

This post is really long and kind of purposeless. There are photos at the bottom though if you want to scroll ahead.

For my new position at work I’ll be working with another woman who has a similar position (her = make sure masters students graduate; me = make sure PhD students graduate). Since there is a lot a cross over procedure wise we’ll be tag teaming some of the work. A recent conversation:

Her: “Did you know I’m pregnant?”

Me – external voice: “No! Congratulations!”

Me – internal voice: “I hope I didn’t just noticeably flinch.”

It’s not that stinging, slap in the face anymore when I hear pregnancy announcements. Right now it hardly hurts at all, but I’m afraid there will be days when seeing her will be the trigger that turns a sad day into a very bad day.

How’s that for irony? More than having new tasks to do at work I was looking forward to having a new “life” (new meetings, new peers, new office) but the ugly pregnancy issues are quietly tagging along. Never before has anyone who I spent regular time with been pregnant and while I was pregnant I really wanted to find some other pregnant women to hang out with but never did. Now two friends and two work colleagues are expecting. Reminders of the precious thing that was violently taken away from me, and still remains out of reach, confront me regularly.

Being an insane bitch

How well I react to others people’s pregnancies (rather how little I react) depends entirely on the level of consideration they give me. I ask how they are feeling because it’s polite, and I expect some sort of reciprocation. This expectation is especially true for my friends who know I lost a baby. If I listen to descriptions of a physically difficult yet joyful and hopeful time in your life you better freaking ask me how I’m doing in the saddest, most depressing time in my life. I’m keeping score. The tally of points will be reflected in the gift I send to the baby shower (so far, in one case, I can justify a totally cheap gift!).


My therapist did a guided relaxation meditation with me last week in therapy. At the end she asked if there were any parts of my body that were difficult to relax completely. The muscles of my neck, shoulders, and back have forgotten how to unclench so she recommended getting a massage. This was close enough to a prescription for me (yay!) so now I have a new massage therapist and a contract for monthly massages for a year (they are pretty inexpensive if you become a “member” at this place).

I had been thinking about getting regular massages anyway since I have some body issues now. Sometimes I’m upset that my body couldn’t grow a healthy baby. Exhaustion from depression has prevented me from getting back in shape and losing weight so sometimes I hate how I look. Also (this may sound weird), my uterus has been depressed; it’s like my body mourns for the baby it was growing and craves completing the pregnancy. My mind and body are very disconnected and struggling with different, yet related, types of grief.

Since my reason for seeking massages is to aid my grief work when asked about what I was looking for out of massage therapy I blurted out “My son died” and immediately my massage therapist is hugging me, telling me how sorry she is, and telling me how she has a son – not as bragging but as a way of saying she is truly sad for me. In addition to a fantastic massage she gave me some therapy in the form of life and health advice. Even though she did talk about God’s plan and how God does not give us more than we can handle (which I disagree with, I can’t handle this, I don’t even understand how that statement makes any sense at all) she said other things that were interesting. Here are her recommendations for my health and healing:

1. On the day before my next massage I should consume nothing from sundown until after the massage the next day. This includes food, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine; consumption of water is encouraged. The idea is to help me feel empty.

2. She recommended only drinking or smoking when I’m having a good time so these will be things for celebration, not compensation.

3. When asked about my exercise habits I said how I was having difficulty getting back into a gym routine and she suggested I not get into a routine but be spontaneous instead. However I am to sweat for 20 minutes everyday, and sitting in a sauna counts.

4. She suggested I take fish oil supplements to help out the future of my spinal bones.

Being a girl (a normal, not crying in the bathroom kind of girl even!)

I spent the rest of the afternoon being a girl by going shopping. The kind of shopping that makes husbands regret marriage due to financial reasons. When I returned home though he actually asked me what I bought and sat through the emptying of the bags; he was probably waiting to see something that even remotely interested him but he was out of luck – I didn’t even get anything for him.

I got:

Hair stuff

Ammonia free hair dye, and Aveda’s black malva shampoo and conditioner. Hubby groans and rolls eyes at the sight of the liter of shampoo emerging from the Aveda bag since he thinks shampoo from the grocery store is just fine. But I pity the fool who interferes with my attempts at maintaining healthy, shiny, black hair. Hubby knows this is not the battle to pick.


Dior counter girl: “Black Out mascara is 6 times darker than other black mascara”
Me: “Wrap it up” - without even understanding how they decided it was 6 times darker but frankly not even caring.

Chanel powder (double perfection, vanilla, intensity .5), Aveda lipstick (cerise), and after years of searching, a red lipstick that looks good on me (I’ve been searching since Chanel’s Lucifer Kissed was discontinued) Mac’s Viva Glam I (yay! I’m so relieved to have the search over!)

And that is how to look like me! Then some more little socks, the kind that you can’t see so it looks like you are wearing shoes with bare feet. The socks are so small they get lost easily. And some fish oil capsules. And two blouses for work.

The garden today

This little ground cover looks so cute climbing up the rock!

Black eyed Susan's

The cats were waiting by the door when I came in from taking photos in the garden. They just look really funny especially Sasha kitty sitting in the saucer for a houseplant that is sunning outside for the summer. Such dorks.