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

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I have secrets! Not because the information is confidential, there is just no one to talk about it with. But I do have things I want to say so today I am grateful for this anonymous blog.

Several days ago I ordered the Jizo statue I wanted for the memorial garden. The topic has not been easy to work into a conversation and I think my husband will just be annoyed if I tell him so no one knows about it, but I am way excited for it to get here! After my plant shopping spree on Saturday I decided to go ahead and get the more expensive things I knew I wanted in the garden. I also got a rain barrel, which I still need to install.

I spent a lot of time working on the garden last weekend and it's really starting to take shape! One bit of bad news is the butterfly bushes are being eaten. It almost seems overwhelming, like is nothing safe from danger? I'm not a good gardener in the first place so I'm not exactly sure what to do. Google will be consulted shortly.

My other secret involves keeping my emotions to myself. I'm not actually happy about this one, I feel like I'm being rushed through bereavement too much. But my husband expressed that he is really sick of me being sad so much and my friends say how much they want to see me happy. It's been 7.5 months since Toren was delivered. I still feel like I need some tender care but that has dried up. If people who are expecting a baby invite me over and leave a new baby stroller in plain sight it seems they are saying I should no longer be bothered by not having Toren alive and squirming around in a stroller of his own. I'm expected to suck it up when shopping for maternity clothes that I don't need. I can't wince when surrounded by visions of happy, excited pregnant women. My husband says he is tired of me being so self-centered and jealous, I think he is ashamed of me. But I also think seeing a pregnant woman post deadbaby is a bit more complicated than jealousy. Yes, I miss my son, I wish he were here, and it's not fair that mine died while most live. But I also miss being close to my husband and feeling cherished and protected by him. While pregnant that happened, after delivery I became undesirable, someone who didn't need love and affection. It's possible that my husband is grieving over the baby. But he denies that this is the case so it appears that in not growing a healthy baby I lost love from my husband.

I know this is getting kind of heavy and sad, but I'm not distraught, in fact I've been able to approach the lack of enjoyment in our marriage calmly. If we divorce I will be sad that things were so close to being so good for us. We were both so happy to be expecting our first baby and so excited for the opportunity to raise him. Losing the baby has torn us apart and I'm not sure we can recover from it.

Anyway, my new challenge is to appear happy even when I am sad. I'm not sure this is healthy. I'll talk about it with my psychiatrist this week.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


For all the composure I've displayed this week I am quietly an emotional wreck. Several days ago my husband and I were invited to dinner at the home of friends who are expecting their first child. She and I haven't been close lately since she is joyously pregnant and I am in a perpetual, sour deadbaby mood. We make each other uncomfortable and I have felt her pushing me away for several months. I really hate relationship limbo, wondering if a friendship will survive, so out of curiosity of how the evening would turn out I accepted the invitation.

It was a nice evening. I truly mean that. Heart wrenching lowlights included the new baby stroller parked in the dining room, looking through maternity clothes to help her find an outfit for an evening out, finding out the baby was likely a boy (so much for my prayers that they have a girl), and hearing the selected name. At the same gestational age I was finding out my baby boy had no kidneys. I never grew big enough for maternity clothes. We didn't buy a single baby item since I was hanging out in the worrisome "threatened miscarriage" stage for so long. I'm not sure we would have purchased anything by that time anyway. And if I ever become pregnant again I don't think I'll be able to face a baby item until we know we are bringing a baby home. After delivery of a breathing, crying, living newborn my husband will have to run out to buy a car seat so we can safely and legally get it home then we can figure out the rest from there.

At dinner my friends husband confided that my friend was feeling a lack of confidence in her appearance and asked me to help her shop for some clothes to wear to a fancy party. So two days later guess who is in maternity stores searching for pretty clothes. For my certificate of sainthood my name is spelled A - N - N ... just kidding. I had to leave the store while she tried stuff on but no crying or freak outs occurred. She found pretty things, mission accomplished! I have been having an anxiety attack since then. I feel like throwing up then curling up and dying. But instead of digging my own shallow grave to wallow in I'll be digging holes for new plants.

Since my chest hurts today and I can't breathe or concentrate on anything I spent several hours and too much money buying plants for the memorial garden. Mostly little perennials that supposedly attract butterflies and a Korean Lilac which was on sale since it's blooming period has passed for this year. Shopping was a nice distraction and the suckiness of my garden is really bothering me so hopefully these plants will help with that.

Mentally I've been calling it the goddamn garden all day. Goddamn plants, goddamn planting soil, goddamn hand shovel. I don't want a memorial garden! I hate memorial gardens! I should be entirely too busy caring for a son to have time to plant anything.

But what else is there to do today? I need to fill time while waiting to feel happier, stronger, successful. Time to dig.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Contemplating the wretched state of the garden the thought pops into my head "I garden about as well as I grow healthy babies".

My therapists and doctors would be so disappointed. After being told repeatedly that one cannot do anything to cause bilateral renal agenesis, deep down I still kind of feel like a failure. And yes, that is therapistS and doctorS. It takes a freaking village of health professionals to get me through not having a baby.

Yesterday I had a check in with my psychiatrist and she scheduled me for an appointment next week also just in case I need to talk to someone while my therapist I usually see on a weekly basis is on vacation. Yesterday I felt a little silly for making the extra appointment but now I'm glad I did.

Just having so many doctors makes me feel a bit down. One, because I find myself in such a bad place that I need this much help. And two, because I know I have so many people/professionals I could call to get me through a mental health emergency but no one has the ANSWER to feeling better. It's like we're all watching and waiting for this distress to dissipate and it just takes so long.

You know, there's just not enough time in the day to be very productive at work, take care of the house, and do all of the other daily tasks while desperately keeping a hold of your sanity post deadbaby.

Yeah, this is a big downer, today is just a difficult day for some reason.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Everything appears in order. Presently at my desk, computer is in good working order, reading glasses, coffee, water, lunch for later, phone set to vibrate, iPod, plenty of pens, sticky's, paper clips, project to work on ... the only thing absent is my brain.

Ok, the dead baby thing really sucks - REALLY REALLY REALLY SUCKS, but then there's the scores of other things you lose along with the baby. I miss being able to focus on tasks; sometimes it happens but this morning I'm on a baby train of thought. The baby train has so many random stops capturing my attention: it seems like my friends who are pregnant don't call me anymore, is that true or just me being oversensitive? ... my husband is so different now, sad, distant, often drunk ... my contract at work has been renewed for another year, I intended to plan another pregnancy if this happened, funny I'm not excited about that ... sometimes I wish I had made different decisions regarding Toren's remains (but I stop these thoughts right away since it's too late now) ... Baby, how could you look so good at 12 weeks and 5 days, with a visible heartbeat, brain, and all four limbs and then be termed "incompatible with life" 6 weeks later?

Yesterday, the bereavement crazies took me from feeling bliss in the morning to being frantic and absolutely certain it was time to make a career change by the afternoon. Incredibly, it only took about 30 minutes to make a plan for fulfilling prerequisites, applying for a program, getting scholarships, and beginning a new career in 5 years. So I can concentrate, too bad I presently can't apply this sort of mental organization to something useful like, oh, my current job.

At least yesterday's mental excursions involved obsessing about the future, rather than cycling back through the could-have-beens. Today I just want to sit with memories of holding his tiny body, viewing him wiggling on the ultrasound screen, hearing his heartbeat. These are some of my most precious memories, and they are destined to remain very personal memories. It's not like you can join in the conversations with expectant parents regarding prenatal visits in any positive way. They proudly talk about the size of their baby at so many weeks, how active the baby is, how reassuring and magical the rapid swishes of the heartbeat sound. Joining in, recounting the beauty of my baby's fetal heartbeat heard through sonogram, just doesn't seem like it would be well received since everyone knows my baby's heartbeat has since stopped.

It's like I have less in common with pregnant women than if I had never been pregnant.

I miss feeling pure joy and excitement for my friends expecting babies. Instead, there's all this baggage I associate with pregnancy: extreme worry, extreme sense of isolation, bottomless grief. Someone keeps saying she misses me and I suspect she's referring to something deeper than physically not being around me much. I always want to reply "I miss me too".

Now, in an effort to avoid getting canned and missing my job, I'll at least try to look like I'm working.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The butterfly

Suddenly, it's time to mention Toren.

I've been too sick to do anything in the garden lately beyond watering. My body seems to have declared a cleanse and now I am free from craving alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine. I've been talking about quitting these things but have made no efforts through my own will power.

Tonight, bored out of my mind from days of laying down, I remembered my new hobby! Genealogy! My psychiatrist recommended finding something to do with my time instead of drinking. My Grandmother introduced me to genealogy recently and it's actually very fun (if you like research, old records, and nit-picking over details).

I am using software through familysearch.org. I began with myself and my husband, digging out our birth and marriage certificates, carefully entering in data. Then the box for children was staring at me, empty, and I decide to make an entry and remove it later. One child, male, born November 8, 2007, died November 8, 2007. Source "personal knowledge" since no official certificates are provided for fetuses younger than 20 weeks. Under the citation notes for death information I write "death may have occurred up to a few days before November 8". Since I don't know at what point he died, only that he was not alive at delivery. Under notes for this individual, Toren M., I have entered:

"Diagnosed at 18 weeks, 5 days gestation with bilateral renal agenesis. A stomach or bladder were also not seen during the ultrasound. Delivered at 19 weeks 6 days gestation, stillborn. No autopsy was performed. Pathology report found him to be chromosomally normal. No reason found to explain the lack of development of the kidneys. His parents loved him very much and miss him still."

I'm keeping all this information in since this is my freaking family history. Most people don't acknowledge offspring that die before birth, my family barely acknowledges that he was here and he was mine and I loved him very much. Instead I'm asked about when I will become pregnant again? When will I start a family? When will I spawn forth grandchildren?

I gave it a good shot. I did my best and tried my hardest to have a healthy baby. And I will become pregnant again when I won't feel resentful about a future baby not being my son Toren.

It feels so good knowing that his information is included. It's almost like relief.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The garden today

My not-so-green thumb is apparently a huge improvement over my husbands we-have-a-garden-? method of watering outdoors. I spent 5 days out of state at a family reunion and before leaving asked hubby to water the plants outside if it didn't rain, and make sure the cats are cared for. Basically, don't let things die while I'm away! On the day I traveled back he watered the houseplants that have taken up their summer residence on the deck; he didn't water the memorial garden at all.

After baking in the hot Southern sun for 5 days the garden doesn't look so good right now. The transplanted clematis was completely brown and dry so I clipped it away. The new clematis developed a dead vine so that part was removed too. The butterfly bushes are hanging in there and have tiny blooms! The sprouting of sown seeds is still questionable but there are some itty bitty plants that do not look like the weeds I recognize so I have hope. Tonight I pulled some weeds and watered well.

Overall, the garden still looks more like a patch of dirt with some random plants than a real garden. It's time to find more "stuff" for it. Perhaps stepping stones, cute butterfly decorative things, and some more plants. Growing plants from seeds is something that I just need to do in this garden. However, I also need some faster progress - instant gratification - faster transformation from weedy dirt bed to a pretty place. I'd like to, need to, have it into a decent shape, including a Jizo garden statue, by November 8, the first year anniversary of my son's delivery.

Now for too much information. This is a new blog and I'm not sure where it's going to go; I'm not sure how much of my crazy side I want to write about. For tonight I'm just writing and may remove parts later.

Even though the garden is not looking great it is not the ugliest thing in my life this week. Yesterday turned into a bad day. To set the scene, the day before was spent in airports after visiting with family (which is not a "good thing", rather attendance at family reunions is my duty), then I suspected hubby did not water my garden (a far away glance revealed the dead branches of the clematis and I couldn't face the plants up close yesterday). So yesterday mornings therapy session was entered feeling exhausted, frustrated and hurt by stupid things some family members said to me, and extremely sad that my husband would forget to keep my garden alive while I was away. The session brought many emotions to the forefront. Then I read a message that my friend has a new nephew. Then I read an e-mail from a friend in response to an e-mail answering her question if the rumors of me being pregnant were true. She said that if it's "meant to be" we will have a baby someday. Well wishes such as "meant to be" kind of send me over the edge lately. At dinner I ask my husband if he wants to stay married and did not get an answer of "most definitely". Second margarita is ordered. Suddenly I must see a friend so I end up at her house chain smoking and doing tequila shots while crying and talking about things that would have been kept boiling inside if I had not been plastered. This is followed by passing out on her couch and then 12 hours of vomiting. Another not-my-finest moment.

But today I feel much better (now that the hangover has subsided). I do not know the details of last night after I passed out but my husband has been kinder today and I feel so much comfort knowing that people care that I had a crappy weekend and want to help me. Kind of looking forward to tomorrow...