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

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.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This day one year ago

On August 13, 2007 I received notice, via home pregnancy test, that my baby existed. A year ago today was the last day that I wasn't mentally consumed with thoughts, worries, plans, or a sorrow beyond imagination, with that tiny being. I wonder what I used to think about. A year ago I never would have conceived I would be here - struggling to reclaim a sense of worth and success, mourning a lost baby and a waning marriage - after having joined the ranks of those with horror stories for pregnancy outcomes (you know, the people of statistics since no one actually knows someone whose baby actually died).

What would I tell my self of a year ago who had no clue that a nightmare was tip toeing up right behind her? It would be "My Dear Girl, you have mere hours of blind bliss left, enjoy these moments of being young and carefree". A year ago I would have argued about that carefree bit since my cares started rather early in life; who knew those were relatively lighthearted days.

What I would give for thoughts from my self a year from now. Next August 12 will I be remarking on how much beauty and joy has entered my life or will it be another shell shocked statement of "didn't see that coming"?

My current, this-very-moment self wishes to have told my self of this morning to pack some mascara since the earlier application was destined to be cried off in the bathroom at work. Awesome. Lately I've been trying to perk up since ... well you know ... the whole deadbaby thing ... so today I have on a perky outfit including hoop earrings, cute messy hair, and my new patent red Dansko's! And I started the day with the intention of doing something nice with a 8:45 appointment to donate blood. 45 minutes later I'm sent away with a finding of low hematocrit, two pricked fingers, and a crappy sticker saying how I tried to give blood today. That failure at doing something kind has me really bummed out for some reason.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The garden today

Hey you! Yes, you, right up front! Why so sad and wilty?

Now for some gardening information: Impatiens will swoon and collapse with only one day of hot sun and dry soil. It turns out they do better with partial shade. Most are able to be revived after a good watering but this one is on day two of looking pathetic so I'm not sure if it's going to make it. A lovely pile of rocks may take up residence in this spot very soon. I don't know why just this one is fainting, it's not like I only water the plants around it.

DH has planned our weekend which includes spending Friday night at a friends house and spending Saturday night in Charlotte. Which means I won't be home to water the flowers for all of Saturday and most of Sunday. Under the hot sun of the South this means I may be replacing all of the impatiens next week.

And this is how agitated I am ... this weekend is supposed to be fun! I used to like getting away but I just feel really resentful that I won't be able to tend the garden for a couple of days.

Being a basket case
Remember how I was having good days? Those were nice.

I hope my therapist enjoyed my cheerful mood last week because in one hour she's going to get bombarded by a whirl wind of confused and angry emotions. For a sneak peak at today's issues:
1. A Walk to Remember is coming up ... I don't want to go alone but I don't think anyone will want to come with me and I don't want to try to enjoy the ceremony with someone who feels uncomfortable being there.
2. The book I just finished (cited below) says that for a completion of grieving assigning some meaning to the loss is necessary. I am rebelliously refusing to find meaning because no lesson or "bigger picture" seems worth how bad I feel about the deadbaby.
3. A friend said that the baby will never be forgotten but will find a place in me to reside where he is cherished. Sometimes I'm pretty upset with the baby for not growing correctly and I'm ashamed by this anger towards him. I have a great deal of love for him but I also feel other emotions towards him, negative emotions.

Off to overwhelm my therapist!

Monday, August 4, 2008

The day I'm waiting to finish

The "Reorientation and Renewal" chapter of Hannah Lothrop’s book Help, Comfort, & Hope: After Losing Your Baby in Pregnancy or the First Year begins with the quote “I felt as though I had awakened from a deep sleep.”

The feeling that this is the beginning of the upswing started last week, triggered by not being as concerned about my marriage and getting a promotion at work. Even my therapist happily commented on how I’m getting better.

The months since the baby died really have felt like being asleep; I haven’t been truly conscious much of the time (I have no idea why I was given new tasks at work rather than being fired). It’s wonderful to feel like doing things again, and it’s intimidating to see all that has been left undone since last November.

The silent moments are still fearsome though. I’ve been waiting for the nightmare to end and even though I’m waking up and re-finding interest in life, that choking feeling remains quietly present and if the world becomes still enough I get dizzy.

Then the realization that, irrationally, impossibly, I have been waiting for Toren to come back. Surely this has been some kind of test! Surely this can’t be reality! Despite the progress it is still so hard to accept that this is how it is. He is gone. He is dead.

I didn't want to wake up here! I’ve been waiting to wake up on the afternoon of October 31, 2007. After hearing the baby’s heartbeat and having an encouraging talk with the midwife perhaps I just dozed off, drugged by progesterone, in a chair in that tiny, cozy alcove while waiting for the ultrasound. Any moment now my husband will gently nudge me awake when it’s our turn and a minute later our baby will be seen floating and moving in amniotic fluid on the ultrasound screen. The radiologist will confirm “it’s a boy!” and will measure him, marvel at his progress and health, and give us new ultrasound photos of our son to take home. Then my husband and I will dive back into our busy day: eating dinner, passing out play doh and candy to trick-or-treaters, and heading out for the evening where he will dj and I will wear my new velvet empire waisted coat in a fashion show modeling fancy masks.

That day feels so close. That day almost happened and a whole different life from what I have now almost followed.