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

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.