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

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In so many ways the grief of losing Toren has eased.  Time doesn't heal but doing grief work helps you learn to live with devastating sorrow, so as time progresses you feel better in a lot of ways.  With an air of confidence and shallow expertise, people on the outside consider this "time" "healing" wounds.

This is the 4th Christmas since Toren died but instead of feeling the progressive sense of relief that time is supposed to bring, I feel so angry and sad.

5 Christmases ago, in 2006, I silently smiled to myself and thought that the number of holiday's spent with just my husband and I were almost over.  One year after that we were both reeling and numb from our son's death.  The next Christmas I was one month out from hubby abandoning our sinking ship of a marriage and from being hospitalized for a suicide attempt.  Again I was numb.

Last year the holiday was spent with my sweet new boyfriend :)  He moved in last weekend!  However he's been away for work for 2 weeks so things have not been as fun as anticipated.

At times I feel so much peace and so much relief those very, very hard years are in the past.  I am lucky.  I am loved.  But then I'm also pretty damn pissed off to be spending another Christmas without children!

*****

I had wanted 3 children, and would have had to have them almost back to back given my advancing maternal age (ugh!).  So had things gone according to plan, Toren would be a few months shy of 3 years old right now, and he would have a sibling, and plans for the third baby would be in progress.  This parallel life makes this holiday feel so quiet.  And it is a reminder that I probably will not have time to birth 3 living children, and even though I don't want that many anymore, it is still a dream to wave goodbye to.

*****

If I don't have a baby on the way next Christmas (that looks like it will live), I am going to freak out.

Freak.  Out.

*****

How are y'all holding up this holiday season?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The woman at the cafe counter was very kind to me today and called me "Sweetie".  Was this inspired by a recent customer service pep-talk, something joyful in her life, or a compassionate reaction to my face that is blotchy and red from weeping through a therapy session?  After 3 years of productive therapy how is there still anything to cry about?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Telling someone about Toren has happened twice in the past 6 days, which is very weird because it is not easy to work a deadbaby into a conversation, as you all well know.  I didn't ever use his name; most people do not ask about his name.

Today I found out that the person I told last week is pregnant with her second baby.  Why do I feel like an idiot for telling her something so personal now that I know that she knew that she was pregnant at the time?  I hope it didn't scare her.  But also, a moment where I may have "connected" with someone doesn't seem that way at all anymore since she is carrying life while I'm a bearer of death.  Opposites.  One is clearly inferior.


*****

The plan for today was to happily tell you that the papers for my divorce were filed, but DH (Damn Husband, in this case) flaked out again.  This shouldn't have been a surprise or a disappointment, but it was both.  I contacted him last week to prod him along and promptly got sick and spent 2.5 days in bed.  I often get sick after contacting him.  Illness brought on by exposure to Agent Ex.  And the funny thing is I was almost at the point where I felt mostly compassion towards him and I was working on kind of the last emotional barrier which was being able to wish a happy life for him.  I could feel not-anger towards him, but I still wanted to be happier than he is, but it would be so freeing to wish blessings on him just like he were a normal person, you know?  But now I'm just super annoyed and I do not feel fondly towards him AT ALL right now.

And for anyone who is struggling with ewwwy feelings towards their ex don't feel like you have to feel compassion towards the jerk, I got close only by the grace of Cym.ba.lta.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tonight is the annual candle lighting service for the SHARE group here.  It's a really special time.  Everyone brings a candle and says a few words when lighting them.  We also decorate a tree to donate to a local hospital so everyone brings an ornament in memory of their baby.  I buy two now, one for the tree and one to keep, since the first year I couldn't leave Toren's ornament behind.  We can also bring mementos.

This morning I packed up Toren's dinosaur memory box with the dinosaur pajamas, stuffed dinosaur, a candle, the ornaments (yes, both so I can actually have one to hold on the way home).  Then I decide to bring his little hat and some photos.  I wanted to print off some pictures instead of bring any Polaroids or ultrasound photos, because those are irreplaceable.

I don't look at the disc of photos taken by the hospital often but when I do I scroll through them over and over and it seems like there are so many!  Today I noticed that they are all numbered 1 through 17.  That's not a lot of photos considering there will never be more pictures taken of Toren.  Seventeen digital photos, about 6 Polaroids, and a handful of ultrasound pictures as proof that he was here for a little while.  The photos printed off dim and hazy, hopefully just indicating that the ink is low, but that's how those days in the hospital to deliver feel - hazy.  The visual memories are all a blur of soft edges and muted colors.  The physical memories are sharp - stabbing contractions, my heart feeling like it was being squeezed, wrung out, twisted apart.


When it was time to leave the hospital after delivering I couldn't even imagine leaving Toren behind.  You know what it's like.  Even now I don't know how I walked out of that room.  Even now I don't think I'm strong enough to leave him behind like that.  I think I was given some Xanax.  I put on sunglasses before leaving the room, not because I was ashamed of puffy, red eyes full of tears, but because I needed a barrier so that there would be no risk of making eye contact with anyone.  

Even though I get very anxious about Toren's things when they are away from the house, the dinosaur box stayed in the car while I went to my office.  Then there was a small fire in my building.  Sitting outside waiting for news I imagined the fire engulfing the building and leaping over to the parking garage putting Toren's irreplaceable hat at risk of burning up!  Even though the fire was probably extinguished already and the parking garage is concrete and not very flammable, my heart started beating faster and faster and my throat tightened.  To rescue myself, I rescued the dinosaur box from the absent flames.

And that is how I came to be sitting at my desk with the dinosaur box sitting at my left elbow.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My maternity leave

Co-worker, "CW", who I'm covering for, AGAIN, when she has her second son next month, is thrilled today because she just got a much coveted day care spot for the wee one, beginning in December.  The baby will be too young to go in December but this means that she can return to work whenever she wants to.  It turns out that she was crying last night at the thought of having to stay home alone with the baby because "they don't do anything".

I teased her by saying "Poor, poor, CW, having to stay home with the baby."

Of course it's annoying to hear someone talk about not wanting to be around their kids too much, and it's especially rude of her to say such inane things to me when she knows that my son died, but that is not upsetting me - it feels more like a fact of life to be dealt with.  I'm annoyed because no one wants to hear my plan for maternity leave, even though it makes sense that no one is concerned since I'm not pregnant.  But I will probably try to get pregnant within the next year and MAYBE I'll even get a baby that lives at the end of it and I will get maternity leave.  Although, next time that I get a dead baby I'm taking "maternity" leave / mourning leave / regular leave instead of doing it like last time where I returned to work as soon as my swollen, lactating breasts could be squeezed back into work clothes.  I tell you, everyone wants to see you get right back to normal after a pregnancy loss and they are so reassured when you go back to work.  Like getting out of bed to shower and change into clean pj's before getting right back into bed isn't enough. 

Even though my experience with live babies is incredibly limited, here is my plan for if I ever get a living baby:

1.  Take a full six weeks off of work and spend that time holding the baby.  Of course I'll have to put it down some times or let someone else have a turn but basically all I want to do is hold the baby for 6 weeks.

2.  Cut my hours a work to a point where I still get benefits and make enough money and return to work 3 days a week and work from home to complete the rest of my hours.  When I'm not working I'll be holding the baby.

3.  Do step 2 for two to three years then consider preschool.

In reality there are probably many flaws to this plan and I will deal with those as they come along.  But from my perspective of having such empty, aching arms for 3 years now and understanding how devastating it is when your child is gone, I see nothing that sounds more desirable than hugging and cuddling my child.

*****

Whether or not it is actually something to prepare for right now, do you have an ideal plan for your maternity leave?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Yesterday was my son's birthday/deathday.  It's getting easier to not fall apart even though my heart still aches for him.  It was a very personal day for me since everyone here besides my mom forgot about it, but that's ok, it was nice to have the space.  I slept in at Snugglebunny's place, then went out for some breakfast and to buy a new scarf at Wh.ole Fo.ods (extra-long, organic cotton for $10).  Then home to pick up my camera and get directions to places that sounded nice to visit.

First stop, cemetery #1 where there is a nice section for babies and the two memorial bricks I'd ordered had been recently placed in the walkway.  It wasn't as peaceful as imagined since the bricks were not placed next to each other as requested, even though there's plenty of space for that to happen.  It was surprising how upsetting that was.  I forgot to take photos of the bricks and vowed to place the extra bricks ordered for my garden next to each other.

Second stop, bookstore to purchase a copy of The Bhagavad Gita since I think it's time to get serious about spirituality.

Third stop, decided to skip some errands, picked up lunch and went back home for a bit.

Then in the evening I went to the cemetery where Toren's ashes are buried.  I placed a memorial brick there (I ordered A LOT) and missed him.

*****

It was a good day.


*****

For a long time I just wanted Toren and wasn't entirely interested in a different baby.  I don't know if it's all of the pregnancy announcements lately, the photos of my sister's son, or just getting through a bunch of grief, but some random child would be good now.  Some random child as in a rainbow baby of my own, not someone else's kid, because I know that may sound a little weird.  But I mean a new one that I don't feel is my own yet.  A mystery being.

*****

Snugglebunny should move in by Christmas and if living together goes well we'll try for a baby.  I've been in a funk though for a few days and am kind of not excited about living with him right now.  This is another huge reason for searching for a spiritual practice that resonates with me so I will calm the fuck down and not screw up another relationship.  I feel a little claustrophobic and when I try to get a little space SB becomes more affectionate (kind of clingy).  I don't know why I do that.  We even had a little fight :(


*****

Anyway, I have loved reading all of your opinionated comments lately!  Many, many thanks for sharing in the distractions!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Distractions are requiring more effort.  He's close.  It's been almost three years since I held him and I still miss that tiny boy.

*****

Anybody watching Sister Wives?  I think I saw every episode last weekend.  It's such a different lifestyle than I have ever personally witnessed that I had some judgments but after watching hours of it, I like that family.  They are all very open and will express hurt feelings but there also seems to be little "game" playing - they will apologize quickly after saying something that may have inadvertently caused pain.  It's interesting to see how the wives interact and I love the idea of a large, close-knit family.  Now, I'm still bitter and not a fan of marriage but being able to watch a show about lots of marriage, where there are also tons of kids, is a sign of progress.

A few weeks ago I watched Juno on TV, after avoiding it since it's release.  It was better than I thought it would be, but not in the ways I expected.  I thought the teenagers were more annoying than funny and I didn't like the soundtrack at all (it was very popular though; I'm comfortable with having bad taste in music).  To avoid spoilers I can't say what I liked about the movie but if you have seen it you may have figured it out - families don't always occur as expected or planned but families that are well fought for, and are built under conditions that are not considered "ideal" can be stunningly beautiful.

This resonate with me because I did everything "right" in terms of a long, seemingly stable, marriage and a house and what not, but the baby still died and then everything fell apart.  Aiming for what is commonly viewed as the best way to go about things is not the only way to find happiness and fulfillment.  I have to believe that alternative ways are also good.

*****

Rambling.  I'm so tired I'm not even going to edit this.  So, polygamy ... what do you think?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More distractions - civic duties

I disagree with the "duties" part and think that "civic opportunities" is a better description.  Serving on a jury and voting are opportunities to be helpful, and say what you think, but so many people view things such as these as a pain in the ass. 

Yesterday I had jury duty and for the first time was picked to be on a jury!  It was all very interesting, even though there was a lot of sitting around and waiting.  But about an hour into the actual trial a witness said something they were not supposed to and a mistrial was declared.  So disappointing!  I really wanted to see how it turned out.


Today was filled with meetings (seriously, I only had 65 minutes where I was NOT in a meeting) and by the time I was able to get some lunch the little cafe in the building had closed.  For a while there I thought about skipping voting after work but then didn't want to miss out on this opportunity, so after a long day at work, without anything to eat, I went to vote.  It feels good, even though the preliminary results on the bottom of the TV screen show that some of my people are not winning.

What about you?  Think it's an opportunity or duty?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Going with the flow of grief has meant pretty much ignoring Halloween this year.  The weather was beautiful all weekend; not fall like at all.  I woke up a little sad on Saturday and decided to spend the day doing pleasant things.  I dressed warmly and wore comfortable underwear :) and went to my favorite garden store to see their plants and cute garden decorations.  Then I indulged in a pumpkin spice latte (yum!) and went to another favorite garden store and spent about an hour walking among the plants, dreaming and planning.  I left with 2 flats of pansies and viola's, and two paperwhite bulbs for forcing. 

On Sunday morning, the third anniversary of Toren's fatal diagnosis, mowing the lawn sounded more appealing than sitting down to reflect or write.  Noise, being active, and the smell of the outdoors felt right.  The mower was sluggish and after a few minutes it stopped cutting grass but even that didn't trigger frustrated tears, instead I took the mower apart and FIXED IT!  Seriously.  I fixed the lawn mower, then finished mowing the lawn, then raked up the left over leaves, then pulled weeds, planted a bed of flowers and put down a layer of pine bark.  (Ok, technically, there was nothing actually broken but the mower didn't work then I cleaned out the insides, inspected the motor, took apart the blade/spinny part, cleaned it all, sprayed on some WD-40 and screwed it all back on tight, and then it worked!)


Then I discovered that the dryer was not heating and this was too overwhelming so I watched TV and took a nap. 

******
A rant on not having enough income:

In the past few weeks things have been falling apart at a faster speed than usual.  The microwave has broken and needs a professional repair person, which I can't afford right now so I'm borrowing a countertop microwave.  I can't afford to fix the microwave for a very sad reason.  Sasha kitty was missing for a week and after a vet visit (that I borrowed $ for) she has been diagnosed FIV+.  I'm still looking for all of her health records (where on earth did I put them?!) because cats that are vaccinated against FIV will test positive and I cannot remember if she was vaccinated years ago.  She has had a cold for over a week and has been lethargic and grumpy and I'm so worried about her and I'm so PISSED OFF that I can't afford to take her to the vet whenever she sneezes.  In two weeks Sammy kitty will get tested.

That the car is leaking antifreeze and smells like it has a fuel leak is way down on the list.  Oh yeah, then there's the huge tree that died this year and still needs to be removed.

But you know, all you can do is keep doing your best and hope that things will improve.

*****

So all of that was on my mind as I searched for the right socket to remove the back panel of the dryer and I cleaned out the lint tube and the part where it exits the house and still no heat and then I could not figure out how to get the heating element out to inspect it and my dryer is 30 years old so there's not an instructional video on-line with the exact configuration of the heating element stuff.  So I had a glass of wine, and then another, and then another, and then my friends came over and we drank and smoked and laughed.  Thank the Heaven's for good friends!

SnuggleBunny took over the dryer project today and removed the heating element (it is broken - problem diagnosed!) and while we can't find a replacement in town, I ordered a new one, which should arrive in 2-5 days.  Assuming this fixes the problem, the dryer will be repaired for less than $40, which is awesome!

*****

So many things to think about to distract from dead babies.

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 15th photos
A flame for each of our missing babies.  I think I can name more missing babies than living ones.  This makes sense because the living ones don't stay babies for forever.




May we all find peace.

..........

I'm treating myself gently right now.  Taking days off work here and there to make sure there is time for remembrance, reflection, and rest.

.........

Also trying out a new antidepressant and while it's only been three days, here is my report so far: the brain chatter that was loud and constant is practically gone.  It's weird but it would be pretty nice if it would stay that way, but it will be very not-nice if extreme forgetfulness accompanies the quiet.  Something to watch for.  The worst thing so far is not being able to sleep for more than an hour at a time.

........

It's been a wonderful few days where it feels like things are going to be ok :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This just happened

her: "I'm not sure I can do X commitment next spring because I'm about 9 weeks pregnant."
me:  "Ok.  Congratulations!"
her:  "This semester has been kind of tough.  I don't understand the women who said they felt great being pregnant!  I guess they never felt sick or forgot about it."
me:  "Yeah, it's awful.  But you really should feel better in a few more weeks."

I didn't encourage further pregnancy/baby conversation and she didn't notice my comments of commiseration based on experience and that is kind of surprising but not really, at the same time.  One reason for not noticing that other women understand anything about pregnancy is that she probably wanted to throw up at that very moment.  Another reason is that women who are not currently pregnant or who do not have children are not really recognized as ever experiencing pregnancy.  Some kind of brain filter seems to flip on and the only acceptable idea is that childless women could never have been pregnant. 

No one likes to think about dead babies. 

It's not gut wrenching anymore.  Instead I just feel this pathetic resignation that other women get babies and Toren is still dead.

Maybe I'll get another chance.  I'm trying to get a raise to go along with some new duties (THAT is not easy!) so cross your fingers that a larger salary finds it's way to me so that I can afford a baby.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

First

Huge thanks to Wyatt's Mommie from Wyatt's Whisper for giving this award to my blog!


The rules are:
1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his/her blog link.

2. Pay it forward to 10 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.

3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they have been chosen.


I'm passing the award on to a mix of bloggers, new to me, as well as some that I have been reading for a long while but who didn't already have this award posted (and they completely deserve it!).

Amy at Surviving the Day Every Day
angelseashore at Angel Seashore
Barbara at burble
biojen at Dreaming with a Broken Heart
brianna at .daily.amos.
Carly at Soul Blossoming
Catherine W at Between the Snow and the Huge Roses
cgd at Adventures in Infertility-Land
Jenn at Jenn's Den
Mandy at One Good Thing
myskytimes at Skytimes
Quiet Dreams - Dreaming of Quiet Places
Reba at Life without my twins
vera kate at My Insides, Out.



Second

Depression is thick lately.  And I'm feeling very impatient with it.  It's different from before - now I can recognize when a certain incident is making me sad and when it's depression - perhaps that means that some progress is being made.  I think most people around me would not be able to notice it anymore because I do genuinely smile and participate in small talk without resenting that people are "supposed" to exchange pleasantries when passing.  But behind closed bedroom, office, and bathroom stall doors there's been a lot of crying lately.

My antidepressants are still being monitored and some tests are being run to see if there is something else going on that brought about this latest round of increased depression.  And I'm still in therapy once a week, and I am comfortable with requesting even more frequent sessions if necessary.  And if things feel dangerous I know where to go for a few days of inpatient treatment.  So, I'm not alone or without resources which means it's just a matter of waiting.

.......

The knee that I broke in early summer hurts on cool mornings.  Not a surprise but it makes every step a reminder that winter is approaching.  Never have I felt less ready for the cold, the dark, the bare trees, and the holiday cheer.  Along with all of that comes another round of anniversaries and wondering why the events of years ago still ache so badly.

.......

A co-worker pulled me aside on Friday to say that whenever she sees me lately she thinks that I'm pregnant.  I respond that I've just been putting on weight, then she says rather than weight it's a "glow" that I have.  Another minute of talking and she is so happy to tell me that I'm going to be pregnant soon.  I don't know if I should believe the "glow" bit since she may have been trying to cover up that she mistook my expanding waistline for pregnancy.  She is the spiritual sort so maybe she is sensing a being hanging around me, which kind of makes me feel like I'm failing an interview since I don't feel like life is so in order lately.  What ever her meaning, it was very upsetting (like go home early and go back to bed upsetting).  I can't believe her prediction because it is exactly what I think I want and also the thing I am most terrified of.  But if her perhaps-careless-promise doesn't come true I will never forgive her.



Lastly

Ugh, gotta find some happy thoughts before ending this.

a new houseplant

a new plant forming on the end of a leaf, as promised!


a new camera that's been providing fun with taking photos :)

the zoom is so good you can see the dust on Tara and it adjusts for wiggles and that has made a great difference in how photos turn out since I can't seem to hold a camera still!

.........

Wishing you all a beautiful day!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I wonder if I will ever re-gain my pre-deadbaby attention span.  I feel like I will NEVER be caught up with tasks at work, home maintenance, housekeeping, paying bills, homework (why did I decide to take a class?), and the list can go on and on but I'll cry before it is complete.  Of course I probably will get everything done eventually but it feels impossible right now.  This is different from the early days when there was so much grief that nothing outside of Toren and my husband really deserved much of a thought.  Now thoughts of Toren are quiet for the most part, although still nearly constant in a weird way, but actually completing tasks takes way longer than I would like.  The tornado is over but residual effects remain in the form of persistent depression and a lack of efficacy.  Is depression causing decreased concentration and memory, or is feeling so upset over being confused and behind causing depression?  What role do the anti-depressants play?  Sigh, I just don't know.

What about you?  Can you concentrate?

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'll wait

Things are so busy.  I'm so behind that I feel like I suck at my job nevermind the disaster that the house is in.  And then there's so much excitement too because Snugglebunny may move in soon.  Eww's and Ahhh's are clashing.

Then there's a huge icky issue in the background that is becoming highlighted with the change in the way the sunlight shines into windows as Summer turns to Autumn ... I'm not ready to face it yet so how about a diversion?  Circumstances of socializing led to me seeing "Goi.ng the Dis.tance" twice in the past week and now all I want to hear is this song



......

I'm scared of SB moving in.  Scared of losing my opinions.  Scared of forgetting the small amount of self-sufficiency I've gained.  Already ashamed of how much I love Friday nights when I can sit down with a bottle of wine, read blogs about parenthoods cut short, and maybe write in my own.  My therapist says that co-habitation involves a business transaction of sorts.  We have to figure out the sticky bits of how much he will pay to live in the home I own.  I already suspect that if he becomes unemployed (not a far fetched event in the US lately) I will feel resentful about having to pay for his share, only because my salary isn't big enough to share.

This house was purchased a little over 6 years ago.  X and I flew into town, the first time either of us had been here, and had 4 days to find a house to buy.  I wonder if our Realtor thought we were crazy!  On the day we left we placed an offer for a different house but we ended up buying our second choice.  I wanted a brick house with hardwood floors; we bought a split-level house with 80's siding and beige carpet.  But when I stand at the top of the stairs and look into the living room with the vaulted ceilings there is just so much space and so much air that ... there's room to breathe ... it's safe without being claustrophobic ... it's expansive and peaceful.  You can see the soul of the house there, if such a thing exists.  I wish you all could see it.

Huge rewind to 7 years earlier and we married; back when we were too young to imagine how sadly marriage could turn out.  Rewind another 6 years prior to that and we met.  I was 16.  I still cannot comprehend how he could just walk away after we had been friends and spouses for 17 years.  It's been almost 2 years since he left and that is enough to tip the scales so that he hasn't been in my life for longer than he was.  Whoever he really was.

Was he ever who I thought he was?

He had opportunity after endless opportunity to be viewed as a great guy, not a guy who is unfaithful and slimy, not a guy who was emotionally abusive, not a guy who has his wife abort an unplanned pregnancy, not a guy who abandons his wife when things get very hard.  But when he wasn't being a jerk he was my best friend.  Or rather he was the best friend of the me who was nervous, shy, afraid of everything, emotionally unpredictable ... the incarnation before version 2.bitter.

The me from the days when living together could be spontaneous and romantic and completely business transaction free misses him.

.......

I had a goal to be divorced by the end of the year and it's just about time for me to ask again if he will agree to a reasonable settlement.  Because even though he was an incredibly important person to me for 17 years it's useless to wait any more for him to turn into the person I thought he was.  I can't respect myself if I wait for him.

......

Will the heartbreak of this lost romance ever completely end?  Can the soulbreak from living in the shadow of a selfish person mend?  And how does one ever reconcile the loss and the hate?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How it is

I've avoided saying anything for a while because each start doesn't lead to what I'm trying to say...

after a bottle of wine (wince) what I'm trying to say is this: My sister sent a message on Saturday, after bringing her 1 year old son home from Korea the Wednesday before: the baby won't sleep, but daytimes are fun.  It takes my sister and her husband to keep up with the little boy.  It sounds hard, like a big adjustment for sure, but...

but
but
but what circles through my mind, on a current of wine, is: she brought a baby home from Korea.  How improbable is that?!  My baby boy was tucked safe inside my uterus, he was so very close that I could almost reach him, and he didn't live to come home, yet her son was halfway around the world and he made it home.

I could do it too!  I swear I could take care of a baby and the little one would know they were loved beyond the ends of what they could imagine.

Where is my son?

He is further than Korea.  And I would go any distance to get to him.

I understand that I needed this degree of trauma for my marriage to dissolve - my husband and I were joined so tightly in dysfunction that only a dead child could come between us - and I love my new boyfriend - but sometimes I think that I would sit through a dark hell for ages if only I could be with Toren.  What I would give to know that he is safe, wherever he is.

What I would give to not have time to drink a bottle of wine.  It's not a choice I have, but knowing what I know now about relationships, what would I choose between keeping Toren (and staying with my lying ex - holy shit, I can't stand the thought of him) or finding a healthy, romantic relationship?  It's a good thing that a choice is not an option because I would do anything to avoid the pain of living without my son.  I love my new boyfriend, and I'm so glad to no longer be with my husband, but I would live through anything to know that Toren was safe.  I would forgo personal growth to watch my son grow up.

I imagine this is a tiny glimpse of what other mothers feel when they have a much loved child who never would have been born if the prior one had survived.  I DO NOT WANT TO GIVE BACK MY CURRENT LIFE however, along with that comes a pain that will never end.  This is not a situation where a choice has to be made, but I still feel guilty for not knowing that I would give up my son to have a happily-ever-after with my boyfriend.

Since holding my dead child I think that happily ever after is not an option.

Simultaneously, I am so happy to be here and I hate my life.

Fuck all of the people who said that I was young and would have another baby.  Fuck those who didn't realize that Toren was a precious human being who was unique and could not be replaced.  Fuck those who think that I'm ok while I smile through every day.

At the nail salon tiday I watched, fascinated, as a mother gave her young daughter a choice of nail color then didn't approve of the silver glitter polish her daughter selected.  The mother probably saw me watching and judging her on the color that her daughter picked out, when really I was thinking that I would let my kid (girl or boy) select any color they wanted.

It's been almost 3 years, and this hurts so bad still that I don't understand how I get through each day.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Your body knows, you know.  Even if you didn't jot down that date on the calendar.

It has been well documented here how agitated I've been this week and days ago I consulted the wall calendar to see if it was the anniversary of Embryo M.'s (who I don't like to talk about) positive pregnancy test but that's on the 20th.

.......

Reviewing the past, you can point out the life changing events; August holds three for me.  Both of my pregnancies existed during an August and while I was thrilled about Toren's pregnancy, the way it ended and the loneliness aftermath, August where Toren is concerned is .... bittersweet?  no... ironic?  no... acrid?  perhaps.  It's a huge slap in the face, like, "here you go, here is a baby, conceived in love, inspiring further expansion of spousal love, making it look like you are finally on the right path and things are about to become beautiful - heeheehee ... HaHaHa ... HAHAHAHAHAHA!  Just kidding!  I can't believe she fell for that one!" 

What's the word for that?

August is also when I found proof that my husband was a cheating liar.  It was August 2004.

I could search through old handwritten journals to identify when I started to suspect that hubby was searching for lovin' outside of our home but I know the suspicions were there by August of 2003.  My undergrad degree was completed in May 2003 and we were taking a year to save money and figure out where to move to, which would depend on the graduate program I got in to.  At some point that summer I said that we need to re-evaluate our marriage and if things do not improve by moving time we would go our separate ways.  But we got so caught up in the excitement of buying a house in a new city and moving across the country that we forgot to consider if we wanted to be together.

It felt like a new beginning for our marriage since we were so far from the girls he had crushes on and for about 3 months I was very hopeful for our future, after all, we had our first house and I got into a competitive grad program which surely would make me more attractive to him.  Intelligence and drive are pretty, right?

A tangent that is important to the story:  There was no college prep in my family.  I graduated from high school and floundered around the west coast until deciding to attend college.  That didn't work out so well.  Coming from a poor family means no college fund and my mother, frustrated from paying on her student loans for decades for a degree she didn't finish, told me not to take out student loans.  So I worked 2-3 jobs at a time for a couple of years to save money for college and let me tell you that it is very hard to pay for college on minimum wage and it's hard to attend classes while working enough to pay for college.  I got married, moved away from my mother and her advice and got student loans to attend a state university.  I loved undergrad!  Loved, loved, loved!  So much that I wanted more.  A class taken in my junior year pointed to the direction for graduate school and I wanted the best program!  It was almost ridiculous to think that a person like me (poor family, state university) could attend a top school but I got in and when the email stating my acceptance arrived I jumped up and down like a kid.  All of this to say that attending this graduate program was the most important thing to me at that time.  There was nothing I wanted more.

During grad school orientation week in late August 2004 I was using hubby's computer and found Yah.oo chats where he was asking to see photos of girl after girl and if they sent one he would say "very nice", even if they weren't.  Some engaged in chats and he would ask to meet them and described his penis and when questioned further confessed to being married but not being sexually compatible with his wife.  There was one where he made plans to meet the woman, for a discreet adult encounter, and it was set for a time a few weeks prior when I  was out of town.

Again, there is not a good word for the feelings upon reading those messages.  I suspected stuff but seeing proof is ... life shattering.  I remember sitting on the floor of our bedroom in the house we bought 3 months earlier making this noise that I didn't think was possible - it was between a wail and a moan and a scream.

It's hard to learn something new and horrible about the person you think you know best - the person who promises that he loves you.  He denied it all at first even though I was reading what he had written back to him.

That was a Wednesday.

As cheated on folk know, then comes the question of what to do next.  As a teenager I had promised myself that I would not stay with someone who cheated on me; I had seen that pattern and the accompanying lack of self esteem many times. We were out of money having spent all of our savings on the house and move.  I didn't have a job since we planned that I would just go to school.  My options were to stay with him to attend school or move back to the other coast and live with my mother. 

At 10am the following Monday I was in class, appearing "normal" while secretly hating myself for not being desirable enough to inspire marital faithfulness and completely lacking self respect.

.......

Anyhoo, August holds memories.  August holds the anniversaries of choices made that led down a road that would be questioned later.

I should have correctly interpreted the glaring signs in August 2003 and left the marriage.  August 2004 was a second huge sign.  That's bullshit, it was more than a sign, it was more than a suspicion that could be debated away, it was PROOF that he was a liar and had no regard for my feelings or those stupid vows we made to each other on the day we married.  But I didn't have the perspective and resources that come with experience that I do now; the events of August 2003 and 2004 would have inspired very different responses if I knew then what I know now.

.......

August 13, 2007 was the day when I took a home pregnancy test and found out that Toren existed.  I didn't know anything about him but I knew that I loved the little being that joined our family.  It's been 3 years and 1 day since my being has been focused on Toren's health and happiness.  It feels like yesterday.


Two years ago, on the anniversary of the last day that I didn't worry about Toren (8/12/200), I wrote:

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"?

A year later the response:

Well Anna from the past, if you could have heard your thoughts from the future, this is what you would have been told ...

You will still be a bit shell shocked from living another year without Toren and a good portion of a year without your husband - yes, he will leave your ass without hardly a word. But by August 12, 2009 you will also be so thankful for the joy that entered your life. You never would have believed that housemates would be a good situation for you but it is so great having C and L around! Also, you will spend this terrorversary with a boy - he's nice and fun to be around and tonight we see if he can cook. 

Three years later?
Anna of the past, that boy from 8/2009 stuck around!  He is super sweet and you are eager for him to move in with you.  Life is still messy and when Toren died almost 3 years ago you would have run away screaming if anyone told you that you would still be mourning for that little guy today.  The comparison of what was lost is still overwhelming any gains BUT you gained things that you didn't even know were missing!  You have your own thoughts and are learning how to stop suppressing them; this is harder than it sounds.  Life without your husband is necessary and should have happened a long time ago, but the past is what it is.  By the way, you still can't stand your ex and sometimes stalk him on facebook ... maybe that will change by next year.  Of course your present life began with Toren's death, would you trade self-awareness and a non emotionally abusive relationship to have Toren with you?  Well, this question is unanswerable.  Toren DID die.  It already happened and cannot be undone.  All you can do is try your best no matter what horrible situations you are dropped into, I suppose.

Thus begins year 3.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Trying to kick ass

My rewriting the story post is mentioned in Mel's Blog Roundup.  How embarrassing that since then it's all just been ranting and TMI - too bad I can't say that the rants and mood swings are not the norm!


.....

Thoughts on personal training, aka, the longest 30 minutes of my life each and every time:
Over a year ago I signed up for training so I could work with a boxing coach because I was so angry that I needed to hit something.  Then my coach left the gym.  Then, a year later, I was feeling fat and blobby so renewed my contract but instead of once per month I purchased one session per week.  I had a lot saved up though so I can go to two session per week for several months.  I hate it.  I hate weight training with a trainer.

While getting ripped is supposedly the goal of training, the larger point of working with a trainer seems to be overcoming mental barriers.  So they say to do so many reps for so many sets, but depending on how happy you look they will add weight for subsequent sets or add "just one more" as soon as you think you are done.  If you can't lift the weight on your own towards the end the trainer will assist you so that you complete each and every rep of each and every set, thus realizing you can go beyond what your brain says you can.

That part of it is good for me - it is cool finish a goal that you thought was impossible.  The problem is I get hurt frequently.  I don't want to let down my trainer or complain so I end up with strained muscles.  But again, is that just me saying "I can't physically do this", when actually I can?  The strains heal after a few days.

......

What do you think about being pushed beyond what you think you can do?  Is it important?  Is it important for recovering from huge life failures, such as pregnancy loss, divorce, infertility, job loss, or an infinite number of events that can make you lose trust in yourself?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Much better

Whew, was I ever pissed last night.  Today is much better mood swing wise; the rant and the brownies worked!  Do you think it's possible to internally dissolve anger or does it have to be released?  Exercise and talking or writing about it help me, but is there a way to just think anger away?

Tonight, box office ticket availability willing, I'm seeing one of my favorite bands and SnuggleBunny is coming with me!  The ex didn't come with me when I saw them a few years ago, not that I need company all of the time but it makes me feel happy that SB is willing to sit through a band that he isn't very familiar with just because I want to go to the concert.

Other good things (to make up for yesterday's ultra grumpy post):
  • Work is going well today.
  • Lots of kitty snuggles last night.
  • Products of recent on-line shopping trips are on their way, including the Clarisonic Plus, which I am convinced will completely change my life!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Not losing it

My health goals for this week are to not lose patience with anyone to their face and to avoid alcohol because it is contributing to my depression.  Losing patience will make me very un-proud of my behavior so this is a positive self-esteem goal, which is an important part of overall health.  I've been going to the gym to burn off stress!

Obstacles (aka Oh fuck me)
1.  Menstrual period approacheth = hormones and the disappointment of not having a birth control failure.  What a mental mind fuck to be so divided in purpose.  On one hand (the rational one) the time for ttc is not quite here, on the other hand I'm tired of being stuck "here".  "Here" is where you watch others building their families while you wait and wait and wait and wonder if your turn already came and went.  Remember that the joy that others experience does not lessen one's own joy? ... why is this so non-intuitive?  Why do I have to repeat this over and over to remind myself that I'm happy too?  Weapon of choice: a pack of gluten-free brownies

2.  Mental health professionals are annoying.  Remember when I was really upset and my therapists seemingly random advice was to set boundaries?  That still is not making me feel any better and come to think of it, I'm really sucking at establishing boundaries.  Then yesterday I saw my psychiatrist to see if the meds were leading to mental check outs and the absence of org.asms.  She interpreted the problem as a change in the generic manufacturer of the pills.  I said that I thought there was no change but she wrote me a prescription anyway (with a note to give me the "right" one) and said to come back in if this doesn't fix the problem.  Guess what!  The new prescription is for the the exact same thing that I've been taking.  It is not cool that I have to pay for another visit now. Weapon of choice: Practice setting boundaries by seeing if the prescription issue can be resolved through e-mail.

3.  Lack of orga.ms.  Oh fuck me ... but it doesn't seem to do any good...

4.  Things are definitely strained now that the colleague I work closest with is pregnant with her second baby.  I listen sympathetically to her plight of vomiting everyday because it is polite but come on and return the effort lady!  I took a sick day on Friday because my calendar was clear and I was feeling very stressed from not sleeping well for the past couple of weeks; here was our exchange on Monday:

Her:  Are you feeling better?
Me: Yes, I was just very tired from not sleeping well for the past ... (I was still talking)
Her:  I left after being here an hour.  I threw up all day, I don't know if it was from the baby or the sinus infection.
Me:  That sucks.  Are you feeling better?  You sound better.
Her:  Yes.  You know klono.pin makes people very tired.  I've taken it as a sleep aid.
Me:  One of my friends does that too.
Her:  So if you are not having an anxiety attack and take it it could make you tired.
Me:  uh?
Her:  If you are already feeling calm and take your clonaz.epam it may make you feel tired.
Me:  But the problem is I haven't been sleeping.
Her:  Oh.  How was the play last night?

Do you ever feel like you are not being heard at all?

BTW I've been taking a couple of clona.zepam a day, as prescribed, for daily anxiety attacks which started several weeks ago, about the time of her pregnancy announcement.  Yes, I think that it makes me less energetic during the day but I don't nap on most weekdays and still go to work and then go to the gym or see  friends or do errands at night.  I'm not skipping work because I'm taking clona.zepam!

She's finding out the sex of the baby on Thursday.  I was so excited for Toren's anatomy ultrasound until learning that vital parts of the baby's anatomy could be completely missing and you learn that your baby is going to die which kind of distracts from the big reveal of the gender.  She thinks it is a girl.  And this makes me almost lose it because she already has a baby boy while mine died and now she will get a daughter too?!  This makes my head spin for some reason.
.......

I will not lose patience in public... I will not lose patience in public... I will not lose patience in public
.....

Um, sorry for the huge, hormone induced rant.  Overall, life is better than I made it sound here and I feel better getting all of that out.  I'm going to get comfortable in bed with my brownies and wish for some sound sleep.

What are your health goals for this week?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rewriting the story

I listen to self-help, meditation, and positive affirmation podcasts all night.  This has been going on for over a year.  After my husband moved out I would turn the TV on immediately upon arriving home and it would often stay on all night on low volume.  One time I woke up to a crime show and realized that something more soothing going on in the background would be a good idea.

Music doesn't help me sleep.  During the frequent nightly awakenings hearing voices helps - I get up to pee, just in case that was what woke me up (but most of the time a cat or dog is the culprit), then listen to the speaking until I fall back asleep.  When it's dark and I'm tired it's too easy to remember the sad things and slip into nightmares or stay awake all night without the gentle voices to distract me into sleep.

Anyway, last night I was listening to a new favorite podcast "Why Shamanism now?" and one topic was "rewrite the story".  This morning I woke up thinking "rewrite your story!".  The idea is not new (I've written about it before) but it was explained in a way that made it more attainable.  Bear with me as I explain this because I heard this in the space between wake and sleep.  Life changing losses are so intense they can be all consuming...hmmm...like, sometimes that's all you can deal with and it is appropriate to be right there wading through your muddy, sticky grief, but it's not appropriate to stay there permanently.

During the early afternoon of October 31, 2007 the news that my son would die sucked the breath out of me and during those hours where what was expected to be a normal prenatal visit turned into an immediate appointment for a level II ultrasound and consultation with a perinatologist and the findings turned worse and worse until we were back in my OB's office discussing what to do next.  The story I was working on took such a dramatic change that it's like a new book had to start.  The story where I was in love and loved and joyfully waiting for my son stopped abruptly. The story of being admitted to the hospital, inducing labor for a pregnancy that I wanted, holding my dead son, then the years of grief could not be combined with the story of happily expecting a baby.

Then there's the story of my husband leaving for greener pastures where grief did not exist, that overlaps with the story of becoming adjusted to deadbaby motherhood.

Dead son.  Husband can't stand me.  These are all consuming stories and for a long while it was not possible to be in any other story.  But it's been almost 3 years since Toren died and going on 2 years since my husband left.  If I let the stories of loss drift to the background what is here?  Well, surprisingly I'm still standing.  There were so many times when I thought I could not live through the pain of so much loss.  It seemed impossible that the heart that ached so much could continue it's rhythmic beating.  How is it possible that this body that screamed in rage and sorrow did not just crumble to dust?  It must have been held together by all the wine ;)

But seriously, to get through that took hours and hours of therapy, lots of antidepressants, patient friends, and then re-finding love.  The turning point from total grief to some relief took years.  And apparently a lot of rambling.

Those stories of loss are in the past, and they are incredibly important parts of my past so I'm not wishing them away, but it's time to start honoring the current story.  The rough draft goes something like this:

  • I am safe.  For the first time that I can remember there is no one controlling me in negative ways.  There is no one physically near me with the desire, and the balls, to pursue their own interests with no thought given to how their actions would affect me.
  • I am in love.  Cautious love but it is beautiful just the same.
  • There is potential for a great career.
  • There is potential for a family.
I guess it's not so much rewriting the story as tapering off adding chapters to the stories of a failed pregnancy and a failed marriage and instead spending more energy on exploring this new story. 

.....

I hope that makes at least a little bit of sense.  It's exciting.

Wishing you all lovely stories.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I woke up heartbroken today, which isn't all that unusual but I explored it to see if acknowledging the problem behind the ache would make it go away.  It didn't but perhaps more time is needed.  Babylost land is a lonely, lonely place.  I don't think I can say it enough.  Lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely...

Thankfully there is this virtual oasis but some days I could just use an actual hug and a sincere "how are you doing?" and have it be ok when I don't say "great!", "fine", "good".  I'm not doing good today but there's no time to let the wall holding it all back to come down.  There are e-mails to respond to and piles of other important things that really look like bullshit when compared to feeling so alone.  How many other people in this building are feeling similarly?  How would we ever find each other when we are all doing "good"?

I'm seeing my psychiatrist next week but what if all of the medication adjustments in the world can't really cure this persistent depression?  What if all the pills can do is make it look more believable when I say that I'm "fine"?  It's so silly how this bout started: last week on the phone my Mom didn't ask me how my knee was.  She has a lot of worries right now and rationally I know that my fractured knee was not important enough to be on her radar.  But it triggered some stupid abandonment issues and over the week the feelings of being forgotten grew.  Last night I saw photos from my sister's baby shower that I didn't know she was having.  I'm not close to my family, physically or in any other way so it should not be a surprise - it's still choking though.  It's like, your baby dies and makes everyone terribly uncomfortable then you sink into a deep hole (that may or may not be filled with cases of wine) and while you grieve and are not making enough efforts to keep in contact with people you become forgotten so by the time you crawl out of that hole everyone has moved on and is used to not hearing from you.

For the millionth time I wonder, why aren't I doing as well as people expect me to be?  Why do I still miss the baby that is just a very distant memory for most people around me?

I'm actually feeling more stable than it sounds above, the long path out of depression has me worn out right now.

.....

Last week was a very low energy, long work day week and I didn't do well on my health goals.  But when our goals are not met we just appreciate ourselves for at least trying, dust off, and try again.  My health goals for this week are going to be free form.  I will do at least one healthy thing everyday and keep a log of them off to the right sidebar.

Today is a new day.  If you did great with your goals from last week please share your successes!  If you did not so great that's ok, you are still a good person.

Please feel free to share your goals in a comment or write a post about them and leave a link to your blog.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Health goals week 2

So how did you all do with your goals for last week?  Angelseashore is taking a wonderful holistic approach by making goals for her body, mind, and soul - definitely take a look at her blog for inspiration on caring for your whole self.

I did awesome with my goals to eat a low carb breakfast and to only drink during social occasions - however I attended 4 social occasions so it turned out that I consumed alcohol on more days than I didn't (two drinks max each time).  Since isolating has become somewhat of a habit, it's sort of amazing that I went out with friends 4 times last week, thus making mild, but frequent alcohol consumption not such a bad thing in my book. 

Where exercising was concerned, those goals did not turn out so well but instead of hating myself for being so lazy I'm going to make my exercising goals for this week less demanding.  I tried out water aerobics for the first time last week and it was so fun!  If you have ever entertained the thought of attending a class I cannot encourage it enough!  It has been in the upper 90's/low 100's here and cooling off in the pool for an hour has felt so good and this is a safe way to regain strength and flexibility in my knee that was fractured 10 weeks ago.

We did this in class

 kidding!
.....

Goals for this week
1.  go to water aerobics!
2.  practice grounding exercises daily
3.  practice yoga at least once

Easy goals for this week since things are kind of rough lately.  The grounding exercises are difficult though - it's been a struggle to stay present and last Friday I had a wake up call that made me realize that I still dissociate more than I thought.  Perhaps more on this once I can confront the feelings of humiliation more comfortably.
.....

What can you do to be healthy this week?  Please feel free to share your list in a comment or write a post about it and use the linky thing so we can see what you are up to.

.....

Once upon a time I was about 12 weeks pregnant and was already anticipating feeling weighed down so I planned to take water aerobics classes, as soon as I stopped throwing up all of the time.  I found a cute one-piece, full coverage swim suit with ruching down the sides so the middle had room for an expanding belly.  A good intermediate between a bikini and a maternity swim suit.  At 13 weeks the big bleed occurred and light bleeding continued for 5 more weeks.  I never got to wear that swim suit to water aerobics.

Almost 3 years later and it's been long enough now that I could secretly smile and feel happy to finally be wearing that swim suit to water aerobics.



Monday, July 19, 2010

Health goals for this week

I married the guy who walked out on me back in November 2008, 13 years ago.  No complicated feelings, just the thought that I really need to get this divorce over with.  It sure would be nice if he would respond to my e-mails about settlement details.

The whole thing is ewwwy, so enough about that.  Here are my health goals for this week:

1.  Have eggs and decaf coffee for breakfast Monday - Friday.  No carbs or cheese.
2.  Exercise for an hour every day.  Any sort of exercise is fine since it was just last week that my kneecap was determined to be healed and I was released from physical therapy.  I plan to get back on the elliptical tonight after 9 weeks of waiting for that bone to heal well.
3.  Do the pilates video once and do 3 yoga practices.
4.  Only consume alcohol at social gatherings - no drinking at home alone.

That's enough for the first week of healthy goal setting.  What health goals do you have for this week?  With so many stages to grief work it is so important to set goals that are appropriate for where you are.  Earlier this year my goals were to go to the gym and change into my workout clothes and if I wanted to go home right away I could but once I was there and dressed I always wanted to exercise for at least a bit. 

Any goals from getting out of bed to shower and put on clean pajamas before returning to sob under the covers, to serious physical training, to finding a therapist, to expressing yourself through art, and everything in between are appropriate.  What can you do this week to take good care of yourself?

I'll post a linky thing every week for a while to see if this is interesting to people.  If you are interested in participating in healthy behavior please join in!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How does a babylost mama mother?

The women around me who are newly pregnant with their second children really have me on edge lately.  Now, I know that I don't have to discuss babies, or pregnancy with them and it's ok to even avoid them entirely, but the levels of poor self-worth and the number of self-judgments are getting out of control.

I'm reading about mudita which is the ability to be truly happy for the good things that happen to other people and I'll write more about it soon because it is good stuff, but the point that sticks with me most right now is this:


The happiness and joy that others experience does not lessen the happiness and joy that I experience.

There is not a limited amount of joy that all inhabitants of the world must share; joy is not a resource that we have to compete for.

.....

I was walking behind someone who I suspect is pregnant with her second baby, kind of critiquing her outfit (short skirt with tennis shoes), then wondering how she has such muscular calves when she has a child under 2.  And that is how quickly self-judgments happen!  She has a beautiful family and shapely legs while I have no family and am struggling with my weight.  I made myself feel inadequate by comparing my life to hers - she did nothing!

Then I remembered "her joy does not diminish my joy", and that really did make me feel better :)

Then the train of thought jumped to thinking about what it would be like to mother a child and then I remembered that because I had a son I am a mother, but the action of mothering a missing baby is very different than caring for a living child.

What does a babylost mama do to mother her missing baby?  Are there any tangible mothering activities?

Here's what I do:
1.  I raise money and walk in the March for Babies.  This is something that I do to remind people that Toren existed, raise awareness that sometimes - too many times - pregnancies do not end with a new member of the family, and to help prevent future parents from bringing home a memory box instead of a live baby.

2.  I let Toren know he is loved.  Ok, this isn't so tangible.  I don't know what happens after death.  Heaven?, reincarnation?, nothing? - this is just a question that is too big for me, but I know what personal mix of these gives me comfort so that is what I go with.  Anyway, believing that Toren's soul is out there somewhere I let him know that he is dearly loved.  I don't know where his soul was before he came to me and I don't know where he went to or where his journey will take him.  Living can be so hard sometimes - there are people who are not loved and treasured as much as we all deserve.  Whatever path Toren's soul takes, at least for his time here on Earth with me he was loved unconditionally, and he is deeply loved still, and he will be treasured as my dear son forever.  Perhaps it means something.

That's all I've thought of so far.

.....

How do you mother your lost baby or babies?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Prelude to a donut

Earlier this evening I bought a box of tampons and a box of gluten-free cinnamon donuts, so that explains today's sensitive mood.  Sigh.  It's hard to completely push aside the thoughts that not only is a baby not on the horizon, I'm still preventing pregnancy.  Cycling on and on.  Eggs dwindling.  Scary thoughts of missing my chance on top of surging hormones.  But you gotta just get through the day and act like you feel great because there's no room for on-going grief at the office.

Today I created a flyer for work and I thought it was so good!  I spent time making it beautiful and informative and was certain that my bosses would love it and be happy with my work.  They had so many suggestions for changes that it would turn into something completely different.  They hated it.  I almost cried right there.  It's crushing to be so wrong about something.

.....

On Monday prego-colleague asked about yoga classes since I was reading Yoga Journal.  She doesn't like yoga but may try it again anyway.  I offered to let her borrow my prenatal yoga DVD but since she didn't seem excited about it I'm not going to dig it out.  "Dig" is pretty literal in this sense.  First the paper recycling bin must be moved, then the garden cart and some large tools.  Then the little door will be revealed and the clasps on either side have to be released so the door may be lifted away.  Inside this little cubby of the garage is left over paint, Christmas decorations, and childhood memorabilia.  This is also where everything pregnancy related was thrown in November of 2007.  The DVD should be in there but there are also books, clothes, and small, pure white onesies, among things I have forgotten about, that will have to be touched and moved until the DVD is found.  It seems wrong to touch these things since I'm not expecting a baby.  The trip down memory lane to find that DVD would be way more painful for me than any amount of enjoyment that p-c would get from using the video so fuck it. 

Anyway, it's from my time with Toren.  P-c would never know that I only did the video one or two times before the 6 weeks bleeding and restriction from unnecessary activity started.  She would not think to ask about how I liked the video since as a women with a deadbaby I was never "really" pregnant.  It's like pregnancies ending in live birth are real but pregnancies ending in death were just a silly dream.  Babies born alive are real babies while those that die were never meant to be anyway so one can't be that sad about it.

.....

Back in November of 2007, with heart and soul writing in pain, I truly believed that the grief would ease and I'd return back to "normal" around the start of the new year.  I was very wrong about that.

This path of grief has been a difficult journey.  So dark, damp and lonely.  Frightening cliffs.  Step after step towards the rainbow ahead that seems to remain out of reach.  I'm proud that I kept working through my grief and I'm happy to no longer be consumed by it.  But some days it seems impossible that I still miss that tiny boy.  After nearly 3 years why do I still think of Toren a hundred times a day?

My love for Toren has not diminished over time.  The pain of living without him is so acute some days.

.....

It's time for me to snuggle into bed with the donuts.  Goodnight!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Deadbaby mama body image

It was the development of boobs that sparked my body "issues".  The budding bosom went unnoticed by 11 year old me until a snotty little girl pointed them out.  24 years later I am well versed with disliking parts of my body.  Those boobs that started so early ended up being quite small, my ass is some kind of fat magnet, my skin is permanently traumatized from teenage hormones. Toss some sexual abuse into the mix and my body became more distant and uglier. 

And this is a pervasive problem; how many of you are reciting your mental list of the flaws you think your body has right now?

And then my body couldn't make a healthy baby.  Suddenly clear skin and cellulite free thighs disappeared as worries.  I stopped looking at my body.  I stopped yoga.  Stopped dancing.  I hated my body for killing the baby; sometimes I am still so angry with this flesh that failed so badly.  Along with emotional grieving, this body also mourned: the aches from an utterly empty uterus, the breasts that swelled with milk and then never returned to normal since I never lost weight, arms that needed to hold a baby so badly that they clenched and throbbed and then disappeared.  It's like mind, arms, womb, breasts, voice all separated, dissociating to grieve privately, unable to also feel the pain of the other parts.

My doctors told me over and over that one can't do anything to cause bilateral renal agenesis and that it wasn't my fault, but then who's to blame?  The undeveloped organs were caused by something happening or not happening and I know exactly where Toren was for his entire life so this wasn't something that occurred when he was outside of my care.

* * * * *

My stages of grief work went like this:
1.  Shock and numbness
2.  Get through each day
3.  Get through each day sober

And now it's time to gather the body parts together to re-integrate as a whole person.  Before attempting a subsequent family (new partner and perhaps a pregnancy that may turn into a take-home baby) I want to feel whole, strong, capable, and ready.  This may sound weird but it's like my pregnancy with Toren has not ended yet.  Where a mother's body is concerned, pregnancy should go like this: pregnancy weight gain, huge belly, lose weight with delivery, lose more weight breastfeeding, and finally going on a diet to get back to one's pre-pregnancy weight.  Toren's pregnancy stalled out at the pregnancy weight gain step.  I'm still hanging on to him, still waiting for the outcome that was "supposed" to happen.

Defeated uterus, tired brain, futile breasts, and painfully empty arms ... being well indoctrinated that the cure to most physical annoyances is to lose weight, going on a diet was my automatic first solution.  Can a diet make a deadbaby mama whole?  Where are the magazine articles addressing this body image problem?  I don't think weight loss itself is the key, however the healthy behaviors that often lead to weight loss, such as exercise and a nutritious diet, could be beneficial.  Even so a weight loss ticker has been added off to the right.

Here's how these extra 28 pounds came to be:
  1. 8 pounds from writing my thesis (no exercise + take out for 3 months)
  2. 12 pounds of pregnancy weigh gain (which is mysterious and embarrassing since Toren was so tiny and there was no amniotic fluid)
  3. 8 pounds from consuming impressive quantities of wine for 2 years

Changes made so far:
  1. Only occasional drinking (2-4 drinks per week), tapering down to wondrously sparse alcohol consumption.
  2. Making a salad or sandwich for lunch instead of bringing a microwave meal.  
  3. Personal training - however my gym use has been limited due to my broken patella - bah!
Anyway, I may write out weekly health goals here.  If anyone would like to become healthier with me I will set up a McLinky and every week we can post our goals.


* * * * *
Now for a "you-simply-can't-stop-being-annoyingly-pregnant-can-you?" blurb.

Yesterday I asked my pregnant colleague who talks about all the stuff she needs me to do while she is on maternity leave in December how her dr's appointment was (because it is polite to ask).  The answer was that she waited for an hour to see the dr for 2 minutes and that prenatal visits are a waste of time, however she did get to hear the heartbeat.  Either she really finds pregnancy boring because she's already successfully carried a pregnancy to the end or she is minimizing her excitement for my benefit so I won't think that being pregnant is anything to write home about.

Can you believe that?  She told me that prenatal visits were a waste of time - like I had never been to one and would never want to go to one now!

Prenatal visits were anything but a waste of time for me.  The first 2 were normal and exciting but after the heavy bleeding starting at week 13 the visits were more frequent and I held my breath each time until the doppler picked up Toren's heartbeat.  Then of course there was the anatomy visit and boy do I ever wish that were a boring day rather than the day that began years of agonizing sorrow.

She's planning a c-section, which I have no issue with, but the reason she told me was that when she was induced for her last delivery she waited for 20 hours (boring) and then had a c-section.  I didn't say that it took 72 hours from the time my induction began to when Toren was delivered, but it didn't feel like a long time because there were so many emotions to process and fears to conquer.  I was in no rush to leave the hospital without him.

This is all really bitchy but it illustrates the different perspectives on simple things that come along with a deadbaby.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The plan is in action

Thank you all for the support regarding my idea to have a baby, it's so helpful to hear that it is not a terrible plan and in fact it sounds like a wonderful plan!

That night I spoke with SnuggleBunny about it.  He was not freaked out one little bit!  Instead he is very excited and mentions it almost everyday.  He is way more comfortable with the idea of having a baby than I am :)

He has some terms though - he wants to be there, he wants to be an active parent, he wants us to live together, he wants us to be a family.  SB understands well that I do not want to get married but aside from the ceremony and legal binding we are talking about being together in a situation that will look very much like marriage.

I flip back and forth between being scared out of my mind and being overwhelmed with the romance of it all.

Last weekend he said that he would like to live together for a little while before we have a baby - this never occurred to me!  But it is a very good idea.  But this makes it seem very real and I don't think I'm as ready for this as I thought I was.  The baby part is much easier to consider than having a family complete with SB.  An estimated time for when he will move in has not been decided on yet.

Here are some issues:
1.  SB and I met about 11 months ago, which isn't that long.  But since I reject the idea of marriage I can also reject the idea of knowing a person for a few years before being a family together.  In my gut I think it will work out very well for at least a while.

2.  I like my financial independence, even though I have so little money.  We will not share a bank account but that means he will have to contribute to the bills and it's uncomfortable to me to have him owe rent since he wouldn't be a real renter.  But we would have to decide on a way to share the costs of living without either one of us taking on too much (which that one of us would be me since I habitually pay for health insurance, gym memberships, and what not for boys.  I gave SB a gym membership for his birthday - see, I can't stop!).  He said that we would simply split the house payment and utility bills.

3.  I like having some evenings alone.  It's good for me to have time when I'm not influenced by anyone else.  Will my moods be dependent enough on his moods that I become lost again?

4.  I like my housemates but they would have to leave.  Which would make me even more dependent on SB paying rent.



I asked SB what would happen if we lived together but then couldn't get pregnant or have a living baby and he said we would adopt.  No hesitation. 

After being treated like crap by my husband it's hard to accept that SB truly wants to be with me.  He wants to live with me.  He wants to have a baby with me and he thinks I would be a great mother.  All of these lovely thoughts float along the surface of the huge bubble of bad marriage hurt that encompasses my soul.  I see that I could be happy and that this is exciting news that I could tell people about (you all are the first to know).  It's kind of like a non-engagement announcement.  We are preparing to join our lives.


Back to cynicism and worry - what else should I take into account with this plan to have SB move in?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ICLW Baseball

Kym conjured up this fun game in a dream!

Here's what to do if you want to play ICLW Baseball:
1. Copy these instructions and post them on your blog.
2. Answer the Base Questions.
3. Find other participating bloggers who have the same answers you do. Find at least one blogger for each base and link back to them in your baseball post. You may find more than one blogger with common answers for each post base. Your post will be a work in progress. Get YOUR base answers up ASAP,  then go back often to edit and add the links of bloggers who share answers with you!
4. Once your base answers are up, go to I'm a Smart One/Kymberli's blog and add your baseball post hyperlink to the list. Kym's blog is home base; check the list to find the other players.



Baseball




My answers:


1st base - Club soda

2nd base - Bone Garden Cantina (it's not a chain though so I think any amazing, local Mexican restaurant could count as being the same answer)

3rd base - February (the 10th) - shared with Kym   and Mrs. Dreamer 
and Megan

Home - Finding Nemo - shared with Dragondreamer's Lair

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oh boy that was a huge pity party yesterday!  I sobbed for hours, which has not happened in a long time.  A big cry fest  has been lurking in the periphery for months now so it was time to get all out.  The pregnancy announcement plus PMS plus muscle spasms from a new knee brace, and the stage was set for tears.

*****

"Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.  Try to be better than  yourself." - William Faulkner

I can continue feeling sorry for myself, which is justifiable since the past 2+ years have been full of super sucky events, or I can be better than myself.

So do I want to have a baby?  The lack of a husband does not seem like a large obstacle anymore.  To make that happen here is what I need:

1.  A new job that pays a whole lot of money.  I am ready to get back into research and leave this underpaying administrative job behind.  And call me a bitch but I DO NOT WANT to cover my colleagues work while she is on maternity leave again.  Last time I worked my ass off only to stay underpaid and the only reason I was able to work such long hours was because I had no family to go home to at night.  I would be too resentful this time around.

2.  Talk to SnuggleBunny and see if he wants to reproduce with me.  I think he will, but if not, I need to find other sperm.

That's it.

*****

Do I want a child though?  I want Toren; will a different one be ok?

Issue 1:  Other people's children annoy me - one, because they exist here on Earth and Toren doesn't and try as I may to not be bitter about this all of the time the fact is that this still hurts and it still feels so unfair; and two, kids ARE rather annoying!  but there are plenty of women who only really like their own children so it's ok to feel this way.

Issue 2:  I feel like a basket case much of the time still.  But I think this is temporary and life is slowing getting more organized.

Right now the most compelling reason to try for a baby that lives is that I have had two pregnancies and both ended traumatically.  If there is never a positive pregnancy ending to counter the horrible ones will I feel like I'm missing out on something important?  Do I want to leave life still completely heartbroken where reproduction is concerned?  Even if I always feel sad that Toren is dead, I think it is possible to gain some healing from fulfilling the dream to mother a child.  There were so many things I was going to do for Toren - I am missing out on sharing some of the beauty of living with a child.

*****

It's a lot to consider.  But enough chatter for now - I need to kick ass at work to get closer to a new job!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"I wish you'd never learned to weep"

I must have listened to "Pure" by the Lightning Seeds thousands of times as a young girl.  Even after so many years I remember every word.

So there I am in the ladies room at work blotting tears quickly because I need to pull it together and get back to my office and my brain remembered that line.  "I wish you'd never learned to weep"

It's like tears are for the shorter lived sorrows but once you weep you cannot go back.  You can't un-learn it.  And quietly in the back stall, weeping was exactly what happened just minutes after smiling, reassuring, and asking questions after my colleague told me she was pregnant.  Since I began this blog she has already had a baby.  SHE ALREADY HAS ONE.  The little boy who wouldn't smile for me a few weeks back.

Where is mine?

I tried to have a baby and that turned into unimaginable heartache.  I tried to have a baby and my entire life fell apart.  Two and a half years later I'm still trying to put things back together.

*****

The past two days have been incredible - I made progress towards getting a student loan out of default, a housemate issue is improving, and my fractured patella is healing well and I'm now able to wear a flexible, supportive knee brace instead of the one that has kept my knee straight for the last 3 weeks.  But these are really just situations where a something bad is getting better, and it's so pathetic that I was so truly happy about these things just hours ago.  I understand now why she has been distant and distracted and it sucks that when I stopped by her office to chat she was probably just thinking about how she needed to tell me about her pregnancy because she knows it is a sensitive topic for me.

*****

A "sensitive topic" - that's how I act about it when really it is a soul smashing topic that strikes down whatever lightness was buoying up the leaden weight in my chest.  And then this body remembers what it was like to carry a baby, and not just any baby, MY precious little boy.  This body remembers releasing him into the world and then these arms released him and he went to the morgue and I went home.  Empty womb, empty arms, empty home.

If emptiness had a sound I think it would be weeping - weeping echoing on and on and on. 

*****
"still I love you"


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thank you all so much for listening to my last rant and giving such supportive feedback.  It is a confusing situation with the collisions of past and present.  I don't know if BF's new friend is a warning sign or red flag, or just simply a new friendship with someone who happens to be female.  My gut says run away, but that would really be running away from the actions of my ex, which are in the past.  I hope that makes sense.


I sent an e-mail explaining why I was being so distant (it's best if he has time to think about potentially troubling information so e-mail is better than face to face) and I'll just see what happens from there.

The scars that we carry can be exhausting.  One deadbaby and suddenly seeing a pregnant women or baby becomes so COMPLICATED.  There's the social norm that says we should be happy for pregnant women and seeing a baby should be a joyous experience.  And even bitter old me gets emotional thinking about how that women is experiencing the complete and pure love that I have for Toren and I am happy when people get to feel that love because it is so beautiful.  But then there's all of the other feelings: confusion over why others get living babies and I didn't, rage that my life is lived without my son, sorrowful nausea because by womb and arms still feel so empty.

One ended marriage to an unfaithful partner and I'm having trust issues over something that has not been proven to be suspect and even though I don't think trust is necessary for a romantic relationship.  At least I don't want trust to be necessary.

And there are countless other ways that people can be hurt and react over and over to situations that happened before. 

It's scary and sad that we can feel heartbroken over and over from things of the past.

Do any of you have weird emotional triggers?
There are certain restaurants that I won't go to because my husband and used to eat there together.
I get angry at SUV's because I wanted one to drive my kid around in.  If I ever need a car that holds more than two people I'll probably go for a sedan - who knows though, maybe someday I could turn back into a softer person and fulfill that old wish for a mommy mobile.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I know I'm in this office to work but sometimes a girl can only take so many "Can I get this done NOW?"s Before she snaps and retreats to blogland for a bit. The reports, letters, e-mails to write and phone calls to return are now prioritized behind expressing my feelings.

And what I'm feeling is this: depleted

I spent Friday through Saturday night celebrating BF's birthday. The wee hours of Sunday were not great; without details, he was very ill from alcohol and I am a freaking saint. Then Sunday I canceled my plans to drive the still drunk boy to a dj job. It was fun hanging out where he was but it was so hot. I was positive, pleasant, patient, and encouraging all day. Driving home I tell him how much I enjoyed meeting one of his female friends at dinner the night before (she and I talked and talked!) and then it turns out that at dinner was the first time they had met in person but they have been talking on-line for months.

Can you say "emotional trigger"? He and I haven't been intimate lately - he is not interested - and now he's getting to know other girls on-line then meeting up with them. On the emotional level it doesn't matter that I was at dinner too, right now all that matters is that I've seen this pattern of behavior before and it ended so painfully.

There is no need for BF to be trusted - I don't need to trust him in the sense that I will not have so much of my life entwined with his that every part of life is negatively impacted if he were to suddenly be gone. But the worry that there are quiet conversations going on behind my back takes me to that anxious place where boys lie about their love, fuck around, and ultimately leave you with all of the household responsibilities and bills even though you fought your instincts and forgave over and over.

.....

I'm mulling over "trust". How important is it? Do we need to trust others to fully love or care for someone? Can one have a meaningful life without trusting or relying on anyone else?