Wishing you courage

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

Monday, 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.