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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Crossed fingers didn't work.

Low progesterone and low anti-mullerian hormone and a referral to a fertility clinic. 

It feels a lot more intense than it looks written down.  It looks like there are good options and plenty to feel hopeful for.  It feels like the chance of having a child that is genetically related to both of us is remote.  Statistically, delivering a child at all is not so likely.

I'll go to the initial visit to find out all options, but I can't really afford expensive treatments.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fingers crossed! Fingers crossed!

That's what Jill at my gynecologist office said after answering some questions and making an appointment for me to have blood drawn for progesterone levels on the correct day. 

It's fertility workup month

There should be a sarcastic exclamation point wrapping up that sentence but I can't summon a smart ass attitude right now.  It feels more like:

It's fertility workup month :(

My mood has been excellent until this point; until scheduling the appointment for the last part of this initial workup.  It's been so easy compared to what some have been through, first was the day 2 FSH (and a slew of other tests), then the peeing on sticks to identify the LH surge (that smiley face came pretty damn early, which if that is a trend then timing has been dismally off), then on Thursday there will be the progesterone blood levels.  And then the results.  And I'm not looking forward to that.

Discussing the fertility workup is such an appropriate topic for my blog but to be honest I don't feel like I have anything novel to say.  It all has been said here before - I'm gutted from Toren's death but have learned to function anyway, I'm terribly sad over not having children and I'm terrified that I never will have a living child.  It's embarrassing to not have progressed along to raising a rainbow baby by now.  These aren't things that I feel comfortable discussing with anyone.  Since hanging out with mothers hasn't been appropriate, my friends are primarily 30-somethings who are childless by choice and starting a conversation about how much I would like a child isn't something I want to do.  My family has probably given up on me by now and some would be all judgy about my quest for a child out of wedlock and even if I didn't feel frowned upon I don't want to subject them to another reproductive roller coaster.  I wouldn't want them to get excited for a new family member only to be let down, again.  SnuggleBunny is on board but doesn't understand just what a big deal it is.  He knows that deadbabies are a very sad thing but not that a missing baby changes everything.

And actually, I haven't been doing all I could to have another baby because pregnancy is frightening business.

But the hope of another baby has been very important and I'm afraid of hearing test results that whisk that hope away.  Up until this point my fingers have been crossed but they are not today because the test results will be what they will be, regardless of what I want them to say.  Not being able to have a baby (even just one!) would be devastating and the hopeful part of me says it would be too devastating to actually happen.  But you know what?  Toren's death was something that was too devastating to actually happen but it did anyway.


Anyway, I am doing the tests and for the most part I've been keeping cheerful.  I'm charging into this holiday season with so many commitments there will be little time to contemplate another Christmas without a child.  I'll probably have a fun part-time job during December so that will be a productive way to keep busy.  But the there's something that I'm so excited about!  I'm doing a 90 day fitness challenge!  Here's how it works, we are in teams of 4 and work out with a trainer 3 times a week.  I've done personal training before and disliked it very much and it's still a mystery why this sounded like a good idea, but I LOVE IT!  It is so fun to work out with in a team!  It's day 16 of the challenge and I have not lost any weight but my body fat percentage was one percentage point lower, which could have been measurement error but at least it wasn't higher!  My trainer has been very encouraging and instead of feeling defeated so early on I'm increasing the amount of cardio I do every week and decreasing the amount of cheese I eat - would you believe he said to limit cheese to once per day?  ;)


Expressing these fears has made me feel better and I'll let Jill be my cheerleader for right now. 

May we all have peace this holiday season :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 8th is also Bram Stoker's birthday.  It's kind of nice that Toren shares a birthday with a famous person, I suppose.  Learning a bit more about Bram Stoker was a nice distraction this mornining.  Bram Stoker was Irish and Dracula was published in 1897.  Beyond being a horror novel Dracula presents concerns of that time in Victorian England.  Bram Stoker died in 1912 at 64 years old, after several strokes.

Toren M died on November 8, 2007 by being crushed by his mother's contracting uterus.  He was born later that day at 10:35pm.  I don't know when he died because he wasn't being monitored because he was going to die anyway.

It's been five years.


I still take October 31 and November 8 off from work.  Not to do anything in particular but just to avoid seeing people.  The surrounding days are bad enough and I think if anyone wished me a good day today I would yell at them.  Most days I'm fine and happy enough but I take these two days and his due date (the anniversary of the day when nothing happened) to not have to look happy.

On days that are tough, for whatever reason, I think to myself "at least I'm not back in that week where I was waiting for my son to die".  Most shitty situations look pretty innocuous compared to hanging out in a hospital room waiting to birth the baby who will never go home, never meet his grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, never make his own friends, never hear you say how much he is loved. 

Those days between the fatal diagnosis and when he was born were the most unremarkable and exhausting days.   Nothing was actively happening.   We were killing time as the inevitable loomed. 
It was terrifying.  I remember being busy researching bilateral renal agenesis and what a baby of his gestational age looks like, and crying, and vomitting, and not getting out of bed, and then not being able to stand being in the house, and not talking to people because what was I going to say?  My parents didn't even know what was going on until days after the diagnosis and then I don't even remember what I said to them.  Probably something about how the baby is dying but everything is ok.  Don't worry - I'm ok. 

Unpredictably, embarassingly, the thing I felt most right after he delivered was relief.  The labor pains stopped and I didn't have to wait for him to die anymore.  It was time to grieve for a bit then get back to kicking ass.  Right?

Beyond heartbroken, wondering how I was going to walk across the threshold to leave the hospital room and go home without my son, I told myself that it would be rough for a few weeks but once the new year came around I would be feeling much better.  Looking back, I gave myself 54 days to "get over it". 

Still waiting. 

I mean, things are much easier than being "there" but beyond that I'm not sure of much.  I thought I would at least be pregnant with another baby within a year and my lousy, cheating husband and I would raise a family together.  You know, all unfulfilled with mountains of hurt and lies between us.  So I HAVE TO be happy about being where I am now.  I must be thankful.  But not on November 8th.


My son was going to have dinosaur pajamas.  We would all learn baby sign language so we could communicate with him before he could speak.  We would visit family and he would get excited with his cousins and all of the adults would cringe at the noise.  He was going to be the oldest child.

Instead it's just me sitting with a pair of tiny dinosaur pajamas that have never been worn.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Oh that again?

He's moving... back to the opposite coast... my ex-husband... today may have been the day when he left.

I thought this would feel better than it does right now.  It was over a year ago when he told me he was going to move away and I have been anticipating a sense of freedom from that distance.  Instead it feels very sad right now.

I don't know who he is.  He turned out to be someone different than the man I thought I was married to, and I miss that person desperately, and, idiotically,  I keep looking for that person.  Maybe he has changed again!  Maybe "he" is back!

He doesn't want to be the person I believed he was.


Did I tell you we met when I was 16 and were nearly inseparable for about 16 years?  And now I don't know exactly when he is moving away.  We drove into this city together, him driving the moving truck, me driving his car.  We were supposed to be getting a fresh start, I thought it was going to be a fresh start as a couple but found out he was having "discrete" sex with women he didn't even know a few months after we got here.  (Ok, I found evidence of him soliciting dates and going to meet one woman, but he said he didn't sleep with her.  Regardless of believing him on that point, does the actual act really matter that much?).  The problems had started years before.  I have been so dumb where he is concerned for YEARS and still I think about him, not with longing for him but longing for closure and longing for understanding how things went so wrong and longing for verification that it wasn't all my fault.  It feels like there is still so much that needs to be said, but we speak different languages.

Back several months ago when I moved there was so much of "our" stuff to go through.  A houseful of our things.  And even though I was so angry with him for not signing the damn papers that could have prevented the move I kept setting things aside for him.  Although he had left 3 years earlier I was still hanging onto his family heirlooms and his mementos, until I came across our wedding album and realized that he didn't have a single photo from our wedding.  Not only had he left me behind - me who who was drowning in grief, so I kind of understand wanting to leave that behind - he left all mementos of me behind.  He left every reminder of our marriage, like none of it had mattered.  And I began throwing away his things.


Moving definitely brought many things about our marriage and divorce to the surface.  There were so many feelings left unfelt during those years of numbing antidepressants so it's good to be working through them now.  It's good to be living in a place that feels safe while slogging through that mess.  One thing that is interesting is that Toren's death and the end of my marriage feel like separate things now.  They happened relatively close together and were intertwined for a long time, which was a shame because it complicated how I felt about Toren.

So he is moving and I am not gleeful as imagined... but it won't always hurt.  Maybe it won't hurt by the end of this week.  Maybe someday thoughts of him will only rarely peek in.  And in the meantime I will take good care of myself, like by going to read a charming book right now!  (Do you like murder mysteries?  I recently discovered the Leigh Koslow Mystery Series which are adorable!  They are older books - which means super cheap for the Kindle!  book 1 was free! - and they are not too gory or scary.  There is a pregnancy in book 1 but it didn't upset me and if you think it would be a trigger for you book 2 doesn't rely on information from book 1)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


The purple butterfly bush has bloomed!

Here's a sneak peak of part of the garden ;)  I can't show off photos of the whole thing BECAUSE it is not finished and needs weeding BECAUSE I can't manage to get anything done now that I learned how to knit and crochet.

The tiny flowers are so pretty up close

The white butterfly bush should flower in a few days

I saw the purple flowers this morning and thought "there is such thing as redemption".  I don't know what that means but I do feel terrible about the whole foreclosure thing, even though it has worked out pretty well for me so far.  I don't really expect anything good to happen and I don't feel like I deserve good things to happen.  So it was lovely to see the bushes thriving after being uprooted.

Then the patio furniture from one of my landlady's other properties was delivered tonight.  It is huge and ugly, which means it probably won't be stolen :)  Despite the lack of attractiveness in the table and chairs I like it and it will be incredibly handy next weekend when we throw our first party at this house to celebrate SnuggleBunny's birthday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Smarter today

On Monday it didn't occur to me that someone would climb over the fence to enter the backyard and take the patio furniture.  We were planning on getting a lockable shed for the garden tools and in hindsight that should have been a priority.  Snugglebunny said we will get the shed this weekend and pick up a new-to-us lawnmower.  Our landlord is bringing over a plastic patio table and chairs that were left at one of her other properties and she is cutting rent for next month by 40% because of this incident and because we replaced our dryer when it didn't work in the new place and it turned out to be that the outlet was not installed correctly (and took over a month to get properly diagnosed and repaired).  So it's not a money thing because we can replace everything.  It's this feeling that it is not smart to feel safe.  And I liked that little wrought iron patio set.

It's a tall fence with sturdy locks on both gates.  The back side is surrounded by tall trees for privacy from the church behind us.  Last night when I took my hair down Snugglebunny pulled a bit of a branch out of then ends and laughed at me for having had bits of the wilderness in my hair all day long (from tramping through the treeline picking up pieces of the lawnmower, which did not survive being tossed over the fence so was left among the trees on the church side).

Also right now FB is filled with comments about someone, who I didn't personally know, who was murdered over the weekend.  It's enough to make a girl long for small town living!

Anyway, I just wanted to say that today it's not as easy to joke about getting help becoming closer to a minimalist lifestyle as it was yesterday.  Today I feel worse about it.  Today it feels like security will never be regained.  Today I don't really want to be having an existential crisis prompted by patio furniture...

Monday, May 7, 2012

FSH test

While waiting for the results of a home FSH test, which I do several times per year, I realized this song was playing in my head

Ugh!  I don't like worrying about my aging eggs!  15 minutes to go (it's normal so far and I've never had one change dramatically in the middle of the test so I think doomsday is averted for at least a little while longer).

Does anyone else do these periodically?  My doctor said that the FSH test doesn't really predict early onset of menopause (or any onset, I guess) but it lets you know when there is already a problem.  I keep doing them but I'm curious about how well the home tests compare to the medical lab tests and how both actually compare to having live babies.  The very moment that I get health insurance (which I think will happen within the next several months) I'm making an appointment with my OB/GYN.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

International Bereaved Mothers Day

That this day was created by the incredibly sweet Carly Marie eases a lot of pain about Mother's Day. 


I've been doing something that I don't feel comfortable telling most people about.  Here's how it came about... my sister is adopting a new son and they will be picking him up in Korea sometime this summer; I recently started knitting and crocheting and wanted to make a baby blanket for him.  When I showed SnuggleBunny the yarn he asked if it was for a blanket for the baby we want to conceive.  Suddenly I felt a bit of resentment and hurt because there's no baby of our own to make a blanket for.  I'm not going to sit around with the pain of wanting to make a blanket for my own child so I decided to make one for us first.  Also, it doesn't seem like a good idea to make a blanket for my nephew while having negative feelings about my situation and since I'm new to crocheting (as in I have never made anything yet) it seemed like a good idea to practice before making gifts.

So I'm summoning.  I'm seeking a soul who wants to join our family.  While planning for and working on this blanket I think about what we can offer as parents and where our struggles are.  I tell the Universe that a soul with a good sense of humor, and patience and appreciation for a slightly smothering Mother would fit in well here.  Some soul who needs a lot of love is welcome.  Some soul who can stand a non-luxurious lifestyle, since my fertility is waning faster than my financial stability is returning.

I have no expectation of this working - I'm not demanding, more like inviting.  If there's a child for us I am calling for it; if there is not one then the blanket is for Toren.

When working on it I focus on my love for Toren and for SnuggleBunny and for the love that we all have for our babies, regardless of where they are. 

For the yarn I wanted a washable black cotton that would not stretch completely out of shape.  It must be cotton because I don't care for synthetic fibers and would want my child wrapped up in natural fibers.  It must be washable since babies are messy and if this is going to be more than an item for the memory box it must be usable.  And black because I wear black and it would mean that the blanket was for *my* kid, if that makes any sense.  (The color selection is where the need for a sense of humor is worked in since it is not a "baby" color.  While I wear black, I like children in cute, colorful clothes, but the blanket just has to be this way.)

I searched for about 2 weeks before finding the perfect yarn: black cotton that is washable AND can be machine dried on low.  And one of the ladies at the store where I found the yarn had recently made place mats with the yarn (in different colors) and said it was very easy to work with and didn't stretch out.

I like everything about it and enjoy rolling it up by hand into tight balls

The yarn was not inexpensive.  Sometimes I feel silly making a blanket for a baby that doesn't yet exist (or may never exist) so it's really not a good project to talk about with many people.  But it brings me a lot of comfort and I think I will be able to joyfully make stuff for other people's babies because I got to make something for my own.

Anyway, here's the progress so far.  It is a double crochet stitch using just the back loop to create the ridges.  The pattern is available through Ravelry (I'm AnnaLaFae if you want to be Ravelry friends!)

Here's Sammy kitty working his modeling - so handsome!

Chatter about yarn is happening at my directionless, fun-things blog.  I'm off to work on the blanket.


You are all in my heart today.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Creating a garden, part 1

There are many exciting things happening in the new butterfly garden but I want to show how it came together to perhaps provide inspiration to anyone who would like to create a garden, memorial or otherwise, but may feel a little intimidated.

In preparing to make this little series of tutorials, I have been giving some thought to all of the different types of gardens there are and how you really don't need a lot of space, money, or a green thumb.  Plants aren't even really required in a garden!  So I've been contemplating what the intrinsic qualities of a garden are.  I think of a garden as being of or inspired by nature and purposeful.  Prompting contemplation is a good thing too and while my gardens have always provided space for contemplation while tending to or viewing them, I'm not sure that I consider that a necessary quality.  Perhaps it's just bound to happen.

Now, I'm just an amateur gardener but if I can make something even somewhat pretty out of nature-y stuff so can you! 

I suggest beginning with assessing what you have to work with.  Maybe you have a yard or access to some dirt to plant in but again those are not required.  Beautiful gardens can be made in pots, terrariums or with air plants.  Even if you have a yard you may opt to do a smaller project that will take less time to maintain; this could be a very good idea if you are struggling with grief, which can be so exhausting. Some cemeteries allow for planting at grave sites, which is a lovely way to honor the memory of your loved one and add the atmosphere of an already contemplative location.  You would just want to keep in mind how often you want to visit the cemetery to tend your garden and choosing plants that don't need much upkeep would be a good idea.


So here are some photos from several days after we moved into the new house in March when I explored the yard with the cats to see what we have to work with.  Remember the place I'm renting is in a very inexpensive area of town so fancy landscaping is not included (bars on all windows are!) but this yard is slightly quirky and charming which makes it very amenable to a whimsical garden! 

Here's the back patio, with outdoor items and stuff that hadn't yet made it into the house unceremoniously tossed from the moving truck to here and there.  I decided to put the butterfly garden by the fence at the upper right corner of the patio so it would be easily accessible.

Here's a different view of the fence and edge of the patio.  All of those vines along the fence turned out to be honeysuckle!  They have been blooming for weeks and the entire yard smells divine!

 What else did we find?  An old tire and cinder block next to an azalea bush that Sasha Kitty investigated well.

A pile of old bricks which made me squeal with delight - so much potential!

 The yard is quite weedy...

 These clumps of grass must be dug out, which has definitely slowed down progress.  This is where having some anger and passion behind what you are doing really helps!  The first time I made this garden was about 6 months after Toren died and I was going through an angry phase.  Seething.  Boiling.  Burning.  And that energy was directed towards an ugly patch of dirt that didn't really grow anything.  I stabbed the ground with spades for weeks, turning the hard clay and dirt.  I've calmed down over the past several years so digging up these weeds is pretty tiring!

So here's the first result photo.  Pretty ugly!  But it's a good way to illustrate that a garden can take a lot of work and time to become attractive.  It's really hard to see what is going on here with the fence and neighbors yard in the background but this photo represents a triumphant moment!  The main plants from the old garden are in the ground here.  The two butterfly bushes (the things that look like sticks in the dirt) had been pruned to at least half of their size so that they could be moved and what few leaves are present are wilty and sad looking.  It was a big risk to move them and on this day I didn't know if they would survive (they did though!).  The trellis with the antique metal butterfly tied on sits above two clematis vines brought over from the old garden.  The clematis plants got pretty beat up during the move so they are basically just roots with dry, broken vines attached at this point.

So at this point I had a vague idea of the shape of the garden in mind, but that's it.  Don't let a lack of a plan stop you!  Each plant of mine is carefully and purposefully placed but they are almost done one at a time rather than as part of a predetermined overall design.

Ok, that's all for tonight.  I really look forward to sharing the next set of photos.


What do you think are necessary elements for a garden? 


Here's a recommendation for music to dig up stubborn weeds to :)  Set it to repeat and grab a shovel!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Do you remember when I jabbered on and on before the State Senate speaking against a bill that would ban any and all abortions after 20 weeks?  The bill didn't pass last year and a similar one was proposed this year and I was asked to come speak again.  However, that was exactly during the time when I had a new project at work and I was moving and there was no time for me to spend an afternoon at the capitol building, even though I would have loved to because it was so interesting last year, and because it's good to be helpful.  Things became intense though and video testimony was approved so a small camera crew came to my house, days after moving so it was a disaster there, and recorded me reading my testimony.  I don't know if the video was ever used and I seriously feel sorry for anyone who had watch it because I am not good on camera (there would be no question of if an actor was doing the reading - it was definitely a real-life person!).  So this year the bill was approved by the state senate and congress and the version I read goes something like this: abortions are prohibited beyond 20 weeks gestation EXCEPT in the event that the fetus receives a fatal diagnosis and then the pregnancy may be terminated at a hospital, which may mean only through induced labor and delivery (the language was pretty ambiguous).  First thought - there were no exceptions written into the original draft of the bill so I really wonder if the video was used since the exception addresses the exact situation I was speaking about.  Second thought - what about the very sick fetus's that are not given a fatal diagnosis and what if a woman would rather do a d&e over labor and delivery?  From what I have heard (laws may vary in different areas), babies that are very ill and have uncertain life expectancies but are born alive MUST receive treatment (which can be invasive, intense, and takes the baby away from their mother which means they could die in the arms of healthcare workers instead of their parents).  There is a lot to consider if your fetus does not have a clearly fatal diagnosis.  It's so sad.  Moving on to the labor and delivery requirement, that is what I chose based on what my doctor advised but it would not be for everyone for a bunch of reasons including the cost (my bill was $10,000, thank goodness I had great health insurance), the time (I spent over 4 days in the hospital), and it is freaking scary to birth a very premature baby and have no idea if they will be born alive (Toren died during delivery) and what they will look like that young (beautiful anyway!).

I ranted on for hours about the bill.  Poor SnuggleBunny :(

The bill has not been signed by the governor yet and I was asked if I would be interviewed for the news to speak about how my experience would be different if it were taking place after the bill becomes law.  I agreed but explained that my experience would actually not be different so I'm probably not the best person for the interview (which would be a relief since I don't like being video taped).

I was invited to an awards gala for the agency I've been helping (no, I'm not receiving an award) so I'm going to that tonight.  I've never been to something like that so I'm curious to see what it's like.  And it could be an opportunity to become more involved.  But I don't know if I want to be more involved.

In my opinion, access to abortion is important for women.  It's not nice but neither are some of the life circumstances that many women find themselves in.  Those important, life-altering, choices should be made by the people involved.  FURTHERMORE, women who have just heard that the baby they want is very ill or is going to die should be left alone.  Hold their hands, provide comfort, listen to the dreams they had for their child, bring them cases of wine and a punching bag (or whatever they personally need for the long recovery period).  Restrictions on next steps to finish off that doomed pregnancy are not helpful.

But I may not want to get more involved because it's kind of painful to focus on that time in my life.  And I don't think of Toren as aborted.  And then I sort of feel like everything should have turned out fine.  Like, I was in a terrible position and ended a pregnancy early but then everything turned out fine.  Instead I'm childless, divorced and not sure where to go from here.

Maybe my work with the women's health group will end up filed away with the March for Babies, which I stubbornly did not do this year since I don't have a subsequent baby to bring along (again, that feels like tragedy is supposed to be followed by a very specific success story).

All of that is to say that my vow of doing something awesome in my last post is becoming difficult because I am directionless.  And depressed.  Again. 

So this borderline incoherant post is because I am making myself do a little expressing in hopes of working through feeling so down.  Ta da!


How about some happy thoughts?

1.  I don't know where I'm headed but at least I'm no longer married to a jerk :)
2.  I'm saving part of my tax return to buy some rediculously beautiful and expensive shoes as a present for when I'm no longer in the the overweight BMI category.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I can't describe how much I appreciate the words of support concerning the big "f" word.  To address a few comments and questions, first, I think I will just sell the ring for scrap, but I'm in no rush to do that just yet, and then I will spend the money on something wonderfully unecessary like strippers and booze!  Regarding SnuggleBunny and his past negligence of rent paying, I still don't know if moving into a different place with him was a good idea.  I have made it VERY clear that every single household bill is to be split in half from this point forward, so we'll see how that goes.  To have my portion of rent be this cheap for a place of my own, and to not have to depend on anyone else to come through with their share, I would have to rent a room and get rid of or store a bunch of furniture.  So it came down to choosing to live with my familiar things and have a place to garden and room for my cats but risking being in the same situation where I'm paying for someone else's living expenses again.  If this backfires I will totally expect and accept a chorus of "I told you so".  And speaking of space to garden, I put a lot of thought into what to do with the butterfly garden.  I felt it would be a little weird to bring the plants, sort of rude to mess with the landscaping, it would definitely be tiring to add another strenuous activity to the move, and the butterfly bushes had grown so large that such a dramatic pruning to be able to move them would risk killing them (lots of good reasons to leave the garden there).  But then I worried about their care while the house was empty (they could die from neglect or be ripped out with re-landscaping) and I worried about my already broken heart suffering another loss by leaving my healing place.  So I did what any halfway-to-crazy, down-and-out, BLM would do and I dug up the garden and brought it along!  The butterfly bushes had to be cut back by about 2/3 and they lost a lot of roots but they are actually looking ok now and are growing new leaves.  The other plants are also doing well, all things considered.  I don't think there will be many flowers this year and since this is a rental house I don't know if I'll see it all flourishing again (I may not move the plants again).  I was thinking of doing a series of posts about setting up a memorial garden to encourage people who want to do this but feel intimidated by gardening.


At the end of my "f" word post there was supposed to be a statement of how I'm going to do something awesome next, but I forgot to add it in, and then put it off and put it off, but now I see there was more to that thought.  The last 4+ years have been a disaster and I'm so tired of reporting bad news.  Before this mess I think my family was always a little baffled by whatever I was doing (getting married young, moving across the country, getting a master's degree in something that my Mother still doesn't quite understand) but now I'm really too embarassed to even give details of what's going on.  Problematic pregnancy, dead baby, divorce, job loss, foreclosure.  I wonder if my religious relatives think everything after Toren was deserved because I didn't carry to term.  I didn't say anything about the foreclosure until my Dad called and asked what I was up to and it happened to be moving day and I was following the moving truck with a car full of stuff to the new house at that very moment.  Shortly after that I received an email from my sister with more photos of the new boy they are adopting with a sentence about how she's sorry to hear about the foreclosure.  I didn't reply.  There was the excuse of not having internet for a few days and not wanting to reply from my phone.  Then there was the empty feeling of how cut off I feel from my family because it's been so long since something beautiful happened and they don't know what to do with someone who has been hurting for so long.  There was just that one sentence.  In an email.  As a side note.

So while moving I made a promise that I would have good news next and energy is being focused towards having something (anything!) great happen!  And positive things are still the goal... but negative things were never the goal and look what happened. 

"Something awesome" is loosely defined here and really it can be as simple as something big and bad NOT happening (the absence of bad times is pretty fucking awesome!).  In my head anyway.  In my heart I want very specific things. 

But the question that won't leave without an answer is can I feel accomplished if any of those specific things don't happen?  Is it possible to feel like I'm even sort of a good person if I stay overweight, and broke, and sad about the past 4 years?  What if I don't reach the career goals I initially set out for?  What if I'm never a parent?  What if I don't ever have a secure romantic relationship?  What if I can never forgive my ex-husband?

I am happy but I kind of hate my life and I am so far from feeling proud of being who I am.


Today is Toren's un-birthday.  The 4 year anniversary of an unfulfilled EDD.  I miss him and wish I could have gotten to know him.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A sparkle inspired segue

I think a marriage is something to be proud of - being married is a source of pride.  To me, wedding rings look like stability, determination, patience, and being selfless at times.  They are a symbol that someone loves you enough to make that pledge of "for better and for worse" and that someone is willing to spend the rest of their life with you.

So it's hard to know what to do with these stubborn ideals, even after having experienced their fiery failure, and it's hard to know what to do with an old wedding ring, even after learning that the diamonds are cheap and the whole thing is only worth the price of scrap gold.

I used to be so proud of that damn thing.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How do I say this?

I've known since the beginning of January that the big "f" word that concerns mortgages was happening to my house and it's been almost 3 weeks since I moved and I've told hardly anyone about it.

Most of this is probably mentioned in prior posts but here is what happened all in one place:
In Spring of 2008 my husband was laid off from work and a few months later I took a position that was a departure from the career path I wanted because it had better pay and full benefits.  In November 2008 hubby left for greener pastures and I stayed in the house because I could afford it easier than he could since I had a job.  In hindsight that was one of the dumbest things I have ever done.  Fast forward through 3 years of me struggling to make the damn mortgage payment (done terribly... I learned pretty quickly to give preference to keeping the utilities on) and I was laid off.  It didn't take long for the mortgage company to get really annoyed with me.  I applied for a mortgage modification but since my ex-husband was still on the loan, proof of income was required from him too.  But not just one time, they needed monthly updates of pay stubs and bank statements and each time it took longer and longer for my ex to send the information until the application was eventually denied because of missing information.  In November I tried again for the mortgage modification.  The ex and I had been running into each other out and about and had even exchanged some pleasant text messages so I thought I would have fewer panic attacks when requesting information from him and he would be more receptive to helping out.  A week after my first request I sent him a message and he said he had missed that email but that he would get the information to me and that he didn't want the house to go into foreclosure.  A week later I sent a reminder.  And then more reminders, for six weeks, and he never responded.

In early January I spoke with a housing counselor of sorts and went through my financial information with him.  I had my income and monthly expenses memorized from having done so many applications and whatnot.  But he presented things in a different way and he asked how much the household income was reduced by the divorce (quite a lot) and then how much was it further reduced when I was laid off and took a part-time position.  I was working with about 20% of the income we had.  I was trying to pay for the house with next to nothing.  He talked about how you should be paying about 30% of your income on housing (the entire mortgage was about 100% of what I was bringing in monthly - I was just paying several hundred a month towards it at this point).  And, after first protesting because the mortgage amount was in the right range when I moved in and how could I even afford ANYTHING on 30% of my income, I finally started to get it.  I couldn't afford to live there.

On the day when I learned that the bank had bought back the house and there was nothing else that I should or could do about it, I wept for hours because I was so relieved.


It's been a hard time.  The strongest feeling has been shame because you are not supposed to lose your house.  There's also been a lot of happiness over leaving the house where so many bad things happened.

What has been the most difficult are the feelings about my ex.  He is not an idiot and he knew exactly what would happen if the modification wasn't approved.  He elected to have a foreclosure on his credit score in order to see me displaced.  While not a violent act, his lack of action feels very aggressive.  Again, he made sure that I knew he was the one in control.  Again, he let me know that I am not capable of doing things correctly.

I don't know what I did to him to cause him to be such a jerk.

I have not said anything to him about it but I have documented all communication between us in case he takes legal action against me over the house.


I've been going over and over all of the things I could have done differently to avoid this.  And there was a lot I could have done better.  I should have explored short sales more.  Perhaps I should have sold it for a loss (the mortgage was more than what the house was worth).  I rehashed decisions made all the way back to 1995 (my favorite life-fork-in-the-road) when I didn't take a new job in California and instead moved back to Washington because the letters being exchanged with the jack-ass I would later marry were getting very sweet.

If I didn't feel so bad about failing on that important commitment, I would have very few regrets about the whole situation.  Maybe none!  Few people know where I am or even that I moved and I feel more secure with my ex not knowing where I live.  The place I'm renting is much smaller (I wanted to downsize so that is good but it has been hard getting rid of things.  It's still a work in progress...) and the neighborhood isn't fancy (we're talking bars on the windows) but guess how much of my income goes toward rent now!  Right about 30%!  And the house is truly adorable, is in town (versus a suburb), and I haven't had a single problem with crime or anything so far.  Snugglebunny lives here too!  We are trying to have a fresh start.


In the past 12 months my divorce was finalized (FINALLY), I was laid off from a long-term job, and had the house foreclosed on.  I'm so tired.  And I feel so happy!  It feels like there is space to move on now.

Thanks for listening :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I can see 40 from here!

Tomorrow is my birthday and I turn 37 years old.  I was 33 when Toren died and if you had told me back then that I would reach 37 without having a subsequent baby I would not have believed you because I was so focused on making that dream happen that there would be no way I could fail.


Reaching the milestone of 40 without children seems quite possible now.


A friend brought this sticker back from New Orleans recently

It makes me smile.  But seriously, this is something I'm struggling with.  My ex-husband outdid himself recently with a new act of douchebaggery and I want him to burn.  I am so angry.  But I also have a vow to harm none (because who am I to determine what someone else deserves) so I'm wanting bad things for him without wishing bad things for him (which is probably against my vow since I question if there is a line between wanting and wishing), for example, I may want him to have a terrible case of gallstones but I have not asked the universe to please send him a very painful gallbladder attack.  Or more directly, I may want all of the windows in his car smashed but I haven't asked anyone to hand me a rock.  Yet.

So I've been trying to stop focusing on how much he deserves something horrible to happen to him and instead focus on wonderful things I want for myself.  And here's the problem - I can't imagine myself in a situation different from here.  This is hard to explain and I don't know if it's normal, or a good coping mechanism, or problematic dissociation, but I don't participate in life as "myself" much anymore.  I wanted to be someone else, someone who was good at their job, someone who was supportive of their friends, someone who got up on the right side of the bed, someone who loved.  With this in mind I began telling myself to just act like that created image, to just be "her".  Like this: I used to like yoga, she likes yoga, if I do yoga I have to do it as her.  I can't do yoga, or anything mindful (or practically anything at all), as a person who has some of my experiences.  Toren is absent from her past, so is my ex-husband.

Maybe it's a normal way of coping and I don't think I'm hurting anyone, in fact my relationships with friends have strengthened, and I'm doing well at my job.  And I feel happy most of the time.  And my memory is improving so on some level I think I am more present than I have been in a long time.  But I don't feel present as myself - I can see her being present.

Even after all this time I don't seem to have integrated Toren into a comfortable place.  I can't function after that experience.


Anyway, after that public moment of insanity, what do you think of the sticker?  I'll stick it on the car tomorrow to bring a smile to any divorcees passing by :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Last week
At dinner one girlfriend (who knows about what happened with Toren) starts talking about how easy her pregnancy was - "I had the best pregnancy ever."  I got up and left the table.  I had to tinkle anyway and with the sudden annoying direction the conversation took it seemed like a good time to go right then.  When I exited the ladies room my friend was right there, she gave me a hug and asked if I was ok.  I said yes, and said that I had one of the worst pregnancies ever ("ever" is an exaggeration but it fit with her prior words and the pregnancy was not easy and it ended very poorly).  There was no more pregnancy conversation that night.  It was nice of her to check on me.

That's a good example of what the grief has turned into, for the most part.  Not destroying.  Not all consuming.  Not evening ruining or grudge holding.  But I'm also not going to sit quietly through conversations that are uncomfortable for me when I don't have to.

I returned to my desk at work while two colleagues were in the middle of complaining about how messy their kids were (they don't know about my reproductive history).  Not a problem, they talk about their children a lot and I inquire about their kids too.  Then one said that I should have children and that a person really misses out on a lot by not having kids.  Sort of a problem, this is not a conversation I want to have so I let them know that I've been trying but I don't seem able to conceive, thinking this will bring an abrupt end to the topic.  I next hear how one of them had trouble conceiving but ended up with three.  Further, she was the "poster child" of infertility and almost resorted to a donor (not sure if donor eggs or sperm) but she told herself that she could do it and voila! three kids!  Now, we have a problem,  they were still talking (not directly to me but more like discussing the topic I didn't mean to start to each other, loud enough for me to hear, ok, so they kind of were talking to me...) and I got up and left the office.  I was about to take a shipment to the mail room anyway.

On the way back I stopped in a downstairs restroom and cried and cried then stopped by the cafeteria to get my usual lunch where one of the guys at the salad bar encouraged me to smile (usually I'm happy and bouncy at work) then returned to my desk where my office mates were super friendly and I answered questions about what was new with me and whatnot with nothing is new and everything is going well with my project at work.  All smiles and blatantly not going to whatever place led to all of my make-up washing away.

I'm the newish one at the office and I'm friendly but not forthcoming with personal details.  I'm the youngest one there but only by three years.  I don't come into work with reports about driving kids to a bunch of activities but that isn't by choice.  Just because I don't have stories about my family to tell doesn't mean that I don't have experience with family building - I actually have plenty of experience but there's just very little to show for all of the effort expended.

I'm very aware of how much I'm missing out on.