Tuesday, November 30, 2010

pictures of test

the pink one is an opk the blue one is for hcg.

please please please please

please let me have this. please let this be it.

yesterday i was emailing carissa in the morning about how she's feeling and when they're testing. i was surprised at how ok i am talking about all the infertility pregnancy stuff with her. they just did their first cycle of injectables and IUI. hopefully this is it for them. we emailed back and forth and i totally told her "ever since you sent me that shitty detatched reply to my pregnancy announcement i've been planning to do the same to you so you'd know how much it hurt. BUT now that you're going through it i'm just so excited for you i know that i won't be able to restrain myself if you do get a bfp. just letting you know my excitement for you far outweighs my desire for revenge :)"  i thought it would kind of piss her off, but she sent me the sweetest reply talking about how she was so happy for me, but so devastated for herself that she started sobbing at work when she got that email. infertility takes away so much from you, the best thing we can do for each other is keep being honest and try and be understanding when the other one needs to detach.

then i got the opks in the mail that i ordered on amazon and they came with 25 free pregnancy tests. so i took one. and it was positive.

the worst thing about all this is not having anyone to go through it with. i mean, i have some great buddies on babycenter to rant with and who i know are rooting for me, but it would be great if my real life girlfriends would give a shit. after the chat with carissa, i was totally thinking- "i wish i could be my own friend..." i can't help but get excited for my friends when something good happens to them. i want someone to get excited for me back.

anyway, enough pity party. Gina the midwife called me back last night (love her!) she totally laughed at the whole situation and was really funny and nice. she ordered up a beta series so i can get a good gauge of whether or not my hcg is rising or just stagnanting from the miscarriage. so today i had to take the twins i nanny for and walk over to swedish covenant to get my blood drawn. so exhausting.

i have such a horrible cold and my head is pounding so hard it's hard to not see everything as a symptom. i've been so nauseous since the weekend and in looking over this blog i had what could have been implantation cramping the day before we left for KY...

GGGGAAAAHHHH! just chillax and wait for the results! don't get excited, you wacko!

Monday, November 29, 2010


so I just took a pregnancy test. it was positive. I don't know what to think. More than likely its leftover hormones post-miscarriage. But I have a weird feeling.

I swore after my miscarriage that from now on I'm going to trust my body at all costs. But at what point does hope cloud your judgement? Do I want to be pregnant again? Desperately. I would give anything for that. So am I imagining all this because I want it so bad? I don't want to look like an ass when the blood test shows that its residual hormones, but I feel like I'm pregnant. Symptoms I forgot I had I'm getting again... Those back of the thigh cramps, the after meal nausea. I had that right away the first time.

I don't even know what to say I'm so scared. I called and left a message for my midwife to write me a beta bloodtest.

Please let it not be false hope or leftovers. Please let me have this.

(posted from my phone so sorry about the disjointedness and awful spelling)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

leaving for KY

we're leaving this afternoon for KY. I'm so nervous. i keep thinking they're going to that "everyone say what they're thankful for" thing around the table and i know if they do i won't be able to not cry. i know i have so much to be thankful for, but i just can't feel that right now. right now i only feel like everything has been taken away.

i've been feeling weird the last few days. i don't know what's normal and what's not for post miscarriage but i'm starting to feel like something isn't right. i have this heavy feeling really low across my hips and into my pelvis. almost like a nagging pulling sensation. i can't figure out what it is or what to do about it. i know i'm hypersensitive to every twinge ever since we started to lose the baby, actually ever since we started to TTC, so i'm trying to rationalize it away, but something feels weird. i'm so scared something is wrong. the few times we have been intimate we haven't used protection like the midwife advised. i just can't believe that after trying for two years we'd suddenly hit the jackpot not once, but twice. it felt like getting pregnant was akin to getting struck by lightning. what are the chances it'll happen again?

now i'm sort of freaking out. what is this fullness feeling? why does my body feel so weird? is my uterus just shrinking back down and things are starting to settle back in? is it ovulation pain?

man, this is going to be a long weekend...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

weekends and sexual relations post mc

so after my total depression fit yesterday i realized that more than anything else weekends are whats killing me. during the week i have work and a schedule and bunch of stuff going on and people to talk to. then friday night comes and i get all unhinged again. i remember going out with my friends and shopping and phone calls and texts; weekends used to be this flurry of activity- we'd just go go go! trying to cram everything in. now they just fall flat like a brick. i have no one but hubs to talk to and nothing to do, nowhere to go. without a schedule and routine i forget to eat, i don't shower, i get depressed and lonely... i feel sorry for myself. maybe i'll look into taking a class or something or trying to pick up some extra jobs. anything to keep me from feeling that bad. yesterday was just so hard.

also, we've started trying to be intimate again. it's hard to not put a "scene of the crime" type spin on it. the first few times weren't so bad, though i seemed to lose my orgasm just as it was coming on. then friday night something happened. i just couldn't finish. so i got on top and i was really working at it (so to speak) and hubs was trying to help. just as i felt like it was coming on, i lost it again. i was so worked up i just thought noooo! and then i cried out, "please! come back!" and for some reason saying that out loud nearly killed me. i started crying and then i started to feel like my chest was really hot. then i couldn't breathe. i started having an honest-to-god panic attack. i couldn't breathe. i couldn't get any air in. i was gulping and crying and panting and it started to feel like my head was getting swollen and i was so dizzy. it took me forever to calm down. hubs almost called 911. it was that bad.

i couldn't figure out why i got so upset. then it hit me in the middle of the night. i thought i was saying "come back" to my orgasm, but then i realized i was talking to the baby. i wasn't "making love" (blech, i hate that term too) i was trying to have another baby and that's why i wasn't able to finish. i was asking the baby to "come back" i was trying to "get the job done" and not be intimate with my husband like i should have been.

yesterday when hubs and i were talking i realized that this whole experience- the infertility, the dead baby- is like an atom bomb being dropped on our lives. there is no "going back to normal." the dust may clear, but now we're only beginning to see the rubble around us. nothing is where it used to be and we have to figure each other out all over again...

PS: total bullshit

my boobs have officially deflated and my face is covered in acne. is it not enough that i feel like shit, do i really have to look it?

god i miss being pregnant so bad.


i woke up this morning with hives on my knees and elbows and hands. just thinking about thanksgiving is giving me a stress reaction! i started the zyrtec/benedryl routine so hopefully they won't hit me too hard. i already told DH that if i breakout we cannot go visit his family. the stress is bad enough not covered in itchy spots and high on benedryl.

please, whoever is up there, god, buddha, the chain of mothers, please PLEASE let me just make it through this weekend. give me something...

Monday, November 22, 2010

invisible girl...

if someone would have asked me what the one thing i knew i'd never lose i would have emphatically answered: my friends.
i've had the same friends for most of my life. i have about a million aquaintances and people i get drinks with and chat with, but i've had the same four girlfriends my entire adult life. i don't trust people very easily and so although i'm comfortable hanging out with a bunch of different people, i would never ask anyone but my four besties for support. we've been through boyfriends and parental bullshit and marriages and all kinds of substance abuse drama. and we've always been there for each other. until now.
my primary best friend i've known since i was 6. she had a son when she was 15 and most of her other friends ditched out on her once she wasn't able to party anymore, but i felt so bad for her. we've been through so much together. i can't even list it all, it's a lifetime of friendship. when i found out on 10/30 that the baby was gone i immediately sent an email to my four best girls. and i never heard from her. not once. she texted a few times and left a message on the phone asking if i wanted to come over and watch tv and hang out. she never once mentioned the baby or my husband or what we must be going through. never once. not an "i'm so sorry" not a "what can i do" she never even tried to talk to me. i feel so heartbroken and betrayed. it's unreal to me. she finally emailed me about 2 weeks after everything went down. HERE is the conversation we had. she hasn't tried to talk to me since then. are my expectations too high? do i need to much? i understand that she doesn't know what it's like to have a miscarriage, but still i feel like i got the least amount of compassion from her and she's one of the few people that knew about the other chemical pregnancies and our infertility struggle. i don't know what our next move is...
my other best friend just starting going to an RE and is going through assisted reproductive technology. it's all she wants to talk about. i feel like i've been a good friend and discussed the issue ad nauseum, but she's never really said anything about my miscarriage either... i'm starting to feel like it's a little insensitive for her to talk constantly about having a baby after i just lost mine and never once acknowledge that. they've been trying to have a baby for about 5 years. i almost feel like she's glad i lost the baby so i wouldn't "beat her" to the finish line.
anyway, i know this is a lot of pointless drama and super boring considering you don't know me or these people, but i just feel like i needed to get this off my chest.
i feel so lost without my girlfriends and i just don't know what to do. i sent out an email last week touching base with everyone and no one even answered. it's like they can't cope with my sadness and so they're not even going to talk to me. i just feel like that's so fucked up.
i'm started to get really depressed. yesterday my husband suggested we start going to counseling. i just feel invisible most of the time. like a leper or something. i post a lot on this website Babycenter and even on there half the time no one even answers, or if i comment on someone else's thread i just get run over and completely ignored. i don't know what to do. i feel like no one wants to talk to someone who's going through this because they have no idea what to say and they're afraid to look stupid. i'm trying to not be dramatic, and understand their point of view, but i'm so lonely it's killing me. i just cry all the time.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

post m/c follow-up appointment

so i had my follow up this morning. it will be two weeks since i passed the tissue tomorrow and my hpts are still positive so my midwife wanted me to come in so we could make sure everything is ok.

i was kind of afraid i was going to leave the office a total crying disaster. when i walked into the office and checked in with the receptionist, she pulled out my file, opened it and said "second trimester already! wow! any major changes since your last visit?" i was able to mutter "um yeah, i had a miscarriage..." before i had to hide my face so she wouldn't see my eyes fill up.

then, added to that, i was sort of nervous about seeing my midwife. she and i had only met in person once and then when i started losing the baby we talked constantly, she was calling me twice a day just to check in and i did a lot of weeping and sobbing and venting over the phone to her. so i was kind of nervous to see her after all that. but, seriously, i shouldn't have been. she is just amazing. she gave me the first appt slot of the day (7AM) so i wouldn't have to see any preggos on the way in. then when she came into the room she immediately gave me this huge huge and said she was so happy to see me and she was so proud of me. it was nice to be called "brave" when i've been feeling so crumbled. she kept saying "i can't believe you've gone through all this with your first pregnancy, you're so brave. i'm so proud of you." it was so comforting to hear. and we both started crying when i talked about everything that happened. i've never had a doctor cry with me before.

she asked me how my husband was and how our marriage is and if i wanted to talk about trying again (i did). i think this is the main difference between a doctor and a midwife, no doctor would ever talk like this. it was almost like a therapy session. i could tell that she really cared about me.

i had a manual pelvic exam to make sure my cervix had closed back up and she felt for my uterus and ovaries to make sure everything was back in place and in good order. i also was asked to take a urine pregnancy test, which came up negative even though i peed on a FRER yesterday morning and it was positive. so it looks like my hcg has gone down a lot, which i'm happy about.

we talked about my pre-miscarriage pregnancy screening results. my TSH (thyroid) was great at only 2 (anything under 3 is optimal) my gestational diabetes number was 64 (i think 130 is the maximum) all my screens and cultures came back great. everything was great and going smoothly. she recommended i wait for 2 normal periods before trying again. she said she never wanted to see this happen to me again and i needed to give my uterus time to recuperate (when you're pregs your uterus swells and then it shrinks back down when you lose it and shed all the lining, so one cycle is asking a lot to make your uterus swell, shrink, shed, build back up, and then swell again- and in 30 days, to boot!) it made sense. i didn't tell her that we've been trying since about a week after the loss. we decided after this appointment to put TTC on the back burner til i get better.

the best part was when she totally validated what i assumed all along- that exercising hastened the loss. ok, wait, let me back up. i told her that we'd been TTC for 2 years. 2 years in which i went to the gym religiously 4-5 days a week and did stairmaster, elliptical, and weights. then in august we missed going for about a month (we had a TON going on and were traveling) and that is the month i ended up conceiving. then i was so nervous in the beginning of my pregnancy that i still didn't work out. at 6w2d i had an ultrasound and a blood draw, the baby looked great, had a heartbeat, and my hcg was 10,000. i felt more comfortable and went back to the gym. the night after i worked out (and i wrote a journal about this, so you can look back and verify) i had horrible cramping down the middle of my pelvis. the radiology report says the embryo never developed past 7 weeks. so i asked her, is it possible that i over extended myself?

"ok" she said, "i'm going to level with you since you don't look suicidal and i think you're doing well emotionally and not blaming yourself. in a good pregnancy, nothing you do is going to harm the baby. BUT in a delicate pregnancy, that may be already doomed to fail, YES, exercise can hasten the demise of the embryo."

exactly what i thought. i get it, believe me, i'm not blaming myself, but i *know* something happened that night, i know that's when the pregnancy ended. it was nice to feel validated in that respect. i know a failing pregnancy is going to fail no matter what, and a healthy pregnancy is going to continue no matter what. but it made me feel less crazy.

we had a long talk about nutrition, and taking care of myself emotionally, and how long i should wait before going back to the RE for more assisted reproductive technology. it was a great appointment. i'm so glad i got that out of the way. i almost can't wait to get pregnant again so i can see my amazing midwife more. now, how do i get around the other 7 midwives in the practice and just keep going to this one...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I am definitely a new blogger

ok, so my inlaws found my other blog (adisgracedlife) it isn't hard to do, it's not like it's a secret. but it made me realize that i was uncomfortable knowing that family was reading and i couldn't be as open as i wanted knowing they were following along. so here's my new blog (and thanks if you've followed me from over there) i write this mainly for myself and i can't be as open as i need to be with my full name and gmail address and everything all plastered all over the internet. plus i've been connecting with a lot of great moms on babycenter and this privacy will make it easier to talk frankly about TTC and miscarriages and ART.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ironic, and ok, sort of funny

so hopefully you guys will see the humor in this. maybe in a slightly ironical way?

so back when we first got pregnant and were all excited and kept expecting to lose it, we took a lot of pregnancy tests. maybe one a day for two weeks (i know, embarassing! but we were nervous!) so anyway, one time i was checking out at the pharmacy in target and had the twins i nanny for with me and the check-out girl saw that i had 2 or 3 boxes of tests and said "wow honey, are you in denial?" and although that would have infuriated me any other time, i was so happy i smiled big and said "still having to convince ourselves it's true!" and she laughed and said congrats and that was that.

(flash forward a month) so now, because i really really don't want to go back into my midwife's office, she and i decided on the following plan. i would take over the counter home pregnancy tests to make sure my hcg (pregnancy hormone) is going down. if my test isn't negative after two weeks i will have to go back in because it means i probably didn't expell everything during the miscarriage and am retaining fetal tissue. so here i am taking pregnancy tests every day again (basically first response owns my soul, financially speaking). so today i go back to the target and as i'm checking out with 2 boxes of tests and a big box of condoms the pharmacy checkout girl says, "you again! honey, believe it, you pregnant!" i totally blanked out. i forgot that people usually remember the twins (especially because one of them has down syndrome). i completely didn't answer her, didn't even look up. just pretended she didn't speak and swiped my debit card... grrr, ok, it's sort of funny right? in a horrible ironic way?

PLUS: we got good news from our insurance today. they agreed to still cover the endocrinologist! yay! apparently the RE was able to argue that the loss was a symtpom of infertility and is thus covered by our insurance.

anyway, i'm feeling a bit better. i think it's going to be a good day (whereas yesterday i kept bursting into tears for no real reason other than i was feeling sad and missing being pregnant) DH ordered me a gorgeous dress from nordstrom's and i agreed to go to his parents for thanksgiving... wish us luck. his dad sent out an email a few days ago and addressed himself as "grandad" and it had us bawling for hours, so i hope we can keep it together around his parents (who will be in full "grandparent" mode around our niece and nephew)...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

wading back in

i had this amazing dream last night. i was strapped into a carnival ride and it was soaring higher and higher, spinning. it reminded me of how i used to dream of flying a lot- the same dream but the details change- i would at some point realize that i could fly, all i had to do was get a running start and spread my arms. i would just kind of get carried up by the wind like a kite. the only problem was that i had no way to land, so the dream would always end with me high above ground and realizing i had no way to get down and so i'd start falling. i always woke up just as i crash landed. it took me a long time to figure out what it meant- i had to string together a bunch of different dream dictionary interpretations. anyway, the flying is the feeling of independance i had, i felt so free and able to go anywhere and then the falling represented how terrifying it was to have nothing holding me back. the freedom of being in your early twenties can be both exhilerating and scary. i don't have that dream anymore, but last night i dreamed i was on a carnival ride and i was tightly strapped in, so i felt safe, and it was amazing to be up high flying and looking down at all the landscape below. it was both similar and different to my flying dream. i'm still trying to puzzle it out.

how do people deal with their friends after a miscarriage? now that the dust is beginning to settle and we can clearly see the rubble around us, how do we go back to our old life? i feel like i don't even remotely resemble the person i used to be. i can't remember what i used to do. someone said to me, "well, if there's one good thing about this, it's that you can go out and drink your way through it." really? my baby died and i'm going to go out and get wasted? i still haven't had a drink since this whole thing started. i feel like i'm still treating myself like a pregnant woman. i don't know how to stop. i started thinking of myself as mother and i don't remember what i was before that...

i'm sure this is no picnic for my friends either. most of them are in their twenties too, only a few are in serious relationships. only one is also trying to have a baby. they just have no frame of reference for how painful this is. i know they're really trying, but no one has mentioned the baby or said "i'm sorry about the baby." and i get that it's a fine line, and many have said how sorry they are for me and how terrible this must be etc etc. but i just want them to acknowledge that we did have a baby. it existed. and it died. i'm trying really hard to not be so hard on them. i know this is a weird transition for them, but like i said to orion, i don't know when i'm going to be able to go out and be myself again. i don't want to do the things i used to do anymore, i want to be a mother. it's crazy, i know i fought it so hard, even after i was pregnant, but it's all i know how to do now. one of our friends just started going to an RE and is starting IVF this month, i was telling my other friend about it and she was like "really? they talked to you about trying to have a baby right after yours died?" but the thing was, it didn't seem insensitive at the time. my heart is hurting, but i want to have normal conversations with my friends, i want to know about their lives, i want them to get their baby no matter how much it hurts me or how jealous i'll feel. i still want to be a part of things.

i'm slowly dipping my toes back in. orion and i have started to go out again. at first it was plays and movies and things where we didn't have to interact, where we could just be observers. but sunday we went to dinner at our friends' house. and it was nice because they don't drink and everyone was pretty mellow, so we didn't have to be fun party social people. so we're getting back, we're dipping our toes in. i've started talking to my girlfriends more about normal things. i helped my little sister make pumpkin bars and my older sister write a resume.

maybe that's what the dream is about? moving on and feeling free but secure. letting myself get hopeful again, but without the fear of crashing... letting myself grow again

Sunday, November 14, 2010

lucille clifton- lost baby poem

The Lost Baby Poem:

i dropped your almost body down
down to meet the waters under the city
and run one with the sewage to the sea
what did i know about waters rushing back
what did i know about drowning
or being drowned

you would have been born in winter
in the year of the disconnected gas
and no car
we would have made the thin walk
over the genecy hill into the canada winds
to let you slip into a stranger's hands
if you were here i could tell you
these and some other things

and if i am ever less than a mountain
for your definite brothers and sisters
let the rivers wash over my head
let the sea take me for a spiller of seas
let black men call me stranger always
for your never named sake

Friday, November 12, 2010

break down

oh man, yesterday was so hard. i really thought i was starting to come out of this. my midwife told me that there would be peaks and valleys and to not take the good days for granted. i didn't realize that i was until i had a bad day. a really bad day.

the past few days the bleeding has slowed down a lot. i'm basically just spotting now, i don't even need to wear a pad. and everyone keeps saying that's insanely fast for just having the loss on saturday 11/6. but the way i see it, i spotted through much of the pregnancy and i was full on bleeding for a week before i released the tissue, so it doesn't feel quick to me but whatever. i feel like i can't go back to my midwife's office yet, it's almost like i get PTSD just thinking about it. so she's been really great about letting me go with my instincts on whether or not things are going ok. i know that i'll have to go in for a checkup at somepoint when the bleeding stops but for right now i just have to keep taking home pregnancy tests and waiting for a negative. this is turning out to be harder than i thought because yesterday morning when i peed on the stick and there was this super super faint positive, really just a suggestion of a line, it totally broke my heart. i kept thinking about how the last time i saw that little line we started freaking out and celebrating... it's hard to see it now. i know i should be grateful that my hCG is going down so quickly but more than anything else i feel panicky. it's really over. there's no baby in there. we're back where we started...

i went back to choir last night. i'm so over this choir thing. i'm glad to have the mother/daughter bonding but it's just boring me to death. i'm trying to stick it out since it's great for networking (i've met a lot of important, albeit very old, people through this group). anyway, so i went back last night and i didn't even think about how hard it would be to sing chritmas music. that thought didn't even cross my mind. i love christmas... right?

i can't even really describe what happened. it was so brutal. one minute i'm singing "hark the harold angels" in latin and the next i start to feel like my throat is closing in. i starting having to take these big gulping breaths and then of course my eyes start swelling up with tears. i literally had to lip sync my way through the rest of rehearsal. every time i'd start to sing a line i felt like i was having a panic attack, almost like my chest was closing up. i tried to hide it, but i'm sure people were noticing. no one there knows about the pregnancy so i'm sure they just think i'm hormonal or something. but it was bad.

when i got home i just totally melted down. i was having a full-on panic attack. it made me realize that maybe i should be getting help and i might not be dealing with things head-on. the realization that christmas would have been the halfway point of my pregnancy hit me like a ton of bricks. we would have been halfway to the finish line. even if i get pregnant again right away it won't help anything, it won't make it easier- i'll just feel like i should be farther along than i am. i mean, if i get pregnant again tomorrow i'll still be only 7 or 8 weeks at christmas. that's not even far enough along to tell people. for a planner like me the fact that i can't find the next step is killing me. i feel like i spent the last ten weeks rock climbing and then i missed one foothold, just one little foothold, and now i'm hanging on to the wall by my right arm, by my little pinky finger, and i can't find any of the footholds or handgrips. i'm just hanging here with no safety net just groping the wall frantically. there is no next step in this situation. do we keep trying? just pretend nothing happened and start over? i really feel like if i get pregnant again it's going to kill me. i can't even imagine it.

here's the other thing that has me thinking that everything might not be ok- i keep having these dreams. i know that sounds pretty paltry, but my dreams are going crazy. i feel like i don't even sleep anymore. they're always catastrphic- crashes, getting lost, being smothered in a crowded room of people. it's insane. but the hardest, the one that's reallt haunting me is the one about the funeral home...

on one of my last days there i had to work a memorial for a 26 week gestation fetus. i remember when i got into work that day my manager told me about it. because i worked the night shift there wouldn't be a funeral director there. it wasn't technically considered a "funeral" even though there'd be a dead baby dressed and in a coffin. they were only expecting around 10 people- tops. so he tells me i need to go look at it and learn to hide any disgust because "it ain't pretty!" so i went into the wake parlor and looked at it.

here's the thing, i've been trying to write this down since it happened, because that's how i cope with things, i write; but i cannot adequately explain this situation. i was only 21, i didn't even have a steady boyfriend so babies were definitely the last thing on my mind. and seeing that baby- it was something i can't use words to describe. horror? maybe... but i remember thinking that it looked like a baby bird. you know how in the spring when you're out walking and every now and then you'll look down at the sidewalk and see one of those bald baby birds squished on the pavement because it got pushed out of the nest too early? that's what this baby looked like. it was so tiny and shriveled. you want to think of babies as pink and plump but this one was more purple and squishy looking.

anyway, so i go back into the office, assure my boss this'll be no problem and go about my business. i couldn't understand why someone would want a funeral for this... it was my job to counsel people who were having a funeral. i sympathize, make suggestions, but more than anything else just apologize over and over. but i just felt this empty well of words, i had no idea what i could say. so before my boss leaves for the night he comes in a tells me- "more than anything else, really the MOST important thing, is that you don't let her touch it. don't let her try and hold it or touch it or breathe on it. grieving mothers always want to do that and for babies this small we can't embalm them or do anything to preserve them so if she touches it, it will crumble in her hands like rotten fruit."

"no problem," i thought, "who'd want to touch that..."

first thing, the mother was a mess. i mean a real mess. worse than any other wake i'd ever worked. forget about finding words to comfort her, i don't think she even knew i was there. the husband was trying to hold her up, but he was pretty wrecked too. i had no business working this service alone. i knew i was in way over my head. so the service starts and people read poems and the cleric says a blessing and they all call the baby, a girl (which i hadn't noticed), by name. when it's all over people start filing out until it's just the bereaved parents and their parents. so the mother is leaning over the tiny casket and i know, i just know, she's going to touch it. and i can't even say anything. i was so freaked by the whole situation and so out of my element, i couldn't even open my fucking mouth. i walk up behind them just as she's reaching in, and out of panic i spit out "don't touch it!" just as she lifting it. and then we all hear a soggy pop. like stepping on a branch after a rainstorm. not a crack, but a just a little wet give way sound. and all hell breaks loose. i couldn't even see what was happening... i knew the head had come loose.

i remember her putting it back down, and the husband and parents rushing her out of the funeral home. it was like they didn't even see me. it was like i wasn't even there. the husband kept saying "they told you not to touch her when we brought her in, remember? the man told you not to try and pick her up..." the sound of his voice is something i can't forget. i can't get it out of my head. the tone, the timber. it was like he had metal lungs...

i just keep thinking back to this. i dream about it. i have nightmares there are 2 babies in the tiny casket and one is mine. every callous thought haunts me. i got sloppy drunk after work and laughed and laughed about the dead bird baby in a shoebox. about how much that "funeral" cost them... i can't stop thinking about how awful i was. the worst thing is that i just could not understand their grief. i had no idea. and now i am haunted by that.

so what was their next step? that family who lost a baby much bigger than mine? what did they do? Orion and i haven't had any sort of service for our baby. i read about other women releasing balloons or reading a poem or buying a bracelet to wear and remember. what do i do? i'm just stagnanting. hanging on by my fingertips. i can't find the next foothold and i don't have a safety net...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

went to a play

called "The Seagull"
Yesterday Orion and I went to a play at The Goodman (you know if anybody is doing Chekhov I neeed to go no matter what theatre or ensemble) and my seat was right next to Kate Winslett. How neat!

My husband wrote this...

i didn't know if i should post this because i don't want to embarass him, but i love this guy so much and i feel so lucky to be married to him. he emailed me this today out of the blue...
Grace's Poem

Hair as the sun,
I burn
my eyes to your beauty.
Satin cheeks
a pillow.
Grace these weathered hands.

Your knowing
gaze comforts misfortune.
You see
my words, my thoughts
before me.
I let go.

A leap forward,
falls backward
and the same.
Bare presence
and love is fulfilled

Heart know no
Remember the bees
among clovers dwell.
I to you,
You are


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Treading Water

there's this JM Coetzee book called Age of Iron that i read a few years ago. the protagonist has this degenerative terminal cancer and the novel is set during apartheid in cape town africa. the first time i read it, i wasn't crazy about it. but there's this part near the end i keep going back to; the protagonist is looking at these photographs of her grandchildren (whom she's never met because her daughter moved to america) and she stops at this one of her two grandsons sitting in a canoe in the middle of a resort lake. they have what she calls "waterwings" on- either life jackets or maybe those little floaty arm things- and she she can't stop looking at them. there's this beautiful passage in which she laments that her grandchildren will never have the opportunity to drown:

"it dispirits me that your children will never drown. All those lakes, all that water: a land of lakes and rivers; yet if by some mischance they ever tip out of their canoe, they will bob safely in the water, supported by their bright orange wings, till a motor-boat comes to pick them up and bear them off and all is well again"

I remember when i first read that i was so horrified. i couldn't understand the meaning behind it. but lately i've been thinking a lot about drowning as an opportunity. an opportunity to live, to fight, to feel, to need. when i think back on the very worst times in my entire life, i think about how important they were. the moments that almost broke me made me who i am today. what am i without my scars? in a way, drowing is an opportunity to prove your mettle. just bobbing safely through life, getting carried by the current and awaiting recue calmly- that's not living. that's not anything.

i'd be lying if i tried to convince you that this is not the worst thing i have ever had to fight my way through. it's like i have to rediscover myself all over again. who am i now? who is my husband?

orion and i had a long talk about the grief process last night. he's been having these chest pangs, this feeling like he can't breathe right or the breath is being sucked out of his lungs. it's scary for him. we talked about how grief is physical- it's not like sadness where you can cry it out and feel better. you have to carry your grief- it's heavy. you feel it in your chest and on your back and in your muscles.

we also talked about how men and women cope with miscarriage differently. for women, the loss is a very real physical loss; you were pregnant and now you're not. you had a baby and now you don't. for men, it's a bit more abstract. no matter how much you wanted that baby and thought about it and read the books, it wasn't this real physical entity. it was more an idea. when women are planning motherhood its a physical process- you stop eating lunch meat and seafood and stop drinking coffee and alcohol. your lifestyle immediately changes. your body changes. your heart changes. for men, the change is a lot more mental- their perception of themself changes. they make financial plans and start considering their ability to provide. they think about the emotional demands of fatherhood and imagine this little baby totally dependant upon them. I'm not sure I'm explaining it right, but the idea is that pregnancy is more of an abstract for a dad-to-be. so when you lose that baby the grief process for men and women is going to be very different. while i grieve for our baby and my body's ability to produce and care for that baby, my husband is grieving for himself in a lot of ways. he had already started to reinvent himself mentally- the idea of having a child made him a different person and now that that idea is gone he has to mourn the loss of the self that was emerging.

I don't know if that makes sense or if it makes me sound sexist. maybe it isn't like that for all men, maybe it's just like that for the man i know. i have this online support group and probably the most frequent posts on there are about how hurt women are by their husbands inability to grieve for the baby that they lost. i got eviscerated (by both women and men) when i suggested that the grief process is going to be different for your husbands because the baby wasn't "real" to them yet, especially if it was an early loss and they didn't even get to see a sonogram. there are a lot of women who feel like the miscarriage is splintering their union, creating cracks. i can see how that could happen, there's a lot of misplaced anger after a loss. but it hurts me that these women don't even try to understand that every coping mechanism is different. we're not all going to grieve the same way. i sort of feel bad for their husbands, it's like their pain isn't being acknowledged in any way because its shown differently than their wives'.

there was also a post about how non-believers find solace while going through this. it got me thinking- i know i said all that stuff yesterday about nature and the power of the body but really more than anything else i look to books. i spend hours rereading all the poetry books i own, i find solace in longing. yesterday i wept my way through Robert Hass' Human Wishes. I read a lot of CK Williams and Mary Oliver. i reread a lot of novels. there are times when i'll be making lunch or carrying one of the twins i watch and a line from a book will stick in my head. Yesterday it was "my loneliness tasted like pennies" from White Oleander. there's a line from a (regretably more religious) TS Eliot poem that i can't stop replaying: "Because I know that time is always time/And place is always and only place/And what is actual is actual only for one time/And only for one place/I rejoice that things are as they are" actually the opening stanza to that poem is pretty immaculate too.

I never really prayed very much. it got me into trouble a lot as a kid in a very catholic household. i find that much to my parents' chagrin i look to these words like prayer. i find hopefulness and comfort in the authors i love. i treat their words as gospel. i repeat them in moments of grief and console myself with the wisdom and understanding of their experience. my mind wraps around williams' "a day for anne frank" coiling and uncoiling the nuance, the repetition becoming my rosary, the iambs my "our father."

maybe religion doesn't have to be about god but just worship.

and i think JM Coetzee would agree with me.
"By no means do I wish death upon them. The two boys whose lives have brushed mine are in any event already dead. No, I wish your children life. But the wings you have tied on them will not guarantee them life. Life is dust between the toes. Life is dust between the teeth. Life is biting the dust. Or: life is drowning. Falling through water, to the floor."

as i tread through this flood, as i drown a little, may i find happiness in longing. may i look to literature as a life raft in the distance. amen.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

ugh. miscarriages suck

seriously. and I'm not even talking about the emotional ramifications- that goes without saying. it's so hard on your body too. i think my post-miscarriage ailments are worse than my pregnancy ailments were. i have total body muscle soreness. especially in my hips and back. and i'm just exahusted all over. i'm nauseous all the time. it's brutal. all i want to eat is carbs carbs carbs.

then there's the bleeding. ew. i keep hearing it's normal to bleed for up to a month. A SOLID MONTH. fuck. and of course you can't use tampons, so you're stuck wearing there ginormo dinosaur pads. ridiculous. plus we won't be able to have sex for at least 2 weeks, which may not sound like a lot but coupled with the 2 weeks we couldn't have sex because i was spotting, and the one week we couldn't have sex because i had a dead baby inside of me that's well over a month of abstinance.

plus there's religion. i'm not exactly religious. ok, i'm not religious at all. but i'm a big fan of comforting yourself in whatever form you choose. i guess i was always pretty blythly indifferent to religion, maybe even amused by it. not anymore. actually i find that more and more i hate religious people. i don't give a fuck about "god's plan" or "god's time" and i definitely don't think there's some dude in the sky with a big book micromanaging my uterus. there are 6 billion people in the world. plenty of starving, dirty, hut-dwelling rape victims procreate every single day. where's the planning in that? i find that hearing about "god's plan" is starting to fill me with rage. i understand that some people are comforted by that, by the idea that nothing is random and we all are part of some bigger holy picture, but not me. not at all. in fact, i am actually dis-comforted by that idea. if it's god's plan to take my baby away and let some crackhead whose husband beats her keep her baby, i think that's a pretty fucked up plan.

my mom told me on sunday that i was probably being plagued by demons because i'm doomed to hell. why am i doomed to hell, you might ask? well, i don't go to church regularly and that is a mortal sin. yep, me and all the vicious sociopath mass murderers are all in the same bin, it turns out. me and osama bin laden will be living it up in the fiery pits equally if i don't make restitution for sleeping in on sundays. really. is it any wonder i find organized religion funny?

i'm comforted by nature. in losing my baby, i'm more comforted by the idea of natural population control and my body's ability to determine a non-compatability with life abnormality. i'm comforted by the wisdom of the chain of mothers. is that god? orion says it is, that if i have faith in nature i have to have faith in god because he created nature. i'm not so sure. i believe in science and numbers and patterns and root systems. orion and i had a long talk about religion at chili's on sunday night. i know everyone thinks i put him up to this RCIA thing, but actually i actively discouraged it. the whole thing makes me a little uncomfortable. i understand why he wants to do it, and i support him but i don't want a bunch of hell mongering in our marriage.

the thing is, orion and i are very similar people. we're not really dogmatic about anything. we just allow for the possibility. neither one of us likes to close any doors. we like rituals and celebrations, we like joining in. i don't think orion really wants to be a catholic, per se. i think he wants to be a part of something bigger than himself. i think he wants to feel that community. which is why i'm catholic too, so i get it. we also like big gospel churches and unitarian meetings and quiet quaker reflection. i don't get the whole "god" part of it-- but i love to feel connected.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

the end

In the days before we lost our baby Orion and I had been bouncing names back and forth. We couldn’t agree on very many. Finally I suggested Jonah. I don’t know where it came from or why I thought of it, but it was one of very few that we both liked. “Isn’t there some kind of biblical story about Jonah?” Orion asked me on Thursday night, as we were both falling asleep. I couldn’t remember, “something about him getting swallowed by a giant whale and living inside of it” I answered, “Unless I’m confusing him with Pinnochio, wasn’t he swallowed by a whale too?” We decided to look it up when we had some time and went to sleep.

Sunday, the day after we found out the baby had passed, I asked Orion to try and find the story of Jonah. We didn’t even own a bible before that week. Orion’s been going to RCIA and they gave him one at his Tuesday night class. He read it aloud to me, and it was like something clicked in my brain. The story is about being tested and Jonah has to learn to trust. God asks Jonah to do something very difficult and Jonah tries to run away. It is only while he is in the dark belly of a fish at the bottom of the ocean does Jonah realize that he must do the thing he thinks he cannot do. He learns courage, but more importantly he learns mercy.

Right now, we are in the belly of a fish. The grief is so acute that it is like our breath is being sucked from our lungs. But in the midst of our grief there are also moments of extreme gratitude. We were chosen to be the parents of a being that was so perfect, she only needed to exist for a very short time to accomplish everything she needed to. We are so grateful for that. She taught me strength and perseverance. She taught me to be a mother. We learned how lucky we are to have such an amazing support network. We got to be parents for a very short time, but that does not make our child’s life inconsequential. If anything, it makes it more important.

The night before we found out our baby had died I said to Orion, “this has been the best month of my entire life. I wish I could just rewind and keep living October 2010 over and over again.”

I’m finding it difficult to lay out the events journalistically. Where did it go wrong? When did I know that we were never going to meet the baby that was growing inside of me? After re-reading this entire blog I know that in some way I always knew. Many entries seem to be advice I was writing for just this event, particularly the one about gratitude. It’s almost like I was comforting the future me, the one who was going to go in for an ultrasound on a Saturday morning and come out a completely different person.

This was a complicated pregnancy from the beginning. I remember watching that tiny heartbeat flicker on the screen at 6 weeks and having this feeling like it was so vulnerable, like I was so vulnerable. Did I know then? I remember having this horrible nightmare at 7 weeks that the baby had fallen out from inside of me. I woke up when someone said, “Don’t you get it? The baby is gone. You aren’t pregnant anymore.” It unsettled me, but did I know then? That would have been the week the baby died. I can’t help but think the dream was real. Especially when the ultrasound tech turned the screen on at 10 weeks and 3 days and all I saw was an empty sac. She seemed to think I was confused, that I had my dates mixed up. “I see a gestational sac, so you’re definitely pregnant, but it looks more like 5 weeks than 10.” I had to keep repeating that no, there had been a baby in there. I saw it. I saw its heart beating. How did it disappear? Where did it go?

When things like this happen, it’s tempting to try and take all the blame. I think people do this to try and feel powerful at a time when all of your power has been taken away. If I say, “I did this, I caused it” it allows me to feel some sense of control over what happened. But the reality I know deep down inside is that there was nothing anyone could do or not do to change anything. Rationally I know that, but emotionally I can’t help thinking about every single time I worked out at the gym, every time I stayed up too late, every cup of coffee I drank, every time I made love with my husband those tenuous first few weeks. There are so many things to feel guilty about, but more than anything else I regret the decisions I made about my healthcare. I let other people make me feel bad about myself and doubt my abilities as a mother. What would I do differently? What could I do differently? The answer is nothing because I had to learn from these things. I had to learn to trust myself and be my own advocate. I had to learn that no one knew my baby or my body better than I do. I had to learn to be easy on myself, and merciful.

On Halloween, my husband and I decided that there is no worse day in the entire year to lose a baby. While our thoughts couldn’t escape the tiny being that no longer existed inside of me, small children rang our doorbell all day. Our pain was palpable, visceral. We couldn’t escape the feeling that we were in some way being punished. Was God really so cruel? The day before, literally the day before we lost our baby the downstairs neighbors brought their newborn son home. So now, even as we wade through the complicated strains of grief we also have to listen to a newborn crying downstairs. Even when I dashed out to the corner store to buy tissue because we’d used every napkin, toilet tissue, and Kleenex in the entire house, I stood in line as the mother behind me repeatedly scolded her daughter who had the same name we’d chosen for our daughter. It seemed sick. Like a bad joke. Because I was on progesterone injections I maintained “pregnancy” symptoms all throughout this. Yesterday my morning sickness seemed especially cruel because I know there was no baby inside causing it.

I am the type of person who tries to eke out every glimmer I can. I needed to find things to be grateful for, I needed to feel like there was some purpose behind all of this. I could let myself cry and grieve but I needed to let go of the bitterness to make it to the other side. There’s just too much that can drive you crazy to think about. I needed to find things to be grateful for or the pain would destroy me; I needed to let go.

I started listing things I would always remember, small moments I could take from this and hold close. My husband’s face when I walked out of the bathroom holding the test, how we clung to each other and wept. Listening in when Orion told his parents. What it was like in the dining room when we told my family on Orion’s birthday. Holding my hands to my belly and the warmth of knowing we had made a new person. How the ultrasound tech touched my knee and quietly left the room so that my husband and I could grieve. There are things so personal and moments so intrinsic that they remade me. We are different people now, we are parents.

At first we were sorry we had told so many people. The number was overwhelming. I immediately vowed to never make that mistake again, but now I’m doubting that it was a mistake at all. In life there are no guarantees. At what point as a parent can you say, “okay, we made it this far, we don’t have to worry anymore”? Something can always go wrong. We could have lost our baby in the second trimester or the third. We could have announced that I was going into labor on facebook and then delivered a stillborn child, we could have lost a infant to SIDS. We could have lost a toddler to any number of things, we could have lost a grade-schooler, a high-schooler, an adult child. There is no “safe point” and as a parent you’re never out of the “danger zone.” It never gets easier or more justifiable. It is never easy to tell people that you’ve lost your child. But I am comforted by our families and our support network and, oddly enough, by the children in my life. I am so grateful for them. My nephews, my little niece- I am comforted by the tiny ways they empathize, by their humanity. My 3-year-old nephew Nick came up to me today and asked me how the baby died and where it went. As we talked about it, I think he sensed my distress and he put his little hand on mine and said, “My mom lost a baby inside of her, but then we got to have Lucy. You can have another baby.” My sister tried to shush him, but it was such a beautiful moment. So honest and true.

I know, even in my pain, that we will have other children. My husband is an amazing dad. We have so much to look forward to. I feel so lucky that I got to hold our first child so close to my heart, even for such a short amount of time. I feel lucky to have been her mother. I am grateful for my family. I have gratitude. I have hope.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

the beginning of the end

It's finally over. We finished this morning.

in the week since we found out the baby had passed i spent a lot of time googling what a miscarriage would actually feel like. i was so afraid. and what i was able to find wasn't actually a lot of help. most of it was emotional and traumatic, but no one was ever able to describe in clinical terms what would happen. so i vowed to serve my fellow mothers-in-waiting by doing just that once i experienced it. i wanted to make sure than anyone who googled "what will my miscarriage feel like?" would get a clear answer; a step-by-step review of what happened. and now i can't.

what was it like? devastating. it was really the worst day of my entire life thus far. everyone wants to know why i didn't just get a D&C and get it over with, but i knew i could never do that. i'm someone who has to see it to believe it. i knew if i just went to sleep and woke up with my uterus scraped clean i would never be able to believe it. i'd still be hoping they were wrong, waiting for a miracle. still half believing i was pregnant. i also knew that i needed to experience this for closure. i also think that maybe deep down i wanted to punish myself. or maybe the opposite is true, maybe i wanted my power back; maybe i needed to know that my body was capable. i just know that i needed to do it this way.

i want to invite family and friends to stop reading here. this will get graphic and horrible and i fully intend to not hold back. fellow googlers- i cannot tell you what your miscarriage will be like because so much of it will be wrapped around the emotion of what is happening and that is different for every person. this blog is the story of our baby and this is where it draws to a close. 

on saturday 10/30 we found out that the baby had passed. i spent a lot of time grieving and trying to get things started so that i could finish this. i stopped taking my progesterone that same day. on tuesday 11/2 i started spotting. by wednesday i had a flow that would be described as an average period flow. that went on until thursday night, when i started having horrible cramps. people told me to expect period-like cramping, but they were nothing like period cramps. it was horrible. my midwife called in a prescription for painkillers and i was taking 600 mg of advil every 6 hours. it was really bad. what does it feel like? it feels like there is a vise in your midsection squeezing your uterus. it's this horrible combination of pressure and pulling. i can't really describe it. it's not painful like a knife wound, it almost feels like there is a whirlpool in your pelvis trying to turn you inside out.

here's the thing i absolutely did NOT expect: when you miscarry you will have a sort of mini-labor. i've had this thing called a "chemical pregnancy" before and that was just like a period, maybe a little heavier, maybe a little crampier, but nothing like labor. this miscarriage was nothing like a chemical pregnancy.

here's where it gets gross: blood loss. the blood loss is something you cannot prepare yourself for. it is unbelievable. the clots that come out of you are huge, most will be about the size of a small plum, maybe a lime. it is truly terrifying. remember when you read the pregnancy books and they told you that by the 6th week your blood flow will be up almost 40%? well all of that has to come out-- and it's a lot. you will probably end up just sitting on the toilet because no sanitary pad can contain it. at the peak i was going through a pad every 20 minutes for a few hours. i spent much of the night heavily bleeding. luckily my amazing midwife checked in every few hours and helped me through it. by friday the flow had started to slow down. i began to think that maybe i was finished. then late on friday (maybe around 3:30-4) i began to have painful contractions that were like nothing i had ever experienced. i was literally doubled over. the painkillers got me high and took the edge off, but i could still feel the pressure on my cervix. when it first started a lot of clots were coming out, but then in spite of the contractions nothing was coming out. i could feel something pressing on my cervix, actually i could feel it sort of coming out. finally, going crazy from the pressure i reached inside to try and feel what was happening. my cervix was dilated to about the size of a nickle, which was insane to feel. i have never felt my cervix so open. and there was tissue poking out of it. i was in so much pain i thought that maybe i could just pull the tissue out and be done with it. i started to pull it and instead of coming out, a large piece tore off. it was part of the placenta.

i cannot fully describe my state of mind after that. i started to lose it. i was terrified that i had horribly fucked something up by trying to pull it out and it felt like it was just stuck there, plugging up my uterus like a cork. i paged the midwife on call who was a total moron, "ok hun, what's happening is you're having a miscarriage and you're going to see a lot of tissue come out of you and that might be scary..." ugh, no help at all. did she even listen to my question? then i called my doula friend carissa who was helpful and said i didn't have to worry about anything getting infected, my body would take care of itself if i just waited. but for godssake do not put your hand up there anymore!

then thank goodness my amazing midwife Gina called just after and talked me down off the ledge. i needed to take more painkillers and some ambien and try to get some sleep. i couldn't force it to happen, i needed to wait and try and be patient.

i did just that, and passed out around 10. the painkillers made me crazy though, and i kept hallucinating horrible things like the devil sneaking into my room telling me my baby was with him and laughing. i'm not sure how much sleep i actually got. orion said i kept waking up crying about demons. i do not tolerate painkillers very well.

i woke up saturday morning around 10:30 in the worst pain of my entire life. seriously, i always thought i had a pretty high pain tolerance before this, but i think the combination of being scared and incredibly emotional made the whole thing just unbearable. the contractions were coming hard and fast. i reached inside (sorry carissa) and could feel something the size of a tennis ball, or maybe a lemon pressing against my cervix. the pressure wreaked havoc on my bowels. i won't go into that too much, but suffice to say i was on the toilet for more than just blood loss. every time i had a contraction i had a bowel movement. this went on for about an hour. finally i turned on the shower as hot as it would go and got on my hands and knees so that the spray was hitting my lower back. i rocked back and forth and tried to focus on pushing it out. although the hot water was comforting the pain killers started to kick in full force and i was feeling this pressure like i needed to be able to open my legs more. i got back on the toilet and felt something change. i knew it was coming out.

i started to really push and all of the sudden it fell out. it was such an emotional moment for us. we just both started sobbing. it was all over. i looked down into the toilet, it was about the size of a lemon. orion and i tried to clean everything up as best as we could (my bathroom looked like a murder scene) but i was so exhausted all i could think about was holding a heating pad to my pelvis and going to sleep.

as of 11/6 i was no longer pregnant. we said goodbye to the baby and the pregnancy and we held each other and cried.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

now what

now what?

what do i do with my days? people send me emails, cards, texts- "what are you doing? are you ok?" how do i answer? what can i answer? everything i can say back is a lie. am i ok? do we need help? you're sorry? what can i write back, everytime i try and open my mouth there are no words. i don't even know where to begin. when did it go wrong? a story should have a beginning, a middle and an end; it should be mathmatical and the equation should add up and make sense. there should be steps to follow, and if the answer is wrong you should just be able to check your work, see line 5 where you mixed your numbers up. you should be able to see your mistake. there's no sense in this, no misstep, no place to go back and read over your work. I keep looking back, seeing now what i should have seen then. it was the worst kind of optimism to try and think i had some control over this, that positivity would see us through.

now what? what are my days like now?

i go to work. i take care of children. on monday morning i babysat a 9-day-old infant premie. he was so tiny and perfect. when his mom got home she said, "this must be kind of exciting for you! you'll have one of these in another 6 months!" and i had to tell her. i didn't even get choked up. i just told her. i even said i was grateful in a weird way, that nature takes care of itself. then i went home and stayed in bed all day.

we went to the gym. i sat in the hot tub for over an hour, getting out and jumping in the pool every 15 minutes to make sure i didn't overheat. i sat in the steam room. listened to the asian girls talk about their boyfriends and their weekend plans. orion lifted weights, tore up muscles he didn't know he had. punished himself.

i take care of the twins i watch. hug them, read stories. yesterday we took a walk and collected leaves- made an art project. i know some people find it difficult to be around children when something like this happens, but i find it very therapeutic. i've always loved kids.

i do a lot of tuning out- i tune out pregnancy subplots on TV, i tune out songs on the radio that orion used to sing to my stomach. i tune out well meaning people who want to tell me about their sister's cousin who had a still birth baby and isn't that a lot worse than a miscarriage? i tune out other people's miscarriage stories. i tune out phrases like "it's for the best" and "thank god it happened this early" and "don't worry you can try again." i don't want to hear about anyone else's dead babies, i don't want to feel guilty that this 10 week loss has obliterated me when stronger women lose infants and get pregnant again in a month. i don't care, it doesn't make me feel better and it's starting to make me angry. please stop telling me about your dead babies and let me grieve for my own.

i pack things away. compartmentalize. leave the online group for babies due in may, join one for infant loss and miscarriage support. pack up all the pregnancy books and maternity clothes and baby stuff. hide it in our storage locker in the basement. filter emails from isabella oliver, in due time, potterybarn kids, land of nod, your preganancy this week. block amazon.com suggestions. i go through my cell phone calender and organizer- delete all my prenatal appointments. all the milestones. try and forget that Thanksgiving would have been the first day of my second trimester (14 weeks) that we would have gotten our gender anatomy scan 2 days before christmas (18 weeks). i left may 25th marked. i'll deal with that later. i read books, go online and gather information: what will it feel like? will it hurt? what will it look like when it comes out? should i take cytotec, get a d&c?

that's probably the most important thing i do- try and let go. more than anything else i want to let this pregnancy end in it's own time, in its own way. i spent weeks holing it up in there for my own stupid sense of security. orion and i planned a natural birth, looked up bradley classes, talked about how we'd never induce, never force things. to do so now feels like a sham. i don't want to rip everything out in one fell swoop, pretend it never existed. i want to be respectful of the child we thought we had. it sounds crazy, i know. there's hardly a baby in there anymore. the radiology report called it "the products of conception." psychologically its driving me mad that it's still in there. nature should have released it. as much as i want to do it naturally, i know i won't make it more than a week.

so that's what i do- sit in the hot tub, lay in the steam room. try and relax myself, my muscles, my body, my heart. drink coffee, take red raspberry leaf tablets and evening primrose oil. sit with the heating pad on my abdomen. do yoga poses to encourage my cervix to open. wait. wait. wait. tell the baby i'm sorry i kept it in there so long. love my uterus, let go. encourage nature to take over. make appeals to the universe. and cry. really more than anything i cry. and i miss my baby.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

saying goodbye

how can i write what happened?

when you're going through what may very well be the worst day of your life there's a part of you that wants to memorize every detail, engrave it in your mind so it can have the kind of permenance it deserves. but then there's an overwhelming feeling of dreaminess, like cuting through the water at the bottom of a pool. there's this need to protect yourself, to forget everything. to pretend the last 10 weeks have been a dream. the last year has been a dream. everything is a dream.

i can't say that everything i think happened happened exactly this way, all i can do is try and go through the days one by one and revisit what i remember.

on thursday night my friend sara arrived to spend the weekend with us. i was at choir practice when she and o picked me up. i was so excited to see her. i remember the choir director was complaining that i was taking too many breaths in the wrong places of the song. i almost told him i was pregnant, not that that had anything to do with it, but it had to do with everything then. every moment, every movement. i held back and didn't say it.

sara and o and i headed back to the house, ate a late dinner, talked late and went to bed. on friday i managed to get an ultrasound appointment for the next morning. i remember thinking, "maybe i should wait til after halloween so it isn't spoiled" but i brushed it off and was grateful that it was a saturday appt so that my husband could come with and finally see the baby. we had a dinner party for sara that night. it was amazing. if i could just go back to that night and live inside of it. i'd live that night forever. i was so happy to have my husband and my amazing friends and i was literally glowing all night. we laughed, we ate, we played guitar. we headed out to the karaoke bar at a little after midnight and when we got there o and i told everyone about the baby. it was amazing. i wish something had happened, i wish our lives had just stopped there.

the appointment for the ultrasound was at 7:15 AM. we'd gone to bed a little after 3 and i was in the bathroom most of the night because singing and talking had parched me and i'd had about 6 bottles of water. before the ultrasound i was supposed to drink 32 ounces of water and not pee for an hour.

o and i were so exhausted. we went to reception to check in and while we were sitting there the receptionist's computer froze. so we sat there for a good 10-15 minutes. at one point, not able to hold it any longer, i got up to use the restroom. when i came back and sat down in front of the desk with o, he pointed to the word "DELL" on the computer and said "can you imagine? our baby is as big as that D there. can you imagine that little D inside of you with squiggly arms and legs moving around in there?"

what did i respond? what did i say back? i honestly can't remember. was it really nothing? did i say anything to him when he said that? is that when i knew something was wrong?

after reception we headed into the radiology dept and had to wait some more. i got up to use the bathroom again and when i came out o and the radiology tech were standing outside the door. she was kind of pissed i used the bathroom and i told her i just went a little, i swear, just enough to take the edge off.

we went into the room and she asked me what my due date was and i told her it was the end of may, a gemini. i remember saying if it came out a taurus i'd have to push it back in. she told me her and her son were geminis. she made a joke about it and i told her to stop making me laugh or i'd pee all over her table. she said they were used to it.

when she put the transducer on my abdomen i thought i saw movement, i exhaled and said, "there he is!" and she visibly flinched. i remember the exact lines around her eyes when i said that. i remember the curve of her back and how she seemed to get shorter. i knew then.

"Are you sure about your dates?" she asked "because i definitely see a sac, but it looks more like 5 or 6 weeks"

what did i say? i'm sure i told her about the ultrasound at 6 weeks, how i saw the heartbeat. how that tech turned the screen towards me and showed me that little pulse. she used thermal imaging so i could get a better idea of the size and where the heartbeat was. she told me my dates were spot on. i watched the pulse for what seemed like forever. i think i even asked where i could buy one of these machines. but what did i say when this tech asked me? nothing? everything?

she said she needed to do a transvaginal, to get undressed and lay down. she left the room. i looked at orion. what did i say? did i tell him it was over or did i only think it? his face was a mirror of my own. we both started crying.

she came back and inserted the ultrasound wand. i watched the screen for a moment, for a miracle and turned away when i started sobbing. was that me crying or orion? who touched my leg? the tech or my husband? did she look at him? did she tell us she was sorry. what happened? what actual words were spoken? all i remember was the way the examining table was against the wall and the sound my sobs made bouncing back off it.

at some point she got what she needed and left. and then what? what did my husband and i say to each other? did i get dressed? did i get up? how long did it take? at some point she knocked to come back in and i told her i wasn't dressed yet. or my husband did. and she went away again. we held each other and wept.

she came back and said she had paged my midwife, she asked if we could go back to the reception area and wait. at first i started to walk towards it and then i stopped. i couldn't. all those women with their big round bellies, all waiting to see their babies. i would be a train wreck, an atom bomb in the middle of the room for them. their worst nightmare sitting across from them. orion and i sat outside the exam room next to water cooler. at some point someone came up to fill their water bottle and apologized for intruding.

what did we do while we sat there? i lost all sense of time and language. i remember the feel of my husband's hand in mine. i remember his face looked exactly like mine. i remember the carpet was dirty and the chair was a little too small. the sound the water cooler made, how i thought my chest was making that dropping noise. the nurses who didn't look at us sitting there. how long were we sitting there?

the tech came back, asked if we could pick up the phone in recpetion. we could not. she led us to the nurses office and we sat at a desk and picked up the phone. the midwife was one i hadn't met before. what did she say? "grace" someone had told her my name. "i'm so sorry" and then i broke. i have nothing after that. what did she say? what did i say? all i remember was crying.

i tried to get myself in order. we had to walk down the hall and out the door and past the maternity area. i put on my sunglasses and we left.

when we got the car i called my mom. i can't remember what i said, what she said. she picked up on the second ring, it was like she was waiting to hear from me. "mom-" i choked out. she knew before i even said the words, she started crying before i did. we went home and i had to wake sara up, tell her what happened, ask her to stay somewhere else. what i say to her? what were the actual words i used? she packed her things and made a phone call. at some point she tried to crack a joke and i remember the weirdness of the sound, her hair all mussed. it was a little after 9AM.

O and i tried to go back to sleep. we were exhausted. we clung to each other and sobbed. i cried even in my sleep. my eyelashes stuck together when i woke up. i had a dream. i woke up saying, "don't go little buddy." my husband broke.

I hadn't eaten, i couldn't eat but i still had all my pregnancy symptoms because i was taking the progesterone. my morning sickness kicked in and i started throwing up. i couldn't stop. i kept dry heaving. i laid down on the bathroom floor. orion said something about the cruelty of pregnancy symptoms. about cruelty. about god. i took some ambien and finally passed out.

i got up sure there had been a mistake. something was not right. i saw that baby at six weeks. i had a picture of it. where did it go? i paged the midwife on call. when she called me back i wasn't crying, or i was but i didn't want to be. "i know that baby was in there! i saw it!" she talked to me about the progesterone, asked me why i wanted this ultrasound, had pushed for it so badly. i remember my own words to Gina (the other midwife) the day before: "i just have this nagging feeling like the baby has passed and my body can't miscarry it because of the progesterone. i just can't shake it. i feel like there isn't even a baby in there anymore." had i really been right? where did that come from? i remember asking if the progesterone injections would force the baby to stay in me if it passed and Gina trying to reassure me.

the baby had passed, and because my body couldn't eliminate it it had started to reabsorb it. I asked the midwife on call to read me the radiology report. "decomposing... misshapen sac... measuring approx. 5 weeks... no fetal heartbeat... no fetal pole... blood in the uterus" she stopped. "do you understand?" i didn't. "is it possible that i lost the baby when i was spotting and got pregnant again and this is a new sac, a new pregnancy?" no, that wasn't possible. maybe i didn't even say that. maybe i just asked if there could be a mistake, if the baby could be hiding, if maybe they couldn't see it because i was so fat. i said everything, or maybe i just thought it. i can't remember.

we went for a drive. i sent an email to my girlfriends. i got phonecalls all day and didn't answer them. we laid in bed. we watched Adams Family movies and Farenheit 9/11. we cried all day. we held each other and cried all day. i wouldn't let orion touch my stomach, i kept catching myself about to rub my belly. we told the baby we loved it. we told her we were so happy we got to be her parents. we said goodbye.