Ambivalence is My Middle Name

It’s funny how I don’t feel like updating here anymore. Every day several times a day I think, “Hey! That would make for a great blog post!” and then? Seriously. I haven’t written a great blog post since never. Speaking of which, I started blogging August 2005.

I have no idea why I brought that up since it’s October somethingorother. Which also reminds me, I won’t be participating in NaBloMo or whatever it’s called.

Did I just hear a collective sigh of relief?

My daughter still hasn’t pooped in the potty but she’s not holding it for five days at a stretch, either. She keeps telling me “next time”. In an uncharactheristic move, she also pissed her pants while sitting on my glider-rocker. As I was stripping her down for a quick belly-button-on-down bath, I asked why she did it.

“It was an accident, Mommy! I’m sorry.” …. dramatic pause … I love you.”

I bought a couple tuttu skirts from Target thinking they’d be a novelty. However, Aitch has become so enamoured with them, I went and bought a couple more. She has worn one at least every day now. When it’s cooler, she’ll succumb to the addition of leggings, but it’s like trying to wrestle a cat into a pillowcase.

I went back for a three-month follow-up appointment with my PA. I need a refill of the paxil and ambien. The thing is is that I didn’t really want a refill of the ambien because I was anticipating my evenings just so I could TAKE the ambien. He said as long as I’m able to get up in the morning and feel rested that I’m taking it as I should. And then we talked more about my depression. Actually he asked why I thought I was depressed. I told him I wasn’t really sure, but that maybe it was the miscarriages and infertility or the pregnancy with Aitch that I was sure was going to end with a dead baby and then the loss of my job after ten years and then the cancer. Oh, and let’s not forget my son’s ADHD which makes him do things that make me so angry at everyone and everything that I’m sure my fury will result in one of those rare cases of spontaneous combustion and the only thing that will be left will be a pair of hopefully fabulous shoes and a singe mark on the ceiling.

I’m sorry. What was the question again?

He suggested, as many of you did, I seek counseling. I told him I would think about it, because you see I am still in denial. Enough so I didn’t pick up my refill of paxil and ambien. At least not yet.

Stand Up By Sitting Down

If I had stayed pregnant the second time with the girl I named Vivienne, and she had made it to her due date, she’d be six this Mother’s Day.

I just set aside the box I keep hidden in plain sight that contains the ultrasound pictures, the congratulatory cards, the surgical report, the sympathy cards, the card with her foot- and hand-prints. I looked through it while my son played a video game next to me, oblivious to the tears that pooled in my eyes but never fell.

Some friends on Facebook shared a link today: Empty Arms on Mother’s Day. It talks about the rose ceremony at church as part of the recognition of the Mothers attending. This tradition as well as the one our church partakes in – the request for Mothers to stand and receive a blessing en masse – make my heart ache.

I am lucky to be a Mother, but my solidarity lies with those women who are not invited to stand; who are not handed a flower.

I will stand up for those who can’t by remaining seated. Will you?

NIAW – Repressed

A high-school friend of Sparring Partner’s and her husband came to visit us over the weekend. We don’t hear from them often as she’s often jet-setting around the globe, but a few weeks ago during a long phone conversation she admitted to SP that they had gone to our very own reproductive endocrinologist for a donor egg cycle as well as an attempt at a subsequent frozen embryo transfer. She did not get pregnant. Dee (let’s call her Dee, shall we?) asked if at a later date she could pick my brain about it, and of course I’m always up for a good brain-picking.

While they were visiting the topic did turn to infertility and going through treatments. We compared notes and swapped horror stories about progesterone in oil (PIO) shots. I shared the time I had hit a vein (or something) with the needle and blood shot out of the hole on my ass; she shared how she had to have an infected subcutaneous mass, which was most likely due to her PIO shots, surgically removed from her ass. She won that “Which Sucks More” contest. We went on to compare costs, the number of eggs retrieved and transferred, protocol, etc., etc. Dee and her husband are now considering adoption and overseas surrogacy.

After they left, Sparring Partner told me that our conversation had brought up a lot of unpleasant memories for him. Things he admits he had forgotten about. Was glad to have forgotten. I can’t say I blame him.

These are not things I think about every day. Not any more, and for that you have no idea how relieved we both are. My life revolved around infertility and miscarriages from November 2004 until July 2008, just a little over four years. For some, a very short time; for others? An unimaginable waste of time and energy. Reading posts from my old blog always brings back very painful memories. Some so painful, I wonder how in the world could I have forgotten them until the moment I read those words again. Forgotten is probably not the best word for it: Repressed is more accurate, don’t you think?

I read very few infertility blogs now. When my friend Serenity wrote about an anonymous commenter suggesting she should be happy with what she’s already got (paraphrased in regards to secondary infertility (SIF)), I got my rage on. I remember tackling that topic so many times and reading her words once again brought out all those feelings I had repressed. I dug again in my archives and stumbled into one of my posts that actually was never published on my blog, but through a blog that no longer exists, created by Dawn Friedman. To create the link, I have now published it on my old blog (which if you still have in your reader, you’ve already seen). I would really love for you to go read it as I think it’s one of my better posts when it comes to SIF.

Dee’s visit coincided with this week being National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), April 24 – 30, 2011. I don’t advocate myself as much as I use to when it comes to infertility, and in many ways I regret that because the camaraderie and support from my fellow IF bloggers was (and still is!) second to none. However, at some point, I’ve both consciously and subconsciously made decisions that distance myself in order to protect what is left of my sanity. New worries and concerns (a son with ADHD and possibly ODD) (cancer) (eventually a child who needs to know her donor story) replace what has been archived. But I will always – ALWAYS – make myself available for questions, conversations, and debate when it comes to infertility and miscarriage issues.

I am grateful that I don’t have to deal with infertility issues every day like I did in the “good ole’ days”, but I am more grateful that when they do come up, I can offer a shoulder, words of encouragement, and most importantly when it comes to infertility – an ear to just listen.

6 of 30: Hot Glue and Glitter Make Me Cry

I was actually ahead by two posts for a couple of days there, having scheduled at least one post a day in advance, but today (now yesterday because I am/I have scheduled this post to publish approximately 6 hours ahead), I spent it driving four hours on the road so that I could take my mother to the craft show in The Metro.

Always a love/hate experience for me. I love crafts and arts. I hate that they hold it in November. Back in 2004, this annual craft show was my first public outing after my first miscarriage. I really, really tried to find comfort in being around two of my sisters and my mom – girl-time – as we strolled past booth after booth. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help but think, “If I was still pregnant, I would have bought this picture frame; this Christmas decoration; this quilt…” At that time, even watching my mom try to decide what kind of ornaments to get the grandchildren was like a rusty dagger in my shattered heart.

I also couldn’t keep from tearing up every time I saw a pregnant woman or a newborn, snuggled into a woman’s arms while she used the stroller as a makeshift cart. Sights and sounds that were commonly ignored were jarring on my hypersensitive nerves. That day, I excused myself from my family around the half-way point. I just wasn’t strong enough, less than two weeks from the day I was told, “I’m sorry, but there’s no heartbeat.”

In the next couple of years, I declined the invitations to go. Then about two years ago, I agreed to take my mom to it again. It was still difficult, but tolerable. Like having a root canal with a completely numbed mouth. You can’t feel the acute pain, but you know something unpleasant is going on and your brain can’t suspend the reality.

It was like that this year as well. I can’t imagine it NOT hurting just a little bit. I don’t wonder what’s wrong with me for not being able to disassociate this event with my first miscarriage from six years ago, a girl, at almost 16 weeks. Instead, I would have to wonder what was wrong with me if I didn’t remember; if I didn’t feel some pain and sadness.

Uprooted

I hate this plant. I don’t even know what kind it is. It sits in the corner of the room by the sliding deck doors. It always seems to have yellow and dying leaves. I haven’t repotted it since I got it so the soil is poor. Whenever I water it just a little, it sieves right through and leaks out onto the floor.

It doesn’t flower. I hardly can tell it grows except I did take a cutting and plant it, with success. The cutting rooted and was potted and sits on a side table away from its parent plant. It seems a bit healthier, but it hardly catches my attention when I walk by it a half dozen times a day, every day.

Every once in a while, I’ll turn it so it can readjust its lean towards the sun. But other than that and watering it once every couple of weeks (if it’s lucky), I ignore it. I – as I said initially - hate it.

So why do I keep it? Why not just pitch it out into the field in my backyard and see if the deer will enjoy it?

Why not, indeed.

It’s the plant that welcomed me home from my first D&C five years and eleven months ago.

It represents death, sorrow, loss. It lives with little care or attention from me. Which may be why I despise it all the more.

I am the face of Miscarriage, of Stillbirth, of Infant Loss.

#1094

I’ve Got My Hip Waders, Hand-Tied Flies, and a Pacifier

If you are a fan of the site, People of Walmart (sorry no linky-dink right now), then it should come as no surprise that the following picture was taken at WalMart. In fact, it was taken at the very WalMart in my town. By me.

I get what it’s supposed to be, but do you honestly think that THIS is the way a mongo corporation should raise awareness for premature babies?? Yes, this was their prop with a March of Dimes sign (professionally done by a 17 year old drop-out with a Sharpie marker, mind you). Oh, the mental struggle for one seeking a sugar rush with only two dollars in their pocket: Dubble Bubble or March of Dimes? Dubble Bubble or March of Dimes…?? Oh, the humanity!

That’s a cute sleeper, though.

My Charmed Life

For a couple of years I’ve been trying to find some way to honor and give a tangible presence to the babies  conceived but never experienced their first breath. I entertained the idea of a tattoo but there were too many obstacles, one being Sparring Partner who has threatened divorce if I ever got inked.

A couple of months ago I saw Joyfully Crafted’s items highlighted on Try Handmade. After looking at my options, I realized that her charms would suit my taste very nicely. They were simple, solid, and pretty.

I placed my order and although her store indicated it might take 4-6 weeks, I received my order within two. Here they are:

The two little charms have Aitch’s and Doodicus’s names and birthdates on them. They flank the large charm. 

of my heart

11.04     05.05

12.05     09.06

10.06     06.07

05.07     02.08

The first date of each line is the month and year I found out the baby had died; the second date is my due date. I was a bit shell-shocked to see all those dates lined up like that – 5, 6, 7, 8. I honestly never realized it before.

A marching of time to a single drum, one only I can hear. While the dates are forever in the past, I hope the charms will be a part of me long into my old age after my memory fails.

Kate

How does a woman cope with a pregnancy loss at 19 weeks or 20 weeks or 21 weeks?

How does a woman get through hell twice?

How does a woman pick up her broken heart a third time?

I don’t know, but I hope with your help, my friend Kate can find a way.

Imperfect World

We’ve all heard at one time or another how someone has simultaneously announced their second line on the pregnancy stick, taken the tour of the maternity ward, registered for baby gear, and traded in their sedan for a family van. I did that back in 2004 before I found out that miscarriages weren’t just a myth.

Once that miscarriage (or two or four) has gone by, that person (me) never thinks the same way about a pregnancy, whether their own or someone else’s. They don’t assume that a new pregnancy ends the way 80% of the population thinks they do. In fact, they (me) even begin to believe the worst before they ever believe the best.

My son’s teacher announced to the class before Thanksgiving that she was expecting a baby in June. By my calculations, she at least waited to tell them after her first prenatal appointment, which is usually around week eight or nine. I wasn’t thrilled with the school’s permission to let her announce this to her students – second graders – so early, reasoning that it would be a distraction throughout the entire school session. Inwardly it was because I didn’t want her to have to untell a bunch of seven and eight year olds. Because that’s the way I think.

But see? That never happens in a perfect world, and to me his teacher was living that ideal. She had a little boy who was just potty trained. She must have planned the pregnancy with the due date occurring early summer, giving her time to enjoy a new baby before going back to school without disruption to the class schedule. She’s also very young…

A Perfect World.

Unfortunately, she found out this past weekend that there is no such thing as a Perfect World and had to announce to the children via the school’s principal that her baby died.

When Sparring Partner picked up Doodicus from school, my son shared the update with his dad, who then called me to pass on the sad news and to let myself prepare for the questions as Sparring Partner decided to tell Doodicus that we had had that happen to us. I again did some calculations and figured that the teacher, Mrs. P, would have been in the beginning of her second trimester.

While it’s not the way I would have preferred for Doodicus to learn that not all pregnancies result in a baby, Padora’s box has now been opened. I picked up Doodicus from daycare and we went through the regular pleasantries of “how was your day?” and “what homework do you have?”, and then he said, “Can I ask you a question?” I was glad that I was driving so that he couldn’t see my face from the back seat as I anticipated what was coming. “Sure,” I responded.

“Have you really been pregnant four times?”

I wondered why Sparring Partner had said four and could only presume that as a man he probably had no idea. “Actually I’ve been pregnant six times. My first was with you and my last was with Aitch.”

“Did the other babies die?”

“Yes.” I did not ask why he asked but waited to see how the conversation would progress.

“If you had all those babies, there sure would be a lot of kids in our family.”

“Yes, I suppose there would have been.”

“We were told today that Mrs. P’s baby died. I didn’t know that could happen.”

“Normally it doesn’t,” I responded. Normally. In a Perfect World.

We talked a bit about how sad Mrs. P was going to be and that we will say a prayer for her and her family. Doodicus told me that the principal suggested that the class not talk to Mrs. P about it as it would make her sad. I could only suggest to my son that he could mention to her in private how sad he was about her baby and that we prayed for her.

“Aitch and I were lucky, weren’t we…what happened to the other ones?”

“Yes, I suppose you were lucky, but the really lucky ones are Daddy and I because we have you both.”

I then told him briefly about my pregnancy with Vivienne when he was almost three and how I remember every detail of November 2004. I told him how when Daddy brought him home from daycare that day, he came into the bedroom where I had been lying their crying all day following that fateful ultrasound and asked me if I was going to be OK, too young to know only that I was very, very sad. I had told him I would be. Eventually.

At the end of my reverie, Doodicus started to tear up. When I asked what was wrong, he told me that he was sad because he almost died. I was startled by that and asked when did he almost die. “When I was born.” He knew the story of the emergency c-section and that he was so little and spent nearly a week in the hospital. I tried to ease his heart a bit by letting him know that while he was sick when born, we knew he would be alright and that we would take him home healthy.

After he had calmed down again I said that he shouldn’t dwell on it to the point it makes him unhappy, but that if he had more questions, he could come to us. I don’t wish to keep revisiting that wound, but I think he is ready to know more than we give him credit for.

An early pregnancy announcement will make any one of us want to “protect” the expectant mother by warning her not to count her proverbial chickens, but that makes us sound paranoid or jealous. True (for me) on both counts. I have never-and never will-wish that life lesson on anyone, and yet…with a sickening thud in the pit of my stomach upon this recent news, I heard in my head “I could have told you so,” and I hate myself for becoming so fucking jaded.

#30 – NaBloWriMo

Not just 30 posts in 30 days, my friends.

36!

Thirty-SIX!!

November, you’ve notoriously made me your bitch in the past – “Who, me? Little ole’November? Why, you certainly wouldn’t hold those two miscarriages and the subsequent D&C’s against me, now would you??” – Oh, yes, I would. And I will ’til I hit the grave, but today, you are MY bitch, November. Suck it. Suck it, but hard.

#8 – Do Not Be Silent

I’ve officially made it through one week of NaBloWriMo.

It’s not so bad if you’ve got one in the can and one scheduled to go out next day.

Right now this post is being written Saturday night since Sunday I will be driving two hours with my mother and SIL to go to a craft show in the big city. I then will have to drive two hours back, and I have to do it before it gets too dark. My night vision is not good.

I have a confession: it’s the first craft show I’ve been able to go to in four years. In 2004 I did go. A week after I lost my second pregnancy in its early second trimester and neither my sisters or mother would ask me how I was feeling. I needed to talk about it. I found out later that my mom had told my sisters not to bring it up.

I’m here to tell you that in many, MANY cases, your friend, your sister, your daughter…? The silence is painful. If you’re not sure, just ask, “Do you want to talk?” They’ll let you know either way.