Posts

Showing posts from July, 2005

Fish update

Someone please explain to me how a quest for cheap fish ended up with five $2 fish, a heater, thermometer, air pump, tubing, airstone, filters, and "Start Right" additive??? These fish better live or else.

Our goldfish died

So it seems I can't keep anything alive these days. We had originally bought goldfish way back when in college. Nothing special, just a little ten gallon aquarium with rocks on the bottom and some plastic plants.

We had one goldfish that suffered through several moves with us, developed tumors (earning the nickname Franken-fish), and was picked on by new fish we bought to keep him company (earning him a new tank all to himself). He finally kicked the bucket sometime in February, shortly after my birthday.

We've been a one fish household since February, and the last fish finally died yesterday. I myself was considering packing up the fish tank and putting it in the basement with Franken-fish's tank. But Sam, who took the news surprisingly well, told Steve, "We're sad because our fishy died. But we can go to WalMart and buy some more."

So off we go to WalMart to invest in some cheap fish.

Family Visit

My sister and her husband came for a visit this weekend. So the whole family came over last night and we grilled out, drank some sangria, and had some fun watching Sam act silly. It was nice. There was only one moment when I was alone and thought how sad I was that Alex isn't here for this. I thought, "I must be getting better!" But then I remembered the cry-fest on Friday and realized it was just another "good day," not really a sign of any major changes in my psyche. But it was nice to be distracted on a good day anyway.

I miss my sister. Her and her husband live about 4-5 hours away and we never see them. I know they read this (they told me...because you can't tell by their comments here), so I don't want to say too much. But we haven't had what I would call a "close" relationship for many many years. When she got married, we never developed a close relationship with her husband. I don't know why this happened. Personal…

Unexpected kindness

Today I went to the cemetery and had a good cry. When I got home I found a note in the mail.

Dear Catherine,

As the hustle and bustle of life resumes and it seems no one recognizes the sorrow in your heart - we remember.

You and your family are in our thoughts.

Sincerely,
MacDonald 6th Floor Nurses
(that's the floor I was on for my brief recovery)

I cried.

What wonderful people nurses are.

I must be too nice

The coworker who had her baby July 5th is back in the office to visit again today. I get the phone call from the receptionist and am instructed to "spread the word upstairs," presumably so that everyone will run down to see the baby. This is the same coworker who never once asked me how I was upon my return to work. This is the same woman who ran away from me as though I were contagious and something terrible would happen to her baby by just being near me during her final month of pregnancy. When she appeared at the office a week after the little pipsqueak was born, I went down and oohed and aahed over him. She still didn't ask me how I was doing. I think I've put up with more than I should have to. Damn it, I'm not going down there to have salt rubbed in my open wounds. I'm sorry, but I have reached my limit this week. It's Friday and I deserve a freaking break!

Records update

My 2002 doctor called and I CAN have ALL my records for a grand total of $33. I'll pick them up on Wednesday.

My 2005 doctor called and there suddenly is no two week wait, my records are ready to be picked up. There is no charge. I'll pick them up on Wednesday as well. I wonder if I'll get everything as I requested or if I'll have to yell at someone. I really don't want to yell at someone. I just want to go quietly to my specialist appointment and not have all this drama. [sigh]

Tomorrow we talk to the memorial company and get thing squared away there.

Ah...the feeling of progress!

Life is unfair

I received some sad news the other day. I've been trying to digest it before posting about it because I didn't want this post to be all about anger.

I have a friend in animal rescue who is unable to have biological children with her husband. I have never inquired about the problem, so I don't know what it is medically that prevents them from having a baby. But after eleven years, they were on the road to adoption. They were chosen by a birth mother to be the parents of a baby boy due in September. They were over-the-moon-happy. They went on a short four-day vacation as it would be the last baby-free time they would have.

On the third day, they received a phone call that would take them from over-the-moon-happy to the depths of sadness and despair. The birth mother had gone into premature labor and, due to a prolapsed cord, delivered a stillborn baby boy.

I thought it could not be worse than what Steve and I, and so many other couples, had been through. But I see t…

Two lists of favorites

I was just surfing my long list of internet favorites, when I realized I could classify everything into two categories. There are before and after favorites. There are people who knew me before and people who got to know me after. They are two different and distinct groups.

The people who knew me before are mostly moms that I shared the birth of my first son with. The people who got to know me after are mostly moms that I shared the birth/death of my second son with.

The people who knew me before don't talk about politics, religion, or most other "serious" topics because it's likely to cause a debate and result in hurt feelings. The people who got to know me after ALWAYS talk about this stuff because their feelings are mostly already hurting in some way and this stuff isn't as important anymore.

The people who knew me before can experience uninhibited joy at the announcement of a BFP. The people who got to know me after all know that the BFP is only the begi…

Another customer service award winner

I got this email today from Zales...

"We are delighted to inform you that your recent order has been shipped and should be arriving soon."

Ummm...guys...I got it three days ago.

Thanks for the heads up though. Really. I appreciate it.

well, well, well...

A brief review of my medical records from my first pregnancy reveals that I had the same uterine infection when delivering Sam. Apparently the doctor thought it was from having had ruptured membranes for so long. I do remember him telling me that after 24 hours, there was too much risk for infection, so we went ahead with the c-section after 22 1/2 hours. But nobody ever told me that they did, in fact, find infection. I was told my fever and shivers were "normal at certain stages of labor and delivery."

And when my c-section wound wouldn't heal for a year, the doctor actually asked me if I was keeping it clean, as though it was my fault it wouldn't heal...when in fact that is a frequent consequence of having said uterine infection. Again, nobody ever mentioned it to me. I remember feeling frustrated and sad that I was doing something wrong because I simply couldn't heal. To this day, I still get flair-ups at my incision site where it turns red and itchy a…

No

Today's word of the day is "NO."

-----------------------------------------------

I called one doctor's office, from my pregnancy in 2001/2002, to get my medical records to take to my specialist appointment on August 9th. They were so nice...made the copies right then and had them ready to be picked up after lunch. I was so impressed. Then I looked at what they gave me and my interest was piqued. I was only given hospital records...everything from my delivery and the pathology of my placenta, but nothing from my pregnancy. No blood test results...nothing about my gestational diabetes...basically nothing about my prenatal care whatsoever.

So I called and asked about that.

The first nurse said, "Oh, the gal who got those for you probably didn't know that you wanted those to, let me check."

Then the very nice lady from my first call picked up the phone and she wasn't so nice.

She told me they don't normally give out those records. Why did …

The true insanity begins

Did you know that after you have any medical procedure, rather than keeping your entire file, medical professionals will purge your file of anything that looks like it might later come back to bite them in the butt? Nice, huh? Lawyers keep everything. Well...at least the lawyers I know who do a good job. Maybe unscrupulous lawyers purge files?

Also, with new medical privacy laws, I have to go in to every doctor's office I am requesting medical records from, and sign a piece of paper that says I am releasing my records...to myself. Absurd? I think so.

Now that I have finally stopped sobbing, the anger has set in and I am off this afternoon to three different doctor offices to sign and copy...

Someone said, "All the courtroom justice in the world won't bring Alex back." That's true. But I owe him the truth. And if I can get courtroom justice that prevents this from happening to some other family, then Alex won't have died for nothing.

Always get it in writing

If ever there was a doubt that I was going to change OB/GYNs after this fiasco, it was completely erased today with the arrival of Alex's final autopsy report. The short version, without the Polish temper including various expletives, is that my OB/GYN LIED TO ME. That's right...liar, liar, pants on fire. Or maybe liar, liar...find me a good lawyer.

Significant findings in this autopsy include: 4+ growth of enteric bacilli on cultures, bacteria present in vessels of multiple organs and in the conducting airspaces of the lung and severe acute chorioamnionitis in the placenta. In summary, the cause of death appears to be bacteremia related to chorioamnionitis. However, examination of the brain revealed significant intracranial hemorrhage. Because of advanced autolysis, the etiology of hemorrhage could not be determined.

Now, for those of you non-medical folks like me...let’s Google bacteremia and chorioamnionitis...

Chorioamnionitis is an infection of the membranes (placental…

Girls

My son, at age three, is already learning a valuable lesson about girls...they can be very fickle. Twice last week Sam came home and announced he was no longer friends with a girl he has been quite close to since he started attending daycare at age 15 months. First, Bailey bit the dust because she wouldn't Sam sit by her at lunch. Then Ashley was history because she wouldn't share her trains. These are two girls who would come running up to Sam as he entered the building every morning and gleefully clap their hands and shout, "Sam's here!" Now, it seems, Sam has cooties. Poor Sam. Such a lesson will help him later in life, I'm sure...but right now it hurts.

I do not have the patience for this

I just realized why my job annoys me so much. I do not have the patience for government work anymore. I seriously want to scream, "This is bureaucratic bullshit!" Think that would get me fired?

New Normal

-------------------------------

Today I realized that my normal could be considered freakish to some.

Today I realized that I'm completely out of touch with normal reality and I don't know how to behave in polite company.

Today I reviewed the drawing for my son's headstone over breakfast.

-------------------------------

Which brings me to my next question...

Why do people have such a hard time with the words "dead" or "died?" My baby died. My baby is dead. It may seem harsh and it may not fall in line with the way things are "supposed to be." But dancing around the words doesn't make them any less true or any less final.

I have to admit that I had a hard time saying these words for a short time after Alex died. I almost choked on them when they would come out of my mouth. Not because I was sad about what they meant to my life, but because the words themselves were almost offensive. Those little words held were the worst profanity..…

Senior Moments?

Today while driving in the van, Steve says to me, "Just think, next year I will have been driving for 20 years." There was a pause and then he said, "I'm 36? No, wait, I'm only 34? I don't even know how old I am!"

----------------------------------

So we get to WalMart and I go to the craft department to buy some material to match some that I'm using for a project. Simple cotton broadcloth, nothing special. I go to the rack, sample clipping in hand, find the match, take it to get cut, pay for it, and happily leave the store. I get home and guess what...it doesn't match. How did that happen? Are the eyes the first thing to go?

----------------------------------

In an effort to get my son to take a late nap this afternoon, I snuggled up in the bed with him. I fell asleep and he's still tickin'.

The joy of raising a boy

Yesterday Steve and I loaded Sam up into the van for our weekly venture into town for various farm supplies and some retail therapy at WalMart for me. As I was driving along, Steve and I were having a quite lovely conversation about nothing of consequence. From the booster seat behind me I hear my beautiful, loving son's voice say, "Mommy, just be quiet and drive the van."

Oh.My.God!

I think you could actually see my blood pressure go up. My husband's head whipped around and he gave the look of death to Sam as he said, "WHAT did you say?" Sam, being innocent and obviously slightly dense, repeated the phrase in question.

OY!

And then, of course, the day wouldn't be complete without my son running into the barn to tell his father, "Mommy needs help with that damn dog!" hehehe

We have completely ruined him.

Fork in a toaster

There are a few things I have thought about blogging about but haven't, for fear someone would think I need psychiatric help and say something that would really tick me off. But there comes a time when you just have to type what you think and pray that nobody nitpicks you to death.

A long time ago, when I was in college, a dear friend/roommate asked me if I'd ever thought about sticking a fork in a toaster while it was on, just to see what happened. Now, this friend, if she remembers this at all, probably won't be shocked to learn that I thought she was nuts at the time. I chalked it up to her being depressed and kept a watchful eye on all the forks in the apartment. I never seriously thought she would stick a fork in the toaster, but realized at that point that she had considered things in life that I had never considered...morbid things...and I wanted to keep it that way...her on one side and me on the other. I was ABOVE all that sort of stuff because my life was so …

I feel old

I had an Adult Protective Services client once say to me, "I just don't want to burden anyone." I could sympathetically understand what she was saying, but I didn't really "get it," I guess. That feeling of tiredness and lack of interest in the world is there, lurking under everything I do and say. But there is more...there is a feeling that the best of my time is already behind me and I'm becoming a burden to the people around me.

I look at pictures of myself from before Alex died and I think, you poor, poor naive thing, you have no idea what's coming. And I long for the time when my smile reached my eyes and radiated from my soul. I especially see that happy spark in my eyes in the pictures before we even considered conceiving Alex. I have to admit that I have thought about how much "better" my life would be right now if we hadn't gotten pregnant at all. Shamefully, I admit that I have wished Alex completely out of existence …

Now look what I did!

I almost feel guilty that I never learned to do this for my own boys. These were so easy to do and they turned out so nice.

Now I'm going to try my sewing hand at a boys burial romper. I didn't know such a thing existed, but apparently it's all the rage with stillborn boys. Sorry...inappropriate humor there. I'll post a picture when it's done and get your thoughts/impressions.

Nightmares

Someone told me that if I give a voice to my nightmares then they won't be able to hurt me anymore. So I'm giving it a try here. I've had a couple of doozies in the past few days that have left me, quite literally, shaking and sick feeling. I have, of course, had your standard nightmares after losing a baby...how he died, me trying to save him but nobody will listen, horrible "it's all a mistake" autopsy and burial nightmares...the list of hits keeps coming. These all keep me from sleeping soundly most nights.

But somewhere between sleep and waking yesterday I had the most disturbing one. Alex was there in bed between Sam and I. I could see his face, feel his warmth, hear him breathing. For the briefest of moments, I felt what it would have felt like to wake up to the sight of my two boys next to me. I was wonderfully happy. Then I realized I couldn't move...I was frozen in my place. I couldn't reach out and touch either of my boys.

Then A…

A not-so-fun first

Yesterday, I experienced a first with Sam. It's a first I thought might be a ways off. But nope...there it was in all it's glory.

I was sitting at the computer desk and Sam hurried by me sideways with something hidden in his hand, behind his back...and he looked...guilty. He gave me that smile that every child perfects to cover fear of getting caught at something. That smile that expresses the feeling of, "Who me? I haven't done anything wrong, I'm a perfect angel."

Having never seen this particular look from my three-year-old, I quietly followed him into the bedroom where I witnessed him dropping the remains of a light-up ink pen onto my bed. I quietly whispered, "Did you break it?" He looked up at me innocently and said, "Yes, I'm sorry." He looked so sad, as though his whole world was about to come down around his shoulders. Now, I know we had talked about not taking this particular pen apart (because of the multiple batt…

Lessons from Children's Television

I was watching an episode of Oswald with my son yesterday when I was struck with a truth about myself. I personally had no idea children's television was so insightful, but it turns out that they teach some very abstract lessons.

Oswald captured a lightning bug in a jar on the premise that he would get one wish upon releasing the lightning bug back into the air. Once he had the "big guy" in the jar, he couldn't think of what he wanted to wish for. He thought about the pros and cons of all the wishes he could possibly wish. He even asked his friends what they would wish for, hoping they would provide some insight and/or guidance. There was, of course, the standard, "I would wish for more wishes." But seeing a lack of honesty in that wish, Oswald continued on his journey to choose a wish.

Oswald was unable to think of a wish and even slept on it, hoping an appropriate wish would come to him the next day. When he woke up, he still didn't know what t…

Do you plan what you're going to say?

It's obvious I don't plan what I'm going to say when I blog, since my posts are often rambling and pretty much pointless. But when out in the world, I would often spend a lot of prep time before a conversation, planning what I was going to say. I felt the need to psyche myself up for emails, telephone conversations, AND face to face encounters. I imagined possible reactions and tried to come up with what I would say in response.

Perhaps it was part of my need to feel some sort of control over things, I really don't know. I know I have some conversations now that I just don't want to be surprised and start to cry...so I'm motivated to desensitize myself ahead of time. But it's really been a relief to not really care, and just go with the flow, so to speak. I've been pleasantly surprised to find that nothing dire happens if you don't have the right words at any given moment. And sometimes the best thing you can do is to feel the moment and rea…

Breakfast...and the name thing

Since I've been asked...

My full name is Catherine Rachel...only my mom calls me that. :o) Catherine is the name I go by professionally. My friends in real life generally call me Cathy. My friends online generally call me Kate. It's not something I consciously separated out for people. I think it came about because my screenname was originally Kate (back in the beginning of time and the internet)...and I just stuck with it because it was the shortest and easiest to type. Lazy, I know. Of course, there are a couple friends who call me Cathode or Lady Catherine...but they're just a little weird, so it's to be expected. And of course, there's Steve...who sometimes calls me Moose (long story).

So that's me and all my multiple personalities. :o)

------------------------------------------------------

Today for breakfast, I had a croissant and half-caf coffee. After my caffeinated day yesterday, I felt a need to cut down.

Generally, I wake up too late to eat b…

10 weeks

I hate Wednesdays.

What do you really know about me?

I realized while reading someone else's blog that I know about the worst thing that happened to her, but I don't really know much else about her. That, of course, spiraled into a thought about what you all know or don't know about us. Yes, I am THAT self-absorbed that I think about this stuff. :o)

In this blogosphere, I have created a world where I welcome that special mark/label on my forehead..."Mommy to a stillborn baby." But this is exactly the kind of thing I want to avoid in "real" life. Why the difference?

It seems as though there are people who know about all the little details and can't or won't share the big important ones. And then there are you guys/gals. You share that one horrible, awful, unthinkable experience with me, but know very few of the little details. There are only a handful of people who know both parts of me. And I'm apparently crafting my existence as though I accept that fact.

Perhaps it's ok to wear…

I don't know how you do it

I don't know either.

Sometimes we're handed cards that we'd rather not ever play. But you know what? We have no choice. What should we do instead? Curl up in a ball and sob? Hide in a closet and ignore the rest of the world? Retreat into some sad and pathetic shell where we no longer have to deal with feeling anything?

We miss our son. And we are immeasurably sad that he isn't alive and with us. But we did not die with him. We are alive.

So we trudge forward, one step at a time. I don't know how we do it. There are moments when we feel like we just might not be able to take one more step. But then we remember all the things we can still do because we're alive. And we recognize that by doing those things, we are not squandering the gift of life that was given to US. We are honoring our son's memory by remembering him and continuing on toward whatever the future may hold for us. And we know that whatever gets thrown our way, we can handle it..…

Time and people

Today I got into a philosophical discussion with a fellow lawyer. He's in his mid-fifties and struggling with the meaning of life. As you get older, he told me, you find that there are only two things that matter...time...and people.

He bills a lot of hours and therefore has no real life outside of his office. He said he started to consider, on his fiftieth birthday, that his life was more than half over and he wasn't where he wanted to be. He hasn't spent his time well and he doesn't see himself able to spend the rest of his time well. I thought that was a darn shame. With no real obstacles around you, the only justification for such an attitude is money. He claims he spends his money on his son and his fiancee. I don't know him well enough to know if that is entirely true. But if it is, isn't it sad that he spends his entire lifetime pursuing the almighty dollar for someone else. I mean, if he was spending it on himself, maybe I could understand it…

Which is worse?

Today, I had a client who recently underwent surgery for colon cancer, has a colostomy (spelling?) bag, and is undergoing chemtherapy and radiation tell me, "If this is the worst thing that happens to me...to be honest, I'd much rather be going through this than what you recently went through." Oddly enough, I find that comforting to hear because it means that this person recognizes the pain I am going through. But on the life sucks scale, I personally think that we're pretty much even.

Fast Forward

Steve and I have both decided that this summer would be much better on fast forward. It's hot and sticky, we have no money, and we have no baby...let's just get it over with and pretend it never happened shall we? At least when the snow flies we won't have hot and sticky to deal with.

As for the money stuff...we found out we have to pay $200 for my hospital stay deductible. You know, I wouldn't object if I actually had a baby to show for it. But it just seems wrong somehow to have to pay for a labor and delivery room under these circumstances.

But back to the time fast forward...

I was vacuuming the other day and realized that we have four hooks on our mantel. We went out last Christmas and bought new stockings because the mice had gotten to ours in the basement. I guess we put the cart before the horse buying four of them. I've already told Steve, who completely agrees, that we're going to give them away and get three new ones. But now that I think abou…

Colors

Image
I crocheted Alex a blanket like I crocheted one for Sam before he was born. Sam's was pastel colors. Alex's was bright rainbow colors. I never got to finish Alex's...I thought I had more time. But what I did have finished I buried with him.



Today we pulled the overcooked spring flowers up at Alex's grave and planted some "heat tolerant" flowers in their place. We had started with white petunias, then some purple flowers I can't remember the name of, and now we have yellow/gold/orange flowers I can't remember the name of (they have thick green leaves and look like a bush with yellow/gold/orange daisies all over them).

***[Butter Daisy, Melampodium, Gold Medallion Flower, Star Daisy (Melampodium paludosum)]

I think it's right that Alex gets all the colors of the rainbow in and on his grave, since he doesn't get to experience them any other way. Damn, I wish I had had the time to finish that blanket.

Not much to say

There are days when I just don't have much to say, yet I feel compelled to blog something. Why is that? I think it's therapeutic for me to speak my mind...it helps me deal with whatever I'm feeling at any given moment. So I feel like if I don't say SOMETHING, then I'm not making any progress in learning to cope with my new reality.

Did I tell you that I called a Maternal Fetal specialist to get her medical opinion on what went wrong and where we might adjust things if we decide to have another baby? I made the mistake of telling the nurse that my schedule was flexible. She said she'd make me an appointment and call me back. That was at 3pm Friday...no phone call back yet. (sigh) I'm normally a slightly impatient person (no smart comments from those who would qualify me as more than "slightly impatient"). Add to that my sudden control issues, and you've got one irritated woman right about now.

Speaking of which, I've REALLY got to …

Expensive potty training

Image
We tried bribery to get Sam potty-trained and it worked...a little too well.

We told him he could buy a Thomas the Tank Engine toy if he peed on the potty. He did...and we bought him a toy.

Now he thinks EVERY time he pees on the potty he's going to get a new toy.

He was NOT happy when we introduce the pooping on the potty concept.

hehehe

They named him Xavier

My coworker and her husband's baby, that is. His name is Xavier Daniel, and he's beautiful and amazing.

And now I'm back in that same place I was on Day One.

Happy Birthday Mom!
We love you!

I have to admit

I have to admit to being completely useless to most anyone and everyone. Since I found out I was pregnant with Alex, I'd been baby obsessed. Since Alex died, I've been grief obsessed. I get very little work done. I'm short-tempered with my husband and my son. I don't speak to friends or family, most notably my mom. I don't want to do any of the fun stuff I used to do.

The only two good things I can say about my immediate existence are (1) my house is benefitting because I clean when I'm upset; and (2) I am back doing some rescue business for shelter dogs.

Eventually, my boss, my husband, my son, and my mother are going to get pissed off at this attitude. I know that. But I can't seem to find the coping tools to shake it off. All the books I read and all the people I talk to say to "give it time." How much time is too much? If I'm getting impatient with myself, I can only imagine how the people I care about must be thinking about m…

Just my luck

Apparently, the person who has my SAM ALEX license plates must live near us. I pulled up behind his dark green Plymouth Voyager again this morning on my way to work.

Happy Birthday Mom!
We love you!
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Mom
Happy Birthday to you!

We love you!
Thanks for the reading suggestions.

I read Empty Cradle, Broken Heart...it was ok...nothing to write home about.

Then I read Empty Arms (what's with the empty theme?) and didn't care for it at all.

I picked up Trying Again last night again and I think I must be in a bit better of a frame of mind, because it's not as bad as I first thought. The thing that really set me off of it the first time was the line, "There's not any single right answer." But I read past that and it's actually pretty helpful.

The thing I waffle on dis/liking in all these books are the, "Nancy remembers the feelings of hopelessness..." stories. I don't need to identify more...I can identify just fine without the personlized stuff, ya know?

I'll give Pregnancy After a Loss a try too...thanks for the suggestion.

Can you tell I'm a researcher by nature? A planner? I wonder why I bother, since we all know it don't mean a hill of beans in the long run.

Cemetery rituals

The first few times I visited Alex's grave, I stood in the same spot I stood in for his funeral. It was a routine or a habit that I think was my unconscious attempt to freeze time, to stay in that exact same place so I wouldn't have to face the reality of time passing without his being here with me. I would stare at his flowers or up at the sky, my eyes always avoiding that place where he is actually laid to rest in the ground.

Then one day, I sat down. I sat on Alex's left side, assuming he is buried with his head near his headstone space (there is no headstone in place yet). I talked and cried and screamed all the while looking at his flowers or the trees surrounding that back corner of the cemetery. There are no other graves in the direction I looked, only a handful of graves behind my back. It was like being in a park. I could watch the trees dance in the wind and feel the breeze on my face. But I knew it wasn't "right."

I finally worked up the co…

Progress in Ohio

I called the Ohio Department of Health, Office of Vital Records, expecting to be told that I would be able to get a death certificate for Alex, but not a birth certificate. But guess what? Ohio now officially offers a birth certificate for stillborn babies. I can't remember what they call it, but it just went in this year's budget and is now in effect. You just have to indicate that it is a birth certificate for a stillborn baby and send in the $15 fee. Hooray for progress.

Blame

It seems there is enough guilt and blame when you lose a baby to blanket the whole world.

I blame myself. What did I DO that could have caused Alex's body to grow oddly like it did? What did I do to cause the blood vessel in his brain to explode like it did? What could I have done differently?

I blame my doctor. Why was I treated like nothing could go wrong? Why didn't someone tell me things to watch out for that could indicate a problem?

I blame my insurance company. Why do they only pay for two ultrasounds? Why is my baby's death a calculated business risk to them?

I blame God. Why didn't he stop this from happening? Or the alternative...why did he make this happen? Or yet a third option...why is he powerless to do anything?

I blame genetics. Where in my family tree did this defect come from?

But the one thing I wasn't prepared for is that there are people out there that will also blame me for Alex's death. You can see it on their faces and hear it …

Who needs a watch?

Image
My belly has never been flat. In fact, except for my years of two hour per day college marching band high stepping practice, I've always been overweight. When I lose/gain weight, I usually notice it because something fits better or worse than it did the week before. Normally, these changes don't bother me or excite me...they just are.

Today, however, my pants are too big and I'm now in a tailspin that has effectively ruined my entire day. Imagine that, I'm upset because I've lost weight. But I think some of you may understand. The baggier my pants get, the further I am away from when I was happy. My waistline has become some sort of bizarre measure of time.

The remains of Hurricane Dennis

I just realized my headache is gone! I love pressure fronts named Dennis!

Remembering

I've been doing a lot of remembering this week. For some reason, strange images keep popping into my head at the oddest times. Mostly tactile sensations...and the feelings they evoked...in no particular order.

Walking through Babies R Us carrying the blue stuffed dog, hugging and petting it and marvelling at how soft it was.

Watching Dr. Phil, standing bent over with my pregnant belly hanging to give my back some relief.

The absolute nirvana of eating grape tomatoes and drinking chocolate milk.

Rubbing my pregnant belly and the feel of the soft pink stretch maternity shirt I was wearing.

Sitting in the rocking chair in the darkness of 12:30am, feeling the cool breeze of the ceiling fan, and listening to the silence.

Laying in bed, grabbing Steve's hand and telling him to work his magic to calm his son down.

Sam saying, "I want up," and climbing into my lap...feeling the weight of my belly and rearranging myself so Sam and Alex would both fit with minimum discomfort.

Standi…

Trying Again

So I bought a book that was recommended to me. Thankfully, I bought it off eBay at a greatly discounted price, because it tells me absolutely nothing. Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss is NOT a "guide" to anything. It's filled with a bunch of statistics that I'm sure are meant to be reassuring. But when you've already come out on the losing end of the statistics once before, the numbers don't mean a whole heck of a lot. Much of what's in there can be divided into two points...1)Only you can say when you're emotionally ready; and 2)All those pre-pregnancy tips for "normal" people still apply (alcohol, caffeine, weight loss, etc).

Gee thanks.

For those of you who haven't experienced a pregnancy loss

This is the kind of crap that women who HAVE experienced a loss find offensive and downright irresponsible.

I'm going to step up on my soapbox for a moment here...

"the odds were overwhelmingly in a pregnant woman’s favor that around 40 weeks or so from conception, one way or another and mostly regardless of what she had or hadn’t done, the average pregnant woman would deliver a baby and that baby would be just swell."

This is why women are uninformed and completely shocked when/if a pregnancy loss happens to them. This is the kind of arrogant intentional ignorance that we, as women, should fight to eliminate, not perpetuate. Your statistics are way off. Your attitude is condescending and rude. And you continue to sermonize how women shouldn't worry.

Despite the number of prenatal losses in this country, this is a topic that is glossed over in books. In 2000, there were 2,181 SIDS deaths reported in the United States. That year there were over 26,000 S.A.D.S. deaths re…

Jealousy

I hate self-assurance, because I used to have it.
I hate people with all the answers, because I once was like that.
I hate happy baby talk, because all I have is sad baby talk.
I hate religion, because it provides me no comfort.
I hate people who don't have all the answers, because I want some and have very few.
I hate crying, because it seems to be all I do.
I hate that feeling in the pit of my stomach that something is horribly wrong, because something IS horribly wrong.
I hate that people tell me to just give it time, because it seems all I have left is one long endless stretch of time.
I hate that people are afraid to talk to me, because I would have been the same way.
I hate that people don't know what this is like, because I want someone to share my pain and understand.

I'm jealous of all those people out there who have what I used to have...a happily complicated-with-everyday-things kind of life. This is what my life is reduced to...simple jealousy. I feel a need to turn th…

Dear Alex

Today is your two-month birthday and I just wanted to take a moment to remember. I know we didn't have a lifetime together like I promised, but what time we did have together was pure magic to me. I'm sorry I couldn't protect you. And I'm sorry you will miss out on meeting your Daddy and your big brother. Of all the things in this world that I would have shown you, the love in your Daddy's eyes is the one thing I'm most sad that you will never see.

He was so happy when I told him I was pregnant with you. I can still see the pure joy on his face when we found out you were a boy, and all those Daddy-type plans raced through his head. I know he so very badly wanted to show you the joy of a Colorado Rockies homerun, the thrill of looking at huge TVs, and the excitement of a good classic rock tune. I know he looked forward to seeing you and Sam grow and do boy things together.

Sweet Sam...your big brother. He wishes you were here all the time. He imagines…

Today

Sucked. Everywhere I went there were baby reminders. The fabric store...baby fabrics and yarns. The scrapbooking store...baby papers and embellishments. The dollar store...a woman and her mother happily planning and shopping for her baby shower. The toy store...baby days sale (not to mention the million or so beautiful tiny babies with their obviously new mothers). I can't escape it. I want to crawl in a hole and never come out. I'd probably run into baby rabbits in that hole, with my luck.

Tomorrow is two months by the calendar. The 11th. I hate the 11th.

Look what I can do!

Read your blog

Question for bloggers: Do you get a lot of emails with this as the first line? I got three within the last 24 hours and it kind of made me giggle.

A transformed woman

One of the paralegals in my office went to see the coworker who had her baby this week. She said she is a "completely transformed woman...everything about her is different...her aura...everything. You know what having a child does for a woman." I so desperately wanted to ask her what has changed about me since having lost Alex...but I didn't want her to think I'm completely self-involved.

But I do wonder. Am I a transformed woman? Or am I the same person, just going through a rough time right now? I feel different. But perhaps that is just grief and mourning talking, and it will wear off in time. Maybe the transformation comes AFTER the grief has subsided.

I must admit that I have never felt particularly "grown up." I have generally felt as though I'm play acting at this grown up thing. Faking it, if you will. So I'm not really sure how I'm supposed to see myself. Fact is, I'm a reasonably intelligent, well-educated, underpaid pr…

For the record

We're THINKING about having another baby.
We haven't even discussed it.
JUST THINKING.
That's all.

Why do I doubt it?

I have it on good authority that I am officially "still in the running" for the aforementioned job that I interviewed with but never heard anything and now a coworker is interviewing for (how's that for a run-on sentence?). Thank you to my source (wink, wink)

When I went for my interview, they said they would know something in two weeks. Apparently they did. They hired someone else for the first position (There are two more positions open up in the same department). But apparently their knowing something does not translate into their extending the professional courtesy of sending out a note to let me know.

Have I mentioned I can't stand most lawyers?

So now I'm pretty negative about the whole thing...and really doubtful that I have a snowball's chance. Ah well...life sucks...I pretty much knew that already.

The big pink elephant

Image
I composed myself enough to attend the weekly "ladies lunch" here at my office. We had been, prior to my medical leave, each bringing in a dish to pass on a given day each week and enjoying some good female bonding conversation (gossip). Today's lunch was to be a dual purpose lunch to be a shower of sorts for my pregnant coworker. But since she delivered her as yet unnamed baby boy a couple of weeks early, we just had a single purpose lunch today. We mainly talked about family...sharing stories about husbands and boyfriends and kids. It was nice. It was a little awkward for me. But it was nice.

At one point in the conversation, an incredibly young and wonderfully naive co-worker made some reference to how her twenty-some years had passed so quickly, imagine how fast the rest of her life will go. Start the awkward silence and furtive glances my direction...followed by a smattering of nervous laughter.

Was I supposed to fall apart? start crying? make some com…

Fabulous

Just when I was starting to feel "accomplished," a coworker comes into my office to tell me she has an interview with a place I previously interviewed with but received no response. Life sucks.

Nothing to say

Do you ever just have nothing to say, but feel like you should fill up the silence with something? I've been having this feeling a lot lately. I think my mind is turning too fast because I keep imagining what must be going through other people's minds when there is any amount of silence between us. It's like I imagine they are thinking about how sad it must be to be me, so I need to reassure them that while I am sad, my existence has not become sad. I feel like I need to fill up the silence so that they won't feel pity for me.

When did I become pitiful? And why did I become pitiful? Why didn't I become like some tragic heroine in a novel, where everyone sees me as strong and mysterious and soulful because of my grief? One of many things I think television has done a disservice to. Instead of shaping characters for the rest of their lives, the loss of a child is only temporarily mourned and then everyone moves on to the next great crisis, seemingly forgetti…

Keeping myself busy

Today I spent the day splitting my time between playing with Sam and working on sewing projects. I finished Sam's red blankie, as requested by the little man himself. I worked on a medieval faire costume for a friend. And I learned how to crochet baby hats for charity. Yes, I have decided to use my scrap yarn and my need to keep busy to make baby hats, booties, and outfits for hospitals and other charities. Particularly important to me are the items that will be given to stillborn babies and their families. It bothers me that Alex only had a hospital blanket to wrap up in when we were in the hospital. He did have a hand-made hat that we kept that as a treasured keepsake. And we were given a baby blankie that was given to Sam as a gift from his baby brother. It was wonderful to know someone cared enough to make those thing for us. Now it's my turn to give back...and it keeps me busy so I don't think so much. I'll post pics if my first attempts don't turn …

My coworker had her baby

And as a very good friend said...why couldn't she do the decent thing and just go have her baby quietly over the long weekend?

7lb 9oz baby boy made his entrance into the world at about 10:30 this morning. Mom and baby are healthy and happy. The message from her mom didn't include a name. I hope her husband didn't name him something weird. Last I heard (before Alex died) he was entertaining the first name of "Crash." lol

I know it sounds horrible, but I'm so glad she had that baby and will be out on maternity leave now. It was so hard to pass her and her pregnant belly in the hallway each day. And she has enough leave saved up, she probably won't be back until October. By then the new baby stuff will have worn off and I can get away with polite inquiries without all the required newborn goo-goo-ing.

I think that's the last pregnant person I come into contact with on a regular basis. Thank God! Now I can stop feeling like someone is rubbing sa…

Draft horse owners are so weird

And now a word from our sponsor

I am selling Tree-Free Greeting Cards as a fundraiser for Second Chances Dalmatian Rescue. Each set of twelve gorgeous cards comes with twelve equally beautiful envelopes...all in a matching tin. The price is $13.95 per set and Second Chances gets 50% of the proceeds. Check out their website and email me if you're interested in buying anything. We don't have all the cards listed on the Tree-Free site, but we hav many of them. Or maybe you might be moved to just make a donation (we would love it if you would).

And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Blindsided

I was all set to blog today about my dilemma surrounding whether or not to attend a potluck lunch thrown in honor of my coworker who is due July 17th (one month after I was due with Alex).

But instead, I come into the office today and the receptionist (who I love and who normally is much more sensitive) tells me that my coworker is in the hospital and having her baby. I'm happy for her...I really am. But I feel as though I've been hit by a very big truck.

I survived this weekend with my ghost Alex haunting every single second. I thought I could return to some semblance of an even keel today with my office door shutting out the rest of the world. Instead, the office is all a-twitter with happy anticipation. And I just keep crying.

Such a struggle

My little Sam is struggling so hard with growing up.

A part of him wants desperately to go out and watch the fireworks and be a "big kid." But there is still an overwhelming little kid part of him that is afraid of the "loud noise." So this translates into requests like, "Take me into the kitchen and hold me up so I can see out the window," (to watch the neighbor's display of illegal fireworks) and, "I want to go drive and see fireworks in the van." Presumably, the second request would lead to us driving some distance in order to sit in the van and, at the first boom, listening to him cry and say, "I want to go home."

So we are staying at home and making repeated trips to the kitchen window...and back to the safety of the living room (away from the window). It really is quite adorable. But it is also bittersweet to see my first baby boy growing up right before my eyes.

There is too much blog material here

Image
OK...maybe I'm being unpatriotic here, but watching A Capitol Fourth on PBS this evening has provided me enough blog material to last a lifetime.

Barry Bostwick hosts the show. His hair...well...that would be too easy. His drunken state...you have to see it to appreciate the humor.

So...The latest rendition of the Beach Boys leads off the performance part of the show. It looks to be one original member in his eighties, and the rest are kids who look to be too young to even remember the Beach Boys in their original form.

As for their actual singing...I'm being kind when I say this...what the hell happened to them?!?!? They're horrible! To say they can't carry a tune in a bucket is the understatement of the year. Now I know they're the Beach Boys (sort of) and everyone knows their music...so it isn't really a necessity that they sing the words because the crowd will fill in the blanks. But, my God! It's almost painful to watch.

Next, we get Sharon …

Better question

Why oh why did I buy Sam a keyboard for Christmas??? Why? Why? Why?

Why do I do this to myself?

Why do I engage in home improvement projects with my husband? Why? Why? Why?

No Doughnuts

Image
We live in a small town that is celebrating the grand opening weekend of our very first Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins store at the corner gas station/grocery mart. Just stopped in for a dozen doughnuts only to be told to stop back later...they have to make more. How does Dunkin Donuts run out of doughnuts? I guess it's like the times Arby's ran out of roast beef and Burger King ran out of burger buns. Seriously, those have actually happened to us...and we laughed each time. This time, however, we are not laughing. Do you KNOW what it is like to try to explain to a three-year-old that Dunkin Donuts has no doughnuts? He just looks at us like we've lost our minds and insists, "But I want doughnuts." Luckily, we need to run out again anyway...so we're going to hit another Dunkin Donuts along the way. If THEY don't have dougnuts, you'll probably hear the whining wherever you are. Wish us luck.

All that's left is me missing you

Now that we "know what happened," I still don't feel any better. I thought I would.

But I feel exactly the same.

I miss my baby. I miss him in everything I do and everything I see.

Not forgotten

I'm posting this here because I believe every baby should be remembered. I hope the friend who sent this story to me won't mind that I'm sharing it.


I was touched by the image of all the pinwheels you put on the babies' graves at the cemetery. It made me remember being little and going to the cemetery where my grandfather is buried. My mom and aunts always told us that my grandfather knew the exact location of, and always put flowers on, the unmarked grave of a baby who died long ago and was buried outside the cemetery because he/she was black. No one remembered the precise location anymore, but we always took flowers out there and guessed just the same. I have a sudden urge to drive out to that cemetery and walk through the knee-high grass outside the fence and remember that forgotten little one with some flowers.

Questions and Answers

Well, my OB/GYN called with the final autopsy results. She shared them over the phone...this woman has a lot to learn about how to deal with this sort of thing. Luckily I was having a "good" day and handled it relatively well.

From Alex's final autopsy...

There was evidence of an intercranial hemmorrhage. That can't happen once the baby is dead. So it is most likely what killed Alex.

Mercifully, I have an answer...sort of. We still don't know why the hemmorrhage happened. There are suppositions and educated guesses revolving around his large size. But it is just as possible that he could have been born early and then dropped dead. Nobody knows for sure.

It is comforting to know that Alex most likely did not suffer a long-term illness while I was oblivious. Also, I have been told that based on my recollection of events, and because his eyes were closed, it is likely Alex died in his sleep. It is something to me to know that he did not feel pain and was happ…

Good question

Have I changed or am I afraid other people will think I've changed?

OK...so this question was in a conversation context that wasn't exactly phrased this way, but it's the question I came up with for today's self-psychoanalysis.

Of course I've changed. How could I NOT change? Everywhere I go there will be this missing piece, this emptiness. Everything I look at I will see where Alex should be but isn't. There is this sadness that follows me, and despite how I try, I can't shake it. I will always find it unfair that others will have happy and healthy new babies but mine died. Not that I've changed so much as to wish anyone else ill...but why us and Alex?

But more than just the present sadness, I know there is more sadness in my future...and fear. I will never again experience the unaltered joy of being pregnant. With a positive pregnancy test comes the very real knowledge that it could just as easily end in a nightmare. I will never have the pure …