Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Can you imagine?

People searching for loved ones on the internet. Not knowing if they will find them alive or dead.

There are some things worse than the crisis in my life. I'm not sure if that makes me feel better or worse.

Tiredness and loathing in Ohio

This is going to be a rambling mess...much like the compartments in my brain right now...leaking from one to another with no barriers to separate and organize.

I'm running on empty. I don't sleep well. I can't concentrate when I'm awake. I'm irritable and ready to kill someone or something. I tried to find a racquetball club to join so I could smack the snot out of a rubber ball and I couldn't afford the membership fees.

What irritates me and drives me to blog these days? My family can turn a quick trip into Walmart into an hour long ordeal. Why, oh why, does he have to use a different cup every single time he gets another drink? My son has mastered the art of the never-ending three-year-old whine. People want me to be out and about and I just don't feel like it.

All I really want to do is spend the day tucked up in my bed with the covers over me.

But I have to keep going. I have to keep moving. A rolling stone, and all that.

I don't want to pick up my stuff from my mother's house (the stuff that didn't sell at the garage sale). I don't want to go to the library and return the books. I don't want to go to work. I don't want to pretend to watch Thomas the Tank Engine for the four millionth time.

I want to sleep. I used to sleep. I could sleep 12 hour stretches, wake up, and sleep for eight more. Now I'm lucky if I sleep two hours in a row. I'm beginning to think this is some cruel form of punishment. All these sleepless hours when I should be nursing and comforting a new baby...spent awake with no baby. I get the joy of the sleep deprived state of insanity, but none of the joy of love.

And as I sit here in this dark house, I get angrier and angrier. As each hour ticks off the clock toward a new dawn, I want to scream about it. I want to yell until my voice disappears from the strain. It's a wonder I'm able to talk to anyone at all without a stream of profanity passing my lips. This anger and venom keeps filling up my soul and I want so much to find a place to put them where they won't hurt anyone.

How is it possible to be so tired? And not just from lack of sleep. I mean the tiredness that invades the cellular level of the body and makes even breathing feel like it is the equivalent of a climb up Mt. Everest.

I certainly have nothing witty to say tonight. In fact, most of what comes to mind is mean and bitter sounding. It's not that there isn't hope for the future...it's that there is no plan for the future. There was a time when I could make a plan and do whatever it took to make it happen. I knew there was a possibility things wouldn't go as planned, but at least I was invested in the process. Now...who cares? Instead of wasting all that time planning, I should have just enjoyed the moments and hoped for the best. It seems things would have turned out the same...and I'd probably be a much happier person today.

Good God, I'm tired.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I'm too impressionable

I watched an episode of CSI the other night in which they pulled a maggot out of the ear of a corpse. I've been having a creepy crawly feeling in my right ear ever since.

I'm not feeling particularly bloggy lately. I feel like I'm starting to sound like a broken record. And I keep hearing people tell me, "Well, you can't base things on your one bad experience...you're the exception, not the rule." Does being an exception and not the rule make it any less real to me? I mean, it DID happen...didn't it? Maybe this is one of those times I need to ignore what everyone else says/thinks and go with my gut...and blab incessantly about stuff that nobody but me cares about. Hell...everyone else is taking up cyberspace...why not me and my repetitive crap? What would my mother say to that? "If everyone else jumped off a pier, would you do it too?" lol

When I was pregnant with Alex, I could conjure an image of a nice warm, sunny beach somewhere and it would magically stave off the morning sickness. I've got nothing now.

I'm off to clean out my ear with a q-tip for the zillionth time today.

What to feel?

I'm afraid to forget. And yet, I'm afraid to remember. There is no comfortable in-between place where I can survive.

How do I do this? How do I find my way every single day for the rest of my life?

hehehe

Now I'm having fun. I should be working.

Anyone know why something would preview correctly in blogger but not show up when published? When I preview, I have a pretty blue background. When it's published, it's all white. hmmmm...

I guess I'll just go with white for now. I have a headache and I really need to get some work done today.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I'm baaaaa-aaaaaack!

Wireless and all! woo hoo! This is fun! I can now watch the Cubs lose AND post on my blog. I feel like a new woman.

But then I changed back to the blue. I started to have some Internet Explorer issues with the new computer and the new flower template. So, now I feel like the same old me. (sigh)

Memories

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I followed the school bus in on my way to work this morning. We stopped at this house where the whole family was standing outside, seeing little Bobbie off to his first day of school. Not just mom and dad and little sis...but also TWO grandmas and what looked to be two aunts. It was a truly bittersweet moment for mom...you could see it on her face. The joy that her baby had grown and was taking his first really independent steps in the world...and the sadness that her baby had grown and was taking his first really independent steps in the world. She took his picture as he boarded the bus so she could remember this moment on this day forever. While I'm sure he'll be thrilled with that when he's sixteen, there will come a time later in his life when he will understand and he'll look at that picture, smile, and remember all those who loved him standing on the front porch and waving goodbye for the day.
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We found the note. It is nothing special...a quickly penned note on printer paper in standard blue ballpoint. But it holds so much hope, so much happiness, so many dreams, that I needed to hang on to it. It's the note that I wrote and hung on the bathroom mirror for Steve the morning I found out I was pregnant with Alex. It had been lost and feared gone forever, possibly mistakenly thrown in the trash or accidentally used as a three-year-olds doodle page. But it had simply been shuffled in with some papers that were sitting in our never-cleaned desk. We picked up a new desk at a garage sale this weekend and had to clean out the old one and consolidate our junk. And there it was...

It says:
Congratulations! You're going to be a Daddy again. I hope you're ready. I love you. Me

I miss them.

I miss Alex.
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We sold the stroller we used for Sam. We sold the exersaucer we used for Sam. We sold some of Sam's old clothes. Now I understand, "They grow up so fast."

We were getting ready to leave the house yesterday when Sam looks at me and says, "Mommy, I'll be on the porch in case you need me." My breath literally caught in my chest. He's so grown up already.
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The "old" computer (the lightening fried doorstop) has now been replace by a fast moving, well-equipped, slick Gateway laptop. We're even entering the world of wireless computing. It's going to be great. Now I just have to figure out how to get my 3000+ Sam pictures from their Mac-formatted disks.
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Friday, August 26, 2005

Congratulations B!

Hey,

I was just reading your blog and knew exactly what you were going to say about your pet peeves in life before I read them - spelling and grammar! Maybe it should be you and not me beginning to teach High School English this coming week. Those are my pet peeves too-but you were always more meticulous than I was!

How are you all doing? I think about you a lot. More than you would ever guess probably. I have not known how to tell you, or even when to tell you this. I am eighteen weeks pregnant. It seems about the time you lost Baby Alex we were finally able to conceive. I have seen Alex as our Angel too. I cried so hard the day I received your email about the baby, and then when I realized that I was pregnant and the timing I cried again. I have read your Blog every week, reading about what is going on with you. I know that you experienced a great loss, and that even though I had a miscarriage four years ago and I thought I would never be able to have a baby, that I could not even begin to understand your pain.

I understand if you can't talk to me. I did not want to hurt you, but at the same time I did not want to wait until January and possibly hurt you further by not telling you sooner. I pray for all of you and our baby and I hope Alex is looking out for all of us.

Love,
B


CONGRATULATIONS AND BEST WISHES!

I sincerely mean that.

But I hope you don't mind if I go have a good cry and feel sorry for myself for a bit.

Stupid things people say

OK...I'm a nit-picker...I admit it. I have a lot of pet peeves and I can't stand it when people do certain things. It drives me up a wall. Grammar and spelling are generally my two biggies on the internet. But the other is this...do me a favor and just plain make sense, would ya?

Some of the people who read this will know that I was lurking on a message board in order to have seen this. And to those people I will tell you this...this is why I can't be on that message board right now...these are the kinds of reactions I have to the posts there.

I read this post titled, "The carpet was pulled out from under me today." And while I sympathize with the person's dilemma presented in the text of the post, the title has me ready to scream. The carpet?!?! Really?!?! If you're going to use cliches, at least GET THEM RIGHT! It's a rug...not carpet! How exactly would the carpet be pulled out from under you? I have pulled up carpet...and it's a freaking hard job! If your ass is standing on the carpet when someone is trying to pull it up, you need to move and start helping them, instead of just standing there.

See, the cliche goes, "Someone pulled the RUG out from under me." Rugs are easy to pull up. You grab one side and just give a yank. It's possible to be surprised that someone pulls a rug out from under you...but no way would you be surprised if someone overhauled your living room and pulled the carpet out from under you. Get it right!

Lest you think I don't laugh

We were all snuggled up in bed watching Thomas the Tank Engine for the zillionth time on the now lightening-fried-green-and-purple-television. The bedside lamp was the only other light in the house. I had my eyeglasses off and was staring lazily at the green and purple blobs I know to be train engines, chugging around on the screen.

Suddenly, I saw this rather large dark blob flap across the room, diving close to the bed and returning to ceiling level to flit around and come to rest on the window curtain. I said, "What was that?" My dear son, the apple of my eye, whom I adore with everything I have, claps his hands excitedly and bounces up and down while proclaiming, "It's a bat, mommy!" He has recently discovered the joy of bats flying at dusk, both at our house and out from the cracks in the siding at grandma and grandpa's house. It's a wonder of nature that he simply adores. I would too...outside of my bedroom. He obviously had no idea how absolutely freaked out this would make me...he thought it was simply wonderful.

I jumped from the bed, flipped on the overhead light, and squeaked, "A bat?!?!" Keep in mind, that I was only able to see amoebic shapes at this point, as I had not yet found my eyeglasses. (I will sometime have to tell you the stories of the mice and the ladybugs that have traumatized me as to all wildlife in my house.)

My husband snorted and said, "It's not a bat!" What it was...a huge moth type bug with a wingspan of about three or four inches. It's wings were really quite pretty, for being a creature of the night and all.

So, having an obsession with all things that fly, I asked my dear husband (who was approaching with baby wipe in hand, presumably to squash this thing flat on my white curtain sheers...boo hiss) to get a cup and capture this renegade winged creature and return it to the great outdoors. Now this sounds like a simple task. Until you find out that this creepy crawly has some sort of jet-powered engine hidden under its massive wingspan and can flit and flap around at the speed of light.

Poor Steve became increasingly surly as Sam and I laughed and laughed at his antics running around the room, moving furniture, and trying to capture this thing in a cup. (I think it was the whole hunter-gatherer thing in action.) I found my eyeglasses and was able to participate in the hunt with the oh-so-helpful, "It's over there...now it's over there...no...now it's over there." It's a wonder Steve didn't bean me with the cup he was using to try to corral this thing (it was big enough, you probably could have put a small saddle on it). And Sam was additionally helpful in his clapping and laughing and jumping up and down on the bed during the chase. It was such fun to watch him...his pure joy and simple laughter was contagious and made me laugh until I cried.

Then, of course, there were the foiled attempts to capture this thing when it flew into the bedroom overhead light and I was afraid it would burn its wings off on the lightbulbs, so I flipped off the light switch and it went in search of another source of warmth in the bedside light. I headed that direction to save this poor thing with the fragile jet-powered wings, but Steve looked at me with that look that said, "Touch it and die."

The adventure came to an end when mommy finally stopped laughing and took control. The flying creature was captured without incident and a cooperative effort resulted in it being returned to the wilds of northern Ohio.

A bat! I'm surprised I could sleep after that.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Baby Alex has a new neighbor.

Sixteen-year-old Brittany Collier died in a car accident on Sunday, August 14, 2005. As I visited Alex on Tuesday afternoon, I saw her grave, covered with dozens of flower arrangements and thought about who she might have been. I saw on her temporary grave marker that she was a teenager...and I began to think about her family...and all those she must have left behind to mourn her passing.

I wonder how her parents are doing...how her younger brother is doing. I'm incredibly sad for all of them. But I'm particularly sad for Brittany's mother because I know the questions she will ask as she sits in that place, not so far from where I sit.

I hope that she finds peace along her journey of grief.

This sucks

(to borrow a phrase from my brother)

I was all set to have my bologna sandwich on white bread with cheese and Miracle Whip. But I discovered I left the damn jar of Miracle Whip sitting on the counter at home. Now my day is shot...as is the Miracle Whip most likely.
As I folded each piece of baby clothing and laid it out on the table in my parent's well-loved garage, I could see all the moments flash before my eyes.

The shopping trips with my mom, excited to become a grandma for the first time. Her laughing and saying, "You're my best hope for grandchildren."

My baby shower, peeling back the tissue paper to reveal the thoughtfulness of the person who gave the gift.

Washing the baskets of baby clothes, folding each piece, and putting them all away in the wardrobe in anticipation of his arrival.

Dressing my Sam in each one...pajamas, onesies, little socks, tshirts, his Curious George romper, his Mommy's Little Monkey romper...

Frantically scrubbing the vomit or poop stains with Shout.

Watching Sam perform all his "firsts" in each piece. The outfit he came home from the hospital in. The striped Old Navy "prison uniform" that he stood up for the first time in. The plaid preppy romper that he cruised the furniture in. The overall set he had his first portrait taken in.

Family Halloweens and Christmas...costumes and outfits that everyone said were "so adorable."

Packing up each size as Sam outgrew them...0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, 2T...often long before he had actually reached the appropriate age mark.

Taking the bags and boxes up from the basement and sorting through them, sure that Alex would "love" certain pieces...sure that he would "look adorable" in others...worried that he was going to have to wear a lot of hand-me-downs.

Adding in the clothes that a loving friend sent for Alex and sorting out some more hand-me-downs that I decided weren't "quite right."

Digging through the boxes, trying to find the perfect thing to bury our Alex in.

Trying to imagine what he would look like in each piece for his first time standing up in...for his first steps...for his first portrait...for each Halloween and Christmas.

Hiding the boxes in the basement so I wouldn't have to look at them.

Trying desperately to remember...was it a snail or a bug on the sleeper I chose to bury Alex in?

Wanting to keep each piece in order to remember every happy moment experienced.

Wanting each piece gone so as not to have to remember what should have been.

Wanting to curl up in a ball and cry. Smiling instead...trying to make it feel right when I know it will never be right again.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Emptiness

I have learned to accept the sadness and I am coping with it. The anger is less intense and I'm coping with that too. I'm working on the jealousy as well...though I still have a way to go, I really feel like I can conquer it (or at least leash train it to sit and stay when I need it to).

I can not seem to get a handle on the emptiness. That feeling that there is something missing...that hole that nothing seems to fill up. Looking backward doesn't do it...looking forward doesn't do it. It's an ache in my chest (my heart?) that is always there. I could learn to live with it, if it didn't paralyze me everytime I feel it. I'm literally unable to function when it grabs hold of me.

There is no way to describe it to someone who hasn't been there. It's just emptiness.

It's like standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and shouting hello...only to have the sound echo off the walls and eventually fade away. Where does it go? What happens to it? It just ceases to exist and there is nothing left in its place...except emptiness. And there you stand, on the edge of this beautiful place surrounded by that silence and that emptiness.

No, that's not quite what it is.

I just don't have the words.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Ask the pediatrician

I almost forgot! Here's a gem from Friday that I think you'll appreciate...

All the books on grief tell you to ask your pediatrician about how to help your living child deal with the death of a sibling. All the books say to consult with the pediatrician about how to handle the possibility of another pregnancy.

Now let me tell you what you will get from your pediatrician...

A look of horror...an "I'm so sorry to hear that"...and advice to pretend nothing happened or is happening. Yes, you heard me right...pretend like nothing happened or is happening. His advice? Break Sam of the "I want up" habit now, so we won't have to explain why I can't pick him up if I get pregnant again. And THEN, when my belly starts to grow, explain it as little as possible so that if we experience another loss, we won't have to deal with it or worry about it.

OH. MY. GOD.

I just don't even know what to say. I wanted to grab him by the throat, this highly trained medical professional, and shake the living shit out of him. THIS is the advice he is giving people?!?! You have got to freaking be kidding me?!?!?

Yes, my son is sad that Baby Alex didn't come home. But should I have pretended? Should I have glossed over the truth for my son's well-being and mental health? Should I have denied him the opportunity to know his brother for the short time that he had?

My advice...don't bother asking your pediatrician. Ask someone like a grief counselor or someone who has some hope of knowing what they're talking about.

Maybe I've screwed up my Sam for life. Maybe his mental health will never recover. But I feel a lot better about scarring him with the truth and letting him love his brother, than I would if I had lied to him or kept the truth from him in order to protect him. I guess I'll just have to hope that he feels the same way when he is older.

Me...unplugged

I'm feeling a bit twitchy this morning, as I've been a whole 48 hours without internet access. It seems the lightening storm we had Saturday knocked our local server offline...and nobody works out here on the weekends. We called Adelphia to inquire about when service would be restored and they're sending a technician out...next Saturday. In all fairness, he could have come out Wednesday, but I postponed it in order to (1) get "The Bug Guy" out to take care of the nests of yellow jackets in our yard (discovered via foot and lawn tractor traffic...it was NOT pretty); and (2) get myself organized for the big garage sale this coming weekend. Yes, we're having a garage sale. My need to purge has taken over full force and everything must go! It's sitting in my basement and it makes me cranky to look at. So I'm selling whatever I can sell. And there are certain things I just don't need that make me more cranky than others...a double stroller, for example.

So anyway...I've been offline. Let's do the weekend recap thing and see what's been happening in our oh-so-exciting life.

Saturday we spent the day with the Dalmatian rescue group at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Dog Days Festival. I'm not sure you can call it a festival, as there were no rides, no carnival games, and no fried foods or cotton candy. Something doesn't qualify as a festival in my book unless you can get greasy french fries with vinegar and salt. But I digress. It was good. We got a couple dollars change in donations and we took in one application to adopt a dog. That qualifies as a success in our business, as we currently have about 35 dogs in foster care and no adoption applications coming in.

So anyway...we left the "festival" about an hour early because there was a bad storm rolling in. It hit just as we turned onto our road...great. We knew we had to feed the horses, so I just pulled the minivan into the barn and we hopped out to take care of them. Just then, there was a loud crash and I saw sparks flying around outside the barn door...the fuse box door flew open...and the lights down the center aisle of the barn went out. I smelled smoke and ran to the other end of the barn. The loud crash was apparently lightening striking one of the trees right next to the barn. There were bits of wood all over the lawn and the tree was missing the left half of its trunk. But luckily there was no fire. I was having visions of us tying the girls to the minivan and driving it out in the storm to get away from a fire...talk about panic.

So now we're going to have to deal with the tree guys again. And they did such a fabulous job last time they were out, I'm really looking forward to seeing them again. [/sarcasm] We have to have "The Bug Guy" out for the bees. The internet folks have to come out for the computer. And the Direct TV guy has to come out for the television (it appears one of our tv's got fried as well...thank goodness the DirectTV equipment is still under warranty). All while we're packing and shuttling for a garage sale. Oh...and we're supposed to meet the new petsitters on Wednesday evening too. I'm just having too much fun this week.

Sunday we cleaned and packed stuff up for the above-mentioned garage sale. The garage sale is going to be at my mom and dad's house since they live on a nice little cul-de-sac and get really good garage sale traffic. Steve and I live on a State Route (and all the houses are out of numerical order...the pizza guy gets lost every time)...so I'm not sure we'd get many visitors at our house. So all the garage sale planning and packing involves a drive forty minutes away. We've successfully made trip #1. Trip #2 is planned for Wednesday. It'll be just Sam and I...please wish me luck. lol

So that's about it. The lightening strike made me contemplate that randomness theory again. I mean, can't I catch a break already?
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Ask and ye shall receive...

The Pet Sitter wants to charge $30 just to come meet us. No thanks. One appointment cancelled. :o)

Friday, August 19, 2005

Randomness or common sense

So I'm all ready to buy into the theory that God doesn't CAUSE bad things to happen to us, but he can't protect us from them either. The idea is that he created order in the randomness, but there are still pockets of randomness out there that we have to deal with. Of course, we don't notice the randomness when things are good, we see it as good luck or good fortune or good choices. When things go wrong, however, we definitely notice it...and that's when we have to start questioning our belief in God, etc.

But today, today I had a day that makes me wonder about all of that. Today, when I had PROMISED my Sam that I would be at his doctor's appointment, I ran into three, count 'em THREE, road construction project delays. Everywhere I turned, there I was, sitting in traffic, getting later and later.

I did eventually arrive at my destination...five minutes late. And I was even more thrilled than Sam. I've never broken a promise to him and, for some reason, I didn't want this to be the first time. It felt...IMPORTANT...for some unknown reason. Maybe because it seemed like the universe was conspiring against us? I don't know.

But I have to wonder about that theory of randomness. What are the odds that randomness would throw three separate obstacles in my path?

Or maybe it's just the summer construction season and I should know better than to expect smooth sailing.

Look at me - Don't look at me - Talk to me - Don't talk to me

Did you ever notice that there are essentially two types of people in the world? There are those who think they are different and don't mind telling you all about how they are different...when really they're pretty average. Then there are those who think they are nothing special and shy away from the spotlight at all costs...when really they are pretty amazing people who deserve far more credit and recognition than they get. Lately, I find myself irritated with both kinds of people. Probably the reason I should stay locked up in my tower and not let my hair down for someone to climb up and rescue me.

The people who tell you (seemingly incessantly) that they are somehow unique, somehow special make me want to scream, "We get it...you're special...good for you!" I mean, are people really so insecure as to have to tell you all about every little insignificant thing that makes them above the rest of us mere mortals? It's a bit perturbing because there is this underlying comment about how their way is better...their life is better...their choices are better. blech!

Then the people who hide and never take credit where credit is due...they make me want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them. Have the "unique" people blathered enough to make you believe that you have nothing special to offer? You are special. You are unique. Every single one of us is different...that's what is so amazing. Stop trying to make yourself nameless and faceless. You deserve better.

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I have stopped reading the loss boards. I think this is a huge step for me, because they were my lifeline when I thought I would drown in the sadness and grief. But I've found myself more and more not able to be sympathetic, not able to understand. I'm not so far removed from that place, but I can't be surrounded all the time by the sheer hopelessness that you find on those boards. Many women who suffer a pregnancy or infant loss seem content to stay put in that place and refuse to acknowledge that life does go on. They are unable or unwilling to learn to cope. I'm not saying they should "get over it," but I'm saying that I can't live the rest of my life crying every day for Alex. Sure, I still cry for him...but I have to find ways to make that the exception and not the rule.

There is also the addition of fresh grief. When a new member joins those boards, I feel the grief wash over me again and again. It's too hard.

Perhaps I'm selfish and I should suck it up and help other women the way that I was helped...but I just don't think I can do it. I guess I'll have to accept being selfish for a while.

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I have both my sons' pictures on my desk now. Who told me that one day I'd be able to look at them both and smile? Whoever it was...you were right. Thank you for giving me hope.

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Tomorrow we're taking Dali the foster dalmatian to the Dog Walk to benefit the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter. Then we'll probably head up to the Dog Days Festival. I hope she behaves herself and woos someone into wanting to adopt her.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Our Baby Alex

Thank you Dana.

Random thoughts

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I took Sam on his very first trip to the library yesterday. He loved it not for the wide assortment of books available (in fact, I got in trouble because there were no Arthur books available), but for the puzzles and toys in the kids area and the giant fake tree with a spiral staircase inside that leads up to the kids loft area. He made my heart smile when he put his foot on the first step up, looked at me standing outside the door, and said, "I don't want to go up." I assured him I would be right behind him and he said, "ok...great!"

Of course, by the end of our hour-long visit, he had not picked out a single book (I picked out six books for him) and he was yelling, "I want to go NOW!" So much for the pre-visit "library whisper voice" lesson.

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The force of gravity is too much today. I feel like my shoes are being sucked into the earth with every step I take. Not really like quicksand, more like I have giant magnets on my feet and they are being attracted to giant magnets underground. Some days I feel myself walking on top of the earth...today I feel like I'm trying to break free from it.

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Why is it that a sting from a yellow jacket, a teeny tiny little insect, hurts like I've just got my leg bashed in with a baseball bat?

Yesterday Sam and I decided to mow the lawn. Sam loves riding on the tractor with anyone who will take him. Something told me to watch out for yellow jacket nests and we narrowly missed one up near the house. Thankfully, Sam had decided to go help his Daddy in the barn and wasn't with me when I rode over one further out in our yard.

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There are people in your life who you would assume would be good friends to you as a grieving parent. Then there are people you assume won't give a sh!t about you in your time of pain. And I have discovered that there is absolutely no way to figure out in advance who will be in either category.

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I have not yet mastered html. So I borrowed a freebie design and tweaked it just a bit with my limited abilities. The old blue just seemed so...stuck in one place. The flowers make me smile a little. So I went with flowers. :o)

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An apology to my readers

I have to admit that I haven't been reading your comments to some of my posts. I think it's partly because I'm still thinking along the lines of this being my journal, rather than this being an interactive process where other people are actually interested and responding. I do appreciate all the thought you have obviously been posting in your comments and I have now read all of them (took me a while). I'm not sure if I should respond in comments or in seperate posts, so I'll catch up here and then make it my policy to respond in comments where appropriate.

deadbabymama - I'm not even sure if I'd have had another one at all, but my reality now is what it is and I'm having another baby.

This is absolutely where I am headed...I think. Can you tell I'm committed to my point of view? I guess I'm stuck on the question, "Why do I want to have another baby?" My mother told me that if I waited to have my first baby until I was "ready," I'd never have a baby. I'm wondering if the same applies here, or if there are other things I need to deal with first.

lauralu - in the end, i got pregnant before i had come to an intellectual answer, but when i found out i was pregnant i got my emotional answer: i want this child

I'm terrified I won't want the next baby. Is that awful to admit? I'm so scared that I'll spend the rest of my life thinking, "You're not Alex," that I won't be able to love him/her the way they deserve. I'm either going to have to come to an answer/best guess before I get pregnant, or take a leap of faith and hope for the best. I've never been much on leaps of faith before. But I'm trying to let go of the planner in me. So who knows what will happen. You all may need to come scrape a crying, sniveling mess off the bathroom floor at 3am some day.

Jill - You could revise your plans so that you are comfortable with having three kids

Revise my plans? Good grief, do you not know what it is like to be an obsessive planner? lol My plans were set in concrete. I have never been a go-with-the-flow kind of person. In order to revise plans, I'll have to engage in a whole other set of contemplations and meditations...weigh the pros and cons...make lists...it took me forever to come up with this plan...I don't have enough time to revise it. I'm not sure why I hold it so dear. I want to think "everything is under control" maybe? (I'm beginning to think I have control issues.) But like I said, I'm trying to work on letting the planner go and just seeing where life takes me. It's probably the scariest thing I've ever changed about me and my personality.

lorem ipsum - thanks for the hummingbird pictures. Would you mind if I stole one or two for my own personal use?

buffi - no, I don't mind being added to your blogroll. Thanks for asking.

Everyone - Thank you for the support and the kind words about our meeting with the lawyer. It means a lot that people understand I'm doing this for a reason. deadbabymama, I really like the idea of setting the "value" at a certain dollar amount to accomplish something good in Alex's name. I think we will do that...if the lawyer decides to take the case. And I'm definitely going to look into reporting the OB to whatever medical board is in charge. People need to know about the lack of care and concern these doctors show so they can make informed decisions. I chose her off my insurance list because my old OB had moved on. Now I wonder if there are others out there who came before me who would have warned me off of this doctor if they had been given voice somewhere. I wonder if I hadn't chosen another doctor if Alex wouldn't be here right now...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Dad?

I don't know if my Dad reads my blog or not, but just in case he does...

The tomatoes are fabulous!

It is what it is

Sometimes a friend says something in an email that I think should be shared. I don't think she'll mind...all identifying information has been changed to protect the innocent. :o)

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I read your post today and the "Son in a Box" one, and I wanted to respond. You know, even for me, I have moments when I look at my kids and think, "If I hadn't miscarried the first baby, I wouldn't have these two children." Then I begin to think I am a monster because I can't imagine my life without these two specific children, and it scares me to think that if the first baby had lived to term, I wouldn't have either S or L, most likely. I might have two children, but it's highly unlikely either would have been the children I have now. Do I wish the first baby had lived and that S had never been conceived? Am I evil if I say no? And it gets all confusing and sad, and I feel guilty.

But then I realize, this is what is. I don't have that choice. I didn't have to choose between the first baby or my other babies. That choice was never mine. I guess I'm trying to say that this is what is, and you will never have to choose between Alex and another child. The choice has, unfortunately, been made for you -- you can love Alex, but you, sadly, don't get to raise him; whether or not you choose to raise another child is a separate issue.

So that's my two cents on an issue about which I have only a hint of an understanding. I know it's not so simple, even for me. I know I don't know what it's like for you. But I wanted to share my thoughts anyway in case that might help.

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And to that friend I say...don't sell yourself short. You understand far more than you seem to know. And I appreciate that you check in on me and take the time to listen to me (even when I don't seem to make sense). I know your life is very busy right now. You are a very good friend and I love you.

Million Dollar Baby

The lawyer told us a story last night, to illustrate his understanding of how unsatisfying wrongful death cases are.

He represented a woman whose husband drove a flammable gas truck for a living. He was driving it up I77 when it exploded. He was vaporized. They found parts of the truck engine a mile away.

The wife won a seven figure verdict.

When the "award" was announced, she just sat there, she didn't smile and she didn't say anything. Following the trial, when they would talk to her, she would never ask about the money (when it would come, etc).

She's in her 60's and she was going to retire with her husband this year.

She pursued and won the "justice" that was available to her...for her husband.

But it won't bring him back. Her life will never be how it was supposed to be.

The lawyer seems concerned that our case has to be able to "make" enough to make it worth the time and energy (and money). I told the lawyer I understand his need to be able to make a living. But for me, this is about the next pregnant woman who walks into that office...so she will get paid proper attention. He didn't laugh at me when I said it, so I have a better feeling about him than I did going into our meeting.

I do wonder about other women. I wonder how many women have to suffer through this pain because their doctor dropped the ball...but because the legal standard wasn't on their side, they get no justice, no apologies, nothing to assure them that the doctor has learned from their mistake. The legal system is all about money...and not what is right. And it apparently leaves doctors to self-regulate. I think you know my opinion on the job they're doing with that.

So we have to prove three things...
1. Breach of standard of care--I think we've got that one covered.
2. Proximate cause--the doctors' inactions directly caused Alex's death--a medical "expert" will have to render an opinion on this--a preliminary opinion indicates there is at least something there worth looking at.
3. Damages--we will have to put a dollar value on Alex's life. Here's where my difficulty lies. There IS NO dollar value to Alex's life that would satisfy me. I'm not so concerned with his earning potential (he could have worked at McDonald's his whole life)...I'm concerned with that intrinsic value that comes with life itself. Sure, he may have been a freeloader his whole life...but he would be ALIVE. It seems this is a concept the law cannot satisfactorily grasp.

Here is where I get political...turn away if you have sensitivities to differing opinions in this area...

How can the conservative platform advocate that all life is precious and then advocate for limits to recovery for a baby's life? Out of one side of their mouths they say that life is irreplaceable...out of the other, they say that my son't life had no value because he was "just a baby." I was ok in the meeting until the lawyer started talking value. I was ok until he said that there is no adequate way to determine Alex's "worth." How do I explain what it is worth, in dollars, to spend a sunny afternoon filling up the swimming pool with your child? How do I market price the value of knowing that my son is sleeping soundly with a full belly in the bassinett next to me, instead of in a grave up on the hill? How do I quantify, into dollars, the missing laughter, the missing hugs and kisses, the missing piece of my heart? It's all about earning potential these days. Those intangible things like emotions and mental well-being seem to have been discontinued and are simply not available for sale.

If they decide not to pursue the case, I know that at least I tried. And if they do decide to pursue the case, I know that I will find hollow justice for Alex at the end of the road. Don't you wish you were me? I take comfort in knowing that maybe my voice will be heard by someone somewhere. And the next pregnant woman who walks into that office will be paid attention to the way she should.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Just when I was doing so well

I have a particularly difficult client. He thinks his issues are the only thing on my schedule and I should always take his calls and always take a meeting with him when he just drops in unannounced. Today he reamed me a new one for "lack of communication." My boss, overhearing the massacre of what is left of my self-esteem, stepped in as my knight in shining armor. Hell, I'm ONE person and I currently represent the entire county and all its townships ALL BY MYSELF! I'm doing the best I can prioritizing and getting things done.

And I was good with his explanation, until he squeezed in the middle of the explanation, "Catherine...(pause, not sure how to say what he wants to say)...has had a rough summer." Like I had the flu. Like I'm just not keeping myself together for no reason. Like it was no big deal. Not like my baby died and I'm completely shredded and incapable of caring about your damn problems that don't amount to a hill of beans.

I had to excuse myself to "go make a photocopy." I made it into the office before promptly falling apart sobbing.

I just don't have it in me to deal with this nonsense anymore.

Tonight we meet a lawyer

I feel like Alice must've felt when she fell through the rabbit hole. I look around and wonder what has happened to my life. Surely, this is all just some nightmare and I'll wake up and everything will be as it should?

When I was sixteen and I worked at Discount Drug Mart, one of my managers, Frank, had finished his first year of law school and quit because he realized it just wasn't what he wanted to do. I remember him saying, "Some of the dumbest people I've met are lawyers." I thought that was funny...and rude...but I remembered it. Frank was right. I don't particularly care for lawyers as a group. There are exceptions, and I count those people as friends. But generally, for every good person who is a lawyer, there are two or three who are like the sleazy characters you see on television. I hope this guy is normal and not sleazy.

Funny, I haven't thought of Frank in years. He died suddenly when I was in college (more than ten years ago now). I remember crying when I heard the news he had died. You know, I can't even remember Frank's last name now. I wonder which class of lawyer he'd have put me in.

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We're seeing a lawyer to find out if there is any recoverable action against my doctors for failing to diagnose my uterine infection (that led to Alex's death and stillbirth). I wasn't interested in lawsuits and such until my doctor lied to me about Alex's cause of death and the perinatologist subsequently said, "Sometimes, even though we're not in Afghanistan, even with all our medical know-how, these things get missed." I suspect my OB knows she missed the infection because I apparently exhibited classic symptoms, and she would have let me believe the lie about an intracranial hemorrhage as the cause of death ("but we still don't know what caused that hemorrhage") for the rest of my life...in order to save her some money on malpractice insurance. Never mind the fact that it puts me in the high risk category should we decide to try for another baby. Never mind that she's my doctor and she's supposed to care about my health first and foremost. Never mind that I think it has got to be against some code of ethics or some law to lie to you patients. I think I owe it to Alex to find out if there is a case here. I also owe it to all the women who are in the care of that OB...to make sure this doesn't happen to them.

The perinatologist said something very telling during our consultation last week. "With your next pregnancy, you need to see someone who isn't seeing thirty patients in one day. You need to see someone who will be involved and take care to manage your pregnancy to the best possible outcome." I think that's what happened to me. I think I got lost in the shuffle of a big healthcare provider, and they will never admit they made a mistake unless I stand up and demand it. Fact is, my OB needs to slow down and take CARE with her patients...not just cram as many into one day as she can. The lives of babies rely on her. And right now she's not doing her job the way she should. Whether that amounts to a good legal case or not has yet to be seen. If there isn't...that's fine. If there is...that's fine too.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Questioning myself

This is one of those posts where I ponder the vastness of the questions surrounding the rest of my life, particularly the pregnancy and children aspects.

What IS the appropriate time to mourn for a baby that was never born alive? Everyone says it depends on your mental and physical healing...but that is really not helpful at all. Yea, yea, yea...trust your instincts. My instincts didn't do me a damn bit of good last time, so I'm not sure trusting them right now will provide me a moment of peace or comfort.

If I have another baby, I feel like I'm a fraud. Like I wanted Alex, but I can't have him, so I'll settle for a different baby. We were only supposed to have two...Alex was our last. So will I look at any subsequent child like that...like a replacement...like a compromise child?

It's not that I doubt I will love any baby we welcome into the world. It's that I don't ever want that child to feel like s/he wasn't supposed to happen...and only was blessed with life because of the death of his/her sibling. I would never SAY that obviously...but kids are smart. It didn't take me too long as a kid to figure out I was an oops. Married in August...I was born in February...the math ain't difficult. So how would I answer the questions when I can't even answer the questions for myself?

And in this situation, if we have a girl, I'll always feel sad that I don't have my two boys. If we have a boy, I'll always feel sad that it isn't Alex.

But then again, I wanted a baby. I wanted Alex. I can't have Alex. Is it really so wrong to admit that I still want a baby? If I could make it Alex, I would. But I can't...so am I really settling?

I've never really felt sad when I saw other new babies. I know women who can't even look at other babies. I'm excited when I hear a friend may be pregnant. Sure, there is a pang of longing and a definite stab of sadness...but it isn't so much so that I'm incapacitated. Did I just not love Alex as much as I should have? I remember being in the first trimester and feeling like I hadn't really bonded with him. Did he get cheated? Is he getting cheated by my not remembering him with the level of grief that I should?

OY! This is so complicated.

I know I'm not really cheating him...he's dead after all...he really can't feel cheated or unloved or whatever. But I'm worried that maybe there is something essentially defective about my capacity to mother that makes me feel less than I should. I mean, if something, God forbid, happened to Sam, I could never just replace him with another. So what makes this different? The fact that I CAN?

I mean, Alex didn't really have that full personality like Sam does...so I can always fill in the lines with whatever I want from my imagination. I CAN replace Alex, in a sense, because he was a relatively blank slate...the next baby will come into the world with essentially the same personality...newborn...no good or bad for quite some time.

Am I just trying to make my life fit into that plan that I planned? Have I just not given up my urge to control things? I mean, what is wrong with the life I have now? Why can't I just accept the way things turned out and move forward?

Part of me really wants to have a sibling for Sam. I've heard so much about how great it is to watch your kids interact and grow together. I was really looking forward to that with Sam and Alex. So now I think I would like to still give Sam a sibling. But is that the right reason to replace Alex?

Steve wants another baby so bad he can barely hide it...oh heck...he can't hide it at all. But again, is that the right reason to replace Alex?

Am I to pretend Alex didn't exist and make the decision the same way I made it before...taking into account all these reasons and deciding what is best for everyone?

Or do I just let it go, and let life happen? No plans, no worries, no guilt?

I know most of these questions don't have real answers...so maybe I'll just ponder them for a while and see where it leads me.

Stupid studies

Stillbirth as risk factor for depression and anxiety in the subsequent pregnancy: a cohort study.

I've really got to figure out how to get money to do one of these studies. I mean seriously! Use your common sense people!

Oh...but it's even better...there is actually debate...

Stillbirth as risk factor for depression and anxiety in subsequent pregnancy - Letter to the Editor

My favorite quote...
Depression after stillbirth may simply reflect normal process of grieving

Again, I gotta say...ya think?!?!

My OB (the one I'm not too happy with) never offered me any sort of counseling after Alex died. The hospital where he was delivered never offered me any sort of counseling either. The perinatologist said, "If you walked out here on the street and got hit by a bus, we wouldn't just pick you up, brush you off, and send you on your way. You have been hit by the emotional equivalent of a bus. You should at least be offered some services to help you cope." So off I go, providers name in hand. Guess what? Not covered by insurance.

So what is the source of depression and anxiety here? geez, people, do the math!

Nothing to say

Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I had nothing to write. I thought and thought and thought...and nothing. As with everything else along this path, I have no idea if this is a good or bad thing.

Last night we watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Here is the bio of the family that was profiled...

What started out one night as a beautiful, picture perfect summer evening for Colleen Nick and her children quickly spiraled into a horrible tragedy that would haunt the family and their community forever. Colleen and the kids had traveled to Alma, Arkansas, to watch their friend's son play in a little league game at a brand new ballpark. Several innings into the game, six-year-old Morgan was bored and asked her mom if she could join her friends in catching fireflies. Colleen remembered thinking how happy Morgan looked to be set free. That's the last memory she has of her eldest daughter; Morgan suddenly vanished. A massive manhunt got underway quickly, as this parent's worst nightmare came true.

At the time, the Nick family was living 30 minutes away from Alma. When law enforcement officials advised Colleen to stay near the abduction site, she ended up first living out of a fire station and then, later, bought the only house in Alma that she could afford - going to all lengths to be near the last tangible trace of Morgan. Unfortunately, it's now ten years later and Morgan has yet to be found, though the investigation is still open. Despite all of Colleen's best efforts, the police still don't know what happened to Morgan Nick that summer evening at the little league field in Alma.

Colleen hasn't let the search for her oldest daughter destroy her. Instead it has inspired her to prevent this terrible tragedy from befalling other parents and their innocent children. She started the Morgan Nick Foundation (MNF), which works tirelessly with law enforcement officials and parents to provide education designed to prevent abduction. Colleen is committed to making sure that other families don't have to wait ten years (or more) for answers, and was instrumental in the Arkansas State Legislature's passage of the Morgan Nick Amber Alert Program.

While the Nicks' spirit and hopes of finding Morgan have not been dashed, any improvements to their dilapidated house have been. Their three-bedroom, 1512-square-foot ranch style home was recently flooded due to the explosion of their old water heater, resulting in all of the floors having to be ripped out. It's been tough; Colleen devotes all of her time and energy to her remaining children, Logan (13) and Taryn (11), and to helping several thousand others nationwide.

While the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition design team, contractors and hundreds of workers and volunteers are transforming the Nicks' house into a dream home that will hopefully ease their burden and comfort them in their difficult journey, the family will go on vacation to Walt Disney World.


I can't imagine waiting ten years for answers. I can't imagine actually "losing" your child and not knowing what happened to them. Alex died...I know where he is and what he's doing. I'm sad about that. But to just not know...that has to be torture on your soul.

While watching the show, I cried for this woman and her missing daughter. I cried for the rest of the family who so obviously believe that they will one day see Morgan again. And I said to Steve as I was crying, "At least I'm not dead inside." For the first time in three months, I could cry for someone else. There were many moments over the past three months where I wondered if I was just too damaged to ever recover. But I could cry for this woman and her family.

The phrase that Colleen Nick uses is, "Love always hopes." I like that. THAT is something to say.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Son in a box

Today we were outside filling up Sam's swimming pool, having a great time. Seriously...we were laughing and playing and splashing each other with very cold water. The storm that had been threatening seemed to disappear and we had sunshine and a nice breeze.

With all that water splashing, I had to excuse myself to the house to go to the bathroom.

On my way, I walked past Alex's memory box on top of the entertainment center in the living room and was struck by how much he ISN'T here. I know it sounds like a simple concept, but there it was, right in my face today.

Things would be so much different if Alex were here. He and I probably wouldn't be out sitting in the sun. It's so warm, we'd probably have stayed inside and let Steve and Sam have the pool experience together by themselves. We would have watched them out the window and maybe made short visits outside, but no time of any real great length would be spent laughing and playing and splashing.

How do I enjoy that? How do I sit and laugh by the pool knowing that the only reason I get to have this fun time is because my baby died?

I just do.

I just did.

God help me.

Friday, August 12, 2005

She's gone

She said goodbye over the phone, over the internet, in the mail, in a hug. She knew she wasn't coming back. She didn't want to go. She wanted to stay wrapped safe in the love that she knew was there for her. But she knew she had to go. And she knew that after all was said and done, things would never be the same. Her self-assurance would disappear. Her confidence would vanish. Her ready happy smile would become a thing seen only in old pictures. She knew there was no return.

He tried to hang on to her for all of them. He held her hand and kissed her forehead. He hugged her when she sobbed uncontrollably. He said all the right words. He knew he wasn't strong enough to keep her there with him. He knew she would go and there was nothing he could do to stop it. He cried and let a part of him go with her.

She knew she couldn't help. She wanted so desperately to say the right things...to do something to make it better. Her whole life she had been the one to lend support, to make everyone feel better, to offer a smile whenever she could. But this time, she didn't have any smiles in her heart. The muscles of her face wouldn't cooperate anymore. Her heart didn't feel like smiling or helping. Now her heart is only doing its job, pumping her blood and keeping her alive.

He watches her intently every day. He sees that she's not the same and he dies a little bit every time she cries. He tries to entice her over the bridge. Not to the happy side of the canyon, but somewhere in the middle, where they can once again feel hope. He points to their pride and joy and reminds her that there are still things worth caring about, things that deserve smiles. But she holds out her empty arms and reminds him there are also things to cry about.

She finds someone inside herself now that she doesn't recognize. She doesn't know who to be anymore, how to behave. She no longer knows what is supposed to be and what is just randomness. She doesn't know what to trust, what to believe in, where to go, or how to feel.

They look back together...down the road they have travelled. Ten years and nine months of happiness...three months of despair. They celebrate eleven years together and the good times outweigh the bad in number. But the bad times outweigh the good in heartache.

They both see her standing there with him. They are holding hands and smiling. They can't reach them...they can't speak to them to warn them. They just shed a tear for what they know lies only a few steps ahead on the path.

They turn and look ahead together...and they hold on to each others hand, hoping and praying that the road ahead won't be so painful. They know they will suffer some along the way...that pain is part of the journey. As they strain to see what is waiting at the end of that road, they wonder...Will their dreams be fulfilled, or will they have to let them go forever? They have no doubts that they will make it together. They just wonder if that necessarily means happiness will rejoin them somewhere along the journey.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

All my sign interpreters

From the cemetery today...

Hopes and Payne

What do you make of that?

***Edited to add the ones I left out***

Downs and Wright

Now what do you think?

Wait up guys!

Not long ago, Sam hollered these words at Steve and I as we were walking through the grocery store. We both smiled because it seemed such a grown-up thing for him to say. And for some reason, I've been thinking about that phrase and that moment for a while. I just realized it's because it is exactly how I'm feeling. Everywhere I turn, people are moving forward and going about their normal routines, while I barely manage to get up every morning and stumble my way to work, and then stumble home in the evenings completely exhausted from what seems like minimal accomplishment. I feel like yelling for the world to wait up for me. I feel like I just need time to catch up, to determine a direction, to find my foothold again, to know that I'm not being left completely alone.

Part of this, I know, comes from the mere contemplation of another pregnancy. Talking to the doctor stirred it all up and now the dust has to settle again for me to find some peace again. It's overwhelming to think about and it tends to throw me back emotionally to where I was during that first week or so after Alex died. Part of it is also that I was unhappy in my job before now, and unable to find anything that would satisfy me. It's very hard to go to work every day when you don't really believe in what you do...you don't get any satisfaction from a job well done. I know too, that part of it is that it's summer and I'm totally surrounded by what "should have been."

I feel paralyzed and unable to make any positive steps toward anything. Instead, I'm anchored to something that can never be despite how my heart aches for it. I miss my baby. I want him back. And I feel like I can't move forward without him.

Three months of this and I'm already sick of hearing myself. No wonder the world is leaving me in its dust.

Wait up guys!

3 months

I hope that wherever you are, you are happy, sweet baby boy.

We love you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

To my mother...

For most of my life, you have been my best friend. But you know how good I am at keeping friends, don't you? Most of mine have disappeared over the years and I haven't had the time (or the energy) to find new ones. They have gone by way of disagreements, misunderstandings, or just plain drifting apart. It is easy to let go of friends you feel don't understand you. It's easy to say we have nothing in common anymore, so let's just put each other on the Christmas card list and leave it at that.

You see, here's where it gets tricky for me. I know you don't understand what I'm going through. I know you can't possibly understand the "right" things to say and do to make this better...because, quite frankly, there aren't any words or deeds that are going to make this any better. But I can't relegate you to my Christmas card list either. So how DO I deal with you?

For the very first time in my life, I can't look to you for the answers. Selfishly, I was disappointed by that. Even more selfishly, I wanted you to TRY harder. At what, exactly, I'm not sure. I wanted my mommy to make it all better...and I knew you couldn't. I was setting up an impossible standard for you, and I'm sorry.

Someone recently said something that made me think about you and how badly I have treated you. It's so very hard to remember that we're not the only ones who lost Alex. He was real to us every single day...he was real to you and others only during those times you visited with us. So I guess I measure our losses against each other...and feel like more has been taken from me than from you. I realize now that I can't do that...rate our level of pain. It's not fair to punish other people, most especially you, because you're not hurting enough to make me feel better. That is cruel. And you feeling pain and sadness isn't going to make me feel better anyway.

I do need you to realize, however, that I'm not the same person I used to be. And when things stress me, I'm going to react differently than I did before I lost Alex. And often, the anticipation of something stressing me, will be enough to set me off my self-preservation instinct. This past week, I faced the possibility of being told I would never have more children. And I did it with the knowledge that I had to face it alone with Steve. There was nothing that you could do or say that would make me less stressed about the prospect of giving up my dreams for my life. There was no way you could understand what it's like to face the future as a completely changed person, with no hope of regaining the person you were before. And there was no way you could understand that I not only grieve for Alex, but I also grieve for the person I once was. I grieve for the life and the happiness I once felt in my heart, but can't seem to locate at the moment.

I suppose you were right when you described me as a minefield. I never know when something is going to make my cry, make me angry, or make me want to hide away from the world. I have to learn to handle the unpredictability and control it. But right now, I'm just trying to figure out which end is up. Everything I ever knew about myself has been turned upside down. I read in a book that perhaps I haven't changed, so much as my perspective has changed. I think that's true. I just need to figure out exactly what this new perspective is that I have.

I do know that I've recently figured out that part of my anger with you comes from our past conversations where you joked about how easy it was for you to get pregnant...and how much you LOVED being pregnant. I'm angry that I didn't have that. I'm disappointed that I had just learned how to enjoy being pregnant this time, only to have it disappear in the blink of an eye. I'm angry that I will never have that...ever. If we decide to have another baby, that pregnancy will be filled with fear and dread and anxiety. I'll never get to tell tales of how I loved being pregnant...except for the one time I did love it and the baby died. Jealousy is very hard for me to deal with.

I hope you can hang in there with me while I learn about this new me. I have a feeling it's going to be slow and messy. I can guarantee I will most likely cause you many tears along the way. But I just can't relegate you to the Christmas card list either.

I love you.

Buying and selling words

I was thinking about this yesterday while buying books at Barnes & Noble. I'm in need of good things to read...things that will take me away and stimulate my mind, but not require too much deep thought (hence, my purchase of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants).

So how did the development of buying and selling books come about? How did some people get blessed with the gift of words to the point that they can put them together on paper and sell them to those of us who are much less blessed (some of us are even cursed in the words department).

Words are free. Aren't they? Every day I read things written by amazing people with amazing stories to tell...all for free. And there have been some insights that clearly could have been "professionally" written (Lorem's discussion with God over the noise of the vacuum, being one that comes to mind immediately).

At what point do you find that you have a gift that other people are willing to pay to gaze upon? And how does someone come upon this realization? For myself, I choose to share my words as a form of therapy for myself. If I can synthesize all the crazy thoughts into some coherent sentences, then I'm able to make some sense of life. Previously, that was in an attempt to gain some control. Now, it's merely to maintain my sanity.

At one point I considered not writing any more. But a friend suggested that some day someone would stumble on my words and feel less alone and less confused. That happened already...and I'm honored to have been able to help in even a tiny way. I don't think I could have ever charged for that privilege. But many do.

It's a strange, strange, strange world.

meh

The perinatologist looks like an actor, but I can't remember his name or what he was in (I have terrible recall for things like movies and music). Cute, but definitely thinks he's brilliant. That wouldn't be such a bad thing if it were true.

At one point I was sitting through a story about how women in Afghanistan suffer through my sort of situation and even worse (maternal mortality is apparently a real problem in a war-torn country where there used to be, and some would argue there still is, a society that values the oppression of women...go figure).

The gist of the beginning of the visit was, "You did nothing wrong." Then we progressed to, "These things just happen." Unfortunately for the good doctor, I have spent hours researching (it's what I do), and I came armed with questions that made it clear these things may happen, but I believe they shouldn't. At that point I got the professional courtesy speech, "Even though we don't live in Afghanistan, even in our advanced medical society, these things get through, things are missed. You just have to accept it and move on from that point." ah-ha! There we have it! Anyone good with subtitles? Cause I think I'm reading, "Don't sue them...we have to keep malpractice rates down."

There is no way to tell if this will happen again. "It's a roll of the dice, but it is statistically unlikely" I explained how statistics don't mean much when you lose the odds game like we did. He suggested we need some perspective and should see a counselor. lol It wasn't quite that obvious...but I definitely got the feeling he felt we should be more comforted by the "likelihood" numbers instead of being so cautious.

He did suggest counseling at the end of our appointment "as a way to get back some perspective." I'm not exactly sure what perspective I'm supposed to "get back." I can pretty much read that I lost my baby because everyone missed the signs, though nobody has had the spine to say that outright. So my perspective now includes loser odds and distrust of doctors. Is this really a healthy perspective? I don't know. But it's the perspective I have now, and I think it's been hard earned. No amount of talking is going to return me to the safe place from which I approached baby-making before.

There are a few good things about this guy...

He called both our boys by their names.

He confirmed that I CAN read an autopsy correctly. Alex did die from a bacterial infection. The infection caused his organs to shut down and led to the hemorrhage in his brain. He died from "overwhelming sepsis." It was an ascending infection. The bacteria normally rides shotgun silently in my vagina. When Steve said he thought the amniotic sac protected the baby from that sort of thing, the doctor replied with, "Says who?" and a good snort and chortle. Great! Are we the ONLY people who misread those pregnancy and baby books?

It is "extremely rare" for this to happen and there is no way to predict if it will happen again. In fact, this generally happens in early pregnancy and women suffer miscarriage, not late in pregnancy where women have a stillbirth. (I love those "general" statements) But according to the doc, there is no reason, other than uncertainty and overwhelming fear, why we can't try to have another baby.

He started the consultation with, "You have to find a doctor who isn't seeing thirty patients in a day, a doctor who is going to aggressively monitor your next pregnancy." The plan is apparently to watch me like a hawk and deliver as soon as the baby can be delivered, thereby lessening the risk of bacterial infection. After telling him just a couple of the reasons I left U. Hosptial, he changed his tune to, "When you're pregnant, call ME and we'll set the plan in action." Somewhere during my horror story, he seemed to accept me as his patient (even though I wasn't entirely convinced that I wanted him as my doctor just yet).

He explained how HE would personally be involved in my care. He explained that the OBs there are right around the corner in the building and they can work very closely together. I like that I wouldn't have to have sixteen different appointments and the perinatologist could be available for my regular OB appointments.

He did acknowledge that the next pregnancy would be full of a BUNCH of mixed emotions and he would help the best he could to get us through them with whatever reassurances we need.

The bad things...

Like I said, he clearly thinks he's brilliant. Steve said it would be kind of funny when he finds out I'm a lawyer. hehe

He seemed to be anti-antibiotics for treating my type of infection. He said antibiotics simply kill off the weaker bacteria and allow the stronger bacteria to thrive. He did sort of catch himself and say, "Obviously that didn't happen with Alex." He said they did the "right thing" by not giving me anything for my "upper respiratory infection" when I was pregnant with Alex. I'm not sure if that was part of the professional courtesy of covering their asses or not. And I'm not sure how I feel about the prospect of presenting with symptoms of the same infection and my doctor not taking an aggressive treatment approach. He seemed to favor delivery over antibiotic therapy, and everything I've read indicates the antibiotics should be tried first while monitoring the baby for distress to determine if delivery is necessary. I think he thinks that because both my babies were so big (9lbs+), the next one could be delivered early without too many complications.

After our appointment, I told Steve that my first impression about my last OB had been to "run the other direction," but my impression of this guy was "meh." I don't have strong feelings one way or the other. Maybe that's because I have learned I can't trust doctors for one reason or another. I was reading a book last night (stopped by Barnes & Noble after the appointment) about Pregnancy After Loss. It had a line in it that said women should learn they are their own best health advocate. I TRULY believe this. I'm not only going to be an advocate for myself and my next baby, I'm going to be a nightmare of a patient.

He's just the specialist. While he'll be the first point of contact if/when we get pregnant again, we'll have a regular OB who is responsible for my care as well. I haven't met him/her, but I get a good feeling from the practice. Never once, during my visit did I feel like I was rushed or like I had to explain to someone why I was there. The assistant who took all our information to present to the doctor was very kind and understanding. I didn't feel like a nameless number. Even the receptionist was kind and didn't make me feel like I was inconveniencing her with my very existence.

The doc did remind me of mom at one point (Hi mom!). When we asked how long we should wait to try getting pregnant again, he looked at us, assessed my tears, and said, "Maybe early next year." Steve, who suddenly is putting RK Tucker's assertiveness training to use, said, "Well, we were thinking later this year, maybe October." The doc eyed me and asked, "You're how old?" (Good Lord, am I ready to be put out to pasture already?) I told him 33 and he said, "Yes, October would be fine. I wouldn't dilly-dally." Dilly-dally?!?! I laughed out loud...that is definitely something mom would say.

But my first thought about this perinatologist and future pregnancy is just "meh."

So now we have to decipher and decode and decide. My heart isn't ready just yet. Maybe in a few months. If it's all a game of chance, I have to be able to let go of the planning and just let it happen. I'm not there just yet.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Lotus Notes

Did you know that Lotus Notes saves every email you ever send or receive unless you set it otherwise?

10/8/04 Agony over finding a new OB/GYN
10/12/04 Found a OB/GYN and scheduled an appointment
10/28/04 Morning sickness necessitates buying the Lifesavers I still have in my candy jar at the office
11/3/04 Still hadn't told the boss I was pregnant
12/15/04 Is it a girl or a boy...heartbeat was 150-160
12/17/04 "Why do you keep asking me how I feel?" "Because you are growing life, and I care."
12/28/04 Free pizza...soap shopping since I was allergic to spearmint sage
12/30/04 The dog keeps us up all night with unexplained barking.
1/4/05 Bad news on the job front...budget cuts
1/10/05 Floor color shopping
1/13/05 Scheduled the ultrasound
1/28/05 We order a booster seat for Sam
2/7/05 Fat pregnant lady gets a new driver's license
2/8/05 Steve, Sam, and Alex send me birthday flowers
2/11/05 Bid on a quilt on eBay for Alex's crib
2/15/05 Sam makes a big paper heart full of candy for Valentine's Day
3/3/05 Girl Scout cookies are in
3/18/05 Panic attack about not having any new toys for Alex
3/27/05 Watched Little People for a bazillion times with Sam
3/30/05 Scheduled an interview for a job I never heard about again
4/4/05 Wake up to find a tree resting on our barn roof
4/8/05 The Wiggles make more than Russell Crowe
4/14/05 Freak out over no maternity clothes to wear to work
4/21/05 Scheduled the prenatal tour with the hospital
5/6/05 Deja the foster dalmatian gets adopted and travel plans are finalized
5/31/05 Back to work...a lot of crying and uncomfortable people

I just don't know why...but I can't delete them.

D-Day (Doctor Day)

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You DO know that saying I'm sorry does not correct the problem I have?

And in case you're wondering...I fished a pair of (hopefully) clean underwear out of the basket...hoping they don't have too many cooties from being close to your dirty socks. And I'm wearing the same pants I wore yesterday. I'm thinking YOU'RE making dinner.
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Good or bad sign?
The nurse called this morning to confirm my appointment. She asked who was referring me for the appointment. I told her that Dr. B, who used to be with U. Hospital, but is now with L. Hospital, suggested I see a specialist and I chose not to return to U. Hospital for my own mental health reasons. She laughed. And not in the you-are-really-funny sort of way...but in the I-so-understand-what-you-are-saying kind of way. I'm not really sure how to feel about that.
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While I truly enjoy the county fair...why do I have to get stuck behind traffic on Senior Citizens Day?!?! And why do Senior Citizens drive the biggest SUVs they can find?!?!
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I opened my file folder this morning so that I can organize my medical records into some semblance of order...and right on top was a pencil drawing from my dear sweet Sam.

Thanks Sam. I love you.
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There are these beautiful roses outside my office building. OK...so I use the term office building loosely. This is the OLD jail and courthouse...the original to the county. It meets no building safety codes. But what it lacks in safety it more than makes up for in charm. I get to walk through the OLD courtroom with it's hardwood floors, high ceilings, and chandeliers on my way to the old iron stairwell that leads upstairs to my office. It's got some of those office partition walls in it now to create a sort of conference area...but you can still see where the old bench used to sit. And there's even a holding cell under the stairs...that we now use to store file boxes.

Anyway...
There are these beautiful roses outside my office building. Ed, the very nice maintenance man, brought cuttings from his home and planted them. Now he takes painstaking care to grow them each summer for everyone to enjoy. They're, quite honestly, beautiful. Red, yellow, salmon, and white. He even lets us cut them and bring some in to the office every year.

I don't know why it bothered me so much, but the roses were battered and beaten last night in our heavy rainstorms. They were so full and bright and beautiful yesterday. Today they are just a mass of wet and mushy petals on the ground.
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Monday, August 08, 2005

It was a nice weekend

We had weather in the low 80s and bright beautiful skies.

Friday night we hit the grocery store and bought this incredible chocolate cake roll dessert. Kind of like a giant swiss cake roll covered in gooey chocolate frosting. It kept us in proper dessert all weekend and I'm so glad Steve talked me into it.

Saturday morning I took Rory, our black lab mix, to the vet. He lost an argument with our foster dalmatian an is now nursing a nasty infection on his forehead. Dumb dog doesn't realize she's twice his size and can quite easily kick his scrawny butt.

While I was at the vet trying to keep my arm in it's socket while holding Rory on a leash in the waiting room, Steve was at home consulting with the roofing guy that Lowe's sent out for our estimate. $4100!?!?! Just to put a new layer of shingles on! Holy crap batman! It has to be done...our house is less weather-tite than a piece of swiss cheese. We've got the windows on the way (gotta love 12 months same as cash!)...now we've got to get to the roof. Yes, we live in the Money Pit. Did you ever see that movie? I used to think it was a funny movie...until I moved into my house. lol

I can't even remember what we did most of the rest of the day Saturday, since it seems we didn't really do much of anything. It was wonderful. The Cubs lost. And I know we grilled our dinner and sat outside while Sam explored the yard with his big stick. We had nowhere to go and nothing to do...and we liked it that way.

Sunday we worked. Imagine if you can, Steve on the upper stairs, Sam and I at the bottom of the stairs, using screwdrivers and pliers to pull staples out of the wood. The carpet was pulled up weeks ago and we've been gingerly walking up and down the steps since then, dodging carpet staples as we went. So we decided it was finally time to remove them. Yay us! Sam was a big help too. I swear, give that kid some tools and set him to a project with his daddy and he's happy as a clam. Steve and I were contemplating whether it makes us bad parents that we enlist our son in obviously potentially dangerous household chores.

"Mr. & Mrs. C...how did your son bust his head open?"

"Well...you see...we had him using pliers to pull carpet staples out of the floor when he lost his balance and the pliers came back and bonked him in the forehead."

Before you go calling Children Services on us...he was closely supervised at all times. Which probably explains why Steve managed to do about a dozen stairs while I only managed to get one completely done. But Sam had a great time...so I don't think Steve minded all that much.

After the stairs were sufficiently de-stapled, we went outside and scrubbed all the green slimey stuff off our deck in preparation for some stain and a good water sealer. Of course, this involved Sam running around with the hose "washing" everything in sight...Steve and I included. But we all enjoyed the water and had an incredible time giggling at Sam's obvious delight (until he accidentally hit the house at the wrong angle and ended up soaking himself...suddenly it wasn't so funny...hehehe).

We finished off the evening by snuggling in bed and watching "Missing" on Lifetime. I love this show, though I have to admit that I miss the original chick who was on it. Vivica Fox just isn't as convincing as a hard-a$$ FBI agent. Which reminds me...we saw a promo for short series called "Beach Girls" with Rob Lowe and a promo for a new Showtime show "Weeds" with Mary Louise Parker. While "researching" these shows today I also stumbled across a new ABC Family Network show called "Beautiful People" with Daphne Zuniga (you were right, Steve, she IS doing Lifetime movies/tv). I now realize I need to get my VCR fixed. Though it's probably cheaper to just buy a new one these days. But I'm missing some good TV. And I MUST have a way to record during the Fall television season. Distraction is GOOD.

Speaking of distraction...I'm going to be walking our foster dog in a parade next month (provided she doesn't get adopted before then). And I'm actually getting back in the barn with my horses. I can't wait for fair time!

See...I can smile about a lot of things. :o)

To clarify

I was apparently not very coherent in my middle-of-the-night ramblings about sleeplessness and the prospect of no babies in my future. So I will take this opportunity to clarify a couple things...

It's not that I fear infertility. I've never had a problem GETTING pregnant (four months is not what I classify as a problem...though there was a time when I probably would have). I simply have NO IDEA about anything having to do with my own reproductive health.

My OB lied to me about Alex's cause of death. She told me he most likely died from an intracranial hemorrhage, "But we still don't know what caused the hemorrhage." I had to read about bacteremia and chorioamnionitis in his autopsy report...where it clearly says, "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."

What does this mean? Does this mean that my uterus is infected and will kill off any babies who dare dwell there? Does this mean that I could grow another perfectly healthy baby to 35 weeks and have him die quietly in his/her sleep? What does this mean? I HAVE NO IDEA! My OB can't or won't be straight with me. So I'm left asking all these questions to myself (and you dear readers). I'm ceratinly hoping the perinatologist can give me some answers tomorrow...Come On Tuesday!

But the question that really bothers me is this...if there is even a chance that this could happen again...do I really want to even try? Do I have what it takes to take a gamble and risk losing the odds game again?

So while I'm not infertile...I'm afraid there will be no babies just the same.

Now...a brief lesson in chorioamnionitis for those that wonder...especially those that see it in their medical records (hopefully before something horrible happens to them...but especially for those who see it after something horrible happens to them)...

Chorioamnionitis is an infection of the membranes (placental tissues) and amniotic fluid. It occurs in about 1 to 2 percent of all pregnancies, but is much more common in preterm births. Chorioamnionitis can cause bacteremia (blood infection) in the mother and may lead to preterm birth and serious infection in the newborn baby. Other terms for chorioamnionitis include intra-amniotic infection and amnionitis.

The organisms usually responsible for chorioamnionitis are those that are normally present in the vagina, including Escherichia coli (E. coli). Group B streptococcus may also cause the infection. Chorioamnionitis can develop when the membranes (amniotic sac) are ruptured (broken) for an extended period. This allows the vaginal organisms to move upward into the uterus.

What are the symptoms of chorioamnionitis?
The following are the most common symptoms of chorioamnionitis. However, each woman may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
-fever.
-increased heart rate in mother and fetus.
-tender or painful uterus.
-a foul odor of the amniotic fluid.

The symptoms of chorioamnionitis may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis. (ha!)

How is chorioamnionitis diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, chorioamnionitis is diagnosed by symptoms and by laboratory tests for infection. Testing of the amniotic fluid by amniocentesis (withdrawing fluid with a needle) may be needed.

Treatment for chorioamnionitis:
Specific treatment for chorioamnionitis will be determined by your physician based on:
-your overall health and medical history.
-extent of the condition.
-your tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies.
-expectations for the course of the condition.
-your opinion or preference.

Antibiotics are used to treat chorioamnionitis as soon as the infection is diagnosed. Antibiotics are usually continued after delivery as well. Delivery is often necessary to prevent complications in the mother, or if the fetus is in danger.


It usually occurs when your water breaks and you are in labor for a longer time than you should. It's a result of frequent cervix checks and the lack of protection provided by the amniotic sac. Bacteria are "stirred up" and travel upwards to the uterus (which is apparently a home away from home for some of these things). This is why they will normally only let you labor for 24 hours after your water breaks. After 24 hours, the risk of infection skyrockets. In my case, I had this usual case during my delivery with Sam. No infection prior to my water breaking...but it jumped on board some time during the 22 1/2 hours of labor I had...necessitating a c-section. The thing is...I didn't KNOW I had an infection. Nobody ever told me. In fact, they told me the shivers and the vomitting I had were "normal at certain stages of labor." Upon receiving my medical records, I found that my amniotic fluid smelled and there was acute chorioamnionitis that evidenced a need for antibiotics (again, something that nobody saw fit to share with me).

There is also another kind of chorioamnionitis that is rarely studied. This is the kind I had with Alex. The kind that somehow crosses the intact amniotic barrier and infects the uterus, placenta, and fetus DURING pregnancy. It's one of those things that gets glossed over in books and such. You know...like that reference to "resulting in...and rarely stillbirth?" My favorite line is..."There have been cases of..." and then there is nothing of substance on point.

There are theories of microscopic tears in the amniotic sac that provide access for the bacteria. There are also theories that the bacteria somehow gets into the mother's bloodstream and crosses through the amniotic barrier via the placenta. Nobody knows for sure. The only reason I know about it is because Alex had aggressive bacteremia...infection in the blood and multiple organs/tissues in his body...most notably in his lungs and heart. The only way for that infection to get into those tissues is while they are functioning and the bacteria circulates through the body. I have found that chorioamnionitis is dangerous for the mother and can lead to vascular collapse. There are many tales out there of women who "stroke out" or something similar during childbirth. It is theorized that this is one of the main causes (though again, not studied). I hypothesize that rather than happening to me...this is what happened to Alex. His body couldn't take the strain of the infection, and the blood vessels in his brain just gave out. (Hell...everyone has a theory...I don't see why I should be any different.) In a way, I suppose I owe Alex a great debt. If he hadn't died, I may have walked around for a few more days with this infection until it got so serious that it eventually cost me some physical damage. Though I have to tell you...if he could have lived, I would gladly have given my life.

Anyway...two weeks after Alex was stillborn, I complained to my OB about a UTI. (At this point, she hadn't yet lied to me.) I did a urinalysis and I had an overcolonization of E coli. I now wonder if that isn't the bacteria responsible for Alex's bacteremia, which led to the vascular collapse and intracranial hemorrhage. And given my OBs subsequent failure to tell the truth about Alex's cause of death, I wonder if she doesn't suspect the same thing and KNOW she dropped the ball? Did you see that part about diagnosing it based on your complete medical history? Well...even I didn't know I'd had it during my previous delivery (and my OB never bothered to request my medical records from my previous pregnancy)...so exactly HOW this was going to happen is impossible to tell. Oh, who am I kidding? It didn't happen...they thought I was being a hysterical pregnant woman and told me to take some Sudafed and Tylenol.

Regardless...I don't know anything. I can only guess until I have a doctor willing to talk straight with me. And Lord only knows if there is such a creature on this planet anymore.

The downward spiral

It's so strange to feel that downward spiral. To know it's coming and to recognize the things that bring on the beginning of the descent.

Today I was driving in to work and feeling pretty good. I saw my three goldfinches at the end of our driveway again this morning. Lovely three. I wish there were four, but what are you going to do? Argue with the universe?

I drove past the fairgrounds and the setup is in full swing, as the county fair begins tomorrow. I waved at Rick, our farrier, who was out by the draft barn helping hitch and pretty-up a team of two monster black percherons. They were beautiful. I may have to sneak out of work a couple mornings this week to get a good look at some of the smaller teams. And I'd love to see the saddle classes...my girls are getting saddle-ready and I'm getting antsy to take them for a spin. But I digress. The point is, I was smiling and enjoying the morning.

Then I get to work...

John is back from his bar exam hiatus. I haven't seen him since before Alex died. In fact, the last time I saw John, I was big and round and talking about how excited I was to have TWO boys. Just seeing him made me want to crawl into the corner, curl up in a ball, and sob. But then I get "the look." You know the one with the symptathetic head tilt? This one was accompanied by the awkward arm outreach and pat on my shoulder and back. I wanted to scurry away as fast as my short legs would carry me.

Then I opened my email...

There is this lovely woman out there in internet-land, Dana. She has started a rather unique...ok...unusual...business. She draws memorial pencil drawings and one of her specialties is drawing stillborn children. She is able to smooth out the "imperfections" and draw our babies the way we see them...perfect and beautiful. She sent me an email this morning to tell me that she is approaching my name on her waiting list. She wants direction on exactly what I want in my drawing of Alex. Now I don't even need to crawl to the corner and curl up...I'm doing quite fine sobbing here at my desk, thank you very much.

Have you ever seen those charity penny spirals they have at department stores (Walmart, Target, etc), where you put a penny in the shoot and it spins round and round the funnel edge until it descends into the charity bin? That's me. If I had SOME control, it would be one thing. But these triggers are everywhere. I never know when someone or something is going to push me down the shoot.

If the fair had started today I would have been ok. I could walk the two blocks from my office and get lost in the sea of people and the smells of greasy french fries and horses. But it doesn't start until tomorrow.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Can't sleep

Can't sleep, can't sleep, can't sleep, can't sleep...

It's like some sort of nasty chant that runs through my brain. In that halfway place where you turn over to get more comfortable, it becomes louder until it finally wakes me. And sometimes there are variations...with other words thrown in to make me feel like throwing up.

Last night's dreams were about doctors.

I was in this medical building with twisty and turny hallways, filled with automated people movers that went up and down in the little kind of hills that make your stomach drop down to your toes. Of course, I was the only one there, but I was still completely and totally lost. I couldn't figure out which direction to go until Steve mysteriously appeared and showed me the right office door. (Gee, there are no feelings wrapped up in that message, huh?)

Of course, once inside, I had to talk to this woman and give her my complete medical history...every painful detail...right down to the color of the wallpaper in the delivery room Alex never saw.

Then that nurse/doctor disappeared and I saw who I thought was the head honcho, only to have to repeat everything I had already told the first gal.

He was soon replaced by four women, one who resembled Ivette from Big Brother 6 on CBS, and one who looked like the receptionist (that I thought was my friend but now can't seem to stop talking about me). They laughed and laughed and laughed...and I couldn't get them to listen to what I was saying. They were telling me that all my babies would be born dead and I was a joke to even think I could be a mommy to more than one.

Then tonight's fun and excitement...a spelling test...with words like chorioamnionitis and bacteremia and fetus (which according to Jill, I'm spelling wrong anyway). But it wasn't just once...I had to spell them over and over again. I woke up almost saying them out loud.

And now I can't sleep again.

This upcoming doctor's appointment is going to kill me. I've never had real health issues in my life. Everytime I've ever had to deal with anything medical, it's always been, "Right then, we'll fix you up and you'll be on your way." I've never had to face a reality that could mean changing the entire rest of my life. I've never had a real problem getting pregnant. I got pregnant on the fourth cycle with Alex. My problem is just having a healthy baby, apparently. So even though I've never had fertility issues, I'm now sitting in pretty much the same place as women who do experience fertility issues...the prospect of a future with no baby.

I know I should be greatful for what I have. Sam is a beautiful, smart, amazing, perfect little boy. OK...so that's a bit over the top, but it's my blog and I can indulge my fantasies if I want. And Alex can always be perfect, even if felled by some nasty bacteria from my body. But there was supposed to be more. Oh crap, there I go with supposed to again.

And then tonight Steve and I were chatting in our lawn chairs as we watched Sam play with the big stick he found (oy, that kid is going to give me gray hair). I asked him if there was a part of him that doesn't even really want to try again. There was complete silence. I said, "Well, the silence is deafening." He said, "No, there really isn't. I know what this means to me. Another loss would be hard..." Right then is when I stopped listening. Another loss would be hard?!?! After almost three months, he still doesn't get it. It wasn't a loss...it was my Baby Alex. I know I should accept that men don't really bond as much until after birth...but give me a break. Like I'm a gumball machine...put in a quarter and a baby pops out. And you can just keep trying until you get the grape one you have your eye on. Another loss would destroy me. I would never come back, in any way, shape, or form that resembles a normal human being.

You know, my grandmother is mentally unstable. And I don't say that in the loving way you often refer to people who are goofy. No...she is tea-with-Jesus ill. And I wonder if there wasn't something major in her past that made her lose her grasp on reality. Was there something like this that just broker her spirit so badly that she could never recover? I know she suffered her share of heartache and hard times as a young adult...but was there one thing that caused her to suddenly lose control?

It's funny how this blog started with tongue in cheek...Everything is Under Control. That's just not funny at all now.