Friday, September 30, 2005

All our love

It is with incredible sadness that I say goodbye to Laura and Justin's tadpole.

Thank you for sharing your spirit with them for a time.

I don't know why you came and went so fast, but I hope, wherever you are, that you're holding your big brother's hand and watching over your parents.

Home improvement strikes again

I have blogged many times about the joys and nightmares of home improvement projects. There was the flooring that I never did post a picture of...I will have to rectify that some day. There were the windows. There was the painting and the trim in "Alex's room." (I now say "Alex's room" in quotes because it obviously isn't Alex's room. Alex has a nice comfy suite somewhere in the afterlife, so we're going to use this room for some other purpose. We're not sure yet whether it will be a guest room or actually get used for a baby some day, so I just call it "Alex's room.") Anyway...I digress...

These home improvement projects aren't giving me grey hair. They're giving me weird ailments. This time...sore thumbs. Yep. Red, swollen, painfully tender thumbs. I cringe everytime I hit the space bar because it hurts. So what joyful project brought about the lightbulb thumbs? Why, installing a fence in our backyard of course.

I got the idea from Vixanne when she was having all that trouble with her homeowners association over her fence for her little doggy. Heck, if she can expend the money and effort for one little doggy, I should get off my fat ass and get to work to make a doggy playground for my FIVE (and multiple fosters).

Off we went with our sights set on something cheap and easy to install. NO SUCH THING! So we got what we thought was the least expensive and most efficient. It's wire, with vinyl coating to prevent rusting. Sounds good.

The posts, however, are a creation of some evil force that wants to torture me. No amount of twisting and turning or pulling and pushing is going to make this fence work with those posts. And believe me, we tried. I've got the swollen thumbs to prove it.

I have learned a few things over the past four months or so. The main thing is that I know when I've been beat. So tonight the posts are going back to Lowe's and I'm taking the credit card and buying wooden posts and fence nails. It's something I'm familiar with and I know I can operate. And I'm right handed, so I can be assured that, at most, only ONE thumb will be swollen and painful when I wake up the next morning.

Tell me it will be great once we get it done. Tell me I'll feel a sense of accomplishment when I see my furkids running around having a good time. Because right now, I'm this close to giving up. (When I say "this," imagine me holding my two swollen thumbs up about a quarter inch apart from one another.)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I hate tags

Lorem tagged me.

I hate tags for precisely this reason...

23rd post...fifth line...

Then it hit me...there's going to be four of us!

Crap.

I'm not going to tag anyone else...I'm not in the mood for this anymore.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Let me clarify

After reading comments from a previous post, I feel the need to clarify. There isn't an outward "yuck" that I'm worried about. It's that underlying discomfort everyone has with seeing pictures of a dead person (baby or otherwise). I know people want to be supportive, but let's be honest with each other...even MY first thought was, "Oh...dead baby." It wasn't until time had passed that I was able to see MY baby. And I know if I felt it as Alex's mother, then others most certainly feel it.

Let's face it, you don't want to sit and gaze at dead baby polaroids in quite the same way you want to gaze at nursery pics of a beautiful, perfect, pink, healthy, LIVING baby. I know I don't. I know I'm saddened by the harsh reality in those pictures...it doesn't give me a warm fuzzy cuddly feeling. Now I know people will be supportive and kind, but it's NOT the same as a living baby. It's not that I am ashamed of the photos...it's that it's not the same. It's that nobody will oooh and aaah and tell me how perfect he is...how beautiful. It's precisely that difference that makes me sad when I hear of new babies being born. I don't judge people for having their reactions...I totally understand them. I just feel sad that Alex doesn't get the good stuff.

How stupid is that? I think I've mixed up the issue again...

I feel sad that Alex didn't get to live...forget the pictures. THAT'S what I'm really sad about.

Balancing act

There's an old saying about angels dancing on the head of a pin. I wonder just how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I wonder this mainly because it seems to illustrate the precarious balance of life.

Today was a particularly hectic Wednesday. Certainly not as hard as Wednesdays used to be, but hectic nonetheless. It was a "normal" hectic...with me trying to get things accomplished while my three-year-old managed a running commentary and endless stream of "why?" questions. As he was napping in the car on a long drive home this afternoon, I got to thinking about how much I can really handle. I began to think about the head of that pin...and how much room is really there for balancing stuff.

It has been a LONG year...and it's only September. I remember the old days, when September meant the beginning of the school year...new school supplies...new school clothes...new class schedules...making new friends and seeing old friends again. But now September feels like the end of the year is approaching. There are no new beginnings involved here.

But I'm still here. I haven't died. I haven't had a mental breakdown...which I think I'm fully entitled to, by the way. And the normal things are starting to take up the space in my brain again.

We have no money. The dishes need done. The bathroom sink needs cleaned and I seem to be the only one who knows how to do it. The husband is irritating me with his lack of domestic skills. The son is making me crazy with the potty training setbacks. We have too many bills. We have too many animals.

It seems I can take a lot. I appears that I'm pretty tough stuff. I am woman...hear me roar.

But I still wonder if there will come a point where there will be too many angels dancing on the head of the pin. Will I have that breakdown? Will we have too many bills and not enough money? Will we catch bubonic plague from the crud in the bathroom sink?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

And just what IS that goo I just scraped off the bottom of my mouse?
Just GREAT

And another thing...

What's new, right? I mean, it seems all I do is whine. Get used to it, cause I have a feeling it's going to go on for a while yet.

Another mommy from my June 2002 board had a baby girl yesterday. Her third. I know I shouldn't lurk because it's going to hurt...bad. But I'm happy for her so I just had to know.

So what's my latest problem? The well wishes. They just got to me this morning. "She's gorgeous," or "She's perfect," or "She's beautiful." Nobody but Steve and I will ever think that, let alone say it out loud, about our Alex. Instead of unfettered admiration at his beauty, there will always be that quiet little "yuck" underlying the conversation when we talk about him. Nobody will ever say he's perfect but us. There won't be any oohs and aahs over his head of hair (which was dark and thick, by the way). Nor will there be any giggles of delight at the recognition that he had his mama's curly toes. He deserved so much better.

Now I'm off to buy a baby gift.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A new day

There seems to be no shortage of things that remind me my baby died. Everywhere I look, in everything I see, hear, taste, feel...there is something. The list is infinite, it seems. Some moments I ache to repeat, and therefore look forward to the reminders. Other moments I ache to forget...so try to close my eyes or plug my ears in an effort to ignore them. I have very few "new" moments that I actually look forward to, like a normal person would.

Normal people get up in the morning and look forward to what new things they will think, accomplish or experience. I get up in the morning and wonder how this day will somehow relate back to that horrible day in May. I worry that I will break down somewhere inappropriate. I worry that I will say the wrong thing to someone and cause hurt feelings or anger. I worry that there will be no happiness in my day at all...or that there will be and that will somehow be unfaithful to my dead son. There is nothing that isn't related to grief or sadness.

I'm so tired of this...and I'm so tired of myself in the middle of this. I want to wake up in the morning feeling excited to face a new day. I want something that isn't tainted by this horror. I want some joy...some peace. The universe owes me...and I intend to collect. I just don't know how.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A day of rest?

I SAID I wanted to spend the day vegging at home, watching football, drinking beer, and playing Thomas trains with Sam. What actually occurred...Woke up and spent the morning underneath the lawn mower (up on ramps), picking clumps of grass out of the mower deck (that had previously caused smoke and a very nervous me refusing to ever get back on that thing ever again). That was fun.

THEN I got the bright idea to take Steve and Sam for a "quick trip to Lowe's." WHO AM I KIDDING?!?!? There is NO SUCH THING when talking about home improvement stores and boys (a lethal combo). And of course, the building materials we were looking for were out of stock at Lowe's. So off we trudged down the road to Home Depot. Home Depot...you can do it we can help. And help they did. We brought home all the materials necessary to fence in our backyard and make it a doggy friendly playground. It's going to be a thing of beauty. We considered starting the construction today, but the threat of thunderstorms caused serious second thoughts. Sam suggested he and Daddy could work while I held an umbrella. I asked if he remembered our tree and what happened to it...and that we didn't want to end up like that tree. He agreed.

I was testy and short tempered and nasty all day. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. But this evening I had an epiphany. It's just all too much. My brain is constantly playing a movie...and the added never-ending commentary of my three-year-old son...and the pressure of having my husband ask me a zillion and one questions about "what I want" out of this project or that project...along with the previous day's experience being social with my mother and multiple strangers...created a need in my soul to escape and find some quiet. Oh yeah...and I have PMS and a headache.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The best laid plans

You would think, after this year, that I would know better than to PLAN anything...or at least expect there's gonna be some pain when I do plan.

Sam hated Clifford and we left at intermission in order to avoid a major temper tantrum. He wanted a light spinner...I wasn't going to spend $20 on one when I know you can get them for $15/dozen. He wanted a pretzel, then popcorn, then a hot dog. OY! My head was pounding by the time we left.

Today, I spent at the craft fair. We sold a whole $62 worth of stuff. And I had to sit on this wooden chair that is, I truly believe, a Chinese prison torture device.

While mom was on a bathroom break, I happened to overhear a woman shopping at the personalized Christmas ornament table directly behind us. The ornaments are made of clay and they have "snowmen families." You can get them with 1-6 snowmen on it, and the lady would personalize each one with the names of your family members. This lady was commenting how she needed on with four snowmen on it because, "Four is the perfect number for [her] family." The man running the table said that's what his daughter thought too. She had had a boy and is pregnant with a girl, and that will be it. The woman agreed, "Me too...I got a boy and then I'll be having this girl, and that will be the perfect family." Thankfully, I did not have to witness her perfect pregnant belly that will bring her her perfect family, or I may have totally lost it.

The best laid plans hurt in more ways than one.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Tonight we are off to see Clifford the Big Red Dog at the Playhouse Square Center. Tomorrow I'm helping my mom sell her stained glass at the Geneva Grape Jamboree (which doesn't have a functional website, if you can believe that). Sunday I plan to catch up on all the housework I didn't get done Wednesday when the window guys were here. I'm not sure I can handle all the excitement. :o)
It was almost dry...


...and then...

While it may not normally happen on this grand of a scale, this sort of thing seems to happen all around us. People ALMOST have babies. People ALMOST have love. People ALMOST have financial security. You just never know when the next strong storm is going to blow through your life and wipe the slate clean, forcing you to start over, or at least retreat a bit and walk over some part of the path a second time. Where are we all headed? Two steps forward and one step back. Until we die. How ridiculously silly it all seems.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Vintage???

I am looking for a new lampshade. The one that got squished when we moved into our house four years ago has finally given up the fight and can no longer be reshaped back into place. When I left this morning, it was hanging woefully from the frame, like a basketball hoop that has been pulled down too far during a dunk shot.

So of course, I hit ebay to find something I like for a reasonable price. Apparently people think if you slap the label "vintage" on crap it will sell. I give you Exhibit A...Can you guess what this is supposed to be?

[ugly football lampshade picture no longer available]

A lampshade!

Second Child Syndrome x 10

I should have paid more attention. With my first baby I had journals and baby books to record everything...My favorite foods, my aches and pains, the things that would make the baby move. With Alex, I didn't do any of that.

I'm told it's quite common for the second child to have fewer momentos and fewer photos. I'm told it's normal. I'm told that women regret not having that stuff later on in life and they do their best to fill in the blanks in the baby book before their second child turns 30. But there is no baby book. There is no pregnancy journal. And it seems a waste to try to do it now, when it is all marred by the knowledge that there is no later-in-life opportunities to fill in the blanks...when some of the memories are already smoothed around the edges by the grief that chased them down and swallowed them up.

Why did I take it for granted? Why did I take Alex for granted? Because he was the second child, I thought all that stuff was less important than the time I spent with him "in the moment." I figured I would have time to play catch up later. Little did I know those oh-so-important moments would pass and I would be left with nothing but a fading memory.

Blinkie signs?

I visited the month board where all the June 2005 mommies migrated to after graduating from the Due in June board. They've made themselves a blinkie...with a blue dragonfly on it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Equinox

Tomorrow is the autumnal equinox signifying the first day of autumn. I survived the summer I wasn't sure I would survive. I should be happy.

Maybe God read my blog

After all this time, it seems God, or luck, or fortune, or fate, has finally tuned into my various rants and raves. One day after my conversation with Ms. Clueless at the Vital Records office, Alex's Certificate of Stillbirth arrived in the mailbox. AND, we get one free, so the state will be refunding my $15.

I'm not happy...not sad...just numb...and angry.

I'm more than slightly pissed off that the powers-that-be didn't start reading my blog sooner. Why does the universe listen to me when I ask for something insignificant like a certificate? Why didn't the universe listen to me when I talked about how much I wanted my son? Is a $15 refund really supposed to make up for that little oversight?

Don't you think he deserves a good home? Posted by Picasa

Isn't he a doll? Posted by Picasa

This is Orbit Posted by Picasa

What I've been doing today

1. Imagine the horror when I'm laying in bed and the phone rings. It's my husband telling me the window installers are on their way. I hadn't washed my face and I wasn't yet wearing a bra. Quick rinse in the bathroom, change of clothes with the addition of a bra, and I'm on my way for the day. It was 10:30 before I got my coffee...that was fun.

2. Now imagine the horror when the window installer moves the bedside table and finds dust bunnies the size of Manhatten hiding there. I'm so embarassed.

3. After several unsuccessful attempts to tweak it, I have reached the conclusion that blogrolling won't work for me. It just doesn't like me. I'm convinced it's personal.

4. I'm trying to coordinate the rescue of this dog...
RESCUED!

5. I'm also trying to find Swarovski beads in bulk for making M.O.M. bracelets. And some dumbass keeps outbidding me on eBay. grrr!

And now for this commercial break...

I have recently volunteered my crafting abilities to the Memories of Mariam Project. I'm making personalized bracelets to give to bereaved mothers. The goal is to give them out for free...but it ain't cheap. I'm willing to donate the beading material myself (for now...until the project takes off and it gets too expensive)...but if you find yourself so motivated to help, you can donate a few dollars to the postage costs we incur mailing the bracelets to grieving moms.

Thanks!

And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging...

Yay or Nay...how do they decide?

I don't often talk politics on this blog because I know we all have our own opinions and I haven't really had much room in my brain for debate on anything of substance. But I have to step up on my soapbox for just a moment and ask about the motivations of politicians when it comes to animal rights legislation. I just don't get it. It doesn't seem to be about party affiliation. Is it really about whether they are good guys or not (and I use the term guys because both Senators from Ohio are guys).

The final vote on the Ensign-Byrd amendment was 68-29 in favor of ending horse slaughter by withholding funds for federal inspectors in horse slaughterhouses and at the borders. The House of Representatives passed the same amendment in June voting overwhelmingly in support of the Sweeny-Spratt-Rahall-Whitfield amendment (269-158).

Mike Dewine voted yea. George Voinovich voted nay. Both Republican. Both from Northern Ohio. So why the different votes? I have opinions about George Voinovich...could it be that I've been right about him all along?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Blogrolling?

How do I get it to show when the blogs on my blogroll have been updated? I thought I set it up on the blogrolling preferences...but it's not showing here. Help!

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

And now my blogroll isn't showing up at all! eeks!

Reality finales

I can honestly say that I'm glad for who won Rock Star INXS and I hope they do well together. I, for one, have missed their music and look forward to hearing from them again in their newest edition.

Big Brother 6...meh...didn't like either one too much, but I'm glad who won that one for the simple reason that she annoyed me less than the other.

Won't say anything here about who it is...don't want to spoil it for those who TIVO. :o)

Rainbows

A friend that I work with went to Baltimore to set up her son at school. She did the apartment hunt and the move and had a zillion things to think of. But she thought of me and stopped in this little crystal shop that she'd been to on a previous trip out there. Now I have rainbows all over my office walls and floor.

Another friend sent me an ecard that says, "Wishing you peace in your heart today and always." With a note that read: "Just wanted to let you know that we have not forgotten the pain you have had to endure this year."

Isn't it amazing how someone simply thinking of you can make you feel better?

Stop...Pause...or at least Mute

I have been sitting here with this blogger window open for a while now and I simply cannot think of anything worth saying that doesn't make me sound like a broken record. I'm sad...blah, blah, blah. I miss Alex...blah, blah, blah.

Fact is, I'm at some sort of an impasse in my life and I don't really know where to go from here. I'm not pregnant (that I know of anyway), I haven't "moved on" from my grief and yet I'm not as grief-stricken as I used to be, and I'm not entirely sure exactly what to think or feel anymore. Sometimes I feel completely in control of myself and other times I feel like I'm hanging on to my sanity by the thinnest of threads that could break at any moment...sending my spiraling into some sort of mental and emotional quagmire that I previously only associated with mental cases and drug addicts. It's not depression. Lord knows I've been forwarded the symptoms enough...and been subject to enough amateur psychoanalysis...to make me somewhat of an expert on that topic.

It's sort of like being frozen in a moment...unable to move or speak...but watching it play out all around me again and again...and watching the rest of the world rush by oblivious to the existence of this moment that torments me. It's actually two moments. The moment I was sitting on the sofa in the living room and I KNEW something wasn't right. And the moment Alex was delivered and whisked over to the baby warmer (that wasn't even plugged in). I think I'm willing those moments to change...trying to focus all my energy on them so that this will have a different outcome. If I had just gotten my ass up off the couch and gone to the hospital. If he would have just breathed.

I know it's insanity. I know there is nothing to be done to make this nightmare go away. But I can't stop the video feed in my brain from repeating those moments over and over. And some days it's easy to join the whirlwind of activity outside the replay...but others it is nearly impossible to make it quiet down so I can think of anything else.

For my whole life my grandmother's mental illness has been something that has terrified me. Despite finding amusement in her delusional grandeur (she did, after all, invent the lego and Pokemon), I have always wondered and worried. It hasn't been something we have ever talked about as a family, but now I fear I understand her a little too well. It's so easy to disengage and let the insanity take over. It's so easy to slip away and let your demons take control so that you don't have to face whatever hurt and sadness you have to face.

I look at Alex's picture here on my desk and I marvel at how much he looked like his big brother. And I look at Sam's third birthday picture and wonder about all that could have been...and all that might be. I can't even refer to Alex as a pregnancy loss. He was HERE...he was BEAUTIFUL...he was so LOVED...he was PERFECT...he was a PERSON. This is senseless and I'm so freaking angry about it that I can't even describe it to people. It's the kind of anger that eats you alive and makes you a bitter and nasty person. And I recognize that it's there...and I want to deal with it. But more than that, I want to throw a chair across the room and make the images in my brain stop. He's gone...so why can't he leave me the hell alone?!?! I just want some peace. It doesn't seem fair that he gets to hang around in my brain and torture me for the rest of my life...so close yet so far away.

So I take a deep breath, have a good sob, and move on. On to what? That's a very good question. Where does one slightly psychotic, grieving, angry mother go from here? The images won't change, but they will continue to play. I'm guessing they'll never stop...If I'm lucky I can pause them for a short time when I want/need. But for those days when I can't even pause them, I have to find a way to quiet them so they don't drown out the rest of the world. Where did I leave the remote? I know just where to find the mute button, even in the dark.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Waiting and waiting and waiting...

Today I called the Ohio Department of Vital Records to check on the status of Alex's birth certificate. The State cashed my check on July 22, but Clueless lady who answered the phone (and made me want to disinfect my telephone after speaking with her because she sounded like she had some awful contagious illness) had no idea when I might expect to receive it. In fact, she wasn't even sure they "do that."

Then I thought, you know, it's been seven weeks since we finalized our plans for Alex's headstone. I wonder what's going on with that? To be honest, with the way I'm feeling today, I'm too afraid to call. Not that they probably aren't used to people crying on the telephone with them...but I'm just not up for a major breakdown today.

And so I get home and there is a letter waiting for us from the lawyer. I thought, "Wow, way to avoid an uncomfortable conversation...blowing us off in a letter." But no. The letter says they have yet to hear from their nurse practitioner and he will get in touch with her and let us know what is going on.

I have this incredible urge to go home and garden...maybe pulling some weeds will work this ick out of my brain for a bit. Maybe some progress toward something pretty will help ease all this waiting.

And a song I cried to this afternoon...

Who You'd Be Today
Kenny Chesney

Sunny days seem to hurt the most
I wear the pain like a heavy coat
I feel you everywhere I go

I see your smile
I see your face
I hear you laughing in the rain
I still can't believe you're gone


Chorus:
It ain't fair
You died too young
Like a story that had just begun
But death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the he** that I've been through
Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder
Who you'd be today

Would you see the world
Would you chase your dreams
Settle down with a family
I wonder what would you name your babies
Somedays the sky's so blue
I feel like I can talk to you
I know it might sound crazy


Chorus:
It ain't fair
You died too young
Like a story that had just begun
But death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the he** that I've been through
Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder
Who you'd be today

Today, today, today

Today, today, today

Sunny days seem to hurt the most
I wear the pain like a heavy coat
The only thing that gives me hope
Is I know, I'll see you again someday

Someday, someday

The song that I cried to on my way to work this morning...

A Few Questions
by Clay Walker
album: A Few Questions (2003)

How in this world
Can we put a man on the moon
And still have a need
For a place like St. Judes
And why is one man born
In a place where all they know is war
A guy like me,
Has always been free

And how can two people
Who built a loving home
Try for years
And never have a child of their own
And somewhere out there tonight
There is a baby no ones holding tight
In need of love
To me that don't add up


CHORUS:
But I wasn't there the day you filled up the ocean
I didn't get to see you hang the stars in the sky
So I don't mean to second guess you
Or criticize what I don't understand
These are just a few questions I have

And why did my cousin
Have to die in that crash
A good kid
Only seventeen
I still wonder 'bout that
It seems unfair to me
Some get the chance to chase their dreams
And some don't
What do I know


CHORUS:
I wasn't there the day You filled up the ocean
I didn't get to see You hang the stars in the sky
So I don't mean to second guess You
Or criticize what I don't understand
These are just a few questions I have

Why do I feel like
You hear these prayers of mine
When so many outta be
Ahead of me in line
When you look down on me
Can you see the good through all the bad
These are just a few questions I had

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Our house

Today we did some inventory work concerning the projects that need to be completed around our house. Then we looked up some homes on realtor.com and went out to look at other houses. I guess you could say we're a little overwhelmed. lol We didn't find anything we liked, so we decided to focus on what it would take to make this place "perfect" for us.

Our home is a work in progress. Steve and I sometimes refer to it as the money pit, but we always say it with love. There are things we love...but more things we want to fix up. We bought it knowing that it needed work, so we can't even claim ignorance or unfair surprise. And there's really nothing more satisfying than sitting in our living room, looking around, and knowing that we made it into the warm and welcome place it is now. But some days it is certainly a pleasant thought to imagine sitting in a home that's put together and decorated and ready to be lived in without work. Maybe without all the home improvement, doing the dishes wouldn't feel like such a chore.

But there is something about this place that makes it worth all the work. This is our first home. And this is a welcoming home. This is the home we brought our Sam home to. This is the home that has ghosts that entertained Sam when he was a baby. This is the home Steve and I dreamed our dreams in. This is the place we built our menagerie and found our love of animal rescue. And this is the home where Alex lived and died. I know it sounds strange, because I know I carry Alex's place of life and death with me wherever I go. But this house is the home where we dreamed the dreams for his life. I want this to be the home that welcomes another baby...someday.

I'm not sure I could leave any of that behind...or relocate it.

So I'm off to put in the last row of tile on the bathroom doorway...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Busy Saturday

Today we went to a Dalmatian picnic...and there were spots everywhere! It was too much fun! Our rescue's director lives on five fenced acres and her home is VERY doggy friendly. So we took our Beau and made the drive to go play with the other spotties. He loved it! And he was so well behaved, I was so proud of him. I'll post pictures of the group in front of the fire engine we had loaned for the occasion (yes...Dalmatians and fire engines...we ARE too cute).

It was strange to see one lady in particular. She helped us transport our foster Dalmatian, Deja Vu, the weekend Alex was, unbeknownst to me, dying in my belly. She was very kind and asked how I am doing...and then let me talk about dog stuff. I like her. Seeing her, though, brought up a whole host of memories and I'm sure I'll have nightmares tonight.

We also picked up a new foster dog...Orbit. He's a doll and I'll post pictures very soon. He just finished his heartworm treatment period and is recovering from a gun shot wound to his hind end. I will never understand how or why someone would shoot such a beautiful creature...but that's a soapbox for another day. I can't wait to play with him and watch him get rid of that kennel dog lost look.

On the way home, we helped transport an American Brittany Spaniel to rescue. He was cute...but needed a bath (boy, did he smell!).

I'm tired. I'm not as young as I used to be. :o)

Friday, September 16, 2005

My poor little princess

I have five dogs. I know, I know, I know...my mother tells me all the time how crazy it is to have five dogs. They all have their own "issues" and are "special" in their own way.

My Isaac (Australian Shepherd) is 13 years old with severe hip dysplasia. He is really being held together with medication and duct tape at this point.

Rory (black lab mixed with something that "talks" like a beagle or coonhound) is four...almost five...and a bit loopy. The vet calls him "Crazy Rory" because he is so nutso. He makes no sense and is basically brainless. The other day we thought we'd try him off leash in our yard. He took off and Steve only caught him a couple yards down because he stopped to say hi to the dogs in the neighbor's kennel.

Beau (Dalmatian lab mix) is a heartworm treatment survivor...and probably the smartest dog we have.

Milo (border collie mix) is mental. He is afraid of everyone and everything...though he has gotten over that as far as we are concerned and is now only afraid of anyone and anything outside of our house and family.

Blue (italian greyhound/dalmatian mix) is my little princess. She was the runt of her litter and found her way into our house as a means to afford her some rest and recuperation from her siblings' attacks on her. Sam named her Blue...mainly because that was the only dog name he knew at two years old (what can I say...he probably watches television a little too much). She's been here a year, though it seems much longer than that since she's stolen my heart. She has had multiple health issues and the vet thinks she may have some sort of immune disorder that will require further testing. She does have major allergies and reacts to everything...including soap, carpet cleaner, grass...etc, etc, etc.

She has, for the past year, suffered from an injury to her ear that simply will not heal. She either shakes it too hard or engages the services of one of the other dogs to lick it clean for her. I know...gross...but it leads to her current situation. The poor thing just won't let her ear heal. So we've reached the end of the solution book and have wrapped her entire head in a gauze bandage and put a cone on her to keep her from scratching the cone off. The poor thing just looks silly. I hope it works. I'm at wits end with this one.

Feel Good, Be Happy

Seriously, that's the ad slogan running on top of a message board...a TTC After Loss message board! It's for some omega-3 crap in a pill form that is supposed to cure everything that ails you and turn you into super-mommy. I'm wondering if I'm the ONLY one on that board that finds this ad a bit inappropriate? But I have to admit that I'm wondering what it does for chronic uterine infections. I'm having visions of battlestar gallactica laser wars going on in my uterus.

Too morbid humor?

It seems so simple

You just say you're sorry. You don't have to follow it up with any other verbage. I'm sorry. It's simple. Try it.

There are so many people who have surprised me since Alex died. People who have clammed up when I needed them to talk...people who have talked when all I needed was silence. But I've realized recently that I love them all and I have to accept their ability or inability to deal with me and move on. A couple very kind women once told me that I needed to take the lead and let people know how to deal with me. They were right. (Please don't gloat) The problem is, I had to know how I wanted them to deal with me and the emotions were too raw to really make that decision.

Within the past few days, I've realized that the people I have opened up with...the people who allow me to talk about Alex as though he is real...are the people I feel the most comfortable with. So I suppose, in a roundabout way, I've found my way without ever really conscioualy making that decision.

And on the flip side, I've learned that I don't have to be anyone other than myself when someone else faces a crisis. I can offer my love and support and NOT have to worry if I'm doing or saying the right thing. Because I know they will let me know when they are ready to show me how to deal with them. I just keep it simple until then.

I must confess that I still harbor anger. Anger at those who weren't there. Not because they didn't know what to say or do, but because they couldn't fit us in...because their lives were too busy to take the time to acknowlege that we needed love and support. I wish I could find a way to accept their failings as easily. But there is something to be said for just being there...even if you fail miserably. And I think that is why the anger remains. I hope it softens one day...but I'm not holding out much hope that it will ever disappear completely.

So this is part of the new me. I kind of like the new me...even though I still miss the old me. I hope that's ok.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A google solution

So...I've just spent the last half hour deleting all references to my last name or the last name of my family members. I have, until now, felt relatively insulated in my blogosphere. But now that that damn Google came out with their blog search engine, I'm feeling a bit...exposed. And not in a good way.

All this crafting stuff

I'm realizing how much I really enjoy crafting...for charity and for others. I sometimes go in and out of phases where I start a project and don't finish it. I think I'm going to pull out that Debbie Mumm quilt I started for my Aunt years ago and finally finish it. It's really almost done...I don't know WHY I haven't finished it before now.

But I also realized I've never done anything for myself...not so much as a scrap or a stitch has been done for me. I've made Sam a couple crocheted blankies...and I made Alex a blankie...but I've never made anything just for ME. How strange is that?

So I went off to eBay and found some great fabric. And I'm going to make myself not one, but TWO projects. One just to use...and the other for my bed. I'm most excited about the "me" blanket...made with these quilt squares...





Oh...and Aunt Jonette...if you're reading this...I have that video and will send it out in the mail to you. Maybe you can use that fancy new sewing machine of yours to make something amazing. :o)

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UPDATE
Now I know why I never finished the quilt. It was my first attempt and it's awful. I'm going to pull apart the squares and try to salvage some of it. Keep your fingers crossed for it...and me.
Q: What is President Bush’s position on Roe v. Wade?

A: He doesn’t care how people get out of New Orleans.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


buddy project blankie closeup Posted by Picasa

I got all the blue yarn for free from a friend at work who was cleaning out her stash. I crocheted the blankie and felt like it needed a "finish," so I bought the white to make the matching trim. You can't really tell in the pictures, but it's part mohair and really soft and fuzzy.

buddy project blankie Posted by Picasa

Some crafty pics

Here's some more stuff I've been working on for charity. The preemie blankies and burial outfits went to Warm Hearts Warm Babies in Colorado. The flannel backed blankies and baby cloud booties are headed to Caring for Canadians with the crocheted sets I posted a while back. The flannel backed blankies are actually a buddy project. An online friend bought the cotton fabric, sent it to me, and I bought the flannel and sewed em up.

flannel backed cotton Christmas blankie Posted by Picasa

flannel backed cotton Christmas blankie Posted by Picasa

baby cloud booties Posted by Picasa

burial bunting Posted by Picasa

burial romper Posted by Picasa

burial kimono Posted by Picasa

closeup of preemie blankies Posted by Picasa

preemie blankies Posted by Picasa

Huge purple should-have-beens

OK, so it wasn't officially Take Your Kid to Work Day, but Sam asked to visit where his Daddy works, so I took him up there for lunch and a visit today. It was nice. And I tried to smile and introduce myself appropriately to people. But I knew they were all feeling the should be just as much as I was. I should be there showing off Sam AND Alex.

It wasn't too bad because I've never met a lot of Steve's co-workers since he changed departments. But I could all feel them giving me the look that said they were all thinking, "Poor woman"...and would most likely talk about how sad it was we lost Alex as soon as we walked away. I know I shouldn't care much about what other people think or say...but it was hanging in the air there, like a balloon about to pop.

And then we saw John. I remember John from the Christmas party where Steve caught hell for introducing me as Cathy, his wife, who was pregnant. I remember yelling that I was an assistant prosecutor, for God's sake, and he didn't need to invite comments on my uterus from complete strangers. lol I remember the Christmas party because when we had accepted the invitation, I was under the impression I would be meeting Steve's boss and partaking of some of the wine bar that was available. Two promises that didn't materialize.

John couldn't look at me as much as I couldn't look at him. We both looked at Sam and smiled extra big smiles to deflect the obvious discomfort. Thankfully, we were able to escape with my suggesting that we go seek out our lunch.

After lunch, Steve wanted to introduce Sam to Chad. I remember Chad from the Christmas party as well. He was the only person at our table to make an effort to talk to me (the only one not affiliated with the company or the other wives in some way). He took an active interest in Sam and Alex and me. I liked him for trying. Today, I felt like seeing him might make me throw up. So I hid in the bathroom, only to return and find Steve had taken Sam down to Chad's office to say hi. I walked up and saw Chad through the doorway, but couldn't bring myself to say hi or anything. I stood there and looked overly interested in Sam's goofball antics to get attention. Again, making my getaway as quickly as I could by suggesting it was time Daddy get back to work.

I felt defective...like there was a sign on my forehead that announced my sadness and my sense of failure. I felt contagious. I felt like there was a window on my uterus and everyone could see that it was empty...that it had served as a tomb for my beautiful baby boy. These people were prefectly nice to me. Normal people with normal conversation. But it was there like some giant purple elephant in the middle of the room that everyone was talking around.

Will I ever NOT carry this around with me? Will there ever be a time when I won't think of THIS whenever I meet someone? I'm either relieved that they don't know what happened, or I'm nervous that they do know what happened and I'm uncertain what they will say/how they will react. I'm so tired of carrying around this huge purple elephant and trying to find the appropriate place to set it so it's out of my way. I just want my life back.

I can't have my baby. Is it too much to ask that I get myself back?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The nerd

Ever feel like the kid at the party who used to be friends with so-and-so but now you're not and nobody really knows why you're there at all?

TWO DAYS IN A ROW!

Sam hasn't had an accident for TWO DAYS IN A ROW!

WOO HOO!!!!

The key? Stop buying pullups and just go with underwear and tell him that you're tired of diapers and he'd better get with the program.

Subtle...real subtle

Again today I spent time at the cemetery crying and apologizing. Some of the things I heard myself saying included, "It was my fault, we both know that. Despite all the platitudes and the nice things people say, it was my job to give you life and I failed. I don't understand this. I understand THAT (pointing to a nearby grave of an 80-something man)...but I don't understand THIS. He had a life...a family...love...sorrow...a wife...children...grandchildren. It's my fault you didn't get any of that. I just want you back. I want you back and alive. Where are you? I want to be angry at God. I want to hate God. But I need to know that you are with God. I need to know he loves you. I need to know God loves me enough to be taking care of you."

I sat for a very long time and pondered God and heaven. I got no answers and heard nothing but the hum of a nearby band saw echoing through the trees into the silence of the cemetery. I got in my car and drove out, spotting a headstone that I had never seen before...or had never recognized before. The name in big bold letters? KINGDOM I laughed because the first thing I thought was, "Well Jill won't be able to say THAT'S a common name."

I was about to leave the cemetery and got this urge to drive past the various baby graves. There are really three section devoted to babies in that cemetery, aside from the random babies who are buried near other family sites (like Alex). I got out of my car and pulled up some of the weather worn pinwheels we put out at the 4th of July. And I thought how long ago that seems now. So long that most of the pinwheels had been bleached white by the sun. I talked to the babies and spoke some of their names out loud. And I wondered about Hope Keel 1952, with no headstone...only the temporary marker provided by the funeral home. I wonder what happened...what was her story? Does she know my Alex now?

I drove home feeling a bit tired and empty inside. A good cry at the cemetery often does that for me. But as I pulled in the driveway and looked around (I always say hi to my girls and watch them graze a bit), something odd caught my eye. A dragonfly...and another...and another...and another...

There must have been dozens of them...flitting about...soaring and diving and whizzing by my car window. I started to cry and laugh and shake. Oh my God...what a beautiful sight. I smiled and said out loud, "All right already...I get it."

(I did grab my crappy digital camera and tried to capture some video...I'll have to see if anything came out on it at all to share.)

Smiles and tears

Hey H...

Remember when we played audio clips on the computer upstairs at the court? Remember, "I'll go if you go?" Remember lunch at Massimo's...ordering tickets on Von's cell phone? Remember our road trip to Austin? Where ARE those pictures?

I just popped TOFOG in the CD player of my computer at work and am having a good smile...with a few tears.

I think I need to come into Cleveland for that Massimo's lunch buffet some day...for old times sake. After all...we've slept together. [wink]

A sigh of relief

A fellow June 2002 mommy just had her third daughter yesterday. She posts comments here occasionally, and I hope she doesn't mind I talk about her. I have to admit that this entire time I've known she was pregnant I've been holding my breath. I haven't been sad about her pregnancy, though I have been a bit jealous. But today, when I read the news that the baby had arrived safely, I let out a sigh of relief I didn't even know I'd been holding in.

I don't know...I guess I thought I would be immune from all the hysteria. It's kind of like when people tell you how hard it is to be a parent and you nod your head, but secretly think, "How hard could it be?" I guess I thought my brain would be different and I'd be able to acknowledge that what happened to us was a fluke and I wouldn't worry so much about every pregnancy I know about. But there it was...I had worried that something bad would happen to my friend and/or her baby. And I'm realizing I'm not above it all. Which leads me to my next problem...you had to know that was coming, right?

How in the world am I going to make it through another pregnancy? There will be no "safe point" after which I can breathe a sigh of relief. Every time I get the sniffles, I'm going to be calling the doctor. I'm going to be doing kick count charts and analyzing every single detail. I'm not sure I'm strong enough for that. I'm sure it's healthy to hold your breath for nine months.
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Last night we talked with Sam about maybe having another baby. He was so thrilled to hear about baby Avery's arrival and he can't wait to see pictures (hint, hint). So we took the opportunity to float the idea past him. At first he said, "Yeah..and then I can share my trains with Baby Alex." Talk about cutting me to pieces.

We had to explain to him again that Baby Alex wouldn't come to live with us...that he had died and gone to heaven to be an angel. He looked crushed and only said, "oh...yeah." I worried, but asked anyway, "But how about trying for a different baby." His eyes lit up and he said, "Yeah! Maybe a red baby." At which point we had to explain that babies are not like Thomas trains and come in some different colors...but certainly not red, green or blue (we understand blue is an option...but not one we felt we should explain to him at this point).

It was somehow a relief to talk about it with him again. We had made previous similar attempts, but it somehow felt unresolved or unfinished between us. Maybe because we had never fully committed to the idea of trying again at that time. Now that we know we'd like to try again sometime, it's more of a...balanced?...conversation.

But more than that, it was a relief to see his excitement at seeing the pictures of the new baby. He was thrilled at the idea. I hope that excitement carries over for another year, because I'd love to see it directed at a little brother or sister. But I think we'll shoot for pink and rosy...instead of red. I think he'll probably accept that. I know Steve and I would LOVE that.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Deliberate avoidance

I did it...until late last night. I managed to spend the whole day without falling into a pit of depression about my four-month "anniversary" of Alex's death/birth. I didn't even blog about it because I knew it would bring on tears and that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach that doesn't go away for days. Instead, I focused my energy on other things and was able to maintain a smile almost the whole day (aside from the rather embarassing moment caught staring at the pregnant lady).

My son should be four months old. I can't even remember all the things he should be doing right now...all the milestones that are so important to new mothers. And instead of feeling sad, I feel a sense of relief that I was able to avoid the subject for most of the day...and I don't feel guilty for doing so. I wanted some happiness yesterday and I made it for myself by deliberately avoiding all thoughts Alex related. I know I can't do it every day or the grief will bite me on the butt later. But for one day, it was a welcome respite from what I feared would be a horrific onslaught of memories and sadness.

And I do remember...every little detail. I can't stop remembering unless I make the deliberate effort like I made yesterday. It's so exhausting to remember. But it's equally exhausting to try not to remember.

Last night, at 11:38, I looked at the clock and literally felt another month tick by.

At least I've stopped counting the weeks.

To be perfectly honest

My friend called to invite me to an American Business Womens Association meeting, the way she does every month. I love her because she's my kind of lady...honest and loving without taking crap from anyone. She gave me a couple months to mourn, but still called me to let me know that she was there even if I didn't "feel up to it." Truth be told, I've ducked her phone calls a few times because I just couldn't find the energy to talk, let alone make a decision about attending a meeting. I was ready to join this group before...but that was before.

She was kind when I spoke to her today and asked how I was doing. When I answered, "Fine," she asked, "OK...are you really?" (That's what I'm talking about...cut through the crap and let someone know you love them.) I smiled and told her I have bad days and good days. She asked if I would be interested in the meeting this month. There was a moment...ok, there were several moments...where I felt pressure to say yes. But it wasn't an external pressure. It was all pressure I put on myself. I felt like I would be disappointing everyone if I stayed away and didn't at least show my face to let everyone know I was still alive. And I really would like to see the other women at the meeting. Why don't I just go?

But to be perfectly honest with myself, I just don't have it in me. I can't face the sympathy and the kindness right now, followed by coffee and dessert and a presentation on something business related. I'm not ready for normal just yet.

So I told her I didn't think I would make the meeting. She asked if I wasn't interested in this meeting, or if I wasn't interested in any meetings because she didn't want to bother me if I wasn't interested in the group anymore. I told her she wasn't bothering me, and tried to explain that I'm not especially social these days and I'm not really good company for anyone.

She said, "You've had a rough summer."

I said, "Not one I'd like to repeat."

She said, "Hopefully you'll never have another like it."

I said, "I hope so."

She said, "I understand...no I really don't, and I don't even want to imagine it."

I snorted.

She said, "Well, I'm being honest with you...that's ok, right?"

See what I mean about cutting through the crap? Refreshing honesty...I miss that.

Maybe in a few months I'll be able to face them again. Right now I'm struggling with the whole feeling that the world has moved on without me. I'm lost in the process of trying to figure myself out again. I feel like I'm a shadow of who I was before. Or maybe I'm just afraid to cry in front of people.

It's easy when it's people I didn't really know before. I can put on a fresh face and not have to worry that they're analyzing me for my potential to break down at any given moment. I can act like nothing bad ever happened. And I can smile without worrying that I'm smiling too much...or not enough. But with people I knew before...it's just too complicated to deal with right now.

But I think she understands. Or at least, she says she does. She taught me a lesson today that she probably doesn't even realize. I'm a little more like her, because I cut through the crap and was honest with her...and myself.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I'm scary

Today I frightened a pregnant woman...a complete stranger who I'm sure thinks I'm just plain scary. But there she was, standing across the festival grounds, rubbing her VERY pregnant belly and laughing with someone who looked so much like her it must have been her sister. I couldn't help but stare. There was no power on this earth that could have pulled my attention from her and her beautiful belly. And she saw me. Oh.my.God...she saw me. And she gave me that look that said she was flattered, but slightly frightened by my stare. I wonder what she saw in my eyes and on my face? I didn't cry and I didn't feel myself smile...What did I look like...besides scary?

Fair Fun

Just a couple picture to bore you with from last weekend. Between the train ride for kids and the tractors for the adults, Sam was absolutely giddy with excitement...and is now asking for a fair every weekend. I had to explain to him that it's like Christams and only happens once a year. To which he replied, "But why?" Of course. :o)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Another point to ponder about God

I had an acquaintance tell me recently that she hoped I would mend my relationship with God quickly, because the thought of eternity without him wasn't a pleasant one.

Has my life with him, to this point, been such that I would want to live it for eternity? I mean really...where did my faith get me to this point? I have many many blessings...whether a gift from God or the result of my choices and dumb luck, I really have no proof.

But let's assume I buy into her theory. God's been so great to me that I want to spend eternity with him? According to her, everything is according to some plan...so God's plan includes pain and suffering for me and my family. Why in the world would I choose that for myself for an eternity? According to this plan that she believes exists, my baby was supposed to die. What's next? A plague of locusts?

That sounds like a great eternity...sign me up! [/sarcasm]

My fascination with flying things

Tonight, while the sun was setting and casting shadows across the yard, Sam and I played in the sandbox. Actually, Sam played in the sandbox and I sat nearby in a lawnchair uttering supportive mommy comments like, "Good job," or, "Oh really?"

Sam was looking around the yard when something caught his eye and he gasped, "Mommy, look! It's a beautiful dragonfly."

I rolled my eyes and sighed, "Sam, it's not a dragonfly, it's too dark and cold for dragonflies."

And then it zipped right past my face.

Sure enough, a beautiful dragonfly.

I said, "Sam, you're right, it IS a dragonfly."

He smiled a smile that said he knew some special secret. "Yep, and it's purple."

My favorite color is purple.

We watched him zip around the yard four or five times, making a big circle around the two of us.

And then he was gone and Sam and I smiled at each other.

Am I a terrible parent if...?

...my three-year-old son, holding his father's empty beer bottle and blowing across the top so it makes a foghorn noise, looks at me and says, "Mommy, do you need some beer?"

...my three-year-old son looks up from his dinner and says, "Mommy, I'm poopy,".........twice?

...I laugh while my three-year-old son kicks his father, making his father feel the need for a protective cup?

My interests aka What I've been doing other than grieving

~Animal rescue - I'm involved in two ways. First, as a driver. I take a relay leg of a transport to drive animals from kill shelters to rescues. I recently was fostering a dalmatian who was adopted by a great couple...yay for her! We won't be fostering anymore because we have a testy black lab mix who has trouble adjusting to strange dogs in his pack.
Second, I work as a coordinator. I set up relay transports for animals who need a ride from point A to point B. Usually, this is for animals going from kill shelters to rescues or from rescues to forever homes. Lately, I have been lending my services to animals who are victims of Hurricane Katrina. Basically, I break up the route into legs and network among rescue people to find drivers to fill the run. It's not that hard, since I spend a lot of time on the computer anyway. And I love to talk to animal people...we're like minded so it's a pleasant experience.

~Crafting - I joined a crafting for charity program on Yahoo groups. We have monthly projects for which we crochet, knit, or sew things. This month is Caring for Canadians...a project for hospital babies in Canada. I'm making sweater/hat/booties sets and boy burial garments in honor of my Alex. This is rewarding...but I think Steve is wondering how he suddenly got to be surrounded by skeins and skeins of yarn and yards and yards of fabric. lol

~Mystery shopping - I signed up as a mystery shopper and will take on my first assignment later this month. Eating out for free...how great is that?!?!

~Memories of Mariam - I'm just getting started, but I plan to lend my services sending out bracelets and certificates to families who have lost babies. After some time, I hope to be able to lend support as well...when I'm emotionally ready.

~Cleaning and playing - Probably my two most important pastimes these days. :o)

***Thanks to Lauralu for giving me the idea to post this.***

Friday, September 09, 2005

I think I have been fair

But WHY does my co-worker have to bring her new baby upstairs to visit now? I know every other Friday is payday and she's coming to collect her paycheck...but still...I need a break. I've dealt with the office visits, going down and ooh-ing and aah-ing as I felt I could handle appropriately. I even sent her a baby gift for God's sake. I think I've been more than fair.

But today, everyone is busy and can't go down to see her...so she comes up here! She's outside my closed office door with that crying baby right now. I assume I'm expected to hop up and go make googly eyes at her precious son. Doesn't she GET IT?!?! I'M NOT COMING OUT! GO AWAY!

***this rant brought to you by the folks at the "I need to pee but don't want to walk past the baby in the hallway to get to the bathroom" foundation. Otherwise known as Cowards R Us.***

Autumn is here

There is this one tree in the neighbor's yard across the street. It changes color before all the others and has, for the past four years, indicated the approach of autumn. I see it clearly every day as I leave for work, as it is almost directly across from the entrance to our driveway. I can also see it from the kitchen window as I wash dishes in the sink. It turns a bright red and has always made me smile when I see it change. It's not the kind of tree that believes in subtle or slow change. One day it is green and the next day there are bright red spots popping out all over the place. I laughed the first year, because the sudden display of red and green reminded me to start my Christmas shopping.

Yesterday was the first day I noticed the tree had started popping out the usual red display. At first I smiled at the thought of autumn leaves, crisp air, and maybe a fire in our fireplace. Then I remembered the conversation Steve and I had about the fireplace. We weren't even going to have it inspected this year, since we'd have an infant who was starting to mobilize, even if it was just to roll from front to back. We felt it would be too hard to watch a baby and Sam to make sure they didn't hurt themselves, so we planned to leave the baby lock on the front door to the fireplace for this year...and possibly next. Suddenly, as though someone flipped a switch, I was sobbing at the sight of that wonderful tree.

I'm losing my mind, I think. This weekend it is four months since losing Alex. In some ways I am ready to move on and enjoy my life. And then I see a damn tree and I can't control where my thoughts take me. There is no rhyme or reason to it. There is no way to figure out where I will break down next. But Autumn is here. I guess I can curl up in front of a fire and look out at that tree and cry a bit...nobody will mind...will they?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I'm hiding

I'm currently hiding in front of the computer while Steve deals with the joys of a failed attempt at potty training.

Sam thinks it's hilarious that he has smeared poop all over the living room and is delighting in running around pointing out the poop spots.

"There Daddy...and there...and there!"

I'm giggling silently while pretending not to hear.

Steve, however, fails to see the humor.

ewwww! Don't you wish you were him?

Congratulations on the baby

I hate this (Thanks David, for a perfect phrase). There is no easy way to handle it when someone you haven't seen in a while offers their congratulations on "the baby." There is no easy way to tell them that my sweet, beautiful Alex died. I say, "Oh, you haven't heard, I lost the baby." And then there is no easy way to excuse myself from the conversation when they stumble over themselves to offer apologies after I tell them what happened. I hate this.

***

And then I walk outside to go pick up my lunch at the restaurant next door and find a beautiful grey and white feather in my path on the sidewalk. Thanks Alex. I love you too.

***

Steve went to the eye doctor this afternoon and you'll never guess what he was asked...

"How's that baby doing?"

Ummm...he's dead. Thanks for asking.

Don't tell anyone...

shhh...don't tell anyone...but I got a raise! When asked how he managed this given our current budget situation, my boss said, "Don't ask. There are just some things I have to do to make myself feel better...for people who do a lot for me. Don't tell anyone." But you guys aren't just "anyone," so I had to tell you. :o)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

No happy ending today

I'm so sad to have to post this news.

For the past two days, literally hundreds of people have called and emailed, trying to help reunite Sean, the New Orleans police recruit who was relocated to Florida, with his very loved Rhodesian Ridgeback, Tessa.

Tessa survived eight days in the water of New Orleans. She was rescued and spent several days at police headquarters. Yesterday, she was driven out of NO to Jackson, MS where she saw a vet and seemed to be doing well. She played last night before bed. Despite all these encouraging signs, sometime during the night, Tessa passed away in her sleep.

This transport coordinator takes some comfort in knowing that Tessa did not die alone and forgotten, but in a warm and dry home with people to care for her. It's not the happy ending I was hoping for, but it is a small consolation.

At this time I would like to ask that everyone say a small prayer for Tessa and Sean. I know she is playing at the rainbow bridge and is feeling no pain. But I know Sean is understandably heartbroken.

Too many stories like this are going to be told in the next few weeks. Let's do what we can to make sure there are a few less. If you see any way to help, be it donating money, volunteering your time at a shelter, or driving on a transport, don't pass it by. You can make a difference...in Tessa's honor.

Thank you.

The other side

I remember logging on to the blogging world after losing Alex. I read many many many posts from different women who had suffered losses and were seemingly past the point where they cried every day and were again able to enjoy some parts of their life again. I wondered how they got there and assumed there was some magic fix. There was nothing I wouldn't do to stop feeling what I was feeling. I've always been a woman of action...making things happen when they needed to (or I wanted them to)...and I figured this was no different. If someone somewhere could just tell me what I needed to do to make it go away, I would do it. But there wasn't a magic fix.

And now I'm left with a cliche when people ask how they get through something like this. Time heals all wounds. It leaves you with a scar that you will carry with you forever...but it does scar over...it doesn't stay that huge deep gash the bleeds when you simply breathe.

Maybe it's the realization that others are worse off than me. Maybe it's the passage of all the "firsts" that I was really looking forward to. Maybe it's the purging of household reminders. Maybe it's tucking away old dreams and daring to dream new ones. I'm not sure. But here I am.

I realized this morning that I haven't cried for Alex in at least three days. I don't know how it happened or when...but I'm thankful that I made it here. I know it's not the end of the road...but there is hope replacing despair. I still carry incredible sadness around and it knocks me on my butt every now and then. But I can accept that because there is something resembling happiness on the other days.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

What I'm doing today...when I should be working. :o)

His name is Sean and he is/was a police recruit for the City of New Orleans. He was called into police HQ on Sunday morning and told he could not bring his dog, an 8-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback named Tessa (he's had since she was a 6-month-old puppy). He was forced to leave her at a buddies house on the second floor with his dog. He remembers calling Tessa upstairs. She must have known something was up and was very scared and he had to carry her upstairs. They couldn't find a drain-plug for the bathtub, so they shoved rags into the drain...thinking it would hold for the 3-4 days they thought it would take.

His colleagues were talking about missing family members, so Sean didn't say a word about his beloved dog, Tessa. For 8 days, he wondered. And then on Monday, Sean got a call...His buddy was able to get a boat over to his house and TESSA AND HIS PUPPY ARE STILL ALIVE!! He took them to police HQ. Today, his buddy's sister made it into New Orleans to get both dogs and take them to her home in Jackson, Miss. Sean's problem...he has no way to get Tessa down to Florida, where he was flown on Friday, after surviving near gunshots, no food, or water.

That's where I come in. I'll let you know how it goes. :o)

This is Tessa...
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***Update***
Tessa saw a vet and has a small paw injury and some minor illness from being in the water. Apparently the Coast Guard thought nobody was coming back for her, so they cut her loose. She's now on medication and should be ready to travel. Her transport is filled and she will be on the road to see Sean this weekend. I'll post pictures if I get them. :o)

Don't ya love a happy ending?

Luck?

Had to check out the rune oracle mentioned on Jill's blog.

Since I only have enough time and energy for a one rune reading...



Now is a good time to take risks as luck seems to be watching over you. Even though it speaks of adopting a more carefree attitude precautions must also be taken to ensure that money isn't lost on foolish ventures.

Yeah...luck is watching over me...good or bad luck?

OK...OK...OK...so I did a three rune reading too. But I did it by asking a specific question...can you guess the question?


Berkana heralds new beginnings and a time of growth in your pursuits. This rune speaks of a time where health and recuperation are present allowing you the opportunity to expand and prosper.


Now is a time of obstacles where things don't seem to be going the way you want them to. Thurisaz urges us to take the necessary precautions to safeguard our health as well as our interests.


Laguz governs all areas concerned with emotions and how we feel concerning certain matters. This rune provides an ideal opportunity to get to the bottom of how you feel concerning certain issues and come to an understanding of why people around you behave the way they do.

Monday, September 05, 2005

A show of hands

So who else keeps going back to Lyrael's blog to sneak another peek at that beautiful baby boy?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Packed away

The garage sale is over and we didn't sell very many baby clothes at all. Of course, it didn't help that we were very confused in our sorting process and left half of what we wanted to get rid of at home (all the smaller sizes).

So today was organize-and-pack-away-into-rubber-tubs day. It took six tubs to collect all the clothes in any sort of an organized fashion.

By far, the hardest tub was the 0-3 month clothes. In that tub I packed away the outfit we were supposed to bring Alex home from the hospital in, the Rockies outfit (with matching socks) that I bought specifically for Alex with his Daddy in mind, the virtual shower gift received from my Due in June board buddy, the adorable little outfits Grandma bought, the oh-so-soft sleeper with matching hat we found on clearance at Target that Steve let me buy even though we didn't really have the money, the matching hand-me-down sleepers to the one Alex is buried in.

That 0-3 month tub holds all the hopes and dreams I had. Now stacked three high with the other tubs in our basement.

Can I tell you a secret? Not only am I saving up the old dreams...I've already started dreaming new dreams again. Upstairs we have a brand new farmyard crib set we bought at Toys R Us on clearance last weekend...and a set of three sleepers we bought tonight with puppies and dragonflies on them. Steve said they spoke to us and we were meant to buy them. I hope he's right.

Some day I'd love to use them for another dream baby...one that gets to come home and live with us this time.

But if it doesn't happen, those dreams can be sold on eBay with the tub-stored dreams that are now in the basement. Nobody has to know which are new and which are recycled dreams.

I can't believe I said that

Yesterday, as we were on our way for a full day at a county fair, we stopped at the cemetery to water Alex's flowers. I had just been there on Friday, one day earlier, but Steve requested that we stop, so we stopped. As we were standing there and Sam was running around picking up all the grave decorations that had fallen over, Steve put his arm around me and said, "He should be with us at the fair today."

You know what I said in response?

A day later, I still can't believe I said it.

"I know, but can we NOT talk about it? I don't want to ruin the day."

What the hell is wrong with me?!?!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Just beyond my reach

I can feel that other life lurking around the corner, just beyond my reach. In that life I didn't lose Alex and we're enjoying a happy and contented summer, instead of this summer of sadness and angst. It's like if I sit still enough, I can sense what it feels like to hold Alex in my arms as I rock him to sleep. If I'm quiet enough, I can hear his cries...the tone of his voice. If I concentrate hard enough, I can smell his scent...that amazing combination of baby spit up and Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo. I hear a whisper of something that was supposed to be, colliding into the harsh scream of what actually is. I can imagine each day as I had imagined it before he left my body...all the dreams of how we would spend our time getting to know each other and growing together until I passed away in my old age. It frustrates me that it's there just beyond my grasp. But it also comforts me to know that somewhere in time and space my Alex is alive and happy.

Am I losing my mind?

Thankful for disaster?

I am apparently one of those people now. I'm thankful for someone else's suffering, because it gives me relief from my own. I'm not thankful for the actual pain and loss, for I truly would never wish something truly hurtful on another human being regardless of how much I dislike them. But I've realized I'm now one of those people who say, "Thank God it didn't happen to me, because I don't know how I would survive something like that." How utterly insensitive...how painfully ignorant...how luckily insulated I am.

But NOW I am able to accept those people who so easily said, "Life goes on." It does, doesn't it? Life goes on and other people face worse things every single day. It doesn't make me miss my baby any less...it just gives me some perspective. It makes me realize how small I am in the grand scheme. I'm no able to appreciate that I can feel sad, but it's not an all-consuming sadness that made me unable to function.

I saw a story about a pregnant woman who left her New Orleans home to get help for her five-year-old who was having an asthma attack. While she was swimming through the water for help, she went into labor. She was rescued and airlifted to a hospital where she delivered her baby. She has no idea what happened to her five-year-old. THAT would be debilitating. THAT would be something I'm not sure I could handle.

So while I'm not considering myself "lucky," by any means, I think I've found some of my thankfulness again. I only hope I don't say something stupid and reveal that I'm one of those people.

Stupid things people say

And here I thought the things people said when my baby died were heartless. Check this out.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Have I said too much?

Xavier came in to the office to visit today. He's two months old now and smiling and cooing. He's leaving that larva stage. And I realized Alex will never get to know all those milestones. He'll always be newborn and perfect and beautiful...and so missed. Sometimes I can't breathe with how much I miss him.

So after Xavier's visit, another co-worker came in to talk to me about work related issues. We bitched about work for a bit (my boss was quoted in the paper as saying he starts his assistant prosecutors out at $35,000...it seems I must've misplaced $5,000 somewhere...cause it ain't in my bank account)...And then she asked me how I was doing otherwise. I cried, which made her feel really bad...which made me feel really bad. She said she normally doesn't want to ask because she doesn't want to make me feel bad, but then she feels bad for not asking. And I told her I normally don't talk about it because I don't want to cry in front of people and make them feel bad. Ah...the oh-so-fun quandry grief puts us all in. But she let me talk for an hour and said all the right supportive things at all the right intervals. It turns out she lost a 17-year-old sister when she was 8 years old. While not the same, at least she has some inkling of what it's like to lose someone you love.

It feels strange to have someone I work with know all our business. But there is a lightness about it too. I know she'll understand the next time I close my office door or have to excuse myself abruptly from a room. I also told her how I was feeling a bit put off by other people obviously talking about me and clamming up when I walk into a room. I'm kind of hoping that message gets back through the grapevine that normally carries all office gossip.

Oh...and his visit wasn't announced to me for once. I think the last time they came in must've been a tip-off that I just couldn't handle it anymore. What WAS announced was the birthday cake that was available...oh...and Xavier is here. I appreciated that change of focus. :o)

What do you do to help?

I have developed a new pet peeve. OK, so maybe it was always there laying dormant for a period of time. But now I'm fully aware of it.

People who complain about what other people are or are not doing to help others. Seriously...sitting in your nice, cozy, dry, functioning home, do you have any right to complain that there isn't enough help for those who are suffering through what is, by all accounts, the worst natural disaster this country has ever suffered? You sit there and make it political, complaining about the lack of reponse from this group or that group. What are YOU doing to help (besides the obvious benefit of hearing you whine about things you know basically nothing about)? Quit complaining and find something constructive to do. Stop expecting the world to take care of things and jump in and get your hands messy. Get involved in something...anything. Then you will have earned your right to voice an opinion.

Just my two cents, of course. :o)

Attitude adjustment

It's funny how losing a child will change your attitude on a lot of different things. But most striking of all, is the change in my attitude about death and dying.

I made the mistake of watching and reading the news yesterday while trying to hide from Sam (some days with a three-year-old are REALLY long).

First, I saw a story about a Marine, Joe something-or-other, who is home from Iraq for three weeks. While home, he thought it would be a good idea to meet the second grade class who has been writing him letters and sending him care packages. They showed all kinds of warm and fuzzy video of him in the classroom, shaking hands with kids and talking about Lord knows what (what DO you tell a bunch of kids about war anyway?). The anchor came out of the story with the typical, "What a great experience for those kids." Now, my question is this...what is that teacher going to tell those kids if Joe dies? Do they even know that Joe COULD die?

Next, I was watching coverage of the aftermath (now there's a strange word...aftermath...
ETYMOLOGY: after + obsolete math, mowing (from Old English mth; see m- 4 in Indo-European roots) [A second growth or crop in the same season, as of grass after mowing.]

Anyway...I was watching the aftermath of Katrina. There was a story about a church somewhere in Mississippi where "refugees" were living and getting hot meals, etc. The reporter came out of the story, standing in the midst of the wreckage that was once a neighborhood, and told of a ten-year-old boy whose entire immediate family was killed. He now sits in that church praying that someone who knows him will recognize him. I cry for that little boy. How frightened and alone he must feel...

And then I read this article and I began to ponder the phenomenon of grief. I know what I felt when Alex died and I know how hard it was to get out of bed each day. Was I being self-indulgent? Would it be different if I knew my very life depended on my getting out of bed? Would I find the strength to do what needed to be done? How do you manage to function in the middle of something like this AND grieve the loss of your loved ones?

I know there is a lot of devestation due to Katrina...houses and other buildings, lives, oil refineries. But there is another looming disaster there...where the effects will be felt for months and years to come. These people will all have tales of horror that will make other shrink back and run away. They will understand what it is like to be told, "Pick up the pieces and move on." I'm afraid they will also be treated with our typical American lack of understanding that fails to recognize the humanity involved in these sorts of tragedies. These people will be broken for quite some time. And while we concentrate right now on safety and security, we darn sure better address the human element or we're going to have a bigger mess than any storm could physically create.

Those who read my blog regularly know that I have my issues with God. But I don't think it will hurt anything to send up a prayer for all of these people. If it doesn't do anything, they're no worse off than they were before, right?