Monday, June 26, 2006

I got nothing

I think I'm going to take a little break.

Promise to miss me?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Are you sure?

People say, "You will find happiness again."
People say, "You will heal."
People say, "You won't feel this way forever."

What if they're wrong? How do they KNOW I will be "better?" Or are they speaking in generalities again? The generalizations didn't help me when they said, "Oh, it's not likely to happen again," so I'm a bit hesitant to believe them now. Besides that, I've got my own personal doubts to deal with. My grandmother has suffered from mental health issues her whole life. Tea-with-Jesus sorts of mental health issues. What if THIS is just the sort of thing that pushes me around the bend too? Is it possible that I might NOT recover? What if I do become the bitter old woman who never smiles and scares away the neighborhood children?

I really wish well-meaning people wouldn't be so sure of everything...especially when they might be wrong.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Miscellaneous thoughts

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Time for some miscellaneous thoughts again. Maybe I'll make this a regular Friday feature. Nah, I can't promise something like that. I would only disappoint you and you'd leave me. Don't leave me faithful blog readers...I love you (she says a bit too desperately).
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Actual interrogatory posed in a lawsuit...

Provide a complete description of the trees that were allegedly cut down.

No, I'm not kidding. Now stop laughing.
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I work in a building that has no elevator...on the second floor. It takes me about five minutes to get up and down the stairs with my bum ankle. For the past week, my coworkers have enjoyed lunches together down in the conference room and at various establishments in the small town in which we work. They have asked me each time if I wanted to go with them, knowing I wouldn't be able to navigate the stairs. Nobody offered to sit with me in my office and eat lunch. I'm feeling a bit like I did in high school...left out and sad. (sniffle)
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My husband has endured the last almost seven weeks of my really bad attitude. I need to do better by him. I recognize that I need to stop being completely honest (re: teh good, the bad, AND the ugly) with him in front of Sam...because Sam takes that as permission to be completely honest with Daddy. And the good, the bad, and the ugly is NOT cute when it's coming out of the mouth of your four-year-old son.
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I've loaned my maternity clothes to lauralu and now I'm loaning my doppler to Rachel. Oh, who the heck am I kidding? Loaning? I guess it's just easier to gradually let go instead of giving it all up at once. Gives me time to adjust to the idea.
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We did a BAD thing. Sam came home last night from daycare and threw up. Once. Then he felt fine and ate his dinner and slept through the night without a problem. We sent him to daycare despite the 24-hour rule. I don't have anymore time off due to my ankle-induced vacation last week...and Steve needs to save up his days for our trip to the conference in July. We just couldn't afford a day off. And Sam seemed fine. I know...mommies everywhere hate me now. C'est la vie.
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That's the second time today I've used "c'est la vie." Weird.
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The small town I work in is having a small town street festival this weekend. I would love to attend...if it weren't for this dang ankle. So instead, I will be cleaning my house. Renting a steam cleaner to do the carpet in the one carpeted room (to remove the disgusting wet dog smell), vacuuming, dusting, doing dishes, and washing a mountain of laundry. I may even convince Steve to help me start moving stuff from the upstairs into the basement, in anticipation of the beginning of our home renovation. I wonder if the contractor (who is also an acquaintance/friend) would let me swing a sledgehammer for the demolition phase of things? I have some aggression issues I would like to work out.

I am, however, slightly sad about doing away with Sam's room. He's very rarely slept in it. He plays in it even less often. But it's the room we prepped and painted together for him before he was even born. It's blue with yellow stars in the shapes of the constellations that represent the zodiac signs of his family...me, Steve, and both sets of grandparents. And he wants to paint his new room red and decorate with a "talking cars" theme (Cars, the movie). sigh...I guess it's time to let go.

But on the positive side of things...across the hall...I'll get rid of that damn room that never got used for either baby. I will not be sad to see it go. AT.ALL.
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I have to find someone to draw up our house plans for the building department. Know anyone who does this cheap?
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There are "issues" with the bank manager who was preparing our loan. What issues? He's an idiot. Now that he's on vacation, we're finally getting things done. I'm pretty sure this is not how it's supposed to work, but whatever...as long as I get my loan and my jacuzzi tub. :o)
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A coworker offered me a ride home after work so I wouldn't have to sit here and wait for Steve (we are still a one-car household). I thanked her but declined. She said, "But it's Friday," as if that had some magic meaning. Is Friday special for some reason? The rest of the week, the time I've spent sitting here in my office waiting is ok because it occurred on a day other than Friday? I'm baffled. Or maybe I'm just too old to remember Friday fun. But she's older than me, so I'm going to stick with baffled.
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A barbecue sounds good this weekend, don't ya think? hmmm...I wonder if I could convince Steve to do some grocery shopping?
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I think that's it for now. If I don't run into you on the street...have a great weekend!
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Read it, learn it, do it.
How to blog
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(that is, of course, provided I can keep this one alive)

Honesty...always the best policy?

A message I just sent someone...
I'll tell you a little secret...a horrible little secret...there ARE days when I wish I hadn't tried again. How's that for mother of the year? There are days when I wish Travis out of existence, if only to save some peace for myself.

Yeah, I have good days when I look on the time I shared with my boys and smile when I feel the love. But if I'm honest, I have to admit that there are days when I wish like hell I never had to deal with any of this. I wish I'd never conceived either Alex OR Travis. I wish it had never happened and I had just been happy with Sam. I wish they didn't exist. And it's not like I'm wishing away a long and fulfilling life anyway. I mean, they're dead. I'm wishing away their deaths...their nonexistence. I wish their nonexistence in this way could change to their nonexistence in another. No harm, no foul. Right?

Twists and turns

The day that I was in the hospital delivering my second dead baby, there was a woman in emergency with an ectopic pregnancy that required surgery. She had, according to my very chatty doctor, been given medical permission to travel from Chicago despite the obvious mass in her abdomen. My doctor said, "Some doctors just ASK to get sued." All I could think about was my first dead baby and I so badly wanted to say, "Yeah...but s/he'll probably get away with it. Justice is blind and stupid, you know."

While I was laboring to deliver Travis, there was a woman experiencing a stillbirth in the room next door. I so badly wanted to reach out and tell her that she would make it. But then I remembered this was my second dead baby and she probably wouldn't want to hear it from me.

Today while planning to request a stillbirth certificate for second dead baby, my sweet Travis, I was looking online for the address of the hospital where he was delivered. I stumbled across the hospital's online nursery. The masochist in me couldn't not look. Three babies...one boy and two girls...born on the very same day Travis was born silently. Four babies born the day before...the day I knew Travis was dead. Seven babies brought into the world...in the same place...on two of the most horrible days of my life. There's a balance of power in there somewhere that I'm struggling to accept.

There was no post from me yesterday because I spent all my spare time working on my house renovation plans. The distraction seems to be working. I need some space between me and the sadness. Even if it is artificial and I know the sadness will return, the respite that the distraction brings is enough for my mental well-being right now. The only difficult part was designing the empty bedroom. But even that wasn't too difficult, because I can imagine one mother of a craft room in it's place.

This morning I told my husband that I'm getting frustrated that my ankle isn't healed already. I've always been an impatient sort, so he chuckled at my statement. But the truth is that this, right now, is no good for me. I can't DO a lot of things I would normally do to distract myself. When Alex died, I remember I got a piece of advice from Clara Hinton, author of Silent Grief. She told me that even though it sounded hokey, I needed to go for a walk. Get away from the grief for a bit. Enjoy the sunshine on my face and the breeze in the trees. And it DID sound hokey...but I was desparate, so I tried it...and it worked. I could feel the normalcy of life surround me when I went for a walk or worked in my garden. I could feel the balance restore itself for that brief time before I had to steel myself for the onslaught of emotions I would feel upon going to work in the morning, or returning to a babyless home in the evening. So right now, with this ankle, the problem is that all I can do is sit and THINK...about all the things that should be different...about all the bittersweet memories...about all the horrible memories...about the jealousy and rage, the sadness and anger, the frustration and hurt. It's no good for me.

I'll have to work on the house plans some more before I show you. But I think I'm going to love it when it's done. The jacuzzi tub would be fabulous right about now to help recuperate from this fractured ankle. I'd probably just sit there and stew and think about all the twists and turns that landed me there...just like I'm doing now...but at least there would be bubbles and soothing warm water.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Travis' Angel

Thank you, Grandma C

Thank you!

Cynthia...your care package arrived today. I cried...I was hoping for some tuna fish. :o)

Did you KNOW that all the dishes in this house are dirty? And I am apparently the only one able to operate a dishwasher? Methinks you might have some understanding of this phenomenon. hmmm?

And candy...I am a sucker for refined sugar of any kind. Thank you so much! Now I can't wait to get out in the garden and use my new gloves. First, I must convince Steve to give me a pedicure. He's currently in the doghouse, so maybe I'll offer this as a way to get out. lol

And the butterfly is already on my fridge. I will think of you everytime I open it (which is far too often). You are so kind, I can't thank you enough for everything. The support and love you have shown me are truly appreciated.

Horton!


egiggle.com has Horton. As a child, I had two Dr. Seuss books...Horton Hears a Who and Horton Hatches an Egg. I read them, but I didn't quite "get" them and so I didn't like them very much. To be honest, I often thought of them as second-best. What I really coveted was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. The elementary school librarian read it to us once during story hour and I was hooked. Besides, the Horton books were used. I don't even know how we came to own them...were they hand-me-downs from my mother's childhood? a garage sale purchase? I have no idea. But they had worn corners and stained covers without shiny library dustcovers. So I always dissed Horton in favor of those crinkly dust-covered library copies of One Fish.

I don't think I ever asked to BUY other Dr. Seuss books. In fact, I'm sure I didn't. It wasn't really kosher to ask to buy things in our house, unless it was a special occasion like your birthday or Christmas...and so wish lists were always too long to include boring and mundane things like books (especially when we had a very active library card and a mom who would take us to the library just about any time we asked). My father had an unwritten rule that anything you wanted to buy had to be justified by some underlying purpose. It wasn't enough that you might want to own something...to make it yours. He would have laughed at the idea of owning a book for the pure pleasure of maintaining it in my own personal library. I personally think that's one of the reasons why my mother began reading romance novels and collecting them...just to piss off my father in her own quietly defiant way (which, by the way, makes me giggle).

But I digress...

So Horton sat in my corner bookshelf, virtually untouched for many many years. I went to college and my old purple bedroom was converted into an office. I got married and moved in with Steve. But the bookshelf remained in that corner with a few treasures still inside. Horton was one of them.

Years went by and mom finally decided to clean out the old bookshelf so she could store her own books and knick knacks in it. She called and asked if I wanted any of the books she had found. Horton was among them.

I've spent many adult years now, asking for and receiving Dr. Seuss books for birthdays and Christmases. I've built up quite the collection...including my very own copy of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (that my son LOVES above all other Dr. Seuss books). But the opportunity to bring Horton home to my bookshelf again...that made my collection perfect. Despite still being many many many books short of a complete Dr. Seuss set, I've got Horton back. I hope one day to pass him on to Samuel to read to his children. I think I might have to buy the doll to pass on as well.

Horton represents more to me than Dr. Seuss. He represents a lesson learned...the value of shared memories. Dusting off old stories and enjoying them with new ears. Loving what is in front of you, even when you can't enjoy it for your own foolish reasons. Or maybe realizing foolish reasons and doing your best to avoid them so you don't miss a good thing while you have it.

I love Horton.

Oh, who am I kidding...I'll buy the doll for myself.

Another car to charity...another bit of my brain implodes

That makes THREE cars in the last year. Shouldn't I be getting some sort of bonus points or something for all these good deeds?

I'll tell ya what, God...I will gladly donate one car per year if you'll just pave the way a little bit smoother for me, ok?

Now that is NOT playing nice.

The trial edition of the home plan designer software I was using to draw up our home renovation expired...just before I got my final print. Now what am I supposed to do?!?!

I guess the answer was no, yet again, huh?

I'm really quite tired of this game.

hahaha...I found a different program I like better...and they're giving me 30 DAYS for FREE. (na nee na nee boo boo)

Here is the problem with having a broken ankle

You absolutely positively cannot wait until the last second to go to the bathroom. You have to plan in advance, like an invasion of sorts...you must have a plan of attack.

~Suit up with the necessary ace bandage and aircast.
~Manuever yourself to a standing position, which entails adjustment time to feel the blood rush into your foot and the tendons, ligaments, and muscles all protest to being asked to perform (in unison).
~Hobble, in your most professional manner while barefoot, down the hall past your coworkers' office doors...trying to keep a sense of humor as they quietly chuckle at you.
~Close the bathroom door without catching your trussed up foot underneath (and without any twisting or turning movements...cause...damn...those hurt).
~Wrangle your pants and undergarments to the floor without falling over.
~Position yourself just over the pot and basically freefall onto the seat while holding said ankle straight out (because...damn...those twisting, turning AND bending movements hurt).

And let's not even talk about proper hygiene...or the return trip to your office.

Just remember to schedule approximately 15 minutes for each adventure. And don't delay the initial departure once you get that first inkling that you MIGHT have to go...unless you have really good bladder control.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Baby Angel Pics

I have added the boys' retouched photos to their Memory-Of websites. I am really pleased with how they turned out.

For personal reasons, we will keep the "before" pictures to ourselves. If someone would like to see them, to judge the service for themselves, please feel free to email me at Kate94651@hotmail.com. If I know you well enough, I will consider sharing. If I don't know you well enough...you're out of luck. But you can trust me...they did a beautiful job and I cried for 45 minutes after seeing the pictures for the first time.

Except for the 2/3 dead part, we have gorgeous children, Steve and I...even if I do say so myself.

I just miss them so much.

(No, you're not hallucinating...the pictures were here...now they're not.)

Ace bandages!

That's it! If I wrap myself up in enough Ace bandages, I will hold it all together! Genius!

Easing the pain

It feels like I should be writing something...important...or deep. But I just can't. I'm so exhausted all the time that I barely have the energy to type silly useless bits. And, quite frankly, I just don't give a damn about much anymore. I mean, really, what is the point? I can keep repeating things over and over ad nauseum until I think I fully accept them (when I know I won't really fully accept it at all), or I can just sit and stare and feel numb. I prefer numb at this point, I really do. Because feeling means too much. It means facing all the fear and hurt and anger and sadness. Numb is much safer.

I guess it's no surprise that I would deny this part of it too, since I lived in denial almost the entire time I was pregnant with Travis. Heh...I was pregnant with Travis. Really? It seems like it happened to someone else...like I was looking in from the outside...a million years ago. And Alex...I barely remember anymore. How sad that I cannot muster enough energy to even remember two of my three children. I'm not sure I can even describe it appropriately. It just feels like...meh...who cares? what's the point? I don't even cry anymore...at all. What's the point?

Steve and I were talking about what to do with the baby stuff, since we're going to need to clean out the room that was intended for Alex...and then Travis. I told him he could dump it all in the trash for all I cared. And I meant it. I didn't even consider, not for one second, that we might use it in the future. I didn't care. I don't care. My life has become so foreign to me that even the IDEA of future children didn't even cross my mind. I'm ready to chuck all that stuff in the trash, along with all those plans and dreams we had. Gone...for good.

"God doesn't always give you the answers you want."
"You still have a lot to be thankful for."
If someone you loved came down with cancer...if you were watching your child die of that or some other disease...would it be all right for me to say, "God doesn't always give you the answers you want?" Would it be ok for me to tell someone that their prayers may fall on deaf ears and they should just smile and accept it? they should find comfort in it? Would it be ok for me to tell them to count their blessings? or tell them, "Life goes on?" as they suffer? No? So why the hell do people have to say this stuff to me?!?! I've got my foot in an aircast and I visit two dead children at a cemetery. Don't f***ing tell me to count my blessings right now! I asked for my childrens' lives and He told me "no." Where is the comfort in that? How heartless and cruel can you be?

I'm tired of heartless and cruel. I'm tired of fear and hurt and anger and sadness. I'm just tired. Numb is so much better.

Why oh why?

Why oh why does that yarn company keep sending me tempting email offers?
Why oh why do I only want to buy the $4-$5/skein yarn?
Why oh why do I not have any money?
ack!

Oh yes...home renovation...new car...daycare...food...I remember now.

Mindless blog fun A-Z

accent: Northeast Ohio...we talk too fast
booze: right now...Zombie. generally...wine
chore I hate: cleaning the cat boxes is pretty close with taking out the trash
dogs/cats: both...five dogs, one foster dog, three cats, two horses, and seven fish
essential electronics: I love my DVR! I need my cell phone (cause I don't have a home phone). Must have a hairdryer. And the princess likes her air conditioning (though I think that's more of an appliance than an electronic). And where would I be without my computer with wireless...gotta blog.
favorite perfume/cologne: lilac essential oil
gold/silver: both...can't have too much jewelry (I think I was a crow in a past life)
hometown: a small town in Northeast Ohio
insomnia: only when pregnant
job title: Assistant Prosecutor, Civil Division
kids: Samuel, age 4
living arrangements: farmhouse built in 1840, added on in 1920 and summer of 2006.
most admired trait: not sure. honesty? ability to do well in a crisis? insanity?
number of sexual partners: one
overnight hospital stays: three...the births of my children. oops...four...I don't know how I could forget that one night when Sam was kept for uncontrollable vomitting and dehydration when he was about 6-8 weeks old...the longest night of my life.
phobia: Thantophobia- Fear of death or dying.
quotes: "bite me"
religion: baptized Catholic. confirmed Methodist. currently lost.
siblings: One younger brother and one younger sister.
time I usually wake up: 6:15am
unusual talent: mind control (bwa ha ha ha haaaaaa)
vegetables I refuse to eat: peas and lima beans
worst habit: sarcasm used to keep people at a distance
x-rays: dental, though not in a loooong time. sinus, when I was a child. my right ankle and foot, two weeks ago.
yummy foods I make: macaroni and cheese, pizza, triple chocolate brownies. (oh heck, I just realized that's all junk food.)
zodiac sign: aquarius

What is wrong with this?

This is like one of those pictures in the Highlights for Children Magazine...what is wrong with this picture?


New York, NY (AHN) - Former 90's supermodel Linda Evangelista announces that she is pregnant with her first child. She is currently dating an unnamed New York architect.
Following a string of Hollywood celebrities that have been bitten by the maternity bug, Evangelista was last seen wearing a maternity-style dress at a recent party in Madrid.
German magazine Gala quoted the leggy supermodel as saying: "I'm overjoyed... my baby gives my life a meaning."
According to Ananova.com, Evangelista suffered a tragic stillbirth in 1999 when she was married to her ex-husband, Gerald Marie.



So she "suffered a tragic stillbirth"...but she is now pregnant with her first child? huh?

Why doesn't it get any easier?

Mir has a great post today.

Monday, June 19, 2006

My rock arrived


Julie ~ No need to go postal. :o)

Thank you so much. I LOVE it. Steve and I have already decided that it's staying inside and will get a place of honor in our new upstairs addition. Until then, it's sitting on the table right next to my recliner so I can pet it every now and then. I know, I'm weird...what's your point?

I love ya hon.

Thank you Kate! They are beautiful!


These beautiful, handmade, beaded roses came from my friend, Kate. I'm so impressed by her talent and touched by her generosity.

Thank you Kate. Your words continue to help me through those days I don't think I can make it through. Your kindness and love are gifts that I treasure right along with the roses you have sent.

Oh...and the ankle WILL heal eventually and I WILL be out in the garden again...thanks for the hand lotion. I'll let you know how it works.

Peace and love

All our love goes out today to two lost souls and two very special friends we have made along this painful journey...
Sarah and her beautiful daughter Kate.
Bronwyn and her beautiful daughter Lydia.
You have both been a lifeline for me. I hope that this day is gentle on you and you are able to smile once or twice as you remember your daughters and the love and hope they brought to your lives.

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All our love is also being sent out to Lorem. I wish...so many things...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dear Steve

I know this Father's Day isn't what you had hoped for, and I am so sorry I can't make all your dreams come true. There will be so much opportunity this Father's Day to mourn what you have lost, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate all the blessings you have brought to our life together.

This is what I wrote last year. hehehe...I guess this year isn't what you hoped for either. I don't know if you want me to gloss over all the bad and focus on the good again, but dammit, I'm gonna do it anyway.

As Sam sits here with a fistful of crayons, coloring you a "Father's Day picture," I see how very lucky we all are to have one another. But mostly, Sam and I are lucky to have you.

I asked you this morning if you still loved me like you used to and you didn't even hesitate to answer yes.

You have been by my side, no matter how insane or broken I've been, giving your love freely and keeping me from falling off the edge into the abyss.

You spent hours outside in the scorching heat trying to find the perfect level place for that dang pool because we had promised Sam.

You let him watch Math Circus when I know you'd rather be watching baseball.

You shared your Father's Day brunch with my parents because you know how much my Dad means to me.

You have done all you can to bring a smile to Sam's face when I know you would much rather sit down and cry your own heart out.

You love all our boys and have made Alex and Travis as much a loved part of our existence as Sam.

You indulge me in all the distractions I need in order to not lose my mind.

You are a good father. But you're an amazing daddy. And you're my miracle...you and Sam.

Happy Father's Day.

I love you.

Friday, June 16, 2006

So THAT'S what happened!

God was distracted by FOOTBALL!

"...but God put me here for a reason. Maybe it wasn't my time yet or whatever."
Kellen Winslow on returning from injury.

Who knew God was such a football fan?!?! But I guess we all have to have a hobby.

The cracks are starting to show

Last night I screamed...loud...at Steve...and in front of Sam.

I'm not dealing well...with anything.

The tiniest effort seems enormous. A simple mistake is an indication that the love is gone. There is nothing that holds my attention. Even this blog bores me...feels like a chore. Surrounded by all the stories...happy...sad...it's all too much.

I know I've made my situation worse by hiding Travis from the majority of the world. So I have to put up with people asking, "How are you?" They don't know he even existed, so I can't explain how I feel about losing him. Most people don't know why I feel the way I feel. Now I understand that phrase, "It's a blessing and a curse." I'm not getting the sympathy and I don't have to deal with the stupid comments/advice. But I'm feeling very alone.

Steve said, "You know, this happened to both of us." And I responded with, "No, THIS happened to me. You lost another child, yes, but all of THIS happened TO ME."
Nice. Real nice. I'm feeling just a bit too sorry for myself. I have somewhere lost myself in all of THIS. What happened to ME? I enjoyed things...I made plans...I did things...I was a real person. Now, I just feel sorry for myself. OH THE TRAGEDY! Good grief. I have become all those things I despise in other people. Weak, sad, needy. I need to get a grip.

I was sitting there last night watching Thomas the Tank Engine and realizing that I have lost my ability to live in this moment. I've been spending far too much time thinking about what happened before...or what is to come. I've fooled myself into believing I was balancing it all...what a joke.

It's time to acknowledge the moment...this moment. The past cannot be changed. The future is always going to be uncertain. This moment holds so much that is good. Sure, this moment isn't perfect. But it's pretty damn good on the grand scale of things. As long as I stop screaming.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

We are officially bereaved parents

I never thought I'd see the day I attended a support group. I never thought I'd see the day I'd sign up for a Compassionate Friends Conference, as a bereaved parent no less. I never thought a lot of things. Why? Because I thought I was "above all that." Nothing bad could touch me. Nothing could tarnish the shiny perfect life that had fallen into my lap. I hadn't done anything to earn it. I'm nobody special. And I HAD thought many many times about how lucky I was. But it never occurred to me that I could be just as unlucky as I had been lucky.

But here we are. We attend a support group. And I just signed us up for the Compassionate Friends National Conference in July (the early registration discounted rate expires tomorrow).

But, lest you think it's all "heavy" stuff, we chose a hotel with room service and a pool so that we can spoil ourselves and Sam just a little bit. Provided the conference isn't too emotionally taxing, I think we may just have...dare I say it?...fun. (gasp)

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It occurs to me that the majority of the things I post here are those things that nobody wants to hear...so that's why I post them...this is my safe place to put all that stuff. But there ARE good things and there ARE good people around us. And I'm going to try to make an effort to talk about the good stuff from here on out too. Not because I think it will change MY attitude all that much. But because I don't want you to think I'm all gloom and doom. And I have to preserve my self image at all cost. lol

New link on the sidebar

I would like to call your attention to a special new link on my sidebar. The Angel Pics Project provides photo "restoration" services for two photos of lost babies...for free. I have seen a photo of theirs and they do amazing work. I have submitted Travis and Alex's photos in the hopes that we will receive something that we can comfortably display in our home. I will let you know how they come out. In the meantime, here is a description of their project...

How the AngelPics Project was Born

Hollywood FotoFix has been in the digital restoration business since 1992, and since then has restored and retouch hundreds of thousands of images. We have received jobs that range from the retouching of early 1900's images that have been heavily worn and damaged through age and disaster, to the simple retouching of a fresh photograph to help remove minor glare from glasses.

But the most memorable images that we the one-of-a-kind images that is all a parent is left with when their baby doesn't make it home from the hospital.

The Beginning

In 1998, one of our retail dealers brought us a photo of a stillborn child and asked us if there was "anything we could do". The child bore the physical marks indicative of her brief struggle for life. Hollywood FotoFix President Mark Long was so touched, that he handled the job himself. Mark spent hours with that angel, removing bruises and tubes, making an attractive portrait out of a tragic photo.

The dealer was amazed, and asked how much he should charge. "I can't charge for this," Mark responded.

Now, Hollywood FotoFix provides the same free service to other families in the same situation through the AngelPics Project.

Now

Since that day, we have built up the program and encourage every one of our dealers to participate in the program with us. With every new dealer that joins us, we build awareness of the Project - which spans all over the United States. Even with medical miracles of medicine that we now see every day, there are still stillborn infants born every day (an estimated 0.5% of pregnancies in 2002).

In 2005 - we have launched a new website dedicated completely to the project. We understand that some parents are not as likely to go to a storefront with such a precious image. To help with that, we have completed an online-system that allows the parents to scan the image from home, upload it to our servers, and receive a digitally restored image back over the web. Then they can either print it out at home or take it to one of many print development studios that can print digital images suitable for framing. Our dealers sill offer the service if the parents do not have a scanner or want to ensure a high-quality scan.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the Project, or need to contact us for whatever reason:

www.HollywoodFotoFix.com
Hollywood FotoFix
130 West Main Street
Lehi, UT 84043

Monday-Friday 8:00AM - 5:00PM (MST -0700)

Toll-Free: (888) 700-3686
Phone: (801) 768-0624
Fax: (801) 766-1991

I'm not much for online petitions...but...

Please consider signing this one titled, "Public awareness, education and sensitivity of Remembrance Photography," started by NILMDTS Photography.

In February of 2005, my husband and I experienced the death our son Maddux during the first week of his life. During that week, we saw the amazing portraits of parents with their newborns that lined the hospital walls. My husband called the photographer to request she come to the hospital to take pictures of our precious son. The images taken that night have been an immense comfort not only to us but to our older children as well and have helped us deal with the grief of losing a child and a baby brother. Within months, photographer Sandy Puc’ and I founded Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS) a non-profit organization that exists to assist other families suffering an early infant loss. (www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org)

On June 12, 2006, I received an email from a mother who also has suffered an early infant loss. Kara was upset by a recent dialogue on RadioAlice 97.3, a CBS Radio station in San Francisco. In an attempt at humor, the announcer went too far and was insensitive to parents who have suffered the loss of a baby. Their topic regarded stillborn babies and parents who memorialize their babies with photographs. The language and concepts that were discussed were horrific to families who have lost beloved babies.

We at NILMDTS are deeply saddened by this incident but are grateful for the apology issued by RadioAlice 97.3: “On Tuesday June 6th, the Alice morning show reported a story about parents who have photographs of their stillborn babies taken to remember them by. The subject matter was inappropriately taken lightly, and we wish to issue a public apology. The show is known for walking the edge in terms of content and style, and often mocks things that others take seriously. In this particular case, we were insensitive to the feelings of parents who suffer through the loss of a baby in their early days. We sincerely apologize.”

Too many people in our society do not realize the grief and sorrow experienced when a little one is lost. Parents don’t want to forget their child’s beautiful face, tiny hands and perfect feet. Photography is a tool to assist them through the days of loss, and those images serve as a memorial to their children.

Sign here.

Not angry...just loved...and a bit confused

Thank you all for your comments on my correspondence with Dr. A.

I have to say that, strangely enough, I am not angry at all with him. I am...perplexed. I was not expecting that response at all. I don't know why it threw me for a loop, because we have always been able to freely discuss more than medical information with Dr. A. (much to his credit). And you are right, he is the most thoughtful, compassionate, caring doctor I have EVER met. I could list the million and one kind things he has done for us and there would still be more. After Travis was stillborn, he called me personally to check on us, he sent a sympathy card, he called me personally with test results, he has answered all my emails...and that is AFTER I was technically no longer a patient. And the kindness he showed while I was an official patient...well...there just are no words. If I had to lose Travis, this was the doctor I would have wanted to lose him with (though I personally would have preferred to actually HAVE Travis...but the devil is in the details).

I don't know why I feel compelled to defend Dr. A. to you all. I certainly don't think he needs my defense. I guess I just don't want you to get the wrong idea about how I feel about him. And I don't want you to misunderstand my question from my previous post. I was really baffled by the email correspondence and wanted to know if I was missing something. After reading all of your comments, I see that I did miss some of the answer I was looking for. I think the appearance of God in the email distracted me from reading it all carefully. But that tends to happen with me anytime God is mentioned.

For the record, I would never ask anyone to change their faith. I do not expect people to change their views to match mine. And I certainly do not mind them sharing it with me in a kind and loving way (as opposed to the God brigade who insist you must believe their way or you will go to hell). And I'll let you in on a little secret. When someone starts talking about God with me...if I let a bit of time pass after receiving the message, the angry reaction subsides and I'm able to "hear" the message a little bit better. I'm far from accepting or understanding all the messages...but I can hear them above the rage. Now that I've read your comments and had some time to digest the message, I feel...peaceful. From the outside looking in, maybe Dr. A. overstepped the bounds of his doctor role. But it wasn't unwelcome. Strange.

Anyway...I'm off work again today. I went in yesterday and came home so exhausted and in such pain that I just decided it wasn't worth the effort. And despite my coworkers' obvious love for me, it really irritated me that they thought my purple, swollen, and painful ankle was at all humorous. It's NOT funny that I hurt myself gardening. Stop laughing! And I suppose this means no support group tomorrow night...I am surprisingly disappointed by this. Maybe I'll have to find a way to work it out so that I can hobble to it.

We're having our house renovated. We pulled the pin last night and signed a contract with the contractor. We figure that since we won't have dual daycare expenses, we can spend our money on something else. Plus, truth be told, I need something to look forward to now that September 22nd holds no special anticipation for us. Maybe I can look to that day as a target move-in day. We will have our own master bedroom and master bath. Other than my parent's house, I've never had a place with a master bedroom and master bath. It will be nice. The only bittersweet decision is whether to add three bedrooms...or just two. I guess we can always use a guest bedroom, so we'll stick with three for now.

Did you know today is Flag Day? Happy Flag Day

KFC is being sued for using transfat in it's food prep? Duh. Just because they changed their name to cute little initials doesn't mean it isn't still Kentucky FRIED Chicken. You're not really that stupid are you?

Didn't get a picture of the fox I saw running and playing in my back yard. Damn ankle slowed me down and the little guy scampered into the woods before I could focus. This is the second fox I've seen this year. I saw one run into the woods at the cemetery when I went to visit the boys a few weeks ago. What do foxes symbolize? (Fox - Cunning, provider, intelligence, feminine magic, diplomacy, wildness) I did see a couple butterflies today (Butterfly - Metamorphosis, carefree, transformer, immortality, rebirth, resurrection. Grace, light, soul). And as I was watching a yellow one flit around, a big fat dragonfly zipped past me and danced around in the front yard (Dragonfly - Flighty, carefree, swift, activity, shamanistic, supernatural powers).

I miss my boys. Sam is at daycare because I simply can't take care of him with this bum ankle and I know he would prefer to play outside with his friends than sit with me all day. He must have told Grandma three times in his brief phone conversation with her last night, "It's fun to play outside, it's no fun to play inside." lol I agree with him totally, but there's not much I can do about it. It takes me forever just to GET outside, let alone actually doing anything outside. So here I sit. I can't help but think about how I should be 25 weeks pregnant...almost 26. I can't help but look at Baby Alex's picture on the wall and think about how he should be playing outside with Sam (at home and daycare). I miss my boys.

Yes, I know this post is all over the place. It reflects how I've been feeling...I am all mixed up...unable to concentrate on one thing for more than a brief moment. If I weren't able to sleep or eat, I'd say it was depression. But since neither of those are suffering and I'm just feeling "flighty," I'm going to just accept it as a temporary result of all the stuff I'm dealing with and not make a big deal of it. But it IS a bit disconcerting to lose track of my thoughts mid-sentence.

I read this over at Christy's blog at ClubMom and realized that I liken her experience at the Senior Center with my experience here. We all find comfort in our own special place, I guess.

Five minutes is not nearly enough time to articulate why I come to the Senior Center for the Living History Writing group each Wednesday. I come to learn from my elders; to write from the heart; to listen to stories; to remember my past; to forget my present; to release my emotions; to laugh at our common humanity; to cry over our common sorrow; to peer into the future; to understand that we continue to question as we age; to share my love for writing; to go beyond: “So what do you do?”; to see familiar faces who always seem happy to see mine; to share Elias’s progress; to hear about members' medical ailments and remember that we all live in breakable bodies; to hold on to hope about my future; to be reminded how young I really am; to know that the group can go on without me—I’m not so important but I’m loved.

Thank you all for being here for me. I never would have survived without you all.

What happened ?!?!?!

Do you remember this guy?

I am, right this very second, watching him on The View, singing Jump...

with banjo, steel guitar, bass, acoustic guitar, and fiddle accompaniment.

I am NOT kidding you.

I NEED for my ankle to heal so I can go back to work! This is too much!

A good cause

As I posted the other day, Jana at All About Baby Drew has plans to provide copies of the book "Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby," by Deborah L. Davis to Oklahoma University Medical Center, to give to every family that has to leave the hospital without their child. She has arranged a discount for bulk orders from the publisher.

As a way to make the effort tax deductible, the very kind people at the Jackson L. Graves Foundation have offered to set up a fund specifically for the donations that Jana is collecting. This arrangement will allow contributions to be tax deductible as a charitable donation and donors will be sent a receipt.

Please mail donations to:
Jackson Graves Foundation
PO Box 572
Fayetteville, AR 72702

Please note on the memo section of your check "Cradle Book" or include a note with that on it. If you have any questions, you can contact Jana, e-mail the Foundation at info@jacksongraves.org or call the Foundation at (479) 466-8339. After all donations have been received, the Foundation will order the books so that everything is correctly done for tax purposes.

This movement has a very special meaning to me, as this was the book I took the most comfort in after Alex was stillborn (it was not particularly helpful after losing Travis...but I consider that a special circumstance and won't hold it against the book or the author). I will be making a small donation in Alex's name.

Be a Hero For Babies

TODAY is the day to be a Hero For Babies. Farmers Insurance will match every dollar you donate by midnight, June 14. Whatever you give will be DOUBLED, up to $250,000.

Click here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

OK...I'm lost

Here's what I sent the doctor...

Thank you for calling with the test results. I guess I'm left with the big question...and I'd love to know what both you and Dr. E think...about the possibility of me ever being able to carry another baby to term. Is there any further diagnostic testing available to me now? I know you can't pinpoint what exactly caused Travis' death, but can you hazard a guess that would help me decide about the future possibility of children? My husband and I would really like to add to our family but, I'll be honest, my gut reaction is to feel as though the odds are now so stacked against me that it is pointless to even try to have another child. I know it wasn't likely to happen twice...but it did. Can I just presume that it is likely to keep happening to me? I know you don't have all the answers, but not being a doctor myself, I really don't know what to think at this point. Any information and/or insight would be appreciated.

Here's the answer he sent me...

Hi, Cathy,

My apologies for the late response. You’re right---this should not happen twice—and what makes it so difficult is not knowing why, leaving closure incomplete. I believe that God has a plan and that things happen for a reason, even when those occurrences are horrific. I don’t understand His plan, but the older I get, the more awed I am by how things turn out.

Cathy, I really don’t have an answer yet for you; best estimation is that an infection may have played a role---but we don’t have anything concrete to confirm that. I can’t believe that this will be your future, though. I think that it will require strength, faith and incredible courage on you and your husband’s part to try again. Children as you know, are a blessing---try to focus on that, not fear, to guide you in your decisions.

Yours,
Dr. A


I LOVE Dr. A...but...Did I miss something? Like maybe the answer to my question? Was it in there and I just missed it? Because it feels like I didn't get much of a medical opinion there, but a philosophical one. Am I wrong?

Haunted places

I have hated haunted houses ever since I visited one with my girl scout troop when I was about twelve years old. Deliberatly walking down dark corridors so that someone could jump out at you and say BOO...bumping into walls and other nonmovable objects...feeling trapped and terrified. Since then, I have consciously chosen to avoid any and all situations where I would feel that small and frightened.

But that is how this feels.

I'm trapped.

I realize now that I only got a taste of it when Alex died. I was trapped, but there was hope. It hurt like hell, but there was a direction to go...a path to take toward healing and "trying again." I could throw open the windows on the fun house and let in SOME light.

But now that Travis is gone, it's like I'm standing in a dark corridor, with walls all around me, and spooky goblins lurking about...just waiting to jump out and terrorize me. The windows are nailed shut and I can't even bring in the light anymore. There is nowhere to turn toward healing.

It feels like I'm slowly suffocating. Staring at a wall in the darkness. I KNOW there is an exit somewhere. There has to be. I can't be locked in here forever. Can I?

Monday, June 12, 2006

What you make of it

Please consider visiting Jana at All About Baby Drew and making a donation to her effort. She plans to provide copies of the book "Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby," by Deborah L. Davis to Oklahoma University Medical Center, to give to every family that has to leave the hospital without their child. She is a true example of what it means to create meaning out of the devestating loss of your child.

A beautiful thing no more

Today I was pondering my life and my reaction to other mothers (too much time sitting around with my foot up in the air). I used to read DotMoms pretty regularly...and visit mommy message boards very regularly. But I can't read about "the beauty" of pregnancy and mommy-hood. It bothers me.

It bothers me because my own experience is so ugly.

I don't get to brag about the stretch marks on my belly as badges of honor on my path to motherhood. I don't get to talk about how it was all worth it in the end. I don't get to talk about the path of grief and sadness as being "behind me." No matter what happens in my life, pregnancy and motherhood will always be ugly 2/3 of the time.

I will always carry a sadness when someone talks of their children because I will always have two dead sons. There is no more glow. If I ever were to be insane enough to try to have another baby, it would be met with sadness, skepticism, criticism, disbelief, and confusion. There will never again be happy and joyful noises made about my journey to motherhood. It's more than my own naivete that was lost. It was the basic essence of my womanhood that was forever altered. I've been excommunicated from the club...women who have never experienced loss AND women who have experienced loss but have "moved past it"...I don't fit in either. I am "the worst" that can happen.

I feel cheated in triplicate. My babies are gone, my hopes for a family are gone, and my ability to look back at pregnancy and motherhood as inherently joyful experiences is gone. What is that? The sadness trifecta? The past, the present, and the future...all forever marred.

I know there are many many women who find that they cannot have their own biological children. And I wonder if they feel this sorry for themselves...or if I am just engaging in a self-indulgent pity party. Is this what it feels like to lose hope forever? or is this normal acceptance?

My life is so ugly now.

I wish there was a way to bring beautiful back.

My day

Shower.
Motrin.
Nap.
Four trips to the bathroom.
Two trips to the kitchen.
Motrin.
Email.
Days of our Lives.
As the World Turns.
General Hospital.
Ice on the foot.
Motrin.
Surf the internet.
One phone conversation with a condescending bank loan officer.
One bored conversation and one angry conversation with my husband.
Motrin.

Don't you wish you were me?

Pretty picture for today

Welcome to the world Baby Ray!

To my dear friend Mary and her entire family...

CONGRATULATIONS!

(Now we MUST get together...no excuses.)

Would you look at how cute he is?!?!?!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The one-legged woman

So I have cabin fever. I did NOT plan to spend this weekend sitting inside on my butt doing nothing. I had plans...and I fully intended to make some of them happen. So...I took my swollen foot to Toys R Us to buy birthday exchange gifts for the four-year-old I was assigned this year from my June 2002 mommy message board. It was too important to send Steve alone (though he did offer to let me cellphone talk him through the store..."It will be just like you are there." Does that imply that I talk to much?).

Gifts in hand...swollen foot and toes...my underarms hurt from the crutches...my left hand hurts from falling on it at the time of original injury and subsequently using it on the crutches...my left leg hurts from carting around my considerable weight that is normally balanced on TWO legs...and my right ankle/foot hurts for obvious reasons. I guess the rest of my weekend plans will have to wait. Not sure what I'm going to do about work tomorrow...

I have learned two things through this...(1) Despite all that I have been through in the last two years, I'm not as tough as I thought I was; and (2) it would definitely be worth the money to install a better (taller) toilet.

The note

The card was beautiful. A light blue...baby blue...with a baby blue ribbon...and lily-of-the-valley on it. Exactly the card one might expect to send as congratulations on the birth of a baby boy. This one came upon the death AND birth of a much-wanted baby boy. And the note inside haunts me because it is exactly the sentiment I have been trying to figure out how to express.

We are so sorry about Travis' death. His life brought meaning and hope in a very difficult time and it is almost impossible to understand what his death might mean, why it happened, and what on earth could possibly follow all of this pain. Please accept our sincere condoloences, our empathy, and our love.

I dealt with each of these three things following Alex's death. (1) What does his death mean? (2) Why did it happen? (3) What follows all this pain?

But with Travis' death I almost feel like I can fast forward over those and focus on that first part of the note...His life brought meaning and hope.

You see, I HAVE learned to accept that I will never know what his death means...why it happened...what is to come. I don't like it...and I will still rant at God/fate/the universe as a means to vent my emotions. But I don't need to do the work of questioning it all again because I already know that NO answers will alleviate that anger, my fear, my sadness. I have accepted it as a part of me...as something I will deal with and hopefully put to rest some day.

But I still have the meaning and the hope...right alongside that anger, fear, and sadness. I can still hear that little voice in the back of my brain, in the deepest recesses of my heart, telling me that this is not the end...that there is something out there that will bring happiness again. I don't know what it is just yet...the voice is still too small to be heard above the anger, fear, and sadness. But for now, just knowing it's there is enough. I know that no matter what the answers to the "three big questions," I still can choose to create meaning out of tragedy...I still can choose to hope for a better tomorrow. [I know it sounds like I've been drinking...but I haven't (not yet).]

I don't know if there is a God. I don't know the answers to the, "big questions" (and I will probably never know the answers to the big questions). But the meaning and the hope...they didn't all die with Travis. They're still here. They may be very different than they were. But then again, I'm different than I was. There may never be more children for us. The hope and meaning may be a work in progress in my life...changing and shifting focus with every breath. But that's ok. That just means I'm still alive. I still miss my boys with every ounce of my being and I may have to "settle" with some other happiness. But I'm still alive. So that's something.

Thanks for sending the note, my friend. It meant more to me than I can possibly explain to you. But somehow, I think you'll "get it." :o)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Friday, June 09, 2006

Break out the popcorn

All tests negative. Placental pathology shows inflammation that could have been a viral infection or a host of other etiologies...no way to tell. Still waiting for genetic test results on Travis, but really feeling like it wasn't genetic. On the scale of things that are likely to repeat, this is "way down there." Dr. A says, "I just don't know what to tell you, because I don't have any answers."

Well that's honest, at least.

So whatever it is, it is quite possible I'm carting it around in my uterus and there's no way to evict it.

I didn't have the heart to ask him on the telephone...so I sent him an email...

Thank you for calling with the test results. I guess I'm left with the big question...and I'd love to know what both you and Dr. E think...about the possibility of me ever being able to carry another baby to term. Is there any further diagnostic testing available to me now? I know you can't pinpoint what exactly caused Travis' death, but can you hazard a guess that would help me decide about the future possibility of children? My husband and I would really like to add to our family but, I'll be honest, my gut reaction is to feel as though the odds are now so stacked against me that it is pointless to even try to have another child. I know it wasn't likely to happen twice...but it did. Can I just presume that it is likely to keep happening to me? I know you don't have all the answers, but not being a doctor myself, I really don't know what to think at this point. Any information and/or insight would be appreciated.

Put your feet up, munch on some popcorn, and watch the dream of more children die a slow death. I give the show four stars..."gut-wrenching and powerfully emotional...a two-box kleenex rating...two thumbs up...a sure bet for an Academy Award."

Isn't it pretty?


(please pardon the lack of a pedicure...I was gardening after all)
(and yes, the blue-green scrape on the right side is just as pretty in person)

Now I know how insane you must be on bedrest Becci. You have my complete sympathy and support. And if you email me your address, I would like to send you a care package of games and entertainment so you don't go completely crazy.

Love these (thanks H)

These images (you can click them to make them bigger) are all from various artists at The Duirwaigh Gallery. I love them each for the different emotions they evoke. Visit their website...I bet there is something there that catches your eye too.










The ambulance ride was nice...

I just wanted the day to pass quietly...smoothly...no drama. And the day was going so well. We called in sick to work and hung around together at home. We went shopping to return the chainsaw that wasn't working well and buy some flowers and other necessities. We stopped for ice cream on the way home. After coming home, Steve and Sam went to assemble the brand spanking new basketball hoop that was an impulse buy intended to spoil Sam silly. I went to plant some of the flowers purchased earlier. While digging and planting, I thought to myself how it had turned into the kind of day I had hoped. Quiet...smoothe...no drama. And then I took the step that changed the day...

I stepped out of the raised flower bed, landing on the edge of a paver brick. My sandal went one way and my foot went the other. Snap! And down I went. The burning sensation and the immediate swelling in my right foot caused me to scream for Steve. Now, I love my husband very much. But he is not an emergency type of guy. As I'm lying on the sidewalk in pain, he starts asking me questions. I, of course, respond with the very mature, "I want my mommy." This was, of course, followed by the very hysterical, "What the f*** did I do to deserve all this?!?!? I can't take anymore!!!!" Think I've reached the end of my sad sad tale of woe? Nope...

Fearing that he would not be able to lift my gigantic ass off the ground enough to successfully navigate me to the car, he called the ambulance. Two very nice (and strong) paramedics, Gary W. and Tim P., came to lift me up and haul me off to the hospital. A bumpy ride, three inquiries as to whether I could be pregnant (no, the humor was not lost on me), multiple swear words, and six x-rays later, I was sent home with an ace bandage and crutches. It isn't broken. Yay!

So here I sit...at the end of my proverbial rope. Steve and I had said that we wanted to have a small vacation where we didn't bury a child. Apparently we should have been a bit more specific. I would like a vacation where NOBODY is in pain, dies, goes to the hospital...what else should I add (just to cover my bases at this point)?

If you need to find me in the next few days, I'll be sitting here icing my foot and trying not to cry.

**update**

Just talked to a nurse from the hospital and she tells me the radiologist took a second look at my x-rays and there is a possible fracture/chip in there. Great...just great.

Give me chocolate now.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dear Travis

Five months I carried you.

One month I have missed you.

Forever I will love you.

~Mommy~

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Was it too much to ask?

Was it too much to ask for? A small family of smiling happy children. Nothing extravagent...not six or eight kids...just two or three. One to hold each hand as we walk through the zoo. Two or three to keep each other company as they age. Was it REALLY that much to ask?

It seems like such a small dream when I look at it. It's so much less than many people ask for. We didn't want a million dollars or a bunch of material things. We just wanted love...family.

Now, as we watch that dream die (literally), I wonder what we are supposed to ask for. What else is there? Maybe we should ask for the million dollars and the material things. Maybe we'll get better luck with the things we don't really want....the things that don't really matter.

...and I wasted all that birth control

I was thinking about Cecily and her new baby and my mind wandered as it often does these days. It started naturally enough...Cecily...new baby...the twins...the title of her blog....and I wasted all that birth control...how long was I on birth control?...twelve years?...no...eleven years...they all told me it was so easy to get pregnant...to have a baby...the health teacher...even my mother asked me, "You know where babies come from, right?"...I was so afraid of getting pregnant...I took birth control for eleven years...if those poor high school girls only knew the truth...what are the statistics?...on a good cycle you've only got about a 30% chance...and that's if you catch the RIGHT day...hell...it took us four months to catch the right day with Alex...and four months to catch the right day with Travis...still no baby...I shouldn't have waited...why DID I take all that birth control?

Congratulations Cecily!

Welcome to the world Victoria Anne!!!

Dear God

This post over at Sorting the Baby Stuff got me thinking a new thought about God and myself.

These prayers sparked something particularly in my mind...

Most loving God: the death of your Son has opened to us a new and living way. Give us hope to overcome our despair; help us to surrender ____________ to your keeping, and let our sorrow find comfort in your care; through the name and presence of Jesus our Savior. Amen

God of compassion and companionship, _________ and _________ now stand before you in the fragile beauty of their humanity. Bless them in their anger, confusion, pain, sorrow, emptiness, and loneliness. Grant them assurance that nothing can separate them from your love. Grant them peace of mind in their confusion and healing in their pain. Grant them consolation in their sorrow, fill them with your Holy Spirit in their emptiness, and grant them companionship in their journey. Assure them that as the world rushes by, unaware, Christ will stop by the wayside and be with them. Amen

God, we release to you this child, lost to the world but found in your presence. Enfold him in the arms of your mercy. Amen.


Surrender

Consolation

Release


These words have always been words of defeat in my life. Never surrender. Consolation prizes mean you didn't win. Release means giving up.

I think I AM on the verge of a breakthrough, but I'm NOT QUITE there yet.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Say goodbye to Everwood

I hated this show. I called it the "teenage angst" show. But my husband loved it, so we watched it...at least until our lives became so much like a television drama that we swore off anything but comedy. Truth be told, I only hated the show because it hit a little too close to home on more than one occasion (I cried at least once during every episode). It was GOOD television...and there just isn't enough good television these days.

But Everwood got caught in the business of the WB combining with another network...and got the axe. While watching the series finale last night, I couldn't help but remember a scene...a season finale from last year maybe...
where Harold, the high-and-mighty-but-loveably-insecure-small-town-doctor, went into the hospital bathroom to pray for his wife who was undergoing surgery for a brain tumor. It was one of those scenes like the scene in Steel Magnolias where Shelby says she'd, "rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special." It resonated with me...and still does. Maybe it was just a good performance...maybe it is just good writing...but I can't help but FEEL something about it. And I always blog when I feel something...good or bad or indifferent.

If you don't mind Lord, a word. I know you're bottomless and infinite and the problems of individual souls are quite beyond your purview, but...try to see it from my side. When I pray to you, I am fair. I don't ask for favors, intervention. I only you for the strength to do right on my own, or the wisdom to make good choices. I never ask you for anything for myself. Well, I am today. I want you to guide his hands. I want you to guide whatever cells in her body have to fight or die or do whatever they must so this cancer dies, taking nothing with it. I'm asking you, God. Fix this. Make her better. I offer you no promises or trades, bartering my years for hers...I'm just asking. Go ahead, cast stones at me for my impudence...cast a boulder, I don't care. You fix this.

I don't really know what the point is of this post. But I felt like I should post it anyway. Maybe I'm on the verge of a major breakthrough...or breakdown. Maybe I'm just going to miss a silly television show. Who knows.

Green beans and other dead baby ramblings

-----------------------------------
I was eating so many green beans because it was the one green vegetable that didn't give me gas (or worse). I had to balance my diet, but greens just didn't agree with me. So I ate green beans.

I was seriously sick of green beans after just three weeks.

I would kill to have that reason for eating all those green beans back.
-----------------------------------
Got the statement from the insurance company for "Laboratory" and "Pathologist." $454 for the autopsy on a 20 week pregnancy. This beats the one for the delivery...$29,000+.

Why do they send me these things?
-----------------------------------
I walked out. We had birthday cake in the office for a coworker's birthday. I did not stay and make idle chatter. I got my cake and got the hell out before the conversation turned the inevitable direction toward pregnancy, babies, and happy little lives. I feel like I accomplished something today for myself. Now, I just need to work on the rest of the world.
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This is from my dear friend Julie. Yes, it's a rock. But it's a rock with my son's initials on it. It means more to me than I can possibly explain.

Of course, she is holding it hostage until I agree to a weekend of shopping and eating and drinking. Sigh...such a chore to have great friends.
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And since it seems Blogger is giving me fits about posting pictures, I will have to go open another folder in my Flickr account to show you the bracelet I made and sent to the mommy of a stillborn little girl. She is the relative of a friend and I HATE that she has to go down this road. She should have her baby...not a pink little bauble in remembrance. But it's the best I can do. I hope she finds some peaceful moments and that the grief is not too heavy for her to carry.
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The Compassionate Friends are having a national conference July 14-16 in Dearborn, MI. Steve and I are thinking of attending because there are several workshops that speak directly to pregnancy/infant loss, or rather, what comes AFTER pregnancy/infant loss. I would encourage anyone to seek out support wherever they can find it. Even if you think you don't need it. It can't hurt anymore than losing a baby (or two), so we've got nothing to lose by participating.
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From my very pregnant friend...
I hope this whole paragraph comes across in the spirit in which it is intended, that is, that I don't want to be the source of any additional pain or heartache. I hope that makes sense. I also don't want you to think that I am putting up any kind of a wall between us, I just want to open the door a little crack first and peer in before swinging it wide open and barging in! I will keep you posted if anything drastic happens or changes, and I will share any info you want - but I do not want to be a pain in the butt (or heart) either.

I know how crazy I feel...but I must be a real challenge to deal with. I like the door analogy. Maybe we should hang a sign on the door that says, "Beware...crazy bereaved parent inside." I think Julia suggested t-shirts...so we could identify each other as mommies of dead babies...but it would be equally helpful to warn the unsuspecting public as well.
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I have updated my blogroll (thanks for noticing Kate). It seems grief and sadness motivate me to research and read.
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Yes, Laura, I am able to briefly summarize individual bullet points...that's the lawyer in me. Now if I could only remember where I left my shoes...

That's the fun of it, isn't it? The simplest tasks become huge chores. And the huge chores just sit undone. Oh, I'm having so much fun. I want to scream. I want to throw things. I spent Sunday in the garden with the hoe in an effort to work some of it off. And it did, briefly. Now, I have an incredible urge to throw this computer mouse at the wall and watch it break into a million pieces. But since my office is too cheap to offer me a mouse with a scroll wheel and I'm using my own, I will resist that particular urge. But as soon as I find some obsolete government-owned piece of property that is easily destructable...watch out.
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Have I mentioned that cheeseburgers are too emotionally difficult to eat? Yeah...that's how screwed up I am now.
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I touched Travis' toes, his face, his hands, his body. I only touched Alex's feet and hands wrapped up in a blanket. Why did I do that? I know why. Because his face was so soft...baby soft...but his skull was mushy...and it freaked me out. I was so afraid he was going to fall apart if I unwrapped him too much. So I peeked, but I didn't do what a mommy should do. And I didn't dress either of them myself. Even knowing what I know, I couldn't dress Travis myself. I regret so much.
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I think I'm headed for a day off this week. I just can't deal with "normal" life the way I need to.
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Why didn't I let Steve pack my lunch this morning? Better yet...why didn't I just throw out the damn green beans?
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Monday, June 05, 2006

Did I show you who joined us for lunch at the zoo?

Miscellaneous thoughts

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I have entered the stage of grief where I can concentrate on nothing...so this is the perfect kind of post for these days...
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We watched the season finale of LOST last night. All I can say is...
huh?
My mind reels with the questions.
And I don't love Michael...but I can completely understand what he did and why he did it. I found him sympathetic while others appear to have found him evil. Funny how perspectives change during life.
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I am unable to participate in things I once found great inspiration in. Do I explain to people why? They would otherwise not know what happened to make me not care anymore. Or do I just let them think I'm a fickle asshole?
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This comment last week bothered me for some reason...
This loss is an event unto itself. It's up to you whether, thirty years from now, this loss will be the end of your story. If it is, a lot of people will feel sorry for you.

But then I met a woman who was described by her husband as having, "lost one pregnancy and decided she couldn't take it anymore [so they stopped trying]." They are older and seem content with just them and their dogs. I like her...and I don't feel sorry for her at all. I think I'm going to be ok. That is somewhat of a relief.
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Using a hoe is a great way to work out pent up anger.
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No, the guy who owned the bear that attacked a woman in her home will not be charged with anything. He did not break any laws. Write your congressmen if this bothers you...just stop calling me!
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My body is disgusting and none of my clothes fit right. But I still squeeze into them because I refuse to go up a size and I deliberately sent the maternity clothes out of the house because I can't stand to even look at them, let alone wear them. So yes, I do look like a sausage in my navy blue suit. And yes, that is the sound of my thighs rubbing together in my panty hose. So what? Wanna make something of it?
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No word on the co-worker's cat and how she dealt the news to her daughter. I'm on the edge of my seat, aren't you?
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Was anyone else perturbed by this comment by Leann Rimes?
LeAnn said that she and husband Dean Sheremet would love to have children and they are "just trying to find the time to schedule one in. Maybe next year after the house is finished."

So that's what we did wrong! We should have done the house first! Too bad we're only now getting to the house. But, our house WILL be done, come hell or high water. A renovation project so that I will have something to look forward to this summer...something to distract me (but whose paying attention to the reasons anyway?). I'm sure it will become the subject of many pitiful blog posts bemoaning the experience of living in a home under construction...stay tuned...it should be exciting to watch me melt down completely before it's all over.
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There is a special place in hell for spammers.
Today's favorite selection..."Your 7-month-old, 1st week."
Bite me!
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Blogger is terrible, but setting up a whole new space elsewhere just makes me even more tired.
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I spent some time cruising mommy blogs today...including some Christian moms who have suffered a loss (or losses). First, I know why I don't like reading them...I wish I was them. Second, I still don't get comfort from the idea of God. Guess I've still got some work to do on that front.
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What do you do for Father's Day during the year when you're mourning two stillborn babies? Somehow, I don't think a coffee mug is right for the occasion.
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I think I will need to stop by the store on the way home for a new bottle of wine. Oh, chauffer Steve, do you think that is possible? Of course, I've forgotten my shopping list at home. hmmm...maybe we should go home first, I'll grab the list and go...be back before you're done with the doggy madness that awaits. :o)
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Oh yes...not that anyone is interested in the inner workings of my reproductive system (least of all me), but yesterday was CD1. So despite my apparent inability to carry a pregnancy to term, my body is telling me to get over it already. oy!
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Email from PAWS

Got this email from our PAWS Director after the group participated in the "Meet Your Best Friend" event at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (the same event Rosie Posie went to). I love this stuff!

Hello all!

WOW what a day at the zoo!!!! We had 8 complete adoptions, and 2 adoptions awaiting a home check. 10 of our babies found their forever home through this wonderful event at the zoo. 9 dogs, and 1 cat.

I cannot begin to thank the organizer, Julie W, and all the volunteers that spent a large chunk of time on a Saturday to get these babies out of foster to begin their lives with their new families. YOU GUYS ARE WONDERFUL!!! Now there is "room at the inn" for those in need of rescue.

The families that adopted from us today were great placements for our fosters, and came to the zoo seeking their new best friend.

For those foster homes that adopted out today; you sent them away with love, you cared for them deeply, and the animals are grateful!!!

THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!

Amy B
Executive Director
PAWS Ohio

Snakes, toads, dive-bombing birds, and other signs of the apocalypse

Despite the really crappy day on Saturday, the weekend turned out to be relatively nice.

We took our foster dog, Rosie, to another rescue volunteer's house so that he and his wife could take her to an adoption event. We got one nibble from a man with a wife and kids (the kids apparently loved Rosie), but no definite application yet. Her time is coming though, I can feel it. I will have to add her picture back to my sidebar so you all can see how cute she is.

Other than that, and the car shopping experience from hell, we had nowhere to go and nothing to do. After two (or was it three?) trips to WalMart we were finally able to pick up Sam's fourth birthday pictures. What is it with that "portrait studio?" They used to be good but cheap...now they are just cheap and cheap. And the employees...don't even get me started. But we did manage to get some cute shots of Sam to record this moment in time, so I can't complain. I seem to have forgotten to post them...will have to do that later today.

Yesterday we spent outside, working in the yard. I learned that (1) my husband cannot multiply by twos and that (2) I was STUPID to not have gotten a hoe before now(is this not the most magical gardening tool ever?). Because my husband cannot multiply by twos, we still have the tall grass plains of Africa growing in our yard...snakes and toads included. Don't you want to come out for a wildlife safari with us? ick! I have, in fact, stepped ON two snakes during the last two weeks. double ick! But my dear husband promises to return with the correct cutting implement (hopefully he gets help with his math at Home Depot), and the grass will disappear...taking the snakes and toads with it.

This morning, on our way to my office, we hit a bird. Darn thing flew right in front of the minivan from hell and made a horrible thunk on the front grill...and a subsequent thunk on the roof as it went tumbling through the air. I'm sure we killed it, but I didn't have the heart to look back. That makes three...the rabbit when we were in college, the deer in Colorado (never be distracted by the application of chapstick while driving through the Rocky Mountains), and now the bird. Rest in peace little bird.

How many signs of the apocalypse are there anyway?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The brownies

Add some frosting and subtract more than a few brownies to get the picture today.

More miscellaneous flowers

More sights from the last month or so.


Lilac
Forget Me Nots
Azalea
The mystery rose that keeps growing...despite being mowed over many many times.

Light Pink Rose from Mom
Impatiens
Hostas

Miscellaneous flowers


Flowering Almond
Bleeding Heart
Roses from Judy

Finally got the upper hand on the tall grass and have returned some semblance of normalcy to my flower gardens planted in honor of Baby Alex.




OK...blogger is putting a limit on me...so I've put a Flickr badge on my sidebar so you can link to see my gardening and flower pictures if you like. :o)

Green things!

(Click on any picture to enlarge)

Corn!
Tomatoes!
Peas!
Peppers!
Did I ever show you the blessing of the garden? Gardening with mom and wine...a perfectly wonderful combination.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Saturday fun

Know the one thing I hate worse than going to a hospital? Car shopping.

Guess what we did today?

Now mind you, car shopping usually entails one of us sitting with/on the munchkin while the other peruses the car inventory and fends off the piranha that are car salespeople. Today was an interesting, albeit LONG, experience.

At one car dealership, I sat and watched while Steve talked to the seemingly uninterested salesman. As Steve was looking at something, I watched while the Sales Manager read the salesman the riot act for not trying harder to make a sale. In fact, he stopped our minivan as we were backing out of our parking space so that he could introduce himself and try to make the sale himself. It was amusing, to say the least.

At the next car dealership, I sat and watched while Steve talked to the very-helpful salesman. Then I watched the salesman talk to the Sales Manager out of view of Steve. I knew it wasn't a good sign when the Sales Manager laughed at the salesman. I'll give the kid credit though, he did try to talk the Sales Manager into something (too bad the Sales Manager was an "asshole" according to the salesman). Again...amusing to watch the inner workings of the biz.

Needless to say...no car. Five hours in a minivan with a four-year-old who talks non-stop...and no car. There were times when I thought my ears were literally going to bleed from the incessant chatter. At one point, I asked Sam if he ever shuts up and he sad, "No, never." hehehe...that's my boy.

Oh...and let me tell you about how interestingly complicated it is to explain to a four-year-old that he should not make rude comments about how a woman's butt is hanging out of her pants/shirt...and then have your husband step into the van, shut the door, and say, "Man, her shirt does NOT fit her." oy!

Speaking of talking...did I ever tell you what it's like to visit the zoo with a four-year-old? This is more MY experience than Sam's...I'm sure you'll get the idea from just a brief snippet of the days' highlights...

No crying on zoo day.
Slow down.
Look at that!
Wait for mommy.
Only one ride on the train.
No temper tantrums.
Remember, no crying on zoo day.
You have to go potty.
These are the only kind of potties they have here.
We're not going to see any animals until you go potty.
Where are you?!?!
Pick up the pace.
Yes, we're going to ride the tram.
Are you thirsty?
Hold my hand.
I don't know why.
Don't touch that.
No, you can't climb on the fence.
Did you see that?
I told you, no crying on zoo day.
OK, the monkey peed, stop laughing.
Are you hungry?
Yes, we're going to ride the tram again.
I am not carrying you.
Stop hitting me/other people.
We have to wait for daddy/grandma/grandpa/uncle matt.
The apples are in the car.
I told you, no crying on zoo day.
Stop running.
Is he asleep?


Speaking of the zoo with a four-year-old...I still have to upload some zoo pics on Sam's blog! Oh! And I have four-year-old birthday pictures too! I'm off like a herd of turtles...

awww man! Blogger isn't accepting photos at the moment. (sigh) I can't even show you the delicious pan of brownies I just made (and intend to eat). Sorry.