Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dead baby lesson #673

I suck at writing thank you notes. I mean...REALLY suck at it. It's nearly impossible for me to say thank you for all the kindnesses shown to us (again and again and again)...particularly in notecard form. If they really wanted to give you something helpful in the hospital when your baby dies, they should give fill-in-the-blank form thank you cards. It would save a lot of stress.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It just gets better and better

Terrible twos and threes.

Fucking fours and fives.

Sucky sixes and sevens.

What do we call the eights?

There has to be SOME sort of name for the joy that is the eight year old.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I wonder

From An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination...

"When I've thought of Claudelle since Pudding's death, it's been with sympathy: she must feel terrible. I've never wandered further down that road, wondered whether she feels cupable, whether she worries that she's the villain in our version of the story. I've never wondered whether it's terrible that we simply diappeared--because we did disappear, soon enough after that day we erased ourselves from that part of the world as completely as we could--or a relief. Maybe it's a relief. Maybe every day we stayed gone was a relief to her. Or maybe it was just one of those sad things that happens when you're in the mostly joyful business of childbirth, and she never thinks of us at all."

I wonder if she thinks of us...the doctor who was so dismissive when I was sick during my pregnancy with Alex. The doctor who did no testing to see if Baby Alex was doing ok. The doctor who was so sure gestational diabetes had something to do with his death. The doctor who lied to me about his cause of death (over the phone)and would've let me believe that lie forever had I not asked for a copy of the autopsy report.

I wonder if we ever cross her mind at all.

And if we do...I wonder what that's like for her.

I hope she knows we hate her...even if we never said it directly to her.

Didn't see that one coming

So today was an interesting one. Sam kept saying he didn't want to go to daycare but wouldn't say why. Well this morning he tells me it's because they're having breakfast for lunch at daycare and he doesn't want to be the only kid who packs a lunch. But he doesn't LIKE scrambled eggs (what they're serving), so I packed him cheerios and grapes so he'd have breakfast with everyone else.

I swear, these parenting challenges are so weird sometimes.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

She didn't want to review my file for free

Dr. M was nice...but I really didn't see the point of meeting with her. She had absolutely nothing new to tell us.

I asked Steve, "Why do you think she asked to see us?"

He said, "Because if you didn't come into the office then she'd be reviewing your file for free. She needed that $45 copay."

No...we're not cynical at all...why do you ask?

I do feel a bit like we keep having to explain everything to everyone because they're trying to catch something that the previous ten medical professionals didn't catch. Maybe we'll say something THIS time that will be the "ah-ha" moment. So why do I go through every little detail knowing that there won't be any such moment? I really don't know.

So...nothing new to report about the uterus of doom. She said that if the best they can do is give me a shoulder to cry on, then they'll do that (but at $45 a pop, I don't think I'll be taking her up on that offer...it could get REALLY expensive). And, as per the regularly scheduled program, there are more options available the longer any pregnancy is "successful" (the longer the baby is alive, the better...which is absurdly humorous).

So the best medical minds in the area have come up with this...Get yourself knocked up and hope for the best. Which, surprisingly, I feel oddly at peace with.

There are no guarantees.

That's life.

Next time, though, I think I'll save my $45.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Reading Program Baseball

Parade on the field...

There's Mom!

The Star Spangled Banner...


At first, Myles was perplexed...

But then there was popcorn...

And hot dogs...


And silliness...



And cotton candy...

And smiles! Just LOOK at that smile!

Summertime

I want to post all these great posts with photos from all the great things we're doing this summer. But by the time I sit down to put these great posts together, I'm too tired to deal with the downloading and editing and uploading. How lazy is that?

Basically, I'm trying to entertain myself as much as possible...and not obsess. I'm not even subscribing to the "fake it till ya make it" philosophy this summer. I'm using deliberate ignorance. Which means just doing fun stuff with the boys and pretending not to hear the ticking of my biological clock (It's really funny to type that. I remember so clearly the day I started this blog...pregnant with Alex and so certain of the course my life would take and how my family would look when all was said and done. And now...).

Two weeks of summer vacation under our belts and I've:
~been to a minor league baseball game
~finished out the Little League season with a few make-up games and a team picnic
~done a couple of APL events
~been to urgent care for an infected poison ivy rash
~been to The Adventure Zone

A couple of Sam's friends/teammates are coming over today to play (Steve is flying solo so I keep texting him just so I know he can still get to his Blackberry and the kids haven't hog-tied him in a closet somewhere).

Lots of stuff to keep me busy so I'm not thinking about tomorrow's consultation appointment.

Really.

I'm not thinking about it...AT.ALL.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Please vote for us

Please vote for Ashtabula County Animal Protective League in the Chase Community Giving Summer 2010 charity giveaway. You will have to have a facebook account to vote. If you don't have one, this is a great reason to start one...so you can vote for us! Please and thank you!

It is still there

I see the dragonfly in the instant just before it thuds into my windshield. I have enough time to think, "Maybe I should slow down and give it a chance." But I don't slow down.

I sing along with the radio...the song that reminds me of Little Bug. And just then I see four crows standing together in the grass by the road. I yell at them, "No! Fuck you! No!"

The pregnant lady sits at the playground during the Little League picnic. I forget the sunscreen and get burned. She's not a team mother...why won't she just go away?!?!

Might have been.

My cat dies.
My dog dies.

Should have been.

I do feel a need to apologize to some. I should be better at this and not say the same things over and over again. They have listened to so much, I should give them a break.

Should. Do. Don't. It all makes me want to scream.

But that won't change a thing.

It's still there.
And I wonder (again) about my sanity.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Goodbye Thunder

Thunder (previously named Samuel by the APL shelter folks) became ill yesterday and died peacefully in his sleep this morning. He was only with us for a short time (since September), but we loved the big old lug like he'd been here much longer.

We will miss him very much.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Life is good

Wow! It's been five days since I last posted and you probably have the impression I spent them curled up in bed crying my eyes out. Quite the contrary. Baseball, animal rescue, baseball picnic, board meeting...I am keeping busy and feeling good. Yes, there are moments of sadness, anger and frustration that I usually work out on this blog (for which I should probably apologize more than I do), but generally I'm enjoying life.

It's funny, someone said to me today (after the "I'm sorry"), "You have a lot of blessings in your life...there's nothing like a hard time to make you really appreciate them." And I felt like she was right...and I didn't get angry at the thought. I didn't cry telling her about Little Bug and I actually said, "Well, that's the way life is, I suppose, good and bad." And I meant it.

Last night I watched Sam and Myles being silly and playing on our big king-sized bed...throwing pillows and hiding under blankets...and giggling...oh...the giggling! And I felt that old happiness that I thought might be gone forever. In that moment, I realized it's ok. It's ALL ok. If this is what our family ends up looking like...well...it's pretty great.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Drawing a blank

Somebody's going to have to come up with some blog material for me because I am running on empty. I'm re-enlisting in the school of "fake it till ya make it" and distracting myself with multiple simultaneous activities not related to babies or housecleaning (both things I detest at the moment). But I just yelled, "Myles, get off of your brother," and, "Samuel, you can not kick at your brother's face like that." So, I think it's just that life goes on. At least I HOPE it's just that life goes on.

Sometimes I can't even believe it was just two months ago I was in the hospital waiting to deliver another dead baby. I remember two months after Alex died...I was still a mess. Now...well...I'm not. I wonder if there is something to this denial thing. I wonder if this is just one of the perks to losing three babies (there aren't that many, don't get too excited). I wonder if I'm becoming someone whose heart is just a little too scarred to care. Funny, how you WANT to forget...and then when you do...you wonder what's wrong with you that you COULD forget.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Goodbye Antoinette

1992-2010
We love you and we will miss you, our Toni-girl.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Miscellaneous thoughts

-------------------------------------
I don't do hand-holding very well in my professional life. Come to think of it, I don't really do it all that well in my personal life either. I should work on that.
-------------------------------------
The solution to "days like these?" Get drunk and pass out in bed while your husband strokes your hair and laughs at you because you've asked him if he's petting you.
-------------------------------------
I stumbled a little bit this week and fell into the woe-is-me pit. I think it was a combination of last weekend's conversation with Dr. A and returning to work after four glorious days off with my little family.

Calling and making a consultation appointment with Dr. M was kind of a Holy-sh!t-we're-actually-going-to-do-this moment. It's one thing to talk about it in the abstract and then spend the day at the zoo with my amazing family. It's another entirely to really think of returning to that place again...having to explain to the receptionist WHY I am scheduling a consult with Dr. M...hearing that catch in her voice and the quiet "I'm so sorry"...all those practical real-life things that will come with this. They say the first step is the hardest, but I have a feeling they are full of crap.
-------------------------------------
My arms are itchy! I'm sure I've complained of weird hives on this blog before. I've looked in my archives and find a couple of springtime references to itchy episodes. I have, in the past, thought it was an allergic reaction to sunscreen...but now I'm not so sure. I have Dr. Googled myself into Polymorphous Light Eruption. It's funny, because now that I think about it, my throat and the front/back of my body just below my neck will get itchy if exposed to the sun too.

I know...but at least I'm not Googling "recurrent intrauterine fetal demise" anymore.
-------------------------------------
I want to play with my camera but I seem to have no time anymore. It's making me cranky. I took it to the zoo but really only snapped of snapshots (which, yes, I will most likely share with you later). I really need to carve out some time to just focus (ha! see what I did there? FOCUS...camera...hilarious stuff, I tell ya!).

Here ya go...just a couple...








































-------------------------------------
I am back in the saddle as far as my APL volunteer work. The break was needed, for sure, and there are still some awkward moments with "people who don't know yet." But for the most part it's been really nice to be surrounded by people who care about me but have a similar focus...that is NOT me.

Work is a little tougher. Too many babies and baby-oriented women. But my office door is open more than it's closed these days. So that's progress.
-------------------------------------
Speaking of APL stuff...why is it that cats don't get the same sympathy as dogs? They're still cute and fuzzy little living creatures. We should all do something to try to take care of them. Why is it people think they can just dump these guys on our doorstep and not give them a second thought? I'm "a dog person," but I still feel bad for them and want to do whatever I can to make sure they survive. Gosh...what has happened to humanity? empathy? compassion? (Do I sound like an 80-year-old here?)
-------------------------------------
A few years ago we spent too much money on a television. It broke in 2009 and there was much drama that resulted in a new less-expensive TV and a $300 store credit. The successful completion of second grade brought the urge to celebrate. So we are seeing what all the hoopla is about surrounding the Wii. If the head explosion from excitement in the store was any indication, we're going to enjoy this thing. I'll keep you posted.
-------------------------------------
Why, oh why, did I drink a large cinnamon dolce latte at 7pm?!?!
-------------------------------------

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Days like these

---------------------------------------
"I have baby pictures!" she announced with a big old cheerful smile as she walked down the hallway. I ran past her to the bathroom. When I came out of the bathroom she was in the office next to mine. I could hear the office occupant ooh-ing and aah-ing. I quietly closed my office door, sat down, and had a good cry. I still haven't seen her pictures.
---------------------------------------
A whisper screeches in my ear. The slightest touch makes my skin crawl. I can not cope with the dishes or the laundry or the dog hair (oh, there is so much dog hair this time of year). People...friends...come to the door and I can't wait for them to leave so I can retreat to the safety of the rocking chair in my bedroom. Like some kind of feral cat, I bristle at the littlest thing and hiss and scream.

Days like these are tiring. Even more so now because there is no predicting them anymore. I used to feel the heaviness weighing down on me little by little until I was forced to deal with "it." I don't feel those warning signs anymore. Is it possible I have grown a callous over that part of my soul? Is it possible that I've done this so much that a part of me is dead and I am unable to feel it coming? Maybe I've just gotten so used to "fake it till ya make it" that I can't distinguish fake emotion from grief emotion anymore.
---------------------------------------
I started out this life as your average gawky fat person who already had body issues. I've never felt particularly attractive in an overly feminine sort of way. Heads never turned when I walked into a room. And now I can't help but think about my upcoming appointment...how my body has failed me to the point that I need TWO high-risk doctors to help me. How I have NO trust in my physical self. How I would be perfectly content if I could shave my head, wear sweats and tshirts, and burp in socially inappropriate situations. I can't help but feel like a fraud when I buy the sandals I used to think I needed (but now could care less about). Makeup? Forget it. I feel as attractive as Jabba the Hut and I can't see my way to becoming Princess Leia.

Sounds stupid in the grand scheme of things, but I guess I wonder how I can feel pretty again given the circumstances?
---------------------------------------
Another co-worker asks me how my boys are doing and I tell her about my ongoing frustration raising my 8-year-old so he doesn't turn into a liar and a cheat. We chat about all the funny little things he says or does that drive me crazy (but secretly make me love him all the more). And in my head, I hear, "You will never tell these stories about three of your children." That emptiness just never goes away.
---------------------------------------
The scab finally came off my left hand from the site where my IV was. Almost two months later the last physical reminder is gone. I should be happy.
---------------------------------------

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

So, the bigger child

The growing pains continue...

I had to keep him from a baseball game tonight because he lied to me about having schoolwork to do...for what appears to be a whole week!

I know, I know, shame on me for not noticing sooner. But I trusted the little booger when he said he didn't have anything that needed done. He did...and he knew he did...and he lied to my face about it.

*sigh*

So far, eight isn't any easier than seven was.

*ah-hem*

So...nothing like telling the world that you plan to "get busy"...and allowing comments...to make you feel just a little self-conscious and unsure of what to say next. But I knew I couldn't obsess about this step without talking "out loud" about it. Aren't you just thrilled that you read this blog now? lol! I promise I won't bore you with cycle days and other boring details. But I'll probably share when I feel like I might lose my mind from doubt (because you know it's coming).

Thanks.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Too much information

"Dead, there's nothing we can do for them, and we don't know what they'd want, we can't even guess...And so in my grief I understand that mourning is a kind of ventriloquism; we put words into the mouths of our bereavers, but of course it's all entirely about us, our wants, our needs, the dead are satisfied, we are greedy, greedy, greedy, unseemly, self-obsessed. If your child did not survive his birth, everyone can see that clearly. I want. I need. Not him. No pretending."

A big THANK YOU for sending all the books. I've been reading them and re-learning some of the points I had apparently forgotten.

They're dead.

I KNOW it seems obvious, doesn't it? But it's something that has to be understood with more than just shock and horror. There is nothing I can do for them and my missing them is purely selfish. There is nothing I can do for them. They are gone. How I choose to integrate their little existences into my own is entirely up to me. When I realized this, it was a freeing moment, the likes of which I haven't really felt before.

So how selfish am I? Selfish enough to let it tarnish the happiness I have with my little living family? No.

Selfish enough to let it scare me away from hoping for another child? Guess what? No.

Though it will seem fast and possibly inappropriate, we have made a decision. With an eye on the ticking clock and a knowledge of ALL of the things that are going against us, we have decided to try again (how I hate that "try again" terminology, but I can not escape it here). As I told Dr. A, "We didn’t have any testing done because we were SURE we were done. But we have realized that even though it was a “surprise” pregnancy (and we weren’t sure about it when we first found out), we really would like to add another child to our family."

We go into this with our eyes open...with our hearts open. We know the potential for disaster is great. But we can't let that make our decisions for us when the potential for joy is...beyond words.

I spoke with Dr. A [interestingly enough, a crow WALKED across the highway in front of the van while I was on the phone with him (no, I wasn't driving)] and he was awesome. He will have another high-risk OB review my medical history/file just to see if there is "anything new" that he's not aware of that might help.

Dr. A said that as long as I can handle it mentally and emotionally, then he's willing to do whatever it takes to make it successful. He fully acknowledges that I'm a medical freak...though he says it in much nicer terms. I got a chuckle when he said, "it (recurrent early miscarriage) is different than what happens to you." What happens to me. I don't know...that was just an oddly appropriate turn of phrase.

We all know the biological facts and statistics...it's going to be a medical gamble. I'm physically healthy and there is no reason not to try.

As far as my mental state, it is very helpful that he seems to honestly care. I mean, how many doctors give you their cell phone number and tell you to call whenever you need to talk? He answers my questions and always always listens to my concerns. And, strangely enough, it is comforting when he admits he doesn't know what to say. He's my doctor, but he doesn't think he's super-human...which works for me.

I have no illusions (or delusions) about what this will be. I know it very well could end in disaster again. But if we lose again, at the very least I will be able to say that I didn't let fear dictate my decisions...that I did everything I could to realize my dreams.

This doesn't mean I won't be afraid or have days where my hope disappears. But I have to try. I realize now that when Little Bug died I was more sad about the prospect of no baby than I was that I had lost this baby. This baby didn't even have a gender assigned to it...so how could I really miss it? But the loss of all hope was too much to bear. We want another child. It took an accidental conception to make us realize that. I suppose that was Little Bug's gift to us.

Little Bug, accidental conception or not, was worth it. Alex and Travis were worth it. Worth the love and happiness they brought. But they are gone and they are satisfied. I can't put my own words into their mouths and then blame them for the fear that is created. It's all me. And it's time I take back my life.

Wish us luck...we're gonna need it.

**update: Dr. A's consult doctor wants to see me. *gulp*

Paperback swap?

I'd like to thank Jen, who sent me several books, but I don't know which one to thank. So, whichever Jen it was...thanks so much!