Friday, December 31, 2010

The End

I've been so sick I forgot today is the last day of 2010.  I don't know how I feel.  I want to be done with this awful year of death and sorrow, but it's her year and as each day passes May 14th grows a bit smaller and the memories of that day fade and flicker in and out of focus.


I don't know what to say, or what to think, if I should cry or be happy.  I have a line from a song that was popular many years ago running through my head: "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."  It's on repeat, my brain won't turn it off, and this year which was supposed to be full of beginnings, of hellos and firsts, became one of good-byes and an entirely different set of firsts that no one should have to chronicle or experience.  


I was so happy last year on this day.  I was pregnant and excited for 2010, her birth year.  When her birth year became her death year I lost all sense of who I am or where I want to be.  And seven months out I still don't have an exact idea of who I am or where I want to be, but I know I'm not there, that I missed a few goals along the way.       


A few days ago I posted a line that sums up this year fairly well: I have cried more, laughed more, loved more, hurt more in this year than any other of my life.


And as 2010 becomes 2011 I hope next year has a bit more hope and a lot less sorrow, not only for me, but for those I have met along the way too.  



Thursday, December 30, 2010

12.30.10

I'm back on medication.  Dr. B dropped in while I was having acupuncture done at the clinic today and after taking my pulse, which was 130, she called in a prescription for the medication I was on before.  So it's tinctures + medication for now.  Eventually I'll wean off the medication again but at the moment my symptoms are too dangerous to ignore.

I've done a bit of whining about the costs associated with Dr. B, but I am aware that I am blessed beyond measure to have the means to pay for a doctor out of pocket.  Many people don't have access to doctors, or health insurance, or medication while I have medication and natural plant tinctures clutched in each hand.  I don't want anyone to think I am not grateful or thankful for the care I receive from Dr. B.

And while I'm on the topic of kind caregivers ...

My midwife will be spending the first bit of January in Haiti and MamaBaby Haiti can always use donations, and if not donations, prayer.  Every donated dollar is used for medicine, food, supplies, and support for mamas and babies and as the organization grows and thrives so do the women and children of Haiti.  

Before I curl up on the couch and watch Friends I have to say thank you to my readers.  Dealing with uncontrolled and controlled Graves Disease has always been a difficult and emotional process for me.  Though I am very ill I do not feel anxious or depressed and I believe the support here is the reason for that. Thank you for leaving comments and stopping in to check up on me.    



  

 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

12.29.10

Someone from Dr. B's office called this morning to see how I am.  As soon as she asked I fell apart, which is pretty typical for me.  (I'm this quote personified: "Sorrow you can hold, however desolating, if nobody speaks to you.  If they speak, you break down." Bede Jarrett).

I explained how I was feeling, the endless symptoms I have, and then said, "I can't take this anymore.  I'm going back on the medication, I just can't live like this."  She was very sympathetic and nice enough to squeeze me in on the 4th so I don't have to wait until the 11th.

BUT and it's a big one -

How long is this sustainable?  I was supposed to be seeing Dr. B less often by now and all of the visits plus the tinctures are adding up.  Our insurance doesn't cover one cent and each visit, at minimum, is $100.00.  When the visits hit $275.00 or more I have to grip the front counter and breathe deeply.

Is this making me more stressed?  Can I resume the medication without feeling guilt?  If I resume medication I have to find a doctor in town, because the endocrinologist I saw from diagnosis until January of 2010 moved to Indiana.  I tried to find one in town while pregnant, but after four months of searching and attempting to find one who was accepting patients my pregnancy ended and I quit trying.  How long will that process take?  Will it make me more stressed?

After Aquafit today (I went because muscle weakness happens quickly for me when my thyroid is unbalanced, but I couldn't do everything and I was exhausted after) my friend said that I can always try the natural route at a different time.  I need to remember that giving up now doesn't mean giving up forever.

I am slowly coming around to the idea that balancing the thyroid naturally takes time, and that is something I have little of.  I'm not ready to accept that I won't have a baby in 2011.  I want to be pregnant, I want a living child if it is at all possible, and thyroid levels like what I have going on now are not conducive to pregnancy.  But then I think about that number Dr. B circled in her office, that number that may be the reason I couldn't grow a healthy baby.  Dr. B always comes back to that, that Charlotte died because of issues with me, and I am slowly becoming uncomfortable with that notion.

I like Dr. B, I like her intentions, but maybe now isn't the time.  I remember that first visit when Dr. B said she wanted to rescue me and put me back together. Perhaps I'm not patient enough for the rescuing and piecing together.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12.28.10

I e-mailed a friend about how I'm feeling and how frustrated I am with my body.  She responded with this:  "try to be kind to and patient with your body.  Your heart has definitely been through the wringer, but so has your body, and it is grieving Charlotte too."

I think I might have to print that out in giant letters and hang it somewhere prominent.  I get frustrated so easily, especially when things don't go my way and reading all of the comments left on my last post (thanks for the love) plus that statement made me realize I need to ease up a bit.

I want to throw my body through a window (ouch) but I need to remember what the poor dear has been through.  Pregnancy, then birth, then a hemorrhage, then postpartum recovery, then switching from medication to plant extracts, then the stress of the holidays which tipped it from functioning to non thyroid-wise.

We've come a long way since that day in May when I couldn't make it to the bathroom without help (I'll never forget my midwife helping me to the bathroom in that little room off the ER.  There was a bathroom just outside the room that backed up to the one I was in and every time someone in that bathroom flushed the toilet a drain in the middle of the floor would gurgle and spit out a small amount of water.  My midwife and I would look at it and giggle and the laughter cracked the tears that had dried on my face and it hurt so much to laugh, especially with my sweet girl on the other side of the door with no life or breath in her, but I couldn't stop it, it was too funny and I was in shock.  I can't believe I walked into that bathroom barefoot) and stayed in bed for days because I was too weak to walk to the living room.

I want, I want, I want, but I can't always have and I'm trying to accept that with a little more grace and less whining.    

Monday, December 27, 2010

Failure

I am so close to abandoning the tinctures, the natural route, the plant extracts for thyroid control, and resuming the medication.  Dr. B said I would feel better in a few days, but it's been two weeks and I'm still very, very sick.

How long can I live with my heart rate over 100 and often as high as 110?  I don't have enough energy to do much besides sit on the couch and read.  J helped with the housework yesterday, but he's in bed with the flu today so we will be behind on everything soon.  There are four laundry baskets with clean clothes piled in the hall, but I feel too sick to move so I'm going to continue ignoring them.

I forgot how bad this feels, like someone is sitting on my chest, squeezing my head, stomping on my heart.  I'm 27 and afraid of passing out, or having a heart attack, and those possibilities are very unlikely, but when I stand up my head throbs and the dizziness threatens to overwhelm me, and I tend toward drama and worst case scenario so of course my death is imminent.

I called Dr. B's office this afternoon and if she doesn't return my call with a wonderful solution, or a better idea of how to handle this I'm throwing in the towel.  And feeling like this, like I want to give up and revert to the easy way feels awful, but I cannot be this sick and get pregnant.  And that is what I want more than anything right now.

I was told my thyroid disease didn't cause Charlotte's death, but two weeks ago in Dr. B's office a number was tossed out, and she said that high number may be why I couldn't grow a healthy baby.  So now I'm terrified of pregnancy, of losing another baby, of the miscarriage that will most likely occur if I conceive while this ill.

I'm afraid this stupid disease will be the reason I never have a living child.  

  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Compilation

I didn't write for a few days because I wanted to spend time with my friends and family, but my goodness I missed this space.  I apologize for the length of this post and my inability to pick a tense.  I'm exhausted.  

Thursday

"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares." ~Henri Nouwen


Food, gifts, games with the friends I consider family. They are family, but they have let us slip into their lives and be family as well which warms my heart. We eat and eat and eat and then play games and talk and laugh and I beg J to be adopted by C and D's parents so we can be real family, but he says he likes his mother, and, well, I do too, but can't we have more than one mother? Then it's gifts in the dark living room by the tree with beautiful lights and I love getting gifts – everyone has been teasing me because I am wearing a sweater J gave me before we came over because I couldn't wait until Christmas – and then, and then .. C says he has one more gift for us in the car. He tells us it's in memory of Charlotte and before he fetches it I apologize for the tears that will surely flow.

And it's beautiful. It's so beautiful all I can do is stare as I feel the tears building in my chest and throat. He created a breathtakingly beautiful picture of our girl ascending to heaven and once he frames it we will hang it in our living room.  If I remember correctly it's called Sweet Ascension and Charlotte is a vibrant hummingbird in the middle of the picture and the loving hands of Jesus are reaching down to receive her ... Oh, I can't describe it, but it is incredible (Pictures to come, we're waiting for it to be framed).  

We cry, we all cry I think, but it's dark, and I can't tell. I lean into J, I look around the room at C, R, C, and D and think about how blessed we are. Then I place my hand on my chest in an attempt to keep the tears down long enough to tell them how much we love them. And I do - I thank them for carrying us through this difficult year, for speaking of her, remembering her.  R says she thinks of her every day, that she loves her. They all nod and tell us how much they care for our girl.

I don't know what we did right, or what stars aligned, to have these wonderful people in our lives but I am so grateful I can't find words without sounding crazy sentimental. My Aquafit girls and his racquet ball boys, but so much more: friends at the hospital, then I met the wives, and now it's six friends and two (well, three if you consider J) of those six I lean on so hard I'm surprised they don't fall over. 

Then J wipes his eyes and says, “Okay, that's enough,” and we laugh because men can turn off tears and we three women are still wiping our eyes and sniffling and I've got fresh tears leaking out – dripping down my face and it's tears and laughter all together and that sums up this entire year. I have cried more, laughed more, loved more, hurt more in this year than any other of my life.


Christmas Eve

My hardest day.  I sob in J's arms on the couch after breakfast. I haven't cried like this for a while. I'm crying so hard I feel like I might throw up. I eventually pull myself together, get dressed, and go to the library for a small bit of solace before we spend the afternoon with his family.

On the way home from the library I think about how I haven't spent a day in bed for so long, maybe even since August - which has the effect of making me want to crawl in bed with the books I've selected and the chocolate friends have sent to me, but it's Christmas Eve and family must be seen and life must continue without her.

I fall apart before we leave for the in-laws. Weeping, wailing, crying for my baby, whispering “I want my baby,” over and over.  The river of tears which threatens to overwhelm me brings me back to the first few months after she died, when my eyes were constantly infected and swollen from crying so much. It's surprising, really, that I'm far enough out that I can see improvement, growth, and healing. I didn't know that would happen so soon after she died.

I cried on the way to the in-laws and slid back into meltdown mode on the way home.  I told J celebrating – except I did not celebrate, more crawled through a war zone – Christmas without her hurts so much it feels like my heart is breaking all over again.  

J and I are not communicating well right now, which added to the holiday stress. We had a major fight on Thursday and a decent one as we drove home yesterday. I think we are doing well considering everything we are fighting against, but there are moments when I want to scream for all the things aside from her gentle life I have lost.

We walked the dog around the neighborhood after arriving home and I realized it doesn't really feel like Christmas. Even so my body seems to know what time of year it is and my emotions are so heightened I burst into tears with little to no provocation. I'm so broken and sad there isn't a seven month old in my arms, at my feet, tearing into presents, chewing on wrapping paper.   


Christmas

I woke up at 4:30 am to a cold dog nose pressed against my back where my shirt had bunched up a bit as I slept. I shuddered and rolled over to see Isabel peering over the bed at me. My head aches from all of the crying I did last night and as I swing my legs over the side of the bed I feel lightheaded and disconnected. If only I were numb, perhaps this day would hurt less, but, no, I'm a bit dizzy, but definitely awake and I gather my glasses, phone and water bottle and stumble out of the bedroom.

Isabel doesn't need water, or a trip outside, but I'm hungry so I eat a piece of peanut butter toast. Then I fall asleep on the couch while she sleeps on the floor below me. I wake at 8 to a more painful headache and Christmas morning without my girl.  

We spend the afternoon with my family.  From my parents we received a bird for the garden, a picture of the three of us that says 'I will remember' across the top that we can hang on the wall, and a card that said toys were donated to needy children in honor of Charlotte.  My sister gave us a little bird statue with a winter hat and a sweet card.  I would take pictures, but I am so exhausted I don't want to move. 

I know the only way out is through, but sometimes the through hurts so much I fear I am forever stuck in the middle, not moving forward, or back, just standing motionless, and since I imagine 'through' as a dark forest, I am stuck in the middle of a large, dark forest and I cannot see my way, and if I could my feet would not carry me out and that is a frightening, all encompassing, lost and lonely feeling.

But it's over, this miserable drag of a holiday which is supposed to be a joyous time of year is finally over.  Despite the broken heart and tears I felt loved and blessed this holiday season and my sweet girl's name was spoken and her short life was honored and that healed a few more cracks in my shattered heart.  

 



    

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas

Merry Christmas and many thanks to everyone who wades through the words I leave here.

For those who are missing a piece of their heart this season: I hope you feel peace, joy, love and kindness.  I hope someone speaks the name you long to hear.  I hope someone places a carefully selected and beautifully wrapped gift in your hands that brings you joy.  I hope you feel the presence of your baby as you spend the holidays without him or her.  And if you feel like you can't go on, like this holiday may be too much to bear, remember that it will come, and it will go, and before you know it you will be on the other side.

Hug the ones you love.  I'll be back in a few days.    

    

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12.21.10

From The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
In any case, I'm not afraid of it.  Not in the least.  You can't dread what you can't experience.  The only death we experience is that of other people.  That's as bad as it gets.  And that's bad enough, surely.  I remember when for the first time a dear friend of mine died.  Must have been, what, 1947? ... He got sick, and I abandoned him in Vienna and he died.  I had a a terror of illness.  I was petrified by - by what?  Not of getting sick and dying.  Even then, in an elementary way, I understood what death was at its worst: something that happens to other people.  And that is hard to bear; that is what I couldn't face back then, ... what I've never been good at. 
But my point, you see, is that death is misunderstood.  The loss of one's life is not the greatest loss. It is no loss at all.  To others, perhaps, but not to oneself.  From one's own perspective, experience simply halts.  From one's own perspective there is no loss ... What I really fear is time.  That's the devil: whipping us on when we'd rather loll, so the present sprints by, impossible to grasp, and all is suddenly past, a past that won't hold still, that slides into these inauthentic tales.  My past - it doesn't feel real in the slightest.  The person who inhabited it is not me.  It's as if the present me is constantly dissolving.  There's that line of Heraclitus: 'No man steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man.'  That's quite right.  We enjoy this illusion of continuity, and we call it memory.  Which explains, perhaps, why our worst fear isn't the end of life but the end of memories.

This passage made me realize that she doesn't miss me, or her life here.  How can she miss a life she never possessed?  As she fades - her face, the feel of her in my arms, the heavy weight that was her incomprehensible five pounds - was she heavier in death than in life? - I attempt to hold the memories of her tighter, but it is impossible to hold onto the few scraps she left behind.

      

        


 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holy Night

December 2009, the Monday before Christmas.  J and I went to his work after hours to see if we could figure out the sex of our baby before the scan in early January.  The room was warm and dark.  J's machine was designed to look at hearts, but he found the baby no problem.  He asked and asked and asked if I wanted to see the baby.  Other wives came in all the time to look at their babies.  I was so scared something would be wrong with ours.  I didn't want him to place the probe on my belly and see a baby without a heart beat.  I was waiting for her to die most of my pregnancy, but in that room in the week leading up to Christmas I saw that she was alive and I thought I would be able to shake my fears.  

J left the curtains open because it was late and no one was around.  To my left was a window looking down on a lobby and a huge Christmas tree covered with lights.  I smiled, overjoyed with the idea that she would make us a family.  (We weren't sure it was a girl, but J thought so.  At first he thought it was a boy then realized he was looking at the umbilical cord).

I was so excited for Christmas last year.  I decorated the house, hosted a Christmas cookie party, wrapped presents with joy, spent many happy hours at the bookstore picking out titles for people I've never met (it's my only talent) and smiling, smiling, smiling.  This year the season has been filled with sorrow and tears and wishes for it all to be over.    

Then last night happened.  I went to a Christmas program at our church to see my friend dance and the meaning of Christmas smacked me in the face so hard I'm still reeling.  She danced near the end of the program and as I stood at the back of the church watching (we were sitting close to the back and I couldn't see very well so - like the proud mama I'm not - I moved to a place where I could see everything) I remembered that this is a time to be grateful, to celebrate, to rejoice that Christ was born.  And I know everyone who reads here doesn't believe as I do, but for me there is joy in the birth of Christ because without the hope of heaven, the beauty of salvation, and the promises of God I would hurt so much more.   

Though I wish her little heart was beating next to mine there is peace in my soul when I think of her celebrating her first Christmas with the angels. 

      

Sunday, December 19, 2010

12.19.10

My concept of family, friends, love has grown tenfold this year.  My heart is confused.  It's breaking, crumbling even, as Christmas comes, but it's bursting with love too.  Joy is scarce, but if I look hard enough I can see it. If I could I would tell you I love you, but you're across the states, the ocean, the city.  Even if you were standing in my backyard I'm too shy to say it.  I can write though, and I want you to know you're the reason I can breathe without her.

  

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Night Out

It's the end of the movie.  I'm restless, hungry.  On the screen they begin speaking of loss, another world, wondering, wanting, missing.  I shift back and forth in my seat.  I look to my left.  J is crying.  On the way to dinner after he says, "I miss my little girl."  I want to stand on a beach, speak with a lion, or God, or anyone who can offer reassurance.  I know I can't have her back, but will someone please promise me she's safe, warm, happy?  I feel like I didn't love her enough while she was here.  I want to close my eyes, open them to that sunny morning in May, kiss her sweet face, come back here, know with great relief I did enough.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Party

I survived.  I cried, but I survived.

There is a small bit of me that is glad I attended.  Everyone who works with J loves him to pieces, and there's nothing like drunk, jolly doctors to make one smile (you can always tell which doctor is on call by the beeper on his hip and the longing looks he directs at the bar and any alcoholic drink that catches his eye).

We live in Oregon so people were wearing everything from fancy party dresses to jeans.  You can show up to any event in Oregon wearing jeans and a fleece.  I'm serious.  It's like a secret dress code that true Oregonians are born knowing; it's in our blood.  I think the good citizens of the East Coast would be horrified by our party attire. 

My pants didn't fit.  I decided not to buy a new pair so wore an old pair of size six dress pants with the button undone, the zipper halfway down, and a belly band slapped on top.


The practice has only been open since the beginning of the year and it's growing by leaps and bounds - so much so that they just hired a fifth cardiologist - so everyone was in a celebratory mood.  It's really amazing that the group has grown so much in such a short time (J started there in March.  Dr. G, my favorite cardiologist by far, poached him from the hospital.  If you're curious, J is a cardiac/vascular sonographer).

I was so proud of J tonight.  The people he work with like and respect him so much.  At the end of the night Dr. G shook J's hand and told him how much he is appreciated.  I think J knows the cardiologists appreciate and need him (They pursued him for months before opening their practice.  They wanted him and they were willing to bend and bow to persuade him to work for them.  I always imagine Dr. G approaching him in a dark corridor in the hospital, leaning in with his thick accent (he's Persian) and offering J bonuses, raises and zero call hours) but it's always nice to hear you're needed.

A few people, including Dr. K and Dr. G rubbed my shoulder, hugged me, said they were glad I could make it.  Soon after we walked in Dr. G directed us to the bar.  J said, "I don't drink and she's trying to get pregnant."  My mouth dropped open.  I know I blog about these things, but I don't tell everyone I see about my trying to conceive dramas.  Then Dr. G told us a convoluted story about beer being the way to get pregnant and how he ended up with his third child that way.  And then J said something about it being that time in between when we're really not sure ... I was mortified, but Dr. G didn't seem to mind the topic at all.  It never ceases to shock me how open people in the health care field are.  

We sat across from one of J's new co-workers.  Two minutes after sitting down she mentioned her four kids and then asked if we have any.  I let J stumble through that one.  My heart rate was somewhere in the 120 range and I didn't feel like talking.

Every hour I tapped J's leg so he would remember to pull a small bottle of Bach Flower Essences (for stress and emotional relief) out of his pocket and places it in my hand.  I surreptitiously added it to my water, or placed two drops on my tongue.

At the end of the party J was on the opposite side of the restaurant participating in the holiday gift exchange.  I was standing at the end of the long table in the middle of the room when a woman he works with began talking to me.  She was at least heavily tipsy, if not fully drunk, and we talked for a little while about the gift exchange, the doctors' present and the cost of Christmas.  Then she said this:

"I just love working with your husband.  He always his nice things to say, he's such a nice man.  And he's so kind, he says the sweetest little compliments about you.  Like he'll mention that you do or like something.  You like to read, right?"

I nodded, stunned silent by all of the words coming my way.

"Well, yeah, he'll talk about things like that because I like to read too.  This must be so awkward, someone complimenting your husband like this, but he's really great.  And I know this year has been so hard for you guys and I just want you to know how sorry I am.  I noticed your necklaces as soon as you walked in the door and they're just so beautiful.  I don't want this to be uncomfortable or awkward, but I want you to know I am sorry for the loss of your daughter and I think of you all the time."

My eyes fill with tears.  "No, thank you, just thank you.  No one really talks about it and I appreciate you for bringing it up."

"I know this Christmas must be so hard for you.  I think of you and your daughter often.  I don't want this to be awkward, I just want you to know."

I'm nodding, crying, apologizing for crying.

She smiles.  "I need to go get a drink for one of the doctor's now.  I promised him I would a while ago."

And then she's off and away and Dr. K and Dr. I are so blurred and I dash to the back, where there are some booths near the bathroom, but they've pulled the tables away so it's a strange place, two booths facing each other with nothing in between, and I collapse into the red booth, wipe my eyes furiously, stare down at the belly that seven months ago held a living, breathing being, and it's attempting to escape its constrictions, and in that moment I hate everything about me and my life.  I tap my feet, rub my face, try to compose myself.  A woman who was drunk five minutes after the party started, stumbles into the area where I'm sitting, asks if I'm waiting in line for the bathroom, and when I say no, I'm just sitting here, she tumbles into the booth behind me to wait.  I breath in, breathe out, and then I wipe my eyes, straighten my spine, suck in my stomach and rejoin the party with a trembling smile on my face.  Half an hour later we leave.  I cry most of the way home.

Sweet girl,


Christmas without you is breaking my heart all over again.    

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Confession

I wish I didn't feel the need to write here everyday.  It makes me feel broken, lost, a bit needy even, to crave this space as I do.  Her death was the catalyst, the inspiration I've been waiting for since I first thought, sometime in my eighth or ninth year, about writing a book, about a beautiful worn spine with my name trailing down it.  I hate that her death has cracked me open so severely words pour from me without forethought or consent.  I wake each morning full of words that seep out of me; they drip from my fingers; they itch; they beg to be let out.  To release them is to breathe.  I wish I could hold them in, stop breathing, but the words bring her back.  As the seconds without her pile on top of one another - a stack so high I cannot see where it ends or begins - the words too stack up.  Fifteen, twenty, one hundred words for every second without her pour from me.  I want to build a staircase that will reach wherever she is, but the words crumble beneath me like the paper they rest on.  They are so inadequate and flimsy.  Yet each night I exhale, empty myself in preparation for more words, begin building the staircase once more.  Somehow hope still resides here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Forgot

With all that is happening right now I forgot to panic about J's work party on Friday night.  What will I wear?  What if I still feel like this on Friday?  I can only stand for about ten minutes before my heart rate goes so high I feel like I can't breathe.  I only drink water when I feel this ill, but I suppose I could drink something caffeinated or alcoholic and pretend to pass out, or have a heart attack.  Wait, he works for cardiologists, they would know I was faking it.

I have to find a dress.  I could wear the dress I wore to his last work shindig, but it's short sleeved.  I would have to find a sweater to go with it and I would have to wear tights.  Who am I kidding?  It's December.  With any dress I''ll have to don tights.  And I need to buy new tights because my pre-pregnancy ones don't fit very well (by very well I mean at all).  I hate tights.   

I would like to close my eyes, click my heels, snap my fingers, spin in three circles, and end up elsewhere.  I don't care where elsewhere is as long as Christmas isn't celebrated there.  



              

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Doctor Visit

I managed to make it through my entire appointment this morning without crying, but I cried most of the way home (I really need to stop crying while driving, it can't be safe) so I'm not sure if that's much of an improvement.  

This past weekend was simply too much for my stressed out self to handle.  My levels were beginning to rise anyway, but spending the weekend with my sister pushed me over the edge.  I hate that.  I hate that stepping out of my comfort zone makes me sick.  I hate that I can't help my sister out without feeling so much anxiety my thyroid hops from functioning to non-functioning.  It's not my sister's fault that she is in the middle of a high risk pregnancy, or that her baby is a girl.

After talking about when I began feeling ill - Saturday - Dr. B asked, "What happened on Saturday?"  I told her about my sister, my nephew, the pregnancy.  "That must be so hard for you," she said.  "Are you worried her baby is going to die?"  I nodded, unable to speak, because tears would follow any words I managed to choke out.  Sometimes appointments with Dr. B feel like a mixture of therapy and doctoring.  No, not sometimes, every time.  My emotions are wrapped so tightly around my thyroid problems I've never been able to separate them.  I like Dr. B because she doesn't try to wrench them apart.  She accepts that my emotions and health are linked and tries to create harmony between them. 

When I explained to Dr. B how frustrated I am with trying to conceive, and how mad I am that this month is out because of these issues she told me that my body is doing what it's supposed to.  It's not healthy enough to sustain a pregnancy so I'm not pregnant.  It's such a simple concept, but I can't seem to accept it.      

What really frustrates me is that I had a good time this weekend, and I was feeling so good the week before.  I was feeling healthy, strong, and balanced.  Now I'm flat on my back and I'm not sure I want to get up.  And this incident is making me rethink the holidays and our plans.  Should I just stay home for the rest of my life since I seem to function fine when I camp out on this couch cushion?

My pulse is high, my blood pressure low, so J will be tracking my vitals every evening.  I hate feeling so sick, helpless, and panicky.  

Some have asked me what I am taking to help balance my thyroid so let me give you a quick rundown.  The list grew a bit this morning.  Look at this mess:


Lycopus/Melissa tincture - for thyroid health 
Bilberry: Antoxidant - for general health 
Bach Flower Essence - for emotional health
Fig - for hormones, fertility, emotions 
Hormone balancing tincture - self-explanatory 
Lilac - for thyroid health (added today)
Thyrodinum 9CH - for thyroid health - added today 
Undas - those are the small numbered ones in front.  I am almost finished with the three that help with hormones/fertility.  Dr. B added three more today for thyroid health.  
Prenatal Vitamins - necessary evil 

Would you feel sorry for me if I told you I take some of these every hour and some three times a day?  Sometimes I miss popping a little white pill in the morning and evening, but I want to be healthy, and medication free, and before this weekend I was doing really well on the plant extracts.  Regrouping, rallying, and starting back at zero is so frustrating and disappointing.  Hopefully this won't happen again.  If it does, Dr. B told me what to do to prevent things from escalating so quickly.  

Since I was in town seeing Dr. B I headed over to my mother-in-law's to pick up Charlotte's seven month anniversary gift.  I am so thankful to J's mom for remembering our sweet girl every month.  

 

       
  


Seven

You should be staring at the beautiful lights and shiny ornaments on the tree with wonder in your eyes, your mouth hanging open, drool dripping down your shirt because you are teething.  It is pouring rain, it has been for days, the rivers, creeks, and roads are flooding.  I am wide awake, pulse racing, listening to the rain on the roof, hating this disease, missing you, believing none of this would be had you lived.  That's a lot to place on a little soul, but had you lived, had you found it in you to stay, there would be less rain, fewer tears, a heart that didn't race with illness, fear, anxiety, but one that beat steadily enough you could rest your sweet head above it and fall asleep to its rhythm.  Do you hear that?  It beats - I love you, I love you, I love you.  No, wait, that is only in my dreams.  Tonight it beats in double time - I miss you, I love you, I miss you, I love you, I miss you ...  Seven months without you now.  Must I abandon hope that you will come back to me?  I think perhaps it is time to let go, to accept, to know you will not be coming back.  And yet I'll keep looking.  I will always search for you, even though you will never be here.  My fast beating heart that refuses to let me sleep tonight will always hold your memory, but I want all of you.  The rain is falling in sheets and waves.  Is it possible that you are crying for me tonight?  Do not cry, do not worry, we will be reunited.  Someday you will rest your sweet head above my heart and hear its voices, its words, its cries.

I miss you baby mine.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

Disappointment & a small dash of joy

I'm not feeling very well.  My pulse was 110 last night, 102 this morning, 120 this afternoon.  My midwife called in a lab order for me at the hospital.  I had lunch with J and then had my blood drawn.  (I love having my blood drawn at the hospital because it takes one minute and I don't feel a thing).  

My thyroid function is falling to pieces (good guess, m).  Stress always sends me sideways, but my thyroid function stayed normal immediately after she died so I thought I was in the clear.  I am so mad, frustrated, and upset.  I was doing so well on the plant extracts and I was so proud of myself for being medication free.  This probably means my chances of conceiving this cycle are zero.  

I am so mad at my body for letting me down again.  I hate the holidays for making me so stressed and anxious I can't sustain normal thyroid function.  And I hate feeling like this.  My tremor is back, I can't breathe very well, and my pulse is so high all I can think about is my heart exploding.  And I'm in a panic about how high my pulse is and the fact that I can't breathe very well, which only makes the situation worse. 

I'm seeing Dr. B tomorrow morning.  I called her office and they provided me with a list of tinctures to take and dosages to increase.  I despise having a thyroid problem.  I hope Dr. B can work her magic and restore me to health.       

I was actually writing a positive post before I received my thyroid results!  I wanted to write a post about all of the gifts we've received and how happy it makes me.  At least I can end on a happy note.  

****************

The pain of this season is eased a bit by the wonderful people in my life.  The Christmas gifts and cards have been pouring in.  It brings a smile to my face to see Charlotte's shelf overflowing with gifts of love and remembrance.

A few of the cards we've received  


From Chaunchai's fabulous mama


Bird ornaments.  One from each set of grandparents. 


Ornament from Michael's sweet mama


I love this bird charm because I can add it to the necklace in the next picture.


Journal and locket from Sofia's mama who was my friend in the Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope gift exchange.

 



From Christian's mama


We included this beautiful picture in our Christmas cards.  Sweet girl.  Seven months without her tomorrow.  I am a broken hearted, sick mama.  




Sunday, December 12, 2010

12.12.10

I feel like I need to say that I'm okay.  I am blessed to have so many think of me and worry about how I am.  When I write here I'm either very sad or extremely happy.  There is no in-between here and you often don't see my best side.  I am coping better than I expected and most days are normal ones.  Come January 1st I think I will be feeling a lot better.  This season is difficult.  I don't have a child who is eager to celebrate the holidays.  It's just me and J here and there is a whole lot of sadness floating around this house right now.  But I am fine - functioning and coping and holding it together most days.  And I've started cooking again.  That is a HUGE step for me.  There is forward motion, tiny steps, bits of progress now and again.  I suppose I should show that side of things more often.

Thank you for caring enough to worry.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

12.11.10

I'm tired.  I should sleep, but I don't sleep well without J.  I'm a little lonely, a lot sad.  I don't know if this is the lead up to the seven month anniversary, the general misery of the holidays, or simply life after her.  The lump in my throat, that precursor to tears, is always there.  I don't want to cry.  I think if I start I may never stop. 

Never mind.  Crying now.  I guess you can only hold back the tears for so long.  I've been weepy since my midwife gave me that massage on Wednesday.  She provided a compassionate touch, a few good hugs, the chance to talk about how I'm feeling.  Is that all I need to fall apart now?

It's been a long day.  I love spending time with my nephew, but being with him brings forth the worry that when she died I lost my only chance to be a parent.  And not one that remembers a scant thirty-eight weeks, but one who gets to hear her child say 'mama' and 'I love you.'  I'm so scared that she was it, my one shot at that unconditional love between a parent and child. 

I  miss her.  I can always reduce all of these words, this whining, this sorrow, the constant ache in my heart to that. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

It Gets Worse

I am on sister duty this weekend.  My parents are away for the weekend so I am on water and food fetching (she is 29 weeks pregnant and on bed rest) and nephew wrangling detail.  I don't mind at all.  I love that little bug and how he calls me Andie.  He used to call me Nana Annie.  I miss that. 

I'm staying at my parent's house because my sister's is small and I don't sleep on couches well.  Driving the foggy roads from my sister's to my parent's I remembered being sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, driving these same roads.  I was so lost then.  Or at least I thought so.  There is a long road that winds its way up from the bottom of this city to the top.  I used to drive it late at night, music blaring from the speakers in my '87 Honda Accord. 

Halfway up the hill if you take a right and then wend your way back to a specific corner in a certain neighborhood there is a lookout.  I used to go there late at night, sit on the wall, look over the city and think about leaving, about being a different person, one who fit in, who read less, who didn't eat lunch in the library, who had a better nose, who didn't get called speed bump all through junior high for that nose.  I thought that was as bad as life got.  I couldn't peel back my teenage blinders to see that life can, and does, get significantly worse. 

I drove past the lookout tonight.  I think I was looking for my seventeen-year-old self.  I want to find her, grab her shoulders, warn her of what is to come.  There was a creepy guy standing at the turnoff to the lookout.  I drove past, turned left, drove past the park where my best friend and I used to sit and talk.  We dreamed of better lives, of leaving, of living in a place devoid of the people we grew up with.  I don't speak with her anymore.  I don't speak with anyone from this town anymore. 

I have lost so much in this life, but the small losses pale in comparison to what I lost this year.  Back then, all those years ago, ten or more now, what I wanted was to be other, different, changed.  And now that I've changed, now that I have to remind myself that I like salad, rain, driving in the fog with the music blaring, and yes, life even, I want to tell that selfish lost girl that morphing into someone else entirely ain't all it's cracked up to be.

The tears fall often these days.  I miss her - my baby girl, my seventeen year old self, the me before she died.



    

Thursday, December 9, 2010

For me on May 14th & for everyone who has lost a baby

Soon it will be seven months since she died.  I wrote this some time ago.  It's what I wanted to read that first day.  

Hello, mama.  I'm sorry you have to read these words, but glad you have found them.  I'm sorry your baby is not in your arms.  I know your heart is broken and you can't see how life will ever go on from here.  I don't want you to feel like you are all alone in this.  I want you to be surrounded by love, kindness, care, and compassion as you face life without your baby.

You will survive this.  Right now it feels like the world has ended, but you will breathe again, and it won't be so painful.  It's going to take time.  Don't rush yourself.  Don't let others rush you.  This is your chance to be selfish, to protect your thoughts and feelings and your baby's short life.  Even though your baby is not in your arms you still feel a mother's pride and instincts.  Protect yourself and your emotions as fiercely as you protect your child's memory.

You will have good days and bad days.  You will feel as if you are on an endless journey of grief, loss, and sadness, but there will be happy moments, little bursts of sunshine, too.  One day you will laugh without feeling guilty, or as if you are not mourning hard enough.  Focus on today.  Take one step at a time, and don't worry if those steps are small ones.  It's okay to feel scared and as if life will never be the same.  It won't, but it won't be as hard as those first days either.

At the beginning of September, nearly four months after she dies, you will visit your aunt in Seattle.  Sitting at her kitchen table, looking out over the backyard with tears streaming down your face you will hear these words:  This is one hard day in one hard week in one hard year.  The overwhelming pain, fear, and sadness will not last forever.  Remember this.  Remember that it will get better.

You will carry this loss for the rest of your life.  You will always have a child in your heart.  Mourn as you need to.  There is no correct timeline, and there are no expectations.  I hope you have as much space and time as you need to grieve.  If you don't, create it.  It is okay to be selfish.  The world may not understand your grief.  It will make people uncomfortable to see the gaping hole in your heart, but that doesn't mean you should cover up or ignore the wound.

Some will expect you to get over the loss.  Some may not see your baby as a viable human.  They don't understand what you have lost.  Refrain from telling them how lucky they are to stand outside of overwhelming grief and loss.  Never mind, don't refrain.  Always say how you feel, even if it makes others uncomfortable.

Find support.  The online community is amazing.  The mamas you meet online will help you through days that seem endless, nights that are overwhelmingly lonely, and, eventually, when you celebrate small triumphs, they will celebrate with you.  Connect with mamas who lost babies around the same time as you.  Find mamas who are six months, one year, three years, six years, or more even, out from their loss.  Surround yourself with these women and they will help you heal.

There will come a time when you will look behind you and see a person trailing in your footsteps.  Reach out, clasp their hand, and pull them forward with you.  I know it doesn't seem like it, and I know you can't see it, but you are strong enough to do this.

You will have seconds, minutes, days, and weeks when you feel entirely alone and so lost you will never find your way.  You are not alone.  Even in your darkest hour the memories you hold in your tightly clenched fists - her tiny feet, the feel of her downy head in your palm, her innocent face - will light the way to hope and peace.          

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

12.8.10

My midwife came over this afternoon to do strange things to me. Those are her words, not mine. She learned a few things about fertility when she spent time with a midwife in Mexico, and I benefited from her knowledge today.

I stretched out on the floor in front of the fire for a rosemary and cypress oil massage, which was lovely. After she massaged my back she applied cups. I've never had cupping done before, but it didn't hurt. It involved fire, but the fire didn't come near me so I was okay. Once my back was done she applied cups to my stomach.

After that she snapped my head. You read that right. She put her hands on my head, wrapped hair around her fingers, and then pulled. I would feel a snap and then get shivers from my head to my toes. It hurt a little bit in a couple places, but mostly it just felt strange. It made me really warm too.

The idea is to improve blood flow and keep everything warm. I wear a belly band every time I leave the house so my belly doesn't get too cold, and I've been eating lots of warm foods. She left the rosemary and cypress oil for me to apply twice a day (She made it herself. Talented midwife). 

I think my body is reluctant to get pregnant again. Or maybe it's my mind ...? On the 14th it will be seven months since Charlotte died. It feels like it's been years, but seven months isn't very long at all.  And I've been so mad at my body for what happened. Something happened to Charlotte while she was in my womb which made it impossible for her to live in the outside world. I don't know what to change so that my next pregnancy will result in a living baby. And maybe that's why I'm on cycle four, instead of ten, eight, or six weeks pregnant.

Being pregnant again means losing control and letting go and I'm not very good at that in the best of circumstances. And when I think about losing another baby my heart skips a beat. I don't know how I would move forward after that. Although, I didn't know how to move forward after Charlotte died either.  Maybe you just have to wake up the day after the worst day of your life, see if you're still breathing, and figure it out from there.

This week I'm making the choice to be less passive. I went to Aquafit this morning for the first time in two weeks. It felt good to stretch and swim and float.  My muscles were shaking as I took the elevator from the basement to the third floor of the Y after class. And the classes are working (my midwife noticed that I have my abs back when she massaged my stomach this afternoon) which is motivation enough for me to keep attending.  

I can't wait to lose my abs again.  Fingers crossed, toes crossed, hoping and wishing.   

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

12.7.10

Day two of eating organic and loving myself. This morning I made a smoothie for breakfast. When I was pregnant and struggling to eat enough calories (everything made me nauseated) the good people at the birth center recommended smoothies. I whined and complained about having to make smoothies, but soon fell in love with them.

This morning I crammed so much into my smoothie I want to eat chocolate for the rest of the day. I used frozen blueberries, frozen raspberries, yogurt, keifer, flax seed, spinach, and protein powder. The protein powder was the only non-organic ingredient, but I used it anyway because it helps me avoid snacking before lunch.  

Last night's dinner was really good.  (The carrots were amazing.  I highly recommend it as a side dish).  The best part wasn't the food, but the fact that J came home, saw me making dinner, and asked how he could help. We made dinner together, we chatted about his day at work, and then we ate dinner in the dining room! Usually he comes home, says hello to the dog and me, changes out of his scrubs, and then heads out to the woodshed to chop wood (So therapeutic. Come over anytime if you need to release some anger) or upstairs to his computer. And we rarely eat dinner in the dining room.  

(This is why I listen to my midwife. She tells me to make food, to eat organic, to be kind to myself, and in the process J and I connect, and talk, and cook, and eat, and spend time together. Midwives know best).

Last night when J said the blessing over our dinner he prayed for the organic diet to have an impact so that we can have a little one in our lives. I get so caught up in how I feel and what I want I forget that he has wants, feelings, needs, and fears. Last night was the second time in as many days when he has mentioned the desire to have a baby in our arms, not just our hearts.  When he talks about how he feels it's so rare and unexpected I feel like a bomb has detonated, and I am left standing in the aftermath with my mouth hanging open in shock and confusion.  I am slowly learning that I need to listen to him, pay attention to him, be less selfish.

I am making chicken broth today for soup later in the week and tonight is an entirely new dinner and venture.  It's nice to have something to focus on other than how sad and weepy I am.  It's nice to think about vegetables, smoothies, and how grateful I am for organic bunny crackers (like goldfish crackers, but so much better) instead of how miserable and sad I am.  And speaking of that, I just want to take a quick moment here and say thank you to everyone who is sending gifts, cards, and sweet little reminders of Charlotte our way.  Every day I receive a gift (or two!) in the mail and it warms this sad mama's heart to know there are others thinking of her sweet girl this Christmas.  

I'll leave you with a song today.  This one's been on repeat around here.   


  

     

Monday, December 6, 2010

12.6.10

I really want to be pregnant.  I am tired of negative tests, the sadness that comes with each new cycle, and the feelings of fear and worry.  So when my midwife offered help and advice I said sure.

Step one: try to eat only organic foods for one whole week.

My response: Really?  Not only will I have to cook, but I'll have to cook a few things I've never made before.  When I was pregnant with Charlotte I ate really well.  After she died I ate really well.  And then the summer ended and I just stopped caring.  I don't eat very much during the day and I rarely make dinner.  If I do make dinner it has to be something simple, because spending more than twenty minutes in the kitchen is overwhelming for me.

My mom helped me with my grocery shopping today (thanks mom!) and she said, "This isn't a guilt thing."  What?  How can something like this not involve guilt?  I make everything into a guilt thing.  My thought process goes something like this: If I don't eat 100% organic I'm a horrible, bad person and I'll never get pregnant.

I have to remind myself that eating a strict organic diet for one week isn't what this week is all about.  It's about being nice to myself and feeding myself and creating a happy environment for a baby.  Well, there's isn't much happy here, but at least I can make a hospitable environment for a baby.

After shopping today I feel a tiny bit of excitement.  I bought lots of fresh veggies at this new market I've been wanting to try since before Charlotte died, and I found a few simple recipes online that promote fertility.  Tonight I'm making pork chops, garlic mashed potatoes, and carrots with garlic and cilantro.  Tomorrow night I'm going to attempt wild rice cranberry pilaf.

It's only one week.  And maybe obeying a strict organic diet this week will help me get off the couch and make dinner next week and the week after.    

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happiness

I am so glad I decided to send holiday letters.  I love cards, and envelopes and stamps and tucking a little reminder of Charlotte into each envelope.  I'm feeling a bit giddy right now, but that may be from licking too many envelopes.  Here is what I've accomplished so far.    


Beautiful isn't it?  Don't forget to send me your address if you want some love.

My apologies to the young man at Target

Please, please, please don't let me leave the house anymore.  I woke up with a bit of hope, or sunshine, or some other inkling that I can't quite name, today and decided to send out holiday cards.  Without brushing my hair, or my teeth, I went to Target to buy cards.

Since I was already out I decided to buy clothes for the children in my life as well.  They're all girls so I wandered around and through the clothing section with tears in my eyes.  I found dresses for Charlotte, sweet little outfits for Charlotte, hats, mittens, and boots for Charlotte.

Then I went to the Christmas aisle and stared at the 'Baby's First Christmas' ornaments for a while.  After selecting my cards I wandered for a while and picked out a few necessary items (I buy pajama pants or sweats every time I'm at Target.  It's an illness) and then proceeded to the checkout line.

The young man checking me out was very, very talkative.  Here is our conversation:

"How you are today?"
"I'm fine."
"High five!  Being fine is great!"
I looked up, stared at his hand for a second, and then gave him a high-five.  I looked down once more (I can't look people in the eye anymore.  I look at the floor, or the debit card machine, or my keys.  I'm afraid if I look at people they'll talk to me).
"I am not looking forward to Christmas this year."
Silence from me.
"My dad had jaw surgery and I lost my cousin to cancer.  And it was my first cousin so it was a really difficult loss.  She had lung cancer, and she didn't even smoke."
"Sometimes that happens."
"No, she did smoke."
"Okay, well then..."
"Yeah, so Christmas is going to be really hard this year."
" Yes, well, I'm not looking forward to it either.  My daughter died shortly after birth this year."
The woman behind me in line gasps.  The young man who is checking me out frantically scans the last two items and begins hitting the register keys randomly, trying to get the receipt to print.    
"I'm so sorry.  I'm so sorry.  Yes, a new year will be nice.  Everyone needs a new year.  I'm sorry.  I'm sorry.  Here you go.  Have a nice day."
I am hot, my face is flushed, my eyes focused downward.  I grab my bags and my receipt and practically run from the store.

Why must I blurt it out like that?  People aren't expecting the dead baby bomb in the middle of Target on a winter afternoon.  I just wanted him to stop talking about the holidays, and loss, and how hard this year has been for him.  I didn't mean to ruin his day.  I won't be leaving the house by myself for a few days.  Had J tagged along I would've kept my mouth shut.

Side Note: I am determined to send out holiday cards.  I may get distracted and abandon the process halfway through, but I am going to try.  I want to do something for Charlotte this year, and this will be a small part of that.  If you want a card send me your address via e-mail and I will do my best to send you one.  Immediate family: this does not apply to you.    

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Giveaway Winner!!

Thanks to Random.org the giveaway winner is the lovely Jennifer with this comment:

Hi- The weather in MN is very cold today. So sitting on my couch looking out the window to a BRIGHT blue sky and shinny icicles hanging off the roof. Wanna come :) LOL


My plan was to put up a screen shot from Random.org, but Blogger hates me this morning and refuses to load anything so you will have to trust me.  


I just need your e-mail address Jennifer so I can send it on to Tina.  You can e-mail me at rodman dot angela at gmail dot com.  And you need to check out Mama Mia Custom Hand Stamped Jewelery and pick what you like!  


Thanks for participating everyone.  I appreciate and love all of you!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Life Goes On (for some)

When you realize the dreams you've had 
for your child won't come true 
When the phone rings in the middle 
of the night with tragic news 
Whatever valley you must walk through,
Jesus will meet you there 

Steven Curtis Chapman


I spend a lot of time by myself.  Tonight J (yep, the husband is J now) is off to help a friend with his engagement (It's a big to-do.  Lots of people are involved and there is going to be a dinner after) and I have decided to stay at home.  Tomorrow is the Civil War game (Annual football game between Oregon State and University of Oregon.  Also a big to-do. Citizens of this state go crazy for it) and J is heading over to his best friend's house to watch.

He has decided to resume living and I have decided not to.


I hear him on the phone.  He paces when he talks and he constantly flips his arm around to look at his wrist even though he doesn't wear a watch.  I have pointed this out to him.  He insists he doesn't do it.  His voice will float down the stairs, or sneak around the corner of the kitchen and into the living room.

"I'll ask her, but she's probably not up for it."
"Thank you for inviting us.  I'll be there, but she will probably stay home."
"She's doing okay, but I think she'll stay home this time."
"This month is hard for her, she's not doing much, but I'll come over.  What time should I be there?"  Arm flip, wrist check.  I don't even have to be in the room to know he's doing it.

We've been watching M.o.nk (someone told me to do this so it doesn't come up in a Google search.  Would it really come up?  Is that really effective?) and I am absolutely in love with the title character.  His wife died suddenly six years ago and he is not coping well.  He is obsessive compulsive, has a long list of phobias, and is borderline crazy.  I like how honest he is about his grief, and the limited capabilities he has.  If he doesn't want to do something, or if he can't do something, he doesn't do it.  He says no without compunction or fear of what people will think of him.

I find myself agreeing with many of the sentiments in the show (I think the writers have been through grief.  They understand it so well) but one conversation between M.on.k and his shrink has stuck with me for days now.

"This is not the life I wanted.  It's unbearable.  You know that I envy everybody.  Strangers, people on the street."
"Maybe they envy you.  You're an extraordinary man.
"Yeah, I don't want to be an extraordinary man.  I want to be the guy on the bus coming home at five-o-clock to help his kids with their homework.  I'm just so tired.  So tired of being me."

Exactly.  I would love to celebrate an engagement, or be happy about the holidays, or be happy about anything, but I can't figure out how.  I know, I know.  You make your own happiness, wallowing isn't helping anything ...

I would like to say, "I'm there," when J pauses in front of me, the phone in his hand, his eyebrow raised in question, but the truth is I'm not ready to be there.  And as I find myself moving backward in grief, to a place where the tears come often, strong and quick, and I pull out the pictures I hid away for so long, because I am forgetting what she looks like and I want to memorize her features once more, I realize it may take me six years, or more, to put down my book, take a shower, find a smile, and rejoin the living world.

Blog Award!



Thank you to Steph over at Born Still for gifting me with the Cherry on Top Blog Award.  I appreciate the love and recognition so much.  

The rules of this award are:

1. Link back to the person who gave it to you
2. Pass it on to five (or more) other blogs
3. Leave them a comment telling them about the award

I want to pass this award on to some sweet mamas I have "met" recently.  

1. Sarah at Hope Interrupted 
2. Missy at Mommy's Sunshine
3. Leslie at Cullen's Blessings
4. Angie at Expectations Revised 
5. Leanne at Longing, Living, Loving 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sunshine

I despise the commercialization of movies.  I don't like sitting through fifteen minutes of commercials before the previews start, but I do like arriving early and settling in.  I always bring a book when I go to the movies by myself so I can get there early and ignore the commercials.  Yesterday I was reading my book when I heard the words to "You Are My Sunshine" start.  When I hear that song now I think of Missy and her sweet boy so I lowered my book and looked up.  There on the screen was a new car commercial (I refuse to say which company it was for).  The commercial was a montage of mamas and newborns, and a few proud papas too, standing next to cars both old and new.  The tag line: "As long as there are babies there will be ___ to bring them home."  I sat there with tears in my eyes, my book in my left hand, my right hand clutching a bag of popcorn.  What about all of the babies who don't come home?  What about those of us who drive home with an empty car seat and broken hearts?

Yesterday evening I sat on the couch and cried like I did when she first died.  I have no idea why, but I often talk when I cry (I tend to talk whenever I'm in an uncomfortable or unhappy situation.  The apprentice at Charlotte's birth told me she has never heard someone talk as much as I did during labor) and last night was no exception.  I blathered on and on while huge waves of tears cascaded down my face.  I eventually stopped crying and talking long enough to eat dinner and watch a show online with the husband.  The show featured the song "Ain't No Sunshine."  The beginning of that song sends shivers up my spine.  "You Are My Sunshine" just breaks my heart.  Have you ever listened to the lyrics?  This bit always makes me cry:

The other night dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms 
But when I awoke, dear, I was mistaken 
So I hung my head and I cried 

 I couldn't sleep last night (I can't sleep most nights) so I stared at the ceiling and thought about my sunshine and all of the mamas who are missing little rays of light and laughter.  Then I started thinking about birth and Christmas and how, for me, Christmas is a celebration of birth, and maybe that's why this time of year is so difficult for me.  I never had the chance to celebrate her peaceful birth.  And then I thought about how the morning she was born the birthing center was surrounded by fog, but then it lifted, and as she left this Earth the sun was shining.  It rained for weeks after she died.  It was like the sky, the earth, and nature herself mourned for me and my sunshine.

Giveaway Update

I'm too excited to wait until next week to announce the winner.  It's like having a present right in front of me that I can't open.  Every year I start asking for my birthday presents in June (my birthday is in August).  And around December 5th I start asking when we can open our Christmas presents.  It drives the husband crazy.

This time around you benefit from my impatience.  I will be announcing the winner on Saturday.  Go here to enter if you haven't done so already.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

12.1.10

I've been so sad lately I decided to take myself to a movie.  I learned the movie trick from my mom.  She practically moves into the local cinema when she's having a bad day, or a tough week.  I don't blame her in the slightest.  I love sitting in the dark and escaping life for a couple hours.  (Added bonus: you can cry for two hours straight and no one will notice).  I love going in the middle of the day when there are only eight other people in the theater.  I love buying popcorn and putting butter on it, which the husband simply won't allow.

The movie didn't help as much as I hoped it would.  I saw the newest Harry Potter and while it was good it simply wasn't distracting enough for me.  I've read the books so many times I knew what was going to happen which meant I couldn't escape into the movie.  I also had to get up and go to the restroom in the middle of the movie which I hate.  If a movie is more than two hours long there needs to be an intermission.

The tears are so close to the surface lately.  I cried in the market today when I saw a 'Baby's First Year' picture frame with twelve slots.  I can't ascertain if the heavy sadness can be attributed the to end of another cycle without a baby or the holidays.  Last night that sweet husband of mine stepped in front of me in our small hallway, put his hands on my shoulders, and said, "I'm sorry you're not pregnant.  It will happen.  It just takes time."    

Every time I see the negative on the test stick I wonder if it's worth it.  I am grateful for every moment I had with Charlotte, but it's hard to put myself in a place where I may suffer that kind of loss again.  Trying to conceive once more feels wrong, almost like I am cheating on her memory.  Had she lived I wouldn't be trying to get pregnant again.  I wouldn't be thinking about conception, ovulation, negatives or positives.

Trying to conceive feels like walking into battle with no armor and no weapons.  I'm missing one of my arms, my heart hangs from my chest by a loose thread, I'm limping, and bruised, but the need for another child, and the desire to parent, which translated into a constant ringing chant - get pregnant, get pregnant, get pregnant - when she died, overrides the fear.

I thought I would handle the holidays, trying to get pregnant again, and the loss of Charlotte with a bit more grace, but I don't seem to possess that particular characteristic at the moment.

I miss her.  I moved all of her things from the bedroom and the coffee table to the shelf next to the fireplace.  I want her as near as possible this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Crazy/Frustrated

10 am

I'm in a bad mood.  4 days late.  Just enough time to get my hopes up.  I am never peeing on a stick again.  Okay, that's not true, but right now I'm determined to avoid it for the rest of my life.  I had a conversation with myself this morning.  It went like this:

You're really going to let this ruin your day?
Yep.  I'm sad, angry, depressed, and frustrated.
It's only been three cycles.  You said it would take three to four cycles to get pregnant this time.
Yes, well, three-four meant one.  How can you not know that?  And that weird patient at J's work said we would get pregnant sooner than we expected. 
There's always next month.  Take the dog for a walk, enjoy the rain, go to the library, go to the store, make dinner for once.  Don't sit on the couch eating brownies and pouting all day.  You really need to stop making brownies.
I don't want to go for a walk.  I don't want to discuss my lack of cooking skills or my obsession with brownies either.
Fine, sorry.  Just do something with yourself today.
*Silence and an angry stare*
GO FOR A WALK
Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up!

It's a wonder the husband hasn't committed me yet.

3 pm

I went for a walk.  I got wet.  The dog got wet and muddy.  I'm a bit less angry, but still frustrated.  I'm trying to find a better balance.  I don't want this process to take over my life, but it's so easy to let it.  It's probably a good thing I'm not charting.  I am determined to be more relaxed about things this cycle.  I know I'm not very good at relaxing and letting go and being calm, but I am going to try.    

I have to say I am loving all of the comments on the giveaway post.  I didn't realize so many people would actually tell me how blue, or grey, or white the sky is where they live.  Thanks for entering, and don't forget, if you put up a link on your blog or FB you can enter a second (or third) time.  Just leave another comment.  

100+ Followers - It's Giveaway Time!

I love all of my readers, even the silent ones, and I want you all to know it.  To thank you for your encouragement, support, and love I am going to be giving away a $40.00 gift certificate to Mama Mia Custom Hand Stamped Jewelry

I won a necklace this summer from Tina thanks to Kristin over at Dear Stevie.  I love it and I can't wait for one of you to have one too.  Tina is a babyloss mama too.  She lost her twin girls Sophia and Ellie in 2009.  She blogs about her journey here.  (She is gearing up for 25 Days of Giveaways, which starts on December 1st.  Make sure you hop over and check it out).  Here's my beautiful necklace:





To enter this giveaway:

1. Leave a comment: Tell me you love me, ask me a question, tell me how blue the sky is in your town ... the possibilities are endless.  
2. Facebook or Tweet ( I do not understand Twitter at all) about this giveaway (leave a separate comment for each please).
3. Post about this giveaway on your blog (leave a separate comment please)
4. If you are not a follower, but still read here and want to enter, you can leave an "anonymous" comment with your name and e-mail address to enter.  

* You do not have to be a baby loss mama to enter the giveaway.  All are welcome *

I will be announcing the winner on the 8th of December.  Thanks for the support and love.      

Monday, November 29, 2010

'Hi Mom and Dad'

On the phone with a billing agency this morning.  There are two thick folders on my lap.  One marked 'C Records' and one marked 'C Medical Statements/Bills.'  (When I marked these folders I couldn't write out her full name).  The customer service representative has put me on hold.  I'm flipping through the folders and staring into the fire when my fingers catch on something.  I flip to the back of the 'C Medical Statements/Bills' folder and see two ultrasound pictures from February 10th, 2010.  The bottom picture is her profile.  Written across the top are the words "Hi Mom and Dad."  Oh, my heart.  I miss that sweet face.  

After she died I hid everything that reminded me of her.  I shoved ultrasound pictures, baby books, baby clothes and anything else that said baby to me in whatever drawer or closet was nearest.  I'm glad I shoved, tucked, and hid her things away, because six and a half months after she died it is possible for me to find her at the back of the silverware drawer, behind a book in the living room, tucked in the back of a folder.  When I least expect it, when I'm sad, stressed out, worried, and feeling overwhelmed by hopelessness and sorrow, there she is, saying hello.    

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
Design by Small Bird Studios | All Rights Reserved