Tuesday, March 30, 2010

That Bitch

I don't use that word lightly. As a woman in a male field the word makes me cringe. It is usually used by misogynistic men to degrade women. When women use it, most people think, "cat fight!" and get excited.

But in this case, no other word suffices. If you are not fond of cursing, I suggest you stop reading. I have a whole lot of ugly anger and grief to dump today and I'm not going to watch where it falls. I can't. I am done protecting people. I am done being a doormat. I am fucking done.

I have a coworker that has the office next to mine. She is 50ish, unhappy, and sticks her nose into everyone else's business. No one in the entire building can stand her so I know I'm not the only one that doesn't like her. Until recently she was just irritating. I pride myself on getting along with nearly everyone, but there is always someone that makes being nice impossible. I thought my grief would give me a buffer zone for her BS, but no. She is the acid on the open wound (trust me - a little HCl hurts a lot more than salt or lemon juice).

Today she complained to me, again, about errors in the data entry. There are several people entering data but she seems to think the errors were mine. She told me to try not to let my mind wander while I was doing data entry. About 3 minutes into this lecture (mind you - she is NOT my supervisor, nor anyone's for that matter) I said, "Cheryl, do you realize it has not even been three months since my baby died? I'm not having the easiest time right now." I could not keep from choking up when I said that and tears started pouring down my face. She said, "I know it's been hard for you, but that's what I mean by not letting your mind wander." I told her that only one person said they were sorry when I came back to work and I've tried to ignore that. I was going to say that what she was doing was much worse when she interrupted me to say that everyone was told I didn't want the baby brought up. It's possible the co-worker I spoke to said that, but I doubt it. That was probably her interpretation. Which, fine, whatever. If you are uncomfortable with death and don't know what to say I can handle that. What I can't, and won't handle is being lectured about petty shit by a fucking busybody know-it-all when I am obviously upset.

That bitch would not stop telling me I had to "not let my mind wander" while I was working, even after I started crying. Really? So I'm supposed to turn off that fucking movie in my head of a dead baby, a dead baby, oh look - it's a dead baby. A dead baby that I had to PAY a doctor to kill. I dead baby that was so deformed the only perfect part was his feet. A dead baby that has a FUCKING NAME and I loved very much and I want with me with every fiber of my being? That one? Well tell me how, you heartless bitch, I would love to know. Cause you know what? That movie is hell. Every. Single. Day. And lucky you, you don't know what it's like. Lucky you that you don't have to wonder if your body killed your only son. Lucky you that you can go to sleep at night and not have nightmares of religious maniacs calling you a murderer. Or worse, dream of a perfect and sweet little boy THAT WILL NEVER EXIST.

She tried to apologize, but it didn't mean much because she continued to harp on about the stupid errors. I left work in hysterical tears. It was like a damn broke and everything I try to hide and not think about at work came flooding out. I sobbed loudly all the way to my car (people looked away from me) and when I got to my car I started choking and nearly vomited from sobbing so hard. That is the hardest I've cried ever. I now have a migraine and periodic bouts of intense sobbing and outright wailing. I guess I have not been letting myself feel things for it to be this intense. But Jesus! I'm not crazy that what she did was horrible, am I?

I wrote an email to our mutual supervisor and told him we had an issue and I needed a couple of days off to calm down. I won't fucking get paid for the bitch upsetting me, but I can't go back until I get some perspective or I might throw something at her. I am going to talk to my boss tomorrow and tell him the whole story. I am hoping that he can tell her to send any future complaints through him and I am going to ask if I can move my office.

I think my reaction was a little out of proportion to what she did, but I don't think I'm being unreasonable in bringing it up with my boss. I don't really give a damn if I get her in trouble. I also don't give a damn if she can't stand me after this. Maybe then she will shut the hell up around me. It is time to protect me. I am not going to apologize to her for falling apart and I am not going to accept her apology. If any of you knew me IRL you would know this is a radical personality shift.

I would welcome any creative curses I can scream while beating my dammit doll (Thank you, Kelly!).

What would you have done? How can I tell my boss what this did to me so that he understands?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Trying again

My preconception appointment with the MF specialist is Thursday. I'm terrified. Terrified he will dismiss my fears like my husband does, terrified he will find something even worse, terrified of trying again.

Everytime I think about being pregnant I get short of breath and my chest hurts. I suspect that I will start having anxiety attacks if I do get pregnant. I will have to remember to add that to my list of questions.

I still don't know if I want to do this. Can't I just skip the 9 months of sheer terror and get a healthy baby? I'd give up feeling the kicking and even being able to nurse for that. I wish I could afford an infant adoption.

This week is going to be really fucking hard to get through and I can't even imagine how hard the two week waits will be now. I've never been so scared, not even when I knew Aiden was dying. Everyone is right, the anticipation is way worse than the event. I just wish I could convince my heart of that.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ugh - that didn't last long

I knew the peace I found yesterday was temporary but I had hoped it would last longer than 1 day. Last night I dreamed I had an early miscarriage, I didn't even know I was pregnant. I just had a gush of blood at my doctor's office and she told me she saw an embryo. I went to my husband crying and he got mad because I couldn't tell him right away what was wrong.

I spent the morning drive to work reliving Aiden's birth. Feeling that tiny, still body slip from me and hearing the soft words of my doctor as she checked the placenta. I wish I could unremember that part. I realized that part of the problem with my dreams is that I have no good memories of Aiden.

There was a discussion on Glow in the woods not too long ago that caused some misunderstandings and hurt feelings. I think everyone managed to work it out to some degree but I feel I have to rehash some of it to explain this feeling. A couple of women that had miscarriages or lost their babies before birth were regretting that they didn't get more time. The mothers of the babies that were born alive but didn't live long were horrified that anyone would want the memory of their baby suffering before it died.

Other people explained it more eloquently, but it came down to just wanting more time with our babies, not wishing for suffering. For me I wanted a memory of something other than heartbreak and horrible no-win decisions. I wanted a memory of how his warm skin felt in my arms, a memory of his eyes open, a memory of kissing him. A smile would probably not have been possible, but some mothers did get that. I need something other than death and a cold, decomposing body to dream about. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sorry I saw and held Aiden's body. That was the only tangible thing I got out of this pregnancy. I wasn't horrified by his condition, except that I couldn't bring myself to kiss him. That bothers me. But I so wish I had something else to remember. Even his kicking is tainted since he was already paralyzed at 20 weeks. I was only feeling his arms moving and when he jerked; it makes me sick now to think of all the times I smiled when I felt him move.

Protecting Aiden from suffering is the reason we ended the pregnancy early and the reason I didn't get those things. I am okay with our decision. I just wail at the injustice of having to knowingly deprive myself of those memories in order to protect my son. On days like today I almost wish I didn't have the memories I do have, they are all bad. Would it be better to not have Aiden in my heart? The mother in me screams "NO, you will not erase my son", but a small part whispers, "this hurts, I want it to go away."

I wish it would get better.

*Edited to add: I just heard this again and was struck by how appropriate it was.

"It's a need you never get used to, so fierce and so confused.
It's a loss you never get over the first time you lose."

- Come On Come On, Mary Chapin Carpenter

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Walking in the rain

I feel more connected to the world today, more alive. I don't feel so much like I am being left behind. It's kind of nice.

I had some energy for the first time in a very long time so I went for a walk in the rain. My feet are soaked but I soaked up some peace too. I have always loved the rain, as long as it is not cold. Today was almost warm enough to be perfect.

I'm glad I can still find peace in nature. I was afraid it would be another constant reminder of what I don't have. It is, but in a kinder way. Aiden is out there, waiting for me to feel the sunshine.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Something that I've been thinking of

Self portrait

I am thinking of a self portrait,
A painting.
Streaks of blue, white, gray, and black,
Like rain.
Or my heart,
Melting,
Becoming less than it was.


Alone


Anguished


But bright, and still here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I miss you, alligator

Yesterday was our monthly trip to Saint Andrews Bay for an all day sampling trip on the pontoon boat, the first one I've been on since I came back to work. It was sunny but still cold. I was looking forward to being on the boat again but I was dreading seeing the people that had last seen me in November, when I was still pregnant with you. I didn't know if the people we meet out there knew that you were gone and I couldn't bring myself to ask. I guess my coworker must have told them because the woman told me she was sorry to hear about the baby. I was grateful that she said something, most people have pretended nothing happened.

I cried when the boat got out on the water. It was so beautiful, the sun was sparkling on the water and the wind was ruffling the surface. The wind was cold, but scented with spring and all the promise of new life. But something was missing and it ruined the whole day. You loved riding on the boat, at least I always thought so because you always moved a lot when I rode on a boat. When we came out of the channel and picked up speed we went straight through a large flock of cormorants. They flew into the air and seemed to hover for a minute, following along with the boat so that they stayed just ahead of it. I thought of you while tears streamed down my face and the wind blew them from my cheeks to blend with the salt spray.

I thought about my beliefs and that part of you, the energy that made you unique in the world, might be there with me right at that moment. I thought again of how like a cold spring wind my grief is. It blows up out of nowhere on a beautiful sunny day and knocks me flat into a cold and muddy puddle. Some days it's not hard to stand up and brush off the mud, other days it's all I can do to keep my head above the black sucking mud and keep breathing. I wondered if you would be angry at me for being so sad when faced with such beauty. But you aren't here, so it can't be beautiful.

I realized after an hour or so that the day was so hard because this was the last thing I remember enjoying. The last time I did this trip was shortly before you died and that too was a beautiful day. It was warmer then and I was happy. The contrast was stark. Yesterday there was no squirming to laugh about, no need to brace for the bouncing when we hit a wave, no worry about getting too cold or getting sea sick. No late morning sickness to keep me from eating. Just me, all alone, huddled in my jacket so that no one could see me sobbing for my lost child. I wanted to go home, and I wanted you. It was such a beautiful day, but you weren't there to see it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A little better now

Thanks for all the supporting comments. I did realize after a few hours that we did the best we could with the information we had. I am kind of angry that Kira's pediatrician never said anything. Yes, she is fine, but given the possibility that she had an open spinal chord, they should have warned me it could happen again.

A big part of my freak out is the possibility of a complicated pregnancy. I already have a lot of problems with my chronic pain and contractions. I am scared of being on blood thinners and all the complications that might cause.

I really, really want to have a successful pregnancy and hold another newborn, but I'm not sure a complicated pregnancy is worth it for me. Giving up on that plan is going to be terribly hard.

I also am sick to death of doctors and tests and missing work. I don't want to explain to my boss why I am still needing so much time off.

Someone recently said that birthing and holding a dead baby is the highlight of the experience, it is all the things that follow that are so very hard. I can so see where she was coming from. I want this to end. I want to get on with my life and mourn my son without all the questions and maybes and what ifs.

This past week has just sucked.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Freaking out - and back to feeling guilty

I am almost hyperventilating. My chest hurts and I can't stop crying. I think it is about time to go home.

Damn google anyway!

My last SHARE meeting I met another mother that lost her son at 18 weeks for unknown reasons. She has a history of HELLP and preterm labor and was diagnosed with MTHFR. She is getting her two children tested for spinal chord defects because one has a dimple and the other was born with a hairy lower back. We got to talking and we have a lot in common. My daughter also had the hairy back. We knew that was a very good indicator of spinal chord defects but she developed normally so we never thought about doing an MRI.

However, Aiden had SEVERE neural tube defects. He also had a chromosomal problem, but no one knows if the two were related. It's possible one was exacerbated by the other. Now it is very likely that I have some type of resistance to folic acid so the nurse at SHARE recommended that I get my daughter tested (an MRI to check her spinal chord) and get myself tested for MTHFR. MTHFR is a mutation that causes low levels of folic acid in tissues, which can cause the neural tube defects in fetuses, and high levels of homocysteine, which can cause clotting in the placenta and fetal death.

The low folic acid is an easy fix and I am already doing it. High levels of folic acid prior and during preganancy prevent the neural tube defects. However, if I also have the high homocysteine (I may not, neither placenta had clots) then things get way more complicated and higher risk. That treatment involves blood thinners throughout pregnancy and pretty high risk.

I made an appointment with the high risk specialist I like to get all this checked out. If it is going to be a super high risk pregnancy with all kinds of meds and monitoring, then adoption is looking more likely.

Here is where the soul crushing guilt comes back: All of Aiden's problems could have been from a mutation I have. I saw a few papers that attribute chromosomal problems like down syndrome with MTHFR. Oh my god - what if I did cause this???

I knew Kira was likely to have had a very mild defect. I can't remember if I was taking my prenatals consistently with Aiden, I don't think I was. What if this was my fault? I thought I had convinced myself there was nothing I could have done, what if I was wrong?

The good news is that this can be treated, the bad news is that this can be treated. I could have saved him. I could have made him okay and I didn't know.

There aren't enough curse words for this.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Not sure what I want

I work in the same building as the local Department of Children and Families. Right after I lost Aiden they started putting up easels in the lobby with pictures of children available for adoption from the foster care system. One picture has haunted me. It is a picture of a 3 year old boy with dark hair and the happiest smile on his face. He has braces on his legs and uses a walker. Fresh from my loss it made me think that my son may have looked like that if he hadn't been so severely affected. Over the last month it has changed.

I want to take that little boy home. I want to help him learn to navigate a world that is less than friendly to people with disabilities. He probably has a decent foster home, but I want him to have a permanent home.

I'm sure a lot of this comes from not being able to mother Aiden. I just wish I knew how much. I suffer from infertility and chronic pain from a car accident. It is hard for me to get pregnant and agony to be pregnant. This last pregnancy I only tried because I thought we would not qualify for adoption. This has added to my guilt because if I had not been misinformed, I may never have gotten pregnant.

So I was already thinking, strongly, about adoption before this loss. Now I am torn. I want to bring that little boy home, but I still want a baby. I could probably do both if I was willing to wait for one or the other, but I feel like time is against me. I am getting older and my fertility is already bad. I may only have another year or two to get pregnant. If I wait for adoption that specific child may be gone, but there will always be more.

I don't even know if I could adopt that little boy. He obviously has some severe physical disabilities but I don't know if he has mental disabilities or developmental delays. We can handle physical problems and mild developmental problems, but I think severe developmental issues or behavioral issues will be beyond our ability to handle. With my overall health I don't want to adopt a child that needs intensive life-long care. I'm afraid I won't be capable of it in another 20 years and will have to abandon them. I also have to think of my daughter and her safety and emotional well being.

I can't get more specific information on that child until I complete the classes and background checks. I am thinking about doing all that and deciding later if I want to try another pregnancy or not. Taking the classes may keep me busy while we wait the recommended 6 months to try again.

Damn, I wish someone would invent that crystal ball. I so want someone to just tell me what to do so I don't have to make the decision.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Not even on the radar

So, this is how my weekend went.

Friday - birthday that only reminded me of what is missing, period 3 days late, freaking out because it is WAY too soon to be pregnant again.

Saturday - very first camping trip with our 3 year old daughter. We should have known better. We spent the entire time yelling at her to stop trying to kill herself and just got really aggravated. Not trying that again anytime soon (dammit, we LOVE to camp). Period starts with horrible cramping - depression sets in because I should still be pregnant.

Sunday - get home and dump all the wet and sandy clothes, blankets etc. on the floor. With the lovely neighbor's assistance, start massive piles of laundry. Discover the washer is leaking and throw it outside (we have to buy a new one - this one is toast). Discover while cleaning the floor under the washer that the piece of crap water heater is also leaking from a pressure relief valve that the idiot landlord had draining onto the FLOOR. Bleach the mildew and bang head on cabinet a few times.

But you know what? The washer, the water heater, even the camping - just annoying. Three months ago I would have been cursing my luck (my husband is right now) but now, it's not even on the radar.

Not much makes it onto the radar these days, what with the dead baby blocking the screen and all.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Resurrection

We have several oak trees in our yard that are covered with Resurrection Ferns. For those that don't know, Resurrection Ferns grow only when it is wet. They usually grow on fallen logs but will also grow on living trees. When it is dry they shrivel up and look dead. As soon as it rains they will green up and look all fresh within a few hours.

I thought it was fitting to put a few of these ferns with the photo I have displayed of Aiden's feet. It looked very beautiful and I left the ferns to get dried up. I assumed that since they were no longer attached to a tree and had been dried up for weeks that they were truly dead. For some reason I decided today to put one in a bowl of water and see what happened.


Before





After





If only it were that easy. *Sigh*

cd3, four days late. with cupcakes.

I started bleeding sometime on Saturday night. The day after my birthday while on a disastrous camping trip (the first with our daughter). When I got home I still had one cupcake left. One yummy cupcake to go with my motrin and darvocet and vodka and cranberry.

It didn't make me feel much better. This is the first cycle since Aiden was concieved. It's like an extra sucker punch to the gut, a reminder I didn't need that there is no baby. The day after my birthday, when I should have been too big to go camping.

I am crippled with pain today. The endometriosis has reared its ugly head. I can't stand up straight and had to call into work. The last time I hurt this bad I was trapped in nightmares of being raped. I made my husband wake me up several times last night because I was scared of that happening again.

I am disturbed that this was an 18 day luteal phase. That has never happened before and makes me wonder what new fucked up cycles I am in store for now.

I'm tired. I'm sore. I miss my poor little son. I just don't want to get up today. I'm angry and sad that this hurts more than giving birth to a 10 ounce baby did.

Fuck you, body. I don't want you anymore.

Friday, March 5, 2010

34

years old today.

I should be 7 months pregnant.

I should be getting ready to welcome my son home.

I should be worried about riding in the boat on rough water.

I should be trying to stuff my too large belly into men's waders.

I should be happy.

Still one more birthday and mother's day to go before Aiden's due date.

One more year until "advanced maternal age"

This sucks.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Why I'm not envious of pregnant women and women with newborns

It took me awhile to figure this out. At first I thought it was because I already have a living daughter, and so I am vastly luckier than so many women. But gradually I have realized that there is a lot more to it.

I didn't go into either of my pregnancies with that carefree, decorate the nursery the minute you get a BFP, happy-go-lucky newly pregnant hopefulness. I knew how horribly wrong things could go. My sister-in-law had lost both her twins to twin-to-twin transfusion at 8 months. A friend from college had lost a son withing a few days of birth. My best friend's sister lost her little girl to medical incompetence at 8 days old. A good friend lost her beautiful 2 year old to tainted spinach. I was not supremely confidant that those things would not happen to me. I never had the sense that because it happened to someone I knew, that it couldn't happen to me.

Of course, I had no idea that this particular horribleness could happen to me, but I guess I can't say I was shocked. So when I see a pregnant woman or a mother with a new baby, it makes me sad, but it doesn't make me envious.

After Aiden was dead and before I was induced, I had to interact with people. I was kind of numb so it wasn't hard to pretend to be normal. I can't help but think that the woman in the grocery store could be carrying her dead twin, like the very brave Eve, or the woman with the new baby could be thanking God every day that she got to take one home this time. I also think, they may lose that at any time, and I hope that they don't.

I really, really don't mean this as a judgement for people that can't stand the sight of pregnant women and babies. I totally understand that thought process. When I was struggling to get pregnant I experienced a little of the envy. But I know that envy is like hate - it only really hurts the person feeling it. I kind of hoped my perspective might help someone that is being too hard on themselves. And, since this is my blog, I am writing to clarify my thoughts.

Today was surprisingly easy, one month was harder. At times I'm sad that I'm not more sad - as neurotic as that is. I'm scared to move on, and I'm eager to move on. I think I should just resign myself to complex, contradictory emotions from now on.