Saturday, December 31, 2011

two years

I've struggled with what to write. I've struggled with whether I should write anything at all. I'm not really that sad but will break into hard sobs at random moments. I'm glad I never celebrated New Year's before, it would have been ruined for me now. I just can't see celebrating the night I spent in the hospital giving birth to a dead baby. I'm thinking of all those moms out there tonight that still don't have a little one to tuck in; I hope this year brings you joy. I'm happy our new daughter is here with us and will be moving in forever in 2 weeks. I'm sad I don't have my little wren. I'm angry that I can't just get pregnant. Tonight, I just am.

Here's hoping 2012 brings something better.

I love you, little Wren. Sweet Dreams.

Friday, December 23, 2011

progress report and adoption news

So I didn't make any of my goals. I should have known to start smaller but I frequently bite off more than I can chew. At least I have finally learned not to beat myself up about it. Somehow the hell I went through 2 years ago gave me the ability to brush myself off and keep trying without all the guilt and shame.

I ate so much at the holiday party at work that I was almost sick. I tried to only take one bite of the things I really wanted to try but there was SO MUCH FOOD. I can never see a spread like that without thinking of all the homeless people only a block away. I wish we could do something a little different in that respect. Anyway - I haven't met the goal of no junk food for a full day but I have managed to keep it to reasonable servings, so yea me! I did no yoga but did go on one really long walk/run. I nearly died from running a single block but at least I did something this week. I still haven't gotten a scale although I really don't feel bad about that with all the running around I've been doing for Christmas shopping. Ye Gads! For someone that doesn't have much money I sure went to a lot of stores.

So - goal for next week. One session of yoga and a further reduction of junk food. I'll wait until the holiday madness is over and my checkbook recovers to worry about a scale.

On the adoption front, for those of you who don't want to listen to me whining about exercise, M is staying with us for the school holiday. It's been pretty fun so far although I do find myself getting frustrated a little with the whining. Our 5 year old is a champion whiner so I'm pretty used to it, but I wasn't really prepared to see the same level in a 14 year old. I really shouldn't be surprised. Her life has not prepared her for early maturity and she is really doing so amazingly well for what she has had to deal with. I just found out today that after two families rejected her (one of them kept all her siblings) she was sent across the country ALONE on a plane at 12 years old. I had a hard time taking that statement calmly. I'm sure I'll hear many more worse things, but I don't think I'll ever get used to it. How the world can be so awful to some people is really just beyond me.

We are discovering that her nutrition is extremely poor and the constant begging for junk food is getting old fast. We are trying to be patient and not turn her whole diet upside down overnight. She is very good about eating the whole wheat pasta that we use so that is more than I expected. If anyone has experience with changing a foster kid's diet to something healthier, I'm open to advice.

I'm amazed by the bravery of this girl. After the terrible rejections she has had and the terrible way she has been treated by almost everyone in her life, she is still willing to try with a new family. She is even able to show us (very rarely) how scared she is that we will let her down too. I may be overly optimistic but I think this is a good sign that she will be able to attach and trust us eventually. I'm constantly reminding myself that she has not yet had a chance to test us and it won't always be this easy. At the same time I am really enjoying having someone I can shop with and do girly things like nails and hair. It will be many more years before K is capable of listening well enough to do any of that so it is super exciting to be able to do it now.

Three more weeks until we are officially M's only parents (foster for now, adoptive after finalization)! We can't wait, the co-parenting with the current foster parents is hard! We disagree with nearly all of their parenting decisions so trying to fit our parenting with theirs has been nearly impossible. Three more weeks is not long at all. I can put on my big girl pants and get through it.

I've been sad with all the anniversaries coming up, hubby and I were both in tears on the 18th, but it is somewhat distant this year. Part of it is the busyness of the season and the rest is how vastly different our lives are this year. I miss my precious boy and I wish he was here, but I can't say I'm sad to not be so sad.

I hope everyone out there is at least surviving the holidays, preferably enjoying them. I hope the new year brings new joy and new healing to all my baby loss friends and anyone struggling with life right now. Peace and Love!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

bitter irony

I don't like my body. I'm sure you've noticed, I whine about it on here frequently. I haven't liked it for some time. I think I first started being unhappy with it in mid-2001. I was gaining weight and noticed that things I enjoyed were getting harder to do. I had also started to get some back pain. That's when I decided to do something about my dissatisfaction and hired a personal trainer. I was young, living with my parents, and had a good paying job, so it wasn't the outrageous expense it would be today. I was doing pretty well with it and getting into shape when I was rear-ended by a car going 40 mph on my way home from work. The impact was so hard that it shoved my truck across the entire road (I was stopped at a yield sign) and I distinctly remember my head bouncing off the headrest at least three times. One impact was hard enough to break the cartilage in my ear. I had severe whiplash along my entire neck and back and have never really recovered. I haven't had a pain free day since that accident and the days that aren't too bad are becoming fewer and farther between. I've become less and less active because it just hurts so much to do anything. One part of the irony is that if I can push through the pain I start to feel better. Working out actually causes the stiffness and inflammation to go down. I know this, but it is still extremely hard to make myself work towards a fitness goal. I've tried running a few times but keep getting injured doing other things and then giving up for months at a time.

I am getting to the point where I can no longer deny that I am overweight. I have read research that shows losing weight improves fertility and the kind of problems I have with my cycles. Just 20 pounds could make the difference in getting pregnant, or at least having a normal period. So knowing all this, why can't I get with the program? When I look at myself in the mirror I am disgusted. I don't like to see myself naked anymore and this has a significant impact on my relationship with my husband. I look like one of those fertility goddess figures with the giant sagging breasts and protruding tummy. The irony of THAT is not lost on me.

One of my fellow bloggers is trying to hold herself accountable to her fitness goals by publishing her weight every week. I think I may join her. I might not be able to post every week but I am going to buy a scale and start tracking. I am also going to take a picture of myself and tape it to my mirror, possibly along with one from high school when I was fit.

I don't always feel like I'm grossly fat. I know my weight is not really all that horrible, but I feel 30 years older than I am. I know being in shape will make many of my problems better, and maybe I could keep up with my five year old. If nothing else, maybe tracking will help me to resist the junk food when I am craving something sweet. My most recent cholesterol and blood pressure numbers were high. That is kind of a wake up call. My mother now has diabetes and high blood pressure. She is on so many medications I can't believe she has room for food. I don't want to live like that, so I am going to do something about it.

This time of year is hard. There is so much food everywhere and most of it is junk. On top of that I am depressed and looking for comfort. I have a pretty bad sweet tooth and little self control. I have never been able to eat just one snack size candy bar. If I have a bag of something I will eat all of it, no matter how many servings it contains. My first goal is going to be cutting way back on the junk. I don't really buy junk foods because I know I can't practice portion control, but it is all around me anyway. I need to teach myself how to avoid those traps. My first real test will be the Christmas party at work today. Four floors of nothing but junk food. EEK!

So anyway - Today I weigh approximately 183 pounds. I am tired all the time and my neck hurts so much I can't turn my head. I've done 30 minutes of yoga once this week and eaten a lot of candy. My goal for next week is 1.5 hours of yoga, two long walks, and at least one day without any junk food.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What I wish I could say

Please don't say Merry Christmas. I can see you don't remember that this time of year is very hard on me. I know I look happy. I know I look fine to you, but I'm not. People that are fine don't break into hysterical sobs for no good reason in the middle of singing a Christmas song. People that are fine don't spend a significant portion of every day remembering in vivid detail watching a very tiny child die. So don't pass on your cheer and ignore the gaping hole I will always have in my life. It doesn't matter how many children I add to my family, there will always be one missing. If you can't understand that, or can't take the time to remember, then I don't want your well wishes. And yes, I have made a new year's resolution - it's to not kill any more children. I hope to God I can fulfill it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Not doing well with the grateful part today

I've tried hard not to complain about this because it feels like fate might decide I don't deserve/want/appreciate the incredible gifts I have, but some days it is so very hard to be grateful. I know most of my readers still have infants if they've been lucky enough to have a rainbow baby so if complaining about children makes you mad, please feel free to skip this one!

I love my little girl. She's my miracle and so smart, funny, engaging, and cute, but she is so, so challenging. That's a polite way of saying she is a little hellion. She does not ever listen. She will run full tilt towards a speeding car with adults shrieking in terror and not even notice a problem until she gets tackled. Then she will cry that you "scared" her by freaking out and preventing imminent and messy death. I stupidly decided today to take her shopping with her new big sister for Christmas presents. We brought along my best friend, Aunt A, and my sister and her daughter. I guess the combination of seeing Aunt A, Aunt L, and Cousin A was a little too exciting for her little brain. She just would. not. stop.

I am frustrated, tired, hurting and just plain pissed off. I hurt her twice by grabbing too hard or yanking too hard (both times when she was running away from me towards busy roads) because I was using all my self restraint to keep from giving her a good hard whack on the butt. It was enough that she noticed and whined but not enough that she was actually hurt. I'm still ashamed I lost my cool that badly, though. I absolutely do not believe in corporal punishment, and I'm not allowed to use it with foster children such as M, but I'm telling you, some days it's hard to remember to be kind.

I hurt my back because I ended up having to carry her through the busy parking lots because she wouldn't hold my hand. I'm really hoping it didn't upset M seeing me so mad. I feel guilty for losing it but at the same time just plain mad that K will never listen. I don't understand what goes on in her mind that she doesn't use any common sense whatsoever. I'm tired of the looks and comments that people make because they assume I don't discipline her and that's why she's so wild. I'm tired of people suggesting I should medicate her. I just want someone to explain to me how to reach her, or at least understand where she's coming from.

I am grateful, but I'm one tired and frustrated momma tonight. If you made it this far, thanks for listening. I'm off to find my motrin now that she's finally asleep (in my room!) and try to relax some more.

I hope everyone else that is shopping is having a less stressful time of it. I am sticking with cyber shopping from now on!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

financial peace

The fish is still alive - he/she is in the hospital tank and improving. I'm hopeful.

I don't feel like a long post because I am tired and sick but I wanted to share something that has been life altering for my husband and I. Look up the Da.ve Ram.sey website to see what I'm talking about.

We started his program (without any cost to us, the important info is free) about a year and a half ago, just after we filed bankruptcy. We did not want to end up in the spot we were just getting out of and knew we had to do something different. Before we had always relied on credit cards in emergencies. If the furnace broke down, the car needed tires, I needed new school books, or we had a trip to the ER - we broke out the plastic. That led us to hanging on by our fingernails after I was laid off, paying the minimum payments that equaled $900 a month. Missing one month of work when Aiden died was absolutely disastrous. We had no hope of ever catching up and the banks wouldn't work with us so we were forced to file bankruptcy. We didn't ever want to be in such a desperate situation again, so we started following the guidelines from Dave's site. We concentrated on saving an emergency fund - that was truly for emergencies - and then paying down our remaining debt.

18 months later and my 14 year old car has broken down twice to the tune of $1500. Without the credit cards, two years ago that would have meant only having one car, which would have been insane since we work in different towns. Now after working this program we were able to pay cash with half our emergency fund remaining. We will be able to pay off my husband's car by January and after June the only debt left will be our student loans.

It's such an amazing change. I went from panicking about a $50 medical bill to just shrugging when the mechanic said I owed him $650 on Friday. I highly recommend looking into this if you're like me and were never taught how to manage money by your parents. And let me tell you - we don't make much. This program is designed for people like us. We're above the poverty line but don't make enough to afford new cars or to be able to easily save up for a down payment, but with this program we may even be able to buy a house in another 5 years.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Murdering fish

I just got back from a 4 day conference for work. I've been fighting off a cold since last Sunday and just finally succumbed to complete misery today. I stayed home with my throbbing head and overstuffed sinuses but there is very little chance I will get much rest today. I'm trying desperately to get enough function back to save what's left of my poor fish.

I've been very neglectful lately. I knew my tank was getting dirty and really needed some fresh water, but it wasn't until I had a casualty last week that I tested the water. The nitrate and nitrite readings are high; I am poisoning my poor fish with their own wastes. I tried to clean the tank last weekend but was so busy that I didn't get to it. Then I left early Monday and got back late last night. Since Monday I have lost 3 more fish. I wish my husband was a little less useless in these matters and had done something when the first fish died, but I am on my own. This is causing some distress this morning because I am so miserable with this stupid cold that I REALLY don't want to clean the damn tank, but one of the remaining fish is closely linked in my mind to the short little life and tragic death of my son. You see, when I was pregnant with Aiden I bought a bunch of dalmatian molly fish. I did not know that they breed like guppies. Just after we got our horrible news about Aiden just about all the the fish had babies. Suddenly we went from 6 fish to dozens of fish. I was very resentful. I was mad that those fish were having babies while mine was dying inside me. K was thrilled so I kept up a good front for her but I hated those stupid fertile fish.

Enter two weeks later, approximately. I can't remember if this started before or after Aiden actually died, but a weird disease hit all of my fish. They started losing the ability to move their back fins. After a while most of the fish were swimming around in circles with their bodies bent in a C shape. I was horrified. Apparently I can't keep anything healthy and alive. I lost almost all of the fish pretty quickly. Only one little baby Molly survived and a couple of wild ones. I have added wild fish accidentally caught at work since this happened but I've been reluctant to buy more fish because I don't think the disease, whatever the heck it it, is gone. The molly is still alive and it seemed important to keep it that way. I'm not particularly attached to it, but it's survival was a sort of sign to me that maybe I don't kill everything I touch. So now my neglect has caused the deaths of most of the wild fish and that Molly is still hanging on. She doesn't look too great but she is still alive. I'm really hoping I can get off this couch long enough to keep it that way. I know I will be sad when she is finally gone.

I guess if I can't find the energy to clean the 40 gallon tank I can put the survivors in a bowl for now. I just wish this once I could wallow in my misery and be sick without any damn obligations. Stupid fish.

There - whining is out of my system, time to go save some fish.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Not what I was hoping for

The permanency meeting was frustrating. When I mentioned that the idiotic school system here had their finals one week AFTER the winter break, they all decided to postpone the transition instead of speeding it up. So now we are looking at another 2 months of only getting her on weekends. We were all disappointed but I do have to defer to the opinions of the people that have been doing this for a long time, although I question their evidence.

The good news is that we have a move in date - January 13th. At that point she will be officially placed with us as an adoptive placement. After 90 days we can petition to adopt and she will be ours for good as soon as we get a court date. Two months seems like a long time but I'm sure it will go by pretty fast considering the holidays will be all intertwined with the time we have left. It will be really nice to have something positive to think about this year instead of remembering how horrible this time of year was 2 years ago.

But that leaves me with a problem. I love this blog and all the connections I've made through it. It was easy and healing to talk about the loss of our son and the impact it had on my life and hear from so many that have walked in my shoes. Now I don't think I will be able to talk as freely. I'd love to keep writing here about how our new family is doing but I don't want M to ever find something written about her and lose her trust in me because of it. I know someone else in blog land that is struggling with this worry right now. It is the dark side of mommy blogging. How much is too much? When is it not about you, but about the information you are sharing about your children? I'm pretty much okay with mommy bloggers that talk about their kids, as long as they are respectful, but if those kids come from a history of trauma? Maybe not such a good idea. These kids have been given many, many reasons to never trust anyone. It would be kind of hard to explain why it's okay for their new mommy to discuss their mental health and behavior on a public forum. So - I don't know where I'll go from here. I may keep the blog and just make sure there is never anything identifiable on it (which might make it pretty boring). Maybe I'll go password protected. Maybe I'll give up on it altogether.

I started a new, anonymous email that I linked to my profile on this blog - but I really wanted to change this blog over to the new account so it doesn't show up if I am logged into my main email. That way I can stay logged on with my laptop and everyone can still use the computer without being able to see this blog. Does anybody know if/how I can do that?

If anybody has a magic solution to privacy, I'm all ears. I'll give everyone plenty of warning if I am going to shut down. I hope it won't come to that. I consider my readers to be friends, even if I don't know what most of you look like. I don't want to lose that.

Maybe I can write more about cooking and my volunteer activities. Anybody interested in community gardening?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Permanency meeting today!!

This is unofficial, but today we are meeting with M's social worker, guardian ad litem, therapist, and foster mom to decide when she will be moving in with us!

It's the first step in the adoption process here. After she moves in we have a minimum 90 day "trial" period before we can petition to adopt. After that we petition the court and wait for a court date.

I'm so excited! We are hoping M can move in the weekend before Thanksgiving. I would have been happy with next week but I will be out of town for 4 days the week of the 14th. We're worried she won't settle in well without all of us here. M sounded happy with that plan but we have to clear it with all the official people first.

I can't wait for her to be here. She is really struggling in school and I think that has no hope of changing until she is somewhere stable. If how I feel is any indication the poor kid probably feels like she is in the middle of a tornado right now. I don't think I'd be able to concentrated on school either. I just wish her foster mom thought the same way. I have a feeling M will be grounded again by the end of the week.

I also really wanted a quiet weekend at home with our new family. That is very hard to do when we are transporting between houses and try to keep up our normal obligations.

Anyway - wish us luck! Hopefully in a couple of hours we will have a date for when we will officially be a pre-adoptive family!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oh for pete's sake!

My ovaries got wind of my happiness and decided to remind me that they suck. Last month I missed the first 3 days of my continuous birth control because I didn't bring a refill on my trip. I decided to just skip the whole month instead of starting them late because the period I had was extremely mild for me and I didn't want to change it by screwing around with the timing. Fast forward 4 weeks and I FINALLY ovulated. A few days later I was sure I had a giant cyst on my left ovary. No big deal - I've had dozens. It was painful but not too bad and easy to ignore. That was until my 7 pound "kitten" jumped RIGHT ON IT this morning.

The cat is lucky to be alive. I spent several hours contemplating some nice warm tabby slippers. The pain was pretty excruciating. I still had to get my daughter to daycare because my husband didn't seem to think a burst cyst was worth him going to work late. After hobbling around doing that I came home and took a narcotic pain reliever I had from my last major back problem. The relief was almost immediate and I decided to let the cat live. I sat down with the heating pad and called my mom. By the time I got done telling her about my crappy morning my right shoulder was in agony and it was radiating down my arm. I started to feel like I couldn't take a deep breath. I consulted doctor google since I was too buzzed on pain killers to drive myself to the hospital and didn't really want to spend $100 because my stupid cat jumped on the wrong spot. At this point my husband was out of cell phone range so he couldn't come take me. All the kids were out of school so the only friends I could have called wouldn't have been able to help. I was seriously considering calling an ambulance. According to doctor google the arm pain can be directly caused by a cyst rupturing, although it appears to be rare. It can also be caused (I think) by blood leaking into the abdominal cavity. So I was thinking that a) no big deal, ruptured cyst and I would feel better soon, b) bleeding ruptured cyst requiring at least a hospital stay - possibly surgery, or c)ectopic pregnancy.

I nearly laughed at how unlikely scenario c was, but I was pretty worried about b. I called my OB/GYN, who I love, and got her wonderful nurse, who I also love. She said to come by when the doc was out of surgery and they would work me in. She seemed concerned but not alarmed so I talked myself out of the ambulance. I'm glad now because by the time I got there I was feeling 90% better. Most of the pain and pressure was gone and my arm didn't hurt anymore. The doc saw a little fluid around my ovary and agreed with my assessment of what happened. She wants to recheck in 2 weeks to make sure I'm not still leaking anything but I'm sure it will be fine now. If I had a little advanced warning I'd actually prefer a rupture to the long drawn out weeks of slow torture I usually get with these damn things.

So - my lesson for today is to not skip the birth control unless I magically gain 10K for fertility treatments. I am so freaking glad M wasn't here this morning. I bet the drama would have freaked her out very badly. I'm sure she is thinking that something will go wrong and she won't get to be adopted; this would have given her something to worry about, which she really doesn't need right now.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

whirlwind

Sorry about the long hiatus. We have been visiting with our new daughter (insert girly squeal) for the last 3 weekends, with this past one being our first overnight. I can't remember the last time I had so much fun. My husband was being a complete goofball and it's been a while since he's let go like that. K was surprisingly well behaved even with all the extra excitement. M is fun to hang out with and fits with our family surprisingly well so far.

Last weekend we went for a hike and then had a quiet day at home. This weekend we went shopping ALL DAY on Saturday and then spent Sunday with some friends at our house. I normally really hate shopping but with a teenager in tow it was actually kind of fun. I was exhausted at the end of the day but very, very happy.

I was worried when we started with this match that my grief over not being able to have a baby would prevent me from being completely happy with this situation but that couldn't be further from the truth. I know things could change but meeting this girl has been so healing for me. I have so many plans for things I want to do with her, show her, learn from her. I think our lives are changing for the better. I can't wait to see what else it brings.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Timely poem

I can't remember where I ran across this today but it is so appropriate to my life and my future daughter's. We are moving along with visits. M is a beautiful, sweet, funny girl and Sean and I already see her as ours. We have two more weekends of visits and then an overnight. We are super busy so I'll update when I can. I'll have to be vague to protect M but I'll let you ladies know how we are doing. In the meantime enjoy this powerful poem.

Learn With Every Goodbye
– Veronica A Shoffstall

After a while, you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With the grace of a woman,
not the grief of a child,
And learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight
And after a while, you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn
and learn…
With every goodbye, you learn.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

From 5 to 14 almost overnight

We are officially matched. We had our disclosure meeting where we went over the child's records with her therapist and case worker. We didn't see anything we didn't think we could handle so we are moving forward with visits. Our first visit will be in a park with her foster family and our family on Wednesday. I have no idea what to do or say. I'm absolutely frantic to get a room ready for her, even though we have no idea if we will really be bringing her home in another month or two. My head is spinning so much it's hard to concentrate on anything else. I have gotten zero work done all week. I go from giddy to nervous wreck in .005 seconds. If I'm not careful my fingers will look I put them in a blender by Wednesday.

I was so concerned with behaviors and past history that I didn't really get much info on what she likes. I know she likes to sing (yea!) and go fishing (double yea!), but that's about it. We are going to bring a card game to play at the park in case the conversation lags and maybe a ball to kick around. We haven't told Kira yet, which is killing me, but I don't want her to have time to worry about the future before she meets the child. I have to come up with a code word for her. I'll work on it.

I can't believe we might be taking on a 14 year old! I was just getting used to the idea of 5!

Friday, September 23, 2011

emotional whiplash

So. I feel a bit sheepish. I am tempted to erase that last post, but what I was feeling this morning is still valid so I think I will leave it up.

Big News:

We were matched with the 13 year old I have been told about.

Right after I posted the last rant, cried a whole lot, wrote a bitter and negative email to my husband and cried some more, I finally checked my private email (a no-no at my job) and realized a message had come in from her social worker at 9:30am, right around when I was working myself up into a good cry.

I'm a little embarrassed, a little giddy, a lot terrified and a whole other stew of emotions I can't yet identify.

This is only the start of a very long road. When I got some more information today there are a couple of things that are pretty concerning in her medical records. We will have a meeting sometime next week to go over all of our questions and meet the parties (except the child) involved.

I'm terrified we will meet her only to break her heart all over again. At the same time I'm so looking forward to taking her shopping, brushing her hair, and asking her to teach me how to catch a damn fish. I'm so excited about the prospect of an older child. And nervous!

If any of my readers have had foster children or adopted older children - PLEASE give me some advice on what to do when we meet her. I want her to feel safe and wanted.

There is a lot more to this story but I am exhausted from the extreme lows and highs today. I won't be able to share specific details about what we find out but I will update what I can in general terms. Wish us all luck and pray if that's your thing.

obviously not done with the pity party yet

Everyone I have called lately to vent about how hopeless I feel in this quest for a child has said the same thing - Trust that what happens is supposed to happen. It's a variation on the saying "everything happens for a reason". I've always thought that was bullshit, I still do. The people I'm close to that can understand this situation are all very spiritual. I am not. I believe in a higher power that created the miracle of life but then pretty much left it to do its own thing. I believe that people can have some effect on things by giving positive or negative energy to it, but I don't believe someone can change something just because they wish to and believe in God. That just means that when the baby still dies and the phone still doesn't ring that I didn't pray hard enough, or that I wasn't worthy. Why should I do that to myself? Wishing isn't going to make a child. Relaxing isn't going to make a child. So all those well meaning stuffed shirts can just go stuff themselves.

I have come to a decision today. I am obviously depressed and not handling this well. I need help. I'm going to look into counseling again but more importantly I'm going to give myself permission to stop fighting. It seems like that is all I have done for the last seven years. Fight for my body to work, fight for my babies to survive, fight for my husband to be a partner, fight to find a child that would fit in our home. I am really fucking tired. I feel like I am killing myself by slow degrees. I don't enjoy my life at all right now. I go through the motions but I'm not even trying in my marriage.

So I quit. I won't try to convince my husband that he is making this impossible with all of his ridiculous restrictions. I won't try to get pregnant by making myself sick with drugs. I won't continuosly call the useless adoption coordinator to make sure our names are actually on the list she keeps losing. I won't search the web for pictures of children with case workers that never call anyone back. I'll keep our home study updated and go to adoption picnics but I'm not going to kill myself trying to MAKE this happen.

To my well meaning friends this will look like acceptance. It will look like I am finally relaxing and letting whatever happens, happen. But that's not it at all. I am going forward with the assumption that I will never have another child. I'm going to grieve that loss now so I can get on with my life. Then if a miracle occurs I can be happy about it. I suspect this grief will be just as powerful as it was when Aiden died. I suspect it may take even longer to get through. But although I am very sad and still angry right now, I don't have that crushing axiety that there is something that I can do to change this. I'm not as powerful as I'd like to be. This sucks and it hurts almost as much as watching my baby die. I guess to some giving up is acceptance. To me it is just one more failure in a very long list. One that I think I can get past eventually, but it doesn't hurt any less. I just hope I can hang on to the giving up part while still leaving the door open for miracles. Having hope is the worst torture of all and one I'd like to be well rid of.

So - commiseration is always welcome but please don't tell me it will all work out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Always picked last

This really is like high school all over again. I'm standing on a softball field, awkwardly crossing my arms across my chest, trying to look like I don't care that the overweight girl with asthma got picked before I did. It doesn't feel any better now than it did back then. I know that its not about me. I know that it's more important for these kids to find a home where they fit than it is for me to find my child. But its hard when I watched my co-worker get a baby within a month or two in a fairly unethical way, just because the case worker liked him. Its hard to know that the factor most likely limiting our likelihood of being chosen is the one thing I wouldn't change for all the world. If someone just told me that having my daughter was the most happiness I was allowed to have, I guess I would have to accept that, but no one says that. Everyone expects that we will adopt, and then get pregnant, because as we all know, adoption is the cure for infertility. I want to live in everyone else's world; the one where people get what they want and deserve, the one where deformed babies only happen to druggies and little girls don't know that death is forever.

There are so many things I want to say. Some are sad, some are not. But I only have time for the words that most need to be said. I love that I can come here and be heard and understood. I really will try to find more time to write about more than one aspect of my life. I need it, so I need to make it work. If someone figures out a way to add 4 hours to my day without exhausting me, I'm all ears.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I can't decide which one hurts more

Something happened to my neck that is causing excruciating pain. The doctor is worried it is a herniated disk because I have pain and tingling in my arms. I won't know until it doesn't get better because my insurance won't cover an MRI until after physical therapy, which I won't do because I can't afford it.

While kind of buzzed on pain killers I stopped by the bank to ask if we would qualify for a small loan to finance a private adoption. We won't.

The match meeting for our possible match was Tuesday. They haven't called so I'm assuming they didn't choose us.

Right now - besides being nearly incoherent with rage and despair - I just can't decide which of those things hurts the most.

I really don't understand why the universe hates me. And if one more person tells me about how their faith has seen them through I will punch them in the face. Hard.

Monday, September 12, 2011

***Crickets****

It's been a month since we were told we were in the running for a 13 year old girl. I was told to send questions by email. I did, immediately. I have heard nothing. Zip. Zero. Even after a couple of phone calls and several emails. I know I'm being a pest. I don't care. I cannot for the life of me understand why it takes so freaking long to line up parents with waiting kids. This girl has been on the heart gallery for over a year. They had so many home studies they had to do more than one match meeting. I get that they are overworked, but this seems really extreme to me. How can it take up to two years to say here is the family for you? It's not like they are turning away all the home studies. They are just taking a really damn long time to hold the match meetings. It's driving me insane. How many birthdays is this poor girl supposed to spend alone while the social workers coordinate calendars?

They posted on the heart gallery that this girl has a family now. Does that mean we didn't get picked? Or does it just mean they are close to choosing and don't want any more home studies? I can't even get an answer to that question. If it's no, fine. I'll move on. I was in the process of starting domestic infant adoption when they called. I froze everything waiting to learn if we would be chosen. Instead, I got crickets.

Now I get to go see my 21 year old, pregnant with her second child cousin this weekend. Joy. I wonder is she will ditch this one with her mom while she goes out partying. I'm starting to understand kidnappers, I really am.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

This hurts

I want a baby. Every avenue possible to get what I want is being blocked by two things. Money and my husband. One of those obstacles can be removed. Aren't I a horrible person for thinking that?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hell of a week

We haven't heard anything about our potential match. I spoke to the therapist and made a list of questions for her and the caseworker. Neither of them has responded except the caseworker told me she was really busy and would get to them soon. I expected a wait but it feels like forever! I've managed to put it out of my mind for the most part right now because there is so much else going on.

My sister and I are planning to visit our grandfather in two weeks. He's had a lot of health issues lately and we wanted him to meet his great-granddaughters before it's too late. When I tried to get in touch with him to let him know we were coming, I found out he was in the hospital with pneumonia. This wouldn't be so bad if the daughter that lives near him wasn't such a crazy and self centered person. She has already had security called on her at the hospital. What kind of care is he going to get if they are all trying to get the crazy person to leave them alone? She is also trying to talk my grandfather into leaving his wife, who has Alzheimer's, and coming to live with her. Oh, the drama! This is going to be an interesting trip. Fortunately I am not quite so worried about my grandfather now, he seems to be doing much better.

My coworker with the foster kids he didn't want no longer has them. They called the social worker to come get the older girl after she threw a tantrum that included some verbal threats. The social worker took the girl to a mental hospital WHILE SHE WAS ASLEEP!!!!!! I'm so fucking appalled I can't see straight. The younger girl went on a cleaning spree trying to make sure she didn't get removed but it didn't do her any good. The social worker wants to keep the two girls together so she is moving them both into a group home. Those poor girls. If my co-worker had only done just a tiny bit of research into parenting hurt children he would have known she would have a melt down after visiting her mother who was on her way to jail. Maybe he wouldn't have been able to calm the girl down but I really, really don't think she was ever a threat to their baby. It absolutely kills me that I couldn't take these girls. I am feeling pretty resentful towards my husband for that one.

I can't wait for hurricane season to be over. That stupid storm (Lee) took the entire holiday weekend to pass over us. We had tornado warnings every two hours for 3 days straight and nearly constant rain. I am grateful we aren't dealing with any of the severe flooding some people are, but I am damned tired. Between my daughter being scared of the lightning, my phone constantly beeping emergency signals, and my husband blissfully snoring, I got very little sleep this weekend. Not to mention having to be the sole source of entertainment for a very bored and very demanding 5 year old. I never thought I'd be so happy to go back to work.

I hope everybody is staying out of the floods out there, hopefully this is the last of them this year.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Mommy, I don't want to die!"

Oh, god. What am I supposed to say to that? I tell her she won't die. I tell her only the old and sick die. She is a smart girl and doesn't believe me. She doesn't think I can protect her from everything in the world, because I can't. And it hurts so fucking much.

Every night for the last 3+ years - since long before Aiden was even conceived - we have sung her four songs at bedtime that she picked herself. One of them is an old Irish song called "Cockles and Mussels". It is about a girl that dies and her ghost keeps going up and down the street, "singing cockles, and mussels, alive, alive-o". Tonight is the first time ever that she has asked why the girl in the song died. That discussion went into her fear of dying, which she has been bringing up a lot lately, and then into why baby Aiden died. I have always followed everyone's advice and told her the absolute truth. He didn't grow the way he should have and his heart had a hole in it. She worried that her heart or stomach would get holes in them. Nothing I said seemed to help ease her fears.

We went through all the heavy stuff in one conversation: where do babies come from? how do they get the baby out? what happens when we die? when will I die?

I am wrung out. I wish my 5 year old did not know that death is forever. I wish I could tell her the sick fish went back to live in the river. I feel like I'm kicking puppies telling her the harsh facts of life at this age. And I've been doing it over a year and a half. When will she stop worrying?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Everybody is okay . . . for now

The only damage in the whole neighborhood was the tree that fell on my mom's new car! Fortunately it was a small tree and only scratched up the paint. Now we are nervously watching Katia. Good grief, never a dull moment around here.

We haven't heard ANYTHING about our possible match, which of course is making me crazy!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Worried

That hurricane looks damn scary to me. Too bad my mom, brother, and sister-in-law don't agree. They have decided to ride it out at home. Irene is supposed to go right over them on it's way to New England. The one good thing is that they are in about the only high area in the whole city but that means they will be in a dry house surrounded by water. My mom is not in good health and is just seems stupid to risk it. Please think of them and all the people in danger this weekend. I'm going to stick my head in the sand until Monday.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hell hath no fury . . .

I just looked this up for the author and just learned it was a paraphrased quote:

"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned," William Congreve

Pretty funny that the quote is even more apt now.

I am feeling a little bit lost and a lot overwhelmed today. I've been searching and searching for an online community to support me like all of you in the baby loss community have. I was looking for people that had adopted from foster care, particularly ones that already had bio children. There are unique factors to consider when you have a young child in the home with no history of abuse or neglect and then suddenly start adding traumatized children to the mix. I was hoping for some more wise, funny women that could offer advice and be a sounding board. I thought I had found that in the adoption.com forums but after today I don't think I will go back there.

I posted a brief sketch of the information I was given about out potential match with a 13 year old girl. I stated that she had 3 disruptions but very little history of severe emotional problems. I was immediately attacked for even THINKING about bringing a 13 year old from foster care home where she would have access to my 5 year old. In the eyes of this community this traumatized child had already been tried, convicted and sentenced. Here are some quotes so you can tell me if I am over-reacting.


Has no agency or cw'er talked to you about adopting out of birth order???? This is a very sensible issue and truly, most adopting families find it good practice to ahere to this unspoken rule, KWIM?

It would be VERY risky to put a 5yr old with a 13yr old...even in the best circumstances

Can you imagine your little girl coming to you and telling you that her big sister has been threatening her? That she has been pinching her hard? That she has been telling her things that make her feel uncomfortable? That she has been telling her that she hates you and wants to kill you? None of those things are sexual abuse, but believe me, can leave lasting effects on your child and can make her feel unsafe in her own home. Even just hearing arguing between her older sibling and parents (which there is with the best of 13 year olds!) can make her feel very unsafe. - This one I thought was really ridiculous. My sister and I did way worse than that and we are full biological siblings. It's not abuse, it's normal sibling rivalry and she should be teaching the young one how to handle conflict.

the bottom line was based on this experience I would not recommend adopting out of birth order and I agree that three disruptions and therapeutic foster home is scary to say the least.

I would not bring this child into my family if I had a much younger child


There was more but most of the posts were very vehement about not adopting out of birth order. The thing is, I knew there were people who had disruptions because they just couldn't parent their very traumatized children. I wanted to know if there were warning signs when they were matched so I could learn how to avoid those situations. Instead I got lots of exclamation marks and comments on how horrible and dangerous older children are. Not one of the posters made specific suggestions or told me how things went wrong. They just exploded.

I've personally known several families that have successfully adopted older children, even with younger children in the home. And foster parents mix up the ages all the time. It is not physically possible for every child over the age of 3 in foster care to be a soul-sucking demon. There ARE good kids out there and all I want are the resources to find them. I don't think I should be attacked for that choice.

I'm trying to keep in mind that all of these posts were made by women that adopted a child, expecting to love them, and the child tore their family apart. What I didn't expect was the anger directed towards the children. Yes, at a certain point people have to be accountable for their own actions. But can you really expect that of a child that has been through hell? Why should they believe you when you say they can trust you? And how can you hate them for not believing you and acting accordingly? I don't get it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

EEK!!

We are one of four families being considered for a 13 year old girl. EEK!! She has some issues that seem pretty minor after reading the special needs adoption forums. I think we can handle it but we are asking lots of questions. Everyone please keep this beautiful girl in your thoughts. She has been through a lot of losses and really deserves someone who won't give up on her, even if it's not us.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why do people care for children if they don't CARE for them?

Seriously. This question plagues infertiles. We have to stand by and watch a certain celebrity white trash blond hold her baby in her lap WHILE DRIVING, and people beat their kids in public, while we cradle our empty bellies and weep. It still makes me angry to see people being cruel to children they are supposed to be taking care of. Spitting, seething mad. Why the hell do they have children if they don't want them? What happened today wasn't actual abuse, but for the damage it will probably cause it should be.

I have a co-worker that adopted an infant from foster care last year. She is a little over a year old now. This co-worker, I'll call him George, and his wife, we'll call her Kate, decided to renew the foster license last year. They were originally adoption only, like us, but were matched with the baby and then given 30 days to get a foster license. They decided to renew it because they heard the birth mom of their baby was due to have another one. They wanted to keep the license so that they could take immediate custody when the baby was born. This is the important part to remember - they had no interest in fostering. They ONLY wanted to be available for the biological sibling of their daughter.

About a month ago I got a call on a Sunday night from George. He told me they had accepted an emergency placement of two girls that was only supposed to be for the weekend. The case worker had just called to tell them that it was going to be indefinite unless the couple refused, in which case the girls would go to a group home. George and Kate did not want them to go to a group home, but they didn't want to keep them. They asked me if I could take them. Of course I had to say no because my husband won't even consider foster care of any kind. I was upset but thought the girls would be well taken care of. Boy was I wrong.

The younger girl can't read (she's 7) and is totally resistant to any education. Kate is a teacher and can't stand that. George is an intellectual snob, he constantly makes fun of 'rednecks' and people he sees as inferior. They keep pushing the girls to catch up with their peers and complain when the girls refuse to cooperate. At first I thought they were doing the best they knew how and would just have to learn how to deal with the frustration. But now I am appalled at how these two are acting.

I babysat for them one night. We had a great time. The girls are respectful and obedient. The only issue they have (and I confirmed this with George) is a resistance to new things, like reading every day and eating vegetables. Hmm . . . let's see. Two girls removed from drug addict parents that probably never read a book in their lives. They just lost their entire family; mom, dad, and four siblings. The closest they've probably ever been to a vegetable is the french fries at mcd's. And you are expecting them to LIKE getting pushed to excel at school and eat all their vegetables? Really?

Now that issue I would just put up to slightly bad parenting. It's the rest of what I hear from George that makes me boiling mad. He makes fun of their accents. He makes fun of their fear of sharks. He makes fun of their family and pretty much everything about their lives. He openly complains that he wants them gone and him and Kate go out of their way to exclude them. They take the two foster kids to daycare and not their adopted daughter, who gets to stay home with mom all day. They brought the two foster kids to me to babysit and took their adopted daughter to grandma's. They went on vacation out of state and because of the rules had to leave the girls in respite care. They waited a day and a half to pick them up after they got back in town and when the girls asked them why, they told them the paperwork said they couldn't pick them up before such and such a date. George and Kate don't want the girls to refer to the house they live in as 'home'. George actually corrected me when I asked him when they brought them 'home'. In short, they are treating the girls they agreed to take care of like unwanted house guests.

They took the same classes I did. The ones where we were told to treat foster children NO DIFFERENTLY then our own children. They don't want those girls and even though I'm sure they don't say these things in front of them, those girls know they aren't wanted. They know that they are not as important to George and Kate as the baby is. They know they will be dropped like dog poo the moment the baby's sibling is born. IT'S KILLING ME TO WATCH THIS. Why the fuck did they take a placement if they weren't going to CARE for those kids?

I still can't convince my husband to try foster care. From some of what he said I think it is more baseless fear and self doubt than a legitimate problem. He claims he will be distant with foster kids because he is afraid of losing another child. I think it is a cop-out because he has insecurity issues with his ability to be a father. I'm so PISSED he's not willing to even try to work on it. His solution is to stick his head in the sand and wait for me to give up. He is genuinely sorry that it is breaking my heart, but not sorry enough to try to change it. I don't know how I can keep hearing these stories and not forcing him to do something. I know I can't save everyone, but I KNOW I can provide a loving home for those girls.

I'm signing my whole family up for counseling. If we can't work through this we won't make it. I either need to find another outlet for my mothering instincts or he needs to expand his comfort zone. I'm fucking tired of always being the one to compromise. When is it my turn?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The tragedy of adoption

This is the post I meant to write last night. Perhaps it's better to write it without the two glasses of wine.

I've been researching private adoption agencies because I am finding that social workers are extremely reluctant to place children out of birth order. It may be a long time before we get an adoptive placement because all the children available are older than my daughter. And I still desperately want a baby, which we are unlikely to get because my husband won't consider any type of foster care. I recently discovered that the cost for a private adoption won't be as prohibitive as I thought. It would cost about the same for two medicated cycles but with the new tax credit I would get it back. Buy my agency research is leaving a very bad taste in my mouth. To explain this I want to tell you a story.

A lot of the emotional problems I currently have can be traced back to something that happened long before I was born. In the 1940's a sixteen year old girl, Virginia, became pregnant. Her parents were horrified and sent her away to have the baby. They took custody of the baby, probably without even consulting the mother, and raised him as their own, disowning and abandoning their teenage daughter at the same time. Fast forward a few years and this young mother is married and has 3 young children. In 1953 her alcoholic husband abandoned her and her 3 children. In desperation she got pregnant again with another man trying to "trap" a husband. It didn't work. This young mother was now pregnant with 3 young children to care for. It was 1953 and it was socially unacceptable for a pregnant woman to work. I suspect she didn't have any skills she could have used anyway. Welfare was not what it is today and was largely privately controlled. So Virginia turned to the only people she thought could help her, Catholic Charities.

The church offered to keep Virginia and her family in an apartment, but at a very heavy price. They told her that she would have to give all of her children up for adoption as soon as the baby was born. I'm sure she felt she had no choice and I know her choice hurt her deeply and destroyed her life. I don't think she was ever given any options or help to try to parent her children. She had to stand by and watch as her children were all taken away and separated. She was able to stay in touch with her youngest daughter, the newborn she placed. She was adopted by a family friend and when they thought she was dying of scarlet fever at seven years old, the family revealed who her first mother was. Her oldest son, the one she lost as a teenager, wanted nothing to do with her. Her second oldest son, who was five at the time, was separated from his sisters and had several failed adoptions before finally being adopted by a less than capable family in Texas. Her oldest daughter, 4 at the time, has never been heard from again and Virginia was convinced until the day she died that her daughter died of a broken heart soon after being placed in the orphanage. Her second youngest daughter, my mom, was 3 when she was placed in the orphanage. She was quickly adopted by a woman that was incredibly cruel to her until the day she left home. My mother was moved while she was asleep from the orphanage to her new parents' car and then across the country. She did not see her birth mother again until 1985, after she had 3 children of her own and a severe mental breakdown. This is the third generation affected by that one decision. I watched the results of my mother's abusive childhood in her suicide attempts and refusal to leave our abusive father. The cycle is finally broken in my family and my sister's (not my brother's, but that's another story) so the end of the story is not all bad. But it was a long damn road to get here and there were many, many casualties along the way.

So you see, when I think about private infant adoption I don't just think about a brand new baby to hold and love. I think about the baby's mother, who may not have had the support she should have. A mother that wanted to parent but was forced by circumstance to rip out her soul and hand it to a stranger. Both my mother and her brother were abused in their adoptive homes. While I know that won't happen in MY home, the birth mother won't know that. I can alleviate that worry by having an open adoption, but how do I make sure I'm not gaining my happiness by ruining someone else's life? I've been finding lots of horror stories in my research. **Edited to add - these are all recent stories, not from when my mom was placed.** Stories from birth moms saying they were coerced into giving up their children. Stories where the grieving mothers were denied the counseling and medical care they were promised, care already paid for by the adoptive parents.

I think it is possible to make the adoption process as healthy as possible for all parties. There are certainly circumstances where the child should not remain with the birth parent. But how do you know? The main agency I'm looking at doesn't have much information out there, so it's hard to know if they will do the right thing. I want a baby but I don't want to be part of another multi-generational cycle of loss and pain. I wonder if there is a way to get what I want without all the peripheral damage.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Never fitting in

Do you ever feel that way? That something about you is just not normal and no matter what you do people will think you are odd? I've had that feeling my whole life. In a strange way being sub-fertile was a good thing for me because I finally found a community that I felt like I belonged in. But then I got pregnant, fairly easily, and then my baby died. Everything about that pregnancy made me feel alienated from everyone except the one person I've met online that has a similar story, although she has not had as much luck as I have. At least I have been able to get and stay pregnant once. But now I can't get pregnant at all, and I don't have the money for treatments. So while I can go on the infertility boards and chat with people, it really doesn't help. No one on the boards is in this place where they can't even afford injectible meds and an IUI, not that I have found. I'm also having a very hard time finding anyone that has a child and is trying to adopt through foster care.

With a single exception from SHARE, I don't have any friends in my non-computer life. I had a couple but they moved away and it has always been very hard for me to make friends. I keep hoping I will hit it off with one of my daughter's friends' parents, but nothing ever comes of my efforts. I think I'm a nice person and interesting to be around, but a lifetime of no one showing up when I throw a party has made me think there is really just something wrong with me. Obviously I have some self esteem issues or I wouldn't even be writing this post, but I thought they were well hidden.

This waiting for someone to look at our home study and think "this is the perfect family for this kid I need to find a home for" is really compounding the problem. Granted, we have only been searching for 2 months, but NO ONE has written us back. It's soul crushing to keep putting yourself out there and never getting any feedback. Do they think I am too screwed up? I was honest on our application about my awful childhood. I thought what I have been through would give me some insight into what kids need who have been through worse. I didn't think my story was all that horrible compared to some of the stories out of foster care. What if I was wrong and they all think I am broken?

Do you know what the worst part is? Watching my daughter begging for friends and/or siblings and knowing it is mostly my fault that she doesn't have either. I don't want her to grow up so horribly alone and it breaks my heart. I just don't know how to fix this. How DO you make friends that stay?

Monday, August 8, 2011

What would you do?

I really want to know because I think there may be some angles I haven't thought of so I'd like some outside input.

I went to my gyn doc today because I decided if I can't get pregnant then I want to do something about this damn endometriosis. Most of the treatment options I knew of also actively prevent pregnancy so they haven't been an option until now. Here's the thing, though. In my head I have given up all hope of ever having another baby. My heart still hangs on to that last ridiculous thread of hope, not helped by the aunt who "adopted and then got pregnant" story I keep hearing OVER AND OVER (please don't do that. ever.). So while I am theoretically on board with preventing pregnancy in the name of reduced pain, I am not so sold that I want to make it semi-permanent.

My doctor gave me several options to think about, listed below with some pros and cons I have thought of. Please tell me which option would appeal most to you and why, I'm hoping there is some factor I haven't considered because I am really, really torn.

Option 1: Take cyclic progesterone (2 weeks on and 2 weeks off)
Pros: It should regulate my period and won't prevent pregnancy
Cons: It will probably only help a little with the endo pain, progesterone makes me very sensitive to heat and I work outside in a heat index of 110-120 degrees.

Option 2: continous birth control for 3 months, then a period, then another 3 months OR cyclic progesterone.
Pros: possibly no period for 3 months (it didn't work last time but this is a higher dose), could 'reset' my ovaries and allow me to get pregnant after stopping
Cons: high dose is a higher risk of dangerous side effects, effectively sterile for at least 3 months and I'm not getting any younger, not really likely to work

Option 3: Lupron, which will cause artificial menopause for six months
Pros: no period for six months, likely to reduce endometriosis for awhile after stopping (worked for me before, for awhile)
Cons: might be very expensive, hot flashes are a side effect (work outside), might not work and will definitely prevent pregnancy for six months

Option 4: do nothing and save up for accupunture
pros: a little less stressful not having to remember pills, more natural, could get pregnant (insert laughter)
cons: VERY likely to go back to highly irregular periods and near constant bleeding, no relief from the endo pain, it will take a long time to afford treatments (a year or more)

Option 5: Get the mirena IUD for a year or two and reassess
pros: Might have no period at all, has been shown to reduce endo symptoms
cons: won't do anything for fertility, prevents pregnancy, might have constant periods, expensive (This is the option I wanted until a few days ago)


So, I am leaning towards the birth control for three months but I'm feeling very negative about the chances of it working. There are several things I have to consider. I can't take meds that will make me get heat exhaustion out in the field, which could kill me. The endo pain has gotten so bad that I spend the first two days of my period drunk and holding on to a heating pad. I'm running out of excuses for work. I am 35 and I've already had one baby with severe defects. I think that really jumps up the chances of having another poor outcome at my age. I really want to just say 'screw it, I'm not going to get pregnant' and go with the option most likely to reduce the pain. Problem is, I don't really know which option that is, and if it's lupron and IF my insurance will cover it, I still can't take it until winter so the hot flashes don't make me sick. But I can't convince my heart that there really is no hope. That non-logical part of me really wants to leave a window open for miracles. GAH! NOTHING IS EVER EASY!! I think I may get that tattooed on my forehead.

There is one thing I keep forgetting because I can't afford it right now. My main purpose for going today was to ask for another laparoscopy. I had one when I was 21 but nothing was removed because there was a lot of blood vessels nearby and my surgery was in a small hospital. There wasn't a surgeon on call that could fix massive internal bleeding so my doctor wasn't comfortable trying to cut off the growths she found. Now that I know this it can be planned for and I have a better chance of getting some real relief from surgery. My doctor was fine with doing the surgery but warned me that it is not feasible if I can't take significant time off of work (which I can't - no sick leave). She said there is a chance the small instruments won't be enough and they would have to make a larger incision and perform a laparotomy instead. That would be similar to a c-section and I would have to be out of work for six weeks. It will be 2 years, at least, before we can afford that. So, again, the &^%)& money is an issue. If only I had never gone to college and become a plumber instead.

Well, anyway - what do you think you would do if these were your options? Keep in mind I have a living child and we are pursuing foster adoption, so even though I really, really want another baby, it won't kill me if I can't have one (or so I tell myself).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Of Course

The day I told my sister that I was giving up on ever having another baby she warned me that our cousin is pregnant. Our cousin is 21. This is her second. Her first she got pregnant with at 17. 8 days after announcing her wedding to the first baby's father, she announced on Fbook that she was expecting again. My sister and I already had plans to visit that set of family members because our grandfather is getting very old and had some recent scary health problems.

That trip is going to be hell.

Does this ever get easier?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Where to go from here?

I'm not sure what to do about this blog. I've had so much support here that I don't want to move it, and I don't want to leave it behind because pretty much everything I have of Aiden is here, but I'm faced with a dilemma. The way Aiden died was tragic and horrible, and because people can be closed-minded and stupid, controversial. I'm worried if I open up fully to the adoption community that I will start getting the types of hate mail I worried about in the beginning. Back then I was looking for someone to fight so I probably would have relished a troll or two, but now I don't know that I have the energy to defend my decisions.

I recently started following blogs of people that adopted from foster care. I've been looking for blogs like this for some time but only recently found the message boards that these people frequent. I subscribed to a few but left my subscriptions annonymous. I'm not sure what I'm afraid of. Chances are these women are largely infertile and many probably know what loss is. I kind of doubt a person willing to take in foster children would be cruel to a random stranger on the internet, but I hesitated. It's one thing to trust my pain and sadness to this wonderful community of mothers who have lost babies, it's another to open myself wider. I feel kind of fragile right now, but I need to speak with people that are going down this road I'm about to travel. This is a decision that will take some time to make, I think. For now I will remain here and hope that I continue to find such loving and supportive women.

My state of mind is slightly better. I'm still really angry but that has been helped by having a good target. My crazy neighbor at work has been actively trying to piss me off the last week and I find myself all too happy to engage. I've managed to keep it below our manager's notice but I'll have to be careful not to let it get out of hand. In the meantime it's nice to have something tangible to be angry about that doesn't involve self hate. I am afraid to sleep. I'm taking large doses of melatonin hoping I won't remember my dreams. Last night I was recovering from some horrible stomach bug and dreamed that I was going to the store to get a pregnancy test because I thought (in my dream) that the puking meant I was pregnant, period be damned. I woke up confused and wondering if I had any tests still in the drawer.

I got to work today just feeling exhausted and hopeless. I managed to shake some of it off after hearing about the most heartbreaking story. One of the girls we inquired about is still available and the heart gallery coordinator told us a little about her. She is in foster care for the SECOND time because her adoptive mother died. I cried when I read that. How much trauma is one little girl supposed to handle? And one of the main things they want to know when you adopt is how your children will be cared for if something like this happens. What was wrong with that woman that she didn't have a plan? It's possible the girl's behaviors are very hard to deal with (big surprise, poor baby) and the person that was supposed to care for her gave her up, but that's even worse. Gah! It just kills me hearing all these stories. Parents are supposed to protect their children. These kids should not be where they are, which is of course why we are doing this. But I can't take them all. I can't take the ones that are so hurt that they lash out at everyone around them. How I wish I could because those are the ones that need a family the most. I keep thinking of how I was when my mom was suicidal and I was running away. If I had been in foster care (I almost was) my file would have been full of red flags. Who would have taken me? But I find myself in the position of having to be picky, because I have to protect the child we already have. That seems particularly ironic right now. How I wish I had the answers or a magic ball. I have a feeling I am just beginning to learn what hard is.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tomorrow was not better

I hurt, just about everywhere. The pain medicine that I took so I could at least go to the bathroom without screaming has caused my stomach to cramp every time I eat. My heart hurts, my brain hurts, and my stupid uterus REALLY hurts. All of that is pretty secondary to the anger right now. I still really want to hurt someone or something. Surely there is something/someone (besides me) that I can blame, something I can do to get this poison out. I have been exceptionally hard to get along with since Thursday. Even though I recognize that I'm taking my anger out on everyone around me I can't seem to stop it. I'm wondering if maybe I need to be back on AD's. This is an awful lot like the anger I had after Aiden died. Maybe after my mom's suicide attempts I'm so afraid of depression that I just get angry instead. I suppose that's better for me, but it makes it harder on everyone else.

I had a talk with my husband that really crushed what hope I had left. I asked him months ago if he would consider respite-only foster care. I was trying to avoid his fear of losing a child he cared about by making it strictly a temporary situation. I reasoned that it would be a good way to at least have babies in the house and we would meet more foster parents and case workers that might eventually lead to an infant adoption. I had forgotten when I asked him about this how he reacted to our neighbor's son after we lost Aiden. He refused to be left alone with him. He was extremely reluctant to interact with him at all. Even though we saw these people very frequently, I think he held the baby once the whole year we lived next door. He told me that he couldn't stand being around a baby that wasn't his. I took that to mean that the pain of holding a baby (especially a boy) was just too much for him. It never occurred to me that he would still feel that way. He's been putting me off on the respite care and I finally pushed him for an answer. He started crying and told me that he just can't have a baby in the house that we can't keep. He can't care for someone else's child. He didn't want to tell me because he didn't want to take away my hope.

I told him that I would never force him to do something he wasn't comfortable with. I told him that wouldn't be fair to anyone in the family. I didn't tell him that he was right. Any hope I had that I would someday have a baby in this house, in our family, is gone. I didn't tell him because it wouldn't be fair; he already feels horrible that he can't give me what I want so I didn't want to add to that. But the loss of hope isn't even what made yesterday so hard. It was the confirmation that we are not on the same page. He admitted to me that he doesn't care if we never have another baby. He said he was sad we couldn't get pregnant but that adopting an older child was a perfectly acceptable alternative to him. We are not even on the same planet. I desperately NEED another baby. Older child adoption was never an alternative to having a baby for me; it was supposed to be in addition to. I wanted to do it because I want a larger family and I really want to provide a family for a child that has been waiting far too long, but I still want a baby. The two things are not really related in my mind. When I thought of my family when I was younger, I thought of two babies, followed by adopted older children when the babies were old enough to understand. I was never set on my children being biologically mine, but I was set on them being babies, at least the first two. Now it seems that I will only ever have that one experience (which I thank the universe for every day) of parenting an infant. It’s just heartbreaking. I thought I could find a way around this failure of biology, but it can’t be done. And a tiny but kind of loud part of my brain keeps whispering that I could do it on my own. Not that I would ever in a million years leave just so I could have a baby (I kind of doubt that would work out anyway) but the horrible little thought is there. What is wrong with me?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Trying to get drunk enough to stop the tears

I hate crying myself to sleep. I especially hate it when my oblivious spouse is snoring beside me. So I got back up and am currently working on my fourth glass of wine for the evening. I spent dinner pleasantly drunk but the buzz wore off before bed. I realize I sound like a major alcoholic right now, but I don't really care. Given my stupid useless body's poor response to most medication, alcohol is really the only relief I get from crippling cramps when my period starts. It just so happens that today I am in mourning and the haze is especially welcome.

By the way - for all of you ladies with severe endo like I have - you have to try cataflam. It works amazingly well. Of course, if you are sensitive to NSAIDS like I am you will think you are having a heart attack when the acid reflux kicks in, so you have to pick your poison. Hence the alcohol. I'd rather deal with the wine hangover than the severe chest pain for days.

I wish there was someone around here I could talk to that gets this. (Hope - if you're reading I don't mean to exclude you - pregnant people are hard to be around right now. I hope you understand, and I hope everything is going well for you). The friends I could call include 2 pregnant women, one of whom is unemployed (along with her husband) and purposely got pregnant with her third when the second isn't even two yet, a 37 year old virgin, a woman who couldn't be bothered to take the pill and has had several abortions, and my sister who has access to the best medical money can buy. You can see that I have trouble with resentment in pretty much all these cases. I realize I sound like a stuck up bitch but I know when something will cause more harm than good.

I feel stupid for being this upset. I knew this was the likely outcome. I already have a 5 year old miracle. There are so many worse problems to have. But no matter how long I lecture myself it doesn't change the image in my head, the image of a baby that didn't even make it past a pound, who's head was so fluid filled I was afraid it would break open just from me holding him. I KNOW that having another baby won't make that go away, I just don't want that to be the end to this story.

It would really help if my husband would get a clue and NOT solicit sex from me when I am hurting this bad over my body's failure. He has never gotten the hint that since Aiden died I have equated sex with making a baby and him asking for it when it is clear it is just for recreation is not helping me. It's not that I don't love him or find him attractive, it's that I don't love ME. I am broken, and fat, and ugly, and useless. I have absolutely no desire to remind myself that sex will not get me what I want most. I just can't separate it the way he can, I wish I could.

I didn't expect to be so angry. I hope the days ahead get better. I almost lost it at work today. One of my very liberal co-workers was complaining about a draconian abortion law and I (very stridently) pointed out the most women find out something is wrong at 20 weeks, at which point there are no options in this area. If he didn't know how my baby died before, he probably does now. I cried all the way home and can't seem to stop. I was reminded again that the state I live in would have been happy to force me to be a life support machine, but wouldn't have helped at all once the baby was born with so many horrible problems. How can a baby with no stomach be considered viable?

Anybody have sad/angry song recommendations? I think I will need some more music therapy in the next few weeks.

I think I am drunk enough to sleep now. Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Irreversibly Broken

I started today. So yesterday was the last day that there was any hope that I might some day hold an infant of mine again.

I am beaten by this thing. I'm so fucking angry that I can't contain it. It spills into everything. I can't deal with my daughter's sudden defiant streak. I can't deal with my husband's thoughtlessness or my crazy co-worker's ridiculous problems. I want to get roaring drunk and hide for a few days. I want to scream and cry and HURT SOMETHING.

There seems to be no release. The people I am close to can't seem to STOP getting pregnant. Even my own husband doesn't get it. I just told him yesterday that I would start today or tomorrow and he couldn't figure out why I was in a bad mood today. I think he still doesn't understand that I'm not just disappointed. This isn't another bump. This is the giant fucking concrete wall on the edge of the grand canyon. There is no more maybe, no hope, no miracle. There is so very little chance of ever having the cash for a medicated cycle or a private adoption. He won't consider legal risk or foster care, which is the only way to get an infant from foster care. So this end is much more final than all the others. I think part of me hates him for not being crushed like I am.

I am determined that this won't stop our family from growing. But I will always deeply mourn that the last time I held an infant of mine he was cold and still and so very, very small.

This blog will be changing. I am putting all this energy into our foster adoption. I don't expect much from this because I am so afraid of losing again. But I hope some of you will follow me on this new journey.

P.S. As bitter and angry as I am right now, I still want to hear about your little miracles. I just may need to take a break now and then.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

really done?

That's it for me and fertility medicines in pill form. After a bad reaction to clo.mid and now two cycles of severe migraines with Fe.mara, no RE in their right mind will let me try them again. It's not like I would anyway. I do think my life is more valuable than bearing a child. But is hurts, a lot, to know that my chances of another baby are now infinitesimally small.

I had a little hope that this last ditch cycle might work, but my husband is working in the field this week. It's 95+ outside. He's working in fatigues on the beach. Guess what he is cooking while he's out in the searing heat all day long? You guessed it, the one thing that seems to actually be working, his sperm.

I hate that he doesn't care enough about our chances to reschedule his workload. Yeah, he would have to make something up for his boss - but he can't fake a cold for one lousy week? I'm pissed and hurt that he is saving all of his spending money to buy a $400 gun and it never occurred to him to put that towards a cycle. Every time he mentions the extra paycheck we will get this month, he talks about stuff he wants to buy. Frivolous stuff. Crap that we don't need and might not even use very often. I get that he is tired of living paycheck to paycheck and wants to enjoy his money a little more. Yeah, it sucks that we can't go buy something just because we like it. We have both lived that way our entire lives. But, for the first time ever we have a savings account and our debt is actually decreasing and all I really want is a baby. No matter how many times I tell him that, it just doesn't sink in. I don't think it's that he doesn't want one. It's that he really doesn't understand that I have an expiration date (if I haven't already passed it) or he thinks it will just happen if I "relax".

After 3 years and 7 medicated cycles and no live baby, how the hell can he expect a different outcome? I don't even know what to say to him.

So maybe this is the final, really real, really, really real end point. I don't want it to be. I hope I'm wrong*.

* I know - I keep saying I'm at the end of the road. I just can't seem to give up, even when it is obvious I should. Is there anyway to cure that?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ambivalence

I haven't heard anything new about the kids we are supposedly being considered for. When I tried to ask the coordinator if they will tell us if we are NOT selected (so I know to stop worrying about it) she got defensive and didn't really answer the question. I'm pretty sick of trying to get answers from her without pissing her off. She literally holds our lives in her hands and I fucking hate that. She is a burned out, bitter old woman that can't find anything positive to say and I have to be nice to her so she doesn't sabotage our chances at building our family. It is so incredibly frustrating to know what we want and have to accept that the outcome is completely out of our hands. It all comes down to luck and other people doing the jobs they are payed to do. AGGHH!

On the other hand, I have my stupid brain's continuing refusal to give up hope on the biology front. After talking to my clinic I went ahead and filled another Fe.mara script. They were fine with me not getting monitoring if I wasn't having headaches. So I got the meds, and then forgot to take them on CD3. Says a lot about my frame of mind, right? I just started on day 4, figuring that I can't really make my cycle any worse and one day shouldn't make any difference. Problem is, the last two days I've had a migraine all day. This is not a good sign. I may be forced to give up hope but I find myself curiously unconcerned. Is this denial? Or am I finally getting to acceptance? I have no clue. All I know is that I don't really want to be doing another cycle, but I can't make myself stop either.

I need a lobotomy.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crazy couple of days

In the midst of my deep anger and depression over my stupid body's inability to do one simple task there has been a flurry of emails about children.

It started on Monday. I had called the adoption coordinator for our area last week to find out when we would get a copy of our home study. There were two children in different states we wanted to inquire about and we needed the study to send. She said it was in the mail and asked what type of children we were looking for. I told her ideally a sibling group of two where at least one child was under 7. She sent me an email (to my work address) that I didn't get until after a long day in the field on Monday.

She wanted to know if we wanted to be considered for a sibling group of two. A little boy who is 6 and a girl who is seven. The problem is that they are legal risk. For those that don't know, legal risk means their case plan has moved from reunification to adoption but there is still the possibility that the parents could complete their case plan and get the children back, or a relative could show up wanting to adopt. My husband has said he's not willing to do legal risk because he thinks it will be too hard on me and K if we lose a child we are attached too. I'm a little more willing to risk getting my heart broken if it means getting more kids. That's pretty much what infertility is anyway, month after month of heartbreak and pain. At least with the adoption there is a very, very good chance that eventually it will work out.

So we talked, and he agreed (reluctantly - I think only because I was devastated about the latest negative) to be considered for the children and decide after we have more information if it's a risk we want to take. Progress!

Even though I checked at home Tuesday after another long day in the field, I didn't notice until yesterday that she had sent another email 20 minutes later asking about 2 more children. These were separate cases of 4 year old girls. One has speech and learning delays but is progressing well, the other has ADD and some oppositional behaviors. As soon as I emailed her back that we'd like to be considered she sent another email about a boy/girl sibling group, ages 2 and 7. I replied I'd like to be consider for all of them and then she wrote back that the legal risk staffings for the two 4 year old girls had been canceled because one had a relative show up and the other had just had TPR completed, meaning she is free and clear for adoption.

So - we are now in the running for FIVE different children. One is free for adoption so the only issue is whether we are a good match. The others are 2 different boy/girl sibling groups right in the age range we really wanted. The 2 and 7 year old are really ideal. That way K gets to be the big sister and has an older sibling that is close enough in age to play with.

I'm a little hopeful. Don't get me wrong, I still break down in painful sobs every time I start to dwell on the fact that we can't pursue anymore fertility options. But now at least the adoption stuff is going somewhere and we have a real chance at a larger family. Things seemed so much bleaker on Monday.

Of course the waiting for the staffings and match meetings is going to drive me crazy, but that does seem to be the nature of the game.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It can't get any whiter than that.

A glaring negative, and oh look, is that blood? Why yes, of course it is.

That's it, universe. You broke me. I am fucking done.*





*I reserve the right to change my mind if I win the lottery.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Long time, no update

So sorry. I have been posting updates on Glow and really thought I had updated here. For all of the two readers I have left after my blog neglect, here is an update.

Nothing terribly exciting. Another endless 2ww. This is my first ever monitored cycle. I had an encounter with Mr. Wandy on CD 3, followed by 5 days of Fema.ra. Thank goodness, this time no migraine. That is a huge relief because another round of migraines would have nixed not only this cycle, but any future assisted cycles. I was pretty damn scared for the first two weeks.

I went in on CD 12 for another date with Mr. Wandy (he really needs to work on his wooing skills - that freaking hurt) and was told I had one "nice" follicle. I think it was on the large side (22mm) but the RE wasn't concerned. So I did a trigger shot, which one of the nurses gave me for free (I LOVE her) and should have ovulated between the 7th and 8th, so I have 4 more days before I will know if this worked.

I'm trying extremely hard not to think about it. The last 10 days have already felt like a month. Everything seems to hinge on that one tiny egg. Thanks to the $1000 I just had to put into my 13 year old car, I don't have enough for another cycle unless they will let me go without monitoring (unlikely). I can probably try again next year, but that seems forever from now and I'm only getting older.

To help with the 2WW crazies, I have a head cold/severe allergy thing and can't tell if the nausea is from that or could be a pregnancy symptom. I keep telling myself that it's way to early to get symptoms and so far I believe it. Unfortunately, I can't take any of the meds that would make me better because they are all class C. While I certainly am willing to suffer a lot worse than a horrible cold for a live baby, I'm going to be REALLY pissed if I'm not pregnant and had to be miserable for no reason.

So, I will update on Wednesday.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Right where I am: 1 year, 5* months, and 2 days

Thanks Angie, for a wonderful project.

At 6:05 am on New Year's day in 2010 a very small, very still little boy was brought into the world. His parents loved him and named him Aiden, flame, for the brief little flame that was his life.

Sometimes it feels like my life stopped that day, and my current existence is a weird sort of afterlife where I have to worry about things like dentist appointments and paying the bills. Other times it seems like the period between August 2009 to January 2010 was just a long and terrible dream. Part of me still lives in that ultrasound room, wishing things would end differently, and part of me is here, living my life. It is a weird sort of dichotomy that I have gotten used to. It is my new existence.

I wasn't going to participate in this project because I didn't think I had anything to say. But I was loading pictures onto F.ace.boo.k, the first thing I have done on that site since announcing Aiden's death, when I realized that my life is mostly back to normal. This normal is not what I had pictured, but to outside observers it appears normal.

I thought about posting something about Aiden when another anniversary comes and then wondered if anyone would ask if I was over his death. Of course I am not over it. I've known from the start that there is no "over" with this type of loss, but I do think I am past his death. I no longer dwell constantly on what could have been or where I went wrong. I no longer question my decisions on a daily basis and wish I had known how things would go. I am more accepting of the fact that I had no control and could not have predicted, or changed, anything. This doesn't mean I don't still miss him with a deep, painful longing, or that I'm not still angry over my body's failure, but I am doing okay now.

I think if I had to sum up a feeling for where I am now, it would be to say, I got through his death. I am not "over it" but I did get through it. I survived a hell I had never imagined. I kept going until I didn't have to force myself to go through the motions every minute. I never consciously thought, "I will live until tomorrow," but looking back I can see that is what I was doing. Living another day, and another, until living became easy again. It took a long time. A year and some change doesn't seem that long intellectually, but it felt like decades. Some days were just so hard to get through that they felt like weeks. But now here I am, on the other side, and I can see the sunshine again and plan for the future. And part of me will always be sad that I can do that without my son.

*When I wrote this I had to count the months - which tells me that I am really not dwelling on the loss anymore. I originally posted that it was 4 months and then realized I had counted wrong. I never would have thought that could happen even six months ago.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Slightly better . . . and something I haven't told you yet

I have new babies in the house. Not the species I was really hoping for, but an absolute pleasure anyway.



Sorry about the grainy picture, I was in low light and not really able to move. That is me laying on my living room floor with a pillow under my hips and a heating pad on my back. I managed to throw my back out at work again yesterday so I am trying to avoid the doctor's office today and taking it easy. I realized I hadn't told anyone here about the kittens yet and they came over for some love while I was reading blogs. I thought I would share the cuteness. The black one is Lei-lei and she is nursing on my neck. The tabby is Petri and he is a sweetheart. Lei-lei is trouble. She is always the first to try something and usually gets Petri to do it to and then lets him take the fall.

I'm a little more hopeful. I haven't gotten a migraine yet and I only have one more dose of Fe.mara left. I go in for a trigger shot on the 6th. I don't really expect this to work but at least I don't have to give up right now without even trying. In the meantime I will enjoy my new little babies and my big girl.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hard day

So this is cycle day 2. I had to go in for my baseline ultrasound today because the satellite office is closed on weekends and the main office is over an hour away. They were nice enough to do the scan today. It went well but the news from the doctor is not good.

He is very concerned about the severe migraine I got with the Fe.mara. I was on that to begin with because I had a bad reaction to Clo.mid. The nurse told me that it is really rare to have someone that reacts badly to Clom.id, and even more rare to have someone react badly to Fe.mara. So I guess that puts me on the bad side of statistics again. The nurse said that the headache could have been a sign of high blood pressure or something else equally dangerous. She kept emphasizing that I already had a baby (I'm aware of that, thanks) and that it wasn't worth risking my life for another (does that mean it is worth it for one?). She told me to go ahead with the Fe.mara and the monitoring but if the headache returns I have to stop the meds immediately and this cycle will be canceled. Which would mean I just threw away the $300 I spent on the baseline ultrasound and the blood tests.

On a good note - the monitoring is not as insanely expensive as I thought. The chart I saw was for injectibles. The nurse I saw today at the satellite office said she has a free round of the trigger shot to give me. I just about leaped over the counter to kiss her.

Unfortunately, if I don't respond well to the meds, we are at the end of the road. I can't pay for the injectibles so there is no point in continuing. I'm trying not to borrow trouble by assuming this cycle won't work, but I've pretty much spent the entire day crying. I kept saying after my pregnancy with Kira that I would much rather get a baby another way. Sometimes lately it seems like I should have been careful what I wished for.

Of course now I just feel like a heal because I caught up on my reader and there are so many women out there dealing with this and worse that have never had a living child. My heart goes out to them because I just can't imagine that level of pain, or the strength it takes to keep going. But despite feeling bad for wallowing is self pity, I can't seem to shake it. So I am baking french bread and drinking wine and crying. I think a hot bath is next.