(In case you were wondering.)
Today we went shopping to pick up juice, creamer, vitamins and margarine.
On the way to the back of the store, we passed the baby section.
I gave it the finger, as hard as I could, the whole way by.
Never even looked in that direction.
Hand high up in the air, That Lone Finger stabbing relentlessly at the air that it was slicing through, I walked on by, emanating the directive.
You know. THE directive.
I think that’s right on par with where I should be in the healing process.**
**According to Lotus’s Handy Dandy 23423042394 Step Guide to Healing from being SUPER Frackin’ Pissed Off at the World at Large as well as Specific Elements of It in Particular, thank you very much.
Also, I have something(s) to share with you soon. Not now, because I don’t feel like it yet. But soon.
December 31, 2008
You were my first full year of blogging on my very own, self-hosted website from beginning to end. That was a happy thing about you. As I have written and published posts on my website this year, I’ve learned, grown, healed, changed, triumphed, laughed and cried.
I had a few trolls, it’s true. And unfortunately, I often take the trolls too seriously. I’m an emotional, sensitive chick with a high need for love and a fair amount of insecurity – it’s easy to slice me to the core. But, yes, trolls are just silly, angry people with too much time on their hands. I think Backpacking Dad said it in my favorite way recently, on Redneck Mommy‘s site:
“I love trolls. They’re so cute when they take their little poos everywhere.”
What’s more important about blogging for this whole year is that I’ve made wonderful friends and received love and kindness, as well as laughter and good cheer, from people I never would have met if I hadn’t stuck with this blogging business.
2008, that was so good about you.
My baby turned into a little boy this year, too, 2008. He had his first haircut and finished getting all his teeth (finally!). He asked to sit in a big chair (!!!), and the high-chair is gone.
My little boy, just this past week, left his crib. He is sleeping in a bed now. *heart beating hard*
He sings songs with words, and dances. He counts to 20 and knows all his letters. He can drink from a juice box and he’s learning how to brush his own teeth. He can take off his socks, pull down his pants, and he’s playing with the idea of actually using the potty again.
He snuggles his cheek up against mine, puts his hand on my other cheek and says, “Hufff-yooo.”
He quotes Spongebob Squarepants and asks me for milk when he’s thirsty.
He looks at me and says, “Aww, duuuude.”
No longer a baby, he is a boy.
This is bittersweet, 2008. My heart gets this panicky, tight feeling as I watch Braden grow so fast, 2008. So very fast.
But then it swells with pride. He is MY boy. I am so grateful for him.
So that has been good, as well, 2008.
I even finally lost the last 15lbs of my “baby weight” and got back to pre-pregnancy sveltness while you were around! That was phenomenally good, 2008. I was so incredibly happy to be moving more swiftly, and feeling lighter. (And fitting back into those hot jeans was certainly not a bad thing – bow chicka.)
Also, 2008, you gave me not just one, but two more babies. What a joy it is to find out there is a life growing inside of you. What an amazing, phenomenal thing that so many take for granted – a thing many of us just brush off as easy, or incidental.
It’s not, 2008. It’s incredible. It’s a delicate, vulnerable thing. A beautiful thing. When a live baby is born, it is a miracle of sorts.
You taught me that, 2008.
That was very much not a good thing. I don’t like you right now, 2008. It’s going to take me a very long time before I can look at you again without tears in my eyes. I want to grab you and shake you until you feel as bad as I do.
I keep trying to be mature about it, 2008, and see all the good things we had together. I keep trying to count my blessings, 2008, because I know they are many!
But you know what?
Right now, I just can’t. And that’s okay. For awhile, I think I am going to let myself hate you with all of my heart.
For awhile, I am going to be a child.
It’s not fair, 2008. It’s not fair.
I’m not your friend anymore, and I don’t want to play with you ever again.
It’s not fair.
2009’s Anxious Mistress,
Ok, so. Since I’ve started talking about the death of this baby, I’ve been letting myself vomit all these emotions and feelings I’ve had onto The Internet. That’s infinitely cool and wonderful for me, personally, and you have all been so supportive. And I’ve been really glad of that. But I’ve also felt just a little, teeny bit uncomfortable, because some of you have said things that I feel give me far too much credit. Like that I’m really strong, or handling things with grace, etc.
And while I am incredibly touched by the kindness and love in those kinds of comments and messages, I have to be honest and tell you that I am really, really not strong or graceful. I’m just emotional and mouthy.
I let all these things flow because I’m weak, and needy, and insecure and unsure and I’m searching for meaning and grasping at anything that might make me feel better.
And I really have to do exactly what I always say I do (be honest and real here), or I’ll be a total asshole. Yes, I let myself be really emotional, and I am sharing with you guys these big, fat, weepy, sentimental thoughts I’ve been having.
I haven’t really typed any of the ugly yet.
Oh.Mah.Gah, the ugly feelings. The ugly, ugly thoughts I have. To be sure, I’m experiencing plenty of anger, shock, and bitterness. I am, by no means, immune to The Big Fat Ugly side of this whole thing.
In fact, I’m an Expert at The Big Fat Ugly.
The Oh So Not Strong OR Graceful Moments of late:
- On Thursdays they show shots of babies born that day, at a local hospital (the one at which Braden was born), on TV. I saw this the Thursday after finding out Fuzzball was dead, and busted out crying, snotting all over the couch, in a heap. When John came over to comfort me, I had the gall to wipe away my tears and tell him I was crying because those babies were so damn ugly. (Graceful much?)
- I was reading blog posts about ordinary things this past week… and seeing people complain about… regular stuff, and gee, that is normal and that is what we all do, yes? But right now, I am rolling in and out of The Ugly, Bitter Phase. I have been biting my fingers not to say things on these blog posts like, “Oh, Really? You’re upset b/c you’re leaking vaginally after you gave birth to a healthy baby? F YOU. I’m wearing pads and leaking after having my dead baby scraped out of me. Go hug your baby and shut up.” (And really, all apologies, b/c the post was great, there was nothing wrong with it at ALL. It’s just ME right now. I HATE feeling this way.)
- Braden has been really “2” this past week. More than once I have just covered my face and ears and just started breathing really hard, instead of responding when he was freaking out about something. As if he doesn’t need me. As if I’M the child here. I don’t know what I’d do if John wasn’t home right now. (Strong? Hah.)
- I completely, totally, insanely lost it and shrieked at John about his french fry selection when he brought dinner home one night. Then I refused to sit anywhere near him for at least the next 10 minutes to teach him a lesson. Later, I realized what a douchebag I had been. FRENCH FRIES. Ugh.
- I really, really, really, really, really, REALLY cannot handle people saying ANYTHING to me about God right now. This includes how I should feel about/towards Him, how I should be reacting Faithwise, what He has planned for the future, or why He let this happen, etc. I know people don’t know WHAT to say at a time like this, and are just trying to help… but in all honesty (that’s what I’m trying to do here) I am PISSED OFF. I am REALLY REALLY hurt and REALLY REALLY mad right now. Please just let me be mad and hurt right now. I have a right to feel this way. I don’t know how long it will take before I work it out. But I AM SAD, MAD, AND CONFUSED.
For the record, I have not resented anyone else for being pregnant right now – or for actually having healthy babies. Seeing complaints about issues surrounding pregnancy/birth makes me twitch a little, yes. But there is no actual resentment.
Mostly, I just feel sorrow when I think about the ladies I was supposed to “have a baby” with.
Like her (the first baby I lost would have been close to the one she’s about to have).
And look at all these ladies on my Pregnancy Roundup. I had so many plans to do fun things for them, celebrations and updates and photos and… well, I just can’t do it now. I can’t make myself do it anymore, and that makes me all kinds of Angry.
It’s the Big Fat Ugly.
Late at night on Sunday, December 7th, I wrote this article, for Deep South Moms Blog, about what it feels like to face the holiday season with the first instance of the due date of my miscarried baby looming. When I miscarried back in April, I knew Christmas Eve would never be the same. That is when that first lost baby was due.
As I wrote the piece, I was reflecting on how far I’ve come since those first few days after losing the baby back in April. The utter hopelessness. The anger. The confusion and pain. I realized that the pain is so deep, it’s as if it will never go away completely… but over time, it somehow becomes easier to live with, and serves to remind me to be more thankful of the loved ones I still have in my life.
It has been almost 8 months since that first miscarriage, and I was just feeling like I had come out on the other side of the deepest of the immediate grief. And I knew that it was in part due to the passage of time, and the love and kindness of family and friends. In part it has been due to my being lucky enough to be able to write about my feelings and emotions here, and receive support from all of you. (Have I said thank you? Really. Thank you so much.)
I was feeling something I haven’t felt for awhile.
But what’s really bitter now is that a large part of my renewed hope came from the fact that I had a new life within me. A life that was crossing into the second trimester of a pregnancy that I had not even expected, but that I was starting to believe was meant to help me heal.
I spent weeks upon weeks feeling tense. I spent almost 3 months checking my underwear multiple times a day, and staring at the toilet paper every single time I wiped.
Slowly, so so slowly, the tension had just started to recede.
I had seen and heard his tiny heart beating, quickly, with vigor. He was healthy, and moving. He was ALIVE. He was going to make it, damnit. He really was.
Surely, so so surely, the tension has just started to recede.
I found myself leaving the restroom and realizing, after the fact, that I hadn’t looked at my underwear. I hadn’t checked my toilet paper.
I believed. I wasn’t just saying I believed. I really did.
It felt so good.
And then on Tuesday morning, December 9th, everything fell apart around me (us).
It was as if I’d been walking carefully on a thin sheet of glass suspended over a black abyss for months, but somehow, I’d just started to believe it was cement, and I started tap-dancing. The bottom fell out – the floor exploded, and all I had to grab for as I fell were shards of glass that cut my hands as I dropped into the abyss.
No heartbeat on the fetal doppler for us to hear.
No little, pulsing muscle in his tiny chest for me to see on mini-ultrasound.
My lovely doctor trying so hard over and over to find it. My lovely doctor getting visibly frustrated, upset, but still trying and trying. My lovely doctor giving up and telling me she was so so sorry.
Ohhh, my inability to believe this was happening… and ohhhh, my immense guilt over believing for so long that it would end this way, anyway.
And Oh, my Anger that it actually did.
My hope? Gone.
No heartbeat on a full blown ultrasound.
I stared at the screen, at his tiny body inside of me.
People, he looked beautiful and perfect on that high-tech ultrasound screen. I saw his little body facing me, as if he was looking at me to say goodbye. His tiny little arms and legs were there, framing the perfect little body in the middle.
Framing the perfect, little, middle part, where everything was silent and still.
Not really so perfect at all.
Every night since then, I’ve stayed up late, so late, doing ridiculous things like working on my website redesign. Things that I can blur my mind with. I’ve stayed up until my eyes just couldn’t see straight anymore, until I just couldn’t hold them open anymore, so that when I did lay down in bed, I’d fall right asleep.
I’m not ready for the thoughts that will come in the quiet darkness.
Every morning when I’ve awoken, I’ve had that horrible moment when I realize that, Yes, this reality is my reality. There is still a dead baby in my womb.
And when they take him from me on this Tuesday morning, I don’t know what I’ll have left to do but start to move on.
And that is the saddest thing of all.
And I’m sorry about that.
No heartbeat at yesterday’s prenatal appointment.
Based on size, Fuzzball made it to 11 weeks, 4 days.
In a sense, there’s nothing more to say.
And still, there’s so much more to say.
So little desire.
The result has been that I lost 15 lbs and FINALLY made it back to my pre-baby weight! It’s about time, considering that Braden is very, very close to his 2 year birthday.
It’s kind of hard to keep calling it “baby-weight” once your kid can walk, talk, and count.
I’ve been fitting back into clothes I haven’t worn since 2005 and I’ve been feeling pretty darn good about myself. Being back at the weight I was when I got pregnant with Braden feels really good.
And I’m glad I really enjoyed it, for the short time I got to experience it again.
Braden has another chance to be a big brother, it seems!
This past week there have been signs… tenderness, bloating (already? gee.), increased hunger (also already? great.), olfactory sensitivity. A week ago, I knew that Braden, who was on the second floor, had dirtied his diaper. I was on the first floor. Hai, Pregnancy Nose!
This past Friday morning I did the ole’ Pee On A Steek test, and it confirmed that there is a tiny life beginning a journey inside of me. It’s been about 4 weeks since first day of last period (I’m sure you wanted to know)… so the pregnancy is considered to be about 4 weeks along (though conception probably occurred about 2 weeks ago).
I know some of you are wondering why the hell I would tell everyone so early. Especially since Baby Number 2’s journey ended in miscarriage just 5 months ago. The answer is simple: it’s just not in my nature to pretend things are anything other than what they are, or to hide things that are a big deal to me.
I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t scared. Nervous. Apprehensive. A tiny bit freaked out. Periodically on the verge of tears. Gassy as hell. (Well, it’s true. I am one HORRIBLY Gassy Preggie.)
But I am also excited and hopeful. I’m choosing not to let the fear consume me. To that effect, I can’t pretend I’m not pregnant. I can’t not share it with you guys! It would be like saying I’m expecting the worst, instead of believing for the best.
Oh, and yeah, I’m going to put one of those creepy baby widgets on the sidebar again. Because I’m sure it will skeeve a few of you, and that kind of makes me smirk.
Check out my lil’ 3D stomach alien on the left sidebar, folks!
By the way, I’m super thrilled to have discovered, on the same day I found out I was pregnant, that this gorgeous woman is pregnant with me and due around the same time! Look for dueling belly updates in the future. 😉
PS: Here’s one of those semi-obnoxious tickers, too. What can I say? I’m cheesy like that.
It’s that time of the month when I’m more emotional than usual. More sad. More stressed. More angry. More prone to tears, what ifs, and blank stares.
Recently, a long-time and very dear friend of mine named Jenny sent me an email that carries important words, and good advice. I asked her permission to share it with you all, and she agreed.
So, for any of you out there who are feeling, have felt, or will feel the same way I do right now, maybe you’ll find something here that helps you turn it around, or just to deal with it more effectively. Or maybe just to make it through another day without feeling like giving up.
I know you didn’t ask for any advice, and so against my better judgment I’m going to offer some without solicitation, and I hope you’ll forgive me for doing so. You know my story, you know about all my failed pregnancies. Five years ago, I was struggling. My life wasn’t turning out like I wanted. I had dead babies instead of living ones. I had no answers and no health insurance to help me find answers. I had crazy moods and baby hamster hairballs in the shower drain and an empty womb and it wasn’t what I had planned. All my friends were on their 3rd or 4th child by then. I was tired of going to other people’s baby showers. I was broken hearted every time I looked in the spare closet and saw baby clothes and gear staring back at me, taunting me with their uselessness. I absolutely hated to hear any pregnant woman complain about her nausea, her swollen feet, her tiredness- what I would give for any of that. After the hopefulness that came with each positive pregnancy test, came the fear of loss, the inevitable emotional investment and hope, and then the emptiness of actual loss.
Then came this moment where I could see clearly: While I really do believe that most of the pain of the human experience is self-inflicted, some things are truly beyond our control. My life is not always about my choices. Things happen to us, and we get no say in how they turn out. What could I do about my childbearing life at that point? Could I change history, or even my obstetrical future? No. The situation was out of my hands. But the great realization was about gratitude. Could I hold my babies and raise them and nurse them? No, but I had other opportunities that my friends with little babies did not: I could go out of the house for more than 2 or 3 hours at a time. Heck, I could go out of town if I wanted. I could give blood, and do upside down yoga poses. I could make love to my husband without the let-down reflex squirting breast milk everywhere. I could work and take night classes. I could sky dive and ride roller coasters.
I couldn’t control what was happening to my body. I had to resort myself to the fact that 1- I may never know what is causing this to happen, and 2- I may never give birth to another living child. Rather than dwelling on those uncontrollable elements, I chose to focus on what I did have. The summation of the realization for me was this: Be grateful for what you have, when you have it.
I could spend my time and energy wanting what I couldn’t have, wishing for something beyond my control, hoping for karma or God to sort out the kinks and make everything right, or I could make the most of what I had right then, even if it wasn’t what I had hoped. I realized that no matter what life is handing me, I have a multitude of blessings to make the journey pleasant, even wonderful, if I choose to see them. Life is fluid, ever changing and shifting. I would not always be in the place, emotionally, mentally, that I was in then. Who’s to say if I’d be in a better one or not, that is also out of my hands to a degree. I knew that if I did have another child, I would have a host of other challenges, as well as blessings to appreciate. But for now, this is what I had. And I owed it to my husband and living children who were depending on me, and to God who gives me each day, to make it count for something. If not, life would end up passing me by while I hoped for what was around the corner. Be thankful for what you have, when you have it.
Again, know that I care and I want you to feel well and whole. If I’m full of crap, you won’t hurt my feelings to 1- roll your eyes and hit delete, or 2- write me back in all caps and tell me how wrong I am.
Of course, I didn’t roll my eyes. I nodded and cried. And now I look back at these words often.
I think I’m going to take Braden to the park on Thursday and watch him run around and remember that the day he was born to me, whole and alive, was such a special blessing. Every day after that with him (even the tough ones) has been another special blessing in and of itself. There’s really nothing bad that can happen that can ever take from me the great gift of everything I’ve experienced so far with my son. So many wonderful things and moments – there’s no way to catalog them.
Today, I am thankful for that. And remembering to be thankful for that makes the other stuff easier to deal with.
Thank you, dear friend.
Several nights ago I was sitting in the dark of Braden’s room; he was cradled in my arms, breathing quietly. As we slowly swayed back and forth in the rocking chair together, lullabyes playing peacefully on the CD player, my mind jumped back and forth. It climbed mountains torturously, then lept off of the summits and plummited into the valleys below. My face was slack, but my thoughts rumbled and tumbled below the surface while I felt the warm, soft life in my embrace cuddle deeper into sleep.
Suddenly, I burst out crying. Crying for the tiny life that I wasn’t able to hold onto in this way. I sobbed – quietly, so as not to disturb Braden – for a few long moments. Then I placed him in his crib and left the room. As suddenly as it had come upon me, the weeping was gone.
It’s been like that for weeks now. Since the miscarriage.
The extreme dichotomy of my feelings and thoughts lately has been a confusion at times, to me. At others, it has made no less than perfect sense. See what I mean?
I was pregnant one day. Then, suddenly, I wasn’t.
Riding the rollercoasters at this Carnival From Hell that no woman wants to go to, but that is packed full of people, nonetheless, has been strange.
Some days, hearing about how many others have gone through this, multiple times, even, is a great comfort. I am actually incredibly buoyed by the scores of other women who feel somewhat betrayed by their bodies, or maybe even by God. By women who have experienced this same thing and are floating alongside me in this sea of uncertainty.
It means that I am not really standing out in the middle of a barren wasteland, alone, while a relentless wind tears and rips at my exposure ravaged limbs, muffling my cries and carrying them silently away into the vast nothingness surrounding me, where they will mean nothing and no one will ever respond to them.
Instead, at every bend, there are arms ready to pull me close, hugging me and imparting comfort and understanding; a place to cry and grieve and heal.
But on those other days, the “bad” ones, if this has happened to you? I want to pretend like you don’t exist. I don’t want to hear about what you’ve gone through. I especially don’t want to know that it has happened to you 2, 4, or 7 times. I don’t want to think about how sad it is that this happens all the time, multiple times to some women. And I really don’t want to think about how this could so easily happen to me again.
Then, the very next day, I probably want to run to you and make you hold me again.
(Please, if you shared these things with me, don’t be offended, and please don’t stop sharing. Please. This is the nature of the beast – while I sometimes want to pretend you don’t exist – I still find I need you! Just read the first part I wrote about it up there^! I just have a need to be really honest with myself and others about the dichotomy of my feelings right now, and this is part of it. If you have been through this, you will likely understand.)
The split, this back and forth, doesn’t end there, though. Ohhh, no. There is so much more.
Some days, I look forward to trying to have another child at some point. I think about a sibling for my son, a tiny baby to love and coo over, another dimension to our family. I think about the joy of being pregnant, meeting a new life, and discovering how another personality will fit into our home.
Other days, I am terrified at ever being pregnant again. I shrink away from thoughts of what it will be like to have another positive pregnancy test. Instead of bursting at the seams with Joy and Bliss like I did the past two times, I imagine that I will feel incredibly Anxious and Fearful.
I mourn the death of the joy that should accompany that positive test, and I imagine the fear and sorrow that will replace it – as well as the paranoia. I imagine it, and I feel a great sense of avoidance.
I picture a future pregnant me waiting to see blood every.time.I.urinate. And I can’t imagine being able to shoulder the endless stress that will inevitably invoke.
Some days, I feel strong and whole. Some days I actually feel more alive than before. I feel more passionate about living and doing and being. I feel more grateful and in awe of the life that courses through my veins, and that resonates through the bodies of my son and my husband.
Other days, I feel more vulnerable and fragile than ever. I feel more fearful and worried about the delicate nature of life – not just early life, either – any life. I feel guarded and over-protective about my son on those days. I feel anxious and worried about my husband. I feel scared. Terrified, even.
Some days, I take comfort in knowing that my baby is in Heaven. God wanted one of ours next to Him. I feel the complete peace that is, as a lovely friend of mine so eloquently said, knowing my baby will live for eternity never having to experience sadness.
But most days, I just want my baby back. And I feel selfish. (But it doesn’t stop me from wanting that.)
In fact, some days I want my baby back so bad that it really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other that I can probably have another child eventually. Hearing that does not really comfort, on those days. Because I don’t want another one. As John can tell you, because I’ve said it to him multiple times already, I just want back the baby I already had. I was feeling this so strongly one night that I just cried into my pillow, feeling guilty and selfish and immature. And whenever someone has said that to me… that I can have more… I have secretly been angry. Because you would never say that to me if Braden died. And this baby was no less my child than is he!
Then I read that I’m not the only one who feels this very way.
And it must have been a good day, because I felt a bit vindicated, and took comfort in that.
Proof that I need to hear all these things that you all have to say.
I’ve never wanted to get off a Carnival Ride so badly. I’m just ready to fall asleep in the car on the way home, you know?
And more than anything, I hate knowing that while I’m riding, the damn contraption is going to keep stopping over and over again to let, no, force new passengers on.
All I can hope for is that I’ll have something to say that will comfort them.
On the not so bad days, of course.