Saturday, October 30, 2010


Someone posted this on my grief and loss message board, and I wanted to repost, as it is really sadly beautiful...

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step. Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in other's eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them. But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try to walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so that they don't hurt quite so much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

-Author unknown

Friday, October 29, 2010

Going back to being a kid again

You know how when you're a teenager you go through the angsty phase of trying to figure out who you are?  Where you sit in the dark and burn candles and write poems about your cellophane-covered soul?  Well, maybe that was just me.  I was big on the whole cellophane-covered soul thing.  I thought it sounded West Village circa 1958. Anyway, that was the last time that I spent serious time trying to figure out who I am and who I wanted to be.  Oh, I've thought about it a lot since then - you don't sit in Landmark courses for years and not think about who you're "creating" yourself to be.  But I haven't engaged in the deep examination of myself that I did when I was, say, seventeen.

When I was seventeen my world crashed down around me when my parents split up, and I had to figure out who I was as someone who didn't have a family unit to rely on anymore.  Now at thirty-four my world has crashed down around me in losing my baby boy, and I'm trying to figure out who I am in the face of more physical and emotional pain than I ever knew was possible in the world.  I just realized that thirty-four is double seventeen.  So every seventeen years something really awful has happened in my life.  Remind me when I'm fifty-one to avoid doing, or planning anything big.

So what I'm doing now to figure this all out is going back to what made me happy when I was a teenager.  Familiar stuff like writing with markers (I thought I was so cool taking notes in AP History with skinny crayola markers and doing each paragraph in a different color).  Listening to Peter Cetera.  Ok, so he's familiar and cheesy, ok?  I like that.  I downloaded a player that will let me play Wonder Boy on my PC.  Wonder Boy in Monsterland rocked my world in the fall of 1993.  I had bought a Sega Genesis from a guy I knew at work, and one of the games that came with it was Wonder Boy.  Man, I played that thing for months before I finally beat it.  I was seriously obsessed.

I'm also lighting a lot of apple cinnamon candles.  When I was sixteen I started cutting school.  I didn't do it to go engage in petty criminal activities.  Nope, I did it to stay home and study in peace (my parents argued a lot and it was pretty tense when they were around, even on their own - too much grief and pain for a seventeen year old girl to handle).  One day while cutting school I drove into Downtown Lancaster (that was a big deal for me at the time - driving around in The City) and I went to the old Watt and Shand in Penn Square (which is now a convention center, incidentally) and I bought a Ziggy assignment planner, new markers, and a crapload of apple cinnamon candles.  I think I was trying to create a homey feeling in my house - a psychologist would probably have an explanation of why I felt the need to burn apple cinnamon candles all the time.  I think I got pizza at the place on Queen Street on the way back to the parking lot.  When I got home, I burned my apple cinnamon candles (this was also slightly contraband because I wasn't really allowed to play with matches, even as a teenager) and put on a record (a real record, with an arm and a needle) of the Messiah and I sat in the living room and did my AP European History reading with my dog Rocky on the couch next to me, and I felt very peaceful.

I bought apple cinnamon candles in bulk at Target the other day.  Now I just need a dog....

So my dad is visiting this weekend, and I'm excited.  It will be good to be comforted by my dad.  Every girl needs a good dad.  I'm glad I've got one.

Finally, on a practical note, I had my follow-up doctor appointment yesterday, and he gave us the ok to start trying again after one cycle.  We also started grief therapy with the therapist that we did our pre-marital counselling with.  My mother-in-law says that we're doing everything right.  If results are a product of the actions you take, then we should be in ok shape.  Last night we sat down to paint together, and independently we both did paintings about Baby Teysko.  We're learning how to express our grief in creative ways, and not just breaking down and crying.  We do that a lot too, but we have to learn how to channel it because it's not going anywhere for a while.  National Novel Writing Month starts next week.  I wonder what I'll be writing about....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Feeling vaguely human

It was a big day.  I went back to my office and joined humanity for a few hours.  I work from home mostly, but do have an office I can go to, and generally go twice a week.  I haven't been there in ages, what with having the flu, and then losing Baby Teysko.  It was nice to put on some make up and regular clothes and listen to NPR in the car.  I even stopped at Target on the way home, and got vaguely excited when I saw they had new designer bags, but then went back to being blah over it when I realized that those bags pretty much sucked.  Florescent pink leopard print?  Seriously?  Hello, 1983 called and they want their neon back.

Jonathan came along with me, and we laughed and talked and hugged, which is largely what we've been doing the last two weeks.  More laughing lately.  That's one thing I love about my hubby.  He always makes me laugh. We make up stupid songs together about random things like chicken nuggets and cat poop, and then we sing them in harmony, and we crack up.  Maybe you have to be there.

There isn't a second of the day when I'm not thinking about Baby Teysko, and I have an empty chasm in my heart, but I'm learning how to function with that part of my heart gone.  I don't know whether I'll ever get that part back.  I'm guessing I won't.  I will just learn to live with the ache.  And I will laugh, like I did today.  I will cry and sob and break down regularly, but I will also smile when I think about Baby Teysko, and know that he's with me all the time, hanging out with me and rooting for me to be happy.  He doesn't want me to be miserable.  He wants me to laugh the way I'd laugh with him.  Eventually an entire day might go by where I won't break down.

And I finally let myself think of myself as a mother yesterday.  I am a mother.  I don't have my baby anymore, but it doesn't mean I'm not a mother.  I delivered a baby boy two weeks ago, and just because he isn't here doesn't mean I'm not his mother.  I will always be his mother, and he will always be my first, my little boy.

I'm excited to get pregnant again.  I'm praying for a lot of sticky baby dust to fall on our house with the leaves and the snow this winter.  Follow-up doctor's appointment on Thursday.  Hopefully he will give the all-clear to try again after a cycle or so.  At the hospital they told me to wait 6 months.  I was like, hello, I'm 34.  I don't actually have 6 months.  But they have to say stuff like that.  My doctor will give me the straight talk, and I'm excited for it.

The weather has cleared up, and it's a good day.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


It's the day before my 4th wedding anniversary.  Jonathan and I are coping.  I cry about 30 times a day, but it doesn't last as long as it did before.  I miss being pregnant.  I miss my baby boy.  I want him back.  But I'm not going to get him back.  So I'm trying to be grateful that I had him in the first place, for almost 21 weeks.  And that I know I can get pregnant.  And that I have an angel baby who I will meet someday.

I don't know who I am anymore.  This has had such a profound impact on me.  I don't know what I like to do.  I don't know what brings me joy.  I don't know what music to listen to.  The other day I put on Pandora and it was still on the Mozart channel I had started so that Baby Teysko would have good brain development.  I couldn't listen to Mozart, but I didn't know what else I wanted to listen to.  I don't know what to read.  I don't care about anything other than my husband.  I'm forcing myself to eat, but I have no appetite.  I don't care about bubblebaths.

Basically, I don't care about anything, and I don't know when I will.  I don't know who I am, I don't know what defines me.  Everything that seemed important 10 days ago seems so petty and stupid now.  I always thought that my struggle to get back to living in England was the biggest obstacle in my life.  I don't even really care about England right now, as weird as that sounds.   

I think that it will get easier with time, and I will figure out what's important to me.  Honoring Baby Teysko is important to me now.  My family is important to me.  Trying to figure out how to make something good come out of this is important to me.  Befriending other women who are going through this is important to me.  I will learn to live with this ache, and I will find joy again in life, but I don't know when.  I hope it's soon.

We went away for the weekend to Yosemite.  It was healing to commune with nature and talk to our baby and feel his spirit with us.

I am grateful that I got pregnant and that I was able to feel Baby Teysko move inside of me, and to bond with him.  I am grateful for the community of other women going through this.  I am grateful for my wonderful rock-star husband who is taking such good care of me.  I am thankful for all the support and love that so many people, even people I'm not really close to, have shown me.  I'm grateful that I was in such a good hospital, and they took such good care of me, and Jonathan.  I am grateful that I still have hope of having a baby, as terrifying as it will be to get pregnant again.  I'm grateful that the weather is supposed to clear up today.

Life goes on, one breath at a time.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Today is International Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day, and in a horrible cruel twist of irony, we are mourning the loss of our pregnancy on Tuesday night at 20 weeks and 6 days.  The best guess is that I got an infection wile I was sick, which went into the fluid around the baby.  On Tuesday afternoon the fluids broke and I had to deliver a baby that was still alive inside of me, but wouldn't survive without those fluids.  I've fallen completely in love with my husband all over again.  He was beyond awesome.  He was a superstar, and he still is.  We are clinging to each other, and I am trying to hide from the world. 

Part of me wants to block this all out - take some kind of drug to make me a zombie until the pain is bearable.  But as tempting as that is, I'm smart enough to know that it won't help.  Some stuff just has to be dealt with, or it keeps coming back.  And this is one of those things. 

We will heal, and we will try again, and we will have a baby.  It won't be Baby Teysko - Baby Teysko is up in heaven, and I'm not going to call another baby that.  But we will have a family, and we will heal, and eventually it won't feel like there are knives stabbing my heart every time I take a breath.

There are a few very clear memories that I have of Tuesday afternoon/evening.

The first was when we were still at home, getting ready to go to the doctor's because I had cramping.  We were just on our way out the door, and I thought I would pee again, given the fact that I was peeing every five minutes.  That's when my water broke, and I screamed.  Jonathan kept me calm and called the doctor, and he said to go to the nearest emergency room, not to try to go to him.  The entire drive, I was bleeding like crazy, and crying, and trying so hard to keep it together, and I remember there was a gorgeous sunset.  I remember thinking that maybe it was a gift for me because God knew what we were going through, and knew that I could use some really stunning colors at that time. 

When we got to the hospital there was no parking, so Jonathan parked in the ambulance spot and left the keys in the car while he rushed me up to the labor and delivery area.  After filling out the paperwork, and getting me a room, he asked whether he should move his car and everyone agreed that he should, so he left for five or ten minutes.  That's when they told me what was going on, and I insisted that I wasn't making any decisions without Jonathan.  The doctors tried to tell me that there weren't really any decisions to be made, but I shut my ears until he came back. 

I don't remember the few hours of labor leading up to the delivery.  I remember people were talking to me about pain medications, epidurals, and things like that.  I had been pretty much against an epidural for the birth, but I was so upset with this, and I knew the baby wasn't going to make it, so I said I wanted to be drugged, stoned out of my brain, and not have to remember any of it.  So an epidural was ordered.  By the time I got it, I was having horrible contractions, and really struggled to sit still long enough to receive it.  I remember screaming for people to help me.  I was so frustrated, and in such pain, and there was a room full of doctors and nurses but nobody seemed to be doing anything to help me.  I realize now that I had their full attention, but there just wasn't anything they could do then. 

In another twist of fate, the epidural didn't work, so I felt the entire thing.  I did get some other pain medicine, which helped a lot.  It let me relax enough to both deliver the baby, and the placenta (after another hour of pushing). 

Afterwards, they brought me a big glass of sprite and cranberry juice, and I remember thinking that nothing in the world had ever tasted so good.  I also remember thinking how weird it was that in the midst of such pain, something like a cold drink could still be so wonderful.  I was also really hungry, and again it struck me that in the middle of this, the body still wants to go on, and life still wants to go on.  They brought me some food, and it felt good to eat.

As the drugs wore off, and I became more aware of what was going on, that's when I started really falling in love with Jonathan again.  He had taken such good care of me.  He had been so strong.  He had done everything exactly how he should have done it, and I just wanted to wrap myself up in him and hide from everything.  After a few more hours I was transferred to another room to recover, and they had set a cot up for Jonathan, but I wanted him in the bed with me.  So we squished each other in the little bed, but we found a comfortable position and slept for several hours like that, spooning, until it got light.  In the past few days, we have spent hardly any time apart.  He only left me alone at the hospital to come back home and get fresh clothes for me, and feed the cats.  During that time I took a long shower, so it was ok.  When he came back, he had changed into my favorite t-shirt of his, the one he wore on our first date.  I love that man.

I am trying to find the silver linings.  The biggest one is that this could have easily happened on the plane to London.  With all the blood I lost, I don't want to think about what might have happened if I'd have been trapped on a plane over the ocean.  And I would have been alone, without Jonathan.  The next time I'm pregnant, I'm not planning any cross-country flights.  And I'm not leaving Jonathan's side for more than a few hours at a time. 

The second one is that I was able to pass everything without needing surgery, which makes the healing so much faster and easier.  I'm already feeling pretty close to normal physically, and the blood loss is letting up.  As awful as it was to have to go through delivery, I am so grateful that they forced me to do it because it has made it so much easier to recover.

Emotionally, I want to get pregnant again.  I loved being pregnant.  It was miserable sometimes, and I was nauseated and hot all the time, and couldn't sleep, but I loved it.  That being said, it will be so hard for me to get as excited about the next one.  I told Jonathan that the next time we're pregnant, I didn't want to do anything to get ready.  I could start a shopping cart at Babies R Us online and then after the baby is born I could just buy everything and have it delivered quickly, and someone could bring us a car seat and we could buy stuff at the hospital.  Because this is just too hard, and we didn't even have a nursery or anything like that ready yet.  I've heard about women losing their babies the week before they're due, and I don't know how you cope with something that awful.  I just really don't know how anyone is expected to cope with that.  So I know it's cynical, and I will probably change my mind, but the next time we get pregnant I'm not doing the fruit-ticker thing, and I'm not buying stuff, and I'm not getting super-excited.  I'll take my vitaims and go to my appointments, and I'll take good care of myself, but I will save the excitement for when I actually hold the baby. 

The other silver lining is just how much love there is out there.  I feel like there's this secret club of women who have lost pregnancies, and when you go through the initiation to become part of it, they just welcome you in with such love and understanding.  I'm so sad that I need to be part of this group, but am blown away by how strong they all are.  If you need to be forced in to a group of people, this isn't a bad group to be forced in to. 

Early mornings are the hardest part of the day for me, and I'm glad it's daylight now and there are sounds in the neighborhood, and people are up and moving around, living life.  It's amazing to me, how strong the pull of life is.  Life wants to be lived, more than anything else, and I'm going to do my best to live it.  I need some time to hibernate and wrap myself in my husband and just be a little coccoon for a while, but after I get some energy back, I'm going to go live life, because that's all you can do. 


Friday, October 8, 2010

Adventures in the ER

So I've been sick for a week.  Just a flu, but the big deal with that is that apparently it's not good to have a fever when you're pregnant.  Which, of course, I am.  What to Expect When You're Expecting says to notify your practitioner if your fever goes above 100.4.  All weekend it just hovered below 100, so I didn't call.  Then on Monday, it went to 100.5, and I called the doc.  They told me to call back if it went over 101, which it did on Tuesday evening.  I should say that the fever itself wouldn't be that horrible.  It's the shaking and chills that accompany the fever that really suck.  Like I'm burning up, but I just can't get warm at the same time.  I'm completely paralyzed, stuck under a blanket and freezing, unable to do anything because my limbs are shaking so much.  This is not a pleasant experience.

Tuesday night at 10pm they tell me to go to the ER, so hubby and I get dressed and head down the hill to Loma Linda because our mountains hospital doesn't deal with pregnant women anymore.  It's a big brouhaha, actually.  And man, the Loma Linda University Hospital is the place to be on a Tuesday night at midnight.

Here are some highlights I saw.

1.  There was a girl wearing a pink hoodie, not unlike the one I was wearing, actually, who was there because she said she was suicidal and unstable.  When I first arrived she was on the phone at the security guard's desk, demanding to speak to a social worker because she felt like she might be suicidal.  She was determined to find a case worker to deal with her crazy at midnight.  The thing is, I would have felt bad for her, except then she started wandering around the waiting room asking people if she could have a light for a cigarette.  When she secured a light from a guy who was there with a headache ("God will be good to you, sir," she blessed him in response for the light), she realized that her cigarette was nowhere to be found.  Back to the desk she goes, telling everyone that she left her cigarette on the top of the toilet, and could someone go in there and get it for her because she was too unstable to do that.  She has a light, but nothing to smoke.  It's always one thing or the other, isn't it?

No one would retrieve the cigarette, but eventually a girl who was blasting some ke$ha out of her phone offered her a cigarette, and after ensuring they were a brand she could smoke, she trots back to the desk and asks how long until she gets seen.  They told her they didn't know, but would be with her as soon as possible.  She asks if she can go smoke outside.  They tell her no.  She asks why.  They tell her that they are worried about her instability.  She sits back down, becomes entranced in SportsCenter, and takes apart the cigarette, mumbling.

2.  The Girl with the Fake Toenail:  I have to say, I am totally impressed with how they did things at the ER there.  In my vast experience with ER's (I've seen four, I think, not counting the tv show, which I never actually got into) what always happens is that you sit there watching bad tv until they call you back, and then they talk to you and find out what's going on, take blood, etc.  At Loma Linda, as soon as I checked in, they took my vitals.  Then they had me talk to a nurse about what was going on.  Then I sat back in the waiting room for a little bit, and then they called me back for blood work.  Then it was back to the waiting room again until I got called back to see the doctor.  Very efficient, I thought.  I approve.

So I get called back and am in a little room with a curtain in front, and in the room next to me there's a girl, and her mom.  The girl has lost her toenail.  Apparently her boyfriend stepped on it, and it came out.  But she explained to the doctor that it's all fungy and black, and  has been so for years, so the nail itself is fake.  I couldn't tell, but I think she meant that she has a fake nail on top of a stub of a real nail.  It wasn't very clear.  The doctor is going to numb it, and then just clean the opening, and apparently a new one will grow back.

In between discussing the black fungus on her feet and waiting for the numbing, it comes out that her keys are locked in her car, and she has no papers in the car that prove that it's hers.  Her mom thinks that triple A won't give her the keys back if she can't prove it's her car.  Her response to this logical point isn't to say something like, "huh, maybe they can trace it through the license plate," or something reasonable like that.  She of the Black Fungus Toe responds by screaming, "I don't f*cking care!  It's my f*cking car!  They can't say it's not my car!  I know it's my car.  So f*ck them."

That's right, sweetheart.  F*ck the people who got out of bed at 3am to open your car for your stupid fungal big toe.  J was sitting in the chair next to the bed trying to look serious, but we nearly lost it at this point.  I was biting my sheet to keep from laughing.

The doctor comes back and says he's going to make sure there's no remnants of the toe left, and she wonders when she can get the fake one glued back on.  He tells her she should wait until the real one starts to grow, to make sure it's healed, and she deems that deserving of a f*ck as well.   Though I guess it's kind of embarrassing to walk around with a giant black toe all the time.  At least the weather's cooler, so she can wear socks.

In between the fungal festivities I get seen by the doctor, who is confident that my flu is viral and not bacterial, which is a good thing for the baby.  My blood work looked fine, and he tells me to keep taking my tylenol, but he's going to check with the attending physician just in case there's anything she wants to go over with me, too.
Which gives me some time to lie back and listen to:
3.  The Adventures of Headache Man:

Headache man sat in the room opposite me breathing heavily.  He was the one who was blessed by Instability Chick for giving her a lighter.  Now I understand that he probably did so just to make her shut up.  So he's sitting on his bed breathing heavily, sighing, and sounding generally miserable.  I'm feeling quite bad for this guy, and hoping that he gets seen soon.  And then the doctor comes in.

"So, you're back again, huh?"
"Another headache?"
"Tell me about it..."
"Well, it's been going on all day.  I just can't stand it.  I'm going to pass out and die."
"When you've been in before, what has worked?"
"Well, they normally give me a bunch of _______ (some medication I don't know), and it takes 5 days for it to go away."
"We ordered a shot for you of ________ (another medication).  Did they give that to you yet?"  The doctor starts looking through the paperwork.
"Oh Hell No.  I have a phobia about shots."
"But this will help.  It really will.  It will knock you out and you can sleep here for a few hours, and you'll feel a lot better."
"It's not worth the shot.  You should have seen what my girlfriend had to go to when I got my ears pierced."  (if you have a deathly fear of needles, why would you get your ears pierced??)
"Have you seen a neurologist about this?  It's not really normal..."
"Oh, it's normal for me.  And I don't want to see a doctor.  They'll poke me with needles."
"I can give you the card of a good neurologist here."
"You can give me the card of your best friend for all I care.  I won't go."

And I'm wondering, didn't he sign something saying he would let them treat him when he arrived?  Cuz he seems kind of...belligerent.  Why would  you go to the ER if you're not going to let them help you?  Why would you wait in that crazy waiting room with Instability Chick listening to SportsCenter if you're not going to let them give you medicine that will make it better?

Well, his doctor patiently went off to check with the attending physician and see what, if anything, could be done for him.  Not sure what happened because I left then, but I sure hope he figured something out.

Got home at 4am with a fresh supply of sprite, which I've been living on.  I've lost 4 pounds being sick, which worries me a little bit because I don't want to starve the baby, but I've been drinking lots of sprite and juice, and I've been taking my prenatals, so I think Baby T is getting enough nutrition.

I surely hope I'm well for my trip to England next Wednesday... I will gladly accept any good vibes/prayers/thoughts you care to send my way :)