So my mom responded to my letter.  She actually responded on Saturday but I didn’t respond because I was helping out a friend who is going through a very rough time right now.  I also didn’t want to respond to my mother before Hubby and I went to therapy.  Dr. J read the response from my mother and agreed with me.  While she’s not angry or mad or anything like that, I would call it a “non-response.”  What do I mean by that?  She doesn’t take any responsibility for the things she said.  She doesn’t apologize.  It’s a lot of “I’m sorry if you think I hurt you.”  That’s not a real apology, that’s not really acknowledging that my feelings are hurt.  That’s sort of like someone shooting you in the stomach and then saying, “I’m sorry if you think I shot you…”  All the while, they are holding a smoking gun. 

She says a lot of things like, “I’m used to having to get over things…”  Why she says that, I don’t know because I didn’t tell her to get over it.  I told her that I knew she was upset and disappointed and I was sorry for that.  I apologized to her for something that, looking back, I shouldn’t have apologized for.  I had no idea that I was supposed to come for a visit.  We never discussed it.  How can I come if I don’t know I was supposed to and then how can she be angry with me for not coming?  She admitted that her main complaint was that she feels everyone else knows what is going on my life but not her.  Also, her reasoning for not recognizing the week the boys died was because she didn’t want to remind me.  Really.  Damn, she’s totally right.  I completely forget the worst day of my life.  How astute of her to want to protect me from that.* 

She launched into a lot of her normal possessive language as well.  Lots of “you are MY child and I have the right to worry about you.”  Fine.  Worry about me all you want but don’t make me feel bad or hurt my feelings.   Despite being my mother, you don’t have the right to do that.

So I haven’t yet responded.  I don’t know what to say.  As a result, she sent me another email that she’s disappointed that she hasn’t heard from me since the email.  I emailed her back and said, “I’m thinking of how I want to respond.”  Her response was, “fine.  I won’t bother you again.”

And hello Mrs. Passive Aggressive, welcome back.  I missed you for the whole 10 seconds you were gone from my life.  Can I show you to your table so that you may begin making me feel bad again?  Great.  Thanks.**

So the long and short of it is, I don’t think the letter did anything in terms of her changing her behavior.  It did, however, make me decide that I’m not taking this behavior from her anymore.

*I get very sarcastic when I am angry.

** Okay, really, really sarcastic.

Being Honest

April 28, 2009

I answered a question in therapy last night honestly and opened up Pandora’s box.

The Dr. J said to me, “you know that you will have another baby, right?’

I didn’t answer her, so she asked me again and I told her, “Today?  No, today I don’t think that it will ever happen.”

Well that touched off a firestorm of Hubby and Dr. J telling me about self-fulfilling prophecies and the power of positive thinking and Hubby was angry with me because he thinks that if I’m not positive, we won’t stay pregnant.

I told him that when I do get pregnant, every minute of every day I think to myself, “please stay with me, please stick, please, please don’t go…”  I think, “this is the one, this is going to be the baby that stays with me…” And it doesn’t happen.  But I try not to get discourage – we try again with the ovulation tests and the timed sex.  That’s positive, right?

But some days…oh, some days I just can’t do it.  I can’t be positive.  I was positive that the boys were going to be fine.  I was cheerful and upbeat all the while my little boy was dying.  When I lost Baby A, I remained upbeat despite the pain of losing one of my babies, the agony of only knowing him for 18 weeks.  Like a lamb to the slaughter, I walked into UNC thinking that I was over-reacting and that I would be going to lunch with Hubby in an hour – him teasing me about being a hypochondriac.  And then Baby B was dead.  Don’t tell me about being positive all the time because some days, getting out of bed is the best I can do.  Positive got me nowhere with the boys.  I was positive that the universe wouldn’t take my boys from me and guess what?  They died.

I guess I am a little angry about this situation.  I feel like I have let Hubby down by admitting this to him and I hate disappointing him.  But that’s a lot of pressure to put on me, requiring me to be positive all the time, telling me that if I think for one minute that I won’t have a living baby that I’m causing it not to happen.  I have a genetic disorder, that’s what is causing the miscarriages and I’ve finally come to terms with what that means.

And about being positive…Every morning in the shower, I say an affirmation.  I say: “We will have a living baby.”  Somedays I cry because I want my boys and some days I think about babies-to-be…

That’s the best I can do right now.  That’s all I can do right now.  That’s going to have to be enough right now.

It’s Not About Me…

April 24, 2009

This isn’t a post about me or maybe it is…

Someone I care about very much has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder – we will call him “H” for Husband and her “W” for Wife.  It’s been a hard road for this family to get to where they are right now.  Both H and W have been down a road with lots and lots of obstacles – some seemingly insurmountable and unsurvivable but still, they have endured.  H finally will get the help that he needs.  I’m so proud of the way they have handled things – especially W, she has a grace and presence of mind that awes me daily.

So why am I writing about this on my blog?  One, because I love them and two, because it’s a reminder to me that I need people in my life who support me and I want to have people who I can support back.  Sometimes I feel like I have taken more than I have given in the last year.  I know that’s “allowed,” I know that’s okay given the circumstances but I’ve never been that person before…someone so needy, where it’s all about me…I guess it’s a little glimmer that I’m getting back a little of the me that isn’t heartbroken, lost and hurt.  I know she’s in here somewhere, she just has a hard time swimming to the surface…

There is a song by 3 Doors Down called, “Let Me Be Myself” and while whole the song speaks to me, two lines really explain how I feel lately:

 “I’ll never see the light of day living in this cell.” 

“It’s time to make my way back into the world I knew.”

Maybe that’s where H is right now – making his way back.

I Lit the Fuse…

April 21, 2009

Now let’s all watch the bomb go off….

My mother sent me an email over the weekend that simply said, “I miss you.”  That was it.  I didn’t respond because I was still very angry about the Easter confrontation and the manner in which she handled it.  I knew that I needed to say something to her about the way that she and I have been relating to each other lately.  I admit that I am not totally innocent in this situation.  I have not been honest with her about my feelings and I have, at times, given in and rewarded her negative behavior.  I knew that I needed to talk to her before therapy last night.  We are still in the midst of the Mexican stand-off in terms of phone calls so I responded to her email.  Here is what I said:

My therapist said I should write you a letter so here goes.
 
See, I miss you because you are my mother and I love you and I need your understanding and support right now.  Instead, I get passive/aggressive behavior like the conversation we had before Easter.  You didn’t ask me to come for Easter.  You assumed I was coming and then got angry with me when I told you we weren’t coming.  I understand that you were disappointed and I’m sorry for that.  You didn’t ask me why we weren’t coming.  I had to lie to you because you didn’t have enough respect for me not to call me at work and get upset with me.  I couldn’t talk about the reason why we weren’t coming in the office.
 
That week before Easter was a really bad week for me but you didn’t remember that was the when I delivered the boys.  The worst day of my life and you didn’t remember.  And that’s fine.  I understand that it may not have had the same effect for you as it did for me.  But that and the fact that I had a miscarriage over that weekend, that was the reason why I didn’t want to come for Easter.
 
In addition, your repeated comments that you are “ordering a girl next time” have often made me feel like because they were boys, my twins didn’t matter to you.  That hurts me.  I understand that you were disappointed they were not girls but I am not.
 
I feel like I can’t trust you because when I call to talk to you when I’m having a bad day, you call Tim.  The one time I reached out to you because I was in so much pain, I couldn’t breath, you repeatedly asked me what was wrong.  You know what’s wrong.  Then you tell me not to cry.  Why in the world would I not cry?  And then you called Tim.  If I wanted to talk to Tim, I would.  I have no problem talking to Tim.  I wanted to talk to you.
 
My boys died a year ago and I’m having a hard time.  I’ve had 5 miscarriages in the past year and I’m tired, physically weak, and emotionally exhausted.  For a little while, there are going to be times when you want me to visit and I can’t.  It’s not because I don’t love you or I don’t want to see you or Tim is keeping me from you.  It’s because I don’t feel good – emotionally or physically.
 
I don’t want to lie to you anymore and I’m not censoring my conversations with you.  If you say something that hurts me, I’m going to tell you that you’ve hurt me and I will just deal with the silent treatment that will likely follow. 
 
I love you and I wish we could have the relationship that we used to have but right now, I would just settle for being able to be honest with you and not have you get angry with me or behave as if I have done something intentional to hurt you.  And if I do hurt you, I assure you that it’s not intentional.
Yup, I sent it yesterday about 3:45pm.  That large “BOOM” that you all heard here in the South, that was me, blowing 9 years of passive/aggressive crap wide open.
God, I feel nauseous.

Support

April 20, 2009

I just can’t seem to get it together today.  I’m very weepy and it’s really annoying me. 

I found an online support group for people with the genetic issue (Balanced Translocation) that I have.  It’s nice because infertility support groups focus on people who can’t get pregnant.  While, I’m sure that’s maddening and frustrating and angering, that’s not me.  I get pregnant.  A lot.  Five times in the last year not including the boys.  And I miscarry.  A lot.  And so do these women.  I can’t say which is worse.  I don’t know.  Which would you chose?  Never, ever being pregnant or knowing that you are pregnant and waiting for it to end for the 5th time in a year?  I can’t walk in those shoes, I can only walk in the ones I have but I am here to tell you, this sucks.  I’m tired, I’m angry, I feel old, I feel hopeless.  And as a bonus, I’m so good at knowing that I’m pregnant, I don’t need a stupid test to tell me.  I’m the blood hound of knowing when I am pregnant.  Hence, not only do I know when I am but I know when I’m not anymore.  It’s a hard life to live right now and I am feeling really sorry for myself.

I am hoping this group will help a little bit because there are success stories.  One woman reminded me again today, “keep trying and it will eventually happen.”  It’s “eventually” that’s hard on me.

Also, I learned that the drug discussion that Hubby and I had with Dr. S. wasn’t so crazy.  As a reminder, Dr. S doesn’t want to give us fertility drugs because we are fertile but Hubby and I thought that if the drugs increase the number of eggs, wouldn’t that increase the possibility of viable ones (ones that don’t have the translocation or are balanced and therefore, able to sustain)?  Dr. S is reluctant to give a drug I don’t really need.  However, several people in the group have done this and they have been successful…

I’ll stick it out one more month without drugs but then we are having the conversation with Dr. S.  And if she isn’t up for it, I’ll head over to Duke.  UNC is chocked full of bad memories for me anyway…

Confrontation

April 14, 2009

I’m not good with confrontation.  My mother told me for a number of years that I was a drama queen.  I think, because of that, I tend to go the exact opposite way.  I’m no shrinking wallflower but I don’t confront people.  I shy away from conflict.  A friend recently made an insensitive comment and while it hurt me, I know she didn’t mean it so why call her on it.  Another friend has no problem telling her mother, “hey!  That hurts my feelings!” I can’t imagine doing that.  If I said to my mother, “you know, it hurts me when you tell me that you are ‘ordering a girl next time’ when you know that the loss of my boys is still painful,” she would tell me that I am being overly sensitive and dramatic and that it was a joke.*  Ha.  Funny.

Hubby and I spent most of our hour at the therapist talking about my mother.  The therapist suggested that I confront my mother on the hurtful things that she has said and done over the past year.  My friend F suggested a letter.  My cousin suggested waiting a couple of days and then calling her.  I don’t know if that will accomplish anything but as Cousin Jenn-Jenn said, what have I got to lose.

The reason for this latest discussion was Easter.  My mother expected me to come to her house for Easter (I don’t say “home,”  I have never lived at her house in the ‘Boro – “home” is with Hubby in Holly Springs or San Diego).  I didn’t know this.  I don’t celebrate Easter beyond making a ham and some sweet potatoes.  I’m not religious, don’t go to church and have nobody to hide eggs for so I’m not big on the holiday.  It’s just another day in the garden as far as I am concerned.  I would have liked to see my family but I had a reason for not going – I had another miscarriage at the beginning of the week and Tuesday was the anniversary of the day I delivered the boys, I was in no place to spend time with anyone.  I couldn’t take any time off from work to rest so by the time Friday rolled around, I was tired, weak and exhausted.  I know that I need to go to my mother’s house to help clean out her spare room but I just didn’t have the energy.

I’m supposed to be practicing “self-care” as well.  The therapist (let’s call her Dr. J) told me that it was perfectly acceptable to be a little selfish right now.  Everyday, I am supposed to do one thing for myself.  Walking at lunch with K, a yoga DVD, walking the dogs, gardening, reading a book, getting a massage – something, anything that reduces stress in my life.

Dr. J thinks that I can’t practice good “self-care” with this dark cloud of a maternal relationship hanging over me.  She says that I am grieving the loss of the boys AND this changed relationship with my mother and what I really need to be doing is working though my grief with the support of my mother.  Okay, I’ll buy that.  But how? How do I get THERE?  I want to be there.  I do.  But I fear that confronting her will only result in the “you-are-really-quite-sensitive-aren’t-you?” conversation.  And the letter?  The actual ACT of the letter will make her mad – as if I embarrassed her by writing the letter.

So where are we right now?  It’s called a “Mexican Standoff” in our house.  The first one who picks up the phone to call the other loses. 

I lose a lot.  On oh-so-many-levels, I lose a lot.

 

*Nope, I’m not kidding, that really did happen.  See these this post for other such insightful comments:

https://survivingbaby.wordpress.com/2008/08/29/i-dont-get-it-…ither-does-she/

A Little Light…

April 8, 2009

I’ve been in a pretty dark place for the last couple of days – probably since Sunday when I realized I was no longer pregnant and just waiting for the inevitable.  I’ve decided to step back and let the light shine in again.  I was able to keep it together yesterday, no breakdowns.  I thought about how much I loved being pregnant with the boys, how sweet Baby B was when I got to hold him and what an amazing Dad Hubby will be to our children.  The good stuff.  PlusI had a ton of loving and kind notes from bloggy people and non-bloggy people alike.  Thank you for that.

I am retracting my statement that the boys were my one shot at motherhood.  I don’t believe that.  I have days where the odds seem so insurmountable that I want to throw my hands up and say, “Im done”  but I am going to try looking at it in a different way.  I get pregnant.  A lot actually.  Since the boys, it’s been 4 times.  And I got pregnant with the boys and stayed that way for 22 weeks.  And they didn’t die from anything that could ever happen again.  This time line that I have put myself on is stupid and it’s only making me stress out more.  I’m going to pull up (or down, I guess, would be more helpful) my big girl panties and do it all again next month.

I want another baby and I am going to keep at it until Hubby and I get one.

Until then, I am supposed to be practicing better “self-care” according to my therapist.  Today I am walking at lunch with my very, very, saintly, wonderful friend K.  I’m going to try and find a calming yoga DVD doesn’t focus on too much “reflectiveness.”  I need constant yammering, I don’t need to be more in my head.  I’m going to read a bunch of trashy chick-lit books and sit my butt on the chaise lounge in the sun.

I can’t say that I won’t have bad days anymore.  The good already outweigh the bad, mainly because of therapy and drugs and the people I have surrounded myself with.  I grieved for the loss Monday.  I recognized the boys yesterday and today, I’m looking forward to my next baby.