The Joy of….

August 20, 2009

I recently wrote to someone that I have lost my joy.  The joy I used to have for life is gone and I don’t know how to get it back.  I have brief moments of happiness but other than that, I am an emotional wasteland of pain, anger, jealousy, rage, fear, and disappointment.  I have things that I am very grateful for (like Hubby, doggies, and my wonderful friends – both physical and bloggy) but that’s not the same as joy.  I feel like a candle whose light has been snuffed out and can’t be relit.

I sobbed last night in therapy, begging the therapist and Hubby to tell me what to do to feel better, to not hurt, to get my joy back, to have some peace.  I will do anything, just tell me what to do, I said.  We talked a lot about negative and irrational self-talk aka the mean, nasty voices that I hear telling me that the boys were it, I get no other children, I’m broken and defective – you know, the good stuff.  I’m supposed to counter that with “a dispute.”  So if my head tells me, “You are never going to have another child,” I’m supposed to dispute that with, “I will have another child.”  I’ll try it.

The therapist really latched on to the idea of adoption.  She ran with that idea, offering to help us find resources and contacts and then she alluded to the fact that she didn’t think I was emotionally capable of conceiving and carrying a child in my present state and that we might need to take a break while exploring adoption.  That really hurt.  Prehaps it’s true but it still hurt.  I sort of shutdown at that point.  I’m not willing to give up the idea of getting pregnant and carrying a child right now.  Hubby and I agreed to keep trying while exploring the possiblity of adoption.  Her comment sort of overshadowed any excitement that I was feeling for making the decision to try to adopt and left me feeling sad and hurt (thus, possibly, proving her point that I am an emotionally fragile mess that needs electro-shock therapy). 

Along those same lines and possibly providing more evidence for Therapist’s theory, was the fact that I got a message last night from IAC (Independent Adoption Centers) that the information session we signed up for was full.  It wasn’t full when I signed up for it 5 days ago on their website but it is now.  Yeah, no idea how that works.  We are on the wait list for that session and signed up for the October 3rd session.  I was so upset and disappointed that I had to have Hubby return the call out of fear that my anger and snippiness towards the “keeper of the babies” would harm our chances of sitting down with these people.  Again, probably not the rational response the rest of the world would have but I’m starting to understand that not much of what goes on in my head these days is rational.

I’m an irrational, joyless, emotionally fragile lostbabymama and at this point, I think we can safely say, I’m not even surviving anymore….I’m in real trouble, aren’t I?

I really don’t get what happened between my mother and I that made our relationship the way that it is now.  It didn’t used to be like this.  I had the mother that everyone wanted.  The mother you could say anything to.  She has always been overprotective but I am an only child so I have always just lived with that.  She was fun and funny and sweet and thoughtful.  She was Blythe Danner to my Gweneth Paltrow.

I can time the change to when we decided to move to North Carolina.  She was born and raised here but had lived for the last 35 years in California.  I was born and raised in California and had lived there for all of my 27 years.  I was ending a long relationship, September 11th happened, and I was not happy where my career was going so I decided to relocated to North Carolina where I have family – you know, take a chance and make a change.  My mother came too.

I think she thought that we would get a house together and live there until we were old and gray – some modern day version of “Mama’s Family.”  Except that I had lived my own for 10 years up to that point.  I didn’t call if I was going to be late, paid half the rent and utilities and bought groceries.  We lived together for about a year, during which time we fought all the time.  About 6 months into it, I met my husband.  Six months after that, we moved in together and got married 2 years later.  I don’t think she has ever forgiven me for leaving her.  It is because of that, I think, she has become very bitter and does and says very hurtful things.  She’s not happy about anything that I do.  Come to think of it, I don’t think she’s ever happy at all.

For example, my mother did not help me plan my wedding.  She had no interest at all.  I asked her to help me with the centerpieces.  I wasn’t looking for her to pay for them, just get me glass vases, rocks, sand and a candle for each table and I would reimburse her.  Nope, she didn’t do it and about a week before the wedding I had to come up with plan B (the town I lived in didn’t have anyplace to buy things like that – it was the Outer Banks of NC, very remote).  She didn’t help set up the reception.  My husband and his family did the whole thing.  I asked my mother to get sodas for the reception and she sent my cousin Susan to do it.  The day of the wedding, I asked her to take the corsages and boutonnieres to family members and take the marriage certificate to the minister and she dumped it off on my sister in law.

When I found out I was pregnant, hubby and I decided to tell one person each until the pregnancy was a little further along.  He told his mom and I told my cousin Jen.  Actually, Jen already knew because I freaked when the pee stick was glowing a big, bright positive.  The next day, I was supposed to have corrective eye surgery and turns out, you can’t if you are pregnant.  So despite the fact that I was minutes or maybe days pregnant, I didn’t get the surgery.  My mother repeatedly asked me “why”? So finally I broke down and said, “well, because I am pregnant!”  Her answer?  A long, long uncomfortable pause and then she said, “well, I don’t really know how I feel about that.” 

WHAT? Excuse me? Hold the boat here?  YOU don’t know how YOU feel about that?  This from the woman who doesn’t think that you have any sort of value unless you have children.  This from the woman who has made me feel like a second class citizen because my cousin and his wife have “babies who are just so sweet.”  This is the same woman who whined at my rehearsal dinner that hubby’s mom has “two grandbabies and I don’t even have one!”  So I said, “well, you have 9 months to get used to it” and hung up.

Now you all know that my life went into a tailspin right about the end of Febraury.  Hubby and I had to go to Philly in hopes of saving my babies lives.  My mother was sick with shingles.  Shingles are very bad for pregnant women so we told her to please, please, PLEASE, stay away.  And she did but she has always been angry and bitter that my father and hubbys’s mother were there at the hospital with me. 

When we came home from Philly with only one baby and she insisted on coming to visit that weekend since her shingles were all cleared up.  I was exhausted and supposed to be on bedrest and let me add, not up to visitors.  Visitor? You say, that’s not a visitor, that’s your mother.  Oh no, when my mother comes to visit, she expects to be waited on.  We make the meals, take her to dinner, drive her to go shopping, clean up, everything.  All she has to do is sit on the couch and watch TV with her dog.  I could not expect my husband to wait on her and since I was on bedrest, I could not wait on her.  But she came anyway and played a very passive-aggressive game of “oh-I’m-not-going-to-eat-anything-because-I-don’t-want-to-put-you-out…It’s-an-imposition,-me-being-here.”  My answer was, “well, yes, right now, it is, but you wanted to come and I am happy to see you but you are diabetic and if you don’t eat, you will be sick.”  We did this for 3 days.

So I was laying down for my second shift of 10 hours mandatory bedrest and she came in and said, “you know, this has been the worst thing that has ever happened to me.”  My cold, bitchy heart melted and I said, “oh Mom, it’s going to be okay.”  And she said, “I know, the shingles are gone and I hope I never get them again.  You have no idea how painful it was and no one to take care of me!” 

She was talking about the shingles.  Not the death of her grandson.  The shingles.

Tuesday: my conversation with my mother about future pregnancies.

Closed Today

August 28, 2008

No blog today.  I had a particularly yucky conversation with my mother last night – I know I keep promising you that I will tell you all about my relationship with her and I just haven’t had the energy.  I keep playing this conversation over and over in my head and I want to write about it but I want to reflect a little more on what the hell happened and whether I am over-reacting or if, once again, my mother has manage to hurt me again.

I’ll let you know…

Dogs and Grief

August 27, 2008

I don’t think I have mentioned the fact that I have two dogs who I adore.  They go everywhere with hubby and I.  Quincy is a rescued English Setter and Harley is a rescued Rottie-Beagle mix.  I have no clue how that happened either or who was who but he’s really cute.  Quincy is a mommas’ boy.  He adores me and I love him probably as much as my husband – at times, slightly more.  Quincy sleeps on my side of the bed on my feet but he starts out sleeping next to me with his head on the pillow in a “spoon” position.  Harley is independent and strong-minded and very sweet.  He cuddles when he wants to and the rest of the time, he is content to sleep on the floor on his dog bed.

I mention these two mutts because I have discovered that without my dogs (my husband and friends are great too but this is about the dogs) I wouldn’t have survived the last couple of months.  If you aren’t an animal person, you won’t understand this but in my worst of times, when I have been alone, collapsed on the carpet, sobbing and screaming, “why?”, both dogs have laid down next to me, pressing themselves close and licking tears from my face.  There are days when the only reason I got up was because the dogs wanted to go outside for a walk.

There was a recent story on the “Today Show” about therapy dogs and their effect on people who have suffered tragedies like the shooting at NIU, Hurricane Katrina survivors and firefighters after 9/11.  I have long talked about taking my Setter to become trained as a therapy dog, his personality is perfect for it – so kind, so gentle and so loving.  It looks like Quincy goes to school in January.  I am excited to share him with other people who need to forget about their loss and grief for a little bit and just bask in the love of a really, really good dog.

So we are headed out of town this weekend for my birthday.  We had planned to hit the beach and camp with the dogs (one of two beaches left in NC where dogs are allowed anywhere on the beach – wouldn’t want to upset the tourists now would we? I have a love/hate but mostly hate relationship with tourists).  Although apparently the last remnants of Hurricane Fay is finally going to bring rain to the drought parched areas of North Carolina so it looks like we will be camping in the rain…I predict us coming home early on Monday….like maybe Sunday….

The rain is not surprising.  My birthdays are usually not exciting events.  I am perfectly happy spending it with my hubby and dogs, just hanging out but we always plan to do something fun – hell, it’s almost always a 3-day weekend – and something always happens.  Nope, not being over dramatic here.  Something always happens.  Last year, we had just moved and literally had $10 to our name.  Year before that, my mother insisted on coming to visit (we will discuss my relationship with her later) and then, when I wanted to go to the Aquarium said, “no, you two go ahead, I will just stay here…sigh.”  So of course I had to BEG her to join us at the Aquarium for a good hour.  At that point, who the hell wants to see fish anymore.  My hubby even got fired on my birthday on year….nice.

This also happens to be about the time that I am supposed to (but hoping not to) get my monthly visit from Aunt Flo.  I can assure you that if AF arrives while we are camping on the beach, we are packing up and heading to the nearest Motel 6.  Also, if that’s the case, we are stopping at the swap meet in Raleigh on the way home to find a fertility God (slightly used is fine) and I am going to place it on top of the TV in our bedroom and it can stare at me and hubby with it’s beady little eyes and BRING ME A BABY DAMN IT.

Maybe I’m just whining because I am another year older…

Oh looky what Gretchen got me for my b-day!  Thanks Gretchen!

My B-day Present from Gretchen!

Staring at Watermelons

August 25, 2008

If you have never lost a baby (and I pray to Buddha that if you haven’t, you never do) let me let you in on a little secret.  The absolute WORST place for someone of my “persuasion” (that is how I have begun to refer to my stint as a “failing breeder”) is Target on a Saturday afternoon.  Yep, that’s right, Target.  My former Mecca (and still is on a Friday night after a couple glasses of wine), on a Saturday afternoon is Dante’s fifth circle of hell.  You folks playing along at home, stick with me here.

Normally, if I need to run into Target (yeah right, no, I spend HOURS in Target), I can avoid the “trouble” spots ie the baby department, diaper aisle and the maternity department.  I can look down or to the side, walk the long way around the store or get really interested in something in my purse when any of these areas come into view.  I have gotten really good at this. 

However, on a Saturday afternoon, there are WAY to many people to employ this tactic.  It’s like all of Apex, North Carolina has descended upon Target as if there were no other store in a 50 miles radius in which to get toilet paper, paper towels and Dora the Explorer sheets.  Not to mention the fact that apparently a memo was sent out that all pregnant women (skinny ones at that) and women with newborn babies (boys if we are REALLY lucky) are to meet at Target and tag team the sad, frumpy, childless red-head who is trying desperately not to cry.

Let me give you an example of my Saturday.  I HAD to replace the air filter for the air conditioner (plus I wanted to return a blouse that I had bought because my ham-hock size upper arms were completely restricted from movement when I tried it on at home).*  It had been way too long since the filter was changed (like the day we bought the house 5 months ago) and I was getting more and more severe allergy symptoms despite the HEPA filter in my room (sweet memories there too, it was purchased because the babies were going to sleep in our room at the old house and we wanted the purest of air for their little lungs).  I tell you this because I would have otherwise never have gone to Target on a Saturday. 

So I pull up my big girl panties and venture out to Target at 2pm thinking that most of the successful breeders and adorable new mommies would be gone.  Oh no, I was so wrong. 

I power walk with my head down to Guest Services, knocking into about 37 people (including a 12 member family of Mormons all dressed in identical denim outfits).  Guest Services is, unfortunately, just past the baby department and located directly in front of the little boys department.  Okay, no problem, I won’t look that far right.  Just then, Perky McMommyton rolls up behind me with her adorable 9 month old little girl.  In general, older and female babies tend not to trigger fits of tears but one just never knows.  Plus, Perky is really pretty.  And thin.  Alright, I won’t look behind me.  Just then, I notice a commotion at the Guest Services register at the front of the line.  I thought it was probably related to Target’s new return policy of not taking back anything, ever.  Nope.  The employees are going “ga-ga” over…wait for it….NEWBORN TWIN BOYS!  Yes, people, it’s my lucky day.  There they were, in all their double stroller glory about 2 weeks old.  My boys would be two weeks old this week.  Oh goody.

I quickly start reciting my “grateful” list (see “Panda Out, I’m Done” post) and I am trying to avoid eye contact with anything under the age of 2.  As a result, my eyes are shifting around like marbles in a pinball machine, I am quietly muttering to myself, lips moving of course and I’m trying not to flee screaming so I’m practically panting.  Add a plastic bracelet and feety jammies with my name stenciled across the back and I would easily pass for an “escaped” mental patient from the newly closed Dorthea Dix Mental Hospital in Raleigh.** 

I take a deep breath and think, “okay, I can’t look straight ahead or too far to the right or behind me.”  Some where between straight ahead and to the right, I lock eyes with a bin full of watermelons.  I tune out the cooing from the employees, the sweet gurgling from the baby behind me and the visions of the baby department where I registered for two of everything pale yellow, pale green or Winnie the Pooh and focus on the bright green watermelons stacked in the bin.  Slowly my heart rate returns to normal as the twins move on.

I love watermelons.


* If you do not know what a ham-hock is, you obviously do not live in the South.  It’s the upper thigh of the pig.  It’s usually salted, cured and then slow cooked with black-eyed peas and served on New Year’s Day.  Try it, it’s tasty.

** Dorthea Dix hospital shut down due to health and safety violations and several patients that had no family to claim them just “escaped” a couple of days before the place was locked for good.  No one really knows just how that happened.  A bonafide mystery.  Uh huh.

even if my babies are not.  And yes, I did say that.  I’m spoiling for a fight today.  If you are sensitive to my potty mouth – which is in full force – I would skip this post. 

Someone said to me this morning, “oh well, you know what, take it from me, you couldn’t have cared for two babies at once anyway.” 

Wait, what?

First, I barely know this person.  The only reason she knows about my boys is our receptionist in my office can’t keep her mouth shut.  This person is a client and really had no business discussing my life or my boys.

Second, she didn’t/doesn’t have twins.  How the fuck would she know a) about caring for two babies at once and b) about my abilities to care for said babies.

Third, who the hell says that to someone who lost their babies.  Like it makes it okay that I lost them both because she thinks I could have only cared for one.  How fucking insensitive can you be?  Pretty insensitive from where I sit…If her goal was to win the “I’m the most insensitive bitch” award – well, congratulations and ready your speech because you did it, you won it.

This, of course, sent me into a tailspin.  I cried all the way home from work.  Why would she say that to me?  What makes it worse is this person has recently experienced a significant loss – shouldn’t she know better? I know I should have tolerance for people like this and know that she probably meant it in some other way (I’m reaching for an excuse here, I know) but damnit, I was doing really well and that statement just wrecked me.  I mean, completely and totally wrecked me.  Sadness and grief, who I had given “the finger” to, are back, those stupid bitches.

Panda Out, I’m Done.

August 22, 2008

No, I am not committing suicide.  Although I do appreciate the large number of people who have emailed me concerned that I may be suicidal but you folks aren’t the first to ask.  The acupuncturist said to me, “I have to ask but really, I’d be more worried about you if you DIDN’T feel as bad as you do.”  Ummm, okay…..well, I may be failing as a breeder but I am succeeding in my grief….goody.  Yeah me!*  The doctor said, “well, do you think you are depressed or just sad?”  Ummmm, I pick “C – all of the above.”  I love Dr. Thorp but really, what the hell?  My babies died and I have to pick one?  No, I’m gonna be selfish and pick both sad and depressed.  Now hand over the anti-depressants and can a girl get a Xanax, please?**

But that was then and this is now.  I’m done with this grief.  Done.  Just say no to drugs.  Yep, no more sleeping pills, Xanax or Wellbutrin.  Just say no to complete and total sadness.  Yep.  I am done.  I can’t be this sad anymore.  This is not fair to me or my husband.  It’s not fair to my boys.  This sadness and anger is not what I want their short time in my life to be about.  What happened to us sucked but I am done with feeling bad.  Done.  I laugh at grief.  I mock sadness.  You bitches are done ruling my life.  I give you both “the finger.” 

From this moment on, I am going to think about how lucky I am.  It’s all about gratitude.  That’s my new mantra – I’m lucky.  Everytime a sad or negative thought enters my mind, I am going to list all the things that I am grateful for and see where that gets me.  I am lucky to be able to get pregnant.  I am lucky to have a husband who worships me.  I am lucky to have friends and family who would walk through glass for me.  I am lucky to have people who read this blog and want to be a part of my life. 

I am lucky to have been their mommy for even just a few months.


*I’m good at grief AND sarcasm.

**For the record, suicide never, ever entered my mind, just not an option.

I’m amazed at how easy tears will fall still, even 4 and 1/2 months after losing Baby B.  I go 3-4 days without crying but just the simple act of writing an email to one of my oldest friends will cause me to break down and sob.  I haven’t been very good about keeping in contact during the past couple of months.  I admit it, I have really wanted to hide from people.  I don’t like crying or expressing how angry I am in front of people.  Plus, I feel like if you are paying long distance to talk to me, you don’t want to hear me blubber….

Today, a partner from another office came into to our office.  He walked in and with tears in his eyes, said, “I have to apologize, I didn’t know you lost the other baby until last month, is there anything I can do?”  I think I am doing so well and then BAM! it hits me, I lost my 2 baby boys.  That was me.  Not someone on TV, they don’t even write TV shows about this kind of sadness because nobody would watch them.

I just don’t want to be the girl with the dead babies anymore.  I want to be the girl with the cute baby.  I want a living baby.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.

Okay, so this is for those of you playing along at home.  I wasn’t feeling good yesterday so I left work early.  I work in a small office and despite the fact that I am holed up in my own, separate office with a door, if one of us gets sick, there is a chance that all of us will get it.  Generally, if someone says, “I’m not feeling well,” the answer is, “please go the hell home…”  So I did.  Billable hours be damned.

I went home and took a nap.  I got up around the designated “pee stick” time (because God knows, if you don’t pee on the ovulation stick at the same time, in the same way, in the same bathroom with the lights on or off depending on how you did it the first time, the thing won’t work…again, I am certain that it’s easier to ascertain the fertility of a Giant Panda than a human).  Now this was my last pee stick and up to this point, I had not seen the holy grail of pee sticks – the smiley face (I use the digital ones – see posted titled “OPK Craziness” for reasons why).  I will be honest, I was a little happy to not have seen the little jackass because neither hubby nor I have been up to BDing.  Back story is that I wasn’t sure when the smiley faced jackass was supposed to show up so we starting BDing about a week ago “just in case…”  Not smart.  I love my hubby and he loves me but we are sick of the sex.  Plus we are both just plain sick.

Of course, that means when I return to the bathroom precisely three minutes after performing a golden shower with said pee stick, that smiling happy little jackass is staring up at me.  Sidebar: I will never look at a Jack in the Box commercial the same again.  Anywho, I walk into the living room where my half dead hubby is sprawled on the couch and say, “good news, we have a smiley face” in my most cheerful albeit raspy, wheezy voice….He groans, looks at me and says in his own equally raspy and wheezy voice, “okay, go take your clothes off, I will be there in a minute…” 

Did y’all every see that episode of “Friends” where Monica is sick and she’s trying to get Chandler to have sex with her and she’s all snotty and gross?  That was us.  We were both Monica.  But we did it – to quote my friend Brian in reference to his wife, Deb, learning to hang-glide at our wedding – “like a fucking champ.”

I am really hoping not to need these pee stick demons next month….Giant Panda out.