Happy Tears

July 31, 2008

So my friend T had her baby on Saturday.  A little boy.  I cried as I read her email.  She and I would have been due about the same time (my due date is next Thursday, the 7th).  But I wasn’t crying out of sadness for what she has and I don’t.  I was crying because T and her husband A have lost two babies already – tears of relief you might say.  They lost one little girl at 25 weeks and another little girl at around 30 weeks.  T has been a huge help to me in trying to recover from losing the boys.  The difference between her and I is that whatever causes her to lose her babies only causes her to lose the girls and it reoccurs.  It’s more than likely a genetic issue although she has never shared with me exactly what it is, it’s really none of my business.  She has a little boy already and now, another little boy but it is unlikely that she will be able to have a little girl because of whatever this is.  I, on the other hand, lost my boys due to something that will likely not reoccur  – partly because they were identical twins and partly due to an unfortunate circumstances which occurred from conception.  I can get pregnant and proceed through the pregnancy safe in the knowledge that more than likely, my baby will be born screaming (now you are crazy if you think I won’t be worried every second of every minute of every day).  T didn’t have that reassurance.  She just took a leap of faith that this time, this baby would be born alive.  I am taking her cue and taking that same leap of faith, hopeful that I will be a mommy again soon.

So my tears for T were very happy tears.  Baby L made it to be born screaming to a wonderful mommy and family.

Welcome Baby L, you are very, very welcomed.

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Deafening Silence

July 30, 2008

If you have lost a baby, you know immediately what I am talking about.  It either happens right when you lose the baby or about 4 to 6 weeks later.  People either immediately have no idea what to say to you and are in as much shock as you are that they simply don’t say anything, it’s uncomfortable, they don’t want to deal and they just walk away from you.  Or about a month later, people just stop wanting to talk about it with you.  The people closest to you – the best people – just break down and sob with you. 

And really, it’s not their fault.  I said to my neighbor (her baby was 1 week old when I lost Baby B and she had been hiding from me as not to upset me), “look, I know you don’t know what to say.  I don’t know what to tell you say to me.  Just hold me and tell me it will be okay and just listen to me cry.”  And she did.

For the most part, that’s what most people have done.  My friend Michelle has gotten her fair share of sobbing phone calls.  I save the particularly bad days for her – isn’t she lucky?  She also sent the first email telling people that we were at the hospital.  Kelly, Gretchen and Robin have been my in-person-local-hand-holding rocks.  I cried through an entire lunch with them.  Of course, I didn’t stop eating my Chef salad while I cried – dude, I am hardcore when it comes to food.  Freda gets the “why me?,” “help me write a blog so I can get some of this anger out,” “I will have a baby again, right?” and “can you make me a box for my baby book, booties and picture” emails.  Cousin Jennifer gets the “I think I am losing my mind” emails.  The “please tell me that I am not crazy because I can’t stop this pain in my heart” emails.  And then there is Frankie.  Sweet Frankie, who left me a sobbing message several days after she found out about my boys.  Sweet Frankie, who I didn’t want to tell because I knew her heart would break for me and I wanted to spare her that pain (read her blog about finding out about the boys www.lilactreedelights.blogspot.com ).* 

But see I am selfish and lonely and that’s why I told her.  The lonely part has been because people’s memories have faded.  I’m still sad and I am still angry.  I think of my boys from the minute I get up to the minute I fall asleep.  But for most people, this is sooooo last month (that was a joke).  And it’s not their fault, it’s not.  I’m not angry with anyone.  It’s a self defense mechanism and I get that.  No one wants to talk to the girl with the dead babies about the dead babies.  It’s just really lonely. 

And please don’t get the impression that I can’t talk to the hubby because I can.  However, he needs to grieve in his own way, on his own terms.  We talk, we cry but even he will tell you that they didn’t live in him for 4 months and 5 months so it’s different for him.  He is dealing with a lot of helplessness because he couldn’t fix the boys and my crying doesn’t help him with that because then he wants to fix me.

And I am selfish because I really need people like Michelle, Kelly, Gretchen, Robin, Freda, Cousin Jennifer and Frankie because I cannot do this alone.  I need these people to take me to lunch, take me to yoga, take me to get pedicures.  I need people who call me and say, “how are you?” and really want to know that today, I can’t stop crying.  That today, I cried so hard in the shower that I threw up.  I need those people in my life right now.

Here is my point.  These are the friends who make up for the people who found out about my boys but never said a word.  It was hard to tell people what happened.  I cried during every email and every message.  The “telling people” process took a terrible toll on my husband because he wouldn’t let me deal with a lot of it.  And there are people, family members even, who still 4 months later, STILL have never called or sent a card -nothing. 

My father-in-law is one person that I am not afraid to call out.  His actions have been unforgivable.  This is the very definition of “deafening silence.”  His silence has been so loud that it threatens to drown out the people who have done so much for us.  It’s so painful to me that he just didn’t say ANYTHING.  Not even the wrong thing, he just doesn’t seem to care enough to say anything.  And that he would hurt my husband like that.  My kind, sweet, loving, wonderful husband.  How dare he do that to him?  My father flew across the country to hold our hand when we lost Baby A and hubby’s father can’t even call his son.  How could he do this to him?  I won’t let the callous actions of someone like him take away from all the love and support that Husband and I have received.  I won’t let him do that.

So in case I don’t say it enough, I really appreciate you, my friends.  I love you.  I thank you.  I  know I can be needy but please, stick with me, I will be better soon.  You don’t have to say any magic words, just be there.

*There are a host of other people who have cried with me and I am grateful for those people even if they are not named here – all my Sigma Kappa girls, Leah, Auntie Gennie and Carl, the women from RHG, Aaron, the Stealth Volunteers….

I adore my husband.  Best husband in the world.  No, no, don’t argue with me, mine is the best.  After what he has done for me and dealt with over the last 4 months, hands down the BEST husband.  However, he does have his moments (don’t they all?).  The dirty socks under the coffee table, the dirty clothes NEXT to hamper, the inability to load and unload the dishwasher….all minor things but the other night, boy, that was a good one.

I have pretty much decided that we missed the big “O” this month.  I was using a stupid 2 line OPK and I think I missed it (see previous post “OPK Craziness”).  Yes, we went and got digital smiley face tests but I still think we missed it.

So obviously I have been obsessing about this.  I know it only takes one time for the sperm to meet the egg and POW! we are in busy but still, I just don’t think we did IT enough so I am counting this month as a practice round (in my defense, I thought I was pregnant last month and I wasn’t and then I didn’t think I was when I did get pregnant back in November so it’s not like I have great instincts here).  Not getting my hopes up. 

Meanwhile, husband says, “you know it isn’t going to happen unless you relax.  Everyone says that once they relaxed, they got pregnant right away.”

A long pause in the conversation, crickets chirping, my face getting red….

“Really?  Is that what EVERYONE says?  Everyone who has lost their twins 4 months ago and desperately wants a baby, is that the ‘everyone’ who says that? ” Except I am SHREIKING when I say this.

Now I don’t know about you but telling me to “relax” just gets me more tense.  It’s like when you go to the dentist and they say, “this is going to feel like a little pinch so just relax…” I tense up every time and no, it doesn’t feel anything like a little pinch.

Husband: “Aw, well, you know, you just need to be more relaxed, not so worried and it will happen…that’s all I was saying…I just get worried about you putting so much pressure on us getting pregnant quickly.”  Note the back pedaling.

Me: “Don’t you think if I my emotions had any control over whether or not we fell pregnant, I would have exercised that power by now?  The only thing that matters is whether the sperm meets the egg!  Now take off your pants and let’s do it!”

Husband: “Um, okay…..”

He must love me to put up with me.  And yes, I am picking up my Wellbutrin refill from the pharmacy today.

I recently went to an “event” with a bunch of women, not people I know personally but I know “of” them.  Now, there is a stereotype that when you get together with a group of women who have children, they will only talk about children, being a mommy, and in general, exclude anyone who doesn’t have children.  That has not been my experience as my very good friends.  When we get together, we talk about work or Barack Obama or whatever good book we are reading or the sale at Ann Taylor and just, in general, be the chicks we were when we were in college (I often wonder if this is because we all work outside the home but don’t start sending me hate mail).  I went to this event and thought, “cool, a chance to forget about losing the babies, getting pregnant and all that crud…I can just hang out.”

Some background and stick with me here.  I have struggled with what to say to people who ask, “do you have children?”  “Yes, I have 2 boys who died” should be the answer, right?  But the minute I tell that to any person, the dynamics between me and this person totally change.  I’m either Debbie Downer for saying anything at all, I’m seeking attention and sympathy for the loss of my children or they want details.  Now I don’t want to tell a total stranger, who took it upon themselves to ask me a very private question, exactly what happened (but I will tell you in a blog, right?  I know, it’s a little hypocritical).  I made the decision before returning to the real world that if someone asked me, I would be strong enough to tell them the truth, that I had two twin boys who died and if they pressed me further, I would tell them I am not comfortable discussing that with them.

Now this “event” that I went to had nothing to do with children, it was supposed to be a “girl’s day out” for a group I belong to.  At lunch, after the small talk was over and of course, someone asked me, “do you have kids?”  I said, “I do.  I have two boys and they didn’t make it.”  Everyone was sorry and sad and they politely moved on.  Groovy, I thought, this is a “safe place” where I can be me.  Yeah, right.  Just then, about 8 of the women launched into a discussion about one of the women who had recently had a baby and how hard it was to care for a newborn and how they cried and they wanted to be fed and held and it was just so hard and “those of YOU who don’t have children just didn’t understand the magnitude of what an undertaking having a baby was.”  That’s a direct quote people.  This same person also said, “I probably would not have had children if I had known how hard it would be to take care of a baby, you just have no time for yourself.”  Let me remind you, I had just, not 10 minutes before said to this whole group of people that my boys didn’t make it. 

As she said this I thought, “really?  Seriously?  You had no clue what it meant to have a baby?  No idea that they cried?  No idea that they are totally dependant upon you for like 18 years?  And so tell me again why you went off the birth control and went ahead and had a baby?  Who twisted your arm again?  And where did you go to school?  If I were you, I would get my money back because they didn’t teach you jack, sister.”

Instead, I took a deep breath and said….”I would trade places with any of you any day of the week and twice on Sunday.  I would give anything to have vomit in my hair, dirty diapers in my bathroom and dark circles under my eyes.  I would trade you ANYTHING not to have this pain in my heart.  I would trade the experience of going to the hospital pregnant and not coming home with my baby for your experience of hearing your child cry for the first time.  I would trade your memory of your child’s smile for my memory of the look on my husband’s face when the doctor said, “he has no heartbeat.”  I have stretch marks on my boobs people and nothing to show for them.  I am so sorry you have no time for yourself, it really does suck to be you.”

Oh yes, I did say that, every word.  I got up from the table, found the waiter, cancelled my order and left.

You see, I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone – not my worst enemy.  But I also won’t put up with people who know what I have been through and still refuse to be grateful for what they have.  You know I lost my babies but you want to complain about your children?  You come back and talk to me when you have to hold your dead baby in the hospital.

Learn a little gratitude people.

Wanting and Waiting

July 25, 2008

So I here is what I find so fascinating about this whole experience.  I went from doing everything possible NOT to get pregnant for the first 11 years of my sexual life to last night when I was looking up on the Internet any foods that might help me get pregnant, “plans” that people swear by (here is the website http://www.pregnancyloss.info/sperm_meets_egg_plan.htm which interestingly enough is almost exactly what my doctor told us to do minus the Robitussin), and in general, peeing on sticks and making my husband feel like a sex machine or a sperm factory. 

It’s like once I decided I wanted to be a mom, it’s all I could think about.  Then I got pregnant and I was so happy – one of happiest times of my life (second only to my wedding day and it’s a close, close second).  I was planning for two little boys, two little red-haired babies.  And my husband was trolling the Target baby department for sale items and comparing baby monitors and carbon monoxide detectors.  We put in an offer on a house so the babies would come home to their own house, not some place rented. 

And then it was gone.  All gone.

The doctor said, “I’m sorry, I don’t see a heartbeat” and that was it.  I went from being so happy to so absolutely devastated in a matter of 7 seconds.  I remember screaming – I know it was so loud and so pained because the doctor (Dr. Hickman – it was a Saturday morning and she was on call – poor woman) took a step back and then put her arms around me.  She and my husband had to hold me down because I began to hyperventilate.  We went through so much to save just one of the two babies.  I had made my peace with losing Baby A but now, Baby B, I had lost him too.*  And the look of total pain on my husband’s face – well – I can’t even talk about that yet.  He wants to be a dad so badly, it breaks my heart that this happened to us on the first try.

So I can’t help wondering, did I screw up somehow and this was my only shot at being a mom.  I mean, I guess I am still a mom but I only got them for 18 weeks and 22 weeks.  I only held Baby B for 5 minutes.   I never got to hold Baby A – never even saw him – the doctor said he was so small and he had been gone for 4 weeks, he didn’t want me to see him.  I think I am just frustrated because it was so easy for us to get pregnant last time and we didn’t get pregnant in June and now I am afraid we missed the “window of opportunity” here in July.  I can say “well, there is next month” but still…I know we have only been doing this for 2 months now but I am just so tried of being disappointed.  I want to be a mom so bad.

And our due date would have been 2 weeks from today.

* We just recently found out that what happened to cause Baby B to die.  I may write about it and I may not.  If you really want to know, email me.  It’s still very painful to think about.

OPK Craziness….

July 24, 2008

So if you are trying to conceive (or TTC – but I will save my annoyance with abbreviations for another post), more than likely you have peed on your fair share of ovulation predication kits (OPKs).  I recently joined that little sorority and was floored by how difficult it is to use these tests.

Now, my husband and I do not have fertility issues.  We got pregnant with the twins on the first go around and they were spontaneous twins (thus contributing to Baby A’s problems).  No drugs used.  A couple of beers but no drugs.  My heart BLEEDS for people with fertility issues because I have spent the last 3 months LONGING for a baby.  I couldn’t even look in the direction of the baby department at Target with crying.  I actually changed tables in a restaurant recently because a woman and her newborn boy (it’s boys that bother me the most, obviously) sat down in eye view.  I may not know the length and depth of your pain but I have tasted a bit of it and it sucks.  I am so sorry.

Anywho, because I lost the twins a mere 3 and 4 months ago and DH and I are wanting more babies sooner rather than later, my cycle is a little unpredictable and while I am cleared medically for “baby-making,” it’s a little hard to tell when I am going to ovulate.  I enjoy sex as much as the next married woman but to accomplish the “end goal” (ie baby) without determining when I am about to ovulate would require sex every other day for 28 days until I got a positive test or my period.  That’s a lot of sex.  Seriously.

The doctor recommended a plan of sex every other day starting around Day 10 and then at Day 14 start using the predication tests.  Okay, so Monday I pee on the test stick.  One dark line and one darker line.  Now I read that a positive (meaning ovulation will occur within 12-36 hours) is the first line is as dark or darker than the second line.  Ummm, little subjective but okay, well it’s not as dark but parts of it are.  We did just in case.  The next day, the same thing but we didn’t “do it..”  The next day, the first line is faint and the second line is dark.  “Oh crap,” I think, “I’ve missed it – I ovulated WAY earlier than I was supposed to and I have missed it because I can’t read these dang tests.”  I am in a panic.  I am a classic overachiever and I don’t fail things.

So I call the company.  Apparently, unlike a pregnancy test, you are not supposed to pee on the stick first thing in the morning.  Now the directions do not say this.  More than likely, the representative tells me, the previous readings were false positives and I need to retest in the evenings.  I need to “trust the test to work,” she says.  Ummm, okay.  But I can’t let it go.  I am obsessing.  I am not rational.  I can’t stop thinking, “we missed it, we missed it.”  And then I look at the calendar, “okay, we did it here and here and here so that may be okay, we might be okay.”  DH looks at me and says, “get in the car, we are going to get something more easy to read because this is crazy, you are being crazy and you are making me crazy.”

Anyway, I will keep you posted.

Hello world!

July 23, 2008

If you have read the “about” for this page, you probably have a similar reason to be here.  It’s been 4 months since I lost Baby A and 3 months since I lost Baby B.  You will notice that I don’t call them by their names.  I do, but not in public.  I say their names to my husband and to myself and that’s it.  Don’t know why, just do.  I have brief periods of obsession with Baby B’s death certificate.  Baby A didn’t get one because when he was “born,” he had been gone for 4 weeks already.  In North Carolina, no death certificate is issued until the baby reaches 20 weeks.  I didn’t even get to hold him like I did Baby B.  And my state doesn’t issue birth certificates so the only record of his existence is the ultrasound pictures in the baby book and the booties I carried with me to Children’s Hospital in Philly (under the deranged notion that if I had booties for both boys, the doctors would be able to tell me everything was going to be fine – well, it wasn’t and Baby A died).  That bothers me but there is nothing I can do about it.  I am finding that to be true with a lot of things in my life.  Feeling a little helpless hence the reason for the blog.

Also, Hallmark, if you are listening, you need to create a memento book for these situations.  I don’t have anything to put my booties, caps, pictures, etc. in.  I know it’s not upbeat or fun or a box full of sunshine but people like me, we need something like this.  My friend Freda is taking on the not-to-fun task of creating something because I was irrationally obsessed with a box for my mementos.  Freda is crafty so I am lucky.  Everyone needs a Freda in these situations.