The Room

November 2, 2009

It’s there.  In the house.  The room that was to be the boys’ room.  It’s filled with baby boy clothes, toys, a crib, a car seat, broken dreams, dashed hopes, lots of sadness.  I haven’t set foot in that room since we moved in.  The crib was never set up in there, the decorations never hung on the wall, the walls never painted.  I can’t even tell you what the closet looks like in there – the last time I saw it, I was pregnant and we didn’t own the house and now, I can’t really remember life before April 8th. 

I walk past the door about 14 times a day and I think, “I’m never going to get in that room.”  I lay in bed at night and I can see the door from where I lay and I think, “I’m never going to get up in the middle of the night, pad across the hall, scoop up my crying baby and rock him back to sleep.  It’s never going to happen for me.”  I lay there, not sleeping, staring at the door.

This is my life now.  Trying to live with my disappointment.  Trying to survive this loss.  I thought I was doing okay but really, these last few weeks…I’m not.  I’m not okay.  I want so badly to look at the people around me and say, “help me.  Please, help me.  I’m hurt and I can’t go to the doctor to fix it because it’s deep down inside….they won’t know what to do for me…Someone please just take me in your arms and hold me, let me cry…”  I have conversations with people about the weather, books, shopping, whatever but my eyes are searching their faces, begging, “please, ask me how I am…ask me about them…ask me if I’m okay….but only if your prepared for the answer…I can’t freely give this information if you don’t mean it when you ask the question, if you are not prepared for the answer then don’t ask…”

But I don’t.  I’m supposed to be better.  I’m supposed to be moving forward.  The people around me, they have lives, they can’t be taking care of me.  I have to take care of myself and Hubby.  I’ve always taken care of myself.  Always.  I have to be strong, I can’t fall apart again.

I want to get into that room…I want a baby to hold and cuddle and love who will live in that room but I fear that will never happen.  I want my boys and I KNOW that won’t happen.

 

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Daydreaming…

October 27, 2009

I posted this over at Glow in the Woods and then thought that many of  you might like to read it as well…

This afternoon, I sat at Fosters having a bowl of soup and daydreaming.  I love Fosters.  It’s bright and airy and reminds me of a coffee place I used to go to when I was in college.  I can smell espresso and pastries and pizzas being made in the oven.  There are large open tables with mis-matched chairs and college students, studying history or math or something.  Probably chemistry.  I hated chemistry.  They have their futures in front of them, I think, bright shiny futures – futures full of promise, hope, good times and hopefully, nothing bad will ever happen to these people.  Just as they are sitting here at these tables with the mis-matched chairs, wallowing in clean, pure, happy youth, I sat at tables with mis-matched chairs many years ago.  Years and years ago it feels like.  So long ago that I feel like that wasn’t even me – I’m not the same person I was back then.  I dreamed of working as an environmental attorney, I struggled with my math homework, I dated someone who didn’t appreciate me for me, and I made bad choices (that ended up having benign consequences looking back).  I dreamed of getting married to a wonderful man and having babies, living in a house, not struggling to pay my bills.

Some of what I dreamed has happened – the amazing husband, the cute house that’s all mine.  Some of what I hoped for hasn’t.  Actually, I guess it did but not in the way I thought it would.  I look in the mirror and I’m not that girl in a coffee house in San Diego wondering what I’m going to wear to our next formal because I can’t really afford a new dress.  I’ve gained weight, gone is my cute little size 6 self that ran the beach in a bikini without thought.  I’ve got gray hairs that refuse to stay hidden under an expensive dye-job.  I’ve got pain in my eyes.  It’s the eyes that are the most different, I think.  I don’t have wrinkles like you might think.  Instead, I have a hollowness – an emptiness – that looks back at me from the other side of the mirror.  It’s all my pain and grief and anger and loss and it’s manifested in my eyes.  I smile at people and that smile doesn’t reach my eyes like it used to.

I look around amongst all of these young, bright faces and see another woman sitting alone.  She’s clearly older than I am as evidenced by the fact that she’s lost her battle with gray hair and surrendered to a lovely silver running through her brown curls.  She’s reading (or maybe, like me, pretending to read).  I catch her eye and smile.  She smiles back but her smile doesn’t reach her eyes either.  I wonder, “what happened to you?  Why do you have pain?  Did your babies die too?”

It all comes back to them.  My boys and the fact that they died.

No amount of daydreaming in a coffee house can change that fact or the pain in my eyes.

Thoughts….

October 15, 2009

Day 39 of my cycle and no period and 2 negative HPTs.  I got all excited because I was queasy and my breasts hurt (still do actually) and I’m tired…damn universe, she’s such a bitch.  I’ve never gone this long without a period (except when I was pregnant).  My guess is that I didn’t ovulate last month because of the flu.  I had the flu the same time I should have ovulated and I thought that I didn’t get a positive OPK because I tested too late (because I was sick with the flu).  It is what it is, right?

I didn’t get invited to a baby shower and it really hurt my feelings.  I wouldn’t go – actually, my best friend is coming into town and I couldn’t go – but that doesn’t mean I don’t want the invite.  I think, because this was an accidental pregnancy, the person thinks I’m judging her.  I’m not.  I don’t have the energy to judge.  It just hurt my feelings.

Also, Hubby’s cousin is pregnant and everyone thought it best to hide it from me until there was no possible way of hiding it from me any longer as she showed up at his mother’s house when we were there this past weekend.  Thing is, I already knew.  I had known for a while.  Facebook does not hide secrets well.  But what if I hadn’t known?  They would have just sprung it on me 5 minutes before she showed up?  That doesn’t seem fair.  I just want people to be honest with me and let me deal with the situation.  Anyway, it hurt me more than I can explain to them so I didn’t.  It made the visit with L more awkward then it needed to be because L didn’t know that I previously knew she was pregnant so she’s holding pillow over her stomach trying to hide it.  Finally, I said something about her being pregnant and she was more open about it.  She wouldn’t even get up to hug me.  I cried all night because I hate the idea that his family thinks I’m too crazy to deal with L and her pregnancy.  Thing is, L is probably one of my favorite people in Hubby’s family.  She’s the most similar to us in our views – both political and religious and when I was there getting ready to go to CHOP, she was really comforting and kind.  Everytime we visit she makes an effort to stop by and see us.  The whole situation just made me feel alone and isolated and really uncomfortable despite the fact that I know the family was only trying to spare my feelings.  How do I explain that?  I’m open to suggestions.  Do I say anything or just let it go?  I feel like such a leper anyway because his family never asks me about how I’m feeling or how things are going for us.  I guess they are afraid of the answer.  This, coupled with the lack of invite to the baby shower, made me feel even worse.

Finally, I’ve spent every minute of every day since we went to the adoption information session trying to figure out how to come up with the money we need.  I’m at a loss.  I told Hubby I wanted to wait until January to try and work something out but I can’t stop thinking about it.  I just don’t know if we can get anyone to cosign on a loan for us – if we can even get a loan. 

As a result of all of this…in my head, there is a constant voice on a continuous loop that keeps saying, “let it go, it’s over, there is no way you are going to have another baby, just let it go, the boys were it, just let it go and move on.”

God, I’m tired.

Losing the Battle…

October 6, 2009

I heard this quote this morning on NPR:

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. ” – Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms.

I had forgotten about this book and this quote having read it YEARS ago.  When the person being interviewed said the quote, he was referencing his own war experiences.  He mistakenly thought the quote was a reflection of the character “Henry” and, by extension, Hemingway’s experience of being wounded in a mortar attack in Italy during World War I.

In fact, the quote is made by the character “Henry” in reference to his son being born still, not war.  I realized as I was driving that while the interviewee attributed the quote to the wrong loss for the main character, death of our boys was like a battle.  It was like a war.  I’m hurt, I’m bruised and bloodied.  Hubby is wounded – there exists collateral damage in our life.  There is tremendous loss and a deep well of anger.  There are days when The Battle of Grief and Loss is more costly than any other war I can think of…There are days when I’m sure I’m losing The Battle and those are days I am grateful for The Silent Army…

I just wish The Battle would end soon….

The Fraternal Order of….

September 11, 2009

“There’s a special fraternity for those of us who’ve lost spouses and children.” – Joe Biden, Ground Zero, 09/11/2009

Yes, I can tell you what I as doing eight years ago when the families of 3,000 men, women and children were initiated into that “special fraternity.”  I worked for an elected official in Los Angeles – a place that truly believed they were next in line to be attacked.  It was a long and scary 48 hours.  Until March 2008, September 11th, 2001 was the worst thing that had really happened in my life.  It will be a defining moment for my generation.  Yes, I had lost loved ones but it was always a “good” death.  Not surprises, not traumatic deaths, usually an end to some long-suffering illness.  No, September 11th was my first real brush with overwhelmingly senseless death.  Sadly, it wouldn’t be my last.

Now, I’m obviously a much different person.  I belong to that “fraternity” Vice President Biden spoke of – he and I can share in the secret handshake.  I looked at the families of those that lost their loved ones that day and I sympathized.  Several months after 9/11, I shook hands with a woman whose husband was a firefighter who died that day.  I felt horrible for her but I couldn’t understand that level of grief and pain.  I can now.

We are out there, members of this “special fraternity” who have had children die.  You can’t tell us from the rest of the world.  You can’t see the pain we hold in our hearts.  You can’t know the tears we cry at night…or in the day…or all the time.  Only difference is, we don’t have a pool to stand at and read the names of our babies gone too soon.  So instead we write about them.  We write about our pain.  We write about our hopes and dreams for the future even though it doesn’t hold the babies we so desperately wanted and loved.  We read each others thoughts and help fellow “fraternity” members get through anniversaries, due dates, additional losses, failed medical procedures, inconsiderate family members, and unkind friends.  We treat each other – total strangers – with compassion and love because we are members of this “fraternity.”

I guess my point is this.  I hate that I am a member of this “fraternity.”  I hate that there are those of you reading this who belong too.  I’m sorry for the people who lost loved ones eight years ago today for they were someones’ child just like my boys are my children.  But I am grateful everyday for the kind and compassionate words I receive both from my real life and bloggy friends.  I’m thankful to be able to read others words and know that I am not alone.  I’m honored when others read my words and feel comforted.

But I would give anything to be able to turn in my membership pin….

I love this time of year – the beginning of September which leads to Fall and October and Halloween – which is my absolute favorite holiday.  August is over and that’s a relief and it’s too early to worry about Thanksgiving and Christmas and the inevitable depression that will come from missing the boys.  September on the beaches in North Carolina is ridiculously lovely and Hubby and I usually take advantage of the lack of tourists to head out there at least a couple of times before the warm weather is gone.  Here at home, the leaves change to amazing jewel tones that this California girl didn’t think occurred in nature.  I marvel at the fireworks show that the trees put on.  October brings Mullet Festival (the fish, not the hair) and the informal family reunion.  In years passed, I have dreaded going but this year, I’m looking forward to it.  My best friend, M, will be coming for the State Fair in mid-October and I can’t wait.  And then Halloween…my favorite…I’ve already planned costumes for us and priced new yard decorations.  The mums are in bloom already and I need to put some in the yard…Fall and mums to me is like milk and cookies.

But my heart is heavy.  I thought I would be pregnant again.  All the way pregnant – not just the slightly pregnant that my body seems to be fond of but really, truly and totally pregnant.  But not yet, not that I know of anyway….

My birthday was yesterday and I haven’t cried that much on my birthday in I don’t know how long.  I cried for the boys, I cried because of an insensitive comment said to Hubby in my presence that morning (“So Hubby, got anymore offspring?”), I cried for Craig and Mirne and baby Jet, I cried for the baby that would have been had I not miscarried in December.

In the midst of all my tears, I laughed a lot too.  I was reminded how loved I am.  I was reminded that in the midst of all the pain that I feel, people care for me, people think of me, people root for me.  I had over 60 messages on Facebook wishing me a happy birthday, numerous cards came in the mail, and I got a ton of phone calls throughout the day.  For someone feeling all alone with her grief, that’s powerfully healing. 

I think the hardest I laughed yesterday was when I got my gift from Hubby.  Hubby saw my post about wanting to learn the violin or mandolin so he found me a beautiful violin for my birthday and a woman to give me lessons at lunch.  He said that he thought I needed “a little more music in my life.”  He’s right.  I know I don’t deserve him.  He’s amazingly kind, thoughtful and caring.  I’ve never met a man like him. 

Over dinner, I said to him, “I can play the violin for our baby when he won’t stop crying.  You know?  Play him to sleep.”  That’s the first time I let myself hope for a future baby in a long time.  I surprised myself when I said it.  It’s been months since I thought of OUR baby actually happening again.

So, next birthday, I will be playing a concert (using the loose definition of “concert”) at my house.

Hopefully, our baby will be there.

As Popeye Would Say…

August 31, 2009

So I need to put this out there in the universe (who has been so gracious and kind to me these past 18 months…that’s sarcasm, just in case you were wondering…):  I can only do what I can do, you can accept that or not.

This is in response to a teeny, tiny, select group of people who seem to think that after 18 months, I should be fully capable of attending a baby shower, holding an infant or, for that matter, being in the same room with an infant.  I can’t talk about your perfect pregnancy in detail, I can’t look at ultrasound pictures.  I can ask you polite questions, I can watch your tummy get bigger, I can cheer you on when your due date arrives.  I can only do what I can do.

I need you to understand that it’s not jealousy.  I want another baby badly, I think I’ve made that clear on this blog and it’s very aggravating when people stand upwind of their husbands and get pregnant.  But I also still miss my boys.  I know you think that I should be okay after 18 months but I’m n0t.  I will be eventually but I’m not there yet.  Your ultrasound pictures? They bring up that day in the hospital when the Dr. S said, “I’m so sorry but I’m not seeing a heartbeat.”  You can’t imagine that pain and I hope you never find out.  That’s what I see when you email me your ultrasound pictures.  Your baby shower?  I can’t do it.  It’s not that I never got one.  I just can’t go and see all the tiny little outfits that my boys might have worn but now, never will.  If I hide your profile on Facebook because I can’t read any more posts about how sick/cranky/tired/whatever you are because you’re pregnant, it’s only because it would never occur to me to complain about something I loved, miss and desperately want back.  I rubbed my tummy, I sang to them, I gleefully looked forward to morning sickness because that meant I was pregnant.

I am what I am right now and I can only do what I can do. 

You can take or leave it.