And So I Wait…

September 30, 2009

I went to book club last night not realizing that one of our members, who is very pregnant would be there.  I backed out of book club at her house because I just couldn’t deal and then the next month, Hubby was out of town and I couldn’t get there and let the dogs out after work all at the same time.  Plus book club was the week before the boys due date and I just couldn’t do it.  I can only do what I can do, remember?  I have managed to avoid her until last night.  Honestly, I just simply forgot that she would be there.

So I sat at the far end of the table, in the corner, sandwiched between my people.  K on one side, H on the other, R on the other side of K.  I felt stupid that I needed to feel safe and secure – she’s a damn pregnant woman, not an axe murderer.  But I didn’t want to sit next to her and stare at her huge belly, knowing that I am still waiting for mine.  My tummy never got to be that big (despite the repeatedly nasty comments made by my mother – my tummy at 5 months was probably about the size of most women at 7 months but there were two little boys in there).  My tummy might never get to be that big.  I’m waiting for just a chance to get that big.  I feel like that’s all I do, every month…just wait.

There was the inevitable baby talk since R had her baby a month ago but for the most part, we talked about current events, things going on with everyone – particularly a legal situation with H that was, thankfully, finally resolved and hopefully, she finds some peace.

And we laughed.  A lot.  And loudly.  I needed to laugh loudly and a lot.

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Neverending Grief

September 25, 2009

So last nights’ “Grey’s Anatomy” was all about grief.  One of the main characters, “George,” ended last season by getting hit by a bus and was unrecognizable until minutes before the finale ended.  The premiere showed “McDreamy” unable to repair the damage to George’s brain and the decision is made to call his mother and find out if he is an organ donor.  The hospital is collectively devastated.

The voice over talks about the 5 stages of grief, which I think all of us lost baby parents can agree, doesn’t occur in stages but waves, each one overlapping the other at various times and intervals.  I’ve accepted and bargained, felt guilty and angry, hell, I’ve even denied it happened (then of course, I wake up).  Each character was supposed to represent the various stages of grief.

But the phrase that resonated most with me was something that the character “Meredith” said.  She said:

“The minute you think you’re over it, it starts all over again.”

That’s where I’m at.  I went to the bathroom at work yesterday and sat in the stall and cried.  I hadn’t done that in months – cried at work.  I’m even out of practice.  Used to be, I could cry looking down, with my head in a horizontal position and not ruin my eye makeup…yesterday, mascara was all smeared.  I’m still so mad, still so sad, still so angry.  I want to scream as loud as I can, “what did I do to deserve the death of my little boys?!!??  What?!!?  Why did this happen to me?!!?”  After 18 months, just when I think I’m okay, the grief starts in again.  Nothing new has happened, it’s still the same loss, I’m still the same me I was after the boys died.  Why am I not getting any better?

The difference between me and the characters of “Grey’s Anatomy” is, the accident wasn’t real, their friend didn’t really die, they get to yell “CUT!” and it’s over.  I don’t.  There is no “CUT!” for me.  This is going to be my life forever.  I’m going to always grieve, the boys will always have died, this is my life.

I’m overwhelmed by that fact.

Weather always effects my mood…cloudy and dark makes me sad and sullen.  It’s the depression, I’m sure.

My insurance coverage changed in August.  I knew my employer had to make some adjustments to continue to be able to afford to cover us but I had no idea that it would effect the mental health coverage in the policy.  That’s right gang, no more therapy unless we want to pay for it and with Hubby being laid off, it’s not in the budget.  We might try and do 2 sessions a month once we get a little more “in the black” but right now, it’s not going to work out.  Nothing I can do about it except hope for health care reform that will include a mental health option.  So I’m sullen and depressed with no outlet…yeah.

We have to give up our boot camp sessions too.  We’ve been going 3 times a week for the last 5 months and it’s been great.  I haven’t really lost weight but I’ve toned up a lot.  I’m feeling confident that I can continue to work out on my own.  I have hand weights, a jump rope and 3 dogs who love to go for long and fast walks….I just need to make myself accountable to get up every other morning and go.  We just can’t afford to spent the money anymore.

Which brings me to a realization I had yesterday.  I think I’ve gone “soft.”  I used to not have the luxury of therapy and trainers and ready-made food and fancy coffee.  Since our income increased several years ago, I’ve gotten accustomed to “the good life” – which, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy but I’ve lost my ability to survive.  Part of that has to do with losing the boys – I’ve lost my will to survive, not just the ability to do so.  I think, at some point, I just decided I would float along until I got pregnant again – maybe in the hopes that would make “it” all okay and give me more of a sense of purpose.  I don’t know.  Until a couple of days ago, I was feeling good.  I felt confident that we would be having another baby soon.  I was hopeful, I was almost cheerful, even slightly happy.  But that happiness, like my pregnancies, seemed to end as quickly as it started.  I’m filled with doubt – have I ovulated yet, did we “do it” enough, is this “our month.”  So much doubt and fear and sadness…almost overwhelming…

Maybe I just need to sack up, stop feeling sorry for myself, stop feeling bad about myself and focus on the good things in life, things I want to accomplish.  It’s so hard to do though.  I know you other lost baby mamas and daddas understand this.  It all comes back to that one phrase…”I’m sorry, I’m not seeing a heartbeat.”  It resonates with me constantly.  It effects everything I do.

Looks like a 90% chance of rain today.

I Drank The Kool-Aid…

September 14, 2009

So Hubby and I found out on Friday that we were in for the orientation at the adoption center on Saturday.  We were pleased to see a same-sex couple at the orientation and two potential single parents…made me very happy since a lot of adoption agencies are not inclusive of people of different religions and lifestyles.  I don’t want to be a part of something that excludes….But this agency is a non-profit that handles only open adoptions.  Their policy seems to be no judgments on birth mothers or adoptive parents.  That is the kind of organization I want to support…

I think that Hubby and I had this notion of what an open adoption is and that was making us apprehensive about going that route.  We’ve all seen the dramas on TV, particularly, the LifeTime Channel, right?  Birth mother is a crack addict with no money and she wants to hand over her baby to you – for the right price , of course – and then 6 months later, comes back and says, I want to be a part of MY baby’s life and you will let me or I will get MY baby back.  Yeah, no.  That’s not even close to the truth.  This agency is all about the counseling and the planning.  They counsel everyone – birth mother, birth father, adoptive parents…I loved that they really work with the birthmother about her feelings of loss and grief when she leaves the hospital without her baby.  I know what it feels like to go to the hospital pregnant and come home with no baby.  I would never want another woman to feel that much pain and hurt. 

There would be a planning session about what type of open adoption we can agreed to – could be pictures and notes, birthday parties, monthly dinners, phone calls….it’s really about give and take and what we are comfortable with.  I came to the realization that because I want a baby so badly, I can’t imagine not wanting to spend every single second with my baby and that’s what I was a afraid a birth mother would feel.  The counselor said that oftentimes, the problems becomes not enough contact because the birth mother sees that the adoptive parents are good and loving people and the baby is safe and cared for so they begin to pull away to live their own life.  Most of the birth mothers are between 18-24 and are in school or working full time.  I like that she will always have the option of knowing what’s going on in the baby’s life though and not wondering what has become of the child.

It was not all sunshine and roses though (and I’m not even talking about the money).  They try hard to get good matches for adoptive parents but sometimes they fall through.  I think that will be tough for us emotionally.  The counselor said that we can’t think of them as “failed adoptions,” just bad “first dates….”  Easier said than done for someone who hasn’t suffered numerous miscarriage and the death of twin boys.

And yes, I told the group about our boys.  I spoke of our loss and it was hard and maybe not the right thing to do but I did.  I can’t think about adding another baby to our family without acknowledging the babies we have already.  Right or wrong, good or bad, that’s how I feel.

I can honestly say, after that orientation, I wouldn’t do anything but an open adoption and I probably won’t go anywhere else to do it.

Now, stay tuned as Surviving Baby and Hubby rob a bank….just kidding…not really…no, I am…or not….

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….

Cost/Benefit Analysis

September 10, 2009

Hubby and I had our weekly session with the therapist last night.  We talked about how I was done with the Clomid and Hubby voiced his concern that because I said I was done with the Clomid that I was giving up on everything all together.  Would I move on to injectables?  Would I see another RE, maybe someone over at Duke?  He was very upset with me when I said I would but I know they can’t do anything for me.  He thinks I’m being negative and giving up.  I’m not, I swear it.

There is nothing that anyone can do for my translocated chromosome that has a better chance of producing a living baby than us trying to conceive naturally.  IVF with PGD has only a 20% success rate.  We do better than that on our own.  There is egg donation but that is $17,000 and I have no idea how much insurance would cover and what if that doesn’t work?  Success rate there is like in the 30s, I think…That would mean REALLY no money for adoption because we put our whole basket in with the eggs…

That being said, I requested an appointment with Duke Fertility Clinic.  I don’t even DARE to hope that someone there would attempt to think outside the box, using that two hundred thousand dollar education to try and come up with another possible solution.  I have a feeling they are going to tell us, “you can’t change genetics.”  That is, if they are even up to speed with what RBT is…I’m tired of educating people who are supposed to be specialists in this field about what the hell is wrong with me….from now on, I direct them to my blog…I’ll go with an open mind for Hubby.

I guess what I am saying is that I’m finally resigned to sit back and just continue to do what we have been doing.  I can’t see running around trying to make something happen with all of this outside medical intervention when that’s not what got us the boys.  Me and Hubby, we made the boys.  No one else.  Just us.  I’ve accepted that no one is going to make this happen but me and Hubby.  No one has the magic pill, no one has the perfect egg, no one has a check for $15,000.  I have great friends who are supportive and understanding and I’m so grateful for them but in the end, no one is going to hand me what I want – a baby with Hubby.

But do not be mistaken, that doesn’t mean I’m giving up.  In fact, it’s the complete opposite of giving up.  I’m doing an emotional cost/benefit analysis.  I can throw my hope behind Hubby and I.  I can’t throw it behind Dr. S, UNC, Clomid, IVF, egg donation, Duke  or anyone else….I’ve got limited amounts of hope and there is just not enough to go around…

I choose me and Hubby.

Self-Conscious

September 8, 2009

I’ve never been a particularly confident person but I’ve never been this self-conscious in all my life.  I don’t know what’s going on with me but I hate the way I look – specifically, my hair, my chubby face, my thick arms and ankles.  I should be feeling better since going to bootcamp three times a week for the last 4 months.  I know that I am firmer and less flabby then before I started my work out routine.  I’ve started walking in the evenings in addition to boot camp in the morning and we have gone back to being vegetarian (Hubby had to butcher a cow and 4 deer for the tigers, he’s off meat for a while).  I should be feeling great…but I don’t.  I hate seeing picture of myself – I don’t look anything like I used to…I feel so unattractive.

In my head, I hear this running dialogue….”look at your fat arms, look at your stringy hair…no wonder you can’t stay pregnant  – you aren’t healthy and you aren’t worthy….”  I realize this is incredibly negative self-talk, I don’t need a therapist to tell me that but her attempts to help me counter this talk, they aren’t working….I don’t know what to do to make it go away.

In an effort to trying and help heal myself a little bit, I’ve decided to go back to Reiki and yoga.  I’m doing Reiki on myself and I’m going to put up a website offering my services…I know it’s not the best time to start something like this with the economy the way it is but as in previous times that I have done this, I’m willing to trade and barter services too.  I’m not in it for the cash – doing Reiki on people or animals pulls the healing energy through me and helps me too….I’m also going to try and add 2 days worth of yoga practice to my workout routine each week…I’m trying here…

I’m also not going to get a refill on the Clomid.  I gave it 3 months, it didn’t work.  I got pregnant more on my own then with the drugs.  I’m tired of headaches, bellyaches, grumpiness, and screwed up cycles…I tried it, I’m done with it.

We are still trying to figure out a way to pay for adoption.  We are waitlisted for the information session this weekend but the mere thought of the cost makes me want to throw up.  I have no idea where to get that money.  None.  No one is giving loans, no one is giving credit cards and we don’t have enough equity in our house to get a line of credit.  The thing that sucks is, if we got a loan now, we could pay it off with our tax refund next year because of the adoption credit.  If we wait another year, that credit may not be there…sigh…