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….

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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…

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.

Okay, Well, Maybe Not…

August 26, 2009

We got the information on adoption over the weekend.  The amount of money required was not horrific.  The problem is that we need SOOOO much up front to even get started (I think, I can’t really understand the whole “process” since the information packet seemed to be a mish/mash of flyers).  I think we need to hear what they say at the information session.  It’s a lot of money to swing upfront and I don’t think we can borrow from family members even with the promise of the tax credit to pay it back.  I applied for an increase in my Care Credit card but I think it was such a large amount over what I had for my Lasik, they were like, “oh hell no lady…”  I also applied for a Visa from the National Adoption Foundation but I heard from the bank folks downstairs that no one is getting any credit from anywhere so I shouldn’t be surprised if it was denied…and it was….great….

So now I am looking into “additional income sources” to build up the adoption fund – no people, not porn…I am a Reiki practitioner (this is a good blog that talks about Reiki if you care http://reikiblogger.com/).  I did it in college to make some extra money and that was when no one knew what yoga was, let alone Reiki.  Basically paid my sorority dues.  The more I think about it, the more I wonder if getting back to Reiki would help with my own healing.   Part of me is scared because every time I have done treatments on myself, I’ve cried a lot and had a lot of “backlash” (basically it’s the grief and sadness working it’s way out but it’s still very painful).  I’m chicken to work through some of the stuff I need to work through but I know there will be no healing without it.  If I were my own client, I would scold me but I do enough self-hating on my own so I won’t add that to the list.  Now, I just need to see if this type of thing will fly in a recession…

I also wussed out on the group therapy session that I was going to attend with http://ourbabyboy25.blogspot.com/  I couldn’t face standing up and saying, “Hi, I’m Martha, my twin boys died and I’m really screwed up….”  I couldn’t do it this month.  I’ll work up to next month.  My friend, F heard me laugh today, she said it was something she hadn’t heard in months….I realized, I really don’t do it that often anymore…I’m treating life like a river and I’m just floating down it without any expectations.  It’s a nice image but not really how I’m used to living.  I want to look forward to the future but I can’t – actually, more accurately – I don’t know how.

So I had a strange experience on Saturday – one that made me question some peoples’ parenting choices and also made me wonder when I do finally get another baby, if I will forget what it was like to want one so badly.

So to set the scene, my therapy dog, Quincy and I, volunteer at a local library as part of a program called, “Sit!  Stay!  Read!”  We spend an hour and a half to two hours with children who have difficulty reading and need extra practice.  The kids read to the dogs because the dogs have no judgment and it gets the kids excited about the library and books and reading.

We had been there about 30 minutes and had a couple of kids read to Quincy (he’s very popular because he’s big, shiny white and fluffy – he’s the canine version of a Panda bear and kids love him).  A girl, her sister and her mother approached us with their choices in books and ask to read to Quincy.  I said, “of course, he’d love that!”  Now Girl was about 11 years old, I think and Sister was probably 9 years old.  Girl pulled out “Multiple Bles8ings: Surviving to Thriving with Twins and Sextuplets” by Kate Gosselin.  I looked up for Mom and she appeared to have no problem with this…this book seemed a little odd for an 11 year old and a 9 year old but it’s not my place to comment on the book but I really, really wanted to.  Instead, I said that I thought it was a little long and did they have something else a little shorter.  Of course they did and pulled out “Eight Little Faces” by Kate Gosselin.  I said, “so, you guys are really interested in Jon and Kate Plus Eight?”  “Oh yes, we watched the show all the time, we are a little obsessed with them…”  Mom is shaking her head in agreement during this exchange…Alright, this seems like a strange show and not all that appropriate for pre-teen girls butl, I can’t argue that “Eight Little Faces” was too long because it’s essentially a picture book with a couple of words of encouragement from Kate Gosselin, so we got started….

Girl flipped to the middle and started reading about…..contentment.  Kate Gosselin was “writing” a quick, touchy-feely blurb about how difficult the first couple of months with the twins and then the sextuplets were and how she was now content with where she was in her life (granted people, this was way before Jon trucked off with someone else).  She was right where God wanted her to be and that if more people sought and found contentment, they would be as happy as her.  There was more to it but those words are what struck me….

I don’t have contentment.  I don’t have peace.  I feel like it’s easy for people who have what they most desire to say, if “you find contentment and peace, you will get what you want most.”  Now I don’t know Kate Gosselin’s struggle with infertility and I am sympathetic to that struggle but it seems to me, she more than anyone would know that contentment and peace don’t get you a baby.  She was lucky.  She could afford IVF.  All of her babies lived and are seemingly healthy.  She seems to have forgotten what it’s like to be on this side of the pregnancy test line.  And what’s worse, “writing” a book telling someone, “if you believe it, you will conceive” is just kind of mean…

I wonder, will I forget how bad this loss and this wait has hurt me when I finally get my baby?

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?