Posts Tagged ‘daughters’

That Post Where I Vow to Write More Often (But Really Mean It This Time)

pen and notebook

There is one truth about me that I cannot deny.

I am a writer.

I write hundreds of blog posts and diary entries on a regular basis. Most of the time I write these on my way to work, walking around my neighborhood or while driving. Unfortunately, these writings only exist in my imagination, never actually making it to paper or the digital screen.

I’ve got a list of reasons why this happens.

The number one being that A BABY CHANGES YOUR LIFE!

Remember when all those well-meaning fertiles would tell you that after you have a baby you’ll never sleep again? Well, they were right.

How about that one where they said that the high point of your day might be taking a shower?

Also true!

So yeah, between spending time with my angel and continuing to learn how to be the best mom I can be and working full-time, blogging has taken a back seat. A back seat in another universe to put it mildly. There simply aren’t enough hours in a day so I don’t even try. At least that’s what I tell myself every time I think about starting a blog post.

But the truth is I think I’ve lost my voice.Writing voice that is.

Maybe it’s because I’m out of practice. After all, if you don’t practice a skill, you lose it. Unless you’re Batman or something.

Actually, I think I am having a blogging identity crisis and have had it for a very long time.

Consider this (it might be true for you too): the bulk of my previous posts come from the darkest place in my life. Within that place is a different mindset, tone, and yes, a different person. Though the pain of infertility never goes away and the bad memories still overtake me if I let them, my perspective has changed greatly. And with a change in perspective, comes a change in voice.

So, what does my “new” voice sound like?

I don’t know.

I know I need to discover that voice through blogging, but I hesitate because there are still those in the trenches. Though I do not know their specific pain, I know what it feels like to be trapped in what feels like a never-ending sea of unhappiness and worry.

If I were to blog about infertility, but more about all things motherhood: love, laughs, diapers, breastfeeding, sleep (or lack theoreof) would I be betraying those still left behind? Would I be betraying myself?

Once again, the answer is I don’t know.

But I owe it to myself to find out.

Get ready because I might just be back. As soon as I get the baby to sleep.

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Third Trimester & Moving Forward

pink flower

Another milestone for me–today is the first day of my third trimester!

One year ago, I was preparing for my IVF, full of anxiety, hope, and nerves. A year and a half ago, I was on the precipice of an emotional breakdown after my second loss. Two years ago, I was blissfully pregnant for the first time, but didn’t realize the sorrow and devastation that would await me.

I’ve been thinking of the past lately and am trying to find a way to come to terms with it. I’ve held onto it, yes, because in some ways it feels like the last four years of my life are the only ones I have ever known. Even recently, I’ve still felt the sting of endless celebrity pregnancy announcements and found myself  hitting the rewind button to listen to those voices that haunted me for years.

But, day by day I’ve let joy come into my life. For the first time in a long, long time, I feel at peace.

Obviously, everyone can tell I’m pregnant at 28 weeks. It feels so strange, yet exhilarating to talk about being pregnant to other people. This is no understatement: I am absolutely blown away by how everyone has been so supportive and excited for me. I spent so much time hiding away from people because of infertility that I became an emotional recluse. I couldn’t let others get near me, because I felt like it only made the pain worse. Now, I feel like I can connect with others, have a conversation with them without becoming emotionally exhausted, and most importantly be present in the moment instead of thinking of ways to shut down and run.

Something tells me this is what normal feels like and let me tell you, it is amazing.

This isn’t to say that I’m 100% carefree. I still have quite a lot of anxiety about this pregnancy and things that could go wrong. I still Google every little symptom that seems strange. I’m anxious about the upcoming gestational diabetes test this coming week but I will try to take things as they do or do not come.

In other related news, we’ve spent the last couple of weeks cleaning out the spare bedroom turning it into a nursery. It has been painted a soft shade of pink/violet because I just could not resist. I had promised myself I wouldn’t go overboard with the pink but I just couldn’t resist having it as the wall color. We also added a fairy border in green. It looks especially nice with the new hardwood floors. The room is definitely taking on something of an enchanted theme though I didn’t plan it that way. When I came home the other day and saw it all complete, I couldn’t help but cry because I remembered staring at the room years before wondering if it would ever become a nursery. Now, it has.

It’s been an exhausting couple of weeks/months, but know that I still follow and read everyone’s blog posts. I don’t always comment like I previously did but I am still thinking and praying for you all always.

 

 

 

Two Walks

Thank you, Belle, for your Spiritual/Virtual Walk to Remember idea!  Recently Belle attended a real-life walk to honor the memory of precious Pip and of other babies lost in pregnancy, birth, and beyond.   After a less-than-validating experience, she proposed the idea of  a “virtual walk to remember” in which all bloggers could take their own personal walk in the environment of their choosing to remember and honor those who were lost.

It just so happens that I attended my own virtual walk Saturday and an in-person one today, Sunday.  I woke up Saturday in a pretty crappy mood since I had spent the previous night at a high-school football game.  Not that the game itself bothered me (to say my home team lost would be an understatement).  Nor did the super-chilly, piercing weather put me in a bad mood for the next day.  It was seeing all those people from high school who had babies and babies galore.  Ok, it was only one person who had two babies, but the image of watching her chase after and show off her children all night was the first memory that greeted me Saturday morning.

That morning I had planned to go down to the park and photograph something that would speak to me–something that would remind me of my baby.  For some reason, I semi-strongly felt this image would be a butterfly, particularly an orange one (maybe this is called a monarch butterfly?)  However, I decided to just stroll around my backyard with the animals instead.  I knew I didn’t have a great deal to photograph back there but I chose to sit in the corner of my yard and just enjoy the warmth of the sun on my shoulders.  I wondered which of my blogger friends might be doing the same in another city thinking of their little ones as well.  I cleared my head and tried to appreciate my previous happiness, but told myself that I could never really see myself moving forward.  As much as I tried, mountains of negativity continued to invade my thoughts.

Then I looked across the yard at my garden at the mini-rose bush that was planted two years ago.  Ironically, it was a Mother’s Day gift from the dogs.  I stood, strolled over to it, and was drawn to one rose.  One that had recently opened and seemed to grow more vibrant and stronger by the minute.  I instantly knew it was hers.

I caressed the delicate petals of the rose and inhaled.  The fragrance of the rose carried just a hint of sweetness.  It was at this moment that I finally found the calm I was searching for.  I felt a closeness to my baby that I cannot explain with words.  I was able to tell her just how much she was loved and will continue to be.  The moments of peace I felt afterward seemed to erase the sadness I had felt earlier.

Today was the in-person walk and I had misgivings about attending.   Part of me didn’t want to invalidate what I had experienced the day before and the other part of me felt like my grief was just too fresh to be around others in that setting.  We went anyway.  At first, it was hard.  Just standing around with others and knowing why I was there brought a river of tears to my eyes.  I felt like we didn’t belong because no one else seemed to be upset and most of the other couples seemed to have children in attendance with them.  I think the thing that upset me the most was filling out the registration sheet where you list the child’s name and birth date.  We never officially named her and I wasn’t about to come up with a name on the spot.  I wasn’t calm enough to realize that I didn’t even have to fill out the form nor did I have to even come up with a name.

After we got situated, it got better.  There was a tree-watering ceremony and we all walked to the river to hear the speaker.  On the way there, I couldn’t help but notice what was basking in the bushes:

If you look closely, you will see two orange butterflies.  Actually, the bush contained a slew of butterflies, just as if  they had been planted there for me to see.  Seeing those butterflies, I knew my baby was with me.  A feeling of strength overcame me and I knew that I would be able to finish the day.

Listening to the guest speaker helped me a great deal.  She shared her own journey of infertility which included the loss of her son due to complications from preeclampsia.    She said many things that helped me, but these things stand out:

1.  Grief is not linear.  Being an extremely linear person, I have had issues here.  I tend to see a beginning, middle, and end, but who doesn’t?

2. Mourning and grief are different.  Mourning lasts a specific time period, while grief is permanent.  Losing a baby, whether through pregnancy or afterwards, changes you forever.  Mourning is a different process for everyone.  You, nor anyone else, can put a time limit on it.

3. You want your child to be proud of you.

I think the third one resonates most with me, too, and have felt this way for a few weeks.  I have had some very tough times at work lately and the thing that has kept me going forward has been the memory of what I had.  She is the reason I am able to get out of bed each day.  She is the reason I can move forward.  Even when I feel like I am dying on the inside, it is her strength that makes me live.

It’s amazing how hearing another’s story can bring us healing.  That is why I am so thankful for this community of people who not only have the courage to share their own stories but have the compassion to put themselves in someone else’s position.   Some can identify because they have walked the same road while others have the gift of genuine empathy.  Those are the people who truly deserve to be called remarkable.

The Flame

Last night, before I lit my candle for National Pregnancy Loss and Infant Remembrance, I made a mental list of all the bloggers I could think of that had lost babies.  At first, between three women, six babies were lost.  This count by itself broke my heart.. Then the number rose to seven, eight, and soon nine.  Just when I thought I had remembered each blogger, the number rose to 15.  15 women out there who have suffered as I have, many of those suffering on a much more horrific level.

After reaching 15, I thought of all the women I knew in real life who had lost a child.

16 . . .

17. . .

20. . .

Then the number rose to 30.

After reaching 30, I counted the friends and acquaintances of women I knew who had suffered the same tragedy at some point in their lives.

35. . .40. . . 50. 

51. . .

52. . . 

53. . .

I stopped counting after a bit, but I am fairly certain the number of women I knew or knew of had reached the 60’s or 70’s.

70 women out there who had suffered a loss so painful and horrible, there are no words to describe it.  70 women, many who are burning candles in their hearts, flames flickering wildly.

What truly is devastating is that this is merely my own count.  How many women do you know?

After I lit the candle last night, I let myself sit a few minutes to simply watch the flame.  My husband joined me.  The flame danced strongly and vibrantly.  I thought about my baby, my daughter, just as she was.  I didn’t allow myself to think of the two and a half years that preceded her conception or of the events that might come after her.

Just her.

To me, she was and always will be my angel.

After we blew out her candle, I realized how truly cold the world is without her.  But, I also felt love, mixed in with a flicker of healing.

What Might Have Been

 

Today was supposed to be a big day for me:  the day I (finally) announced my pregnancy to all my family and friends.  I would have been 11 weeks.

I woke up this morning and like all mornings, the aching realization hit me:  My baby is gone.  This time  though, I had an additional thought.  Yes, my baby is gone but at least I know there is no other baby in me right now that could die as well.

I can’t remember if this extra thought made me feel better or worse.

My husband and I went to the state fair instead.  I was bombarded by babies and toddlers but that is ok because I knew I would be.  We go every year and the main attraction for us is walking around, looking at the exhibits and eating food we normally would not eat.  Reflective me couldn’t help but remember this time last year at the fair when I asked my husband if we would have a baby by the same time the following year.  I almost did.  But almost doesn’t count.

Just a few days after the D & C, I got the pathology (don’t know if this is the correct term) report back.  This surprised me because Mr. Hardly Gives a Damn  Mr. RE said it would be weeks before I got it back since tissues had to be sent to California.  As suspected, the baby had a chromosomal abnormality, Trisomy 15.  Trisomy 15 is one of the more rare abnormalities, so not much is really known about it.  From what I read, it is just something that happens.  That’s all I really know.

I also know that the baby was a girl.  According to the report.

But I knew that already.  Knew it in my heart, before I even had my first ultrasound.  Seconds before Mr. RE told me that my baby had no heartbeat, I saw her face on the screen-just for a millisecond.  I knew it was a girl’s face.  How could I not know?  Even though I only saw her briefly, I now see her every time I close my eyes.  This is haunting, but comforting.

Does knowing with absolute certainty that she had an abnormality versus knowing that I could have done something to harm her development make me feel any better?  I don’t know.  I guess it does.  It’s kind of like choosing between being shot in the head versus being shot in the heart.   There’s also the general consensus that it was much better for this to happen early on than for it to happen later.  Do I agree?  Yes.  But. . . there’s the selfish part of me that wishes it never happened at all.  Why couldn’t I just be pregnant very briefly and never even know it happened?  What was the purpose in all this?  What was the sense in it?

Like most women, I was nervous about the ultrasound but never in a million years thought I would be told the baby had no heartbeat.  I forgot to worry about it.  To be honest, I only worried that the baby would not be measuring at 8 weeks.  No heartbeat at all?  Never saw that coming!  I guess I went into shock or something.  When the doctor told me, I could only respond with silence.  When I did manage to speak, I think I said something along the lines of “Are you sure?” or something like that.  I guess Mr. RE thought I was questioning his expertise because he gruffly told me I could get a second opinion if I wanted to.  Keep in mind, I’m still in stirrups while this is going on.  I wanted to get the hell out of there, but he insisted on typing “No FHB” on the screen before I was allowed to do so.   I lost it seconds later; thank God my husband was with me.

So, I am left here with more questions and heartache than ever.  Most of the questions start with “Why” followed with a slew of “What ifs” for the future.  Right now, I am in limbo land.  Still grieving.  Still waiting.  Always waiting.

Still asking.

Do I see myself trying again?  What if it takes another two and a half years?  What if this happens again?  What if this baby was “the baby” and I never get another chance?

I can’t answer these questions and neither can anyone else.  I do want to say thank you to everyone who stopped by and offered their support on my last post.  I didn’t respond to many of them, but just knowing someone cared made everything much more bearable.  I read the bulk of those comments moments before I went into surgery and they gave me the strength I needed for that day.

There’s a million more things I could say about the experience, but for now this is it.  It’s funny how a little bit of writing changes things.

One in Eight

Down The Lazy River

Down The Lazy River (Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

It’s summertime, my favorite season, and I love going to the water park. I wait all year for it.  I love just floating in the lazy river while soaking up some rays. I still end up looking like a vampire at the end of the day, but who cares? Actually, I decided today that I would not put sunblock on my legs because they NEVER tan and lo and behold, they are now red and crispy. Ouch!  No, I don’t begrudge the sun because it was a long time coming.

As I floated in the river today, I was scanning the crowd looking at the children in their colorful swimsuits with their hair plastered to their faces and backs. I noticed a group of girls, probably around 6 or 7 years old. I counted them.  Eight all together.  I couldn’t help but think that at least one of them, one day, will face infertility. The statistics say so.

I searched the faces of those little girls and found my own. I thought back to when I was that age and how innocent I had been about the things of the world. As far as I was concerned, I would grow up, get married, have babies and live happily ever after.  It never occurred to me that my dreams wouldn’t come true. For me, the world was black and white and I was safe as long as I lived in it.

If I could somehow turn back time and warn myself of what was coming, would I have done so?  Maybe I could have conditioned myself at a young age to be tougher for the heartbreak that would follow.  Maybe I could have steered myself away from marriage and children all together.  Maybe I could have instilled in myself the values that would have led me to a completely different life.

I wanted to approach those little girls today.  I wanted to hold the hands of the one or two of them that would face infertility, to tell them that things would be hard, but that they were strong.  I wanted to tell the remaining girls that they needed to be strong as well, strong for those who wouldn’t have it as easy as them.  I wanted to find their mothers, to tell them how lucky they were to have their daughters in their life.  To let them know that things could have easily gone the other way, but they were blessed enough to be on the right side of the statistics.

Of course, to do any of this would have been insane and I probably would have been ejected from the park for being creepy.  I guess I just miss being young (even being in my 20’s) and the carefree life I had.  I realize that nothing could have prepared me for this.  Not one piece of offered advice, not one lesson learned.  No class I could have taken, no degree I could have earned.  To be honest, I don’t think I would have warned myself at any age of what was to come because I look back on my innocence and I want to protect it.  I miss the world that used to be so large and full of promise.   Maybe someday life can be similar to that again.  Perhaps I will be holding the hand of my own daughter, hoping and wishing for her happiness.  Praying that she will never be 1 in 8.