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today marks two years since our first miscarriage. 

two years. 

two years ago i awoke to bright red blood.

today i awoke to a moving, stretching baby in my womb.

two years ago we went to the er (something i would never do again for a m/c, unless hemorrhaging) and sat for hours all the while being told that what was happening really wasn’t happening.

but i knew it was.

it did.

we found out that day (though the docs and nurses were no help in confirming this reality) our blueberry never grew to be more than a little round berry sized being.

this was one in many life changing days we’ve experienced in the past four years.  and while i’d never want to go back, i also never want to forget…our sweet little berry and all the naive excitement we felt in those short weeks.

today marks one year since our blueberry’s due date.  that little being would have been one year old sometime around now…maybe in a couple days since they say your first usually goes late. 

 

i remember last year feeling quite sad right about now…having racked up another miscarriage by that point and not knowing if i’d ever be able to sustain a pregnancy…somehow i thought that if i was at least pregnant by our blueberry’s due date, that would help.  then when that didn’t happen, i thought that as long as i was pregnant by our beanie’s due date, i’d be fine.  that didn’t happen either.

 

now, here i am a year later, almost 18wks pregnant……and guess what?

 

it doesn’t help.  yes, i feel distracted b/c this baby and my changing body consume most of my energy and time….but when i tune in to my feelings, beyond my baby-euphoria, it still hurts.  not knowing our blueberry, all the pain that i felt at the shock and horror of suddenly miscarrying, all the questions and fears about my body and my fears of not being able to sustain life—fears about what that might mean about me….that’s all still real…pregnancy or no pregnancy…i still feel those feelings, remember the acute pain and rage and confusion.  i feel the fears and the sleepless nights.  it’s all still with me. 

 

just as my little blueberry remains with me.  no matter where i am in my fertility hunt, you always remain, little one.

for those of you who’ve been reading since the beginning (so that’s two of you probably—my life long friend and my sister!), you know that i planted flowers last spring in a pot on my front porch as a memorial to our three little lost ones.

i planted three yellow ranunculus (spelling?) amidst a sea of creamy pansies.  well, the yellow flowers died somewhere along the summer and while i knew this, i wasn’t yet ready to feel the symbolism or at least i wasn’t ready to yank the dead plants out of the pot.

so i let them be.

my neighbor with whom we share the front porch/deck, however, did not let them be.  i noticed a few weeks ago that the dead plants were missing from our pot.  i thought…oh meanie pants must have pulled the plants out!  (we call her mp for short—she was mean at first; now she’s just controlling and overbearing, but the nickname stuck.)  i was a little surprised, but not really.

today, i am surprised.  i opened our front door, which we don’t do very often because we don’t like the possibility of people looking in (huz esp doesn’t like this), and what did i see? 

not my sea of creamy pansies.  no.

i saw a completely different design in our pot (the pot we chose specifically for our baby memorial)!  our neighbor planted tall grass in the middle of new, fresh pansies to match what she planted in the pot that’s on her side of the porch.  in addition she put two chairs on our side to match the chairs she has on her side!

now, let me say in all fairness….the arrangement is beautiful and the chairs are inviting.  actually, i’d thought at various times that maybe they would have some extra chairs or a bench or something that we could put on our side of the porch….but i thought maybe we’d at least talk about it first?

oh my.  what is there to say really?  how do i even begin to explain what my meager, dying pansies meant to me even if they looked bedraggled?  and do i even want to explain it?  no, i really don’t.

i’m just going to say thank you and let it be, i think.  maybe i’ll ask her to take over our balcony in the back of our place, too….come to think of it, i won’t need to ask her—i’m sure it’s on her to do list already!

this saturday, august 1st, marks one year since we lost our beanie…my second of three miscarriages to date.  the irony is that the first weekend of august is my favorite weekend of the year here in my city.  for the past five years i’ve looked forward to this weekend and i continue to do so because of some special events that take place each year.

 

and yet, this year i’m also remembering what we were going through this time last year…first the week of waiting to bleed from when we found out through the ultrasound at 6w2d that the pregnancy was not viable until the miscarriage process began.  i remember that week pretty clearly…that’s when i first got into tori and dean.  and the real housewives, although i didn’t see my favorite housewives until this winter (new jersey, of course!).  that’s when i spent almost an entire week in my bed watching tv.  i didn’t want to see anyone and i didn’t really want to go anywhere and i didn’t work for maybe a month or five weeks after we first got the news. (thank you, huz, for carrying the financial load, yet again…)

 

i distinctly remember august first.  the bleeding began and i knew it was only a matter of time before the tissue passed.  i wasn’t prepared for the level of pain i would feel because my first miscarriage was virtually pain-free—-at least, physically pain-free.  i wanted to stay “active” that day to assist my body in passing the tissue and one way i did that was by helping my huz put together our grill out on our deck…until the pain got too severe, that is.  and by the way, i wasn’t really helping…it was more like i was bossing him around, agitating both of us and encouraging him to toss the directions and just put it together any old way.  i’m sure he was more than relieved when i needed to go inside.

 

i remember choosing not to take any pain meds because i wanted to know what was happening in my body.  i wanted to be present and alert and i felt strongly that it might be the closest i’d ever get to experiencing the natural birth i’d been wanting.

 

i remember my huz shutting down and getting rather short tempered once he came inside.  i told him to snap out of it and go get me some ice cream—a lot of ice cream—please.  he brought back a big serving of my favorite flavor.

 

i remember feeling sad, lonely and angry when he went to bed while i couldn’t sleep.  i stayed in the living room and watched tv…wrote an email…and breathed through the pain.  i remember the pain reaching all the way down to the tops of my feet…throbbing, aching pain.

 

i remember getting up to use the bathroom around 6:30a (roughly 12 hours from the first sight of blood)…i passed the first large-ish piece of tissue and felt immense relief, physically and emotionally.

 

the waiting was over.  i really did miscarry.  it wasn’t some freak ultrasound tech mistake.  i could stop torturing myself with irrational hopes and move on to torturing myself with what-if’s.

 

i remember getting some sleep after that…but not much.  i never sleep well during seasons of grief…it seems the first comfort to leave me.  i remember that for some reason my huz was gone that day…i can’t remember why, but i remember being simulataneously relieved and angry that he was gone…grief is so complex.

 

i remember attempting to drive to class that morning (i was finishing my master’s and it was to be my last day of class, an intensive).  i stopped in a mall parking lot to call the ta on my way, bawling and letting her know i didn’t think i could do it.  she was very gracious as she herself is fertility challenged.   i remember my dear friend coming over and bringing my favorite donuts with him.  i remember going to the annual festivities the next day, the events that i look forward to each year.  and i’m glad i did.

 

so many memories and yet there are countless ones that are lost to us, lost right along with our little beanie…memories we will never know.  and yet so much remains.

it’s not like they did it to hurt me personally.

 

but that’s what it feels like every time i think of people i know (or have heard of) who had babies around the time our first would have been due.  i feel a range of less than desireable emotions that i feel ashamed to admit……hatred being on the top of the list.

 

i know, i know, i know that it’s no one’s fault that my babies died while many others lived.

 

but knowing that doesn’t make me feel different.  i have become well-acquainted with primitive emotions like envy and rage in the past year and a half.  and the silver lining is…………….at least i am able to acknowledge them?

i realized the other day that my experience with recurrent miscarriage has resulted in me feeling a pervasive lack of self-confidence…maybe it hasn’t actually been the “result of”…because if i’m really honest, i wasn’t the poster child for self-confidence prior to all of the baby-loss…so i guess what i’m saying is that the miscarrying exaggerated or aggravated or highlighted my sense of incompetency…as a woman, as a therapist, as a wife, as a friend*…yes, these days i feel a pervasive sense of worthlessness.

you don’t need to spend a fortune on an education to see it:  i’m depressed.

not clinically–don’t worry.  i eat (a little too much), i sleep (not quite enough), i go to work (even though i’d rather stay home), i keep up on personal hygeine (there’s nothing i hate more than feeling stinky–except when camping…then i love being dirty!)…yes, the writing is on the wall. 

i’m depressed.

but this doesn’t really concern or alarm me.  of course i’m depressed.  i’m in the midst of a storm of a lifetime’s worth of grief, unanswerable questions and insatiable desire for a life/fantasy that may or may not ever become reality—and while i’m being honest, let me also acknowledge that fantasies rarely, if ever, come to fruition….meaning, even if we have children one day, the reality of parenthood and family-life will scarcely live up to the dream.  i know this.

but it doesn’t deter me.  and depression doesn’t scare me—well, not usually.  all it means is that at this moment in my life, i’m experiencing an intensity of emotion that far exceeds my capacity for language, expression, and probably most of all far outweighs my desire to find language and a mode of expressing what i’m feeling.

and so i move forward…one step in front of the other…slowly finding ways to express some of what’s happening inside…painting, creating, talking, loving, crying—-and sometimes even vegging out helps. 

somewhere in the midst of this present maelstrom of my life’s ups and downs i will find myself again…my self-confidence, my sense of value, direction and meaning…each of these will return to me in a way my tiny babies never will.

*foot note:  strangely, i haven’t lost confidence in myself as a nanny…perhaps this is how i know i’ll be okay…through all of this i have maintained some hearty ability to mother…the kids i nanny and most importantly, myself.  thank you for this gift, h.

i’ve wasted a fortune on pregnancy tests and another very small fortune on ovulation predictor kits…and really the one opk wouldn’t have even been that expensive if i hadn’t become obsessed with needing to buy it in the middle of the night when only the grocery store was open…

 

i’m here to tell you ladies….do not expect your local grocery store to cut you a deal in the middle of the night for an opk!  in fact, that reminds me of something horrifically embarrassing that happened that night at the store…

 

i was in line, minding my own business, about to waste my money on an overly fancy and way too expensive kit.  when it was my turn, i handed the goods over to the manager who was running the register (you know it’s either really late at night or super, super busy in the store when the manager is running the register…in this case it was the former).  he scanned the kit and said,

 

“my god, $38!  for that price it should at least come with some videos!”

 

i was in a hurry because i was feeling guilty about wasting the money on it so in the moment his comment didn’t really faze me too much more than my own guilt already had.  it wasn’t until i got into my car that i realized what he said, what i was buying, and what he probably meant…now, that’s just unprofessional!

 

i wish i would have said something like, “i’m sorry, but i don’t need to be watching people with better bodies than me doing better moves than me while we’re ttc—believe me, i have enough insecurity, guilt and shame about my infertility issues as it is….i do not need to add to this by watching other people do it.  but thank you kindly for the suggestion.”

 

anyway, that whole story got me way off the trail…where was i?

 

oh yes!  i’ve spent fortunes on pregnancy tests and opk’s.  and i’ve read on multiple blogs that the tests and kits are much less expensive when purchased over the net…and when using them compulsively, as in my case, expense matters! 

 

so i passed another milestone on my fertility hunt—i bought a huge combo pack of pregnancy tests and ovulation predictor kits on line last night…and let me tell you, i got a steal of a deal…these tests actually included the videos just as that manager suggested!

 

just kidding.

 

but they were really affordable and now i can feed my compulsion to test any old time of the day or night with very little guilt over the expense…i will say, however, that i felt saddened after the rush of excitement over knowing i’d be able to test to my heart’s content passed…saddened that our efforts to have a baby have come to this.  scheduled sex.  intense hoping followed by devastating disappoinment and loss.  i so much wish we would have been one of those couples who just–oops!–got pregnant and 40 weeks later held their healthy baby in their arms.  i so much wish our blueberry would have lived…

 

but that’s not our story.  recurrent miscarriage is our story so far…i’m grateful books have many chapters and i’m hoping to start a new one very soon.  this storyline is getting rather tiresome.

tomorrow morning i have to go in for my third needle poke in four days.  i’ve been thinking about it every so often today, bracing myself for it. 

 

as much as i’m dreading it, i must say i am looking forward to seeing the phlebotomist again.  N was funny and kind and made me feel as much at ease as possible, given the situation.  i like knowing that even though the poke will likely hurt and the memories of past pokes will come bubbling up to the surface yet again, at least i can count on having a laugh, too.

 

tomorrow is exciting for an altogether very different reason….tomorrow starts my two month stint caring for the infamous “beep-beep” girlie and her baby sister (who happens to be six weeks younger than our blueberry would have been, which will surely provoke much in me as i care for and love them both).  be sure to check back for more adorable stories from my favorite little two year old.

in addition to a few other things, i work part-time as a nanny for a family with two girls who are quite independent and lovely to be with…for the most part.  as with every family, they have their quirks and issues and dysfunctions, but i suppose that’s what makes them a family…i enjoy them quite thoroughly.

 

anyway, i was with the 8 year old yesterday afternoon as we put together her new fish tank for her two new fish and one snail (to eat the fish tank gunk).  at the start of this project, she was pretty agitated and edgy and darn right rude to me.

 

my first reaction was to be a bit snarky in response to her irrational demands on me…and then i took a breath.  a long, calming breath.  and this is what transpired:

 

me: you seem pretty panicky right now.  do you know what’s happening in you? [a bit of a “grown-up” question, but I’m often amazed by how kids respond.]

her: yes.

me: [i was surprised she responded so confidently and quickly.]  oh, okay.  what’s up?

her: i’m just afraid they’re going to die.

 

we talked a little bit more about her fears of her beloved fish dying.  she calmed and we proceeded to have a great time together, laughing and making memories.

 

as i was driving home, i realized how familiar i am with the panic she described feeling.  it seems none of us hopeful mamas want our little ones to die—even fish mamas.  in her panic, she was anxious we’d do something to the fish or the water or whatever that would kill them.  listen, i know that panic well.  and the really shitty thing is that sometimes babies and fishies do die…sometimes they regularly die no matter how careful, loving, attentive, healthy, and desirous the mama is to keep them alive.

so painful (expectably, as h would say) to hear a woman speak of abortion in the midst of holding my empty womb…painful to hear of one woman’s choice to empty her womb clashing with my deep desire to fill mine again – to somehow take the baby she rejected and fill my womb, my arms, with its sweet, sweet life.

sure, she was too young, too not ready to have another baby, too, too, too…but it’s so hard (expectably, as h would say) to think of a mother choosing not to receive her baby, while my body chose for me.  if a woman should have the right to choose—why didn’t i?

 

expectably, it hurts.

 

 

**i wrote this a while ago, just weeks after my first miscarriage.  i was in the midst of contemplating the irony of a woman’s right to choose juxtiposed with this woman’s lack of choice and the desperate feelings that lack creates in me…