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it’s been quite a while since i wrote, hey?

there are many reasons for this, but the main ones are:

~sleep deprivation—-i had no idea how negatively affected i’d be by lack of sleep over such a long stretch of time.  i need my sleep even more than i knew.

~too busy—-this is only partially true b/c i’m not too busy to write emails or make phone calls when i want to, but it is kind of true.

~ashamed of some of the more difficult feelings i’ve been experiencing—-i wasn’t prepared to feel the level of “negative” emotions i’ve had since she was born.  it’s difficult to accept that these are also part of the package of mothering a little one so full of need and vulnerability.  but it’s true.  at least for me.  sometimes i feel angry or resentful or frustrated or enraged or numb or checked out.  and i’m embarrassed.  but i know these are part and parcel of this stage of life and mothering, so i try not to hold it against myself. i try to just let this process be what it is.  and make every attempt at managing all that i’m feeling so that i don’t take it out on our precious, innocent little bear.  after all, she’s just doing what little babies do…communicating primarily through her tears.

but here i am, expressing myself once again through writing.  knowing that this is one kind and helpful way for me to make my way through these experiences successfully…with grace and dignity.

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or is it thee?

i think it’s thou.

i never liked old english anyway.

but why can’t i sleep?!  it’s frustrating b/c i’m tired, but this mind of mine…just going and going this morning.  so early in the morning…dark, rainy and windy outside.  and i’m tired.  grumpy too. 

but i do have a juicy story to tell…which is part of why i can’t sleep.  i keep thinking about it.

it’s probably going to be a long one and i know that sometimes i just love drama for the sake of drama, so i apologize in advance if this seems annoying and petty.  but obviously it doesn’t feel petty to me…it feels big and stirs many feelings for me.  feelings i’ve been carrying around for a long time now.

my office mate contacted me the other day to let me know i’d had a package arrive that looked like a personal package…maybe for the baby! she said.  i thought that was strange, but i’ve received personal packages there before, so i didn’t think too much of it.  then my other office mate called to let me know about the pkg, too.  he obviously didn’t know i’d already been told and he gave me a bit of info on my voicemail that was news to me…he told me where the return address was from…he got the name wrong (so i didn’t recognize it), but when i heard the location i became intrigued.

i only know two people/families in that city.  one is my favorite little maddie’s fam.  i am in touch with them; just spent the day with them last friday.  they know my home address and don’t send things to my office.  the other is someone i haven’t spoken to in two years.  our friendship blew up in a major way mere weeks after my first miscarriage.  we’ve had literally no contact; couldn’t be from her.  that would be too wierd.

my huz and i drove up to the office so i could put this mystery to rest.  i didn’t mention it to him…just that there was a package and would he mind driving up there with me…driving/sitting in the car is increasingly uncomfortable for me…in fact, i am beginning to dread it completely.  anyway, i got to my office, found the package and my inklings were confirmed.

small package out of the blue from ex-friend.

how did we become estranged?  well, it’s painful to talk about even still.  long story short (except it’s still a long story)…we both found out we were pregnant the same weekend just over two years ago.  i told; she didn’t.  that’s her prerogative, i know.  i miscarried; she didn’t.  although when i miscarried i had no idea that she was pregnant.  she did call me however and asked me all kinds of details about miscarrying and i didn’t quite compute at the time how odd they were…asking my symptoms in detail, etc.  i guess i was still in shock that i miscarried at all and wanted to talk about it to try to make sense of what’d just happened to me the day before.  a couple of weeks later, she and her husband invited us to meet them at a nearby coffee shop…i remember telling my huz when they texted the invite saying they “had an earful for us” that i wondered if she was pregnant and how would i feel about that and how would i not start crying when they told us…my anxiety was already high just anticipating the conversation.

yes, indeed, they had an earful for us.  and if i’d been in my right mind, less traumatized, i’d have certainly had an earful for them right back.  there we sat in that public place while they announced they were having a baby, with smiles and all…never acknowledging that our pregnancy had just spontaneously ended mere weeks before.  i tried really hard (too hard) to look excited and sound interested.  at one point i found the words to ask when she was due…

i obviously knew our due dates would be close, but i never anticipated hearing her say she was due the day after i would have been.  one day.  we were pregnant practically to the day.  but i wasn’t anymore.  agony.  especially since she immediately followed up with, “we found out on president’s day weekend (the same weekend as we did), but we’d already decided we weren’t going to tell anyone–not even our parents–until we were safely out of the first trimester.  you’re the first people we’ve told after telling our parents.”

well, thank you for that honor.  you might have considered acknowledging our loss.  or mentioning how awkward and painful this news must be for us…or considering what it would be like for me to watch your body develop and swell with your baby’s growth at the exact rate mine should have been.  but now it’s not.  and how in the hell am i supposed to manage all these feelings on my own between us? 

i was hurt and horrified and how could someone be that insensitive….but honestly, it didn’t stop there.  they said many thoughtless things that day…but one more that really stands out to me was when she said, “i don’t know if you were like this when you were pregnant…blah, blah, blah.”  and she went on to talk about how hungry she was, etc.  when i was pregnant?  oh you mean for the three weeks i knew i was pregnant before i awoke to a bloody nightmare?  hmmm, let me think…

now, my huz and i have different experiences and reactions to this incident.  he was more interested in salvaging the connection with the husband of the other couple.  i was more interested in never seeing or speaking to them again…i felt so hurt and so betrayed…by my body, by them, by everyone and everything…just raw and vulnerable and jealous and angry and blech.  how could i possibly find the words or courage to communicate what that experience was like with someone i found to be so thoughtless in such a grievous time?  especially when all i wanted to do was crawl into a hole and die.

so, that was basically that.  one more email contact.  no communication since then.  and it’ll be two years next week since that coffee shop debacle.  i miss her sometimes, but i don’t miss all the unspoken, hurt feelings i held in all those years we were friends which ultimately led to such a supreme explosion…might i say, it’s never helpful to keep all that stuff in b/c it only grows.  i should have told her many times how i’d been feeling about certain interactions we’d had, but i far more often than not kept quiet about my feelings to her and instead vented to my huz.  not a good idea.  those are the makings of explosions.

fast forward two years to yesterday.  there i see her handwriting on this package.  oh my.  what could be inside?  how will i respond?  does this mean i’ll have to respond?  but i don’t want to open that door again…oh my.  so, my huz said to stop acting like a nuclear bomb went off and just open it.  what did it matter?  i’d never know till i opened it…

so i did.  and it was more peculiar and stirred up more feelings in me than i could have guessed.

she sent a small box of hand-me-down girl clothes/shoes and a hat, plus returned a book i’d loaned to her so long ago i forgot i ever did.  now this takes thoughtless to a whole new level for me.  she sent clothes her baby who was born at some point right around the time my first would have been born.  this is so odd to me.  further, we’ve never talked about me starting my private practice or having office space at that location; nor have we spoken about me being pregnant or me having a girl…my huz hasn’t been in contact with her husband since well before we had knowledge of this baby either.  obviously she heard it through the grapevine…

i feel intruded upon.  in the strangest way.  and while there were hand-me-downs and a book in the box, there was no note.  nothing.  just the things.  so of course i’m feeling all these feelings…having that scab ripped off again…trying to think she probably meant to be kind by sending those little outfits and things…but no note?  nothing of her to respond to;  nothing to explain her thought process around why she sent these things?  why now?

well, this ignited an argument between my huz and me…he always defends the underdog, so that means if i’m angry with anyone, he takes up for them (i’m still hurt by our argument so that’s why i’m using concrete language here…”he always..”).  needless to say, we didn’t get very far in talking about what it was like for me to open this stupid package.  and now i’m feeling torn about how to respond…do i want to respond?…what would i say…

and this is why i can’t sleep.  b/c i’m feeling all those ugly, intense feelings all over again.  i’m torn b/c i don’t like the fact that i just cut her out of my life…another relationship bites the dust…but i can’t deny the relief i feel at not having the toxicity that was unspoken between us long before our final explosion.  so i keep mulling it all around in my mind…how to respond?

the huz and i are starting to get pumped up for our upcoming trip to maui–plans we made before i became pregnant again, and i’m SO glad we did!  well, most of the time i’m glad…

 

however, today i’ve been a bit more focused on the down side:

 

the in-laws will be joining us (kind of–we will each have our own rental cars and will spend a lot of time as individual couples and not together, but still…).  i’m not known for being the most gracious daughter-in-law (among other things), nor are they the greatest in-laws in my opinion.  but over the years, we’ve managed to forge some semblance of a relationship even if it’s not what i’d always hoped for.  still, it’s a challenge to be with them.

 

another down-side…i tried on my warm weather clothes, most of which are pre-pregnancy.  oh my.  i don’t even know what to say.  i have a pitiful assortment of mismatched clothing to choose from, none of which includes even a single pair of shorts or capris at this point.  i have two skirts, though, so that’s a definite plusexcept for the thigh rubbage issue...ouch!  it seems my body thinks my butt and thighs are pregnant, too.  i always wanted to be one of those lucky pregnant women who look so cute and adorable and only pregnant from the front.  this is not the case for me and i never really thought it would be.

 

another major bummer: i’m learning that the only thing worse than a fat stomach is a fat stomach that being pushed out by a baby bump.  this means i have a lovely two-bump thing going on in my mid-section…one above my belly button and one below.  i’m embarrassed, mainly because i’ve always been ashamed of my mid-section and now that the fat is way protruding, the shame is even more pronounced in me. 

 

i know, i know….how dare i even complain?  i ask myself this very question every time i get down on myself for not more carefully monitoring my weight in the months after my miscarriages….of course i was putting on some extra poundage–the hormone fluctuations alone were enough to pack on the pounds, not to mention the grief and frustration and everything else i was attempting to soothe with tasty treats.

 

i know all of this; i know i’m fortunate to even have a 22.5 wk old baby bump pushing out my tummy fat; i know it could be worse and that if this is the extent of my problems, i’m doing pretty damn well.

 

but i’m still vain.  i still worry about the potentially thoughtless comments my mother-in-law may make about my pudgy middle and how that will hurt.  i worry about not being able to lose the weight after the baby comes.  i worry about never feeling beautiful again.  i worry, worry, worry…and preparing to go to a lovely, warm, bikini-clad-beach location enhances my insecurities.

 

but don’t think for one minute that i’m even considering not going or that i’m wishing away this trip or this pregnancy—oh no!  i’m in it for the long haul…and i’m going to get through all of the feelings i’m having along the way.  it’s just that some days are more difficult in my emotional world than others……….and this is one of those days when i’m struggling along with my old friends, insecurity and self-torment.

 

i’ll get through, i always do.  and in the meantime, maybe i’ll get one of those bell.a ba.nds in an attempt to smooth out the belly bump!  have any advice on transforming two bumps into one?

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.

sometimes i think it’s a conspiracy…all these people secretly banded together against me, thinking up ways to shock and torment me.

 

you might think i’m being dramatic, but please consider reserving judgment until you hear what happened yesterday.  i was at a networking meeting, minding my own business (and learning about everyone else’s), chatting about this and that, what we do for a living (or wish we were making a living at doing) and all of  a sudden, out of the blue—and completely unrelated to anything in the conversation, before or after—this nice, older gentlemen turned to me and said: do you have children?

 

listen, he didn’t ask anyone else in the group….no one.  nada.  but he turned to me—me—of all people!  i do think it’s a conspiracy, but i’m extremely proud of myself and happy to report: i smiled sweetly (and for the most part i wasn’t even faking it) and said gently and calmly, “no, i don’t…not yet.”

 

i know, i know…my calm, kind, gentle and hopeful (“not yet”) response has you all applauding and cheering.

 

thanks for your encouragement!  and i still think it’s a conspiracy…

some posts need a little updating to fill you in…let’s see….

 

1. remember the post about the insensitive receptionist at my mfm doctor’s office?  well, it got even better…if you can believe it.

a few days after the phone call, i drove to the medical tower where my doctor’s office was located (at least it was located there back in january when i’d been there last).  i finally found a spot in the parking garage, raced up to the office suite and just when i rounded the corner i saw that the lights were off…boxes lining what used to be the waiting room.  i was thoroughly confused and baffled.  i thought maybe i was on the wrong floor of the tower…did i get off the elevator too early?  what on earth?  no, i was in the right place; i knew i was.  naturally, my phone didn’t get reception in the building….did i mention that by this time i was running late for my appointment with dr. naturo???  i raced out of the building and dialed the mfm doctor’s number.  the long and the short of it?  they moved.  sometime in the last three months they’d moved and didn’t notify at least one of their patients….me.  irritating.  thankfully, they faxed the records in time for my appointment (which i could have just requested in the first place and saved myself the irritation…lesson learned).

 

2. on “one good learning”.  i’ve been inspired by a comment made by a fellow blogger on this post.  she mentioned feeling jealous of cultures that have a place for weeping and wailing when someone dies.  this got me thinking…i’m going to create a place on this blog…a wailing wall of sorts…where women can come and remember their babies, tell their stories of loss and of hope…a place to stuff our fears and prayers and rantings and ravings into the cracks of a wall…to remember and to wail.  look for this addition very soon.

 

3. i mentioned in “the saddest irony” that my huz and i do very few things other than conception well together….i am happy to announce this is no longer true!!  last weekend we successfully hung blinds in our windows together with little to no arguing….fabulous!  i’m so proud of us.

 

4. in bittersweet i wrote of the precious cutie pie, little girl, who asked me if i had milk in my beep-beeps.  what i left out was her question that followed my response….she asked, “lilly, will you show me your beep-beeps?”  i said, “absolutely, i thought you’d never ask!” and ripped my shirt off in a flash.

okay, no i didn’t.  when she asked i thought i was going to crack up or choke on the lunch i was eating, but i contained myself and said, “you’re very interested in my beep-beeps today, aren’t you?”  she looked at me sweetly and made the cutest little “um hmm” noise that meant yes, she was very interested in my beep-beeps.  i thought i would melt from loving her so much in that moment…and i said, “well, really these are kind of boring right now…they’re just for show.  nothing going on in there right now”  and somehow we got onto another subject.  she’s the most delightfully precocious and lovely little 2 1/2 year old ever!

 

5. in “here’s what i’m thinking…”, i wrote that mother’s day was probably going to be difficult because my mom is dead and i’m not a mom.  gratefully, it wasn’t nearly as rough as i’d feared since i’d been grieving, remembering and honoring my feelings in the preceding days. 

but, to my surprise (and not the good kind of suprise), just this morning when i was working out, a staff member came up to me and said, “did you have a nice mother’s day?”  i was thinking, “okay, you can handle this question…be kind to this girl…she didn’t mean anything by it…do-not-be-mean-to-this-girl!”  but i had a bit of difficulty with my response, which came out before i had a chance to fully neuter it of all the ugly feelings i was feeling toward her for asking me such a question.  out popped, “it was fine.  i don’t have kids and my mom is dead, so it was nothing special.”  her face conveyed that she felt the punch i swung at her….and i felt like a jerk for treating her badly and for liking it.  i should have helped her out a bit and just said that mother’s day was fine or whatever…no need to go into details just to make her feel bad.  but in that moment i wanted her to hurt, too. 

 

6. according to my blog stats, someone actually clicked on a link to “be careful what movies you watch” after they googled “adult movie”…makes me wonder what they were thinking when they realized they’d stumbled onto a fertility blog rather than a porn site or something…funny.  i’m not picky–i’ll take my readers any way i can get ’em!

 

and now, my fellow hunters and friends, you are fully updated!

i work part-time as a nanny for a family with two older, mostly independent and mostly fun girls.  it’s low-key with a lot of great perks, especially the incredibly-low-stress part of the job.

 

i got there the other night, ready to hang out with the kiddos whilst the parents went out for a night on the town…it was movie night, so i wasn’t even going to have to play games or pretend to be excited about the jonas brothers.  just hang out and watch a movie.

 

but the thing is….the movie the kids chose (with the parent’s approval) was much more of an adult movie, than a kid’s movie.  i never in a million years anticipated that it would include a scene where the wife has a miscarriage.

 

gasp.

 

there i was lying on the couch, watching a movie with two girls and their neighbor-boy when all of a sudden i’m watching a woman weeping over the news she received at her ultrasound appointment.  all i could think to myself was that i’ve been there.

 

next came the scene where she and her husband are silently driving home, shell-shocked, traumatized, grief-stricken.  i’ve been there with my huz, too.  deadly silence.

 

last, but not least…she’s sitting on her couch in a daze, then weeping, then in a daze again.  i know moments like those, too.

 

one would imagine that if i could quickly locate and secure my fertility mask, i’d be just fine.  and i’m sure i would have been.

 

but then that stupid little neighbor-boy had to open his mouth…

boy: now she has something dead in her body.

me [remembering the occasions when i’ve had something dead in my body, too]: yes, sadly, she does.

girl [to me]: do you have a kid?

me [thinking i hate you both; shut up and watch the damn movie, but saying as gently as possible in that moment]: no, i don’t.

girl: are you going to?

me: [irrationally thinking, can’t you please stop intentionally trying to hurt me?  isn’t it bad enough you insisted on watching this f-ing movie in the first place?!  stop talking.] well, i don’t know.

 

they did in fact return to watching the movie after this.  as did i.  at least on the outside i appeared to be watching.  on the inside i was thinking about the sheer unexpected-ness of the moments, the innocent questions of children and my desire to squelch them.  make them stop asking questions that remind me of my pain.  loss.  unanswered questions.  young, aching places. 

 

i’m just saying, if you don’t have your mask in place, be careful what movies you watch and with whom.

i was standing in the check-out line at the grocery store, minding my own business, when the pregnant clerk started talking to her co-worker.

 

checker:  [rubbing her 6 month pregnant belly]  man, i swear she’s trying to come out early.

 

bagger:  oh?  she’s been kicking a lot?

 

checker:  yes!  last night and all day today.  whew, i tell ya…

 

my huz: [hearing this exchange and likely seeing the look on my face, leaned over and whispered in my ear]  i love you sweetie.

 

(fyi, just remembering my husband’s thoughtfulness brings tears to my eyes…some times his tender love surprises me.)

 

me-thinking-in-my-head-in-the-moment:  leave me alone, huz! oh cry me a river, lady.  good.  i hope she does come out early.  then you’ll have a dead one, too…

 

now, while these kinds of horrible thoughts do flit through my mind on a regular basis when i see pregnant women, i promise, i really don’t mean them.

 

i feel like the worst person on the planet every time i wish pregnancy loss or infertility on another woman…but i’d be lying if i said i didn’t have these thoughts.  i do.  regularly.  then i feel like a jerk, remind myself that i don’t have any idea what that person has gone through to maintain her pregnancy, and think about what i’m really  feeling rather than wishing horrible wishes on others.  but it usually takes me a while to get there.

i would think it’d be fairly safe to call my maternal fetal medicine doctor’s office…safer, for instance, from insensitive, clueless people than at a run of the mill ob-gyn’s office, given that you only get into a MFM doc because you are high-risk for pregnancy (ie recurrent miscarriage, chromosomal issues, later-in-life pregnancy, blood clotting disorders, etc.)

 

i thought i was safe–so much so–that i dialed the number before securing (or even locating) my fertility mask (for more info on the mask, click here).  i walked right into the line of fire completely unprotected.  it went something like this:

 

me:  hi, i’d like to obtain a copy of my medical records.

 

her:  okay.  when did you have your baby?

 

me:  [feeling a piercing, stabbing pain jabbing through my sternum straight into my heart]  um, i didn’t have a baby.

 

her:  oh, okay.  you’re still pregnant.

 

me:  [feeling rage well up inside of me.  responding very forcefully.]  no.  i’m not pregnant!

 

her:  oh, okay.  i’m just asking because i need to know where to look for your file, blah, blah, blah–

 

me:  look, you stupid idiot moron insensitive annoying stupid head…..you work at a maternal fetal medicine doctor’s office.  your office exists for women who are fertility challenged!!!   don’t you think it would be wise to treat each patient with a little bit of sensitivity since you don’t know where they are in their individual hunts for their fertility?!  you can look for my file in the section reserved for women with three dead babies.  thank you.

 

okay, i didn’t really say that last part….and even what i wrote is a censored version of what i’d really liked to have said to her.  isn’t there someone in the medical world with a little bit of sensitivity for those of us who don’t have a pregnancy success story?