Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Safe but Sleepless

Your brother is here, safe and whole and alive. He's so beautiful, I find I can spend hours just watching the tiny flickers of expression that cross his face while he sleeps. It's overwhelming. He was born on October 29th, all 8 lbs 9 oz of him. It was a very difficult labor and birth, but I've been recovering very well--we even left the hospital a day early (which, after a cesarean, is pretty impressive I guess? People sure are shocked anyway).

Having him here is hard but joyous; the lack of sleep sometimes gets to one or the other of us (mostly around the time we're trading off naps). The hardest part for me though is that I obsessively check his breathing while he sleeps. I think more than is normal for a fretful new parent; I find myself leaping up to check him every few minutes when he's sleeping. The only time I can let down and sleep is when Daddy is awake with him. As long as someone is standing guard I can relax.

I am hoping I can learn to trust that he will really stay now that he's here...he's been perfectly healthy so there's no reason to worry so very much. It's me, I know; I know what it was like losing you, and I can't imagine how I'd survive if something happened to him too. The panic level overall has gone down now that I can check his breathing, at least there's that.

And, contrary to what people told me--although the sleep deprivation is very hard, it is actually NOT harder having him on the outside than on the inside. I feel healthier now (even though I suspect I might be catching a cold) than I did through the entire pregnancy. I think that's why the recovery seems so easy; yes, there's pain around the incision and I'm sore and exhausted, but I can take painkillers for that. I'm not nauseous, my entire body doesn't ache, and I can stand and walk without awful pain in my hips and back. And I can buy moment after moment free of fear for him by watching that little chest rise and fall.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I guess this is what normal looks like

I've been terribly neglectful towards you lately. And I really have no excuse; I got pulled off of work a month ago for rising blood pressure (which, magically, lowered when I was no longer stressed out and running around on my feet 8-9 hours a day). I'm on "modified bed rest" which just means staying off my feet as much as possible. It is terrifically boring at times, although it's nice to just rest when I'm tired (which is most of the time).

Your brother is going to be here within the next two weeks; the doctor is going to schedule an induction at our next appointment (tomorrow!) unless I spontaneously go into labor tonight. I doubt that. He doesn't really seem inclined to leave, although I have definitely reached a point where I want him out.

I'm increasingly terrified of the birth. Your actual birth was overall surprisingly easy. You were already gone, so pain relief for me was unlimited. They put the epidural in before they even started the induction, since there wasn't any particular rush to get you out, and I didn't need to dilate fully anyway since you were so tiny. There was a several-hour period where the epidural came out and I felt every horrible contraction, but I didn't have fear of that before it happened. I didn't have any real fear of the birth, because I expected no pain. And because the concept of pushing your tiny 1lb 7oz self out wasn't particularly daunting.

Your brother is over 7.5lbs and still growing. And I've been having off and on contractions for two weeks--they aren't that painful and they aren't getting closer together or a whole lot stronger (dammit) but whether I am induced or just go on my own, I will be feeling the contractions for the first half of the labor...and there's distinctly more terror in how big he is.

I don't like to tell people I'm afraid because a lot of people actually will laugh when you tell them that. Or tell you horror stories. And the flipside--saying how tired and sore and miserable I am still being pregnant (particularly since the terror that, now that we're actually so close, that something will happen to him), they laugh and tell you how much easier it is being pregnant than having a new baby.

So I just don't talk about much of any of it except to the small handful of people I trust not to laugh. I just can't bear that good-natured teasing right now.

Even though I'm terrified (more each day) of the labor, I really just want it to start so we can get on with things.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This sucks.

I miss you so much today.

I got diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes today, which doesn't surprise me. My pregnancy with your brother has been endlessly difficult; from Hyperemesis Gravidarum to early Braxton Hicks to the pain in my hips and back, not to even mention all the fear and pain and anxiety that he'd be with you instead of with us. That's still there actually.

I try so hard to be bright and cheery about it; a lot of the time I fool even myself. Maybe I'm not fooling myself; maybe most of the time I am that glowing, bright pregnant lady.

Today I just feel like I'm slumped. I want to be on the other end of this. I want to stop feeling nauseous, worried, fretful, aching, sore, tired...I don't want your brother to come early or anything, but I sure wouldn't be all that unhappy if I wasn't able to work anymore--at least then I'd be off my aching, miserable feet.

This is one of those days where I feel the unfairness of having to go through an entire second pregnancy. I should already be done with this. I should be holding you, soothing you while you're cutting teeth, seeing you laugh.

And I'm so scared, so almost paralyzingly afraid that we'll lose your brother even this late, both because I can't bear the thought of losing another son and because the thought of yet another pregnancy makes me feel beyond hopeless.

I wish I could hold you. I wish this was over so I could hold your brother.

I wish.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I just noticed that all of the bookmark buttons across the top of my internet window have shifted. For the past year, they've been an assortment of support sites, blogs and message boards. Now, there's a mix of news blogs and baby- and birth-related links.

I don't really know how I feel about you being farther and farther from me. We've scheduled our hospital tour, we're filling out birth plans, the maternity leave paperwork has been mailed, and no doubt within a month the bag will be packed. All things we never made it to with you.

Should I be sad? Glad? Grateful? Mostly I'm just bewildered.

And tired.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Altered Perceptions

I found this Google ad, and it's so cute and sweet it made me tear up the whole time. Happy tears. But then it gave me the creeps.

It's the way the babies stop crying and there's silence and then the dad types "How soon can we try again?"

I know it's just supposed to be sweet and happy, and that having these babies makes him so happy he just wants more. I know, I get it.

But seriously, the first time I saw it I thought the babies died.

This shit kind of stays with you, doesn't it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Birthdays and Honeymoons.

So I feel like a terrible mother to you. I didn't have anything to write on your birthday. I haven't had anything to write since then either. It isn't like I don't think of you, or don't care. It's just...I don't even know what to say. Your brother is taking up more and more space in my body, and the farther along we get with him, the more he is moving to the center of our world.

And I feel vaguely like I'm failing you, even though I know that my time mothering you has past already. You feel farther and farther away...I can't think about where I was a year ago right now. That horrible empty ache that was my constant companion.

Your brother has been with me longer than you were. He is big enough now to distort the (increasingly enormous) roundness of my belly. Strong enough now that the impact of his kicks can be painful as well as startling. He kicks in places you never could reach. His presence is constant now.

Daddy and I took our honeymoon last week. I kind of expected to have moments of really missing you--I mean, we were meant to take almost this exact trip exactly one year ago. And yet...though you came up in conversation and certainly were not forgotten, it was like this trip was just for your daddy and brother and me.

I guess that's how life is supposed to go on. You stay the same and we keep walking. But it's hard to grasp. I feel at least as though I should feel more upset by it.

Time can be kind.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I still miss you, blackbird.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Getting It

I had kind of a revelation lately. Perhaps it would better be described as a crystallization of thoughts. I finally feel like I understand why your Daddy didn't want to see you when you were born, and still doesn't want to see the pictures.

He was always up front. He didn't want to see. We made absolutely certain his wishes were clear and respected. When you were born, he was standing next to my head, holding my hand and looking into my eyes with total intensity. There was a drape over my knees to block the view. Your grandmothers went with the nurses that took you away and not long after your Daddy left so that I could hold you and see you. For those few hours (and only for those hours) we were apart, while I held you and kissed you and memorized your tiny, perfect face.

After, I never pushed him to see the pictures we took. I told him that I was sad that he didn't want to see and that I would be pleased if he ever changed his mind, but I did my best to accept it and let him grieve in his way.

But it did hurt. It hurt because in this whole world of people only we were your parents. No one else shared you the way we did. We loved each other so much we had to make you to hold some of it--and it hurt, knowing that he couldn't, wouldn't even look at you. That he didn't ache for you the way I did, that he didn't really feel that he'd lost a son the way I did. I sort of intellectually knew that he couldn't feel as much for you as I did because, to him, you were a few blurry, grainy images, a bulge in my middle that moved a little under his hand, some wishes and half-formed plans, and me being a total bitch to him for three months straight while whining that I was nauseous.

Of course he loved you. Of course he wanted you. Of course he lost when you died. None of that is really in question. But in my heart it was. Name a way to feel about his choice and I felt it, intensely, at least once. Anger that he wouldn't acknowledge you the way I wished he would. Frustration that I can't have a picture of you out in our house. Pride that he knows himself well enough that he can look out for his needs. Gratitude for his calm and steady presence as I clung to him in the middle of my hurricane. Pity that he had never smelled your scent, or seen for himself that your foot was his in perfect miniature, or seen the dark rose color of your lips.

But the one thing I never really felt was understanding. I didn't really get why he didn't, even though I thought I knew. It was talking to a guy friend about his wife's pregnancies. He was talking about the moment he really felt connected to his kids; really felt like a dad, felt that amazing, overpowering tie. It was the first moment they made eye contact. He said he loved them and dreamed about them and was excited for them, but he still didn't really feel like he was a father. Not until he met them. And somehow that supplied a kind of missing piece.

For me, holding you brought tremendous relief. For that little cocoon of time I just marveled at this tiny being I had created. Like any mother. I reveled in those short hours between when I could only see you in my imagination and when you'd exist only in my memory. They were what reward and joy and validation I could gather to try and salve my shattered heart. The only flaw in those moments of peace was that your Daddy wasn't sharing them with me.

But I finally understand that, even had he been right there with us, he wouldn't have shared that with me. For him, it would have been a sudden flood of the magnitude of that loss. Suddenly, instead of being profoundly disappointed he would have become a fully grieving father. There would have been no surcease, only ghastly, indescribable pain. The same pain that holding you eased for me. He withheld himself from meeting you not so that he could deny that he was grieving for a lost child, but so that he would not have lost a child.

And I am glad. Because he certainly did not escape feeling pain and grief. But it wasn't as much for you as it was for me; for my pain, for the loss of the life we thought we were going to have. The awful helplessness of watching me through that hell. But because he wasn't walking beside me he could be my shelter. He could provide for me, everything from making sure the bills were paid to making sure I ate occasionally. He could give himself completely when he held me and listened to the constant variances of why did this happen, instead of being so wrapped in his own grief that he had nothing to give.

He could not be a broken, grieving father to you, as I sometimes in my anguish wished he was. What he could be was a strong, loving and supportive husband. And that's an important part of being a father too. I trust him more deeply because of how much he was there for me. I knew he meant it when he said "for better or worse," because he'd already done both.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Am I doing it wrong?

Sometimes I think I'm doing this wrong.

Lately, in the weeks since your brother has become stronger and more active, as we are less and less worried about the defect that hurt you so badly, we are starting to become attached to this tiny manchild that still makes me throw up on a regular basis. This is still a very different pregnancy. I was trying to put it into words with Daddy today. It's as if I believed the assumption that I would have a living child by Christmas, but I never actually believed you would be born (and dammit, it still doesn't make sense). Never really feel like an actual baby would arrive, never really believed I'd be a parent. Lately, its the opposite. I actually am starting to believe that he will be here, breathing and pink and alive, but I can't just assume it will actually happen. Even though when I was assuming you'd arrive but I couldn't believe it.

I'm talking in circles, but I guess I'm thinking in them too.

I feel like I'm doing this wrong because I'm starting to get attached to him. Starting to love him and want him and prepare for him, in different ways than I loved you. I never had the luxury of really preparing for you to arrive. We found out you were a boy for sure the same day we found you were leaving us. I'm pragmatic and concrete, and I couldn't plan for a baby I knew so little about. Call me sexist for needing a peek between the legs before I could get anywhere, but its true. The idea that there's an entire person inside me is so hard to fathom that not even knowing if you were a boy or a girl was just one disembodying step too far for me to follow. Now that we know more about little E he's becoming more of a "real" boy to us.

Aren't I supposed to still feel all detached? Aren't I supposed to be withholding my heart to protect myself? Aren't I supposed to doubt until he's safely here? I look in the mirror and I see this glowing, joyous pregnant woman. I picture him in ways I never really pictured you. Isn't that wrong? Isn't it too soon? Isn't this premature celebration?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Could it be the coin toss is in our favor?

I feel like I should apologize. So much has happened and I've neglected this blog. I talk to you often, but I don't sit and organize my thoughts the way I should. Plus, there's that beautiful kitchen...
If I had "before" pictures I'd share them, but that damn kitchen was so hideous I never bothered.

But so much more than that has happened. We had the next ultrasound, and found that your little brother is doing beautifully. Thus far, he seems to have all of his parts. Unless something goes terribly awry, or some other horrible unrelated thing pops up, we are past the point of having to make any heartbreaking choices.

This has changed things for me. For one thing, I've finally started to connect with your brother. And to worry about him. Though he's been kicking even more than you did, he's still small enough that he can hide, and I'll go hours without any little thumps and flutters. And my mind fills with terrible images of him floating limply inside me, gone cold and silent just when things seemed to be going so well.

Another thing I've had trouble with is his name. I usually think of him as Edward, and feel like he's a very different little boy than you were. But sometimes your name comes to mind first and then I feel guilty twice over--once for not spending as much time talking to or thinking about you, and again for not being able to give myself fully to your brother.

Its very confusing. I'm happy and I'm guilty and I'm nervous and I'm hopeful. Hopeful! Is it really even okay to say that? Can we really say that your brother undoubtedly has fingers and toes, even if we have to wait for him to get bigger to count them all and make sure they're in the right places? And he was a very good boy--he stretched out his hands and wiggled and squirmed and showed off.

I never know what to feel anymore but I seem to be feeling EVERYTHING. Often at once.

Friday, May 7, 2010

At Least I'm Getting A New Kitchen Out Of The Deal

I haven't posted in a while because I've completely involved myself in remodeling the kitchen. Well, remodel is probably the wrong word. Cleaning and repainting and refinishing the cupboards and adding a wallpaper border...it's been a lot of work. For two weeks our kitchen has mostly been in the living room and the kitchen itself has been covered in newspaper, drop cloths and blue tape. It's bewildering and somewhat unpleasant. Tough to live with pots and pans overtaking the sofa (and then covered with clean laundry, as neither Daddy nor I have the energy to put it away.

But today is better. The kitchen still has no doors or drawers, but everything else is pretty much done and most of the stuff has been put back in. Organized, too, which my pleases my slight tendencies to Obsessive-Compulsive disorder. The rest of the house still looks like it's been bombed, but we'll make more progress tomorrow.

Mostly I think I'm working very hard on not feeling much. The next, and possibly the biggest, ultrasound is on Tuesday. The new baby is kicking and squirming more each day. I'm still sick as a dog, but I'm still getting on.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I am so exhausted from all of the emotion of the day that I'm not giving this a proper post here. I will. But things are looking good. We saw arms and legs and fingers and everything we should see, where it should be. The bones aren't calcified enough to show up well, so that will be next time. But from what we could see...everything looks...normal.

Not Looking

The first big ultrasound is today.

I feel completely outside myself today. Work was normal--I was my bright, cheery self. Got everything done that I needed to, and now that I'm home I am getting housework done. (Not at the moment, obviously, but I'll be back to it soon). And I feel like I'm just standing next to this bustling, smiley person.

I feel nothing. Barely even a stab. I can't even really think about it--it's like I get distracted and wander off inside my head.

This first look...we have no idea what we're dealing with yet. None. Daddy and I can't talk about it much. We both have been busy around the house, getting things done (sort of), and there's this vague feeling like we are battening down for a storm. Same kind of cheerful-but-nervous kind of undercurrent like when you pick up bottled water and some extra canned foods when there's a windstorm. (This might not make sense to people who haven't lived on the Oregon Coast, but trust me.) Every now and then I'll say (and it's always me) "if things go bad on Monday, we'll need..." such and such. I think Daddy doesn't like being reminded that things might go bad. He frowns every time.

And on top of it he's been sick all this week--he's at the doctor now. Just a cold that isn't leaving, but he wanted to get checked out in case it's Strep or something. Because we need that to worry about too...

Only a few hours left.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Optional Finger And Toe Expansion Pack

I'm feeling anxious about the new baby today. This is the week that it's fingers and toes should separate, assuming it has any. Next week we'll have another ultrasound--the first one where we play Lets Count The Bones.

I'm terrified.

I don't know why it's upsetting me right now. Especially since fingers and toes are actually the smallest part of our worries. Weird, to live in a world where we consider fingers and toes to be luxuries. Much worse if it's major bones or entire limbs missing. The pelvis. The risk of cleft palate (no one in the family has it, but it is associated with the general disorder). So very many bones that could get lost or stunted along the way...

And I've kept rough track of the baby's development--not like I did with you, though. With you, Daddy and I were excited to read every day what exactly we were growing. I never really spared a thought that something might not grow correctly for you. And as this new baby has gone through its early development, I've tried to...well, I never know what to call it. "Praying" is definitely the wrong word, and "meditating" is still off the mark. Well, whatever you call it, I've done it while the baby is (hopefully) growing arms and legs and all its major parts.

So why the little freak-out about the fingers and toes? Such tiny details...

Every now and then the relentlessly hopeful image of ten fingers and ten toes bounces through my consciousness. I never let it get far. I don't know if it feels like I'd jinx things or that I'd somehow be being ungrateful that thus far this has been a very healthy pregnancy (fetus-wise, that is. Been a bit rough on Mommy). Slaying that thought the instant it arises is the only way I feel "safer." In that hollow, whistling-in-the-graveyard pretend-control way.

I'd say to keep your fingers crossed, but I can't decide if that's heartrendingly optimistic or horrifically dark.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dead Baby Cooties

I've been having a crying jag today. They don't happen very often anymore. Weeks at a time can go by, and they usually go as fast as they come. At least I had some warning this one was coming. The last big cry was when I showed Daddy the movie An American Tale. At the end, (and yes, Mommy is going to spoil the ending because you're a smart boy and you would figure it out in seconds) when the family is reunited, and they're hugging and crying and Mama Mousekewitz says "Oh my little boy, back from the dead?" Yeah. I kind of lost it. It was over in less than a minute, and then I felt like I'd been in a hit-and-run accident. I actually said "What the hell just happened to me?" to Daddy.

This one was gradual. I had a frustrating day at work--nothing important really, just stupid social stuff that I don't understand. A coworker shooting vile looks at me and snapping at me. She and another gossiping away and doing that kind of over-the-shoulder glances and smirks in my direction. No idea why, but most of the time the social situation there is pretty high-schoolish. And I was feeling irritated about that, because really? We just make coffee, there's no need for this absurd game-playing. And I was thinking about how, when one of them was pregnant (the one who has a baby 2 months younger than you would be) they were all extra-kind to her, going out of their way to ask how she was, etc. I didn't get included in a lot of that, but I shrugged it off as best I could. I'm not popular there, and I don't particularly care most of the time. Besides, she was much sicker than I was.

Now it's extremely awkward with most of them if I make reference to the new pregnancy. I know part of that is because I didn't act all excited when I told them--largely because I was vomiting constantly and generally would say outright "I'll be very excited when I stop barfing." And probably part of it is because I'm not as excited as they think I "should" be. Losing a baby (technically, two) kind of does that--I am cautious. And I don't even know if I can put on a carefree oh-boy-new-baby optimism, nor do I think I should just so that they approve of how I feel about my own fucking children.

I'm rambling about work. I hate it when I do that. But it was really bothering me (as it regularly does). And then said coworker came in, baby in tow, to pick something up. And brought the baby around back, where she was handed around gleefully. I have never felt more unwelcome in a circle. Not only did I not get a chance to hold the baby, if I came near her everyone got tense and weird about it. And when I cooed at her, there was a lot of "oh, you're scaring her, she's going to cry" going on. Because apparently I coo like pure evil. And the baby was whisked away immediately, lest I inflict my DeadBabyCooties all over her, I assume.

I know how bitter I sound. I am bitter. There is a lot of bad blood that I simply don't acknowledge. Because I'm "just here to work" and "do the job as best I can" and never, ever take part in the backstabbing bitchiness that's there. And it hurts to see that baby--see her living and thriving and being cooed over and fussed about and so on and so forth, when I can't even show a picture of you because people think it's "morbid" and "creepy." Their words, mind you. Not that I was offering to show them. Yes, and it was "crazy" that we had a memorial service for you.

Certainly, no one would have considered that about the least pleasant experience to be treated as if I were some kind of leper about the whole thing. Maybe I ought to sew a scarlet letter on my stupid apron. Warn the innocent, that sort of thing.

Anyway. I got home feeling in a funk about the whole thing, and eventually I just put on my Must Cry Now playlist and let it happen. It feels a little better now. I haven't been able to cry like that since I got pregnant again; every time I started to really cry I'd get nauseous and throw up. At least with the meds I can have this release.

I had meant to sit down and write about the back-and-forth feelings I've been having about this new baby and about you, but I guess that isn't really what I wanted to write about after all. I'm sure that will come in time. For now I think I better take my next dose of NoPukePills and have a snack.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I really miss you today. We don't really celebrate Easter much, but we probably would have if you were here. Instead I'm nauseous and tired and impatient.

I have been sort of curling in on myself these few weeks. I just can't seem to manage being social and talkative. I'm fine with your Daddy, but otherwise I just tend to be more quiet than anyone would expect of me. I'm not writing much either. It just drains me so much to keep up the energy at work I just don't have any left for home right now.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Yesterday I went to bed at 11 in the morning and didn't get up until this morning at 3.

Granted, I woke up every few hours or so. But it was a sick day; I threw up several times and had a screaming headache--and kept throwing up the Tylenol. The only thing I could bear was lying still in a dark and quiet room. So I did.

Better today; by the afternoon I was eating normally again. Felt like death warmed over all morning though. It's hard to deal with. I remember how awful I felt those first few months with you--I remember feeling just as dreary and miserable, even though I wasn't nearly as sick then as I am now.

We made our first demonstration of faith in this new baby. We framed the baby-like blob in the ultrasound picture and put it out in the living room. I can look up from where I'm typing and see it. I don't look at it often; it's too scary. Admitting there's a baby in there means admitting I could lose it as easily as I lost you. That there might be something worth mourning if things go wrong. Its opening myself up to hideous agony.

But the picture is sitting right there. Snapshot of my own defiance.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Odds and Ends

I'm doing much better. As long as I take my meds on time I don't throw up and can even eat fairly normally. I'm still nauseous most of the time, but it's doable. But I get the feeling that a couple people I work with think I was faking it to get extra days off. This. Makes. Me. Angry. I can't help that the morning sickness came on fast and furious. And I should think people would be glad that I'm not running off the floor hourly. I'm pretty damn relieved that there's something to make life livable during these months.

We had the first ultrasound yesterday. First little peek in at what hopefully will be your brother or sister. Already looks different than you did; your shape was unclear and we couldn't make out any baby parts. This one, we could see arm buds, a clear head and a spine. We will be peeking in on this one regularly--the next US is in a few weeks.

The US wasn't as terrifying as I thought it would be, mainly because in my phobic state I wrote down the wrong date for the scan, which is totally out of character for me. The office called asking where I was, and I was lucky enough that they could still fit me in if I hurried. So there was no time to even fret about it; I made it to the waiting room and before I was even half a page into the intake paperwork (first visit with this pregnancy) they had me in a room, on a table, and in seconds there was the new baby on the screen. There was a single awful moment of seeing what looked like my empty uterus up there on the screen, but then up bobbed this tiny, squirming, baby-like thing.

One, two, three measurements and they had me unplugged and finishing off the paperwork. And then the Genetic Counselor came in and filled out the rest of the pages for me (all the stuff about my history and you). So it was easy. In, out, with a picture of an amorphous blob (honest, it was much clearer on the screen) labeled BABY and a return appointment card. And a tiny wedge of hope.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Small rays of hope

So far I haven't thrown up since leaving the hospital. I've kept down a bit of solid food and am no longer feeling about to die. I'm a long way from well but seem to be mending a little. Hoping this trend continues.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thank you, Phenergan

We had to go to the hospital for fluids last night. It wasn't as bad as I feared; I actually took the IV needle like a champ. Which is amazing, given that I cried and delayed for an hour when I had to get the IV when you were born. Granted, that was a pretty different situation, but it was a more normal reaction for me! I was in the hospital for four hours, dripping away on the IV with your Daddy sitting next to me, petting my hand and watching the World's Strongest Man competition on ESPN.

They gave me Phenergan, which is the only medicine we hadn't tried yet. It has stopped the vomiting so far, although it makes me very tired. I'm actually keeping fluids down and am planning on eating a banana when your Grandma L. gets back from the store.

I actually lost twelve pounds over the last week. That was when the doctor went from "well, if it gets worse you'll need to go to the ER" to "Get thee to the IV fluids, stat." And I got the official diagnosis of Hyperemesis, lucky me.

I've gotten so weak from all the vomiting and lack of food that the doctor wants me off work until Wednesday. Which sucks, both because of the income I'll lose and because people get all resentful if you have to miss work. But at least I have a note from my doctor. And, I am profoundly grateful that I am no longer quite so sick. Crushing exhaustion I can deal with better than this. Just another form of perspective, I guess. I mean, when I carried you, the crushing exhaustion from the Reglan was almost more than I could bear. But now I think I can stand the exhaustion just fine, so long as I can eat and drink enough that I don't feel like I'm dying.

I've been in good health the majority of my life, until we started trying to make babies. Somewhere under all the weakness and shakiness is sadness and anger that this whole babymaking thing gets infused with this almost mythic glow when really it's a violent pitfall-ridden hazing period full of horror and shame and sorrow and frustration. I feel like I've been swept under the rug; the cultural mythos of pregnancy doesn't actually include people like us.

I'm going to try and keep down a banana and take another nap.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


This has become a survival situation.

I don't know how I can possibly be this ill and weak and still be vaguely functional. I'm still going to work, but I'm throwing up almost every hour, if not more often. By the end of my shift I am so weak and shaky I can barely drive home. Once I'm home, I sleep until Daddy gets home from work, simply because I can't do anything else. When he gets home I get up and curl, miserable and shaking, in the corner of the couch--only getting up to barf some more. I'm retching so hard that I'm afraid I'll pass out, and I find myself actually praying for mercy.

My knees and hips hurt from kneeling, my back and shoulders hurt from hunching. My chest hurts from heaving. My stomach hurts constantly, my throat is raw and my voice is starting to fade. Even the underside of my tongue feels strained.

I can't drink more than tiny sips, and I can't hold down any solid food. My life has deteriorated into a game of getting enough liquid and calories into my wretched body that I will neither die nor have to go to the hospital for IV fluids.

I cannot imagine how I can make it another month (or more) as sick as I am. Every time I wake up there are a few blessed moments before the waves of nausea hit me. And then the daily cycle begins. Each day I can't imagine how I'll make it through work. But I do. Each afternoon I wonder how I'll get through the evening. But I do. Each night I am only grateful for the hours I blessedly don't feel the pain, the aching, the constant hot and cold flashes, or the endless rounds of heaving.

I feel like I'm in a war.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

So Much for Secrets

I wasn't going to tell very many people, but I'm pregnant again.

Of course our little family knows, and a very small handful of friends. That was all we planned to tell until we knew if this little one is going to stay. I hid it pretty well for the first couple weeks.

But this one won't be hidden away. Aside from a couple of people who have actually looked at me and guessed, the morning sickness struck with such violence that hiding this from my coworkers is flat out of the question. I managed to hold off all day on Thursday at work, only to lose it as soon as I got home. Friday I got hit a couple times, and Saturday I lost count. Today was my first day back at work since it hit like this, and I threw up almost hourly.

Like I said, hiding this is difficult. It does not go unnoticed, me dashing from my register to the ladies room.

When I carried you, I only threw up three times the entire time. Oh you made me plenty sick, and there were times I wished I'd just throw up so I could feel better. But now I know that it doesn't make me feel better anyway. I've barely gotten any food down at all. Lucky for me your Daddy went out and got some Ensure for me.

I don't feel anything with this one (other than that whole throwing up constantly thing). With you I felt dazed and happy; with the last one I felt determinedly optimistic. This time? Dull worry that I'll have to go through this kind of morning-sickness hell again after this.

Daddy's a little more excited than me. He doesn't show it much in the day, but a couple times I've woken in the night to find him awake, petting my belly. In his sleep his hand finds that already-a-little-larger bump almost as soon as he starts snoring.

And I'm putting some real effort into not snarling at him constantly. I'm not proud of it, but I was pretty grumpy the other two times. to put it mildly. This time I'm less pissy in general, and I guess I've learned to control that crazy irrational hormonal rush that used to make me flare up. It also helps that he's being so tender and gentle and loving to me since I've been so sick (Is this the silver lining?)

One of the things I don't feel anything about is that this baby is due almost exactly when you were. You were officially due on November 4, and this one is due November 5. I know there's pools of terror and anxiety deep under all this nausea, but for right now, I'm really glad I can't feel it yet.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

82nd Annual Academy Awards

Happy Oscar Day, little man.

I guess that might need some explaining. See, the Oscars are like the Superbowl for people who love movies. And I love me some movies. I've been completely fascinated by movies for as long as I can remember. I was writing screenplays in my head since childhood, absorbed in behind-the-scenes stuff. I've made a few small things--back in college I used to run the "TV station" (a three-hour once-a-week closed-circuit broadcast). It's what I love, and it's what I'm doing again, at least on a small scale.

Oscar night is such a special night. Your Grandma P. and I make kind of a to-do about it. Special foods, a whole afternoon dedicated to the show, and squealing and gossiping through the whole thing. I love every minute of it. The Oscars are why, when I moved to Los Angeles for three years, I moved right to Hollywood Proper. For those years I worked in front of the Kodak Theater every day. I walked up and down right where that red carpet is going now. Heck, one year I got to walk *on* the red carpet while they were setting it up--and I have a little chunk of that same red carpet that one of the workmen hacked off for me as they tore it down.

This may all seem random and silly, and it probably is. But last year about this time was right after we found out you were coming. Grandma P. came up and stayed with us and Daddy even got into the game. I'm so glad that I could share one of my favorite things with you at least once. I wish you were here watching with me. But maybe you're down there in California now, hovering over the hoi polloi and watching all the excitement. I can't help but think of you on a happy day like this.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Letter from Grandma

I had to share this beautiful email from your Grandma P.

I wanted to tell you of a little project I’m working on. I was cleaning out my desk a few weeks ago and I found a little frame in the 18th century style that I’d been planning on using for something or other. So I am doing a tiny little life-sized Isaac footprint to go in it, with your initials and Chip’s and the date. I brought his little print in to work and enlarged it so I could make a pattern.


I made our two quilts during the last winter Olympics 2006, deliberately. I wanted something that will always be easy for me to remember when I made them. So I’m making Isaac’s little memorial quilt during THESE winter Olympics, which I thought made a nice “circle”.

Your grandmother loves you a lot, little boy.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Attack of the Killer Fetuses (Feti?)

You would not believe how many killer fetus movies there are on Netflix. Really, I was not aware that this was an entire subgenre of horror. But here we are sitting down to the 2008 film (I use the term "film" loosely) It's Alive. So far it's about a woman who was six months pregnant when she took part in some kind of science-y study and her baby became full term literally in one day and was born. I'm gathering that he's aging at an unnaturally fast rate, the more of the movie I watch. At any rate, the upshot is the baby killed all the doctors in the delivery room.

Have these people ever seen any kind of baby, ever?

Also in the queue is It's Alive from 1974 (another killer newborn), Pro-Life (a killer aborted fetus), and Dumpster Baby, which I can't quite figure out what the hell it's about. Don't know what the grief counselors would say about our killer-fetus film-festival, but Daddy and I both find this funny as hell. Of course, the day we had the second miscarriage, we watched Rosemary's Baby (woman gives birth to Satan's baby) in honor of the occasion.

Guess I'm a little dark tonight. But not in a bad way. Just in a cheesy-horror-movie kind of way. I'm feeling gleefully defiant in watching these truly absurd flicks.

(Seriously, movie? Seriously?)

(Late Edit: there are two sequels to the original It's Alive! I can hardly wait!)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Facebook Meme & Reiki

Silly little thing. There's a facebook meme going on, where you are supposed to look up your own name on Urbandictionary.com and post the meaning. (By the way, if you have internet access up there, Mommy and Daddy probably would rather you not spend much time on that site; it's kind of messed up.)

I looked up your name and it made me smile:

Isaac: means "One who makes me laugh" or "laughter". The funniest guy who is sweet and charming. Knows how to lighten the mood. Is one who brings peace and others together. A miracle birth. Are you feeling down? What you need is an Isaac.

That's for sure. You've certainly brought others together in our life; I mean, I talk to your Grandpa W and your Uncle C now, and that hasn't really happened in more than ten years (in fact, with Grandpa W, it pretty much has never happened before). You've opened me up to so many precious friendships. You've brought so much to Daddy and I. Definitely a miracle birth.


A friend of mine is learning Reiki and she asked if she could practice on me. We've put a lot of focus on calling forth good eggs and healthy babies. I admit that it is a whole different thing for your pragmatic, skeptical, scientific-method-worshiping Mommy. But the experience was really amazing. I completely relaxed and was actually able to meditate--which is pretty hard for me to do (Mommy is also easily distracted by bright colors and shiny things). It was almost like lucid dreaming.

And in that dream-like place inside of me I could see you. Little flashes of the life you aren't really going to live. I saw you as a normal, beautiful little baby. I saw you toddling around in red overalls; serious little round face with a furrowed brow with wispy straw-colored hair, determinedly stomping around. I saw you as a little boy. Playing baseball, oddly enough. Teeth a little to big for your face, like mine were when I was eight. Longish light brown hair sticking out of a yellow baseball cap. I felt like you were there; felt your presence in a way I usually just don't, not since the night Daddy and I got married.

After it was over, as I was lying there relaxing, I could see what almost looked like dark curtains parting. Your Daddy was standing there holding out his hand to me. I took his hand and then all of a sudden I was completely awake (though still extremely relaxed.) It felt like I'd been able to visit with you, but your Daddy was there, ready to call me back home.

I don't know. It's hard to put it into words. Most of the thoughts I have that are...spiritual? I guess? They're in pictures. And a thousand words can't do them justice.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Waiting Game

I don't talk much about us trying again. Not here. It has felt...disrespectful? Disloyal? Not so much to talk about it or think about it--because really, it's in my thoughts damn near constantly, right next to you and I talk about it sort of obsessively. Luckily your daddy is both patient and adept at filtering out my monologue when it doesn't really matter if he's listening.

But this has sort have been my just-for-you place. Certainly I usually feel like no one here is reading it (Oh dear, is that blog-queen envy? Must we be a BNF in every fandom?). I don't really know why, because it isn't like I don't talk to you. But not the way I do here.

I'm rambling. I hate it when i do that.

The truth is the only thing I really want is to be pregnant again, and its damn near an obsession. I am very flip about it when I talk about it. "Maybe this month." "It'll happen, I'm not worried." "Fertility isn't our issue." And I know for so many reasons that I have absolutely no right to complain that I'm not pregnant yet. It has only been two cycles. I got pregnant on the first try twice. Granted, that didn't work out the way it was supposed to, but I know more than one woman struggling with infertility who would be grateful just to have had so much as a positive pregnancy test, let alone the precious weeks I had with you. I know that I am already incredibly lucky, even with the Ectrodactyly.

And its only a few weeks until the next chance to try (don't worry, I'll spare you any details of Mommy and Daddy's sex life). And another two weeks after that to wait to see if this one worked or not. And another month to see if it's alive enough to have a flicker of heart. And then holding our breath until week twelve, when they do another ultrasound to count the bones in the baby's arms and legs. Four more weeks after that to see if it has hands and feet and if the bones are all long the way they should be. And finally to twenty weeks, to count the fingers and toes. Not including the amnios, the quad-screens, and god knows what else.

At any point we could be back to zero.

And the "meaningful dates" keep slipping by. We conceived on your due date, the weekend of your "funeral." How perfect, how meaningful. Oh, wait. No. Nevermind.

But then, it was Testing Day on Christmas. I wrapped a pregnancy test and left one end open, all ready to pee on, do a silent happy dance over, seal up and stick in your Daddy's stocking. What a perfect way to tell him! Because really, it's the only gift we want (except he still wanted that map. He got the map). Oops. Scratch that.

But this time! This time was meant to be. It'd be the first baby conceived at Bitchmas. Made right in the middle of that circle of love and family.

You know. Or not.

And there are babies everywhere. I counted the pregnant bellies that came through my line at work. In one five-hour shift there were eight bellies.

I feel like I'm waiting for life to start again. We're in a stagnant place. Stalled.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Missing You

Missing you just now. No particular reason, except maybe because I'm watching an episode of Penn & Teller's Bullshit about the death industry. I've only dealt with them once, and that was when my grandmother died. I was lucky I didn't have to do anything for you--the hostpital took care of all the "arrangements."

I have your ashes still. Your daddy and I have finally decided what we're going to do, if not where or when. Daddy wants to built you a rocket. A pretty big one, given the stuff he's shown me online. He wants to put your ashes in as the payload, and shoot the rocket up into the sky out somewhere beautiful. He wants the mountains, and I guess that's fair. You were made by the ocean, where I grew up. Where a place inside of me comes alive that doesn't anywhere else. The mountains are that for your daddy.

In fact, the first time I ever saw your daddy was a picture of him in all his mountain climbing gear, standing triumphantly in the Monkey's Mouth. It's a big rock shaped kind of like a monkey face. See?

Monkeys Face

I can't find the actual picture, but I'll probably put it here later. But what I'm saying is that the mountains are his spiritual place. And if he has feelings about anything having to do with you I almost always follow them. Don't think he doesn't love you just because he doesn't talk to you like I do. He does, just as much as I do.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gloomy Sunday (well, Thursday)

She would call when I'm having the first good solid sloppy wet cry in months.

So we have an appointment next Thursday. I'm letting your Daddy do at least some of the talking--he hasn't made any calls because he's too mad.

Naturally, now I can't get back to crying. And I could really use it today--that release. It shakes loose the tension I carry. It took me hours of staring moodily at YouTube and listening to weepy music (yes, including The Weepies) to get there. I don't think I'll be back to that release for a while.


On the upside (?) I found several alternate English translation of the original Hungarian version of Gloomy Sunday (Video of my favorite version). It's different from the English lyrics, and there are a few sections that really spoke to me (the parts about killing myself, not so much).

Sadly one Sunday I waited and waited
With flowers in my arms for the dream I'd created
I waited 'til dreams, like my heart, were all broken
The flowers were all dead and the words were unspoken
The grief that I knew was beyond all consoling
The beat of my heart was a bell that was tolling
(translated by Desmond Carter)

Dreaming, I was only dreaming
I wake and I find you asleep in the deep of my heart, here
Darling, I hope that my dream never haunted you
My heart is telling you how much I wanted you
(translated by Sam M. Lewis)


I think I'll put on the Numa Numa song (yes, I know it's really called Dragostea din tei by O-Z0ne) and clean the kitchen or something.


Just argh.

Called to make an appointment with the Genetic Counselor. The same GC who hasn't called us since October. The same GC I've left three messages with this month. The woman I talked to promised she was pulling my chart and I'd get a call by today at 5. We shall see.

I have a handful of song lyrics and interesting quotes I want to share with you, but right now I'm so busy being angry and frustrated that all I can do is listen to sappy music (seriously, Evanescence? I know I can do better than this) and swear a lot.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

(Belated) Happy Bitchmas

It's my birthday, and I kind of keep forgetting. For once, it isn't because of you--it's because my birthday got so completely overshadowed by Bitchmas last weekend. And that isn't a complaint.

Since you never got to go to one I'll explain Bitchmas. Just in case you were off playing in the stars or watching over your grandparents or playing with Layla's new baby brother or something. See, your daddy has an amazing group of friends. Some of them he's known for more than 20 years! Eight years ago they got together for a christmas party, which they called XXXmas, and exchanged "adult" gifts. The next year the party was rechristened Bitchmas, and has been going on ever since. This is my third one--and it's the first where it hasn't just been a big party; it was a three-day weekend in a giant beach house. Sort of like the wedding--about half of the same people go to Bitchmas. And it was amazing.

It made me miss you, sure. There are babies and kids and pregnant bellies there, and sometimes I had to go have a cigarette and sometimes a little cry. And Daddy sometimes pulled me aside because I'd gotten "that thousand-mile stare" around the babies. He almost always notices those little moments when that constant low thrum of missing you starts to become an audible wail, and he always is ready with a hug and a smoke break.

That big group of people is such a family to us, and I'm so glad that our family is encompassed by that greater family. It's just like a third branch; Mommy's side, Daddy's side, and Our side. And it's a whole village raising children right in front of us--and I've rarely met such smart, funny, eloquent children.

And that whole family just wrapped around us for the whole three days. We got to spend time with people that we've only ever seen at other Bitchmases. We went to the beach in the middle of the night, where Daddy flew his kite and got dragged around in the storm. We watched movies and played games and told stories and drank truly obscene amounts of liquor and just got silly and shitfaced and wonderful. A whole three days of decadence and fun and joy.

And you were still in there. People still ask about you sometimes, or ask if we're okay. It's not a secret, it's nothing awkward. You're just another part of this wheeling constellation of a family, just another marker in our shared history. And for that, I am profoundly grateful.

My heart is so full.

Friday, January 15, 2010

More babies

More new babies, and none for us yet. Now there's a new baby cousin, and today I got to hear all about the new baby somebody's wife is laboring with now.


And on top of it, somebody misunderstood my facebook post welcoming the new cousin and thought it was our baby, and congratulated me.

I am so burned out from a week of this. And still, I'm putting forth the effort to make sure my coworker's new-baby card gets signed by absolutely every single customer who might possibly want to sign it. Why? I don't know, because what I really want to do right now is break things and yell a lot.

My three-day weekend should help. Unless all the babies (and probably pregnant bellies) at the gathering we're going to this weekend makes it worse.

Don't really know how to deal with this. I'm just done with babies right now. At least, with other people's.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Blinded me with Science

Today was difficult. The other girl at work who was pregnant while I was carrying you had her baby this morning. And since I was on the register, I was the one taking all the congratulations for her.

I had no idea how stressful that would be. I thought it would hurt--and it did--but mostly I felt like an overcoiled spring. I worked through it; no one noticed, and only one person thought to ask if I was okay. I told her that, as far as everyone knows, I'm fine. She understood.

I've been agitated and tense all afternoon. I wound up sort of tormenting myself by looking up pictures of people with ectrodactyly. I didn't see anyone affected exactly like you, but I saw several who were just as bad, and at least one that was worse. That was somewhat reassuring, but I'm not sure how to explain why. I guess because all of the doctors we've talked to so far have said that you were about as severely affected as you can be by this. And science makes me feel safer. It isn't like I can control this defect, but at least I can understand it.

And, for the first time, I'm starting to see how it has affected me. And when I look at the pieces, it seems obvious that I have the gene. The only thing we know for sure is that the bottoms of my tibia and fibula aren't perfectly formed. I found this out when I was about sixteen and went in for an X-ray of my ankle. No one ever really said anything about it. When I was young, I used to walk on the outsides of my feet, and to this day I'm a little pigeon-toed if I'm not paying attention. But my feet don't just point in, they roll under slightly when I relax. Sometimes I almost fall because my foot starts to roll under me mid-step. I always chalked it up to bad ankles. I guess that's true, but this isn't at all what I meant. My fingernails are brittle and peely no matter what I do to them.

Such inconsequential things, but when put together, it's so clearly the same defect--just so incredibly mild compared to everyone else. But that makes it more concrete. And I can deal with concrete. It's the abstract that boggles me.

Looking at the pictures (and reading several different articles and abstracts) was also painful. It shows me how very many ways this could hurt your future brother or sister. Even the milder versions can be so awful. And even if your brother or sister is as mildly affected as I am, he or she will still have to worry about it hurting their child.

We haven't heard anything from the genetic counselor since October. Your daddy is pretty mad about this. I'm not too happy myself. Last time she called, she said that they were not able to find whatever part of the chromosome they were looking for, so they won't be able to test the next baby. So we'll be back to watching the ultrasounds. Because I'm not phobic of ultrasounds at this point. Ho no, not me. At least this time we'll be going to specialists. And looking early.

I still cannot fucking believe that neither the doctor nor the ultrasound tech noticed that you were missing both arms and your leg was so deformed. Looking back at the ultrasound, it's not actually unclear. And when we saw the one at the hospital--that worst one--it was clear and easy to see--and you hadn't moved at all. And you weren't that much bigger--granted, there's a big difference in what can be seen between 19 weeks and 24 weeks, but it doesn't make much difference in the bones that we are looking at.

I guess I'm angry. It sort of surprises me; I haven't really felt all that much anger. But I'm angry now. Angry at the defect, angry at the doctors who told me I couldn't possibly have it when I did, angry at the counselor both for being the bearer of bad news and for the extended silence, angry at the doctors who didn't spot this.

I'm angry they didn't spot it at 19 weeks, but I'm glad they missed it. Because we had that much more time with you. Time when your Daddy got to feel you kick. Time that we got that special fourth of July. But that it was ultimately a good thing doesn't change the fact that they missed something pretty fucking glaring--and all the while, we were specifically asking them to look. We told them we want to count the fingers and the toes. All she was really interested in was getting a better view of your gender.

I left a message for the G.C. today, and I'm going to call again tomorrow...and the next day. I want an appointment; I want things explained to us. We've already gone through an entire miscarriage and haven't heard a peep. We're actively trying to concieve, and nothing. And I told her we were trying when I talked to her last. You know, that last time, when she said she'd call me within the week?

Anne of Green Gables was right; a few italics really can relieve one's feelings.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Another day

So much for being funnier, I guess. Today I just feel lousy. It doesn't help that I have a cold, and this is one of those weeks where I don't get a day off. I'm feeling bitter and dark and resentful about everything at the moment--just irritable and grumpy and down. I've been having all sorts of unpleasant thoughts. For example, I've been feeling like the only thing about you that you got from me is your lower lip and your birth defects.

Another month has past, and again we are trying to make you a big brother. I wonder if you will matter as much to your sibling as my brother Frank who died at your age did to me. I used to pretend he was my guardian angel, and had long, involved conversations with him in my journal. But then, I was a very lonely child, and your Uncle C. (who has the same defect you and I do) was pretty heavily favored by my father and his mother. We're only planning on one more baby, and I dearly hope he or she won't be as lonely and isolated as I tended to be. But at the same time, I want you to be a part of that child's life.

I wish I could either cry or get back to my usual noisy, wisecracking self. I feel sometimes like I'm two different people--there's me, and then there's me-the-deadbabymama. The grief and pain feel alien. Probably because I've never before lost something or someone where the pain and grief didn't spend itself in a few months. You've been gone almost six months, and most of the time I feel like my normal self. And then I see a baby and the pain comes back.

It's lonely, this sporadic grieving. I don't feel much like talking about it to most people, because it's just the same old grief--and most people assume (correctly) that I'm fine. The people who know that I'm not always "fine" are still more than willing to listen during my episodes of sadness, but I find they generally only come when I'm alone--and then, I don't want to talk much. Even write much. Which is why my updates here are equally sporadic.

I don't know.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Saw a Baby

I saw a baby that looked like I'd picture you at about 10 months. You wouldn't be that age yet, but it's my emotional projecting, so to hell with it. It was hard for a few minutes. That doesn't happen much these days. It made me reflective for a few hours.

It's funny. The babies I see that remind me of you often don't look much like you at all. And if I want to essentially see pictures of what you would have looked like, all I have to do is look at pictures of your dad. It's still startling, how very much you looked like your father. It seems like, as early as you were, you should have looked more...I don't know, generic, I guess. But there it was--his face, his brow, his nose, his upper lip. But definitely my lower lip. The only thing we'll never know about are your eyes. Maybe that's why it's the eyes of the babies I see that make me think of you.