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.