Friday, July 30, 2010
In the most unexpected of times, I have had issues pour out of me that I had no idea were in me to begin with. Several times lately, I have brought home my frustrations with work and unfortunately took them out on my husband. There was one argument in particular, after having a frustrating day of belittlement from co-workers, I was yelling at my husband about how I just didn't seem good enough to anyone no matter how hard I worked. But the middle of spewing out anger from work I yelled: "Apparently my cervix isn't the only incompetent thing about me! I'm such an idiot, I can't even do the most basic of things a woman is supposed to do! I can't even carry a baby full term!"
What in the hell did that have to do with work?....Absolutely nothing. I realized that night that on some level, I wanted to have a successful pregnancy to prove to myself that I was just as capable, just as much of a woman as the next. The miscarriage has shaken my confidence something fierce, leaving me to pick up the pieces of my broken self in this time of transition. But it left me wondering: is it okay to go into another pregnancy with part of it being the need to prove to myself that I can do it?
So my husband and I decided to do a little reading. Before we left the hospital after the miscarriage, we were given a packet on handling grief after a loss. In the back of the packet is a section on knowing when you're ready to try. And in that section there were six main questions we had to ask ourselves:
1-Does the loss still consume my every thought?
-We were both happy and sad to say no.
2-Am I obsessed with becoming pregnant?
-I had to really be honest with myself there and the answer was no. We are determined in many ways to get pregnant again, but we are also taking our time to physically and mentally heal as we plan ahead for Sunshine. He deserves the same running start as Pickle had.
3-Can I think about the loss without it tearing me apart?
-Yes. Again, we have our moments such as the monthly markers. But otherwise, we can look back with more love than anything else.
4-Am I able to once again find importance in other people and activities?
-For sure! We both have found new goals and importance in old ones. And we have made a point to get out and have more fun with family and friends.
5-Do I have happiness in my life, so that I can laugh and enjoy my life?
-Every day. This whole experience has brought us closer together as a couple and if that's not something worth being happy about, I don't know what is.
6-Am I expecting this next child to make me feel better?
-This was the hardest question of all. In some ways, yes. In other ways, no. To start with, no we don't think the next child will make us feel better in a sense of forgetting Joey. In no way would we be replacing Joey. Pickle and Sunshine are two separate people. So in the sense of making us feel better about the loss; nothing will erase that experience. But in realizing I can carry a baby full term, and the fact that we will have a beautiful baby to take home with us-to love and to raise-then yes. In many ways, we see the next pregnancy as bring everything full circle. We would be using the gift Joey gave us to have a successful pregnancy. So, in some ways, yes the next child would make us feel "better." It's all bitter sweet.
After dissecting ourselves thoroughly, we came to the conclusion: when I am physically ready, and if the budget is set, come late September....we feel like we'll be ready to try again.
"I'm looking forward to my next pregnancy with a greater insight into how precious and fragile life is."
For now, the forecast for the fall....partly cloudy with a chance of Sunshine.
One particularly stuffy day I sat still in traffic, watching in my rearview mirror as the women driving in the car behind me uncouthly flossed her teeth in between the stop and go of traffic. Aside from lecturing the woman silently in my head, praying to God she wouldn't rear-end me the moment she became too engrossed in some piece of whatever wedged in her teeth from lunch, my thoughts were swimming around the idea of pregnancy and when I'd be ready to try again. In my last blog, it was two months since the loss of Joey. Although I spent that day in my head, sitting in the hospital bed holding him again, the next day went right back to the monotonous mundane.
-A car cut me off and idly sat horizontal in my lane, waiting to merge into the next. All other traffic was moving forward while I sat stuck behind the incompetent driver. I cursed under my breath.-
I gripped the steering wheel with one hand and held my head in the other.-How am I supposed to know when I'm ready to try again? It can't be that I would have no sad feelings at all about the loss of Joey. Because no matter how much times goes by, the death of my baby will always hurt on some level. I don't always cry when I talk about it now, and I can even think back on holding him with more love than hurt. Obviously there will be no loud awakening moment that will tell me when I am 100% sure ready.
-The piercing criticism of a car horn sounds loudly up ahead causing me to jolt and grip the wheel tighter.-
I turned up my music to try and tune out the sounds of traffic and relax a little.-Well, perhaps I am more ready than I thought, though. For the past few days I had been working in the toddler rooms and thoroughly loving it. The children warmed up to me instantly, and when they were down for their nap, I was eagerly taking pictures of the classroom decorations and some of the toys. I couldn't help but think: 'I could decorate Sunshine's room with this' or 'these toys would be perfect!' It's been a long while since I have been that positive, looking forward and learning more for the next pregnancy. If that's not a sign of being closer to trying again, I don't know what is.
A glimmer of clarity and hope started in me that day as I sat in traffic. I was getting nowhere fast and constantly getting cut off as I impatiently tried to make my way through, but I kept moving forward none the less.
Here comes the Sun and I say...it's alright.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The work day was incredibly hard. I hate how much everyone at work has seemed to forgotten what has happened. I don't know why I would expect anyone else to remember the importance of the date, but still...When I'm working with other pregnant women, surrounded by infants and toddlers, it took every bit of strength I could to pull myself together after crying quietly in the bathroom when I got a few moments to myself. Everyone at work keeps acting like I should be over it by now, and so I hide my tears. Right after the loss, I was silly enough to worry that people would think I wasn't mourning enough since I didn't turn into a complete recluse. But now it seems like people are more comfortable acting like nothing happened. Aurg! It just makes me want a new job all the more!!!
I don't want to spend the whole time venting about work but God I want to get out of there! I haven't heard anything from Google about an interview yet. But from what my recruiter said, they haven't started interviews yet since they just finished moving into a new building. They should be calling any day. So there's still hope, but it's hard to wait for the call.
On the plus side of things, after the stressful work day, my husband and I had a fun and relaxing time rollerblading. The new rollerblades he bought for me came in yesterday so I had to take them for a test run. It was so fun! Nothing like skating around in the sunshine with my husband to let go of the stress of the day.
It's been a long day and today, more than ever, the urge to have a big glass or wine (or any drink that would get me buzzed at this rate) is testing my resolve. I want so badly to have a drink, but I want to give Sunshine just as clean of a start as Pickle did. No alcohol...damn.
I would have been 7 months along today.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
This will be the first time I'll have written since the miscarriage and being in the hospital. I had a few blogs on "Preparing for Pickle", as much as my wife has written about her experience, I've really only shared my experiences with her.
From the first pregnancy, I had had dreams of Pickle being a boy, and like my wife, dreams of what we would do with Pickle. And if any of you knew me, I don't dream. It happens maybe once a month that I dream and I remember. While not necessarily a dream, but a daydream, I saw Sunshine.
I don't know what brought me to this vision, I was listening to The Men's Room afternoon radio program, so there is no conceivable way I was thinking about babies while listening to the show. Nonetheless, I saw Sunshine. I saw Jen and I in the hospital holding our brand new baby boy. Yes, another boy. We were happy, so bittersweetly happy. We had our Sunshine. I turned and told the nurse I would go tell the parents while Jen was resting for a moment. I went out through the classic double doors and while tear streaks ran down my face, an equally long streak of a smile ran across it. I looked at our families and said, "Its a boy!" There was hugging and joyous crying for the same reason as I had been. I told them the nurse would come out and let them know when they could come back.
I returned to my wife, and I stood over her, my forehead to her's looking and stroking our new baby with my pinky as I was terrified (and am currently fearing) of breaking Sunshine. It was an amazing moment. All of this while I was driving. I saw it all in just a flash. I couldn't help but well up and feel sad and another moment of peace with the miscarriage.
The next day, on the same drive home, "The Crow and the Butterfly" by Shinedown came on the radio. The lyrics sent me over the edge and I lost it while in the car. It was hard to hear lyrics that I can see myself having done in one manner or another.
"I painted your room at midnight
So I'd know yesterday was over
I put all your books on the top shelf
Even the one with the four leaf clovers
Man, I'm getting older
I took all your pictures off the wall
and wrapped them in a newspaper blanket
I haven't slept in what seems like a century
And now I can barely breathe"
We'd been planning on how to rearrange the apartment right before the miscarriage. We'd even gathered a little over a dozen four leaf clovers. And we literally took our ultrasound pictures down, and put them in our special memory box. Since the loss, I've had my own paternal instincts of providing, protecting, and planning everything under the sun. I've not slept well, I've had confidence and concentration problems. Combine all of that with the memories of being in the hospital and you'd know why I lost it.
But my life after the loss hasn't been all bad or entirely hard. I've found peace in some of the messages of "The Tao of Pooh". Specifically, saying at least once during the day, "Today is my favorite day." I find that it helps me reflect on all of the good of that day. To appreciate things as they are. To appreciate that I am spending every moment with my amazingly strong wife, who has her own ordeals that she's going through and then there are things that WE are going through together.
But today, as I download a game, do the laundry, watch "Julie and Julia" with my wife there is only one thing left to say:
Today is my favorite day.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Of course, this didn't stop my habit of trying to convince my husband from time to time to play hooky with me. I wanted to be with him, to escape the frustrations of work and life for just one day. Once again our weekends were being consumed by obligations. Not to meantion I have had difficulty diving back into work after the miscarriage without a moment to breathe. All of it added up to my growing need to be with my husband and my need to be needed. It was bad enough having my hours cut at work, leaving me feeling unneeded. But as my husband started to more insistently decline my last-minute requests to skip work, the feeling of being unwanted or unneeded caused me to get all worked up. To make a long story short, my husband and I talked things out in long detail, cried together for awhile, and in the end, sorted everything out.
You see, my response was to do the dramatic thing and say "I'll just give you the time you need to focus on your things by making myself scarce." Thinking I was making myself too available all the time, I thought if we did our own things more often, then perhaps he might eventually miss me and need me there. Of course this was just emotions talking. Luckily I have a very loving and rational husband. His way of seeing it was that; we don't need more time to do our own things, we need to spend more time together doing more fun things. Somewhere in-between all of life's recent big events, we've become so driven with moving beyond it all that we have forgotten to enjoy each other's company. I would get the attention I was needing from my husband, we could be together (which we realized was really what we wanted), and I could have more good times to sustain me for the week so I could better support my husband's need to work. We both win.
So now with a new found perspective, we are back on track enjoying our days again. Already we have cooked new recipes together, ordered new roller blades so we can go skating together, we're watching less tv, and all in all, having more fun! And believe me when I say...just having fun with your partner is the ultimate libido booster too! ;)
Bringing a little Sunshine back in our days.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
On the plus side, my husband and I had a good time today speculating what it will be like when I'm pregnant again. Hope has been gradually growing as time keeps moving forward. Although the next pregnancy will be nothing like the first and full of far more complications, we are starting to see more of the positive sides of it all. Really, no matter what complications may come, as long as the end result is a happier one, I'll be okay with it. As I mentally prepare myself for limited mobility, no sex, and surgery (the cerclage), I'm starting to feel more comfortable with the idea of what this next pregnancy will be like. It will by no means be easy all the time, but if it means we get to have a full-term baby, then how could I ever say it wasn't worth it.--It's funny to say "full-term" baby. We've already had a baby and in my mind, we're already parents. So it doesn't feel right to say "when we have a baby" or "when we get to be parents." I guess after going through what we did, still forever loving my son the way I do, it feels more appropriate to say a "full-term" baby to label what it is that I am hoping for. Just a thought anyway.--
Also, on Friday a parent of one of my previous students pulled me aside to give me her condolences on the loss of our son. It was a little weird to have someone still willing to say anything about it. Most people have seemed to have moved on already expecting me to go back to "normal." The mother said she hadn't had the chance to see me since the miscarriage and didn't feel right saying it in an email. She was very sweet and told me how much I've made and impact on her son and how great she thinks I am with the kids. It was nice to hear. It's odd, though, how some people who haven't seen me for awhile don't know how to bring up the subject of our loss, so they acknowledge it by asking "how are you holding up?" I'm not sure how else to respond except to say, "well...I have my good days and my bad days, but at least we have lots of family and friends supporting us which has made things easier." I guess that's just about all I can say to them really. Besides, some really want to know, and some are just being courteous.
One last amusing thing: this weekend my husband and I went to ride the Salem Waterfront carousel while down in Oregon for a family reunion. Anyway, we both randomly picked a horse to ride. And after getting settled, we noticed each horse had a name posted above them. My husband was on the horse named "Sonshine." (And no it’s not a typo. It was Sonshine spelt with an ‘o’ instead of a ‘u’.) We couldn't help but smile. Ironic, meant to be, a sign...whatever it was it at least brought us a little joy and perhaps even a glimmer of hope, and what's wrong with that?
Monday, July 5, 2010
Almost every time I see my in-laws, there is talk about us getting pregnant again. My mother-in-law is so adamant about us getting pregnant that she's even succumb to talking to me about sex which..well...again if you knew her, the idea of her talking about sex is laughable! This is coming from the woman who fought me tooth and nail just to be with her son. Now she's encouraging us to have sex as much as possible so as to conceive her next grandchild! The whole thing scares me quite frankly. I think I felt more comfortable when she was hating me.
In all honesty, I understand why she wants us to have another baby. I understand the guilt that she wants to alleviate by spoiling us and the next child to know ends. In a horribly twisted and sick humor, my husband and I jokingly threatened to tell my mother-in-law to be careful not to spoil this next child to death like the last one. But we figured the joke might be lost on her, and she just might end up refusing to talk to us after that. I know...we're going to hell. But even in our sick humor, isn't joking about it sort of a sign of healing?...maybe?....Or maybe we're just awful human beings. I don't know.
Anyway, I'm beginning to remember why we didn't tell anyone last time when we were trying to conceive. There was way less pressure that way. No one else's opinions weighing in on our decision. Now, whether people try to or not, opinions on why and when are being interjected into every conversation. However, opinions are one thing; scheduling holiday plans biased on whether or not I'm knocked up is a whole ‘nother thing!
From what my mother-in-law told me, if we're not pregnant before the holiday, then Christmas will be held in Oregon at the grandparent's house. Otherwise, if we are pregnant come the holiday, it will be hosted up here so that all the family can be with us without me having to travel. And though it is a sweet gesture that they will all alter their plans to insure the comfort and safety of us when we're pregnant, it's still the idea that everyone is waiting for us to do the deed...waiting...watching for signs of pregnancy....all eyes on us. It's absolutely suffocating! Even if we did get pregnant before the holiday, (which is highly possible since we're talking about getting pregnant by October) it's still the whole family hovering around us, fussing over us. Don't get me wrong, I love to be the center of attention, but not like this! I don't like to be fussed over. I know I'm borrowing troubles from tomorrow and I should just let things unfold. But I'm starting to miss those days when the pregnancy was our little secret.
How am I suppose to get in the mood with my husband, knowing his mom is waiting for us to finish up so I can pee on a stick. Talk about a bucket of ice water!
Little Miss. Sunshine on center stage!
When we were preparing for Pickle, we had so meticulously planned out our savings, calculating how much income we needed to keep us a float while I was out for maternity leave. Things were going so well, in fact, that it was possible I could leave work months early before even giving birth. But, of course, things didn't go as planned. Now, we find ourselves paying for the cost of a delivery without a happy end to show for it and our savings left in shambles. With time off from work, my hours being cut, rent going up with our lease renewal, and hospital bills...how on earth are we supposed to salvage any kind of savings to try again for another baby? Not to mention, now we'll not only have to save enough for me to be out a year with the baby, but an additional 6 months for me to be out after I have my cerclage put in at the start of my second trimester! So we have more bills, less income, and we need to somehow save more. At this point, it feels like we'll have to wait for another year before trying! It boggles my mind how so many people can afford to have babies. I guess it's the curse of being middle class. Upper class can afford it with their higher income. Lower class is eligible for financial assistance. But middle class is too "rich" for assistance and too poor to afford it on their own. It seems like middle class ends up paying more in the long run.
Anyway, I'm starting to get on my soapbox. Hopefully we'll find a way to make things work. If I can get that new job at Google, then that would help for sure. But I don't want to factor that in until I get the job for sure. I'm hoping we don't have to postpone trying to conceive just because of money, but I also don't want to give birth only to go right back to work and just shove my kid into some daycare.
So there you have it. Planned parenthood = planned poverty. I have no idea how we'll afford twice the amount of medical bills then the average parent all while butting heads with the complications that come from being middle class.
When will the clouds break and bring us a little Sunshine?
Sunday, July 4, 2010
I need to still honor my son....my mom's words rang in my head for days. Honor my son...would it be a dishonor to him if we were to try again as soon as possible for another baby? The earliest we could start trying would be September. Would it be a dishonor to conceive again before what would have been his birthday? It was after the memorial when my mom said this to me. Apparently my mother-in-law had been talking to my mom about how she hopes we get pregnant as soon as possible. This is no shock to me. My mother-in-law has made it very clear that she wants us to be pregnant again. And to be honest, I don't feel too much pressure from it. A little I suppose, but not too much. My husband and I are too stubborn to ever do anything we don't want to do. If we're not ready, then we won't start trying. Although my mom was trying to tell me in her own way to wait until we feel ready and not let anyone else pressure us, I don't think she realized how her wording still left an impact on me. To honor my son. That phrasing in it's self left me wondering if trying early would be considered inappropriate and disrespectful of my son's life. I don't want anyone to think we'd be trying to replace our son. That would be impossible. In fact, I keep worrying if I'll even feel as connected to the second child the way I felt connected to Joey Jr. I wonder how I could possibly love them as much. I worry that, if I do feel a growing love for the next child and start to feel the excitement for the new baby if that will mean I love Joey Jr. any less. What if the moments I have with the second baby are happier? What if all the moments of actually having a baby alive and there will over-shadow the memories of Joey Jr.? Would I start to forget? All of the thoughts scare me. Having another baby could never replace Joey Jr. I could never see it that way. In fact, I worry if they could ever live up to the love I have for Joey Jr., but I worry that my feelings for Joey Jr. might set up an unrealistic standard for my next child to live up to. I don't want the next child to feel like I love them any less or like I idolize their sacrificing brother over them. No. I want them to feel just as much love and I want to be just as close to them. But I'm also afraid to open myself up again because of the fear of losing another baby.
Never could it be a replacement. I would always see it as having two separate children, unique individuals.
In our attempts to feel a little closer to the next baby, we figured we should give them a nickname. Just like Joey Jr. was nicknamed "Pickle", the name made him feel closer and more real. When we were planning for him, the name gave us more feeling of purpose and reality. I didn't want the next nickname to be anything like "Pickle" for fear I might accidentally interchange the names, but nothing seemed to fit. My husband then suggested "Sunshine."
"Sunshine?" I asked. "Why Sunshine?"
"Because," he replied, "every time we have had difficult times after losing Joey, the sun has come out. Joey also gave us the knowledge of what we need to do next time to have a successful pregnancy. Joey has given us Sunshine. Get it?"
I thought about it for a moment. It's true, even when I was giving birth on a rainy day, right as I was about to deliver Joey, I remember the clouds breaking and the room filling with the soft glow of sunshine.
"Suuuuuuunshine!" my husband said in a sing-song voice.
I giggled. "Sunshine....hello Sunshine....man Sunshine is kicking me a lot....goodnight Sunshine..." I gave the name a test drive. It felt right. Joey would be giving us Sunshine, his little brother or sister.
We also talked things out and I think we feel more comfortable getting pregnant after Joey's birthday. It would not sit right with me to be pregnant before or find out around the date of Joey's birthday. If it's even a week after we find out, that's fine. As long as it's not on or before Joey's day. He needs HIS time, and I don't want to over-shadow that with his brother or sister. I think that will be my way of honoring him. Even if we're trying during that time, that's fine. Just not finding out before his birthday. My feelings might change in time, but for now, that feels right to me.
So now we begin our journey, the three of us preparing for Sunshine.
"Have you asked your doctor yet if they think it was your mucus plug that came out that day when you called them?" my boss asked me after I told her about my "doctor's appointment."
"What?" I asked.
"Well, if it were me, I'd be wondering if there was something I could've done. Or at least wondering if there were any signs or anything that could've been done to prevent the miscarriage. If I were you, I'd ask your doctor if something could've been done."
All I could do was shrug and agree with her just to be socially polite. I needed the day off after all so I wasn't about to argue with my boss. But as I walked away from her office, I couldn't help but think, what a pointless question that would be to ask. Of course there was something that could have been done to prevent it. At some point in time, the issue of my cervix was preventable. The problem was, we didn't catch it until it was too late. Things played out the way they did, and though I never wanted it to go that way, and of course I wish I could change things...what's done is done. What would be the point of assigning blame? I can't blame the doctors for not knowing. Because once they figured it out, they did all they could to help. I can't blame myself because, how was I to know my cervix was incompetent? When I had odd symptoms, I called the doctor right away. As much as blame may give me something to aim my anger at...what would be the point? Placing blame would not change the situation. It wouldn't bring my son back. Of course I can be angry at how things ended up. But I'm angry at the situation, not at any one person. At times, I hate my body for letting go of my son and I get angry for having what feels like a broken body. But my body is was it is. It didn't do anything on purpose. It's not like my cervix has a mind of it's own and was being vindictive. The evil cervix of doom! No...this was simply a thing of nature. And lucky for me, medical practices have advanced enough for me to be able to prevent it for the next time. Thanks to little Joey Jr. we know now what needs to be done.
The thought sat with me for a few days. But ya know...I'm happy knowing that I don't need to play the blame game. I think it's a good sign that I am healing. Also, I'm glad my boss gave me the time off for my "doctor's visit." Here's to new beginnings.