Posts filed under 'Miscarriage'
On two occasions recently, I’ve had disagreements with people, and on BOTH occasions, my reactions were off, and I’m stewing inappropriately about it. I’m not averse to confrontation, nor am I averse to admitting when I’m wrong, but the thing is, I had the OPPOSITE reaction to the one I wanted to have in both situations.
To wit: It seems I only go one of two ways in a disagreement lately, which is to dig my heels in entirely and declare my righteousness, or to fall on my sword completely, and in BOTH recent cases, I have had the OPPOSITE reaction to what I now think I SHOULD have had. As in, when I should have taken full responsibility and apologized, I dug my heels in, but when I should have dug my heels in and told the person to eff off because THEY were being totally inappropriate, *I*, instead, fell on my sword and declared MYSELF to be the inappropriate one. And now I want to go BACK to both parties and rectify the situation, but THAT would just be STUPID, because NO ONE WANTS TO REHASH AN ARGUMENT.
And yet, there it is. I think in the case of saying hey, I was wrong back then, would be fine, but in the case of saying hey, remember when I apologized and acted like I WAS in the wrong? HA HA, just kidding, YOU ARE A TOTAL DOUCHE! I don’t think that would work out so well.
Anyway, I should tell you that I got my wish, and it turns out I’m a carrier for MTHFR, but, well, it seems to be a non-issue, as it’s not active, and please don’t make me go into any more detail than that, because I don’t have it. I am DETAIL-LESS on the topic, mostly because everyone seems to think that it’s a carrier issue (which an alarming number people have) and not an active condition. This, combined with my fetal chromosomal defects — which are the kind that account for up to 40% of miscarriages, leading it to be a non-carrier issue — makes everyone STILL believe that it’s dumb-shit luck, but lo, off to the geneticist I go anyway, and I’m not even sure why. It all seems to be CYA at this point, but I also have to tell you that for all the insensitivity of my doctor’s office (mean nurses! incompetent medical assistants! receptionists lacking brain cells!), I am BEYOND impressed with my actual DOCTOR, and the way she’s treating this, and me, with such thoroughness, to make sure that I move forward knowing we did all we could.
Is your head spinning after reading that paragraph? Because my God, seriously, I suddenly feel like those people who post every detail of their fertility numbers, including betas and progesterone and all these things I don’t understand, but read with rapt attention like I do. But despite all the bullshit, having a doctor who seems to actually be paying close attention to me feels really good, even if it took two flipping MONTHS to get to this point.
So! Three pop culture points, and then I’m out like a MTHFR:
1) I am stupidly both surprised and NOT surprised by the JLo-Marc Anthony divorce. I mean, I always got the impression they were FRIENDS before they got married, like, for YEARS and that has to suck. On the other hand, remember when JLo was basically the Runaway Bride and married EVERYBODY? On the THIRD hand, I heard that he was a controlling, borderline-abusive bag of dicks, and for some reason, with her serial dating/monogamy history, I could somehow SEE JLO putting up with such shenanigans, because despite her attitude, she’s always seemed fairly insecure and conciliatory.
For example, who says that men don’t compliment you on your body because “they’re afraid of [your husband]“, as she did in People magazine ? NO ONE SAYS THAT, unless you think your man is insecure and/or YOU are afraid of him. If I were a celebrity, I wouldn’t say that about Adam. I mean, Adam is definitely protective of me and WOULD kick some ass on my behalf it was warranted, but it’s not like MEN ON THE STREET are just cowering from his presence. (Sorry, honey.)
Also, what’s with his creepy negotiations in getting his DISGUSTING SKELETOR FACE on American Idol ALL SEASON LONG? At least with the divorce, his foul mug will be off the show, although my God, he’ll probably figure out a way to work that in to the DIVORCE SETTLEMENT. WHY DID YOU HAVE CHILDREN WITH THIS MAN, JENNIFER? DIDDY WAS A BETTER CHOICE.
You see the analysis I’ve put in here, yes? Are you afraid? THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID OF. Not Marc Anthony. THIS. The amount of time I’ve spent thinking about the two of them is criminal.
2) January Jones is having a baby, father unknown. I am DYING to know who the father is, and if he’s MARRIED, like, say, Bobby Flay, as everyone is speculating, then MY GOD, COME ON, JANUARY. Quit being an amoral asshole. Also, can someone PLEASE tell me how these goddamn celebrities just keep FALLING PREGNANT right and effing left by these MYSTERY MEN? Or, in the case of Arnold, just GETTING people pregnant? HOW? I mean, obviously this has never been my personal strong suit, but COME ON.
Meanwhile, I try to imagine my reaction if MY husband came home and told me he impregnated another famous woman, and I just CANNOT. I can’t imagine a situation that does NOT involve me just PASSING OUT COLD and never waking up.
3) Mona from Who’s the Boss? on True Blood. HA HA HAHAHAHA. Also, how in God’s name is Curb Your Enthusiasm STILL ON THE AIR?
*Jennifer Lopez. Remember Ben, Jennifer? Remember how you wrote an ENTIRE ALBUM to him, including a godawful song about him? And … AHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA God, I am mean.
July 17th, 2011
I got the results back from my karyotyping and recurrent loss shenanigans, and … there was nothing. While the fetus showed chromosomal abnormalities (a thought I found strangely comforting), they were/are mostly anomalous and not likely the result of a carrier issue. Thrombotic panel? Negative. Fifteen (15!) other blood tests? All normal.
What we appear to have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a case of crappy luck.
My feelings on this are understandably mixed. On the one hand, I mean, HOORAY! There’s nothing wrong with us, and all signs point to us being able to have a healthy pregnancy down the road. When I balked about my age (35), the nurse actually laughed and said, “You’re 35, not 45, Jonna. Most women we see at your age are trying for their FIRST baby.” Which, you know, comforting, and also true. The east coast is not known for its young mothers.
On the other hand, I really wanted it to be something we could fix easily. Which, haaaa, easily, as if such a thing exists even if there’s an issue. But I really wanted it to be MTHFR or Factor V Leiden or hell, I was even hoping for lupus antibodies at this point. But you know, instead it was probably a bum egg or an issue with all that dividing and multiplying and busy work that embryos have to do, and that is … frustrating and terribly normal. And scary, because, you know, it could happen again. It MIGHT happen again. I’m 35, and my eggs are what they are, and it’s … oh, blergh.
I know, right? Two miscarriages, so what? People go through worse. But it sucks, it sucks, to think about having to go through it again, assuming that the chances are exactly the same as they always were — which is to say that statistically, my chances of having a miscarriage the third time are not much higher than a first-time pregnancy. You’d think this would be comforting, but instead, it just means that I’m unprotected, as illogical as that sounds. Having two miscarriages does not statistically protect me from a third. My body doesn’t care whether it’s my first or my third, it just goes on as though everything is fresh. Statistically, each pregnancy is its own entity, and statistically — most of the time, anyway — they can’t find a reason for it, it just is.
Well, it means I just have to buck up, grow some balls and keep at it, is what it means. After all, is that not the quintessential lesson of parenthood, in all forms? I don’t know why all ovulation kits don’t bear a surgeon general’s warning that this shit is not for the weak, that once you start down this path, you are essentially fucked, in every possible meaning of the word.
We went to playgroup today and Sam wore a helmet for a rather significant portion of the morning. She picked up her friend Molly’s bike helmet, insisted on putting it on to ride the motorcycle, then kept it on for pool time, swing time, water table time. She wore that stupid helmet and she looked ridiculous, and my heart sort of shattered for her then, because God, there’s my kid, wearing an absurd-looking helmet, but she doesn’t know how silly she looks, she just wants to wear the helmet because she thinks it’s cool. She’s doesn’t know it’s not cool, and if she did, she doesn’t care, because at two, she’s not self-conscious about anything. She sings along to Elmo’s World in the most off-key voice you’ve ever heard, and when she sees a bunny, no matter how many times you tell her to be quiet, she immediately screams, “MOMMY, ITSA BUNNY! LOOK! LOOK!” and goes excitedly lumbering towards it.
I just … you know, I’d do anything for her. Anything. I’d have the guts to do anything if it meant she could have a better life. And if I apply the same logic (however flimsy the application may be) to my future children, well, I guess I can at least muster the guts to keep trying for them to be born, I figure. (FLIMSY CONNECTION, RIGHT? I KNOW.)
It’s going to take a little time, though, I think.
*Badly Drawn Boy
July 13th, 2011
Well! As it turns out, my tubes ‘n utes are all clear. Or at least, they are now. I got the old song and dance about how I’m getting an extra fertility boost, thanks to tubes that are freshly flushed! And then I had to explain that no, really, GETTING pregnant is not my problem, man, so even if my tubes are lubed up with an entire gallon of baby sauce, it’s KEEPING THEM that seems to be an issue. Or isn’t. Oh, I don’t even know anymore. Two miscarriages could mean DOOM! and BAD THINGS! or it could just be dumb-shit luck. You don’t know.
What I DO know is that despite Julie’s terrifying warning to me that the HSG was the single most painful gynecological procedure she’s ever had (AND THIS IS JULIE, PEOPLE), it … well, it was pretty much not that bad. I thought the whole washing of the cervix (with special soap and a … brush?) was going to be painful, along with the insertion of a balloon (YES REALLY) and a catheter (NOT THAT KIND) was going to hurt like a bitch, but instead, I felt nothing. “You’re done?” I chirped hopefully. “Uhhh, not at all,” came the reply.
It was a crazy surreal experience — and one that I now CLEARLY remember having before, albeit in a much different setting — having dye shot through my uterus and tubes and watching it go sliding on in as I, um, felt it, in the form of creepy, awful cramping. Not super-painful, necessarily, just CREEPY, knowing that there was this bright-orange iodine solution causing my discomfort and I could actually WITNESS IT. I suppose it’s why I never wanted to stick my hand down there while I was in labor, nor did I have any interest in the mirror. I’m cool with pain, so long as I don’t actually see where it’s coming from. Because EW.
What turned out to be much more miserable was the recurrent loss blood work-up I had done a full two hours later, which involved so much blood that they treated me like I was a donor. Juice, cookies, the whole nine yards. It was … kind of absurd, woozy-making and resulted in a butterfly-shaped bruise and a sore arm. Dye through the utes? Painless. Bloodwork? HOURS OF AGONY. WTF.
I might find out what, if anything, is going on as soon as tomorrow — at least part of the story, anyway — and I’m both nervous and excited and a little freaked out overall. I have no idea what’s going to happen. I have no idea if I’m 100% ready to get back into this circus. I know that I’ll wait at least a few months before hopping on the train, because you guys, I’ve been pregnant, or recovering from being pregnant, since last November. It’s JUNE. That’s eight months of my body going through a shit-ton of roller coasters, both physically and emotionally, and it’s … well, it’s a ride I am ready for the RESULTS of, but not the actual RIDING THEREOF. What I would like to do is be put into a coma during any future pregnancies — oh, and put Sam on ice, too — and then wake up and resume my life with two children, unaware of the process of getting there entirely.
Also, let’s be honest, I’ve just lost thirteen pounds through some serious blood, sweat and sinuses. I’m down a pants size. Am I all that jazzed about getting into a pair with a waistband that can only be described as VOLUMINOUS?
(Well, kind of. MAN.)
I tell you what this whole thing has cured me of: any desire whatsoever to have a third child. Once I have a second, God willing? DONE. DONE. DONE. So hilariously finished, I can’t even tell you. I don’t have the stomach for this. I cannot imagine doing this a third time. I can’t. Once was worth it, OBVIOUSLY. Twice is something I believe strongly in and want desperately. I know I can’t guarantee how I’ll feel a third time, but after this? HAAAAA NO. I am somewhat grateful that I feel this way, because I think two is an appropriate limit for me, time-wise and finance-wise, and yet honestly, I love being a mom so goddamned much that I would legitimately consider having an entire basketball team of them if it were remotely practical for us. And you know, if I’d started procreating at 23 instead of 33.
The other thing is, dude, the babysitter. I love her, Sam loved her, she emptied my dishwasher (?!) and it was perfect. I COULD GET HOOKED ON THIS. I find myself wanting to push Adam to get a major promotion so that we can hire someone more often without requiring me to work! I could have a nanny AND be a stay-at-home mom! Real Housewives of Boston’s Western Suburbs, here I come! But seriously, she was fantastic. And surprisingly, she did NOT abscond with my daughter! Whaaaaat?
Listen, I hope you have a great weekend. I’ll be catching up on email and reading A Discovery of Witches, which I LOVE.
June 23rd, 2011
First of all, I found your comments FASCINATING re: having a childcare provider bring her own kids to the job. It’s funny, I listened to all of them, and thought of the few ways that I’d be cool with it, and none of them presented themselves to me — i.e., the nannies who had babies and then BROUGHT their babies after they had them (and were well established at the family to begin with)? Well, of course, DUH, I’d be fine with that. A kid at or vaguely around Sam’s age, who would be into keeping a similar schedule who wasn’t, say, a total bully asshole? I could be OK with that, too. See also: if I were in their home and not mine, for the reasons I mentioned in the comments.
There’s something about your own kid in your own house that you can just … relax a little. I mean, of course Sam is always supervised, but I know every corner of this house. I know when her silence means she’s concentrating (i.e., in the back playroom, where her fuzzies and crayons are) and when being quiet means DEFCON 1: GUARD THE SUDAFED because she’s in the bathroom, sifting through the drawers. These are sounds, for better or for worse, you’re trained to listen for in your own house. Someone else’s, not so much.
Anyway. It’s moot, sort of, because I found at least one sitter who’s coming tomorrow (today for most of you reading this) and will be paid an ungodly money for the sole purpose of having my tubes ‘n utes shot through with dye and examined under an … I don’t even know what, as I had this before, I SWEAR, but the thing is, I HAVE NO MEMORY. I have very little memory of the whole pre-Sam shenanigans, and I don’t know why. I hope it’s the same if I get to the second baby portion of our show, that this all becomes kind of … faded.
We’ve been still, ahh, sick at our house, and it all started with Sam and her ridiculous beach-bound illnesses, and then there was me, who was misdiagnosed with a sinus infection (non-contagious! HAA!), who then passed it on to Adam, who is lying beside me right now, wheezing into his Wheat Thins. Both of us will very likely be passed out cold by 10 p.m., which happens in this house, mmm, pretty much never. Good thing I’m on antibiotics, though! I am what’s wrong with pharmacology today, man. I told you.
The flip side of all this is that I am dropping weight like a saddle bag of hot potatoes. This is what happens when you can pretty much taste nothing for two weeks. Food becomes remarkably uninteresting if you can’t taste it! Who knew? Truth is, I’ve been fantasizing about cupcakes and peanut butter bars pretty much non-stop — and I’m a savory gal! — for no other reason that they are the only things I can really remember the flavor of. I can’t smell anything either, so changing diapers, too, is a surprisingly pleasant task.
I thought about marketing this as a weight-loss tool — invite everyone to my house! Give them the disease and then VOILA! Watch the pounds fly off! There’s got to be an infomercial I can make out of this, maybe featuring Suzanne Somers. Sinus Camp 2011: It’s Infectious! I think, is our tagline. Unfortunately, I have moved beyond the contagious phase, and thus, everyone would have to get in close quarters with Adam, instead, and that’s … less appealing than you might think, although I imagined I was about as delicious-looking while I, too, was coughing until I vomited.
I think my revenue options may be limited by the gross-out factor, but I’m not ruling this shit out! WEIGHT LOSS IN A CURABLE DISEASE.
In recent days, however, I’ve been able to taste a little more, and by that, I mean I can taste sriracha, which is why my last three meals have consisted of various noodles and/or sandwiches drenched in more sriracha than a normal person could probably handle, and it burns like FIYAH, but at least I’m ALIVE. This must be why people tattoo their bodies to FEEL THE BURN! Walk on fire! LET US LIVE. GIVE US THE SRIRACHA.
(Side note: there is something depressing about losing 10+ pounds and being acutely aware that you still have, um, FORTY, or so to go. Seriously. FORTY. I am usually pretty chill about my weight/body image, and for the most part, I am — I mean, I’m not really all that consumed by it — but something about feeling my clothes FINALLY fit much looser has given me enough of a taste that I’m all LET’S GO, WEIGHT! BRING ON THE SIZE SIX!)
(HAAAA I SAID SIX. What an ass.)
Anyway, I’ve GOT to tell you that I’ve been watching NOTHING on television. NOTHING. Should I be watching Game of Thrones? I mean, on HBO.com, that is, because I know it’s over. The Killing? Falling Skies? True Blood is back this week, thank GOD (well, Sunday), but that’s … all I’ve got. And I miss TV. A lot. (Already seen FNL, so it’s not NEW.)
Happy Wednesday! Or as it’s known around here, Tubes, Utes and Babysitter Day! Oh, God.
*Mumford & Sons. The Cave being my uterus. OH I KILL ME.
June 21st, 2011
Aaaand, we’re back. That was … special. Some of that is certainly sarcasm, but some of it is also that it WAS special. Honestly, it was fun. We had fun. Sam had a blast running around with her cousins, and even tried surfing a little, if by surfing, you mean standing on a boogie board while the waves came in and ran over her feet.
“I DID it, Mommy! I did it! Like TOODEE!” Oof, my heart. Kid was so proud of her surfing abilities, and honest to God, she really thought she was doing it. Also, errr, that’s how pervasive her Yo Gabba Gabba obsession runs, friends. There’s ONE episode (“Ride”) where Toodee goes surfing with Foofa’s big brother, Foofle (I cannot make this shit up, people), and Sam was OBSESSED with surfing like Toodee. She even made me sing the damn song while she did it. (“Surfing today, sunny day! Into the water to play!” And hahahahaha, I KNOW THE LYRICS OH MY GOD.)
It was actually quite sad that on our first day back, she woke up and asked to go to the beach. Oh darlin’. It’s not warm enough up here, yet.
The bad was … kind of really awfully bad. Over the course of the two weeks since we left our house, Sam had three (3) separate fevers, a horrid cough/cold (separate from the fevers!) and a – oh I can barely type it – a VAGINAL INFECTION FROM THE SAND-SLASH-SWIM DIAPER. HOLD ME. HOLD ME. All this, plus she slept in two separate hotels, a strange house, followed by a DIFFERENT strange house, along with a FOURTEEN HOUR DRIVE, split over two days. I mean, honestly, the kid was a hot fucking mess, and so was I.
I am not even going to pretend that I handled it well, because I didn’t. I cringe at how touchy I was on Wednesday — which, conveniently, was my day to cook dinner for everyone — and how I was chopping onions, sobbing while my kid sobbed and chased after me, stuck to me like glue. That morning, I’d lost it on my poor dad — AKA the man who requires the least amount of sleep of ANYONE I KNOW, EVER — because he rises at 5:30 or 6 and makes coffee, waking up the first floor. Meanwhile, he acquiesced to my demand to come out a LEETLE BIT later and guess what? Sam continued to wake at 6, exhausted and miserable, ANYWAY. (Note: I don’t mind the 6 a.m. wakings, except when they mean that she hasn’t gotten enough sleep, making our mornings EYE-POKINGLY MISERABLE, because all she wants to do is go back to bed, at like, NINE AM. But she won’t, natch, and besides, it would eff her nap for the day.)
Plus, I was alone. I’m alone a lot, obviously, as the primary at-home parent, but it’s too easy to discount the role that Adam plays at home and on the weekends. He plays with her the second he walks in the door. I get extra sleep on the weekends (we alternate days). I get nights out with my friends as often as I want. He can give her a bath if I’m feeling wiped out or lousy or just having a long, tired day, you know? He’s a great dad, and he does a lot, and GOD I MISSED HIM. All of him, obviously, not just the parts of him that help me out. To be clear.
(PS, he cleaned the WHOLE HOUSE while we were gone. I walked in to a SPOTLESS HOUSE. Who does that? HE DOES.)
(He also bought a new TV. Surprise! Oh, wait … )
I was just … alone. Not that my parents and siblings weren’t willing to help me — they WERE — but my kid was so disoriented and cranky and feeling so lousy that she wouldn’t let them touch her. NO ONE COULD TOUCH HER. For two. weeks. And not only was this sucktacular for me, but it was hardly the bonding experience with the rest of my family that you would expect, you know? I mean, the kid just RAGED any time anyone came near her — and this includes my paternal parents, who are the very same people who kept her for a WEEK without incident while we went to Vegas. Was bizarroland. And also, uhh, kind of sucky for all of us.
Mind you, I’m fully aware that single parents do this day in and day out (I WORSHIP AT YOUR FEET), but I will also say there is a difference between having velcro kid in a strange environment and just having a kid at home, doing her normal routine. It was kind of exhausting, and I kind of handled it pretty badly. I was loose with my emotions, and I kind of felt like everything was just there, bubbling so close to the surface that everything exploded at the slightest provocation.
And I just felt ungrateful and awful and UGHHHHH, I know, I sound like I’m just over here self-flagellating (I AM), but there’s something about parenting my kid at her worst in front of people I don’t normally live with, no matter how much they love me (and they do!), that makes me feel so exposed. Especially if those people are other parents and THEIR kids are acting like near-perfect children with only minor imperfections. Meanwhile, I had a kid with an INFECTED VAGINA, FOR THE LOVE.
This is one of those times where I can’t tell if it’s just the snowball effect of, you know, EVERYTHING, or if it was just, hello, a challenging situation that anyone would have broken down in. I was extra-weepy and I let myself lose it in situations — and in front of people — I normally wouldn’t. I mean, not that I’m afraid of being judged by my own FAMILY, but I guess I do have a thing against appearing weak and/or crazy and BELIEVE ME, FRIENDS, I WAS BOTH. Yet, I like to think it was the latter — that is, it was a normally shitty situation to lose it in — but I’m not entirely sure. One never knows these days.
Honestly about the Other Thing, I do feel better — I feel more ready to tackle what’s to come, and I feel more focused on what’s in front of me — the life part, that is. Honestly, I suppose it’s hard not to, when what’s in front of you is a sick toddler while you YOURSELF are hacking and wheezing, but strangely, I’ve got a lot of OTHER good stuff to focus on. Friends who claim to have missed me terribly (and I, them), new work projects, an entire summer to play in the water with my kid, an assload of books to read and the resurgence of the Book Lushes, which I SWEAR is coming, but HA HA, UNEXPECTED EVENTS have precluded that little project.
And, uhh, fertility work-up stuff. Again. But even that I feel relatively calm about at the moment. Apparently the whole “one day at a time” mantra really seems to be working. Recovery people! They know what they’re talking about.
Hey, have a happy Tuesday.
June 13th, 2011
First, let me say that I am not a fool, although I have been acting like one, and the fact that so many people took a few moments out of their day to think about me, leave me a comment or write me an email, is beyond meaningful to me, I can’t even tell you. What you might not know, though, is how much it means to my family. My parents read every last one of those comments, as did some of Adam’s family, and I just … well, thank you seems silly and fruitless, really, it does, but I wanted you to know that it’s not just me who reads them and appreciates them, even when I’m acting like I don’t. My mother and Adam’s Aunt Carol were particularly moved, just so you know.
Which brings me to … well, what I think strikes me the most about the past week, and was entirely unexpected, was — is, really — how quickly I turned into an ungracious asshole. I want to put it another way, but I can’t. I’m amazed and, quite honestly, totally saddened, by how fast I moved from being a person who could compose herself enough to be considerate to someone else, even with a thousand tiny darts sticking out of her chest, to someone who, frankly, did not give a shit about anyone but herself. Everyone said the wrong thing. Everyone. Sarah in Huntsville did NOT say the wrong thing, however, and captured my feelings perfectly when she said:
” I felt like dickpunching everyone who said ANYTHING to me about it, because there was nothing they could say that either didn’t make me sneer at them in derision or cry. But I also wanted to facestab the people who just kind of ignored the whole thing.”
I LAUGHED. Because my God, yes, that’s pretty much it. I also — and this is perhaps most disturbing — had this almost (and at times, more than almost) irrepressible urge to wave a verbal air horn in someone’s face after uttering something I deemed inappropriate. “WRONG!” the air horn would blat, loud and forceful, right in their foolishly loose lips. “WRONG! WRONG!” I could almost see their hair blowing back from the force of the blast, as I stomped away, stuffing the instrument back in my purse without looking back.
Oh, but if you didn’t say ANYTHING? Well, wait … this actually wasn’t so bad, I mean, unless it was one of my close friends, in which case, FLEE THE COUNTRY, IMMA COME GETCHOO WITH THE AIR HORN.
I mean, yes, there are a few people — a few that I am unwilling to forgive, like those who have publicly questioned my friendship and made demands on it until I acquiesced against my better judgment and then HA HA! never said a word to me about this. And the others, who gleefully talked about my FIRST pregnancy, over and over again, in a flurry of excited sisterly emails and then, when I lost THAT baby … nothing. Not a word since. Yes, people like that, I am finished with. But for the most part, I understand that no one knows what the fuck to say to someone in my situation, so they panic and say nothing and I don’t hold it against them.
(I am, by the way, married to a completely loving, kind, thoughtful person who tends to PANIC! and say nothing in these situations, so I understand this phenomenon more than most.)
Basically, it was just awful, I was just awful, and … well, I’m still kind of just awful, for I have these moments of outright horror at the things people say. Things that, actually, are not THAT horrifying, but in my addled state tend to be magnified to DEFCON 1: LOAD THE AIR HORNS. The problem with all of this is that it turns me into someone I don’t like, and I’m not particularly proud of, and if THAT isn’t an excellent spirit to pour into this magnificent cocktail of suckitude, I don’t know what is!
The one thing I will say is the absolute wrong thing to say is this: “I know how you feel.” No, you don’t. NO ONE DOES, because you are not me, and I am not you. Two people can go through the exact same experience on paper, and feel completely differently, and want to hear/need completely different things. I was stunned by commenter Auntie G’s revelation that she didn’t share her own happy ending with me, because when SHE went through the same thing, she wanted nothing to do with happy endings. Me, however? I drink them up like water in the desert.
So no. You don’t know how I feel, even when I describe it to you in exquisite detail.
I do, however, feel better. I am not fully healed, but it has just occurred to me that life will – and does – go on, and that life includes all the things I was looking forward to before (minus the baby). Fun things, like hitting the beach with my family and taking Sam to a summer full of water parks. And of course, the less-fun things like measuring the playroom for carpet tiles and finally getting rid of the ancient Ikea chairs. These things will, God willing, still happen, and I get to enjoy them just the same. It’s when I think about the future — the Other — that things get murky.
What remains, too, is this very strange, thin membrane separating me and a much sadder, emptier life than I thought I’d have. I don’t know how to put it any better than that. The membrane is not real; the alternate life isn’t even real, not even if it ends here and now with just Adam, Sam and me, which, I hasten to add, I don’t think it will. I felt this most acutely when I foolishly Googled myself into some message boards of the, uh, recurring miscarriage ilk, and got a glimpse into a world that I can’t seem to shake. A world where people — and please God help me, I am not judging, or at the very least, I am BUSTING MY ASS not to judge, for we all process grief differently — save their wee embryos (yes, I mean pre-12-week embryos) after D&C’s and dress them in hats and take pictures and hold funerals for them. It’s a culture — a cult, almost — that I can’t see myself ever being a part of, even if things had worked out differently, but God, it’s there, and it’s so close and it’s one of those things, like I said, I can’t shake.
I can’t say I would ever be the type to, um, dress my embryo in corduroy and denim (mine is, after routine chromosomal testing, being flushed with the hospital waste of the week, and maybe that seems heartless), but I guess what strikes me is that it’s so easy to see how it could happen; how CONSUMING it could be if you really dug your heels into a place like that. I feel like I am the thinnest air pocket away from being a person who buys clothes for her embryos, even though rationally, I know that’s not true.
Online communities — particularly ones that are highly specialized and focused — are extremely powerful. Please, one day let me regale you of the YEAR OF MY LIFE I spent embroiled in a — oh I can barely type it — CAT MESSAGE BOARD. WHERE PEOPLE TALKED ABOUT THEIR CATS. I DID THIS. I DID THIS. I, a perfectly well-adjusted, pretty twentysomething with lots of friends and a hot boyfriend (now husband), spent an UNGODLY AMOUNT OF TIME talking about the merits of wet food vs. canned and examining my cat’s stool for optimum health.
(If you’re wondering how it happened, it started because — surprise! — I was googling after discovering that my cat had recurrent urinary problems. And if you’re thinking that CAT MESSAGE BOARDS do not have flame wars, HA HA YOU ARE SO WRONG AND ARE YOU DYING, BECAUSE I AM DYING TYPING THIS OUT.)
(Also, I no longer own a cat, and in fact, hate cats. EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS IS HILARIOUS.)
These places are rabbit holes. RABBIT HOLES. And if I have any advice to anyone going through this, it is that maybe you should stick to blogs that talk about this kind of thing, and step away from the pinkie nail-sized knitted hats, for it struck me as a fast track to an insane asylum. Email Julie, who will probably say the perfect thing to you, even though she doesn’t know it. (To me, she simply said, “I AM APPALLED,” and honestly, I hold it with me, because it is so hilarious and so perfect, I don’t know why.)
Happy Tuesday, friends. Thanks for listening, and my apologies for my astonishingly douchey comments and written air horns over the last seven days.
*Dave Matthews Band, whatever. I’m not judging your tiny hats, so lay off my lame music.
May 23rd, 2011
I didn’t tell anyone I was pregnant, because, well, who would, after the last time, right? And as it turned out, being pregnant after a miscarriage is — well, at least for me — worse than the miscarriage itself. And by that, I don’t mean a chemical pregnancy/early miscarriage — those, too, I am familiar with. I’m talking about a post-heartbeat-viewing-ultrasound miscarriage, the one where some people feel so safe that they run out and BUY THINGS OH MY SHIT. NO NO NO. LET ME BE YOUR GUIDE IN SUCH THINGS, NO.
I knew almost immediately, even though I was in denial, avoiding taking a test until well after I’d missed my period — incidentally, just before we left for Las Vegas. Because who DOESN’T want to go on a hedonistic drinking-type vacation and NOT BE ABLE TO DRINK AT ALL? (As it turned out, I didn’t want to drink anyway, because GODDAMN, the desert is dry. I couldn’t even drink COKE. I just wanted WATER.)
I was stressed out and terrified every second of the day. I was feeling myself up to the point of insanity. Honestly, I don’t think I went five minutes without sticking my hands into my bra, desperately feeling for soreness, which, fortunately or unfortunately, was always present. I almost bankrupted us buying pregnancy tests, peeing on them so often that Sam took to opening a package herself and holding them under her crotch, peering into the wrapper for whatever she thought I was looking for. I skipped the digital tests, for they had no real GAUGE of how things were going. Pregnant or not pregnant, there was no in-between on those suckers, when by now, we ALL know you can be a little pregnant.
Were they getting darker? I swore they were, but I couldn’t be sure. I’d pee on one a day, comparing it to the previous day’s, examining every nuance in color, using that, along with my dizziness and boob soreness, as a bizarrely unscientific algorithm to determine how things were going.
I had my first ultrasound at seven weeks on the dot, according to my calculations, which, without going into detail, are close to iron-clad. The ultrasound showed up with a strong heartbeat, but a baby measuring six weeks on the dot. To them, it all looked fine. To me … not so much. It was Pete and Repeat up in here, for that is precisely, and I mean PRECISELY, how things went down the last time. I sobbed while a nurse acted as though I was insane for being upset, and tried to tell me how rare it was for people to have two miscarriages in a row, how I needed to RELAX, how every pregnancy was DIFFERENT. I was waiting for her to give me a reason NOT to punch her in the face, but she never did. Somehow I refrained, and instead, I went to the front desk and made an appointment for a viability ultrasound for exactly one week later.
The next one wasn’t any better. The baby grew, but the heart rate didn’t. Steady, but exactly the same: 115 bpm. The prognosis I was given was 50/50. “It could really go either way,” my doctor said. Obviously, they wanted it higher, but she’d seen it happen before, just like this, so I hung in there.
And then I got sick. Dry heaves at every corner, a craving for nothing but McNuggets and an affinity for Liberte yogurt. I felt … hopeful. Better. More positive! HA HA!
I went back for my third viability ultrasound feeling almost cocky. I was sick as a dog! I was about to faint! I had eaten copious amounts of McNuggets!
No heartbeat. Apparently the baby had died just after my ultrasound the week prior, but my body, in an effort to keep things pumping along, went into crazy overdrive. So basically, every comforting sign I’d ever been given about a “healthy” pregnancy was completely shattered. Visible heartbeat? Statistically worthless until 10 weeks, according to my other doctor who, as it turns out, is a renowned miscarriage expert, so I believe him. Morning sickness a good sign? A total lie, as I learned first-hand.
I really hope that the OTHER myth is that alcohol is bad in pregnancy, because I don’t see how I’m going to get through another one of these without being drunk 24/7. I plan to make mint juleps an active part of my prenatal diet, along with folic acid, because SERIOUSLY.
I mean, really. I am, rationally or irrationally, completely freaked. I’m terrified, of course. I know it happens — more often than people even know, I think — but for some reason, the majority of the stories I got in those first 24 hours were people trying to commiserate with me by sharing stories of how it happened to them/their sister/their sister’s friend/their friend and MY GOD, THE STORIES. Of how this happened, and the lonely horror that ensued! The DECADES of infertility and, in at least one case, DIVORCE. DIVORCE. And I just … well, I feel terrible saying this, but it sent me into a Very Bad Place, because it’s one thing to be able to talk about that stuff with some distance, quite another when you’re in the thick of it.
I say this not to be an unsympathetic asshole, but just to say that if you have a horror story that ended badly, I might not be in the place to hear it, OK? It’s just … where I’m at right now. I know people go through, and survive, much worse, and I know I’m lucky and BELIEVE ME, I am grateful for Sam, BELIEVE ME, OKAY? It’s just that I’m still upset. I’m still scared. And the next person to say, “Well, at least you have ONE healthy child!” gets a dickpunch, because I KNOW, but that doesn’t make this suck any less, I’m sorry, it doesn’t. And recognizing that this sucks doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate Sam. They are two unrelated entities in my mind.
Forgive me, as I am a little sensitive bordering on crazy.
Tomorrow — well, today, Monday, by the time many of you read this — is my second D&C (D&E, really) since January. My parents were already in town for my brother’s MBA graduation in Amherst (congratulations, Justin!), so they were kind enough to make the short trip over to help us out with Sam — and me, as Adam’s traveling for business Tuesday, and I was pretty out of it for a few days afterwards last time.
At what point does this move from sympathetic journey to CIRCUS SIDESHOW!! is what I want to know. I’m thinking three might be the magic number.
Much love to everyone who’s been so kind. Your notes and tweets have meant a lot. We’ll be fine – we always are, so long as the three of us have each other. Oh, and Sunny. God, Sunny, who can forget SUNNY? I’m sure this is causing a great deal of intestinal turmoil that we’ll have to clean up later.
It’s just a bump in the road, I suppose. A sucktastic festering boil of a pothole-y bump, but a bump nonetheless.
Catch you on the flip.
May 15th, 2011
Hey, do you guys remember when I was all uppity about girls’ clothes, and how I didn’t want my kid stereotyped and I was all, where are the basic primary colors? Let us all rejoice in neutrals! Down with the princess stereotype, because MY kid will be different!
This is Sam’s favorite shirt in the whole world:
Excuse the funny angle, as it’s half in the sink after taking it off of her, but you get the idea, yes? It’s a silkscreen of a cat with a SEQUIN CROWN on its head — a pink sequin crown, no less — with the words, “Love being a princess” written behind the cat, over and over and over again.
Friends, my kid is the lady with the cat sweatshirt. She LOVES this thing. If it’s clean, she asks for it, and if it isn’t, God help us all. And no, if you were wondering, I didn’t buy it — her auntie Faith, Adam’s sister, did. That it came with a purple velour track suit with sequin tuxedo stripes is almost beside the point at this stage, am I right?
It just makes me laugh, how smug I was. Because while it’s true, I could have hidden the shirt if I was that uptight, I also knew she’d love the damn thing and you know what? She does. I also will admit to secretly hoping this happens to hipster parents who ironically dress their infants in rock T-shirts and funky vintage clothing while crowing about their toddler’s amazing taste in music. (“She LOVES Mumford and Sons! She asks for them by name!”)
Yes, I secretly hope those people wake up one day with a two-year-old who begs for Lady Gaga and dances merrily around the room clad only in a T-shirt with a sequin-crowned kitty on it. Call me petty, but there it is.
ANYWAY, I don’t even know what happened to the last week, there. I went out to dinner with a friend, we spent the weekend driving around and tooling around in this glorious, glorious weather and then, BADOW! it’s Wednesday and we almost have to do it again, and while I love this life, sometimes the weeks just fly by without even realizing it, because nothing monumental was ACCOMPLISHED, you know? Oh, sure, I spent an hour and a half folding laundry tonight, but GOD HELP ME, I WILL DO IT AGAIN TOMORROW.
(Note, this is not unique to at-home people, this is just, sadly, LIFE. I mean, unless you’re a surgeon who saves lives, in which case you can be all, I REMOVED TEN BRAIN TUMORS THIS WEEK. And then I’ll clap you on the back like, WAY TO GO, DEREK SHEPHERD. I UNLOADED THE DISHWASHER THREE TIMES.)
I can’t complain, though, because it’s nice out, and we can go to the park and hang with friends, and I’ll take it, you know? I was reminded today that while it’s nice to want things for your future, if you spend too much time agonizing over them, you miss your life. Which, last time I checked, is happening right now. Silly little platitude, but it really helped.
Unfortunately, it is not enough to stop me from continuing to slog through Stephen King’s It, and hey, anyone want to talk about a book that was published almost 25 years ago? NO? After loving the shiznit out of my very FIRST Stephen King, Bag of Bones (seriously, in my top five favorite books ever. SERIOUSLY), Adam was up my ass to read It. “Have you read It? Have you read It?” So I, after finishing The Passage on vacation, and continuing with a nice, if unremarkable diversion of Neverwhere and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, finally started It.
And now, what, two weeks later? I’m 400 pages into it, which, if you can believe it, IS NOT EVEN HALFWAY and I … NOTHING HAS HAPPENED. Also, I BLAZE through books, usually, so for me to only cover 400 pages in two weeks is Not Good. And then it turns out that Adam doesn’t think he was thinking of It when he was so effusive in his recommendation and, in fact, has never even READ THE BOOK, and might have only seen the movie (miniseries?), and I AM VAGUELY MURDEROUS OVER HERE, because now I am IN THIS SHIT, but also procrastinating like a mo’ fo’, because NOTHING IS HAPPENING.
The last time I felt this way was when my book club picked Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, which I HATED, despite my love for literally every other thing the woman has ever written. I wanted to give up so many times, but NO! My devotion to book club kept me going. Naturally, I arrived at book club to find that I was the ONLY ONE TO HAVE MADE IT THROUGH, as every other person in the room gave up.
While Jesus may have turned water into wine, the real miracle is that I didn’t throw my wine at the room at large, because MY GOD. MY GOD.
Besides, the new Sookie Stackhouse is here, but NO. I AM STILL READING IT.
I hope you have a great Thursday.
(PS, if you’re wondering, yes, I added ads back. I joined Federated Media via the Clever Girls Collective and … I hope they aren’t making your eyes bleed too much.)
*Lady Gaga, natch.
May 4th, 2011
I just have to get this off of my chest while I’m thinking about it: No one can tell you how many children to have. There is no “right” answer. No, for some people one isn’t enough. Yes, for others, it is. For still more people? Seven isn’t enough.
It struck me after I miscarried how many people — even people I love and trust — had the attitude of, well, at least you have Sam! Which is true. In many ways, having a miscarriage or infertility after already conceiving a child on your own is … well, at least a little different, and I know from both sides. This time, I didn’t have to wonder what direction my life would go: would I EVER be a mom? Would I ever know what giving birth feels like? Well, yes, now I do, and I don’t have to wonder if I have to fill my life with other things to create meaning in an empty hole I wanted fill with something else.
But I still want another one, and no, I wouldn’t be okay if I couldn’t have one. Sam is enough — on a thousand levels, she is enough. She is the sun, moon and the stars; she is everything. Of course she is.
(And of course she’s better than your kid. Of all kids, really. SHE IS THE KID TO END ALL KIDS.)
(That was a joke.)
But having her doesn’t make wanting another one any less aching, you know? There’s a thousand reasons I want another baby, and giving Sam a sibling is a huge part of it, and that, actually, makes it even harder than I ever expected. So much of what I want for my child includes having someone to grow up with; someone to bear witness to her childhood in a way I didn’t really have, despite my vast number of blended-family siblings, both biological and not. (It’s complicated. Lovely, but complicated.)
In some ways, it’s harder than it was before I had Sam, in that I know precisely what I’m missing, and though I know a second child would be different than she is, I know, at least, exactly how much I will love that kid, how much I love being a mom and how much I’ll revel in their own little personality. So yes, you know, I want another baby, and no, having one baby already doesn’t necessarily make it easier on me, at least if it turns out to be hard, and I know that’s a complicated concept to write out, but that’s the best way I can put it.
It’s hard and heart-wrenching and difficult and someone who wants a THIRD baby and is struggling is suffering just as much as someone who doesn’t yet have any babies at all. This isn’t the pain olympics. Everyone suffers. Everyone wants the family they always dreamed of, and everyone deserves it, but not everyone gets it. It’s just the way it is, and it sucks, but everyone deserves to try, and everyone deserves to be upset when their dreams didn’t work out or are hard to come by.
On the flip side, my friends who DO have one child and ARE happy with it, it’s … well, it’s almost as bad to hear what they go through from other people. I don’t know why it’s considered rude to comment on another person’s parenting when it involves things like breastfeeding and discipline (and it IS rude), but it’s perfectly acceptable to tell someone who has or wants an only child that they will grow up deprived and self-centered. Oh hey, thanks for telling someone that they’re screwing up their kid because they’re SELFISH. It’s … kind of amazing, and I firmly believe it isn’t true.
We — the people building the families — get to decide what we want, what we will try for, what to be upset about. Everyone is different. There is no sliding pain scale. Nobody wins. Like I said, if you have five kids, and desperately want a sixth, but it’s not coming easily? You get to be upset, and you get to be just as upset at someone who’s never had kids. No, you don’t get to be talked into any, “Well, at LEAST you have ONE. I don’t have ANY! Therefore YOU cannot be UPSET!” bullshit.
Well, now that’s out there. Happy Friday to you.
*Britney Spears. Not the classiest title I’ve ever come up with, eh?
April 28th, 2011
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sitting here wondering how to keep myself from dancing until the world ends. Or — OR! — waving my drink in the air and getting sick on the floor! In IBIZA!
Clearly I’ve been listening to too much Kiss 108 (the Young People’s radio station here in Boston), because I just can’t stop marveling at the number of songs that imply that we all live to dance and — AND! — harass the DJ until they put our song on. Or maybe that was just Madonna in “Music.” I can’t remember.
Either way, I am shocked and a wee bit embarrassed by my reaction when Jennifer Lopez and/or Britney Spears start singing about getting wasted, rubbing up on dudes and dancing on the floor until their tatas fall off. I just … well, I go all, WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN? And also, last time I checked, Brit-Brit, you were on a family vacation to the most mundane of destinations: the Grand Canyon. Were you in an RV, hmmm? And JENNIFER! Good sweet GRIEF, your kids are THREE. And you’re 42! I’m all for dancing, but maybe curb the clubbing to a reasonable hour?
This sounded a lot less dowdy when it was just in my head. I won’t even bother to discuss my feelings on Flo Rida’s “Club Can’t Handle Me,” where he talks about “zoning out” and somehow making everyone else jellus of his dance moves, then.
Speaking of children (eh?), I talked to a nurse at my doctor’s office today, and reached Maximum Frustration Level when she tried to say that my (totally justified) reaction to something was MY HORMONES. “Oh honey. It’s probably just HORMONES.” I just … you know, there’s really no appropriate time to suggest that it’s a woman’s HORMONES that are making her react a certain way. Especially someone like me, who is basically walking around in a state of PTSD when it comes to health issues (OK ANY ISSUES) after the year I’ve had, WHICH SHE KNOWS ABOUT, HA HA, I DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT MY “STRESS HORMONES” WITH YOU, CRAZY LADY.
(Do I sound sane there? Or just hopped up on hormones?)
What killed me, however, was that just before I replied, my center of gravity shifted from Chatty Nice Patient Jonna to Enraged Jonna, and at the precise moment the shift happened, Sam’s eyes got very wide and she warned, “UH OH! UH OH!” like some kind of tsunami detector. Mama’s pissed, and she knows it.
See, nurse? My KID knows when I’m about to get serious up in here, so perhaps you want to save the hormone talk for SOMEONE ELSE. Or actually, no one. No one deserves to be invalidated in such a totally dismissive way, and GOD, WHO HIRED YOU, NURSE?
Meanwhile, have I TOLD you guys that I’m driving a Mercury Grand Marquis, because my tree-smashed car is STILL not repaired? And that it’s been … let’s see, TWENTY SEVEN DAYS?
Do you know what a Grand Marquis looks like? No?
Yessss. Oh, I’m sure it doesn’t seem so bad from that angle, but it’s a boat, and I have yet to park it straight. Oh, and it doesn’t have automatic locks, and it ONLY has a key entry on the driver’s side, which means every time I get in or out, I have to haul EVERYTHING to the driver’s side (including Sam, if we’re in a parking lot), open the door, then unlock all the doors, THEN go back to the other doors. Also: NO CUP HOLDERS. Oh, and the trunk is key-accessible only, which makes grocery shopping more of a workout than is necessary. And! AND! it has NEW JERSEY plates, which is basically the worst thing you can have in Massachusetts. This car could get me KILLED in a MAFIA TURF WAR, for chrissake. I WANT MY HONDA BACK, MY SWEET GOD.
Upside: it’s a smooth ride, and I am shamed to admit I was doing 80 on the Pike today and didn’t even notice, but like the old lady I am, I slowed it down right quick. Like buttah, you Marquis de Minx.
(PS, I was driving to see Nic, one of my longtime internet besties, for the first time. And it was great. Do you know what it’s like to finally meet someone you talk to at LEAST four times a DAY? IT IS AWESOME. Who cares if Sam pooped in her hotel room? OH GOD.)
Have a great Thursday.
*Jennifer Lopez featuring the horribly named PIT BULL. PIT BULL. First of all, the word ‘pit’ is disgusting and reminds me of ACNE BITS. And then BULL? Really? No, I don’t think about the dog, I think about an ACNE-PITTED BULL. GROSS.
April 27th, 2011