Posts Tagged ‘Grief’

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It lies under the surface

August 26, 2009

4am today Jack shook me awake. You were yelling Why?! over and over again, he said with a bewildered expression.  I have no recollection but Jack told me I’ve been having outbursts like this the past few weeks.

I thought I’ve been dealing with my second loss better. I don’t cry daily. I don’t sit and fixate on what happened. I felt relieved that somehow I’d manage to hurt less this go around. Today as I made an appointment I turned a page in my agenda and bug’s u/s picture drifted out and landed in my lap. It’s been a month since I lost bug.  Her presence in my womb while my numbers tanked shocked my doctors, but there it was, a fact I will never forget: My bug was a fighter. She wanted so badly to survive. For the time she lived, she beat the odds.

I keep telling myself not to mourn this loss. Missing bug makes me feel I’m missing a mirage. But apparently subconsciously I am missing bug like crazy. I’ve wondered for some time why I showed my mom the u/s pics when she visited me after my loss. She saw it and burst into tears and kissed the picture holding it close to her chest. I felt a weird sense of relief. Now I think I know why. I think its because I wanted someone else to care. If someone else cared, bug was real, bug mattered.

Today at my hematology appointment the doctor said how far along were you when you lost your two children, I’m sorry, I meant, your babies? I felt like someone jolted me. It took all I had to not to bite my lip from crying, not of sadness necessarily but relief. He got it. He didn’t try to negate my pain with neutral words such as “losses or incidents”. He called them my babies. No one IRL ever called them that before.

Long story short, the hematologist ordered THIRTY different labs on me. He said the current results don’t indicate there is a medical need for lovenox so wanted further testing. The results come back in two weeks. As I was leaving the med tech who drew my blood approached me. Listen, he said, I read your chart. What’s happened to you is horrible. I really hope that whatever is wrong we here will find out and fix it for you.

I’ve been so busy trying to move forward I haven’t really looked back. Yes I’m jolted by grief from time to time but I try not to look at it too deeply. I run, or put on music, or turn on the TV. I’ve learned something today: you can run from the past but it catches up to you, releasing from you like the steam from a volcano. What you hold in will either come out or destroy you from the inside. I’m grateful for being the P word again, and despite the past I remain hopeful and grateful for the opportunity to try again. Still, I will never forget who I lost, and today on this one month anniversary I’m allowing myself a moment to grieve my little fighter.

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Thoughts While Climbing K-2

August 25, 2009

Spain in July is sizzling and after eight days of blistering weather, we decided to drive up to the Sierra Nevada and its snow capped peaks. Chilly weather guaranteed. The guide book directed us to one mountain in particular promising a mere 100 yard hike to reach the summit from where the ocean and Morocco would be visible with the naked eye. Eager, we began our hike uphill. But the mountain was deceiving for it curved. The further we hiked the longer the horizon of mountain stretched before us. Jack took long strides while I stayed further behind taking baby steps, pausing to catch my breath (little did I know I was pregnant with loss #2). After an hour we looked at each other puzzled. Certainly we’d walked 100 yards. Finally I asked a hiker coming downhill, How much longer? She smiled, not much, about two hours. Our jaws dropped. We never knew it would be so far. Want to keep going? Jack asked. I nodded. I’ll keep going until we get there. We hiked another hour and finally Jack turned around The sun is setting and we still have far to go. I think we should turn around. I protested. I wanted to keep going. You look drained, we brought no water, how do you want to continue? I shook my head. I didn’t know why, but we had to see the ocean. Gently he put his hand on my shoulder we had no idea it would be this far. The guide book was wrong, we need to stop.

Today at work I clicked on a blog and was assaulted by the image of a lovely woman rubbing her belly with the words: Due date November 3. That was my due date. I pressed play on my answering machine. My insurance company congratulating me on my third trimester and wondering why I haven’t filled out sent questionnaires. I sat down, tired, and thought of my negative pg test.  The guide books lied. Sex and pre-natals and little fairy dust is not all it takes to have a baby. Lately it feels the longer I hike, the further the mountain stretches before me.  As the sun sets around me I wonder will I ever see the ocean? Will these blistered feet ever stop aching?

I’m trying not to let my infertility own me, but sometimes that bitch just tackles me to the ground. Still I trudge on because I’ve heard once you reach the summit the painful hike feels light years ago and you nod and say it was worth it. Will I get to see it for myself? Most days I think I will, but sometimes like now, I feel doubt.

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The Gift Speck Gave Me

August 20, 2009

For a long time I’ve hated my job. On paper it sounds great, I represent kids with disabilities with their legal issues. I competed for this two year fellowship and I thought it was the best thing that happened to me. Though the work I do is great my workplace is a toxic environment with little career growth opportunity. In January my boss offered me a permanent job. The economy sucks, she reminded me. Many lawyers are going on months unemployed, consider this offer seriously.

Quit your job! Jack told me. You’re miserable. Yeah the job market sucks so take some time off and pursue your dream of writing. Still, I felt too afraid. I earned a paycheck since I was 16 years old and though I wanted to see how the writing thing turned out, the risk of no check with nothing to show for it kept me stuck. Then in February I found out I was pregnant.

It’s perfect, I told Jack. Speck’s a good reason to quit and when my job ends I’ll have six weeks before delivery, just enough time to get the house ready and have some downtime. I told my boss I would not stay on. I glowed with anticipation for my future.

Then I  lost Speck. My boss, realizing why I was quitting said The offer still stands, if you want to stay on, we’d love to have you. I went home that night and lay in the dark. Tears streamed down my face as my heart splintered. It was in that darkened room that it hit me. I saw my life in sharp focus. So I quit my job. I won’t have a paycheck. We won’t be taking fancy trips. Less eating out and discretionary shopping. But so what? I lost someone I loved, someone who filled each dream I had with joy. He was gone, so what if my life superficially gets tighter? What’s the point of all this? Why stay at a job I hate? All these worries are meaningless. What matters is your health, peace of mind and those you love. There will be other jobs but there will never be another Speck.

My job ends 9/9/09 and I plan to pursue my writing. Never in a million years could I imagine taking this leap. People tell me I’m brave, but I know the truth. It’s Speck. It’s all thanks to Speck. He taught me tomorrow is never guaranteed. He taught me to make the most of what I’m given. Were it not for Speck I would never have the strength to let go of my fears.

It hurts like alcohol on a deep wound when I remember Speck should be kicking in my belly now. This job that’s ending was for me to spend sleepless nights caring for him. There are still moments, like right now, that I long for him so badly that it hurts to breathe. It might sound crazy since we never properly met one another, but I will always love him for who he was and for what he taught me.

Outside the sun is shining. It seems like heaven ain’t far away. It’s good to have you with us. Even if it’s just for the day. – The Killers

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Tired

August 11, 2009

Each morning  I feel so exhausted I doubt my ability to get out of bed, and on the weekends that ability crumbles and I find myself in bed until noon at the earliest, and even when I get up I know full well I could have slept for several hours more. During the day, I remain tired and though the amount of exhaustion ebbs and flows the common theme is a strange sort of exhaustion which affects me physically and mentally. I can’t figure it out, the hormones have surely left my body by now, why am I so tired?

I’m trying to lose weight and doing all the right things. I’m watching what I eat and working out but the scale won’t budge past 4 pounds. I’m going to continue trying. If you eat less and expend more, science tells me I must lose weight. I know have PCOS so this makes weight loss more difficult, but it shouldn’t entirely preclude weight loss.

Its been two weeks since my last miscarriage and I’ve channeled all my energy into losing weight and contemplating the steps to take for the next pregnancy. What to do when in-laws come. Lovenox versus Heparin. Timing of ovulation. I’ve been so busy trying to plan for the future perhaps hoping it will allow me to forget what happened in my recent past. But you can only run for so long and then the past, it catches up to you.

Today after days of being okay I sat watching TV and a beautiful name on television made me think I want to name my daughter that. That’s all it took. I gasped as it hit me as though anew: Yeah you’ve been pregnant twice, but what have you got to show for it? You don’t have a baby. You don’t know when you’ll have a baby. Will you ever get pregnant again? Holy shit, it hits me as though its some sort of revelation: I lost my babies. They aren’t here. They’re gone. I’m empty. I’m literally empty. I don’t know what will happen. The future is blank.

Before I met Jack I had bad luck in the guy department. When we married I remember waking up in the middle of the night sometimes in a cold sweat from a nightmare that I had dreamed it all, that I hadn’t met him, that I hadn’t married him, that I just thought I did and it was all a making of my mind. I’d wake up and see him with his head buried in the pillow and breathe a sigh of relief.

This is the opposite. My dreams are haunted by a little girl. She wears gold earrings and short black hair. She wears a blue dress with red frills. She is beautiful. I chase her around the room while she giggles and then I lift her up and kiss her. She flashes me a large toothless grin and I feel a love I cannot bear. Then I wake and its me alone in my darkened bedroom. No crib. No tiny shrieks of joy. It’s just me. No breath of relief  just a stifling of grief always waiting to carry me away.

I fight my grief, I promise you. When my friend Lucy called me today and as I told her I’m leaving my job she saidYou should just have babies and make them your life, I think that’s what you were meant to do [oh and yes she knows about my infertility, I know how to pick them it seems] I shook my head and told myself she didn’t mean it, I hung up and went on with my day. I say this to say I’m trying like fucking hell to not let my feelings own me, but sometimes like now when I’m feeling so physically tired, the emotional strain is more than I can bear. Some days like today it feels like my feet are made of bricks and heavy boulders weigh on my head.

I just want to rest. I’m so tired.

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Solving puzzles and fighting bitterness

August 3, 2009

A friend likened my struggle to solving a puzzle. First there was the puzzle pieces of actually conceiving which appear to have fallen in place (knock on wood, throw salt over shoulder, any and all superstitions go here). Then we ran into the next obstacle of actually, you know, keeping the child ticking in my womb. We might know the answer to this puzzle and be able to kiss our third baby. [Which, by the way, for others who have miscarried multiple times, does it ever get less surreal when doctors ask you “how many pregnancies have you had?” to answer them with multiples when you have nothing to show for it? It blows my mind to tell them two, surreal]

I’ve decided I can’t wait to solve the puzzle. I’m still bleeding from my miscarriage so I won’t get my period until the end of August so September we try again.  I’m nervous because my job ends in September, the month we plan to try and I don’t know what that means as far as insurance, but as long as insurance stuff can be worked out and I can keep my doctor it will be September. I’m so nervous about losing my doctor and having to start this all over again with someone else. Hopefully it will all work out.

In the meantime I’m fighting bitterness which is threatning to close around me like a hollow shell. We went out to Target and as I passed the baby section filled with prams and baby seats I felt a tangible bitterness like biting into a mango peel. I had to literally look away. I saw my mother smile at a small white frock and run her hand over the lacy material and felt my insides turn. Every baby I see sends a hollow echo through my womb. The news of baby genders from people who conceived when I did the first go around are pouring in and they are frankly suffocating me with grief. Not bitterness towards what they have, just bitterness about what I do not. My therapist raises his eyebrows when I say I shouldn’t have miscarried. He says life has its own ways of working, we can’t say what should or should not happen. Should rings of entitlement which leads to hurt and bitterness when one does not get what they think is their right. But fucking hell, I do feel I’m entitled to carry the child I conceive to full term. I think that is my right. If I miscarry I think its a fucking crime and I think it shouldn’t have happened and if I could arrest someone and prosecute to the full extent of the law I sure as fucking hell would.  Still, though my feelings are understandable I need to fight this bitterness.  Bitterness is like the vines that wrap around abandoned buildings blocking the windows from light, cracking the walls, hiding all beauty. If I stand still and allow the seeds of bitterness to take root they will take over leaving me a shell of who I am. I don’t want this and I’m determined to fight the feeling that threatens to take me hostage.  How do you fight bitterness? How do you keep yourself filled with hope and joy despite the seeds of bitterness that fall every day against your doorstep?

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Reflections of grief and hope for peace

August 1, 2009

I can’t sleep. This is nothing new and its getting old- fast.  My friend’s announcement (from the post below) that she’s having a boy makes me miss Speck like crazy. Like her, I too would know now the gender of my baby. I’d be coming up with baby names and trying on maternity clothes. It should be my baby’s kicks keeping me up at night, not the hollow ache of grief. Sometimes I’m so proud to have shaken the shackles of my grief, to have moved forward towards a hope filled world but just as I feel myself escaping grief’s clutches she finds me, pulling me back into her lair. Is it possible to be hopeful yet at moments filled with the sharp stabs of grief?

My HCG is 60 today. I re-test in two weeks. I’ve lost three pounds. I’ve struggled for years to drop these nagging ten pounds that will put me into my target BMI, but now post loss, I need something over which I have control, and this eating business, at least its something I can do something about. My OB-GYN theorizes once I reach my ideal BMI my PCOS will self-resolve. I’m doubtful of this theory since I know PCOSers of all shapes and sizes but at least I can get her to stop saying that.

Lillyshephard reflects on her losses on her blog and refers to her season of grief. That term says it all. I’m still in my season of grief. August is here, pushing July, my month of joy and instant loss into a firm calenderical past. I normally cringe at a new month with nothing to show for it, but this time I’m thankful for August. Perhaps it will lead me closer to my season of peace.

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Fears of insomnia, etc. **Updated**

July 30, 2009

All my life I’ve been blessed with the ability to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.  Lately I toss and turn each night and then relocate to the couch watching reruns and researching miscarriages, PCOS, lupus anticoagulant, anything and everything I can find. I havent slept before 3am in over a week and its catching up to me. It’s approaching midnight now and I know it will be another sleepless night. I hate the dark thoughts that whisper to me in bed, and I fear the uncertainty of not knowing what the morning will bring.

Today was a tough day physically. I’ve been having sharp contractions. I’m taking Lortab a painkiller and its having wonky side effects. I took it last miscarriage and felt fine, but this time I’m feeling nauseous, dizzy, tired and very drugged. I couldn’t drive to work, so I thought at least I’d clean up since my parents are coming into town tomorrow, but I couldn’t do anything except curl up in bed. I am afraid to take Lortab again, its a debate at the moment between the painful contractions as tissue is expelled through my body, or the feeling of being heavily drugged. I have an appointment with my OBGYN tomorrow afternoon. We spoke yesterday when she called in my pain killer prescription she said I’m afraid I won’t be able to tell you for sure what caused your miscarriage but next time you’ll get Lovenox from the get go. We’re still waiting for lab results for a comprehensive test the Maternal Fetal Specialist ran on my blood to determine what other disorders I have. I want to know if there’s testing that’s available to know if I have low progesterone levels, and what can I do if I do have low levels considering most experts say you must start supplements as soon as you ovulate and me with my PCOS never know when/if ovulation occured.

Emotionally I’m doing better. I’m trying to battle my dark thoughts. I’m telling myself that 30 is not too late, I still have time and shouldn’t lose hope (right??).  My parents are coming tomorrow. I’m afraid of crying too much around them. I just feel like I’ve disappointed them and seeing them reminds me of this. I know that’s not the case but just thinking about it makes my eyes well with tears. I wish I could kick this unhealthy guilt.

Finally, I’ve been humbled to read Michele‘s blog. She’s been commenting on my blog as I wade through my darkest days and only today did I realize how much more she herself is going through right now.  Every day I’m amazed at how strong you all are. You comfort me and give me support in the midst of your own fears and unique heartaches. I don’t think I can say it enough, thanks.

**Updated to Add**: Holy shit. I woke up this morning around 6:15 to take a shower and see my therapist at 7am before going to work. I woke up feeling a weird coat of sweat on me and kind of shivering, then suddenly I had an overwhelming desire to vomit but I couldn’t, but I wanted to, its the most terrible place to be. So I think to myself that a shower will help so I turn the shower on, and the next thing I know I’m lying on the floor and Jack is on the phone with 911 screaming wake up wake up honey wake up. Apparently I passed out in the bathroom but fell backwards hitting my head against the bathroom doors and landed with a thump on the floor. I don’t know how long I was out for but apparently long enough for Jack to rush over and see if I was okay and call 911. I still remember hearing his voice as I was coming to, not knowing where I was, what was happening.  I looked up the side effects of Lortab and one of the serious ones is nausea, dizziness, clamminess, and fainting. Clearly I won’t be taking any more of these painkillers but I wanted to post this for anyone considering taking Lortab, monitor yourself closely or ask for a different pill.