Sunday, January 3, 2016

Two years later.

Today marks two years. She would be about 17 months. It was's not any less painful.
I suppose perhaps it's like managing chronic pain (though I have never done that)... The pain doesn't go away, and it doesn't get any "better," but you get used to it. It just becomes part of living. But January 3rds (and to a lesser extent, August 13ths) are going to be hellish for awhile. Maybe forever.
I still love her as much. I still miss her and wring my hands wondering if I could have done something (I know I couldn't've). I was afraid I wouldn't love her as much/the same once I had a living take home baby, and I was sort of pleased and relieved to find my feelings about her didn't change at all.
Daphne now has a 10 month old "little brother." He had a brain injury at birth (HIE, oxygen deprivation; something akin to a stroke) and spent two horrifying weeks in the NICU, but as of now he is meeting all milestones and is indistinguishable from his "typical," brain injury free peers. But it's a years long game of wait-and-see. He could end up with any number of delays, disorders, behavioural problems, academic difficulties, etc., of varying severity... Or none at all.
I made Brother a "first christmas" ornament this year, with his picture, name, and the year on it. I made one for her too-- no picture, just her name and the year 2013. (We found out she was gone Jan 3, 2014; so 99% of the time she was with us was in 2013, and that's what felt right).
So both of my babies have special ornaments.
I hate January 3rd. I hate January 4th. I really pretty much hate most of January, actually. January through mid-March 2014 was the most miserable, mentally unstable, horrific time in my life, and I think I need to live a few more first-10ish-weeks-of-the-year periods before they stop stinking of horror and emotional devastation. They haven't yet.
Maybe this should just be a motherhood-related-greif-and-PTSD blog, at this point; because my son's birthday and NICU stay falls during that time period and I fully expect to spend sixteen days feeling sad and weird. I'm not sure I even want to throw his birthday party until after his coming-home-iversary.
I feel like life really wanted me to get a good taste of parenthood right off the bat.  I have two children. One didn't make it out of her first trimester; the second tried to die at birth and has left me with extra EXTRA reason to worry. So they make you happy and fill you with love, but they can (and will) break your heart and destroy the fabric of your very soul with worry and misery on their behalf.
I thought this was going to be a better blog entry. Turns out it's just rambly word vomit. WHOOPS. Good thing I'm shouting into a void, here...

Friday, September 5, 2014

These Are My Hands, pt. 2: Shit You Don't Need To Say To Pregnant Women (ever)

This is a continuation of my ranty blog post on the way pregnant women and their bodies are treated like public property, and how shitty that is (super, super shitty, FYI.) Here's a handy link, if you would like to go back and start from there.

Part of the point I was making was that people feel free to ask whatever they please, entitled to answers regardless of whether it's personal and invasive. Ditto shitty comments. Apparently you are not allowed any privacy while gestating. Keeping your personal shit to yourself is a privilege granted only to men and the unpregnant.

Ladies and gentlemen...We know you're excited for us, but please think before you speak. Here's a handy guide on Shit You Don't Need To Say To Pregnant Women.

"Finally!" "It's about time!" "We were starting to think you were infertile! Hur hur!"
*sigh* Listen, you have no idea what this person has been through. Maybe they didn't want children at all, and this was a surprise they decided to run with. Maybe they wanted to wait, or wanted a large age gap between kids. Maybe they have been trying for 10 years and only just now had success. Maybe they have had 4 pregnancies and 4 losses in as many (or fewer) years, and this is the first one that got far enough to allow them to feel comfortable announcing. Maybe this was their 3rd (and first successful) round of IVF. You just have got NO idea what they might be going through. Who cares when your co-worker has kids, anyway? This one has the potential to be very, very hurtful.

"He's measuring how big? Oh, he's going to be huge. My aunt's baby measured 8lb in utero but he really weighed 27lb and her whole butt ripped open."
No one needs to hear this. NO ONE. EVER. NEEDS. TO HEAR THIS. Keep your scary stories to yourself!  I shouldn't even have to say any anything else-- there's no good reason to share shit like this with any pregnant woman, ever, at all. We don't tell new drivers horror stories of people decapitated in messy car accidents, so why is this any different? We are already scared enough as it is, and well aware of every possible risk and every possible thing that could go wrong. Just keep it to yourself!

"Detail all your birth related choices for me."

Nope. Not your business. That's between me, my healthcare provider and my partner. Get out of my vagina and go find something better to do. :D

"Ohhh, you have one gender and you're going to have the opposite this time? PERFECT! You can be done now!"
What? No, I'm honestly asking-- what?! I/we will be done when I'm/we're done, eff you very much.

"Awwww, I bet [the father] is soooo excited to be getting a little boy!!!!"
Yes, he has a penis, so he wants a child with a penis, too! How insightful of you to notice that all men always want the very same thing! No REAL MAN wants a delicate frilly girl daughter with a delicate female daughter vagina! All girls want to do is have tea parties and cry about things because of their tiny lady hormones, anyway. They don't want to fish and wrassle and do cool shit like boys do! (Reverse all that for assumptions that the mother wanted a widdle pwinnnncesss.)

"I can't wait to meet my baybeee!!!"
Oh, I didn't know you were pregnant too! Congrats!   . . . Seriously, folks, unless you helped make it (literally), you're carrying it, or you're going to adopt it, this is not IN ANY WAY  your baby.  Think of it in Little Red Hen terms: Who found the grain, planted the grain, watered and tended the grain, harvested the grain, took it to the mill, and made bread out of the flour? The Hen. Guess whose bread that was? The Hen's, and no one else's. Unless you are my husband, my baby is NOT yours. 

"Better sleep now! HUR HUR HUR!!!"
Wait....what? Are you implying my ten solid hours of sleep a night will be coming to an end? Seriously?! Wait-- no one told me about this!! This is painfully stupid. Painfully, painfully stupid.     1) We know. I don't even understand how this is supposed to be funny.
 2) Sleep doesn't even work that way. You can't bank it and save it for later, you fucking idiot. 3) Many women have a very hard time sleeping in the later weeks of pregnancy because they are just super, super uncomfortable. They're already tired, so don't be an asshole and rub it in.

"OMG, you're HUGE!!!!" or "Are ya sure there's only one in there?! a-hyuck!"
How clever you are to notice. How about I go ahead and staple your dumbass lips shut, and then you can go fuck yourself forever. Yay!

"So, are you dilated yet?"
I don't know, you wanna check for me?  C'mon, it'll be fun! You do me, then I'll do you! The first person to ask me this is getting asked the most invasive, personal question I can come up with. Maybe something about how many orgasms they've had that week, or whether they're into anal, or something. I don't know. Again: the only people who need this information are myself, my healthcare provider and maybe my partner. Get out of my crotch, FFS. (Good god, why would anyone even ask this? Why?!)

"Haven't you had that baby yet?!"
Congratulations! You're the smartest and the funniest. No, I haven't. Isn't that hilarious. You know, I'm just holding it in so you'll keep making these very, very funny and not at all stupid comments. That's the only reason. I know nobody on Earth is as tired of me being pregnant, or as ready for this baby to come out, as you are, mail carrier/gas station attendant/distant relative. Thanks for caring. Bonus douche points if you say this three weeks before I'm even due.

And finally, this is a thing not to do, rather than a thing not to say, but: Do not lay your grubby mitts on a pregnant woman's body without permission.
How would you feel if random ass people--sometimes compete strangers-- wanted to come up and grab on you? I don't care how cute the belly is, or how close you think you are to the mother-to-be: Don't EVER touch a pregnant woman without permisson. At least ask first, you presumptuous dickheads. (Is it not a little fucked up that I even have to say this?) You shouldn't be grabbing ANYONE without permission, ever, at any time, unless you're saving their life or something. A baby belly doesn't change that. My body is not public property.

This is my belly, 
It belongs to me
And if you touch it [uninvited],
I'm going to fucking eviscerate you.

Google it.

Okay, not really, but touch my belly uninvited and I'm grabbing your balls/breasts. You've been warned, motherfuckers. :D

We know you all mean well, but please: Think before you speak, people. Chances are, it's none of your business, it's groundless gender based bullshit, or it's the same thing 4,000 other people have already said (or all of the above). ("Well, they're just exciiiitedddd!!!" is not an excuse or defense for any of this garbage-- not now, not ever.)

The best thing you can say to us? Congratulations. You're going to do a great job. It's hard, but it's so worth it. Are you getting excited? You're going to be an awesome mom, I know it. Can't wait to hear the good news. YAY.

Edited to add: Think about who you're talking to. It makes more sense that you might discuss feeding (for example) with your sister, or a close cousin, than a random woman you've never met and and will never see again, stuck next to you in a waiting room. It's just common sense stuff. Some things you can ask of/say to some people, and some stuff you should just never, ever say to anyone at all.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

These Are My Hands

It's pretty widely known amongst those of my acquaintance that I am a (sometimes passionate) feminist. Now that I am pregnant myself, I've been thinking about (re: dreading) the many, many questions asked of pregnant women. They range in how personal they are from "when are you due" to "are you dilated yet." Literally anyone will ask this shit, from mothers to grocery store clerks.

Nobody thinks anything of it, and many people ask questions like these in innocent, idle attempts to make conversation. Some are totally harmless, of course (how far along are you, do you know the gender, are you getting excited, etc.), but if you stop to consider it, a lot of the questions asked and comments made are really very personal, and for an expectant mother they may feel invasive.

When I was pregnant the first time, someone asked me at seven fucking weeks whether or not I was planning on having an epidural. That person didn't mean to be intrusive, but I was completely fucking dumbfounded.  If you are not my midwife or my partner/my child's other parent, there is no reason for you to have this information. This is none of your fucking business. I really can't imagine why anyone would even ask.

The minute a woman announces a pregnancy, her body, her child, and everything about her pregnancy is considered public property, and information about any of them is the right of anyone and everyone who wants to know. This shit is so deeply ingrained socially that we don't even think about it. It's just what you say to pregnant women, right? Apparently privacy is only the right of the nonpregnant. Mostly dudes.

This is so, so wrong! Pregnant or otherwise, I am not public property! My body is not public property. My pregnancy is not public property. My birth is not public property. My child is not public property.  The only people who need intimate information about my body, my birth plans, & etc. etc. are myself, my midwives and my husband.

I am reminded of a stupid poem I learned while working in childcare, intended to help kids learn to keep their hands to themselves [recited while patting one's own chest]:

These are my hands
They belong to me
And I'm going to keep them

Just. on. me.

My body, my pregnancy, my birth, and my baby belong to me, so please: keep your stupid body comments and your intrusive questions "just on you," okay? Next time you feel moved to ask personal questions, please check yourself. Stop and think: Do I really need to know this? What will I gain by hearing the answer?  Is this really any of my damned business?  Because the answers to these questions are probably no, nothing, and hell no.

Pregnant women everywhere will thank you. :)

A somewhat more light hearted part two can be found here.


Friday, August 29, 2014

The Noob: First trimester screening

Just a quick post to say we had our Nuchal Translucency scan yesterday and all is well. Baby was bumping and twitching and moving all around in there, and we got to see him/her open and close his/her mouth.

It took a lot of effort on everyone's part to get him/her into the right angle so the tech could get the necessary measurements. She did finally get them, but unfortunately we didn't get any good pics (hence no upload here), and most of what we saw on the screen was a blur of various baby parts wooshing across the screen as she dug and poked and dug and dug, trying to get the right shot.  No idea what it is yet.

I have traveled through time to post from the future, so I can tell you that the results are....completely normal. No markers for any issues. Excellent news!

As happy as that is, I can't help but remember that I "should" have a three and a half week old (or so) right now. Am I still sad? Yeah, I'm still sad. Happy and sad.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"People view the death of a baby as just a sad thing that happened. These babies that die are not sad  things that happen. They are people, much loved and wanted children. They are brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandsons and granddaughters."  --Carly Marie Dudley, of Project Heal.

Today is a "Day of Hope," apparently, a day to remember and heal. People make prayer flags and hang them, and sometimes send in photos of them. I'm not participating, because I didn't know about it until today, but I saw this quote posted elsewhere and loved it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Due Date

Today is my first baby's due date. I made it through the day okay, just welled up a few times. it is hard, and it sucks, even knowing I have a rainbow on the way.

We weren't sure what to do. I knew I had to do something, but finances are an issue, so planting a tree, getting a tattoo, etc. was out of the question. We decided we'd just release balloons here at our house.  My husband stopped on his way home from work and bought two balloons ( I requested the pink one), and we wrote messages on them. 

On mine, I wrote her name and the date of the miscarriage, and underneath that I wrote, "Mommy loves you." On the other side, I wrote "we miss you," and I covered a lot of the free space with hearts and Xs & Os. My husband took the blue one and wrote, "We miss you, XOXO" on the top. "It's on the top, so she can see it," he said (i.e., if she were looking "down" from heaven, she would see the words on the top.) We are not religious, but that was so sweet, I thought.

We took them outside to the area of our yard we thought would give them their best chance at not getting hung up in our many trees.  We held hands and thought about our baby for a few minutes, then we filled our balloons with love (that sounds so stupid, but I promise it made sense at the time-- just focused hard on thoughts of love for our lost baby, while focusing energy on the balloons). I hugged and kissed mine a few times, and that was that. (The hugs and kisses are for the baby, you see, to catch them off the balloon.)

We let them go and watched them for awhile.

(It's hard to see, but you can just see a dark speck toward the top of the red box (the blue one) and a light speck toward the bottom (the pink one). I cried, and we talked about how maybe my late father-in-law was pointing out the balloons to our Daphne. We watched them until we couldn't see them anymore. And that was it. It felt good. I feel like it was the right thing to do.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Are you still sad?

The other day I talked to someone dear to me who knows about the new baby.  (We have told a few people about this new pregnancy, but have not yet made any formal, public announcements.) She asked me that question: "Are you still sad about the other baby?"
Now, normally, this would infuriate me, but I know she doesn't know any better. She has no idea what she's saying. "Are you still sad about the other baby?"

Let me just clear this up for the universe at large, right now.

YES. I will never, ever not be sad about it. Not ever.

That first pregnancy seems to have been nothing but a blip to most people (even to our own families, I think, especially now that I've been colonized by a new womb tenant). The first pregnancy everyone will forget (has probably already forgotten) was not just a first pregnancy; it was our first baby, and her death was a life changing, soul destroying, foundation shaking, heart rending experience. It has had a permanent impact on our lives, and it has forever changed who I am.

To [general] you, our first pregnancy may have been a blip, forgotten, a sad memory, a nothing; to me, she was my first child, who I already loved. My first child, who I was already taking care of. A million Christmases, birthdays, Thanksgivings, Halloweens, first days of school, had already flashed through our minds.  First car, Prom, teenage rebellion, first boy/girlfriend, first bike, books to read with her, sending her out to pick up sticks in the yard before Daddy mowed-- all this and more (so very, very much more) had already been through our minds more than once.

That was my baby, my child, not something that can be replaced like a burnt out light bulb. How ridiculous would it be if I asked my friend, "Are you still sad that your grandpa died?"

Yes, I am still sad. I will always be sad. I am overjoyed about the new pregnancy, but it does not in any way replace the one I lost. Not now, not ever.