Monday, October 16, 2017

Guess who cried at the pumpkin patch?


We did the hayrack ride, and sitting directly across from me was a baby about the same age my July 2017 baby would be. She had a ton of dark hair and was wearing a gold headband I pinned while pregnant. That was bad enough-- then I realized the arrival of my period the previous day means I'm definitely going to be unpregnant when I attend that baby shower next weekend. I managed not to sob or openly weep but I was definitely crying on the goddamn hayrack and it was probably obvious. 

Say what you want about me, guys, but there is one stone cold fact no one can deny: I know how to fuckin' party.

I'm just in complete and total hell. It's not going anywhere and it's not getting any easier. In our temple service we say a little thing for those sick, suffering, or otherwise "in need of healing."  I nearly cried about four times, 'cause hi, that's me. Fix it, fix it, help me, I silently beg the universe, and no one is listening. No one cares.

I miss every one of them every second of every day. I feel like an arm fell off, and not only am I now trying to learn how to function while missing an essential limb, I am also trying to deal with loss of blood and a huge, untreated wound-hole in the side of my body. And I'm supposed to keep on chugging along as normal through all of this. 

I look back at myself this time last year, feeling sad and jelly while all my TTC friends got pregnant pregnate praighneit!!! and I'm so sad. With a few notable exceptions, all of those people are holding babies now, bitching about how faaaaaat they feel. I want to hug past me and warn her of the storm ahead. 

I'm just fucking sad and so powerless. I don't know how to survive this.  I'm going to, because I have no choice. But I really don't see how. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

You can run, but you can't hide

Oh my god, yes. Or a pregnant belly. And you're happy for them in that detatched, "good for you, random stranger," sort of way, but man, it really is a knife in the heart every time. I saw two little ones today just about the age our July 2017 baby shoulda coulda woulda been now, and a belly on a woman who must have a due date near my December one. I mean, yay for them, wooooo, but it's just jalapeno juice in the wound, because mine should be here, too. That should be me, and it's not, x4.

And you can never escape it. Ever. Leave the house? Slapped in the face with bellies and newborns. Unwind with TV or a movie? Surprise pregnancies as far as the eye can see. Scroll through social media? Pregnancy announcements, updates, complaints, ultrasounds, weekly goddamn belly pictures. Go to work? Karen from three cubes down won't shut the front door about her daughter's pregnancy. Pick up a magazine? CELEBRITY BUMP WATCH!!! 

((Side note, EVERY time I have miscarried, a celebrity announces an O!M!G! pregnancy within weeks, often days. Kelly Clarkson, Beyonce, Serena Williams, and Mindy Kaling/Kylie Jenner. In that order. Every goddamn time.))

Hell, I tried to read a book to distract myself when I lost my December baby, and there was-- no shit-- an accidental surprise "we literally had sex one time" pregnancy DUE IN THE EXACT SAME WEEK OF DECEMBER! I would've thrown the book if I hadn't been reading it on my phone. Instead my brain shut down and I stared at the ceiling for like 10 solid minutes. 

This is a thing so very many of us loss moms (and, I would imagine, infertility moms) have in common. It's hard for TONS of us. This is a frequent topic of conversation in our internet support groups. Pregnancy announcements, complaining about symptoms we'd just about die to get back, high-larious jokes about accidental pregnancies or how easy it is to just shoot out kids like a water slide, well-meaning but invasive comments about when we're having kids [or the next kid]... The list goes on and on. And I will tell you, every time someone posts about it and says, "is it just me?" she also expresses her guilt over these feelings. This is why I don't think I've ever heard a single person say, publicly, in mixed company, that these topics are difficult. We're afraid that those who've never had a loss will not understand, will assume we are just selfish and bitter, will judge. And nobody needs that, least of all in the midst of a shitstorm of grief. 

So we just shut up and smile through dumb comments or stupid Karen's 4,500 newborn pics (THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME, KAREN) then go cry in a bathroom because there literally is no escape unless you go dig a hole in the woods and live there. Ever.

Unrelated, if anyone has a backhoe or excavator they're willing to loan out for digging holes in the woods, let me know.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

I don't think anyone ever even sees this, but in the interest of continuity, we have had three further losses. Loss, baby, loss, loss, loss.

I'm sure this will come as a shock but this sucks! It sucks 10,000,000 times more than just having had one, or two. Each one is worse and makes me feel more and more isolated I'm on a barren planet, so sparsely populated I may as well be alone. One or two more and I'm afraid I may just float away like Major Tom. Party!

Daphne, due August 13, 2014, lost January 3, 2014.
Living child, March 2015.
Aurora, due July 31, 2017, lost December 9, 2016.
Natalie, due December 10, 2017, lost April 19, 2017.
Samson, due March 18, 2018, lost August 14, 2017.

So, pretty much fuck this shit. Happy pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. *throws confetti*

Carry on.

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.