Elegy for Amy

Forgotten but Remembered August 31, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 1:58 pm

I had something I really wanted to post in the shower this morning, but of course now I’ve forgotten it. That’s one of the reasons I want to keep up this blog, to remember all of it. You forget how it really felt, and how it really was, as you move further away.

I’ve been thinking of Amy a lot lately, as we embark on our attempt to have a second child. It’s inevitable, I guess, to think of the first while trying for the second. I think of the things about my pregnancy with her that were wonderful and special, and how I’m sure there will be equally special moments this second time around, but they’ll be different. Because this child will be different. I’ve only ever carried the one baby, of course, but it seems like every baby has its own pattern of movement. Its own rhythm. I loved Amy’s, and I miss it. I’m sure I’ll love hypothetical future second baby’s too, but I’ll still miss Amy’s. Always. Sometimes I imagine I can still feel it.

Someone sent me an article. This one. I love that this might be true. This feels like a kind of literal, scientific version of “living forever in our hearts.” I love the thought that Amy is with me, always, helping me survive on a cellular level. Helping her hypothetical future siblings thrive.

And as we get farther away from the day, the shock and suddenness of her loss, the sadness has lost its edge. I can talk about her, and about losing her, without crying. I remember her with both sadness and fondness.

But still, I find myself saying, I can’t even believe this actually happened. It’s the most unbelievable thing.

This post is a little bit all over the place, but I just remembered what I thought of in the shower this morning. It started because I was counting how many days until I can take a pregnancy test, and then chastizing myself for being so impatient when we haven’t been trying that long, and then remembering that actually we started trying last year, on September 24th, 2011, when we went in to my OB/GYN to have my IUD yanked, so while I did go on to get pregnant right away, we’ve been trying for kind of a long time to bring a baby into our house. And through this convoluted stream of thoughts, I suddenly remembered the phone call, when I made the appointment for the IUD removal.

Having only seen my OB/GYN for GYN things and having been avidly avoiding pregnancy until that moment, I was nervous, and I asked the scheduler if my doctor also supervised pregnancies rather than non-pregnancy-related concerns. And the woman replied in what I thought was kind of a shocking manner, “Yep! We do it all, cradle to grave!”

And I remember getting off the phone and relaying this phrasing to several friends and my husband, “she said cradle TO GRAVE, why would she say that??? Grave? Really?”

Remembering that phone call now, nearly one year later, it almost feels like it was a sign, and I wonder if this was all meant to be. If in some twisted way of how the universe works, I had to have and lose Amy to appreciate whatever will come in the future. I already know that it has inexplicably made me a calmer, more laidback, happier person. Maybe this had to happen. I am not sure that I really believe in a force that needs to help me grow and teach life lessons through infant death, but I just. Wonder.


Calm? August 24, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 3:41 am

It surprises me daily how it’s been, trying to get pregnant again. The first time was nerve-wracking. The second time has only been for like, 12 hours. And since then, it’s been … nice? Is that possible?

This time around, everything just feels more zen. I am happy and excited for the possibility. We’re enjoying the trying, and the time in between. We want to get that magic positive test at the end of the rainbow of course, but either way, this is good right now, in this moment.

This feeling, this calm, happy feeling, sneaks up on me, and I wonder, how is it possible to be so comfortable with this? Our baby died. And I feel like the answer is exactly that – our baby died, last time. What the hell else could possibly happen that will be worse? Last time, I went into pregnancy terrified of everything and with so many unknowns. This time, we are terrified about one, specific thing. The unknowns from last time are now more or less known. And our baby could die, again, but that already happened, and we survived. So what else is there, really, to worry about?

Oh, there will be a time to worry, I’m sure. A time to live in stark terror of moving too much, of ultrasounds, of surgical procedures. But those times aren’t now. This time is happy, and exciting, and fun, and I guess I’m finally living in the moment.


Saddest Not Sad Post Ever August 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 2:25 am

I feel like I wrote this post about being in a better place, and then I wrote a bunch of sad posts consecutively, which is weird really because these days the sad moments are shorter and farther between. Those sad posts are more contemplative than sad; sad is when I’m in my car and the wrong song comes on and I think I might just have to pull over to cry, but then I don’t, and it passes. That’s how the sad is, these days, which is a pretty big improvement.

There are so many new things that are happy, too. Amy’s brief time with us gave us incredible sadness, but also joy. I’m different now, mostly in a way that I like. I don’t worry nearly as much about what’s appropriate. I have feelings and I feel them. I want to do things, so I do them. I don’t want to do something? I don’t do it. Not like, big, life avoiding things, but the little everyday things. We all do it. It’s summer, I want to skip out early and go to the pool, but that would be irresponsible. Now, I just go. Work will be there later. I’m not irresponsible. Anyone who thinks otherwise is welcome to their opinion, but I know who and what I am either way.

And I’m so much less afraid of things. I thought I would be more, but it’s the other way around. Amy really brought home the idea that life is short, that anything can happen at any time, that something bad is just as likely to happen when you are quietly sleeping in your house as when you are doing something that might be considered scary. And it’s more than that, I think. Something really, truly awful happened to me, and I am okay. So it’s easier to believe that if something else bad happens, I’ll still be okay.

Amy has changed who I am, forever, and mostly I think that’s a good thing. I stumble a bit when asked, if I had it to do over again, would I? Because I don’t know. Would I embark on a pregnancy knowing that the baby would die? Probably not. Can I imagine not having this experience, with this tiny person, this daughter of mine? Not even a bit. It brings up a question I asked Dan once, an extremely morbid question with no answer, really – which do you think is easier to deal with, to try desperately and never have a baby, to have a stillborn baby, or to have a baby who fights for her life for some short period of time in the NICU before passing away? Is there an answer to this question? Or even a reason to ask it? It’s all awful, and we don’t have a time machine, anyway, and life is how it is.

And mostly, I’m grateful for it. I just wish that the cost for all the blessings we’ve received wasn’t Amy.


Really Real August 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 12:15 am

While I was writing my last post, I typed something different and I changed it. What I posted was “because wasn’t the whole point to have a baby to raise for the next 50 years?” but what I typed originally was “because the whole point to get a real live baby?”

This is something I struggle with, and I think a lot of parents in our shoes struggle with, and it’s partly because the English language doesn’t have the right words and it’s partly because that’s kind of how it feels, sometimes.

I want – need, really – people to know and understand that Amy was real. Is real. That she was really our daughter, that I really had a baby, that she existed and we held her and loved her more than you would ever imagine you could love such a tiny person, who never even got to take a breath. All of that is true, but at the same time, this is also true – for lack of a better word, it feels like we didn’t get to have a real baby.

And semantics aside, I think most people know what I mean. You don’t plan to have a dead baby. When you say you want to “have a baby,” the focus is really not on the baby at all, but on the addition to your family and the experiences you’ll have together, and the experiences he or she will have separately. Sometimes our outcome feels like a scene in one of those movies with the stubborn genie, like oh, well, you only said you wanted to have a baby, you didn’t specify that she should be *alive.*

But I don’t want to say I want a real baby, like Amy wasn’t real. Sometimes she seems like something I dreamed up, but she is one of the realest things to ever happen to me. To us. It’s hard to communicate the duality of it, and it’s hard not to feel like it’s a little betrayal when I think of her as not being a “real baby.” I guess what I mean is that she wasn’t a baby the way a baby is supposed to be. I guess what I mean is I feel like a childless mother, day to day, because day to day, I am.


A Problem with Your Bill August 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 7:53 pm

Well, this is embarrassing. I got a collection notice from the hospital records copier today. In fact, I have an entire stack of bills and past due notices pertaining to my pregnancy and Amy’s delivery. I’m no stranger to the collection notice, but it’s been nearly a decade since I got one. Because unlike then, I have the means to easily pay them. But just like then, I have chosen to stick my head in the sand and ignore these bills rather than paying them. Which I could. Easily.

It just seems like an unnecessary cruelty, to have to go out my way to pay these bills for a pregnancy that ended so terribly. I got a bill, one week after she died, for her AFP test at 18 weeks, because the practice sends the labs out to an independent lab and there’s some weird thing with that and the insurance so we have to pay out of pocket. It’s only $80, but when I got the bill, she was gone.

The bill from the records place – after the birth, they tested my placenta for infection but the results got lost and my doctor didn’t have them when I went in for my follow-up. And I called, twice, to get them, but didn’t. So I called for my records to get them, and nowhere was it mentioned that they would charge a per page fee to send them to me. It’s only $20, but I shouldn’t have even had to have my records mailed to see these results.

And then there is the hospital bill. In total, my 5 day hospitalization and delivery cost $20,000. But we have, thankfully, comprehensive insurance. They’ve paid it all – I owe only my $200 copay.

So, here I sit, with my stack of bills, and my collections notice. I’m going to pay them. It’s not worth ruining my credit score, and clearly it’s a small amount of money considering the care I received. But even that seems unfair, somehow. Like paying for something I didn’t receive, because wasn’t the whole point to have a baby to raise for the next 50 years? I want a T-shirt that says BCBSGA spent $20,000 and all I got was a dead baby. Living babies are cheaper, ironically. Though probably not living babies born at 23 weeks 5 days gestation. Ugh.


Baby Plague August 12, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 6:43 pm

What’s up with the oversharing of baby photos? You don’t really notice it until you have a reason to be actively uncomfortable seeing them at times, but people share photos of babies and kids under 10 WAY more than any cat lady I know has ever shared their cat photos.

I love my cats, and I am totally That Girl with the cat photos on the phone and the cat as phone wallpaper, and desktop wallpaper, and knitting sweaters for my cats. It’s over the top, and I know it, but upon meeting a fellow cat lover, we definitely pull out our respective phones and share our cat photos.

I have never, however, just whipped out my phone without being asked or prompted to show someone who doesn’t even like cats, or maybe has just had to put down their cat, photos of my cat. Or, my favorite, photos of SOMEONE ELSE’S CAT.

Why, oh, why, do I need or want to see photos of babies belonging to people I don’t even know? This only feeds my feelings that everyone in the entire world, total stranger or otherwise, seems capable of doing that which I could not. And these aren’t strangers showing me the photos – it’s everyone I know, all of whom know that I very recently had a baby, and that baby died. But oh hey don’t I want to see a picture of your neighbor’s 1 year old niece? She’s so adorable! Well, frankly? No, I really, really don’t. And I’m not sure why you’d think I’d want to, except that apparently this is just an accepted practice in our society. I just never noticed it before, when upon being shown a photo of a child I have no connection to, my internal monologue was one of complete ambivalence and occasional “oh, cute,” rather than “I hope one day I’ll get to have a little girl just like that, I wonder what Amy would have looked like at that age, why did she have to die, life, unfair, woe.”

Baby photos are not cute, they are objects of jealousy. Not I want to kidnap someone else’s baby – I want mine, thanks – but I am jealous that yet another person got to have what I did not. A live baby. A normal pregnancy and birth. The feeling, how wonderful it must be, of getting leave the hospital with your baby.

For people I know, and care about, this is different. I am jealous still, but I also care about you and I care about said baby by extension, and that tempers the jealous. So it’s not like I don’t want to see pictures of my actual friends’ babies – I’m not unreasonable and I do want to know your children! But your distant relative’s baby? Your friend’s baby? Your hairstylist’s baby? Random, generic baby on the internet oh how cute? No. And what I don’t understand is – how in the world is this not totally obvious??


BFN August 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 7:00 pm

In case you’re still on the edge of your seat with wonder, this month was NOT the month. I have a lot of emotions about that, but all of them seem to indicate that I am as ready to try again as I’ll ever be, so that’s something, at least.

I’m trying so hard to have a good outlook on all of this, and I go back and forth daily between a nearly zen “whatever happens, happens” feeling and being sad/angry/frustrated that it didn’t just happen straight away, that there’s a new schedule, that I have to try again at all. My first reaction was actually just relief, because the last few days of having to test obsessively (because of the shots) and having occasionally weird symptoms but mostly no symptoms was a totally mindfuck (is there a polite, non-cussing way to say this?) and it was kind of nice to just know, hey, I am definitely NOT pregnant, take some Advil and grab a beer.

This month would have been a great month to get pregnant. It would have been a month earlier than we’d planned on, which would have made it much easier to get to my very good friend’s wedding next summer. It would also have meant my cerclage surgery would be scheduled for mid-October, which would be much more convenient than having it right around Thanksgiving when my family is coming into town and would hopefully have meant that by that time I’d be able to live more or less normally around the holidays. And of course, it would have meant I’d have a baby by, at the latest, the day Amy died next year, which sounded great for my potential anxiety because by the time it was the same time of year we lost her, it’d be time to have a baby. Mostly? I wanted the psychic to be right, crazy as that is even to me.

Next month is has its own benefits, though. We weren’t planning on trying until this next month anyway, so we’ve lost no time at all, for one thing. The biggest benefit is that I had some type of minor cervical infection/irritation at the beginning of this cycle, which I took antibiotics for, so next cycle means more time to get healthy and strong for my cervix – I don’t think this is a small benefit either; in fact it could have been really bad if we’d gotten pregnant this month, who knows? And while it will be a pain not to be able to hang out normally around Thanksgiving when everyone’s here, what better time to be laid up than when we have friends and family in town to help? And this means we probably won’t end up having two children with the same birthday, one of whom will never age, which sounded at turns poetic but also potentially depressing for everyone.

The truth is that it really does not matter when I get pregnant again. There are always going to be pros and cons to any timeline. And the timeline isn’t set in stone. I was supposed to have a baby in the middle of July, and instead I had one in April, and she died. I control nothing, no matter how much I try to plan or think about it. So I’ll do my level best to throw myself into whatever life has in store with gusto – right now I’ve got three extra weeks to lose some weight, organize the house more, and worry not at all about a life inside of me, and that doesn’t suck.

And still I can’t help but kind of wish I were pregnant, anyway. But I guess I’ve more or less wished that all along.