Elegy for Amy

Juxtaposition September 29, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 6:46 pm

A book I was reading the other day said that god’s language – if you believe in a god – is not sacrifice, but juxtaposition. “His-or her- voice is heard most clearly in the reconciliation of the contradictions and contrasts of life.” I don’t really believe in any sort of traditional capital-G God, but I believe in something bigger than us, and it does feel like those are the moments. The moments that are at once completely opposite. And of course, it made me think of Amy.

I gave birth to our daughter, knowing that in doing so she was going to die. It was the saddest and most awful thing I’ve ever had to do.

I gave birth to our daughter, and got to hold her and touch her and see her, and it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done, and she was so wonderful, so beautiful.

Juxtaposition.

Dan doesn’t see it that way, which is in and of itself another juxtaposition. When I say that as awful as it was, some of it was not, he says, no, it pretty much all sucked. Which is fair. While I am in the unique position of having been the one who had to do the birthing, I didn’t have to watch my wife crying from pain, both tangible and not tangible, while giving birth to our daughter. Our daughter who would die. I didn’t have to spend 5 days watching the woman I love struggle to keep our child inside of her, lying in a hospital bed, miserable and unable to even use the bathroom on her own. I had to do it, but I didn’t have to watch. I’m not sure one is empirically easier than the other.

And I got to spend 21 weeks with our daughter inside of me. He didn’t. I think that makes it both easier and harder. Juxtaposition.

When I think about juxtaposition, I think of Amy. When I think about god, I think of Amy. And for her sake and mine, I do hope there’s something bigger, something more. I hope I’m not just talking to myself.

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Graduation Day September 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 2:39 pm

I graduated from therapy yesterday. The idea that I could possibly just be “okay” and not need to see a professional seemed kind of arrogant, but she said I am healthy and normal and have good coping strategies and a good attitude.

I know, right?

I haven’t been going much – in fact I haven’t gone since before our Costa Rica trip – because I haven’t had all that much to talk about and I haven’t been all that anxious, but having a preterm, stillborn daughter and then trying to get pregnant again just seems like the kind of thing you should need extended therapy for. But I suggested that I might, in fact, be “okay,” and she said, “I think you are.”

But what about the rage when I find out I’m not pregnant? Normal. “It sounds like you’re dealing with it in a healthy way, allowing yourself to have the feeling and then being constructive and positive after the fact.”

What about how angry I get when people suggest that I should just relax and that it takes lots of people a long time to get pregnant? “Those people sound very invalidating. You’ve been trying for a year, and you have this added terrible circumstance most people never have to confront.” (Can I mention, I love that instead of just saying people are jerks, therapists say they are “very invalidating.”)

What about how sometimes, I’ll be in my car and think of Amy and become so overwhelming sad that I’m sure I will collapse into hysterical crying when I reach my destination? Normal, apparently. “This is always going to be a very sad thing that happened to you. It sounds like you have done a lot to take the positives from it to memorialize her, though.”

What about my jealousy of naive, carefree pregnant women who will never have to deal with this? “Most people don’t even get to the point where they realize they’re jealous and not just angry at strangers.”

I pronounce thee properly grieving. Not “over it,” just, apparently, coping in appropriate ways. It sounds a little crazy, to be so screwed up but not actually screwed up at all.

When I talked about Costa Rica, and how happy we were there, she asked if that was okay, being happy. And I just thought, of course it’s okay to be happy – isn’t that kind of the whole point? The whole goal? Of living your life? Why would I want to not be happy, just because this incredibly sad thing happened to me? The only thing worse than losing your child might actually be never being happy again because you lost a child. We honor our daughter in a million ways every day, and I will miss her and grieve her always, but I still want to be – and get to be – happy. And mostly, I am.

 

Keepin’ On September 11, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 11:52 am

I think it’s important to find silver linings. Which is not to say that I’m not sad, or angry, or jealous of everyone who seems capable of getting and staying pregnant until a normal, healthy gestational age. It’s just that those things only get me so far.

I think it’s also important to acknowledge the negative along with the positive, because sads – I have them. I wish I were pregnant right now. I wish I didn’t even have to get pregnant again, but since I do, I wish it would just happen already. For lots of reasons.

But here are some reasons that next month is better:

I get to go to New England in a few weeks to see my family and walk with my friends in a 5K to honor my very good friend’s sister who lost her battle with breast cancer last year.

My possible bedrest time will no longer overlap with the busiest time at my job or another coworker’s maternity leave.

Nor will it overlap with Thanksgiving, when my family will be in town; maybe we could even go to the aquarium like I’d wanted to do with my sister.

Next cycle will be far enough from the dates of Amy’s pregnancy to still not be terribly traumatic but close enough that all of my maternity clothes should be seasonally appropriate.

Next cycle will bring us to exactly 6 months after Amy’s loss, which pushes me out of the “increased risk” zone of having two pregnancies so close together with suspected incompetent cervix or preterm labor.

So, it’s not all bad. I am just keeping everything crossed that this next cycle goes as planned and hopefully, hopefully it is THE cycle.

 

This Is How It Is September 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 6:07 pm

I hear a lot about how you should “just relax” and “not stress” and “it will happen when it happens.” That’s bullshit. In the first place, millions of stressed out women get pregnant; getting pregnant is stressful if you have a functioning brain. It is even more stressful if you are one year behind where you hoped to be because your baby died.

In the second place, I am, actually, pretty freaking relaxed. Really. It’s a little unreal, how relaxed I am, how I am enjoying my life and the process. The thing is, there is a point at which you have ovulated, and you are then either going to get pregnant or not and nothing else you can do will change it, and waiting to find out is the most crazy-making time in the history of the world.

So for those who want to be amused or enlightened, I have kept for you, a real life log of TTC (trying to conceive). Be aware that this post is a little bit TMI (but not too bad, all things considered). Stop reading now if you don’t want to hear anything at all about things that come out of vaginas.

A Real Life Log of TTC

There are two weeks between ovulating (the last time you have any control) and finding out if you are pregnant. The first week, I am more or less still a sane and rational individual.

I know that at 8DPO (days past ovulation), I will begin daily pee stick tests, because daily injections are supposed to start the very second I get a second line. I also know that it is nearly impossible to get a positive pregnancy test before 10DPO, and that in my last pregnancy I didn’t get one until 12 DPO, and that the range for first positive test is reasonable 10-18DPO.

So sometimes around 7DPO is when insanity begins.

Sunday (7DPO)

6:30 PM: “what the hell, I’ll take a test.” Is negative. Unsurprising as even the feistiest of fetuses is unlikely to have even implanted by then, but have a little side of woe sauce anyway. No one likes a negative test.

Monday  (8DPO)

Decide, like rational person, to skip pee test. Last rational thought I will have all week.

Tuesday  (9DPO)

7:00 AM: Negative. Would be sad, but temperature is 98.1 degrees. Become overly optimistic about chances of being pregnant.

5:00 PM: Take temperature again, just to make sure.

Wednesday  (10DPO)

7:00 AM: Negative. Absolutely no pregnancy symptoms. Become incredibly morose and defeatist. Wonder if it is even worth trying to get pregnant again. Wonder if womb is broken. Wonder if sperm is no longer awesome.

Thursday  (11DPO)

7:00 AM: Negative. Of course. Why do I bother taking these tests?

9:30 AM: Regularly scheduled examination of used toilet paper shows small amount of pale pink spotting. Return to bathroom three more times in next hour to confirm. Freak the fuck out, hopes wildly high again as this happened with previous pregnancy.

12:30 PM: Discuss spotting with husband, both take turns being depressed and overly optimistic.

4:30 PM: Take temperature. Mysterious drop to 96.5. Depressed again. Surely period is coming and am not pregnant. Grope my own boobs to check for sensitivity. (None, btw. If you have to grope them to check, they’re not pregnancy-sensitive, in my experience.)

Friday  (12DPO)

7:00 AM: Negative. Still negative. However, decide to cling to absurd hope from spotting yesterday that implantation just occurred, since temperature is high again and pretty sure thermometer is malfunctioning. Tomorrow could be the day. Take ovulation test for good measure – negative.

8:30 AM: Combination of Facebook and parenting forum posts regarding new babies and new pregnancies pushes me over the edge. Am now super, insanely ragey at the world. Why, why, why.

1:00 PM: Seriously going to punch someone in the face. Husband trying very hard to cheer me up. Convinced I am not pregnant and never will be again. Wonder if rage is sign of impending period.

1:45 PM: See adorable little girl’s knit dress pattern on the internet. Cry because Amy would have been adorable in it. Wonder if being overly weepy is a sign of impending period.

2:15 PM: Give up and go home. Take pregnancy test again to make sure it is still negative before pouring some rum into a Diet Coke. Hope, if wrong, that the phrase “drink ’til it’s pink” is actually valid.

8:30 PM: Booze excellent decision. Hope it doesn’t give future sprog flippers, if it turns out I am pregnant. After several hours of knitting, Bridezillas, and a very sympathetic husband, am actual pleasant human being again. Worth it.

11:00 PM: Going to bed, suddenly get the HungerNausea. Previously only experienced when pregnant. Try not to get hopes up, fail. Barely sleep anticipating taking pregnancy test in the morning.

Saturday  (13DPO)

7:00 PM: Negative. Despite rampant pessimism, rage and woesauce, can not really believe it. Spend excessive amounts of time imagining shadowy lines on clearly white, negative test strip. Take photo of strip just to make sure there’s nothing invisible to the naked eye. Continue staring at test at regular intervals. Take ovulation test for good measure again, which is so much darker than yesterday I am now no longer sure if I even ovulated yet.

9:30 AM: Teensiest amount of spotting. Only someone who spends too much time inspecting toilet paper would have even seen it. Temperature has not dropped. WHAT DOES IT MEAN??

10:30 AM: Third bathroom trip since 9:30. No more spotting, but now having mild cramping. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?? New plan to take another test in the evening after holding it for four hours.

12:00 PM: On what is probably 18th bathroom trip since 9:30, another teensy amount of spotting. What.the.

2:30 PM: Just took temperature. 98.8???? Do not feel feverish at all.

4:00 PM: Maybe thermometer is crazy, will use another. 98.7???? I have no idea what this means. Did I just ovulate? Am I pregnant?

5:00 PM: Take second set of tests. Ovulation test is more negative, pregnancy test also negative. Still imagining shadow line. Can not, in fact, stop seeing shadow line. Hope I have best eyesight in the entire world and am not just a raving, TTC lunatic, which is more likely. Take temperature again, still 98.7.

8:00 PM: More spotting, still only a bit but more. Stomach sinks, sure this is my period starting and I’m out. Take temperature again to confirm – 98.6! Dare I continue to hope?

Sunday (14DPO)

7:00 AM: Temperature 97.8. Test still negative. I give up. I don’t even know if I’ve ovulated yet, anymore. Trying to figure out if you’re pregnant before you’ve actually missed your period is like if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a fricking sound? I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s a sound. I know I don’t feel pregnant, and I know the test agrees.

9:00 AM: Yay, someone else who started trying after Amy died is pregnant, and I’m still not. Muster up adult abilities enough to congratulate her. Then mope to husband and demand french toast.

1:30 PM: Aaaand here’s my period, right on schedule. Good news: correct about ovulation date, cycle continues to be very regular. Shitty news: NOT PREGNANT. STILL. Plan: consume adult beverages this evening, return to normal life for next four weeks, until the worrying begins anew.

 

Hulk Smash September 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 9:10 pm

Still negative. Not really a whole lot of chance that will change, at this point, though technically there is still tomorrow. Yesterday, I was chock full of optimism and hope, but today, I am simply angry.

Do you know how many people started trying after I got pregnant who have, or are about to have babies already? Or are well on their way in a completely complication-free fashion? People with the luxury of worrying about epidural vs. birthing pool, home vs. hospital, vaginal vs. C-section, and oh gosh I hope I’m not in labor because I have laundry to do.

My mind isn’t very fair on this issue, I know, but just like you have a right to complain about how much it sucks to be 33 weeks pregnant, I have a right to complain about how much it sucks never to get there and how much you complain about what I only wish for. Me, who can’t imagine any scenario in which the first words I say after giving birth aren’t, “is he/she alive??”

I know this isn’t fair of me, but life has not been very fair to me this year. In fact, I’d say we could all agree that life has been colossally fucking unfair to me this year, and right I am really, really pissed off about it.

All I want is to get pregnant again. Now. Yesterday. I want to get pregnant again, and I want the baby to live, and that is all I am asking. I will do the daily injections, the weekly injections, the cervical surgery with the accompanying spinal anesthesia, the months of bedrest, an induction, a c-section, whatever the hell the doctors tell me to do, I will do it, if I can just get to take home a baby at the end.

Why does everyone else get to, and not me? They don’t even know how good they have it, and honestly, I wish I didn’t either. Oh to be someone who gives a damn if I am able to do a load of laundry while pregnant. Or has to undergo major surgery. Me, on the other hand? Don’t care. Everyone lives at the end is all I ask. Seems like most people just expect that much, and today, really pissed off that I can’t.

 

Did This Really Happen? September 6, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 8:20 pm

I’ve been thinking a lot about that week, lately, the week we lost her. Reliving the events with the benefit of hindsight, it continues to be unbelievable to me that this happened to us.

I almost didn’t even call the doctor, do you know that? I didn’t want to bother them. We thought it was not a huge deal. I remember that I decided to pack a few overnight things before we went to the doctor, because it seemed possible I’d be admitted for a little while, but I don’t think we actually thought it would happen.

And then when it did. We were so worried. So upset. So concerned. But also, okay, because it’s always okay, right? You do everything right, and you go to the doctor, and they admit you to the hospital, and in the end everything is okay.

I started a thread on the parenting forum, asking for mojo for this baby to stay put. But the thing is, I thought it might be miserable, and I cried about being in the hospital for probably a long time, but I don’t think I ever actually believed that she wouldn’t. Stay put. be okay.

Dan went to work, the next day. To work! The arrogance of it all, in hindsight, how immune we thought we were to the worst possible outcome.

It wasn’t really until the night of Day 3 that we began to consider that maybe we were the 2%. Before I thought, spitefully, upon hearing the “new baby” chime in the middle of the night, “well, isn’t that just nice for you to get to take your baby home.” Before I confessed this to Dan, who admitted he’d thought the same thing. I hated that chime. I’m not sure we’ll ever bring ourselves to ring it, even in the happiest of circumstances. It will always remind me of the woman who might be lying across the hall in the antepartum ward, slowly starting to realize that she might not be bringing her baby home with her.

 

10DPO September 5, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 8:32 pm

Today I am feeling pessimistic. For days, I have been hopeful and optimistic and relatively low-key, but today I am pessimistic. I don’t feel pregnant.

I didn’t feel pregnant yet, last time.

But still, I don’t. I feel like this month isn’t the month. And I know that that’s okay, and we’ll just keep trying, and it’s no big deal, but right now in this moment it IS a big deal. To me. We get pregnant at the drop of a hat. It’s the only thing we have going for us, reproductively speaking. Now I don’t have that, either? We just continue to wait, and wait, and wait, and edge ever closer to the time of year I got pregnant with Amy, the one time I would really prefer NOT to get pregnant this time. Will this time take a year? Can we not get pregnant, anymore? Is something wrong? Does this god you speak of hate me?

So yeah, pessimistic. Which is probably putting it mildly. And is a little silly, frankly, because I am still two days away from the day I got a positive test last time. A line so faint that I didn’t even see it until a trick of the light revealed it to me four hours later. A line so faint I asked Dan if he saw it, and he had to hold it up to a window to even make it out, and I had to take three more tests that made the same, practically invisible line before I believed.

But still, I don’t feel pregnant, and I am a swirl of sad and jealous and what do we do now. I hope I’m wrong, but I think I’m not. So for today, if it’s okay, I’m just going to mope about it. I can be optimistic tomorrow.