Monday, January 31, 2011

Opinions Are Subject to Change

I have very definite opinions about many topics, but I think you'll agree that very few things make me spout my viewpoint as readily as parenthood.  You all know that I'm a little bit of a hippy as it relates to pregnancy, childbirth, and child raising.  I think it's important to remain solid in your position, but I believe it's smart to change opinions as new information emerges.  Personal experiences and anecdotes also tend to help sway opinions.  After my recent miscarriage experience and the resulting hospital visit, I've had a 180 degree change of heart on two things: 

1.  I will never, never, never take the "wait & see" approach should I experience another miscarriage.
2.  Screw VBAC, I most definitely want a CBAC should I experience another full-term pregnancy.

What was so bad about taking the wait & see approach to this miscarriage?  I have found that the emotional cost was too high to ever choose expectant management (the technical term for wait & see) again.  Based on the physical experience itself, I'm not sure that it was possible for me to go the all-natural route.  It certainly was not happening this time around and I have been scared away from ever considering it again.  Yes, the D&C sucks, but I think it was lame to go through all the suffering beforehand only to have to have a D&C anyway.  I'm fairly certain that is why I've found this recovery to be a little more difficult than I expected. 

I do, however, feel that expectant management would have been perfectly fine had I not been as far along as I was because very early (like way the heck early) miscarriage is a lot like a heavy period.  A somewhat chunky and heavy period.  So it's both gross and sad.

I have written several blog posts on why a drug-free vaginal birth is my personal holy grail of childbirth so I'm sure it's surprising that I'm more than willing to voluntarily ask for a c-section if I ever give birth again.  Not just more than willing, I mean I will outright say that I will absolutely get sectioned and I'm not willing to have a trial of labor.  I just will not do it.

Why did this event cause me to change my mind about my next childbirth experience?  Because my cervix WOULD NOT DILATE even though I HAD TO PUSH.  This has me totally mystified.  I feel like my body somehow betrayed me because the urge to push was undeniable and totally unstoppable and the pushing was really for no purpose because my cervix wasn't anywhere near to being ready.

I didn't just want to push, it seriously was all that I could do at a certain point during this ordeal.  Pain and pushing, pushing and pain; that's what stands out in my head about last Wednesday.  I tried a few positions to get things moving on out and had no luck; I straddled the toilet, I did an odd kneel/squat beside the toilet (when I was still vomiting), I sat on the toilet with my feet on a step stool and my knees drawn up & spread wide.  I pushed and pushed and pushed.  Nothing happened!

I was PUSHING with everything I had, but nothing happened because my cervix was still pointing in the wrong direction and still would not dilate!  I could have pushed for hours longer and would have most likely had absolutely zero progress to show for the agony.  I had thought for sure that the miscarriage must have been nearly over and found that it was not even close to completion.  I was crestfallen when the gynecologist gave me the information that I wasn't dilating.

This experience has filled me with concern for my next childbirth experience because I worry about the same damn thing happening.  Trying to push out a 10-week fetus without appropriate dilation isn't likely to injure a cervix, but trying the same thing with an 8-pound full-term baby could really cause serious problems.  Sure, screwing up your cervix when you're delivering your last child isn't all that big a deal (except that it is), but I still kinda hope that we might end up with a third child.  I know, I must be friggin' high, but there you go.  I'm  not willing to try vaginal birth and I'm totally okay with an OB getting wrist-deep in my insides.  Actually, for the first time in over 2 1/2-years, I'm totally okay with my son's Cesarean birth too.

I find it odd how quickly and completely I have changed my mind on these topics.  I guess the event was just that horrible. . .I don't know if I'll revert to my original opinions, but I just don't see it happening at this point.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Circumstances Change Everything

The mind does strange things sometimes.  Your mind can play tricks on you when you're awake, but it really comes out to mess with you when you're sleeping.  I've been having weird dreams for the last few days.  I really am a lightweight when it comes to taking pills and I'm sure it's related to the pain meds because I'm also doing weird things lately, but the dreams are pretty bothersome.

I keep dreaming that I'm still pregnant and that I'm going to abort this baby.  My reasons vary in these dreams though they generally are:  I've been newly widowed, I've been abusing alcohol & tobacco and didn't realize I was PG, Hubs & I can't afford another child, and a few times it's been a combination of all three excuses.  Usually my OB will not help me terminate the pregnancy and he most often gives me an ultrasound pic of my baby sucking it's thumb before I wake up.  My son still sucks his thumb to this very day. . .

I wake up with my heart racing and my eyes crusted with evidence of silent tears that must have fallen while I was sleeping.  My hands fly down to my stomach and that's about the time that I remember what has really happened in this particular situation.  It's a dream, just a bad dream.

You may or may not realize or understand why I was so reluctant to have a D&C, but it does have to do with abortion.  I know that I didn't get an "abortion" in that this baby was already dead and that I was not voluntarily stopping this baby's life by getting a D&C.  It's complicated to explain my position and I'm not going to attempt it at the moment.

I am struck that so many things are changed by simple circumstances.  It's all in the circumstances, isn't it?  D&C is, after all, the same damn procedure whether the pregnancy is being voluntarily terminated or if it's removing the "products of conception."  Cute, the way the name changes, huh?  No, I don't really think so either. 

The only difference between an "abortion" and my D&C is that my baby's heart was already long silent when it was removed from my body.  I suppose it's entirely natural that I'd have uncomfortable feelings about the procedure even if I have no reason to feel guilt.

After weeks of enviable warm weather (80s & 90s), it's raining right now and I can't help but feel it's entirely appropriate.  The current conditions match my mood.  I'm relieved that the sun just popped out from behind a cloud. . .

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lazy Hazy Dayz

I should have written this prior to taking my pain meds, but I just remembered that I didn't write a post today so I'm writing this now.  Sorry if this one sucks tonight.  If it doesn't suck, it's because I'm awesome.  If it does suck, it's because the pills make me suck.

I hate taking pain medication.  I really freaking hate it.  Well, that's not entirely true because I guess I'm okay with most OTC pain relievers.  Not all of them, but most of them.  I do spaz out though when I'm taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) because it can be so damaging to your liver.  Let's be real here, I prefer to damage my liver in a much more fun fashion.  You know, in a way that involves vodka straight from the freezer with a couple of olives thrown in for good measure.

I do hate feeling like I HAVE to take the big guns of pain relief.  It's like I hate feeling like I NEED something to feel an absence of pain.  I don't particularly like feeling pain either so I'm kinda screwed in situations like these.  I can either suffer and remain in control mentally or feel good but act stupid and dull.

I guess this is the third day that I've been taking "viconol."  I say I guess because I would have bet money that it was only two days, but as one would probably expect, I write down exactly when I take meds and how much I take.  Yeah, I know I'm a little obsessive about stuff sometimes.  My notes indicate that i have been taking these damn pills for three days so I guess it's been three days.

I think I tried to resume a normal-ish schedule a little too soon because I didn't experience much pain relief yesterday and I had some yucky stuff happen too.  Out of necessity I also ended up off my dosing schedule and was hours late on one dose so perhaps that's part of why I hurt much of the day yesterday.

I spent the day lazing about today and feeling like I'm in a bit of a fog.  That might sound nice, but I don't like sitting still and spacing out.  But some of the grossness eased up a bit so I guess it was necessary.  I don't want to explain the yuckiness because it's pretty damn gross.  I've really had my fill of freaky shit lately.

Speaking of such things, I also don't care for the side effects that I experience when I take most pain meds.  I know I sound like I'm 65-years old, but you have no idea how much you rely on being regular (whether it's every other day, every day, or whatever) until you just can't go.  Of course, I've had my fill of "pushing" lately too so I really don't want to try to go either, but still. 

My stomach is beginning to hurt and I've had the enema suggestion, but I'm really not ready to get that drastic.  Perhaps a little old people breakfast powder is in order at this point because when I'm able to eat I've been trying to stick with high fiber foods.  Of course, I'm also trying to stick with high iron foods with further aggravates constipation.  I have a package of knock-off Correctol (bisacodyl), but it expired a couple of months ago and I'm concerned about taking an expired laxative.

Bodies are gross.  I could never work in health care because I'm creeped out by a lot of natural stuff, but I sure appreciate that there are people who are in that industry.  I had a point here, but I can't quite get what I'm trying for so I think I'm done for the night. 

I feel like I've been out of touch with the world, but hope Earth is still safely spinning because it would suck if we lost gravity.  Actually, is that gravity that keeps the Earth floating around in space?  Eh, whatever, I'm a chick, science isn't my bag.

Friday, January 28, 2011

So What Was The Name?

I'm kinda tired tonight, so I'll just write a quick post about this baby's name.  Don't worry though because this isn't a tear-jerker.  As I said yesterday, I feel okay with what has happened.  I'm not turning cartwheels or anything, but I am okay.

* * *

Emmanuelle - Hebrew (feminized French) - God is with us
Suzanne - Hebrew (feminized French) - Lily

* * *

I don't share the name of my babies until they are born and, since my baby is gone, I don't see the harm in sharing the name.  I mean, it isn't like I'd recycle this baby's name for any other baby I may have in the future.  Though I was fairly certain that I'd have a boy, the name that came to me in a dream the day after implantation was a feminized version of the name Emmanuel. 

So I knew that Emmanuelle was the baby's first name and I knew without looking it up that the name means God is with us.  And He is.  Even with everything that has happened, I know that He is.  He's with us in joy and He's with us in sorrow.  This pregnancy and this loss has served to highlight that very fact in a real and meaningful fashion.

But I struggled with the middle name.  I kept trying to feminize my husband's first name and only came up with one version and the resulting full name didn't have a pleasant flow of syllables.  Around a month ago I came up with the idea to use one of my names and I liked the way the names easily rolled off my tongue when spoken.

I had never looked up the meaning of the name Suzanne and I sat stunned when I read the meaning a couple of weeks ago.  Suzanne means lily.  Oh geez, of course it does. 

I always thought lilies were pretty flowers, but never gave them much thought.  Orchids are my favorites, carnations are cheap, and roses get all the glory.  Then I attended my brother's service and I developed a very definite opinion on lilies.

There were many lovely floral arrangements and it seems that the cloying scent of lilies permeated the air, making the room feel smaller than it really was.  I've remarked many times over the last several months that I will gladly live the rest of my life without smelling another lily again because now it is a flower I'll always associate with death.

And I unknowingly gave this baby a name that means lily.  Life is damn strange sometimes, isn't it?

* * *

My darling babe, Emmanuelle Suzanne, has been nestled in God's loving arms for more than two-weeks.  Now she has been released from my body.  And I was ready to let her go.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Third ER Trip in Two Months

The title says it all, but here it is again in case you missed all the excitement:  I had yet another trip to the ER yesterday.  That brings the final count to three ER trips in less than two months for one pregnancy.  I should add that I have only once before been in an ER in my entire 35-years.

I can also say that I've had my first ride in an ambulance.  For the record, I don't recommend it.  It's not that the paramedics weren't great because I couldn't have asked for better first responders.  It's that I was in so much agony that I actually felt the need to get an ambulance to deliver me to the hospital.  I could not have made it by riding shotgun in my hubby's car.  I couldn't even sit up or stand, let alone walk to a car.

So what happened?  Here's the story with all the gory details.  There isn't really any gore though so don't be afraid to continue reading.

I began to bleed a little late Tuesday evening.  I'll spare you the sexy details, but let's just say that it probably wasn't too smart to ignore certain restrictions that I ignored.  The bleeding never increased and it was only enough to justify wearing a liner so it wasn't a big deal.

I woke up yesterday with more back pain than what I've been experiencing for the last several days.  Along with the back pain came stomach cramps.  Since I'm the Queen of Denial, I figured that something I'd eaten was proving difficult to digest. 

I packed up the kiddo and went to a park playdate with friends for a few hours.  My back really started to bother me while we were at the park, but I tried to keep my mind off the pain by chatting with friends and having a good laugh over our kids splishing and splashing in puddles.  At some point, maybe around noon, I noticed that the cramps were getting stronger.  Still wasn't enough pain to worry about though.

My son and I arrived home around 1:30 yesterday afternoon.  I realized that I was experiencing fairly strong pain once I'd left my friends and lost my distractions.  It wasn't enough to want to take anything for pain management, but it definitely was getting my attention.  I put my son down for a nap and I went to lie down on my own bed because I just wasn't feeling well. 

I don't suffer menstrual cramps and I have never experienced labor.  If you have felt labor, you probably know what was happening.  I sure as heck did not.

I had a D&C scheduled for today, but my body had other plans and finally started the process to begin to release the baby. Everything I've read and heard indicates that a completed miscarriage feels like strong menstrual pain. That sounds perfectly acceptable, right?  The problem is that I don't suffer from period pain (I just bleed a lot and often) so I was TOTALLY UNPREPARED for how quickly the pain went from 0 to 60 and just how painful it can be.  No wonder some women are totally crippled by their cycles!  Those of you who suffer painful periods have my complete sympathy.

I started a text-a-thon with a couple of friends; one who has had a natural miscarriage at the same gestational point and one who is a natural childbirth instructor.  Both offered much-needed support and fantastically wonderful advice on how to manage the pain and what to expect.  Since I was supposed to have the D&C today, I couldn't really take anything so I had to rely upon natural pain relief methods and distraction.

I was quiet so as not to wake my son, but I asked my husband home around 3:00 because the pain was clearly intensifying and I knew that I could not handle caring for my son while trying to handle this event.  I tried to remember to stay hydrated with water and even ate an egg sandwich that my husband thoughtfully prepared for me when he arrived home. 

Things were fine, relatively speaking, until around 4:00 or so.  That's when I began to dry-heave and felt like I might have diarrhea.   I contacted my OB around 4:40 and he responded to my message within five minutes.  I think he's the best physician I have ever had; he's certainly the kindest and most responsive.  He indicated that everything sounded normal, but that I should feel free to take Tylenol or the Norco, which is Vicodin w/ Tylenol (weird name, huh?), that I picked up at the pharmacy the day before.

Those of you who know me surely know that I do not take pills for no reason.  I think there is some value in letting pain run it's course.  I was trying every single suggestion for natural pain relief and I can say that distraction only goes so far.  I first found myself whimpering through the cramping and, as they intensified, I ended up moaning into my pillow while trying to relax. 

I took one Norco at 5:00 and it afforded me about 90 minutes of reasonable pain relief.  It did not remove the pain by any stretch, but it did make it somewhat more bearable for a period of time.  There reached a point where all I could think about was the pain and when it would hit again.  The contractions (if you will) brought me to my knees if I was standing or made me writhe around on my bed if I was lying down.  I figured this was normal and tried to muster on. 

Then I began violently shaking and vomiting.  That was followed by cold sweats and then hot sweats.  I wasn't merely trembling, I was SHAKING.  I was shaking so badly that I could no longer stand or sit up on my own.  I became lightheaded and the room began spinning more than once.  I've never fainted before and I suppose this is when I began to feel frightened that something was really going wrong with this miscarriage.

I screamed out for my husband to help me.  I felt like my insides were trying to get to the outside and I was sitting on the toilet to hasten the process.  Besides a tremendous amount of vomit, nothing happened.  Nothing.  There was some sticky, almost mucousy, blood and several small clots.  That was it.

I suddenly felt better wondered aloud if it was over.  My husband looked and reported that there was nothing in the toilet.  My reprieve lasted probably less than a minute and I became violently ill all over again.  There was nothing in my digestive system at this point, but I continued to vomit up stomach acid that burned all the way out my throat and even out through my nose.  I started crying and begging for help.

My husband wanted to drive me to the hospital, but I could not handle the idea of the drive (even though it's like 3 miles from our house) or the eons-long wait to be treated.  He suggested an ambulance and I brushed off the idea.  He continued to carry/drag me back and forth from the bed to the toilet. 

The only thing that appeared to be happening was that I began to freak out more and more with each contraction.  I thought that I was only moaning through the pain, but my husband told me later that I was crying out loudly enough (screaming really) that I frightened our son.  I regret that I couldn't keep better control and that I caused my little boy so much distress.  I had no idea that I was having such a massive freak-out and wish now that I'd gone to the hospital when my husband first suggested the idea.

It finally got so bad that we called an ambulance (waaah-mbulance was more like it) to take me to the hospital. I think I had every single awful and uncomfortable symptom: back pain, major contracting, vomiting, diarrhea, cold sweats, hot sweats, weakness, lightheadedness, hyperventilation - basically if it's gross or sucky, it happened. The paramedics (I learned later that the FD showed up too) were at my house in what seemed like only a minute.  My blood pressure was high and I was over-oxygenated because I had apparently been hyperventilating for an extended period of time.

They were all incredibly helpful, but the paramedic who looked like Dr. Drew was really helpful at getting me to calm the heck down.  He must have repeated that my panic was only serving to increase the pain at least 1,001 times.  When my eyes wildly darted around, he'd remind me to look at him and take low and slow breaths.  When I'd clench up, he'd remind me to take control of my body and try to relax.  When I began crying about the pain, he'd ask me to tell him about the happiest place I've been.  No, the happiest place on Earth wasn't Disneyland.  It was a quiet beach on Kauai and I kept trying to visualize a palm tree.

I lost my pants at some point so I was wheeled out of my house wearing a blanket from the ambulance.  I'm not ashamed of my body, but I would have misgivings about six strange men seeing me nude from the waist down with my legs flailing this way and that.  As I memorably said on one occasion, I just wouldn't do split beaver shots these days.  You know, I did not care about modesty at that point.  I remained unconcerned about my lack of clothing until I was getting ready to be discharged from the hospital.

So they took me to the ER and, I guess since I arrived in an ambulance, I jumped the line of people in the waiting room.  Hubs told me the waiting room was PACKED when he got there so I'm thankful that I didn't have to wait for treatment.  I don't know what that privilege is going to cost, but that's one bill I will happily pay without complaint because it was worth it.  Okay, okay, my husband will happily pay it!

I was immediately ushered into a private ER room and I was surrounded by nurses and a doctor.  They inexplicably changed out the IV that I was given in the ambulance (why, I have no idea?), but I was happy they did so since they also began to administer IV pain meds.

I'll point out again that I do not usually bother with taking any medication for pain.  Hubby thinks it's because I'm being a martyr, but whatever.  The first hit of IV drugs did nothing to ease my pain.  They followed up with another dose around ten minutes later.  Between that and the Benadryl to help me sleep (as if, right?) I definitely felt my pain and anxiety ease up a bit.  Hubby tells me that I got high as a kite and was totally loopy from that point on.

The ER doctor performed a pelvic exam and, unbelievably, my baby still wasn't coming out.  I thought for sure it was nearly over, but it wasn't even close.  He sent a gynecologist down and she verified that this was nowhere near completion so she slated me to get a D&C.  Even though I'd vomited out my stomach contents, I had to wait for six hours to pass since I'd eaten the dang egg sandwich. 

Here's a funny side note because you know I have to find something funny in all of this.  I was totally inappropriate with the gynecologist and my hubby tells me that I was practically flirting with her.  I kept complimenting her pretty blue eyes and going on & on about how lovely I found her eyes.  I'm sure that ER staff appreciates when a kind and appreciative patient comes through instead of a bitchy and belligerent one, but damn I'm a weirdo! Alternately, reasons like these are why I don't take drugs! haha

The doubly funny thing is that I'm not even particularly fond of blue eyes, but show me a set of baby browns and I'm all over it.  Yes, I'm aware that my hubs has green eyes.  What can I say?  Eyes just don't matter that much in the grand scheme of things, do they?

I ultimately ended up with at least four (but I think the final tally was six) doses of IV pain meds, but I STILL FELT THE DAMN CONTRACTIONS!  They were nowhere near as painful, but I still felt them and there was still slight pain associated with them.  I guess they were pretty strong or I'm just a big puss.  Maybe a little of both.

I finally passed out before going to the OR.  I hadn't even been hit with the general anaesthesia yet.  I woke up in recovery and asked when I could expect to have the procedure.  They nurses told me it was already over and everything went perfectly fine.  I couldn't believe it.  I had a complete absence of pain - emotionally and physically. It was the easiest recovery from general that I've ever had and I credit the recovery nurses for keeping me calm and focused. After reflecting on it a little, this is also the first time that I went under while still wearing my contacts so I actually could see my surroundings when I came to.  Perhaps that helped keep my anxiety at bay too.

There was talk that they might keep me overnight for observation.  I wasn't too keen on that idea once my husband told me how upset our son was before I left and after I was gone.  I really wanted to be here when he woke up in the morning so he could see that I was okay and everything was going to be okay.  I'm thankful that I didn't lose much in the way of blood and was able to urinate easily once I was permitted to consume liquids so they determined that I could go home.  As always, it's a hurry up and wait game to get discharged from a hospital.  I arrived back home at around 3:00 am. 

So how am I doing?  I'm doing good.  And that's not just trying to be positive; I really am okay.  I went through a lot of emotional pain just waiting for it to happen and, once I had the lack of heartbeat confirmed over and over again, I felt a sense of peace for the first time since I learned of my baby's death. Oddly enough, I feel perfectly fine from a physical and emotional standpoint for the first time in nearly three-weeks.

The playground is shut down for six-weeks, I can't drive for two weeks (WTF?!), and I have a bunch of lifting and rest restrictions, but I feel so damn good right now physically and emotionally that I can't get too worked up about it.  I guess I'm finally ready to accept/acknowledge what has happened and begin the healing process of this grief journey.

I went to a damn dark place once the pain meds kicked it at the ER and hubs tells me that I told him I was sure I was dying. I thought it at the house, but certainly wasn't going to verbalize it and jinx myself. I even told him that I wanted him to find a good wife and mother for our son.  He told me to stop it and I guess I replied that that's just what I do.  Uh, what exactly did I mean?  Brood about death?  That's creepy!

I also clearly informed him that I will never, never, never take the wait and see approach again.  The emotional cost was too high and I simply couldn't pay the physical price.  Additionally, I let him know that labor pains (if they can even be called that this early on) were immensely over-rated.  Everyone thinks they're a comedian when they're a little loaded, eh?

Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes.  It was, simply put, the single most frightening and painful thing that I've ever experienced. I've had four impacted wisdom teeth removed at once and I've had a c-section that left me feeling like I was hit by a bus, but those were NOTHING compared to how much I was suffering before I finally went to the hospital and received treatment.  Thank goodness for modern medicine!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Peace At Last

I thought I'd write a quick update since I had my doctor's appointment this afternoon.

First, the unwavering love and support that I've received from my husband has proved invaluable in this situation.  I have generally felt upside down, but he's been solid as a rock.  I know that he's been concerned about my mental condition as well as my physical health, but he's wisely held his tongue and only offered counsel when I've asked for his advice.  He's held me when I've needed the comfort of his strong arms and he stays away when I need my solitude.  This situation could have been completely intolerable with another man, but his steadiness has kept me from totally losing balance and perspective.

Secondly, having a warm and compassionate doctor has been a tremendous blessing to me.  I went to the ER and received the news that my baby had died on a Saturday afternoon and by 5:00 that evening, my doctor had sent me a condolence message.  He also explained what I could expect to occur by taking the "wait & see" approach.  I don't get the impression that he tried to scare me into any other option, he just wanted me to be aware and prepared for the experience.  Did I mention that he did this at 5:00 on a Saturday evening?!

My husband was not with me when I received the news that our baby had died.  The ER doctor simply walked in and said, "Your baby doesn't have a heartbeat.  I'm sending in a gynecologist to discuss how to remove it."  IT!  This baby was already named and, yet, he said "it."  I was less than thrilled with his bedside manner, but I understand that it's probably all too easy to be calloused in that situation.  Who can even guess how many women he's had to give the same bad news to or how much it pained him at one time.

I saw my doctor this afternoon.  He said something about obstetrics being such an odd practice in that he sees people at their happiest and sometimes he sees them in the saddest circumstances.  He made a point to say that there is absolutely no reason to blame myself for this loss and that there is absolutely no reason why we can't try to conceive another child in a month or two if we're ready to try again. 

He conducted a brief pelvic exam and found that my cervix is still tightly shut.  As if it's not awkward enough for my husband to watch another guy get to third base with me, I had on a dress and didn't bother with a gown so I basically let the doctor get a little upskirt action.  That's a joke.  Um, except not really.  Yeah, this is why I don't do funny - no worries, I won't quit my day job!

Anyway, then he performed a trans-vag ultrasound.  What can I say?  Miracles can and do happen, but a miracle did not happen in this case.  He looked and looked, but there was still no heartbeat. 

My dumb-ass body apparently still hasn't got the message that my baby has died because my amniotic sac has grown quite large in the last two weeks.  Super lame.  I'm ashamed now that I had to look away from the screen and couldn't stand seeing my baby still in that sac. 

I fixed my gaze on the ceiling because I couldn't possibly look at the heartbreak on that screen.  My tears felt hot as they silently fell from my eyes and trickled into my ears.  I clenched my hands tightly and my body shook a little as I struggled to not cry out when he confirmed that the baby was still there and that it was not living.  Don't get me wrong, he was perfectly kind, but I hated what he had to say.  Who wouldn't hate hearing it?

He helped me back into a sitting position, my foot slipped and I damn near kicked him in the junk.  Yes, I'm the jerky kind of patient who laughed at the near-miss so I'm apparently the target demographic for, "Ow, My Balls."  Who knew?

He gave me three options:  Continue to let nature take it's course, take the pills (seems weird to say "take" since they get put up your vadge and not down your mouth, but whatever), or have the D & C.  He laid out the pros and cons of each course of action, said it's my decision, and even said that I didn't have to decide anything right that moment. 

I was not pressured in the least.  He didn't heavily campaign for any option and remained impartial.  This was entirely my decision.  Even my husband didn't say a word one way or the other.

And I chose to have the D & C.  I wasn't pressured at all and, dammitall, I chose the fucking D & C.  I looked down and could meet neither my husband's eyes nor my physician's when I said that I just want it out as soon as possible.  If my lips hadn't been moving, I wouldn't have believed it was my own voice saying such a thing.

Perhaps one day I will be able to articulate why I so do not want this procedure.  I don't want it.  I really don't.  But I can not stand carrying this child any longer.  The knowledge of what happens to living tissue once it is no longer living is making me crazy.  I know that, little by little, this child of mine is deteriorating and breaking up inside of me.  Mentally, I can not take that knowledge any longer.  I wish I could, oh how I wish I could!, but I'm just not strong enough emotionally to take it.

So there you have it.  This experience has forced me to voluntarily chose to undergo a procedure that I swore I would never, never, never experience again.  I'm scheduled for Thursday.  I know that it is an easy recovery from a physical standpoint, but I am concerned about the emotional toll.  It appears that I'll be wounded no matter which course of action I chose to take.

Oddly enough, I feel more at peace now than I have been in the last two-weeks.  I have accepted/acknowledged that this baby has died and I'm fairly certain, hopeful anyway, that I will be back to my old self in short order.  How I'll feel about the D & C is another topic, but that's one that I'll hold close to my own heart.

* * *

I have Wordless Wednesday coming up for tomorrow. . .I hope I can find some pervy-looking produce in our backyard.  Perhaps I'll find a penis gourd??  Nah, I don't have a freaky harvest to reap. . .

Grief PSA - Part II

I wrote a lot of posts about grief after my brother passed away last September.  Most of those posts were read a lot and shared by many readers.  I've noted that sometimes people just don't know what to do or say around someone who is grieving and that is what prompted me to write the first Grief PSA post

I'm writing this post because it's clear to me that most people don't know what to say to someone who is hurting after a miscarriage.  I don't think the people who have said these things to me are trying to be hurtful, at least I hope not, but these words do carry quite the sting at the moment.

- You just need to relax.  Every single time that I hear this, and it has been a lot, I want to reply, "And you just need to STFU."  If it were only so easy as simply relaxing.  If only!  I might add that this line in particular pisses me off because, let's face it, it puts the blame for the entire thing on the woman who has lost her baby.  How wonderfully kind and loving, eh?
- At least the baby wasn't born.  True, the baby wasn't born.  It wasn't born because it died before it could be born.  This was, in fact, a real and living baby at one point and now it is not.
- At least you didn't get too attached.  As someone who intentionally had been trying to conceive, I can say that this baby was a very real and loved family member to me from the moment that conception was suspected.  Attachment and love already existed even in the earliest days.
- It wasn't even a baby yet so I don't know why you're so upset.  Fine, let's argue semantics.  Sure, it's technically called a fetus.  It's a fetus with arms, legs, fingers, toes, a heart. . .it was very wanted, already loved, and it was living at one time.  Now it's heart has stopped and that's why it's so upsetting.  What was alive is not living any longer.
- Your baby was probably messed up so this is a blessing.  No, no it isn't.  Any baby is a gift, regardless of the so-called imperfections.
- You're being stupid/silly/crazy/irrational/fill-in-the-blank.  And you're being cold and heartless, so what's your point and how does this help the person who is grieving?
- Get over it, this happens to a lot of women and you don't see them carrying on about it for weeks on end.  Yes, this does happen to a lot of women, but this happened to me and I'm still hurting over it.  Perhaps insensitive comments such as these are why most women don't feel that they can talk about it?  And I can't say that I blame them for suffering in silence because these "helpful" comments are anything but helpful.

There really isn't anything to say, is there?  A simple, "I'm sorry," would suffice if you feel the need to say anything. 

If you've experienced a miscarriage, it may be helpful to share your story with the person who has recently lost their baby.  I was shocked at how many women I know who have experienced a similar situation, but I was comforted by their words and encouragement.  Some went on to have perfectly healthy pregnancies and others did not.  Some lost their babies before they even knew they were pregnant, and others ended in a stillbirth.  No matter how far along they were, all experienced hurt and grief when they lost their baby. 

Why do I mention these things?  Because it is perfectly normal and natural to grieve over a lost baby!  I'll repeat it in case that didn't come across loud and clear:  It is perfectly normal and natural to grieve over a lost baby!  I think it would be suspect if I didn't care.  However, I also acknowledge that other people grieve differently so I'm not saying there is anything wrong if one doesn't grieve for a miscarried baby.  There's no right or wrong when it comes to grief.  It just is what it is and we all feel loss and experience grief differently.

Perhaps one day my story, as documented in this blog, will serve as comfort and encouragement to another woman who is suffering.  And, if that's the case, then I suppose this experience is worth the present pain.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Waiting is Nearly Over

Update on the subject of yesterday's post:  My friend's little boy has significantly improved and is home with the family.  Thank you for your prayers and well-wishes.

* * *

My dreaded doctor's appointment is scheduled for tomorrow.  I don't exactly know what to say, what outcome to hope for, what to pray about with regard to my present situation.  Whatever is to be already is and nothing I say or do will change that.

I still haven't passed my baby.  It's been over two-weeks and I still haven't passed the baby.  It's pure torture to know that it's still there, but not living.  It boggles my mind that my body won't just release it so I can begin to move on and heal.  I never thought it would take so long to complete this miscarriage.  I was sure that it would be over within days of that ER visit. . .that ER visit that seems like it was a hundred-years ago.

The cruelty of the situation is that, in the absence of any fetal tissue passing, I'm still hopeful that the ER was wrong.  My fondest hope is that my OB will announce that my baby still has a perfectly strong heartbeat and everything looks okay.  I dream about it sometimes and wake up with tears of joy, only to realize it's just a dream and my joyful tears turn to sadness.

I've stopped saying aloud that I'm holding out hope for a miracle because the pity in people's eyes is just too hard for me to see.  And, if it's not pity, it's the way people awkwardly look away and avoid my gaze.  Look, I know it's crazy.  I'm fully aware that I don't sound rational about this.  I just can't give up hope until it's abundantly clear that all hope is lost.  I know, I know, three ultrasounds should be proof enough.  But it isn't enough proof for me - not yet, not now.

I have a feeling that my OB will strongly suggest that I consider the D & C at this point.  I feel like I should have known it would come to this; I really should have known.  I can't possibly explain why I am so reluctant to go that route, but trust that it is absolutely the most emotionally painful option for me.  It's been days since I've cried, but I began crying when I was talking about it last night.  I hope that I can remain stoic and simply nod my head in front of the doctor because I know that I'll end up a blubbering mess if I try to explain why I do not want this procedure.

No matter what happens, I guess the waiting is nearly over.  I suppose it doesn't really matter whether I pass the baby naturally or whether I allow a doctor to put me under general, dilate my cervix, and scrape my baby's pitiful remains from my womb.  The end result is the same and I'll ache over this loss with either method of removal, but I know that healing can't possibly begin to happen until it's over.  And, if there is one thing I want right now, it's to move on and heal.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Prayers for a Friend's Baby

Thanks to Facebook, I've learned that a friend's little one has been in the hospital since yesterday.  We've been friends since the 9th grade and he has a lovely wife and two wonderful boys.  His youngest son is under one and he has to spend another night in CHOC.  The poor little guy has RSV and he's really having a hard time.

I can't imagine how frightened my friend and his wife must feel.  Oh, how my heart hurts for the entire family!  I'm asking you to please join me in praying for this little one's health to be restored quickly and for his parents to feel God's peaceful presence during this stressful time.  I know that God does hear our prayers and I hope to have a good update to report tomorrow. 

Give thanks and rejoice if your children are in good health and sleeping under your own roof tonight.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Favorite Bee Gees Video Clips

The Bee Gees are most often associated with a certain dance music of the late-70s, but they created some breathtakingly beautiful music long before the advent of Disco.  Of course, I was just a kid when disco was popular (the first time around) so I don't share the hate that many music lovers from the era feel for that particular style of music.  Here are a few of my favorite Bee Gees songs, disco or otherwise.

I have to confess something: I watched this clip of Stayin' Alive three times in a row because I was practically drooling over Barry Gibb.  How sucky that Robin and Maurice had to stand next to this fine specimen of late-70s sexiness.  That lion's mane, his fuzzy face, those skinny hips. . .oh my!

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart is one of my all-time favorite songs and this is a damn-near perfect live performance of the song.

I'm pretty sure that everyone can relate to the chorus of To Love Somebody.   And, if you can't, consider yourself lucky.

Too Much Heaven really lets their wonderful harmonies sparkle.  I read on Wiki that they donated their earnings from this song to UNICEF and it has yielded more than $11 million for the charity.

Another one of my all-time favorite songs is Night Fever.  I was surprised to see a Disco-era Barry without his face of fuzz in this video.

I've Got to Get A Message To You was written by Maurice or Robin after a fight with wifey.  Uh, listen to the lyrics and tell me if you think maybe wifey was like, "Say WHAT?!"

I'm not normally a fan of covers, but I do like A Day in the Life and most of the other songs from the utterly craptastic Sgt.Pepper's movie starring the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton.

The song One is the last Bee Gees hit I can think of off the top of my head and I think it came out in the very early 90s.  These guys had an awesome career that spanned over 40-years!

* * *

Technically these aren't "Bee Gees" songs, but they either sang back up or wrote the songs so I'm including them in this post.

Emotion by Samantha Sang has enough of the Gibb's voices that it darn near is one of their songs.  Besides providing awesome backup vocals, Barry and Robin wrote the song. 

Barry had a well-received collaboration with Barbara Streisand over 30-years ago (and I think they had another around five years ago?), but Guilty, Woman in Love, are my clear favorites.  I also like this clip of What Kind of Fool because, you've got to admit that Barry found his "look" and he works it.  I almost didn't include this clip of Guilty because it makes no friggin' sense, but the song is great so whatever.

Barry wrote the song Grease, but Frankie Valli sang the song for the movie of the same name.

* * *

Okay, enough of my musical nostalgia.  I'm going for an easy post tomorrow.  Hopefully one that doesn't require a ton of time clicking through youtube!

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Favorite CSN Video Clips

There are only two bands that I can think of who had incredibly perfect harmonies:  Crosby, Stills, Nash (and sometimes Young) and the Bee Gees.  I've been on a CSN (& sometimes Y) kick for the last 24-hours and thought I'd share some youtube clips of my favorite songs in their catalog.  My husband has seen these guys at least three times and I feel a little cheated that I was born too late to see such epic concerts.  Enjoy the post and the clips - I know I have!

Our House is one of my all-time favorite songs because it's an unabashed ode to monogamy and this is a good live version of this song.  As a bonus, this clip showcases Graham Nash at his hirsute sexiest - RAWR!

If you like the song (and who doesn't?), this wonderful acoustic version of Helplessly Hoping will stay in your mind for hours after watching.

Who can't relate to the lyrics of Wasted on the Way?  If you can't yet, I guarantee that you will one day.  This clip is a little funny because it's of Wasted on the Way, but I think David Crosby was Wasted on the Stage - shocking, eh?

I think ripping off United's "friendly skies" tagline is a little cheesy, but Just a Song Before I Go this is a hauntingly beautiful song.

I'm partial to Jimmy Buffett's version, but Southern Cross is awesome no matter who sings it.  My hubby says this is his favorite Stephen Stills song.

I'm sad that the version of A Long Time Gone that I wanted to use had really poor sound quality, but this is a cool live version.

Great guitar work on Wooden Ships and I think this was off their debut album.

I have no clue where Stephen Stills was here and I think David Crosby looks high as a kite, but it's a cool clip of Marrakesh Express.  When my son was a baby, he used to smile and laugh whenever this song came on the radio.  What can I say?  The kid has great taste in music.

This version of Guinnevere is long, but so worth it.  I've never heard such a silent audience during a live performance. . .I guess they didn't want to miss a single note.  One guitar + two voices = magic.

They just don't make music like this nowadays and I suspect that these guys never would have acheived any measure of success if they were trying to get started in music today.  Well, Graham Nash might make it because he's a good-looking guy.  But still, my point is that looks are more important than any talent in music today and I think that's a damn shame.  Looks like The Buggles were right:  Video did, in fact, kill the radio star.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Friendly Advice

I'm aware that I've been down lately and a few friends have privately contacted me about my attitude.  They were motivated by love and they gave me words of care and encouragement.  I have been mulling over these exchanges and I won't share everything, but they were correct on all points. 

Sinking deeper into despair will not improve my outlook, but faithfully trusting God will.  I needed the reminder that He is in control and every single thing that I've done in life is what led me to where I am today.  Where am I today?  I am a beloved wife to my husband and an adored mother to our son.

Yes, I'm still sad about losing this baby.  Who wouldn't be ache over the unexpected loss of a much-wanted baby?  But I can't allow myself to be governed by the fear of another miscarriage and I can't beat myself up over choices that can't be undone.

Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is a fresh new day.  I can choose how I respond to life's curve balls and I will not be held hostage by fear or guilt.  I will live tomorrow to the fullest.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What Was I Thinking?

My body is stubbornly keeping my baby so I'm still waiting for this miscarriage to complete.  It's been a week and a half since my baby died and I thought this nightmare would have been over by now.  This waiting is torture, but I almost welcome the torment because I deserve it. 

I mentioned to my husband that I might ask my doctor about sterilization options when I see him next week.  My husband was surprised and asked why I'd want to know about such things.  The answer is ridiculously simple:  I don't want to experience this ever again and I'm willing to deprive my son of siblings in order to avoid it.  I don't care how selfish that sounds because that's how I feel. 

I've never thought that my husband is naive, but I'm beginning to think that my husband's naivete is greater than mine.  Even though it took over a year and a half to get pregnant with this failed pregnancy, he seems to think that I'll get pregnant with no problem and go on to have a perfectly fine pregnancy.  I wish I could believe that, but I don't.  As I said the other day, my faith just isn't that strong.

I've been finding myself playing the "If only. . ." game.  It's like the "What if. . ." game only full of more regret.  If only I hadn't married my ex-husband, I could have started dating my husband several years earlier.  If only my husband and I had decided to get married right away instead of screwing around for a couple of years.  If only we had started a family right after getting married instead of enjoying each other so thoroughly. 

Let's face it, these "if only" exercises highlight what's really bothering me.  If only I wasn't in my mid-30s and he wasn't in his mid-50s, if only that then I'm sure we wouldn't have found it so hard to conceive our son or this poor baby.  I've never spent much time regretting decisions I've made with my life, but I am now.

What was I thinking?  Why did I wait so long to settle down, to get married, to start a family?  I may be stupid, but I'm not dumb.  So why did I make such stupid choices with my life?  Why was it so damned important that I accomplish the things I wanted to accomplish prior to starting a family?  Why did I do this to myself?

I know how women's fertility works.  I know the age when it starts to decrease and children weren't even remotely on my radar at that time.  I stupidly thought that getting pregnant in my mid-30s would be as easy as getting pregnant in my mid-20s.  Guess what?  It isn't.

I'm aware that plenty of women have no trouble getting pregnant in their 30s and beyond.  I'm glad for them because they are fortunate, but I am not one of those women. 

I thought I was so damn smart to delay parenthood and focus solely on growing my financial health.  I've never had trouble making money.  I've never had trouble managing my finances.  I've never had trouble getting ahead in "life."  No, my problem is worse and harder to remedy.  I have trouble creating and sustaining life.  It took a long time to conceive my son and it took more than twice as long to conceive this baby who didn't even make it to the second trimester.  You can always make money, but you can't always easily make a family.

My husband doesn't think I should inquire about sterilization options so I probably won't.  He's smarter than me and perhaps his emotions aren't so battered so he may be thinking more clearly than I am right now.  I just don't know and I guess I won't know until the time comes to bring it up or not.

Monday, January 17, 2011

When Will His Dream Become Reality?

I'm a libertarian with a strong conservative tendencies so I'm sure this will surprise some of you, but I admire Dr. King's accomplishments and I particularly like the speech he gave on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington.  I don't understand why racism exists and it pains me that, nearly 50-years later, Dr. King's dream still has not become a reality in America.  Perhaps my son's generation will make it so. . .

Dr. King was a great American and a fellow lover of freedom.  Our country needed to hear the things he had to say and a spineless assassin stole him from us when we needed him the most.  In the event that you've never had the opportunity to read it before today, here is the full text of Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech:

"I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Losing Hope in a Miracle

I began to mentally outline a blog post this afternoon, but I started feeling lousy a few hours ago and that post isn't going to happen tonight. 

I began to feel ill early this evening and experienced slight bleeding, staining is probably a better term, and I was sure that my body was going to release my poor baby tonight.  I was overcome with weakness afterward and I had to lie down for a rest as my legs were trembling just from the effort to stand up.  It felt like the muscle exhaustion that accompanies the flu, but I think it was nerves because I'm absolutely terrified to see the remains of my baby.  But the bleeding unexpectedly stopped as quickly as it showed up.

I currently have a nagging ache in my lower back and my stomach is cramping up periodically.  I'm feeling a constant pressure from the base of my ribs to the bottom of my pelvis.  It almost feels like I'm wearing a too-tight girdle.  I ate too much at lunch so it could just be gas.  Or maybe the meals I consumed today just aren't digesting very effectively.  Or it could be a symptom that this miscarriage is going to be complete soon.

I began to lose pregnancy symptoms a couple of days ago.  It's wonderful and horrible that I no longer suffer crippling nausea every morning and painfully tender breasts are no longer making it difficult to give or accept hugs.  I suppose the lack of any obvious outward symptoms will force me to come to grips with the fact that the ultrasounds weren't wrong and that, though my baby is still inside of me, this pregnancy has ended.

I can't help but continue to pray for this baby, for this pregnancy to somehow continue and yield a perfectly healthy baby in 29 more weeks.  My faith has been praised, but I'm losing hope in a miracle.  I guess my faith isn't so great after all.

It's been more than a week since my baby died and I have to believe that my body will let go of my baby one day soon.  How I dread that day.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Censorship is More Dangerous Than Freedom

The title of this post seems shockingly clear and obvious to me, but perhaps I'm just unenlightened.  In the event that reading words (curse words and slang) offends your delicate sensibilities, I strongly suggest that you stop reading this post right now.

There are many songs that I can think of off the top of my head that have questionable lyrics.  I don't find the lyrics questionable personally and I like all of the specific songs listed below, but I probably wouldn't listen when my parroting 2-year old is in the car.  Here's a quick run down of a few songs with curse words or slurs contained in the lyrics:

- Bullshit in Money by Pink Floyd
- Fuck in Who Are You by The Who
- Shit in Jet Airliner by Steve Miller Band
- Just about every single one of Prince's hits includes at least one blatant sexual reference
- Tits, chicks "cream"ing, and a pussy wagon in Greased Lightening from Grease
- Bitch in The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band
- Damn near the entire rap genre with the exception of LL Cool J as I can't recall a single curse in his songs, though his songs are horny as they come (heh, get it?!)
- Faggot in Money for Nothing by Dire Straits

Money for Nothing was released over 25-years ago and I'm assuming that everyone has heard the song at least once or twice in the last two decades.  If you have half a brain and listen to the song, you realize that it is from the perspective of some blue-collar redneck type who is envious of the bitchin' stuff that these "faggot" rock stars can acquire.  Mark Knopfler wasn't slamming homosexuals (though I feel that it would be his prerogative - yes, it's spelled correctly - if he wanted to) and he wrote the lyrics in such a way that it's obvious the faggot millionaire is the smart one because he's getting money for nothing and chicks for free.

Canadian society must be in a state of total perfection because this song has a problem that needs resolving.  The word faggot is not acceptable in a song that was released more than a quarter of a century ago.  The original version of Money for Nothing has been banned from Canada's airwaves.  A 25-year old song has been banned because it's lyrics are considered offensive somehow.  This manufactured controversy is one of the stupidest things I've ever read about.  Good fucking grief!

Don't think I'm only slamming our neighbors to the North because America always seems to be brewing a special brand of censorship stupidity.  An edited version of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a novel that is well over 100-years old, has been published so that the book can be used in classrooms.  Anyone who has ever read the book can probably guess why this is considered necessary to protect our precious little snowflakes.  Yes, the dreaded N-word (in case you're totally clueless, that would be nigger) is used and that is no longer acceptable, even in classic literature.  However, it is still socially acceptable in rap lyrics so make whatever you will of that double standard.  If you have read the book and didn't allow one friggin' word to turn you off from a great story, you would realize that Jim is a fantastically pivotal character and the book itself shines a light on the idiocy that is racism and prejudice.

Have we grown so thin-skinned and delicate that we can't handle reading or hearing simple words?  We are offended by artistic works the way they are written or composed?  If so, this society has become a bunch of pussies and we really need to grow the Hell up.

Words only have the power that we allow them to have.  Words can't hurt you if you don't allow yourself to be hurt by them.  Frequently use the words that are hurtful and you will find that one day they can no longer cause you to hurt.

I didn't always feel so free with language.  For example, the word cunt really bothered me for some damn reason and it appears to be a word that offends many women.  I found the word to be highly offensive and I'd stiffen up in disapproval whenever I would hear it.  One day I decided that I did not want to give a word such power or control that it can actually change my emotions.  I mean, come the fuck on, it's just a word!

So guess what I did?  I began to use the word cunt.  I used it anytime that I would normally have said pussy, snatch, or vadge.  This was several years ago and, you know, the word cunt doesn't bother me in the least these days.  I stripped the word of it's power by using it and saying it often.

Insisting that others stop saying a word, writing a word, or singing a word only serves to let the word in question grow in power and continue to inflict pain.  In this way (and in others) censorship is more dangerous than freedom.  Flex your freedom; don't shrink your vocabulary, allow it to grow!

In a post such as this, I feel it's obligatory to list the following so-called dirty words:  shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Blessings in Suffering

Today I had a couple of quick exchanges with a few friends about my current situation.  I still haven't started to pass my baby and it's making me sadder as the days go by.  It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that my baby lost it's heartbeat a week ago and my body still can't let it go. 

At risk of sounding like a braggart, I led a remarkably charmed life for several years.  I enjoyed more happiness and joy than I could ever deserve.  I didn't have much in the way of pain or suffering and, as a result, I had grown quite fat and lazy from a spiritual and emotional standpoint.  That's not really a good place to be in my opinion and it's good that I've been tested and refined in this last year.

Regular readers of this blog know that there has been significant heartbreak in my life in the last twelve months.  I haven't written about everything that has happened because it would be inappropriate for me to share, but there has been a lot more that I haven't even breathed a word about in this blog.  Yes, believe it or not, there are some things that even I think are important to keep hidden, secret, and out of print.

I have wondered more than once if the things that I've been whining about are just normal things that happen all the time to everyone else, but I've had many people agree that it does appear that my family has been under attack with spectacularly difficult challenges in the last twelve-months.  What should I make of this realization that we have been hit by this onslaught?  Should I feel that God doesn't care about my faithfulness?  Should I feel abandoned by God?  Should I be mad at God?  Should I turn away from God and lean on my own understanding?

I faithfully (get it?!) submit that I should still find a way to give thanks for these painful circumstances.  Am I crazy?  I don't think so and I don't think that any Christian would.  Great growth tends to come after great suffering.  Imagine how much growth I'm going to be blessed with when these trials are over!  I'm convinced that this great suffering is preparing me for completing great works.

God is in everything.  Everything!  And, if we let Him, He can use anything for good.  Yes, even the death of this much loved and wanted baby can be used for good in God's name!  There is already good in this suffering.  Rather than turning away from God during these difficult times, I've grown closer to Him.  My faith has been strengthened although my emotions have been battered.

I hope that I continue to lean on Him because there's no way I'd be able to handle these challenges on my own. I didn't become a Christian until I was in my mid-20s and I know for a fact that I would be completely broken if I was dealing with all of this while spiritually adrift.  I was in a perfect position, spiritually, to experience the events of the last twelve months because I had learned of God's true love.  It's not an accident that this testing happened after I accepted Christ in my heart.

I know what I want, but that doesn't mean that it's the right time (if you will) and I don't have the benefit of God's vision so I can't even second guess what's been happening because I don't have all the information to form an educated opinion. I hope that never-ending sentence made sense!  I don't doubt that blessings will return to my life (and, really, I am still being marvelously blessed!) and I will rejoice and give Him the thanks when that day comes!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Recipe - Stuffed Mushrooms

Easy enough to serve family on a weeknight, but pretty enough to serve to guests.  This is also the rare recipe that I only use a partial amount of an ingredient.

Stuffed Mushrooms
2 8 oz. packages of mushrooms
1/2 of one brown onion
1 brick of cream cheese, softened
Salt & pepper to taste
Shredded parmesean cheese (not the powdered kind)

1.  Wash mushrooms and thoroughly drain. 
2.  Gently pull stem and cut off tough end.
3.  Throw stems in food processor and pulse until finely minced.
4.  Remove minced stems to non-stick pan.
5.  Roughly chop the 1/2 of one brown onion.
6.  Throw onion in food processor and pulse until finely minced.
7.  Remove minced onion to non-stick pan with the mushroom stems.
8.  Add small amount of oil (2 to 3 Tb or so) and turn heat to Medium-High.
9.  Cook until onions are translucent.
10.  Begin to preheat oven to 350 degrees.
11.  Remove mushroom-onion mixture to a bowl and add softened cream cheese.
12.  Mix well and add salt & pepper to taste.
13.  Stuff each mushroom with the mixture and put on a pizza stone or baking sheet.  Sometimes you have extra and that's okay - see end of recipe to get a couple of ideas for this extra mixture.
14.  Place mushrooms in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.
15.  Remove mushrooms from oven and sprinkle each with a pinch of shredded parmesan.
16.  Return mushrooms to oven for ten more minutes of cooking time.

If you have extra filling, don't throw it away because you can do a couple of things with it.  You can put it in a baking dish, bake it with the mushrooms, and serve it as a dip.  You can also put it in the fridge for a day or so and use it to stuff some more mushrooms!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sadness in My Mailbox - Part II

About two months ago, I wrote a blog post about a catalog that made me break down and cry like a baby.  In light of recent events, I received an unwelcome package in the mail today that should have yielded the same result.  I received the maternity clothes that I ordered last week.

I don't know why I ordered those stupid clothes.  I hadn't gained any weight yet and I certainly wasn't showing anything even remotely resembling a pregnant figure.  Fat figure, yes; pregnant, no.  I still have all of my maternity clothes that I wore when I was expecting my son.  I hate shopping for pants without being able to try them on.  So why did I do this to myself?  Why in the world did I order these stupid fucking maternity clothes?

I find it oddly fascinating that I didn't dissolve into a blubbering mess of tears.  I stared at the package for a few moments and then tossed it on a pile of magazines that I keep intending to donate somewhere.  I didn't even open it. . .I mean, why bother?  It's not like I'll be wearing the clothes anyway.

* * *

On a related note, I'm still exhibiting pregnancy symptoms for some damn reason.  As if the last few days haven't been awful enough without nausea and impossibly sore breasts.  My food aversions seem to be decreasing though and it's good to finally be able to eat vegetables and drink water without running to the toilet to yak it up.

My body still hasn't started to release the baby.  It is killing me to know that my beloved baby is still there, dead and rotting in my own body.  This is the stuff that nightmares are made of. . .it's truly horrific. 

I'm beginning to wonder if I should just have the D & C and be done with it.  I just can't bring myself to do it.  I know that having to undergo that procedure will rip open a long-closed wound and I just can't do it.  But I also can't stand the knowledge that my body is stupidly holding on to my dead baby.

The internet is a blessing and a curse in times like these.  It's wonderful to read of all the times that the ultrasound was wrong and the baby was found perfectly healthy when they checked before doing a D & C.  It's awful to read of other women's experiences with miscarriage at 10-weeks.  I have read several accounts of women who actually saw their dead baby's features as they pass it out of their body.  That sounds like it's too much to bear.

I don't know what's worse:  Seeing your dead baby at home and at least being able to bury it or honor it in some fashion or not seeing it and letting the doctor throw it away like biological garbage.  Unfortunately, I know what they do with the fetal tissue and I can not allow that to happen to this very loved and wanted baby.  I just can't. 

I don't know what I'm going to do, but this back and forth crap is making me crazy.  Opinions?  Suggestions? 

* * *

I've been contacted by more than a half-dozen women who have experienced a similar situation.  I had no idea this was so common.  I appreciate that so many of you have shared your experiences because I was sure that this was my fault, my shame.  Thank you for being so open and caring.  Here's hoping that one day all of our wounds will be healed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Think I Must Have Known

Today I stared at the Christmas letter I wrote just a few short weeks ago.  The Christmas letter that I inexplicably never sent to anyone even though I've promised many people the pictures that were going to be sent along with it.  In this Christmas letter, I excitedly shared the news that my husband and I were finally expanding our family.

I'm at a loss to explain why I didn't send it out a month ago.  When I didn't send it out before Christmas, I figured that I would send it out as a New Year's greeting.  I never sent it then either.  The letter and accompanying pictures sit, largely ignored, on our desk.  Now it serves as a bitter reminder of the abundant joy that I had in my heart.

Why didn't I send out this letter to anyone?  Did I know all along, somewhere deep down in a place that I would never acknowledge, did I know that this baby wasn't meant to be born to me?  I found this pregnancy far more difficult than the one I had with my son, but I don't know that I feared that it wouldn't last.  I didn't on any conscious level anyway.

I'm still waiting for the final part of this process to be complete, yet still clinging unrealistically to the hope that there might still be the tiniest heartbeat in my baby.  I know it's going to hurt when it happens and, in a weird way, I'm looking forward to the pain.  I'm hoping that the physical pain will be so great that it takes my mind off the emotional hurt I'm feeling.

As is my custom, I'm trying to find the good in this situation.  It's really hard to find anything to give thanks for in this situation, but what shines out to me is that this pregnancy gave me ten-weeks of joy, heart-filling joy, that I haven't felt in such a long time.  Yes, I'm suffering now, but I wasn't just a few short days ago.  And, for that, I'm thankful.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Waiting is The Hardest Part

I had an awful dream last night.  I thought that my baby had died in the womb.  I woke with a start at the horrible nightmare and sat up in bed.  I could feel the pad between my legs, the pad that is there to catch the pitiful remains of my baby.  I remembered what had happened yesterday and my tears started afresh.  If you read yesterday's blog post, you know what happened.

This isn't a dream.  This is happening.  This is real.  It's a reality that I hate, but it's real nonetheless.

I've been out of sorts all day, irritated with everyone who has had the misfortune to interact with me.  I know it's no one else's fault (according to all three doctors I've spoken with, it's not even my fault), but I'm taking my frustration and pain out on the world.  I want someone to take it out on, but there is no one to blame.

The anger is masking my aching sadness.  And, oh God, how I ache with sadness.  My mouth and my bones and my blood cries out, screaming and pleading for a miracle.  Begging for my joy to be restored.

I haven't resumed bleeding yet and I'm torn about how to feel.  On one hand, I'm hopeful. . .ridiculously hopeful that maybe somehow my baby will come back to life and that it's little heart will start beating once again.  I know it probably sounds stupid, but I can't abandon hope just yet; I can't give up.  On the other hand, I'm painfully aware that I have a dead baby in my womb.  I'm driving myself crazy wondering when my body will expel this baby, wondering if it will hurt, hoping that I'll just be numb to the event by the time it happens.  But hoping that I could never feel numb to the realization that my body is releasing a child of mine.

Waiting to pass your dead baby is a terrible feeling, a feeling I wouldn't wish on anyone.  I handled the news that my baby's heart was still.  I didn't freak out or have a breakdown - not in the ER anyway.  I nodded and thanked the doctor for the news.  But this waiting. . .I think this waiting is the cruelest part of the entire event.  I wonder now if I made the wrong decision about how to remove my dead baby.

I feel silly that I've received so many offers of help since I'm not experiencing any physical pain.  I feel like a sucker that I was already so in love with this baby.  I feel stupid that I was so eager to share my good news with everyone on Thanksgiving, only to share my heartbreak now.  Mostly though I feel the overwhelming ache of sadness.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Baby's Heartbeat Has Stopped

There's no easy way to say this so I'm just going to come right out with it:  My baby's heart isn't beating any longer.  My baby's heart has stopped and my heart is broken.

My baby died.  My sweet darling baby, the baby who I've longed for, the baby who I pray for every day, the baby who I already call by name, that same baby is dead.  I feel like I'm in some horrible nightmare, but it's reality.  My baby died.

I experienced some light leaking yesterday and I wasn't sure what it was, but I was inclined to believe that it was just the normal fluid that's been hanging out down there lately.  I woke up this morning and was experiencing moderate bleeding.  Not as heavy as a period, but enough to need to wear a pad.  Along with that blood came a few very small clots.  I screamed and started sobbing when I saw the clots.  I think I knew then, but I hoped for the best.  I called my husband home and we went to the emergency room. 

The ER doctor was puzzled that there was no sign of blood while he performed a manual pelvic exam.  It had been 1 1/2 hours since I first bled.  He was further surprised that my cervix was totally closed.  I was feeling pretty positive at this point.  It sounded like it was just some weird bleeding that sometimes happens.

Then he did a quick abdominal ultrasound.  It was really quick.  He said that he was ordering a full scan and he'd return to discuss the results.  I had a bad feeling because I figured he'd tell me everything is fine if he could see my baby and the heartbeat. 

The ultrasound technician didn't tell me anything (they aren't allowed to) and her face was expressionless as she performed the abdominal and trans-vaginal ultrasounds.  She was fairly chatty wheeling me in for the ultrasounds, but she was quiet - somber - bringing me back.  I was fairly certain this meant there was bad news.

The ER doctor came back and confirmed my worst fears.  My baby is still there, but there isn't a heartbeat.  He sent a gynecologist in to discuss my options.  In other words, to help me decide how to remove my dead baby.  The doctor was very kind and gave me three choices.  I could let this miscarriage continue naturally, I could let them force it along with some pills that cause you to expel the baby, or I could have a D & C. 

I elected to let the miscarriage continue naturally.  Since I've inexplicably stopped bleeding, there's no telling when it will start up again.  There's also a chance that all fetal tissue won't be expelled and, worst case scenario, I'll need a D & C anyway. 

Forgive me for being crazy, but the only reason I chose to go the natural route is because I'm desperately clinging to the hope that maybe all three ultrasounds were wrong.  My husband looked so sad when I told him why I wanted to take a wait & see approach.  I told him that I'm not bleeding anymore so maybe it was just some "normal" spotting that sometimes happens.  He reminded me that no heartbeat means that there is no life.  Somewhere deep down, I know he's right.  But I can't stop hoping for a miracle. 

My son put his hands on my lower abdomen when I returned home and said, "Mama has a baby."  That is the first time that he's done that and I had been holding it together fairly well until then.  In his sweet innocence, I know he thought it would make me happy to hear him talk about the baby.

You know, the name that I dreamt for this baby, the name that I call this baby, means God is with Us.  I know He is. . .even in these horrible moments.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Misunderstanding May-December Marriages

I watched a short movie the other day while my son took his afternoon nap.  The description caught my eye for a couple of reasons:  it was about book editors and it featured a May-December romance.  I have been working on four books (in 3 different genres!) for more years than I care admit and I am in a May-December marriage so I figured that Suburban Girl would be right up my alley.  After pushing myself to watch the entire thing, I think it belongs up the screenwriter's ass.

I wrote about my May-December marriage one year ago.  The only thing that has changed since then is that we are both one year older and I'm pregnant again.  We get along shockingly well and I would guess that our relationship is similar to any other couple who has been married for 5 1/2-years.  We have a significant age difference, but I'm pretty sure that we have the same hopes and concerns as any other couple raising young children together.

Sure, my husband is in his 50s, but it isn't like we spend our evenings discussing retirement plans or whether Metamucil works.  My knowledge about pop culture is not limited to the pages of Star or In Touch and I can't think of a single time that he's brought up a topic related to celebrity or history that I know nothing about.  Similarly, I don't only want to talk about whatever it is that 30-something women like to talk about and, thanks to a daily dose of the internet, he's always known who I'm talking about when I mention the latest celebretard or pop tart.

This movie I watched took great pains to depict a May-December romance that fits society's pre-conceived notions.  The man is emotionally damaged and self-destructive, a lecherous chauvinist with a taste for young female flesh.  The object of his desire is fresh and naive, in need of a hand up in life.  A slightly kinky Cinderella, if you will.  Ultimately, they are just too different and, thanks to his support and tutelage, she has grown enough as a woman to walk away and move on by herself.  Fade to black and roll the credits.  It's so damned cliche and predictable that I could have churned out the entire screenplay in about an hour. 

May-December relationships don't necessarily have such significant inequality and I submit that problems will manifest in any relationship built on such a lopsided foundation.  I believe that statement to be true even if both partners are the same age.  I don't know why I feel the need to rant about this issue.  I guess because May-December relationships are an easy target for derision since they aren't the norm.

Why do I think my May-December marriage works?  Because my husband doesn't act like he's my teacher and I don't take the role of his student.  He's not my father and I am not his daughter.  He is not my mentor, he is my husband. . .and I love him to bits.