Monday, April 16, 2012

Rough Day

Today was a rough day.  Haven't had one in a while, so I guess I was due.  A co-worker of mine (let's call him C) wasn't in the office today because he was at the hospital with his wife, who was in labor with their first child.  All this would have been fine except that everyone kept asking me if C had called or emailed with any news (as he works in my department and I was one of the only ones there today).  My response was always "no, haven't heard anything yet."  However, my internal bitch was screaming "leave me alone...don't you know how hard this is for me?  Don't you know how jealous I am of C and his wife?  Can't you see how painful it is for me to have to answer your dumb-ass questions about C?"  It hurt so much to have to hear all the speculation about C and when his baby will be born and when he'll be back to work.  Don't they remember that I lost my daughter 20 months ago?  Of course for them didn't drastically shift on August 9, 2010 like it did for me and my husband.  Can't they even imagine just how hard it would be to have to hear about other pregnancies and babies?

And, the wonderful world of infertility makes all this even harder to bear.  Because I so very much want what C and his wife have.  And not just the alive baby at the end of the pregnancy.  I want the bliss of an easy conception, the joy of an uncomplicated pregnancy too.  Things I won't ever have.  Because now I know how hard it is for me to get pregnant.  And I know all the awful things that can happen during a pregnancy that result in a dead baby.  So, if I ever get pregnant, then I'll get to spend 9 months in the special anxiety of pregnancy after a loss.  And it all just plain sucks.

And, now I get to look forward to work again tomorrow.  And probably the email announcing the safe arrival of C's baby.  And more talk about it all.  And during it all, I have to either grin and bear it or make my escape.  And since we have an open floor plan office, there aren't many places to escape to without drawing attention to myself.

And I was doing so much better.  Gah, I hate this grief roller coaster...I want off now, please.

(Okay, I think I'm done whining for a least here in, at the therapist tomorrow...that's another thing all together!)

Monday, February 20, 2012


I know I owe you a very detailed explanation of everything that's happened since my last post (a whole 6 months ago).  And I promise, I'll get to all that some time in the near future...I just don't have the time for it tonight.

This post is for me to vent my frustrations.  My 33rd birthday is a month away.  Four years ago, on my 29th birthday, I stopped taking birth control pills.  The hope was that within a year, I'd be pregnant and we'd be on our way to starting our family.  After the first year of trying and still no pregnancy, I started to worry that something was wrong with me and we'd need medical intervention to achieve a pregnancy.  So, shortly after my 30th birthday, I went to the doctor.  After many blood draws, a sonogram to check my ovaries, and a glucose tolerance test, I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).  I was prescribed Metformin, a drug used to help control my glucose levels, which in turn would help control other hormones.  The idea was that once the hormones got straightened out, I'd start ovulating on my own and could then become pregnant.  I was only on the drug for a few weeks before I stopped taking it because it was making me extremely sick, so much so that I was having to call out from work way too much.  My hubby and I decided that we'd just try on our own for another year and if I still wasn't pregnant by my 31st birthday, I'd go back on the awful medicine and suck it up and deal with the side effects.

Then, on my 31st birthday, we found out that we had achieved the miraculous and I was pregnant!  All on our own, we had achieved our hearts' desire and we're expecting our first child.  But, we all know how that turned out.  Fast forward through a problem pregnancy and then an early delivery of a very premature and very sick little girl who didn't survive.  Brianna's death broke our hearts and buried our hope of a family under layers of grief.  But then, another miracle only 4.5 short months after Brianna's death.  I was pregnant and again it was all on our own, without any drugs.  Looking back, I attribute it to all the hormones coursing through my body after my first pregnancy.  But, that pregnancy didn't last long at all.  Only 8 weeks in, and the baby died.  Fast forward through a D&C and more grief and guilt.  My 32nd birthday passed while I was waiting for my system to reset itself from the D&C.  A few months go by, we have appointments with various doctors to try to figure out the cause of the miscarriage and are told just "bad luck".  Brianna's death and the miscarriage have nothing in common.  We were just struck by two very different types of lightning, twice.  That we should just try again as soon as we are emotionally ready.

So, after Brianna's first birthday, we decided we were ready.  I started keeping track of my cycles (which are all over the place, nothing regular about them what so ever).  I started keeping track of when we had sex, hoping to catch that elusive day when, or if, I ovulate.  It feels like we've stepped back in time.  These are all the things I did for 2 long years.  Talk about deja vu.

And now, as I approach my 33rd birthday, I'm exactly where I was four years ago.  Still waiting to get pregnant, still waiting to bring home a baby.  Yes, now we're dealing with doctors (again), going through the steps to start new drugs (probably Clomid first), and we do have a plan.  But, we had a plan before and it got blown to smithereens.  I am just so frustrated that I have to do all this again.  So frustrated to even be in this position.  Wasn't it enough that my first baby died?  Or my second?  To have to be dealing with infertility treatments on top of it all just plain sucks.  Every cycle, I have a little bit of hope that maybe this will be the one.  And every cycle, that hope gets pulled out from under me with either the start of my period or a negative pregnancy test.  It's so very hard.  It's hard to stay upbeat and positive, to put on the happy face, to expend the energy to hope for a positive outcome.

It should all be very different.  I should have an 18 month old daughter here at home and not be worrying about cycles, drugs or fertility treatments.  I shouldn't have to be charting erratic menstrual cycles or keeping track of sex.  I shouldn't have to be coming up with various plans for getting pregnant or staying pregnant. 

Sorry for the rant.  Just having one of those days.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Walk to Remember Dilemma

First, let me start by saying that I know it's been a while since my last post.  A lot has happened since then and I promise I'll update soon.

Anyhow, on to the reason for this post.  Every year, on the first Sunday in October, Rising Hope (the support group Tim and I attend) has a Walk to Remember.  It is held at the cemetery where Brianna is buried and we are encouraged to invite friends and family, basically anyone we feel can support us.

Last year was our first Walk.  We were only 7 or 8 weeks out from our loss, but I really wanted to be there.  Tim and I opted to not to invite anyone make it just for me and him.  The day was everything I thought it would be and more.  It was hard, it was painful, I cried a lot.  But it was also a day of hope for us because of all the children that were in attendance.  To see that these other families had suffered the tragedy of losing a baby and went on to have other kids.  To see that their lost baby was still important to them, that they still took the time to acknowledge his/her short meant the world to me.  I still remember one little boy, maybe 8 or 9.  I overheard him talking and he said that he was there to remember his twin sister, who died when they were babies.  He was so honest, so matter of fact about it.  His parents had raised him to know his sister.  She wasn't some un-mentionable secret, but a real part of their lives.  She still had a presence in their family.  If we are ever blessed to have take-home kids, that is what I want.  For them to know of their older sister, for Brianna to be a part of this family, not hidden away.

Anyhow, back on to my dilemma.  This year, the Walk to Remember is again on the first Sunday in October. Tim and I were planning on going again, just the two of us.  However, he found out yesterday that he has to be out of town for work training for the two weeks that straddle that weekend.  So, he's going to miss the Walk this year.  And while I'm sad that he won't be there, I understand why he can't go.  This training is important and will help him keep his job, which is really important in this economy.  But, at the same time, I don't want to go to the Walk alone.  Yes, there will be lots of other people there.  And yes, I've gotten to know a handful of them over this last year through the support group and even would call some of them friends.  But, it's not the same thing.  I feel that I need to have someone there with me, to support me, to remember Brianna with me.

So, here's the real problem.  Do I invite my parents?  I already know that they have out-of-town plans for the day before, so they may not be able to make it.  Do I want to ask them anyway, knowing they may have to decline?  Will that make them feel guilty/bad for not going?  Also, there's some unresolved things with my Dad over my grief (in a nutshell, he thinks I should be "better" by now, doesn't understand why I still see a therapist every 2 weeks, why I still go to support group every month, doesn't understand why I'd want to be around all the "sadness").  Do I really want my parents there and risk seeing their looks of pity, risk seeing their uncomfortable-ness?  Do I want to risk them seeing my tears, my sadness?  The "real" me that I hide away from them because I want them to think that I'm ok, that I'm "fine" all the time?

Or, I could invite some of my friends.  But, would the invitation make them feel weird?  If they decline, would they feel guilty (not at all what I'd want them to feel)?  If they go, will they feel awkward?

And in the end, the day is supposed to be about Brianna and the other babies.  And will having "outsiders" there as my support group take away from that?  Will I be so concerned with their perception of me, will I worry about their feelings too much that it will take away from the purpose of the day?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Year Ago Today, Part 2

A year ago yesterday (8/10/10), we were thrust into the world of the baby-lost.  Just after midnight, while still strapped to the operating table as the doctors put all my insides back together after the emergency c-section, and with my husband firmly gripping my hand, I was told the news no mother wants to hear.  "I'm sorry, but she didn't make it.  We tried to revive her for 20 minutes, but it didn't work."  Those were the heartbreaking words the NICU doctor had to deliver to me as I laid there on that damn table.  In that moment, I felt like such a failure.  I hadn't kept my baby safe.  She was born too early and too sick from the infection that had invaded my uterus.  And because of those things, she died.

The next few hours are muddled in my memory.  I don't remember being taken back to my room after the surgery.  I'm not sure how Brianna got to my room, I just know that she was there, dressed in a tiny pink dress and wrapped in a matching blanket that the hospital provided because we didn't have any baby clothes for her yet.  I know my OB told my parents and my sister the awful news.  I know that I was hooked up to IV antibiotics to fight the infection in my body, but I don't remember what they were.

What I do remember is that a year ago yesterday, I lost my innocence right along with my baby.  I remember holding her tiny body wrapped in the blanket.  I remember her tiny fingers - they were so long for such a little baby.  I remember her skinny legs.  I remember she had black hair like her daddy and it was starting to take on curl like mine.  I remember her adorable feet, a perfect mixture of mine and her dad's.  I remember thinking she was too purple from the lack of oxygen.  I remember wishing she wasn't so purple, because I would have loved to know what her skin color was naturally.

I also remember the look of sorrow and utter devastation on my husband's face.  I'm sure I had a similar look on mine.  I remember my mom and dad's tears as they tried to comfort me.  I remember my mom holding her newest granddaughter and marveling at how tiny and perfect she was.  I remember my dad's refusal to hold her because he knew if he did, he'd lose it and he was trying so hard to be strong for me.  I remember my sister crying as she held her first niece, saying how beautiful she was.

I remember all the questions we now had to answer.  Did we want an autopsy?  Did we have a clergy member we wanted to contact?  Did we know if we wanted Brianna's body buried or cremated or donated to the state medical board?  And they just kept on coming.  And they weren't any questions we thought we'd have to answer about our baby, so of course we had no idea on what to do and just went with our gut decisions.

I remember holding my tiny daughter for hours, willing myself to stay awake so that I wouldn't miss any of the time with her.  I know I didn't...there is a picture that my husband took of me, sleeping while still cradling my little girl close.  I remember having about 8 hours with her, which in retrospect, is a lot more than some babyloss moms get.  But, it wasn't enough time.  No amount would have been enough, especially since what I wanted was a lifetime with her.

Around 9 am on 8/10/10, we had to say goodbye to our baby girl.  My husband gently wrapped her in her blanket and laid her down on this little basket the nurse had brought in for this purpose.  The nurse then picked up the basket and assured us she would make sure our little one was looked after as they took her to the morgue.  As she left the room, I remember thinking how I didn't want to let her go.  How it was so unfair that my baby had died.  Why me?  Brianna had been with me for 25 weeks and 2 days and I remember thinking I felt so alone without her.  She had been my constant companion.  All I had to do was touch my belly and I felt connected to her. And in a matter of hours, she was gone.  It was too fast.  I didn't want her to go to the cold morgue.  But, I didn't have a choice.  She was dead and that's where the dead go in a hospital.

A year ago yesterday was the day that divided my life into the "before" and "after".  It was the start of this journey into deadbabyland.  It was the beginning of the heartbreak and sorrow.  But it was also the beginning of the change in the way I view life.  I'm now more real, more present, more aware.  It was the beginning of this journey that has led me to realize that joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, hope and heartbreak are not mutually exclusive.  Instead, they are all present all the time.  They can be part of my life all at once if I allow them.  It's not an "either/or" but an "and".

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1 Year

Dear Brianna,

A year.  I just can't believe it's been a year, yet at the same time, I can't believe it's only been a year.  In hindsight, time seems to have flown by this past year.  But during the year itself, it seemed to be just crawling along.  I don't know if that's because of the grief or because I'm getting older or both.

Daddy and I miss you very much.  We would have liked to have spent your first birthday watching you eat your cake, getting frosting all over your face and in your hair.  Instead, we visited your grave and brought you pink roses and a butterfly balloon.  I hope that you can feel our love where you are.

Today, lots of family and friends told us they were remembering you.  There are so many of them who love you too.  You would have been such a spoiled baby had you lived.  Not only would you have had your daddy wrapped around your little finger, but your Granddad H and Papa S too.  Not to mention your Grandma H and Nana S and aunts and all the other "aunties" and "uncles".  I am so sorry that you are missing out on all that.

Happy Birthday, Brianna.  We love you, we miss you, and we always will.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Great Gift

"If you know someone who has lost a child, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died - you're not reminding them.  They didn't forget they died.  What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that is a great gift."
~Elizabeth Edwards

I've seen the above quote a few times since Brianna died.  And every time I read it, I am amazed by how true it rings. As we approach Brianna's one-year birthday/anniversary of her death, that quote seems even more apt.  I wonder if people will remember her.  And if so, will they say something to me?  Or are they afraid to say anything because they're afraid to upset me?  Make me cry?  I wish I could say to all my "real life" friends and family that by mentioning Brianna to me, it makes me happy.  Happy that they remember her.  Happy that she isn't forgotten.  Happy that they realize just how important she was and still is to me.  Yes, I may cry and it may make them uncomfortable.  But not mentioning her is much, much worse than saying her name to me.  Just telling me that they remember her, that her short little life mattered means more to me than I can put into words.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Year Ago Today, Part 1

A year ago, today, I was 23 weeks, 2 days pregnant with Brianna.  On that day, I woke up in the early morning hours with a lot of lower back pain.  I thought it was because I had been on bedrest at home for about a month and that my muscles were just tired of laying around all day.  I tried to rest, but nothing seemed to help.  I asked my husband to stay home from work since I didn't feel well.  Around lunch time, I couldn't take it anymore and called the OB.  She had me come in to the office and discovered that I was about a centimeter dilated.  I was terrified as we rushed to the hospital.

Once at the hospital, I was put on medicines to stop the progress of labor.  I was informed that I would be in the hospital on bedrest for the foreseeable future.  They would monitor me every day with a NST (non-stress test) to make sure I wasn't having contractions.  The goal was to get me to 28 weeks.  At that point, we'd discuss whether or not I could go home (but still on bedrest).  I never got to 28 weeks.

Today has been hard.  I keep remembering the fear and the hope of last July 26.  The fear that my baby was in trouble but the hope that the bedrest and the doctors would be able to help me save her.  I remember the kind and caring nurses.  I remember the compassion of my friends and family as they offered to help out with caring for the cats and looking after the house.  I remember the solid rock that my husband was on that horrible day.  Most of all, I remember the tiny kicks and flips of my little girl as she moved inside me, telling me that on that day, she was still ok and alive.

As the next two weeks unfold, I know I'll have more memories.  I know that they will leave me in tears, leave me breathless, leave me aching for Brianna.  I hope that some of the memories will also make me smile as I remember her tiny life and how happy I was that she was ours, if only for a short while.