Friday, January 25, 2008

10 Things I hate about this...

Yesterday, I got an email from my good "SF" friend, it contained a draft letter to my OB, aka "OBitch". My friend wrote in the subject line, "Do Not Read This Without 'Husband' Nearby". This is the letter she offered to write for me when I first received the bill from OBitch for a "Routine Obstetrical Pregnancy/Delivery", full price, for what she, OBitch, referred to as "1/2 a VBAC".
SF wrote in her note to me, "I know you still cry, I remain eternally sorry for what has happened.". I wrote her back and told her about my dead baby mafia moms, and that yes, I do still cry and that I suppose I always will. I wrote that "...this is a loss like no other" but that I had found my sanity, at least some of it, in being surrounded by all of these amazing women who have also suffered tremendous losses and now are trying to find life and a way to LIVE it, not endure it. I told her I was tired of feeling as though the elephant in the room was always sitting on my lap. I also told her about my new t-shirt, look here, which I wore proudly for the first time yesterday. Thanks Coggy! You so rock! And I told her I was getting off my cross.
When SF wrote back, she brought up a friend of ours, I'll call her 'Brittany', (for reasons that will become apparent), whose daughter died three days after being born. If you can believe this, I have never even thought about her until now. Obviously, she is not one of my close friends, I haven't spoken to her in years. When her daughter died, about 7 years ago, we were still the type of friends who sent baby gifts to each other, although our contact mostly came about through SF friend. Her daughter died, to put it simply, because Kaiser fucked up. They missed a birth defect, a heart defect, that could have been corrected and should have been detected during the pregnancy and if not then, immediately after she was born. But instead, they sent her home telling her mom that it was normal for newborns to experience rapid panting and seem breathless for the first few days. And they were right. On one point. She was breathless. So breathless in fact, that her breath stopped. During one of only three 2 a.m. feedings she ever had with her daughter, my friends baby arched her back, turned red and died. In her arms.
They found out about the defect from the autopsy. Kaiser, clever, clever Kaiser, had my friend in "therapy" the next day and began what I can only describe as a shamefully sinister scheme of medicating her into oblivion. And they did. They kept her strung out on opiates, the big bad kind, for over a year. It destroyed her marriage, her parenting, (she has an older son) and her life, for years. She's now divorced, lost custody of the older son and the subsequent daughter she managed to have in her drug induced haze and living in another state.
SF friend brought her up in the email like this, " I can't tell you how lucky your family is that you are dealing with your grief in a positive manner and not doing a "Brittany" on us. I think that is what a woman had to do 20 years ago. So pass the wood along BUT not until ready."
So now I wonder, will I ever, really be "ready"? There is still so much about everyday life that knocks the wind out of me. And I have become painfully aware that I am stockpiling a whole shit load of emotions while we "try" to make another baby. I have a horrible feeling that if we never get knocked up again, or worse if we do and I end up here again, that shit load is gonna take me out. Something tells me if I were in 'real' therapy, my doc might have me lookin a whole lot at the stuff I'm ignoring, the shit load stuff.
So I decided to try it out myself. That is, try and figure out what I am ignoring and how to get this fucking elephant off my lap.

1. My list I reread it, to see if I thought I'd be repeating myself here. Nope, I was right when I wrote #45....I have lots more to add.
2. Pregnant women. I loved being pregnant, every time, the whole time. I was actually sad when my water broke with my first because I knew the "easy" part was over...God was I stupid. I can't stand being around pregnant women now. I do it, but Gawd, I hate it. When I see one, I want to run up to her and say, "I used to be like you, all happy, with a live baby in me, but then my baby died, fucking up and died, in what was supposed to be the safest place on earth, my baby died right inside of me and there wasn't a god damn thing I could do about it." "And yours could too." But I don't. I just feel another piece of my heart freeze over instead.
3. Conversation. Every single time I'm in one, there's something I don't say. If you knew me IRL, you'd know that is not a skill I had mastered in my 'before' life. It has often been said about me, that I use my honesty as a blunt instrument and also that I have never had a feeling that I haven't shared. Not anymore. See #2 above for example...
4. Driving. I used to treasure my alone time in my car. Turning up the radio, playing the 'not for kids' songs, singing out loud...badly. Now, when I am alone, the "noise" starts, the "My baby is dead" noise. Now I turn up the radio to stop the noise. And the singing, that stopped the day Caleb died.
5. My garage. Lots of boxes out there. Clear, labeled boxes of baby clothes. And at the end of a rafter over my car, there is a baby bathtub. Waiting. Can't decide if they represent hope or torture. I suspect they have the potential for being both. Lucky me.
6. My closet. Beyond the racks of clothing that now come in all sizes, way before, before, after, way after, which then became before, and then after, again, and then before again, and behind all of that are my 'during' clothes. The maternity clothes that escaped the exiled box that I threw at my husband when we got home from the hospital and told him "Get these out of here." The ones that are left in my closet, they are the ones I never wore, the ones that still have tags on them, the ones I bought for the next season...the ones I was going to wear when I was really big and it was Fall and it was my favorite season...the ones I bought when I thought it was safe to plan. When I still had hope. It never pays to plan.
6. Shopping. Ever notice how every single store you go to has baby stuff. I do.
7. Doctors. Besides and not including OBitch. Now when I go, I get to be the one whose baby died. I don't get to blend in anymore...I get the pity care too. Careful...fragile...her baby died. Shhhh. I much preferred it when they just thought I was a bitch...those were the days.
8. Gift Bags. Okay so it's kind of a repeat from the "list' (the mortuary gave me my son's ashes in a fucking GIFT BAG), but now when I see one, even if it has Princess's on it, I still think, "The mortuary gave me my son's ashes in a FUCKING GIFT BAG. Best gift I ever got...NOT.
9. Dead baby pictures. That I have seen them. That I have cried over them. That I have come to know their mom's. That I am not afraid to look at them. That I have my own. That mine aren't ones I'd ever share. That I am mad that I don't have "good" dead baby pictures. How fucked up is that? Being mad that my dead baby pictures aren't as 'nice' as others...somewhere out there a therapists dream vacation is going to be paid me.
10. Sleep. I have never slept like I do now. I used to have to 'self medicate' to sleep. A cocktail. Some Benedryl, or maybe NyQuil, or maybe a few cocktails. It was always something. I could never just get into bed and fall asleep. Not for years and years. Too much going on, too much stuff to think about, stuff that would keep me up for hours. After Caleb died, I had the xanax for a while, and then the Scotch or wine or vodka, but I hated the way it all made me feel and I hated the dreams. My brain would relive it all, every night. I would wake up crying. I would wake up thinking it had all been a dream, that I was still pregnant. I would wake up and it would be a nightmare. I hated waking up. So I stopped. I found out if I didn't do any of it, I could actually lie down and sleep and the dreams went away. I found out that when I just sleep, it's actually the only time my brain is literally too tired to torment me anymore. Or maybe I am too tired to listen. I guess it's a trade off. I don't like sleeping anymore, spending time in this dark, cold abyss, I hate that. But at least I don't hate waking up. I guess that's something.

There's more. There will always be more. But for now, that's 10 things I hate about this.


charmedgirl said...

i get the one about the pictures. and i get upset at myself because, for the love of god, how was i supposed to know i should have had a f-ing photo session?? how was i supposed to know all the things i regret not doing with her?? but it pains me to the core anyway.

Coggy said...

Number 3. That hit me. I don't say so much now, I just can't be bothered. Before I would always have spoken up now I find that I've receded it's just not important for me to comment.

I know I have the one picture of Jacob, DH and I which I love but that's it. I get so angry, DH and I both do actually, that we didn't take our camera to hospital. We take a lot of photos and I know the ones we would have taken would have been so much more beautiful. How did we know? So stupid of us. The other pics I have are like some sort of gruesome Victorian death photos I hate them, they don't even look like him.

I also can't believe that I can look at these pictures of deadbaby's now like it's nothing out of the ordinary. Sometimes when I see live babies sleeping I think, oh dead baby. F*cked up!

Gift bags - j's ashes came in one too. I just thought it so f*cked up at the time. I guess what else would they give you? It was almost Christmas when we fetched ours and the gift bag was sort of Xmas coloured reddish or something. I remember being so shocked by it.

What the hell has happened to us all?!?

c. said...

Oooh. I get the pregnant lady one. I want to do exactly what you want to do. It's so bitter and so angry. I hate that I want to burst their bubbles like this. But I do. I really do.

And the baby clothes? They are still sitting in an organizer drawer at the end of my room, beside the co-sleeper. And my maternity clothes, piled up in my closet. Some are still on hangers in there too. I see them every day. I don't dare give them any more than a passsing look. I can't explain to you why I've just left them there, sprinkled in with the rest of my non-baby, non-maternity stuff.

I guess, I have to ask, what's there to like about this? Every little bit of the rest of our lives we will be reminded of the little things. I can't imagine not being set off by something everyday. If someone is well past the first year and can tell me different, I'd like to hear it.

PS Booooo! I haven't rec'd my tee shirt yet :o( Happy to hear you are wearing yours proudly. XO.

G said...

I want to read the OBitch letter :)
What a great friend you have.

Depressionista said...

This just made me so sad. I relate to you about the pictures, too, and the clothes, and the pregnant ladies (still can't stand them even though I have my son now). I think the gift bag is fucked. Our funeral home people were actually the best we dealt with during the whole thing (how screwed up is that?) We picked out an urn there and they personally brought the ashes to our house already in the urn.

I also so relate to your feelings about OBitch. The anger...that's what I still live with.

Your friend is awesome. So glad you have her to share this all with.

Julia said...

I do not like talking to pregnant women because I feel like the odd one out. I could tell them, but then I would be the party spoiler. Their doctors should tell them, but they don't either.
I am strange with speaking up now. There are things I just will not bother with. There are things that I will not shut up about (ok, maybe not right away, but if gotten to). And then there is this other thing, where I have learned to not butt in if the matter is one of personal approach. You know, of how someone is dealing with something. I have become gentler in that way, more able to offer support of whatever kind is needed, more able to focus on the person in need rater than my opinion. That part I like.
I actually like our pictures, even though we took them with my cell phone camera. But the cell phone is a blackberry and the camera in it is good. But it is too hard for my husband to look at them, so we don't have them up anywhere.

niobe said...

There are only two things I hate about this. You know what they are.

Missing said...

there are so many things on this list that used to be on mine.
All I can say is it will get better and the things on your list won't sting as hard.

I know what worked for me is just not "trying" to be around those things if I didn't have to and just taking a break from my playgroup and other activities where the preggos and babies were. Take a break from the shopping and I sort of hid from my friends for a awhile. but they understood (most) and the ones who didn't, well, then they weren't my real friends.
Boycott gift bags for awhile...
it's okay!!
and I so relate to the car thing. When you drop the kids off at school and there is just you in the car, and normally it would have been your alone time with the baby in your tummy to listen to music and bond (at least it was for me)
Now I use the car for my safe place to cry so that the world can't hear me. I turn up the music and just cry sometimes. just takes time. I haven't gone to therapy but was considering around 4 months, but then time allows the scab to form..

How far are you from the city? Maybe if you want to we could meet halfway for coffee or at a park and let the kids play or something.
I dunno.

Anyhoo, I couldn't find your email address but mine is

Thinking of you..

CLC said...

I get the car thing. I think every time I get in it to go somewhere I start to cry. It's like it is too much to by totally by myself, because that's when I let myself think about it. I wish we didn't have to make lists like this.

Jennifer said...

I feel the same way about the pictures. I'm actually glad that I'm not the only one who does. I'm so sorry about your list...


Rosalind said...

Oh My!! #2, #3 and #9

I can't stand being around a pregnant woman not only do I want to let them into my reality but I feel really uncomfortable.. like she has some radar that i'm a deadbabymom and wants to protect her young from i'm contagious

My friends will tell you I don't beat around the bush it there's something that needs to be said you can depend on me to say it..Nowadays I either don't always say what comes to mind or i'm thinking later why didn't i say something..It's almost like I don't have the energy ..the mind energy..

This one is major for me .. I have pics from the hospital and pics that we took personally ... I regret not taking a pic of us three together.. our only family photo with her.. Right now her pics are my private pics but, one day i'm going to post one for all to see how beautiful she was ..