Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I picked up Jaeger's ashes and brought them home. I thought I would be okay with it. Wrong. As soon as I got in my car, by myself, with her ashes, the "noise(#4)" started.
I started thinking about how I went to the mortuary, by myself, to pick up Caleb's ashes. People had offered to do it for me and my husband said we could go together but we would have to wait until his day off....then we would have to get a sitter or ask my mom to watch the kids while we went and I didn't want to do that because I didn't want to have to put on "the brave face" when we got one day I just drove over by myself to pick them up. I brought the "urn" we had chosen and the smaller "urn" that I wanted to put a few of the ashes in that we would not scatter. When I got there, I was told that there wasn't anyone there who could do the "ash transfer" and could I come back later?? Fuck. It had taken just about every ounce of emotional courage I could muster to drive over there at all and now I had to do it all over again. It took me a couple of days to go back. When I finally did, they gave me the "gift bag (#8)". I drove home that day, with my shiny white gift bag sitting next to me on the front dead baby's ashes tucked away inside, his little i.d. bracelet from the hospital, right on top. That's how I brought my baby's ashes home. I didn't even tell anyone I had done it. My husband finally noticed that the urn was on the table with all of the sympathy cards a few days later. "Oh honey", he said lifting it up, "I would have taken you."
"It doesn't matter," I told him. "It's done now.".
I did the same thing when I went to pick up Jaeger. Didn't tell anyone I was going. Just went and picked her up, it made sense to me. I mean if I could pick up my son's ashes alone, why not my cat?
But I didn't plan on the noise. It started with the, "I just did this, just a few months ago, I drove around with my son's ashes in my car. " No one driving past me would have ever known that for that one drive, my car was a hearse, and I was a funeral procession. I didn't get to have the police motorcycle escort, I didn't have a sticker in my windshield that said "FUNERAL", people didn't have to stop their lives for even a moment and wonder who died and did they have a long life, or offer up a prayer or thoughts for the dead while I drove past. To the outside world I was just another car driving by...they had no idea that inside my car was a mom and her dead baby, and that I was bringing him home.
Standing on my front porch, holding ashes. Caleb's then, Jaeger's now. "Welcome home." I think. My hands start to shake. I can't find my key because I don't want to put the ashes down. So I am just standing on my porch, holding his ashes and then the tears come. I am helpless.
I do not know how to do any of this.
I don't want to do any of this.
I don't want my son in a tiny silver box.

I don't want to have to think about where to scatter his ashes.
I don't want to know that for the rest of my life there is no escaping this
reality of my dead baby.

I don't want to mourn him for the rest of my life.
I don't want to miss him for the rest of my life.
For the rest of my life he will always be
My dead baby. My dead child. My dead son.

I put Jaeger's ashes in the box that hold my other cat, Hennessy's, ashes. It felt good to put them together. They were happy together, they both lived long lives and it was the natural order of things. It was sad to lose them both but it was something I expected and now I know they are both together again, forever. There is a certain amount of peace in that for me.
I still have Caleb's ashes on my dresser. All of them. They sit next to the cards I made at the mortuary, with his tiny foot and hand prints. I made 10 of them so everyone in my family would have one. I still have all of those too. Everyday I walk by my dresser and I see his ashes and think, there he is...still waiting for me to put him to rest. Everyday, I can't.


There will be no peace, even if I can figure out what to do with his ashes. The NOISE won't stop. The words may change slightly, but they will still say the same thing. My baby is dead. There is no natural order in all of this. Parents aren't supposed to bury their children. Parents aren't supposed to live their lives without their children. How do you find peace throwing your child's ashes into the wind or into the ocean? A tiny baby, burned into millions of tiny ashes and then scattered about where ever the winds may blow? I fear it would only make me feels as though he is just that much farther away from is that peaceful? Leaving him on my dresser feels worse. That I have not finished, that I have abandoned him and his little life because I haven't figured out how to say good-bye. I owe him at least that, a proper good bye. How do you say good bye when you never even got to say hello?

In my mind, I am still standing on my front porch, holding his ashes. I can't put him down to look for the key, it doesn't matter if I ever open the door anyway...and I am shaking because I know for the rest of my life I will always be holding his ashes.

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.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Brain Teaser

I saw this fun little contest and thought it was an interesting diversion. What 2-3-2 phrase do you have that sums up a life lesson? I am not offering a signed book or other fabulous prizes for your wit. Nope, just the opportunity to fire off some of those synapses and put the gray matter to use:)

Here's mine:

Laugh daily. Even a little. With friends.


Edited to add: Inspired by C & Coggy, feel free to play "dirty word" brain teaser too:) WTF right charmed girl????

Sunday, January 20, 2008


It's the loneliest feeling in the world, grieving for someone no one else knew but you. I wrote that as a comment the other day, I just typed it out without really even thinking about it. But when I reread it, in my futile attempt to prevent commenting with glaring typos which, without fail, I always do, the words affected me. Even though they had come out of my own head and had landed on the screen from my not so nimble fingers typing them out, they bothered me.

All week I have been thinking about them. The idea that this horrible grief is made worse by the fact that I can't share any memories of my baby with anyone. I can't say, "Oh, remember when Caleb...." nope, nothing. Sure, I could drive down to my doctors office and ask my favorite ultrasound tech if she shares my same memory of how hard it was to get "the baby" to stay still so we could get a clear picture of him, but it's just not the same thing is it? I can remind my husband of the nights when I would sit in bed and watch "the baby" kick, and that's about as close as it gets. Watching my belly shift and bob as this tiny creature explored his surroundings. Everyone else has only dreams of him, hopes for him, ideas of who he might be. But he wasn't really "real" yet, to the outside world. We didn't even know if he was a boy or a girl, he was still, just "the baby".

So this grief thing becomes everyone feeling bad or sad, for me, because I lost the baby. While my grief is because my baby is lost. That's the lonely part. No one can ever really miss him because no one ever knew him. Not what he looked like, how he smelled, how his tiny hand felt wrapped around my finger, how his chubby little foot looked when I lifted it up to look at his toes, how much he looked like his big sister. None of it. My husband has been telling me this since day one of this nightmare. He said, "It's not the same for me. I didn't have the same attachment, he wasn't living in me, I didn't know him like you did." When he first told me that, I was really angry. I thought it was his chicken shit way of copping out on grief. I would argue with him, "He was your son too! You saw him, you felt him, you did too know him, he was real!" I wanted him to acknowledge that he had lost his son too, I wanted him to hurt like I did, to feel like I felt, to miss him like I did. I did not want to be the only one who felt the way I did. But now I know, what he already knew, I was on my own and no one was ever going to know the loss I had. No one.

When I asked my husband if it ever bothered him to answer the "How many kids do you have?"question, he said he didn't even think about it. He always answers "two". He said it's not that he doesn't believe or feel that Caleb was his son but that now, he has "two" and that's it. Like they say, you can't miss what you never had, right? Who the fuck are 'they" anyway???

I suppose my trying to talk more about Caleb IRL is my way of making him 'real' to the outside world. On Friday, I talked to two of my friends about him. One just listened, it was a brief conversation but I felt so much better saying out loud what I was thinking in my head, rather than just burying my thoughts with random chatter as is my usual M.O.. The other, my pregnant friend from ballet, actually asked more questions, including the "are you thinking about trying again?" one. I shared some of my delivery story with her, especially the parts where my OB became the worst doctor in the world with her infamous "If you do this vaginally you'll feel great! when you leave the hospital", said to me in her office upon learning our child was dead and discussing 'delivery' options and "Well, you only had 1/2 a VBAC." said to me in the moments after I delivered Caleb. I think my friends comment was, without misquoting her, "What a fucking bitch." and she then offered to help me find a new, nice OB should I ever manage to get myself pg again. That's the first time I have ever told the story out loud to anyone outside my family. Saying it out loud, to my friend, made Caleb feel more real to me and I hope real in some way to her. It gave him a moment, the briefest of life experiences. It gave life to him outside my belly in the strangest of ways. I imagine in my head, my friend relating the story to someone else, which means she will talk about him, even if it is only to say "When my friend delivered her stillborn son...", and even though they will never know Caleb, they will know he existed and that he was real.

Sometimes I compare myself to someone who suffers from "phantom limb" syndrome. A victim of a horrible, tragic set of circumstances who has some part of their body, a leg or maybe an arm, removed and yet still reaches out at random moments, years later, to scratch an itch on that same leg or arm because they can still feel that limb. In the same way, I have had a part of me, who was this whole other person, literally ripped from my womb and I know for the rest of my life, for as long as I draw breath I will always feel the pain, the ache of his absence and I will always, always know, that something is missing. And that he was real.

“What is real?” asked the Rabbit one day.
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse.
“It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for
A long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you
Become Real.”
“Does it hurt? asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.
“When you are Real, you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once”, he asked or bit by bit?”
It doesn’t happen all at once, you become. It takes a long time.
Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off,
And your eyes drop out…But these things don’t matter at all,
Because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people
Who don’t understand.
“…once you are Real, you can’t become unreal again.
It lasts for always.”
The Velveteen Rabbit

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


My cat died. Jaeger (say Yay-ger). I knew it was coming, hell you all knew it was coming. I mean a 20lb, 16 year old cat drops to 4lbs, stops using the litter box and starts getting into the shower with you, when you are showering, in a vain effort to get hydrated, the writing is pretty much on the wall.
Before Caleb died I think, no I know, I would have handled it differently.
I probably would have put her to sleep months ago, or at least when she started using the whole house as her personal litter box. I have always supported pet euthanasia and for that matter, I think it's pathetic we don't have a better system of people euthanasia, especially given the fact that a person can actually ask for it, where an animal depends on you to be brave and merciful when the time comes, if nature isn't working fast enough.
I couldn't do it this time. When my other cat, Hennessy, was sick and I knew he would never again be the cat he once was, I didn't even hesitate. It broke my heart and I cried so hard when they did it the vet had to ask "Are you really sure you want to be here for this?" The truth was, NO, I didn't want to be there, but I had to, because I loved him.
This time, I just didn't have the heart for it and I would never have let someone else do it for me. If someone was going to pull the plug on her, I at least owed her my presence and tears when she went out.
After my New Year's eve conversation with my son, I lost all hope of ever being able to put her down. I couldn't stand the idea of bringing anymore heartache into his world. It's not that I suddenly thought she would live for years if I didn't do it, but she had been living like that for a few months without any noticeable further decline and I decided my kids mental health was more important to me than my new carpet and wood floors. So I decided to let nature take its course.
Over the weekend she stopped eating. Tick tock. She still hung out with us so the kids didn't really notice but my husband and I knew she'd probably be gone before Monday.
Sunday, we went to visit new baby Harper. I thought my cat would be gone when we got home. I made her a nice bed and locked her in "her" room and we left.
Seeing the baby was nice. I know I buried a lot of emotions down deep, but I did hold her and smell her and love her for who she is, my beautiful baby niece. To me the hardest part was watching my kids hold her. That ripped at my heart more than I can ever describe. No, they weren't sad, I don't even think they made the same connection as I did. Their faces were filled with the wonder and awe that holding a brand new baby inspires. I stood back and watched and thought to myself, you both should have been able to have those feelings holding Caleb too. You were robbed. So was he. I hate this.

We got home late in the day and our kitty was still hanging in there but she was having difficulty walking. We told the kids that we thought this was it, that she wouldn't last much longer. They both did okay with that, I think. I mean they did the regular Sunday night stuff, but they would give her an extra pat or check on her more frequently. But no meltdowns.
I brought her up to bed with me but she only stayed a little while and then wobbly hopped off the bed looking for a more private place to be. I tucked her away in the bottom of a kitty tower and she seemed content there for a bit but eventually made her way back to her "room". I put her in her bed and pet her for a while, I told her I loved her and that her buddy Hennessy, was waiting for her when she was ready to go. And sometime during the night, she left.
Monday morning I found her. I wrapped her up in a blanket and let the other cats come see her. I am a firm believer in animals needing to know when another housemate dies. The three came in and smelled her, and our female, who we adopted last year, (she came to us knocked up and then proceeded to have kittens on my daughters bed, did I write about that???? can't remember and too lazy to go back and check)...but this "mommy kitty" as we call her, smelled Jaeger, licked her on the head and then lay down right next to her and stayed with her even after the other cats left. It was really touching.
The thing is, and why I decided to share or bore you with my kitty story, how my kids reacted. My son, was devastated but completely shut down. All day. He cried softly in the morning, barely let me hug him and wanted nothing to do with going in to see her or say good-bye to her before quietly leaving for school. My husband said that he cried all the way to school but stopped when they got there, to "tough it out" in front of the guys. My daughter woke up(after the boys had left) and the first thing she asked was "Where's Jaeger?" I told her. She ran downstairs opened the door to Jaeger's room, saw her, fell to her knees and just wailed. She cried hard and I cried with her. I am also a firm believer in the, "No one cries alone in my presence" philosophy. She sat with Jaeger, pet her, kissed her, and stayed with her until I had to drag her out to go to school. While she was looking at her, she asked me when Jaeger was going to go to Heaven. I realized she thought the whole cat would just disappear into the heavens, and here was our kitty, just laying there with nothing happening.
As many of you know, I am not a "God" person, but I have left the option open to my kids, as I want them to be able to make the choice to come over to the "dark side" on their own, after their own research and their own decisions. And I do believe in something bigger than me or us. It just doesn't have ANYTHING to do with RELIGION. So we sat and talked about souls and spirits and I tried my best to explain to her broken heart and her 6 year old brain, where I thought our kitty was and how she got there.
She told me, "I think I will cry at school today, too." I told her to go right ahead. Just to tell her teacher if she felt sad and that she would understand. Which she did.
My mom and my sister came over, made the vet calls for me (side note, pet cremation, WOW, what a racket, worse than funeral homes, and being a dead baby mom, I would know) and then sis drove me and my cat, to the "place". Thanks sis, big hugs for you:)
Between my two kids, I have always seen my son as the emotional one. He is so easily wounded by mere words or by the bigger things, like dead babies. My daughter, albeit, she is only 6, is much "harder". She tends to recover quicker, take things as they are and move on. She feels things and will cry on a dime, but a feeling is felt and then it is gone. My son ruminates, festers, and carries emotional weights on his back, much the same way I do. I don't know if it is birth order, or age, or the individual child, but that is who I thought they were. Opposites of the male/female stereotypes.
Okay so, back to "the thing is". Watching them grieve yesterday really opened my eyes. Especially given my somewhat "removed" state of mind. My son took the news in but would not really let himself feel any of it. He cried, but he didn't talk, he was sad but he hid it. He asked the big unanswerable question, "Why?" to which I gave him my all knowing answer, "It's life and sometimes, it just so sucks." He went to bed as sad as he was when he heard the news that morning.
My daughter attacked her grief head on. She ran into the kitty room, loved her kitty one more time and let all of her feelings fall where ever they needed to. And she asked all of the little and big questions, what would happen, where, when, how. Some I had answers for, some I didn't. And she talked about Jaeger, just like she talks about Caleb, openly, freely, matter of factly. She went to bed the happy child she always is.
And I realized, she isn't harder, she's more open. She feels it all up front, then works her way through it once she has the information she needs to grieve.
My son, he really isn't more emotional, he's just less equipped to deal with the emotions he has. In that way, he is pretty much a stereotypical, I am ashamed to say it, guy. He spent all day yesterday, trying to hide from his feelings. Trying to run from them. He doesn't want to feel them. Which I get, I mean, who wants to feel lousy anyway. But what I also get, is that if I let him grieve like this, if I let him "feel" like this, i.e. not "feel", he will, eventually, emotionally shut down. And become a man. The kind of man us wives spend years trying to get to open up.

I feel like such an idiot. Here I had thought he, my son, was more "affected" by the loss of Caleb because he has the random enormous break downs versus my daughter who drops Caleb's name as easily as she asks for more juice with her snack. When the reality of it is, he has the big breakdowns because he has no idea how to deal with it on a day to day basis. So he buries it and then when the feelings do come up, they are so big, and there are so many of them that he is completely overwhelmed by them and frightened by the feelings and loss of control of them. This only reinforces his belief that he is better off not having them in the first place.
Not so atypical after all. I was just blind to it.

Blogging has helped me be more like my daughter. It gives me a safe place to drop Caleb's name, without the collective gasp, "Ohhhh, she' s talking about her dead away, run away.". It has helped me feel the things I would have buried otherwise and because of that, helped me start to talk about them with my husband, and my family. I am not where I want to be with it yet, but I am working on it and for me, that's huge. The hard part is trying to do it for someone else too. I have no idea how to teach my son to feel things, a little at a time, to make them, ugh, "manageable".
I feel as though I got halfway up this huge mountain and was just starting to get into a rhythm and someone has called to me from below and said, "Hey, dumb ass, you forgot your backpack."

R.I.P. Jaeger.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


After my brush with happiness at the arrival of my new niece, formerly "no name", now fondly referred to as Harper Mathilde, I thought I'd dare myself to take on the real world with some of my dead baby fears.

What are my dead baby fears anyway? I have lots and they are different on any given day. Sometimes they aren't fears as much as they are things that piss me off, but I find it is hard for me to differentiate the two when they are all wrapped up in grief.

One thing is that no one ever really asks me how I am doing, i.e no one wants to talk about the baby. Remember that scene in Terms of Endearment (I know, I am "advanced maternal age" many of my film references may not be ah, let's say timely or relevant for some of you spring chickens) when Emma(Debra Winger) country girl, goes to New York with her bff Patsy to get away for a bit after finding out that Emma has the big "C", cancer? Emma gets annoyed because she knows Patsy has told all of her friends about the cancer and while they are all overly nice and complimentary to Emma, none of them ever say anything to her about it. Emma says to Patsy, "Tell them it's OKAY to talk about the cancer!" "It's not that tragic, people do get better." The next night at a party, Emma is sitting on the stairs and a "New Yorker" walks up to her, sits down and says, "Patsy tells us you have cancer!! We should talk!" Emma spits her olive out in the middle of a big laugh, gets up and walks away.

That's how I feel. No one wants to talk about "it". Maybe it's from fear of making me cry, which I might, or not wanting to bring me down on a "good" day, believe me, even on my good days, I'm already down there, or they just don't like talking about the unspeakable tragedy of dead babies. Yep that too.

Mind you, I don't want anyone coming up to me saying "I hear you have a dead baby! Let's do lunch!". And I don't want someone who I barely know, like so many of you have experienced upon going back to work, coming to me, hoping to get "the real story" either. But I do want for my close friends to ask how I'm doing with all of this, even if it's just once in a while. I do have one IRL friend, who just today sent me an email that read, "I know this is the week you would have had your baby, (it's the week of my due date but I was scheduled for a csection last week) and I have been too chicken to say anything to you, so I am sending you this email to tell you I am thinking of you and your baby. If you want to talk or need someone to be with, I'm here." That was good enough for me. She's my only IRL friend who EVER brings up Caleb. So she gets a pass on this blog.

If the problem is that they are afraid to say anything, than I thought, with my sliver of bravery from my happy place moment, I would try bringing "it" up myself.

I thought I'd start with my ballet mom friends from my daughters ballet class. My mom told me when she filled in for me in December they all talked about me to her, how sad they are, how they miss me, how they don't know what to say to me, how they feel like they've lost a friend because I haven't been there etc., So I figured, they'd be a good "test" crowd. I mean, if they'll talk about it to MY MOTHER, why not me???

I get to class and first thing, the ballet mom I have been avoiding is right there, 9 months preggo, (hence the avoiding thing by me) but I sit right next to her and ask her how she is doing and if she is getting excited about her BABY. 1 point for bravery. She goes into more detail than I need, but I listen and offer appropriate reassurances, "I am sure the baby moving is a good thing after all", "Breech? You're having a C-section, don't worry, it'll be fine." 2 points for bravery. She asks me how I am doing. I say "Great!", lose 1/2 point for my chicken shit answer. My other friends arrive. I share the new niece story with them. Earn 1/2 point back plus another point to keep the math simple. They ask how s-i-l and baby are. I tell them good, but that I had been worried as she was overdue and in my STILLBIRTH SUPPORT GROUPS (this means you, my dead baby mafia moms) I have heard so many stories about babies who died on or after their due dates. And how scary and real the possibility seems to me now. 5 points for saying the dreaded "S" word out loud. My non pregnant friend says "Oh my God, really, oh that's awful, really on the due date?" 1 point for friends for continuing conversation. I share some of my new found dead baby knowledge, when my pregnant friend says, "Can we not talk about this?" Not in a real serious way, but a sorta "Hello, don't talk about the icky stuff with the pregnant lady" sorta laughing way. Friends lose 1 point for asking to stop the conversation. I tell her I am sure she'll be fine, which I guess was kinda a lie, since, who really knows anymore anyway. But what else was I going to say? "Watch out, you could be next!"?

That's when someone brought up OJ and his going back to jail and I knew the "it" conversation was over. So points wise, I came out on top but that's the problem right? I didn't want to win, I wanted my friends to win, to get more points than me by really talking about "it". I guess it isn't really fair to take points away from the pregnant lady. After all, before joining the club, the last thing I would have wanted to talk about when I was 38 weeks preggo would have been babies dying on their due dates, but still. I opened the door and was saying to them, "Today, it's okay to talk to me about MY baby and/or my grief." and they didn't. OJ was easier on the ears for everyone. Except me.

I guess that's the IRL $60K question. What do we really want from our IRL friends anyway? I am not sure. I know a few things I don't want, not from the innocents who post here or from my live friends. I don't want advice. You DO NOT KNOW. No matter what your life story or what horrible, terrible bad things happened to you, unless you gave birth to your dead baby, do not tell me how to deal with this. I don't want reasons. Or rationals. Or explanations or, for the love of God, a "road map" outta here. Speaking of God, PLEASE, spare me your beliefs...especially if they involve a God who hands out dead babies as "life lessons", or "growth opportunities" or to show the great "mystery" of God's Way. If that's what your God is all about, I have two words, "Check, please.".

I don't expect my IRL friends to "get" this. I don't get this. I do want to be able to talk about my baby, if I can ever get over not wanting to cry. In front of them. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe I don't really want to talk about it until I think I can talk about it without crying. Why is that? If there were ever something to cry about, this sure as shit must be it, right?

During another moment of bravery or temporary insanity, whatever you want to call it, I mentioned to one of my girlfriends that I was looking for a counselor for my son. She asked why and I told her that he was having a really hard time living with the loss of the baby. She was dumbstruck. "Really?" She asked. "I never would have thought that." "I would never have guessed that." Jesus, why not??? He's 10, his mom has had a miscarriage and a stillborn baby inside of a year, and he lost, in his mind two siblings. How is it shocking that he might be, just the slightest bit troubled by that??????

Hmmm, maybe that's it. Maybe it's just too damn hard to explain everything and so not worth it when you do. Maybe my IRL friends just aren't ready for dead baby land. Maybe they will never be ready for it, unless, well, you know.

So for me, I think I'll count on my IRL friends for reminding me of who I was before, for laughs and giggles and glimpses into the life I used to know. I'll count on them to be my friends, because they are, and it really isn't their fault that they have no idea who I am anymore, how could they when I don't either?

What I hope is that my moments of bravery will happen more often and that slowly, I can introduce them to the girl I am now. IRL.

P.S. To my sis, the only IRL'er who knows about this blog. Nothing in this post is about YOU:) But you know that right?

P.P.S. To my deadbaby mama's, I added links over there on the right side for some really beautiful dead baby jewelry, not the "in your face" rockin type pieces you might see over at C's or Charmed girls' place, but very cool anyway. I especially love the footprint/hand print one. I think I might do that one. I also added a link for a photo service that does free picture retouching of your baby, if you need it. Many of you don't, but for those of you who have pictures where your baby doesn't "look", I have no idea how to write this, okay??, the way you want, this place does phenomenal work. Check out the website, they explain it much better than my lame ass attempt here. And it's free.

P.P.S. Look Coggy, I did it!!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Denial or something better...?

I have a new niece! I say with an exclamation point! Why the exclamation point you may ask? And I will tell you, it's because I am soo happy about her!
I have been so afraid of this moment, of how I would feel when this baby, the baby that was due a day after my Caleb, the baby that was going to be his "twin cousin", the baby whose impending arrival was announced at the same moment and in the same sentence as my baby Caleb, by the expectant cousins and siblings to the rest of our family. Afraid I would resent her, or that I wouldn't be able to love her the same or that she would only make me miss my Caleb more, that she would be like picking the scab off of a barely healing wound. So afraid that I asked to not even be told when the labor started. When her big sister was born, I was in the room, videoing and cheering my s.i.l. on as she pushed that baby out. But not this time. I was too afraid. I said, "Just call me when it's over.".
So as the due date came and went, each time the phone rang, I wondered, is this it? How am I going to handle this. I still am walking around on the verge of tears most days and never know whats gonna trigger them. Could be a thought, a song, seeing a pregnant woman, reading a blog, writing a blog....never know when it's gonna hit or why or how hard. Since my family is all in pretty close proximity, if I didn't hear from one of them for even a day, I figured she's in labor and they aren't calling. Sometimes that would make me cry. Sometimes knowing I wasn't going to be there would make me cry. Sometimes wanting to be there would make me cry. But then thinking about being there would make me cry. See, everything makes me cry.
Yesterday, my mom called three times, I missed two of them so when I saw the call log and then the phone rang and it was her again, I knew. "I have some news.", she said. So then I really knew and I asked,"What is it?" I think she thought I was asking what the news was but I was asking what the baby was, (we never find out ahead of time...old fashioned I guess) so she said, "You have a new niece!". And I didn't cry, not a bit. I was just happy. A new baby! A healthy, ALIVE baby! And I get to love her too! And I want to love her, that's the best part. That part does make me cry because loving a baby is the best thing in the world, which is why mourning a baby is the worst thing in the world, you do both unconditionally, with your whole heart, from places inside you that you can't get to on purpose, it comes from somewhere, with such force and commitment that you can't stop it, or minimize it or quantify it or control it.
I thought I would never be able to feel that kind of love while I was living with the loss of it, the loss of a child. Having all of those feelings, all of that love for Caleb and having him ripped from my body, my arms, my life, I thought for certain that the ability to feel a love like that in a positive way would be gone from me forever.
I was wrong.
I know I will still cry, a lot. I know going to see this new baby girl will still tear at my heart. I know I will probably, always look at her and think, Caleb should be here with her, he should be doing these things too. We should be loving him here too. But I also know, she isn't going to make missing him harder. Nothing will. Losing him, missing him, it's the hardest thing I have ever had to do and God, I hope, it is the hardest thing that I ever have to do. But I am doing it. Not well on some days and better on others, but I am doing it. And not doing it alone, thank you to my dead baby mafia moms, has made doing it at all, easier. ( I suddenly feel my favorite English teacher spinning in her grave, sorry Zoe! I know, my grammar SUCKS, at least I am consistent)
I know Caleb's' absence will continue to haunt us. I saw that yesterday when my daughter was drawing a picture for her new cousin and while she was drawing she kept talking about how much Caleb will like her picture. She wasn't talking to anyone in particular, just musing aloud. I was sitting next to her wondering if I should say something when she stopped and looked at me and said, "I keep saying Caleb, I can't stop." And I said, "I know, but he's not here, this is for the new baby (no name yet) right?" "Yes, but I keep saying Caleb." Then she asks me, "How will Caleb know we are talking to him, if he's a baby he can't talk yet, how will he talk to us ever? Will he get bigger and bigger and then we can talk to him?" And I told her no, he will always be a baby, but he can hear you in his head, you just have to think what you want to tell him, then he'll know. And she says to me, "There has to be a phone or something to call Heaven, there has to!". I wish, cuz I have some things I'd like to say, but not while my 6 year old daughter is sitting next to me.
Maybe the new baby will bring Caleb forward in a way I hadn't considered. Maybe because she is here, it will make it that much harder, or easier, depending on the day, to remember him and to not forget that for a few short months, he held as much promise and brought as much happiness to our lives as she does now. Maybe she will help us to miss him better. I hope so.
For now, for today, I am just going to sit with the fact that I shocked the hell out of myself.
I'm happy!!

P.S. To my bro and s.i.l. who don't know about this blog, JESUS!, After 9 months, don't cha think you could have picked at least one name for a girl???????????? Holy Christ! They have it narrowed down to about 7....for the love of God. (Sorry, didn't mean to get all religious on ya).

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

How many kids do you have?

I hate that question. I know, I know, anyone who asks is just making polite chatter or seeking what to them is "innocent" information but to me it just starts the whole mind blowing but silent conversation in my head...not about how many kids I have, cuz I KNOW, but the whole, "what do I say, which is the right answer, how bad do I really want to make this person feel and do I really want to talk about "it" right now anyway???"

Today, when the grocery checker guy was scanning my food, he asked how my day was and I told him it was quiet since the kids were back in school. (So right there it's my fault, I brought the whole kid thing up) so he asks, "How many kids do you have?" And I have to wonder if he thought I was a little slow because I had to stop and think about all of the above musings and dilemma's before I came up with "2". And of course, I am saying in my head, "I'm sorry Caleb, I'm sorry Caleb, I'm sorry Caleb, you count, you count, you count, I just can't count you out least not yet."

The thing is I could have said "3", and not added any details right? But the next thing he asked was, "How old are they?" So if I had said "3", then I would have had to go "there" anyway. Or I guess I could have said, "Well, 10, 6 and my third is dead" or "10, 6 and a stillborn", I mean what's the right way to do that???? At least if I had said one of those, it would have nixed his next question, "Why'd you have them so far apart?", in a really condescending way. That one really pissed me off, more so than the "How many" b/c what f*ing business is it of his how I space my kids???? What if my apparently inappropriately spaced kids were the result of years of IVF and other forms of hell and nightmares so many of you know so well, what if I had one in between my "two" that had been the stillbirth, or 8 miscarriages. What if the spacing hadn't been by choice but by circumstance?? Then what? Does he really want to know that???

So now, I am more than a little peeved, because I am already upset in my head at what I feel was a total denial of my sons existence and now I am having to defend my reproductive choices to a complete stranger, who, in his little brain, is only making idle conversation. Jesus, I just wanted to buy some niblets, I did not come here to have my uterus or its abilities questioned!!!!

I remember when my friend, who works at my kids school, suddenly and so tragically lost her 5 year old grandson Robbie(he died from undiagnosed diabetes...sooo frickin scary what happened that I now have my kids tested almost every time we go to the dr...). When we got back to school that Fall, she was putting up photos of her grand kids on her desk. I asked her how many grand kids she had altogether as I had never really heard much about the older ones who came to her by way of a blended marriage. She told me , with tears in her eyes, "Well, 5 but 6 if you count Robbie." I looked at her and said "Why wouldn't you count Robbie? He's still your grandson." It never occurred to me not to count him, I had included him when I asked the question. But now I know, she was dealing with the same plate of shit that I just had served up to me today. She and I cried together that day for her Robbie and that plate of shit. The grocery clerk and me? Well, we pondered whether or not the Patriots would be able to pull off the perfect season.

Maybe we should run this more like an AA meeting. (NOOOO, I haven't been to one, just seen them on t.v., thank you very much) Hi, my name is ______________. I am a dead baby mom.

I have 3 kids.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I want out of "the club".

It's not that I don't like you all. In fact, you're probably the best friends I've had, especially in these past months. Despite the fact that I could sit next to you in a restaurant, or walk past you on the street and never even know it was you. (Unless at some point we all do the group tattoo thing I suggested over at charmed girls place:)) Or you were brave enough to post your picture on your blog, but still, that would mean I would have to use my powers of recall and observation, and lets just say, it's a pretty safe bet, you'd get past me.
It's just that on some days, okay, all days or at least most days, it's just so unbelievably, overwhelmingly, life alteringly (I know probably not a "real" word...eff you Webster) SAD, being in this club.
It's not that I don't love reading your blogs, (is it sicko to love reading over and over about how another mom, just like me or maybe completely different than me, has a dead baby too)Maybe love is the wrong word????
It's just that it's torture to know so many are walking through this life with this horrible, terrible, dead baby ache and all I can do is watch and occasionally post a random pithy comment or maybe a xxoo (((hug)) and then just sit back and watch again. And feel helpless.
We all have such different voices. Some of you write with side splitting humor, some with mind bending and thought provoking information, some with a door open to your soul, some with downright cheerfulness(sometimes). So I've grown accustomed to waking up and going to this really great cyber cocktail party, where when I first got there, I didn't know anyone and was a bit nervous about being there but after the first moments, I found out everyone at this uber cool cocktail party seemed to know me better than I knew myself and it was great. The best party ever, except for that one thing. That dead baby thing.
And it's that thing, everyday. Especially on the "cheerful" blogs. Maybe those are the hardest to read. The ones I go to, to find a happy place, after I've visited with everyone and instead one day I find them in a not so happy place, and then it hits me, as though I needed reminding, I am not at a cocktail party, I'm at a dead baby club meeting.
It kinda reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode where in the beginning, you see a lovely woman and she's shopping at a department store and she's trying to return an item she purchased and the store manager sends her to the "Top Floor" to customer service. When she gets there every one's really nice, except that they are all mannequins, and so is she. She was just out on "mannequin furlough" and caught a glimpse of life on the other side and now she has to go back and be stuck being a mannequin again. She can't get out of it. I feel like that mannequin. I know there is that whole other world out there, that normal world, but I am not allowed to go back.
So I've decided, I want out of this club. I desperately want out and I want to take all of you with me.
Except, I didn't get to choose to join and apparently, as fate would have it, I don't get to choose to leave either.
That sucks.
That so sucks.
This just so f*ing sucks.

*This post in no way, implies, infers or pretends to represent, that any of you are mannequins:)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

2:00 a.m.

I'm up.

Usually am, not a.m. but am. I used to really love 2:00 a.m..

In high school, I stayed up that late, inside my cozy bedroom, inside my parents cozy home, watching Quincy, St. Elsewhere and Hill Street Blues reruns, and I imagined what the world was doing outside my little cozy life that was so much more important(read exciting) and fun and worth losing sleep over. And I dreamed that soon I would be a part of that too.

In college, I lived for staying up late. Staying up late meant all night cramming, big dreams, last call and usually PIZZA!!! or when the green backs were short, TOP RAMEN!!! It was all good, well, umm, not the cramming, that part was usually filled with a whole shit load of "Why didn't I take better notes?" "Fuck, do you think he'll/she'll(Professor) get into that much detail????" "Jesus F*ing Christ, Why did I take an 8:00a.m.class on Friday's?????" But in a crazy way, the cramming still felt fun, a rite of passage, an entitlement of sorts...I mean really, what's not fun about going to get a late nite study "food break" and then when the bill comes not even being close to the $$ total (and this was WAYYYY before debit cards and banks that gave credit cards to teenagers.) Yep, one of my fondest 2a.m. memories was sitting at the counter of a not so glamorous diner in downtown S.F. while my college roomie hightailed it back to the dorms to knock on doors gathering loose change and the ever treasured quarters(laundry money was harder to come by than pure gold) while I sat at said counter, making polite idle conversation with my technicolored and ummm, welll, "inebrieated'" cohorts. I was scared shitless who knew how long it would take my roomie to scare up the cash needed to bail us out... but, the ever resourceful gal made good and I was outta there. And it became a 2a.m. story of lore.

In law school, 2:00a.m. became a little scary. It was usually followed by an 8:00a.m. exam or lecture where you pretty much knew your ass was gonna be drilled for information you knew you should have known but you just didn't get there. But it also held magic. New friendships, different perspectives, opportunity, well, and yeah, just a little in the way of cocktails and the occasional sport f*ck...but I digresss.

In the spirit of being honest, I did lots of stuff at 2 a..m that I don't feel like writing about now but I can sum it up in one of my dh's favorite stories about me...and then us too. We were watching a late night 2:00a.m. show on HBO, "Real Sex", great fun, if it's still on I highly recommend it. Anyway, we were watching it sometime before we were married and not long after we had become engaged, when one of the "Street interviews" (i.e. the show stops ordinary, drunk, I mean willing folks to chat) and right there on the screen was someone I "knew'. I sat up, (It's 2 a.m., come on, I am in bed) and delighted in screeching to my then "dF"(okay dear fiancee) ,"OMG, I slept with him when I was in a law school!!" And then to add tit for tat, and to explain why we will never break up over infidelity my "dF" said "Well, of averages." And we laughed and did other fun 2 a.m. stuff. So 2 a.m. was not lost on us, ever....

Being engaged...2 a.m....yeah, what's that saying about put a penny in the jar everytime you have sex the first year you're together and then, take one out everytime after that and see if you ever empty the jar. We filled the jar up. We bought another jar too. Not on purpose, just cuz it turned out 2 a.m. worked for us....a lot.

Being married. Okay, so get ready to laugh. We had lived together pretty much since our first date, he "slept over" just about from the first night we said "Nice to meet you." And we had the 'nice to meet you sex' the whole two years until our wedding. And then we had the whole wedding thing, beautiful wedding, my parents spent WAYYYYY more than they should have and it was amazing. And that night, as we lay in our "wedding bed', EXHAUSTED, we both wanted to sleep soooooooooooooo badly and then we rolled over to say good night and we, in the most sadly,desperate of all wedding night romantic interludes said, "Boy, how pathetic are we if we don't have sex on our wedding night? " So we did. And it wasn't half bad.

One year anniversary. I knew way more about the 2a.m. sex than he did. Over a really nice, I mean really nice, $$$$$$$$$$$$, dinner...I told him all I knew. He panicked. It wasn't 2 a.m. yet but we got there, and past it, talking about it. That 2 a.m. chat became: 1+1=3. And that's exactly what we put on our birth announcements, about 8 1/2 months later.

The next year. 2 a.m. FUCK YOU. OMG, will I ever sleep again?????????? "Get the baby!", "No I have the baby", "My nipple is going to fall off, please just bottle the baby tonight." "PLLEEAASSEEEE.............JUST LET ME's 2 a.m."

The next years. "I miss waking up with the baby." Oh, how I love watching the baby at 2 a.m. while he's sleeping, it's the most amazing thing ever. And when he wakes up, yeah, I'm tired but ohhh, how I love sitting in that rocker, holding him close, telling him over and over and beliveing it, everything is going to be alright. Cuz for now, I can deliver on that promise. 2 a.m. is MY time with my baby, it's perfect.

The next year. How about that. We did it again. (and again for those who need to know, a miscarriage and a really icky d & c did interrupt our decidedly perfectly flawed famliy...on Friday, October 13, a full moon....but not at 2 a.m.. nope just an ordinary, middle of the day tragedy). We moved on and focused on the positive, on the possibility of life and we got really, really lucky. We got pregnant, she was born and she lived. I used to think that was a given, now I know, I really know, she's a gift.

2.a.m..(next year) FUCK! Will this child never sleep? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, sleepless nights on the couch in front of the baby swing. At some point, right around 2 a.m. , screaming to a helpless infant, who is also crying, "PLEASE STOP!!!!!!!!!I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED SLLLLEEEEPPPPPPPPPPP". It's 2 a.m. we should be sleeping. I go get husband and rudely awaken him to be sure that my not sleeping is okay with him........yeah.........NO.

Fast foward to a few years later...both babies(now kids) are sleeping. it's 2 a.m...we're up. How about 3??????? Let's go for three!! OOOOOHHHH FUN!! Yay!

BFP...we're good! It's all good. Wait.

2 a.m. I am spotting.

I am back.

Back in the dead baby mom club.

2 a.m. try again.

2 a.m. try again.

2 a .m. try again.

It goes on and on.. but we don't laugh about being pathetic anymore.

And then....BFP.

And then....check the old posts.

Caleb Robert.

2 a.m.

I slept through 2 a.m. while I was in labor with Caleb.

I think in my whole life it was the most important 2 a.m. and I slept through it. I don't think I could have changed the outcome, I don't think it would have mattered more to my baby Caleb, I just wish I could say or know, that I didn't sleep through his last moments here, that I had at least, stayed awake while he died.................

2 a.m. in the hospital, I am a mom to 3, but have only 2 "left" and now I am trying to decide with my dh what to do..what to do with a baby, a body, an autopsy, a cremation, a burial, and FUCKING A, please, please make the priest go AWAY!!!!!!! (We, at some point, were asked our religious 'affiliation' and we said none, which means at a Catholic hospital, where we were, they will try , no matter what, to get you to join the club). He did go away, I felt bad too b/c I know he only came to try and bring me/us comfort but it's not us, and he left. I heard him exhale as he walked off...he was polite, he left without question, and I still wanted to crease his scalp with an ashtray, or at least a bedpan. Maybe not him, just all of it, but seeing as Catholics are so symbolic...his scalp seems, well, I don't know, a bullseye? (And then I pray to the God I don't really know, please, don't let my new friends leave here b/c I just wrote that>>>>) nothing simple....

2 a.m. IRL.or I am. My new 2 a.m. is dead baby blog land. And, I'd be a liar if I didn't admit it's also become a HUGE part of my 9-5 day too. To quote another blogger, "WTF??""

2 a.m. Now it's just you and me Caleb. I am here. You are not. And for the rest of my life, at 2 a.m., I am left here, without you.

And now,my life at 2 a.m... it's not fun, intriguing or all that mysterious. It's just 2 a.m.. It's just really late, I'm still up. And you'll never be here.

I hate 2 a.m..

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New beginnings...

Well, I rung in the new year with friends, lots, and wine, lots more and then spent most of the night trying to comfort my 10 year old son who for some reason, that night/early morning decided to "let it all out". Wish I could blame the alcohol but since he hasn't started drinking yet, and I was the listener not the talker, it seems these were the "real deal" emotions, ones that he's been carrying around since September 1, and they had finally found their way out.

I don't want to blame everything on my 16 year old cat, you know the one, the peeing and other things one, but it is mostly her fault. Well, not really, but since she has been my emotional dumping ground, I figure what's one more thing. My son asked if she was going to die soon and in my stupid, slightly "affected" state of mind, I let it out that I'd probably have to "take her in" in the next couple of days, seeing as how we have had to resort to locking her in a bathroom for most of her life in order to preserve our carpet, floors, beds, furniture and mostly my sanity (Not necessarily in that order). And to illustrate the point. I just let her our of her new digs b/c I felt bad writing this and now had to stop writing to clean up the pee she just did, right in front of me, right next to the litter box. On the wood floor. Jesus.

For background purposes, (I know your not reading this blog to hear about my cat so I apologize again and again for bringing her up, but you should know too, I have three more so be prepared. I am never short on cat stories) this is a cat that for years never let my kids near her. She never really let anyone near her. She has been a hissy bitch her whole life. It's just who she is. I never apologized for it. She was abused, I adopted her, and she fell in love with my other beloved, Hennessy cat and made him happy and that was all that mattered. She was always good to him and me but anyone else had to be warned about her "quirky" behavior of letting you pet her and then she would go all "Linda Blair", hissing and spitting and would hit, bite and scratch, a LOT. I swear both my kids learned how to say "ouch" because of her. Okay, so back to the story...WAKE neither of my kids were particularly fond of her and when Hennessy died, the cat they really liked, we adopted two more because we didn't want our kids to grow up with a pet they were afraid of and figured she would go fairly soon after him as they were only three years apart in age. Yeah, that was 5 years ago. So now, in the last year or so, she's gotten nicer, to the point of actually coming out and sitting with people when they come over and sleeping on the kids beds, and letting the kids pet her and then LICKING them when they do. Which is all well and good, I am happy, really happy that they got to love her, that she let them love her and well, you know, that after being abused and all, after 16 years she finally felt safe. But in the last year, she went from 20lbs to 4lbs. No, that is not a typo, she weighs 4(four) lbs. I've taken her to the vet, they don't know what's wrong, she eats, all the time and she just is losing weight, losing her fur, her bowels etc. . .she is dying, slowly, too slowly, so, now I have to kill her or watch her disintegrate before my eyes. Nice.

And that's where my son comes in. Remember him , the one I started to write about? This is really about him, not the cat, but now you can see why I think it's the cat's fault. He asks me about the cat, I tell him. He starts sobbing, shaking. We were lying on his bed talking at the time and he just rolled over on his side and curled up and everything came out. The only thing that I can compare it to was the way I cried when Caleb was born/died. Right at that moment. The crying that is so deep, so huge, so totally uncontrollable that you don't even know where it comes from or when it will stop. And my 10 year old son was doing it. Not me. Him. I just rolled over and held him as tight as I could, and as quietly as I could, I cried with him. And we stayed that way for, I don't even know, 15 minutes, a half an hour...does it matter? My baby, my little baby boy, was hurting in a way I knew I would never, ever, in a million lifetimes, be able to fix. He hurt how I was hurting but he's only 10. 10 year olds should not have to ask, "Why, why mommy, why?" 10 year olds should not, ever, have to say, "I never want to get my hopes up again, it hurts too much when everything goes wrong." 10 year olds should never have to say, "Everything that's good always turns bad", 10 year olds should never have to say, "Don't tell me if you get pregnant again, I don't want to know, just surprise me with a baby.". 10 year olds should not spend the first hours of a new year lying in bed, crying to their mother about the unbelievably cruel world that steals away a child yet to born, steals away a child's innocence and steals away the promise of a lifetime filled with hope. Mine did. Happy F*ing New Year.

I suppose I could end there and leave it just like that. It sucks, as we all have come to say. It just so sucks. And it does. And it is what I have left or it is what I am now. I don't know. I can not believe that for the rest of my life this is what I will have. How can a conversation, a wish, a hope a dream, between my husband and I nearly two years ago have turned into this nightmare??? One night of "fun" without thought turned into a "Hey, why not, let's go for it! One more, three would be an adventure." And it has been, but nothing at all like we thought. "Three" has introduced our children into a lifetime that most of the world never knows. A lifetime where people turn away when you talk about it, a lifetime where most will never know why you are the way you are, or why you worry, why you KNOW things can go oh, so terribly wrong, for no reason.

And still, I want to try again. I do not want my Caleb to have this legacy. I want his legacy to be one of perseverance, of belief, of hope. Which is why we chose his name. (Another blog). I do not want my son, or my daughter to associate a new baby or a pregnancy with sadness. I do not want them to believe that every chance for life brings death. I want to believe and I want them to believe, that something good, something better, can happen either because of Caleb or despite his death. I do not want for this to be the end. I do not want to walk, crawl, or wither out of my "baby days" with this as the exclamation point. I want to believe in something new. I want to hope. I want my kids to have hope, more than anything on this earth, I want my kids to have that.

And that is what I told my dh, when I said I want another baby. And he said NO. He said, "Enough". He said, "I don't want anymore babies." I said, "You don't want anymore tragedy. You would still love another baby." He was quiet. I let it go, we didn't speak of it again. This was in October. In November, I emailed this to him:

A different child,
People notice
There's a special glow around you.
You grow

Surrounded by love,
Never doubting you are wanted;
Only look at the pride and joy
In your mother and father's eyes.
And if sometimes

Between the smiles
There's a trace of tears,
One day
You'll understand.
You'll understand there was once another child

A different child
Who was in their hopes and dreams.
That child will never outgrow the baby clothes

That child will never keep them up at night
In fact, that child will never be any trouble at all.
Except sometimes, in a silent moment,

When mother and father miss so much
That different child.
May hope and love wrap you warmly

And may you learn the lesson forever
How infinitely precious
How infinitely fragile
Is this life on earth.
One day, as a young man or woman

You may see another mother's tears
Another father's silent grief
Then you, and you alone
Will understand
And offer the greatest comfort.
When all hope seems lost,

You will tell them
With great compassion,
"I know how you feel.
I'm only here
because my parents were

Brave enough to try again."

He wrote back, "I love you."

In December, without ever talking about, we tried. It wasn't the all out let's get preggo try, but it wasn't the "I don't want to get you pregnant again" either, and there is a huge difference....if you know what I mean. So for now, I guess, we are quietly trying, and I am silently hoping, well, I don't know what I am silently hoping for, but for now, at least, I am hoping. A little.

Did I mention that our other cat, is in heat???? Yeah, God is still laughing at me....but sometimes, when I feel really brave, I laugh back, a little.

And that is how we began our New Year....