Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dixie Chicks - Godspeed [Live Top of The World Tour]

Sweetdreams little man

It was a year ago to this date that we found out you were gone. That we would never get to know you, that we would never hear your voice, see your eyes or feel your tiny heart beat in your chest. It was a year ago today that we learned that the only decisions we would ever make concerning your future would be, did we want to name you, did we want to hold you after you were born, did we want you cremated, did we have a mortuary that we wanted to contact to pick you up from the hospital, did we want an autopsy. Decisions no parent should ever have to make, decisions no parent is ever prepared to make. But we did.
In the beginning when faced with all of the questions we said no, we didn't have a name, no we didn't want to see you, no we didn't know a mortuary and yes, an autopsy, please. Please tell us why this happened, please make sense of this for us, somebody please tell us why our baby is dead.
On this date a year ago we wanted to shield ourselves from every pain we thought we could. We wanted to make it all go away. We had yet to learn that there is nothing you can do to shield your self from this heartache.
And so a year ago we walked out of my doctors office, my pregnant belly no longer a vessel filled with life but now a coffin harboring my dead baby, dark glasses covering my eyes, my breath, slow and shallow as we climbed into the car to make the drive to the hospital where you would be born and we would say good-bye to you and to our dreams of you. And in my head, the chaos, the confusion, the terror, the anger and the pain swarmed and spun, as I began my life as a mother of a dead baby.
A year ago on this date, I thought a lot about me. I hadn't yet learned how to grieve for you. Today on this date I am thinking of you. I am thinking of all that we lost when we lost you. I am thinking of all that you were denied when you died. I am trying to imagine what our lives might be like if you were here, but it is hard. I can no longer see myself as a mother without a dead child. I don't know her anymore. And it is hard to imagine you. I don't know what color your eyes were, I don't know what color your hair might have been and I can't conjure up your voice and hear you cry or call me mommy. I can feel your tiny foot in my hand as I held it after you were born and I can feel your whole chest and belly underneath my palm and fingers, warm but still. No life to be felt from within. Thinking of you means thinking of loss, of pain, of sadness. All of the things you never had the chance to know. The love of your older sister and brother, the love of a whole family who were so ready to welcome you into their hearts. You'll never have all of the firsts a new baby is entitled to, first steps, first words, first holidays, first day of school, first kiss, first love, first heartbreak. None of it. Instead of choosing nursery themes for you, we chose your urn and selected pictures of us to be cremated with you. Instead of choosing your crib bedding, we took and wrapped you in the favorite blanket of your big brother so you wouldn't be left in a sterile sheet when they took you away. Instead of sitting with you in the rocker that lulled your brother and sister to sleep on many, many nights, I held you and spent time bonding with you alone with you for the first time, on a mortuary couch and I tried to tell you that you were loved and that you were wanted and that we would never forget you. I don't know if you heard me.
And so today, I am telling you those things again. We love you, we wanted you desperately and we will never forget you.
Sweet dreams little man.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Peanut

ALL the bells of heaven may ring,
All the birds of heaven may sing,
All the wells on earth may spring,
All the winds on earth may bring
All sweet sounds together---
Sweeter far than all things heard,
Hand of harper, tone of bird,
Sound of woods at sundawn stirred,
Welling water's winsome word,
Wind in warm wan weather,
One thing yet there is,that none
Hearing ere its chime be done
Knows not well the sweetest one
Heard of man beneath the sun,
Hoped in heaven hereafter;
Soft and strong and loud and light,
Very sound of very light
Heard from morning's rosiest height,
When the soul of all delight
Fills a child's clear laughter.
Golden bells of welcome rolled
Never forth such notes, nor told
Hours so blithe in tones so bold,
As the radiant mouth of gold
Here that rings forth heaven.
If the golden-crested wren
Were a nightingale---why, then,
Something seen and heard of men
Might be half as sweet as when
Laughs a child of seven.
My little girl turned 7. I don't know where the years have gone. To my sweet child, full of piss and vinegar, I dream that your life will be filled with as much joy as you have brought to ours. I will never forget holding you in my arms the morning after you were born, looking into your eyes and thinking that no one on earth could have ever felt as happy as I was at that moment.
I love you Peanut.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The lovely CLC has tagged me to do this meme and I as I said to her, "What, the old underwear and chewing gum wasn't enough to scare you off of me already???"

Mention six quirky, yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself. Tag six other bloggers by linking to them. Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged. If you participate, let the person know who tagged you you’ve posted your quirks!

Okay, so here goes...

1. I sleep with the t.v. on. All the time, everywhere. I once told my husband I couldn't stay in this beautiful, hundreds of years old, converted schoolhouse B & B up in Napa, that he had pulled many strings to get us into, because it didn't have a t.v. in it. (We ended up staying but only because, aha, they found a small t.v. I could use. Aren't people great!! I'm sure they didn't think I was.)
2. Speaking of sleeping, I still have my 'favorite blanket' that I have to have on my bed sleep. I won't travel with it only for fear of losing it,but any other time, it's on my bed. Husband even brought to the hospital when I had the kids. It's ratty and worn and ugly as sin, but I still love it anyway.
3. I swear like a sailor. I know you are all shocked as hell and you already may know this about me, but, sadly, so do my kids. Although I always tell them the really bad words aren't the ones I use, those are just the ones we don't say in front of grandma and grown ups we don't know well, the bad words are words like, "Fat", "Retard", "Stupid", any words that are meant to hurt someone elses feelings. Those are the ones that are off limits to the kidlets. However, I do expect for them to ask me one day, "Mommy, when you call the other drivers 'fucking idiots' is that meant to hurt their feelings?" I still have to work on the right answer for that.
4. I prefer cookie dough to the actual cookies. I will make cookie batter just to eat it and if there isn't enough batter left to make a decent batch after I have had my share, I'll just make a couple of giant cookies and pretend that was what I had wanted to do all along. I suspect people are on to my game...
5. Speaking of eating, I love to eat in bed. One of my favorite things to do at night is make a snack and it eat up in my bed after everyone is asleep. I get to watch t.v. or read a book and enjoy my nibbles and NO ONE bothers me. What more could a girl want I ask you.
6. My house is a cat magnet. I by revealing this fact that I have probably eliminated any hope of having CLC come and visit me, damn it, but I have to be honest. Cats, usually pregnant ones, literally land in my yard and refuse to leave. In the last year alone we have fostered 13 outside cats, 3 inside cats (the ones we actually meant to keep) and now as I finally found homes for the last mommy cat and her 5 kittens that she had in our garage rafters, 3 more kittens showed up in my backyards and have now taken up residence. I swear to G.O.D., there is some underground cat railroad and our house has been marked as a safe house for strays. I am beginning to wish I had a little of the cat fear CLC speaks of, maybe it would help me repel the pesky felines. So if anyone wants a really cute kitty, you know how to reach me!

Alright, if you are still reading, I am supposed to tag 6 more of you so here goes. Antigone, Charmed Girl, Kate(Nicholas Garden), Sarah(La Vie en Ross), STE and Reese. Have at it ladies:)

Monday, August 25, 2008

God Damn it....

Please go give some Internet love and support to my sweet friend A., who has suffered a m/c at 11 weeks, just as she was getting ready to let herself hope that this one would be o.k.. My heart aches for her. Her D & C is today and it would be awesome if her comments were flooded with your words when she checks back in.

Friday, August 22, 2008

"I love you baby."

It came without warning, without a thought really, it just happened. I was stopped at a red light, I hadn't felt the baby move for a while so I was pushing and prodding at my belly, again, trying to make it move. It seemed like it took forever and then they came, the kicks. I wrapped my arm around my bulging waist and the words came out, "I love you baby."

I guess all of my conscious attempts at not getting attached have failed. Which isn't to say that I have been actively trying not to love this baby, but I have been actively trying to prepare myself that I might not get to take this leprechaun home, alive. I often ask the little one, "Please don't die." or "Please kick for me so I know you are still alive", but I have never let myself admit any feelings for him or her, it just seemed way to daring, too dangerous to even attempt. Because letting myself feel things for this baby means, well you know what it means, if something goes wrong, ugh, I don't even have a word for what it means, but you who wear my shoes know what I am talking about. Have I been kidding myself that if I didn't let myself feel anything outwardly that if something went wrong I would somehow be more ok with it? I don't know. Why would I think that? Can I really be so simple minded that I think that by trying to ignore any feelings of attachment or dare I say love, that another stillbirth would hurt me less? Yes, I am and yes, I did, and yes, it is so stupid. I mean catastrophically stupid.

And today, when the words tumbled out and I hugged that place that so far has done right by this leprechaun of mine, I realized that the only thing I am doing by not getting attached to this baby is denying myself the unbelievably pure and sweet feelings that come from truly loving your child. My love for this baby has always been there, of this I am sure, but I have not let myself feel them, not one bit, until now. Today, I let myself get swallowed up in the real joy of it, the real hope of life, only for a little while mind you, but I did it. I am scared to death of it, all of it. The feelings, the loving, the risk of it, the possibility of another 'bad outcome', the weight of the choice to try to let myself love this baby, wholly and completely before I know if it's really going to make it out. I have made myself quite comfortable with the fear and the dread, and the anxiety. They are enormous burdens that I strap on my back every day, but for a long time the weight just seemed like part of me. And it felt safer to feel scared and anxious, truth be told, than it would ever feel to be hopeful and brave. And then today, those words came out and I swear it was as if a film was stripped from my eyes, the colors seemed clearer out my windshield. I realized I did love my baby and it felt good to love this baby, even if I could only think about it for a second. It was enough to start to chip away at some of the baggage dragging behind me that had suddenly become much too heavy to carry anymore.

I hate feeling scared and anxious, I hate shoving down any thoughts of hope for this baby. I hate that whenever people talk about "when" the baby comes, I always, either out loud or in my head, correct them and say if. I want to live in the world of the "when's", not in this crappy, dark world of "if"s".

I have wanted another child almost since the day my daughter was born. I waited patiently, never asking, not even once, for that baby. I never wanted to fight about it with my husband and when he finally said the magic words I was giddy. I had no fucking clue what we were headed for. And then when it all circled the drain, I did have to fight for that, this, child. My husband wanted NOTHING to do with another attempt at a baby. I argued with him, he didn't want another tragedy, the baby he would want. I told him flat out, our marriage would never be the same if he gave up on this, on me, on the baby. And yet at the same time I knew exactly what he was doing, he was protecting himself and me and our kids from a second trip to hell. He even asked me, "Do you really want to subject the kids to this again?" Usually a good move to bring the kids in to it but not this time. I was too selfish, too determined not to at least try, try not to have my last childbirth experience be one of death and pain and empty arms. I blinded myself to the emotional side of a pregnancy after a stillbirth. I knew there would be 'issues' but I told myself, you just have to deal with it, focus on the destination, not the journey.

Turns out you have to focus on the journey because, yep, the destination is still unknown. I know exactly where I want to go, always have, but I still have very little control over whether or not I get there. My whole philosophy of just jumping on the baby train, closing my window shades and turning up the music real loud while I wait for the conductor to tell me where I am getting off is not working for me anymore. I know I won't know where I am getting off until my feet hit the ground again but for now, I think I am going to turn the music down, pull the shade up a bit and maybe even peek out the window once in a while. Turns out I think I might want to see a bit of the scenery as it passes by, I might want to remember this trip as more than just a white knuckler I endured. There may come a time when another tiny passenger who made this trip with me asks me to retell how they made their way into this world.

And I think I will answer, 'if" I get the chance, that the real journey started one day with just a few simple words.

I love you baby.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Keeping my head in the sand

I missed my appointment yesterday. One of those days where you wake up with great expectations and then it all goes to shit. After the flat tire, calling my version of A.A.A. "Hi dad, HELP!" then my dad falling over when he was changing my tire for me and giving himself a nice shiner, breaking his glasses and scraping the hell out of his leg, I got trapped at middle school registration with my son, endless long lines of forms and writing $$$$ checks (thanks for the free public education) much of which could have easily done by mail, begging people to let my son go ahead in the really long lines for pictures and student i.d. cards, blah, blah, blah, trying to walk back to the auto shop that had my car in the 100 degree heat with my son carrying about 20lbs worth of text books, and then my dad calling me at the same time and freaking out that I was walking so he came and drove us to the shop only to find out the car wasn't ready anyway, we just didn't make it to the doctors office before my doctor left for some meeting for the rest of the day.

So, I went today instead. Doc said they see fluid in kidney's all the time now, especially when they are doing more u/s than normal, like with me. He's going to scan me again in 4 weeks, (assuming of course, you know, I get 4 more weeks and then some) if the fluid is still there then we look at other possibilities but most likely it's something that would be dealt with after the baby is born, by the pediatrician. I think in my past life I might have been more freaked out and have gone to all of the bad possibilities but you know what? I am so fucking exhausted from all of the worrying I am already doing I just don't have anything left. I am going to listen to your comments, thanks especially to Cindy for delurking with her really helpful words, and I am going to just sit with this and imagine that it will be ok. At least for now. I heard the baby's heartbeat again today and am feeling good movement from within, which makes me feel good, at least for now. When the nurse asked me if I had picked out a pediatrician yet, I literally had to take a breath and think in my head are you asking me this because you think I might actually be taking a baby home after this?? I just haven't gone there mentally, yet. But that question really turned a switch for me. I mean, really if it does work, I only have about 12 weeks left, many of which will be consumed by the back to school madness that is about to descend on my house. Should I pull my head out of the sand and look around and consider the possibility of this baby really getting out of me alive or should I leave it buried for a while longer? I have actually grown quite fond of the darkness and the taste of the gritty sand in my mouth doesn't even bother me anymore.
Taking things day by day makes it really hard to plan for a future you still don't know if you'll get.
But then again, as I have said somewhere before, this is not what i had planned.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

PTSD or something like it...

Proof that I have not appropriately dealt with my anxiety regarding laying on a table and having warm goo squirted on my belly while a nice lady with a wand looms over head adjusting a monitor and entering data into a computer....when asked a simple question, "How do you spell your last name?", I couldn't do it, not even on the third try. I kid you not.

Queue applause for my dear, dyslexic husband for recognizing my, how do we put this, moronic and pathetic, fear induced, feeble mindedness and correctly spelling said last name for nice wand lady.

Jesus, will it never get easy? Answer, not in a million years, ever.

Ultrasound looked good except for the fluid in the leprechauns kidneys. Shit. Go back to doctor tomorrow to find out what the fuck is up with that. Nice wand lady said everything else looked fine and that fluid was minimal. Nice wand lady also said "Odds are it's nothing." Anyone want to guess what that did for my stress level? Yeah, not a whole bunch.

I repeat, Jesus, will it never get easy? Oh yeah, not in a million years, ever.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Things I like about summer

A dry, hot Arizona day, where I am floating down the cool, crystal clear river, listening to the Beach Boy's and the sound of my family laughing.

Where I can watch the sun dance on my children's hair as it is whipped by the wind in the late afternoon sky.

I can put off thinking of things like haircuts and back to school supplies....

and just for a moment I can focus on the joy of the here and now and the things I like about summer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

You'll be there

We are leaving tomorrow for our annual trek out to the desert. We did this last year as well. It occurred to me last night that as I have been marking anniversary's of sorts, they have all been in relation to where I am with this current pregnancy. Caleb died at week 21, Caleb was born at week 23, that kind of thing. Now that I am approaching the one year anniversary of his stillbirth, (you know I hate that word, anniversary in relation to dead babies, I really do) I realized that it was at this time last year that I felt his last kicks, although at the time I thought they were the beginning of several more months of little feet and hands and elbows and a tiny butt poking at me day and night. It was at this time last year that I had my last ultrasound with him, alive and well. We watched him move and roll and waited patiently as the ultra sound tech tried to get good pictures of all of his tiny parts for the radiologist to review and tell us all was well with our baby. It was at this time last year that we began to hope that we had left the pain of miscarriage and baby loss behind us. It was at this time last year that my husband told me he finally believed that we were going to get our baby and he took the ultrasound photos with him to work to show his colleagues and display in his office. And it was at this time last year that we planned two quick last vacations for summer, one to the desert and one to San Di.ego. The night before we left to go to the desert was the last night I felt Caleb kick and it was the night that his kicking seemed frantic suddenly and then went quiet. It was at this time last year that I spent the drive out to the desert poking and prodding at my belly, willing him to kick again while at the same time joking with my kids and husband about all the funny "C" names we could think of for the baby, never letting them know that I was beginning to think that something was wrong, very wrong.
And so now as I pack suitcases I stop every few moments to poke and prod, I seek out a kick, a fleeting second of reassurance that I am not headed to repeat those last weeks of August 2007. It is hard now, his loss is so tied up in this ones survival, every painful memory coincides with a plea for a different outcome. I feel as though I am robbing him of proper grief. That I am not missing him as I should because I have turned my thoughts to urging this one to live. And still, I know the grief is there, the tears still come and I know he will always be missing from our home and our lives. As we spend these few days out on the water in the hot sun, I will be thinking back to last summer when I dreamed everything would be okay and that by this summer, this trip, I would be holding my baby in my arms and showing him or her all of the beauty that the painted desert has to offer. Instead I will be holding one baby in my heart and in my memories and the other in my body, hoping that as time passes I will find the right way to love each of them separately, knowing that their lives are forever intertwined, one not possible without the loss of the other, neither wanted any more than the other, ones loss leading to the others life, hopefully a long one.
I want these weeks to belong to Caleb, to be a time for remembrance and mourning. I don't want him forgotten because another baby has become a possibility. I want him to have a moment all his own, where everyone stops and says, Caleb was here and our lives will never be the same again because of him and his tiny life. I want everyone to know that his tiny feet left enormous footprints and that time will never erase them.
I want him to know that I wonder what I lost when he died. That I wish I knew who he was, who he would have been, what he might have done. I want him to know I miss more of him than I knew and that I grieve for more than his death. I grieve for his life.
You'll be with us as we go Caleb, I'll be sure of it, no matter where it is, you'll be there.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Summer Daze

It seems my a** is not the only thing growing around here. Rather than share grossly obscene photos of my ever widening southerly parts, I thought I'd share some of the things we've managed to produce in our own little postcard sized urban jungle...

This blackberry bush must have heard me tell my husband we needed to get rid of it because after three years it still failed to produce even one piece of fruit. Then this summer, hello, blackberries! I suspect it may have told my husband, if a blackberry bush could talk that is, "Hey dude, it has been three years and your wife has yet to produce....better get rid of her."

Took three years to get grapes too, but we knew that when we planted them. Although only one of the two vines actually succeeded this year. High hopes for next year that we'll have enough to make a whole bottle of wine! Hell, I'll settle for a glass:)

My daughters' kindergarten class project. She grew the seed in a Styrofoam cup, left it near the kitchen sink and I would remember to water it when I saw that the tiny leaves had wilted. We replanted it out in our planter and it has soldiered on throughout the summer. About three weeks ago we saw that, lo and behold, a pumpkin had grown! We have high hopes that come October this bad boy will make an appearance on our front porch, transformed from pumpkin to Jack O Lantern, and that we'll have some yummy seeds to roast!

I don't like to put much stock in 'signs', especially given the fact that I planted the butterfly bush in our yard long before we knew anything about dead babies or that we would one day become the parents of a beautiful one ourselves. Still, I am stopped in my tracks when I get a visitor such a this, who hangs around long enough for me to take lots and lots of photos. Even if it isn't Caleb coming to visit me, it is me, stopping to visit him.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Somewhere in Time

11 months ago today. I am not one for huge anniversary recognition, especially now, in the heat of summer when I am challenged to identify correctly the day of the week much less the actual date, but here it is. It doesn't feel any different than yesterday nor I suppose will tomorrow feel anything more than pretty much the same, but still it stops me to think that 11 months have passed and here I sit, still breathing.
The days have melted together and time has slipped away, life has gone on without him, even though I thought it might not. My thoughts are still with him, the loss of him, every day. I don't often fantasize about him, who he might be, what he might be doing now, how our lives would be with him here. I suppose having dealt with way too much death in my teen years, I have grown accustomed to the permanence of death and the futility of wishing I could change it's course or it's finality.
I don't let myself pretend that he might have been born alive, or that he might have been doing all of the things his cousin is now doing, sitting up, cutting teeth, laughing, smiling, loving. I won't torture myself with those fantasies because I know they were never ours to dream. Never ours to have.
Which isn't to say there aren't things that will shake me to my core and upset the gentle balance I have found in these days. Seeing my kids with their cousin, hearing my kids hope for a happy ending to this current pregnancy, hearing his name, seeing pregnant women...blissfully ignorant pregnant women, walking into an ultrasound room, all of this will bring it back to me in brilliant technicolor. The enormity of the loss, the gaping hole that will never be filled, the part of all of us that is always missing, no matter how much time we put between us and that god damn date.
I have been thinking a lot about the scene in the movie Somewhere in Time, when Christo.pher Ree.ves, after successfully traveling back in time and falling in love with Jane Sey.mour, reaches into his pocket and accidentally pulls out a coin from the present day he had left behind. He is ripped from the past and pulled, with his true love screaming in the background, into the glaring light of the here and now. Desperate to get back to her, he does everything in his power to recreate the moment in time where he left her, he discards all things that remind him of the present, all things that would signal to him that he has left her in another time, and lies on the bed chanting the date and time he wishes to return to.
I don't lie on my bed chanting the date and time, I don't want to go back there because I know I can't bring him here to me, here with me. For me, the magic coin moment is walking into the ultrasound room, it is hearing my kids say his name or seeing them laugh with their cousin. Only I am not pulled away from them and thrown into the future/present day. I am propelled backwards, thrown into the feelings of the past, the desperation and hopelessness of knowing there was nothing I could do to change the direction my life was headed. Knowing I was the mother of a dead child forever, that no amount of time travel could ever take me to a place where I could change that one thing. That one thing, my child, is gone. His life will never be more than those 21-23 weeks he was with me. That is all of him I will ever have.
With this pregnancy in its 23rd week, I am desperately afraid of accidentally finding that coin, of picking it up and looking at at and finding myself right back where I was, 11 months ago. I avert my eyes when I see loose change, especially pennies and I NEVER pick them up. I know it's crazy, but I am scared to death of them, pennies that is.
11 months, 11 days, 11 hours, 11 years. It doesn't matter, he is always as near to me as he ever was, as he ever could be and he will never be any closer to me than where he is right now. Somewhere in time.