Sunday, February 22, 2009

The eyes have it

Niobe has an eye catching post up. Here's my answer....sorry about the sad state of my gazers. Went to an all '80's gala last nite and had to break out the purple eyeliner and the ridiculously heavy black mascara to go with all the Aqua Net. But, hey, they bring out the green in my hazel duo dontcha think???

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dead babies last forever

"My soul was a burden, bruised and bleeding. It was tired of the man who carried it, but I found no place to set it down to rest. Neither the charm of the countryside nor the sweet scents of a garden could soothe it. It found no peace in song or laughter, none in the company of friends at the table or in the pleasure of love, none even in books or poetry...Where could my heart find refuge from itself? Where could I go, yet leave myself behind?"*

It was serendipitous, stumbling across this quote when I did, just after posting the picture of the tattered and dying rose** that has somehow managed to bear new life from the center of it's withering bud. It answers the question. From somewhere deep within, where no beauty can be seen, the potential for new life waits. What it will look like, the new life, that is the million dollar question. That is the mystery that is grief.
It's hard writing here now. I feel the need to be more careful with my words. To censor thoughts and feelings so as not to wound, albeit without intention, another. I am keenly aware of the divergence of our paths, those of us who have somehow stumbled our way onto the road of life with a live baby after, those who are well on their way to that path and those that are not, some by choice, some by cruel design, some a combination of the two, choice and design. And of course, none of these women got there because they happily decided, "Hey, no more babies for me, I'm done!". And really, for some the decision hasn't even been made by them, but for them and in direct opposition to their wants and hopes and dreams.
The idea that any of us really gets to choose our path is ludicrous isn't it? We all know, or think we know, which path we want, but the reality of it is that we end up on whichever road fate decides and the only real power we have is how we choose to live while we walk. It's not good or bad, it just is what it is.
A year ago today I was at my lowest. It was the end of a cycle, one where we had 'really' tried and still nothing. I had visions of the rest of my life, or at least my ovaries lives, being nothing more than rounds of trying and 2ww's and pissy trips to the store to buy tampons and alcohol, lots of it. I saw myself in DBL watching and reading as slowly each and everyone of the women who I had come to know would become pregnant and get her 'almost happily ever after' baby. I envisioned myself the ancient gatekeeper to DBL, welcoming the new members with my tale of woe, only to them it would be a cautionary tale, the story none of them really wanted to hear because I didn't get my live baby ticket out of Dodge. No one would want to be near me. Or at least they could explain me away by rationalizing that I was afflicted with that "AMA" syndrome, more commonly known as advanced maternal age, which must be why I didn't get the baby. She's all dried up they would say, she waited too long, that won't happen to us....we hope. I imagined it because it was what I did when I read. I tried to find reasons to explain to myself why someone else's tragedy wouldn't befall me IF I got there, you know, pregnant, again. Sometimes it worked, most times it didn't. We all know there are far too many more stories where there just is no reason why it happened than there are ones where we can blame someone or something, anything. And beyond that even, nothing is guaranteed, nothing certain, not when it comes to live babies anyway.
Off I went to the store, bought my industrial size box of tampons, vowing not to have to come back and do the walk of shame month after month, and I dove into a glass of 'make it all go away' when I got home. It was the last month I had to do it. And we all know what happened after that.
Now when I write, I find myself writing to that me. The scared, desperate and hopeless me. The me I was a year ago, not the me I am now. Because I can hear the chorus in my head of the ones who are 'there' when I write otherwise, either in a post or in a comment. "Easy for you to say, YOU have a baby now." "You don't know what it's like anymore, you got out easy." "Don't blow sunshine and glitter into my world, you didn't have it when you were here and you didn't want to hear it either." I can go on and on but there's no need. You get it. And maybe it's not what anyone really feels but it must be close on some level.
I suppose the dbl club is an evolving one with many rooms. We all go in and gather in the front room, our eyes moist, glazed and shell shocked. We cling to each other, fighting for every breath. We talk because finally we have found others who know. Slowly we find comfort, we get comfortable, we move, we explore our new surroundings, we seek out others who have been there longer, we look for ways out or at least other places to go, we gather information, we garner strength and we welcome those who come after hoping to show them the same warmth that we found when we entered. And after a while our stories change, our needs change, our voices change. We all still share that horror of a common bond but now we find ourselves different again, each one of us unique in our grief and our life after. There is a room for each of us to be sure, no one will ever be alone and there is comfort in that.
In a way I think that getting a baby after has inflicted a kind of survivors guilt in me. The feeling that I was a part of the horrific crash that devastated all of us but somehow I walked away less damaged or less entitled to feel damaged because I have a baby now. And in reality, having the baby does make it better. It just does. There. I said it. It doesn't make the grief better but it does make the living with it better. Infinitely better. And that's the part that brings the guilt. And I don't write this as a complaint or a whine or anything of the sort. It's an observation. A feeling. A way of being. For now. Something else I've learned along the way, everything is temporary around here.
Except for the dead babies. They last forever.
*St. Augustine
**See my last post

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Day Hope

I'm not a fan of roses on Valentines Day and certainly not red roses...way too cliche for me, BUT this one I had to share. It reminds me of me.

Honest Scrap Award

Thanks to the lovely CLC for bestowing upon me this little ditty. I've been held hostage of late by a little volunteering commitment and am way behind on my blogging so I am going to skip the part where I actually choose more blogs to pass this on to as most of you have already had a chance to do this, BUT, if you haven't and you are here reading this, then consider yourself duly nominated!

The rules of the award:1) Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.2) Show the 7 winners names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with "Honest Scrap." Well, there's no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.3) List at least 10 honest things about yourself.
1. I love to eat in bed before I go to sleep. Diets be damned.
2. Sometimes after partaking in the aforementioned activity I will, shudder, skip brushing my teeth. Eee gads! I know. But I am obsessive about scrubbing them during the day, to the tune of 5-10 times a day so I figure I make up for it, right?
3. I love playing Puddle of Mudd, 'She hates Me' really loud in my car and always giggle when they get to the chorus. If you don't know it, find it:) and see how immature I really am.
4. In my last 'honest' list making post I wrote about the sad state of my not so sexy underwears. Now I will add the absolutely not sexy decades old sock collection to the list. I tried to clean out the drawer but decided I would have to buy too many pairs to replace what's in there, so I just put the forlorn, faded, and ever so shriveled foot covers back in to their cavernous home. I suspect one day all of the misfit toys will come to rest here too.
5. I will wake the husband out of a sound sleep to get a spider off the ceiling. It sucks for him as I am up ALOT at night these days and I am not always in our room either, so I have seen a good number of arachnids wandering the likes of our overheads and it isn't a safe place for them. Really.
6. I have become addicted to reruns of The West Wing and also replays of Mad Money and Remember the Titans. Why, I have no idea. Late night nursing and plot lines I can follow without too many functioning brain cells would be my guess.
7. I hate when police cars drive behind me. Could be the expired tags but more likely it's the leftover fear of a teenager who drove way too fast, way too often and didn't get caught nearly enough times to make her stop.
8. I am already one month behind with my new year's resolution to read at least one book a month. Which proves to me why resolutions suck. They make me stress out over things I don't need to stress out about and they put way too much pressure on me to do things that I would normally enjoy doing but now feel pressured to do which stresses me out and then I feel pressured....see where this is going.
9. I can't remember the last time my husband and I went out by ourselves. Seriously. Except for doctor visits and hospitals that is and really, that doesn't count now does it?
10. I want another baby. Can't decide if it's really another baby I want or if this is Caleb and the grief coming out, either way I am not going to have another baby so this is a new layer of longing and sadness I am learning to live with.
Somethings never really change do they?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kate Bush- This Womens Work

Thinking of Tash and her Maddy.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The space between

It's been raining babies here in db land. I'd like to say that all have had the happy endings but as we all know, that isn't always the case. A new member of our club joined up, I read about her over at Aunt Becky's place, her name is Cynthiaa and you can support her here. Striking to me about her was that she was already blogging before it happened. Her blog was full of the shiny happy pregnancy story. In fact, the post before it happened she had written about her last baby shower and shared pictures of the new crib and other gifts she had received in anticipation of her baby boy due in two weeks. And then the shit storm descended. We all know that storm, the shock, the disbelief, the unbelievable agony. I wondered tho as I read her blog, which has a pretty substantial following, what the impact will be on the unsuspecting readers.
Most of us here came here specifically to write about our loss. Our blogs were born out of the death of our babies. Our followers, for the most part, are other dead baby moms. For her, she had the ordinary life, the ordinary pregnancy and was expecting the ordinary baby all along. So were her readers. Now they all have witnessed the shattering of the illusion of ordinary. They have all seen that stillbirth does just happen out of nowhere. There are no warnings, no indicators, no "Oh yeah, I saw that coming." predictions. It just drops in and steals ordinary away from you, along with your stability and belief in the rightness of the world. And they all were there to see it happen to her. I know the outpouring of support has been enormous so that is one thing that she will have that so many of us didn't. So many people to reach out and talk to without having to explain any of it. They already know. And of course there's us. I know some of you have already left her messages and invited her over here, to the dark side. She'll find plenty of good company here, I know that.
I hope that for the people who were just following along, just reading her words and expecting the mundane happy ending they thought was a sure thing, that the idea of stillbirth happening only in quiet corners of the world to people who deserve it or to babies who must have been sick or to mothers who must have done something to cause changed forever. While I know none of them have the first idea of what she is going through, I know they all know now how quickly the mundane can turn tragic. And I hope she finds her way to us so we can wrap ourselves around her and show her how we learned to live with that tragedy.

For me, as the days take me farther away from my "that day", I find myself grieving more selfishly. By which I mean I am grieving more for me now and it is exhausting. I think alot about how changed I am, about the sadness that is always lingering just on the outskirts of my consciousness. It's a dull fog resting on the horizon that I can always see, even when I am standing in the brilliant sunlight. I know it is there, waiting to creep it's way in, to slowly envelop me and cover me like a cool blanket, blocking the light and chilling me to the core. When I lived in San I used to love to stand at my window and look out to the ocean where the fog came into the bay under the Gol.den Gate It would sit out at the beach and then as the wind blew it would slowly cover the avenues, street by street, making its way up and over Gol.den Gate Park and then crawl up to where I was in my window and I would watch it blow past the antique street lamp on the corner, the mist of water reflected in the yellow cone of light that shone across my street, and marvel at its beauty. It had a calming effect on me, it was mesmerizing and beautiful. Not anymore.
These days it feels suffocating. Not so much the feelings as the reality that the feelings will never go away. That this grief is now a part of who I am. It won't ever become something that I am used to. It isn't like a bad break up where in a few years time you can remember the good times and smile at how devastated you were and see how far you've come. It isn't like when you lose a grandparent and it's awful and sad and you cry and you miss them but in time you come to terms with the natural order of things and you make peace with it.
There will never be a time when it feels ok. I still can be driving in my car listening to my kids laugh or sing or talk or argue, or cooking dinner, or holding Cason, or walking down the street, or breathing and I'll be fine but then something will trigger a memory of that day and the tears come, the tightening in my throat, the tensing of my muscles, the darkness. I've gotten better at hiding it, I've gotten better at riding it out and not letting it take me all the way down on a slow spiral out of control, instead I just leap, hit bottom and start the crawl back out. Because I know I have to and I know I can. But I hate it. I hate that it will last forever, that I will always have this crushing sadness that lurks around every moment in my future. And that is what feels so selfish. Because in those moments it isn't Caleb that is making me melancholy, it is the knowledge that I have to live with this, always, that does it. It's separate from the sadness over Caleb, it just feels all about me. About my life being different, about my happiness being dulled, about my joy being limited, not limitless, because there will always be this to fence it in.
I have my grief for Caleb and now I have my grief for me. They exist on opposite sides of my world. One feels sadly appropriate, the other, indulgent and greedy as though it minimizes his death and instead says look what you did to me, see how I have to live now because of this. But it isn't anger I feel, it's resignation. It's the exhaling and sighing and acknowledgment that this is who I am now and will be forever.
But I want to hope that even if I don't get to live in the sunlight anymore now that that fog is lingering there, that eventually, maybe, I will get to spend more time living somewhere in the space between.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My lips were sealed...

Coggy has some news...and I am over the moon with joy for her. She was there for me when I joined this club and I am honored that she let me be a part of the last few days, even from all the way across the pond, as she truly labored, to bring something so beautiful into this world. Stop by and and take a peek. Bring a tissue and she'll provide a smile to go with it.