Tag Archives: Trying to Conceive

Tightrope: or, How to Tell ToysRUs that your baby is dead

Oh boy… We’re due for a blow up.

What the f*** is this?

What the f*** is this?

Yea. This was the last straw.

I won’t pretend that I’ve had a great month:

  • I was supposed to come home from Maui pregnant, and I didn’t.
  • The Hubs is working out of town, leaving my mid-week with WAY too much think-about-my-personal-shit time.
  • The month of May brings with it Mother’s Day. Eff that noise. I tried to be positive about it. I really did. The day itself wasn’t that bad, but gearing up for it was.
  • I found out about a gazillion other people are pregnant, and I’m feeling like, WAY behind.
  • This last weekend was Memorial Day Weekend, which was Shower Weekend 2012 during our pregnancy with Hudson.

Two big celebrations from last year came and went this year and I did a pretty good job of suppressing/diverting my attention away from my grief and loss.

Don’t think about it and it won’t hurt so bad. Reframe it so that you can function without people giving you pity-faces all day.

And then, yesterday happened. We got home from our Memorial Day camping trip with the Dubs, all stinky and greasy and unshowered. The trip was uneventful as far as emotional breakdowns are concerned, but I did find myself thinking (more than I ever have before) about what this trip would have been like with Hudson in tow.

Sweet, chunky, ferocious, hilarious, smart, wild-haired, ten-month old Hudson.

Bouncing around in the truck as we hunt for good spots for Morels.
Giggling by the fire.
Getting passed from grandparents to aunties and back again.
Sticky and dirty from her first taste of marshmallows

So I’m getting ready for bed and I think, just briefly, about the Hubs’ Aunt C, and how this was the first time she’d seen me since Hudson died, and how she gave me the “How are you doing?” that means more than just “How are you doing?”

And I got so damn mad.

I’m so tired of people feeling sorry for me. I hate having something in my life for people to feel sorry for me about.

I got so mad I cried.

So then the Hubs needed to know what was wrong, and the floodgates opened, and this morning I awoke with puffy eyelids for the first time in a good couple of months.

Damn.

But I recover. I function throughout the day. I even allow myself to watch the video my good friend (who had her baby boy the day after Hudson was born) posted on Facebook of her son taking his first steps, and only fleetingly did I think:

Hudson could be walking by now.

I get home from work and I go for a run and I have a generally mundane little lonely evening and then I go check the mail and you know what?

ToysRUs can suck it.

I’ve complained before about how little “market research” is being done by Big Retailers as far as child development goes. They caught wind that I was pregnant and now they are assuming that I have a “Someone Special” who will be “turning one”. They never did get the memo that my baby, my perfect precious daughter, didn’t live to come home with us, and that she will never turn one, and that I’ll never get to throw her a birthday party or sign her up for “Geoffrey’s Birthday Club.”

I’ve gone this whole 10+ months without writing an angry letter. ToysRUs might just end up at the ass end of one. Their marketing tactics are invasive and they aren’t even that good. Haven’t they noticed that I haven’t spent a dime there since June of 2012? Have they not seen my uncompleted registry lying dormant for the past 10 months? Did their research department not realize that hardly any parent can go 10+ months without buying at least one ridiculously overpriced “Baby Einstein” toy?! I’m going to give those incompetent, unobservant market researchers a piece of my mind, dammit.

Of course this isn’t all ToysRUs’s fault. I have been walking a tightrope of emotion, compartmentalizing all of my worries and sadnesses and frustrations and rages. I’ve been hyper-aware of “what’s appropriate”, of “keeping it together”, of not being somebody that you have too many reasons to feel sorry for, of not breaking down or giving anybody reason to side glance or whisper about me. ToysRUs and its giant, brightly-colored postcard were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But eff it. They are going to hear from me anyway.

Sometimes when you’re angry, you just need something to point it at.

I’ve got a cartoon giraffe with a stupidly spelled name in my sights.

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Not so perfect… 10 months

Recently I fooled myself into believing that I was getting on a new plateau with my whole grief/loss/coping thing.

I met my new baby niece, and she’s beautiful, and it didn’t even wreck me to hold her; to be honest, I really loved it. I spent a good hour in Hudson’s room, and it made me more happy than it made me sad to go through her things and remember how wonderful it was to be pregnant with her. My new job is going so well. I felt like I got okay with “when it happens, it happens.”

I turned 30 on April 24. Our family celebrated by taking a trip to Maui. The Hubs, Me, Grandma and Grandpa Shiz, Grandma and Grandpa Dub, Auntie Shiz & her E, Uncle Shiz & his pregnant wife M and their sweet daughter N. The whole gang traveled to far-off lands to celebrate the dawn of my next decade.

And while we were there, I was certain: This will be the month.

“When it happens, it happens”  went out the window.

How perfect it would be to get pregnant on the birthday trip to paradise!? To be able to celebrate Mother’s Day knowing that there is already a sweet Baby Dub Dos on the way? Not only would I be able to “relax” a little bit on a vacation (the advice everybody seems to offer with infuriating consistency), but it would be my BIRTHDAY! What a wonderful present! It just seemed like the Universe owed me one, that I was due for something epically great, that 10 months would be long enough to wait, already.

But alas. You all have to wait at least another month for that good news.
The Hubs will be growing the HRW Memorial Beard for at least another 9 months.
The soonest we will be able to bring a baby home is February of 2014.

Worse yet is that my baby envy has returned. I see a chubby, sweet, not-quite-mobile-yet baby and I just ache to know how much cuter Hudson would have been at the same age. There was a period in the last 10 months where I could actually separate the “having a baby” thing from “missing Hudson” – and I was okay with the fact that we don’t have a baby, while I’ll never be okay with not having Hudson.

Does that make sense?

I try not to let myself jump to the conclusion that something must be wrong with my baby making parts. After all, I’ve been pregnant before, carried the baby full term, had no complications except for the labor. I’ve had some tests done to ensure that all my hormonal gear is not out of whack. Doc says all systems are go. So I try to push the nagging “What if…” questions out of my mind and let my uterus do it’s thang.

I try not to let myself get discouraged when each month and milestone passes. I have a very depressed day on the first day of each new cycle, which I think is fair, but then I pep-talk myself hard about how this is another month to get in better shape, another month to rededicate myself to some personal goals that would be great to accomplish before we have a baby to take care of, blah blah blah.

I try not to let myself imagine the fierce reality that ONE YEAR MIGHT PASS without getting pregnant; I might have to face Hudson’s first birthday without her sibling to look forward to. Can I even do that?

I might have to.

You find yourself capable of much more than you’d ever imagined when all you’re really doing is living.

And it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow.

What a shit weekend.

I mean, I’m trying my best not to let myself get all in a funk about it – by keeping busy, doing fun things with my hubby, and running a 10K for Team Hudson’s Heroes today! On what would be her 10 month birthday, I’m celebrating by donning my Hudson’s Heroes tee shirt and hoofin’ it 6.2 miles (the farthest I’ve run since running a half marathon in November).

I wish things were different. We all do. Mother’s Day should be celebrated with our jabberbox of a charming redhead. At the least it should be celebrated a teensy-tiny bit knocked up, thinking of cool ways to tell our family that Baby Dub Dos is on the way.

It’s been a beautiful week in Walla Walla. We brought Maui temperatures back with us, and have been enjoying 85+ degree weather perfect for golfing and early morning runs. I have always loved the summertime in Walla Walla, but the last week or so has brought back a LOT of memories of those last months of being pregnant with Hudson. I am dogged in my determination to focus on the lovely things, the things that were so special about being pregnant, remembering what it was like to be the Me before all of this Awful happened. But it has been a lot harder than I’d thought – and I think summer heat and beautiful Walla Walla mornings will always be a little bittersweet for me. For the foreseeable future, summer will be Hudson’s.

I’m realizing that there isn’t much of a way for me to pull this post together thematically… it’s just a brain dump of all the day’s thoughts and emotions, the cost of doing business when you don’t write for almost a month. I have other things to write about here, and I’ll pull myself together by then. But today, I’ll just cut myself off with this:

Hudson’s life was too short. We should have a 10-month old today; she would have been the most freakin’ adorable human being you’ve ever seen. She would have been the end of me once she hit her teenage years; she was the end of me when she died 10 months ago.

But Hudson lived; She died.

I’m alive… and more than that, I am living.

 

 

 

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Six Months

Hudson would have been six months old today.

I thought about skipping a post about this – after all, I’ve commemorated each of these milestones, and at a certain point don’t you run out of things to say about what you’re missing?

No. You don’t.

This isn’t just a lifetime without our baby. This is a world without a person.

I woke up feeling melancholy and sad. I even went so far as to post something a little “poor me”-ish on Facebook, something I try to avoid at all costs. Readers of this blog have hopefully noticed a trend, an overarching theme when I write about Hudson. I always try to end on a positive. Even before Hudson died, this blog featured posts that were a little “poor me”-ish about the physical and emotional tolls of pregnancy. But I always tried to end on a positive note, because I figured that at some point in her life, Hudson would read this stuff, and I wanted to be sure that she never for a moment felt like I resented being pregnant with her.

Now, I try to end on a positive note for myself. I write about Hudson, and it is a pep talk for myself. I try to be genuine about how much this whole thing sucks… but I also try to dig into my heart and focus on the beauty of our experience, because there is a lot of it. It’s muddy and tear-stained, but it is there. That is where I have to focus.

I’ve written before about songs and lyrics that get me thinking about Hudson. One that has resonated for me recently is “Wanted” by Hunter Hayes. It was the “first dance” song for my husband’s sister this summer, and on that late summer evening by the lake,  I couldn’t contain the gut-punch sobs, thinking about how much I want Hudson to know she was wanted.

I wanna call you mine
Wanna hold your hand forever
Never let you forget it
Yeah, I wanna make you feel wanted

There are times when my brain works in really messed up ways, creates these little nagging guilts that give me that yucky high school angst in my stomach – like malevolent butterflies. One of those messed up thoughts is that Hudson didn’t live because she didn’t know how badly we wanted her. I wasn’t trying to get pregnant when Hudson came along. She was an “accident”, but not the kind that breaks your C-4 and C-5 vertebrae – she was the kind of accident that changes what you want and puts your whole life in perspective.

Now, we can try to get pregnant, and we are going to try to get pregnant, something we never would have imagined doing before Hudson. Baby Dub Dos is already star of my dreams and my hope for 2013. Now, I sometimes worry that I want BDD too much.

You can always find something to worry about if you let yourself.

You create all these little mini milestones for yourself, to break down a lifetime of coping with something this earth-shattering. We’ve done our time, six months is up. All my calculations have counted on us getting pregnant in one try, or as the Hubs puts it, “One shot, one kill.” That would mean Baby Dub Dos would arrive in September. That’s really pushing it for a summer baby. What if we aren’t so lucky? A fall baby? A couple of months of trying pushes us back even further… Damn it, I better have a baby this year.

So here we are, and six months is this huge milestone on a number of levels. Six months old, and Hudson would be past what the Hubs calls “the useless baby stage”. I’ve seen six month-olds, and they’re awesome. Hudson would have been the most awesome. Six months is halfway to a year – one year-olds are hardly babies anymore! And of course, six months is significant because it’s green light time for Baby Dub Dos, too.

I can hardly believe that we have made it this far. That half a year has passed since our daughter was born. That we are these people, and we are functioning, and that we are even happy, and hopeful. We have so much to look forward to, and I truly do naturally tend towards thoughts about the hope for the future. But some days, like today, I find it hard to get past thoughts of all that we are missing. And I am missing Hudson like crazy today.

Some days, it is harder to end on a positive note.

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“The Internet always leads to Crohn’s…”

There’s this new show on NBC called “Guys with Kids“. The other day the Hubs and I were watching an episode, in which one of the “Guys with Kids” leaves the kids with the mom so he can go to a football game. She calls him from the ER, and when he asks her in a panic what’s wrong with the kids, she responds by saying that she looked up the symptoms online and she thinks one of their children has Crohn’s Disease.

“The Internet always leads to Crohn’s!” the dad responds.

Now, Crohn’s Disease is not a laughing matter. I have a few friends who suffer from Crohn’s and it is nasty, awful business. I recount this scene from a mediocre television show not because I think it is hilarious, but because it illustrates a good lesson for us all:

Too much time on the Internet rarely has a positive outcome.

When I first became pregnant, I spent a lot of time researching what was happening “in there.” I devoured pregnancy literature, downloaded iPhone apps, etc. etc. etc. The Internet was this wealth of information just waiting to be tapped into – to see if other people experienced the same things I did, to find someone or something to equate my experience with. Women have been having babies for thousands of years, but I felt like I was the first one. I needed to bone up on my baby-making knowledge.

After we lost Hudson, I turned to the Internet yet again. I devoured grief and loss literature, flirted with joining the local chapter of “Compassionate Friends,” read through obscure forum strings from 2007 of women who had also lost a child. I wanted to find out if other people experienced what we had, find somebody whose experience I could equate ours with.

I felt like we were the only people who had ever lost a child.

This, my friends, is a dangerous road to travel. The wisdom of “The Internet always leads to Crohn’s” had not been imparted on me at the time, and I found myself discovering all kinds of “Ways things can go wrong”.

Women who got abortions when they were teens, only to have difficulty conceiving years later.
Women who experienced multiple losses.
Bringing a healthy baby home, only to lose that child to SIDS.

And then when the doctor told me to wait 6 months before we try for Baby Dub Dos, I researched that online, too. Variations of “How long to wait between pregnancies?” littered my Google search history.

I discovered stories of healthy babies as close at 10 months apart. But also…
Low birth weight in second babies born too close to their older siblings.
Stories of uterine rupture,
maternal death,
hysterectomy.
Anywhere from 3 months to two years were recommended to wait. Throw in the C-Section angle and you discovered a thousand more stories, good and bad.

My brain can’t process the multitude of possibilities, competing facts, conflicting data. It was especially dangerous for me to read this stuff at night before bed… my mind would inevitably wander down that dark path to the night we went into labor, how if just a few things had been done differently maybe I wouldn’t even have time for Googling stuff right now because I’d be taking care of a rambunctious red-head.

A friend of mine is a family practice doctor, and had a beautiful baby girl this year. I asked her how she made it through her pregnancy without having a complete breakdown – she’s privy to far too much medical data, she’s seen how things can go wrong with no warning. And it was comforting to hear her admit that it was pretty hard. Me, I can discount all the stories I’ve read to this point as “Internet myth garbage.” She had scientific facts to work off of.

Bottom line?

I gotta cool it with the Googling of things related to pregnancy and labor and infant loss.

Worrying gets you nowhere, and the Internet always leads to Crohn’s.

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