Should Have Been Day

candles

Today is our Should Have Been Day.
The day that we should be celebrating.
The day we will never get to celebrate.

April 8, 2011 should have been the birthday of our first child.

We only made it 14 weeks. Only, only, only.

Those were the best 14 weeks of my life. The 14 weeks that I felt happiest. Most hopeful. Most proud. Most strong, capable, right. The only time I ever felt that way, that secret special way that only being pregnant can make you feel.

We were so filled with excitement and anticipation and love. We were parents and it was beautiful.

Then it stopped. Everything stopped.

No heartbeat. No heartbeat. No. Heartbeat.

The worst two words. October 1, 2010.

Then screams and tears and broken. Broken. Broken. Broken.

Nothing will ever be the same. Nothing. Not ever.

We made it through the dark times. We survived. But we are different. We are changed.

Years keep passing. Those two dates come and go every year. Friends build their lives and their families. Their children grow. Some feel loss and heartache, too, and we mourn with them. We pray and hope and get discouraged. I cry and rage and get caught in that evil loop of why and what if. Others get tired of my grief. I feel those get over its and not agains. I feel the distance and the endings and the breaking and it hurts almost as much as the loss. It is too much for me. Too much for us. I know it is too much for them. Our grief is big and dark and it hurts.

I dream about her. Sometimes she is a baby. Sometimes she is running and sassing. Throwing fits and laughing. She’s always beautiful. We are always hopelessly in love. I don’t ever want to wake up from those dreams.

We pray, we hope, we try to keep our faith pure and strong, that someday we will be a family of three.

Happy Should Have Been Day, Baby Hope. We love you.

Always

photo by Earl

There are other things that get lost

“But when we miscarry, and little ‘evidence’ is available to support a life existed, the support disappears—leaving the mother grieving and treated as neurotic for mourning the very same ‘baby’ who’d been exuberantly cheered for all over Facebook just an hour before.”

This post from Still Standing punched me right in the heart!

I know loss isn’t fun, I get that. I’m not always happy. I don’t always feel things the way people who haven’t had their world crushed, multiple times, mind you, act. It isn’t happy. It isn’t polite dinner conversation. I’ve lost a dear friendship, too. Loss leads to loss, it seems. I don’t blame anyone, but it makes me so sad. It hurts in a different way, but almost as badly. It is, in fact, one of the worst things in the word. Being broken sucks. It is like being consumed by something so like the Nothing from The Neverending Story. Not being able to fill the kind of emptiness that just grows deeper and blacker all the time is the most urgently painful thing I’ve ever felt.

I know I’m not that fun all the time. I wish I was more fun, too.

Believe me. I want to be.

I want to BE happy.
I want to BE a Mama.
I want to BE able to make my husband a Daddy.
I want to BE the kind of friend that doesn’t cry when she finds out you are pregnant.
I want to BE in love with myself and not hate all the parts of me that don’t know their effing job.
I want to BE.

It’s one of the many other things that were lost along with those tiny heartbeats that don’t mean as much to you. The ones that leave me empty and broken.

 

 

My worst enemy is me

Sometimes things suck so massively that there just isn’t any way to put a positive spin on them. Believe me, I try. I’m usually a life-is-beautiful, everything-works-out-in-the-end, YAY FOR ALL THE THINGS! kind of girl. But, not so much right now. Schmoopy and I had this conversation several times this weekend. He’s the realist. I’m the hopefull one. He likes it that way & usually I do, too.

Right now, I’m a hope-is-for-suckers kind of chick. I’m one of those everything-sucks kind of people today. And I’m perfectly okay with that. Because stuff sucks sometimes. People say stupid things. Nothing goes the way you want it to. I’m not pregnant AGAIN, I have strep, and my back is about to go out.

On Saturday, it became obvious that our last IUI didn’t work. That was confirmed on Sunday. I’m done for a while. Done with being happy. Done with hope. Done with the stupid roller coaster that is infertility.

I don’t trust my body to do the right thing. I don’t trust my body enough to invest the time, emotional toll, or huge dollar amount needed for IVF. It might not work. It might work and I could have another miscarriage. It might work and we could have a healthy baby or two. I’m no math genius, but the odds don’t look so hot. I just don’t believe that this is going to work for us. So I’m waiting to confirm a few things with our doctor and I’m ready to call it. Throw in the towel. Be a quitter (which seems to be a theme with me lately and I still don’t regret any of my recent quits!).

Friends who were in the same infertility boat as us have now had a successful pregnancy (or two or three) or have successfully adopted. We are happy for them. Truly. But, the bottom line is, that doesn’t get us our baby. That doesn’t make me stop hating the parts of my body that don’t work. It doesn’t fix anything. I know, I promise, really I know, that I need to be a good friend and support all of the people we love who are new parents or expectant parents, but I might need to do it with a bit of distance. I might not be able to go to baby showers yet (I haven’t been to one since my 2010 miscarriage at 14 weeks and I don’t know if I’m ready yet). I’m trying not to be a selfish brat, but at the same time I’m trying to protect myself from seriously considering staying in bed all day every day.

Who knows, I might feel better in a week, feel infinitely hopeful again, make peace with the broken parts of me, and be ready to go for it again.

But, until that happens, here’s what you can do to help:

Here is a list of things I don’t want to hear from ANYONE EVER:

It’s okay (because not even one little bit of this is okay)

Stop trying and you’ll get pregnant (that is both total b.s. & so freaking hurtful)

I know, read, heard that …. (you, just like me, don’t know much about this–geez, even the doctors don’t know a whole lot, really)

Everything happens for a reason (might be true, but totally not helpful, & the reason pretty much sucks to me right now)

Cheer up (or anything that sounds like that. I’m really effing sad & there’s nothing wrong with being sad)

My friend (sister, cousin, lady at church, whoever) did xyz and it worked (please don’t throw other people’s good fortune in my face. It feels like you are, which you probably aren’t, so just don’t)

Here are some things that you can do:

Pray for us (it helps infinitely)

Let me know if you know anything about adoption (we are seriously thinking that adoption might be the right path for us)

Respect my right to be sad for a while.

Love your pregnancy and your kids a million times more than you even think is possible. Even when you are puking and feeling horrible (I’d love to be that sick right now-you are making a person, deal with it), even when they drive you totally insane (because they are such a beautiful gift), even you are exhausted and worn out and just don’t know anymore (be thankful for every second of parenthood, no matter how difficult it may be)

Yep, this was a rant. It’s over now.

It didn’t make me feel much better and I probably offended several people, but what’s done is done.

Our Darkest Day

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Today is the anniversary of our darkest day.

Today is the day, on October 1, 2010, that we lost our dear baby Hope.

We went to the doctor excited to see our baby on the big fancy ultra sound machine.
14 weeks of bliss. The best 14 weeks of our lives.

We left in tears. Completely broken.

Two words destroyed us: no heartbeat.

Years of trying and praying, 14 weeks of dreams come true, gone.

We were lost. Devastated. Angry.

Why, why, why, why!

Why would our wonderful, amazing, loving God take our precious baby?

How would I remember to breathe?

What was the point of anything if our baby could be taken away from us with two words.

We were robbed of so much more than our baby that day. So much of what I knew to be absolutely true in the world was gone. Nothing would ever be right or pure again. Not like it was before this promise was broken.

I don’t get to think that being pregnant means a baby anymore. Never.

I don’t get to think that everything will be okay ever again.

I don’t get to trust my body.

I don’t get to believe, without doubt, that it all works out in the end.

I don’t get to hold our sweet little baby. Not ever. Not once. Never.

We have healed and grown so much since the darkest times. We have managed to pull me out of the blackest darkness I’ve ever known. My husband saved me so many times. He set his own grief aside to heal mine. Our family and friends stayed by us and loved us, even though we were not even a little bit fun to be around.

We know we are blessed to have us, happy, in love, best friends forever, us. But we will always, forever, and ever miss our what could have been.

We love you baby Hope. Always.

The eyeliner incident, but not really

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Last week I cried because the wrong color eyeliner was in my box from Sephora. Cried. Ugly, Schmoopy needed to hold me cry. It was about as awful as a Dobby from HP kind of cry. My patient, kind, loving husband who doesn’t always understand but loves without judgement and so fiercely, let me thrash it out. And thank God for that man! The kicker: It wasn’t even Sephora’s fault. I ordered the wrong one. That kinda sucked, too, because I couldn’t even blame anyone but me. There was a roach at the bottom of my coffee cup only a few days later. It was like a message saying, just go with it…you will be fine. But, I wasn’t in the mood for that message. Or much of anything, really. Roller coaster emotions. I hate them

It wasn’t the eyeliner I was crying over, for real. It was so many things, huge and insignificant, that had me sobbing. I have a strange sense of unease this school year (as a teacher, my life is measured in these school years, rather than fiscal years, or calendar years, like non-teachers see the world). It is a thing that has causes and mysteries, none of which are easy to name. And these unnameable things grow even bigger and more fierce without names. Like they can roam free and do anything they like, because they have no way to be called or caught.

I am fighting this, all of it. I’m searching for these longings to be settled and an ease that just won’t come. Some of it is the societal demand of being a teacher in a time that keeps blaming and trying to fix without knowing or really supporting. Without loving. Some of it is my heart that wishes for big huge giant things that cannot be, like my Poppi, or my Yankee Jane kitty girl, or my sweet baby Hope. Some of it is that horrid stupid empty that is infertility and the feeling of powerless that wraps itself around me and squeezes, as 40 draws more near, as friends become parents time and again while still I wait. I talk & text with my dear friends and they rage with me and fuss with me and give me hugs across the miles. Even though I know they hurt with me and they would fix it, if they could. They’d kick some ass and set fires. And I love them. So freaking hard. So, so, so much.

But this still sits on my chest like a beast. Some of it is the nightmares, both tiny and raging, that keep me edgy and sleepy and up too early. Most of it is a fear of those Dark Times returning, even thought I know I’m in a better place now and I won’t fall like that again. But also knowing that I could, so quickly and easily, I could. This is an ugly temper tantrum in a crowded store. This isn’t about the eyeliner. Or the coffee roach. Or the entire blender full of green smoothie that jumped out my hands at 5:30 this morning & coated the floor, walls, and appliances with greenish blue muck. It isn’t about one thing, large or small. It is everything. And nothing.

Then tonight I went to my teacher book club. And I was tired &  grumpy. And I didn’t really want to go. But I went. And I laughed. And I laughed. Laughed. We talked about all of the awesome that happens in our classrooms and all of the awful, too. It was so right. So raw. So real. But not in a sad way. Not in a complaining way. It was just what I needed.

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When I got home it was late & I was tired. Way tired. Teacher Tired, but so much happier. I logged into my MADE course  and read this:

“I am here to remind you
your life is heartbreakingly gorgeous even when it’s heartbreakingly . . . heartbreaking.
I am here to remind you
we can speak with the Divine
even when our words come out all ugly, when we want to swear,
when we scream why,
when we have nothing left to say.
I am here to remind you
you are loved––beyond measure, beyond any boundary:
you are loved, you are loved, you are loved,
you are the child of Love
and expression of Love
and outpouring of Love.”

It was a gift. A hug. A prayer. Love.
And I knew, really knew, that I would be okay. Because of love, and laughter, and friendship. And love. So much Love.

Please say a prayer or two, offer a smile to those who need it, be kinder than necessary. Be strong for those who are weak. I am trying. Always trying.

I’m not (that) broken…

097 Infertility sucks.

 

That’s putting it nicely. When your body refuses to do its job, it is hard to deal with. I’m a woman, I’m supposed to make babies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to throw my gender back to the dark ages, promise! It’s just what I want, more than anything in this world. I want to be a mommy. A Mommy. I was pregnant once, for fourteen beautiful weeks, with sweet baby Hope. It almost happened.

Quite often, I just feel broken. There’s a meme for this…YOU HAD ONE JOB! Sometimes I yell this at myself. Hey, uterus, YOU HAD ONE JOB! You, too, ovaries: ONE JOB! And the kicker is, I can’t fire them and hire parts that work. It is maddening.

We are seeing a specialist. We did IUI. I’ve lost 22 pounds since May. I’m eating healthy. I gave up Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper. Sometimes I have dreams about DDP. They are glorious! I’m down to one cup of coffee a day. I’m taking a fist full of meds several times a day that make me hot and emotional. Now I’m sweaty and I cry a lot at things that are completely ridiculous (like there aren’t any napkins or that the cat won’t sleep with me). Poor Schmoopy! That man is a saint!

My story isn’t unique. It’s actually quite common. That’s why I am sharing. So many people have, as politely as possible, questioned me as to why I’m putting all of my secrets out there so publicly. Actually, I’m quite an Instagram junkie (@ohmandee) and I’ve been recording this struggle under the hashtag #gethealthygetbaby. I’m sharing because I need to. I’m sharing because I keep getting emails from beautiful, amazing, brilliant women who are going through this horrible thing, too. I’m not alone. We’re not alone. So many women tell me they are ashamed that they can’t get pregnant or stay pregnant. I get that. I’m not writing this to complain, either. I’m thankful for these medicines and procedures. I’m thankful that I even have a chance of getting pregnant.

I’m writing this because I’m not broken and neither are you. We’re  just who we’re supposed to be, actually. Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Whatever your struggle is, know that you are not broken. You are just what you are supposed to be. If you want to change something, change it. Become that beautiful, amazing anything you want to be. It isn’t easy, it doesn’t always work, but you have every reason to go for it.I have beautiful, amazing friends who remind me of this daily. They are true blessings to me. I pray that all of you have such friends.

This was quite rambling, I know. But my heart tells me that it needed to be shared.

Take care of you, please, you are so loved! xo