Friday, September 19, 2008

Muddy IF Pond

Today is an especially hard IF day for some reason. Not that every other day has been a walk in the park as far as this goes, but somehow today it registers more clearly. The signals are strong. Up until this afternoon, I was in a fairly good mood. The weather is bordering on perfect, my dog who was lost overnight on Wednesday is now home safe and sound, and I have a good weekend in front of me filled with an arts and crafts fair and planning Ms. S's 30th birthday party for next Saturday. So it should seem counter-intuitive that in the middle of all that, my heart is beginning to ache. More than ever I see small children and feel a knife in my chest. I was walking into a store earlier today and spotted a three year old and automatically thought, "If I had gotten pregnant within the first year of my trying, my child would be that old." *sigh* I wonder if after January I'll start to think obsessively about the new babies surrounding me, that my baby would have been that old had he/she survived. I guess the fact that I'm already thinking that answers my question.

Part of me guesses that this more pronounced melancholy has to do with Mr. S's upcoming party. I love parties, don't get me wrong, and I especially love throwing them. I'm excited about his and have grand plans to not quite recollect parts of it, but it calls to mind memories of the 30th birthday party that was supposed to be held for me in June. It was months in the making, a right of passage, and the first birthday party I would've had since I turned 18. Almost everyone I invited RSVPed 'yes' and I was so excited to be surrounded by my friends, all in the same space. I would have been almost 11 weeks along, so we figured that my not having one of our heaven-inducing margaritas in hand would have been highly suspect, so we planned to tell people we were pregnant at the party. Of course, silly me, I scheduled my 10 week ultrasound on the day before. Friday the 13th. Quite fitting. All of the ominous things that one would expect of this day came to heartbeat, straight to D&C. So, as I stand near the day of Mr. S's celebration, the same celebration I so looked forward to, it brings it all back for me. As if I needed reminders anyway.

We cancelled my party and I didn't even think to reschedule. But now I look back and feel as if in the wake of being denied the one thing I wanted in the world, I sort of stopped living. I still feel that now. I wouldn't change the fact that I was pregnant and carried our baby for the short time I did, but I can't deny that the loss has changed every fiber in me and lately, not for the better. In a society that is so puritanically hushed or dismissive of miscarriage, I had no idea what to expect. Now I know, and I'm pissed. Why didn't someone tell me? Why is it such a secret or a 'non-issue' because somehow the baby I carried was a 'non-person'? Now as I sit, the agony I felt from IF is only strengthened. The absense of what could have been and what might not be is so palpable, it literally sits in the bottom of my throat on a daily basis. How can I walk into a party, something I have always loved, filter in and out of everyone, smile cordial smiles, and hide this thing that is right below my skin? Every breath I take is a reminder that I am not yet whole, as a result of IF and loss. I'm working so hard to repair this, but in the mean time, I am not an active participant in my life. I'm not sure I know how to be yet.

Mr. S and I had a discussion the other night that ended in tears. My tears, of course. I'm not sure how we ended up on this topic, but the question was raised to me: "Could you ever be happy if you never have a child?" Before sharing my answer, I should clarify that 'having' a child includes adoption. My answer: "no."

This stunned and shocked Mr. S. I suspect he took it personally, as if my life with him was not enough, somehow not up to par. I know that he makes maintaining my happiness his personal job description, so in essense, he felt I was telling him that he had failed. That could not be farther from the truth. Minus the kid factor, I have a great life and I count my blessings often. He is the main component of what is right. But how does one reconcile loving the life they have and yet feeling as if one of the biggest parts of life is missing? I can imagine the message this sends and the contradiction is too much for me to explain at this point in time. The truth is, if I were to live the rest of my life never having parented a child, I would never feel as if I truly lived. That is why I will fight to bring whoever is meant to come home, home. I will happily shove needles in my gut or have social workers comb through my sometimes-spotty credit report and messy cabinets. While we left any resolution for another day, I suspect we have more to discuss. I'm just not sure how to make a muddy pond clear.

The culmination of the upcoming party and the showdown the other night are making their way into my psyche. Add in the fact that the country seems to be going to hell in a handbasket around us (Fannie May and Freddie Mack, for example) and I'm sure I'll be huddled under my comforter come Sunday. But probably not. Because even in the face of all that lives inside this skull of mine, I still manage to get up, smile a real smile, and move forward. I'll take what I can get.


Just Me. said...

I'm so sorry that you have to go through such pain, especially losing him/her at 10 weeks.

I read this poem again just last night and it's my favourite. I read it whenever I feel down and whenever I wonder why things happen the way they do. I'd like to dedicate this to you:

I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today
I asked "What makes a Mother?"
And I know I heard him say
A Mother has a baby
This we know is true
But, God, can you be a mother
When your baby's not with you?

Yes, you can he replied
With confidence in his voice
I give many women babies
When they leave it is not their choice
Some I send for a lifetime
And others for the day
And some I send to feel your womb
But there's no need to stay.

I just don't understand this God
I want my baby here

He took a breath
and cleared his throat
And then I saw a tear
I wish I could show you
What your child is doing today
If you could see your child smile
With other children and say
"We go to earth to learn our lessons
of love and life and fear
My mommy loved me so much
I got to come straight here
I feel so lucky to have a Mom who had so much love for me
I learned my lessons very quickly
My Mommy set me free.

I miss my Mommy oh so much
But I visit her each day
When she goes to sleep
On her pillows where I lay
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
And whisper in her ear
Mommy don't be sad today
I'm your baby and I am here"

So you see my dear sweet one
Your children are okay
Your babies are here in My home
And this is where they'll stay
They'll wait for you with Me
Until your lessons are through
And on the day you come home
they'll be at the gates for you

So now you see
What makes a Mother
It's the feeling in your heart
It's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start
Though some on earth
May not realize
Until their time is done
Remember all the love you have
And know that you are
A Special Mom.


Nikki said...

Shelby - it's as if you're writing about my life! I feel every word of your post like I wrote it myself.

IF changes us. M/C changes us even more. And not for the better. On the other hand, it changes us for the "bitter". The first get together I attended after my m/c last year - I was so shifty, not meeting anyone's eyes, not wanting to see anyone, not wanting to be seen. I did not want questions, and I did not want pity, yet I did not want to be happy and pretend nothing was wrong.

I'm so sorry you're having a hard day. Big hugs to you - and hey, I'm in San Jose. If you ever want to meet up for a coffee or something, just holler. I'll come meet you somewhere and give you a hug in real life. :-)

Lost in Space said...

Huge hugs, Shelby. You have so many reminders and triggers bringing on some hard IF feelings right now. It makes perfect sense. By no means easy either. I am so sorry for it all.

I have had the same conversation with my DH and I think he was hurt at first too - feeling like he alone isn't enough. I tried to explain it in terms of fulfilling a lifelong dream - one that was in my heart before I even understood where they came from. I also had another dream to have a wonderful husband and he is more than I can ever ask for and has fulfilled that dream and more. Two dreams and a heart big enough for both. It seemed to help him get it a little.

Another Dreamer said...

Stupid IF.

I know that my life would never be complete without a child somehow, and I know what you mean. What you wrote? I could have wrote that. Almost all of it. IF is hard on it's own, but add a loss to it... it's so hard.

Sending you hugs, I hope you can make it through the party okay. (And if you feel overwhelmed, remember it's okay to go to the bathroom and unwind and release if you have to.)

Lorraine said...

Some days are just hard - and then even focusing on the positive only helps in an intellectual way. We are the generation of women who must transition from the puritanical hush to the sensitive understanding. I have all kinds of giant rants on this topic, and I hate to see someone suffering because the of the isolating quality of IF losses. My own mother has made several comments about how early miscarriages don't really merit actual grief - but that is because she never had an early pregnancy test, an ultrasound, a doppler. Society takes it cues from the past, and the past didn't notice an early pregnancy. But here we are, writing about our feelings and frustrations and building a sense of real knowledge in an area that has always been - well, puritanically hushed. It's important, and I'm so glad that you are writing about your experiences.

I hope you have a better day tomorrow.

Lifeslurper said...

Shelby, oh my this is tough.

I can only begin to imagine the magnitude of your sense of loss.

I understand that you can't bring your baby back, or replace your lost baby in any way...but would it be possible to find ways of celebrating your babe's existence?

This was not a 'non-person' your baby was very very real...would it help to give your baby a name?

Celebrate your baby! Mourn your baby!

And please don't regret feeling the way you do. It matters.

I truly hope you can have some better days soon!

Shelby said...

Thanks so much for all your support. I really, really appreciate it and have come to be better off for it everyday.

Just me, this poem was beautiful and of course made me a blubbering blogger by the end of it. And Nikki-I'm totally game. I come to San Jo often as all of our family and most of our friends are still there. I will definitely give you a holler!

Thanks all for your everything. It's good to hear the wisdom of those who have been there. It just sucks knowing that in order for this to happen, others have experienced what I'm going through as well...wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. :(

junebug said...

WOW! Hugs! I almost thought that I was reading about myself. My DH and I had the exact same conversation. I know he took my answer as a personal affront. I still haven't found the proper words to explain myself. For me I think it has to do with a woman is "supposed" to be able to give birth. I feel incomplete as a woman. I hope it is a comfort that others feel your pain.
Here via ICLW.

luna said...

shelby, there is so much in this post. I'm so sorry you spent your 30th bday celebration the way you did, and that you continue to relive that loss. I often think of how old my child/ren would be, had things been different... it's a horrible position to find yourself in...

on the life not being lived, that is also a very difficult place to be and pull yourself from -- it doesn't happen overnight and it is not permanent. I find myself enjoying life in moments, in between the sadness and frenzy of the rest of it. one day at a time, moment by moment.

and as for that conversation with your hub, I've had the same one. very hard to be in that space. we couldn't even talk about adoption for a few months until we sorted through a lot of that...

wishing you all the best on this hard road...

Hope2morrow said...

Interesting. I just had that same conversation with Babe the other night. It was the one time he admitted he actually wanted kids and wouldn't have a "complete" life without them. It was a break-through for our relationship and yet it broke my heart at the same time.
You're doing great!