bandages

I don’t like clutter. Too many things in one space is suffocating. It’s easy for me to get rid of, to make space. But I don’t know what else to do but keep every token, every card as proof of her existence. A headstone doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t fit. She never belonged to this earth, only to me. I keep searching for the right thing to do, the right way to keep her memory beating and breathing. And then it slices me open again. The realization that the real answer, what I really want is to not have to do this at all. For her to be tucked up with my insides, safely cocooned until winter gives way to spring; until the ice melts and bleeds into dandelions.

I’m not very sad. Not right now. I’m mostly angry. Just so very angry. I want to punch walls, I want to cause damage. I want to take the pain in my body and release it into the wild, inflicting it on the world. The most soothing mantra I can find goes something like, “Fuck this, fuck you, I hate it all – everything.” Why her? I can still feel her kicking inside of me, phantom and cruel.

When the fury wave passes, the ebb and flow of grief, I find myself on my hands and knees. Picking up the shards and cradling them in my hands. They prick and bleed but I pull them in even tighter. I’m so sorry. I know you’re hurting too. I know, I know. I know. Can you dry tears with glass? I desperately search for some sort of salve to tend to world’s wounds. It stings my raw palms but maybe I need it too? Healing feels traitorous, bandages like straitjackets.

exist

My life before you never happened and now I’m forced to live without you – how? It’s been four days and I’ve aged years. There was nothing wrong with you. You were perfectly healthy. Bigger and stronger even than what you needed to be at your age. It was my body that failed you. Failed to keep you safe. I would have gone to the edges of the earth to save you, sweet girl. I’m so sorry I wasn’t enough. What else should I have done? Tell me and I will.

My belly shrinks and my breasts swell – painful, cruel reminders of the baby I can’t nurse. Colostrum like quiet sobs from my body. The sage tea I drink to dry up tastes bitterly of anger. Who the fuck decided I should deal with this right now?

“Sister” guts me; I failed her too.

I can’t go on like you don’t exist because you did. I can’t go on like you exist because you don’t. Can I go back? I’m paralyzed.

thrive

I wrote last year about the powerful influence words & mantras can have. I love words. I love the process of choosing the right ones – trying them on like clothing and leaving behind a crumpled mess on the floor. I love thinking about the subtle nuances of their definitions and listening to the marked differences in their sounds. As a critical optimist I keep a foot in both camps when it comes to New Years Resolutions and the like. On one hand, it’s just another day, week, month, etc. You’ll lose this burst of motivation by March. And did I mention nobody cares? BUT- FRESH START! NEW BEGINNING! TURNING OVER A WHOLE TREE OF LEAVES!

I’m a proud fence-sitter.

So I’ll don my lemming suit while keeping a good sense of humor about it all. That seems to be the right balance for me.

My word for 2015: thrive.

verb / to grow or develop well or vigorously; prosper; flourish

On paper my last few years don’t seem so bad. College graduation, bought a house, got hitched, got pregnant – on purpose. A lot of wonderful things happened and those blessings should not be discounted. But when I think about how those last few years have felt rather than how they looked, so much of it was spent in survival mode. Just trying to get to the next day. To the next weekend. To the next paycheck. To the next breather. I have some guilt when I think about the amount of depression and anxiety I experienced during what should have been golden years. But there it is. Depression doesn’t often choose convenient moments and it doesn’t really care about what your life looks like to other people. It just is.

Those years were hard. And exhausting. And so, so good for me. Those years prepared me for whatever it is that this year has for me. The person I need to be this year needed those experiences in her hand. I firmly believe that God doesn’t intend for us to just “make it” through this life. There is a reason we are animals and not machines. We are meant to have joy. We are made to dance and laugh and make love. We are made to thrive.

I know this year won’t be void of challenge or obstacle. I know this year won’t be “easy”. We are about to have our little world turned up on its head. And I am so excited for that. I am ready, I have been prepared. God has laid the foundation and given me the tools I’ll need. Let’s go, 2015. Let’s do this. Let’s thrive.

joy

due dates

We would have had a baby now. Or at least have been very close to it. You see, tomorrow is my first due date. Had that little life not left us I would be hugely pregnant or recovering from whatever kind of birth that babe needed to come into this world. That is not the case though. And ..I’m ok with it. I think. I’m better, in the very least. It used to be that not an hour went by that I didn’t think of him. Now it is not a day. I don’t want to ever forget but it feels good to be moving towards a healthier balance. September 18th will always be a day that sticks out a bit in my mind.

red budOur red bud.

So will February 28th. I was excited when we received that second positive pregnancy test although it was a quieter excitement than I was expecting. It was when I calculated my new due date that I felt that breathlessness. This new life inside of me is due one year, to the day, after my miscarriage. Or rather, the day I went to the hospital to have my uterus emptied because sadly that little life had already gone. For me though, that is the day. A lot of life is spent wandering, wondering, not understanding. But in that moment I felt the delicate hand of God.

It’s been a long, hard, exhilarating year. I think would have been a damn good mom had everything worked out the first time. Without a doubt though everything not working out will make me a better one.

I am grateful. For this pregnancy and the one preceding it. For the friends that let me complain about pregnancy without making me feel guilty. For the friends that will let me complain about parenthood without making me feel guilty. Because the fact that something is desperately wanted doesn’t negate the hardship that comes along with it. There is good and bad in all experiences and I am grateful for both sides. The bad makes you better.

daring to hope

What a wonderful and difficult time this past month has been. We found ourselves staring at a positive pregnancy test with apprehension, victory, and pause. Yes! We did it! But am I ready for whatever life has in store for me in these next two months? Back in January, I was bursting with the strange newness of it all. It was a state in which I had never been before and I couldn’t wait to share the news with our family and friends. This time around it is jarringly familiar. There is a sense of déjà vu. As I go through the motions of downloading pregnancy apps and reading forums and driving to the OB I feel the presence of a ghost, something of a sister of mine who has been here before. She is so happy and I am so scared.

I was ready to be pregnant again but I was not ready to deal with my emotions. A special cocktail of dread and distance. I wanted to keep the news to myself at first as I didn’t quite know what to do with it really; the only other person to know besides Andrew was my star-crossed friend and pen pal Allana. After a couple of weeks it began to feel odd leaving out the biggest detail of my daily life in the phone conversations with my mom. So we told our parents. I felt my anxiety begin to dissipate a bit as though it was being shared by those who knew. I toyed with the idea of surprising our friends with an ultrasound (a step we never got to take before) instead of just words but I knew my nearest and dearest would want to help me through the first trimester rather than hearing the news (good or bad) at the end of it. So we told our friends and that anxiety spread out a little bit more.

A scare involving a blood clot and an unplanned ultrasound last week had me thanking God that I had reached out and was not going through this alone.

baby redmonWe got to hear the heartbeat. A strong 174 beats per minute.

I am now 9 weeks + 1 day. Our missed miscarriage grew to 9 weeks + 3 days and was found at an 11 week ultrasound. I am walking on eggshells to our next appointment.

I am not used to declaring what I want. It has always made me feel selfish. I am used to resigning myself to what is given to me, accepting that I am not special and do not deserve all good things. Right now, I am declaring what I want. My voice is shaky and meek and trying not to end my sentences with question marks. But it’s there. I want this baby to live, thrive, grow, and be born into this world and into our family. I want to go into our next ultrasound and see that heartbeat again. I want to fantasize about strollers and how our dogs will react. I want to decorate a nursery and pick a name. I want this. Please God, I want this.

life after miscarriage: four months later

Three and a half really. I’m rounding up.

BenjiThis one has had a rough week, my poor old boy.

RobinThis one has an innovative flair for decor styling. She’s an out of the box thinker.

BenjiFrog-doggin’

I’ve heard said a few times in the context of a yoga studio that the highest form of human intelligence and spirituality is to observe yourself without judgment. I spend an awful lot of my life observing myself with the intent of fixing it up. I am in constant acknowledgement of my faults but only with the purpose of progression. It’s become easier for me to observe myself physically (especially in that same context of a yoga studio) without judgment. Not so much with my thoughts, however. It is often a good decision both for myself and for others to correct angry & hurt thoughts and redirect them into something positive. But for today — for right now, I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to let them be.

I hate that it’s seemingly unacceptable for women to talk openly about the frustrations of trying to conceive. Save for online forums filled to the brim with neurotic acronyms (TTC, TWW, CM, BD, HPT, FX) and sickeningly cute phrases (~*~baby dust!~*~) there aren’t very many “safe places” to spill your ugly guts. I hate that when someone asks me about our decisions to try conceive I am both elated to have someone acknowledge what fills my mind every damn day and also terrified to speak because I don’t know how much I can say. “Why yes, we’re having sex all the time! Check out this app on my phone – see all those hearts during my ovulation week? We should have a pretty good shot this cycle, right??” Or how about, “I’m feeling pretty shitty right now; my period showed up two days late yesterday and another pregnancy announcement is on my Facebook.” And there’s always, “DO NOT DISTURB: CURRENTLY SURROUNDED BY THREE NEGATIVE TESTS COVERED IN MY URINE” Not exactly the most palatable coffee shop talk. Lord knows my nearest and dearest would give me a shoulder if I asked. I know they would. But I can’t bring myself to do that to them. You see, one of the many side effects of miscarriage is the bubble has been popped. Pregnancy has lost its mysterious innocence and the sparkling magic is gone. My limbs are made of needles and I’m walking through a balloon shop, carefully turning my fingertips in toward myself as to not scratch your rose-tinted glasses.

I hate that I am a mom in almost all that I do and yet my arms are empty. I hate that I see a couple date for three months, playing at “House” and deciding that “OMG babies are sooooo cute, let’s have one!”. Buy a damn goldfish.

I hate that I can’t hate them. Because the second I see another ultrasound or a water-breaking update my first prayer is “Please God let them meet their baby.”

I hate that my loved ones love on me and distract me with lunches & hugs and for just one moment I am filled before emptying out yet again.

I hate how this experience has highlighted what little trust I have in anyone or anything.

I hate that I am left to write these things because words are thickly cemented in my throat.

I hate that I am lonely and want to be left alone.

I hate that even I press down on these keys I am mentally trying to shield you from my sharp edges. My instinct is to reassure you that it’s not always this heavy and please don’t worry about me. I’m looking on the bright side, there’s a silver lining, everything for a reason, can I have a drink or five?