Sunday, August 31, 2008

I lifted this from someone who lifted it from somewhere else...

So, what do you think people would say to you if you were paraplegic instead of infertile?
(author unknown)

1. As soon as you buy a wheelchair, I bet you'll be able to walk again!
2. You can't use your legs? Boy, I wish I was paralyzed. I get so tired of walking, and if I were paralyzed I wouldn't have to walk anywhere!
3. My cousin was paralyzed but she started shaving her legs in the other direction and she could walk again. You should try that.
4. I guess God just didn't mean for you to be able to walk.
5. Oh, I know exactly how you feel, because I have an ingrown toenail.
6. Sorry, we don't cover treatment for paraplegia, because it's not a life-threatening illness.
7. So... when are *you* going to start walking?
8. Oh, I have just the opposite problem. I have to walk walk walk - everywhere I go!
9. But don't you *want* to walk?
10. You're just trying too hard. Relax and you'll be able to walk.
11. You're so lucky... think of the money you save on shoes.
12. I don't know why you're being so selfish. You should at least be happy that *I* can walk.
13. I hope you don't try those anti-paralysis drugs. They sometimes make people run too fast and they get hurt.
14. Look at those people hiking... doesn't that make you want to hike?
15. Just relax, you'll be walking in no time.
16. Oh do my legs hurt, I was walking and walking and going up and down the stairs all day.
17. I broke my leg skiing, and was on crutches for weeks, and was worried I'd have a permanent limp, but I'm 100% healed.
18. I'd ask you to be in my wedding party but the wheelchair will look out of place at the altar.
19. You're being selfish, not coming on the hike with us, and looking at all of my track & field trophies.
20. Don't complain, you get all the good parking places.
21. If you just lose weight your legs will work again.
22. If you would just have more sex, you could walk!
23. You don't know how to walk? What's wrong with you? Here let a real man show you how to walk!
24. You are just trying too hard to walk. Give up, and then you'll walk.
25. Here, touch my legs, then you'll walk!
26. Just take a vacation, and the stress-break will be sure to get you walking!
27. When *we* were young we only had to worry about having to walk too much.
28. And I bet a paraplegic going to a bookstore doesn't find books about paralysis stacked next to all the books on running...

So here's a little hint. If someone you know tells you that she's trying to get pregnant and it's taking longer than expected, DON'T tell her to just relax. Don't tell her to adopt and then surely she'll get pregnant with her own child. Don't tell her that God has a plan for her. Don't say, "At least it's fun trying!" Scheduling sex with the person you love isn't fun. Getting vaginal ultrasounds every other day and intramuscular injections in your rear twice a day isn't fun. Finding out every single month that - yet again - it didn't work this month either is Just. Not. Fun.

DO tell her that you're sorry she's going through such pain/grief/frustration. Do tell her that you're glad she told you. Do tell her that, even if you don't bring it up (because you want to respect her privacy and understand that she might not feel like talking about it sometimes), that you're there for her if she ever wants to talk or vent.

And DON'T feel that because she told you that it's okay for you to tell your other friends, children, co-workers, neighbors, cousins, mailman, whomever - unless she tells you that it's okay to do so. Your need to share news pales in comparison to her need to maintain a shred of privacy and dignity.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

toppings are extra

When people ask me how many children I have, I pause. Part of me really wants to say how many I have been pregnant with (five), but then I think about it some more and I always say one. When people ask me if my son is my only child, again, I have to pause. Because he isn't. He is now one of five, the oldest of five, the one who got to live. Whether by luck or happenstance or the cosmic meanie missed one, I don't know. But he is all I've got. Up until this past week, he was one of four. But then, last week, I found out I was pregnant again, but this one didn't even make it through the weekend. So, is it a loss? Does it count as another deadbaby on the ever growing list? I guess it does (to me). How many cells does it take to make it a "real baby." What is the difference between a late period and an early miscarriage. Is there really a difference? Physically, I can say for me the answer is yes. I never had a "natural" miscarriage (not that there is anything natural about losing a child.) My early losses ended in D&C's because my body stubbornly refused to accept that it wasn't pregnant anymore and stubbornly hung onto whatever it had. This time, my body did it on its own. And it was different. It was slightly numbed by the amount of beer that I decided to drink (since I wasn't pregnant any more) and the fact that I was so glad that I wouldn't have to go back to the doctor begging for something to make my body give up its pregnancy, but the inescapable fact was that both my husband and I were markedly saddened by yet another loss. Just a few days before, we were stunned to find out that we had managed to create a baby at all, given all the crappy fertility news that we'd been given lately. We barely had a chance to revel in being pregnant before we weren't anymore. No one knew. The food from our traditionally yummy pizza, yay we're pregnant again dinner had barely digested before I wasn't pregnant anymore. It's amazing how quickly things change. Yet, in the end, because all I want is to have a healthy baby, and because it remains out of my reach, everything stays the same.

If I'd have known how it would have turned out, I would have had the prosciutto pizza. And I didn't even cry.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The longest year ever

One year ago, I was embarking, for the second time, on trying to conceive after a first trimester loss. I had spent July and August 2007 as a human science experiment, having every test in the universe run on me to try to figure out why my babies kept on dying. In the end, there really wasn't anything wrong that they could find, just a few little things that probably didn't amount to much. Along the way, I got a lot of pity and a lot of bad pity advice. Let me tell you, for the record, that having a child before your losses is actually not a good thing. No, it doesn't make the losses easier to take, and no, it doesn't prove out the theory of "well, at least you know you can have kids" No, what it means is that I know that I can have one kid, the one that didn't die, but that doesn't mean that I possess the ability to have any more. Fertility problems after a loss, secondary infertility, whatever you want to call it, just freakin' the inability to get (or stay) pregnant just sucks. And it is very lonely, because no matter how many people are trying to get pregnant right along with you, your personal hell is yours alone. And, as time marches on, you get more and more alone. All the friendship and support in the world doesn't take the place of that healthy child that you want so much.

It doesn't matter how you try to sugar coat it, the bottom line is that Shannon should be 6 weeks old now, not dead 6 months. I should be worried about taking her into the sun, not getting mad because her urn got moved. If Shannon hadn't died, I would't be mortified of seeing all of the new babies born to our friends in the past few weeks. Oh, and the fact that they were mostly girls doesn't help. Moving backwards, if I hadn't had my first loss in Feb. 2007, I'd be preparing for a first birthday party now. If I hadn't had my second loss in June 2007, I probably wouldn't have been crying over a child who was about 8 months old in the doctor's office the other week. Because I wouldn't have found it sad to see a baby the same age as my second dead baby.

It's a pretty fucked up bunch of milestones that you get to measure time by when your whole life has become about loss. And it doesn't go away. I, and mom's like me, do the math reflexively. We always know how old our child would have been. We can guess by looking at other babies what ours might have been like. And when we hear pregnant women and new moms complain, we wish our diamond shoes were tight too.

So, I'm off to ride roller coasters with my child. At least, unlike the roller coaster I've been on for the past 20 months, I like these roller coasters.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mindless memes (part deux)

I got this from who got it from another blogger.

The things I have done are in bold.

Bought everyone in the bar a drink
Swam with wild dolphin
Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
Been inside the Great Pyramid
Held a tarantula
Taken a candle lit bath
Said I love you and meant it
Hugged a Tree
Bungee jumped
Visited Paris
Watched a lightning storm at sea
Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
Seen the Northern Lights
Gone to a huge sports game
Walked the stairs to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Grown and eaten your own vegetables
Touched an iceberg
Slept under the stars
Changed a baby’s diaper
Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
Watched a meteor shower
Gotten drunk on champagne
Given more than you can afford to charity
Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
Had a food fight
Bet on a winning horse
Asked out a stranger
Had a snowball fight
Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
Held a lamb
Seen a total eclipse
Ridden a rollercoaster
Hit a home run
Danced like a fool, not caring who watched
Adopted an accent for an entire day
Actually felt happy about your life, even for a moment
Had two hard drives for your computer
Visited all 50 states
Taken care of someone who was too drunk
Had amazing Friends
Danced with a Stranger in a foreign country
Watched wild whales
Stolen a sign
Hitchhiked in Europe
Taken a road-trip
Gone rock climbing
Midnight walk on the beach
Gone sky diving
Visited Ireland
Been heartbroken longer than you were in love
In a restaurant sat at a stranger’s table and ate with them
Visited Japan
Milked a cow
Alphabetized your CDs
Pretended to be a superhero
Sung karaoke
Lounged around in bed all day
Posed nude in front of strangers
Gone scuba diving
Kissed in the rain
Played in the mud
Played in the rain
Gone to a drive-in theater
Visited the Great Wall of China
Started a business
Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
Toured ancient sites
Taken a martial arts class
Played a computer game for more than 6 hours straight
Gotten married
Been in a movie (one of 10 million extras in Major League 2)
Crashed a party
Gotten divorced
Gone without food for 5 days
Made cookies from scratch
Won first prize in a costume contest
Ridden a gondola in Venice
Gotten a tattoo
Rafted the Snake River
Been on television news program as an “expert”
Got flowers for no reason
Performed on a stage
Been to Las Vegas
Recorded Music
Eaten shark
Had a one-night stand
Gone to Thailand
Bought a house
Been in a combat zone
Buried one/both of your parents
Been on a cruise ship
Spoken more than one language fluently
Performed in Rocky Horror
Raised Children
Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
Picked up and moved to another city
Walked on the Golden Gate Bridge
Sang loudly in the car and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
Had plastic surgery
Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have
Wrote articles for a large publication (well, one anyway)
Lost over 100 lbs
Held someone while they were having a flashback
Piloted an airplane
Petted a stingray
Broken someone’s heart
Helped an animal give birth
Won money on a TV game show
Broken a bone
Gone on an African safari
Had a body part below the neck pierced
Fired a rifle, shotgun or pistol
Eaten mushrooms gathered in the wild
Ridden a horse
Had major surgery
Had a snake as a pet
Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
Slept for more than 30 hours over 48 consecutive hours
Visited more foreign countries than US States
Visited all 7 continents
Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
Eaten Kangaroo meat
Eaten sushi
Had your picture in the paper
Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
Gone back to school
Petted a cockroach
Eaten fried green tomatoes
Read the Illiad
Selected one important author who you missed school to read
Killed and prepared an animal for eating
Skipped all of your school reunions
Communicated with someone without sharing a common language
Been elected to public office
Written your own computer language
Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream (and nightmares too lately)
Had to put someone you love in hospice care
Build your own PC from parts
Sold your own artwork to someone that didn’t know it was yours
Had a booth in a street fair
Dyed your hair
Been a DJ
Shaved your head
Caused a car accident
Saved someone’s life

Et vous?

Six months is a long time

I still miss her. Every day. I got irrationally mad this past Friday because the cleaning lady moved Shannon's urn. They don't ever even dust my dresser, so why in the world would they have reason to move her? Super annoying.

Then, last week, exactly six months to the day that we found out that she was dead and I went to the hospital to deliver her, I get a call from the hospital where Shannon was born. Seems that they were doing some housekeeping and found all of the photos of her that they took. The ones that they told me were lost forever because they never got them because the camera wasn't working that day. Yea, guess they were wrong. So, they asked me if I wanted them. Hello? What do you think? Of course I want them. But, of course, I started getting upset and told them that there was no way in hell that I was going to go to L&D to get them. So, the nurse offered to bring them down to the parking lot for me. I can't go back there. I've been there 3 times in the past 2 years and I have no babies to show for it. Pathetic. If I hadn't had my son there, I'd probably believe that the building was cursed. But I can say now, six months later, that should I ever get pregnant again (please), I never want to go to that hospital again.

I never knew that just pulling into a hospital parking lot could make me sadder than I was. (who knew that the hospital would find that one last band-aid and yank it off?) (who am I kidding to think that was the last band aid?) But sure enough, there I was, holding an envelope full of photos and crying. And these weren't very good photos. Unlike living babies (correction - most living babies, some are just fug), dead ones don't get prettier as time wears on. Shannon will always be beautiful to me, but just the same, I recognize that, like my grief, there are some things that I will always keep for myself. Like my pictures of my beautiful baby from the hospital. But thanks just the same for the note cards with the matching envelopes.

I guess that's it. There are likely few traces of Shannon in the outside world, only in my heart and in the hearts of her dad and brother. No more photos to find, no more bills to fight over. But my heart still hurts. Every day. I guess six months is not really a long time after all.