Nov 30, 2006

21 Day Challenge | Day 15 | The Spy

15. The Spy

I hide myself in a cocoon of normalcy,
a veneer impossibly thin
yet veiling efficiently the torment,
the unreasonable guilt.

I am a spy in my own life,
a substitute for myself,
playing a dangerous game of masquerade.

What if the me that is bound
in the closet of my mind
never returns?

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Nov 28, 2006

21 Day Challenge | Day 14 | There is Nothing Here

14. There is Nothing Here

There is nothing here,
my beloved,
nothing that indicates
you were,
for a small while,
a part of me.

There are no clothes
that must be put away.

There are no pictures,
no birth certificate.

There is nothing here.
No tombstone,
no memorial,
no ashes.

It is as if you never
existed,
save in my
mind.

There is nothing here
but an agonizing
rent in my
heart.

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Nov 27, 2006

21 Day Challenge | Day 13 | Hands

13. Hands

Small hands present me
with
a book,
silent eyes begging that she
be picked up and
read “Hippos Go Berserk”
again.

Large hands clutch
their own book,
escape from the
despair that threatens
to engulf me
when I slow
down
enough to think.

Duty forces acceptance,
the child is lifted
and read
to.

It is a struggle,
performing this
duty
without revealing that,
at the moment,
it is a burden
beyond reckon.

It is a struggle,
and not fair to
the small hands
that lift
Hippos.

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21 Day Challenge | Day 12 | Yarn Over

12. Yarn Over

Yarn over, hook in stitch,
Yarn over, draw through.

“So do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl?”

Yarn over, hook in stitch,
Yarn over, draw through.

The pause is as pregnant as I am not.

Yarn over, hook in stitch,
Yarn over, draw through.

“We had a miscarriage that awful Sunday
when everything went wrong and
I was late to rehearsal.”

Yarn over, hook in stitch,
Yarn over, draw through.

It is clear she doesn’t know what to say.

Yarn over, hook in stitch,
Yarn over, draw through.

It’s ok. Neither do I.

Yarn over, hook in stitch,
Yarn over, draw through.

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Nov 25, 2006

21 Day Challenge | Day 11 | I Almost Forgot

11. I Almost Forgot

I almost forgot today.
I took a hot bath without
thinking twice,
drank my tea without comment.

I almost forgot today.
I took a regular multivitamin,
and didn’t notice that it
didn’t
smell like vanilla
as do the prenatal vitamins.

I almost forgot today.
I had a glass of wine with dinner,
its ruby tones did not remind me
of the blood that signaled the end
of the life within me.

I almost forgot today
that I had been pregnant.
And the guilt was nearly overwhelming.

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21 Day Challenge | Day 10 | Second Child

Second Child

My first child is
a daughter,
adorable,
adoring.

She was
unnaturally kind
and good
last week.

She is
social,
and sociable,
and havoc incarnate.

My second child will not scream
or cry
in despair
or hunger
or need.

My second child will not toss
the books off the shelf
over
and over
again.

My second child will not
request milk when
fishy crackers
are desired.

My second child will not
grab my hand
or stand, arms raised, to be
picked up
at the least opportune time.

My second child is dead.

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Nov 23, 2006

21 Day Challenge | Day 9 | Thanksgiving, Parts I - III

9. Thanksgiving, Part I

My grandmother died
on the Monday before Thanksgiving.

My grandfather died
on the Monday before Thanksgiving
three years later.

My second child died
two Mondays before Thanksgiving
seven years following.

I begin to wonder
for what I should be giving thanks,
I who am bounded on either side
by death.


Thanksgiving, Part II

Much has been given me,
and I am,
indeed,
very grateful.

I am grateful for my daughter,
all blond curls and flirtatiousness,
grateful for my husband,
arms and heart wrapped firmly around me,
grateful for my home, and family, and friends.

I am so angry though,
furious
even.

I am angry that I will be able to eat without nausea,
without stomach roiling in a progesterone-induced tumult,
angry that I will be able to fill my wineglass,
and my coffee cup,
angry that I will be drawn into conversations
that have nothing to do with my lost baby
but everything to do with living

Thanksgiving, Part III

May it be given me,
to be grateful for the
struggles
that I encounter.

May I be granted
the diligence and
faith
to see past the
despair
to the lesson,
whatever
it maybe.

May I surround my companions
with a sense of
love
and gratitude
and be given the
perseverance
to tread
onward
with a lightened step
and loving
heart.

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21 Day Challenge | Day 8 | Pies

8. Pies

I made two pies today,
rolling the dough,
smoothing it gently into the pie plate,
trimming, then pinching, the edge so carefully,
filling them with the rich orange mixture
that smells of
cinnamon and
mace.

I did not make a baby today,
did not carefully ingest the right nutrients,
smooth the lotion on an expanding belly,
nap happily dreaming in the afternoon,
filling my mind with beautiful
thoughts
of tiny warm body and
infinitesimal hands.

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Nov 22, 2006

21 Day Challenge | Day 7 | Wounds, Comparatively

Wounds, Comparatively

The blood of my body
has almost stopped escaping.

The bleeding of my heart continues unabated.

I cannot quite
comprehend
that my body so easily returns
to its prior state.
It seems wrong, somehow,
that the void in my heart seems so much
sharper
than the void in my womb.

There ought to be more balance.

Unless, of course, it is my body that is
balanced
and my mind and heart
are not.

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Nov 20, 2006

21 Day Challenge | Day 6 | The Unspoken Interrogative

The Unspoken Interrogative

“How are you doing?”
The tone of voice is patiently caring.
The visage is tolerantly understanding.

The unspoken interrogative is neither.

‘Why aren’t you ‘cured’ yet?’
‘Why aren’t you back to normal?’
‘Must you be so overemotional?’

The unspoken imperative is demanding.

‘Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.’
‘You’re dwelling too much on this.’
‘Get over it, already.’

I, as human as any other, am malleable
in the hands of the fates.
I am as my crises have made me.

I have no answer for the unspoken.

Perhaps, the unspoken deserves no answer.

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21 Day Challenge | Day 5 | Morning Munchkins

Morning Munchkins

She stands at the table,
writing a nametag for her child and complaining.

“I am tired,” she says;
“I just want this over with.
Being pregnant sucks.”

She is not talking to me.

I had prepared for the woman
with the 3 month old.
I had forgotten the pregnant one.

I look at the ceiling,
willing the wells dry.
I look at the wall,
anywhere but at the evidence of her discomfort.

I do not throw a tantrum.
I do not throw a block or a toy or my purse.
I do not rant and scream what she cannot possibly understand:
Being pregnant is uncomfortable, yes;
but not being pregnant is far worse.

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Nov 19, 2006

21 Day Challenge | Day 4 | Cry Now

Cry Now

"Try not to be too sad" says someone.

What is, I ask you, "too sad"?

(My daughter has taken her shoes off.)

Should I not rend my clothes, tear my hair,
cover myself in ashes for the child that is no longer?
Should I not weep for the life that is gone?

(My daughter retrieves her shoes from the table.)

Is it not disrespectful to my husband, my daughter,
the child that will not emerge from my womb
to fail to acknowledge our loss?

I will cry now.

I will clutch at my husband's shirt,
bringing his arms around me in desperate need.

I will brokenly bemoan the fates
that have taken from us this child.

I will not be too sad.

(My daughter is talking to her shoes.)

No, I will weep with fury and grief and agony.

I will not be too sad.

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Nov 18, 2006

A Kindred Spirit

I came across these two passages as I was re-reading Anne of Green Gables tonight and they seemed so apropos to my current situation that I needed to share them. The first, I had been thinking exactly this the other day; the second, just struck me as being so... right for where I am...

In this bit of the story, Matthew Cuthbert (the brother of the brother-sister pair that adopted Anne) has just died. Anne's best friend, Diana, has asked if Anne would like Diana to stay the night.

..."I think you won't misunderstand me when I say that I want to be alone. I'm not afraid. I haven't been alone one minute since it happened -- and I want to be. I want to be quite silent and quiet and try to realize it. I can't realize it. Half the time it seems to me that Matthew can't be dead; and the other half it seems as if he must have been dead for a long time and I've had this horrible dull ache ever since."

Later, Marilla (the sister of the adoptive pair) comes in.

"Oh, just let me cry, Marilla," sobbed Anne. "The tears don't hurt me like that ache did. Stay here for a little while with me and keep your arm round me -- so. I couldn't have Diana stay, she's good and kind and sweet -- but it's not her story -- she's outside of it and she couldn't come close enough to my heart to help me. ..."

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21 Day Challenge | Day 3 | Lament

Lament

I do not know who
I am.
I know I am
loved.

But this realization comes too late.

I am already
gone.

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Nov 17, 2006

21 Day Challenge | Day 2 | A Fluttering of Dust

Adrift, I float
through
a fog,
a mist so thick, I cannot see the banks,
the trees,
the sky.

There is nothing,
nothing around me,
nothing in me,
nothing of me.

I am transparent,
a fluttering of dust,
and am soon gone.

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Nov 16, 2006

21 Day Challenge: Something Wrong

There is something
wrong.

Something is
not right.

Anxious heartbeats expand and flee
into the night.

Though they escape,
I am pinioned.
Trapped by grey walls,
lab coats, sorrowed glances.

Hold me, please, someone?

I do not want to know.
I do
want to know.

I am scared
of the
something
that is
wrong.

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A Decision

I have been mulling doing one of those "21 day chall3nge" things. You know the type... or maybe you don't... well, anyway, it is a challenge where you push yourself to do something you wouldn't normally do for 21 days.

I have been tossing around the idea of forcing myself to write a poem a day and illustrate it with a picture taken that day. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't manage to get the picture uploaded every day, particularly given how difficult Blogger can be with uploading pics. Still, I'm thinking that forcing myself to write will be good therapy for losing the baby. I'm pretty sure it will help me both write more (duh) and work through the emotions running rampant.

So, I am announcing my 21 Day Challenge: Poetry (and photos when I can). The first one will be posted shortly.

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Nov 15, 2006

Everything We Got, We Got the Hard Way

The hardest part of this entire ordeal, I believe, is that there is no public recognition of the loss. There is no wake, no funeral, no gravesite to visit. It happened early enough for us that we don't even know if our deceased child was a boy or a girl. There is no name to etch into a permanent memorial.

Many people, typically those who have not gone through it, treat it as a medical issue and nothing more. To them, it is no different than breaking your leg skiing. They do not comprehend the agonizing clarity of my understanding that this was my baby. This was John Sevier or Evelyn Ann. This was Katie's sister or brother. John's and my daughter or son.

One coworker emailed me "try not to be too sad". Um, excuse me? And just how would you suggest I go about doing that? It strikes me, too, as being disrespectful to my husband, my daughter, and my baby. On top of that, what is "too sad"? Would she have written someone who lost their 1 year old "try not to be too sad"?

I want to thank everyone here who sent their thoughts and condolences and hugs and prayers; your messages were much more thoughtful and considerate. It makes it much easier to bear when other people are helping carrying the burden and not adding to it. I really appreciate each and every one of you.

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Nov 12, 2006

Steal Away Home, I Ain't Got Long To Stay Here

Started bleeding yesterday, called the OB's office. On-call doctor tells me not to worry about it and just take it easy. (What a 'tude that guy had too.)

Cramping and bleeding more heavily today. Called my OB's office tonight. Fortunately, he himself was on-call and came down to meet me at the ER.

The baby ... the fetus. The fetus had not developed at all in the last week (should have doubled in size) and there was no fetal heartbeat.

I knew what that ultrasound was going to show. I knew from the time I started bleeding yesterday that the fetus was gone. In reality, I think I knew long before that but didn't really want to admit it. I stood in choir today singing "Steal Away" and I just knew in my heart that I was no longer pregnant.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go bawl my eyes out, take some pain meds, and go to bed and read awhile in a vain attempt to distract myself from the death of my would-be child.

Steal away
Steal away
Steal away to Jesus
Steal away
Steal away home
I ain't got long to stay here.

My Lord calls me
He calls me by the thunder
The trumpet sounds withina my soul
I ain't got long to stay here.

Steal away
Steal away
Steal away to Jesus
Steal away
Steal away home
I ain't got long to stay here.

Nov 11, 2006

I Was a Jewish Mother in Another Lifetime

You'd think that, this being my second pregnancy, I would be more calm about it. Nope. In fact, I think I'm more nervous this time than the last time. Maybe it's because I know so much more now about what can go wrong.
  • I worry that I'm not queasy all over the place.
  • I worry that I'm jinxing my baby by being secretly relieved that I'm not queasy all over the place.
It's kind of ironic that I was actually relieved to have a very nasty bout of nausea on Tuesday that made me lay with my face on the nice, cool floor for almost an hour until the world stopped spinning.
  • I worry that, when I went to the OB for the first time, the baby was so small he thinks we were a week off on the conception date.
I know we didn't have, um, relations that following week so if he's right, it means old sperm which could mean all sorts of things.
  • I worry that he could barely see the baby even with an internal ultrasound.
What if it's not developing?!
  • I worry that my age is going to be an even greater factor this time in the prenatal development (I'll be 40 in April).
I mean, we got lucky the first time - no neural tube defects, no age-related issues (so far) for Little Girl - what are the chances we'll get lucky again?

Somehow, the typical worries of having a second child (how will Little Girl adapt, do we really have the energy to have 2, what if we get a colicky baby this time, etc.) aren't bugging me nearly as much as the irrational ones. I think this all relates to the fact that we had a much easier time getting pregnant this time. It took only a year (and not 3+). It just feels too easy.

Of course, I'm probably jinxing myself by saying that. We'll probably wind up with twins or something (the chance of which goes up as the mother ages). Ack!! Can you even imagine??



P.S.
I worry, too, that my posts aren't more intellectual and are more of an emotional burp. Sorry about that!

P.P.S.
Word of advice: If you are mourning a pet, don't go cruising at petfinders.com until you know you're ready to bring another one home. Or, if you decide to anyway, have a large box of tissues at hand.