Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day

One year ago tonight, E was off at work, and I realized that I should have started my period that day. It wasn't a month that pregnancy was even really on my mind, at least not as much as it had been in months prior. It had been a busy month, we hadn't had a ton of time to go about trying, with traveling and fighting and all sorts of all the good things that the holidays normally bring about...

And yet, unlike in those other previous months, that second line showed up.

Once my hands stopped shaking long enough to be able to type, I got online and emailed with some dear dear dear friends. I've spent tonight remembering the hilarity that ensued, with digital photographs being sent back and forth, me running to the CVS at 10pm to buy more tests (along with tampons just in case I was wrong), text messages, more emailing, lots and lots of shaking hands....My life was forever changed. It was the first time I had ever been pregnant. First time I had ever watched as that second line shows up on a pregnancy test. Wow.

I sent off a text to E, "Come home from work as soon as you're finished. I have one more gift to give you."

I wrapped up the tests (by that point I'd taken at least three - one of each variety - one with the two pink lines, one with the blue plus sign, and one with the word "pregnant"). He got home about midnight. He came into the bedroom. I was giddy. I handed him the box.

He opened it. He wasn't surprised. I watched as a huge smile (a huge, nervous smile, I might add) spread across his face. I asked for a kiss - and as he leaned in to kiss me, he admitted he had walked in the house, poured himself a shot of whiskey and then come to find me because he was pretty sure of what I was going to tell him...

Otis, from the moment I found out, I loved you. I wouldn't trade our life together for all the riches in the world. I miss you every moment of every day, with every breath I take.

We toasted you last night at Christmas and we had a moment of silence at the dinner table to mark how very very missed you are, baby boy. We all love you so much.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Silent Night

Hey people, thanks for all the love and feedback from yesterday's post.

E and I had a really good talk. He pulled me out of the darkest of the abyss. Today I was stronger. There was more room for me to breathe. I am ever blessed to be married to him.

Lots of good advice and thoughts about meds. For now, I think I'm going to be holding off. L, you had a really good point about wanting them not to be in the mix when I see the RE on the 4th.

To be clear - I am not in danger of hurting myself. I am just very, very, very sad.

Wishing you all peace through the holidays. We've almost made it. Much love.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

fuckitall part two, with a dash of SOS


In tears, snot, and blood.

I am now having my third or fourth spell of bleeding in 5 weeks (I can't even call them "periods" because well, a period implies a cycle, some sort of pattern, and there is NONE here). This last "cycle" was seven days of bleeding, five days of not, and now I'm bleeding again.

My doctor has been extraordinarily helpful, in as much as he can help - because there's very little he can offer other than the referral to the Reproductive Endocrinologist, which he already arranged (I go on January 4.) He doesn't want to put me on hormones now because while it would regulate my cycle it would prohibit the RE from gathering any good/true reliable testing information. So I just have to wait until then to see what the h-e-doublehockeysticks is going on with my body. The OB offered me another ultrasound to see if there is retained tissue, though I've already had two and it looks like a normal uterine lining to him...just that I build it up and break it down in a matter of minutes. He doesn't think an u/s is necessary, he just is trying to offer me some reassurance that things are not catastrophically bad. He does want me to go get a pregnancy test, not because he thinks I am pregnant but rather that I could still be producing HCG in some really effed up twist of cruelty or something like that. But of course labs are closed because it's christmas for crying out loud. I'll go next week I guess. (And yes, since you and everyone else seems to want to make sure of this: I am taking my iron supplements. Yes, the digestion-friendly liquid yummy version.)

This spell of bleeding, like the last ones, sent me into a tailspin. I can't handle these tailspins with the frequency and intensity that they seem to be coming right now. Every glimmer of hope that I might be someday able to have a regular cycle and someday try to conceive and someday get pregnant and someday have a living, take-home baby - every single glimmer of hope that that someday might happen for me get suddenly and completely shattered when I realize that my hormones are doing ANYTHING but getting themselves balanced. And it sends me into a really dark despair. Really. Dark. More Duck and Cover crouching in corners. More eyes crusted shut with tears. Less ability to eat, get dressed, speak, think, breathe.

My therapist and I talked a lot about meds today. My best friend (who is very much NOT a western med pill pusher) and I talked a lot about meds today. They both seem to be leaning towards my trying them. My husband seems to be leaning towards me not. (Which is interesting, because in my last foray onto them, four years ago, he was a staunch believer and supporter in their efficacy. I have to believe, somewhere, that he knows me best and I should maybe just trust his judgment on this one...)

I have no fucking idea. I am just so miserable, and I'm having trouble seeing any light at any end of any tunnel, or even believing that a light exists. Shit, I don't even believe that a tunnel exists. I just pretty much believe that I have forever been destined to live in a deep cavernous hole of muck and dirt and black tar and ooze and sludge and monsters and demons and sad sad sadness. No tunnel, no light.

Weighing possible pros and cons of meds....Pros: A little bit of breathing room. A little bit of space to function (eat, sleep, shower = things I've been getting a little "can't be bothered" with). Decreased anxiety while I slog through this bit of waiting to ttc. (It's gotten pretty bad.) Perhaps less physical pain, too (depressed posture = aching back.) Cons: I gained 20 pounds last time I was on ADs. I am still about 15 lbs higher than my pre-pregnancy weight, and one of the things that I find tricky right now is how I look at my postpartum heavier body and feel really sad about it. I don't want to ttc on ADs, so I'd have to taper off before that. Tapering off last time SUCKED - I had brain zaps and headaches like nobody's business. I don't know if I'm actually depressed, or if this is just grief. It's starting to feel more universally debilitating, which is why I suspect depression. Another con: last time, my cycles got really screwed up while on the meds. I've already got that base covered, but I don't want to mess it up more. Up in the air: I have no idea if they'll help. I will have no way of knowing if its the meds helping or time passing, since I suspect that things might feel better for me just with the passage of this next few weeks of time. Moving away from the holidays. Away from the darkest day of the year. I just don't know.

Not to mention that I don't have faith in anything working one way or another, either. I pretty much figure whichever path I choose, I will regret it and think that the other one was probably a better path. I thought I was making the best, wisest, most informed decisions when I chose to labor the way I labored with Otis. And he died. So how the fuck am I supposed to expect to make wise, informed decisions and believe they might have positive outcomes?

What I do know is that this is totally and completely unbearable. Everything hurts.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Odds and Ends

• Today's mail brought us another Otis ornament - this time a small stocking with his name on it, from our friends in Maui that will be hosting us in a mere five and a half weeks - very much looking forward to our trip.

• I got back on my yoga mat today. (Tess, to answer your question, my "back to class" was simply to GO to a class, not to teach one. I don't know that I will ever teach again.) My body has completely changed since pregnancy and giving birth (obvious statement of the year, I know!) But, WOW. Prior to now, I have always been really flexible, and I would complain of tight hips but, wow, I had no idea what I was talking about. I have never felt what I felt today in my practice. Ouch. I do feel like, as a teacher, I learned a lot about what some of my students must feel - especially the beginners...The tightness in my hips actually made me wince, several times, in the simplest of poses. But even still, it felt good to get back on my mat. I can tell how much I've learned about being gentle and kind to myself. Even in my tightness, in my lack of ability to "do" the poses as I used to, the usual judgy self critical voice didn't show up. I felt sad to notice how much my body has changed, but I didn't beat myself up over it. This is a huge accomplishment, trust me. I moved slowly, gently, quietly. With candles lit for Otis and Lucia and the christmas tree lights lighting the space around me, I wiggled and stretched and breathed. Midway through, The Woo (my little dog) came and joined me and he managed to have me smiling and laughing hysterically. He wanted to be a part of it so badly - climbing on my back, licking my face, trying to get on my lap. Finally I just gave in, I lay down on my back and he crawled up on my belly and we lay there together as I connected to the rise and fall of my breath. Thank you, little dog.

• A friend from high school sent me a really pretty dandelion necklace today. I don't know that I've said a lot about dandelions and Otis here on this blog, but they've always been "his" symbol - even before he was conceived, in fact - and since he died, they've taken on a whole new significance for us, a symbol of hope and impermanence and fragility and beauty...

• I've taken up a new hobby: crewel! It's like embroidery but with a thicker yarn. It keeps my hands busy and is not so brain-intensive that I get frustrated, but at the same time, it keeps enough of my brain occupied to keep me out of dark holes sometimes.

• Our most recent local magazine just listed their "Top Doctors of 2010" and both my high-risk OB and the reproductive endocrinologist I see next month are listed as the top in their field. This makes me feel good (though I could've told you already that my OB is at the top of his game. I really, really, really like him.) Otis's doctor from the NICU is listed as a top neonatal pediatrician. I have to say that I've been blessed with really great doctors. (I have some questions about my prenatal care and my care while I was in labor. But once Otis was born, and from that point forward, everyone has been nothing short of exceptional and fantastic.)

• Tess and Leslie both asked me to mention any "tips" or gems/insights/comments that I've gotten from therapy sessions. I'm not ignoring your request, mamas, rather, I just haven't really come up with any other than the one I shared earlier. I'll keep thinking though and of course will share if I think of any. This week our session was basically "Yes, this really sucks. Yes, you're anxious. Yes, you're panicky. Yes, the holidays are the worst. Yes, this is understandable. Yes, this will pass, it will ebb, it will flow, it will wax and it will wane."

• I'm doing okay today. No curling into the fetal position and sobbing for two hours, at least not yet. I am grateful for the respite.

• I watched the eclipse last night, with my brother. We stood outside in the cold, shivering, and watched it through the cloud cover. Amazingly, we got a good break in the clouds for the event. I thought of Lani and Chris and their sweet Silas Orion as I saw Orion's belt. I thought of Lucia and Angie, knowing the solstice was again here, marking two years that Lucia has been gone. I thought of all the mamas and papas out there missing their children, watching the darkness envelop the moon on the darkest night of the year.

• For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, we are now heading back into the light. If only grief were as predictable as the seasons and the planets. Even still, though, I feel a bit more light in my heart today, and I'll take it.

• Thank you all for being here. This may be the crappiest Christmas ever (and that may be the understatement of a lifetime), but without you it would be absolutely unbearable.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Duck and Cover

Do you all remember Duck and Cover Drills? Or am I dating myself? Do they still do them? Do they only do them when you grow up in earthquake regions?

Basically, they were these drills in school where we had to curl tight into a little fetal position ball, preferably under a table, and cover the back of our head/neck.

Today I realized that this is the position I assume when I am absolutely sidelined with grief. Yes, the other day, I was even under a table.

I am fairly confident this is why my back hurts so much, it's because even when I'm not in the duck and cover, I'm cowering, my heart protected, my shoulders up by my ears, my arms wrapped across my body or my knees pulled in tight.

As a yoga teacher, it is the antithesis of what I worked to cultivate in my body - an open heart, a lifted chest, a strong yet supple spine. Instead, my heart is constantly hidden, closed off from anyone around me. My chest is sunken. My spine is rounded, rigid, and tight.

I've survived some mighty earthquakes out here in CA. 1989 in Northern California, 1994 in LA. In neither case, though I found myself barely able to stand through the rumbling and tumbling of the earth, did I think to Duck and Cover. I stood in a doorway. I grabbed my roommates hands during the LA quake, as we screamed "We're going to die! We're going to die!" for what felt like at least a few minutes of shaking.

And now, my world has been shaking for fourteen weeks. And I've finally learned to Duck and Cover. Protect my vital organs from the walls that are sure to crumble more, close my eyes tight, and beg for the quake to stop.

(My therapist, my massage therapist, my chiropractor will all tell me this is not the best anatomical position for my health right now. I know. I think I am officially in survival mode, though, and I'm doing the only thing I can.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

oh fuckitall

I am battered and bruised. Beaten down. Crying uncle and begging for mercy.

How is it possible that this is worse now than it was three months ago? How can grief have snuck up like this, tricked me into thinking I was doing better than I was, and then smacked me down on my ass and left me for dead?

I miss my boy. I miss him so much. I miss me, too.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bits and Pieces

A very quick checking in since my last posting was so terribly sad...

I've been on the roller coaster ride and it's been moving at hyper speed these last few days. Yesterday I curled up into a little ball and screamed for about two hours, wedged on the floor between the coffee table and the sofa. Long story short - my doctor wants me to wait to try to get pregnant again until February. More on that later, it brought up a lot for me, but, I think I'm a bit more resolved with it right now than I was yesterday.

I got a massage tonight. My body is so incredibly tender that the slightest touch really physically HURT. My back has so many sensitive spots, especially along the spine. It was a deep massage, but even the gentle work was really pretty painful. But I think it helped to release some of the knots. The massage therapist is also an energy worker and asked if I was okay with him doing some hands-on-energy type work. (Remember, I live in hippy-dippy Northern California, this stuff is very run of the mill here.) I told him of course I was okay with it. He spent a lot of time with his hands hovering over my heart, and also over my womb. I'm usually pretty skeptical, but it did feel gentle, and healing, and nurturing, and powerful as he worked. After he was done, he asked if I was okay with him sharing his visualizations, again, I told him okay. He said that especially when he had his hands over my womb, he kept getting strong visualizations of rainbows, and that if I could meditate on rainbows and bringing "rainbow energy" into my body it might help in my healing. I have never really even thought about calling a future pregnancy "my rainbow" even though I know many BLMs do, but when he said, "Your body is just calling out for a rainbow" it was like his words pierced something and I just started bawling.

I am going back to yoga next week. I am writing it here so that I am at least somewhat accountable. I think it will be good for me. I think it will be terrifying. I want to do this. I am scared I won't go.

Tess wrote a great piece about grieving without hope, about grieving when TTC is put on hold, and it's been on my mind a lot today. I really wanted to get pregnant NOW. Erik and my perinatologist are the voices of reason and are really concerned that my body isn't ready to hold a pregnancy yet. So while I want to just throw caution to the wind and "let fate run its course" I also realized that if I were to do that, and I were to lose the pregnancy, I would blame myself for not following the doctor's recommendations and lord knows I don't need any more of the blame game with regard to pregnancies and babies. I know I could still lose a pregnancy a few months down the road but at least I won't blame myself the same way I could if I blatantly disregarded the doctor's advice in these next few months. So I am reluctantly throwing in the towel for a while. As Tess mentioned, the grieving game takes on a whole new tone when TTC is not in the cards. The hope for a future child is removed, albeit temporarily. And it leaves me so sad, so alone, so desperate...what do I do with that? how can I cope? how will I make it through these days without that little anchor of hope stringing me along?

I just will.

Delving into some craft projects, getting back to yoga, taking really, really, really good care of my body and my heart. It fucking sucks, sure. But it also feels a little bit hopeful in a very different way, a way that is still simmering in my brain right now, I can't quite put it to words, but it has something to do with taking really good care of myself and being gentle and allowing healing into my heart, my body, my soul. Feeling hopeful for me, just me. For the life I used to live, where I knew joy, and peace, and contentment, at least every so often; and for the life I someday hope to live again.

Monday, December 13, 2010


We made it through the weekend. Barely.

I started bleeding on Saturday morning, slashing all those "miracle pregnancy within the year of Otis" dreams. I didn't realize how much I'd invested in that dream.

So that, combined with all the monthiversaries and weekiversaries and anniversary of his conception pretty much led me into the darkest hole I've found myself in since he died.

My face is peeling from wiping snot and tears off of it. I soaked at least four washcloths with those tears and snot, and that was just in one of many crying jags. I couldn't open my eye on Sunday morning when I woke up, I thought I had pink eye because my eye was glued shut. No pink eye, just tears.

Lots of really, really dark thoughts showed up in that dark hole of grief. All the guilt, all the "this was my fault." (Please, I know, I know, rationally, that this wasn't my fault. Try telling that to a hysterical grieving mother - rational doesn't work with her. But I don't need you to tell me now. I know.) I am beaten down. Broken. Shattered. Grief is kicking my ass. And then some. I don't know how I'm going to make it through Christmas. Mercy.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


The numbers geek in me LOVES the date today, the way the numbers work their way down like a countdown.

Unfortunately, it feels like they are counting down to tomorrow. 13 weeks. Coinciding with Otis's three month birth-i-versary.

Three months. A quarter of a year. 91 days. Tomorrow, coincidentally, marks the one year anniversary of the day Otis was conceived.

Barely a scratch on the surface, and yet, also, a lifetime. How is it that it works like that?

I miss my boy so fucking much. Yesterday it felt like the world was crashing in on me again. I was bitchy. Agitated. Sad. Angry. I watched a recording of the Glee Christmas episode on Thursday night and I had a fucking rage-bitch-yell session at the TV and at the general entity of Christmas. How dare they try to sell this bullshit message of miracles and hope and 'just believe' and all that fucking feel-good nonsense!?!? IT DOESN'T WORK LIKE THAT. While at times it makes me feel better, right now I am just so fucking sick of the whole "Miracles sometimes come in the package you weren't expecting," form of rationalizing/trying to make me feel better line of thought. Bullshit. Otis is dead. There is no miracle in that. NONE. He is dead, my life is forever changed, my hope, my faith, my naivete and my innocence forever shattered, rattled, traumatized. Poor E, watching me as I threatened to lodge a shoe in our brand new television.

(Incidentally, I read on another BLM blog about them buying a new tv after their son's death. I wonder statistically if this a trend. Perhaps a new marketing strategy should be hatched out, products for the babylost community...Televisions, exercise equipment, alcoholic beverages and barware, black armbands, non-maternity clothes that work like invisibility cloaks to shroud the body that betrayed you, Merry Fucking Christmas cards and lawn ornaments...)

I carried him for 9 months, loved on him, felt him kick, talked to him, sang to him, wished for him, dreamt for him, labored for 72 hours with him, and what do I have to show for it? A box of ashes on his dresser. Try as I do, there is nothing, nothing, nothing consoling about holding a box of ashes, crying, cradling it, calling and screaming out to it, trying to find my boy.

I've been working on thank you notes to the multitudes of people who have helped us in these last 91 days. In the notes, I am including a wildflower seed packet like the ones we gave out at Otis's memorial and a photograph of him. I've been having to use the paper cutter to cut the photographs to the wallet size because the printer we used printed them 4 to a sheet. So I've been staring at his lush head of hair and his chubby little hands and his perfect, perfect nose and his soft skin as I cut the pictures and then put them into the envelopes with the cards.

Sometimes I can tune it out, and just work on cutting the photos. Other times I am completely drawn in, and I sit and stare at his little face for hours. I am back there, in the NICU, dressing him, preparing him for his journey to the other side. Preparing myself. Saying my goodbyes. Crying my tears of pain, of joy, of disbelief. Screaming. Breathing. Bleeding. Loving my little man, so ferociously.


In other, better news, I received ornaments in the mail from both Brianna and Jenn this week. They are so lovely. Since we don't have a tree, we have them hung from our aloe vera plant that sits atop a bureau in our living room. They look perfect hanging there, not too Christmassy but just enough spirit to make me feel like we are honoring our boy through the month.

I also received word this week from the animal shelter where I volunteer that they have plans to redo a room at the shelter in Otis's memory. An adoption/visitation room, where families fall in love with puppies and dogs and decide to bring them home....It will be brightly painted with cheerful lights and a little white picket fence, with handpainted dandelions adorning the walls and a plaque of some sort remembering Otis. E and I were floored when we heard. The shelter is such a special place for me and animal rescue is a passion of mine, so this is such a wonderful way to honor my boy. I am touched by the thoughtfulness of the community of volunteers I work with there, and honored to be a part of that group.

And finally, my mom brought me the most beautiful bouquet of roses this morning. A pale lavender, almost silver, with long delicate stems and fragile little buds.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Obligatory TTC post

***Disclaimer: lots of TMI in this post***
***Don't be surprised if this post disappears shortly after publishing***

I also want to preface this post by saying I'm pretty cautious about putting all these details out in the blogoverse to be read by anyone and everyone and I wish blogger could password protect individual posts because this would be one I'd password protect! At the same time, I've kind of become an open book in these last few months, so, whatever, here goes:

I really, really, really want to be pregnant again. I am surprised that I want this, so soon. And then again, I'm not. I knew the day we lost Otis that I wanted to be pregnant again. I actually always knew, throughout my pregnancy, that I wanted to have a second child close in age to Otis. At one point in my pregnancy, E said to me, "So if you give birth at the beginning of could be pregnant again by DECEMBER!" I quickly corrected him, and cautioned that it was highly unlikely that I'd be ready, plus I wanted to breastfeed for Otis's first year, yadda yadda. (I barely had the heart to tell him that I was pretty damn confident that I'd want NOTHING to do even with sex, much less another pregnancy, three months post partum.)

But of course, everything is different, everything has changed now that Otis isn't here with us.

My doctor gave me a timeline of late February to start trying again. He said ideally he recommends a year between full term pregnancies, but at my age, wait six months. But if I got pregnant in the four month range, he said, it wouldn't be cause for alarm necessarily...At the time he told me that, my physical state was still very much NOT conducive to even thinking about sex so February seemed fine to me.

Then I went and saw him and had a procedure done that tremendously sped up my physical healing, a few weeks ago. Which made it possible for me and E know.

I woke up last week with a twinkle in my eye. My sex drive had magically reappeared after many, many, many moons. Oh, thank you, universe. And almost just as magically, E came home from an appointment that morning, saw me in my sweats, slippers and sweatshirt (no joke), and said "Wow, babe, you look really sexy today." (He hasn't said this since I was pregnant, I swear.)

We were nervous (ok, terrified is maybe a better term) because we had no idea how it was all going to work out....first time since Otis died...first time since I gave birth and got all sorts of hundreds of stitches...first time with stretch marks all over my belly and a whole new body to contend with...first time with all that emotion...yikes.

But we took a deep breath and took a leap.

And gah, I don't want to kiss and tell but it was really great. Beyond great. Emotional and beautiful and so very loving and tender and really, really fun. And, well, wow, we needed that, all of it.

We haven't been using protection. And again, without too much detail, we've kind of been like newlyweds. (And I'm talking your stereotypical newlyweds, because we had been together for 7 years when we got married...)

Of course, I am wondering now if I can get pregnant. I mean, sure, I know I *could*. But would I?

And at first it was just kind of wondering. Daydreaming. Then it became thinking. Then it became...well...what's one level shy of obsessing? It's taking a lot of headspace now.

Yup, I got out the good old ovulation predictor sticks. Looks like I am ovulating or just ovulated this week. I didn't tell E. I just kind of mumbled that if my body wasn't ready to get pregnant, I wouldn't get pregnant. We continued to forgo any forms of birth control. I didn't do any wacky postcoital headstanding (which I may or may not have done in Otis's conception...), I'm not taking my temperature (yet)...E really doesn't like Trying To Conceive (even when he really wants a child) but he really likes Having Sex - and the distinction between the two is pretty strong for him. For me, the lines between TTC and getting some good oldfashioned lovin' are more blurry. So I've kind of told myself that we're just having sex...but I've also been really aware that this could get me pregnant. I said at the beginning of this post...I really want to be pregnant.

And now I'm starting to count dates, imagine myself taking a pregnancy test, imagine how or if I'd share any of the news, imagine if I'd get scolded by my doctor for not following his Feb/March timeline, worry that if I did get pregnant this soon OF COURSE it would end in a loss because my body couldn't possibly be ready again in my first regular cycle, worry how I'd make it to 38 weeks, wonder how I'd do being pregnant on virtually the same seasonal timeline I was last year (Otis was conceived on December 12). Granted, any baby conceived at the same time as Otis would be born probably 3 weeks before his birthday, because I would have a c-section at 38 weeks and Otis was born at 41. (See, I told you I've done all the planning and imagining and counting. Sheesh.)

The dates thing doesn't freak me out, though I know for other BLMs that is an issue. Obviously, I'd like Otis's birthday to remain HIS day (but he already shares it with my nephew). I won't have a baby on that exact day. Beyond that, I don't feel strongly that I'd have an issue with the dates being close together.

I am worried, of course, that this is too soon. For my body, perhaps for my heart and for my soul (though that part feels more like a question mark than a statement.) This is the prayer I've been sending out to the universe, "Please, please, don't let me get pregnant unless I'm ready physically to carry a healthy baby through a live birth. Please body, don't betray me by giving me the immediate gratification of getting pregnant if it's not going to stick, or if it will be dangerous for my health, or that of a baby, or if it will jeopardize this amazing closeness I've found with E."

If you all wouldn't mind co-conspiring with me with a similar wish/thought/prayer/intention for our family, I'd be so grateful.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A good coupla days

Though of course I hesitate to say that because it seems everytime I pause to breathe and reflect that it's been fairly OK for me, the other shoe drops and I'm met by a streak of really crappy crappy crappy days.

But I'll say it anyway, because these can't be taken away from me, no matter how awful the future days might be: the last few days have been really nice.

I even went so far as to say the other night to E as we lay in bed, (following a 2:30 am panic attack in which I sobbed my lungs out, mind you), "I like the person that I have become since Otis came into our lives so much better than the person I was before him. I really like who he is changing me into..."

When I'm not crumpled on the floor of my closet, sobbing and screaming and pounding the walls, I can notice how this journey is making me more of who I've always wanted to be. I am more compassionate, with myself and with others who are suffering. (I've yet to find compassion for that neighbor B!#@* who yelled at me about not picking up after my dog, when, in fact, I had. And I still flip off a lot of undeserving mothers and fathers who so seemingly smugly hike "our" trail with their babies in their baby wraps. But they don't see me flipping them off, so it's not THAT bad, right? OK, yes, I'm working on the compassion for all beings. Haven't quite made it there yet.)

Many of my friendships have developed and grown in ways I didn't think were possible since Otis died. Old friends have emerged out of the woodwork and shown up for me in ways I never would have expected. I recognize, and appreciate, how loved I am. I love E more than I ever imagined possible. I appreciate him so much, and I have such an incredible sense of respect and adoration for him - it surprises me sometimes, even. I love what our marriage is now. I love the closeness we share. I love that Otis is in many ways like the most special little secret that no one else can ever know the way we do. E often says to me, "Otis is my superpower." I am pushing myself to face longheld fears and knock them down. As is E. Knowing Otis, losing Otis, loving Otis - all of these things challenge me to be a better woman, in ways I didn't know I could. It's pretty fucking phenomenal.

But, of course, there's that caveat in the first sentence of the paragraph two paragraphs above - because, well, yes, there are still a lot of moments that find me just absolutely and completely gutted. Moments where I am completely overcome with panic, with anxiety, with anger, with rage, and at the bottom of all those, sadness. Pretty much every "outburst" I have - whether it be a panic attack, an anxiety attack, a raging fit or yelling at a person on the freeway - when they are distilled - all the outbursts end in flurries of tears, and this deep longing for Otis to be back here, alive, in my arms. And make no mistake - I have outbursts pretty much every day still. So even when I title this post "A good coupla days" - I say that with the asterisk that will accompany everything in my life from now on - *all things considered.

But there were so many breathtaking glimpses of hope, of beauty, of Life, in my world in these last few days. My heart is full, except for that big gaping hole, of course.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Gah, so panicky these days. So anxious. So uncomfortable. I flinch at so much, my shoulders have taken up residence in my ears, my back is always tense, I sleep with my hands in fists.

I saw my acupuncturist on Wednesday. We always joke because even there I can not find a moment of respite. I try to close my eyes and they are like window shades that are overwound and they keep springing open. "You don't have to relax," she tells me, "the needles will work anyway..." and "You certainly don't have to TRY to relax..." Because I get myself even more wound up about the fact that I can't relax.

This morning I woke up very angry with my prenatal care team. Angry that I never got a 36 week ultrasound or a growth scan, angry that they never suspected he'd be as big as he was, angry that they didn't check my placenta with an ultrasound, especially when I went late. My midwife that I saw for the last 6 months of my pregnancy was out for my 40 week appointment, so I saw a substitute. I can't help but wonder if she totally effed things up, assumed I had had a growth scan, assumed all was fine. Our visit was rushed. She tried to push induction, but gave me no good reason why I should be induced other than of course we opted to wait it out. I will forever have questions, I know. And I had pretty much decided not to pursue mediation or even a meeting with the care team and the ombudsman, but today I was rethinking that...imagining the future financial burdens we face...and there we go, I started my day in a total anxious panic again.

E has been having a really horrible time this week, and it breaks my heart to see him in so much pain. Last night I got home from work and the dogs were here and his car was here but it didn't seem he was (and he hadn't answered my call on the way home from work) and I said, "Hello?" to no answer and for a brief moment (that seemed endless) I had the most awful visions of finding him dead in the was so scary. Turns out he was on the phone in our guest room with the door closed, but for those moments before I found him, I had felt the walls crumbling in on me and was so terrified...

My uncle is in the hospital, pretty seriously ill right now. Our friend K has lost all her hair and just completed her second chemo treatment for breast cancer yesterday. A friend from college passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving morning, he was 36. Life is fucking brutal, and I can't get a break.