Nice Try

Alcohol is not a reliable numbing agent. It can be the ingredient that turns a lovely summer lunch into an afternoon of tears and panic. It’s disappointing really. I thought it’d be a nice way to occasionally speed time along. It’s not worth it for me though. I’m back to the drawing board.


So far I’ve tried smoking (disastrous- made me want to barf), dieting/eating healthy (pretty good- makes me feel proactive to eat well), drinking (big disappointment), traveling (mixed- it makes the time go by fast but can be sad), exercising (works perfectly but I need more time…two or three times a week isn’t enough), and spending money like a drunken sailor (bad idea, made me panic more).


August 25th looms. I don’t know why it should even matter- it was always just an arbitrary date. It was a place holder even when we thought everything was going to turn out normal. I guess now it’s just a reminder that Tommy Jr should still be in my belly. Still. He should be in there, growing, learning to use his hands and feet, eating what I eat, and hearing me laugh. Every time I see a little boy I wonder about Tommy. I think about him as a squirmy baby keeping me up all night. I imagine him running around and scraping his knees and catching bugs and doing all the things I’ll never get to see him do. I wonder what sports he would have played and what food he would have hated. And I miss him so much it hurts. I miss my little boy, I miss our future.


I can’t imagine a time where I won’t feel so close to the edge. I don’t blame myself as much anymore, and I don’t feel overwhelmed with self-hatred very often anymore. Now it’s just gentle waves of sadness, with the occasional hurricane.

296 Words

I’m running out of things to write now. The days are all running together and I feel like I’m just waking up in the morning to go to bed at night. I’m so envious of people who know what they want out of life, even if they’re bullshitting it must be comforting to have a goal.


My goals so far: change the sheets once a week, go down a size in jeans, remember to wear my glasses. Not exactly a map to fame and fortune. And sadly, I do want a kind of fame. My middle brother said it best: the goal is to be famous to other famous people. I want AJ Jacobs and Matt Ruff to know who I am.


It’s sort of embarrassing to write that here- so publicly. As soon as I wrote it I wanted to back peddle: it’s just a fantasy or I know it’s not likely or something shitty like that. But it’s just the truth. And I’m supposed to be learning how to be true to myself and what I want. So maybe a good step is to admit what I want, even if it makes me shrivel a little.


I must be going through a phase, because I hate everything I write now. I’m going to publish this anyway, but god I hate almost every sentence. What a bunch of drivel. What the hell happened? I used to sit at the keyboard and not be able to contain myself. It felt like I was pouring words out of my fingers. Now I type three words, roll my eyes, delete them, get frustrated, and berate myself for losing the thing I needed to hang on to so badly.


What the hell happened?


I’m afraid of what I might need.


When Tommy Jr died and Tom Sr and I went to the psychic she gave us a lot of comfort. One of the things she said was that his spirit was strong, and that I’d feel him close to me. At first, I did feel him. When I couldn’t sleep, or when I cried in the shower, his presence gave me great comfort.


But then at some point he went away. I can’t say when it happened but suddenly I felt even more hollow and lonely. I thought I was doing something wrong- like I wasn’t making myself available to him. So I kept thinking about him and asking for his help with a couple things only a baby in heaven could affect.


Last week was especially hard. Maybe it was coming down after a great trip, or thinking about my due date speeding toward me, or any number of other things that piled on top of my sadness. Then on Friday, I couldn’t help but take inventory of the miracles that have happened in our lives since Tommy came and went. Some things I asked for, other things I was afraid to ask for, and a few things I never knew could happen.


Finally I felt my son near me again. I don’t know if he helped orchestrate some miracles to wake me up and make me realize that he never left me. But it feels that way. I feel so much safer today.


I never thought I’d be the kind of person who needed to believe in angels. It turns out that when you’ve got an angel looking after you, it doesn’t matter if you want to believe or not- they’re going to be there either way.


Tom and I got back from California last night. It was a great trip but it feels good to be home. Well it felt good for a couple of hours, then I went back to panic mode. I’m so sick of worrying and panicking. It makes me tired and I suspect- fat. Or hungry anyway. I’m worried about moving, I’m worried about my job, I’m worried about my weight, I’m worried about money, I’m worried about being creative, I’m worried about bothering everyone I know because all I want to do is talk about myself and my feelings. I’m worried about how I’ll ever get to the other side of this grief. I’m worried about where my baby is.


I don’t have anything to write because I don’t know what the hell to write anymore. I’m uninspired. The choking sadness is gone…now I’m just empty most of the time. I have to just sit here and force myself to press the keys because I don’t know how else to manage myself.


I’d be 35 weeks today. Still over a month away from my due date. I realized that I’m at an age where people I don’t know could ask me if I have children. Just when I thought my social anxiety was getting manageable, I’m newly haunted by this possibility.


I’m just tired.


I’m clogged up again. I want to cry all the time but know I can’t. The long crying jags that got me through the early days don’t comfort me anymore. Now, halfway through a cry, I start to think how pointless it is. I can cry until I dissolve, it’s not going to change anything. So I’m back to the weird grimace.


In fact, I’m taking the grimace to the west coast. “Trying To Fast Forward Life” Part Two continues tomorrow when Tom and I go to Santa Barbara to visit relatives and LA to celebrate my boss’ birthday. It’ll be a good trip. I got my eyebrows waxed and bought deodorant, so I should be in good shape.


I feel so weird. I hope it’s because I’m getting my period. Incidentally, I’m really worried I’m about to get my period. This potentially sensitive event may be occurring just after my doctor’s refusal to prescribe me tranquilizers followed by a helpful lecture on how to grieve. I don’t understand how med-heads on Intervention can score painkillers with a little eye-lash batting, and I can’t get 5 Xanax.


July is halfway over. I have not died my hair blond, gotten a tattoo, abused myself or others. I haven’t quit my job, crashed my car, or blew my savings account. I think I have successfully kept moving forward- I’ve definitely come to hate that phrase. If I could get 10 more pounds off, I might even consider thinking about possibly taking another improv class. Ugh my stomach lurched even as I wrote that. What the hell am I supposed to do? When will I start to feel ok about being busy again? I feel like I was forced join a religion against my will and it requires constant vigilant attention to one’s feelings, a responsibility to be sad, and there’s no way to get out. Being happy is not a sin, but it is a little unsatisfying because in the back of my mind I know it’s just a band-aid between sadness/restlessness/humiliation/panic.



I got in to see the doctor today. Everything was healing fine physically. It was unfortunate that they sat me in chair facing the cork-board covered in other patient’s newborns. So I sat in her office and cried to her. I hated crying to her. I wanted to be all buttoned up and articulate and intimidating. When I finally managed to eep out my dissatisfaction, her answers made me cringe. She didn’t say anything right. Really, I guess she can’t tell me what I want to hear.


Whether my doctor told me to come in yesterday or today or never wouldn’t change anything. I don’t have the energy to be angry, I’m concentrating on not falling apart.


I can’t write more about it now. Today was too much. I just wanted to write here that physically everything is fine, and emotionally I’m getting there too. I’m going to keep moving.

Same Old

I had some unsettling symptoms over the weekend (to be polite) that seemed to be stemming from my C-section. I called my doctor’s office, the same office that didn’t have me come in until I had been in pre-term labor for 5 hours, and waited for some one to call me back. After I waited an hour, I called the office again. I was determined to be firm, to learn from my past mistake and demand to be taken seriously. The receptionist explained to me in a bored voice that she couldn’t find the nurse and would have her call me. I looked at the clock; the doctor’s office would close in 5 minutes. I asked that the receptionist put my on hold and go find the nurse. She said she couldn’t have me hold and would have to wait. I said “I’m sorry to be rude but the last time I waited I was in pre-term labor and my baby died!”. She said agian that there was nothing she could do. So, I um, er, yelled: “Thanks for nothing!!”


Then I hung up.


My phone rang again. It was the same receptionist, who said mockingly that we must have gotten disconnected and she hadn’t been able to get my number for the nurse to call me back. I was too shell shocked to point out that SHE HAD JUST CALLED ME. Obviously she had my number.


By the time my nurse called me back I felt like I had huffed paint. My brain was malfunctioning. I ranted to her about the asshole receptionist, and she expressed sympathy. But I was already done. She told me that my doctor told me to wait and monitor how I felt and get back to them. Yes, the same doctor’s office, almost 8 weeks to the day later, told me again to wait and see. My head swam. I murmured and babbled a little, then I hung up.


My doctor didn’t even have the decency to have me come into her office. What Tom and I went through wasn’t enough to warrant her personally returning my call. How could this professional have the balls AGAIN to tell me that everything was probably fine?


I really can barely process what happened today. Tomorrow I have to do something. I think I have to call her, even though I know I’ll cry, and demand and explanation. I’ve already decided to go see my general practitioner- I will never go back to that office again. In the meantime I think I’m probably fine. But my already fragile self-confidence is crushed. I can’t help thinking I must actually be a paranoid yuppie- because several people in one doctor’s office keep treating me that way.


In the end it’s just further confirmation that I have to change doctors. I thought that I liked my doctor and that things would have been different if she had been on call that day. But they wouldn’t. The practices stinks, and she knows it and doesn’t care. I hope I have the guts to call and demand to speak with her tomorrow, and I hope I don’t back down when she gives me bullshit excuses. I owe it to myself and my husband and my baby.

Great Pets

Tom and I went to our second support group meeting tongiht. This one was much easier and at the end I felt better. I cried a lot more…maybe that’s the trick. When we got home we walked Ramona Quimby around the block and talked about our days. I said, “I was telling (my friend) today about the rats we saw in New York City and how gross it was and I realized that she has pet rats and loves them. I hope I didn’t hurt her feelings by saying I was afraid of the rats.”


“Oh no” said Tom “it’s like how people who have tigers as pets are still afraid of tigers.”


I laughed for two blocks and up six flights of stairs and while brushing my teeth and putting my pajamas on and laying in bed. And he’s right.

It’s Not A Sign

Everyday I touch my incision and think “this is where they took my baby out of my body”. I feel like a f-cking Frida Kahlo painting. After I wrote that, I stared at the sentence for a few minutes and thought about my thick pregnancy hair and eyebrows and tried to stop myself from thinking about signs. I keep thinking so many things are or were a sign…except I don’t believe in signs. Except I saw a Frida Kahlo exhibit in Minneapolis a couple of years ago and when I recently read The Lacuna I spent five nights in a row looking up Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera on the internet. It’s not a sign, I know it’s not a sign. But only because I don’t believe in signs, otherwise I’d probably think it was a sign.


Sometimes I reread my posts here and think I’m a self-indulgent turd. Other times I am so glad I’m writing like this. Most times I miss writing funny stuff. I just can’t really get there yet I guess. I still laugh a lot, it’s not like I spend all day moping around and sobbing. Not all day every day anyways.


If I do end up childless* like Frida Kahlo I hope I am also inspired to create something like she did. It doesn’t have to be something as important or huge as her body of work…but it’d be nice if it was.



* After I published this, a friend emailed me that I was already a mother. She is completely right, and I don’t take that for granted. I just meant childless as in no children in my arms, no children to watch grow and learn. Tommy Jr is my child and always will be, but I hope someday to have a baby at home with us too.

Running In Place

Tom and I went to New York City to visit my brother and sister in law. It was a great trip- wall to wall adventuring in the big city. It felt good to feel normal again, even if it was just a few days. But in between fabulous meals and tours of the city, I would remember. I would have a nagging feeling that I wasn’t giving my pain enough attention. I think it’d be better if I set an alarm and hid myself out of the way and cried for fifteen minutes three times a day.


When I’m in the middle of some awesome adventure I think- I shouldn’t be able to do this. I should be groaning with pregnancy and waddling around. Seeing the bright laughter in small childrens’ faces makes me smile for a moment before I catch a lump of tears growing in my throat. I see Tommy in all those soft faces and exploring eyes. I wonder what he’d look like now if he were still in the NICU. Would his skin be turning baby-pink, would he be breathing on his own, would he be feeding on my breast milk? Would his little eyes be open, and light up when he saw me?


Imagining seeing my son with his eyes open makes me feel something I’ve never felt before: utterly hopeless. It’s like my pain has enveloped me completely, and squeezed out the youthful thrill of life that made me like myself. Now I’m just some person I have to drag around everywhere I go. I show up at my brother and sister-in-law’s apartment in New york and want to say- “I’m here! But I brought this awful person too, and she has to be with us the whole time. She won’t say very much, she’ll just oppress us with her presence.” I know I’m good at tucking that person away, and I know that I can still access the other me sometimes. But I can feel her tugging at my sleeve throughout the day.


I think back on the hopeful girl who took a stand up comedy class and fretted about not being able to take another because my due date would be too near. That’s the girl I liked. That’s the girl who is Tommy Jr’s mommy. But maybe she died when he died. Maybe all that’s left is a sad, hopeless person who is going through the motions of life because everyone says things will get better if you keep moving.

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