Well I didn’t have the nerve to write yesterday. Tom and I hadn’t finished moving (I still have to make one more trip today!) and I was in a constant state of panic. I’m feeling better this morning- I went back to the old place and met the cleaning ladies there. We all cleaned furiously for an hour, then I headed to work and left them there. I hate to admit that I still have weeks of unpacking to do, but it’ll be nice to start on a new home.


The move was as tough as anticipated. On Saturday, halfway through packing and crawling around the movers (yea…I didn’t do a great job preparing) I begged Tom to let us just quit. I tried to talk him into forgetting the whole thing- staying in the old place, or better yet, just throwing everything away. Except my couches. And my china cabinet. And those old English fox hunting pictures I have. Oh and my Grama’s desk. And all the gifts I got while I was pregnant. And my wedding veil. And the computer of course….


You see where this is going. I hate stuff, but I love my stuff. Just one of the many endearing neurosis I suffer from.


So here we are, August 31st. We survived the due date, Tom started law school, we moved, I learned to put dishes in the dishwasher, I decided I love beer. Not bad.

What Comes Next

Alright. The due date has come and gone. The trip to the cemetery was terribly sad but cathartic too. It was a good reminder that we’re not paralyzed by this grief. We are still capable of loving each other and hoping for our future and surrounded by friends and family who love us. And even though I try not to think of Tommy Jr in that cemetery, it was nice to sit with him and talk to him for a little while. It was comforting to see him surrounded by other babies, at least they all have each other to play with.


Coincidentally, Tommy is buried very close to my grandparents. My Grama especially was such a wonderful women and so darling with children, I like knowing she’s close by. It’s weird to grapple with not believing that the little white casket has anything to do with where my boy is, and then be comforted knowing that he’s close to my grandparents. I guess it’s good to realize that my brain and heart will make exceptions to help me get through this.


Saturday we move. I’ve focused a lot of my panicking on that- not in a productive, I’ve-got-everything-boxed-up-way. More in an I’ll-lie-on-the-couch-and-eat-chocolate-pretzels-and-bite-my-nails-while-staring-at-all-my-crap way. I’m looking forward to be in a new place, but wistful about leaving. All this change is hard. New apartment, Tom’s in law school, work is different…When I look back at old pictures of myself I wonder who that person is. I worry all the time about Tom and my relationship changing because I’m so god damn self-centered now. I’m like an attention black hole.


On an unrelated note- I watched the move Up In The Air with George Clooney. I thought it was terribly lame. I don’t understand why anyone liked that movie…did I miss something?

Menstration Situation

I was not prepared for how bad my period would be. I’m in a lot of pain physically- the doctors warned me it would be difficult. But I didn’t understand that the cramps would feel like contractions. It’s like my body is sending distress signals to my brain: PANIC! PANIC! PANIC!


My brain is being an idiot.


Tom and I are going to the cemetery tomorrow. We’ve been talking a lot about Tommy Jr’s gravestone and what it should say. Well, we bring it up often, but neither of us can talk about it very much without crying. It’s so unnatural. We looked forward to this week for so long, thinking we’d have a giggling cooing baby. Instead we have headstone brochures.



Yesterday’s post yielded a few concerned phone calls. I’m going to be ok, but in the meantime at least I can be honest. This reality can get ugly and I know it can be difficult to read. I know that my loved ones are sometimes left feeling impotent and helpless. Maybe it’s a little disingenuous to act more normal than I feel, but it’s the only way I’ve figured out how to get through the days. I can even access my old self and old joys sometimes.


The pain ebbs and flows. It allows me to creep out sometimes and slip back into a normal life- sad but functional. But now that it’s less focused it’s less predictable. The death of a child emphasizes our lack of control in so many aspects of life. I couldn’t control my child’s suffering or health, I can’t control the reactions of those around me, I can’t control the time it takes to heal or how many little babies I see being pushed around my neighborhood in strollers. If I’m not vigilant, I forget that I can control my emotions- to a certain extent.


I’m trying to remember how to let things go. At some time in my life- after I met Tom- I figured out how to breath through my emotions. I guess that’s what “living in the present” means. I couldn’t do it with complete reliability, but compared to my teenaged self I was pretty good. Then a little bean sprouted in my belly. Right away I felt my son’s presence in me. He made me tired at first and made strong smells gross me out. He made me yell at some teenagers who were fooling around with a revolving door. He made want fresh fruit all the time.


Just when we were really working well together, the plan changed. Neither of us had any say in the matter, or we would have kept it the way it was for a while longer. But the new plan was that the little bean was going to come out and be a baby for a few days. He smelled like heaven and he wrinkled his forehead at us. I concentrated on my baby so hard that I forgot almost everything else, including the things I thought I cared about.


When Tommy Jr (former Bean in my Belly) left me, I had to spend all my mental energy on staying upright. With Tom Sr’s patient encouragement, I got out of bed and showered and walked the dog. I went back to work. I saw my friends and worked out at the gym. I told myself I was a mother. But I stopped being present. I snoozed in the past, I pressed my hands over my belly and imagined it hard and full of life. I shrank from the future- letting waking nightmares torment me. The present was so slow and cumbersome. It was lonely in the present, and sad.


Once you have some one else with you, in your body, it’s hard to know how to live alone in there. Especially when your body focuses entirely on nurturing that little person. I think I realized today that I should come back to the present. I’ll sneak back into the past from time to time, but now it’s time to be in the present and find a place here for Tommy too. I haven’t figured out yet how to do it, but I know I want to. It’s not exactly hope, but it’s something.



I think I’m having my period. I was supposed to be 39 weeks pregnant but instead I’m having my period. And I’m not handling it well at all. I’m starting to have this feeling that I’m watching myself all the time. It’s interesting actually, because I’ve been acting pretty insane.


For instance, yesterday I was watching television and that Duggar bitch lady came on the screen with her 19th baby. Her 19th baby who was delivered alive at 6months. Naturally I broke into racking sobs and considered cutting myself for the 12th time that day. I am frustratingly afraid of blood, so I just let the tears drip off my cheeks and nose and marveled that I was even still capable of breathing. Especially because it feels like such a waste of time and effort. It’s never ending- you finish a breath- you have to take another. It’s exhausting.


My attempts at appearing normal are getting pretty pathetic as well. While socializing I keep catching myself staring off into middle distance with a forlorn expression on my face. I try to snap out of it before anymore sees me.


I know that this week will be difficult. Up until now I was just supposed to be pregnant, after Wednesday I was supposed to be at home with a baby in my arms. The wake that a child’s death causes grows exponentially…until (I hope) it begins to recede.

Incompetence Revealed

Incompetent cervix. It turns out my feelings of inadequacy were not entirely unfounded. I wrote that as a joke but the truth is I kind of secretly think that maybe the impostor complex that’s always plagued me was a misinterpreted sign. (Not that I believe in signs)


Tom and I went to the new doctor the week before we left for Europe. I guess that’s another reason I didn’t write before we left. The news was overwhelming. On one hand, it’s a huge relief to know that I didn’t cause the pre-term labor. The nagging feeling that Tommy Jr came early because I’m bad doesn’t have anymore fuel. Incompetent is different than bad. To be honest, our doctor called it something a little nicer- cervical inadequacy or something. That doesn’t sound much better really.


Incompetent, inadequate…isn’t the fear of those things what keeps girls from raising their hands in math and science class? I mean other than being told I have a fat cervix, there couldn’t be two words that would be more hilariously pathetically upsetting to hear used to describe a part of you. And reading about my incompetent cervix was like getting a punch in the face of proof that I failed as a women. A failure punch.


I wish I felt more hopeful having an explanation. Because I already won the shitty-lottery I don’t feel safe thinking “the chances are good that next time the doctors will know…” and blah blah bullshit. I’m f*cking scared. I know I want to get pregnant again, but I just can’t imagine when I’ll have the guts to go through it again. I can’t imagine a time where my heart has healed enough to let me take another risk. I know it’s too soon to even consider, but it’s baby season right now! The summer is butt to nut with cute babies. And I want one so badly. And the one I want is buried in the ground.


That was an awful thing to write. I can’t help it though. I try not to picture of him in there, in his tiny baby coffin, all alone. Somedays it hurts me too much just to think of him, because I only ever saw my little boy in the hospital with tubes and wires and machines. I wish so much that I could imagine him better as a fat little baby in the park or in Daddy’s arms. Maybe he’ll come to me like that in a dream someday.

Upon My Return

I’m back…sorry for the radio silence last week. Tom and I went to Europe and I guess I was too anxious to write. We had a wonderful trip- it was our third anniversary, but really it was the last leg on Operation Speed Up Time To Get Past My Due Date (or whatever I called it before).


I’m very very sad that all the travel is over. Having three trips in a row kept me always looking forward and planning for something. It kept me excited. Now…well…it’s August 17th. I have to try and stay in the present for the next couple of weeks. I can’t dwell on the fact that I should be at the point where every time I call my mother she thinks it’s because I’m in labor. That is not the reality I’m in, no matter how much I want it.


My travels taught me that this pain will follow me. I can’t run, or hide, or move away and think that it won’t creep up on me sometimes. I know it sounds silly but I really thought “If ONLY I could move away…”. I have to settle for moving apartments, and accept that sitting in the pain won’t kill me. I’m getting there. Plus we found a sweet apartment.


But I also learned that there is now a part of my brain that mourns automatically. I don’t have to be so vigilant, because some base part of me has been so crushed. One day Tom and I woke up in Paris and I felt so heavy hearted. My energy level was so low, it was like I couldn’t lift my eyes to appreciate the beauty of Paris. We took it easy and ended up having a nice day, but then next morning I realized that it had been August 10th. Tommy Jr would have been three months old. He’d be off his respirator, he’d have creamy baby skin, his eyes would be open. I don’t want to be sad on his birthdays, I want to celebrate. But if I don’t take control of my emotions, they’ll take control of me. It’s like how your dog knows when it’s dinner time everyday…I think my hearts knows when I should be sad. Or wistful. Well someday I hope it’s more wistful than sad.


Once in a while I forget that I went through it all. Those are actually the worst times. Or when I think about how hard Tom’s first year of law school would be if we had a newborn. That’s when I feel the lowest, the most dangerous. That occasional and subconscious feeling of (I shudder as I type this) relief makes me want to lash out and prove my pain. Or at least go back to the days where I talked about it all the time. The catch, of course, is that it’s getting harder and harder for me to talk about. I feel so much pressure not to burden people, and to act like I’m ok. I mean I am ok…sometimes. But when I’m not, I feel more caged than ever.


This post is turning out to be more depressing than I intended. I wanted to write about how Tom and I had the most relaxing european vacation ever. I wanted to write about my new 30-day plan- inspired by one of my favorite authors A.J. Jacobs. I guess I’ll have to save those things for tomorrow’s post. I will leave you with a promise to get back to writing every day. Even if I think it’s stupid or too dark or too light. Like yesterday I wanted to write about how much I hate business that have puns for names. Or how strange it is that I keep seeing people with their dogs in baby carriages. I don’t know what held me back, but I’m ready now. I’m making a public commitment.


Thanks for sticking with me dear friends. It makes me feel less lonely knowing people are reading this, and empathizing, and rooting for me.

Not Down With O.P.P.

I think I’m getting freon poisoning from sitting in air-conditioning all day. I go from air conditioned apartment to air-conditioned office to air conditioned car. I haven’t looked it up or anything, but I think the symptoms are waking up at 5am no matter what and a lack of interest in other people’s problems. Well I know it’s either the freon or the heart crushing grief of losing my son.


The sleepless symptom has been ok- I’m getting better at just getting up and going to the gym. There’s really no point in lying in bed if you know you’re not going to go back to sleep. But the complete impatience for other people’s problems is proving difficult.


I shouldn’t say other people’s problems…that’s not accurate. It’s really other people’s mindless bitching. I don’t mean when someone is complaining in a funny way. I mean when someone is just complaining to fill the air, or because they have no perspective, or because they can’t read their audience and think that a blank stare is conversational encouragement. It can even just be a person’s tone of voice, like you know they’re really bitching even if what they’re saying is mundane. I realize that I am, in fact, complaining even as I write this.


I realize too that it sounds a little hypocritical, since all I do these days is talk about myself. When I’m not actually talking, I’m thinking about myself. When I’m not thinking I’m sleeping and having vivid dreams about myself. I guess I’m getting tired of my own problems as well. Maybe I’m just getting to the end the part of grieving where one is consumed with panic and effortless fretting. That would be a relief. My brain is so tired.


Tomorrow I see another doctor. I’m scared of what he’ll say. The future feels like a gaping, sucking hole. Even the light is pulled in and bent around the deep. I have to stop thinking and just let myself be carried through these next few weeks.


I walked back to my office clutching my salad and saw the guy who’s office is down the hall. He smiled and said “Hey! Are you a mom now?”


I shook my head. Smile-grimaced: “…we lost the baby.”


He looked stunned. He said he was so sorry and that we’d be in his thoughts. I apologized for having to tell him, I told him we would try again someday, I thanked him for asking and for his sympathy.


The tears felt hot on my face as I walked away. I wanted to say that I am a mother now, that my heart has changed so much since I met my son. I wanted to tell him how sweet it was that he remembered I was pregnant, and that I hoped he wouldn’t avoid me now. I wanted to say that sometimes I feel like a leper, because some people just can’t handle the grief that surrounds me like a bad smell.


I have to keep telling myself that I’m a mother. This pain is so consuming, so self-absorbing that sometimes it’s impossible to take a step back and look at my life. It’s ok for me to just say “Yes, I am a mother now.” I am. And at this point I can handle the follow up questions- usually the people who ask are gentle and kind. Usually.


But it’s a constant struggle to stay in control. I can feel myself slipping away sometimes, and being replaced by a hollow girl. I can’t remember what I used to think was important.


I know it’s not like me to say this, I know I’m losing perspective…but I hate this life. I don’t want to be strong, I don’t want to heal or mourn. I just don’t want any of this. I want to reach into the grief and pull myself out. I want my baby back.

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