Thursday, 30 September 2010

a letter i'll never send

(and i just want to make this clear that this is written to real-life people; not anyone on the internet. if it wasn't for all you guys, i would have cracked up long ago.)

----


hey, friends.

for once, i'm not going to ask how it's going.

i need to let you know.

that i'm struggling over here.

i'm finding it hard to carry on.

i'm finding it hard to keep smiling. to keep the grief on the inside.

*

you might wonder why i feel i need to keep the grief inside. it's because i don't have a valve. humans aren't designed with a valve to vent the pressure within.

instead, i need someone to ask me how i'm getting on. to really mean it. to look into my eyes and make me tell the truth. to sit with me while i cry. to make me cups of tea.

i need you to send me emails and text messages. to let me know that you haven't forgotten. to let me know that you still remember my loss. that you care.

i need you to put my dates into your diary. mid october; the anniversary of when the baby died. 25 november; the date we found out. 6 january; the date we went to the communal cremation. 6 may; the due date that remained empty. i don't need much. just an email or text. just so i know that i'm not the only person remembering.

i need it to be all about me. at least for a while. i don't need a terribly long time. even half an hour would help.

(fifteen minutes? hell, even just five.)

if you'll listen to me for those five minutes, really let me bare my grief and my pain? that's worth more than i can say.

and once that's out of the way - even if it's only been those five minutes - i will make it all about you.

hell we can even do it the other way round. talk about you first, then about me.

because at the minute, it seems like nothing is about me, and everything is about everyone else. and i feel like i'm about to break into pieces.

----

one of my friends said today 'i'm sure your baby will be worth the wait'. and i know she meant it kindly. but it still stang.

i'm sure that if i'm ever lucky enough to have a baby that i will love it madly and beyond all reason. maybe even more so because of my loss.

but it will never erase the longing for the child that i lost.

----

FFS. even on better off ted i'm not safe from random mentions of ultrasound pics.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

facebook hate #2

latest status update from one of my friends. she hasn't experienced a loss, but she has been an amazing support to me.

and i don't blame her for posting this. i'm not angry or anything; it's her status update, and i don't want to tell her what to write. and i don't want to hide her updates; i want to know what's going on in her life.

but when i read this i got that hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach once more.

i guess all these babies are alive.

i'm not even jealous. i'm just sad that i didn't get to meet my own baby.


Friday, 24 September 2010

i went to the crematorium this morning.

i haven't been back there since 6th january. that morning there was a cremation ceremony, a communal one. the remains of all babies miscarried at the RVI in the space of a month or so collected into one small white coffin; the shellshocked parents all sitting separately, all pretending the others weren't there.

it was all just couples. except for one family, who had brought everyone. grandparents, siblings. a toddler. i was angry at the time - it seemed so insensitive! - but D pointed out that they had a right to be there too. (now i'm actually glad that the kids had the option to be there - but i kind of wish someone had warned me it would be a possibility.)

i haven't really talked about it but i mentioned it here.

it was snowing and dark when we left that morning. our car got stuck as soon as we started to move. the girl next door had to help D push while i accelerated. then we helped her push her car from where it was stuck. then D and she both helped a neighbour.

it was quite the farce.

we arrived at the crem really early, and the hearse containing the coffin arrived late. there was a waiting room and a coffee machine, though, so it could always have been worse. (yeah, ha.) and then, contrary to what we'd been assured, the ceremony was pretty religious and entirely harrowing. which did not suit us at all.

my family don't really do visiting graves. we're more a do-not-stand-at-my-grave-and-weep type family. (except without the 'i did not die' part, which i kind of think wrecks it a little.)

i think i've been to my grandad's grave once; i've never been to my grandma's (not that i remember, anyway). this has a perverse symmetry; i was at my grandma's funeral but not my grandad's. my great aunt's ashes were scattered; i was there but i've never been back, even though i kinda want to.

but these last few months i've been kinda-sorta wanting to go and find the snowdrop garden. i looked for it when we were at the crem for the ceremony but didn't find it, was too shellshocked still to actually ask where it was. a few times i've thought that i should go look again, but i've not done. i wouldn't do it at a weekend; i know D would find it weird. he'd go with me if i asked him to but i'd never ask. and it's been hard to find time to make myself go in the week.

and truth be told, i've been too scared to go. like i say, i'm not someone who visits graves. i didn't know what it would be like. i didn't know what i should do.

but the urge has been getting stronger. and so i decided that this morning i would go. last night i looked up the bus routes and this morning i got up and made my way over there.

for those who don't know what a snowdrop garden is (i guess most people round here do?):
A Snowdrop Garden is a special remembrance garden for children who have died, stillborn babies and for lost pregnancies, whatever the cause. It is a place of tranquillity where parents and relatives, regardless of their religious beliefs, can go at any time to remember their children.
(taken from the end of this page)

i still couldn't find it this morning. i ended up knocking on the office door and asking the guy who appeared from elsewhere where it was. he sent me off in the right direction and claimed there were signs.

there were no signs. and the garden where babies are buried and the snowdrop garden couldn't be further away from the entrance to the crem and still be in the grounds. they are pushed away to the furthest corner. you would think that in a place where death is all around that maybe it could be acknowledged that Sometimes Babies Die. maybe they could put the evidence of this not in the centre, but not at the very far edge.

you would be wrong.

but anyway. i found the garden. i went in.

and i was shocked.

there are silver plaques round the inside of the fence. plaques with names and dates and 'love mam and dad'. there are windmills and potted plants and windchimes and flowers.

there are teddy bears. some covered in mould, some fresh.

there are cards. and photos. and angels. and memories all around.

i looked. i read the plaques. i looked at the mementoes. i sat, and absorbed the place.

and i wished i'd found it earlier.

and i was angry that noone told me that i could have put a plaque there. that i could have taken mementoes there. i'm still angry. i'm not sure who i think should have told me. but someone should.

i'm not sure if i'm going to get a plaque but i'm definitely going to find out how much it would cost.

but i'm definitely going to take something there.

i didn't stay very long. it was freezing and i wasn't wearing enough layers. then it started to rain. i know when to give up.

and i felt unprepared. i felt that i wasn't ready.

but as i was walking away i wanted to turn back. to go and sit there some more. possibly the whole of the day. stay the night, tomorrow too.

i had to make myself carry on.

but now i've been - now i know what it's like; now i know i can take mementoes there - i will go again. and soon. and be better prepared.

---

i've been needing to cry and unable to cry recently.

i cried a little while i was there. but i felt somehow unprepared for that, too.

i hope i'll be able to cry more next week. when i return.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

what did i lose?

the question has been bouncing round my head.

i lost a tiny creature. 55 millimeters long. two arms, two legs. nothing obvious wrong with it.

something that - given slightly different circumstances - might have grown into a baby. maybe even a child. a teenager, an adult.

my daughter, or my son.

but it wasn't a baby, was it? not really.

it had been. it was before we found out it was gone. to me. to my husband and my family.

i lost my status as a parent.

i don't think of myself as a mother. not any more.

i do think that when i was pregnant i was one. but not now.

(i hate that D and i can lie in at weekends. can buy dvds and books. i hate that i enjoy these things. they shouldn't be mine to enjoy.)

i lost my ability to believe that things will turn out for the best.

i lost my ability to believe that things can turn out for the best.

i lost an awful lot of friends.

(most of them i'm ok about having lost. but still.)

i lost my ability to bounce back. i lost my ability to shrug things off and fix things when they go wrong.

i lost the future. the one i'd planned.

i might have a baby again - i don't know yet - but it won't be the same future as the one i'd hoped for.

i lost my ability to talk to pregnant women like they are normal human beings. not because they're not, but because i'm not.

i know it's me that's the problem.

---

i'm off sick again.

---

i want to cry but i can't.

---

i planted some snowdrop bulbs today. i told the baby that i will think of it when they flower. that i will always remember.

---

i wish things were simpler.

i wish i believed there was any hope that 2011 would hold a baby for us.

if i get pregnant this month (and i don't believe for a second that will happen) my due date would be mid-June next year.

i am so fckng sick of this.

---

this is my 100th post on this blog.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

i've been seeing a lot of rainbows recently.

this one i saw after leaving work yesterday evening.















and i'd love to believe that it meant something. that all these rainbows mean that my own living baby is on its way.

but the only omens i believe are the bad ones.

the ones that tell me it'll never happen.

i have no faith in good omens. not at all.

like car says, they're just an illusion.

---

i've been back and forth. hen parties, weddings. to the gym, to work, with family, to the supermarket, back home.

it doesn't leave me much time for the internet.

i have well over a hundred posts unread in google reader. well, down to just under 100 now, but it was 162 or something earlier tonight.

i try and support people. try and let them know that i'm reading. that i care. i find it very hard to mark read and move on without commenting.

but right now, i have to. i can't comment on everything. i'm going to make myself ill.

i'm having to delete email i'd rather read (not personal ones but things i'm interested in). and i'm going to have to throw things away. my house is a tip. i can't manage to unpack from one trip before i go on another. thankfully there is only one more night away coming up soon and then i'm home for the next six weeks or so.

i feel really bad about all this. but i have to look after myself. don't i?
My sister got married at the weekend.

I initially looked forward to it. Then I remembered that bridesmaids are high profile, and discovered that there would be six pregnant women there.

Then I got really quite nervous about the whole situation.

---

But I had bracing time. And I raised my antidepressant dose (with my doctor's agreement). And I sat opposite a pregnant woman the night before the wedding and didn't freak out or get upset. And I talked to one of my sister's best friends (who is pregnant as well) on the morning and was OK.

And she was so happy. And they so obviously love each other. And I spent a lot of the day grinning.

And I was OK, really, until after the wedding breakfast, when the disco started. By then, my duties were over, and I was starting to get tired and sad.

And it wasn't until then that I started to think how different things could have been. Coulda woulda shoulda.

How I shouldn't have been able to be a bridesmaid, because I should have had a four month old baby.

How, after we lost the baby, my sister and my mum and I talked about what size dress I should get. Whether it should be a size or two up. How pregnant I would be by then.

Turns out, not pregnant at all. The dress was a little too big, even though I'm comfort eating like a demon.

So I lit an indoor sparkler and thought of the baby.

Something short-lived and beautiful that ends too soon.

And I wished things were different.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

i ovulated on the 19th December 2009, 21 days after the physical part of my miscarriage.

if i'd got pregnant that month, my due date would have been today.

i could have gone through an entire pregnancy by now. and yet here i sit, without a whiff of a baby in sight.



... it just seems wrong.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

because i am a fckng idiot, instead of doing any of the three bajillion things i need to do tonight, i went to the supermarket (somewhat justifiable, but not the best use of my time) and then made vegan chocolate cheesecake.

which in NO UNIVERSE was a sensible use of my time.

i mean, i hope it tastes nice and all that, and hopefully everyone in work tomorrow will enjoy it..... but honestly, there were five billion (is that less or more than three bajillion?) useful things i could've done tonight, and that wasn't any of them.

---

in other possibly-connected news, since i realised that i need more sleep at the mo, i have not let myself get a second more than i was doing before.

i think that all i actually need is one.single.good.night's.sleep, and then i'll be able to cope with the next couple of weeks which i know will be stressful. but i think tonight was the last window of opportunity, and now it's gone.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH.

(and of course, i didn't have to blog about it, did i.........?)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

tired

i've been particularly tired this last couple of weeks. i've been late to bed, but not that late. and i've been wondering why. i even took it to be a possible sign of pregnancy at the end of last week.

it just occurred to me earlier tonight that actually-maybe-possibly it's because the depression and the anxiety have been a little worse again recently. and they are things that can make a person tired. especially on top of having had a cold and having joined the gym and done a bit more exercise... not much, because of the cold and because i was away last weekend. but a little.

i feel a little silly that i didn't realise earlier. still, at least i can go to bed a bit earlier now i know, eh?

---

last year i registered to do a photography course with the open university. it started in october. i was pregnant and tired and a little nauseous. i didn't really do any work. in the end i withdrew. the next course was may, starting on my due date. obviously i couldn't register for that one!

except, i didn't have the baby. but i still couldn't have managed any work.

now the next course date is rapidly approaching. it starts 1 oct.

i'm thinking i might register.

BUT.

i'm scared i'll get pregnant and miscarry and be too busy grieving to remember to withdraw and will lose my £190.

i'm scared i'll get pregnant and not miscarry and not have any grounds to withdraw but be too terrified to actually do any of the course.

i'm scared i won't be pregnant and will be a basket case of whining and crying and not manage to do any of the course.

i'm scared that ttc or pregnancy will mean that i don't learn as much as i should from the course - i know loads of people who've done it and all have loved it, and i don't want to waste the time.

but.

i'm also scared that the holy grail* of ttc will take over my life and leave nothing remaining. and that wouldn't be good.

so maybe i'm going to try.

i have til 24th september to decide whether i'm going to register. please don't let me forget...?


* i started to type 'wholy grail' at first. that would be the all-consuming obsession version, i guess.

Monday, 6 September 2010

what happened next

(This posts follows on from one entitled 'the end', which can be found here. It's taken me a while to be able to write it, and then to finish it.)

We sat in that room on a bed, unable to really take in what had happened. I cried periodically. Not as much as I would have thought.

The healthcare assistant came in. She was mostly nice, but at one point when I started to cry, she leaned forward, rubbed my leg and said something along the lines of 'aw, you'll be ok!'. I think she was probably at a loss for words, but I felt terribly patronised.

She asked if we wanted the ultrasound picture they had taken. I thought I was going to say no, but some instinct in my brain overtook my thoughts and the word that came out was 'yes'. She passed it to me; I opened it, glanced in and slammed it shut. Told her I would look later.

(I didn't mean it. And it took me a couple of days. But I did. Now I carry a copy of it around with me.)

D's never looked at it. He says he saw all he needed to see on the screen, before they told us what had happened.

If I ever get to sit in a scan room again, I'll make sure that either we can both see the screen, or neither of us can. I think I'll go with us both being able to see. We've faced the worst already. I think I'll expect it every time. Our imagination could never be worse than the truth. Not any more.

Finally a GP came in to see us. She told us how sorry she was. She told us that our loss wouldn't be investigated. But that although in most cases there was no reason that could be found, that the sonographer had seen what looked like a growth on the baby's neck. That that was normally the marker of a chromosomal abnormality.

I think I was aware even at that time that miscarriages weren't investigated in this country unless you have three, although I didn't realise that it needed to be three in a row. I wasn't aware til later, though, that second trimester losses are usually investigated even after a single loss, or I would have fought much harder. It seems unfair that they used the fact that the baby measured 13 weeks to make the decision. I was 17 weeks by that stage. The baby could have survived longer but have been growing slowly. Couldn't they have assumed that and investigated? But I was told the same thing by two different hospitals, even though my midwife said to push them to investigate. I did. I did. But they still refused.

We had three choices of what happened next. Expectant management: wait for my body to expel the baby on its own. Medical management: take medication to make my body miscarry the baby. Or Surgical management: an ERPC - evacuation of retained products of conception - ie surgical removal of my baby under general anaesthetic.

They said we could go away and think about it and call the next day. They said that I would have to go to a hospital far away and in a horrible town I'd never been to before for one of the options. They gave us leaflets. One leaflet for each option, each starting 'you have chosen .... management.' I hadn't! I still hate that there isn't a single leaflet that they can give you with information about all three, so you can go and consider it properly. And I asked if I could go to a different hospital in a different health authority - but closer to where we live - and they said actually yes, we could. And it still makes me angry that they never told us that, either; that we had to ask.

In the end, we left. We paid £1.60 for the car park. That's the third thing that makes me angry, that we had to pay money to find out that our baby had died.

I can't write about being at home that evening. About telling people. About trying to go to sleep. About trying to decide which shi.tty option of our three shi.tty options we were going to go for. It's too much. It's too personal.

But I will tell you that we were due to go to the supermarket that night. We shop for D's grandparents, and we were due to be going round. So we went to the supermarket, shell shocked as we were. It occurred to us that we didn't have to go, but we... still went. We wandered the aisles picking up food like automatons. I picked up some jam cookie things. It was the only thing I could face eating that evening. I ate two.

I don't think I'll ever be able to eat them again.

There was a baby in the supermarket. I cried.

---

I will write one further post, about being in hospital. But not quite yet.
i've been meaning to say. for those who only started following me since i started writing here, if you want to read my babyloss posts you can start on my other blog here, if you will, and read six months of misery before i moved over here.

just in case you wanted to know.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

pros and cons

pros
  • i can have a drink - or two - at my sister's upcoming wedding.

  • i can get that tattoo i've been planning.

  • i can take ibuprofen for the RSI that hasn't bothered me in nearly three years but has just decided to make a resurgence.

    similarly i can keep taking the herbal cough sweets that are the best things i've ever found for a cold, but that contain herbs that may or may not be safe in pregnancy (i'm sure it would say if they were dangerous but there's that tiny nugget of 'what if'). (also, i've had a really mild but very annoying cold now for about ten days. i wish it would bugger off and leave me alone.)

  • i won't have to deal with the echoes of 'conceived in august, due in may'.

  • i can keep going to classes and for a swim at the gym and try and get myself into a routine and a little bit healthier before conceiving.

  • when i meet Illanare and Miss Ruby in November (!!!!) the most pregnant i could possibly be would be two months, which hopefully they would be able to cope with. (because i know it's hard, even when it's one of us.)
cons
  • it's now impossible for me to have a due date even just a little after my may 2009 due date. i will not have had a baby before the anniversary of my due date. that's incredibly hard to process.

    (i have a lovely friend (who i still hope will start blogging again one day...) who had a miscarriage in january 2008. she finally had her first baby in may 2009. when we were talking after i'd had my miscarriage i remember being shocked at how long that seemed and wondering how she had coped with it taking so long to get pregnant again - i know that compared to a lot of people that's no time, but still i knew, and she confirmed, that the seven months ttc again must have seemed like forever. and now we're over nine months past our loss, and still nothing.)

  • there will be six pregnant women at my sister's wedding. it might have helped, just a tiny bit, if i'd been pregnant.

    it wouldn't have made it easy, but it might have been just that tiny bit easier.

  • with my due date being may, i did worry about my child being young in the school year. and when we lost the baby i did think 'ah well chances are that we'll have a child who's older in the school year'. and yet now if we do conceive in the next three months we'll end up with a child who's one of the youngest. and the youngest ones do tend to do worse, at least at first.

  • i really thought i might be pregnant this month. really really. my chart was nicer. my temp stayed low when it should be low and high when it should be high. i went off caffeine. i was tired-er than i would have expected to be. i was actually starting to wonder how i would cope with the echo of dates. and i honestly believed - just for a couple of days - that i would have had faith in that pregnancy, that baby.

    i really believed it would have stuck around long enough for me to meet.

    shows how little i know, i guess.

  • ... we're not pregnant this month. again. i'm another month away from a living child. another sliver of my tiny store of optimism has been chiselled away. another month to stack up in the 'something's wrong and that cow at the fertility clinic doesn't care' pile.
of course, it doesn't really matter how many pros or cons there are. that last one trumps everything. i'm not pregnant. again.

i'm getting older. (one day older every 24 hours.) risk of miscarriage: increasing. risk of stillbirth: increasing. risk of multiples: increasing. risk of Down syndrome: increasing. risk of high blood pressure or diabetes in pregnancy: increasing. risk of interventions during labour: increasing.

risk of never frickin' getting pregnant at all?

increasing.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

so if you look at the labels at the bottom of the blog, the ones i use most often are:
  • babyloss
  • frustration
  • ttc
  • wishing things were different
yep. that sums up my life pretty well. it's nice when your blog really reflects your life, eh?




the wordle my blog makes is pretty. it also sums things up pretty well.

make yours here.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

because i am an idiot, i just clicked on an fb link to see why two of my friends were tagged in someone's photo album.

four of my friends are on maternity leave at the same time. they all took their kids to the park. the pics are up.

i should be there with them. with my baby.

it should be me. it should be me.

(i'm not upset. i just feel hollow.)

---

last night, i looked left and saw seven crows. then i looked right and saw a different seven crows. then i went round the corner and saw two.

what the fu.ck kind of omen is that??????????

---

i kind of feel like this month might be the month. i don't know why. i don't really have any proper evidence. and i'm not excited. if it is i'll just be terrified. and of course if is it i will once more have conceived in august and will have a due date in may. so i would be more glad to skip this month really.

going off the last few cycles my temp should start to drop tomorrow, though. so i guess we'll just see.

i cried in work this morning. i have to deal with the fact that work are starting to get slightly impatient. i can't really blame them. they have been more than patient.

i am so sick of being not-ok. i miss the old me. i wish i could go back. exist in my pre-grief life.

it was pretty damn good really.