Sunday, August 30, 2009


How are you doing?
(Please don't say anything too much. I hurt for you and your pain and don't think I know what to do if you start crying.)

I'm tired.
(I am sad, lonely, aching with longing to hold my son again. I feel completely shattered, like my heart has been ripped out of my body.)

(Thank god, I can handle that.)


We're thinking of you.
(We feel sad when we remember and take a moment to be appreciative of our blessings.)

Thank you.
(Oh, Gabriel, you were so beautiful and perfect. I miss you so much. I do not want to live the rest of my life without you in it.)

So. . . let us know if you need something. Anything we can do, please call.
(I would like to make some of the pain better, and there is nothing to do. But hey, I can bring you dinner or send you some flowers, I'll even do your laundry.)

Thank you, there's nothing. But if something comes up. . .
(It's appreciated, but all I want in life is for my son back with me. You cannot make that happen. So now I just want to be alone where I don't have to think about comforting you too.)

It's worse what is unsaid between my husband and I, the things that are spoken with the touches, the eyes, the tears. Pleas for each other to be ok, asking if you are thinking about him right now too. Trying hard to be brave and together for the other person, each of us wanting to break down.

I wish more people would look me in the eyes. I wish more people would say his name and acknowledge that Gabriel was born, lived and died and mattered in this world.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

An empty shell

My body is empty, nearly all evidence of Gabriel's stay inside me is gone.

My breasts are full and hard and hot with engorgement as my body tries to make milk he does not need.

My bump, that I loved, is gone. My stomach is flabby and as flat as it has been in years.

I am only just over 300 pounds, a weight I have not seen since before my marriage, maybe five years ago. There is an effective diet, but not one I recommend trying.

I feel empty and tired, broken. I eat, but not much or well. I sleep, and my dreams are fragmented, haunted. I have not gotten up during the night in three nights, my nightly ritual gone now. I can sleep on my back and roll to my side with no pain, no ache.

My friend Sarah and I have been talking about what happened, speculating among the questions. She has suggested that rather than my body failing us, betraying us as it feels right now that perhaps my body tried hard to keep us together, fighting a losing battle all along, that the clots were not from the previa but perhaps from an abruption that was not identified, could not be seen. I find some comfort in the thought that perhaps my body has not betrayed me.

I need to tell about Gabriel's birth, but it hurts so much. There are so many questions and so much anger and blame. The care and direction I received were questionable at best, complete neglect at worst. Insensitivity abounded. There is little comfort to be had there.

We are going home in a few minutes. I am hoping for some healing there, hoping that my expectations are not too high. I know I cannot hide forever, but I need this time right now.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I don't want to.

I don't want to do this. I don't want to find a way to live with this. I don't want to find a new normal. I don't want to find peace with this and go on with my life.

It's too much. It's too much to ask of me and it's too big.

I will go on, of course. I am the survivor, the strong one. I've done it before on a smaller scale and if nothing else, I will exist until life happens again of its own accord (so you needn't fear I'm on the edge of throwing myself off a building or swallowing the bottle of ibuprofen).

I just don't want to.

I'm going home tomorrow. My mom has to leave and I can't stay here with just myself. DH offered to get time off from work - and he is - but I can't do it. I'm not ready to be by myself with just us. So we're going home. Where it is safe from places I went while I was pregnant and places that have baby stuff and infants who lived. A place where I can just exist for awhile with no real demands on me. And then we'll come home and start to put it back together, I guess.

I just want to find a dark cave and crawl in there with a pillow and blanket and stay there forever.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I hated a lot of my pregnancy. It was hard and difficult and I was sick a lot and weak. I remember recently talking with a few people about feeling guilty about disliking pregnancy after having had losses because I knew how badly other people wanted to be putting up with all that shit.

And God, I regret it now. I'm not saying that everyone has to be all Pollyanna about vomiting up chunky breakfast dishes or $100 celebratory meals, as I did. But I would do anything to have that time back and to still be pregnant and on bedrest or to know that I would lose my son so that I could rejoice more in the time I had with him.

I regret that I didn't allow myself to love him the way he deserved to be loved by his mother. I was so afraid of to love him, that if I did, he would be taken away from me, or that I would hurt more. But a week ago, I saw him again, sucking his thumb, and got a good look at his face and his long long legs and I was gone. Head over heels. Four perfect days of being in love with my Gabriel. Of talking to him, of reading to him (and how I regret not finishing the story), of telling him how amazing he was and all the things we would do together.

I regret how much time I wasted worrying about stupid things, like that stupid registry. Like money. Like work. Like what people think about me. None of it matters now. God, to have that time again to rub my belly and just spend that time where it mattered, with him. Talking to him, loving him, telling him all about us.

I regret the time I spent wanting a girl, and I regret that he may somehow have thought that I didn't want him because he was a boy. I regret the times we were short-tempered with him or snapped at him because we couldn't find him on the doppler or I was feeling unwell or bleeding again.

I regret his birth, and how I will always wonder if I gone sooner instead of waiting to see if the cramping and then contractions would stop if there would have been enough time. I regret waiting to see which hospital to attend and the choice to wait and go to the closer hospital. I will forever regret that he was left alone for any moment of his brief life. It happened so fast and DH couldn't see that he was alone, and I could. I could have told him to be with our son. I will forever regret that I didn't pick him up after he was born. I was just frozen by it.

I regret that I didn't touch him enough while he was still alive, or kiss him while he was alive or hug him to me tight enough. Is there ever enough time? Did he know he was loved and did he know we were there and was it enough love and touches for a lifetime?

Dh says that his life was what we wanted for him, in many ways. Filled with love and with his family surrounding him. I think he might be right, but there are so many regrets surrounding me right now. So much blame and so many recriminations. So much anger. I miss Gabriel.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Some of the answers

As to how we are, devastated is an understatement and yet we are also as well as possible. We are eating, sleeping some, talking, existing. My mother is here with us and my friends are checking in on us regularly as are my in-laws and my family. Everyone has been very kind and there are offers of help from everyone. There really isn't much that we need, but it is appreciated.

We don't know what happened or why. It was sudden, unexpected and we didn't have a lot of warning. It could have been in some way related to the placenta previa and all the bleeding, but I don't think there is any way to know. Gabriel was healthy and well until his birth. He was alive when he was born and lived for a short time. He died in our arms, but we don't know exactly when. Just that he was alive when we were finally allowed to hold him and that later when he was checked, he was gone. We spent three hours with him, we have pictures of him, and they made a mold of his footprints for us and gave us the blanket he was wrapped in and the hats he wore.

I am not ready to talk about his birth, as the experience was traumatic and has left me angry and upset. I will at some point though, because it was my son's birth and it should be told.

He was beautiful and perfect, with these long, long limbs. He had his daddy's eyebrows and ears and long legs and big feet, and he had my nose and mouth and chin. He was going to have my eyes too, I think. His little hands and feet had perfect little fingers and toes with tiny, tiny fingernails. He weighed 12 ounces, but I don't know how long he was.

This morning we went to the funeral home to make arrangements to have his remains cremated. I felt like I was going to be knocked down by the pain. It will take at least a week and DH has to call again to make certain we will get his ashes. I guess it was unclear earlier but I didn't notice.

I am surprised that the world keeps turning. I expected that it would stop, just for a little while, just some acknowledgment that my son was born and has died. How it is still moving, I don't know. I wish it would stop for awhile; long enough for me to figure out how to live again.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My son was born last night.

I'm not up to much right now. I started having preterm labor and finally went to L&D.

Gabriel Ross was born alive a little before 8 pm. He lived a short while and passed away in our arms. We spent about three hours holding him and telling him how much we loved him.

I was discharged from the hospital today and am home again. I feel empty.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A conversation just held in my house.

My husband put on a pair of jeans (he'd been wearing gym shorts previously).

I looked up and said, "What are you doing?"

He said, "Um, putting on a pair of jeans?"

I said, "But why? Are you going somewhere?"

He said, "No. Why? My legs were cold. These were down here."

At this, point, the dog yips to get our attention. He is wagging tail and pleading, practically dancing around.

DH looks at the dog, then looks at me and says, "Clearly I need to wear pants more. I never considered putting them on a special occasion."

Then Jonah yips again and runs to the door expectantly, and pleadingly, clearly asking 'Where are you going? Can I come too? Please daddy? Are we going to go for a walk, maybe? I wanna come with you!'

DH informs Jonah no one is going anywhere, and then flops into the recliner with disgust. I am amused.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

20 weeks!

Halfway there (give or take on either side)!


It's hard to believe we've made it this far, and we are doing so well, given all the difficulty we've had to this point.

But all indications are that Chickie is fantastically well and we're pretty happy. I have a noticeable, distinguishable bump now, which is so funny. It's mostly fat, of course, as my uterus is only at my belly button and is covered well, but still, you can tell (if you know me) that I am pregnant. If you didn't know me, and just saw me on the street, you might wonder if I was pregnant. Hee.

We've done a bunch of shopping to take advantage of tax free weekend and purchased far too many clothes. We didn't necessarily try to buy a lot of neutral clothes, but we did try to buy some. I'll take pics of the neutral stuff later. Tip for those trying to shop neutral - check out the boy's side. There are a surprising number of items can go neutral or be worn by a girl, so long as you don't insist girls be in pink or purple. Reds, blues, greens and browns can all go either way, and there are more sleepers and one pieces available in the boy section. The girl sections are pretty much pink, purple, yellow or flowers, so don't waste your time there.

Chickie is moving around right now. I felt silly talking to him/her for awhile, but now that I have a name to call him/her (even though it's still usually stinker, monkey, child, or Chickie, lol) I find myself talking to him/her so much more often and singing to him/her and I think we're going to start reading Winnie the Pooh to the baby soon. It's weird, but it feels really right.

I'm still looking forward - 24 weeks is viability. Of course, it's only a fighting chance to live and we hope to stay pregnant for much longer than that. Nevertheless, we're so much closer, I feel a bit like I can breathe again. It feels crazy to be halfway through this pregnancy already, it's moving so slowly and so quickly at the same time. So much left to do, so little time, and yet . . . twenty more weeks before we hold this baby in our arms. And then how will our lives be?

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Since the u/s today, a little poem/quote from Dr. Suess has been running through my head. I'm paraphrasing because I don't think my version is 100% accurate and I can't easily find it, but the gist of the message is there.

'Listen to the mustn'ts, child
Listen to the don'ts.
Listen to the impossibles, the shouldn'ts
And the won'ts.
Then lean very close child,
And listen to me.
ANYTHING can happen child.
ANYTHING can be.'

That's how I feel today, that is what I want for my Chickie. The world is open and wide and full of infinite opportunities and possibilities and maybes and cans and dos.

I want my child to know that.

I want my child to experience that.

I feel so fiercely protective of my child and so insanely proud of the little being in my belly, I want so many good things for this baby. Not only good things - bitterness is necessary in life to temper the sweetness and make us all savor it more - but I feel so widely open and grateful and blessed and happy . . . I want these things for this baby.

The u/s seems to have gone well. Baby averaged a full week ahead of where I am and has a completely amazing set of loooooong limbs (measuring 21+ weeks in the femur and a whopping 23+ weeks in the humerus) and a wingspan that makes hopes of a career in the NBA or WNBA more likely than one might expect of a newborn, lol. Likewise, it appears baby is inheriting his/her daddy's more long, narrow, oval head shape, because that was the only thing on this kid that measured behind. Already weighs nearly half a pound, if you can believe it.

The tech commented throughout that things looked good, and said at the end that the baby was good looking and on track and healthy. They may want another view of the spine and heart, just to be sure, but she feels like she got the measurements and saw no problems. I am eager to confirm this with the actual report from the perinatalogist, though I am feeling certain the tech would not have been so direct and encouraging if there were evident problems or areas of concern.

It was amazing, which is funny, because I wasn't really excited about it or looking forward to it - I've had several others already, after all. And it's hard to believe that that 30 minutes in which I had only an awkward view of a too small screen to stare at, while the tech moved quickly and we saw mostly amorphous shapes with the occasional point of recognition (usually an arm, leg, hand or head) could have such an impact on me, but it really did. I feel far more connected to and aware of this baby now.

Could it possibly have to do with knowing whether it is a Gabriel or Gwendolyn? Possible - and we DO know now (though the chicken did in fact cross the legs and keep them crossed through much of the u/s). We are fairly positive, in fact. It was delightful to look at my husband and grin and say "We are having a SON/DAUGHTER." and to talk to the baby all day and call him/her by name.

But all I know is that I feel as if I would do just about anything for this precious one inside me, I feel overwhelmed with love. And with promise. And with possibilities, and more than that, probabilities about our lives with our child. An amazing day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Big U/S tomorrow

Let's cross our fingers that Little Chicken is healthy and continuing to grow on track.

I'm nervous, honestly. No reason to think things aren't ok, but I'm glad for a detailed scan to check it all out.

Of far less importance, let's hope that Little Chicken cooperates and gives up the goods and let's us know what to call him/her. I'm back on the girl train, while a lot of other friends are on the boy train. I'll be just as happy if Chicken is a Gabriel, rather than a Gwendolyn, which is a big relief. I really worried that I would be very disappointed in the outcome of the sex, and I really don't care. I even toyed with going fully team green for awhile, but in the end, I want to buy some clothes and have some stuff ready for the Chickie, so we'll find if we can.

There's been a fair amount of movement - rolls are still the most obvious, but I can pick out some kicks/thumps now and again. It's weird how much my uterus has grown - it's sitting right under my belly button.

Things have been pretty good, really. Work is just completely sucking my life away, which isn't necessarily bad, but it kind of makes me wish I were doing something I loved a bit more. I'm definitely looking forward to the weekend though, honestly. I could use some sleep.

Sadly, we didn't win the lottery this week, but then, neither did anyone else. So my fingers are also crossed for Friday's drawing. I can tell you I've probably spent about a million dollars in my head already, lol. I have fantasies about not having to go back to work and just staying home full time. Never thought that would be me (and honestly, I don't think I'd love it full time), but the fantasies are entertaining when I need a break.

That's about it. I'll try to write more this weekend; I've had plenty of things I've wanted to expand on, but the energy just isn't there. I will of course update tomorrow evening with information about how things go.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bits and pieces

First, I had an absolutely fantastic lovely visit with my sissy. And my BIL and my nephew of course. My nephew is just SO adorable and BIG. My goodness, he'll be 2 in October but looks like a 3-4 year old. He wasn't particularly interested in two more new faces, but was chill and at the end of our visits, sufficiently used to us to smile and wave goodbye. My sister was terribly worried that he was really ill-behaved, and DH and I just laughed. She and BIL kept saying that he normally was so great while they were out and they take him out all the time, and she was upset that he was acting up - but seriously, the nicest meals I've ever had with a toddler. He was very well behaved in general, and I think especially so given how broken up his normal routine was and how many new faces he was subjected to.

She said she's going to try and come back in February, a few weeks after the baby is born, but it may not work out. I hope they can, or she can - it would be wonderful. It was just a nice visit, though I'm sure they are going to be thrilled to get back on home.

In other news, the Big Ultrasound is this week and we're looking forward to it, being reasonably sure there are no gross abnormalities at this point. Of course, I'll be relieved if we find conclusively that all the organs look as they should and are in the right place in the right quantities and right sizes. I'm eager for DH to see Chickie again, since it will have been about a month since the last u/s. The changes will be big, I think. And of course, we're eager to find out the sex of the baby, but honestly as I get closer, I find I care less. It's really more about getting a name and some clothes and finding a little more about this little one, satisfying a curiosity than really caring whether it is a boy or girl.

Along those lines though - today while we were doing a h/b check with the doppler, we found it (btw, I'm getting much better at picking out where the baby is. Still feel movement sporadically, and Chickie is a mover and shaker and all over the place, so I feel more rolls and flips than punches and kicks). Once we find the h/b we listen for a few seconds and then we talk to the baby for awhile. Today, feeling goofy, I asked the baby if it was a boy or a girl. I said to kick now if it was a boy. All we heard was a steady 10-15 seconds of heartbeat. So then I said to kick now if it was a girl. We heart 4 heartbeats and then THUMP.

So there you have it folks - the chicken thinks it's a hen, not a rooster.

Other news? DH cleaned some so the living room is neater than it's been in awhile. I'm feeling more mobile and more energetic since beginning the iron supplements, so I may pitch in (slowly) and start doing more of the stuff that's been piling for awhile, like cleaning the toilets properly and sorting through the clothes that need to go into storage so we can get the bedroom clean.

That's about it. Life is pretty good right now, I think.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Additional brief updates

The doctor called yesterday to say my blood levels are still in normal ranges, which is great news. And seriously - it was the doctor. I don't know if that is normal for other people, but I've never, ever had a doctor him/herself contact me with lab work. My midwife usually does, but not a doc. Which was awesome, because we could discuss the results. Would have been so helpful with the last pregnancy if that asshole had called me personally instead of his incompetant staff, you know?

Anyway, that's good.

Already after two doses of iron, I am feeling less tired and exhausted, which is terrific. Also looking into fiber supplements and things to lessen the intestinal effects of a lot of iron.

My husband think the iron is funny, especially since I need to take them opposite my prenatal. He thinks I will turn into a magnet if I take them at the same time, and that made me laugh.

And that's it for now. My sister should make it into town today, which is exciting, as I haven't seen her in person in almost 4 years (since my wedding). I'm really excited to spend some time with her and her family.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Bad weekend.

Short version. Bleeding. Clots. Lots of clots. 10-12 large clots. Very unnerving.

I called the OB's office today, because that was frankly outside my comfort zone. Now, understand, I've been relatively calm about things. I mean, I have freakouts, but I've accepted large clots and gushing red blood (so long as it stops) as normal for me and this pregnancy. But this was unreasonable for our new normal.

So I called.

And then I was concerned that they thought I was scamming them for an extra u/s or something. The nurse kept asking me if I understood this could continue happening and would take awhile to resolve, if it does at all.

But I asked to be seen anyway, because honestly? It is NOT NORMAL to pass several clots the size of silver dollars and so on. It's not! And I am bothered by this and I want to know the baby is ok.

So they worked me in - and the OB's office is extremely kind and helpful and understanding.

In short: most of the placenta looks great and it has moved some. But there is a little lip extending over the os of the cervix which is vascular and bleeding. Chickie appears to be fine, good normal h/r, movement (though he/she was asleep).

Doctor thinks the placenta previa will resolve by 28 weeks.

Until then, I can continue bleeding. I am now anemic and am going on iron supplements. This should help, but if my blood levels come back low, we have to monitor it more closely. The doc said if I continue bleeding, I will have to have a blood transfusion. Hopefully not this week, but I have to think of it as a possibility.

I'm doing ok, just trying to focus on the positives, but honestly, I'm totally wiped out. It's a complete mindfuck. This is not how I expected pregnancy to go, and I'd sort of like a break. I'm sure Chickie will be totally worth it (have I mentioned I can feel the baby more and more? I got squirmies and wiggles this weekend!), but getting there is hard. I'm just counting down the weeks to viability, praying we make it. There is apparently no reason to expect we won't. But man, it's been a rough ride so far.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mommy Wars

Let me begin by stating - I am fucking cranky as hell. Work is kicking my ass and I went to bed way, way too late last night and didn't sleep well, so . . . that may play a role here.

But I am so fucking sick and tired of self-righteous, judgmental, bitchy, arrogant 'I am a better mommy than you because' crap.

I know, ironic, coming from someone who is an admitted judgmental bitch. But I've worked hard over the last couple of years to remember that not everyone shares the same circumstances and that just because I might do a certain thing doesn't make it the right thing for everyone. I am sure that I still judge far more than I should, but I work at being open-minded and realizing that choice is a very individual thing.

That is so much more true when we are talking about parenting, because every child is different and everyone's circumstances are different.

This is something making me really cranky today for a variety of reasons. One, there is a new attachment parenting board on the bump. It makes me roll my eyes for a lot of reasons (many of the 'new board? when do we get the block function back?' variety), but an actual foray onto the board reminded me of why I don't care for AP types. Don't get me wrong, I like many attachment parenting principles, and most of my friends are AP type parents. But I have run into so many preachy, over the top extreme enthusiasts that it has totally turned me off AP forums/chat rooms. I mean, reading that people who let their kids CIO or do sleep training (at appropriate ages!)are child abusers is a bit too extreme for me. That isn't the majority, by far, of course, but like I said, turned off. On visiting the board itself, there was a lot of outcry about 'support' and 'no drama' and 'no snark' and that is never a board for me. Also, the posts I read came off as far more condescending than supportive, but that may simply be my perception.

There were other posts today as well - such as the woman who said with great superiority that drop side cribs (which we have and deliberately chose) were bad and that SHE chooses safety over convenience. Oh, that made my blood boil. I explained the facts of the recent recall (um, perspective anyone?) and pointed out that drop side cribs DO meet current federal safety standards. She had the gall to tell me that they were dangerous anyway. She can kiss my ass.

I don't give a fuck what kind of crib she uses - that is all about freedom of choice. But my crib is well manufactured and well regarded and meets safety standards. Do not talk to me like you are a better parent because you choose a different product.

God, it's annoying and it only gets worse. Breastfeeding, bottle feeding. Can't we just agree that NOT feeding is a problem, and that however you feed is fine (provided it's age appropriate)? Can we agree that co-sleeping works for some people but not everyone? FFS.

I hate the idea that your choice makes you a better parent. We ALL just try to make the best decisions for our kids and none of us are perfect. We will make mistakes and have issues and change our tactics and wish we had done things differently. The crib you choose doesn't make you a better parent. Choosing to wear your baby or not doesn't make you a better parent.

Love your kids, do your best, and let it be, you know?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Well, things are ok.

I've survived the weekend of bedrest, and I gotta say - I hope I never have to be on real bedrest, because it sort of sucks. My back was killing me, and I was sitting up way too much.

Maybe it helped? I have had only minor clots since, with mostly brown spotting. So . . . fingers are crossed that continues.

I saw my mw today for a regular appointment and things were ok there. No weight gain, no loss - which is great for now. The less gained, the better.

No protein, no glucose in my urine - just traces of blood, which is hardly shocking.

Blood pressure was elevated, but not worrisomely so - she said she could tell I was stressed out, and that is true. Too much going on at work and I'm having money stresses (how are we ever going to afford this kid?! what were we thinking?!) and of course the bleeding is stressful too. So, she is not concerned right now, but we'll continue to keep an eye on it.

Baby was polite for the medical personnel and sat nice and still for a lovely heartbeat reading (never does for us, of course, but I guess Chickie will have good manners . . .), which was fine.

Not really much to say - things are ok, minus the bleeding, which we hope is getting better. I'm to continue resting as much as possible until we know the placenta has moved.

So yeah. Things are ok, and ok is a decent place to be.