Sunday, June 12, 2011


It's quite late Sunday night. We watched the Mavs win a championship, we watched Mary Shannon discover an unplanned pregnancy on In Plain Sight. We watched hours of Leverage this weekend, gearing up for the season 4 premiere.

I gave myself a facial today; something I've started doing on a weekly basis, along with manicures and pedicures. My skin is looking better. Still a few breakouts, but I notice them less when the rest is looking luminous rather than dull and blotchy. One of my colleagues noticed my painted nails and said in great surprise, "You look like a girl!" earlier in the week. Ouch.

Another week passed, still busy. I meant to go in this weekend, just for a few hours, but I let me talk myself out of it when I realized I could access it all from home. The problem, of course, is that I never got round to actually working. I'm feeling a bit worn out at present; tired of all the work I've been doing, tired of the pressures of centralization looming, tired of being one of 3 busy people in an office with more than 3 staff. My office-mate sneered about my workload, because I have staff to assist me (the statement being that I didn't need to worry about Tuesday's deadline because my staff is doing the work for me), and I was nearly foaming at the mouth. My staff does prepare the documents she has to prepare herself, and we have 4 times as many as she does, which all require review in workflow, because I don't prepare them personally. Bah. I know, and my supervisors know, what I do.

I've found myself quite irritable in the past week, another sign of low patience and deteriorating interest in overtime. It seems the limits have been reached, as every little thing seemed to ignite another fire of indignation. There was plenty of ranting behind the scenes, and plenty of bitching about how much easier things would be for us all if they would all just give me what I ask for when and how I ask for it. Truly though, if group A had given me the figures I requested, I could have given them a budget by now, instead of having to answer multiple emails and have a face-to-face meeting because someone read an old report incorrectly. Annoying.

Anyway, I need to let that pass. Last week and soon we start a new week, sure to be full of fresh annoyances. Like annoyance at myself for not having completed my damn work this weekend so I'd not be so pressured tomorrow and Tuesday with deadlines.

Ah, well. I don't regret the time away, to be honest.

I'm back in a place I frequently find myself: wondering if I could be pregnant and whether or not we've been at all wise about how we've gone about this if I am. I'd wonder if the relief I feel when I'm not pregnant is a sign of something, were it not for the fact that the relief comes only after a day or two of intense sadness. In the midst of it, trying feels right. It's only in the waiting - until time to test, until time to try - that I think we're best off just stopping for a bit. That draws nearer though; if this cycle was a bust, we've got one, maybe two more, before our break. I honestly sort of look forward to a break, but not whole-heartedly. The one bright piece of news was that I ovulated within 'normal' time frames on cd 21. The hormones seem to be all in line, with a nice post-o jump and early onset of sore boobs, so we'll see how it goes, I suppose (like there's any choice at this point. snort).

Other news? I've been greatly enjoying Stephen Fry's audiobook readings of Harry Potter. I was lucky enough to get my hands on them and they are wonderful. Fry is an excellent reader and the British versions of the books are simply delightful. All leading up, of course, to next month's premiere of the final movie. I'm terribly excited, and dreading it. JKR kills of one of my favorite characters, and I'm still a bit annoyed (or a lot - hence why I correct her egregious error in fanfiction). Still, the Phelps twins are among the favorite people I follow on Twitter, and I really do think they've got some talent, so I'm eager to see it play out on screen. But. . . Fred dies, and then the movies are just . . . over. Forever! Sadness.

DH is well, I suppose. This past week was a bit rough. He wasn't sleeping well, and consequently wasn't feeling well, which often coincides with a general malaise and dissatisfaction with his life. Add to that other things like difficulty in his hobbies, and it isn't always a pleasant place to be. Not his fault - he makes serious efforts to curtail his moods and not direct them at me, but there is no way for me to escape his unhappiness in this house. It eats at me and leaves me feeling anxious and apologetic, no matter how pleasant he tries to be. I'm trying to figure out a better way to deal with it, because frankly, he puts up with a fuck of a lot of ups and downs with me. . .

I've just finished catching up on some fiction that was lost in queue. The two most recent Val McDermid books in the Hill/Jordan series. She is fantastic thriller writer, but the books have morphed since the earlier ones, and as she's moved a bit further away from sexual serial offenders to the last two books, they've gotten better and better. Always strong and compelling, these last two have a bit less sensationalism in them, and they are utterly fantastic. Her stand-alone books are also fantastic, particularly as many of her characters make delightful cameos, and I'm on the lookout for a book released earlier in the year in paperback that hasn't yet made it's way to iBooks.

My own writing has stalled a bit. I need to work on the pieces that are half-published, but one is so light and fluffy that I just feel meh about it (though it's been very popular). The other is a grief-study, and it's at a sensitive point. I just killed off Hermione's father in a terribly guilt-inducing way. Several people commented that it was lovely, an accurate portrait of grief, and one person said it was terribly out of character and she whined too much. I laughed at that, and sighed, because my very first reaction was "Oh, you are so lucky never to have experienced real grief" and my second thought was "For goodness' sake, she's known this for all of a few hours. Give her a day or two, please!" What can I say, I expect I've done a bit of projecting and probing in this project. But it's good. And I feel it when I read it. It's good. Not perfect, by any stretch, certainly not. But I'm still proud of it. That doesn't stop me from wanting to work on other pieces that are a bit more interesting to me right now. Ah, well. I'll get back into it soon, no doubt.

The cat and dog have been sweet lately, which is sort of oddly reassuring and affirming. DH came home early from work one day, and he reported that the dog did what he always does when I'm home and DH is not - that is to say, he huffed, and whined a bit. Frequently begged to go out to see if I was outside. Looked accusingly at the dog parent left at home, sighed, curled into a ball, with ears pointed alertly towards the door for any sign that the missing dog parent might soon return. Nice to know he loves me too, I suppose.

That's about it. It's late and I need to go to bed and avoid last week's habit of late bedtimes - wonder if that had to do with the irritability, come to think of it. The weather looks to be dreadfully hot. No surprise - summer in Texas - but my least favorite part of living here, no question. It could be worse, of course. It could be Not Texas. . . though I admit my fantasies of visiting jolly old England are more frequent this time of year.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June what?!


It's June.


Time flies when you are hiring new people and understaffed and get sucked into FY12 budget development and work late every night and at least once each weekend, doesn't it?

For those who inquired, the last cycle was truly gorgeous, with temps that mimicked Gabriel's pregnancy cycle, but alas, ended on time. I'm currently at cd 14 with what seems to be the beginning of a fertile period (temp dropped a wee bit, cm is thinning out, becoming wetter). If I'm lucky, ovulation will be in the next 10 days or so. One more cycle after this, and a break period if nothing works out.

Work is going. There is plenty to say on the subject, but little that is of interest. All signs point to the initial timeline being correct - a year ago, we were told that the business operations would be centralized and that about half of us would be RIF'd, and that this would take place when space was identified to house all the retained/centralized staff, roughly 12-18 months. Apparently, they are trying to identify space and looking towards the new fiscal year. I'm putting it out of my mind for now, because while I believe I'll have a job, I'm not looking forward to any of it.

Beyond that - well, there hasn't been much beyond work of late. That tends to happen when you work so much. Home has been buried in writing or mindless television and then sleep. That's it.

I can say I've had a few things on my mind. Of course, August marks the second passing of Gabriel's birth/death date. Never did it ever occur to me then that I would not have a living child by now. However, I'm learning to put aside the timelines and mental math about when this or that would happen. I'm beginning to believe I may not achieve a viable pregnancy again. I'm beginning to wonder not if I can live with this being the shape or sum of my life, but how to do so.

It honestly makes me angry to dwell on it. This is not the life I wanted, nor the life I thought I had. For as much time and energy and honest care I put into work, I still catch myself asking what the bloody hell I am doing. I never had a desire to do this line of work, and while it is at times fulfilling and while I love my coworkers, there is no deep yearning or calling here. It's a job that I fell into and have tried to make the most of. It's not something I worked for or studied for or feel drawn to. It's something I don't suck at that pays the bills.

I have a good, decent life. I have many blessings. I wonder if I am greedy to seek more, to beg for more, to be dissatisfied.

DH told me last night that I can change this if I want to. That I can make things different, and it made me sad. Because I don't really see how. The things I'd like to change - it's not just my weight or my hair or my hobbies. It's bigger things, more subtle things. At this point, given our dependence on my income, I can't simply switch jobs. I'm not properly trained for much, really. I never pursued my MA. I've just a list of things I'm good at and no real idea how that would morph into something I really want to do. I've never identified my passion.

Well, I had, actually - women, pregnancy, birth. Only that's one of the things that died with Gabriel. Nothing else has taken its place.

Children . . . right. Well, that's been covered, hasn't it? Adoption and surrogacy are currently out of equation for us, but maybe at some point. Trying for another pregnancy is not going well and there is a point at which we have to ask ourselves - given the high risk nature of things - how worthwhile it is to pursue this avenue.

And then. . . beyond that. . . I don't know. There is a restlessness, a vague depression that is lingering. I can't quite identify it, but I know that loneliness plays a role.

I dropped out of a lot after I lost Gabe. I had to, to preserve any semblance of sanity. The friends who could cope with that are still friends. The ones who couldn't fell by the wayside. I don't blame them, and I don't blame me. We are all of us victims of a shit situation. In reality, some of them deserve some blame, no doubt, and unquestionably I do in some cases, but what's the point now? Nearly two years gone, and there are few individuals I miss. It's more the community and the sense of belonging, a group of people I could identify with and whose company I enjoyed that I miss. Glow is wonderful, but it's also achingly sad and sometimes depressing. The babylost are the most supportive community I've ever found, especially the niche I've discovered who are content with allowing one to explore one's grief as it comes, in all it's ugliness. Nevertheless, I never really wanted to join that club.

Do you know, in two years, I still haven't figured out how to respond to people?

A non-sequiter, I'm sure, but this is being written piece-meal, and oh well. It took about a year, but eventually I could answer the question 'Do you have children?' with relative calm and ease. "No, no living children."

Easy peasey.

But almost a full year after that, and I've still not worked out how to respond when their response comes. "I'm so, so sorry." and I generally believe they genuinely are sorry. But what do you say?

Thank you? Me too? Yeah? Life sucks? Say nothing?

Haven't gotten it down. Apparently, I am as uncomfortable with bringing the spectre of death into the room as I always feel people must be when I do it.

And it's things like that. I think about them a fair amount. Nearly two years and my grief is very different than it was. I recently re-read the early things, looking for something to send to a newly bereaved mother. And the raw pain that was spilling out here took my breath away. I can remember it, vaguely. Thinking back to that immediate aftermath is always a foggy, cloudy perspective. I remember certain things clearly - we watched hours upon hours of Cash Cab and HGTV. Mindless chunks of half-hour numbness that had no babies. I remember boxes of Ding-dongs. I didn't touch alcohol, but by god, I ate ding-dongs. I remember getting my haircut and that awful moment when my stumbling words made my husband think I wanted a divorce. I remember that I hurt and that I felt blind, but I have no emotional memory of it. I can't feel that pain - and thank god, because who could bear it forever? But re-reading it was like opening a window to it and catching a glimpse of it. Oh yes, that feeling, it was like a hundred small knife wounds. Yes.

I still miss Gabriel, but it's less urgent now. Less demanding. More like an old friend. Or a piece of jewelry that I wear all the time. Familiar. The sharp longing is duller now, though it occasionally flares up into an active yearning for a few minutes to know what it would be like to be a mother to that son. To know what he'd have looked like as a wobbling toddler shouting new words. To know what his favorite lovey would have been. To hold him in my arms.

It all fades, of course, because it must. Life insists on being lived, and your options are to end it or to be swept away by it. I think, sometimes, that still bothers me. That the world didn't end, that my world didn't end. There are, even yet, moments in which I feel guilt for that, that I'm betraying him or his spirit or his memory by enjoying a new book or laughing at a dumb joke. But what other choice is there?

Do you know, this is our fourth year of trying to conceive? First started trying with the late May into June cycle in 2008, after that year's delay. God, how I've changed since then. How much has changed since then. I used to have hope, and now I despise it and cling to it simultaneously. I thought things were simple, straightforward then - that you had sex at the right time, got pregnant, and mostly had a baby. Now I know, in my primal being, that pregnancies don't last and babies don't live. Not for me, anyway. That if I ever do manage a viable pregnancy again, that if - I can't even picture it now - I ever have a living child, it will be because the universe wasn't watching closely enough, that I'll feel as if I've snuck one by. . . And still, angry as I get with it, I find so much beauty in the fragile world.

Probably the greatest gift Gabriel gave me. The ability to see and admire beauty even in the bleakest time. And it's hard to regret his life when I have that.