Monday, April 18, 2011

March For Babies

So . . .

I mentioned awhile ago that I will be walking this year, and am very lazily chairing the 'campaign' for my division. I've done a frankly awful job, as things simply grew too crazy for me to devote any time to this, especially amongst the ghosts this raised for me, unexpectedly.

And yet, it's still happening, and I'm still walking, and time is running out. My goal was to raise $500; I've reached a little over 3/5 of that goal. A couple of people have privately asked about donating, which is so generous and so appreciated.

After giving it some careful thought, I decided to put this out here as well. On my birthday, I tweeted a bunch of people to solicit help in publicizing my walk. Some really awesome people retweeted my link and some really, really awesome people donated as well.

Below is what I wrote about our experience when this first started; ultimately, we didn't use this because what they were looking for was something this piece was not and a way in which I could not use Gabriel or our pain. But this piece is important, and I wanted to share it. At the bottom is a link to my personal page, if you wish to donate in honor of Gabriel or in honor of the premature baby in your life, living or deceased.

This place has been many things to me over the years I've written here, and the support in the aftermath of Gabe's birth and death is something I can never forget. Thank you all for helping me find a place in the world for my little lost son, and helping me remember that he *is* important, and that he *does* matter and that in his short life, he's touched so many people and helped to bring about more good and love in the world than I could ever have believed before.


I am a mother, but have no children. My son is a shadow, a spirit, a scent on the breeze, a wistful longing in my heart.

The day classes began in the fall of 2009 is the day my world stopped and shattered. I was 21 weeks into a complicated pregnancy; four days prior we had received word that our son was well and healthy and the problems that had plagued the pregnancy to that point were finally gone. We lived through four days of perfect happiness, content in knowing things were well with Gabriel.

But that particular August day was uncomfortable, then painful. I finally left to consult my midwife, who looked grave and called the doctor. I went home to rest, hoping the contractions would fade. Four hours later I was in the hospital. Three hours after that, I was in shock, watching my husband hold our child as he died, a victim of a previously undiagnosed incompetent cervix and a partial placental abruption.

Gabe was born too soon, too prematurely; three weeks before viability and life-saving measures could have given him any chance at survival. Our world crashed down around us. It felt as if life had splintered into variant paths and somehow I’d been stuck by mistake in this nightmare of a life, racked with grief and loss.

In the eighteen months that have passed since that day, I’ve changed. I am both more compassionate and less patient; more aware of the beauty of life, and the fragility of it. I go through everyday attempting to reconcile the fact of my son’s death with the rest of a life that insists on being lived.

It is impossible to state concisely yet clearly how the death of a child, your child, affects you; it’s not just a baby that dies, it’s your family, your hopes, your innocence, your future. Simple conversation makes me freeze, because I do not know the answer to the question ‘Do you have any children?’

The answer, of course, is ‘Yes. A son. Gabriel Ross. He died shortly after his premature birth.’ Some days I say those words and share Gabe’s story, some days I smile and say ‘No’ because I cannot bear to be an object of pity and the hurt is too great.

It is a dilemma I hope no one else ever faces, a pain I wish to see eradicated, a thing of which I think many people are unaware. So many advances have been made, so many modern miracles that people forget that prematurity remains the highest killer of newborns and infants. March of Dimes fights against prematurity every day in a variety of ways – through funding research that saves even 23 and 24 week babies, through education about healthy pregnancies and risks to the same, to aiding women locally in seeking prenatal care and providing untold support to families whose children are in NICU.

I will be walking with March for Babies this May 1, 2011 to support the efforts of March of Dimes; to help ensure that fewer women join the ranks of the baby-lost, to remember and honor my Gabriel. If you wish to support my efforts, please visit my personal page here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Friday Friday Friday

If I repeat it enough, maybe it'll help make better the fact that I am so far behind and so frazzled and so . . . gnnnghausghahghahhw that my inclination is to rock back and forth and hum tunelessly and stare sightlessly, only there is no time for nonsense like that. And what am I doing even writing this? God, my monthly deadlines are TODAY and I stayed for an extra 3 hours last night and got a bunch done, but I'm not finished and TODAY and shit and reports and I'm trying, dear God, I'm trying but I can't watch them every second when I work 25 hours per week in a separate office and when I'm not watching they DO things like buy food and other forbidden items and we have NO MONEY and why don't they GET that and now my financial coordinator is interviewing for new jobs and and and and . . .


The good thing about things being in such crisis mode is that there is no time for brooding. Silver lining somewhere, right? The usual day of batshit crazy emotional-ness was prolonged and made worse by the chemical pregnancy, but now I'm past that and hormones are cleared from my system and damn! what a difference that makes.

I can't say I'm thrilled with everything, but at least at some distance and without hormone-goggles, I can shrug it off a bit more easily. I can more easily say - hey, at least things are working again, after a good six months of 'not so much with the working' and that's a good thing. I can more easily say that I'm willing to try a bit longer, that we're not done yet.

At least I can as long as the marshmallow eggs are still available. Once those comforting squishy mounds of chocolatey-marshmallow goodness are gone, all bets are off.

And now, if I don't get back to it, I'm going to end up rocking in a corner despite my best efforts. At least it's Friday, right?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Not what I expected

I've been quiet for awhile. Work and other things, naturally.

And then, well, something happened. And I made a conscious decision not to discuss it here, not yet. Which makes this sound melodramatic and makes me feel a little stupid. But . . . I can't keep this and everything bottled up, because there is a lot attached to this.

Last Thursday evening, I got a faintly positive pregnancy test. Faint faint faint. On an internet cheap test. Which I only sort of trust, because it was so faint. I decided then that I would not count it positive - evap line, maybe. Friday morning, the test was the same. A line appeared within the five minute testing window, but was very, very light. Whether or not it was pink was questionable.

On the way home Friday, we were rear-ended. Just worth noting, because it's a giant hassle and pain in my ass.

I tested with a FR Friday night (10 dpo). It was negative. The faint line on the cheapie remained.

Saturday morning (11 dpo), I got a faint, faint colorless line on FR. DH didn't see it. Continue to get the same light line on the cheapie. Given that it is showing up so quickly, within 3 minutes, and is visible to both of us, we tentatively decide that well, it's positive. Right. Ok.

Sunday morning (12 dpo), I get a darker line on FR. But it is quite pale, I'm not sure about it, but again, it appears pale pink and both of us see the line. After a trip to get more FR, and some digitals, and go grocery shopping, I take another test and this one . . . it's a beautiful positive. A clear, though light, but definitely pink line appears in about a minute.

It was positive.

I was pregnant.

Symptoms were present this entire time, fatigue and sore boobs, primarily. Nausea wasn't there much, which worried me some, since I've always been so ill from the beginning with the other pregnancies. But every pregnancy is different, right?

I took another test yesterday morning, expecting the line to be even darker, as I prepared to call the doc for betas.

It wasn't darker. It was barely there.

Another fucking chemical pregnancy.

I cried all the way into work. Not because I was attached to that baby - I wasn't. That may sound callous, but let's be honest. With the multitude of ways in which a pregnancy can go wrong, I remain shocked that anyone is ever born. After all of two days, I'm not attached. But I am angry. I am hurt. I am tired. I don't know how much longer I can ride this rollercoaster, but the other options are not palatable.

As of this afternoon, the tests were still faintly positive, and my period had not yet arrived. Infuriating. I would be concerned were it not for the fact that I have at least finally started spotting.

To go into everything I felt all weekend . . . I was practically batshit crazy. I am not convinced I can go through another pregnancy. I wonder somewhat if I would be any less worried if the circumstances were different, if the positives showed up quickly and darkly, if they weren't late or unclear, if my temperatures were more steady. Dunno.

It was an emotionally wringing weekend, and I was terrified for much of it, though I tried to simply breathe through it. To make it through and end up with yet another failure has simply left me feeling raw.

I don't actually feel like writing any more about this right now. I've hashed it over with a friend. I'm bitter. And I've got work to do. And an insurance claim to work on. So dwelling yet again isn't the best choice. But I wanted to put it out there, because I'm feeling a lot of different things about this.

It's so tiresome. We're into our fourth year of actively trying. We should be trying for Gabriel's sibling. And instead, it's still - all these years later - just us and the pets, only now there is also a box of ashes. This is not how it was supposed to be. It's how it is. And I don't think there is a single thing I can do to change it. Things would be so much easier if I could see what happened in the future, whether or not it is worth it to keep going. Right now, it sure doesn't feel that way.