Friday, April 29, 2011

We Did It! (March for Babies Update)

Just a quick post to March for Babies team has surpassed my hope of raising $2,500 for the March of Dimes in memory of my William and Ethan!

As of my last check five minutes ago we raised $2,600 and there are a few donations that haven't been logged yet.

My heart is bursting with pride at the love and support that made this happen. Wow...just wow!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


That pretty much sums up how I am feeling this week....feisty. I guess it might be a symptom of the anger part of grief, except that I am not really angry at anything in particular. However, should someone cross into a conflicting place I might just go off. I haven't, but I play out hypothetical scenarios in my head that usually end with someone getting an ear-full. That is why I feel feisty instead of angry.  My mood is not dark and overly negative...I am laughing and living...but woe to the person who gets me riled up!

I have also have been working on my lack of faith of any kind. With all that I have been through in the last 5 months, not to mention my BFF's two miscarriages almost exactly a year apart, has pretty much decimated any bit of faith that I had...and that is kind of a big deal. I have family/friends who are far more religious than I was even before the death of my boys; I have family/friends who are far less religious than me and they have a whole bunch more faith than I do. I have no faith (or hope) that anything is a guarantee...not an afterlife, having children, living to an old age. There are no promises in this lifetime and I am okay with that. I don't like it, but I accept it. I have never felt so pessimistic (I am usually the optimist) but I can't yet figure out how to be anything else. Perhaps this pessimism is also part of the anger.

In spite of my pessimism tomorrow I head back to the RE to find out what to do next. Hope must be in my heart somewhere since we are going to try again. I am nervous, still scared, but willing in spite of myself.

There is one other thing that is weighing on my mind...and if you are the friend who I am about to talk about please know that I love you I just need to get these feelings out. (I doubt this friend knows I blog, since I haven't shared it with friends but ya never know)

I have a friend who is a mother of two young children. Her oldest turned 3 in February and the younger will be 1 yr. in July. She suffers from postpartum depression and I can in no way understand what this is like nor do I wish to judge her. Except that I am...and I hate that I am. I am sure, once again, this can be linked to how I am experiencing my anger grief. This friend and I met in college when she was a hard-core feminist, a woman scorned (bad boyfriend issues) and she never wanted to get married or have children. Fast-forward many years and she met a great guy, they got married and decided to have a child. People change and I get that compound that with her history of endo and getting pregnant at all seemed like a miracle. Then while they were debating child #2, they got pregnant and she became a stay at home mom. I was in the midst of dealing with infertility and it was hard for me to deal with...but I knew that was my baggage, not hers. I was struggling with not getting pregnant and she easily conceived two times. Now she is miserable...and this is exasperated by her PPD. Again...this is my baggage and I feel guilty for thinking it, but I do. She has everything I want, two beautiful children, the ability to stay home with them and she has debated walking away from it all (and took that as a sign she needed help thank goodness). I can't imagine how that might feel, but at the same time I am pissed.

If I was a less understanding person I would try to give her a little perspective...hey, at least you have two amazing, living children. You can hug them and kiss them everyday, see them grow and hear them call you mama, you have pictures of them alive, you can celebrate their birthdays with happiness, you can tuck them in at night, imagine their futures, see their eyes light up with joy when they see you and so much more. could be could be me and instead have two dead sons which will never experience any of those things. Instead, as Mother's Day approaches you could be deciding on a grave marker for your children instead of how to celebrate.

Yeah, I am a bit angry and a whole lot feisty.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A little bit mad...

Today was a good day...really and for true! I spent the day with my best friend since kindergarden. We had a nice mani-pedi, fantastic lunch, yummy gelato, tasty coffee, walking in the sun in beautiful Philly and lots of lots of talking. We live about 2 hours apart and days like today are rare. I couldn't have asked for a better day.

So why am I mad?!? Well, it seems like the universe has it in for me and those I love. And it is starting to piss me off. I found out that my best friend had to endure another miscarriage. She had the very same thing happen to her last year (no heart beat at her 10 & 12 week ultrasounds). Both times she didn't want to tell me for fear if hurting me (last year we were dealing with infertility, this year our loss) and while that bothers me to a degree, I am far more pissed off that the universe and powers that let this happen. I know that whatever controls the universe could really care less about what happens in the daily life of mortals and I will seriously kick someone in the shins for saying it is part of the great big "plan." I have never found comfort in religion and any shred of faith I had pretty much disinegrated when I lost my sons. I may feel differently one day, but for now I am pissed. There is no comfort for me there.

On my drive home I cursed and ranted at the unfairness of it all. But honestly, what I carry away from today is a tiny bit of anger hidden in the shadow of love and happiness because I have the best friend in the world who will stick with me through thick, thin, near, far, ups and downs. And if the universe wants to try to break us, well, good luck with that...we've got each other (plus a few other great people) to get us through.

I may be a little bit mad, sometimes sad...but I am a whole lot happy too.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A little bit sad...

This weekend  kicked off my spring break from school. It is a much needed break, although I really need to be at school getting ready for the art show too. My youngest niece's birthday was this weekend as well as one of my bestie's daughter's. I ended up going to my sister's house for birthday #1, then followed my parents back to my home town for birthday #2 and came home yesterday. Hubby had to be available for work-related conference calls so I made the trek by myself. This meant lots of time in the car alone with lots of music played from my ipod. It is amazing how many songs, or parts of songs, speak to you in your grief. More than once I found myself in tears but only once was it so bad I considered pulling over. It started with the chorus of the song Is There Nothing We Can Do? by Badly Drawn Boy. I have no idea where I got this song but you can hear it in this YouTube video.

Ooooh I am sorry, 
Ooooh I am sorry this page in your story won't turn
Who am I to ask you why
You feel the way you do
If you feel the way you do
Is there nothing we could do?

The haunting melodies and chorus got to me...specifically the "I am sorry this page in your story won't turn." Pretty much sums up how I feel about dealing infertility and what feels like a never-ending grief. I want to move forward, but have so much more grief to sift through. The only thing I can try to do is get pregnant again and hope that will coax the page to turn.

This song was followed by You're Missing by Bruce Springsteen. I love Bruce...and one of my favorite parts of living in NJ is that it is where Bruce hails from born, raised and still lives here. (I am a New Yorker transplanted in NJ. I live here but I am not from here...that is a whole other thing.)  Back to his was written after 9/11 and it touched my soul then, having lived in NYC and being there on that terrible day. It is a song about grief and it makes my cry every single time I hear it...but now it is personal on a whole other level.

Shirts in the closet, shoes in the hall
Mama's in the kitchen, baby and all
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you're missing

Coffee cups on the counter, jackets on the chair
Papers on the doorstep, you're not there
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you're missing

Pictures on the nightstand, TV's on in the den
Your house is waiting, your house is waiting
For you to walk in, for you to walk in
But you're missing, you're missing
You're missing when I shut out the lights
You're missing when I close my eyes
You're missing when I see the sun rise
You're missing

Children are asking if it's alright
Will you be in our arms tonight?

Morning is morning, the evening falls I have
Too much room in my bed, too many phone calls
How's everything, everything?
Everything, everything
You're missing, you're missing

God's drifting in heaven, devil's in the mailbox
I got dust on my shoes, nothing but teardrops

Going to my hometown was harder than I expected. My water broke at my parent's house, they were born in the closest is where William and Ethan are buried. I haven't had a chance to visit their grave since January and I think I may have been avoiding it on a certain level. Not that I didn't want to be near them, although honestly I don't think of them as being there...I don't know where they are but their bodies are not "them." My Buddha belly and their spirit...the idea of them...that is who they really are to me. Their bodies were small vessels for all of that love, hope and dreams and I only got to see the vessels for a short time so I don't feel as connected to their grave because the love/hope/dreams were built here in my home.

This is not to say that I do not have a connection to the place where there bodies are...I do. And when I got to that place I dropped to my knees and sobbed. I cried like I haven't cried in weeks. And then through my tears I talked to my babies. I don't do that much at home so maybe the connection is stronger than I thought. I told them about how we want to try maybe give them a brother or a sister...but that doesn't mean we don't miss them or want to replace them. I told them how much I missed them. Most of all I just sat there, remembering the snow covered ground the day we buried my babies. 

My boys get visitors, which touches my heart since I can't go often. My Mom put one of her garden angels there to keep them company and my Dad made paper hearts with their names on them at Valentine's day. Little stones have been left for them on the brick that holds the hearts in place. I arranged them in a heart shape after adding two pebbles of my own. 

My boys are buried on my grandparent's plot and I asked Gram and Grampa if it was ok to sit on their head stone since the ground was wet. I didn't think they would mind. As I sat and the sun started to set I realized my shadow stretched across the place where William and Ethan are buried so that they were in the shadow of my belly...the last place they were safe. I wish I could have kept them safer. 

I miss you William and Ethan. I love you more than I thought possible.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Moving Forward

Lately I have come to realize that how I feel about my sons and my grief are two separate entities. I am not sure if it makes sense, even to me, but this is what I have noticed lately.

I miss my boys with all of my heart and soul. I love them more than I could ever explain or even understand. Every now and then I cry for them but on my worst days...the days where getting out if bed, making it through the day and reminding myself that the world has not ended is when I grieve what has been lost...the dream of being a family, of being a mommy (not just a mother). I am grieving what could/should/would have been not necessarily my sons. It sounds awful when I write it out, but it is an honest feeling. I have found some form of acceptance (on most days) that my beautiful sons, William and Ethan, are gone forever. There is nothing I can do to change that and I will love them no less as time passes. What shatters me to the core is the fact that I should be a Mommy right now...others get to have that with their own children but I don't.

I mentioned before this is the same kind of heart ache I felt before I got pregnant, before our 1st IVF. Dealing with infertility is a grief all its own...a loss of being normal, of doing it the old-fashioned way...and that is harder for me to deal with these last few weeks. Ironically it is the one thing I can do something to change. I can't go back in time and change the outcome of my last pregnancy. I can't bring William and Ethan back to life. What I can do is try again to get pregnant.

As you can imagine, I am terrified, nervous and all those kinds of feelings magnified by 100. But I am also starting to feel hope. I never thought I would get that feeling back. Hope...possibilities...starting again. Maybe because it is spring and things are flowering, leaves are budding and renewal is in the air. Hope is returning. I am clinging to it like it might disappear. Hope. That is huge.

So I scheduled an appointment with my RE for April 27th to find out what we need to do in order to prepare for a FET (frozen embryo transfer) cycle. I am not too keen on getting pregnant at the same time as last year (avoiding June/July cycles that could result in the same timeline/due date/milestones) so we will either jump right in or hold off until August. I am slightly afraid that if we wait until August I will loose my nerve but it is probably for the best.

One other conclusion I have come to is that there is only so much heart ache I am able to take. We have 5 frozen embies left over from our 1st IVF cycle. If none are viable I will have to seriously consider how much farther I am willing to go. I don't even want to commit my thoughts to writing for fear that it will come to fruition...I want to hold on to that little shred of hope while it lasts.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Busy Bee...

That is what I feel like this week. School is super busy and I feel like I do not get a moment to sit, but I know that I do, and it shows no signs of letting up. This isn't necessarily a bad thing (barely had a second to feel down) but the school stress is going to get pretty thick from now until May 24th.

The short list of things going on are the prepping for and setting up the art show (on May 24th), working through my summative evaluation (fingers crossed it is fabulous and they grant me tenure), taking inventory of my supplies and prepping a supply order for next year. It doesn't look like a lot, but the art show is going to take a huge amount of my energy that I don't really have a whole lot to begin with. I know it will all work out somehow.

To get me through the next couple of weeks I am evaluating all the places that I can cut back to make it as easy as I can. I will definitely continue to get prepared meals (non-frozen) from a grocery delivery service. I haven't had the gumption to cook since we lost the boys and this is a way for us to eat healthy meals that are made with quality ingredients. I have also decided to limit outside appointments and meetings to the bare minimum. I will keep up my therapy appointments, but will skip the next 2 bereavement groups. I wasn't so excited about going anyway so I think this is better in the long run. Plus there are alot of contract related meetings (board of ed, PTA, council & union meetings) that I will not go to...yes I should since this is year 3 without a contract and things are getting tenuous, but something has to give in order for me to survive.

I must send out a huge thank you for all of the wonderful comments I have received lately. So many have touched my heart. The love and support I feel from you, women who are practically strangers (in the real life sense) that are so understanding. A million thank yous!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Head Aches, Broken Furnaces and Teeth

This has been a rough week. If you are not up for reading a rant you might want to skip this post. Otherwise, buckle up for my bumpy ride.

I barely was able to pull myself together after passing what could have been my due date last Sunday when I was knocked to the ground even harder by grief. Surprisingly, the day after (Monday) was worse than my actually due date. I tried to go to school but I was over-whelmed by my feelings and had to leave before the day even started.

On days like that I have something akin to a panic/anxiety attack...but not really. I told my therapist on Thursday that it is really a grief attack...I feel immensely sad combined with a physical ache, claustrophobic feelings and a touch of anxiety. It is a cheesy comparison and somewhat cliche, but highly accurate on a certain level. Last summer while at the beach I was knocked over by a small but powerful wave. I went under, came up gasping, trying to regain my footing. Not only was it scary, but it hurt physically. The wind was knocked out of me and my body felt like it was hit by a line backer. That is what my grief attacks feel like. I can barely breath, I am scared and I hurt. The worst part is it takes days to feel "normal" again.

Tuesday I got the double whammy of finding out that a co-worker's sister and my best friend's brother (both due the same week as me) had their babies. As if it is any wonder why it took me until Thursday to return to any sense of sanity! The arrival of these two healthy babies is a painful reminder of everything I do not have and my heart still aches.

Wednesday and Thursday were not so bad...rainy weather but nothing to shake my sanity. At least I got to bid March farewell and can move on to April. Friday I got home from school and discovered my furnace had quit sometime in the previous 24 hours and my house was cold!!! Thankfully we have a fireplace and a heated mattress pad that could provide some comfort until a repair person could come out on Saturday. I so did not this added stress or expense.

The hubby and I were hoping to have a quick get-away during my Spring Break, but that is not going to happen now since we had to fork out a lot of money to get the furnace up and running, not to mention the routine maintenance it desperately needs. Which leads us to my last two problem. This morning I wake up with a nasty head ache and discover a back tooth has a chunk missing. Thank goodness the head ache is mostly gone and my tooth not painful but definitely needs to be addressed as soon as possible. More money that I had hoped would go to a quick get-away and stress I do not need.

I am actually really nervous about going back to my dentist. I haven't been since before I got pregnant (yes I know I should have been going) so they do not know what I have been through lately. I honestly will not be able to take any scolding for not going for almost a year nor do I want to have to explain why and end up crying at the dentist. For a brief second I debated finding another dentist but realized how silly that is (they are super close to home/school and great) and I can't run away from the possibility of what might be said or need to be explained. It scares the crap out of me but I can't let it control me.

Please...I beg the universe...please let this week be easier. Can I catch a break for a change?

PS- I finally got Ethan's death certificate. Turns out that the funeral home made the incorrect assumption that both William and Ethan were stillborn so they never requested a copy. Never mind the fact that they picked up their remains from two different hospitals which should have been an obvious clue that Ethan lived for almost a full day. My mom gave the funeral director a piece of her mind after a funeral she attended last week and I guess that put some fire under their feet. The cert arrived in yesterday's mail...almost a full month after I made the phone call to find out what was going on.