Thursday, July 28, 2016

closings and triggers

There's a diner near me that's closing. It's an old-school institution, it's shiny and silver and it's the kind of joint where you could order the best tuna melt in the world and chase it with a milkshake, and feel that in a world of bat-shit crazy, at least something in this world could be put together right.

Viking took me there the afternoon after we lost Celine.  My parents had swooped into town like the heroes they are, and took Niblet on an all-day shopping spree at the mall.

This diner is a near a Goodwill thrift store.  I went up to our attic and bagged and boxed up ALL of Niblet's old clothes.  There wasn't a ton of her baby stuff there anyways, because I tend to cycle all of her stuff out to two families with girls who live on a shoestring and could use her hand-me downs. But whatever was up there came down the stairs.  "I need it out of the house," I said to Viking.

So we loaded up his car.  There were about five trash bags worth of clothes and shoes.  There was also a random bag of maternity clothes.  We dropped the bags off at Goodwill, and then drove a half mile down the road to the diner.

I was crampy and dazed.  I ordered a cup of chicken noodle soup, which I happen to know they make, it doesn't come from a can.  It was so good that I ordered an extra quart to take home.  I recall being amazed that I even wanted to eat anything, because usually when I am in the midst of depression I starve beautifully.  I'm not much of a stress eater.  But that afternoon, after ridding my house of the vestiges of dreams, there was nothing I wanted more than to fill myself with something.  Soup was good enough.

This diner will always be a part of my psyche.  You may be surprised to read that I loved going back, even with the awful associations it conjured up for me, but it was no more triggering for me than the bed I sleep on every night, that I curled up in after every awful return from a hospital D&C.

It's not terribly surprising then, to discover just how triggered I am to learned that it will close and make way for a Starbucks. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Unstick thyself

This week my acupuncturist, a woman I trust more than any doctor I have ever visited, suggested a new track for me.  A year ago I would have nodded my head politely at the words soul guidance and just said "thanks for the idea" and left it at that....

By way of preamble:  My last miscarriage was finalized (I hate the word "resolved") by a D&C in April of 2015.  I jumped on the horse of Not Trying, Not Protecting, in June of 2015.  NTNP is a funky place to live for me - because, well sure, we're not protecting.  But we're also, for all intents and purposes, continuing to TRY.  Let's just say that we never miss a fertile window in my cycle and leave it at that.

I am over one year into NTNP, and (of course) not getting pregnant, and lo and behold I am falling back into despondency.  I have shifted from a (natural) fear of pregnancy, to a WTF, am I now well and truly infertile? frame of mind.  I can't for the life of me figure out how to climb out of this hole.  I am 42, well past the age where someone should expect to get pregnant.  And yet, I was pregnant at 41.  And 40 and 39 and 38.   That's a lot of years to crave mothering another tiny person.

But I stare at the (many) pregnant bellies in my office (so many).  And I still find myself imagining myself as potentially being one of them, joining their ranks with my own swollen belly.  I have spent money and hours sitting with a therapist for over a year now trying to rid this image from my brain and I can't.  No matter how hard I try, no matter how many times I rationally tell myself that my fertility story has come to an end, it doesn't go away.  It's like there's this little ping deep inside my core, and it keeps fucking pinging baby baby babyYou want a baby.  You know you want a baby. But hey now: You fool.  You are not one of them. They can have babies. Babies are not for you. 

And then you fall back into old patterns, that may or may not be destructive.  You're being johnny on the spot with your vitamins and supplements.  You're drinking wheatgrass shots again.  You shrug your shoulders when your acupuncturist says it wouldn't hurt to take royal jelly and surreptitiously hop on amazon to order some.  You're like some fertility crackhead, lurking back into the alley, not wanting anyone to spot you in your ridiculousness.

Admitting that you want this baby is awful because then you have to face the reality that NTNP is just an acronym for begging the universe for a miracle.  And you don't like to beg when there's people who have a whole lot more to beg for than you, and yo, just shut down your facebook and twitter because what you really need to do is crawl and hide under a rock.  Enough with your baby baby baby pangs.

So, when you realize you're stuck.... it's time to unstick yo-self.

On Monday, my acupuncturist recognized that this internal monologue is slowly destroying me.  And she suggested that I seek help.  Of the spiritual and metaphysical kind.  From a woman who may be able to tap deeper into why I have hit a wall.  And maybe provide guidance for me on how to tear it down and move forward.

I am not prepared to go into a ton of detail about the appointment I have just set up for myself, partly because I have no idea what to expect.  All I can say is that two ballet classes a week, zumba, massages, therapy, acupuncture, hugging the fuck out of Niblet and my Viking, and counting my numerous blessings have not made a dent in my own personal existential crisis.

I'm open to anything.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Some Men are from Mars...

I toyed with the glib title for this subject heading, which is fare more intense than the heading implies.

Coming out of a useful therapy session yesterday, I tried to talk to the viking about, well, everything. 

He was getting visibly frustrated, which in him displays as shutting down. Seriously, all of the emotion dissolves from his face, like some weird automaton, and he starts to physically check out.  And then walks out of the room.

Me being me, I started in on him, trying to demand of him that he accept why I need to talk about our dead babies, and frame them as babies, something he has been reluctant to do for all of these years.

And then he said this:

If I were to do what you do, if I were to remember their due dates and think about them and grieve them as our unborn *children* I would go insane.  Literally insane.  Like, I might not make it out the other side.

And that's when I finally understood. Something clicked.

We are very different, the viking and I.  Yes, he supports me, he understands quite clearly that what I have experienced is hell on earth, he knows that when I use the letters P-T-S-D I'm not fucking around.  I can cry on his shoulder and I can depend on him to pick up my slack when I am M.I.A. from life because I need a ballet class, or a zumba class, or a massage, or acupuncture or therapy (Jesus, I sound like a basket case).

But we are hard-wired quite differently.  I willingly go to very (very) dark places, and then fight like hell to pull myself out, looking at the fight as a challenge to conquer.  It helps that I am genetically blessed with little predisposition to addiction - I have little desire to pick up an old college smoking habit and I'd rather take a dance class than reach for a glass of wine when I'm down. And then another.  The viking, well, eh, he has not been so genetically blessed.  He is a careful study in control in many things.

I have my therapist, I have my readers, I have a few close friends whose shoulders I can cry on when this shit feels like weight pressing down on my chest.  But in the act itself of grieving, in my own feeble attempts to honor my lost babies as babies, I do not have my husband.  I have his support in a million other ways, but I will not have him by my side in mourning.  I understand why.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

shaken and stirred

I was living in a bubble for a few days last week, with family who literally live on the side of a mountain in Vermont.  I viscerally understand now, how important it was for me to unplug. 

My cousin makes beautiful jewelry.  On the Fourth of July, while walking down the side of the mountain, four miles to the site of the little town's parade, I shared the meaning behind the stacking rings she often commented on, that I wear on my right hand.  She is a nurse.  She was appropriately kind and gentle and horrified by my sad fertility tale. 

I was happy to learn that she does a lot of things for women who are miscarrying that the nurses who attended me never did.  She asks the patient whether they have the emotional support they need, whether they need help finding someone to talk to.  As someone who was sent home with the instructions to simply come back to the ER if it looked like I was hemorrhaging, I would have appreciated that little extra bit of kindness, that acknowledgment of grief.  Of loss.

I came back home and made the mistake (again) to peruse the babycenter boards. 

There I saw a post from woman who has been whacked by RPL and is continuing to get whacked. Apparently she hasn't suffered enough. I don't know her, and yet I know her.  Fuck, I could be her.  She's lived through an ectopic, a stillbirth, a tfmr and is now losing another  - a healthy baby - this time, to PPROM (preterm premature rupture of membranes for any readers blissfully unaware of the goddamn minefield known as pregnancy to a sizeable enough portion of us).  Fuck this universe.  What god, what creator, what purpose could there possibly be to force a woman to endure such hell?