Monday, November 19, 2012

9 Months Ago Today

Today is Monday, November 19th, and 9 months ago, my son Carpenter was born.  And it has been a long 9 months.  

I remember I wrote a post at 6 months, but for the life of me, I can't remember what I said.  I don't remember where I was exactly in my grief journey or how I was feeling.  But today, I just feel kind of numb.  

Actually, it's more than that.  And there's a really dorky explanation.  

Over the last few years, I have read the Twilight series five times.  Each time but the first, I have skipped New Moon.  I've always hated it, feeling like it was a chore to get through.  And yes, you may think that reading any of these books is a chore in itself, but I love them.  I love how they remind me of being a teenager, completely engulfed in my emotions, positive that my world would always revolve around the boy of the month.  So I read them, but I skip New Moon.  I can't even watch the movie.

But last week, I decided I really wanted to read it.  I wasn't sure why, but the idea just kept needling at me until I picked it up.  And I think I know why.

Over this last nine months, I have been living the same horror as Bella.

You see, New Moon is all about what happens to Bella after Edward leaves her life forever.  She describes the way she goes back to life, putting on the face she's supposed to wear for polite society.  She has almost no reminders of Edward left in her life, and that leaves her with a hole in her chest that burns whenever the few glimpses of her past crop up.  She goes far out of her way to try and fill that hole with whatever fabricated memories she can.

I wear that same face.  I have that same hole.  I long for the same memories to fill it up.

Most of the time, the hole aches with emptiness, but it's a dull ache that has receded into almost numbness.  I don't feel much anymore.  But then something will hit me, like a hot poker to the chest, and the hole will burn.  

It was a long weekend, and I'm very tired, and a lot of that is from the stabs and burns of being in a holiday setting.  

If only the next three months before his birthday didn't have to be holiday months.

At least I default back to numb.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Oh, THAT'S what it felt like!

I just went to the doctor's office for my bi-weekly Progesterone shot.  While there, I was chatting up my nurse, who I love.  I told her Mike wouldn't allow me to get a doppler because he's sure I'll panic constantly.  Karie agreed.  No doppler for crazy, overbearing me.  I know they're right.  Besides the fact that I don't really feel drawn to have one.  Part of the numbness I've developed to keep myself from panicking through this whole pregnancy.  

Anyway, even though she discouraged my own doppler, Karie immediately took me back to check the heartrate herself.  Thank God for my OB and his staff.  They want me to be as happy and comfortable as I possibly can be.  I pulled my pants to my hips and Karie globbed on the gel and got started.  

But there was nothing.  

No sound at all except the swooshing caused by her searching for life.  This went on for minutes.  

And I was freaking out.  I stared at the ceiling, remembering doing exactly the same thing in February.  I wondered why in the world I had done this without Mike by my side.  I just kept saying, "This was a bad idea."  I laid there demanding to myself I could never do this again, and we would be a family of five forever.  A million thoughts and emotions flooded my mind, and I was left feeling gross from head to toe, shaking and preparing to cry.

Not to let me freak out alone, Karie kept talking to me, ensuring me the doctor would do a better job and she'd bring him in right away.  Thank goodness for her talking.  Last time, there was only silence.  I'll never forget how silent the whole world was before the doctor told me she was "Sorry" about Carpenter. 

My OB came straight in, looking confident, but completely understanding why I was nervous.  He asked me if we had noticed anything strange on my last ultrasound, and I told him nothing had been strange, but now I remembered that my placenta was anterior.  He laughed a little and said, "Well, that would make a huge difference!"  

Within seconds, we all heard the heartbeat and my OB was counting away.  Karie squeezed my ankle in support.  160 beats per minute.  Perfectly, perfectly normal.  

That didn't stop me from almost collapsing under my weak knees as I walked out.

So that's what it felt like...  like death.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Stillbirth Certificate

Yesterday, I decided to order Carpenter a Stillbirth Certificate. 

Today I am more affirmed in the belief that the government is an unfeeling machine.

First, I found the vital records website, and looked up the form myself.  I easily found what I was looking for, and chose the PDF to fill out.  Except...

In plain English it says "A stillbirth certificate costs $24 for events occurring prior to 2001."  There is not another word regarding stillbirths post-2001.  So I called the phone number.  Except...

There's not even a menu option for stillbirths.  You can choose from Live Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death.  And that's it.  So I took a gamble and chose Live Birth.  Except...

They have no clue.  I was sent on a wild-goose-chase of voicemails and automatic operators, pressing 0 all along the way, begging for a human.  I finally got a human. Except...

She had no clue.  Well, she pretended to have a clue.  And she was nice.  But clueless.  I had to read the form to her three times to get her to understand why I was concerned about the "prior to 2001" comment.  I asked her repeatedly if the certificate were still offered to families whose babies died after 2001, and she said, "I'm sure.  We get requests for those forms." you get them for babies post-2001?  She had no clue.  I thought about going ahead and getting the information I might be able to use.  Except...

My phone lost the signal.

I'm going back to bed now...right after I write to my congresswoman.


I had a dream last night.  It was miserable.

In the dream, I was 24 weeks pregnant with M.  Something must have gone wrong, because I was in the hospital, and all of my family and friends were there.  Obviously I was freaking out, because I lost Carpenter at 24 weeks.  

Whatever was wrong with me, they had decided to induce me and deliver M.  They promised M would be fine.  At first, I was in a regular hospital room, surrounded by my family, and Mike and I were talking to the doctor.  He was asking me about Carpenter, and we said we could show him a picture.

Suddenly, a nurse said that wouldn't be necessary, and wheeled in a tiny bassinet.  Inside was our little boy, just like the day we delivered him--as if they had been keeping him in cold storage or something.  

Seeing Carpenter practically frozen, but otherwise as I remembered him, I was completely conflicted.  I was scared for him, wondering why they had kept him, but so excited to get to hold him once again.  Mike immediately pulled out his camera, and so did my cousin Laurin, and they both started snapping like paparazzi. 

Just as they started photographing, I was moved to another room.  They wheeled me through hallways and strange rooms, and finally through what seemed to be an operating room.  A man there rolled his eyes at me and huffed.  But we didn't stop there.  They wheeled me into the next room and left me there. 

I was alone in this room for while, wondering what was happening, when finally my mom and friend Emily were shown in.  We all sat in silence as the doctor hooked me up to a very technical-looking machine.  It turned out to be an ultrasound machine, but instead of seeing grainy black-and-white photos, I saw my little M, clear as if right beside me. 

Mike came in just as they turned on the ultrasound, and said that they had taken away Carpenter.  I prayed that he had gotten cute new photos, but he said the nurse had acted strange, and had said they could only put him in one pose, and take as many pictures as they wanted in that pose.  So, we basically had nothing new.

With that huge disappointment aside, the doctor flipped a switch, and suddenly we heard M's heartbeat.  The doctor walked us through what we were seeing on the ultrasound and told us that M was measuring big--3.2lbs!  We were all relieved to hear that.  But he also told us we still weren't able to determine gender. 

And that's when I woke up.

I woke up in a horrible panic, grabbing my stomach.  When I realized all was fine, I patted little M and promised that I would make more of an effort to connect--I would try not to be so numb and distant.  I have been a scared Mommy--and that has lead me to be a forgetting Mommy.  And I am so terribly sorry.  I will try to do better.