"You get what you pay for, but I just had no intention of living this way." -Counting Crows

Why We're Here...

My husband David and I delivered a stillborn Baby Boy that we loved, and wanted. Our first and only son, Logan, had Down Syndrome. Our daughter's smile is a little light in the darkness. She turned one year old three days after our sweet Logan tip-toed away on January 24, 2009. After 2 1/2 years we found out we were having another baby, whom we affectionatly called Rudy. Just shy of 6 weeks we found out Rudy was Ectopic. Rudy was surgically removed on May 26, 2011 delivering another blow to our already broken hearts.


Blasted Holidays!

I hate Christmas time.  I mean, if I were honest, I would say that I have hated it since early childhood.  My parents are divorced.  I hated that it was always about them, who got us when...for how long, where we would be...know one ever asked me what I wanted to do on Christmas, where I wanted to be.  And my mom was always a screaming mess of stress, Christmas morning we were ripped out of our house to go be with my dad and his family...and here I am 34 years later and I still spend every Christmas on the road.  I hate it.  Now we can factor in Logan and Rudy, or rather the lack there of.  And its so hard for me to get outside of those facts.  And everything happened this time of year.  My first child, my living child, was born January 27th...Logan died the following January 24th...and now Rudy should have been born this coming January 21st.  I should be standing here with a huge belly.  Aching, starving, excited...  And here I am again...angry, sad, confounded.  And I stand here bewildered at what has happened to us.  Like its all this really cruel jape and I'm the dumb blond who isn't catching on.  I think that most of the time I must have this stricken look on my face.  Or the "duh" look.  And its narcissistic, I know, but I swear people still stare at me.  Like they KNOW.  Sometimes I feel like I have this weird appendage on my face or something.

I think as much as I still can not seem to grasp, much less accept, that I have children who are not with me, I think that I am starting to accept that I will be sad forever.  It is my destiny to grieve.  I mean shouldn't I?  I have two children who are dead.  Should I not be sad until the day that I die?  And it [stupidly] is just starting to dawn on me.  I should be sad.  I should be sad every moment of every day.  How weird would it be if I wasn't sad for my dead children?  How cold and heartless would I be?  Instead of worrying that I'm still sad, I should worry that some day I might not be sad...as much as I desperately want the sadness to go away, the sadness means that they were real, and that they mattered.

Yesterday my husband said that this year he is trying to live in the moment, to enjoy what we have and not to dwell on what we don't.  To enjoy our 4 year old daughter who is going to really come alive this Christmas.  It seems like a nice thing.  I'm going to work on that.  It seems like such a far stretch away for me.  I mean we can't avoid the elephant in the room, especially now that there are two here, but we live each day living around them, with them.

I thought I was pregnant last week.  I had convinced myself that I was.  Funny, the things your body will do if you believe hard enough.  By the time my cycle rolled around, and 4 pee sticks later, I had pretty much accepted that I was not.  But I wanted it so bad.  And I know that another pregnancy won't fix anything, and in fact may make things worse.  None the less, I wanted it to be true with every breath that I took.  My husband is not ready for another pregnancy.  I know he wants more children, hoards of them, but pregnancy is such a scary prospect in this house anymore.  Who can blame him?  The Ectopic episode in May took a real toll on him.  Most of the time I just pretend it wasn't as serious as it was, or that it didn't really happen, or that I wouldn't have died because well...I just wouldn't have.  But he feels very differently about it.  The heartache in this house is so great.  Its breathtaking.

My 35th birthday is in April.  That scares me too.  How fast life has gone.  When you are young you are ignorant to how fast time goes.  And it has flown by for us.  We thought we had all the time in the world...even at 30 when my daughter was born.  But then having a baby with Down Syndrome at 31, when society tells us that it only happens to old women, will age you pretty fast.  The doctors seem convinced that my turning 35 doesn't make our odds of having another child with DS any greater than they were at 32.  Our odds are pretty high, in my opinion 1 in 100 is pretty high, regardless of my age.

I guess I am having a bad day.  I'm not sure why today is so much worse than the others, but today is definitely a bad day.  And its raining...which is always pleasant. :(  Sigh.

Just when you think you've risen above it.

Today I am hateful and angry. I mean really hateful and really angry! I thought I was past that now, but it keeps rearing its ugly head. I'm at the zoo. Its a gorgeous day, so we're not the only ones. And not that I begrudge all of these ladies with their tiny babies, and not that I hate the pregnant bellies that waddle by me. Its just that I should be close to 6 months along now. I should be waddling. I should have another toddler running ahead with his big sister to get a good look at the new baby elephant here at the zoo. I think its wearing me down again. For a time I was hopeful for another baby, because surely I wouldn't lose another... Lately I am keenly aware of how empty those hopes are. It leaves me feeling empty, hopeless and saddened on a whole new level. Fighting a fight I have no hope of ever winning. Trying to find contentment in a life with such missing pieces, when all I want to do is pound my fist against the walls that keep me from getting to the other side. And I hate it. I hate what has happened to us, and I hate what it has done to us. I hate that its everywhere I go, in everything I do and in everything I see. And its so hard not to feel like I deserved better, that my daughter and my husband deserved better. That it isn't fair for us to have to live in this shadow. And there are so often times when I feel like throwing my self on the ground, kicking and screaming and crying. Throwing a temper tantrum in the style that my daughter so often does. Because it isn't fair, and I want to scream "NO!" too!
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Death Barged In

I came across a recommendation for this poem while reading a post on Glow In The Woods this evening. I couldn't have said this better! I thought it was such a poignant way of describing this monster known as grief!





Death Barged In
by Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno

In his Russian greatcoat
slamming open the door
with an unpardonable bang,
and he has been here ever since.

He changes everything,
rearranges the furniture,
his hand hovers by the phone;
he will answer now, he says;
he will be the answer.

Tonight he sits down to dinner
at the head of the table as we eat, mute;
later, he climbs into bed between us.

Even as I sit here, he stands behind me
clamping two colossal hands on my shoulders
and bends down and whispers to my neck,
From now on, you write about me.

From Slamming Open the Door by Kathleen Sheedar Bonanno. Copyright © 2009 by Kathleen Sheedar Bonanno.

You can find the original posting on Poetry.org by clicking here.

Thousands (a poem for my children)

Thousands

Without their smiles, I will die with a thousand pleas and asking why. The sorrow that has come our way with the toll it takes and the price we pay. For the thousandth day that looms so near, our lives now ruled with mostly fear. These tears that don’t seem quite enough with trinkets to honor that are mostly fluff. Grief changes you in unknown ways. I’ve a patched up heart with seams that fray. Do I recognize you there in the mirror? Do I know the one who calls me “Dear”? This hole, this chasm, this missing piece; will consume me, I know, there’ll be no release. So a thousand days later. Oh, how much has changed! Our once perfect life has been rearranged. These children of ours, ashes now left behind, the others try hard to push from their minds. For who wants to remember a sorrow so deep, and the thousands of tears the parents still weep? They linger here still, amidst us, you know; these tiny lives with their big shadows. Dead before they ever were born. Is it not still my right should I choose to mourn? A thousand days or a thousand years, all I’ve left are uncountable tears. For who am I now, but the grief that I bear and the shattered bits of a life that’s unfair?


Written by H. Westphal

Well, at least something is growing.

2 years ago this week we planted this tree in honor of our sweet Logan. Its growing beautifully and I couldn't be more pleased with the tree. It also happens to be our 9 year wedding anniversary today, though we've been together for sixteen years. Odd how time goes zooming past. When Logan died each day seemed like an eternity, but as I look back on these last 2 years and 8 months I feel how fast they have also gone. I'm relieved to be past the gut wrenching pain that crippled me. The dull ache I feel these days is almost a comfort for me. The ache means he was real.
As I laid in bed last night I thought about just how awesome my life really is, except... It makes me sad, wondering about the life we almost had, the absolute perfection. Every day it occurs to me more and more just how lucky I am to have such a perfect living daughter. She's my little miracle, the exception. And with the clearance to start trying for baby number 4 looms off in next week, I find my self anxious and scared and already mourning the children I fear that may never come to fruition. As if mourning dead children wasn't difficult enough to figure out, learning to mourn for children that may never be is odd.
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In Good Company, a stolen post.

I read an excellent post today on She Brings Joy about being in Good Company when it comes to loss and the people in the Bible. I have often talked and posted about my struggles with my faith in Christ since the death of my son. And many are left with the impression that I no longer believe. And try as I may to convince people that I do still believe in God, just a different version than most people are familiar with, most people either come at me with verses that make no sense and have no bearing on my situation (therefor arguing God's case and or trying to defend Him, as if He needs their defense), or they dismiss me for being ignorant in the Word (which I freely admit to). The point is, "Anger is not disbelief." And though I freely admit to my anger towards God I know that he will meet me where I am, and work on me with what I have to offer. God can take my anger the same any parent can deal with the anger of a toddler. He takes it in stride, he understands it. He created the emotion.

I have no shame in my anger with God.

And now there is proof!

Trolling blogland today I came across a link on Beauty from Ashes to an article published on Yahoo! about the higher risk of death among parents of stillbirth and neonatal deaths with in the first ten years of their child's death. I copied it below for your edification:

From Yahoo! News (that's a link to the original article)


Parents who lose a new baby run a high risk themselves of dying prematurely,
according to a British study published on Thursday.

Investigators delved
into a random sample of national death registrations for the years 1971 to
2006.

They compared deaths among parents who had been bereaved in the
first year of a child's life or whose child had been stillborn, against deaths
among parents whose baby had survived beyond the first year.

Bereaved
parents were between two and four times likelier to die or become widowed in the
first 10 years of the child's death compared with non-bereaved counterparts.

Mothers in particular were at threat.

Bereaved mothers in England
and Wales were four times likelier to die prematurely, and bereaved mothers in
Scotland six times likelier, than women whose child had survived beyond the
first year of life.

The risk for mothers lessened slightly over time,
but was still significant -- 50 percent higher -- after 25 years. After 35
years, it was 20 percent higher.

The reasons for the mortality are
unclear because the data do not give the details.

The authors speculate
there could be a link with alcohol abuse among bereaved parents, and suicide,
too, may be a factor.

Alternatively, stillbirth and infant deaths could
be more common among parents who themselves are in poor health.

The
research, headed by Mairi Harper of the University of York in northern England,
appears in the specialist journal BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care.

:::

So, there you have it. As if being the parent of a dead baby wasn't bad enough, now we have to fear our own premature deaths! Sigh.

Tears and tears and more tears!

Two years and seven months later one might think that I'd have moved on, gotten over, healed...


And maybe its being in the wake of the stillbirth of my friends son that has brought everything back up front and center. Remembering things I forced myself to forget. Watching her pain is a kin to what it must've been like watching me from afar. Seeing her sorrow and grief reminds me of the sorrow and grief I had for so long, the sorrow that remains still. Knowing what's ahead of her, the horrors she will encounter that she has no clue are coming her way.


Yesterday, in preparation for our garage sale, my husband asked me to go through the baby stuff we saved from my living daughter. Sigh. It was just bad timing. This past week and a half was already filled with sorrow. Sorrow for what I have lost, sorrow or another dead baby, sorrow for the life my friend has watched go up in smoke. I tackled the chore with a margarita in hand (since my DD was at G'ma's) and forced myself to look through the baby paraphernalia, stone faced, detached and under the guise that it didn't matter anymore. Logan was a boy, Rudy a question mark (but I've worked it into my head somehow that he must've been a boy also), so ridding my home of baby girl clothes shouldn't bother me. It didn't mean I wasn't going to have another baby (my DH assured me!), it just meant that the new baby would get his or her own clothing. Like I'd ever be able to put a new baby in the few outfits that I bought specifically for Logan anyhow. I did ok, saving the last 3 bags of "neutral" clothing that I put aside before Logan died for last. There was one bag of all boy clothing, and in that bag were four very special little outfits that I bought for Logan just before he died.


I kept those.


They hang in the closet in the empty spare room...the room we dubbed "the baby room" in our new home because that is where we put all of the baby stuff when we moved in. In the end I kept very few things. A few really special dresses of my dd, Logan's clothes, and some other odds and ends. About a tenth of what was there. I did not cry. I sat there and I stared a lot. I listened to an audio book to help keep my mind busy.


Unfortunately it took me catching my brand new grill on fire and destroying it at dinner time to bring me to tears. And cry I did! I cried loudly and with everything in me. I cried for my grill, for Logan, for Rudy, for my friend and her baby, for babies everywhere, for the ghosts that haunt me, for the loss of future children...I cried and I cried and I cried.


I guess I needed to.

Missing my children

Today, sitting here in this peace, I miss our children and the way our life was supposed to have been. Its moments and days like these, peaceful ones, where I feel the hole the most. Days when I know there should have been three children building castles in the sand. Three tiny shrill voices hooting and laughing and shrieking in the water and running over the sand. Cleaning sand out of three sets of eyes. Nervous because its hard to keep an eye on three small children at the beach. Don't get me wrong, I love this day here at the beach with my daughter, my living child. She fills my life with sunshine and rainbows and there are moments when I dare not ask for more, moments when I am astounded that I could ever possibly even WANT more.

Yet, I do. Because I KNOW what I had, and I KNOW what's missing.
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"Look out!!"

I didn't realize how much watching someone else go through this would knock the wind right out of me. Its like watching a car wreck in motion. You wanna reach out your hand a scream "Look out!!" But the disaster in inevitable and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it.


And making food seems so trite.

The Pioneer, the Harbor and the Land Mine

So, another one of my closest friends in now part of "The Club". She is in process now and will deliver a stillborn baby boy sometime in the next day or so. She was 33 weeks along with out any signs of trouble. Oh, and her birthday is this week.


It gets easier. But there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of Logan, and now Rudy, and wonder what they would have been like. How our lives would have been. And each time another friend looses their baby I feel it all over again. I feel their pain, I feel my own. And I wonder how it could be that my life is so full of dead babies, when just a few short years ago a dead baby seemed more like a horror film than my reality. Now my horror film has sequels and spin-offs.


"They" say that God puts people in your life for a reason, and you in theirs. Now here I sit with my two newest friends, also being on my list of closest, and I will have walked this path with the both of them with in the past two and a half years, while losing another of my own in the mean time. I feel like the pioneer. And though I find some odd comfort having friends in real life who are in my boat, it sickens me. It makes me angry. It confounds me. I just keep asking how and why. And part of me feels like I'm supposed to be thankful that God put me in the lives of others who would all end up with this common bond, and part of me would rather just say "no thanks!" I'd rather have my innocence and ignorance back than to ever know that babies die, and they do it all the time.


Oddly enough I am able to be at the hospital with her and to talk her through the basics and the facts. The "what to expect when you're suddenly NOT expecting" if you will. Although I think I've removed my heart for the time being. Sort of like the wall you put up when you're holding some one elses newborn. It wouldn't do for me to sit there and be in hysterics. I felt like I talked her ear off while I was there. Nerves mostly, I'm sure. But as I left I felt like there were so many things I wanted to tell her. I wanted her to have a list of everything to expect from the hatred for the newborn's cry down the hall she'll be hearing after her baby's been silenced, to the gut wrenching feeling the first time she's realized she's forgotten she's not pregnant anymore, to the phantom kicks and the cruel joke that comes on day three when her milk comes in for a baby that didn't. I wish I could walk in front of her for the next year and warn her of all the canyons before she falls in them, before she encounters each and every idiot who's going to tell her that her baby is in a better place, and that God has a plan and that it was for the best. To be her neon sign, the one that I wanted so badly that shouted that I had a baby too, and it died, and damn it you'd better not forget it!


But all I get to be is a safe harbor, and then, maybe not. Maybe I will be a land mine. Maybe every time she sees me I'll just be a reminder that babies die.


We were pregnant together too. And it took her so long to get pregnant, and she wanted this baby so bad... And I was thrilled to death for her. And I know she felt terrible for me and helpless in May when Rudy died. Know I feel like I'm just a witness to a really cruel prank, or somehow even in on it.


There aren't enough Margarita's in the world for this.

Wasn't that supposed to hurt more than it did?

One might think that I might've curled up and died after the loss of two babies. Oddly enough, I didn't. But to be honest, the loss of Rudy just couldn't come close to the anguish I had with Logan. I dunno. For a long time I thought maybe I was just in shock, it would come. The ordeal turned into a fiasco. The surgery, though it removed the pregnancy and most of the remnants, didn't fix the problem. I barely recovered from the surgery and I was being injected with Methotrexate (a drug used to both induce abortions (yay for that tid bit!!) and attack tumor cells in cancer patients) to stop (and ultimately bring down) my hCG levels. Because, ironically enough, my body just. did. not. want to accept that there was no longer a baby in there and insisted on continuing on in a pregnant way. That was SUPER! And to make matters worse we were selling/buying and moving to a new home in the midst of it all. Each day inundated with chaos and stress and a nice helping of fear over a rupturing tube when there wasn't even a baby in there any more! Frankly the whole thing was a bit much and in the end I think I was more relieved it was over than anything. But, I kept waiting, expecting that same old gripping grief to haul me under. Except, in never showed up. Don't get me wrong, I cried. I cried at weird moments. I get the familiar pangs and urges. I still count on the calendar to see where I would have been now (15 weeks, if your curious). And yes, I feel the grief at another child leaving before their arrival. But I keep waiting, waiting to be pulled under by the tidal wave of grief I'm supposed to be having.



So far it hasn't shown up...yet. It's been 9 weeks since the surgery. Maybe I was just so hell bent on not going under this time. Maybe I was too distracted. Maybe the whole "you could've died" issue kind of balanced it out. Maybe its because I really only knew about Rudy for about three weeks. Maybe its because I expected this child to die. I mean, aren't all BLM's freaked out the the subsequent children will die too? I dunno. It freaks me out a little bit. Makes me feel cold and heartless. Makes me wonder just how far down I stuff this pain, and when it will surface. One more thing to make me feel freakish.



I guess in the end I just feel like its old hat. Been there, done that. Strike two. I dunno though, I feel like my odds for a living breathing healthy baby get lower every day! Two outta three, that kinda sucks in my book! I mean really, the odds don't look good. First the stillbirth from Down Syndrome (at 31!!), then an Ectopic when I had NONE of the markers...I mean, what's next?



Most of the time I just feel like I'm standing here, poised, and telling the universe "Gimme your best shot!" Because at the end of the day, I STILL want another child! I want that child more than just about anything in the world. I figure I can handle whatever comes my way this time around, I mean, I feel like I'm getting to be a pro at the whole dead baby thing. I can handle it, as long as I get to bring another healthy one home. But then part of me wonders just how many dead babies I want on my list.



Sigh. I keep looking over my shoulder. I am still terrified of dying, and I'm convinced there is a target on my daughters back. I keep having this eerie feeling that the loss of Rudy should've hurt more than it did. I think the problem is that I keep comparing the loss of Rudy to the loss of Logan and frankly they are worlds apart. Logan was within me for six months, he moved, he had a name, we had time to plan, hope and dream. Logan was more than an enigma. He was birthed, held, cuddled and kissed though he were dead. Rudy was a glimmer, barely seen on an ultrasound, and unbelieved in since conception. Too good to be true, and so he/she was. And please understand that I am not trying to diminish miscarriages. Sadly I don't even feel like it WAS a miscarriage. I ok'd the removal of a living baby. I believe they call that an abortion, wanted or not, warranted or not. It is what it is. And in the end I am more sickened by the fact that I became pregnant and then was forced to terminate, or die. I feel like it was just one more giant "psych!" from the universe, except this time I was kinda in on it. I don't like feeling like I had some form of control over it, because realistically I didn't. But we all like to beat ourselves up and play the blame game.



Maybe it gets easier with each loss? Maybe I'm really effed up in the head now days. Or maybe, as my mother likes to point out, God really did protect my heart this time around. Can't say that I mind.

And the hits just keep on coming!

You know, you'd think that loosing a baby would be enough. Baby's dead, its over, your done. But nope, not this time. Friday afternoon I got a call from the doc that my hCG levels are rising, which means that I'm technically still pregnant and that remnants of the pregnancy are still growing in my tube. Friday evening I was in the ER receiving two shots of Methotrexate (a chemotherapy drug) to stop and shrink the growth of the cells. Monday I get more blood work done and another trip to the hospital so that doctor can evaluate me again, and then again on Thursday. If the Methotrexate didn't work they'll do another round (which works 95% of the time). And if that doesn't work, they start doubling the doses. Or they'll have to take out my tube (which they'll have to do anyhow if the tube ruptures in the mean time). Its all so surreal. I can barely get a grip on the seriousness of my situation, and oddly enough I'm afraid of really trivial things (in the grand scheme of it all). Like the side effects of the Methotrexate. I already blacked out today standing on the stairs talking to my husband. Thankfully he was standing there and caught me, but it was so unexpected. That's a side effect I could live with out. Plus then there's the puking. I'm so freaked out by puking with an already sore and tender abdomen the thought of puking makes me sweat and shake. And not that I'll have these side effects for sure, but I'm consumed with fear over them. Maybe its because its the only bit of reality that I can get a grip on at the moment. Tomorrow and the rest of the week are supposed to be the hard days when the medicine really kicks into overdrive. I'm nervous to be alone with my toddler. What if something happens? What if my tube ruptures and I pass out before I call 911, and then I bleed to death right in front of her? That would so screw my kid up for life. But I'm trying not to walk around feeling like I'm dying, because I'm not. Its a remote chance. It just feels like lately, those are the chances that seem to always find their way to my door, and that freaks me out just a little. Even my doc commented on how I'm not doing anything the right way. I've been an exception to almost every rule, and that's frustrating.



Yesterday David asked me where I wanted to be buried (here or back home), just in case. That was a surreal conversation and one we quickly ended. My poor husband. He has got to be freaking out on the inside. I know I would be. He's trying to be all cool and strong for me, but it got to be messing with his head.



And how sad is it to say that I still want another baby? I do. We can't even begin to think about it until November, and David says will talk about it then. I know he's done. Who could blame him. He felt like Logan was a warning, and losing Rudy reinforced that...but now, with all of the complications and what not with this ectopic mess, I can't see him ever agreeing to a baby again.



And what am I supposed to do with that?



Anyhow, I really feel like we are on the verge of tipping over the edge around here. We're supposed to be moving in about two weeks, and I'm useless right now. I can't really help do anything, and David is having to do most of the packing on his own. Its really frustrating and stressful. We've been offered a lot of help, mostly vague help..."if you need us, maybe we can come help sometime". Well, we need it. I've said so. We'll see how much help we actually get. Lord knows we need a lot of it.

2 week Post-Op check up

I'm tired of feeling like the world is viewing this as one big ugly medical procedure. That I'm just Post-Op. What about post baby killing? Because, I mean really, isn't that what went down? And they say it all delicately, politely..."removing the pregnancy". No one wants to talk about the fact that the baby was alive when he or she was so sweetly removed! No one wants to call it what is was, not even me. I always swore there would never be a circumstance in which I'd have an abortion, I feel ashamed and ill in my ignorance. And saying to me that I didn't have a choice, it doesn't seem to matter. I ok'd the "operation" to "remove the pregnancy". I swear, I feel like God is beating me up these last few years.

Most of the time I am bewildered that I am here...much less again.

Tomorrow I get the pleasure of revisiting the place where every time I have walked in, it is because a child of mine has died. It sounds so melodramatic. I HATE every OB office I walk into. Each time its like a dagger. Pictures of healthy living babies. Pregnant Chics. And I know most of them have pregger issues or they wouldn't be at a specialist. It doesn't matter, they're pregnant and I'm suddenly not...again! Guess I'm back in that selfish phase.

I'm scared. I'm scared of what they are going to tell me tomorrow, and I'm scared of what they aren't.
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Round two; Saying goodbye to Rudy.

Here I am, pacing another hospital room, trying to come to terms with another dead baby. Two dead babies now. Logan ia now joined by a sibling we long ago nicknamed Rudy. A sibling only in existance a mere five and a half weeks.

Rudy was Ectopic. Located half way down my right falopian tube. A tiny, miniscule, actively beating heart pulled mercilessly from my shocked body by a robot.

I am supposed to be happy that I am alive. Lucky, they say.

Guess I'm not there just yet.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a buyer!

Its finally happened. After almost a year of having our house on the market, we have a buyer! We close on June 27th barring nothing going wrong. We also think we've found a house that we really like and will be making an offer over the next few days. The sheer thrill is overwhelming. I'm finally getting out of my haunted house.

Knocked Up, Knocked Down - Monica Murphy LeMoine



This is Monica's book. She blogs about her miscarriages/stillbirth and subsequent real live take home baby over at Knocked Up, Knocked Down. Which is where you can also order her book by the same name. Its a great read, full of her typical satire and foul mouthed outlook on the land of dead babies and what it means to be a "Half-Mom". Seriously, check it out.

Cutting people off.

Look out! 2 posts in one week!

This post isn't really about Logan. The issues I have with my family go back decades. But you see the thing is, when Logan died, issues I had started coming into focus a little more. Hurts became a whole lot more defined. I found myself backing away from people, closing myself off and eventually cutting a few family members out of my life. I couldn't handle the drama. I couldn't take more hurt and anger and rejection on top of the heavy sadness in my soul. And instead of talking about it, dealing with it, even screaming it out...I shut it down. I stopped answering the phone. I stopped sending gifts, cards, photos. Did this happen with you?

My dad. Sigh. Ok, so my mom and dad divorced when I was a baby. I've only ever known my dad from a distance. He lived three and a half hours away and I saw him twice a year for 18 years. I don't remember him ever calling more than once or twice in between his visits, and if I ever saw him on my birthday...it's gone from memory at this point. My dad was an enigma to me as a child. He went on to quickly marry and start a new family. This gave me a Step-brother and a sister, my only sister. After high school I moved in with my dad to attend college (he lived closer to a big city, I was tired of home, it was different). To say the environment was hostile and explosive would be an understatement. My step-mother is a therapy session all on her own. Let's just say, it wasn't easy living there. The psychosis that floated around that house was unbearable and I was quickly trying to escape that trap. Anyhow, a few years later they all moved to SC (18 hours away) and the day easily ranks in my top five days. I mean, there aren't enough hours to be had to sit and type out the debacle that was the relationship I had with those people. The cliff notes version is that my step-mother is a diagnosed delusional paranoid OCD person. And with that, I've given her lots of leeway. She's sick. She gets a pass (or at least half of one). I've just learned that in order to find happiness in my life, she is best avoided. But I guess you just expect more from your father. At least you hope for more I suppose. My dad wasn't sick or abusive. He just wasn't anything. He wasn't around, and he left you with the impression that it was somehow your fault, or something you were imagining, or that you were just expecting too much. And as an adult I've started to see that he is a pathological liar, self involved to a sickness, and the biggest drama queen I have ever encountered. Through out my adult life I just tolerated it. Whatever, its just how he was. I never clamoured for an apology like the other three kids did. I didn't want explanations or excuses. I just wanted him to be different that he was. Not change the past, but change who he would be in the future. He didn't. And when my daughter was born it became very hard to tolerate. I won't get into all of the details, but I'll say this. He didn't meet my daughter until 2 months AFTER Logan died. She was 14 months old at that point. He popped into town to rescue my sister (drive her back down south) and stayed less than 24 hours. He did this after telling me for over a year he was too broke to come meet his granddaughter. I mean, I get it. Some people just don't care all that much about being a grandparent. But you see, he did. He has 6 other grandchildren. Two of which are at his home on a daily basis. All of which he met with in days of their birth. I'm sure if I'd have screamed and ranted and demanded, he'd have come down sooner. But, I'm not into begging for love and attention. I just felt like he should've come. He knew that. He had excuse after excuse, lie after lie, story after story. It got old. I remember when I was in labor with Logan. We had to make the horrendous phone calls to everyone to let them know what was going on. It only seemed right that I call my dad to tell him his grandson had died. So I did. And instead of offering a little sympathy or even...I dunno...something, he said "this is going to push me over the edge!" I mean reading it it doesn't seem like this big deal, but the thing is I was the one in labor with a dead baby, and hear I was feeling like I had to comfort him. He didn't try to comfort me. The conversation wasn't about me and what I was going through, it became about him. And that about sums up my dad. Everything revolves around him, and if it doesn't...well by golly you'd better be sure he'll find a way to make it so. You know, I wasn't mad that he didn't ever call to see if I was ready to slit my wrist. I wasn't even mad that he didn't make an effort to be at my side during the worse days of my life. I mean honestly I wouldn't have wanted him there anyhow. But in the weeks following Logan's death they wouldn't even let me have my grief. Every call revolved around one of my siblings, and how they had wronged my dad...what new drama was afoot. The final straw was a couple of months after Logan died, after my dad drove the 18 hours (though he claimed he was so broke he was in foreclosure) to pick up my sister (and the man she had an affair with and then deserted her 2 young kids for) so that she could go back to see her kids (because apparently Logan's death was some sort of temporary wake up call for her?)...not to meet my then 14 month old daughter, not to be with his heart broken daughter who was grieving the death of her son. Anyhow, he called me drunk (a former drug addict and alcoholic, rehab, broken family - affair...the whole bit). I don't know why he called me. Guilt? Attention? Its hard to say. But he called me repeatedly, while supposedly DRIVING to my house (18 hours away) and drunk off his ass. My father drunk dialed me in the midst of my grief to whine about how terrible his life was. I called my cousin (his BFF) and told him to deal with it, I just couldn't handle it. Weeks went by with no apology, no excuse, not a word. Nothing. And a little light went off. That was the straw. I just couldn't deal with the selfishness, the drama, anymore. I had way too much reality and sorrow and depression on my plate. REAL pain. Pain I didn't ask for, didn't deserve, and didn't put on myself. I just couldn't take anymore complaining, and whining, and boo-hooing about how awful their lives were when they had NO IDEA what REAL pain felt like. Their lives were shit because they made them that way. I worked my butt off for a good life, and was dealt a grummy hand. I shut down. I never answered the phone again. That was two years ago. He's never seen my daughter since (she's now three) and never even made an attempt to. My step-mother wrote me a crazy letter around the year anniversary of Logan's death. I responded, clipped, short, to the point. I sent pictures of my daughter, they sent them back with a really nasty letter. I sent Christmas and Birthday cards and Father's Day cards, they ignored my birthday, and eventually my daughter's birthday and Christmas too. With every passing month they become more hateful and cruel. Its one thing to be mad at me, to hold a grudge against me, but a three year old? See, and that is unforgivable in my book. And the sad part is, I miss my dad. I miss who he is when he's just being relaxed, not trying to outdo anyone, prove himself or lie. It makes me so sad that my daughter doesn't know her grandpa. That he doesn't know her. The other day she said to me, "Yoo's daddy is in heaben cuz he's dead." I guess she figured that's where he was since she's never seen him. I corrected her. Momma's daddy lives far away. But it made me so angry at my dad all over again. He's quit calling. His last attempt was in November. Not that they were real often or anything, but once every few months or so. I contacted him last June to let him know my mother's mom had died. I thought it was the decent thing to do. It was a very short conversation, 3 minutes is all. He managed to get in that my sister had deserted her kids again, and that the time he called me he wasn't drunk, he'd had a stroke, oh and that he'd send flowers (which he didn't). Uh, yeah. Except that my mom has had about 6 strokes, and has never acted drunk. I mean come on, you can tell when someone is drunk. He wasn't confused, he was stupid drunk. You know, like the drunk chic who hangs on everyone and asks if they love her, is she pretty...in a baby voice. That's what he was like. I talked to him a long time that night, it was sort of funny. I got in a nice couple of digs. Anyhow, so here I am, two years later and I'm tired. You'd think cutting someone off would be easy, but it hasn't been for me. I obsess about it EVERY DAY. Seriously. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think of it, which enrages me even further. Some times I'm sad and wistful. Other times I'm angry and belligerent. And as far as I know my other siblings have cut them off too (for other reasons). I dunno. I'm just unsure of what to do with the thoughts. Its not like I want a relationship. For years and years I've just said I didn't want anything, I just wanted them to go away. The thing is, I'm wondering if I'll regret it. I mean, I tell myself that I'm protecting my heart, that it just can't take anymore pain and rejection and drama. And I'm protecting my daughter from the pain and rejection too (since I'm well aware of the favoritism that's already been displayed against my older brother's kids for my younger sister's kids). I don't want her to be hurt. I don't want to have to explain to her who these people are, or why they do the things they do. Why they don't love her. No. I don't feel loved by them. Not one bit. I don't know that they are capable of loving. But I obsess about it, relentlessly. I don't want to talk it out. I don't want some huge confrontation. I don't even want an apology, I just want him to be different, better.

My sister. Sigh. She's the spitting image of my dad. She doesn't think so. And for the most part she's been given a pass too because I feel like when you are raised in such a warped environment, how can you be any better? And my sister has lied, and done me wrong, and stolen from me, and who knows what else. But she had an affair (used me in that too, unwittingly) and left her husband AND KIDS (9 months and 5 years old) in SC to move back to Michigan because she felt it was something she needed to do for herself. And I tried, believe me I tried to excuse her behaviour and rationalize it and psychoanalyze it. She lived with my neighbors for several months while I was pregnant with Logan. And I tried to let it go, and I tried to except her life choice and the idiot fool she left her husband for (who I dearly loved) because that's what sister's do. And I believed her when she told me she had it worked out about her kids, and that there wasn't any other way, and that she was getting them... I was on her side as much as I could be. But when Logan died...I didn't get it anymore. I didn't understand how a mother could move 18 hours away from her babies, with no hope of visiting (being as she was broke, homeless and without a car). She deserted her children. It was unacceptable. Unforgivable. I couldn't look at her. I couldn't speak to her. I couldn't stand the sound of her voice. The hatred was blinding. She was blessed with a good husband (believe me, he was good to her), two beautiful and healthy babies and she threw it away like they were garbage. And I didn't get it. I still don't. I couldn't tolerate it. I couldn't look at her and be okay with what she had done to my poor innocent nephews. I wanted to hurt her, physically. I couldn't stomach anything about her. And until a couple of weeks ago (thanks a lot facebook!) I believed she was back in SC (because remember my dad came and got her and took her home). But she's not. She's in Chicago with that loser. Her boys? Still in SC. And I know they are better off with their dad. But its still inexcusable. Fine. I get it, some people get divorced. But these parents that move away from their kids? I don't get it. I can't fathom being away from Aubrey. The very thought of not having her on a daily basis gets my insides all knotted up and I start feeling homicidal. And the problem is that here my sister is, pregnant at 19 and unwed. Shotgun wedding. Baby #2 was unplanned, and miscarried at 7 weeks. Baby #3 comes along, surprise, 9 months later she splits. And these are the people having healthy living children while mine is dead. Its not fair! And I hate her for it. I hate her for not knowing how lucky she is. I hate her for pissing it all away. I hate her for hurting those boys. And the same goes for my dad! I just don't get why people like that are given children. Why can't it be those type of people who have babies die? People who think their children are accessories, punishments, a nuisance. Anyhow. My sister has called a couple of times. I never unfriended her on Facebook, but she was silent and she left me alone. Until a few days ago when she popped up and started commenting on my wall and then sent me an email about my step-mother (her mom) being on FB (I blocked her right away). I didn't answer anything. I still can't stomach her. Then today she sent me a message on Facebook. A real confrontational one too. I didn't respond. I blocked her.

I'm not ready.

I want to forgive them. Or at least I want to feel nothing about them. It eats at me and I hate it. I just don't know where to go from here. My dh tried to convince me to call my dad a few weeks ago, and I almost did. But I got so worked up, so angry, so hateful that I threw my hands up and said no way! I know that the more time that passes the bigger the chasm, and I'm not sure if that's a bad thing or not. I feel justified in my actions. But I feel petty at times too. The reality of it is that the three of them are never going to be different. People are who they are. You learn to accept them, or you move on. My older brother doesn't seem to have any issues with it. But I just can't seem to forget. I'd sure love some input from anyone in the same sort of shoes. Its easy to say forgive and forget if you've never been treated like a second hand kid your whole life. My dh, try as he may, just does not get it. His family is fairly normal.

Anyhow, I just needed to talk through some of this. Logan's death has changed the way I feel about so many things, and the way I deal with so many things. In a way I feel its good. Its helped me to stop being a door mat and to focus on the things in life that matter. So many other things that used to seem like a huge deal now seem petty and foolish.

Just one more way I'm different now, I guess.

Because really, how much is there left to say?

It's been about four months or so since my last post here. I guess after a while I've started to feel like I'm beating a dead horse. I mean, how much is there really left to say? Logan's second anniversary came and went on January 24th, mostly in silence. Not too many people even knew, or remembered, or at least mentioned it. We didn't commemorate the day or anything. I didn't cry. I mean, not that I wasn't sad, but I seemed to feel all dried up that day. Empty. Defeated. Deflated. I made a real point to try and be genuinely happy and celebratory for my daughter's 3rd birthday (a quick 3 days after Logan's anniversary), and I think I did a good job. These days my heartache is more of a shadow. Its always there, in the background. Easily found, most times ignored. But regardless of how I appear to those around me, and even how I seem to myself at times, I am not over it. I am not okay with it. I have not dealt with it, nor have I found peace in it. I guess I just feel helpless, or hopeless about ever finding the big meaning of it all. Most of the time I try to convince myself that maybe there just isn't a bigger meaning to any of it. Like so many other horrific things in life, Logan's death was just random...just like his life. No more a punishment or judgement from God than is child abduction or molestation. Horrible things happen all the time. But try as I may to be glad that we haven't had to experience other horrible things, I don't find comfort in any of it. I don't know that I'm still mad at God these days. I guess if anything I just feel abandoned by him. But then, sometimes I just feel nothing. It just happened. Its part of life. GOD didn't DO this to me. It wasn't DONE TO ME. It just was what it was. Down Syndrome happens to lots of people. Most of those babies die before birth. We're just among those numbers. But I can't get past the giant WHY? Why us? Why Logan? Why did we have to get pregnant THAT month? Its really just a big circle of whys. Questions I will never have the answers to. And even if I did, would it matter? Would any reason why be enough for me to nod in agreement, to believe it was the right decision, the only option, the best choice? I doubt it. I doubt I would ever feel ok with the reason why. I wish I could figure out a way to let that go, the question why. It eats at me.

I've often talked about how Logan's death has changed so many facets of our lives. The big one lately is the subject of another baby. I wish I wasn't so scared to have another child. I mean after I manage to get past the issues in the bedroom, then I fear having another child with DS. Then I fear the death of that child, and I fear the life of that child. Having a handicapped child certainly would change life around here, and I would have a lot of guilt. I know that lots of people who have handicapped children will tell everyone what a blessing that child is, and though I don't doubt it I fear the affect it would have on the healthy living child that I currently have. A life that would forever be altered because I was too selfish to be happy with what I had. Money that would have gone towards a better life for her (college and what not) would be used on surgeries and special care for a child that I forced into our lives. And say that child is healthy, and lives...will I ruin that child? I fear I may smother my children. I fear that my third child will forever live in Logan's shadow. I fear that my fear of anything bad coming to my children will haunt me and turn me into some uncontrollable psychopath! I fear getting pregnant, and I fear not getting pregnant. I fear that not giving my daughter a sibling will leave her lonely and "missing" a big part of life. I fear that having another child will leave less of me for her. The whole thing just flat out terrifies me these days, and has become a constant nagging in my mind. I feel like there is no great outcome to be had. Having another child will not alleviate the sadness of Logan, it may only confuse it, if not exacerbate it. I am confused, and I am scared.

Fear is what pretty much defines me these days. Fear that my living child will die. Fear that I may ruin her. Fear that I might let down my husband in my efforts to find some proverbial missing link. A link that can not ever be found. Fear that my God has forsaken me, or that I am too far gone to ever find my way back in my faith and beliefs. Fear that I will never be able to forgive God for the enormous heartache that we have. Fear that I will not be able to get pregnant, or to carry to term, or to produce a healthy baby. And oddly enough lately I have taken on this huge fear of death. I lay awake at night, I obsess about it while I'm driving. I think about my death on a regular basis and how it would affect my dh or my daughter. What will happen to me when I die. What happens if I die soon. Fear that any day could be my last. Some horrible accident or disease that steals me away from my daughter, my heartbroken husband.

Fear.

Perhaps its another phase of grief. I will hope this is the case.

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