Thursday, December 31, 2009

notes from the waiting room

I've got the "products of conception" tucked snugly in my purse. Scott helped me package it all in a handy zip-loc freezer bag. Gestational sac was kind of cool-looking, but not really something I ever hope to see again outside of my body, and, more specifically, in a toilet.

This woman next to me appears to be about 45 and apparently she, her kid Skylar (now out of the restroom) and the rest of the family are having a healthy baby boy. Judging from the rest of the family, I am guessing his going home outfit will resemble the one Kid Rock wore at his last performance. I am tempted to sneak over, peek over their shoulders and whisper, "Hey, he may have a penis, but you can't be sure he has an anus until you actually SEE him."

I quit Facebook (again) because 3 "I'm pregnant" announcements yesterday alone made me want to stab my eyes out with a tuning fork. 

Skylar, really. Ditch the sparkly hat. You're nine. And why are you spilling water all over the floor? It's a cup. Drink from it. This is not preschool.

I am happy one day, crappy the next. Happy, crappy. Happy, crappy. Happy, crappy. Where will we end up?

Oh, dear Lord in heaven, is this your idea of purgatory for me? If I see one more fully stretched uterus walk into this room I will scream. There is a dear little old lady sitting on the other side of me named Victoria, apparently. She is less than impressed with Skylar, as well. Or is it "Skyler"? One can never tell with the trendy names. Anyway, the nurse just called for Victoria, and Skyler's dad yelled out, "Hey, Victoria, it's your turn." Classy. Victoria, once again, was less than impressed.

Victoria. Great name.

I got a nurse named Shari this time, she had two kids 18 years apart, with 2 miscarriages in between - at 5 and 17 weeks. She told me it just wasn't my turn yet. I heart Shari. I asked Shari if she was going to be one of those stories you hear about..."Yes, I was calling back to talk to a nurse, Shari..." and the receptionist responds, "I'm sorry, we've never had a nurse by that name." and then I get the chills because Shari was just what I needed today.

Shari did a little jig in her tennis shoes to prove to me that she was real. I've also got her email address on a prescription pad, just in case.

The doctor I saw today was no nonsense but she was all heart. She asked me why I didn't bring my little prize in a reusable Tupperware. She said she enjoys watching women try to ask for the Tupperware back. What are they going to store in it, macaroni and cheese? This doctor is my kind of lady. Same twisted sense of humor. She had me laughing so hard I could hardly see. 

She took 9 vials of blood to check for clotting disorders, thyroid issues, etc., etc. and said that this thing will happen; just gotta figure things out.  She said that women automatically think something is wrong if they have miscarriages...that there is so much about human reproduction we just don't know. I have two genetically healthy kids that I carried full term, so it's just been a craptacular year for me.  She also said that getting pregnant 3 times in a year does not indicate that I have any trouble conceiving. If I could have hugged her, I would have. 

Back out to the waiting room, now a lady with a pig nose and 9 chins announced to everyone that she will be naming her baby the most overused name of 2009. PICK SOMETHING ORIGINAL. Seriously. I almost turned around and asked her to reconsider. If we get any more Pottery Barn  I will have to claw my eyes out, again. And that won't work, because they were already clawed out because of the uteri. Remember?

I'm hopeful, I like the fact that I got to see 4 different doctors who all said the same thing...I've had craptacular luck.

Goodbye, Skylar. 

Goodbye, 2009.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

pretty sure this won't be funny when he's 16

Today we made Christmas cookies (but only if "made" means "buying dough"), and Asher and Lucy helped apply the bright red frosting.

Today I took Cytotec, also known as RU 486, the abortion pill, to get things moving along after we saw there was no heartbeat yesterday.

Today Asher walked in on me in the bathroom, took one look at me and said, quite disappointed, "Mama! That frosting is for the COOKIES!"

Saturday, December 26, 2009

the truth

Contrary to popular belief, I am not:

1. So depressed I want to jump off a snow drift into ice-cold water and end it all.
2. DESPERATE to have a baby.
3. Feeling like, "God, why did this happen to me?"
4. Hungry (actually, yes, yes I am...very much, and Lucy is calling us all to dinner, so must go soon.)
5. In love with Brandon Flowers, lead singer of the Killers. (We are snowed in at my parents, and only my parents would have 15 pillows in their house. The kids are all thinking they have hit the JACK POT.) And also, Snow Patrol, where have you been all my life?

I guess this year has taught me, more than anything, how little control I have over things I like to say I have control over.

I am glad for the lesson, and I am excited to see how God chooses to add to our family. I do not feel, in my heart of hearts, that we are "done", and it is exciting to me to know that *I* don't have anything to do with *how* God chooses to do it.

That said, I am not completely in the doldrums, just waiting for the day when we will have a baby again.

I'm excited for it, but thoroughly enjoying each day as it comes. And resting in the "looking forward", and pausing in the "looking back". I can honestly say that with all that has happened this year, I know that none of it was "accident", that none of it will be wasted. None of it. The events of this year have been so crazy, that it smells like it's got God's fingerprints all over it. And that, my friends, is pretty exciting to me.

So, that's where I am.

And it's good.

Let's go have some lefse.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I am always hesitant to share that I am pregnant because I don't want to disappoint anyone. I don't want people to think there's something wrong with me when it goes south. It's pride, pure and simple.

I was reading a friend's blog postings about her miscarriages and thinking about how I would have never benefitted from her words if she weren't honest about her pain in the first place. A lesson learned.

After I posted bits of my story on a bulletin board I frequent, a woman came on and said she pretty much thought I made the whole thing up. Her exact words were, "Uh, go to the miscarriage boards" and then, "I think your whole story is MUD. ("Made Up Drama", presumably to get attention.)

My initial reaction was to bash her naively "5 weeks pregnant" pregnancy ticker into her big fat mouth. I was PISSED. And then I wondered why a stranger's comments bothered me so.

It wasn't five minutes later and other people started writing about how they had either gone through a miscarriage or were going through one now, and they gave her hell. They stood up to bat for me.

I felt like I could breathe again.

If we live long enough, life will present us with a pain pie, in one form or another. And there we will sit, wondering how on earth we are ever going to be able to choke down the whole thing and move on.

There are certain acts of generosity that serve as dividers for our pain. They are words, lowly spoken, that say, "I am sorry and I don't know what to say." They are cards and emails and sobbing messages on an answering machine. They are those who have been through the same before, or are going through it. Those who give us the courage we need...

Here, you can hold him, we can take his tubes off. He doesn't have much time left.


Honey, they cut back my department today.


We don't know why this IVF cycle didn't work, either.


There's no heartbeat.


Mom, do we have to go to Dad's house? We know he doesn't love us, anyway.


There's not anyone else, it's just that I don't love you any more.


Mom, I don't really believe anything you ever taught me. It worked for you, not for me.


We tried to save her, but it was too late.


And soon, the divisions, coming one after another, being to sate our souls. They come in the form of e-mails, phone calls, cards, letters, dinners out, hugs.

A pain shared is a pain divided.

And when pain is divided,

it bleeds light.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


The news that you were leaving was news I took well, I thought.

I prided myself on not crying over your too-small body, your too-slow heart.

I laughed when the ultrasound tech told me there was still hope. 

I turned away when she offered me a tissue. I left it there, mocking me, bouqueted and white. 

It wasn't until I was trying to form the words "hot chocolate" at the McDonald's drive-thru line that I realized I had actually forgotten how to say them. I called your father and he couldn't understand me. I thought I was having a stroke. He drove home.

I told him I was sorry for letting him down again.

He told me I was being silly.

I told him I loved him.

It's a cold, dry-bones type of winter day. You are still making me sick, and I wonder if your heart has stopped beating yet.

My arms curl around your sister as the tears curl themselves down my cheeks. She says, "Mama, what's that wet?" "Sad," I tell her.

Questions abated, she snuggles into me and drifts off into the kind of sleep that belongs only to babies and old men.

Your dad gives me space and doesn't question the tears; feigned ignorance is his most endearing quality. He knows exactly when to employ it, and I could kiss him to pieces for it.

Your brother wonders when Handy Manny will be on.

Some day it will be me, the aunt who went through 10 years of hell to get her miracle child, consoling the niece who cannot see through her tears.

Some day, it will be me on the receiving end of emails with no subject field that read,


and I will know exactly what to say, and how to say it.

Like those who have felt this pain before me, there is a knowledge that any email sent out to the sad one must include the words "alcohol" and "chocolate", and the phrase, "I don't know why, either."

It's knowledge born of experience, knowledge that can be born no other way.

I wish things weren't this way. I wish the world could find peace and that navel oranges would go for a lower price. I wish that leaves wouldn't fall so quickly right after they've been raked, and that the Rwandan orphans would all find good, solid two-parent homes, with guardians who don't have any gun permits.

In that annoying selfish way that humans have, though, my biggest wish today would be this:

That it wasn't your heart, about to stop.

Friday, December 11, 2009

disappointed cell phones

Yesterday I took Asher shopping to the Disney store.

I told him it was time to go and he came at me with an armload of toys, mostly the kind of junk you would never dream of paying actual money for. The kind of toy that looks cute in the store but somehow loses its lustre on the car ride home.

When we were almost back to the car I peeked over at him only to discover some white-knuckling of two fake cell phones we had most definitely NOT paid for. There was a very large part of me that wanted to just call it a day and act like I had paid for them. You ever tried to maneuver a tired 2 year old through the mall?

The better angels got the best of me:

"Son, what do you have in your hand?"


"No, really, what is that?"

He holds one of the fake cell phones up, triumphantly, speaks slowly as though Mommy is always the last one in on the plan:

"One for me, one for Sissy!"

"Oh, you were Christmas shopping, were you?"


"Did you know that taking something that isn't yours is stealing?"


"Asher, look at me. Do you know that you stole that?" (What a dumb question.)


"OK, we're going back to the store, and you're going to tell the lady you stole the phones, and give them back to her."

I don't think I really need to describe the subsequent scenario. If you've ever been privy to the unique delights of a 2 year old with a communicable disease throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of a crowded shopping mall, you know.

He stalled near the T-Mobile display, begging me with his eyes not to make him go through with the confession portion of our morning. I drug him into the store, garnering a dirty look from an elderly woman. I KNOW what she was thinking, because I have thought it before:

Some people should just not reproduce.

At this point, I wanted to invite the woman to stuff her opinion in her Ovaltine, but I bit my tongue. We walked into the store, and I marched him up to the cash register and said, "My son stole these phones."

More sobbing.

She looked down at him and said, very warmly, "Ok, sweetie, don't do that again!"

I signaled to her that she'd better be a little more fierce than that. I didn't walk halfway across the earth for Grandmother Willow to absolve us.

She got down to his level, and if I didn't know any better, I'd say she was channeling Satan:


More screaming, more crying, snot all over the phones.

"I don't waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanna do the right thing! I don't waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaana do the right thing!" all the way back through the mall, more screaming.


Somewhere in a little head down the hall from where I sit this morning, there are lessons being learned, I hope.

Somewhere, far across town, there are two plastic cell phones, disappointed. They had dreams of nestling down into a Christmas morning stocking.
Instead, they are in a big green dumpster behind the mall, covered from antenna to base in the swine flu virus.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dear Asher

Dear Asher,

Today, I am sicker than a dog. I woke up this morning, ran to the bathroom, and threw up. You came up to me and said, "Mama sick?" I said, "Yes!" from beneath the covers, and you ran to your room to get some blocks for me to snuggle with.

You are constantly wanting to play "Make hu sick", which, roughly translated, means, "Make you sick." It's the doctor game, and you could spend hours poking and prodding at us if we'd let you. You always require that we lie on our stomachs, and you grab your doctor toys and go to town.

You are so meticulous. Everything you do is done very carefully. You spend longer than the average almost-3-year-old making objects talk to each other: Handy Manny toys, Polly Pocket's dresses, or used band-aids. When I hear your sweet little voice coming from your room, I know someone is either being doctored or in trouble for hitting their toy counterpart.

Yesterday you pushed a little pink shopping cart around Target, and you shopped as you went. You chose some Pull-Ups and some Elmo underwear. Personally, I think you chose those particular items just to torture me.

Here are ten things I know because of you:

1. Little boys always stink. It doesn't matter how often they are bathed, they still smell like abandoned puppy.

2. Which toy comes with the Happy Meal at McDonald's.

3. How utterly adorable it is when a 3 year old looks at you with a serious face, nodding along as he dictates his Christmas wishes.

4. How to record multiple Handy Manny's on DVR.

5. A mother's love knows no bounds. I will always change your diaper, even if it feels somehow wrong, as though I am changing the diaper of someone in Boy Scouts. (USE THE TOILET)

6. How to deal with your short little fuse. You remind me SO much of your uncle Michael, who would hit himself if he made a mistake during high school basketball games. I will show you a video sometime; he got a lot of technical fouls, and our dad made him look up lots of Bible verses on self-control. I'm sure he'd share. If you can't figure something out or if your sister predictably bugs you, you will scream and try to hit. It's like clockwork, really.

7. How fun it is to see your giving little heart. Yesterday you told me you wanted to buy a Christmas present for Sissy. We settled on a Disney Princess doll set. You didn't understand why she couldn't have it now. I think you also secretly can't wait to play with it. You love playing with girl toys.

8. That "coffee" really means "hot chocolate." You ask for "coffee" every night, and I just imagine you in 20 years with a briefcase and shiny black shoes, drinking your "coffee".

9. 3 year olds have an uncanny ability to sound like newborns when they really want something.

10. How fun it is to snuggle up with you in "Mama Bed", watching you drift off to sleep.I have so many dreams for you, little man, like every mother does.

Sometimes, Bub, I feel like you get a little bit overlooked because of all we have to do for your sister. Just know that I love those times when it's just you and me, especially after Sissy is at preschool. I love your happy little sigh as you realize it's your time alone with me.

Remember that day a few weeks back when we went to the park? You found a little friend to play with, and I remember thinking that I wanted to treasure you at this age, when being at the park is as good as it gets.

I love you.


Saturday, December 5, 2009


Today, my son is sleeping.

Today, my daughter is coloring at the kitchen table.

Today, my husband is watching football in his recliner.

Today, the kids and I went to a birthday party and I ate too much.

Today, I really want to lie in my unmade bed, surrounded by clutter in our bedroom, and read a book.

Today, I should go for a powerwalk to get rid of some of these calories.

Not today.