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Thursday, April 30, 2009

What to Say When She's Not Expecting

My friend Trish (you know . . . that cute boy Robbie's mom?!) recently mentioned this article in an interview she did recently. Trish spoke of the wonderful advice it gives to those who know and meet someone who has experienced a loss. The article has some biblical references from a Mormon perspective, and although I'm not Mormon, the overall points are good. So, without permission, I am reprinting some of it here. Be sure to click the link and read the introduction written before this advice because it will make perfect sense to most of us.

From Mormon Momma:

"Here are some of the things that helped me during those dark days, and some things that I wished I would have had to get me through:

  • Offer your condolences sincerely. There is no need to make flowery speeches and use meaningless clich├ęs. Speak from the heart; let this sister know you are sorry for her loss. An important point I would also like to make is, say something. Silence from friends and relations during this time can be just as damaging and saddening as the miscarriage itself. If you don’t know what to say, just say you’re sorry for her loss. That means more than you know.
  • Avoid comparing her experience or experiences to those of others you know. This minimizes her grief and her experience. Her loss is her own, treat it as such.
    Ask her how she is, but let her answer in any way that she feels comfortable. Some women will want to talk and share all the details, some will not. Respect that, and give her the space she needs. I would also like to point out that if you have suffered a miscarriage, you are within your rights to politely tell people when something is none of their business or you would rather not talk about it. Do not feel like you have to share your medical history, trauma or drama with anyone other than your husband.
  • LISTEN! I cannot say it more simply than that. Listen to what she has to say if she feels like talking. Be the kind of friend you would like to have in a crisis.
  • Never break a confidence. If she has asked that you not mention her miscarriage to anyone else, don’t. If you feel you need to share this news with the Relief Society President, then ask her permission. The last thing a woman who has lost her pregnancy needs is to become the grist for the ward rumor/gossip mill.
  • Never, never, never, never give unsolicited advice, never. An in-box full of “medical studies” and snake-oil cures is not what any woman needs. The only medical advice that should be given and taken is from qualified medical professionals with whom she has an established relationship. If you have gone through a miscarriage, you know what this sister is feeling and experiencing. Again, help by listening, by observing and by being the kind of friend you would like to have.
  • Realize that everyone grieves differently. Some women are able to come to terms with their loss quickly and can move on. For others it might take a while. With this said, however, it is not wise to let grief become consuming. Know that each day gets better, the harshness of this loss will wane and life will feel normal again. If you observe hopelessness, severe depression, post-partum depression, or an inability to function, encourage her to seek professional help. I had no idea that I would experience post-partum depression with out actually having a baby. My sister finally said something to me, and I was able to get some help.
  • Don’t expect the sister who has miscarried to want to attend baby showers, see new babies, or participate in things where “baby-dust” is present. I had my second miscarriage the day my friend had a baby. When she asked when I was coming to see her, I just said I couldn’t right then. Holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, the baby’s due date, or would-be birthday might also be hard. Treat these days with care, invite her, but understand if this sister chooses not to participate or would like to be excused, this includes family functions as well, she should be.
  • Follow the spirit. If you feel prompted to, call, stop in and visit or send a card, just do it! There were days when I longed for a true friend, for someone to talk to, but I felt I had no one. How much better off I would have been, had I known I could rely on someone.
  • Don’t forget about your sister, your friend, your cousin or the sister in your ward who has had a miscarriage. The body heals quickly, but sometimes the spirit and heart take longer. In the months that follow a miscarriage, remember to continue to reach out, to care and to show compassion. Be that friend you would like to have.
  • Never ask, “When are you going to try again?” or “Are you pregnant again?” or similar questions. The sister who has miscarried might still be grieving, might be going through medical tests or just might not want to try again so soon after a loss. Questions regarding family building are personal and private, if the couple wants you to know, they will let you know, otherwise, it’s none of your business.
  • In the end remember the admonition of Alma and our commission as saints to “mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort” (See Mosiah 18:9). Let that sister know she can count on you to be a listening ear, a friend she can trust, and someone she can rely on to help her through her loss."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

20 Things That Parents of Angels Wish You'd Remember

I can't remember who I "borrowed" this from (Katie?), but I ran across it in my inbox earlier, and I wanted to share it with all of you. If only we could wear this as a sandwich board each and every day, so people would know where we are coming from on a daily basis (and sometimes hourly or minute-to-minute basis).

20 Things That Parents of Angels Wish You'd Remember

1. I wish you would not be afraid to mention my baby. The truth is just because you never saw my baby doesn't mean he or she doesn't deserve your recognition.

2. I wish that if we did talk about my baby and I cried you didn't think it was because you have hurt me by mentioning my baby. The truth is I need to cry and talk about my baby with you. Crying and emotional outbursts help me heal.

3. I wish that you could talk about my baby more than once. The truth is if you do, it reassures me that you haven't forgotten and that you do care and understand.

4. I wish you wouldn't think that I don't want to talk about my baby. The truth is I love my baby and need to talk about him or her.

5. I wish you could tell me you are sorry my baby has died and that you are thinking of me. The truth is that it tells me you care.

6. I wish you wouldn't think what has happened is one big bad memory for me. The truth is the memory of my baby, the love I feel for my baby, the dreams I had and the memories I have created for my baby are all loving memories. Yes there are bad memories too, but please understand that it's not all like that.

7. I wish you wouldn't pretend that my baby never existed. The truth is we both know I had a baby growing inside me.

8. I wish you wouldn't judge me because I am not acting the way you think I should be. The truth is grief is a very personal thing and we are all different people who deal with things differently.

9. I wish you wouldn't think if I have a good day I'm "over it" or if I have a bad day I am being unreasonable because you think I should be over it. The truth is there is no "normal" way for me to act.

10. I wish you wouldn't stay away from me. The truth is losing my baby doesn't mean I'm contagious. By staying away you make me feel isolated, confused and like it is my fault.

11. I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be "over and done with" in a few weeks, months, or years for that matter. The truth is it may get easier with time but I will never be "over" this.

12. I wish you wouldn't think that my baby wasn't really a baby and it was blood and tissue or a fetus. The truth is my baby was a human life. My baby had a soul, heart, body, legs, arms and a face. My baby was a real person.

13. My baby's due date, Mothers Day, celebration times, the day my baby died and the day I lost my baby are all important and sad days for me. The truth is I wish you could tell me by words or by letter you are thinking of me on these days.

14. I wish you understood that losing my baby has changed me. The truth is I am not the same person I was before and will never be that person again. If you keep waiting for me to get back to "normal" you will stay frustrated. I am a new person with new thoughts, dreams, beliefs, and values. Please try to get to know the real me-maybe you'll still like me.

15. I wish you wouldn't tell me I could have another baby. The truth is I want the baby I lost and no other baby can replace this baby. Babies aren't interchangeable. Besides, you do not know whether we have fertility problems too.

16. I wish you wouldn't feel awkward or uncomfortable talking about my baby or being near me. When you do, I can see it. The truth is it's not fair to make me feel uncomfortable just because you are.

17. I wish you wouldn't think that you'll keep away because all my friends and family will be there for me. The truth is, everyone thinks the same thing and I am often left with no one.

18. I wish you would understand that being around pregnant women is sometimes uncomfortable for me. The truth is I feel jealous.

19. I wish you wouldn't say that it's nature's way of telling me something was wrong with my baby. The truth is my baby was perfect to me no matter what you think nature is saying.

20. I wish you would understand what you are really saying when you say "next time things will be okay." The truth is how do you know? What will you say if it happens to me again?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Flashback - April 25, 2007

The next day came and we woke up very early to head to the hospital. It was Thursday, April 25th. It was the day that I would go from pregnant one minute to not pregnant the next. For one of the first times in my life, I didn’t give a shit what I looked like. It was almost surprising that I even brushed my teeth and combed my hair. I just cried off and on throughout the morning. The surgery was fast and uneventful. In fact, it was so fast that Todd thought something was wrong when he was paged so quickly to return to me. The first thing I did when I woke up is grabbed my boobs. Luckily, they didn’t hurt anymore. I went home a couple of hours later and took more drugs. My wonderful husband brought me some food that I ate, and I soon was asleep. Apparently I emailed a few people and received a few phone calls later that evening. I don’t remember much, and I made that happen through the drugs I took. I just wanted it all to go away.

I spent the next few days recuperating, resting, and trying not to just lose it. I began having small panic attacks. On Saturday, I asked Todd to get me out of the house. I don’t remember a lot about where we went, but I got tired very quickly and we weren’t gone too terribly long. I felt awful and I was exhausted. Sunday was even worse. I began to panic about going back to school. I called my sister Sunday night bawling. I asked her how I would ever get through this. I was petrified about going back to work. When Todd came in to check on me, I was sitting on the edge of the bed rocking with a pillow. I had no idea what to do. Todd made me promise that I would call my doctor the next day and get medication.

I went to school the next day with the plan of avoiding everyone possible, making very little eye contact, and responding to all ‘How are you doing?’ questions with, “I’m okay.” I made it through the entire day without losing my shit – until the kids were gone. I called the doctor to request medication and they were all to quick to call in the prescription. After that call, I completely broke down and my poor friend & colleague, Monica, had no idea what to do with me. She stayed with me through it all, but I felt really bad for putting her in that position. I was in pure devastation and didn’t know what to do but cry out loud. I tried to articulate my feelings, but there were really no words for it. There still aren’t.

The next day was a little better. I knew I had survived one day. At the end of the day, two of my friends and colleagues, Kara and Ashley, came into my classroom. They just sat down and asked me what happened. That was the first time I was able to really tell somebody what had happened. I told them about the black hole I saw. I told them about how sad and scared I was at that time. I told them how I was absolutely heartbroken. I cried while telling them, but it was SO therapeutic for me and I thanked them. I still appreciate what they did for me that day. (ETA: It took me over a year to tell Ashley and Kara how much that meant to me. I simply began bawling as I started to tell them.)

I slowly began to regain myself, but I did cry every day for at least a couple of weeks. The first day that I didn’t cry, I felt bad for not crying. I felt more alone than I ever had in my life, and I have had many days of loneliness and despair. I became so very angry and I didn’t know how to manage it. All of those feelings were so odd to me because I felt that I was mourning the death of a person that I had known and loved for a long time. I finally figured out that I was mourning a dream that I had for all of my life. Looking back on it, I really went through the stages of grief. There is still a piece of my heart that is missing and I don’t think I’ll ever get it back. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about it all.


What's odd about reading about the events that occurred two years ago from today is that my feelings are still the same - shock, devastation, sadness, anger, frustration, worry, and despair. Yep. Anniversaries suck. Reminders suck. Today sucks. Still.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Flashback - April 24, 2007

I wrote this about four months after that terrible day that was the beginning of this whole nightmare.

WHY. That’s the only thing that is going through my mind. Nothing makes sense. I am so sad. I am so angry. I am so disappointed. I am so frustrated. I am so lost.

Nobody ever told me that it would actually be difficult to have a baby. I knew of things like infertility; that people had a difficult time getting pregnant. I figured that would be my issue. But, no, that’s not the issue at all. I can get pregnant. Obviously I can get pregnant almost at the drop of a hat. I never thought it would be that easy. Little did I know that getting pregnant was the easiest part. Actually carrying a baby would be the most difficult part – at least it has been so far.

Todd and I had an amazing wedding. Our honeymoon was so relaxing and we really hated for it to end. It did – and fast. On Tuesday, March 27th, I randomly took a home pregnancy test because I had just been feeling weird. The Thursday or Friday before that, I woke up with a swollen nose, enlarged lymph node in my jaw line, light spotting, and a bump inside my nose. Those were all signs of my body saying, “Hey – we have something new in here!” We did have something new growing inside of my body, and the fast response to the pregnancy test proved it. I absolutely was stunned. I couldn’t believe it. I immediately got scared at the potential of becoming a parent and just cried when I told Todd. Little did I know that would be the beginning of the one of the biggest letdowns of my life. And letdown is saying it nicely.

Within days, I had all of the symptoms of pregnancy. I was so incredibly tired that I felt the need to take a nap to get ready for a nap. Smells and foods were instantly unappealing to me. For the first time in my life, I quit drinking caffeine and alcohol cold turkey – and I was still alive! I was feeling very differently, and still couldn’t believe that we were going to have a baby.

I went to the doctor for my first prenatal appointment. My mom went with me because Todd had to work. Other than blood work and another pee stick, the appointment was fairly uneventful. I had been taking prenatal vitamins for a couple of months, and I also changed my medications to be pregnancy-safe. I was officially pregnant.

I called and emailed just about everyone in the world. I was so thrilled that we were going to have a baby and that one of my biggest dreams in life was going to come true.

That dream began to fracture just a couple of weeks later. I woke up early on a Wednesday morning to learn I was bleeding. Not heavily, but it was blood. I was only 6 weeks, 3 days, and I knew that blood was not good. I kind of walked around in the dark for a minute, just trying to catch my breath and not freak out. Todd woke up and asked what was wrong. I told him and that’s when I began to cry. I quickly went online to book a substitute, started typing out lesson plans, and waited until the doctor’s office opened so I could call.

Todd called in for a sub that morning as well. We went to the doctor and had an ultrasound. There was really nothing to see since I was so early in my pregnancy, but the sac was measuring about a week and half smaller than average and nobody seemed too concerned. The doctor said the pregnancy could really go either way. I was “vampired” as I call it (blood was drawn), and after the results were in, I was put on progesterone, a hormone that is produced by the developing fetus. My team at work made me take the next two days off to rest. I had my first official ultrasound scheduled for two weeks out, so the doctor said unless anything significant occurred, that he would see me then. Nothing overly eventful occurred, other than me being worried but trying to maintain hope. Multiple times a day, I told the baby to hang on for dear life because everything would be okay. I began to feel more hope as each day passed.

The day of my ultrasound was finally here. It was Wednesday, April 24th. I was 8 weeks and 3 days pregnant. When I woke up and went to the bathroom, I wiped blood. I didn’t worry too much because I had learned in these past two weeks that spotting & even blood did not mean a for sure miscarriage. I dressed in black sweater with a black tank top that was longer than my usual ones because my belly was getting bigger. It was bloat, and I knew that, but I was getting bigger. Todd and I left for the appointment and I was so nervous. He tried to calm me but nothing was working. I wouldn’t be better until the ultrasound showed us our baby. I figured the very worst thing that could happen was that the baby’s heart had stopped beating. What was about to happen felt worse than that to me.

The ultrasound technician, Elizabeth, quickly started the ultrasound and Todd was seated to my left. She quickly found the sac and said it only measured at an increase of less than a week since my last ultrasound two weeks ago. That didn’t make me feel good. She checked out my fallopian tubes and ovaries and said they looked fine. She went back to look at the sac and searched. There wasn’t really anything to see, and I told her that there didn’t seem to be anything there. Where was my baby? Dead or alive – where was my baby? The screen on the ultrasound machine just showed blackness where my baby should be. It was a black hole. It was just a fucking black hole with no baby to be seen. What the hell was happening???? Where was the baby that was supposed to be inside of me? That’s when she put her hand on my knee and said, “I’m sorry.” I just started to cry. I remember seeing the ceiling tiles through my thick tears. This couldn’t be real. There was no way that I was beginning to live my nightmare. Elizabeth left us, and I just laid on the table crying while Todd held my hand. I eventually got up from the table and just held Todd and cried on his chest. A large part of my heart was instantly gone.

I finally got dressed and we went in to meet with the doctor. I just cried and tried to hear what he was saying, but his words were shadowed by the racing thoughts in my head and the breaking of my heart. The doctor said that unfortunately these things happen and it’s because there is something wrong with the baby early on. He called it an “empty sac”, which I later learned is medically called a blighted ovum (meaning “bad egg”). He told me that eventually I would begin to bleed and miscarry this non-baby inside of me. I asked the doctor how long that would take. He said it could take days or weeks to begin. I immediately requested a D&C and wanted it that afternoon. I was told that I should think about it and that’s when I started crying harder. I remember saying, “I cannot go another day feeling all of these pregnancy symptoms and not getting a baby at the end of it all. I want a D&C.” My doctor then agreed to check the surgery schedule and get me in the next morning. I wanted this nightmare to go away, but now I know it never will.

Since the maid was cleaning our house, Todd and I didn’t go home. We instead went to get some lunch from our very young, pregnant waitress. I can’t believe I was even able to eat, but I don’t even remember eating. We still had some time until the maid was finished, so we called my sister and went to her house. Since she had miscarried in the past, she was a great source of comfort at that time. Phone calls had to made, and I completely and totally hated making them. How do you say to people, “Oh, never mind. We were pregnant but there’s no damn baby inside of me.” Really, is there any way to say that???

The hospital called and scheduled my D&C for the first thing the next morning. Todd and I had to leave my sister’s and go back over there to fill out paperwork and meet with some nurse person in the outpatient surgery center. I remember very few details about it all except for the paperwork I had to complete. The first set of papers at the front desk had me fill out the usual – name, social security number, etc. Keep in my mind that we had only been married six weeks, so according to my identification, I was still Kristin T., not yet Kristin H. I didn’t even know who I was. The worst part of the paperwork asked if there was any possibility I could be pregnant. At that point, I threw the pen down and said, “How the hell am I supposed to answer THIS?” I began to cry and luckily the girl behind the desk took the paperwork from me at that point. The other bad part is that the next set of paperwork the nurse gave me said medical abortion. Lovely. Now I’m an abortionist as well. I felt as if I’d earned all sorts of descriptors – all except mother to be.

Anniversaries suck. Reminders suck. Today sucks. Flashback - April 25, 2007 tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

ABCs of Me

I've probably done this before, but since I'm super stressed out right now with work and exhausted when I get home, this is what you get. Hope you don't feel too cheated.

Amazing Grace is a song I sing in the shower.

Black is a color I wear often.

Cats - 1 - Mindy (age 16!).

Dogs - 3 - Mackey (14), Pippin (6), and Steve (5)

Eggs are only semi-appealing to me if scrambled.

Finding good deals when shopping gives me a crazy, natural high.

Grass after it's been cut makes me sneeze like crazy.

Having children sometimes seems so out of reach to me.

Ice (and lots of it) in fountain drinks is essential.

Jim is my Dad (step-dad).

Kristin is my first name.

Leigh is my middle name, given to me from my Dad (his name is Melvin Lee).

Mel is my Dad.

Never will I jump from anything high (buildings, planes, mountains, cliffs, etc.).

Octomom is a crackheaded nutcase IMO.

Patricia (Pat) is my mom's name.

Quitting is not an option, even though I often feel like it should be.

Realizing my grandmother is really gone is still difficult.

Steve is my 110 lb. baby dog. I once told DH that he should be happy I met him before we got Steve. God, I love that dog.

Todd is my handsome husband.

Ultraviolet rays quickly burn my very fair skin. I've had more sunburns than I can count on my hands.

Very little work is being done by me today.

Why? I really want to know.

Xrays have been made of my body from head to toe.

Yelling is not necessary in an argument.

Zero is the number of children we have, and I hope and pray that changes.

Monday, April 20, 2009

24 and 25

Those days of the month have so much significance to me. The 24th of December is Christmas Eve - the night before Mary gave birth to her son and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. December 25th is Jesus' birthday.

April 24th of 1999 is the day I bought a new car. Not eventful to many, but it was a special weekend for me. April 25th of 1999 is the day I was baptized. It was an amazing day that I will never forget.

Todd and I were engaged on August 24th, 2006. Everyone in the world knew about it by August 25, 2006. :)

We lost our first pregnancy on April 24, 2007. That pregnancy was terminated on April 25, 2007. There are many 24ths and 25ths not mentioned here with which I closely associate, but those were the worst two. You'll see more in my blog later this week as I look back.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Don't Have a Title for This

I don't even know what to say. I don't even have much to say. Another cycle - gone. BFN. Spotting. AF will be here tomorrow. No 2009 baby. Going at this for over 2 years now, 3 calendar years. Ovulating normally. Everything is normal. Can't get pg. We probably aren't even doing it right anymore. Don't want another surgery. Can't afford ART. Sick of temping. Didn't even temp this morning. Tired. Really, really tired. Wondering if this life we already have will be enough without children. Maybe it is. Maybe God has other plans for us. Don't know how much longer I can do this. Not necessarily sad or depressed. Just tired. Almost done. Thank God for wine.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Picture Tag

I, The Rambler, was chosen out of a bajiliion trillion filliion blogs to do this fun Pic Tag by a great friend Shanny. And even though she doesn't know all of the bajillion trillion fillion bloggers from which she chose me, I still feel special!

Here are the rules:
1. Find your sixth picture folder and in that folder, the sixth picture.
2. Post it on your blog with some of the background of the picture.
3. Tag four others and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been tagged.

These are the awesome ladies of my neighborhood Bunco group. Most of us met as complete strangers, and we have since become friends. Our group has been together for about a year & a half and we meet once per month. I won't tell you how many times we've just said, "Are we going to play or just drink and chat?" :) We obviously have a great time together!

Now I tag Brooke, Laurie, Marsha, and Sabrina.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another Award

I have been working hard at being a better blogger, but I am still lacking in keeping up with my blog reading. My Google Reader overfloweth on many occasion.

Sometime forever ago, sweet & wonderful Shanny left me the "Love Ya Award". While Shanny and I have never met IRL, we are friends. Like many of us, we have been on similar journeys that have created a friendship that only few understand.

Here are the rules:

“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

I'm now spreading the love to my friends, some IRL friends and some bloggy friends:

No Swimmers


Love ya!

We have winners!

Wow! That was fast - and fun! Guess we'll need to have another contest again soon. :) Our winners are:

I know I said three, but I'm feeling extra-generous today. You all will receive emails from me today, so be on the lookout! Be sure to stop by their blogs to tell them congratulations!

Without hesitating, my sister said she would be "honored" to make the bracelets. In the years between having my beautiful nieces, she suffered multiple m/cs - including a molar pg resulting in MTX shots and chemo - so she has been there with all of us.

Thanks for playing everyone!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Show & Tell: GONE. And a CONTEST!

I just noticed that my "Common Thread" is gone. It must have broken from my wrist sometime last night. I've worn it continuously (24/7) with pride since May of last year. And now it's gone. :( I'm having an emotional day missing my Mary, and this almost sent me over the edge.

So for today's Show & Tell, I bring you a photo of when I wore two threads. Yes, that is my veiny right hand. It has seen MANY an IV needle in the past couple of years, but I digress . . . My first Common Thread - the skinny, faded one - eventually broke months ago, but my newer one was thicker and stronger. It was tied on my wrist and never came off.

I'd love for this to be a "sign", but I doubt it would be that exciting. I have to replace it because I feel nekkid without it. Luckily I have a bunch of thread left to make a new one. Well . . . to have my sister make me a new one.

In fact, I have enough thread that the first three people to comment with their email addresses will get some thread from me for their OWN Common Thread!! Maybe I can bribe con beat down ask my sister to make you a simple one just like mine if you like.

Oooo - my first contest!! I feel so blogalicious. I'm already feeling a little bit better now!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Who Am I?

There have been many times throughout my journey of loss that I have asked God, "What did I do to deserve this?" I've asked for God's forgiveness and prayed that He will bless us with a child to raise as one of His angels here on Earth.

A friend sent this to me today, and I thought that it was not only an amazing video, but perfect words for me to hear this morning.

I continue my prayers, not because of who I am but because of who HE is. May God bless us all.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Quick Update

Sorry to be a slack blogger of late. Last week was extremely difficult between losing my grandmother and the stress of work. In the TTC world, I'm ovulating so we've been a tad busy. Of course DH lures me with his romantic calls to the bedroom of, "Come on, let me inseminate you." Who could refuse an offer like THAT?

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