Sunday, October 24, 2010

strange days

I was lost in the darkness for so long, the light itself was painful; I turned my face away. It was easier to hide in the dark than to try to live in the light.

Sometimes, though, the light is just too strong to ignore forever.

The last week or so has been filled with strange days. I was feeling the weight of the future, the disappointments of the present, the grief of the past. Things didn't seem like they could get better. Sometimes, though, it just takes one thing, one act or accident, to change everything.

It seems that some kind soul - or a fortuitous accounting error - has wiped out most of my dead dog debt. I was stressing hard about paying it off, since I have a professional relationship with the specialty clinic that treated her. I spoke with the administrator last week, and he insisted that my balance was much lower than I knew it to be. He looked up my history, and showed a check that took care of most of it. I asked him if it were possible that it was an error, and he said that it was unlikely and that I shouldn't worry about it. So, the most probable explanation is that an anonymous person walked in and wrote a check for nearly a thousand dollars.

I am completely flummoxed by the situation. It warms my heart and soul to know that someone loves me enough to lift that burden off of my shoulders. No one has confessed, and I really have no idea who would have done it, but I am so incredibly grateful.

I am grateful not just for the financial assistance, but for the light I have been forced to face and for how loved I feel. Good things can happen to me. I have been smiling more, laughing and really meaning it. I didn't think that I could ever feel this hopeful about life. I am growing more confident that I can survive whatever lies ahead in our journey to parenthood, even if we fail.

So, although you likely don't read this blog, I am sending a million thank yous to our unknown benefactor. Your kindness has pulled me out of the dark.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


My soul, these days, isn’t sure what path to take. I swing, wildly, from high to low. Moments of incredible despair and thoughts that torment me, that tell me that NOTHING will ever be ok and all I will ever have is a life of pain and grief so what’s the point swing to moments of, perhaps not happiness, but enjoyment: Beautiful weather and sun on my face, amazing blue sky and leaves turning; songs that make me sing as loud as I can and shake my booty and wish that I were in a band; my super-duper hubby – these good moments startle me sometimes and shock me into smiling despite myself. Sometimes, I think, life is decent. Maybe I can do this, maybe I can live.

And then the pendulum all too quickly swings back the other way and reminds me of all that I have lost: those babies, all of them precious, all of them gone, leaving behind nothing but holes in my heart and pictures of positive pregnancy tests; the life I wanted, filled with family and babies and joy; the weight of my dog as she wormed her way onto my lap, the silky soft touch of her fur and the way it wrinkled around her neck and the fact that I will never be able to touch her again. As quickly as it came, the joy is ripped out of me.

I find hope in those high moments, before the pendulum swings back around, and yet hope is dangerous for me because it makes the low times seem that much worse. I wonder – as much as I hate to admit it – if the meds are actually working, or starting to work.

Damn. I thought I’d be able to wear mascara today. File that under “Bad Ideas.”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the things I've learned

I am not - by any means - a religious person. Throughout my adult years, I've made the transition from believer to agnostic to atheist. My feelings about God were pretty well summed up by Kurt from Glee a few episodes ago: "God is kind of like Santa Claus for adults." Indeed, Kurt. Indeed.

Don't get me wrong - a lot of people I love are spiritual and believers, and I respect anyone who has faith and sticks to it. In fact, I think this whole journey would be easier if I did believe in a benevolent God, overseeing all with some sort of plan for me. I just don't believe that's true.

I have found - and perhaps this explains some of my disdain for organized religion - that those who claim to be the closest to God say some of the cruelest things and have the least empathy. I may not believe in God, but I do believe that Christ lived and was a social revolutionary who opened his arms to one and all; I also believe that Christ would be appalled by many of the things that are done and said in his name.

Anyway, I've learned a few things over the past few weeks. And some of it has to do with people of faith.

1. Religious people can be very very cruel. Sometimes, I am sure, this cruelty is unintended. Other times, I think some people hide behind the shield of religion to say whatever the fuck they want. We've recently heard that God doesn't give a person more pain than they can handle (really? then why do depressed people kill themselves? Did God abandon them?); that it will happen for us in God's time (so is it God's time when crackheads and abusers give birth to babies who will face a lifetime of horrors?); that God has a plan and everything happens for a reason (really? God planned for me, and my IF/RPL sisters to experience this heartbreak again and again? If that's true, God's kind of a jerk, and definitely not a woman).

2. I can sometimes be overwhelmed by the surprising desire to punch sweet little old ladies in the face, particularly when they spout the nonsense mentioned above.

3. People who don't have pets, and don't get why my girl's untimely (in so many ways) death has left me in ruins, are almost always assholes. Likewise, people who love pets, and have lost pets, seem to have bigger hearts and more kindness in their souls, and are generally more likable folks. Just as I am unable to befriend the fertile, I am also unable to befriend the petless - I'll never understand them, and they'll never understand me.

4. Sometimes, especially when the universe is falling apart, people you have never met can lift you up more than those you have known for years. Thank you, internet friends, for embracing me. I will try my hardest to pay it forward. And I feel really driven to meet you all, and share a drink or two and some laughs. Maybe I'll actually get motivated to plan "Camp Dead/No Baby," even if I have to come to your homes and drag you out to join me. You've been warned.

5. The people who have always been there for me - my mom, my brother, my hubby and some others - are rock solid, wonderful people. I need more people like them in my life. Seriously. It is so beyond true that when you cry, you cry alone. I've reached out to long time "friends" and have not been terribly surprised by their non-response. I get it - it's more fun to hang with the friends who are getting married and having babies and looking forward to happy-filled futures than with someone like me, who wonders if I'll have the strength to face my fate and slog through another hour, another day.

6. The personality trait - stubbornness, I guess - that propelled me towards success in my pre-RPL life is holding me back now: when I decide to do something I commit. And I've decided, dammit, that I want to have a baby, and that nothing will stop me. Rationally, I know that there is very little chance of things working out for us pregnancy-wise. I need to accept it and learn how to live with that new reality. I just can't. I will try anything to experience a  full term pregnancy, to see my belly swell and feel the little kicks, and know that for once, I gave birth and not death. Sigh. I just can't let go.

7. The depression diet works. I'm down quite a few pounds. I've realized that I am the type of girl who cooks my feelings, so that others may eat them. I'm finally learning to bake (I had a traumatizing experience with cream puffs years ago, and though I am a darned good cook, I've avoided learning to bake until now). I also drink my feelings - which really isn't good, and is something I'll be addressing with my kick ass therapist - and have become quite friendly with tequila and whiskey. Tequila plus whiskey plus baked goods - sometimes all in the same night, and sometimes all at 3 am - make life bearable.

Okay, tequila fueled ramble over. Love to you all.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A purpose driven life

I was watching “The Early Show” yesterday, and they featured an interesting piece on gossip. Apparently – as generations of women have known, but I guess academic researchers have nothing better to study – gossiping makes a person feel better about her own life.

Sharing good news – pregnancies, marriages, engagements, births – resulted in good feelings for the gossips. It's likely there won't be any good news to share about my life again, which makes me pretty damned sad.

Sharing bad news – such as, ahem, a person’s eighth miscarriage – caused the gossips to feel better about their own lives. It seems that my life brings bad news galore.

Just when I thought my life had no purpose, “The Early Show” gave me one – I am a reason for (most) other people to feel better about themselves. Yay.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

in mourning

Tuesday was - bar none - the worst day of my life (and I've had some pretty shitty days). I thank you all so much for your words of support. It helps to know that people - strangers, even - have us in their thoughts.

But let's back up, so I can tell my sweet girl's story (sorry it's a bit long, but I have to get it out). She spent much of the day last Sunday enjoying the unseasonably warm weather we've been having. She ran all over the yard, chasing and barking at that damned squirrel - her longtime nemesis - who always happened to be just one step ahead. She sunned herself on the deck. She rolled in the grass. All in all, she had a good day.

It also happened to be a mostly unsupervised day. When she came in in the early evening and vomitted, I didn't think much of it. Dogs puke, ya know? Then she puked a few more times, and the alarm bells slowly started going off in my head. I knew I'd have to bring her in to work with me the next day, but I still didn't think it was serious - we've seen a TON of pukey dogs lately, and with medications and TLC they all recovered without a problem. She didn't seem terribly comfortable though, as she kept pacing and coming in and out. I thought that maybe I should bring her to the emergency clinic, but wrote it off as overreacting. Those of us who work in the veterinary field sometimes imagine the worst for our own pets. I woke up sometime between three and four in the morning, and went to check on her. She seemed to be resting a bit more comfortably, but there were numerous spots of vomit throughout the living room. I kept an eye on her until my office opened, and then dropped her off there so I could clean up the pukey house before work.

I was pretty worried about a foreign body obstruction, based on her symptoms. A series of xrays seemed to confirm it, so just before lunch we decided to open her up and do an exploratory. While she was getting prepped, I decided to grab a quick bite since it was sure to be a long day of surgery, recovery and aftercare. I had just taken my food out of the microwave when my boss came in to the break room and said "You need to get her to a specialist." Apparently, she spewed bloody diarrhea all over the place after intubation. Pure panic overtook me. The doctors woke her up and off I went to the specialist. She never quite woke up, though, not that I saw. The specialist decided to admit her and run some more diagnostics, and then to go ahead with the exploratory because they thought they saw a foreign body on the ultrasound. I spoke to the surgeon afterwards, who explained that they didn't actually find a foreign body, but it seemed she had Hemorrhagic GastroEnteritis (HGE), which could be medically managed. He said she woke up just fine, and was resting with sedation and pain relief.

At this point I thought the worst part of all of this would be dealing with a large healing incision, and paying for a surgery that proved unnecessary. I called Monday night before bed to check on her - about 10pm, I think, and the tech said she was doing great and had been out for a short walk. I decided not to visit her because I didn't want her to get too excited and think she was coming home.

Tuesday, I rolled out of bed and called again to check on her and to my surprise, was informed that she struggled all night. She had been doing great, the doctor said, until about midnight. She then had a large seizure and was in a semi-conscious state. I almost had a panic attack right there, but I pulled it together enough to jump in the car and go see her. I spent an hour with her, petting her and telling her how much I love her. It broke my heart to see her like that - my sweet, crazy, enthusiastic about everything and everyone pup, just lying there, barely blinking, just giving the occasional groan.

Throughout the morning she continued to decline, having seizure after seizure, vomitting, having explosive, hemorrhagic diarrhea despite IV anti-seizure and anti-nausea/diarrhea meds. Her neurological symptoms worsened - her pupils were unevenly dilated and it seemed that she was unable to control her eyes at all. She was also unable to maintain her blood sugar, despite IV dextrose.

Nothing they were doing helped. The doctor in charge of her case said they could try a few more things but he wasn't too hopeful (he suspected a stroke), and it would have cost upwards of $8000 (in addition to the $2000 for the surgery). I decided to give her another few hours to see if anything improved at all. Nothing did.

I decided to pick her up and bring her back to my office for euthanasia. I just couldn't stomach the thought of her taking her last breath in the place where she was so so sick. I wanted to bring her home, to her friends and a familiar environment.The only way they could get her to stop convulsing for the ride was to give her a paralytic normally used to induce anesthesia (which didn't do anything for the cause of the seizures, just prevented her muscles from spasming). I felt - still feel - like a complete scumbag for letting money influence my decision, but we are BROKE (and trying to save for treatment) and the thought of her suffering any more while we tried shots in the dark destroyed me.

That car ride was the most difficult thing I have ever done. I tried to be soothing to her, but she was struggling to breathe and with each labored breath, I died a little inside. Hubby met me at my office and together we said goodbye to our sweetie. I still can't believe she's not coming home. My heart has broken a thousand times this week - every time I think I see her shadow or hear her collar it hits me all over again: She's fucking dead! I can't sleep because every time I close my eyes, I see her. Oh, and then we got to go find out that our baby had died. Yay.

I wish I would have done so many things differently - supervised her more in the yard, brought her in to the emergency vet late Sunday, brought her to a different specialist, gone to see her after her surgery, made different decisions about her care, given her more time to pull through. But she's dead - dead! I can't fucking wrap my brain around it - and I can't change anything about it. I just hate that her last days were spent so very ill, getting cut open and handled by strangers and feeling so fucking shitty. I'm haunted by it. I was her mama, and I failed her, just as I failed Ocho and all the others before him.

I had accepted - expected - that things probably weren't going well with the pregnancy. I was somewhat prepared for the horrible encounter with the dildocam, and the growing realization that being an eight time loser means I will probably never get to have what I want so badly. I just never imagined it would be two hours after I watched my dog die. I didn't know that I could cry as much as I have this past week and not run out of tears, that I could hurt so terribly and not just die.

My dog is dead. My baby is dead. I fail at life.

Oh sweet Lulu, you were the best cuddle buddy I could ever have. The bed feels so empty without you. I'll miss your butt wags, your face licks, your sniff downs and snorts and snores, your huge personality stuffed in that little body. You loved everyone - and everyone loved you - and if I could have just half the enthusiasm you had for everything, I'd be just fine. I'm so very sorry you suffered. I love you.

PS - Papa wanted to kill that squirrel for you, but I thought you'd like it better if Big John got him instead. Here's hoping (but we all know you were the better hunter!).

BTW, this post will totally out me to some peeps I know IRL, and I just don't give a damn.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

white flag

Okay, universe.

It seems you're pretty determined to keep me miserable.

I'm tired of fighting it, of trying to pursue happiness.

Nothing has worked - acupuncture, change of diet, herbs, anti-anxiety meds, anti-depressants, therapy, exercise. I even gave up on the idea of conceiving without medical intervention.

So I surrender. I accept it. Misery is my path. You win.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

and that's that

Dead dog, dead baby.

Crazy town, here I come (but first I'll be making a stop in Drunksville).

Taking the train to crazy town.....


My ultrasound is this afternoon. I'm not too optimistic about that since I've been bleeding and my nausea has basically disappeared.

In the meantime, my poor dog is in a coma in a specialist hospital. (I'll post more about that if I can actually get on a computer instead of typing on my phone). It's not looking too good for her either.

So today could be the day I get to put my sweet girl to sleep and find out that my utesaurus has eaten another baby. I have a feeling I'm going to be taking a long trip to crazy town....

Whoever said "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" must have been one lucky son of a bitch.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Ocho update: Still spotting, though it varies from nothing to almost worrisome, depending on the hour (this hour, it’s almost worrisome). I’m pretty nauseous as well. I’ve done some quick consulting with Dr. Google, and he assures me that it is quite common for women who are on lovenox and aspirin during pregnancy to have some light bleeding.

My RE assured me that unless it becomes heavy bleeding, I should try not to worry about it (and as we all know, that is easier said than done). I’m still wearing that grin, and trying to keep my mind in a good place, but I have my dark moments.
My real worry is the ultrasound Tuesday. I have NEVER had a good ultrasound. The closest we’ve ever come was Cletus – the ectopic – because even though he was in the wrong place, he was developing like a normal embryo.
I’m scared that we’ll be saying goodbye to The Ocho on Tuesday. I’m really really scared that I’ll have a panic attack before the ultrasound even starts. I’m really really really scared that if the u/s doesn’t go well, I will fall off the precipice of mental well being into a dark hole from which there is no escape.
One day at a time, I guess. For now, I’m still pregnant, and I guess that’s enough.