For Mo

Nadav

He was here. Four years hasn’t changed that, nor could forty.

Sometimes I wish there were rhyme or reason to the universe, but clearly (to me, anyway) there just isn’t.

There’s never going to be a good reason why I got to bring Ike home safely but Mo didn’t get the same chance with Nadav.

Shit doesn’t happen, in life or in death, for reasons that can actually help us deal with the shit that happens.

There isn’t a damn thing I can say that could help Mo feel less alone…but I can remember. Even if it is in the abstract, which of course it is for me, I can remember what I remember, if not what Mo can. And so I shall.

Counting kicks and crying at my desk at work, wondering how the fuck could this possibly be okay, ever….

He was here.

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Bitter Infertiles Returns – With Your Help

You may or may not remember Bitter Infertiles, a podcast about ladyparts.  It was great.  I miss it, every single time I scroll through my podcast subscriptions and see the little Allie Brosh meme-icon.

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Sounds like it’s coming back – though details are TBD.  Please go read Mo’s post, and let her know if you want to be part of the next generation (seewaddeyedidthere) of bitter infertile podcasting. Cristy also has some things to say about the void left without the continuation of this podcast.

Yes, I think there was some drama regarding the fact that at one point, all the hosts were pregnant at once…and then, there weren’t any more episodes.  It was sad.  BUT THERE CAN BE MORE.  Perhaps, and perhaps most likely, orchestrated by people (I should backspace and write women, but if men wanted to be in on it too I think that would be very cool) still in the trenches.

Having a baby via your own body or someone else’s, or adopting, or coming to terms (or not) with living child-free/less, or resolving your infertility in some other way does not render one magically fertile, so I was never personally taken aback by the former hosts’ pregnancies (admittedly, perhaps due in part because Ike was born a few months before the first episode was up). Regardless, I am more than okay with this invaluable resource being revived, in whatever way possible. Bitter infertiles, resolved or not, unite!

October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Despite my high hopes of having written something other than Dear Baby Ikes by now, I’ve…not.  I can’t even remember if I wrote anything at all last year on October 15th, but without going back to check, I suspect not.

I don’t feel the need to retell my story of loss here today (though I should recreate an About page or the like).  Suffice it to say that four miscarriages over five years or so makes for a very long story to tell. I do tell it when it seems to be the right thing to do, but this year it doesn’t feel like it’s my own story that weighs heaviest on my mind. Stuff has been rather…ugly, lately.  Not only for me; a friend’s marriage and a long-term relationship between two other friends both fell apart recently, with no solid indication in either case whether there’s even a chance for them to be put back together. Humpty Fucking Dumpty. That’s not what this day is actually about, of course, but for me that kind of grief touches very close to the sort grief with which I do have more experience. I’ve written previously here and there about the impact of my losses and how I did and didn’t deal with them on my marriage.  I’m not sure I have much new to say about it now, and while I logically know I’m not the only one who probably seems to struggle more than most (at least it seems that way to me), I will never be one to spout platitudes about how it only made us stronger, closer, better as a couple.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to look back with more perspective and see it that way, but I guess I’m still not far enough removed. Someday, I hope.

I always hate this time of year, anyway, mostly because my first miscarriage happened in September, but the way the changes in the daylight and the trees and the seasons always coincide never fails to leave me with a months-long hangover of remembered grief.  Last year I felt a little bit better equipped than usual to cope.  Having a baby will do that, at least in my super-scientific sample size of exactly one.  We even took Ike to the gathering at a local park organized by a local Face2Face group (find one in your area here).  He’s older this year, obviously, and the 7 pm International Wave of Light gets dangerously close to interfering with his bedtime, and he’s got a new tooth coming through, so I’m not going to try to take him to the park this year.  For other reasons, too, it simply is not as appealing to me right now.  The healing vibe has faded, through no fault at all of the organizer or the group, but for me…I just can’t do it this year.

What I have been able to do of late, is reach out and make connections with a couple of women I ordinarily am not very close with, who now unfortunately have their own history with pregnancy loss.  These are more real-life more-than-acquaintances/Face.book friends, but not members of the online ALI community, so in reaching out I did have a bit more trepidation that they wouldn’t be open to talking about it, that I’d end up hurting feelings more than I would be able to help. Thankfully that wasn’t the case in either situation, and both seemed somewhat relieved or at least touched and not hurt that I’d brought up the subject seemingly out of nowhere.  Their stories aren’t mine to tell; I could probably do so making them anonymous, but that isn’t really the point I want to make today.  I find it quite hard to articulate the gratitude I have for the ability to reach out and make those connections.  Like we often say, it’s not a club anyone wants to join, and there is of course nothing about their losses that actually makes me happy, but I am so very glad to have felt brave enough to reach out and offer to just listen, if nothing else.  It’s not something I could have ever done without having lived my own bit of hell. The community of ALI bloggers has been an unending and ever-present source of support when I’ve needed it (and hopefully I’ve been able to lend support back as well), and it felt rather amazing to take the risk and extend that support rather spontaneously to women who probably have no idea that an ALI community exists.  Paying it forward, I hope.

So that is my take on October 15th this year.  As you remember the babies that aren’t here with you or with your loved ones, look around and take the risk of reaching out.  Bet that saying something is going to help someone much more than saying nothing.  There will be many names on my mind this evening as I light my candles, and while I’d never wish for the list to grow, I hope that those grieving can have the tiniest bit of comfort knowing that they aren’t the only ones who will never forget.

Twenty Questions

Mkay, so I started this last night with the intention of just typing and not editing anything, but I faltered halfway through and didn’t finish it – here we go (again)!

What was the last thing you threw in the garbage/recycling?

Paper towels in the bathroom (at work) after washing my hands.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

Don’t have an iPod and not sure how to even retrieve that info from my iPhone (where I have the most music), if it’s even possible.  I generally just leave it on shuffle/random and skip past songs I don’t feel like listening to.  It’s a silly way to listen to music when I could make actual playlists, but I am indecisive and lazy about organization of…most things, but I liken it to the way I also enjoy scanning through the radio stations on a commute every once in a while, just to see if I’ll hear a song I hadn’t thought of in a long time.  Radio in my city generally blows, though, so I don’t often get that lucky.  The song I play most, though, is on CD – Muse’s Madness.  Ike used to fall asleep in the car to it all the time when he was tiny, and I still try it when he gets fussy while I’m driving, but it doesn’t work much anymore.

What is your favorite quote?

I have many regrets, and I’m sure everyone does.  The stupid things you do, you regret…if you have any sense, and if you don’t regret them, maybe you’re stupid.  ~Katharine Hepburn

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Pretty much all of them, but if I had to pick the worst, I’d say cleaning the bathroom.  Things are awfully dusty around here, too.

What is your favorite form of exercise?

The closest thing to exercise that I manage is yoga.  I wouldn’t say that I have a practice outside of snatching up Groupons for all the new studios that keep cropping up all over the ‘burbs here.  I am, however, signed up to run a Warrior Dash in August.  I should probably start thinking about training a little bit for that, maybe. Soon.

What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?

Weekdays, arriving at my parents’ house to pick Ike up, and getting that big smile when he sees me.  Weekends, lying in bed as long as I can after waking up and listening to baby babble, having our nonsense chats.  Saturday is my favorite day of the week, year round, and I love spring, so let’s say May.  When green things start poking up out of the ground and flowers start budding and blooming, I feel better.  To put that all together, I’d say waking up on a Saturday in May, windows open to let in the scent of the lilacs outside the bedroom.  Can’t wait to do that with Ike this year.

What is on your bedside table?

A lamp, a Kindle reading light that I designated a night light, the copy of Anna Karenina I’ve been trying to finish since…I think I was still pregnant (!), and a stack of Ike’s books.  Right now, there are Goodnight Moon, Runaway Bunny, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a Cleveland Indians book, and a couple Sesame street books about numbers and shapes.  Also usually a glass of water. Surely a good deal of dust.

What is your favorite body part?

On me?  Years ago I would have said my hair, but since about three months after Ike was born it’s been shedding like crazy, so for now I guess I’d have to go with my feet.  As far as feet go, they’re pretty not bad.  Neglected, being near the end of winter now, but a pedicure is within sight!

Would you use the power of invisibility for good or evil? Elaborate.

I can’t imagine not getting a little evil with it, at least.  Hopefully I wouldn’t have to choose absolutely between the two, and could use it for a lot of good and a little evil?  Fund some Batman-type do-gooding, or something like that.  Force the most fortunate to help the least.

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

Probably somewhere in the 23-25 range.  Finishing school, falling in love, getting married.  Good times.

What is the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?

Pay off all our debt.  Depending on the jackpot, maybe I could still make a serious donation to March of Dimes or something similar (would require much research) and take a serious vacation.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Consistently atrocious grammar.  Occasional fuckups that don’t cause actual confusion, I can generally deal.  But COME ON.  It’s not that hard to get the basics right, most of the time.

If you could know the answer to any question, what would it be?

This is a hard one.  Since I’ve come to terms with my atheism/agnosticism, I’m much more okay with not knowing things that are just unknowable.  Everything I can think of, like…will Ike be happy and okay even after Mike and I are dead and gone, leads me to more awful possibilities where that wouldn’t be an applicable question.  Yeah, I don’t like this idea!  I’m going to cop out with this:  will I die content?

At what age did you become an adult?

Probably 23, when I graduated and officially moved out on my own after school (even though I basically had lived with Mike for a year or more already) and got a “real” job related to my degree.

Recommend a book, movie, or television show in three sentences or less.

The Wire.  If you haven’t seen it, go on a binge – watch as many as you can at a time, and you will not regret it.  It’s tragic at the same time as it’s hilarious and thought-provoking.  Good, good TV – and I even like some bad TV now and then!

What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

Not nearly as many things as I did that SHOULD have gotten me into trouble!  I was a pretty wild teenager, but I was extremely crafty at not getting caught.  I like to think of it as being young and stupid, but not quite recklessly stupid.  Sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll – standard, stereotypical stuff.  Without going into much detail (here anyway, if you ask privately I will divulge more), the one time I nearly got into actual legal trouble involved an ex-boyfriend so dumb he admitted to a drug abuse charge in order to report drugs as stolen (it wasn’t me!).  Thankfully, there ended up being no juvenile record (nor is there an adult one!) to have sealed, but only due to me being lucky and/or smart enough to do dumb things in intelligent ways.

What was the first album you bought with your own money?

I’m not sure, honestly, if I ever have, as impossible as it sounds. I know I requested some things as gifts when I was a kid (NKOTB, etc.), but I have never been a big purchaser of music.  Most things were given to me by friends who made copies of their own for me.  I may have bought a copy of STP’s No. 4 after I lost the one my brother gave me for a birthday, I think.  Love that album, still.  Even when I fall in love with a song, I can’t justify spending money on it when I know there are ways to hear it for free (I know, the artists should and do hate people like me).

If someone wrote a book about you, what would be the title?

… And She Got Away With It, Too

What story do you wish your family would stop telling about you?

Probably the childhood one from when I was apparently regressing a bit or being upset about not being the baby – when my (younger) sister was learning to cut her own food, I was being stubborn about cutting mine, even though I obviously had the ability.  She’ll still offer to cut my pancakes for me whenever the opportunity arises.

True or false: The unicorn is the greatest mythical creature. State your case.

No way.  When I think mythical creature, the first thing I think of is Cerberus.  Three-headed dog!  Actually, I have a hard time suspending belief; I don’t get into sci-fi very much at all, and I like fiction that is at least possible, if not plausible.  Still – any one of these creatures sounds more interesting and intimidating than a unicorn to me!  Plus, the whole thing about only virgins being able to capture a unicorn (yeah, I totally had to look that up, too)? Gag.

A day late and way more than a dollar short….

Yesterday I was featured on PAIL’s Monday Shapshot.  Here are a couple more photos I took during the same banana breakfast on Saturday morning:

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So that was a fun look back at what was a pretty nice weekend.  This week’s pretty much turned to crap already, frankly.  This morning as I was driving down the highway to drop Ike off at my parents’ house before work, a little star in my windshield that we had “repaired” a while ago decided it was high time to get crackin’.  Literally.  Not sure how well you can see it here, but it split almost all the way across, near the bottom of the windshield.

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Was actually kind of cool to see happen, but it would have been a lot cooler if I didn’t have to pay to have it replaced.  I’d even settle for the middle-of-the-road-cool of having a clue as to how I’m going to pay to have it replaced. Terrible timing, as all unforeseen financial obligations are, I suppose. Motherfucking MEH.  I had really been hoping to purchase the digital files, or at the very least a few more nice, larger prints from Ike’s six month photo session, but it looks like I can pretty much kiss that idea goodbye.  Breaks my heart a little bit, but clearly having a structurally sound windshield on the car in which he’s most often transported is more important.

I would really like to get back to actually writing more often here.  Too many months have gone by in which I’ve barely posted anything beyond my letter to Baby Ike, and while I’m still amazed that I even get to do such a thing, I can do better.  I hope, anyway.  I don’t know if it’s some seasonal affective-type stuff, and hopefully not delayed PPD, but I am feeling not so chipper lately.  Not that chipper is a word I’d actually use to describe myself even in the best of moods, but you know what I mean, I’m sure.   I probably just need more sleep (and to write a post about that, at some point, too). Thankfully, PAIL also has the perfect meme to get me going again, at least with posting SOMETHING, if not actual writing – I have 20 questions to answer, hopefully tonight.  Please feel free to harass me if you don’t see them, along with answers, posted soon!

One Year

I wanted to put this up again, as I am thinking today especially of Mo and Nadav and Baby-lon 5, and of Marwil and Samuel, and of Anna and her little one, and of all babylost mamas.
I am still angry that your lives are not now as they were once imagined, and I promise to never, ever forget your children.  There are times that I feel so very guilty for having been lucky.  I wish that there were something, anything, that I could do that would actually help make it better.  Instead, I abide with you, always.

Stuffs

Health stuff:  I took Ike for the ultrasound of his noggin this morning. Of course it will be a few days before the radiologist reads the images and gets the information back to the pediatrician’s office, so we don’t really know anything yet, other than that he is still the offspring of a big-headed father, so I am not too nervous about that.  Just glad that his fontanel is still open enough that they could do an ultrasound and not have to knock him out for an MRI.  Still no word from the hepatologist’s office in Cincinnati about the latest round of bloodwork. Not sure if I should call them and ask, or assume they just wanted it as a new baseline and I’ll hear from them after we repeat it next month.  Again, not too nervous about it since the doctor was so reassuring.

Halloween stuff:  Our Beggar’s Night (do they still call it that, or is it back to Trick or Treat?) was postponed due to the icky weather, so we’ll be dressing Ike up to hand out candy on Saturday instead of last night.  We did go to a friend’s kids Halloween party on Friday, but it was so warm in the house that he only had his Tigger outfit on for a few minutes.  Didn’t even get a picture, so we’ll have to try that and the panda outfit both on Saturday.  He’ll surely drool and/or spit up at least enough to justify that wardrobe change.

Mike and I did go to an adults’ party on Saturday.  He recycled his Dick Cheney mask from several years ago, and I cobbled together a Toddlers & Tiaras costume using my sister’s tutu from the box of old dance recital costumes in my parents’ basement, the tiara from my bachelorette party, pigtails, excessive (for me) eye makeup and one of Ike’s future sippy cups.  Plus my I FUCK LIKE A GIRL t-shirt because, well, seems legit, right?

There was beer, and plenty of it:

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I’ve misplaced my sippy cup, but I think I like this better!

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Aren’t we cute?

Supply stuff:  have been having a fairly significant dip in my pumping output, and have been trying many things to get back on track. Thankfully Ike has only had to have one or less partial bottles of formula on really low days to tide him over.  I hate that he’s had any, but it’s not enough to diminish the benefits of breastmilk, I’m sure.  I ended up breaking down and buying a new pump.  The one my friend loaned me had already been through three babies, so I think I was lucky to have gotten as far as I did with it.  The new one is helping, though I’m still not ending up with much of a surplus every day.  I think it’s partially hormonal (maybe my period is about to come back? Eeeeeeeek!), and partially stress-related, and was exacerbated at first by a failing pump.  I started calcium/magnesium supplements, which I should have done while I was off dairy anyway, have been trying to add an extra pumping session at work whenever I can, and am drinking Mother’s Milk tea like a fiend until my fenugreek and blessed thistle arrive via Amazon.  Hoping I’ll be able to ramp back up to get a few extra bottles in the fridge again on a regular basis.  They never hang around long enough to be worth putting into the freezer anymore, so I just try to rotate FIFO at my parents’ house, and anything left on a Friday, of which there was almost none last Friday, can come home for the weekend, letting Mike take an overnight shift on occasion.

Development stuff:  my mom said that Ike’s been showing off a new consonant, and it’s M!  He’s been saying MEH, which cracks me up, because…that’s so my kid.  Not that I really think he means it like I would like to interpret it, but funny all the same.

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So perhaps there’s a chance that Mama will end up being his first word after all.  I haven’t yet actually heard him say this myself, but I can’t imagine that my mom would tell tall tales.  She also noted that he enjoyed seeing his first snowflakes yesterday.  They usually walk her dog every morning, but since it was so miserable outside they just took her out in the yard instead of taking the stroller around the block. A few flakes fell on his face and he smiled.  Hopefully we won’t have a totally snow-free winter like we did last year, and he’ll be able to really enjoy some snow as he gets bigger over the next several months.

That’s all for now, I suppose.  Oh!  Tonight I get to go meet and visit with my friend’s sister’s newborn baby girl.  I think she’s only threeish weeks old, and I cannot wait.  I have a total newborn addiction anymore.  So grateful to be able to enjoy things like this now.  There was a time not so very long ago when I would never consider doing such a thing, because it would just have made me too jealous and upset.  Yet now I’m excited and looking forward to hearing her birth story and passing on some cloth diaper geekery (and supplies).  Fun!

Hope you’re all faring well if you were in or near Sandy’s path.