Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm Angry

I'm angry. Incredibly angry. That combined with overwhelming sadness seem to be the only two emotions I'm capable of expressing over the past few days. I hate going out in public because I will inevitably see someone who is happy and I will get angry. Last night we went to dinner with my brother and his wife. About halfway through the night the anger set in. I made it home before the tears started but the ultimate result was that I was up all night, angry at myself, the world, everything. I don't feel that anyone has a right to say anything to me about it. Well meaning friends and family members will ask me how I'm doing, or god forbid, offer up one of those meaningless platitudes (I'm sooo sorry) and it will all start again.

My husband is just as sad and angry as I am. A major part of me feels that he has no right to feel that way. He didn't have to go through it. I did. I understand it was just as much his child as it was mine, but rational feelings are few and far between these days. I am angry at the hundreds of miscarriage support websites out there. They're all about grieving and letting go of a baby you lost. I didn't lose a baby. It was some sort of misshapen corpse. It wasn't some perfectly formed little angel that I could have buried and built a shrine to. It was chunks of dead tissue. That makes me angry.

I am angry at the women who tell me about their miscarriage at 5 weeks, or 6 weeks, that resulted in a a heavier than normal period. They didn't labor on a toilet and sift through what was left of their dreams to find out what had gone wrong. They built shrines to their babies. They have little angel baby references in their signatures on miscarriage message boards. I am angry that I'm scared to try again. I'm even angrier that my husband is scared to try again. It makes me angrier yet that my mother and grandmother tell me to never try again. I want more kids. I want them sooner rather than later. This has been a horrible experience. I can't give up just because of this.

My first reaction has been to crawl in a bottle of wine and spend the next six months drunk. I can't do that. I have the Bird to take care of. During the day I take care of her, but at night, I get angry. Very, very, very, angry.

Monday, November 21, 2011

And life goes on . . .

Its Monday morning. The husband is back at work. The Bird is sitting next to me, still in her PJs and house shoes, and we're watching the Today show. I am dressed. My hair is fixed and I have makeup on. I am barely bleeding anymore. There is no more cramping. The physical part of this is almost over. I don't know where I am with the emotional part.

I have shed so many tears over the past several days. I wanted a real live baby with my husband out of this. I didn't get that. I feel very selfish and immature for whining about not getting something I wanted. There are worse things out there. I'm alive and healthy. I have access to modern sanitation and healthcare. Unlike other women in the world, the chances that I will have a long-term physical affect from this miscarriage is slim. I have the Bird. I have a step-daughter on the way. I have a wonderful and supportive husband. I have a house to live in, food to eat, clothes to wear, and enough money left over to buy crap I don't need. Even with all of that in mind, I'm still sad.

I'm done crying. At some point it no longer helps. I know that kids need to see their parents dealing with difficult situations and the Bird definitely knows whats been going on, but I've done my best so she doesn't have to see me at my worst. She's the sort of kid that has alot of empathy and when I cry she gets upset herself. This morning she has alternated playing with sitting next to me and telling me "Don't worry mommy, I'll take care of you." There have been lots of maple syrup-laden kisses.

This morning I need to call the OB's office and let them know that the miscarriage completed. I'm also going to ask how long I need to wait before I come in to have an IUD inserted. We've decided that we want to wait awhile. We have alot of things going on over the next eight months and after all of this we no longer want to add a pregnancy to the mix. I've settled on an IUD mainly because I despise hormonal birth control as well as barrier methods. I've used the Fertility Awareness Method with much success before, but I'm just not up for any surprises right now. There is still one copper IUD on the market and I'm interested to see if its an option. Tomorrow its back to "work" for me. (I volunteer one day a week at the local nursing home) With it comes all of the inevitable questions. I will survive. Somehow.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Today I would be 12w0d. "Would" being the key word.

With the Bird I spotted until I was past 6 weeks then it stopped. With this pregnancy I spotted until a little past 6 weeks and stopped. A little over a week ago at 10w6d I went to the bathroom and noticed some bright red spotting. I called my midwife. My first midwife appointment was at 11w2d which was last Tuesday. We went down and she did her prenatal protocol. We couldn't find a heartbeat with the doppler which isn't in and of itself a concern at 11 weeks but I could tell by her manner that something wasn't good. She asked me to make an appointment with my OB and have a sonogram just to confirm that everything was ok. We had a sonogram at 7w1d and found a heartbeat. Statistically if a heartbeat is found between seven and eleven weeks of gestation there is a nearly 90% chance that the pregnancy will continue uncomplicated. I made an appointment at my OB's the following morning. I explained what was going on, the spotting and general concern, and he agreed to an ultra sound. During the ultra sound it became apparent that there was no heartbeat. I looked over at my husband who was smiling ear to ear because he was seeing the baby but he doesn't have enough experience with ultrasound to see what I was seeing. Our baby had died.

After the doctor re-entered the room he explained that for some reason our child's heart had stopped beating at around 9 weeks of gestation. After a fetus dies it starts shrinking, I know that the child died shortly before I started spotting at 10w6d. We decided that I would not have a medically managed miscarriage unless it was indicated that I was not going to go on my own. That was last Wednesday. I continued to spot. That night my husband stayed home and dealt with his grief while I went to the bar and downed one scotch, one bourbon, and one beer (plus about six more beers. Thanks to my wonderful brother for helping me that night) I know it wasn't the best or healthiest decision I've made in my life but running around with a corpse inside of you fucking sucks. I came home and cried myself to sleep with my wonderful husband holding me the entire time. Thursday morning I woke up to the contractor disassembling my main floor bathroom (MY bathroom). This renovation had been planned for sometime and regardless of the situation it had to go on. I had some cramping and it was evident that I was going to complete the miscarriage on my own but I was getting impatient.

Friday at noon my husband, myself, and the Bird drove to the next largest town to us (we live in a very rural area) and went to the health food store where I found some red raspberry leaf tea and blue cohosh to help me along. While at lunch my cramping and bleeding increased so we headed home. I took my first dose of tea with the cohosh infusion at 12:30. By 3 p.m. after my daughter's nap I had to call my grandmother to pick up my daughter. The contractor was still there working on the bathroom. At 4:30 I took another dose. My DH was sleeping (he had been on night shift and had taken off the night before to sit with me) I was cooking dinner and cramping pretty good when I felt a *pop!* similar to what I felt when my water broke the first time. I now know it was the separation of the gestational sac from my body. There was  a rather violent rush of blood. I said to myself "ok, I get it, I'm going." I went downstairs to the bathroom. My cramping and bleeding increased significantly. I stayed on the toilet for nearly an hour and I passed a clot about the size of a fifty cent piece. I felt a little better, put on a pad, and went upstairs to wake my DH. I told him what was going on and that I needed someone with me. Soon I had to go back downstairs and sit back on the toilet. While on the toilet I stopped feeling cramps and started feeling timeable contractions that were coming about 90 seconds apart. I tried to keep my mind off of things by reading my google reader feed on my phone and playing The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap on my DS. My DH was downstairs the entire time. At around 6:30 p.m., with the contractor on the other side of the wall,  I had the urge to push.  I (expelled, gave birth to, got rid of, whatever) a partial gestational sack and fetus about the side of a plum.

*Warning* Things get graphic from this point on. Please do not click any links if disturbing images bother you.

I told myself I wasn't going to look, but the (fetus, tissue, baby, etc. I'm still having issues with terminology.) fell on a piece of toilet paper and curiosity got the best of me. I retrieved it for a look. I put it in a container and filled it with water to wash away the blood. My first issue was that it smelled like death. Not rotten. But like death. I used to work in a mortuary as a hairstylist and death has a very distinctive aroma. Then I got a better look. It was obvious why I miscarried. The fetus showed signs of both diprosopus and anencephaly. Both are serious neural tube defects. Both generally come with severe heart defects. Neither have much survivability outside of the womb. Regardless of everything, I gave birth to a misshapen corpse, in a nasty bathroom (it was DH's bathroom, we all know how boy governed bathrooms are) by myself, with a contractor on the other side of the wall. It FUCKING SUCKED. My contractions and bleeding subsided almost immediately.

Two days later I am physically healing. My bleeding is about what a normal period would be. Emotionally I am suffering a hormone dump. My midwife warned me about this. I'm teary, angry, indifferent, everything. We live in a small town and one of the workers in the grocery store felt the need to pursue me with platitudes in the middle of the store. I told him I didn't want to talk about it but he persisted. I ended up yelling at him that it was none of his goddmaned business. (woo me, now I'm the crazy woman). I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to deal with it. It sucks. My toddler has been at my family's off and on since this started. Tomorrow I resolve to be people. My husband is the most awesome person on the planet. We will try again. It will be awhile before it happens. Right now we're going to focus on his daughter coming to live with us and the toddler we have. I thank god I miscarried before we got to the 20 week sonogram and had to make a terrible decision. The sort of thing that Dr. George Tiller would have helped us with prior to his murder. I don't know what I would have done in that situation. Everything happens for a reason, but still. It fucking sucks.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Toddler to Teenager in a Matter of Months

I think I mentioned before that once I got married, I would have a sixteen-year-old step-daughter. That happened this last Monday (yay!) Said step-daughter lives in Germany near Berlin with her mother. Her mother and my new husband were high-school sweethearts. She was a German exchange student and he was the president of the German club. After graduation he joined the Air Force and was subsequently stationed in Germany. She and he got back together, got married and had what the Big Furry affectionately calls his Teufelkin. R was born in Germany and moved to the U.S. when she was a toddler. Later after Big Furry and her mom divorced, she was moved back to Germany. Big Furry hasn't physically seen her since she was seven years old. A few years ago R and her dad reconnected on Facebook. I've talked to my new step-daughter a handful of times on Facebook and I stalk her regularly. She seems like a normal teenager. Right now she's going through a couple of major teenage things. One is that she's going through the "I hate my mom!" phase. That's normal. The other major thing is she's having a lot of trouble in school. Her main issue is that her proficiency in German isn't what is needed to excel in the German system. Big Furry says she speaks "Dinglish" (I guess its the German form of 'Spanglish' that we get around here with Mexican immigrants) She has been in Germany for several years but this is her first year in a wholly German speaking high school. As a result she's failing. Miserably. I talked to her this morning and she told me that she very much wants to finish school and become a Pferdewirtin. She wasn't sure what the word for it was in English. My German is just bad enough that I can tell its something to do with working with horses, i.e. a groom, or trainer. Her solution to her "I hate my mom!" problems as well as the school issues is to move back to the good ol' US of A and come live with dad. In fact this morning she told me unequivocally, "When I turn 18 I'm coming to live with you and dad!"

*Insert freak out here*

My first reaction to this is to hyperventilate. I have NO IDEA WHAT TO DO AS THE STEP-PARENT OF A TEENAGER! *faint*

I was in middle school when she was born. I am only barely biologically capable of having been her mother.  Realistically, there is no way I would oppose this so long as Big Furry and her mom can work it out. She seems like a good kid and talking to her she seems level headed enough, but, she's a teenage girl. I was one. I KNOW. Big Furry is going to have to be the parent. I'm more than happy to provide moral support and feed her but I'm scared. There are several things to think about. One, she has a boyfriend. She's going to have to make a decision there about what she wants to do. Two, socially and legally, things are quite different here. There she can smoke pot, buy and drink beer and wine, and have sex with her twenty-two-year-old boyfriend without any interference from the law. Here, all of those things are illegal and if she does them, they will get her and others around her in trouble. Three, she lives about thirty minutes outside of Berlin. Its a city. A big one. Here there are a whopping seven thousand people in the ENTIRE county. The high school here is adequate and if she wants to work with horses we can easily get her foot in the door with that. We have friends that are both large animal vets and horse breeders. But then again, we have all of the trappings of small Midwestern towns: A socially homogeneous population that tends to shun outsiders. The high school is very cliquish. She could easily be just as miserable here as she is there, only for different reasons. She can't come here and decide that in six weeks she's homesick, or that she hates it, and buy another international plane ticket and go back. If she's here, she's here for an entire school year.

This coming Sunday there is to be a Skype conversation with all parties involved. There are lots of things to think about. There are legal issues with international custody arrangements, financial considerations, and trying to figure out what is best for both families. Big Furry has been so accommodating, accepting, and loving towards the Bird that I owe the same to him when it comes to his child. He has been caught off guard by the return to parenting a toddler. I can see where he's coming from, except he's parented a toddler before. My only experience with teenagers is having been one. If she does come to stay with us, it will be right around the time that this baby is due. I would love and appreciate any advice that anyone has on the subject. If you read this blog, post it far and wide. I'm standing on a new frontier. Hopefully its going to be a new and exciting adventure in family building and not a disaster waiting to happen. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tomorrow is the Big Day! + Long Update about Life

Life has gone insane the past few days. I'm getting married tomorrow, on Halloween, at a bar, with costumes and karaoke. My future mother-in-law has gone from sweetest lady on the planet to super-psycho "you're stealing my baby boy" lady. I'm nursing a chest cold and today I have to make our wedding cake and our flowers, finish his costume, and decorate the venue. (Procrastinate much?) Tomorrow after we take the Bird trick-or-treating we'll head out and tie the knot.

As of today I am 9w0d. I started this pregnancy thirty pounds less than I did when I was pregnant the last time. So far I have lost one pound . . . and none of my clothes fit! I can wear nothing that zips. With the Bird I didn't show until I was nearly 8 months along. Here I'm just a smidge over two months and I've got something that resembles a pudge. With the Bird I had no nausea. That's out the window with this one. I'm not miserable but I'm also not incredibly pleased with walking around the grocery store wondering if I'm going to throw up behind the canned goods. I've also had incredible mood swings. Its possible that the mood swings are due to the situation. (Two people who have known one another less than six months and who already have children finding themselves with what is essentially an unplanned pregnancy) I've been wondering if the increase in symptoms hasn't been a result of the genetic differences between the Big Furry and I. Bird's dad and I came from a very genetically similar background: A small subset of German immigrants that have been interbreeding through three different continents for the past 500 years. Big Furry is an Irish Catholic. (Both of which have my grandmother ready to keel over at any moment) Whereas Bird's dad was maybe 120 lbs soaking wet, Big Furry is just that: Big. Neither of his children weighed less than 9lbs at birth. The pregnancy isn't exactly a secret, in fact probably everyone knows by now (its an incredibly small town) but its not Facebook official yet either. Thats going to happen sometime after the first midwife appointment on November 15th.

Two weeks ago I went to my backup OB. Its the same one I used last time. I found him after I fired Dr. Dick at 37 weeks of gestation. I have severe white coat hypertension. I'd rather be hung over a pit of sharks than sitting in a Dr.'s office. I really appreciate this doctor's approach. He has a very nice "don't scare off the crazy homebirther" attitude. He's the Dr. who said to me last time "This is America, its your body, your decision." A few things have changed since the last time I saw him. He is now the head of the OB department at a new hospital in the same town. He also warned me that he has a partner who does not share his views on homebirth. I had a little bit of spotting, much like last time, and so we had a sonogram to check everything out. As suspected, its a baby, and its right where its supposed to be. As far as he's concerned, he doesn't need to see me until January when its time to do the big sonogram and then again at 36 weeks for a final update before the big day.

Now onto the Bird.

The blogging world first me tthe Bird when I was 31 weeks along. She was a little over five-months-old when I decided to take off for awhile. She is now nearly two-and-a-half-years-old. Her dad left for the army when she was six-months-old. She said "kitty" for the first time around 7 months. She walked at nine months. Her dad got his medical discharge from the army when she was 11-months-old. We ditched the diapers at 15 months. We weaned without much trouble at 16 months. The pull-ups at night went away at 18 months, as did her dad. We've dealt with quite a bit of separation anxiety that pops up once and again. She last saw "daddy in Colorado" at her second birthday party. She calls the Big Furry "daddy" and often worries that he's going to leave if she makes him angry. She has a large vocabulary and rich imagination. She has an imaginary baby kitty named Joann. She dresses herself and has my penchant for drama. She knows her abc's and can count to ten without help. She knows her colors, can unlock a droid phone and launch the random lolcat app, and can surf Netflix on the Xbox to find the documentary "Babies". (We have to watch it at least once a day) She is incredibly excited to be a sister.

For now, thats life in a nutshell. I still want to do a rundown on the piece, but it must wait for a day or two. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A quick check in

This morning's post is going to be quick. I've got company coming at my from all sides and I've got to get my running around done but here's a link to a piece on the new personhood amendment going on the ballot in Mississippi. Legislation like this is dangerous for women and children. I'll post a longer reply once I have time to sit down and digest it all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Im back, and pregnant again!

So. I'm back. My last post was October 15, 2009. Just a little over two years ago. Things now are drastically different. The Bird's dad and I have divorced. He is living several hours away and does not see her. I've gone from working nearly full time in a library at the time of the divorce to returning to SAHM-hood. I am getting married again this coming Monday. Soon I will have a 16-year-old step-daughter who lives in Germany and whom I have never met in person. I am also pregnant! This one was planned-ish. I am going the homebirth route again. There is so much going on but once again I am in a position where blogging will be helpful/possible. I see I still have a whopping five followers. Thanks for sticking around! My goal is one post a day. The Bird is a rambunctious two-and-a-half-year-old who loves kitties more than life itself. She is ├╝ber excited about being a sister. So much has changed in the birthing world: Homebirth is more visible than ever. I'm looking forward to this journey again. I hope my few followers will put out the word and that you'll all come along with me.