A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Miscarriage by Amit Majmudar

I found this poem last night. I liked so much about it-- the author conveys very well the obsession with fecundity that follows the heartbreaking experience of its lack. And the bottlecap reading "Sorry - Try Again" seems like the kind of knife to the gut detail that must come from lived experience. I like that kind of metaphor of the mundane. I also appreciated the male view point on this subject--something I still don't quite understand even after living with it for almost three months.

The Miscarriage

Some species can crack pavement with their shoots
to get their share of sun some species lay
a purple froth of eggs and leave it there
to sprinkle tidepools with tadpole confetti
some species though you stomp them in the carpet
have already stashed away the families
that will inherit every floor at midnight
But others don’t go forth and multiply
as boldly male and female peeling the bamboo
their keepers watching in despair or those
endangered species numbered individually
and mapped from perch to oblivious perch

For weeks the world it seemed was plagued
with babies forests dwindling into cradles
rows of women hissing for an obstetrician
babies no one could feed babies received
by accident like misdirected mail
from God so many babies people hired
women to hold them babies babies everywhere
but not a one to name When we got home
the local news showed us a mother with
quintuplets she was suckling them in shifts
a mountain of sheets universally admired
a goddess of fertility her smile
could persuade the skies to rain Her litter
slept ointment-eyed in pink wool caps while Dad
ran his hand through his hair thinking maybe
of money as he stood surveying his
crowded living room his wealth of heartbeats

Pizza and pop that night and there unasked inside
the bottlecap was Sorry—Try Again
you set it down and did not speak of it
the moon flanked by her brood of stars that night
a chaste distracted kiss goodnight that night
your body quiet having spilled its secret
your palms flat on your belly holding holding

Forgive me if I had no words that night
but I was wondering in the silence still
begetting silence whether to console you
if I consoled you it would make the loss
your loss and so we laid beside ourselves
a while because I had no words until
our bodies folded shut our bodies closed
around hope like a book preserving petals
a book we did not open till the morning when
we found hope dry and brittle but intact

- Amit Majmudar (published in the October 2005 issue of Poetry.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kindred Spirits

She had her baby today.

We've been best friends since we were twelve years old. We read all of L.M Montgomery's novels together, and then moved in tandem to Austen and Bronte. We watched The Cutting Edge eight times in a row wrapped in sleeping bags in one or the other's basement, a carton of Phish Food between us.

She sent me Swedish fish and funny notes when I was 18 and in England, my heart broken for the first time. And when I was 19, I cried the whole length of a Greyhound bus trip from NYC to Providence until I could see her and tell her what he'd done.

She taught me to knit our junior year of college. I taught her how to scam drinks off older men.

She married her Navy Doc the morning after I married Lawyer Guy. And still, she was the last person to leave my reception. I gave her the flowers from my wedding to decorate hers.

We started trying for babies two months apart. We joked that we'd have two girls born the same day who would become best friends. Or else a boy and girl who would get married.

I threw her baby shower. It was the last weekend I was pregnant.

She had her baby today.

And I cried.

6:30 a.m.; or, Spring 2010

Break is officially over. I leave in a half hour or so to teach my first class of the new semester, and tomorrow I take my first class.

There's so much I didn't accomplish over the break. There's so much I let fall by the wayside last semester. So even though I don't feel 100% (do I ever?), even though I still have too many days when I want to hide in bed with the covers blocking out the sun, I've got to get moving and get productive.

On the positive side, I tell myself there's no way Spring 2010 can suck as hard as Fall 2009 did. At least I'm only teaching one course now, instead of two.

Happy Thursday, everyone.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What's in a Name?; or, Rewriting the Story

When I started my blog in June, I thought I was acting a little prematurely. After all, who starts blogging about "conception troubles" a mere three months into the process (crazy people, that's who (also, me)). I chose the title "Park Slope Purgatory" because so much of my frustrations at the time stemmed from my neighborhood-- a notoriously child-friendly mecca to attachment parenting in which Lawyer Guy and I purchased a home specifically with the thought of making babies. My single friend who visited from L.A. remarked after wandering the Park Slope streets with me, "I have never seen so many baby strollers in my life." Walking around without one was a kind of Dante-and-Virgil voyage through no-woman's land.

When I got pregnant in October, I considered changing my blog title. Park Slope Paradise had a nice ring to it, and wasn't it heavenly to be pregnant? But something stopped me-- just let me feel a little more secure about this, I thought, before I make any changes. I may have been pregnant but I was, as I described it at the time, provisionally pregnant. It was pregnancy as purgatory, as the perpetual in-between.

Today, this blog is a different place than what I intended it to be. I thought I'd whine here where no one would listen for a few months and then shut it down when I got that BFP. I thought the waiting would end with a positive pregnancy test.

I'm on a different journey than the one I planned. I guess that's the nature of Purgatory--you don't get to decide when it ends. You don't even know what the signposts pointing to the end would look like. You just have to keep walking and hope that eventually--with work and hope and prayers--you'll get to heaven.

So I'm still in Purgatory. I'm caught between motherhood and childlessness, grief and joy. I'm an apparently fertile woman who very likely will hit my TTC anniversary without a healthy pregnancy to show for it. I'm "still young," though also "not as young as I used to be."

But Purgatory is a lot less lonely now that I've found all of you.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Be It Ever So Humble; or, Two Weeks Later


Did you hear that? That is the sound of a relaxed Sloper following two massages, four islands, and ten days away. I am tan(ner, anyway), rested, and ready as I'll ever be for the upcoming semester.

Did you miss me? Because I missed you guys! I missed hearing about your treatments, your pregnancies, your plans. It was good to be gone, but I'm glad to be back.

I'm also glad that I got my period on the trip, just a little. Oh, I cried a bit when I first started spotting and moped on the day she showed up. But unlike my last "period", which may have just been further post d&c spotting, this was unmistakable. (Honestly, I've never bled that much in my life!) I feel like my body is finally back on track, I feel good about where we've been and where we're going, and hopeful about the trip to get there.

I've got some exciting plans for the next few months: health and fitness ideas, school and teaching goals, home improvement projects, and a big-ass 30th birthday in May. It's going to be a good spring, and I'm ready for what comes next.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ship Shape; or, Pulling Up Anchor

First of all, thank you for your encouragement the other day. It was just what I needed.--to know that I'm not alone and these crappy-ass days come to all of us. I was feeling a lot better yesterday and today. I don't know if I just needed to cry it out or if you all cheered me up. Either way, I appreciate your support.

But maybe my good spirits are due to my second piece of news: I'm leaving tomorrow for a 10-day cruise to the Caribbean! I am so excited for this vacation for a number of reasons, not least of which is the misery-inducing weather we've been having in New York recently (Is it just me or is January the most depressing month of the year?) Lawyer Guy and I really need this time to relax and reconnect away from family and job stresses. We'll even stop worrying about baby making, since I'm in the 2ww and any sex we have is strictly fun times only.

So that's the other thing-- I've mostly given up on this cycle, and I'm mostly okay with that. I never got a Peak reading on my monitor. But my temps continued in the low/mid 98s, the most recent temp being 98.4. That's absolutely a post-o for me, but I can't be positive I ovulated, since I wasn't temping the whole cycle and never got the affirmative from the CBEFM.

So--I'm giving up worrying. I'm going to go on my cruise and eat and drink and swim and read and hang out on the beach (with SPF 70 and a large hat, so don't worry about my Irish skin, chickadees). I will do a bit of schoolwork, but I will mostly just have fun and enjoy this wonderful time away. And I'll get my period on the trip, or I won't. I'll deal with the consequences of either when I get back.

So enjoy the heart of January, my dears. I won't be checking your blogs with my usual dedication, but I promise to check back in when I return on the 24th.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back to Zero; or, Crumbling

I'm having a really bad day. Woke up early from upsetting dreams. Lay in bed restlessly reliving the experience of the d&c. Thought about my baby and where I'd be right now if we hadn't lost him or her.

I haven't cried like this in weeks. Everything feels too difficult, too empty. I can't stop thinking about what I've lost and how much I want it back. I can't see a happy future behind the blackness of this moment.

I thought I was doing better. I actually felt proud of myself for getting over that hump of grief and facing the future with optimism. I told myself I was really strong. Better at dealing with this than most people.

But I'm not. I'm weak and pathetic. And sad.

And tired.

Edited to add: Thank you. Your words help so much.

And I just noticed the date. The 11th. 2 months. Fuck.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Two Churches; or, Scylla and Charybdis

When I lived on the Upper East Side, I joined a church. It's a beautiful church on Park Ave-- early 19th century, with a white marble facade and long, wide steps stretching down to the sidewalk. It has gold leaf and mosaics on the huge, vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows, gleaming brass, and a spectacular organ. It's one of the grandest churches I've even seen in this country.

It also has an active and vibrant population of young, professional singles and couples and a wonderful music program. The professional choir is superb and the children's choirs serious. But the choir I enjoyed most was made up of amateurs experienced with choral singing, and it sang at the 7:30 pm Mass on Sunday nights.

That's the choir I joined five years ago. I made some wonderful friends, sang some beautiful music, stretched my voice, and felt both spiritually and musically fulfilled. When I moved to Brooklyn, I continued as a member of my East Side church and continued to sing in the choir.

This September, I decided to take a break from singing. I was very anxious about the time commitment teaching two classes and taking two classes would pose, especially when I unexpectedly had to take over as co-chair of my Junior League committee. The hour-long subway trip to and from the UES to Park Slope was just too much to undertake on Sunday nights, when I needed to be preparing for the week ahead.

Instead, I started attending Mass at the local parish church a few blocks away. It is also very pretty, though on a much more local/normal scale. This parish has an active membership, as well. But unlike the twenty- and thirty-somethings that were my peers at my UES church, the Brooklyn church is full of families. There's a children's softball team and family potluck dinners. And morning masses are packed with parents and their two, three, or four children.

Since my miscarriage, I have oddly (or perhaps understandably?) felt closer to God and more invested in my faith than I had for years previous. I feel certain that I can rely on God for comfort and strength, feel convinced of his wisdom, and feel sure that somehow he will bring me to the family I'm meant to have.

But I have also found it increasingly painful and difficult to attend church. There's a point during the 9:20 mass when the children return from their separate liturgy to rejoin their parents. I stare at my lap, trying not to watch while moms and dads scoop them into their arms and settle them into pews. For the three Sundays after I returned to church following my miscarriage, the priest gave sermons on pregnancy loss, infertility, and stillbirths. I sat alone (my husband is Jewish) and cried silently, afraid to look up and see pity, or curiosity, or disinterest.

I love my church on the UES, but that's not where I live anymore, in so many ways. I want to belong to the church in Park Slope, but my life doesn't fit with that model yet.

I feel so trapped between the child-free, carefree life of the single and recently married and the child-centric, communal lives of parents.

I don't belong anywhere right now.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

We Interrupt This Usual Whine to Bring You...

Some incredibly happy news.


Stef and I began reading each other's blogs around the same time last summer. We're both 29, we both started trying for a baby in March, we both struggled with irregular cycles. She was my first blogger friend and knowing there was someone else out there in the trenches who understood what I was feeling was such a comfort.

When I got my BFP with the m&m she was so kind and generous with her support, despite the frustration she herself must have been feeling. And when we lost the baby, she went above and beyond for us in a way that touched me so deeply.

Stef is a wonderful person who truly deserves every blessing and I am thrilled for her and Rob.

CONGRATULATIONS STEFANIE! I know you are going to have a healthy and blissfully happy nine months and I'm so excited to follow along with you on them.

(And ps: You're making me think seriously about this whole Clomid thing :) )

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thickening the Plot; or, I Call In the Experts

So, two new bits of info to add to the CBEFM saga today (CD 25- still High fertility):

1. I took my temp this morning. It was 98.0. Yes, I know, one measly temp in the middle of a cycle is hardly something to build an opinion around. But I compared it to my past charts (I charted consistently from November '08-June '09) and found that I never hit 98 or above until after ovulation. My coverline was always in the 97s, usually somewhere between 97.3 and 97.8. Probably means nothing, but there you have it. My CM is also a bit less detectable. Oh, and the thermometer was pretty cold when I stuck it in my mouth (it was in a drawer for 6 months).

2. I called the CBEFM help hotline. They told me a) I'm supposed to wait 2 cycles after being pregnant before using the monitor again to give my hormones time to chill the fuck out (yeah, oops), and b) it's unlikely that I ovulated without the monitor detecting it. The woman on the phone thought that I was likely going to ovulate quite late or not at all while my body readjusts to being unpregnant (not her word). She said to keep using the test sticks until the monitor stopped requesting them, to give it more data.

BUT-- anecdotal evidence indicates you CAN ovulate without the monitor detecting it, even though they claim that's not possible. Of course, that doesn't mean I did. The latest I ever ovulated was CD 30--coincidentally, the first cycle we started TTC. And, of course, this is only the second month I'm using this thing (such drama in its short life). From what I've found online, a lot of people don't show a Peak reading the first or second months they use it, as it adjusts to their bodies and hormone levels.

So, my experienced buddies-- thoughts on the temp? Experiences using the CBEFM? Should I keep on temping? (I'm thinking of supplementing with it anyway)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

WWYD?; or, Hi, Internet Friends, Weigh in on My Sex Life

CD 24

The stats:
- Still getting that damn High reading on the CBEFM (grrrr)
- Still having sex (I refuse to say "baby dancing") every other day.
- Still having the occasional sharp twinge in the general direction of my ovaries
- As of last night, still covered in EWCM. (and I mean covered. I'll spare you the details).

So...how long do I keep this up? Until I get a Peak or it drops back to Low? Until I get my period (whenever the hell that is)? Until the egg whites dry up? I've had them for over a week now!

I'm doing okay, because I remind myself that I o'd on CD 25 last time. But if I don't get that Peak tomorrow, I'm going to be pretty gutted.

I just wish this could be easier.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 22; or, Seriously CBEFM, Give Me Something to Work With

I'm starting to get a little frustrated. I'm trying to hold on to my optimism, but it's getting harder to do.

6 High Fertility readings in a row. No Peak.

I wake up and put the pee stick in the slot of the CBEFM and walk away from it thinking, "I don't expect anything, it doesn't matter, whatever it says is okay." And then there's that little sinking feeling when the reading doesn't change, doesn't say what I hoped it would, despite my assurances otherwise.

I'm so sick of that sinking feeling.

I know it's not that late. I know I'm lucky to ovulate without assistance at all. I know that we conceived the m&m ovulating on day 25 or 26. And the not spotting is a good thing!

So I'm trying to still be optimistic. And if I cried a little in the shower today, I stopped when I got out.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My Little Mr New Years; or, Ovulation Goes to Your Head

I want that New Year's baby. You know the one--chubby and dimpled with his ridiculous top hat and 2010 sash? Yeah, that one. He's mine. I want to hold him in my arms in late September and think about the winter snow that swirled the night he was conceived.

We're full throttle with the baby making right now. I didn't ovulate after all over Christmas (when I had my WTF-egg-whites freak out), which is good because that means that this is a normal cycle and my body is doing its job: Day 20, egg whites, four High Fertility readings on the CBEFM, and a girly hard on for my husband like you wouldn't believe.

I'm still waiting for that Peak reading, but I've had zero midcycle spotting-- for the first time in two years. We're talking mid-cycle "spotting" that required a full pad, could last as long as 10 days, and sometimes bled through to my clothes. And now--zero!

I'm unable to shake my hopeful assumption that this is the month. That this time it will work out. That this is our baby.

Maybe I don't want to shake it. Maybe after 10 months of near constant anxiety, I'm ready to just be happy and hopeful. Somehow losing my m&m has me convinced more than ever that this is going to work out for us, and sooner rather than later.

So call me a dumb blonde, but I'm going to ride this optimism thing until it pans out for me.