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

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Of Clean Slates and Second Chances; or, Answers

I periodically wondered in the last three years since our first miscarriage if it would be better to know or not know why it happened. Not "Why it Happened" in a religious or fatalistic or moral sense or anything like that, but just literally, physically, why this happened. What was wrong? Why didn't this baby make it?

I never found out last time. We waited and waited for the results to come back, but when they did we didn't learn anything. It wasn't even clear whose tissue was tested.

I expected something similar this time around. I was prepared to once again accept not knowing forever.

Triploidy. Three full sets of chromosomes instead of two. Invariably fatal with almost no chance of live birth.

I think it's better to know. The doctors always say "It's not your fault," and we tell each other that on blogs and message boards. And we say we believe it. And we kind of do.

Maybe it's just me, but there's a part that always wondered nevertheless if it didn't have to be like that. If there was a chance for those nuggets after all, if they'd belonged to someone else. I couldn't help feeling a little bad about that thought, either.

We have a meeting with a genetic counselor at my OB's office next week, so I'll know more after that point. From what I've read, though, this--triploidy--really is the freak accident people always ascribe miscarriage to. Ironic that after cycle after cycle of sperm refusing to meet eggs, two apparently got there at the same time. Probably. Possibly.

For whatever reason, I feel comfort in the fact that this was never meant to be--this little one could never have become our baby. Any further gestation would have simply prolonged the inevitable, so I even feel gratitude that it happened when and how it did. I take some reassurance from the fact that there really isn't any increased likelihood of this specific chromosomal abnormality occurring for us again, though I can't rule out the possibility that it will.

I've thought a lot about the differences between this miscarriage and the last, and obviously the biggest difference is made by Smudgie, who makes all the difference in the world. This is another-- to have a reason or a diagnosis or a cause allows for a sort of closure. But beyond all that, I think there's a difference in me, too. I'm three years older now. Those three years were filled with horribly low lows and wonderfully high highs and all those lows and highs and the ways that I dealt with them, whether well or badly, changed me.

I worry a lot about what comes next. I think about the possibly rough road ahead. The months of trying, the difficulty of treatment, vividly come back to me as I anticipate the next year or so of our lives.

And then I stop myself and say: I have a son, and he's everything. If he is all I ever have, he will be enough. And I did this before, and it turned out fine--better than fine. It was wonderful. Which doesn't mean it will be again. But it also doesn't mean it won't be. So have faith. And be calm.

The years of trying and losing-- they take a toll. I know full well how ugly it can look, the business of surviving until the next day. I don't blame myself for those uglier emotions, the anger and bitterness and selfishness that came along with all the pain. But I also don't celebrate them, and I realize that not everyone who goes through this becomes as warped as I did during the experience.

So with all the questions that I have about what comes next, perhaps the most central (today, anyway) is just to wonder: who will I be at the end of whatever lies ahead? Whoever that person is, I hope she can reflect on these yet-to-come months or years and feel, not just understanding and forgiveness, but pride that this time struggle inspired her best.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Getting By/Through/Over; or, Thoughts on Driving Into the Future

How are you doing?


Not great.

Kind of awful.


Really good.

Ask again tomorrow.

Some nights I go to bed with a big hard lump of sad sitting on my chest.  Some mornings I wake up and need to count to ten, need to breathe all the way in and all the way out, before I can throw the comforter back and feel the floor under my feet.

And sometimes none of that is true.

Smudgie woke up the morning after LG and I decorated the Christmas tree and he looked like a miracle had just unfolded in his living room. And then he pointed at it with his little crooked finger gun and very clearly said "tree." It sounded sort of like "tchrai" but whatever, close enough, and my kid's a genius, okay?

(Last night sitting in his high chair he pointed at the lit menorah and also said "tree." Which leads me to believe we need some family education on the meanings of our respective holidays. And probably a botany lesson, too).

On one important, quite crucial in fact, level life is very beautiful and I am very happy.

This is not the crushing, all-encompassing despair of the last time. How could it be? I'm too aware of all that is bright and lively in this chiaroscuro drawing.

But, like I said, the sad still comes sometimes, and it's not a matter of dwelling on things or thinking about losses or even worrying about the future. It's not thinking at all. The sad just is--it has a weight and a presence of its own and it has to be gotten through before it can be gotten over.

Maybe it's a good thing that I've been through this before. I can see how it would be overwhelming to pop a kid out, no problems at all, and then suddenly be smacked in the face with the fact that These Things don't always work out the way you think they will. I can see a lot of "Why Me?" and "How Can it Be?" in that instance. Whereas I sort of feel like: oh, right, of course. These things happen to me. For a minute I'd forgotten. I'll try not to make that mistake again.

But good things happen to me, too, and I'm reminded of that every day-- and of the fact that we never know when bad will turn to good, or how. Two years of really awful crap turned into the best little person that ever was. It's not that Everything Happens for a Reason, but more that I now have a reason for everything that happened. I believe I'll one day find my reason for this, too.

I'm trying hard not to worry this time around. Or at least to have faith even while I worry that all can be well even when it doesn't go according to plan. A few years ago, a writer friend of mine sent me a little framed quotation about novel-writing: that it's like driving at night with the headlights on, only able to see a little ways ahead of you, but secure in the chance of reaching one's destination. You can drive quite far only watching a little bit of road.

That's how I feel right now. I can't see past the next month or so. When I try to-- when I think about the spring or the summer or the fall--I feel that familiar anxious ache. But when I focus on the headlights in front of me, on Christmas and New Years, maybe a trip somewhere warm in the winter, and lots of work and time together, that all seems quite nice. If nothing changes for us then, nothing needed to change. We'll be happy just as we are.

And the future will get here soon enough on its own.