The best of intentions

That’s what I’m sure the receptionist/check-in person at the lab today had. I had to go today for another beta check, the one I really can’t afford and frankly, really don’t need, and this is the conversation that took place:
Receptionist: “Oh, you’ve been in recently.”
Me: “Yep, last week.”
R: “and this says you’re coming back again in a week?”
Me: “Yep. Lucky me.”
R: “Well, at least you don’t have to come in every 48 hours anymore.”
Me: “um…yeah, I suppose.”

You know how you really just can’t quite comprehend what people are saying until much later – like when you’re driving away and it’s too late to say anything? Because I cannot believe she said that to me. Right there on the lab order is shows my diagnosis as a miscarriage and what the test is for, so it’s not like she didn’t know. And honestly, I’m glad I’m not a person who would have a complete breakdown at that kind of comment.

But really? Here’s what I should have said: “No, I don’t. But I wish I did. Because that would mean I would still have a baby growing in me. But thanks for trying to make me feel better.”

I know she didn’t mean anything by it. And I did promise to not let these experiences define who I am. So I will probably be over it soon. But still. I’d do blood draws (without the $35 copay, though) until birth if it meant I could have skipped the miscarriage.

Just waiting for the crash

followed by a burn as hot as our bonfire tonight.

It’s Homecoming Week. In most schools, this is not a big deal – a pep assembly, crowning some royalty at a game, crepe paper streamers in the gym. Not here. Not with these kids. My schedule this week is hell:
last Saturday – work day from 10-4
last night – Movie Night until 9:30
tonight – Bonfire until 8:45
tomorrow – setting up for the coronation assembly until 9
thursday – setting up for assembly AND dress rehearsal
friday – assembly, then setting up for the dance
saturday – the dance (for me) from 6-midnight
sunday – cleaning up

Yeah. Even in the best of times, it’s a killer week. But factor in the miscarriage I was having only a week ago, no sleep this weekend, and now this sickness – the aching, the fever, the cough, the runny nose – and I want to die. I can’t take a day off. I can’t not be there. I am committed to this week. It is the premiere event of our year. We spend about $10,000 on it. It’s why I got such a big raise for doing student council.

So I’m wondering when I will just collapse. Because, really? Even though I never do, I want to. I didn’t take a day off last week, you know. I’m not telling you that to brag – just to give context. I miscarried my baby while I was teaching ungrateful bastard children about dependent clauses. Kind of reframes my life. I had committed to family and to self at the beginning of the year and now I’m not. I’m putting my job first for these next five days, when what I want to do, more than ANYthing else is curl up on my mommy’s lap (ignore that she’s been in the ground for 27 years, okay?) and cry until I feel better. And if I can’t have that, I’ll curl up on Jesse’s lap and snuggle Ryan.

But not until Sunday.

Thank you

Sometimes I get so caught up in the minutiae of my life, so swept up in the storm of the latest drama, so immersed in what is right in front of me, that I forget to take a look around. I forget the big picture. I forget that I’m not alone.

Those of you who have made sure I am not alone in the past five months, thank you. Those of you who have left me a kind word or called me with a caring thought, or even just sent me your juju :), thank you. Those of you who drove two hours tonight to bring us delicious Chinese goodness and then sat on the couch with us through our thrilling weeknight life, thank you. Like many other women, I have a supportive husband who goes beyond the norm to make me happy, but knowing that I have a support system that extends in so many directions that if I *wanted* to fall I couldn’t, makes the truly painful moments so much easier to bear.

It’s not enough, but for now, it has to be. Thank you.

In a metaphorical sense

This is where I want to be:

This is where I am:

“You get what you get

and you don’t throw a fit.”

This is the latest nugget of wisdom brought home from kindergarten. Ryan pulled it out this weekend when Jesse was trying to bribe coax some hugs out of her. I can’t help but think Robert Fulghum’s classic “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” needs some revival. Here it is, in case you’d forgotten:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Flush!
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life-learn some and think some and draw
and paint and sing and dance and play and work
every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic,
hold hands, and stick together.
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the
Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant
goes up and nobody really knows how or why,
but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the
little seed in the Styrofoam cup-they all die.
So do we.

And then remember the Dick and Jane books and the
very first word you learned-the biggest word of all–
LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.
Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Think what a better world it would be if we all-
the whole world-had cookies and milk about
three o’clock every afternoon and then lay
down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all nations
had as a basic policy, to always put things
back where they found them and to clean up
their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are,
when you go out into the world, it is best to
hold hands and stick together.

This is the part that is particularly tough for me tonight: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup-they all die. So do we.

After doing our time with the molar, after making my peace with the loss, I found out we were blessed with another chance. Of course, I was nervous. Of course, I was scared. Of course, I decided that I wasn’t going to live in fear and I was going to embrace this precious gift. And of course, today it all ended. I woke up to bright red blood. I went to an ultrasound to see an empty gestational sac, which at 6.5 weeks should have had something in it. I had my fourth blood draw in nine days to find out that not only are my hcg levels going down (remember when I was actually *excited* to have them drop?), my progesterone level dropped as well – while taking 400 mg a day of that damn devil hormone. And the bleeding continues. And the cramping. And the passing of tissue. And the feeling of failure. And the frustration.

The doctor today (my doctor is on vacation this week – welcome to my life) said that with my “advanced maternal age” there is an increased risk of miscarriage. I know that. But I guess I thought that because what happened last time was a completely chromosomal freak accident, I was immune to such things.

I refuse to let these things define me. I will not be that guy. I will continue to be grateful for the two beautiful children I with whom I have been blessed. I will continue to grow in the love of my husband (who, tonight, even though we are broke broke broke, went to get McDonalds for dinner because I asked him to). I will keep my faith in a God who knows what He is doing. But can I question? Can I ask why (as long as I do it in a completely non-Nancy Kerrigan way?)? Can I pleeeeeeease for the love of God, catch a break from this mini-labor of cramps and back pain?

I know there won’t be an answer from on high. I know that I will continue to wonder. I will try not to throw a fit about what I’ve gotten. I will hold my family and my friends tight and remember that that “when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together”.

Today at the doctor

Two things happened:
1) I was weighed. I found out that I weigh only 8 pounds less than I did when Ryan was born. Wow. I mean, I knew nothing fit, that I sweat now in places that should NEVER be sweaty, but to give it a number was sort of….deflating (metaphorically, of course…if literally, I wouldn’t be here right now).

But then…
2) I was in the waiting area, next to the ultrasound area, when the door opened and out came a nurse, a woman and a man. I noticed their scarlet-rimmed eyes an it was clear that they had been crying. A lot. And I knew what had happened behind that door. I watched them walk to the elevator, that blank look in their eyes. I could tell they needed to touch each other, but they couldn’t. I knew that they were struggling with reframing their plans and their joy to reflect their loss. I knew they were dreading the replacement of their blissful secret with a dark one.

And I realized that these extra rolls and love handles will never equal the weight those two now have to carry. And I remembered that as hard as it will be to lose the alcohol-dairy queen-multiple bratwursts weight, I’ve lost more difficult weight before.

Sorry, everybody

I shouldn’t title posts with the f-bomb. Not super nice. I was just so damn angry, and those of you who know me in real life know that I’m not a simmer-type of angry person. My anger usually manifests itself like a mushroom cloud and shock wave sort of reaction, followed by a contrite apology.

Like this one.

I promise I’m over it.

This weekend, I took my kids on our fall retreat. It was such a fun weekend – hanging out with those kids and watching them work to become closer and spending time with a colleague who I truly respect is almost worth the time away from the family. Almost.

But, I digress (whoa, weird, right?). Before we took our hike up to the top of the ridge (please see my facebook for photos if you haven’t already – SUCH a gorgeous view), I had the kids write down on a half sheet of paper all of the negative “crap” they’re carrying. It could have been a grudge, anger, jealousy, just anything they wanted to get rid of. And I did the same. I filled the entire sheet. And when we got to the top of the mountain, after a talk about forgiveness and starting anew and not hanging on to things that don’t matter, I buried them.

I took all of my negative thoughts and feelings about all the crap I’ve been posting lately – the loss of our little one, my family’s lack of appreciation for my educational accomplishments, our finances, my lack of faith – and I buried them. I left them, literally and metaphorically, on top of a mountain. And I feel lighter. I feel forgiven. I feel inspired. I feel motivated. I feel ready to face a new challenge. I feel a small reconnection with my God.

That small act, which started as a simple activity for my kids to get them ready for the coming year, has completely rejuvenated me. A friend of mine told me once that what I give my attention to, whether positive or negative, will grow. Today, I choose to grow hope. I choose to grow faith. I choose to grow priorities that matter. I choose to grow love.