Sunday, August 26, 2007


There seems to be rather a fine line between keeping one's private life private, and leading a secret double life.

You start off just not telling people that you're trying to start a family. Nobody's business, after all, but your own. And then when you get pregnant, you keep it to yourself as much as possible, because it's early days yet. You miscarry, and congratulate yourself on everyone you didn't tell-- even though now there's this kind of emotional barrier between you and the un-told: they don't know what's going on with you because you couldn't tell them. You try again, succeed and fail again in rapid succession. More people know this time, because the pregnancy hit harder and lasted longer-- you were starting to come out of the closet, so to speak. But there's still a large contingency that knows nothing about the trying, the pregnancies, and miscarriages. Combine this with the fact that you started trying to get pregnant at the same time that you moved across country, meeting an entirely new group of friends and acquaintances; people to chat with, hang out with, but not necessarily share the more intimate details of life with.

And suddenly it's difficult to chat and hang out, (even more than before, when you didn't explain why suddenly you can't stay up past ten in the evening) because you realize: it's a double life. Someone asks "What's up, how are you?" and your answer is a complete fabrication-- fine, not much new, same ol' same ol'. But you're thinking: the whole time we've been friends, for almost a year now, I've been struggling. I've gotten pregnant twice; spent maybe four months total immobilized on the sofa, having traded nights playing darts for hugging the commode. Went through two miscarriages. I'm trying to deal with the changes and problems that these new stressors add to a relationship-- the guilt, the blame, the worry. And you don't know a thing about any of it, which is nobody's fault but my own. I'm scared and depressed and tired, and I can't talk to you about it without starting from the beginning and changing the nature of our friendship.

And it's my own fault. For being so circumspect right from the start, for keeping new friendships light and airy, based on television-darts-hamburgers-beer-the Red Sox and not on life. Should I have been more open? It is against my nature for the most part. It wouldn't seem so for someone who keeps an Internet journal like this, right? But this writing is a substitution, something that balances the private, quiet, almost closed-off character that I tend to be in person. But where is the line drawn? How do you know which people are which-- which ones that could be close real friends that talk about the future, the past, joy and heartbreak, and which will back away uncomfortably, wishing that the subject of conversation was still last night's game of darts? I have always waited for the other person to make that call and then responded in kind, but now I realize that this is lazy and ungenerous.

And it leaves me with a fake smile on my face, casual lies flowing from my mouth, and a blog as the main place to sort out the truth.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Green Tea, Green Sweater

Well, it is just poison ivy, after all. Which is better than a mysterious infection. But boy does it itch. And itch. And itch. I'm groggy from all the Benedryl last night as I had to take another dose around two in the morning-- couldn't sleep with all the itchy. When I get home from work, I need to gather the damp towels, re-wash them, and take them to the laundromat to dry. Fun evening, right?

On the bright side, the weather is acting unseasonably autumnal; it's cool, grey and breezy with threatening storms every so often, and I got to wear my new green sweater. I love fall. And sweaters. And drinking hot beverages when it's nippy out. OK, so maybe mid-sixties isn't really nippy, but after the 90-degree heat for so many weeks it feels downright chilly to me.
Lately, I hate all my clothes and wish that I had the money and time to get new stuff. I've never really been into clothes or fashion, so I'm kind of wondering what this is really about. Why a sudden desire for pretty things when I generally don't pay that much attention to what I'm wearing? Maybe it represents my boredom with other aspects of my life; my job, probably. Something nice and shiny-new while everything else remains stagnant. Maybe it's just me wanting to have some modicum of control over something for once, since my reproductive system is so maddeningly beyond reach? Perhaps I was secretly looking forward to buying cute maternity clothes. Either which way, I want a new skirt. And some boots. And jeans. And a jacket. Too bad I'm so broke, ha. Old Navy is meant for folks like me...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I don't even know where to begin...

My life has been stupid lately. To the point where I'm starting to look for the hidden cameras...

Thursday evening, I left my car window cracked open. Why, I don't remember. It rained all that night, of course, and my car seat was soaked... which I didn't notice until I was already driving to work. Huh-- this feels kind of damp... and squishy...

By the time I got to work, my pants were soaked through, all the way through my undies to the skin. Soaked and wrinkled, naturally, from my sitting in them. But because I work within a university, I have ready access to their bookstore, which sells tons and tons of over-priced school-branded crap. Including lots of sweatpants and even underwear. Lucky for me. So I shell out way too much money for a pair of sweatpants with the name of the university running down the leg, and a pair of panties that say "I heart (name of school)!" in a rather inappropriate place.

Needless to say, I do not love said school, nor am I affiliated with it in any way. (Even if I did love the school, I would prefer to have that written, say, across my chest or perhaps on a breast pocket. I mean, I heart Harry Potter but I'm not going to write that across my crotch, right? Because that is weird.) Nor am I supposed to wear warm-ups to work-- not what you'd call business casual. But I can't work for hours in wet pants in a chilly, air-conditioned basement so I did what I gotta did and changed into the new sweatpants while my stuff dried out in the back. Working in a bank in what to me are pajama bottoms is strange: at once extremely comfortable (warm! fuzzy! soft!) and uncomfortable (good grief I look ridiculous). Fifty dollars gone, just like that...

Yesterday was one of those rare, golden days in which Don and I are both free. We took a long, meandering drive up in the mountains where it was cool, stopping to walk a few feet along the Appalachian Trail now and then just because it's there. Today I woke up with either a tremendous rash or a parasitic infection-- hard to say which. In 2003, I had a case of poison ivy so bad that I ended up in the ER; this is almost as bad. But I can't tell if it's poison ivy or not. For one thing, it seems most concentrated on my right leg, pretty high up, where my jeans should have protected me. For another, it seems to be spreading. For a third, I have found three tiny tiny little bugs walking on me, that I can't identify. Three insects and a rash seem awfully coincidental, right? I don't know. They aren't fleas (and I checked the dogs). They aren't ticks or bedbugs. I look like I've got chicken pox or something. I thought maybe an allergic reaction to the new pants and knickers from the previous indignity-- usually I wash everything before wearing as I'm pretty sensitive to chemicals and etc. But that would be quite a delayed reaction and wouldn't explain the teensy crawling bugs. We were in the woods for maybe 15 minutes!

So there's that. I saw the rash and went on with my day. Remember how I mentioned a post or two ago that our dryer is broken? Absolutely HAD to do laundry today so I decided to do a combination of line-drying and laundromat. Our down-stairs neighbor has a clothes-line and has said that I could use it whenever. She's been gone all weekend and I don't know where she keeps the clothes-pins, so I just washed all the towels since I could kind of fold them in half over the line. Right? I've never used a clothesline before but felt vaguely virtous about it-- letting the good sun dry my towels instead of nasty carbon-based electricity. Yeah.

Did that, gathered everything else, went to the laundromat. So far everything is good. (Except the rash, which is consistently getting worse as the day goes on.) I drop the clothes in the washer and take my car to the car-wash place so that I can clean out the interior-- the interior that got soaked in the rain when I left my window down. Remember? Clean, vacuum, wash the exterior, go back to the laundromat, dry clothes, watch a cute little family and realize that everyone has a baby except me.

Stop the pity party, fold the clothes, back to the car (it's all shiny and clean! Yay!) headed for the grocery store. Need Benedryl and cortisone for this rash-- not going to the doctor after what happened last time. (They prescribed a steroid to dull my immunological reaction to the rash-- I reacted to the steroid by spontaneously developing a throat infection, ear infection, and urinary tract infection. I had to go on antibiotics for those, of course, and reacted to the antibiotic by breaking out with a yeast infection. That was a fun cycle.)

Buy dinner, buy rash-fixings, buy self-indulgent magazines that I can't afford. (Come on, I'm all itchy. I deserve In Style!) Come out of the grocery to find that it's raining. All over my shiny clean car. All over the wash that is outside on the clothes line back at home.

So I give up. I'm opening some wine, taking the Benedryl, and letting Don cook the salmon. If this is some kind of cosmic joke... you win! You got me! I realize that a little heartbreak doesn't excuse one from the random indignity of life. I know that you can lose a loved one today and slip on a banana peel tomorrow. But come on. Can't a girl catch a break?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pick One

(car bomb, truck bomb, road-side bomb) goes off in Iraq killing (10, 15, 19) (soldiers, civilians, families)

(hurricane/tsunami/earthquake) in (the gulf coast/the Philippines/Japan/Peru) kills (dozens/hundreds/thousands)

(Plane crash/bridge collapse/mine cave-in) in (Brazil/Minnesota/Utah) kills...

I am going to turn my radio to the country station and go back to bed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Married Life

Sometimes it's hard for Don and me to talk about things. It all comes back to that whole him=man, me=woman thing that I imagine haunts most hetero relationships. I have to remember to ask for what I want instead of assuming that he already knows. He has to talk about how he feels, which is apparently something you lose man-points for. Darn these strong, silent types.

About three weeks ago, our dryer broke. Working fine for one load and then for the next--gone. It was terrible. Unfortunately, my method for breaking the broken-dryer-news to Don was to tell him that I had bad news-- something you shouldn't ever do when pregnant, it seems. I will never forget how he looked: so concerned. Scared, even. How he pulled me closer and put his hand on my belly. I felt so bad then for worrying him, even as I realized how much this pregnancy meant to him.

But when I actually have to tell him that I think something is wrong with the pregnancy, he switches into action-man mode. First, the stop-being-paranoid-everything's-fine stage to correspond with my I'm-sure-something's-wrong-but-have-no-evidence stage. When I switch from that to shit-I-knew-it,-I'm-bleeding, he moves into it-ain't-over-till-it's-over. When I finally get to I'm-sorry-baby,-it's-gone, he goes into automatic it's-OK-sweetie,-we'll-try-again. We'll take tests. We'll have a baby before you know it. Because he is afraid that his pain will make me feel even worse. I have to get him to stop trying to take care of me, to fix it for me-- to stop acting as though he isn't hurt by this as well--to acknowledge how upset and sad he really is. I have to articulate that his pretending that everything is fine is actually hurtful, not helpful, because it makes me feel alone; as though he wasn't invested in this pregnancy when I know he was.

Our conversation starts serious and ends in a tickling match-- as usual.

Don: stop it-- be serious!

Me: I AM serious! (going for behind the knees)

Don: You're goofy is what you are.

Me: NOT goofy-- serious! (totally winning this one)

Don: OK, you're serious-- Sirius BLACK!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I don't know what that is, exactly. My mom tells me yesterday that I'm being so strong, but how am I? What other alternative is there but to process, to deal, to adjust and keep going? I'm not one to crack up and go nuts, or to drown my sorrows in alcohol or reckless behavior. 90% of people are the same way, I think. Shoulder it and keep going, and try to stay open; to grow from the experience and not shrivel.

This is not the worst thing ever. It sucks, of course. I'm not trying to say that everything is fine or that I'm not sad, pissed off, and scared. But it's not the end of the world, there are so many worse things. I know that so many people are going through worse, and with such grace. An uncle of mine, to just name one. Now if it turns out that Don and I will never have a child, that I'm not at all capable to make a baby, that would be the worst.

I am back at work today. I found out that I could have taken the whole week off no questions asked, but why? It doesn't do me a whole lot of good to sit at home, alone, thinking too much as Don would say. I'm not in any physical pain... at least, not more than what a normal period is like. The longer I'm away from work the harder it is to come back; I'd rather face everything right away, deal with the questions and the comments and let it fade from everybody's mind, which will happen faster the sooner I return. I stayed home all weekend and yesterday. Watching my favorite movies, reading favorite books. Cleaning my study and playing with the dogs. You can only do that for so long, right?

It's not that I'm trying to avoid thinking about the miscarriage or feeling it through, but it helps to have the distraction of work; to have other things occupying my mind for a time.

What I really need is some time at home-- in Texas. With my family and my friends. I need to see my mom (who almost decided to fly here for the weekend) and just chill for awhile. I don't have any vacation time left but I hope that I can take some time off unpaid-- I don't mind missing a paycheck. I'm going to ask my manager today and hope that she's still feeling bad enough for me to be unorthodox about this.


When I was your age, television was called 'books'.

Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!

--You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

You seem like a decent fellow, I hate to kill you.
--YOU seem like a decent fellow, I hate to die!

What about the R.O.U.S.?
-- Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don't believe in them.

Anybody what to guess what movie I watched? Anybody?

Monday, August 13, 2007


It's all over, now. Another miscarriage, this one at exactly 12 weeks. Is that why 12 weeks is supposed to be the magic turning point? I don't really know what to write at this point, I feel strangely calm, or maybe kind of numb.

I've felt for a long time, maybe two weeks now, that something wasn't right. That I wasn't really pregnant anymore, that my little bean had "stopped growing" (to use the clinical phraseology) and that I was just carrying dead weight. Nobody wanted to believe me, not even my doctor's office-- it's so much easier, more hopeful to think that it was just because I'd miscarried before. Obviously that would make me worry more, right? But it also gave me the insight into what a pregnancy gone wrong feels like. This miscarriage was surprisingly manageable, nothing like the dramatics of the previous. I had an ultrasound first thing this morning just to make sure that everything is, you know, out. It confirmed what I already thought, which is that I actually lost the baby not long after the eight-week ultrasound but that my body was taking its own time in processing that information.

I keep wondering why. I've never had anything like this happen before. 26 years old, healthy and strong. Built to have babies, or so I thought--I should be the poster child for a healthy, uneventful pregnancy. This is the first time that my body has failed me, and I feel betrayed by it. Right now, we do the hCG tests, to make sure that it's decreasing as it should be. Next week: a "panel" of tests that measure, I don't know, how my blood clots or something. Some causal factor in miscarriages. Because we were already doing the progesterone, you know? That was supposed to fix it? After that, who knows. Genetic testing for me and for Don, to find out if we're likely to create chromosomally un-viable offspring? What would cause a pregnancy to fail that had already hit so many milestones? That got to 8 weeks but not to 10? I really thought that after seeing that little heartbeat, we were out of the woods. So to speak.

Any which way, Don and I are going to wait until the winter to try again. That will give us plenty of time to run whatever tests we can, and to give my poor body a break; I'm not going to put it through three first trimesters in a row. Two within six months has run it ragged already-- if I got pregnant again soon and kept it that would be like being pregnant all year long. And a third miscarriage might drive both of us around the bend. Even though I know it's not a factor, Don is convinced now that we shouldn't have tried again so soon, that I was still taxed from the last. I know that wouldn't have caused a miscarriage, but I can see where he's coming from. I need to pull back and concentrate on nutrition, on losing this ten pounds that have crept onto me (I write this with a pint of Ben&Jerry's in hand), on regaining my vitality and strength before trying again to become a host organism.

My mom sent a tiny little hat and booties that she knitted. I got the package right after the bleeding and cramping started and just lost it. The dogs wondered why I was bawling. But I haven't bought any baby stuff at all, haven't held any eensy onesies or tiny teeshirts. It kind of drove home that I wasn't losing a 12-week pregnancy so much as the baby that I was going to be holding in February. Now I have to call her and let her know that I received the package but lost the baby...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

And now, I'm bleeding.



Friday, August 10, 2007

I don't know why exactly, but I find this very sad, and touching.

A homeless man who had lived under the bridge assured authorities that no
homeless people were caught in the disaster, Martin said. The man knew everyone
who camped there -- he didn't say how many -- and was sure all were elsewhere at
the time of the collapse, Martin said.

From an article about the bridge collapse. For some reason I hadn't thought about anyone living under the bridge before...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Sometimes there's too much going on, to post in a blog. Sometimes there's nothing going on and nothing to write about. Sometimes it feels like both.

My sister and her boyfriend spent the weekend here, en route from Texas to Europe. Now they're gone, but we have her car and her dog in our possession as a reminder that being a big sister is forever. Don't make that commitment lightly, folks...

Am I a little jealous about a 2-month trip to Europe? Of course. Who wouldn't be? On the other hand, I will never be footloose enough to quit my job, cancel my lease, put all my stuff in storage, drop the dog at my sister's, and take off. I will never be outgoing enough for couch-surfing to be my preferred way of travel, which is what they'll be doing. More than anything I want them to have an amazing trip, something to remember for life.

Although I'm damn worried about Cocomo. This dog is seriously underweight, almost to the point of being starved. I've never seen a dog so thin that was being actively cared for-- she's the kind of skinny that you usually only see in strays or recently rescued shelter-dogs. Her home-life has been very unstable since Don and I moved away. First in one apartment, with three different roommates in succession. Two with dogs. Then in a house populated by three guys, my sister, and a huge unfixed male boxer that intimidated the hell out of her and ate her food. You can see all of her ribs, even from a distance.

I know my sister loves her dog and that she does as well as she can by her. But I kind of wanted to smack her when I saw that puppy... If my dog were losing weight like that I would do whatever I could to fix the situation, you know? Move the dog to a safer location. Keep her, and her food, in a bedroom. Something. Not just let her stress out until her ribs poke out through her fur.

Lately I've been gripped with worry that I'm losing this pregnancy. I don't know why, exactly, but I feel certain that something is wrong even though I feel OK. Maybe because I feel so OK. I don't even remotely feel pregnant anymore. My next doctor's appointment isn't until Wednesday, a week from today. I guess if nothing happens between now and then, I'll just ask them to confirm that everything's still ticking along in there. Right now all I feel is impending doom...