Archive | October, 2011

Happy Halloween

31 Oct

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. I was blown away by what you said, I did not expect such incredible comments.   It was something I’ve had on my mind more or less since the last loss, it’s just been waiting to be released.  I was nervous to put it all out there, to see what the reaction would be.  And of course, I was left with nothing but awe for the people out there.  I am planning on responding to all of them tonight…I haven’t had the proper time to sit down and respond thoughtfully.

Is everyone having a fun and scary Halloween?  I love this day and wish I felt more of the spirit this year than I do.  We’re going to pop popcorn, drink beer and watch scary movies.  That sounds pretty perfect to me.

So here are some photos for you while I go pop the corn…

vampire pumpkin

(Because of my lack of spirit this year, K had to draw on her pumpkin instead of carve it.  We’re failures, I tell you!)

retroactive pumpkin

halloween sky

masked bb

Happy Halloween, everyone.  I hope the spirit visited you this year, a mask and black clothes was all I could drum up with what little I had (but I have to say, I was quite pleased with what my lack of motivation came up with – who doesn’t like to hide behind a mask?).

Boo!

On “giving up.”

27 Oct

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a dramatic change in my spirit.  I’ve begun to feel lighter, even starting to believe that maybe this road moving forward doesn’t have to be so bad.  Maybe I can still find joy along this path my life has taken.  I’ve even felt it in my entire body, this joy starting to creep in.

Until yesterday, that is.

Yesterday, when I started my day with a negative pregnancy test.  It’s safe to say that put a little bit of a temporary damper on my spirit.

The tears I fought back during the day came to the surface with the bitter reminder of just how tired I am of all of this.  I know I’ve said that a thousand times before, but it’s times like this where my exhaustion with this comes rushing back and I just want it be over.  After the fourth loss, the last little bit of fight I had in me dissipated; and for my own sanity, I knew I needed to start becoming more comfortable with accepting I may not have a child of my own.  Yet in order for me to fully accept that that may be my fate, I know I have to give it one more try.

So that’s where I am now….trying to give it one more try.  Except I’m anxious for that try to hurry up and get here, because I can’t keep living in this world of not knowing.  Two years with 4 devastating losses has made that world hell.

I know what you are thinking, especially those of you still in the thick of it, still with some fight left in you:  Don’t give up!  You can’t give up!  That’s what I would have said a loss or two ago, back when I still felt in my heart I couldn’t give up until I had that child in my arms.  I couldn’t even fathom how women could even get to the point where they would stop fighting for that.  I couldn’t understand how they could just give up.

That was all before I knew what devastation four losses would bring to me and my life.  After each of their little hearts stopped beating, a part of mine stopped with it.  The part that would do anything to have a baby.  The part that will be forever left with the four I was forced to leave behind.  I am all of a sudden looking into the face of the women I feared so much of becoming.  The part of my heart that wants to keep fighting for this until I have that baby in my arm…has started to slow to a stop.

I know to a lot of you, this probably sounds incredibly sad.  And to the part of me that mourns for the life I thought I was going to have…is incredibly sad by this.  I also know some of you may be frightened you may have to get to this point yourself.  I know what that feels like, I know how scary that is.  But that’s part of why I’m writing this.  It turns out I was wrong all along.  This isn’t giving up.  This is knowing when you’ve done all that your heart can bear.

It’s me trying to stop the pain I keep experiencing from being inside all of this.  It’s me questioning if the pain still feels worth it, and all of a sudden feeling the desire to fight my way out of it all, instead of fighting for what I have desired all along.

If my last try doesn’t work out, I know the road still won’t be easy, at least not until all of my friends and family get out of the “child-bearing” years.  Even then the pain will still be present at every birth I hear about that isn’t my own; but at least now I have faith it will lesson as time passes.  That’s what this has brought me.  I now believe life can still be wonderful and happy, even if the part of me having my own child doesn’t come true.  The part of me that’s lighter is the part of me that is ready to begin new dreams that can take the place of my old dreams.  I need to move on from this chapter in my life so I can start living it again, because while living in this hell, I’ve lost who I was.  And yet at the same time, I know I’ve uncovered a new me that I’m ready to discover.

Please know I’m not saying this to try and convince those of you out there in the midst of this battle to stop fighting.  The chances you’ll have a baby are very much on your side, especially if you still have the fight.  Don’t give that up until you’ve done absolutely all that your heart can bear.  This is simply my story and what my experience has led me to, not your story or where you’ll end up.  I hope you continue to fight and get what you so badly want.  Even if this chapter of my life closes without a baby in my arms, I’ll still fight for you to get yours.  That fight hasn’t ended.  I’m here until the end for all of you.  And maybe in the meantime, you’ll get to see me fight for something new.

Or maybe you will get to see me with one in mine.  I do still have one more try, after all.  And you never know…maybe if we just relax…

Not-Penny’s Baby Shower

24 Oct

When I first came across Runny Yolk, I had just had my 3rd miscarriage and I was finally reaching out to the blogging community to find others that had experienced similar loss and frustrations.  After just one read, she made it onto my reader.

I soon discovered she wasn’t just someone who had experienced pain, her voice was unlike any other I had read.  It wasn’t what she was writing – since she was talking about the same thing we were all talking about – but it was how  she said it that hit me.  Her words were raw and honest, evoking emotion that inspired readers in this community to want to come together and fight this as one.  She never apologized for her emotions, and as a result, gave me a confidence to do the same.

When I found out I was pregnant for the 4th time, Elphaba was the first person in the community I told.  She had just found out she was pregnant 7 weeks prior, so I knew she would be able to help me navigate the first few scary weeks.  If it weren’t for her, they would have been nearly impossible to make it through.  When I found out the baby had no heartbeat, she was there for me without hesitation.  Throughout the next few weeks, she and a few other incredible women in this community, came together to show me love that I didn’t know could exist with this kind of grief.  During this entire 2-year battle, it was in these moments I finally felt the support I so badly needed all the other times.

So to sum it all up: this girl pretty much rocks.  I’m so thankful she’s in my life and I can call her my friend.  And even though she’s about to give birth, the voice that originally spoke to me never once got buried in the midst of the pregnancy glow, and she still continues to inspire.

And now onto the present and the only baby shower I’ve looked forward to since all this mess began!

I originally thought of the idea when looking at the pictures of her nursery and I was inspired by the colors she chose.  Also, I noticed her walls are suspiciously bare.  Since I can’t seem to buy people presents when I can make them one instead, I immediately knew what I was going to design.

For your wall, Little Elphie:


Once the little one is born, I will obviously replace “Not Penny” with Little Elphie’s real name, as well as her actual birth time, weight, city and province (except, Elphaba, I think I should win a prize if this really is her weight!).  It will arrive to your door in an 8 x 10 frame and will be packed with love.  And of course, it is open to changes if you would like them, Elphaba.

Congratulations, Elphaba…I couldn’t be happier for you and Mr. M.  Thanks for being not only such a strong voice in this community, but for being an incredible friend through all of this.  I can’t wait for the day I get to give you a real-life hug.

To read more of the lovely ladies partaking in this virtual baby shower for Miss Elphaba, please head over to Mommy Odyssey’s blog.  And thank you, Mo, for organizing this.  We’re I’m not worthy!  We’re I’m not worthy!

To read Elphaba’s response to the shower, click here.

Ugly Bruise Watch: 2011

18 Oct

I just figured you were wondering how my bruise was coming along, so I didn’t want to leave you in the dark any longer about it’s status.

What’s that?

You don’t think about me and my injuries on an hourly basis?

Oh, okay.  Fine.  Whatever.  But you’re going to get a progress report anyway.

As you may remember, this is how it looked a week ago:

wetsuits

Here’s what it looked like Saturday night:

wetsuits

And here’s what it looked like last night:

wetsuits

It just keeps getting uglier.

So there you go.  You’re welcome.  You no longer have to worry about me and my arm…it’s only scaring away little children everywhere.

Or, you know, you can just go back to whatever you were doing 35 seconds ago.

When blogger friendships become real-life friends.

17 Oct

I’ve had this post in mind for a while now, and was hoping to snap a picture this weekend to accompany it, but someone was missing and it wouldn’t have been complete.  This weekend, as some of you may have already heard, was a 30-something-year-old sleepover planned with myself, Jjiraffe and Esperanza.  At the last minute, Esperanza couldn’t make it, and hearts from Bodega southward sank.  I did for a split-second think about not going because of the distance, but had been looking forward to it all week, so I decided to hop in the car and go see my friend.  I needed a night with someone who I can be myself with, someone who I can laugh with and talk endlessly with.

But first, let’s rewind a little bit.  Actually, let’s rewind a lot bit.  Growing up, I didn’t have the greatest luck with female friendships.  I was a part of a group of girls from the very beginning, except I was the low one on the totem pole for reasons I’m still trying to figure out.  If I had to guess, it would have to do with the fact I cared a little too much for other people and wasn’t willing to be the jerk that talked behind the other girl’s backs or laugh to their face.  When I did, it felt wrong and I was filled with instant remorse.  So instead, I was the girl the jerks talked about behind my back and laughed at to my face.  And yet, I still stayed friends with them because I felt I had no other option.  Of course I did, but I lived in an extremely small town in Maine, and these were, after all, the cool kids.  Why wouldn’t I want to hang out with them?   Oh peer pressure, why are you such a bitch?

If I could go back and tell my then 6- to 17-year-old self anything, (yes, I remained friends with them for that long, and in some instances, still am friends, as thankfully, people grow) it would be to stand up for yourself.  Because you have heart and a conscience, it doesn’t make you a lesser person.  In fact, it does the opposite.  Because someone thinks something you do isn’t cool, screw them.  Do you think it’s cool?  Well good then, that’s all that matters.  I would also tell myself to spend more time with that sweet friend of yours with amazing talent, or that group of musicians you felt a pull towards, but just didn’t have the guts to break away for.

It wasn’t until I met my friend Liz at 13 that I really understood what it was like to have a real friend.  Someone who would stand-up for you and didn’t care what others thought while staying true to who she was despite what was cool.  Then once I was a Sophomore in college, I made an incredible group of girlfriends who are unrivaled to this day.  It is because of these friendships – and very much the first set – that I have a difficult time making friends as an adult.

After I moved to California, I met a group of girls who had already known each other for close to 10 years.  They had the kind of friendship I had with my college friends, and no matter how hard I tried, I never truly felt a part of their group.  They professed their love for me and tried to make me feel a part of it, but as a direct result of my earlier years, I often felt I was the one left out and the one talked about behind my back.  (I have no proof that this happened, and most likely, it did not, but those scars from my youth run deep – it’s nearly impossible for me to believe it’s not the truth.)  We’ve since had a bit of a falling out due to the last two years and what I’ve gone through, and it has made me re-evaluate what it is I recognize in a true friend.

Fast-forward to meeting Jjiraffe and Esperanza almost a year ago.  I had just started seeking out other bloggers who had gone through similar loss as I, and found both J and E* through ICLW.  Once I figured out both were in the Bay-area, the stalking commenced.  We eventually met and hit it off.  I knew instantly we’d be friends because in the short time I had known them, I was completely myself – something I had never been able to be with the girls here.  I’m sure it had a lot to do with what we had in common, and the fact they had been reading me for a few months before we even met (so they were essentially already inside my head), but I instantly felt like they were it – I had made the girlfriends I felt I so desperately needed here.  If it weren’t for the distance between us, I’d be begging these girls for twice-weekly get-togethers.

A few months ago, J and E had planned to get together for a sleepover and wanted me to join them.  Unfortunately, it was the very same weekend my friend Liz (from above) was in town visiting, so I wasn’t able to join.  I haven’t yet told them this, but as happy as I was to be with my friend Liz, the whole night they were together without me, I thought for sure they’d bond so much in that one night, they’d decide to leave me behind from then on.  The pangs from youth creep in and it’s so hard to shake that feeling that I’m once again being laughed at and talked about.  In my mind, they were now the cool kids and I was, once again, the low man on the totem pole (even though they didn’t once make me feel like that, it was 100% all in my head).  If I hadn’t of been with my best-friend at the time, it would have been an even more difficult night for me.

Then skip ahead further to this weekend, tables were turned and I was the one there and another couldn’t make it.  We ended up having a fantastic time.  I got to know Darcy and talk to him about food (my favorite subject) and blogs, I enjoyed the incredible food he made pizza we ordered, and even danced a silly dance in the hallway for her sweet twins.  Yes, we laughed a whole lot, but not once did we laugh at E for not being there or talk about her behind her back; instead, we Tweeted and texted with her all night until all of our phones died, feeling like someone was missing and that we weren’t complete. Then the fact she was having such a horrible night while we were together having a great time, just wasn’t right.  We needed to cheer her up and give her love and support, and we couldn’t.  This is why I was never truly like those girls.  It just didn’t feel right having one of us hurting so much.

I’m not sure my hang-ups with friendship will ever completely go away from inside of me, regardless of the people in question. But I do know that I’m now a part of these girl’s lives and feel absolutely blessed to have found them.  This community has not only given me support and love and friendships all over the world, it has now given me in-the-flesh** friendships that I hold dear to my heart.  These are the friends that if something went wrong and I needed someone, they’d be the first ones I’d call.  Or if something fantastic just happened, I’d want them to know immediately.

I have a feeling if given the chance to meet all of you out there that I now call friends, it would be a very similar story.  Except in our case, I would totally know if you were talking about me because you’d blog about it and then I’d totally write you an anonymous comment about how you’re a jerk-face and should die and you would have no idea it was me because it would be ANONYMOUS and all.

Because, as you can tell from my past, that’s totally the type of person I am.

(And E, please know that you were greatly, greatly missed, and I wish you had been there….but lucky for you, we’ve got an entire lifetime ahead of us.  This is only the beginning.)

Updated an hour or so later because this post isn’t quite long enough already: I just realized I left someone out, and that was not my intention.  I’ve also been able to meet Starfish Kitty Dreams, which has been equally as wonderful.  Hers was one of the first blogs I found on RPL and she helped to introduce me to the information available at a South-Bay university.  We’ve since met up a few times and have enjoyed one another (well, I guess I can’t speak for her, but I’ve enjoyed her company) and I felt a connection instantly to her as well.  One of these days, we’ll have to all 4 meet up!

Updated 10/24/11: I have also met Marie  and feel just as much love for her as I do these other women.  Unfortunately, when I wrote this, my mind was focused on Bay-area bloggers that I get to see regularly, and I unfairly left her out.  I hope that she accepts my apologies and know that I feel like an asshole.

* Do you ladies realize how difficult it is to type both of your names together over and over?  You couldn’t have just gone with Jane and Sally?  So you may just be called J and E from now on.  Hope that’s okay with you.  

** That made it sound kinda kinky.  No, it wasn’t that kind of sleepover.  Sheesh!

Another installment of “My life according to my phone.”

14 Oct

Last week my parents came to visit and we had such a great time. My folks are very laid back and low maintenance, so their visits are always welcome. I got to play tourist in my town and travel up to Mendocino for the first time, down to Alacatraz, and of course, there was the requisite wine tasting with my mom.

I took some pretty fun photos while they were here as well as some the week before for my birthday; so in light of the sadness I’ve felt the last few days for my friend and some tough changes at work, I’m going to post them here for a little momentary distraction. I hope you enjoy them as well. Happy Friday, everyone!

birthday dinner

At home after my birthday dinner and feeling blissful.

happy birthday

jewelry

This was my birthday gift from Tim and perhaps the best birthday present I have ever received.  I’ve been needing a solution for my jewelry as it was clumped all in bowls; I came home from North Carolina to this.  I was floored.  He and K had worked all weekend on it.  They made it out of salvaged windows and found small prints I had been saving and glued them to the backs of the glass that remained, then glued small wood slats and hung copper nails. 

I love it times a thousand. 

cake

So what if I baked my own birthday cake?  The pumpkiny-browned-buttercream-topped-with-caramel-walnut-goodness wasn’t going to bake itself. 

rock mushrooms

This is a little mushroom forest made out of rocks in the middle of Yountville.  Wouldn’t these look great in a garden?

mirrorsMy mom and I.  Isn’t she the cutest?  And that’s just her natural pink aura, not a fancy trick mirror in Yountville.

bird

bay

A storm in the bay – as seen from Alcatraz.

alcatraz

The Warden’s home – Alcatraz.

sf

Miniature San Francisco.

And then there’s this….

(It’s not pretty, but I have to show someone besides Tim)

ugly

Have you ever seen a bruise quite like that?  And in that location?!  I mean, this picture doesn’t do it justice because it’s BRIGHT baby-blue – pretty much the color of my shirt, only brighter.  It’s really hot.  But don’t you worry, you can have one, too!  Just squeeze your arm in between a gate and a fence, and it can be yours!  (Remember when I did that, mom and dad?  THIS was the result!)

And that concludes this installment of needing-to-clear-some-photos-off-my-phone.

Hope you all have a great weekend!  Just remember to keep your arm clear of wooden gates…

An update and some gratitude.

13 Oct

Thank you so much to everyone who sent prayers and good thoughts to my friend last week.  She ended up finding out that her baby boy tested positive for encephaloceles and she had to make the horrible decision to terminate the pregnancy.  She had the d&c yesterday afternoon.

My heart has been hurting and my mind solely focused on her since she found out.  I heard from her today and she said she’s come to peace with the decision and knew it was the right thing to do.  She even felt a strong presence of her baby boy after the surgery letting her know he was okay and that he loved them very much.  When I heard that, I cried…both in relief and in grief.  It’s just not fair he was taken away too soon…that any of our babies were taken away like they were.

I know she’ll still experience many emotions in the coming weeks and months, but I do know that your words of support helped make a difference.  I am, once again, blown away by the women in this community.  When I first heard the news from my friend, I knew instantly I wanted her to feel the support you have so selflessly given to me these last couple of years.  And that was exactly what you did.  I wish there was a way for me to express how lucky I feel, but something tells me I don’t have to…I think you all know exactly how I feel because you feel it, too.  I’m going to see her in a couple of weeks, and when I wrap my arms around her, I’ll make sure she knows it’s coming from all of you as well.