"Self pity is our worst enemy, and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in the world."
- Helen Keller1880-1968, Blind and Deaf Educator

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Year, New Beginnings

Today is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year- Happy 5769! It seems almost perfectly fitting that today is "day 1" for me, the first day of my cycle. It is one day closer to my next IUI. Day 3, I'll be doing bloodwork. Day 10, a hysteroscopy. Next month, the treatment can begin. Today, I am one day closer to meeting my live baby (or babies), smelling baby smells, kissing mushy baby heads.

Think Good Thoughts by Rabbi Nachman
Since Rosh Hashanah in the “head” of the year, our minds should be focused properly and we should think only good thoughts. Rosh Hashanah is like a blueprint for the year to come, so positive thinking can help shape our year for the good. Your speech has the power to create, for better or for worse. What we talk about on Rosh Hashanah deeply influences the year to come.

The cards of life are stacked in your favor. Overall, you're far
more likely to succeed than fail, and to thrive than dive. Don't let the
inevitable setbacks get you down. You are on your way to all you have been dreaming for, and so am I...

Whirlpools of love,
The Universe

As a follow up

For all my well wishers- I didn't REALLY send that letter from my previous post. Just a bit of therapy for my head. I may send a letter, but it will most likely contain just the first sentence or two. For all those who wondered, Dr. L is indeed a woman, which makes her behavior and insensitivity even more shocking.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SHARE training for medical practitioners

There is a training around fetal/baby loss for medical practitioners in Northampton, Massachusetts on November 10-11th (two trainings, one each day). The director of the US National Share organization will be helping professionals with sensitivity training on the subject. Things like, do not be afraid- we know you don't know what to say. Saying that is much better than saying something like "would you like to pray with me?" or "Things happen for a reason."

I have been encouraged to write a letter of invitation to anyone I think might benefit- maybe someone who was not the best with me and could use the training.

Dear Dr. L,

I am part of a SHARE support group that helps me cope with the loss of my baby girl, Sally Ann. The director of this national organization will be in the area to speak on the subject. She is an absolutely wonderful speaker and, since you are in the field, I thought you might be interested in attending.

She can share with you how inappropriate it was to tell me I had a 50/50 chance of losing my baby when I had the first sign of bleeding. You may have been right, but it was ever so cruel. And then when you happened upon me after my 22 hours of labor as your shift began- what a delightful coincidence that it would be you to finish off the deed.

I found it so thoughtful that you had the idea of putting my baby in a stainless steel bowl, still somewhat bloody, to give to me to view. Aren't we so lucky that Nurse M was around to come up with the idea of using the little preemie pink wraps that you stock in the hospital by the case for just this occasion.

In any case, why not check this lady out? You might pick up a few pointers and learn that less is more when you are speaking with a woman in grief. Or maybe can you just think before you speak?


Lisa DG

New day, new meaning

For those of you who made a comment to my blog from last night, I have one piece of good news. What I didn't mention yesterday was that I also had to make a perinatal appointment before I could even go back to my fertility doctor and that appointment was also way way in the future- two doctors making me wait. This morning, my OB office had found a sooner appointment for me for a perinatalogist (a completely different practice)- they obviously "got it" when I spoke to them. I am not going to worry about the fertility appointment until I get to day one and my tests are complete. Once I am all ready to go back to her, my appointment will become available- I just know it. No amount of worrying now will make it better.

I learnined something really profound tonight. I attended a SHARE group meeting which, for those of you who may not know, is a group that helps couples with fetal and baby loss at any stage. Tonight the meeting was packed. We did get on a roll of complaining for a while- we can all share the stories of stupid, insensitive people, or medical professionals that let us down, etc. But then the topic of conversation focused on how several people felt that they had somehow let others down with the loss of their baby- like we all felt as though we had to apologize for what happened.

In an instant, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I have been carrying around guilt and despair that I had somehow let Sally Ann down. How terrible I felt that I did this to her- that I took her life away. How she must be so disappointed in me for inducing labor and giving up on her. Bad Lisa. How could you do that to your poor little baby girl?

A wave of pain came over me. I cried all the way home. Here is yet another layer of the onion, peeled back. Here I am, heart cracked open. It hurts, and somehow I know that it is exactly where my journey needs to go- that I need healing around this.

For those who will tell me it is not my fault, know that I can and do see the logical side of the discussion. Tonight, however, my heart needs to feel the irrational in an effort to move forward towards a new understanding. This is where I am. This is who I am. This is my life and my journey. I wonder where it might lead. The path is certainly dark tonight.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We don't have to take it anymore!

My doctor's appointment went very well- or actually just as I had expected. I will need to redo a bunch of tests, timed on different days, and so we decided (she decided) that I will not begin my next cycle until next month. No surprise here.

The frustrating part is that, when I went to make an appointment to regroup with her after all the tests (why do I even need that meeting? We will be redoing the protocol we did last time), she has nothing open for 6 weeks. So they expect me to wait another month because she can't fit me in to regroup? You have got to be joking! I called everyone and their mother at the clinic, pratically begging for something sooner. I absolutely will not wait. That is the stuff that just makes me blow my top!

They tried to calm me down by telling me that there are always cancellations and that I am on the list for one of those. Ok, for now, but if I have to come in there on my own and demand to see her, I will.

I guess what I have learned is that I don't have to be the good little girl and do what I am told. This is my body, my fertility, my family. I will do whatever I need to in order to create my family.

I can't believe how much I miss someone I never really knew. I move along each day feeling like, Yes- I am going to make it. Then, in an instant, I feel like I don't even know if I can.

Breathe in, breathe out. Each day brings me closer to the family of my dreams. I can't wait to share the good story of Sally Ann with my children. I will share the gift she gave to me in her short existence here on earth. Maybe we will all sit down by her tree some day and this pain I have will have found some meaning.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Notes From The Universe

I get an daily email from a site called Notes from the Universe - written by Mike Dooley, one of the people in the movie The Secret. Here is the one I read today. Not sure I can "hear it" yet, but I am willing to ponder it.

I guess what it brings up for me is that I want to find a way for this experience to bring meaning into my life. For example, I appreciate my husband so much today, more so than ever before. I am grateful for that gift in my life. I know there are other gifts. I can choose to focus on the nightmare- or I can choose to focus on something else. Tonight I will focus on the love I have for my husband.

Whenever your perspective on something creates emotional pain, Lisa, it's
always because your perspective is still so narrow that you've yet to see all the
good it will make possible.

Because it will.

I can see clearly now...
The Universe
If you are interested in getting a personalized daily pick-me-up, copy the url below and paste it into your web browser:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Do all good things come to an end?

I had made a dried flower arrangement as a memorial to Sally Ann. I used a cool square vase that was given to me and added some of the flowers from the many bouquets I received. It was beautiful and so sentimental. As the flowers sat, they would sink down into vase a bit more each day, so I would add more on top from a plate of ones I kept. The vase sits next to Sally's urn, an angel sculpture that was sent to me and some cards that really "moved" me.

I came home last night to discover that the arrangement had molded. The beautiful colors had faded to a fuzzy grey-brown. Oh well- there is nothing I can do now. I dumped them in the garbage and left the smelly vase next to the pile of dishes I need to get to at some point. A clean sink doesn't seem to have the same allure and importance as it once did.

I am optimistic about my doctor's appointment tomorrow. I am going to try to convince her to let me start next month rather than waiting. I know she has her agenda- and I have mine. In any case, I have always believed that all good things come to those who ask.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I should have bought stock in maxi pads

Captain's Log 9/16. it has been two weeks since I have written. I have been swamped with work and that was probably a good thing. My appointment with my reproductive endocrinologist is this Friday and I am a bit nervous. I hope she says I am ready to roll and begin again. I hope my insurance quickly approves. I hope, I hope. I am focusing on how great my life is- things are supposed to go well for me. I deserve everything I want and I can have it all.

I feel my cycle is beginning to get back in order. I bled like a sieve for about 12 days. The actual total amount of bleeding was actually about 17 weeks- with the bleeding in pregnancy, the post delivery and then this. Well, that phase of my life is behind me, thankfully. I should have bought stock in the Always brand pads. I could have made it rich.

Since I last wrote, my husband planted a memorial tree for us that my staff got us. It is a beautiful Japanese maple. I am terrified it won't survive as I heard other stories of tree planting difficulties, but I need to keep the perspective that the plant is a symbol for, not actually my daughter. What happens to the tree does not reflect on my ability to be a mom, nor will foreshadow future events.

I can tell I am in better mental shape- I haven't been crying all the time. I even made it a couple days here and there with no crying- I think. I feel better than worse on most days. I thought about Sally Ann this weekend a lot and I felt very sad. I met a woman who had her first child at 42- I love those stories. Share them with me if you hear them.

I have been at work for 12 hours today- with an hour more to drive home- I better sign off. I will update everyone after my doctor's appointment, at the latest.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Those were the days

I remember back to how scared I was when I first found out I was pregnant- I wasn't sure how to feel since I had never been pregnant. I had complained right before the IUI that it had been 37 cycles of trying. There was a deep heaviness when I referred to the process that way- 37 attempts.

The truth was that it wasn't really 37 cycles. Yes- it had been 3 years, but a lot happened in that time frame. My mother was sick with cancer and I would often fly to be with her- out of range of my husband's "Superman" sperm as the doctor called it. I don't know how many months that occurred- I didn't really keep track of that. Moreover, in the early months, I didn't know what I was doing. The old adage- if you don't use birth control, it's an accident if you DON'T get pregnant- was in my mind so I didn't plan or time marital relations. I just came home from the bar, straddled my husband and said "let's make a baby." Oh, the good old days!

I also took on a new job that required some travel. I wasn't travelling too too much, but the first time I used the ovulation predictor kit, I had flown to Orlando FL for a conference. I knew I would be ovulating while I was there so my husband took off time to fly down there a few days after me to be sure we "matched" it up right. Low and behold, I ovulated two days before he got there.

If I look at the story I have told myself, I may have slanted my "truth" in a way that made me feel worse, not better. It didn't really matter by this past April- I had gotten pregnant. I mean, my issue was getting pregnant, not staying pregnant.

It took me just about 9 weeks to really get into it and not be completely frantic. When I first saw the ultrasound at week 5, I was terrified. There was a little heartbeat in what looked like a blob. How would that fragile thing live?????

At 9 weeks, the picture looked like a baby. All the doctors and nurses were congratulating me- they said the baby looked great. Very strong. They were extremely pleased. In fact, they said their work was done and they released me to my new OB.

I had found my OB about a week before. Still, I felt sort of lost in that I didn't know how to be just a pregnant woman. My story had gone from "when will I ever get pregnant" to "I met my husband, fell in love, got married and created our family" in a matter of minutes. I look back now wondering if there was a part of myself that thought "you fake! You know it can't be that easy."

I spent a non eventful weekend going back and forth on the matter until Monday, I decided this was my fate. I began telling close friends and reveling in the newness and joy of the experience. I shared my new story with my husband, my therapist, my family. It was a dream come true.

Until about 4:30 am in the morning of that very day. I went to the bathroom and blood gushed out of me. Falling into the toilet was large clots of tissue. I remember looking into it and saying- there's the baby. I was in total shock. I can't even describe the terror. I immediately called the reproductive endocrinologist. When the on-call MD called me back, she said I should call my OB. Now I am faced with calling a stranger's office to try to explain what had happened.

The on call doctor called me right back and asked me to remain calm. She told me to come to her office at 8:00 am- 30 minutes before they opened. It would be easier than going to the ER. Just remain calm.

I called my friend from 1st grade- she had 3 kids, Maybe she could calm me. "Oh I know someone who had the same thing, It was a blood clot. Don't worry just yet" she said. OK. I won't worry. Blahhh- did I lose my baby?

That was the longest 3 hours of my life.

I arrived at the unfamiliar office and they took me straight away to the ultrasound room. They got me situated and took a look. Low and behold, there was my sweet, beautiful baby, just moving and shaking, heartbeat absolutely perfect. I felt truly blessed, so happy, so grateful. Everything might really be OK.