Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Random thoughts

Okay. Sometimes I am very dramatic. The truth is that while I can't seem to make myself do all the things that would improve my marriage, I am still doing some of the things, on the good days at least. I do love him, I want to be married to him.

The other day a very wise friend said, "If you still love him and you know you want to be with him, then you have to figure out a way to be happy with him. You don't want to look back at this time in 30 years, when you are not upset anymore, and regret that you didn't make the most of it."

I'm not sure why the dark days are so dark, or why even on good days I am not able to muster up the sort of kindness he deserves, but I'm trying to work on it. I'm considering seeing a counselor. So there's that.

Also I've been meaning to write a post about Lance, about why he feels the way he does, or at least how he got there. It's percolating, and it will probably help me to write it, although sometimes thinking about him just makes me angry. We have a lot of forgiving to do, the two of us.


One of the things I've been trying to do, in an effort to accept my new four-person-family reality, is embrace the good things about NOT being pregnant. Embracing the alcohol has been easy, I've been succeeding wildly at that.

Next up, trying to reclaim my body. If I am not going to be pregnant, at least I can work on not being fat. I've got 10-12 lbs of spare tire thanks to the last year of pregnancy and it's really depressing trying to fit into summer clothes.

To that end, I started walking. (I have to start slow, I am embarrassingly out of shape.) So I walked for 30 minutes around the neighborhood and promptly got shin splints. Next I tried yoga, which I Tivo'd off the Oxygen network, and all I can say is, ouch. At least doing it at home means that I am the only witness to my humiliation. May I suggest, if you have a body like mine, that you wear a t-shirt, and not just a sports bra, while doing yoga? Because the sight of your huge, cottage-cheese speckled belly hanging over the band of your yoga pants while you white knuckle through the pyramid pose (or whatever it's called) is not so much motivating as it is horrifying. Trust me on this.

I also ordered Turbo Jam (a Sundry recommendation, just like the yoga) but I have not had a chance to try it, since I threw my back out this morning. Yes, I am extremely pathetic. Now I'm hobbling around like a granny in need of a walker and who knows when I'll be able to exercise again.

Body:1 3 billion; Amy:0.

I am not sure what I'm doing here, blogging again. I don't feel like this is a permanent change for me, which is why I've felt so uncomfortable leaving comments at new-to-me blogs. I hate to forge a relationship with people, just to bail once I'm feeling less screwed up. I have been commenting some at old friends' blogs, but I just haven't yet fully embraced my position as a blogger again. So the new blogs make me feel shy. And I rather liked lurking, not feeling any obligation to comment, the last year or two when I wasn't sharing my life here.

All that as an apology. If you have left me a kind comment over the past few weeks, and I haven't reciprocated, I am sorry. It's not that I don't appreciate it, trust me, I appreciate it more than you know. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your words of wisdom and support.

Monday, May 19, 2008


His relief is palpable. It enters the room before he does, a balloon that expands, filling up all the livable space, slowly pushing me out. So I slink away, holding my grief around me like armour, sharp edges that I scrape against his soft bubble of happiness. It does not pop, and I head to the bedroom where I can be alone with my pain.

His happiness cuts me like nothing else. Yet hurting him brings me no relief either.

My marriage is crumbling around me and I do nothing to stop it. I sit here and watch the pieces drop to the floor, make no effort to pick them up and patch the hole, and occasionally take my own swing at it, to hurry up the process.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Letters of my 20 year Reunion

Dear Heavyset man sitting next to me on the red-eye,
Did you notice that all the lights on the plane were out? ALL of them? Except yours? And when I put the blanket of a thousand germs over my head to block out the glare of your "reading" light which was burning holes in my cornea, did you consider turning it off?
WHY NOT, asshole?

Just trying to get some sleep,

Dear Delta,
I know that someone has to sit in the back row of every flight. Someone has to sit in the seat that doesn't recline, has to smell lovely aroma of the latrine for 5 hours. But did it have to be me on both flights?

Seriously. What up, Delta?

32D and 33C

Dear Amy,
You are too old to take the red-eye.


Dear Men of Connecticut,
Blue blazers. Why? You know those yearbooks that were lying around, the ones from 1948 and thereabouts? Did it seem strange to you that the students in those yearbooks were wearing exactly the same clothes as you are today? Maybe you should consider something slightly different, so you don't match every other alumni in the reunion tent. Maybe a black blazer. Or, if that's too crazy, maybe a blue blazer without gold buttons.

Oh, but mixing it up by wearing pink pants instead of khakis? So very very wrong.

Every other state in America

P.S. Bermuda shorts with a blue blazer and a tie? Shudder.

Dear Universe,
I know you have it out for me lately. I get it. It's okay, you've been good to me before, I realize I have to take the bad stuff too. But making every single conversation with my former classmates go from "do you have kids?" to "I have three kids" to "do you think you'll ever try for a third?" to "isn't it fun to have three" to "I always wanted three, how can you be sure you are done at two?" etc etc ET CETERA THREE KIDS THREE KIDS THREE KIDS was a little bit harsh, don't you think?

And then having me get my period unexpectedly Saturday afternoon? Uncalled for, truly.

You got me, okay? Uncle.

Pissed off,
The one you keep fucking with

Dear Brain,
What happened to you? Yeah, yeah, red-eye, twenty years, whatever. How can you not remember so much of what went on in high school? Everyone else there seemed to have a better grasp. Nodding and smiling and pretending to remember didn't fool anyone. Should we be checked for early Alzheimer's?


Dear Former Classmate who was my best friend at one time,
Wow. I get that you're nervous. But I googled you, I know how successful you are. And you look hot. So the obscene jokes and crazy behavior just to get a laugh seemed really over the top. I mean, at first it was funny--you were always funny. But when it became clear that that was all you were going to do, when it just escalated and escalated as the night wore on, damn. It got really old.

What happened to you?

Dear Class of 1988,
I was nervous to see you all. I was. I figured that I would feel lame, that you would all strut in with your fancy jobs and your perfect lives and that I would feel inferior. I thought I would stutter over the "what do you do?" question, that I would feel fat and ugly or worse, invisible.
But it wasn't like that for me, and I hope it wasn't like that for any of you. Yeah, a lot of you have fancy jobs. And a lot of you---most of you, really--look great, look better than high school, even. But none of that seemed to matter and I am so grateful for that.

Maybe I'll even come back again before another twenty years go by.

See you in 2018?,

Dear tiny prep school full of wealthy teenagers where I spent my formative years,
I don't know what to say. For a lot of time I've hated you. What a cesspool of entitlement and snobbery and cluelessness, not to mention the preponderance of blue blazers. But you were pretty this weekend. You showed off all your new buildings, you preened under the cloudless blue sky and easy 70 degree temperature. The green fields, the lacrosse sticks and mouthguards, flying cleats and cheering parents--it all seemed promising instead of elitist somehow.
And yeah, there was a lot of pomp and arrogance too. Many of your students, former and present, do not live in a reality that would be recognizable to 95% of the rest of the world, and they maybe never will. They mostly don't have any desire to. A lot of them are assholes, are small-minded, are selfish and ridiculously out of touch. But not all of them. Some of them are even interesting. Some have broken free of that world. Some of them haven't, and yet are still kind and compassionate and funny.
We had some good times, back then, and I remembered why this weekend. Turns out, you're not all bad.


Though I do have to repost this delicious parody, just so I remember to keep it real:

Friday, May 09, 2008

Celebrity Skin

Ugh, I've got to stop writing late at night, after too many beers. Here's something to move that last post way, way down.

Ours is a neighborhood of families--plumbers and salesmen, architects and creative directors, grips and roadies, teachers. It is a tract of modest 1200 square foot homes, built in the 1940s as housing for the employees of the airport, right nearby. In recent years older folks have moved away and many of the modest homes have been remodeled, some tastefully, some not. Around the corner from us, a builder bought three homes, leveled them all and rebuilt huge, monstrous modern residences, then sold them for millions. (Well, actually, he's only sold one so far, but he's trying to sell them all for millions, and I'm sure he will eventually.) Each of them is at least 4000 square feet, making them by far the largest homes around.

A month ago, Dylan McDermott bought one of those homes. He's getting divorced, I gather, and I guess he's down-sizing. We've had a few small time actors living here before but this is the first real celebrity. We haven't seen much of him yet, although I once caught a glimpse of him driving by in his black Range Rover.

Occasionally, in our neighborhood, film crews show up. They park their huge white trailers on the street, set up barbecues and tents for gratis lunches, unpack trucks full of lights and speakers and cords. Film a commercial in one of the larger homes, then load up and head on their merry way, back to the studios for editing.

In fact, location scouts routinely come to my house and take pictures, hoping to entice their directors to shoot here. At least ten different scouts, in the year since we lived here. And yet not once has this house been chosen. I assume it's just not big enough--ours is a modern house but it's only 2700 square feet. These commercial shoots generally last one or two days and pay--wait for it--3 to 5 thousand dollars a day for the privilege of shooting in your home.

Have I mentioned how broke we are? How much we could use an extra $5000 just hand the house keys over to a producer for a day?

Yesterday, they were filming a Cool Whip commercial around the corner. At DYLAN MCDERMOTT'S HOUSE.

Does he need that $10,000? Does he? Really? I just don't think so.


In other depressing news, tonight I am headed across the country to my 20 year high school reunion. I am fat, I am old, I have wrinkles and age spots and bring no stunning achievement with me to rub in the faces of my old fellow boarding students. I am a stay-at-home-mom and I am not pregnant, and that is the extent of it.
Truthfully, I don't really care. I am only going because it will allow me to see two of my most favorite people in the world at the same time, women I communicate with only over email, women that I haven't seen in years--one, not since her wedding 12 years ago! They both live in New England, and since I live in California, and don't venture north of Philadelphia when I fly East to visit family, this is a chance I can't pass up.
Wish me luck.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


People I love, people that love me, offer support. And I nod, and make the appropriate gracious comments, but inside my head a different dialogue rages:

I didn't just have a miscarriage, I had a second trimester miscarriage. I didn't just have a second trimester miscarriage, I had two second trimester miscarriages. I didn't just have two miscarriages, I had four miscarriages. Yeah, I have two living children but one of them has an incurable birth defect.
I have it worse. I have it worse. I have it worse. Don't tell me you understand, you with your single 6 week miscarriage. That is nothing, NOTHING compared to this. You can never understand my pain.
*** ***

In the waiting room at the clinic, I sit for hours. I have sent Lance home to be with the kids, told him I'd call him when it is over and I need a ride home. We got here at 3:30, now it is two hours later, and the receptionist guesses that it will be close to 8pm before I am done.

There is another family waiting, too--the father, I assume, and then two older women. After a few hours I think I have it figured out: father, his mother-in-law, and his mother. His wife is in with the doctors and I can't quite put together if she is here for an elective late term abortion, or if she, like me, just needs a dead baby removed. I don't ask questions of them, and they don't of me--it is awkward, if I am grieving and they are only here for relief--we don't want to make the wrong assumption.

Finally we grouse about the long wait, about how cold it is, why can't the magazines be up to date, jeez, if we have to wait so long it sure would be nice to have a TV in here. The mother-in-law tells me, eventually, that this is their third day here. I understand, from the muted undertones, not from anything explicit, that this is not an abortion. "It's her first pregnancy", she explains, "that's why it takes three days." "This is my seventh" I say ruefully, and her eyes widen as she gasps, "Seven miscarriages?" I try to correct her, "No, no, only my fourth mis . ." but at the same time the nurse has come into the waiting room, is corralling all of them back into the recovery room, and I'm not sure she hears me.

But I get a thrill then, when I see the shock in her eyes. A little glimmer of--what, exactly? I'm not sure, because it is gone as soon as it appears. But I do know that it felt good, and I so badly want to feel good again.

*** ***

As everyone knows, the problem with the Pain Olympics is that when you finally win, when you finally walk up to the podium and accept your trophy, that's when you realize that it's really Freaky Friday Backwards Day, because the true winner of the Pain Olympics is actually the biggest loser of all. And if you've been really playing with skill, then on top of the trophy, you get the enviable prize of alienating all the people that have been trying to help you.

I don't mean to participate, really I don't. But if I agree that your pain equals mine, and you seem to be over yours, then logically I must get over mine, too. And I am not ready to do that, not yet. I want to feel that thrill I felt at the clinic, however sick it may be. I want to shock you with my pain. And part of me feels like if I just scream loud enough, then maybe I can reach the right person, the one who will be able to make this all go away.

I am not finished screaming, I am not ready to give up my spot on the team. I know you are trying to help me but I do not have the words to thank you. All I can do is ask you to try harder.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


I click on this blog constantly, searching in vain for comments. Me, who has not blogged in years, who hasn't really missed it, not the way I thought I would--all of a sudden I am back, and I am desperate for company. Tonight I washed dishes and wondered, what am I looking for? What am I hoping to read, every time I click on the POW bookmark?

But I don't really need to wonder. I know, I knew, I admitted it to myself immediately. I am looking for that one comment that will make this go away. I am hoping, inexplicably, for an answer, and I want that answer to be: No, don't worry, your baby didn't really die. Just do this, and you will have a baby September 1st, just like you planned. Better yet, you will have a newborn right now. Your son, born on April Fool's Day. (Should his due date have been a sign? I thought it was so appropriate, but now, now I am the only fool.)

I have been lurking, desperately, on a new blog, Glow in the Woods. A blog for women who have lost babies. But I do not really belong there. These women have lost full term babies, where I have only miscarried. And while I know it is not the same--my loss at 17 weeks is but a drop in the bucket compared to a 38 week still birth--I still find myself there, reading their posts and crying, and raising my hand, eagerly, saying, "Me, too! Me, too!"

I sing along to the mom station I listen to on the TV while I'm washing dishes or sweeping up. Love songs, easy songs, slow songs. (It is called "The Blend" and it's embarrassingly corny.) And I am so surprised: all these songs about heartache, and not one about a dead baby. All about the seemingly innocuous problem of lost love. Then, of course, "Tears in Heaven" comes on. I almost laugh--I do laugh--a grotesque cackle that quickly turns to sob.

When do the tears stop? That's what I want to know.

I pull a block of tinfoil out of the freezer, read the notation on the zip lock bag that encircles it. "Lamb, 3-22-08". "He was still alive then," I think, as I thunk it on the counter. Isn't there some saying about April being the cruelest month? It always will be, for me.

But when did he die? I just don't know. Last time, I remember a moment in the grocery store. I felt faint, suddenly, and had to stop, and concentrate, right myself on my wobbling legs. My heart rate sped up inexplicably and there was a long time--30 seconds, maybe--when I considered calling out to other shoppers for help. But it passed, and I chalked it up to random pregnancy oddness. Until two days later at the ultrasound of course. This time, nothing. He was alive, he was kicking, then he wasn't. And I was pretending he was. Maybe he died right after my last OB appointment, at 15-1/2 weeks. But I don't want to believe that. I want to believe he was 17-1/2 weeks, I want to give him as many days as I can. The more days I can give him, the more validation I can give my own grief. It's okay to still be sad, right? He was practically a baby.

Would it make me feel better if he had made it to twenty weeks? Then I would have a death certificate to put in the scrapbook.

I can't decide. Do I wish I had more time with him, or do I wish I had lost him from the start, before I had a chance to get attached? I have had early miscarriages, too, and I know that kind of pain. It is different from this kind, but still painful.

Truly, of course, I don't wish either of those things. I only wish he was still with me, swimming around safe inside me, kicking and sucking his thumb.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Chapter, closed

Today I went to my OB to have the IUD put back in. I started crying on the way to the appointment, even though I'd been fine all morning, even though I hadn't cried in almost 24 hours. Just the thought of that office, the grey carpet, the dusty rose colored sofas with that weird 80s print in teal and gold. The nurses who are so nice every time they see me, always remembering my name now, being sure to smile big, and being extra careful not to ask me how I'm doing. The ultrasound room, the room where twice I have lain on that table, searching the monitor in vain for a blinking heartbeat, the movement of a leg, anything. I can picture so clearly the clothes I am wearing--the first time a flowered short sleeve top from Old Navy, the second a red turtleneck. I hear the silence in the room, feel my sweat starting, remember how I breathed--"I have to sit up now'--and ripped off the paper gown, swinging my legs down and holding my head in my hands, while my ob holds the wand, useless, in her hand.

No, I don't have nice memories of that office. The anticipation alone is enough to start the waterworks.

But I composed myself. Drove to the appointment, smiled at the receptionist. Listened to the nurse tell me a funny story, one I could tell she had practiced since I spoke to her earlier, confirming the appointment. Nodded when she confirmed which IUD I was getting. Undressed from the waist down--how many times have I done that in this room, and for what end?--grabbed a magazine to read, anything to keep my mind off what is happening, to stop the tears that are there, right there, filling up my eyelids at the slightest provocation. (In the parking garage I almost gasp with the effort of keeping them in, repeat to myself as mantra: it is okay, it is okay, it is okay, it is okay. And the elevator comes, another rider smiles at me, and it works, the tears stay put. At least for the ride up.)

"Are you sure?" my OB asks kindly. "We don't have to do this now." I nod, wiping my eyes, as tears squeeze out, a constant drip that I cannot plug. "Amy?" she asks again, and I realize she needs more from me, a more forceful response, a stronger sense that we are doing the right thing. I breathe in. "Yes", I say, struggling to keep my voice from cracking, but it comes out a whisper. "Is this really what you want?" my OB asks again. Furiously, I wipe away the tears. "No, no it's not what I want at all, it's not what I want. But I have to, I need to. My husband . . . I can't do it again." Pause. Louder. "Yes. Yes. Please."

A few cramps later it is done. Aside from a follow-up appointment in one month, I will have no reason to return to this office for a year.

(A little more than one year ago, that is when I had my old IUD removed. I remember the excitement, the anticipation. "Look", said my OB, pointing to the ultrasound, "you've got some great follicles here." "Oh, I don't know if I can convince my husband to start trying right away", I say with a smile, "so far he's only partially on board for this." "Well, go home, make him a nice dinner, open a bottle of wine--or two--and see what happens." And so I did.)


6:53 am, the kids have climbed in bed with us.

Vivian: I want breakfast, Mommy, let's get up!
Isaac: I'm hungry!
Vivian: Is your belly hungry? (Poking my noticeably squishy belly) Is the baby hungry?
Me: There's no baby in my belly anymore, remember?
Vivian: But you can get another baby.
Me: No, no more babies for us.
Vivian: Please? I like babies!
Me: No, sweetie, I have enough babies with you and your brother!
Vivian: I'm not a baby! Hey, Mommy can you go to the doctor today? Go to the doctor and get another baby, okay, Mommy?
Isaac: Get up, get up, I'm hungry!
Vivian: I want breakfast!

Slightly Better
At dinner, apropos of nothing:
Isaac: Mommy, I know that sometimes grown-ups cry when they miss their babies. Like if their children was at camp they would miss them and that would make them cry. And when their babies die they cry too. Like when you wanted your baby and your baby died and then you cried. Right?
Mommy: yes, that's right.
Isaac: And sometimes I cry when I miss you, Mommy.

At lunch, apropos of nothing.
Isaac: I know, Mommy, what if you and me were watching the Tarheels, and they were playing Duke, and Duke had zero points and the Tarheels had 199 points!
Me: That would be awesome!
Isaac: Yeah, awesome!