Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This is the end. Or maybe the beginning.

I'm not one for Big Announcements, but it seems clear--to me, anyway--that the blog is over.

Yes, things are slowly getting back to normal in the P.O.W. household, and, as such, I just don't have that much to complain about anymore. Once upon a time I used this blog to record my daily life, since my daily life was mostly made up of me and two babies--and babies are not the greatest conversationalists. And I used it to make connections with other people, for the same reason, and also because in Real Life I am not sociable enough to connect with other people unless all the planets are aligned. Then, I used it to work through my shit: my marital problems, my grief, my disappointments and fears.

But now my babies are growing up. Isaac starts kindergarten next Wednesday. 8:03 to 2:30, the longest day he's ever had. He can't wait. He wakes up every morning at 6:30, after studiously setting the alarm the night before, to practice getting ready in time. He makes his bed, he gets dressed, he puts his toast in the toaster. He can practically live on his own! And Vivian is four, full of herself, and ready for her first year at preschool without Isaac holding court above her. Her day is from 7:30 to noon, and honestly, she'd be happy staying longer too. They are turning into little people that need so much less from me, and that allows me to have some freedom I didn't even realize I'd been missing.

I've taken a job at the elementary school as an aide, which starts next Tuesday. The pay is terrible, but the hours are what I need, and I am really looking forward to it. We had the first faculty meeting this morning and it felt really nice to flex my professional muscles, to talk with grown-up colleagues about grown-up things. I mean, yes, I mostly mingled with the kindergarten teachers so there was a fair bit of conversation about kids, but still, it felt nice. There are 5 special ed classes at this school--50 kids out of a student body of 250--and talking to those teachers reminded me how much I enjoyed volunteering in special ed classes when I was in college. It got me thinking about new possibilities: do I want to pursue that? Take some classes, get some kind of a degree so I can teach special ed? I don't know yet, but my brain is excited at the thought of something new.

And, well, the blog is not new. The blog is old, and I'm moving on. On to hopefully bigger and better things. Surely this coming year cannot suck as bad as the last one. Already Lance and I are forging a new relationship, one that feels familiar and new all at the same time. Even though my least favorite time of year (winter) is looming ahead, I can still embrace the Indian Summer that graces Southern California from now until October, and I plan to do just that.

I thank you all for your support, and your compassion, and your wise wise words when I needed them so desperately. I apologize for being such a one sided blogger; I didn't comment on your blogs, or even visit, nearly as much as I should have. I send all my happy good vibes out to the internet, where hopefully they will reach all of you and fill your life with joy and goodness.

Peace, my friends.

Oh, and yes! Please keep in touch via email. And I'll still be reading your blogs from time to time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Babies, babies everywhere.

Son of my oldest and dearest friend, who unfortunately lives on the other side of the country, he was born February 20th. His mother was the first person I told about my pregnancy last summer. We were due exactly one month apart (me, April 1st; her, March 1st). For a few weeks we were each others' rock, venting daily on the phone: my troubles with Lance, my horrific morning sickness; her toddler's speech issues, her exhaustion. That was an extremely difficult period for me, physically, emotionally and mentally but she made it bearable. We went through it together.

Then I miscarried. The daily phone conversations slowed down. She felt uncomfortable discussing her pregnancy woes with me when I was no longer pregnant, and I felt uncomfortable small- talking with her about other things, with the elephant of her pregnancy taking up all the breathing space. We still talked, frequently, (she is my best friend after all) but it wasn't the same. Every day her pregnancy progressed reminded me that mine had ended. Fortunately, a few months later, I was pregnant again. Our phone conversations began anew in earnest.

Hugo was born in February, a healthy beautiful baby and I was happy for her. I really was. Crushed, too, that my baby would not be born in a month, the way we had hoped, but okay. After all, I was pregnant too, by this point about 12 weeks pregnant, and I knew I'd have my baby come September. (I am due September 1st, 5 months to the day after my first due date)

Then I miscarry again. April 2nd, the day my baby should have been born; instead I had a D&E. After that, the black time, which I finally started to pull myself out of in June. I took the kids home to see family. And to see my best friend, and her three wonderful children, including the 4 month old Hugo.

He is the cutest baby you will ever see. I loved holding him and smelling him. But when I got back to California I cried for hours. I will never have 3 children. I will never have a baby again to smell, to hold, to love.

I am thrilled to get to watch this little boy grow up. But every milestone he reaches, from the first crawl to the first college acceptance letter--will remind me of my own lost boy--lost boys--and the milestones they should be reaching too.

Daughter to Lance's best friends' sister (got that?), she was born in the beginning of February. Her mother lives in Northern California but used to visit frequently, which I loved, because she has two girls similar ages to my two. One night in September she was visiting--we were both pregnant at the time and I went over to a friends' house to see her. We spent the time commiserating about the 3rd pregnancy, how no one seems to care about the 3rd, how people are actually kind of rude about it. Like, 'why would you have a 3rd? That's so irresponsible.' I bitched about my husband, told her what an ass he was being. "Yeah, you know what I told him? It's too late now, babe. What are you going to do? Pray for a miscarriage!" I said, laughing. She laughed too, and we clinked wine glasses. It was my first glass of wine of the pregnancy. I was 13 weeks pregnant, and feeling human for the first time in months. It seemed like a good time to have a glass of wine.

The next morning I discover the dead baby at my monthly OB appointment.

When Leah was born, in February, I was already pregnant again. I had the same pang on her birthday as I did with Hugo, but again, it was okay. I would have my baby, just not exactly when I expected.

A few days later we learned that Leah had Down Syndrome. Her mother had passed the 1st and 2nd trimester screenings with flying colors and so there had been no need to take the diagnostic tests. But an anomaly, and Leah was born with the syndrome.

It's a very difficult diagnoses. We go to visit in May, when I've lost the second baby. Leah is 3 months old now, but still very floppy, more like an infant than a 3 month old. Kendra, her mother, is having a really tough time but she is trying her best, she is muddling through. I ask her how she's doing.
"Bottom line, she's my daughter. And I love her with all of my being. So I have to do everything I can to help her." She says. "But it's hard, " she adds, in a whisper.
Turns to me, asks,"What about you?How are you doing?"
"Oh, you know. I'm okay. I'm pissed off at Angelina Jolie. But I'm okay." I pick up Leah and rub her back, drink in her baby smell. Pause.
"But I would kill to have Leah." I say quietly.
"I know", Kendra responds.

October 2007. I am sitting in Vivian's ballet class , smiling at the other mothers but not joining in the conversation, sitting off to the side, pretending to be engrossed in a book. I have just miscarried, I am still bleeding from the d&c. None of these mothers know I was pregnant. I notice some squealing where the other mothers sit, watch as one after another they get up to hug Betsy. "Congratulations!", I hear. "You are due in July?!"

Every week, she comes in with tales of the pregnancy. How she has explained it all to her 4 year old daughter (She is not even out of the 1st trimester yet). How she hopes it's another girl, but if it's a boy she is considering the name Isaac. How her clothes don't fit but she does not feel sick at all (She never gets morning sickness, isn't that odd? (I'm rolling my eyes here, if you can't tell) She just loves being pregnant!)

Then, in January, I am pregnant again. I start engaging in the conversations more. Asking about OBs, asking who will do a VBAC, counting the days until I, too, can tell everyone that I'm pregnant, when I can share in the squeals and the joy and the love. But in March we switch to a ballet class that is more convenient for us. I don't see her anymore, though I get periodic updates from another mom who has also switched.

In May, I have lost the 2nd pregnancy. I sign Isaac up for soccer, which meets every Wednesday at a nearby park. By coincidence Betsy is there, with her now huge belly, watching her daughter. She is thrilled to see me, and again I am regaled with pregnancy tales every week. This time I can't really bear it, so I have the neighbor start taking Isaac to soccer. Before I do, Betsy tells me, excitedly, that her daughter and Isaac will be going to the same kindergarten. I will be seeing her all the time in the fall.

In July, I get an email:

'Genevieve Theda, born June 30th. Healthy and happy, mom and baby doing great!'

At Vivian's new ballet, there is another pregnant mom, this one very pregnant. We have switched over in March, and to my untrained eye it looks like this woman will have the baby any minute. But week after week, she still shows up, looking bigger than the week before. I am intensely jealous of her large belly. I myself am starting to show, but still gun-shy about telling anyone. Still unsure that I will actually bring home a live baby. I decide I will tell them the next week.

Then I miscarry.

That week, the pregnant lady (I have never gotten her name, though we exchange pleasantries) is not there. The following week she is, this time carrying a teensy infant in a sling. This is Daeva. All the moms ooh and ah over the baby--really, there is nothing sweeter than a helpless newborn--but I can't look. I escape down the hall to get coffee, keenly aware of the bloody pad in my underwear.

She has been there every Monday since, growing rounder and stronger, a peaceful sweet baby who rarely cries. She is just a few weeks younger than my boy would be.

At the kids' Karate class, I sit next to another mom, watching our girls in the "tiger tots" class. It's pretty cute, and I enjoy watching Vivian do something physical. Generally speaking, she is not an active child. I have struck up a friendship with this mother, Collette. She is friendly and funny and our daughters seem to like each other. It is January or February, I am pregnant, but not obviously so. She confides in me that she is pregnant, due August 2nd. "Really?" I exclaim. "I feel like I look more pregnant than you do, and I am not due until September 1st!" This cements our friendship and we spend the next several weeks discussing our pregnancies. How the siblings will handle it, how it's been so long we have to buy all new stuff, whether we want a boy or a girl, and so on. She is one of the only mothers I have told. I love our Friday afternoons together.

Until I miscarry.

The next Friday I have to tell her that I am no longer pregnant. And then every Friday after that I sit next to her and watch her belly grow. She is extremely cognizant of my feelings but I insist that we keep speaking of her pregnancy. I ask how she's feeling, what she's done to get ready. I am not purposely torturing myself, I genuinely like this woman and I do want to hear about it. I am living vicariously through her, I suppose.

I have not seen her since the baby was born, a few weeks ago. But I think she will be at karate this Friday, teeny infant in hand.


One of Vivian's best friends at school is a little boy named Dylan. His family moved to LA from London in February. When I first met his mother, I thought she was a little heavyset; however, after a few weeks it became clear that she was pregnant. She is due in May, and in March I try to work up the nerve to tell her that I am pregnant too. That never happens, and I miscarry in April. A month or so later, Kaylana is born. Her dad gleefully comes to pick up Dylan, waving around his iphone with pictures of the beautiful infant.
"That's the way to do it, right, love?", he says to me, watching as I herd my kids into the car. "First the boy, then the girl, then done!"
Smiling, I say, "Oh, right."
"No more, though! Done now!" He grins at me, and waves, and heads off with Dylan.

Every day at pick up, Kaylana and her mother are there. The other children, my own included, are fascinated by her teeny tiny toes, her squawks and, later, her smiles. She looks exactly like her brother.

She is 4 months old now, getting bigger every day.


January 1st, 2008. We head over to a friend's house for their annual New Year's Open House. I am just barely pregnant, about 5 weeks. In the kitchen with the host, Michelle, I grab her arm.
"You're pregnant, right?" I ask. (I had been out with her a few weeks earlier and I noticed her drinking water)
"Um . . ."
"I am too!" I say, excitedly. "When are you due?"
"Oh, yay! Congratulations! Wow. I'm due August 3rd. What about you?"
"September 1st! I'm just a month behind you!"
Then we commiserate for awhile, venting about the exhaustion, the morning sickness, the fear.
Our pregnancies progress the way pregnancies do, each of us feeling terrible but still managing. Both of us are desperate for a VBAC, although I am superstitious enough to not want to think that far ahead yet.
When I am about 14 weeks pregnant, we go over to visit their new apartment. They have moved to a larger place, a little bit farther away, and I realize it is very close to the specialist who will do my 20 week scan. I make plans to stop by on my way home from that appointment.

At 17 weeks, I miscarry. Around the time my 20 week appointment should be, I ask her to come by my house and pick up all my baby stuff. The double stroller, the little boy clothes, all of it.

Shamefully, I haven't seen her since then.

On 8/8/8, Beatrice is born. I speak to both parents and congratulate them, make plans to meet the littlest member of their family in a few weeks.

I will watch this baby grow up, too. If Hugo is the doppelganger for my April 1st pregnancy, then Beatrice is the same for my September 1st pregnancy.


Yesterday, at preschool a new mother was dropping off her daughter. She is hugely pregnant. I smile at her, ask when she is due.

"August 30th", she says with a smile. "I can't wait to meet this baby!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Today after pre-school drop off, I decided to hit the drive-thru Starbucks, so I picked up a coffee and headed home, following a route I haven't taken in a while, a route that ambles right by Marine Park. When the kids were little--when Vivian was 2 months old and Isaac was a maniacal 18 month old--I used to drive that route every morning. First to Starbucks for my coffee. Then to the park where Vivian would (hopefully) sleep in the carseat while Isaac ran off some of his never-ending steam on the play structure.

I'm not sure why it hit me so hard today--I have driven past that park before, and recently--but as I drove by, chai latte in hand, I felt a physical longing for the little ones. For diapers and squawking infant cries, for unsteady toddles to the slide, for high-pitched voices that can't pronounce the letter S and tantrums over footwear. Maybe it was the weather: August, when the morning sun glints off the tall (by California standards, anyway) trees in the park, when the road by the park is empty, all its regular denizens off grasping one last vacation before summer is over and school starts again. August is when I used to come here with the kids. August is when I had finally just about got a grip on the two kid thing, figured out that I needed to leave the house before nine if I wanted to avoid a full-on Isaac melt down, figured out where the drive-thru coffee store was, and the closest park to it.

You know, those were not particularly wonderful times, I'm realizing now, no matter how bucolic the memory seemed this morning. Isaac the toddler was extremely difficult to keep entertained and always half a second away from terrible injury by running into the street, or sticking his face in the stove, or plunging a fork in his eye or something. I should have wrapped him in yellow caution tape from age 1 to age 2-1/2. Vivian was not a difficult baby, but she wasn't a great sleeper, and that is never fun. I was exhausted, bitter about my c-section, feeling inept as a mother to two children, sure that I was neglecting Vivian too much, convinced I would never be able to control Isaac. We would last at that park about 30 minutes, sometimes a little more, before Vivian would start crying, or Isaac would fall and get hurt or get bored and demand something new. And I would sigh and look at my watch and wonder how in the hell I was going to fill the next 3 hours before naptime. Hmm. Yeah. In truth, it sucked. Hard.

Still, this morning, as I drove by, it hit me like a punch: I want that back. I want to hug those little babies and smell their baby scent. I want to do that again. I want to feel that needed again. I am good at it, no matter what I thought at the time.

Thank you, nostalgia. Thank you, stupid Lady Hormones.


I have a whole 'nother part to this post. A litany of all the babies that surround me, as a mother to pre-schoolers. But it is taking an eternity to write. And I'm not sure it's even interesting. So I just give you this, and maybe the rest will come later.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Reason Number 20045 to keep drinking

Wednesday night a friend was in town so we had an impromptu ladies night out. Not surprisingly, I drank too much. But we had a great time, and it was just what I needed, in more ways than one.

Thursday, Lance came home from work in a pleasant mood and we chatted amicably (!) for a few minutes before he went out to play baseball with Isaac. Just before he went outside, he stuck his head back in the door and asked,
Hey, did you mean what you said last night? Or was that sarcasm?
Me: What? Last night? Did we talk?
Lance: smiling Yeah, babe, we talked.
Me: furiously flipping through the Rolodex in my mind, searching in vain for any such conversation Oh.
Lance:Well, I just wanted to say thank you. It means a lot. I'm glad you understand.
Me: Um. Okay. I--
Lance: laughing Just say 'you're welcome', babe. I'm taking it all as heartfelt, whether you can remember or not.

And you know, things have been so much better since then! I mean, yeah, it's been less than two days, but still. Who knew? Drunken conversation=relationship salve. I gotta try it more often.

Though I do wonder what exactly I said.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tale of Woe, Part: Present Day

Friday night, after a long week of pure grumpiness on Lance's part which resulted in a week of avoidance on my part, we finally had a conversation.

Yes, a wine-fueled conversation, but hey, whatever it takes, right?

We talked, and argued, and talked, and I think we even laughed once. I won't say we solved all of our problems--I'm not even sure we solved any of our problems--but it was nice to say the things we'd each been thinking out loud finally.


Truth: Lance is extremely stressed out about his work. The sales are not coming easily anymore, and this is a change he has not handled well.
Truth: I am extremely UN-empathetic to his plight. In my mind, having to work a little harder than you are used to is no reason to pout and throw a tantrum.

Truth: Lance does a really good job, at Cisco, as a salesman; and at home, as a father.
Truth: I don't give him nearly enough credit for that.

Fact: Lance needs deserves strokes from me. When he is feeling down, he doesn't need me to roll my eyes and tell him to suck it up, he needs me to pat his back and tell him he's doing a good job.
Fact:It is almost impossible for me to do that for him. I am just barely holding on to my decision to forgive him, and to not hold any of last year against him. Asking me to go above and beyond that is not fair.

That was Friday. Saturday and Sunday were good days, spent mostly in the company of friends, at the beach, at the neighbors house, lots of summery drinks and barbecues and laughter and friends. Lance and I do great with other people around. It's when it's just the two of us that things get dicey.

Monday night, I am making dinner*, the kids are playing. Lance walks in from work.
Me: Hey babe. How are you?
Lance: grumble mumble mutter Hey
Me: Looking up, watching him open up his computer and glare at his email.
Me: Another great day at the office?
Lance: What? mutter grumble
Me: making dinner
Me:Big sigh. Bad day?
Lance: Yes. Okay? Mondays are just not that great for me these days, okay?
Me: making dinner, not making eye contact

Eventually, the kids come in to eat; Lance and I decide to feed them first instead of sitting down to a family meal. We disagree over the crispiness of the bacon. He makes snide comments about Vivian's leotard (we had suspended her classes this summer since we were traveling so much but she started up again yesterday. Lance thinks it's a waste of money.) I sigh a lot and say to the kids, "Let's hurry up and drink all our milk guys, Daddy's in a bad mood and I don't want to make him madder!"

After dinner, baths & bedtime I escape upstairs while he turns on Sportscenter downstairs.

dinner being leftover pasta and BLT's, which is all I can rustle from the pantry. We have no money for groceries until the next payday, which is not until Friday.

So yeah. What would you call that: two steps forward, one step back?
Or is that backwards?

I know I need to do better.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

This post brought to you by 4 Coronas

Is it wrong of me to hate Angelina Jolie? I mean, I should probably spend my time thinking about more important things, right? But I just can't bear it. Six kids! WTF?

I don't feel rage personally anymore. I'm actually mostly happy, most of the days. Lance and I still don't talk, but he's only home in the evenings, and the rest of the time it's just me and the kids. And I'm okay. I'm not depressed anymore, I don't cry anymore, everything is slowly getting back to normal.

But Brangelina. God, I hate them. I have transferred all my hurt and pain and anger onto them and I loathe them with every fiber of my being. Also, I want to steal all those babies, especially the twins. And did she really have to steal my name? Vivian? With the fancy snotty French spelling? UGH.

I will NEVER have what they have. I will never have another pregnancy, IVF or not. I will never adopt a baby, even though I would KILL to do that. It is not in the cards for me, SO WHY IS IT FOR THEM? Do they not have enough, what with the gazillions of dollars, the 6 healthy kids, the gallivanting all around the world, the adoring fans? Just where are MY adoring fans, that's what I'd like to know.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

5 items

I have been doing very well on my diet this summer, with the notable exception of alcohol. Still, I've lost 5-7 lbs and gained a bit of muscle and I'm starting to like the way I look again. To celebrate, today I made a pan of brownies with the kids and promptly ate 1/2 of it. I'm pretty sure I gained back 3 lbs just doing that.

Vacationing with friends is lots of fun, especially if you keep it short and sweet--say, a weekend at most. But differing parenting styles are never more apparent than when you are in an enclosed area for an extended period of time. Quick question: if your 5 year old cried like a baby over every. little. thing. and pouted and whined for an entire weekend, would you not be embarrassed? Would you not have something to say about it other than, "oh, honey, what's the matter?" Oy.

San Francisco is a beautiful, vibrant, hip city; I know, I lived there for 8 magical years. But man, there's just something fundamentally wrong with shivering in jeans and a Northface jacket in the middle of July. Seriously, the cold. I can't take it.

My husband is really cranky when he is tired. I completely hate it when he is cranky, which is funny (read: shameful), considering I've been cranky for the past year.

I don't think I'm supposed to admit this, but here it is: being a stay-at-home-mom is BORING. I mean, at first it wasn't. When the kids are little it's exhausting, and I think, a lot harder in many ways than being a working mom. But now that they are older? I have GOT to find something to do with myself. I have some feelers out there--there's a possibility I could be an aide in the kindergarten next year, except the budget cuts are holding that up, and my old job has expressed an interest--but it's really difficult to find a job with the hours I need (i.e. 8:30am to 11:30am) and that pays enough to be worth it. (Although at this point any money would be worth it.)

Want some photos with your blather? Okay:
(It was squinty. This was from our weekend to San Diego with the neighbors--warm but overcast)

From our trip to Colorado with Lance's parents:
(Ain't she cute?)

From our trip to the Outer Banks with my family:
Summer II
Now that looks like summer, doesn't it?