Monday, March 30, 2015

Not a Weight Loss Plan I Recommend

One of H's teachers commented this morning at drop-off that I am looking great -- thin, but not too thin. Have I been working out?

Nope. Just lost the dead baby weight.

I said that in my head. Don't worry.

Monday, March 23, 2015

An Involuntary Mission

Here's what kind of everyone needs to know about me. This quest for another baby, this never-ending mission? It's not voluntary. It doesn't feel like an optional choice to me. I have four PGD-screened embryos with the same genetic makeup as H in a freezer right now, and the drive to bring one of them home where he belongs feels as obvious and vital to me as taking in air several times a day.

I get it. I've been at this for a long time. People are sick of hearing about it. I'm sick of hearing about it. I'm sick of talking about my reproductive plans publicly. I didn't ask for this to be my "thing" in life. But it is what it is, and it's part of me, and I need to talk and write about it to understand how to think about it. To keep my prefrontal cortex from malfunctioning. And I need to keep going. I need to try until there are no more options. Because I still -- despite all the evidence to the contrary that's presented itself over the past four years -- I still believe he's out there.

So you don't have to understand or agree with my willingness to put my embryo inside another lady and go broke in the process. But just know that that choice was made for me when five embryos tested healthy in November 2013. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

One Year Later

These are the moments that still break my heart:

It was still cold, snow everywhere, and we bundled up early in the morning to get to the appointment. The three of us. I couldn't find child care so my poor H was along for this terrible ride.

We had just gotten H a booster seat, and before we left he told me he wanted to give his old convertible seat to the baby.

I was still careful, shielding my obviously pregnant belly as I walked across the ice to the car. I was so nervous, and yet ready to have it over with, to know what, if anything, the high AFP meant. I thought they'd find something with the placenta.

On the way to the hospital, Pharrell's "Happy" came on the radio. I loved the song, and hoped that hearing it in that moment wouldn't ruin it forever. At some point my husband changed the station and "Route 66" was on, a song we had all just heard on the soundtrack to the "Cars" movie we'd watched together. One of the last happy moments of the pregnancy.

The ultrasonographer called us back from the waiting room, and as we walked back she asked if I had to use the bathroom. H answered instead: "No, thank you." We all laughed.

H's face as everyone else realized what was innocent to the horror unfolding. Unaware he had just lost his brother.

Coming back home to the business of it. The calls to doctors and the insurance company. The search for someone who could do the surgery. Essentially being told good luck by my OB's office, whose high-risk doctor, the only one skilled past 13 weeks, was on vacation. Having to slog through all of the moments to come.

Telling H there was no longer a baby.

Standing in the hospital bathroom before going to the OR, saying goodbye, and I'm sorry. Terrified of the pre-surgery warnings, wishing I were with my H, having a fun day in my beloved city.

Realizing how old my second boy would be today. Wishing I knew if he liked oatmeal, or was quick to smile like his brother. Wishing I'd had the chance to be his mama too.


Marking a year since the death of your baby is a lonely exercise. There is no way to get others involved without striking them as melodramatic. Once again, I'm the only one who can carry this.

I wish I could tell you that the past year has changed me for the better. That I've somehow been enriched by the epiphany of grief and suffering. There may be some of that, but mostly it's been a matter of making it through days. And on some, I thought I'd break. So there's this: I survived.

It does help that this year's March 18 feels brighter and warmer than last year's. After every winter, a spring.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sliding Doors

One year ago today, I had my last regular doctor's appointment as someone who thought a baby would come out of it in the end. I just looked at the calendar, at all the appointments typed in with ignorance about what was to come. Is that blissful? I'm not sure.

I remember waiting forever for the OB, who was off seeing other regular pregnant people, maybe delivering a baby. A typical day, and I was another typical patient. Until I wasn't.

She poked around for a while with the doppler, I remember. I was anxious, she was not. She found the heartbeat in her typical casual way, as if it there were never any doubt. As if no one ever had a doubt. Maybe she always finds the heartbeat. Maybe mine was the only one that stopped beating after she found it.

It feels so far away, and yet it also still feels tangibly close, as if I could reach out and shake it up and shuffle it around and let the pieces fall down again, a million pieces put back together the way they were meant to be. I want to be Gwyneth Paltrow and miss the train this time. Maybe that's why I let myself look back at the calendar just now. A bunch of dates are all that's left of it. The closest I'll come.

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