Monthly Archives: July 2007

Law of Diminishing Returns

I turned in today, or I will have turned in as soon as Josh leaves the apartment, another draft of the chapter I began in December.  I did this awhile ago, too, but this time it’s a complete, not a rough, draft. If there are no major suggestions from my faculty members, I can spend just a few more days on it and put it behind me forever, or at least until I make some modifications to the intro and conclusion for the sake of continuity in the final dissertation.

How in the world did it take me so long? Don’t tell me, I know the answer to that. But it seems like I’ve taken so many starts and stops. As I’ve said before, I can hardly remember the past 7 months. I remember things that happened a year ago with so much more clarity.  I’ve never passed so much time in such a fog. All my personal motivation attempts – self-imposed deadlines, systematic planning, have been constantly thwarted.

In honor of finishing this damn draft, and in the interest of feeling like I’m making some progress, I pulled out a draft of a chapter I finished in November. It’s as if another person wrote it. I can sense the greater confidence and happiness in that writer. I can tell she felt like an intelligent, whole person. Who felt fairly confident in making plans predicated on before and after. But my project for the next 10 days starting Thursday – I’m taking this afternoon off to rest and gather my thoughts and we’re both taking off tomorrow for our anniversary –  will be to finish up that one, to make that one complete. I wonder if the astute reader will discern the different authors.

When I told one of my advisers about the Halifax job, she commented on how I’m advancing so quickly, and should have my dissertation done in plenty of time to take a job for the 2008/09 academic year. I thought, wait, stop, are we talking about the same me? Or the me that she knew before? Because this me no longer get things done so efficiently. I just took 7 months to do one of the 6 or 7 chapters of my dissertation. Even cutting myself a break for the past, I’m not sure I’m going to speed up now. But I’m not ready to give up entirely.

Sure right now I am working consistently well. But even as I say I’ll spend the next ten days doing something, I know that could all end. At any second our hopes and plans could implode again, and we’ll be enveloped by grief, pain, and misery. And I used to think balancing the personal and the professional was about taking vacation time.

U/S Results

Emily, a Level II Ultrasound is just a more indepth look at the baby and uterus, to assess for any problems.

All is well. Baby’s heart, spine, and size measured well. My cervix looked good still, too, although the tech said it was 3.5 rather than the 4.3s we’ve been getting. I’m trying not to worry about that because she didn’t do a transvaginal which is more accurate, and my bladder was of course full which can affect things. 3.5 is still a good number anyway and a cm longer than it was at this point last time, and there was no funneling.

As for who we’ve got in there, well, we won’t be naming him Hannah. Another boy. We were thinking maybe girl, but I think on my part at least it was because my instincts were saying BOY! so strongly again. I was worried that was just because I really want Natan, so I needed to open myself up for a girl, just in case. But I want this guy too.

I’m excited, but kind of numb, as well.

On the edge of my seat

It’s Level II ultrasound day!

Ack.

I just felt the baby kick a bit, so I poked it and said, “Well at least we know you’re alive.”  Josh didn’t think that was so funny.

Dilemma

So I have a dilemma about my old blog. I want to write that “last post,” but I can’t seem to be dishonest. I considered, for example, writing that I wasn’t finding blogging therapeutic, but I don’t want to misrepresent my feelings since actually, blogging has been my anchor at times. I also considered writing that I felt the need to take my feelings off the web and make them private, but that too is misleading. Finally, I thought about writing that I need to dedicate more of my attention to my dissertation, so am taking a hiatus, but that seemed unfair to the memory of Natan. This is an absurd question — and soo historian of me, wanting to preserve some sort of integrity in my source. Am I the only one out there who considers what someone in the future will extrapolate about from my writing? I don’t have the sense that I ought to be an artist, clearly, since what I write closely resembles stream of consciousness.

I think instead I’ll just stay silent for a bit.

Hey, look at this site I literally stumbled upon: http://www.wowrussia.com. Later this week, I’m going to tell you about  Cheburashka and Gena.

What was that about?

I had a horrible night last night. I am freaking out about having reached the point, 20 weeks, where a loss will no longer be called “miscarriage” and I am just a few weeks from where some babies reach viability. Yes, this should give me hope but I think I’m going to have a hell of a time from now until we pass 27-28 weeks. And I really have been doing so well, until now.

The badness actually started in the early afternoon, when I decided to work from a coffee shop for awhile. The chairs were uncomfortable, and when I’m not comfortable, I get nervous. Nervous about impossible things – like my uterus being positioned in just the right way for my cervix to shorten. My imagination gets away from me. So then I wanted to go home, back to the refuge of my futon and carefully positioned trays. But then the sun was too bright on the drive home and I had forgotten my sunglasses so I was in an even worse mood. I suddenly was exhausted, and thought that maybe I was having an upside down French fry day, like Lori’s Baby Girl earlier this week, but inexplicable grumpiness is not nearly so cute on a 30 year old. I decided that I probably just needed a nap. Only that didn’t help. It just gave me a headache.

Eventually by the evening I at least felt human. Being the comfortable old couple that we are, we played a game of Triv.ial Pur.suit, the 1980s edition. I finally won after getting the answer to this question correct, “What US Supreme Court Justice was reared on a 198,000 acre cattle ranch?” after confusing Richard Marx with Michael Bolton at least 3 times. And I was reminded of a question Niobe asked last week when I was so disgusted by a question Josh got about an, uh, 10-foot Twinkie that I had to let him read the card because I was gagging at the thought of it.

Off to sleep where I had so many bad dreams I still feel like hell this morning.  The most bizarre one was about my family going out to dinner and for some inexplicable reason my sister left my nephew in the car without access to his wheelchair while we ate. I was terrified he would try to crawl across the parking lot to get to us but for some reason I wasn’t brave enough to demand an explanation or the car keys. In another dream my sister was angry with me for something and wouldn’t let me see my niece.

Don’t continue reading if you don’t want to know of yet more losses in the world to be angry about. I’m crabby about things that have nothing to do with me as well. I’m so sad for Msfitzita, and Amy, from another blog I read, and I am distraught that another of the Morrison sextuplets has died, leaving only one still alive and just barely. But of course that’s not unexpected and even as the family deserves their privacy I wonder/doubt if we’ll see a media reversal on calling these sorts of births “miracles” rather than flipping tragedies now. Without blaming infertile couples.  My G-d I can’t imagine the pain, burying 5 babies, possibly 6, in just 7 weeks. And I wonder if they have doubts, and incredibly profound regrets.

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From the Directory

Rosepetal posted this today on the Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss Directory.

I know that our two weeks in Florida in February were tremendously therapeutic for us. After all the visits and phone calls and food deliveries, we were glad to get away and be alone. It probably wouldn’t have been as helpful at a different time of year, but the area was fairly empty of families in February.

Not everyone, of course, has the money for such a trip, or as happened in our case, parents with a condo in Florida and an eagerness to buy plane tickets.

I think the idea of an isolated cabin in Wisconsin sounds wonderful. I hope it helps many grieving parents.

I forgot the calm

In the midst of yesterday’s drama I forgot the latter half of the previous title.

Somebody has been tickling me from the inside, a lot. Kind of distracting, but definitely nice.

Invisible Omniscience and a Return to Calm

I’ve been complaining to Josh and a couple of friends about my grief groupie for a few weeks now but more about just the aggravation involved in deleting a barrage of emails from my inbox than any real awareness that it might be harassment. I assume she means well. The next few weeks will be the test I suppose. Will she disappear, or will the attempts to get my attention escalate? I stopped responding quite a while ago, but noticed last week that two “thinking of you” e-cards had made their way into my spam box. On my blog, I deleted a few comments I thought were really inappropriate, but within minutes they were reposted. I considered blocking her but I checked into it and it’s an unsurmountable problem because we connect to the internet using the same networks, and the addresses are always renewing. I could end up blocking myself. I can of course block her emails but at this point I want to know if she’s trying to pursue me.

But this post isn’t supposed to just be a continuing rant about her. It’s that, I didn’t even realize how profoundly she was affecting me until yesterday. I wanted to post a vague rant about my desire to end a long day with a margarita, but I thought, “Oh wait, she’s totally going to misunderstand that and will fill my inbox with warnings about FAS.” Then I thought I would post about how hopeful me looked at bassinets at a used baby stuff store the other day, and I got nervous that she’d start “shopping around” for me herself. And the next thing I knew, Josh simply asked why I was quiet and I started crying that I feel as if I’m living in a panopticon. As in a Benthamite one.

Panopticon

In the Benthamite prison – very few of which were ever built – the prison cells are arranged around a central observation deck or point. Observers, guards, can see them, but the prisoners themselves cannot tell if they are being observed. It seems that, in choosing to be so public with my grief, I put myself in a virtual panopticon. I didn’t mind, being observed in my grief. Not by strangers, anyway. Or by any reader or friend that’s at least willing to acknowledge that s/he is out there. The others, however, have made me feel that they’ve turned my grief into a spectacle.

Grief Groupie

Edited to add: Actually, hold off for a bit on linking to me. As Julia pointed out, I don’t know if she’ll go looking again. I’m hoping that if I just post that I’m not blogging anymore, she’ll just stop reading and leave me alone.

Tell me. If you knew a mom whose baby died at birth, and who was currently pregnant again, do you think she would want to receive daily emails from you about the results of your random Google searches, or the medical journals to which she obviously also has access? Would you email her about a panda who miscarried because of progesterone deficiency and suggest that she show it to her doctor? Would you send her 25 years worth of conflicting articles about the success of cerclages? Would you email an article positing that eating 300 mg of fish (or some number, I forget exactly since I don’t actually eat fish – don’t take any of this crap as advice) a day will prevent preterm labor, followed up immediately by an article that suggests eating that exact same amount of fish will cause autism? Would you see that she mentions her family’s history of neural tube defects and send her study after study about how she needs to be on 4mg of folic acid a day even after she tells you she’s been on folic acid for over 18 months? Would you then send her an article about parents who choose to terminate their fetuses with spina bifida? If she mentions the word depression on her blog, would you then load her up with articles about anti-depressants and pregnancy? Would you send her gifts, including vitamins not approved for use by her doctor?

And would you continue to do these things for months, long after the mom tells you she doesn’t need the help, and even after she stops responding or acknowledging you in any way? And would you do this 6, 7, 8 times a day? And would you have started to do them when you’re not a parent yourself and you’ve actually only ever spoken to that mom once in your life prior to her loss of her son? And how did you find her blog anyway?

So that’s the story. That and the feeling that some real life readers are doing so more as voyeurs than friends. I guess the mostly anonymous blog argument won.