Monthly Archives: July 2008

Out of nowhere

I can be anywhere, doing anything when it strikes. The pang. It’s less, “He’s gone,” now than, “He was here.”

We’re moving at the end of the week. It is also the second anniversary of when we conceived Natan. We were done with our various research-driven separations, and I looked forward-cautiously, tentatively-to a straightforward year of dissertating, job searching, and hopefully parenthood. We were staying with a friend, celebrating that and having a fabulous night out together with an obviously happy conclusion.

We know how that ended.

What does this have to do with the move? The last time we moved I was 6 weeks along with Natan and fearing another miscarriage. I remember my parents brought some of the (silly) purchases I’d made upon learning I was pregnant the first time. I made them take them back to their basement. Some of those objects are in our basement now. Baby Man has used and grown out of them already. They remind me as much of him as of my earlier fears.

This place is full of reminders. Sunday, upon packing a cupboard in which we stored extra stemware, I found sample bottles I must have shoved away out of fear when we registered. I think there are some free newborn diapers skulking somewhere as well. It’s not just those things. It’s the window blinds our cat broke just minutes before I felt the blood that heralded Natan’s early arrival. The bathtub I sat in while JJ helped me clean off after getting home from the hospital. The closet door in the bedroom I stared at in misery in the days afterwards. The staples in the ceiling I obsessed over during bedrest (but never did anything about).

I am relieved in a way, to be moving on. To be leaving these things behind. But I don’t know yet, what will happen when we lock the door and move out for good.

Lowering Standards

Aurelia asked if I really consider needing daycare a defeat. Yes and no. I have no problem with daycare – I think socialization for babies and out-of-home lives for parents are good things. Thing is, we don’t have that much money, and trading off care was a way to preserve the 50% of my pre-tax income it will cost to put the Baby Man in daycare a measly 2 days a week to pay for food, heat, electricity, water, the occasional burrito. [I am in the process of improving the anonymity of my blog so everyone will be getting pseudonyms except for Natan. I already have one. Somebody found this blog by searching a way that I didn’t like, hence the need to change things.]

So it seemed to make sense if JJ and I could trade off days—that’s been the plan since before we got pregnant the first time, to do that for the duration of our studenthood.

Natan’s death took a lot of things away, beyond the big obvious one, getting to know him and share a long life as his parents.

His death extended the time it took to get our degrees. It meant that my next pregnancy was a high risk one. Neither of us finished and got on the market as soon as we’d planned, or are as well prepared as we’d planned. We’re spending an extra year making very little money.

Forget the extra year. Despite that, I thought I’d be fine working on my dissertation after a baby (any baby!) came. Because I have always been able to work well while busy. I used to handle pressure well. Actually, the busier I was, the better I worked – I could focus intently during whatever hours I had.

Of course a dissertation is hard. But since Natan died I have a new trait. The stare at the wall trait. I need more time for the random and unexpected bouts of sadness and grief that occur. I need time to process what has happened to me over the past 18 months. I can’t do it while with Baby Man, obviously.

My current schedule does not allow me time to do much for myself, or if it does, it always means I’m shortchanging something. I am always behind, always rushed, always forgetting something. If I take a moment to do anything not related to work or caring for Baby Man, I always know I should be doing something else. Among many other things, I want some time to sort through my feelings, to talk to friends, to be there for so many of you who were there for me.

I just can’t push myself as hard anymore. Or perhaps the problem is what I’m pushing against has gotten much more difficult. I’ve found my own personal solid wall and smacked into it, hard.

I just can’t do it without more help.

One good thing, though, that Natan’s death taught me was how to ask for and accept help. Help this time might cost us almost $800/month (for 2 days a week—wow this town is expensive!) but I really, really need it.

There is cheaper care available, but I will not hire a babysitter. I want a licensed provider I have vetted well, and a stimulating environment for him. I toured two places with part-time openings for infants (the only places not ridiculously far away). After the first I thought, “Well, this will be ok,” but knew it was going to take time to assuage the guilt. The second, I actually felt like I would feel happy about leaving him there. I knew he would be well cared for as well as happy and might learn something. It would cost $1600 more for the year than the other place, but it’s not Baby Man’s fault I’m overwhelmed. I’m still waiting for JJ and my mom (who is visiting this weekend) to see if they feel the same.

I can’t make him compromise.

Defeat

So, we have concluded that trading work days is not going to work this fall when we both are teaching, both on the market, and I’m trying to finish up the dissertation.

Part-time daycare is necessary.

I have tours and interviews at two separate places tomorrow. I know the child/adult for babies ratio is 2:1, and 3:1.

So far, my questions include:

1) Can they handle cloth diapers?

2) How to handle food?

Any advice?

Daycare is not the end of the world. In fact, I have the fondest memories of mine. Seriously, the smell of the industrial cleaner used in their bathrooms is comforting to me. And I have an undying love for yellow Dun.can Hi.nes cake with chocolate frosting because that’s what they made for birthdays. I am much more confident about daycare than about getting a sitter for him.

So why then, is my heart aching?

Vacation over

Our flight home didn’t take off until hours after it was supposed to have landed.

Somebody forgot to take the garbage out in the kitchen and it festered for two weeks. One of the cats puked all over the hallway.

The house is disgusting yet because we are moving in just under three weeks I am having a hard time seeing the point in cleaning it up.

Sigh.

In good news though, Baby Man really weathered the traveling well. He’s such a good baby.

Vacation

We are in Florida. I started this blog while here in February 2007. At that point we were new to our grief, not pregnant, and it was rather warm here in comparison to home. It’s nice to be here again, at my mil’s condo, although it’s rather hot and I am not drinking nearly enough to puke up black beans in the bath tub again.

A piece of Baby Man’s poop did roll out of his diaper (as we were changing him, not just randomly) and onto the carpet though. So we are doing our part to lessen the luxury around here once again.

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Lately I’ve been feeling like my anxieties about Baby Man’s safety are a bit more than necessary. Not saying I don’t enjoy him thoroughly, or that I’m unhappy. It’s just that I ought not to think that he’s dead for sure if he and Josh arrive a bit late picking me up from somewhere. Really there are many more likely possibilities, but the bad thoughts are deafening.

With that in mind, I decided to try and see if a therapist could help. I went to this fancy therapy center connected with the U – can’t go to the free student clinic in the summer because I’m not enrolled. I met with a psychiatrist who was supposed to help make a plan for therapy. I didn’t like the place at all the moment i arrived, because I was told to wait “in the first waiting area” and found the waiting area is a cavernous lobby with 6 or 7 sections of couches and chairs. No walls. No numbers. No way for me to know, really, which one was the first. Not a great scene for someone suffering from anxiety, let me tell you. I was nervous enough already since I’m no great fan of therapy, was running late, and had no idea for what I was in store.

On the phone, I had been clear that I needed someone familiar with loss. I was told that I was assigned to the “perinatal” team. I ended up with a psychiatrist who told me immediately that it was his last day, so I wouldn’t be seeing him again. Right off the bat, I didn’t like him because he kept referring to Natan’s birth and death as a “miscarriage.” After 45 minutes or so, he called in the director, because that’s procedure, to discuss my case. Once she arrived and he started talking, I had to interrupt him because he had been talking five minutes and saying nothing about Natan. “Um, shouldn’t you mention my first son?” He was describing me as just a new mom with anxieties.

I was really displeased at the end of it, but not comfortable enough in the moment to say anything. Now I’m even more pissed because I got a call back later that they’re recommending I go to group therapy for “anxietyNOS (not otherwise specified).”

Assholes.

I am anxious. And I am sure that everyone else in the group has reasons for being anxious, too. But I don’t want to sit in with a group, and discuss Natan’s death, and my fears for Baby Man, with people who know nothing about losing a baby, nothing about a subsequent pregnancy, and nothing about parenting after loss.

I’ve never had much faith in the worlds of psychiatry and psychology to help me with my pain since Natan died. But really, I never expected it would be so bad.

We got recommendations for grief counselors way back in the weeks after he died. But not everyone takes our insurance, and it became an annoying search. This way, going to this big center was supposed to be the easiest. But I suppose I will have to wait until the fall when I can go to the student center, or just start picking up the phone and cold calling again.