This blog has been responsible for some of the best experiences of my life. I wouldn't have any of my close friends without this blog. Sometimes it brings me such joy and comfort. But it is also responsible for some of the most stressful moments of my life. It sucks to lose a baby. It sucks even worse to hear that you deserved it, that you talk about it too much, that you're self-absorbed or just plain wrong for your feelings about it. That's hard to take, and I'm starting to wonder if it's really healthy for me. I'm tired of lying in bed at night losing sleep over something that I or someone else said on the blog.
I'm shutting off the computer for a while. Truly off: no email, no Facebook, no blog. I need to quiet the noise in my head for a while.
I'm not doing well and I need to find a way to cope. I'm gonna try silence for a few days.
I'd like to add something to my grokking post from yesterday.
I am not better off for having this wisdom. If I could give it all back, I would. Without question. If I could magically go back in time and have a baby when I first tried to, without difficulty or heartache, I would do it in a heartbeat. I don't want to be wise and well-versed in life's lessons; I want a two year old instead.
I am, quite simply, gut-gnawingly jealous of people who can control their family planning. I am jealous of their naivete and their happiness. I don't want them to be wise like me; I want to be naive like them. I envy them, in a way that is entirely unhealthy.
I have also learned that dwelling on this doesn't do me any good either. It just makes me more insane and unfulfilled.
The meaning of life, if you ask me, is to create life. It's to pass on your genes and your values to another generation. And I haven't been able to do that. I cannot participate in the meaning of life. I can't begin to describe how that feels.
I don't want you to have trouble getting pregnant. I don't want you to not have children. I don't want you to get anywhere near knowing what it feels like.
I just want what you have.
So much so that I don't even know how to deal with it anymore.
Just another one of those days where everything goes wrong: it's a training holiday but my husband's company was made to work; had to run an errand for a friend and stood in line forever behind a lady on a cell phone who couldn't decide on a Gatorade flavor; still in pain but can't take meds because I had to go to work, etc. I didn't think it was possible to be in a worse mood today. It was. Remember my nice new windshield? Not so much anymore.
I give up. Let's go back to bed.
A person in my life is newly pregnant. An intermediary called me to tell me the news so I'd hear it in person and not through the grapevine. When I realized that this girl was only as pregnant as I was -- 7 weeks -- I remarked that they were not out of the woods yet and said to pass on my congratulations and that I would continue to hope that everything goes well with the pregnancy. The intermediary said, "Well, she has been to the doctor and everything looks fine." And I, complete cynic about pregnancy that I now am, refrained from reminding this person that I too had a healthy happy 7 week old baby once, a baby that subsequently and unexpectedly died.
And it irked me, irked me that someone could be so naive about pregnancy woes while having been acquainted with me for the past few years. That someone thought that good-to-go at 7 weeks put you in the clear. That this person was so...oh crap...I am not really going to let this word pop into my head, am I?...
And all of a sudden, I grokked. I understood what she was feeling when she said that, even if I still disagree that I personally was coming off as flippant. But I also realized that it doesn't really matter, because I am sure this intermediary never would've characterized herself as flippant either.
But it's this naivete with the process, this happy-go-lucky vibe, that's hard to swallow when your own journey has been like dragging and clawing to Mordor. You want other people to have a healthy fear of pregnancy, an inkling that things can go terribly wrong very quickly; you want them to realize that bringing a child into this world, though it seems to happen easily to a great many people, is actually a miracle of engineering and timing. But people who've never suffered just don't have that perspective and never will, no matter how close they are to you or how hard you try to encumber them with your anguish.
They will sound flippant to your ears, no matter what.
What I have learned from this process, and from the whole flippant flap, is that I have to let it pass. I have to let these people be naive. Either they will learn the lesson the hard way, as I did, or they won't and life will turn out happy and jolly for them. But having me rain on their parade doesn't help any of us. It cannot make them understand the suffering that some of us go through to have children. I cannot give them wisdom they are not in a place to understand. It will only make them resent me for not letting them live their own life and learn their own lessons, as I resented her.
But I get it now, two years later. And these are the times when I am happiest as a blogger, when I can document my learning process.
And say that I finally grok.
Unliberaled Woman got noticed by friends of Michael Yon. Now that's cool.
I wonder if there's such a thing as a Yonalanche?
How To Drive Yourself Insane
1) Marry the most wonderful person on the planet. Have everything in common, down to what foods and movies and columnists you like. Never quarrel. Have the happiest homelife imaginable.
2) Save 50% of your income for the first five years of marriage. Never go out to dinner or on vacation. Delay all gratification. Make every decision based on your financial calculator so that you'll have a substantial nest egg.
3) Reach all your financial, professional, and emotional goals. Decide it's finally time for life's most important goal: to become a family.
4) Watch all your babies die and half of your money disappear in the stock market.
I know there are people out there who think that the media is in Republican pockets because it's all owned by big corporations. Really, I have always found that position untenable. I truly can't understand how anyone who listens to the news for ten minutes would possibly think it is right-wing. But those people exist, a constant reminder to me that people can hear the exact same thing and come to completely different conclusions.
But can anyone really defend the media for how they give Democrats a pass on everything? Is it possible to ignore they way Bush was treated vs Obama? I don't think it is.
A link via NRO: Forgetting about Alzheimer’s:
When President Bush and Vice President Cheney claimed that reversing their tax cuts would hurt many small businesses, the fact-checkers of the press zinged them for exaggerating the impact. Most small businesses, they pointed out, would not be affected. Good for the media: Journalists ought to inform the public when their leaders are making false or misleading statements.
But they ought to do so whether the politicians in question are Republicans or Democrats, and whether the claims help liberal or conservative causes. Last night, President Obama said that his liberalized policy on funding for embryonic stem-cell research would aid the search for cures for Alzheimer’s disease. Shouldn’t news outlets have reported that even scientists on Obama’s side of the issue say that’s a pipe dream?
You know the problem has burrowed deep in your psyche when you dream about doctors and genetic testing and surrogates.
I am still feeling about the same, but I am going to try to stay off the meds today. I actually have to leave the house to go get my bloodwork done, so we'll see if I can make it.
And then I go to my knitting group to knit for other people's babies, like I always do. Always a bridesmaid...
This bag has been sitting handle-less for, oh, two years. I finally sewed the handles on today.
Made with Patons SWS from this pattern.
And the hits just keep coming.
President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela called President Obama “ignorant” on Sunday, saying he has a lot to learn about Latin America.
Mr. Chávez said: “If Obama respects us, we’ll respect him. If Obama tries to keep disrespecting Venezuela, we will confront the North American empire.”
Bwahaha. But I thought the whole world would love us and sing kumbaya once Obama was elected? I thought Obama was a "citizen of the world" who chided us all for not speaking French (even though he can't) and never met a dictator he couldn't sit down and negotiate with?
You mean to tell me that actually Obama doesn't even know that there are different formats for movies throughout the world (something I learned in French class in high school; maybe if he'd taken French, he would've learned it too) and that he can't magically make dictators love us just by kissing their butts?
And his mere fact of existence doesn't change the world into a Garden of Eden?
Say it isn't so.
(Link via David B.)
Tra la la, tra la la. Here we go down the slippery slope:
Sarah Anderson, an analyst with the Institute for Policy Studies and an advocate for more stringent controls on executive pay, said she hopes the AIG situation will prompt Congress to pass heavier taxes on executive pay even at companies that are not receiving government funds. [emphasis mine]
“They need to put restrictions on all forms of compensation at these companies,” Anderson said.
The last time I went through this miscarriage process, I was Afraid Of Becoming a Drug Addict. I wanted to ration out the percocet and only take it when it was extremely necessary. Thus, I spent a lot of time in pain and stupidly trying to justify to myself why I needed another pill. This time around, I threw caution to the wind and started taking them every time the pain returned. Unfortunately, that method taught me why the #1 listed side effect of percocet is nausea; I spent last night running back and forth to the bathroom.
So I skipped the meds at bedtime and managed to sleep through the night. I woke up this morning feeling great. I thought that since this pregnancy wasn't as advanced as the last one, maybe the worst was past me. I thought I was mostly done. I imagined going on in to work tomorrow and living a normal week.
Yeah, shoulda checked my notes from last time again: this process is deceptive. Just when you think you're on the mend, pain rears its head again.
An hour ago, I doubled over in agony.
I hate this crap.
Two Powerline posts about AIG, one that provides even more details about the bonuses, making it obvious that they shouldn't be taken away, and the other that lays out some hypotheticals using abortion and homosexuality to show how unconstitutional the tax is. (via Amritas)
Charlie was holding his zebra toy lovingly and licking its face. It was too funny; it looked like they were making out. But when I grabbed the camera, he stopped and just stared at me like I was a peeping Tom. Heh.
When I was in grad school, I volunteered as a scorekeeper for the school's wheelchair basketball team. One of the players was my classmate and friend, and he took me to a practice one day, got me a chair, and taught me the basics.
Wheelchair basketball is really hard.
You try dribbling a ball while pushing a wheelchair with both hands. And while other wheelchairs are crashing into you trying to steal the ball. And then shoot a basket from a seated position, with just your arm strength.
I thought about that when I heard Obama belittled the Special Olympics. Sporting events for people with disabilities is no joke. They are not "sports for people who are bad at sports." Guard Wife is right that disabled bowlers would score way higher than Obama did.
The best quote on this issue came from The Anchoress: "And now, I guess I understand what all the folks on the left used to feel when they claimed the president 'embarrassed' them."
During the last miscarriage, my heart was destroyed. I told my mother that the only way I could get through it was to completely shut off my emotions and treat the whole thing like one big science project. Thus I took detailed notes about what was happening to me and timecoded every dose of medicine and every symptom.
In hindsight, I am so glad I did that. Whoda thunk I'd need to consult those notes again?
I pulled the journal out yesterday morning and reread the event. I realized I had forgotten how much it hurt. I also had condensed the timeline in my head: I thought the medicine took effect in like an hour, but my notes say it took five hours. Good thing I didn't have to rely on my faulty memory.
The process went OK yesterday. This pregnancy was not as advanced as the last one, so there's less to expel. Still, I am pretty certain that we're not completely done, so I took another dose of cytotec this morning.
My husband, meanwhile, has required attendance this morning at the Multiculturalism Readiness Fair. Good old Army and their mandatory nonsense. Of all the Saturdays...
I am doing well. The percocet makes me goofy though. One minute I can be smiley and joking like a drunk person, and then I crash into pain. It's bizarre. I can't believe some people like the way that feels and take this junk on purpose.
Well, the paradox has been solved: Schroedinger's cat is dead.
We actually had a good appointment with the doctor today. He was straightforward, talked to us like we were informed adults, and listened to my hypotheses and agreed with me. And I even got to wow him by knowing about the concept of a pseudosac, which I learned from reading about A Little Pregnant's first miscarriage. I felt like this was a really productive visit, and I feel like we're on the right track with how to proceed.
We went right down to the lab and both the husband and I gave blood for genetic testing. The doctor is also testing me for blood clotting problems, though the fact that this was my second blighted ovum leads us to believe that this was a chromosomal problem and not a clot.
My husband says that if we produce genetic mutations, his vote is for a Wolverine baby.
I already did all of my grieving for this baby earlier in the week. Unlike the last two times, the death of Baby #3 was not a surprise for me. I had been anticipating it ever since I started bleeding three weeks ago, so it's been a gradual sadness. I am feeling OK. Unlike last time, I didn't have the put-the-fish-back-in-the-water sadness. I took my cytotec (the miscarriage-inducing medicine) an hour ago, so now we're just waiting for the end.
It takes a few weeks for genetic testing to be done, which is fine. We need a break anyway. I don't want to try to get pregnant again until we have a better gameplan and know what the stakes are.
Oh, and today a seriously pregnant lady hopped on the scale at the doctor's office and she weighed less than me. Ouch. So while we're taking this break, I'm gonna give our new elliptical a workout. I've depressedly gained ten pounds since Miscarriage #1, and I really would feel better about myself and my health if I lose that before we start the process again.
Despite the fact that our baby is dead again, I am doing well and keeping my eye on the future.
Plus there's percocet.
So Obama has teleprompter problems again, eh? Am I the only one who immediately thought of this?
Stay classy, President Burgundy.
So we go into the ultrasound room, shared again of course, but at least this time we're first. The ultrasound tech -- mind you, the exact same person as last week -- comes in with a big grin on her face and squeals, "Are you excited?" I guffaw a No right in her face. And then I remind her of who the hell I am and why I'm there.
Seriously, I couldn't invent more churlish behavior for this entire process if I tried.
I had my mother in stitches last week regaling her with tales from The Hospital Of The Absurd. I never blogged these at the time, but they become more ridiculous when taken as a group:
Anyway, if we were writing another absurd chapter to this whole annoying story, I'm not even sure you could guess what happened today.
The baby is still a Schroedinger's cat. The results were again inconclusive.
Basically, the embryonic sac has grown, and there's now a yolk sac inside, which means progress, albeit weird progress since we're about two weeks behind schedule. Babies are supposed to have heartbeats at 6 1/2 weeks; we are at 8 weeks and still no heartbeat. But there was growth, so the doctor can't confirm that the pregnancy is over and advise me to remove it. It's just moving too slowly. This baby wants to gestate like an elephant.
Yep, more WTF news. We are supposed to go back tomorrow and talk to the doctor.
This is absurd. But it's par for this course.
(And before anyone even suggests it, because the first person I told this to this morning already tried: No, I did not get pregnant two weeks later than I thought. That was while the husband was at SERE and I'd already taken a positive pregnancy test. Not possible. Please don't try to concoct sci-fi fantasies about how this could be a healthy baby.)
Nothing I can do will change the outcome next week, so I just live for the next ten days and go from there.
That sounded like a great idea on Day 1. Now that it's Day 9, not so much.
These past few days have been really stressful because we have been mourning not only what we see as the inevitable loss of Baby #3 tomorrow, but also the loss of the whole theoretical concept of Baby Grok.
I have thought all this time that our problem was getting pregnant and that the two miscarriages were statistical flukes. Now I have started to panic that I can't carry a baby, which bodes so much worse.
Even after experiencing two miscarriages, your chances of having a third one are not much higher than if you never had one. [...] After three miscarriages, however, your chances of carrying your next baby to term go down to 50 percent.
There is no sense in trying to get pregnant again if subsequent babies will just die. And the normal problems that cause miscarriage -- low progesterone or blood clotting -- have already been addressed and don't seem to be my problem. And our jerk doctor doesn't seem to care about the underlying cause and just wants us to naively pay hundreds of dollars to try again.
Plus there's a deployment looming on the horizon again too, severely reducing our chances of getting pregnant, much less getting one to stick.
So we're heartbroken, because this may be the end of the road for us. We've spent the week trying to come to terms with the idea that we may never be parents and that we're cheating our parents out of grandparenthood (neither side has any grandchildren yet) and that our only legacy on this planet may be a date-harvesting program in Iraq and a few knitted items.
The loss of this baby means so much more than the loss of this baby.
Some links, for needed humor and whatnot.
Oh I'm rich with miscarriage material. I gotta tell ya -- I was thinking of creating a new line of greeting cards that instead of saying IT'S A BOY! or IT'S A GIRL! would say IT'S A MISCARRIAGE! Hello… is this thing on? Well I know for a fact I could have sold at least three of those cards… if I were buying them for myself.
Trying once again -- or again and again -- to conceive after repeated miscarriages is a leap of faith, an act of amazing persistence, pure will, and even, one might say, stubbornness. For one thing, after three miscarriages, you're dubbed a "habitual aborter" by the medical profession, which is enough to make anyone take a vow of celibacy.
Everyone seems to be talking about the AIG bonuses. The freakiest quote I've heard so far?
"We've created this mess. Everyone's responsible for allowing executives to receive these bonuses," said George Ayoub of Toronto, Canada, an American who was visiting Los Angeles. "Probably every company needs to be nationalized, and the government will own the corporations instead of the corporations owning the government."
Guard Wife has a good post explaining contract law. And Glenn Beck got in the game and showed just how inconsequential this $165M is in the grand scheme of things.
And this is the problem with government meddling in business:
Experts in corporate law said the Obama administration has an important advantage in the controversy. In return for the bailout, the government now owns 80 percent of the company. "They're the big dog in the room now and can put some leverage on AIG to straighten this out," said attorney Jim Ervin, a partner at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff Llp in Ohio.
Now that Obama owns you, he can force you to break contracts, which, according to my understanding of Boortz today, means an even bigger payout:
Here's something I'm guessing you don't know. The Financial Services Division of AIG is headquartered in Wilton, Conn. In Connecticut they have a little gem called the "Wage Act." This law says that if an employee has to sue for wages payable pursuant to a contract they recover twice the amount that is contractually owed. That would have meant $330 million instead of $165 million. Add some attorney's fees on top of that. So ... you're running AIG. What would YOU do?
So tell me how getting worked up over this makes any sense!
The Unliberaled Woman commissioned a baby sweater for her niece. I used the Bernat Baby Jacquards yarn and think it ended up pretty cute. And, to toot my own horn, look at how well the patterns on the two fronts match up!
And then she paid me an outrageous sum of money for the little sweater, which was super nice. I want her to hire me to knit for her whole family; she pays way better than my current job.
Check out her blog, whydonjcha. She's feisty.
I am alive, in case you were wondering. I just don't have anything good to say. Rachel Lucas, on the other hand, lays into Obama for suggesting that our wounded warriors be covered by private insurance instead of the VA. The "blow" line was a nice touch.
Powerline: Erasing an Important Distinction
When I saw this trailer two weeks ago, I groaned. I feared another Hollywood movie that made soldiers look like dupes and sadists. But when I saw that Soldiers' Angels was backing the movie, I told my husband that it had the seal of approval and that we ought to go see it.
We attended the premiere tonight with director Jake Rademacher, his brothers, and Gary Sinise. It was such a good movie...and I'm not just saying that because I want a non-anti-war movie to do well. It was laugh-out-loud funny in parts, sad in other parts, and above all it was real. Plus it avoided all the typical maudlin crap that most war movies have: the inner angst, the "we did not fight the enemy; we fought ourselves" voice-overs, or the sniveling soldiers who make me look like an emotional Rambo.
I can't recommend the movie enough.
Krauthammer: Morally Unserious in the Extreme
(both links via CG)
I followed the heated discussion at SpouseBUZZ over the change in policy to allow the media to photograph our returning fallen at Dover.
Chuck Z found the first example of complete insensitivity.
I hope this is not a taste of boorishness to come.
My husband walked in the door tonight with a bouquet of flowers for the third time in our nine-year relationship. I immediately burst into tears and cried for a long time.
I really needed that tonight.
I don't quite know how to strike the right balance on my blog. If I write too casually about my fertility woes, I get called flippant. If I write in too much depth about my innermost feelings, I get told I am self-centered. So I swing back and forth, trying to figure out just how much to let you know without sounding whiny or weak so I don't come off robotic either.
Please don't take the fact that I still write about Obama and Thin Mints to mean that I am not constantly fretting about my baby and planning for the worst: becoming The Lady With Three Miscarriages And Zero Living Children.
The flowers were a wonderful touch today, husband.
Barb tagged me long ago to share six non-important things about yourself. I've already shared 100 and 13, but I'm a team player. So I stockpiled a bunch of random thoughts that weren't really worth their own blog posts.
1) I don't text message. I have sent like 25 texts in my whole life. And when I do, I type everything out grammatically. I even use the shift to add apostrophes and other punctuation. I sit and compose text messages, and I usually use my entire word limit.
2) I don't like raw carrots. When I was a child, I wanted to like them because my father liked them, and I remember choking them down in kindergarten because I wanted to be like my daddy. I wanted to like them, but to this day it just hasn't worked out for me. And, humorously enough, I feel the same way in adulthood about Mark Twain. I want to like his writings, I really do, but I just have never been able to make it work. So I choke them down, just like the carrots.
3) I used to really enjoy watching CSI, but now it's starting to drive me nuts. Who are these people who live in houses that have no extra dirt or fibers or hair besides those related to the murder? I swear, a week ago I dug a hairball the size of a bird's nest out of my shower drain, but these people have one solitary hair in their drain that just happens to belong to the killer? Ridiculous. CSI would spend days at my house on all the extraneous hairs and dirt and fingerprints they'd find.
4) I love the smell of my husband, no matter if he's sweaty or hasn't showered for three days or whatever. But I realized that I also love the smell of my dog in the same way. Dog is not generally a good smell, but am filled with love whenever I smell Charlie's stinky self. I like to pounce on him, bury my nose in his fur, and breathe in his doggyness.
5) I'm one of the only people in the US who doesn't care about Thin Mints. They aren't bad, but they're towards the bottom of the list of cookies I'd like to eat.
6) I don't really like to travel either. Most people say that they love to do this, but I am all traveled out. I've seen plenty of places in this world and I am kinda over it. I don't really care so much anymore about seeing places, only people. Even so, it takes a fair amount of effort to get me to leave my house and go somewhere. If I were to travel, I have some interest in the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park, and also India and Galapagos. Everywhere else, not so much. I'd rather go to Nebraska.
Here's another example of someone covering for Obama. She worked with him when he was president of the Harvard Law Review, but didn't say anything while he was running for president because she "thought maybe it wasn't fair." But now that he's elected and a disaster, she's on record saying that he's always been this way:
[W]hen he was at the HLR you did get a very distinct sense that he was the kind of guy who much more interested in being the president of the Review, than he was in doing anything as president of the Review.
A lot of the time he quote/unquote "worked from home", which was sort of a shorthand - and people would say it sort of wryly - shorthand for not really doing much. He just wasn't around. Most of the day to day work was carried out by the managing editor of the Review, my predecessor, a great guy called Tom Pirelli whose actually going to be one of the assistant attorney generals now.
He's the one who did most of the day to day work. Barack Obama was nowhere to be seen. Occasionally he would drop in he would talk to people, and then he'd leave again as though his very arrival had been a benediction in and of itself, but not very much got done.
We're boned. We are so boned.
I have been surprised at how many people were shocked that I shared an ultrasound room. Is it because it's a military hospital? I've never tried to have a baby anywhere else. But there's always been more than one person in the room when I've been there for an ultrasound, just never someone so loud and obnoxious. None of you readers who had babies on other installations had to double-up on ultrasound rooms?
Oh, and I totally called it: I've already had two people tell me that yesterday's news was good. One was even excited about it. Wow.
A quote from the State Department:
The official dismissed any notion of the special relationship, saying: "There's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment."
That arrogant, cowboy, unilateralist administration! Don't they care about our allies? Don't they care about diplomacy?
Oh wait, it wasn't Bush?
Bah, forget it then.
The few people I know who voted for Obama usually specified that his having Warren Buffett backing him up was proof that he would do a great job with the economy. So I am wondering how those same people are reacting to Buffett's rejection of all this stuff Obama is proposing: card check, criticism of corportate jets, cap and trade, etc. I mean, he was so nice and gentle, but even so there are little hints throughout the three-hour interview that his man Obama is messing up:
BECKY: David Paterson, the governor of New York, wrote an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal over the weekend, and he said, "The mortgage plan that the president has proposed is the right one." Do you agree with that?
BUFFETT: Well, I don't even know all the details, but I would say that the administration ought to be willing to listen to very prompt suggestions on ways to make it a little bit better.
BECKY: I feel like I have heard that from the president, that we will stand behind the banking system and it will be here. What can he say more specifically than that?
BUFFETT: I'm not sure he said it quite that way...
This exchange was sure interesting:
BECKY: We have people asking questions about things that the administration has already put out. In fact, Bob wrote in from Baltimore, Bob Knott, who says, "On a scale from one to 10, how would you assess the value to the US economy of President Obama's recently enacted stimulus plan?"
BUFFETT: Oh, well, the stimulus plan's going to take a long time to kick in. I mean, there'll be certain things kick in fast. But the stimulus plan is part of the recovery, but it's not the most--it's important to put it in, but there's other things that need to be done now to restore confidence. You're not going to--you're just not going to see that much happen.
Fantastic. Good thing we rammed that monstrosity through.
Slate has some more shocking quotes from Buffett.
Anyway, I'm just curious. I read the whole thing, and it seems like Buffett truly likes and supports Obama -- but if he calls him "articulate" one more time, I'm gonna lose it -- so he hesitates to flat-out call him on the carpet and tell him that he's making some bad choices. But he hints at it plenty.
I was talking to a friend earlier and I said that this is, oddly enough, the phase I don't mind so much. Because it's the phase I cannot control. There is nothing I can do to make a dead baby alive or an alive baby dead, so I just wait it out and see. I find this phase more comforting than the actual getting pregnant process, where I over-think everything and beat myself up wondering what else I could've done to maximize my chances that month.
Don't get me wrong: this Schroedinger phase is absurd. But it's the closest thing I have had to a "vacation" from thinking about fertility for the past 2+ years. Nothing I can do will change the outcome next week, so I just live for the next ten days and go from there.
We had to share an ultrasound room today with The Most Annoying Couple On The Planet. The guy talked just like Frito from Idiocracy, I am not kidding. He would've totally taken first place in a douche-off. So we got to hear all their business: here's their baby's head, here's the arms, oh look the baby's kicking. Then they turned the heartbeat monitor WAY up so we could all enjoy their baby's being-aliveness. The guy asked if they could stay there and watch their baby all day long. No, dude, there's someone else in the room who is silently crying behind that other curtain because she's been forced to listen to your joy while she waits her turn in agony because she's bleeding onto her exam bed.
Then it was our turn, in which we preceded to find no heartbeat. Sigh. They sent me to redo my labwork. An hour later, the doctor comes in and tells us it's either 1) the baby is dead or 2) it's possibly multiples, in which case we might not see heartbeats yet. Only the labwork will reveal the answer, but unfortunately it's not completed yet, so go on home and we'll give you a call.
So the husband went back to work and I went grocery shopping, because disappointment is such a normal part of our life that it makes no sense not to act like business as usual. And I made plans to eat my weight in fried mushrooms tonight and then get to work on losing ten pounds tomorrow. Oh, and to unload all my baby stuff on craigslist.
Five hours later, the nurse finally calls with the lab results: my hormone levels haven't dropped any, so all we can do is check again at the end of next week and see what we see then.
Dragging the agony out...that sounds like fun.
This is exactly the crappy situation I worried about the last time, the something in between alive and dead scenario.
And if anybody dares tell me that this is good news and that I should be happy that at least the baby isn't definitively dead -- and I swear I know somebody in my real life who will so do this -- I will freak out.
So, um, that's my WTF news.
It's choose your own adventure time again.
You want to trust the doctors
Their procedure is the best
But the last try was a failure
And the intern was a mess.
We're headed to the ultrasound tomorrow. I am not optimistic. The pain and symptoms got worse today.
They're saying don't be frightened
But you're weakened by the sight of it
You lock into a pattern
And you know that it's the last ditch
You're trying to see through it
And it doesn't make sense
I don't know if I can do all this again if we have bad news today. I don't know if I can subject myself to even more fruitless heartache.
And you're questioning the sciences
And questioning religion
You're looking like an idiot
And you no longer care.
I don't know what else I can do if this didn't work. We've tried everything.
And you're looking for salvation
And you're looking for deliverance
Funny that this song is called "Hope." I sure don't feel much of that.
Several people have asked to hear the story of how I told my husband I was pregnant. I assure you, it is not as exciting as you'd think.
The first time I got pregnant, back in 2007, that was the fun time. That was when I surprised him with the news early in the morning and we both got really excited and giddy and couldn't go back to sleep. But since then, it just has never been the same. The second time, I had to wait for him to call from Iraq to tell him that I was pregnant but that the nurse already said the baby would probably die. So it's not like we're going into this fresh; we will never be able to recapture the carefree happiness we felt the first time.
My husband reacted exactly the same way I did: happy and grinning upon first hearing the news, but once the reality sunk in, he pulled back and grew as distant as I have. We're both cautiously pessimistic, shielding ourselves from what we see as the eventual crash and burn.
We are now completely unable to trust any signals. I had two miscarriages without any bleeding or pain, but now I have had nothing but bleeding and pain. The first time I was morning sick, but there never was a baby in the first place. The second time we had a healthy heartbeat a few days before the baby died. Nothing makes sense to us anymore, so it's easier to ignore it all.
Even if they tell us that everything looks fine this week at my ultrasound, it won't make us feel any more confident or any happier. Our last baby looked fine at 7 weeks, and look where that got us.
So I hate to disappoint you, but telling him was fairly anticlimactic. We've been down this road too many times before to naively believe we might actually become parents in eight months.
The first thing my husband did was quote Raising Arizona with a big grin on his face: "When there was no crawdad to be found, we ate sand." "You ate sand?" I smiled back. "We ate SAND," he finished.
He told me was that SERE was so much worse than he ever imagined. I said that I had been crying and worrying about him all week. His response: "You definitely should have been."
The thing about SERE is that everyone is supposed to go in fresh. My husband can't tell me a lot what he went through without revealing the confidential parts of the course, but suffice it to say that the few things that he was allowed to tell me me were plain awful. And I know there are more things that he can't explain in mere words even if he could, things I will never be able to understand.
He said he came away from the training with so much respect for people like John McCain. My husband spent a few days as a simulated prisoner, and he said it was enough to make you wish you were dead. He said he cannot imagine how POWs survived for years on end in a real prison, with real guards and real solitary confinement and real torture.
One facet of the desperation they felt can be summed up by a story he told. During the evasion part, my husband was lucky enough to happen upon a snake. He killed it and then carried the dead snake with him until the next day when they could safely make a fire and eat it. But the saddest part was when he said that he was so miserable from the weather that he didn't even notice how starving he was. And he was starving enough that he lost more than 20 pounds in one week.
But he's been in a good mood since the moment I saw him grinning at me. I suppose liberation from such an ordeal must make you happy in so many ways.
Me, I had trouble falling asleep last night and woke up very early this morning, listening to him breathe -- and hack and cough, since his weakened condition has made him sicker than I've ever seen him -- and just being so thankful that he's home, and thankful that the whole thing was simulated.
All I could think about all week was how wives of real POWs could bear it. I couldn't bear one week of agony, knowing that somewhere out there my husband was being mistreated...by paid professionals who only mean to teach the soldiers valuable lessons. I don't know how ladies in the past woke up every morning knowing that their husbands were truly being tortured.
And his hands. His poor hands, destroyed from clawing his way through thorn bushes under a new moon in the pouring rain to evade the enemy. Every time I see them, it's a reminder of all he went through.
But he survived. He returned with honor. And I'm very proud of him.
Teresa found a list of the top ten books that Brits lie about having read. Heh. Well, I've read six of those ten books, and two of them in the original French. So la di da for me.
And I wouldn't read Ulysses or Dreams From My Father if you paid me. I took a course in college where the professor offered that if any one of us could 1) read and 2) understand Ulysses, we'd get an automatic A in the class. No takers.
Incidentally, I find it hilarious that people are lying about having read Obama's book.
Rush Limbaugh challenged Pres Obama to a debate. Oh, if only this could happen.
I would rather have an intelligent, open discussion with you where you lay out your philosophy and policies and I lay out mine -- and we can question each other, in a real debate. Any time here at the EIB Network studios. If you're too busy partying or flying around giving speeches and so forth, then send Vice President Biden. I'm sure he would be very capable of articulating your vision for America -- and if he won't work, send Geithner, and we can talk about the tax code. And if that won't work, go get Bob Rubin. I don't care. Send whoever you want if you can't make it. You don't need to be leaking stories to Politico like this thing that's published today. You don't need to have your allies writing op-eds and all the rest. If you can win at this, then come here and beat me at my own game, and get rid of me once and for all, and show all the people of America that I am wrong.
Rush would crush Obama to smithereens.
In other challenge news, Greg Mankiw tells Paul Krugman to put his money where his mouth is.
How big of a dork does it make me to say that I would pay real money to see these two smackdowns go down?
It's like a blogger nerd's SuperBowl.
In other countries, beginning with the US and Europe, a new economic era has begun. Laissez-faire, anti-tax, anti-government capitalism is understood to have failed (it sure as hell didn't prevent this disaster, did it?), and the response has been a turn to the Left. In other countries, it's understood that government has to step in with more liberal, social democratic, Keynesian, New Deal-style policies or the economy is going to sink through the floor.
Not here, though. Here people are scared of losing their jobs, afraid to spend a nickel, their hearts go out to the factory workers who've gotten laid off, they read about how charities that keep hundreds of thousands of poor people afloat are about to go bankrupt, and what is their idea of change, of an Israeli New Deal? Bibi Netanyahu. The world's last reigning (or soon-to-be-reigning) ideological Thatcherite.
The article is not meant to be flattering; the author apparently wants an Obama. But I must say that when I read that intro to the article, I felt jealous of Israel. They get Benjamin Netanyahu and they're complaining about it.
Dude, I will trade you leaders any day of the week.
Our ship has hit a hurricane, and this is our crew, folks. To the poor and the soon-to-be poor: Don't expect a whole lot from the incoming government. The New Deal under Prime Minister Netanyahu looks like it's going to be a copy of the Old Deal under Finance Minister Netanyahu: Every man for himself.
Yes yes yes! Oh wait, that's meant to be a bad thing?
The whole article is about how Netanyahu didn't "solve the ecominy" last time he was in office; it just righted itself eventually. That's meant to be an insult, that Netanyahu didn't do anything. But in my estimation, presidents or prime ministers ought to stay as far away from touching the economy as possible. The free market will eventually right itself, but not if you tinker with it too much.
Our new president is a tinkerer of epic proportions. I'll take their guy over ours whenever they want to trade.
Not to mention that he ain't so bad on the eyes...
Want to see a remarkable gulf between how the left and right view the world?
Point: Aspiring to Mediocrity: With hard work and success to be punished by Obama administration, productive Americans scale back.
Counterpoint: Your Idiot Hero Of Your Idiot Book For Idiot People
I recommend reading all the comments too. It stuns me how these two groups of people have fundamental differences in worldview and in their definitions of human nature.
I thought I'd weigh in some thoughts on the "designer babies" thing that hit the news. I don't know if I'm gonna say what you think I'll say.
Two years ago, back when we thought we could control our destiny, my husband and I had a discussion about which month of the year we'd prefer our baby to be born in. Subtract 9 months, and that's when we should get to work. I can't even laugh at us because I still find it so frustrating. We also had a definite gender preference and a few other minor desires.
Nine months later, when I finally did get pregnant, I had been hit with a good dose of perspective. I wrote that I had decided that none of these preferences mattered anymore, and that all we wanted was a healthy baby to join our family.
But when that baby died, and then the next one did too, I started to lose that sense of perspective. I hate to say that I started to feel entitled to happiness. We now deserve to get exactly what we want -- boy and girl twins, of course -- because of the heartache and headache we've endured. And now at this point, if I could make it be twins, I would. I would also select for gender if I could. And one of my worst fears is spending these years trying to have a baby and then to get one who has severe health problems or birth defects. I would factor that out as much as I could.
So I kinda understand where these people are coming from.
I haven't yet had to do IVF. IVF is rough. It's painful. People who do it have been through years of sorrow and then endure physical, chemical pain in order to conceive. And I don't blame them if they want to tweak the results a little bit.
I don't see this becoming The New Thing. I don't imagine that people are going to bypass the regular old having-sex route to babies and opt to spend tens of thousands of dollars and give themselves painful shots, just so they can pick blue eyes.
And, from the CBS article, I don't give a rat's behind about this "worry":
Secondly, you're going to have the rich using these technologies, and that's going to advantage them further. It's not going to be something the poor get to do.
Cry me a river. Conversely, the rich aren't going to get welfare checks to raise their 14 babies.
I understand people's revulsion to the "playing God" aspect, but I've never heard anyone bring up this argument. I'm open to discussion on this idea, and I know I haven't thought every aspect through, but I can sympathize with these IVF patients that they feel they're due a little control in their lives. I grok that.
I heard Rick Santorum on TV the other day discussing this, saying that artificial insemination is an abomination against God. It reminded me of the time Bill Maher said that people who can't conceive should "take the hint."
The only abomination is being emotionally and financially ready to raise a family and to find yourself thwarted.
I never really bought into the idea that it was better to have Obama as president and be in the vocal opposition than to have RINO McCain in office. I have been scared of irreversible policy changes. And this partnering with the global community, crippling us while helping them, is one of them:
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will discuss global financial supervision and coordinated measures to support the economy with US President Barack Obama this week.
Brown will become the first European leader to meet the US president on Tuesday, since Obama’s inauguration. “I believe there is no challenge so great or so difficult that it cannot be overcome by US, Britain and the world working together,” Brown wrote in the Sunday Times.
“That is why President Obama and I will discuss this week a global new deal, whose impact can stretch from the villages of Africa to reforming the financial institutions of London and New York, and giving security to the hard-working families in every country.”
Brown said the two countries’ “partnership of purpose” should be directed at fighting the economic downturn as well as terrorism, poverty and disease. Britain is keen to get US support for the bold aims of a G20 summit on April 2.
Every word in this short article makes me shudder.
-- I don't want my country to promise to give security to families in every country.
-- I don't want even more American tax dollars to fight poverty and disease in other countries.
-- I don't want an American New Deal, much less a Global New Deal. Ugh, I can't stand the word global.
Rachel Lucas' encounter with British salsa reminded me of our adventure eating at a "Mexican" restaurant in Germany. And those scare quotes are definitely needed. My husband ordered something like enchiladas and it came covered in European salsa, which he tasted and then remarked, "Um, this is marinara." I'll be darned if it wasn't. Straight up marinara on top of enchiladas. Oy.
I don't know if I can take this. My heart hurts:
When I wrote the other day about bearing my burden while my husband is at SERE, I had no idea that the scales would tip towards him so quickly. He has begun his last week of the class, which means he's at the "practical application" point of survival, evasion, resistance, and escape. And my heart hurts so bad for him because it's been pouring rain. Just pouring. And they're forecasting snow for tomorrow.
I know my husband is a tough guy and that he'll figure out how to get through this week, but there is nothing that hurts me more than the thought of him suffering. I've sat here all weekend in my warm house with my electric blanket, and the sound of the unrelenting rain is just killing me.
It makes me cry to picture him trying to survive outside in this weather. It is a far heavier burden than anything happening to me.
The sound of that rain is just paralyzing me. It makes me sick. It makes me want to go find where is he is rescue him.
I can't stop worrying about him.
It's a different form of the agony of the unknown that we feel when we stand and wait.
Instead, no sooner had he finished describing his plans for spurring an economic recovery and shoring up the crippled automotive and banking industries than he was off to the races, outlining his ambitions for overhauling energy, health care and education policy.
The House chamber was filled with veteran legislators who have spent decades wrestling with those issues. They know how maddeningly difficult it has been to cobble together a coalition large enough to pass a significant education, health care or energy bill.
And here stood Obama, challenging them to do all three, at a time when trillions of borrowed dollars already have been committed to short-term economic rescue schemes and when new taxes risk stunting any recovery.
Is he naive?
There's a simple answer to that last rhetorical question.
(My husband and I love making that goofy face and answering obvious questions with that stupid uh-huh. It was the first thing I thought of when I read that absurd article.)