Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Catalog Therapy

I'm a bit of a compulsive shopper. I only indulge now and then, but I can't stop at just one. If I find something I like, I need one in several colors, or the whole "set" of something. Anything.
Today, my dirty little secret was an Av0n order. Now, I'll have a coworker stalking me every two weeks or so just to keep gas in her car. But I'll look fabulous.
In other news, I'm on CD54. A pile of negative peesticks in the garbage, and two pages of charting set to join them. I am, however, starting to feel like I might be getting some action down there though. Ok, not "that" kind of action, that ship already sailed. I'm talking the sort-of-numb, heavyiness-slash-tingling kind of sensation the nethers tend to get when signaling me to man the rafts. Maybe just a touch of ute cramps, too. Maybe not, I don't know. Will just have to wait and see what transpires. Sigh.
Hockey season is winding down. Two more games, and the playoffs to go. Then, I can rid my car of the funk that belongs to my son. That's a special kind of smell. He has played just about every sport there is, but now that he's a man, DAMN. They had baseball practice in the gym yesterday. Two inches of snow on the ground, and they're taking batting practice on the hardwood. I'm so fucking thrilled that Spring is almost here, though! Yay! Soon, my crocus should be sprouting up in defiance of the frost, and the world will be greening up a bit. At least in my hemisphere. Jill. Then I can complain about the heat. It just never ends.
The dog smells like a french whore, and his coat has a nice curl to it. What a nutbag.
I'm off until Friday, so I'm going to rent some DVDs and pay some bills. Might even do some laundry. I made the absolute worst tasting lasagna ever. I have been watching V.h.! too much lately. I drank a caffeine-laden drink too late last night and was up until 3am. Had an awesomely terrific weird dream, of which I only remember parts of by now. I really have to start writing this shit down.
And this information? Neccessary?
That's all the chatter I have to share right now. Enjoy your Fat Tuesday.

No, really. Twist a little harder.

Apparently, today was the day we buried Nick a year ago.
I had not thought of this. Honestly.
I remember the funeral, but not the date. It seemed somewhat irrelevant by that point.
My father (gotta love him) felt badly that I was so sad about Nick's angelday, and that he had not called. I did not say anything to them about it; I guess it just materialized in his failing memory and he realized he had been remiss in sharing the tears.
He called today, his voice cracking, sniffing out how he had been thinking about "my little family" and wanted to let me know how much he loved me.
Not putting two and two together, I dutifully returned his call, to see what was up. (Maybe mom was sick?)
He made small talk for a few minutes, then gave a dramatic pause to ask how I had been feeling.
I told him I was feeling much better now that the date had passed. Life moves on, you know, and I have to keep going.
"I still remember how upset you were", he said.
"And how I wanted to make everything better for you, my baby."
That's sweet, daddy. Thank you.
"How cold is it there today? Is it snowing?"
Um? It's cold; no snow. (??!)
"Do you remember a year ago today how we were out in a blizzard?"
That is when he decided to launch into reliving all the minute details of the funeral. The burial. The aftermath.
I don't mean to sound unappreciative or anything. Really.
But I HAD been feeling so much better. Really!
So far today, I hadn't even thought about any of it once.
For a moment, I thought he had to have the wrong date. Had it really been four days?
And that got me to thinking.
Nicholas was delivered on a Thursday evening. On Friday, I was discharged from the hospital, and we made the funeral arrangements. Saturday was all booked up, so we had to wait until Monday to have the service. Many people missed it because of work.
Thank you, dad, for remembering for me.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

So clean, it sparkles!

I love my dogs. Really, they are just wonderful. Great companions, warm and fuzzy, snuggly, smart and good watch dogs, too.
The little Princess desperately tries to avoid any dirt or puddles, and I swear to you she even wipes her feet off when she comes inside.
The big one, though, he's just some kind of stupid. Sure, he can sit, lay down, roll over, play dead, shake hands, retrieve, attack, change the oil, lift the toilet seat, and balance my checkbook. But there are certain primitive instincts I just can't rid him of. He is a guy, after all.
He was soooooo very excited to see me today. Nearly knocking me over as I walked through the door, he began with the standard : Guess what, mom! Guess what we did! We went for a run! And played ball! And Josh let me chase the car! And I went to the river!
I snuzzled him, and petted him, and rubbed my face against his and his neck as he kissed me and snuzzled me back. Such joy! Such love! What a warm reception!
Josh wandered into the room, but stopped suddenly as he yelled "Stop!"
Hey, hun. Why, what's up?
I moved to hug him hello.
He told me to go take a shower.
Then, it hit me.
That faint, acrid-yet-musty smell. The kind that seeps into your every pore and tingles your nose hairs. The type of aroma you can almost taste.
As a matter of fact, I *did* have a few stray dog hairs that had stuck to my lipstick.
Here's where you should just step away from the computer. Go ahead. Turn it off.
Because, uh, Ewwwwww.
Walking along the railroad tracks, near the river, the dog had found an irresistable pile of poo to roll around in. This wasn't just any pile of poo. This was fairly fresh people poo.
(Please do not ask me how The Boy knew this. I trust his judgement.)
Thing is, the dog did not merely sniff it and paw at it. He dove head first into it, smearing it all over his upper body and face, and massaged it into every crevice he could find. I should be so thorough with my mouisturizer.
I've had hunting dogs before that enjoy the occasional dead carcass. I've had garbage pickers who delight in rotting foodstuffs. Even the Princess has had a snack fresh from the litter box. (Crunchy on the outside, gooey in the middle! Yum!)
But this. This is just too much gross for me.
To his credit, The Boy tried his best to clean the dog. I have no more towels. The dog "looked" clean. When I washed my hands, however, the runoff was less than clear. I was gagging harder than I have gagged before. The smell lingers on.
The hose was cracked from frozen water because someone left the main faucet on before winter came. For the life of me, I CAN NOT get the beast into the tub, and, being a Sunday, the groomers aren't open. I have handy little floor drains in the basement, so we stood the dog over one, poured water on him from a pitcher, and scrubbed him with shampoo and brushes. Over and over and over again. It was even stuck inside his ear hair. His collar is in the trash. There was corn, people. Corn.
I took the longest, hottest shower I have ever had. I used three different "poofs" with antibacterial soap and I swear to god I would rather just shave my head than to put my hair on my pillow tonight. I brushed my teeth. I gargled. I brushed my teeth again. My clothes are soaking in a bleach solution. I am calling the carpet people tomorrow for a good steaming. I am taking the car to an all-service place to have the inside detailed. Josh is cleaning the basement. He has gathered all the blankets and pillows and coats and shoes the dog was near to be either burned or washed at a laundromat.
I swear I can still smell it. My skin is crawling from the the mere thought of it. A split second of lovin' turned into an all-nighter of ick.
I know they say tomato sauce takes the scent away from skunk spray. Do you think it would work with doody? Would vinegar make much of a difference? Should I just shave him? Will my doggie stylist have any magic potion to make it all go away? Will I need therapy? And who the hell takes a dump by the railroad, anyway? That's just wrong.

Some days you're the windshield

Some days, you're the bug.
Today, I feel a little more like the disembodied wing stuck under the wiper blade.
It just keeps taking swipes at me, and I'm along for the ride.
Apparently, I'm not done whining yet. Whodathunkit.
I promise, though, only one Nicholas-related gripe today. The rest involves the real, live people who I swear strive to make me question my reality.
Didja ever have one of those moments where you have to step back, reassess what you thought you understood about your niche in the workplace, and end up feeling like a complete idiot for even assuming things were going as well as you'd thought?
I've been at this particular facility for just shy of one year. Except for the corn nibblet who came and went faster than you can say twatbag five times fast, I've enjoyed a certain essence of camaraderie at my job. Sure, I'm not good friends with anyone, because these walls are pretty high, but we all get along, share the same "%*&$@" frustrations and "wow, that worked out well" moments; and in general, the crew I work with most keeps gossip to a bare minimum. Imagine my surprise when it was mentioned to me that one of my supervisors had a complaint. About ME. Why it was passed along from a peer, I do not understand nor appreciate; furthermore, I was thrown by the mere thought that I had not met or exceeded expectations! WTF? This is me we're talking about, and perfection is my hallmark. Damn.
Today I got The.Talk.
My college edjamkashun is learnin' me to be in the supervisory position sumday. Sometime, I be forgettin' just where my place be. I don't be axin questshuns an' stuff. I needs to remember that I'm only third string in the quartet and not get too big for mah britches jus yet.
Apparently, according to this bitter old maid who wants so desperately to be my mentor, "several people have complained", yet she was unable (or unwilling) to cite examples of my misconduct, much less squeal on the whiners.
So, I have now added paranoid to my list of personality disorders (ranking somewhere behind delusional, obsessive-compulsive, narcissitic, passive-aggressive, depressive, and just plain whack-o).
Here I was, flitting through my days nonchalantly, doing my job (quite well, I might add), blindly believing that I was part of the team, well-liked by my peers, respected by my subjects, hailed by my predecessors... all to have the red carpet yanked out from under my perfectly pedicured feet. The nerve.
Seriously, though. I hate the feeling that someone doesn't like me. Someone has thought long enough about me and become so fed up with me that they had to say something to others. I really dislike being the topic of conversation, in any manner. It is rather disconcerting.
I come home from work, and find THIS waiting in my mailbox. First birthdays are fun!
Which brings me to my final issue for today.
I placed an "in memoriam" ad in the newspaper, as is customary, to mark Nick's day. I told you, I wanted a pity party. (Besides all the Aunts, Grandparents, and Lodge members, there was another stillborn's remembrance in there as well, her 2nd anniversary. So sad.). I thought, at the very least, I would have a memento to laminate and put in his keepsake box.
Gerry called to see how I was doing. Not my parents, not the inlaws, not one single real-life local* friend or family gave a shit.
If it weren't for you exceptionally wonderful, amazingly special, truly-sincerely-awesomely appreciated people that live inside my computer, I would have been desperately crushed and horribly lonely during this week. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your kindness. You were incredible, and I can't begin to express how much it has meant to me.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

* C and J, who are not 'local': look for a lavish acknowledgement real soon. I promise. Stupid camera. Luv ya. :-)

Friday, February 24, 2006

I Will Always Love You

In Remembrance of Our Angel

Nicholas Gerard
February 24, 2005

You were born
In our hearts

What a waste of time (Part II)

February 24, 2005

I know it sounds harsh, but I still feel that way. It's what I said to one of the nurses helping me during labor and delivery. Nine months of worry and discomfort, and all this time spent trying to squeeze out a corpse. What a waste of time.
Sure, I had many moments of joy and love and hopes and dreams and warm fuzzies, but it didn't amount to crap in the end. I'd gladly do it all over again to have my baby back.
As labor progressed, slowly, and they upped my dose of pit, I was asked if I was ready for the epidural. On the one hand, I didn't want to slow things down, but on the other hand, it didn't really matter much at this point. Not like we'd be harming the baby or anything. Might as well be numb and unaware. (I will note here for come clarification, that we were taking things slow because of my choice to avoid a c-section. I did not want to be cut for this, after all, and there was still a risk of uterine rupture from a VBAC). After the anesthesia, and the wonderful fun with my blood pressure crashing, I was able to sleep off and on. At last check, my cervix had dilated somewhere around 6 cm, and the doc decided to go home for dinner. "I'll see you in the morning".
About an hour after he left, I felt like my urinary catheter was being pulled out. I told the nurse that I knew there was a balloon there, and it wasn't going anywhere, but I really felt like I was pushing on it - and I swore to her I was not. She checked, and Nick was on his way out. Just like that. She ended up delivering him before the doc got back. Again, I don't play by the rules.
Gerry held me, telling me that Nick was perfect, and so beautiful. I asked him if he was still really dead. He was.
The placenta was more stubborn. I tried pushing, but it didn't help. While the doc and I wrestled with the afterbirth, the priest came in to be with Gerry and baptize Nicholas. After seeing the knots in the cord, I asked the doc if we still had to bother with an autopsy, since we so obviously see what the problem was. Nope, didn't need one. He sat down to explain to me how difficult, if not impossible, it was to see these things on an u/s. If that portion of the cord was behind the baby, it wouldn't be detected. There had been decent circulation up until the day before, and the nuchal cord wasn't tight; we really had no way of knowing. And, I added, with the episodes of quietude that Nick often displayed, he very well could have had a brain injury from hypoxia, anyway. But, we'll never know, will we?
Even though it had only been a couple of days, little Nicholas' skin had begun peeling off from floating around in his little tomb. His lips were purplish-black, and his gums white. His eyes were closed, and I fought off the urge to open them. I think, somehow, the memory of my dead baby staring at me would be much more horrible than the one I already have. He had the same dimple in his chin that his big brother and daddy has. His hair was a bit longer than I had expected, reddish-brown, with a bit of a wave. He had big feet, and short legs, like me. I still wonder what color his eyes would have been. Would he have been a little maniac like Josh, or calm, quiet, and intent? Would he have preferred math to science? Books to sports? Why couldn't we have had the chance to find out?
We were able to spend some time holding Nick and taking pictures. He smelled so good, and the nurses did their best to clean him up gently. Josh came in to see his little brother, and my sister-in-law sat and cried with us, too. My parents would be leaving VA in the morning to come back here for the funeral.
They moved me to a room away from L&D, and I stared at the ceiling until 7am. When the day shift came on to check everything out, I insisted I be discharged. I saw no need to hang around that dreaded place one minute longer than necessary.
We drove to the funeral home, and made all the arrangements. The only baby-sized coffin they stock was a plain white rectangular number, and reminded me of a cooler. We'd have to get some nice flowers for the top. My inlaws graciously offered the space at the feet of Gerry's father, so we wouldn't have to purchase an entire plot. The church/cemetery people allowed us to put a headstone there, even though it wasn't "in line" with the other graves. Of course, it wasn't the type of stone we wanted, but we'd make do. No sense in arguing over it at this point. It would be a few weeks before we bought the marker anyway.
The day of the funeral was bitter cold and it snowed like crazy. Amazingly, most of the attendees followed us from the funeral home to the gravesite. I was a mess. I spoke to almost no one. Gerry held on to me so tight the entire time, I couldn't turn to see who all was there and thank them for coming. I sobbed and cried, and let out these low groans that would make wild animals run. I remember clinging to the casket after the funeral, and oddly don't feel all that embarrassed by it still. If they don't understand how deeply painful this is, then they can just go away.
I didn't eat for days. Maybe a couple of weeks. I lost over 70 pounds. I slept. I cried day and night. I'd tell everyone my story, over and over, to gain some validation. I wanted a pity party. I wanted to share my misery with anyone. I showed people my pictures. I didn't care how shocking they were. If I had to deal with this grief, then they might as well, too.
I'd like to say that a year's worth of time passed has eased my pain somewhat. Perhaps it has, in a small way. But it is not gone; it never will be. How could it? While it is not as fresh and raw as in those first few days/weeks/months, it still lingers on, in my mind, in my heart, day in, day out, forever and ever.
It isn't fair. I'm pissed. And that's the way it's going to be.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

God Said No (Part I)

February 23, 2005

“Drink some ice water,” the nurse on the phone said to me. I already did that. I had ice water. I had orange juice. I had a sandwich. “You need more than a sandwich,” she said. It was a big sandwich.
I had spent the morning nervously wandering around the house, just like every day of the past couple of weeks. I tried to do some menial chores here and there. I couldn’t get comfortable wherever I sat. I managed to take in a short nap while Gerry cleaned the bathroom carpet. I remember asking him to come and talk to Nick when he was done. Nick always was responsive to his Daddy being around. The doctor would tell him to stay there when I was hooked up to the monitors. We thought that was cute.
So, I laid on my left side. I laid on my right side. I jiggled my belly. I sat in my special chair. That darn lazyboy was all but guaranteed to let me feel him kick. I even had a low-carb ice cream bar. My boy liked chocolate as much as I do. At one point, I went to the basement to sort laundry, and asked Gerry to get out his turkey call. He put it up near my belly and let out some quacky noises, and I laughed, thinking how redneck it seemed. No response.
I had been instructed to monitor the baby’s movements, which I had become a pro at for the last several weeks. The latest rule was 10 movements in 12 hours. The last time I felt him move was the night before. “May I come in to be checked, please?” I asked the nurse on the phone. “Yeah, come on in”. I know expectant mothers tend to be anxious and worry, and I know the nurses at the hospital were well aware of my particular case. Maybe this nurse didn’t know me.
I had just been in for a non-stress test on Tuesday, the day before, and the fetal heart tracings were great. The doctor had me waddle over to his office across the street for another ultrasound, which was very good. We saw the baby breathing, the circulation through the cord around his neck was good, he was moving around; no problems at all. I was instructed to continue the twice-a-week monitoring, and he planned to do an amniocentesis on March 8th – two short weeks away – to verify lung maturity. He was going to induce me then, and I’d have my baby soon! This made it so more real to us, to be able to put a tentative date on Nick’s upcoming birth. Nick was only 34 weeks at this time, so by 36 weeks, he’d be stronger and healthier. I’d already had my steroid shots over the weekend, when he’d last given us a scare.
On Friday the 18th ~our anniversary~ I had gone for my usual NST. It was not reassuring. Nick was sleeping, and wasn’t moving around much. His heart rate was difficult to detect, and low from time to time. They called the doc, who ordered a contraction stress test, or oxytocin challenge. This concerned me. I didn’t want to mess around with pit, which might throw me into preterm labor. But, of course, I was willing to do whatever necessary to keep Nicky safe. I hadn’t been on the drip for more than ten minutes when things got weird. At one point, they couldn’t pick him up at all, and I had five nurses in my little curtained area, all trying a different machine and taking turns trying to locate and maintain the sounds of his heartbeat. Sometimes they’d find a heartbeat, but it would be my own. One nurse used the vibro-acoustic stimulator to wake him up. He jerked like a wild child and I felt a little better knowing he was okay. The doc had already been called, and when he came running in he started me on oxygen and upped my IV fluids immediately. He was able to visualize the heartbeats by ultrasound. They counted the beats manually several times, as the Doppler and monitors still couldn’t detect them. We were reassured Nick was doing well, just a little stubborn, and doc admitted me for an overnight stay to be sure. When he ordered the Betamethasone, however, it scared the shit out of me. I called Gerry to come to the hospital. I might be having Nick early.
It seems there were some variables showing up on the tracings. I had not known this, until I heard a nurse mention it to someone else. I told Gerry that meant there was an issue with the cord. I wasn’t terribly concerned, and was glad it wasn’t a problem with the placenta. Later, when I had a chance to ask the doc, I verified what I thought I knew, that it was either cord or fluid, and not the placenta. He agreed, and said we’d do an ultrasound the next day to be sure.
The ultrasound on Saturday showed a nuchal cord, or cord around his neck. The color contrast showed good circulation, his heartbeats had returned to normal, and I was discharged so I could attend my baby shower. I was to return the next day for another NST.
My shower was great! I had a pretty good turnout, and got so many nice gifts. We played games and ate like little piggies, and it was so good to have friends and family there to celebrate my baby. I couldn’t force myself to settle down, I was on such a high thinking about having him soon. Gerry, my dad, and I went shopping that very evening to get everything else we needed “just in case”. Mom and my Aunt Jean stayed behind to sort baby clothes into preemie, newborn and 3-month piles for washing. I was convinced we were going to meet Nick in the next couple of days.
Sunday at church, I felt dizzy and yucky. I nearly teetered over during communion, so we left, and went to the hospital for my test. It went well, and the doc was there, giving us reassurance. Being a weekend, he was in his casual clothes, and had his little girl with him. She’s a pretty little 3 year old, with a big ol’ mess of dark curly hair. Such a sweetie. He said to have the nurses call him when I come in on Tuesday for my next NST, because he wanted to do another ultrasound. We spent the rest of the day washing blankets and sheets and getting the nursery ready.
On Monday, my family left to go back to Virginia. Gerry was sick as a dog, so he stayed in bed. I realized we still needed a bassinet (Nick was going to be too small for that big crib!), and I wanted to get a matching bumper pad set for all the darling “Baby Pooh” stuff from my shower. So, I went shopping, and the rest of the day was pretty much uneventful. The following morning was my big Tuesday appointment I mentioned before, and things were looking good.
Until that fateful Wednesday when our world came crashing down. I was used to Nick’s little quiet spells, and knew I usually couldn’t get him to move on demand, he’d do it on his own time. But today was different. Oddly, I wasn’t quite as nervous as I had been in the past. I really had no idea that my baby was in trouble, he had been such a tough guy up to this point. I took a shower and talked to my belly. Finally, after some insistence from Gerry, I called the OB floor. I felt like a fool, every other time I was worried only to be proven wrong, and I hated to keep crying wolf. The nurse I spoke with didn’t sound too convinced, but let me come in anyway.
Thankfully, I met up with a few of my favorite nurses once I got there. They tried in earnest to locate his heartbeat, and calmly assembled the ultrasound and Doppler while putting in the call to my doctor. My anxiety level had not risen yet, I’d been through this before. How was I to know that the night before was the last I’d ever feel my sweet baby move? When the doc got there, in amazingly record time, he jokingly called me a troublemaker, and asked how I was doing. I said, “A little nervous”. He immediately went for the ultrasound, and within a few short moments, muttered “I can’t believe this”. I started to shake and cry uncontrollably. “He was fine yesterday, remember, we even saw him breathing, which a very good sign”.
The nurses held my hands and stroked my hair, and I prayed like I never prayed before. He kept checking, “Wait… wait…”. Then asked, “When did you last feel him move?” Last night, I told him… I was waiting for my 12 hours like you said…. I didn’t want to seem like a hypochodriac always saying he’s not moving, and then he does… “I’m sorry,” he said, “I really don’t understand this.” A nurse called my husband at home while I started freaking out. Loudly. I was admitted to a room, and they readied me for induction. The doc was visibly upset and shaken, as were we all, and a few of the nurses came in and cried along with me. He didn’t have any answers for me; my chronic hypertension had been well controlled, my gestational diabetes had been well controlled, everything looked okay, and even the nuchal cord hadn’t seemed like much of an issue the preceding few days. All we could do was hope the autopsy would give us a clue.
An autopsy. On my little boy. My dead little boy that was still inside of me. The baby that was supposed to make my life complete. All my hopes and dreams, shattered. Broken. Ripped from my heart. When Gerry got there, all I could say was “I’m sorry honey. I did my best”. And we cried. They broke my water and started me on a low dose of pitocin. It would be 30 more hours before we found out about the knots in his cord.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The 5ww

Ok. Whatever. I'll just, um, wait. Some more.
Again with the period problems.
And I thought a D&C would be the magic bullet.
I'm on CD47, or CD34, if I can honestly count the mid-cycle bleeding as a period.
My boobs are killing me. I mean it, they really hurt.
I'm tired.
I'm hungry.
I'm nasueous.
I threw up the other day.
I've tested negative 5 times in the last 18 days.
So where the fuck is dear old Aunt Flo?
I'm gonna kill that bitch when she drags her ass home.