Saturday, January 30, 2010

Runaway tears

My nervous system is shot.

A few days ago I was watching Ferdinand sleep after romping wildly with Felix in the yard. He was exhausted and plopped down with an audible "Ooomph", just like a tuckered out toddler. He pulled his Barney doll in close to him, wrapped his big paw around it and fell asleep. I just sat quietly on the couch in awe of his sweetness. Downstairs, I could hear Felix continuing his Tigger like romp....that puppy has more energy than he knows what to do with, or more accurately...more energy than I know what to do with.

In any case....I whispered to my husband to get his was a moment I didn't want to forget. We took the shot....and that is what you see above. My baby sleeping with one of his favorite toys. His Barney. Actually....once upon a time, it was my 19, almost 20 year olds Barney. It had been long forgotten, and one day, Ferdinand found it in the garage, and claimed it. My eldest didn't fact, he is mortified that he EVER adored Barney with the passion that only a four year old can. There was a time when that young man with the carefully styled hair and Model features would ONLY wear purple...and that included underwear.

In any case, I was smiling at my puppy...sweet Ferdinand the cuddle muffin....

and I often do....I began to cry.

and cry.

and cry.

My poor husband. I swear he doesn't know if I'm coming or going anymore. I was laughing about how sweet and lovely our darling baby pup is...and then, I was sobbing.

I can't explain it.

I don't understand it.

I don't enjoy it.

And....I can't stop it.

My thoughts began the whirlpool effect that is the result of trauma...a blur negativity, pain, anger, grief and core level lowliness. There I was, where only moments ago I'd been a state of terrible despair that I couldn't understand, or explain.

It just was.

It was as if my emotions have to flood over me at a certain fill matter how I think I am feeling. Because, the core of my innermost that feeling of terrible loss.

So, I could be laughing...enjoying myself...and if, at that moment, The fill level reaches it's peak....I'm going to suddenly find my laughing turning into sobbing. For no reason.

No...I take that back. There IS a reason. It's just not a CURRENT reason.

My nerves are shot.

Even the stress of laughter adds to the fill level.

I'm sick of runaway tears. Tears that come without provocation. Tears that interrupt the intimacy of my family. Tears that only make me feel more helpless. More alone.

I'm sick of runaway thoughts. Thoughts that tell me I don't deserve my husband. Thoughts that tell me my kids would be better off without me. Thoughts that tell me I'm not worth the effort.

It all brings to mind the Dementors of Harry Potter's magical world where I suddenly feel as if I'll never be cheerful again. I suddenly am in my worst nightmare...where mothers scream in pain over the death of their babies. Where husbands have had enough. Where someone loses their mind under the weight that the universe piles on top of them. The shit storm of life in it's fury.

Looking back...I simply see a picture of a warm sleepy puppy holding his Barney doll with all the tenderness of a young child blissfully asleep. It makes me smile again; but I still wonder....why the tears? When will the grief get me again? Unexpected? Unprovoked?

How can I find a safe place within. Where is my patronus charm to keep the dementors away? Harry Potter had to believe it was within himself in order to conjure it.

Maybe I just have to do the same thing.


Monday, January 25, 2010

The dead baby card.

Yesterday I was walking with my husband and our two sheepdog pups Ferdinand and Felix. I was trying to explain that for me....the idea of never having another baby feels like the worst thing I can imagine. Even though, I can't think of a single sane reason to just...."DO it." We have four little boys at home. My eldest is trying out life on his own. We never have anything in savings. Each month is paycheck to paycheck. We can pay our bills, and feed our family, and our pets...but...if anything was to happen??? AGAIN??? we'd be screwed.

So...I was explaining that for me, the last image I have of childbirth is holding my dead baby...dieing, and getting to be with him....waiting a month...dieing again...and finding out I had a twin.

I have dead baby dreams every night.

I lay in bed sobbing silently to avoid waking my husband.

And yet...I am also aware that the world around me thought that pregnancy was "over the top". Only acceptable because it was "an accident". And on that note...why would I want ANOTHER when the children I lost were "an accident" to begin with.

Why would I want to add more chaos to a chaotic life. Why would I crave my life coming to a standstill with the abundant need that IS life with a new baby? Why would I ask my sweet husband to add MORE to his life? Why would I want to take the risk of it happening ALL OVER AGAIN???

and most could I be so selfish as to desire to bring a baby into this body that is filled with anxiety chemicals that would be potentially harmful to a forming nervous system? How could I promise that baby a safe, gentle place to grow when I am a complete psychological disaster?

I can't.

and heart WANTS a different ending. My heart is screaming to hold a little baby that is alive and pink and wonderfully wonderful!'s not rational at all.

Not even a little bit.

My husband admits that though there's the part that would be open to it if it happened....isn't willing to really TRY for that...because like I said...It wouldn't be rational AT ALL.

Today, I had to talk with a bill collector. I have a fair amount of those you see...because I am over loaded with debt from the past two years of craziness that has been our life. My eldest was almost killed 2 1/2 years ago, and the bills sucked up everything we had. Then....we had this horrible loss....dead babies...mommy almost dieing twice...and WANTING to die in the months following. The bills became completely more than we could do.

So...we didn't.

But...I've been working in the past few months which is really helping. Freelancing helped us pay for Christmas. My father helped us with our only car. Freelancing continues to pay...and so, I have a chunk of money that was ear-marked to paying bills off...if possible. I had $14,000 in debt. I began to call them all. One by one. The first one felt impossible...I explained, pleaded and even cried. Feeling so helpless because they wouldn't budge on the amount...even though most of it is late fees and fines. A thickly Indian sounding voice stayed firm and instructed me not to cry. Told me to get a drink of water and call again when I wasn't crying. He told me that he understood how I felt...that lots of people have bills they can't pay.

"You understand how I feel? Tell me...have you ever held your dead baby in your arms? Have you ever done that?"

"no ma' haven't done that thanks to God."

" do not know how I feel. You have no idea what I've been through."

He asked me to hold.

He came back and offered me a huge that I could pay.

I called the next one...and instead of being prideful and simply saying I'd had "medical expenses"...I told them the truth...the bare terrible truth.
Every single debtor reduced my debt to about 30 cents or less on the dollar.

I had $5000 dollars to pay the entire lot of bills...$5000 to pay $14,000.

I have $171 left. All the bills are paid. And I feel like a jerk....because I played the dead baby card...and won.

I don't deserve to have another baby.

I don't have any debt (with the exception of my mortgage and student loans)...but...I wish I did. I wish I had debt...because having to explain why I was in the shape I am in to dozens of strangers who now get to dream about dead babies...about what that would be makes me hang my head in shame and cry. one should have to think about it. Ignorance is bliss...and I just stole it from people I don't even know. People...who didn't need to know. People who will go to bed tonight knowing that dead babies still happen. And that it could happen to them.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What a gift....

What an amazing gift....

I've been scrambling today. Not in a literal sense, because really, in a literal sense, I've been STUCK. But...on an emotional sense, I've been scrambling.

Some days are a lot more difficult than others, for no apparent reason really. Maybe the moon is involved...maybe it's just an understandable cycle. But, whatever it's real. It's there.'s also invisible.

No one see's it. No one really wants to.

I make it through each day. I put the smile on when I add my only makeup source...lip gloss. No sense in anything else being painted on as it would only smear with the tears that WILL come in private moments. My children don't need to see me crying. again. My husband doesn't need to know that I still cry every single day. It would make him sad too...and would be worse.

No. I'm not back to being me. Will I ever be ME again?

Who the hell IS "ME" anyway???

Soooo....I've been here, busying myself with writing work, research, getting ready for a university class called "Grief, Loss, and Bereavement" the hopes that it might help me discover at least some MENTAL understanding of the cataclysmic disaster that was once my heart. I've been meaning to take a walk with the sheepies all day...and I WILL. But...I still haven't.

Anyway...the main that I was given a huge gift today from Aloha Remembered. They took a photo of my twins names on the beach of Oahu. This beach is very special to me. I spent two weeks of my life there...and it changed me. I dreamed in my pregnancy that I would teach my baby to swim in those buoyant day.

But...knowing they are spirit...forever. cheers this aching heart a little. Made me smile. And cry.

Aren't they beautiful??

Can't you just see them smiling?

I can.

and it warms my entire being.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"you have to be strong..."

I've been reading "be the pack leader" by Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer.

I've been reading it because my sheepies keep fighting.

and I hate it.

They play and romp like two happy bears outside. No problems...just fun and games.

But....every now and then, they fight like BEARS.

and it is really scary.

I never REALLY know who starts it, or why. Sometimes it seems like food is the issue...or a coveted toy....or just...SPACE. Sometimes it seems like one of them is just trying to be the one on top, the dominant one. They don't fight with our pug, or our basset...or anyone else. No snapping at growling at me. It's just each other.

And...only sometimes. but...when it happens, it is terrifying.

This morning, it was over the leash. I broke it up. Then, it was over who got to go first through the gate. I broke that up too...and solved the bickering by going first myself. So there.

Then, it was over who got the first drink.

Are you kidding me??

So....back to the book. What does good ol' Cesar have to say??

It's my fault.

I'm not a strong pack they are fighting over who gets to be the one in charge. They are the same age, same size, same sex. With the pug and basset, there is no issue. They know they are smaller, problem. With the sheepie's a problem. Ferdinand was here first. He's all around top dog. But, he's not REALLY sure about it anymore. At least...not sure enough to feel at ease about it. Felix is a happy go lucky ruffian. sweet as cherry pie, and in need of major rules. We adore them both. They are like brothers....different in so many ways....and similar too. They love each other...and they also fight.

My husband reminds me that it might have been like this with twins too....that we would have been exhausted from the demand that caring for twins would have been. And's o.k..even though it is so hard.

Ceasar says that I have to be a strong pack leader....but...

I'm not strong right now.

My dogs feel it.

I'm anxious most of the time.

My dogs feel it.

Why can't we always just be as happy as we are when it's all working like well greased cogs? When we are in the motion of walking the walk....and loving the moment...why can't it always be like that? Why can't it always be the way it is when they are getting along. When I think to myself...yeah...this is perfectly lovely. This is going to work.

I have to be strong...

but the whole reason I have a service dog (Ferdinand) is that I am NOT strong.

I have to be strong...

but the reason I was swept by the idea of having twin puppies is that I am blown away by grief.

I'm told things will get better.

But right now...

I'm in the dog house.

Because I feel anything but strong.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A house full of testosterone

My son's sat at the table with melancholy silence this morning as I gave them breakfast.

After a few moments of assessment, to determine if they were simply tired and groggy, or actually down in the dumps, I opted for some questioning... "What's up guys...why the sober faces?"

My 11 year old Sammy looked up at me and said in a dark voice "Today is Felix's last day as a real boy."


I tried to hold back a smile....o.k...I'll be honest...the fact that I didn't start whooping with laughter was a SERIOUS accomplishment.

"Baby...Felix is going to be neutered, but he'll still be a boy!"

"yeah. He'll have a penis...but his balls will be gone. He'll be half a boy."


He continued "He was the only dog we had that was still a real boy. All the others are sort of....not."


I started to explain WHY Felix needs to be neutered. The fact that the fighting we've had to deal with is all about testosterone. The fact that he will feel sad if he can't breed...and that we AREN'T wanting to breed him. The fact that he might try to run away to sow his wild oats (lots of snickers from around the table). The fact that other in tact dogs would be more aggressive to him...The fact that he will be healthier....

and then...from the 13 year old Hamilton "Yeah just kind of HURTS to think about it. You wouldn't understand that part of it. You are ball-less."


O.k...I can accept that line. I don't REALLY get it. I don't REALLY know what it is like to be equip with testicles. No...that's one thing I do not know a thing about from the inside.

They had cheered up a bit though...and were starting to enjoy their homemade egg "Mc Muffins" and orange juice. A few minutes later they were laughing over their dungeons and dragons characters while working on their math books. Testicles temporarily forgotten for the time being.

I started thinking about the interesting phenomenon that occurs in men who own male dogs that need to be neutered. It's really a....sensitive...topic. I thought about how interesting it was that even my 6 year old seemed disconcerted over the concept that ones balls could be removed.

My only concern about it is that Felix be o.k.. I want him to emerge from this surgery healthy and happy. I'd like him to be free from the testosterone that is causing him so many problems in his relationships. He's a wonderful pup! So sweet! So darling...BUT...there have been fights in this home ever since the beginning, and of course, I am blaming testosterone. I don't want aggression in my home. I can't take the stress of it. So off "they" will come!

I reminded my boys that they never need fear being chopped like that in hopes that it would comfort them some.

My 8 year old said "'s called empathy...remember?"


sarcasm AND a vibrant vocabulary.

I smiled. "Thanks for the tip baby."

and then, they all started shrieking and laughing. I turned around to see our pug eagerly licking a happily moaning Oliver the Basset Hounds shlong...and Felix trying to hump Winston the pug while he did this, while Ferdinand lay in the corner in apparent disgust trying to ignore the porn scene before him.

"Good luck with your expectations for neutering mom. It doesn't seem to have worked for Winston and Oliver."

I groaned. " least they aren't fighting though."

"Yeah...Winston's more of a lover than a fighter."


Many giggles followed. Many. Boys will be boys.

Yes...they certainly will.

Friday, January 8, 2010

No trace of you...

A warm room...friendly faces...and machines. Machines that investigated every corner of my heart. Every pulse and beat tracked with remarkable equipment, and a watchful eye. Ferdinand, soft, large and furry resting nearby in his service vest. There was my heart. I could see it...I could hear it...there it was.

No scar tissue. No damage. No problem. A long QT beat which I've probably had all my life, yes...but an actual heart problem, no.

Of course, that is all really good news. Great news in that anyone would be thrilled to hear. My heart is healthy. Perfectly normal.

So, as I drove away from the cardiologist office I initially had a smile on my face as I thought about how lovely everyone was to kind and supportive. I thought about how much I liked all of them. How I wished we could be friends in "real life". I was grateful for their gentleness, and their understanding...their reassurance that my heart was great. As I thought about my wonderful, strong heart...I started to feel it again. Clenching in my chest...pounding again...the signs of stress that I feel so often. I found myself crying. Again.

WHY is my heart just perfectly dandy?! How is it possible that there is no trace of the pain and suffering I've seen? Why isn't there some sort of evidence of the ripping and bleeding that I've been through? Shouldn't my heart have some trace of the loss it has been drowning in?

Looking at my body....there is no sign of my twins. My heart is wonderful and strong. There isn't anything that says they were here at one time. Nothing that can be seen even with the sensitive scanning equipment that measured each beat of my heart.

Simon and Alexander are simply ashes soaking into the dust in a wooded gully where twin pines sway in the wind. They are the sore corners of my eyes that have been burned by saline tears and rubbing. They are the palpitations that are simply stress related, but not caused by damage. They are the lump in my throat as I try to smile to tell the world I'm normal. They are purple and yellow flowers. Memories.

There is no trace. They are invisible.

Part of me is asking why it is that my heart doesn't look like scrap metal at this point. Part of me is wondering why that smiling, friendly young man with his ultrasound device didn't discover fragments of a heart inside of me. Part of me is screaming that it just seems completely wrong that my heart is still beating.

And I am. I am alive. Healthy. In tact.

The shards of who I was are invisible to all the faces around me. I am standing here in a sea of life...and I continue to swim.

No one sees the broken parts..because, like my lost babies...they are invisible. There is no evidence of what WAS.

This acute pain that I feel each day... is caused by something intangible... untraceable... elusive.

I'm told that one day, I will stop crying so much. One day, I will feel more whole. Hell...with stress reduction, my heart will even stop hurting in time!

Part of me is looking forward to that time...and the other part? well...honestly, the other part of me feels that it would be a crime to let the invisible part of my loss fade away into the wind. Because, without that...there is no trace.

No trace.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

fragmented me.

I asked for one thing of 2010. That it would be gentle in order to allow for healing. No big resolutions. No requests for winning the lottery. No super powers.

Just....that it would be gentle.

So on Monday night,as I lay on a bed in triage in the emergency room....I really felt stepped on by life.

We had been watching a movie...."The Dark Night". Not my kind of flick as I am more of an Anne of Green Gables or Romantic comedy kind of girl...but I was enjoying it with my family in spite of the psycho joker and violence. I was not in any way feeling anxious. I was actually feeling rather peaceful as my husband rubbed my feet while we watched. However, I was also starting to become aware of heart beats that I could feel jumping out of my chest, and an increasing inability to breathe. No pain....just....THUMP THUMP THUMP....skip....THUMPTHUMPTHUMP...skip POUND THUMP POUND thump....

I started to feel lightheaded and a little sick to my stomach..."Is this what having a heart attack feels like?" "How much grief can a heart last through?" "Am I dying?" I looked at my husband and explained that my heart was acting up....and that I needed to go to ER now.

I hated seeing that look on his face....the look I've seen so many times in the past several months....fear, shock, the need to act...NOW.

I hated knowing that my children knew we were going to ER....where I almost died last May. we went.

Half way to the hospital, my husband declared that he felt I was having a panic attack, not a heart attack.

He was right.

My heart was groovy...except for a slightly longer QT beat. My heart was fine. Yeah. just great....

It's my nerves that are shot apparently.

My nerves, which are so blasted by the shit storm of my life's events that they finally wig out without any provocation at all. My nerves, which are the messengers to my entire body are now sending panic signals even when I am at ease.

I am now, as I type, covered in little pads and wires because I am being monitored for 24 hours to check out my looong heart beat which has most likely been there since I had scarlet fever as a child. No big deal...and I am covered in wires. They gave me an anxiety reliever with the promise that I'd take it....and they reallllllly were insistent after I said I didn't like to take drugs. Told me to relax when I got home, and then...they hook my up to all this shit that I have to sleep in, and I can't get it wet.

So, no bath to relax. No yoga because I can't bend in all these wires. No sex because I look like an alien AND they informed me that they "would be able to tell if we had sex because they are tracking my heart...." No massage because I am covered in wires...and sleep, because as I mentioned...I am F-ing covered in WIRES.

Yeah...go home an relax.

Nothing is wrong. We just want to monitor you, and x ray you, and ultrasound you and have you take really addictive pills.

But...your just fine Sara.

I have a really wonderful friend who has become like a brother to me. He really gets pain that rips you and leaves you twitching on the ground in agony. He knows what it feels like to want to pelt yourself through a glass window. Not to die....but DO it. He gets that feeling.

He tells me I am worth taking care of. That I need to put myself first. That my body is screaming at me to PUT MYSELF FIRST.....

he's right.

and yet....I look at my sweet friends.

I look at these reasons that I exist at all. And it is right then and there that I know that putting myself first sounds really nice....really important...


I'll always find a reason to not do it.

Because I'm in too much pain to be strong for myself.

It makes me happy to cuddle a make dinner for my brush my provide an experience for the clean my house....

I don't want to be gone when Ty is home. I already miss him too much.

I don't want to make my kids give up anything else...they've already missed out on so much.

I can't stand to take a bigger piece of the pie when my pie slice is already HUGE from all the "mommy is a freaky crybaby" stuff that just IS because I just AM.

My friend...he's really right. I need to take care of me. More than I am. Because the care I'm giving is apparently not enough. If it body wouldn't be telling me I am having a heart attack when I am really just.......anxious beyond my comprehension. I am broken.

and my body can't take any more.

I am broken...

but...maybe...I can be more active about my healing.

maybe...I don't have to be broken forever.

maybe...I can smile INSIDE too.