Friday, May 28, 2010

Bleeding to death...

Bleeding to death isn't something most people get to experience in the United States nowadays. still happens from time to time. And, as dying goes, it seems like a pretty dramatic way to depart. Hemorrhaging. I think of that word in a two part dissection... Heme is the root word for blood... raging is a flush of energy... Hemorrhaging... the action of blood raging forth in sudden energy.

Last year, on this very day, I bled to death. As I said, it's a dramatic way to go, so perhaps my father was right to have determined as a child that I was his little "drama queen." Frankly, at this point, I feel that drama is waaaaaay over-rated, and now when I pray, I pray for boredom- peace- mellow- even...predictable- to come my way. Lesson learned... No more drama for THIS lass thank you very much!!

Last year, at this time, I had no idea that I was a mother of twins. I knew that I'd lost a beautiful baby boy 5 weeks before, and my grief was heavy...concentrated. I knew that I'd walked every single day with my husband while we talked, cried, talked and cried. I knew that I'd told God he could "Fuck off" if this was the kind of thing he had planned for me; and I meant it. However...the very action of telling God to "Fuck off" is a statement that you do, in fact, believe in matter how much of an asshole you believed God to be; which to be honest...I very much felt that God was acting like an asshole.  A complete, and total...asshole...

So, I couldn't really become an Atheist or an Agnostic because in spite of how angry I was...I was still quite sure God was real. I was also sure that if anyone could take being told to "Fuck off" was God. I was also pretty sure that if God knew anything, it was that to be told to "Fuck off" was entirely deserved under the circumstances.    I offer my apologies to anyone who might be offended by the idea of telling the Almighty that he can go take a flying fuck after stealing my baby from my womb..... but.... that's just my honesty talking.  I'm willing to admit the power of my rage... That's how I felt it...and God, being Almighty, being EVERYTHING, is sure to be able to take that kind of powerful rage.  Trust me on that.

Yes....the anger I felt was raging.

My baby had been taken away, and I was left with a heavy feeling inside of myself that wouldn't go away.

I felt....lost.

So, one year ago on this very husband and I took a walk. Again. We talked about that heaviness. We talked about how assaulted by life I felt. We talked about our baby that I yearned for every day...and how deeply sad I was.

One year ago, I discovered that ritual is within everyone's grasp. I'm not talking about the rituals found in church...not the stale rituals that people practice without even thinking or feeling. I'm talking about authentic ritual. The ritual's that life brings forth into consciousness to deal with a personal situation. A ritual designed by spirit...just for you.

As we were walking...talking...crying....a ritual appeared to us. And because we are who we are, we went with it. Fully. And as Rudyard Kipling would say..."A magic was made". Something inside of me lifted...released....and I felt it in every corner of my being. I smiled for the first time in 5 weeks.

We went home in a tight embrace...feeling closer than ever before.

And then...

I began to bleed. Hard. Fast. With fervor. Raging.

When you are hemorrhaging like that, you know that you can't lose that much blood without consequences. That kind of bleeding makes a person aware that if they have any chance of survival at all, it will be at a that is where we went. Quickly.

Just as I could see the blood that flowed from my hospital gurney onto the floor in a river that ran out of the door while rushing nurses tried not to slip in it, my life also began to drain from me. I could feel it leaving my body.

Suddenly, I was there. I had been there five weeks before and I recognized it right away. Admittedly, when I'd found myself in that golden field the first time, I half doubted it because I was having an allergic reaction to morphine (if you want to do me in, offer me opiates...ha ha!)

But, this time, there were no opiates involved, and I knew it was really real. A beautiful child ran up to me with arms outstretched and said "MAMA!" with such joy in his if he'd been waiting for me. I held my little one in my arms....and then....

I was back. I looked up at Ty and saw IV blood dripping into my veins..."I saw our baby Ty...I saw him again...but...he looked different this time. Why did he look different???"

The next day, after waking up from an emergency D&C...the lightness was there again. I felt so blissed out to know that the spirit world was indeed real. After all, I'd BEEN there. Twice.

Of all made sense really...because I'd been carrying a twin that no one knew was there. waiting. It all made sense. Everything had come in two's for this experience. Even my midwife had wondered about twins due to my measurements...twins that couldn't be seen in the ultrasounds. We didn't know....until we knew. It took bleeding to death to find out the truth. I am the mother of twin sons. There really IS a spirit world that is open to everyone when we die; for I've not been "saved", confirmed, baptized, or otherwise engaged in dogmatic rituals required by any religion....and was there for ME too. I know that will be hard for some people to accept....but, I've been there, and I know. This isn't a secret club with a special code or handshake required to get it. It's just there. For all of us. period.

It's just there. It's beautiful. It's real. And...Simon and Alexander will be there to greet me when it's my time.

One year ago today, I bled to death.....and in that....everlasting life was revealed to me.

It doesn't take my sadness grieving lingers on....I miss my twins.... does help to know that they aren't really...gone. Just waiting. In that beautiful place of gold and purple light and brilliance.

Just waiting.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Finding the words...

It's not always easy to find the words. At wasn't always. Nowadays I realize that the words are flowing forth in an ever present bombardment of productivity. Last night in fact, I was telling my husband that the only real problem with being a freelance writer was that I simply don't have enough time to do all the writing I'm being given. Not if I want to write my book. Not if I want to actually get it done... and I DO.

See, I write for money...and I write for me. I write for money because it allows me to take care of my children without having to send them off to school (we home school) or daycare. I can arrange my days to play, cook, and educate...and clean from time to time...I can allow myself the protection of the hermit life that is allowing my healing from the theft of my babies lives, and the trauma that ensued. I can allow myself to cry as needed... I can walk here at my treadmill desk as Ferdinand and Felix hang out in a strange yin yang formation on my bed nearby. I enjoy earning enough to help make ends meet, to lift the burden from my husbands shoulders a little bit.

But...I also write for me. I write about my experience, and it's connection with society...a commentary on grief from a personal and psychological perspective. Now, some people would say that I'm still writing for money...because this is a book that I am going to sell when it's complete. But, I'm not writing for the money, I'm writing for Simon and Alexander who have given me the words. Given me the voice. I'm writing for the women whose breaths are taken away and hearts are broken only to find themselves in a world that doesn't understand. In a way, they aren't even my words....they are being given to me in a fervor of understanding and piecing together what was into what is. Yeah....this is writing in it's most beautiful form. . .because it's authentic and done for the process rather than the product alone.

Many of my dear babyloss friends are also talented writers...and I implore them at this moment to write....write...and write more! It is YOUR words that will change this loneliness into a place of understanding so that one day, when a woman loses a child, she will meet with faces that UNDERSTAND her pain, so that she will not find herself in a room with familiar faces that hold strangers behind their eyes. I recently read a book of a babyloss mama who started the ezine I write for, "Exhale"... Monica Murphey Lemoine has written Knocked up, Knocked Down and her story is compelling, surprisingly humorous and delightfully tear-jerking. I wanted to share it with everyone...because words matter.

So...on that note, keep writing. Even if your words never see a publishers desk, they have inherent value, because they are YOUR story...and that matters.

They really are a gift.

Monday, May 24, 2010


He's back!

One year ago, a beautiful book that had been carefully nurtured into existence for almost 10 years was born and delivered into our hands...right as we were mourning the loss of our twin sons Simon and Alexander. The book that my husband was so pleased to share with the world...met it's birth with an insistence of required dormancy. It was as if everything that was, wasn't. All attempts to reach out, stopped. All communications, halted. And that beautiful book waited for our hearts to heal enough to BE ourselves once more.

And now, after a year of mourning...healing, and holding our family together...trying to walk forward...I saw that sparkle emerge from my husbands eyes as a manifesto of strength born out of our tragedy sprang forth. He's back...He's talking...He's reaching out;'s beautiful! I took a copy of Being Ourself from the shelf down and re-read it last night. Wonder fills my heart as I look at the man standing by my side that wrote these inspired words and understandings; These are words to live by. Please take a moment to check out his revived blog and join the conversation and the re-emergence of Being Ourself. Thanks everyone...for your embrace on this journey.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Superstition or Communication?

Some people believe that seeing an animal is natures way of sending you a message. It's an ancient idea really...and of course isn't limited to animals alone. It's about finding meaning in life and communicating with the undercurrent that presents itself to you.

I suppose that is where superstition might come in; don't let a black cat cross your path, ravens are a sign of know, Friday the 13th folklore.

But, taken from a more earthy, native perspective, it's not seen like that. It's communication. A message given from the minerals, plants, animals, earth, and sky. It's about listening. With your inner being. the whispers.

I live on a cul-de-sac in the mountains of Montana. It's a neighborhood full of families, some I know fairly well, some of whom I know only by face...and others who I don't know at all. American modern life dictates that we often do not know our neighbors. We're all too independent to weave our lives together in community. (Or is it something else???) In any case...there are kids, cats, dogs, cars, lawns, gardens...normal semi suburbia living. But, if I walk half a block, I can dissipate into a mini wilderness that is recovering from the harsh pruning that happened earlier in the year, and I can pretend that I live in isolation from the world, which is something I've often wished for in the past year. In that isolation from people, lawnmowers, engines, music, and whatever other hullabaloo is common on a cul-de-sac, I encounter deer of all ages, foxes, hummingbirds, butterflies....and an abundance of flowers.

Sometimes I'll get the treat of seeing a bald eagle, red tail hawk, or even great blue heron soaring overhead. In those moments, I wish I could fly with them...

Today though, in my yard that is surrounded by the protective barrier of 6 foot tall bamboo poles, I was walking around the fruit trees inspecting the blossoms. In all honesty, I admit that I was whispering to these trees; last year, in the wake of losing Simon and Alexander, our entire yard went on a fruit strike. Not a single tree gave us fruit last year. Not only were the fruit trees on sabbatical, but the Raspberries were fruitless, the grapes didn't grape...and the strawberries....weren't. Not only was my womb barren, but my entire yard was barren as well. It was....abnormal. So, this year, when I saw all the blossoms, I went out to talk to my trees; to encourage them.

On one hand, I know that it's a little silly to think that my trees needed a pep-talk. But, because I know I've talked to these trees on a regular basis ever since I planted them 6 years ago, I am ALSO aware that last year...drowning in grief and devastation...I did NOT spend time talking to them, and they did NOT give me fruit. Maybe they were in mourning too. Maybe the entire vibe at my home was one of pulling in, and away. Maybe my fruit trees knew it wasn't time to put forth a bunch of fruit that I wouldn't have the focus to eat, or freeze for later. Maybe...they knew.

Maybe it was simply that it was a non-fruiting year for ALL of the trees in my yard alone. (my neighbors had fruit.)

In any case...I'm rambling...but, the point is, that I was communing with the energy of my trees, feeling very peaceful, quiet, and focused. Suddenly, as I stepped toward the plum tree that we planted last summer for Simon and Alexander, I saw that it had survived. Little green leaves were opening up. I caught my breath, and smiled. A warm feeling spread all over me and love poured forth onto that little tree. I closed my eyes for a moment, and when I opened them again, I noticed the grass was fluttering near my feet. A slender striped snaked was gliding near me. I didn't move. I didn't feel afraid. It slid right past my feet so close I could have bent over and picked it up.

I watched it.

It was beautiful.

I've NEVER seen a snake in my yard. ever.

I thought about messages being given by creation in it's many forms.

I pondered over the message of snakes... Snakes symbolize renewal, rebirth, and expanded development because they shed their skin during each growth cycle. Snakes are also cold-blooded which means they depend on their environment for their body temperature. This is seen as a symbolic message that we must be adaptive, flexible and adjust as best we can to our circumstances.

So...I confess that this is a message I need reminding of whether it's superstition or not. I have cycled through a year of grieving. A year of pain must be shed, for I am now, most certainly, a new person. I have been through too much to be able to fit in my old "skin". Admittedly, it is simply that my old skin no longer fits that often causes the tears to erupt. I LIKED my skin...I LIKED me. I didn't WANT to be forced into a new "skin".

And I am. Changed. In need of acceptance...renewal. My environment must be altered to fit my new persona. Thus, the 6 foot tall privacy fence...the freelance writing from home...a slower pace. A "me" pace.

It seems as likely as anything else that spirit would send me this message in the form of a graceful little garden snake that was hanging out near my babies memorial plum tree. It seems as probable as any other story...any other myth....any other version of truth.

So...I think I'll listen.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

unpredictable patterns...

First...let me apologize for my last rant; not because I think it was wrong to do it, but rather, because that level of anxiety blind-sighted me away from all the beauty happening around me. However, that being said...I am really grateful to have a place to put all that frustration and pain, and am hopeful that when others read it they might feel less ashamed and alone when they suddenly buckle over as well.

In the journey of healing from loss, it seems clear to me that though there is the popularized notion of "five stages of grief", there is much much more to bereavement than can be fit into five neat little stages that get completed in nice neat little steps. "Oh yay...I've passed the bargaining stage, now it's on to anger!...I can't wait till I get to the level of acceptance and can get on with my life!"'s not that easy to categorize grief, and the linear attempts to do so only serve to alienate a person who finds themselves on something that looks MUCH more like a roller coaster than a stair case. What happens to the person who gets to a place where the pain doesn't wrench through their being every moment, and is given a sense that flowers do bloom again, and birds will sing...and that their melody even seems sweet once more, only to plummet back down into a spiral of agony over the smallest stressor they could encounter? It makes them feel like their earlier contact with joy was only a facade...a ruse. But, in truth...this is just NORMAL.

The grief of losing a baby isn't fit into a nice little upward facing staircase, complete with handrail and tread support to ensure you don't slip back down to an earlier step. It is a cyclical up and down that is sometimes surprisingly up...and then even more devastatingly down. There are no stages to greif. There ARE cycles of grief, and those cycles are unique to each griever. There ARE patterns to grief, but those patterns are as different in manifestation as the patterns on a crazy-quilt.'s a quilt...yes, it is made with fabric; but the shapes, colors and sizes of the fabric are all pieced together in a crazy pattern that only in the end reveals that it IS in fact...a quilt.

This is grief. This is loss. life.

I recently read a study that showed a significant amount of evidence that pointed toward the conclusion that grief after the loss of a child was not substantially helped by any type of therapy. In fact, the only thing that made a marked difference in grief of this kind...was time. YEARS worth of time. This study pointed out that the intense reactions and volatile emotionality was to be viewed as completely normal, and that really, the only place that therapy could be on true benefit to a grieving family was to offer that their pain was normal, that they were not going crazy, and that the only thing they could do to feel better was to keep on keeping on...time would ease the pain. LOTS of time. In other words...helping them to see that all these painful cycles are completely normal, and there's nothing anyone can do to make it easier. Not really.

This isn't to say that there are NOT things that we can do to help the process along! It's just that even the experts are saying that bereavement in and of itself isn't a reason to do therapy with the exception of helping a person to see that this pain is normal. That aside, there are things we can do. We can take walks. We can find the core of our breath. We can brush and cuddle a pet. We can take time to discover the depth of life that is so much more broad than simple fairy tales with happy endings. We can write...and write...and write. We can give space to the child we lost in our homes so that we give space for our grief in the manifestation of gardens, colors, pictures that symbolize who they were to us....we can create art. We can allow ourselves to cry as needed, and to laugh when the opportunity bubbles up. We can remember that if we could have a moment...even just a moment...with our little ones, that they would most likely hold us tight and ask us to look for and find our potential for inner strength, peace, and happiness--for them, and for ourselves. And mostly, we can reach out to others in pain; we all know that it's our sisters and brothers in loss that understand us more than anyone else can. In holding hands...we find a healing place.

So, in the unpredictable patterns of grief...we find a new normal. Changed forever by life lost, by tiny feet that would never walk, by unimaginable heartbreak...we will emerge to find ourselves able to offer comfort to others as bigger, warmer beings than we ever would have been without the earthquake of loss. I'm sure it would be agreed that each of us would have preferred to NOT know this brand of pain. No one WANTS to know what this is like; NO ONE wants to be part of this club. But...even so, because there seems to be a profound lack of wisdom in this world, a huge gap where wise women and men once lived, it occurs to me that those who have lost have the chance to offer something substantial to the world. If we take this opportunity to really find healing as we honestly journey on this roller coaster, we will one day look back and see that this IS the path....this broken-open devastation IS the way to a more complete wholeness.

Thanks for holding my hand....thank you for letting me hold yours.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Buried... Again.

Yesterday, I noticed that Felix, who is currently on antibiotics for an ear infection and had been getting noticeably better was scratching at his ear. I lifted up the furry black flap and groaned to see that the underside was red and hot. Again. I took him to the vet to show them that now, instead of improving, it was getting worse. I explained to the vet that he wouldn't allow me to put ANYTHING near his ear except for a loving pat. The vet agreed that it was very going to be hard, but not impossible, if I got a muzzle. (This vet, by the way, was UNABLE to even look in Felix's ear even with the help of a VERY strong and VERY tall woman. She looked like a wrestler to be honest...and she COULDN'T hold Felix still long enough for the vet to peek for a moment in his ear.) He gave me medicine to put in the ear, and I reluctantly took it under his stern words that it was "the only way".

I bought the muzzle, and with a little coercion, was able to get my happy sheepie in it with a handful of treats. He was perfectly fine in it, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe it wouldn't be too hard after all. I gentle lifted his ear with lots of praise and treats....and tried to fill his ear with the medicine.

He LOST it.

I tried to lay on top of him, growling and struggling at me...if he had not been muzzled I would wear the gashes of his fear and rage at this moment. He was terrified. And I failed at my quest. I couldn't do it even with the cooperative help from all six of the inhabitants of my house. We could NOT hold him still enough.

I sat there...feeling the panic of adrenaline flushing through me. I took off the muzzle to reveal a once again sweet happy shaggy puppy who apologetically licked the tears off my face as if to make up for his wild behavior that he couldn't control.

Then, with rage in my veins, I called the vet's office and demanded to speak to a vet. ANY vet. I sobbed into the phone as a female vet listened to what was going on. I explained that I COULD NOT administer the medicine into the ear. I explained that I had TOLD the other vet that it was something Felix would not allow, and that he had admonished me as if I were a child even though HE couldn't even PEEK inside for a moment. She listened patiently, and sighed..."Of course you can't get it in his ear if he's in so much pain or if he's afraid. It's possible that the cold of the medicine hurts terribly. Please come in tomorrow and I will give you a longer and stronger course of oral medicine as well as some pain killers for your pup. Tonight...please, go take a bath...and know it will be o.k. . ."

I thanked her. I hung up the phone and stared at my husband for a moment as I crumbled into to a heap of bawling miserableness.

My thoughts were racing in a mad rush to dis-empower me in any way my brain could see fit. "You aren't as good with animals as you think." "You were weak to allow that other vet to overpower your commonsense." "You brought additional stress into a home already maxed out with the addition of a second puppy just because the idea that it would be like having twins was such a pretty thought." "You keep getting hurt, and are an anxious wreck...just like your crazy borderline mother." "You just terrified your poor little puppy even though you KNEW that vet was WRONG...What kind of person does that??" "Poor Ferdinand is totally freaked out too just from HEARING what was going on with Felix!" "You can't take care of two dogs, and you couldn't have taken care of two babies EITHER!" "You fail at everything you try." "Your only friends are words on a computer." "You couldn't keep your babies alive long enough for them to have a chance to SEE it with their own eyes." "Your a mental crackup." "Your babies are dead...and your children have to live with a basket case they call mom." "Your husband is exhausted from your never ending tears." "Your obese." "Your shit."

So, I stand here the next morning...processing my own thoughts. I recall falling asleep in jarring sobs while my husband spooned me, holding me close for fear that I'd run away to find a cliff or a lake to jump in.

I'm standing here in wonder of the stress damaged brain struggling with the ability to recover from a small stress like dealing with a terrified puppy for 5 minutes.

People used to tell me I was such a relaxed person with envy as I lovingly sat with my tandem nursing babes in arms...and I would explain about breathing, and feeling content with what you have. Money was no object...I didn't mind being poor if it made it possible for us to have peace.


Little things--a scraped husband being 20 minutes later than I thought he would be...a protest from a child about having to take out the garbage or do the dishes....a deadline...a dog scuffle; any one of them can start the internal shaking and anxiety driven sobbing and heart skipping that is my new normal.


Instead of smiling when I see the beautiful rosy cheeks of a baby, ANYONE'S baby...I cry. Instead of greeting the news of a new pregnancy of a friend with joy...I cry.
Instead of taking the stress of my full life in stride as others look on in wonder at how I manage it all...I have anxiety attacks. Now....I hate worrying about money.
I hate finding myself saying "No" when I used to say "Yes." Instead of always finding the time to "read another story"...I hear my almost 14 year old reading to his brothers in my place--something he started doing when I lost myself last year in death, loss, and overwhelming grief that continues to linger...and linger....

And mostly....Now, instead of knowing that my husband feels that I could take on the world and still have dinner ready by 6:30...I know he worries about leaving me alone every day. I know he worries that I might believe the racing thoughts TOO much. That I might listen to them, blind to every sensibility that could counter each and every one of them.

I feel really sad today. Really angry. Angry that loss can rip apart your wholeness in such a way that you never REALLY find the you that knew the joy of consistent smiles...once upon a time.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Unconsious understandings...

International Baby-loss Mother's Day...

I didn't know until this evening that today was "the" day. At least, I didn't know with my mind. Somehow, there are days that just feel more intense, and today was one of those days.

I kept finding myself distracted with an intense need to cry.

I kept feeling a wistful longing in my arms.

I felt empty.


Of course, I feel this way often. Daily. But today, it just kept sweeping over me and at one point I just looked at my husband with tears in my eyes and said "WHAT THE FUCK!"

sorry for the profanity...but it felt well suited at the time. I've been rather foul mouthed in the past's a side effect of my tourettes. turns out that today is a day of concentrated memory of loss...our losses. ALL of our losses. It's a day of remembering the mothers days we don't get to share with the babies we don't get to have. A special day...a precious day...of remembering...loss.

It didn't surprise me. This kind of loss connects you to sisters and brothers around the world. We feel each others pain.

It helped to understand why today seemed so flooded with tears for me.

I didn't know...

but I knew.

On that all my sisters and brothers....

You are in my heart.


With love...