• Hard Stuff

    Day 32: Reopened

    DTo many people’s dismay, we didn’t find out the sex of our first child. In a world where everything is instant and surprises are limited and few, we wanted to wait. We wanted that unmatched moment when the doctor not only handed us our baby but announced its sex.

    It’s a…..!!!

    The entire pregnancy, I suspected Caroline was a boy. I couldn’t imagine being a #boymom or having to eventually talk about wet dreams, how socks should be changed daily or why deodorant is necessary after physical activity. Shocking, but as a girl, I’m more comfortable with girl stuff. I’ll talk to anyone about periods (it will ruin your life), teen pregnancy (all boys are bad and will ruin your life) and birth control (get on it, stay on it, don’t ruin your life).

    That awkward girl stuff comes way easier to me than awkward boy stuff which is exactly why I thought we’d be having a boy. Murphy’s Law and shit.

    When the doctor announced that Caroline was a girl, I was in actual disbelief. Had I not been paralyzed from the waist down, strapped on an operating table with my insides on the outside, I would have fainted. I was that damn certain she was a he.

    [[[Fast forward two years later and I got my boy in Oliver. He is a walking learning-curve for me. I find myself cleaning the floor around the toilet a lot and reminding him to stop mentioning his wiener, feces, and boogers. He’s a special kind of special and every day I feel foolish that I was so scared to have a boy.]]]

    This is a longwinded way to say that I never thought I’d have a girl simply because I wanted one so badly.

    I got very lucky with one.

    Today I found out that I had a second.

    Prior to the procedure, I consented to have the baby tested. I was desperate to know why. Desperate to know if I caused it. Desperate to know if that little being ever stood a chance.

    Turner syndrome (Monosomy X) and pregnancy loss are often related. Turner syndrome is a chromosome disorder in which a girl or woman has only one complete X chromosome. (Because a Y chromosome is needed for a person to be male, all babies with Turner syndrome are girls.) Though girls born with Turner syndrome usually have good odds for a normal life, the majority of babies with the condition are lost to miscarriage or stillbirth.

    A test that was likely to show nothing revealed so much, but nothing more heartwrenching and piercing as hearing, “it was a girl.”

    A girl.

    I flashed back to hearing that for the first time in the operating room, under such happy circumstances. Now I’m in my living room, anxious, sad and without a baby to hold.

    Not only have I envisioned the life lost countless times, but now I know the specific life lost. A little girl who would have maybe looked like my brown-haired, green-eyed Caroline. A little girl who perhaps would have liked LEGOS and dress-up like her big sister. A little girl who would have held her father in the palm of her hand and been the all-consuming light of her mother’s world.

    Now I know.

    Now I know what we lost.

    Hearing that news ever-so-slightly unglued the healing wound of this entire ordeal. Every day I’ve felt a little stronger, more steadfastly focused on the future and proudly breaking down less.

    But…

    Now it’s all reopened again albeit with a different reaction: no screaming, crying or listening to sad playlists in the shower. Instead, I feel stiff, robotic and numb as though I’ve used up so many emotions and shed so many tears the past few weeks that my body is rejecting sad news.

    Information and knowledge are wonderful and I’m happy that I get to fill in the gaps of doubt and mystery, but at the same time, this new information stings a spot that is already so sore and vulnerable.

    Now I know.

    Our girl <3

    She would have been wonderful, for that I am certain.

    Maybe that’s why it hurts so much.

  • Hard Stuff

    “Tissues Are On the Table If You Need Them”

    The only time I had ever been to a therapist was about 10 years ago when someone (seemingly) close to me berated me and made me severely question my self-worth. Over a decade later and I think I’d choose prison over therapy if that same person tried that shit again, but I digress…

    I saw a woman who was fairly helpful, at first. Then, towards the end of the appointment, she got out a color wheel and told me that many of my problems could be helped if I knew more about color auras. I can’t even manage to match my freaking foundation to my skin color and she wanted to fix family problems through Native American spirits and healing rainbows. The bitch was crazier than ME.

    Obviously, that left me with a pretty tainted view of therapy. As I grew into adulthood, I realized that wine, running, anxiety medication and unfiltered and unapologetic honesty were just as successful than finding my spirit color with a stranger wearing ill-fitting ponchos.  

    But then “it” happened and it felt as if my mind fractured into several, misplaced pieces. The flashbacks, the replays of the procedure, the regrets…it was overwhelming.

    So, there I was: a day into my 34th year of life and in a therapist’s office.

    Tony Soprano & I now have something in common

    I know there’s been a big push by society to openly discuss and destigmatize mental illness and rightfully so. Life is fucking hard. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, grew up in a storybook home or in a dysfunctional shit show. Our brains can be mean spirited assholes and despite our best efforts, sometimes it’s just a damn struggle.

    The therapist let me talk.

    No interruptions.

    No distractions.

    No judgment.

    No unhelpful, insensitive, cliche remarks.

    I opened up about guilt, moving forward, my raging hormones, my dramatic meltdowns, my resentment towards certain people and my adoration of others.

    I just fucking talked.

    She listened.

    One hour of talking to a stranger I found on the internet (not recommended to any teenage girls reading this) and I felt better. There was no magic pill or a profound realization. In fact, there were many moments of pure silence which ordinarily would cause me great panic, but it was oddly peaceful.

    I needed a soundboard.

    A safe space.

    She validated my feelings.

    It’s okay to meltdown in front of the kids.

    You are showing your children true emotion.

    That was your baby.

    This is a loss. Not a traditional one, but it is a loss.

    It’s common, but not to you.

    And most importantly, she made me re-think the way I looked at myself in those moments of sadness. The dark moments when the grief catches me off guard and I’m in the middle of something mundane like making the kids dinner, watching a show about affluent housewives or making lesson plans about the Revolutionary War. Those moments when I can’t see straight, hear anything and want to just absolutely, positively runaway from my own deranged mind. Those are the moments when I feel alone and feel frustrated by my own actions.

    I’m not crazy. I’m grieving.

    The world is moving again. I’ll catch up.

    She is right.

    I’ll regain my clarity. I’ll see things rationally again.

    I’ll catch up.

    This is just one step in that process.