Sunday, January 31, 2010

And then out of nowhere...

The tears come, and you are back at square one:

In Shock
Missing Her
In Denial
Feeling Robbed
In Pain

I miss the way things used to be...


How can I sum up all that you meant to me? If I gathered all the words of every tongue spoken in this world, would I find the right ones to properly describe the change you have instilled in me? Would I do justice to your life? To all you went through? To all you have meant to me? In this world, so limited, do the right words even exist?

I would like to send a huge thank you out to Franchesca for creating from so much pain, something so beautiful. Thank you Franchesca for helping me honor Peyton with this collage. There is no way to properly describe what it feels like to know that another mother has taken time out from her own grief, to create a tribute for your child. This gift has really touched my heart.

I encourage everyone to check out the great work Franchesca is doing over at Abiding Hope Collages.

I remember when Franchesca first offered to make me this collage a few months back, well, the task felt overwhelming. How could I possibly come up with the right words? In seeing them displayed here, these words, though not all that I am feeling in my heart about my daughter, do bring me a sense of peace.

James Earl Jones once said,
"One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter."

I invite you all to leave a comment, with a word, or two, or more, that sums up your current journey (loss, infertility, life). Good, bad, happy, sad, grateful, angry, it doesn't matter. Find a word that fits how you are feeling now. Get it out there.

I know. Sounds impossible right?

Give it a try. Who knows? Maybe getting out even just one (or some) of the words your heart needs to utter will bring you the same sense of peace/moment of relief that seeing the words on this collage brought to me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I wonder...

(hey what the heck, we'll make it a show and tell too!)

I wonder if all aspiring authors have to stop writing mid chapter to chase their escaped dog up and down the snowy street in their pajamas?

For show and tell, I give you Charlotte... the guilty party.

Here is a picture of her tuckered out from her great run up and down, and back and forth, and across, and in figure eights in my neighborhood.

And here she is telling me what she thinks of my writing...Such a critic!

To see what others are showing and telling, go visit Mel here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On PTSD, Therapy, Questioning and PAGL

It's no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I go to therapy. Losing Peyton was really hard on me, not just the trauma of having a sick child, or the trauma of watching her suffer. Not just the trauma of making very tough decisions, or the trauma of watching how they played out. Not just the trauma of losing my child, or the trauma of watching her struggle and die in my arms. All of it. The guilt, the grief, the anger, the questioning, the loss of my sense of self, the PTSD, the depression, the insomnia. All of it came down like a house of cards over the month of Peyton's life, and death, and I feel grateful to have recognized that it was too much for me to do on my own. I am not advocating for therapy, I just know that for me, it was the right decision.

I speak with a woman who deals specifically with traumatic loss and PTSD, and it has really, really helped me. I feel no shame in sharing this because there is no shame in seeking help when you need it, and anyone who makes you feel that there is, probably a) has never walked in your shoes, and b) is not a healing person to have around you at this already difficult time. Honestly. This world that we have been thrust into can feel so big, so impossible to conquer. If there is one thing I am proud of myself for in how I have handled all that has happened (miscarriage, child loss, subsequent infertility) it is that I knew I needed help, and regardless of what I thought people might think, I got it.

Throughout the last year plus, my therapist has brought many little tidbits and techniques to my attention to try out. Some of them are pretty involved, and difficult to explain, but on my last visit she shared a technique with me that I thought might help you too. It is called PAGL, and I am going to give you the Reader's Digest version below.

I read alot of babyloss momma's blogs talking about how tough certain decisions can be to make.

"Should I go visit my child at the cemetery?" 
"Should I not?" 
"Should I try to conceive again?" 
"How do I know if it is the right time?" 
"Should I return to work?" 
"Should I move and start over somewhere else?" 
"Should I continue this friendship with someone who I have known for years but really hasn't been there for me since my loss?" 
"Should I share the news of a new pregnancy?" 
"Should we wait until the baby is here and alive to share the news?"
Etc. Etc. 

You get the point. As if grief weren't messy and difficult enough, it sometimes feels so magnified by the questions that swirl in our heads, especially if there is the added burden of feeling pressure to do what those around you think you should do. Or, what you think they think you should do.

What my therapist shared with me is called The PAGL Technique. It was developed by Dr. Thomas Hora, and I am sure what I know about this technique is very basic, but if you go and google it, you can get more in depth information.

PAGL stands for Peace Assurance Gratitude Love.

Basically, the way it was explained to me, is that PAGL is a way to pray on each of these issues and come to a decision that is right for you. When I say prayer, I don't mean religious prayer, more of a meditation, however if doing this through religious prayer helps, by all means do what feels right.

When an issue plagues your mind, for instance
"I just lost my child, and we have been invited to a party where there will be other children..."
close your eyes, think about the situation at hand, and pay close attention to how your body and mind respond to it. If it is the right thing for you (and the right thing to do by society's standards, and the right thing for you are two totally different things and that is okay, this is about what is right for you) so if it is the right thing to do, it should bring into your heart a sense of Peace Assurance Gratitude and Love. The idea being that if you feel PAGL about a certain decision you are making, you can feel confident that it is the right one for you. If you don't feel PAGL, something in your body, the universe, your mind, I don't know, is telling you to move in a different direction.

Since entering this new world of IVF, alot of questions have been thrown our way.
"What to do with frozen embryos?" 
"Would we be willing to freeze embryos?"
"Would we be comfortable with assisted hatching?"
"Are we comfortable with the process of IVF itself?"

Each of these questions/situations can veer off in several different directions, and I have been quietly, prayerfully reflecting on each, closing my mind and body off to what I think others would think of them  (whether they would judge them, support them, condemn them, push them) and instead searching for whichever option brings me the deepest sense of Peace Assurance Gratitude and Love.

I am certainly no expert on PAGL, and don't claim to be one, but really it makes total sense that the right decision would be that which feels right. 

I know that the readers of this blog come from all walks of life. Babyloss, Infertility, Life in General, and that is why I thought this would be such a good technique to share, because searching for answers that bring the most Peace Assurance Gratitude and Love into your heart is helpful, regardless of the situation.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Regarding yesterday's post...

I just read that Adrianna passed this morning.

Cancer sucks. It is greedy, cruel, and merciless.

It has no regard for it's victims, or their families.

Please keep her parents in your thoughts for strength and healing.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Please send your love and prayers...

Some time ago, I came across a link through another blogger to the caringbridge page of a brave little girl named Adrianna. Like so many others, I began praying for this little girl and her family, cheering her on for a miracle. Adrianna's story, and that of her incredibly strong parents, has really resonated with me. Like Peyton, this brave little girl has been unfairly forced into battle with cancer. Like us, her parents have been unfairly forced into watching their daughter suffer.

Adrianna's mother wrote a post tonight that hit me like a ton of bricks. Before I could stop them, tears were flowing. She wrote: "Please grant her a miracle or let her go to live with you, in peace...We don't want to watch her suffer anymore." 

These words were especially difficult to read, because they immediately brought me back to a moment not long ago. A moment where I sat on my bed, crying to the crucifix on my wall, desperately begging God through tears to please do the same for my sweet Peyton. "If you won't let us keep her," I would scream, "Please take her quickly. She's already suffered so much. Please, please take her quickly."

It breaks my heart to see another family going through this level of devastation and loss. To be forced into a situation where it is so painful to watch what your child is going through, that you actually ask God to take her. I will never understand why so many families have to watch their children suffer and die. Never.

Adrianna has taken a turn for the worse and I ask any readers of this blog to please keep her in your hearts for a miracle tonight, and as you do, please remember her parents in your hearts for strength as well. Strength to endure whatever it is that the morning may bring.

Here is a link to her site:


I pulled the numbers using's random number generator and meant to post this last night, but after a whirlwind weekend (hubs threw me a surprise 30th Saturday night) I wasn't able to get this post up until this morning. So here we have it...

The first number, for the pink angel, drawn on was #14!

Congratulations to Baby On Mind.

The second number, for the white angel, was #3

Congrats to Sara/Emerging Butterfly at Reflections of A Butterfly!

Congratulations to both the winners. Ladies, please email me your mailing addresses at doinggoodinhername(at)gmail(dot)com and I will get these right out in the mail for you.

Also, to the commenter, KHeslin, please email me your address too, and I will happily send something over to you for your sister to wear in Peyton's honor when running the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society's Team In Training Half Marathon. What a beautiful offer, thank you!

I really like this blog giveaway stuff. I think I am going to do more of these in the future. Be sure to check back and participate when I do. They are a fun little break from the norm.

Friday, January 22, 2010

My 100th Post...

Okay, that is a lie. This is actually my 124th post, but somewhere between grief, infertility, and the holidays, post number 100 got lost in the mix.

I feel the need to celebrate this blog and this community which have meant so much to me. What better way to celebrate in blog world than to do a little giveaway, right?

My mother in law was kind enough to donate these absolutely beautiful little angels for me to share with my readers. There is a pink one...

and a white one...

As always, my photography skills don't do them justice. They are just so delicate. I think they would be a nice addition to any memory box, but really you could use them for anything.

If you would like to be entered in the giveaway, just leave the word "angel" with your comment below. I will do two drawings on Sunday evening, that way everyone in all time zones can participate. Happy Give Awaying!


So now down to business. We went to our first IVF seminar last night. It was a two and a half hour talk about the medical and emotional side of IVF. I have to tell you, I was pretty annoyed at the number of fathers in that room who were complaining about having to go to the seminar, or playing on their i-phones the whole time. I mean, in the grand scheme of IVF, the men have it pretty easy. A few specimens, and that's it. There were these few guys who laughed every time the word "sperm" was said, I mean come on, really? Man 30 has made me a real old coot!

There is a lot to think about with IVF, what to do with the embryos that don't get implanted, for one. As well as if we would be open to a few processes called ICSI (sticking a sperm directly into the egg) or assisted hatching (where they break the shell of the egg away if it is not doing it on it's own.) Something about the romance of creating a child really gets lost in the IVF process. That being said, I am still grateful for the process, it gives us a chance at having our own kids, a door that would have been totally closed for us because of my tube situation.

They discussed with us the side effects of the medications, and walked through all the steps that we will take on this journey. Lots of poking. Even more prodding. That's okay though, if I have to be treated like cattle to get to some healthy rainbow baby(s), that is fine by me. I have to admit though, some of the details did make me feel like I was in a twilight zone episode or something. It is very hard to wrap my head around making a baby in a test tube, then putting it in me, or that they can make an embryo from us, then leave it on ice for years until we want to use it. What happens to the embryo? What are they feeling? These were all the things going through my head.

This seminar is done twice a month for couples starting on this process. The clinic we are going through is the largest in our state, and I was blown away by the fact that there were probably forty couples there. That means roughly eighty couples a month come through this clinic to start this process. They said they do 1000 transfers a year. Once you are in it, isn't it amazing how big the ALI community around you seems to be?

I had a few commenters on an earlier post ask me why it was so expensive for the first round of IVF. There are a few reasons, probably not the least of which is where we live. This is a very expensive state. I used to work in occupational health, and when our clinic in Minnesota would charge $20 for something, say a drug test, the same clinic in our state charged $68. I am sure that has something to do with the price.

My understanding too, from what the financial people have told me, is that the first is most expensive because that cost involves lots of one time testing that is done to get you ready ahead of time, the medications, and the extraction of and freezing of eggs. I have been told that should they get more than enough eggs (this is not a given so we will have to wait and see) they can then freeze them, and if we had to go through more than one round because this round didn't work, or we wanted to try for more children in the future, it would be a less expensive process because they would already have the eggs so that cost on medications to increase my number of eggs, and for the extractions would be cut out. I am really, really praying that this works for us.

So this morning the hubs went in for his first portion of the process. Like a soldier heading off to war, he left here today, cup in hand, to do the less than glamorous work of giving a specimen while in the doctor's office. He was great about it though, donning a very brave face. I think if I had to do that, it might feel a little awkward. I have enough trouble handing over urine specimens without feeling sorry for the person who has to take them. Poor hubs, he really wanted to do it here and transport it, but it is SO COLD outside, we didn't know that he would be able to keep the cup at body temp for the half hour drive.

He told me that the experience was a little weird, but not too bad. He said they put him in a room with a couch (covered by a paper sheet haha), some porno mags and a tv. Like a very sterile motel room I would imagine. Now that he has done that deed, I think he is safe for a while.

Today I go in for some day two hormone testing. I think once that is done, and all my records are sent over from my doctor and the hospital that performed the HSG, we just wait for someone to tell us our next steps. I have to admit, even though I don't know where this is going, how, or when, it feels really nice to have some next steps.

PS... thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes, and for those of you who commented on that pic of Peyton. I love it too. Haha she really did look like she was up to something or making some type of plan. I like to think of what she was thinking about when she would put her hand under her chin. She was my very own mini version of "The Thinker."

For those of you who don't know what I am talking about, here is that picture...

What a little beauty you were Peyton. I love you my sweet girl, and miss you in a way that no words typed here could ever really do justice to...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Today I turned 30, Mel's Show & Tell.

I am officially 30.

It happened sometime today around 3:25 in the afternoon. Feeling anything but Happy this Birthday would have been really difficult. The love of family and friends came through in many forms, making the day a joyous one.

The first was this beautiful bouquet from hubs, delivered to my front door.

More smiles followed with lots of facebook, email, and blog well wishes, and various silly renditions of Happy Birthday sung to my voicemail. I was sung to in an operatic voice. A pirate voice. Silly voices. The voices of my nieces and nephew (well not really, he is only a few months old, but I am sure he was there by the phone too so that counts), a Cha-Cha-Cha version of the song, and I was even sung to in Polish by my Hungarian best friend, a skill that until today, I never knew she had (and we have been friends 20 years!)

The second time the door rang, a delivery man brought these goodies. They are chocolate covered apples and pears, sent to brighten my day by one of my very best friends.

And then tonight, I rang in this new decade over a wonderful dinner with my hubs, parents, aunt and uncle.

When we got home, Charlotte even got into the Birthday celebration by sporting this cute bow.

Yes, today was a very Happy Birthday. The only thing that could possibly have made it better, would have been…

To see what others are Showing and Telling, visit Mel's blog here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On a new decade...thoughts on turning 30

Today is my last day as a twenty something.

I remember when I turned 26, lying in bed and crying that I was closer to thirty than twenty. When I think of that now, it makes me want to roll my eyes at the old me.

Most 29 year olds would probably be sorry to see the big 3-0 looming, but honestly, Good Riddance! Scram! Get Lost! (Yes, I did just tell my twenties to scram. See, I am sounding older by the second.)

To be fair to my twenties, the first 7 years of this decade were wonderful to me. I met and married my hubby, gained a new family in my in-laws, bought a home, settled in nicely to a good career, had two nieces come into this world, and welcomed another into my heart, made amazing new friends, and strengthened the bond with old ones. At twenty seven, the world was my oyster and life seemed ready for the taking. I had no idea what was coming. Believe me when I say, ignorance was bliss!

The last few years of this decade... well, you know that story, and if you don't, here is the Reader's Digest version: miscarriage, birth of first child, loss of first child to leukemia, loss of sense of self, depression, discovery of infertility, Happy New Year!

Really, if you want more details about that you will have to click that little previous posts link on the sidebar and catch up, because it's a little too much of a downer for me to rehash on my birthday post.

Tomorrow brings a new chapter to my life, and I am starting that chapter from a place I could never have imagined standing. When I was crying in my bed as a twenty six year old, I thought for sure I would have my children by now. I didn't know about this place, where perfectly healthy mommas in secure, loving homes, do all they can to bring perfectly healthy babies into this world, but go on to lose them anyway. No I didn't know about this place. Not really. Not in a way that did it any justice.

When I was younger I planned everything out, a 2 year plan, a 5 year plan, a 10 year plan. A big part of that plan was to have all of my kids before I hit this thirty year mark. Making this plan, was in itself a silly plan, with even sillier reasoning behind it. I always thought I want to be a young mom so that I can relate to my kids. Or If I have them young, my body will bounce right back! Or my favorite, As long as I have them young, they will be healthy and normal.

Thinking back on it, I don't know if I was an idiot, or naive, or both.

If these last few years have taught me anything, it is that you never know what the next day has in store for you, or which direction it is going to take you. That being said, I honestly feel like wherever life takes me, there is nowhere to go from here, but up. So that's what I am going to wish for this year. That we will begin to move forward/up. That the things that have felt so impossible will once again feel within the realm of possibility, and that the hopes and dreams that I long for so deeply in my heart, will come to be for us and bring with them a lasting joy.

There are a couple of quotes stirring through my mind tonight, on this, the eve of my thirties.  Each of these has brought something significant into my heart as this new dawn approaches for me, and I hope that in sharing them, they do the same for you in your respective situations.

This one I read at a natural foods shop earlier today:
Just when the caterpillar thinks the world has ended, it becomes a butterfly. -Unknown

And this is one I keep above my mantle, just next to sweet Peyton's picture to keep me going when this journey feels insurmountable:
It's never too late to be what you might have been.-George Elliot 

Here's to new hope and endless possibilities in the future for us all!


Today I received an empty envelope addressed to me at home, no return address, with a Jan. 15 postmark from Osh Kosh WI. I would really hate to think someone meant to send something and it never made it here :(

If anyone knows anything about this, please email me at doinggoodinhername(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Eyes of Blue

I met a little girl today
eyes of bright blue
so much like you
and asked her mother of her age
"This little one's eight months"

Eight months, oh my
that's half as long
as you've been gone
how can that be, each moment an eternity
and a second all at once

The woman smiled when looking down
with adoring eyes
it was no surprise
I wonder if you ever felt
the smiles I cast at you

Sometimes I'm lost in thinking of
what couldn't be
for you and me
and wonder if you feel that too
wherever you have gone

No less my heart beats for you child
tears of love I've cried
even though you've died
no less I think of smiling at you
remembering those eyes of blue

~Kristin Binder

Friday, January 15, 2010

When One Door Closes... Find A Window.

First, I would like to send out a HUGE THANK YOU to all of the bloggers, friends, and family who have supported me through this latest crisis with hugs, prayers, and messages of support. Baby loss is isolating. Infertility is isolating. Thank you so much for showing me I do not have to face this alone.

Our appointment with the Fertility Specialists (or FS) was at nine this morning, and we met with two separate docs who reviewed our case and performed some tests. It was really comforting that they both told me they had read my case, and offered their condolences on Peyton. That might seem like such a small thing to some, but it is a level of compassion not lost on us in the babylost world.

I had a pelvic exam, some cultures done, and an ultrasound of my reproductive system, after which, we were invited to sit down and talk in detail with both doctors about what they had found, and what they felt was the best way to proceed. The FS told us that we had two options, some of the details of which were expected, others which were not.

Option A involves a laproscopic surgery performed through incisions in my belly button and abdomen to explore the damage from the scarring, try to remove it (this is possible in a small percentage of cases), and assess my tubes for future functionality. If Option A worked, I would, in theory, be where I was before this nightmare began, and have working tubes.

Option A, the surgery, also has some major downsides. First is effectiveness, the FS indicated that in all likelihood, the surgery would reveal that the damage is too extensive to be corrected, and I would still need to pursue IVF to get pregnant. He discussed with me the theory behind muscle spasms, and I am going to share that here for anyone else who might go through this. He said that in some cases, the uterus will go into spasm, closing off the entrance to the tubes during the HSG, making it impossible for any dye to get through, and giving a result that appears as if the tubes are blocked. The reason this is not believed to be the case for me is pain. During the HSG, I felt discomfort when the catheter was put in, as well as when it was tugged on. This discomfort was always in the area of my cervix. When the Docs were trying to blow through the tubes with the dye, I felt nothing. This is supposed to be the most uncomfortable portion of the test. This is why they ruled out muscle spasm for me, because if the uterus was in spasm, I would have felt extreme cramping discomfort at this point in the muscles that were spasming. Also, because scar tissue does not sense pain.

Another major downside of this surgery is cost. Our insurance offers a lifetime max of $15,000 for fertility treatments, and a large portion of this would be spent on this surgery. If the surgery was not effective, and we had to pursue IVF, we would be left with a much smaller reserve of funds from our insurance company to cover the cost.

Third is the risk of complications from the surgery. There are risks, namely that your bowel, uterus, or tubes can, in a small number of cases, be damaged during this surgery. As of right now, my uterus looks good enough to hold a baby, so I am not sure that is a risk I am willing to take. Additionally, this surgery requires full sedation, so there is the possibility of complications from anesthesia, as well as the possibility of getting another infection, like the one from my c-section that put me in this position.

Then there is the fourth downfall. Due to surgical scheduling, as well as recovery time, if this surgery failed and we had to turn to IVF anyway, this surgery would put that process off by several months. Going several more months without any forward movement is a bit overwhelming.

So that leaves option B) Never find out the extent of damage and instead go straight for IVF. The main issue with this option is cost. It will cost approximately $17,500 for the first round of IVF, $2500 over our maximum amount covered by insurance, which is pennies in our minds if it works, but very expensive if it doesn't. We do feel a sense of hope in that the FS thought that with my age and health history, the success rate for me on IVF would fall somewhere around 50%, as opposed to the usual 20%. I am trying to view this as a glass half full scenario.

At my age they are willing to transfer up to two eggs. There is an increased likelihood of multiples. A 25% chance of twins, and a 5% chance of triplets, are what we are looking at, should the IVF cycle be successful. I have seen a lot of heartache on these blogs for mothers who have lost multiples, and know that there are added risks with multiple pregnancies, so that is something to consider as well.

So there you have it. I would be lying if I didn't say that this appointment has renewed a sense of hope for me. I am being "cautiously optimistic" which is a huge step up from my "life is a shitstorm" attitude of late.

When I had my HSG, and the Docs indicated that IVF may not even be an option available to me because of the damage caused by the infection, it came as an extreme shock. I saw the door of motherhood slamming shut before my eyes. It was devastating.

Seeing that there is this other avenue, this little window letting some light in on the situation, gives us something to hope and wish on. Of course I would rather conceive other children the way I had with Peyton, as opposed to through surgical means or in a petri dish, but I can't. That door is closed, and there is very little that I can do about that, so instead I am looking towards that window, and praying that in it's light lies a second chance for us. A chance to have another child of our own. A chance at our own, healthy, rainbow baby(s).

We are still thinking over and researching both option A and option B, but I think we are leaning more towards B. Please keep us in your prayers to make the right decision.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


In light of all that is happening in Haiti, I am feeling like a real shit for griping about my life. Sure, between losing Peyton and this latest blow, I feel like my world has come tumbling down, but for the poor people of Haiti, their world has literally come tumbling down all around them. When my world crashed down, there were people and services available to help me through. For the people of Haiti, there are no services.

Tonight I am focusing my prayers on all the victims of the earthquake in Haiti, and their families, especially those who have not been able to connect with one another. The numbers coming across on the news are so indescribably huge. I pray that with the break of day, a brighter picture can be painted for the people of Haiti. Please join me in keeping them in your thoughts.

The Waiting Game.

Last night I had a dream that I had another c-section. I don't know what the outcome was, but I imagine not so good because I woke up panicked, grabbing at my stomach. It was devastating.  I imagine the events and conversations from last week didn't help matters.

By Wednesday when I still hadn't heard from my Doc, who we will call Dr. X. I called and spoke to a receptionist. I told her I needed to speak with Dr. X about my test results and where to go from here. She gave me some line about the test not having been sent over yet from the Hospital. This struck me as odd since the test was done in the hospital where Dr. X works. I said, "They already told me the results, they told me that an infection destroyed my tubes." Her reaction, "Oh, they did?" Me, "Yes, they did. I need to know what my next steps are." She told me she would call me back, and when she did it was to tell me to try to reach Dr. X or her secretary the next day. I don't know the last time I felt so much like I was getting the run around.

On Thursday I called again, asked for Dr. X, and was put through to her direct secretary. "Dr. X says not to worry too much. That it might have been just a muscle spasm." I explained to her that during the test, the two Doctors performing the test had completely ruled out the possibility of muscle spasm. "Oh... they told you that?" Was all she could say. "Yes, they told me that."

I was so upset. Don't these people know what holding out hope for something like a muscle spasm could do to a person?

I saw the look in the Doctor's eyes when she gave me the news after performing the HSG. She saw me collapse and cry, she saw how desperate and upset I was. No doctor would let a person leave the hospital in that condition over a f*cking muscle spasm!

The secretary went on to say, "Dr. X wants your husband to complete the sperm test and we will go from there, maybe referring you on to a specialist."  I asked her what the point would be in having my husband spend $300 to shoot in a cup, when we know the issue is with me. Not for nothing but my husband has gotten me pregnant twice (the miscarriage, and Peyton) both on the first try. If all my tests had come back normal I might have more seriously questioned his little swimmers, but seeing as how we got the results that we got, it seemed an awful waste of $300, not to mention delaying us moving forward towards finding a solution for my scarred/blocked tube situation.

"As for her referral," I said, "I already made an appointment for next week with the Fertility Specialist." "Oh, okay, good." She said. "Well than I don't think you will have to see Dr. X at all. Call me tomorrow with the Fertility Specialist's fax number, and I will send your records right over."

That night I was very hesitant to share with hubs my phone conversation. "There is something I have to tell you," I said, "Dr. X said maybe I was in spasm and that's why the results showed the way they did. I didn't want to tell you this because I don't want your hopes up for nothing. I was in that room. I heard the two Doctors talking about muscle spasms, and then finally ruling it out. I don't know why she would even say this." He said he wouldn't get his hopes up, but I could see in his eyes that he did.

Friday I called with the fax number for the Fertility Specialist and spoke with Dr. X's direct secretary again. "I'm sorry," she said, "I spoke with Dr. X and she said you were right. It definitely was not a muscle spasm. She doesn't want you to think she's slacking its just she hadn't had a chance to really discuss the results with the Doctors who performed the test yet."

Hadn't had the chance? It had been nearly two weeks!

I was so angry. Where was the sense of urgency?

Dr. X once told me that I was the only patient she had ever had carry a baby to term and then lose in infancy. It really hurt me that after all the pain that she has seen losing Peyton cause for myself and my husband, after having witnessed the aftermath of something like that, that she couldn't pick up the phone and be straight with me about what was going on. On the day of the HSG I was told that Dr. X would call me the next day to discuss. To this day, I still haven't heard from her.

Hubs and I go to meet with the Fertility Specialist this Friday, to see what, if anything, can be done. It sounds like the first step is to perform a surgery through my belly button to assess the scarring. Some people with slight scarring have minimal and/or short term success with a roto-rooter, for lack of a better word, type surgery. There are increased risks of ectopic pregnancy, and a slew of other issues involved, but that may be one possibility.

From what I have read, and based on what had been told to me during the HSG, it sounds like IVF would likely be proposed as the only option. I think the roto-rooter thing also checks to make sure my eggs haven't been affected by the infection too. Lets keep our fingers crossed on that one big time.

All of this is speculation of course, since I haven't been afforded the luxury of speaking with any Doctors since my HSG.

Two nights ago, I was standing at the counter sort of spacing out, totally lost in thought. Hubs asked what I was thinking about, "Oh, nothing" I said. But that wasn't true, I just couldn't bare to tell him.

It was like I was frozen, overwhelmed by images and memories of all that has happened in these first few years of our marriage. I could see myself, how it used to feel to be hopeful. How happy I once was. Not in the "put a smile on for the benefit of others" way that I have become so accustomed to, but really, truly happy. We had had all these plans. We were gonna have a big family. What happened to us?

Sometimes I feel so weighed down by all of the grief, sadness, and disappointment of these last 16 months. I used to really be on track. The future used to feel so bright. Now I feel like a walking tragedy, a one trick pony, a broken record. I just don't know how I can heal, or move forward with my life, if I remain stuck in a place full of sorrow and loss.

Please, please keep us in your prayers for there to be some hope, some door or window for us to find that has been left open. Please pray that we can do what we set out to do some two and a half years, and two pregnancies ago. Please pray that we can have a healthy family.

*** A few side notes.***

1) Thank you to all who prayed for my cousin's baby Faith Margaret through her last open heart surgery and hospitalization. I saw Faith last week, and she is doing amazingly well. I know all those positive vibes you sent her way did the trick.

2) Thank you to all who sent their email information for the writer doing the story on this blog. I forwarded all of your info directly to him. I am not sure how many people he is going to be speaking with directly, but know a few of you have already heard from him. The outpouring was amazing, and he has informed me that he has enough people now for his story, so thank you very much.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday

Today was my niece Emily's sixth birthday. I can hardly believe that six years have gone by since this beautiful little person came into my life. Emily has the purest heart, and sweetest demeanor. A cuddler. A snuggler. A hugger. A laugher. She has a smile that lights up the room, and a personality that makes even the hardest of hearts want to have kids. This was my conversation, as it happened with her, earlier tonight.

Me: Happy Birthday Emster.
Emily: Thank You!

Me: What did you do for your birthday?
Emily: We went to Friend-leeeeeeez.

Me: What did you get?
Emily: A huge, huge, huge ice cream. It had vanilla, no, wait, it had cookie dough, and peanut butter, and whip cream, and chocolate, and sprinkles, and whip cream, and sprinkles all over it!

Me: Wow, that sounds nice.
Emily: *giggling* Yeah. There was sprinkles all over it!

Me: Cool! Did you open any presents?
Emily: Not yet.

Me: Well, I better let you go so you can open your presents. I just wanted to wish you a super duper happy birthday. I can't believe you are such a big girl now.
Emily: I know...*giggles*

Me: I hope now that you are six that doesn't mean you are too old to be my cuddle bug, or too cool to want to play with me.
Emily: Aunt Krissy, I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever be too cool for you.

Me: Awww thanks Em. I love you. Happy Birthday.
Emily: I love you too, Aunt Krissy!

Ahhhh... now that's a perfect moment. Happy Sixth Birthday Emily!

To read about other perfect moments, visit here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

"You're numb right now"

Writing has been a huge release for me through this loss, but on the heels of last week's news, I have found myself struggling for words. This latest blow has left me back at square one in terms of exhaustion, and quite frankly, my creativity has been a bit tapped out.

In an effort to get some emotional release, and try to break this writer's block,  I went to Borders today to be in the presence of other writers (I had met a very interesting author who I knew would be there today) and write. There is something to be said about being in the presence of other creative folks, when trying to get your creative juices flowing.

While there, tapping away at my computer beside this female author, a man came over (another author) and began talking to us. This is a portion of our conversation.

Man: What are you writing about.
Me: I go back and forth between a few things. I have written a memoir about my daughter who died of Cancer, and also work on this silly little chick-lit book when I need a pick me up. I also write a blog about my grief.
Man: Your daughter died. I am so sorry. How old was she?
Me: 28 days. She was born with Leukemia.
Man: 28 days? Born with Leukemia... Oh, my. When did this happen?
Me: Yeah, the chances of it happening were one in fifty million. I'm just that lucky. We lost her October of '08.
Man: Was she your only child?
Me: Yes, and having her made it so I can't have any others.
Woman Author: She just found this out last week. Can you believe she can even talk about it?
Man: Oh, my.
Me: Yup.
Man: You're numb huh?
Me: Numb?
Man: Yeah numb. You're numb right now.
Me: Why do you say that?
Man: It's just, you're telling me something so horrific, but when you say it you are so matter of fact.
Me: Well then, yeah, I guess today you could call me numb.

This conversation really got me thinking.

Why is it that this loss has stripped me of that former sense of self preservation where I would only share good details about myself with those I encountered? Why can't I sensor what I say, even when I know I am sharing too much? It's as if it all flows, unchecked, from my heart to my lips. I can't stop it. Is it because it is all I can think about?

To this man in Borders - "My baby is dead. I am infertile." To the woman at the Post Office - "My baby is dead. I am infertile." To every person who stops to ask me for the time, or to comment on the day, or the weather, or the latest movie they saw, I turn to them lost, repeating the only truths that I know... "My baby is dead. I am infertile."

Sometimes the words come with tears, and I watch the discomfort wash over the face of whichever poor soul I am speaking to. Sometimes the words come with a resigned muffled laughter, a pathetic attempt at laughing at my misfortune or making light of my luck, and the shit-storm that has swirled unrelenting around my attempts at having a family. Sometimes, like today, the words present themselves as bulleted facts. Talking points delivered with little to no expression.

Some take this to mean I am doing well. "She can say this without crying. Look how strong she is." I know it is just the opposite. I know that regardless of the expression on my face, or the inflection in my voice, I am lost. My heart is broken.

Perhaps it is the shock, or the PTSD. Perhaps it is my mind's way of trying to process all that has happened. All that I have seen and done. All that we went through, or worse, all that Peyton went through. She was just a baby. A poor, defenseless, little baby. She endured things that no child should ever endure. Things that no mother should ever bear witness to.

Maybe if I say "My baby's dead, and having her left me infertile," enough, out loud, to everyone I meet, I will finally accept or make peace with the irony and pain impregnated in those words. Or maybe tomorrow I will wake up once again in this world of disbelief, without the luxury of feeling numb, and those words will bring with them the return of my tears.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Shakespeare, Stars, And Show & Tell

"  And when (s)he shall die, Take (her) and cut (her) out in little stars, And (s)he will make the face of heaven so fine, That all will be in love with night, And pay no worship to the garish sun."   

~Romeo & Juliet


Thank you so much to Amanda, Ireland's Momma, for honoring Peyton by writing her name in the stars. And thank you to Mr. Shakespeare, for writing a passage that, though intended to honor a boy named Romeo, has really resonated with me while thinking of my little one. Especially at times like tonight, when I stare up at the heavens missing her, and imagine all the ways her sweet soul is adding beauty to the night sky. 

I miss you so much baby girl. Now, more than ever.

To see what others are showing and telling, visit Mel's show and tell here. 

So This May Sound Like An Odd Request But...

For the last few months, I have been being interviewed as the subject for a story about this blog, and blogging through grief.

During my last phone conversation with Joel (the person writing the article) the topic of why people read my blog and what, if anything, they get out of coming here came up. I explained why I thought people come here, but got to thinking that maybe the question would be better served if I opened it up for people to answer themselves.

So here is my odd request...

If any of you would be interested in speaking with this person about why you read Once A Mother, and what, if anything, you get out of coming here, please send me an email at doinggoodinhername(at)gmail(dot)com with your email address, and I will put you in touch with the person writing the article.

No pressure of course. Just thought I would throw it out there. Whoever wants to participate is welcome, commenters and lurkers alike.


Still no word from the Doc, just a secretary returning my call to say they still had to look over the tests which sounds like a put off to me since they already told me the results of the test...  :( so frustrating... how can I heal, move on, move forward etc. if I don't know what my next step is?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Look for the signs. They are everywhere!"

Today I went for a visit to Peyton's grave. It was about 2PM and my buddy Guerwyn (the 83 year old who I see up at the cemetery) brought some very sad news. Our other cemetery friend, a guy named Mike who was wheelchair bound after a construction accident, had aspirated when he got sick in his sleep and couldn't sit up. He passed away. This news came as a real shock. Mike, was barely forty.

A voice in my mind: "You need to find a way to start living."

After talking with Guerwyn, and discussing the news in disbelief, I made my way to visit Peyton's grave. It was bitter cold today, and I knew our visit would be cut short by the weather. I apologized for not coming by as often as usual, and explained how hard this last week has been for me. Saying my prayers, I went to leave, when two things caught my eye. The first was a large set of dog prints around my daughter's grave, and that of her neighbors. The second was that a vase at the grave beside hers was filled to the brim with yellow snow. The jerk I wrote about here and here had returned to let his dogs violate the graves on Peyton's Hill. Last week there was substantial damage to Peyton's grave blanket, and I thought maybe he was responsible. This evidence was irrefutable. He had promised not to return. He had said he understood. I was beside myself.

Walking back to the car, Guerwyn sensed that I was upset, and asked what was wrong.

"I wish I knew that guy's name so that I could look up his grave when he passes, and have my dogs piss on it."

"Your a  meany!" Guerwyn teased with the joking smile of a kid, but his humor was lost on me. I was furious.

Taring out of the cemetery, I knew what I had to do, and headed directly to the Police Department. I was a woman on a mission. A protective mother who couldn't bear any longer to see the spot where her daughter laid being disrespected. I stomped the snow off my boots, and headed for the front door and straight up to the desk.

"Can I help you?" The dispatcher asked.

"I need to file a complaint."


"Regarding a man who lets his dogs defecate on my child's grave."

"Oh..." she offered, "just a moment."

I gave the woman raw details, and my contact information, and she promised an animal control officer would call me within the hour. I headed home, fed Charlotte (my black lab) and waited by the phone.

I should mention here that I have been on some crazy antibiotics the last week to fight any possible infection that might have been brought on by the HSG. The pills are huge, and have to be taken 2 hours after AND 2 hours before you eat, so that your stomach is very, very empty. They make me nauseous as all get out, and admittedly a little cranky, so when the phone rang and the woman, we will call her "Officer B", asked me what had happened, I spilled every gory detail of what this man had let his dogs do, and why it hurt me so badly. I then went on, in the uncensored manner that has become commonplace, to also spill all the gory details about my misfortune, all the way down to my two bum tubes.

"It's all a little overwhelming." I admitted. "You know, she's still my daughter. It might sound silly, because she is dead, but, she is still my daughter. I just want to protect her."

"I understand," Officer B. consoled. "I lost my daughter too. She was 24. To suicide."

Isn't it funny the way you feel an instant connection with someone? Just as I have with so many of you, because of our shared loss, I knew that Officer B really got where I was coming from, and in turn, having lost my own child, and a close friend as a teen to suicide, I understood where she was coming from. Our situations were totally different, but the bond was there. The connection was instant. In that moment I knew she, too, was determined to stop this asshat from letting his dogs violate Peyton's hill.

Officer B went straight to the cemetery and checked it out.

"I see footprints and urine everywhere," she acknowledged. "Now, here's the bad news. There are no leash laws in this town, so unless he is caught in the act, it's going to make it hard."

I told her I understood. And she promised to patrol the area at the time of day when I usually found him. We made more small talk, and promising to let her know if I saw him again, and she to let me know if anything came of the report, we ended the call.

Charlotte had a vet appointment today at 5 to get her second Lyme vaccination, and by 5:15 we were on our way back home. Walking in the door, I heard the phone ring.



"This is Officer B. You will never believe this."


"Right after I hung up with you, this little black dog came running up to me unleashed. Two more followed behind him. And finally, our guy."

"No! What happened?" I asked eagerly.

She told me about their exchange. How initially he provided false information and so she called for backup, who came in for the assist. I couldn't believe it. In less than two hours time, this wonderful woman had taken care of something that had caused me much grief.

"Your not the only one to complain." She told me. "There have been others from the church too."

She told me that she politely let him know that to walk his dogs there, they would have to be leashed and kept away from the stones, and if there were further complaints, he would be fined.

"I'm not gonna leash them," he told her. "My dogs like to chase squirrels, that's why I let them come here to roam around."

"Listen," she said, "I lost my child. I understand where these complaints are coming from. These people come here to grieve. That is what this place is for. Your dog's defecating adds to their grief. You cannot bring them here if you won't follow the rules."

Disgruntled, he said he would just find another place to bring them then.

"Good," I told her. "Go somewhere else."

"There's more..." she went on.

After looking up his real name she found that none of his dogs were registered, and he was met with a hefty fine on that one today too.

"Some happy new year!" was all he could say.

I couldn't believe her story, and it got me to thinking... maybe my doctor was wrong... maybe there IS justice in this world.

"I can't tell you how grateful I am for what you did today," I told her.

"I understand where you are coming from. I understand that pain. " She said.

We talked a bit more, about life, about our dogs, and then in saying goodbye, she added "look for the signs."

"Signs," I asked, "like from my daughter?"

"Yes, look for the signs, they are everywhere."

"Maybe this was a sign." I said. "Maybe our daughter's found eachother up there and brought you to me, and me to  you, so that you could help me with this guy, and we could talk about our girls and our grief and come together. Maybe this was a sign."

"Maybe so," she agreed.

Maybe so, indeed.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Update... or lack there of

It's been a week since I got the news, that "there is no justice in this world," and that my tubes have been ruined to the point of infertility by an infection from my C-section to have Peyton. It's been a week, and we are no closer to knowing what our next step is.

My doctor was gone all last week, and though she returned today, has not yet called. I am sure it is not a conversation that she is looking forward to, but a call she should make so that we can move forward... whatever "forward" means.

I remember when I was a lifeguard in Florida, I always recognized the stages of heat stroke as they were happening to me. Hot, dry forehead. Headache. This is sort of like that. I recognize each stage of grief as I go through it.

This latest blow has me exhausted - emotionally, physically, mentally. A lifelong friend called today and said I sounded "more annoyed than upset." "Today is an anger day" I told her.

I don't know how to feel "okay" about this news. The things that have brought me comfort since losing Peyton (visiting her grave, writing, exercise) are not working this time. Looking down at her grave is somehow more upsetting... so much loss in one little life. It gets to be too much.

My writing has also suffered, pretty much going to sh*t this last week. All I come up with are little ridiculous poems and prose about how much this sucks, and my lack of will, determination, energy to figure out what to do. Isn't it amazing the way grief sucks the energy right out of those left living?

I got an email from a trainer who I workout with sometimes. "Haven't seen you in a while. Let's get back on track in 2010." "Huh," I thought to myself, "back on track... is that even possible?"

I'll leave you with this... one of the many random muttering poems from the day.

They walked the beach
Hand in tight held hand
Two souls in love
Among the sand

And looking out
Unto the sea
Decided it was time
Two became three

Now here we sit
The same couple two
Not knowing how
Or what to do

What should have brought
Joy's glory streams
Instead left in it's path
Our broken dreams

The first brought hope
But soon was lost
To miscarriage unexplained
Our innocence the cost

Our second born
With beauty's eyes
Fought Cancer's beast
Despite her size

And in four weeks
An imprint left
Upon our souls
That can't be swept

But soon too left
Us back as two
Not knowing how
We could get through

And when a year's
Healing had come
We said "let's be brave,
try for another one"

But what's the point
Knowing there can't be
A lucky baby
Number three

For fate was fast
With a cruel hand
Knocking us down again
Nowhere left to stand

How do two kids
Who've thrice been hurt
Find a way back up
Out of grief's dirt

When every rock passed
Reveals boulders anew
Loss now infertility
How will we get through

It's so unfair
Nothing here feels right
When will joy return
I'm tired of this fight

stuck on repeat in my mind

"Where do we go from here?
This isn't where we intended to be.
We had it all, you believed in me,
I believed in you.
Certainties disappear.
What do we do for our dream to survive?
How can we keep all our passions alive,
as we used to do?" ~Madonna (You Must Love Me)

Trying to figure it out.
How we ended up here.
Where we go from here.
What is still possible.

Trying to figure it out...
and hearing these words in my mind all the while.