Thursday, October 29, 2009

A surreal return to reality

When I was pregnant I craved orange juice.  It was a very bad day for Drew if there was no orange juice in the house, never mind that I was the one who drank it.  Very quickly I learned that two cartons of orange juice must be in the fridge at all times.  There is one carton left and I have zero desire to drink it.

I also began to crave cheese.  That's the trippy part about pregnancy because I'm lactose intolerant but the baby apparently wasn't.  I usually have violent reactions to dairy which have sufficiently scared me away from testing my tolerance but I positively could NOT get enough cottage cheese and fresh strawberries.  I would empty a tub of it in two days.  I also found that I was able to have milk in my cereal, something I haven't been able to do in almost ten years.  I'd read that you can sometimes reverse lactose intolerance through pregnancy - like the baby leaves behind something that makes you able to digest dairy.  Not for me.  Last night I had pizza with white sauce and mozzarella on top with some garlic cheese bread and violently paid for it about fifteen minutes later. 

My nerps were changing too.  I was getting big Africa nerps if you know what I mean.  My boobs had already gone down but the nerps were getting bigger and were getting bumps on them.  Milk glands, my cousin told me.  They have since returned to normal size and the bumps have gone away.

Due to not eating and you know, not having a baby in me anymore, my stomach is suuuuuper flat.  Like flatflat.  My skinny work pants fit and I have to cinch my belt super tight on my 'regular' work pants.

I remember my return to reality the last time I was pregnant - or well, not pregnant anymore.  I'd read that your mucus membranes get swollen (the exact reason why escapes me and I'm too lazy to google it) and that you can get a stuffy nose from pregnancy as the inside of the nose is a mucus membrane too.  Then, after you've delivered you get a super runny nose as your membranes let go of all the extra fluid.  I was leaving a therapy session one day and was walking across campus to my car when out of nowhere, my nose started running.  I was scrambling for tissues - it was pouring out of my nose.  I instantly knew what it was and said, "Whoa."  I was very articulate even back then.

Little reminders - little ways of them saying "I was here.  You didn't dream me.  I changed you."

Baby steps in the right direction

Didn't know what to do with that last one right?  Yeah me either.  I'm just praying that it was an episode and not a phase.  Anxiety is no bueno and the what-if game sucks because you don't ever win.

I am happy to report that I am on firmer ground today so there's that.  In the words of my beloved Kathleen, "Don't flatter yourself babe.  You're not that powerful - laser beams don't come out of your eyes and this part is totally normal."  I trust her because her husband passed away several years ago and for a while she didn't want to date because she was convinced that any man she dated would die like her husband.  So she knows what she's talking about.  I trust her.  If she says I can't kill babies with a single glance and I didn't kill mine, I'm going with it.  It's much better than what goes on in my head.

She also said that I needed to tell Drew about my fear, that he needed a heads-up just in case I did jump out of bed and run away.  He would need to know why.  I didn't agree but I went ahead and told him and a cool thing happened.  It started a conversation.

He still didn't get it right - when he came home and kissed me he immediately pulled back and said, "Oh no, you don't think you're pregnant do you?"  To which I replied, "See, this is why I don't tell you things.  This is why you're often the third or fourth person to know what's going on because you can't help but make a joke about serious things and it's inappropriate."  Good right?  No cursing, yelling or attacking.  This allowed him to sincerely apologize and completely unprompted we started talking.

It just happened - he started talking and sharing and I was able to see how things went down according to him.  I truly got a clear idea of his perspective and it was very eye-opening.  I wouldn't have been able to hear him until this moment and so I'm thankful that this didn't happen until last night.  But I did.  I heard him.  I could empathize and for the first time I saw where he was coming from.

Grief is messy and it is a rare person that does the right thing the first time in these situations.  And truly, we all fell apart.  But I could see.  I could listen to him and I know that he felt heard and some of the weight was lifted for us.  I know that this was only possible because I have been purging through my writing, shedding these feelings in order to start healing and more effectively bear witness to my husband's process and praying.  Last night, we made progress.

We're not out of the woods and we're not okay but we're taking steps so at least there's that.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Grief stage: GuiltFear

Is that even a stage?  If not, I'm hereby making it one.  I hate this - I'm intelligent, I know that grieving is a process, it's not an overnight thing, it's not linear - feeling anger doesn't mean I won't feel it again -- I can rationalize all of that.  And it still doesn't make it any easier to go through and knowing all this doesn't help me avoid it.

I felt it a little yesterday, kind creeping in around the edges.  It's like feeling that someone is following you and at first you're not sure and you don't want to look like a paranoid crazy by whirling around just in case no one's there.  But then you get pretty sure that someone is following you but you still don't want to turn around because maybe they're just going in the same direction you are.  Maybe they're even going to the same place you are and that doesn't mean that they're following you so you still don't whirl around like a paranoid crazy.  Then you're positive someone's following you and you feel the 'flight' adrenaline rush because you just know that the 'fight' will not end well for you but you don't know if you'll be able to run fast enough so maybe you should just give up and stop before you even start running and let whoever or whatever it is following you just have you. 

Thank God there is no one in the lobby right now, so no one sees me shaking and trying not to cry.  But maybe they don't see - maybe the shaking is on the inside and the tears are invisible.  But I feel it.

Kesha and I went to yoga last night.  The grief websites and stuff say that you should pick one thing from your pre-tragedy life and get back into that slowly.  I feel so disconnected from my body right now and I thought it would be a good thing.  It wasn't easy as I was super tight and couldn't do about 60% of what I used to be able to do.  It crept up on me during one of the twists - a twist that I didn't do when I was pregnant because you're not supposed to do anything that manipulates the abdomen during pregnancy.

But there was that one time.  Early on, and I already knew I was pregnant.  I was teaching and my class knew I was pregnant and told them I wouldn't be doing everything full-out.  I was trying to talk them through that same twisted pose and they weren't getting it.  I tried a couple more times and finally I showed them, doing a modified version but it was still an abdominal twist!  Did that do it?  Did I crunch up my baby and mess things up?

I used some Goo-Gone to take a sticker off of our mirror one time and the strong smell got me.  I read the caution afterwards and it said 'causes birth defects!'  I freaked out and ran outside, taking in huge gulps of air, knowing that those seconds had done something.

When I first found out I was pregnant, the first thought I had was 'this was too easy, this happened too fast.'  I felt guilty instantly, shushing myself, hoping that no one heard my thoughts.  Did I speak this miscarriage into existence?  Will God make it harder for me next time, to make sure I'm grateful?  My chest hurts.

...

Last night Drew and I had a 'pause-fire' night.  I won't say 'cease-fire' just yet because I'm so freakin scared.  I hate this.  I came home from yoga last night and he was eating dinner and reading a magazine.  It was quiet in the house and I didn't want to disturb the silence.  I just wanted to slip into the pool without making any ripples.  He'd made dinner and I made myself a plate and sat with him while he ate and read his magazine.  No talking, but more importantly no fighting.  When I finished I tidied the kitchen and went to the bedroom to read.  One of the ladies at his work had had two miscarriages and a 19-week stillborn baby.  She said that the book 'When God Doesn't Make Sense' helped her a lot so Drew got it for me the day I came home.  I hadn't read it, hadn't even moved it from its spot on the dining room table - I didn't want to read it because I'm sure it was full of stupid platitudes like 'just have faith and don't be angry.'

I didn't want to hear it but last night I picked it up.  I'm only through the first handful of pages but so far no platitudes.  So I'll keep reading, but the first sign of a 'just say a prayer and it'll all fix itself' and the book goes in the trash.

Drew came to bed and turned off the lights.  In the darkness, he found my hand - his ring clinked against mine and I wanted to scream.  No scratch that, in that second I was so scared I couldn't have screamed if I wanted to.

Don't let him touch you!  You'll get pregnant again and the baby will die!
Oh God, go AWAY!  He's holding my hand, go away!  Please.... just go away....please.
NO!  You'll get pregnant, but it'll be worse!  It'll be stillborn!! or something else horrible!
Please please go away.  (Shit, there's someone in the lobby and I'm crying now.  Shit.)
LET GO OFHISHAND!  You'll get pregnant and it'll die!
I will not.  He's going to roll over and I'm going to spoon his back because I'm cold and I need this.
FINE, get pregnant.  You ready to do this again?  You ready for another baby to die?
I'm just holding his hand.  I won't get pregnant.
HA.  You want to take that chance?  Well then, what do you think about *this*.

The *this* was a spark of electricity that went through my body when I touched his.  Just a spark and God knows nothing happened but it scared the ever-loving SHIT out of me.  Totally involuntary because I'm still (sort-of) mad at him and I'm terrified of getting pregnant again, but I was so scared. 

I calmed down enough to just hold him and I didn't even scream.  Nope, that was all in my head till I fell asleep.  On one hand it was nice to just connect, to have a moment, just a moment to let me think that maybe, just maybe, I'll live through this.  On the other hand?  The Fear?  Not so much.

And then I get to work this morning and I open my blog (thank you all for staying with me) and thought I was going to have a heart attack.  Okay, so........on my blogroll?  Under the 'Great Reads' part?  The one that ends in 'Machine'?   

I don't even want to say because I feel so contaminated right now and I'm scared that me even talking about her will contaminate her in some way.  But she has a whole BLOG devoted to.....you know.  And she's finally......you know.  And I'm SO SCARED for her!  How rational is that?  Oh my GOD!  She has SO MANY followers!  What if something doesn't go well?  What if there's a problem!  Y'all think I'm playing, I'm shaking right now. 

I am praying so fervently right now - FERVENTLY - that everything is story-book, textbook-perfect, that she has a perfect you-know-what and comes out with a perfectly healthy happy you-know-what.  I totally feel like the crazy bag lady with the crazy white hair and the crazy tattered clothes and crazy eyes that wanders around randomly grabbing people and predicting crazy things.  I don't want to be thet person!  I want to just be me!  But I feel like I couldn't outrun whatever was following me last night - that I inhaled the black smoke last night as I slept.

Because it's in me.  I don't even want to TALK to Drew on the COMPUTER because he might get me pregnant and it'll die.  I want to hide under my desk because there are pregnant ladies in my office and I'm scared that if they come near me I'll kill their babies too.  Do you know how AWFUL that feels? 

I have a grip, don't worry.  But I'm shaking and sweaty and my hands are slipping.  shit.

Update:  I spent my lunch hour on the phone with Kathleen who assured me that I am not powerful enough to kill babies with my sight.  And that I can't get pregnant by holding hands.  I don't entirely believe her and I may have to call her later today so she can tell me again, but I've gotten out from under my desk (metaphorically - I haven't completely gone over the edge.)  I totally wish I was still there just in case she's wrong but I'm sitting here.  Focusing on her words and trying not to shake.  This sucks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Aftermath

I felt very 'Dr. Dre' typing that just then.

*big huge deep breath*

I did NOT want to write that last post.  I seriously considered abandoning my blog where it was and coming back six months later, all "Hi everyone!  I'm back all shiny and bouncy and happeeeeeee!"

I knew I couldn't.  I have chosen this path to heal and I will stay on it until I'm better, which I'm so seriously not.  So I'm here, wading through the muck shining a light in the corners because it's actually helping.

However, just like a flashlight, only pieces can be illuminated at a time --  you can't see everything at once.  Blogging is cathartic for me, and everyone who reads my words (you and you and you and you!) help me.  You reach out to me and I'm so very grateful and I'm starting to be able to reach out again and it's so helpful.  But the thing I'm getting at is, what I'm trying to say is, you don't have the whole story.  Trust me, I'm shining the light in all the dark corners, sweeping the room, covering the whole house but it's just a flashlight.  I strive for honesty because it's only through honesty that you get authenticity and that's how you heal, how foundations are made, all that.  So what I tell you is always the truth, but it's never the whole story.  For that you'd have to be here, in the muck with me and for real, you don't want that.  I don't want that for you.

So if my story leads you to draw conclusions, it's because of me and what and how I write.  ME.  I chose this path fully knowing that this is how it works - I write posts, not books.  Not legal documents where the tiniest detail must not be forgotten.  I tell stories that convey feelings more than details because I trust that y'all are smart and can fill in the blanks that I can sometimes leave. 

I'm in the dark but I have a flashlight - I just need you to see.

...

I think God knew.  When I got this job last December and was complaining about how mind-numbingly boring it was, God knew.  He knew what was coming and knew I would need a job where I could just be a warm body in a seat and still draw a paycheck. 

I came back to work Monday and was thanking God in Heaven that all I had to do was transfer calls.  "Good morning, propertycompany."  "Betty Jones, please."  "Sure, hold the line."  That's it and I won't miss a paycheck, thanks to my vacation time, bereavement time and sick time that allowed me to be gone all last week.  If I had come back to 65 emails, five projects that all had deadlines, 12 people answering to me, I would most assuredly be sitting in the corner sucking my thumb and pulling on my ear right about now. 

But I can sit in a chair.  I can transfer calls.  I can read and I can write.

For eight hours yesterday, I wrote, I searched the internet, googling 'grief, baby loss, miscarriage, counseling,' and reading stories.  Stories of women like me, women who put their loss out there and were comforted by women (I don't know if there are any guys that read my stuff) like you.  There are stories of women WAY WORSE off than me, women who had healthy normal pregnancies with zero problems who went on to deliver full-term stillborn babies.  I don't even know where you have to go in your mind to come back from something like that.  If there was ever a group in the world who deserves a pass for anything they do ever, it's the full-term stillborn mothers.  Let them do and say whatever they want forever.  For real.

Not that my grief is less valid, not that I have no right to grieve.  There is no measuring stick and I am by no means slapping myself in the face, trying to snap out of it.  It doesn't work like that, and I don't expect it to.  But knowing that there are others, wading in their muck, shining their flashlights, I feel less alone.  There are other women out there whose bodies sometimes make dead babies (and yes, I know that's not the deal.  It's not my fault, my body didn't betray me - even though I feel that way sometimes) and they go on to have healthy babies and it gives me hope.  That maybe my body won't make any more dead babies.

And then there are other people whose lives are blissfully awesome and perfect and shiny and I take refuge for a quick second, although I'm not to the point where I can stay long because I start questioning why my life can't be like that.  Then I remember the flashlight.  They're shining the light on what they want you to see and you never get the whole story.  And it helps.

I can do this.  I will do this.  I will sit in this chair for eight hours a day.  I will read.  I will write.  I will process and I will heal.  I have no clue how and I'm pretty sure that the worst isn't over yet but I will not give up.  No matter how much I want to.  No matter how much I so seriously want to lay in bed forever.  No matter that the mere thought of getting pregnant again has me shaking.  No matter that I don't know how to forgive my husband for being a royal disappointment in my time of need.  I don't know what to do with all that stuff and I really just want to get in bed, pull the covers over my head and sleep for six months.  Then I'll poke my head out, groundhog-style.

I can't do that?  Shit.
...

Remember that children's game Goin on a Bear Hunt?  Where you come up on all kinds of obstacles and the chorus goes Can't go over it!  Can't go under it!  Can't go around it!  Gotta go through it!  I totally can't get that dumb chorus out of my head and it's pissing me off. :-)

I don't know where to go with Drew.  My mom and Kathleen left last Friday morning and with the house empty we talked and I told him, without screaming or cursing (too much) that he let me down and acted selfishly and that disappointed me.  Saturday afternoon he took responsibility for his actions and was very sincere and very contrite in his apology.  I tried so very hard not to be ghetto and go "too little too late muthafucka!" because I SOOOO wanted to.  Because that wouldn't be the path to healing.

But I sure do feel that way.  WHY?  Why did he even have to do anything to be sorry for?  Why couldn't he have been more sensitive to the situation?  Have more respect for the fact that he doesn't know what I'm going through?  Be more attentive to me?  Put me first so that I could put him first and we could find each other in the pain-hurricane and grow in our love?  Why even now does he think that I'm okay just because I went to work?  

For better or for worse.

'For better' comes first in that particular little phrase.  I wasn't supposed to have a dead baby in me on our wedding day (a thought that particularly freaks me out and I just don't dwell on because I will go crazy.)  The 'for worse' is supposed to come later, when you've established your bond as husband and wife and it's had time to strengthen and harden, like caulk or some shit.  *sigh*

God knew about the job thing, so I'm reeeeeally hoping He's got the rest of this.  For real. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Grief stage: Anger

You know that point on a roller coaster just before the big drop where everything is silent and you feel weightless, even floating in your seat?  And then sight and sound and feeling catch up with you, crash into you, slam you down as you fall at a million miles an hour, sure you're going to become roadkill, that this time, there is no upturn?  The acute, almost painful aliveness you feel just before it all happens?  That's what the anger stage feels like.

I wish I could say that Drew and I bonded together, that we found each other in the pain-hurricane and held on to each other and we are licking each other's wounds right now and growing in our love.

Two words:  Jerry. Springer.

I tried and failed, he tried and failed and we failed so very fantastically. 

Drew has not had something so terrible hit him so close before.  He does not have words, like most men.  Like most people who don't have words, frustration leads to anger and acting out.  And he had extraordinarily bad timing.

As I said before, he couldn't sit with me so I asked Kathleen to come down.  So my mother and Kathleen were in the house for me and Milton was there for him.  We each had our support systems and in theory we should have been able to cope.

It's tricky, this co-grieving.  The last time, once he made sure I had done it, he left and I picked up the pieces by myself, in my own time and in my own way.  It wasn't pretty but I found my smile again.  How do you do this when the person you shared the loss with expresses that in a completely different way than you do?

He prefers to grieve alone, I couldn't imagine anything worse.  I wasn't ready to be alone with my thoughts and still needed the physical connection of someone to hold my hand.  He felt that everyone was invading his space and all day Wednesday the resentment grew.  I woke up Wednesday afternoon to my mom, Kathleen and Milton sitting on my sofa watching a movie.  Wordlessly, I curled up next to Kathleen and took her hand and stayed that way for who knows how long.

They began to get hungry and started discussing the food situation.  After asking me what I wanted (really?), he and Milton left to get more movies and food.  I realized quickly that moving around was making me cramp so I parked my backside on the sofa and let Kathleen dote and flutter and coo, like the most beautiful... (what's the most beautiful bird in existence?  That was her.)  She was taking care of me and it was just what I needed.

Two and a half hours go by and they're still not back.  Mom and Kathleen brushed it off, saying that he needed his time too.  I was numb, but not so numb that I didn't get a little annoyed.  They were hungry and they boys knew that - what was taking so long?

Finally, they came back, loaded down with beer, food and movies.  He kissed me and I tasted the alcohol.  Are you saying 'oh no' and rolling your eyes?  Do you know what's coming? 

Everyone started drinking except me.  I had taken some pain pills and was/am deathly terrified of dying.  Everyone knows that pain pills and alcohol equal death.  I won't even take a Tylenol PM because I'm scared I won't wake up.  But they all did.  Beer led to more beer which led to margaritas which led to tequila on the rocks with a hint of lime.

We watched one movie for which the dog had been in her crate.  I was sitting with him when a second movie was proposed and he said that the dog needed to be let out, that he wasn't going to continue to punish her.  I told him that my mom and Kathleen are not dog people and it wouldn't kill her to stay in her crate.  He said that they weren't trying hard enough and got up to let her out.

The dog is 65 pounds and eight months old.  Puppy. Energy.

My mother and Kathleen and have already stressed Drew out with their lack of knowledge about how to deal with dogs.  Maya had already knocked over something my mom wasn't watching and we'd had to take Kathleen's shoes and socks out of her mouth numerous times.

It was pissing me off because I felt that Drew was more concerned with that stupid dog than taking care of me.  The Human.  The WIFE. 

The roller coaster was clicking its way to the top.  *clankclankclankclank*

I heard him open her crate and two seconds later Maya came skidding around the corner with a flying leap bounded onto the sofa, onto Kathleen's sleeping head, startling her awake.  She pushed off of Kathleen's head and launched herself at the other end of the sofa at my mom, stepping on Milton sitting between them.

*floating* *weightless* *silent* SCREEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAM

I FLEW off the chair, cramping like no other.  I snatched Maya's collar, dragged her back to the sitting room screaming at the top of my lungs "If you're not going to watch this fucking dog, put her back IN HER CRATE!"

I am NOT putting her back, she's been in there all day!
She just jumped on Kathleen's HEAD and practically knocked my mom off the sofa!

The slamming of the door was IT.  I HATE slamming doors - the same way I HATE being hung up on.  I was in the free fall, heading for the bottom and about to explode.  And then it dissolved into an alcohol-hazed, pain-filled, best of Jerry Springer episode, complete with an audience of three.

You care about that stupid dog more than you do me!
That dog is part of this family and she doesn't belong IN HER CRATE! (veins popping fists flying, me all-up-in his face, Wyandotte county style)
That is an ANIMAL!  I am your WIFE!  What the fuck is wrong with you!
Nothing! Get away from me!
AWHELLNAW muhfucka!  Not before you tell me what the HELL is up yo ass! (oh yeah, I got ghetto.  I seriously considered never posting again because of this).
Just get away from me!
Oh you think it's easy like that!  You think you can just go?  Naw, muhfucka we're MARRIED, you HAVE to deal with me!  What the FUCK is wrong with you!  (Two inches from the face, finger practically up his nose, all that)
Get away from me Desiree, I'll do it.  He showed me his phone, the 9 and the 1 entered and his finger on the 1.
You don't SCARE me!  Watch me DIAL 911 and hit send you fucking pussy! (Yep. I took it there.)
You did this Desiree.  You ended this marriage. (Yep.  He took it there.)
THE DAY!  THE DAY I have surgery to remove my dead baby, OUR dead baby and you have to act like this!  THE DAY I'm cramping and in pain and you have to do this!  OVER A FUCKING DOG!!!  FUCK YOU!

It is impossible to duplicate or properly describe the rage I felt.  I could feel every part of my body and it hurt.  I had wanted to be numb, to avoid this part, to avoid plugging in until the pain was less intense.  And I couldn't - I didn't.  It all hurt and I had a target and I fired.  And he returned fire.  It was all so very very ugly.

And that's what I remember.  There were other parts, knocking down beer bottles, breaking glasses, locking him out of the house barefoot in the backyard.  He got the key out of the garage and let himself back in, but it didn't matter.  He said he was going to leave me and I took ALL his clothes out of his dresser and ALL of his clothes out of the closet and threw them on the floor of the bedroom and sitting room - he wanted to leave, fine, he was taking ALL his shit with him.  He was screaming, I was screaming, crying, cramping, hitting, shoving - well shoving as best I could, me being weak and him outweighing me by about 50 pounds.

And yes, I called the police.  And yes, he left.  So did my mom and Milton and Kathleen because it came out that he didn't want them in the house, he never wanted them in the house.  To which I said, then why the fuck didn't you say anything.  To which he claimed he never had a choice, which set me off even more.  You have a mouth, you don't want something, you fucking use your words. Many, many times Kathleen asked him if it was okay if she came down and he said yes when he meant no.  He just didn't feel like he could say anything and frankly, he couldn't.  They were there for me, to do what he couldn't.  He should have been thanking them.  But instead, in classic passive-aggresive fashion, he sat in the corner and drank till he couldn't take it anymore.

The police officer came and I tearfully Jerry Springer-esque recounted my story.  My mom and Kathleen came back, he and the dog stayed with Milton.  In that moment, I didn't care if he ever came back.

I was so angry that he couldn't have just said something. 
I was so angry that he couldn't sit with me and cry with me.
I was so angry that he needed to control something so he focused on the dog.
I was so angry that he felt threatened by my relationship with my best friend.
I was so angry that he resented their presence.
I was so angry that he couldn't put himself second and devote himself to me.
I was so angry that I couldn't let him act like a baby and ignore his tantrum.
I was so angry that he drank and hid behind that excuse later.
I was so angry that I couldn't feel compassion for his loss and his pain.
I was so angry that I was bleeding and cramping and he didn't seem to care.
I was SO VERY ANGRY.

He didn't come back till late the next afternoon and it all started again, this time with less screaming, less name-calling, but more anger.

I have to stop now.  I can't breathe again.

Bring a casserole

"Let me know if there's anything I can do for you."

Please, God in Heaven, make them stop saying that to me.  The only thing anyone on this earth can do for me is to rewind the world to before all this happened and make it different.  That's the only thing I want, the only thing I care about, the only thing I need.  Nothing else.  Nothing else at all.

I know grief is messy and I know it makes people uncomfortable, so they just stay away until the dust settles because it always does.  If it didn't there would be a whole world of people rocking and drooling.  Up to 40% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.  I'm not the first, I won't be the last and chances are better than average that this will happen to me again.  The thought terrifies me, paralyzes me.  'Choked by fear' comes to mind.

Mere hours after I found out, people were asking me what they could do.  Wha????  How do you answer that question?  How could I even fix my mouth to talk?  I didn't want to open it, for fear of screaming and not being able to stop, much less to engage my brain and tell you what you should be doing.

When I first arrived home, I told Drew what I needed.  I'm a big girl, I've been in therapy and I know how to use my words.  I told him that all I wanted was someone to sit with me and hold my hand.  No talking, no asking questions, just hold my hand.  My mother had come home with me but I wanted him, my husband, to hold my hand.  He told me he couldn't and I tried to honor that - he suffered a loss too and people grieve differently.  For him, he needed to be active, to keep moving and that was the last thing I wanted.  I wanted to lay in bed, in the quiet and have someone sit with me and hold my hand.  My mother wasn't good for that either - she kept saying over and over and over "Desiree you need to talk.  You need to get it out, it's not good to keep things inside.  You need to talk.  It's not good to be quiet.  There will be more babies.  You need to talk.  Can I get you anything.  You need to talk.  Do you need anything?  You need to talk."  I could barely send her away before my head exploded.  I'm the one who's been in therapy,  I know I need to talk, but can I do it on my fucking time when I am fucking up to it?  Can you just fucking sit with me and hold my fucking godblessed hand?  FUCK!  But I had no strength, I had no words, I was paralyzed.

Grief is messy and makes people uncomfortable.  It takes a lot to sit with someone and not talk and not do and not fuss.  Most people can't.  But I knew Kathleen could.  So I called her and asked her to come down.  She would be able to sit and not ask me to engage my brain and give her something to do. 

That's what people continued to do.  Ask me what they should be, could be doing.  As if I had the first fucking clue.  As if I could think about anything but dead babies for even a second.  As if breathing wasn't difficult enough, now I have to think about you?  A healthy, non-grieving person and I have to task you with something so you can feel better about yourself?  You want something to do?  You want to get me something?

Go back in time, Superman-style and make things different.  Give me a healthy pregnancy.  Take this pain away.  You can't do that?  Then sit with me, don't talk, don't ask me to talk and just hold my hand.  Can't do that either?  Then go the fuck away.  You have nothing for me.  Because that's all I want.

Do you feel like talking? Eating? Bathing? Watching TV? Taking a walk? Dying? No, no, no, no, no, and yes please God if it would make everything stop.  I don't feel like anything and it's safe to say I won't for a while.  Just hold my hand and stop asking me questions.  I have no answers - just hold my hand.

Let me know if there's anything I can do.

You know why people say that?  So they can feel better about themselves.  So they can feel like they've extended a hand.  But the thing is, grieving people can't think.  I think non-grieving people know that, they count on it, so they won't have to interrupt their own lives to tend to a messy grieving person that makes them uncomfortable.  BUT, they can say 'well, I told her to tell me if she needed anything.  She didn't say anything so I guess she's okay.'

I. AM. NOT. OKAY.

You know what you do for grieving people if you can't stand to be around them?  You go to their fucking house and you bring a casserole.  You sweep their fucking kitchen floor.  You put in a load of their fucking laundry.  You bring fucking flowers.  You sit on their fucking sofa and say a rosary.  You look them in the eye and squeeze their hand and say "I'm so sorry for your loss." And then you shut your fucking mouth.  You think for your FUCKING self.  You DO NOT ask the greiving person for direction like you're all of a sudden retarded. 

You don't know where something is?  Find it or ask someone else.  I understand that you need to know where my car keys are but I'm a mite preoccupied thinking of dead babies and I can't find the off switch in my brain and I really could give a fuck less about the location of my fucking car keys.  I know I need to eat but I don't really care if I ever eat again much less where the food should come from so I'm probably not the best person to ask for restaurant suggestions.  You're right, I should talk but you DO NOT want to hear what's going on in my head right now.  It scares me.  

You need something from me?  I'm indisposed.  Figure it out for your fucking self. 

If you really want to show you care, do something on your own.  Even if it's as simple as reading what I write.  You bear witness and that matters.  It matters the most.  I have read every single comment, I know you're there, I know you're listening.  I know you expect nothing of me but what I'm ready to give and it is because of that, because of you that I find my words, that I use them.  Because I know you're there.  All of you, reading what I write, are doing the equivalent of sitting with me and holding my hand.  And I thank you.  I thank you so much.  It is enough to bear witness, it is enough to say a prayer.  Thank you.

I pray to God that when my time comes to comfort a grieving person that I won't drop the ball.  That I will show up at their house with a fucking casserole in a dish they don't even have to give back.  I pray that I will be able to hold their hand and say nothing, that I will listen when they are ready to talk, no matter how uncomfortable I get because it's not about me.  That when they talk, they will feel safe enough with me to say anything, no matter how scary.  If I can't do those things, I will tell that person that I prayed for them today and I will do it.  I won't say 'I'm thinking of you every second of every day' because you're fucking not, you can't.  You don't get points for frequency.  I pray that I will be sincere, that I will just do, not ask.  Or at least if I have to ask, I'll ask someone else and not fucking bother the grieving person. 

I pray that I will be able to sit and hold their hand. 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gravida 2, Para 0 - Nulliparous

Know what that means?  I'm 0 for 2.  I've been pregnant before - never given birth.  That's what nulliparous means.  But the thing is, what happens next?  Third time's a charm or three strikes and you're out?

I hate that this dead baby makes me think about the other dead baby.  I have a fucking family in Heaven.  And nothing down here.  I would never do anything to myself, I really wouldn't, but I understand how women in this situation do.  How it's not so much that you want to kill yourself, but that you want to be with your children that badly.  How you would gladly do the unthinkable if it meant you could be with your babies.  

I knew this one was a girl, just like I knew the first one would have been a boy.  My sweet little Julia Marie.  We'd already named her and we had no boy names.  Didn't need them - it was going to be a beautiful little girl with caramel skin and honey-colored hair.  She would have been so funny and opinionated and charming and willful and stubborn.  And so very loved by her daddy.

With the first one I didn't even think to ask if it was alive.  They don't care about that kind of thing in an abortion clinic and they assume you don't either.  I'm sure it was though.  

It was terrible - he was terrible.  It was an abusive relationship and for 3 years it was sometimes good, most times torture.  For 11 weeks and 3 days I burned in Hell.  He would come to my house, 2 in the morning, yelling, calling me names, coming to my job, waiting in the parking lot, to torture me.  I was so weak, I thought things would get better, that all I had to do was hold out until I could put his son in his arms and he would love me and love us and it would be okay.  But it never is.  I saw the hate in his eyes and I knew it would never get better, that it would only get worse and that my child would suffer, no doubt.  I couldn't do that - he could torture me, he could ridicule and belittle me and hate me but I couldn't do that to my child.  So I didn't.  

And for those who would judge - save it.  Nothing anyone can say would or could be worse than what I've lived and what I've already said and done to myself ten times over.  Maybe I should have gambled, stuck it out, prayed things would get better.  Maybe I was weak, maybe I was strong, but I was unwilling to gamble my child's life with a man like that.  And I got away.  I spent the next two years in therapy, beating myself up and then healing.

And two years after that I met a good man, one who was unwavering in his commitment to me, one who wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and I was proud that my old demons were gone, that I didn't make him pay for the sins of my past.  I wanted to have his baby.  It wasn't an accident and he wanted it and we were happy.

Then it was gone - another dead baby and all the memories of the first came rushing back and I was angry.  It was as though I was back at the starting line, like I had done no work.  I was weak again and I hated it.  I felt myself slipping back, falling, clawing at air, falling all over again.  Drew reminded me that it was different, I was different, he was different and I could barely hear him through my pain.

I started to fall when they told me the baby was still inside me.  Because I knew what they would have to do to get it out.  It's the same procedure and I didn't want to go through that again.  I didn't know that it would be different.  

I remember the pulling, the mask they put over my face.  It felt like I was suffocating and I fought it.  They held me down.  I heard the vaccuum and they finally put me to sleep.  I wasn't supposed to be asleep.  They told me that I would be aware.  Who the fuck needs to be aware for something like that?  And I thought it would be the same thing.  And I wanted to die.  Because you never forget.  Maraschino cherries make me gag because that's what the gas smelled like.  You never ever forget. 


I must have asked my doctor and anesthesiologist a hundred times if I would be all the way asleep for it.  Yes.  ALL the way asleep?  Yes, I promise.  You won't touch me or do anything until I'm ALL the way asleep.  Yes.  I want to be all the way asleep, don't do anything until I'm asleep.

Except that they give you AN IV TO PUT YOU TO SLEEP!!!  Yes, normal people know this but I was not normal.  

My doctor and the anesthesiologist came into the prep room to start the IV.  I started to panic and Drew held my other hand.  I tried to tell myself that it would be different.

No fucking shit it's going to be different, they are going to put a NEEDLE INTO YOUR HAND AND LEAVE IT THERE.  That is NOT okay.  Don't let him do it.  Rip it out.
I can't, that will hurt worse.
Obviously you didn't hear me, they are going to LEAVE A NEEDLE IN YOUR HAND.
I know, don't buck around like a crazy, try not to be crazy because they won't let you go home.
Fuck you, they want to leave a NEEDLE in your hand.  
I know, fuck, I know.  Now you're making ME crazy.  Stop.

Geez, they would NOT have let me go home if they could have heard what was going on in my head.  All they saw was me go stiff and arch my back when he put the needle in.  Numbing cream my ass.  I felt everything.  Somewhere I felt the doctor rub my feet and say over and over, "It's in, it's done, it's in."

No shit it's in, that's the problem!  There is a FUCKING NEEDLE in my FUCKING HAND!  Get it out!

I wanted to start slapping my forehead just like a crazy person but I knew that would scare the shit out of everyone and I wouldn't get to go home, so I squeezed Drew's hand and held my breath.  I started crying and stiffening up and thinking of the clinic and anticipating the pulling did I hear a vaccuum? Fuck.  

I'm sure all of this was about twenty seconds but if felt like hours.  It felt like they all were just watching me go crazy, taking their sweet time to see if I would start pulling my hair out and drooling.  But soon enough, my face got fuzzy, I couldn't focus on Drew's face, I let go of his hand.


A nurse woke me up and told me it was done.  I didn't remember anything.  I even tried, but there was nothing, thank God.  Nothing, no smells, no cramps, nothing.  Thank God.  I was just very weak, probably still snowed.  They wouldn't let me go home till I peed, so I did but I couldn't stand up.  I really tried but my legs didn't work - like, they really wouldn't listen.  Drew and the nurse had to lift me off the toilet.  Thank God we're married.

I started to cramp then and they gave me a pain pill to help me sleep.  They said they could tell I didn't take pills often because the smallest amount of anesthetic put me under like instantly.  The pain pill was no different.  I don't remember going home, getting back in bed or for how long I slept.  I just knew that when I woke up Kathleen was there.  And that was nice for me.

It was different and the dead baby was gone.  MY baby, my Julia Marie, left me at nine weeks with her caramel skin and honey-colored hair.  The shell was gone now too and I was empty.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Another Monday

Spending time in KC was really nice, just like old times.  It was good to spend time with my dad and have him back to his ridiculous childish self.  Although he absolutely wore me out - it was like he wanted to make up for the year we didn't speak in the four days I was there.  I'm so glad I was staying at Kathleen's house; if I wasn't I would never have seen her, and it was nice to have a place to take a time-out.

When you begin to piece together the events of a tragedy, all the places where you took a left turn instead of a right become so glaringly clear.  However, what's that saying?  All roads lead to the same place or something like that?  I don't fucking know.  No matter how many turns I took, they all ended up in the same place.  Dead Babyland.

If I had stayed with my doctor and kept my next appointment with her, they would have found out much sooner.  If my cousin didn't work at an OB's office, I would have found out much later.  If she had worked at a Burger King, I would have been alone when I found out, a week and a half later than I did, at the stranger-back-up physician's office.  But all roads lead to the same place.

I was 14 weeks and they fit me in Monday afternoon.  My cousin was sick - she's pregnant too, how about that?  I was due April 19, she IS due May 2.  We were going to have our babies together and she hated my guts because she was puking hers up and I wasn't.  Almost daily she would call me and ask "Are you sick?  No?  I hate you."  We'd laugh and talk about the babies' first birthday party that we'd have for them.

I just wanted someone to get heart tones for me - I thought it would be a pop-in and pop-out kind of thing.  That's why I didn't even tell Drew that I was doing it.  It seemed so insignificant.  Just another thing on the errand list for me and my mom.

Lorena didn't like her office - she said that they were very Johnson County (snobbish and don't criticize - the stereotype was there long before me) and that they gossiped about the patients and ostracized her for not participating.  But she has a 2-year old and another on the way so she needed the job and it was around the corner from her apartment.  She has since been fired and I'm worried for her.  Her boyfriend works but I don't know what he does.

They took me back to the ultrasound room.  I thought I was just getting the Doppler again, but an ultrasound works too.  I was excited that my mother and my cousin would be there with me to see the baby.  The tech was very no-nonsense and I wouldn't have liked her if this was my doctor's office - but it wasn't so I brushed it off.  She squirted the jelly and almost instantly the baby's image came up.  The little profile was as clear as day.  I couldn't really make out the body but I saw the head.  She swirled the wand, making the image disappear and then come back and then she froze the screen and stepped out of the room.

"Is that the little dude or dudette?"
"Yup" my cousin said.
"Why isn't is moving?"
"'Cause she paused it, dork."
"Oh."

I'd had a big lunch with my parents right before my appointment where I'd had about fifty glasses of tea and I was really feeling it.  I didn't go beforehand because I thought a full bladder was good for a belly ultrasound.  So when she came back in and told me to empty my bladder, I was confused.  But whatev, where's the bathroom?  I have to pee anyway.

I peed for what seemed like forever, saying 'I win' when I stood up. I went back in, for a vaginal ultrasound this time.  Then my mind started to split.  Two ultrasounds in one day is not good, no matter what.  Left turn, right turn.  Then the wand was inside.

The baby's image came up again.  Exactly as it had before.  Exactly where it was before.  She didn't pause the screen and it didn't move.  The Crazy Brain side of my mind knew.  The Rational Brain, that keeps you moving and walking and breathing became very occupied with breathing and not shaking.  Crazy Brain whispered, it's coming. 

"The baby's heart is not beating."
"What?  Are you serious?" The stupidest question in history, I know.  Of course she was fucking serious.  There is a special place in hell for people who joke about dead babies.  She wasn't going to say 'my bad' and un-pause the screen so I could see the beating heart.  She was going to do two ultrasounds and be real fucking sure of what she was going to say before she said it.

"How far along are you?"
Rational Brain thought and whispered, "14 weeks."
"The baby is measuring 9 weeks."  Then my mother started crying.  I knew she was there but she had been so quiet.  Then my cousin started crying.

"Poor Drew."
"Who's that?"
"My husband."
"Isn't that just like a woman.  Thinking of others first.  Sweetie, how are you?"  Crazy Brain threatened, I AM NOT your sweetie.
"Can I have a minute please?"
"Sure, take all the time you need and when you're ready just go to the exam room across the hall."

My rational brain got me dressed, shed tears, hugged my mother and cousin and went across the hall to talk to the midwife about fuck knows what.  I don't remember.  Not my fault, these things happen, stay here and have surgery in the morning.  I snapped up then.  No, I have to go home, I have to get to my husband, he doesn't know.  I need to go home I have to catch an earlier flight we need to leave this place now right now right now I have to get out of this place.

We got in the car but I couldn't call him.  How was I supposed to tell him this over the phone?  This was an errand, that's all!  Nothing major, what the fuck! We went to Kathleen's office because I promised her I would see her before I left.  When I walked in wearing my sunglasses, my mother following in hers and my cousin bringing up the rear like some kind of fucked-up Dead Baby Mafia she knew and burst into tears.

In her office and at her and my mother's insistence, I called Drew.  I could barely get it out before I stopped being able to breathe.  Crazy Brain was choking Rational Brain and Rational Brain was losing.  Fast.  I was able to ask him to take down and put away all the baby books and gifts and that I was coming home as soon as I could before I couldn't remember how to speak.  The four of us were in her office hysterical.  Her boss told her that she could leave with me wherever I was going so we found an earlier flight and we headed for the airport.

On I-69 North, about ten minutes away from the airport Crazy Brain had had enough.  Front and center.

Today is my 14th week.  It died at nine weeksNINEWEEKSNINEWEEKS.  There is a month-old dead baby in me.  DEAD BABY.  Inside me.  Right nowrightnowrightnow.  Oh FUCK.  Oh GOD.  Oh NOO!  It's dead and it's STILLINSIDEMESTILLINSIDEMEHOLYFUCKINGSHITIT'SSTILLINSIDEME!  Oh my sweet baby Jesus in Heaven, THERE IS A DEAD BABY INSIDE OF ME. My mouth started to water and I asked my mom to pull over.  Of course she was in the far left lane.  Of course.  Left turn right turn.

I fell out of the car.  I don't know how I didn't fall into the ditch.  On my knees I gripped the grass, begging, praying to throw up, to vomit out all my insides, dead baby included.  All of it, everything, my brain, my memories, the dead baby, everything.  Nothing came.  I heaved and convulsed and screamed and cried and nothing came.  Lorena and Kathleen were at my side, begging me to breathe.  I couldn't - the dead baby was everywhere.  It was in my throat, blocking my airway, it was in my heart, squeezing it, making my chest hurt and my ears pound.  Holy fucking shit, just get it out.  If it stays too long, I'll die too.  But I couldn't make the words - the dead baby was in my brain.  

Somehow I got back in the car, somewhere I heard my mom tell Kathleen and Lorena that she was not putting me on the plane alone.  Somehow I started breathing again.  Somehow I buttoned it back up and I could walk and move again.

We arrived at the airport and my dad arrived a few minutes later.  A plane ticket was purchased, more tears were shed, by the Rational Brain this time because Crazy Brains aren't allowed to travel.  If I wasn't Rational, I couldn't go home.  To my husband.  Dry it up, have to get home.  Little cramps, insignificant, not even relevant before, barely noticeable.  Is it starting?  Will I bleed the whole way home?  Did the dead baby hear me and will it leave now?  

No.

Nothing.  Two or three little cramps and then nothing.  The whole time I'd had no cramps, no spotting, nothing.  No signs.  I just wasn't queasy and my boobs didn't hurt anymore.  

I don't remember the flight home.  Wait, I do remember.  We were stopped in first class and overheard some woman laughingly complain that she was too far from the restroom in the second row of first class because she was pregnant.  I remember that.  And then the line moved again.  I remember that.  Not much else.

We arrived in Dallas and I just wanted to go home.  Drew had gotten me a card and flowers - that's what you do I suppose.  I don't fucking know.  The card just said 'I love you.'  I was glad for that.  Do they make 'I'm sorry you have a dead baby inside you' cards?  Probably not.  I hope not.  I love you is much better.

We got home and I went to sleep.  I dreamed of dead babies.  No one knows that.  The next morning I just told them I slept well.  That's what they want to hear.  So that's what I said.  But I dreamed of black green purple pus floating dead babies.  But I didn't say that.

My appointment was with my doctor Tuesday afternoon at 1:15.  I thought they were going to take the dead baby out then.  But no.

It's surgery and they have to schedule you for it.  I didn't actually have it done until Wednesday morning.  They gave me Xanax so I could sleep.  Xanax is good - it helped.  I didn't dream Tuesday night - that was good. 


 

 

Monday

The Monday after I got married I had an appointment at the birth center we were going to use.  It was my first appointment with them as I had switched my care from my OB and the hospital.  I loved my doctor and didn't really want to leave her but supposedly Medical City has really high c-section rates and I didn't trust the hospital.  I thought that the only way to get the birth I wanted was to get out of the hospital.  So I left her.  It felt like I was breaking up with her, although I know it was just business for her and she probably didn't even know I was gone.  That's what I told myself.

The birth center was way more lax.  It was a giant old house so there was no reception desk.  We had already had a tour so I knew the exam room was upstairs.  The doors to the main room downstairs were closed so I knew that someone was in there having a baby right then.  That was going to be me in however many weeks/months.  I suck at math.  I was 13 weeks.  They were supposed to be able to hear the heartbeat with the Doppler so she told me to 'be sure and bring Dad.'

Drew got stuck at the office so he was running late.  The midwife wasn't very accomodating, like it was an imposition for her that Drew wasn't there.  I know in hindsight I'm hypersensitive but there was no mistaking her disapproving look when he walked in the room.  I had already weighed myself and peed on the protein stick when we sat down to talk with her.  We went through all the first visit stuff, what to eat, what not to, blah blah blah.  I told her that I had already had a visit at my doctor and we'd already had an ultrasound so we knew the whole no-caffeine, no sushi drill.  I really just wanted to hear the heartbeat because I wasn't feeling particularly pregnant, whatever that means.

I just knew my pants weren't getting tighter, I wasn't queasy anymore and my boobs didn't hurt as much.  But honestly, who misses that stuff?  I don't want to puke 24-7, something must be wrong.  Not me, I was thanking God that I could make it through the day.  I was thankful that I didn't wake up out of a dead sleep any more trying not to scream because I'd squished my boob funny.  I didn't miss it and I thought nothing of it.  So she got to it.

Searching, searching, searching.  Her face got funny and then she got fake-reassuring.

Now how far along are you?  13 weeks? Hmmm, I'm usually quite good at this haha.  What an elusive little one!

I wanted to tell her to shut the fuck up and find the fucking heartbeat already.  But I didn't because I'm not crazy.  But I looked at Drew and took his hand.

Searching searching searching.

So where do you work again?  Oh yeah?  Well, that's just around the corner!  So you won't have any trouble just popping by next week so we can try again right sweetie?

I fucking hate it when people use endearments to put you at ease.  It never works.  I wanted to tell her I wasn't her fucking sweetie and I'm not coming back next week because you need to find the fucking heartbeat right fucking now.  But I didn't because that would be crazy.  So we left.

If she couldn't find it again they were going to send me to their back-up physician for an ultrasound.  If I had to go to a doctor, I was going to mine.  I was already making plans to call my cousin and have an ultrasound while I was in Kansas City just in case - she worked in an OB's office and I could just pop in because I was sure it was just that stupid midwife with her 1800s equipment and that was why she couldn't find the heartbeat.  It was her, not me.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

fuck.

dammit to fucking hell shit the fuck scream cry wail pound pound pound fall knees scream cry wail fuck shit fuck the shitting fuck.  fuck cry cry cry scream wail pound fist cry wail fuck cry WHY? please nonono fuck fuck shit dammit fuck fuck.cry cry cry scream screamSCREAM wail moan cry cry WHY?  fuck.

fuck.

shitdammit fuck cry why scream cry wail pound fist knees cry cry shit cry why no please no beg cry plead cry wail scream scream pain fuck.

The baby is gone.  Fucking gone. 

Well technically not gone - how's this little mindfuck:  my fucking body doesn't realize that the fucking baby inside is fucking dead and HAS BEEN FOR A MONTH and won't turn it loose.  I'm having a D &C today to riptearpullscrape get it out of me.

fuck. breathechoke.






Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stop the presses!!!!!!

I'm on Curly Nikki!  Our wedding pictures are up there!  Curly Nikki is freakin FAMOUS! 

AND I'M ON HER SITE!!!!!!!

I submitted my pictures and she put them up!!!!!!   Go there now, go look!!  Oh my goodness!

WOW!!!

THIS IS THE BEST WEEK EVER!!!

You mean there's more?!?!

After leaving the diner, we headed back to our house.  With all my loved ones around me now, I just wanted to soak them up.  As we got closer to the house, I noticed there were cars everywhere.  I looked at Drew and said, "you mean there's more?"  He just smiled.  Our friend Tyler drives a yellow Corvette which is sort of hard to miss so when I saw that I knew he was here.  But there were lots of other cars!

Would you believe that Drew invited our friends to our house for a cake cutting and champagne toast?!  Wait, of course you do.  By this time, you have to know that he is capable of anything.  I know I'm a believer.

Everybody else went in before we did so Drew and I could make our entrance and he could carry me over the threshold!  He told me not to eat too many biscuits at breakfast but I think he managed just fine.


I looked around at the familiar faces of our friends and was so overwhelmed with emotion.  But for once, I didn't cry.  At this point I was over-joyed and just went around hugging everyone.




We poured champage for everyone; I got apple-passionfruit juice along with Hope and Guy's daughters. (Drew works with Guy, btw.)

Drew and I made introductions and we got to cut our cake!  Again, Drew did everything, getting an Italian cream cake with strawberries in the filling.  He had asked everyone coming to bring a dessert as well, so we have sweets for days at the house right now!

You can't see but the cream actually has gold glitter in it as well as the gold frosting - it looks pretty yellow here.  Our wedding colors would have been champagne, chardonnay, and merlot.  Or, gold, cream and dark purple. ;-)

We actually got to cut cake AND he didn't mush me!  I was kind of nervous because he's very playful and I was hoping that he wouldn't take this time to be 'funny'.  I should have known - he did very well!



Then we started toasting.  It was so sweet - I was able to address everyone in the room and speak about how they have contributed to our lives.  It was priceless.  In turn, everyone made toasts to us and it was so sweet.


My dad made a speech and my mom gave the sweetest toast to Drew, welcoming him to our family.  We also raised our glasses to Drew's family, to honor them since they couldn't be with us.  We're going to see them for Christmas and I'm so happy about that.

And yes, my dad is wearing a shiny shirt.  He has, shall we say, a unique sense of style.  We have long given up giving him style tips, gently suggesting, all-out begging to please not go out in that!  Like my mom says, if he's not embarrassed, neither am I.

My Aunt Mary gave the sweetest speech as well and also gave us the most beautiful hand-made pillow as a wedding gift!  It is on a HIGH spot so that ridiculous dog can't get it!



After we finished toasting and stuffing ourselves with wedding cake, we just hung around with everyone.  Since it was only a handful of people I was able to spend time with everyone and that was so nice!  And of course, my dad the ham had to get in on things!  He wanted to make sure everyone noted the shirt.  Duly noted, Dad. :-)


AND THAT, my beautiful lovely friends, is how I got married.  My fabulous wonderful husband is a champion at setting the bar and showing me that I really truly am the love of his life and I'm going to spend the rest of my life showing him that he's the love of mine.  I leave you with something I didn't think in my wildest dreams would ever happen.


I'm going to go home and kiss my husband now.

My heart can't take it

What a roller coaster!  First I get married, then I find out both my parents came to Dallas to see me!  I didn't know if I could take any more surprises.  Little did I know...

Now that I knew why we were going to breakfast at ten am I was happy to get up and head over there.  We went to Drew's favorite diner - he wanted to make it a tradition for us.  I guess when we're old and gray we won't stick out as much in a diner.

When we arrived, Milton was there waiting for us!  I was so happy to see him, Milton is like my teddy bear older brother.  Taking our seats at the table with my family and new husband by my side had me beaming from ear to ear.





Kesha had joined us and I was so honored because she was missing church for us and that is major y'all!

I was sitting there just thinking how well this has all turned out to be and I looked up.



KATHLEEN AND HER DAUGHTER HOPE WALKED IN!!!

My best friend, that I was crying with just two nights ago, wishing that she was her, was walking towards me!  Hope, my god-daughter who looks freakin grown, was with her!  I hardly ever get to see her and she is growing up to be such a beautiful young lady!  I couldn't believe it!  And yes, I started crying.  At least I had makeup on this time.




When I was talking to my parents on Saturday, they were actually on their way down.  When I talked to Kathleen Friday night, she already knew she was going to be able to come down.  Drew put it all together and Kesha knew everything!  It's a good thing we're friends - they're so devious! :-)

As we were sitting around the table, I was so struck at how well this has turned out.  It was totally like Sex and the City!  My parents, my aunt, Kesha, Milton, Kathleen and Hope and my husband and me all sat down to a delicious diner-style breakfast.


I took a moment to thank Drew again for putting all this together.  My brother had a big project at work and couldn't make it and my cousin couldn't either.  I have giant hugs all ready just for them when I see them this weekend.  But the fact that he pulled all this together in a little less than a week, and the fact that my family and friends rallied in that same amount of time was nothing short of remarkable.

And just because there just aren't enough pictures of me crying, here you go.







After we finished breakfast, we all piled in the cars to head back to our house.  I just knew this was it, all the surprises were done, I had no more tears left in me. 

My husband had other ideas.


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