Sunday, March 30, 2008


Cali.for.ni.a.

As I drove around in the rented Grand Prix, I took in how many Mercedes, Lexus, BMWs, and Bentleys were driving around. The OC is dripping money. If you inhale deeply, you can smell the dirty paper almost as distinctly as the ocean breeze.

My job was simple---determine if this one company is legit. I needed like 10 minutes, I gathered, but I was scheduled for a day and a half with these people---an attempt to be smoozed? I hated this trip already.

I needed a drink when I landed, but it was 9am. I settled for bacon and eggs at an IHOP across from the airport. In the booth in front of me were these beautifully eccentric gay men. I can imagine them at a better restaurant, moving their animated hands with a cigarette "Dah--ling, please," they would say drinking martinis, laughing at everyone else's inferiority. 

Instead, I saw them puzzle the waitress by asking for an Arnold Palmer to drink.

The meetings were as I expected, and I was beginning to feel the 4 am trip to the airport catch up with me. I still had lunch and dinner to get through.

I had to hush the voice that was screaming "I DON'T CARE!!!" in my ear during dinner, when all the higher ups in the company were enlightening me with their tales of LA night life. I had a firm talking to with the voice, told her that I could barely get through work and if I had any hopes for a positive review in a few months, we had to endure this insanity. She grumbled, sat and sulked in a corner until we were alone later on that night. I continued to listen to the project manager get more animated as he swallowed his 2nd scotch of the night. I tried to keep a small smile on my face. The academy award goes to....

I read to the voice when we were alone together, later that night. She seemed to like that---imagining herself as a young girl falling in love with a vampire. The story was bittersweet, and when I flipped to the last pages, she demanded more. What happens next? Much later that night, I went and bought the sequel to the book at a Borders and read 150 pages before I fell asleep with the light on.

My dreams were bizzare.  Incoherent messes disguised as stories. I saw a few people from Michigan there. I can't remember what they were doing or saying to me. I remember feeling safe. My phone rang at 5am for my ride to the airport---only I didn't order a ride to airport. They apologized profusely for waking me, and as I fumbled back to sleep, wondered who overslept their plane.

The morning was not much better. At the free breakfast, a deeply tan middle-aged man cursed at his cell phone and asked 1000 questions about my colleague's life. He was deeply impressed with the government job, and couldn't pronounce her job title, fumbled 10 times trying, and I deduced he needed a beer to work off the hangover he was carrying around. 

We drove to the a.m. meeting. I doodled in my notebook, but made it look like I was taking notes. They gave us a reprieve and we drove the short 10 miles to the beach.

I walked the small path to a look-out point. Everyone on the path was about 60 years old. They looked me up and down with my dress slacks and shoes, wondering what board meeting I had escaped from. It was a breezy 70 degrees and the surf was crashing into the rocks below. I let the voice out from the corner, and she stood with me.

"It's beautiful," she breathed.
"Yeah," I replied.
"You know what I like about the ocean?" she asked.
"What?" I asked.
"How insignificant it makes me feel," she said.
"Yeah," I said, smiling.
"I'm tired of this new life, Reese," she exhaled, sad.
"Me too. Me too." I whispered.
"Will it ever get better?" she asked.
"It will be different. Some day you won't wake up and feel like dying," I said.
"When will that happen?" she complained.
"I don't know. When we're 80 or something," I mumbled.

Down below I saw children braving the surf. Their mothers looked bored, digging their noses into the latest trash novel, ignoring the pleas of the children to "look at me! look at me!" 

The voice wanted to scream at them, rip the novels from their perfectly manicured hands and shake them. "Don't you know how lucky you are, goddamit?!" 

"Don't waste your breath. Most people don't know how good they have it," I said.

The voice broke down, sobbing. I held her hand, let her cry her never-ending frustrations out.

"It's not fair," she whimpered. 

"I know, sweet girl. I know"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

33.

I turn 33 tomorrow (today if you are reading this in the morning).

Looking back on what I thought my life would be when I was 33. I will admit I am close to where I want to be...

...except for the obvious, GLARING, beautiful missing piece.

Today I am reminded that it's been 8 weeks since Ronan was stillborn. After a hellishly quick trip to California, where I had to kick the distractions into overtime in order to survive my first trip away from Peyton, (I read 2-500 page books in 3 days) I came home to the dreaded anniversary. 2 months. 8 weeks. 56 days.

All premised with the minor, insignificant detail that it is my birthday tomorrow.

Happy Birthday to me. Who truly gives a damn anymore?



Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I have been walking around numb the last week. I think I mentioned that already. I told a friend that I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It dropped. 

I hate the pit. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.

Little things that started this weekend contributed to it. I changed my Myspace page to reflect that something had in fact happened to me. The news was for those in a holding pattern, friends and friends of friends who knew I was pregnant, but waiting for the BIG announcement that Ronan was here (in April, his due date).

Friends are trickling in, stopping by, sharing their condolences. I appreciate the gesture, but each e-mail is like a chisel around this block of ice in my chest.

My BFF from childhood wrote me a e-mail that made me burst into tears. I hadn't done that in a couple of weeks. The thing that got me was that he apologized for his wife and him expecting a boy next month. 

Isn't it a fucked up world we live in when people feel the need to apologize that their life is not as horrible as mine? The thought that someone would feel so bad for you that they would will for the universe to swallow them too is a bit too heavy for my poor, battered soul. My BF Mindy said the same thing over tacos on Sunday. While she was in the hospital room with me and we were having the service for Ronan, she said she that she felt awful that she had had a good outcome on her pregnancy 2 years earlier.

We humans are strange creatures.

On Monday, the other guy I work with that had the baby 2 weeks ago was escorting the cleaning service around the building, chatting to one man in Spanish. The man asked how old his boy was. 

The guy answered 2 weeks, pride rightfully poured from his voice. 

The cleaning man said 'Wow, 2 weeks old! Congratulations, man. That's really great," and slapped him on the back--a tender moment, one father to another. A lump formed in my throat, and I felt ever so achingly guilty that my beautiful husband will have to wait for the moment to come when a stranger is thrilled that he is a new father.  

My birthday is next Thursday. I will be 33 years old. I was excited about being 37 weeks pregnant at that time too. We joked that the baby 'better not come on that day' because both me and my MIL have the same birthday. 

I would give anything to share that day with my son. Anything.

I called the young girl who took my blood and my baby away for the stillbirth study to get an ETA for the test results. She called me back and said next Thursday (my b-day) should be when everything is faxed to my doctor. I don't have an appointment with him until Ronan's due date on the 17th. In theory, I am supposed to get a copy to continue my obsession as to what actually caused my son's death.

TAR syndrome? Holt-Oram? Some weird Trisomy? 

I have spent hours googling, reading research articles, trying to get a clue as to what genetic issue he had. I have spent many hours contemplating over and over again while staring out into space if I should investigate why in the hell the ultrasound tech MISSED the fact that Ronan was missing his thumbs (why, when in our copy, we can clearly see only 4 fingers). 

Will it make any difference? Will my heart rest easier if I shake my mother-whose-baby-died-and-am-shattered fist at some poor overworked medical employee? Nothing would have changed the outcome, but at least Peyton and I would have not be walking around like arrogant dipshits thinking our baby was a-ok. We would have slowed down, grieved early, come to terms sooner. We wouldn't have taken anything for granted. 

It is for that one reason that I am torn.

Sand. Too much sand. 





Monday, March 17, 2008

WHO AM I?

I mean, who am I now? 

I made a list today as I was bored at work, of who I was, am, and hope to be. 

The list was pretty short.

I then proceeded to make a list of things that most people don't know about me. That one was a little more entertaining.

1. I daydream more than people breathe. I look deep in thought, and at a glance, it looks like I am immersed in some deep, serious feeling, but no. I am daydreaming. About winning the lottery, about meeting celebrities, about winning an Oscar, about private fantasies ya'll don't need to know about.

2. I have more insecurities than the Pope has crucifixes. I write and re-write and ponder and edit and make sure that what I need to say is said. You should see how long it takes me to write an e-mail to a boss. Like an hour. No kidding. It's not perfectionism, it's the need to make sure I didn't sound like a dumb ass. I do the same things when I write blogs. I re-read things 100X. 

3. I was asked what woman was the biggest influence in my life last week (in regards to it being Women's History Month). I drew a complete blank. Even a week later, I can honestly say that certain men have been most influential. I don't recall ever looking at a woman/her life and saying 'hey, I would love to be like her'. I do recall having that moment when I met certain men. What does this say about the women's lib movement? Is Gloria Steinem reading this going 'GOD, I burned my bra for YOU?'

4. I just googled Gloria Steinem to make sure I spelled her name right. (I did).


This list continues, but really, you get the point. There is no point.

I find myself trying to define who I am as a woman. On my short list of who I am, I wrote: woman.

Woman. 

That's it.

And even now I am having a hard time living up to that title. I feel myself challenging strangers I see, holding there gaze. Look at me, I say. Smile. Flirt. Make me feel like I am something to take a second glance at. 

I have never been this way. I could give a rat's ass if someone is taking a second glance at me. I am married for Chissakes, I don't need the hassle. But since this happened, I find myself making sure my lipstick is fresh, I have on perfume every day, my hair done, my jewelry on, etc. etc. Why? What possible reason do I have to care what I look like to men, or to anyone for that matter?

It's certainly not to keep up the appearance that I am perfectly ok. It occurred to me that part of this facade I have put on is to reaffirm that I am still a woman, because I failed to carry my son to term. I failed as a woman, as a mother. If I were living in Elizabethan times, I would be shamed into despair as women were merely judged by the children they could carry. I feel like Henry VIII's Catherine (the 1st one). Fast forward 500 years later, and I don't think we have come all that far.

Women are still shunned in a corner, grieving their dead babies. We are still a social pariah, succumbing to the overwhelming guilt that we are failures, less of a woman because we don't have children/aren't able to carry children. We still wonder how our families truly feel about us, if we have disappointed the grandparents, the parents, the husbands, because no heir has been born alive. The corsets are long-gone, but their choking confinement is still lingering in all of our flesh.

And please, please, no frickin' e-mails berating me for feeling this way. Again, people. My words. My feelings. My thoughts. I am not spiraling out of control into a a pit of despair. I am grieving and trying to work through it. If you don't like what you read, for the love of God, stop reading it. Thank you.


{{{Sigh}}}}



 

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I am numb this week, but my boy won't have it.

Every morning I read msnbc.com news while drinking my ginormous coffee (I have switched to ordering large drinks---I used to only order small....I don't know what is with me, a mini-rebellion?)

Every morning this week in the picture section near the top there has been a seal.

The first one was adorable, white, little. 
The next one was a larger male.

Today, I finally acknowledged that Ronan was talking to me, because this is what the picture was:





I get it, sweetie. I get it...

Bittersweet. I love it, and I agonize over it.


I went walking at the track where all the enlisted folk run. I stayed to myself, turned my ipod to near-deafening and played Jamiroquai's Canned Heat over and over again (the song Napoleon Dynamite danced to). I had a great time.

Now my shins hurt and I am sunburned. Goddamn Texas sun. 


Sunday, March 9, 2008

The curse of the blog---


I honestly don't know who reads this blog.

I take that back. I know 5 people who tell me that they read it. 2 people tend to make comments and the other 3 write personal e-mail or call when I say something completely outrageous. 

I know there are others. And because I know this, I am beginning to feel I have to censor some of what goes through my mind. And I don't really know why. Will I come off too harsh? To female? To human? To pissy? 

...You know, come off like a woman who has lost her son?

It was my intention, when I started this to let it all out, and I think a lot has come out. But because I know my uncle has the url, will I censor the fact that hearing his almost 2 year-old scream for his attention while on the phone with me Friday broke my heart in a million pieces? As his attention became distracted because she was desperately wanting him to get off the phone, I could feel this gigantic lump form in my throat. She was screaming a scream that I don't fully understand, because my son never got the chance to become that demanding. And that left me feeling robbed. Yet again.

Because random strangers and a couple of 25 year old guys read my blog, I feel a pause before I share that I started my period this weekend and I am completely annoyed and slightly enraged at the fact that I have to add tampons to my shopping list. I have not had a feminine hygiene product in my house since we moved from Michigan. I am also freakin' pissed because I never had cramps or PMS before I gave birth, and now, I can tell you that I ovulated over a week ago. I felt my ovaries ache, and the feeling made me mad. 

Mad that I am dealing with this when I am supposed to be 9 months pregnant right now. I should be complaining about stretch marks, hemorrhoids and how my ass seems to go on for miles. I should not be charting my cycles for the possibility of another child in the next 6-8 months. It's so wrong and so goddamn unfair, my hands are shaking just writing about it.

Some of you will read this, and determine that this probably normal behavior for a woman going through what I am going through. 

Some of you will freak out that I had such thoughts, and maybe blush because I talked about woman things (Tampons! OMG!)

And some of you will try to fix it, fix me. You'll get that big lump in your throat at the fact that I am in pain and angry right now. You'll either call and randomly chat with me, feeling me out, or you will read this, and decide again that you can do nothing for me so you do nothing.

And for all of your reactions, I can say this...I don't care what your reaction is. I truly don't.

Most of you will NEVER know what I am feeling. Count your lucky stars that you don't know this feeling of loss. May you never know what insanity scrapes it's brittle nails on a chalk board in my brain. May you never know how little, stupid, insignificant things can set you off into a whirlwind of sadness and despair. 

And because many of you that read this are my friends, I really don't want to write this, but I must.

I don't care about your job, your life, your family, your kids, and most off---your neuroses. I don't care that you won 2nd place at a chili-eating contest. I don't care that you bought a dress and had to return it the next day because it had a stain on it. 
 
I don't fucking care for one reason and one reason only... 

I don't have my son. 

I don't have my nursery or baby bottles or car seat fitted in my car.

I don't have the hope that I will have a living child with the person I love most in the world, and watch our love grow into a new, unique person. 

This is the grim reality of my grief. (Of every mother's grief). This is the deep, dark underbelly of what I feel 24 hours a day. It haunts me as I drive to work, pay bills, watch the political coverage in Wyoming. The chanting sounds like cheerleaders at a high school football game. I! Don't! Care!

And that is the one thing that breaks my heart about all of this. Because I used to care. I used to be pretty generous with my time, my heart, my soul. 

I miss that girl, the one who wasn't so damn self-absorbed with tragedy and emptiness. 
I want so desperately to get her back or to even see a glimpse of her in the mirror. 

I can make no promises, but all I can say is I'm trying.

I'm trying real hard.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Very tough morning driving in. I knew waking up that there was some residual hormonal crap coming my way. It's easy to spot when it's coming on. My eyes open and I can hear a noise, pitched in a frequency that only women in hormonal hell can hear. 

It's like white noise, but it sends a message that total doom is heading your way. Prepare for it.

I showered, forced myself to not let my brain whisper the garbage that it does when this happens. The yearning, the wouldas and couldas, the general 'you know what you were doing 6 weeks ago???' feelings.

I got in the car and every song held a meaning. Tears started about 5 miles into the 25 mile journey to work. I can't shake that Ronan used to dance to Pat Benatar on the drive in. I swing by to get a coffee, and I remember the day he died how I did the same thing.

By the time I reach my office, I am covered in fire ants, stung by memories that my stupid hormonal brain is flashing to me. I sip my coffee. It's only 7:30. I have many more hours of this.

My 9am, I PM Ellie and asked her to come by my office. I have my face buried in my hands and my door closed. The hysteria is already setting in and I need help being escorted away from my office. If I don't get help, I will crouch in a corner in fear and let the tidal wave sweep me away. I am merely a spectator when this happens. 

Hysteria sets in. Sobbing usually follows by about an hour of self-loathing and guilt. I am outside with Ellie on a bench and she is rubbing my back. I am sobbing and taking in short breaths. She coos supportive words to help beat the demons away. The tissues in my hands are soaking wet, filled to their capacity. Kleenex does not design tissues for this kind of pain.

I try talking, getting the ugly thoughts out of me--the uncertainty of life, the unfairness that this life is a roller coaster I never wanted to get on. And the ascent to the dropping point is never in my control. I lament how it never will be again. 

When did I become so small?

Time passed. 30 minutes? I could breathe again and talk about little things like the wind blowing leaves across the parking lot. The big drop is over. I am coming up for air.

Until next time...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

So long and thanks for all the fish...

My return back to 'normal' work life was bumpy to say the least. 

I walked in, people said "Hey Reese, glad you're back!" 

And then there were crickets....

All day long. Crickets. 

Even my god-fearin' Major was pin-drop silent all day long. The Sgt. and his just-about-to-pop wifey sat with me at lunch and talked about her impending delivery like nothing had happened.

I felt like I was in the goddamn twilight zone. 

Are you kidding me?

No 'how are you?' Or how 'bout 'I'm sorry your son DIED'. 

Jesus Christ people!!

I was a mess. I called Andrew driving home and boo-hooed about how fuckin' stupid scared people are. Then I hung up with him and called my father and boo-hooed the rest of the way home. I hadn't cried like this in weeks. 

Only McDonalds' chicken nuggets and my husband could calm me down. 

After the heartburn and 2 tums later I reflected.

Of course people are UNCOMFORTABLE to say anything or be around me. I get that. 

But, really? Seriously? Silence? All day? This is how we deal with this??

Oh, so sorry YOU are uncomfortable. Come live 5 minutes in my life and compare which one sucks more. Emotions are ugly things, and scare people to death, but BY GOD MAN! Where the hell is the compassion? A nice gesture to indicate that you are not a total robot wimp? At least acknowledge that SOMETHING happened to me to cause me to be gone from work for 5 weeks. Don't ignore what happened. I wasn't vacationing at Club Med for chrissakes!! MY SON DIED!

So today, people opened up a little more. I was a little more prepared for battle. The quiet Major mentioned his poor dead brother. My boss mentioned his tragedies (but has been very open to talking, 1000X more than the other people), and the Sgt. Well... 

He came into my office this afternoon and asked HOW I WAS...

And I told him. 
In great detail. 
More detail than he ever wanted to know. 
Exactly how I was. 

He was nervous. He looked like he wanted to run, and he said he didn't know what to say, and I said he didn't have to say anything. Told him I knew he was freakin' out because his wife was due any second now. I didn't want to scare him.

But I wanted him to acknowledge that I had my son too. 
He was real. 
His name was Ronan.
It was heartbreaking how we lost him. 
And it hurts. 
Now and forever.

...Pretty please...don't ignore me.