Friday, May 30, 2008

Like a red-headed step child--


Last December when I was 5 months pregnant with Ronan, I sat in on this very important meeting with Colonels and managers to discuss why our organization was so goddamn important. 

I am not joking. Nothing like having to justify our mission/purpose on earth in front of military big-wigs 2 months after your hired. 

There were other organizations that were also present for this justification meeting. I was warned that one of the other scientists was someone I went to undergrad with. Dr. L. 

I was a little surprised that Dr. L. was a Dr. at all. And although we had gotten along fine in undergrad, she had the reputation for using her charm and luscious good-looks for getting her way. A bit of a snake-charmer. Her best asset was her long, flowing red hair and this flawless porcelain skin. She called everyone sweetie.

Fast forward 10 years, and there she was at this meeting, looking a little haggard and not as luscious (but hey, who does). She recognized me right away. 

"Reese, it's so nice to see you. I thought that was you, but they kept calling you Dr. S and I know you by Reese R,"

I nodded and smiled, taking it all in.

"When are you due?" she asked.

"April"

"Boy or girl?" 

"A boy," I said.

She smiled. "That's great. We had a girl. She's 18 months," she said.

I had also heard through the rumor mill that she had married some military guy and was having a rough time of it.

We chit-chatted and she talked to me about collaboration and I uh-huhed through most of it. I figured it would be a long time before we actually met up again. We work on 2 totally different bases.

Well, this week I had to shoot her an e-mail about a project that went completely in the crapper. There was a bunch of he-said-she-said and a lot of misrepresentation that I felt needed to be addressed. So, I wrote her about it.

She called me the next morning, thanking me for the information and chatting me up. Then out of the blue...

"So, how are you doing?"

I was a little surprised but not. Civilian world is small, and science civilian world is even smaller. I figured she was told, but who knows by who, and I was a little relieved she did know and I didn't have to break the news that I did not have a 1 month old son, colicky sitting at home. 

"I am doing as well as can be expected," I said.

"Yeah. I was so sorry to hear about it," she said.

"Well, we found out that he had an underlying genetic issue that was undiagnosed," 

"But you are ok?" she asked again.

I love when I am asked this question. What the fuck is ok? Ok, I am breathing? Yeah. Ok, the sun is shining on my face and I am singing zippety-do-da, not so much.

"Yeah. We are doing alright. I appreciate you asking about him," I said.

"I didn't know if I should," she said.

"No, I appreciate that you did," I said.

"And the job is going well. They are treating you alright since this happened?" she asked.

"Yeah, yeah," I said.

"Good. Ok, Sweetie, it was good talking to you," she said and hung up. 

Sometimes. Sometimes people can surprise you.

I leave for Boston for yet another conference on Sunday. I am not thrilled to be gone another 5 days without my hubby and I am out of 500 page books to read to distract me while I am there. 

The good news is that I will be joined by Peyton on Thursday for a 4 day getaway to Rhode Island/Maine. 

I will blog from the road when I can....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My OB

This rant is not about the first OB (Blonde, 30-something, Alpha, too busy to hire someone who can, you know, read ultrasounds correctly). I have spoken enough about her. She is dead to me. This is about my real OB. 


I met my current OB/GYN the night Ronan died. He had never met me face to face, but when the nurses called him after they saw that there was no heartbeat, he admitted me without hesitation and said he would be over as soon as he was done at his office.

At 8:30 pm, after the nurses, anesthesiologists, and ER-guys-who-never-miss a vein tried unsuccessfully to start an IV SEVEN TIMES, my new OB walked in.

He was the polar opposite of McDreamy. He was 50-something, short, with salt-n-pepper hair & matching goatee and wore wire-rimmed glasses. His green scrubs peaked out from underneath a white lab coat. He smiled a sad smile, grasped my bruised, bloody hand within both of his strong hands and said in a slight Spanish accent...

"I am so sorry to meet you like this, but we are going to take care of you."

I am weepy thinking back on that moment. 

He told the needle vultures to go away, ordered me something to eat and drink, and told me in great detail about everything that was going to happen to me over the next couple of days, including getting a PICC line doppler to aid in the placing of the IV (I have deep, obstinate veins). 

"We will find out why this happened to you, and I swear to you this won't happen next time."

At every subsequent appointment he held my hand and grasped Peyton's shoulder--as he told me I was healing well, as he told us what happened to Ronan, as he said that we could start trying again when we were ready, as he reiterated "I am not a gambling man, but I would bet everything, because my gut tells me this was just a fluke, that your next pregnancy will be successful," 1000 times over and over again. 

He makes me want to believe him...

Friday, May 23, 2008


I'm home today, sicker than a dog with a cold.

It's also 95 degrees outside. 

Something doesn't quite fit this equation, eh?

I'm miserable. Waaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!





Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Our Adopted Son--


For some unholy reason, Peyton started watching American Idol back at the beginning of January. (Except for glances of 1 or 2 shows in the past, we have never ever watched this show). Ronan was still alive then, kicking me while I surfed the internet, trying desperately to zone out to the Mariah wannabes who offered their supposed talent to the alter of Simon, Paula and Randy.

I always rolled my eyes and groaned when he put the show on, prayed it was just a phase, but alas, no. Peyton continued to watch, all through the major city auditions--the good (rare), the bad (most) and the really bad until all the Hollywood contestants got their golden tickets.

Then Ronan died, and we sat in silence for the first week. I don't even think we turned on the TV. I couldn't listen to music as all sounds sounded like nails grating on a chalkboard. And, when we weren't sitting in silence, we were sobbing, clutching our chests, crying until snot ran from our noses trying to figure out what the hell just happened to us.

The second week after Ronan died, we tried desperately to distract ourselves. We turned on the TV when we weren't napping. We watched Discovery channel, old 80s movies, CMT, anything that made the days go by quicker. Then in mid-February, Peyton turned on the TV one Tuesday evening and resumed his watching of American Idol. 

And this time I sat with him, no energy to complain and slowly saw it as a Hail Mary to numb the pain of the bees stinging my brain.

Week after week, we tuned in, critiquing, talking about styles of music, the merits of the competition. Hell, it was the one thing in life we looked forward to.  Week after week, I zoned in on some kid from Blue Springs, MO who had an amazing voice, looked humble, and played the guitar left-handed. 

One afternoon while in the shower, I began to weep for the 100th time. The song 'Hello' by Lionel Richie was in my mind. And after I finished crying for the 800th time, and begin to calm down, I realized that it wasn't Lionel singing that song in my mind, it was the kid from Blue Springs, MO. It was then that I knew that this kid's music was getting to me.

I won't go into detail, because it's borderline denial/sorta mental, but surmise it to say that David Cook held a lot of hope for us in our darkest hour. Some random kid's dream became our dream. We hoped for him, we cheered for him, we cried tears of joy for him. This was a journey we began because we were so damn numb, and within a few weeks time, we felt a twinge of something---what was that? Joy? Happiness? I don't know, but it was something other than agonizing pain. We took it and ran with it.

Tonight, I am proud to report that our boy, the one we adopted when our own son passed away, well, he done good.



Friday, May 16, 2008

Pro-Choice

Peyton and I drove in the early-morning-too-tired to talk silence. It reminded me of the late afternoon ride we took back late January. We were discussing possible places to grab dinner after they checked and eased my first-time-paranoid-Mommy mind about Ronan's lack of movement. 

Even on that ride, I remember thinking "We are not getting dinner tonight. He's gone, I know he's gone,"

Today was the mandatory trip to the geneticist's office. I said a silent thanks be to Jaysus that she books these kinds of appointments first thing. We were the only ones in the waiting room. We were called back almost as soon as we sat down.

I was weighed (joy!) and felt panicky as they put the blood pressure cuff around my arm. I have documented white coat hypertension syndrome. I've had it since I was a kid. When I see a new doctor, my BP is high, but usually comes down after the appointment. The biggest pain in the ass is that I have to explain this to people and get that look like they don't believe me. I have been threatened to be put on meds a gazillion times until they figure out that it becomes normal after a few visits and they (and I) calm down.

Anyway, it was high. She took it again 5 minutes later, and it was normal. That seemed to convince them. Peyton and I began the process of explaining our history and listening to the nurse tell us why we were there.

She applauded our effort to enroll Ronan in the stillbirth study. She said a lot of people just don't like to perform autopsies on their babies, so they never have definitive proof of what happened. She said that because we did, and based on what she read, that she is confident that it was a fluke. 

How I tire of that damn word. 

Anyhoo, she talked in detail about how when I get pregnant again, they have a system in place (including an amnio if I want) to determine if the baby has Trisomy 21, 13, or 18. Basically, a screening process that would give us the answer quickly so we could decide if I would carry another dying baby to as far to term as I could before he/she up and died again. I told her flat out I would not carry another dying baby to whatever term to have them die in me. My soul be damned. I will not deliver another dead baby (willingly). 

I started crying then. Peyton held my hand.

She understood our frustration about how completely off guard Ronan's death took us. She didn't really mention if she was shocked and appalled about how the hell his 'secret' managed to slip through the system. She wasn't much for showing emotion. She reiterated that it was my choice and she would support whatever choice that was.

I asked them if they perform the abortion on site, if the choice to terminate was given. 

No. 

Of course not, I muttered. 

They are a baptist hospital, so of course they don't want to take on the moral responsibility of seeing their patients through to the end of their ill-fated pregnancy. They send you 'somewhere' and I bet money it's Planned Parenthood, where you can be slapped by the Right Wingers' signs of aborted fetuses on your way in. Never mind your intentions to end a poor child's suffering, or to be, godforbid, a little selfish about not having to endure that torturous hell of stillbirth again. 

24 weeks. In Texas you have up to 24 weeks to abort. 4 weeks younger than Ronan was. 

"But we try to give you those answers by 15, so it isn't so....complicated," she said.

Complicated. 

Abortion (D&C, whatever) complicated? 

It got me thinking that pro-choice ain't a choice in this situation. Either way, you end up with the same result....

....a result that wasn't my choice. 

 


Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm getting my tubes tied. I swear I am.


An open letter to God:

Are you fucking kidding me? Today, I go on-line and I see THIS and THIS?!?

That's 2 (possibly 3) women I have cyber-known who have gone through this TWICE in less than a year!

Is it too much to ask that the poor women who have already endured a special kind of hell NOT go through it again? Are you a sadist? 

No sense. You make no sense to me. 





Monday, May 12, 2008

Dear J--

Got your phone message today. Sorry I missed it, I was in a meeting. Imagine my surprise (kinda) when I saw your name on my caller ID! I would say that it was a coincidence that you called after all these months, but I think we know better.

Heard the quivering in your voice when you left a message, and hate to say that I felt a little redemption for it. Not that I want to make you sick with fear about calling me---but it really is amazing how scared people have become of me. I used to be the nicest girl in the world, no? All giggles, the smart-ass who would give sharp insight over a cup of joe. How did I suddenly become this monster that people are afraid of? It's funny, when given the choice, some women would rather walk around in a thong bikini in Fallujah than pick up the phone to talk to me. 

I guess I'm saying that I feel just a little stupefied.

There really is no need to be afraid of me. I'm sure you were thinking about me all this time, but along with losing my baby, I lost my Spidey Sense to be able to acknowledge your thoughts from so far away. That being said, I won't take the effort to spew any more venom in your direction. I'm tired, and I'm beginning to sound redundant. I told you I was hurt. It was a shock and a blow how you fell off the face of the earth back in February. But, my hike through the mountain yielded support from interesting locations. I had to follow the tracks from the women who were on the same trail. 

But, on a happier, side note, I am happy that you and M are getting married. He seems like a good guy. 

I just pray J, that after you get married (and are so ridiculously in love that all you both can imagine is a sweet little boy with M's blue eyes and blonde hair) that you are never hit with a sudden, random, horrible nightmare like we were. May you never have to gaze into the face of your dream, born sleeping, 12 weeks too soon. May your whole life never spin out of control. May you never be judged--by people who are not married and/or have never had children and/or never opened themselves up to any kind of real emotion--about how you are handling your grief, squawking Freud like they have any kind of clue. May you never feel utterly alone on every major holiday because something, inherently, is missing. 

Because even though I am/was pissed off at you, I would never, ever wish that on any other woman. I truly mean this.

What I do wish for you is happiness. I wish you good health and all the babies you and M desire. I wish you both peace. And maybe, when enough time has passed and I am not the evil that makes women speak in hushed whispers, we can meet up again and have a cup of coffee like old times. 

The part of you that loved me once will understand why I am saying this now. That same part will forgive me for putting us on hold for now---and that hopefully wishes some good things for us someday. 

Because we are still good people.

Love,
Reese


Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Forgotten


A couple of years ago I caught the tail-end of this Julianne Moore movie. I didn't really get much of what was going on, but the gist of it was that there were these aliens that were doing an experiment by making Julianne's character forget that she had a son. Sam was his name.

In one of the final moments of the film, the bad alien was supposed to get her to remember Sam's birth, that way he could steal it and thus, completing the experiment. He thought that if he made her forget the birth of Sam, then she would ultimately forget that she had a son. 

And how she fought this alien! She tried to keep this memory of Sam's birth from coming into her mind, until the bad alien basically forced her to think about it. She flashed to that moment, and snap, he stole it. Victorious, or so he thought....

As Julianne is laying on the floor of this abandoned building, beaten down, another memory comes to her. She is sitting on a park bench, belly big and beautiful, and she can feel Sam move.
Her face is serene as she places her hand to feel him kick. 

(The experiment failed and the alien gets sucked out of earth or some dumb shit like that...)

I had a memory similar to that today, on this, Mother's Day. It was 3 weeks before Ronan died, and we were at my father's house watching Waitress --a delicious movie that we had seen in the theater earlier that summer. I was sitting on my father's couch and during that entire movie, Ronan moved and kicked me like crazy. It was the first time he was really so active, and it was the first time I really felt like he was in there, he was real, this was really happening. We were having a son. I remember going to bed, feeling the happiest I probably had ever been in my life.

It can be left up to speculation for those who have never had this experience--but for the evil aliens who try (because it's easier for them to deal with a woman who is not enlightened with these facts) you will never make us forget the fact that we are mothers. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My Wingman--This is a callout


(I wrote this very angry, and I may regret it in the morning. You were warned...)


I am watching Top Gun, and I feel the need to poo-poo the idea that this is totally a guy's flick. I loved this movie since the first time I snuck into the movie theater to watch it.  I was 11, and it was the summer I spent nearly the entire summer with my grandmother. Life was good. 

This movie has everything: hot guys, testosterone, high-speed flight chases, a BF named Goose.

I always wanted a BF named Goose.

I work for the military (as a civilian), and in one of the 1000s of hours of training I had to endure before Ronan died, we learned about having a wingman---someone to watch your ass.

I was smug in my list of wingmen. Wing-Women. First in line. Second....all the way to the 15th. I knew who had my back.

Fast-forward a few months and except for #1 and #2, the hell if I know who is still standing in line.

I have a friend who just got engaged. I found out through a friend of a friend of a friend. She didn't bother to tell me since she hasn't bothered to call or e-mail me since early February. She knows who she is. I have a strong suspicion that she reads this blog. Not calling me is not helping our friendship. In fact, unless you make true contact with me pronto, I am assuming that you are letting this friendship, like my baby, die. 

And if that is your intention, for the love of GOD, so be it. I. Can. Take. It. NEWS FLASH: I delivered a dead baby, so, I can pretty much take anything that comes my way from now on. Famine. Locusts. Yeah, whatever. Bring it. You wouldn't believe how fucking jaded and cold you can become when you hold the warm body of your son who was perfectly flawed.

What I cannot take and infuriates me to my core is that you linger here, trying to be my 'friend' via the internet, gauging my sanity/insanity based only on the few excerpts of my daily life that I choose to share with the world. What do you gain from this voyeurism? Do you read, weep, and say 'poor Reese' and go back to your fantastically, slightly fairy tale life? Your dinners with McDreamy, your plans for a vacation to somewhere warm where you have nothing to worry about except how many times you can make love in a single day?

Or do you read my tragedy, sign yourself multiple times and say a silent prayer of thanks that you are not on this journey? Do you read because it makes you feel lucky?

Be honest. Please. At least be honest with yourself.

And to the rest of you: I don't want any damn e-mails, comments or phone calls from all you others who are witnessing my verbal beating of my supposed former infatuation junkie friend. I am hopping, hornet-mad at her because I cannot count the number of times I listened to her breakdowns, break-ups, life crises, etc. Patiently. Like a true friend. And the ONE FUCKING TIME in my life when I need to look up and see the sea of love surrounding me, she is decidedly absent. By choice. By her own choosing...

Why?

Because of fear? Because she doesn't know what to say? Because she doesn't think she can help me? Because she is deciding on whether or not to have her bridesmaids in blue for her wedding?  

Do you ever wonder why some women slit their wrists when their baby dies? I'll let you in on a little secret....it's not because the baby died. Oh, no. Most women can handle that detail. It's because everything that the woman trusted and loved up and died with the baby. Friendships, hope, self-worth....the very compass that was guiding that woman has been smashed, and she is suddenly left at the top of the goddamn Himalayas, freezing, lost and cold with no direction. 

There needs to be a respect and understanding for the women who can build a make-shift shelter and try to navigate their way out of that frosty hell with frostbitten toes. How dare you question the manner in which she moves off the mountain? How dare you remark that she doesn't look the same as when she started? How dare you tell her that it is taking too long to find her way down?

How dare you assume anything?

Friday, May 2, 2008


My paperwork from the geneticists' office arrived. I felt a little peeved that the geneticists is attached to a perinatal group who's slogan is 'conceiving and delivering miracles'...I feel offended. 

Peyton and I conceived and delivered our own damn miracle, thanks. It's not our fault he was genetically flawed. I don't NEED you, I screamed. This is just standard protocol when your child has trisomy!!!

And then there is that evil, little, warped voice that sing-songed--- 'not yet'.

The paperwork was not as massive as I thought. Most of it was insurance, but there was a section for your history. I used to feel smug when I saw the # of pregnancies/#of miscarriages/#of stillbirths. I was happy with 1/0/0. Now, I'm pissed off I have to write 1/0/1---until I start miscarrying. I assume that is the next logical step to this madness. Lose Ronan, try for months to conceive, get pregnant, get excited, lose another baby. Cry. Bleed. 

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. 

As you can see, my attitude has not improved much this week. I think there is something in the water, or the pull of the moon. Everyone is going through deadbaby blues in blogland.  

I should stop reading, get a grip. But I am starting my mental breakdown early this month. Years ago I read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and marveled how a woman (Susie's mom) could just spiral out of control after losing her daughter. The void. The utter hole in her heart. The affair she eventually had just to feel something other than complete mind blowing pain.

I glance out into blogland (and reflect up on my own) and see that we are all peaking over the edge of the cliff. We keep getting distracted with people calling our names, or thoughts that we still have some use in the world (our husbands, our living children, our friends). 

Sometimes I envy the women who can clear her mind of the distractions of other living beings, be totally selfish and jump. 

Sometimes.