Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Rehearsal

note: this was written several years ago during a time that I belonged to a writing group. We would assign words each week and we would have to use them in a piece. It was supposed to teach discipline. I am not good at being told what to write. I write in fits and starts. I could be standing in the middle of a war zone and be compelled to sit down and write a poem about gardening... this one turned out to be cathartic for me though. I like when that happens.

On my way home I felt my mind go crazy. I had to find the damned Fed Ex drop off and I didn't know where the hell I was going. It had to go out that night. Finally I find it and drop the letter off. Then I drove home still crazy and wondering if my blood sugar had dropped too low. Usually I can feel it coming long before the craziness sets it.

Getting home I decided that it is indeed my blood sugar. I throw together a bologna and cheese sandwich on white with tons of mayo. One of the blessings of pregnancy is not watching the calories and the fat. I gobble it up and then leaned back with my pillow wedged into the small of my back. I closed my eyes and was certain the expected feeling of blood sugar stabilization would follow. Not long after, it felt like seconds but it might have been minutes, I felt sick. I felt violently sick. I stumbled into the bathroom where I lost that sandwich mayo and all. Never had I thrown up food so soon after eating it. I groaned loudly about how awful pregnancy was. Blah , blah, if I really knew what pregnancy was all about.

My pregnancy started on a February night in 1987. I had met this guy just weeks before on New Year's Eve. He actually liked me. Points for him. He wined me and dined me. He sent me flowers with a note that said, "I might not say it but I feel it" More points for him. Then he turned on The Righteous Brothers and BAM! baby. I introduce this guy to my mother wondering if anyone else ever used the words "boyfriend" "marriage" and "pregnant" in the same sentence. I still remember she was making pizza.

Lying there on the linoleum of the bathroom I felt dizzy. It was as if the earth was moving but I knew it was just me. I found comfort in the cold floor against my cheek. I stayed there on the floor, it felt like hours but it was really only minutes until the dizziness was gone. I got up and sat on the couch.

That was on a Friday in September. I felt strange that evening but it was not unexpected after the sandwich episode. In the morning I felt funny. I felt detached. I felt quiet. I lay on the couch waiting for the baby to do its usual tap, tap, tap. But there was nothing. Not surprising really. I was 7+ months pregnant and I still had to push down hard to feel it move. But instead of going about my usual day I stayed on the couch, pushing. Later that evening I began opening my pregnancy books and reluctantly turning to the Miscarriage and Stillbirth sections. One sentence kept haunting me, "If your baby dies, you will know you are carrying a dead baby..." I would ask myself, "Do I feel similar to this? What about this, or that?" But I didn't tell a soul. The closest I came was when my mother stopped by that Sunday to make a shopping date with me. She said to me "So are you ready?" I looked at her and said, "No." But I wasn't talking about my baby's arrival. I was talking about my future.

To understand the following events you need to understand my life long fear of not being prepared. I can't go into any situation without already knowing what is going to happen. I panicked at the thought of going to kindergarten because I didn't know what they were going to teach me. That is me in a nutshell. I must rehearse to be ready.

Monday afternoon was my OB appt. It was about 7:00am when I woke. Laying still. Still waiting for the tap, tap, tap. But I knew there would be no tap, tap, tap. I got up and did my dailies. Then I began dressing. As I opened the closet door I hear a voice that tells me to choose carefully because whatever I wear today I would never want to wear again. I was startled but not really surprised. Truthfully, it seemed like the natural thing to do. I began dividing my wardrobe. I like it, I don't like it, I like it, I don't like it. Then I picked my least favorite and put it on. Baby blue with white stripes and a stupid bow. I hated bows on maternity clothes. Perhaps this was my silent revolution against bows? I turned to the mirror and sat to do my hair. The rehearsal began. I had to say it because I didn't want to hear it for the first time from someone else. I needed to know how it would sound. How it would feel. "I'm sorry Mrs J. Your baby is dead" I don't know how many times I said it. But I said it over and over and over. Trying to buffer the shock. I didn't want it to be painful. I wanted it to be familiar. Over and over until my hair was beautiful and my make up was perfect. I left early for my appointment. Everything after that was...expected.

I exchange pleasantries with my midwife as I position myself on the table. Everything in slow motion. She is placing the stethoscope on my belly. I am looking intensely at her face, waiting. Waiting for her line. She keeps moving the scope. We hear a heartbeat and for a moment my heart jumped. "It was all stupid! You are wrong! You are stupid!" Then she says, "I'll be back." I grabbed her arm and say, "Should I be scared?" I will never forget the look on that poor woman's face as she said, "I don't know." But I knew. I knew and I wanted to tell her but she left to find an empty ultrasound room. We walk in silence to the dressing room and she hands me a gown instructing me to come out when I am ready. I undress, put on the robe and then I sit there. I remember looking at these stupid paintings with woman playing a piano with moonlight shining down on her through an open window. For a moment I believed that if I sat there forever staring at these paintings nothing else would exist. I could make everything else stop if I never came out of the booth. It made complete sense to me. But my midwife asked me if I were ready. I had to go. Still in slow motion and in the dark I stare at the ceiling while the tech started. I wouldn't look at their faces but I already knew their expressions. Promped by the midwife the tech says. "I can detect no cardiac activity." It all seems so similar to something I have already been through before. It was oddly comforting to me to know I knew before he did. He leaves abruptly and I begin to act out my role. I cry but I don't feel sorrow. She holds me but I don't need her to. It felt like hours, but it was only minutes. She introduced me to Dr somebody who dispenses with the condolences then tells me that he must get permission to induce my labor because I was so far along and there was a law...blah, blah, blah.

After the labor and the loss and emotions, which I had rehearsed so well that I didn't have to feel them, I lay in my bed looking out through the blinds. Moonlight sparkled down on my sheets. I thought about the moonlight and the woman in the painting playing the piano silently forever. I wondered if she was just like me, just rehearsing.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

One More Rant from the Gem State...

Well I didn't really expect them to shut up so they didn't really disappoint me.

After voting 26 to 9 to bring HJR2 "to the people" this November, crowds of kinda creepy people were clapping and elated. For a minute I thought I was watching the powerball lottery instead of the peanut gallery at the state legislature. Of course, one person was weeping. Nicole LaFavour. She is Idaho's token lesbian. I say that because as an aside I have grown sick of never hearing about her unless it has something to do HJR2. I am pretty sure she does many wonderful things for the people in the district who elected her. But being myopic I suppose the media doesn't think it news worthy. When gay marriage pops up they get a flash of brilliance "Hey! Let's go talk to that lesbian chick!" Even better if they catch her heart felt reaction to this asinine proposition.

Damn. I suppose I owe her office a phone call. See if there is anything I can do. Carry a sign, community outreach...guess I need to start wearing my Vote NO HJR2 t-shirt and putting up with the rolling eyes from those belonging to the country club that is supposedly under siege.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I Want My Mommy...

I want soup...okay no I don't want soup. I want someone to go the store and bring me back a 50 cent toy just because I don't feel good. I want someone to brush my hair and put a cold towel on my head. I want...pain pills...NOW.

There really is nothing better than having vein surgery on Valentine's Day. Scratch that, having vein surgery at anytime. Tons of fun. Dr. said I would be up and around tomorrow. Riiiiight. I can't get to the bathroom without using words unfit for my children to hear. Is there any consolation? Well I have been able to listen to my collection of Melissa Etheridge CD's today and while still doped up on demerol I had the most wonderful dreams. I posted some rather weird posts on my message board I frequent. I actually thought about posting this rant there this evening but decided to share its glory with the entire freakin world instead. Why limit the joy?

Tell me just how much faith would you have in a Dr. when his nurse has to mark in sharpie which leg he is working on?
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Where are my pain pills? I called the Dr. and begged the man...tried to convince him that I really wasn't feeling very chipper this evening. He said, "Huh, I've never had that happen before." Sure you haven't mister keeper of the prescription pad....damn it GIVE ME PAIN PILLS!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Will Someone Please Shut Up My State Legislature...

I have reached my physical limit of irritation with people who drone on and on about the need to "protect" marriage. Seriously, it makes it sound as if they are members to some posh golfing club. God forbid we allow others the same joys of marriage that I have. Let's see recent joys I can remember... being bored to tears at routine, cooking dinner for the one millionth time, the same old reactions to the same old problems. Yes lets "save" this for the right people shall we?

Or perhaps it's that we don't want to give others the same feeling of the stability or the "foreverness" or comfort that marriage can bring. If this is the case, then shame on us all. We are infinite beings of a vastly loving God. We all yearn for a taste of eternity which through commitment from another person can give us. I can't imagine denying this to someone because they don't love the "right" person. Again I say SHAME ON US.

I envision my creator, after he is done with this grand experiment lining us all up in a row. Black, White, Muslim, Christian, Athetist, Gay, Straight.... and laughing at us (in pity not in joy) for our embarrassing ineptitude at understanding exactly what part of love really needed our protection.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I Hate February...

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There are no words in which to describe my dislike for this time of year. I have long since lost my desire for a white Christmas. I have little patience for frigid winds. I am cold, my spirit held hostage, my body yearning for the gentle touch of the sun. I long for respite in my garden of roses, for naked feet, for splendor in the grass... Hurry Spring, hasten your step. I am waiting.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Victory At King Hill

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*PPD is a killer. Even if you survive it, it kills a little piece of us that we never get back. That part inside of us that we have harbored since we were children dreaming of happily ever after. In it's place we find strength of steel and a small serving of melancholia. This is dedicated to all the women out there who have at sometime or another lived a life of quiet desperation. There is hope. I made it across the bridge and so can you.

Victory At King Hill

King Hill, exit 129. It's just a bridge. It spans an impressive gorge under which the Snake River flows. It connects Glens Ferry to Bliss. Nothing note worthy or unique about the bridge. People drive over it everyday on their way to some place else. I drive over it several times a year on my way to someplace else. But there was a time when King Hill was a plausible destination.

In the year of 2001 I gave birth to my last baby. What followed was a mental firestorm of joy, sadness and fear. Lethargy so strong I didn't think I had enough strength to take a breath. As the days crept by I began wanting it to stop, begging and bargaining it to stop. "Passively suicidal" is what they called it.

The first time I saw King Hill through the eyes of PPD was like an epiphany. My heart raced as I realized this was the perfect place. Icy roads, long drop...perfect. How is it I had passed by this place for 4 years and never saw the obvious? As I passed over it this time we seemed to make a promise to each other. The bridge would stay there and patiently wait and I would come back.

After I dropped 2 of my children off with their father I realized this would not be the time. I still had 2 others in the car with me. A shiver ran up my spine as an image of Susan Smith floated just above my consciousness. The bridge understood and reassured me of its commitment. "I'll be here when you are ready."

For months it beckoned to me as I dutifully began my medication. Each trip over the bridge was reaffirmation of our eventual date. Each trip over the bridge there were those remaining 2 reasons that kept me driving. Saddened at my bad timing, my voices would berate me for my hesitation. "Not even capable of dying, Worthless, stupid, nothing."

This time passed slowly. PPD is a subtle slide. You don't know you are moving until you are already moving too fast to catch yourself. Recovery is even more subtle. You get so accustom to feeling despondent that you no longer entertain the thought of feeling better. I was on autopilot. Spring vacation loomed ahead as I once again packed my kids into the car for another trip to their dad's. As I came around the bend in the interstate there it was. I was suddenly confused. Had I forgotten this place? It seemed ordinary and inanimate. Wasn't this bridge my intimate friend? I searched my head. I searched my heart. I searched my body for some reaction. All I found was silence.

After dropping the kids off I returned to the interstate. For an hour and a half I tried to make sense of the quiet. I began wondering if more things had changed and indeed realized that even breathing had quit being a chore. Could this be recovery? How had I not noticed? I glanced into the back of the car and realized that my 2 little reasons hadn't come with me this trip. I was alone. Then as if orchestrated by a God who was desperately trying to get my attention, I crested the hill and saw King Hill exit 129. It was just a bridge. Nothing note worthy or unique. And I passed over it on my way to someplace else. No, my heart danced over it on it's way to someplace else. In an instant it seemed King Hill had become my harbinger of recovery. My celebration of life. My victory.
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