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Thursday, August 28, 2008

KuKd/TTC Word of the Week: BOGS

Greetings KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!

The other day, I was trying to think of a new vocabulary word for the unique stain of booby-milk, frozen pea juice, and melted ice that forms on a woman's sports bra after stillbirth (whoever can guess what frozen pea juice and ice have to do with booby milk gets a dollar).

That got me thinking, wouldn't it be cool to have a KuKd/TTC Word of the Week, generated by reader suggestions and/or my own twisted mind? There are so many nouns and verbs affiliated with KuKd/TTC (or any traumatic event, for that matter) that there aren't words for, from the act of obsessively screwing as much as possible during that one little window of so-called fertility, to the snot-soaked ball of disintegrated mush that Kleenex turns into after a bout of hardcore bawling. Somebody needs to think of what to call these things!

Of course, language-making endeavor will mean potentially coming up with 52 words - yikes - over the course of a year (not that I won't have gotten so completely burned out by this topic and deleted the entire blog during a moment of over-caffeinated insanity by August '09). Nonetheless, I thought I'd give it a try, for even if it doesn't happen every single week, it will still serve to make the English language a bit richer.

And if you ever think of any others you'd like to suggest and define, post a comment or shoot me an e-mail, and I'll add your word to our official democratic KuKd/TTC Dictionary.

To kick it off, I thought I'd start with a word that my regular readers already know, but that's worth reinforcing with a quick definition and related musing. Our first KuKd/TTC Word of the Week is:


Stands for for Books, Grief Counselors and Social Workers. Stereotypical BOGS (or BOGS book author) is a middle- to upper-middle class white woman, usually in the 45-60 age range, who is unlikely to have gone through what you're going through, but acts like she has. Enjoys giving unsolicited advice and getting involved in your drama, kind of like an obnoxious mother-in-law, and chose this profession for that very reason.

Things NOT to say to BOGS (followed by what BOGS will be thinking in response) if you happen to be at a counseling session or support group:

"I'm fine." (BOGS: No, you're not! Your life sucks and you're depressed! When are you going to realize that!)

"I'd like to try again for a baby as soon as possible." (BOGS: No, no, no. You can't say hello to a new baby until you've said goodbye to this one. Rookie mistake. So come back after you've cried eight buckets of tears, eaten a bottle of sleeping pills and nearly slit your wrists, and listened to some depressing Marilyn Manson tune about how much life just blows. THEN we can talk about you trying again.)

"That stillbirth thing? Oh yeah, I'm still trying to get over it." (BOGS: No you're not! You are not, nor will you ever be, 'over it' - and how dellusional of you for even thinking such a thing. People don't get over dead babies, so you'd better get used to being miserable for the rest of your life, honey.)

"I'm coming to terms with not being a mom." (BOGS: WHAT??!? You ARE a mom, and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise! Never mind that you don't have a actual CHILD to take care of. Minor detail. You're a mom, you're a mom, you're a mom.)


Again, shoot me a comment if you have a word or definition with accompanying story, if applicable, to add.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

No Kids Equals Happiness?

G'Morning, Maxwell House Filter Packs!

Yup, that's what I'm slurping down on this overly sunny morning in San Diego. I know, Maxwell House Filter Packs - not the Trader Joe's Dark Roast that I'm used to. But since my dad-in-law made it, and he's the one with stage 2 tongue cancer and the whole reason we drove 25 hours here from Seattle, I'm certainly not going to be the coffee snob who's like, um, sorry everyone, but I'm way too good for this coffee-flavored water. Besides, two full cups did the trick in terms of lifting my spirits and fueling my customary morning bowel movement, so I'm not complaining. As you know, caffeine for a caffaddicted person is like a newborn infant to a KuKd Strong Momma: you take what you can get. Beggars can't be choosers.

(Please don't take that comment, by the way, as a suggestion that out of desperation we all go out and steal babies - although I do think what Holly Hunter did in Raising Arizona was totally freakin' cool. She totally deserved to baby-steal. And if you're a KuKd and/or Trying Desperately to Make a Person, you should seriously check out that movie again - you'll see it in a whole new light. Plus, Nicholas Cage was such a cutie-boy back then!)

On another note, here's the kind of article that - when combined with Maxwell House Filter Packs - makes me want to do cartwheels and loudly sing Zippety-Doo-Dah. And to all my babyless homegirls out there, before you go off and try to steal some rich person's septuplet, you ought to read this article several times. Put it in the bathroom so you can really give it a good, pooping-and-reading-simultaneously Zen type of read. Revel in it. Believe it, if only for a few minutes. Allow it to color the way in which you view yourself, your life without a screaming ungrateful toddler, your current level of overall satisfaction.

For anyone too lazy to read the whole article, here are a few key quotes:

"Parents experience lower levels of emotional well-being, less frequent positive emotions and more frequent negative emotions than their childless peers."

"Marital satisfaction decreases dramatically after the birth of the first child—and increases only when the last child has left home."

"Parents are about 7 percentage points less likely to report being happy than the childless."

"Parenthood [is] significantly more stressful in the 1970s than in the 1950s."

"From baby-lotion commercials that make motherhood look happy and well rested, to commercials for Disney World where you're supposed to feel like a kid because you're there with your kids, we've made parenthood out to be one blissful moment after another, and it's disappointing when you find out it's not."

Of course, every research study is full of gaping flaws. And, I love my kid-having friends dearly. But this article sure got my attention.

Check out Nicholas in his Raising Arizona days. Something about him just makes my heart go pitter-patter.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why Booger-Eating is Fun, and Other Life Truths

Zachary, Sweetheart! Listen up - it's Mom's turn to talk.

As you know, you turned a wise old ONE year old yesterday - hurray for you! I get the sense that celestial baby years go by as fast as dog years, and that you're really like eight or nine compared to earthling baby. At any rate, yesterday was your birth/death day, your dirthday. And to celebrate, I get to feel like a Mom again for a couple of days, which - although I'll usually deny it - is one of the coolest sensations ever.

You're now at that age where you might start wondering about the birds and the bees, asking awkward questions that would make many parents squirm, like "why are boogers so fun to eat?" and, of course, the classic: "why did the American people reelect a fucking barf-bag for president?"

Part of feeling like a Mom again means I get to enlighten you with answers to those tough questions and then some. Most important, as a mature one-year-old, you are now old enough to know where you came from. So let me start with that one, a quick life history lesson, because it might be another year before I can muster up the courage and mental stamina to really focus on such questions. Yes, you have to catch me in a Mommyish mood like this in order to get any real dirt. Sorry, kiddo.

Here's what happened a year and a bunch of months ago. Dad and I got drunk at the tavern and did the wild thang, and boom - you happened (ask Dad what the "wild thang" is). You got big inside my belly and the world was a brilliant, rainbow place. Everybody just loved you.

Five weeks before you were supposed to emerge into the world, you got sick, I mean like really, really sick, and the doctors said you were on your way out. By "out," I mean, you were on your way up to where you are now - Baby Heaven, so it really wasn't that bad (for you, anyway). For Dad and me, though, it was the hardest, scariest thing in the world. The doctors told us if we delivered you like normal, you probably wouldn't survive delivery. And even if you did, you would only live for a few miserable days. Or, they told us, we could do this thing called Termination, which meant putting an end to your pain the fastest way possible. And that's what we decided to do.

So, they stuck needle full of Love Nectar right through my belly and into your teensy weensy heart (okay, it did have some other unpronounceable chemicals mixed in), and poof - you felt instantly better and light as a feather. You shot up into the sky, up and up to Baby Heaven, where you were greeted by hoards of other kids who got the short end of the stick and who are now all living the high life in a penthouse with a fridge full of baby formula, like characters on MTV's Real World. And that little six-pound body and the hurricane of sadness you left behind, well, Dad and I handled that, so don't worry your handsome little brown-haired head about it.

Anyway, there's your story in a nutshell, Zach. Now go off and celebrate your Dirthday with your little friends up there.

Oh, and regarding those first two questions: 1) boogers are fun to eat because they require so much work to obtain, making their consumption oddly satisfying. Kind of like pistachios. 2) as for why the American people reelected a barf-bag for president, I just Googled "why Bush was reelected" and no clear answers came up, so it's best if you ask Dad about it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

One Down, Three to Go!

Greetings, Sprouting Sunflowers!

You may recall that in an earlier post from Budapest, I listed four resolutions to complete upon returning home. One of those was to add some bright orange or yellow to our already overly-painted house. So, yesterday I wasted no time in racing back and forth to the hardware store three times, dropping more cash than K needs to know on paint samples and supplies, and getting to work.

I could have paid extra for the toxin-free paint, which is something responsible Mommies and Knocked Up women might do. But since I am neither, I said screw it and went for the good old fashioned, braincell-killing cheap stuff. This whole messy, expensive endeavor was my idea, not Kevin's, so he stayed out of it.

Before: Green and dark, like a forest filled with depressed trolls.

After: Happy yellow, like a sun-drenched meadow filled with butterflies on Ecstacy!

After I hung up our paintings from Ecuador, I felt so giddy, I momentarily forgot about dead babies!

Tebow helping.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shifting Universes

Hello Sweet Lattes!

K and I returned yesterday from our five-week trip, essentially marking the one-year anniversary our son's dirth (birth + death - what else is one supposed to call it? somebody think of a new word!)

A year ago today, things were just different. To feed my addiction to socializing, I had founded the Seattle Urban Expecting Parents Meet-Up group, which has now grown to 130 couples and changed hands, and I was dragging K to prego-couple outings left and right. I was expecting a baby in less than two months, and had mapped out kid-friendly bars in the area, which is key. Tebow didn't exist (gasp!), which is now unfathomable to me, and we didn't know Tom and Corinne, our dear couple-with-no-kids friends in Seattle, which is equally unfathomable. And there certainly wasn't any of my favorite drinky-drink in the fridge. Golly gosh, it's astonishing to me how suddenly and dramatically our entire personal universes can change, just like that!

Speaking of shifting personal universes, have you ever undergone a traumatic event, and then later had somebody else go through the same thing, placing you suddenly in the role of consoler instead of needer? It's a trip, let me tell you.

A very excellent Hoard-able Friend Who Shall Not Be Named (per the "H" in KuKd Survival Tactics ) just had a two-month miscarriage. :-( This put me in the cosmically strange position of, for the first time since becoming a KuKd Tribeswoman myself, being the one to grieve for a close friend and her lost fetus, of the little person that fetus would have become, of juxtaposing my own experience with hers, and of having to think of what to say. And to my relief, having gone through it myself, thinking of what to say was much easier for me than it would have been two years ago. The words just tumbled out of my brain.

The thing about the KuKd Tribe is that it really isn't that cool - not something anyone WANTS to belong to. It's not like, call 1-800-PREG0-NO today, pay your membership fees and get a free commemorative KuKd brooch! Operators are standing by to take your call! So, I really can't say to this hoard-able friend of mine something like, "welcome to the club!"

I suppose it could be considered a desirable club, like a club of survivors. A tribe of strong people. I could change KuKd to KuKdS, to include the survivors aspect of it, but that sounds a bit too rah-rah feel-goody to me.

OK, off to complete one of my new resolutions from my last post: eat some bacon.

PS - K unexpectedly projectile vomited this morning! He thinks it's from the tofu stir-fry I made last night, but I find that doubtful. Isn't tofu like the most benign food ever, besides Cream of Wheat? I think it was from the chicken on Luftansa Airlines.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Some Resolutions

Greetings KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!

I've never done well with rules. My friend M is so incredibly good at setting boundaries for her own mental and physical health, and sticking to them. For example, she goes on certain kinds of diets, limits her social commitments to a sanity-preserving number, and allots a certain amount of "me time" each day (I'm talking about time to HERself, not time to me, Monica. Not that I wouldn't mind if somebody had "Monica Time" permanently written on a certain square on their weekly calendar). Recently, she decided to drink no wine for a whole month. And she did it. I really admire that quality in her.

I, on the other hand, tend to do whatever is instantly gratifying; who cares if fits into my mental notion-de-jour of what's good and healthy. As an example, I tend to TOTALLY over socialize, even when I'm feeling overwhelmed and really should take some time to myself to just flip through Real Simple magazine backwards (I love the fluff on the last few pages) or take a Calgon bath. Or, I guzzle coffee or white zinfandel or whatver, because it feels good at the moment. Never mind that my gut is probably rotting, I shouldn't be doing happy hour every single dang day, and I'm sleep deprived.

So, here we are on the last leg of our trip - Budapest is hot and gritty and delicious, my arse is still sore from riding like hell, and we'll be home early next week. After five weeks way on a long, trippy adventure with my honey, I feel compelled to briefly blog about some returning-stateside resolutions, things I'm going to do when we get back, or try to do. Rules! Here are few to get started:

1. Since bacon, garlic, butter, and salt were sent from God to make humans feel good, I'm going to eat at least two of them per day.

2. Dance parties, and dancing in general, are good for the world, so I'm going to try to have at least one dancing get together every two months. And I already sent out an Evite for the first one, as soon as we get back.

3. Color! I'm sick of the forest green in our living room. Seattle is already gray and green and depressing, so I'm painting the living room a bright and happy tangerine color or daisy yellow. And, I'm going to try to do that cool watermarked-sponge look that Mediterranean restaurants do so well.

4. Netflix. I'm going to try, for the third time, to get a Netflix subscription and watch one or two foreign movies a month. I really love movies, I just get so stressed out about trying to decide which ones to watch that I've stopped watching them altogether.

Okay, there are more - but that's for the next post. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Beyond Miscarriage and Stillbirth

Greetings KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!

Yesterday, as K and I were doing a bitchin' nine-hour bike ride from the mountains of Slovakia to the Danube River, I got really tired and hungry and sunburned feeling toward the end. Everything was closed and we couldn't find food, which makes me more crabby than most predicaments. So, to make the time go faster, I did the following inside my brain: 1) had an epiphany; and 2) wrote a poem that had absolutely nothing to do with KuKd.

First, the epiphany: I really want to allow myself to talk about things besides KuKd on this blog, because, as I've mentioned, part of my KuKd Survival Strategy has been to let go and move on. That is, reach a point where I can - and do- have an identity, a personality, a life, beyond KuKd. And I'm pretty dang sure I've achieved that (let's make that our little secret, though, for the BOGS would certainly argue disapprovingly that one NEVER "moves on").

The problem is, I personally don't like it when you think a blog is going to be about one thing and ends up being about something else entirely, or worse, seems to be about nothing in particular. I mean, if I don't see the point of a given blog in like two seconds, I say screw it and go play with Tebow instead. This world is ADD-inducing enough.

But therein lies the dilemma: isn't talking about other things actually related to Kukd, because it's part of the KuKd healing process? Isn't dwelling SOLELY on KuKd rather counterproductive, if not downright irritating? I'm sort of irritating myself with all this KuKd talk. And yet, will talking about other things give my reader ADD?

I'm going to gamble that it's OK for me to touch on other topics, to not connect every single little life experience and observation with stillbirth and miscarriage in some way. And if a few people get ADD from my blog, I wish them well. So there's my epiphany.

Next, the poem, which K wrote on his blog but I'll add here, to kick off my whole not-dwelling-on-KuKd identity transformation in the blogosphere:

Riding through Slovakia, I’m in a famished mood.
The villages are cute and all, but don’t have any food.
I really want a burger with a side of tater tots.
Or a chicken-fried schnitzel, wrapped in bacon, lots and lots.
There’s one little shop that might have food. It’s hard to tell.
But the doors are shut and locked. On a Tuesday? What the hell?
There’s a place across the street with tables and some chairs.
I ask if they have food, but all I get are mean stares.
I rummage through my bag again to see if food is there,
But all I find are breadcrumbs and some dirty underwear.
When we cross the Danube, I’m going to find some meat.
Because only one thing’s certain: southern Slovaks do not eat!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Timeline of Healing: Two (or so) Years of KuKd

3 Weeks After KuKd #1: Biking in Canada. What? My crotch can handle this, all while I'm convinced that I have brain cancer AND just delivered a 16-week fetus? Um, okay. I'll believe it when we get there.

3 Months After KuKd #1: Dance Party! Beer plus getting my freak on with K equals happiness. My brain cancer scare is over, for now.

4 months after KuKd#1, visiting with my sister-in-law and nephew. She made a baby; why can't I? I think my ovaries are rotting.

11 months after KuKd #1. Knocked Up Again. Woo-hoo! Ovaries and brain are just fine, and I have a carte blanche to spend unlimited money on groceries at Whole Foods. I am SO over KuKd #1. Sorry little boy fetus.

NO FREAKIN' WAY. KuKd#2. Sorry, but these kinds of things don't happen twice, unless you're like, a serial killer and deserve it. We scatter Zach's ashes at Carkeek Park, and host a brunch afterward. I randomly realize that I accidentally got sundried tomato instead of veggie cream cheese for the brunch, and this disturbs me. Sundried tomatoes taste too much like fruit leather. Then I feel guilty about thinking of something so trival right now. It's your baby's freakin' memorial service Monica. Get over the cream cheese.

4 Months Later: Christmas cookies and wine (yum!) with my non-KuKd mommy friends. Holy Ouch, but I did it! Starting to realize: I'm OK. I think.

4.5 Months Later: Garlic Shrimp in Ecuador - HOLY FREAKIN' YUM. Baby or no baby, this sh*t's good.

7 Months Later: California road trip with both my boys and a hefty supply of $3.99 White Zin, my personal favorite. Starting to write my book on the laptop in the car. Life isn't so bad, really, when you have those anti-motion-sickness wristbands from Walgreen's.

Weetabix Cereal. This awesomely unique cereal got me through lots of hard days. Consists of bricks of flaked, compressed wheat. Learning how to add the exact right amount of milk takes finesse and patience, and after lots of post-KuKd practice, I think I've got it. Very British, with the fancy seal inscribed with something like made in honor of the royal queen or some such thing. How cute to honor your royal ruler like that, on a cereal box of all things.

IN CONCLUSION: Life as a KuKd Tribeswoman is full of ups and downs. These are just a few of the ups that have gotten me to where I am now. Sitting beside my honey in a Slovakian Internet cafe, on our way out to have a beer. With no screaming, poopy-arse kid to stop us.