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Monday, September 29, 2008

I Assumed

Greetings, Guests and Awesome Ovulation Charters!

Natalie posted something a while back called "Never Assume." I really like this short, meaningful little post. But admittedly, last weekend at Target, I assumed.

There are some things which, if seen in somebody else's shopping cart or in the cashier line ahead of you, make you automatically look up to find out who's buying it. You know, that cart with a baby in the baby part and a mountain of Coca Cola cans, white Wonder bread, boxes of donuts, sugar cereals, and candy bars in the main part (um, didn't these people get the memo on what's healthy?). The lacy red panties - of course it's always a dirty old man named Lester with those in his cart. The Preparation H, the condoms, the diaphram, the douche, the KY Jelly. The prunes (look who's constipated today!).

Well, last weekend at Target, it was a pregnancy test. I looked down innocently and saw it on the conveyor belt in the cashier line - and since I certainly didn't put it there, I knew it had to belong to the customer in front of me. So of course, I had to look up and see who's preggers.

It was a teenage kid - probably about sixteen or seventeen - braces, baggy jeans, a few zits here and there, a baseball cap pulled down low over his eyes, but not low enough to hide the dark circles that were there. He looked tired, or anxious, or both. Hands in pockets, glancing around in kind of a nervous teenage boy kind of way. If I saw him in the aisle looking like that, I might have tagged him as a shoplifter.

And during my three second-long glance at his partially hidden face, down to his toes and back up to his face, I assumed: your baby won't miscarry, or be born still, or die after birth. Your baby is going to come out perfectly, like it or not, so get ready to grow up fast, kiddo.

And boom - there it was. My assumption. I know, isn't that strange? How the heck do I know that prego test was even for him, let alone whether his child will be born healthy and alive? Maybe it was for his brother, or maybe for a high school science experiment. Maybe his friends dared him to buy it. Maybe they were all outside waiting for him to see if he really carried it through. But somehow, I doubted that.

Nope - my assumption was done, and I can't take it back now. It's kids like him - kids who have an almost visible cloud of gloom above their heads as they buy that pregnancy test, already knowing that the result will be, whose babies work out.

Friday, September 26, 2008

F*ck Ovulation Charting

Greetings and Warning, KuKd Mommas and Inquisitive Guests: This is a Bad Mood, Profanity-Laden Post.

It started last weekend like this: "I should really start doing what other intelligent and responsible thirty-something-year-old-women do: figure out when I ovulate." Everyone and their grandmother seems to know when they ovulate. My friends all know when they ovulate. Some of them print out color-coded charts showing when they ovulate, laminate those charts and hang them on the wall and memorize them. Regardless of whether we ever decide to try for a baby again, I should probably know when I ovulate.

So, K buys a BBT thermometer from Target, and I throw away the instructions because I'm tired of little crumpled receipts and useless scraps of paper littering the kitching table and office desk. Something like a thermometer should be completely intuitive to use, shouldn't it? Press a button, stick in mouth, and beep.

Two days in a row: forget to put thermometer by my bed. And once you get out of bed, it's all over - temperature stats are worthless, as we all know, and you'll never find out when you ovulate. Ha ha!

Third day: put it by my bed, but forget to take temperature in the morning.

Fourth day, this morning, I remember. Try to take temp when K's alarm goes off at 6:45 - can't figure out how to work the dang thermometer. Press button, hear beep, put in mouth, never hear another beep. Eff around with it for a few minutes, pushing the button, holding it, sticking in mouth again, nothing. Frustrated, get up. Screw this; need coffee.

Same morning, coffee in hand, start a chart thingy on fertility friend dot com, which gives me an automatic password that's way too hard to remember, like fmeouf98efzzuei##k9e8fefe. Who the fuck develops these websites? Look at thermometer again and press button a bunch of times, see something that looks like a temperature but I'm not sure. Enter it anyway.

Rummage around for thermometer instructions (maybe I only THOUGHT I threw them away...) while K reads over his lesson plan as if nothing's awry. Irritated that he isn't as concerned as I am, I throw the thermometer against wall and say "fuck this." Get up, try to break it in half, knowing I'm acting irrational - we spent ten freakin' dollars on that thing!- but not caring. The thermometer won't break, so I toss it in garbage can and shove it way down there, underneath the dripping empty tomato cans and stinky styrofoam that the chicken from 2 days ago was packaged in.

Slam lid on garbage can and mumble, "I'm sick of being the only one who cares if I get pregnant. Fuck it, we're not going to have a baby, not now or ever." So the truth comes out, even to myself: THAT'S why I'm trying to chart my ovulation.

Kevin stands up and says, "What! I'm the one who bought the fucking thermometer. I'm going downstairs." Gathers all his stuff and stomps down into the basement, surely to escape this raging bitchy lunatic of a wife.

Thermometer suddenly starts beeping incessantly from deep within the garbage can. I kick garbage can hard with left foot, beeping stops. Tebow's staring at the garbage can, mostly interested in that gross 2-day-old chicken juice smell coming out.

Ahhhhhhhhggggggghhhh! F*ck ovulation charting.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dear Sperm: Find the Goddamned Egg

Greetings, KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!

As you know, there are many women out there whose problem isn't so much getting Knocked Down, but getting Knocked Up in the first place. On behalf of those and any other women tired of having their own reproductive systems blamed for their woes (and I'm just as guilty as anyone of cursing my own pelvic area) I thought I'd issue the following letter, a petition of sorts, to Sperm. You are welcome to add your support or additional stipulations by posting a comment.


DEAR SPERM:

We, the undersigned, hereby issue this notice of formal reprimand for the following violation: not finding the goddamned egg.

As indicated in our contractual agreement, you have one primary function in this organization: finding the goddamned egg. You were hired under the assumption that you possessed adequate experience to achieve this mission with limited additional training or support, as evidenced by your impressive resume. During your second interview, you attested to your own intimate familiarity with the female reproductive territory. Your list of prior positions held seemed to indicate that you were fully prepared to take on the physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging task of finding the goddamned egg.

And yet, month after month, you have failed to meet the minimum quota of ONE. Although a few months of initial underperformance is normal in the industry, you have now been employed with us for so long that we expect much more. We expect you to find the goddamned egg.

During your employment with us, we have attempted to assist you with numerous resources - much more training and professional development than what we thought would be required. From temperature taking and ovulation charting to IVF procedures and hormone therapy, many of these measures are not only time-consuming and anxiety-producing, but financially burdensome. Using such resources isn't unlike a hunter using a deer blind to assist in finding his prey: somewhat of a cop out, and certainly not a sign of strong employee performance. Again, your resume indicated that you would be capable of succeeding in what has already been deemed achieveable by countless sperm around the world, without exhausting so many company resources: finding the goddamned egg.



I have included, with this memorandum, a map of the female reproductive system as an additional resource to assist you in doing your job: finding the goddamned egg. We know there there are numerous challenges which may be impeding you from completing your objective, but independent problem solving is a very large part of your list of job responsibilities. This means, it doesn't matter if the eggs are hidden or damanged or scarce. It doesn't matter if the reproductive territory is that of a shriveled old woman. There is no obstacle that can't be solved with a little ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking. Figure it out, and find the goddamned egg.

A copy of this letter will be kept in your permanent employee file. From this point forward, your progress will be monitored on a monthly basis, especially before and during the ovulation period. In the event that your sales numbers do not improve, further disciplinary action will be taken against you.

Sincerely,

Monica L. et al.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

KuKd Word of the Week: "SO, HONEY" QUESTION

Greetings Strong KuKd Mommas and Brave Guests Who Dare to Set Foot in this Emotionally Charged Talkspace for Reproductively Effed-Up Women!

First, I thought I'd start this post with a virtual shout out to all my lovin' peeps out there who I know are regularly popping in to this blog, and sometimes even commenting. I've often felt that blogging is a rather one-sided and unhealthy kind of relationship. One person blabs on and on while the others - that entity called "my readers," passively listen - occasionally adding a remark or two - but getting nothing in response. How wholly unsatisfying!

So that you don't suddenly decide you've had it with this kind of dysfunctional and unbalanced mode of conversing, I thought it best to just make it known that I drink up your commentary like nectar from a lotus blossom, and post comments of my own when I can. I may not respond to all of your comments directly via personal e-mail, largely because I can't figure out how to do it on Blogger (tips, anyone??), but also because I sometimes just can't make that happen. One day, I hope to be like Shaz, who is one of the social QUEENS of the KuKd blogg-o-culture, and one of the most attentive and caring and personally welcoming KuKd Mommas I know. She ALWAYS writes me back, so I know she's listening. To my own dear readers, I do know and love that you're here!

OK, glad to have scraped that junk out of my system. And now, the moment you've been waiting for! This week's KuKd Word:

"SO HONEY" QUESTION - a passively nosy question asked by an older female relative, usually one's own mother, in an attempt to glean some information about your reproductive status.

The best example comes from my own dear mother, bless her heart.

"So, honey, your dad and I were wondering if you've given any more thought to that gender selection thing? You know, the sperm-spinning thing to try to have a baby girl? Because, if you decide you want to do that, we can certainly help you with the money. It'll be our treat."

Okay, let's analyze this particular "So Honey" question.

It starts with "so," giving the impression of a new and offhanded remark - not particularly relevant to anything or all that important. Just passive and innocent, right? Throw in a "honey" to sweeten the conversational pot - of COURSE she's only asking me this because she cares about me, and not because she really wants to know. I'm her honey after all; how could I possibly NOT confide in her.

Notice the question mark after that first sentence - the upturn in tone at the very end. Again - a subtle attempt to give the impression of just an ordinary question - not at all nosy -nothing different from "how was your day at work yesterday?" A subtle yet clear indication of a "So Honey" question - listen carefully for those upturns.

Now, take careful note of the way my mom says "the sperm-spinning thing." So casual! Using such non-scientific terminology shows that she hasn't really looked into this procedure or given it more than a passing thought - she just happened to remember just now that it was something I'd mentioned months and months ago.

The final remark is my personal favorite - "it'll be our treat." A beautifully subtle way to get me to warm up to her question, perhaps feel less caught off-guard. Perhaps money IS the issue, and if so, she does need to know about it. Just in case, you know, that's the ONLY thing that's getting in the way of her getting a grandchild. May as well cover all bases.

There are other examples- but that's a nice classic one to start you off with. Oh, where would I be without my mom's "So Honey" Questions! I mean that - my mom is one of the most stellar and adorable - albeit nosy - people I know. And you know what? At the heart of the So Honey Question, as much as I laugh at it, is one of the saddest truths about KuKd: we non-productive gals want our mommies to be happy, and there ain't much that makes 'em happier than a grandkid. I can only WISH that all it took was some $$$ and I'd be guaranteed a lovely living baby. I'd say yeah Mom - treat me! Please!

For now though, I'll just keep hedging, and fumble for the right way to give enough info to satisfy, but not so much that I feel all gross discussing my sex life with my mother. Blegh.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

An Epiphany

Greetings, KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!

A few weeks ago, I had an epiphany. It all started with a birthday invitation: Cassie's Turning One!

Flashback: once upon a time, I had two prego buddies: N and C. Life was just grand, with our bellies burgeoning in sync, our babies kicking, our petite enfants due the exact same week in October 2007. Prego massages together, excited discussions about how COOL it was going to be to raise our kids in unison! Ah, glorious life.

Then along came my Ultimate Shitty Event. N and C went on to have their babies not long thereafter, a boy and a girl respectively. This yanked my heart in a million different directions. Dominic and Cassie were the names of these delightful children, who, in another life, could have been Zach's best buddies growing up. Dominic, his partner in bug-killing crime. Maybe his first experimental gay lover in high school. Cassie, the girl who would teach him to stick gum under the kitchen table. Or maybe be his future girlfriend.

With C and her daughter, I was able to shakily and urgently continue a friendship. But with N and Dominic, the pain was too visceral, the sight of her beautiful son growing and changing and looking exactly like what Zach might look like, the mirror image of my own lost life everytime I saw her, was too much. So self-preservation kicked in, and I stopped returning her phone calls.

Fast forward to the future, just a few weeks ago: Cassie's Turning One! A birthday invitation. And yes, N and baby Dominic, whom I hadn't seen in six months, were going to be there too. I instinctively said "no," of course, because don't people like me have an eternal excuse to avoid potentially hurtful situtations? Baby-saturated situations? Friends with babies? Flushed prego mommies? Doesn't the world forgive us forever for protecting ourselves, clinging to our fears of hurt and loss? Us poor women who want something so freakin' bad and don't get it? Or maybe can't ever get it?

The answer, I discovered, is NO.

C asked why I wasn't coming, and I told her. I told her she knew how much it hurt to be around N and Dominic, not to mention all those other babies that would surely be there. Nothing against Cassie or anything, she's cute and all, but gotta look out for myself.

To my utter shock, C's response was unlike anything anyone had EVER dared to say to me before: "I try to understand, but sometimes I just want to be like, COME ON!" she said. How will I know I can't be around N and Dominic if I don't bother trying? Can't I just go, to celebrate C and her child? To be a part of her life like all of C's other friends? All of this came out. In a tough-love kind of way.

It stung to hear it, this subliminal suggestion that it was time for me to pull my head out of my arse and get with the program. Time to shed my tired fears that I've been clinging to, leaning on as a crutch for the past year, fear of any event that might trigger me to feel a stabbing sense of loss. It's been so easy to just refuse to be around babies, refuse to engage with them, because I know I'm allowed to be that way. I'm the one that lost the damn baby, after all.

But, after a roller coaster day of looking up at the starry sky and peering deep into my soul and brushing the dust off Zach's framed pictures, I realized: C was right. It WAS time for me to return, finally, to meet my ever-supportive friends halfway, return to their lives, and celebrate the maddeningly beautiful kids they brought into the world. Time to give back, after so much taking and needing this past year. Time to be there on a day that was really important to C and Cassie, and push aside my own hang-ups. Time to rise higher than this, strive to be more of the friend I used to be and am capable of being, and find that balance between holding on to my son's memory and reengaging with the universe.

So I did. I told her I'd go, but reserved the right to do a couple of whiskey shots beforehand to lighten the blow to my ego, and she laughed and said okay. I didn't do the shots, but went with my head on straight, and guess what: it was fine. Not just fine, but great. I bonded with N again and reveled in the baby goodness, didn't feel resentful or writhe around in self-pity like I thought I would. It was like I had shed this big heavy weight off my brain and heart and soul.

Oh, and C made this AWESOME cake with a pile of cupcakes on top of the cake. Who knew such a thing was possible!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why I Love Him

Greetings Readers, both the Reproductively Wacked and Not So!

There are so many reasons why I love K, that man of mine, more reasons than I can possibly list here. So I'll give just one: he keeps me grounded on planet earth.

Case in point: while I'm sitting here endlessly philosophizing about my own status as a reproductively wacked woman, K's talking about more important matters such as this.

My favorite line: "I called Monica out to watch the walls from the outside, and she forced me to wear my bicycle helmet, like the weird child of the paranoid parents."

See, that's death-a-noia right there. A future KuKd Word of the Week.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Devastating News

Greetings, Coffee Grounds! You'll want to sit down for this one.

It saddens and embarasses me to report: I caved. It happened fifteen minutes ago. I needed inspiration to write the next chapter of my book, and some energy to get ready for tonight's cocktail party. But that brick on my brain was blocking any sort of motivation to do anything other than sit and stare at the wall. And then, the espresso machine ten steps away started calling my name.

"Monnnnnnnicaaaaaaaaaaa," it said in a deep and womanly voice. Hypnotizing, with undertones of evil, like the witch in Snow White. I ignored it at first. "A double latte...just two little shots...won't hurt you or your uterus. Come here, my pretty!"

And that's all it took. Overcome by primitive urges, my body screaming for a buzz, I succumbed. And here I am now, having savored and downed a tall size double latte with whole milk (organic). As I sit here now, life is suddenly a brighter place, and I'm off to chip away at my book!

Today's chapter draft to be edited: the Yeast versus Bacterial Tribes of Vaginistan. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, consider yourself lucky.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

There's a Brick on My Brain

Good Afternoon, from your Dull-Minded Sleepyhead KuKd Momma!

Yes, that's me - my first day off the dark elixir, and it's wretchedly horrible. HELP!!! I've only drunk water and green tea today, like a good girl. Anyone who claims that green tea gives any type of energy boost whatsoever is living in la-la land, sorry folks. There's just nothing like the real stuff, the black stuff, the strong stuff.

My drip coffee maker AND my own espresso machine (yes, I'm snobby like that) are RIGHT THERE in the kitchen, ten steps away. It would be so easy for to get up right now, walk over there and brew myself a mug, lifting this heavy fog off my brain and making me feel like a human being again.

But no, I'm giving it a try, this no-caffeine thing, because K and I are now leaning ever-so-slightly more in the direction of trying to get knocked up again. I've seen lots of conflicting studies on the topic of caffeine and fertility, but of course it's the most shockingly bad ones that stick out in my mind. Namely: caffeine coats a woman's ovaries in some kind of anti-pregnancy, pro-miscarriage film of slime and makes us forever infertile and/or prone to becoming a dead baby factory like me.

So I'm trying to go off it for good - it's all or nothing. It's 2:29 my time - counting the minutes before this day of withdrawal is over- and hoping I'll be totally over it in the morning.

By the way, what IS the deal with coffee? Does anyone know if it really affects fertility, or am I going the longest sleepy-headache in vain?

Mamma mia.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Life-Lovin' Moments

It happened in three stages. First, Tebow knew it was coming - look at the trepidation in his eyes. HEEELP! Next, the unstoppable onslaught of lukewarm water and an all-natural tea tree oil lather! AAAWOOOOOO! And then finally, clean as a whistle. A real baby boy could never look this cute! ;-)









Friday, September 5, 2008

KuKd Word of the Week: CANCERNOIA

Greetings KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!

Here's something interesting. The Journal of Social Work in End of Life and Palliative Care (I did not make that up) suggests that "maternal grief" following miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death can lead to - you guessed it - "fear of personal extinction!" Isn't that exciting? You can imagine how pleased I was to have my post-KuKd death-a-phobia deemed legitimate in a mighty Journal-of-Blah-Blah-Blah.

Which leads to this week's KuKd Word: CANCERNOIA - irriational fear of getting (and dying from) cancer. Given that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S, and that "cancer is more curable when detected early," it's no wonder that some of us find ourselves running around trying to detect our own frustratingly vague cancer symptoms, which probably aren't even indicative of cancer, but could be. That's the problem.

Take some of the Mayo Clinic's stated symptoms of ovarian cancer, for example. Abdominal pressure and bloating (who hasn't felt this after a large steak dinner?). Urinary urgency (um, can we say, every morning?). Pelvic discomfort (chronic for me, but could be a symptom of a zillion other things). Gas (I heart beans! Enough said). Increased abdominal girth (no, my pre-knocked-up clothes still don't fit. Cancer?). Low back pain (been that way for a while, which is why I stuff a pillow behind my back while driving. Cancer?). Persistent lack of energy (yes, when I skip my 3pm cup of coffee. Coffee masking my cancer symptoms?).

For me, cancernoia hit me about two months after my first miscarriage. One day I was sitting around in our air conditioned house in Arkansas, Googling ways to escape Arkansas, when BAM - I noticed my hand felt tingly. And that made me look up what that could mean. And of course, in some cases, it can mean cancer. So that got me to start Google-Imaging "30 year old with cancer" to see what other people with cancer might look like, just on the off chance that they might look like ME, young and healthy and normal. And low and behold, some of them did. People just like me with cancer. Meaning I wasn't immune to getting it. Nooooooo!!!!!

Once I realized that it was within the realm of possibility that I could get cancer, I couldn't escape that notion, and I got scared. Like, absolutely terrified that I might have it, or could get it later, or that Kevin might get it.
Fear of my own "personal extinction." When I told a grief counselor about my cancernoia, she didn't immediately refer me back to my doctor to give me a full-body tumor scan. Instead, she gave me that look of "poor, neurotic Monica" and suggested that anxiety meds might be in order. I really hated having somebody suggested that I was crazy, just for acting crazy.

I will say that, as I said in my last post, my own cancernoia has subsided to a degree, but it's still there in case I ever get some spare time again to freak out about my own health. I think it's a good word to know.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Annual Self-Psychoanalysis

Greetings, Chilled Glasses of White Zin from a Box!

That's been my top drug lately, unless you consider caffeine a drug, which of course it isn't - for how on earth could a multi-bazillion dollar mainstream company like Starbucks get so rich off a freakin' drug. Drugs are for losers, not upper middle class consumers!

Anyway, it's time for my annual mental health check. I never used to pause to gauge my own normality, but don't you think it's something we all should do from time to time, especially after traumatic events like burning your crustless quiche in the oven during a fancy dinner party, or getting KuKd? Who needs BOGS to tell us if we're sane; I think most of us already have a solid general understanding of what's normal. Like, gnawing one's own hand: abnormal. Drinking one's dog's pee: abnormal. Doing a hundred jumping jacks at every rest stop during road trips: normal - it's an old road-trip-survival trick of mine.

So here I go, and I'll try to be brief.

Cancer-noia (soon to be a KuKd Word of the Week, so stay tuned): Getting better, but still needs work. No longer convinced that I have a burgeoning tumor behind my left eyeball, or that my right boob seems suspiciously larger than my left one in a cancerish way. Still have mysterious, chronic pelvic pain, but have stopped obsessively reading excerpts from Gilder Radner's ovarian cancer diaries online, or looking up Pevic Pain on WebMD to find out what kind of cancers it could be. Continued fear of plastics, preservatives, processed foods, chemical lathering agents in soaps, and other carcinogens. Sometimes feel trapped by carcinogens, as if they're following me around, seeping into my body and dooming me (or worse, Kevin) to cancer of some sort. Sometimes want to go live on the moon, where it's probably safe. But not to the point of buying a space suit (yet).

Irrational Death-anoia: Dull fear of death and dying persists, but major anxiety attacks subsiding. Had a brief crying fit in our very Soviet hotel room in Latvia, because it dawned on me once again that Kevin or I could die at any minute. This made me not just sad, but absolutely terrified. For without Kevin, I don't know if I could survive. And without myself, I definitely know I wouldn't survive. I might even be in Hell, for having used some combination of the F-word, "Jesus," and "dead baby" in the same sentence more than once in my life. And you know what Kevin did as I heaved wretched sobs? He chuckled, and suggested we go get some pork-kebabs and 12-percent alcohol beer. So we did, and I felt better. But the fear is still there. Will keep an eye on it.

General Stress Level: Still over-scheduling myself, afraid of saying "no" to anyone, avoiding confrontation, occasionally resentful of the pods of stroller-pushing mommies at Greenlake, where I like to go jogging. Wish they'd go away - maybe find their own lake. Working on all of these issues; recently started drinking green tea and doing more jumping jacks, this time in the living room, to relieve stress.

Reaction to Similac and Motherhood Maternity Ads Still Arriving in the Mail: Fine - I use them as toilet paper.

Reaction to Dead Baby Jokes Excellent - bring 'em on.

Reaction to Actual Dead Babies - Fine, I would imagine - although I haven't actually encountered one since my own. It's not like I see dead babies all the time, littering the streets of north Seattle.

Ability to Be Around Babies and Baby-Having Friends - Abnormal, and needs work. This is a particularly sore spot for me right now, for just recently it hit me that I still feel really pouty and sorry for myself, entitled to a permanent carte-blanche to skip events where I might encounter happy mommies and babies, and that everyone might be getting rightfully sick of this crappy attitude. It's like, I've been so obsessed with preserving my own fragile happiness that I've forgotten how to be appreciative and supportive of my friends with babies, and their actual babies. It's been a year, dude. I need to get up, get over it, get on. Show some love to my friends who have given MORE than enough. Will keep working on this issue, sniff sniff.


That's all for now - I'd give myself a 6 or 7 on a scale of ten, depending on the day.

Coming soon - the KuKd Word of the Week #2!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Feel-Good Day

Good Morning KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!

I need to add "Laugh" and "Write" to my KuKd Healing Strategies and here's why.

As some of you already know, I decided at some point that losing a four-month fetus and a Real Baby consecutively is so horrid and shocking that it's just plain hilarious. Even funnier is how the human brain works, the ways in which we process grief and loss, the weird-ass things we do and say and think when faced with unthinkable trauma. Now there's a topic that "hasn't been sufficiently mined for laughs," as my friend Hardin puts it.

So sometime during a positively crotch-bruising horseback ride about four months after I'd expelled my own dead child, it hit me: I have a story, and I need to write a book. Not just any old boo-hoo book, but a humorous memoir of pregnancy and infant loss.

I was rather frightened by my own idea, which seemed - and still seems - incredibly dangerous. If I am to tell my story fairly, I have to do so with brutal honesty. But what if I ruin myself by revealing my deepest, darkest, most make-fun-of-able KuKd thoughts and behaviors? What if I offend people by making light of dead babies? What if I'm a bad writer? What if I get rejected? What if my story sucks? What if I don't even have a story?

But I knew that digging into this wretched topic in search of humor was my calling, because it is, in fact, my nature to laugh so hard at life that I just about pee myself (which, in fact, nowadays I sometimes do, thanks to that dead baby and the serious muscle-weakening that accompanied him). And so I created a new Microsoft Word folder entitled "Monica's Prego Loss Book," saved it on the desktop or our beat-up laptop, and started writing and writing and writing.

And, 50,000 words into my memoir and nearing the point of submitting it to some agents, it IS a roller coaster ride, peppered with ego-shattering moments. Take last month, for instance, when I read what I thought was an okay chapter out loud to some friends, and afterward got nothing but blank stares and a suggestion that I might be overusing the word "compelled." That's it - not a single "wow" or "that's great" or "I like the part where" blah-blah. Nothing. Were they offended by the part about wearing my sports bra on my first day of work, just in case my body decided to go into spontaneous dairy mode during our faculty meeting? Were they shocked speechless by the sheer badness of my writing? Kevin did tell me later that it "wasn't one of my best," which I guess made me feel better. Sort of.

But then, I have moments like this. Today, a little piece of my book - a tiny little window into my story - got published in Mamazine. It's the first time I've ever been published, and it gives me hope and courage to keep going with my book project. For if people think it's OK for me to intermix the topics of stillbirth and farting in the same written piece, then I'm figuring it's kosher to keep writing my book. And if I'm sent to hell for daring to find humor in dead babies and fetuses, well, so be it. I'm just going to keep puking out that story until it's told, and hope that somebody believes in me enough to publish it.

Here I am, naked and exposed, and it feels good! A feel-good day. My story is called "Motherly:" http://www.mamazine.com/Pages/feature120.html

Whatever your story may be, write it down. And if you're feeling brave, put it out there for others to read. Trust me - it's a cool feeling.