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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Perspectives

Greetings, Guests and KuKd Strong Mommas!

First, a quick news update:

Some of you may recall my post from a few weeks back, where I questioned where loss lives once it's not just below the surface of your skin, when you're one-or-more years down the pipeline of time after losing someone or something you love.

After some very scientific research and careful consideration of others' feedback, I've concluded that loss is a grapefruit-sized, dark blue-gray blob named Quinoa, sometimes going by the nickname "Milo." Quinoa, aka Milo, oftentimes breaks into a series of smaller, disconnected blobs that float around in your body - similar to what you'd find in a lava lamp - existing in the shadowy cavities of your head and trunk. Sometimes Quinoa, aka Milo, coagulates into a singular, larger blob that drifts toward the surface. It's during that coming-together period that you become acutely aware of its presence, and start feeling like physical and emotional crapola, possibly even breaking into sobs over silly things like a Pampers commercial.

Damn Quinoa, aka Milo. I'm going to call it Quinoa, for the sake of simplicity.

Anyway, this very week marks the 1.5-year anniversary of that which, in the past, I've referred to as the Ultimate Shitty Event. I like to take stock at times like these points of chronological significance: step back and look around, peer down at myself from above, and assess the situation.

A word about the term, "Ultimate Shitty Event," which - even as I say/write it now - seems somehow obsolete, inappropriate, just plain inaccurate. I recall feeling, 1.5 years ago, that stillbirth was just about the cruelest torture that Mother Nature could ever put a person through. It felt just plain wretchedly raw and hurtful, even shameful, the hugest black dot weighing down my time line of life. Stillbirth so surpassed my earlier mishaps in the suckiness department, and was so much grander and more grown-up than anything I'd ever had to face (aside from the trauma of falling into an Uzbek pit toilet, but that's another story), that for me - at the time, and many months thereafter - it was THE most "ultimate shitty event" in the galaxy.

In the context of my basically damn good life, it was.

But let's be honest, and I hope I don't ruffle too many feathers by saying this: the great big stillbirth dot on my time line has grown smaller, more manageable somehow. 1.5 years later, I'm pretty darn sure that shittier things than the miscarriage-stillbirth-miscarriage combo can happen. That this, shittier things have happened to people, are happening to people, and will inevitably happen to me or you or anyone else.

This certainly isn't something I would have said even six months ago, but I'm just far enough down that pipeline of time to where I can say it now with moderate certainty, Quinoa the Loss Blob having dissipated into marble-sized blob-lets in my arteries.

Someday, I'll have to deal with some truly grown-up things that test my survival limits, like burying an adult loved one before me. Somebody like Kevin, my parents, my brother. A child I haven't had yet, but who passes away before me. Or my dog, even (don't laugh). I'm not saying we should all sit around and fret about future horrific events (I do this sometimes, and trust me, it really doesn't get you anywhere).

So now, with the perspective of a wee bit of time behind me, I'd say "Ultimate Shitty Event" is no longer the best term for my son's stillbirth. It just doesn't account for all of the other crappy things going on around the world. Perhaps I'll go back to call it "Zach's Dirth" - that is, his death-and-birth at once, or "Ultimate Shitty Event for Me," which grounds this dramatic term a bit more in truth, without making this grandiose claim that my loss is somehow worse than anyone elses' on this godforsaken planet.

Or I could just not worry about it and call it what it is: "the stillbirth." That's what Kevin would advise if he were lying here on the living room floor beside me, instead of snoozing in the bedroom.

Which brings me to my second "perspective" of the day:

KuKdx3 has turned me into an over-thinker. It just has. I worry too much, I think about things that aren't worth thinking about, I imagine shit that isn't there. So abrupt and surreal is shattering of reality that takes place with a stillbirth, that I still haven't totally figured out what's real and what isn't.

Take the fact that I still, STILL, get convinced every once in a while that there's a lump in my breast, or a tumor lodged in my pelvis, or that one eye looks smaller than the other, or that one bowel movement felt strangely different from the one preceding it. I have no evidence of anything being wrong, other than my own paranoid thoughts swirling around my brain and colliding into one another. It's not as bad as it used to be, back in the days of the frantic late-night calls to the consulting nurse with Kevin looking on, waiting for my bout of panic to pass. Like this one:

"Thank you for calling Group Health. May I have your Group Health ID Number?

"YEAH BUT HANG ON: I'M POOPING BLOOD! I SWEAR, I JUST TOOK MY MORNING DUMP, AND THE WATER IS TOTALLY RED! LIKE BRIGHT CRIMSON! I'M PRETTY SURE IT'S COLON CANCER, BECAUSE - "

"M'am? Did you eat beets with dinner last night?"

"Beets? Actually yeah, I did eat beets."

Silence on the other end.

"Oh, so that's it. Well, never mind then. Do you still need my Group Health ID Number?"

Those kinds of calls haven't happened in a while, to my credit.

More recently, take my sudden, irrational fear of getting pregnant, which crept up on me for really no good reason last month: Kevin and I were happily engaging in you know what (some people call it the Humpty Dance), when I suddenly burst out with: "Pull out. Pull out! PULL OOOUUUUUUUTT!"

I don't know where it came from, this weird fear of pregnancy. And I don't mean to make light of my infertility-fighting sisters' situations. It's just that, I don't get where anything has come from these past few years - the losses themselves, the foreign and confusing emotions that followed them, the cancernoia, the longing for a puppy, the obsessive quest to adopt a baby from Uzbekistan (that idea sort of fizzled, once I saw all the zeros in the adoption fee), the anything. I'm pretty sure I used to have a basic understanding of how the world worked, but everything I thought I knew before has gone out the window. I'm pretty sure I used to think logically about things like whether I wanted children, whether I wanted a pregnancy, but all of that logic has spread like Quinoa the Blob of Loss, and I can't seem to access it.

Oh well.

Coming soon - a third 1.5-year-time-line-perspective relating to my recent tavern date with the Baby Ladies. That is: N and C, my pre-stillbirth prego buddies, the lucky bee-yatches that went on to have their babies after Zach was gone. I learned something new about myself that night.

But you'll have to wait 'till next time.

20 comments:

sharonvw said...

I like this post Mon, well said. I think it illustrates perfectly how the whole world grinds to a hault when each of us in our own way suffers our own personal Ultimate Shitty Event. With time, we will be able to look around and realize that there are worse things in life than our ultimate shitty event, but know that others look as us and can't imagine what it must have been like to bare our ultimate shitty event. I guess thats why each of us walks a different path in life. I mean, pain is pain at the end of the day isn't it?

Brenna said...

I like quinoa (I think...it's a grain, right? In addition to being a sorrow blob? I'm pretty sure my health-food-loving aunt served it to me once or twice).

"...I think about things that aren't worth thinking about, I imagine shit that isn't there..." YES. Yes, I do that too. I just posted something this morning about wondering when a person is mostly all right. I'd say beet poop canceranoia aside, you're definitely mostly okay!

I love your writing. I really look forward to your posts. You blend the humor and the sadness and the thoughtfulness and the ridiculousness of it all so well.

Another Dreamer said...

I just had my second miscarriage, and I think I've developed an utter fear of pregnancy. As I matter of fact, I'm starting to doubt the entire institution of pregnancy. I mean, those woman who pregnancy=baby? That's got to be some sick trick, it can't be from actual pregnancy, right? Pregnancy doesn't equal baby.

Hope's Mama said...

Cancernoia sucks. I have that, too. Seems no stillbirth mummy is immumne from that. I like the humour here amongst the darkness. Keeps me coming back. So thank you.

Heather said...

I love when you post. Your spin on things is intriguing.
I've had the same thoughts about my SB being "The Ultimate Shitty Event" and no matter what happens outside our special little worlds, it IS "The Ultimate Shitty Event"...so far. I've struggled with this because i have a living daughter, and quite frankly her death would be worse. But, since she hasn't died...my sons SB is "The Ultimate Shitty Event" in MY life, thus far! Go with it.
I've had the opposite reaction with paranoia since said U.S.E., I USED to be paranoid about everything...now I just think it doesn't even matter anymore. A few weeks ago the doc called and told me they THOUGHT I had Lupus. Seems like another shitty event about to happen right? Maybe I just couldn't get my head around it, I dunno...but I'm still waiting around in the midst of testing to fin out if I have Lupus...and I don't even care. Three months ago I would have been flipping out and getting an ulcer. I think my sons death put everything else into perspective for me...except pregnancy. I too am TERRIFIED to become preggers again (at the moment). So much so that we don't do "the humpty dance" anywhere NEAR ovo time, raincoats are a must (for the first time!!) and the entire time we're "dancing" I'm consumed with thinking about the U.S.E.! It's sad. Like shake your head kind of sad. And what's with Uzbekistan? Three weeks after my U.S.E. I dreamed we moved there. I don't even know where that is! Anyhow, there's my interruptions because I just can't help myself from commenting. I'm glad your blobs have become marble sized...it's good to know that in a year or so I might feel less...well less whatever it is I still feel now!

Monica LeMoine said...

Glad I'm hitting some common threads with some people. God, I swear I sometimes feel like an alien life form typing into this blog - saying things that are just out there. Refreshing to know that I'm not so "out there" after all. Heather, great story to wake me up.

Shanon said...

It's good to know others have the cancernoia. Mine's not always cancer. It's something different every week. And, since I had some serious health issues following "the stillbirth," I usually end up going to the doctor to tell them about the new life threatening disease I found (and am 100% sure I have). They are generally nice and humor me, and several have told me that "it's all part of the process." Some days I hate the process.

Amanda Roggow said...

No, you're in no way out there. I really like your Quinoa metaphor (though I am sure my health food loving husband would take issue with comparing a wholesome grain to grief and pain but oh well) I think its a great way to look at it. It explains why grief is different for everyone. Some have quinoa that has been able to breakdown into bits through time, therapy, heavy drinking, what ever. Some will have it all rush back together at the oddest times and some haven't been able to break it apart at all. And it TOTALLY can relate to the paranoia of something being physically wrong with myself and I project these fears onto my son and husband too. I also have this irrational fear of Zander specifically getting hit by a car. I think when one has dealt with such loss (and yes there are many people with it way worse, yet many who have no idea what a painful life event feels like) you realize how much you do not have control over anything and the doors have been opened wide in your life to the reality that bad things do happen and may very likely happen again. I really view my own life in two separate phases. Life pre-2005 (when the major traumas started- that year my dad died and my son almost did as well) and everything since. I will never be the same but that doesn't mean it can't be just as good once my quinoa has a chance to settle and feed what makes me strong instead of what makes me grieve. ok-enough rambling- thanks again.

Monica LeMoine said...

What the heck is "Zander," per Amanda's comments above? Probably something obvious that I've missed due to caffeine-induced brain cell scattering.

Viktoria said...

Great imagery. I'll never be able to look at a lava lamp the same way again.

aliza said...

thanks for this post. i can totally relate to the hypochondria thing, i've always had it but now feels so much more real after having a stillbirth. this new found 1.5 year perspective is important, i'm only 7 months down the road and still feel like this is the worst, hugest, shittiest thing ever. so it's good for me to read your words.

Living With Loss said...

Hi there

Just found your blog and wanted to say how sorry I am for all you've been through.

Your writing is interesting and thought provoking and I look forward to coming back and getting to know you more.

I've had 3 miscarriages now and can relate to the worrying about every little thing...imaginery or not! I think when something awful happens it makes you think about all the other terrible things that could possibly happen.

But I can also relate to what you wrote about 'ultimate shitty event'. Sometimes I feel like my world has fallen apart and then other days I feel so guilty when others have been through so much more. Like I cannot imagine the pain of having a stillbirth.

Also just want to say that your bravery is inspiring.

Take care, N

Michelle said...

I like Quinoa I think you described it perfectly. I am also alot like you in the fact that I can take something relatively minor and suddenly I am dying but I have gotten better.

I also do believe that things do get better with time but it does feel like the ultimate shitty event when it happens to you but in the grand scheme of things there are worse things. I try to tell myself this a lot when I am wallowing in self pity about being KuKdx4. I know there are a lot worse things that could happen (many of which I worry about) but sometimes it just doesn't feel that way, you know when the Quinoa coagulates into a large singular blob.

Tis is a great post.

leahjane8 said...

Great post. One that I can totally relate to. Its nice to know I'm not the only one out there thinking some of these things.
I just found out the other day that I am NOT pregnant after the so-called "perfect conditions" of IUI #2 and I sort of think its because I might have cancer. (Can't possibly be that IUI has a pretty low success rate right? No, its probably cancer).

Barbara said...

I refer to George's deathbirth as the worst thing in the world because for me it is or was or is... perspective is tough.

I'm also terrified of getting pregnant again but haven't yet resorted to interrupting the act.

And I have quinoa in the cupboard but it's so messy it sticks to everything when it's cooked. Or maybe I'm doing it wrong.

xxx

Lani said...

i'm still going to consider silas' death the worst thing in the world to ever happen to me. but, i do think all the time about my mil who has ms and is not doing well and how that is going to be awful. don't get me started on the cats.
thanks for that quinoa blob thought- i knew i needed to put a name to what that was swimming around inside of me.

Amanda Roggow said...

Zander is my son's name.

Leon Basin said...

Hey, how are you doing.

Monica LeMoine said...

Amanda, I've got it now, thanks for clarifying. Probably would have gotten that eventually. :-) Please forgive my ineptitude at understanding things!

Amanda Roggow said...

No problem. Zander is an unusual name...kinda like Quinoa...but that was the point of choosing it. :)