Yup: I just called you (some of you, anyway) a scout! Hold on a sec, and I'll tell you why.
One of my favorite activities is thinking of books to write - especially when my brain is charged on artifical caffeine energy. K and I both do it, as is true for a lot of other people, I'm sure. Don't you ever find yourself in the middle of ordinary conversation and suddenly you or someone else goes: "Dude! Someone should totally write a book about that!" K and I will get really into it for a while, but nine times out of ten, the idea just sort of fizzles - as so many ideas do.
Only one of my crazy-book-writing-ideas didn't fizzle. The only reason this one didn't fizzle, I'm pretty sure, is that I was driven by such pure, raw KuKd-emotional-pissed-off energy - not to mention loads of coffee to boot - and somehow this gave me the drive to crank 75,000 words onto a laptop over the course of a year or so. It's not officially ready to go just yet, but should arrive at my doorstep in bubble-wrap packaging in a month or two looking more or less like this:
Best of all, it contains some hand-drawn sketches that I shakily produced on my #174 bus commute to work - things like g-string panties fighting with Hanes flowered bloomers, and me clutching my milk-squirting breasts with a horrified expression. Oftentimes there were sketchy old geezers looking over my shoulder as I drew with black marker in a dog-eared notebook - but it didn't bother me so much, providing a bit of eye candy.
But more on that later. For now, I'm onto a different, not-yet-fizzled idea that came to me a long time ago as I was carving my Grape Nuts cereal into a milk-soaked crescent shape. This new book, which I've probably mentioned before and which somebody really should write, would look kind of like this:
Except that instead of "U.S. Air Force Survival Handbook," it would be called "KuKd Survival Handbook." Just a thin, bare-bones guide, the kind you could tote along inside your rucksack as you navigate your way down that lonesome miscarriage/stillbirth path. Good bathroom reading, waiting-for-the-bus reading, sitting-in-the-dentist-office reading.
How cool a book would that be?
I mean, not like there aren't a million other KuKd-handbook type of books out there already. But this one, the one now lodged in my imagination, would be different, dammit! If I get my act together - that is, once I'm able to drink coffee to the fullest extent of the caffeine-while-breastfeeding law again - I'll crank it out myself this summer. I've already got loads of ideas up my sleeve.
* * *
My recent surge re-inspiration to get cracking on this KuKd Survival Handbook started at last weekend's baby shower (hold on, don't vomit on the screen just yet), where I did lots of this:
...and had a long, heartfelt hug with her:
Who's "her" and what's "this?"
Well, by "this," I mean sitting sideways in a large armchair like a knocked-up manatee, unwrapping lots of shiny new childrens' books, and smiling from ear to ear. It was a "book shower," actually; finally a baby-shower theme that I could live with, since the idea of registering for all kinds of made-in-China baby parephernelia was giving me anxiety. This event involved everyone bringing their favorite kids' book to help us get a library started for the baby on the way, with a note inscribed to explain the book's meaning. Man oh man, we got some kick-ass boooks, and man oh man, I was a happy camper.
By "her," I mean J - a buddy from the Infant Loss Retreat that I still remain strongly connected with. I knew within five minutes that she was a keeper. Smart (a lawyer! How much smarter can one possibly get?), cynical, and with a sense of humor. J's daughter Annika was born premature, lived only a few days in the hospital, and died of that horrible necro-thing where a baby's intestines stop working. J's got a 9-month-old son now, so she's been through it all: the losing, and the life after losing.
When arrived at the baby shower, my heart did a little forward flip. I think I just about attacked her, cornering her for a prolongued hug and some hardcore eye contact. There was just so much we both knew that didn't need to be said, this mutual understanding, shared history. A "how are you" from her was different from a "how are you" from anyone else - it just carried a whole new meaning. I can't explain how meaningful it was to have this person from "that life" represented at this event, how comforting it was to know that at least one other person in the room "got it" - the full-on KuKd experience, I mean.
And she made my little Zachary-connection-at-the-baby-shower easy, a little public shout-out to both Zachary AND Annika, a simple wish that they could both be here with us all to celebrate new life on the way. That was it. It felt good to say, and J's presence gave me the balls to say it.
* * *
BACK TO THE BOOK IDEA: KuKd Survival Handbook.
J's presence at the baby shower confirmed: one survival tool that I would put right up front, super high on the "camping equipment list," would be finding a KuKd friend.
No matter what it takes, where you have to go, how much effort it requires: if you've been pregnant and then lost, FIND A FRIEND who not only gets what that was like, but who is also a person you connect with on a real-friend level. It took me months to realize the importance of this, and I swear I spent the first half-year of my post-Zachary life kind of wandering around like this pale, disconnected shell of a human being - a chasm between me and my kid-having friends, another chasm between me and my non-kid-having friends. Before the Infant Loss Retreat and meeting other gals who were walking my same path, I had no damn clue about the importance of this.
I remembered this at the shower, soooooo grateful to have J around, and thought later to myself: gotta write that book. The KuKd Survival Handbook. Gotta add that to the tips-list at the front. Maybe someday!