Monday, April 30, 2007

Three months

It has been three months since A died. Or 13 weeks less one day. Or 90 days. Or... and this is where is breaks down. I don't know what time it was or what I was doing when he died.

I had a doctor's appointment that morning, and we heard the heartbeat, strong and regular. I was a little pissed that it took so long, and, as a result, the rest of my day was bunched up. I had so many things to get done, I wasn't paying attention to his movements. I was usually much more attuned, but he was so active the night before, and I was just at the doctor's in the morning... So I didn't pay attention. I even noted to myself that I am not paying attention. And now I don't know.

The time is doing something funny since his death. It feels like it couldn't possibly be whole 90 days later. Where did all of these days go? But it also feels like it couldn't possibly be only 90 days later, like I have been living with this grief forever, like this is the way I am now. I suppose it is much like the experience I had after we brought Monkey home. A little more than a day after we got home, I looked around my house and saw all the baby stuff that wasn't there when we left for the hospital, and it felt like all that stuff belonged right where it was. So I asked JD how long she's been here. One day, he said. No, I said, how long has she been here? He looked around, and I knew he got what I was asking, and he said "Forever."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Our Bodies, Ourselves

Mother Talk , the home of blog book tours, is trying a new thing-- Blog Bonanza Fridays, where everyone who wants to, blogs about a particular pre-suggested topic. I though I'd give it a try. Today's topic, in conjunction with the blog tour of Ariana Huffington's book On Becoming Fearless, is, unsurprisingly, your fearless moment.

I have a round face. I also have PCOS, and (at least partially) as a consequence of it, am fairly overweight. These three things put together mean that I rarely look good in photographs. So I learned that if I take photographs, I can't be in them. Sometimes, though, there is more than one camera on the scene. So I got very good at hiding from cameras and, failing that, at "convincing" people not to take my picture.

And then A died. Sometime in the next couple of hours I realized that I don't have that many pictures of myself pregnant with A. Actually, I don't think *I* have any. I am pretty sure somebody took a few pictures at the New Year's party that should have me in them, but I haven't yet asked if they exist. When I was pregnant with Monkey, JD took some barely dressed and some nude pictures of me. And I remember actually willingly taking some others, at parties, with friends. But I started this pregnancy 10 lbs heavier than I started the one with Monkey, and, by that day in January, I gained 30 more. I was enormous, and I didn't like the way I looked.

A couple of weeks before A died, JD took a picture of me and Monkey playing on the floor. He took it with my then new phone while I wasn't looking. The angle was all wrong, my face looked fat and swollen, and I made him erase that picture. And just now, as I was typing that I realized why it bothers me so much that I made him erase it-- that was the only picture of my two kids together.

When my water broke, I was only 2cm dilated. It was, I think, past 16 hours since the start of the induction, and I didn't know how much longer it was going to go, so I agreed to pain meds. But first, I wanted to take a shower. A hot shower makes me feel better when I am in labor-- it helps with the contractions and generally puts me in a different space. I stood there, caressing my belly, thinking of how much I loved the boy in it. He was gone, but not yet entirely. In a few short hours I would find out all I would ever know about him. But at that moment, in the shower, he was still a little bit of a mystery. And, at that moment, my pregnant self looked sadly beautiful to me. I think JD knew what I was thinking. I think he was thinking it too. But when I asked if he wanted to take a picture now, he said no. That was probably right-- the two of us will remember how that moment felt, and taking a picture would've just screwed it up. It's not like anybody else would ever see it anyway.

When I had a chance to think about my body next, and I don't mean where did it hurt-- it hurt in plenty of places,-- I mean how I felt about my body, I surprised myself. I apparently had made a decision to try to be friends with my body. It felt like a conscious decision, but it also felt like I didn't have to struggle with it, like it just came, like I didn't have a choice. I think this decision came from a place where lying to oneself is not an option, a calm, rational place, a place of hard-won wisdom. It just felt like the right thing to do. After all, it is the body that carried and birthed my two children. And it is the body that I know I will soon have to ask to do it again.

Now, me being overweight has been a fairly constant source of hurt for me, but I don't think it seriously impacted my sense of self-worth. (It might not have always been like this. In fact, I am pretty sure I was a far more insecure teenager.) Thinking about that, I realized that I differentiate myself from my body, and that my body issues have had only minimal impact on what I think of *myself*. See, I am what I do and feel. My body is where I live. That doesn't mean that I didn't have an occasional moment where I'd asked JD what he needs such a broken wife for, but it does mean I pretty much never thought that the "broken" part actually referred to me rather than my body.

We went on vacation with friends last month to try to make new memories for our new normal. I didn't hide from the camera. Several times allowing someone to take my picture was almost physically uncomfortable. And yet, I did it. Which was a victory not in the least because at the moment I was not a happy body camper. I thought I couldn't decipher the physiological cues my body was giving me, and, frankly, that to me meant my body wasn't keeping up its end of the bargain. Surprisingly, I wasn't mad at it, just seriously confused and disoriented. But, as it turns out I can decipher the cues. Hold your applause.

A friend of mine says she doesn't make a big distinction between herself and her body. Seeing as she is one of the best-adjusted people I know, it's a distinct possibility that she has it right, and I am all wrong. But for now I choose to believe that these are two decent approaches to the same issue, and that both take guts.

By the way, a couple of pictures of me from that vacation came out very well. There is also more than a couple of pretty bad ones. But for now, I'll call this a success.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Too easy

My life is too easy. I don't mean the grief part, but the mundane tasks, the logistics, the daily routine, the what-do-I-have-to-get-done of it. Monkey is five, and although she has a bunch of activities and needs transportation to and fro, as well as help with homework (from preschool, once a week, no big whoop), she is otherwise very low maintenance. JD gets his own breakfast (we like different things for breakfast) and occasionally cooks dinner. He also usually takes dry cleaning in and picks it up. I like doing laundry, and except for some emotionally bad days, one of us will spontaneously take care of the dishwasher.

Even hectic days are easy. Today, I had to leave work a bit early, go get Monkey from preschool, take her to JD so they could go to the circus with some friends, and drive back home. I didn't go to the circus because I don't like it enough to pay another ticket price. And because I was angling for some quiet time alone. Anyway, by the time I got home, I've been in the car for close to two hours, so I was definitely glad to be done. Except I am not done. Turns out JD left his car keys in the bag he put in my car when I dropped Monkey off. So I have to go get them now. Annoying, but not a particularly big deal. The way I know it's not a big deal is because I can easily imagine how much harder all of this would have been to accomplish with a 7 week old in tow.

I've heard once that parents with one child don't know how much free time they actually have until the second one shows up. Seems I managed to find out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

You know you are doing a decent job as a parent when

your child's face lights up as much from seeing a box of newly-sharpened color pencils as from seeing chocolate candy.

We won't mention how long it took you to get those pencils sharpened, though.

What are some of your moments of parenting affirmation?


This was a crying weekend for me. Lots of things made me cry-- the weather, watching kids play, music in the car, and nothing at all. But of all the things turning on the waterworks, one was truly surprising. A movie. An old movie from the Old Country. A movie I loved as a kid. A movie that turns out to be thoroughly enjoyable even now. A kind of movie that must exist everywhere they make movies-- a sweet story of tweens figuring out what's important in life and overcoming obstacles together. This one is only a little cheesy, but it's also funny and has an excellent soundtrack, and a very good cast, so I don't mind that Monkey seems to watch it on a continuous loop. By which I mean she watches it in pieces whenever we let her watch a video, and when she gets to the end, she wants to start at the beginning.

Saturday morning I was on the couch (the score was thyroidits:1, Julia:0), and Monkey was watching the movie. It was almost at the end, the scene where a few adults get to watch, with newly found admiration, as the kids come up with the way to overcome the Major ObsticleTM. One of the adults, eyes misty and voice cracking declares "Boys!"

Now, it's true that the kid who came up with this idea is in fact of the male persuasion. However, girls figure prominently in the story and contribute heftily to the story line, and I am sure in another time and another life, I could've found myself annoyed that the misty-eyed proclamation wasn't more gender-neutral. But not now, not in this life. In this life I started crying and couldn't quite get why. Of course the scene is meant to be filled with pathos, but surely I couldn't actually be buying into it, could I?

And then it hit me. A, although he was most certainly a boy, will never be included in a cohort that is spoken of like that, in a tone that says "now I know the future is in good hands." Oh, the future is still fine, and the boys (and girls) he would've grown up around are wonderful. And I am sure one day one of us will talk about them that way, a little tipsy and more than a little grandiose. But A is now and forever a member of a different cohort. We get misty-eyed talking about them too, but there is no admiration in our voices. There is only love, pain, sadness, and more love. It hurts that there are things I will never get to feel for my boy.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


My friend and former co-worker used to say "I am useless without my lists." I think I am too. I make lists at work, I make them at home. It's partly so that I don't forget things, and partly so that I get the satisfaction of crossing things off. I mean, sometimes when I remember something I need to do, I put it on the list, do it right away, and cross it off the list. Feeling of accomplishment-- check.

So it shouldn't be too surprising that after we buried A and my parents left, I made a list. It had big things on it, and small. And I tried to do at least a couple each day, so I didn't feel completely useless. My PCOS meds, for example. Dr. B said to wait until I started eating more or less normally again before resuming them. I think it was his kind way of saying, you will stuff your face from grief and lactating. It would be better to wait until after you stop. But I found my script 3 days after the funeral, called the pharmacy that day to see if they had the pills in stock, filled the prescription the next day, started taking it the day after. When I got woozy from half a glass of wine that day, my friends got worried. I explained it was because of the meds. A very reasonable "why did you start already?" was met with "it was on my list" and "don't laugh. I do what I can."

So how does a list-maker successfully procrastinate? For loooooong periods of time, I mean. That's right-- stop making lists. If there is no list, you can't see just how many things you need to do, and you can blow off all of them in favor of reading the blogs. Yes, an occasional item gets into your head and bugs you for a while. But the genius of this tactic is that in the absence of a list, it still seems like the only thing that needs to be done, and if there is only that one thing, well, it can wait until tomorrow, can't it?

I think I am ready to be somewhat more productive now. And by that I mean I am distressed by how little of anything I got done in the last month, and how many different things knock on my brain at one time or another to tell me they need doing.

So here's my first list in a long time:

1. Make a to-do list.

This even looks like I might be able to handle it.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lucky me

Before I hit the jackpot in the pregnancy going to shit lottery, I apparently hit another one with similarly low odds-- I had an incident of what is known as subacute lymphocytic thyroiditis , or painless thyroiditis, or silent thyroiditis. Most people who get this lovely disease, first encounter it in the form of the post-partum thyroiditis. I, on the other hand, first encountered it while in grad school. It occurred immediately following, but was not necessarily caused or precipitated by, a piece of the autoglass that has resided in my arm for close to five years deciding to make its grand exit. No, I didn't know it was still there. Yes, it was weird and a bit gross, and yes, rather rude of it. I mean it was all nice and comfy for five years and all of a sudden what? The tissues weren't soft enough anymore? It was getting motion sickness from all the hand waiving I was doing in grad school? What?

Anyway. It was highly unpleasant. Thyroiditis, I mean-- I got over the glass thing by then. Most unpleasant was the whole waking up in the middle of the night screaming from your arms being completely and painfully asleep part. But eventually it was over, and except for the occasional follow up blood test to make sure thyroid function has returned to and stayed normal, it wasn't a really big deal. Except... Except you know how I said above people get this after having babies? Yeah, well-- they forgot to tell me I was more or less assured of a repeat performance every time I had a kid from then on. Turns out it was more.

With Monkey, it started when she was almost three months old. With A, blood test last Thursday confirmed that the hyperthyroid stage has began. So two and a half months. Just about right. I was a little surprised by my own reaction to the news-- I was relieved and actually glad. Thinking about it for a bit I realized that I was glad that (a) I could read my body cues well enough to know to ask for the test, and (b) I assumed it was coming, so the earlier it starts, the earlier it's over, the earlier I get my body back, the earlier we can try again.

Oh, seems I forgot to tell you what this thing is. Well, it is probably an autoimmune disorder (which is why I do think it was connected to the glass-- expelling it looks like the work of the immune system, and once it was all pumped up and had nothing else to do, it could've easily turned its lonely sights to my thyroid gland, or something). So the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, which clips off some of the resident receptor molecules, making them free-floating receptor molecules. While the new floaters are around, the patient is in the hyperthyroid state. Once they get flushed from the system-- hypothyroid, until the gland is able to populate itself with the correct number of resident receptors again. Both of the previous times I had this, the whole exercise took around 3 months, start to finish.

Ok, so if one is to be entirely honest with oneself, and what's the point of writing here otherwise?, one would have to admit that one was also maybe possibly kinda looking forward to that hyper phase. Because it usually comes with some weight loss, and one can harbor a dim hope that coupled with newly increased dosage of the PCOS meds, said weight loss would be just what the body needed to get back to some semblance of a decent weight. One might also be holding on for dear life to the memories of a pick up in one's energy levels during the hyper phase, and so would not be entirely off base to hope for enough of a kick to at least be able to tackle the dishwasher once in a while.

But ha-ha-ha. The lottery. Ha-ha. Jackpot. Ha. Because this time I get no energy boost. I get lightheadedness, increased heart rate , slightly elevated BP, hands going numb, but no energy boost. Still unclear on the weight loss. I didn't even know (or remember? I am sure I looked this stuff up before) that heart palpitations are an actual symptom and can get bad enough to require beta blockers. Shit. And that this thing can drag on for up to 18 months. Double shit.

So what's the point? Oh, I don't know. Bitching and moaning, mostly. JD and Monkey went biking, and I am residing on the couch because it feels like my head will just take off if I attempt to operate anything beyond a remote control and because I would rather sleep, only I can't.

Thyroiditis is a bitch. Or it's making me its bitch. Or something.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


The weather is nice today. No, gorgeous. They promised improvement by tomorrow, but the noreaster has cleared early and here it is-- a perfect spring day-- a bit on the cool side, so you can't wear a t-shirt, but you don't need a windbreaker either, sunny and clear.

We had a staff meeting this afternoon, and after that, because this is a university campus and parking here sucks, I had to move my car. The parking space I found was a bit of a distance from my building, but I didn't mind-- after the miserable weather we've had, I thought it would be a nice walk.

Here's the thing, though. A's due date was a day after Monkey's birthday, and she had the good manners to be born right on her due date. Somehow, until today I have avoided thinking about what I would/should be doing at this moment in time. But the nice walk did me in. I just saw myself going for another walk, the walk I took so many times with Monkey five years ago-- to the grocery store, pushing her pram. It had to be a pram because in the Old Country you learn that babies have to lie flat. Strange, but with A I saw myself wearing him in one of those trendy baby carriers that are handmade by other moms and don't hurt your back. They didn't have those five years ago.

So I though of how old he would be now. And then this other memory pushed itself in. When Monkey was six weeks old, I went on a job interview to a neighboring state, driving through a gorgeous spring day just like today, my boobs hurting like nobody's business by the end of the 2 hour drive because I am nothing if not a milk factory.

From there, it was a simple and unavoidable step to that "milk is coming in" feeling in my boobs, to physically feeling the baby carrier wrapped around me and A's little head on my chest, right where it rested for almost two hours the day he was born. Strange, because I never actually wore that baby carrier. And the tears. Of course. All of this right as I was passing by a single tree on my entire walk that has somehow managed to sprout tiny little green leaves. All the other trees either had their full leaves from the last time it was warm or were still bare. Yeah, unexpected.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How are you? part deux or My two worlds

I came to this country with my family as a teenager. In the Old Country, when someone asked you how you were, they expected an actual answer. So, predictably, each one of us did our best to answer the question all these nice people were asking-- "how are you?" -- in our broken English, with our heavy accents. Do you know how hard it is to accomplish that when your vocabulary is rather limited and you also have to remember to put each word in a correct place in a sentence? Right. This probably explains why none of us turned out to be quick learners on this-- I think we mistook the questioner's discomfort for working hard to understand us.

I don't remember who finally clued us in to the fact that nobody expects you to actually answer, but I do remember feeling disappointed and vaguely betrayed by the discovery.

The only caveat being that it wasn't quite all of us-- my sister Adelynne (thanks for coming up with your own pseudonym, btw-- less work for me :)) wasn't old enough to be affected by this particular drama. So, to use a fancy psychology term, our schema were shattered, while hers wasn't. Which is probably why she can, as she described in her comment on the first post, decide to answer completely truthfully at all times, thus consciously messing with people who were just going about their daily routine.

Me? I think my poor old schema can't take another remodeling job. Instead, I live in two worlds. When asked in the Old Country language, I almost always answer truthfully, although not always completely or at length. When asked in English, I gut check to see whether this is a social nicety or an actual question. So you see, sometimes with me "Ok" is an actual answer, and sometimes it is the quickest way out.


Bravery of ignorance or sheltered idiots*-- pregnant women on a cruise ship.

Feel free to add your favorite "synonyms" and/or definitions.

*both of these are idioms in the language we speak at home, although I've had trouble finding a good translation for the second one. It's supposed to mean someone who has not been scared and is kinda cute in his/her obliviousness. Is there a better word?

How are you?

It's a simple question, really. The answer, on the other hand, the real answer I have to give these days, is not what most people want to hear.

I do a lot of my grocery shopping is this funky chain of stores. They used to be nontrivial to find, but nowdays they have stores close to my work, sort of half way between work and home, and not too far from my house. I have yet to see a grumpy employee in any of their stores, and that just seems weird. The optimist in me was of the opinion that maybe they all just like their job, or maybe it was actually a good job, or maybe there were free happy pills in the employee break room. The pessimist mumbled something about aliens and too late, but I was too busy enjoying the sugar-free chocolate they keep supplying to my PCOS-afflicted optimist to listen to her.

Anyway, I used to like chatting with cashiers there-- they are energetic and helpful, and most of them, funny. They always ask how you are without making it obvious that they are only asking because the manager told them to. They tend to look right at you too, and to actually react to whatever you are saying. So... about that...

When I first started venturing out into the world, I found myself unable to tell any of the very nice, cheerful, and well-meaning cashiers that I am actually pretty bad, that my baby died, that I miss him like crazy, and that I wish I didn't have to be there. But I couldn't lie either. So guess what I did? If you guessed I avoided eye contact and tried not to speak, you win an all expense paid trip to the cozy little place I like to call You-don't-want-to-be-here-sville.

I am pretty sure I made some of them uncomfortable. I am also pretty sure some thought I was mean, or a stuck up bitch, or just rude. Some days I didn't even utter a single sound until the "thank you" right at the end as I start pushing my cart away.

The way I know I am better now is that I actually answer. I say "OK." Not much of a conversation starter, but at least I am looking at the cashier when I say it.

I am not so much better, though, that I don't twinge with dread, just a little, as I push my cart toward the registers.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Just Kidding

This post over at Julia Hippogriffs' reminded me of the funniest joke Monkey ever came up with. She has come up with a few funny ones before, but this... This one was so good she used it again and again.

So what you need to know is that we speak a language other than English in the house. And in that language, "sweet" when applied to a kid has a heavy connotation of "edible," as in "you are so sweet, I could just eat you up," but a lot less cheesy.

So one day, must have been around November or so, when I was already pretty big but not yet enormous, Monkey decided to give me a hug, pretty much out of the blue. I love her hugs, so I told her that, and then I told her she was very sweet and she was putting herself at risk, 'cause I might just have to eat her. No, she says, you can't do that. Why not? And here is where she gets that look of wait till you hear this, and says: "Because you already ate the Little Brother."

We laughed, and then we made sure that she actually knew she was making a joke by rather lamely asking her if she really thought mommy ate the Little Brother. She looked at us like we were nuts and said that no, she was making a joke. So we told her it was very very funny. Of course that meant she had to keep using it. You'd think it would get old rather fast, but somehow it never did.

Until A died.

After that, the first time I joked about eating her, Monkey's face lit up, but only for a split second. I saw her lower her eyes to my stomach. And then she just said, no, don't do it. I don't tend to tell her she is edible as often as I used to now.

I hate that she had to do that. I hate that a friend had to explain to her particularly observant two and a half year old why Monkey isn't going to have a little brother just now. I hate that another friend's seven year old had taken to asking her whether the baby she was carrying was still alive. And that he asked whether what happened to A means anyone could've died before being born, even him? I hate that Monkey's best friend got introduced to the concept of death in such a rude manner, and that her mom has to keep explaining it to her because her four year old brain keeps looking for how this could mean anything other than what it means.

Actually, I don't know whether I have the energy to hate these things. Hate required energy, I think. They make me very sad, yes. But there is also another feeling mixed in, and I can't quite name it. It's not exactly guilt, but it does come with a sharp pang, like another reminder of how wide the circles of this thing go.

I know the only thing we can do now is make sure that Monkey comes out of this emotionally healthy. We are trying. But I wonder whether if/when I am sporting a big belly again she will let herself make the same joke. I hope so. And if she does, I will try not to cry.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Seeing people

I noticed that I am not a big fan of seeing people I haven't seen since before A died. Even perfectly nice people who I am pretty sure will not say anything stupid. Or maybe not. The one exception I made gladly was driving for about 2.5 hours each way to see my best friend from college (let's call her Samantha) and her mom about two weeks back. Thinking back on that, I think with Sam and her mom I was sure beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was safe. I wanted to see them, needed even.

In light of that, not looking forward to this weekend's trip probably means that I am not as sure I will be entirely safe with the friends we are going to see this weekend. I am almost positive that I am wrong, though. Almost.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The incomparable Dr. B

Is it strange to talk about the OB who followed you through the pregnancy that ended in stillbirth as the "wonderful" Dr. B? It might be, but the truth is that with Dr. B I lucked out. The OB I had five years ago up and left the state on me (how inconsiderate of him, really), so when I called the practice to say "I am one of your high risk patients, and my progesterone is falling again, and my doctor left the state," it was simple luck of the draw that landed me in Dr. B's pile.

My old doctor, Dr. G, was good-- he was attentive and knowledgeable, but also understanding and respectful of my desire for as little intervention as was strictly necessary, and he protected me from overeager chief and not so chief residents when necessary. This is not to say that all doctors in that practice are stellar. There is Dr. E who looks like Doogie Howser and whose lousy bedside manner and apparent inability to treat patients as distinct individuals made me want to kick him out of my labor room five years ago. There is also Dr. R who neglected to mention to a friend of mine that she is likely to zone out during her induction because she will be on relatively high doses of MgSO4 and who later refused to apologize for that. I only tell these stories to underscore how lucky I was to draw the long straw in the random assignment lottery.

So Dr. B. What can I say about Dr. B that will make you love him as much as I do? He has a very calm voice and is very very thoughtful. He is up on the latest research which is very important to a science nerd like myself. Not to mention beneficial. For example, I didn't have to drink the gross stuff they give you for the glucose test because he appreciated the fact that it makes me gag and that I don't ever consume that much sugar in one sitting. Instead I got to eat a sni*kers bar-- still gross, but much less so-- because he saw the research that indicated the results you get are as informative as in the torture everyone else undergoes. What else? Oh, yeah-- when considering what to do, he takes you as a human being into account. That, perhaps, is the key to why I love my OB-- he respects his patients and he treats us as individuals. I have encountered so many doctors who don't really listen, who assume they by definition understand what's going on with you better than you do. After all, they are the ones with the medical degree. It's refreshing to realize your doctor actually heard what you said the first time.

And did I mention that Dr. B is also unbelievably handsome? Which trait he carries in a soft and understated sort of way, as if he is slightly embarrassed by it. But only slightly.

So far I didn't mention the word compassion. That's because everything above I could've told you before A died. And after...

I ran into Dr. B on my way to triage and he told me he thought everything was fine (so did I, actually--haha), but that if it wasn't they would page him. That was a bit after 9pm. By the time I thought to ask if anyone paged him, it was past 11. He was in our room around 7 am the next morning. We talked and he said he will be back in a couple of hours to check on me. He was back in 30 minutes. To say he thought we should do the amnio now to make sure pathology would have good cells to work with for karyotyping and for determining whether infection is present. He did the amnio himself. I don't know what he was supposed to be doing that day, who he got to cover for him, or how long it took him to catch up. I just know I was glad that he was there and that he was trying to get us some answers.

So why am I writing about all of this today? Because I saw the incomparable Dr. B for a consult this morning. That, and I only started this blog yesterday, so I could use a longish entry right about now. Or something like that.

We talked since my hospital discharge, of course. We talked on the phone when the autopsy report came back, and at my six week follow up, where he handed us the copy of the report and talked to us about what he would recommend for "next time" in light of it. And he said to please call if we had any other questions after we read the full report. It took me a while to actually read it, but after I did, I had questions. So I called and talked to his nurse. She called me back that day to say he didn't want to rush through my questions and that he preferred to have me come in and talk. Would that be ok? Did I mention that I love my doctor?

So today was the day. He slated an hour for the consult. We actually talked for about an hour and a half. I brought PubMed printouts and we poured over those and came to a decision about my PCOS drugs in a future pregnancy (ask me if you want to know-- I am now up on the very latest research-- everything from insulin control to ovulation induction to reducing miscarriage rates to placental penetration, and everything that was published up to last week), but he is also going to look more into that before we decide what to do past the first trimester (ha! try getting there first!). We talked about the autopsy report a lot, about what we know (two true knots, acute asphyxia) and what we can only hypothesize about (evidence of strep B infection-- what does that mean?). And we talked about the statistics. Increased odds of bad shit happening in the future, being scared of those odds, working to minimize them. We talked as scientists and as a doctor and a patient at the same time. No pity, just compassion and respect.

He showed me pictures of knots and normal cord structures that can look like knots and explained for the upteenth time why these are so hard to see and distinguish on the ultrasound (previous explanations didn't include visual aids). But the decision on whether I would want to know if he saw a knot next time was mine. That respect thing again, apparently. Go figure.

Dr. B is clearly one of the good ones. But as I sat here writing all of this up, it occurred to me to ask whether he really is as exceptional as I think he is or whether I just had entirely too many bad doctor experiences before? Because we all sure as hell deserve a good doctor. The incredibly handsome part is optional, of course.

Dealing vs. Fixing

My sister, without whom I wouldn't be writing this because I would still be looking for the title for the damned blog--thanks!, anyway, my sister told me today that my life isn't about dealing. I am not a "dealer" she said, I am a fixer. To quote her: "it's not your way to go about life thinking that there's nothing you can do."
Normally she would be right.

But. But I think that this time she is wrong. The parameters of the possible, of what I can do, have changed. There is no way to fix this. For anyone. All I can do is try to deal. If I am lucky, in a productive way.

To be fair, having been one of my rocks in the hours, days, and weeks after A died, she doesn't actually think this can be fixed, or that I think I can fix it. And we agreed that we are talking about the same thing. So what this means, apparently, is that semantics have suddenly become important to me. On this point I want to be precise. About this I want no confusion. This can't be fixed.