Saturday, June 30, 2007

Time flies like an arrow*

I like numbers. And patterns. I actually don't know whether it's about "like" or about "see," and I don't know whether it's a blessing or a curse, but I remember what day of the week something was, or what date, or some other random stuff. My pregnancies with Monkey and A, for example. Not only were they due within a day of each other, five years apart, but the calendar lined up so that their due dates were the same day of the week. Five is a nice round number. Aligning days of the week was nice too. So over the last year I seem to have trained myself to think in five year increments. Which didn't help me at all when I was trying to figure out what was it about my birthday falling on a Thursday that seemed to be buzzing in my ear. But something definitely was.

I knew that my birthday party, if I was to have one, would fall on the fifth monthaversary of A's death. And that, this being an odd month since, we don't get one for his birth. I wouldn't have minded skipping a party altogether. But we usually celebrate JD's birthday together with this friend of ours, and we call the two of them "twins" because they are, you know, both of them Gemini. We weren't in the country for JD's birthday this year, so the twins didn't get a party. I felt bad about that, especially since it's a round birthday for them, and since the other twin is a great friend and one of our biggest pillars of support. This despite (or because of?) being due four weeks after I was due. Her baby was supposed to be A's best friend. He's a good baby, and looks nothing like A.

So we had a party for all three of us. I wanted to make it mostly about the twins, and I like to think I succeeded. The heat wave seems to have passed, the grill worked overtime, all the corn was gone in minutes, baked potatoes lasted a bit longer, as did most of the salads. It was nice. It wasn't even that hard for me to pull off-- JD did all the meat marinading and grilling, so he was probably much more tired than I was. We make a good team, he and I.

Ironically, it was actually thinking about the party being on the 30th that helped me figure out what it was with a Thursday birthday. Last time I had a birthday party on Saturday, June 30th, was six years ago. And that Thursday, two days earlier, on my birthday, we found out that we were pregnant with Monkey. My idiosyncratic early pregnancy symptom-- inability to carry a tune (must be something about changing the geometry of my insides because I get used to it later and can sing again)-- was on display, but no one knew. It was our secret, and it made me giggly and happy. Giggly used to be my middle name, but this was barely two months after our miscarriage, so it was just making a reappearance. I remember very few details about that party, but I remember feeling pretty high.

The pregnancy test was in fact a birthday present from an amazing person and a great medical practitioner. My rule for this blog has been that I change all names to protect the innocent. I use my real name, and A has his own first initial, but I make up names (usually in a way that amuses and/or makes sense to me) for everyone else. I am about to break that rule. Because if I am going to talk about this woman, I am going to call her by her own name. So... if you are a reproductively challenged female who was in some way affiliated with my particular institution of higher learning up to about five years ago, you without a doubt know who Nurse Practitioner Karen H. is.

I met Karen shortly after a doctor affiliated with a shmancy hospital ordered tests, looked at the results, and concluded that I should take 3 months worth of Provera and call her in the morning. Karen, looking at the results of the very same tests, followed by one look at my face, attractively decorated with acne and sporting enough hair to keep an aesthetitian employed very nearly full time, diagnosed me with PCOS. She did many remarkable things after that, none more so than ordering tests to help map what was happening with me once I actually started to ovulate. She drew day 3s, and LHs, and mid-luteal progesterones. She drew them as many times as I wanted them, and she called me back with the results as soon as she had them. My inner fan of control was in hog heaven. But more important than that was that because I could correlate test results with my body's cues, I learned to read those cues. Pretty darn well. She was also the one to order my hCG tests, and to suggest that we draw them with progesterone. She is who said we should repeat them every two days, with progesterone. She was the one to call me with good news, and bad news.

So the test on my birthday? That was several days before my period was due, but a week after a kick-ass mid-luteal progesterone result. I asked if I could have the test on my birthday, since the progesterone looked so good. Sure, she said. So this is how I knew I was pregnant. And this is how I knew, two days after the party, that while hCG was going up nicely, progesterone was dropping. Another test later she prescribed progesterone suppositories. I think Karen may very well be the reason Monkey made it. And A, out of the first trimester, because five years later I knew what to look for.

When Karen retired, earlier than she wanted to, my friend Aite and I got her a basket of flowers. If I knew how hard it is to find a GYN like that, I would've gotten her something else. Like a pony. Or her own private clinic.

Come to think of it, last year I took the blood test on the 29th, and got the call with the positive result on the 30th. It's a big day, I guess.

So here I sit. Five months later. One year later. Six years later. Today thinking of A was pleasant, almost sweet. Bittersweet, really, and wistful. Even the reminders of his absence stabbed but didn't tear. I miss him all the time, but today it wasn't a weight dragging me down. The past seems to come to me in waves, but I can also will it to come. The future is covered in haze, the kind that nothing brings on as surely as the decision to attempt procreation. And because of where I come from this time, the haze is particularly thick. A little disorienting, actually. But I guess it's just like anything else in the last five months-- one foot in front of the other.

*If you are that particular flavor of geek, yes, I did take a compilers course. I even have a diploma or three that are vaguely related.

Friday, June 29, 2007


 I wasn't going to admit it, but yesterday was my birthday. I was in a bit of a funk for a decent chunk of the day. But then we went out for steak. And it was gooooooood. And better than steak were the flowers JD showed up with. Apparently, he got teased on his way from the flower shop to the public transportation, to the car... Poor baby. :) I couldn't get a really good shot of the whole thing, so here is a sector that came out well, I think.

Studio 60 finale last night. They cheesed it way up because it was series finale, so I am wondering how they would've left it if they were coming back next season. But I am still going to miss them. They were smart, they said some things that nobody else has the stones to say on TV, and who knew Matthew Perry could act?

Yesterday's post. Wow... I guess that touched a nerve. Shows you how much I know. I saw the search in my overnight stats, and was moved to write the post, expecting, honestly, 0 comments. That's not what happened, though... So I thought about it, and I have now created a section on the sidebar for permalinks to posts that could be useful to others. I have been planning for a while to write a PCOS post, even did my PubMed research for it. Just haven't gotten around to writing it up. When I do that, I will permalink it on the sidebar as well. I guess I should write up the thyroiditis thing at some point too.

Ok, everyone, I am going to try to get some work done now. I have a hard deadline on Monday.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

To the woman who, at 3 in the morning, was looking for how to stop lactation after stillbirth...

If you are still here, I am so, so sorry.

And the answer is: very tight bra, cabbage leaves therein, another binding mechanism over the bra with ability to put cold compresses in (I recommend bendable ice packs they sell for sports injury or frozen vegetables), and sage tea. You can get sage tea and Whole Foods, for example. It wouldn't be with the regular teas, but rather with the herbal teas in the natural remedies isle. It's not as stinky as you would think. After the first couple of sips it's even sort of pleasant. Oh, and I know it's something you really want to do, but please don't let the hot water in the shower get directly on your breasts-- it will stimulate more milk production. They won't tell you how long it will take to stop lactation, and it's different for everyone, but it took me three weeks.

I know it doesn't begin to cover things, but I am so very sorry...

Edited to add: There is now a much expanded article on stopping lactation after stillbirth or neonatal death (including information on the drug for lactation suppression, separate tips for mothers who have already started to pump or breastfeed, and some information on milk donation) at our group blog, Glow in the Woods.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Free association

Before going to dinner and a show this weekend, JD and I went to the art museum. There were more than a few interesting works of art there that I either haven't seen before, or don't remember seeing. One painting in particular, by Corot, titled "The Curious Little Girl," stopped me cold. It's not a big painting, and it hangs in an inconspicuous location-- on a short wall by the opening between two rooms. In fact, JD missed it in his browsing as he was walking in front of me. He always ends up in front of me in a museum. There are many compelling things to me about this painting, some of them entirely peculiar to me, I am sure. However, it also immideately made me think of one of the bloggers in our little circle here. I took a picture with my cell phone, and tried to edit it to true colors today, but I don't believe I fully succeeded. Nevertheless, I present it here for your own free-association pleasure.


So who does it make you think of? Or, alternatively, what are some of the (little-known) works of art that stopped you in your tracks?
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Monday, June 25, 2007

All the news that's fit to print

It was a good weekend. We chilled, we talked, we laughed, we were sad, we ate good food, we saw a good show. I even exercised. Twice. I know-- stop the presses. I will try to keep it up this week while Monkey is at my parents'.

You know how gullible I am? I'll tell you. So we got to the hotel Friday night, and walked around some, and figured out what was where. And yet, when I heard JD sneaking out of the room Saturday morning, I didn't think anything of it when he said he is going to go "check things out." I turned and went back to sleep. It follows, then, that I was genuinely surprised when he came back an hour later with a huge vase full of gorgeous roses. We were able to secure the vase in the back of the car on the way back, and they made it home, and now they are on my counter.

This morning the test results from last week's blood tests came back. The thyroid is hypo, but not by much, so it is unclear whether it's still headed down, or is now on the way back up. But either way, we are allowed to try now. Someone I knew in school once called a friend of mine "fan of control," which is a nice way of calling someone a control freak. But this friend and I now refer to ourselves that way when appropriate. So because I am, indeed, a fan of control, or of the illusion thereof, I also asked to run day 3 tests last week, even though it was only day 2. And let me tell you, I am glad I did. FSH was 5.2, LH-- 5.4, progestorone-- 0.5, and E2 is still pending. Good to know, as they say. I feel like I am bragging. A promising cycle, indeed.

We are still not exactly ready, but at least for my part, I am much more ready today than I was last week. And, as JD said, we'll never really be ready, so might as well jump now.

Update: Gonna try this picture posting thing. For Niobe, and because they are beautiful. Of course, I should've taken the picture yesterday, because they are just starting to wilt today.
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Friday, June 22, 2007

Away for the weekend

52 weeks ago we were getting ready for a big party to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Today, we are going away for the weekend to celebrate the 11th, tomorrow.

I am better now, but I was in a lousy mood most of the day. Work things, related to the camp and a little email mixup which showed me just how appreciated I was by at least one person there, made a reappearance. Thinking about last year's party-- how happy we were, how I didn't drink much because I *might have been* pregnant, how everyone was admiring my new ring-- JD's present, to replace the tiny little band that served as my engagement ring because we were poooooooooooor... I have now had this ring for only a couple of hours shy of a year. Not the year we envisioned it to be that day 52 weeks ago. Thinking of Snickollet, and how different her life is than a year ago, than she hoped for a year ago... Time is not kind. It stops for no one. All I can hope for today is that it will also be a good thing, that its march will bring with it good things.

I think I can leave these thoughts behind as the car starts rolling. I am looking forward to the weekend, and I will try to enjoy it on its own terms. At least that's the plan.

I'm playing, I'm playing

Looked like a lot of fun when Niobe, Sara, and S did it, so I'm playing too. Join in the fun, if you'd like by searching for "[your name] needs" and see what you get. The first thing I got was another blog playing this game 1.5 years ago. But having skipped that, here's what the internets think I need:

Julia Needs An Ass Woopin'
Julia Needs Help
Julia Needs a Bath-- Julia Needs a Bath by K's Kids.
i think julia needs new shoes....
julia needs to wake up of her daydream...
Julia needs to return to workforce ...
Miss Julia needs to be back in her own environment where she can play off the other ...
Julia needs more airtime.
Julia needs another mocha and a … what is it?
julia needs a pair of headset and a mouse, anyone want to donate?

Just for kicks I searched for "Julia wants," and wouldn't you know that the very first result was, and I kid you not, "Julia wants to make pregnancy film." Nda....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The things you did fine not knowing...

Lori, weeks ago now, tagged me for the ten little known (and hopefully interesting) facts about me meme. I guess now is as good a time as any to give it a shot. That I procrastinate doesn't count, obviously (and I believe I already fessed up to that one).

1. My accent fades in and out approximately proportionally to how much I have been speaking the Old Country Language lately. Since I got to the camp this year mere three days after getting back to the States, it wasn't particularly surprising that I couldn't get the "w" sound right almost for the duration. Nobody could understand it when I said "wall."

2. I met my husband when I was ten and he was twelve and we were in the same chess club. I don't remember much about him in the first two years that we knew each other, but when I was about twelve, I developed a major crush on him. We didn't start dating until I was 18, many moons and an ocean later. I had to give up on him in the interim, but it didn't take much for me to reconsider.

3. I went to undergrad and grad school at the same place. Also, except for a summer job after my freshman year and the small stipend paid to me by the camp, I have not been employed by any entity other than that same college since I started there fifteen years ago. We call that "being a lifer," but I am pretty sure that part of my life will be over in another month.

4. My first job in the States was at a Burger King. McD's was next door, and those who got fired at the place I worked went over there. Sometimes we would get together with them on our breaks and they would tell us how crappy things were at their new place of employment. To this day, I try to avoid eating at any fast food places, but especially at branches of that establishment that was next door.

5. I was also a page at a library, and had to, on occasion, shelve romance novels. Having read too many jackets as I was doing it, I can't even contemplate reading one of those for real.

6. My mom says that one of the funnest parts of having the second child for her was seeing her first (that would be me) be amazed and delighted by the second (that would be my lovely sister Adelynne). I loved being a big sister, and wanted a longish break between my first and second, to allow my oldest (that would be Monkey) to be aware and helpful as a big sister. Of course, that meant that Monkey was fully cognizant of her brother's death. I believe they call that "blowback."

7. JD graduated with honors from the Old Country version of Stuyvesant. I went to the same school until I left for the US. Out of JD's homeroom class of 30 or so, five are in our City, and many more are in the US. Only one of my classmates is in our City. The group of friends that formed, like an ice crystal seeded by JD's school friends, is a close one. We rent a house for a week each winter to go skiing, and we started doing a similar thing for a week in the summer, although attendance at that is spottier. Our kids in many cases are closer to each other than to their respective cousins. It's mindblowing to look at our old pictures from the skiing trips and realize how long we have been at it. It is even weirder that the oldest kids are now skiing with us. Although "us" is certainly relative. I missed last season, and, with any luck, will miss the next one. I am looking forward to our summer thing in a month.

8. I once broke eight ribs when I met a tree on a ski slope. My friends showed up at the hospital to say that I was lucky the Chinese food place across the street didn't take credit cards, because they were planning on ordering spare ribs to be delivered to my room every hour. Do you know how painful it is to laugh when your ribs are broken? Do you know how happy I was to see them? When our friends showed up at the house after A died, one or two at a time, there were less jokes and more food, and for me, the wonder of having all these people there for us.

9. I am an excellent cook. I don't mind cooking for large parties because I came into my own as a cook while living in a dorm community where (among other things) we cooked and ate dinner together. A lot of my recipes are still written for 25+ and require scaling back when cooked just for the family. As a housekeeper, though, I am lousy.

10. One feature of our house that makes me think we will eventually move is the smallish dining room. We can only comfortably sit 12-14. I need to be able to sit at least 20, and maybe more. A house with an open floor plan seems to be the answer. Ours kinda is, but not really. I have crazy ideas like moving the outside wall instead, but something tells me that won't be happening.

Whew! Turns out ten is a lot of things to come up with. I am tagging Sara and Aurelia for this.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


It's CD1 around here. We, neither of us, are really ready for this thing. But, depending on the results of tomorrow's round of thyroid tests, we may actually be doing this... Yick!

And the cramps! The cramps! I really could do without those.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


I felt the tears well up, and for a brief second didn't know why. We were at a concert of an Old Country Language literary studio where friends' older kid was performing. Three kids read "If" by Kipling, first in English, and then in the translation they chose (there are several). I have known this poem for a long time, although not by heart. When I was younger, I thought it glorious and romantic. Today, as I felt the tears come up, I first thought it was because I recognized immediately that I would never be able to live up to its standards as we take the next step on our journey. How could I even think of pulling this off, for example:

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting...


Are you kidding me? I can't even think of how I will do through the first two week wait, not to mention all the others after it, whether it works or not.

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

Right, that'll happen.
And I am clearly not up to doing this:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

at least not that last part. But I certainly feel as if what we are about to do (and to a certain extent what we are doing now) is this:

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

But then who could live up to these standards? And who would want to, when the standards are these:

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;


All these things are true. And real. But as I cycled through them, once for each language in which the words rang out, it occurred to me that none of them, by their lonesome, would make me crumble and fight, and loose, twice, the battle to keep the tears from coming.

What would is this-- we are free to like or dislike, to argue over whether this picture is realistic, or a product of 19th century idealism, part and parcel of the white man's burden, and whether we should be introducing our kids to these powerful words and the standards they bring with. We are free to try to live up to them, if we so choose, and to fail, as we are sure to do, at least part of the time. We are. But not A.

He'll never fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run.
It's not for him, the Earth and what's within it,
He'll never grow up to be a Man, my son.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Of love and flowers-- a post of many threads

For the first several weeks after A died one of the things that tortured my soul was thinking of how few people know anything about him, knew even that he existed. My wise beyond her years sister tried to talk me down off that particular ledge, but I wasn't having much of it. What I wanted was for the whole world to see how beautiful he was, how big and strong, how long and full of promise his little fingers were. This obsession got a lot better one fine crisp February day, within a week of coming back to work. I was going to get lunch, sun in my eyes, complete lack of sunglasses and forethought obvious, when out of the blue I realized that I love my children the same. Equally. It was such a huge relief, and it took some thinking to appreciate that I felt relieved of a burden I didn't even know I was carrying-- I apparently was worried that I loved my son less. Sometime later I also realized that on that subconscious level where we are all much smarter than we can claim credit for, I already knew that. It's a strange tale of love and flowers. Pull up a chair-- it may take a while.


I always bring the same kind of flowers to my grandfather's grave-- the kind I liked in the store the first time I went to the cemetery after the headstone was put in-- spider mums. There are two vases there, one on each side, and I usually get white and yellow ones-- one color for each side. Spider mums are the flower with thin spiky petals that are usually sold with a net over each flower and, when you are lucky, can look like sunrise through a cloud. It has this delicate stubbornness about it, this flower that seems to be made of shards, fragile and indestructible at the same time. These are all my reflections now, though, and I have no idea why I picked these particular flowers the first time.


This past Sunday was Monkey's second ever piano recital. The first one was ten days before A died. She had harder pieces to play this time, and we got in trouble the week before the recital because JD and Monkey forgot to practice while I was at the camp. The teacher was understandably unamused, and, despite concentrated practice the last couple of days, Monkey did make one small, but noticeable mistake. I thought that because I was smart enough to realize I was pregnant at her only previous recital, I would be prepared to handle this one. Turns out, I wasn't that smart-- I forgot that last time I wasn't just listening to my daughter play, I was also feeling my son dance. I could almost feel it again this Sunday. Almost, but not quite. And that place in between, just out of the grasp of my sensory memory, that was the hardest part.


I am a milk factory. With Monkey, I had so much milk left over and frozen, that it kept a friend's baby off of formula for four straight months. When A's milk came in, I was under strict orders not to pump. I could, if it got bad, manually express some, but not much. I ended up walking around with cabbage leaves inside my sports bra for over three weeks before it was over. It would've been longer if not for sage tea. The point, though, is that one morning, I think maybe the morning after we got back from the hospital, Monkey came in to our bed and wanted to give me a hug. But before she did that, she bunched her nose and asked why I smelled so bad "in there." I told her it was cabbage and I had it there so that my breasts wouldn't hurt. She looked at me like I was nuts, and told me that cabbage was for eating, and, by the way, would I please make her stuffed cabbage?


On Monkey's fifth birthday, and the day before A's due date, I read Kristin's reflections on approaching two years since the death of her beautiful son Thomas. Since I was at work that day, I tried very hard not to cry, and I think I mostly succeeded. I left a comment, though:
The love, the love is overwhelming. It's huge, and, at least for now, it's painful. I realized a little bit ago that I love my children exactly the same, exactly the way a mother should-- the same. It's strange to love these two people the same-- one who I have watched grow for five years, and one I only got to hold after he was gone. It took me several weeks to realize that, and for now it hurts. It hurts because there is nothing I can do to show my son this love. I hope it gets better with time.

Kristin responded, and, if I had to pinpoint where my eventual "I knew it all along" realization started brewing, I think I would have to point to this post. Oh, and it made me cry, but that was mostly ok because I was home by then.


For a week after Monkey's first recital, the house was full of flowers. She got some from us, some from my parents who happened to be visiting, some from her nanny who came to hear her play, and, I think, some from my sister. And a single rose from her teacher.


The morning of the funeral, I got up with a purpose. I needed to make stuffed cabbage for my daughter. Yes, before we left for the cemetery. Yes, absolutely sure. So my mom helped me, and we got it done. By then we were cutting it close, and JD was not thrilled when I said I needed to stop and get flowers on the way. But I knew exactly what I wanted-- purple tulips. Why tulips and why purple? I asked myself briefly, and I couldn't answer, but I knew I wanted to get precisely those flowers. JD agreed to stop by a supermarket directly on our route. There is one with a better floral department a couple of blocks off the route, but that one wasn't happening. Would it surprise you to hear that they only had one kind of tulips in the suboptimal supermarket, and that they were purple?

My sister came to the cemetery with gorgeous white roses. She had called her order in and picked it up on her way. I am so glad she chose them. I thought of why didn't I think of getting something white for my son? Or roses? I always loved roses. Still no answer. But a realization that what I brought was right for me.

Not until Kristin's post got some of those stubborn wheels turning in my head (and then not until Wannabe Mom gave it a final push-- did I kill enough metaphors yet?) did I realize that the flowers I got for Monkey for her first recital were (yeah, you saw this coming) purple tulips. Apparently, I was only being fair. I gave each of my children what I could that day-- flowers for my son, just like his sister had before, and stuffed cabbage for my daughter, just like she asked.


This past Saturday when I ran out for a quick late evening grocery shopping trip, I was thinking of the upcoming recital and the flowers I had a chance to get for my daughter and my son. So when I walked into the store and saw pink peonies, almost the same kind as the ones I bought by the main gate of The Old City Cemetery, I knew I was done for. They were the first to go into the cart. They have opened now, and they are beautiful. The vase I picked can't quite contain all the leaves, but that's ok-- they look more alive this way. On that same shopping trip I also noticed that gerberas have arrived, and thought it would be nice to get those for Monkey. I got her pale pink ones the next day at a different store, and I pulled one from her bouquet to give to her teacher after the recital.

Pretty sure this means that I will be bringing gerberas to the cemetery some time soon. Hm... I think I will skip the pink though.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Name your anxiety

I don't know whether I am just weird like that, or whether it is the case for others as well, but for me, the key to overcoming an episode of anxiety is to name its source. The molasses day, for instance, got a lot more manageable once I figured out what was dragging me down. The day before I returned to work, way back this past winter-- that was one for the ages-- there were three different anxiety inducers, and it didn't get any better until I named all three. It's as if speaking its name gives me the power over the thing itself. Weird, sure, but I'll take it, I guess. I am not comfortable being anxious. I doubt anyone is, of course. For me, it's as if I can't find a place to sit inside myself. That, in itself, is incentive enough to do whatever I can to overcome the episode. Thus, knowing what I have to do is rather useful. Actually doing it often leaves me sadder than I started (well, duh!), sometimes even physically exhausted, but most of the time, no longer anxious.

There are times, though, when naming the genie doesn't put it back in the bottle, at least not right away. Today was one of those days. Today in the shower I briefly realized what day it was, but then mundane tasks of getting out the door took over, and that should've been that. But it wasn't. It started half way through the drive to work. It continued as I walked in and tried to settle down. It grew through a coffee meeting we all had with a visiting colleague. He was fascinating, there were many things to think about and discuss, but I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't even sit there calmly-- I kept fidgeting, looking at the clock, willing my brain to work, willing myself to figure it out. Which is when the realization from this morning made its triumphant return. It's a year. Exactly a year. A was conceived a year ago today.

Screwed-up red eye flight with a stopover, JD being late to pick me up (for a good reason, granted, but still), grumbling on the way home, making up, and making A. Someday I will fess up to the full extent of my weirdness, but that's not the point today. Today, I will just say that I knew then that this is the one, even though I wasn't to ovulate for another 36 hours or so. There were other opportunities that week, but I know that my son was conceived that day.

This one must be big, because understanding the source of today's anxiety didn't take it away until some time later-- past the hour mark that made it one year. I tried to stay in the meeting, but I couldn't. I ended up leaving before it was over. Ostensibly, to do work. But really, because I could not sit in ether my chair or my skin.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The news that saved my day

One of my closest friends called to say that she got the job that is 2 mi from my house, pays better, is more interesting, and will let her work with cool people, some of them friends. This should let me see her much more often, as I anticipate lunches or even coffee breaks together.

This is also why I am not a slobbering crying mess right now despite the fact that moving stuff out of my old office in the accursed department went a lot worse than I could have imagined and included a part where for a somewhat prolonged period of time I didn't know where a lot of my stuff was. It's been fun.

This post brought to you by the "my day just improved" department.

Friday, June 8, 2007


I wasn't supposed to be able to work the camp this year. Or if I did manage it, it should've required much more effort-- someone to go with me, a bigger room, more stuff to haul. Mostly, I did a good job not thinking about it, but there were moments, few and relatively far between when that was not an option. Funny thing, though-- I wasn't imagining the complicated logistics, I was just hit with waves of grief and longing. I was missing my son, a lot. It didn't much help that last year the camp was the first leg of a trip upon my return from which A was conceived. Yeah.

By the time today rolled around, I was antsy and unsettled. I needed to go to the cemetery. I hadn't been since before The Old City. The day, however, was not interested in cooperating. Two work things to complete, a meeting, shopping. The latter because we are supposed to go on a camping trip tomorrow morning, and together with Monkey's very busy day on Sunday it pretty much means I will have no weekends for four weeks straight.

All this combined meant that by the time I was headed for the cemetery, I had little hope of the gates still being open-- it's Friday night, and that means all things Jewish close early. Saturday before we left for The Old City I was in the neighborhood, and wanted to see if the place was open. It wasn't, and I drove on my way. You will understand, then, how at the end of my rope I was today when I tell you that I resolved to walk in and hike all the way to our section if the gates were closed. Surprisingly, the main gate was still open, and I was grateful. That's about where the good part ended.

When I pulled up to the baby section, it looked like there might be another marker by the two that appeared in early May, and as I got out of the car, it was to that part I headed, muttering things like "please, no, oh no." But as usual, it was too late. Not one, but two fresh graves have joined our little world. Two boys. Two different families. Three days apart at the end of May, while we were away. I wasn't keeping track of dates, remember? So I can't even tell you what I was doing as these families' worlds were falling apart. Why do I feel such sorrow not only at the idea of where these families are right now, but also at the thought that I missed it? I don't know them. There is nothing I could do for them. But I wish there was something.

The cemetery is a memorial park, meaning that plates, but not monuments are allowed, and if you are just strolling along the alleys, the place looks very much like botanical gardens. I like it-- it's peaceful and beautiful, and there is no competition for the biggest stone. The spring took its sweet time this year, and for the longest time you could easily spot A's grave by the lack of vegetation. In early May, after the two no longer newest graves appeared, it looked like the grounds keepers had tilled the soil and added the seeds and the fertilizer pellets. I thought it would be nice to see the grass next time. And it's there. There are a few bold spots still, but I am sure they will fill in in a while. But there are also sun-burnt remnants of something else growing on the plot. I can't decide whether it's a weed or whether they meant to seed the place with flowers. The latter would be unusual, because they generally don't let you plant anything there. One lonely stem still had its flowers, and they were tiny, delicate and white. Whether it's a weed or not (having a green thumb would probably come in handy in identifying which it is), when the whole plot bloomed, it must have been pretty. And I missed that too.

I cried today. I cried hard. I cried out loud. The cemetery was empty, so I am sure the sound of that tidal wave coming down on me did not mess with anyone else's day. I heard a sound sort of like that on one of my previous visits. It was a male voice, full of tears and despair asking "why? why? why?" many times over. The voice clashed strangely with the view. The view, the whole design, suggest piece and acceptance. The voice suggested anything but. For my part, I did not ask. I, however, would like to know what is it about this year. There is only one baby grave from all of 2006 there, and five so far this year.

But most of all, I miss my son. I can't tell you what is it about him that I miss, I just do.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

From the body snatchers files

Dear body,

I am not thrilled with the whole beginning to turn into a slug thing. However, I do understand that this is what comes with when thyroid takes that long-awaited 180° turn. I do want to add that I am both gratified and relieved to hear that I should, therefore, be done with the whole heart medication nonsense in about a week and a half. Which is, admittedly, handy as I would much appreciate said teratogenic medication leaving my system before my next ovulation (ETA=<4 weeks), such that we can give ourselves and the world a chance to wonder about our sanity by trying for this whole take home baby thing again. But, body, would it be too much to hope for to be at least partially conscious while all of this goes on? Ok then, don't worry about it.


The Tenant

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Fun with calendar

Jewish days start the night before, meaning they go sundown to sundown, rather than according to the rigid requirements of a clock. By that math (and soon-- by any math), yesterday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

It started with my plane being delayed hours, causing me to get home at an ungodly hour. And wouldn't you know that even though all I wanted to do once I got home was to ahem.. spend some quality time with my husband, said husband then proceeded to make a single throw away remark that pushed a button, hard, leading to prospects of quality time diminishing exponentially. Add in a number of small annoyances discovered on my way upstairs, and it was all over with.

In the morning, I discovered that there was orange juice spilled over half of the fridge, and you should have heard Monkey (in person) and JD (on the phone-- he ran off to work early) try to blame that one on each other. That was pretty humorous, actually. And of course, who could forget finding out that my daughter wore leggings (as in kind of short, as in bright white against her somewhat tanned skin) to her preschool graduation instead of tights I told both of them she should wear with her nice fancy light yellow dress? Add that in and we have one fine morning indeed.

The middle part was not bad, actually-- I had a nice talk with the head of Monkey's school for next year. But then I went to find out about getting a job for myself. The job I did for the very same department twice before. The job I did very well. The job I was pretty sure I could have just for the asking. But what I found out was that the chair black listed me. For, the first time I was doing this job, not mincing words about someone who was doing the same job horrifically badly, and who, you will notice, is no longer there.

Ok then. I like the students, and I like some other aspects of this job. At this point, I also liked that I would have a job I know. But the departmental politics I could totally live without. So I am looking now. I have half the mind not to look, to do something small like tutoring to make some money and to take it easy for a while. But I am still early enough in my career that a gap would be noticeable, and so I am looking. Wish me luck.

P.S. While I was gone, I was subject to my very first click-by trolling (the last comment there). I am tempted to respond because you know..., and tempted not to respond because I think she won't get anything I have to say. I should probably try to lean a little harder in that direction, ha?

Lost in time

Today I came back to work, and that is how I know that it is in fact June 6th. When we left for The Old City, it was a Sunday. We came back Tuesday a week later, and in the middle the only date I was keeping track of was JD's birthday, and even keeping track of that was more than a little half-assed.

After we got back, I had two full days home, and then, on Friday morning, I got on another plane and went to a City not my own, to teach in a camp-type thing for pretty smart high school students. Which meant that most of the two days in between were spent rounding up and packing all the supplies I would need to take with me. And yes, it was mostly my fault that I was doing this at the last minute. I did mention I was no good at the whole productivity thing lately. Yes?

The camp is on a pretty contained campus, so while there I wasn't much keeping track of dates, except for Sunday, when I was acutely aware of missing Monkey's preschool graduation. But other than that, there was too much work to worry about little things like what day it was.

Those two days in the middle were strange. The first one was all go-go-go. I got a lot done, and even started thinking that maybe I was getting back to being able to actually work. The next day, though, that was a whole other story. It was a kind of day that if I didn't have to get on the plane in the morning, I would think hard about spending in bed. Not having that option, though, I dragged. Everything was an effort-- writing things down, thinking things through, doing anything at all. I had to constantly push myself, remind myself that the day was indeed finite, that there were still things to get done, and a hard deadline at the end of it all. Driving was the worst. I was anxious, and couldn't tell you why. I was sad, more than usual, more even than a usual bad day. I was walking through molasses.

After I got almost all of it done, I had to sit around for a bit waiting for a colleague. All of a sudden it hit me. See, when we left for The Old City, in my mind May was over with. But in reality it wasn't. That last day, the very hard day, molasses day? That was the 31st-- 4 months exactly since A's birth, and only a second such monthaversary afforded me so far. Most months I get the day he died, but I only get the day he was born half the time. Apparently, JD is better at this calendar thing than I am-- he had a bad day too, but he knew why. I didn't know, but I guess I knew.