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What’s Left Behind

4 Feb

So – I’ll save you the usual apologies for being gone so long. Until we move and/or get Bunny into daycare, sporadic will just have to do. ūüôā

This post has been running through my head for a while, though I admit it’s still a jumble. I’m hoping that writing it out will help clarify some things.

What is left when the wreckage of the last 3.5 years is cleared?

I’ve been thinking about that question a lot lately. The last 5(!) months since Bunny was born have been a whirlwind. New job, big decisions, and of course the huge life change that is just having her here. I admit there are still days that I “remember” I’m a mom and freak the fuck out. She is still in a lot of ways an abstract to me. But she’s slowly but surely becoming a little person with her own wants needs and desires, so the abstract is gaining focus.

Last month, Shmerson and I re-watched the first two seasons of “Sherlock” (don’t be so impressed, it’s only six episodes), in preparation for the new season. While watching it, I realized that I remembered NOTHING. Not one single thing about this show, which I knew that I loved and I always categorized as brilliant. When I mentioned this to Shmerson, I noted: “We must have watched it while I was drugged up.”

I don’t think I hid this here, but I don’t think I discussed it much either: After losing Nadav I spent the better part of six months HEAVILY medicated. My pregnancy with Bunny I spent on very strong anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds, which meant I was mostly emotionally detached from everything that entire time (and it wasn’t just the meds, it was also a defense mechanism). I credit that medication with saving my sanity and my life. But it does mean that there’s a good year or so of my life that passed in a complete haze. ¬†I started taking anti-depressants for the first time in December of 2010 – over 3 years ago – which generally numbed my feelings.¬†I am now only taking Xan.ax to deal with my anxiety disorder, and I’m on a very small dose. For the first time in 3 years – I’m no longer in a haze or emotionally detached due to medication.

It gets more complicated: My first miscarriage happened just two months after our wedding. From that point on, I was a woman on a mission. I abandoned literally EVERYTHING in pursuit of a baby. In June of 2010, had you asked – I would have said that my greatest ambition was to direct feature films. I had already gotten a development grant and I was getting closer and closer to that goal. If you would have told me then that I’d abandon it all to accommodate a string of high-risk pregnancies, and then become a content manager at a start-up and actually ENJOY it I would have thought that the notion was absurd.

My first loss turned everything upside down for me, and the world has only really begun to straighten up now. There were moments during the last 3.5 years that I *thought* I had things figured out. I “made decisions” regarding my future. I “pushed on”. In hindsight – those moments were a total crock.

I spent 6 months thinking I wanted to be a teacher. I spent a year and a half teaching.

I do NOT want to be a teacher.

I went back to school to get BA level psych credits so that I could do a Master’s in Art Therapy.

I do NOT want to be an art therapist.

I also don’t think I want to be a filmmaker, though that option hasn’t completely been taken off the table. 10 years of pursuing it and 2 degrees keep it perpetually on the table.

I love my job – but I’m also not sure I want to be doing that for the rest of my life.

But this is not just about career choices.

Out of the last 3.5 years, I spent 84 weeks of them pregnant. That’s almost 20 months. Practically two years.

I spent the remainder either attempting to get pregnant or grieving a lost pregnancy, or both at the same time.

(For the sake of this argument, I’m not counting of course the 5 months I have now spent raising Bunny).

That time basically demolished me completely. Giving birth to Bunny only cleared the wreckage, and of course, I can’t rely on her to rebuild. This is about me.

I need to figure out who I am now. That’s kind of a huge deal.

The last 3.5 years have called almost all of my assumptions about myself into question. Parts of my personality that I was CONVINCED were inherent to it are now absolutely gone.

A small example: I was absolutely 100% convinced that I will always be a person who struggles to diet. Gestational diabetes changed that. I have been consistently shedding pounds since giving birth and I’m now 5 pounds less than I was before getting pregnant with Bunny. I have a good 20 to go before I reach my ideal weight, but I’m getting there, and it’s not even CLOSE to being a struggle. Patience and willpower? Ha! Small potatoes compared to the hell of a high-risk pregnancy.

Any free headspace I have these days is dedicated to two things:

1) Figuring out who I am

2) Making an effort to fix the things I don’t like about myself.

There are very few things I know about myself now. This is what I’ve managed to figure out so far:

I know I both love and am terrified by being a mother.

I know I love my husband.*

I know that I have a strong survival instinct, and I am incredibly stubborn.

I know I’m good at my job.

I know I’m a good writer (prose mostly, ok at scripts, suck at ¬†poetry).

I know I don’t trust doctors.

I know that generally, people tend to like me when they  meet me.

I know that I have absolutely NO fashion sense, nor do I have an interest in developing one.

I know I have some serious self-esteem issues

I know that purple is my favorite color, Faith No More is my favorite band, my favorite books are the Harry Potter series, the Hunger Games trilogy, and the odd one out – “The Music of Chance” by Paul Auster. I’m a 90’s pop culture junkie and I love (modern) Dr. Who and (not-so-modern) Monty Python movies.

I know I’m a good cook, though I’m no longer sure what my favorite food is. It used to be lobster. I think it may now be french fries. Or maybe fresh-baked white bread with butter.

I know I’m a good mother, a good wife, a good friend, a good daughter, and a good sister. Though in my weakest moments I question all of that.

If you’re counting, that’s basically 12 things. Everything else is up in the air.

Wait – I know one more thing: That whatever I figure out about who I am, I want Bunny to be proud of that person. I know I need to lead by example.

The wreckage has cleared – it’s time to rebuild.

* Last night Shmerson and I had a bit of a mini-fight. It ended with me explaining all of this to him. He told me: “I don’t know what you’re going to be either, but I can’t wait to find out, because I know it’ll be amazing.” I love him so fucking much.

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Havaya Metakenet Redux

23 Dec

Quietly and without much fanfare, two important milestones for this blog have gone unacknowledged. A couple of months ago I published my 450th post (interestingly enough, it was my official “one month” post). I am now (slowly) crawling toward post 500.

A week ago was my three year blogaversary.

On December 16th, 2010 – just a bit after midnight (so really – exactly one year and one week ago today) I published my first post¬†(for savvy readers, you will notice it has a very similar title to the post announcing Bunny’s birth. This wasn’t by accident). ¬†I had no readers. I had ¬†no idea there were other blogs out there. I had just taken my first ever Xan.ax, and after months of hell trying to come to terms with two miscarriages and battling depression and panic attacks, I found some clarity. I found the drive to write again.

Little did I know what I had in store for me. What those three years would bring, and the world and people they would expose me to.

I admit, even though I was broken when I wrote my first post, I still didn’t think it could get any worse. Then it did. Then once again I didn’t think it could get any worse.

And it did again.

And then I broke into a million pieces and it was this space that kept me together. But also this space that kept me remembering things I didn’t want to remember any more.

So I denied. I podcasted. I ran away.

But then I came back. I came back here because no matter what, this space chronicles and honors the most difficult journey I have ever taken in my life. And I choose to continue to chronicle it. Because the journey doesn’t end with a baby.

When you lose so much, you cannot be magically fixed.

These past few weeks have been insane. Going back to work and trying to get back to living has been a challenge. I have been in a cocoon for so long it’s been a hard road to get to know myself again. And that road is just beginning. I am slowly reclaiming my body. I am slowly coming out of the hard shell I built around myself. Slowly. Slowly.

I won’t lie to you, it’s been hard. But it’s also been amazing. It has been – finally – one Havaya Metakenet after another. If you don’t feel like going back and reading that post – havaya metakenet is a Hebrew phrase meaning “restorative experience”. I’ve been longing for them since the moment I lost my first pregnancy (that particular post was written when this blog was about 4 months old). And I’ve been striving for them since the moment Bunny was born.

I’m not sure if it’s the end of the year, the fatigue, the transitions, or all of the above that have made me count the restorative experiences that I have had in the past few months. Lately, instead of flashing back to the most awful day of my life, I have been flashing back to the most wonderful day. That in itself is a restorative experience. It’s not that I no longer remember. I remember him. I think of him. I love him completely. But Shmerson and I told ourselves long ago that he would not want us to always be sad. So I think he would be happy that he is remembered more often now in his little sister’s gaze. Not in his mother’s trauma.

Today, while striving for a new restorative experience, I realized how many of these experiences I have already had in the past 3.5 months. It has all been so overwhelming, but today, I counted them.

  • My daughter, just out of the womb, being laid on my stomach as we waited for the cord to finish pulsing. I couldn’t see her. I had yet to see her. But I felt her breathing. I had my hand on her back. I could feel her – ¬†tangible and present. It was the happiest moment of my life up until that point.
  • A few hours later, laying in recovery, trying out of habit to count kicks. Understanding that there were no more kicks to be counted. Getting up out of bed frantically and running to the nursery, to beg them to finish their tests so that I could finally have my daughter. Standing outside the nursery at 6am, sobbing. Waiting for them to open the door. Stepping in, being lead to my daughter. Looking at her properly for the first time. Taking her in. Understanding that she is living, she is breathing, she is real. She is mine. Well – at least trying to understand it. I don’t think I fully understand it even today.
  • Every day. Every song I sing to her as I put her to sleep or as we play. Every time she follows me across the room with her eyes. Every time she gives me one of her amazing smiles. She is so generous with those smiles. Every time we have a “conversation” with her coos. She is an open, loving, warm, happy, generous little person. I cannot believe I actually had a part in making her. She amazes me every. Single. Day.

bunny with a bunny

Nadav was born and died about a month before Purim (for those who don’t know – that’s the holiday where us Jews dress up and eat candy).

I was still broken. Shmerson had just started a new job. They encouraged employees to dress up. I still could barely get my butt out of the house. But I was determined to help him with a costume. We dressed him up like Dr. Who. I even made a homemade sonic screwdriver. I stayed at home that day. Happy that some fun was had. Broken that it was had without my son. I don’t know why those two days of making that costume stick out so much in my memory. But I feel those days. The ever-present pain, wanting to break through a facade I was putting on. Trying to be happy. Trying to live, to honor him. Barely able to do it, yet doing it ferociously.

Purim is still about 3 months away. Today I started a pinterest board. I want Shmerson to dress up as Dr. Who again. I want to be the Tardis. I want Bunny to be a little Dalek.

To add another restorative experience to the list.

With the hopes of adding many more to come.

To all of my wonderful readers out there, who have stuck it out for three long years, or who have just now found me, thank you for being here. Thank you for your patience as I navigate my way through this strange new world. I hope your 2014 is full of restorative experiences.

I’m striving to make mine chock full of them.

And Then I Had a Talk With Silent Bob

19 Sep

So I barely blog for a month and then I hit you with a doozy. Sorry about that! Anywhozers, fasten your seatbelts and pour yourself a glass of something – this is going to be a long-ass bit of film geekery.

There’s this thing I do when I’m feeling particularly down. I latch on to a specific, book, tv series, whatever, and just stick with it – sometimes for weeks at a time.

I’ve done it with the Harry Potter series a ¬†dozen or so times. the Hunger Games Trilogy, the Twilight books (I know! Don’t judge me!), Dr. Who…

I just power through them and ONLY them and just escape into that world. They help me get past the hump of whatever hard time I’m going through. For example – during the first month after losing Nadav I re-watched all six season of Dr. Who. Once I was done gobbling that up, I dove right back into The Hunger Games. These have always been the easiest way for me to escape reality for a little bit. To get out of my own head.

After revisiting The Hunger Games for the third time a few months ago, I was kind of at a loss as to what to escape into next. That’s when I found Hollywood Babble-On.

It’s a podcast that features Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman, basically just shooting the shit about entertainment news. And it caused me to laugh out loud for the first time in who knows how long.

I love Kevin Smith. I have for years and years. I just never imagined that he – of all people – would be the one to help me get through Nadav’s due date, and inspire me to get off my ass and take my not-a-bucket list seriously.

I’ve always seen Kevin Smith as a somewhat kindred spirit. First off, when I was still in undergrad film school, a couple of my friends dubbed me “The Female Kevin Smith”. Second, we’re both self-admittedly fat and lazy, and we both cried at the end of “Toy Story 3”.

I loved his movies when I was in film school. True story: I was living in Philly during the filming of “Jersey Girl” and wasn’t hired after an interview to intern in the art department (I think the woman who interviewed me sensed I was a rabid fan girl). I somehow managed to forgive Mr. Smith and his compatriots for¬†that one slip-up, though.

But I digress, as usual. Let me fill you guys in on some background information that I don’t often share on this blog.

I went to film school for 7 fucking years. Yep, SEVEN YEARS.

In undergrad, I was a superstar. I got all the scholarships, won all of the awards, everybody freaking loved me. I used that as leverage and got accepted to “Grad School X” – AKA “one of the best film schools in the world” (I will not mention the name here because I have very few nice things to say about it).

Then, I crashed and burned.

Here I was, coming from a place where I was “the best”, entering a place where everyone was on my level or better. I felt under pressure to be “the best” again. I was too fucking busy trying to prove to everyone how good I was and I completely forgot to not give a shit about what they thought. As a result, I lost everything that made me a good director. I lost everything that made my films MINE.

Case in point: For my graduate thesis, I made a Holocaust film. It was a year and a half in the making, and I gave everything to that freaking movie.

But the thing is, I didn’t shoot the draft of the script that I really loved.

The draft I really loved had the word “fuck” in it. Like, a lot.

But of course you can’t get name actors or funding for a Holocaust film with the word “fuck” in it. I was competing against a bunch of rich kids with endless resources, and I needed to fundraise everything through strangers’ donations.¬†So I cleaned it up. I watered it down.

Though I’m proud of it sometimes, other times I hate that film. It represents me giving up a huge chunk of my identity. Sure, it won a couple of prizes, ¬†but it sure as hell didn’t restore the confidence that was shat on during my two and a half years in grad school.

After that ego-crushing trauma, I packed my bags and moved back to Israel. I had the pedigree of “one of the best film schools in the world” going for me, but my confidence was shot to hell, as was my passion. I was tired. I didn’t know who I was any more. I just wanted to fucking sleep.

I started on a few projects that fizzled. I even got development money for a couple of them.

Then I had my first miscarriage.

Before I married Shmerson I was working as the content director in this very high-stress job. Then the company fizzled, I became unemployed, we got married, and soon after that I was knocked up. I had always had this little fantasy about being pregnant: I could eat anything I wanted without feeling guilty, and I would lay in bed, nurturing my growing belly, while writing the film that would be my first feature.

As most of you know, that growing belly never emerged. That fantasy never came to life. Instead – I went through two years of hell chasing the take-home-baby dragon. I decided that screw it all – I want to be a mother, and mothers can’t be filmmakers.

So somewhere in these last two years I let that dream go for good. Looking back on it now, I think it was that first miscarriage that officially put me off making movies, because apparently, I can’t deal with things not going exactly as I thought they would. I’m working on that.

Which brings me back to Kevin Smith.

After listening to a couple of dozen podcasts, I downloaded his audiobook – “Tough Sh-t”, which is pretty funny and even dispenses some handy advice.

Then, with all of the stories about his films still running through my mind, I decided to re-watch all of them. In chronological order.

In Smith’s first “Jersey Trilogy” (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy), the character he plays – Silent Bob – doesn’t say a word until somewhere in the third act. Then he finally opens his mouth and spouts a monologue of Jedi-Master proportions, leading the main character to some sort of revelation.

As each of Smith’s films unfolded before me, I found myself looking at his journey as a filmmaker, and building a Silent Bob monologue of my very own. One that woke me up for the first time in a long time.

“Clerks” is not a great piece of filmmaking. The acting is pretty terrible, the cinematography is shaky, and the dialogue is sometimes trite. But you know what? That film has some motherfucking balls. And it made me laugh. A lot. The man decided to make a movie, he got a bunch of his friends to help him, maxed out some credit cards, and he freaking made a movie. That takes cagones.

“Mallrats” was deemed a failure when it was released. I honestly love that movie, despite its flaws. It’s the type of film I used to want to make. It takes everything I loved from the “Clerks” universe, and puts it in an Amy Heckerling package (oh! Check out my name-dropping! Amy Heckerling is the amazingly talented woman who wrote and directed one of my favorite movies of all time – “Clueless“).

“Chasing Amy” was always billed as Smith’s “Comeback Film” after “Mallrats” tanked. As I watched it all I could think about was what Smith said in the audiobook. How he gave up a paycheck to cast who he wanted in this film. How he proved everyone wrong and made a fucking great movie on his terms.

Dogma” is a freaking masterpiece. I could go on for hours about it. I’ve loved it since I first saw it in a theater back in 1999, if for no other reason than the fact that Alanis Morissette was cast as God. Here was another example of the man not caring about what other people thought, and look at the cinematic and satiric gold that emerged.

Then things get murky. Smith himself says that as his film career progressed, he found himself making movies for others more than for himself.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back“, as Smith says, is ¬†a love letter to his fans. But you can tell that Smith was losing some of his nerve.

Jersey Girl” has been pretty much panned as a disaster. I honestly love it. If “Strike Back” was a love letter to the fans, this was a love letter to John Hughes. As a huge Hughes fan myself, I couldn’t help but smile, and yes – cry a little bit – as the final scene unfolded to the tune of “Let My Love Open the Door“.

As Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl, Clerks 2, Zack and Miri Make a Por.no and Cop Out unfolded, I thought about how I had fallen into that trap. How every screenplay I had written, every movie idea I came up with, everything I had done with regards to filmmaking – and in my life in general – ¬†in the last seven years had been dictated by what I thought OTHERS expected of me. Every path I had set out for myself was not one I had wanted to travel on. Even the path that was deemed “successful” by “them” (whoever “they” are), was not one I particularly wanted for myself.

Is it any wonder that I lost all passion and motivation for something that I had worked so hard for?

Then came “Red State“. A film that Smith made for himself. Completely free of any studio intervention. A complete 180 from anything he had made before.

“Red State” is mother effing amazing. And you know what else? Smith says that after “Red State”, he’s got one more movie in him and he’s done. He’s moving on to other things. He didn’t take the path of being a film studio slave and forever making movies he didn’t want to make. He’s blazing (literally sometimes) his own trail, finding ways of doing what he loves and getting paid for it.

As the credits rolled, it all came together. Silent Bob had made his point.

“Fuck it all,’ he told me. “If you want to make a movie, make one. You know what? How about starting with just writing one? Just because things didn’t work out the way you fantasized about doesn’t mean that they can’t be good. You dreamt about lying in bed, pregnant, writing a screenplay. The next time you’re pregnant, you have no choice but to lie in bed, so fucking write a screenplay. You’re going to have all the time in the world and no excuses, so just fucking do it. Don’t worry about how much it will cost to produce. Don’t worry about whether it will get made, or win awards, or be a complete failure.

You went to film school because you loved movies. You still do. You still have that feature film in you. Just make it happen, on your terms. Fuck it all and do something that will make you happy. And while you’re at it – how about growing a pair right now and doing something you love?”

Or to quote directly from Mr. Smith’s book:

“Embrace a reasonable amount of un-reasonability.”

For the first time in a long time, I truly want to make a movie. I know I have a story to tell. I don’t quite know how I’m going to tell it. But I know it’s time I start figuring it out.

And before I do that, I have a freaking podcast to produce. Because I wanted to do it. And so I grew a set and did it. Thanks to Silent Bob.

Thank you, Mr. Smith, for reminding me that I have passion.

Thank you, sir.

*Credits*

Sunshine and Unicorn Farts

30 Aug

I haven’t been spending much time in this space lately. Here’s what I’ve been doing instead:

Painting

Podcasting (Thank you all for listening and commenting, btw!)

Working

Planning our trip to the States

Healing.

A couple of weeks ago, I started feeling a shift. After an intense EMDR session where we talked extensively about Nadav, I spent a couple of weeks in a haze. Then one day I woke up, and for the first time in almost two years I was beyond just the basic “functional”. I was energetic. I was prolific. I was brave.

After a slow simmer for a very long time, I have boiled over in the best of ways.

Nothing has changed. I am still not ovulating. I am still not pregnant. I am still mourning my son.

Everything has changed. I am dealing with things differently. I am handling my situation. I am finding courage to do things I haven’t dared to do in years.

This was a process that came to a head, that finally paid off. That finally made me stop saying the words “I am so freaking tired.”

I’m still tired of the waiting. I’m still tired of my body failing me. I’m still going to fight to make that stop. But I’m starting to put at least a part of my energy elsewhere. I’m starting to finally realize that wallowing won’t make things move any faster.

So if I’m not here as often, know it’s because I’m busy putting my life back together. Know that you all get major credit for helping me do that just by continuing to come here. Continuing to comment. Always being an amazing source of support.

My life isn’t sunshine and unicorn farts. But it’s finally starting to feel like a life.

Holy

1 Aug

Today an amazing woman, who’s daughter went through exactly what I did with Nadav, told me a story.

In the Jewish faith, there is a belief in a form of reincarnation. That our time on this earth is meant to fix something.

Jews believe that a child who chooses to leave this world early, is a holy soul with very little left to fix. In the case of stillbirth, a child who chooses to leave that soon is a “Tsadik” – a righteous soul.

The womb that carried that child is considered holy – with an extraordinary amount of love.

You guys all know that I’m more pastafarian¬†than anything else. I’ve also been told the first part of that belief before ¬†– I’ve been told that Nadav’s soul was a righteous one. I always dismissed it as a load of bunk and not much of a comfort.

But something about the way this woman said it. She said: You didn’t make him leave. He left. It happened. You didn’t make your water break, it just broke. His righteous soul chose to leave your loving and holy womb.

Something about this rings true to me, though I can’t quite put my finger on why.

All I know is that I feel a little better today.

No More Room

18 Jul

So some of you may know that I’m taking a class this week. It’s one of the pre-requisite classes for my Art Therapy Masters, called “Physiological Psychology.”

And it’s kicking my ass. I haven’t been in school for more than 6 years, and this isn’t just school – this is biology. Neurons and cortexes and whatnot. Me learn science! Me haz smart! Monkeys fly out of my butt!

It’s five days, 6 hours a day starting at 8:30am. Needless to say, my brain is fried.

So boy was I surprised when somehow, in the middle of this godawful class, I found some new perspective.

A couple of days ago I noticed that one of the students in the class spoke Hebrew with an American accent. I didn’t know anyone in the class, and I was looking for a partner to do the final project with me in English, so I decided to go up and introduce myself. Tammy, 36, mother of 4.

We starting chatting up a storm and pretty soon we were exchanging life stories. Unlike a lot of people, she didn’t give me a look of pity or treat me differently when I told her about the three early losses and Nadav. Though she has only had one loss her pregnancies have been full of complications and anxiety. I don’t know how she managed to “get” me. But I knew right away that this woman got me.

Today we continued our marathon conversation and the issue of me being unhappy with my current support system came up. You all know I’m not in a great space right now. Though I feel there’s been an amazing improvement with my therapist, there’s a lot of bottled up trauma and grief that I just don’t feel safe enough to confront.

So Tammy suggested a few alternative therapies that helped her deal with her high-risk pregnancies, and I wrote down some stuff to google. We continued to chat about life in general, and trauma in particular.

I brought up the fact that my biggest worry right now is the burden our first child (no matter how we come to him/her) will have because he or she will be coming to us on the back of all of this loss. She paused for a second, contemplating.

“I think I know why you’re having a hard time getting pregnant again.”

“Why?”

“Think about it. 4 babies. You lost four babies and in a way, you’re still carrying them. There’s no room in there for another one.”

You guys know I’m not one for spirituality. Especially in the last couple of months. Very little light has been let into my dark little basement of a brain. But something about what she said was deeply resonant. It felt right. Something about it rang true.

I am so filled with grief and anger that there is no room to create something that is pure love. Maybe if I let a little of the grief and anger go, I’ll be able to make enough room to finally be a mother.

It’s rare to make friends with a person so quickly and easily. It’s even more rare when that person has such a deep and profound impact on you just as fast.

 

It’s a Start

8 Jul

Yesterday was an obscenely bad day.

It started when I walked into my psychiatrist’s office. He looked me up and down, noticed the protruding belly that hasn’t gone down by much since we lost Nadav, and he promptly asked me how far along I was.

In the moment, I took it in stride, and told him that no, in fact I wasn’t pregnant, and I was having problems ovulating because of my weight.

He apologized profusely for his lack of tact, and explained that it wasn’t just the leftover bump, but also the fact that he knew we were trying again. Then he gave me free drugs, probably out of guilt. But hey, at least I got free drugs.

I left his office, still calm and collected, and headed over to my cousin’s for our weekly diet meeting. I lost less than a pound this week, and considering that I’m basically in diet hell, I was not particularly happy with that result.

Then I got home, let my morning sink in fully, and proceeded to lose my shit.

So much so that I said terrible things to Shmerson – about wanting to hurt myself. Or be put away somewhere where they would just sedate me forever. It was not pretty.

Tonight we went out on a date and I proceeded to get completely shitfaced on half a bottle of Cava. That did make me feel a bit better.

Then as I sobered up I sank back into my funk, until I got an email with this:

Thank you, Nisha.

Getting this today of all days was a bit of a wake up call. It’s so easy for me to feel alone. Even with Shmerson being as amazing as he is. Even with my family and friends IRL constantly checking up on me. It’s amazing how easily I can forget the love and support I have. Especially from you guys – having it from you – all of you that come here every day, that comment here, or email, or tweet- it does amazing things.

To be reminded that there are so many of you who care is enough to help me get my ass in gear.

I haven’t used this space properly in quite a while, and it’s time I bring it back to where it was. I think that by making myself come here more I may just get back to working on some healing.

The fact is that I can’t get motivated to do anything these days, but even on days like today I feel compelled to come here and to write. And that’s as good a start as any, right?

That’s where you come in. I need you guys to help me focus.

I want you all to give me some homework. I want you to give me things to write about that you would like to read.

Is there something that I used to do in this space that you miss and would like to see me do again? Is there anything about my personal life that I’ve only hinted at and you’d like to read more about? Is there anything that you’re curious to know about me? Seriously – ask me anything.

Lay it on me – give me some prompts.

It’s time to get into some major writing therapy.

As always, thank you. Thank you all for being my soft place to fall. I am and forever will be grateful to every single one of you.

Strands

26 Jun

Ok I’ll admit it: I haven’t been around because I’ve been wallowing. It’s been a hard week, between the due date and this freaking diet.

But let’s be honest, it’s mostly the due date. I’ve been doing my best not to think about it, but even when not thinking about it I’m pretty mopey. I’m really hoping this will pass soon. I’m sick and tired of feeling this way.

In AF news – there is no news. I’m finishing up the pills today and hopefully that will jump start things. The baby psychic¬†¬†said July will be our month ¬†(though granted I thought she meant last july). So here’s hoping my skepticism will be challenged this month, and that freaking psychic was right after all.

Seriously guys – I’m so over this.

Now to the point of this post. I apologize in advance if this gets rambly. I’m trying to figure it out myself.

So yesterday I was at the shrink’s.

It’s funny – since I decided to break up with her¬†our sessions have been amazing. Just bringing up what my problems with her have been opened me up to actually talking openly again. I’m not saying I’m no longer considering leaving her. But for now – we’re making some amazing strides.

Anyway – a big revelation I’ve had about the way I operate is this:

I spend all of my time dealing with the day-to-day issues in my life almost to the point of obsession. Whether it’s pee sticks, or obsessing about a project – I think about the details of the present but never the big picture. At least not the present big picture.

I compare it to a ramble of thoughts swirling around a black hole. That black hole being who “I really am”, which is something I haven’t explored in a very long time, if ever.

The problem is that black hole. It’s not filled with things I love, because I’m not sure what I love any more. It’s not full of my dreams and aspirations, because I’m not sure what those are any more outside of a baby. It’s full of grief, loss, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and self-loathing, and that’s why I stay away from it.

When I try to put the pieces of my identity together I feel like I don’t have a strand to grasp. I feel empty.

This is not a new thing. It started before the miscarriages. But the miscarriages threw it into sharp relief, because before – at least I had strands.

Now I have nothing, and I don’t know where to start.

Last night, my shrink asked a question that would finally give me a strand to grasp on to.

The question was:

“What if you don’t have a baby?”

I answered: “That isn’t an option.”

“I know that isn’t a real option. But I want you to think about it as an imaginary option. What would happen if you decide tomorrow that you will never have a child – not through adoption, or surrogacy, or pregnancy?”

“Well that’s a damn good question.”

So I’ve been mulling that over since then. I even talked it out with Shmerson a little bit.

Living child-free has never been a realistic option for us. But talking it over made me realize how different our decisions would be.

For example – I’m not sure if I’d be considering going back to school right now. Maybe eventually – but not necessarily now.

What would I do?

I don’t know. Make a lot of money so we could take that trip to Japan, or maybe make a movie. ¬†Take better care of my body, I think. Make sure to go to a lot more rock concerts.

I’m still mulling all of this over. I never thought it would be so hard to pinpoint my true core desires and ambitions. But the grief and the longing for a child have taken over so much of my life that there has been no room left for anything else. I’ve been going through the motions for so long that I have no idea what drives me any more.

Hopefully though, this question is the start of something.

It’s a strand I can begin to unravel, and I guess that’s as good a place as any.

Hey Everyone! Train Wreck Over Here! *Waves*

20 Jun

Ok boys and girls, it’s been a long time since I’ve put up a good rant on this blog. I figure it’s very much overdue.

But first, a disclaimer. I’m about to talk about things people in this community don’t like to admit – maybe not even to themselves – let alone in writing. Before I do, I want to make one thing very clear: I love and appreciate every single person who has ever emailed, commented, or even just quietly lurked on this blog. I know there are upwards of 700 of you out there, and I count this space as one of the most wonderful things I have done in my life, because of you.

Also, I would not have survived these last four months after losing Nadav without you. So please keep that in mind before you skewer me in the comments.

Ready? Ranty time!

WordPress’ site stat page has this handy little feature that shows you the number of views on your busiest day. Mine is 4,630 on February 22nd¬†of this year.

That was the day my son died. ¬†And yes, he died. He was a stillbirth. He was not a “late term miscarriage”. He was my son. I gave birth to him, I did not miscarry him. I went through labor and delivery like every other mother out there.

Unless this blog goes viral due to an incredibly brilliant post I pull out of my ass one day, I have a feeling that this little site stat will be sticking around for a very long time. So if by any chance I happen to miraculously forget that date, all I have to do is to go to that stats page.

I used to check my stats every day. Just a curiosity, and I admit, a little for my own ego. I don’t check them that often any more because of this little reminder.

During the period of Feb. 21st – 24th, I had upwards of 15,000 visits to this blog. A lot of those hits were concerned readers, or followers of my friends’ blogs who came over to offer support.

But let’s face it – a lot of them were the equivalent of rubber-neckers to a car accident.

Look, we all do this. We don’t admit to it, but we do. When we read somewhere that some blogger we’ve never heard of has suffered a tragedy, we click over. Yes, to offer support, but also out of morbid curiosity. Just for the opportunity to think to ourselves: “Thank goodness that isn’t me. Please don’t let it be me one day.”

I’ve done it. Heck, I still do. Granted, I’m pretty close to getting as low as you can go in this community. But there’s always someone with a bigger tragedy. One we think we understand but we don’t. One person that we look at with pity, and hope against hope that we will never have to walk a mile in their shoes.

I’m not trying to measure pain by any means. We play the hand that we are dealt, and each person has their own difficulties. I thought I understood pain just with PCOS. Then with PCOS and one miscarriage. Then with PCOS, two miscarriages, and a mental breakdown. Then with PCOS, a mental breakdown and three miscarriages. I thought I understood pain at three miscarriages, a stillbirth, and two mental breakdowns. Then I started crawling closer and closer to Nadav’s due date (cruelly exactly 4 months to the day after he died), while having to face another failed cycle.

A new low. A new threshold for pain. A new form of agony that I didn’t anticipate.

I’m telling you this not because I want you to pity me. In fact, if you feel pity for me, please leave now. I feel sorry enough for myself. I don’t need others feeling sorry for me. That does me no good. In fact, I rather you flame me and hate me and you not pity me.

I tell you all of this to point out that pain isn’t comparable or measurable. But there are certain forms of pain that attract rubber-neckers. There are cautionary tales that make others say “thank goodness it’s not me.”

I am one of those cautionary tales. And those 15,000 + hits during those four days in February are proof positive of this fact.

I remember being pregnant with Nadav, being a rubber-necker. I could never bring myself to comment on the blogs that I lurked on as a rubber-necker. Because I was painfully aware of being one. Sometimes I would chime in with an “I’m so sorry for your loss.” Or some other empty sentiment.

Yes, I was sorry for “her” loss. I felt sorry for “her.” I said to myself “please don’t let this be me.” I said to myself “thank goodness this isn’t me.”¬†I don’t do that any more. Not even with train wrecks that are bigger than mine.

I’m sure every single one of you (or at least most of you) who haven’t been in my shoes have thought these things while reading my words. I’m not angry with you. I don’t want you to feel guilty for feeling this way. It’s only natural. I was there. I also hope you never have to be in my shoes. I wouldn’t wish this agony on my worst enemy.

I also know that most of you, even ones that initially came here as rubber-neckers, are no longer that. I know every word you write to me, even the occasional “I’m sorry for your loss” when you can’t find better words to say is a genuine virtual hug. I love you guys for it.

But here’s the kicker. Though I know there are HUNDREDS of you guys out there that are supportive, amazing, loving people, there always are a few rubber-neckers in disguise. There are always those few that write lovely comforting words, but their pity and their hypocrisy shine through their well-wishes. Under every word they say I can read that “thank goodness this isn’t me” undertone. I can read the pity. It’s hard to catch sometimes, but after two years on this train, I can spot these people.

And that pity hurts. That undertone of “oh lord don’t let me be this woman” hurts. It hurts more than silence. More than hate. It hurts more than the asshole who came on this blog three days after Nadav died and called me a murderer for some unknown reason (yes that happened and I deleted the fuck-face’s comment immediately).

Why does it hurt so much?

Because I am not a weak person. I am not a person who is to be pitied. Be on my level – heck – envy me- but by pitying me you make me feel small. Like my entire world is defined by my loss.

I am not small.

I am a strong, smart, talented, funny woman.

I have an amazingly strong marriage with a really hot, funny, talented, and brilliant man.

I have a wonderful loving family (hi sissy! Hi sissy-in-law!).

I have absolutely unbelievable friends both in real life and in my virtual life.

I am loved and I love ferociously in return.

I paint. I write. I think about movies I want to make, and sometimes even take pride in ones I’ve already made.

I rock out to awesome music.

I work really hard at my job and all of my clients respect what I do and pay me a nice salary to work for them.

I’m an amazing cook.

My dog is the smartest, cutest dog in the world.

I dye my hair awesome colors.

I teach twice a week and my students freaking love me.

There is nothing to pity here. If it weren’t for my effed-up plumbing, my life would read like an unbelievable fairy tale.

I know this and I am learning to be grateful for it every day. By pitying me, you are helping me ignore the good parts of my life. You are enabling my self-pity, rather than encouraging my growth.

Don’t cry for me. Cry WITH me.

Don’t feel sorry for me. Feel empowered by my experience.

As some of you amazing ladies have written in your comments on my heavier posts: Abide with me. Endure with me without yielding.

That is what gives me strength, and I hope it strengthens you as well. This is the essence of the best of our little online community. This is what we should all strive for.

In my final goodbye post to Nadav, I posted the song “Twinkle” by Tori Amos. This was not a random choice.

I want to call your attention to a particular section of the lyrics:

But I can see that star
When she twinkles
And she twinkles

Emphasis mine.

Those lyrics for me are about triumph. About overcoming loss. About growing from loss. That is what I am doing, and it’s what I intend to continue to do.

I sometimes dread going out because of the sideways pity glance I get sometimes from people who know my story. In life, I compensate for that by making jokes and blatantly and openly talking about my losses. I may as well wear a T-Shirt that says “Please! Ask me about my uterus!”.

Like Chandler from Friends, I use humor as a defense mechanism.

I do the same thing here. Here I compensate by using funny pictures with funny captions. It’s my little F-YOU to anybody who dares to question my strength.

Because for me, pitying me means questioning my strength.

Dammit I am fucking strong.

Deal with it.

Two days from now is Nadav’s due date. I will not be acknowledging it on this blog. Nadav was born. He was born 4 months too early, but he was born. And he died. June 22nd is not his. February 22nd is his, and always will be.

I have had an enlightening couple of weeks. I haven’t shared most of that insight yet on this blog, because I’ve been processing it all. I think I’ll use that date to tell you guys a little about the way I have grown by leaps and bounds in the last couple of weeks. About the revelations I have had and that I am processing. Or maybe I’ll need a few more days to process it and I’ll post a freaking lolcat. Who knows.

Either way, I hope you stick around to read about it.

To abide with me.

But if you intend to feel sorry for me, please do me a favor and go feel sorry for another train wreck.

Cause this train may be bruised and battered, but this train keeps on fucking chugging.

Aftermath

7 Jun

First of all, thank you everyone for your amazing comments on yesterday’s post. Sharing your vices, giving support, and reminding me that I’m worthy of having some hope. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.

So here’s what happened after I hit “publish”:

I had a complete meltdown.

As in – I hadn’t had one this bad since about a week after we lost Nadav.

As in – panic attack, destructive thoughts, hysterical crying – the whole pile of crapnuggets.

I tried calling Shmerson and he wasn’t answering his phone. I knew I shouldn’t be alone. So I called my mom and she came over and we had a talk.

Amazingly enough – she really helped me get my head straight again. She’s not usually this good with crises but somehow she pulled it off. Yay mom!

After reading all of your comments, a lot of talking, and yes, a bit of smoking, here is all of the good that came out of yesterday (in list form, of course):

1. Douchenozzle is now officially my favorite word ever. Seriously. I just thought I’d put that out there.

2. I’m changing therapists. I love my shrink, and I’ve been with her for four years. But the fact that I still go to these destructive places, and the fact that I constantly have to “explain” pregnancy loss and infertility to her means she’s just not what I need right now.

I’ve seen what wonders a therapist specializing in IF has done for Cristy, and I really think I need someone now who understands what this feels like. So this Monday will probably be my last session. After four years, it’s time to move on.

3. I’m signing up for the accelerated Art Therapy program. One thing I didn’t share with you guys be cause I was very much in ZOMG THE DRAMA – land yesterday, is that when I met with the head of the program, she also said: Apply first, make decisions later.

So I bit the bullet and did my online application last night. Then I emailed her to tell her about it and she was THRILLED. She knows that things are still up in the air, and that’s ok with her and with me. What’s the worst that can happen? I get accepted to the program and can’t do it, and I start the next year with the regular program. That’s really not the end of the world.

This also means I’m going back to school in July! There are a bunch of pre-requisites that I have to take before the program can officially accept me, and I’m going to do them all in the summer (or as many as I can fit in anyway).

Here’s the crazy thing: Just this little act of filling out an online application has done WONDERS! Usually, when I try falling asleep, or just shutting my eyes for a few minutes of rest, my mind wanders to fantasies that usually include a baby in my arms. Today, my mind went to ideas for a thesis. If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is.

3. I am officially stopping the delusion that I can pull off quitting smoking cold turkey. Instead, I’m going to start by gradually cutting down. A bunch of you said in the comments – and you’re right – that one step at a time is the right thing. So yeah – I’m taking the long road for once on this.

4. I bought a new dress today. And I dyed my hair purple. And I ate some sushi.

5. The major takeaway from all of this is that in my hurry I kind of let go of some of the things that I learned from losing Nadav. I put on horse blinders and that was wrong.

I forgot that putting my life on hold – for any reason – does only harm.

I forgot that when it comes to infertility, no amount of speculation and planning will help the outcome, and sometimes, that planning can come back and bite you in the ass in the form of disappointment.

So when it comes to my life – I’m better off moving forward without letting the “what if”s get in the way of my “right now”s.

6. Hee hee. Douchenozzle. I seriously don’t know where I got it, but I love it. Oh! Turns out it actually has a definition! And now of course I must create a douchenozzle cat. I mean, really, how can I not? I owe it to the world.

Here you go, world:

You’re welcome.

It’s a Thing in Progress, Respect the Thing

25 Mar

Things are so weird. I seriously feel like I’m bipolar.

I had an absolutely fantastic weekend. Starting with the tattoo yesterday, to time with friends last night, and topping all of it off with Sushi and “The Hunger Games” with Shmerson tonight.

Loved the movie, BTW. One of the few Book-to-Film adaptations I can truly say I loved. Some of you may know, I tend to get a bit eh-hem – bitter – when my favorite books are ruined by Hollywood. So I’m relieved they didn’t mess it up.

I guess you want to see the tattoo, right?

I think it came out pretty freaking awesome.

So awesome tattoo? Check. Awesome movie? Check. Oh, and there was more:

Shmerson and I haven’t gone abroad since our honeymoon. I REALLY want to get the frak out of the country for a bit, so Shmerson and I were thinking of doing Rome/Florence in May or June (I loooove Italy).

That’s part of the reason I’ve been working so hard these last couple of weeks, to make some extra cash. We deserve a vacation.

So I was all about Rome and Florence.

That is – until I found this:

Faith No More is my absolute favorite band of all time ever in the history of the universe. Ever.

They got back together (yay!) a couple of years back and did a show in Tel Aviv. My wedding aside, those two hours were pretty much the happiest I’ve been in the last few years.

They have exactly two tour dates this year. One of them is just a 4 hour flight away. Or in short: Plans have changed.

If all goes well, Shmerson and I will be rocking out to Mike Patton and Co. on July 8th.

I spent all day today just beaming from the prospect of seeing them live again (not to mention there are some other bands in there that I would love to see, and rock concerts are in general my favorite form of recreation, and we plan on at least 4 more days in the UK before or after the festival).

So why the hell do I feel like crap now? Everything was going freaking fantastic. Now I just feel… Heavy.

Honestly? I don’t know what went wrong.

Maybe I’m feeling like crap because the last time Shmerson and I ate at the restaurant we were at tonight was when I was just hitting my second trimester with Nadav and feeling confident.

Maybe it was the family of 5 we saw heading over to the parking lot after dinner, with the stroller in tow, and the longing I felt when I saw the mother carrying the baby.

Maybe it’s the frustration that this process is no where near behind us. That we have a long road ahead.

Maybe it’s the thought that if Nadav was still here, I wouldn’t be going to the UK in July, and as much as I love Faith No More, I’d rather have my son here with me.

Or maybe it’s just because this is all just a process, and things will continue to go up and down.

It’s a thing in progress. I will respect the thing.

There Can Only Be So Many Dates

22 Mar

Thank you everyone for your supportive comments on my last post. A couple of people mentioned that their readers haven’t been updating since I moved to the new address. Sorry if that’s happening. Please do update your linkage to mommyodyssey.com just in case!

I’m doing a lot better. Mostly hella-distracted because I’m drowning in work, but that’s a good thing. I’m already feeling guilty for being a bad ICLWer. But hopefully the weekend will make me be better.

Tomorrow I’m going to get a tattoo for Nadav. Yesterday was one month since we lost him.

I spent the day working outside the house and I wasn’t sad. I was just… Busy.

And I got something like 10 calls from people making sure I was ok. And I was, I really was.

I was also ok today. I spent most of the day painting the closet doors and the box holding the blinds in our bedroom, and then putting on decals. The end result was pretty freaking fabulous:

The pics are crappy iPhone pics, but I think you get the idea. I haz made a pretty, I haz a happy.

I’ve been thinking a lot about something my dad said, and I mentioned here a few posts back. Nadav’s birthday will never be his original due date. It will always be February 21st, 2012. Even if he had made it to term, chances are that he wouldn’t have come on his exact due date, so in fact, June 22nd has become a somewhat arbitrary date on the calendar. I keep on trying to “prepare” myself for that day, but really, I’m not sure if it’s necessary.

His birthday was, and always will be February 21st.

I think that measuring this loss in terms of dates just feels wrong to me. I can’t just be sad every 21st of the month. Just like I can’t be sad every Tuesday because we lost him on a Tuesday. ¬†Just like I may not feel sad on June 22nd (though if I am, that’s ok).

I should just be sad when I want to be sad, and let myself be happy when I want to be happy.

I’m going to get the tattoo tomorrow not because it’s a special date, but because I just want to have it, and I wanted Shmerson to come with me, and he doesn’t work tomorrow.

And either I’ll be sad tomorrow or I’ll be happy. And that’s ok.

Here’s the bottom line: My son was on this earth for 22 and a half weeks. And he managed to pull off some pretty awesome stuff as a result of his short time here. I think celebrating the awesome is getting easier. As is getting through the grief.

I don’t feel guilty for being happy, because HE made that happen.

And I can’t wait for my new awesome tattoo to commemorate my awesome son. So maybe I’ll celebrate tomorrow. And maybe I’ll cry for a while too.

I think I’ll be ok with either. Or maybe both.

 

Wherein I Use Lots of Track and Field Metaphors

17 Mar

I’ve talked a lot about giving up the race. About living my life for me and enjoying it for a change.

But what happens when you’ve got a ticking clock to get to the finish line?

A tug-of-war.

(See? Lots and lots of track & field metaphors.)

Lessons are wonderful. Revelations are great. But what happens when you have to stand against reality and actually put them into practice?

Two weeks ago I went in to see my OB/GYN РThe Russian Рfor a follow up after losing Nadav. For those of you that have been following along for a while, you already know that The Russian is our 5th doctor, and the only one who took active steps to fix our problems. I give him full credit for the fact that Nadav even made it to my uterus.

He’s also bluntly honest. When the IC diagnosis happened, he very clearly stated that it could be that we caught it too late, and I have a 15-20% of losing the baby. He always gives it to me straight, and I appreciate that.

So I knew that when I walked into his office I’d get the truth about our chances for another go-round, when and if we were ready for it. Well, more like when, because we can’t afford surrogacy or adoption, and I can get pregnant relatively easily (at least so far).

Shmerson and I were thinking 6 months at least before we start trying again. At least. But I did want to know what The Russian thought.

So I sit down with the Russian and he says that he is “very optimistic” about me carrying to full term (or at least very close) next time. No bad numbers. Just “very optimistic” as long as we take the right steps (full bed rest, preventative cerclage, progesterone supps).

That made me feel good.

I knew even then that I had one more try in me. But after a decent break.

Then The Russian said we have to wait three cycles.

I laughed. Three cycles? We’re going to wait way longer than that. I told him as much.

Then he made a face.

The kind of face he makes when he delivers bad news. I know that face.

Ruh Roh.

Yeah – so he doesn’t think we should wait more than 3 cycles to start trying again. In fact, he thinks the sooner we start trying again, the better.

His reasoning (yay! A list!):

  • I still have PCOS, and have a history of going as long as 10 months without a cycle. My first pregnancy is what “jump started” my ovulation. Right now, he’s not sure how my cycle will react after this pregnancy, since this one was so much longer than the others.
  • With all of the planned intervention, he still can’t guarantee I won’t have any more early losses because of chromosomal issues, so it may take a while before we get to a viable pregnancy again.
  • I’m three years away from “Advanced Maternal Age”.

In short: tick-tock, tick tock.

Or:

So yeah – that certainly threw a wrench in our “enjoying our marriage and letting this go for a while” plans.

You know what the worst part of it all was? I was actually kind of relieved to get an excuse to try again asap.

I may want out of the race, but my biology is aching for a child more than ever before. I’m a mother with empty arms.

How can I ignore that?

Granted, I no longer want to “make up” for any losses, but that doesn’t lessen my longing for a child. In fact I long for one even more after losing Nadav.

That is a longing I can’t ignore.

But another side of me wants to ignore it. The last two years have taken a huge toll on my life.

Plus, I’m terrified of getting pregnant again.

And I don’t want to deal with SIX MONTHS of bed rest.

And I want to live my life and take care of myself for a while.

And I miss my Nadav.

But the tick-tock is there. Not just according to the Russian, but also ingrained into my biology.

Today I got a massage (another perk of this whole “taking care of myself” kick).

As I lay there, I was mulling over the tug-of-war – something I’ve been doing on and off since my appointment.

The unending longing to hold a baby in my arms, the ticking of my biological clock.

The need to take care of my body and soul. To give my mind and my body a break from all of this.

Finally, somewhere between my feet and my temples, I came to a realization. I think I know what will win in the end. But for now, I can take comfort in the fact that I don’t have to make a decision today.

Three cycles. Three cycles to mourn, to heal, to think, and to enjoy my life for a change.

Three cycles until I find out which side will win the tug of war.

The Three F’s

15 Mar

First of all – how awesome is my new header? It’s all¬†Court’s¬†doing.

All I told her was – “I want something that’s whimsical but not TTC related. Oh, and a bunny! And butterflies! I love butterflies! And purple!”

Boom! A few days later, I get the best. Header. Ever. In my email.

Court, you rock harder than pre-reality-show Ozzy Osbourne.

Also, I’ve bitten the bullet and registered mommyodyssey.com. My old blog URL still works, but feel free to update your links if you feel like it.

I’m still tinkering with the new design a bit, so don’t be afraid to tear me a new one in the comments, and things may be a bit wonky for a few days. Sorry.

In other news, you may have noticed that Eggs in a Row is down. Mel mentioned it on LFCA but just in case you didn’t get the news there, know that Rachel is fine. There was just some dramz, which she will probably tell you all about when her new blog launches. I’ll give you details of that when the time comes.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

First, I wanted to thank you all once again for your emails, your comments, your tweets, and your *insert modern communication method here*s.

The love I’ve felt from all of you has literally helped me stay sane through all of this, and I am forever grateful I know I keep saying “thank you.” But thank you isn’t enough. So I’ll just keep saying it:

Thank you.

****

Over the last few weeks a theme has been emerging with my friends and family, and with you, my bloggy buddies.

Everybody keeps on telling me how strong I am. Which for me is kind of mind-blowing. I mean sure, I’ve managed some pretty amazing posts to honor my son on here, but that’s all him. And yes, I’ve gone back to work. But strong? I do not call 5 hour crying fits that happen once every 2 or 3 days on average strong.

Then I look around and realize that I guess the fact that I started working again 8 days after it happened is kind of impressive. And the fact that I actually manage to put together coherent sentences on a regular basis isn’t half bad either.

Considering the fact that a month ago – when Nadav was still doing the tango in my uterus, I was sure that if something happened to him I’d ask to be put into a medically induced coma forever, and yet here I am – well, I guess you can call that strong (was that not the longest run-on sentence ever? AK – you must now take stroke-prevention measures).

But the fact is I’m not strong, I’m strengthened. It wasn’t only Nadav’s Lessons that gave me strength, it was what I call the three F’s:

Family, Friends, and Farmaceuticals.

(Shut up spellcheck! I’m trying to make a funny through alliteration! I’m such a dork.)

One of the first things I did after getting out of the hospital was to head to Dr. Happy Pills. Apart from upping my anti-depressants, and renewing my script for Xan.ax, he also gave me a prescription for what he described as a “10-pound hammer”, for days when things were particularly hard. That hammer helped a lot when things became unbearable. I’m happy to say that I have barely used it since that first week, and that’s due to:

Friends and family.

My mom came over every day, and each day we took on a new “project.” Finding vases so I’d have a place to put all of the flowers I was getting. Choosing wallpaper to put the finishing touches on our home. Making the empty room into a functioning guest room, because no room should really be empty. Getting me paint supplies.

Each day I was dragged out of the house for some retail therapy with some sort of mission in mind. Sure, it wasn’t cheap, but it saved me.

Then there were (and are) my friends. Who came to visit, who kept me busy. Who called to check in, who let me talk when I needed to, and distracted me when I didn’t want to talk. They (you) continue to remind me that my life is full of love, despite my loss.

And of course, there’s Shmerson (who doesn’t start with an F so I put him in the “Family” category to keep my alliteration intact). He keeps telling me each day that I’m beautiful. When I curse at my body he reminds me of how amazing it is. He keeps it together when I break down. That continues to amaze me.

And the best part? The man has a serious knack for morbid humor. It’s tactless, it’s horrific, it’s offensive, and it makes me laugh my ass off. My favorite one was from a few days after we got home from the hospital. Squish came over and we ordered sushi.

Shmerson: Good thing you didn’t eat any sushi while you were pregnant, things really could have gone wrong.

I know. Gasp! That’s an awful thing to say!

Don’t care. It’s funny as hell.

Oh – BTW, Shmerson has been reading all of your comments and emails as well. He even opened a twitter account in English just for you guys. You should totally follow him. He’s hilarious.

So yeah. I guess I’m strong. But it’s the people who surround me (with a little help from my happy-pill friends), who make me that way.

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