More deep and random thoughts and happenings

Our current status is that we don’t know whether we’re selling our house or doing some redecorating, so we’re kind of proceeding with both – just keeping our options open. Our latest purchase is a new dining room table and chairs and sidebar and picture. I liked our old furniture, a solid-oak Mission style set, but we decided we wanted to refresh a few things, so we sold our old set on Craigslist (with our chandelier too, because we had an extra one in our basement!) and purchased a new table from Restoration Hardware and got a steal of a deal on some chairs and sidebars from Wayfair, and my mom bought us a picture of a moose from Crate & Barrel, because apparently everyone thinks Mark looks like a moose, so they call him “moose,” and Mark isn’t above having a picture of himself in our dining room, rather he actually likes it.

Mark had to put all 12 of the chairs together, and he did this sporadically after work. Last Friday night he assembled a chair as Joel watched, and he was talking to Joel like, “Daddy’s going to screw these chairs together really tight – we don’t want anyone to fall!” And I kind of muttered from the other room, “Or do we?” And Mark was like, “Well, we might want some people to fall – it depends on who they are.” I guess we’ll have to emphasize teaching kindness later.

I’m in love with the table we ordered. It’s called the Russian Barn Wood Oak Table, or something to that effect, so we call it “Putin’s table from Putin’s barn” (I mean, how could we not? Because Putin is like always in the news, and I’ll probably be wiretapped or something for writing this…), but the style of it matches our house much better than the Mission style did. It’s a lighter color, so it brightens up the room too. Our new sidebar is made of metal, and it hasn’t arrived yet – I’m excited for it to. (I should really post some pics here, but I don’t feel like it right now, so I have one on Instagram, and I’ll post some more later…) As beautiful as our old set was – with the wood floors it just felt like too much hard wood.

Speaking of which, Mark’s parents’ dog Max visited with them this weekend, and Max has actually undergone the scrotal ablation operation, so ever since, all of the dogs like to dominate him, including Howie, and Mark was going to take a picture of this because it was cracking us up, and Mark’s dad scolded him like, “Stop – you aren’t using my dog for that Twitter porn stuff!”

On Saturday I attended a tour of a local brewery with seven other baby loss moms. They tried to make us wear goggles on the tour, and I didn’t want to wear mine because they were so smudged up, so I whispered to my friend Jen (who’s well aware of all of my anxiety struggles), “This is actually one type of thing I’m NOT anxious about – the stainless steel beer tank blowing up and perforating my eyeballs.” And Jen was like, “But if it is going to happen to a group of people, it will happen to this group.” Truth. (It didn’t though.) Also, I learned on the tour that for the movie, Escape from New York, when they wanted a post-apocalyptic New York City for filming, they chose St. Louis as their location. Haha.

Joel looooooves Doris, and today he smiled at her so big. Go figure.

Yesterday we walked through our neighborhood, and this guy (whose wife had a baby in spring of 2015) was outside, and I couldn’t acknowledge him, so I ignored him and just walked right on by, kind of aggressively (like fast, purposeful steps), and I told Mark and his parents, “It just makes me feel better to be a bit rude to them.” And Mark’s dad was like, “I understand.” And I really, REALLY appreciated his compassion rather than him trying to talk me out of my feelings. Like it was so appreciated. Did I mention how much I appreciated it?

I’m still breastfeeding, but I’m down to three feedings per day, and Joel eats formula for his other feedings, and I’m also no longer pumping. I’m not sure how and when to stop completely though… It’s confusing the hell out of me.

I think almost everyone I follow on Instagram is a baby loss mom. Sometimes, I’ll see a picture of a dead baby and just start crying my face off, because it is one of the saddest things in the whole wide world. And then, a few seconds later, I’ll almost re-realize that this is my life too, and this realization hits me so hard. It’s almost like an out-of-body experience.

Today we showed our house to a couple who’s interested in buying it. This couple assumed we had two living kids (not sure why – we never said we did). So this couple stepped into our foyer, and literally, the first thing the guy asked was, “Oh, where’s your other kid?” And Mark was like, “Well, we do have two kids, but one of them died.” And then the woman was like, “I’m so sorry for your loss,” and she gave me a hug. And then she was like, “I know someone else whose baby died at daycare.” (WHY ALL THE ASSUMPTIONS?) So then I told her Matthew’s story (as quickly as possible). And she was like, “Can’t they see that (the cord) on the ultrasound?”

And I had to explain, “Well, they can see it, but they choose not look at it…” And I have to explain this to people all of the time, because no one can believe that doctors in America in 2017 don’t use ultrasound equipment to its full capacity… So yes, a similar tragedy could happen to any baby at any time. But I always wonder what people are thinking, because, although true, this really makes no sense whatsoever.

As Joel continues to grow I find I’m sometimes feeling Matthew’s absence even more strongly, because Joel is now at an age when I think he’d really notice, and enjoy, an almost two-year-old running around. Joel fills our house with noises (mamamamama is my favorite!) and shrieks and laughter, but lately the house feels so quiet regardless, because they should both be here. Joel is super sweet and cuddly and so innocent. I frequently think about the day he might start to comprehend that his brother is dead. My heart breaks thinking about how his heart will break – I’m sure it won’t break immediately, because at first he won’t understand, but at some point it will break, and this is heartbreaking.

At March support group some baby loss moms with older children (but not much older) were discussing how to broach the topic of death with children. One mom explained that a child psychologist recommended that she be truthful and clear (i.e. say things like, “Your brother and sister is dead/died” as opposed to, “Your brother/sister isn’t with us, but kind of also is with us – like kind of an angel…). I think this is good advice, but it will certainly be difficult regardless, and I’m so pissed off that this is our reality.

Last Wednesday I had what I’d consider to be a legit panic attack with physical symptoms. Like I went to work and, minute by minute, I began to feel increasingly nervous to the point that I sat at work for four hours and didn’t complete any tasks, rather I just stared at my computer screen googling scary things. I eventually bolted from my desk in tears, and upon reaching the parking garage called Mark and then my mom to tell them that I can’t live this way anymore and screamed in complete hysteria that Matthew’s death was my fault. (I often feel much like how this blog post describes.) It took me several more hours to get my anxiety under control.

I think I need to be on something (read: heavily medicated), but I’m scared to be for obvious reasons. I’m also wondering if a therapist who specializes in PTSD might be better than one who focuses on grief. I just don’t know – I feel kind of desperate sometimes… I’m almost always thinking dark and intrusive thoughts. I can be acting completely normal, laughing over dinner even, but, probably 95 percent of the time, I’m thinking about death (either Matthew’s death or someone’s future death). It’s getting very overwhelming.

I had dark and intrusive thoughts before Matthew died, but I was always able to shut them down. Now I can’t shut them down – I’ve lost the ability. Because my biggest fear came true, despite odds being in my favor or whatever. It feels like all the bad will happen to me – I’ll always be the statistic.

I’ve had a hard time writing lately – I’ve been in a writer’s slump of sorts… They say the most disturbed people (like Edgar Allen Poe maybe?) write the best shit, and so, in the early days it seemed the words flowed easily. I think I’m still super fucked up, but maybe in new ways recently… Like the anxiety is pushing the grief to the side a little bit, which means I’ll probably crash hard with grief sometime over the next month or so, and then I’ll have a crap ton of words to write.

Right now Mark is asking me to write a letter to our municipality’s governing people about some zoning stuff to win us some good favor with someone involved in the building process (in case we ever build again) and also prevent developers from building skyscraper houses on tiny lots in our neighborhood (which I’m against for sure), so I guess I’ll try to whip something up.

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18 thoughts on “More deep and random thoughts and happenings

  1. Do we follow each other on instagram? Can I get your instagram name to find out? I literally just had to look and see what my name was to be sure so please don’t be offended if we do and I forgot. I’m
    searchingforamelioration.

    Anxiety was and is such a pain in the ass for me. It ebbs and flows, and I find myself freaking out about so much shit that doesn’t matter because I’ve been freaking out about the shit that does matter for like 6 years so let’s move on to new and unimportant stuff right? The thing that has always helped me most is exercise, which is hard as hell with a baby, husband, job, life, etc but I’ve found well worth the effort. This is not to discount how much a really good therapy could help too. My point is, don’t wallow in the misery for too long, every step towards trying to get help is a step in the right direction.

    Sending love and mellow ass thoughts your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes we do follow each other on Instagram! I’m @christinemarie713. I too freak out about stuff that doesn’t matter when I experience lulls in my thoughts about illness and death. Therapy hasn’t ever worked for me, but I’m hopeful that, with the right therapist, it could. But I agree exercise is a great thing – I’ve been trying to do yoga, but I have trouble doing it consistently. Like I’ll do it for three days and then fall of the wagon because I’m so anxious. I guess that is the point – I need to push through to experience the benefits, right?

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      1. I did find you, I feel like your hair is darker in your instagram pic so I was thrown off. 😂 I’m super good at the physical shit but then meditation is introduced and I’m making my grocery list. Like naw, my brain can’t be present. We’re all doing the best we can.

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  2. My therapist recommended EMDR. In a nutshell, it’s a type of intensive therapy for PTSD and even grief. My husband struggles immensely with anxiety– panic attacks happen frequently. Not only is it awful for him to experience feeling so out of control, it’s exhausting.

    You’re right. Once the worst case scenario happens to you, what’s to stop the worst from happening again? I tell my husband I’m not sure I could get pregnant and then lose another baby or lose them when they are older. I would just collapse and never get back up. But I know (deep deep deep down) that if I survived this once I could certainly survive it again. Or at least I just tell myself that.

    Thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t that the scariest thing? The thought of something equally awful happening? And not the thought that it could kill you, but the thought that you’d actually survive it? I think about it too. The thought is terrifying and crippling, and it all gets exhausting. Did you or your husband try EMDR? I’m curious to know whether you (or he) found it helpful.

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  3. I’m so sorry for the panic attack and the anxiety. They are so crushing and life-limiting, and I get why you are wary of medication. I’ve also heard good things about EMDR-a loss mom and dad in my support group did it and they said it was so helpful for both of them.

    Big hugs. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your sweet comment. That’s good to know about EMDR. I have considered it and am thinking about trying it. I hope it isn’t a load of crap. I’m skeptical. But the therapy certainly has its fans so maybe there’s hope. Sending continued positive thoughts to you and steam bun.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I actually came to comment about EMDR too Christine! I was wondering about it as a helpful avenue for you as I was reading your post. Not that losing a baby isn’t traumatic enough to cause post-traumatic stress, of course it is, but I wonder if there’s something earlier that’s become caught up with Matthew’s death that is making it even harder to process. I don’t mean to pathologise your grief and am not asking you to comment on this at all. It was just a thought I had. I’ve been wondering about EMDR for myself also but I kinda know all the therapists who practice it here so it would be too weird for me!!

    I think you’re an amazing mother to both your babies and you are a great role model for Master Joel xx

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    1. Alana – Thanks for your comment. I was definitely an anxious person before, but I could usually shut my anxieties down enough to function. I rarely had days that my anxiety incapacitated me. Now it’s much more difficult (sometimes impossible) for me to shut it down, so I’m left incapacitated on the bad days. I’ve thought about EMDR. I’m going to pursue it. Do you think it helps some people? I’d be curious about your perspective as a therapist. Of course I’m skeptical of it. I can understand why you wouldn’t want to be treated by someone you know – awkward!

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      1. Hey, sorry it took me so long to come back to this. As a therapist I’ve had really mixed results with EMDR, some incredible almost miraculous, some average, what I could have achieved with other talking therapies, and others little response. So it’s definitely not a fix for everyone but it can be very helpful. I would of course check the persons credentials and that they are qualified in other modes of therapy as you don’t want to end up being passed on if you find EMDR is not for you. What I like about it is that it doesn’t require huge amounts of verbalisation and no intellectualisation at all, it’s more about the emotion and body sensation of it all. Clearly you are intellectual and probably do intellectualise things maybe too much so another therapy to agonise over wouldn’t be good if that makes sense? A lot of therapy is the fit with the person though so I would say that’s as important as the mode of therapy. I hope you find someone that you can trust will help you xx

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  5. God, we need to legit meet up. Like…We’re seriously the same person. Always with the dark thoughts…ALWAYS. About pretty much anything. My mom sent me a video of her tickling Landon today and my first thought? “What would I do if Landon ever died?”

    What in the actual fuck. He is laughing, he is being tickled by his grandma, and I wonder what I would do if he was to die. I’m so sorry you’re having increased anxiety- or maybe not even increased just that it’s still getting to you on such a deep level. I truly hope that you are able to find something that can allow you some light from the dark because it’s so so so fucking hard to be in the dark all of the time. I get it.
    ((hugs))

    Also, this X 10,000.

    “I think almost everyone I follow on Instagram is a baby loss mom. Sometimes, I’ll see a picture of a dead baby and just start crying my face off, because it is one of the saddest things in the whole wide world. And then, a few seconds later, I’ll almost re-realize that this is my life too, and this realization hits me so hard. It’s almost like an out-of-body experience.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Randi – we’re probably the same person with these sorts of thoughts. The other day we were watching a video of Joel and me from a couple of weeks ago, and I thought, “This will be a nice video for people to watch when I die.” Like what the fuck? Do normal people think like this? I don’t even know anymore. Probably not.

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  6. Whenever I read these random thoughts posts I want to respond to every paragraph and don’t know where to start! A) Escape From New York is St. Louis? Mind blown over Snake Plisken stomping grounds. B) Intense grief is all wrapped up in PTSD. You had a traumatic experience. There is no denying that and anyone who tells you different can fuck off, eh? C) 10 other thoughts I lost because getting to know you makes me want to cry and laugh and hug you all at once.

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    1. Yeah apparently there was a big fire in downtown STL in the 80’s or something which made it look especially burned up – gave it the post-apocalyptic feel… I’d like to watch the movie now with this new perspective. And yes re: your PTSD comment. *sigh* Thank you for your kind words. And I always feel the same when I read your blog – lots of responses to specific things you say, but then I get to the end, and I’m like, “OMG – that was such a great post!” Haha – I need to take notes or something, so I can make more creative comments. But who has time for that? Answer – no one.

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  7. I love that you went somewhere with baby loss moms. I keep on throwing out the “won’t someone try to become my friend” vibe at grief support meetings but it hasn’t happened yet. I did stalk one lady’s blog, emailed her, and now we have lunch together about once a month which is great. I kind of want to start a new Instagram account to follow the BLM crowd exclusively. I don’t even use IG anymore because I’m sure it’s full of babies who were born around when my son died and my desire to watch those kids grow up is negative.

    I’d like to perhaps do a BLM long weekend retreat or something. I’ve seen that people have started them but they are typically kind of far away, expensive, and long.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I hope your lunch goes well. Maybe the support group relationships will turn into something more over time? I do feel fortunate to have those here… Social media is soooo hard with all the babies. Can’t do facebook for that reason… Can only follow loss moms on Instagram. A BLM retreat would be fun. Whereabouts are you located?

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      1. I’m in Pittsburgh. We’d need some sort of Midwestern retreat. Or in a few years something like a group trip to Disney World. I’d love to take my kids there someday but I fear I’d be sad seeing all the intact happy families there. I really wish I could have a BLM crew to help me feel less alone.

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