Nightmares

I suppose I should reflect on the lighter moment of my OB appointment last Friday.  I was so affected by the experience that I could only write about the traumatic part.  But my doctor said “Oh hey – you only gained 2 pounds since your last visit, and with the holidays in there, nicely done!”  To which I responded wryly “Yeah, well vomiting throughout most of the holiday season put a damper on eating much.”

I also had to take a depression screening survey at the beginning of the appointment.  I knew what the survey was looking for, and knew that if I gave truthful responses, it would likely set off some type of warning flag for them.  Questions like “Do you cry often?”  “Do you feel anxious?”  Well, yes, but with good reason.  So I debated lying on the survey, but finally decided to be truthful.  Sure enough, I “failed” the test, or earned too many points, or whatever.  I was like “Not to worry – I’m in therapy.”  At which point everyone settled down.

Quentin was a nightmare on Sunday at bedtime.  I don’t even know what started it, but it resulted in a full-out tantrum and him banging on his bedroom door to the point where I was concerned about damage to the door.  I finally told him that if he did not stop, I was going to take EVERY SINGLE STUFFED ANIMAL out of his room.  Clearly he didn’t believe me, because a few minutes later – that was exactly what I was doing – removing every one of his stuffed animals to the master bedroom.  That got his attention and he demanded them back.  I sat with him until he finally composed himself, and then told him that he could not have his animals back that night, but if he was well-behaved, he could have them back the next day.  He finally climbed into his bed and snuggled with his blanket.

I woke up from my own nightmare that night – a nightmare where, once again, I was told that our baby had no heartbeat.  It was so excruciatingly vivid that I woke up and for a moment did not realize that it was only a dream.  I am in an odd place right now, where nausea has subsided, but too early to feel movements from the baby so it is that “hardly seems real” place.

I spent yesterday with both kids, Theo having no school and day care being closed for MLK day.  Quentin was incredibly remorseful about the previous night, and sheepishly hauled all of his stuffed animals back into his room.  He also willingly helped me with laundry to make amends.  I had to debate frigid temperatures versus being stuck in the house all day, and we bundled up and trudged out to Trader Joe’s for a quick errand.  I had started a loaf of bread on Sunday, so then finished it up on Monday.  Bread-making may become my new weekend ritual.  And the loaf turned out gorgeously.

It is getting to be that time of year when I am itching to receive all of our tax forms.  I know that it could be through the end of January before we receive everything, but I always sit down and prepare our taxes immediately at the beginning of February to get it over with.  So I become antsy for everything to arrive…  We have yet in our married lives to have two tax years that were exactly the same in terms of what we needed to include on our return so every year is a bit of a roller coaster, even though I try to prepare as much as possible.

Friendships

I needed a little extra support this week, and thankfully, my friends have surrounded me.  I saw one for dinner (along with her family) and two others I met for “Mom’s Night Out” during the week.  The conversation and companionship was comforting.  I finally sat Ger down as well, as we have been disconnected between him traveling for work, and then needing to work late several nights, so that time was very necessary as well.  I told him I felt like we have been on different pages, and we may continue to be in different stages of grief, but that we at least needed to understand where the other was at.

On Thursday, I had a meeting with a rather large group of women, eight of them all gathered in one conference room together.  One of them chose that moment to announce to her co-workers that she was pregnant and there was an immediate outpouring of congratulations.  I recoiled so badly that I almost hung up, figuring I could blame a bad phone or internet connection.  But I knew I was more professional than that and gritted my teeth.  It was a good thing they couldn’t see me.

Friday was my first parent-teacher conference with Theo’s teacher.  She had nothing but glowing things to say about him – he had mastered all of the expected school behaviors of following directions, focus, and being nice to others, along with achieving everything expected academically.  She said that he is a unique “out-of-the-box” thinker, and gave an example: the class was giving examples of different types of fruits, and three kids in a row had said “strawberry” and then she got to Theo and he said “coconut!”  She asked if we did a lot of “experiences” with him – I didn’t quite understand what she was getting at, until she gave an example of a book that they read where a girl was talking with her hands and Theo immediately pointed out that she was using sign language.  That made me feel good – that we do try to expose him to many different things: museums, people, lifestyles, and maybe some of that worldliness is trickling into school.  Proud mama.  She gave me a handout of ways to incorporate reading into our home, that she gives to all parents, and I thanked her but was thinking “Yeah, not an issue for us.”  Out loud, I quoted to her: “Good readers are made on the laps of parents.”

In my own reading life, I have fallen woefully behind on my reading goal for the year.  Since I started tracking reading goals on Goodreads, I have never not met my goal.  But that means I have 18 books to read in the next 7 weeks.  I read two last week, finding that on a low-key weekend, I could easily read one book over the course of the two days.  You would think that I could give myself a break, but that’s not my personality.  I started to read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, but found that I immediately had a negative reaction.  Even the somewhat quirky side of morbidity and death was too much for me right now.  I’ll need to focus on lighter reads to meet my goal.

Behavior Chart

Theo and I have this brief window of time after he gets off the bus before we leave to pick up Quentin.  He usually has a snack – a piece of fruit or crackers.  Today, I had a horrible, horrible headache, so I called Ger to ask him to pick up food for dinner on the way home.  Theo asked me if I was sick.  He is perceptive, and with my surgery last week and a post-op follow-up visit today (for which I just say “going to the doctor”), I’m not surprised that he asked the question.  I told him no, I’m not sick.  Somehow he maneuvered the conversation over to our lost baby – probably again making the connection between that timeframe, the hospital visit, and the increased doctors visits after.  He said “Did the baby die because of something you ate?”  I cringed and said no, we don’t know what happened.  “I think the baby got a germ” he responded, which is a variation of what he has said in the past.  I said that was probably true, and that when babies are that little and they get sick, that there isn’t much we can do.  “Are you still sad?”  Yes, I’m still sad, but it is ok to be sad.  “Does this happen a lot to babies?”  No, Theo it doesn’t happen very often – there are lots of babies born every day, and they are fine.  At this point I was crying.  Not a lot of hope for relieving my headache now.

My post-op appointment today was uneventful.  The only thing I learned was that the tissue removed was some thickened uterine lining, not leftover placenta as originally thought.  I’ll head in next week for another hysterosonogram to confirm that everything now looks normal.

That appointment next week should be made more interesting by the fact that Ger will be traveling Monday through Thursday for work.  I think in 5 years at his job, he has only needed to travel once before.  Means something in the realm of taking Theo with me to drop Quentin off at day care, and arriving home with enough time before the bus arrives.  Just more things to make my head hurt.

I had a behavior chart printed.  Theo’s “testing limits” behavior is what needs more correction right now, and I thought he might be more receptive to something that mirrored what happens at school, where he has color cubes, and starts out at “green” every day.  He can be downgraded to yellow, orange, or red (which results in a phone call to parents) or upgraded to blue, purple, or pink for great behavior.  I found a chart that does the same, and put clothespins with their names on it.  I explained to both of them what would take them down a color: not listening, not nice words, fighting or not sharing, etc.  I told them that hitting or kicking would result in an immediate downgrade to red – which is a loss of TV/LeapPad for the day or next day.  “Or biting?” Quentin asked.  Yes, we will add biting to the list.  I haven’t thought of upgrade rewards yet – I said that it would be for extra good behaviors, like helping with a chore when not asked, extra sharing, etc.

I’ll borrow a lyric from Adele’s new song for the day.

I’ve forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet.

Empty

I am trying to avoid things that remind me that I won’t be having a baby in January, but it is hard.  The baby section at Target, hearing a baby crying, seeing photos of friends’ babies – all of these make me ache.  I know it won’t be that way forever, but for right now, they remind me that I was pregnant, and I’m not anymore.

Today might fall into the category of Most Awkward Haircut Ever.  I’ve been seeing my stylist for years, every 6-7 weeks like clockwork.  At my last haircut I was visibly pregnant, and talked to her about expecting my third child, and now I’m visibly not pregnant.  I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing.  It was like a giant elephant in the room, but she had the good sense not to say anything either.  I just let it hang as a great unknown.

As I picked Quentin up yesterday, his teacher was talking to him about hurting another child (pushed or something).  She told him to say sorry and he gave a very exaggerated “SOR-ry”  I made him sit in his room upon arriving home.  He seemed to really not care, so I talked to him about how it is NOT ok to hurt friends.  That did it.  His face scrunched up and he began to cry and I recognized the look: remorse.

Theo and I took a walk this morning before the bus, something we had enjoyed earlier this week.  I saw the walk through his child’s eyes, as my therapist had suggested that I do.  “MOMMY!  Look – there is a refrigerator at the end of that driveway!”  So there is – it is probably broken.  He also noted the emerging Fall colors and made the observation that “Every season brings something different.”

Yesterday, I received a ring order I had placed on Etsy.  I have two small, silver rings on my finger – one with an initial T and one with an initial Q.  I was planning on ordering a N when she was born.  I didn’t think I could add a N and look at it every day, so instead, I ordered a thin silver band from the same artist with a heart stamped on the outside and her name inscribed on the inside.  I had to choke back sobs as I put it on, but it is perfect.