Saturday, October 31, 2009

Miscarriage Dreams

WARNING: This post is pretty graphic. Appropriate for Halloween maybe, but consider yourself warned.

For months I’ve been having miscarriage dreams. They show up about once a week, and always leave me completely freaked out. Up until last night, they’ve been pretty much the same. I’m in the middle of an otherwise ordinary dream—no reason for me to suspect I’m dreaming—and I go to pee and find blood on the toilet paper. At first just a little bit, then a few drops more, and then the cramps start to kick in.

It used to take me a minute to realize that this was bad. After all, it’s been a pretty frequent occurrence for me for the past 25 years or so—it’s strange NOT to be bleeding for so long. But then, as realization dawned, I would have that “oh no” moment. I remember the first such dream vividly, rocking back and forth on the toilet saying, “No, no, no, no, no” until J finally heard me and woke me up. And it’s getting harder for me to wake myself up from these dreams as well. A few weeks ago, I had a whole conversation with myself—in my dream—about how this time I wasn’t dreaming and it was real. I actually pulled the oldest cliché in the book—while still dreaming, I pinched myself over and over again to prove I wasn’t dreaming, which eventually managed to wake me up.

Last night my brain decided to raise the stakes, and I dreamed that I had the whole miscarriage. Not the way it would actually be, of course, because it didn’t take more than a minute and didn’t hurt much. It started the same way, some blood in the toilet. But then there was a gush, like when you’re passing a big blood clot, and my babies fell out into the toilet, one right after the other. Luckily for my sanity, they didn’t look like babies—they were just bundled packages that I knew had my babies inside.

It happened so fast—I knew my pregnancy had ended but just couldn’t wrap my brain around it. It was like those dreams (if you have them you’ll understand) where you’ve done something incredibly stupid, like drive off a ledge, and now you’re falling and you know you’re going to die and you know that there’s nothing you can do about it. You’ve passed the point of no return, and it’s just . . . over.

And with this dream, like all of the others before it, as soon as it happened there was a voice inside my head saying, “but of course, here’s the miscarriage—knew it was going to happen sooner or later.” Of all the things about these dreams that scare me, I think this sense of resignation over the miscarriage, the sense that it was inevitable, is the most disturbing.

I’m not big into dream analysis. I pretty much subscribe to the theory that my brain does a lot of random dicking around while I sleep. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure what these dreams mean.

I definitely have had my worry-dream phases before. When I left home for college I went through a phase where I kept dreaming about bad things happening to my little brother. And when I first adopted kittens I dreamed about some catastrophe happening and not knowing what to do to save them. I suspect that when I actually have the kids I’ll have dreams about bad things happening to them, too.

But I wonder—do women who haven’t struggled to get pregnant have these dreams? Do women who’ve never lost a pregnancy have them? And if not, what do they dream about?

And I’m curious—as the fertility drugs and pregnancy hormones zip around through your bodies, what are you all dreaming about?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Precariousness of Pregnancy

One of my good friends—who is about 5 weeks behind me in her pregnancy—just found out that she had a miscarriage. Her baby died about two weeks ago. She managed to stay on the phone long enough to tell me what happened, then said she was sure I understood that she was in no condition to talk. All I could say was “of course,” and “I’m so sorry,” and “call me when you need me.”

How fucking inadequate. And don’t get me wrong—I’m not getting down on myself for not knowing what to say. It’s that I know there’s nothing I can say or do that will ease her pain. I’m helpless in the face that that she-bitch Fate, who seems to steal babies at will, just because.

I was so excited for her. Pregnant on her first IUI, and all I could think of was “thank god.” Because the last thing you want to see is a friend starting to follow in your IF footsteps. And because we could be pregnant together and have our babies together and have play dates and I wouldn’t be alone (as I am, with most of my friends already raising toddlers). And now she’s crushed. And I’m crushed too. And she’s sad and alone. And I’m pregnant and alone.

That is, if I’m still pregnant. Because it’s shit like this that reminds me (as I try to hard to forget), that pregnancy is a precarious state. Any minute it can be snatched away. And why does it seem so much more cruel that you might not even know? You might be rubbing your belly and talking to your baby and planning your nursery and not even know that your baby has died, that all you’re carrying around is a memory of what might have been.

And maybe that’s me. I probably should have rented one of those dopplers, but they were so expensive (and with twins you need the fancy kind so you can differentiate the heartbeats). And besides, I thought there were some things I should maybe try to take on faith—like that my babies will still be alive at my next sono.

I just want to put my head in my hands and cry. For my friend, who is right now discussing with her doctor how to get her child out of her uterus. For my sister, who lost her baby at 4 months in much the same way three years ago. And for all of you out there who’ve had this happen, who’ve had their dreams ripped out of their bodies and tossed to the side for no reason other than it just wasn’t right this time.

And for me, who just wants to feel safe in my pregnancy. But can’t.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Is This That Thing Called "Happy"?

I’m going to say this right from the start—pregnant blogging makes me feel strange. It’s not just that it’s hard to get a handle on how I’m feeling, when it changes every five minutes. It’s that I don’t want to upset anyone. Believe me, I didn’t give a fuck about upsetting anyone before—I figured life had shat on me one too many times, and I was entitled to bitch about it to my heart’s content. Who was going to begrudge me a rant about the unfairness of life?

But it’s different now. The thing is, pregnancy is kind of hard. I’m actually holding up pretty well—haven’t gotten terribly sick, seem to be on top of my back/hip pain much of the time, am surviving (though not thriving) at work. But even though I know a lot of women are a lot worse off than me, I find it exhausting to constantly feel a bit “off,” to constantly be thinking about where my next snack is going to come from, and to be completely incapable of finding maternity pants that fit right.

And yet this is not what I want to blog about. Because I know there are women out there that would amputate a body part to be in my shoes. Because I know what it feels like to read a blog like that.

On the flip side, it’s almost worse to be blogging about how happy I feel. How excited I am. The last thing I want to do is rub it in for those still in the depths of hell.

But I don’t want to lose the friends I’ve made because I’m afraid to be who--and what--I now am. So here we go:

I am really, really, really happy about these babies. Sure, I’ve had some freakout over the past couple of months, and it occasionally revisits me. At some point it just settled in that the twins are coming whether I’m ready or not, and whether I’m scared or excited makes no difference. So why be scared? Will being scared make me any more prepared for the backbreaking ordeal ... I mean exciting adventure yet to come? Will being scared make me more able to find affordable childcare, or make me heal faster from a c-section? So this week, at least, I’m going with excited. And why not? Being happy is a nice change of scenery for me.

It’s funny that what freaked me out so much at first was this sensation of being swept away by a current of events that I couldn’t control. Because the whole reason J and I have been pining for a child is our feeling that we live our lives in a meaningless rut. Some people have a fabulous childless life, but we don’t. We’re homebodies at heart, and our home has been too damn quiet and empty for too damn long. But when I first learned of the twins, there were times when I’d sit on my couch in my quiet, quiet house and think “what’s so wrong with this?”

But I’ve caught my breath and am ready to sit back and enjoy the ride. After all, I’m on it whether I like it or not.

Two weeks ago I “came out” in my office and to my family. (My sister and MIL already knew, as did my close friends.) One of the nice things about being so open with most people about my IF struggles has been their reaction to my pregnancy. (Of course, many of them don’t know that DS is responsible for our ultimate success.) So coming out to my friends in the office was pretty fun. Also, as unglamorous as having twins will be when I’m the size of a house, or when I’m trying to handle midnight feedings for two, it does make me kind of a celebrity among pregnant people. Everyone is just so damn excited about twins. It’s ridiculous. But I have to admit I’m enjoying the attention. (Not a big shock, if you know me at all.)

Coming out to my mother was a different story, and probablydeserves its own post. Suffice it to say that I’ve done a very nice job of keeping this toxic, bipolar, narcissistic, manipulative woman at the outskirts of my life for the past 5 years or so. And I knew damn well that telling her I was having a baby, let alone twins, was going to tear down my carefully constructed wall and have her crashing back into my world. Which it has. I’m sure I can handle it in the long run, but it was nicer before. (J’s suggestion was to just not tell her I was pregnant—he figured if she ever visited we’d just pass off the little ones as “neighbor kids.”) Anyway, subject for a whole new post.

I’m going to leave you with this, lest you aren’t grossed out enough by my happiness. This picture is going to be a mural on the wall of our already-painted-green nursery: