Saturday, November 22, 2008


I spent most of last week trying not to fall into a crevice. You know, those little cracks that can suck you up and swallow you whole. Funny how you can go for months never noticing them but then all of a sudden, they seem to be everywhere when you find yourself feeling rather small. Like the tiny green baby shoe that someone had dropped in the middle of the sidewalk. Or at the doctor's waiting room where I found myself surrounded by pregnant ladies in chirpy excitement over their due dates. Or in my backyard where I found my blood colored camellia dead surrounded by thriving giant weeds sucking up whatever energy the sun had to emit. I don't want to ponder the meaning of life or death or its cruel irony. Not this week. I don't want to get stuck in these little moments that can swirl into a giant vortex of meaning.

I want to tread lightly over the tricky letters in the word miscarriage, especially the concave c with its wide open mouth and the slippery g that winds around itself like a little maze. I want to fly over the loopy s's in loss even as I find myself curled up like one giant s on my bed with my legs bent at the knees and my head curled into my chest. And avoid slipping down the diagonal of the y in baby and getting stuck at the bottom with no way to climb back up. I want to bounce off of these letters so that I can find my way to the next word and then the next, past the punctuations and the spaces, and eventually onto the next sentence and then the next paragraph.

This is my life unfolding, page by page. And I tell myself not to get stuck here. I need to refocus my lens, gain some distance, so that I can see past these few words, these few sentences. I have to find my way onto the next page, the next chapter. I want to end up ensconced in the warm embrace of o in love, buoyed by the peppy p's in happiness, and resigned to the decisive t in fate.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NY Observer Article

Here's a fun little article by Glenna Goldis in the New York Observer about "email-retentives."

Miscarriage of Silence

I reject silence because silence is not for me.

Silence is for the criminal in hand cuffs who has something to hide.

Silence is for Charlie Chaplain who danced with the world that laughed with him.

Silence is for the adulterer who hangs her head in shame for stealing the life of another.

Silence is for the Buddhist monk in meditation who empties his heart and mind by choice.

Silence is for the lambs as they wait to be slaughtered.

Silence is for the dead.

Silence was not for my friend Jemma's mother who screamed and clung to the coffin as her daughter was lowered into the grave.

Silence was not for my mother who wailed with the cry of an animal I had never before heard when she learned of her mother's death.

Silence is not for the angry who take to the streets in protest for the deaths of innocents.

Silence is not for those who feel cheated and seek to reclaim what was lost.

Silence is not for the heartbroken.

I want the world to know how I cry for my lost baby.

Silence is not for me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Bruise

There is a bruise on my right arm. It is a black, brown, purple oval, yellowing along the edge, about an inch and a half long, half an inch wide, in the inner part of the arm just below where the elbow bends.

I saw it the other morning in the shower as I was washing myself of what does not belong, what is not a part of my body. There it was, a smudge of something that did not belong but would not wash off.

It is there where the doctor had inserted the needle. After the greeting, after the droopy eyes to express her sympathy, after the warm touch of her hand, after the tears. After we made some jokes because that is all we had, likening it to two glasses of martini. After the injection, she had me lie on the table, feet in the stirrups, bottom all the way down to the edge. As my head dropped, I felt the drug ride through me, soothing and numbing, and I gave in without resistance.

And I lay there, staring at the ceiling where little cut out women dangled in the air, pretending I was drunk on fancy martinis without olives, as the noise of the suction whirled around in my ears. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the nurse dangle some tissue, bloody and wet and glistening under the florescent light, before dropping it in a test tube, and I tightened my grip on Jeff's hand.

Later, I staggered out of that room, not only drunk on the injection but weighted down by the pain of the cramps, even though I was leaving lighter than when I had entered. We went home where I lay in bed, clutching my stomach, smelling my own smell from the night before.

Today, I find myself looking at my bruise, touching it. It provides a strange comfort. It is the only thing that remains after the process of removal.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I am pruning the over grown tree in front of our house. It has been two years since I took the time to tend to it. During that time, I have seen its gaunt branches threaten to take over the sidewalk, slap the faces of unsuspecting pedestrians, and lurk over fragile windows of innocently parked cars. Today, I go at it with my lopping shears in hand, forcefully severing its limbs with broad swaths, watching the flutter of leaves as they dive to the ground, hearing the heavy fall of its parts. And I find myself wondering, why this sudden enthusiasm? Why today? Why am I so eager to cut through this life?

I sit with my laptop on my lap. I click impatiently, scanning the page for some magic words I have not yet identified, before moving onto the next link to begin scanning again. There are so many stories, so many women, so many lost children. I leave little notes here and there, desperate to connect, secretly begging for sympathy. When I look up, it's already noon. How could that be?

I run into an acquaintance I hadn't seen for months. I scrutinize her smiling face, wondering if I should say something or stay with the small talk. In the middle of Market Street with the buzz of cable cars and buses and pedestrians. When people are already starting to prepare for the holidays, and tourists bounce past the stores with maps and shopping bags in hand. And in my baggy green camouflage pants, raggedy fleece with a hole on the left sleeve, nondescript black shirt, I'm dressed as if I have disappeared, as if I no longer exist. I wonder if she wonders where I have gone, if I am lost.

I don't want this to be my life. Not the whole of it. I want to move on, not get stuck here. Please, not for too long...

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I don't want to wallow. So I turn to anger, that all too easily accessible, less than authentic, wonder bread of emotions.

On Friday, I found myself on the couch, clutching Darci Klein's To Full Term until I had turned the last page. It is the story of a mother who, after having a daughter prematurely at 28 weeks, suffers two subsequent miscarriages and then goes onto another pregnancy with twins. At 20 weeks, the twin boy's sac ruptures and she is faced with the impossible choice of having to agree to abort both twins. By the time she becomes pregnant a fifth time, she had spent an inordinate amount of time researching miscarriages and learning more about the subject than some of her doctors. By insisting that she receive the tests and care she would not otherwise have received, she saves her pregnancy and carries her baby to full term.

I read her story, and my attitude about miscarriages has changed. I have been so passive about my pregnancies, accepting what my doctor told me and just waiting to see what happens. Now I wish I had insisted on the whole set of tests after my first miscarriage and demanded additional monitoring during my second pregnancy. I accepted my doctor's cursory statement that 70% of miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities and that the causes of the remaining 30% cannot be determined. Apparently, this statistic is not correct for women in my age group. And for miscarriages that are not caused by chromosomal defects, there are a slew of tests that can be used to assess other possible causes. I know I read about the other tests after my first miscarriage, but for some reason, I focused on the language regarding chromosomal defects, possibly because I wanted to believe there was nothing that could have been done to save the baby. Now I wonder if I could have saved this baby had I insisted on testing after my first miscarriage?

So I am angry, about the poor quality of research available about miscarriages, the wait and see attitude that I had accepted for the past several months, my failure to inform myself, the unanswered questions. According to Klein, NIH spends not even 1% of its funds to research miscarriages, indicating that they treat miscarriages as inevitable conditions instead of treatable disorders. So I focus on this anger and map out a plan. Compliance and complacence will be checked at the door. I will put on my litigator hat, put skepticism and scrutiny on high alert, and filter for glib responses. I will scour the web and bookstores and squeeze whomever I can for answers.

Even with this anger, I know that I could take the entire slew of currently available tests and come up with no answers. That the tests could say nothing is wrong, even though something is obviously not right. That months and months later, we could find ourselves helpless, with not much more knowledge than we have now. And that we could find ourselves traipsing from day to day, wondering again what the hell went wrong.

But that thought is more than I can bear right now. For now, I will embrace this anger and let it nurture me and nourish the emptiness echoing throughout my body.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Not Again...

I am sad to report that I had another miscarriage yesterday. We went in for our genetic counseling and CVS and found out that the fetus did not have a heart beat when we did the ultrasound. Apparently, it stopped growing shortly after my last ultrasound when we saw the heartbeat at 9 weeks and 3 days. For the past two weeks, my placenta and ovaries continued to nurture the little thing as if it were still alive, which is why I continued to have pregnancy symptoms. At least this time, I was spared the pain of watching the life leak out of me and having to drain myself every few minutes.

So, we're back to the drawing board. I'm not sure how I'm feeling yet. A little numb still. We are planning to undergo some tests to see if they can figure out what went wrong. I'm trying not to get too discouraged because I've heard so many success stories from many of you who've had a much tougher time. So for now, I'm just going to hang in here and try not feel too sad for myself.

Monday, November 3, 2008

On Stolen Time

I am 11 weeks and two days into my pregnancy. It is now one day after the length of the last pregnancy, and I feel as if I'm living on stolen time. At times, I find myself stealing glances over my shoulder, looking to see who's out to reclaim this time and declare that this time was never mine to enjoy. When I tell my friends that I'm pregnant, I speak sheepishly, feeling like an interloper staking a claim to what isn't really mine. At other times, I find myself flinging back on the couch, relieved as a mound of silly putty that we've survived this far, we, this baby and I.

I still have not told my mother about my pregnancy. She calls every few days and always makes a point to ask, "How is your body?" A seemingly strange question, but one that asks without asking, are you still fertile? are you still trying? are you pregnant yet? My answer is always a curt "I'm fine" because I am a terrible liar and I can feel her staring through the phone into my blushing face and wondering what it is I am hiding.

I think of Jeff's 74 year old father's response back in March when we told him I was pregnant. He counted out six fingers on his hands and said, "I can last that long. I'm going to last long enough to take him to the Wild Animal Park." We also haven't yet told him about this pregnancy. We'll wait until the shadow of disappointment recedes into the closet, or at least under the shadow of our happiness.

I am counting the minutes until the second trimester as if it is my day of reckoning. I feel as if in five days, I can start breathing again. I haven't read any baby books since April and I haven't opened any of the documents I started back then, the list of baby gears, the list of to dos and don'ts when the baby arrives, the list of things we should know as parents. I don't have time for the future yet. I need to focus on keeping this little being alive, healthy, inside me.