Tag Archives: miscarriage

Butt fur the grace of God

There are many distinct advantages to having a dog vs. having a child. For instance, when your child is misbehaving and you just can’t take it anymore, sticking them in a crate for six hours while you get some much needed “me” time usually results in “jail” time. Likewise, it is frowned upon by authorities to hit your kid with a newspaper (and/or a September Vogue when they’ve been a VERY BAD BOY!) or to rub their face in their own feces to get your point across. Not to mention, have you ever seen a toddler sit and stay upon command? Without the assistance of duct tape, that is?

But the one area where dogs don’t have a distinct advantage? Sickness. Specifically the flu (or whatever the dog-version of the flu is, which is what I suspect my dog Buffy currently has). Because when either one gets sick, it’s pretty much the same scenario for the caregiver–

You will spend at least the next 24 hours cleaning up every manner of vile substances that can squeeze (and/or explode) itself out every orifice imaginable from their tiny bodies.

Which is why my Tuesday thus far has consisted of:

Taking my dog outside so he can poop.

Taking my dog outside again so he can poop.

Cleaning up the vomit I discovered after I got out of the shower.

Taking my dog outside again so he can have an explosive case of diarrhea and then immediately dragging my dog to the bathroom without having his backside touch anything (Note: I was unsuccessful).

Throwing said dog who has an intense hatred of baths into the tub so I could cut out his butt fur that had been tainted with said diarrhea.

Scrubbing his backside in case I missed any of the tainted butt fur.

Trying to get him back into the tub after he escaped and then rinsing him off as his wet body clings to mine with a strength I honestly didn’t think his 32-pound body could possibly possess.

Disinfecting the tub and bathroom floor with the butt fur and diarrhea remains.

Cleaning up all the other areas where he decided to spontaneously sit while being dragged to the bathroom.

Scrubbing my hands for 45 minutes until they bled and then sitting by the water bowl trying to coax Buffy to take a drink since I know I have personally just cleaned up every single ounce of liquid his body could possibly hold.

And that pretty much brings us up to date, with my exhausted dog cuddled up next to me on the couch as I sporadically check to make sure he’s still breathing while I type this and the vet’s number queued up on my phone in case he gets any worse.

Now, I could be angry about this situation. Or at least unhappy. Or at the very least starting to question what horrific life decisions I had made that had led me up to this point where I spend the majority of my Tuesday scrubbing a dog’s butt.

But I’m not. Because as it turns out, this couldn’t have happened at a better time considering I woke this morning to the Facebook announcement of yet another person in my circle happily proclaiming that they’re pregnant. A proclamation, I’m not proud to admit, that made me irrationally mad.

See, after my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage in October, my husband and I have started to try to conceive again, which has yet to be successful and which is subconsciously bringing up some of those horrible feelings we dealt with this fall. And which is why instead of being happy for couples who are expecting like I should, I react with:

“But that’s not fair! They already have kids! And now they get another one? Like it’s just so easy to get pregnant! How dare they! How dare they be so happy when I’m not! How dare it be so easy for them when it’s not for me!”

Like I said, irrationally mad. And exceedingly unfair to the happy couple, I know.

But after today, I realize it’s probably a lot harder (and a lot more anxiety-inducing) to deal with a sick kid. Or to deal with even a healthy kid. Because poop-covered-fur-cutting-out aside, my dog is pretty self-sufficient no matter what the circumstances. And if I was dealing with a sick kid, I wouldn’t be able to drink this vodka I’m currently holding in my hand.

So, I’m holding onto that for right now, because I need to hold onto something other than the disappointment of getting my period yet again. And for right now, it’s enough to just try to find the upside of only being responsible for the life of a dog, a creature that has more instincts for self-preservation than a toddler who thinks sticking a fork into a light socket sounds like a downright dandy idea.

And to try to remember that there is always next month, which, of course, is easier said than done, but hey, it’s something.

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BEWARE! Hormonal woman on the loose

CONFESSION: I haven’t been a teenager in approximately (sound of a muffled number due to a hand over the mouth) years. And yet, for the past three weeks, I remember EXACTLY what it was like to be a teenager.

Because apparently my hormones are currently on a cocktail of meth, bath salts and Nyquil. The same concoction they were chugging when I was 14.

And 15.

And 3/4 of my 16th year.

And OK, yeah, some of 17 too.

Possibly also 22.

And for a brief period when I was 27. And 30.

But I digress.

*Now, for you fellas reading this, I realize as soon as women mention anything about the H-word, you zone out and/or start stockpiling weapons for your own safety (as well you should). Hormones are simply a fancy doctor term for “Holy crap, I might die at the hands of this person who used to resemble my girlfriend/wife/friend with benefits.” But stick with me here. Just a little bit longer. At the very least for the benefit of your own safety.

As wacka-a-doo cuckoo crazy puffs as I am right now, I can officially say that this time there is a legit reason (other than “He left the seat UP AGAIN…APRILL SMASH!”). About four weeks ago, I had a miscarriage. Which was devastating. And which I’m still dealing with. And which I wrote about in a post linked here.

And one side effect of this horrific event is that when your body goes from being pregnant to suddenly not being pregnant, it also suddenly decides to go on a hormonal bender. Meaning I’m less of an actual person and more just a bag of skin and bones that is carrying around wayward hormones that have a GIGANTIC chip on their shoulder.

And which also means that anyone in my path is a potential victim of Hurricane Hormone. For example:

  • My dog, who has been yelled at thus far for breathing, for shedding, for pooping too much, for looking at me too long and for that weird, irritating noise he makes when he’s licking his paws.
  • My husband, who tried unsuccessfully to console me after I broke down crying when I saw a mouse dying from the poison the exterminater put around our house.  And trying unsuccessfully again when I sobbed uncontrollably at a deodorant commercial. And an episode of “Teen Mom 2.” And at a Triscuit that I thought looked like my recently deceased grandma.
  • My medical bill, which upon finding out that it cost me $300 to confirm that I did indeed have a miscarriage, was crinkled up, thrown against the wall and then stomped on. It would have also been set on fire, but my husband (rather wisely) hid any and all potential weapons in the house, including lighters and matches.

And just like when I was a teenager, I hate my body with a passion that only a white girl with First World Problems can. I have inappropriate responses to mundane inquiries (“Hey sweetie, how much was our electricity bill this month?” “Gaaahhh, what do you want from me!?! I’m only human. Sorry I have to keep my lousy phone charged. WHY DOES EVERYONE HATE ME!”). I alternate between being wildly insecure and thinking everyone besides me is an idiot. And, instead of being jealous of the Prom Queen, I am now jealous of all the women I encounter who are pregnant and/or have babies and so make up horrible gossip about them in my head (“I bet her stupid baby will grow up to live at home until he’s 41. Ha! Serves her right.”).

My only solace is that this will all pass soon. And I can go back to normal. Which means instead of being a crazy, hormonal 31-year-old teenager, I’ll be just a plain, old, normal, crazy, hormonal 31-year-old woman.

But since I’m not sure when that will be, I bought helmets for both my husband and my dog.

And the mailman.

Just to be on the safe side.

I am the 40 percent

The longest day of my life began at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday.

I had gotten used to waking up early ever since I found out, which I chalked up to the lack of massive amounts of caffeine in my body and my newly formed habit of falling asleep around 8:30 p.m.

But this time was different. This time it was the dull ache that gently woke me up. Clumsily making my way to the bathroom though, it was the blood that jolted me awake.

Spotting, I told myself. Mild cramping. No big deal, my head said while my body frantically looked for the right section in the book. Yep. Totally normal.

I laid down on the couch in total darkness and turned on some crappy late night/early morning/not really suitable for human consumption TV. I absent-mindedly rubbed my lower stomach, a sort of unconscious gesture meant to signal reassurance for the both of us. I’ll be fine.

We’ll be fine.

By 5, the crappy movie was over and the meaningless dull ache had forced me into a fetal position. By 6, I was walking around bent over in an effort to relieve the meaningless pain that had meaninglessly grew into an intense ache. By 6:30, I was lighting a cigarette from the secret stash I hadn’t been able to throw away yet even though I had quit smoking. Just one to calm myself down.

Everything is fine.

As my husband woke up at 7 and as dawn broke, casting brutal light on the situation, I allowed myself the first tears. He ran to the store for Tylenol and maxi-pads, a first aid kit for a gaping fatal wound. By 8:30, we were on the road to the women’s health clinic, an appointment that had actually been made weeks ago.

Good one, universe.

No one even knew yet besides a handful of close friends and family. Eight weeks pregnant. Keep it quiet for now. Just in case…you know.

And suddenly, I knew all too well.

We nicknamed it Poppyseed in lieu of the popular moniker “It” so many other couples use during those early months. Poppy, for short. It was a private joke courtesy of my cousin, who upon finding out my new condition three weeks prior, pulled a poppyseed off her cheeseburger, pointed at it and said, laughing, “that’s how big your baby is right now.”

Urine sample. Blood sample. Weight and height check. Hello, I’m Carol. Is this your first pregnancy? Congratulations. Symptoms could be normal. Your cervix is closed. Good sign. Hmm…can’t find a heartbeat. Let’s schedule you an ultrasound…just in case…you know.

I was due in May, which was perfect. If it was a girl, her name was going to be Mae. A decision made long ago. Because Aprill is always followed by Mae. If it was a boy, well…Milo has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Two hour wait. Silent tears. It’ll be fine, honey. Don’t worry. Mrs. Brandon? Nice to meet you. Hop on up here. Now what happened exactly this morning? Relax your legs. Too small to see on the monitor. Let’s try this.

Just the other day I had planned on shouting the exciting news from the virtual rooftops of Facebook and Twitter. After our first doctor appointment. Once we made sure there was little chance of any sort of just in case.

Well, there doesn’t seem to any pregnancy tissue. You may have passed it this morning.

There’s nothing you could have done. Or did do. These things just happen. Forty percent of pregnancies in the first trimester, to be exact. Most women only have one in their lifetime. Chances are high you’ll conceive again.

I know they have to say this. The doctor. The nurse. The now demoted future grandparents. The friends and co-workers.

There really is nothing else you can say.

But it doesn’t help. At least right now. Because no words can erase the image of your husband, so strong and stoic the entire time, finally breaking down on the phone when he calls his boss to tell him he won’t be in today. And because what died on that horrific morning wasn’t just a fetus. What also drowns and dies in that tsunami of blood and cramps is that movie montage you’ve been playing over and over in your head the past eight weeks until it’s the perfect mental screenplay of the rest of your life.

But then, the dream of a completely different future than the present you are currently living in fades slowly to black.

Suddenly you can no longer see the labor scene where you hurl hilarious insults at whoever is standing by, ones that even give the nurses a giggle. Or the moment you both sob like idiots when it’s all over and you’re holding a baby that has your eyes and Praise Jesus! his nose.

The never-ending need to count all his perfect fingers and toes. The uncontrollable urge to kiss her little face all the time.

The framed photo of her sleeping on her dad’s bare chest or his first Halloween where I dress him as Frankenstein’s monster simply so I could send out a photo card with the caption “We have created LIFE! It’s ALIIIIIIVE!”

Christmas mornings. First birthdays. ER trips because someone couldn’t resist shoving a Lego up their nose. Catching her digging through the trash with the dog as her accomplice. Him helping me make pancakes.

Ballet recitals. T-ball games. First girlfriends where I whip out every single embarrassing photo I can find, including the one of him in a dress having a tea party with his female cousins. First heartbreak where I cuddle with her on the couch and we eat ice cream while watching “Love Actually” and I let her cuss in front of me for the first time.

Graduation. Marriage. Becoming a grandparent myself. And everyone coming back home for Thanksgiving, filling our quiet house with welcomed chaos.

It all died too.

So, for now, I mourn the loss. Of her. Or him. And of the dream.

And hopefully, after time, and some Merlot, and maybe a night or twelve of healing vodka, we’ll be able to try again.

And I can start to dream again.