Tuesday, 30 March 2010

i couldn't sleep last night. had to get up again after a mere ten minutes or so, because i needed to cry, and i didn't want to wake D up. no point in us both losing sleep.

i slept less than four hours in the end. was still in work before 9am. somehow.

yesterday and today, i've had to talk myself through being in work, a couple of hours at a time. 'you can make it to lunchtime, then you can go home.' 'well you made it this far, you might as well wait til 3.30.' '3.30 already? there's no point in leaving now, i'll wait for D to pick me up.' that kind of thing.

in the end i typed out an email to a friend. i couldn't make myself talk to my line manager, even though i knew i needed to. i didn't send the email but printed it out, took it along to my friend. asked her to read it so i could go talk to my boss.

she looked near tears herself, reading it.

funny thing is? she had been talking to another friend of mine about how much better i had been since coming back from leave. about how my body language had been more relaxed.

i started to wonder, then, if i really was losing it.

but anyway. she called my line manager and made her come along. when my line manager realised how upset i was she took me back to her office and looked after me til i'd calmed down enough to go home (by that time it was 4pm anyway). and she said that she knew i was having a tough time again this week, but she didn't want to upset me by talking about it if i didn't want to.

so i'm glad someone picked up on how miserable i've been. because when my friends said that i'd seemed better, i felt really weird.

but now i've had a good cry and realised that people still care and calmed down? i'm still low and exhausted and sick of grief. but i do feel better.

----

is there ever a time when this gut-wrenching grief completely goes away? or does it just become less frequent?

----

getting my period this month (more than any other) was like losing the baby all over again. i think the three month thing (that pregnancy is more likely in the three cycles following a miscarriage) not panning out for us has made me realise that i really did lose this baby. that if i get pregnant again, it will be a different child.

i want that.

but i want my first baby back too.

---

edited to add that tomorrow D is taking me out for fish and chips after work. says i deserve it.

he doesn't get my grief at all, i don't think. but mostly, he knows when i need him to support me. and that's enough, somehow.

Monday, 29 March 2010

definitely not pregnant.

for the first time today, i'm angry with myself. angry that even though D and i have been together since 2000, we only started trying for babies last April, just before i turned 33.

now, i fear, the chances of my actually having a successful pregnancy ending in a living baby before i reach the dreaded age of 35 are minuscule.

---

we do what we can. we do the best we can with the information we have at the time. and i can explain every reason that we waited this long.

but still.

i'm angry. and i only have myself to blame.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

my sister and her boyfriend left an hour or so after staying the weekend

and i got a negative this morning

and i'm convinced that i'll never actually have a baby

and it's less than six weeks to when my baby would have been due

and i go back to work tomorrow after just over a week off

and there is so much shit i haven't done

and the clocks went forward last night

and i'm just exhausted and sad and sick of being like this.


(edited to add that after posting this i dragged D out for a walk round the block as it's sunny today and i needed to get out. i feel a little better for it, but i'm still very, very sad today. and it's kind of taken me by surprise.)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

sad.

i haven't cried in ages. but i cried tonight, just a little.

a friend of mine asked me if i was up to babysitting his six month old. and i want to say yes, i really do. i'm fine with baby J, usually. i made a choice, once i found out what had happened, that i didn't want to avoid him. that i didn't want to make it into a big thing when i saw a baby next.

but the one time since i lost my baby that i've been solely in charge of him - just for 20 minutes or so - he cried, and i got really upset because i couldn't console him.

when i got home tonight, i cried. just a little.

i don't begrudge anyone else their babies. i don't wish pain or horror like this on anyone else.

but i'm exhausted with longing and wishing and grief.

i'm calmer this month. i'm not charting (...even though it's almost impossible to switch off completely, seeing as my cycle started on the first - and i did take three temperatures which makes me confident that i did ovulate), and i'm not so miserable and stressed. generally, i'm in a better place.

...but that doesn't mean that i don't still long and yearn for a baby of my own. that i get to actually hold in my arms.

that doesn't mean that i don't still miss the baby that died.

---

i've started freaking out that i've not locked the car again.

i hope the anxiety's just visiting. that it's not back to stay.

Friday, 19 March 2010

wow. a full week without posting.

not so long ago, that would have seemed entirely impossible.

----

someone i know - part of my old circle of friends, a friend-of-a-friend - has had a miscarriage.

reading between the lines it seems to be a missed miscarriage picked up at the 12 week scan. but all i know is that she's had a miscarriage. she was pregnant; now she's not.

as far as i know, she and i are the only ones in this group to have been through this.

so i wanted to ask those people who have suffered first-trimester miscarriages (and anyone else really) - what should i do? i have emailed and sent her a card, but specifically - should i send her vouchers for takeout or meals out or something? i don't know her well enough to offer anything more than a supportive ear but i found life generally exhausting and would have really appreciated pizza express vouchers, or maybe dominos - so i could eat without cooking or washing up. or even someone bringing round a meal for us, although that would be complicated seeing as i'm half-vegan and he's allergic to garlic - noone in their right minds cooks for us unless they really have to. or should i give the people she's closer to a heads-up about what she might need?

i have a feeling i'm overthinking this so i wanted to know what you all thought.

----

me? i'm getting back to normal. kind of. i'm getting absorbed in things at work. i'm happier. i'm more myself again. i heard about one of D's workmates having her baby (...someone who wasn't trying to get pregnant and was actually quite devastated at first) and was genuinely pleased for her, relieved that everything went well.

i wouldn't have been so calm a few weeks ago.

it's probably the eye of the storm. in the next seven weeks (christ, is that all?) i'm going to have my birthday; a wedding; the due date of someone who hurt me deeply; and my own due date.

but for the minute, i'm going to sit back and breathe deeply and thank the heavens that i have a few weeks' reprieve. i'll gather my strength for the storms, if they return.

if they return.

let's hope that if they do, they are milder than before.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Today I'm on leave. Just because I have leave to use up before the end of the leave year, and this was the only day that fitted that a) I wasn't already on leave, or b) someone else in my team hadn't booked it off already.

Know what?

I'd actually rather be in work.

I have loads to do, and right now I'm just sitting here playing bejeweled twist.

And that, my friends, is a weird weird feeling.

---

ah well. i'm off out soon to meet a friend for coffee. at least i won't waste my entire day, eh?

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

my duties have changed in work.

and that's possibly a good thing for my mental health, as my husband pointed out. and it makes sense what has happened, from many points of view.

but for reasons i can't really share, it has really really upset me.

and now i wish i was anon again, so i could really vent.

but i'm not. hey ho. i'll wait for D to get home and cry at him.

----

for the minute, though, i'll talk about something else. something that's been kind of disturbing me for a while.

after the first scan - the one in which the baby was alive and couldn't keep still - we had pictures.

three of them. one OK, and two pretty naff.

(it wouldn't keep still for long enough for us to get a decent shot)

and i scanned the pics that night. emailed them to my family and close friends. in the end i posted one on facebook.

and i printed four more copies.

one went to my mum and dad.

one went to D's mum and stepdad.

one went to D's grandma and grandad.

and the last?

it went to my desk drawer in work.

----

one of the first things i thought of when phoning work to tell them what had happened was that i wanted my line manager to find the photo for me and bring it to me when she came out for a home visit.

so i asked her. she said fine.

she told me later that she got one of my friends from work to help her look through the drawer. then the rest of my drawers.

and the picture?

it wasn't there.

----

i have searched through my stuff in work. searched and searched. the picture has disappeared.

it's not there.

----

i have hardly any evidence that this baby ever actually existed. and i know where all the evidence is.

except that one photo.

and i want it back. so, so badly.

and i don't know where to look.

it makes me really anxious. that this one photo is missing.

and i don't know what to do.

----

i'm kind of hoping that posting about it will make it reappear.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

manual handling

firstly something i've been meaning to say for a while.

i haven't been answering comments so much on my site.

(i haven't been very vocal anywhere, really.)

but i really, really, love it when people take the time to comment here. it really means a lot when people talk. i just kind of feel sometimes that i can only scream in the darkness. it doesn't mean that i don't hear the voices of those who talk back to me, who keep me calm. those voices help to keep me going when i don't want to. but answering is somehow really hard.

anyway. all i'm trying to say is thank you.

-----

this morning i was on a course.

manual handling.

not at my own office. at a different one. i'd arranged to leave with a friend of mine who was doing the same course. i'd told her that i was scared i was going to forget, so not to leave without me.

what i didn't expect is that i would oversleep and decide to just go into work late.

and completely, utterly forget.

i'm just glad she called my mobile to see where i was. but even when she called, i still didn't remember. i didn't understand at first when she asked when we would be leaving. and then, it all came flooding back. along with a large sense of panic.

i ended up calling a taxi and paying a fare (£12) i can't claim back, instead of a bus and metro fare i could. because, for some strange reason, work don't pay extra for my forgetfulness.

i've never done anything like that before. never in my working life.

-----

manual handling. moving things around. picking them up in such a way as not to injure yourself.

what's relevant? the task; the individual; the load; the environment.

yes. the individual. so it's relevant to talk about what might make a difference. the person's height or strength or medical conditions.

or? pregnancy.

it's relevant, and necessary, to say that carrying heavy loads is more difficult while in the later stages of pregnancy. to mention trying to pick things up safely with a bump.

and when you are trying to demonstrate the difficulties of picking things up that have a shifting centre of gravity, or that don't want to cooperate? it's relevant to use the example of a child.

and it's strange, but that didn't make me cry. it just made me feel hollow. both metaphorically and literally. i would have been seven months pregnant by now. today, sitting in that training room, trying not to think, i felt the space in my insides. where my baby should have been.

-----

what made my voice break, just a little, was asking the trainer at the coffee break whether pregnancy or children would be mentioned again. he said no. i told him, my voice breaking only a little, that i'd lost my baby at the end of last year.

he started to apologise. but how could he have known? just one of those things.

-----

it wasn't even what he was saying, you know.

it was his enthusiasm. his sheer joy. his 'aren't children brilliant?' kind of attitude.

it made me long for what i do not have.

for what i fear i'll never, ever have.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

update.

i took my date stamp out of my desk drawer this week.

i haven't needed to use it since i came back. i don't use it every day. and i've just not needed it.

but this week i did.

and my stomach flipped, when i looked to see what date it was.

'25 november 2009'.

if i'd stopped to think about it, i would have expected to see november. but not that date. never that date.

i moved it on, quickly. march 2010. stamped the date. put the stamp back in my drawer.

still, it made me realise.

for me, it's still not long since november.

----

other than that, this week's actually been ok.

the sunshine has helped. but maybe it's also being past the scary three month marker. the one i've been dreading since i went back to work.

i passed the date, and it didn't kill me.

i cried and cried in work and it didn't kill me.

... maybe i can do this.

maybe the weather will get better. the sun will shine. the world will keep on turning, and maybe that will actually be ok.

maybe i'll remember this baby with sadness forever. but there will still be happiness and growth and... maybe another baby.

maybe one that sticks around long enough for me to meet.

----

yesterday, i was home alone for a while. D was out with work friends. i put music on and danced round the kitchen while putting away the crockery.

i want a night out.

i'm not entirely sure how to make that happen right now - the decent nights out, the ones i really love, that i know of are hundreds of miles away. and i really fancy a blowout, too, but drinking large quantities+ttc doesn't really go.

anyway. i'll work on it. (a sober, or at least relatively sober, night out.)

weird, though. this post was less than a month before i got pregnant. i remember hoping that i would get pregnant that cycle, so i could tell my first child that i had been at a NIN gig while pregnant with them.

i'm still a little sad that didn't happen.

----

it will be interesting. trying to figure out how to still be that me, while being a mother.

i hope. i hope.

----

a few days ago there was another post here. a rant about a friend (kinda) and facebook.

i didn't leave it up very long. i don't know if anyone saw it. i don't think google reader picked it up.

but if anyone did - it seems that the person in question was being incredibly tactless, not deliberately cruel.

so that is good to know.

tactless is better than cruel any day of the week.

Monday, 1 March 2010

irony, and maybe hope.

the acupuncturist specialising in fertility who was recommended to me by a lovely friend?

is currently on maternity leave.

you couldn't make this shit up.

---

i don't know if there has been a single sunny day since 25th november last year.

that afternoon was sunny. a beautiful autumn afternoon. i remember thinking what a gorgeous day it was when D and i arrived at the hospital. before everything went to shit.

since then? i don't remember a single ray of sunshine. of course, it could be that i just haven't noticed. but i don't honestly think so.

this morning though. i opened the front door. and the sun's light fell on my face.

(i've been feeling very nervous. about the end of winter. about the start of spring. my favourite time of year, but i don't want the winter to end. how can it, when i'm still mourning? i don't want the spring to begin. spring is all about new life. how can spring begin? i'm not pregnant. there is no new life in this house. i don't want to see daffodils preparing to flower and birds beginning to nest. i don't want the world to be fertile. not if i don't know if i am.)

but. this morning. the sun shone. the air was sharp-cold, but the light was golden. and when i walked to work at lunch, the sun shone. and...

it kind of felt good.

i kind of felt like i could cope.

---

i don't think that spring has started yet. i take the beginning of spring to be 21st march (... and it's not coincidental that that date is our wedding anniversary). but it hasn't escaped me that today is 1st march.

(it's also my first full day back in work.)

---

irony, and maybe hope.

new beginnings all around. a new cycle started a day or two back.

maybe. maybe this will be the one.

Thaw Blogsplash is finally here!


Ruth's diary is the new novel by Fiona Robyn, called Thaw. She has decided to blog the novel in its entirety over the next few months, so you can read it for free.

Ruth's first entry is below, and you can continue reading tomorrow here.

*

These hands are ninety-three years old. They belong to Charlotte Marie Bradley Miller. She was so frail that her grand-daughter had to carry her onto the set to take this photo. It's a close-up. Her emaciated arms emerge from the top corners of the photo and the background is black, maybe velvet, as if we're being protected from seeing the strings. One wrist rests on the other, and her fingers hang loose, close together, a pair of folded wings. And you can see her insides.

The bones of her knuckles bulge out of the skin, which sags like plastic that has melted in the sun and is dripping off her, wrinkling and folding. Her veins look as though they're stuck to the outside of her hands. They're a colour that's difficult to describe: blue, but also silver, green; her blood runs through them, close to the surface. The book says she died shortly after they took this picture. Did she even get to see it? Maybe it was the last beautiful thing she left in the world.

I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to carry on living. I'm giving myself three months of this journal to decide. You might think that sounds melodramatic, but I don't think I'm alone in wondering whether it's all worth it. I've seen the look in people's eyes. Stiff suits travelling to work, morning after morning, on the cramped and humid tube. Tarted-up girls and gangs of boys reeking of aftershave, reeling on the pavements on a Friday night, trying to mop up the dreariness of their week with one desperate, fake-happy night. I've heard the weary grief in my dad's voice.

So where do I start with all this? What do you want to know about me? I'm Ruth White, thirty-two years old, going on a hundred. I live alone with no boyfriend and no cat in a tiny flat in central London. In fact, I had a non-relationship with a man at work, Dan, for seven years. I'm sitting in my bedroom-cum-living room right now, looking up every so often at the thin rain slanting across a flat grey sky. I work in a city hospital lab as a microbiologist. My dad is an accountant and lives with his sensible second wife Julie, in a sensible second home. Mother finished dying when I was fourteen, three years after her first diagnosis. What else? What else is there?

Charlotte Marie Bradley Miller. I looked at her hands for twelve minutes. It was odd describing what I was seeing in words. Usually the picture just sits inside my head and I swish it around like tasting wine. I have huge books all over my flat; books you have to take in both hands to lift. I've had the photo habit for years. Mother bought me my first book, black and white landscapes by Ansel Adams. When she got really ill, I used to take it to bed with me and look at it for hours, concentrating on the huge trees, the still water, the never-ending skies. I suppose it helped me think about something other than what was happening. I learned to focus on one photo at a time rather than flicking from scene to scene in search of something to hold me. If I concentrate, then everything stands still. Although I use them to escape the world, I also think they bring me closer to it. I've still got that book. When I take it out, I handle the pages as though they might flake into dust.

Mother used to write a journal. When I was small, I sat by her bed in the early mornings on a hard chair and looked at her face as her pen spat out sentences in short bursts. I imagined what she might have been writing about; princesses dressed in star-patterned silk, talking horses, adventures with pirates. More likely she was writing about what she was going to cook for dinner and how irritating Dad's snoring was.

I've always wanted to write my own journal, and this is my chance. Maybe my last chance. The idea is that every night for three months, I'll take one of these heavy sheets of pure white paper, rough under my fingertips, and fill it up on both sides. If my suicide note is nearly a hundred pages long, then no-one can accuse me of not thinking it through. No-one can say; 'It makes no sense; she was a polite, cheerful girl, had everything to live for', before adding that I did keep myself to myself. It'll all be here. I'm using a silver fountain pen with purple ink. A bit flamboyant for me, I know. I need these idiosyncratic rituals; they hold things in place. Like the way I make tea, squeezing the tea-bag three times, the exact amount of milk, seven stirs. My writing is small and neat; I'm striping the paper. I'm near the bottom of the page now. Only ninety-one more days to go before I'm allowed to make my decision. That's it for today. It's begun.

Continue reading tomorrow here...