Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Numbness Is Back!!

The numbness is back! I guess that would be something to be excited about if that wasn't contradictory. I'm not feeling good. I'm just relieved to not be feeling bad. Most of the time I just feel lonely. My wife and I have schedules that are sporadic and never seem to match up so I just spend a lot of time alone. I read. I meditate. I pretend that this is a chosen lifestyle. In reality this existence is a jail that I have created with bricks of sarcasm. My defense mechanisms have always kept everyone at arms length. Now that my defenses are down there's no one trying to get in. It was easier when I thought I was just too busy to have friends. Looking back I'm not even sure how that's supposed to make sense. If you're reading this and thinking, "How does this relate to losing a baby?" EVERYTHING I FEEL IS ALTERED BY THIS STUPID GRIEF THAT I CAN"T ESCAPE! I never used to care that I was alone because people let me down in the past. That sounds trite and cliche but that's how psychology works. There is a field of psychology because none of us are as unique as we think. The past year has shown me how prone I am to the textbook examples of grief. Awareness of the psychosis has done no good in preventing them. Honestly I can't decide if I like numb or angry better. At least when I was angry I worked out more.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ring a bell and I'll salivate.

I had to go to the doctor yesturday. I wonder if there will ever be a time when I can go to the doctor without thinking of the loss of our baby. Since the visit was for an injury to my anckle I went to a clinic near work. In the middle of the afternoon it was mostly mothers with their children and that's the part that got me. Too many images at once between the waiting room and the babies it was just too much. Once I got in to see the doctor I was fine. Since this time I was the patient it didn't feel the same. The next time I need to bring my wife to the doctor I know it will be harder.

Any human being who has suffered a loss like this has been through a horrible experience and I don't mean to discount that for anyone. Keep in mind for this next part that these are my dark grumblings. There is one part of this experience that I think is is worse than if I already had another child. Everything that relates to babies in any way shape or form reminds me of the loss we suffered a year ago. I have no positive associations to balance things out. Now that my brother has another baby and I'm constantly being sent pictures and videas I would like to be happy about it. Of course there is a large part of me that is but I feal a bit like little Albert and Watson keeps handing me that rat.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Can I be angry now?

Last night my wife went out with friends. No big deal because I had to get up early today to go to work so we wouldn't of had much time together. The only problem is when I lie in bed alone it gives me far too much time to think. Around two o'clock I finally fell asleep only to be awaken at about 3:30 by my wife coming home. Let me be clear. She didn't just clumsily wake me up getting into bed. She decided to turn the overhead light on in the kitchen which in our apartment shines straight into the bedroom. Then she was banging dishes around, throwing things in the microwave to make a snack, slamming the microwave door closed and of course she had lo let that beeper go off on the microwave even though she was right next to it and could have stopped it early. I have to get up in a few hours and she's traipsing around like it's the middle of the afternoon. I was so pissed off that when she finally came to bed I pretended to be asleep because I knew it was either silence or I was going to go off.

Here's the problem. I have been so pissed off lately at everything that even though I think I am justified this time I can't tell anymore. My ability to gauge when I'm being irrationally angry is busted so I don't react at all out of fear of overreacting. I can't tell anymore. Last week on my day off my wife was working that night. Usually she gets home at about 8:45 pm so I planned dinner for about that time. I made lamb with a balsamic reduction sauce, spinach salad and a baked Alfredo pasta that I improvised with a toasted breadcrumb and Parmesan topping. She walked in at about 10:00 pm without any mention of being late. I sat there for an hour like an abandoned housewife watching dinner shrivel up and she doesn't even say sorry I'm late. When I was visibly upset while pulling the dried pieces of meat out of the oven she said that they had customers stay late and she couldn't get out any earlier. My response was, "Usually you call when you're going to be late." She snidely said, "Oh, so it's my fault for not calling?" Needless to say that turned into a fight. She was so shocked at my reaction that I started to wonder if I was over reacting. I hate that I can't tell. Why can't I just be angry without first having to stop to think if it's a rational anger? That kinda takes the steam out of my argument.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ladies and gentleman we have a winner.

I have a fiend who is going through this same ordeal. Her loss is far more recent than mine and yet she has been a great support for me as I reached this aniversary of sorts. When my wife and I first lost our baby I shut down. Not visibly but emotionally. I mean, people around me thought that I was dealing with it well when in fact I wasn't dealing with it at all. I fealt like I was always playing a part when I was around other people and eventually that became exhausting. So eventually I just stopped hanging around other people. It's easy to look around and say that noone was there for me but that wouldn't be true. I wasn't there. My wife pushed me to get on facebook to connect with people because she was concerned that I spent too much time alone. I didn't see a problem so immediately I was offended. In my mind this was just her picking at faults that she saw in me and some sort of evidence that she didn't like me as much as I thought she did. I never said it was rational. Eventually I took her advice if for any reason but to avoid any future conversations on the subject, or at least that's easier to admit than the possibility that she might be right. I set a profile and immediately I got a friend request from my best friend in high school whom I hadn't spoken to in years. I still haven't. After I sent him a message I got no response. This is connecting with people? Soon I got a message from an acquaintance from school. After a couple of messages she told me that she had lost a baby and we've been e-mailing each other ever since. In fact she's the one who encouraged me to start this blog. It's inspiring to me how much she's facing her grief head on. It's a rough road that I wish I wouldn't have avoided so much in the beginning. It hurts me to know how much she's hurting but I know she'll come out OK.

Wow I've gotten way off the subject of what I was going to say. In a couple of those early emails we were talking about the stupid things people say to someone who is grieving. For example, "God has a plan." Translation: God wanted your baby to die. Or there's, "I know what your're going through." Ummnnn...... No you don't. You have had a loss, sure, and it hurt; but that doesn't mean you know what I'm going through. The worst I ever got was when both of my grandfathers passed a few weeks apart. One of my employees said to me, "They say bad things happen in threes." HELLO? I'm only up to two you idiot. That one was so dumn that I just walked away. Well now we have a winner. My wife waitresses at night and last night one of her coworkers wanted her to go out after work. She of course said no because the significance of the date lead her to want to be home with me. After her friend kept pushing she told her why she didn't want to go. It was something to the effect of, "Today is one year from the day we lost the baby." Her friend said, "I know what you mean. I still get sad on the date that my bird died." Feal free to go back over that line to make sure you read it right. That's right, I said BIRD. It's universally stupid to follow a child story with a pet story but a dead bird compared to a dead baby.
I'm used to fixing problems. Whether we're talking about home or work, I'm the one who people turn to for solutions. I can't fix this. There's nothing to fix. That is so rediculously frustrating for me. When I see my wife feeling down I can only offer a shoulder but that doesn't actually solve the problem. I still feel like I'm waiting for something to hapeen that will make everything better.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I don't know what I was expecting when I woke up this morning. I started out in a pretty good mood. It's not like I was going to wake up and Pennywise the clown from IT was going to be standing over me with a baloon saying, "Today's the day!" I made my self breakfast, watched some TV, then I went out tto have a cigar at a cigar shop I hang out at from time to time. That's when it hit me. All of the guys were complaining about work or how their bracket is doing and all I could think was, 'I DON'T CRARE! I DON'T CARE! I DON'T CARE!' I really just wanted to talk about what happened and what I'm going through. Nothing else really seemed to keep my attention anyway. So how do you work that into a conversation! "Hey, guess what." No I don't think that would be a good segway. So I just sat there pretending to be social. I feel like I do a lot of that. One year ago today we lost our baby. Nothing will be the same. The whole wolrd will go on as though nothing happened but I have changed forever. For those of you who are suffering from a more recent loss there is good news. I was doing much better up until a month ago. As this day approached it became harder and harder not to think about but I had a good steatch fo a while there. I suspect that I will again.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My story.........Block........Delete

I sat down tonight to write and I started to write a detailed account of what happened that day. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the birth and death of our so it seemed appropriate to write it all down. After getting about half way through I realized that I was writing with all the emotion of meeting notes sticking strictly to Roberts Rules of Order. Here's what I really want to know. Why in the hell were we put into the same wing as all of the other mothers that just gave birth. I understand for the delivery but not once we were transferred to another room for the night. All night I stared ad posters of babies on the wall and heard babies crying in other rooms. It was torture. It's bad enough that the nurses made us stay even though the doctor said it wasn't necessary. The nurses said we had to talk to the social worker before we left and then conveniently the social worker was gone for the day after a couple of hours of waiting. The verbally disagreed with the doctor so I really do feel that this was a trick. At this point let me point out that we weren't as far along as many of the other blogs that I've seen. It was only 16 weeks. Too late for the baby to come out without being induced but too early for her to have a chance. The part about it that's the hardest is when they put the baby in my arms before I was sure if I was ready for that. The image of a dead body that is so underdeveloped is more disturbing than I can describe. That image will be locked in my head till I die. In case I ever did forget, they gave us pictures as a reminder.

I was dreading work today because I knew I was feeling emotional. I don't manage my people with emotion. I feel it clouds decisions too much and keeps people from learning. When I walked in the door my fear came true. On my day off yesterday all sorts of things went wrong that I had to answer to with my boss. Days like this used to be a breeze. I know the answers. I know what steps I need to take. Most importantly I know how to handle my boss.......usually. Today I almost cried while counseling an employee. I shut down when talking to my boss. There just wasn't enough strength in me. The one thing I am proud of is that I maintained my conviction. My boss was out for blood over ten missing dollars. I told him that a policy wasn't followed because I haven't been enforcing it consistently and if he was going to document anyone it should be me. Naturally now that hew would have to be the one to swing the hammer and not me he backed down. It was a small victory but on a day like today I'll take it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hah! Trump!

I find myself going shopping a lot and not finding anything to buy. Then I'll go to the kitchen to find a snack and nothing looks good so I go back to my sofa where I flip through channels finding nothing I want to watch. The truth is that I don't want any of those things. I want to be a dad. There is just this whole that nothing can fill becase it was left by a baby that died. I feel like I'm waiting for something to happen but I don't know what. Everything just feels incomplete. I have so much that I want to get off my chest but every medium to do so is too slow to get it all out before my defense mechanisms kick in.
I've been thinking a lot lately about why I get so angry. It seems ironic to me because losing the baby made all of my other problems seem so small. I've come up with two main reasons. First of all, I feel like because of what happened that I just don't want to be bothered with all of this stupid day to day crap. I'm trying to direct all of my energy toward just keeping it together so I don't have the time to worry about your stupid little deadline that half of my colleagues are going to miss anyway. I run a retail store not a nuclear missle silo so if I let the ball drop every once in a while who freak'n cares. On the flip side if one of my employees mess up I completely feel like it was a malicious act designed to irritate me. That makes perfect sense right? The other reason I get angry so easily is all of the people who act like they are having the worst day ever died. I can't help but want to say, "Oh yea. whacha got?" Then when they gripe about bad traffic and getting handed the wrong drink at Starbucks I can say, "Hah! My baby died before I even got to meet it! Trump card! I win!" It's kind of funny that I walk around all day feeling pissed off because of all of these people looking pissed off.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I don't want to be sad. I know that it's supposed to be normal so perhaps I don't want to be normal. I just want to forget. When I feel depressed I then get angry at myself for being depressed. It's just a distraction that has no benefit. After a year of trying to deal with this I don't feel like the sadness has gained me anything so I would rather just be done with it. My wife seems to be dealing with it so much better than I am. As a matter of fact it seems that she is suprised by how bad I feel all of the sudden. I didn't give myself time to really hurt in the beginning because I didn't want her to be down. I especially didn't want to be the one to bring her down. Now I find myself not able to think about anything else.

Why do we read about each others suffering? Does it help us to feel more normal or perhaps just not so alone. I wish I had someone to really talk to about this before but that wasn't the case. I was never really one to lean on other people and I guess that was all too clear to others. Now that I need people there is no support system. I never let anyone think that I needed it and now I wish I wasn't so damn convincing. I dodn't have a good job for grieving. As a manager of a busy retail store I have to be really nice to customers and positive with employees. My bad mood can affect too many people so I always feel like I have to have that face on. It's really exhausting when Aall you really want to do is be alone and shut everyone elso out. I hate that about myself. I know deep down that I don't have a support network because I pushed tham all away. I've always been too independant to let my family know I need anything and to be perfectly frank I'm just not good at making friends. I always feel like I'm imposing on people. I don't want to be too much of a jerk or too clingy. I just don't feel comfortable with other people. God I'm messed up. This would be simpler if I was just losing with losing a baby but recently I've been thinking of all the bad things that have happened too me. Now that I look back the list looks much larger than I realized. I guess I at this point I should be glad that I'm still moving.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

In six days it will be one year from when my wife and I lost our baby. My friends and family would say it was the day that my wife lost her baby. It seems that people seem to forget that I lost something too. I remember calling my dad to tell him what happened. He said he was sorry and then he changed the subject. Let me go over that again. He said a quick I'm sorry and then he CHANGED THE SUBJECT! When I told my "best friend" he didn't know what to say. He invited me to go out a couple of weeks later then he didn't call me for six months. When people who knew decided to ask me about it they would ask how my wife was doing. Um......hello? Did anyone happen to notice that I'm hurting too. Why doesn't anyone ask me how I'm doing. As a guy I guess I'm not supposed to hurt. Nobody wants to ask me how I'm doing because I'm not supposed to express any emotion but anger. Well I have good news then. I have anger in abundance. I feel as though I'm sitting in the dark while watching a movie of my wife being induced. People talk to me and I'm aware that they are there but my eyes are on the screen. My wife is next to me and I know she's watching the same thing. We can talk about it but the movie is still there and we're both watching it. There is a room around me but the screen fills my perception. When I get up to go to work or to pretend that I care about being social it gives no more of a break then going to the kitchen for a refill of pop. The image of my dead baby's body is so etched in my brain that I can't fully focus on anything. However the screen is blurry. I can't seem to fully focus on the image no matter how hard I try. So I just sit in the darkness.
If you are reading this blog to find some glimmer of hope or a path to find a light at the end of the tunnel then I'm sorry. This would be another futile example of the blind leading the blind. Don't get me wrong, there are good days. Some days I wake up and feel normal but that's a very fragile state. The moment I realize that I feel normal it reminds me that I didn't the day before. That realization is enough to bring me right down again because it reminds me of why I was down yesturday. So again I'm sorry if you were looking for something a little more upbeat but I'm writing this from the darkness. I don't see myself taking the time to write on the good days. I have far to much to do in those brief moments of focus.
If you have had a similar experience then I truly am sorry for your loss. This experience is so horibble that I would do it 100 times a day if it could keep anyone else from going through the same thing. Ironically the things that I'm most angry about are the things that people did with good intentions. The doctors who breezed over our questions because they didn't want to worry us. The nurses who pushed the Catholic hospital's views on us without asking what our beliefs were. Let's not forget all of the people who assumed that I would want to be left alone. Now here I am a year later still being left alone. Everyone else assumes that I'm back to normal because I've gotten better at pretending. So where's my Oscar.