Et tu, Muppets?

I’ve always been a pretty positive person, easily excitable over even the littlest of things. I grew up a Cubs fan after all, so I learned early on that you have to take advantage of each moment. And like a Cubs fan lamenting another losing season, after each miscarriage, I would think well, this is the worst it can get, next time will be the one. And yet, sadly, time after time after time after time, I have been wrong. So as you can imagine, since all of this has happened, there’s been very little that gets me excited anymore. Now don’t get me wrong, in the grand scheme of things, I know I have a lot to be thankful for: an amazing husband, loving family and friends, a great house, adoring and annoying cats (who, sorry, but I won’t call my furr babies), job, etc., etc., etc. Its just that its easy these days, to let the pain and let-down that comes with grief overshadow it all. Thankfully, my husband is good, on most days, in reminding me of all that we have, and all that’s still to come.

But back to the whole, not getting excited about things, these days, I just didn’t care about a lot of things. But then there was the upcoming release of the new Muppet movie. Anticipation grew in the weeks leading up to it. You see, I grew up in a Muppets family. I remember as kids, there was, of course Sesame Street, and my older sister and I would watch The Muppet Show each week, hysterically laughing at whichever guest star they were joking with, and singing along to every tune. Then as we got older, we shared the experience with our little cousins through the movies. The thought that they were coming back to the big screen had me actually excited. Add to that, that it was coming out Thanksgiving weekend, when my whole family would be in town and we could go to the movie together, well, that was just perfect.

So off to the theater 11 of us went. It was time to start the music. Time to light the lights. Time for the tears to start streaming down my face? Seriously? The MUPPETS are going to make me sad? The cute, loveable, furry, happy-go-lucky Muppets?!? Come on. I spent the movie laughing and smiling while choking back tears and trying to hide my out-of-the-blue sadness from those around me. I didn’t want to be the person who ruined the Muppets for everyone else. I mean really, who cries at stuff like that? Well, apparently I do. I hadn’t expected something that made me so happy as a child (and yes, as an adult) to make me so sad for not having the children to share it with. As Kermit and crew were belting out The Rainbow Connection, I was taking deep breaths, trying to remind myself that yes, someday we’ll find it, the baby connection, my husband, our babies and me. Corny? Yes, but I was trying anything that I could to keep it together. It really made me sad that such a great movie (and it was great) was yet another thing in my life that was marred by miscarriage.

As we left the theater, my family beaming with post-Muppet bliss, my mom asking what I thought. I fake smiled my way through answering that I thought it was great as I rushed to the bathroom. Keep it together, I told myself. Keep. It. Together. After all, from here we were heading to my aunt and uncle’s for Thanksgiving dinner and the first full family gathering since we lost the baby. Twenty-four family members, including two kids, all of who we’d been pretty much avoiding for the past 7 months. But I was ok with it. Until now. And now there was no choice but to go. I reluctantly walked out of the bathroom and found my husband looking a bit out of sorts. “That movie made me really sad,” he told me. “Didn’t see that one coming.” Whew, I thought. I’m not crazy.

I was already dreading the drive to my aunt and uncle’s because I knew it would involve passing the cemetery where the baby is buried. And while I don’t believe in cemeteries, it was still the first time we’d pass it since that awful day. And so we drove to dinner with my in-laws and brother in-law happily chatting in the back seat and I tightly grabbed my husband’s hand as each of us felt the turn of the knife as we past Shalom. In that ten-minute drive, my Thanksgiving spirit went deep into negative territory. When we arrived and my dad asked me what had happened since we saw him at the movie, and I just lost it. And then felt as if I moped my way through Thanksgiving. I didn’t want to BE that person on Thanksgiving. I don’t want to be that person every single time I see, or talk to others.

F*ck. When is this going to get easier? When are we going to be able to identify what will be a trigger…what will set us off? When are we going to feel truly normal again? Oh right, never. I think the secret, if there really is one, is to keep persevering and not let the setbacks stop us. Feel what you feel and know it is ok to be sad. Its ok to be mad. Even ok to feel sorry for yourself from time to time. What’s not ok is to just leave it at that. Continue to look for the little things that do get you excited and try. Sure, sometimes they are going to turn around and bite you in the butt, but you may also find yourself days later singing Life’s a Happy Song with all of your Muppet friends by your side.

And now I have ADD?

The emotional roller coaster that follows a miscarriage (and gets faster and bumpier with each subsequent MC) messes with your head in so many ways. The best description comes from a blog I was recently reading from @GrievingDads (a great one to read/follow for all of you dads out there), where he called it a MindF*ck. Best. Description. Ever.

For me, it started with being numb. I was dumbfounded — still am in many ways — that this could happen to us…again. Deep down I knew there was nothing I did, or didn’t do, that caused this, and yet, I couldn’t help but feel guilty. I apologized a lot back then, mostly to the baby for my body not being able to carry her to full term. It’s a rough thing when you do everything you’re supposed to do and still have no control over the outcome.

Then came the overwhelming blanket of sadness that would overcome me and literally take my breath away. Those first weeks were a blur of tears. My husband and I pretty much sequestered ourselves from the outside world, talking only to our parents (when we were up to it) and corresponding with others via text and email. We were good to one another, which in a weird way allowed us to be good to ourselves. As I think back now, we did pretty well. We showered and got dressed everyday. We’d get out of the house for a little bit each day, even if it was for a walk around the block, to the corner Starbucks or a “big trip” out to lunch. We were surviving.

We both went back to work after two weeks. We weren’t ready for the real world, but we knew we didn’t have a choice and couldn’t hide forever. Not to mention the whole, not independently wealthy thing. My coworkers were amazing. Extremely empathetic throughout (they were there with MC #3 too) and gentle upon my return. My husband works for himself, at our house, and only had the company of our cats. I worried about him a lot, and yet I knew his love for his work would push him through most days.

My return was challenging in so many ways. First of all, I was still crying at the drop of a hat. People who knew didn’t know what to say, and would just give that look that was someplace between sorry and just plain pity. Plus, I was still bleeding and had an extremely unfortunate incident at work due to that, that led to a trip to the emergency room. Salt, meet wound. But I was at work. “Functioning.”

I knew I had changed from these experiences, but I’m not sure when I realized in how many ways I had really changed. Or when the ADD set in. I used to be a focused, driven, detailed-oriented person who had a big to-do list and would work methodically to cross each item off. I’m in marketing and events, which is all about the details. I was all about the details. These days, I stare aimlessly at my computer, not only not sure what I should be doing, but not caring either. My mind just wanders with no plan on where it’s going. And as that Type A personality, I don’t know how to deal with it. Everything that once seemed important doesn’t anymore. Everything I had known is being turned upside down and inside out. Who am I and what the hell am I doing? This is how I go through my days.

I’m able to fake my way through this newfound ADD for now, but at some point it is going to catch up to me. And yet, my wandering mind can’t focus long enough to figure out a way past it. Even in writing this blog, I started it a week ago, and then would jump to something else and the next thing and the next thing. It’s a story of self-discipline that I’m actually finishing it now. I feel like Dug the dog from the movie Up. SQUIRREL!

SQUIRREL!

My therapist tells me that I’m not insane. That this is, in fact, normal. She analogizes it to a roller coaster ride. When this happens, your world (or ride) stops and resets. And when it resets, it starts up on another track. Everything IS different. I just have to figure out what this new normal is. Right, and why don’t I just cure cancer while I’m at it? Ok, that may be a tad overdramatic (although I think I’ve earned the right to be a little snarky from time to time). But the truth is, I am figuring it out, and together, my husband and I are figuring it out. I’ve realized a new friend from a great support group we’ve joined summed it up best, what other choice do we have?

Hallowon’t

I’ve had many ups and mostly downs over these past six months, but I feel like I’ve come a long way. And yet, there are still things that set me back to that dark place so quickly that it feels like I’ve never left. Quite often, it is something somewhat random that sets me off (a song, a look, a light turning red) and other times it is something bigger and obvious (a pregnant lady walking by, a baby, a “harmless” yet inappropriate question). Currently, it’s Halloween. I can’t help but to think, we should’ve been dressing up our one month old in a ridiculous(ly cute) outfit and sending pictures to our friends and family. Posting to Facebook and relishing all of the oohs and aahs that come along with that. Instead, we are handing out candy to our neighbors adorable kids and watching all of the miniature pumpkins and peapods pass by, once again pushing back the “should’ves” that have become too much a part of our vocabulary. Tears are supposed to flow on Halloween out of fear, not sadness.

The thing is, I don’t even like Halloween. Contrary to my husband’s love of all things scary, my motto is, If it scares a 2-year-old, it would scare me. I don’t get the researching of the latest costumes and dressing up. And I don’t see the need to spend money on a costume you’ll wear once…for a few hours (funny, I had the same feeling toward my wedding dress, but that’s another story). And yet, here I sit, wanting nothing more than to BE that mom who is dressed up in a matching theme costume with my husband and daughter. Yep, I’d happily make an ass out of myself and my family for the “fun” of Halloween.

I often wonder, when will the “should’ves” go away. And then it hits me, each time, like a ton of bricks. It never will. The sting may lessen, but the hurt will remain forever. And I have to find a way to deal with that every day. So now I have to remind myself that tomorrow is “normal” day, and in spite of the onslaught of commercials, I still have some time before dealing with the next holiday madness.