Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A New Normal - Part 2

Comparing my life now to what it was a year ago, NOTHING is the same. Everything has changed from my weight, to my job, to my lifestyle and friends.  I was married, had a house and a dog, was raising my stepdaughter and nephew, and had what I thought was a close-knit, tight group of friends.  I was a trophy-winning demo derby queen, spent my summers riding horses and building derby cars, and was trying to get pregnant with my husband, who I spent eight years with and had known most of my life.  I was finishing my bachelors degree in Business and had only been working my new job for a few months but really liked it.

My daily schedules were pretty much set in stone.  I worked until 5pm Mon-Fri. Picked SJ up from Milly's after work.  Sometimes I would have to pick up my nephew, Lil G, from the sitter if my sister was working.  When we got home, SJ would start on homework while I started supper. Then, SJ and G would play until bath time.  Sometimes SJ would have a TON of homework (because she has issues with staying on task at school) so she would skip playtime and finish up.  While the kids played and bathed I would do homework or work on Relay for Life projects and then get them to bed.  Sometimes my sister would get home before G was ready to lie down so she would handle baby duty while I cleaned or did homework. 

Three days a week, I had Zumba.  I would go from 6-7:30pm.  EH was off one of the days I went and Milly would watch the kids the other days, or my sister would, depending on whether she worked.  In fact, my sister's work schedule was the ONLY variable in my life.  Everything else was pretty much constant.  EH would get home at 11:26pm sharp every night.  He wanted to sit on the computer for an hour or so when he got home.  If I had homework, he would get mad that he couldn't get on the computer and he would ask me "how much longer" over and over until I finished (or just gave up because I was tired of him nagging at me).  Then, we would go to bed.  There was no point in me going to bed before EH got home.  He would come home every night and wake me up.  I don't think he did it on purpose.  He's just kind of like a big gorilla. He can't help it, but he could help sitting up watching TV in bed every night, which he felt was absolutely necessary.

"I loved having children in my life every single day."

As annoying as all of that sounds, I miss it sometimes. At least I actually HAD a "normal", a routine.  I knew what to expect every day.  Now, none of that is true.  Even though my old life lent me very little time to myself, I liked that I had people who needed me and depended on me, especially the kids. I LOVED having children in my life every single day.  It made me not hate myself quite so much for waiting so long to have my own or for being infertile.  Even though my husband controlled my every move & complained about every single thing I did, I still miss him sometimes, and I miss being someone's wife, someone's everything.  As much as he mistreated me, I was his entire world.  Granted, he OBSESSED over me, which isn't healthy. I would NEVER go back to him.  He's a sadistic, controlling mama's boy, but I never doubted how much he loved me and I always knew I had someone to go home to, someone who would never leave me.  Even in the Hell I was living in, that was a comfort to me.

"... I never know from one day to the next where I'll be sleeping..."

My life now is so entirely different.  It's pretty much the opposite of my old life.  I don't make many plans. I'm jobless.  I'm finished with school.  No one depends on me, though my grandma does ask me to help out with the heavy cleaning (she has a bad back).  EH kept one cat. Sassy made him get rid of it, but they still have the dog & I got to keep the other cat.  He's at my mom's.  I rarely cook. When I do, it's just for my and Grandma, or whichever guy I'm dating.  I even drive a different car! Most of the friends EH and I shared don't talk to me.  I have moved to a different town, though it's nearby.  I've lost 40+ pounds (depression), if you exclude the 14 pounds I gained while I was pregnant.  I dress differently. I wear jewelry now, and I never leave the house without fixing my hair and make-up.  I wear skinny jeans, sexy shirts, and EARRINGS!  EH would never let me wear earrings before.  Most of my friends live in a town 25 miles from my old home and I stay with them more than I stay home.  In fact, I never know from one day to the next where I'll be sleeping so I have taken to keeping a bag in my car with extra clothes, toiletries, and make-up.  I can't afford Zumba.  Instead, I go to the bars and flirt for free drinks. (Haha - just kidding... sort of.)  I have started singing in an open mic group on Thursdays.  It's my new church and the highlight of my week.  In fact, my spiritual outlook has completely changed - everything has.

SJ is living with her maternal grandmother because apparently she doesn't get along with EH's girlfriend (Sassy) and Milly can't afford to keep her.  SJ's mother has four children who were all raised by their fathers.  SJ, of course, isn't EH's biological daughter but he has raised her since she was six weeks old.  He is her father for all intensive purposes, but even she isn't immune to Sassy's wrath.  I think the straw that broke the camel's back was when SJ's phone was at EH's house and Sassy's little brother was messing with it.  He texted me and called me a "hore" (he meant whore of course). At that point, SJ pretty much backed away from EH and Sassy entirely, and Milly encouraged it.  Milly would keep her if she could but her husband is disabled and doesn't work.  Aside from keeping up with work and the bills, she has to care for him. She can't add an 11-year-old to the mix.  When she does have SJ, she always lets me know so I can see her, and the only time I have been able to speak to EH since the divorce is when he calls SJ when we're together. She plays the mediator. It's a shame we can't talk, but Sassy ruined that too.

For some reason, Sassy is incredibly threatened by me. It's a LOOONNNNGGG story that I may have to detail in a separate page.  She forced EH to block my number on his cell phone and has even gone so far as to physically threaten me.  Last I checked, she was the 21-year-old dating a married man nearly 10 years older than her and I was that man's wife.  But who am I to say how she feels? I've never been desperate enough to be in that position.  I don't know how I would react if the man I stole was still talking to the woman I stole him from.  The sad part is, in the few times we were able to talk before Sassy put her foot down, EH and I got along really well, like friends almost.  I'm not saying I would trust him again or even consider ever getting back with him, but I could see us having an amicable relationship if not for her.

Like I said, most of my old friends no longer speak to me.  Our best "couple" friends were a husband and wife who did the derby stuff with us. They don't speak to me. In fact, I'm certain the wife would kick my ass if she could and the husband put an ad for EH on Facebook trying to find him a "new woman" prior to us even separating.

The one thing I got out of the divorce was my car, Gigi.  I LOVED that car, but the maintenance and repairs got to be too expensive. That's what I get for driving a "sports sedan" I suppose.  I spent over $1400 in six months on repairs, tires, etc. I just couldn't do it anymore. The other asset I was awarded from the divorce was a pair of testicles. LOL.  I called the owner of the dealership where I had purchased my car just two years prior and demanded he make it right.  I walked away the next day with a compact sedan with a bumper-to-bumper warranty, 40 mpg, and paying only $20 more per month for a car two years newer.  Granted, being unemployed, that car payment SUCKS but it's better than paying almost the same payment on a car that is always breaking down.

My sister and Lil G have their own place now.  G is in pre-K and growing up SO FAST. Every time I see him, it seems like he's learned 10 new things and grown an inch!  His mom is still working at the same place she was when she and G lived with EH and me.  She has been there for a year and a half and received a decent raise. Her boss really seems to like her and from what I can tell she is the only regular employee there who has half a brain.  I miss seeing G every day, but it's definitely good that he and his mom are doing it on their own!  I was worried she would never grow up and that I would raise him his entire life.  The thing that tortures me is that every time I see him, I can't help but to think of EH.  He was the closest thing G will probably ever have to a father figure and now they never see each other.  After Sassy pulled all of her bullshit, my sis made the decision to keep G away from EH entirely, for the most part.  She does allow him to go watch the derbies and to see EH when they do go.

The demo derbies are (for now) a thing of the past for me.  Some of EH's old friends have come to me and told me that he is burning bridges.  He was fired from his job at the Sheriff's office, which has made several people see that I wasn't full of shit when I said some shady stuff was going on there.  I also found out that he confessed infidelity to one of his friends, with a girl he worked with at the jail.  I cornered her once and she swore nothing happened. I believed her then, but I don't guess it matters now.  EH has stabbed a lot of people in the back or turned his back on them since he got involved with Sassy.  They're not going to tolerate it.  I've never asked anyone to choose sides and I think that has helped to speak for my own integrity.  Some of them have come to me and offered to help me build a derby car.  Obviously, with the pregnancy right in the middle of the summer, that wasn't going to happen, but I'm considering it for next year.  Hopefully I'll have a job and be able to afford it.  For the meantime, I still go to watch and I've managed to keep the peace with all of EH's derby buddies (so far). I can't attest to what they may be feeling or how they may act in the future.  At this rate, he may not have any friends left by next year.

I have two good friends left from back home (Missy & Beth), both women, surprisingly enough.  One of my best friends from kindergarten and another girlfriend I went to junior high with and befriended later in life have stuck by me.  Everyone else has either moved away or fallen along the wayside.  I've never been one that needs a lot of friends. I just need a few that will be faithful.  That's a hard thing to find in this life, but tragic life events (like divorce) tend to do the weeding for you. 

"It's easy for me to love people who accept their humanity..."

My new friends are all great people, mostly guys.  I don't completely trust all of them. Obviously, the trust factor is kind of a difficult thing for me.  But I do have a few people who have befriended me that I absolutely adore. Only time will tell if they are lifelong friend material!  A good chunk of them are in my open mic group.  TJ is one of them, believe it or not.  I love him, in a special kind of way.  It's not a romantic love as much as it is a deep respect and admiration for someone who stuck with me in the hardest time of my life.  He's so brilliant, and usually honest, yet still deeply scarred and timid, and incredibly selfish at times, but he's admittedly human.  It's easy for me to love people who accept their humanity and don't hide from it behind a veil of superiority or the shadow of the spotlight.  The other two are Harper and Mayzy.  I could sit and talk music and lyrics with Harper for days (& we really like getting drunk together too).  He's a great lyricist, and not at all the type of person I would have befriended before.  He's basically a hippie, but he showers.  Mayzy is one of those women who pierces your soul with a single glance.  She's so... vivacious, full of life, and deeply spiritual - not in a religious way, more in a human way.  She captures the essence of humanity in her words, her music, and her ability to love people so openly.

Of course, there are others.  Ken is TJ's best friend for all intensive purposes.  He and his girlfriend, Barbie, bring a little class to the group.  There's Bobby, who used to run open mic. He's a little A.D.D and extremely easy to piss off, but he's really an amazing guy deep down. He has a strong spirit and a good soul. He's an amazing guitarist, singer, and performer. He's recorded several songs with TJ and some of the others.  I put my arm through his kitchen window and (partly thanks to TJ), he never mentioned once to me what an idiot I was for doing it.  Someone once spilled wine on my carpet and I almost kicked his ass over it. A broken window would have resulted in murder I'm sure.  TJ paid for the broken window (it was only like $50) and Bobby never mentioned it to me, not even once.  Frog is a true hippie.  He backpacked across the country in his 20's, and his occupational/recreational activities are.. questionable at best, not that I'm judging. To each his own.  Frog also happens to be Harper's roommate, so we have jammed together on several occasions and even written some lyrics together from time to time.

Other than Thursday night open mic night, I have no plans.  I go to my doctor appointments as scheduled, show up for family events, eat lunch with my current boyfriend's family once a week (usually), and that's about it.  Depending on where I wake up, I might do some cleaning. (Can I just mention how GROSS men are?) I wake up whenever I want. I only set an alarm if I'm afraid I'll miss a job interview or doctor's appointment. I usually try to schedule those later in the day and avoid drinking the night before (no Friday appointments, obviously).  Most of my friends are usually sleeping, hungover (both), or working when I wake up so I work on the blog, nose on Facebook, and look for jobs.  Sometimes I'll sit and write in my journal or go over my finances obsessively (since I'm always wondering where my next meal will come from).  If it weren't for Grandma and my friends, I would be out on the street and sober.

Today I am at the boyfriend's apartment.  It's almost 4pm and I haven't showered yet.  He'll be home soon and I should really not be sitting on his couch all skanky when he gets here.  I spent the morning on the phone with the doctor's office and I'm kind of in a rut today so I've just been sitting here on the computer the rest of the day. I supposed I'd better get going.

Next time I'll try to explain the whole "Sassy" situation on a separate page or the Bee Fertile synopsis.  The only other thing I need to update is my latest doctor's appointment and after spending half the morning on the phone with them, I really don't feel like it right now. In the meantime, I'm still searching for a new normal...

To be continued...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Storm

A few days went by and I still felt fine. I was still sleeping more than I did before I was pregnant, but I was able to do just about anything anyone else could do (except have sex). That was a serious frustration for me because I felt normal, for the most part. Monday was a different story. I woke up with those nagging pains in my back again. It couldn't have been worse timing. The family would start coming in from North Carolina, Indiana, etc TOMORROW. The pain was unbearable, far worse than it had been two weeks prior. I called Dr. C's office to see if they could call in a prescription for the Vicodin he had promised. The nurse explained that it couldn't be called in but she would get with Dr. C to discuss the possibility of me picking up a written prescription from the office. It meant driving 25 miles to pick it up, but it was worth it! I could load up on Tylenol long enough to get to the pharmacy.

"I'm sorry but that is your only option."

The nurse called back FIVE HOURS later and suggested I go to the ER. I explained that I hadn't taken the Cytotec, the miscarriage had re-started on its own. She still insisted I needed to be SEEN to get the prescription. REALLY? I had just been seen a few days prior and he told me that once I started miscarrying again I could get Vicodin if I needed it. Chi could testify to that fact. The nurse said, "I'm sorry but that is your only option." Like Hell it was! I would NOT sit in that ER for another seven hours just so they could tell me what I already knew; not to mention that I took the risk of running into that ER U/S tech again. They would undoubtedly want me to get an U/S in the ER, and I would KILL that bitch! 
The previous trip to the ER had left me sitting in my own blood and in a lot of pain for five hours before I was ever seen! I was in far more pain and passing clots the size of my fist! There was no way I would sit in the ER for HOURS feeling like this! I was pissed. I told the nurse, "Ya know what? I can get my own damn pain meds. Thanks for all your help!". I hung up on her. Then, I called the main number for that medical group and asked to get in with a different doctor ASAP. The soonest they could get me in was Friday... I'm not proud of this fact, but I know people, who know people who take medicine for chronic pain management. I was able to get pain meds on Wednesday (two days later) that got me through until I was able to see my new doctor on Friday.

"I knew I would be able to handle it, that it wouldn't kill me, and that I would need to be alone when it happened. "

 I continued to pass clots the rest of the week. Some were HUGE. At one point, I literally had to PUSH out a clot about the size of an orange. I could feel my cervix stretching and the sharp pains in my lower back were nearly unbearable. There were a few times I thought I might pass out, and I was alone most of the time during that week. I think that's what forced me to keep it together and NOT pass out, the fact that I knew no one would be there to help. After I passed the large clot, I couldn't help but to look at it. It was somewhat difficult to see because the water in the toilet was an orangy-red and cloudy but it looked kind of like an internal organ. I've seen some organ tissues before and it did look quite similar, but it was kind of oval and wrinkled, like a giant raisin. I'm assuming that was the larger of the "sacs".
At that moment, hunched over the toilet, staring at what I had once thought would be my son/daughter, I started crying. I hadn't cried much since we initially recieved the news. I felt very conflicted as to whether I should try to save the tissue or just flush it. It seems SO WRONG to flush it, but then I remembered what TJ said. He said, according to his research, the baby was never really formed. It was just tissue, no worse than flushing away a blood clot passed during a heavy period. TJ had gone to school for journalism. He is an excellent researcher. I'm certain he researches EVERYTHING - from what kind of underwear he should wear to all the baby research he was doing. In fact, his research was a comfort to me as we were going through this mess. The truth was, it WAS an unplanned pregnancy. We WERE just friends with priviledges. And as I said before, my body knows what is best for me. I don't know that I would be able to carry twins, and these twins would have most likely had a lot of physical complications juding from the slow growth of the sacs/embryos. We're still not even sure that the larger sac even had an embryo. Trans-vaginal ultrasounds are not an exact science. There's no way to know for sure what happened inside my uterus, but what TJ and all the health professionals were telling me was that this lump of tissue was not my child and this was not my fault. "Baby J" was more of an apirition, a spirit, a spiritual connection between me and what might have been. I had to think that way, at least for a few seconds, while I held down the lever on the toilet. And even as I was thinking that and psyching myself out, I still said goodbye to BJ. I think my spirit needed to say goodbye, and I think I needed to be alone to do it. 
I still don't believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that we are preconditioned to behave in certain ways. I believe that I know myself and my body better than anyone else. I knew I would be able to handle it, that it wouldn't kill me, and that I would need to be alone when it happened. I find solice in that.
I saw Dr. S that Friday. I went alone, and I was completely honest with her. I explained that, since Monday, I had taken over 60 Tylenol, 32 Midol, 30+ Motrin, and three 7/750 Vicodin that I had gotten "from a friend". I had no idea what to expect. I thought she might call the cops. I had never done anything like this before, much less would I normally tell anyone! She asked me why the other doctor wouldn't give me pain medication and I recounted what happened on Monday. Dr. S was livid! She pulled my chart and noted that the previous doctor had never ordered a blood type or done a pelvic exam, which is one of the first things they do for pregnant women. Blood typing is to test for Rh factor. I told her that my blood type was AB positive and asked if she needed to know TJ's type. She then informed me that if the mother has a positive blood type the father's type doesn't matter. (I didn't know this before so I was relieved to hear that Rh was neither a factor in my miscarriage, nor anything I will have to worry about in the future.)

 "The worst is finally over"

Dr. S ordered another U/S to see if everything had come out. If the U/S looked clear, they would have to do a pelvic exam to see what was causing the continued pain. The U/S looked fine, so I stripped down for my new doctor. Upon inspection it seemed a piece of uterine tissue had attached to the inside wall of my cervix. It would have to be removed. Dr. S warned me it could be quite painful and there wouldn't be a local anesthetic. I figured after all the pain I had already been through and the meds I was doped up on I would be fine. WRONG! It hurt like a.....

Well, you get the point. She wrote me a prescription for Vicodin and an antibiotic to prevent infection where the tissue had been removed. Then, they drew another HCG quant to monitor my hormone levels. She said she wanted to watch my HCG until it was back down to zero and explained I could go back to my normal activities (including exercise and SEX) after my hormone levels dropped. I would have to have blood work done every week until then. Then she put her hand on my shoulder and said, "The worst is finally over."


The Calm Before the Storm

By the end of the day on July 23rd, most of the bleeding had stopped and the pain was moderate, if not minimal.  I honestly thought the worst of it was over.  Yes. I was still experiencing some pain and spotting, but it hadn't been near as bad as what I had been told it could be.  I counted myself lucky to have lived through it, and with no pain medication. 

"It was the worst possible time to be getting a call like this"

The next morning I received a call for a job interview.  I had been seeking a second job for quite some time. It was the worst possible time to be getting a call like this.  The woman who called explained that if I couldn't make an interview on Wednesday (July 25th) that I wouldn't be considered for the position.  Hearing this, I felt I had no choice but to explain what was happening.  The woman still wanted me to interview if I felt up to it so we scheduled the interview for Wednesday morning with the understanding that I may have to call and cancel, passing up the opportunity if need be.  My doctor had taken me off bed rest, stating that bed rest would only prolong a miscarriage.  He wanted me to keep to my normal routine as possible and do whatever I felt I could do, take it day by day.  I figured if I could spend five hours sitting in an ER waiting room I could attend a 30-minute interview.  I would have my grandmother drive me and go back to bed when I got home.

Tuesday morning (July 26th) I called the OB clinic and spoke to a nurse. I explained that I had passed several clots and the spotting was very light now and most of the pain had subsided.  She said it was most likely that I had miscarried. I asked if I needed to bump up my August 1st appointment with Dr C to an earlier date and she said it wasn't necessary. 

Since I was still experiencing some pain and was having a difficult time dealing with it emotionally, I figured it was okay to wait it out.  After all, the longer it took me to be released from the doctor, the longer I could have off work so that I could learn to handle it emotionally; not to mention there were a lot of underlying issues at work... 

"You should probably take care of it before it kills you."

I had recently covered an 8-week maternity leave for my team leader.  The entire time she was pregnant, she complained about it.  All I ever heard was how bad it was to be pregnant, how miserable she was.  I jumped her case about it once, telling her a million women would trade her places in a heartbeat and she should be thankful not only that she can even GET pregnant but that her baby is healthy.  She knew the trouble EH and I had faced with IF and yet she felt it was okay to complain about being pregnant right in front of me?  And to add insult to injury, I was the fortunate soul who was covering her maternity leave! Fantastic!  She was already back from leave before I found out I was pregnant, but just barely.  But surprisingly enough, she was probably the most supportive concerning my pregnancy.

There was another woman who worked in another department and sat at my lunch table with Blondie and another friend.  She had experienced a miscarriage a year prior.  She thought she knew everything about, well, EVERYTHING, but especially my life for some reason.  I honestly think she was jealous of me, but I'm not sure why.  As soon as I had the slightest problem (like the dehydration on July 5th), she started saying really cruel things about my pregnancy.  She said I was "probably going to miscarry anyway."  She once told me that it was "probably a tubal pregnancy" and, "You should probably take care of it before it kills you." She talked constantly about how her baby "looked like a little piece of liver" and how she was "only eight weeks along" when she lost it. Then, she had the nerve to tell me, "It's not even a real baby at that age.  It's not like it has a heartbeat or anything." I nearly snapped! I had to leave the room. I had dealt with it for weeks and just couldn't do it anymore.  I apologized to my friends but I couldn't stand being around that woman anymore so I started going to lunch at a different time just to avoid her.

Then, there was the HR manager.  She had been a hateful bitch to me from day one. It was like she was constantly waiting for me to mess up.  I could make the slightest mistake and she was the first one to jump my case for it. The worst of it was that she reprimanded me for mistakes that I saw my team leader and other long-standing employees making all the time.  My team leader "scheduled" her lunch breaks with her friends in other departments via email almost every day.  A sent an email to a co-worker ONE TIME to let her know how much she owed for take-out and was called into the HR office for it and reprimanded.  That's just one of a dozen examples I could give.  When I discovered I was pregnant, I was afraid to tell her.  I told my supervisor and team leader and they said they would handle HR for me.  I was never so relieved.  Then, on July 5th when I had to leave work early to go to the ER, both my supervisor and team leader were on the phone so I went to the HR manager to tell her I was leaving.  Her response was "Fine. Go."  When I returned to work, her question was "What do you mean 'high risk'?  You're still going to be coming to work, right?"  She never once asked how I was feeling.  Somehow, she caught wind of the interview I went on while on medical leave "due to illness".  She called me, pretended to be checking in, and then fired me. She accused me of lying, insinuating that I lied about my pregnancy and miscarriage, and FIRED me.  That's just what I needed after discovering I was unexpectedly pregnant with a man who doesn't love me and going through the pain and turmoil of a miscarriage!!!  My common sense was telling me to be upset - to freak out.  Granted, I did give the Dragon Lady a piece of my mind, but I really didn't react the way I thought I would, the way most people would.  Relief swept over me, a sense of peace even.  I no longer had to deal with those insensitive, sadistic slave drivers, AND I was pretty much guaranteed unemployment. There was NO WAY they were going to be able to get out of it.  You can't control what your employees are doing when they're not working and I was on medical leave "due to illness".  Sick people go to job interviews all the time.  It was a 30-minute interview, not an 8-hour work day!.. In case you're wondering, I DID get unemployment. 8~)

"I knew his liver would thank me for relieving him of his duties"

August 1st came quickly.  I informed TJ that I didn't feel I would get the emotional support I needed from him.  He was still welcome to come along to the doctor's office but I had a friend who would be joining me.  Chi has been my friend for going on 10 years.  She has been by my side through a LOT of shit!!!  We've been there for each other through college, careers, my divorce, the bullshit our husbands put us through, the deaths of SEVERAL loved ones, and all the crap in between.  Plus, she has a whole brood of children.  I knew she wouldn't be shy about all the crap they could potentially do to me, wouldn't leave the room when the needles came out, and if I got to a point where I felt I couldn't speak up for myself, I knew she would.  TJ opted out of that doctor's appointment.  In fact, I told him he was perfectly welcome to opt out of every doctor's appointment from then on out.  It had nothing to do with my feelings about him.  I know he would have been there had I asked him to, but I felt it was time for HIM to get back on track.  I could see what all of this was doing to him and I knew his liver would thank me for relieving him of his duties.

By the time Chi and I were driving to the appointment, I had done a lot of soul searching & had really begun to gain some serious ground as far as my emotional recovery.  The depression was subsiding.  I was eating again and sleeping well.  The relief of not having to deal with all the BS at work was a huge help.  I was a little worried about making ends meet in the meantime, but I just had an inexplicable peace about all of it...  While Chi and I sat in the waiting room, I heard a familiar cherub-like voice.  It was Blondie's little boy. She was there for some blood work and he had spotted me through the doorway. (He's my little buddy.)  Blondie came out into the waiting room and it dawned on me that she and Chi had never been given the opportunity to meet. I introduced them and Blondie complimented me on my dress.  I explained that I wanted to spare Chi the embarrassment of seeing me strip from the waist down, as had happened with TJ.  I figured slipping my panties off under my dress would be less awkward.  Chi laughed and said, "Awkward?  Are you kidding?  I haven't seen any action in weeks! That was going to be the highlight of my day and now you've ruined it."  We all shared a big laugh.  I know the people in the waiting area probably thought we were all crazy, but it was that kind of laughter that I needed.

"By then I was just tired of waiting, tired of hurting, and exhausted by the emotional ups & downs. I wanted it to be OVER."

In the U/S lab, the mood was not quite so jovial.  There was still a mostly empty sac and that long-lost anomaly had re-appeared.  That was NOT what I wanted to see on the GIANT television screen between my knees!  Chi and I shared a discouraged look as I did the whole "squat & wipe" routine under my dress.  By then I was just tired of waiting, tired of hurting, and exhausted by the emotional ups & downs. I wanted it to be OVER.  Dr. C. came in with a grim look on his face.  He confirmed that what I had passed two weeks prior was likely the placenta.  His immediate suggestion was the Cytotec.  He really discouraged me against the D&C due to my retroverted uterus, but he mentioned again that passing the material on my own (with or without Cytotec) could be an extremely painful and prolonged process.  He asked if I wanted pain medication (he suggested Vicodin).  I said I really don't like taking narcotics and asked if there was an alternative.  He said, "Tylenol".  Apparently any NSAID pain relievers will counteract the effects of the Cytotec.  He offered to give me the Cytotec "for now" and if I had too much pain I could call back to get the Vicodin later.  He said that a natural miscarriage would open up our options as far as pain management.  That was good enough for me.  I knew it would be at least a few days before I would take the Cytotec.  The great thing was that I could choose when to take it. (And by "take" I mean insert four tablets that looked like aspirins up my crotch.) 

The day following my appointment, Dr. C called to inform me that the "anomaly" looked to be a second sac that had never fully formed.  He said I had most likely been pregnant with Twins and for some reason my body rejected them. This made sense because twins run in both mine and TJ's families.  I was a little saddened by the fact that I had lost, not one, but two babies, but I was okay with it.  I just have a strong peace in knowing that I know my body VERY well. I'm very self aware, and my body knew what was best.

I had a busy few days ahead of me, with open mic & a family reunion.  Quite honestly, I had been feeling GREAT physically.  I wasn't looking forward to going through the whole clotting process again. I was enjoying my time AWAY from the toilet.  So, I filled the prescription for Cytotec and left it sitting on my dresser for a few days. I figured I would wait until the following Monday, after all the family had gone back home and things had settled down.

"to second chances"

In the coming days, I started feeling better and better.  I even went to Open Mic with TJ and our friends the day after seeing Dr. C.  We had an after party where the music and the voices and the feeling in the room were just absolutely PERFECT.  I can't explain the exhilaration and pure joy I felt that night. Everyone that was there talks about it like it was some kind of spiritual experience.  In my opinion it was!  TJ stole a bottle of cheap vodka from one of our friends and pulled me into the kitchen.  He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Ya know, you CAN drink now."  I hadn't really occurred to me until then that it was okay to drink.  It may have been a dirty kitchen & cheap, lukewarm vodka from a plastic bottle that God only knows WHO else had been drinking from, but we shared a shot "to second chances" that night and it was a monumental moment in my life.

Roller Coaster Ride from Hell

I already had an appointment at Dr. C's clinic with a different doctor for 9am on July 18th.  When I called on the 17th to schedule the appointment with Dr. C, they left me at the same time.  This worked out perfectly so TJ could go with me.  I honestly wasn't sure how supportive he was capable of being but it was better than going alone. I never wanted to do that again!!!

I was on bed rest and needed to be close to the hospital so I stayed with Blondie the two days leading up to the appointment.  I was 25 minutes away from our hospital.  She was about 9 blocks away.  TJ and I arranged to have him pick me up from Blondie's.  He was obviously a nervous wreck.  He had that "spooked horse" look the entire time, but he was far more attentive and supportive than I thought he would be.  He helped me out of the house, opened the car door, and asked about 15 times if I was hurting.  I was, but I kept telling him I was okay.

We arrived 15 minutes early.  I filled out the paperwork and then we waited.  It seemed like we waited forever to be seen.  It was awkward.  I wanted to be quiet, but at the same time, the tension was killing me so I chattered about pointless nonsense the entire time.  We whispered about the pregnant woman we saw walking through the parking lot smoking a cigarette and rolled our eyes. I guess I don't truly understand what it's like to be a true smoker and have to quit, but I WAS a true drinker, and with all the stress, all I could think about some days was how badly I "needed" a drink.  I still didn't take even a sip of red wine - which is supposedly "allowed". 

When they finally called us back they had me pee in a cup and then escorted us to the U/S room.  They left TJ in there with me and instructed me to undress "from the waist down".  He was embarrassed by this and turned his head.  I laughed, saying, "We're here because I stripped from the waist down. Don't act like you've never seen it before."  He laughed nervously and said, "I'm just trying to be a gentleman."  The U/S tech came back in. I immediately explained what happened with the last U/S and she was just as appalled as we were.  She turned on the machine and began the exam. 

In utero ultrasounds are ALWAYS uncomfortable.  I don't care what anyone says! In fact, I usually spot for a couple of days every time I have one (& I've had a LOT of them).  The probe is usually bigger (and certainly longer) than anything else that has ever been up my crotch!  And that doesn't even account for all the twisting and moving they do while they're in there! Who knew taking a picture of your ovary would require them to angle that thing SO far???  When she examined my left ovary my right knee was damn near parallel to the table to make room for her arm and the wand!!!

I was already getting sick of seeing pity in everyone's eyes.

The image at the ER was only shown on the screen on the U/S machine itself and the tech was the only one who could see it.  There were no TVs or anything.  At the OB's office, there was a HUGE flat screen TV on the wall, facing me, positioned oh-so-perfectly between my knees.  The thought of seeing it THAT BIG on that huge screen terrified me, but it didn't really seem like I had much of a choice.  The image came up, and there it was, a seemingly empty sac. No heartbeat. No yolk. No fetal pole. NOTHING.  But that "anomaly" the ER U/S tech had described wasn't visible either.  The tech quietly and calmly instructed me to clean up (handing me a box of tissue). She would come back for me in a few moments.  She looked down at the floor as she spoke and I knew my fears had been realized.  TJ was also looking down at the floor as I cleaned up.  I stepped toward him to pick up my clothes from the bench beside him.  He handed me the black polka-dotted panties I had worn and then my pants and looked up at me with pitiful eyes.  Even just two days after finding out, I was already getting sick of seeing pity in everyone's eyes.

We went into Exam Room 2 and waited.  Dr. C came charging into the room at full throttle a few moments later.  He carried a laptop.  He focused primarily on the screen while he spoke to us, and it seemed like he was speaking mostly to me and ignoring TJ.  He was "all business". I really didn't sense much compassion coming from him whatsoever.  He said there was basically a 97% chance we would lose the baby. He gave us our options.  He said we could...

Option 1 - Do a D&C right away and this would all be over in a matter of a days.
Option 2 - Take Cytotec.  It's basically an abortion pill, but it would induce the miscarriage so that your body passes the tissue naturally without a D&C.  It's more painful and takes longer than a D&C but some women have a need to pass the tissue naturally and/or wish to avoid surgery.
Option 3 - Watch & wait. There's a very small chance that the embryo has been slow to grow. I was only at 5 weeks. At five weeks, the embryo is often difficult to see, even with an in utero ultrasound.  Continue the Progesterone and come back in two weeks to see if I have any progress.

As much as I know TJ would have loved to do a D&C and get it over with, I couldn't do that.  The doctor gave us a few minutes alone.  TJ sat next to me on the table and put his arms around me. It felt good to be comforted by him, even though I knew his wishes were different from mine.  I couldn't do the D&C or the Cytotec without knowing for certain that the baby was dead.  I cried.  He held me and we talked a little.  I asked if he understood why I wanted to wait and he said he did & that he would go along with my decision, whatever it was.  He also said he was sorry.  It did mean a lot that he felt sorry for me, but it still hurts to this day that he was actually happy about the possibility of losing a child. That disturbs me.

Dr. C returned and we told him we chose to wait.  He ordered an HCG blood test to see where my hormone levels were. They had done one at the hospital and he wanted to compare my levels now to that of two days ago.  If they had dropped, we would be completely certain that I was having a miscarriage, most likely due to a blighted ovum (also known as an anembryonic pregnancy).  If they had risen, we would know that it was okay to wait before taking any further action.  Rising HCG levels indicate pregnancy. 

Instead of making us move around, the nurses came to the exam room to draw the blood.  TJ pretended to be busy in the hallway, but I know needles make him squeamish.  Dr. C made sure to reassure TJ before we left that once the miscarriage was fully completed I should be able to have sex again in a week or two.  I thought that was very kind of him to mention (jackass). The nurses were very kind. They let us exit through the back door so I wouldn't have to walk through a waiting room full of pregnant women as we left.

Waiting was the right thing to do.

When I recieved the call for my results the next day, my HCG levels had risen (in just a few days) by over 2,000 points.  That assured me that waiting was the right thing to do.  This news was, of course, encouraging to me, but it sent TJ into a mental tailspin.  He texted me...

"This is just too much of a roller coaster for me. After thinking it was over I started feeling relief. And now we're still waiting. I'm not trying to hurt you but please don't ask me to feel the same as you do." 

I should have been feeling hopeful and uplifted but TJ's attitude and all the stress put me into a depression like I had never known before.  I know hormones play a huge role in these situations, but I couldn't blame ALL of it on hormones.  I could barely eat, even though that was what I should have been doing.  All I could do was cry and sleep.  I couldn't work. I was in constant pain and all I could take was Tylenol; However, I refused to take any pills other than the Progesterone and my vitamins.  I didn't want ANYTHING to harm my baby. 

I tried desperately to hang onto hope.  I made a notebook where I could keep track of all the doctor's appointments and keep my notes.  On the front, I decorated it with scrap booking stickers and put "Mommy's Notes & Daddy's Worries".  Blondie and I had taken to calling the Baby "Baby J" (BJ for short).  It's a play off of a nickname that TJ's friends gave him.  I used some of the scrap booking stickers to put "Baby J's Stuff" on the lid of a Rubbermaid container.  Milly had given me some baby clothes and I kept all of the paperwork, the notebook, and the folder I carried to all of the doctor's appointments in the container under my bed (It's still there in fact).  Blondie and I even laid on her bed one night and talked about what the baby would look like.  She said she hoped she was tall like TJ, with his dark hair, my blue-green eyes, and my smile.  We made a list of baby names and talked about if I would use TJ's last name or my own.  Since my last name is my married name, I said I was considering changing my last name and giving the baby my name, since TJ was still insisting on a DNA test after the birth.

In the meantime, my employer had been contacted concerning my inability to work.  I chose to take the rest of the week off and go back to work the following Monday. The doctor agreed that would give me time to adjust emotionally. 

"...They didn't think it was necessary to see me."

I started feeling better on Friday morning. I thought things were looking up, but late Saturday/early Sunday I started feeling pain again.  Judging from how my friends have described labor pains, I'm guessing that's what it was.  It was excruciating!!!  It felt like someone was stretching my cervix from the inside out and tearing it open, and the pain in my lower back returned.  The pain continued into Monday.  I called Dr. C's office. They explained I was probably having a miscarriage and it wasn't anything they didn't expect.  They didn't think it was necessary to see me. I asked about a note for work and they suggested going to my regular practitioner or the ER. I got into my regular doctor that afternoon. She gave me a note to be off work "due to illness" until July 30th.  She said that should give me time to have the miscarriage (if that's what was going to happen) so that I wouldn't have to worry about having it at work.  My next appointment with Dr. C was August 1st.  I immediately called my team leader and explained the situation.  I said I was worried about my job.  She assured me it was fine and to keep them posted on how I was feeling. 

I kept TJ posted via text message. It was very difficult for me to see him, but later that night I started having pain again and the miscarriage started.  I passed several clots of various sizes ranging from pea-sized to silver-dollar-sized.  I didn't WANT to talk to anyone else about it other than TJ, despite his attitude about the whole thing.  Even when he was being more honest than supportive, it still helped to talk to him for some reason.  It was such a roller coaster!!!  Just six days prior TJ had come over to my house, sat on my couch, and even gave me a few reassuring kisses, telling me it would be okay.  We had even discussed baby names for a few brief seconds...

"Oh. Grace I kinda like."

TJ and I both have brothers with the same name. We decided that if it were a boy, our brothers' name would be a definite option, at least for a middle name, but from the very beginning, I had felt like I was having a girl.  TJ hated the idea of having a girl, but he kind of left me to my own devices while I was pregnant. Bless his heart. He really did try not to upset me too much...  TJ and I sometimes sing at a local venue.  The first song we sang together was a song by Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter.  I made the suggestion of Chesney Grace for a girl's name. His response was, "Oh. Grace I kinda like."  Even now that memory makes me smile.

"I would have loved him/her more than I could stand."

As I was dealing with all the pain (and spending a LOT of time on the toilet) I was texting TJ, explaining how I was feeling and all that was going on.  At one point, I told him that I was well aware of how happy he was that I was going through all of this.  In fact,  a friend of mine had overheard him say he still doubted the paternity.  He replied that he didn't hate me and he wasn't happy that I was in pain, that he hated what I was going through.  He hated the entire situation.  I called him jaded and cynical. I asked him, as much as he hated it all, would he have ever truly loved BJ?  Was he even really capable of loving anyone but himself?  His response softened my heart toward him forever.  He said, "I would have loved him/her more than I could stand."  He went on to say, "I'm sorry. I'm being honest about that."

At that point, I felt bad for hating him, for blaming him.  I realized that this was hurting him just as much emotionally and mentally as it was me, even if it were hurting him in a different way.  We were both so different and had such different beliefs.  We were dealing with it in different ways and saw it from different perspectives.  At that point, I was okay with it all.  I still had a lot of pain to face, and I had a lot of changing to do before I would be able to deal with it in a completely healthy way, but reading his words started the healing process for me.


Ultrasound Tech from Hell

Aside from the incredibly strained relationship and the emotional aspect of dealing with an unplanned pregnancy after years of being told it would likely never happen, I was facing a lot of physical complications as well. 

On July 5th, I left work a few hours early and went to the ER for dehydration because the morning sickness (which seemed to last all day) was preventing me from keeping down any food or fluids.  The ER doctors admitted to me then that they do not get many OB cases in the ER and the best they could do was contact the OB on call to see what his recommendation was.  There was no ultrasound because I was only a few weeks along and it was assumed that the morning sickness was the only cause for my illness.  I was given IV fluids and a prescription for Zofram, an anti-nausea medication given mostly to chemotherapy patients (& apparently pregnant women with extreme cases of morning sickness).

A week or two later I started having sharp pains in my lower back & feeling a tremendous amount of pressure in my lower abdomen. There were so many things that could cause it.  My body was preparing to carry a baby. My hips were widening. My mucus plug was forming. (Not to mention constipation that often accompanies pregnancy.) My uterus was growing. Well - the BABY was growing, or so we thought...

July 16th - Over the weekend I had experienced a lot of discomfort, to the point that I couldn't sleep. At work, I was hurting pretty badly, and sweating a little, like you do when you're in a lot of pain.  I noticed I was experiencing sharp pains in my back more frequently and the pressure in my abdomen had gotten to the point where I could barely stand the pressure from my pants or underwear because it hurt.  I had already stopped using the lap portion of my seatbelt the week before because of the pain.  Just before 5pm, I went to the restroom as I always do just before leaving work.  There was some light, watery, rusty-orange spotting when I wiped.  I KNEW that wasn't good!  My body had been telling me for DAYS something wasn't right and I had ignored it because everyone I asked, and even the books & my research, suggested it was normal to have some discomfort during the first trimester.

I went directly to the ER after work.  I was hurting so much I could barely drive myself. I contacted TJ and let him know I was there (again) but knew he had to work that night and didn't want him wasting his precious energy sitting in the ER with me. I knew he was dealing with a lot of stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness as it was. I wanted to make everything as easy on him as possible. After all, it was my ignorance that had contributed mostly to the situation to begin with.  After taking the Bee Fertile and never being told for SURE that I would never have children, I should have been more careful.  All of these things go through your head, and TJ is one of those people who is SUCH a creature of habit and so emotionally attached to his routines that this was a devastating situation for him.  I understood that. I knew how difficult it was for him to step out of his routines and his comfort zone. To ask him to jump up and run to my rescue every single time I had a little pain or some paranoid concern was unfair.  I told him to stay home, sleep, and I would keep him updated.  He had finally stopped trying to fight the situaiton and was being far more supportive than I ever thought he would be and I didn't want to strain our relationship anymore.

Blondie had some errands to run after work but came as soon as she could to be with me. She brought her little boy and he entertained us for a little while before falling asleep on the bench between us.  She brought me a 7up, which I just barely sipped at. I was hurting SO MUCH.  It seemed like I had to get up to pee about 15 times while we waited.  It took five hours total for the doctor to see me.  I saw SO MANY people come and go while I sat there waiting. I asked what was going on and they said that I had to be seen by a doctor, not a nurse practitioner or physician's assistant, and the doctor was handling a trauma so I would have to wait.  The spotting stopped in the time while I waited. 

At some point during that five-hour span, they did take me back for an ultrasound.  The technician was very rude and it seemed like she was in a hurry.  I heard what sounded like a heartbeat, which made me feel a small amount of relief, but she didn't bother explaining to me even once what the sound was or if I should feel relieved at all.  Then, she asked if anyone had ever told me I had a retroverted uterus.  I asked, "Isn't that where your uterus is tilted back? Yes. My doctor told me that years ago." Then I proceeded to explain to her that my ex-husband and I had tried for over 6 years to get pregnant and when we went to the doctor they said the primary cause of our infertility was a tilted uterus. They said the passageway from my cervix to my uterus was limited due to the degree of the tilt, which would make it very difficult for us to conceive and could cause endometriosis & PCOS.  In fact, I had gone to the doctor for pain after my period once and had to have tissue removed that couldn't pass during my period.  The U/S tech didn't mention that anything looked wrong or even make me believe in any way that I should be concerned.  In fact, she didn't say much of anything at all.

They finally placed me in an exam room around 8pm but the doctor was still in Trauma.  They said they wanted to make me as comfortable as possible. I wondered why the hell they couldn't have "made me comfortable" about three hours prior.  Blondie came back with me at first, but her little boy was so tired and grouchy.  I told her to take him home and get him settled for the night. She said she would try to get him to bathe and go straight to bed so she could come back, that maybe her mom could watch him.  I was still reassured by the "heartbeat" I had heard earlier and told her I was sure it would be fine and I would keep her updated.

Around 8:30pm, I received a text message from EH's adopted daughter, SJ.  It said, "I hate you hore."  I was lying in the ER in extreme pain, terrified that I was losing my baby.  My heart dropped out of my chest. I didn't know what to do. I texted back "Who is this and who do you think you're talking to?"  I received no response so I called my ex-MIL (EH's mom - We'll call her Milly) and told her about it. She explained that SJ had left her phone at a store near EH's work a few days prior when she had gone shopping with her other grandmother and EH had stopped to pick it up on his way to work one day.  SJ wasn't at EH's house but her phone probably was.  Milly said she would figure out what was going on. I explained to her what I was going through, which made her even more angry about the text.  Milly and I have remained very close through the divorce. In fact, she and I are now proably closer than she is with EH.  She was pissed that while I was lying in an ER fearful of losing my child and in excruciating pain, I had to put up with childish crap like this.  She said she would handle it.

Around 10pm, the doctor finally came in.  He was really beating around the bush at first and then I realized he hadn't spoken to the U/S tech yet or seen the pictures.  He wasn't even aware I had already had an U/S! Just as he was telling me this, the U/S tech walked by. She stopped and said, "I did her U/S already, a few hours ago.  As far as I could tell, it looked like the sac was empty and there was a cyst or some anomaly near her left ovary. I figured it was a tubal pregnancy."

*************WARNING! EXTREME PROFANITY WILL INSUE IN 3... 2.... **************


I instantly started FREAKING OUT.  Tears flowed uncontrollably. I sat straight up out of the bed and screamed "WHAT?"  I was absolutely beside myself. Every terrible thought, every worry, every paranoia I had felt from Day One was flooding my mind all at once.  The doctor took one look at me, grabbed the U/S tech's arm, and said, "Come with me".  Just like that, I was ALONE.  I sat there feeling as if I would die right there.   My heart was leaping out of my chest. Tears were pouring from my eyes and running down my neck and chest. My chest heaved up and down rapidly. I can't even describe in words how I felt.  You would have to have experienced that kind of shock and panic to even begin to understand it.  I sat there for a moment and then began texting Blondie and TJ explaining what I had heard.  I just kept saying "I don't KNOW! They left me here, alone. No one will tell me what's going on."  Finally, Blondie & TJ both convinced me to step out into the hall and find someone.  I stepped out from behind the curtain and there was no one in the hallway. I looked to the end of the hall near the registration office and saw my nurse standing there with two other women.  I stepped toward them and felt like I might faint. I stopped, looked up, and with all the strength I had in me, I yelled, "I need to talk to someone RIGHT NOW!"

I can't explain what was going through my mind or how I was feeling.  It's like I was watching a movie or having a dream. It was extremely surreal & yet VERY real at the same time.  The emotional pain was too much. If I had been capable of thinking I might have found a way to kill myself right at that moment, but I couldn't even really remember how to walk back to the exam room. The nurse ran over to me & nearly picked me up to get me back into bed.  She sat me down, squatted down to me, put her hands on my shoulders, and said, "Stay right here. I'll get someone."  A few seconds later, a woman I recognized from the registration desk came in.  She introduced herself (I don't remember her name) and told me Cindy (the nurse) was looking for my doctor.  The woman looked to be in her 60's, though I suspect she may have been a bit younger.  She explained to me that she and her husband tried for years and never had any babies.  She said a lot of other things too, but none of it really meant shit to me while I sat there.  All I could think was "Why did they do that? Why did that tech say that in front of me? Where did they go?"  These three thoughts kept swirling in my head.  I kept looking beyond the curtain for my doctor's face, or a glimpse of the U/S tech while that lady kept rambling on about how "everything happens for a reason" and lamenting about her sister's three miscarriages.  Not to be insensitive, but I really didn't give two shits about her or her sister.

Finally, another woman from registration came in to "relieve" Chatty Cathy.  Instead of sitting across the room from me as she had, she sat next to me on the bed and asked, "Is it okay if I give you a hug?"  I nodded.  When she hugged me, for some reason, it reminded me of my mother. I just lost it. I began crying uncontrollably.  Tears literally poured in a continuous stream down my face and onto her shoulder.  I couldn't control the deep moan that came from the pit of my stomach, as if it was coming from my womb.  I continued to weap, moan, and convulse for what seemed like hours (though I'm certain it was only about 10 minutes) while she held me.  Then, Cindy walked through the curtain and I instantly became still.  Like a deer staring into headlights, I sat up and stared at Cindy with begging eyes and an aching heart.  All of my senses instantly became fine-tuned to only what was going on in that room. 

The woman sitting next to me stood and patted me on the shoulder. Cindy looked at me with eyes full of pity & took the woman's place sitting next to me.  She said, "I know it's hard but you need to try to stay calm.  These ultrasound techs don't know everything. Even the doctors don't know everything.  You need to see an OB that can tell you exactly what's going on before you go getting all upset like this." 

She rubbed my sweaty back and put her arm around me.  I sat there, staring aT the floor and shaking my head. Then, I looked up at her and asked, "Why did she say that in front of me? Why would she do that?"  She looked at me as if she didn't understand. I explained what the U/S tech had said.

Cindy became angry.  "Are you serious? That's exactly what she said?  What was her name? Was it Andrea?"  I couldn't remember the tech's name. She hadn't given it to me and I couldn't remember what her tag said.  Cindy made a fist and pushed it down into the mattress of the bed. "What a bitch!  She ought to know better than to say something like that in front of a patient.  I'm gonna go find the call list and see who's on call for ER ultrasound tonight.  I'm gonna find out who that little bitch is and give her a piece of my mind!"  She jerked as if she was going to get up but then looked at me and said, "But for now I'll stay here with you until the doctor gets back or someone comes to be with you.  Is your sister coming back?"

I shook my head, "No. I don't have anyone to call."  I didn't bother explaining that Blondie was not my sisterd. I thought if I were admitted they would let her come visit if they believed she was my sister.

Cindy's eyes saddened. "The father?"

"He's at work and can't leave. He'll lose his job."

"I see...  Then I will just stay right here with you.  Give me a just sec."  She stepped out for a few moments. When she returned, she was carrying a box of tissues and a cup of ice water.  "I'll have the other nurse keep an eye on everyone else until Dr. Corky comes back."

The doctor was the same one I had when I had been there July 5th for dehydration. He explained (again) that the ER doesn't see many OB cases.  He had put in a call to a "friend" who worked with the same women's health group I was scheduled to see for my first "baby doctor" appointment in just two days.  He said this friend of his was the best in the area and even specializes in slow embryonic growth.  He said not to pay any attention to what the U/S tech had said, she was an "idiot" and he would "deal with her later". He handed me a piece of paper. "I've been on the phone with a friend of mine.  Doctor C is the best.  He's a good doctor. He'll take good care of you.  Call his office first thing in the morning and get an appointment for Wednesday.  He said he will see you no charge until your insurance kicks in and they'll just back bill your insurance.  In the meantime, he wants you take Progesterone."  He handed me a prescription.  "It'll help build up your sac and protect the baby. All hope is not lost.  These ER ultrasound techs don't do this every day. Doctor C's people do. They'll be able to tell you exactly what's going on.  In the meantime, you're on bedrest until you see Doctor C and try to stay calm."

If TJ weren't Atheist I would believe he had prayed for this, like he had cursed this upon me.  When he texted me back after I told him what happened, he only focused on making sure I was okay.  He didn't ask about the baby.  He asked what kind of pain I was in, if there was anyone there with me, and what they were doing for me.  The problem with TJ is, he's too smart to have faith in anything other than what he KNOWS, and the truth is, we didn't know shit from applesauce.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Facing the Firing Squad

I sent TJ a text telling him I desperately needed to see him.  He said if I was willing to come out to his house, I could see him.  I was nearby so I told him I would meet him there shortly.  I had no clue what I would do.  I had one of the pregnancy tests wrapped up in its instructions in my purse.  My plan was to break it to him as gently as possible, but I knew no matter how I did it, he would hate me.  I had told him about all the doctors and all the years of trying with EH. I had told him pretty much everything about my sexual history and he had been really honest with me too. I mean, we used protection! There was absolutely NO reason we should be pregnant, and yet we were. And now it was my responsibility to destroy his life in two words: "I'm pregnant". I couldn't even say the words out loud!!!

TJ worked third shift & it was one of his days to work so I knew he had been sleeping before I texted him and would likely need more sleep before going to work. This certainly wouldn't help him sleep. I had considered waiting until Wednesday morning to tell him (today was Monday) because Wednesday was his day off, but I couldn't wait that long. I had a deep need to tell him right away.  I pulled in the drive and I don't think I will EVER forget the sight of him standing there in running shorts (with his boxer briefs peaking out the bottoms), a white t-shirt, white crew socks, loafers, and his glasses - smoking a cigarette of course.  Looking back, I wonder if he realizes how ridiculous he looked, or if he even cared. I guess once someone has seen you naked it doesn't really matter how they see you.

He looked pissed off before I even stopped the car, like I had interrupted the best sex of his life (though in that outfit I highly doubt it).  I rolled down the window and he asked how I was. I said "Terrible, but I found out why I have been so sick lately." He made this face that he makes when something is really shocking, disgusting, or just unpleasant. His eyebrows furrow and the whites of his eyes get huge while he kind of tucks his lips into themselves.  He looked kind of like a spooked horse.  He asked, "Why's that?"  I said, "Well, the good news is, it's not cancer." I took a deep breath. I knew it would be hard, but in that moment I just kind of froze for a second or two. Then, I reached into my purse and I couldn't get the damn test out. It was hung up on the zipper of the inside pocket and I jerked at it, dropped the paper, scrambled around in my purse for it, & wrapped it back around the test inside my purse. Then, I looked down at my lap as I reached my hand out the window holding the test in my fist.  I had imagined it would go much smoother than this.

TJ took the test from me, unwrapped it and just STARED at it, like he was staring at some alien technology he had never seen before. Part of me wanted to say the words "I'm pregnant" or explain to him it was a pregnancy test but all I could do was sit there and stare at him, at the wretched, pissed off, confused look on his face. He looked at the test, then the instructions, then the test again, and then up at me with the look of... I don't know, a rape victim!?!?! 

I had hoped he would be as sad and devastated as I was, put his arms around me, and tell me it would be okay, but that's not what happened at all.  He was literally speechless.  He acted as if he was going to fall over and then righted himself by putting one hand against my car. He turned his back to me and slowly backed up against the back door and took a long drag on his cigarette.  I got out and turned to face him. He handed me the test and the paper.  All I could say was, "I'm sorry. I never thought this would happen."  He looked down at me, now with pity in his eyes, and said, "I just need time to process this if you can give me that."  I said, "Okay", got in the car and left, bawling.

Over the next several days I busied myself with research and making appointments. I dug out my old copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting.  I had purchased it years before when EH & I were trying...  I needed to contact the WIC office, the health department, the doctor's office. I had to schedule a pregnancy test with the doctor because I couldn't apply for medical coverage without it. Then, I needed to schedule my first appointment with the OB/GYN. I took care of all of that and tried to keep TJ in the loop, but he didn't seem all that interested.  He was mostly concerned with money. Once I told him the medical card would cover any medical expenses, he seemed to ease up a bit, but any time I brought up baby names, preparing for the birth, or talked about the future in any way, he recoiled.  He could only focus on the moment at hand - what was going on right now. He wasn't capable of discussing the future, and his worrisome nature turned into an obsession with worrying.  I've never seen someone SO worked up over even the most minor of details, like who would drive to the first doctor's appointment.

There was one discussion where he asked if I was open to our "options" (adoption, abortion) & I said absolutely not. After a few days went by, he apologized for that and admitted that he hadn't done his research and wasn't aware of the full consequences of those options, for example, how long it often takes for a child to be adopted.  I have several friends and family members who are adopted. Some spent no time at all in an orphanage or foster care. Others spent years, even as babies.  Besides, in my eyes there WERE no other options. I had waited nearly a decade for this. I wasn't giving my baby up, not even if it killed me!  I believe all unexpectant fathers who get pregnant with women they aren't necessarily serious with go through these stages - similar to the stages of grief. They go through the shock, denial, anger. They blame the mother, blame themselves.  They try to find ways to get out of it - maybe it's someone else's!  That would certainly solve their problem!

TJ did that too. He tried to accuse me of sleeping with one of my guy friends during the time of conception, but then he finally resigned to the fact that the baby was his and we decided to move forward.  I later found out he had contacted Blondie to ask her if there was any way I had been with anyone else or could be lying. I don't know exactly what he asked or how she responded, but it was that same day that we "made ammends".  He admitted that he never would have been able to walk away from his child when it came down to it, and he understood my reasons against having an abortion.  However, he asked me not to expect him to ever be excited or happy about the baby.  He didn't want this, and this was not how his family did things.  They got married BEFORE having kids, and they did NOT have casual sexual relationships with women they barely knew.  However, he did eventually tell his parents, who were "nothing but supportive".  Of course, they never asked to meet me and didn't seem to take anymore interest in the situation than TJ did, but he did agree to be supportive.  He told his best friend, who sort of put the idea in his head about my guy friend & that the baby could be someone else's, but I can't really hold it against his friend. Any man would think the same way.  I asked him once to be honest with me and he replied, "I can either be honest OR supportive. I can't do both." I chose to allow him to support me - but only on an emotional level. I have never once asked him for a single penny and he has only managed to make it to one doctor's appointment (the first one).  Normally, expectant mothers receive their first ultrasound (U/S) at their first OB appointment.  I was no so lucky...


The End of the World As We Know It

By the end of June things were really rocky between TJ & I.   I wasn't going to all of the weekly jam sessions, wasn't going out much at all, and I was starting to come down with the Flu or some kind of bug. My heart rate was high. My blood pressure was up. I was nauseous, and my blood sugar was all out of whack (I'm hypoglycemic).  I was in a HUGE funk and things between TJ and I were NOT helping at all.  We tried to stay friends, tried to be amicable, but it was just a mess. In fact, I found out later that he was planning to break it off with me completely very soon, but that didn't come out until after catastrophe struck.

July 2, 2012 - I was at work.  I kept every single goal - large or small- on my Outlook Calendar on my work computer.  I had been super busy lately, completely overwhelmed with work.  I had also been pretty sick as of late and was having difficulty keeping up with my long list of overdue tasks.  I had a few extra minutes that afternoon so I decided to sort through my calendar to see what tasks/goals I needed to focus on in the upcoming weeks.  I rolled back to April and started slowly scrolling through the dates.  I got to May 30th and saw a big red "P".  A lightbulb went off, my stomach dropped, a felt faint, & I think I may have even lost consciousness for a split second.  I scrolled down to June. No "P". July - no "P". SHIT!

I almost RAN to my friend's cubicle. (We'll call her Blondie.) "Blondie, I missed my period!"  She kind of stared at me with her huge doe eyes.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes! I keep track on my calendar. It's July 2nd!  My last period was May 30th! Shit! TJ is gonna flip a f*cking lid!"

"Oh my God! You need to take a test before you do anything."

"No shit! It's not like I can leave work to do it. There are over two hours left before I can leave. I'm a nervous wreck! This can't be happening! How many times have I been told I would likely never get pregnant? How many times did the doctors say it wouldn't happen? This can NOT be happening, not now!"

"Calm down! You've been sick & stressed out. Maybe it's just like before, like back in December when you missed before.  Don't jump to conclusions."

As soon as I left work, I bought a pregnancy test and went looking for a restroom. I worked 27 miles from my house & I wasn't waiting 30 minutes to take this test! I went to the tanning salon almost every day after work so I went there just like I did every other day and asked to use the restroom before I tanned. As soon as the pee hit the stick, that "pregnant" line showed up - before the standard line even did!!! I took out the other test and did it again - same thing. OH MY GOD! I didn't know what to do.

I called my mom bawling.  My mother and I don't exactly have the best relationship, but the best thing she could have done at that time was exactly what she did. She reminded me that I had gone the last decade believing I would never have kids and now I was pregnant. Regardless of how I felt about it, this was a BLESSING. I was pregnant!!!  I thought it would never happen & it did! I should be HAPPY about it!

I knew the next step was to tell TJ. My stomach dropped. At that point it really didn't matter how I felt, because I knew how he would feel and it would NOT be good!!!


The Search for a New Normal

Dating after a divorce is an incredibly intimidating thing. Personally, I felt like damaged goods, like I was someone else's leftovers. Why would anyone want me?  All these incredibly self-deprivating thoughts kept going through my head...

     "You're too old to date"
     "You're too fat"
     "Who would want to date someone who can't have children?"
     "You probably don't even remember how to date."
I can't even explain all the bullshit that went through my head! 

I didn't really want to jump right into dating, but I couldn't stand just sitting at home alone all the damn time, and none of my friends understood at all what I was going through. I needed someone to spend my time with, at the very least as a distraction from my tragic life... 

A relative set me up with a guy she was close to. He was also going through a divorce and he was one of these calm, quiet types (or so I thought - ha ha).  My uncle's wife had suggested we try spending some time together & I trust her judgement. She knows him really well & thought being around someone who was going through the same thing might benefit us both.

I thought it would be the perfect scenario for me - a nice, quiet guy with his own place who already had kids (and probably didn't want anymore), and he was someone I knew, which made me feel at ease.  Well, that was the second worst mistake I've ever made!  Two months and one incredibly insane run-in with my ex-in-laws later, I was sent packing. I won't EVEN go there. Just thinking about how crazy some people can be once you scratch the surface is really scary! (And I'm not talking about my in-laws.)

I thought long and hard before going out on another date, and yet, I found another emotionally confused man who SEEMED like a calm, laid-back type of guy (with two kids) who was well-dressed, smart, & quite the gentleman.  THEN he started changing his mind every 5-6 hours as to whether or not he wanted to be with me.  He even threw the "L" word out there a couple of times before breaking up with me, offering to "just be f*ck buddies", & then asking my permission to date my best friend. YIKES!!!!

Finally, I was out with my friend "BD" one night & met this really handsome, smart, well-dressed, and INCREDIBLY talented guy. We'll call him "TJ".  He was tall, broad shouldered, super intelligent, well-spoken, well-dressed, adorably cute, & an amazing guitarist to boot. In fact, when I was younger I had followed one of his bands around a little bit & knew just how good he was! I was definitely impressed & kind of shocked that he took the time to flirt with me. (It turned out he thought I was much younger than I am - This turned out to be both a compliment and a devastating blow.) Again, he seemed like the calm, quiet type (because NO ONE honestly likes the loud & proud

type, guys, just in case you're wondering).  And it was nice to have an intellectual conversation with someone of the opposite sex  who shared some similar interests for once.

I had one of those little girl crushes right away.  However, I was still completely reeling over the last nine months of dating debacles.  I wasn't really ready for any type of serious dating relationship. I just wanted to be friends, feel it out, and see where it went.  As calm, cool, & collected as TJ was, I could tell he had some secrets that deeply troubled him.  He was nervous, skeptical, and pretty judgemental at times.  The more time we spent together, the more comfortable he seemed drinking around me, and the more he drank, the more honest he was. There were a few times where he hinted at a long, lost love that he was somehow still (at least slightly, if not totally) in love with and apparently still had connections with.  I'm no home wrecker. I wanted to feel out this whole "one that got away" situation and get to know him first.  I began spending every weekend (and some weeknights) with TJ and his friends & I really grew to like them. I know it's cliche' and cheesy, but this group of people made me feel like I was on an episode of "Cheers" every time I was around them. Everybody really did "know my name" and they welcomed me with open arms. I felt right at home with them, and the more time I spent with TJ, the more I liked him.

"He brought out the best in me."


I was very careful not to get too close to TJ too fast, but let's face it. I was incredibly attracted to him, was absolutely ecstatic to have an intelligent conversation with a man who could keep up, and every time we saw each other I liked him even more.  And the truth is, I REALLY need to have sex with SOMEONE. It might as well be someone I like, someone I know at least remotely, and someone I trust!  I know men think women have this on/off switch and we can just shut down our sexual desires on command. That's not entirely true. In fact, men usually have a way of shutting that switch off FOR us so that we don't have to, but TJ had a way of turning me on  like no  one else ever had.  It wasn't just pure sexual desire. There was (and I think still is) a certain respect between TJ and I, and quite honestly, I was a totally different person than I had been with EH or any other man when I was with TJ.  He brought out the best in me. He made me want to let my true self shine. He had a way of knocking down my walls and letting me be myself. I'd never felt that way before, but his walls were much harder to crack than mine.

One night I just laid it all out on the line. TJ was mid-sentence talking about his lost love & what a terrible person he was for continuing to love her long after she had moved on and pursuing her when he shouldn't have., for spending time with me when he was still in love with her. (Red flag, I know.)  I finally just took a shot, slammed the glass on the table, and laid one right on him.  I kissed him long and hard, as if I thought my lips might fall off if I let go. I had never done anything like that before, especially not in a public place, but I just couldn't take it anymore. I was pleasantly surprised when he kissed me back, and he kept kissing me the rest of the night, until after five o'clock the next morning!  I won't lie. In the back of my mind, I knew TJ was too good for me and that it would probably NEVER work, but that night was one of the most magical nights of my life.


I had NO CLUE how complicated it would get after that, but I was just enjoying the ride.  I grew closer and closer to TJ's group of friends over the next month or two and I just never wanted it to end, but things were complicated. As much as I wanted to pretend they were simple and easy - that TJ and I were just "friends with benefits", I knew it wasn't that easy.  I liked him more than he did me, and he was still in love with someone else. Then, one night it came to a head.  I made the horrible mistake of trying to get more serious with TJ and he laid it on me - he couldn't be with someone who couldn't have children! OUCH!!!! 

Needless to say, things got kind of weird after that. We still hung out, still had sex even, but those feelings of ecstasy & excitement - the joy of the "crush" was gone. It was no longer easy, no longer uncomplicated.  In fact, it made me feel dirty. We were just f*ck buddies who occasionally sat around singing songs together.  Looking back, we never went on a real date. We never gave each other titles like "girlfriend" or "boyfriend" (at least not when we were sober - which was rare).  I had been kidding myself all along.


The thing that REALLY sucked about what was going on between TJ and I was that I had finally started to feel like I had found my "new normal".  I was working regularly, had a routine, & had a brand new group of friends - TJ's friends.  How could I walk away from him w/o walking away from them? And walking away from them meant walking away from the closest thing I had experienced to a "real life" in almost a year (longer if you consider the last 6 years of HELL).

More than losing TJ, I didn't want to lose the one thing I had to look forward to every week, hanging out with my "Cheers" gang.  There was this whole long back story as to how this group of friends began about seven years ago. I knew I was an outsider, a secondary (if not tertiary) member of this band of misfits, but I wanted SO BADLY to remain, even if on the outskirts.  The thought of starting over (again) was worse than the thought of losing TJ.  I had finally found my new normal and was risking losing it. And if I thought THAT was going to be tough, something was about to happen to turn our entire world upside down. Talk about a new normal? How does a completely new universe sound?