Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Of all the words of mice and men...

...the saddest are, 'it might have been'."--Kurt Vonnegut

I haven't written about, or even really talked in general, what's been going on in my life recently. This would be because a lot of things have been happening, and I tend to not like talking about ~things that are happening~ in case I jinx it somehow; that by vocalizing anticipation or excitement I'm somehow setting myself up for inevitable failure and letdown.

One thing that has happened: I finally changed jobs. Goodbye increasingly-soulless mega-corporation, hello independent-corporation that still operates with a conscience, for now. It's been a good change.

One thing that is almost happening: I got accepted to NIU's Post-Baccalaureate accountancy program. Assuming all goes well next week, I'll be starting a 2-ish year track to becoming an accountant. I deeply look forward to having an office job with benefits.

One thing that happened: I got pregnant. Surprise!

Another thing that happened, learned just yesterday: it miscarried, surprisingly late as far as fetuses being gestated in healthy 28-year olds go. Surprise.

It feels a little bit like this looks
The Buddy and I hadn't necessarily told a whole bunch of people--no Facebook posts or printed announcement cards--just called our families and mentioned it to friends as we saw them. I'd been not-so-secretly imagining the delight I might feel when the first week of February came around and I suddenly announced to social media "Surprise! We have a baby!" It would be within reason for us to just quietly move on with our lives and not make our private lives a public affair.

But as I started to tell people yesterday, the women in my life all had eerily similar things to say: many shared that they had experienced a miscarriage or two, or their mothers' had, everyone expressed sympathy, and to a woman everyone used the phrase "I wish people would talk about it more." So here I am, to talk about it more. Here to talk about it before someone else miscarries and, despite knowing the statistics of how as many as one-third of all pregnancies don't end up being viable, feels a bit alone. Here to talk about it as someone who doesn't have living children to look to for comfort, as someone who wasn't even necessarily planning on having children.

This pregnancy was a surprise, and I'm not going to soften that concept like many tend to do and call it a "most welcome!" surprise. It was simply surprising. Right at the outset I couldn't even figure out how I wanted to be reacting and needed the clear head of bff Poncho to come talk me through the various possibilities. As a family, The Buddy and I weren't ready to be parents and as an individual I absolutely wasn't mentally or emotionally ready. To my/our credit, we didn't panic or even get terribly stressed out as the weeks stretched on, but there was an abiding sense of ambivalence and trepidation. At the 11-week mark there was a strong, steady heartbeat and we began to tell people. I still felt nervous, as if it wasn't necessarily "real", or that it wasn't "really happening".

And then at yesterday's 14-week appointment, there wasn't a heartbeat. My OB wasn't concerned at first, he actually accused me of being "too thin" and that the Doppler was going straight through me and missing the fetus, but the visual scan confirmed that the fetus had stopped growing a little over a week before.

I expected to feel relieved. I'd actually wistfully hoped for an early miscarriage so that we wouldn't have to face being parents before we felt ready, and I had asked The Buddy a couple months ago if I'd be a bad person if, in the event of a miscarriage, I was more relieved than sad. Of course he said that wouldn't make me a bad person, probably just a normal, conflicted one.

But I wasn't relieved. I'm not relieved. Maybe in a couple weeks when my hormones are back in their regular balance and life has continued on I will feel a small sense of relief that our life isn't getting upended in five and a half months, but not now. I just feel sad. When the scan technician left the room to go get the doctor, I turned to The Buddy and asked what he was thinking, and all he was able to say was "really sad."

The deep sadness is inexplicable to me, since this wasn't one of those really, really wanted pregnancies that a lot of couples spend months or years praying for. I can't imagine how I would be feeling if it were. It wasn't an experience I was enjoying, and it wasn't something I had been connecting emotionally to yet, but here I am, sad enough that I'm not necessarily fit to be out in public yet. I had the DNC procedure this morning, where I was put to sleep and our non-viable fetus was removed from me. I'm glad it's out, the emotional place of having a dead baby inside of you wasn't the best place to be. I spent two hours on the phone with our insurance carrier confirming that somehow, this isn't a "covered" procedure in the sense that it's not covered until we meet our astronomical out-of-pocket deductible, which made this whole thing worse.

I'm not sure there's really a whole lot to say, beyond: This happened. I'm really sad. I want you all to know that it happened and that I'm sad, and that if it happens to you and you're sad too, it's okay.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Marriage: It's Great? 10 Small Domestic Annoyances That Actually Have Nothing to do With Marriage, Just Co-Habitation

I know I usually start off the year with a recap, but who's really grading me on consistency anyway?

There was a flurry of posts about marriage a couple months back--I believe spurred by backlash against Seth Adam Smith's "Marriage Isn't For You" piece. A large majority of the pieces I read (including Mr. Smith's) were written by people who'd been married for a short period of time. Baby marriages, baby families. They seemed simultaneously full of hubris and desperately naive. They asserted a variety of viewpoints (marriage changes you! Marriage doesn't change you! Marriage is for your spouse and your children! Marriage is to honor God! Marriage is absolutely for you!), but all of them were in earnest. All of them made me uncomfortable.

The Boy* and I have been married for a year and five months. Marriage has changed our relationship in some ways--being 100% sure feels amazeballs--but the majority of changes and lessons and "hardships" have been borne from the mere fact that we didn't cohabitate until we tied the knot. Hopefully, a year and five months will be a mere 2% of our marriage, and I absolutely don't feel qualified to be giving anybody advice or announcing that I've learned any sort of actual lesson in this short amount of time.

And so I bring to you, Interested Party, "Lessons I've Learned From Marriage: It's Great? 10 Small Domestic Annoyances That Actually Have Nothing To Do With Marriage, Just Co-Habitation":

10) He left wet towels on the floor when he would come visit. He leaves wet towels on the floor now. This is an annoyance that will not change.

9) He picked up after me when he would come to visit. He picks up after me now. He never expects thanks, but I thank him anyway, because this is a quality I greatly appreciate.

8) He uses my shampoo, which makes him smell like a girl. I guess I've learned I don't mind. He always buys new stuff that I like, because he is thoughtful, which is another quality I greatly appreciate.

7) His shoes smell. Marriage stinks.

6) Despite showing him the proper way to fold t-shirts, he continues to fail to do so to my satisfaction. I've learned to stop caring about his t-shirts, and only worry about my own.

5) No one but myself, my mother, and my sister can load a dishwasher properly. This doesn't mean that when he does it "wrong" that the dishes won't get clean. Unless they don't. Because large bowls do not belong on the bottom rack.

4) He plays way more video games than I ever imagined. Men need time to themselves, you see. I probably read more blogs than he ever imagined. Women need time to themselves, you see.

3) He hates Christmas. Which isn't true, but he doesn't express the same sort of joy and does not celebrate in the same ways I do. A proper lesson would be that we should grow our Baby Family into having our own traditions. Reality is that I'm just going to force Christmas cheer down his grinchy throat until he learns to celebrate properly.

2) His little beard hairs get everywhere in the bathroom. If only I had been properly forewarned about this hardship.

1) Annoyingly, I've learned very little, other than that I have a lot to be grateful for. The Boy is great, marriage and cohabitation have been a breeze, and I am very happy. He's the best dude I've ever known, and it's a privilege to get to be his partner and live with him. Some people have a rough time of it, for all kinds of reasons, and we've managed to avoid those somehow. We're blessed in that way.


*At some point he should probably grow into a more mature title. "The Man" is dramatically patriarchal. "The Dude" is a moniker taken by a dude in a bathrobe. "Hubs" makes me want to vomit. We call each other "Buddy", that might work. We'll field test it.