Anniversaries

Some anniversaries are probably best forgotten.  Five years ago today, I miscarried for the third time.  Aside from the fact that I brought two healthy boys into the world, it took me at least this long to stop being mad at God for taking away my last chance at a daughter.  I haven’t gotten pregnant since.  Part of it is because I’ve been too scared to think about losing another one.  I just can’t go through that again.  Granted, my chance of losing another one probably wavers around 50/50 but the idea of mourning again is more than I can handle.  It was almost more than I could handle those other three times. 

The first miscarriage was almost a relief.  I didn’t know I was pregnant at the time; I happened to be going in for my gyn exam, and we’d been trying but I’d gotten my period on schedule so I assumed we just didn’t hit the mark.  Surprise.  When I started cramping like I’d been punched in the gut, they ran some tests and discovered I’d been pregnant.  Past tense.  There was concern that it was actually an ectopic pregnancy so when they did an ultrasound and it turned out I wasn’t pregnant anymore, I was relieved.  Until a few days later when I realized, “Uh stupid, you do understand what just happened, right?”  (I’m not always the brightest light on the marquee.)

The second time I’d found out I was pregnant and almost immediately started bleeding.  At least I have an ultrasound pic of that baby.  He/she didn’t stay long.  I melted down in a big way this time.  My husband (now my ex) called my mother to come talk to me because I spent the day sitting in my chair, crocheting and counting stitches repetitively.  I kept insisting I was fine but I must’ve had a wild-eyed look on my face that concerned them.  It took a few days but I recovered.  We were supposed to wait 3 months between tries but #2 came 2 months after the first mis.  I figured I’d just been too eager so after this time I made sure 3 months passed.  When I found out I was pregnant again–my HCG levels are always low to begin with; EPTs won’t tell me so I have to get blood drawn–I immediately got in touch with my gyn, who put me on suppositories I had to use twice daily.  At that point I would’ve stood on my head, naked, in Macy’s window if that’s what it took to keep this baby.  Eight months later, Ryan Gerhard arrived.  Much to my surprise, 17 months later, Alexander Philip arrived too. 

But then my marriage swirled down the drain (both our expectations were way off base) and I left NY and moved to PA and started dating again, and I met John, also a NY transplant.  When we met, it just seemed like karma.  My divorce was final in March and in August we went on a cruise to celebrate, and he popped the question on our last day on board.  We planned an August 16, 2003 wedding, and got the surprise of our life when a month before the wedding, my EPT came back positive.  My period was 2 weeks late but there was a rumor of early menopause in my family.  I wasn’t sure if I was happy about that or not until I took the EPT and it looked faintly pink, so I went for a blood test.  John was 43 and I was 36 but ready or not, it looked like we were having a baby.  Once the shock wore off, I named her Caroline (I was SURE it was a girl) and started talking to my belly.  I don’t think John’s shock ever wore off.  I’m pretty sure he didn’t get much sleep, between worries of late fatherhood and how we’d support a child.  I think he forgot the part about loving your baby but he’d never been a father before so maybe the thing about old dogs and new tricks really is true.

Ten days before (August 6 for those like me who are bad at math), I started bleeding.  I’d made my OB appointment but even though I warned them I had a history of miscarriage, the snotty nurse on the phone told me, “I’m sorry honey, but once a miscarriage starts, there’s nothing you can do to stop it; this is the best appointment I can give you.”  Needless to say, not only did I not go to the appointment but I never went to that doctor’s office.  (It was almost satisfying to cancel the appointment saying, “I don’t need to go because I miscarried.  Thank you.”  Click.)  My GP sent me for an ultrasound, where the tech asked, “Are you sure you were pregnant?”  Like I routinely scheduled internal ultrasounds just for giggles?  I don’t think so.  John was relieved but not for the callous reasons you might think; his mother had been through a rough childbirth and his younger brother Mark died shortly after birth; the priest gave her last rites twice.  He was terrified of losing me and I guess at that point, the baby wasn’t real to him.  He was just happy I was okay.  Except I wasn’t.   Losing Caroline scarred the shit out of me.  I was a wreck the day after, nine days before my wedding.  I managed to go in to work (I was going on vacation/honeymoon a week later; he didn’t think it would look good to take time off so close to vacation) but I cried my eyes out all morning until my boss sent me home.  (It’s good to have a woman boss.)  I even tried to encourage myself, reminding myself that now I could drink beer at my wedding, but it wasn’t much of a consolation.  Like I said, it took me years to stop being mad at God.  Now I think we’ve reached something of a detente.  I’ve stopped screaming at the clouds. 

I’d love to have another baby, but I know at 41, that’s probably not going to happen.  My eggs must look like raisins by now.  It’s taken me a while to accept that fact, and latley my uterus doesn’t whimper every time I see a baby.  (It whines a little when I see pregnant women, though.)   

Ironically enough, when we went house-hunting, we found a house we liked on Caroline Drive.  It was okay but I wasn’t in love with it; the yard backs up to 5 other back yards, so privacy is non-existent.  (Not that we do anything bizarre, but it’d be nice to not see pics on YouTube if we need to scratch a personal itch while on our own property.)  After that we found another house, literally around the corner on High Street, on the edge of a park, with a huge yard.  We got a call last night that there may be another offer coming in on the house.  We’re not interested in getting into a bidding war so if they offer more, we’ll wish them good luck and go back to square one.  Thinking about it last night, I realized, we’re not going to get the High Street house because it’s the 5th anniversary of my last miscarriage, and today we’re probably going to have another one. 

I’d think about offering on the Caroline house but it just doesn’t sing to me the way High Street did, but it’s ironic.  Maybe fate is pointing us back to Caroline.  Maybe there’s a reason I should take another look.

Change in Plans

We didn’t go to Rochester after all.  By the time I got home on Friday night (after 7) from dropping the boys off, John didn’t have the steam to drive 4+ hours to Syracuse, knowing we’d have to get up at 6 the next morning, be in Rochester at 8, stand in the sun for 2 hours, and run all over the place ’til we got back home again, so we canceled the trip.  It turned out okay; we went to see Get Smart and it was a lot funnier than I’d expected.  We tried to see Dark Knight but the showing we went to see was almost sold out, and they couldn’t guarantee us much better seats than the first two rows.  The idea of spending the next 2.5 hours craning our necks to see the screen didn’t appeal to us, so we went to see Get Smart instead.  Definitely a different ending than the one we’d expected with Dark Knight.  After that we went to pester our favorite bartender, Jen, who was working waitress duty.  Jen’s a doll, and my source of information when I have a character who tends bar.  (Wait ’til I get back to Jake’s Story.) 

I told myself I wouldn’t print Release Point until I’d read the story over again, but I had some time on Friday afternoon so I printed it, hole-punched it, and stuck it in a binder…that was too small.  Yesterday I picked up a 1-inch binder and it fits just fine.  Pretty sweet, seeing my “babies” in print.  I hope to God this isn’t the closest I’ll ever get.  😉 

Today we should be hearing back on the mortgage application.  I fear for my life.  After taking a cold, hard look at the numbers our credit scores are based on, I think we’ll be lucky if we get the rate they offered us (which is higher than the rate we were offered a month ago).  Then to see if the sellers accept our offer.  Never mind that we saw another house this weekend–we just walked around it–and it looks really nice.  The asking price is higher but it’s a 3 BR ranch with a 6-car driveway on Broad Street.  If the inside is any good (and I suspect the gutters and roof need work, but it’s a very simple roof; no dormers), it can’t hurt to keep it in mind.  On the other hand, it would mean changing the boys’ schools.  But since Alex won’t be in Deb’s class this year, and both the boys’ schools are getting new principals, everything is changing anyway.

The best laid plans of mice and men always go awry, don’t they?

Add-on to this morning’s blog:  our pre-approval letter came in.  We’re submitting an offer.  It’s likely to get laughed at but like I told our realtor, “As long as they don’t use any 4-letter words, we’re good.”  We have some wiggle room in the asking price but I’d really like this price to be as low as possible.  The idea of forking out $1400 per month on our combined salaries really scares the cr*p out of me.  Is it any wonder, since the letter came in, that I’ve been feeling about ready to throw up?

Endorphin Withdrawal

I’ve finally figured it out.  Chocolate, while being a precious commodity, is also an artificial stimulant and it doesn’t replace endorphins.  I haven’t exercised in a few weeks and I can feel it, not just in my jeans but in my head.  Last month’s PMS almost resulted in me getting a criminal record, and if I don’t do something soon, this month will be more of the same. 

I’m also reading blogs and emails from people at National this week.  I knew six months ago that I couldn’t go; I knew six months ago that because I didn’t final in the Golden Heart, I had no reason to go.  You’d think I’d accepted all that six months ago, but here I am, moping with the rest of us left-behinds.  Maybe it’s because there’s nothing exciting going on.  Or maybe I’ve OD’d on excitement, after Sunday at Hershey Park and Monday at the Phillies Phestival.  This weekend we’re going to Rochester to watch the Buffalo Bills’ training camp at St. John Fisher College.  Five hours (one way) of driving for 2 hours of football practice.  I suppose the idea of Abbotts’ Custard should get me excited, but knowing what my jeans feel like, I’m having a hard time mustering up the enthusiasm. 

There’s also the house hunt.  After looking at a dozen houses, we’ve found one we like enough to want to make an offer.  (If that’s because we can’t stomach the idea of looking at another house, I’ll leave to your imagination.  Let’s just say this stopped being fun when the two realtors we were working with pulled out pistols and started counting.)  We’re to the point of filing the mortgage application.  That’s exciting but for all the wrong reasons.  The application process means we have to face our debts head-on.  And then take on more.   What fun.  Once we put an offer in and have it accepted, then there’s the moving process.  I could get more excited about oral surgery. 

In two weeks we’re going to Las Vegas.  Possibly one of the few times when the destination is more fun than the journey, considering I’ve never gone through a TSA checkpoint before and I’ve heard some horrible things.  John, for instance, is planning on wearing flip-flops in the airport so he doesn’t have to untie shoelaces because everyone is required to take their shoes off.  Oh-kay.  I have shoes I can easily slip in and out of, not to mention walk comfortably for miles in an airport, but I have to take my shoes off?  Fortunately I know we’re not going to be judged on the condition of our pedicures, because I haven’t had one in two years. 

I have to start working out again.  I SO miss endorphins.