Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Grove Part II

I am continuing on my Grove-obsession vein because I want to write more about this place and the fact that I met my friend - Little Green - there the other night and it was for want of a better word, perfect.

I call her LG because 1, it is almost like her name and 2, it is the name of a Joni Mitchell song that I adore and 3, because JM gave up her daughter and regretted it forever and my LG didn't have the easiest life but is one of the most fantastic people I know.

So me and LG meet at the Farmer's Market. To go back a bit, I got to the FM earlier, because I like to look at the shops and browse - especially in the knick-knacky Anthropologie which is every woman harking back to yesteryear's special place.

Of course, I am standing there and suddenly the piped music striks up extra loud "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!" And snow it does.

The Grove is a shopping Mall which is outdoors - like a fake street. Like a Disney idea of what a street in England would be like, with smoking and alcohol. Everything is a little bit jumbled up (on purpose of course), parking is discreetly hidden from view, there is the aforementioned piped music as well as a fountain which whizzes around in time to the music. It is a shopper's paradise and I am crazy about it. Well, I am crazy about it some days.

So, here I am enjoying the bizarre spectacle of snow on a warm, December evening with a fountain going nuts to Christmas tunes and of course the irony of LA kids seeing their first "snow" a a shopping center and I suddenly get hit with the massive realization that it is Christmas time and I haven't got a dot.

My period still hasn't arrived and I feel like the whole dot part of my life was just a dream. The no-show period is making me feel barren and horrible. I can't believe I was supposed to be four months pregnant by now. These feelings give way to deeper-held sadnesses connected with Christmas. I am so glad I can ignore them now in some ways by not celebrating this melancholy holiday. I realize it is the absence of what this time is supposed to be about that makes us feel all the worse when it comes around.

Luckily for me, as I standing, surrounded by fake snow and little kids and pregnant mommies and feeling lost and lonely and plunged into darkness my Little Green calls and says: "I'm here!"

Thank the lord! I rush to her and she is, of course, in the sticker shop being kind and thoughtful and as delicious as ever. We get stuck into our favorite Balinese food and chat and crack up.

But the best bit for me was when we were walking with the thin mommies, bemoaning the fact that we are collectively 30 pounds heavier than we were a year ago, LG says: "I don't know about you, but I'm still hungry". I love her.  

Monday, December 8, 2008

Shopping takes a toll

So yesterday I did the fastest holiday shopping in living history. I ran to The Grove and bought things for my nephew and nieces.

The reason why I did it so fast was because, even though I am totally fine with the physical aspect of the miscarriage, seeing pregnant women, little kids having fun and people merrily running around with their families still reminds me of the big hole left in my life after dot went away.

I cannot believe how many women are pregnant since I had the miscarriage. They are everywhere. I guess it is the same sensation that I had after my dad died. You see a walk, a piece of clothing and whumph! there is dad. It is a strange, sickly deja vu sensation that does not feel good on the comedown. A bit like the dreams where you've passed your exams or won the lottery, only to wake up and realize the exams start today and you still have debt up to your eyeballs.

But, like everything, the hole is slowly closing and each time I see a pregnant woman while it feels not great and it makes me sad, it is nothing compared to the way it felt a month ago. I have stopped counting the days I haven't been pregnant and I have stopped feeling such a failure. Like my poor, cut thumb, I am starting to heal.

I ran into the Grove and of course had to go to American Girl Place. Oh my, I can't imagine what I would have been like as I child if that store had existed, and in England.

Girls can go in, buy a $100 doll that looks just like them and literally all the acoutrement of life for that doll. Including a doll for the doll that looks just like the doll. Confused? In addition, your own daughter can have clothes that look exactly like the doll's. I love this store and, in addition, it is a marketer's dream.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Check up

So this afternoon is my final check up after the miscarriage and the D&C.

The bleeding has stopped, finally, after about a month. At one point I thought it was never going to end, but it did, and I am glad.

I have to say, one of the weirdest things about not being pregnant is realizing how weird you feel when you are.

I am back to "normal" now. I don't have that hangover-without-being-drunk feeling, or the rolling-around-on-a-ship feeling. It actually feels good (I feel guilty saying this) to feel normal again. But, being pregnant is really hard work. It looks so nice and yes, the hormones definitely buoy you up to get through it but, my God, it is difficult to carry on your normal life while you feel like you are wearing someone else's glasses and the world is tilting in all kinds of directions.

Today I will go and see the lovely Dr. C and get the all-clear. I am actually looking forward to seeing her. Being home alone all day you realize how much you appreciate people and conversation. But I wouldn't swap it right now for work and a ton of conversation to be honest.

After this I am hoping that Z and I can get "back on the horse" as we keep calling it. So me and Mr.Ed will be trying again as soon as possible - watch this space.

Giving Thanks Etc.

So another Thanksgiving has passed and gone. I think I am getting in the swing of this now...Summer, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas. 

Either way I am eating way to much.

So, the big day of Turkey actually turned into something of a marathon of eating. We spent the time with our family up in Santa Barbara and had thanksgiving with people we didn't actually know. The family we stay with don't actually eat meat. They eat fish, just not meat. So, we ended up eating the turkey with some friends of theirs. Food was fabulous.

As a Brit, the whole idea of Thanksgiving is something like Harvest Festival a pagan rite turned Christian that takes place in the UK. But, the difference is HF is spent at church, bringing boxes of food to the poor and putting them at the altar or wherever and saying thank you for having food in first place. I remember we used to sing hymns like: "We plough the fields and scatter..." which, when I read it like that sounds like we plough (US version plow) the fields  and then run off. Ha ha.

So TG is so much more fun. It is very similar to an British Christmas without the presents. Turkey, gravy, sleeping, movies on TV - lovely. If we had it in Britain it would be something like a rehearsal Christmas. 

Of course, I realize there is much more significance to TG than just turkey, as there is Christmas than just turkey - and gifts - but I think we all know what is the fun part.

Now I am Jewish I look forward to Hannukah which means just one gift and lighting the pretty candles for eight nights. To say that I have relief over not having to stress about Christmas now is the understatement of the year. This year, we plan to spend the time quietly - the Jewish way - watching a movie then, if we can find a restaurant open, having dinner. 

Of course, I am being facetious, but it is something interesting to ponder over - growing up with one set of holidays - Easter, Whitsuntide, Harvest Festival, Christmas, to exchange them for another - Purim, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hannukah is a very interesting way to live your life.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thumbs Down On The Knives

They say bad luck comes in threes and I am hoping to God that this is my third piece of crap.
Over the weekend, we bought knives. Z wanted the really, REALLY expensive ones but I was happy with just the very expensive ones. I am sure that stores do this on purpose. They give you choices. The "cheap" choice is actually expensive, except it doesn't seem expensive because it is less hideously expensive than the other two choices (for example).

That way, when you plump for the first, expensive but-seemingly-cheap choice you feel like you are being cheap. Even though it is expensive. Right?

So, Z and I went and bought new knives. Our old knives were just not cutting it any more (apologies) so we thought we would take our wedding gift certificates and buy some good ones. We ummed and ahhed about which ones to get and ended up with the not as expensive ones.

We brought them home and last night was the first time we (meaning me. Meaning I?) used them.

Of course, I was doing two things at once. I was fuming to a friend on the phone and chopping lettuce with vigor. And then, chop, chop, there goes the top of my thumb.
Now, I don't know whether you have ever done this before but it was fascinating to see exactly what a freaking sharp knife can do. I went through the top of my thumb like butter. And then, very much like me, I said to my friend: "Umm, actually, can I call you back in a minute, I've just cut the top of my thumb off," - I didn't want to be rude.

My friend who is afraid of even having her blood pressure taken shrieked:"Oh my GOD, go, go". So I took my thumb and ran to Z who was working out with his trainer in bare feet and in pajamas and said: "I think I've hurt myself". Of course I was very brave for about an hour and then it hit me and I had a small pity party and started to cry.

Z apologized for being a bit of a douche, which he was, and I went to sleep. Thank God for those painkillers Doctor # 3 gave me for the home miscarriage.

So now I am off to see another Doctor to get my thumb fixed. And all in time for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Morning Not Blues

God, I can't remember a Monday being this stress-free - I love it. I spent the morning chanting in my head and cleaning the house.

We have a fabulous new cache of art work, thanks to my in-laws so I am now whooshing around the house looking at it and loving it. No signs of sadness about the Dot today so far or about my first day as an unemployed person.

I want to reflect on this for a second. I have never, ever been laid off. Actually, that isn't 100 per cent true. When I was 15 I had a job in a corner shop (a small bodega I guess) in England. The boss was a bit evil if I remember and I had one job that I hated - unpacking the bananas. I would brace myself and go into the back room, unstack the boxes and start to take the bananas out. I was constantly think about the huge tarantulas that were about to crawl out on me (I have no idea if this was true by the way). Plus, I had to peel off the gross pieces of paper that are stuck to the stems of the banana fingers. They stink. In fact bananas kind of stink period. I hate the way that they go bad so quickly. 

So, this, alongside the fact that I would invite my friends to come in and chat with me (one of which went on to become a famous pop star - I wonder if she ever got any of her lyrics from her days spent chatting with me at the counter?) and that I dropped a bottle of HP Sauce and it smashed on the floor, meant that they didn't want me back after a few weeks.

With that job, as with this one, I didn't sweat it too much. I am amazed at how calm I am right now with the job loss. But, with this job loss, as with that one, I felt like I just didn't fit too well. Maybe the feeling comes straight away and just snowballed. Maybe it begins with the bananas and ends with the HP Sauce. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Now I have time to think

And I am actually glad that I can have some time to sit and mourn the dot and think about what to do with the rest of my life. Obviously the dream job would be to write, like it would be for thousands of people. What is not to love? Me, at home, wearing a caftan as I float around the house, the baby-bjorn slung casually over my shoulder as I throw witty epithet after witty epithet into the computer.

Or me, in serious mode, with eye glasses and a weighty volume at my elbow, a nanny shushing the children because: "Mommy really needs to concentrate on this book on feminism as a form of protest in the early 2000s".

Then there is me, in more fetching caftan, swanning around the world testing out the latest spas in some of the best hotels and feel mah-vellous dahling! I am feeling very good about all three careers. Anyone want to hire me?

Lay Off!

So I just got laid off . And I mean just this second. They took me in a room, gave me some pieces of paper and bye bye. 

A Note on Spa-ing

I just wanted to say here that I am a big fan of the spa. For any woman who goes through a miscarriage, I say, get yourself to a place that is quiet, comfy and has nice smells, nice people and nice plinky plonky music.

I know it is expensive but think of it this way: You've just lost something you can't put a price on so, go and have yourself looked after.

Another side note. I found out that going in hot tubs is NOT a good idea until after the m/c is completely over. Once it is, get in there and get whooshing about. It is about making yourself feel better and feel healed. Anything natural and nurturing will make you feel so much better.

I REALLY recommend the Beverly Hot Springs (if you are in LA). It is affordable ($30 to use the facilities) and they have fabulous body scrubs and body work all done by the ladies in black who run out, get you on a table and scrub you down all the while wearing nothing more than black bra and panties. It is awesome. Not only that but they wash your hair.

Have you any idea how good it feels to have your hair washed by a small, Korean lady while being scrubbed down on a table with hot spring water? You should. It is the biz.

You can call them on (323) 734 7000. Mr Kim gives a rocking hard-core shiatsu massage too. It is on Oxford in Korea Town. I plan to go there again soon. This is the only natural hot spring in LA and it is rarely packed.

If you prefer something a little more, serene, try Burke Williams. I love it there too, but I have a real affinity with the ladies in black and the scrub down.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Actual DL on the D&C

So, a week later I am back in the office with the lovely doctor C and she runs in and hugs me (I love her - can I say that enough?) and I tell her this is shitty, and life can be shitty and she agrees with me. I know she isn't seeing first time pregnancies any more, but I ask her in a stage whisper if she will please, please, please make an exception for me (keep your fingers crossed - though she did give me a big smile).

So, Z is with me this time and he is in the waiting room flipping through some magazine I am supposed to be looking at for work. Let me just mention here that he has taken more time off work and is wearing a t-shirt that says "Zankou" on it. I love the fact that we look like chalk and cheese - me in my black dress, headband, black shades, all professional. He wears jeans and t-shirts like a little boy - and he still makes twice what I do. Anyway, Zankou is in the waiting room, the nurse always says: "Husband can stay in the waiting room, I have to steal you". I love the way she just says "husband", it tickles me.

Husband/Zankou is safely esconsed and I am whisked into the stirrups theater. I am so sick and tired of wearing bricks in my underwear, it is a relief to take it off and get on the funny little half-bed.

Doc C comes in and we chat and she takes a look inside in the theater of my uterus. She tells me there isn't any product but there is a thick lining (hence the bleeding and need for the bricks). She then proposed the D&C again. This time I say: "Yes". Just do it. Just get the damn thing done with and stop thinking about it. What is it? five minutes of pain in your whole life? Then she proposed Valium and I say: "bring it on".

Zankou is brought in. Poor him. Doc C asks if he wants to sit at the business end but he is like, no thanks, I'm fine up here with the face. I have to laugh. He is great though. A few winces and stares but generally good.

So, here is what happens with the D&C. First off the valium is put in intravenously. It feels a little bit weird, kind of cold or something. Then everything goes fluffy at the edges. The light fixture above my head was moving in waves so I thought, hmm nice, interesting. I watched that as the doc injected my cervix. I REFUSE to make a joke about a few small pricks here, but it was painful for a few seconds. It would be. It feels very uncomfortable and you want to back away. Which I did and Doc C made me scoot down again. You don't want to. 

Then the suction. It is a tube which is inserted inside for about a minute. I guess it depends on what is inside, but mine was pretty fast and not nearly as bad as I thought.  A little cramping and a little weirdness - mainly due, I think, to the valium.

I lay down for ten minutes afterwards and then went out, paid (next time Zankou, you pay) and we went to the car. I was suddenly hit with a brick wall of tiredness so, we get in the house, I crawl into PJs and goodnight for two hours.

So that is it. I woke up, I felt a ton better and actually, I think the bleeding has really abated. I had some cramping in the early evening but, fingers crossed, we are good.

Now its just a wait until we try again. Because try we shall! (I always wanted to end like a 1940s movie)

The DL on the D&C

Today was my final final check up. You don't realize that the miscarriage doesn't end with the miscarriage. It kind of ends some time in the few months after the miscarriage. When all the "products" are gone.

Well I went to see the fabulous Dr C. who I am totally in love with. She is funny and not at all patronizing and makes me feel like yes, this is shit. No doubt about it, she is fantastic. 

Just to catch you up to speed. So, the dot died and I was sooo sad and low and felt like I was the biggest failure to walk the earth. you know I even had a little case of the karmic heebie jeebies (cue big God-voice): "What is the significance of this miscarriage happening when these two people get MARRIED in the sight of God". It didn't last, thank God. 

But, I wanted to make sure I did everything right. I knew the baby was dead, but noone told me what was going to happen next. When the bleeding started I thought that was the miscarriage. I had no idea. That's how uniformed I was. I thought two weeks of bleeding was a miscarriage. Its a bit like the person who, in all seriousness, once told me they didn't know babies could be born at night. And this person is in her fifties.

So, I go back to the doctor's when I realize the bleeding is getting worse and clots are coming out. Clots are really, really gross. And, of course, you think that is the miscarriage. Nope. 

So, I am back at the doctor's office. Not with Dr C (who we have already established I love), nor with the doctor who told us the news about dot (who I am more meh about). This time I am with an emergency doctor who is seeing me on her lunch break. Thank God its another one I love. We do the hushed theater-routine (just me and her this time) and there is the baby (she hides the monitor from me, for which I am very grateful because at this point (a week ago today) I am still crying a lot and very attached to the dot.

She tells me: "The fetus is now five weeks and your cervix is closed. We can do the D&C and get it all out, but it will hurt." Part of me (the part with my mum's voice) is telling me to just do it and get the hell over with it. So, I agree. I'm there, in the stirrups and of course I see the needles and then the other part of me (the part which is scared of needles) starts to go woah a minute.... So I call off the surgery and take the other option which she proposes.

The other option is the do-it-yourself option. Misoprostol. You go and get four white pills that you insert into the vagina and that induces the miscarriage.

I wait for two days just in case my cervix decides to open and, when it doesn't, I do the Misoprostol.

I lie in the bed and insert the pills. All the while I am looking around the room. It feels weird to put pills that kind of look like tylenol inside yourself. I have never done anything like this before. So I place them in and lie back. I start to wonder: "did they go in far enough? Are they going to work fast? Will Z get home from work in time?" Of course, me being me, this period of contemplation lasts about 20 minutes. I am lying in the bed. I am, my husband will testify to this, the world's most impatient person, nothing is happening. I am actually annoyed about this.

Anyway, by about 7pm (I put the pills in around 4pm) the pills start to kick in. I start to get weird cramps. It is a bit like period pain but only in the front part - the uterus - there isn't the stomach pain or the hot and cold or the need to poop. I normally call this "washing machine stomach". Even though the contra-indications indicate otherwise, I am being contrary to the contra-indications.

After a couple of hours of the cramps and some moaning and groaning and taking one of the strong painkillers doctor number 3 has given me I need to go to the bathroom. Something slimy passes. Then I stop being okay. I start to cry. Dot is being flushed away. And again, she is gone in two flushes. I am sad.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Back to Front

I realize this blog is kind of upside down. I am telling a story with the ending at the top. Maybe that will force you to read it all. Like, you read a book backwards, right?

So, I will plow on with the upside down book and then I'll get into talking about real life and what happens after the dot dies, or the bean, or the babe or whatever you call your cells and post and sac.

So, the wedding. My mum's face. The family. Let me explain.

My husband, Z and I, got married as I was on a three-month fiancee visa. We did it on November 2, 2006 and waited two years to get married again, with the family and friends in a big fancy party. On November 2, 2008. Nice, huh? The icing on the cake was, of course, the dot.

We giggled to ourselves at night about it. We read the book again and again and couldn't wait to tell the moms and dads and mums and uncles and brothers. Z's brother is leaving for Japan with his two kids and we thought this would be PERFECT - a new little one to take the place of the two that were leaving.

We bought snazzy photo wallets from Coach to give out at the rehearsal dinner. "To fill with pictures of your new grandchild". Z even had a speech - I am not kidding.

So the Friday before the 2nd - the wedding - was when we found out about the dot. My lovely mum from England was the only one who knew. Her face nearly killed me. Then we had to go out and be festive. For about a week. It sucked big time.

I did get drunk at the rehearsal dinner. So much so, Z swears I broke the toilet. I was so angry and pissed off. I wasn't serene. I didn't deal well AT ALL. I was hurt and sad and I just wanted to laugh and be merry and, ultimately, punish myself. I think this happens a lot. A lot of my miscarriage-friends have done the same thing.

Then, the bleeding started. On the day of the wedding. I know the gods were laughing. The fuckers.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Back To The Proverbial Part II

So there's the blob. No longer the dot, just the blob. And I can't speak or move. The doctor is saying something like in Charlie Brown "Wah, wah, wah", but I can't hear it. I just nod my head and think about the wedding, our renewal, our "real" wedding, whatever you want to call it. And I think: "Shit, this is it. All the plans are f-ed and all the fun has gone." But instead I put my arms around Z and say: "At least I can drink at the wedding".

It's totally inappropriate and totally horrible, but its the only thing that comes into my head. 

Then I have to go outside, following my hopeful, sunny route, past the receptionists, through the door marked "No Exit", back to the waiting room where my mum is sitting. She looks up when I come through the door and smiles and says: "Everything all right?". Then she sees my face.

Back on the Proverbial

Back at work and feeling wonky. So, I didn't finish my post last night.

Basically, the excitement, the sickness, the wedding, telling was all in motion and then, of course, the inevitable happened.

Z and I and my mum arrived at Cedars for the check up. I should have been 10 weeks and mum was the only one who knew about the dot. She was left in the waiting room ready to come in and see the scan and the heartbeat and her soon-to-newest grandchild on the monitor.

And then the first thud hit. "I can't see anything on the ultrasound, but that's normal, we'll have to do an internal ultrasound,". I looked at the room, the equipment, the calendars, the weird acoutrement of the OBGYN office - why so many clips with magnets on with adverts of unpronounceable medicines? I suddenly had the chill that maybe something wasn't right. Next thing came the internal ultrasound. There was the triangle of my uterus in the darkened room. This is the only time I feel like the doctor's can be called a "Theater" the lights are dimmed, everything is hushed and faces are intent on the fuzzy screen. Then, the second thud: "This isn't a 10-week fetus" said the doctor. And of course it wasn't. No life, just a dead dot. A dead white blob on the screen. The heartbeat clearly not visible. I was just stunned.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bloody Sunday

This is supposed to be my blog about miscarriage. And the fact that noone talks about it - or tells you about it. Well, I guess I am just about ready to explain what I went through - am still going through - and what it feels like.

In addition, I want this blog to be about other things. Life, moving from one country to another, to another and so on. The way that being pregnant feels. The way that feeling different feels. All of these things are part of my life. I work, I do stuff, I enjoy stuff. I have two dogs. I have a husband. I thought I was going to have a child, but I guess that was just the beginning.

So, I got pregnant and found out in September. On September 11 to be precise. "Finally, a good thing to remember on this worst of days", I thought, as I hugged the striped stick toward me in the ladies' bathroom at work. I breathed it all in - the sink, the smell of the posh oily-stuff they put in there to make it smell nice, the wooden doors. "This is the best thing ever, ever, ever", I was literally thinking that way, like a little kid. And I never think that way. I told Z and he was all "Far OUT". I felt like I could do something right.

Then we were planning. We bought the books. We read the chapters. I swooned over images of six-week fetuses (feti? fetum?) and thought about how clever we were - just one try, just ONE try. We were super-humans and we had created something on just one try. How I pitied the poor people who couldn't do it as easily as us. How I felt so sorry for those who had been trying for months. How I had no clue how gods were laughing their asses off at us.

Six weeks. We saw the heartbeat. There was our little dot. Dot was our name for the girl, Spot was our name for the boy. Somehow Dot got more traction. Dot was on my lips all the time. I couldn't help myself, I told people. A lot of people. I grinned at pregnant women. I confided in clothing stores: "Oh, I'm not buying right now, I'm pregnant". Ha ha ha...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Life lines

My name is Elizabeth. I am 35 years' old and I have just had a miscarriage. This is the place I am starting from and I want you to know it is not going to end there.