So, it's been a month.
It has been a busy month at that.
Trying to deal with the mental and emotional aftermath of a loss, and still keep going with life is a challenge at best. It's not entirely as difficult because I dealt with a lot of junk that whole dreadful week. But it has still been difficult. It has been compounded by a new school year in a new school. At the same time, Devildog changed jobs and entered into the electrical apprenticeship program, which comes with him going back to school part time, and working full time. Clone is really having to step up the ante in her game across the board after 2 years of middle school elsewhere, and having been in remediation that still did not bring improvement in her test scores (not that I rely on test scores for assessing her ability). Blur requires extra monitoring to keep her moving and develop the habits she needs to make her self sufficient. Speedy has been a typical toddler and just exhausts me. But on the upside of things, I have begun attending Mass daily at a geographically nearby parish since I'm right there every morning anyway. There is no excuse for missing it. I am not rushing off to punch a clock, and I would otherwise be at home doing little else except trying to do something productive or being lazy. So, I go 4 days during the week that there is Mass in the morning. I'd been attending mid-week Mass at my parish while Clone was in religious ed classes for the past several months. I can't say I am able to pay a whole lot of attention because Speedy is not still, and I am incessantly chasing him. I figure this is my opportunity to help teach him during the week at a shorter Mass so that he can manage to sit through Sunday Mass just a bit more. At least, that is my hope. Some days are better than others. Tonight...I struggle to shut my brain up so I can sleep. Hence this brain-dump into a blog to get it out of my head so I can't mentally harp on it so much like I am hard-wired to do. And writing this has brought tears to the surface - not entirely a bad thing but not really a way I wanted to end my day.
My hormones are still out of whack, and I know they will be for a while. I was surprised that my first post-miscarriage menses would bring up so much emotion and difficult pain for me, but it did. To be blunt and border on TMI here, I had heavier bleeding than when I was miscarrying. I had cramps that needed heat to alleviate them, which is totally new for me, and they were in a different spot than usual. I've also been wrestling with the idea of another child. I do not quite know where I am in terms of wanting another child versus preferring to avoid another pregnancy. There is fear of a lot of things. Some of that is the fact that I'm nearing 40, I never rebuilt my core muscles after my 4th pregnancy, dealing with symphasis pubis dysfunction sucks royally, I don't know that I want to re-enter that phase my mommy-board friends call "baby jail". Speedy is at that point where he can feed himself, get his feet into his shoes himself, identify when he needs a diaper, occasionally uses the potty, starting to talk, and he's just plain a monkey toddler who gets into everything. It really is exhausting, and my attempts to get anything done in a day are interrupted by his antics. Do I really want to go back to a mewling newborn, completely dependent upon me and start the clock all over again? Am I feeling like I want another child only because Francis was taken from us? Am I even considering this idea because I don't want a loss to be the end of the story of our babies? Or do I really want to enter that realm again and have another child solely because I really am crazy enough to actually legitimately want that for our life? And here is a lame one: But I have these cute cloth diapers and was looking forward to putting them on the new baby since I can't use velcro diapers with Speedy. I was loving the idea of using cloth on our next baby too, and not having to buy diapers because - hey look here's a really good stash of butt covers. I honestly have no answer for any of it. I just know that a month ago, my life spun a different course and I am still having moments of reeling, frequent spots of sadness, and forever wonder who my child would have become. And I will always have them. My 89 year old father lost 2 children to miscarriage. Each of his two wives bore a 4th child directly into heaven, and to this day he still laments over them - some 50 and 30 years later. It will never go away for any of us.
And then there is the other side of this loss. A strange sense of relief that I won't have to deal with an expanding body that physically struggled with the 4th & 5th pregnancies. That the exhaustion of pregnancy is not coinciding with the exhaustion of raising a child in the toddler stage. That the exhaustion of a newborn and infant stage isn't right there with the exhaustion of a toddler becoming a preschooler. And then all that sense of relief leaves me feeling guilty for feeling relieved. And I grapple with the reconciliation between the pain of a loss, the relief of not having that segment of my life to handle, and the guilt of it all. I ache to know who my child would have become, what kind of personality quirks would appear, the kind snark our family is known for having, what kind of amazing things would be done at my child's hand. And that is an ache I feel in every part of my person. I get sad, angry, frustrated and sometimes just have to stop what I am doing and spend time being in that moment of emotion to acknowledge it and let it have a visit. I am also always afraid of getting stuck in that emotion too long, or even not enough. I am afraid of moving onwards and forward too much or too soon. I'm afraid of allowing myself to be angry too long or too much. I just don't want to get stuck there, and I know I run that risk every time I let any of it visit. But I can't run away from it or hide. I have to run headlong into it so that I don't ignore it, shove it aside, or insulate myself too much from it. Maybe I have some warped logic that wants to immerse myself in the pain in hopes of getting it over with so I can find some kind of normalcy that I lack currently.
I don't even have a lot of direction right now, and I am feeling like I have an idea of where I want to head, but there are so many spoons in my fire at the moment, I can't do everything. And that is bugging me because Devildog is making dinner more often than he should have to, especially since I am the one at home most of the day. I'm fighting to up my own ante, and I feel like I am battling muddy banks on a rainy afternoon. I just want some kind of normal and not this haphazard random flopping around that I feel like I am doing. But I don't even know what my new normal is supposed to even look like. I am just incredibly grateful that my husband is this patient, understanding, and kind man who does not complain when I haven't gotten dinner ready and it's nearing dinnertime. Which then prompts more guilt. But it's laced with immense gratitude for his help and strength where I can't muster it. He spurns me forward when I stall out, and he graciously takes up my slack as I work to heal. Every time I think I have gained some measure of improvement, I hit a point of detour or pain and he bolsters me yet again. I keep feeling like I can't let that stay the norm, even though he can cook some amazing food that makes mine look boring. A girl could get really used to that, and my husband would be willing to keep it up if that's what it took to get me over the hurdle.
Regardless, I am still patiently seeking to find our next version of our normal. This just does not feel like it's