Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Funeral Homes and French Fries

It's strange how life is different after receiving a death sentence. It's also strange how much of it stays the same. Like when it rains only on one half of the street, or Bell's Palsy, or standing on the border of a state line. You are one foot in normal and one foot in a whole new crazy, jacked up world.

Something is profoundly different yet life just keeps going on around you. It makes me dizzy.

Last Monday we went to the funeral home to sign some paperwork and make the cremation arrangements ahead of time. I called Robert to let him know I was on my way. He was at the McDonalds getting a burger so I told him to get me some extra fries. We sat in his truck in the parking lot eating fries and chatting, just like any other ordinary couple. It was a beautiful day. It was normal.

The we walked through the doors into another realm. Signing cremation papers for your unborn child and talking about the different flavors of death certificates for babies is not normal. Not normal at all. Not normal like eating fries in a pick-up truck.

Surprisingly it wasnt as bad as I thought. That is after I cried the whole drive there. I might have freaked out the funeral director when I walked in and burst into giggles at the sight of the wall of urns. Is giggling like a 15 year old girl in a funeral home normal? Not sure about that one.  It was just so surreal. Its like walking into a store to pick out shoes. They come in small, medium and large sizes. You want wood or marble or a little sculpture, they have it. And what is with all the Asian inspired urns? If there are any funeral home peeps reading this here blog of mine you need to step it up a notch in the urn department. Just saying. Something cheerful would be nice.

(me at 26 weeks)

This is how we live our lives these days, straddling the abys. One foot in normal and one foot in a whole new crazy, jacked up world.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


People keep telling me how strong I am.

I am going to be really honest here. I don't feel very strong. I feel like a total weenie most days, a blubbering fool or Gumby, ready to fall over at the drop of a dime.

I didn't make the decision to carry on with this pregnancy based on my unrelenting strength, die hard religious conviction or anti abortion sentiment. It was becuase I coundn't make any choice. I just could not decide how long this baby got to live or when it got to die. It wasn't my choice to make. I figured I would let the baby or nature decide for me.

That doesn't feel very strong. Sometimes it feels like a sissy way out.

There are days I beg nature to decide already and put me out of my misery. Days where I think I cannot do this one second longer and it would be better if this child passed away. Days I think that might be the answer to ease this pain. 

Then I feel like a total asshat for even thinking thoughts like this. 

I know the only time I am going to get with this child is while it is still in my belly and the very short moments after birth, if we even make it that far. I try to make the best of it. To relish in every kick, every movement, every bout of killer heartburn. I try to be positive, to be brave and not complain. But damn it is hard. 

Some days I wish I had a better reason for my decision, other than it wasn't my choice to make. Would it be easier if I could shout at the top of my lungs "Jesus loves the little children" and believe without a shadow of a doubt this is part of Gods master plan. Perhaps. Would it be easier if I had spent years picketing abortion clinics and this was a true test of my beliefs. Maybe. Is there anything that could possibly make something like this easier and give me strength. I really don't think so.

So I am going to hike up my big girl panties and soldier on and stand by my choice to not make a choice.

Maybe someday I will let out a fierce roar and feel the strength, but for now I am just going to try not to fall down.

You know what's really strong; spider webs, cats that run into burning buildings to save their kittens, vegans who never eat bacon, Marines and Kevlar.

But not me.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Kill A Kitten

The day we found out our little nugget had no kidneys I walked out of the doctors office broken and angry. I turned to Robert and said "I am so mad I just want to......." then racked my brain for the most horrible thing I could think of to release this anger I had boiling inside me. Then it came to me "I am so mad I just want to.....run over a kitten". Terrible I know, but please don't judge. If someone just told you your baby was going to die I bet you could think of worse things you would like to do. And running over a kitten is something I would never, ever, act on. I love kittens, all animals and defend the little slugs that live on my porch every time Robert threatens to off them. I even say prayers for the little squished animals on the side of the road, that they didn't die in pain and they are in a better place. 

Imaging my surprise the other day as I am driving down the road listening to my ipod on random and this song comes on, Kill a Kitten by Stephen Lynch. I didn't even know I had it loaded and it was the first time ever it came up durning the random shuffle. 

I laughed so hard I almost pissed my pants, which really isnt all that hard to do when you are 5 months pregnant. It just goes to show you sometime laughter is the best medicine. It certainly beats the socks off of white hot boiling anger. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Last night I was looking for the pictures of the strawberry jam I swore I took to share with you. I made the jam but apparently forgot to take the pictures. 

So tonight I am going to share these centerpieces instead. We made them for a good friends surprise 30th birthday and they turned out great. 

We bought the bandannas at a local chain craft store. They are cotton and come plain or with a traditional bandanna print. To tie dye I use Jacquard Procion MX Dye. If you have never used it before you will not be dissapointed. It puts Rit dye to shame. Im just saying. 

I will warn you, wear gloves or your hands will be multicolored for days. And don't forget to protect whatever you are working on. My laundry room floor is also rainbow colored from the dye.  

There are tons of colors to choose from and they all turn out so vibrant and saturated. 

A few flowers in a mason jar and a tie dyed bandanna and you have a beautiful centerpiece. Plus the bandanna and the flowers make a great take home gift for your guests. Or you could just hoard them all for yourself and use them for funky table napkins. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

You Are a Child of the Universe

This photo was taken a week before our world came crashing down. 

We were on our first family vacation in Nags Head, NC and waiting the arrival of our 2nd baby due the day after Christmas 2012.  Life was grand, Robert was home from work travel and we had 2 healthy kids...so we thought. 

When we got back from vacation we went for our 20 week ultrasound on August 6th to find out the sex of the baby and put to rest the great circumcision debate Robert and I were having. The tech found something wrong, called in the doctor at the sonogram office who mentioned I had low fluid and called my midwife. At this point we didn't think much of it and waited for what to do next. The midwife sent me straight to a specialist in Annapolis to get a better look. It was at the specialists office they dropped the bomb. 

Bilateral Renal Agenesis, also known as Potters Syndrome. Our baby had no kidneys, nothing, not even a speck of a kidney. That is what was causing the low fluid. They told us it was "not compatible with life" and there was zero chance our baby would live. I could feel the baby move, it was most certainly alive. What happens with Potters Syndrome is that the placenta keeps the baby alive until birth. Once born, due to the lack of kidneys and no amniotic fluid the baby's lungs are underdeveloped and the baby will die. There is also greater chance the baby will die in the womb or during birth, but if born alive will live only a few hours. 

We were given two options, carry on or decide on an early induction and end the pregnancy. This has got to be the biggest mind fuck ever in the history of all mankind. My baby was alive, its heart and brain were all there and working perfectly, I was keeping it alive but when it is born it would die, and they were giving me the option to make it happen sooner. We went home and I cried myself sick and spent the next few days trying to figure out what to do. Ultimately we decided to let the baby decide how long he/she was going to live. It was not our place to decide to take this child's life. So now we wait and while we plan for a birth we are also planning for a death. We love this baby and we wanted this baby and we are going to give it all the love we can until it grows wings and flys away. 

Never in a million years could I have predicted this and I would not wish this kind of pain on anyone but I keep telling myself there is a reason, there has to be to all this, this baby will change our lives forever and perhaps the lives of others and for that it will all be worth it. 

I keep coming back to one of my favorite poems, Desiderata, and a line in it gives me great comfort:

"You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."