My Mother: “Hello?”
Me: “Hey Mom, it’s me. I think I caught Dad’s cold.”
My Mother: “Oh no. He’s still sick!”
Me: “Yeah, it’s like that. I’m considering going into phone sex until this stupid shit is gone. I could make a killing if I could find the dudes with a fetish for chicks who cough and sound like Thelma from The Simpsons.”
My Mother (dryly): “Sounds like a great idea.”
Me: “Hey, work with what you got, right?”
My Mother (laughs): “Did you take some Tylenol?”
Me: “No, I don’t have any. I’ve been alternating between the heat and air, trying to get comfortable. Waging war on this fucking virus.”
My Mother: “Well, I have some Tylenol.”
Me: “I can swing by a little later and pick it up.”
My Mother: “Oh, I can drop it off. You live four seconds away.”
Me: “Wow. Cool. Okay. You sure?”
My Mother: “Can you meet me in the parking lot? My knee is killing me.”
Me: “Sure, no problem.”
My Mother: “See you soon.”
Me: “Sweet, thanks, Ma.”
(thirty minutes later)
Me (thinks): “Wow, she’s driving that fancy new car awfully slowly through the parking lot. I hope she at least put the Tylenol in a brown bag or something so it doesn’t look… suspicious. The last thing I need is my neighbors to think I’m a drug dealer. Wait, maybe I should play the part – I got some aviator sunglasses somewhere. I bet I could get one of those nose/mustache/fake glasses things so I look like I’m trying to be “in disguise.” Or I could go knocking on the doors of my neighbors, holding my baggie of Tylenol, so it makes me look all suspicious. That’d be kinda funny until the police came. I’d probably get arrested for the indecent wearing of sequins or something. I can never keep up with the laws about Being Gaudy In Public. And GOOD LORD OF BUTTER, Ma, can you LOOK any more suspicious driving through my parking lot? Probably not. At least, I don’t know how. Maybe I should get HER some of those novelty glasses or something so it REALLY looks like we’re being illicit. ARGGG! MA, DON’T RUN ME OVER.”
Me (walking up to the driver’s side window): “Thanks Ma, for bringing these by. I’m in some sorry shape.”
My Mom: “Well, I hope you feel better. (rustles around in her bag for a couple of seconds while I stand there, looking suspicious.) Here you go!”
Me: “HOLY FUCK, MA. We look like DRUG DEALERS.”
My Mom (laughs): “Go knock on some doors and see if you can sell the pills.”
Me: “MOM! I need to LIVE HERE. I can’t try to sell my neighbors TYLENOL.”
My Mom (giggles): “Yeah, I guess you should try and sell ‘em the GOOD stuff.”
Me: “What, like Ibuprofen?”
My Mom: “NOW you’re talking.”
Me (laughs): “All right, Mom, thanks again. You and Dad will have to come over and see the new space soon.”
My Mom: “Sounds good!”
Me: “Bye – thanks again!”
My Mom: “Be sure to get top dollar for those pills – they’re EXTRA STRENGTH.”
(she drives off)
Me (looking down at the bag): “Holy fucksticks. I’d better get inside before someone sees me.”
And THAT is how my mother became my Tylenol Dealer.
When I first started blogging, I found myself fitting in, not with the other mom bloggers, but with the fringe groups. The infertility bloggers, the baby loss bloggers, the special needs bloggers – those were people I could identify with much more so than the people I was supposed to fit in with. Maybe I hadn’t lost a child, maybe I hadn’t struggled in that very same way, but I had struggled in my own way.
We were the outsiders. The misfits. We had stories that no one wanted to hear about. Elephants sat at our tables, in corners and we were forever on the outside of normal, looking in. It’s the natural progression, I suppose, that I would create a space for us to gather. I’m proud of that. There are many of us outsiders. So many more than I’d thought.
When my daughter was born sick, it was no surprise that it was these people that came to my side with swords to help me slay my dragon, fluffy tissues to wipe the tears, and a barf bucket for when it all came to be too much.
I have an email folder that I’ve carefully saved every email I’ve gotten from that time that someday, I will print out to show my daughter. Most of the emails are from the people like me. Like most of you. The outsiders. The people who have been through hell but know how to make the ride a little…easier.
Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss day. Every year, I do a Wall of Remembrance for the people who have picked me up, dusted me off and wiped the barf off my face when I needed it most.
For that, I owe them everything.
According to the Center’s For The Disease Control’s Website, about 1 in every 100-200 births in the United States results in a stillbirth. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 million stillbirths occur yearly worldwide. One in every four diagnosed pregnancies ends in miscarriage. The numbers for neonatal and postnatal deaths run into the tens of thousands.
Those numbers seem large to me, but even after having to take a statistics class to get through nursing school I can’t say that I’m much of a numbers person. My son, he likes numbers, which is why he’ll be off saving the world, one string of code at a time, while Your Aunt Becky sits here, mouth breathing and occasionally wondering aloud, “Is the INTERNET working?”
Numbers aren’t my thing. People are my thing. 1 in 100-200 sounds like a hell of a lot bigger number when you attach faces to those numbers. Faces, stories and names. People. My friends. My nieces, my nephews, their parents. Tables forever missing one. Lives cut short. Unlived.
Still born. Born still.
My friends. Their children.
Today, we remember.
Baby Twin lost at 8 wks
Baby C miscarried at 12 weeks on 1/7/07
Mindy’s three angels
Anne & Jed’s babies
Athena Rose Moore – 24 weeks Gestation (2nd loss, only one named)
Baby 1 – 9 weeks
Baby B – Twin to my 13yo, 12 weeks
Baby 2 – 9 weeks
Tevin, Taylor & Tristen
Baby J A and Baby J B
Selena- lost pregnancy at 9 weeks
Baby K, Gabriel Connor, Christian Elliot and Andrew
Eva and seven additional losses
Ava and Nathaniel
Micaela, Angelica, and Frankie
Becca’s twin siblings
Clayton and Skylar
Baby A and Baby B twin girls
Josie Ree Smith
Samuel and Amelia
Baby George – stillbirth
In memory of my baby girl, Kaela Alexandria, 7 months and 4 days old when she passed.
Baby Ari, August 21, 2000.
Baby 1, August 2004, miscarriage. Baby 2, September 2009, and little baby girl Addison, accidental suffocation, 2008.
Iris Rose, respiratory problems, three years old, April, 2012.
MTGracie – Her two little forget-me-nots.
Baby Roessler, miscarriage, 7 weeks gestation
Noah Issac (9/1999) and Angel Faith (6/2005)
Lidia Faith and Ronnie Jo aged 7 and 3 at time of death on 12/2/2010. They passed away in a house fire.
Our sweet baby Ava Rose, miscarried at 13 weeks on Oct 3, 2007. I will never forget. <3
Mackenzie. She’d have been 19 this year.
Patrick and Anthony, born at 22 weeks gestation. They would be 19 1/2, if they had lived.
Isabella Joy (miscarried in April 2003).
Thaddeus and Clara
I’ll add any names to this list so if you’d like me to add a name, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.
At Band Back Together, we have a Wall of Remembrance as well. Remembering, loving these lost souls is so very important to me.
At 7 pm tonight, October 15th, A Day To Remember, I will burn a candle in memorium.
Dona nobis pacem.
(give us peace) Lord, give us peace.
Most days, before I go pick up Alex at kindergarten, I swing by my former house to pick up my mail while I grab the various and sundries I’ve inadvertently left behind. I guess that’s the problem with moving while other people stay behind – you have the ability to leave your crap behind to be picked up at a later date, which makes you extraordinarily lazy, especially when one of the boxes contains nothing but bacon spam. I try to get this sort of thing done sans kids because it’s just easier that way, hence my 10:30 trips back to the House Formerly Known as Mine.
Tuesday morning found me there, bright and bleary, seeing if a) the mail had come and 2) trying to knock the two remaining neurons in my brain into functionality so that I could figure out what, precisely, I’d gone there for.
After I pulled into the driveway, leaving the car to idle, I’d noted that the mail was not yet delivered, which had been my main reason for the visit. I weighed my options: I could go skulking around the garage, where Dave had thoughtfully piled anything I’d left behind or I could try and make those misfiring neurons work their asses off to recall what, in particular, I’d wanted so badly from the house.
Standing in the driveway like some sort of mouth breather, staring into space, making my neurons work hard for their money, it dawned on me: MARK ZUCKERBERG. I needed MARK ZUCKERBERG.
While I’d bought him to be a hulking force in my backyard, poised to take over lesser companies and get sued every other day, I no longer had the yard. And, to be frank, Dave wouldn’t miss him – gaudy shit is more my speed than his.
I’d bought Mark Zuckerberg on one of my Friday night excursions to my boyfriend, Target, grocery shopping with my daughter, and upon bringing Mark Zuckerberg home, Dave had bluffed, telling me that he didn’t absolutely hate the peacock, which meant that he probably would’ve burned it, given half the chance and double the energy.
It’s a good damn thing he’s not a poker player, because damns, his bluffing skills need some work.
I’d been anxious to bring Mark Zuckerberg home with me and kept forgetting to grab him from the backyard every time I swung by because, well, with a mountain of my crap in the garage, I sorta hated the idea of neglecting that in favor of a lawn ornament. Hence the skulking.
I’m not sure my neighbors know that I’m gone, although I imagine they suspect it, what with the U-Haul and removal of loads of boxes and furniture. I didn’t have the heart to tell them before I left because I knew I’d fall into a sloppy sobbing mess – I loved living in Pleasantville – and that would be awkward for all involved parties. So I put on my best poker face when I moved, bluffing my way to my new place, hoping the neighbors would simply think I’d gone on a long trip or something.
Which is why, on Tuesday, I felt like a fugitive, standing in my driveway, ready to sneak into my own backyard to take Mark Zuckerberg. I simply couldn’t imagine what they’d think was going on, and while my neighbors weren’t particularly nosy, sneaking into someone’s backyard for a statue could’ve caused some particularly ugly conversations.
I considered making a dash for Mark Zuckerberg, only to remind myself that I am still on the mortgage, which means the house is technically still half mine, which made me stupidly sad all over again. Instead of skulking around in broad daylight (I prefer to skulk at night, thankyouverymuch), I walked into the backyard, opened the gate – the one that never actually latches – and meandered over to the pine tree to take my peacock and bring him home with me.
Carefully, I avoided looking at my roses, which I’d spent so long maintaining (if I couldn’t see them, they didn’t exist, right?), and marched back to the front, Mark Zuckerberg in my arms, half-expecting one of my neighbors to be standing in front of the car, all, “Hand over the tacky peacock and no one gets hurt,” but save for some chalk drawings on the driveway, no one was there.
I put Mark Zuckerberg into the front seat with the wind-chimes I’d bought myself for Mother’s Day and slammed the door. I got back into the car, sobbed for a couple of seconds like an asshole, then dried my eyes before backing the car out of the Driveway Formerly Known As My Own, and heading toward the school to pick up my son.
He bounded toward me, arms wide open, and I smiled my first genuine smile of the day as I swooped him into my arms, kissing his face as he told me about his morning at school, as I thought about the games that people play.