Trauma never dies…learning to walk again

It only fades further into the rear view as the years roll on, but it’s legacy lasts forever in the wiring, in the very bones of the survivor.

Let’s talk about trauma for a minute (let’s not and say we did my brain yells). By the way “let’s not and say we did”, is a phrase my mom often said. Not surprising that upon the immediate mention of trauma she comes to mind even subconsciously in the phrase I used. The opposite of that phrase as she continued on was, “let’s do and say we didn’t.” This one more her credo in life I’d say.

Let’s talk about other people’s trauma like I’m the expert my brain tells me, because I’ve worked on mine. I am the healer and the healed is much more comfortable than I am the quivering curled up ball on the floor crying because a trigger happened.

Do you want to know what I think has been holding me back from writing my memoir? Shame, yes of course. And also as long as I can be the therapist and use what I can recognize so effortlessly to help others, then maybe I can just keep moving forward and not realizing and recognizing what an intense effect trauma has had on my life.

It is in all of me, and yet I walk around so assured and so confident. People praise me for this all the time. Only the very closest to me see the physical ailments I often struggle with, the bouts of insecurity and intense anxiety ridden discomfort. The lashing out and responses that are way more than necessary when “disagreed with.” My ex husband will attest to that.

Though it’s not about me not being able to handle someone not agreeing with me. It is always always the suggestion I may be some hideously selfish breed of person or emotionally unstable. That’s my hot button and anyone that’s ever been close enough to me to know it, and disappointed in our outcome, seems to use it. Against all their other knowledge of my many positive attributes and giant soft parts, this will take over.

Ego really is larger than awareness almost always.

We become what we were bathed in, no matter how hard we try, unless we are hyper vigilant to not become it, all the days of our lives.

Do you know how hard I’ve worked to beat my crazy? The things I saw and lived through. I deny that they were even true. Even as a child I took all the responsibility into myself for all the goings on.

I was never a child, there was never a childhood.

I think tenderly of Dexter here. Yes of Dexter, the boy born in blood who wants to be a good person, the one who struggles with his dark passenger because of something he never asked for. Because someone saw the human inside of him he had found a channel to work out his feelings with, that was the most right he could get to given his circumstances. “I’m a very neat monster”, he says. Only later to realize through the power of loving and being loved that he was more human than he ever gave himself credit for. Only to lose his wife and step kids, then his sister, a woman he later fell in love with, and his very own son. The season ends with him having condemned himself in a purgatory of physical labor and isolation. Not the stuff of Disney movies is it?

Thankfully feeling dead inside or the urge to harm anyone was never my burden. Interesting that should even have to cross my mind to be grateful about, but it does and I am. Others are not so lucky as to have whatever this fierce enthusiasm to believe endlessly in the good of human beings, even in the face of such the opposite.

A way I have been unkind to myself is to believe that I suffer from anxiety and chronic illness. Pain, migraines, stomach issues, flushing, extreme fatigue, etc, separately from the trauma that created that.

My spirit fights my body every step of the way. I’ve been fighting for life/light for as long as I can remember. So when a setback touches me, it feels like the entire world I have built will come shattering down. I can know logically this isn’t how it works, and I’ve been my own electrician attempting to re-wire, and build a safe and secure home in my body.

But I’ve been trying to do this largely myself using my will. My will was no longer enough anymore. I needed to find how to allow myself to be loved. I needed to thaw. And now I might need some of my own help with some of this trauma wiring, but I am seeing first hand how difficult it is to find someone to have a full spectrum of knowledge on the topic.

I need trauma body work and yoga and relaxation therapy probably often and probably for the rest of my life. I deserve those things. I deserve to speak about my experience without worrying about wrath coming down on me, not being loyal, or that it will kill me to RE experience this in full color without the careful separation I’ve created for myself from those experiences.

But when we separate ourselves into fragments to survive, piecing the whole thing back together while trying to also do life in the ways it demands is its own purgatory. And these wounds aren’t visible to anyone, but a rare rare chosen few, if ever.

And what if I don’t want to write about trauma? Well there goes my memoir. What if I can’t figure out that careful balance of giving attention to the reader versus feeling sorry for myself. No one wants pity, especially a trauma survivor, it only creates more shame.

How is one to proceed from here?

This is my 100th blog post, it has taken 100 delvings into myself to get to this next peak. Where to from here ? I don’t yet know. But I do know that I will keep going, I have to keep going. But I don’t want to run anymore. I am tired.

I think I’ll need to learn how to walk without fearing being eaten or chased.

Suffering and Parenting Consciously

Anyone who reads this without a transcription has the patience of a God, lol. But somehow it seems more authentic.

Sometimes I think who writes like this to their kids. And the shame gremlins chime in about how perhaps “children” (though they are not anymore) should maybe not be meant to understand such adult matters. Others two cents have stated that they would have given anything to know what was going through a parent’s mind. There’s a lot of different ways to do things out there. That is for sure.

Given that we lost identical twins and my wife had a D and C five days before Christmas and two before my birthday, the year is off to a slow start enthusiasm wise. We are just navigating this perilous terrain of grief, and I wanted to share something I just realized.

A day deep in grief can seem as endless as a lifetime. Each one day spent seems like a year. Time stands still as if the beating of our hearts just stopped as well…. as if they couldn’t go on. Then for awhile your hollow chest realizes the thump is still there, and the rest of you will have to acquiesce eventually. You know you’re alive, but you can’t feel things the same way.

Everything is different and you never even gave permission for that to be so.

So here we are at the beginning of week two of 2019. Wandering numbly through the mine fields of the memories of our whole experience thus far trying to conceive. Who would ever go back for a second tour I think. But then one day I imagine we will find ourselves smiling at tiny new babies again and our dreams will re-shape themselves from the nightmares they became.

Moments of relief are where we are at now, peppered with lots and lots of sadness shrapnel. As we figure out our new expectations of ourselves, each other, and even consider a plan to move forward.

Daunting or exciting ? Do the emotions set that tone based on where we are at on our grief terrain? Or do we decide we want to be excited, AND accept the moments of suffering that just can’t be avoided as a human being?

We can only outrun or block out the inherent being of suffering for so long, it will get all of us eventually.

A dear friend is reading Eckhart Tolle’s, A New Earth. She shared with me a passage about suffering consciously. Sitting with the feelings and learning from them. That this is the only solace and way to transcend the pits of despair as it were. And even then I shall say from this experience when you’re IN suffering it seems like you’ll never get out. But somehow the resilience of the human spirit can’t help but cut through the dark. We are just made like that.

As a lighter side emerges that Chumba Wumba song, I get knocked down, but I get up again comes to mind… and all it’s silly lines.

I’m just here trying to figure it out. Trying to catch the next wave of joy, even as it seems we are swimming with sharks right now. I refuse to get out of the ocean even if I could get eaten. It’s a strange and marvelous thing this humanity.

I think of Elizabeth Gilbert often. She doesn’t even know who I am, but to me she’s a mother I never had, a best friend, a kindred spirit. I think of her grief of the loss of her partner Reyya. The other day she posted her delight at her Uber driver on the way to the airport, and that you can find joy anywhere. She is so right!

Speaking of her being a mother I never had. It’s funny how she never had children, and that was such a big deal to her at one point, other’s judgments and opinions and her own of that process. And yet I wonder how many spiritual children she has. I am certainly one. She has been a teacher, a warm shelter in the storm, and a friend in times of need. All through her beautiful words she is these. What is a parent if not these things?

Perhaps she chose to sacrifice certain aspects of individual meaning for the whole good of humanity? I wonder if she ever looked at it like that? Rather than selfish …. etc…?

Anyway yesterday my wife and I were in the car and trying to count how long it had been since surgery. We both literally estimated a month or more. We were shocked to find only a little over two weeks. I’m still thinking about this.

Time is irrelevant when it comes to the matters of the heart. I have always believed this to be true.

How sales is changing me or how is sales changing me.

The new insights that are coming from solar slaying are fascinating. It’s learning people from a whole other angle. In their homes and directly in their lives. A couple is making cream of chicken soup over a beautiful stove, they share warmth and hospitality with me. A man who smokes Newport’s and drinks Budweiser in his pajamas during the day, shares with me that his wife has been cranky lately because he has lung cancer.

New couples trying to afford to live and make it in this world, financially and emotionally. Being out on the doors as we call it and talking to people is also much like doing therapy. But I can see even more of their lives, and therefore learn more is the idea there maybe. But then I am only with them a brief time and the temptation to drop by with flowers or to stop in for a coffee is always present. I closed a deal last night and the woman seemed so sad I wanted to reach out and comfort her. I can still see her grief filled eyes and I want to do something.

Should I, shouldn’t I!? The answer is you always should when you can. Perhaps I’ll bring her flowers. The resilience of people astounds me. Recently I am included once again in this category but in a new way. We have suffered a great loss and are currently waiting for a new equilibrium as a result.

I’ve had many blog posts bouncing around in my brain like many a brightly colored rubber ball, but then the energy dwindles as fast as it comes and my pursuits are demanded elsewhere.

Some things I’ve noticed so far on the doors is that my brain moves even more frantically and settles in to write less. Produce produce produce. There is always some incentive and always the want for more. I already know ahead of the curve that once the money starts coming in, the desire for more will pique. What was once unheard of will become normalized and you’ll need more to be excited.

Life normalizes invisibly and we don’t realize it until often our behaviors have caused us issue. Many a change we never saw coming. My gift is seeing ahead by the way if intuition and much life experience to draw off of, and a deep understanding of human behavior.

This is yet again when I have to put some work on knowing my boundaries and what my priorities are, otherwise I will be swept up in the hustle. The glitz and glamor of it all. The streets that are paved with cheese. Notice I said cheese and not gold. Any small sentence can give you a clue into a human beings deepest desires.

The promise of more… there can always be more. But more is not always more of what you really want. So it’s sort of ironic that I’m working more and more on (not to be confused with moron;) ), to get to a peace filled existence of writing, reading, and being present with those I love. Is it the way? Or is this just another learning curve on the way to the way. As if there was just one way.

Will this cabin on this sacred space be an answer to my writer’s heart? A spiritual healing. Will the idea turn out as I imagine it to be ? Or will it be sinking a 50,000 (ish) ship and that being yet another lesson. Oh the woes of being a whimsical risk taking dreamer, versus a pragmatic, careful, financially minded planner.

Could I become a “salesman” that becomes more and more hungry and just keep telling myself it’s for my family. So many do you know ?! Probably the smartest course of direction would be to pay off my student loans and invest. Who else can pay off their student loans in the span of one year? That is the promise here. That’s always the smartest course of action. In the real dream scenario I will be able to do both, but that will require time and sacrifice.

If you asked my kids they would probably tell you they just want even five minutes of true presence from me over all the riches in the world. If only I had ever loved myself enough to know that when they needed it even more. But that as usual is the harshest possible version. The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle. And I forgot the long ago truths such as how I didn’t have to balance work and motherhood in the early years.

It was me who held them every single time and I looked down on them with a love burning with the power of a thousand suns. I remember that in moments, but the trick is they can’t. Their logical memories can’t anyway, perhaps their feeling ones can. Perhaps that’s why they do so well now, but because I pushed them so hard, but because I loved them better than I give myself credit for.

There are many ways to love. For me as a mother my love was shown primarily by working on my self so carefully so I didn’t cause them some of the damage that was bestowed upon me. Somethings with that plan worked really well, and others left something to be desired for.

But either way my every though in every breathing moment of my life all comes down to them. It doesn’t matter how caught up in dreams of love I was and then they crashed and burned. What I saw as my motivation and my dreams always had them in mind. This is something I rarely gave myself credit for when I listened too much to the critic(s).

Isn’t it interesting how different the idea of what I will write is compared to what I actually do? The post I thought I had inside was much reflection on the past year, and how I want to use that in this new one. It will probably still come, but this is what was on the presses today.

Hot off the presses of my mind. A life lived quite uniquely, or perhaps not at all. I just am not privy to the many other minds like mine out there.

Happy New Year everyone! I can’t wait to see what adventures 2019 brings all of us!

There is no recipe for this

I’m all thrown out of whack, and I am trying to figure out what to do. I used to thrive on chaos so well. I used to separate myself from my feelings in order to survive and it became a way of living that served me for so long. I am finding through this that I’m not wired like that anymore and it has me completely thrown off. My heart is all thawed out which means that currently I am immobilized by grief in so many moments. And when I am not I am helping my wife who is having her moments.

Even when I am numb it is because my heart feels it almost can’t feel such suffering for one more second, it is no longer a disconnected numb. It’s a feeling numb, a raw one.

I was off to such a great start with working for Vivint and now I feel like I’ve lost my mojo. I was enthusiastic and excited and a self that loves to talk to people and right now I am just raw hamburger. I think if I see a baby right now I will just crumble into tears, if it catches me at the right moment and outside of my careful boundaries as a counselor.

I think I feel worried that I didn’t know how much I cared about this whole thing, not really fully knowing, until this happened and now it hurts. Hurting is an easier model for me than safely having faith everything will turn out ok. Or maybe I did have faith because if I didn’t I wouldn’t have been so on top of the world with excitement, an energy that seeped into everything that I did. Now I just have sad energy. And that doesn’t mean I’m not hopeful about the future, but right now I am just neck deep in these feelings and I can’t do anything to speed up this process or control it in any way.

There it is, the problem right there. The truth. I can’t just work hard and make this different. I even convinced myself that it was my steel mind that prevented me from losing my twins all those times I almost did. I’ve been in control of my own destiny for so long I’ve been living under the illusion that I have more control over things than I really do.

I couldn’t stop this.

And the tears come.

I couldn’t stop the bleeding or the things my wife is feeling right now. I just have to sit here and feel things and wait. So many fears are biting at my ankles like many a rabid dog, tearing at the corners of my mind. I can’t stop the war between feeling and knowing we already have so much to be grateful for, and truly acknowledging how this feels in its entirety for us right now. The desire to minimize and just keep moving foward quickly as a means to avoid suffering. It’s what I have always done.

I can’t outrun things anymore. No amount of staying busy will fix this. No amount of financial success etc. No cottage or new thing, or any other kind of comfort. There is nothing to do but just feel the feelings until they get less sad.

Will that happen?

The things I normally love aren’t able to bring me comfort right now either. My writing, my reading and my bounding enthusiasm all seem tasteless right now. I am eating food to satiate a bottomless well of pain. I am not eating to taste the food. I know this because I can’t taste anything. This is why I’m eating worse things lately because it has to be deliciously sweet or painfully salty to feel anything at all. And even then it’s just a temporary distraction and then right back to the darkness.

Any next step feels so completely daunting. And taking the next step even when it’s hard or I don’t know if my foot will have something secure under it… well that’s what I do. And right now even that isn’t working. I’m a doer and even picking up the phone to call a new clinic and figuring out how to have our eggs transferred etc feels too difficult. Sometimes getting dressed feels too difficult. And it definitely feels too difficult to do anything about all of this, and that’s all I got. I’m a one trick pony.

Moving foward through suffering is my trick. I’m afraid right now it will swallow me.

I think I really had convinced myself that I’m a robot incapable of the kind of suffering that has taken me over right now. The evil voice says “yes you still are”, of course your’re upset about this you didn’t get your way. And all sorts of other things that criminalize my intentions and my heart. The thing that threatens me to think badly about myself, one of my only main constants. That process to make sure I do no bad thing, the kinds that were done to me. To make sure that I watch myself carefully for flaws and ill intentions and at any single sign of one I pull the kill switch.

I’m supposed to think about what I’m supposed to think and feel and to decide, and this process falls so far outside of that I am lost in the dark wood right now.

Except this is a whole new dark wood, one I have never experienced before.

This is why defense mechanims are such powerful forces, because some of the depths of suffering we are just not meant to feel. I see they are definitely there for a reason. Everything is there for a reason, and so they say it happens that way as well. And I’m supposed to believe my suffering right now has another purpose right? Everything happens for a reason just isn’t cutting it for me to give me any sense of comfort. I am not there yet.

Why can’t I just skip to acceptance? Why do I have to feel every fucking thing so fucking much?

I’ve been in control even of my grief it has felt for all these years. I have stayed ahead of it. Can’t catch me! But this time and this thing has me in quick sand. Even my will cannot carry me through right now.

Is this where I am meant to find faith?

The International Women’s Summit

So we are hopefully off on a new adventure. I am asking support from my reader’s to take a healing trip to recover from loss, and from the typical self-doubts all of us human beings are afflicted with.

I will hopefully be able to have a Stella with Elizabeth Gilbert! This has been a lifelong dream. I mean a lot more than that, but that’s the simple part of the dream. The more advanced is that someday she write the endorsement for my book.

Anyway my presence is required with my wife today. We are watching A Muppet Christmas Carol and doing a puzzle. Today we have a little reprieve as we are excited to create a beautiful holiday for our kiddos.

Until I can write more later here is the plum fund account and there also should be a widget on my website. I can’t wait to write more later about what this means for to have the courage to ask for help towards my dreams. And to not just automatically discount it with so many a critical thought.

https://www.plumfund.com/travel-fund/womens-pilgrimage-to-connect

Connected

*I guess we are all one phone call from our knees. *

I don’t think I could have bargained for all the gratitude this experience is bringing me. I can’t feel it too much yet, everything is just so painful. But I know that it’s there, and growing, and that this experience has already profoundly changed me.

If I do it right it’s going to make me realize all the things I take for granted each day. It’s going to make me realize what a gift and blessing my kids are in a new way.

We need to hit the refresh button on life often folks! Not just when bad things happen, but consistently. Not just once a year. Refresh, open your eyes, and look around at the landscape of your life.

My God I could have never imagined this. I never believed I would trust or love myself as much as I do now.

I would have never believed I’d be here living out my dreams. Here I am.

It’s interesting to choose a person early on because of a hunch and an intuition and then watch them unfold and get to know them with faith and trust the rest of your lives together. Love grows as you go through things. We have been through a lot this short time together.

Prior to this I moved quickly into love also, this was a need based approach it wreaked if desperation and seeking a buoy in the ocean with sharks swimming around. I’ve finally climbed onto an island and am relaxing. I did not purposely use those people. I didn’t even know my own bs as most of us don’t, until hindsight affords clarity. Hurt people hurt people. It isn’t nearly the intentional process believe I don’t think.

Now if you realize this is what’s happening and you don’t do something about it that’s a different matter.

Love now:

We know one another’s soul, and yet we learn new small things about the other each day. We become more and more familiar as time moves on. A confirmation of the original hypothesis. The other times were disproving and they were as devastating a loss as any for both parties.

Life is a learning playground is it not? I’ve rarely seen people set out to harm another, that’s a different category all together. But I’ll tell you what I still scan myself often and thoroughly for signs of being what I came from. I still take any feedback that could be construed as negative about me and make sure it’s twisted into that either way. This is one of my greatest areas of work.

Am I taking up too much space with my big feelings? Am I selfish? Am I like them? Do I make people uncomfortable with my rawness, and is that the same As the chaotic discomfort of my beginning. It is not the same. Thank God!

As I work for Vivint I’ve been meeting lots of people who lost their loved one recently or within the last few years, and my empathy as a person grows. After having something like this I get it. I’m already aware of the depth of suffering I’ll have when I lose it. I’ve never been able to cruise along in blissful ignorance, though I’ve often envied (probably falsely) those who have.

If you had told me two years ago that this year I’d be spending trying to get pregnant with the love of my life, I would have thought you were crazy. If you would have told me I would get so close to this dream after so much hard work, and then lose it suddenly and have to push it back again significantly, I would have told you I wouldn’t make it through something like that.

And yet here we are.

The courage of my wife astounds me. Her grace and kindness and gentle soul. Some people are just made angels from the very beginning, and others have lives that make them need one. We are the perfect match. Blissfully she seems to feel it’s the other way around. I’m still trying to figure out how that’s possible.

I am able to know I can be kind and unselfish when things are hard because she believes me to be that person.

I am trying to put this into practice with my children. Coming from a life of hyper vigilance and a huge lack of trust this has been very difficult. I’ve been RE wiring myself as long as I can remember and it’s difficult for anyone who doesn’t know what this work is like to understand the profound exhaustion that comes with it.

I am not exhausted from my children. They are my reason for getting this far. But over the years if you looked at my life you might have thought that, or that I valued my romantic relationships above them. Something I’ve long been accused of. I knew I needed a certain kind of love to heal parts of me, so those parts didn’t damage them. I had the foresight to know this.

And foresight is serving me again with this tragedy we are currently experiencing, because I can already see how the awareness it brings is challenging me to love better.

To my kids: I know it has taken my entire life to become a whole loving person that you deserve. I know this journey hasn’t been easy for you. I think the only redeeming part is that your lives will be better for it in ways you may only ever see when you’re my age. Distance brings clarity. I hope your lives end up as full as mine has been. Full of adventure, challenges, new experiences, real feeling, and the love I worked so hard to find, and to help you connect to it.

I’ve worked to connect with others and myself despite incredible connection difficulties.

And now here I am a connected and real person and boy does it feel different.

During times like this for a small moment I wish I could still be safely disconnected from my real feelings. But that never worked I always felt separate from the humans like that. It was terribly lonely.

I am connected to my self and currently my suffering too, and to the Universe, and to everything.

I am grateful for that. Thats what the smile below is about. It’s a different approach at times to this grief. For me great grief also brings great gratitude I have any of this at all. That I have someone to be sad with and lose something so important with. And we can try again for this, but this love is a once in a lifetime love. It’s the kind that always helps me love myself more, and I needed a lot of that.

Ritual

I turn 38 on Saturday. In so many ways I never could have imagined my life would be where it is right now. I couldn’t have even dreamed this.

Today I am turning to my blog again as a healing medium. I don’t have well organized thoughts. I just know I need to write.

I could never have imagined being so sad and so grateful and blessed all at the same time. A blanket of numb sadness has set in this morning. I’m just trying to feel something. Anything.

I needed to renew my drivers license this morning so I came to Hamden DMV before my Vivint meeting. It was shockingly fast. I had anticipated a 2 hour wait, and running into my meeting late. But I was in and out.

If there was a Guinness Book of World Records for bad drivers license photos I would be a strong contender. The cameras are way beneath you. Why do they do that?! Is it the only satisfaction they have in their lives? Don’t they know women need a steep downward angle as they near their 40’s and grow softer under the chin and more robust around the middle?

So I did a thing!!! A nearing 40 thing… and I’m sitting here trying to process what it means to me on the deeper spectrum.

It means to not be seeking acceptance anymore. To not be shaking in my shoes that someone won’t like me for how I look, a long held legacy stemming of course, back to childhood. It means to play with life a little and try new things without it being so serious. So yesterday my wife and I set out on an adventure. We went to a local barbershop and had a great old time. It will now be filed away in memories I hold dear to my heart.

The barber was amazing! Goodfellas Barbershop Ansonia CT. Fary Palacios. All the guys in there had a blast watching me get my very thick and long locks shorn off. It was a hoot.

Then we went to a local tattoo shop and got matching birds on our wrists to commemorate or twins and loss. To honor this pain and this process. This one hurt. Not worse than many moments in each day lately, but certainly was intense.

Food doesn’t really taste like anything. My brain can’t grasp on anything to focus. We have a 2 o’clock appointment today to find out what we are going to do and I know more waves of grief are imminent. My eyes look sad and dark, they have bags under them. I don’t want this to be my reality.

I don’t feel anything holiday like or like celebrating anything. My heart is breaking over and over each day in moments. One of the deepest cuts I have ever experienced. I’m trying to hold it shut myself, and clearly I need medical intervention. Irrigation, anti-biotics, and stitches. But I have become to not feel like I can trust those institutions to be careful with us.

Like a cornered wild wounded animal. Protective. Angry. Sad. Scared. Flayed open. Raw.

I am writhing with pain on the inside, and just trying to keep it together on the outside .

Help me please I just need some peace. It’s too in between.

Waiting: Darkness to light. Floundering to faith.

Waiting. We are heavy with it. Heavy with an irritability and sadness that is uncharacteristic of our lives together. Both breaking and numbing at different times. Both on our own journeys; separate yet together.

Humira injection day, plus PMS day, plus emotional devastation slowly settling in and also crashing down: its more than feels bearable.

I want to eat bad things and be numb. I know it makes it worse, but sometimes the inertia is too powerful. I try and get up but it feels like I have on lead boots, and a heavy lead plate across my chest. It seems to take a gigantic amount of effort to do anything but stare off into space. I wish I could just sleep for the next few months. Hibernate and recover and wake up ok, skip the inevitable steps.

We are fucking waiting to expel our dead dreams and it is excruciating. When is it going to begin? How painful will it be? Will we see it? Should we capture it in a tiny cup for testing.

People may go through this all the time it may be common etc etc; but I guarantee you for each one of those people that didn’t change their own personal experience. The way they made sense of it, or couldn’t.

I want this extensive time alone away from the world to understand this, and to hold my wife and keep her sheltered through each wave. Except that isn’t an option. You just keep going. Sure you take moments, but you just have to keep going. Or I do anyway.

I also couldn’t have bargained or known the anxious thoughts that would plague me. The nightmares, the wakefulness when I need to rest. My mind spinning into outer space like an astronaut that’s been lost in space.

Speaking of space and my mind I can’t seem to grasp onto any clear thinking.

We ended up watching Bruce Almighty. I’ve referenced this movie hundreds of times. Somehow Courtney has never fully seen it. And watching her laugh and watch it tonight was such a pleasure. She makes my whole world better.

It’s only with a raw and open wound that we can sometimes see things we didn’t before. I loved this movie for years, it helped me learn not to feel sorry for myself. It helped me learn how to get outside my stories of tragedy and truly see the world with gratitude.

We are just sitting here caring for one another and making it to the next moment filled with joy. We truly are in a love that will weather for better or for worse, and this is what I’ve always asked for.

The rest I have to just keep having faith through. Faith in myself, faith in more good than bad at the end of the day. Faith over fear. To find my way back from my experiences seems unthinkable, but here I am…..

Yale Schmale: Ivf Horror Story

If something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t. Bottom line. We have had a terrible experience with Yale Reproductive Center. I don’t even want to walk back through those doors. And despite what this will be chalked up to this is not just an emotional meltdown grasping for something to blame in grief. I know all about that. I’m a mental health counselor. This is about trust. You trust a doctor because you think they know more than you, but what was missing here is that they did not care nearly (if any) about us. I’ve felt this way for a long time, but since I wanted to keep my eye on the prize and “stay positive”, like everyone tells you…. I stayed quiet. I stayed quiet through the many alarms going off in my head. My hunch is even our IUI’s could have been planned better and paid more attention to.

I think if they communicated and paid attention then we would have a baby right now. I believe that with my whole heart because of the many evidences of them not knowing what was going on with anything.

And I already know what they can and will do. They will cover up for negligence by the fact we are clearly just emotional. That’s what will happen here. That’s how large medical practices get away with things all the time.

So here is our story:

Worst experience I’ve ever had with a medical institution. You are a number. You see a different “fellow” every time, and your “doctor” one or two times. In my opinion we would have been pregnant long before if anyone in this place communicated with one another. I’m sure you could and then will chalk this up to being in a painful emotion. But that’s minimizing what actually happened here. How many irresponsible things happening with our time, our money, and our hearts.

From not knowing our correct protocol, and if I wasn’t on top of it we would have started taking incorrect medicine. To the fact that the offices terrible communication led to a decision about frozen or fresh transfer to be made immediately while I was seeing clients back to back. The woman called back and asked my wife (I’m a woman we are gay) if she wanted to talk to her husband. We have been patients of yours for over a year, you’re handling the future of our baby and our joy here, and you don’t know who we are?

Then let’s get into the back and forth over frozen or fresh transfer. It’s appearing now that we should have done frozen and we think someone set it up because that was best, but another person said it was borderline. In the end the morning of it took a long time for everyone to get on the same page. We never spoke to our actual doctor at all about this, again a melange of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year fellows.

I am not a doctor and I was concerned about the high thyroid levels that spiked with the fertility medications, the ones that we tried so hard to get down prior to trying to conceive. Our thyroid checks were not stayed on top of throughout, because no one speaks to each other.

We get a report in the beginning of mono diamniotic twin pregnancy, we are cautious as it’s early. And nervous because it’s higher risk and we know that. We go back in and it appears there is one sac and a hematoma on the other side of the membrane, we are possibly a twin down and we went in for heavy bleeding. At this time we see a tiny heartbeat and are given hope, sent home with a picture of our baby. No one said what I was thinking the whole time. If one twin goes because of a chromosome abnormality and they are identical the other is going. Was it too early to know these things. Sure. Should we have been fully spoken to by our doctor, a full experienced doctor about the risks. The heartbeat was 110, the bottom of the scale, it was on its way out too and yet we went home excited and the staff encouraged that. No one said be cautious and specifics about the mono di.

In fact no other resident even mentioned the twin situation. An actual doctor dr Pal, did the first ultrasound and gave us real info, including how early to tell. We aren’t stupid, but it’s the most questions I had answered the whole time. She did not check on us when we had bleeding, she did not check on us at all.

At this time we were told to come back 3 days later on a Monday to check things. My wife called to make the appointment and they said they didn’t have anything til Thursday. Again if we were told to come for bleeding where is the follow through.

This fertility clinic is the do it yourself variety. This is the target self checkout and if there is an error you better know how to fix it yourself. I have so many questions, so many anxieties, my wife and this baby we want to have are my world. I’m not a number. I’m a human.

So the set up was one baby was ok with a heartbeat and the bleeding stopped fully and we got excited again. And when she went to the ultrasound I was on FaceTime because I’m trying to provide and it’s just an early one. I had been at every other appointment no matter how small. But this one my wife’s twin went with her and I was on FaceTime. I got to hear our baby has no heart beat and probably hasn’t in a week from another different doctor over a screen before my 3 pm client. Again no word from dr Pal. We should have stopped progesterone a week ago so my wife and I could get on with our grief, and we would have known that if they talked to each other and prioritized our Monday appointment. We had just had bleeding. No one cared whatsoever.

Yale gets picked for its name. And I think they have forgotten real human values. It’s a machine, and contrary to their words to dismiss my many concerns they are not “a well oiled machine.” I will never affiliate myself with this group again.

My wife was sent home with a hat to collect our dead baby in and a specimen cup, and a two sided pamphlet about support groups. No word any of the way through our miscarriage from the actual experienced doctor.

The only comfort there are the few gems of nurses we will remember fondly in our hearts. The ones who get it. Doctors became arrogant and lost, and I just plan to learn from that. That I’m not too important to sit with a human and talk to them fully about what they are feeling and going through.

We will be just a statistic to them, an angry customer clearly clouded by grief, but they have a legacy with us.

We will be seeking out a space to share our very intimate fertility journey with people who genuinely show us the attention we deserve when they are getting thousands of our dollars, and holding our hope in their hands. There is a way you treat people and this was not it.

We will not be walking back through the doors of Yale fertility! There is a reason their reviews are terrible. I am so disappointed and hurt with the lack of care we have received.

I will never again put our care in the hands of someone who is an expert in medicine that isn’t also an expert in caring about the individual.

The unthinkable

*also please don’t tell us it was early or it will all be ok, tell us it’s ok to express our journey as we see fit, and that you will hold us through our pain.*

What they fail to tell you when you’re a survivor of trauma, huge life transitions, and vicious ongoing self-development; is that you won’t hit a place where human suffering becomes less. Unknowing of this you will keep searching. Maybe the beauty is that you search anyway.

There is a certain amount of entitlement that a survivor has. They almost expect that if and when they have worked hard to turn their stars around that life will grant them a time to sail peacefully. Perhaps I am not capable of sailing peacefully, because I’m too determined to fill every page. I fill in the margins, and the back, and the top, and then I make notes around that too.

My best friend calls it defying gravity.

We thought we could defy gravity with science and this time again is not the one for us. Again.

It has however allowed me the opportunity to view with extreme clarity the many changes in myself that have occurred over the last two years. It has allowed me to know I won’t shatter into a million pieces. It’s allowing this unique look at my sensitivity. I thought I was Teflon before, and that was all wrong. You are not Teflon until you have experienced unspeakable loss. And even then soft can never be Teflon, you may think you are, but you are not.

I thought I experienced suffering before, but this is an entirely different ball game. This time I’m attached to all my feelings. This helps me understand why the body has such elaborate defense mechanisms in place, because we humans have soft skin and tender hearts for a reason. We are meant to connect with others and to commune with our innermost voices, and yet so many of us become so different as a result of the world we live in. It is not a place for soft skin and warm smiles.

This inevitable contradiction blinds me with pain on a daily basis.

I was working so hard to be able to have time to relax with family, and now again crisis takes precedence and our time off together becomes grieving. This is one of the worst parts. Thinking of getting back into the swing of work, or talking about it without crying.

Watching her is the worst part. Watching her wonder if she could have done something differently. Watching her wracked with sobs. It cuts through me. And now we wait to see if her body will expel is naturally or if we go for a D & C. Wondering if our donor and her are in some way incompatible and thousands of dollars are wasted. Wondering if we can’t have one at all. If we will. If I even think I could make it through this again.

This isn’t just one loss, and “it’s early”, and you have more frozen embryos. This is a year of waiting to exhale. Focusing, surrendering, sacrificing all our time to relax and play together for appointments, needles, injections, tests, poking and prodding and at the end all that hard work is supposed to pay off.

Except that isn’t how the world works. Also while I know I’m angry right now the word Yale means nothing to me. Perhaps I’ll write out experience in the next blog post because I need to get it documented anyway. Just because a couple of nurses are kind does not make it comprehensive or a good experience. After the bleeding we were told to go back on Monday for an ultrasound, they didn’t have an apt Monday (even though we were told). No communication that this was a necessary appointment, that if one twin was lost the other might follow.

Except we were elated by that tiny heartbeat on the screen. Ok good we have one. Not at one point did anyone even know what was happening in there. With our chart or file. No one has checked on her. Our Dr does not care, we have ten doctors.

We had to decide frozen or fresh transfer at 5 pm when I had clients all evening and then no one knew what was happening. A lady called my wife and said you’ll need to discuss this with your husband. This is a fertility clinic for crying out loud. They aren’t used to same sex couples? We had been attending a year and you don’t know us? It was so frustrating, but we let ourselves block it and so many other things out because eye on the prize.

A doctor who was seasoned and knew what they were doing would have warned that mono di twins might be different, the heart rate was in the lowest end of the spectrum. Yet we came home with an ultrasound picture and hope in our hearts. I think they could have known at that time if someone was paying attention. Yale is a fertility farm and we were cattle. I’m furious. I kept chalking up my frustrations to normal things on my end, but looking now at all the dropped balls.

We are going to take our 4 remaining babysicles somewhere else. Norwalk I think. I’m done. I wonder if they see too much extreme hope and extreme suffering and have had to desensitize themselves completely?

And before that we need a vacation. I’ve missed my wife for a year. We need to give some tlc to us and our relationship, and find a new normal. This dream is just too painful right now.

We have other things to focus on for awhile.

At least I get to know I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through something like this with. Rather than tearing at one another we are careful and kind. The other is sacred to us, and that is an irreplaceable gift in this world.

Back to square one…. again..