May 10

I can’t believe I’m admitting this but this morning, when I woke up and padded to the kitchen…I glanced over at the kitchen table and saw a note propped up against a large mason jar.

This is what the note said:

“I caught him. Did not want to kill him. I put a little food and H2O in the jar. He is cute?!
Let him out at the dump?!”
Then I looked around the note into the jar and met the eyes of a fat field mouse staring plaintively at me. I nearly had a heart attack because of all the creepy crawly creatures out in this big world, mice and rats just freak me the fuck out. I clamped my hand over my mouth to keep from screaming as I scrambled as far away as possible.

What I don’t get is how my husband can go moose hunting but can’t kill a tiny mouse?

And now I can’t kill it because it looked at me as if to say: “um hi! I seem to be trapped in this here jar…if you’ll just let me out, I’ll be on my merry way, thanks! oh and please don’t kill me!”

The mouse is still in the jar and when my husband wakes up, I will make HIM drive to the dump and release it. Oh my God, I KNEW I should have stayed in bed this morning.

May 10

You know before I left for my training in Sitka, my mentor at work said that when I returned from my first session of training that I’d no doubt be “working my ass off.”

She did not lie to me. She was spot-on accurate.

I’m up to 14 patient encounters and I’ve already assisted with two emergencies. I’m thankful and happy for the experience I’m getting under my belt, but I have to be a little whiny and say:

Oh my God, I am SOOO tired.

I was at work until after 1:00am Friday morning, didn’t get to sleep until nearly 3:00am and had to wake up at 7:00am. I know my long time readers have read my rants about my needing a good eight hours of sleep to function normally and feel good.

Unfortunately, Howard’s had to carry the burden of keeping the house clean and picked up. I’ve washed dishes only a couple of times and maybe threw in a couple loads of laundry but that’s it. I might add that he’s done it all without complaint and his arms are always ready to envelope me at the end of a long, tiring day.

Last night, before our usual steak night outting, I attempted a quick power nap so that I wouldn’t be the equivalent of an angry wolverine at dinner. That god damn nap eluded me no matter how much I tossed and turned. By the time we arrived at steak night, I was bleary-eyed with fatigue that could not be sated. I tried my best not to be cranky but it was obvious that I was. Mostly, I stayed quiet as our friends surrounded us and talked about their weeks. If I did say something, I chose my words carefully.

I didn’t want to be the one standing there awkwardly trying to hand someone back their own head because I’d bitten it off earlier.

We visited for a while, then my eyes started getting heavy, the sleep that I’d been trying to get earlier chose the most inopportune time to take over my body.

I asked one of our friends if they could take Howard home (because he deserves a night out with our friends, why should my being tired ruin his night?) and I left.

The guilt of Howard’s having to clean the house pulled at me when I walked in the door though and I couldn’t resist changing the cat’s litter box and throwing in a load of laundry. I nearly nodded off while brushing my teeth and I was asleep before hitting the pillow.

I don’t know what time it was when I felt Howard crawl into bed and spoon up next to me.

Needless to say, here I sit, happy and alert at 7:00am on a Saturday. The day I normally sleep in. Oh, the irony of it all.

So, that my dear readers is why I’ve been scarce. Bear with me as my body and mind adjust to the new demands put to them.

And if you happen to see a red-head with glasses wearing her clothes inside out or even perhaps wearing two different shoes or possibly even driving on the wrong side of the road? Be nice to her, it just might be me.

May 4

After a five hour drive with my feet placed precariously on the dashboard of our car, Howard helped me up the steps to our rented beach house. We called the emergency room to the local hospital and informed them of our situation and they told us to hurry on over.

A feeling of dread had already settled over me.

We arrived and I was whisked back to a private room while Howard registered my information with reception.

In short order, I was giving a history of what had transpired over the last 24 hours to a nurse and my feet were placed in stirrups and I was given an exam by the ER doc.

A heavy seconds passed then I heard the doctor calmly tell me:

“I’m afraid you are miscarrying…your cervix is open…and there is tissue passing.”

My skin felt flush, my heart sank. I teared up and then apologized to the doctor for doing so. He immediately rose and came closer to me, brushed my hair from my forehead, and took my hand in his and said:

“Listen to me…these things happen…you cry because you are sad…but please don’t cry
because you feel guilty…this is not your fault.”

I nodded and allowed the tears to come.

He then asked me if there was anything I needed at this particular time.

“My husband…” I stammered.

He was gone in a flash and in a matter of moments, Howard walked into the room, we heard the nurse pull a curtain around the bed and step out of the room.

He bent down and pulled me into his arms.

“The baby’s gone..” I sobbed into his shoulder. He said nothing and just held me.

In what seemed like minutes, I was whisked to ultrasound to confirm the worst: an 11 week gestation fetus was no longer alive. I was emotionally numb at that point. I stared
blankly at the screen as the kind obstetrician explained what we were looking at. He’d turned the screen around because I’d insisted.

I remember refusing any pain medication as well, feeling that this would probably be the
closest thing to feeling the baby within me that I’d never hold in my arms.

The rest gets blurry as I was taken to surgery for a D&C and then to recovery where I do
remember Howard standing at the foot of my bed, touching my feet with a worried look on his face, and telling me that he loved me. (Afterwards, I would find out that Howard was so near frantic with concern for me that the OB brought him back to the recovery room so that he could see that I was okay.)

I spent the night in the hospital. Howard slept beside me in an uncomfortable reclining
chair, and held my hand as we both tried to sleep. I dreamed of my baby. I kept seeing it as a little girl with brown curly hair and we called her Phoebe Katherine.

The next day, I was discharged and we returned to the beach house we were renting with a few other family members.

Feeling restless, I swam in the ocean with my niece (an act that I would be judged for
later…apparently, my way of grieving offended a few family members)later that day. I
think I was in shock. I also learned a big lesson in the varied and individual ways people
grieve and that there really is no right or wrong way.

For a few days afterward, I felt fuzzy around the edges. I remember the vacation in
horrific flashes. No one talked about what happened, save for Howard and myself. I was
incredibly sad but could barely register a whimper. I hadn’t cried since I’d given the news
to Howard. Given my affinity for bursting into tears over a sappy tv commercial, this was
odd to me.

Finally, a few days later as I stood in the shower, feeling the warm water running over me,
a dam broke within.

I cupped my hands over my face and moved them over my still-leaking breasts and down to my now empty tummy and I wept. I wept until I had to lean against the shower wall to support myself. My hands pressed into the void where my baby had lived only days before, I closed my eyes, and finally whispered the words that formed on my lips…

“You mattered, little one, you mattered.”

Ten years have passed and here I sit, still childless. Sometimes I think it’s a cruel joke
from God, other times I think it’s his way of making sure I don’t forget the one we lost.

The one we will always consider our first child. Often, the gift of live, healthy children,
helps ease the pain and dim the memory of the ones who didn’t make it into the world before them.

Especially those lost to miscarriage.

It’s not a slur against the mothers by any means but it’s a sad fact. I know that if I ever have a child, the pain of the one we lost won’t be as amplified in my heart. Children have a way of healing us and thank God for that.

But regardless, I carry the pain with me. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that
child. My would-be due date doesn’t pass without me reminding Howard that our little one would be turning another year older.

Time does dull the pain a bit. It doesn’t suffocate me anymore. The pain of that loss
ultimately defines who I am now.

With or without a child in my arms, that experience made me forever..a mother.

May 3

It was an exciting one, that’s for sure. Also, for a week that was shortened by my Monday off, it sure felt long. Probably because I worked over 12 hours on Wednesday and Thursday. I haven’t worked those kind of hours since I ran the store.

I am, however; getting lots of experience. Let’s put it this way: Before my second session in six weeks? I’m supposed to have 20 patient encounters under my belt.

My first week, I had 6. Boo yah!

I did very well on my blood draws. You know, we practiced on each other in session but I have to say: when you’re drawing blood on people you know well and are friends with? The pressure to do well is even worse.

I got two out of three draws and when I whined to my mentor about it, she said:

“Oh honey, don’t sweat it, I missed two last week and I’ve been doing this for over 25 years.”

Whew!

I have also been sleeping like a rock since I’ve been home. I’m talking asleep within five minutes of my head hitting the pillow and Lucky curling up beside me. Let me just clear the air here too: I AM NOT COMPLAINING. It’s been fabulous.

I’m certain that besides being exhausted at the end of the day, the fact that I’m sleeping in my own bed, on my high thread count sheets, with my husband beside me, and the animals tucked up around both of us…is a huge contributor to my getting a good night’s rest.

Last night, Howard and I chaperoned the high school prom and it made us realize two things:

1-Holy shit, we’re OLD!

2-Holy shit, midnight is WAAAY past our bedtime nowadays!

The teenagers pressured us into dancing a couple of slow songs (remember my Howard doesn’t dance) and I stayed on the dance floor for a couple of fast songs(because I love to dance) which hopefully brought us to some level of “cool” in their eyes.

I was asked to slow dance by an 11 year old. Of COURSE I accepted. I couldn’t help but ask Howard when I sat back down:

“Were my boobs in his face?”

Howard replied:

“Yes, but I’m sure it made his 11 year old night”

I just laughed and shook my head.

And finally, my sister called this morning frantic because my nine year old niece has injured her knee and is in a cast from mid-thigh to her ankle. She managed to land her patella DIRECTLY on the corner of the coffee table and apparantly there is a fracture in the growth plate (don’t judge me on my doctor slang, I haven’t gotten THAT far in anatomy yet), and has been in constant pain for the past three days, and nothing the doctors do for her helps. I can only imagine how helpless she must feel. So you guys send some good energy her way, will ya?

So, that’s been my week. Today will possibly involve more sleep and maybe some ice fishing. The river is starting to thin out and the snow is melting and the village is basically a giant mudhole.

Spring time in Alaska is the ugliest season. It truly is.

Oh yeah, AND Amanda gave birth to Finley, after we all waited and refreshed our browsers at her website to see if her daughter had decided to make an appearance. Mama and baby are doing fine. Go on over there and congratulate her. (I know, could her family be any more beautiful?)

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