Crushed Hope – Fallout From a Miscarriage

July 31, 2013 – 1:15 pm

It was like any other day. I was in the office, just returned from lunch. In just over two weeks my job was ending. I was job hunting online. Then I got a text.

kristextpregnant

ICE stands for in case of emergency.

Oh shit. HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? If you know our story, you know this isn’t possible. My wife’s been pregnant three times – twice from artificial insemination and once from in vitro fertilization. I don’t have a job soon. Oh shit. HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?

We were done having kids. We sold off everything but a breast pump and pack-and-play.

I locked my work computer and hurried downstairs to call my wife. I don’t remember taking a breath. We asked each other how this could happen. We worried aloud. Our health insurance was ending. Another kid means dealing with Jax’s room far earlier than we wanted. This baby would grow up not knowing Jax.

She started to weep.

“It’s going to be okay,” I said, trying to comfort her. But mostly myself. “This is totally from God. Everything will work out.”

Chicago

When I got back to my desk I sat for a few minutes, staring into nothing. We definitely knew the conception date. It happened in Chicago on our tenth wedding anniversary trip. I searched online for baby names influenced by the Windy City. Wrigley (the Chicago Cubs play at Wrigley Field) was the only name I could come up with on my own.

My Instagram shot.

Photo credit: Me. F yeah.

But the Internet failed me. I played with Nymbler, a baby name assistant, for the next couple of hours. I worried about my wife. This wasn’t the plan. But I was anxious to get home and talk about this more.

To my relief, she was okay. And over the next several weeks, we were both very, very okay with this. Even excited. Really, really excited. My grief felt lighter. I laughed and smiled a little more. So did my wife. Things finally seemed to be turning around for us.

Hope

We’ve heard and read that the second year after losing a child is often harder than the first. That sounds impossible. But most of the support received in the months after the death has now moved on. They have lives to live. We are still stuck. The loneliness is harder. All of the firsts – first Halloween, Christmas, birthday, memorial – have passed. All that’s left is our broken hearts.

After Jax’s memorial service we felt the beginning of that rough second year.

But this pregnancy changed that. We felt hope for the first time. This baby was going to keep that second year from being worse. The baby embodied life after all we had known for a year was death.
It’s a gift from God. We thought it. The few people we told thought it. Everything’s going to be okay, because this is from God.

Neither of us could bury our fear completely. Fear of something bad happening. We lost our first child, Presley, at 16 weeks gestation without explanation. Then Jax tragically left us. There’s no way this will end badly. Right?

My wife’s first blood tests were positive. Her second blood test revealed increased hormone levels, indicating that everything was progressing appropriately. We decided we wouldn’t find out the sex of the baby. We threw more names around than the producers of the 50 Shades of Gray movie choosing its actors.

addisonst

My buddy SJ, who was living in Chicago, offered up the name Addison. Wrigley Field’s address is 1060 W. Addison St. I liked it. But I kept pushing for Wrigley in the name somewhere.

August 17 – Seven weeks gestation

At some point, my wife told me she was spotting. I remained calm, especially after she told me it was light pink. To be extra careful, she called off work that night and rested on the couch. Anxious, I Googled her symptoms and found that everything was normal. I rested easy that night.

When we woke up, things seemed off. After a bit, I asked her how she felt. She started to cry as she said it got worse. I grew angry. This can’t be happening. Right?

We went to church that morning. I don’t recall the message, but I remember it being a perfect message for us to hear. My wife cried through most of it. I was busy hoping for the best but expecting the worst. Filling up that angry tank.

We brought home some lunch, but my wife couldn’t eat. I barely did. She called a friend and decided to go to the hospital. Her mom met her there and I stayed with the twins.

August 18 – 6:01 pm

While at my uncle’s birthday celebration, my wife sent me updates of ultrasounds and blood tests.

And then the news, as I stood in my uncle’s living room, reading my phone.

“:(( no baby”

Fuck. FUCK. Fuck this shit. I had to stay calm. My stomach sank. I wore my mask through the rest of the party. Had to act normal as we ate dinner and opened presents. Then we left. I just wanted to hold my wife.

Half way home my sister, who rode with us, asked how my wife was doing with the pregnancy. I told her about the miscarriage. Tears streaming down my face as I’m trying to drive us all home safely. I was finally able to unleash my sadness. I knew it was going to break her heart. And what was left of mine broke into even smaller pieces telling her.

miscarriage

The hope evaporated.

The next day I started my new job. The job that, along with the baby, was a gift from God. A gift of financial stability and health insurance after my first 90 days. Coverage that’d pay for the delivery that would never happen.

By now, my angry tank was overflowing. It all felt like a giant tease. A cruel trick. I kept asking myself why God would have us get pregnant naturally after years of not being able to only to go through yet another loss. F Him.

Today

My anger’s calmed down. I’m still mad, but I’m not trying to beat God up anymore. I still think the whole thing is f’d up. But my life’s been f’d up for a while now, so it’s just becoming normal.

Remember cheesy ’80s wrestling when the heel (bad guy) would get hit repeatedly, only to keep absorbing the blows before evilly grinning at his opponent and then asking for more? That’s how I feel. What in the hell else is life going to hit me with?

My wife came up with the idea to name the baby. And we used SJ’s idea of Addison. It fit for a boy or a girl. It signified Chicago. It was perfect.

I choose to believe that a fetus has a soul, and the soul of Addison is in heaven, hanging out with big sister Presley and big brother Jax.

Hopefully we can take our minivan to heaven with us. We’ll need the space.

Caliente Conger Cowboy – How Was Your Weekend?

Friday

Friday night fireworks at Angel Stadium. Yep, we were there. Since we’re in the midst of Potty Training Boot Camp (I made this up, it’s not a real thing. Well, maybe it is. But we’re not doing anything official. And I’ll share more about how it’s going in another post), my wife brought Ellie’s Minnie Mouse potty. The twins took turns sitting on the throne in the back of our minivan in the parking lot.

elliepotty

graypotty

Originally posted at my Facebook page here and Instagram (sethtearz) if you want to follow me.

The Angels won. Like anyone cares anymore.

Earlier in the week, I shared Ellie’s first crush on Twitter @SethTearz:

In case you don’t know, this is Hank Conger:

conger

He should be the Angels starting catcher, but manager Mike Scioscia hates me and my ideas.

On the way home another minivan in the 91 Express Lane decided to make a lane change right into us. I saw the bastard, braked and honked heavily, which prompted a classic Ellie line.

“Hold on, cowboy!” she said with a tinge of excitement. I have no idea where she picked that up from.

Saturday

After holing herself up in our house with naked 2-year-olds, my wife got a well-deserved break from the twins and potty training. She shopped with her mom during the day and met up with friends at night. So I assumed the role of potty training drill sergeant. And holy crap is it tough.

My head was on a swivel looking for signs that one of them had to pee or poop. I read more books this day than I had the previous two months. To steal a line from my wife, I’m tired of seeing penis and vagina.

For lunch I grabbed the Caliente Burger from Tommy’s. It came with fries and a super-sized side of shame.

calienteburger

Sunday

We attended the final sermon of Saddleback’s “How to Get Through What You’re Going Through” series. Rick Warren’s wife, Kay, spoke about finding treasure concealed in darkness. In short, going through life’s pile of poo and finding a diamond. Those are my words, not hers. My heart is not open to searching for that right now. Hopefully one day it will be.

We grabbed some lunch after church and then picked up Halloween costumes at Old Navy. You’ll have to wait until Halloween to find out what they are.

The NFL’s first weekend of football is in the books. And I’m already booted from my office’s pick ‘em/suicide pool because Lavonte David of the Tampa Bay Bucs did this.

H8 you, Lavonte.

(T)GIF – Metaphor for Life

Over the past 15 months, I feel like I’m the little boy and life is the goat.

funny-gif-lamb-kid-hitting

Thanks to Cynthia for the gif tip.The goat reminds me of NFL lineman James Harrison.

(T)GIF is a regular Friday feature at Smiling Through Tearz. Know of an animated gif that makes you tinkle with laughter, cry or cringe that you think should be featured at STT? Let me know at seth@smilingthroughtearz.com.

A Wallflower, a Bar and a Hose – How Was Your Long Weekend?

Feel free to comment about your weekend. The idea of this post was to engage community responses. 

Friday

My parents returned from a long vacation in Montana, so they had the twins spend the night. My wife and I had a much-needed date night. We braved the humidity, went to dinner and went home. I know it’s lame, but doing anything that doesn’t include the kids is a good night for us. What matters in date night is that we’re alone together. We grabbed some Yogurtland and rented The Perks of Being a Wallflower from iTunes.

perksofbeingawallflowerThe flick scored an 85 percent approval rate at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a snippet from that site:

Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a modern classic that captures the dizzying highs and crushing lows of growing up. Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a moving tale of love, loss, fear and hope-and the unforgettable friends that help us through life. — (C) Summit

We both really enjoyed it. It’s funny, honest and endearing and kept us interested through the end. The soundtrack is fab. If you’ve seen the movie, you remember the “tunnel song.” David Bowie recorded the track and co-wrote it with Brian Eno. It’s pretty awesome.

Saturday

We grabbed some brunch at Goodfellas. The plan was to pick up the kids and head down to the San Diego Zoo. Our annual passes expired after Saturday. That didn’t happen. The 5 freeway was slammed. Thanks to my dad for checking before we left. Instead, we left the kids at my parents to nap and my wife coerced me to go to Ikea with her.

We picked up a few things after winding through the labyrinth of the store’s layout. Her next idea was to hit up Jo-Ann, the fabric/craft store. Hellllllllllllll no.

“There’s a bar right next to the store,” she said. “I can shop and you can get a beer.”

Perfect. Except that the bar, Marty’s Cocktails on Tustin Ave in Orange, looked like the last door I’d ever enter. I made a joke about dying in there and she bursted “I KNOW!!!! You’re NOT going in there.”

So I ended up at the Red Robin bar at the Orange Mall (or whatever it’s called now). It was air conditioned. The Angels/Brewers game was on and I sat alone. It’s all I needed.

I started off with a Jack-and-Coke, added a tall beer and figured I’d be done. But my wife was having a tough time picking out material that would add some color to our living room. She wants to sew new pillow covers. So I kept telling the bartender to refill my glass with Jack until she was done. Three glasses later she finally text me that she was in the car to come pick me up. And I had a wonderful buzz.

She drove back to my parents, we picked up the kids, somehow sailed home on the 91 freeway (I guess every single person in So Cal was going to San Diego) and grabbed some dinner.

Sunday

Gray made this in Sunday school. The teachers claim they couldn’t find Ellie’s. She told us her favorite color was pink and her favorite food macaroni and cheese.

graycross

After church we drove out to my wife’s grandpa’s house in Pico Rivera for a barbecue. G-o-o-d f-o-o-d. There’s no air conditioning in the house so we let the kids run around in the backyard with the hose. It’s the first time we’ve participated in water play with them since Jax died. They had a blast and we found some shade with a breeze to cool off under.

elliegraywaterplay

After drying them off, cleaning them up and taping new diapers to their butts, we had ice cream.

As is customary, I shared my bowl with the twins. Gray sat next to me on the couch while Ellie wandered around the house trying to mooch off of everyone.

“Ice cream’s awesome,” Gray said. Yes. Yes it is.

Monday

Lazy day. We went to the movies and watched Despicable Me 2 which was a noticeable improvement over Planes.

The rest of the day the kids played. Gray’s really into wearing a backpack lately. He and Ellie have matching Paul Frank black backpacks. After their nap, he was strutting around with it strapped to his shoulders saying he was looking for the school bus.

Tomorrow my wife starts Potty Training Boot Camp. I wince just thinking about it. Two 2-year-olds, no diapers, no panties. Luckily, no carpet. She came home from Target today with a plastic tarp (she claims it’s for the couches). Totally serious. The goal is by the end of Thursday we’ll be done with daytime diapers and the Mickey and Minnie potties they have will be our new world. At least until we can get them on the big toilet with a potty seat.

Reach out to her if you think about it. Email, text, Facebook message, whatevs. I’m sure she’ll need all the support she can get.