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Friday, October 31, 2008

Should I send this?

Ok everyone. I need some help. Through a friend at the newspaper where I used to work, I obtained my publisher's e-mail address. I have written him a letter, detailing my side of things. I didn't get to talk to him on Monday when I was fired, because Betty did it. Do you think I should it? Here it is and please tell me through the comments section if you think I should.

Dear Jeff,

I realize your first inclination will be to delete this e-mail, but after nine years of loyal service to Lakeway Publishers, I believe I have earned the right for you to show me the respect to read and reply to this e-mail.

The first issue I have to address is the resume you found in my queue at work. It was not there because I was applying for other jobs at work. I had it stored there because I wanted a back-up copy. The reason I had an updated resume was not because I wanted to leave The Tullahoma News, but because I was applying for freelancing positions to earn a little extra money. I didn't want to leave The Tullahoma News. It has been my home for the last nine years, and I loved what I do.

I have given you and the company nine years of loyalty. Three people under you have told me they will give me good recommendations or write letters for me if needed. I have come into work when I was extremely ill. I hardly ever missed a publication day. I have placed each year in the TPA contest, when many others there have not. I am so dedicated to the newspaper that when my stillborn daughter was born, I called that night to check to see if everything went the way it was supposed to and to see if Justin needed any help.

This leads me to my last point. You informed Betty that it seemed like I had lost interest in the last few months. I suppose to a point that I have, but I never let that loss of interest negatively affect my work. I'm not sure if you are aware of what I have gone through. In April, I found out I was pregnant. In July, I found out the baby was a girl and that she was very, very sick. I left early the day we received the diagnosis and came back to work the very next day. I thought we would be able to end our pregnancy in Tennessee but was not able to do so. We had to travel to Atlanta, where we were told we couldn't have the procedure done due to a mix-up at the clinic. We came back home. I took two days off for that trip, one to travel to Atlanta and one to explore what our options now were. I came back to work right away, and two days later, in spite of all the pain and turmoil I was going through, I worked until 11:30 p.m., on election night. I call that dedication to a company.

In August, we found out she had died. I held her lifeless body and had to look down at a child I knew would never laugh, run, play or even cry, a baby that was doomed before she ever even had a chance. I only took two weeks after she was born. I was going to take longer, but Betty called and asked me to come back because they had no one to do "Over 50." I came back, my heart heavy, grieving over the loss of my child. That was two months ago. I doubt I will ever completely get over it, but two months is nothing when it comes to the death of a child. I would have expected a little compassion from you, but I did not receive it.

I really hope you never have to go through what I did. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, but if you ever do, I hope no one punishes you for a natural "loss of interest" afterward. I do not want my job back. I don't believe I could work for you again. I just hope that this letter will give you a heads up and show you the mistakes of your actions. Maybe it will also allow you to have more compassion when dealing with your employees.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A little good news

This morning, I was trying to figure out what to do because I was bored. I'm not used to be home all day without Tessa here, and I've had a job since I was 16. This is just so weird to me. The phone rang, and it was Tabitha, the editor of The Moore County News. She wants me to freelance for her.

Now, I had a terrible experience in Moore County when I was editor there, but this is fabulous news. I can get some clips, add her to my resume and not officially have to work there. She's going to pay me $25 a story, which isn't great, but it's not bad either.

I've been applying for other freelance gigs, too. I hope to hear back from some of them. Between what I'll make if I land some of the other jobs, the Moore County gig and unemployment, I may actually make more than I did at the newspaper.

Tabitha did tell me that she hates what he did to me, how unfair she thinks it is, and how talented of a writer she thinks I am. That made me feel very good.

I turned down a job today, too. It was at the civic center in Tullahoma, as director there, but it also included budget work and other stuff I just didn't want to do. It didn't pay anymore than the paper did and no insurance. So, I told Shirley I couldn't take it, but I am going to volunteer and be the publicity chair for her. I have also decided to volunteer with the Trisomy 18 Foundation. They were wonderful to me when we found out Jenna had it, and I want to pay it back. And, if I can help a family going through what we did this summer, I'll be happy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lost interest

One of the things Betty, my former editor, told me yesterday was that Jeff, my former publisher, said it seemed like I had lost interest over the last few months.

I wanted to say, "You think? It's not like I lost a child or anything." Every time I think of him saying that, it pisses me off even more than I'm already pissed off. To rub salt in the wound, he gave the job to his wife, who has no journalism experience. How can that be right? We live in a right to hire, right to fire state, so he can do whatever he wants.

But, back to the topic at hand, the loss of interest. Isn't that a sign of depression, which follows the loss of a loved one? In the last year, I've lost two important people to me, my granny and my child. I know my work wasn't at the top of my list, and I've done a better job. But, I don't believe it affected my section at all. It was still full of local news, still had features (when I had space for them which wasn't often because of bad ad sales) and finished by deadline every day.

I came back to work the day after I got the diagnosis for Trisomy 18. When we went to Atlanta, I took two days off. When Jenna was stillborn, I only took two and a half weeks off, because Betty called and asked me to come back because "Over 50," a magazine I was editor of, was suppose to come out, and no one else could do it.

I called from the hospital after Jenna was born to make sure everything was fine and Justin didn't need help. I haven't lost interest in my job or that paper. I loved that newspaper, and everything we did, the attention to local details, the stories I wrote about little old ladies and men, pictures I took of kids, and book reviews to bring a little culture to our area. Of course, that culture is what got me fired.

Again, I hadn't lost interest, but even if I had, I had more important things on my mind. Give a body time to get over such a devastating event. How insensitive can you be?

It's a wonder I have even been able to get out of bed, let alone go to work some days. I could have completely shut down after the hell I went through, but part of what made me keep going was my dedication to my job. I knew I couldn't let them down. I guess dedication just isn't appreciated any more.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tired of all the bad things happening

Losing granny last year was just the start, but I didn't know it then. I thought that losing her would be the hardest thing I've ever had to go through, but I was wrong.

I lost my child. That is the hardest thing I have gone through, and I don't foresee anything happening being worse than that.

Even so, I received some bad news today. I was fired from my job. I ran a story that my publisher didn't like, so he fired me. It was a book review that one of our reporters wrote. I'm not surprised I was fired. My publisher is an ass who has been trying to get rid of me for a long time.

Even though I'm not surprised, it still hurts. I've been there since I was 22 years old, most of my adult life. The people I work with, for the most part, are my friends. Actually, they were more than friends; they were family, especially Betty, Rita, Justin and Larry. They've been there for me through good times and bad. I don't know what I'm going to do not seeing them every day. The worst part was that the only people who were there when it happened were Betty, Brian and Linda, the last two I don't particularly care for. I didn't get to say goodbye to any of my favorite people. I am going to call tomorrow and tell them goodbye.

It is a huge blow to my pride, of course. I've done good work for them, and I'm the only one who has consistently won awards for the newspaper. Betty is going to write a letter of recommendation for me, and I'm sure Larry will do the same. It just sucks, because I may have to put my trying to conceive plans on hold. I'm going tomorrow to find out about insurance. Please wish me luck that we can find some that's reasonable and includes a maternity rider.

I'm ready for something good to happen.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lost friendship

I work with a lady who I used to consider a friend. She has always had a tendency to get on my nerves, but her actions after Jenna was diagnosed have made me dislike her.

The day after we got the diagnosis, I went back to work. I knew I would drive myself sitting at home, looking up information on the Internet, so I went to work where I could keep myself busy. She came over to me and asked me what our options were. I told her, "We can carry to term, or we can end the pregnancy now."

She looked at me and said, "Oh, don't end the pregnancy. Miracles happen every day. You should carry her to term. Don't you want to hold her and get to know her? I know that's what I would want to do."

Every day after that I had to hear about how miracles happen, that God could fix things, that her son almost died during delivery but a miracle occurred. He had the cord wrapped around his neck, and he was delivered by c-section. I know cord accidents are a terrible horrible thing. That's how my granny's youngest baby died. But, her son's happened at the very end of the pregnancy while she was in labor. That's not a miracle to me; it's good medicine on the part of the doctor.

It might seem like nothing, but those days, I didn't need to hear that. I needed her to be a friend, to tell me she was sorry for what I was going through and would support me no matter what decision we made. At the very least, it was insensitive. My other friend at work, who is staunchly pro-life and even adopted two children one of whom speaks out against abortions, didn't do that to me. She even told me she would support me in whatever decision I made. Why couldn't the other friend do so? I was barely functioning. I needed a friend to wrap her arms around me, not tell me what I should do.

Now, I can't trust her. I can't even bring myself to even like her a little bit like I did before. Whenever she says anything, I want to bite her head off, even if I agree with her. When she talks about her teenage daughter, I want to slap her. See, her teenage daughter was pregnant a couple of years ago. She considered adoption, met with the adoptive parents, who then got the room ready and she changed her mind at the last minute. When her little boy was about four months old, she signed off all parental rights and gave him to his father's grandparents. I hate that she did that to the adoptive parents, and I hate that she has a baby with nothing wrong with him and can throw him away.

She is actually the only person who has been this insensitive to my face. I've heard about others from my mom, when they would say things to her, but they haven't actually said it to me. I don't know how to get passed this, and I don't think I'm ever going to be able to look at her the same way again.

Not pregnant

I knew I probably wouldn't be, but I found out Thursday that I wasn't pregnant when I started my period. I was planning to take my temp that cycle but stopped after two days because I forgot about it. I guess that just goes to show that I wasn't ready that soon.

But, I've taken my temps the past three days and set the "M" button on my fertility monitor. I'm taking my Metformin and started a new cycle at I'm ready to go.

A new baby won't take Jenna's place. No one could do that. But, our family is not complete yet, and my arms still just feel so empty. I'm hoping a new baby will help with that.

I'm doubtful we will get pregnant this cycle since I'm not taking Clomid and have never had a pregnancy without it. But, maybe since I'm taking my Metformin it will happen.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Is this weird?

Tonight, I bought a really cute new purse. I cleaned out my old one to switch to the new one. I had been carrying around the cards everyone sent me after she died. I was going to put them in the memory book I bought, which is still empty, but I couldn't do it. I wanted to keep them with me, so I put them in the new purse.

I also had her ultrasound pictures in there along with the pictures taken after she was born. I also couldn't make myself put them in the book. They went into the new purse, too.

I had all the reminder cards from my doctor's appointments in there. I didn't throw them away, like I did other reminder cards. I put them back in the new purse.

Besides having a very full and not very neat purse now, I also have a bag full of Jenna's memories. After she died and we had her cremated, I carried her urn with me for the next week, until the day of her memorial service. I now have it on an end table along with the picture Melissa drew for us and some of the angels we received the day of the service.

Is it weird that carrying all of those things with me make me feel closer to her? Should I force myself to give them up? Will that make me move through the grief I'm feeling? Is this kind of crutch a healthy thing? I don't know, but for now, I'm keeping them with me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Update on my letter writing campaign

Several weeks ago, I sent out letters to the people on the House's Health and Human Resources Committee and to the Senate's committee. I also wrote to Jim Tracy, our state senator, and Curt Cobb, our representative. I also sent letters to their home addresses. Jim Tracy and Curt Cobb are both up for re-election.

I heard almost immediately from Jim Tracy's assistant, who said she would present the issue to him. Several other people wrote to him, too, and she contacted all of them. Even though he is a conservative and is backed by the Right to Life Coalition, I feel like I have more of a chance with him taking this issue seriously than I do with his opponent. Even though I don't normally vote Republican, I will be voting for Jim Tracy.

As for Curt Cobb, I have heard nothing from him. Not one word. I sent an e-mail to him, along with a letter to his home address. I haven't received a phone call, an e-mail, a hi, bye, I'm considering this, nothing. His assistant didn't even write to me. I realize he is busy campaigning, but I am one of constituents. I was planning to vote for him. I have a large family, who I can influence not to vote for him because he isn't taking this seriously. So, I will not be voting for him. Even if he had just written to me and said he was busy with the campaign and would get back to me after the election was over, I would have voted for him. He still has until election day to contact me to get my vote. Otherwise I won't be casting a vote in that race.

Out of all the people on the committees I contacted, only one has gotten back to me. His name is Joe Armstrong, and he is the chairman for the House committee. If I could vote for him, I would, but he is out of my district. He said that right now he couldn't do anything for me, because they aren't in session. But, it will start back in mid-January, and if I still wanted to do something then, he would help me. I will be contacting him then, definitely.

Since I can't do anything with the representatives until January, I think I'm going to write letters to the editor to newspapers. I can't do so for the ones our company owns, but I can write one to The Times Gazette, The Tennessean and The Daily News Journal. I'm also going to ask Larry, who is doing our editorial page if I can write an editorial about the laws in Tennessee.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A rough few days

I say it was a rough weekend, but it wasn't really that bad. A few things happened, though, that kind of put me down in the dumps.

On one of the boards I visit, a woman called me pro-death after I had a problem with her saying she wouldn't be heartbroken if Barack Obama were assassinated. I said that if she was really and truly pro-life, she would be heartbroken over his death. She then went on to say that was absurd and would be like her saying since I was "pro-death," I shouldn't care if he died. Later, after I confronted her about it, she said she didn't say I was "pro-death," but she did. It doesn't matter now anyway; the thing is, she hurt me more than anyone has with regards to what I went through this summer.

I was so afraid of being judged for wanting to end the pregnancy that we didn't tell anyone beyond immediate family what we were doing. Brian didn't even tell his parents. I am not, nor have I ever been, pro-death. I was pro what was best for my child and my family, but I knew that I would be judged by people like her, so I kept it to myself. She doesn't realize the grief and the guilt I felt when making that decision. I was in tears and didn't sleep well for the rest of the night.

My best friend at work promised me that after everything was over with Jenna, we would go out for a "Girls Night Out," so on Saturday, we went out for that. Being around them and cutting up and having a good time basically made me realize all over again that I am a completely changed person from the one I was a year ago. Even in the midst of a good time, I was still thinking of my dead baby and wishing she were alive. I had Georgia Peach Martini at the restaurant and thought that if Jenna were still alive, I wouldn't be able to have that. We moved on to a bar later, and even though I was drinking Coke then (I'm not much of a drinker at all; I didn't even finish the martini), I thought that if I was pregnant, I wouldn't be in the bar at all because of the smoke.

Mostly, I just felt beyond my friends. I don't know if that makes sense or not, but it's like I know something they don't. I know the terrible pain of losing a child, of holding a baby that's never going to grow up or move or say any words. I know what it's like to have the hope of life stifled, what it's like to know that things truly do not go the right way sometimes. I think I might have known that before, but I had never really lived it until I lost Jenna.

Then today, I went to take a photograph for work, and the last time I had seen one of the ladies was a week or two before Jenna was diagnosed. I had just started showing then and was wearing maternity clothes, so she knew I was pregnant. She asked me today how the baby was. It was like a punch in the stomach. I stammered and stammered and finally just said that we lost her. She apologized, and you could tell it bothered her that she mentioned it. I told her not to worry.

I wondered how long the reminders would hurt, and I realized they probably would forever. I know with Granny I am now able to remember her without crying, and at times, without all the pain. I know it's getting easier to bear, not better, just easier. But, I think the difference is that Granny had a chance to live a full and long life, and Jenna never got that chance. At least I have solid concrete memories of Granny. All I have of Jenna is fleeting butterfly movements.

All of this isn't to say that I'm not doing well. I'm doing much better than I was two months ago, or even a month ago. I don't cry every day on my way home from work. I don't cry in the bathtub every single time I take a bath. I don't cry every night after everyone in the house is asleep. I'm getting better and pushing through this pile of grief that has landed in front of me, and I know there has to be rough patches along the way.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I don't put much stock in percentages anymore. When our AFP test came back, we were told Jenna had a one in 10 chance of having Trisomy 18, meaning she had a 90 percent chance of not having it and a 10 percent chance of having it. Sounds like pretty good odds, right? Well, we were in the one in 10.

Since all of it happened and I've been doing research on abortion statistics, I have come to find out that 93 percent of abortions are done for social reasons, and the other seven percent are because of health of the mother, fetal anomolies and rape or incest.

I just don't trust percentages anymore. Based on the ratio, you would have thought Jenna wouldn't have had Trisomy 18. You would also think that since not many women need abortions because of health of the mother, fetal anomoly and rape or incest, the laws would be fine as they stand in this state.

All of that changes when you fall into those percentages. We should not be punished when we are already going through the hardest time in our lives. I've heard, "It's only a small percentage. Why does it matter?"

It does matter. What if you were one of the percentages? How would you feel then? Have a little compassion for someone else and walk in their shoes for a moment. Then you will see that those little percentages are big numbers for those of us who are going through it.

Our remembrance night

We were running a little late getting home Wednesday night, but we managed to have all the candles lit by 7:15. I thought I had purchased enough candles, but I was short by one. As we lit each of the little candles, we said the name of the baby we were honoring. When we reached the big candle, the baby that had been left out was my uncle Ronnie, so I said, "This candle is for all the babies all over the world who have been lost, but especially for my uncle Ronnie." I know that wherever she is, my granny was looking down and was pleased I remembered her babies. I know she's holding them, along with my Jenna.

Tessa helped me light the candles, and Brian, who had been in bed and asleep at the time, woke up and came out. We all three put our arms around each other and just stared at the candles for a while. It was truly a special moment for all of us. We will never forget about our sweet Jenna.

Here are the pictures. Please ignore Tessa's long bangs. She wants to let them grow out, but we are getting them cut tomorrow.



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Remembering Our Babies -- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day


Today, all over the world, parents are coming together to remember their sweet lost babies, some to early miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth or SIDS.

I thought I would be very sad today, remembering all of these babies who have passed on. While I am sad, I also have to stop and take a moment to thank a higher power for allowing me to have Jenna for a little while.

I'm going to take a moment to remember her. She was stubborn, just like her sister, momma, nana and great-granny. Every time we went to the doctor (except for once), her little heart was beating solidly away. Even with just a little brain matter, she held on for a long time. Her most active time was in the morning. I would have my one caffeinated drink a day, and she would start moving around. I miss those kicks so much.

Other bloggers who have lost children are praying for the people who have lost children. Even though I don't really believe in a Christian God anymore, I do believe prayer can be a good thing, with all kinds of positive energy and thoughts floating around. Instead of doing a prayer for those who have lost babies, I want you to post a story of remembrance in the comments. Please share your name, your baby's name, what happened and a little bit of what you remember about them. If you haven't lost a child, you can tell me about a friend or loved one who has. Please feel free to post anonymously if you wish.

I'll start:

My name is Tamara, and I lost my baby girl, Jenna Grace, to Trisomy 18 at 21 weeks. She was stubborn and loved to move around in the morning. If she had lived, she would have looked just like her big sister. She is always in my heart.
Who's next?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Two months today

Two months ago today, Jenna was born. No one remembered it again, except for me, but that's all right. I've got to come to expect that people are going to have a hard time remembering her because of how little time she was here.

She impacted me in a big way. I've learned compassionate because of what we went through with her. I go out of my way now to tell people how sorry I am for what they are going through. I take the time to mail cards to those who are hurting. I make phone calls and try to remember the dates of hard times for people.

I've learned not to worry about the small things. Some things are just not important. Being with family, spending time with friends, showing people you care, that is what is important, not how much money we make, what kind of car we drive or the kind of house we live in. Brian and I hardly ever argue anymore. It's just not worth it.

I'm changed forever. I know that. I thought at first, it was for the negative, and in some ways, it is. People ask me all the time how I'm doing. I don't believe I'll ever be able to say fine again. I answer "all right." I will forever be missing a part of my family.

But, after two months, I'm able to see some of the positives of how my life has changed. Of course, I would give back all of those positive changes if Jenna could have been healthy, all of them.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Just some thoughts

Lately, I've been reading blogs of women who decided to carry to term when given a poor prenatal diagnosis. I often wonder if they think they love their children more than I loved Jenna, since I wanted to end the pregnancy and would have if I had been able.

This leads me to feel guilt and think that maybe they did love their baby more than I loved Jenna, because if I really loved her, I would never have wanted to end the pregnancy. At times, I even feel sort of jealous of those ladies who had the strength to never even have the thought of ending the pregnancy.

I know, or at least I think I know deep down, the women who decided to carry to term don't think they love their children more. I'm sure they realize we all have to make what is the best choice for our families. I also know that I did love her. Even though not many people in real life know our story (the fact we traveled to Atlanta to do it and weren't able to), I feel like they are judging me when I say that I miss her or loved her. In fact, I'm waiting for someone in real life or on here or my boards I visit to say, "How can you say you loved her when you wanted to abort her?"

It's just not that simple. I did love her. She was my child, and I hated the thought that she could be in pain. That's the only reason I wanted to end the pregnancy. I've read on other boards that parents have to quit wanting the perfect child. For mre, it wasn't about wanting a perfect child. In fact, I hoped and hoped that if she did have a chromosome disorder it would be Down Syndrome or Turner Syndrome or one of the other non-fatal disorders. I didn't care if she was handicapped or disfigured; I just wanted a baby that was going to live. In fact, if the amniocentesis had shown normal chromosomes and the only problems were the cystic hygroma and clubbed foot, terminating would have never even been an option.

I don't want people thinking I didn't love her or that I don't have the right to grieve for her because I wanted to end the pregnancy. I did love her. I wanted her more than anything. I wish she was still inside me, moving around and healthy. I wish she was going to be my little Christmas present. So, please don't judge me because I wanted to end my pregnancy. I loved her so much that I didn't want her to be in pain. I didn't think I was strong enough to handle that.

To all those mothers who were given a fatal or poor prenatal diagnosis and decided to carry to term, I think you are probably some of the strongest women I know. I don't judge you for your decision, and I hope you don't judge me for mine. I think we (those of us with fatal diagnoses no matter what decision we make) have to stick together to get through the most difficult thing any of us will ever have to face.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Oct. 15

As I posted below, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

Organizers are asking everyone to light a candle at 7 p.m., in remembrance of lost babies and to keep it lit for one hour.

Right now, I'm planning to light a candle for my Jenna and one of my Internet friend's little girl, who was stillborn at full term.

If anyone wants me to light a candle for their loss, please leave me a message, and I will buy a candle for your baby and light it. I'm going to be doing pink for a girl and blue for a boy. I also plan to find some candles in a neutral color to light for those who don't know the sex of their baby. Please just leave me a comment here with what color it needs to be, and I will gladly do it. I'll take a picture of all the candles and post it here afterward.

The dragonfly

When we had the memorial service for Jenna, I allowed some of it to be religious because most of my family is, and I knew they would want that. However, I wanted this little story about the dragonfly to be read. This story sort of describes what I think happens when we die.

Once, in a little pond in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions.

Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of the lily pad and would never be seen again.They knew when this happened, their friend was dead, gone forever.

Then one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top.

When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired and the sun felt so warm that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body changed, and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying. So, fly he did! And as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed.

Then he remembered his water beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended.

But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he understood their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life.

So, now, dragonflies sort of remind me of Jenna. The day we held the memorial service, we went to the cemetery to see my granny's grave, and two dragonflies flew past us, almost playing together. We thought it might be Granny and Jenna.

Over the weekend we went camping. It was the first major thing we've done as a family since Jenna died. We also went out on the canoe. We had a lot of fun, but I couldn't help but wish Jenna would be able to experience it with us, too. We saw tons of dragonflies buzzing around us, but I was amazed when one landed on my shoulder. It stayed there for about five minutes, even with Tessa shouting about it being there.

I might sound crazy, but I think it was Jenna, telling me she was with us and always would be.

Friday, October 3, 2008

You don't ever get over it

Last night at the vice-presidential debate, Joe Biden teared up while talking about the deaths of his first wife and his infant daughter over 30 years ago.

I've read on two different boards that he should be over it by now, and he's playing the death card. I don't believe I've ever read anything so insensitive in my life or anything so insulting to those people who have lost children. I will never question the emotion when it comes the loss of a child.

Losing a child is not something you ever get over. It's not something you move on from. I've heard from several people that you get through it; you don't get over it or move on.

My life was changed forever when I found out Jenna had Trisomy 18, but I was even more impacted by her death. I will never get over holding her small, lifeless body in my arms, looking at tiny fingers that would never curl around mine or little feet that would never run. The sight of her collapsed head will haunt my dreams forever.

I don't understand how anyone could say he was using his tears for political gain or that he was playing the dead family card. How dare they assume he should be over it and shouldn't cry when he thinks of his baby girl?

It infuriates me the lack of sensitivity for those who have lost a child. If you are a parent, you have to be able to imagine how it would feel to lose a child. How could you even question it? It's one thing to criticize his political stance, but it's quite another to insinuate that he is using his personal tragedy to further his political agenda.

Shame on those who have said that. I hope to God you never know the pain he has been through, and if you do, I hope you never have to hear that you should ever be over it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

They just don't get it

Tonight, I was discussing politics with my two cousins. Both of them are for McCain and Palin, mainly because my cousin believes Palin will help those with special needs children. Anyway, I said I could never vote for her because it's politicians like her that took away my choices because of their pro-life stance.

They said that Palin isn't a politician. First of all, she's a politician because she has run for office. That makes her a politician. I think they are seeing what they want to see with her instead of how she really is.

Anyway, they went to address the issue of whether I had a choice or not. They said I had the choice to go to Atlanta and have it done, that it wasn't politicians that kept me from having done, but the people at the clinic who took it away from me. While that may be true, politicians were the ones who made the laws that forced me to have to go to Atlanta and go through that awful humiliation. I should have been able to deliver early by labor and delivery in the hospital of my choice with my own doctor. I told them that, too.

They went on to say they would want to do it as far away as possible so no one would know it, and they wouldn't have to see the place where it happened all the time. I hate it when people say they know what they would do. They don't. They have no clue what it's like to make a decision like that. They have no clue how it feels to decide to end the life of their child, so they have no clue about how they wanted it done. I certainly didn't want to go to an abortion clinic and sit around with a bunch of women who were happy about ending their pregnancies. My cousin said I would still have to see people no matter where I went, but I wouldn't have. I don't think she quite understood about what labor and deliver early termination is all about. I explained it to her and said that I wanted to be comfortable with my doctor at my own hospital. She said that I wouldn't be comfortable anywhere.

Then, she said, "At least you didn't have to make that choice. God took it out of your hands so you wouldn't feel guilty about it." First of all, I'm not even sure there is a God. I just can't believe a God of love would allow me to go through what I went through. I know there is a higher power, but I believe this power allows things to happen without interfering. I don't think he had a thing in the world to do with why I wasn't able to terminate, and it all turned out like it did.

Secondly, I am glad in a way that I didn't have to make the decision to stop Jenna's heart, because I know I would guiltier than I already do. The thing is, I should have had that choice, the choice to do it like I wanted and needed to in a comfortable environment of my choice. Hospitals should have to do this in the case of health of the mother, fatal prenatal diagnoses and rape and incest. I kept saying that I should have had that choice, and she kept saying that at least I didn't have to make that choice. I just started crying, and I told them that they would never understand and never get it.

Kim actually said, "I know, and I hope I never have to." The truth is, I don't want anyone to experience what I went through because of the laws in this state. We were lucky enough to be able to travel down there even if we weren't able to go through with it. But what about people who can't afford to travel? Shouldn't they be able to do it at the hospital of their choice?

Kim and Karen both said they would never change the law, because hospitals won't allow it. But with an amendment worded the way I want it to be, the hospitals would be forced to perform them and have doctors who will on standby in the case of the health of the mother, fatal prenatal diagnosis and rape or incest.

I got the feeling from them that maybe I'm being a little silly being so involved in this or maybe I'm going overboard and shouldn't feel as strongly as I do. Do you think it's silly that I'm fighting to change this law? I mean, even though I wasn't able to end the pregnancy, I should have been able to have that option. Shouldn't other women carrying sick babies have that right? I just want to make sure this will never happen to another woman, that she can choose the option that is best for her family without having to worry about traveling, finding care for her other children, missing work, paying for the procedure and the travel plans.

Am I foolish to think that I can get this changed? Am I going overboard? Do I have a right to be upset that I wasn't allowed to end the pregnancy since it ended before going to term?

They just don't get it. No one really can, not even other deadbabymamas unless they had to make the decision to terminate and then weren't able to do so. I tried to explain it to her, but she didn't get it. Is it just something you have to go through to be able to understand? Or maybe I'm being ridiculous after all.

My article for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October has been designated as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I think this topic deserves a lot of attention, so women don't have to feel as though they are members of a secret society. So, I wrote an article giving details and information about loss. I may also do a sidebar for those who have a loved one who has lost a child and want to know what to do and what not to do. In this article, I detail that Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Everyone is encouraged to light a candle that day for the babies that have died. If you've lost a baby of your own, please do it to remember that child. If you haven't, please do it for my Jenna and all the other lost babies, too. Here is the article.

October has been designated as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month with Oct. 15 set aside as a special remembrance day.

Every year, there are approximately six million pregnancies throughout the United States, which result in 4,058,000 live births. Pregnancies that end in a loss number 1,995,840.

To break the numbers down even farther, 600,000 women experience pregnancy loss through a miscarriage, which is considered any loss that occurs before 20 weeks gestation.
The loss through termination equals 1,200,000, and 64,000 women experience an ectopic pregnancy loss. Molar pregnancy losses equal 6,000 with 26,000 women experiencing a stillbirth, which is any birth after 20 weeks of gestation.

Most early miscarriages, as many of 60 percent of first trimester ones, will remain unexplained. It is usually assumed these losses are genetic, where the chromosomes didn’t replicate correctly. Other reasons can include hormonal problems; chromosomal defects such as Triploidy and Trisomy 13, 18 and 21; problems with the uterus or cervix; immune disorders; premature rupture of membranes and blighted ovum, ectopic pregnancies and molar pregnancies.

A blighted ovum is a condition where a gestational sac grows, and a woman develops all of the pregnancy symptoms but no baby ever forms. An ectopic pregnancy is a normal fertilized egg that gets stuck in the fallopian tube and implants there. This type of pregnancy can not survive and puts the mother at risk for severe hemorrhaging and possible even death as the baby grows and eventually bursts the tube.

A molar pregnancy is a very rare type of pregnancy where an abnormal mass forms inside the uterus after the egg is fertilized. A molar pregnancy is formed when a sperm fertilizes an empty egg (called a complete molar pregnancy) or when two sperm fertilize one egg and both the baby grows a little as well as the abnormal placenta, called a partial molar pregnancy. Even when a baby grows, it cannot survive.

If a molar pregnancy has been diagnosed, the mother’s health will be carefully monitored. In about 15 percent of molar pregnancies, the moles spread to other parts of the body like cancer. A mild form of chemotherapy will have to be used, but the cure rate for this disease is very high.
Trisomy 13, 18 and 21 are chromosomal disorders, where the baby has three copies of a certain chromosome instead of just two. Trisomy 21, the most common of the trisomies, is also called Down Syndrome. Triploidy is another chromosomal disorder where the baby has three complete sets of chromosomes instead of just two. Triploidy and Trisomy 18 are considered incompatible with life and are always fatal. Some babies with these disorders are carried to term, but most result in either an early pregnancy loss or a stillbirth.

A stillbirth is technically any pregnancy that ends after the 20th week, and the baby does not survive. Some babies die in utero and are discovered when a heartbeat is not found. The most common causes of this are uterine abnormalities, a knot or other umbilical cord accident, infections of the lining of the gestational sac or cord and placental abruptions that cause the placenta to pull away from the uterine wall.

Other babies are lost through early labor. The causes of early labor are premature rupture of membranes, uterine abnormalities that make the uterus to small to hold the baby and an incompetent cervix. Some babies are lost during labor and delivery by an umbilical cord that gets pinched between the baby’s head and the cervix or the cord wraps around the baby’s neck.

Having a miscarriage or stillbirth is very difficult. The emotional impact usually takes longer to heal than the physical one. Some emotional symptoms mothers and fathers may experience include numbness, disbelief, anger, guilt, sadness, depression and difficulty concentrating. Some women report having a feeling of empty arms. Physical symptoms can include fatigue, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite and frequent episodes of crying. Seeing a counselor can help with these symptoms.

If you have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss, know that grieving is a normal thing after experiencing this. Some women find comfort in doing things of remembrance, including planting a tree, selecting a special piece of jewelry with a birthstone or donating to a charity.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day on Oct. 15 was started by Robyn Bear after she had six miscarriages with little or no support. She wanted a day set aside for parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and the world to unite and remember the babies that had been lost.

On Oct. 15 everyone around the world is urged to light a candle at 7 p.m., in that time zone. If everyone lights a candle Oct. 15 at 7 p.m., and keeps it burning for one hour, there will be a continuous wave of light over the entire world in memory of all the babies who have been lost to miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death.

For more information, visit the Web site at