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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Letters to my inlaws

After visiting my inlaws over the weekend, I had a lot I wanted to say to them, but I wasn't able to do it because I didn't want to cause a scene or a fuss. So, I decided to draft letters to them here where they won't be able to see them, but I can vent a little of my frustration. Here they are:

Dear Father-In-Law,

When Brian told you I had a rough week and you asked why, he responded with, "It was Jenna's due date," to which you replied, "What the hell is a 'Jenna?'"

First of all, she isn't a what, she's a who. She's your fourth grandchild, your second granddaughter. I carried her for 21 weeks. She moved inside of me; she had a fatal chromosomal disorder. She matters enough that you should know her name. Tessa, Brian and I all cried over her. People we haven't even met in person cried with us, yet you don't even know her name? I have always known we weren't the type of people who could have ever seen eye to eye on anything, but now, I know you are a horrible, horrible person who doesn't care about anyone other than yourself. And, seriously, after that comment, I hope you rot.

Also, I don't have to beat my child to discipline her. I want my child to do as I say because she loves me and respects me, not because she fears me. That is the only reason your two sons ever did anything you told them to do, because they were scared of being beaten if they didn't. No five-year-old does everything the first time she's told to do it. No five-year-old likes every single food on the planet. I will not hit her simply because she didn't do what I told her to the first time, nor will I hit her because she won't eat something she doesn't like.

Do you know why Brian visits you? It isn't because he loves you and wants to see you. No, it's because he feels like he is doing his duty toward you. Two visits a year is what he considers his duty, and he doesn't plan to do more than that. It's your fault he feels that way, but the truth is, you are so selfish that it doesn't matter to you. Honestly, if I never saw you again, it would be too soon, but I know I will have to, because Brian feels as though he must do his duty by you and I don't want Tessa to be exposed to you without me around.

Dear Mother-In-Law,

If you hate father-in-law so much, divorce him and go live with your sister. You will be a much happier and easier to get along with if you do. When you are around him, you are bitter, ill-tempered and hard to get along with, but away from him, I can actually tolerate your company.

I realize you think if you had divorced father-in-law when your sons were younger, it would have hurt them too much. However, allowing them to be beaten and mistreated by father-in-law did more damage than a divorce would have. How could you have been so stupid to even think that, unless you feel it is OK to beat your child? Since I don't know if you feel that way or not, you should know you will never be left alone with Tessa.

When I approached you about looking at Jenna's pictures, you should have looked at them without hesitation. She is your granddaughter. My mother saw her in person and held her. You should have been there for Brian and done the same. And, after looking at them, the wrong thing to say was, "Well, that was kind of sad, wasn't it?"

Naw, it was the best thing that ever happened to me! Seriously, how the hell could you say that to me? It was tragic, probably the worst thing that I have gone through or will ever go through in my life. You don't know how close I came to losing my mind this summer, and all you can say is, "Well, that was kind of sad, wasn't it?"

That's the other thing, you could have at least brought Jenna up to me. You could have said you were sorry about everything we had gone through. I even mentioned something about when I was in the hospital in August, and you didn't even take that opportunity to say something. I would have liked some indication that you even cared, not so much for me, but more so Brian. Your lack of concern, lack of attention, shows him you don't care.

One more thing, 95 percent of black people (which is not the word you used, and you know how much I hate that racial slur) don't think Obama is going to pay their bills. How would you even know when you don't socialize with black people? You barely tolerate the ones you run into in public. You, along with your husband and oldest son, are racists, and I am so glad Brian isn't like that and glad Tessa will never be that way either.

Actually, I hope Tessa is nothing like any of the three of you, and I am going to do everything in my power to keep that from happening.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Christmas Surprise

I had been dreading Christmas Day as it was my due date with Jenna. How can you celebrate when it was the day your dead child was supposed to be born? However, I put on a happy face and tried to do my best.

We were up until nearly 2 a.m., the night before, wrapping presents, eating Santa cookies and arranging the gifts artistically. After Brian went to bed, I sat down in the recliner with the lights off, just looking at the Christmas lights. Of course, my mind drifted to what I would be doing if Jenna had lived, and I cried myself to sleep in the recliner. I wasn't expecting to do that, but when I first found out I was pregnant, I envisioned myself feeding her by the lights of the Christmas tree. It just made me so sad that instead of celebrating her birth, we were grieving for her loss.

Tessa woke up about 4:30 a.m., and I convinced her to wait a little while to open presents. We snuggled in the chair until 6 a.m., when she couldn't contain her excitement any longer. Brian took his time getting up, just to aggravate her. She was shaking from the excitement. Every time she opened a present, she would say, "Oh my gosh. It's what I always wanted." Brian and I were actually cracking up at her, each time she would say it. The two gifts that went over the best were a Littlest Pet Shop House and a Rescue Pets swimming dog. She even liked the clothes we got her.

After this, we went to my mom's house for breakfast and to open presents over there. It wasn't as sad as I was afraid it would be. I tried to immerse myself in the children and enjoy their reactions to the presents. Momma made an awesome breakfast, baked ham, scrambled eggs, homemade biscuits and gravy. I love Christmas breakfast at her house.

Last night, we went to my aunt's house for Christmas. It was one of the only Christmases I can remember that we didn't have it at my granny's house. It's just too hard to go over there now, so I'm glad we decided to hold it somewhere else. The day was already hard enough on me.

Before Granny died, we always drew names for a gift exchange, but this year, because of money being tight for everyone, we decided to do a $5 to $10 "Dirty Santa" exchange and just buy presents for the kids. We all decided to let the kids open presents first, so they passed those out. I helped Tessa get her presents organized to open and received a box on my lap. It had "To the Belinc Family" written on it with no from information.

When I opened it, I found a dragonfly candle holder made out of wires. It was so beautiful. Tears welled up in my eyes, but I fought them off. I asked who gave it to us, but no one answered because they were all so busy watching the kids open the presents. Later, after we did "Dirty Santa," I asked again, but no one knew who did it, or at least, pretended like they didn't know who did it. One of my aunts said, "If no one says they gave it to you, I guess that means Santa brought it to you."

The aunt that said that isn't known to do random acts of kindness, especially anonymous ones. If she does something nice, she wants everyone to know. My other aunt, the one who lives across the street, would be the most likely one to do it, but it wasn't her handwriting on the box, nor was it my cousin's, who helped her wrap presents.

I would love to know how did it, because this surprise made my Christmas. It made me realize someone else was thinking of Jenna that day and remembered her with a gift. I felt all alone before and like no one really knew what I was going through, but after that, I didn't feel quite so alienated from everyone else. Here's a photograph of it.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Due Date

I have been holding up pretty well since I started taking my anti-depressants pretty regularly. I still have moments when I break down thinking I should have a baby in the house. I know she would have been here by now.

I tried not to break down in front of anyone, but I did last night. It was in front of my aunt, and she told me it would get better. I know it will; it already is better than it was in August.

I am debating about going with Brian and Tessa to his parents. Everyone here says I should go, but I know I will say something if they even look at me wrong. Brian wants to avoid that. How can I forgive them for not coming to her memorial service? Brian told his brother what was wrong, and he said, "Well, Dad just doesn't do funerals."

Brian asked if something had happened to Tessa would he have come to that. Marty said yes, that she was his grandchild. Brian said, "Well, so was Jenna."

I wonder if she really matters that little to everyone on that side of the family.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Feeling extremely bitter and guilty

This has been a rough week and day for me. I'm pretty sure Jenna would have been born today because Dr. McGowen said she would induce me a week early due to the fact I had pre-eclampsia with Tessa. I also started my period today, leaving no doubt that I'm not pregnant.

Tonight, I called one of my best friends to confirm our lunch plans for tomorrow. She said she had just put her granddaughter down for the night. I asked her if her daughter was at work, and she said no. I could hear the tears in her voice as she explained that her granddaughter had been taken away from her mother due to the fact she was doing drugs and providing an unsafe place for the baby.

I feel bad for my friend. She told me she almost hates her daughter for what she's done. Well, so do I. She has a beautiful six-month-old baby girl, and she threw her away. When DHS said she could have her back if she went to drug rehab, she wouldn't do it. I would give anything to have my baby girl here with me, but she wouldn't. My baby is in an urn on a shelf in my living room, not in my arms. Her baby could be with her if only she had done the right thing. Does she even know what she's giving up?

I know I'm a terrible person for thinking this, but I keep wondering why my baby had to die and her baby lived, especially since she isn't willing to do anything to keep her. I feel so guilty for thinking that, but I can't help it. I'm angry and bitter. I'm mad my baby is an urn and not in my arms. I'm angry my friends daughter doesn't realize what a gift she has been given.

A healthy pregnancy and subsequent healthy baby is a gift, no matter how you want to look at it. She should be thanking everything she has her baby is healthy and holding her tight against her, but she would rather do drugs instead. I just don't get it.

I also feel guilty for thinking this way, but I keep wondering why couldn't her baby have been the one to have it instead of my Jenna. I feel like the lowest scum on Earth for feeling that way, but I can't help it. She had what I wanted and threw it all away.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Moving on to Clomid

My temperature dropped even lower this morning. I'm still above coverline, but I'll be starting my period tomorrow, because my LP is 14 days and today is day 14.

I'm trying really hard not to let myself get down, but it is so hard. I was so hoping for a "Christmas Miracle" this time, but I won't get it. I guess I lost my Christmas miracle in August when Jenna died.

I called my doctor today, and her nurse is going to call in my prescription for Clomid. I'll be taking it Cycle Days 3-7. I took it that way when I got pregnant with Tessa and when I got pregnant with Jenna. I'll also be using my fertility monitor again and taking my temps.

I really hope this works out. My fear of not having another baby is growing daily. I know that if we don't, I'll have to accept it, but I've got to give it a good try first.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Breaking my heart

Everyday after school, we go through Tessa's backpack to get out the work she has completed and is being sent home and to see what kind of homework she has to do for the night. Most of the night, it's just a little book she needs to read.

One of the papers she had today was a letter to Santa she had written. It said "Dear Santa, I want you to bring me a babe sistr." That's how she spelled it, too. I almost broke down. I told Tessa that she wouldn't be getting a baby sister this year at Christmas, but maybe by next year, she would have a brother or a sister. She was Ok with that.

It just breaks my heart that she wants one so bad, and I can't give it to her. I don't think I'm pregnant this cycle. My temp dropped this morning, and I'm getting my typical pre-period headaches. We'll be moving on to Clomid next cycle.

I have this overwhelming fear we will never get pregnant again. I love Tessa, and I am very happy with her. But, I don't feel like my family is complete. If we don't get pregnant again, how do I move past that?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Working with the Trisomy 18 Foundation

I've been meaning to blog about this for the past week, but my bad mood has kept me from it. Last Wednesday, I had an interview with Victoria Miller, the executive director of the Trisomy 18 Foundation.

I had contacted them about wanting to do some volunteer press work with them, and Victoria asked to see some of my clips and my resume. I sent them to her, and she reviewed them and then asked to do a telephone interview with me.

It went really well. We were on the phone for more than half an hour. I felt as though I was talking to an old friend. She knew exactly how it felt losing Jenna and how it felt to be called to action by the loss.

She wants to work with me and said if everything goes as planned, it could turn into a paid position. That would be wonderful all the way around. I would be doing something I feel really passionately about, and I would get to tell wonderful, but sad, stories of families affected by Trisomy 18. I love both aspects of it.

I wanted to do something to help, and I think this could be the best way to do it. I feel like I've already touched a lot of lives through this blog, and I will continue it no matter what. I want to help those receive this tragic diagnosis, but working with the foundation will allow me to do so on an even greater level.

Bad mood lately

Lately, I've been in a terrible mood. I snap at everyone, and everything gets on my nerves. I know that part of it is because I went off my anti-depressants. I did so because we are trying to conceive, but I have decided to go back on them, at least until after the holidays and Jenna's due date.

I think that's even larger part of the problem -- the fact that Jenna's due date is coming up and I don't have a baby growing in my belly, waiting to be born. It just isn't fair.

It isn't fair that Casey Anthony was able to have a baby, only to kill her. It isn't fair that teenagers all over the world just have to jump in a backseat, and they are pregnant, when we have to jump through hurdles in order to achieve that goal. It isn't fair that I'm analyzing my basal body temperatures and my Fertility Friend chart to see if I've ovulated instead of analyzing every little symptom to see if I'm going into labor.

Saturday night, we went to eat, and I saw brand new twins. It isn't fair that she got two babies, and I came home with none. It isn't fair that I'm probably not pregnant this cycle, even though I truly wanted to be pregnant by my due date. It isn't fair that a mean girl I grew up with is now pregnant with her third child. I just want one more. Is that too much to ask?

It isn't fair that people try to get away from me when I share my story. They don't want to be around the sad woman, even though I try very hard not to portray that to the world.

I guess I'm feeling a little bitter right now. Jenna probably would have been born anyday now. Yesterday when the season finale of Survivor was aired, I thought it would have been funny if she had been born then, because Tessa was born on one of the season finales, and I made sure to watch it even though I had just given birth.

I have two more days until I can test if I ovulated according to when Fertility Friend said I did. I doubt I'm pregnant, but wish me luck. I think it might totally change these moods.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Four months ago

Four months ago at this time, I was in the hospital. I had just had my first round of cytotec inserted to make my cervix dilate so Jenna could be born. I can't believe it's been four months. I have learned so much and grown more than I could ever imagine during that time.

We had a great nurse that night. Her name was Dawn, and she was so sweet. She listened when we needed to talk, and we had a lot in common, too. Her husband was also a truck driver. I didn't really start to feel any contractions until later in the night, but my heart was full of pain.

Now, I'm coming up to my due date. It's just two weeks away. Tomorrow, we are delivering our angel tree presents to Wal-Mart. We wanted a newborn baby, because each year we are going to do a child that would be Jenna's age at Christmas. However, I looked at the card wrong, and the baby was 18 months old. It didn't matter. Her list was only for clothes, shoes and baby shampoo, body wash and lotion. We bought her two dresses, two sweat suits with really cute designs on, two long-sleeved t-shirts, a pair of jeans, some tennis shoes, a baby doll, a teddy bear, a Winnie the Pooh, some puzzles and one of those baby telephones. We might have gone a little overboard, but we had fun doing it. I'm going to put a card in the box that says, "In memory of our angel, Jenna Grace, Aug. 12, 2008."

I was hoping to be pregnant by my due date, but I don't know if that will happen or not. My fertility monitor still hasn't given me a peak, just a high since CD 8. I know I can't have had just a high for 13 days. Anyway, when I entered my temp and the high for today, Fertility Friend changed my ovulation date from CD 13 to CD 18. If I ovulated on CD 18, we are completely out of the running because we didn't BD at all at that time. I decided to take out all of the monitor information after CD 13, and it changed it back from CD 18 to CD 13.

I think I ovulated CD 13 because I had EWCM and ovulation pains. On CD 18, I didn't have any mucus at all. But, what if I'm wrong, and we missed it completely. I just don't know. If any charting experts are looking, please tell me what you think, and please remember Jenna today.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Can you see her?

This post is going to be short and to the point. We took the grandchildren's picture the other night. Can you see Jenna in it and the way we remembered her? Oh, and I think the grandparents are definitely going to love this picture


Ok, here are a few others. This one is Tessa, fed up with having her picture taken. I just love it, as it says so much.


In this one, Tessa is helping Alex, my nephew, to smile. I've been keeping him and the baby for the last few weeks, and he is an absolute dream.


Best friends and cousins, Tessa and Luke, show each other a little bit of love.


Tessa is now saying she wants to be a model. Do you think she has it in her with this pose?


Our trip to Dave and Busters

We had so much fun Saturday night. We kind of got a late start, and honestly, the day before, I wasn't expecting to be able to go due to a family thing we had going on. It ended a little early, so we were able to celebrate.

Honestly, the food wasn't all that great, but it was good enough and the service was wonderful. After we ate, we played the games. Luck was really on our side that night, as we won over 5,000 tickets. I played this "Spin to Win" game and hit the jackpot twice on it. I also played Wheel of Fortune and got 500 and 300, the highest amounts you can get, many, many times.

We got things for Tessa with the tickets. They had a Tinkerbelle lamp that is just her head and arms. The head lights up. I know she will love it. We also got her a huge stuffed cat and dog that looks like our dog Rosie, a few things to put in her stocking and a Care Bear. Brian got a Pilsner glass that has the Dave and Buster's logo on it, and I got a pen with the logo on it, too.

It was nice to have fun and just be silly for a while.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's over, it's over, it's over

This year from hell is finally over. My husband and I are going out on a date tonight to Dave and Buster's, Chuck-E-Cheese for grown-ups.

I won't be having a drink because I'm three days past ovulation, but I'm going to have fun and going to celebrate it being over. No more bad news for me. I'm banning it. This is a bad news free zone from now on.

I will still feel sad and will still probably blog about it, but I'm going to try not to post any bad news here.

Please, if you are reading this, leave a comment and join me in my celebration.

Friday, December 5, 2008

One year ago today

One year ago today I received a call that it was almost over with my granny. She had been in the hospital, and we had brought her home on hospice so she could have her wish and die at home. I lost my hero that day, the woman who helped shape me into who I am today.

My granny wasn't perfect. She had a temper like you wouldn't believe. It took a lot to get her mad, but when you did, you had better watch out. I remember once she had her central heat and air system replaced, and the men wore deep tracks in the yard with their trucks. She took pride in her yard, and she was so angry they had messed it up. She came out on the porch to talk to them. Without raising her voice, she let them know exactly what she thought.

Beyond the temper, Granny was very nearly perfect. She taught me their is no difference in people due to their skin color. She often said that we weren't any better than anyone else, but we weren't any worse either. She was a Christian, but she truly believed in "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" and "Judge not for ye shall be judged."

Granny had a hard life. Her father died when she was 13. Her mother lost the farm, and she had to go to work, sewing baby outfits and softballs for the Wilson Ball Factory at home. After she married, she lost two children, one at three months due to a heart defect and one before she was even born at five months gestation. I really missed her when we were going through the pain of losing Jenna, because I knew she knew what that felt like and no one else in the family did either.

My Papa died young, so they didn't get to spend their golden years together. There is a song called "Rocking Years" by Dolly Parton and Ricky Van Shelton that she loved. It talks about rocking chairs and rocking babies and sitting and rocking on porch swings when you are older. She said she and Papa never got to do that.

Granny was stubborn. That's really an understatement. If she hadn't been as stubborn as she was, she would never have made it through all the health problems she had over the years. Most of the time, she came back stronger, except for the last few years. She taught me that if you want something, you have to work hard at it, and even if you fail, at least, you know you tried and stuck it out. She never gave up, even at the end. She waited around until she knew we would be Ok.

I loved this story about my granny. She wanted to learn how to drive, but my Papa didn't want to teach her. One day, when they went to the store, she asked him to let her drive home. He said no. So, she went outside, jumped in the car and drove it home. She nearly tore the transmission out of it, but she showed Papa she meant business. He taught her to drive after that.

Granny was my hero. I didn't think I would be able to live without her, but I have. I have lived my life for the past year without her here. I know I can go on, and I know it's because of the love and strength she showed me.