So close…and yet so far

I was listening to the song ‘So Close’ by Jon McLaughlin again last night. I first really listened to this song when trying to recover from my first miscarriage and everything that followed that experience. In a way it has become my song for such events. There is a part of the song that captures the loss of the experience:

“We’re so close to reaching
that famous happy end,
And almost believing,
this one’s not pretend.
Let’s go on dreaming
for we know we are…
so close, so close
and still so far…”

2016 seems to be summarised by that verse, “so close and still so far…” I was so close to having a pregnancy without medication, so close to actually realising the plan of stopping my anti-depressants, so close to moving on with our dream for a larger family, so close and then I was so, so very far. I was “almost believing, this one’s not pretend” and then my world changed, that dream ended.

I thought perhaps that the grieving was over for the most part, but this process has dragged on and on and then on some more. And it goes on a little more today. The physical pain has made a huge difference to my mental health, making things a real strain and just after I was so close to having moved on from The Darkness and it’s grip; it found me and  once again I was so far from where I was.  And that in itself is hugely frustrating because it took such a very long time to reach that place. And now I’ve slipped back into the dual personas – the me at work, sometimes at home and out and about, and the me, underneath. I protect the latter me because it is small, it is hurting, it is vulnerable. Mostly it stays hidden but some days it is too hard and exhausting to be the ‘happy girl’ when I feel the polar opposite. Today is a hide away and retreat day because I can’t do anything more.

I am tentatively scheduled for a laparoscopy tomorrow to investigate why I am still in pain. Apparently, the ectopic should have resolved by now. This does not digest well in my head, part of which is convinced I’m a lunatic with some kind of psychosomatic pain symptoms. I hate the Dark Side of my head. Sometimes, when I am mentally better, it becomes a small atom, and is discreet and tiny, but it has the ability to grow into an entire galaxy all by itself and at light speed. It is like The Darkness has it’s own operating system in my head, which it activates at will (it’s own will, not mine).

I say I am tentatively scheduled, because I am wondering whether this will be another 2016 “so close…so far” things. I came down with laryngitis and a slightly productive cough last week. So I did not exactly ace the pre-operative assessment. Fortunately, my blood work was in my favour (thank you white blood cells) and I still maintain that hopefully the fever was due to my thermals and the warmth of the hospital. Although I may have had a fever in the week, I just didn’t check it to confirm it or not. So after the nurses call on Friday, I was given the weekend to get better. So I have had to forgo my run and rest, rest, rest, in the hope my body can do it’s thing and I will get the surgery. There is a high possibility that I will turn up at the hospital on Monday to be sent right on home again. So close and yet so far.

The only good thing is that the pain has subsided a lot this week and I am on much less painkillers, which is good. So maybe the ectopic is on is way out. But there is still pain and maybe the laparoscopy will just finalise things so I can move on? It has been tough weekend for my head.  Despite the fact that overall, it has been a brighter week, The Darkness has had it’s spotlight. On  Tuesday, I felt so low and tired, that I couldn’t maintain my protective borders.  After seeing my GP before work, I let my husband read my thoughts at those Dark Times and left my head metaphorically with him, whilst I went to work. It’s not something I’m in the habit of doing, because my personal even now remains highly contained and protected. But it was a window and I decided to let him in, for a little bit. I’m not real sure where he is now though? He is staying away, because I am most likely snappy, but I feel invisible to him. I don’t know what to say to him, he doesn’t know what to say back and so neither of us say anything. There is just an unacknowledged silence between us, the wedge of The Darkness. I’m glad I’ve had the cats to snuggle with at night time and reach for.

I was aware in the week, my head was doing a hell of a lot of blocking regarding the laparoscopy, because I don’t really know how to cope with it. This should have been over by now, that’s what all the medics are saying. Why isn’t it over? What is wrong with me? Why is my head so screwed up? What if they do find nothing and it’s all in my head? And the Thought Train begins to run it’s endless circuits, it has no stations, only a final conclusion of a destination; save my son from me, protect him from my crazy. Just another day when I withdraw because it’s the only way I can cope and get through. But it’s lonely here and the world is so very small and dark and cold, the only other inhabitants being Desolation and Sadness, for the most part you feel nothing though. I might as well be living on the moon, because I do not feel part of this planet at all.

So close…and yet so far

Debating Universal Laws

It was not a clever idea of my head to start debating Darwin’s Universal Law with The Darkness as my cerebral inhabitant. That debate began one evening, and went no where good. By evenings, my pain is highest and I also have all the side-effects of the pain-relief medication. Add to that The Darkness and his motley grew of Intrusive Thoughts, making  my head become “noisy” (this is the state where unwanted thoughts orbit my brain, zapping and zipping around, until I am exhausted by them) and this debate was entirely unhelpful.

I transcribed the ‘debate’ on my phone at the time of occurrence, mostly in the hope, that getting it out, would somehow get rid of it from my head.

“The Laws of Biology are not working out so well for me this evening. Specifically, “Survival of the Fittest”, which a significant proportion of my brain is using to convince me that I should be dead…”

I was most concerned about the impact of me on my son, mentally ill mother begets mentally ill son? My head omitted to add in the fact that for years people have commented on how happy and smiley my son is, often adding “happy mother, happy child”. Erm, Post-Natal Depression  / Depression Mother but hey ho! I made myself smile at him from an early age, no matter how I felt, I smiled and tried my best for him. Instead, my head focused on the fact, that he gets over anxious at times and is a sensitive Lil Man.

“Did  I screw up his head too?…And my head gets to signposting That Route, with the notion of protecting my son from myself and my mental problems. It’s a persuasive argument, when your head is full of negative orbitals; they all gravitate inwards to that one place. That Place. That Plan. The pull is strong tonight…”

“But there is always that nagging thought: “What about Lil Man?”. It’s the most powerful counteracting force, the card the Dr always plays. See maybe Newton’s Third Law does work?! … So here, I am sitting in bed. These are my thoughts as I try to fall asleep and my head is a horrible place to be right now. To be here once again. It is not a place I want to be. And my head searches for a way out. Any way out, whilst being bombarded by Intrusive Thought after Intrusive Thought. I am tired.”

————

I did sleep in the end, and I did run the next day. And it struck me on my run, that even though there is a lot of truth in “Survival of the Fittest” (and I don’t think I fit in that category, I just somehow keep surviving), the world does possibly have a place and a need for people like me. People who know what it is like to have their world completely fall apart, to go through trauma and somehow survive. It struck me once in Therapy that I was always somehow drawn to the things that were vulnerable, lost, a little different and broken…things like me. I would given the opportunity pick the Soft Toy with the wonky eye, the one that no-one wanted, because it wasn’t perfect, but it was the one that I would love. I might have wanted the perfect one, but this was the one I could love and understand. I buried the dead birds with my Grandad, I still do to this day if I come across one. I still pray when it’s stormy outside, that the birds in their nests will be ok!

And as I ran, I thought maybe the world needs a good bunch of sensitive, caring people amongst the robust, strong people, or we would just be at war all the time? So who I am is maybe OK? Maybe I could and should belong on this planet? Maybe I didn’t turn out to be the kick-ass career woman I thought I would be.But I became a Mommy and despite the fact, that totally changed my world in way more ways than stated in the “What to Expect, When You’re Expecting (1)” book, I wouldn’t change that for anything. And who better to raise a sensitive child, than a mother who understand what that is, the mother who was that child. Believe me, there is so much I am still learning and have yet to learn, but for some reason, possibly because I can be incredibly stubborn and it is what I have always done, I keep trying and I try to keep going, usually to the point of exhaustion, but I am attempting to rectify that a little since Therapy. I am so blessed for the little head on the pillow I get to kiss each night, but that still doesn’t negate the loss I feel for Echo and the other two miscarriages. And the knowledge in my head, that I honestly don’t know if I can go through the cycle of Hope and Loss again. I have opted for the miscarriage testing, but right now I’m not even ready for that. Echo still has a faint resonance in my body. The Ectopic remains over and not over at the same time.

 

 

————

(1) What to Expect When You’re Expecting (2009) Heidi Murkoff & Sharon Mazel. Simon & Schuster UK

 

Debating Universal Laws

Orbiting Thoughts and Newton’s Third Law

N.B: I thought I had set this blog to post but alas, no. It was written a little while back.

Ok, so no idea why I just shared my last blog, except for a neuronal spasm. I am feeling so utterly exhausted despite the fact that I have been far less active than on a normal week. I was reading Eat, Pray and Love last night and I reached the part about Vipassana meditation (1). It struck me that the idea of sitting with things is exactly what my first therapist seemed to say endlessly.  I guess that was the idea I was talking about when you watch the clouds and realise that everything has to and does pass. I decided to try 10 minutes of this in bed. Please note, what I tried was probably nothing like Vipassana meditation but it was a challenge, even for 10 minutes. I think this kind of meditation might be easier in a warmer climate like India, (despite the mosquitos) or a sun-lounger, but I was reading in bed and I was too snuggly to get out from the warmth and relative comfort. I say relative, as once you commit to not moving, you don’t begin to feel all that comfortable. I’ve not attempted to try 10 minutes sitting on the floor yet. It was ok in bed, though my neck hurt and I’m not sure whether the experience was helped by the fact that my sedative was kicking in. They ease the pain at night. After I resumed driving and more normal walking levels yesterday, the pain returned very quickly. Still, I did feel some mental benefits for getting out with my Lil Man and my friend and his friend. We went to one of my favourite places. The Darkness steals everything, including colour. But this is a place where I can just look and see colour, even though it was cold and raining. It reminds me colour is out there, it does exist. A place, where you can stomp in the puddles and mud and just breathe. I needed that.

enhanced-buzz-wide-7815-1368784748-6
Space Debris Orbiting the Earth (Source 4)

Anyway, back on track to meditation. I thought I might try it again today. Maybe sitting on the floor, though trying to do this uninterrupted might be an issue and without falling asleep. I am so utterly exhausted today. So for some crazy reason (oh yes, neuronal spasm again) I thought maybe I could meditate on paper? I don’t know. I guess the idea is to acknowledge the thoughts and arguments flying around my head, but sit with them, not acting and just acknowledge that they are just thoughts. I just figured, I might manage this ‘meditation’ better on paper than by actually having to sit still and do nothing. (That in itself has been a life-long challenge for me.) We have visited a number of space attractions this week, thanks to the inspirational Tim Peake and a well-timed Solar System module at school, I have one hugely interested five year old. My head pretty much presently seems to resemble the image of the earth and all the space junk that is orbiting around it. Meditation on paper would be like tracking the thoughts in orbit but just leaving them there, without gravity, they should remain orbiting but pose no real risk? Plus by writing them down, I could later try to counteract them? And that leads, nicely, onto my reflections that have evolved this week…

Shuttle Launch
Space Shuttle Launch explained by Newton’s Third Law (Sources 2 & 3)

I have been trying to convince my brain about Newton’s Third Law, can apply to The Darkness and Intrusive Thoughts. For those in need of refreshing, the Third Law states: “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. This concept was demonstrated helpfully this week at a space exhibit, by the fact that we can launch the Space Shuttle into space. I have attempted this concept, with the help of the BBC, by expanding on their illustration; though please note I am not a physicist and my scientific sphere was strictly biological and genetics based. Phew! Apparently, I might at one time have housed this knowledge for my GCSE exam though (3). That building has long since been vacated by my head, though I fear, more like destroyed and rebuilt to house other more necessary information as life progressed.

So for all the negative stuff orbiting my head, there should be an equal amount of good stuff? Sort of the Yin and Yang concept. Wow, that would have been an easier analogy, than attempting to explain the Third Law! Sorry. I’m not sure this idea is working but I am trying to be scientific in the approach to Intrusive Thoughts. Based on Newton’s Law, there must be good thoughts also orbiting and every negative thought, must be balanced by an equally lovely thought. Like Joy and Sadness in Inside Out (TM Disney). Though, finding these reacting thoughts (the good ones) is proving quite hard. I guess that is why people adopt the idea of Karma? Or maybe that is why depression is labelled Depression; The Darkness blankets out the balancing thoughts, refocusing the mind onto the worst constellations? You see Black and White, but lose your colour vision.  I fear I am rambling.  However, trying to explain the Third Law and Space Shuttles, has at least put something else into my orbiting head…but I am now currently losing track of orbitals and satellites in my brain so will finish here. Returning to earth, it is now time I motivated myself to make sure the family can eat this week. Personally, I’d be fine with a box of cereal, but I’m not sure my Boys would like that.

 

————

 

(1) Eat, Pray, Love (2006) Elizabeth Gilbert, chapter 56.Bloomsbury.

(2)http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/guides/zgn82hv/revision

(3)http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/standard/physics/space_physics/space_travel/revision/2/

(4) http://www.buzzfeed.com/ailbhemalone/every-known-piece-of-space-debris-orbiting-the-earth#.esQaRO5mLN

Orbiting Thoughts and Newton’s Third Law

Dear Head. Shut up! Love Lexi

The physical pain is now finally abating, (a weary woo hoo, but required none-the-less), well at least since Sunday. I’m hoping this means some of the intensity of the pain last week was linked to my cycle hormones and maybe not to work. Although I am off work this week. I’ve not been driving and according to my FitBit stats I have been pretty ‘rested’; my step count is shocking compared to my usual scores.

I am starting to see a pattern in that, when the physical pain subsides, my head seems to go into overdrive, trying to process things and make sense of all the stuff it couldn’t because I was in too much pain for this little neuronal area to function. Physical I’m better, mentally the Darkness has crept in and is consuming me bit by bit, piece by piece. That is how it feels. Losing myself, to the Silent Entity.

Back to survival days. Though each day itself is more than enough to have to deal with. Same old, same old and the territory is eerily familiar but still just as hideous and desolate. I hate this place. I in no way wanted to be back here. But lately, I’m too tired to fight. My head went over and over ‘options’ last night. My head needs to shut up. I try telling it this, but it just shouts louder and louder.

The medics, will medicate me, the mental-health teams will bring death by distraction. Either method requires me to keep going and right now, my head is not convinced about that. In fact it runs a single soul-destroying thought train all around my head. Once on board, there are no stops until you reach the final destination. Yet it is always ready to welcome you as a passenger. Intrusive thoughts are exactly what they say on the tin – intrusive. They take up time, they become convincing, they are draining, they are consuming, as my head tosses The Unwanted back and forth and forth and back.

It was suggested today, that I go for a run. But I couldn’t even find the energy or motivation to do that. I would gladly curl up in a hole in the ground and have the seasons come and go over me. And then comes the Jekyll and Hyde existence. I make the effort, put on a semi-smile, because we go out and do ‘normal’ family things, but underneath it, the frozen, nothingness remains. I feel nothing. I feel I am nothing. Everything is a huge effort and I am getting more and more drained. But then sleep becomes deprived of respite, in the same way I used to struggle on the pillow to find I cool spot to lay my head when I had a fever as a child. I remember, having really bad tonsillitis and trying to sleep through the pain and fever, but every time, I put my head on the pillow, it had no longer been there a moment, when the spot got too hot. I would wake constantly and rotate my pillow over and over in attempt to just find a cool place to rest my head. I would like a cool place just to let me head rest now, but it won’t rest, not yet.

The best thing I’ve heard all day, was the advise from a close friend, “survive this, you don’t need to fight it, just survive it”. I thought my survival days were done and this was better territory. But then I am the person who symbolised the un-foldings of the last five years and the battles with a Phoenix tattoo. Beauty from ashes. But also a bird that is capable of repeating the cycle. Perhaps that was some subconscious inner wisdom regarding life and the future. Because right now, I am more ashes than Phoenix.

P.s. this post was written a few days back, for some strange reason, possibly slightly sleepy and due to an aberrational neuronal action, I thought I’d share it today. No real idea why but there we are.

Dear Head. Shut up! Love Lexi

Tightrope walking over a frozen chasm

Today, I sat in a Building Society going through the necessary bits and pieces needed to take out a mortgage. Well physically I was there, mentally, I am not so sure. It seemed like this was a very, big important grown-up thing to do and I felt more like I should be playing on the floor with my five year old, than sitting in my chair. Truth be known, if it was possible and not still painful, then I would have been on the floor playing and leaving the Financials to my Other Half. One thing I do know, is that I will most likely be married for the remainder of my life (I know, such a romantic statement after Valentine’s Day!), as I look financially pathetic on paper, in comparison to my husband!

All the big grown-up stuff done, I picked up Cloba (The Babbit’s) ashes on my way home. It was a solemn and sad walk home from that point. I have a box for Echo. It is actually very fitting, as it has a bluebell woodland on it and I like to remember Echo when I run. I ran yesterday and thought of Echo, as my footprints breached the quietness, just for a moment, as I ran under the bridge. It was a beautiful run on a crisp winter morning. The ground was still cold and crunchy under the heavy frost and snow, but the sky was blue and the sun danced and peep-poed through the woodland as I ran through it.

It has been one hell of a week. I love being at work, mentally I need to be at work, but it has been leaving me in an increasing amount of pain. Thus, it’s led to a steady escalation in pain medication. Trying to rotate them and maintain a semblance of normal life, in order to move on and keep moving forward, has become like having to take care of an additional family member. It’s as though I am precariously walking a tightrope, whilst endeavouring to balance my mental and physical health and everything else that I am required to balance in life – family related, home related and work related. Whilst I walk this tightrope, I have the unnerving sense that underneath me all the time, The Darkness is waiting in the chasm, with cold, open arms. By Friday night my coping line was breached and the sea rushed through the harbour walls. It has been a week where my the tide was already high, but the storms just kept rolling in; ceaseless and unabating, crashing into me over and over again, persistent and relentless, giving me no time to regroup and rebuild my fragile defences. I’m still feeling damaged and broken by the storms. I feel small again, so very small. And I want to hide away. The Darkness it feels, has found a grip, as communicating this verbally, has once again become a nightmare. I endeavoured to raise the pain problem with the Dr in the week, but it went horribly wrong. Most likely because I do not communicate well due to the medication effects and pain-levels by the late afternoon. I am also back to 2am conversations with my brain, sometimes God, but mostly my brain and The Darkness. I wish it would stop. The cat seems to have noticed this occurrence and in a helpful-ish way is now lapping up 2am cuddles and attention. I am trying repeatedly to stop conversing within myself and get the sleep I know I need in order to have a little sandbag at least,  for the next storm that rolls over the horizon.

At points this week, I have wondered how people expect me to do this? Have the resolving ectopic, manage with all the pain, whilst holding onto and maintaining normal life. I questioned myself on my run about whether it is others who expect this of me, or me expecting it of myself? Last week it felt like both. Especially when it felt like I was having to fight to access the pain medication I need to just keep going through this nightmare.

I have had the progressive realisation that I am not superwoman, am I supposed to be superwoman? In fact, as fast as I’ve tried to hold things together, I have become increasingly aware, that they are tumbling apart all around me. And as they crumble, the voices from the chasm taunt and grow louder “Lexi, you are nothing, a career-less nothing, a failure, small, broken, pathetic, insignificant”. That’s part of The Darkness calling and that call never leads anywhere pleasant. But it has a paralysing effect and is difficult to circumvent,no matter how much I would like to, I feel powerless. And you fall back into those wretched coping methods, because you feel completely stuck, frozen on the tightrope; you know what lies below, you know you have to move forward but right there in that moment you have no idea how the hell you are supposed to do that. Your brain is metaphorically scrabbling around on the floor in complete distress, you find a way, you take it, you don’t bother thinking about it too much. Compared to the chorus from and the depths of the chasm that lies below, any option is a good option. That was Friday evening, by which point I was so battered and bruised from the storms – the week of tightrope walking, the juggling, the physical pain and the effects of the pain medications and on top of this the mental strain of trying to hold everything together –  I just desperately needed to find a way to reach the safety of tomorrow where I could begin again. Days have moved very much back into one at a time, but they begin and end in the same way, less pain to lots of pain.

I changed anti-depressant medication with the hope that after two cycles we might possibly try again. Erm, I think that one is a long way of now. I wish someone had warned me before EPAU discharge what I might expect from the first cycle. That was the weekend. So I spent around 5 hours on Valentines Day, back on the hospital ward where the EPAU is situated, where I’d been admitted to for pain-relief and the stage for this whole hideous play had been occurring since January.  The way I was feeling mentally, made it a very difficult place to be, in fact my head defaulted into a slightly strange place, where I have a limited physical sense of where I am. It’s a slightly dissociated but protective place; it’s happening, but also part of my head endeavours to convince me, it is not happening. I didn’t use to have much of an awareness of this mechanism until it was unravelled through therapy. For the most part, it happens much less, usually being limited to the Drs surgery these days and times where my head knows I need to do something way out of my comfort zone, like talk, but it also knows that at that point, this state, is the only way I can enable myself to do that. My head focuses on not being there, basically filtering and blocking, and thankfully I did get to go home and go through the routine of normality upon my return to my comfort zone.

Why was I there? Because the first cycle was not a pleasant experience. I have now ruined Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom forever, as I can sum up the cycle experience using Nanny Plums “jelly floods”, except it was just flood and no jelly. With the exception of the two miscarriages, the only experience of losing blood that quickly and in that department, was after the birth of my son. That was the part where it all went a bit wrong, as in losing half my blood volume wrong, and a few other bits and pieces, for added trauma. So on Saturday, this experience was unpleasant but not enough to be overly worrying, although was disturbing my sleep.  The experience on Sunday was enough to make me take some action. There is nothing quite as horrible (so far in my experience and please bear in mind I am presently only on Monday) as having such a flood event, whilst you are mid return run; meaning it’s around 3km to safety of somewhere, in either direction. Thankfully I wear layers when I run. It’s also pretty horrendous to be consciously aware that it is happening, then has just happened and realise you can do absolutely nothing, except try to get home faster and hope nothing leaks out in a noticeable manner. That could possibly explain, why this was the first time I have actually ran most of the way home, after already having done the bulk of a 6k run along the trail. Although in fairness to myself, I had already ran a good part of the 3k back in comparison to the usual brisk walk. I didn’t want to stop running on Sunday.

Running on Sunday was good. It was the most “me” I had felt all week. I even crept into the happy emotional territory. And that’s why, regardless of the physical pain levels, I have run throughout this ‘resolving’ (I am now adding inverted commas, as I am not convinced it is resolving very well, if at all, or very fast) ectopic. Because it gives me just a brief window of…I don’t know how to describe it really… it’s like the smell, sight and sound of rain after a hot summer; where the ground almost seems to openly ache for it, and everything needs quenching from the debilitating almost decimating, relentless heat, everything pore, every molecule, longs for refreshment and the feeling when it comes is amazing…that’s what running is mentally for me. For a moment in time, my head is refreshed and able to pull together, in the same way the rain runs into the cracked ground and it bonds it back from dry, isolated, islands into one solid entity. At points this week, I have longed to run, but had to wait for my ‘rain’. If I could run of an evening, I would, but all I can do is seek the solace of my pillow to absorb my medicated head and my covers to embrace the pain in my body. At that point the sensible method to cope is sleep not running. But if there was any way I could run, then I would have, just for my sanity.

 

Tightrope walking over a frozen chasm

A Dead Babbit & Empty Boxes

IMG_5774As, I lent forward and kissed the soft, silky ,white fur of my beautiful, if not mischievous, Babbit goodbye, I asked him to play with my baby. I hope Echo and Cloba* (pronounced Clo-ba) have lots of frolics and fun. The crazy cute little Fugitive Bunny, now has wings of freedom. It has taken a lot of restraint during this ectopic resolution process for me not to go out and buy anything small, fluffy and furry so this was a shock and hit hard. Another loss for me. Another goodbye. I was damn well sure I was going to get a goodbye today. I can’t have another invisible loss in my life.

I finally returned to work this week and it was a relief. I had missed work and was reaching the point where Invisibility was taking refuge, getting way to comfortable in my head, and I just needed to work. I needed a positive distraction, a reason to keep going and something to help provide the momentum required to go forward. Even in my lowest moments, there is an awareness of the fact that life is never static, you can feel static, but on many levels you are not;  your heart beats, your lungs breath, and your brain thinks (sometimes incessantly too much it thinks); either consciously or subconsciously. All you need to do is just stare at the clouds in the sky to check this concept. Life goes on. And that means no matter how awful and how horrendous, things will pass, because they have to pass. But for me, it is easier to move on with at least a “good-bye”.

Today I have cried in a way that I have known in my life, but not often cried, well only a handful of times until 2016. It’s the heart-rending, gutteral cry, which comes from somewhere so deep inside. I have no words for that cry, it comes from a place of hurt and pain. Part wail, part sob, mostly an anguished pain. I cried it when I came  home after the confirmation that Echo was ectopic. I cried it when after the consultants appointment when my head digested the fact that the pregnancy and all hope was over. It escaped again from within me at various random points during the period I was ‘dealing’ with the concept and reality of a resolving ectopic pregnancy, every thing that meant and means. It surprised me, by finding a way out again today.

It happened, rather embarrassingly, as I stood in the vets room, after spending sometime stroking my Babbit (now deceased, but still the same in some ways). His stomach had ruptured during the investigative x-rays, so his death though unlikely to have been painless, but mercifully was quick. I had realised this morning that something was very wrong, when I looked out from the window and he was practically motionless in his little house in the run. He hadn’t even knocked the roof off of it (he can and has succeeding to do this when it has bricks on it). I actually thought he was dead. He wasn’t but was obviously very ill; he was barely moving, not even his little twitchy nose. As my husband had the car, I wrapped him up in one of our sofa snuggle blankets and carried him to the vets in the rain. Since he did not once try to escape I knew he was not at all good. He is not called a Fugitive without a reason. He has been a little Houdini in his life, though since the arrival of Agent P after his (Cloba’s) brother died, he has calmed down. Being the dominant Babbit seems to have suited him. Plus, perhaps he has realised the grass is not always greener on the other side and nor does it come from Waitrose – spoilt Babbits, I know, but they are part of my family and are much loved.

And there I was, crying and sobbing and part-wailing. Seriously, the Lexi I used to know, was able to keep things much more together, but I guess that is the down-side of feeling emotions more now. Tears were streaming down my face, my voice was breaking but I stood there saying,  “I NEED to bury something”. I couldn’t bury Echo. With Echo I’m empty handed but not empty inside. The pain has worsened since returning to work, that’s just how it is; but it’s a persistent and particularly at night-time, a painful reminder of Echo. Not another empty loss. I needed to say “good bye” and do it properly. Since we have sold our house and are hopefully moving, it did not seem like a good idea to take him home to bury. I couldn’t just have nothing though, not again, not this time.

And that is where I have struggled most with having a resolving ectopic and not a rupture or removal. I know a few people who have had stillborns and I cannot imagine the heartbreak involved, especially when the baby is deemed ‘healthy’ other than the fact they are no-longer alive. But, I feel ashamed to even write it and guilty for even thinking it, but with a stillborn you get to hold it, to see it, sometimes you get little footprints and handprints. I know Echo was so tiny and small but I have nothing, except a swollen tube, pain and embryonic remains and tissue. I wish I had just something, something to hold onto and touch. Perhaps it is because I am tactile person. The only thing I ‘hold’ is literally as palpable as an Echo.

And so, as crazy as it might sound, my Babbit, at aged 1 year and 11 months, is to be cremated. I have pretty much decided that I would like the ashes in a box with his name on it. But I’m going to ask if they will make a second box with a different engraving – Echo. The box will remain empty, because that is how it is. My intention is that we will bury them together in the garden of our new home. The home, that is hopefully, our long-term family home. The home we hoped we’d set up the cot in and finally re-use the large stash of toys and possibly clothes we have had stacked in our loft for over five years now. A family home, and Cloba and Echo will forever, be part of my family, even if one is only an empty box I bury and an ache I hold in my heart.

 

————

*Cloba because my it is my son’s Babbit, named after Clover from Sophia the First (Disney) but he could not say ‘v’ at the time.

My son was given the option to say goodbye and to be honest he handled it better than me. Possibly because he is not grieving Echo. But I was proud of my Lil Man today. He gave Cloba a stroke and I held Cloba whilst he rested his head against his fur a moment and gave him a kiss, he said “I love you” and “good-bye”. He saw the photo of Cloba on the wall as we left the vets and has announced he could remember him by this photo.

A special thanks to my husband today for his understanding and help and his just holding me and letting me cry. Also for his understanding my need to bury something, cremated Babbit or actual Babbit. Despite the fact we are full of lurgy, he has stepped in and looked after my son, because I couldn’t do that particularly well today.

Also thanks to my Fluffy Kitty how helped me through this afternoon. She always knows when I need her and where to find me!

A Dead Babbit & Empty Boxes

“It happens for a reason?”

I have been really touched by the comments on my blog. I know this is perhaps a topic that we don’t talk about much. Possibly because it is initially too difficult. Also perhaps because a lot of the time lately I’m hearing “It happens for a reason”. As a (former) scientist, I can appreciate that perhaps most of the time, a  miscarriage may occur because a pregnancy is not-viable, there is something not quite right and the body deals with it by miscarrying the pregnancy. I’ve had two of those miscarriages and each time though, it is a loss; a heart-breaking, heart-aching loss. But in the back of my mind, I have understood, that perhaps for me, those pregnancies were never going to be. I can’t really say that lessened the pain, but once I absorbed that, possibly it gave me a tiny way through?  Well, maybe the second time around it did. The first miscarriage was pretty devastating.

But an ectopic is surely a viable pregnancy if only it was in the right place. Therefore, those words “it happens for a reason” seem more hollow than once before. Judging by the pain reminders of Echo’s Cave and Echo’s ability to go on some pretty decent runs, then Echo seemed to be a pretty determined little embryo; if only it could have been so darn determined after taking up residence in my uterus. With that tenaciousness, I think we could have got to 40 weeks. I have finally stopped counting the weeks at 7. Things ‘went wrong’ at five weeks, I just mentally didn’t stop counting until the Consultants words about the pregnancy being over. The week count in my head seemed to be on autopilot, though remembering what each day was was difficult.

I journalled through most of my severe depression. It helped me through it and gave me words when I had no voice. I did not journal when the depression, was at its worse. By that point, The Darkness, had swallowed my words too. I was empty on all levels. In the same way, I couldn’t write anything whilst going through the initial process of the ectopic pregnancy. I thought about writing, because I know it helps me, but the words didn’t come. It was after a long run, which I took so I could try to feel again (The Darkness tends to vacuum up your feelings too, keeping them in a jar, so you are left inert), that I put some words together. My son, had been using his colourful foam words in the tub and they had got left on the wall. Which means, technically my husband hadn’t tidied up after bath time but that “it happened for a reason!”…pondering that one….and moving on…

IMG_5748I stared at them for quite a while and rearranged them first mentally, then physically. Actually, initially I rearranged them into a bunch of expletives, but knowing the tact of my son, I decided to not actually write these on the wall. I think a few of those words, would actually be able to be sounded out phonetically and that was not a scenario I wished to occur. Eventually I found some more acceptable words. Words that seem to fit and describe how I was feeling. It was actually OK rearranging all that colour on the white tiles. I took the photo as it was the first time I’d really started to process any of the feelings associated with Echo; from the pregnancy potential, to the confused reality, the clearer reality, the everything in between that occured and finally the loss. I let myself feel these words for a couple of minutes, then I mixed all the letters up and left them in a circle on the wall. I know, I should probably have tidied them away!

And that is where my journey of writing through this experience began, with a bunch of foam bath letters! Though today, my head does not seem to flow so well. But for those going through rough times and trying to get through, I thought maybe sharing how I started writing again might help you. Don’t be afraid of the paper. Now I like to think of the blank page as my blank canvas, waiting and full of opportunities, a world unmapped until you touch the pen to the paper. Or just go, have a soak with some coloured letters!

“It happens for a reason?”