Archive for September, 2012

Life 2.0

My brother – well, his wife, really, but he was there – had a baby on Monday. This is the first baby for them, and the first baby in our family (my stepdaughter joined the family at age 11, and we love her, but we never had to wipe her butt or swaddle her.) My brother posted a picture of him and his son on Instagram, with the following caption: “Commence Phase Two of Operation “Life”
And how. Today is my brother’s 35 birthday, and I think of him, at home with his wife and baby, figuring out this new phase, and I can’t wait to see where it takes them. Happy Birthday, Mikie, and welcome to the world, Hunter. I can’t wait to watch you guys grow up together.
But enough about them, let’s talk about me: I had thought – and I am sure many people had thought – that it would be hard for me to see my brother’s new baby so soon after my miscarriage. The entire drive up to meet them at the hospital, a mere hour after Hunter was born, I actually found myself a scared and apprehensive. I was worried that the worst parts of myself – my tendency towards little sister jealousy, my ability to feel decadently and paralyzingly sorry for myself – would ruin the moment and turn something joyous into something sad.
Once there that fear seemed amazingly narcissistic and stupid. What I felt when I saw my brother and my sister in law with their new son was extreme happiness for two of my very best friends. And happiness for me, too, because I get to know this little dude for his entire life, and as someone who has some really amazing aunts, I feel very lucky to get to start that relationship. So I guess what I’m saying is that it only took 31 years for me to figure out that not every major life event is viewable through the lens of my issues; some things are just objectively wonderful.

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Do you follow Jennifer Weiner on Twitter? I do, not because I love her books, but because her content is a perfect blend of witty and informative. She’ll live tweet The Bachelor hilariously and then an hour later will throw out tips to young authors looking to meet with an agent. Interspersed with her interactions – and it truly is interactive, she is great at reading her @ replies and engaging in back and forth with the community – she’ll pimp out her new book or new show or whatever project she has coming up.

I love it because it is SO SMART. She is so good at engaging her followers with personal interaction, interesting and funny content that when her latest book came out, instead of putting it on hold at the library like I usually would, I saw her tweet about how pre-orders impact an author’s standing with a publisher, and I went ahead and pre-ordered her book.
I don’t particularly love her books. They’re like a re-run of Everybody Loves Raymond: I’ll sit through it if I’m stuck on a plane but will promptly forget about it later. But I bought and still own her last book because the author had become part of my twitter stream and I enjoyed getting her daily updates.
Contrast with Kristin Cashore, an author I absolutely adore beyond reason. She states up front in her twitter bio that she doesn’t read @ replies, she just uses twitter to auto stream new blog posts. Uuuuuuuuggggggggggggghhhh. What good is that? I already have her blog in my Reader, I know when it is updated. This is an author I adore; I’d love to own all her books. If she let me know about a pre-order, I’d be clicking to Amazon before I even finished reading the 140 characters. As it is, for her, I’m reminded of new releases based on whenever library holds pop up. Sure, I read her book, but … for free. She currently has 1800 twitter followers; can you imagine what would happen if she actually began to engage with them? I have no data on this, but I could only imagine it would help boost sales, increase attendance at book signings, and help her become a more known quantity, which, as I understand it, is exactly what you need to continue to get paid to write books.
Anyway, because she clearly won’t do it herself, let me do it for her: you guys should all go read Cashore’s Graceling trilogy, it’s fantastic.

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Colorado Gives Good Mountain

First, thank you all for your lovely comments on my last posts. One thing that had made this week not as bad as it could have been is the understanding that what happened is common, and not the end of the story.

Anyway! That RAGNAR relay. Yeah. That might have been a bit premature on the recovery front. I’m off the hard drugs and tried to run for a bit yesterday, and I don’t believe I made it past 400 meters before my insides felt torn in two. Noted, body, noted. I headed back home (total walk of shame. Sigh) and poured a glass of wine and read my book instead. I’m taking some more time off, and honestly, it’s been nice to sleep until I naturally wake up versus hitting up 0530 Crossfit every morning. I miss my routine and will get back to it, but I’m [trying] to listen to my body and chill it out for a bit.

Anyway, on that note: Pictures from RAGNAR!

Mountains are pretty

First run! Leaving Copper on my way to Vail Pass

The entire team

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Polite Conversation

As I understand it, you’re not suppose to talk about miscarriage. Or first trimester pregnancy at all, really, but mostly you’re not suppose to talk about miscarriage. They happen, of course, all the time, regardless of the conversation, but my best guess at social propriety is that you’re just suppose to power through, nothing-to-see-here like, suffer quietly, and reemerge to the world at some point, no worse for the wear. 

Clearly, that’s not the route I chose to go, as I posted rather publicly about my miscarriage on Facebook. My brother tactfully mentioned “Well, uhh, that’s not really the status update people usually give on Facebook”, which is a very, very solid point. And there’s plenty of people on Facebook that I’d just as soon not talk about my reproductive process with, so I can see why one might not say anything. 
But here’s how this went down: months ago, Mike and I signed up to do the RAGNAR Colorado relay with some of our friends. These races are 200 miles, split up between 12 people. Each person runs three legs of the relay over a 24 hour period. I know I’m not doing a good job of describing why this is fun, but just trust me: it’s really fun. It’s 24 hours in a van with fun people running in some gorgeous scenery. If you like running, road trips, and the people in your van, you will like a race like this. 
And then we found out I was pregnant. Technically I know you’re not suppose to tell people you’re pregnant in the first trimester, but given that it was impacting my running pace SIGNIFICANTLY, we told the RAGNAR group, giving them the option to replace me as a runner. Either they didn’t care about their time or finding a new runner was too hard (or both!), but they claimed not to care, and all was good. 
And then we found out the pregnancy wasn’t looking good, and then we found out it was over. I had a D&C to complete the miscarriage on Wednesday, 48 hours before the start of the relay. Now, of COURSE I should not have raced. Miscarriages are sad, and they are painful. But weirdly, post- D&C, I felt kind of great. I attribute this to truly horrific first trimester symptoms that went away very quickly (ok, fine, and painkillers). I woke up Thursday morning feeling better than I had in over three weeks, and frankly, I was tired of sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t want to stay home that weekend; I wanted to do the relay.
My doctor gave me a side glance when I asked if I could do it, but she did confirm I wouldn’t do any harm to myself – I just likely wouldn’t be very comfortable running, and it might make recovery take slightly longer. My team was willing to step up and run for me if it turned out I couldn’t, so I figured there was no harm and just GOING, so I went. 
Oh, you guys. It was the smartest thing I could have done, and I’m not being sarcastic. Everyone on my team knew what was going on, so suddenly I was allowed to talk about it. I didn’t have to pretend I was fine or just under the weather or any other euphemism we’re suppose to use to avoid talking about miscarriage. Of the five other people in my van, one woman was a nurse, one woman was an embryologist at a fertility clinic, and one woman had suffered multiple losses before having her two children. I found myself surrounded by women who could relate, sympathize, and let me just act like what I was going through was normal.
So I posted on Facebook what was up. That I was running the RAGNAR relay 48 hours after a miscarriage and I was so happy to be there. It was probably the most factual status update I’ve ever posted. And while I’m sure it was uncomfortable for some people to read, the response I received – messages of love and support and hope and even humor – did as much to heal me as any other part of this process. This year’s fertility challenges have often made me feel isolated and alone, and all the sudden I felt anything but.
So, I don’t know. I get that pregnancy loss isn’t something we discuss out in the open. Hell, fertility isn’t even something that is considered polite conversation. But for me, for this weekend, being able to share what was going on with me was incredibly helpful. 

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