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The Day

November 18, 2012

I made it through the day the Norah died 5 years ago. I did drag 4 children to the store and then discussed what day it was and what we were about to do. I extracted promises from the 2 older kids to help with the 2 younger kids. We shopped for a 5 year old on the Salvation Army Angel tree. It was fun to pick out everything. The kids enjoyed trying on shoes and playing with all the toys. I made notes for Christmas. We order through a drive through and went to a park where we ate our picnic lunch. We played at the park for 2 hours. The sun was casting long shadows in the winter southern sky. I turned my face to the sun and absorbed the rays. I watched and played with my kids but silently mourned the one who wasn’t there.

Yes, I’ll push you, because I can’t push her.

Yes, I’ll chase you, because I can’t chase her.

Yes, I’ll hold your drink, because I can do nothing for her.

I miss her.

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Untitled

November 17, 2012

This morning I went to Yoga class like I do most Saturday mornings. I didn’t sleep well last night; the memories were haunting me. I vowed to be present; to focus on the now. It was a struggle. I am mourning and it tugs at my mind constantly. After yoga, I ran. I ran until I almost threw up. Why? I think I wanted to punish my body for betraying me, Norah, and our family. I have no comfort right now. Coach is away.

Kids from the neighborhood were at our house from 12-4. They filter in and out on most days. Lots of them. I hung out outside in the southern sun trying to absorb as many rays as possible. I watched for the imminent fight and diffused situations. But always, my sadness is barely containable. If Coach were here, I would have left…retreated to the solice of the woods. I would have run until I did throw up, until my legs would not function anymore. I do not even have the privacy to cry like I want to. So, I mourn within myself. I miss my daughter. Like always, we adopted a 5 year old for Christmas (or whatever age that Norah would have been). Tomorrow, I’ll take everyone shopping for this 5 year old’s presents, and I will “celebrate” her brief life with the kids.

I gave Coach a pep talk today. I told him in hindsight it is so easy to criticize yourself. You have the advantage of telling yourself what you should have done. The subject was completely unrelated to Norah. Yet, from my own personal perspective, that is what I was talking about and only applying it to the situation at hand. How easy it is for me to dwell and say that I should have known. How painful and self-destructive it is to continue on that path. And yet, I let myself. It is my own punishment for not bringing Norah safely into this world.

I long to speak with her.

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It is that time of year again

November 17, 2012

The sun dims in the afternoon sky. A chill covers me early in the afternoon. The smell of decaying leaves, the long shadows, and the crisp air constantly remind me of Norah. I am two days away from 5 years and every hour I am reminded of her.

Five years ago, I was teaching my last class with her….

Five years ago, I was walking in the woods with her…

Five years ago, I was preparing for labor…

Five years ago, my daughter died.

I mourn her, not like the immediate aftermath but still, I mourn her. I feel her around sometimes. But, I am sure that it is just my imagination…a protective barrier devised by my brain to shelter me. I tell myself that I can not feel her because I have convinced myself that she was born into another life. I hope to meet her someday. Therefore, I can not feel her because she is in this this world.

I have devised many mechanisms to shield me from pain. I could write pages about the different tactics I have used in the past and in the present to allow myself to function in everyday life. My favorite is that death is not a end but a beginning. However, I don’t know that. I’ve never died (at least that I can remember).

Words like I think or I believe or I feel are not part of my everyday vocabulary. I am a scientist. I only seek the truth. My profession does not allow me to express ambiguity. Yet, at the end of the day, I think Norah is around; I believe she is living a fulfilling life; I feel like I will meet her again.

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5 months

January 24, 2012

Yep, it is have 5 months since I have posted anything on here. Our move to a new place for a year has sucked up all my time and when I am not trying to get things organized or take care of the young ones, I am trying to catch up on work. One of my major jobs as a professor is to publish scientific research. I have been struggling to do that since Norah died. So, since I am on sabbatical, I have been working hard to get manuscripts out…I really close on two of them and kind of close on another one. With plans to finish at least 2 more before I leave to go back to my university. I am good at being effective with my time but I am also trying to take care of myself and exercise. Coach has been going to the gym almost everyday and is getting certified for kettlebells so he can train people. Since my last post, I went to India for a month where I did not exercise as much as I should have. I went to India for research to help one of my students collect data. Now my core feels about as weak as it ever did. I find it a constant battle to be able to find time for the kids and coach, find time for work and also find time for myself. I usually get left off of the equation because I am trying to fulfill the needs of my family and my obligations to work. I am trying to be content with just little blocks of time to take mini-workouts. I guess this post is about trying and to let people know that I am still around. Still here, just working hard.

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What?

September 16, 2011

This post is only slightly related to loss of my baby. I wanted to write something about communications. I write a little on my blog but I write many many emails a day to colleagues and students. I am getting the general impression that my emails are often misinterpreted.  I recently have received quite a few emails back from student s who appears to be hurt by my words or when writing a colleague feel like I am not explaining myself well. I accidentally sent an email intended for a colleague to one of my students in which I complained about the audacity of the student (who appear to me to be demanding certain things). That student was hurt and discouraged and I spent a good deal of time trying to explain myself over email. I can’t decide if my writing does not convey its intended meaning or if students are overly touchy when it comes to their emotions and their advisors. I know the students want me to respect and praise them but that can only be earned through hard work.  The student/advisor relationship is difficult to manage. I am pretty blunt when speaking to people. One of the effects of babyloss is that I have cut out all the chit-chat, all the extras because I feel like all the extra emotion and talking is too much. I know that my emails are quite terse also because I don’t have time to be effervescing with words. I already spend a least one to two hours answer questions over email everyday. I can not do much more than that. Recently, I was trying to patiently wait for a yoga class to start. The instructor was chatting with other people in the class. I was annoyed with the chatter and it was past time for the class to start. Part of that is a reflects stress, I don’t want my time wasted. This gets worse when I am stressed. Part of it was that they were blocking the quiet, maybe I was looking forward to the silence. I am not a great communicator. I barely speak to my family but talk to my best friend every other day. I try to communicate with Coach or else we both get hurt. My best friend tells a story about one time when she was livid with me. I kept my head down and continued to work as she talked. She said she was trying to explain to me how whatever I did hurt her.  But I was working and eventually she went away in anger. I don’t remember it happening.  I think I can safely say that I don’t intend to hurt people but it happens. I thought after babyloss that I had become more compassionate for people who were hurting. But maybe not, maybe I have deceived myself to make myself feel like something positive came from her death.

I am quite rambling now as I need to start working again but I can’t figure out how to end without sounding ….terse.

What are ways that you have employed to improve communications?

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Effects of Babyloss

September 9, 2011

Life always seems to be moving, to be coming at me. I rarely have time to think about what I am feeling or how I am coping.  When a babyloss Mom asks me how I am doing, I just tell the truth, I bury my feelings. I evade. I hide from my feelings. Soon, it will be 4 years since Norah died. I like to think that I function well. Sometimes I think about what I could have had, but then I bury it. As a babylost mom, the internet has been so valuable to me to look at what others are feeling and writing about.  We write about our pain, our anguish, our hope and our misery. However, one aspect seems lightly touched upon. How did the death of my baby effect my professional career?

I’m a scientist. I make observations, hypothesize and pose questions. I test hypotheses and formulate ideas. It sounds all very clean and glossy huh. There is a creative aspect to the job — I teach and I write manuscripts. However, my job and respect within the scientific community does not depend on teaching, it depends upon the quality and quantity of manuscripts that I produce. Anyone who has lost a baby knows that it messes with your mind — the lack of sleep, the images, the reminders. I forget to brush my hair or I forget to eat because I am in babylost world. It is hard to think consecutively, rationally….scientifically. One year after I lost Norah, I published two manuscripts but only because they were already accepted and at the publishers since before her death. Since Nov. 2007, I have not been a very good scientist. I teach, I write proposals, I have huge grants but I can’t publish. Since that time, I submitted two manuscripts and they were both rejected in 2010. The reasons given were that they were not well thought out, not well written, and had too many loopholes. Sound familiar. That is my life. I have lost confidence in my ability to be a scientist. I have recruited some other scientists to help me fix those manuscripts but they are still not submitted. I am depending on these people to look at my work critically before I submit again. I am annoyed that I have to depend on other people for a skill that I used to have, and I have to go by their timetable.

Norah’s death shattered me emotionally, beat my down physically and damaged my confidence. Her death stole my mental health. I am a scientist; yet, I have trouble playing the role. I am starting to physically feel the pressure from not being able to do the job. I wake up at nights in a panic. I work hard all day but at the end of the day, nothing seems to be done. My management of grants has not been spectacular, I have few results to show for the work I have done. I appear to no longer have a logic, rational mind. This hurts me. I have wrapped my life around science. My income depends upon me being able to do the job. I am not certain how to overcome this. I know that I can not be the person I was before her death. Over the past couple of years, I thought I would work through it, work my way out of this confusing mental spiral that seems to consume my thoughts. It has been almost 4 years and my thoughts still spiral. I wish I was linear thinking again. I do not know if I am going to pull out of this or if this is my “new normal”.  If this is my “new normal”, how do I incorporate this into my life as a scientist? Do I need to switch paths, look for other opportunities, maybe go into a field where I am told what to do instead of having academic freedom? So many unknowns. I can’t solve the equation with so many unknowns.

What about you? Did the loss of your baby effect your career?

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Sabbatical

August 25, 2011

This will be interesting. I am using the iPad to post but I can not see the text. Maybe the color of the text is white? Why I can’t I see anything?

That means I’m not responsible if this instrument changes a word automatically.

Finally, after years of academia and the tenure process, I earned a sabbatical. I am somewhere very close the mountains but far away from where my home institution is. I am looking forward to hardly any administrative duties and the fact that students do not have access to me whenever they want, only over email.
I ride by bike to and from work. I can shop organically and from the farm very easily. I can recycle without having to drive our sorted recycling 10 miles. My kids have started school and like it. On the weekends we go hiking and biking. This place is everything that my home institution is not.

As an explanation as to why I have been sparse. It took me nearly a month to pack our house, move everything and everyone, and then unpack our house here. Then, I started a new job and am enjoying life near the mountains.🙂

I intend to post more frequently but I intend to do many things….