My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Trigger me this

I'm in a really weird place at the moment.  Almost paralyzed not knowing how to react.

I'm ok, we're all fine, it's just, well let me tell you how I spent my day.

A friend of mine is a producer at Creative Live where they produce a variety of photography and video workshops.  She hired me to take edit notes for the photography workshop this weekend.  That entails sitting up in a room watching the live stream of workshop in progress, and taking notes on things the video editor might need to know when they are working on the downloadable version.  Things like someone blocking the camera, or the sound in the mic goes screwy, or they have to wait 2 minutes while equipment is failing, stuff like that.

Soooooo, this weekends workshop is called Bellies and Babies.  In other words, how to photograph pregnant bellies and little babies.  If I weren't pregnant, I wouldn't be within 10 miles of that studio this weekend.

Most of the day was spent doing photo shoots with a pregnant woman, and a variety of babies, all under the age of 9 months.  One as young as 6 days old!  And because I'm starting to turn the emotional corner from bitter infertile to happy mommy, a turn I'm fighting tooth and nail but let's face it, I'm turning, I actually enjoyed most of the workshop today.  I caught myself smiling at cuteness several times.

For the last 45 minutes of the day, the photographer/instructor talked very emotionally about the charity she founded, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep or NILMDTS.  This organization does infant photography for families that are losing or have lost a baby.  And there was a video that included some of the images.

I wish I could talk more about the organization, but I wasn't capable of following along very closely for this portion of the workshop.  I was triggered by the whole concept.  And the one image I saw of itty bitty feet at the beginning of the video threw me over the edge.

So I'm just really wonked out right now.  On the one hand, I'm all triggered about losing my first set of girls, what they might have looked like, and I'm afraid that all of the crying I haven't done in the last few months is about to catch up with me in one big sobby mess.  On the other hand, I'm also living the fantasy that everyone who's lost children has, I'm getting a do-over.  I've just crossed my own personal hurdle of 19 weeks.  And yesterday, I got the information about this pregnancy that has started to carry me across the line from being completely pessimistic to having some deep down belief that it's going to be ok this time.  

I think I'm alternating between crying, and being a completely brain-dead zombie.  I'm triggered, but afraid to fully give in to the crying.  I'm happy about the news yesterday, but afraid to fully invest myself into believing it.

I'm......getting licked by a cat.  Yes, that I can absolutely confirm, I'm getting purred at and licked by my itty bitty kitty.  But I have no answers for anything else that I might be at the moment.  I just don't know where or what I am at the moment.


  1. That has got to be difficult. Hang in there. Hugz!

  2. Ugh! I think I would have run from the room crying, but then again right now I'm in a different position in the infertility than you. I'm quite hopeful that you will make it to twin full term. I just hope that you can make there without a melt down from all sorts of stuff like the workshop you had to survive yesterday. Good luck!

  3. I can't even imagine what it was like for you to hear about NILMDTS :( Especially after what's going on online. You can cry and be happy at the same time, you aren't betraying your happiness and your girls by being sad (and triggered) about what happened last time.

  4. I like what Robin said ^^, and I don't even know what's going on in your BBC board (although, if it's a birth board, I can imagine).

    One thing that I try to remember is that the Center for Loss in Multiple Births, Inc. (CLIMB - is their site) says that in their experience, it can take 18-24 months of hard grieving for those of us who lost one or more of a multiples pregnancy. It's just a different, and some would argue, much more complicated grief process b/c there are SO many other things to grieve besides the loss of a baby (including the fact that some, like you and me, have to go through ART again when we expected to be done b/c we were getting the ultimate "2-for-1" deal, the fact that we've lost the esteem that comes with being "chosen" to carry multiples, etc.). It's very normal.

    I've also read elsewhere that if we give birth before we've finished the hard grieving stage from our previous loss, our subconscious mind will push that grief out of sight until such time as our take-home babies are old enough to be a bit more self-sufficient (as in, self-soothing, not needing nursed/changed every couple of hours, etc.), and then it will come back often in spades. Certainly, we'd rather not have to wait until the hard grieving is done b/c who wants to wait that long? But, this is a normal experience otherwise.

    I suppose I've always been a little macabre. I looked often at the "In Memory" and "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Memorials" boards on BBC and had already seen other peoples' "dead baby photos" before I lost my own babies. The pictures do not bother me.

    (By the way, NILMDTS is a non-profit that trains and coordinates professional photographers (worldwide, I think) who volunteer to do photo sessions of babies who die, either in utero after 25 weeks (I think that's the gestational cut-off) or at or after birth, and professionally edit the photos, free of charge for the parents. It's an amazing service. I myself had wished I'd been able to use them, and b/c a professional photographer did take my babies' photos at the hospital (she also voluteers for NILMDTS so I thought it was for them, but it wasn't), I can only imagine how much those families cherish their photos. I have so much respect for any person, be it a chaplain, a social worker in hospital, a special nurse or a volunteer professional photographer, who is able to treat our deceased babies and our grieving hearts with so much tender care, dignity and respect. My DH and I only have one professional photo (instead of the 20-100 that NILMDTS would have provided) but we will cherish it forever.

    And, friend, my personal words of comfort are this:

    I understand it hurts you that you didn't get to see your babies. My DH and I made a different decision in the moment...and what I want you to know - because I saw and held my own babies so I *know* this to be true - is that Charlotte and Christina were every bit as precious and perfect and beautiful as Aliya and Bennett were. My babies - and yours, too - were beet red in color because they had no baby fat yet, but were very much tiny, perfectly-formed little humans. My mom and grandma have both said to me when we've talked about the babies in the last almost 7 months, "They were perfect, tiny little human beings!!" To date, only one friend of mine and some of my family members have ever seen my babies' photo. However, I would be happy to share it with you if you ever want to see it, just so you can have an idea (keeping in mind your babies made it almost 5 weeks further than mine did, so mine are smaller, etc.). The offer will always stand.

    Sending you big, big love today and a ton of understanding, Alex... xoxo

    1. Thanks so much Amy.

      Thanks for letting me know what I might experience after I give birth in terms of a grieving relapse. It's nice to get a year off from that process, and knowing it's likely to come back will make it a lot less scary when it does.

      And thank you for filling in the many blanks I left about NILMDTS. I had no idea that such an organization existed and I really don't know how photographers are capable of functioning in that capacity. I wanted to describe them in a way that did them justice, but I just didn't have the mental capacity for that yesterday.

      I know that my husband and I are in the great minority who prefer to have never seen our children. But after 15 years of studying how I personally react to certain kinds of stimuli (due to the bipolar disorder), I'm obsessive and my brain thinks in pictures, it was the only decision that would allow me to function. If I had mental images of that experience, I wouldn't be able to escape them. And since we won the grieving lottery (basically getting back what we lost), if their deaths had been made tangible by us seeing them that way, we would now be robbed of the fleeting comforting feeling of "they're back".

      But for those who respond differently than I do, I'm glad the organization is out there to provide the images.

      Amy, I hope you won't be insulted, but I'm going to decline seeing your picture. I'm sure they're beautiful, but I can't handle it. But I'm honored that you would offer.

    2. No worries, honey. I totally understand and respect where you're coming from and wanted to be sure you had an option if you wanted/needed it. Hugs!!!


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