PagesThe Hospital: Trying to save our babies, moment by moment --via Caring Bridge

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Holiday Travel

We are driving to my sister's house, partially because we feel the need to do something different to make it through the holiday and partially because it fits the urge to move, to run.  There will be a big storm coming through and we thought about leaving a day early to avoid it, but then we would be at my sister's on Christmas morning and we definitely don't want to do that.  I want to drive straight through what should have been our first Christmas with S and G and could have been our first Christmas with two tiny girls.  So here's hoping we don't wind up trapped, still, buried in snow and freezing cold.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Preparing for the end of Year One

I just finished reading Station 11, a quick good post-apocalyptic novel.  I am not writing to recommend it but to note that after the post-apocalyptic event that killed almost everyone the world began counting years, Year One, Year Two, etc.  Next month it will be Year One since my own post-apocalyptic event.  One year since my understanding of love and loss expanded exponentially.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Infuriating Complications of Medical Billing

At the end of last week I think I finally resolved the last issue from the medical bills associated with losing S & G - that's approximately 8 months after leaving the hospital.  I have found the medical billing process to be inherently cruel, despite some very kind individuals functioning within it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Uncontrollable sobbing on the way to work this morning.  It was all this talk about the miss america pagent nurse - all I could think about were our nurses.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Revisiting a now dated draft: Beginning the Adoption Process

I originally started the post below several weeks ago and was reviewing it now that we have moved to the next step - officially beginning our home study.  We have our first interview this afternoon.  It is interesting to see how some of my emotions have shifted and some of my feelings have not.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Desire Under the Elms?

For at least two nights, I have fallen asleep with a half baked blog idea, something about tree roots connected to how difficult it was to get rid of the elm tree we had to cut down whose roots were EVERYWHERE in our front yard.  I know there was some connection to O'Neil's Desire Under the Elms and the role of the elms in that play but I have no idea what it is.  So...even though I might not be blogging while fully awake, apparently I am very busy writing a complex and likely very interesting blog in my sleep.

Monday, August 3, 2015


I love to look out at the garden, relax my eyes and become aware of all the busy bees buzzing everywhere.  The dark green tomato plants, punctuated by the  glowing orange of sungold cherries and the dark reds of the early girls, are freckled with tiny yellow flowers--future tomatoes. The lush green is framed by the brilliant purple russian sage and everything is all alive with bees.  The bees' translucent wings and fine hairs simmer in the heat as they erratically glide between flowers and plants.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Birthday

Saturday was my birthday, never has the phrase "happy birthday" been so jarring.  As a child, alright even as an adult, I LOVED my birthday.  I called July my birthday month and sometimes stretched the Leo-esque celebration into August with the "well, it's two weeks before and two weeks after" rationale.  This year I asked folks who are close to me not to mark the day, with varying levels of compliance.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Be the best that you can be

Do you remember that commercial?  "Find your future in the aaaaaaaarmy."  That jingle brings up some comparisons between service and loss related PTSD - I was in a trauma informed service provision training last week where I didn't learn anything new about providing services but I did realize that I am moving through the world in my own sort of shell-shock.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sample itinerary from the trip of grief and sorrow

7:15 am, wake up after third night in a row of terrible sleep due to inadequate air conditioning and odd blankets combined with no black out curtains.
8 am, email old friend from highschool who recently lost her mother because you dreamed about her and her mom.  Send carefully worded email mentioning that while you are experiencing different kinds of grief, you are thinking about her from your corner of this terrible world.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Traveling with spotty internet

I have thought of several different blog posts but been unable to get online when they are seeming clear.  Right now we are 1 week into our 3 week running away trip.  San Francisco is nice because I lived in about 15 years ago so I have some sense of the geography but it is unfamiliar and takes all of my attention to navigate.  Today is R's bday, tears started the day.  She thought we'd have three Geminis in the family to combat my singular Leo-ness, but we do not.  We took a bus part way to Japantown, walked up all the hills, had sushi, picked up two different desserts and walked the several miles back.  I think the physical activity, and the wine, is helping for a calmer end of the day.  Also the in and out of denial makes a pretty big difference in functionality.  Sunday we are off to Big Sur on our southern leg.

Monday, June 8, 2015

War and peace

A few nights ago I had a truly wicked nightmare. I dreamed that I killed two people.  Intentionally.  One I took to the forest and put in a deep pit of mulch where I knew wolves would be and the other I may have dismembered.  I did not see them die but I knew I had done it.  I didn't know why I did it and I felt so confused.  I woke up several times throughout the dream feeling sick about what I had done,  terrified that someone would find out and so so lonely.  When I woke up for the final time it took a long time before I realized I hadn't actually killed anyone.  That realization came with such a feeling of peace.  I am not a murderer.  Even though my cervix failed my children, I did not kill my babies. If I can hold onto that, let go of some of the guilt and just grieve for them I might be finding a path to live through this.


Monday, June 1, 2015

The New Laughter: Hysteria and Emptiness

Laughter hasn't been to frequent of a visitor lately, but there have been some moments, particularly when with people who deeply understand loss when I have laughed hard.  I've had two responses, one is to feel like I am watching myself and a hollowness engulfs me and the other is to feel a little like I can't stop.  The edge of hysterical.  That has happened twice now.  Has anyone else felt like this?

Monday, May 18, 2015


Yesterday we squished approximately 75 crickets and dropped, maybe, 200 slugs in soapy water.  For some reason all my (too small) bathing suits are in the babies' room and, in preparation for our vacation, I had to retrieve them to try bottoms on, so in addition to mass murder, I went into the almost nursery.*  We did not fill out the adoption agency's application form.  We did not buy groceries for the week.  We did not go to bed at a normal hour.  I then had dreams about finding insect infestations on our plants until I gave up and got out of bed at 5:15 this morning.  I still didn't make it to work until 8:30.  This is what functioning looks like.

*Tops are another story, although I did not get to nurse our babies I did lactate, my breasts are now about 3X their pre-lactation size.

Monday, May 11, 2015

From infertility treatments to cervical insufficiency

For years we tried to get pregnant via ICI at home.  LOTS of people we know were successful at this, using known or unknown donor sperm resulting in beautiful babies, toddlers, children and young adults all over the place.  Our schedules are tricky, my cycles are trickier, after years of trying we decided to see a reproductive endocrinologist.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Time of Day

My mother is a cartographer by training.  [I am not, so this is not an inexact description.]  It is possible to look through a lens down at a photograph of a landscape and the shadows of the clouds on the mountains will reveal the time of day that the picture was taken.  Capturing a still image of a transient shadow of something almost insubstantial creates a permanent time stamp.

The babies nursery has one wall painted purple, the others still cream. One giant giraffe. Two dressers. One baby bath. Drawers full of baby clothes. A gift bag full of sympathy cards.  A permanent time stamp.

I struggle with the urge to finish the nursery. To hang their names on the wall, to reorder the returned cribs. To unfold the handmade blankets. To have a room finished and permanent.  To further encrypt the message currently stamped on the room, to make the message unavailable to anyone without the appropriate lens, without the key.  And then to loose the key, to hold the nursery as a marker for them, of them. To deny the message entirely.

Monday, April 27, 2015


We had our babies service on Saturday and it is way to much for me to even begin to write about now. Today we posted the front of our babies memorial card on Facebook.  We talked about it and there are pros and cons.  There are two big positives for me.  First that more people will know of our beautiful babies including folks I see rarely and who don't know we lost them.  Second knowing others who've experienced similar losses was tremendously helpful to me and if our sharing can help others not feel so alone, I want to do that.  The negative possibilities include stupid comments, creating stress for pregnant women and being vulnerable (that one is a positive too).  In any case it's done.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


And now it begins.  It's a little false to think of this as a beginning because we've been super focused on the service for some time now and since last Friday all of our time has gone to doing physical things to get ready - preparing the yard, buying and planting flowers, cleaning, killing aphids, cleaning.  7 am to 9 pm on Saturday, for example. But tonight at 6 pm R's dad and wife arrived, after a day long flight, for our babies' memorial service.  We have both taken Thursday and Friday off work to prepare.  And so it has begun.

R's dad is a retired pastor and is officiating the service, I have never seen him preach, this is an odd way to experience something that was a central part of R's life.  I am not religious, R is not either at this point in her life. R's dad has agreed to present the service we have written and we created a space for him to speak as a grandfather and to include religion if he would like.  R's dad's wife, S is reading a poem R's aunt wrote and there is a call and response poem as well as music. We are also speaking, we each wrote something and then spliced it together so it goes back and forth between us.  I have no idea how it will feel to stand up and speak our sorrow and love. I hope this goes well.

By this, I mean the service, having house guests for almost a week, surviving, all of it.

I wish I meant, I hope being parents goes well.  I wish this was a beginning not an ending.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The color blue: On naming the unnamable #MicroblogMondays

I heard a story on NPR documenting the history of the color blue, the short version is that it didn't exist because there was no name for it.  As evidence, a man never told his child about the color blue and apparently she couldn't see it either.  Aside from the ethics of experimenting on children, I wonder what other parts of our existence are not experienced as fully as they will be in the future because we don't have a word for them?  Might some part of my time with my babies be more deeply known if only I had the word for it?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Erratic Fingernails

I keep my fingernails short.  When they start to have any length to them they irritate me, I am constantly aware of them, touching the keyboard, brushing against my skin, getting dirty in the yard.  For the past several weeks I have been cutting one or two nails at a time - whichever ones are bothering me the most.  This is the first time in my life that I have ever not systematically cut all the nails on my left hand and then my right.  When I realized I had been doing it, I felt out of control--like I was making decisions without my knowledge.  It's such a small thing, fingernails, but it feels like everything.  Like the pattern that can be seen in this one series of events is the mirror for everything else in life.  Things are pretty hard today.  Irritation and heartbreak are everywhere.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Service, planning

We'll be holding the service for our babies at the end of the month.  We have R's dad to officiate and as of today we have a friend - a really nice person who isn't a close friend - who will be playing live music.  We are slowly pulling together things we want to include, we found a really lovely service done by a Unitarian minister that we'd like to mimic in parts.   We have each written letters for the babies, mine needs to be reworked because it was written just days after we came home from the hospital and it is partially processing the sequence of events that we had experienced and I don't need to do that for the service.  I would like to include the part from the Velveteen Rabbit that talks about becoming real and how that is related to being well loved.  Other than that, I'm not sure.  I am really glad that we will have live music, it makes the service feel full to me even though it will be short and simple.  We are holding it in our back yard so hopefully it doesn't rain, if it does we'll have to rearrange our furniture and make due in our relatively small living room - which opens to our dining room to form a rectangular space.  We are only expecting a small number of people.  I wish our loved ones weren't spread out across the country, it would be so nice to have them present. I'd love to have a couple of my closest people read things.  We invited everyone to send anything they'd like present at the service which would then be put in the babies memorial books, we've already received two really beautiful poems.  

I do wish I was planning their baby shower instead.  My sweet babies.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Is grief a mutating virus?

Or a crystal in the light?  Just when my eyes seem to have conceptualized the awful totality, a slight breeze or a cloud or the earth's rotation shifts the input and fragmented light blinds me with new glare, more or less intense, striking a chord within me that I didn't know existed. Over and over and over.  I am so restless and yet not able to focus long enough to create a plan or solution to this irritable lack of peace.  I can understand the appeal of drugs and alcohol, perhaps to numb these feelings, perhaps to make everything seem as strange and unfamiliar as this devastating loss.

We now have all the pieces to put together our babies memorial cards with the invitations to their service and the thank you cards.  Photos of our tiny babies accompanied by their unbelievably small and perfect footprints, together on the page as they never were outside the womb.  The last step is for me to glue the tiny hearts I crocheted to the slips of pink card stock thanking everyone for their kindnesses.  I can't quite make myself.  It's not a hard task.  These hearts have been one of my primary coping mechanisms, when I feel like I can't breathe, when I'm overwhelmed with the idea of time continuing, I have been able to focus on each of the three stitches necessary to make a heart.  Magic ring, chain four, triple crochet three, double crochet three, triple crochet one and repeat in reverse.  Like my experience as a mom, this is a very limited activity.  I learned these three stitches from youtube and have never crocheted anything else.  Glueing these hearts to cards announcing our babies' life and death is another finalization of their permanent absence.

My love and grief are creating tangible shifts in the light, just enough to render me blind and directionless.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

exploding lawnmowers and dog poop

Woke up this morning as the overwhelming sadness crashed over me and pulled me in.  Why are some days so much harder than others?  I dreamed last night that I was responsible for keeping the tiniest elephant alive; it fit in the palm of my hand.  I kept forgetting it needed me and then scrambling to make sure it had water and food and was warm enough.  It drank water out of the palm of my other hand.  I could feel its tiny trunk brushing against me. I decided to mow the lawn to try to move around, do something that would have visible results and not require any thinking.  Then smoke and poop.  There you have it, can't take care of my dream elephant, can't mow the lawn.  Breathing - so far that is the only task I've successfully managed today.

Monday, March 16, 2015


The cable's out.  No cable repair for a week.  I thought about telling the customer service representative that my babies died and the tv is a sort of drug that I cannot stand to go without, that HGTV must be playing in the background of my lonely days, but I managed not to.

I have been mostly avoiding music.  Music with my mom were some of my happiest childhood memories.  I had a anxious feeling during my pregnancy when I realized my music collection isn't up to snuff.  How could I be a good mom without the White Album?  What kind of parent doesn't even own the White Album?  Then I realized everything is on youtube and I calmed down.  I had thought we would rock and sing, dance and sing, clean and sing.  Every song I heard I imagined hearing again with my son and daughter.  Now it stings, all songs.

In the absence of cable I turned on a documentary about Neil Young*.  Only it isn't a documentary, just a concert with a casual lead-in while everyone is driving to the venue.  And I am on the sofa after my first day back at work, after receiving a message from a distant friend excitedly asking if I've had the babies, reading loss blogs, cold, wrapped in a blanket and all of a sudden I felt a little warmer.  Not my feet, they're freezing, but my heart.  My shredded heart feels a little softer.

Is it okay for me to feel comfort?  Am I letting my babies down?  I didn't even know that I felt like I had to only think of them, that I felt like if there wasn't succor for them there could not be any for me either.  Am I less of a mom if I can relax for a minute?  I am full of S and G, every minute, that remains steady and unchangeable.  Tears streaming down my cheeks, this moment of almost comfort, is full of sadness a sort of peaceful sadness.

*Music from my childhood and youth--no indie rock, blues or folk here today.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


I am afraid that returning to work will make it seem like my babies were just a skip in the record.  Songs playing in predetermined order and then, oops, dust on the needle, glad it wasn't something that would have ruined the record.  My babies are the record, the needle, and the song, anything that plays from now on exists within the skip.

I am trying to figure out something that my wife and I could do this summer, like a vacation, but without the expectations that go along with that word.  A vacation is what happy people do or people at least trying to be happy.  Who can say where we'll mentally be in June but I'm confident it won't be vacation happy.  How do you plan a vacation from within the skip?

We actually talked to a travel agent even though we don't have a lot to spend.  We cannot figure it out and heard they will now plan small trips.  We made her tear up at work.  We realized in the moment that we needed to say that we lost our children b/c we have to be somewhere without a lot of children and joyous children sounds.  Probably not something that every walk-in says with our level of urgency.  Days later we went to see a jeweler because I would really like to have a ring to represent my babies.  I want something tangible and unique that I can touch constantly.  R had met the jeweler before and really liked him so we checked to make sure he had time and went to his studio/store.  In describing what we wanted of course we said we had lost both our children.  He had greeted us jovially until we said why we were there.  It immediately looked like someone had punched him in the gut and he began crying.

There is something I appreciate in these emotional responses, a feeling of connectivity and community.   At the same time I also feel guilt, for revealing the skip to an unsuspecting, caring person.  It seems like we should be wearing a signal, mourning attire or the sign they put on our door in the hospital.  Something to warn people because there are a lot of people at my work and a whole lotta people on vacation.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sweaty in the pits

I haven't left the house much since returning home from the hospital except to walk the dog in the mid-afternoon when I am unlikely to see another person I know.  The few exceptions include going to counseling every week, trips to the bank and a few off-time visits to the grocery store.  I have found that going anywhere around people makes me feel anxious and sweaty--literally insanely wet armpits have occurred.  Even at home, when focusing on work I am having issues.  I was working on an email and while it was somewhat of a politically delicate email, normally I could have written and sent it in 10 minutes.  The first realization that there was an issue became apparent when I noticed that it took me about 40 minutes to write.  In addition I had had to keep rereading what I had written because I couldn't remember which parts I had already said and which needed to be constructed.  The more obvious problem for anyone who has to look at me is that I was totally sweaty in the pits, to the point that I had to get up and change my shirt even though I was home alone.  I think this is a clear indication that I am really not fit for anything but taking care of my babies, even in their absence.

Two very kind co-workers are coming over on their lunch break tomorrow and I have to take the  doglet to the vet.  I am testing myself.  Can I actually see them or will I cancel at the last minute?  What will we talk about during this lunch?  Will I be able to drive out to the vet?  If there is something wrong* with our dog, what will happen then?  How many times will I have to change my shirt?  Will I sweat through a shirt and a sweatshirt?

Love you S and G.

*K has an odd growth on her tail.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Half-pops, landfills and mucous

I have become super conscious of the divide between exterior and interior.  Obviously this is related to my external body and the breach that occurred when my cervix dilated, the mucous plug fell out, S's amniotic sac bulged and an infection developed (there is also the possibility that the infection preceded everything else, I just don't believe that is what happened).  Ultimately the difference between interior and exterior, between life and death, was made of mucous.  Aside from wondering about the idiocy of having mucous as the protective barrier for my tiny, perfect babies; I have also been thinking about interior and exterior as a myth, the reality is permeability.

Our neighbor's delinquent bother and sister-in-law ran over our property and destroyed many planting  and building supplies.  The snow fell while we were joyously pregnant and in Puerto Rico so the crushed pile remained buried until we returned home from the hospital, minus two.  A couple weeks ago my wife rented a truck and took everything to the county landfill.  Although I can't lift anything of substantial weight, I rode along.  I had only ever been to the small dump in my rural home town as a child, this landfill was nothing like that.  The dump was just a big hole located down a dirt road, just like you find on "Alice's Restaurant." The landfill is an industry.  It took quite a while for R to empty the truck, while she worked I googled.  I learned that modern landfills are predicated on the belief that garbage, and the toxic byproducts, can be sealed in plastic.  There are all sorts of technical protective measures, off-gassing, ponds to catch rain water run off, compaction of the trash into "cells," but ultimately our entire waste system relies on impermeability between an interior and an exterior.

R had created a "snack pack" kit for me to help me keep my caloric intake up to ensure the health of our children.  A new addition that I did not get to eat before the birth of our babies was "Half-pops," which are basically my favorite part of a serving of popcorn.  I ate some last night, well I ate a whole bag because apparently I never want to fit into my pants.  My friend google revealed that half-pops can be made at home if I first soak the kernels in a brine for four days to break down the barrier that protects the seed from the world at large.  Popcorn is created when the heat from the pan and oil is so great that it breaks the seal as the corn pops -- if the seal is broken before the heat then half-pops result.

The boundary between inside and out, popcorn and half-pops, clean water and pollution, life and death is dissolvable with a little salt, a puncture or an incompetent cervix.  Suddenly half-pops don't sound like the best idea.  I want to believe in the permanence of protective barriers.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Angry with concepts

I am furious with February.  How can the month not have my son's birth date in it?  Are you freaking kidding me?  My son did not have a one month birth/passing date in February.  I have been trying to let it go because what other choice do I really have but I am still mad about it.  It's not like February 17, my daughter's one month anniversary was a super awesome day or anything but it EXISTED.  I understand being upset about babies, pregnant people, being asked "how are you doing" for the 10,000th time but I didn't expect to be so upset by a month.  Then again, when I made it to 14 weeks pregnant, I foolishly expected to have two living, breathing, screaming, laughing babies in my life forever.

Back to work?

I had three choices, return to work the third week in March full time, return to work in April - but with no vacation possible for the whole summer when my wife has a break or return to work half time beginning yesterday.  I chose to return half time beginning yesterday.  It sucks.  I know I am so fortunate: I've been able to stay out of work for a month (after a month in the hospital), I have options and most significantly, I am returning remotely for these first two weeks back.  My supervisor has been very supportive and is letting me work on projects rather than the daily grind for these first two weeks.  He did mention that I could come to work for specific meetings as needed--he obviously has not read my blog and has no idea that I will be showing up in maternity pajama bottoms as I have no pants.

I have also realized how much I relay on my time spent reading other blogs and forums throughout the day.  Spending four hours yesterday working made me feel anxious.  Not only has the world seemed to miss that the two most important people ever are missing and mistakenly gone on with their every day lives and complaints, interacting with work emails is about the loneliest thing I've ever done after weeks of only reading in the company of women who've had similar losses.  The Compassionate Friends, MISS Foundation, Stirrup Queens associated blogs, and abbyloopers are my daily companions and I am so grateful for them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Exhausted.  I just want to hold my babies and kiss their beautiful cheeks.  Their mamma, my wife, says she can remember what they smelled like.  I was crying so hard and so stuffed up that I couldn't smell them and that drives me crazy.  I mean, it's on the list with the thousands of other things I don't get to experience with them.  I want my babies.  My heart is full of broken glass.

Monday, February 23, 2015

rules to live by

The day I delivered S was also the day that I began receiving a large amount of magnesium sulfate.  Ultimately mag depressed my breathing and gave me pulmonary edema.  Through the many blood draws and Hep-Locks I was running out of places that anyone could draw blood or put in an iv.  Regular nurses would no longer even try because a failed attempt would ruin yet another location - anesthesiologists had failed attempts.  My reaction to the mag needed to be monitored.  After a failed draw attempt the lab was called and a tech was sent down to do the draw.  After his first failed attempt he secured a vein that produced actual blood, a small amount before it stopped flowing, but enough.  He left with the vial.  We waited for the results.  In case not everyone knows what the mag does other than feel like the worst flu/lyme's disease/paralysis/constant agony, it is intended to prevent contractions and save the life of G.  I wanted the mag, I did not want my test results to cause a lowering or removal of the mag.  I hated the mag and tricked myself into keeping the iv flowing by telling myself I just had to live through the next 5 minutes and then I would ask to lower the volume. I am sure my wife and my sister shared this mixed feeling as I needed 24 hour attention, ice packs on my head and chest, ice chips every 2 minutes or so along with heat and blankets on my feet and legs. So we are waiting for the results and the nurse comes in and tells us the lab won't perform the test because the lab tech mislabeled the vial.  He put S's name on my blood.  What.  At 20 weeks S was so incredibly small she did not have the ability to lose any blood.  Our doctor tried to get them to change the label, she tried to order the test under S's name. No go. The lab now knew it wasn't my blood and I was the one who needed the test.  They refused.  Sometimes it seems like we as people have an inability to look at the totality of a situation, we just focus on our tiny piece of the puzzle and make up or enforce the rules associated with that slice of the world.  Only 5% of pregnancy's result in the death of a baby after 14 weeks.  Only 2% of infants are effected by chorio.  Until that was my puzzle piece I could not comprehend the totality of all the possible outcomes.

Read my stress, I dare you.

We super bravely decided we would do three things outside the house yesterday. 1. try to find non-maternity clothes that would allow me to leave the house with a bit more ease. 2. Buy arugula from grocery store. 3. Buy face lotion from mall - trying to avoid full on acne.

We managed to purchase a few things that I will hopefully take out of the bag and actually wear. I only cried in the changing room briefly.  I avoided yelling about my babies at the employee who would only let us take 6 items in the dressing room at a time (I do know she's just doing her job, my rage just doesn't really care). The grocery store was non-eventful - it was a small store we never go to with therefore had minimal chance of seeing another human we know.  The mall.  We tried to find the entrance closest to the Clinique counter.  Made it inside, to the counter, avoided looking at infant and mom already at counter.  Gathered and purchased vital lotion.  Then the sales woman offered us a serum, a "smart serum" that could read what kind of stress our faces have experienced and repair it.  We both laughed/snorted.  As if. We took the samples.

Pimples and Pants

Focusing on the vast number of tiny white heads appearing on my forehead seems manageable when nothing else is.  Solving the problem of pants, maternity pants no longer stay up and pre-pregnancy pants are a looong time from fitting, does not.

So, the pimples.  I have never had acne, even in my teen years, pimples came along and went --singles sometimes doubles but nothing of note.  During the month I spent in the hospital fighting for both my babies and then just my son--days and days without showering or even touching water--my complexion stayed immaculate.  The multiple cerclages, mass doses of antibiotics, unimaginable stress and the magnesium sulfate coursing through my veins (making me unable to even raise my arms for days) had no impact on my skin.  About a week after loosing G and three weeks after loosing S, through the haze of my unbearable grief, I started noticing a patch of white heads.  At this point my milk had come in so showering was almost impossible, the challenge of keeping my breasts out of the water and the constant physical and emotional pain combined with the sadness that is showering alone after five months of having the constant company of my babies with me at all times exhausted all my energy.  I did not focus on this change in my skin. As the fog has receded the awful loneliness persists but life starts creeping in, when will I return to work?  How will I talk to *anyone* who hasn't been with me through this whole journey?  How will I have patience and compassion for anyone other than my wife -- i.e. anyone who hasn't lost our two precious babies?  The pimples are a safe subject of contemplation.  Are they from hormone changes?  The shift in my oil production as I move from showering every few days/once a week to every day?  How long will they last?  Am I creating scars by picking at them?

Pants are particularly difficult because to deal with them is to deal with my stomach, the part of my body that was full of perfect, healthy, active babies.  The part of my body that did not keep my babies safe.  The part of my body that signals to the world--I'm pregnant.  Shirts are no picnic but a big shirt stays on my body, unlike big pants.  Being pregnant with twins I had read that healthy weight gain was one of the most important, controllable factors to having healthy babies in our arms.  We focused on healthy snacks, on trying to gain between 1 and 1.5 lbs per week as recommended.  My wife crated a "snack pack" kit that contained a wide variety of snacks that I could choose from each day before heading off to work.  The leftover snacks are still waiting.  As recommended I gained a little over 20 lbs. My closet is full of borrowed and purchased maternity clothes while all of my pre-pregnancy clothes wrinkle in their giant tupperware bins.  We went to a discount clothing store yesterday.  The night before when my wife heard me say that I am struggling because I don't believe that I deserve to wear clothes that fit after my body failed our babies she determined that we had to change something.  We did get two fairly awkward but wearable pairs and several work appropriate shirts that semi-disguise my smaller but still seemingly pregnant belly.  But clothes are not designed to not look like maternity clothes and yet fit a maternity shaped body.  How long will I look pregnant?  When will I stop desperately wishing that I could still feel our babies moving inside me?  Will I ever stop feeling guilty that I let an infection enter the one space in the universe where they should have been safest?  Will I feel connected to my body again? Will there ever be pants that fit me?