Marriage and Partnership
Every day in the United States alone, 26 babies are stillborn.
This is Ruth's story:
i don't have any leather pants to strap on, as i have been invited to do on the homepage, but i'm gonna share my story. i'm 37 years old, happily married, and the proud mother of three (living) children.
last year, almost this exact time of year, i found out i was pregnant with our fourth child. the news came as a bit of a surprise, as i was on the pill, and we'd thought we were "done" - our kids are 12, 10, and 8.
after the initial shock wore off, we were thrilled. it was going to be so much fun this time around, knowing what we already know about having kids and whatnot. all the stress of just keeping the little buggers alive and well until they started school was behind us. we could relax and just enjoy having a little one to hold and snuggle.
at our 20 week ultrasound, we discovered that it was a girl we named ruth, and her umbilical cord had only two blood vessels instead of the usual three.
the doctor explained the problems this could cause, and after educating ourselves about the risks involved, we felt confident that we could handle whatever GOD chose to bring our way. her due date was set for january 11, 2013. because mine was considered a high-risk pregnancy, i had weekly ultrasounds scheduled for the last two months of the pregnancy.
on january 2, just nine days before our due date, my ultrasound revealed that there was no heartbeat. ruth was dead.
i headed to labor and delivery to be induced. early the next morning, I delivered my baby girl who had already left this world.
the pain and shock have been enormous. i am so grateful to my husband for being my strength over these last 4 months. he lost a daughter too, but somehow he manages to rise above his grief when i need him.
our families have been wonderful, letting me grieve in my own way, never judging, always loving. we never did find out what happened; why she died. now the big question is, do we want to try for another baby? we know we can't replace the one we lost, but it just seems so sad to end our baby-making years with a tragedy.
if anyone reading this is interested, Jason Collins, MD of knoxville, tennessee is an ob-gyn studying the causes and risk factors for stillbirth. i was able to get in contact with him after losing ruth, and discovered that this tragedy is all too common: every day in the united states alone, 26 babies are stillborn.
i'd become concerned during the last few weeks of my pregnancy that the baby wasn't moving enough, but when i contacted my doctor, i was told that it was fine; babies slow down as they get bigger.
listen up, everybody! babies DO NOT slow down. all pregnant moms: do a kick count. be a pain in your doctor's ass. drive the nurses at the hospital crazy. do whatever it takes for that little one.
s/he is counting on you.
GOD bless all of you who read this. GOD bless ALL the unborn babies.
thanks, the band, for letting me have the floor for a moment.
Here at The Band, we believe in kicking stigmas to the curb, flinging glitter, and shining a light into the dark. And now?
Your bandmate needs a sounding board.
It's time to Ask The Band!
Two of my former students asked me to officiate their wedding.
I've been working on the speech for a bit. They asked me to talk about growth and change and how to do this whole marriage stuff. I figure this crowd might have some interesting advice.
What do you wish someone had said at your wedding? What did someone say that was perfect? I have eight minutes of solid talking. I would kind of like more like eleven or twelve minutes but I'm not entirely sure what else is important without being rambly or off topic.
Any advice would be awesome sauce.
It would have been simpler if you had just hit me with your fist.
It would have hurt less had curled your fingers up and slammed your fist into my gut.
No. Oh no, you would never hit me. You claimed you would never give in to the urge to physically hurt me. You denied that the urge was there, but I could see it. Please. After nine years I can read you like a book.
On the good days we inspired each other, brought out the best in each other. On the bad days we would stand, six inches apart, applying the verbal lash over and over. Flaying one another to the bone, stripping defenses down until nerves were raw and exposed.
Even after all those years, all those fights, all the pain, I never threw that kind of insult at you. I never said anything that literally took your breath away, never dealt you a verbal sucker punch. Don't get me wrong, I'm certain that I hurt you. Intentionally or not, I know that it's true. I know we both bear scars on our hearts. But I never spoke to you the way you spoke to me. I never poured salt on the wounds.
You took every single self-doubt that I had, every aspect of myself that I hated, and threw them all at me. I sat there, wounded, in shock, seeing the rage and pain blaze in your eyes like wildfire.
If you had just made a fist, punched me in the gut, maybe we'd still be together.
No. You had to wound me and then grab the salt and just rub it in there, didn't you?
Fat. Lazy. Selfish. Mean. Bitch.
Those words hurt. Can't deny that. But I've heard them before.
Do you want to know what the last straw was? The word that hit me like a fist to the gut?
How dare you?
How DARE you throw that in my face?
You. You of all people. You who knew how I struggled with that diagnosis, who saw me weep every month, watched me grieve for another lost chance every time I bled.
Four years of a thousand tiny deaths. Every birth announcement, every baby shower, every happy family in a grocery store: they all left a scar.
Countless appointments, driving back and forth to clinics to undergo tests and invasive medical procedures. Always alone because your work schedule wouldn't allow you to join me. Trying to reign in my crazy mood swings from the drugs so that I didn't take everything out on you. Slogging through life on a second-string antidepressant because it would be safer during pregnancy. Drawing fluid into a needle and shooting myself up with hormones in the bathroom, alone, because you're afraid of needles.
If those scars were physical instead of emotional I don't think I'd have an inch of pristine skin left at this point.
You condensed all of that pain and anguish into one little word.
It took my breath away. I felt a chill ripple from the tip of my skull down to my toes.
And it was over. Over. In that moment, we were over. No going back. No patching it up this time.
It would have been simpler if you had just hit me with your fist.
We all have letters we'd like to send, but know that we can't. A letter to someone we no longer have a relationship with, a letter to a family member or friend who has died, a letter to reclaim our power or our voice from an abuser.
Letters where actual contact is just not possible.
Do you have a letter you can't send?
Why not send it to The Band?
I hope it's okay to call you that even though I never met you. I wanted to meet you. I was terrified to meet you. I wanted you to like me. I wanted you to see how much Adam means to me.
I know I'm not good on paper. I've been married before and I cheated on him. I have two kids and they live with their father because he is the better parent.
But if you watch your son do dishes because he knows I hate to do them or cut the meat off a rib because bones make me gag, if you could watch me gather up his laundry because he will procrastinate for weeks until he has nothing remotely clean to wear or french braid his long curly hair (I think he got those genes from you) because he likes to be touched, you would see how much love there is between us.
If you could see him comforting me when I feel like a wreck, crawling into the empty bathtub with me where I'm hiding to talk to me and let me know that he wants to hear me; if you could see me staying up guarding him all night the day you were murdered or just existing near him when the grief is too much to keep inside. If you could see these things, I know that that you would be glad that he has someone to share his life with.
I don't know what to think of all thing things I've heard about you since they pop holes in the beautiful vision I have of us getting along and being friends (oddly enough, I was never friends with my ex-mother-in-law until after Thomas and I split), so I will focus on the knowledge that you raised a son who came through the difficulties of youth to be a wonderful man.
Your Daughter In Law
Alcoholism can completely change a loved one's personality and put stress on the entire family as a result.
This is her story.
Life's not fair, I know that. I don't expect fairness from the world at large. But I feel like - and maybe this is me being a spoiled only child - we should try to be fair to those we supposedly love.
He's an alcoholic, I know that too. He tells me so all the time, whenever I complain about his behavior or his attitude. Or whenever he feels bad. He's trying to fight his demons, he says.
But I'm angry. I'm supposed to be the bigger person and I am so fucking angry.
We made a decision about today's schedule last night. Last night when he was perfectly sober, I must add. Today I followed that schedule and it turns out he is mad that I did. He feels like I left him out, even though that's what we decided last night.
But I'm the bitch. I'm starting the fight, because I wanted to know why he'd called me so angry. He is mad that his family wasn't there when he woke up.
The decision wasn't even 12 hours old, but he changed his mind and is resentful that I didn't know that, that I didn't follow his new wishes.
I fucking hate that. I hate not being able to make plans, not even 12 hours in advance, because he doesn't know what kind of mood he'll be in. He might change his mind and he will be a resentful fucking child if he's committed to something and then changed his mind about it. Or he'll be mad at us if we've gone somewhere without him, because he told me he wanted to sleep late.
I don't feel like I have a partner, I feel like I'm being bossed around by a petulant child.
I know that he is hurting. I know that he is trying to get better. I know that in a few hours, he will be my real husband for a while - the one who doesn't act like a petulant child. But then nighttime will come, he will have his five drinks after the kids go to bed - and he will be perfectly nice at that time too - and then in the morning he will be an asshole.
It's like I live with two people and one of them is a total dick. We can't afford counseling, rehab, or to live apart, really. I don't even know what's actually wrong with us. Are other men so resentful if they don't get to wake up whenever they choose? I know he has insomnia, which is his reason for drinking, but it just seems weird for someone in his thirties.
He gets resentful if I'm not available for sex whenever he wakes up, but he's also resentful if I wake him up early to have sex before I have stuff to do. He's resentful whenever I'm on the computer, but that's a big source of our income right now.
It's like he doesn't know how to be a grownup anymore.
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