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Fee Fi Fo Fum

Terrible blogger, I am. I’ve just been too exhausted to write anything meaningful. I’ll be back. I will. But in the meantime, I bring you this conversation:

I was reading “Jack and the Beanstalk” to Annika.
Me: Fee Fi Fo Fum. I smell the blood of an Englishman.
Annika: Fee Fi Fo Fum. (giggling) I don’t like that fum word.
Me: You don’t like Fum?
Annika: No. I only like Fee.
What about Fi and Fo?
Annika: I like Fi, but not those other ones.
Me: Fo and Fum?
Annika: Yeah. I don’t like them.

She wouldn’t tell me why. I love the three year old mind.


i’m fine. e-mail hijacked

For anyone who’s looking for me, I am fine, not in Nigeria. My e-mail has been hijacked. This should be lovely to fix. Will be in touch soon.

alive and well

Thanks to all who have been concerned about me. I’m fine. My absence has been a cross between being busy (sister-in-law was visiting from Turkey for the past two weeks) and feeling a bit empty as far as having something blogworthy to say.

I feel unimaginably sad. All the time. I wander around and I am always thinking about what I’ve lost. Always. And when I think about writing that here, I pause. How many different ways can you say you’re sad? And how many times can you say it, before people don’t listen anymore. I’m not saying that people stop caring (I know you care because you are reading this). But I think it’s natural to shy away from a person’s pain when you feel/know there is nothing you can do to take it away.

Sometimes I want to be sad. Or at least, I’m at peace with it. I don’t enjoy it, but I sort of…revel in it. In those moments I can explore the sadness. I can write and when I’ve done that, it feels…satisfying. Like when you close your eyes and take a deep breath and then exhale. I feel full, present.

But right now I don’t feel like that. I don’t want the sadness. I want to pretend it’s not there. I don’t want to explore it. Even though the sadness is all around me taunting me whichever way I turn, I want to stick my fingers in my ears and shout “LA LA LA LA LA LA I CANT HEAR YOU”.

So that’s why I haven’t written lately.

edited to add:

I actually came on tonight to write about something else, and then wound up spilling the above. What I came on to write was this:

I held a baby today. It was the first time I’ve held a baby since Lina. On Fridays it’s become a semi-standing date to go to McDonalds with Annika’s “best friend” and her mom. They have a baby born on October 8th (I think) just a few days after Lina & Cole. We were in the infant room picking her up, and there was a little boy – also about 6 or 7 months – who had rolled himself off of the mat and was lying just on the linoleum. I picked him up to put him back on the mat, and It felt so good, and yet…it broke my heart. I didn’t want to put him down. And yet…I wanted to run screaming from the room.

WHY am I not holding my own babies? HOW could this possibly have happened? I know the questions are rhetorical. But what I wouldn’t give not to have them to ask.

6 months

Cole and Lina would have been six months old today. I think back to when Annika was six months old. She was smiling, laughing, sitting up by herself, and getting ready to crawl. Her first tooth popped through the day before her 6 month birthday.

I know it would have been different with Cole and Lina, as they would have been only 3 months adjusted, and maybe more delayed because of their prematurity, but they’d have been laughing…and true joys. We’d have been celebrating how far they’d come from just 2 lbs 3 oz (Cole) and an itty bitty 1 lb 2 oz (Lina). That’s what we should be doing. This is a hard day.

We love you, little angels.


feeling hopeful

Yesterday I wrote

OK, I don’t mean for this to be a pity-party

But that wasn’t entirely true. I kind of did want a pity-party. I was feeling very sorry for myself. And I wanted you all to say “There, there, Patrice. It’ll be OK”. And you did. Thanks.

I know it’s not particularly useful to dwell on all the negatives over the past 5 years. But I was feeling so very overwhelmed. I felt almost like I needed to justify my sadness. As in: See? I’m not making this up. And I’m not making a mountain out of a molehill. It really is that bad.

And although I am trying to look at the silver lining when it comes to the layoff, I can’t help but think “Come ON! What more could possibly happen to me?!?” I am afraid to ask that question, however, for fear that the universe will show me what else could happen. Universe, please note: I am NOT asking the question.

Many people have told me that it may be a “blessing in disguise”. This may be true. But I really don’t understand why my blessings feel the need to wear a disguise! I am ready for a blessing in a blessing-suit to knock on my door!

In any case, I am feeling better this morning. I keep thinking about the interviews the other day. As time goes on, of course, I keep disecting and finding things I wish I’d done or said differently. But I still feel like it was a net positive.

And this morning I had a meeting with an executive outplacement service. This is something my company provides as part of the separation package, and I have to say it seems great. I have a counselor/advisor who will help me to figure out my interests/strengths/weaknesses, etc…, tune up my resume, interviewing skills, negotiation skills, and so on. He seems great. They have a ton of on-line and seminar-type support. I tell you, this is the kind of thing I’ve felt like I’ve needed for a long time, quite aside from my current predicament.

Even if the job with my old boss works out (and I hope it does), I feel like this is a valuable chance to help me position myself and set goals for the long term.

So I’m just out of that meeting and feeling hopeful. It feels good.

whoa, it’s been too long.

Thanks to you all who keep checking on me. The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind, again. So are you ready for the latest bombshell? I lost my job. Yes. We were notified last Monday, and last Thursday was our last day in the office. When I say “we”, I mean pretty much the whole Home Equity group – at least those of us based in Stamford. Another casualty of the mortgage crisis.

My life in the past five years just feels like a series of moments. Mostly bad, but some good. So let’s recap, dear friends. The highlights (or lowlights, as the case may be):

March 30th, 2003: My dad died from pancreatic cancer (only 60 years old)
December 28th, 2004: Our perfect daughter Annika, the absolute light of our lives, is born after a near-perfect pregnancy.
June 1st, 2006: Start a new job. Closer to home, but a different industry so a challenge to ‘learn the ropes’
June 9th, 2006: My grandmother passed away – at the ripe age of 94 – bless her soul
June 20th, 2006: Mom is diagnosed with lung cancer and starts an aggressive course of chemo/radiation
Fall/Winter 2006-2007: Mom puts up a good fight, but struggles with her health, including pneumonia and an esophogeal ulcer that makes her unable to eat and requires a feeding tube
March 2007: Mom has double vision and they find a spot of cancer on her skull, pressing on her optic nerve. Starts a new round of radiation and bounces back.
April 13th, 2007: Mom is too weak to get out of her chair. Calls her neighbor to take her down to the hospital.
April 17th, 2007: Mom falls in the hospital and breaks her hip (actually I think her hip gave out due to the cancer and she fell). She has hip replacement surgery the next day.
May-June, 2007: After just a difficult week at home, mom spends her last months between the hospital and a nursing home.
May 3rd, 2007: I find out I’m pregnant!
Middle of May sometime: OMG, it’s twins!
June 20th, 2007: I have CVS to find out if the babies are chromosomally OK (no CVS in Duluth, so I drive down to Minneapolis for it). A week later, I find out the babies look perfect, and we’re having a boy and a girl!
July 1st, 2007: Mom passes away after a very painful, difficult struggle
End of July, 2007: I return to CT, return to work. I’m VERY achey and uncomfortable.
Mid-August, 2007: One of the twins is quite a bit smaller than the other. Next month need to see a perinatologist
Mid-September, 2007: Both babies grow, but one is still much smaller. Showing signs of pre-eclampsia (high BP, swelling). Start working from home.
October 2nd, 2007: Mention upset stomach at perinatologist appointment. She orders bloodwork, stat. I’ve got HELLP Syndrome. I’m given steroids and babies will be born in 48 hours.
October 4th, 2007: My precious twins, Cole and Lina are born at just 26 weeks
October 8th, 2007: We are given the devastating news that Cole had a very severe bleed on his brain. No idea what this will mean for his future.
October 26th, 2007: After he becomes septic and very very ill, we make the heartwrenching decision to let him rest. He passes away in our arms at 3:00 pm.
January 4th, 2008: After a long uphill climb and getting past so many challenges, Lina is doing well. We decide to bring her to Greenwich Hospital to be closer to home, since I must return to work.
January 8th, 2008: The babies’ due date. The doctor tells me how well Lina is doing. She might be ready to come home as early as next week. I am elated, walking on air.
January 9th, 2008: We receive a call from the doctor. Lina’s bowel may have ruptured, she needs to go back down to Columbia Presbyterian for exploratory surgery. She is rushed in as soon as she gets there. The bowel is not ruptured, instead the blood supply had been twisted and cut off. The surgeons untwist it and hope that the restored bloodflow will heal the bowel. She is septic though, and it is unclear whether she can beat that.
January 11th, 2008: The surgeons operate again to determine how much of the bowel is salvageable. It turns out the blood supply itself was damaged and the entire bowel has died. There is nothing they can do for her. They bring her to us and she dies in our arms. Again, it was Friday, about 3:00.
March 17th, 2008: We are notified that our business unit is being shut down/merged with another and that our positions are being eliminated
March 20th, 2008: Last day in the office

OK, I don’t mean for this to be a pity-party, but doesn’t that seem like an awful lot for one person? There were lots of other things along the way, including my own bouts with pneumonia and recurring bronchitis. And of course there were moments of joy, too. Mostly centered around Annika.

In fairness, I should mention that it was not a shock last Monday when they informed us that our positions were eliminated. Anyone working in the mortgage industry (or even reading the news) could see the writing on the wall. Weeks before we had been told that things looked shaky, then very bad. For probably 2 weeks we knew it was coming and were just waiting for HR to get the paperwork together.

And, if I’m honest, I am not entirely distraught. I’d been with Citi for 12 years, and so my severance package is enough to take some of the pressure off. Still, after being with a company for 12 years…most of my friends are from Citi along the way… packing up last week felt very sad. It was saying goodbye again. Another loss. A blow on top of everything else…but then again, with the other events of the past 5 years, I am keeping it in a very different perspective.

So you’d think after all that, I could at least take a week and relax. But no. I got in touch with an old boss of mine (who had left Citi) and wound up setting up some interviews down in Delaware for yesterday. Then they called and asked if I could come down Tuesday as one person’s schedule couldn’t accommodate me on Wednesday. So I spent Friday suit-shopping (ugh) and Monday filling out a loooonnnnggg job history questionnaire they required. And preparing. I hadn’t interviewed (properly) in 12 years. And what I interviewed for 12 years ago was very different. Of course, I’d had some interviews within Citi, but when you’re internal, it’s different. So anyhow, the past week was anything but relaxing.

But I thought the interviews went well. I have a pretty good feeling. And my old boss has a couple of different possibilities in mind, so I feel pretty hopeful that something will work out. Whew. So now I can relax. I hope.

Know what I mean Jelly Bean?

It’s strange where these things can get you. This morning I was in CVS, browsing the Easter cards. I picked up a cute one with colorful Easter Bunnies and eggs on the front. “Happy Easter” it said. Then I opened it. The message inside was “Know what I mean Jelly Bean?”

I almost bought it. I still might go back for it. But that would be crazy, right?

P.S. Yesterday was 2 months, exactly, from the day Lina died.

About Me

I'm a grieving mom. I have one beautiful daughter, Annika, who's 3 years old now (born 12/28/04). I also had twins, Lina and Cole, on 10/04/07, born at just 26 weeks. We lost Cole after just 23 days due to complications related to his prematurity. Fiesty little Lina overcame so much and just when she was getting ready to come home with us, suddenly had a complication unrelated to her prematurity and passed away on January 11, 2008. This blog is about getting through it. More...