Thursday, January 28, 2010

Politics and Economics of having a stillbirth

Today was a helluva day for a number of reasons. There were approximately 4500 reasons in particular that it was a helluva day. Impressively, that wasn't even the grand total of reasons!

Now despite what my voting record may suggest, I am not a full-fledged liberal; I'm certainly no right-winger; perhaps I'm supposed to call myself a libertarian, but I don't organize books (get it? haha?) No, I'm pretty well in the middle, which sadly translates into me "not really having a position".

Forgive me if my life experience suggests that there is rarely such thing as "black and white". I know there is a flip-side to every hard-nosed position, and exceptions to every rule (I spent 5 years studying literature and the English language : nothing but flip-sides and exceptions). That being said, I want to share something I posted on Facebook.

It addresses the shittiness of blindly taking a hard stance on an issue, while admittedly taking a one-dimensional view of the situation. That makes it either the most brilliant or most asinine thing I've ever said (remember, 5 years of english/lit)

A C Dear Conservatives, my son was too "old" to be aborted because he was "a life, a baby", but the insurance companies whose profits you protect say he wasn't real because he died in the womb. So, if you vote Pro-Life, send me $50 to help pay these medical bills you confused mother fuckers.

11 minutes ago · ·
Adam Culver
...and if you didn't realize that the Pro-Life Republican candidate you voted for is also anti-health care reform, you need to add 10 bucks as a stupid tax.
7 minutes ago ·
Adam Culver
...if you are anti- health care reform BECAUSE you are pro-life, then you should pay double because voting against health care reforms is voting against the 'dead baby' community, which is like a double-negative and translates into you being in favor of babies dying because it saves insurance companies money. yup, you're a prick.
a few seconds ago ·
Adam Culver
cash or paypal, please.

Yes, that is a Conan O'Brien icon...something I DO take a hard stance on.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ask a DB Dad (or "Dear Weirdo..."

Allright, I figure it's been long enough since the last post, and since that last one was certainly me grasping at straws (and I realized that the promised zombie talk just ain't gonna work...least not yet), I've been thinking of some worth-while topics. So considering the origins of this here bloggy blog, and the fact that most of the DB parent support/advice I found, while awesomely helpful, inspirational and comforting, rarely touched on the dead-baby daddy side of things, I thought maybe I'd try and give some insights, or at least open up some discussion, into this DB dad experience.

Now before I go off yakking, and before someone logs on here thinking I'm some kind of expert, let me lay out what will probably be the general disclaimer for any of these "Ask a DB Dad" posts.

If there is such a thing as an expert on being the parent of a dead baby, it certainly ain't me. I'm not even a year into this journey yet and I'm certainly still looking for answers myself. I have, however, seen, read, heard and experienced a few things that I feel might be worth sharing with those unfortunate enough to join this club.

Everyone's experience is different. We've all come to this place different paths, in different ways: no one "knows exactly how you feel". Be it that your loss came as a miscarriage, stillbirth, or the loss of a child after their birth, everyone seems to feel that pain in their own way.

That being said, there are plenty of blogs and boards out there where DB parents can share. But if you are a DB dad, you'll find that most of these places are populated with the mothers of our children, and as welcoming as they are, and as much as we feel the same pain, the experience just isn't quite the same.

no shit? really? Okay, so I know its kind of obvious, but it's something to keep in mind as you go out there in search of support and, more importantly, as you support yo' baby's mama. As caught up as I was in my own feelings after Joel died, I did have to kind of remind myself that my wife might not simultaneously feel the same things I felt. Just the same, we certainly might not deal with it the same way.

Well, okay, we kinda did: housework distractions, gallows humor, and lots of reading/writing. The big thing was that we let it be okay to emote: and thats probably the one thing these Mommas are so good at that I suggest the DB daddies adopt: let yourself be emotional, at least a bit. This is a big thing with lots of big emotions in play, and yes, that DB Momma needs you to be strong and manly and all those things, but she also needs to know it's okay for her to share all her emotions with you.

Now I'm working off the idea that in this situation you and momma are on good terms or at least maintain some kind of relationship. If not, I'm certainly not judging, because, well hey, some women can't be lived with...or maybe you're the one who couldn't be lived with, but thats totally something for you and your therapist (or lawyer) to work out.

As easy as it might be, and as much of a natural reaction as it might be to simply shut down and block it all out, sitting in the basement playing X-box for three days straight with an ever growing pile of empty Dorito bags surrounding you isn't going to be the best way to handle things. (God, that does sound like heaven though...)

Same thing goes for completely remodeling your house. Or building a Camaro....from scratch. Being productive and doing stuff is a GOOD thing, but don't delve so far in that you shut off the other half of the parent equation. Yes, from the moment that pregnancy test came up positive, she's been getting tons more attention than you, and now that tragedy has struck she is still most likely the focus of most of the love and support from others (it's just natural dude, it's nothing against you, it's just the same thing as how they don't throw baby showers for dads...we just go out drinking), she needs to know she's going through this with you. Amazingly, you'll find that it makes things a little easier to process for yourself as well.

Now ladies, you aren't off the hook either, that DB Daddy needs the same thing, but be careful not to act interested in his 62-hour X-box marathon: we totally take that as permission for an additional 24 hours.

Venus, Mars, etc. etc., yeah, men and women are gonna deal with this differently, just like every individual will; but at the end of the day, you've gotta recognize that as individual as you are, as solitary as your story is, you're still not alone. Those emotions you've got driving you crazy right now, that you don't know what to do with, they aren't unheard of, they aren't taboos. 'Dealing' with it is not the same as 'ignoring' it.

So if you can't find anywhere else, use the anonymity of the Internet and toss me a comment or a question. If not, keep coming back. Now that we've set the stage, we can get into more dad-specific posts (I would've said Dad-centric, but thats taken...and worth clicking).


Friday, January 8, 2010

Me time..?

So my imaginary friends ask me, "Adam, what is it that you do in your spare time?"
A question to which I generally respond, in typical parent fashion, "spare time? What's that?"

My "spare time" generally consists of short moments where Jules is distracted with Blues Clues, his art easel, or something else. In those quick 2 or 3 minute spurts of "spare time" I'll read a paragraph of something, post something on Facebook so I feel like a part of the world, or maybe type the first 3 sentences for a blog/writing idea. That is, if I don't have some household chore to go and take care of first.

Typically those household chores relate to the center of my universe. And what, you ask (my dear, imaginary friend), is the center of my universe? Is it my lovely wife whom I've turned into an expert on being pregnant over the past 3 years (you're welcome honey)? No, it is not.

What about my son, the boy-who-hates-sleep? Do I spend my spare time plotting against the bane of my existence, which is in fact his sleep schedule? Do I use my finely tuned brain to create skillful calculations and algorithms to determine how to fix this sleepless situation? If we get him up a 'x' time he'll surely be tired by 'n' at which point he ought to nap for 'a' hours and then be ready for sleep by 'b'
-- You see, once upon a time, my son slept a whole night in his crib (more than one actually) but then he got a little sick. He then had a nice long series of colds and what-nots that kept him from sleeping well. It just so happened that these illnesses occurred at the exact same time his sleep habits were forming. Now, he has ALWAYS fought sleep, and more so than any other child on earth (I'll stand by that statement) but after the sicklies, he ONLY falls asleep on Daddy's shoulder. if you "awwwwwww", I'll slap you. Think of the reality of this situation as I sit here typing, wondering if I should sell myself to IKEA as the prototype for a toddler bed...out of context, that joke could be very pedophile-ish.. not good.

BUT no, that is not the center of my universe, nor is my son in general, sadly.

No, my world revolves around one thing. One horrible, stinky thing: poop.
Poop is the center of my universe. Has been for years.

Started out when I worked at a group home for the mentally challenged/disturbed. You can imagine what my poop dealings were like there...on second thought, you probably can't. *shudder*

I left that job to put up with middle schooler's shit, and their parents shit, and the Education System's shit, etc. etc.

Then came the baby poo and my family's shit.

Then there's this group: shit to do around the house, 8 cats in my house that mostly use the litter box, and a puppy being housebroken ( who managed to somehow pop off, and chew up, the 'down arrow' on my netbook -- not sure if I'm bitching or bragging on that one. This all counts as my wife's shit. However, in exchange for 3 nights of not having to take an extra 5 minutes in the shower *wink wink* over the past 3 years, these are my responsibility because pregnant women aren't supposed to handle certain shit. Considering the disappointment she had to put up with on those 3 particular nights, and the whole 'creating life' thing, I figure its a fair enough trade.

So yeah, my life, shit; you get the point. But that isn't to say that I'm unhappy, or don't give a shit (couldn't resist), that is very much the opposite of my situation, but in regard to free time, well, I've got shit to do. (okay, that one was on purpose)

I do like talking about zombies though...maybe next post.........what the fuck kinda zombies do you talk about on a DB blog? eek!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

completely casual

damn...I said I'd post more this new year.

double-damn: I said I'd try and drop some of the melancholy.

ah-ha! I never said anything about not being cynical! *whew* and what a relief that is, because if I'm going to try and get back to occasionally-somewhat-amusing, as opposed to just-plain-blah, then the cynicism is going to hit the roof. A boy's gotta vent somewhere folks, and this is all I've got (which is a pretty sad state of affairs, especially when you consider the fact that I think of this as a little, empty arena in my head [issues I tell ya, issues...] )

Just me, up at a podium looking out over a sea of red, plush chairs with maybe four or five "me"s sitting there, bored to death, wondering when I'm going to get around to the stories about being beaten up by deeply disturbed women in the buff.

Well, flying in the face of my "resolution to be more cynical", I have to post about something nice.

We all know the co-workers and acquaintances that, no matter what the situation, always find the wrong thing to say. Among the DB parents, that trend seems to be amplified. Not that we say the wrong thing, necessarily, but we do tend to be on the receiving end of thoughtless, or downright uncaring, comments.

Thankfully not the case for myself, at least when it has come to friends and co-workers. The other day, however, something very small, yet meaningful happened. A co-worker was telling me how she'd enjoyed my FB status, chuckled aloud and then had that awkward moment we've all experienced: explaining something thats "Internet-funny" to someone that is, you know, actually in your physical presence and not a party of your humorours little digital exchange.

To give context, when we found out that Piccadilly is indeed another boy, I posted my 'baby making materials' for sale, guaranteed to make a boy! (Get it while its hot!) ha ha, ho ho, hee hee haw haw As she explained to me how she had explained the situation to her mother, not the situation, but the context of my post and the sarcasm involved, she said something very simple that, honestly, made my heart swell.

She said, "...this is their third child, and it is their third boy."

That was it. Conversation moved on, joking continued and we all went about avoiding work. Things were as they should be; I had three sons.

Joel was acknowledged, not as a sad memory, not in response to my woe-is-me blogging, or a ho-hum FB status; it didn't come from a friend that has been close to my pain, or even a fellow DB'er. He was acknowledged simply as my son in the most casual of exchanges.

It was a glimpse of normal, of being out of the shadow, a glimpse of a world where I don't have to remind people that he was real.

I know I'll never get there from here, but I'll always be thankful for the peek.

Thanks Ashley.