Swan Song

I’ve thought about writing many times in the months this blog has stayed silent. Each time I went to post, I would talk myself out of sharing. I would ask myself what’s the point in saying anything when things feel mostly the same? Or even if they are different, they aren’t different enough. I’m still sad and angry and struggling to make sense of my new reality. I’m cautious about what I share and who I share it with which is a shift for me. I feel tender to judgment and beat up by my own ridiculous standards to be further along in my grief process. I worry people are annoyed by my lingering sorrow, That no one wants to hear me try to make sense of the fear and the anger, attempting to wrestle my feelings into something that makes any sense whatsoever.

Right now it’s really painful for me to see pregnant women. In particular, ultrasound images, pregnancy announcements, and baby bump progress photos really punch me in the gut, They catch me off guard like a slap in the face. My happiness for the pregnant person is completely tangled in my own sadness that that will never be me. I will never carry our baby inside of me and feel it grow or give birth to it.


The finality of that is hard to swallow and yet I must try to again and again. I’m not trying to be dramatic. The life we had thought would happen isn’t going to happen the way we planned. And yes, we could adopt. And yes, we’ve looked into surrogacy. And also fostering. We’ve considered being childless, having pets, and possibly an expendable income. We think about all the options. It’s just that we are profoundly sad and aren’t in a place to choose a direction yet. So we feel our feelings, have good weeks and bad weeks, and try to keep talking to each other about where we are at because it’s not always the same place.

It’s getting close to what would have been my due date. That feels strange to say. I feel sad for our baby that didn’t make it and along with it, our lost hope. Some days I just can’t think about it and other days it consumes my thoughts. I wanted to do something to… commemorate seems like the wrong word…mark the experience of having suffered a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and subsequently being unable to have biological kids and the transformation that’s taking place internally so I got a tattoo. Two actually- a black swan and a white swan- that sit above the bend in either arm.

swansHave you heard of Black Swan Theory? It’s a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise and has major impact. So I put the black swan on my right arm, the side where the I lost my fallopian tube and pregnancy to the rupture. The swan image shatters into tiny fragments which feels symbolically accurate to me. The white swan, my transformation symbol, is on the left side, my heart side. I can’t have babies but, hey, I can get all the tattoos I want I guess.

I’m not sure I want to continue blogging but I also feel compelled to share for that small group of women who might be in the same boat as me and feeling alone in their experience. I’m still thinking on it.

(Special thanks to my husband for rendering the swan drawings, to Leslie at New Rose Tattoo in Portland, and my sister and friend C for going with me for moral support.)


34 thoughts on “Swan Song

  1. I love your tattoos. I’m sad with you.

    While the reasons behind my being childless are a lot different than yours and I’m lucky enough to still be hopeful it might happen to me one day, I, too have a hard time being happy for or even being around any pregnant woman. I try not to but I do. I don’t want to hear anything about it, know anything about it. But it’s there. In my face. 40 hours a week. Almost every. single. day. *sigh*

    I’m sorry for feeling sorry for myself here in your space.
    But I am very sad with you. Sending hugs and love.

  2. That ink is freaking gorgeous.

    I’m so sorry. I hate this for you. I have a different kind of loss, which is the knowledge I’ll never likely have my own children, and this is sad, has been sad. It’s a completely different story from yours, and I haven’t suffered the physical trauma or loss so it’s not even close to what you’ve gone through, don’t want it to seem that way. It’s just that I’m out here in a neighboring land, feeling for you, and wanted you to know. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Words seems so small when faced with deep grief, but I wanted to thank you (both) for sharing some of the good and some of the bad, and some of the inbetween in your journey through life.
    Hugs! from a longtime (mostly silent) reader

  4. I am a long-time reader of your blog and have never posted a comment on any blog. I felt compelled to respond to you today, as you have touched my life in so many ways. Even though we live on separate coasts, and have never even come close to meeting, you have served as an inspiration to me through many hurdles over the past few years. I originally found your blog after a terrible break-up, many years ago. I watched you find and marry the love of your life, which gave me hope I would find the same. And, a few years later, I did, and I married the man of my dreams a few months ago. A couple of months before we were married, we were blindsided by the discovery of a cancerous tumor in my kidney. As we were sitting in the waiting room, waiting for my kidney biopsy, I thought back to your blog and the experiences you have shared. And, I literally found myself thinking, if Sizzle has the courage to deal with what life has dealt her, I can summon the courage to move forward as well. It sounds strange, but you are in my thoughts a lot, and I was glad to read an update from you. Because, it really does help to not feel alone in facing life’s adversities. I wish you sunnier days ahead.

  5. Beautiful, in so many ways. I walk with you through this infertility journey. It is hard beyond measure. We are going on eight years of unsuccessful attempts and failures. It never gets any easier. Know you are not alone, and sending you loads of love.

  6. What a beautiful set of tattoos! I had not heard of that theory, but it’s so perfect.

    I just cannot even imagine what you are feeling, and especially that struggle to feel like you have to hold back what you are thinking. 😦 And you are NOT being too dramatic. This is serious and freaking awful. I hope that you and Mr Darcy continue to comfort each other, and that you have a circle of family and friends there, too.

  7. The tattoos are beautiful.

    I don’t know all of what you are feeling, as we were never able to get pregnant at all (“impressively infertile!” gah…) but having to wait for the pain to ease enough to make a decision about what you want to do with the rest of your life is one I’m familiar with. Also, for a very long time I wanted to kick pregnant women. Never did, but I though about it. A lot.

    I’m thinking about you a lot and hoping you manage to get through this okay. It really sucks. It’s really hard. I’m sorry you have to live with this. *big ginormous hugs*

  8. I began reading your blog seven (7, jesus) years ago when I moved to Tacoma. Then I fell in to a long term relationship and moved away from it for approximately three years. I returned to it last year and to see your transformation, all the things that happened to you, all the things I never thought would was amazing and inspiring, just when I needed it. So I guess I am saying I hope you don’t walk away from the blog…I get the need for silence, the need to balance yourself, but know that you make a difference that you talking (or writing) about what happens to you makes some things seem more manageable and more “normal.” The beauty of what you share is being able to see the black swan and eventually find the white one. Thank you.

  9. The tattoos are beautiful, and so are you.

    You just do whatever you need to do for you. Lots of people lovin’ you from across our computer screens.

    Wishing you healing and peace.

  10. I am sorry more than words can say. I think you’re showing great grace and strength in your grief, and you should take all the time you need to feel as sad/angry/scared/whatever as you want/need to feel. It’s a shitty, shitty situation and I hope you eventually come to a place of peace within the pain.

  11. You write so beautifully. It is telling you posted again at least in part because you are reaching out and sharing to help others who are in some form of pain of their own.

    We are still here, you see that, yes? We are here for YOU, we share sorrow for your pain or joy for your victories, but we will be here, rain or shine, as long as you want us to be. Do you see we are helped by your writing? Because we are – we are all elevated. No matter our situation, whenever anyone honors their readers with the realities of their life the way you do it is an open window on how to live a heart felt life.

    That said, the writing needs to help you, too. Blog, don’t blog, please do whatever is needed to nurture your sweet soul. And Mr. Darcy’s. You two are the ones who matter in this. Sending deepest peace to you both.

  12. I tripped across this passage today from “Round House” by Louise Erdrich and thought of you. It’s about fear, but it applies to grief I think, which is a form of fear.

    In the uncanny light a sense of dread so overwhelmed me that tears started in my eyes and a single choking sound, a sob maybe, a wrench of hurt, burst from my chest. I crossed my fists in the knitting and squeezed them against my heart. I didn’t want to blurt out the sound. I didn’t want to give a voice to this roil of sensation. But I was naked and tiny before its power. I had no choice. I muffled the sounds I made so that I alone could hear them come out of me, gross and foreign. I lay on the floor, let fear cover me, and I tried to keep breathing while it shook me like a dog shakes a rat…As I fell into a darker sleep, I understood that I had learned something. Now that I knew fear, I also knew it was not permanent. As powerful as it was, its grip on me would loosen. It would pass.

    Giving voice to your grief loosens its grip, helps it pass. I hope the love and support of your many friends do too.

  13. If writing brings you pleasure, then you should keep doing it. Whether that’s online or into a journal, it’s worth doing.

    The tattoos are great, by the way. Meaningful tattoos are way better than Bieber tattoos.

  14. I love the sentiment behind your tattoos and love you had the chops to get them. I’ve missed you around these parts. Your sarcasm, humor and sadness, bitterness, resentment … all of it. It’s why I love you as a blogger (and friend) – you’re real and don’t paint a picture of life as anything other than the ups and downs of everyday life. Not once did I feel like what you were writing about was too much of anything. If I did, I have the power to NOT READ your blog. Crazy how voluntary blog reading can be. I’ll admit, I would be pretty sad if you bailed out of blogging altogether.

    But, I also understand how personal and private you’re feeling about this time in your life. There have been times when, on a much smaller scale, my body hasn’t behaved in nearly the way I expected, hoped, wanted. I felt my body failed me (and continues to fail, in some ways). I’ve been very private about that and never once thought to blog about it … don’t think I ever will. If what I’m going through (again, minuscule) was something that had enough impact that it could change my life plans? Was big enough that it affected whole days and weeks and months and possibly years of my life? Yeah, I’m not sure what I’d do with my blogging space, either. So, while I’d be VERY SAD (did I mention how sad I’d be if you vacated this space entirely!?) if you shut the doors to Sizzle Says, I would try to understand how life has pulled you in a different direction.

  15. My heart goes out to you, my friend. I hope you continue to write, and keep yourself open to the love coming your way from every one of us out here whose life you have touched and made all the better for it.

    The swans are beautiful.


  16. I’ve been thinking about you so often in the last few months, how shitty a hand some of people that I love and adore get dealt. I have nothing to offer but deep sympathy and much love and support.
    As Nilsa said, I’d be very, very sad if you decided to quit blogging altogether, but a part of me would understand that you don’t feel the energy to keep writing (at least temporarily?) if life pulls you in a different direction.

    The tattoos are beautiful, especially when you know what they mean to you.

  17. Your blog is healing; for you and for everyone who reads it, otherwise it wouldn’t exist and you wouldn’t feel compelled to write about your life experiences; the good, bad and ugly. Like any loss, gradually it will not take up quite as much space as it does now. Feel it, my friend. All of it. Otherwise it will leak out in really ugly ways (I know from experience). A friend of mine was reminded by her sponsor that the reason she still needed to attend 12 step meetings was to share her wisdom with others. As you can, please continue to share your thoughts, pain, joys (Otis), epiphenies and wisdom. You have a lot to share, and we need it.
    And, who give a flyin’ fuck if ‘they’ have an opinion about your journey. It’s yours, not theirs.

  18. I love the tattoos — both the look and the symbolism behind them. The older I get, the more I’m struck by how we carry a little bit of black swan and white swan with us at all times, and they both tend to grow and take on extra dimensions. I’m so sorry for all of the losses you’ve suffered lately. I hope and pray your white swan will take over again sometime soon. Much love to you.

  19. The tattoos are great, sis.

    I can empathize with your potential desire to leave blogging. It can’t be easy to be this honest and open. But know that if you need to talk, I’m here. I’m assuming you’ll still be on social media, right?

  20. I think of you almost every day, and continue to pray for peace and comfort as you deal with all of these things that nobody should have to deal with.

    Beautiful tattoos.

  21. I love the meaning of your tattoos and love that you got them as part of processing everything. I, too, hope that you decide to keep blogging. I’ll keep reading whatever it is you want or need to share over here. I’ve always loved your posts, no matter their content. I’m sorry you’re hurting and I hope you can be gentle with yourself and grieve as long as you need to. Thanks for sharing your feelings and your tats. XXOO

  22. After multiple miscarriages, I know a small part of how you feel and I don’t know you but I love you: for all that you’ve been through, all that you feel, and all that you help others to feel connected to you in their grief. You are brave and beautiful. Celebrate yourself, even when you don’t think you can.

  23. I have been thinking about this post for weeks. And my thoughts are many. Here are a few: You are amazing. This sucks. Hope is a choice. It may not stop hurting, even if things are better somehow in the future. You are strong. Your tattoos are lovely. YOU are lovely. You are amazing.

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