I’m 11 days into National Novel Writing Month and have finished two chapters of the book. I am considerably behind at this point, having left town for the funeral and trying to catch up on photo shoots.
I have, however, written the section where we introduce the woman who runs the Pregnancy Loss Support Group, Stella.
Stella is big, loud, Jewish, opinionated, and funny. She has lost two babies, gone through six rounds of IVF, and at 44, has finally decided cats will be her only kids. Later in the book you will learn the devastating reason why she and her husband Dane can never adopt. When things get far too serious in the book, Stella will step up and remember that we can laugh at anything. We just need some perspective and to fill what we do have in our life with love and joy.
I’ve been told many amazing stories on this blog in this last month. I have made a database of the ideas, moments, and scenes that seem to fit with the direction the book is going. I may not use them all, and certainly as I build an entire scene with fictional characters in fictional situations, the details will change. In that process, you might see a seed of your story but it will certainly be altered to no longer sound like your story anymore.
However, this is your opportunity to email me and say–please don’t even use the idea I gave you.
I will honor it, although realize that some things in the novel might end up sounding like something that happened to you even if I totally made it up out of my head. But if it’s here in this list, and you would like to avoid seeing anything that triggers your past in my book, please say it here, now. You may do so via email rather than publicly, of course, as with any concern.
If there is an asterisk by the story, it is already in the first section of the novel outline, so it is likely to be used.
- Women gets call from a nurse months after lost baby to check on her pregnancy.
- *Went camping after loss and passed clots. Wasn’t sure what to do so burned it in a clump of sage brush.
- *Jumped in car after leaving hospital as if trying to outrun something.
- Feels like she can still see the spot on the floor where baby fell out and landed on tile.
- When a family member with five kids had her tubes tied, she had a party
- Read medical bills over and over.
- Opened Bible randomly to pages to see if God had a message for her.
- Thinks of baby as an adult and examines young men to see if they look as he might have.
- *Kept placenta in freezer for two years.
- Unable to even watch a movie with a baby in it without walking out.
- When asked for progesterone, doctor told her flat out–baby is dead.
- Close friend named her living baby the name she had chosen for her angel.
- Minister came from vacation with a vial of gold and told her God was purifying her with pain like the gold, and that God had told him to tell her that.
- Sister sent mother’s day card from two babies.
- Incompetent cervix, when got to hospital, baby’s foot already descended into canal.
- Mother’s Day church is awkward when they call moms to stand or receive gifts. Wasn’t sure if she was considered a mother or not.
- Her friends got to choose the moment their baby died, as it had a genetic problem and was dying already. Heard the heartbeat until it stopped.
- A temporary worker came 5 months after loss and patted her belly and asked how the baby was. Thought her overweight was the baby.
- Had to go to abortion clinic for late term removal of Turner’s. Had a hard time getting into stirrups and doctor chose that moment to tell her she needed to get in shape as she was overweight.
- Lit a spiral of tea candles for her babies. They all went out one by one except for two, which burned longer than the other ones, but when they went out she cried and cried for her two babies.
- *Lost baby at friend’s house. Friend brought a grocery bag to put it in the garbage. A few days later, she became obsessed with the sac. Convinced it was not empty, but baby in there. In middle of night wanted to go garbage and dig it out even though it was summer.
- Took a bath to relieve cramps and baby came out and floated in the water. Saw spongy outer chorion and inside a curved pinkish baby.
- *Ex wife cheated on husband and left, they had two kids. Ex wife treats her like a babysitter. Felt inferior after lost baby. Ex wife heartless bringing up topic of babies at kid activities. Became jealous and hateful toward husband because he had kids. Misplaced anger on stepdaughter, who is 6, saw evil mother in her, then realized little girl was hurting over loss of baby. They ended up making scrapbook together.
- *Felt bitter about stepdaughter, wondered if her baby would have looked as much like the father as this one did. People would say at least they had the stepdaughter.
- Husband felt his lack of religion caused the baby’s loss and decided to go to church more.
I appreciate so much the insight and information you have given me. In my next entry I will introduce the characters–especially the main ones Melinda, Dot, Stella, and Tina– and at midnight Halloween, as the date switches to November, I will start writing the novel. I am committed to writing the first 50,000 words, about 2/3 of the book, in the next 30 days.
Thank you for coming along for the ride!
I continue to be so amazed by the stories I’m told. Today I received an email that taught me more about the dynamics of step-children to a woman without children of her own who then miscarries. Inspired by this, the character Melinda, our wife of a man with two kids from a previous marriage, will be enduring some mean-spirited comments about children from the ex-wife at a volleyball game where they watch the girl play. I think it might go something like this:
“Look at that baby!” the ex-wife says, pointing across the stands at a high school girl bouncing a toddler on her thigh. “Born to a teenager. Some people just don’t know when they aren’t supposed to be mothers. It might have been better for everyone if she had lost it.”
Melinda grips the edge of the wood stands, biting her lip to avoid crying or screaming, or both. “What a spike!” she says instead, nodding her head toward her step-daughter out on the court. “They really ought to move her up to varsity.”
The scene might continue, but the point comes a little later:
At home, her knee pads discarded in the foyer, the step-daughter says to Melinda, “Mom said she saw my friend Patrice with her baby in the stands. She thinks babies should only come when they are wanted and planned for, and to people who deserve them.”
Melinda snaps at her, hurt that the step-daughter would say that to her, only a few weeks after her miscarriage. “I don’t think any of us know anything about why or when babies come or why they are lost,” she says. “You should watch your mouth or you’ll end up mean and angry like your mother.”
She immediately regrets her words when the girl falls on the sofa, crying. “Mom is happy you lost the baby,” she says, her voice muffled by the cushions. “I don’t know why she’s being so mean. But she forgets I also lost my baby sister.”
Melinda’s knees buckle and she folds up on the floor by the sofa. She wants to take her step-daughter’s hand, but they haven’t ever had that sort of closeness, so she simply clasps them together in her own lap. “I’m sorry,” she says. “I didn’t know you were sad about the baby. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one who ever thinks about her.”
These sorts of scenes just sort of come to me. I’ll start piecing them together soon. All your comments and stories help so much. I can’t even tell you.