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I did finish NaNoWriMo last Thursday, and I did make the 50,000 words. Hooray!

As always happens, once NaNo is over, I take a few days away from my novel to catch up with the rest of my life–mopping floors, playing with rugrats, working!

Last night I took the novel up again and added a new character, Constance, who has two children and works in a day care. I’ll post another scene soon. Stella has begun to flashback and relate her loss ten years ago. It’s very tough, enough that I really want it to settle before I can read it again myself. Also in this chapter she will reveal the secret why they could never adopt.

It’s exciting!


I will put a new excerpt up soon, hopefully tonight. I cranked out another 20 pages yesterday and have propelled to chapter six. I am approximately 1/3 of the way through the novel.

I spun out Dot and Barry’s entire story of their love affair last night, and Dot surprised me by revealing more than I thought would be in the book. She lives in a trailer, has been deserted by her husband, and Barry comes along as her first true love at age 26. She already has five kids.

But she gets pregnant, and the baby ends up with anencephaly, and in a pair of very difficult scenes, a happy sonogram goes very wrong, and eventually she is forced to terminate the pregnancy to avoid endangering her own life in delivery.

I didn’t plan to write the termination sequence into the book, but when one of you ladies posted mentioned a family who got to hear their baby’s  heartbeat on the monitors until the very last one, well, I had to write it. Along the way I mentioned another troubling story when the doctor commented on a woman’s weight as he put her in the stirrups, as well as a rather awful comment from my own nurse (I had to go to an abortion clinic like many of us do when we are in the second trimester before the baby dies) during my D&E warning me “not to cry or it would interfere with the anesthesia gas.”

Yeah, don’t cry as they take your baby from your body.

While I doubt a lot of caregivers will read the book–and even if they did they probably wouldn’t recognize insensitivity as it might apply to things they sometimes do or say–I do want people to be shocked by what has happened to people and hopefully speak up. Most of us, in these traumatic moments, don’t say anything at all. I didn’t. And while many wonderful ob/gyns and nurses (my regular ob/gyn and staff are certainly among them) are amazing and kind and help us through the process with sensitivity and compassion, many–so many–make our experiences even harder than they have to be.

I will post the excerpt when I get a chance to read over it (right now I am eleven orders behind on my photo work) and we can all feel what is like to see the heartbeat go from 180 to zero in the space of a lifetime.

It’s been a hard day or two of writing, and most everyone in the Austin NaNoWriMo group is prepared with Kleenex when I come to a write in.

But I’m doing okay.

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.

March 2023