Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Dreaded "C" Word

So, I get this call from my doctor's office last week, to report on some blood work I had done to make sure I was all "bounced back" from the lost pregnancy, and they say, "You need to come in." And I thought, "Oh- I'm pregnant again already!" And then they said, "Yeah.... You have a really imbalanced hormone level and the doctor wants to get you started on Clomid." As in, an infertility drug. Hello, words I never in a million years imagined hearing!
So we go in, armed with pages of questions from our oh-so-scientific internet research, and the doctor tells us how with my low levels of progesterone he thinks it will be very difficult for me to get pregnant or stay pregnant on my own, and that this Clomid should help fix things. But what Jim and I are thinking is, Why are my levels so low in the first place? They were fine before. What happened? Is there some kind of bigger problem here? But the doctor just kind of brushed those concerns off and said that I should start this treatment. Then he added, after I pressed about side effects and stuff, that it was possible that the Clomid would actually cause my (brace yourself, here) cervical mucus to become "hostile" to sperm, effectively making it much harder to get pregnant, even with the hopefully balanced hormones. So I humbly asked, "And how would that be helpful in achieving pregnancy?" And he said, "Well, most of the time that doesn't happen. But if it does, then we'll do a procedure called artificial intrauterine insemination"- and yes, I will spare you the gory details of that particular process. Let's just say it sounds uncomfortable for all parties concerned!
So I kind of choked a little and said, "Um, artificial insemination? Are we really there yet? I have managed to get pregnant twice on my own without much trouble. Can we just maybe check and see if there's something causing my hormones to be messed up and fix that?" I'm a little skittish about drug taking (except for Percocet!), and I'm just kind of wary about the whole fertility treatment scene as a rule, so I wasn't really on board yet. But we had already taken up about a half hour of the doctor's time, and if you've ever been in an OB office you will realize that that's really pushing it, so we went ahead and took the Clomid prescription and headed out.
But I still wasn't feeling too confident or settled about the whole thing. So I did more online checking last night and found some information about how insulin resistance can cause all the rest of your hormone balances to be off as well, but that they will usually correct themselves once the insulin sensitivity is regained. I thought, "Hey, I'm a known sugar addict, and always have been. Surely it's at least possible that this is my problem, right?" So I called my family practicioner this morning and arranged to meet tomorrow with the OB who works in his office, to get some blood work ordered to find out if I have an insulin problem or not.
So it's something. I at least feel a little more confident that I will have looked into different options besides just meekly accepting the almighty doctor's diagnosis. I mean, yes, I want another baby in the next year. But I also want to be healthy, and I feel like the Clomid might just be a quick fix in order to get pregnant, without really getting to the root of whatever is causing this hormonal problem.
So, that's what's new with me- Oh yeah, Happy Thanksgiving! Boy, that's a whole other entry right there, the Thanksgiving topic. We traveled to and from Michigan twice in the span of four days, so Adelay did a whole lot of car riding, but not too much car napping. Which is to say, she was not the most pleasant of backseat companions after an hour or two on the highway. Makes for quite the headache- you know, the pounding in the temples kind, the kind that is unmoved by Tylenol or caffeine or any other known headache remedies, and simply stays with you all day long, throughout the turkey and the numerous pastel jello salads and the hot crowded house full of yelling, wound up children? What's that- you've had that very headache yourself a time or two? Ah... Join me, won't you, in a toast to the holidays!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Life Is Now

I'm just saying that life is only in the days that make up a year, in the moments that make up a day. We have to live them as fully and well as we can- nothing else makes any sense. ~Catherine Newman
Oh dear, I am such a crybaby, but this quote makes my throat get tight every time I read it. It helps that I'm listening to a Dido song about fleeting time while reading it, but still. (For those of you who haven't figured it out already, I am an obsessive fan of Catherine's. She used to have a weekly journal at BabyCenter, which you can still access, and I often do, and she also now writes a weekly blog for Wondertime magazine. She has a genius for describing the exhausting minutiaea of life with children, the "frantic tedium," as she would call it, that is magically interspersed with moments of heartbreaking tenderness that make the frustration so, so worth it.)
Anyways, I just ran across this column of hers while wasting time on the Internet today, and I thought I would make it my early Christmas gift to all of you busy moms out there. Just a gentle reminder, as we approach the holiday season, that we not forget to unwrap the best gift of all, our children's hearts.

Friday, November 17, 2006

All Caught Up

Ah, life. So very daily, isn't it? Sometimes- only every now and then- I begin to think hard about all the tasks, great and small, which comprise my day-to-day routine, and I just sort of want to... Stop doing them. Because Lord knows, as soon as I do them, they're going to be undone in five minutes.
Example: Mommy unloads the dishwasher. Adelay stealthily crawls into the kitchen and yanks every single piece of Tupperware out of the cupboard as soon as Mommy turns her back. This happens- and this is just a rough estimation, here- about five bazillion times a day. Another example: Mommy mops the floor. Giant horse-dog Fonzie goes outside on the chain, manages to frolic in every single muddy patch in the entire backyard, then comes inside and, despite having his paws wiped obsessively by said Mommy, proceeds to leave footprints like dirty little connect-the-dots all over the house.
And it's not just the fingerprints and grime that appear the second you put your Windex down. It's not the laundry hampers that are mysteriously full again as soon as you congratulate yourself on getting that last load of clothes put away. It's not even the way the food you've just begun to unpack from the grocery bags starts disappearing down people's throats before it ever makes its way to the cupboard, or the way the baby's neck is smelling oddly like sour milk an hour after her bath.
It's bigger things too. You know, stuff that actually matters. Like how, just when the relief of having Addy well and healthy again was starting to sink in, she spiked a fever. Or how, just when you get some giant bill finally, finally paid off, Christmas is here yet again, and with it another joyous season of wracking up debt! And even the way that little grudges against your spouse, if they aren't spoken and dealt with right away, despite the inconvenience or discomfort of it, will build up until they overflow in one giant, destructive volcano of reckoning. It's always something, is what I'm saying. There's always something to which you must attend, something that's slipping or getting away from you.
So, what is my point here, besides of course shameless griping? It's this: don't you wish we could be rid of the whole necessity of staying "caught up" on things, just for a little while? Stop juggling all these balls? That we could freeze things for a little bit, maybe sit back, have a glass of wine, and just enjoy the fruits of our labor (i.e., money, healthy babies, happy marriages, and even clean bathrooms) without the constant awareness that we have to keep that fruit in the air or it's all going to come crashing down around us in a horrifying fruit salad explosion?
Oh well. Such is life, or something like that. It's all about maintenance. There can be no letting it go, aside from the occassional ignoring of the dishes in favor of a movie and my dear friend, the sofa. Because, as everyone knows, the planet will go spinning wildly out of control if we let go of our tight, controlling hold on that scrub brush, right?
Aha, you say. This whole entry is one giant rhetorical question. And you would be correct in saying it. Because what I am trying to remind myself of every day, every single moment I spend sighing over the tedious to-do list in my head, is this: it would all go on without me. Maybe the laundry wouldn't be folded, maybe dinner wouldn't be ready, maybe there would be mud just floor to ceiling, who knows... But the world would not end if I weren't here, cleaning it. No one would die of overexposure to dust.
So, sure, the big things (marriage, kids) it is fine to keep up with, no matter how exhausting. But that's a lot of balls in the air, what with money and health and jobs and church and school and the house. So if you've gotta drop one of them somewhere, I vote for chores! Hey, it's not like they're going anywhere.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Amazing Expanding Heart

Is every mom as obsessed as I am with kissing their baby? Does that sound creepy? Sorry. It's just that there's this spot on Addy's neck, no matter how long it has been since her last bath, that always smells so irresistably yummy that I am forced to pepper her with kisses, whether she is inclined to be kissed or not (more often than not, it's the latter.)
Adelay has just never been a cuddler, if you know what I'm saying. Like there are some babies who have been giving generous kisses since they were six months old, but our baby... Well, we count ourselves lucky if she deigns to hold still while you drop a peck on her cheek rather than wriggling away as though you had the plague. And if you happen to get one of her kisses (which are a new, relatively infrequent phenomenon, and are usually bestowed with the expression of a fish lunging at you in slow motion,) well, you feel like you must be the most special and loveable person on the face of the earth to have merited such attention!
But the last couple days she has offered me a few genuine cuddles which have picked up my heart from the curb and sent it soaring: last night, for instance, as I was getting her ready for bed after a long day of cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping, she began to get silly, and giggle hysterically as I pulled her jammies over her head. An all-out tickling session commenced, and there was giant, toothy smiles (oh adorable pearly baby teeth!) and shrieks of laughter and finally, the burying of oneself against Mama in blissful exhaustion. Is there anything more delicious than a plump, grinning baby, her belly lopping over her diaper, looking for all the world like the family's own personal Buddha? And they are really, these babies of ours: our own little spiritual gurus, helping to keep us on the path to serenity.
This morning, I got another surprise: Addy crawled up to me at the computer and put her arms up to be held. I assumed that as usual she wanted to examine all the numerous dangerous and unacceptable playthings which taunt her from the desk- my coffee, the remotes, the cords and stone coasters, and so forth. But she just wanted a cuddle! She leaned back into me, chattering happily, and laid against my chest for like five minutes, completely relaxed, just... Snuggling! With me! No yanking of earrings or constant wriggling and squirming or even any prying into my mouth like a sadistic dentist. Just snuggling!
Some days you just feel like your heart might explode from love, you know? Like it's almost pain, it's so much. You're just not sure if your heart could hold even one more drop of love. But it does, every day it stretches a little more to contain the wonder of our growing, changing children.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

All About Barfing

Let me begin by saying this: partially digested cocoa puffs are, on a scale of 1 to 10 on a "things you would not mind seeing puked up" list, about a negative 20 for me personally, falling maybe right before tuna salad but right behind turkey and stuffing.
Let me also say that I in no way hold resentment against the poor litle girl in my Sunday School class who had the misfortune of having the stomach flu hit her right in the middle of song time (the fact that the song of the day involved jumping up and down repeatedly probably didn't help her out any.) I truly felt very sorry for her, as I held her hair back while she puked all over the bathroom- but I also felt just the teensiest bit sorry for myself as well, especially when the smell began to rise and I had to duck out of the room, ostensibly to get her a glass of water, but also to quell the retching reflex that I could feel beginning in my own throat.
Nor do I have any grudge against Adelay for randomly spewing her entire bottle of freshly drunk milk all over the couch, carpet, and my sweater several times this past week, I truly don't.
It's just that I am so not a vomit person. I realize this sounds a little obvious, in terms of descriptive statements- not many people would probably characterize themselves as being "into" vomit. But I think I am particularly, unusually not into vomit. When I had morning sickness with Adelay, I would literally press my lips together all day to keep from throwing up, even though I knew I would probably feel better if I just went ahead and let it all out, so to speak. But the actual process of letting it out is just so revulting to me that I would do anything to avoid it, short of maybe dying.
Even when I was little, I was not one of those kids who was always randomly barfing on road trips and ferris wheels and then magically back to normal. I would feel it coming on and be stricken with dread and panic and cry and whimper for like an hour before I finally did throw up, and then I would cry some more at the horror of it all. And to this day, on the very isolated incidents in my adult life when I have thrown up, I still feel like crying. I know, I know- grow up already. But I hate it!
I thought that maybe being a parent would help me outgrow this particular fear and loathing a little bit. Because kids throw up, right? This is a universal truth, like e = mc squared, and sooner or later, surely you build up a tolerance. Same principle with dirty diapers. But the truth is, I still haven't arrived at that magic point when I am just blase about vomit and poop and all the various disgusting forms they take. I'm not even close.
I remember once when Addy was about a month old that I think I literally took years off of my husband's life by screaming in panic for him to come quick to the baby's room. He came running, mentally reviewing the infant CPR tecniques and bracing himself for some unthinkable catastrophe, and found instead me, paralyzed with horror, in front of a changing table and wall completely splattered with baby poo.
I guess I have gotten a little braver since then, but just today when I went to get Addy up from her nap and was about knocked over by the scent of the dirty diaper awaiting me...? Well, that feeling of panic and dread still came welling up, same as ever. It's just that now I know I am capable of getting through it, you know- now I know that there is life on the other side of the diaper. And when those babies are all fresh and clean and snuggled up on your chest, well, there's just not many feelings that come close to that one.
But still... I am making a mental note never to feed my kids Cocoa Puffs.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Musings from My Sofa

1. How does that Barbie doll-looking Sandra Lee, the beautiful blond hostess of Food Network's "Semi-Homemade Cooking" show, stay so darn skinny? What is she doing with all that food? Is she just tossing all those delightful chicken-fried steaks and decadent cherry pies in the trash and then sustaining herself on a diet of Power Bars and Diet Coke?
2. On a related subject, what the heck is a "widget"? (I ask because today Sandra Lee was referring to her wonderful new "widget," which she was using to make something called a "lattice" on top of her cherry pie, of which she will doubtless take one teensy bite for the camera, then go make herself throw it up.)
3. What kind of person watches gourmet cooking shows while eating such culinary masterpieces as Nutter Butter cookies? (I might actually know the answer to this one quite well.) I mean, how can such a person live with herself?
4. These people who do cooking shows- do they actually cook like that every day? Do they just do nothing but plan menus and shop for groceries? Because they all have cookbooks with names like "365 Quick Easy Dinners" which involve ingredients like "a shoulder of pork" and "cooking sherry" and "three cloves of garlic," and let me just say that the chances of looking around my kitchen and finding all of those things on the same day are about the same as the chances of Sandra Lee appearing on my doorstep to cook dinner for me. (Now, if someone produced a recipe calling for "a stale bag of broken tortilla chips," "a nearly expired container of cottage cheese," and "four bottles of salad dressings, any variety, with roughly a half a tablespoon left in each," well honey, I'd be in business.)