Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Family Affair

Yesterday morning I awoke to the distinct feeling that someone was stirring around in my stomach with a hot poker. That was followed very shortly with a run to the bathroom, followed by about six subsequent runs to the bathroom in the next hour, all while I was trying to get ready to go to Michigan for Jim's family Christmas. I said to him at one point, while I sat at the table nibbling wanly on crackers, "Maybe I should stay home." Um, famous last words. I should have realized that if I was even voicing aloud the idea of missing out on opening presents, I must have been pretty darn sick, but foolishly I decided to tough it out and we all set off on our road trip.
About an hour into the trip, my thermos of tea just wasn't helping anymore. I was squirming around, looking desperately for any gas station or fast food place that looked remotely clean. Finally I gave up on that and told Jim to just pull over anywhere, which ended up being a fairly clean looking Amoco station. The bathroom turned out to be a different story, but I didn't really care anymore. As I was washing my hands, I saw that someone had scrawled across the condom dispenser, "Don't buy this gum, it tastes like rubber." Oh, the wit!
A half hour later, my misery had returned, and this time we pulled over at a rest stop, which was actually much cleaner than the gas station. (I should have titled this post, "The Comparable Conditions of Ohio Interstate Toilets.") As we pulled back onto the highway, I vaguely recall mumbling from my fetal position, "Kill me."
At last we got to Aunt Nancy's. As Jim was parking, I informed him that as soon as the car stopped I was leaping out and heading directly for a bathroom, and then a bed, and he was on his own with the presents and the food and the baby. I spend the next five hours curled up in the bedroom loft of Nancy's condo, alternately trying to block out the light and noise by making a pillow fort around my head, and rushing to the bathroom, dry heaving into a trashcan (there was apparently by this point nothing left in my stomach.)
The whole day was a complete blur, probably because I was a little lightheaded due to eating nothing save a couple of crackers all day. Jim came up periodically to check on me and offer sips of water (also to try and convince Adelay to take a nap, which alas did not happen until we were all preparing to leave. She then promptly fell asleep in the bed with me, rendering the arm underneath her head- mine- a useless stump of tingling nerve damage.) He also was kind enough to open my gifts- I could hear him downstairs offering high-pitched exclamations of "Isn't this so cute!?" on my behalf. Also, apparently during my quarantine upstairs, my sister in law was likewise hidden away in the downstairs bedroom, sleeping off her own ailments. I don't think either of us even saw any of the relatives we had driven two hours to visit.
By the time we left for home, Jim was complaining of a stomachache of his own. The car ride did nothing to improve matters, either- Adelay had slept a grand total of a half an hour the entire day, and was a bundle of hysteria and misery. She took her bottle at first and we naively anticipated that she would sleep on the way home. Will we never learn? About ten miles down the road, she decided that her car seat was a cruelly designed torture device, and began howling with rage and flinging her head against the seat.
She screamed so hard and so long (with our offerings of crackers and toys and lullaby Cd's disdainfully ignored) that she began to gag, so we finally pulled over, hoping a diaper change would fix things. We hoped in vain. After the diaper change (on the floor of a disgusting and changing-table-lacking gas station) she became immediately hysterical again upon sight of the dreaded car seat. Both Jim and I were at this point insanely tired and feeling sicker by the minute, so we gave up and I crawled into the backseat to hold Addy the rest of the way home. Shh, don't tell on us.
As soon as we got home, we put the deranged child to bed and then followed suit, at the late hour of eight pm, and promptly fell asleep. The rest of the night was another blur of various and sundry wakings to stumble to the bathroom and the medicine cabinet. In the end, none of us (even Addy) got out of bed until eleven o' clock this morning.
So what was this evil affliction? Stomach flu? Food poisoning? I have no clue, but I am tempted to go with flu, based on the fact that the horrible stomach cramps have also been accompanied by feverish chills and body aches. I just hope Addy doesn't get it. So far she seems okay.
So, suffice it to say, for me the holidays went out on kind of a sour note, and I am ready to bid them farewell. And just the idea of getting into the car makes me feel nauseous all over again, so I am planning on no more road trips for a long, long time.
Hope everyone had a merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Tale of Two Addicts

Many choices in life are not exactly black and white (at least to those of us who dislike painting in broad strokes) and can be colored depending on how you start out wanting to feel about a particular decision to begin with- also known as bias. For instance, if the choice is one you yourself made, you obviously start out with a bias toward wanting it to seem correct, or at least acceptable.
All this is a roundabout way of getting to the real story of how I let Adelay eat quite a fair amount of red and green M and M's this morning. And how I have colored the story in my own mind to a version of a holiday cheer-filled mother wanting to let her child experience the magic and wonder of Christmas, rather than the bare facts, which are as follows:
A mom is simultaneously checking her email and throwing back handfuls of M and M's with reckless abandon when her innocent, sugar-free baby crawls up, intensely curious as to the source of that frantic crunching at the desk. The mom guiltily shoves the glass candy bowl away and then picks up the yelling child, trying fruitlessly to distract her with empty cups and remote controls. The child is having none of it, and is relentlessly squirmy in her pursuit of the candy dish. The mom, her emails only half read and her coffee undrunk, eventually "rethinks" (read: gives up on) her previous judgement that M and M's would constitute both a choking hazard and a massive sugar overload, and allows her daughter to enjoy her first real encounter with the world of Mars candy corporation.
It turns out M and M's are not a choking hazard, at least not for a kid as genetically predisposed to love chocolate as Adelay. And let me tell you something else: Those suckers do so melt in your hands, at least if your hands are small and grasping, and you are overheated due to your delirious frenzy of joy at this finally realized dream of colorful chocolate pellets.
So what do you think? Is fourteen months too young to be enjoying M and M's? What about lavishly frosted Christmas sugar cookies? 'Cause in the span of twenty-four hours I have allowed both without much of a fight.
I know, I know. Why don't I just throw her in a roomful of marshmallows and let her eat herself into a coma, right? I had such noble intentions of limiting sugar, but after that first slice of birthday cake, it was really downhill, and it's not Adelay's fault, either. I'm a big softie, that's the problem. It's just that she gets so happy, with her wide open bird mouth and little grunts of delight and "uh-uh-uh" noises if you forget to hand her more cookie. It's so cute and adorable and I selfishly want to hand her cookie bits all day long just to watch her enjoying them. Spooning rice cereal into her blank face just doesn't have the same entertainment value.
I really need to strengthen my resolve on this issue, though, because I truly don't want to have one of those kids that you have to bribe with a piece of candy to do anything at all short of breathe in and out. And there's the whole health issue, too, obviously. So, that's my early New Year's Resolution: Stop being a sugar pusher.
The first step, unfortunately, is going to involve eating less of it myself, darn it all. A prime example would be this morning: Addy wouldn't have even thought about the M and M's if she hadn't heard me smacking away with such obvious gusto. Grrr. Oh for the good old days, when people told children to "do as I say and not as I do."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Second Generation Stuffed Bunny Lover

'Tis The Season

...For scary encounters with drunken relatives! I can't really go into it now, both because I am still a little shellshocked, and because one of said relatives might someday conceivably read this and then I'd really be in trouble. (There are some highlights- including a coed discussion about ways to avoid yeast infections!- that I really wish I could relay to you, though.) But let me just say that last night was memorable. In the way that only a hot, crowded room full of self-centered, fundamentally incompatible family members suffering from the dreaded diarrhea of the mouth can be!
That's all for today. Just needed a teensy little venting session. Whew, deep breath. Okay, I'm good now. Happy holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Trying To Channel Pollyanna...

So yesterday I braved another blood draw in order to have my progesterone level tested. I was very anxious to see if the Clomid was doing its job- my only indications of its hormone-shifting presence in my body so far have been sharp pains in my side due to increased ovulation, and the irrational frustration which springs up when anything even vaguely annoying occurs (for instance, upon looking at the clock and recognizing the impending dinner hour, I will hurry to the kitchen, whereupon the failure of an entree and two side dishes to have magically hopped out of the cupboards and into the oven might cause me to well up with tears of dismay. Is it so much to ask, that dinner be ready without my having to actually make it?)
Anyways.... I called the doctor's office this morning as soon as they opened, and then waited on hold (listening to gentle recorded reminders that urinary incontinence is a common female problem, and nothing to be shy about!) while the nurses looked around to see if my results had come yet. They had, and eventually one of my favorite nurses, Vikki, returned to the phone to tell me with somewhat forced cheerfulness that my progesterone had gone up- two and a half points. Which is to say, not so much. It is still well below average, but she assured me that it was a good sign that it had improved somewhat. After listening to all her reminders about when to call and when to come in for another ovary check and all that, I hung up and sat down numbly. More bad news.
I was pretty surprised, to be honest. Call me a raving optimist, but I had really expected that with the Clomid, my test results would be wildly improved. I had in fact harbored the not-so-far-fetched hope that I would be pregnant after this first round of drugs. And it is still possible that I am, I suppose, but in a normal pregnancy, even at this very early point, the mother's progesterone level would hopefully be about twice what mine is now. So...
Well. It's still Christmas, even so, and it's time to buck up. I long to wallow in disappointment and self-pity, but there are relatives to go see (in about ten minutes, in fact) and cookies to bake and presents still to get. And I know it's not the end of the world, and I know it's just a setback, and I know I'm very young and there's years and years to grow our family and nothing to worry about. And also, shallowly, how can I be sad when the new EP Jimmy Eat World is playing in my ear, courtesy of the MP3 player my sympathetic husband let me unwrap this morning (a consolation prize, I guess) ?
So I'm going to go get ready to meet my sister for lunch, and I'm going to think about all the Christmas gifts I have already been given, the wrapped kind as well as the more intangible gifts of a good and full life. I'm going to count my blessings if it kills me!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Jabbing Flu

I have heard that, in one of their many hilarious colloquialisms, the British refer to a flu shot as a "flu jab." Can't you just see them, strolling down the quaint cobbled sidewalk, doffing their woolen caps to acquaintances and politely inquiring, "Cheerio, old chap, had your flu jab this year?" It would certainly be a gentler reminder than the commercials they air here in the good old US of A, which are more along the lines of this: Pictures of cold, wide-eyed children clutching their teddies pan across the screen as a grim voice intones, "A flu epidemic unlike anything we've ever seen is heading our way. If you are between the ages of 0 and 99, you are considered by the Department of Health to be in the 'risk group,' and you are strongly encouraged to get a flu shot before you come into contact with anyone else in the 'risk group.'"
So like a good little citizen, I hurried myself and my daughter to our family physician before the impending flu epidemic could cross our threshold. As I rolled up my sleeve for my the nurse, I inquired, "Is this one of those vaccines that can actually give you a mild case of the virus it immunizes you against?" "Oh, no," Nurse Ratchet assured me as she gave me a hearty jab. "That almost never happens."
Two mornings later, I woke up with a throat that felt like a cat's scratching post and body aches as though I had just put myself through a major workout (I had not.) Hmm.
It was all downhill from there. I feel as though pins and needles are hidden in every piece of furniture I attempt to sit down on, and the only respite is the sweet sleep of NyQuil liquid capsules.
So anyways. I feel quite cheated. This is the first time I have ever been vigilant enough about my health to voluntarily submit to an extra shot, and now I have the stinking flu anyways. The government lies, the doctors lie, they all lie...
More later. Right now my head is spinning, and the aches and pains of the flu are jabbing me right through the temples!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A Shout Out, TRL Style

Well, I know this is overdue, Braden, but here is your very own shout out as requested. Don't you feel special? Here's to you for always listening, rarely judging, and for being one of the most sensible people I know (albeit sometimes to excess- don't forget to crack open that cherry book if you ever feel an attack of old-manness coming on!)
Kelly, this is also for you, my overanalytical one, for faithfully reading, for randomly showing up on my doorstep, and for never failing to refer to me in your comments as "Chuck." (I would sure hate for that nickname to ever die...)
And Lisa, my dear, this is for you, for giving me the best compliment of my life by saying that you check my blog daily. Thanks also for sharing your Clomid success stories. I was only half teasing when I said that you had given me a reason to go on!
Jennifer, here's to you, for posting a link to my blog so that other people (besides those that I shamelessly begged) have found their way here. Thanks also for being a wise and wonderful sister-in-law; specifically, thanks for trying to teach me that hospitality is making people feel comfortable in your home, not impressed by it! It is advise that I plan to staple to my dusting cloths if I ever get out of control again!
Erin, this is your shout out for making the most delicious chicken noodle soup I have ever tasted- it was rivaled only by the heavenly aroma of your homemade bread. People, the woman can cook.
Mom and Mom-In-Law, consider this your public acknowledgement for being the greatest grandmas ever (in particular, for never raising an eyebrow when your grandchild's parents return home from an event a little bit late, or, say, in a taxi!) I am being sincere when I say that I don't know if I could do it without you. I certainly wouldn't want to try.
Jim, here's for you: I wouldn't have wanted to have kids with anyone else, and there's no one else I'd rather see come through the door each night.
And to anyone else who ever drops by my blog, thank you for reading. You are my reminder that even though I may be alone in my house, there are a world of other people all around me, and we're all just trying to keep those balls in the air! :)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I know it is the holidays, but the past few months have felt more like a season of sadness for me. First there was the miscarriage and the subsequent fertility issues, and then, at about the same time I lost the pregnancy, I also found out that my grandpa had terminal cancer. Last Saturday, about two months after his diagnosis, he passed away. And, to add to the usual awfulness of a death in the family, it happened literally about an hour before the wedding of a close friend of my husband's and mine (we couldn't get out of it since Jim was a groomsman and I was doing a reading at the ceremony, and we wouldn't have wanted to miss it even if we could have.)
I had been right in the middle of applying my makeup when I got the phone call, so after the initial falling apart and then pulling myself back together, I had to wash my face and redo all my handiwork before the car came for me. A minor mishap, obviously, but it added to the generally rushed and surreal feeling of the day- hastily applying eyeliner and lipstick is not what I usually do after sitting on the floor, going through a box of Kleenex.
The wedding was actually okay; I only teared up when they lit the memorial candles for the bride and groom's deceased loved ones. The ceremony was beautiful, and I was in the moment and enjoying it. Adrenaline, and genuine happiness for my friends, got me through that part. But the reception was a bit of a blur.
It was strange, being so happy for my friends and yet feeling so oddly distant from the whole celebratory mood of the reception. Adding to the isolated feeling was the fact that Jim was about a hundred yards away from me, sitting on a stage at the wedding party's table having a good time, and I was seated at the back of the room. I mean, I wasn't alone, I had friends around, but I particularly missed his presence beside me, you know? I felt a little adrift.
The fact that drinking would probably not help with the whole feeling of disconnect seems fairly obvious now, but I apparently did not see it then, because drink was what I did. I made nice to a big glass of wine at dinner, but didn't get to know the actual food all that well, if you see what I'm saying. I snubbed the cake entirely, choosing instead to celebrate the marriage of my friends by indulging in the blessed union of Morgan and Coke. If you know me at all, that last sentence will have revealed to you that I was pretty far gone. Ordinarily, I have a strict wine-only policy, and an even stricter don't-skip-dessert policy.
So anyways. No further details other than to say that I did hit the dance floor, a usually taboo activity for one as rythmically challenged as myself, but unfortunately I was insane enough by then to believe myself to be a particularly gifted dancing queen. I don't remember too much, but I have a feeling it wasn't pretty. Nor was the 36 hour hangover I enjoyed following the 2-hour-long-willing-myself-not-to-throw-up-in-public-episode. And none of it made my grandpa any less gone.
So I don't really know what to title this blog. "Another Reason Not To Self-Medicate With Alcohol" seems apt, but perhaps a bit wordy. "Why I Should Not Indulge In More Than One Cocktail" also fits, but sounds a bit like the title of a punitive essay one's teacher might assign them. And "Confessions: Part Three" is just getting a little redundant; this blog is, after all, a (hopefully) funny snapshot of my life, not a weekly confessional- or at least, it wasn't supposed to be! So my apologies, and my hopes that this will at least remind everyone again, just in case you need to hear it (but it's probably just me,) that alcohol only numbs pain temporarily, and then makes it worse. It's better just to face it.