Monday, September 29, 2008

Coming Around

The thing about miscarrying that is hurting me the most is that it wasn't really a biological fluke, per se, but that there is something medically wrong with me which has most likely caused my miscarriages, and which causes my preterm labor (a luteal phase defect, and then, if I don't miscarry, subsequent low progesterone levels throughout pregnancy.)

Having children has been something I've dreamed about forever, and I just always assumed that it would be smooth sailing. I mean, look at these childbearing hips! Observe this maternal instinct! You should have seen all the baby dolls I nurtured! The bratty kids I babysat! The staggering number of A Baby Story episodes I have watched! I appear MADE to have babies, right?! Basically my mind is stomping its foot in fury- my body has betrayed me, and it's not FAIR! It shouldn't have to be HARD for me! I fluctuate between grief and a kind of petulance.

Friday night, though, I finally got a chance to talk to a friend of mine about my current state of mind. I knew she has had three miscarriages, and might understand. Talking with her helped me enormously, and she gave me very wise counsel for dealing with my emotions. It was incredibly PAINFUL counsel (that I allow myself to grieve for a baby, for the baby girl I had been certain it was even before I got a positive pregnancy test. I had forced this idea from my mind so far, wanting only to think of it only as a failed pregnancy and nothing more. But letting myself feel it has actually helped enormously. I now remember that it was the same last time. It was only the night when I first addressed the baby I had lost that I was able to release some of the disappointment.)

So in conclusion, I think I am maybe starting to round the bend of this thing. I'm not ready to face another pregnancy yet (especially since Eli's bedtime routine now consists of screaming his fool head off for a good hour) but I am able to enjoy my children fully, without constantly seeing in their faces what another baby might have looked like. I am able to receive birth announcements and feel sincere joy for them, and only afterwards a twinge of sadness for what I lost. I am able to deal with the idea that I WILL need some assistance next time in order to carry to term, and that this is just another bodily weakness, to which we are all randomly subjected, and that it does not speak to my ability as a mother.

Friday, September 26, 2008


You may have noticed that my last few posts have been more like paragraphs. I've just been feeling a little blah, a little down. Also, a little sick, still, and therefore a bit out of it (thank you, NyQuil!) I have more days lately where I don't get sad, thanks in large part, I think, to the fact that I've been exercising again. But my emotional coping threshold is much lower than usual. I can be perfectly happy and then a tiny slight, the wrong tone of voice, or an unusually cranky child can put me completely over the edge. There have been a few nights where I had to abandon one of the kids' baths or feedings to Jim and go outside to breathe in the cool night air just to keep from exploding.

I think doctors should really warn you that postpartum depression is just as likely after a miscarriage as after birth. They never say anything like, "You might feel randomly sad for quite a while afterwards, so don't be surprised if you leak tears all the time about stupid stuff." At least, mine never have. They're just always on you about what method of birth control you're using, when you want to try again, and whether you've had that all-important Pap test recently.

No medical professional has ever asked me, "Do pregnant women make you stare and then have to choke down a bitter lump in your throat?" or "Do you frequently get out your children's birth stories and newborn pictures and obsess over them, desperate to relive the feelings of pregnancy and birth just in case you never experience them again?" And I guess that's not really their job. They are there to assess physical health. But it seems a little sensitivity might be in order.

You're already in a somewhat undignified position, laying on your back with your knees in the air. After FOUR pregnancies, I've gotten over feeling actual, physical pangs of discomfort about this part, but mentally it still feels vulnerable. And even when that's over, you're clutching a tiny robe around you, trying to reclaim a bit of modesty while you finish answering their questions.

So couldn't just ONE of those questions be about my mental or emotional state? Maybe "Are you handling your feelings okay?" Just something, so that I might feel less like a faceless breeding machine brought in for routine maintenance.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


...Drinking wine at three in the afternoon while grimly ironing about two thousand yards of heavily wrinkled, one hundred percent cotton curtains, washed in a fit of smug housewifely virtue. Do not recommend. From now on, dusty curtains get shaken out. If that.

Man. I forgot how much I hate ironing.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Guess what I asked for (and received) for my birthday? A gym membership. Which includes free, on site babysitting. A win win, no? If I weren't feeling so CRAPPY still. I went today, and, as an inexperienced newbie who hasn't even had her initial Nautilus orientation training (wha? There IS such a thing?) I stuck with fifteen minutes on a bike and fifteen minutes of brisk walking on the track. We're talking mild, Silver Sneakers-type exercise here. And I am so shaky and exhausted and in pain now! I'm either hopelessly out of shape again already or I am still too sick and pathetic to be jumping back into exercise. In which case, I should probably not have paid for this month's membership...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


It is birthday season in our family. It is kicked off in August, when my sister has hers, then my nephew has his, followed shortly by Eli's. Then comes my BIL's, then mine and my MIL's (we share the date) and then Adelay's followed shortly by my SIL. Before my grandpa passed away, his was sandwiched in between my BIL's and mine and MIL's. All of this leads to lots of fun, of course, but LOTS of parties and food and gifts.

So... I have a question regarding the gift part of this. Do you send thank you notes, like real, live licked-and-stamped thank you notes? Do you send them just for random, above and beyond acts of niceness, or for ANY gift received by any of your family members, even if it is Christmas and each family member received about a gazillion apiece?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Birthday Reflection

Today I am a woman. Well, twenty four years old, anyway. I have a husband, two children, a house, a dog, a minivan, and I own at least two pairs of mom jeans. I have chronically dry hands from doing dishes and antibacterial-izing after diaper changes.

But on the other hand, I still only iron about once a year. I watch The Office. I just bought a Further Seems Forever cd. I secretly think it's funny when my daughter turns into a sassy pants. I text. I sometimes skip meals and just eat giant desserts. AND.... I officially weigh the same as I did when we got married (this announcement brought to you by Weird Presumably Non Fatal Illness which is still lingering on a bit.)

So, on the whole I am a balanced person, yes?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Need A "Frequent Weird Health Problems" Punch Card

Throw me a frickin' bone here, mother nature. Two weeks following my miscarriage, I now apparently have either a sinus infection, mono, or West Nile fever. My symptoms are presenting much more like the latter two (extreme neck pain and stiffness, headache/dizziness, body aches, low grade fever, nausea, fatigue,) but when I finally drug myself to the doctor today, she said that I also have lots of fluid behind my ears, which could explain the dizziness, and that my sinus tissues are really inflamed. Also, apparently there is "drainage" going on in my throat, which could explain the nausea. She then pointed out how puffy my eye area was, and was appropriately embarassed when I informed her that my eyes ALWAYS look like that, thanks very much. Note to self: start being a little more religious with the Lancome night cream.

So I have a prescription for amoxocillin in the hopes that its a sinus infection here, but if I don't feel better by Monday I have to go get blood work done to test for mono.

The only silver lining in all this (besides the five pounds I've dropped) is that I had a bunch of Vicodin left over from the surgery, and it has been saving my life the last few days. My neck ache is so intense that ibuprofin wears off after about an hour, whereas the Vicodin sticks with me for at least three or four. The downside, of course, is that I feel like a sleepy, drugged up zombie most of the time, that the drug intensifies my nausea, and that I can't drive anywhere if I take it. But still. The pain relief is worth it. And yes, I admitted to the doctor that I've been taking it, and she said it was fine. Which is a relief, as I was beginning to feel slightly worried that I was turning into one of those suburban moms hooked on pain killers and vodka tonics.

I have to say, I really like the practice we go to for general health care stuff. All the doctors are so nice and down to earth, and very honest, though sometimes depressingly so (example: the doctor today said that it could very well be West Nile fever, as it has been found in our area recently, but that if it is, there is literally nothing they could do for me short of hospitalization. But she did pat my knee sympathetically as she said it.) Also, Addy loves it there, what with the (no doubt germ covered) play area and the fascinating digital scale and the jar full of dum-dums. She pranced around me today while I waited on the exam table, explaining excitedly, "It's YOUR turn at the doctor, Mommy, ok? Today it's YOUR turn, right? It's MOMMY'S turn!"

Indeed. I think it's been Mommy's turn in the doctor's office way too often lately. LET ME OUT!

Friday, September 05, 2008


Standing in the baby aisle at the grocery store choosing new sippee cups next to a very pregnant woman. She is discussing with the woman next to her how soon she is due and how excited she is and how HUGE she is, etc. I abandon the sippee cup train of thought and leave, unable to listen to more, and unable to stay WITHOUT listening a little too intently.

Passing a pro-life billboard with a picture of a baby and the caption, "Eighteen days from conception, my heart was beating." Doing mental math to figure out that if the pregnancy stopped developing at five weeks, which means the BABY was actually three weeks old, and three weeks is twenty-one days, then... Sinking feeling.

Running into someone who had heard that I was pregnant, and having to tell her I am not any more. Hearing her first words: "Oh... Are you so relieved?" Feeling the heat rush into my face, unsure if it is from anger or shame.

Seeing Eli standing at the table, running his cars back and forth and looking so much like a toddler and so little like a baby. Trying to figure out how long it might feasibly be before there will be a tiny baby around here again. Trying to figure out how long it will be until I will feel ready to wish for that scenario.

Thinking about the step by step process of trying again. This time there will be medical supervision and hormone supplements, and probably Clomid as well, to correct my luteal phase and boost my progesterone. It seemed to work with Eli, after the first miscarriage, so why mess with success? Then there will be more supplements, and if those work, weekly shots until the baby is born to hopefully prevent preterm labor. All of this leads to the depressing and admittedly self-pitying conclusion that I am not nearly as good at having babies as I once assumed I would be. The actual birth seems to be the only thing I can successfully handle on my own.

I KNOW how lucky I am. I have two healthy kids. This is all anyone could reasonably wish for, and I know wanting more kids, more luck, is almost greedy. There are people who have NEVER carried a baby to term. Any sadness I feel, any sense of failure or anger I may have towards my body for not doing its job pales in comparison to the pain of unresolved infertility, and I am aware of that. But I can't feel that. All I can feel is this.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My Baby

Dear Eli,

Today you took five steps in a row before bending neatly at the waist and returning to your signature bear crawl. You looked at me nonchalantly when I squealed your name, then went back to playing. It's no big thing, Mom, was the general sense I got from you.

You also ate grapes for the first time today, cut painstakingly into fourths with the plastic McDonalds fork which was given to me along with my fruit and walnut salad. You scarfed them down, exhibiting a more deft pincer grasp than I remembered you having the last time I checked.

You are growing up in leaps and bounds, little man. Thank goodness your babyhood still pokes its head out every now and then. Like today, when you fell asleep in your carseat on the way to the grocery store. I was loathe to wake you from one your increasingly infrequent naps, so I carried you carefully into the store, then toted your drooling self around on my shoulder until I got to the baby aisle, where I padded the child seat of the cart with soft receiving blankets and tucked you in. You looked like a kind of Baby Jesus, nestled snugly in your modern day manger, your cheeks flushed with sleep and your thumb hanging loosely from your pursed lips.

I hope you know that a part of me will always see you this way, even if you get bigger and smarter than me (and I hope you do.) I will always remember the way your face looks, crinkled with glee as I tickle your cheeks with my hair. I will always remember the smell of your head. I'll remember, no doubt with longing, the way I sometimes hold you close when I'm feeling sad, just for the reassuring pleasure of inhaling that achingly sweet scent.

Monday, September 01, 2008

From Canada With Love

Eli's birthday party was a huge success- I didn't forget anything vital, and the birthday boy took all his naps and was therefore cheerful and smiling all day long. Also, almost everyone I invited showed up, and I just felt so surrounded by love.

You know, one of the things I always wished for growing up was a bigger extended family, with plenty of aunts and cousins and just PEOPLE to go around. My mom was an only child, though, and my dad had just one sister, so there wasn't too much in the way of giant family get togethers. As a result, our immediate family is very close, which is of course lucky enough right there, but I am so grateful that in marrying Jim, I also got the big Walton family thing that I always wanted, too. I know all of you out there who have icky in-laws and strained relationships want to slap me right now, but there is honestly not a single person in either of our families that I don't genuinely like. I am not unaware of the incredible luckiness of this.

Ok, enough sentiment. Shake it off, people! And now on to pictures- but not birthday pictures, because I still haven't found the cord to download them. What I CAN offer you is pictures of last weekend, in Canada, which MIL emailed me from her Treo. Why were they on her Treo? Because all FOUR adults managed to forget their cameras. One of the drawbacks of truly impromptu getaways is forgetting to pack certain important items.

The first two days were gorgeous, sunny and warm. Keep in mind that all of this is private beach area, which my MIL and her siblings have been playing on since THEY were little kids. They know pretty much everyone else who has cottages on this stretch of beach, so there are no obnoxious strangers ruining your day. Everyone knows each other from way back. Also, lots of people bring their dogs, and watching them swim is so fun. I wished I could have taken Fonzie along.

From L to R: my MIL, Addy (who these days does not enjoy posing for the camera,) my SIL, Aunt Nancy, and of course, me, the bra-less wonder.

This is one of the only pictures of me with a good smile. Not coincidentally, I am filling my plate.

Long days in the sun are apparently the trick to getting Adelay to nap again.

I love this one. Addy with her cousin Rachel.

Collecting shells.

This was honestly one of the best weekends I've ever had. It was truly relaxing in every sense, without the usual chaos and expense of normal vacations. It was utterly peaceful and beautiful. Being beside the lake the last morning, watching the whitecaps roll endlessly up and down, made me feel so small but so very peaceful.