Friday, October 30, 2009

Or Maybe I Could Be Oscar The Grouch?

I really hate how grouchy I get with the kids when I feel so crappy. Also, every time I touch them I think, "Great, more germs!" so I am trying not to hug and kiss on them the way I usually do. Between the lack of physical contact and the sudden barking tone of voice and irritability, they probably think their mom has been swapped out for some heartless nanny. Poor lovies.

Also, I didn't get to hand out candy OR take the kids trick or treating last night since I'm all gross and sick. Jim took them out with their cousins and they had a great time, from all reports, but I'm still sulky that I missed it. AND I have to miss the adult Halloween party we were supposed to go to tonight. I was even going to dress up! As.... something! I hadn't planned that far yet. But I WAS going to do it. And now I can't, since I'm still coughing like crazy and feeling like I can't breathe and as of this morning, blowing my nose constantly.

I guess that could be my costume theme, were I to go- Angel of Death or something. I could just go in my pajamas, sans makeup or bra or use of a hairbrush, and stand in a corner sneezing and moaning and projecting germs. I'm pretty sure I'd win a prize for scariest person there.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Catching Up On My Correspondence

Dear Trick or Treaters,

I'm very sorry, but there will likely be no candy at our house tonight because it is currently in a feed bag around my neck. The odds of there being any KitKats or Reese's Cups left for any of you by seven PM are not looking good. For this bit of tough luck you can thank the fact that there have already been three pee accidents here this morning, one requiring a sheet change and another involving the careful soaking of Addy's crepe-like Cinderella costume which must be clean and dry by tonight. And hopefully unscathed by the washer. The accidents above also BOTH required baths. Oh, and I had to throw towels on the floor instead of bath mats because the bath mat was in the dryer from having been peed on YESTERDAY morning by Eli, right after HE peed his bed.

Also, did I mention yet that I have the flu (no not SWINE) and that, while I was initialing feeling better this morning, I have gone rapidly downhill again? A downward spiral which was MAYBE triggered by the sight, immediately following the third pee incident, of a steaming pile of dog vomit in the den? And a retching dog, who, when hastily let out the back door, proceeded to flee from the yard (HOPEFULLY TO HIS DEATH)?

Yours Sincerely,
Feels (and looks) Like Death Warmed Over


Dear Parents of these kids and Owners of this house,

Please come and relieve me of my duties, which are beginning to seriously bite. Your daughter needs to learn how to speak to adults in a tone other than the one used in olden times to address the servant responsible for emptying the chamber pot. And also how to handle having her hair washed without gasping and screaming as though she's being water boarded.

Your son has begun demanding dessert after every feeding, including snacks. He also seems to think my sleeve is his personal handkerchief, and worst of all, he keeps stealing all my good snacks. Just snatches them right out of my hand!

You guys need a housekeeper, too. This place is starting to reek of dog and diapers, and I keep finding grubby fingerprints all over the place. AND I can't use the washing machine because it is constantly filled with soaking, pee covered clothes, bedspreads, and rugs. WTH? Get with the program- you're almost out of towels, and my one pair of jeans that fits properly has been waiting to get washed for three days.

I will be upping my price to twenty dollars per hour as of today, and I would like hazard pay as well for any situation requiring me to come into contact with bodily fluids, as you keep forgetting to purchase latex gloves for my use.

Yours Sincerely,
Not Mary Poppins

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Definition Of Vicious Cycle

I can't already be too old for staying up til five in the morning, right? And then getting up again at nine-ish? That's still four hours of sleep; it's not as though I completely missed an entire day's worth of rest. Plus it was two nights ago! I should be recovered. But sleep deprivation is a sneaky thing. I think the day immediately after, you get a bit of adrenaline to get you through it. Then later it sneaks up on you and leaves you feeling all bleary eyed and nauseous and stabby.

Especially after last night, when I was trying to catch up on sleep, but was instead awakened at one thirty by a GARBAGE TRUCK loudly emptying our neighbor's trash. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. They use a different waste removal company than we do, but I've never heard them come before seven AM. We have heard weird nighttime crashing noises in the distance before, so I'm guessing it's this same company, which apparently runs a night shift. And now the night shift has come to our neighborhood. Great.

I was up so late 'cause my sister and a couple of our old high school friends were all simultaneously in town Saturday night and congregated at our house while Jim was out of town and the kids were sleeping over at my mom's. It was totally fun and totally worth it, but geez, I clearly needed to nap yesterday to make up for it. I tried, too, but Addy never naps anymore and Jim was still out of town at a soccer meeting, and... Well, you can see where this is going. I shouldn't have even attempted to lay down, because getting THIS CLOSE to sleep five times in a row only to have your kid suddenly start shriek/singing along to her movie or jump unexpectedly onto your shins is far worse than just drinking some coffee and sucking it up.

All that to say that this post is brought to you by my profound and, as of today, renewed dread of someday having another newborn who's just as poor a sleeper as Eli was. I can't believe that for the first year of his life, I was pretty much feeling like this EVERY DAY. While trying to sell our house. If there was ever a venture totally contraindicated by nursing a fussy baby round the clock, it's trying to sell your house. This seems obvious to a sane person, probably. But: the sleep deprivation makes you CRAZY, which makes you think it's a totally DOABLE idea and NOT really crazy! And then all the cleaning and the laundry hiding and the nursing nursing nursing makes you a little MORE crazy! Ha ha ha! It's a carousel of crazy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Good Intentions

More doctor crap, but not about me this time:

So a few days ago I took Addy in for her four year check up. Usually a trip to the pediatrician leaves me sweaty and frantic and ready to look up the laws re: child abandonment in our state, but this time, despite the hour and half of waiting, I managed to stay calm and keep them reasonably entertained and not climbing the walls. (And this without my morning coffee. Perhaps the adrenal booster is working?) They were being well behaved, I was being well behaved: all was well.

And then the dreaded vaccination discussion. Apparently she was due for four separate shots, or maybe it was four vaccinations, but two were combined so it was three shots? Anyways, a LOT of different live viruses being injected all at once. And I wasn't really cool with it, especially since she's still kind of low weight for her age and she's just so pale and FRAGILE looking. She doesn't exactly seem like a hale, robust child who could fight off four different, albeit tiny, doses of serious illnesses and keep on feeling fine while doing so. So I asked if we could stagger the vaccines, and still have her caught up by preschool next year. Not a big deal.

They agreed in the end- I mean, they can't FORCE the needles into her thighs without my permission. But they kept whining about how it's so much EASIER to get it all over with at once, and the younger the better, so that the kid doesn't remember the shots and then hate the doctor and the nurses. And it's so much better when they're smaller so that they're easier to hold down. All I could think was, "This is all stuff for YOUR benefit. Why would I make this decision based on what's going to be easiest for you guys?!"

In the end I let them give her one booster shot, the combined one for polio and pertussis- I've heard about some outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough) lately and it really sounds awful, so I thought we'd better get on that one. And wouldn't you know, she held perfectly still, didn't require any holding down, nor any convincing that the doctor and nurses weren't evil people bent on stabbing her. She didn't even cry, and she THANKED the nurse before we left! (Bribe her with a Dum-Dum sucker, though, and she'd probably let you break her leg without much fuss.) I felt pretty smug. Totally nixed THAT argument for doing all the shots at once!

But later, at four o' clock the next morning, she was awake, crying and clammy, with a fever of one hundred and four and complaining that her stomach hurt. I was immediately awake, jolted with adrenaline and fear. Her forehead was so hot against my lips, her gaze so vacant. Once tucked into our bed, she said very little in complaint to our repeated attempts to gauge her temperature and administer medicine, which was the strangest thing of all. Not to be melodramatic, but she just looked so pitiful laying there against my pillow, all bright red cheeks against white, white face and glassy eyes.

She was fine by morning; a dose of Tylenol helped her to sleep, her fever broke, and she was back to her old self. It was obviously a result of the vaccination, though, so I can't help still feeling really yucky about it. Good job preventing that vaccine reaction, Mommy! And fevers in the nighttime are always so scary feeling to me. I become Ma Ingalls, huddling over my sick baby with washcloths and a furrowed brow, wondering if this is just a fever, or is it YELLOW FEVER? ARE WE ALL GOING TO DIE?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another Day, Another Doctor

Tuesday I drove about an hour away to a chiropractor who had been referred to me as someone who also does nutritional advising and homeopathic supplement consultation, etc. Apparently he's helped people with fertility issues for whom drugs weren't fully solving the problem. At least, enough people that I heard of him by word of mouth, a state away.

At this point I'm figuring anything's worth a shot. However, I'm also beginning to feel that the stress of worrying about doctors' visits, timing of drugs, injections, blood draws etc. is possibly counteracting any good it's doing. Stress in the area of fertility is definitely a cyclic thing, in my opinion. The more things don't work, the more stressed you get, and the less likely treatments are to help you because your body is not in a receptive state.

This opinion may sound kind of in opposition to the fact that I am pursuing yet another doctor, but I guess I rationalize it by saying that this doctor is DIFFERENT and that his treatment suggestions are very DIFFERENT than those the OB's and reproductive specialists have proposed. He thinks, based on a LOOONG discussion and medical history review, that the problem may be a dysfunctional adrenal gland. This gland processes progesterone and if it's not working, tends to turn progesterone into cortisol (stress hormone) instead. This could explain why even when my body was being seriously pumped FULL of progesterone, my blood levels were still shockingly low.

Some of the symptoms of this dysfunction are sugar cravings (huge for me- can't go a day without it,) chronic tiredness (iffy here- yes, I get draggy in the afternoon, yes I have a hard time getting up in the morning, yes I drink coffee at both of these times in order to wake up, but who doesn't?,) depression (again, iffy- yes, I haven't been at my highest, mood wise, in the last year or so, but we've been dealing with a lot of stress so I think that's kind of normal,) and very low alcohol and medication tolerance (definitely true. SO TRUE.) Also severe PMS is a big indicator, and I have always, always battled that.

But the main indicator is definitely the recurrent miscarriages, which APPEAR to be happening because of low progesterone levels beginning at conception. So what he wants me to do is a cycle-long saliva test, which measures your levels of estrogen and progesterone throughout your entire cycle so that you can get a really good picture of when your levels are rising and falling, and if they're doing so appropriately. Before we've only tested post-ovulation and then once I'm pregnant. No one's ever attempted to measure my levels all cycle long to see if my progesterone is even going up at all post ovulation.

He said once that's done, we'll have a clearer picture of how to proceed, and whether or not I need more specific adrenal function testing (probably so.) In the mean time, he gave me an adrenal... kick starter? Or something. It's for short term use after athletic events or stressful physical experiences, such as surgery, miscarriage, illness, etc. I'm supposed to take it for a month to try to help my body get back to normal after this, the World's Longest Miscarriage. Then next month I'm going to make sure my cycle is normal (this current one is not exactly acting normal.) And then the cycle after THAT, probably in December, is when we'll do the saliva testing.

I'm happy that he seemed normal and nice and not a quack. Nor was he quick to offer me some magical supplement that would cure all ills. The fact that he seemed a little unsure and doesn't yet have a set idea of how to treat me is reassuring, I guess, because I don't like it when doctors are quick to jump to conclusions and aren't really listening to all the specifics.

On the other hand, it was a little depressing HOW unsure he seemed. He was very surprised, looking through my stack of records, at how poorly my body has responded even to such high doses of progesterone, EVEN in conjunction with Clomid which supposedly jacks up your hormone production. He said there definitely seems to be a big problem in how I process and produce that hormone. I didn't get the impression that there's one specific supplement that I can take to magically fix that. It seems that this treatment route may take a while and be quite a process. But at least I won't be worrying about GETTING pregnant until the process is done (usually with supplements they want you to wait three to six months after beginning them, to make sure they're fully integrated into your system.)

So, hopefully it won't be all that stressful. I have accepted and am (mostly) ok with the fact that it's going to be awhile before I get pregnant again, and I'm trying to look at this as a period of rest for my mind and body. A time to get well, and to take good care of myself and my family. A time to appreciate what I have, to enjoy the holidays, and to enjoy good health.

I'm trying to be ok with the fact that maybe there is no solution, too. Maybe I won't get pregnant again, or maybe I will but I'll miscarry. There are no guarantees. There is only the fact that I do have two kids, that I have managed to maintain two pregnancies to a safe point, and that I have gotten to give birth and nurse and cuddle on two babies. This is not SO unfortunate, as misfortunes go. I do think we would eventually pursue other options for adding to our family, if I really can't have another baby, but we're certainly not there yet. There is still reason to hope.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Don't Hate Me Because I Could Kick Your Butt On An Elliptical

Last month marked the one year anniversary of my gym membership. I have logged approximately ninety work outs, which is... less than stellar. I mean, that's what? Exercising one out of every four days, on average? But don't worry, I have all sorts of excuses: the hernia surgery last October, two weeks after I GOT the gym membership; various illnesses, mine and the kids, since any sickness on their part prohibits me from going during the day and utilizing the childcare; THE HOLIDAYS; a few bad weather/icy road scenarios, I'm sure; and of course the pregnancy/miscarriage during August and September, during which months I think I logged in maybe four or five workouts TOTAL.

I am still quite proud of myself, though. I did it. I no longer think of myself as a non-exerciser, or someone who doesn't have muscle and in fact CAN'T build muscle, or can't be in good cardiovascular shape because of my poor KNEE, wah! (Though if it weren't for exercise bikes and elliptical machines, that might be true. I have pretty much abandoned running, even though it's much more fun than machines, because of knee pain.)

I've lost between five and ten pounds this year, but weight loss wasn't the primary goal here. What is noteworthy is the huge increase in endurance and stamina, and the significantly more toned muscles. My upper body and waist are a little more defined, my arms a little more shapely. Even my legs, while nothing even approaching thin, are at least somewhat firm now. Most importantly to me, my legs FEEL much stronger. My knee, which always used to feel weak and wobbly and cause me to walk gingerly whenever I was on uneven ground or stairs, feels fine now. It may someday give out again, of course, if I do something stupid or turn too sharply, but in general I feel a lot more confident running around, playing with my kids, and generally acting my age instead of like a little old woman.

The biggest benefit of exercise, though, in my experience, has been quality of life and mood improvement. I always feel more productive if I've gotten to the gym, and it's a good way to get out of the house and do something with the kids other than shop (expensive!) or errands (boring!) especially if the weather is not condusive to playing outside. I have more energy the rest of the day, I'm more inclined to eat healthfully before and after I work out, and I just generally feel more positive.

I contribute a lot of my emotional recovery from this last pregnancy loss to the fact that I tried to get back to exercise as quickly as possible, knowing that the last time I miscarried, exercise was what really helped me feel better. And it worked. I'm not exactly walking on air, but I'm not depressed right now, as opposed to the last time when I would say I was definitely battling it. Most days I feel okay, mostly happy, and even hopeful. I have certainly felt FRUSTRATED occasionally with the way things were dragging on, but I never felt like I didn't even want to get out of bed in the morning or that there was no hope of our ever having more babies or anything like that.

So I know this is a barfy fitness post (term credit: Tess) but it's been on my mind the last few days, and it's something I wanted to express to anyone out there who may be battling some melancholy or even just a negative self-image. Exercise is not magic: it's not going to turn that frown upside or anything, and it's not a cure-all for every problem. Also, if you don't change your eating habits much (which I have NOT) it's probably not going to cause the pounds to shed miraculously. But you WILL be healthier and stronger, and you will at least feel better. That I can guarantee.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Inner Child

I'm a big dollhouse fan. It's not even so much the playing with the dolls in the house, per se, but the arranging of the dolls' stuff in the tiny little houses that I find so magical. I used to drive my friends crazy when I was little, because I never really wanted to play with them. I just wanted them to go dress the dolls and drive them around in their mini coupe while I arranged the furniture to my heart's content.

There was one friend in particular who had a dollhouse I truly coveted. This dollhouse. Every time I went to her house I virtually ignored her in favor of her doll mansion's sprawling terrace and charming old fashioned bathroom fixtures.

Fifteen years later, the charm has not worn off. This exquisitely detailed dollhouse showed up at our house two days ago:

My sweet mom has fulfilled my lifelong dream of owning the Playmobil Mansion. Now I can die happy.

Tragically, though, my mom gave me this gift only with the stipulation that I must share it with her granddaughter:

Oh well. She's pretty good about taking turns.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Young Man...

Eli. Eli, Eli, Eli. What to say other than you SURE DID get the memo that you have turned two, huh?

You are lucky that you are cute and cuddly and learning funny little phrases, so that when I have to stomp, er, go to your room for the third time in a row at ten o' clock at night, you can hold up your arms, immediately stop screaming, and lisp sweetly, "COME 'ere!" And then grab my sleeve and attempt to haul my giant adult body into your toddler bed beside you, but in the most winsome and coaxing manner possible, so that I have almost no choice but to at least TRY to force your tiny bed to hold us both.

Turns out it does, until my leg falls asleep. Unlike YOURSELF!

Dude, if I end up with ten extra pounds and a drinking problem this winter, the blame is squarely on your little shoulders. Because once you are finally asleep, all I ever want to do is celebrate, adult-style. (And by adult style I of course mean diving into a box of cookies and a tumbler of red wine while watching the most recent Netflix offering.)

Monday, October 12, 2009


So here's my firstborn, my NOT baby NOT toddler but honest to goodness kid, doing some kind of gleeful pirate jig in anticipation of her birthday party later that day:

Here's the spread before it all got torn apart by par-taying:

Yet more plastic princess junk to add to her already substantial pile of plastic Disney princess junk. And I can't even blame relatives for this particular gift- my sister Jeni had gotten her the original Cinderella set, but once I saw what a hit the tiny, rubbery dress up dolls were with Addy (and the elevated status they gave my sister) I felt compelled to include another set in her stack of birthday presents. Yes, I am a cheap sell out, bowing at the altar of Disney just for popularity.

(Public service announcement: those dresses are SO HARD to put on, even for adult fingers. Forget about a child being able to do it. In the process of dressing, I even POPPED THE FLIPPING HEAD off the original Cinderella and had to go shamefacedly get a replacement. So if you too lose your mind and buy these, expect to be helping your kid dress and undress the dolls about ten times a day.)

But just look at that gorgeous cake. Only my mother could come up with a way to satisfy a four year old's very specific wish for a cake on the theme of Ballerina Strawberry Shortcake.

Happy birthday, Addy Bear!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

What's Wrong With You

I keep waiting to post until I have downloaded all the pictures from Addy's fourth birthday party, but then it turns out the batteries are dead in the camera, and the rechargeable ones aren't holding charge, and I don't have any regular double A batteries anywhere in the house and...

Anyways. I figured I'd better throw something up in the meantime. But unfortunately, all that comes to mind to write about it a little on the, eh, woe is me side. So feel free to skip, but here it is:

I am so. tired. of this miscarriage. At least with the others, I had a d and c, and it was over and done with. The brief hospital stay was a kind of physical and mental closure, and within a few days, the bleeding was completely over. My cycle resumed normally, and I got back to thinking about trying again, or at least about things other than, "When oh when will my stupid hcg levels go down to zero so I can be done with blood draws and waiting, waiting, waiting?"

I took a cheapy pregnancy test on Friday, expecting and hoping for a positive result since that would mean that yes, there was still an elevated hcg level present and therefore yes, it was normal that my cycle hadn't started again. I was getting a little nervous about that, and testing seemed easier than going in again for a blood draw. Of course, it was positive, and while this was the expected result, taking that test was just the dumbest thing I could have done. It was so frustrating to see a positive pregnancy test and feel my emotions zing right to elated, automatically, even though my brain knew that NO, the appropriate reaction would be frustration that this miscarriage isn't complete yet. I had to keep talking and talking to myself, repeating the biological facts of why yes, it was a positive pregnancy test, but no, it did not at all mean that I was pregnant again.

And I'm not, for the record. I went again for a blood draw Monday just to make ABSOLUTELY SURE, and my hcg has dropped to fifteen. Since it has to be at twenty five to show up positive on a pregnancy test, that would mean it's dropping at... what, maybe about four or five points a day? So we're getting close here. Almost over.

Another ouchy thing this weekend happened at the fall festival we took the kids to on Sunday. It was really fun, actually, but then I ran into a friend I hadn't seen for quite a while, and she eyeballed my baggy sweatshirt conspiratorially and asked, "So, is there a little baby in there yet?" When I told that there had been, but that it didn't work out, she exclaimed, "Again? Oh no! But... I thought they had figured out what was wrong with you when they found out about that blood clotting thing?"

I know there's no right reaction when you hear other people's bad news. You're always shocked and sad for them, and you just want to say something to make sense of it, to try to figure it out.

But I just don't like being reminded that there is, indeed, something wrong with me.

*You may (or, more likely, may not) have noticed that at the bottom of my page, where I have tickers to track the kids' ages, I added a ticker for the last miscarriage. I fully realize that this may be slightly morbid, and I know that I won't want it there forever. But for some reason it just felt right to have it for awhile. A way to mark time, but also a way to memorialize, in some small way, the tiny life that was with us so briefly.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

On The Bright Side

I think I have some sort of innate, Polly-type gene which causes me to make note of every little thing that is GOOD about an otherwise CRAP situation. While kind of cheesy and embarrassing, it's an excellent coping tool. It's just not a coping tool that I like having foisted upon me, I've noticed: it's one thing to mention to yourself, mentally, that maybe it really wasn't the best time yet to be pregnant and tired and large-bellied, because my gosh, Eli seems to be ramping up those tantrums every day, but it's quite another thing when someone else remarks upon this. Likewise for money, time, energy, housing situation, etc. It's all well and good and comforting for me to reassure myself that, hey! Maybe by the time another baby comes we will have moved or added on, but it makes me bristle a little when someone suggests that goodness! It certainly would have been a tight squeeze to add another child to our house! Even though, y'know, it's actually bigger than the house I grew up in, with two other siblings.

I know this is my own problem, entirely, because I am basically hearing my own thoughts repeated to me. Gah. Defensive much?

So anyways, here is some little stuff that is making me happy in spite of things:

-Cooking in cold weather is always much more fun for me. I even made homemade marinara with all of our garden tomatoes, something I wouldn't have even attempted if pregnant and nauseaus. And I've been meal planning and baking muffins and just generally enjoying food. (And drink.)

-Sleep. How I love my sleep. Despite the constance of Eli's nighttime wakings, which occur least once a week but usually more often, they are definitely decreasing in furor. I can usually settle him down and put him back in his own bed within ten minutes. And he's still napping pretty reliably. So in general I feel well fed AND well rested. It's nice to feel healthy again.

-I have a massage gift certificate I haven't used yet. I'm just savoring the anticipation and waiting for the perfect time.

-It's so much easier to go places with kids this age. Um, loud public tantruming aside, but whatever. I'm immune to embarassment now. You don't really need to drag the stroller and the diaper bag with you everywhere, just as long as they're stashed in the car for emergencies, and there's no constant planning around nursing or twice-a-day naps. Both kids can walk on their own now, as long as I hold Eli's hand, and, when in the right mood, they both really enjoy outings.

-Eli is learning SO many words, and starting to speak in sentences. Hallelujah! While he still throws fits when he doesn't get his way, at least he's not resorting to screaming due to lack of communication skills very often anymore.

-I'm really excited about Adelay turning four. Four seems so grown up, but that's okay with me. I really enjoy kids between the ages of, oh, four and eight. They're so inquisitive and learning so much, but they're still so funny and fun and don't usually have attitudes yet. AND! They wipe their own butts. Or so I'm hoping.