Thursday, April 28, 2011

Doctor Visit

At our last Ob visit there was a grandmother in the waiting room with a teeny tiny baby girl.  Z and I oohed and ahhed over her and the grandmother smiled at T.  A few minutes later the mother came into the waiting room and it was clear she had been crying.  Her mom asked if everything was OK and she shook her head no and began gathering all the stuff that comes with having a new baby while telling the grandmother to follow her back to the exam room.  I whispered to Z that I was sure that part of her placenta was retained and that we should expect to wait a while to be seen. 

The practice I go to is very small, there were just two doctors and a third has recently been added.  My doctor delivers his patients the vast majority of the time, which is really rare now.  The trade off of having a doc that delivers is it seems like he is always delivering.  But it really doesn’t bug me because I want to have his undivided attention when it’s my turn.  Yes, he was late to our miscarriage D&C because he was performing an emergency c-section to deliver twins.  The anesthesiologist handled that situation like a whiney brat; seriously my experiences with anesthesiologists have been overwhelmingly negative.  Do you have to be a major douche bag to go into that specialty?  And he’s missed every appointment I’ve had with him so far with this pregnancy.  So while it isn’t ideal I do understand why it is happening.  I’ve gotten to know the other two doctors, who are both lovely and attentive, and I’m comfortable with whoever I’m seeing. 

It was a while before we were taken back to a room and the nurse did tell us our doctor had to leave for the hospital due to an urgent situation and we would be seen by one of the other doctors.  I had been trying not to cry since I figured out what was going on with the new mom.  I told the nurse I knew she couldn’t talk about it, but I was pretty sure the woman I’d seen had retained part of her placenta.  And if there was any way I could do something, anything, even just give her a hug and tell her it would be OK I would love to.  Because I had been there, I knew how scared she was, and I just wanted to comfort her.  The nurse very kindly told me she wasn’t allowed to say anything because of confidentiality but if I’d been in that position myself she appreciated me wanting to help another patient going through it.  I knew that would be the case, and I felt really foolish, but I was unable to help myself from speaking out.

When the nurse left I really started to cry.  Z seemed at a loss as he so often does when it comes to my hormonal crying jags so I tried to explain what had me so upset.  Because it certainly wasn’t thinking about my own experience.  I mean I wish the whole thing hadn’t happened, but in all honesty I don’t carry any bitterness or hurt about it anymore.  Which is pretty great considering I sure as hell did just a year ago.  Switching doctors was the key to letting go (my old doctor is technically part of the practice, but her office is across the hall and I don't think her patients are often seen by any of the three in the main office).  After I starting seeing my current doctor and his associates I felt like I was in capable caring hands.  The miscarriage experience proved that terrible things can happen medically, but as long as I am dealt with compassionately I will come out all right at the other end.  It might take a while, there might be a shit ton of mourning that needs to happen, but treat me with kindness and ultimately I’ll learn to live with whatever happened. 

What had me so upset was the realization that no matter what I could have said to that woman it wouldn’t have helped her in the moment.  The terror of having to go back to the hospital for a surgery days after delivering, even if it is for a minor issue is insurmountable in the moment.  The physical pain that accompanies the blood clots only makes the panic more acute.  There is no way to tell a woman that if she can just fast forward in her mind to 20 months in the future it will no longer feel like such a big deal, her kid will be amazing and wonderful and not at all scarred from the experience.  If she is nursing and her mom has to give her daughter a bottle or two of formula while she is in the hospital it isn’t going to matter a bit.  She was caught in her own living nightmare and she just had to go through it herself.  Nothing said in the moment would help, but I did know that her medical care would be exemplary.  I knew the doctor we shared would be kind and let her know how sorry he was she was going through this, how the pain she was feeling was real and that he would do something to fix it.  And I knew that as she looked back on the day eventually she would be able to find comfort in his words and actions.  But all that knowledge couldn't change her pain in the moment.  So I cried for her.  I wonder if it wasn't a bit like praying for her, you know, if praying is your bag.

I love how he looks drunk when he wakes up.

We had a little rain on Tuesday. 

And we suddenly had a little pond in the backyard.  I've always wanted a pond!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Warning: Self Involved Post Ahead...

In 10th grade I was in a play and my character wore a shitload of makeup and a dress, which in combination with the right foundation garments did pleasing things to my breasts.  During the production 4 boys asked me out.  I’d never had that sort of attention before.  Rather than make me feel good about myself it made me feel terrible.  None of these boys were asking me out, they were asking out a heavily made up face and a nice set of honkers.   I wanted to be liked for who I was and what I looked like without a lot of fancying up.  The entire experience made me feel worthless.  And ever since then I have felt suspicious of anyone who ever compliments me.  At first it only hurt when people said nice things when I was dressed up, but as my mental illness took hold every nice thing anyone ever said felt false.  When people would innocently be nice to me I actually thought they were taking pity on me, or when I was really unwell, making fun of me.  During that time I was in my early 20s, slender, and perfectly pleasant looking.  Yet when I looked in the mirror I saw an obese and hideously unattractive person.  I wanted not to care about how I looked, but I was obsessed.  It was all I thought about.  At the time I thought only vain people were self absorbed, but  I was wrong.  I was beyond that, I was self obsessed.   As I became worse I did start to put on weight, my meds made me get even heavier so what I believed was becoming reality.

Imagine being married to me at this time.  I regularly called Z a liar when he tried to say anything nice about me.  I accused him of not being attracted to me.  I was sure he was having an affair and wanted to escape our marriage.  How long do you think you could listen to that stuff without it affecting you?  Of course he stopped finding me attractive, I was berating him daily.  For a number of years he refused to compliment me in any way because he was tired of being called a liar.  It was incredibly hurtful to him that I thought he was having an affair.  He is a loyal and kind person, he was doing nothing wrong, yet I treated him like utter crap.  Thankfully, we were able to work through that stuff in couples therapy along with a laundry list of other issues created by my illness.  It was a super rough road. 

Things are better now.  They aren’t perfect; there is a lot of left over hurt between us.  But we are still working on it.  I can't believe he stuck it out with me.  He is an extraordinary person and I am lucky to be with him. But whenever I write about my self esteem issues it drives Z up the wall.  He always thinks it sounds like I am fishing for compliments because people can’t just be expected to know compliments make me so uncomfortable.  After he read the last post he sounded so sad when he said to me, “Why do you do that?  What do you get out of it?”  So I thought about it.  I’m not very proud of the answer.

A whole bunch of you nice guys who read this are friends from high school who I’ve reconnected with on the good old book of face.  The last time you all saw me in person was when I a skinny teenager.  So any time I post a picture of me the still sick part of myself thinks you guys are looking at it and feeling sorry for what I’ve become physically.  In my worse moments I think you guys are laughing at me because you think I probably am deluded and think I look fine. Yup, I know how twisted and bizarre that logic is.  I know it isn’t healthy.  I know it is incredibly self involved.  I know it is a big step back for me emotionally when I do it, but when I wrote the last post I was feeling vulnerable about my weight due to an unrelated incident to so my unhealthier impulses were impossible to ignore.  I just couldn’t help but say, “Hey, folks!  I know!  I’m tubby!  Don’t go thinking I believe I look OK because I’m in on the joke!”  I would still rather look like anyone but me.  I spend a lot of time looking at your pictures and wishing I looked like you (well, not the guys--no offence, I just don’t want to be a dude).  I spend an unhealthy amount of time looking at women in general and wishing I had their eyes, their hair, their bodies.  I wonder if they know how good they have it.  

I'm not sick like I was before, I don't spend the bulk of my time thinking about this stuff anymore.  But sometimes it does bubble up to the service.  And then I realized something while waiting to go into therapy this week.  I was thinking about wanting to be slender again and I realized a large part of what was stopping me was my immature and unrealistic belief that people shouldn’t be judged on their physical appearance.  It is the perfect excuse to hide behind for why I don’t put effort into my looks.  Yes, part of the reason is I feel like there is little point in trying, but a big piece is a stubborn desire to be judged on my smarts over my looks.  I was born with more brains than beauty, not that I think I’m Einstein or anything, but it works in my favor to concentrate on my intelligence.  And of course I’d think everyone should be judged by their minds over their physicality.  That way I’d stand a chance of winning, or at least being in the race. 

But I realized that is total bullshit and there is nothing wrong with trying to make yourself look nicer.  Z cares what he looks like.  He is very particular about how he presents himself to the world, and he likes how he looks.  Man, am I jealous of him.  And I should take some lessons from him.  After this New Guy is born I’m going to make some changes.  I am going to try and lose weight and get healthy.  I’m going to not wear sweats all day and try to take some pride in my appearance.  And for the love of God, I’m going to work on my impulse to believe a group of people who have shown me nothing but kindness since I’ve reconnected with them are laughing at me behind me back.  These goals are going to take some serious therapy and I might be biting off more than I can chew, but I’m gonna give it the old college try.    

My friend found this in her neighbor's backyard after the neighbor moved away, so free car for T!  He adores it. 

Notice the blue key in his hand.  It was attached to the ignition, but the  first thing he did was grab it and pull it loose.  I figure he'll lose it in less than a week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Dress and Victory

So I’m showing good and proper.  Enough that strangers are tentatively asking about it in public.  The smart friends from my last post told me the second time around you start to show much earlier because your body knows exactly what to do.  Heck, I had already gotten a little belly when I found out I miscarried last fall near the end of the first trimester.  During my first pregnancy I didn’t even put on a piece of maternity clothing until Mother’s Day when I was about 23 weeks.  I’m 21 weeks now and I’ve been rocking maternity garb for weeks.  Due to my aversion to food during the first half of pregnancy I’m just now approaching my pre-pregnancy weight.  I’m tubby when not pregnant, so you’d think I’d be grateful to not gain tons during pregnancy, but sincerely the nausea and vomiting is not worth it.  It’s not like I’m keeping a girlish figure, I’m still tubby so who cares if I’m super tubby or just kind of tubby, you know?  I would happily be super tubby if I didn’t have to feel like utter garbage. 

In fact, I threw up yesterday morning.  Hard.  I’d just gotten out of the shower and into my undies when it happened.  And one of the many charming things that happen to me when I’m pregnant is I pee a little when I vomit.  Or sneeze.  Or cough really hard.  Seriously.  I was angry that I was throwing up at 21 weeks to begin with.  And then I realized the undies I had on were my only clean pair, I mean they were clean for less than two minutes and then they weren’t clean anymore.  So I started the week going commando until I did laundry.  I’m not going to lie, there were tears.  It was kind of a gross day all around.  Someone very close to me was accidently unkind.  There were more tears.  Thankfully there was also a call to Z, who was awesome and said all the right things.  God, I love that guy.  And my extremely mild and nothing to worry about asthma flared up, which meant a volley of phone calls to the ObGyn's and my GP.  Honestly, I knew it was probably not a big deal, but I was worried.  The nice thing is doctors see pregnant ladies really fast so I got an appointment at my GP's and my lung function was tested and is normal.  Hopefully a few days of the inhaler will do the trick and get me feeling better. 

Obviously nothing seriously awful happened, but I was in a funk yesterday.  At the end of the day as Z and I sat on the sofa the New Guy started moving around.  I grabbed Z’s hand and threw it on my belly and Z felt New Guy for the first time.  That did turn things around for me.  Enough that I was feeling brave this morning.  I’m not a dress or skirt gal, but when I’m pregnant I really don’t like wearing pants.  I have a maternity dress with ¾ sleeves, but I hadn’t put it on yet.  Because my mom and sister gave it to me last summer before we found out I lost the baby.  Part of the way my crazy manifests is I assign “luck” to the objects in my life.  The dress felt cursed to me.  Even though I was sure I would have a miscarriage today I screwed up all my courage and put it on.  And I did not have a miscarriage.  It’s almost 9pm and I’m still wearing the dress and nothing terrible has happened.  In fact, this day has been light years better than yesterday.  And if I’m trying to be positive I should point out being pregnant at almost the exact same of year the second time around saves a lot of money.  I really don’t have to get any new maternity clothes. 

Yes, me being positive.  And wearing the dress I was scared to wear.  Two good things for today.  I'm going to go ahead and call it a victory.  

As someone with severe self esteem issues I am pretty careful about what pictures I post of myself.  This is along the lines of what I deem acceptable-hiding behind a hat and sweater.  Of course you can't really see the dress.

And here is the non-cursed dress. Z forced me to take off both the sweater and hat.  Posting this is very much outside my comfort zone.  But I'm trying to be brave.   

Moving on to something much more light hearted...We use this pottery canister as a trash can in our living room.  Suddenly T decided he needed to be in it.

And then he figured out he could pull his books of the bookcase from his new location.

 Mission accomplished.  And then he started shaking the bookcase.  That's when I ended his little game and declared the trash can off limits.  He was pretty bummed.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Smart Friends

If any of you ladies out there are thinking about having kids I have one piece of advice for you: You know those friends you have that are way smarter than you?  Let them have kids first.  They will tell you everything you need to know.  At first you won’t be able to hear them.  When my smart mom friends told me you rapidly forget the unpleasant parts of being pregnant I thought they were insane.  And then I got pregnant ON PURPOSE when T was less than 11 months old.  Because I forgot the unpleasant parts.  When my smart mom friends told me Cry It Out sucked balls in the moment, but it would change our lives for the better in the long run I thought they were insane.  And then T started taking 2 naps a day and sleeping 11-12 hours a night.  I started to understand I needed to do a better job of listening to my smart friends, even if I didn’t believe their wiseness in the moment I needed to store it away until I could digest it. 

Last spring when a dear friend and way-smarter than me mom was pregnant with her second I asked her if she was excited about the new baby.  She was working, taking care of her toddler, while pregnant and navigating life in Brooklyn.  Friends, I lived in NYC for nearly a decade.  It is harder to be there than anywhere else I have lived, in my opinion it is also totally worth it because it is more fun to live there than anywhere else I have lived.  But I cannot imagine dealing with the nausea and fatigue of pregnancy while also dealing with the subway, the endless walking, the endless staircases, the crazy people, and wrangling a toddler.  Every pregnant woman in NYC deserves a hug and a round of applause.  So I na├»vely asked her if she was excited about the new baby and she said in a very weary voice that she simply didn’t have time to think about being excited.  She patiently explained that you had to concentrate on the kid that was outside the womb the second time around, the one on the inside didn’t get a lot of thought.  I remember thinking that was nuts, but by then she had already told me a bunch of stuff which I didn’t have the good sense to believe, yet that turned out to be 100% true, so I stored it away for future use.

The future is now.  She was totally right.  At this point in my pregnancy with T I spent most of my time worrying about what life would be like when he arrived.  I was terrified, I wasn’t sure the whole endeavor was a good idea, and it was all I could think about.  Well, besides thinking about how much I hated being pregnant.  I did think about that a lot as well.  And to be honest, I’m thinking that this time around.  But the good part is I know it is worth it.  Yup, I despise sharing my body with another being for 9 months.  Yup, I do not feel bonded to the baby while it is inside me at all.  But, this time I know I will bond with the baby after he is born.  I also know I’ll feel like myself again after I get to stop sharing my body.  I know that hating pregnancy does not mean that I’ll automatically be a shitty mom.  And because of my smart friend I know that it isn’t a big deal that I don’t have time to think about life after the new boy arrives.

So already there is a big difference in the way I feel about my boys.  The birth order thing is asserting itself before the second kid takes his first breath.  I will never be able to give my new son the intense focus I have had with T.  Hell, after New Guy comes T will never get that intense focus again, and that is probably a good thing.  But New Guy gets a mom who is much more relaxed and sure of herself in the mothering department.  I’ll parent him with a confidence I never had when T was a newborn.  And more importantly I’m starting to realize that even though it is impossible to experience them and therefore treat them exactly the same way that doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t mean I will favor one over the other.  And it sure as hell doesn’t have anything to do with how much I love them.   

My little family went and visited my smart friend’s little family when her new baby was about a week old.  One night she very casually cooked us dinner.  I thought back to when T was a week old and the idea of me cooking anything for anyone was truly preposterous.  Now, this friend is a kick ass human with an enviable amount of Midwestern stoicism and grit, I want to be like her when I grow up.  Because currently I am a big fat baby.  So I’m not thinking I’ll be cooking for a group days after New Guy shows up.  But I actually do believe it will be easier this time.  I believe I’ll love him hard, I want him with all my heart, and I can’t wait to introduce him to T.

So yes, smarter friends.  Find them.  Keep them.  And for the love of God, listen to them.

So clearly Z's sister was in town a few weeks ago.  Because we lack the ability to take such beautiful photos. This is one of my all times favorites.  
Photo by Ellie Leonardsmith

My dad got this awesome Hess truck as swag at some work event and gave it to Z for Christmas a number of years ago.  Which sort of cracks me up.  Dad retired from ExxonMobil a couple of weeks ago.  He started with Mobil more than 40 years ago and there was a lot of brand loyalty in our house growing up.  When I was about 13 I found a lovely pair of shell shaped earing I wanted very badly.  He wouldn't let me get them.  Seriously.  I could have all the Pegasus I wanted, though.    

This is how we do "Time Out" in our house.  He doesn't seem too upset, but he really hates being in there.  He usually cries as he absentmindedly plays with all the toys.  It really cracks me up.  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Due Date

Today is/was/would have been my due date.  I’ve been dreading this day since last fall.  It seemed like a great time to have a baby, the beginning of spring, and my sister and I joked that it would rock if I went into labor early on April 1st because no one would believe me.  We found out about losing the pregnancy exactly 7 months ago today.  And it has been a really shitty 7 months.  The medical complications surrounding the miscarriage left me an emotional wreck.  And I knew I’d be scared my body would betray me when I got pregnant again, but the resurgence of my anxiety disorder has been much worse than  I anticipated.  The winter we’ve had hasn’t really helped.  It’s been the 4th snowiest on record in Syracuse, we’ve gotten 178.6” so far.  And being it snowed on Mother’s Day last year who the hell knows when it will be over for good.  The snow isn’t the only difficulty, when you move to Syracuse you sort of expect it.  The surprise has been the lack of sun.  Annually we get less sunny days than Seattle.  The gloominess takes a heavy toll. 

It’s hard for me to imagine how happy we were 7 months ago.  Last summer was magical.  It was one of the best summers of my life.  Z adjusted his work schedule so he was home by around 3 every afternoon and the three of us played in the backyard for hours.  Though it is hard to believe now, the weather was beautiful.  It rains so much here that it is incredibly green and lush during the summer.  The previous owner of our house was a gardening fanatic and different flowers were in bloom from early spring until fall.  We’ve never had a yard before, and it was such a treat.  Z built some outdoor tables, we grilled out all the time, and we often had friends over to enjoy it all with us.  T had been sleeping through the night for several months and Z and I felt like we’d survived the sleepless infancy and were reaping the rewards of parenthood.  Developmentally T was starting to really respond to us and the world around him, he was a delight.  And then we conceived a baby, on purpose this time, amidst all that intoxicating joy.  Life was so perfect it seemed too good to be true.  And of course, it was. 

One of the many things I haven’t come to terms with is the fact that there were two babies early on in the pregnancy.  By the time we had an ultrasound it had been weeks since one of the embryos had stopped developing, the second one had died more recently.  Half the time I think of them as one and the other half  of the time I include the little thing that only was able to live for a few weeks.  During T’s pregnancy the idea of twins scared the shit out of me.  I didn’t want to be a mom to one kid, let alone two.  But the thought of twins had crept into my mind last summer.  I’d always wanted to be a twin, that closeness, that feeling of never being alone in this world was very romantic to me.  When I was a little girl I would think that if I couldn’t be a twin maybe I could have twins someday.  My childhood dream was almost fulfilled, and then it was another thing that was lost. 

Of course, my unresolved feelings and heartbreak surrounding the miscarriage and today’s due date are very separate from my current pregnancy.  Although last fall I knew things would be much easier for me if I was pregnant again by the time this day rolled around.  It was the coward’s way of wanting to get through this milestone, but I’ve never been know for my bravery.  And today I am exactly 19 weeks pregnant.  Almost half way there.  I’ve been feeling this fellow bopping around my belly for a few weeks now, and it is very comforting to know he is OK in there.  The genetic tests looked great, his ultrasounds have looked great, I’ve definitely popped so he’s growing as he should be.   And because my current due date is August 28th there is a small chance I will have our boy on September 3rd, exactly 5 months from today.  There would be a certain poetic justice to that.   Not that it would erase the events of our 10th anniversary, but it would reclaim the day as one of joy for our family.  

Z has a 3/4 size guitar and he brought it downstairs to show a friend.  T discovered it was small enough for him to carry around the house.  
I'm having a hell of a time convincing him to stand still and smile for photos.  
This one is a little better.  Z's mom is in town and she gave T this awesome drill.  He has barely put it down since her arrival.