May 27, 2008

Screwing with my mind even more

Posted in TTC woes at 1:36 pm by Erin

My doctor's office phone number has been going straight through to the answering service all day.  It was bad enough that I miscarried on the Sunday of a long weekend and couldn't call until today, but today they're not picking up and the answering service has no idea why not, since the office isn't supposed to be closed.  They just keep telling me to try back a little later.  I didn't want to say it was an emergency since I'm really not bleeding besides what I would normally expect from my period (maybe a little crampier), so I haven't asked for the on-call doctor.

If I didn't have both boys with me, I would have just driven over today.  But I can't take them with me for this type of appointment, clearly.  J was going to come home so that I could go to an appointment, but I couldn't get through.

Their office hours start at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday.  I'm calling at 6:31 and if I don't get through, I'm driving over with my little sac in a bag on ice.  They will see me tomorrow morning, because I go out of town on Thursday morning and have other things to do tomorrow (playdate, dr's appt for K, and substituting for an anatomy lecture at my college tomorrow night–and packing.  Should probably pack.).

I'm vaguely depressed about it now.  In all honesty, I know we aren't ready to add to our family again anytime soon, but I can't stop thinking that it would have been fun to have another baby.  It's not something we've given up on trying, as I've mentioned, and I know now's not the ideal time, but it would have been pretty incredible.  We would have managed somehow.  Since when is "ideal" a luxury that infertiles get to choose, anyway?

I'm distracted and lazy right now.  I've been commenting on a million blogs from NaComLeavMo and just realized that I commented on about 20 more using my real e-mail address instead of the one associated with this blog.  So any of those people who try to find me will get a message that my profile is not activated, and I can't change it to lead them to this one or people IRL might find this blog.  I'm not trying to be an Iron Commenter, but this has been a great distraction for me in the last couple of days.  I've probably commented on about 75 new blogs.  If I weren't going out of town on Thursday, I might give the Iron Commenting a shot; there's just no way I can get through another 150 blogs by tomorrow night.

But it is helping me keep my mind off myself, and I appreciate that a lot.

May 26, 2008

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt

Posted in TTC woes at 11:14 am by Erin

It's alive and well in our household; at least, I've got a fair share of it.  I've decided that I don't actually believe it was a miscarriage.  I mean, I bled a lot yesterday but today I'm just spotting again.  I'm still crampy and have a backache, but I always get those before I get my period.  That thing in the freezer?  Don't know what I was thinking.  I've even got myself half convinced that I shouldn't bother with the doctor tomorrow.

After all, if it was a miscarriage, shouldn't I feel something?  I don't expect to feel incredibly depressed or anything because, let's be honest: I had just posted that I wasn't ready for another baby.  And I'm not.  I know I'm not.  I know our family's not ready to add another person to it anytime in the next year.  But I should feel something other than disbelief, right?

I told J after I posted last night.  I don't know what kind of reaction I was expecting from him.  I wasn't expecting anything emotional, but I couldn't have predicted his reaction even if I'd tried. 

"That's encouraging!  Now we know you can still get pregnant!"  We talked about it for a while and he, bless him, even thought of asking which side I ovulated on this time*.  I couldn't remember for the life of me, I just remember feeling those pains and thinking how weird it was to have the same type of pain while on the pill.  And then there was some singing about Super Sperm and stuff like that.  (We are a weird couple, because I immediately countered with the fact that I clearly have Super Eggs.)  He asked if I'd expected him to be sad and I said no, because I wasn't even sure if I was sad.  He also said, making a very good point, that there wasn't anything I could have or would have done differently even if I'd known.  He's right.

He did make another very good point and one that for some reason hadn't occurred to me: I need to go to the doctor if for no other reason than to get a new method of birth control–clearly this one isn't working the way it should.  I don't know why I didn't think about that.  I've been so careful about taking it ever since K came home because I knew we weren't ready for another child.  Truly, I've been careful with it since we got his referral since I knew a pregnancy could disrupt our adoption.  I wasn't careful a whole lot last summer (would take it late, miss a day here and there, then double up the next night), but I've been careful for probably 6 months now.

I just wish I felt something besides not believing it.  Actually, I feel pretty stupid in retrospect.  I've been so completely exhausted, even though I'm out of work and getting plenty of sleep, that I was seriously going to go to the doctor this week to see if I was anemic; then on Saturday, I woke up and wasn't so tired anymore and was relieved.  Exhaustion was my biggest pregnancy symptom with P.  I would wince whenever my kids would hug me because my nipples were so tender, but that has also gone away.  I've been getting up to pee twice a night, which is weird because I don't usually wake up at all.  It's stupid, but how was I to even think that it was a possibility?  I adopted and then got pregnant while on birth control after years of infertility.

That in and of itself is enough reason not to tell anyone IRL.


*I usually (90% or more of the time) ovulate from my right ovary.  The egg that became P, however, came from my left side.  I have often wondered if the right tube is functional.  We know it's open but, as my RE has said, we don't know that it actually works.

May 25, 2008

I can’t think of a title, but the word “irony” keeps popping into my head

Posted in TTC woes at 8:12 pm by Erin

I can't even wrap my head around this one.  I think I just had a miscarriage.  I've been spotting all week, which isn't entirely odd for me since I was on week 7 of my 12-week of birth control pills.  I started spotting around week 6 when I was first on them, so I started taking them until spotting, have my period, then finishing the prescription.  My doctor assured me that this was fine since I didn't want to spent weeks upon weeks spotting, and I'd been up to 8 weeks before I'd start spotting.  So it was a little odd to start so early but not unheard-of. 

Last night I took the last pill of the week and figured I would have my period this coming week.  This morning, I started bleeding pretty heavily.  It was extremely odd since I took the last one last night–it should have been at least 2 more days before I got my period.  I was cramping a lot, too, which was really unusual since I haven't had much in the way of cramps since going back on the pill a year and a half ago.

This is going to be way too graphic.  Tonight when I removed my tampon, there was something stuck to it.  It didn't look normal and, given the already-unusual circumstances of the day, I took a closer look.  It is a sac of about 1 1/2" long, with little tiny blood vessels running through it and something in it.  It is a sac.  It's not just random tissue.  It explains a lot.  I've been exhausted for no good reason for weeks now.  My breasts have ached and my bras haven't been fitting right (while pregnant with P, I was up 2 cup sizes within 4 weeks of my blood tests).  I can't button my shorts from last summer even though I'm 6 pounds lighter than I was then.  And, while it makes no sense, I do remember having ovulation pains a while ago.  I remember thinking how weird it was to have pains like that while on the pill.

I think I'm in shock.  I don't even know what to do.  I put it into a plastic baggie in the freezer.  I want it tested and didn't know what else to do.  I'm achy and crampy, and I don't even know what to do now.  I don't have a clue.  I've never had anything related to a miscarriage other than two chemical pregnancies.  And I've been on the fucking pill for EIGHTEEN FREAKING MONTHS.  I've even been really good at taking it lately.  There have been times when I haven't been good because, really, it's hard to convince myself that it even matters.

I just don't have a clue.  I don't know how to feel.  I didn't know.  I don't know how I would have felt if I had known.  I can't seem to go tell J.  I don't know.  I felt almost ridiculous when I wrote the title and now I just feel absolutely numb.

May 24, 2008

How to drive a wife crazy

Posted in The musings of Erin at 7:53 pm by Erin

The following contains excerpts of a post I wrote about two weeks ago, but never finished and never posted:

A few weeks ago, I was blithely talking to J about how we should probably think about getting in our application for our next adoption sometime next spring because there's such a long wait to adopt a young sibling pair.  I mentioned that maybe we should think about doing IVF sometime this fall or winter and if it didn't work, we'd get that application in.

He looked at me and immediately said "I don't want any more kids for at least 2 years."  He likes the fact that P had a lot of independence already when K came home, and would like K to have the same independence when we add to our family again.

Well, I was thrown for a loop.  In the past, I've been the driving force on a lot of the timing issues with building our family, but J has usually gone along and/or worked me around to his view on things.  I was about to get really upset with him but decided to hold my tongue and think about it for a while.

He's right.  I don't think we should have any more kids for at least 2 years either.  I really like the 3-year age difference between our kids–so much that I sometimes think about how insane we were to start TTC#2 when P was 11 months old.  I'm not emotionally ready to do IVF later this year, nor are we financially ready.  I won't have maternity leave even if I'm tenure-track faculty, so we kind of have to plan IVF cycles around my summers off (it seems very odd to think of "planning" a pregnancy after years of IF), which would make it no sooner than next fall to try and, even if it worked, no sooner than two summers from now to have another child.

(Blah, blah, blah–boring bits about planning to be ready for our next adoption before even doing IVF and problems with those plans.)

I like to plan.  I feel better having a skeleton of a plan in place.  I feel better knowing that next summer, I can start researching agencies again to figure out which one would be the best fit in either situation.  I feel better knowing that I can relax this summer and not try to find the money to do IVF, or have to think about anything associated with reproductive systems except to make sure I get my birth control pills refilled.  I feel better knowing that we can make plans to take the kids to Disney World next summer without having the inevitable "But if I get pregnant…" thoughts that would alternate with "Make the plans, it won't work anyway…" thoughts.  I feel better just enjoying the two kids I have at home.

And I'm very glad that J spoke up and made his feelings known, and that he's so very smart!

The reason that I suddenly decided to add to this post: J is now making noises about me going off birth control.  Soon.  He claims that he just meant he didn't want to start the adoption process for at least 2 years, but a baby would be OK.

Is there any way possible he could be consistent for AT LEAST A MONTH?  Argh.  It's not going to happen, with the exception of July.  I won't be on birth control for July because my prescription insurance runs out in a week and my insurance company won't cover another prescription until mid-June (it's a 3-month prescription).  The prescription will last me through the end of June and my insurance picks back up August 1st, so I'm not too concerned–in all likelihood, I won't even ovulate before mid-August. 

So I won't be getting pregnant anytime soon (ha, as if a month off birth control was going to do it anyway).  I'm just confused.  J was all for adopting a toddler because he wasn't a huge fan of the baby months/year.  He mostly pursued treatment because it was something I wanted to do–he was ready to adopt long before I was.  He wants to adopt again, though I know that he's no longer sure that a sibling pair is right for us because he's a little unsure about adopting a child above 3, and a sibling pair with both kids under 3 is almost impossible to adopt.  And, as he said, he likes the age difference between our kids and wants K to have that same independence that P had before we add another child to our family.

If it hadn't been such a casual comment, I would have thought he was doing it deliberately to keep me on my toes.  Men.  I just don't get them.  Anyone have any words of wisdom to help me figure him out?

May 22, 2008

We go back and forth again

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:37 am by Erin

K and I just had a rousing game of "Where's Mama?" with him on my shoulders while looking into the hall mirror.  I held his hands and put them over my eyes, say "Where's Mama?" and he'd move them away with a big huge smile on his face.  He giggled continuously as I raced him upstairs, still on my shoulders, and we continued playing in front of the bathroom mirror.  He kept giggling as I raced into his room and we clapped together and said "Yay!" lots of times after I took him off my shoulders.

Then I picked him up, cuddled him against my shoulder, and put him in his crib–and the screams began.  He was exhausted, no doubt about it.  I know this for sure because he was exhausted 2 hours ago when I tried to put him down for a nap for the first time.  Even though it was only 10:30 a.m., he kept yawning and laying his head against my shoulder.  I'm big on reading cues for kids rather than scheduling tightly* so, instead of waiting until after lunch for his nap, I figured I'd put him down early.  And the screaming began immediately.  He kept standing up and wailing while I sat there next to him; when I'd lay him back down and hold his hand from next to his crib, he would scream just as much.  After about 30 minutes, which included taking him out several times to cuddle and calm him, I gave up.  We came downstairs and continued our morning, through lunch and after-lunch playing.  Then it really was naptime.  So I put him down again and he screamed.  He was so tired by this point that, when he stood up, he had his eyes closed and his head laying on the railing while screaming.

I put him back down again and finally got him to calm down while in his crib, and he was asleep in about 3 seconds.

Last night at about 2 in the morning, he woke up screaming as loudly as I've ever heard him scream.  He doesn't normally wake up at night at all, so this was extremely alarming.  I went and got him, and he immediately settled down.  After a few minutes, I tried to put him down in his crib and the screams began again.  This time, however, when I picked him up, he began to fight as hard as he could.  For nearly 20 minutes, while he screamed and fought, and P tried to calm his little brother from his loft bed, I held my baby and hugged him tight.  I told him that I knew that I wasn't the one he wanted right then, that I knew he missed his enat (means mother, and is the term we use to refer to his birthmother), that he missed Ethiopia and his nannies, that I knew that everything is strange and different here and that I wished I had the right words to use to help him.  It hurt my heart so much to see my baby, only 18 months old, so very unhappy and angry and sad.  It hurt to see my baby, only 18 months old, fighting so hard that it took all of my strength to keep holding him on my lap.  And it really hurt to know that nothing I could say, no amount of love that I could give him, was going to help him right then.

Finally, he calmed a bit but wanted to get up.  He walked a couple of steps away and turned and just looked at me.  I held out my arms to him but he just looked.  After a few minutes, he walked into my arms and cuddled against me.  He felt limp, just wrung out from emotion and exhaustion.  He fell asleep in my arms and woke briefly when I put him back into his crib, but slept soundly the rest of the night and greeted me with his usual morning smile when he woke up this morning.

As for me, I got back into bed, cuddled J, and cried myself back to sleep.  And my ears were nearly as deadened to sound as they were after I saw Duran Duran last weekend.

I've heard the term "emotional rollercoaster" many times.  I've used it myself.  I've been on emotional rollercoasters before, mostly while going through IF treatment and the adoption process–but now I realize that they were the kiddie park and this is Six Flags over Georgia.  We have so many highs that are wonderful and thrilling, and make all of us smile and laugh with delight.  There are lots of twists and turns that are often better than we'd expected them to be.  Then there are the lows.  It's hard to know how to describe them, but they are so much more difficult than I ever expected before K came home.  It just makes me feel so powerless. 


*Schedules and routines are good for kids in many ways, once they're old enough.  At this age, they're crucial–both of my kids have clearly shown that they do better with a mostly-predictable day.  But I do try to be flexible and if one needs a nap early, I pay attention to those signs as well.

May 19, 2008

Sometimes I pull out my hair because of P

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 6:43 pm by Erin

P has done very well adjusting to being a big brother overall.  He’s had issues, naturally.  He’s needed more attention from us and we’d figured out how to do that while I was still working–instead of driving to K’s daycare on our way home, we parked the car at home and walked.  It gave us enough one-on-one time that he was much happier and much more pleasant, and it was nice to walk home with my boys and get a little exercise.  I’m not sure what we’ll do now that I’m home with them both all day every day (or will be as of Friday, when P’s school is done), but we’ll figure it out.

But now he’s going through some issues and I have no idea if they’re related to being a big brother or just to his age.  Since K came home, we’ve been a little less stringent about cleaning up toys before bedtime and other things, but the toys are becoming an issue.  We have no desire to live in a house in which we trip over toys, plus he has the responsibility of cleaning up after himself.  We’re more lenient about upstairs in the bedroom or playroom, but until K came home, all downstairs toys had to be cleaned up every night before bedtime.  Since then, I’m more likely to be so busy getting both of them upstairs for bed that I don’t even think about it.

I decided that had to stop.  The place was a mess and I don’t feel like cleaning up toys after getting the kids in bed, nor should we have to.  Tonight, he played with trains and tracks after dinner and then I said it was time to clean up.  As he has often done lately, he said he needed help–"help" typically means that I clean up most of it and he puts away a couple of things.  So I said that it was up to him to clean it up, and that I was bringing K up for his bath–when P was done cleaning up, he could come up and get into the bathtub.  P loves his bath, so I thought this would spur him on to getting it done quickly.  Instead, I got hysterical sobbing and protestations that he couldn’t do it, that he needed help.  I refused.  I gave K his bath, conditioned his hair, put on his apricot oil (yum!) to keep his skin smooth and soft, and got him into jammies.  P sobbed the whole time.

At the same time, it worked.  Once K was in jammies, I went down to heat a bottle for him and found P just zipping the last container of tracks.  I told him I was proud of him for doing it himself and that now he could get into the bath–he could be in the bath until K was done with his bottle, then I would wash his hair and it would be time to get out for bedtime stories.  More sobbing ensued, because he wanted a longer bath, the bath was too cold (it had been a while since I ran it for K and I wasn’t about to waste all the water because P procrastinated so long), etc, etc, etc.

Unfortunately for P, I held firm.  As soon as K’s bottle was done, I washed P’s hair, pulled the plug, and dried him off.  I wrestled him into jammies and refused him bedtime stories after he tried to hit me with a toy.

It was fun.  I can’t wait to be home with both of them all day, everyday.

Happily, he calmed down once I brought him up to his bed and went out to answer the phone.  When I came back, he apologized and we talked about the choices that he’d made that led to us being upset with each other.  Then he politely asked if I would sit in their room until he fell asleep.  I agreed.  He was asleep within 5 minutes.

I know it has to happen.  I’m not here to be his best friend, I’m here to be his mom.  I’m here to raise good kids who will grow into good adults, who have the tools that they need to be successful in whatever they choose to do–and that includes taking personal responsibility for the choices that they make.  But it is exhausting. 

May 15, 2008

Why yes, I am an assistant professor

Posted in Happiness is a true gift at 8:56 am by Erin

I got the job!

May 12, 2008

There really is no difference

Posted in Momming at 8:14 pm by Erin

Before K came home, I had what I assume are the typical concerns for a mom about to have her second child.  How can I possibly love this child as much as I love the first?  Will I ever feel the same way about him that I do my first?  Will I be as excited about his first milestones as I was when my first baby did them, or will they just seem routine?  Will I constantly compare them?

And I had what I assume are the typical concerns for a mom about to adopt a child.  Will I love this child as much as I would love a bio child?  Will I ever look at him and feel like he really is mine, not just by law but by my heart?  Will I be able to do things with him without wondering if I’m just pretending that he’s my son? 

The first month home didn’t exactly reassure me on any of those.  I know that I’d read posts from people about how hard it is at first, how it’s OK not to feel bonded to your child right away and that the attachment has to grow.  That didn’t reassure me.  I felt bonded to P from the moment I knew I was pregnant, and motherhood fit me very naturally.  The sleep deprivation was tough, the nursing was tough–but it felt like I was born to do it (which was strange in and of itself, but that’s another post).

The mothering came right away with K.  Although I struggled a lot with the emotions, I know how to mother.  Even though he was an unfamiliar child, I know how to hold and soothe, to cuddle and play with a child of that age.  I even commented to J while we were still in Ethiopia that it felt very natural, very familiar.

In the last month, the rest of it has come.  I admit that it was a lot faster than I’d ever expected it to be, especially after the first month, but there is no doubt.  I look at K and can hardly believe that this wonderful miraculous child is mine.  I watched his first steps and cheered and squealed and called everyone as if I’d never seen a child take a step before.  I don’t compare them, except to think about what each one is/was doing–I’m not comparing K’s actions at 18 months to P’s at that age and finding them better or worse.  He’s his own person, and I find that much easier to realize than I’d feared it would be.  At the same time, I do compare some things.  Just like P, I see the joy in K’s eyes when he sees me come into a room and know that it is reflected in mine when I see him.  I tell him I love him so very, very much and mean it every bit as much as I’ve meant it every time I’ve told P the same thing.

And, though I’m sure K wishes it weren’t so, I can discipline him without fearing that it’s going to sever that bond, that attachment, that love.  I don’t fear to take something away from him that he’s not supposed to have, even though I know it will make him scream and cry, because I love him enough to discipline him.  I don’t fear to give him time-out when he’s hitting someone or one of the dogs, because it’s a part of being his mama.  And I don’t worry that he will turn away from my hug at the end of it.

I know there will be many issues in the future, both related to adoption and related to the fact that I am his mom and that he will chafe at boundaries like all children do.  I am sure that I will hear "You’re not my real mom!"  I’m sure that I will hear "I don’t love you!"  (I’ve heard it from P already, so I know it’s coming.)  I’m sure that there will be other statements guaranteed to break my heart a little bit each time he throws them at me.  But I also know that I love him enough to be his mom, and none of those statements will change how I feel about him as my son.

May 10, 2008

On Mother’s Day

Posted in Momming at 8:16 pm by Erin

To all of you who are mothers with your children in your arms

To all of you who are mothers with children in your wombs

To all of you who are mothers with children in your hearts

To all of you who are mothers with children in your dreams

Happy Mother’s Day.

May 5, 2008

If you thought…

Posted in The musings of Erin at 9:07 pm by Erin

…that I was a responsible individual.

…that I would NEVER shorten my office hours tomorrow afternoon in order to have another lunch date with my husband*

…that I was able to stay cheery without any assistance** through an extremely long day at school today

…that I wasn’t a big huge nerd who is judging the International Science and Engineering Fair next week

…that, surely, if I was such a nerd, I would be blase about it and not admit to being incredibly excited about judging at the ISEF

…that, surely, the night before my class’s final meeting that I would have their papers graded

…that I would NEVER have stayed in the boys’ room to read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets*** for a while even after they’d both fallen asleep rather than grading papers

…that, if I wasn’t going to grade their papers, I would surely at least go to bed at a reasonable hour

…that I would never, ever, EVER blog instead of grading papers or going to bed

Then you would be wrong.


*I can’t imagine my office hours really matter tomorrow, as my last final is in the morning and who in the world will be coming by after exams are over?

**002I painted my toenails blue last night.  And wore open-toed sandals with a little heel today.  I smiled every time I looked at them.  Who needs chemical assistance?  I just need blue toenails.  (Please ignore the hideousness of the toes themselves–I haven’t had time to give myself the full pedicure that I desperately need.)

***For the 18 millionth time.

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