Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Renewal - Updated




It just struck me today how draining the last four years have been. How my general ability to be a good mother and wife have slowly been ebbed away, to the point that today, I realized I needed to renew my goals and outlook on the way I have been doing things in my life. Not that I have been a bad mother/wife, but slowly but surely many of the things I had prided myself on doing (with my son especially) I just got so tired of doing. So tired because it couldn’t be easy and “normal”.

Of course, things don’t ever come easy to everyone, but it seems we hit two major stumbling blocks in a row and had been trying to deal with them in tandem. It wasn’t just the infertility, which was a major factor, but dealing with issues concerning Michael and his (recently diagnosed) ADHD.

It struck me today that I need to Renew, because last night I think I finally had enough emotionally and mentally. Last night at 3 a.m., I started to obsess over baby–non-movement and over how we were going to get our son to be able to survive grade school. (Baby moved finally and my son will be fine, really, but things just seemed to be so impossible at 3 a.m.)

Today we went to his doctor to discuss how the latest treatment options have worked for Michael and his issues. We were reluctant to medicate, and we are slowly progressing with the doctor through various medications and doses. We have been cautious to make SURE it was ADHD, instead of labeling him right away. Just like we made SURE that we were having problems with our fertility before we tried treatment. Michael started having trouble when he was in kindergarten. His attention would get distracted and he wouldn’t want to stay seated and he would wander away from the classroom—one time exploring the elevator system at school. Yes, cute, even precocious but not “correct” behavior in the school setting. Slowly, slowly, while we pieced together what was going on with him, we were also going through our slow progress of trying to figure out why we weren’t able to have another child.

And we studied and worked and asked questions. We tried one type of solution. Then another. Did Michael need to have more time to do tasks? Did we need more alone time—perhaps dates? Why was Michael not able to relate to other kids? Did he need a sibling? More playdates? More monitoring of my cycles? Were we just bad parents? Bad lovers? Need to lose weight? Need to pay more attention to our son? To the school?

And we did what everyone said “was right”. The school said he should be tested. He was tested. Our doctor said we should go to a clinic. We filled the paperwork out and got tested. Michael was given an IEP (Individualized Education Program) and we were told how extremely smart he is (“Classic ADHD”). We found out we had “Classic Male Infertility” and that we were lucky to have had one child naturally. I was on the verge of being Diabetic if I did not lose weight, so that became a more important hurdle to face.

No wonder I felt like THIS and THIS.

And every time I tried, the harder it seemed to get back up. Every time we tried something, it would meet with only limited success. Lost the weight, no diabetes (Yeah!)---but, still no baby (Boo!). Michael had an IEP, but still had behavioral and attention issues. I found that I couldn’t deal with it. I lost interest in both struggles. I felt defeated. But somehow, and I am sure my husband and my son are the reason—somehow they made me try one more time. Once more. A doctor who diagnosed Michael and required the school to do MORE testing. A doctor who told us that IVF “could” work and we needed to try it. Two cycles of IVF. Two types of medications for ADHD. And we are getting there. Last night I was so worried, but frankly, I can see I just need to Renew.

UPDATE:

I hope I did not sound too depressed or whiney on this post. I was a bit drained yesterday. Being up in the middle of the night stressing and being pregnant (which this time around is even more exhausting for me—probably my age--hmm...actually, just found out I have anemia--taking iron supplements per OB) did not help. It was mainly cathartic to post this tho, and I am glad to be able to.

To end on a positive note:

Two things the Dr. said yesterday—

1) We have been and are on the right track with Michael, and she feels confident that we can help him. (and some of his issues are going to probably go away with maturity--which I can actually tell).

2) Informing her we were pregnant and Michael was going to have a little sister soon—she complimented me on looking so good (esp. for being on the cusp of third trimester).

I’ll take those as being signs to keep going and doing what we’ve been doing!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Book Tour: Jane Austen Book Club

For this month's Book Brigade we read The Jane Austen Book Club.

I liked the book, but I felt that there was more story there that needed to be explored, and while I liked most of the characters, I found myself wanting to know more of the back stories involved in making their character. All in all, I enjoyed the book, but was left feeling like I had only finished Part 1. The following are my answers to book club questions.


Which character in the Jane Austen Book Club did you most relate to? And what is your favorite Jane Austen novel and why?

I could really identify with Grigg, as my husband and I are science fiction geeks and we travel and go to conventions every year. I also felt like I could understand his “outsider” status very well, in a broad sense – the feeling of alienation and being outside the “norm” since junior high school. I was a tomboy and a geek, and I was always told to “act” more feminine, similar to Grigg's problems fitting in as male. In a more specific sense, I related to Grigg because of how "society" (his mother, father and sisters) was always trying to make him "right/normal". Being a woman dealing with Secondary Infertility in a Fertile World, I have come across many parts of society that does not know how to deal with infertility without trying to make it fit into the general societal model. I especially liked how Grigg ended up ignoring everyone to just be himself, no matter what that meant.

I have not read that many Jane Austen novels, although of the ones I have read, I would say "Pride and Predjudice". Mostly because I can relate to Elizabeth Bennett as the very headstrong woman (and I had a crush on Sir Laurence Olivier's Darcy--and then Colin Firth!). I like romantic comedies, and this is one of the classic ones.


When Corinne stole Allegra's stories, she both lied by omission as well as stole pieces of Allegra. Do you believe Allegra was more upset about the lie or the fact that someone stole her stories?

I think she was more upset that Corinne had stolen her stories, as she considered the stories to a part of herself that she gave to Corinne. It was an intimate and personal thing for her and for Corinne to then "share" those stories in such an open and impersonal medium...hurt her deeply. I am unsure why Allegra went back to Corinne, as Allegra showed often enough that she was stronger than that (although wanting attention--maybe that is why she went back to her?)


In one part of the book, Jocelyn and Sylvia were discussing happiness. One of them said that "Happiness in marriage is mostly luck..." What are your thoughts on happiness? Do you think that our happiness in life is mostly luck? Do we have some control over how happy we are?

I think that luck is a way for people to have some control over their perception of happiness. In other words, if things are not going well, people will say its just "bad luck" or "not fair" and when they have good things happen, its "good luck". Luck has little to do with true happiness. Everyone is given the life they are given. What they do with that life and the decisions they make, produce that happiness. One of the worst things we can do (and I do it too) is to compare one's happiness to another's. Some of the issues that bother women so much are ones in which we are comparing each others happiness (i.e. working mother vs. stay at home mother; infertile vs. fertile, etc.). While life is not always happy, I believe that most people can make their life worth living with a positive attitude about the life they have. "Luck" and "happiness" is what you make of it.

Intrigued by the idea of a book tour and want to read more about The Jane Austen Book Club? Hop along to more stops on the Barren Bitches Book Brigade by visiting the master list at http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/. Want to come along for the next tour? Sign up begins today for tour #10 (Embryo Culture by Beth Kohl with author participation!) and all are welcome to join along . All you need is a book and blog.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I've Been Tagged...

Sara has tagged me to list 6 non-important things/habits/quirks about myself, and I must follow these rules.

The Rules:
1) Link to the person that tagged you.
2) Post the rules on your blog.
3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
4) Tag at least three people at the end of your post and link to their blogs.
5) Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6) Let the fun begin!


1. I have a Formaldehyde embalming bottle displayed amongst my pictures and other nick nacks on a bookshelf in my living room. I bought the bottle at a really cool store called "Warped Antiques" (unfortunately no longer in business). My husband and I were so excited to find a place with all sorts of weird things--shrunken heads, photos from who knows, various keys, skeletons, etc. Too bad the place is gone.

2. We have had Dwarf Siberian Hamsters (Sylvester and Tweety), we have had mice (Snowki, Cookie, Cinnamon), we have had chinchillas (Claudius, Leeloo and Delenn), 2 turtles (Congo, Scaredy), and a cat (Gabrielle). At the moment we are to our lowest level of animal habitation--Congo and Gabrielle. I think we want to get an iguana next time--but have to wait until Willow is old enough for that to be safe....(always wanted a snake too...)

3. Fridays are family gaming nights--in most families that would be Monopoly, Life, Scrabble---in our family it is more likely to be Munchkin Cthulhu.

4. I have a stash of chewing gum in my office, because otherwise i would chew my pens/pencils to bits. I bite my finger nails (not so much as I used to, really!) especially if I am bored.

5. When I was 8 or 9 years old, I nearly got my eye poked out by a chain link fence. The neighborhood kids had squashed down the chain link fence at a certain part, and we used the metal bar at the top as a monkey bar, flipping over on it, etc. I was with a group of kids, and I flipped over and fell down, my left eye caught a piece of metal from the squashed chain link fence. For a while, I wore an eyepatch. And less then a year later, I had glasses (and braces were added--yep, I was pretty much pummeled every day). When I go to an eye doctor, every time they say "Did you have an eye injury?" because they can see the scar tissue on my eye. (Luckily, I can't!)

6. My husband and I (and now our son) often quote Monty Python, Star Trek, MST3K, Spongebob, Futurama, (add Geeky/Science Fiction show here) in everyday conversation.


Okay, I tag JJ, Swimmy Swim's Soon to be Mom, and Leah.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Things Done, Things to Do, Excitement, Anxiety and Guilt - UPDATED

Warning: As the title suggests – rambling post!

Sometimes 3 months is an eternity and sometimes it is too short. Sometimes I feel we have made progress and sometimes I wearily look at my “To Do” list and realize that there is still more to do.

Significant things have been done – we now have a good part of the nursery done—its merely clean up type items. We have gotten DAYCARE set up (aside from signing the contract next week). We have a lot of clothes for the first month or two. We have started the process of getting Michael “ready” for a sibling. We already took a quickie tour of L&D. One of the most important things was done today—THE TALK with the boss over leave time. I think we worked out a very fair leave time (with PAY, which was my main sticking point). It won’t be as much time as I had with Michael, but those were different circumstances (I was laid off because of a merger, I took all my vacation time because I knew of impending merger, etc.).

Amongst the not done listing - need to call the other provider we decided to not take (I hate saying no, and we liked her—but…there had to be a second choice!). We still need to get a travel system (car seat/stroller) and other small things (diapers, crib mattress pad, bath lotion, etc.). Things that can be gotten after the fact (except the Car Seat of course!), things I remember in the middle of the night…(and go “did we really need/use that the last time?”) I have the baby registry up—but so far, I am the only one buying things on it---(I got a gift card from work for the holidays!).

We still have the classes coming up, but not until March/April (!) We signed Michael up for a Siblings Class. I worry that since he is going to be 9 (!) he may be the oldest one there. I wonder how much it will help—I suppose every little bit helps. The boy is a sponge with knowledge, so I hope he learns something useful. Signed us up for a refresher class, despite the fact that we are going to be doing a scheduled C-Section, because, frankly, you never know. OB hasn’t told me when the scheduled C-Section is going to be—maybe next appointment…

And, aside from all the material things, there are the emotional things to deal with.

The other night, husband said he was “excited” about Willow and couldn’t wait. And I felt that excitement too. Then I felt anxiety. I worry that I will get preeclampsia again. I worry that I will have a complication. I worry when the baby doesn’t move. Sometimes I can call her Willow. Sometimes I can’t bring myself to hope. This is definitely not like when I was pregnant with Michael. I mean, I had anxiety (esp. when he did not move) but mostly, it took so much to get to this point this time that I can’t help but worry that something will go wrong. And then I read other blogs where it has. And then I feel guilty. I feel guilty that it only took 2 IVF’s for us to get here. I feel guilty for posting all this stuff about progess towards a goal so many people are still struggling to achieve. I feel guilty for already having a child.

Oh, and I have other anxieties too—will Michael be able to deal with this HUGE life change? Will we be able to deal with a newborn and a kid with ADHD? Will we have some type of structure for everyone? What about going into surgery again? (I had an emergency C-Section after 14 hours labor last time--boy was that FUN!) And what about the cat!?!? (Okay, okay---Gabby will be fine)

So, I guess, I am saying---life is good, crazy, and scary. I should be thankful more often, guilty less so and I should chill out.

Okay. I will put that on my list.

UPDATE:
Thank you all for such supportive comments! I tend to be the supportive one in my family, and sometimes its nice to be the one receiving the encouragement! As for the inquiries on my registry--first off, thank you so very much; second off, I am registered at Amazon.com; third off, if you are registered please let me know where too (not only do I want to reciprocate, but also its FUN to see what other people are getting--sometimes I get some new ideas!).

UPDATE THE SECOND: Just after I checked the registry out again, I realized that my work just bought me something (its a sort of surprise, however, they did ask me what I would want) and it looks like I at least will be able to bring Willow home in style

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Nursery Progress II - Mural Progress - Updated

Our friend Ana came over today and started on the mural. It was amazing to watch how quickly it took shape. Huge progress was made today!


She started by making the sky (with her hands).


With sky and ground.



First animal. (CUTE!)



Monkey, lion. Onto elephant and giraffe...


More detail...


The mural so far...


Ana with the mural.



And while she was doing the mural, she gave Michael a project - paint initials for the bedroom doors (he picked out the colors).


UPDATE: If you would like to send suggestions on things that could be "hidden" in the grass of the mural, please see Ana's blog...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Nursery Progress

Over the holiday week, we finished painting and assembled the crib. Below are some pics. I am waiting for some nursery decor and then will update with a more finished look...

The nursery decor will be safari related. Our friend will be painting a mural on the wall opposite from the crib (which will be in the corner). Bought the crib mattress last week.


Painting done, tape not removed.

Considering I did most of the painting, its not a bad job. Did some touch up, need to touch up a few places that got green (and should be white). Otherwise, its all good to go.



Our friend J. and my husband assembled the crib. The instructions are glued onto the mattress bottom. Which is good that you can't lose them, but try to assemble it with the instructions stuck on the pieces!


This a convertible crib (which can be turned into a daybed, toddler bed and full sized bed). Between the railings you can see the little lion nightlight we bought.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Mixed Messages

Went to my OB's office yesterday for monthly check up (only have one more monthly check up, then its every 2 weeks).  I was a little worried, as I have gained some weight (7 lbs.) since last appointment.  Last time I had went, my OB was happy that I had maintained and everything was great.  But this was the same person who made me feel like crap the first time I met her.  So, I wasn't looking forward to it.  BUT I did not meet with her.  I met with the NP, who was the person I had my initial appointment with.  And she is totally cool and handled my concerns on my gain with such positive comments ("Who hasn't gained weight during the holidays!"  "...you're doing your best...").  And this was the way she had been during my first appointment with her.  It was like night and day, and made me realize that I have to sometimes just go by my own instincts.  I explained to her that I was hoping to only gain half of what I gained with Michael (not the 15 lbs. only that OB is pushing for) and she was fine with this plan (and mentioned that "...Dr. ______ is really strict on weight...") and encouraged me to try my best.  It was refreshing to get that from someone professional.   

The rest of the appointment was uneventful---she had trouble finding the heartbeat (my own heart stopped for a few seconds), but that was mainly because Willow was moving around a lot. Heart beat was found and it was strong.  Next up, I have another Glucose Test and blood work....next appointment Feb. 4th.  (I miss getting Ultrasounds!)

P.S. Tracking my weight on What to Expect When Your Expecting website---I am within the normal range...

Ripple Effects 2

"Do you ever feel dead inside?"  -- this is what she said to a teacher in the hallway.  Promptly got a call from a counselor.  For...