Sunday, January 30, 2005

Being pregnant after infertility

As I enter my 24th week of pregnancy, I must say that I am eager for this little guy to be born. On time, not early of course. It just feels like I have been waiting for him forever, and in a way we have. Gosh, we started trying to have him, with the RE, in July 2003. I know my doctor would not want to hear this, but we never tried preventing getting pregnant. We never used any birth control since little Steve entered our lives. I know, I know not a good idea, especially since I had a c-section and the incisions need more time to heal, yada, yada... Truthfully, if Jeff and I got pregnant spontaneously we would've been overjoyed no matter when it happened. I was not looking forward to going through infertility treatments again. Yes, my doctor gave me the birth control lecture, and told me of patients who came back pregnant soon after having a child because they thought they couldn't get pregnant. But I thought if it was meant to be, it would be. I guess it wasn't meant to be after all.

All of my life, I had planned on having two kids. One boy, one girl. Well, reality is a bit different. Two boys is what we'll be having. We WILL be having two kids, which it appeared for while, wasn't going to happen. I feel so blessed that it is! I was re-reading some journals that I had written during my battle with secondary infertility yesterday. For me, secondary infertility didn't hurt as much as primary infertility, but it still hurt really badly sometimes. The world is full of children, and children who have siblings. As the women in my playgroup started to have their second child, I felt so left out and angry. Two women who had primary infertility found themselves pregnant without trying. I couldn't understand why that wasn't me. I was angry that I couldn't get pregnant, and angry that everyone in the group still had their mothers. I guess I felt like I was owed something because of the year I had. I found out I was owed nothing. I dropped out of the mom's group for a few months; I just couldn't bear seeing all the pregnant women who discussed their pregnancies, and announced them right away. There seemed to be no fear of m/c. I suppose if you have never dealt with infertility or miscarriage, you just don't think those things can happen to you.

I did try to keep busy, though. I signed Steve up for swim class, and moved him up to the next level in tumbling. Our tumbling class is a parent participation class, which I am happy about. The first day of the new level class was very hard for me. There was only a handful of us who weren't pregnant. I told myself that I couldn't avoid it, but it was still hard. Well, I ended up meeting a woman who was pregnant with triplets. I felt the chances were pretty high that she, too, had gone through infertility. As we talked, I told her that I was just beginning my first IVF. Thus began a new friendship. She discussed her IVF, which resulted in her 2 year old son, and the IVFs that she went through this time. She told me what to expect, and just made me feel so positive. I needed that. Every Tuesday she'd ask how my cycle was going, and told me not to count myself out when the doctor thought he was going to cancel the cycle. She was excited with me when I found out I was pregnant. She was sad when I lost one of my twins. Yes, I was originally pregnant with twins. It felt good to have someone on my side who understood all I'd been through. When her triplets were born a month ago, all healthy, I was never so excited as I was then, the only exception being when my son was born. Infertility has made me feel isolated at times, but I've also met some incredible people that I would not have met had I not gone through this experience.

It still stings when I hear people get pregnant right away, or when not even trying, but I deal better with it now. I even feel 'normal' at times, which is so nice. I will be happy to leave infertility behind, though. Right now, people have been asking me if I am going to have another child, to 'try for the girl'. It's not that easy for us. Then I get told, 'Well, you may change your mind.' No, we are happy with two, God-willing, healthy children. Does, gender really matter that much? I have been honest about the fact that I would have loved a little girl, but I am happy with my two sons. REALLY. Some people don't realize, or remember, how close we came to having an only child, and the constant guilt I had over that possiblity. So, no, we will have two little, active, energetic boys. And how wonderful that will be!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Is this normal?

Is it normal to feel such pride, such excitement, when your child comes to you to tie his shoes? Especially when your husband has offered to tie such shoes, and your child says, "No, Mommy tie shoes." Is it normal to feel the same way when your child gives you a hug, but refuses to give your spouse one? Is it insane to want, but certainly not to admit, your child to love you best? To rationalize that feeling by saying I am the one who gave up her career, her life, her body to solely exist for my child, so he BETTER love me best? To think of all the surgeries, the injections, the appointments, and think, "Hey, what the hell DID my husband do to become a parent?' Oh, yah, he did the deed into a plastic cup and put his name and time collected on it. Oh, and supported me when I thought I was going to lose my mind over all the disappointments. Yah, he watched me cry too many times to count. Maybe I should cut him some slack and let Steve love him best today.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Honey, when can you have another mammogram?

Ah, what Jeff and I talk about over dinner these days! I should probably offer a little background info. here. I believe I have mentioned that my mom died of breast cancer. She had two close friends, 'The Three Muskateers', who also had it. Only one remains. Another of her friends is currently at home with hospice as her battle with ovarian cancer is ending. Back in October, my SIL's sister Laura, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 37. Her youngest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago at the tender age of 31. She has been cancer-free for two years now. Laura is now undergoing 6 months of chemotherapy. She is being treated very aggressively due to her age and family history. My brother is very concerned abou this wife, being she is the only sister to not be diagnosed as well as the fact that he just lost his mother a year and a half ago. Now one of the secretary's at Jeff's work's husband, has been diagnosed with a rare form of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at the age of 50. The 5 year survival rate is low. Anyhow, now that I've depressed you, let me get to the point of Jeff's comment.

With all the new diagnosis of cancer, we are starting to think again. When going through infertility treatments I could kind-of block it out. And I don't dwell on statistics, as I've said before, who knows what will happen? But my husband asked me during dinner that poignant question,"When can you have another mammogram?" And you know what, I don't know. I really don't. I don't know how soon after giving birth I could have one. For the record, I'm not going to breast-feed, so that's not an issue here. Then Jeff said, "Well, we pumped you up with all those hormones (infertility treatments)." I then reminded him that we felt that the benefits outweighed the risks. We weren't going to not try to have another baby because I MIGHT get cancer some day. I will not live my life according to 'what if's'. I also cited that I could get breast cancer anyway, and I would like Steve to have the support of a sibling, like I have. Plain and simple. Did I put my life on the line by undergoing a year of infertility treatments? Maybe, but moms put their lives on the line every day for their kids. I'm no different.

Today I went to my OB appointment. All is well, but the baby is laying very low. He didn't have to tell me that! Anyway, I wore my pink bracelet to show my support of my mom and all breast cancer patients. I don't wear it all that often since it gets in my way of taking care of Steve, but today I wanted to wear it to remind the doctors not to forget my mom. Let me explain. The OB/GYN practice I go to, and have for years, is the same one my mom went to. They are the ones she went to when she felt a lump in her breast. They told her to immediately come in so they could look at it. Well, Dr. B. really felt it was nothing and told my mom to come back in a few months if it was still there or painful. Guess what, it was still there, it got bigger, and it became painful. Mom called, and they saw her again. He still felt it was nothing, but sent her to have a mammo. anyway. The mammo. was inconclusive, and the radiologist said she could wait 6 months, or have a biopsy. He was leaning towards waiting. My mom said no. She wanted it to be biopsied. So New Year's Eve, she had a biopsy. We found out a few days later that it was cancer. All I thought of was death. I never knew anyone who survived cancer. I was scared, shocked, numb.

A few weeks later, she had a masectomy. We found out more bad news. The cancer was in 8 lymph nodes, and was staged at between 2 and 3 out of 4. Not good. She was so upset for obvious reasons, but she seemed particularly upset about it being only 7 months before my wedding. She worried about me, since she must be ruining what was supposed to be the happiest time of my life, she worried about not being able to help me much . She worried about how she'd look at my wedding since she might lose all of her hair. By the way, my mom had beautiful THICK hair, she did not need to wear a wig at all. I just teased her that now she had the same thin hair that I've had to deal with all my life! I told her, things would work out, and I just wanted her there at my wedding. That would be her gift to me. She ended up finishing chemo. 2 weeks before my wedding, and she WAS there. I never had any doubts about that. Talk about a detemined lady. That was my mom. She wouldn't have missed my wedding for the world. She did end up in the hospital a few days later. She had an infection her body couldn't fight due to the chemo. weakening her immune system.

So you're probably wondering why I would ever go back to this doctor, much less let him deliver my child? Or why my mom didn't sue? Well, this is the reason. Dr. B. came up to see my mom in the hospital. He came and apologized, he said he really felt that it wasn't cancer. It was obviously a sincere apology. Also, by admitting blame, my mom could have definitely won a lawsuit. He also immediatley changed his policy. Now all lumps are biopsied, no matter what. So basically, my mom and my whole family just wanted an admission that he was wrong and that he was sorry about it. We got that. We also wanted to make sure this never happened to anyone else, and it hasn't, he changed that policy. We did not verbalize these wishes to him; he just did it. My mom often asked,"What good would suing him do? I don't want to spend whatever time I have left in court." That was my mom. I, however, was very angry at Dr. B. for a long time. After I worked through my anger I started to believe like she did. I forgave him, and it was very freeing.

Here is a poem my mom's best friend read at her funeral. I believe anyone who has ever lost a loved one can relate.

God saw her getting tired
and a cure was not to be,
so he put His arm around her
and whispered, "Come with me."
With tearful eyes we watched her suffer,
and saw her fade away;
Although we loved her dearly,
we could not make her stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
her hands were put to rest;
God broke our hearts to prove to us,
He only takes the BEST.

No one forget my mom, hear that Dr.B?!

Mom, I will never forget you, and I will make sure no one else does either. You did not die in vain. You live on in my heart every day. You made me the mother and wife I am now. Until we meet again, I love you. Oh, and say hi to Johnny for me!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

A Snowy, Snowy Weekend

Let me just say this in regards to our weekend blizzard, I HATE snow! The first few snows of the season I am OK with, but now it is getting old. Oh, and I HATE cold weather! I just grin and bear it until it gets warmer around here.
My son has decided he doesn't like the snow either. Oh, and doesn't just not like snow in general, he does not like it on his shoes. He just stops walking and makes this little whine. I seriously have to wipe his shoes off when he gets into the car. The upside is that my car stays clean, the downside is that I freeze my butt off while I wipe his shoes. I am sure people get a kick out of watching me do this!

Tomorrow I have another OB appointment. I have to take Steve with me, but I scheduled it early hoping I can be in and out of there. The last time I went, Steve watched Sesame Street and was very happy to just sit there in his umbrella stroller. He had just gotten over being sick. I am hoping he will just sit there this time too. Oh, well. At least there's no pelvic exam or anything. Course, Steve has seen me have many ultrasounds at the fertility clinic before. I am so glad that he was too young to remember any of it. I mean think of the damage I could have done to his psychie! As it was, Steve loved to watch the ultrasounds. He loved when the doctor would turn off the overhead lights, and just leave the small one on. Steve loves lights! That was a plus. I did feel bad, however, bringing him to the clinic. I had been on the other side, and had primary infertility, and by no means wanted to inflict pain on someone else. It's just, I had no choice but to bring him. I was always glad when there was no one in the waiting room.

I will be happy to get out tomorrow. I have cabin fever big time!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A Better Day

MY SON TOOK A NAP!!!!! Today we were back to the schedule that has worked beautifully for both of us for the last year. And I feel better! I took a nap too, and now feel like I have patience again. When I felt guilty for laying down too, I told myself that I will be a better mommy if I take a snooze. Very true. My son is playing with the box of wipes right now, and I am not yelling. I am letting him have fun; it's just not bothering me today. Course, I also have a 'Mom's Night Out' dinner tonight, so I think that's affecting my spirits too.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Day Without Naps

Well, I am exhausted! Steve also went down without a hitch tonight. Maybe he doesn't need a nap after all. All I know is, that I do!

Monday, January 17, 2005

My Son, Part 2

This morning I had to wake Steve up since the painter was getting here early, and was painting the room Steve is currently in. He woke up all smiles. He was so happy! Before I saw him, I was so tired I could barely function; I am a night owl and have a hard time falling asleep. This all changed when I saw his sweet little face light up.

Breakfast went well, and so did playtime. If we aren't going anywhere, I usually bring him downstairs with his toys and we take turns watching TV and playing with his toys. He was great about playing on his own while I read. I was so tired! I felt guilty about not playing on the floor with him, but tried to tell myself that him playing independently is a good thing. He'll have to do it soon enough, and I don't want him thinking that Mommy isn't playing with him only because of the baby.

Steve decided around noon that he was hungry. We generally eat lunch between 12:00-12:30, so this was perfect. I made him a large lunch complete with pineapple, grapes, green beans and a peanut butter sandwich. He ate it all, so he got a treat----cheese! Steve loves cheese! Finally, it was time to go to take a nap.

The painter was still painting in Steve's room, so we set up his playpen, which he can't get out of. I did the routine of changing him, kissing him, handing him Elmo and putting him down. Phew! I was ready for a few moments to finish my lunch. All of the sudden, I hear little footsteps and lots of noise from Steve. I went upstairs to find my little boy out of his playpen and having a great old time. For the next hour it was a battle to keep him in his playpen and laying down. I felt he really needed a nap, especially since I had gotten him up early. Well, apparently my boy had other plans. When the painter was done, I put him into his crib and turned up the fans. He took another hour to fall asleep. Unfortunately, by that time I could only allow him a short nap or I know he wouldn't sleep at night. He was very upset with me when I woke him up! He was AWFUL! He was so crabby, and nothing made him happy. I made dinner while he whined about everything.

Finally, Jeff got home and took over, well, until he had to leave for basketball. We fed Steve, and then Jeff changed him which seemed to help. This evening he was back to my sweet little boy.

I am really perplexed about Steve's lack of nap-taking. All weekend he fought us. I thought it was a fluke, but now I think Steve may just not need naps like he used to. The problem is that I need them more than ever! Anyway, my idea for tomorrow is to get him up and ready for the day between 8:00-8:30. We have tumbling later that morning, and some errands to run afterward. Then I thought I'd feed him lunch, put him in his crib for an hour of quiet time with a few small toys. That way I can get some time to do what I need to do. My mom told me about 'quiet time', so I figure heck I'll try it! Then I will get Steve up, and he can play while I do whatever I will need to do tomorrow. Maybe he won't be so crabby in the dinner-hours, and will readily go to sleep. The funny thing is tonight he asked to go to sleep. Maybe this new approach is the answer. I'll let you know.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

My Son,the Toddler

I love my son more than I could ever explain to anyone. There are days I long to be with adults again as well as get paid for the work I do, but those are getting fewer and far between. Well, they WERE getting fewer and far between. Steve has just entered full-blown toddlerhood complete with tantrums, tantrums, tantrums.

He is like many other kids, and adults, in that he wants his way all the time. For example, if I don't immediately clear his breakfast plate when he screams,"All done.", he freaks out and starts crying. Patience is not his strong point. He is now getting louder. It is now time for mommy to teach him what 'indoor voice' means. He only spends about 2 minutes with each toy; I hear that's a boy thing. He gets bored with his toys easily. He is good about playing independently, though, which I am happy about since his new brother is coming in a mere 4 months. He is also having listening issues. I know he HEARS us, he just doesn't listen. There are days where I have christened him the 'time-out king'. My patience is wearing thin at times.

My husband is happy to be going back to work tomorrow, and he rarely wants a new week to begin. He likes spending time with us, and has been doing a lot of work around here now that I'm pregnant. I always thought Jeff would have more patience with Steve than me, but I don't think this is true anymore. Steve's constant taking off of his shoes and socks really pushed him to the edge this weekend. You see, it is only 8 degrees here in sunny Chicagoland. Steve's feet get cold, but he won't keep his shoes, socks, or slippers on. He likes to take his clothes off period, which is highly annoying. We have come to the point where we have to pin his sleeper on at night so he can't take it off. Otherwise, we have a crying child who is cold, but repeatedly takes his clothes off anyway.

Steve does have some great points about him. He is excellent in public. My friends in our playgroup think he is the calmest, best behaved child. And he is.....when they're around. When Steve was getting tired at the end of last week's playgroup, he told me NO when I told him to do something. My friend laughed and said she thought Steve never said that word. I told her that he most certainly does, and he is pretty much like every other 2 year old child. I am happy that he is not aggressive as some boys are. I am expecting that when his brother gets older that they may wrestle with each other, but at least he's not doing it now. Steve is also a joy to take out. He loves going anywhere! He is wonderful at restaurants, and loves riding in his stroller around the mall. This kid is the best shopper! I highly doubt that I will get lucky enough to have two boys that are good shoppers!

Well, I think my little boy is finally asleep. Time for me to take a shower. I got a lovely rash from a facial a few days ago. Stress relieving, my ass!

Friday, January 14, 2005

What I like About Being Pregnant

Of course, it's obvious that I love being pregnant because I am going to give birth to another baby. I did forget, though, that there are some other things that rock about being pregnant. I love my hair again! I normally have the thinnest hair that is so hard to style. However, when I am pregnant my hair is thicker, shinier, and generally better looking. My skin, this time, actually DOES have a glow to it. It is also clear. When I was on the fertility drugs my skin broke out; not a great thing to happen when you're already feeling bad about yourself. The baby's kicks are a little stronger, not TOO strong yet, and that's a reminder to me that yes I am pregnant. I still forget, anyone else? I also have this great feeling of anticipation, much like how I used to feel as a kid on Christmas morning. Although, I must admit, this is far better than any Christmas morning as a kid that I can remember.
Steve is also really into babies right now. He just loves pointing to my belly and saying,"Baby." I just love when he does that!

Last night I was watching Frasier', and all of the sudden I realized how absolutely cool it is going to be for Steve to have a brother. Watching the Frasier and Niles characters interact made me realize what a strong bond brothers must share. I had always thought about that bond that sisters have, but never about brothers.

Something that has been a pet peeve of mine, but now makes me laugh when I think of the absurdity of the question: "Are they sure it's a boy?", when the news of the ultrasound is given. I had a level 2 AND a 4D u/s by a materal/fetal health specialty group; I think they know what they're doing! Oh, and I know boys' parts when I see 'em!

Thanks to all that read my last post. I have never written about Steve's birth before, not even in my own journal. I know it is something that I've needed to do, and truthfully, I felt a lot lighter after I wrote it. Things happen, and I believe we learn from them. I also believe we learn from other women sharing their stories and feelings. That is another reason why I wrote the post. To let someone out there who might be going through what I did, know, that they are not alone and things do get better. The funny thing is that I have found some of the funniest, most optimistic people I have met in my life have had some really bad things happen in their lives. I have also found this group of people to be the strongest, most positive group out there. I really believe I am an optimistic, positive person. I love to laugh, I love to point out the absurdity in some situations, and well, just laugh. I could be a very pessimistic, angry person. My mom died young, as did most of the women on my mom's side. Frequently, I am one of the few women at an event with my family. I could site statistics on my likelihood to develop breast cancer every day: my mom had breast cancer, developed it premenopausally at age 46--bad, I have several autoimmune disorders--endometriosis, hypothryroidism, interstitial cystitis---all which place me an an even greater risk since cancer is in itself an autoimmune disorder, also breast cancer tend to hit the daughters a full 10 years before their mother's age when they were diagnosed, which would put me at 36---just a mere 3 1/2 years away. But you know what, I decided after doctors told me my risks that I was just going to live. I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but I need to be happy with what I have now. I get mammograms, which is a lot of fun explaining to an insurance company why I needed a baseline at age 30, and why they should pay! But I have learned that everyone has something bad to deal with in their life. I could choose to write my will and sit and wait to get cancer, or I could go out and live, which is what I chose to do. I will tell you that I did purchase a form book called 'All About Me' and wrote answers to all of the questions in there about myself. You know, just in case.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Depression---The Gift That Keeps Giving!

When I gave birth to my son back in 2002, I had an inkling that I would develop postpartum depression. Nothing prepared me though, for when I actually was hit with it.

I went into labor with Steve naturally; water broke, called doctor, left for hospital. No big deal. I should have known when we entered the ER and no one stopped me even to offer the wheelchair they are required to get, that things would not go as planned. And they didn't.

Apparently when my water broke, blood also accompanied it. Lovely. They decided to just keep an eye on it. Then my epidural wouldn't take. I told the lovely nurse who should have retired 20 years ago, and she basically told me to shut up and don't bother her. Well, in her own way, but I got the message. Well, the epidural doctor comes in and shoots me up again. Didn't work again, and now he's in a emergency c-section, so it'll be about an hour before he can come back. Actually, I didn't find the pain that bad. I was more scared about should it get worse and I haven't had the epidural, what will I do? Oh, and in the middle of this, my son decides he doesn't particularly care for labor. How does he show us this? By his heartrate divebombing. I had oxygen on my face for him, and several nurses who kept moving me from side to side, and in the interim, one nurse kept trying to get a fetal monitor on his head. I shouldn't say ONE nurse, because several ended up trying, but no one succeeded. I swore that everyone had seen me naked by that point. My mom came in during that time, and she finally was able to get me to relax. No one would tell me what the hell was going on, and I am still pissed off about that to this day. Luckily my doctor was in the hospital when the nurses called her. She came right up,and told me I needed an emergency c-section. Fine by me. She pushed back the hysterectomy she was scheduled to perform, and got to work on me.

In the OR, I was upset that the conversation was centered around the assisting doctor's divorce. Up until my c-section, I didn't even know he was getting divorced. I just found it so unprofessional, and just plain rude, for him to talk like that when Iwas going through surgery and awaiting my miracle. Luckily, the anestesioligst talked me through the whole procedure. What a nice man.

The next thing I knew I was feeling, really feeling, a lot of tugging, and then my son was born. I remember telling Jeff how huge he was. I mean Steve had chub on him the moment he came out! Then they told me his Apgar scores, 8 and 9, and wisked him away like he was a preemie needing to go to the NICU. So much for bonding. Jeff went with him, and I was alone with the doctors for almost an hour while they stitched me up. Not quite the H*llmark moment you see on A Ba*y Story.

I immediately requested pain meds. as my mom was a nurse at that hospital and she told me you always ask for them before you get into pain. They're more effective that way. Well, my nurse, I'll call her Nurse Ratchett, said she ordered them. A while later I started to feel more pain, so I asked her again. She proceeded to go through her 'How to care for a baby' demonstration. Yah, a mere two hours after I'd given birth. So my request for meds. was ignored. Instead, she yelled at me for not paying attention to her. I could not reply because I was in too much pain. I had tears coming down my face, and I looked to my mom and asked her to talk to the nurse. If you are wondering right now if my husband was there, yes he was, utterly useless at this point. Anyway, I hear my mom talk to the nurse about my pain. My mom asked her if she was going to get me something for pain. Her reply," I ONLY HAVE TWO HANDS!". Yes, she seriously said this. So she had lied about ordering my meds. in the first place. Finally, I am given some Toradol. It didn't help. It took morphine to finally control my pain; my pain was too far gone at that point. Nurse Ratchett proceeds to yell at me when I asked about the meds. effectiveness to control pain. She told me, "You can't expect it to be like the epidural. It won't take ALL the pain away! I hated this woman. She made me feel bad about her having to change my pads; sorry I'm bleeding lady, but I think this is pretty normal after having a baby! I won't go into any more specifics, but let's just say, this lady made me feel like the worst patient ever. Like I was BOTHERING her. At this time, my mom looked at my husband and said,"The hospital believes in continuity of care. If we don't say anything, Bev will have her every day until she's discharged, and I don't want her near her again. Will you come with me to talk to the charge nurse about it?" And you know what? My husband wouldn't go. He hates confrontation. Well, I do too, but no one will ever treat my loved one like that. I thank God my mom was there. She almost wasn't. She was just released a week before from the hospital herself after having several blood clots in her lungs, and almost dying.

I never did have Nurse Ratchett again, but she came in my room every day to 'check on me'. AKA, cover her ass. I am having nightmares already about having Nurse Ratchett again. My SIL, brother's wife, and my dad plan on being there with me so I do not experience that type of care again. Jeff, I love him to pieces, but I just don't trust that he'll intervene if necessary. I actually thought of changing doctors so I could deliver at a different hospital and avoid a repeat of my last birth. Sad, huh?!

Why did I tell this story? What does it have to do with PPD? Well, I had nightmares for months about what happened to me. I attribute part of my PPD to my birthing experience. I did not HAVE to have a natural birth. I did not have a detailed birth plan. I just wanted to be treated with respect and like a human being.

I did have a bout with the baby blues when I got home from the hospital. I remember Jeff bringing Steve to me in the mornings saying he needed me. I was so tired, and in pain, that I just didn't even feel like holding my son. Bonding? Yah, that was shot to hell. I think I had problems with bonding because of being in labor for a day, then having an emergency c-section, and having him whisked away from me without even being able to look at or touch him. Why wasn't I able to ? They wanted him to be ID'd right away. Security. To cover their butts, just in case.

About 10 days after Steve's birth, I started feeling better. The sun was shining, and we were taking him to his first peds. appt. Everything went great. It was great to be out of the house! Plus, Jeff was still home, and he is wonderful with infants and children, so he was really a huge help. That same day, my dad came over. My mom was just pronounced terminal. Her last scan showed the cancer had now spread to her liver. She had 6-9 months to live. After my dad left, I went upstairs and cried. Steve was asleep next to our bed in the cradle my mom bought for him, and I just wept. I couldn't believe I just became a mother and now I find out I am losing my own. Moms, most, just offer an unconditional love that no one else can or does, not even your husband. I was still not trusting Jeff to take care of me, because of my experience at the hospital. I harbored a lot of resentment over that. I have come to terms with it, and Jeff and I have had many discussions about it. I just didn't know what I would do without my mother. I knew I was 29 years old, but I still needed my mommy! Besides that, my mom was only 51. We always thought we were going to have so much time together. I was so hurt and angry.

That weekend I was depressed in a way I had never been before. I believe I was depressed when we went through all the infertility, but this was worse. I was so mad my mom was dying. I was so mad that I didn't feel like an instant mother, especially after all we'd been through to have him. I have never in my life felt so alone, so dark, so awful before, and I was scared. I remember telling Jeff one night that I just wanted to go away. I did NOT want to die. I just wanted to go away until things got better.

That Tuesday I called and went to see the therapist I had seen before the birth. She agreed with me that I needed help. That I was miserable. I called my OB as soon as I got home. He talked with me, and agreed that I was depressed. He told me to come to the office, and a month's supply of Zoloft would be there waiting for me.

Zoloft helped my depression, as did talking over my fears WITH my mom; she lost her mom at 29 so she understood where I was coming from. Plus, my MIL, God bless her for doing this, came every Tuesday so I could go to therapy and have a few hours for myself. I cannot tell you how much this helped. During one of those Tuesdays she was there, my mom had a good day and suggested we go Christmas shopping. My mom and I had a blast, and knew this would be the last Christmas we would be together, so it was even more special. I know my MIL had ulterior motives sometimes, and really can be quite irritating at times, but I will be forever grateful to her for being there for me so that day could happen.

I did have a problem with Zoloft though. I couldn't sleep. I hate to admit this, but I would have to take a Valium every night to get myself relaxed enough to sleep. Well, I read the patient insert and saw that this was a common side effect. Therefore, I placed a call to my doctor. I told him my son is sleeping through the night, I'd like to as well. He told me to double the Zoloft; he felt it was my depression that was keeping me awake. I really felt it wasn't, but I gave it a try. I was right. So I decided to lower my dose back to where it was on my own. If you are ever on ADs, don't EVER do this. In a few weeks time I had really messed myself up. I was feeling worse than ever. I found a new doctor, or should I say my mom did. LOVE my mom! I am now on Paxil CR, and it has been a life-saver. Not a cure-all, but it definelty helped me immensley. Less than two months later, my mom died. I stayed on the Paxil. It helped me to get through her last three weeks, her wake and funeral. I saw things that my mom went through, and I hope none of you ever have to see or go through that yourselves. I still have nightmares about that. I'll talk about that in another entry, bet you can't wait!

On a final note about depression, please don't ever feel upset with yourself if you have it. I never wanted to take an antidepressant. I felt I could handle things on my own. Taking an AD is like being weak. And will I end up taking them the rest of my life?! Going through PPD and my subsequent depression has led me to not care about that all. I know that because I got help, I am strong. I did it for my son as much as for myself. He needs a healthy mother; he DESERVES that much. I didn't intend on getting depressed; didn't plan on it. It's just like my therapist said,"You had a lot of things go on in your life all at once. Major things." I had a traumatic birth experience, the death of my mom, among some other minor things. But basically, I lost my mother, my best girlfriend. If that doesn't get you depressed, what can?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I can't believe I feel this way!

I just lost my original post; not happy about that! So now I will write the shortened version, so Jeff can balance the checkbook in here.

Things have been busy here lately. I finally bought Steve's bedding, a cute baseball quilt set that matches his room perfectly. I am so happy about that! I also had the carpets cleaned, and the painter over for an estimate for the nursery. I finally feel like I am getting stuff done.

I made a mistake this weekend, though. I went into Pottery Barn Kids, and looked at their new line for girls. As I was doing that I saw a mom with her twin girls picking out bedding and furniture. It was so cute! It hit me then---HARD. I will never have that. No pink bedding to pick out, no frilly dresses, no dolls. Zip. Nada. Nothing. What hurt the most was realizing that I will never have that mother/daughter relationship again. That's over. I feel so guilty for even feeling this way, or writing it down. I am so happy for two healthy boys, believe me. I guess I'm just mourning the loss of a lifelong dream. I'll get over it.

Friday, January 07, 2005

So happy and so relieved!

Our ultrasound went very well. We found out we are having another boy, and we are so excited! We were also happy to find out that his heart is formed perfectly; we were so anxious about that. So Stevie will be getting a brother, and my family will finally be complete.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Can't wait for 6:00!

Today is the day we hopefully get to find out what we are having. The first thing that is of importance to us is finding out that the baby is healthy. I really mean that as Jeff's family has a congenital heart defect in it. Jeff's older brother died when he was a month old because he was missing a part of his heart. Today the only thing they could do would be to have a heart transplant. And of course, there is no guarantee that that would even work. So we are very anxious to find out, God-willing, that this baby is healthy. Obviously, this is way more important than gender.

I would like to admit that I have loved raising a son. I have learned so much, and the older he gets, the more fun we have. I have been around boys more than girls my entire life. My family, both sides, just has way more boys than girls. I was always made to feel special, because I was usually the 'only girl'. Can you imagine what kind of wardrobe I had?! I always wanted a son, and I always wanted him to be born first. I have a brother who is three years older than me, and we are very close. He always stuck up for me, and protected me as I grew up. I always wanted that for my kids. I also wanted a sister too, but wishin' didn't mean gettin':) Anyway, I had always dreamed that my second child would be a girl. One of each, how perfect right?! I dreamed of how I would decorate a girl's room, how I would dress her in girly clothes, and just how she would be my little girl. I could teach her things; I knew how it was to be a girl. Being a boy is still somewhat of a mystery to me, and I know someday Steve will rather be with his daddy than with me. Plus, when Steve gets married, I know he will be with his wife's family more. What is that old saying, "A boy is a son untils he marries his wife; a girl is a daughter for life", or something like that. Let's face it, girls usually come home more often. I want, I crave, that mother/daughter relationship that my mom and I had. I ain't gonna get that from Steve. And that's OK. My mom and my brother were VERY close; it's just different with daughters. I know there are some things that a daughter would want to know that a son wouldn't. I mean Steve is not going to want to know about my miscarriage or when I started my first period; things that are relevant to a daughter. Jeff and him will go to football games together, and maybe even share a fantasy football team. That's good; he needs his father. I guess I just want to feel needed like that too. On the other hand, I know boys, I love boys. I have a much easier time than some of my friends with girls do. And, let me say this, picture taking is SO much easier with a boy. I just bring a hairbrush with me, brush his hair right before the picture is taken, and that's it. No ponytails, no bows, or anything else for him to pull out. There are so many great things about each gender, and I know I will be happy with whatever we are having. Plus, I have NO idea what to do with the nursery if we have a girl; I already have everything picked out for a boy. Yes, my heart believes I am having a boy. And no, we will not be having any more children to try for a girl. God gives us what He believes we should have, and as long as he's healthy, we are truly blessed.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Happy to be back in the groove

Winter is officially with us as we have a freezing rain/winter snow advisory in effect. The last few days have been in the fifties with rain. My grass is turning green again; it's just not natural. I am not a fan of cold weather, but I know it is normal for this time of the year. I just 'grin and bear it'. Wait for it to be over, which it will be in March or April, or maybe May this year. Anyway, when you live in Chicago you know winter is bound to find you at some point.

I am so happy that our routine is now back to normal. Steve does better with a routine, and I must admit, so do I. Tomorrow we are back to tumbling class at My Gym Fitness Center. It's a bit pricey in my opinion, but Steve loves it and so do I. The staff is so friendly, and the turnover rate is pretty low. Plus, it is always clean, and being a germ-a-phobe, I really appreciate that! Then Wednesday we have my Women's Coffee Break Class which offers child-care, so I really look forward to that hour every week. On Thursday we have the BIG ultrasound, and Friday my friend is having a playdate. I love being busy, and it certainly has made the pregnancy go by a lot faster. Funny thing is before I had children I would just about gag every time I heard the word 'playdate'. I mean how yuppy does that sound? I pictured women in their perfectly coifed hairdos talking about their homes, cars, and husbands. The soccer mom stereotype. Now, I start salivating anytime getting together for a playdate is mentioned. I also take pride in dressing my son up in nice clothes. They used to be all Gap, but now I have found that I love Carters and save buying Gap for when they have a sale and I have a coupon. My house is organized, for the most part, clothes washed. Hell, I even planted a flower garden this year and I actually didn't kill anything! I also have started cooking real dinners two-three days a week. Anyone who knows me is currently laughing their butts off, because I am/was so NOT domestic. Anything domestic would bore me to tears. I would like to say I have changed just so I could be the best mother I can be to Steve, but that's not entirely true. Ever since my mom has died, I have switched into perfection mode. I keep myself insanely busy, and I am pretty sure I do this so I don't have time to think about her not being here with me. If I worked, I am sure I would be doing this there. Plus, I have put her on a pedestal as being the 'perfect mom', and I want to be just like her. We always were dressed nicely, particularly when we were babies/toddlers. She always cooked dinner EVERY night, the laundry was always done and folded AND put away the same day. She was always there for us, even when she went back to work. Oh, and our house was always clean. So I figure if I do this, she must being looking down on me thinking how proud she is of me.

Ahhh...but no one is perfect. I know when this baby is born, I am going to have a really hard time dealing with the fact that my routine will be shot to hell, and there is no way to do everything perfectly especially with two kids. I need to set my standards lower. The ironic thing about me trying to be a perfect wife/mother/human being is that I do not expect this of others. I tell friends all the time that no one is judging them, and they should just do their best. What more can you do? And I believe this. I just hope I can actually put my money where my mouth is.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

I am so happy the holidays are over!

Happy New Year everyone! As one of my New Year's resolutions, I am starting my own blog. Thanks, Jen, for getting me started! I probably won't get any other of my resolutions resolved, but at least I have one.
I am a former elementary school teacher, turned SAHM as my description states. I am very happy to be home with our son, although sometimes I long to go back to work. Anyone else feel this way? I have been 'trying' to have a family for a long time. I am also sick of 'trying'! Trying on our own just didn't work for us. Long story short, several tests, one surgery, and one IUI with Clomid later, I got pregnant. Man was I overjoyed! I miscarried at 9 weeks exactly. Devastated does not adequately describe how I felt after losing my first child. I then got all the info. I could on adoption, I was so sick of uncaring fertility doctors! Well, we chose an agency that specializes in foreign adoption, the former Soviet Union to be exact. After reading through all of the requirements, I got a little, OK, a lot overwhelmed. I also decided I wanted to be pregnant at least once. I spoke with a friend who had gotten pregnant with a very caring RE. I made an appointment, and didn't hold my breath that he would be any different. You see, he would be the THIRD RE we would be seeing, if we decided we liked him. We LOVED him immediately! He was so positive, but truthful. I don't want someone to sugarcoat anything; tell me like it is. And he did.
One month from the day of that appt., I found out I was pregnant with our son. What a miracle!!! I had a few scares with Steve, but he was born to us weighing a very healthy 8 pounds, 10 ounces and measured 22 inches long. The tears flowed immediately from my face the first time I laid eyes on him.
When Steve was 9 months old, we figured we better get going on trying for a sibling. 15 months, 2 Clomid/IUIs, 3 Follistim/IUIs, 1 more surgery, and 1 IVF which was given horrible odds of even working later, and I am now 19w4d pregnant with our second child. God is good! We are having our BIG ultrasound this week, and yes we will try to see the gender of this little guy. I feel it in my very bones that this baby is a boy. I felt this way with Steve, and I was right.
Anyway, Jeff and I feel like we are finally getting somewhere in our lives. I feel incredibly blessed to have a healthy child, and another, I pray healthy, child on the way. Jeff's is where he wants to be career-wise, I am able to stay home, and things are falling, gats do I say this!, into place. I lost my mom a year and a half ago, and although I miss her everyday and will talk about her in future posts, I feel like I am in a good place in the grieving process. I can honestly say life is good; except for my husband's family, but that is a whole other story!
I will try to post a few entries a week, so you can get to know me. Feel free to post. I have met some great ladies on the internet!