Monday, December 19, 2011

A Child's Cry For Help

"So, LO, I was thinking I might go to the hardware store. How about it?"
" Nonononnonono.  That won't be happening."
"That's cool, I'll just go down and check out the Nordic trak in the basement; see if we can't get that going."
"Your kidding right? That's the most disquieting idea I've ever heard. I'm not sure how long it will take me to recover from this; I'm going to need a moment..."
"Fine. Know what? I'll just jump in the shower for 5 minutes. Be right back."
"So, another afternoon of sitting on the couch, bouncing then, huh?"
"Ah, yes, that will be just fine....a little gentler please...."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

When it comes to boobs or money: take the money

I have been pretty fortunate to have never had trouble in the boob department; my boobs and I have pretty much always got along.  Now that I have a child, our amicable relationship continues, despite my occasional jealously that LO obviously likes them better than me.  Seriously, the child will look at me with daggers in her eyes, as though she resents my never giving her and my boobs any alone time.  "You're always trying to come between us!"
Insecurities aside, I am really lucky not to have encountered a lot of the problems women face when trying to breastfeed.  For a lot of my friends, and for so many women, breastfeeding is horrendous, if not just impossible.  Every book, movie, Oprah episode and health professional pounds pregnant ladies with the idea that breastfeeding is the crucial element in nuriting your child, leaving a lot of women despondent when they find out that breastfeeding is not exactly as it is portrayed in the La Leche Manual.  Tons of women who face difficulties either biologically or logistically end up feeling like bad moms.
Turns out, it may all be for naught.
Within the past year  scientist have found that all the benefits of breastfeeding may not be so much a result of breast milk, as it is a corollary to all the benefits of being upper middle class.  Women who are breastfeeding generally are upper class chicks who can afford breast pumps and such, or who can afford to stay home with their child.  These same moms also can afford good prenatal care, and can more easily provide good nutrition for their children once they are born.  So scientist now suggest that the ability to provide quality care for children throughout their childhood may be more important than mere breast milk during infancy; good to know for my friends who have such trouble breastfeeding.
On the other hand, an Australian study found that children who breastfeed past six months of age have better mental health than their bottle-fed counter parts.   Now, granted, I didn't actually read the study, but the but this seems fishy to me. We already know that moms who breastfeed are middle upper class moms.  The Reuters article that covered the study even noted that "The mothers who breastfed for less than six months were younger, less educated, poorer, and more stressed, and were also more likely to be smokers, than the moms who breastfed for longer. They were also more likely to suffer from postpartum depression, and their babies were more likely to have growth problems."  It seems pretty obvious to me that what the children are benefiting from is not the extended breastfeeding, but the greater access to a happier, healthier mom.
Is it just me, or could the scientist perhaps trying to conjure up an easy solution to a greater social problem?  Maybe instead of doctors and social services all pushing breastfeeding down moms' throats, making thousands of moms feel guilty and inadequate, perhaps we as a community should be taking that energy and pressing politicians for better support for families of all income levels.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NOT a New Age Hippie

As previously discussed, I trust TV way too much.  I am one of those people that believes everything commercials tell them.  Those "corn sugar" commercials: I totally bought it.  (Evidently they are quite bogus, if you can believe MSNBC, which, of course, is still television.)  Okay, I am not totally sold on EVERYTHING the television says to me, but I am pretty sensitive to suggestion.
This is why I thought I would be a perfect candidate for Hypnobabies.
I know, I know: you are rolling your eyes at me thinking "You ARE one of those gullible new-age hippies".
Well, okay, there may be actually a very strong case that I am a gullible new-age hippie, but hear me out.  Hypnobabies is basically just a form of deep relaxation that allows you to stay in control when you are giving birth.  This was important to me because I was really afraid of having an anxiety attack while delivering.  See, perfectly non-gullible talk.
Unfortunately, once we got to the hospital, I was too afraid the nurses would judge me, so I couldn't follow through on the program.  "Did you hear about the crazy hippie in room 2B?," I could imagine them saying, "She doing HYPNObabies.  I'll bet she even calls high fructose corn syrup 'corn sugar'.  Someone should call social services."
Despite the fizzled ending, the program was actually pretty helpful in dealing with some of my anxieties.  Before I started the program, I was becoming pretty disenchanted with the whole pregnancy thing.  As I became more and more uncomfortable, my perception of LO's movements in the womb changed from fun-loving and playful flips and squirms, to irritated and malicious kicks and shoves.  I actually would get angry with her, telling her to knock it off when she squirmed around inside me.  Obviously, not a healthy way to perceive your growing child.  Once I started the program though, I started noticing my response change.  The program suggests that you listen to the "Positive Affirmation" track daily.  It had me repeat things like, "I love my pregnant body" and "My baby is safe and healthy inside me now". When I first started doing it I thought the whole thing was ridiculous.  I was amused by my crazy antics, and the startled expressions of the shoppers around me."  My uterus is oft and supple" I said as I walked down the frozen food isle.
Okay, I didn't actually do it while shopping; I do have some boundaries.
Anyway, I was amused by doing the exercises, but I kind of thought the whole thing was ridiculous.  Please note how very sensible non-gullible I was in this.
Then, lo and behold, every time I would drive by the Dairy Queen, I could hear the recording's calming voice,"I eat healthy foods everyday for my baby".  I started feeling a lot better about the pregnancy; referring to LO as a "sweet little baby"; it was awesome.
Now, was it enough to keep me serene during an emergency delivery and five day stay in the hospital?  No, it's not Valium, but now that I not facing the prospect of people coming into my room in the middle of the night and jabbing me with needles, I am thinking of picking up some guided relaxation again.
Seriously, I just need to see one commercial for it and I think I would pick it up again.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Coming to terms with bowel movements

You know what's funny?  I actually feel as though I am letting people down if I don't publish to my blog regularly; as if I have this huge readership that wonders where I am if I don't update regularly, when in reality, I am pretty sure I have only one reader (Love you, Mom!).
So the battle with new mommy-hood continues.  The thing about little tiny babies, (well one of the things of many things) is that you really can't set them down...ever.  LO, like all babies, demands to be held a minimum of 24 hours a day, which which I suppose is fair, given that is what she was taught to expect while growing in the womb.  Considering that since being born she has to deal with the trauma of things like changes in temperature and bowel movements, she figures the least we can do as parents is parade her around the house like royalty.  Fortunately, I have gotten pretty adept at doing things one handed and with my feet and LO has gotten to the point where she will tolerate being in the moby wrap for almost an hour before the vomits over the both of us.  Hooray for progress!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What are you on and where can I get some: mommy hormones and me

Okay, so that last post was not the happiest I have ever written, but I am compelled to be honest about my transition into motherhood.  I feel as though one of the primary problems setting moms up to for discouragement and frustration during early motherhood is very few people talk about what it is really like to be a mom.
Think about it: no commercial uses the slogan, "Used by ambivalent mothers everywhere".  (Although I really feel that is a missed opportunity; I would totally buy whatever it was they were selling.)
Also, TV moms have this comical, zany birth, which the most ridiculous element of which is how short it is (labor the first time often takes DAYS), and at the end of which they are smiley and out of breath and gently moist with sweat, but beaming and over joyed at their new baby.  Jackasses.  I mean, who gives birth like that?
Also...why do I trust TV so much?
But it's not just TV.  Naomi Wolf, a prominent feminist who wrote a book that was intended to reveal the darker side of motherhood, actually described her child as "queenly", even as "glowing", upon the child's expulsion from the womb.  I can promise you, I did not see my child as queenly, or glowing, nor did my heart sing with our loving bond when they placed her on my chest.  Mostly I was relieved to be done with the labor, and honestly only vaguely aware of what else was happening.
I know there are moms who are attached to their babies right away and just float on clouds immediately after their babies are born, but I feel like those of us who don't experience that face a double whammy: first having a new baby but no hormonal high, and then the second blow of feeling guilty because the mom does not instantly bond with the small bodily fluid production unit that has taken over their home, time, and mind space.
There are a few moms out there that describe more of an experience I can relate to. Anne Lamont wrote a great book about dealing with being a single mom. I also liked this article from a mom honestly describing the time it took to really feel a bond with her twins.
The truth is though, most of the time it's really hard to express anything other than bliss when talking about your baby without fear that someone will call social services.  That's I left in my bummer of a post. To hell with June Cleaver!  She is over represented.  Someone needs to speak up from the disenchanted mommies group, so the negative-nelly blog post stays.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New little roommate

After nine long months, we now have a new little roommate.  She's very cute, and cuddly, but I have to say, being a mom, from the very beginning, is not exactly what I expected.
I mean, of course, the best laid plans go awry, and frankly, we should planned our plan B way more carefully.  Neither my husband or I had ever been in the hospital before, and we were completely unfamiliar with area hospitals, so when all of a sudden I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and had rush to the hospital, we had no idea what we were in for.  While I am grateful for everything the hospital did, the process of becoming a mother for me was no where near the empowering, mother-goddess experience that I had somehow come to expect.  The stay before and after labor was degrading at best.  The labor was traumatic: NOTHING like what I was taught to expect from what I had read or heard about.  There was no rush of overwhelming motherly love; our baby did not have a halo or seem dreamlike in her debut.  Other than sheer exhaustion and relief at the labor being over, I was mostly struck at how similar she looked to a very tiny, wet, old man who had just lost a boxing match.
yeah...still super cute
As we drove home from the hospital after our five day stay, I honestly considered that guy from Alien lucky.  Granted, that guy didn't have anesthesia, but after the thing emerged from him, it ran away; no one slapped a bow on it and asked him to breastfeed.  No one tells you about the blood, and the pain after the birth.  The crying- and oh God there is SOOO much crying- and sleepless nights are not so funny or cute when you are actually going through it.
And now... well... she is still super cute, and she is kind of getting more fun, but caring for a newborn is really hard.  It's hard to write about, though.  There is so much pressure to only express bliss and joy at the arrival of your newborn, that I feel like expressing any kind of ambivalence or frustration makes me a pariah, or at minimum suffering from postpartum depression.  But I can't be the only woman who feels this way.  I find it very hard to believe that all woman give birth and meet the challenge with unendling love and patience.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Excited does not cover it..

I am fairly certain that my child is hosting a rave in utero.
It is so surreal.  I can actually see little bumps and jitters moving around my belly.  My new favorite hobby is sitting on my couch for 45 minutes at a time just watching her shake her groove thing around my belly.  So crazy.
So, I guess that means I am bonding, right?  People always ask me if I am excited, and talk about the baby like she is a person already and I never know what to say.  I mean, of course I am excited...I guess.  It just doesn't seem like the right word; it's not like I am going on a first date or meeting my favorite celebrity.  Eager, yes- I mean, I've been pregnant for two years now or something, right? 
Am I obsessed with her: redoubtably, but I think that anyone would become somewhat overly aware of a presence in their life that saps all their energy, shrinks all their clothes, and disrupts their sleep.
Am I happy about it?  Oof, too simplistic a word.  I am not happy about giving birth, I am not really looking forward to leaving work, being isolated at home, and the drop in status that I will assume as a SAHM (obviously it is not a justified drop in status, but it is a drop in status nevertheless)?  I am really not looking forward to that.
But yeah, I think I am looking forward to being a mom.
I do not necessarily love my little girl yet as a person; she is very little more to me at this point that a feeling of overly aggressive, possibly sentient gas.  And I am not really into picking out clothes or doing hair, although, that does sound pretty fun.  And its more than the fun of having a little kid in your house; I ADORE children; I live and breath them, but I know enough about them to not really look forward to having a tiny, hysterical, incontinent roommate.
Right now my little one is a little more than a promise; an expectation, but a really neat one.  I am looking forward to being responsible for her, for her to depend entirely on me, and to bonding with her as she grows.  I look forward to the changes within myself that come that I have heard people talk about as they became parents.  I am of course terrified of the loss of my selfish, shallow self, that can luxuriate with her husband and sleep in late, but when I think about it, superficial happy people are annoying.  I look forward to growing out of  my selfishness, and into one of those ferocious lioness mothers, who have their own lives but know that when the rubber hits the road, nothing is more important than her child.  The baby stuff sounds fun, but that ferocious, deep, kind of love and responsibility that alters all your perspective on the rest of the world, that sounds pretty cool.
I hope it is really like that.  I am not making this up, right?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

If you can't say something nice...

Have you ever lied to a care provider because you are afraid of hurting their feelings?
I have.  I know it probably seems silly, but you know, I've never been good at break ups.
     I visited an acupuncturist for a little while during my morning sickness, and though it was nice to lay down for twenty minutes and listen gentle new age music, I am fairly certain it had no lasting benefits, especially considering that on one occasion I puked immediately upon leaving the office.  But the acupuncturist was so nice, and so confident in her methods, and I didn't want to seem close minded.  I would say things like, "I always love coming to your office.", or "I think its helping a little; I am sure it will build over time."
     That's not the worse case though.  Once I kept seeing this Indian doctor for a year even though I would only ever understand one in three things he said.  It was ridiculous, but again, he was this really cute elderly doctor, and I didn't want to seem like a jerk.  He would chat away, laughing at his own jokes, and all I could do was nod and smile, waiting for him to refill my prescription.  At one point I was considering going to see another doctor at the same time, but then I would have felt like I was cheating on him.  I would probably still be seeing him, but I moved out of state.  I loved that guy.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A version of Hush Little Baby with less consumerism

You may have heard this before, but when I heard an old roommate singing it to her little girl, I just thought it was so sweet.  I finally got around to looking up the full lyrics; I almost began to cry.

Hush little baby don't say a word,
Mama's gonna show you a hummingbird

If that hummingbird won't fly
Mama's gonna show you the evening sky

When the night time shadows fall
Mama's gonna hear the crickets call

As their song drifts from afar
Mama's gonna show you a shooting star

As that star drops out of view
Mama's gonna read a book with you

When that story has been read
Mama's gonna get your warm bedspread

If that quilt begins to wear
Mama's gonna find your teddy bear

If that teddy bear won't hug
Mama's gonna catch you a lightening bug

If that lightening bug won't glow
Mama's gonna find you an old banjo

If that banjo's out of tune
Mama's gonna show you the harvest moon

While that moon drifts from the sky
Mama's gonna sing you a lullaby

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sleeping on it

Hey, so you know what I did?  I went to a sleep clinic and had a sleep study done.  This is a big thing for me because, as with many things in my life, while I adore sleeping- seriously, like one of my top 5 favorite things to do- I am not very good at it.  I scream a lot, and kick a lot and thrash my arms around.  I am sure that this makes me a relatively unique bed partner, but being unconscious for the whole thing, I wouldn't really know; DH says he is used to it now.
     Anyway, I have basically spent my entire life really tired, and to some degree resigned myself to that reality.  I know I probably should have taken a sleep study earlier, but, well, you know how I feel about doctors.  So, I went on living my life, souped up on caffeine, pondering the possibility of  injecting coffee into my blood stream directly, and  insisting to people that I really I do not have high energy but I need to keep moving so I do not fall asleep.  Then my new psychiatrist tells me that I absolutely have to try this neurologist she saw for her sleep problems, that he is a genius, blah blah. And I was like, okay, maybe I can write a blog entry about it.
     It was fine.  The test itself was fine; the bed was super comfy, I could watch TV until I felt sleepy, and the little electrodes they attached to my head, face, arms and legs were not actually to uncomfortable.
The consult afterward was not terrible, but I am not sure that I agree that the neurologist is a genius just yet, and that in and of itself is a little disappointing.  (I always have such high hopes...)  So according to my doctor I have a few things going on, that are really common for people with depression.  First and foremost, I have RBD, REM Behavioral disorder.  It is a disorder that essentially means I act out my dreams in my sleep and the doctor suggests it may be a result of the medication I am taking.  This already started sounding a little questionable to me because I have always thrashed, cried and shouted in my sleep, even as a baby; it can't just be from my medications.
     Anyway, since I obviously am not going off my medications, (I have resumed my meds ever since the little incident during my potential miscarriage in January) the doctor suggested I try clonazepam.
     Yeah, that's not gonna work.  First of all, clonazepam is a big no-no for pregnant ladies.  Plus, clonazepam and I are not friends.  I tired it in high school and it really only makes me ridiculously tired; not the kind of help I am looking for.
     So, the other problem my doctor noticed was sleep apnea; a very mild one.  I think I stop breathing like every four times an hour.  In order to fix this minor problem, the doctor suggested I wear SCUBA gear while sleeping.  Okay, not actually SCUBA gear, its actually called a CPAP, but it certainly looks like SCUBA gear, and definitely makes sounds like Darth Vader.
My first question: does it come with accompanying lingerie?
      It thrusts air down your nose and mouth while you are sleeping, and though I know people who swear by it, I cannot even imagine wearing something like that and being able to sleep.  There is an alternative device that is a little mouth piece you sleep with, but it will cost us almost $2,000 after the insurance pays its portion, and then it is only likely to sure 70% of my apnea at maximum.  Ick.
     So, I need to go back and talk to the guy I guess.  I mean- is it really worth it if my big problem is the RBD?  We'll see.
     Anybody out there use the CPAP or the mouth piece?  What did you think?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Almost half way through

I know I haven't written in four months, and that is because I have been immersed in the magical experience of pregnancy.
And of course, when I say magical, I mean nauseating.

No one really prepared me for the experience of having a another human being growing inside me, and that is because no one told me that the human would be a tiny, temperamental high school student with bulimia.  All of a sudden I was sleeping between 12 and 15 hours a day. Despite being perpetually nauseaus, my body insisted that I was continually hungry for simple carbohydrates, which I then immediately turned around and puked up.  I lived my life in this kind of hormonal haze that prevented me from understanding anything, unless presented in a TLC reality show a or Lifetime movie, in which case I find it heart-wrenchingly beautiful.  Yeah, so I was pretty much in high school for about six weeks there.
But, now. solidly into my second trimester, I am back on my way to feeling pseudo normal again.

Have you ever seen two people more in need of a drink?
And as part of that normalcy, I am all anxious about the baby coming.  DH and I went on a babymoon for a week, and as we laid back at the pool, and took our sweet time watching TV or napping as we pleased, I noted parents at the resort spending time with their families.  One couple in particular I noted as I passively completed a crossword puzzles beside the pool.  Both parents were absolutely loaded with every flotation device, bag, towel, plastic toy and first aid item known to man.  In additional, they also each carried a small child under one arm, one of whom had pulled off his water shoes and was using it to beat his father in the legs.  Both of the adults nearly collapsed into the deck chairs, dumping their gear, and exclaiming, "We made it!", before forcing themselves up again because one of their children was attempting to drowned herself in the pool.
Oh, yeah.  Can't wait to get me some of that!
It is supposed to be wonderful right?  I will love this screaming, pooping, drooling bald monkey that sucks up all my energy and time, right?
Someone tell me that there is an upside.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Whew! We are still in business

Friday morning the doctor called and said my HcG levels were high enough that they could check via ultra sound to scan for problems.  We got in there by 1:30 and everything looked good: no bleeding.
We are so relieved.  As of yet, we have  ahealthy, perfectly normal baby.
Almost as retribution for my worry, the baby has started making me sick.  No fun, but I am so relieved to have sign of a growing baby, I don't mind too much.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What a mess

So I am spotting- not even spotting- staining- a little pink/beige when I wipe.  Terrifying naturally, but potentially harmless.  Then again, potentially a sign of miscarriage especially considering I am having mestral cramps along with it.  Yeah, bad signs all around.
Add to that the fact that I got into the doctors to have my first hormone levels monitored on Thursday afternoon, meaning I will have the second level taken Saturday afternoon, and given that the clinic is not open on Sunday, I would have needed to wait until Monday to get the results.
Oh, and I am on half my medication.

Ten o'clock rolls around I am completely drained.  Dim the lights, raise the curtain and cue supernatural meltdown.  The kind where an uneducated observer would swear they were witnessing a one-woman exorcism: hyperventilating, dry heaving, screaming, writhing, snot explosions., each moment becoming more and more buried in anger and despair.
The despair is obvious; there is nothing like being unsure whether or not your child is actually dying inside you:  the massive disappointment, the feelings of inadequacy, and helplessness; it's unreal.
Then there is the anger- at myself- for not being able to hold my shit together and for keeping my husband awake.  It sounds like a little thing, but seriously, it takes quite a man to stay in bed beside a woman who, from all visible evidence, may be channeling the gateway to hell.
It is ironic, but it was probably the idea that I was upsetting him that compounded the melt down: because I was desperate to control myself and not inconvenience him, I dove head first into a frustration spiral with each choke or tremble of sadness.  It wasn't until I decided to go and lay on the couch by myself that I was able to quietly kick my own ass into submission.
So this morning I awake completely sheepish and grateful to my wonderful husband, who frankly sounds a little irritated with me, but understanding.  I am astonished by the amount of crap this man has to put up with.  I have married a saint.
I got a call from the doctor saying that I am far enough along for an ultrasound, and we will not have to wait until Monday, but will know after our appointment today.  My menstrual cramps have moved from my back to my front, and I am about 60% certain that we will not be leaving with good news.  It's sucks, but we'll get through it.  I don't know how, but we will get through it somehow.
I think I may go back on full medication though.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We have lift off!

Hey, look at that!
A big fat plus outta no where!
Damn we're good.
Although, it is still a little hard to believe.  Despite feeling super bloated and being thirsty all the time, I don't really feel pregnant- no breast tenderness or morning sickness, although I guess I am really only five weeks pregnant, so we have plenty of time for all of that. I guess it just doesn't feel real yet.  I was definitely more excited after I got pregnant the first time.  Now I am not sure if it is that I am holding my breath until we are further along, or if it is that we really haven't told anyone yet, or if I am just sort of over the whole pregnancy thing already.  God, that would be sad, because from what I hear, this could go on for quite some time.
My psychiatrist has recommended that I go off my Cymbalta for the first trimester.  She didn't necessarily have any more insight on the issue, she just felt that "if I could go off them, I should". And, well, hell, I don't know what to do, so I might as well try it. The good news is she is fairly certain that going off then returning will not cause anymore damage than staying on, so I might as well give it a try.
So... yeah!
Happy baby!

Friday, January 7, 2011

I am seriously going to need to talk to the people at casting.

     Ugh, this is getting ridiculous.  I am not old; there is no reason I should be rapidly careening towards that stage of life wherein the majority of my time is spent complaining about health ailments or concocting conspiracy theories about the medical community. How is it that I find myself engaging in rhetoric fit for Gandpa Simpson?     It just seems like doctors were more trustworthy when I...well....trusted them more.  When I was a little kid I had this pediatrician who was so composed, collected, and spoke with such certainty that I suspect he got all his information directly from God.  He had steel colored hair, and these patient calm blue eyes; it was like he walked out of a Norman Rockwell painting.  If the man had told me that drinking Draino was my best course of action, I would have immediately done it, and I am sure that it would have worked.
     Then I grew up, as all of us do, and was confronted with the wonders of the college medical clinics, wherein any and all conditions are treated with condoms.
     Since leaving college, my doctor appointments more or less resemble episodes of House: no one knows anything, so they just going to shove things into me at random until I start bleeding anally.
     I didn't want this; I want a sane medical history where people in lab coats make sound, infallible diagnoses in calm, resonant voices, and give simple and effective treatments.  Does that happen anywhere?  Because if so, why can't I be on THAT show?  Why do I have to be on the show where medical staff shrugs their shoulders and wave their arms to the rhythm of set to the calliope music?