Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Guilt

What is it with guilt? Really, I mean I know it can really work to ones benefit sometimes (I could give a Jewish mother a good run for her money in the guilt trip department) but what about when it's you making yourself feel guilty.

We went to Vegas. It was great. Despite being borderline hysterical on the plane (it's unnatural for humans to fly, I'll never be comfortable with it) and being disappointed about part of our trip being cancelled I had a wonderful time. Sean and I renewed our wedding vows at the Little White Wedding Chapel. (isn't that the one Britney went to?) We gambled...my favorite past time. We ate...oh my God, did we eat! We saw some awesome shows. And no matter how much fun I was having, in the back of my mind all I could think about was how horrible a mother I am for leaving my babies behind for 5 days. And what kind of mother am I spending thousands of dollars on a vacation that I couldn't (wouldn't) bring my kids on.

So my second night there I cried on my steak. All through supper. All I thought about was Connor wondering where his Mommy went and why he hasn't seen her. I had hoped that he still lived in an out of sight out of mind world but then heard that he was extra clingy. That made me cry more.
So besides buying myself some new heels (which were a total necessity because holy crap the heels I brought killed my feet) and a sweater at the airport because I had accidentally checked my jacket and my sunburn was giving me a chill, I only bought things for the kids. Buying my way out of guilt.

When we got home Connor gave me a hug like one he's never given before. He just put his head on my shoulder and laid there for about 5 minutes. It was the best feeling ever. (of course, the girls just wanted to know what we bought them and then went back to the computer)
And since then, he hasn't left my side. He's made it clear that out of sight out of mind is certainly not part of his world anymore and I'm being punished for going on vacation but having to deal with super clingy boy.

And that's just fine by me.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Anxiety

I think I stand to learn a lot from my kids.

I am a very anxious person. The older I get the more I worry about little things and the big things. I tend to be very controlling so being in any situation that I'm not in control of stresses me to no end.

When I was younger...or rather, before I came to terms with my own mortality I was fearless. I would have gone skydiving or bungee jumping. I would have travelled the world with only a backpack.

So in just a little over a weeks time I am headed to Las Vegas. I've been there before, the adventure of a lifetime. 5 days in a car with 4 other adults. And that was just one way. But we saw so much and as my dad said, the best part of the trip was just getting there.
Now I get anxious driving to Newfoundland.

I flew to New Brunswick by myself the summer I turned 12. I was not afraid. I had my Sony Walkman with my Madonna tape and some books and was more bothered by the frat boys sitting next to me.
When I flew to Newfoundland in 2001 I was terrified. This was before 9/11 so that wasn't what scared me, it was that I was in a very large and heavy piece of metal that would be thousands of feet in the air and I was not in control of it. And to make it harder, I had my baby, my reason for living with me. It didn't help that it was a turbulent flight.
So in 10 days I'm going to get on a plane again, this time without my children and I couldn't be more terrified. I almost feel like I tempt fate by doing something selfish like take a vacation without my children, with my husband, so far from home. One horrible accident and my kids are orphans.

And yet, I know we will be fine, they will be fine and I'm sure by the beginning April I'll be writing about how I long for the freedom and quiet and peaceful solitude I had on vacation.

Mary Jo went for her first sleep over last night. This is my clingy child. The one who cried through 2 years of kindergarten. She cried for the first two months of first grade. Just one short year ago she wouldn't go to Maddie's birthday party and now she's sleeping at Maddie's house. On Thursday night she started getting cold feet. She told me she was nervous that she would miss me and Sean too much. I offered to arrange for Maddie to sleep here instead and she said to me, "no, I'll sleep over there. If I don't try I won't know how much fun it is."

A good lesson for me. I can sit here and dream of going on vacation but unless I get on that plane I'm not going to know how much fun it will be.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm having one of those days where I'm feeling angry, sad and sorry for myself. It's because of a dream I had last night. It brought up some bad memories and now I can't shake them.
I went shopping this morning to cheer myself up. I spent too much money of course, on things I really didn't need. I bought some fondant icing. I had a cake mix in the cupboard that I had planned on making for one of my daycare kids for his birthday last month but then I got the flu and ended up giving him a muffin with icing on it because I was too sick to make the cake.
There is no cake eating occasion coming and I'm not even that big of a cake fan but I can't let it sit there and not get used.
So I'm going to try my hand at fondant. I'll be sure to post a pic of the disaster when I'm done!

I also bought some beading wire and clasps and crimps. I made myself a Swarovski crystal necklace after I lost Violet and over the last couple of years it's broken two or three times. So I'm going to fix it ... again. Maybe I'll make it a bracelet this time.

Connor is sick. He's picked up yet another cold from my little daycare baby. At least he's had his shot!

Emily has finally agreed to get her hair cut (I bribed her with money!) So I got the name and address of the place she's going to donate it to and when I get back from Vegas we'll make a date for us to go out to the salon, get her hair done and have lunch. A real girls day out. I'll admit I'm looking forward to that time alone with her. We don't get much of it. I hope she's looking forward to it too.

Mary Jo has gotten past the nightmare/thumb sucking thing. Thank God! She's sleeping better which means so are we!

I should be so much happier today. We have record breaking temperatures outside, I'm smelling cake from the kitchen and I spent the morning shopping.
Tomorrow will be better.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fertility Friend

I can remember taking the pregnancy test for Emily. It was a stark, white negative. I threw it in the garbage, disappointed but not too concerned, it was after all only our first month of trying. We had learned about natural family planning at our wedding prep course and I was charting my temps and CM.
About 20 minutes later I went to the bathroom to get ready to go out and happened to glance at the test in the garbage. And there were two lines staring back at me. My negative test was a positive test. The thing was, I knew I was pregnant *before God did* as the expression goes so when I went for the blood test the HCG levels came back quite low. The Dr (my own was on holiday, this was after all, 3 days before Christmas) told me that there was a chance it was an ectopic pregnancy or that I was going to miscarry. I had never been so scared. Obviously all turned out well after 40 uneventful weeks of pregnancy Emily was born.

Mary Jo was even more uneventful. She was conceived on the third try. Again, charting and temping. And again my HCG came back low because again I knew I was pg the day my period was late. And the 40 weeks with her were quiet and her birth was even quieter (I honestly remember saying, 10 minutes after she was born - well that was a cakewalk! And I had no meds)

Enter the demon known as infertility. It took a long time to decide to have a third. Mary Jo is a spirited child, I didn't know if I'd have the energy to balance her, Emily and a life for me and Sean too. It took 15 months to conceive Violet. That was hard. After getting pregnant so easily twice before I couldn't understand A: why it was so hard and B: why after 4 years of having perfectly normal cycles they decided to go all wonky when I decided to TTC. My positive test came quite late, I took it on a whim fully expecting to get the 5th negative test for that cycle. It should have been my first clue that something wasn't right. And as excited as I was, I knew in my heart, something was not right.

By this time I'd found Fertility Friend. It was a lifeline and a fountain of priceless information. And I expressed my concerns, not feeling pregnant, not having sore boobs, not being nauseous. And the women shared their stories of symptoms (or lack there of) like mine. Some went on to have perfectly healthy pregnancies and babies and others did not.
And deep down I knew I would not.
July 1, 2006 is the worst day of my life. July 20, 2006 is a close second. The first, when I started spotting. The latter when I finally miscarried.

I took some time off to morn. I didn't go back to fertility friend. In a way I blamed it. All the information I had gotten from there, I felt like I'd poisoned myself. I'd heard all the horror stories of infertility, miscarriages, stillbirths and I almost had an *it's contagious* mentality.
Stupid, I know. But I was so angry at so much of the world. By the fall I was ready to jump back on the TTC horse and ready to give Fertility Friend another go. I was welcomed back with open arms and the support I felt from women who knew exactly how crappy I felt, who weren't just paying me lip service and who weren't telling my to just be happy that I had two healthy kids was wonderful.
I got my positive pregnancy test on December 20, 2006. On December 22, 2006 (exactly 8 years after I found out I was having Emily) I miscarried that baby.

But I had learned something from my friends online...that often times the body is more fertile after a miscarriage. So going against Dr's orders, I jumped back on the horse, so to speak and conceived Connor was conceived 28 days later.

It's funny how some things change. I said above I knew I was pregnant with the girls before God did. This time I really knew. I knew at 6 days past ovulation (the egg hadn't even implanted...but I knew) And I told the Dr so. We had just begun seeing the Dr Roth again. He'd delivered both the girls but this time I needed him for his fertility expertise. He was going to run all the tests he could to find out the reason for my miscarriages. I told him the day we went in to see him that I was pg. He ordered a blood test but at 6 dpo it came back negative. I said, not to worry, I'll be back in a week. 5 days later I went back in and told him, I'm pregnant, do another test. Sure enough I was right.
I celebrated quietly, telling no one except the ladies on FF. They celebrated with me and I joined the ranks of October 2007 Mommy. And together, we went through a lot of ups and a lot of downs. And despite having never met any other them, they became like family. Sharing in the joys of my pregnancy as I shared in the joys of theirs.
Connor didn't make it easy on me. I can truly say, the only benefit I see to being a high risk pregnancy is all the extra ultrasounds I got. 10 to be exact. But as I lay in the bed, Connor's head out, his face purple and distorted because the cord is wrapped so tightly around his neck, the nurse yelling for the Dr and the special care nursery to be ready, me asking what was wrong, Sean telling me not to push....all I could think about was, NOT AGAIN. How am I going to explain this to Emily and Mary? How am I going to go home with no baby?
There has never been a sound more beautiful than when I heard, from down the hall in the special care nursery, Connor let out a yelp.

16 months later I have come to the end of the road. I've not been officially diagnosed with anything. The Dr. suspected PCOS but I got pregnant so testing mode stopped and operation Stay Pregnant commenced. I've got no plans to have more kids so I guess I'll never know what happened. I do know why though. I wanted a third child but I never knew how much. I have so much more of an appreciation for parenthood, for how blessed I am to be able to be a parent and especially for the gifts my children are. I know it sounds cheesie but one stop to the TTC side of Fertility Friend, one peek into the message boards, with post after post from women who've struggled with infertility longer, harder and more desperately than I ever did, who've never been blessed with a child and who may never be reminds me of how lucky I am.

And each day I am thankful that I found such a great site and even more thankful for the ladies on it who have supported me, laughed with me, cried with me and celebrated with me. They have travelled the same road. Having them makes that road less lonely.