Archive for the 'The Fam' Category

Sep 19 2011

Your anxiety is funny to your mom, and could be the internet’s fault.

This Sunday, The Man and I followed our usual routine. We went to church, and then afterwards we did our family visits, starting with my Grandma. My Mom happened to also be visiting Grandma that day, which was a great treat and also pretty convenient since I’d brought the ultrasound pics (which apparently I’d forgotten to show to anyone, whoops). I was also glad to see my mother, because I sort of wanted to sound her out on the anxiety I’ve been feeling lately. So, sometime before we ate lunch, when she asked me how I was feeling, I told her: “I feel fine, physically, but I guess I’ve been pretty anxious lately.” She asked me what I was so anxious about, and I said something along the lines of, “I’m anxious about having a baby. You know, how my life is going to change.” She gave me a bewildered look and asked why I’d be anxious about that. “Because…my life has been a certain way for like, ten years. And now it’s going to all be different.”

And that’s when my mother and my grandmother, my role models, my loving supporters, LAUGHED AT ME.

Grandma said, “Well, it IS going to all be different.” Mom chimed in with, “Your life will only be as different as you allow it to be. You can take babies anywhere. You can do almost anything you do now with a baby. You and The Man are lucky. You’re older. You don’t go out and party. You won’t have that issue where you’re 19 years old and all of your friends are heading out to the bar on Friday night, and you’re at home with a baby, wanting to go party.” She continued, “Besides that, if you ever get to a point where you just have to get away from the baby for awhile, you have a lot of people who will give you a night off. You can leave him with me.” (Just as a little background, my mother had my sister when she was 19, and at that time, the US drinking age was 18 instead of 21 as it is now. She was also living in California with my dad, and their entire family lived in Michigan.)

I stopped talking about it at that point, because I was starting to get a serious case of teenage-level, “no one understands me” resentment. As we were heading out to our next stop (The Man’s parents’), Mom hugged me and said “Stop worrying. Everything is going to be fine.”

We headed on to The Man’s parents’ house, where I ended up spending some alone time with one of my sisters-in-law, who has four kids of her own. While we were talking, I brought up the fact that I had been feeling really anxious about impending life changes, and she kind of laughed and said, “I remember feeling that way. I think everyone does. You have no idea what’s coming and there is no going back. I remember thinking what if I’ve made a big mistake?

Later that evening, at home, I started thinking about the differences in response I’d gotten from Mom and Grandma and the one I’d gotten from my SIL. Was it just that SIL was closer to the time before she’d had her first child, so she remembered more clearly what it was like? Or was it that Mom and Grandma genuinely had no idea what I was talking about? And if it was the second one, what caused the change between the generations? I’m inclined to blame the internet. Well, the internet and the VAST AMOUNT of parenting literature that’s available to new parents these days.

Don’t misunderstand me; I’m very grateful that there are books and web sites out there to help me learn how to be a better mom. I don’t currently know anything about sleep training or breastfeeding, but I’m looking forward to reading a couple of books that friends have recommended and I love the YouTube videos I’ve found about swaddling. However, for every sensible, soothing blog or site I’ve found written by a new mom, there is another one waiting in the wings to bombard me with The Best Way to do something, telling me that if I don’t spend 80% of my day actively engaging with my child then I am a neglectful parent, and also that my marriage is going to go directly to Hell and there’s not much I can do about it. With all of this information, much of it contradictory, is it surprising that New Mom Anxiety is a common trait among the Internet Generation? Even the “amateurs” get in on the act: Go to any Parenting question on Yahoo! Answers and see if you can find one that doesn’t have a woman on it who is obviously jockeying for valedictorian of mommyhood (or at least is trolling to make the other mom’s feel bad).

Let me give you an example. The major source of my anxiety is that I can clearly picture myself bored out of my mind, sitting on the floor eight hours a day, dangling a rattle, or (in a year or so) playing with cars and trains. I never have time to read, or look on the internet, or even clean the house. I turned to Google and asked “How much of your day is spent entertaining your child?” I found a couple of different web sites with a question/answer format, and the vast majority of moms said something along the lines of “I try to make sure I spend about 30-45 minutes in the morning and then again in the afternoon/evening actively playing with my child.” (This number did not include things like talking during change times, feeding times, etc. We are talking actually get down on the floor and do nothing but play.) BUT THEN there were always one or two moms who say “I spend the majority of my time playing with my child. I want to seize every moment because I know the time goes so fast.” It’s these types of things that make me break out into a cold sweat. It’s those bars that are set so high that I don’t know if I even want to try to reach them. I don’t want to be a person who spends all day engaged in playing with a child. That doesn’t sound fulfilling to me; it barely sounds like a life.

And yet, new or expectant mothers are faced with these impossible goals all the time, and there is very little sympathy from the goal-setters when you fall short. No one wants to be judged “the bad mom”, or the mom who doesn’t like her child. But just try to say something like “I don’t really enjoy playing with children” on the internet, and you are sure to get at least one person coming at you with the judging-stick to give you a good wallop of guilt.

That leads me back to our moms (and grandmothers). Sure, they had older women to give them advice, and some resources like Dr. Spock, but I get the feeling that there was a lot less pressure in their days to raise your child perfectly or to make them the center of your existence. When Grandma tells me about her younger days, stories about her kids barely figure in, unless as a side note.  Like, if she talked about bowling on a league, she would say that Grandpa bowled on Tuesday while she stayed home with the kids, and then she bowled on Thursday while he stayed home with the kids. Having children for the baby boomers wasn’t so much a choice as just something that you did, and therefore there wasn’t a lot of talk about this huge life-choice you were making or the big shift in your day-to-day life. Everybody had kids. And since everybody also wanted to keep having fun with their friends and traveling and living their lives, they made it work. Does that mean that kids maybe didn’t get 5 hours of quality learning time every single day? Yes, but it also meant that parents didn’t attempt to totally eradicate their own identities in favor of developing their children’s.

After thinking about all of this, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to be the valedictorian of parenthood. I didn’t want to be the kind of woman who shucks off her previous life and just becomes Mommy. I want my child to know that he’s important to me, but that he’s not my entire life. I want my husband to know that I will remain the woman he married and fell in love with, and not become this person who is only concerned with whether or not Baby is getting enough exposure to various important stimuli. I want my child to learn how to entertain himself, how to solve his own problems, how to do his own chores, and how to live his own life. I want him to know that if he gets stuck, I will be glad to help him, but that he is intelligent enough to do many things on his own. I want him to experience the joy of losing himself in a book for hours, of diligently working on a picture, of concentrating on his newest creation. How can he do and learn all that if I’m constantly there with him? He can’t. And I won’t cripple him in that way.

I’m not going to tell anyone they are wrong for spending “a majority of their time” playing with their child. That is a choice every person has to make for themselves. However, I’m also not going to allow those people make me feel like a horrible person for not following an example that I cannot agree with.

(Sounds pretty brave, eh? We’ll see how I feel about the whole thing tomorrow. Ugh, hormones!)

6 responses so far

Feb 25 2011

IVF Part One: Making the decision

Published by under Infertility,IVF,The Fam

For us, the road to IVF was probably longer than most people’s, and that was completely our doing. It took us a long time to get through all of the diagnostic things and other treatments that couples try before they come down to deciding on IVF.

Our infertility journey started on November 1, 2007. That was the day we first met with our first “infertility” doctor. This doctor I have referred to in other entries as “Dr. F”. He was a member of the same physician’s group where my normal gynecologist practiced. He took us through a lot of the earlier testing: The Man’s sperm analysis, my blood work, and an HSG. Everything came back normal. After the initial rounds of testing, he recommended that I go on Clomid and we start doing intra-ueterine insemination (IUI), which would boost our chances of pregnancy. I think we ended up doing six rounds of Clomid and six IUIs before we called it quits on that treatment. All of that testing/treatment had taken about a year, and we’d had no results. We waited for a few months before going to another office visit with Dr. F, and at that time he basically told us that his belief was that I had endometriosis and that I needed a laparaoscopy.  Since we had pretty terrible insurance, that meant we’d be paying the cost of the procedure out of pocket, an expense of about $10,000. I was skeptical that I had endometriosis, because I had exhibited absolutely no symptoms. He also told us that if we were going to do IVF, that a laparoscopy wouldn’t be necessary, because IVF would bypass the problems caused by endometriosis. We decided after that appointment to stop seeing Dr. F, because he didn’t want to do anymore testing, and he also didn’t do IVF. It’s worth noting that his bedside manner was also deplorable and he never made us feel comfortable or like he was in control of the treatment. It was discouraging, because we didn’t know what we were supposed to do next. A comprehensive plan was never outlined, and we never felt like we knew where we stood.

After a few more months, my friend Julio recommended I go see her doctor, so I did. This doctor, Dr. S, worked in the same group as Dr. F. She was nice, but basically all she did was get me an ultrasound to check for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and when that was negative, she said the same thing as Dr. F: we can do a laparoscopy if you want, but I would recommend IVF because that will get you a baby.

It was at that point that we contacted Wayne State University Physician Group, who set us up for an appointment with Dr. Singh, a reproductive endocrinologist. This was in February 2011, which meant we had drawn our treatment out for over three years. I don’t think that, looking back, I would have necessarily moved any faster. I knew that since all of the tests we’d had done indicated no problem on either of our ends (our official diagnosis is Infertility of Unknown Origin), we would either just get pregnant out of the blue, or wind up needing IVF. I think I needed to take everything slow to get my brain to process the fact that I would eventually be undergoing IVF, which is by no means a simple process. Also, both of us were young enough that we could afford to take our time. In November 2007, when we began treatment, I was 29 and The Man was 32. If we had been closer to our mid-30s, we would have felt more urgency to move the process along.

We began the testing and assessments associated with starting IVF in February 2011. By the end of that month, if we had wanted to, we were ready to proceed. However, our finances required us to delay beginning for at least a month. It was nice to have a month of breathing time to process what we’d been through and what was coming next.

The IVF Series

Part One: Making the decision

Part Two: Flurry of tests and consents

Part Three: Drugs and money

Part Four: Stimulation

Part Five: Retrieval

Part Six: Transfer and waiting

Part Seven: Pregnancy Testing

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Jan 24 2011

Vignettes.

Published by under Friends,Pets,Snippets,The Fam,The Man

(UPDATED! Originally, this post was one conversation [the hole-punch one] but then I thought of another one and then I decided to just keep adding on as I thought of them. So, this post might be different depending on when you first read it.)

No. 1

The Man is using my one-hole punch to punch holes in the corners of index cards, so that he may put them on a ring. He is Way Too Organized. I’m reading blogs.

The Man: (jiggling the hole-punch) I think I broke this.

Me: What?

The Man: (demonstrating that the hole-punch does not squeeze properly anymore) It’s broken.

Me: You broke my hole-punch!

The Man: Well, I didn’t mean to!

Me: You know what’s funny about this? I use that hole punch to punch holes out of FABRIC, and it works just fine. You use it for its intended purpose, and you break it.

The Man: I use things too aggressively.

My husband, the Aggressive Hole Puncher.

(On a side note, how many other former cheerleaders learned to spell “aggressive” from that one cheer? You know: “Be. Aggressive. B-E aggressive. B-E-A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E.” I was only a Middle School Cheerleader, but I think it was worth it just to learn how to spell that one word.)

No.2

A bunch of us are sitting around my father-in-law’s house. I’m sitting on the couch with one of my sisters-in-law, and two of her kids are hanging around, too. My two-year-old niece comes in the room and I notice she is wearing fleece pajama pants.

Me: Aw, look at her little Ugly Pants!

Bert (four-year-old nephew): Those are NOT ugly pants!

Me: Oh, well, that’s just what your uncle and I call our pajama pants, whether they are ugly or not. All pajama pants are Ugly Pants.

Bert: Those pants are NOT ugly!

Me: I know that -

Bert: YOUR pants are ugly.

Me: OK, then.

Bert: (going back to his Lincoln Logs and muttering) Ugly…

For the record, I was wearing jeans.

No. 3

We’re talking about the “Dangerous Cold Warning” that my mother-in-law’s area apparently received from the National Weather Service.

The Man: What makes it “dangerous” cold?

Me: I don’t know. I guess it’s really, really cold.

The Man: But, it’s winter.

Me: I know.

The Man: LOOK OUT. IT’S COLD. ALSO, JANUARY.

No. 4

The Man and I stopped in to Julio’s on our way to Grandma’s this past Sunday. I was dropping off a lip balm and a Babies R Us coupon book. Julio has a Chihuahua/demon mix dog that has a really loud yapper, and her brand new baby had just fallen asleep, so she picked up the dog and held it while we talked to minimize the yapping. It’s probably worth noting that Julio has mentioned several times that she’s having a hard time establishing a routine with the baby, and her nerves might be a little frayed.

Me: OK, let me know if you like the lip balm. You’re not allergic to anything are you?

Julio: Like…what?

Me: I don’t know. There are no chemicals or anything in it. It’s all natural stuff. Like beeswax or shea butter or anything.

Julio: Tell you what, if I look like Angelina Jolie in a couple days, we’ll know for sure.

Me: Sounds good. Oh, and that coupon book also has some sale things in the back that I couldn’t really get all the details for, because for some reason they have to seal it up like the damn SAT exam…

Julio: I know! What do they think is going to happen if – (she stops talking and looks at her dog, who she is holding over her shoulder, while patting it on the back). I’M BURPING MY DOG.

Me: Is it working?

Julio: Oh my God, I’m going insane.  The other day I was sitting in a chair, not holding anything, and I realized I was trying to rock the baby to sleep. So, I was just rocking myself back and forth.

Me: Wow.

Julio: Next time I’m grocery shopping I’ll probably try to burp a frozen turkey.

No. 5

The ongoing struggles of living with a brain-damaged cat…Please be aware that the following scene takes place every. single. day. Also, that the whole thing creates in me a slowly growing feeling of suspense that really stresses me out.

I’m sitting on one end of the couch. Fate (the normal cat) is on the other end. Between us is a WIDE OPEN EXPANSE of sofa. Destiny (the brain-damaged cat) likes to nap with Fate during the day because they keep each other warm.

Destiny approaches the couch. She puts her front paws up on the cushions and looks at the empty space.

She doesn’t like what she sees.

She drops back to the floor and does a lap around the coffee table.

She puts her front paws up on the cushions and looks at the empty space.

She doesn’t like what she sees.

She drops back to the floor and does a lap around the coffee table.

Repeat anywhere between 5 and 15 times, depending on how tolerant I’m feeling that day.

As she rounds the coffee table, I bend down and pick her up and put her on the couch.

She freezes, acting like I’ve just placed her into a lake of lava.

She jumps down and does a lap around the coffee table.

She puts her front paws up on the cushions and looks at the empty space.

She doesn’t like what she sees.

She drops back to the floor and does a lap around the coffee table.

Me: ARRRRRRRRGH!

One response so far

Nov 19 2010

Until later…

Published by under The Fam

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Not dead, but this morning started on his second, eternal life. We’ll miss you until we see you again, Grandpa.

One response so far

Nov 13 2010

Broken Promises.

Published by under The Fam,The Man

We were in Bronner’s, looking at Nativity sets. I found a set of figures that I wanted, that were reasonably priced, but all of the stables seemed to be more expensive than I thought they should be. I was hemming and hawing, trying to decide if I wanted to spend the money.

The Man: You know, if you take a picture of one of these, we could probably build it.

Me: Really?

The Man: Yeah, it doesn’t look too hard. A piece of particle board for the base, another piece for the backdrop…

Me: You’d have to draw it out, you know.

The Man: That’s what the picture’s for!

Me: You’d still have to draw it on the wood before you cut it out!

The Man: (thoughtfully) Dad could probably do it for you easily…maybe you’d even get it faster than I got my thing, which hasn’t shown up yet.

Me: What’s your Dad supposed to be building for you?

The Man: A house for my Batman.

We decided just to buy one.

One response so far

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