Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bust an Infertility Myth Blog Challenge from Resolve

I'm not sure if this actually counts as a myth.  I haven't heard people spewing it at me like I've heard lots of other myths since I "became" infertile, but it's one that I thought was true.  My parents instilled a great faith in me of the medical community.  So when it first occurred to me that my lack of periods could mean something bigger on the baby making front, I just assumed that doctors and science would help point me in the right direction.  Well, I guess they did, but it certainly didn't happen the way I expected and I have learned along the way that I probably know more about infertility then most of my doctors have.  So I'd like to share my experiences that busted this myth for me.

My Infertility Myth: The medical community as a whole has an understanding of infertility

Now, when I say "has an understanding" I don't mean that the medical community as a whole should know how to diagnose me or treat me.  What I would expect from them is to know what throws up a red flag as a possible infertility problem, when they're out of their realm of experience so that they can send me to a specialist, and to know how to be thoughtful about the emotional side of my condition.  Here's what I will try to make the short version of how I lost faith in my doctors.

- I was 17 years old before I got my first period and I never got them regularly after that.  As an adult I say, yikes, something is seriously wrong here, but the teenager in me certainly didn't mind not having to deal with periods.  It wasn't until I was in college and my periods were really painful that I went to an OBGYN.  After describing my situation to her, she put me on birth control pills to regulate my periods and that was that.  No concern about why this was happening or what it might mean for my health and reproductive abilities in the future.  Just a nice quick fix.  I didn't know enough to ask for any more.

- Fast forward almost ten years.  I was about to get married and went to my GP at the time for another reason.  While I was there I discussed my concerns about possible fertility problems with her, and she told me not to worry, that a lot of people just need to get regulated and that most likely when I stopped birth control, my periods would be normal.  Sounded good to me.

- 3 months later I had been off birth control and slowly my cycles were stretching out.  I used fertility monitors and charted my temperatures.  To me it appeared that I wasn't ovulating, so I went to my new GP.  I explained all my symptoms to her (irregular/heavy/painful periods, some acne, loss of hair, headaches, etc) and she told me that it can take a little while to get used to being off the pill.  She pulled on my hair and when none came out she said she thought everything was normal but if I was concerned to go see my OBGYN.

- Having no OBGYN in our new city I tried to get in to one recommended to me but there was a long wait, so instead I saw the nurse practitioner at another office.  I gave her my symptoms and she ran a bunch of tests to see if I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) but because I didn't report a large amount of dark hair on my body, she chose not to test my testosterone level.  Everything came back normal and she decided to try her hand at Clomid.  I did one round at 50 mg, went in for one ultrasound and they didn't see anything.  That coupled with my husbands irregular semen analysis and my age (which she had recorded as 10 years older then I actually was) lead her to refer me to an RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist).

- Also, the ultrasound I had in the OBGYN's office was an internal ultrasound.  Nobody prepared me for this.  It never occurred to the NP that maybe this whole process was overwhelming, scary, and invasive.  So I went to the office with my hubby in tow (it'll be fun, it's an ultrasound!) only to be put in the stirrups and wanded.  Totally traumatized.

- Finally at the RE's office, I was in good hands.  She tested everything, found an elevated testosterone level and diagnosed me with PCOS 7 months after my first doctor visit with the GP.  She scoffed at my OBGYN's attempts with clomid.  She did it right and got us pregnant.  Then we miscarried and hit some missteps there as well.  The nurse practitioner in the office at the time had no emotional compass for what her patients might be feeling.  The whole time I was sitting in her office, bleeding profusely, she was rather dismissive, telling me that she knew this must be "scary" and that they'd see what they could find out.  I remember sitting there, totally numb, while they tried over and over to get blood to check my beta levels.  I think they finally had to run a line into my wrist.  Once it was confirmed, my doctor was worried it could be ectopic.  So she told me that if I had severe pain to call her or go to the ER as it could be a rupture and they'd do another ultrasound in a few days.  Well, she neglected to tell me that I could have the equivalent of labor pains with the miscarriage.  So I ended up in the ER for no reason with what I now know were labor pains as my pregnancy ended naturally.

There are more and more tiny examples that I can share (and I'm sure many, many more that the infertility community as a whole could share).  The feeling that my RE's office was a bit overwhelmed by the volume of patients that they had.  A lack of feeling like my doctor really remembered or knew me.  The fact that I would wait months for an appointment and then it felt like the doctor wasn't totally prepared for it.  It's hard for me to say too many negative things about my RE at this point though, because I have a beautiful baby girl thanks to her.

What started making the visits to that office, and all the others easier was my realization that I needed to be as educated as I possibly could.  I got copies of everything, asked questions of everyone, read everything I possibly could, and pushed my doctors when I felt like they weren't advocating for me.  So to me, when I read about advocacy for infertility, it means more then just trying to make a change in laws, taxes, and insurance.  It means making a change in the way we interact with the medical community.  It took 7 months and 3 doctors (or 8 years and 4 doctors depending on when you start counting) to figure out I have PCOS which is an incredibly common condition (and I know that there are many women who have much worse stories then mine).  They lacked knowledge, they lacked compassion, and they lacked urgency.  If I was a patient with a life threatening illness, I could sue them.  But since my condition "just" makes me infertile, all I can do is curse the time I lost and learn for the future.  Because unfortunately, it doesn't seem like the medical community really knows as much as they should about us or takes us as seriously as we should be taken.  That belief that I had, the trust that I had in them when I started, is busted.

For more information on infertility:
For more information on National Infertility Awareness Week:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I have a confession

There are days, like today, where I feel like if I take this amazing baby that I have for granted, knowingly or not, that something is going to happen to take her away.  I know it sounds crazy, but it took so long for us to finally have Bean that some days it just feels too good to be true.  It feels like the other shoe could drop at any second.  I fell into that today.

I tried to put Bean down for her morning nap and it just wasn't happening.  She was obviously tired, her eyes kept closing and then they'd pop back open.  She even fell asleep and I set her down in her crib, and she immediately sat back up.  I was frustrated.  Not frustrated at her, it's not her fault that she can't sleep.  I was frustrated for her because she was obviously tired.  I was frustrated that her sleep for the rest of the day would be affected, because for Bean, the more tired she is the harder it is for her to sleep well.  And I was frustrated at all the things I had foolishly planned to get accomplished while she was sleeping.  I should know better then that by now.

So I gave up on the nap, brought her downstairs, and tried to have something to eat and check my email for two minutes while she was playing.  Bean wanted to share whatever I was eating, so while I was checking my email at the desk, she would go play, then come over and get a bite of banana, then go back to playing.  I have no idea what happened.  I saw it happen, but I have no idea why exactly.  She was squatting down like she does a lot and must have lost her footing.  She didn't just fall forward, she pushed herself forward, like she was trying to get her feet back under her.  Unfortunately, there was a big wooden piece of furniture right there and she hit it head first.  The sound made me sick to my stomach.  She's had lot of head bonks since she started crawling and walking, and usually I can just be rational, watch her for awhile and she's fine, but I've never heard one like this.

She started screaming and I scooped her up to calm her down.  Once she was calm and I got a good look at the giant bump forming on her forehead, I called the pediatrician and headed out the door.  I know that I could have waited and watched her, but this one scared me.  I'm not at their office all the time, as a matter a fact we've never been except for our well visits, so I didn't feel bad about going in even if we didn't end up needing to this time.  The whole drive there I couldn't help thinking that I had somehow created this situation.  I was frustrated, I was checking my email, I was sharing my banana.  I wasn't being as careful of a mama as I should have been.  Logic was lost at this point.

So we went to the doctor, I snuggled my Bean a little extra the whole time we were there, and she's fine.  When we finally got home I broke down.  I sat there crying because I was relieved, because I was angry that I have these crazy thoughts and feelings because of the journey that brought us our Bean, because I don't want to take anything for granted, but I want to be able to be human.  I don't want to feel like any second the rugs going to be ripped out from underneath me.  I know logically all the reasons that this is crazy, but that's what infertility did to me.  It gave me hope over and over again, just to take it away.  I just can't always shake the fear, even though Bean's here now.  So I held her a little closer today, tried to go easy on myself, and be thankful for everything that I have.  I don't know though, I've got to figure out a way to stop feeling this way, I just haven't figured out how yet.  Hopefully it will come in time.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Restless Night

Last night was rough.  Bean woke up around 12:40 or so.  Hubby tried to get her back to sleep but she was really upset and wanted her mama.  I went in and started rocking her but she just couldn't settle down.  She stopped crying and went back to sleep but she was really restless.  Usually she nestles into my arms and it isn't long before her breathing is heavy and she's fast asleep.  Last night she was all over the place.  I tried for awhile, tried putting her back to bed in case she was just tired of being held, and passed her back to hubby but none of it worked.  Since she cried every time I gave her back to hubby, I sent him back to bed. I figured one of us should be sleeping.  I knew I wouldn't be sleeping anytime soon.

I tried every trick in the book that I could think of to help Bean sleep easier.  None of them worked.  Every time one of them would fail, I would feel more helpless.  Here's this little person, who I know better then anyone else does, but I can't figure out how what's going on with her.  Is she not feeling well?  Is she scared?  Did she learn something new and can't stop thinking about it?  Is she mooing like a cow in her dreams like she has been all day when she's awake?  Is her diaper too tight?  Is her sleeper too small?  Is the angle of her head ten degrees too high?  I racked my brain and started to feel more and more helpless and alone.  It was dark and quiet.  It felt like the whole world was sleeping except for me and little Bean.  It isn't the only night we've spent like this.

Finally I gave up trying to figure out why she wasn't sleeping and went to the only thing that almost always does the trick.  I nursed her.  I hated to do it because I'm planning on starting to ween her soon and I want to try other ways to comfort her first.  Exhaustion finally set in though and I gave up.  I changed her diaper, checked her all out to make sure nothing was hurting her, and snuggled in the rocker to feed her.  After she ate she settled right down and went to sleep.  I finally crawled back into bed sometime after 2.

All in all, it's not a horrible experience of course.  I tried to let go of my frustration about all of this when she was real little and I came to the realization one night that this period of her life is a very short one.  It won't be long before rocking her like that will just be a memory and my little baby will be growing up.  I enjoy our time snuggling together.  What I have a hard time with is feeling helpless.  I have this little person who is changing and growing in so many ways but she still can't communicate simple things with me like that she's hungry, or cold, or that she needs to burp and just can't seem to do it on her own.  Somehow, the nighttime makes that helplessness feel magnified and I feel totally alone in the world.  Totally alone with this problem I can't solve.  I figured it out last night, but what happens when I'm not nursing her anymore?  What happens when I don't have that in my back pocket and she still can't just tell me what's wrong?  I have a feeling that this is just the first of many problems in her life that I won't be able to solve for her and I'm going to have to deal with that.  Hopefully they won't all happen between the hours of midnight and 5 am.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Hello to everyone visiting for ICLW!  My blog is typically focused on parenting after infertility.  I have a beautiful baby girl who is almost a year old (how the heck did that happen???) and a little two year old puppy who was, in many ways, our first baby.  It took us three years, one miscarriage, one chemical pregnancy, one surgery, and 6 medicated IUI's to finally bring our little Bean into the world and I just am grateful every single moment of my life.  I know that it's changed who I am as a person, as a wife, and most definitely as a mother.  I stay at home with Bean and try really hard to devote myself to her and my family in as many ways as I can, while still trying to keep a little bit of time for myself.  It's a balancing act and I'm still figuring it all out.  On the infertility front, we're starting to talk about the idea of a sibling for Bean and will probably be back at the RE in a month or two so that we can see what she thinks the process will be this time.  We're not totally ready yet, but we know that we've got to start thinking about it.  So that's my story.  I can't wait to hear yours!  Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Vicious Cycle

I've been wanting to get in better shape for awhile now.  I've lost my pregnancy weight and now I'm working on the infertility weight.  I'm not really overweight at this point, but I'm out of shape.  I'm pretty active all day since Bean is really active, but I haven't found time to do some real exercising.  The problem isn't that the time doesn't exist, it's that I just feel exhausted.  My plan has been that during Bean's first nap, I'd work out and there's no reason why that can't work.  When I think about it, I get really excited about it and I've been working on cleaning up the basement and getting our "home gym" back together again (it got a little flooded with baby stuff).  The problem is that when nap time actually arrives, I just feel exhausted.

Bean hasn't been a very good sleeper since she was about 4 months old.  The first 4 months, she slept pretty good, then we just had two straight months of really rough nights until it got a little better.  Since then it's slowly gotten better and better, with some setbacks, but I still feel so tired.  It's like I just can't get caught up from when I was up 5 or 6 times a night.  I have a really hard time napping during the day, unless it's in the rocker with Bean, then I can pass out really easily.  I know I should probably get to bed earlier at night, but by the time Bean goes to bed, I need at least an hour to do something that I want to do.  I just feel like I'm stuck in this cycle that I can't break out of.  I know that I'll probably feel better and have more energy if I start working out regularly, but I just feel so exhausted, I can't kick my butt into doing it.  I know, I know, I just have to do it.  I just have to suck it up and try and see what happens.

Oh sleep, how I miss you.  I remember this foolish, foolish pregnant woman saying something like, "I think I'll sleep better once the baby is here.  Even if I get woken up a lot, at least I'll be able to sleep really well in between."  I had no idea.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Just a nice, ordinary weekend

It's been pretty quiet this weekend.  We got together with my mother-in-law yesterday as she was kind enough to buy Bean a new car seat for her first birthday present (I still can't wrap my brain around the fact that she's almost one!).  I'm so excited for Bean because the new convertible car seat seems so much more comfortable then her infant seat.  She was so happy and quiet on her inaugural ride in it, just reading books and looking out the window.  I'm so hopeful that our longer drives will get easier and that she might actually start sleeping in the car again.  That would be fantastic.

I have to give you a little back story about my mother-in-law, actually the in-laws in general.  It hasn't been the easiest road becoming part of hubby's family.  You see, hubby is Asian, and I'm just about as white as can be.  It never bothered either of us, but I wasn't exactly the wife his parents had imagined for him.  It took  some time for them to warm up to me and a lot of work on my part to try to win them over.  I'm not sure I ever did totally, but it wasn't for lack of trying.

It's also taken some time getting used to life in their family.  In their eyes, when hubby and I got married, I left my family and became part of theirs.  That's been a little hard for me to wrap my head around.  I still feel like I have two families, but to them, my parents should be secondary now.  I know this is a cultural difference, as a lot of ours are, and so hubby and I have tried to balance everything very carefully and fairly.  I have to give my hubby a lot of credit because he has done an amazing job being the liaison between his parents and me.  This friction has been the main cause of turmoil in our marriage and yet somehow he manages to always keep a level head and help us all through it.  He's pretty wonderful.

Hubby's father passed away after a long illness about a year and a half after we got married.  It was quickly decided that his mom would come live close to us, and I have to admit, it was a bit of a challenge to our new life together.  I'm so glad his mom came, because she clearly was having a really hard time and I'm really glad we could be there for her, but we've had our share of growing pains once again.  She really didn't understand what we were going through trying to have Bean (that's a whole other post), and it was hard trying to explain it to her over and over again.  Now that Bean's here though, she clearly loves her very much and I'm so glad that she gets to see her so much.

That once again caused a bit of friction of course.  She's been pretty good about leaving us alone and not giving us her opinion as to what we should be doing as parents, but she's also made it pretty clear that she wants to be able to see Bean more then she does.  We try for at least once a week, but sometimes life gets busy.  It's hard to balance things.  She also really wants to be able to babysit for us which is something I don't feel comfortable with for a lot of reasons.  Add to that the struggles we've had trying to control gift giving, and our relationship takes on new levels of complexity all the time.

All this to say, that it's actually been better lately.  I've been trying really hard to just let things go.  Let her enjoy being with Bean and let Bean enjoy being with her.  As Bean gets older, she can make her own decisions about how she feels about her grandmother.  She doesn't need my feelings coloring any of that.  My mother-in-law has actually been trying harder too.  Both times I've seen her recently, she's actually asked me how I'm doing.  She never did that in the past.  When I was trying to get pregnant, she'd ask how that was going, and when I was pregnant, she'd ask how I felt (aka, how's the baby) and after Bean was born, she'd ask about her.  Never about me.  So that's nice.  I appreciate her efforts and I'm trying to make more of one myself.

So when our visit on Saturday lasted longer then we had planned, it actually didn't stress me out.  We talked about our new niece and her new grand daughter (who was born on Wednesday, all are doing well and she's beautiful!), she got to play with Bean and watch her dance and moo like a cow.  She's clearly head over heels for Bean, and so am I, so we have that in common.  It was just really nice.  Really nice to have a weekend that felt kind of normal, to have family over without it feeling stressful, and to feel like there's hope for the future.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Trying to break out of my invisible shell

I've spent a long time trying to be invisible.  When I was a kid, I was pretty chubby and got teased a lot.  So I learned quickly that the more you can blend in and not call attention to yourself, the better.  I got to be really good at being invisible and by the time I hit high school, I think most people forgot I existed.  Until I lost the weight and all the sudden it was like they started seeing me for the first time.  I wasn't ready for that and to be honest, it just made me angry, so I worked at staying invisible if I could.

Once I left high school and went on to college I had a lot more self confidence and stopped trying to blend in so much.  It wasn't until infertility hit that I once again started to fade.  I lost a lot of myself through that process and I was happy to disappear.  I felt like that kid in school again.  Totally out of control of my own body and like if I was really careful not to be seen by anyone, maybe the problem would disappear.  I read a lot of infertility blogs then and followed other people's stories. Sometimes I wanted to comment or share what I was going through, but I wasn't ready.  I just didn't feel confident enough to put myself out there.  But I'm getting my confidence back again.  I'm figuring myself out.

This blog was a big step for me and I'm really glad that I started writing and putting myself out there.  I know that by leaving it open for anyone to read, I'm really being as far from invisible as I can be.  I guess I wasn't really prepared though.  I wrote with ease and when I sat down at the computer, I didn't think too hard while I was writing.  I wrote for myself and tried to keep other people's feelings in mind, but be honest about my own.  I've been having trouble writing for the last week or so though.  Ever since Mel from Stirrup Queens included me in her blog round up.  I was really honored and touched by all the people who read my post and all of the comments that they left.  I guess I just wasn't prepared for that many people to be visiting my little blog.  It's taken me a little while to wrap my head around it.

It pushed me outside of my comfort zone, but I am so thankful that it did.  It made me really think about what the purpose of this blog is and made me ask myself, should I write any differently for myself and a few people then for a whole bunch of people?  Of course not.  I'm writing these things because they are real for me, because I need to share them with people who hopefully understand, and because I'm tired of being invisible.  I spent too much of my life lurking in the shadows and as new of a feeling as it may be, I'm ready to put myself out there and hopefully I can help someone in the process.  I'm ready for infertility to stop being something that nobody talks about and the only way that's going to happen is if we start talking about it.  So I'm done worrying so much about what other people think about my journey or my thoughts.  This is me, I have one chance in this world to make it different, and I'm not going to do that if nobody even knows I exist.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bean's going to have a cousin

Today is my sister-in-laws due date.  It's their first baby and at first I had some issues with this pregnancy.  It was the first major pregnancy announcement that came after we had Bean.  I really thought that after we had her, I would stop feeling pained when I heard about other people getting pregnant.  I thought somehow I would be magically cured.  So when I heard about this, I was a little surprised at how angry I felt at first.

I was angry because the entire time that hubby and I were trying to have a baby, my in-laws were nagging hubby's brother and sister-in-law to start their family.  It became a big bone of contention as they would tell his parents over and over again that they were focused on their careers and that they weren't ready to have kids.  Now, hubby and I could care less about this.  We feel like it's just as much someone's right not to have babies as it is their right to have babies.  For years we were an outlet for his brother and tried to talk to his parents to convince them to cut them some slack.

So I was in shock when I found out that they were pregnant.  They had been to visit us just a few months before to meet Bean and they hadn't given any indication that they were thinking of growing their family.  Hubby's brother told him later that after they had met Bean, they decided they wanted to have a baby of their own.  It took them about two months to get pregnant and he told us that they were actually feeling stress that it happened so fast.  For me, this was all a little hard to take.

It wasn't hard because they decided to have a baby after meeting Bean.  That was kind of nice actually.  That they had thought so much of our little one, that they decided they were ready.  At least that's what I like to think.  My brother-in-law has a bit of a competitive streak but I'd like to think that's not the motivation.  It didn't even bother me that they were being completely honest with us and saying that they were nervous because it happened so fast.  What really was hard for me to take was that there wasn't any indication that they were trying to have any kind of understanding for what we had gone through.  That bothered me, but it wasn't what made me angry.

The problem in all this came that my anger had no one to land on.  I wasn't angry at them.  A little frustrated that they weren't a little more compassionate.  I would hope that I would be more thoughtful in their shoes.  I wasn't upset that they were pregnant.  I was just mad at a world where hubby and I wanted a baby SO badly and had to go through such heartache to achieve it, and yet someone who had been indifferent could change their mind like they changed their order in a restaurant (yes, I know that more probably went into it then that, but this is how my mind was working) and boom, they were pregnant.  It just didn't seem fair.

This was actually one of the first times that I realized I was as wounded as I was from what we went through.  I had been so busy with Bean and just so thrilled that she had finally arrived and was healthy and thriving, that I hadn't thought as much about the path she took to find us.  The moment that I found out about her cousin-to-be was an eye opener for me.  It cemented for me that I am forever changed.

9 months later, I'm excited to hear when their little one arrives.  I've been thinking back to our last days before Bean was born and remembering all the things I was feeling.  I am happy for them.  I can see that now.  I'm excited for Bean to have a cousin so close in age to her.  I'm not sure I'm any closer to being recovered from our past or any less concerned for our future.  But I'm working on it and at the end of the day, a new baby coming into the world is a beautiful thing, even if it may seem like a bit of a slap in the face sometimes.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I want to make a difference

So I spoke too soon, Bean actually slept through the night again last night and I'm feeling much better.  It's amazing what a difference a few hours of uninterrupted sleep makes.  After doing some reading before bed last night, I've been thinking this morning about National Infertility Awareness Week.  I've felt for a long time that I want to be more outspoken about our infertility issues and struggles, but I've never quite known how to do it.  Add to that the fact that I'm not really an outspoken person, and you end up with an idea that rumbles around in my head all the time but never really goes anywhere.  I'm thinking of signing up for the "Bust a Myth Challenge" as a first step.  I really feel like I want to do something in real life too.  I have no problem talking to anyone about what we went through to have Bean.  I bring it up when it's appropriate, but I feel like I want to do more.  I know what it felt like to go through all this and have no real support.  I had a lot of people who loved me and may have wanted to support me, but had no idea how to do it.  I want to be more vocal so that other people don't feel as alone as I did.  I'm just not sure how to do it.  I'm going to have think on that one.  Any ideas would be welcome!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's been that kind of day

I still don't think I've recovered from the trip to my parents this weekend.  I'm exhausted and the thing I've been afraid to talk about (Bean sleeping through the night for a week straight), lest it come to an end, seems to be coming to an end.

I felt overwhelmed with things to do today.  A "fun" lunch with a friend went by in a blur.  I know we talked about things but I have no idea what.  I just remember that Bean didn't want to eat anything that I had to offer her and that she was bored about 5 seconds in.  Halfway through the afternoon (with no nap because she's totally off schedule after the weekend), when Bean was feeding Mr. Pup Pup from the exer.saucer (which I wouldn't care about except that he then barks and begs at anything he thinks could be a food source for a week later) and I was trying to get things going for a dinner that I hoped Bean would actually eat (she kind of did), I lost it.  

I shooed Pup Pup out of the kitchen and took Bean out of the exer.saucer to play with some bowls while I finished up.  Minutes later she was dumping Pup Pup's water bowl all over the kitchen floor.  All I could do was laugh at that point.  What else can you do?  I'm seriously in need of a mama time out and I know it, I just have to find time for it.  

I spent my time washing dishes tonight thinking about a post complaining about all the extra jobs that a stay at home mama has, and that it's one of the only professions (yes, I consider it a profession) where you're given so many extra responsibilities on top of the one your job title actually is for (I know that there are a lot of other jobs like this too, but I wanted to complain).  By the time I was done though, I was tired of being grumpy.  I don't like it and while there are a lot of things I have no control over, I do have control over this.  So instead I want to focus on the things that were good about today, in no particular order.

1) I wore a new pair of jeans that are a size smaller then my pre-pregnancy jeans.  Yes, the store may have "adjusted" their sizes, but I'd like to think that I've adjusted my waistline.

2) Bean is starting to figure out that you can refill containers (drawers, laundry baskets, toy bins) and it can be just as much fun as emptying them.  YAY!!

3) I had a delicious chocolate dessert at lunch today.  That probably will work against #1, but it was just what I needed at the time.

4) I have a wonderful hubby who recognizes my need for a mama's time out and is working to make sure I get it.  Probably harder then I'm working myself.

5) Pup Pup is the only dog I know who will sit in front of something he can't have, ready for the taking, and just cry.  Why he doesn't take it, I don't know.  Somehow I think I've managed to make a dog feel guilty.  Hmm...maybe that shouldn't be a good thing.

6) Because of sacrifices we've made, I am able to stay at home all day with Bean.  Yes, it may be the hardest job I've ever done, but the smiles, snuggles, attempts at raspberries on my belly, and her new head bop dance make it all worth while.

7) Hubby is in charge of bath time and I get a few minutes to collect my thoughts.

I could go on, but I'm already feeling better, and I need to go start a load of laundry.  I hope you all find a way to see the good in today too.  No matter how hard it may be sometimes.  Seriously, if these are the worst of my problems today, may I always be so blessed.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Going home always gives me a lot to think about

Sometime in my 20's, when I wasn't paying attention, my parents got old.  My parents have always kind of been old.  They got married later and had kids later.  My mom was of "advanced maternal age" when I was born, which at that point had everyone convinced that I was going to have lots of things wrong with me.  How much things have changed, and stayed the same.  Anyway, I spent my entire childhood aware of how much older my parents were then other kids.  Mostly because my parents had health problems that kept them from doing some of the normal things you expect to do with your mom and dad.  I don't ever remember playing outside with them or being silly with them.  Our house was kind of serious.  But once I hit my teen years I pretty much was taking care of myself and my parents age stopped being on my radar.  I went off to college and my life got busy.

Then some things started happening while I was teaching that made me realize that my parents were really getting older.  My mom had a stroke, it wasn't severe and she has mostly recovered, but it was scary.  Especially since I wasn't at home.  A few years later, my dad had a stroke.  This one more serious.  Because he worked extremely hard, he's managed to get back to where he was before as well.  But during those years, I stopped being the child, I stopped being an equal, and I started being, well, kind of like a parent.  I called their doctors, I took care of bills, I traveled back and forth.  When my parents got to the point where they realized they couldn't really take care of their house anymore and needed to move, we talked and they decided to move closer to us.  So we're in the process of helping them go through 40 years of stuff and sort out what to keep, what to get rid of, and where they're going to go.  It's hard for them, it's hard on us, but it's what happens when your parents get older.

I think most people have more time before this hits them.  Most people don't have to come to this realization and take on this role while they're in their 20's.  I know that some people end up doing it earlier, which I have so much respect for.  I can't say I was totally prepared.  I always joked with my parents that they should be nice to me because I would be the one (between me and my brother) who would be taking care of them when they were old.  It doesn't feel that long ago that we used to joke about that and now it's here.  So I knew this would happen, but I didn't know it would happen now.

On our drive up there this last weekend, I was talking to hubby about all of this.  I realized while talking to him that I had some things I need to let go of.  When we were trying to have Bean, we were really aware of how old we were and how long it was taking us.  Hubby's parents are older too, unfortunately his Dad passed away not that long after our miscarriage and never got to meet Bean.  We both knew we wanted to be younger then our parents were when we had kids and that we wanted to give our parents the chance to get to know their grandchildren.  It was crushing when our infertility problems kept hubby's father from seeing our family grow.

When Bean was born, all of our parents were at the hospital.  They got to see her just hours after she was born and I was glad.  Since then I've realized though that they aren't going to be grandparents like most kids have.  They can't really help take care of Bean or help us with anything to make the load lighter.  We asked them to head home the day after we got home from the hospital because there were too many people that we had to take care of.  They've had the chance to spend time with Bean many times since, and I'm so thankful, but I need to let go of the idea of what I would like things to be like, and I have to accept the reality of what they are.  I see other people whose parents help with the kids or who are emotional supports or who offer advice, anything like that.  But that's not us.  In our family, hubby and I are now more the caregivers in the family.  For the generations below us, and the one's above.  It may not be a place that I expected to be at 30, but I can do it.  I've always been more mature then my age, and maybe that was in preparation for all of this.  So I can take it on.

I can take it on, and I tell myself that on the tougher days.  I feel lucky to have both my parents alive and here with us.  I'm thrilled that they get to spend time with Bean and I hope and pray that they'll be with us long enough for her to really get to know them.  But there are days when I wish I could still be the child.  Not be a kid, but have a parent.  My parents are here, but they just don't feel like parents anymore and so on those days, when I just want my mom, I call hubby because he's who I lean on now.  He's my family and I'm all grown up.  For better or for worse.  I just hope I can be there for Bean for a long, long time.  It's a hard transition becoming the caretaker for your own parents, but being Bean's mama, that was an easy one.  And if growing up means being her mama, then I'll take all the rest of it and I'll try to focus on what's real because I spent enough years in dreamland when we were waiting for her.  If I got through that, I can totally do this.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm still here!!

I have a whole bunch of thoughts bopping around in my head and just no time to write them down.  We're spending this weekend at my parents which is exhausting.  I love my parents, but this isn't an easy place to have Bean right now.  They're in the process of trying to downsize and actually move closer to us, so the house is kind of in disarray.  They've lived here for almost 40 years and have collected A LOT of stuff and it's everywhere.  So our little toddling Bean has lots and lots to get into.  I feel like I spend all my time saying "no, that's not for babies" or "that's not for you Bean" and I'm always on her heels because their stairs are downright dangerous.  On top of that, she doesn't sleep as well here which means I don't sleep as well here.  All that to say, it's been busy and exhausting and we're trying to help them get stuff done and it just feels impossible.  But I'm still around and trying to keep up with what's going on with everyone else because I miss this!  We're heading home tomorrow and I'm hoping to carve out a little time to read what's going on with everyone else and get some of my own thoughts out there. Stay tuned!