Oh, To Be A Mother…

When I was growing up, I knew I didn’t want to have kids.  I knew I wasn’t cut out for it.  I didn’t enjoy having to take care of someone else, as I learned when I would have to watch my sister.  I didn’t like playing make believe for ten hours, as I learned when my cousin was growing up.  I didn’t like the responsibility of taking care of a living being.  I didn’t even like having a pet dog, which my parents always decided was a good idea, but left me to take care of.

I dated in high school and college, a little. Nothing more than a couple weeks.  Nothing serious.  No thoughts of babies.  I knew I wanted to be married someday though.  That I knew for sure, but no kids.  I met my husband, and fell instantly in love.  I am not exaggerating.  I knew the instant I saw him.  Within a few weeks, or months, we talked to each other about our hopes for the future.  Not involving each other, per say, but just our general hopes.  Did I want kids? No.  Did he?  Yes.  How many?  Two.  Crap, well, now I want to have this mans babies.  Crap.

So, along we went. Dating for three years, marriage, infertility.  Suddenly, after IVF, a baby!  A beautiful baby girl.  I was happy, for a while. Until I wasn’t.  She required so much from me.  I felt drained, I felt like I would never have any part of myself back.  I was just a mom now, with a little wife on the side.  But me?  I was gone.

The depression started when my daughter was about 14 months old.  This is when I knew for sure that there would not be anymore babies.  My husband agreed.  Our daughter was perfect, but more babies wasn’t the right move for us.  Although there was one month when I was in, what I suppose would be referred to as a “manic episode” when we decided to go talk to the RE about doing an FET.  I was ready.  Until a few days later, when i realized I absolutely was not ready.  Never would be.  What was I thinking?  Had I completely lost my mind?

That was April.  July 16th I learned I was pregnant.  I was devastated.  I wanted to be happy, I really did, but I wasn’t.  I was scared.  I was so unhappy all the time. The depression had been so critical that I had to have my in-laws take care of my daughter on multiple occasions because I just couldn’t do it.  I’d sit in my bed and cry about how much I hated my life, how horrible of a mother I was, how I was letting my husband down.  Now we were going to have another one?  How?  Why?

A long time has passed since then.  My son is now 11 months old.  I love him, more than I can possibly say, but to say that I’m happy would be wrong.  I am constantly battling these inner demons that seem to be whispering “you’ll never do anything ever again except take care of kids and clean.” That’s it.  That’s my life.  I spend my days waiting for nap time.  Then i hold my breath until my son is asleep.  My daughter will read books for two hours if she doesn’t sleep, so she’s no problem at all.  If he doesn’t nap, I lose it.  All the sudden the walls close in on me, and I feel like I’m going to drown. I just need that time to decompress.  To sit in quiet.  To stare at the wall.  Not to hear someone yelling or crying.  I don’t want to have to pick up more toys, fetch more snack, change more diapers, watch more cartoons.

I know it will get easier.  This baby stage is so hard, so constant.  He needs me, and I understand that.  I’m glad to be there for him, most of the time, but there comes a point in every day where I just can’t muster up the desire to be a mom anymore.  When I wish I was anywhere else at that moment.  When I wish with all my heart that my husband was home with me, that we could parent together, so that I wouldn’t feel trapped and outnumbered.

It will get easier.  It will get easier.  It will get easier.

Maybe tomorrow I will do better.  Maybe tomorrow I will love harder.  Maybe tomorrow I won’t cry.  Maybe tomorrow it will get easier.

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My Little Man

Well, everyone, I’m not sure why it’s taken me this long to post about this, I could probably come up with a few good excuses, and a couple bad ones, but instead I’ll just say that it took me too long and I apologize.  I am pregnant.

That’s right!  For anyone who’s been with me since the beginning of this blog, you know that we struggled for three years to conceive our daughter.  We tried naturally, we tried Clomid, then we went to a Reproductive Endocrinologist and finally got a diagnosis of PCOS for me, and some wonky (not the medical term) sperm from my husband.  After that we tried four medicated rounds of IUI, with only three being viable for the actual insemination part, and after a chemical pregnancy with the first IUI try, and two failed IUI’s after that, we took nine months off, regrouped physically and mentally, and then went back for IVF.  FINALLY, we had success!  Little E was conceived, carried, and born in June of 2013.  Phew… long ride… but we had made it.  Now, with a little lady on my hands, I wondered at the prospect of more.  Was I willing to go through fertility treatments again? I mean, after all, my husband and I were still considered infertile so it would take more medication, more money, more time, to conceive again, and I just wasn’t ready.  My heart wasn’t in it.  I was content, happy, finding my new balance in life with E.  *heartfelt sigh* But then…..

So, remember this post I wrote on July 13th of last year?  It was all about how I wasn’t sure a second kid was for me.  Well, three days later I took a pregnancy test and found out I was pregnant.  Go figure!  To say I was shocked is putting it very, very mildly.  In fact, it was until recently that I think I actually kind of accepted what was happening, and I’m already 31 weeks along.  I am now elated, but at first I was scared and upset.  I didn’t know if this was something I wanted, or could even handle.  I’m still not sure I can handle it, but I know it’s something I want now.  HE is something I want.

That’s right, I have a little man on the way!

I’m hoping to post one day about how this is a wonderful thing for people who have suffered through infertility and can now have hope of a natural second, but I feel like I would need more than two minutes, and sadly, that’s all the time I have left this morning.

Until next time, lovelies!

-E

Other Kids

Yesterday I went to visit my family.  I love them, but they are all insane.  They now know about our infertility troubles, as I decided to “come out of the {infertility} closet” during National Infertility Awareness Week.  I wanted to be able to offer my story and have others come to me if they needed to talk.  I ended up having one friend contact me and has been talking to me about her procedures (which are so different from mine that I’ve already put in a request for her to write a guest spot).  She now has 12 embryos frozen and is waiting 6-8 weeks before transfer to avoid OHSS (I’d never head of this before…).  They got 26 eggs, so it seems like they made the right call.  Anyway… I got lost…

Okay, so, while I was with my family, my grandmother started telling me that if we are going to try with our other embryos, we should do it soon so our kids could be close together.  I told her I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to even imagine taking care of two children.  Then my sister, mom, and grandmother, almost in unison, said “two is easier than one!”

Um.  I get it.  I really do.  They have each other to play with, so they don’t need you constantly, like my daughter needs me.  That would be great.  Really, it would.  I could see her loving to have a companion.  I could see me loving her having a companion, but…. no one seems to understand what I’m actually saying, perhaps I should be clearer.

I do not know if I, personally, can take care of two children.

Before you say “yes you can!” let me explain that I still have days where it takes everything I have to not sit in a corner and sob because I am so overwhelmed with the word “mommy” and the fact that all I really want to do it sit on the couch and crochet without my daughter running off with my yarn.  I get irritated that my husband wants to play golf on the weekend, but hell, he works all week too, it’s not his fault he enjoys a sport that takes a million hours to play.  I get that he needs down time, but I still hold it against him.  I have days where I feel like I’d like to get up and leave, hide myself away at the beach for a few days (weeks?).  I want to spend more alone time with my husband, but by the time our daughter is in bed, we have maybe two hours to ourselves before we are passed out drooling, and most of the time we each have our own things we want to do with our two free hours a day.

I want meal times to be easier.

I want nap and bedtime to be easier.

I want to have an adult to talk to during the day.

I want to be able to go to the bathroom and shut the door.  (Today I had an upset stomach and she came in and closed the door, trapping us both inside – if that doesn’t haunt her nightmares, I don’t know what will).

I’m not ready.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready, because it’s not just about giving my child a playmate in two years (pregnancy + age a kid is able to “play”), it’s about trying to get pregnant, going on hormones that cause depression, wondering if our embryos will survive the thaw, wondering if my depression will make me actually run away on the day of the transfer, wondering if either of the embryos, or maybe even both, will stick, carrying a baby while I have a clingy, needy, toddler to take care of, having a baby with a toddler at home (I mean, grandparents aren’t far away, but they don’t want to keep her for a year, i’m sure… or doooo they?? I’ll check on that and report back…), then having to feed both kids, entertain both kids, put both kids down for a nap, or take one to preschool, pick one up from preschool, get to the grocery store, fix something for dinner, have the house is some sort of working order (I’m not saying clean, that’s just crazy talk), and then have time to feel like a human long enough to spend time with my husband and keep our relationship together?  (We struggled for quite sometime after having E — sometimes I feel like we might still be struggling a little).

To the women who have done this, and will tell me it’s easier than I’m making it out to be, I get it, truly I do.  You’re probably right.  If it happens, it’ll be my normal life and i’ll settle into it like I’ve settled into this life.  I’ll learn who goes for a nap first, who gets bathed first, how to make all the crockpot meals on pinterest, i’ll do it.  What I’m saying it that I can’t get myself to be at that point.  I can see the line, but I can’t get myself to cross it, not yet anyway.  My daughter just turned two, and this constant pressure to “get going because yada yada yada” is just, too much.  Who says kids born more than three years apart are bad, anyway?  Who wrote that rule, and where is it written?

I just realized that I titled this “other kids”, not meaning to yammer on about possible other kids for myself, but to talk about how I wanted nothing more than to snuggle my nephew (9 months) the entire time I was with my family yesterday.  I carried him around the store, comforted him when he cried, made sure my sister gave him plenty of carrots for lunch, gave him toys to play with from my personal purse stash, and gave him about a million kisses.  Did I , in that moment, want another baby?  No.  So isn’t that my true answer right now?

Go with your gut, ladies and gentlemen.  The size of your family, and the space between siblings, is not something to compare with others.  Make sure it’s right for you.

I’m hoping this is my last post on “the second baby conundrum” for a long time.  If I get a baby surprise one day (ha!) I will certainly let you all know.  For now, i’m not thinking about it, or worrying about it.  I’m hoping to use this blog as a place where I talk about how I’m simplifying my life, or what crafts I’m doing, or what random thought pops into my head (scary…).

Oh, and by the way, I love my daughter with my whole entire heart.  It’s not her fault she drive me crazy, she’s a toddler, and I’m a human, it’s normal.  Plus we spend 12 hours a day together, that would drive anyone a little crazy!  Just a little….. well, okay… a medium amount of crazy…

-E

Back to Blogging Basics

I feel like the last post was not me at my brightest.  I’d apologize, but I feel like that would be apologizing for not always feeling happy, and that wouldn’t be fair to me.  Sometimes I’m not happy, and 98% of the time it’s because my hormones are ravaging me from the inside.  I will explain why they’ve been out of control lately, and maybe that will shed some light on my low mood in my last post.

In April, I had a chemical pregnancy.  I know, it surprised me too.  How the hell did that even happen?  Not only would that mean that I would have had to ovulate *gasp*, but my husbands sperm would have also had to make it to an egg AND penetrate it AND fertilize it.  *gasp gasp gasp*

The truly sad, yet also good, part about it is that I didn’t know it had happened until well after it happened.  I know, ridiculous right?  You see though, my cycles are somewhere around 35-42 days.  I had tested at four weeks because even though I was sure I’d never get pregnant naturally, I have always enjoyed peeing on sticks and hoping to be surprised one day.  Test at four weeks was negative, same for the test at five weeks (or so I thought… more on this later).  So when I woke up on cd 44 and tested again (hey, i had one test left!), I didn’t even check it because that same pee showed that my period had started.  What a waste of a test.  I shoved it back into the box and put it away in the pregnancy test drawer.  My husband knows I test, but for some reason I don’t like him to see the tests in the garbage.  I know, it’s weird.

After my period, which was lighter and shorter than normal, I felt very sad and I had no energy.  Usually after my period I’m ready to go everywhere, clean everything, and get it on with my husband to my hearts desire (my PCOS gives me an insatiable sex drive — only perk, honestly).  I didn’t feel like this at all though, so I talked with my friend who’s had a few miscarriages.  I was just telling her about how I felt pretty sucky, and she asked if I was positive I hadn’t just miscarried.  I was pretty sure, since the chances are like… a bazillion to one, but I was curious, so I pulled the box of tests out (still not thrown away — try not to judge me for holding on to old pee sticks), and I pulled out all three.  One was definitely negative (four weeks), but to my surprise, the other two had faint pink lines.  One was very faint, and one was actually visible.  I know what you’re going to say, evaporation lines!!  I agree, that is a thing, but you must also know that I’ve never once had an evaporation line on any test (I’ve looked days and weeks later at some of them), and these lines were pink, I hear evap lines typically aren’t.

So, there it was, right in front of my face.  Holy crap.  I had been pregnant—ish?  Was I glad I hadn’t noticed the positive the same time I started bleeding?  I mean, wasn’t it already too late?  I tested again to make sure I wasn’t still showing as being pregnant, and I wasn’t.  The doctor said if I wasn’t then it was too late.  Wow… I still can’t believe I was pregnant—ish.

So, I started birth control.  My husband and I had decided a while ago that if we did try again, we’d want to try with our two frozen embryos first.  So, I wanted to insure I didn’t have another miscarriage, and I started birth control.  It made me sick, so sick.  I had the worst headache, it took over my entire body, head to feet.  I couldn’t focus, or think, or take care of myself or my daughter, so after three days (yes, only three days) I stopped.  My period started two days later.

Then we went to the reproductive endocrinologist and set up a date to try our FET.  The hormones from the pregnancy/miscarriage made me want to be pregnant right then and there.  I would have gladly thrown myself into the stirrups and had them do the transfer right that minute if that were how it works, but sadly it doesn’t.  Sadly, you have to be on birth control for at least two-three weeks before you can start the process.  not have the transfer, but start the process.  So I tried a different birth control…  eight days later I was in bed, sobbing and sleeping… and that was it.  That was all I could do.  My in-laws had to take my daughter for two days because I couldn’t do anything but cry.  I was sure my husband hated me, that my in-laws thought I was a terrible mother, and that the world would be a much happier place if I just wasn’t in it.  I wasn’t suicidal, thankfully, I just thought that if I disappeared, people would be better off.

It has been three weeks since I stopped BC.  I just started feeling better about three days ago.  I feel like myself.  No more nasty thoughts haunting me, no more pain, no more sad. Phew…. I am relieved.  I do not know how people function when they are depressed.  I couldn’t.  I hope everyone who suffers from depression can find their way out.  It is a dark place.  So very dark.

So that’s where we are.  I can’t do the FET, because I can’t be on birth control.  Even if there is one that won’t turn me in a sob monster, or cause me horrible pain, I couldn’t work up the nerve to try right now if someone paid me to do it.  I just can’t.  I can’t go back to that dark place right now.  I am still physically and mentally exhausted from it.  So, we are just going to toss our baby hopes into the wind and see if maybe we can get lucky and have something stick this time.  I am eating as well as I can, exercising, and also getting a lot of down time and help with my daughter.  Trying to put myself into a good place so that maybe, just maybe, I can be one of those “after infertility treatments” success stories.  If not, we will try for an FET again down the road sometime.

Fingers crossed….

Dear Ovaries,

Hey, it’s me, your human.  I know you got a bum deal in this whole life, having PCOS and all (I’m super sorry about that — genetics are a bitch), but could we talk about this painful exploding feeling we’ve been experiencing lately?

It’s not that I don’t like the feeling of you being bruised and broken after I have sex with my husband, it’s just that I don’t.  It is horrible.  I didn’t even know that cysts could rupture during sex.  Why is that a thing?  We weren’t performing an acrobatic sexual act either. Missionary should not cause exploding ovaries, it’s just not right.

So, when I go to the OB on Wednesday for my ultrasound, let’s not have a million cysts on each ovary.  I mean, I suspect that is not the outcome I’ll have, since I’ve been having ovarian pain for the past few months, but come on, after all we’ve been through!  Is this payback for the Clomid, the IUI’s, and the IVF?  I get it, those things sucked, and I put you through absolute torment trying to make a cute little baby for me to snuggle, but we did it! We made a baby!  She’s amazing and awesome, but she’s very hard to take care of when I want to throw up from ovary pain.  So, let’s make a deal.  You had your fun getting back at me with a rupture during sex.  We are even now.  K?  Love you!  Mean it!

Yours always (or until my super early hysterectomy, which is almost a 100% genetic guarantee),
-Me

A Connection To Robin Williams

I’ve been hit hard by the passing of a man I’ve never met.  By a man who played many different parts.  A man who, on the outside, seemed to be one of the happiest people you’d ever meet, I mean, who could be sad when so many funny things come rushing out of your mouth.  You have to be happy to have such funny words, right?

Well, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why this passing has been the absolute worst for me, a total stranger, but I’ve figured it out.  I’ve been there.  I’ve been that happy person on the outside, while secretly fighting demons on the inside.  And I’m not talking about the few times in high school when I fought the depression monster because of a bad home life, I considered that, but it didn’t line up with how I was feeling.  How I ached for this stranger who I felt so connected with.  Then it hit me, I remember what it’s like to smile on the outside while struggling to breathe on the inside.  To feel that the world laughed a little too loud, smiled a little too much.  I remember this, because I fought through it for three hard years.

Infertility makes you feel this way.  It alienates you, and forces your thoughts and feelings in on themselves.  You feel as if your body is against you.  Your mind races to figure out why something so seemingly simple is so hard.  Why everyone around you can become pregnant by simply saying the word “pregnant”, but you can’t.  You start to feel that you aren’t meant to be pregnant, whether by some sort of bad genes, or misfortune in evolution, or maybe you even think that God is trying to test you, whatever it is, it turns you against yourself and you spend every waking moment, and even dreaming moments, torturing yourself.

The worst part is though, that life on the outside of your mind has to go on like you are not being ripped apart on the inside.  You go shopping for a baby shower, marveling at all of the tiny things that you imagined would be strewn about your house.  You wonder if your little one would like the rattle with the cow, or the rattle with the horse.  You can’t believe how cute the onsie with the dinosaur on it is, and when the cashier comments on how their little one has the same onsie, you smile and say “it sure is cute.”  Then you may rush to your car, hoping you can make it before the tears that are welling up, spill over into an unstoppable sobbing flood.  Later, you have to attend the baby shower.  Maybe it’s for a friend, maybe for a relative, it really doesn’t matter, all you know is that you don’t want to be there.  You don’t want to hear her story about how she and her husband weren’t really trying at all, and how she was actually kind of upset when she found out.  After all, they were going to go on a trip to London in the Fall.  You smile and say something like “well, this will be much more exciting than London!”  And your friend replies “yes, poopy diapers will definitely be fun!”  You know she’s joking, because she is actually over-the-moon excited, but you feel that you’d be ten times more excited, and a thousand times more grateful.  You count the minutes until you can leave without being rude.  You have obligations of some sort that just can’t be changed.  You hug your friend, feeling their big belly bump into your empty belly.  You say congratulations, tell her to call if she needs anything.  You smile and wave to the rest of the party, walk quickly to your car, and cry on the way home.

You struggle each day to be a happy person on the outside, to laugh, to joke, to smile, but you are constantly tormented on the inside.  I know that actual, life-long depression is so much worse than battling infertility, but I can’t help but feel those bad feelings well up inside me at the news.  I think about every time I’ve ever seen Robin Williams, how he always seemed to be trying so hard to make everyone around him laugh.  I always thought it must be so hard to be “on” all the time.  I wondered if it was exhausting, as exhausting as the torment of infertility was to me, and it turns out it was.  No doubt it was soul crushing.  He must have wondered what he did to deserve such a sad mind.  Did he wonder if it was some sort of test from God?  Did he assume genetics played some part?  Did he suffer from depression before the drugs and alcohol?  Was that why he did those things?  To help ease the pain?  I don’t know, but I know that living a life with depression at your side is hard, and I ache knowing that this wonderfully funny man had to live this way, all while trying to make everyone else smile, maybe that was what kept him going for so long,  maybe he fed off of the laughter of others.  Maybe that’s what kept his demons away for so long.  Whatever it was, I wish there had been something that would have eased his mind while he was still here, and I hope that wherever he is now, he is at peace.  Maybe he’s watching himself in Mrs. Doubtfire and thinking back to how hard it had been to struggle through some of those days, relieved to finally not have any doubt or sadness in his heart.  Maybe he wonders how he ever made it as long as he did, thankful that he did make it as long as he did.  Now he is free of the burden of his own human mind.  He is free to do whatever it is that we do when we are no longer breathing in our fleshy bodies. Perhaps he’s sailing around the universe and checking out comedians on a distant planet, perhaps he has been reborn in another body for another chance, as his character was in What Dreams May Come.  Maybe this time, he will feel as good on the inside as he does on the outside.  Maybe this time, life will be kind to the funny man, and repay him for the countless amount of joy that he gave to others.

Wherever you are, Robin Williams, I hope that your mind is at peace, and that you can now smile on the outside as well as the inside.  You beautiful man, you.

Accidentally Artificially Inseminated – Like That’s A Thing

Has everyone heard of this new show coming out this fall called Jane The Virgin?  Yes? No?  Well, I’m not afraid to say that I am a little miffed over the whole premise.  I mean, I tried to be artificially inseminated three times, on purpose, with a belly full of injection marks from hormone shots. So, thinking about a show based on a girl who goes to a gynecologist appointment and ends up being inseminated on accident, really, it kind of boils the blood.

Do people who come up with these ideas have any idea of what they are doing?  Have any of them actually been to battle with the infertility monster?  If not, then I say they do not get to write a show about it.  I know, I know, they write shows about space travel and no one has any experience with that, but space travel is cool, artificial insemination (while cool in that it is a thing that is there to help out those of us who cannot get pregnant naturally, for whatever reason), is not something to joke about, or to make seem like it could happen to you while you’re in for a pap smear.  It is serious business.  Artificial insemination is there for us who struggle to get pregnant, or who do not have all the required parts to get pregnant, or both.  A show about a 23 year old who is too devout to have sex before marriage, yet ends up pregnant on accident, is just wrong.

…and don’t get me started on the logistics.  I’m guessing this will be her first time in, so she won’t understand the lingo.  She’ll think the giant catheter is normal, and won’t understand why everyone keeps talking about semen.  I honestly don’t know how they will make it work, or if it will just seem so insane to those of us who know exactly what it’s all about, that we will riot and throw our drinks at the television shouting “artificial insemination is not a joke!  It is important, and taken very seriously by patient and doctor!  Stop the madness!”

Or maybe that will just be me and everyone else will love it and it’ll be a big hit.  Whichever it is, I think it would make me a little to hyped up to watch.  I wonder what everyone else thinks….

Here is the extended trailer for the show.  In it, you’ll see that not only did the doctor inseminate the wrong lady, but the doctor is the sister of the semen donor, and didn’t realize that it wasn’t her brothers wife that she was inseminating.  *sigh*… I give up!