When Your Child Shares The Worst Part of You

It’s bad enough that I have suffered from anxiety for my entire life, and depression for the last 3 years, but the worst part of having mental illness, is being aware that it could be passed to my children.  Well, I thought the worst part would be being aware of this fact, but the worst part is actually seeing it happen and not knowing what to do about it.

My daughter, E, has been struggling for the past couple months (and as I write this, I’m realizing that’s how long she’s been going to occupational therapy… I’ll think on this as I write).  She started picking the skin on her lip when she was sick with a cold.  You know how it goes, your nose is stuffy, so you mouth breath all day and night and dry your lips out until the crack and peel.  When this happened, E realized that she could pick the skin off, and she started doing it.  No big deal, right?  I’ve done the same thing.  Then she started doing it when she was better, and her lips began to bleed.  Both top and bottom lips were picked to excess, and she kept doing it.  She’d do it in bed at night, at school, and at therapy.  It looked awful, and I knew it had to hurt, but she kept at it.  Then she started picking at her fingers….

First she just picked the skin around her fingernails when she had a hangnail.  She’d bleed and whine about the pain, asking for a bandaid.  She fell in love with bandaids and would ask for one every time she got even a little scratch.  Soon she started picking at the skin so much she was picking off chunks of skin.  The bleeding was bad, the fingers looked awful.  We tried everything from asking her why she was doing it, to telling her that was not a good thing to do, to pleading with her to stop hurting herself.  Nothing has worked, and now all ten of her fingers are picked raw and bleeding.  Still, she picks.

I’ve had to send her to preschool with six fingers in bandaids.  The teachers are aware of what’s happening, and they are trying to redirect her attention when she’s doing it.  I know a lot of the time it’s just something she does.  She’s not actively thinking “okay, time to pick the skin til it hurts!” She’s just doing it.  It’s just something to keep her hands busy when she’s bored, nervous, anxious.

(I did think, for a few days, that she was doing it just because she wanted bandaids, but after offering her a box of bandaids all to herself if she stopped, and still not seeing her stop, I knew it was something else.)

…but what can be done?  Is this a phase?  Is it something deeper?  If it is, what set it off?  Could she be suffering from my depression, anxiety, and anger?  Are my outbursts and crying getting to her?  Is listening to her brother scream all day (because I’m not holding him) grating on her nerves as well?  Does it bother her that I have to hold him and give him more attention BECAUSE he will scream if I don’t?  Does she feel left out?  If so, what can I do?  How can I help her if I can’t help myself?  When will S be easier so that I can give equally to them both.  Or, can I?  Is that ever going to be a thing?

I want to help her, but I don’t know where to start.  Should I start with myself and hope that helps her? Or is this something that also lives inside her and has nothing to do with me or S?  Is this something that therapy set off?  Does she feel odd, knowing that we are taking her somewhere because she thinks we think there is something wrong with her?  I never really have been completely on board with the therapy (it’s for social and gross motor skills), but is 50 minutes a week doing exercises and interacting with other kids something that could set off her genetic anxiety bomb?

I’m not sure what we are going to do, but my husband definitely wants us to take her in to the pediatrician.  I assume they will want us to take her to a child psychologist, but I just can’t believe that it’s to a point like that.  Isn’t there anything that can be done by me first?  Can’t I help her?  She’s my little E, and all I want is for her to feel happy and safe and loved.  Can’t I push aside my own issues and do that?  I think I can…. and I will be better for her.  She needs me, and I can do this.

Right?

I Have Two Kids Now

Well, here I am, with two kids!  Is anyone else on the planet more shocked by this than me?

My son (S) is now 4.5 months old, and he is as big as E was when she was ONE YEAR OLD.  I’m having trouble with him not sleeping well, because in my head I’m all like “you are big, so you must be old.”  That’s not how things work though, I’m afraid.  Too bad though, I could really use some sleep.  Maybe soon…. *fingers crossed*

I know I haven’t been around much, but having two kids is ten times harder than having one.  (SURPRISE!) and most days I’m struggling to just eat food.  Not cold food, but any food at all.  When I do get to eat, I eat an entire plate of food in four minutes.  I’ve also been struggling with stomach aches… not sure why though.

My husband just got a vasectomy on Friday.  I’ll admit that on Thursday I was kind of freaking out.  I sort of wanted to stop the whole thing, have 12 more babies, and be one of those moms no one understands.  Luckily, it was just a mild freak out, my husband reminded me that I’m losing my mind, and he got it done.  When he got back home from the procedure, I was suddenly so calm and elated with the decision.  I could not be more happy that our family is complete, and now we can focus on things like preschool for E, and getting S to sleep (maybe?), and MAYBE… just MAYBE…. one day I’ll get to shower in the daylight again.  You see, S still sleeps in my room, and I have to shower after he’s asleep, and the light would maybe wake him up, and it’s not worth even trying to see if he’d sleep through it.  So, I shower in the dark.  I don’t shave now… I’m not that reckless.  Yes, I am as hairy as a bear now, thanks for asking.

Well, that’s about all the time I have now.  E isn’t napping and S just woke up from his and is staring at me.  I know he’s trying to tell me something…. but what??  Babies…

 

32 Weeks Tomorrow

Tomorrow I will be 32 weeks pregnant with my little guy.  I’m in that stage of being confused by whether I want time to speed up or slow down.  My body wants to be done, but my mind is all like “you want to have two kids to take care of right now? Huh? HUH?!”  The majority of the time, my mind is still winning and my body is staying silent… ish.

So far we’ve got most of his room done.  I find myself wanting to mimic our daughters room in a way.  I don’t want him to have more things than her, or less things than her.  I want them to both feel that their spaces are happy and have had a lot of love put into them.  I made my daughter most of her decorations.  I painted three animal paintings, painted letters spelling out her first name for her wall, and painted a three picture frame to hang her ultrasound pictures on the wall.  So far, for our little guy, I’ve got one animal picture painting done and his name craft done, which we have to hide until he’s born because it’s a secret. Shhhhhh….  Anyway, I’m getting closer, but my body is revolting in my free time and making me sleep instead of craft.  Maybe I’ll have all his crafts done by the time he starts kindergarten!

I’m still freaking out a little.  Especially since my daughter is currently fighting naps.  *sob sob sob*  She’s 2.5, and not taking it well at all.  She still needs naps, but for some reason she just isn’t most days.  I feel like she knows something is about the change.  Something big….. (and not just my belly, which is huge).  I’m just hoping she goes back to napping more frequently so that I can nap more frequently too!  I’d pay her money, but she doesn’t understand bribes yet.  Too bad too… I’d definitely pay $50 for a nap.  She doesn’t know what she’s missing!

Sometimes Lost

Sometimes I feel lost.  Truly lost in life.  I don’t know who I am, or where I am, or what I’m doing.  I don’t know which way to walk, or think, or if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  I’m still getting used to being a mom, and even though I’ve been a wife for almost eight years, I find that becoming a mother makes being a wife a lot harder.  You now have to balance being a whole new person, working in glimpses of your old self so others can recognize you.

But how?  How do you not yearn to be that person you once were, that person you feel your husband still is?  Does he even understand what it’s like to be a new person with new priorities and a new life-long job?  Why is it that being a dad isn’t even close to as hard as being a mother?  I guess it’s a good thing and a bad thing, because this deep down love and overwhelming desire to be the best at something you have no training for, is what keeps me going in this new life.  If it weren’t for that sweet face that smiles at me, and that tiny hand that needs mine, I’m not sure I’d ever feel like I was part of this earth anymore. Was I even a part of it before her?  Sometimes I wonder if I was just floating through life, thinking I was this person I’d always been, when really I was just waiting to be a mommy. Waiting to become something that is impossible to understand or perfect.  Something that makes you realize that being a wife is nothing compared to being a mother.  The love is just as real, but so different in every way.

Will I ever feel like I understand myself?  Will I ever be completely happy with who I have become?  Will I continue to change and find my stride?  I hope so, because I still feel lost, and lonely, and confused in this new role.  Maybe that’s what motherhood is… a sense of being lost in another person.  Giving most of yourself up so that you can make this tiny person as happy, as healthy, and as loved as you can.  It is exhausting, this love, but it is everything.  It lights my lonely path, as I wander to find myself… Oh where could I be?

Anxiety Mommy

It’s hard having anxiety.  Crippling, overwhelming, hard to breath anxiety.  I’m lucky to only have anxiety that bad a few days a month, but that’s not all anxiety is.  Anxiety is always with me.  It is in every decision I make, every event I am planning, every future I foresee, and it is not nice.  Anxiety does not give me visions of seeing my daughter in high school, it gives me visions of something terrible happening to her.  I see every way in which she or my husband could be taken from me.  I even see ways that I could be taken from my family, never able to see my daughter grow up.

Every day I make sure she doesn’t pull on dressers, because I read a story about a three year old who pulled a dresser on herself while her parents were still sleeping and died while they slept.

I didn’t buy her a cubbie shelf (per the suggestion of her grandmother) because I had just read a story about a 13 month old girl dying from pulling one over and being knocked unconscious and suffocating.

I make sure the blind cords are up too high for her to reach because I read something about a five year old boy hanging himself accidentally in blind cords.

Everything I hear or read stays with me.  Forever.  Anxiety doesn’t let me forget.  It dwells inside me.  It lives there and breeds and grows and envelopes my brain.  The older my daughter gets, the worse it gets because the more she’s doing, the more danger shes’s in from the world.  I know these events are rare, but they are so incredibly tragic that I cannot ever forget.

…and it doesn’t even have to be something in her age group.  I just sobbed in the bathtub as I read comments on a post about delivering a stillborn baby (I couldn’t bring myself to read the post).  There were mothers talking about the heartache of losing their children to SIDS at two, five, six months old.  I flashed back to that age where I was so terrified of the same thing that I would wake 10-20 times a night to check my daughter to make sure she was still breathing.  She slept by my bed until 10 months.  After that I woke 10-20 times a night to watch the monitor and make sure she was breathing.  I still check her monitor 2-3 times a night (she’s 19 months old).

I worry about everything constantly.  It will most likely wear off on my daughter, as my mothers anxiety wore off on me.  I like that is makes me cautious, that I understand that bad things happen, but I’d really like to not fear walking along the sidewalk with my daughter because I’m scared a car is going to drive over the curb and hit us.  I’d like to leave the house without her without worrying that I’m going to die in a car wreck and never see her face again.

This anxiety is with me forever.  Medication will probably help (and i’m discussing this with a doctor soon), but it will never go away.  And that is exactly why I cannot fathom having another child.  How could I make it through another pregnancy, another year of SIDS watch, another full life of another human that I made, without completely losing it and locking everyone in the house and never leaving.  I can’t do it.  I can’t do it and take care of myself and take care of my daughter.  I know that, my husband knows that, and my daughter will know it one day.  I hope she can forgive me for my anxiety, and know that the decisions I’ve made to keep us a three person family were the best for not only me, but also her and her daddy.

A Bad Infertile?

Today I went back to the fertility clinic for the first time since I was seven weeks pregnant.  It was… strange, but absurdly familiar.  I never thought I’d be back so soon, since my little one is only eight months old, but after an email exchange with my reproductive endocrinologist, we both decided that it would be a good idea for me to have my AMH tested.  Since it went from a 6.9 to a 1.3-.67 in just one year, it is likely that I have Premature Ovarian Failure.  I asked my RE if he thought it would be a good idea to see how much it’s dropped in the past year and a half so that we could decide on a course of hormone therapy once little miss is weaned.  If it is at an undetectable level, then I would not go on birth control (which would be needed to control my PCOS symptoms), I would go on hormones to help with the premature menopause.  Wow, forgot how messed up I was — reproductively speaking!  I also found out while I was there that my best blood taking vein was permanently scared from all my blood draws during IVF.  Holy cow.  That is unreal!  I guess it’s to be expected when I only have one usable vein though.

Anyway, while I was there, one of the guys at the front asked me if I was there for my second round.  (I had little miss with me).  I quickly, without thought, said “NO WAY!!”  Then I laughed and said “she is only eight months, so I definitely need a little time!”  He then said “Oh, okay.”  I guess having someone with fertility problems be so quick to say “NO!” when asked about more babies is rare.  So, does it make me a bad infertile if I am pretty sure that I will not want to have another baby?  Is it okay, in our community, to decide that an only is the right choice for their family?  I know that when someone struggles so much for babies, they can sometimes get baby fever so bad that they will continue until their bodies crash (I saw a lady at the specialist who had a three year old, a one year old, and a four month old — all conceived through fertility treatments), desiring as many babies as possible, but I do not feel that way.  I feel like another baby would be too much for me.  I think it is important to go with what works for your family, for your sanity, and for your heart.

My husband and my little girl are my entire world.  I cannot imagine sharing it with anyone else.  Could my mind change in the next few years?  Yes, maybe, I’m keeping my mind open, but I wonder if I am in the minority when it comes to be an infertile who desires to have only one child.

Any other infertiles who stopped at one on purpose?

(I will post the results of my AMH once I hear back from the RE — Hopefully tomorrow!)

After Birth: Birth Control and PCOS

I’m back for a bit to update you on the recent information I’ve gathered regarding my lovely PCOS and my future birth control plans.

I have my six week checkup on Thursday (has everything healed?  Are my goodies permanently deformed??), but before I go in I decided to gather some information from my RE.  (I absolutely adore this doctor and wish I could pay him to be my doctor for everything).  I asked his opinion on what I should do for future birth control, both for my PCOS and for the future (if we choose to do an FET).  I want my body to be both healthy for now, and healthy for a possible second child.  Since I am on the cusp of menopause (already peri-menopausal) I wanted to also verify that menopause would not deter a future FET.  Turns out it won’t!  It won’t even hurt the chances of success!  Science is on the ball, guys.

So, the birth control options are an IUD, progestrin only pills (refered to as a “mini pill” by the RE), a combined pill with progesterone and estrogen (he is not 100% sure they will still do this for a breastfeeding mother, but they used to ten years ago when he did his residency), and good ol’ condoms.

Condoms are out.  Those are so not fun to deal with.

The mini pill is most likely the way my OB/GYN will have me go.  I already know a girl who was put on this from the same practice.  She said they recommended this as the only option for a breastfeeding mother.  I may not have an option.

The combined pill is what I want the most.  I am worried about remembering to take a pill at the moment, since I am quite tired most days, but it is best for me because of the estrogen.  The estrogen will help keep my not-so-fun PCOS symptoms under control.  I’m just not sure they will let me take a pill containing estrogen while breastfeeding.  We shall see!

IUD is an option, of course, but it worries me that I do not know one person who has successfully had an IUD placed and kept it longer than a couple months.  Constant pain seems to be the biggest complaint, and who wants to live with that?  Only upside?  My RE believes that it will prevent any future periods.  This is good for convenience sake, but I was quite worried about the risk factor for endometrial cancer.  For those of you with PCOS, we have a very high risk of endometrial cancer due to our lining not shedding enough.  The lining stays in and basically rots.  Awesome.  But rest assured, if you go with the IUD, the hormone that is released by the IUD keeps the endometrium from forming, which prevents the risk of the cancer.  Hoorah!

So, these are my options.  I will update and let you all know which I’m going with.  IUD, combined pill, or mini pill??