S turned 4 on June 22. E will be 2 tomorrow. Today, to the day, is 4 years after my father took his own life.
Ob-la-di, ob-la-dah, life goes on … and now I am immersed in a world of toilet training, preschool, Dora the Explorer, and the like instead of pee-sticks, ovulation charts, and miscarriage grief. Life does go on, but I will never forget. Time does heal the wounds, indeed, but the scars are still there, they are just fading with time.
Life also sometimes comes full circle.
I am back on the birth-control pill. Not for birth control, particularly, but because without being on the pill (I started when I was 18 due to hideous cramps and monster PMS) my hormone fluctuations were ruining my life. I basically had 1 week of normalcy, 2 weeks of PMS, and 1 week of horrible lower back spasms and pain, to replace the pre-C-section cramps. I am on Lo-LoEstrin. (I guess the pharmaceutical company really wanted to accentuate how low-low the estrogen level really is?) And, because I have so much water retention/bloating, before my OB could put me on the pill I had to have a sonogram.
A sonogram. To look at my ovaries. And rule out ovarian cancer. Guess what probe I got? Go ahead, guess.
Nearly 2 years after E was a wee cluster of cells, I got to dance again with the dildo cam. For real. I laughed out loud when the sono tech told me what she was going to use. It’s still the same. They still put the condom on it. They still lube it up with KY jelly. This time, however, it was much less stressful. I have two ovaries. They look fine. Bring on the pill.
Sometimes I look at E and S and know that their special blend of genes — their unique “themness” — is because my first two pregnancies failed. It simultaneously fills me with grief and joy, but the joy is greater. Now. I wanted two healthy children, and I have two healthy children. I know how lucky I am. I know what can go wrong. I know what loss is. I know what grief is. I think about this every single day, but instead of being sad, it fills me with gratitude. They are here. They are healthy. They are mine. I had to go through a lot to get here, but that is the past. And this is the present. Ob-la-di. Ob-la-da.
Sometimes when I hold S or E in my arms, I mourn the babies that never were. I hold them close and tell them that they are very, very loved and very, very wanted.
I have felt especially anxious these past few weeks and I always feel better when I write, so I am back. This isn’t really about miscarriage, really, so it doesn’t really fit the “miscarriage blog” theme, but, well, so it is.
Things that are making me anxious (part I):
1. Baby E, just like her brother, spontaneously stopped nursing. He did it in one day; she did it in two. I love nursing her and this breaks my heart. I am hoping that we can still have an early morning feed, or that she will have a change of heart, so I am going to still pump. She is 11 months now, so we have had a pretty good go. Still, it makes me sad. I was hoping it would last longer. We spent 4 days on a work/vacation trip to the SW and she did not nurse a single time. I thought perhaps it was a change in her routine, but she still, after 2 days at home, has no interest. She had virtually lost interest before we left, so this is not a surprise, really.
2. Baby E is not a baby anymore. She is little girl E. I do not have a baby anymore. I am SO VERY HAPPY to be past the pregnancy phase of parenthood, but it is a chapter closing, and it makes me a bit sad.
3. I am gaining weight. Oh, and I didn’t lose a single pound while breastfeeding. And my thyroid is working just fine. I need to get to the gym, but I am just too pooped at the end of the day to motivate myself to go.
4. S is super-gifted and, in a nutshell, his school doesn’t know what to do with him. He is developmentally all over the place (gross-motor delay but he can read at 2) so they gave him what I think is a bogus diagnosis so he can get early intervention services. This is good for him, but very hard for my maternal pride. Through all the testing, all they did was tell me where S was behind. I kept wanting to add “but you know he can read, right? You know he can write words, right? You know HE’S ONLY 2 YEARS OLD, RIGHT?” He doesn’t fit the mold. He’s different. The system can’t deal with different. So, yes, on one level, I get it. On another level, though, can’t they at least acknowledge that in some areas, he so beyond their norms that their tests don’t even register this? His skills do not show up on the tests for his age group, so instead we just ignore them?
5. Money. We owe a lot. We are owed a lot. What we are owed is not here yet.
6. My neighbor is bat-shit crazy. She’s a hoarder and owns two houses on our block that are totally full of shit. We are now in a property line-dispute over inches. Also, we own a third of her backyard and I am just annoyed enough to redo the fence so we get our land back. This is mostly amusing, but I had living next to someone who doesn’t like me, even if it is mutual.
7. Work. Tenure. Publishing. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
8. My brother and his wife are going through IVF. I feel like I should reach out to them, but I don’t like them. They are honestly two of the most selfish people I have ever met and last year, the metaphorical straw broke, and I decided it was best for me to just stop trying to have a relationship with them. I know how suck-tastic infertility is, but I just can’t reach out to them. And this makes me feel like a terrible person. But I just can’t.
I am sure there are more, but these are the big ones right now. I would really like my new anti-anxiety medicine (actually, same medicine, higher dose) to kick in soon, please.
When I so desperately wanted to be pregnant I remember being annoyed at women who complained about being pregnant. And then I got pregnant. And then I started throwing up. And then I kept throwing up. And then I had 3-5 migraines per week. And they I got dehydrated and ended up in the hospital. And then I had home IV therapy so I wouldn’t get dehydrated again. I learned to divorce being pregnant from wanting a baby, in the same way the miscarriages taught me to divorce being pregnant with having a baby.
Mr. MC (and Belinda) think I am being too hard on my FB friend. Perhaps. But I am not sorry. So there.
Of course I could leave her alone. I could unfriend her and go about my merry way. But I can’t. Really, I can’t. I am just so repulscinated (repulsed + fascinated) by the whole thing. I can’t look away.
Of course it is her choice to announce whatever she wants whenever she wants to. What gets me is that she is not even 5 weeks pregnant and she just told hundreds of people that there will be a baby at the end of May. Not that she is pregnant. Not that she is hopeful that there will be a baby at the May. No, she announced that there will be a baby at the end of May because she got a positive pregnancy test.* And then 25 people told her how freakin’ wonderful that was and that they couldn’t wait to meet her beautiful new baby. And then her husband announced it to hundreds of more people.** And then more people told him how they couldn’t wait to meet the baby.
Again, she is not even 5 weeks pregnant.
Is it unfair of me to judge her? Probably. But I am filled with disgust because I know, as do many, many people, that a positive pregnancy test does not mean baby. I am annoyed that this couple and many of their friends are jumping up and down with joy instead of at least entertaining the thought that something could happen. There is not a hint of caution. And at 5 weeks, nothing is guaranteed.
Mr. MC thinks I am jealous. I don’t know that I am jealous; perhaps I am bitter. Mostly, I am just annoyed at how stupid she is. Not stupid because she told people she was pregnant ( for example, I had to tell my officemate when I was only a few weeks along because I was puking by that point) but that she and her husband had no hesitation to broadcast it via Facebook.
To be fair, I am generally annoyed by stupid people and I find naivete irritating instead of charming. I consider myself a generally happy person, but I do not live in a happy bubble. These people live in a happy bubble and, frankly, it’s just a little too “rainbows and unicorns” for me.
I know how lucky I am. Really, I do. I have two healthy, happy children. I have also had the inside of my uterus scraped out twice. I have seen an empty sac on an ultrasound. I have watched a dying embryonic heart. The miscarriages made me a better mother and — dare I say it? — a better person.
This probably makes no sense and perhaps I should just stop trying to explain why I am so horribly judgmental and upset by this. Actually, I know I should. But I can’t. Really, I can’t.
*Exact quote: “Baby _______ , The Sequel, due to a hospital near you on or around May 26th, 2011. Previews to follow.”
**Exact quote: “Oh, by the way…baby #2 is in the oven and cooking away!”
Remember my “friend” from Facebook who announced her pregnancy on FB before her first u/s?
She just announced her second pregnancy.
She is 4 weeks / 4 days pregnant. (I did a “reverse” look up calculation based on the due date she gave.)
She is clearly a MORON. I hate her for being so stupidly optimistic. I don’t wish miscarriage on her, but doesn’t she even THINK about it? That it MIGHT happen to her? Who has this kind of hubris?
The war with the wee yeasties is over, but there are still skirmishes at the front. Two 14-day courses of Diflucan for Baby E and three 14-day courses for me were required to get rid of the initial infection. Just to avoid this whole mess again, I am going on a maintenance dose of Diflucan (after a liver test) for the next few months. I can finally nurse without being in excruciating pain, which is a huge relief.
I managed — through “clenching and grinding” — to crack one of my back molars. I did the same thing after S was born, only I cracked a filling and not a tooth, although I still ended up with a root canal. This time my dentist applied a temporary crown and I am waiting a week to see if the pain goes away. If so, I avoid a root canal; if the pain persists, off to the endodontist I go. I also bought a new night guard, one that doesn’t make me gag.
I am slowly emerging from the sleep-deprivation haze, which means I can finally start to formulate complete sentences and return to blogland.
The wee-yeasties are still here. Oral Diflucan, vinegar washes, and Monistat cream (me) and Nystatin (Baby E) have not worked.
If I have not mentioned it before HOLYFUCKITYFUCKARETHESELITTLEFUCKERSPAINFUL.
We have now moved onto gentian violet. My sweet baby’s mouth and my nipples are bright purple. We took pictures of Baby E — it looks like she has been eating blueberries and will someday, I am sure, be quite comical.
At my 35 week OB appointment, I was screened for group-B strep and e-coli. They usually test later, but since I was early with S, they tested me at 35 weeks. My water broke at 36 weeks. Breech baby. C-section.
My OB treated me with IV antibiotics both for the group B strep, which came back positive, and as a matter of protocol for a surgical procedure.
Last week, the yeast infection in my breasts started raging, most likely due to the antibiotics. I was put on an antifungal, Diflucan, and Baby E was put on Nystatin. My colitis, also most likely due to the antibiotics, started to flare last week as well. I was already taking probiotics (the “good” bacteria) but I doubled the dose to try and avoid c-diff (the “bad” bacteria that grows when the “good” bacteria is killed off). I took my anti-inflammatory medicine. Nothing was working. I did what I usually do — I started a course of steroids (Prednisone) on Saturday and planned to call my GI doctor on Monday to determine a medium-term course of treatment.
Prednisone, as luck would have it, encourages the growth of candida yeast.
My breasts were starting to feel better but I woke up this morning and all the burning was back. I can’t believe I forgot about Prednisone and candida. I called my doctor. He prescribed a new type of steroid for me (it dissolves in the GI system so only 10% gets into the blood stream), a 6-day course of antibiotics (irony!), and upped the dose of all my anti-inflammatory medicines. I am probably going to have to stay on the Diflucan for 6 weeks, the duration of the steroid treatment. Baby E will probably have to stay on medicine, too.
All this from one dose of an IV antibiotic: necessary, yes, but evil.
Once again, I have a yeast infection in both of my breasts. It is very, very painful. I guess the antibiotics they give you during the c-section can cause the overgrowth of the yeast. Baby E is also on an antibiotic for a clogged tear duct that became infected, so between the two of us, it is not surprising this happened.
If you have never had one, imagine someone pouring battery acid into your nipples and then shoving shards of glass into the rest of your breast. It is worse during let down and then continues to burn for hours after the feeding. I have to rewash all my nursing bras in hot water and hang them in the sun to dry so I don’t reinfect myself.
I am on oral Diflucan and I have to wash my nipples with vinegar and rub Monistat on them after every feeding. Baby E has to take Nystatin after every feeding and she really doesn’t like the taste. Poor girl.
Let it never be said I am not committed to breastfeeding.
Born 6/28/10 at 4:31AM at 36 weeks via c-section.
5lbs. 8 ozs. / 18.5″ long
Hyperemesis is a bitch. I had it with both pregnancies but with S it nearly went away after week 17. This time, I was still barfing the week before I gave birth, usually in the morning as soon as I woke up. The first 20-odd weeks, though, I puked any time of day, set off by a smell, motion, hunger, or eating (sometimes just thinking about eating) the wrong food.
I started this pregnancy at 210ish lbs. When I gave birth, I was 198 but most of the pregnancy I was in the low 190s because of all the vomiting and lack of appetite.
Today I am 188lbs. I went in to get my staples out and I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the scale at my OBs office. Is this the upside of hyperemesis? (Technically, I guess it is the downside?) I got pregnant and lost a little over 20 lbs. Go figure. This is exactly the weight I was when I got pregnant with S back in 2007.
On the up side (up? get it?), all the vomiting ruined my teeth. The stomach acid is really damaging to tooth enamel and I will begin the dental repairs in August. The dentist hopes she can do just a filling instead of a crown on one of my molars where the stomach acid ate through things.
My father killed himself, via a massive drug overdose (after a previous attempt about 2 weeks earlier), 5 days after S was born. In the past two years, I have learned to forgive him for a lot and empathize with the illness. Robbing me of my euphoria over S’s birth, however, I will never be able to forgive. I will always hate him for it. It makes me angry that in my mind S’s earliest days are clouded by this event, as much as try to avoid doing so.
With E, somehow I feel like I am getting to do everything over again. They are almost exactly 2 years apart (2y/6 days, to be exact). Both were born early. My labor started with both of them at 36 weeks: S stayed put for a few days longer while E was born just hours later. Both times my water broke announcing that this was “real labor” after Mr.MC was told to go home and get some sleep. To me, at least, they bear a striking resemblance, especially with E in her older brother’s hand-me-down clothes.
Five days after her birth, instead of processing my father’s suicide, I spent the day with my husband, my son, my daughter, and my mom. We sat for hours in the new nursery while S entertained us with his 2-year-oldness. It was perfect.
Instead of breastfeeding woes (poor latch, poor sucking reflex, mastitis, blocked ducts, previous duct damage in my left breast, etc…) I have a preemie baby who nurses like a champ. What my father’s death didn’t undo, hormones and the stress of breastfeeding finished off. I was told I had to feed every 2-3 hours. I had to pump to try and get the left breast working. S wasn’t gaining weight and he wasn’t sucking long or hard enough to bring in more milk. I hated pumping. I was physically exhausted and sleep deprived. My baby was not gaining weight and I had to supplement with formula for a few days. It was crushing.
This time I have a preemie who figured out breastfeeding the first time she nursed. She latches and sucks like a champion (I have to break the seal of her latch to get her off, even when she falls asleep, because she sucks so well). She came even earlier than S but nurses, according to the lactation consultant at the hospital, like a skilled full-term baby. My milk came in without incident. She is already starting to gain her weight back. Even with a clogged tear duct, eye drops, and antibiotics, she rarely cries (only when I don’t get her on the boob fast enough) and is very mellow. I am not pumping; I am nursing completely “on-demand,” even if she goes 4-5 hours between a feeding and, contrary to the warnings of the lactation-nazis out there, she is just fine. She poops and pees the requisite amounts. Her pediatrician proclaimed her, save for the tear duct infection, “perfectly healthy.” Instead of worrying about when I should feed her, I feed her when she is hungry, which means no more setting timers and constantly worrying that she has gone too long between feedings.
This is how it is supposed to be. I am exhausted and still recovering from the c-section but this is one of the happiest times of my life. My son is happy, healthy, and hilarious. My beautiful daughter is here, albeit a little early, but she is healthy. My heart feels like it is going to explode with love for the both of them. My husband is has taken time off of work and we get to be all together as a family.
And my dad is already dead, so he can’t ruin anything anymore.
There is no “Bitchfest: 36th-week Edition” because, well, I was only pregnant for 4hours and 31 minutes of week 36. Baby E arrived at 4:31AM on Monday, 28 June, via c-section. I had gone into labor the previous night, and although we tried to slow things down, my water broke and she was still breech.
I am still processing everything.
She’s tiny (born at 5lbs. 8 ozs.) but strong and, other than her weight, is as strong as a full-term baby.
She breastfeeds like champion, too.
More details to follow; I dread writing on these strong pain meds.
I am still having migraines, usually 2-3 per week.
I still throw up in the morning, usually 3-5 times per week.
I have awful sciatica, which means I can’t walk very far. My lower back is either sore or in spasms. I pee every hour.
I had to do the 3-hour glucose test this week. My sugars are on the low end and I often feel lightheaded. I flunked the test. How can I have hypoglycemia and gestational diabetes? I can not add in carbs but I need to increase my calories with more protein.
She-beastie is breech. They can’t schedule a version until 7 July. If I go into labor before that date, I have to have a c-section. In the meantime, I am doing all I can (chiropractic, acupuncture, laying upside down) to encourage her to turn.
My house is a disaster. We had construction done and the results looks fantastic (first floor laundry!) but the dust and dirt are everywhere. I want to clean, but between the migraines, sciatica, and S, things are happening at a snail’s pace. The cleaning ladies are coming for a “deep clean” next Wednesday but that means we have to de-clutter so they can actually clean stuff.
We went way over budget because the previous owners of our house did things on the cheap and we had to fix a bunch of important stuff, like plumbing and electrics. It needed to be done, but we had to take it out of our savings.
I still have a ton of research/writing to do for work and almost no motivation to do it.
My brother got married last weekend. I had to wear a purple maternity dress. ( I think I will save for future dress-up play.) The rest of the wedding party was blond, tan, and scary skinny. I am none of those things. It was an awkward fit.
All that being said, I still realize what a gift pregnancy is. She’s breech, but she’s healthy. I ache, but only because I have a baby within. I had to do a non-stress test in the same room where I first found out my first pregnancy was non-viable. I could feel my axiety increase as I stepped across the threshold, even though I had been in once before when I was pregnant with S. This time, Mr. MC couldn’t come with me, so I was by myself and I was struck by my journey. Before, my heart had broken in this room. Now, I was listening to my baby’s heartbeat and marking her movements. The nurse said her accellerations were “perfect;” before, the ultrasound tech could only tell me “there is no baby.”
… but she is supposed to be upside-down at 35 weeks.
Version scheduled for early next week at 36 weeks.
Did you ever see the movie For Keeps with Molly Ringwald and Randall Batinkoff? It is from 1988 and is not a cinematic gem, but I distinctly remember one scene where Molly Ringwald’s character, Darcy, is complaining about being a pregnant teenager and at the very end of her monologue she says ” … AND there’s something hanging out of my butt.” “Out of your butt?” asks her baby-daddy, Stan (Batinkoff). “Sometimes pregnant women get, you know… , hemorrhoids.”
Mind you, I can remember almost nothing else from 1988, but this scene stuck with me.
And now I know why. Because there is indeed something hanging out of my butt and, thanks to For Keeps, I know what it is — hemorrhoids.
You would think with all of my pooping issues that I might have had them before, but if I did, they were very mild. Since starting on the steroids the hideous diarrhea has abated only to be replaced by hideous constipation and I have discovered that neither extreme is pleasant.
I went to Target and bought enough witchhazel pads and Preparation H to soothe my sore tushie for several months. Supposedly, most hemorrhoids go away on their own eventually but often get worse in the postpartum period due to pushing during delivery.
Let me start by saying: I don’t have one.
But I went to the ER this afternoon because I couldn’t breathe (same cough/cold that I have had for the past 5 weeks that suddenly got worse) and the next thing I know, I am being told about how they are going to inject me with radioactive stuff so they can rule out a P.E. — a pulmonary embolism. PEs are baaaaaaaad. PEs are very baaaaaaaad. Even though I am on blood thinners (Lovenox, baby aspirin), the fact that I was pregnant, having chest pain, and had a high heart rate meant I couldn’ t leave until they could rule this out. Crying when you can’t breathe just makes things worse and the snot clogs up your oxygen tubes, but sometimes that is all you can do.
I honestly thought they were going to give me a breathing treatment and send me on my merry way. I didn’t expect, several hours later, to learn about the half-life of inhaled radioactive gas (20 seconds) and the half-life of the stuff they injected through my IV (6 hours; does not cross the placental barrier).
I now have fancy new asthma medicine and another appointment with my doctor tomorrow at noon to follow up.
What I don’t have is a P.E.
If you will excuse me, I am now going to stuff my face with bad carbs. Pizza is not on the ADA diet, but I think I have earned it.