Friday, March 26, 2010

Old Habits Die Hard

This morning, I peed on a stick. I'm sure you can guess by the fact that this post didn't start with "HOLY SHIT, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS!" that it was negative.

Several friends are TTC #2 right now and I think they've infected my head. We haven't done anything (beyond being too tired to have sex for the first year) to prevent pregnancy since Robbie was born. I haven't charted since I got pregnant with Robbie, but years of probing my lady-bits has made me hyper-aware of changes going on in the area, plus when I ovulate now, my left ovary hurts like a bitch. I am keenly aware when it's happening. So I know when we've sexed at a fertile time. Which we have.

So when I woke up this morning and rolled over, squishing a boob in the process, and actually said out loud "OWW" I thought "Hey. Whoa. Boobs really hurt. Ya don't think..." Then I remembered that box of FRERs under the bathroom sink that I made David buy the last time I completely forgot who we were. (And my period started before he even got home with the box, so I never even opened the box.)

I laid there for a minute and told myself I was stupid. But I started thinking about how I'd put Robbie in a "Big Brother" shirt and surprise David. And I'd totally video the whole thing. And he wouldn't notice for a while, and then he wouldn't get it and I'd have to explain, but he'd be so excited and then tell me we weren't so broken after all, and I'd be annoyed at the I-told-you-so, but I'd really just be crying happy tears. And then we'd do the "Big Brother" shirt trick again for our families after we established viability and this baby would be born full term and, really, I really have to pee really badly now so why the hell not. I mean, the tests are just waiting for me, right?

So I got up and dug through dusty hot-rollers and extra rolls of toilet paper and found the tests. I definitely wanted to pee in a cup, not on the stick. I'm an expert at this by now. But shit, it's been so long since I did this regularly, I don't keep a stack of cups on the back of the toilet anymore. I wonder what I did with them? So while doing the pee-pee dance, I dug through the linen closet, eventually finding my plastic cup stash in a basket of extra tampons. The cups are leftovers from our wedding. Yes, four years ago.

I filled the cup and dipped. I waited. For half a second, I thought I saw a line forming. Then I didn't. I saw the control line fade in, but nothing else. I held it up to the light. Hmm, no. I heard Robbie fuss through the baby monitor and decided I'd go get him and then check the stick. Surely that second line would develop by then. By the time I got to Robbie, he was already back to sleep, so I came back and looked at the now fully developed stick. Nothing. I held it up to the light again. I twisted. I turned. I squinted. I mean, I think I'm 13dpo, it could still be really light, right? Maybe if I turn the extra light on? Negatory. I sighed and dumped it in the trash. Nothing like wasting 7 bucks.

I got in the shower and scoffed at myself. As if. I got out of the shower and dug the test out of the trash. Maybe I just didn't give enough time. No change. I dumped it again, disgusted.

And then my reaction changed a bit. The emotion I felt surprised me. I was angry. Really, really mad. I am never going to have a surprise positive. I'm never going to put Robbie in a Big Brother t-shirt and surprise David. I'm never going to be that girl your neighbor knows who tried for 2 1/2 years for #1 and then Bam! got pregnant on her own. I'm never going to be normal.

I thought I already knew that. I thought I had grieved it and accepted it and moved on. I have Robbie now and even if we never have another child, I am truly, truly fulfilled. But this morning, it was like learning it all over again. And it really pissed me off.

I tried to talk myself out of it. The timing wouldn't be great. My gallbladder has got to come out at some point. I would not want to go through a pregnancy with it giving me trouble the way it already is. I'd like to lose some more weight, see a specialist before we conceive. Intellectually, I recognize that snow white pee-stick for the good news that it is.

But emotionally? It's not fair. It's not fair. Robbie will be 2 in May. He deserves a little brother or sister. I'm an only child. I know what it is to crave someone who understands how screwed up his parents are. I know what it is to have to make all the decisions alone, and wonder how I'll care for my aging parents without help. Having siblings doesn't guarantee that won't still happen, but not having them guarantees it will. He deserves a sibling.

I say without excessive egotism that I am a good mother. Not a perfect one by any means, but a good one. Before I had Robbie, I didn't know that I would be. I certainly hoped that I would, certainly. But there was a part of me that wondered if growing up without a mother had broken something in me. I wouldn't have a mother to ask questions of or lean on. What if I couldn't do it? But now I know. Not only have I figured things out so far, but I've handled a child with special needs and done pretty okay by him. I'd be a great mom to another child.

David, for all his faults and the rough start he had to fatherhood, has grown into a good Dad. Now he sends me emails during the day talking about how excited he is to spend time with Robbie that evening, or just to tell me how great our kid is. He's a good dad. And Robbie adores him. We deserve another child.

Since we haven't prevented pregnancy in nearly two years, I knew we still fell into the infertile category. If you'd have asked me, I'd have told you without shame or hesitance that we were an infertile couple. But until today, until this morning, I hadn't felt the sense of sadness or loss that accompanies that label since before Robbie was born.

Today, I renewed my membership to a club I never wanted to belong to in the first place. Old habits die hard.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'm alive

So I started a message board. It's for parents of preemies, or any parent whose child has endured a lengthy NICU stay.

I bought some server space, installed some free message board software and spent a few sleepless night figuring out how to install it. I cussed a lot, but I think I learned more.

I had to uninstall, delete, re-upload and reinstall four times, I think. Did I mention I cussed a lot? I cussed a lot.

I finally got it working. Then started tweaking things. And it all started to go to hell again. After more sleepless nights trying to get everything working, I finally gave up and sought help. Fortunately I found a lovely chap from the Netherlands who is clearly smarter than me.

So, it's working. There's still some tweaking to do, and I'm sure a few more sleepless nights in my future, but it's up.

Hopefully my brain will now allow something other than code and computer jargon to form and I can return to my regularly scheduled mundane ruminations.

If anyone out there is the parent of a preemie or a child who had a long stay in the NICU would like to join, shoot me an email for the link. I'd post it here, but honestly, I'm hoping to avoid as many bots and spammers as possible. The board is ad-free and offers no profit to me (actually the opposite) in any way, so traffic outside the core audience is just annoying.


P.S. Robbie is well. Tons of pictures on his blog.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Brain Vomit

I was not meant for I.T.
I've been working on a project since Saturday and tonight managed to get frustrated enough that I was pounding my fists.
I actually have a Computer Information Science associates degree. Thank goodness I didn't make that a career. I'd have done harm to someone or something by now.


Robbie finally cut some molars. Man was I happy to see those suckers come through. I've been able to feel the exact outline of them since early January. Friday I felt one, today I felt another. I can still feel the bottom two coming as well, but so far they're hiding. I wish they'd just all come on through. Those molars are hell. Mother Nature has a sick sense of humor with that teething bit.


I added a shit ton of photos to Robbie's blog.
I think I get bonus points because I uploaded in spite of the fact that it slowed down the FTPing of files I was doing for the project mentioned above.


Thanks for the support and suggestions on my last post.
To the poster who asked about therapy (and no worries, I wasn't offended!: Yes, I have considered therapy a number of times. I feel like I still have a lot of issues to work through regarding Robbie's birth and subsequent health issues. I definitely have a touch of PTSD which rears up occasionally as well. The trouble is the I work full time 9:30-6, which makes scheduling a session difficult. Even if I could find someone in the evenings, we don't have a baby sitter for Robbie. One of the troubles with having a child with special needs is that not just any one can watch him. They have to learn about the G-tube, how to use the pump, etc etc. For now, it's just not logistically possible. I do wish it were, though.


My mother in law visited last weekend. I worked very hard on letting the past go and just trying to enjoy the extra set of hands. But she started in AGAIN with the shoving a sippy cup in his face 24/7. I was very gentle and nice (uncharacteristically so) when I told her to please stop. She didn't respond except for a small grunt, but she did lay off for a few hours. But Sunday she was back at it again.

It's not enough that the cup be sitting on his tray in front of him. She wants to put it in his mouth all the time. Even if she were offering him something he wanted, as frequently as she does it, it's just annoying. I mean, I really like cupcakes, but if someone asked me 60 times a day if I was sure I didn't want a cupcake while trying to physically put one in my mouth, I'd probably slug them. It exhausts ME, so I'm sure Robbie was sick of it. He handled it pretty well, just consistently pushing the cup away and turning his head (at least he didn't cry this time) and I just kept distracting every one.

In a not-so-small WIN, David agreed that his mother is completely out of line. When I asked why he doesn't say something to her, he seemed genuinely surprised at the question. Then finally said "I don't know. I should. I will now that you've said something." Gee, we've only been together for 8 years (4th wedding anniversary is next week!) and he finally sees he should be supportive of his wife (or maybe just defensive of his son. Whatever, I'll take it!)


It's 3:15 a.m. I have to be up at 7:30. I think the reason computer geeks are geeks is because they don't sleep enough.



Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March 2

I really was in a dark funk for a little bit. Sort of like having 6 weeks straight of PMS. After I flipped out on a stranger in a parking lot, I realized I really need to give up the cavey bit and crawl back into the light. The fact that we finally seem to be seeing the sun a bit is probably helping me do that quite literally.

I still am not what I'd call cheery, though. It's not any one thing, but a few larger ones mixed with smaller things. (Like still battling bills, not getting enough sleep.. well.. ever, and being on a diet. I mean, no one is ever happy to be on a diet, right?)

My morale at work is at an all time low. And that's saying something since I've never really liked my job. The pay is decent and the benefits are excellent. Considering the state of the economy, I know how incredibly lucky I am to have a job at all, never mind one that provides well, so I need to STFU. But honestly, my feeling is complete and utter apathy. Not even anger or misery or sadness (all of which I've had at work over the last 9 years there) just apathy. I think that's worse than anger even. I feel like a zombie when I'm there. It's just sucked the life from me.

Outside of work, I've watched a few friends go through some unpleasant things lately, and they trouble me as well. Friends going through things that hit close to home, so not only do I feel bad for them because they are my friends and I love them, but also because it dredges up some memories that I guess I hadn't quite put to bed yet.

And really, the biggest thing has been Robbie's therapy. I know I posted about this recently, but nothing has really changed.

I think part of it is that Robbie has been doing *SO* well lately. Is he a typical 21 month old? Or even 18 month old? No, he's not. But he's a helluva lot closer than he's been pretty much since he was born. Every day, he's showing me something new. Yesterday I laughed so hard to myself because he came walking through the living room almost looking like he was skipping, then I swear, he assumed the Superman position like he was going to take flight and just... leaped. Of course, he fell flat on his face and screamed his head off. But up until the face plant, it was really entertaining to watch. Where in the world did he get the idea he could fly? And who is gravity to tell him otherwise!?

His receptive language is exploding. Something as simple as telling him to stop playing in the trash and he actually STOPS PLAYING IN THE TRASH sometimes leaves me gape-mouthed. Holy crap, he understood me and actually listened. He's finally really responding to his name (which makes picture taking a lot easier, I must say.) He's been "singing" a lot. Mostly he sings the Witch Doctor song. "ooh eee ahh ahh eee eeh ooh ohh" but he'll make signs for other songs as well.

Feeding is really improving as well. He loves crackers of any sort. The other night he actually picked up a fried chicken leg and gnawed on it a while. He probably only consumed 1/8 oz of anything, but he looked like he liked it anyway. Tonight he finally put some cheese in his mouth. And after some cajoling, got him to taste a pickle as well. (In an unpleasant moment, I was sort of force fed a pickle covered in chocolate graham cracker crumbs, but it worked to get him to try a bite himself, and hey.. what does it mean to be a mother if not to sacrifice your own good sense and tastebuds once in a while?)

He still won't drink diddly, but whatever. Progress is progress.

He's also been a complete tyrant. Now that he knows what "no" means, boy he REALLY doesn't want to hear it. And take something he's playing with away from him? Holy mother. He gets hysterical. I get pushed away probably an average of 10 times a day. He definitely lets his feelings be known.

All of which is incredibly frustrating as a parent, but in a TOTALLY NORMAL WAY. I mean, it would figure the only developmental milestone he'd meet in a timely fashion would be the terrible twos. But I can step back from the ledge of insanity and appreciate it for what it is- Typical. We don't get a lot of typical around here.

Now, I know you're thinking "Trish.. weren't you whining? This all sounds good." and that's true, it is.

But I keep getting this negative reports from his therapists and man, they are just dragging me down. It's like having been a failing student for my whole life, getting to college and suddenly having a solid B average, only to have your dad say "why aren't they As?" It's like nothing is ever enough.

Right now we're in the process of selecting a speech-language pathologist (SLP) to come do an evaluation for Robbie. I'm not even that worried about his language. Yes, he is on the lower end of expressive language, but because I've seen such a profound improvement in his receptive language recently, I think it will come.

But Robbie's developmental therapist wants him evaluated anyway. She has said she's not sure he's going to qualify, but she's worried because he's so close to 2, and at that point they'll stop adjusting his age. So even if he's caught up to his adjusted age, once May 31 hits, he's going to be 3 months behind again. I find the whole "magic age of 2" thing extremely annoying anyway, but that's a rant for another day.

On the note of speech, though, from my perspective, he's now 21 months old, 18 adjusted. And she's already talking about where he should be for a 2 year old. In my opinion, there is a big difference between 18 months and 2 years, particularly in the realm of language.

And I'm not even saying he couldn't benefit from a SLP. Honestly, a SLP could probably help us with feeding issues at least as much as language issues, so she'd probably be good to have in our arsenal.

But at this point, Robbie gets therapy at least twice a week, sometimes three times. And every one of those appointments bring more judgement. I KNOW it's their job to judge. How he's doing, what has improved since last week, what hasn't. But I'm getting a lot of commentary about him being uncooperative. The insinuation seems to be that he's regressing. That just isn't the case. He's uncooperative because he's in a stage of exploring his independence and right now, he doesn't feel like biting that tube in his mouth 10 times. (Part of a bite program designed to improve jaw strength involves biting some tubing.)

I'm not a parent who sticks her head in the sand. I'm a worrier by nature. If you insinuate something is wrong, I will Google it until 2am for a week straight, wring my hands, and chug some mylanta for my anxiety induced stomach ache. But he's honestly doing great. And it's frustrating when I feel like they're not seeing the bigger picture.

Some of it is attributable to the fact that we're not communicating face-to-face. Most of Robbie's therapy is done at daycare. I've made a number of efforts to rearrange my work schedule (usually losing pay) to be there for appointments, and then a therapist won't show up. There's almost always a good reason, or some miscommunication that leads to it, but it just keeps happening and I'm frustrated.

Robbie comes home with reports stating that he's regressed to only eating stage 1 baby food. What? He hasn't eaten stage 1 baby food in at least six months. Where did that even come from? Well, daycare told the OTa something and somewhere along the line, someone was just plain wrong. That's not something that would happen if I could chat with them weekly.

I've asked his PT to send me an email once in a while vs just leaving the reports. Rather than relying on something written from a more medical point of view, something a little more personal might come across better. But instead, I'll get a text message saying "didn't have a chance to email. Robbie's great. Can I see him today at 10." (and this will be at 9am.) Um. Sure, okay. (Communicating via text message really frustrates me as well. Not just with therapists, but with people as a whole.)

It's just.. frustrating. When you add the fact that I really have my doubts about how much any of this is actually helping, it just wears on me.

I'm celebrating the strides Robbie is making but every other day or so, I feel like I'm getting a bucket of cold water dumped on me.

And now we get to add a FOURTH therapist to the mix. Whoopie!

I keep trying to tell myself it doesn't matter (I even stopped reading the whole reports- just focusing on the "what to work on" portion) but it seems like it sneaks up and smacks the life out of me anyway.

As much as I do take some flak about focusing on the negative, by and large, I'm a pretty hopeful person. I really enjoy being a mother (minus the tantrums and sleep deprivation) and I really just think my kid is damned amazing. Getting a thrice weekly dose of negativity just wears on me.

I really don't know what to do about it. I spend 8 hours a day at work in a less-than-stellar environment. I look so forward to coming home to my family, but then these outside sources take some of the joy from that, too.

What I really want to do on a purely selfish note is tell all the therapists to suck it, save my copay and time and just let Robbie be a kid. But I would never do anything to risk limiting Robbie's potential. As much as I feel skeptical about the benefits of the therapy he is now receiving, I wouldn't risk it based on that.

So for the time being, I'm just grinning and bearing it. (Or more accurately grimacing and bearing it. I'm not a good faker.) And mostly just keeping to myself, because I don't really want to spread my negativity around any more than what is necessary (sometimes a good vent session is needed to release some steam.)

If you would say a prayer for us, I would appreciate it. Prayers for peace & patience for me and speech & development for Robbie. And for all of my friends going through rough times right now. I know they'd appreciate it, too.