Newtown

It’s now Sunday evening Monday morning, and I’m still having a hard time grasping what happened in Connecticut on Friday.  I saw some headlines via Facebook on Friday morning shortly before we headed into our lunchtime holiday party, and remained fairly glued to my phone throughout, hoping that the initially reported numbers of dead children would be some kind of mathematical fuckup, a false accounting, anything that would make that final number go down, not up by one or two more in the end.  I tried to not think about it and participate in the silly reindeer games during the party, but laughing and enjoying myself felt so horribly wrong.  I desperately wanted to just get up, walk out to the parking lot, and drive to my mom’s house and hold Ike. When I got there a few hours later, she hadn’t even heard the news yet.  I didn’t want to tell her.

I have tried to avoid the news, at least televised – I definitely do not want to see small children trying to explain what they had seen.  I don’t have anything brilliantly insightful to say about it.  It’s horrifying. No explanation could possibly be satisfying.  I don’t know that there is anything we can do to truly prevent all recurrences, but I also don’t think that we should live in fear of something you can never see coming anyway.  I am just trying to enjoy my child, every second that I have the opportunity.  I don’t know what else I can do, other than hold on tight, and still know that I’ll have to let go at times as well.  I am thankful that Ike is still way too young to need an explanation from us.  How can you explain the incomprehensible?

I have seen references a hundred times this weekend – look for the helpers.  There are bad people that do bad things, but most people are helpers.  Thanks, Mister Rogers, for helping us remember that.

Now that we can all breathe again….

Managed to not lose the sticker included with my absentee ballot. WINNING.

I used to write a fair amount about politics, back in the day.  Then, for a long time, I really did not care much.  I was way too preoccupied with anxiety and depression over not knowing whether we’d ever get to bring home a baby, and trying not to acknowledge even to myself that I WANTED to bring home a baby someday.  So it waxes and wanes, my political fervor, I suppose.  But I wanted to quickly touch on one aspect that ties into this blog – the title.  My blogger blog went through several different names, but nothing ever really seemed to click and feel just right.  So for a long while, it was titled simply ‘Undecided,’ and it stayed that way for what felt like an eternity, as I sunk deeper and deeper into apathy, not really caring about much other than making it back to my couch at the end of the day to stare at the TV and try to not think about the subject that was all I could ever really think about.  Then came the 2008 election season, and along with it, Ms. Sarah Palin.  I am about as liberal/libertarian as they come, I think, but I must circle back around and offer sincere gratitude to John McCain for choosing her as his running mate, because it PISSED ME OFF how pandering and condescending and frankly just ignorant the whole thing was.  It made me realize, OH!  I CAN HAZ FEELINGS!  ABOUT STUFF! IN THE WORLD!  And I began to care again, to be less stuck in my head, in the never-ending internal dialogue that I rarely dared to even voice aloud.  Granted, this was all after my very first miscarriage, and I had varying reactions after each subsequent one, but during that campaign I decided that ‘Undecided’ was the very last thing that my blog should be named.  Still lacking any creativity or willingness to commit to tying any one specific word or phrase to my own life’s chronicles (what can I say, I hate to be defined.  Too constricting.), I simply changed it to ‘Not Undecided.’  It stayed that way long enough that I eventually started seeing the phrase turn up in my keywords/search terms, so I figured it had better stay that way, so that anyone looking for it without a bookmark could find it again. And so here we are.

(I never did change the url to reflect the title, though.  I have often thought that it should be ‘hard to MAKE a human,’ rather than ‘hard to be human,’ but again, I kind of like the built-in history reflection, even if I’m the only one who can recognize it.)

So, while I am not Obama’s biggest fan (looooooong way to go on civil liberties, civil rights, drug policy, the whole not killing innocent people thing, etc., etc.), I am deeply, deeply relieved to not be entering a Mittens presidency, for I firmly believe that it would be a far scarier thing than what we have now, which I will continue to critique (though not always here, I’m sure).  Shudder.  I think that’s all I need to say about that.

(Except also, YAY for the huge advances made in the Senate and House races, as well as ballot initiatives for marriage equality and legalization.  YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!)

Words Half Eaten

Just a quick post to say that while the gems such as, “Should I get him a shirt that says, Now that I’m safe, I’m Pro-Choice?” did continue, so did his generosity.  He left his grill and pretty much replaced the patio furniture he took back with him, so I really cannot complain too much.  Of course I’d prefer that he not try to buy affection/gratitude that way, and just not be so obnoxious to begin with, but overall it was much less painful than I expected, and for that I am very grateful.  I guess he did go back on some meds, not that it is really any of my business, let alone yours – this blog is really probably not anonymous enough for me to be posting stuff like this about my family, so I may should come back soon and just delete that post below, and perhaps this one as well, since apparently Blogger still won’t let us password protect individual posts (am I missing something?  anyone?).  But for now, I’ll just say that all’s well that ends well, and this past weekend was very busy and fun.  I’m exhausted and stressed about the mountains of baby stuff that still needs organizing, and all the cleaning that still waits for me underneath all the organizing, and the thank you notes from the first shower still to be written and mailed, but it’s truly the kind of stress and exhaustion that continues to confirm that we really have so much to be grateful for.

I’m a little freaked out that my due date is now less than six weeks away, honestly.  I suppose it’s normal to question everything about my abilities for both labor/birth and motherhood at this point.  I don’t in any way think that I’ll have regrets, of course, but it is still hard to believe this is finally already actually happening. As I was looking at the enormous amounts of gifted baby gear we’ve got to sort through, I realized that I don’t think I’ve actually purchased a single thing for this baby myself.  I wanted to…but I never did.  At this point I probably don’t need to, though of course eventually I’ll buy lots of stuff for him.  But that I haven’t yet, and that I can’t seem to commit to a name, even though we still have the two top candidates, makes me think there is a bigger part of my mind than I’ve realized of late still in some kind of denial that we’re as lucky as we are to be here.  I can somehow both love and hate that it feels too good to be true. 

(34w4d)

Shit My BIL Says [and Does]

  • He arrives wearing a T-shirt that says “Relax, I’m hilarious.”  
  • He asks me if I’m going to breastfeed my baby until he’s like, twelve, and old enough to stand on a stool while doing it.  I just said…probably not [but if I did, why the fuck should you care?].  
  • He chooses where we have dinner, then complains that he can find nothing on the menu that suits him, then demands that we go for ice cream afterward.  AND WE DID.  
  • He tells anecdotes about Republican-leaning campaign crap:  “Vote Romney 2012:  He’s White.”  [BLINK.  BLINKBLINK.]
  • He apparently signs my husband up to receive promotional mail/free sample things from Depend.  Yes, the incontinence undergarment.  I don’t even ask.
  • He asks if I had ever seen anyone with such skinny legs yet such a [sound effect] abdomen, referring to my MIL’s friend and travel companion.  When I say I really hadn’t noticed (complete honesty – am I supposed to notice that or something?), he describes in further detail how he really doesn’t think he’s ever. seen. anyone. with such drastically contrasting upper and lower body types.
  • He uses the word FUPA.  I pretend I either don’t hear it or don’t get it, and don’t ask for a definition.  Thankfully, he obliges.
He’s not all bad, that’s for sure.  He can be very generous, and maybe it’s just my problem that I always assume strings are somehow attached.  Apparently he took Mike grocery shopping, which frankly (and embarrassingly) helps a lot right now, and he did pay for dinner, too.  I don’t mean to be so harsh about him…well, okay, most of the time I do mean to, but I probably shouldn’t.  He’s just like your old racist uncle.  You know you can’t convince him to be reasonable or respectful, so you try to just ignore it as much as you can. Terrible strategy?  I don’t know.  I’m just hoping he doesn’t start harassing us about a baptism and being the baby’s godfather (because I’m sorry, now THAT’S hilarious).

NOMNOMNOM

Yesterday was a two-fer.  Had another good NST in the morning, followed by a good ultrasound/growth check in the afternoon.  He appears to be on the smaller side, but still within the normal range, at four and a half pounds as of 34 weeks.  So, he definitely still needs to finish baking and fattening up, and there’s probably no danger of a nine-pounder for me.  Blood pressure was a little high in the morning, 130/80, but much better in the afternoon at 116/73.  Clearly I just need to quit letting Mike piss me off in the morning before I go to these appointments.  That’s a joke…kind of.  I am definitely still fighting the crankiness. Or, wallowing in it, depending on the hour.

We have made some progress on the house, but it’s still basically a disaster area, and my MIL and BIL both arrive today.  MIL is bringing a friend up with her for the shower tomorrow, so they aren’t staying at our house, but BIL is.  I have no idea how this is going to go, but even Mike wasn’t too optimistic about what kind of mood he expected his brother to be in – I guess he’s quit seeing his therapist and stopped taking whatever meds he was on, so I am just EXTRA TICKLED to have him come shit all over my shower weekend, lemme tell ya.  Now, I’ll happily eat my words if that turns out to be false, but I’m fairly confident in my pessimism, sadly.  I’m supposed to be deciding where we’re all going for dinner tonight and I kind of just want to tell them all to go without me.  That’s terrible, and I clearly cannot actually do that, so…I guess I should figure out what sounds good enough that I’ll want to eat despite the big ball of resentment that’s likely to be festering in the pit of my stomach.      

I know…cookies.

Not Eight

Today, I am as many weeks pregnant as I am years old.  I failed to say anything about it here at the time, but I had a pretty great birthday this year; lots to celebrate, clearly, and because I only get a real birthday once every four years, people made kind of a big deal about it.  It was pretty wonderful.  The first time in several years I could actually muster more than a meh for it.  

Most of the time I don’t feel “old,”  Cranky, most of the time lately, but not necessarily old – though I wouldn’t say that I feel especially youthful or anything, either.  Anyhow, I knew better when I allowed baby gaga to send me weekly pregnancy update emails.  But I did it anyway.  The weekly detail emails were sometimes an interesting compare/contrast with BabyCenter, especially in the beginning where I could do little but obsess between the weekly ultrasounds.  Now truly, not to disparage young mothers, but that site scares me a little.  I would love to have been able to write that first sentence above at 27 weeks five years ago, if my first pregnancy hadn’t ended so swiftly – but even then I think I’d feel a little cranky at baby gaga. It’s like BabyCenter for the high school set…or something.  Still, I hadn’t been truly regretful for the gaga email subscription until this morning:

For the Elton John lovers out there – baby’s got blue eyes.  Actually, even if you’re too young to know who Elton is, all babies have blue eyes at this point.

REALLY??  Too young to know who Elton John is?  I’m not his biggest fan, myself, but that’s just harsh.

* * *

Now let’s talk about my blood pressure!  (Isn’t that just the fountain of youth?)  I was still way too cranked Tuesday evening and most of Wednesday, but after yoga I figured I should be back on an even enough keel to check it out, so I stopped at a pharmacy on my way home.  First reading freaked me out – 141 over seventy-something.  As I walked into the pharmacy, I had just gotten off the phone with a friend I’ve been playing extensive phone tag with, so I sat there for a minute just breathing and being quiet, then tried again.  Much better at 116 over seventy something.  To make sure it wasn’t a total fluke, I tried one more time.  One hundred over seventy something.  That satisfied me, but I should probably continue to check it…and also, try not to be so cranky.  I’m sure it’s not helpful, but in my defense, well…aren’t people annoying?  Don’t you think?  No?  Just me?  Okay.

I wish I were exaggerating.  I don’t want to be cranky.  I need to get over it and make more of an effort to really savor these next several weeks.  Work is making it difficult, to say the least, giving me nebulous at best information regarding my leave.  I could go on a total tirade, but I guess that would be pretty stupid. Sigh.  Let’s just say I’m..some word other than cranky…ill-tempered, then, to hear that I won’t be able to figure out exactly how much time I can afford to take until perhaps four weeks before my due date.  I am fairly determined to take the whole 12 weeks “allowed” by FMLA, but….  I don’t even know what the end of that sentence is.

CRANKYPANTS.

* * *

Good thing to have checked off the list, or at least started toward checking off, is finding a pediatrician. We have an appointment with a practice that looks very promising on Wednesday.  They have two offices that would be fairly convenient, and Saturday morning office hours.  I’m just about sold, though it seems like I should obsess and research a bit more.  We can always switch, right?  Can’t possibly be as difficult as switching OB practices was.

I should have been in bed asleep a couple of hours ago.  Not doing too well at the whole “sleep while you can” thing.  Probably not helpful to the whole crankiness theme, either.  Mastering the obvious, I am. Sweet dreams….

(32w0d)

Don’t Ignore – NIAW

This is sorely overdue. I’m really sneaking this in at the last moment late, but this last week has been was National Infertility Awareness Week, with this year’s theme being Don’t Ignore Infertility.  I’m honestly at a loss for my own words on the topic, somehow, but I cannot ignore an opportunity to point out some excellent blogs that tackle the idea  from many different perspectives.  I have read some truly amazing posts this week.  These are just a sampling of what’s out there.  I could go on and on….


Anna at This Was Supposed to Be My Symphony:

Infertility is a heart-wrenching, faith-questioning, relationship-testing, life-altering, finance-draining experience that affects 1 in 8 couples. Please consider supporting the Family Act and the Adoption Tax Credit.

Mrs Brightside:

What I keep thinking about is how the ALI blog community means that none of us are ignored. We all bear witness to each other’s pain, struggle, strength and grace through every setback and triumph. I felt ashamed and invisible and utterly alone in my circumstances for years until finally finding you all, and I shudder to think of how much worse off I would be had I not.

jjiraffe at Too Many Fish to Fry

Why Do We Gather Online?
In the blogosphere, we can share our true feelings with others who have “been there” and who can comfort us. We can reveal the true level of devastation we are suffering from.
It’s because those closest to us often say painful things to us. We know people don’t mean to hurt us. But they do.
“My two coworkers (told) me that they “feel so sorry for people without kids! How empty their lives must be.”
“My SIL who knew we were devastated about not being able to having children looked at us with her newborn in her arms and said ‘You can’t imagine what it’s like to feel this kind of love.’”
“That was a defective baby and you wouldn’t have wanted it.” (As told to someone after a miscarriage)
It’s because insurance doesn’t cover most infertility treatments, and some don’t want to “out” themselves as having pre-existing infertility issues to their employer.
It’s because when people tell us, “Just Adopt”, they don’t understand how much it costs, how long it takes, how difficult it is and how much rejection is involved.
It’s because people are scared: infertility is increasing among people in their 20s.

Here’s the thing…
I got pregnant. THREE TIMES.And yet, I am still infertile.
After I got pregnant and miscarried, I felt like I didn’t fit into the category of “infertile” or of “fertile” or even of “subfertile” because I got pregnant. But technically, after my miscarriages, I clinically fell face first back into the category of “infertile.”
People think that my three miscarriages were just three terrible things that happened to me all in a row, like bad luck. What I think people miss about my story is that, in my case, miscarriage is a symptom of a DISEASE.Infertility is a DISEASE. It’s a life-altering, unwanted disease.
Statistics say that between 15% and 50% of all pregnancies will end in miscarriage (source), so chances are, more people are going through it than we realize. Some are handling it in silence, without support, which breaks my heart.

Check out Melissa’s Analogy Project for many, many more posts that can help those who’ve never struggled with infertility start to grasp what it means, like Bebe Suisse’s:  Having a miscarriage is like screaming silently and alone in the bathroom while the party continues without you.

“How lovely, congratulations!” you say brightly in a voice that doesn’t even hint of shattering. 
The ceremony has become awkward. Marc jumps up to look for a juice, a soda, something other than the wine, for her. Gilles mumbles some good wishes and puts down his glass. You take a sip – more than a sip – from your own, not caring about the rudeness of doing so before having touched it to everyone else’s. Claudine is still in the kitchen. 
It gets worse. Oh, we weren’t expecting it, they say; it was a surprise; we only found out a couple of weeks ago. It’s not the right time, but we’ll be happy nonetheless. It’s three months along. As it would have been for you. 
The time has arrived to say cheers properly. Glasses clink, your own among them, half-empty. “Congratulations again!” you add, as if saying it enough times could stop the anger and sorrow and resentment and jealousy, simmering, burning inside you. Consuming you. 

So that’s my take on the Don’t Ignore theme – don’t ignore the stories of those around you.  Don’t assume that having kids is as easy as falling off a log for everyone.  If someone confides in you, and you don’t know what to say, just say that you’re sorry, and mean it.  Don’t try to come up with some platitude to make them grateful for their pain.  If you have never had reason to read enough about infertility and infertility treatments to know that it’s not one-size-fits-all, don’t assume that your friend of a friend who you heard took “fertility drugs” has the same issues.  Don’t tell someone that you know it will all work out – because you don’t know that.  

Basically, don’t be a dick.