Thursday, December 30, 2010

Grandpas

On Boxing Day my parents came over for a visit.  We spent the day together and had a nice time during the day. 

Then at about 3pm, right on cue, my dad started drinking. 

He continued on for the afternoon and early evening, alternating between going outside to smoke pot and going downstairs to get another beer out of the fridge - eventually getting to that place where he is a blabbering, slobbery, retarded, annoying ass.

I am on edge when he gets like that because although he means no harm to anyone, he is just so obnoxious and I don't want him around my kids.  Ruby has become very nervous of him - not because he's ever done anything to harm her but because she senses that something isn't right.

At one point he looked adoringly at Lincoln (through his bleary eyes) and told him that he can't wait until Lincoln is a little older as he can picture Lincoln at their house, following him around outside, hanging out in the yard.

And I envisioned my dad walking around the yard with beer in his hand and "secretly" going into his garage to smoke pot and coming out wreaking of weed - while Lincoln tootles around taking it all in.  Not my idea of a healthy grandpa/grandson relationship.

I made appies that night for us to enjoy while we watched the hockey game.  Mushroom turnovers, spring rolls, chicken wings. Steve stared at my dad in disgust while he gorged on the wings and the "apple turnovers and cottage rolls" as he kept calling them.

And I sat across the room watching him with a heavy, heavy heart.  All I could think was that this, THIS is going to be the only grandfather that my kids will know.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Processing

I'm going to go ahead and say that this Christmas was not a great one.  My husband was in a very, very bad place, unable to pull himself together for more than a few minutes at a time. I spent the entire night from Christmas Eve through to Christmas morning holding him and offering any comfort I could while he cried out all night, in gut wrenching agony.  The words and sounds of pain coming out of his mouth broke my heart over and over and over.  That level of grief scared the shit out of me.  I've never experienced anything like it and I never want to feel that again (although I'd be a fool to think I'm safe from it now) I felt truly scared. Scared of what, I couldn't put my finger on exactly but I had an overwhelming feeling of being absolutely terrorized. 

Ok, maybe I do know what I was scared of... I was scared that there was nothing I could do to fix this and that we'd have to just experience it - as awful as it is.  I was scared I wouldn't be strong enough. I was scared of what was to come.  I was scared of this much sadness. I was scared that I was too close to being able to imagine what it would be like to lose one of my children.... (there, I said it)  Why that thought kept crossing my mind I have no idea.

Christmas day after opening gifts we packed up and headed out to see Steve's dad in the hospital.  It's an hour's drive from our house.  On the way, I felt that we were given a sort of a sign... It's probably going to sound a bit strange coming from me but here's the story...

I'm currently reading "The Shack" by William P. Young.  When I picked it up a month or so ago I had NO IDEA what it was about, and didn't realize it was so spiritual but I've been in a rough place lately and figured I would give it a go, who knows maybe it would provide me with a bit of  guidance or some sort of light.  I won't get into all the details of the book except to say that in the book the characters refer to God as "Papa". 

As we were driving down the highway towards the hospital in a state of absolute despair, a white van pulled up beside us and then pulled ahead.  Written on the side of the van in giant, bright red letters was "PAPA".  Now, it was some sort of plumbing company or something but I couldn't help but to feel that maybe someone was with us and helping us through a very difficult day and that we weren't facing all this alone without any help from... above(?).

I tried to relay it to Steve but I don't think he was in a place where he could process it.  I also mentioned it to his mom and my parents and nobody seems to have the feeling that I did and maybe they all think I'm a little bit crazy.  Perhaps they're not far off. 

But I believe in that sort of thing. 

And if it can help me a little bit, then I can help Steve a bit and we're all a little better off.

Related perhaps slightly to the above story - or more likely to the fact that my antidepressants have started to kick in (thank goodness I got those when I did!), I've been able to get myself to a slightly better place. I've decided to make the best of this horrible situation.  I've decided to that we were given a gift on Christmas eve in that we were notified that we have limited time left with a loved one.  I'm grateful that he wasn't taken from us suddenly, leaving us longing for things we wanted to say, things we wanted to do, hugs we wanted to give and get. I choose to make the absolute best out of the time we have left with a special man and I will have no regrets when he does pass.  I want to make sure that my children get to spend as much time with him as they can.  I want to be as kind and helpful as I can to my mother in law.

My heart breaks to think that my kids will not have him in their lives but I will do whatever I can to make sure they hear lots of stories about him and make sure they know how much he loves them.

Things have also picked up a bit for Steve.  He's reached out for help which is something he's never done before.  He's getting some grief counseling through his company's employee assistance program and he's called some friends to let them know what he's going through and everyone is coming together to help each other. 

If nothing else, I think this tragedy will help bring us all closer.

I can't allow our lives to be destroyed by this - and Steve's dad wouldn't want that anyways.  There is going to be a new "normal" once again. A difficult "normal", but we need to make the best of what we are given.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Cancer

Christmas eve, 2010... My father in law has been diagnosed with three cancerous brain tumors. 

He's been given 3 months to a year to live.

We are completely gutted. 

My husband is devastated. My heart is shattering to see him so completely heartbroken.  His dad is his hero. His best friend.  His dad is a good man.  This is wrong, all wrong. 

My kids won't know their grandpa. A man who loves them so very much.

Christmas will be in the hospital this year, and it's likely our last one together with him. 

I don't know what to do. I've never been through anything like this before.  I feel useless. I feel helpless.  I feel scared. I'm so so so sad. 

I wanted this to be a good Christmas, Lincoln's first.

Things had been looking up.  Steve and I were doing better. He was his old self again, lovable, happy, joking, caring - I was so excited about that. I was feeling better. I was getting help with Lincoln's sleep problems. Things were going to get better. I felt hope. 

How dare I to have felt hope.

I want to fix it but I can't. I want to say all the right things but I don't know what to say.  I want it all to go away.

It feels really bad right now.

How do I go through this?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Letting Go

I'm going to let go of breastfeeding. 

Oh let the breastfeeding advocates descend upon me and tear me apart, limb by limb, via blog comments.

I started having trouble keeping up with his appetite a couple of months ago and had been supplementing him with one bottle of formula per day for a little while now.  His appetite has only grown and my milk supply hasn't.  I was up to two bottles of formula per day and have recently gone to three. 

I have a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding. On one hand it's so convenient to always have food with me and to never have to worry about packing around bottles and formula or trying to figure out ways to heat a bottle on the go.  And there's the bond.  Yes, I believe breastfeeding my son has given us a special bond, and I have some very special memories of he and I nursing. 

On the other hand, I get a physical feeling of depression/anxiety while I am nursing. It is not caused by my thoughts but from the actual sensation of breastfeeding.  Also, I struggled with being the sole person responsible for feeding my son - especially with a busy toddler to chase.  It is nice to be able to put him in his daddy or his grandma's arms and hand them a bottle and let someone else feed him when he is hungry - which is often.

I have long since put away the breast pump. Never to be used again. Ever. (Good riddance, Motherfucker!)

When I nurse him he is hungry such a short time later - less than two hours.  With a bottle of formula he'll go three.  I need the extra time, I really really do. I have diminishing milk supply which I realize I could correct by drinking copious amounts of herbal tea and taking supplements but I'll tell ya, I've got enough things to try to remember and take care of every day. 

So it seems like we're on the path to weaning.  There have been times in the past that I've thought about it but it made me feel too sad/guilty/not ready.  But I think I'm ok with it now.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Since yesterday...

Well I've gone ahead and starting making changes.  Why wait for January, right?  I'll have a head start on all the resolutioners. 

Sleep consultant is paid for and booked.  Got an email from her and filled out my client history sheet.  I now wait for my phone appointment for our in depth interview and then my much awaited sleep plan sometime thereafter. 

I did not consult with my husband prior to booking her. I know he doesn't see the problem as being as dire as I do - he thinks "we" are making progress so "we" should keep on with what "we" are doing.  When I told him I had spent the money and booked her I was met with the expected passive aggressive response.  Whatever.

Then... after reading all your comments on my last post, I started putting some serious thought into the possibility that I might be suffering from some mental health problems - namely PPD.  Jeez, you guys, I really did not want to go there.  I've been ignoring those suggestions for a while now.  I just kept thinking that once things got better, I would feel better.  But I see that things aren't going to be "better" for a while yet.  And besides, I've had some pretty wicked anxiety attacks lately, along with stupid thoughts, self doubt, guilt, fear, blah blah blah.  All the hallmarks of depression.  I had sworn years ago that I would never go back on antidepressants (having spent most of my 20's on them), but your comments got me thinking about it and that maybe it might not be such a bad idea to get me though the short term.

So I made an appointment and went to see my doc today.

He doesn't feel that I have PPD, but that I do have "regular" depression. Meh, half a dozen of one, six of the other. Not sure what the big diff is but whatever the case, he's prescribed me some antidepressants and I got a side order of Ativan for those tough nights when I'm laying in bed with a racing heart and racing thoughts.  He offered me 0.5mg tablets but I told him he better make them 1mg.  I'm no rookie to this. 

We had a talk about Lincoln's sleeping.  He suggested I hire the particular sleep consultant that I have already hired - which made me feel good about my decision to do that. He said he hired her for both his children. He asked what exactly is happening and I told him Lincoln is awake on average 6 times per night and has a couple of 30 minute naps per day.  He asked if my husband helps out at all.  I told him "Yes, he gets up one of those six times in the night".  He said, "Well your husband is going to have to step up - and you can tell him I said that.  He is going to be doing a lot of the work when you get the sleep training plan and he might as well get used to that idea now.

Oh how I wish the doc could have told Steve that himself instead of me telling him.  Steve bristled when I relayed the message and then suddenly had to hang up the phone.  I've spoken with him since and he's changed his tune, saying he'll do whatever needs to be done to help.  We'll see.  Talk is cheap.

I'm hoping the antidepressants are going to help me think more clearly, feel stronger emotionally, allow myself to feel less guilt, and not not let stupid little things - like Steve's inability to experience empathy - bother me.

Next up?  I'm either getting a GC for the running shoes I asked for for Christmas or I will be taking more money from our line of credit (that I'm not supposed to use) and buying them myself.  I want to take up running again.  Running made me feel good and I could blare my music nice and loud and just escape, alone, for a while. 


(I've said this before but I love you all so very much and do not know where I would be without you.  Thank you so much for caring and for taking the time to post your so very thoughtful and helpful and supportive comments.  I send a big hug and kiss to each and every one of you.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Time for change

Back to your regularly scheduled programming...

I'm in a bad place.  I'm hanging by a thread, twisting in the wind.  I am crying out for help and nobody is listening. I don't know how much more clear I could be to those around me that I need help.  I tell Steve every day how badly I am struggling. I have told my inlaws at every opportunity that I get. I have told my parents - who seem to be the most concerned about me, and the most sympathetic.  But nobody is stepping up to offer help. And things are growing worse.  Things are getting dire.

Too many things have gone wrong over the past few months and I've had to deal with them all myself and I am getting to the breaking point.

I have been making a little progress with Lincon's sleep problems and I am encouraged when I see that progress, knowing that I'm responsible for it - but it's far, far from being anything close to acceptable.  Last night was a particularly bad night with him.  And I've had a particularly bad morning.

I am sleep deprived. Frustrated. Irritated. Resentful. 

My marriage is not good - although Steve would never admit such a thing.  We are little more than room mates. Co-parenting.  I try to talk to him about it but he walks away from me.  Literally, walks away from me. It feels so disrespectful.  He wants me to magically be happy. Solve my own problems.  Solve my kids problems.  And leave him out of any of the tough stuff.  You've heard of "fair weather friends", he is my "fair weather husband".  There is no effort on his part to work on anything between us.  He does nothing to make me feel loved, wanted, attractive, appreciated.  I do not have the energy to do whatever needs to be done on my part to try to make things better.

I'm lonely.

My appearance makes me sad.  I feel like a fat, frumpy mother of two who has let herself go.  In fairness to myself I haven't really let myself go so much as I have had no choice but to put all my efforts and energy into other places.  And really, nobody cares what I look like anyways.  Nobody sees me. I don't get out unless it's to the grocery store and the clerks there don't care that my ass is fat or that my hair is flat, or that I only had time to put on mascara.  My kids don't care.  Steve doesn't seem to either.  I feel invisible.

The past few months have taken a serious toll on me.

I don't like where I'm at.  I need change. For the sake of myself, for the sake of my family. 

I've come to realize that nobody is going to help me, I need to help myself. 

I can not wait for the new year to start to fix this.  I need to get on it right away. 

I am going to contact the expensive sleep consultant and hire her. Today.  Fuck it.  It's expensive and I can not afford it but I am bearing the weight of this problem alone - if I have to pay someone to help me, so be it.  I can not read any book fast enough or thoroughly enough to solve this on my own.  I will put all my effort into getting Lincoln's sleep habits on track, and therefore getting some sleep of my own.  I need to be able to think more clearly, feel less sluggish and tired and worn down.

Then, I'm going to work on regaining my life, or should I say creating a new life for myself since whatever my life has been in the past is no longer applicable. One step at a time. The marriage. My weight and appearance. My social life.  Not necessarily in that order.

Its time I started caring for myself and stopped waiting for someone else to do it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ruby

We interrup the regularly scheduled whining to bring you something different.  

My daughter, my angel.

She turned two today. 

Today is a special and very happy day.



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Then the wheels fell off

Just when I thought I was getting somewhere.

Steve got a stomach flu. Then Ruby got it. Then I got it and it was baaaaad.  The kind of flu where you leave your dignity in a heap on the bathroom floor. It was so bad I was having flash backs of being in the hospital in labour with Lincoln.  Four days later I am still recovering. In the meantime, all sleep logs have gone by the wayside. I don't know if I'm coming or going and I'm just getting by any way I can which means some co-sleeping has been happening again.

And on top of it all? Lincoln is as miserable as sin and not sleeping worth a shit. The reason seems to be a little white lump that I can see poking through his gums. Not quite through yet, but I expect him to cut his first tooth any time.

Today, I thought I just might be having a nervous breakdown. I am so exhausted both physically and mentally. Maybe more in the mental department.

I've never felt quite so defeated.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Reinforcement

I just got to the part in the book where I realized that I am reinforcing Lincoln's night waking habit by going to him every time he wakes.  Duh.

I know he's not hungry every 3 hours (that's what we're up to now) but I'm afraid to not go to him and feed him because I'm afraid of that awful crying happening in the middle of the night. (Also, what if he is scared and lonely in his bed and he just wants his mom and she doesn't go to him and he decides he can't count on her anymore and so he decides he doesn't love her as much anymore.... Isn't that what a big part of this is, after all??? )

Except last night I was so tired. Exhausted. He went to bed at 6 and I was tending to him at 8pm, 11pm, 2am, then 3am... 

At 3am I was so exhausted and tired of all this sleep training shit that I went to him to make sure he was ok. He was. I was not. I was too tired. My own sleep deprivation is accumulating at a rapid rate and I just couldn't keep getting up with him for no good reason. I'm not using a monitor with him because his room is right next to mine and I can hear every peep he makes.  So I simply closed his bedroom door, went back to my room and turned on oscillating fan to drown out some of the noise and I went back to bed and fell right to sleep.  I remember hearing him at about 4am but he wasn't screaming.

He woke up at 6am this morning and I fed him and he went back to sleep (wish I could have but Ruby was up at 5:45 and sneakily ate a slab of almond bark while I fed Lincoln).

I feel like this might be a breakthrough for us. Particularly for me.  I realize I'm not doing anyone any favors by running to him every time he squeaks. By shutting his door and walking away (if only for 3 hours), I realized that I can actually leave him at night and nothing horrible will happen.

Tonight, I may take the next big step and do the door closing, fan turning on, hiding under the pillows at the beginning of the night, not the end. Time to start reinforcing some better sleep habits.  Enough is enough.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Is this normal?

I decided to hold off on the sleep consultant until I gave sleep training a good try on my own.  And upon many people's suggestions (many of you, the health nurse, my midwife) I bought "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Weissbluth. I like his theories and I believe in what he says but good Lord I can not read it fast enough. My spare moments are few and far between and I've barely just made it into the 3rd chapter!

Does crying it out ever NOT work? Is there a chance that he may not be teaching himself how to fall asleep but instead just falling asleep from pure exhaustion? And in the meantime am I just fucking up his life? (and mine).

I can only commit to doing it during the day because I have another child to consider and letting Lincoln scream through the night would wake up Ruby for sure and then my troubles would be two fold.  So does that mean that the progress will be slower?  I'm guessing it probably does.

And anyways I've made leaps and bounds with him at night, though it's still far from ideal.  We've got the bedtime routine down pretty good and he's going 3 or 4 (and once even 5!) hour stretches in between feeds.  

Daytime napping is the really big problem right now and that's when we cry it out (he and I both).  I took video footage of him "crying" (SCREAMING) in his crib.  Today he did it for an hour (I checked him at the correct intervals - which actually seemed to make it worse). Now I have the proof I need to exonerate myself when the police knock on my door because the neighbors have called to report a child being tortured.  "Officer I wasn't burning him with cigarettes! I swear! I don't even smoke!"

No really, I did take a video of it.  Is this normal?  This is at about the 45 minute mark. After I took this video I went and took stock of the medicine cabinet to see what I had that might be effective in rendering me to a comatose state. 

(Disclaimer: Baby screaming in video. Maybe don't watch at work or if you are sensitive. )

video

I played it for Steve and he said..... "Don't do that."

Ruby NEVER cried like this - that is all I have to compare to.  Is that why it seems so over the top?

I just talked to my MIL and she said it wouldn't be good to let him cry too long and that maybe I should try a little whiskey. I told her, what a coincidence because I was actually just thinking about having some.  But apparently she meant I should give it to Lincoln. Talk about old school.  Just for the record, we don't do that anymore .... right?

It is during these screaming fits that I feel like I need professional help.  Both for him and for myself.  I need therapy and he needs professional sleep training.  Or am I just being a big wuss?  You'd think I was the first woman to sleep train her child, I know...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Progress, and... not

So I did a bunch of research. I spoke with a health nurse. I emailed my midwife. I looked at a bunch of books. I talked to girlfriends. I searched the internet high and low.  And what I thought I would do is take little bits of everyone's advice and put together my own little sleep training plan for Lincoln.

And it worked.  Sorta.  Well, a little bit.  The progress we made was in the napping department.  He has gone from taking maybe two 30 minute naps a day to taking two or three naps a day, ranging from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. And he's in his crib for those napst whereas before he was just where ever I happened to have him - bouncy chair, swing, floor, my bed.  There was a bit of protest from him and we had a little bit of crying it out.  But it was minimal and I was feeling terribly smug about myself and my talents as a mother.

My big plan was to get him used to his crib during the day and then eventually, I figured, he would start to get used to it and start sleeping in there at night. I have started putting him down in his crib after a little bedtime routine (which was previously non existent) and two nights in a row he slept for a couple of hours at which point I gave him a dream feed and laid him back down. Then he slept for another couple of hours before waking and me bringing him back into my bed (and then waking every hour or two for nursing).

Except there was the one time at nap time that he did more than a little fussing.  It was a big old cry/scream it out.  And even though I went in to check on him at regular intervals he screamed for 45 minutes before falling asleep and then only staying asleep fro 10 mins. (I realize this is minimal compared to some babies.)

Then last night when I put him down he went into cry/scream mode and it lasted 30 minutes.  He was awake within an hour and then an hour after that. And he ended up in my bed at 11pm.

And I've discovered that I don't know if I can handle this.  My anxiety kicks in full blast when he's screaming. My heart is crushed.  I have all kinds of doubts about what I'm doing and if I'm doing it right or if I'm fucking him up - because I'm doing my own thing and not a regimented, structured plan.

He is so attached to me and I feel like I'm betraying him and hurting him by doing this. He loves me like nobody ever has.  It blows my mind. Nobody has ever been that happy to see me before in my LIFE. He giggles and squeals when he seems me.  He grabs on to me and nestles his head in my neck. The sound of him nursing at night, eagerly drinking and gulping his milk makes me feel like I'm doing something so good for him.  And when he's nursing he reaches up and holds on to me. 

And I feel like I'm ripping all that away from him by making him cry in his bed, alone.

Yes, I realize that perhaps the problem is mine.  Perhaps I have some issues that need to be worked out.  I want us all to be happy and healthy.  We're not that right now. 

I feel like I can't do this alone.  Or even with Steve - who will go along with whatever I choose, pretty much.  (Although he struggles with the crying too, which doesn't help in making me feel stronger)

I feel like we need an intervention.

I am considering enlisting the help of a professional.  A sleep consultant.  A friend of mine used Helen Sands and had great success. My midwife highly recommends her and strongly suggested we use her. She said that it would be a Christmas gift to Lincoln.  And I trust my midwife more than anyone else in the world when it comes to my babies.

The thing is, Helen is really expensive.  And I don't have much money - I could scrape it up of course. But I am such a state of anxiety and self doubt right now I don't know if I should go ahead with it or not.  I feel almost like a failure if I can't get him sleeping through the night on my own. Maybe I could just buy one of the books that have been recommended to me and just force myself to go with it. But Helen Sands does extensive research into your particular circumstances and developes a plan specifically for the individual family.  And there is some support too.  I feel like I could use the support. 

I feel depressed and anxiety ridden this morning.  Don't know which way to go with this. I have so much self doubt no matter which way I turn. I just wish someone else could make some decisions for me and point me in the right direction.

Perhaps I just answered my own question...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Jig Is Up

Lincoln had his tests and urologist appointment yesterday. 

He does not have kidney reflux.  In fact, his little urinary tract works beautifully.  Everything is in the right place, everything flows in the right direction.  He does have phimosis but the urologist thought it didn't look too bad.  He feels that with the continued use of cortisone, he should outgrow it within a month or so.  He does not want to circumcise Lincoln, and would only do that as an absolute last resort (I am so glad). He also felt that Lincoln's second UTI may not have been a full blown UTI.  That there was such a small amount of bacteria detected that it likely just some bacteria from his foreskin and he probably didn't need to be treated.  So it's not as bad as we all thought.

They did take a urine sample to see if he has a current UTI and will call me by Friday if he does.

As an added bonus, the urologist examined Lincoln when he found out about Steve's fertility problems due to his undecended testicle and hernia surgeries.  Lincoln's testicles are right where they are supposed to be and his little body is perfect. 

I am so grateful and thankful and happy.

But... this means that the little bugger has been stringing me along all this time with his crying and screaming fits and his constant nursing throughout the night and his fussiness through the day.

He has been only taking two 30 minute naps a day.  Then up nursing all night and awake at 4:30am for an hour or so and up for the day usually around 6am or 6:30am. He becomes a delirious, screaming lunatic each evening, and sometimes is a fussy cranky little shit all day long. He can NOT fall asleep without my boob in his mouth. I thought he was needing the comfort for his discomfort but if he's not in any discomfort then perhaps his sleeping habits have just gotten out of control and I need to take control in order to save this family from it's misery.

I am now full on doing research into sleep problems and sleep training and all that goes along with it.  A girlfriend used Helen Sands for her son when he had similar problems and she swears by her.  I read the plan and I'm worried it's too harsh.  Or is that what it takes?  Anyone use that method?  Anyone have success with any other methods?  Any good books I should read?  Any techniques or suggestions?

Bring it on. Send me all your wisdom and advice!  I want it all - good, bad or otherwise.  I want all the info I can get so I am confident in the path I choose.  I want to end Lincoln's misery. And mine.  And Ruby's and Steve's.  (And everyone else who comes in contact with us).

I also wanted to say that I love you all.  Thank you for all your kind comments and emails in regards to my last post.  You sent me your great wisdom and concern and caring and it meant so much to me.  I felt a little less alone and a little less scared and a little more supported.  I do not know what I would do without you all.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Frazzled

I am ready to lose my shit. 

Lincoln no longer eats every two hours through the night.  He's now eating every hour or less.  Which means I am barely getting back to sleep before he wakes up again. One night of that would suck and then you'd recover and get on with life but it's been going for almost a week or more like that.  My patience is so fucking thin I feel like I could snap.  I am so close to snapping. 

Ok, maybe I have snapped once or twice.  Screaming at the top of my lungs and punching the wall.  In front of my kids.  I'm a fucking loser. 

Ruby is repeating repeating repeating repeating herself in a high pitched voice.  She wants to wash her hands or brush her teeth over and over and over and I am trying to put Lincoln down for a nap and/or make him stop crying/screaming. She gets frustrated when she can't have my immediate attention and she just stood in front of me and pour out her water onto the carpet - one of her favorite tricks. She wants to smash the computer or my blackberry or the telephone - because she knows it rattles me. I feel sorry for her because I am so frazzled and short with her sometimes.  I hate myself for that.  It's not her fault. 

I put him in the bassinet two nights ago because I thought he could maybe smell my milk or maybe we were waking him up every time one of us rolled over in bed or whatever.  He was still up every hour or less and I thought maybe it was because he is grossly too big for the bassinet and he couldn't move around.  Yesterday I drove an hour to my parents house to pick up the pack'n'play.  Tried that last night will even less luck.

I'm constantly, desperately trying to search for an answer

 I tried starting him with some formula to get him to go longer between feeds at night. Two nights ago I gave him a bottle of formula before bed and he didn't wake up for 3.5 hours which I thought was a HUGE success.  Too bad the rest of the night he was up every 45 minutes.  Last night, tired of breastfeeding all night, I gave him a big bottle of formula which he finished at 4am. At 4:55am he was up again and wanting more food from me.

I don't think it's hunger. I think he doesn't know how to sooth himself and needs me to sooth him back to sleep every time he wakes.  I also don't know if he's in pain or not with another UTI.  I'm so tired of guessing what's wrong.


I am so tired in the night and I get so fucking frustrated when I'm up so often when I need sleep so bad.  Bad thoughts go through my head.  I have considered (however briefly and not lucidly) leaving.  I thought I could just go get in my van and drive away. Leave Steve with the kids.  Everyone would be fine I'm sure.  When he cries in the night I want so hit something.  I want to punch Steve in his sleeping, fucking face.
I feel alone.  Nobody can help me.  I am afraid to show my frustration and exhaustion to Steve because it seems to annoy him.  He just wants things to be happy and great and when *I* am the cause of it not being happy and great he becomes quiet and distant with me.  When I am reduced to a crumpled pile of sobs and tears on the side of the couch at the end of the day he completely and utterly ignores me - either browsing Facebook or watching TV - on the other side of the couch. 

Lincoln's urologist appt is on Monday and it can't come soon enough.  I want things to be better. Once I know what is wrong with him maybe I can figure the rest out.  I am so afraid of where I'm at right now. I'm scared and tired and depressed and fragile and can not seem to solve this problem on my own no matter how hard I try.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Not Today

Going to Ikea on a Saturday isn't something I usually care to attempt with a toddler and a baby but since my mom wanted to have a little day out shopping, I managed to get the kids dressed and fed and diapers changed and loaded in the van and at Ikea by 10:30am despite being up every 45 minutes to feed Lincoln last night. 

As I drove to Ikea I was dreading a little that I would have to spend the day listening to my mom whine and complain and cry about how awful and annoying and terrible my dad is.  Not that she's wrong - I'm just really sick of hearing about it.

When I was walking towards the entrance of Ikea I soon realized that I wouldn't have to hear about my dad all day from my mom because he was with her. 

Normally... whatever. I don't let him get to me.  Or her for that matter.  But today?  Today I'm tired and my patience is low and I'm still thinking about how to dry the duvet on my bed that Ruby poured an entire bottle of water on.  And the first thing out of my dad's mouth is how Ruby should be wearing a hat in this weather. 

Not today, Dad.

And then as I look at my mom she rolls her eyes in the direction of my dad.

Not today, Mom.

And then for some reason my parents think that this is going to be an all day event in Ikea and they are taking their sweet mother fucking time looking at every single thing and taking forever to make a decision on whether to purchase one package of spice jars or two.  They seem to have forgotten that I am on a limited budget as far as time goes and before long both kids are going to need to eat and nap and it will get ugly if they don't. 

My mom asks why I seem to be in such a hurry.  I remind her of the kids.  Oh yeah.

So she tries to go faster but my dad is still lagging.  Taking out his spectacles to read what scent this package of tea light candles is. 

They're red.  It's Christmas time.  Probably cranberry or cinnamon.  Stick your nose in and have a sniff.  Move along. 

There are the typical, "See what I have to deal with".  And "Ugghhhh". And "I feel like I'm being smothered, why can't I have a day out by myself." from my mom. 

I don't know mom.  But guess what?  Not today.

My dad offers to buy me breakfast because it's only .99 cents.  Not today, Dad.

My one purpose for going there was to find a wooden table and chair set for Ruby and Lincoln for Christmas.  The only one I liked was pretty beaten up which means it would end up that way in my house too.  No big deal. I'll find a set somewhere else.

But my dad has to come over and say, "What about that table?" I say, "no".  He points to another one (with giant pink chairs and bright green table." I say, "I'd rather have something that doesn't look like a circus puked in my kitchen".  He rolls his eyes.  "What about that one..." I explain that while I can clearly see ALL the tables and chairs, none are what I want so pointing to each different one doesn't really help me.  My dad explains to me that the one I like is only beat up because it is on display.  I have to explain to him that the wood it is made of is too soft and it would eventually get destroyed in my house too.  Thanks for ALL your advice though.

He won't leave Ruby alone.  He's over the top with her.  He's pushing her in an Ikea cart and spinning her and letting the cart go.  I allow it once.  Twice.  I tell him to STOP when he narrowly misses some other shoppers and the cart crashes into a display.  He whispers something to Ruby about Mommy being mean or wrecking their fun or something.  For fuck sakes not today, Dad!

I tell them privately about Ruby dumping water on my bed.  He brings it up to her and asks her about it, trying to shame her.  I tell him we don't do that.  He asks, does she not need some scolding for it? I explain that the scolding was done when the act of dumping water was done.  Then we move on.  We don't talk about it in front of her and we don't keep bringing it up to her.  We don't want her to think it's cool so she might think about doing it again, nor do we want her to be made to feel bad repeatedly after it's long over.  He says sarcastically, "Oh, that's a good way to handle it" and rolls his eyes. Because, you know, he's an expert on raising kids?  He certainly wasn't involved in raising any...

So for the love of God... not today, Dad.

We get to the checkout and I do the self serve thing because it's super quick and I just want to escape.  My mom chooses the longest/slowest lineup because she "doesn't know how the self serve thing works".  So I wait.  And I wait.  And I wait.

And my dad offers to buy me "lunch" because he can get two hotdogs for $1.  I decline. He sits and eats them himself.  While I wait.

I tell them it was nice seeing them and bye-bye but they want to walk me to my van.  They kindly help me load the kids up while being obnoxious with poor Ruby who just wants to go home to bed (she actually asked to go night-night).  My mom says she would like us all to go for coffee somewhere.... 

Not today, Mom.

I am clearly in no position nor mood to sit in a coffee shop with the two of them who so obviously hate each other, while Ruby is exhausted and struggling to behave herself and Lincoln who has pooped in his diaper and is 15 minutes away from having a screaming fit because he needs to be breastfed - which I do not want to do in a coffee shop. 

Uhhh, not today.

Instead.  I said goodbye and cut the day short and headed home where I ate too much lunch because I was feeling emotional and frustrated and tired and if I didn't stuff food in my mouth, I would be crying instead. 

Today is not my day.

No, not today.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Plan

Before Lincoln got his first UTI he was, what I would consider to be, a "good" baby.  He was happy and content and he occasionally slept through the night.  And the nights that he didn't, he was only up once between 3 and 4am - giving me lots of rest. (Well, I probably didn't think it was lots at the time but looking back...)

And then just before he turned 3 months old he got that first damned UTI and it's been downhill since then.  He's fussy and he cries and SCREAMS a lot. He's got chronic diarrhea (I rarely change a pee only diaper, but we are on that change table every couple of hours).  And the eating... the eating feels like it's non-stop. Generally he eats every two hours - around the clock.

Because of the constant feeding, he's been sleeping with me in my bed (as previously mentioned).  I did try to get him back in the bassinet but discovered that he's seriously outgrown it.  So if I want any sleep, he stays in my bed.  I don't even bother sitting up to feed him during the night anymore, I just roll over and stick a boob in his mouth.

I'm afraid that... I'm creating a monster. 

I think he's seriously attached to me - which is a good thing.  But can also be a bad thing.  He seems to get quite upset when I'm not around.  I left him and Ruby with my mom for an hour on Monday and when I returned he was screaming. I left him with Steve for one hour this week and when I came home he was screaming.  I am afraid to go too far from him and nobody (including Steve) wants to be left alone with him.

I do pump once a day and give him one bottle a day so that he's used to a bottle.  So technically someone else could feed him if I was "unavailable". (And as I type that I realize that I need to get Steve to be giving him his one bottle a day - so that they both get used to each other a little more.) 

I've decided that I will not try to change anything until after we have an official diagnosis from the urologist and then have done whatever needs to be done to prevent him from getting any more UTIs.  And once that is done and he is healthy I am going to start giving him a little bit of formula in a bottle once a day or so.  And he's likely going to be ready for solids at that point so we'll give that a go.  I'm hoping that since he'll be feeling better and he'll have a little bit of the higher caloric food in his belly, he might sleep a little longer and eventually I will get him in his crib in his own room. My big fear about putting him in his crib is that he's going to be so used to being in our bed with our warmth that he is going to feel like he's sleeping on a cold slab in his crib and  he's not going to be happy about it. (I'm open to any suggestions on how to fix that problem.)

And if I can get all that to happen then maybe, just maybe I will get a little more sleep.  And I might even regain a very small bit of personal time.  And perhaps... just a little bit of my sanity.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Lately

Last week I had to take Lincoln back to the doctor because the medication he was on for his third UTI was making him very very sick.  He had explosive diarrhea, severe gas and I also assume from his screaming and back arching and kicking his legs that he had the bad stomach cramps that is also associate with that particular medication. My doctor told me that he had sent the pediatric urologist another referral telling him that Lincoln was an emergency and we need him seen before November 29th. 

Then on Thursday I saw what my boy would be like if he wasn't sick with a UTI or having his insides explode from medication.  Oh he was sweet, and happy, and laughing and not fussy and NOT screaming in pain.  It was pure bliss.  I had the best day on Thursday. 

Friday he started being fussy again and I phoned the urologist office myself leaving a message begging for him to be seen ASAP as I know he is going to get sick again and it's only a matter of time.  I phoned two more times on Friday only to get voice mail and have yet to hear back.

Saturday the screaming started again so I packed him up and made the drive to Children's Hospital. Two separate pediatricians looked at him and both immediately said he has phimosis (foreskin too tight) and they felt that was likely the reason for the infections.  I saw him pee and his penis ballooned up with urine before the pee came out so I could see how that would force urine back up into his plumbing - causing infections. 

The good news is that it may not be kidney reflux.  The bad news is that he may need to be circumcised - which I know is a touchy, opinionated subject for some people. I'm not particularly interested in where you stand on that issue either, I didn't want my son circumcised.  End.

The pediatricians told me that having an appointment with the urologist on the 29th is already really soon and there is pretty much no chance that we would be getting in any earlier (which explains why the pediatric urologist's office hasn't returned my calls). In the meantime I have some cortisone to apply a few times a day in hopes of loosening up the skin, and giving him a slight chance of avoiding circumcision.

And it turns out he didn't have another UTI.  But maybe you can understand why at the first sign of pain I threw him in the van and headed to the emergency room.  3 UTIs in 7 or 8 weeks is too many.  And I'm pretty stressy.  I'm on edge waiting for the next UTI to materialize. 

It's taking a fairly substantial toll on this household.  Steve and I are at each other's throats too much. Steve is afraid of being left alone with Lincoln in case he has one of his screaming fits - which means that I don't get time alone to do... much of anything.  Taking 10 minutes for a shower sometimes seems like I'm asking for the world.  Steve's life goes on relatively unaffected and I feel resentful and unappreciated.  Ruby is acting out and cries "Mommy up!" every time Lincoln squeaks because she doesn't want me to go to him.  I'm exhausted from all that and other issues that are pressing - such as my parents marriage (why is that being dumped on me anyways?), my dad's alcoholism / drug addiction / personality deterioration (he is a wreck and destroying any joy of spending family time together), my own self esteem (WHY won't my weight come off???), my loneliness (having a social life was hard with one baby - it's nonexistent with two - especially when one is sick), my job (have I posted about that disaster? I can't remember) and so on...

I know I'm the mom and it's my job to care for my kids no matter what sacrifices it takes and I'm fully on board with that. I also appreciate all that I have in the world and I know how fortunate I am.  I have been really working hard on being positive and being a good person and putting good karma out into the world. 

Some days, though? Some days I wonder if I'm going to make it through.  Yes, I know I will.  I'm tough and I'm resiliant and I love my kids so much and that gives me more strength than I could have ever imagined. But some days... some days just make me question everything. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Good and Bad

The Good: My vertigo appears to be GONE!!! I am so bloody happy I could shout from the rooftops!!!  I felt like the treatment I had a week ago took care of it but was still getting some weird... wobbles(?) in my head.  They've slowed down considerably but I went in to see my physiotherapist yesterday anyways.  He tested me on both sides and both were NEGATIVE.  Oh I was so fucking happy I hugged him.  I feel so much better - and people have noticed.  Saw the inlaws and my parents this weekend and both commented to Steve how much better I seemed and how my eyes were more clear and how much happier I was.  No shit. Try being dizzy and have room spins for 7 weeks and see how cheerful you feel.  I'm thrilled to be feeling better.  And it's a good thing because...

The Bad: Lincoln finished a 7 day regime of antibiotics last Thursday for his second UTI.  I got a call on Friday from the pediatric urologist saying he had an appointment for November 29th.  A MONTH away.  Then Saturday, Sunday, Monday he was super cranky and the inconsolable SCREAMING was back in full swing.  I brought him in to see the doctor yesterday, was told to get another urine sample - which I brought in for testing today and guess what? Yep, he's got his THIRD UTI. 

HIS THIRD UTI IN TWO MONTHS.

My family doctor said that he is going to personally phone the ped urologist and get him in sooner.  I mean, clearly something is very wrong.  He wrote me ANOTHER prescription for Lincoln but I'm not to get it filled until I hear from the doc as they want him to grow the bacteria a little more so they can test it for something or other.  In the meantime the children's Advil is now officially free flowing in this house.  My poor little guy. 

I am so glad that my head is clear so that I can be on my game for whatever is to come in the next few weeks. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Update...

Between vertigo, Lincoln's feeds and a very busy mind, I got little sleep last night.  In fact, at 3am I got up to go pee and a few minutes later realized I had started cleaning the bathroom - which is what I do when I'm pissed off or stressed out.  I promptly sent myself back to bed.

Anyways, Lincoln does indeed have another UTI.  We are heading to the hospital this afternoon for a renal u/s.  When the results are in from that we will be headed to BC Childrens Hospital for more tests and possible surgery.  The doctor suspects he is having problems with the valves between his bladder and his kidneys so that when his bladder constricts to make him pee, some urine is being shot back up into his kidneys. 

We are also being referred to a pediatric urologist. 

Possibly the scariest part of it all?  My BIL is coming to babysit Ruby this afternoon while I take Lincoln for tests.

Desperate times...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sick baby

I wrote a big long post this morning about my vertigo (which I still have). I was just waiting for a spare minute to finish it off and edit it. 

Then this afternoon I got a call from my doctors office letting me know that Lincoln has another urinary tract infection.  And suddenly my vertigo doesn't matter anymore.  Except for making the next few days harder than they're already going to be.

Lincoln had a UTI a few weeks back and I was warned by my doctor that if he got another one he would need a "full workup" (a shitload of tests) and would likely need to stay at Childrens Hospital for a few days.  So since then every time he made a peep I worried. 

Then a couple nights ago he started screaming.  I don't mean crying.  I mean SCREAMING. After an hour I threw him in the van and drove to the hospital emergency.  When I got there he was sleeping and I couldn't imagine taking a sleeping baby into emergency, trying to convince triage that he needed to be seen.

The next night was an exact repeat of the night before.

The next morning I took him to my doctor. We did a urine sample and the doctor told me that if he has an infection that it would be "strike two" and he will need to go to Children's Hospital.

Well... strike two.

I was told by the doctor's receptionist today that if he is screaming I should take him to emergency, if not he will be seen tomorrow morning by my doctor.  After that we will likely be headed to Children's Hospital.

Stressed?  Who me?

I can't help but think of Steve and how when he was a baby he had some problems with his testicles which ultimately resulted in some severe scarring which resulted in our male factor infertility. It's not the same issues but still.  A mother thinks all kinds of things in a situation like this. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'm sleeping with two men...

Scandalous, huh?

To elaborate, the two men in my bed are my husband and... Lincoln.

I started out co-sleeping with him when he was first born because it was easier for me to feed him and care for him when I was recovering from childbirth. At about 2 or 3 weeks I put him in his bassinet beside my bed, and all was well.

Until...

I got vertigo and he got a urinary tract infection.

I brought him back into my bed because I was worried about his fever and wanted him close so I could monitor him.

He got better but my vertigo never really went away. I can NOT sleep on or turn to the left side or the room spins - and that is where his bassinet is.

So he's stayed.

I don't worry about rolling on him and crushing or suffocating him because I am pretty much eye to eye with him in bed and I'm such a light sleeper (especially with vertigo) that any time Steve so much as shifts, my arm shoots out to make sure he doesn't get too close.

Needless to say, I'm not getting a whole lot of quality sleep these days. But then again I don't think that moving him out of my bed would make things any better for my sleep quality/quantity. In fact, I think it would be worse.

But... I feel like maybe I should get him out of our bed. Because while it might be easier now, is it going to be even harder to get him out the longer he's there? Does it matter? Should I just take the easy now while I need it? I mean, it's damn hard doing what I do, is it so wrong to make something easier for me, for now? If he was sleeping through the night it wouldn't be a question - he would be in his own bassinet if not his own crib in his room. But he's getting up at least twice in the night to eat - sometimes more (God help me), and in between his feeds he is restless and he grunts and groans. And if I didn't have vertigo, it would also not be a question - he wouldn't be in my bed.

I'm torn as to what I should do about it all right now.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The supportive wife

Steve's vasectomy is today. He's nervous. I suppose I would be too if I were a man and had never been through 2 IVFs, two difficult pregnancies and had delivered two babies within 18 months - neither with any pain medication. Poor bastard has had it too easy, no wonder he's afraid of a little nip in the nuts.

But I, being the supportive wife that I am, went out and bought all the supplies that the doctor required he have pre-procedure (it's a "procedure" nowadays, not a "surgery". It takes 15 minutes and there is no scalpel involved).

I happily went to Walmart and picked up the extra strength Tylenol, extra strength Ibuprofen, antibiotic cream, gauze and gel packs.

He also needed a pair of snug fitting undies and an "athletic support" which he is to wear over the undies when he goes for the procedure.

When I got home and realized I had bought the jock in youth sized xs, I had myself a good laugh. Steve didn't think it was funny. Nor did he laugh when I suggested that maybe that might be the size he will need AFTER the procedure.

I have since returned the jock for the right size - Mens XL (wink wink, nudge nudge). Ruby proudly rode around in the cart at Walmart holding it up for everyone to see while yelling, "Daddy GOCK! Daddy GOCK!". We're so charming.

Anyways, in an effort to be as supportive and caring and helpful as possible during this somewhat scary time for my husband, I went through his supplies and laid some of them out for him last night. In the kitchen... on the chopping block...

And he's still not laughing.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It could be worse... right?

Despair. I thought I was feeling despair. That's cute.

I should KNOW better than to say stuff like that because sure as shit as soon as it leaves my lips (or my fingertips), then it then becomes a big open invitation for the Universe to say, "Oh yeah? You thought that was bad? Wait till you get a load of this..."

I was diagnosed with severe left side horizontal BPPV. And despite two visits to my family doctor and 3 visits to a physiotherapist who has been performing the *"Epley Maneuver" on me, I still suffer. In fact I am sleeping pretty much sitting up, can not sleep on my left side, must not bend over, look down or up or tilt my head to either side.

That's a load of fun with two little kids.

Like when I bent over to help Ruby put on her shoes and I had an "episode" and fell down.

Or when I leaned over to pick up Lincoln and I lost my balance and stumbled.

And the looks you get when you are standing in line at the grocery store with your kids in the stroller and you rock back on your heels.

If only that was all I was dealing with. But no...

A day after the vertigo returned, I noticed that Lincoln had been super fussy. And warm. I took his temperature and realized he had a fever. One which Tylenol wouldn't bring down. Which is a bad thing. Babies that age are not supposed to get fevers.

So with vertigo, I was in and out of emergency rooms with Lincoln no less than three times. The first night we were in the hospital until 2am. Two different nurses took turns trying to get viles of blood out of his chubby little arm, poking him three different times and digging around in his arm trying to find a vein while I had to hold him down and he SCREAMED and SCREAMED. They gave him a catheter which was NOT a good time either. And before we left they gave him an antibiotic injection in his little thigh.

The whole time I wanted to die inside for what he was going through. And each time I tried to lay my head beside his naked, little, overheated body the room spun hard and I had to clutch the hospital bed.

That night there was pretty much no sleep.

Vertigo is aggravated by fatigue.

Then there was a blur of more emergency room visits, physio treatments for me, doctor and pediatrician appointments.

Eventually it was determined that Lincoln has a urinary tract infection (from **bubble bath?!!??). He will be on antibiotics for a week. Hopefully his diaper rash will clear up soon too.

During this time we found that Ruby had a giant boil (GROSS!) on her ear - which disturbed me greatly but I didn't have the energy to fuss too much about it and it thankfully went away.

Over the past week or two any little bit of normalcy or routine that I had established has been completely wiped out. We are in full on survival mode. Ruby has eaten more meals of goldfish crackers than I care to admit and Lincoln has been reverted back to sleeping in my bed with me at night and has spent far too much time in his baby swing. There have been moments when I was sure I was not going to survive, yet I dare not be so foolish as to label this time with anything such as Hell, Purgatory, or ABSOLUTELY FUCKING BRUTAL. And I dare not say that I am feeling despair. Because... I know that things could be worse. And I do not wish to temp the Universe to show me how "good" I have it right now. So I will endure. I will survive. I will get through this.

And when it's over I am going to be kicking some ass because life will seem soooo easy. Right?

~~~

*The Epley Maneuver is extremely effective in treating vertigo. It is suspected that I had vertigo on both my left and right side which is why the treatments haven't fully worked yet.

**WHY did I not know that bubble bath is a leading cause of UTIs in kids??? I swished Lincoln around in the tub with Ruby while she was having a bubble bath, trying to kill two birds with one stone. The bubble baths are now gone. Nobody gets bubbles anymore - despite Ruby's protests..

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Despair

I am struggling with being a mom of two kids so young. Ruby is going through the terrible twos and Lincoln is a baby who requires much love and care from his mom.

I've been doing my very best to keep it together and some days I do pretty good. Other days I go to bed dreading waking up the next day.

A few times I've felt sure that post partum depression was creeping in. With my long history of depression and anxiety, that scares me. These kids need so much from me, I can't afford to be depressed.

So when I got a severe case of vertigo two weeks ago it totally leveled me. Vertigo is the most awful awful awful thing to get. I could not care for my kids but I had to find a way.

I have lived in fear over the past two weeks that it would return. And this morning it did.

I was up half the night with a fussy Lincoln. Then at 5:30am as I was feeding him again, I turned to my right and the whole room let loose on me. I quickly took the medicine that I was given to combat vertigo but it has not helped me. I tried to ignore it and just go on with my day - because I don't have much choice to do anything otherwise. But as I was bent down helping Ruby put on her shoes, the room spun hard on me and I fell.

Since then I can't stop crying. I am fucked. I am so afraid I will have this for the rest of my life. I can't function. I am nauseous. I am exhausted. I can't sleep because when I close my eyes the room spins. I don't know how I can take proper care of my kids when I feel like this. They need me to be able to look after them and I can barely move.

I have a doctors appointment this afternoon but have little hope for any resolution.

I feel total despair right now.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Goodbye - for real this time

Last year at this time my midwives held their annual potluck picnic. Everyone who had a baby with them in the past year is invited and everyone mingles and chats and compares notes and of course it's a nice way to say goodbye to the women who cared for you during pregnancy and childbirth and the ugly weeks afterwards.

Last year Ruby and I attended. When I walked away I had a big lump in my throat, feeling sure that I would likely never see these women again - for obvious reasons.

Little did I know that I would become pregnant shortly after that picnic. Hell, when I look at the calendar it might have even been that very night!

And so this year the four of us attended the picnic. A mom, a dad, a daughter and a son. The family that I never thought I would have.

But mere hours before the picnic, Steve had a consultation with the doctor that is going to perform his vasectomy.

His VASECTOMY.

I spent TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS to get pregnant due to MALE FACTOR INFERTILITY and my husband is now going to get a VASECTOMY. Do you know how weird that feels??? There was a time when I was gutted at the possibility of living childless for the rest of my life and trying to figure out how I would come to terms with that and now I am sending my husband for a VASECTOMY.

He has less than 1% viable sperm for Christ sake!

Yet, here I was at the midwive's picnic for the second year in a row. I do not want to attend next year's picnic. Nor any subsequent picnics in the future.

So a vasectomy it is.

Still. The irony. Right?

When I walked away from the picnic this time and loaded up my family into my minivan, I did not have the lump in my throat. I knew that this was indeed goodbye... again. And that this time it was going to be goodbye for real. But this time it was on my terms and not at the mercy of infertility.

And I do perfer things to be on my terms.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I love Lincoln

Have I mentioned that? Honestly, I don't think I have. Not here anyways. And I need to.

I wrote a LOT of posts about how the surprise pregnancy totally blindsided me and how I had a really hard time processing it and trying to come to terms with the fact that I would be the mother of two when at one point I thought I would be childless for the rest of my life. And then how lucky I was to finally conceive and then give birth to Ruby, and how I made myself come to terms with the fact that she would likely be an only child and I had made that seem very appealing in my head, because that's what you do. You learn to accept and love the life you have.

And then I wrote a lot of posts about how hard his pregnancy was and how much I was not enjoying it. And that was so true. I'm not going back on that - the pregnancy was definitely stressful and physically taxing and downright painful and very unpleasant. I am just not one of those women who really enjoys being pregnant.

I also may or may not have posted about how much I was (am) in love with Ruby and how I didn't think I could ever possibly love another child the way I love her.

And now, 9 weeks into this I can not IMAGINE my life without Lincoln. My god I am crazy in love with him. He is my special little gift and I am ever so thankful to have been blessed with him. He is sweet and snugly and a true little mamma's boy. I couldn't be happier. My heart is bursting full.

I think I just needed to make all that clear.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Everybody's hungry

Today both my kids were hungry at the exact same time. And there was no putting either one of them off - as I can sometimes do. It had been over two hours since Lincoln ate and he was ready to fill this house with the screams of his milk demands, and Ruby was late for her nap and on the verge of a catastrophic meltdown.

If I fed one and not the other the sounds of the freakout from the one not eating would distract the other and then nobody would eat and then nobody would nap and then I would want to stab myself in the eyes.

I have had a brutal week with the two of them and was ready to do whatever it took to make them both happy.

So, I fed them both at the same time.

Let me clarify...

Lincoln needed to be breastfed. Ruby needed to be spoon fed.

I didn't know I could do it but I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures.

I sat on the couch and leaned forward putting my boob in Lincoln's mouth and while holding it there with one hand I put Ruby's lunch on the table in front of me and had her stand beside me while I spoon fed her with my other hand.

It was a very precarious situation and the slightest of false moves could have aborted the whole operation. But I managed.

I can't believe I managed.

How I am able to pull off this whole gig somedays simply amazes me.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Send help (or vodka)

I am woken up at 7:19am to Ruby crying - as she does every morning. I drag my exhausted ass out of bed and go to her as quickly as possible to prevent her screeching from waking up Lincoln. I walk into her room and cheerfully say "Good morning, Ruby!!"

And she screams at me, "NOOOOO!!!!!!"

After wrestling with her and finally holding her down to change her diaper we head to the kitchen where she demands to be fed yogurt.

By this time Lincoln has heard the ruckus and he is crying. He wants to be fed. At the same time she does. NOW.

I manage to bounce him until I get her yogurt down and give her a granola bar to run around with and smear all over the furniture while I nurse him.

The cup of coffee I made myself to get through the morning sits cold on the counter.

She soon gets bored and comes over with "Darla" (her doll) and sits beside Lincoln and I on the couch. "Darla" then scratches Lincoln in the head with her hard plastic hand. This upsets Lincoln and before I can get Ruby and Darla distracted and removed from the situation (baby attached to my boob), "Darla" headbutts Lincoln.

Lincoln screams. I mean he screams!!!! High pitched, heart wrenching screams. Like I've never heard him scream before and I wonder if he's seriously injured.

In the meantime, Ruby stands and stares at me while she shits in her diaper.

I settle Lincoln and put him in his bouncy chair which is on the kitchen table which is the only place he is safe from Ruby and/or Darla.

I wrestle with Ruby again to change her diaper and barely prevent her from flinging her shitty diaper across the room.

Later I manage to get Ruby to go down for her morning nap and pray that Lincoln will sleep too so I can have some time to myself to reset and recharge. Except Lincoln is fussy today (maybe something to do with the earlier attack from Darla). So I spend Ruby's nap time feeding, changing, bouncing Lincoln.

Normally he might have a nap in his baby swing but it got broken last night.

Before I know it Ruby is awake from her nap and yes... crying.

I interrupt nursing Lincoln to get her up from her nap.

Since it's now noon and Ruby's had little more to eat than a kids yogurt and half a granola bar, I ask her if she is hungry. She tells me "eat!"

Apparently by "eat" she means she'll have 3 bites of lasagna and then chew up and spit out her 4th bite, then pour her sippy cup out all over her highchair. Lunch is over.

Lincoln continues to fuss. He wants to be rocked (Damn, I am missing that swing).

Since I am holding and rocking Lincoln, Ruby stands in front of me with her arms up saying "Mommy knee?? Mommy knee??" If I was able to put Lincoln in the baby swing I could hold her on my knee. Then again, if Lincoln was in the baby swing she wouldn't want to be on my knee. When I explain to her that I can't pick her up right now she decides to empty out her toy box. She does it by staring at me and removing each toy then holding it high above her head and then SMASHING it to the hardwood floor. Toy, by, toy.

I decide that I need to get us out of the house for some fresh air and exercise. It is then that I realize that Steve has driven our only vehicle to work and left the stroller in the back of it.

I'm trapped in my house with a fussy 2 month old and a renegade toddler.

This computer has now been unplugged 6 times.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wheels

Remember all that identity crisis stuff I was going through when I traded in my Jeep Wrangler and bought the station wagon? How I felt so good that time when I was driving around in the station wagon all alone with the tunes cranked and the windows down until I remembered I was driving a station wagon and then I rolled up the windows and cried all the way home?

Well somewhere along the line I became "ok" (resigned) with the station wagon.

And then Lincoln surprised us all and suddenly with two kids under two, two car seats, a tall husband and a double stroller... that station wagon quickly became too small.

I started asking Steve if we could get a minivan. Yes, I was ASKING for one.

I talked to a few people about it and everyone was really freaked out and opposed to even the thoughts of a van. A few people even made fun of me. Everyone suggested we get a crossover or some sort of SUV. And I looked into that, I did. But I found that the smaller, more affordable SUVs had little more room than we already had in the station wagon. And the SUVs that would meet my needs were huge and since neither Steve nor myself are high level drug lords, they weren't something we could afford.

It took a little convincing to get Steve to agree to the minivan. But with the back seat full of car seats - Lincoln's being rear facing - the front passenger seat had to be pushed all the way forward. And any time we went somewhere and Steve had himself a few cold ones, he found himself riding in the passenger seat. At 6'2" his knee caps were almost touching the windshield.

And so we headed out this weekend minivan shopping - which incidentally I don't recommend with two very young children because although I thought any salesman would take pity on us and give us a smoking deal, the fact is that by the time I found what I wanted I would have agreed to any deal - good, bad or otherwise - because I was so on edge waiting for the next meltdown, tantrum or feeding session.

Anyway, after a full day in and out of dealerships and test driving and signing and signing and signing paper after paper. This bad boy now resides in my driveway...

You know? I love it. I feel none of the ego busting self pity that I felt with the station wagon. In fact I feel even better now than I did driving the station wagon. Maybe it's the black on black. Or the sweet stereo for me to listen to my loud, raucous music. Or the feeling of being up high when I'm driving. Or maybe it's just the relief of not having to drive home from the grocery store with my groceries piled on my lap.

Or maybe I've just arrived at the point in my life where I don't give a fuck what other people think and I'm just happy to have something we all fit comfortably in.

Also it's nearly brand spanking new which is a bonus.

Whatever it is, I like it. I'm cool with it.

And I'm dying to go on a road trip.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Door Incident

Last night after dinner Steve and I decided to go for a walk. So after rounding up and strapping down the kids we headed out, me pushing the double stroller. It was hot hot hot outside, making the double stroller extra work to push. I was sweating and tired.

While walking we decided to stop at Booster Juice for a smoothie.

Walking up to the door we were discussing what kind of smoothie we should get.

We got to the door of Booster Juice and Steve opened it, walked through it and then let it close behind him... leaving me standing just outside with the big double stroller. I stared/glared through the glass door at him thinking he would quickly realize his mistake and turn around, apologizing.

He didn't.

I watched him walk through the store, up to the counter to order.

There happened to be a group of 6 men standing just inside the door who all saw what happened and when they realized Steve wasn't going to come open the door, one of them jumped off his stool and opened the door for me.

I thanked him - which made Steve turn around and realize what had just happened.

He laughed sheepishly and said, "Oh I thought you were going to just wait outside."

Outside? In the sweltering heat? With two babies? When it's cool and air conditioned inside?

Really?

I could have made a big deal about it but I didn't. It wouldn't have done me any good. I did let him know that it wasn't very nice of him but he totally brushed me off.

How I really feel about it? It made me feel really bad. It hurt my heart. I'm the mother of his two babies and I work hard to keep every one happy and cared for and it's hard, hard work. And I'm tired everyday but I keep doing what needs to be done to raise two happy healthy kids and a maintain a decent marriage. And I do try to care for my marriage. I'm always trying to think of ways to show him that I love him despite being exhausted and not always wanting to put in that extra effort.

Him letting the door close in my face made me feel really unappreciated, uncared for and unloved. Like I don't matter. I don't want to feel taken for granted.

I would also like my kids to grow up seeing that their parents love and respect each other - something I did not get to experience.

I know he has it in him. When I met him and for the first few years of our marriage, he was a doting husband. He would fall all over himself for me. Now, not so much. Am I to blame? Maybe a bit, I know I can be a naggy bitch sometimes.

I know it was probably just an absent minded man thing and I should let it go - and I will. I know that I'm over analyzing it and that may be due to hormones and fatigue. I know it wouldn't have felt as bad if I wasn't pushing our two kids in a double stroller after a long day of looking after them, or if he had realized his mistake and apologized instead of making up some bullshit excuse.
There's no point in discussing it with him because he's not a discusser. So instead I will analyze it to death in my head. Make a mountain out of it until it eats me up and I have a meltdown. Write about it to death in a blog post. And then maybe wait until my hormones shift and I can laugh it off like he did...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What it's like

Ever wonder what it would be like to juggle life with a newborn and a toddler?

Here... let me give you a glimpse of what it's like...

Things were running fairly smoothly today. Early this afternoon the baby was napping and the toddler was getting antsy so I thought it would be a good time to take her outside with me. I would water the grass and catch a couple of rays and she could play with her outside toys. I left the baby in his swing close to the open window and door.

It went great, for a while. Then perhaps I was enjoying the sun's warm rays on my face just a little too much. Perhaps I dared to close my eyes and turn my face towards the blue sky for just a few seconds too long. For when I turned back to reality I found this...

I thought, "oh crap, she's going to get the bum of her pants dirty!"
But before I could do anything about it, I heard crying coming from the open window. I quickly popped into the house to check on the boy and found him like this:
As I was attempting to calm him, I heard something at the front door. I turned to find this dark figure looming in the door way:
A mud soaked toddler was about to race through my (somewhat clean) house while my newborn baby screamed his lungs out. I managed to get her back outside where I could strip her down while juggling the baby in my arms...
A short while later as I was patting myself on the back for getting her in the tub and getting her cleaned and changed and then managing to also get him like this:
I was faced with this:
And sadly, it was far to early in the day to have one of these...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

2 weeks

We had our two week post partum appointment last week.

I felt so good when I walked out of the midwife's office after it was over. It was a really positive appointment that made me feel really good and really... ok.

Lincoln, who was back up to his birth weight at one week old - gained an additional 1lb1oz in his second week, bringing him up to a whopping 9lb14oz. And how did he get there? From breastfeeding! I did that! I feel really proud considering the hell I went through with Ruby and her BFing issues. He's a little rockstar breastfeeder! In fact, my midwife suggested that I maybe start pumping off a little of my extra milk and start giving him a bottle once a day. She said that if I wait too long to introduce a bottle that I may have a struggle getting him to take the bottle at all. This will also give me a tiny little bit of freedom should I need it (oh I need it). She assures me that it will not turn him off BFing, he will not have "nipple confusion" and that he will continue to be a breastfed baby. (I realize there are lots of strong opinions on this and just to be clear - I'm not interested in hearing any negative ones - it's right for me, it's right for us and that's all I care about.)

She also said that he is a really good candidate for a soother since he just wants to suck and suck and suck and sometimes he just wants to hang off my boob and his mouth pools with milk but he's not swallowing it and he chokes. He just wants something in his mouth.

Also - gripe water is totally ok when he has a tummy ache.

All these things seemed to be controversial and I never thought I would hear the midwife not only ok'ing them but actually suggesting them. And all these things are going to help me and make my life a little bit easier - and I'm feeling pretty good about all of it.

I feel like I've gained (regained?) some confidence in myself and that feels really, really good.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

10 days

He's 10 days old now.

I've thought about writing a post so many times in those 10 days but my moods swing so dramatically that whatever I wrote, I knew I would hate myself for it a few hours later and either delete it or write another post reneging it.

The first week was the worst. I was so fucking emotional I was crying all. the. time. I was certain there was NO WAY I was going to survive this.

I was stressed over Ruby and how I've "ruined" her life. I cried every time I looked at her, overwhelmed with guilt.

I was embarrassed of myself for how I acted while I was in labour. I cried and screamed in pain and I begged to die. When it was time to push I at first refused because I said that I just couldn't. I begged the midwife and/or nurse to get him out another way, any other way. I felt ashamed acting so out of control and it ate me up a bit.

I was uncomfortable with breastfeeding. Remember I pumped for 6 months with Ruby because she refused to breastfeed. Lincoln is a champ in that department but he sucked so hard it hurt (I cracked and bled). And I felt trapped by it - sitting on the couch feeding him for hours and hours in a day. Not to mention the wild emotions that were released when I was in the actual act of doing it. I also felt shy about doing it. My boobs are bigger than Lincoln's head and I found it extremely difficult to be discreet which really bothered me.

I felt pain and immense fatigue from the birth. I was so tired and shaky and had zero appetite. So even though I was hungry and knew I should eat - I couldn't. And that made things worse. I was soooo weak.

I thought/imagined that Steve was disgusted with me. Both my appearance and my emotionalism.

Ruby acted like a demon. She was already going through a "phase" when Lincoln came into the world but I managed to blame myself for bringing a new baby into the house for her behavior. I felt like a horrible mother because I was actually incapable of dealing with her. Her whining and crying and often rotten behavior almost put me over the top.

I was overcome with fear and anxiety of how in the hell I'm going to look after both Ruby and Lincoln when Steve goes back to work later this week.

After a particularly tearful visit to the midwive's office, one midwife said she would refer to me to post partum mental health.

Later that day the midwife who delivered Lincoln called and talked to me about the birth and explained that it really was normal and I did and said nothing that I need to be ashamed of.

I let Ruby go to my mom's house over night when Lincoln was a week old. Of course I felt like I was pawning her off and hated myself for it but the next morning I felt refreshed and more clear.

And in the past few days I feel like things are improving. My body is healing. I'm getting the hang of Lincoln. I bought a breastfeeding cover. I'm not quite as sleep deprived feeling. I'm working on helping Ruby through her phase. The guilt is fading. I'm able to do a little more.

I feel incredibly lucky to have such a good baby. Lincoln is kickass good. He's not fussy. He doesn't cry (unless he's really, really hungry). And a few times I have had to wake HIM to feed him in the night. Sometimes I only have to get up with him once or twice in the night. (I didn't want to write this paragraph because as soon as I hit "publish" he will turn into a sleep depriving demon, I just know it)

I probably won't need the mental health appointment. I can probably work through this.

And yet still... at around 5 or 6pm each day I am usually in fairly rough shape. The tiredness hits and so does the depression. The tears are easy to fall. It usually lasts until I go to bed. But I know that when I wake up the next day (or sometime in the night) I will likely feel better.

I just have to keep on keeping on and hope things keep improving - however slowly.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Finally...

June 23rd started out like this...
I was officially one full week overdue and feeling every bit uncomfortable as I looked.

I had an appointment with my midwife that afternoon. After an exam and discussion she asked if I would be interested in taking a labour inducing "cocktail" that is made up of natural ingredients and very commonly used in Europe. I had heard of the cocktail before as a friend of mine used it and had success. I figured it couldn't hurt and so she gave me one ingredient that was not readily available at health food stores.

If I was to take the cocktail I was under strict instructions to call the midwives prior to taking the first dose so that they could plan out their evening. I was also to have someone the house to look after Ruby. And if/when I went into labour, I was to head to the hospital after I had two hard contractions within 5 minutes.

So I went and bought the rest of the ingredients for the cocktail. I had my mom at the house with her overnight bag. And I advised the midwives I was going to go ahead and take the cocktail.

I took the first dose at 5:15pm June 23. By 7:45pm my contractions had started although they were fairly mild. I took the second dose at 10:15pm and went to bed. I woke up at 12:45am June 24th with some stronger contractions. Steve flew out of bed grabbed the bag and headed for the door. I wasn't sure we were ready to go but since the hospital was a bit of a drive to get to, I agreed to go.

We called the midwife to meet us at the hospital.

Contractions got stronger on the way.

By the time I was admitted and wheeled into my room at about 2am, the contractions had eased up and slowed down a bit. I was only 3cm dilated.

The midwife on call had me sit in the jet bath for a half hour or so while she tried to catch some sleep down the hall.

After the bath I layed down on the bed and dozed off. I woke up at about 3am to a stronger contraction and then a "pop" feeling. I stood up and realized my water had broke (what little of it was left).

Steve buzzed for the midwife.

Contractions just got stronger from there.

And stronger.

There was no time for any sort of pain medication except the gas and after a couple of puffs I didn't think it was doing anything to help the pain and only making it harder to breath so I gave up on it and suffered through some pretty severe pain.

And by severe, I mean that I begged to die.

Pleaded.

At 5am, I was fully dilated and was told to push. I cried and begged for them to get the baby out some other way - any other way - because I did not feel I had it in me to push. I again begged to die.

How I ever found the strength to push I will never know, but at 5:14am Lincoln Ross Roberts was finally born.


He weighed in at a whopping 8lbs 13oz...
His dad was bursting with pride...
Lincoln had a little nap in bed with me, then was given a bath and then we got him dressed and 8 hours after giving birth we headed home. I just didn't see the point in sitting around the hospital for whole other day and night.

I felt like I had been in a bad car accident and was (still am) completely exhausted but we're making it work. I'm just so happy to have that part over with and to have my new baby boy home.