Category Archives: My addled brain

A room of his own (again)

If you recall, dear readers, I spent a ridiculous amount rather a lot of time in late February and early March thinking about E.’s new medium-sized guy room as a way of displacing the anxiety I was feeling over losing the baby.

I obsessed about it, really.

I spent every waking conscious moment where I didn’t have something else that I had to be doing surfing Pinterest and online catalogues and measuring and thinking and planning and worrying.

It wasn’t particularly healthy, my obsession.

But it was a lifesaver at the time.

It gave my brain something to think about,  other than the fact that I wasn’t pregnant anymore.

It gave me a chance to escape from the grief, to focus on something positive, to concentrate on creating something beautiful for the child I did have.

Eventually I made most of the decisions that had to be made, and found myself realizing:

The downside to all of this organizing is I can’t spend hours trolling Etsy and Pinterest anymore, and I think that’s one reason I’m clenching my jaw so tightly it’s sore pretty much all the time. I need another distraction. Organizing the house is only getting me so far- I’ve already done my clothes, the linen closet, the cupboards and drawers in the basement, and my books. There’s still a lot more I could do, but I can only stand to do it in short bursts of frenzied activity.

I’m a little afraid of how empty I’m going to feel inside when we get E.’s room set up in April.

We didn’t, in the end, get his room set up in April. We looked at the calendar, and looked at our schedules and realized that it would be insane to try and do it then, and luckily E. stopped talking about it as much and we were able to wait until August, which made a whole lot more sense on a whole bunch of levels.

This room was important to me. Not just because of how much time and energy and thought I put into it after we lost the baby, but because it was the first time I’d tried, really tried to decorate a room as a whole. I don’t have a great eye for design, but I knew I wanted E.’s room to be something special, something that would suit him now, as the little boy he is, but that would also be able to grow with him. As I said in my first post about his room,

We never did much with the nursery. Q. painted it, and I put a lot of time and effort into choosing the crib (because I wanted solid wood) and the mattress (because I didn’t want one filled with off gassing nastiness). But all the rest of the furniture was mismatched hand-me-downs, and we just put some random things on the wall, and called it finished.

E’s new room is different. It’s not going to have a theme or anything- I’m not really a theme sort of person- but it matters to me that I spend some time on it. The nursery was always going to be temporary. This is a room he will be in for a long time- possibly until he moves out if we never have another child, as if we don’t we’ll have absolutely no reason to rationalize leaving our current house.

Plus, I know who he is now. I want his room to reflect that.

For pictures of what the nursery looked like, see here.

The one big outstanding issue was the paint colour- I only managed to put sample strips up on the walls a couple of days before we were going to start painting as it took a while to empty the room out (it had previously been my study). I had hemmed and hawed and changed my mind a million times, but when I put my four final options up on the walls it was immediately obvious to Q. and I which was the right one. E. nearly put a spanner in the works by deciding he liked a different colour, but hey, he’s three, so we waited two hours and then he liked the one we liked best too. It was a difficult decision because his room is north-facing and it doesn’t have a big window. I was worried painting it grey would make it too dark. I kept seeing Benjam.in Moo.re’s Rev.ere Pew.ter recommended online for north-facing bedrooms, and that was what we ultimately chose. I’m so glad we did.

What I found most surprising was how much better both rooms looked once their purposes had been switched. E.’s old room looks much better as a study- cozier and neater and better organized, and his new room is almost unrecognizable. Q. said to me once we had taken out all the furniture, “I always thought this room’s proportions were ridiculous, but it isn’t actually long and narrow. It just looked that way because of how we’d set it up.” My study had been in a constant state of chaos since January, when our basement flooded and we ended up storing quite a lot of stuff in it, but it had become even worse since we set up E.’s medium sized guy bed in his old room, as that meant all the ‘baby’ things (change table, rocking chair, etc.) had migrated into the study because we hadn’t had time to properly put them away.

Everything looks so much better now. I cried when we put E.’s furniture in his room, because it looked how I wanted it to look, and I was just so happy it had all worked out. Last weekend my Mum was here and brought the curtains that she made with the fabric I ordered, and we got the last couple of things up on the walls, so I was ready to take some pictures.

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The bed frame and the night table are both from IKEA. The sheets are from Pot.tery Ba.rn Ki.ds (we used birthday money given to E. by his relatives).

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We actually bought him this sign (from Alphabet Photography) for his first birthday. We never got it up on the wall in the nursery, but it’s up now.

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The chair is from IKEA (as is the dresser, which is an old hand-me-down). The laundry hamper is from 3Sprouts. Q. made the shelves himself according to a design I found online. What you can’t see in this picture is the time it took to get those shelves straight (we do not have a straight wall in this house). Given they only hold 35 or 40% of his books, I’m planning on rotating them around regularly. Currently he’s obsessed with My Father’s Dragon and its sequels (which we have on loan from the library), so the other books aren’t getting a lot of use. The top shelves are too high for him to reach, but we have a step-stool that isn’t shown in the photo.

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E. was adamant: “I want a clock in my room. A red clock. Then I will know when I wake up if it is morning yet.” It is helpful at quiet time- it cuts down on the number of times he shouts down the stairs at me, “Is quiet time over yet?” because he can understand the concept of watching the big hand get all the way around to the same number again.

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My mum was so worried about making a mistake with these (especially since she’d never done grommets before), but she did an absolutely amazing job. They are perfect.

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IKEA Expe.dit with a mirror (also IKEA) mounted directly above. E. made the painting at his nursery school last October. An unexpected bonus of running the Expe.dit along this wall is the mirror bounces more light from the window into the room. Q. thought I did this intentionally and told me I was very clever, but it was dumb luck.

In the Expe.dit E. has stuffed animals that have been culled from the bed (there are still at least ten animals on the bed), some puzzles, some Playm.obil, some Schl.eich animals, his Pla.n Toys pirate ship, his Brud.er garbage truck, and the double decker bus we bought for him while we were in the UK. The two red boxes hold his birthday cards and the mail he’s been getting, so he can look at them all whenever he wants. The pink box on top of the unit is his treasure box that he chose and painted himself. It has little things that are special to him, like a rock from the lake, pinecones, acorns, and a seashell from Oz. We usually have flowers in the red vase.

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This bus decal runs along the wall right next to the door and the end of his bed. The wall above his bed is still blank because I don’t yet have anything I like for that space. Like the shelves, this decal took quite a lot of time to get on the wall.

I love his room.

“It’s the nicest room in the house now,” was Q.’s view.

And E.? He loves it too.

 

 

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Filed under Anxiety Overload, E.- the fourth year, My addled brain

Crossroads

This is my 500th post on this blog.

It seems appropriate to hit such a milestone at this point.

I turned thirty-five this summer.

My thirties thus far have been almost entirely devoted to achieving two things:

1. Motherhood

2. A PhD

The quest for both started in my late twenties- I was twenty-eight when I started at the clinic, twenty-nine when I started the PhD- but it’s safe to say that my thirties have been dominated by these two very different goals.

My blog has been there for almost every step of the ride. When I started it, in March 2008, I had just started at the clinic and I was in the second semester of my doctorate. I’ve turned to my blog in good times and (especially) in bad. I’ve documented wherever the roads to both became bumpy (and boy did they get bumpy at times).

Now I’m at a crossroads.

By the end of 2014, I should have the PhD in hand. I have a complete draft that has been revised. My supervisor and two of my three committee members like it (the third is being frustratingly slow to read it). I’ve had two and a half months free of it, and I think now I can stand to look at it again and start to make this final round of revisions before the defence. There have been many, many times along the way where I didn’t think it would happen, but I know now I will finish. And some days I even think it will all have been worth it.

I did become a mother, something for which I am grateful each and every day, even though that made attaining the PhD ever more difficult. And by the end of 2014 we will likely know whether our family is complete as it now stands, or whether we might yet welcome one more member.

Regardless of what happens with that final FET, the second half of my thirties is not going to have the same focal points as the first.

I will not be trying to expand my family.

I will (probably) not be in academia.

I don’t know what the next 500 posts will bring, but I believe that my blog will still be here, that I will still be writing in this space when I turn forty. I wonder if I will be as surprised by the next five years as I have been by the last five.

This year, the last before E. goes to school, my unexpected extra year at home, is my opportunity to put aside the stress and the panic and the constant deadlines of the PhD and to sit, really sit with myself and examine what I want out of my life, and what my family needs from me.

I have the chance now to find the new focus for my life.

I have the responsibility now to figure out just what I’m going to do now that there is no question that I have grown up.

It should be a bold new world.

I’m scared shitless.

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Filed under Butter scraped over too much bread (a.k.a. modern motherhood), Family, Life after the PhD, Money Matters, My addled brain, PhD, Writing

It Gets Better

Dear Turia,

I thought of you yesterday, when I was watching E. help his Daddy fix a section of the fence. I was standing there, watching E. hold the tape measure, asking his father twenty-five questions with every breath, and I remembered the summer Q. built the fence, the summer E. was born.

You spent a lot of time watching Q. build that fence.  Partly it was because Q. was an adult and you were desperate for adult contact and conversation- when you weren’t watching him build the fence you spent a lot of time in the late afternoons loitering on the front porch waiting to see if any of the neighbours were around and up for a chat. Partly it was to show E. what his Daddy was doing, even though E. wouldn’t have appreciated the rarity of having a father who is a tenured academic but who can also build fences. E. had only recently discovered he had hands at the point Q. started work on it.

But mostly it was just an excuse to get out of the house, away from the overwhelming anxiety you were feeling when the baby you loved so much wasn’t eating or wasn’t sleeping or wasn’t doing any of the things you thought he was SUPPOSED to be doing at that particular moment. So you’d scoop E. up, often in floods of tears, and take him out to watch Q. build the fence, and you’d cry and rant at Q., and he would say something undeniably true but not particularly helpful like “Babies do crazy things”, and you’d be so full of frustration and fear that you weren’t doing this parenting thing RIGHT and E. would be hopelessly damaged because he wasn’t sleeping enough or nursing enough. But it would be sunny outside, and warm, and eventually you and E. would both be quiet and happy and calm, and you’d pull yourself together to struggle on.

And so it went.

I wish I could walk past that fence, look at you in your sleep-deprived haze, clutching that tiny, fractious baby, with an air that I would like to say was equal parts exhilaration and panic but was really mostly just panic, and catch your eye. I wish I could give you a smile and a big hug and tell you what I know now.

It gets better.

I know you were at the end of your rope. At this stage three years ago, you’d only just started to transition E. back into his crib for naps, rather than strapping him to your chest in a carrier and pacing around the house non-stop. E. responded by refusing to nap for more than forty-five (or, if you were very unlucky, thirty) minutes at a time.  Carrier naps? He’d happily sleep for two hours, nestled in nice and cozy. You’d only just started to get his bedtime back to an early enough hour that you didn’t feel you had to go to bed as soon as he did.

You didn’t know what was coming down the pipe. You knew that he had a really gassy tummy in the early hours of the morning, but you were still months away from figuring out the MSPI issue. You were thrilled to have achieved even some semblance of independent sleep during the day, but you had no idea he would be ten months old before you no longer had to stand in the room, holding him on his side in the crib until he fell asleep. You didn’t know that there’d be phases where he would wake up for the day, every day, at 5 a.m., or that he would sleep so lightly that going to bed would wake him up, even if you and Q. brushed your teeth downstairs and tried to sneak up the stairs. You didn’t know that you would still be nursing him, twice a night, until after his first birthday, even though he wouldn’t nurse during the day.

E.’s sleep in his first year, in a nutshell, sucked.

I remember when you read a post on a friend’s blog, where she commented on how amazing it was that her son (who was older than E. and had also been a totally shit sleeper as an infant) would now tell her that he was tired, how wonderful it was that she could go into his room to check on him at night before she went to bed herself.

You cried.

You never, ever, believed you would reach that point with E.

Turia, you did.

Your son has slept through the night consistently since he was sixteen months old. He usually sleeps twelve hours or a bit more. He tells you when he’s tired and sometimes asks to go to bed early. He goes to sleep with little or no fuss, and needs no further parental intervention after one round of being checked on when he’s first tucked in. (You always ask the same three questions: “And how are you? How’s your nightlight? And your animals?” and E. always gives the same three answers: “I’m fine. It’s working. My animals are fine and I’m fine and my nightlight is working and everything’s fine.”) The routine didn’t change when you switched him from a crib to his medium-sized guy bed last month. He stays in bed when you put him there (at least until he wakes up the following morning).

Here is what you can do when you go into his room to check on him before you go to bed. You can pull back and adjust the covers. You can lift him up if he is too close to the edge of the bed and resettle him. You can put his head back on the pillow, or give him back his best bunny or his newest best friend, his puppy. You can put away laundry. You can adjust the curtains if he’s opened them while falling asleep. To be honest, you could probably have a conversation in there with Q. while jumping up and down and E. wouldn’t wake up.

Most of all, you can smooth back his hair from his forehead. You can give him another kiss. You can tell him that you love him. You can stand there, in the dark, and watch him sleep and notice how long his legs are getting and marvel at the little boy that fractious baby became.

I’m not sure we’re ever going to get a “do-again”. No one gets a “do-over”- E.’s infancy is finished and his and your experiences of it are set. But you often think, standing there in the dark, that it would have been nice to have a chance at a “do-again”, to go into parenting knowing this time that things change, sometimes overnight, and that eventually, eventually there is a light at the end of the sleep tunnel.

It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, unfortunately. I can’t go back and find you watching that fence being built, so I’m writing this instead, hoping that someone else might find it one day and read it and feel, for a moment, maybe a little less alone and a little less frightened.

Because it gets better.

It does.

I promise.

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Filed under Anxiety Overload, Baby, Blink and you'll miss it, Butter scraped over too much bread (a.k.a. modern motherhood), E.- the fourth year, MSPI, My addled brain, Nursing, Sleep

Beating wings

I have ravens on my shoulders.

Thought. Memory.

Those are ravens from another time. They belong to a god, not to me.

Anger. Anxiety.

These are mine, now.

My constant companions.

Whatever I meet in my life, whenever something asks me to take notice, while I am hesitating, gauging my response, deciding how to engage, one of them croaks a reply, breaking the silence, claiming the moment. There is no room, it seems, for me to respond.

I realize during a short car ride that E. has grown again and that now there is no longer an inch of shell above his head. We have to turn his carseat around.

Anxiety.

E. is full of pent-up energy after another cold day spent largely inside. He is running laps of our upstairs hallway, wants me to count off every one, negotiates to an agreed upon conclusion then refuses to stop. I need him to go to bed and he is not listening.

Anger.

E. is coming down the stairs, as he does multiple times a day, always safely, always holding on to the bannister, and I cannot shake the feeling that he will slip, stumble, tumble head first down all fourteen of them to the unforgiving hardwood floor below.

Anxiety.

Q. is sick, really sick, with real flu, not a Man Cold, as sick as I have ever seen him in the eleven and a half years our lives have been intertwined. He can barely stand up. The household still needs to function.

Anger.

E. is sleeping late, as he is wont to do now that he no longer naps. 8:30 a.m. comes and then passes. We have nowhere to go; there is no need to rush. But he is sleeping so quietly and I didn’t check on him last night before I went to bed, and I have never been quite able to reconcile this child’s new sleeping habits with his old ways where he would wake at the slightest hint of sound.

Anxiety.

The woman on my birth club is fifteen weeks now. I should be too.

Anger.

I have a deadline for my dissertation again. It is important.

Anxiety.

That one says more than the other. It is larger, more demanding, harder to shut away. Anger is more prone to unexpected outbursts, croaks responses that lack proportion. Anxiety is softer but more insidious. It has spent more time with me.

They both catch me off guard. They will be silent and then, suddenly, before I can take another breath, one or the other will be giving voice, bright black eyes missing nothing, claws digging into my skin.

Occasionally they fall quiet, when the outer world does not require a response.

I am getting better at shying away from things, at keeping them silent. When I end up in conversation, exposed, I stutter now, stumble over my words. I am no longer sure of how to move within a world where everyone else appears to be whole.

It is still hard to keep them silent. I often can’t see them waking up.

My shoulders sneak up when I am not paying attention, trapping tension in my back and my neck. When I realize what is happening, I take deep breaths. I force them back down.

It’s never enough to shake the ravens free.

They are heavy. My entire body bows under their weight.

I would like to be free of them.

I just can’t seem to figure out how to make them leave.

 

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Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, Anxiety Overload, Grief, Loss, My addled brain

(Not) Feeling Groovy

All my blog posts right now are about the emotional side of things. I thought I should jot down some bullet points on where I’m at physically (although the emotional stuff will creep in again. It always does.):

  • 17 days after the D&C, and I’m STILL spotting. My clinic told me to call them if I was still bleeding after 12. I haven’t called yet, but am starting to think maybe I should. The spotting has stopped at least three times for a day or so, and then it starts up again. The longest gap was actually right after the D&C where I had a fair amount of bleeding the day after, then spotting, then nothing for three days, and then, just when I thought I was in the clear, it started up. It’s not heavy, but there are days where I probably should have gone for a pad rather than just a panty liner. Sometimes I get cramps or a deep ache. Mainly it is just depressing to be constantly seeing blood on the toilet paper, in the ‘loo, on the panty liner.
  • My clinic told me not to have sex until the bleeding had stopped. I just want to be able to feel close with my husband again. The last time I thought it had stopped for good, I told Q. that this meant we’d be cleared for resuming marital relations. “Do you think we’ll remember how?” asked Q., only half joking. My f/s only gave us the all clear for sex at the eight week appointment. The last time before that week had been before the retrieval in mid-December. I’m so tired of our intimacy being controlled by my clinic.
  • My face is breaking out again. In retrospect it started to get bad around the nine week mark, which now makes me wonder if that was a sign that things were no longer going well. Clearly pregnancy hormones were helping to fix my face, and now I can’t rely on them anymore. It’s bad enough that I had to get my youngest sister to teach me how to use foundation so I won’t feel like a leper when I leave the house. I know in the grand scheme of things this is meaningless, but I am struggling with it. I used to have such beautiful skin. Seriously- I got to 34 and a 1/2 before I had to learn about foundation. I hate wearing makeup every day, but I hate how my skin looks if I go out without it even more.
  • I am sleeping ok. It is the one blessing- I have retained my ability to fall back asleep. I started (while pregnant) following my mother’s own rule, which was she simply won’t get out of bed before 6 a.m. She won’t read either- she just lies there. Eventually she managed to retrain her body to fall back asleep. I think I’m making progress on this count. I’ve only been up in the very early morning once since it happened. I still wake up at 4, or 4:30, or 5, nearly every morning, but I’m fighting through it and refusing to get out of bed and eventually my body just gives up and goes back to sleep. And then I have really weird, frightening dreams.
  • I feel disgusting. I am ten pounds heavier than I would like to be (despite ceasing my burrito and poutine diet I appear to have gained more weight in the last two weeks than I did while pregnant). I want, I NEED to start running again, to start (again, sigh) the Couch to 5K program, but I have enough sense to recognize that this simply isn’t going to happen while this ridiculous winter continues. I never used to run when it was below -15 when I was running half-marathons. I’m hardly going to start running in those conditions now. Maybe we’ll catch a break in a couple of weeks. I’d like to get the Couch to 5K over and done with in enough time before we go to Oz to actually feel like I have some momentum to continue while we’re away. But in the meantime I feel fat and ugly and soft and gross and I need to stop eating my feelings, especially when nothing tastes as good as I need it to.
  • Yesterday we went out to lunch with friends and I realized that I don’t want to spend time with other people who don’t know, and whom we’re not planning to tell. They are all childless academic couples, and I don’t want to talk about my dissertation right now because if you ask me about it I freak out and cry (which has been the state of things since July of last year). I felt like I had nothing to say to them if I couldn’t talk about my work. I couldn’t sit there and make small talk and natter on about random things or current events when the whole time all I wanted to say was “My baby DIED and my heart is shattered.” But they weren’t good enough friends for that. So most of the time I said nothing, and the rest of the time I talked to E.
  • I am SO angry. I am angry pretty much all the time. I don’t know if I am angry at myself, or at the universe, or at the baby for not being a good baby after all. But I am just filled with cold, quiet, rage. It occasionally boils over, especially when E. is pushing my buttons. It is exhausting, being this angry, but at least it means I don’t have any energy to feel anything else.
  • I have reread every single Guy Gavriel Kay book I own, and when I finished the last one I went online and used up a gift certificate from my birthday buying the three books he’s written that I don’t already own (technically I do own one of them, but it’s the first book in a two-part series, and I hate having books in a series with covers that don’t match, so I felt it was worth spending another $12 for symmetry). When they arrive, I’ll read them. Then I’ll have to think of something else. I’m not yet capable of working in the evenings, so I do one of three things: I read, I obsess over E.’s room, and I write here. Or I cry, of course. It turns out playing “Into the West” from the LOTR: Return of the King soundtrack over and over and over again just tends to lead to more tears. Given the song used to make me cry on a good day, I probably should have anticipated that.
  • In the moments where I am not angry, I am so very sad. The sadness, the grief, catches me off guard, like a deep, cold wave from the ocean that rears up and slaps salt water hard into my face. Then I push it away again, and the surface reverts to stillness, and I can be grey again. I feel transitory, ephemeral, like I am only gliding through the world, like I am not of it. It feels like an out-of-body experience, except I am always very much present in my body, even when I would most like not to be. But it is as if this reality is so alien, so unexpected, that I can’t quite center myself in it, as if I keep finding myself tucked around sharp corners, blinking through mirrors at my reflection, only to raise an eyebrow in surprise each time at the sight of who is looking back. Is this really me?

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Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, Anxiety Overload, Blogging, Grief, Loss, Mirror, Mirror (Body Image), My addled brain, PhD, Running, Sleep

A room of his own

Yesterday I finally had to admit to myself something that I’ve been suspecting for a week or so now.

I’m displacing all of the anxiety I’m feeling about the loss of the baby onto my plans for E’s new room.

I have been, you see, obsessed with E’s new room. Obsessed to the point that I am spending WAY too much time on the internet looking at rugs and curtains and duvet covers and worrying whether something is too grey or too red or too plain or too busy.

Obsessed to the point that I am also rapidly becoming paralyzed by my obsession, incapable of actually making a decision, of committing to something, because it might turn out to be the WRONG decision and I won’t love it.

I want to love it.

I want to love every single thing about this room.

It’s as though if I can manage to make this room perfect and exactly what I’ve imagined and exactly what I know E. will love and will suit him now and will grow with him later, that will somehow help to gloss over the fact that the other room, the nursery, will be a study again, when we thought it was going to be occupied with something so much more important than books.

Yesterday I found what I thought would be the perfect duvet cover, and I loved it immediately, and I was SO happy. And then I realized it was a comforter and not a duvet cover and that the pattern didn’t come in a duvet cover at all. And I cried. I was that upset. Over a stupid non-duvet cover.

I feel this overpowering need to do something special for the child that I do have.

We never did much with the nursery. Q. painted it, and I put a lot of time and effort into choosing the crib (because I wanted solid wood) and the mattress (because I didn’t want one filled with off gassing nastiness). But all the rest of the furniture was mismatched hand-me-downs, and we just put some random things on the wall, and called it finished.

E’s new room is different. It’s not going to have a theme or anything- I’m not really a theme sort of person- but it matters to me that I spend some time on it. The nursery was always going to be temporary. This is a room he will be in for a long time- possibly until he moves out if we never have another child, as if we don’t we’ll have absolutely no reason to rationalize leaving our current house.

Plus, I know who he is now. I want his room to reflect that. So I have found a double decker bus wall decal and a red letter pillow.  The walls will be grey.  His duvet cover will be red.  There will be a reading chair and (hopefully) horizontal bookshelves.

His room should matter.

But it shouldn’t matter as much as it does right now.

Q., in his usual perceptive way, has said to me, “E. is a toddler. As long as there is some red in there he’ll be happy.” and “E. is a toddler. Don’t get anything too nice because he’ll just wreck it.”

He’s ceded control of the room over to me entirely. He is happy not to have one more thing to think about. I am happy to be able to control its design, because I cannot control so many other things in my life, and you know, you KNOW beloved readers, how badly I cope with this. Life lesson that Turia just will not learn.

The worst part is I keep having conversations with myself along the lines of, “Well, you shouldn’t spend x on y because we’ll be doing the last FET in the summer and we need to keep money set aside for that.”

And then I get angry. Angry that my living son won’t have something that I know would be perfect for him because I’m still thinking about the child-that-might-never-come-to-be. E. won’t think he’s being neglected. But I feel like he is, like he’s being sacrificed, again, for the sake of this elusive dream.

It would be easier, too, if I knew what would be happening next year. If I knew I’d have an income, I’d feel more comfortable splurging a little bit more now, even if I still wouldn’t be able to rationalize a custom duvet cover AND custom curtains from Etsy AND a rug from Pottery Barn. (You have no idea how much I am coveting this rug.)

I’m not quite sure how to let it go.

The other outlet for my anxiety has been organizing the house. I’ve been seized by an overwhelming need to clean and organize the entire house from top to bottom. Two weekends ago I sorted through my clothes and purged all the ones I don’t wear anymore, and yesterday E. and I pulled everything out of our (very large) linen closet and we set aside a ton of things we don’t use to bring to the Goodwill. There’s still a lot to do: the two big storage closets in our basement (one of which is basically full of outgrown baby clothes, and baby toys, and baby books, and baby things, all of which I thought we were going to be using in September), the cabinets in our basement, and, especially, my study, since I’ll be moving to a much smaller room. I’m planning on chipping away at it over the next few months and hopefully by the time we can paint E.’s new room and set it up (after semester finishes in April), most of the house will be under control.

It gives me something to do.

It keeps my mind off of things.

But it’s a poor consolation prize.

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Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, Anxiety Overload, Butter scraped over too much bread (a.k.a. modern motherhood), E.- the third year, Grief, Loss, Money Matters, My addled brain, Second Thoughts

8w3d- ultrasound #3

Today was one of those days that made me realize how glad I will be to be free of the clinic.

Q. had forgotten that I had an intralipid infusion this morning and that he had agreed to be at home with E. So I was under pressure to get home in time for him to get to work so he wouldn’t miss a meeting.

Given my intralipid was at 8:30 a.m., I made sure to be at the clinic for 6:50 a.m. so I could be the very first person on the list to see my f/s. That way I could get the ultrasound done, see him, get my meds, and then go over to the IVF suite for the intralipid infusion.

It was a great plan…until my doctor didn’t get in before 8:30 a.m. (which is not all that surprising, although it was hugely frustrating). So I did the ultrasound, waited fruitlessly to see him, gave up and got my drugs, went over to the IVF suite, did the intralipid, went back over to the main part of the clinic, and got put back on the top of the pile to see him. And then it took another FORTY minutes for him to turn up and spend three minutes discussing my chart. That meant I had to take a cab home, and I was still ten minutes late, so I don’t know if Q. got up to work in time for the staff meeting.

All told I was at that clinic from 6:50 until 11:20 a.m.

I will be glad to see the end of that.

Good news on the ultrasound front- baby was measuring a week further along than last week (at 8w2d), so s/he is growing well. Heartbeat was still strong (148 bpm). Second sac was still just hanging out. The blood clot was still there and was bigger than last week, but my doctor feels it’s “stabilized” (whatever that means), so he doesn’t seem to be too worried about it. He did tell me to keep minimizing lifting E. until we hit the twelve week mark.

He told me to stop the prednisone (which means I’m going to be a lot more tired as I’ve realized this past week that the days where I don’t take prednisone I want to pass out from about 2 p.m. onwards) and to start weaning off the Metformin. I don’t have to go back for two weeks now. It’ll be a relief not to have our lives interrupted, although of course I’ll miss the reassurance that all is well with the baby.

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Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, Medications, My addled brain, Sleep, Ultrasounds

5w5d- How time passes

The life of an infertile in the first (and early second) trimester:

1. Immediately following a good beta or ultrasound:
Experience uncontrollable joy. Be filled with the urge to tell total strangers you’re expecting. Sleep eight straight hours a night. Daydream about names. Plan when to tell people. Make a mental to-do list of what needs to be done. Eye up baby things on sale.

2. Every day leading up to the halfway point between the good result and the next appointment:
Revel in being pregnant. Enjoy symptoms. Rub belly surreptitiously. Take extra care when walking on slippery paths. Feel confident. Everything is going swimmingly!

3. At the halfway point between the good result and the next appointment:
Except what if it is isn’t?

4. Every day between the halfway point and the day before the next appointment:
Experience uncontrollable swings of emotion: from elation to despair and back again on an hourly basis. Wake up in the wee hours and struggle to fall back asleep. Start to doubt your symptoms exist. Pinch bbs obsessively to see if they remain sore. Curse yourself for your arrogance. How could you revel in being pregnant? Surely that was a sign for the universe to smite your happiness? Haven’t you ever heard of hubris?

5. The day before the next appointment:
Freak out entirely. Recognize that the pregnancy must have ended. Start to prepare yourself for the bad news. Plan how to tell your partner if you’ll be at the appointment alone. Express relief that you haven’t yet told your parents. Regret telling as many people as you have.

6. The morning of the next appointment:
Cry. A lot. Send out pleas into the universe including to gods you don’t believe in. Feel sick with nerves and find yourself incapable of eating breakfast. Cry more because now you’re hangry. Practice keeping a stiff upper lip when you hear bad news.

7. The moments before the next appointment:
Try not to vomit. Shake. Make futile efforts to concentrate on reading material. Experience the worst nausea of the pregnancy thus far.

8. When the appointment is over and everything is, once again, fine:
Start again from the beginning. Repeat as needed until far enough along in the pregnancy that you can feel movement. Then begin to worry about whether or not you are feeling the baby often enough.

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Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, A matter of faith, Anxiety Overload, My addled brain

2.0 IVF- 1dp5dt- Disappointment

My clinic didn’t call today.

That’s the first time they’ve ever missed a really important call like this. I called around 4 p.m. and left a message, but I find voicemail is a bit of a black hole there. I’ll call again first thing tomorrow- at least the advantage to dealing with a clinic is they’re open seven days a week!

This has, of course, led to some ridiculous anxiety-driven thoughts along the lines of, “THEY DIDN’T CALL BECAUSE THERE WAS NOTHING TO FREEZE AND THEY DIDN’T WANT TO GIVE ME BAD NEWS, SO THESE EMBRYOS CURRENTLY FLOATING AROUND IN MY UTERUS ARE OUR ONLY HOPE AND WHAT IF RATHER THAN BEING JEDI TWINS THEY’RE ALREADY DEAD??”

Even I can see that this is unlikely. The nurses at my clinic spend every single day giving people bad news- that the beta was negative, that the eggs didn’t fertilize, that the f/s didn’t find any sperm, that it will be a day three transfer. They’re hardly going to shy away from a phone call because it might upset the patient.

Much more likely is the fact that we’re currently experiencing a bit of a weather event in my neck of the woods, and a number of the nurses live outside the city. I bet they were busy and short-staffed today, and my doctor probably ran two hours late as per usual, and my chart just slipped through the cracks in the chaos.

Still.

I would like to know where we stand. If for no other reason than to help me get back to sleeping through the night again.

Last night was the third night in a row where I woke up in the wee hours, but well before 3:30 a.m. (which is usually the danger zone for my body deciding that I’ve had enough sleep and should just get up), and then tossed and turned in bed for a couple of hours before finally drifting off again. Last night was particularly disrupted: we had E’s coughing fits (we discovered last night he has croup again), combined with our cats deciding that they both wanted to sleep on the bed, and the resulting territorial standoff which required much meowing and clambering on us, combined with E. wheezing so badly from the croup that we had to check on him (and then I had to check on him again when he stopped wheezing so loudly we couldn’t hear him any longer from our room down the hall).

No one was bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning. Except maybe the blast twins, but it’s hard to tell with them, being but tiny bundles of cells floating in my uterus.

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Filed under 2.0 IVF, Anxiety Overload, My addled brain, Second Thoughts, Sleep, The Sick, TWW

Where I’m at

  • I started Lupron yesterday. I decided to start it two days early (and will stop the bcps two days early as well to stay in line) because the more I looked at the calendar, the more I worried that my f/s was cutting it too fine with our timings. We could *just*  manage it if the transfer was on Boxing Day, as Q. and E. could come down to meet me and then we could drive to my father’s house, but anything later would throw a huge wrench in our holiday plans. I’d rather get it done a bit earlier and have to figure out what to do if we’re still out of town when it’s supposed to be beta day.
  • I STILL have Fragmin bruising/lumps on my stomach, which I’m trying to avoid with the Lupron. At least they’re tiny needles. E. ended up watching me do the injection this morning and didn’t seem remotely bothered by it.
  • I’ve had really annoying breakthrough bleeding for the last three days. The first day I  panicked and had to check with Dr. Google that this wasn’t going to ruin the cycle, but apparently it’s really normal. I’ve never experienced it with bcps, especially after only being on them for eight days. Oh well. If it means AF turns up quickly when I stop the bcps on Saturday that will work in our favour.
  • The insane fog of exhaustion seems to have lifted, and I’m back to feeling more like my normal self.
  • I did our finances for the month last night and it looks like we have *just* enough left in the 2.0 fund we built up over the last year to pay for the IVF and the ICSI. If we decide to use the embryoscope and/or if we have embryos to freeze we’ll have to find that money somewhere else, but at least the base cost of the cycle is covered.
  • I am still struggling big-time with not living up to my own expectations with the PhD, even though the more I think about it the more I realize how insane it is that it was ever possible for me to finish on time despite taking a six month maternity leave and working part-time hours for the next two years. Once the cycle starts in December, I am taking the view that my two priorities for that month are the IVF and E. Any dissertation work that gets done will be a bonus. I am scaling it right back and will pick up the pieces in January if I need to. From e-mails with my supervisor it doesn’t look like it would make any sense to give him a draft before mid-February as he’s away for most of January, so I’ll have time to sort things out.
  • There is a huge Winners down the street from the clinic. This is a problem. I’m going to have to stop going in there looking for a specific Bruder truck because I’m apparently incapable of getting out the door without buying E. another puzzle.
  • I am feeling almost exactly like I did before the cycle in August 2010 that produced E.: committed to it, but resigned rather than hopeful. Maybe this is a good head space for me. I feel like we need now to tick all the boxes so we can say we did everything we could, and then we can move on with the rest of our lives.
  • I really, really appreciated the comments on my last post. Your support means the world to me. Thank you.

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Filed under 2.0 IVF, Anxiety Overload, Medical issues, Medications, My addled brain, PhD, Second Thoughts