Monday, December 30, 2013

Year end wrap up

So, today royally sucked ass. It sucked so bad that at one point I made the executive decision to just head home before any more bad things happened to me. But as I've gotten back into the habit of lately, I spent a good part of the second half of the day focusing on being grateful for the small things, not dwelling on the bad things, and being optimistic for my future. It really does help.

So in the interest of not whining and instead focusing on the good, here are some positive things:

Got my first bill for my new coverage via the ACA. Which I think means I have new coverage - I think means I got that awesome discounted policy that will totally save my butt with this upcoming birth. I think. I won't believe it until I get an actual pamphlet outlaying the terms of this new policy. I also have no idea what happens to B's policy. So there are a lot of unknowns - but the fact that I wrote my first check for it tells me I think I'm in!

The German couple who I mail DVDs for who were going to shut down operations at the end of this year have decided to keep it going another month or two. I kind of wish I could just wipe my hands of it and be done - but I kind of really need the money. So if I can get another $300 in the next two months, I'll take it!

My midwife called today to tell me to take the 3 hour glucose test. She said I can in fact take it on the weekend, and said "it's no emergency", so I'll do it Sunday. I know it's going to be pretty horrible - no breakfast or lunch and sitting around a waiting room all day with nothing to do; I can see feeling really sick and awful under those circumstances. But honestly - I'm dying of curiosity to see if I really have GD or not. I never did take the 3 hour last time and I always wondered what the results would have been. And if on the off chance I can save myself ten weeks of pricking my finger four times a day, sounds like it's worth a day of feeling lousy. I can take B to the Baby Kennel so at least I can feel lousy by myself.

So on to wrapping up 2013. It was not the year either of my children were born, so it doesn't have that special feeling to it. But it was the year I decided to bring another person into this family, which I almost didn't ever do. Right now there's a new person waiting to join the Alexandres. My sister's new nephew, my parents' new grandchild, and Bumpus' new little brother. He will be so like him and yet so not. I'll get a sneak peek at him at Saturday's 4D ultrasound. 

And assuming he doesn't make a sudden appearance tomorrow, 2014 will be the year young Teddy makes his debut. I can't wait to meet him!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Year's

This will be the first New Year's in well over a decade that I have zero plans. Part of me hates it...and part of me doesn't care. Being in a swing band means we pretty much always have a gig (the rest of the band is in North Carolina right now - as I was, with them, two years ago, remember?), and before there was a band there was always something dance-related going on. I discovered today that the Baby Kennel is not only open on New Year's but open until 2 AM (how awesome is this place?). So if I really wanted to go out and celebrate, I could. But...I don't want to.

I never drink even when not pregnant, and I absolutely loathe being around drunk people. I also am afraid to be out on the road with said drunk people. And unfortunately for everyone else but fortunately for me, there just isn't that much going on locally. So at least there isn't some awesome event going on I have to miss. But still. I won't lie when I say it's going to sting a little to be all alone at home on NYE with not even Bumpus to keep me company, since he'll have been asleep for six hours by the time the year changes. 

It's moments like these I always have to ask myself, well, what else would you be doing? How were New Year's Eves in the past? Well, the past couple were good because I had gigs and had a baby or was pregnant. But before that...meh. A little too sober and a little too reflective. Never anyone to kiss - ever. For the past ten years, except for the last two, nothing but a sinking feeling of yet another year not in a relationship, watching everyone else get married and have kids, blah blah blah. Does any 30-something single childless woman feel anything other than despair on New Year's Eve? 

So yeah, an evening on the couch alone but with a roaring fire, a nice cup of tea, and one baby asleep in the room next door and another asleep in my belly doesn't sound half bad. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Epic fail

My glucose numbers came in almost immediately after publishing my last post. Keep in mind 130 is the cut off, and last time I got 154. Guess what this time was? Me, who (was) so convinced things were going to be different this time, that I would have a healthier pregnancy, that things would be better? A whopping 171!!! 

I was so fucking pissed when I read this that I almost threw my phone against the wall. How could this be??? And I walked around the block for an hour which when I was testing my sugars last time would usually lower my points by 20-40; can you imagine how high it would have been had I not walked around the block? 

So not only am I dangerously anemic but am a sure candidate for gestational diabetes. Great. Let's just go for the trifecta and throw some high blood pressure and protein in my urine into the mix, why don't we?

I started cursing my body again, until I forced myself to remember: your body got pregnant three times, carried at least one awesome healthy baby, responded to all the induction meds correctly and let you still have a vaginal birth, AND breastfeed for over a year with almost no problems. So...shut the fuck up.

I am debating on whether or not to do the 3 hour torture test or just start monitoring my own sugars as I did last time. I would like to take the test just out of scientific curiosity - Dr Google says even with numbers that high I may still pass - but there's no way I'm keeping B in a waiting room for a total of four hours! So unless I can baby kennel it for a weekend day or somehow arrange for childcare on a weekday, I don't think it will be possible. I don't remember last time if someone called me or if we just talked about it at my next appointment; I am awaiting a call, though, since those numbers pretty much suck. 

I'm still pretty mad and disappointed, but I know this from experience - whatever GD I had last time turned out to be a big nothing, so I'm not afraid of it, and I know what to do to manage it. The same with the iron - take supplements, bam, problem solved. Dealing with possible pre-eclampsia was way scarier because it's life threatening and there's absolutely nothing you can do to help yourself. So, could be worse, right?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

29 weeks

I had a lot of apprehension about today's ob appointment. I'm pretty sure it's the reason I popped awake at 2:30 AM and was more or less awake until Bumpus came to get me shortly before seven. You know how it is - always that feeling that everything is about to go to shit. That's pregnancy for you.

But it ended up being quite a positive experience. The midwife kept telling me I looked good (and what pregnant woman doesn't want to hear that - thanks also to you commenters as well!) and so didn't really comment on my now 25 lb weight gain, thank God. She just said, "well, it is the holidays." Yes, yes it is. She said, as she shoved another coconut ball in her mouth. 

She was pleased with my choice of doula, and again promised me I would have a better birth experience this time. And this time I *kind of* believed her and did not sob in the car on the way home. She ordered my glucose test on the spot. I was a bit surprised because I thought I'd have a chance to eat well for at least 24 hours...but I really didn't want to go back so went for it. After all, my dinner last night was a conservative spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and "meat"balls, and breakfast was eggs and fake bacon. Hardly a carb or sugar to be had. So I took the test - and out of necessity had to walk poor patient Bumpus around the block for 45 minutes so hopefully the walk helped my numbers. I also got the flu shot which I had been hemming and hawing about. After that awful stomach bug I just can't face the possibility of being incapacitated again - I know people who have been laid up for over a WEEK with flu and I just can't take that risk. At least the worst of the stomach bug was for only about twelve hours while B slept. Anyway. So, did that!

I am anxiously awaiting my GD numbers. Last time it was 154 (cut off is 130). I'd like to think I'll do better this time...but I don't know. I'll be pretty bummed if not. Not sure if, upon failure, I should endure the three hour torture test or just prick my finger several times a day to monitor myself like I did last time. At least I already know what works for me - no sugars, pastas, white flours, etc; no fruit, juice, cereal, or carbs in the morning; walk off all meals, and always include protein in every meal. I'm already pretty much doing that so it won't be a huge adjustment (except for the sugar part). 

The good news is, protein in the urine is still only at "trace". I don't know how it was this time last pregnancy; unfortunately the urinalysis is not included in my old records. I know this can change at any point...but I do feel like if this were going to be a problem we'd have some indication by now. After all, it's only eleven weeks to go! The odds are *most* really calamitous things would have been spotted by now. Or at least flagged.

One big fail of the day is my iron. In looking at that part of the test it's hard to get a sense of how bad my numbers are - but I know they indicate some level of anemia which I did not have last time. I'm pretty sure I'll be put on supplements. Hey man, if they make me feel stronger and give me more energy, great! I've got a toddler and several bags of groceries to haul up three flights of stairs every week! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A little Christmas photo bomb

Here is a shot of me from our Friday night gig, in an actual 1940's evening maternity dress (label reads "Stork Styling"):

Here are a couple of shots of me from my fancy vintage dinner night out Sunday, in another 1940's maternity outfit (this one labeled "Welcome Stranger"):

Here is evidence of Santa's visit last night:

...and Bumpus in his Christmas jammies:

...and the next morning enjoying his presents:

...and having a lovely day at the beach because it was 85 degrees:

...and me in my manatee glory:

...and now, good night! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Do you want to know?

Watching Generation Cryo tonight has made me curious about what other SMCs think about their donors (if you used an anonymous or "willing to be known" donor). The information I have about him is the profile information and two photos, a toddler aged one (that does look a lot like Bumpus) and a school-aged one where he looks about four or five (where he looks dramatically different - which makes me wonder how different B will look by then, or how different Theo may look). He did not have adult pictures or videos or audio tapes, but I wouldn't have accessed those even if I could have. 

Why? I don't know. It kind of gives me the creeps. I mean, I chose to procreate with a complete stranger, and one who is fifteen years younger than me! My sons' father is someone I have never (and may never) meet, someone I have never even seen. The adviser at the clinic once told me a story about how she and this particular donor (I guess she gets pretty chummy with them) had a conversation about how he always strikes out with women and she told him he needed to work out a little to "bulk up" (apparently he's a bit of a bean pole). This story makes me feel oddly warm towards him and also (again) a little creeped out. In three months I will have had two children by this awkward, skinny 20-something guy who can't get a date. If he were one of the young guys I know in the dance scene I'm sure I'd feel motherly and protective towards him. Sometimes all of this stuff is just too weird!

One of the SMCs in my group has an adult photo of her donor on her phone that she proudly shows us (he's freaking hot), and last time I saw her, she said she had (somehow) found his Facebook profile (!). She said she was a little bummed out by it - I forget why, maybe he was kind of a party boy...? But it did make me wonder, if someone said to me right now that they had my donor's Facebook page for me, would I look at it? I definitely wouldn't, for fear of being somehow disappointed by it. That and I just don't want to know.

I can wait eighteen years before anything more about this person is revealed to me, if it ever is. At least by then he'll be a man and not just "some kid". And I'll be in a different place, too. But right now knowing about the donor kind of makes me go, "ewwwwwww". 

How do you all feel about knowing about your donor? If someone offered you access to more information, would you take it?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas week

I have had a hum-dinger of a weekend, and it ain't over yet. Months ago I loaded up this weekend with the understanding that Christmas week was going to be devoid of all activity/socialization, so I wanted to be utterly exhausted by the time Christmas actually arrived. I believe I have accomplished that goal.

Because of back-to-back singing gigs Fri & Sat nights, I have been surviving on about 4 hours' sleep the last two days, which has been brutal. This is one of the areas where single parenthood takes its toll - no option for rest when you especially need it. I considered using the Baby Kennel yesterday, ditching out on the bridal shower and Christmas party I had committed to, and instead just heading home to sleep. But I really didn't want to let people down and not fulfill my obligations (I'm a bit psychotic about that), AND I knew I probably wouldn't get any sleep anyway but just toss and turn in bed in the middle of the day, watching the clock tick down until it was time to pick B up. So. Day two of no sleep, and I still have to get dressed up and go out tonight and be "on". The irony is, had I nothing to do this weekend I would be all sad and lonely and depressed and resentful I was stuck at home while everyone else was out having fun. Did I mention I'm just impossible to please right now???

Had an awful moment Friday night wherein I checked in for a second time with my 3rd call babysitter for Saturday night, having not heard from her...only to have her apologize that she got called out of town on a family emergency. Great. And who, exactly, would be free the Saturday night before Christmas at a moment's notice? So I spent all night stressing about it, and imaging I would just have to not show up for our much-anticipated and advertised gig - something I'm grateful I haven't had to do yet. But thank GOD the sitter found someone for me who was free; and I had no choice but to trust a complete stranger with my house and child for a night while paying her every penny I made. Still, it all worked out. Definitely reminded me that I MUST start expanding my pool of babysitters. And not just people who can help out in a pinch...but are then never available when you need them. I mean real professional baby sitters who want the work and (hopefully) don't charge $20/hr. I'm not sure how I'm going to do this but I have a few resources. Thankfully for obvious reasons I won't be out much for the next six months - we have only a couple of gigs in Jan-March; the March one I may not even be able to do (experience shows me it's almost impossible to sing in your third trimester; you just have no lung capacity at all). If I need to go out in evenings this spring I figure many things I can take Theo to as I did Bumpus when he was that small, so maybe I can avoid the "two kid" rate for a while! I'm pleased the Baby Kennel offers a discount for siblings so I'd only pay $15/hr for both kids to be watched if I need a little time to myself on the weekend. So, I can still have my little getaways. 

B has not napped today despite my driving around for nearly two hours and expending a quarter tank of gas. I really don't know how to fix our nap situation. I haven't even tried to get him to nap at home - how can I? When he was stuck in the pack 'n play I could just plop him in there, pull down the shades and walk out and he would fuss a little but then sleep; now with a toddler bed and his own room he would just get up and run to the closed door and scream (in case you haven't noticed, I gave up on Operation Bumpus Plays Alone in His Room some time ago). So instead we just drive somewhere; 90% of the time he sleeps. His having or not having a nap doesn't seem to affect anyone except me - but I just wish I could get him to nap in his room! Any advice on this subject would be appreciated.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

People who need people

I spend far too much time wishing "the kids" were older so we could do more fun stuff. Sometimes when I calculate just how long it's going to be before both children are potty trained, in school, able to travel, able to swim and ski, etc etc, I don't mind admitting I feel a little despair. We're talking probably five-seven years, which puts me at nearly fifty, and my elderly relatives that much older. Will I really still want to go to water parks at 48? Or attack the slopes in Big Bear? I don't know - but I hope so!

I do try every day to appreciate the moment - to appreciate Bumpus at this age and take pleasure in the little joys, while having a sense of humor about the non-joys. I think I'm *pretty* good at that. I may be bored and kind of "blah" some of the time but I am rarely angry or fed up. I remember the days not so long ago when B's kicking me while being changed or flipping around in his carseat while I tried to buckle him in would send me into an absolute rage; now I just take those things in stride, partly because they happen every day, all day long, and partly because I now recognize all kids do these things and it's normal and to be expected. I think I just had a really hard time adjusting from baby-toddler; the idea of a freewheeling active child who could hurt himself, and damage things, really freaked me out and pushed all my buttons. I'm not saying I don't still struggle with these control issues but I'm proud to say I am getting better!

The more B grows and develops, I am SO glad there is a baby brother on the way. He desperately needs playmates, especially when mommy completely sucks in that department. Every time I take him out I see how much he loves people and seeks out other children, especially older boys, to play with. He just runs up and joins their group whether they want him to or not - he is pretty much always shunned by older kids, but thankfully he's too guileless to care. Today he kept trying to engage this older boy who was all wrapped up in his IPhone game (judgment...); finally I just pulled B away because I could tell the other kid was getting annoyed and was about to "do something unpleasant". But this happens a lot - B is very social and just loves people. I'm glad I'm about to provide him with "people" of his very own to play with!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

It's Manatee Season

It is officially manatee season, aka the season of ill-fitting clothes, waddling, and increasing incapacity. I think I have finally reached the point of not being able to sleep even slightly on my stomach; every Friday as I'm hauling several heavy bags of groceries and my 30 lb child up my stairs I wonder when I need to start getting grocery delivery instead. But then I remember last time and how I really felt pretty ok up until about the last week - when I hear what some women go through not being able to drive, not being able to lift anything, having to sleep sitting up, wearing compression hose, etc, I feel very lucky (and healthy). Still a little afraid of my next ob appointment and what may be revealed there. But hey, all I can do is take care of myself and cross my fingers, right?

Today we went to see Santa. It was too hot for cute holiday outfits, so B wore this random St Patty's Day t shirt and was in cranky post-nap mode, but all in all we got *a* picture with Santa, and had a pleasant afternoon with a friend and her three year old who was equally perturbed. I got a sense of what I have waiting for me - and it ain't pretty. Right now I can still "put one over" on Bumpus - he didn't know that the other child had ice cream but he didn't; didn't know that the other child got to play in the bouncy house and he didn't. He just wanted me to pick him up, and wanted to play with random dirty straws he found on the ground. These are his priorities at the moment. Suddenly toddlerhood is looking a lot easier than preschool age-!

Here are pictures from the day that I think capture his general mood - I call them The Song of No:

Friday, December 13, 2013

3rd trimester, here we go!

So, here we are, the final stretch! Every day it's comforting to me that Baby T is more and more viable; that I can be this far along and still functioning and not on bedrest and with no known issues (yet). Of course lots could be discovered at my next prenatal appointment, now two weeks away. But for now I'm able to have a positive attitude, so I will stick with that!

The best news ever - a friend recommended her cousin, an insurance broker specializing in the upcoming changes, for me to talk to for some help. I spoke to him at length last night. And I'm not going to assume anything until it's set in stone, but - there is a chance I might be one of the people the ACA might actually help. I'm so glad this guy guided me through because I never ever would have figured out this system on my own - what income to put down, to include B or not, mention the pregnancy or not, which policy to apply for? It looks like I might be able to get a really good policy - no deductible, tiny co-pays, help with the premiums, out of pocket max at under $3000. So I applied. I'm not sure what happens now - what sort of vetting I'll have to endure. B will be shifted to MediCal and nobody seems to know if he can still go to Kaiser or not - but that's not a deal breaker for me. It's not like I'm married to our neither-here-nor-there pediatrician. I'm sure with a little research I can find a good MediCal accepting practice for him if I need to. For now I will just sit tight and wait to be contacted. But I'm so relieved at least I have this guy as my advocate, just a phone call away. I've felt so alone in all this insurance mess since before B was even born; now between having the rest of my appointments with the "good" midwife at Kaiser, the doula, and now an insurance broker, I feel like I'm finally getting a handle on all this stuff!

Also, a friend checked in asking if anyone had approached me about a baby shower. I was SO relieved because I was starting to panic a little that I wasn't going to have one; it's not like you can ask someone to throw one for you, nor throw one yourself, and so many of the people involved in the planning of the last one I've drifted away from in the last two years. And I would just be sad if T entered this world with no celebration. I also really honestly do need a few things, and absolutely have no money to buy them between now and March. So...I hope someone cobbles up a little party for me!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Social skills

I think B is learning some social skills. Watching him interact with other kids in group settings, I've noticed a change in him. Rather than grabbing things, he waits until the other kid holds it out for him to take, and if the kid never does, he walks away. He hands things to other kids. He gets less hysterical if someone grabs something from him. He waits his turn. He runs up to people and "talks" to them. In other words - he's getting it! I'm so proud. Even the caretakers at the Baby Kennel said when I picked him up Sunday that he's always so good and they have nothing bad to comment about. I'm not saying he doesn't have his bad moments, like all kids, but I'm really glad he's learning how to play and share and be in a group. It's probably the most important skill he'll learn in life. 

My father has disappeared from Facebook. I went to check in on his profile since I hadn't heard from him in a while, and found to my shock that he was no longer in my friends list. He was not searchable, nor was he in my cousin's friends list. Which says to me he deleted his account. Why would a person do that? It's just part of his general shadyness. I'm not sorry to see him go, honestly. If he reappears and tries to friend me again this time I'll be smart and ignore him. Have I mentioned how glad I am that this person is in another country???

I have really knuckled down and worked hard on my business the last couple of nights. Believe you me I'd rather be sewing felt owls for Theo than wrestling with designing "info graphics" and posting on every Facebook group and page and updating my web site, but I had to just force myself. And force myself to make decisions about pricing and cut off dates and dance themes. It's a huge amount of work but once everything is set, it's set. I just have to nail down the last few sets of instructors, set up my online registration page, and blast the information all over the place. The response to the notices I put out on FB last night were really positive, so it makes me feel better about my future finances. 

One area I've been striking out all over in lately is healthcare. Whenever I call the Obamacare help line I just get told the volume of calls is too high and get hung up on; when I try to apply online I get an error page. The numbers I got to call local organizations all have full answering machines that can take no more messages. I called Kaiser today to see if I should just switch policies to get a better deal; unfortunately they all carry that $6350 yearly out of pocket max, so that's useless. I am beginning to think "do nothing" may be the only way to handle this healthcare crisis; after all, if I have a normal birth with no NICU stay all of this worry will have been for nothing. Although I did get a cryptic letter from B's special discounted healthcare yesterday that put ice water in my veins - it said because my income has increased (what?) I now have a $2250 a month cost share...which upon googling means this is how much I'd have to pay out of pocket per month before the government would kick in. Huh? I'm completely befuddled by this. But of course I called all day to get answers and all I got was a busy signal for hours, followed by yet another full answering machine that would take no more messages. WTF? Does this mean the next time B gets a vaccine I'm going to have to pay full price out of pocket...? Or pay for his well exams? Ugh. I hate all of this shit SO MUCH. It positively makes my blood boil. 

Here is a picture of B at his drum circle today:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Too Much

'Tis the season of excess, isn't it? Ugh. I feel like a big fat bloated pig who's spending herself into the poor house. For the now nearly four months since my event, I have consistently way exceeded my budget. I simply cannot manage to keep my credit card under control. And yet I feel like I buy nothing but gas and groceries. But there's always something - an oil change. A dental cleaning. A hair appointment. And next thing you know I've almost doubled what I promised I'd spend.

It's the same with food. As of this moment I've put on 20 lbs. Which according to the pregnancy weight gain calculator I furtively consult far more often than I care to admit, is completely normal for week 26. Still, if I am to gain 1 lb a week for the remaining 14 weeks of this pregnancy, it puts me at a total gain of 34 lbs. Which, again, is within the proper amount of 25-35 lbs for a woman who starts at a healthy weight. Still, I hate it because I started 10 lbs lighter this pregnancy but will end up exactly the same. It's because unlike last time I was able to eat normally during the 1st trimester. Why do I care about this? Haven't I proven I'm the lucky bitch that loses baby weight easily from breast feeding? Who cares? Still, I am afraid of being shamed by my midwife and also afraid of for some inexplicable reason not being able to lose the weight this time (it could happen). Does it matter? Who have I got to impress? Nobody. But it bugs me. It makes me feel like I'm doing a shitty job feeding myself. And I just feel gigantic and bloated and uncomfortable and gross. Blah.

So between the spending and the eating I feel all out of control and gluttonous and yucky. I spend and spend, and I eat and eat, and yet derive no pleasure from it, which is the ultimate irony. I feel totally deprived in both areas. I would love to go to Anthropologie and buy myself one nice thing for Christmas, just something to make me feel pretty and spoiled, but I don't dare. I treat myself to a pumpkin spice latte but the satisfaction is utterly fleeting. I guess I'm just impossible to please at the moment!

I see how mothers put on weight and/or spend their husbands into the poor house. Especially stay-at-home mothers of baffling toddlers. Your days are so boring and exhausting that you find yourself in a constant state of wanting to "treat" and "reward" yourself, which is dangerous. I feel myself slipping into that, and I seriously need to nip it in the bud. I instead need to find my pleasure in things that are good for me - excellent books (been reading some really good ones lately); thought-provoking movies and TV; getting outdoors; socializing; working on my business. There is a healthy way to channel this need for fulfillment. I can do it. I just need to put down the homemade fudge.

Friday, December 6, 2013

26 weeks

Today Theo has a much better chance of survival should he be suddenly thrust into the cold world. I know I have zero reason to think I'm at any risk for pre-term labor, but with all the real worries regarding having this baby, I have chosen to fixate on this because it makes every day that I don't go into labor feel like a triumph.

I have chosen the expensive, highly qualified doula and sent her a deposit. I feel like I'm in good hands, and I guess it's all about feeling safe and guided during these times. I've given a lot of thought to the whole getting to the hospital/watching Bobby issue. And the only thing I can think of is having a vast network of people who can agree to *maybe* being available for one of these tasks, with the understanding that they can say no because I have lots of other people to call. I don't think it's a good idea to rely on just one or two people, again not when everyone I know lives far from me, works, and has kids. So I might just start asking people, "do you think you could drive me to the hospital, but if not no big deal because I've got lots of other people I can call?" I think that's the only way to handle it. I also can always take a cab. I have a sitter for B but it may take her hours to get here from San Diego; if my sister happens to be here then that solves some problems. And of course if I have a scheduled whatever then all of this is moot. But I'd much sooner have a normal, non-induced labor and deal with logistics rather than an induced labor with everything in place, believe me. 

B and I have been having a pretty good time lately. It might just be Christmas cheer and/or little adjustments I've made here and there, but I'm feeling less unhappy about the whole toddler age than I was a week or two ago. Less crying and tantrums, more laughter and hugs and fun. That's always a good thing. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

That new sperm donor show

So I've been watching Generation Cryo, MTV's new reality series about a teenaged donor-conceived girl who enlists her half-siblings in a quest to locate their anonymous donor. It's a well thought out, respectful show which brings up a lot of important, and interesting issues. Two episodes in, here are some thoughts I've had about it:

I feel for the one infertile dad who's wife had twins via the donor. That must be a hellish situation for a man, particularly an older Jewish man who's whole cultural imperative is all about family and genes. I'm kind of amazed any husband consents to his wife using donor sperm, honestly, since men get all weird and egocentric about their genetic material (sometimes). When I went to my clinic to browse through their binders of donors (cheaper than ordering up profiles online, which had to be paid for), just to make sure I was solid in my choice of donor, there was a couple there doing the same, and I remember thinking, "please, God, let that be her friend or brother or someone other than her husband!"

I noticed on the show the half-siblings raised with moms and dads seemed to have the most conflict about being donor kids, whereas those raised by lesbian couples or single moms seemed the most comfortable.  Maybe it's because when you have a mom and a dad you have the picture of that "normal" family, and yet you've got this unusual circumstance, but if you're raised by one or two women or men, it's kind of like the jig is up, you know? 

I was kind of surprised to learn that their donor was NOT a "willing to be known" donor, and that one of the siblings had already attempted contact through the sperm bank but never received a reply. This started to make me feel like what these kids were doing was wrong - that this guy had the expectation of privacy and that should be honored, regardless of their "right to know" about him. I mean, when I reconnected with my father, all I really wanted to know about him was if his family had any medical issues and what his ethnic background is (being "Brazilian" is about as meaningful as being "American" - really you're either from Africa or Europe, and clearly we're not African, so what part of Europe? Turns out he's Italian). Beyond that his on again, off again presence in my life has been mostly a pain in the butt. So one would think having the basic info from the guy's profile would be enough. I get why it's not, though. But it did make me wonder if these kids were pushing the boundaries. 

I once again appreciate thoughtful, non-exploitative representations of the whole donor-conceived thing out in the media, but really, really wish someone would profile the mothers for a change, not always have it be about teenagers looking for their donor, or the donor's perspective. I just feel like the female perspective is almost always lost in this world - and yet we're the ones actually making the kids, doing all the freakin' work. Why doesn't anyone tell our stories? 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Best laid reverse

So, remember how I said I wasn't getting a tree and was going to really take it easy with the crafting/cooking/decorating this year, on account of being pregnant and having a toddler running around? Psych!

Today I was driving around and saw so many Christmas tree lots...and one in my neighborhood had cute little "apartment sized" ones, so I thought I'd pull over and just check them out...five minutes later it was in my front seat. I figured what the heck - it's light enough for me to easily carry up the stairs, and back down a month from now. I can put it on a table where B *hopefully* can't reach...and get to decorate and light it, and it was only about $10 more than the itty-bitty potted ones I was looking at previously. So tonight after B went to bed I had fun decorating (still not going to light the outside of the house - just too dangerous). I am utterly puzzled as to where my wreath hook and tree skirt went. I will have to keep digging around for those.

Also, in contemplating Christmas gifts today, I decided to make stuff. After promising no craft projects. I just can't afford to buy people presents, but it pains me not to give people anything. I get such enjoyment out of giving gifts. So I sat down with Pinterest and reviewed some of last year's un-attempted recipes and crafts, and I think I'm going to take next weekend which is pretty empty and go for it. Hey, anything I don't give away I can always freeze and save for later when I'm breastfeeding and can eat all the candy and crap I want, right?

I'm going to hit up the dollar store also for wrapping and stocking stuffers. Although today I did splurge on B's one big gift - a wooden play kitchen just like the one at the coffee shop play area we go to, which is actually pretty cheap and comes with all the accessories unlike all the others I viewed. So other than that I plan on this being a very frugal but hopefully still bountiful and fun Christmas. Hey, when you're a broke single mother you have to get creative, right?

Here is a picture of a creepy 1950's Christmas baby that freaks my friend and I out:

Friday, November 29, 2013

Holidays with Toddlers

This seems to be a theme in my blog feed tonight, and is certainly a theme in my life at the moment, so I think I'll run with it. Holidays with babies are magical and fun. Holidays with toddlers are exhausting and difficult.

This is well traveled territory for this blog, but I'll say again that the minute my child threw his leg over the edge of his playpen and skittered to freedom, my whole life turned upside down. Up until that moment I could still largely go on about my business as I always had. Sitter cancel? No problem, bring the baby and keep him up until 1 AM - he'll be up anyway! Low on groceries? No problem, you've got boobs! Need a nap? Great, because the baby does, too. Need to work on a project? No worries - the baby will sleep, or play in one spot on the floor, or hang out safely in a swing or playpen. All of that is shot to hell now. And even months and thousands of dollars in baby proofing later, I am still reeling from the aftershocks of that one moment B's feet hit the floor after climbing out of his playpen. 

I felt it for sure this Thanksgiving. Despite all my planning ahead, things still didn't go as I would have liked. I got a jump on the cooking the day before - and B drove me completely nuts the whole time. He whined and cried and yelled "no!" and threw things the whole time as I rolled out pie crusts and chopped apples and zested lemons; he kept squeezing himself between me and the counter, then pushing me away from the counter with all his strength. Not to mention the floor strewn with crap he pulled out of the garbage, and the need to move everything higher and higher so he couldn't reach. It was an ordeal. However, I'm pleased with myself that I didn't snap - I stopped and played with him when I could, devised things he could play with, made sure I paid attention to him. I didn't rush or get annoyed when it all took forever to do; I knew expecting him to sit tight while I cooked for hours would be a lot to ask. But boy, was he irritating!

On Thanksgiving day thankfully my sister and brother in law were here to entertain him while I finished everything; and finish I did - glazed parsnips, apple pie, pumpkin pie, sautéed Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, a brandy cheese ball for a appetizer that never made it to the table in time. But any ideas I had about me, or the table, looking presentable, were shot to hell. I never even got to brush my teeth, much less do anything with my hair or put on a cute outfit or any makeup. I wasn't able to do anything with the table other than just throw everything on it in a desultory manner and have us sit down to eat. This is all unimportant stuff, I know. In the end my relatives were gracious enough to come to me this year, everything I cooked was good, B was happy, I got to use my grandmother's dessert plates for my homemade pies, and it all worked out. Still I have to say it just wasn't how I pictured it. I just wasn't as organized nor creative as I wanted to be. I'm an event person and everything has to be perfect; and it wasn't. I felt frazzled and too wired to appreciate the moment, too worried about B losing it any minute, too worried about the lighting not being right and not having enough serving dishes or spoons, etc. Yet another instance of my not being able to relax and be in the moment. I swear planning big dinners is always more fun than actually having them. 

Today it poured rain all day so there was absolutely nothing for us to do. We did get out for a nice Mexican lunch, and B did ok with that, but the rest of the day we had to just sit around the house. We didn't dare go out to any public shopping type areas, and the weather meant we couldn't go to any natural outdoor spaces either. I hope it clears up tomorrow so we can get out and get some much needed exercise!

I am definitely learning that all bets are off when it comes to toddlers. You just have to drastically lower your expectations of everything - especially yourself - and cling to the hope that when the kids are older you can start feeling somewhat normal again. So I'm having a mellow Christmas - no tree, just some basic decorating in high spots B can't get to. I probably won't hang lights either - I don't feel safe climbing around the outside of the house while pregnant, and there is no time to do that unless it's after dark when B's asleep, and I'm sure he'll get all tangled up in any electric cords I'd have to jerryrig. So this year it's just not worth it. 

I will: do a Santa train and get a Santa pic, send out cute holiday cards, make coconut balls for the one party I'm attending, do basic decorating, get B some cute presents.  

I won't: attempt any crafts, buy any presents for anyone other than B, do an expensive holiday photo shoot, throw a party, have a tree, light the house, or drag B to anything past his bed time. 

It's all about managing expectations. Accept these little kids for who they are and what they can handle, and keep in mind some day they'll be older and the real fun can begin. Until then - just hang in there!

Here is the one picture I had the presence of mind to snap of B's second Thanksgiving:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Great Doula Search

Yesterday for the first time in ages, maybe forever, I began to actually think there's a chance this birth experience might actually be ok. It might be just my being on a general mood upswing, or it might have been the doula I met with.

She was an older lady, very experienced (500+ births!), and very comforting without being saccharine. She recounted her own crappy birth experiences in the 60s & 70s where they just knocked you out and then handed you the baby (which honestly doesn't sound that bad to me - but that's me for you!), so she gets the bad birth experience. She also was the first person I've talked to who said she *might* be able to arrange transport for me if necessary - she said she got stuck driving herself to the hospital one time because the neighbor that offered to do it got stuck with no car at that moment. I'm sure I have people who would agree to drive me if I needed - but everyone is at least 1/2 hour away (most more like an hour or more away), most have kids and jobs and things that can't just be dropped at the last second. So even with the best of intentions I may find myself with no way to get to the hospital. It would be nice to know I could use a doula's resources as well as my own. Or worse comes to worst - cab it, or drive myself!

So I really like this lady but she's twice the cost of anyone else. I can cut the fee by a few hundred if I agree to have a trainee along as well (totally cool with that), but still. Ouch. But then I ask myself - is a few hundred $$ more than another doula that much money, in the scheme of things, for the sense of comfort and protection this person could offer me? Ten years from now am I going to look back on this birth and wish I'd saved a few hundred dollars to work with someone I felt less comfortable with? Probably not.

So I am definitely leaning towards her. But I meet with another in an hour and have one more I can call; I also may meet with the one I just talked to on the phone. 

For the most part, I'm finding these ladies are all very similar. They're all nice women who love birth and think the way it's done in this country is largely all wrong; they want healthy babies and happy mothers. They go with your wishes even if you want super medical. They just want you to have the birth you want. So beyond that it's just a question of their fees (ranging from $850 to $2000 so far) and your level of comfort with them. But after yesterday I'm beginning to think age and experience are worth paying for.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Dark night of the soul

Last night I had one of those dark nights of the soul. I didn't feel well (lingering nausea and intense fatigue, making me worry that, like a friend of mine and her family, we survived the stomach virus only to catch it all over again days later). And I had had a rough day with B and was just miserable. And so The Thoughts came in. I'm not going to get into what The Thoughts consisted of - just the usual self-pitying crap. I kept telling myself, "just go the fuck to sleep. You know by morning all of this will be over." And it was. Funny what a night's sleep can do, isn't it?

Both of us still have wonky tummies - B absolutely refuses any kind of dinner and starts screaming if I even take out the pot with his favorite meal in it. Then he wakes up in the morning too early and positively hysterical from hunger. It SUCKS. Every night since Wednesday I have tried to introduce his usual dinner to no avail, and have found much to my chagrin that he'll only eat cottage cheese and strawberries. At least it's something. But I can't wait for him to be back eating a proper meal! This morning was an hysterical kicking/scream fest as I blearily tried to strip off his soaked and poop-filled diaper, get him dressed, get him in the kitchen, and then have to try to repair his broken high chair before putting him in it (the center strap for between his legs broke). The whole time with him screaming that intense bone-shattering scream right in my ear until I snapped and yelled at him to SHUT the HELL up and that he was driving me CRAZY. So yeah, good times. Just how you want to start your day, huh?

Honestly I'm just so glad I'm no longer scrubbing puke out of carpets while feeling like puking myself that I think I'll take whatever kind of day I can get. Let's face it - we've been through an ordeal. I think it's ok if I'm not completely cheerful and full of joie de vivre at the moment. Here are some things coming up that I'm looking forward to:

Thanksgiving, and the visit of my sister and brother-in-law. I'm excited to cook us dinner and set a nice table which is something I never get to do because I'm always someone else's guest. They'll be here all weekend so we'll have lots to do. I just hope B can handle all the excitement and that it doesn't screw up his sleep/eating, make him behave badly, etc. 

I've talked to two doulas on the phone and am meeting three this week. Hopefully I will have one chosen by next week so that will be nailed down. I'm pretty bummed that doulas by trade are not allowed to drive you anywhere or technically help with your other kids - so I still have those elements to figure out, which sucks.

A friend is loaning me her maternity clothes, which is great since I currently have one pair of pants and three shirts that actually fit - and the pants are way too long so I have to roll up the cuffs which means sand and bark from playgrounds always get caught in there and then get strewn all over the house. It's extremely irritating. And I hate not having anything to wear, ever. But can't really shell out for a whole new wardrobe I'll only wear for three more months, either. 

One of the doulas I talked to on the phone made a comment that has been resonating with me. When I recounted my lengthy, shitty birth experience, she said "there's a difference between pain and suffering." We all know and accept labor pain - it's pain with purpose; it gets you somewhere. But the suffering, the suffering! That's the part I remember most vividly - how it dragged on for three days, how hungry I was, how thirsty, how fed up being strapped into a bed and sleep-deprived. That's what I remember. She said she would have snuck me food! So far she's the front runner.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Surviving the Plague

So, I have now faced one of my biggest fears regarding becoming a mother, and especially a single mother - both being horribly ill at the same time. And it wasn't pretty.

While the worst of B's intestinal distress was over by Thursday, that's when mine started. I started to feel awful while djing, and then had a horrible night crouched by the bathtub. I won't elaborate. It was horrendous.

Yesterday I still felt pretty bad so just had the two of us locked up in my bedroom all day. It was all I could do - just let B dump out all my drawers, and be there to take the Legos he handed me over and over. One of the worst things was because it was Friday and shopping day, we had no food - we pretty much lived on applesauce and rice cakes all day, and it was miserable. I thought I could rally enough to get to the computer and order some food from the grocery store, but I couldn't even do that, and everyone I know works, and I figured I could wait until today to go buy some food, which I will. But all day I had this panic going because there was nothing to eat. We desperately needed bananas, oatmeal, milk, etc. I'm a little too efficient in making sure all my food runs out just as I need to buy more, apparently. 

It was definitely one of those moments when I wished I had a partner - but of course reality sets in there, too; you'd have to hope that this partner could take time off work and wouldn't be sick himself and become yet another person you'd have to take care of. Let's never forget that the burden of children's illnesses has always, and probably always will, fall on the mothers, whether she's sick or pregnant or not. 

So after B went to bed I busied myself in cleaning the whole house - I just had to get a sense of order and normalcy back. I folded the 50 shirts B had pulled out of my drawers, I did the piles of dishes, I tidied and picked up. Then I put some scrambled eggs on my wonky stomach and went to sleep. B had applesauce for dinner. He screamed pitifully when I tried to feed him anything else, and I figured this is not the time for a "no dessert without dinner" lesson. 

So being as it's been cold and rainy for days anyway, we're just going to hang out at home today (short of grocery shopping). I still feel pretty weak and lousy and B isn't 100% either, so I have no problem spending much of the day on the couch. Baby T still kicking around, so that's good. Sigh.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Viability tomorrow

So yeah, another milestone met. If born now, baby T has a chance of making it. Which is a huge relief, even though I know the prognosis for micro preemies is fairly grim, at least I know if I went into labor now the healthcare providers would make some effort to save him rather than just throw up their hands. 

No danger of this scenario, however. Had my appointment yesterday and cervix is long and closed. Yay for that. Also, good fluids, despite the fact that I never feel like I drink enough. So as of this moment everything is a-ok for baby T. No protein in the urine, either.

Thanks for the helpful medical advice about B's illness. As some of you may know I have zero experience from my own childhood regarding normal treatment of children's ailments (my mother's method involved handing me a bible to read) so I desperately need the help! I do believe what we're dealing with here is a bug and not a reaction to food. Apparently every kid in Los Angeles has been throwing up all week. After a two-vomit night, B was ok yesterday apart from the large pile of diarrhea I discovered on the floor (hardwood and not carpet, thank GOD) at one point, and a random throw up as I was putting him in his high chair for dinner. We were both shocked and upset by this. Pretty random after a whole day of nothing. There is no rhyme or reason to this stuff, which makes every minute of every day stressful and unpredictable. What if he throws up in the car? What if he throws up in my bed? What if he throws up on the couch? I've been restricting us to the linoleum floored kitchen for the most part, but that gets old FAST. And now it's raining, and I don't want to take him up to the play room because that is the WORST place for him to throw up. What the hell do we do???

The good news is he never had a fever or even seemed remotely bothered by any of this other than upset right after vomiting - he's happily ransacking the house as always, and sleeping normally (apart from me checking him at the slightest sigh or movement all night). Also despite feeling pretty queasy yesterday I have not actually been sick. Although I recognize this thing could hit me at any time; I won't be convinced we're out of the woods until several days have gone by with both of us being well. And of some concern B is off his food - he's lived on cereal puffs, bananas, and bread pretty much exclusively. But God knows I'm not about to push food on him right now!

Anyway, so I have survived one of my biggest fears about being a parent - how to handle your sick child throwing up on everything in your house. The only thing worse would be B being really sick - fever, lethargy, etc, which would scare me to death - and/or me being simultaneously sick. Which would be awful. How glad am I this didn't happen in my first trimester, or around my event??? Ugh. 

So tonight I am going to take a chance and nip out to keep a djing obligation despite some misgivings. He seems to be ok at night, and I desperately need to do something other than clean up vomit and worry about cleaning up vomit for a couple of hours. Let's hope this is the end of it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I accept the vomit, part II

Shortly after this adorable picture was taken (yes, he put the horse in that box himself), Bumpus promptly and enthusiastically vomited all over himself and that nice white carpet. 

Just a warning, there is a lot of vomit in this post. If you feel the need to move on I promise my feelings won't be hurt.

I have never seen him throw up like that. He was immediately very upset, so I stripped off his soaked clothes, wiped him down with the burp cloth I keep up in the playroom for just such an occasion, and held him for a while to comfort him (I know to me throwing up is just about the worst thing ever, so I sympathized). Then I tried to formulate a plan to clean up the mess. Again, this is up in the playroom where I can't get access to the rest of the house unless I take B with me. So he can't be left up there alone while I go get cleaning supplies, and I can't leave him downstairs while I go up to clean. There was nothing to it but to wait four hours until bedtime. I cracked open a window and took us downstairs. 

Put B in a new outfit and figured we'd just have to mess around in the living room for a while. He played and flirted happily. I couldn't imagine what caused him to be sick other than the restaurant mac 'n cheese he had for lunch just didn't sit with him. On rare occasions when he's thrown up a little in the past it's always been cheese related...yet he'll eat some cheese, lots of milk, yogurt and cottage cheese with no issues. So who knows? 

Then out of nowhere he throws up all over the dining room carpet. I clean him, and it, up, and figure it's time to be in the linoleum floored kitchen now. I start piling the foul clothes and rags into the thankfully empty kitchen sink. It's almost dinner time and I don't want him going to bed starving, so I figure I'll see if he wants to eat. Maybe some stomach-settling food - banana, bread, apple sauce, milk - will be just what he needs. He eats it all enthusiastically, then throws it all up on himself. More crying, more comforting, more wiping down and adding to the pile of clothes and cloths in the sink. More wiping of the floor. More wiping of myself. Everything in the house positively reeks. I thank God I'm not nauseated myself but almost lose it a couple of times. It is just SO disgusting. How can that tiny little belly hold gallons of food???

He's clearly exhausted, so I put on his jammies, change his diaper, and hold him extra long before lying him down to sleep. He conks right out. I head up to the playroom to do the massive and ultimately utterly ineffective job of scrubbing the carpet clean and bring downstairs the clothes, toys, and cloths that have been soaking for hours, and start up a load of laundry on "hot" with lots of soap. I sit on the other side of his door, too nervous and grossed out to eat, wondering if he has a stomach flu, wondering if I'm going to get it now, picturing us all at the emergency room in the middle of the night, picturing the thousands of dollars that will cost, wondering when he'll stop throwing up, wondering how awful this night is going to be, texting the babysitter who's supposed to watch him through my dentist appointment, my OB appointment, and my book club tomorrow that maybe I'll have to cancel everything. 

Within an hour I hear coughing and he's thrown up all over the bed. More changing, more stripping of bed clothes, more laundry. I force some dinner down and retire to my bedroom with both of our doors open so I can hear him breathing. It's been three hours. I check him constantly. Afraid he's thrown up again and is sleeping in it. Afraid of the worst thing ever - that he'll choke on it and I won't even know. 

Realizing this was one of those scenarios I had so dreaded when I thought about being a parent - the all-night puke-a-thons all little kids have. God knows I had  plenty. How do you clean up the mess? When do you know to get them to a hospital? And what the hell is exactly wrong? He's been off his dinner for three nights, even when I made him his favorite. But he's eaten huge breakfasts and good lunches; I thought maybe the dinner issue was because we'd had lunch way too late and he just wasn't hungry. But why do kids just randomly throw up for hours? I think back on my episodes and there was no rhyme or reason there, either - it just happened. No other symptoms of anything, nothing I can put a finger on except restaurant food that may just have been too rich or strange for him. 

So I am steeling myself for a horrid night. I so hope he just wakes up well and we can put this behind us. But I don't know. If this continues into tomorrow I think we're going to the doctor. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013


You hear that? That's the sound of Bumpus not pulling all the pots and pans out of the cupboards and wrecking them, thanks to my newly installed cabinet latches. Hurrah! I feel so much better with this house in order and less noise and chaos on a daily basis. He doesn't seem to care, either - he just moves on to the cupboards he can access. I call that a win.

Also last night's stay at the baby kennel went spectacularly well - but I truly believe it was a fluke. I picked him up at eight and much to my horror found him still up (!); obviously they ignored my notes to put him to bed at 6 (not the first time). I was dreading what the night would be like - but it turned out totally fine. I got him home, put on his overnight diaper and jammies, and put him to bed...and he slept until 8 AM!!! It was the best night's sleep I've had in ages. Oh how I wish this were the secret to getting Bumpus to sleep later - putting him to bed later - but I know from experience that that is not how it works. If it were, believe me I'd keep him up until nine or ten like I used to when he was half his age. As we all know, though, kids at a certain age just wake up with the sun no matter how late they go to bed. And even today after waking up at 8 he was still super cranky and tired by 5 PM and I just had to tolerate his crankiness for an hour until it was dinner and bedtime. Keeping him up two more hours? Ugh.

So I haven't needed to use Bumpus Plays in His Room tactics the last couple of days - the day before he slept until 7 which I thought was reasonable enough. Is his schedule adjusting back to more human hours, I hope? It's impossible to know. Just when you think you're on to something, everything changes. 

All I know is I finally got some sleep last night and suddenly everything looks bright and new. It just reminded me how intense sleep deprivation is and how it can really contribute to fatigue, depression, your whole attitude about life in general. Today I feel more optimistic about just about everything.

Not sure what to do next regarding getting more sleep. I have been making an effort to get to bed earlier...but it still does not create in me any desire to get up for the day at 6 AM. Also it makes me wake up every hour on the hour and be "up" for good at 3 AM despite still being exhausted. 

I keep telling myself this is what it will be like when baby T is here - up all night, etc. But at least I won't be pregnant then. And the birth will be behind me, and I'll have some idea of the costs. So, not saying it'll be easier, but at least I'll be better physically able to handle it. 

I will try a late night at the baby kennel once in December, too, so I can go to an early evening Christmas party. I don't plan to make a habit of that but there are no sitters for that night, and boy would it be great if he just happened to sleep in the next day-!

Friday, November 15, 2013

23 weeks

I ran into my ex-friend the other day. I was in a coffee shop with a play area I had set up as a meet up for my mommy & me group and someone said, "Hilary?" and tapped me on the shoulder. I thought for sure it was one of the group members, but no, it was my old friend. As a little recap, when B was about five months old I was at her house and her eight year old son asked who B's dad was and she blurted out that he was a very bad man who ran off. Although I asked for, and got, a sincere apology, I just couldn't get past it and brushed her off after that. She showed up at my door early one morning and I pussyfooted around the truth, mostly just telling her I know she meant nothing by it but I didn't feel comfortable around her anymore. I believe she called me once after that but then left me alone. And then there she was, right behind me.

I've thought about her a lot since the whole incident. I have zero interest in returning to a friendship with her, but the whole situation just sucks. I hate it when things end badly and unresolved, you know? But I accept that's the nature of human relationships. That's how it remains between me and both of my parents. Sometimes you just have to move on.

Anyway I could tell she was very happy to see me, and kept asking what I'd been up to and what was going on...I of course had to reference the pregnancy which felt awkward since her multiple miscarriages attempting to have a second child were always a huge issue (and the source of her anger, I think). Finally I had to order and then get to the play area because I didn't want people from the group to be wondering where I I left her without saying anything and she came to see me and said to call her if I ever need anything. The whole thing just made me sad. Friendships are so complicated, especially between women.

23 weeks today. The fear of preterm labor is always on my mind, particularly as the odd "saying goodbye to the group" post shows up on my WTE app of yet another woman who delivered a 22 or 23 weeks baby who just couldn't make it. Then someone on my FB group mentioned IUI as well as IVF are risk factors for preterm labor. I thought it was just IVF??? Or did she mean anything involving drugs (which I didn't use)? I googled this question but found nothing except multiples resulting from IUI causing risk of preterm labor, not singletons. I can't imagine an unmedicated IUI would cause a risk like that - I mean, you're not messing with your body's natural function at all; physically, it's the exact thing as natural conception. But anyway. None of this matters - I'm just obsessing for no good reason. Midwife appointment next Weds. I will for sure ask if I'm showing any signs; maybe she can measure my cervix. It sure would put my mind at ease if I knew everything looked normal. 

I am afraid of being shamed for my weight again, even though I'm seeing a different midwife this time. I did not gain the two pounds the first one wanted me to - it's more like four or five. I am currently 150 lbs which at a gain of a pound a week from now on puts me right at 167 again - even though I started 10 lbs lighter. I'm pretty bummed about it. But this definitely chalks up as yet another "things that won't matter in the long run".

Tomorrow I am trying out an experiment that might be a miserable failure. I have to be out during B's bed time and I couldn't get a sitter, so I am taking him to the baby kennel where they will put him to bed and I'll pick him up. When he was littler I did this all the time; but of course now it's different. Will he be ok being woken up and then put to bed at home three hours later than usual? There's no telling. But I feel like I should try it once. With babysitters booked for holidays and/or getting sick all the time, I may need this as a backup. Only if it doesn't disrupt his sleep, though. I feel somewhat buffered by the fact that since he's spent a lot of Saturdays there lately, he now loves it - runs off to play the minute I take him, and runs happily to me when I go to get him (before it was a sob fest on both ends). 

I have to admit he's been ridiculously cute lately. He is just so engaged and personable - he kept going over to one of the mommy group moms so she could poke his belly, and played really well with the other kids. He's imitating sounds like crazy, and today started saying, "ummmmm...yeah!" which I'm sure he picked up from me. He loves to play peekaboo with the curtains, and gets a huge kick out of sitting in the rocking chair (although I have to monitor him closely because he can easily flip it over in his enthusiasm). 

I was added to a Facebook group for mothers in my specific area and the name of a local parks dept preschool came up, one I had never heard of, that is right up the street from me at a rec center. I checked it out and it is an astonishing $85 A MONTH, for four three-hour days a week! How is that even possible? The catch is the kids have to be at least two and potty trained. But B is just four months short of being two, and potty training can follow any time. It looks like you can only sign them up in the summer for the coming fall so it may be a while, but if we could go there - oh, it would be so great! So cheap! It just shows you really do have to shop around when it comes to this stuff. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


This morning's experiment with Bumpus Plays in His Room Alone kind of worked, until it didn't. I was happy that at least after giving him some snacks, a clean diaper (pull ups worked well, btw), a cuddle and an explanation of what was about to happen, he didn't issue a peep and seemed quite happy in there for quite a while...until he wasn't. Needless to say I was a ball of nerves the whole time, and had a contractor coming over at 8:30 AM, so there was zero sleep or even rest to be had. But hey, at least I tried.

And will continue to try. I think it's worth a shot to see if this scheme is even possible. If it were as simple as just going to bed early I would have done that ages ago and his 6 AM wake ups would be a non-issue. Unfortunately I have work-related functions that keep me out until midnight or later at least once a week, sometimes more. So those mornings after are miserable, and trying to adjust to being in bed asleep by 10 is just physically impossible when every week I'm required to be driving home for an hour or more at 1 AM. 

So for now I'll keep trying the "play in your room" method for a few more days. At least now I know I can stash him in there for a few minutes so I can shower in the morning again which would be awesome. I really despise showering at night. Although it does make my sheets fresh and shampoo-y. 

Handyman came around today to install more cabinet latches. I decided I can't handle his tearing apart the whole kitchen several times a day. There's always this fine line between being the crazy control freak mom and the loose "the world is your playground" mom. I guess we all just have to find our comfort level in this department. I came to realize stooping over to put away my banged-up, dirty (after he stepped in them) pans fifty times a day, with a big pregnant belly and when he doesn't even seem to enjoy playing with them but instead just dumps everything and then runs off to find something else to dump, simply does not work for me. So, call me the mean mommy. I'm already about 50% more relaxed knowing those cabinets are now out of bounds. 

I have also secured the broom closet so he can no longer pull out the broom and whack me in the back of the head with it when I least expect it. Yesss. I will get this child to play with his actual toys if it kills me.

People love to issue platitudes like "you don't need toys, just let them play with real life objects". Oh, how I wish this were true. Unfortunately I have recently discovered the following: most (modern) toys, unlike adult objects, are designed to protect against cuts, choking, poisoning, strangulation, falling and poking an eye out, etc. Also, you may not so much want your enthusiastic toddler "playing with" (read: banging, smashing, chewing, throwing, slobbering on) your adult objects, like books, keys, phones, remotes, etc. One TV programmed to Spanish forever or car alarm going off at 6 AM and you'll see what I mean. Oh, and that cute toddler banging your pot lids together on the kitchen floor? It might look sweet on camera but it's not so fun to live with the splitting headache that racket causes, nor discover that your pot lids are now all bent and won't fit on your pans anymore. Good times. I say bring on the toys. And awesome, Big Boy-style independent play.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Operation Momma Needs Sleep

So...after a week of being dragged out of bed at 6 AM, often after not getting to sleep until midnight or one or later, and trying everything to keep B entertained so I can at least lie down a little longer (taking him up to the playroom, letting him ransack my bedroom, cartoons, etc), and failing, I think it's time to bring out the big in, it's time to make B stay in his bedroom in the morning, whether he likes it or not.

I have no idea how to accomplish this, or if it even can be accomplished. Unlike sleeping in his own room which could have gone either way, trying to shut him in his room I know is going to be a huge scream fest. Even now if I put a closed door between me and him he completely freaks out. But if I were afraid of a scream fest, he'd still be keeping me up all night breastfeeding and sleeping in my bed with me. And I am desperate - DESPERATE - for some sleep. I just don't know what else to do other than encourage him to hang out in his room and play while I sleep just a little longer. 

I could put a gate rather than a closed door...unfortunately the gate I have is missing pieces and unusable; fortunately I have my handyman coming over tomorrow so he can maybe jerryrig it. But this also means one more morning of being tortured if I don't just try to put him in there this moment I'm not sure how to handle it. All I know is that I'm tired.

I spent much of this evening shifting crap around in anticipation of doing more baby proofing tomorrow. I have decided to make more of the cabinets off limits to B. He has a million toys he never touches - and I'm just kind of over everything in all of my cabinets being dumped all over the floor all of the time. Again, he's not going to like it, but it's time to set some limits. He can bring toys into the kitchen and play if he wants - but I'm a little sick of cast iron skillets being dropped on my
toes, pans being banged and dented, and frying pans stepped in with dirty feet, slipped on, and resultant screaming. Over it!

I'm also over his overnight diaper coming undone and sodden every night and poop smearing all down his legs and into the footies of his pyjamas. Over it! I bought some pull-ups and he's got one on now. We'll see if it works out any better. 

Nothing on this earth would make me happier than B entertaining himself for an hour or two after waking up. Is this even reasonable at his age? Am I asking too much? Should I try to survive the remainder of this pregnancy on four to six hours' sleep a night? Ugh!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


This morning I caught the tail end of an NPR story about a woman who gave up her cubicle job to row across the Atlantic. It was a harrowing tale of near death experiences, fear, loneliness, and exhilaration. At one point the interviewer asked her why she put herself in that position - couldn't she have just gotten another job? She answered that the fear of not doing it was worse than the fear of doing it. This really struck a chord with me, since it so much sums up how I've been feeling lately. It's the "damned if you do..." concept I touched on earlier. It sounds a lot more negative than I mean it. But even in my worst moments lately I've been cognitive of the fact that yes, raising small children on your own is hella hard at times, but life with no children would have just been unacceptable to me. And that's why I had one and am having another. Because I know myself and I just never would have been satisfied with anything else.

So, to me, not having children is far scarier than facing the challenges of having them. There have been many times lately where I've felt sad that I had to miss out on something fun or felt resentful that I have to get up so &/!@ early or run myself ragged keeping B busy and entertained. And those feelings are very real. But I always ask myself, have you considered the alternative? The way life would really look for me right now - 41, still single, childless, while all my single friends get snapped up and have one and then another child, while everyone asks, "have you tried e-harmony?", while I get invited to more baby showers and weddings, while people fifteen years younger than me get get my point. And again it's not to devalue my former life or make me look pathetic and lonely, which I was neither. But at 38 I could see the writing on the wall and I didn't like it. So I did this dramatic, crazy thing, and created two people.

So, was it worth it? This phrase, "worth it", is used a lot on my birth boards. Whenever a woman complains about her miserable pregnancy everyone chimes in that once you hold your baby in your arms, "it'll all be worth it." Do I believe this? Maybe on some level, but I would never use that term. Is extreme emotional or physical pain ever worth anything? When I held Bumpus for the first time, did I "fall in love" or say to myself, "it was all worth it"? Nope! I said, "thank God that hell is over!" and then prepared for the next thing - getting us out of the hospital, getting us breastfeeding, and learning the ropes as a new mom. So, was Bumpus "worth" that unpleasant pregnancy and horrible birth? I just don't look at it that way. I simply accept that this is (sometimes) what it takes to make a person. And that the alternative - not doing it because you're too scared - is not acceptable. And so we march on to the second and last baby.

As I've noted many times, I wish I could be more sanguine on this issue. But I think I can safely say at this point that it's just not my style. I don't believe in platitudes or glossing over reality. Babies and little kids are hard, period. But so is anything "worth" having. Thankfully I was blessed with a happy, healthy kid who much of the time is an utter delight. And the times when he's not...well...I may be gritting my teeth and thinking "I hate this I hate this I hate this", but I never wish I hadn't had kids; I never think this was all a big mistake and I'd be better off without them, because I know that's just not true. 

So in my worst moments I think of this, and it does help. Most of us parents of babies and toddlers just get through each day, sometimes exchanging deer-in-headlights glances, sensing each other's pain, and exhilaration. And sometimes that baby's giggle does kind of sort of make it all worth it. 

Doin' it

Readin' it

Standin' on it

Ridin' it

Wearin' it

Rockin' it

Growin' it

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I'm pleased to announce that Bumpus slept the whole night in his own room last night. He woke up a couple of times but soothed himself right away. Before I went to bed I went in to check on him - and found his door really hard to open for some reason; I thought he had gotten out of bed and fallen asleep in front of it (I used to do this, apparently). I contemplated leaving him there rather than waking him up and risking a whole to-do, but the thought of his little body curled up on the cold floor was just too much for me so I pushed the door open, only to find him safe in bed. 

I was surprised I had zero anxiety about his not being at arm's-length for the first night in his entire life; I guess when you're ready, you're ready. Also I discovered I could practically hear him breathe right through the wall, so there was no worry about him climbing things in the night and falling and me not hearing it. I kept running through everything in the room in my mind and telling myself I had baby proofed as much as any person reasonably could; outlets covered, no dangling curtain cords, very little to climb on, nothing to choke on, nothing sharp, etc etc, and that if anything happened now there was no way of preventing it. Not that that's a terribly comforting thought, but there is something to be said for giving something your best effort.

This morning I popped awake just before 7 and waited, wondering if I should check in on him again - but within seconds I heard him talking to himself, then a thump, little feet, a door opening, then my door opening. So, good, he didn't wake up scared or disoriented. I asked him if he enjoyed sleeping in his big boy room and he shouted, "yeah!" I think it was good he spent some time in the room over the last few days so he got acquainted with where everything is. We'll see how tonight's bedtime goes. I *think* now that he's done it once, he'll be ok. I dismantled his pack 'n play so there's no turning back now. 

He still ransacked my room a bit this morning but I hope his own room will have more allure for him soon. 

After our awful morning yesterday I took him to a nice park in South Pasadena because I just didn't know what else to do with him - and it worked; after clinging to me for a few minutes (he was just in an awful mood yesterday, what can I say? He's entitled) he jumped up and played and we actually had a really nice time. I met a nice couple with a one-year-old who were eager to compare notes. When the wife was off rinsing sand out of their kid's eyes, the husband asked the famous question, "does your husband have red hair, too?" I debated for a minute, hesitated, and then said, "it's kind of more auburn." Why didn't I tell this obviously non-judgy hipster the truth? Well, it's going to sound stupid, but I didn't want the wife coming back over and hearing I'm single and feeling all threatened. I find married women are very threatened by single women - well, some of them. Some are certainly threatened by women who choose to have babies on their own because they can't imagine the strength it would take to do that - and it makes them question their own choices. This was a topic of conversation at our last SMC meeting. Again, this doesn't apply to all people, just some. And, well...I just thought it would make everyone more comfortable if I pretended to have a husband. Some women commented on the Facebook SMC group that they always tell people the truth so that donor conception can be more normalized and "out there". And I'm all for that. It really makes me think I should start telling the truth from now on no matter how it makes people feel. I mean, it's kind of like pretending to be straight when you're not, just to "keep the peace", isn't it?