Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blog Readers

So Bloglines, the blog reader service I've been using for at least a year to keep track of all your brilliant posts, is shutting down as of the end of the month. Which means I have four days to find another reader. I briefly looked online for other options, got overwhelmed and decided to bypass all the research and just ask you what you use.

What's the best blog tracker site out there?

Monday, September 20, 2010

As the Uterus Turns

Something happened after I had a baby: I became a normal mom. Okay, maybe not completely normal. Definitely a bit more neurotic than some. Maybe walking around with just a little baggage from my experience with infertility (but more like a small carry-on). But more or less just another mother of an infant, obsessing over feeding and sleeping and trying to stay sane on the tough days. It's been nice. I've been pretty cautious about bringing up IVF, especially with the new mom friends I've made, those with whom the common bond is having an infant. We're on an even playing field -- we both have babies and it really doesn't matter how they came to be -- and I haven't wanted to disturb that equation with an injection of assisted reproduction chatter.

Well. It's been fun. Last week I inadvertently got off the normal train and boarded the infertility express and now I don't know how to stop it.

I got my period last Saturday, which was an unexpected but welcome event. Based on my history I had every reason to expect that it would never come back on its own post-childbirth. But there it was, just 1.5 mos after weaning H from nursing, just like a normal person. Yay, right? Not so fast. It was extremely light, and on Sunday a lightbulb went off in my head: Wasn't it just like it was after my D&E? And didn't we learn that was because I had uterine scarring? And can't you get more scarring from a c-section, which was one of several reasons I didn't want one?

The next morning, I called my OB, who emailed my RE, and before I knew it I was back in the stirrups on Thursday for an office hysteroscopy. My RE (who is still fabulous) swore it was not going to be Asherman's, since only one other patient in her career got it from a c-section. Do I even need to tell you what she found (while I was trying desperately to breathe through searing pain that hit me harder than contractions)? I was right. I'm the one-percent girl. Again. (If anyone needs me to come over and provide a diagnosis, give me a call.)

So all of a sudden I'm having an operative hysteroscopy in a few weeks. Because if I ever hope to be pregnant again -- and especially if I want to give my body a chance to do it on its own -- the scar tissue has to go.

I am just feeling weird about the whole thing. It feels so optional this time. My whole life doesn't feel like it hangs in the balance of a test result or a procedure. I mean, do I want a second child? Yes (though this answer is complicated too). Do I want H to have a sibling? Absolutely. Will I mourn if it doesn't happen? Yup. But it sort of feels like I could have just waited a couple of months to have it checked out, like I didn't have to force the issue right this moment. I kind of feel like saying wait a minute, I didn't mean it, and returning to my previously scheduled life as a mom.

But how can I? I want to pursue this second baby at some point soon, because it could be a long process, I'm not getting any younger and I just kind of want to finish the whole reproduction thing sooner rather than later. The first necessary step is this surgery, which I know from experience is not a big deal. And then maybe, just maybe that will be all the help I need. I'm not banking on it, but a girl can hope.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Summer Wind

I love this time of year, early September. It hangs delicately between the unfinished business of summer and the softer light and air on its way in. It makes me want to soak everything up, to linger a bit.

The past couple of months have been wild, and I feel like I've done no lingering at all. Where the summer used to be about moving from pastime to pastime between the anchors of Memorial and Labor Days, this one has been about moving from baby milestone to baby milestone. About figuring out the essentials like eating and sleeping, and keeping up with my boy, who is already two steps ahead of me -- all while keeping the rest of our lives afloat as well.

Let me bring you up to speed:

-Baby H is crawling. The real deal. This began almost the day he turned six months, followed quickly by his learning to pull himself up on all manner of surfaces -- coffee table, crib, upholstered chair, and especially anything unstable or pointy.

-We're trying to sell our house, and on the hunt for a new one. We currently live in a very nice, close-in suburb of Boston that I would like to remain in for decades to come. But I'd also like more of the trappings of suburban life, many of which were once anathema: a huge family room, with (horrors) carpeting -- somewhere to put H down and let him roam safely. A huge yard with a swing set. Room to grow. So we're looking in the real suburbs, where these things come more affordably. And let me tell you something about trying to sell a house when you have a baby: It sucks. Please, please, please let it sell soon.

-My freelance work has taken off in ways I never anticipated when I got up the nerve to walk in and quit my full-time job after one post-baby month back. I work pretty much every night and weekend, and sometimes long for a little downtime. But it is well worth it to continue to contribute to the household income while relishing every day at home with my boy.

-My husband left on July 25 for a business trip to Tokyo and Canberra, Australia. When he walked back in the house 12 days later, I knew instantly that something was seriously wrong. Gaunt, pale and weak, he looked like death warmed over; I learned that after dinner in Tokyo nearly a week prior, he went to the bathroom and essentially hadn't been able to stray far from a toilet since. I won't bore you with the full rundown, but the rest of the story involves a fever, four nights at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a CAT Scan, finally a diagnosis (campylobacter infection) and enough antibiotics to open a small pharmacy. I'm not sure I can put into words how stressful and surreal it is to have your husband on the infectious disease floor of a hospital (the docs suited up and everything) after a long business trip while you care for a fussy baby and keep your house clean for showings by your realtor. I'm grateful, in more ways than one, that he's back in fighting form.

-To prove further how much we seem to love doctors and hospitals, I learned last week that the foot that's been throbbing for two months since an ill-fated walk through the mall (in Jack Rogers sandals whose loose fit, I knew, would one day cause me pain) is actually broken. So I'll be hobbling around in a big, black boot-cast for two months. How do these things happen to me? Seriously, if you see me on the street, run the other way. I have redefined the notion of "shop until you drop."

-Other H updates: Solids seem to be going well -- he's enjoying them more and more, though still only the jarred variety (Earth's Best), as he seems to have an aversion to chunkier foods and I can't smooth anything out to his liking with the Cuisinart (which is fine with me). He's more social now, loves other babies and smiles and laughs nonstop. He still loves his Baby Bjorn -- I spent the whole summer carting him around open houses, supermarkets and other destinations strapped to my middle, a tiny madman grabbing at packages and laughing spontaneously out loud. He instantly became the mayor of anywhere we went, loving the attention. We're still working on sleep -- that's a long story worthy of a separate post. We did manage to get away for a few days in Maine, an exhausting but fun trip that included H's first time at the beach.

All told, it's been a good summer, though I can't help but feel that it slipped away too quickly. It's amazing to me that this baby who took so long to arrive is now growing and changing so much, so fast. It's hard not to remember that this time last year, I was expanding by the minute and registering for baby gear, most of which I had only the most abstract idea how to use. Now, as I watch H become more and more independent, I want to somehow bottle it all up so I can relive it someday when I need the warmth of these moments. I am trying to focus on the fact that he's still only seven months old, still just a small baby. That someday this time that I'm in, right now, will be the longed-for memory.

I didn't know it would be this fun, that I would be this happy. Didn't know that a voice inside would whisper: This is the time of your life.

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