Friday, November 19, 2010

And Now I'm Pooped Too

An exhausting week. Husband in London = full-time baby duty minus sleep (mainly because I am a freak and have a hard time sleeping when he's not here). He's in his car on his way home now, and I'm kicking back with my US Weekly, thinking about which kind of red I'm going to have when he gets here with dinner.

Being on my own with the baby 24 hours a day gives me deep respect for single moms. I seriously do not know how they do it. I salute them, big time.

I know I don't say it -- or even think it -- enough, but I am incredibly lucky to have a partner who is truly a partner in this adventure called parenting. His absence on a week like this brings into stark relief all the things he does while he's here. I mean, yes, I manage the show -- I figure out what H needs to keep him alive and comfortable and give most of the stage directions. But he rolls up his sleeves and plays his part. And I can see that his being the dad he is makes me a better mom.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Other End

This is supposed to be a blog about parenting. Infertility, part deux keeps hijacking it.

Infertility is like a chronic condition. Even if I weren't considering another run, I think I'd still think about it -- a lot. As much as I try to think of myself as just another parent (pregnancy being some sort of equalizer), there are times when I'm reminded that it's different for me. Like when my mom friends start talking about whether it's better to try for a spring baby or a fall baby next time ("next time" being a foregone conclusion).

Anyway. I need a better balance here. So today, I'll be talking about the other great equalizer, poop.

Has anyone noticed their kid's poop has multiplied in scope and frequency since they increased solid feedings? We're now doing three solid meals a day with lots of variety, and for the past couple of weeks he's been pooping, like, 3-4 times per day. It seems like every time I go to get him after a nap or let him play by himself for a few minutes, there's a surprise waiting for me (and it's not wrapped in a little blue box). It feels like he's a newborn all over again, only this poop is not some innocuous, almost cute version of real poop -- it's more like real poop.

Sorry to be graphic.

Anyone else experiencing this? I called the pediatrician's office and was told to "keep an eye on it." As if I'm doing anything else. Is this normal?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It Gets Worse

My husband's company has been bought by a large, household-name company. The deal went through last week. He will be an official employee of said big company on Jan. 1.

You'd think that given my prior experience working in health care policy, it would have dawned on me that this could be problematic on the ol' reproductive front. I was so preoccupied with everything else going on that I didn't even think about it until this week.

The company is big. Hundreds of thousands of employees.

Which means it's self-insured. I think you know where this is going.

That means they don't have to give a hoot about state mandates on health insurance policies.

Which means that I can say sayonara to easy-peasy insurance plan and worry-free IVF financing when it comes to making baby #2.

I tried calling the nurse on Thursday and explaining my plight to see if they could possibly squeeze in a cycle for me before this happens, while I still have reliable insurance. But the clinic shuts down for two weeks around the holidays so the last day to start Lupron would be 11.17. I couldn't stop obsessing about it overnight so I tried working my way into a call with my doctor on Friday and ended up inadvertently reaching the exact same nurse. I don't want to be that patient. I hate it when I need to be like this, all needy and demanding and obsess-y. So I panicked and asked her about something else instead of being pushy, disregarding what she said (something about "no," which I have a hard time hearing) and asking for my doctor.

Later in the day, I sent my doctor an email reply on another matter and worked in this issue. I asked her if there was any chance under the sun that a cycle could be squeezed in. And now I totally regret sending that note (she has not yet replied). It makes me feel like I'm all desperate about this Operation: Sibling mission, and that was never how it was supposed to be.

I'm supposed to wait until H is at least one.

I'm supposed to enjoy this time with H and not think about the next one. Not be greedy.

But people without wonky eggs and ovaries get to think about another baby without it being greedy. They get to think about it without having to worry about getting insurance to pay for it or somehow coughing up $15-grand. It's unfair, and yes, I'm totally whining about it.

My husband is looking into the insurance options further with HR. It looks like we can probably get one or two cycles at least mostly covered, so it's doable even if it's not great. But you know how one or two cycles can be totally "off" and not work, for no good reason. What if we need a third, what if that's the charm? And what if we can't afford it?

I'm afraid I might be watching H's sibling disappear in real time, like Marty McFly watches his own fade in his family picture when he can't get his high school parents to fall in love.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

If I were a children's book character, today my name would be Alexander.

First, I went to an orthopedic MD for a second opinion on my broken foot. Can't remember if I've discussed it here but I fractured my foot (the little pea-sized bone on the ball of my foot under the big toe) in July and have been hobbling around in a walking cast/boot since late August. Which, if you know the challenges of chasing a very mobile nine-month-old around, you'll understand is not easy. Oh, and by the way, I broke my foot walking in ill-fitting sandals around the mall. Because the universe thought it would be fun to have that be my answer when the 10 people ask me every day how I broke it.

Anyway, I got lost on the way to my appointment (at a hospital I typically do not use) this morning, because even though I've been to this hospital before and it's in a place I should know how to get to, I could get lost in a parking lot. So I was already rattled when I arrived. My anxiety snowballed when I had to wait forever to be seen by a fellow, was sent for more x-rays with a technician who seemed nonplussed by the whole thing as if he just graduated from x-ray technician school, had to wait again to see the real doctor and was told he recommends removing the bone surgically. By the time I left the place just before noon, I was already in need of a strong cocktail.

As I drove to get H at my mother's house, I discovered a message from my realtor. We had our house on the market most of the summer and early fall, became disheartened that it hadn't sold and sick of trying to juggle all the showings with the messy needs of a baby, and took it off the market last week. But a couple who had seen it before wanted another showing, so we agreed to let them see it this morning. The agent was writing to say that the couple loved the house, our decor, blah blah blah, but thought it was too small (which you'd think could have occurred to them during one of the first two showings they'd already had).

Then, because I needed another reason for aggravation, I took H to his music class where he was the victim (word selected for a little added drama) of a little incident. The teacher was taking away one of those baby crawl-through tunnels, folding it up from one end. When she got to the other end where H was leaning, instead of gently taking him off she basically pulled it out from under him, and he promptly fell back and bumped his head. She then attempted a half-assed apology in which she tried to say she thought he could stand on his own, tried to blame my being upset on my problems with my foot and tried to say I should have been there to tell her not to do it. This last one annoys me in particular since I watched the whole thing from about four feet away and made a conscious effort (before I saw that she was going to basically make him fall) not to be neurotic since surely, surely the trustworthy teacher was not going to let anything happen to him.

I am very good at displacing feelings, particularly anxiety and anger. So the bad news from my doctor's appointment was the perfect excuse to release pent-up frustration on the realtor (which, to be fair and make me sound less crazy, is based on concrete issues with him around selling our house). The thing with H at class was easy to be really pissed off about given my state of mind, and also became about my issues with trusting others to take care of H like I do (this setting me back by serving as proof that actually, my being more neurotic in that case would have paid off). I also snuck in some vengeful eating -- a McDonald's cheeseburger and small fry in the car while H slept in the car (so rebellious, like comfort food with a dark side, given my usual fast-food boycott).

Oh and my frustration with my day makes me hate the TLC commercial for the Sarah Palin special, where she pretends to be outdoorsy and folksy, even more. I mean, seriously, TLC?

Still, all of the above is nothing a little red wine can't fix. Or three glasses. Not that I've had three glasses, just -- theoretically.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Full Circle

If you can get your emotions out of it, it's easy to appreciate how interesting life is.

Today I drove to the hospital -- the same one that helped us conceive and bring H into the world. I've been having killer heartburn (not just a little gurgling discomfort -- real, out-of-my-mind pain that's nearly sent me to the emergency room) since my third trimester of pregnancy, finally realized I couldn't will it away and went to the doctor, who ordered a test called a barium swallow. On my way to get the test this morning, I thought about going there exactly a year ago today, for a very different reason: because I was bleeding. Badly. At 28 weeks' pregnant.

I will never forget that drive from my office to the same hospital, that feeling of total vulnerability, that the universe could be at that very moment taking away what it had finally, finally granted. The sick anticipation that I might be about to endure my greatest pain yet. The sadness of telling my unborn baby that all would be okay, when I actually had no clue that it would be.

The whole story is recounted here so I won't numb your skull with the same details. But after an ambulance ride to the hospital downtown, a few days of evaluation and the 13 weeks of bedrest that followed, baby H came out when he was supposed to (a week late, even), healthy, hearty and completely unscathed by those events. Which made every second of those days and weeks so. Totally. Worth it.

Later this morning, I swallowed the vile barium in various positions with the very same radiologist, coincidentally, that administered my first IF test -- the hysterosalpingogram -- and himself had seen my RE with his wife. I was thrilled to tell him that I had been successful in my efforts to have a baby. It truly felt like coming full circle.

I then went upstairs to visit a close friend whose husband is a patient on one of the floors. When I came off the elevator I saw that the special care nursery was housed on the same floor. And all I could think was, "There but for the grace of God...." I mean, it really could have been us. Easily. And H could have had such a different babyhood.

So today I'm thinking a lot about the past year, how the intense fear of last November 4 became hope, then confidence, and ultimately insane, boundless joy. How the entire process of bringing H into this world has made me a better mom, a tougher person. I hope I've absorbed the right lessons from emerging alive. Sometimes I think the incident and bedrest were gifts, granting me the down time I needed to finally relax about the pregnancy.

No matter what else I was meant to learn, I know this: My gratitude is endless.

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