Friday, July 30, 2010

I'm back

I was out of town all week getting training for work. I didn't bring my laptop so I didn't keep up with anyone. I hope everyone is doing okay. I doubt I'll get time to catch up on my reader, I'll probably just have to mark everything as read and move on. I hate doing that, it feels disloyal.

I had a rough week filled with stories and pictures of massive disasters and dead children. It seemed like every time I turned on the TV it was a dead child/baby or that stupid "I didn't know I was pregnant" show (Really? I think that is denial) or the Iphone commercial with the pregnancy test.

Gah!

I had to hold down my little girl for shots Friday, which was traumatic after her ER visit a couple of weeks ago. When we went into the waiting room to wait and see if she had another allergic reaction (she did last time) there was a newborn baby boy. I hope the mom didn't get too creeped out by me staring with a tortured look on my face.

Right at this moment I'm watching my friends kids. She went to the ER for a suspected miscarriage - her third this year. I'm heartbroken for her but at the same time jealous. She already has two kids, the youngest is only 9 months old. I know it's not really fair, but I feel like she is asking for 100 dollars when she already has a million. I can't even get pregnant again. I guess I wouldn't trade places if I could, though. She doesn't know why she miscarries so often and that would be a whole other source of grief and stress.

More later when I don't have a screaming baby, hyper four year olds, and a fed-up husband.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Must not get excited, must not get excited

I posted before about a co-worker that started the foster adopt process after I got pregnant and already has a baby. The situation is a little different that I first believed but here is the story (this is important, I'll explain in a minute):

My co-worker (I'll call him Adam) and his wife completed their home study about a month ago. Two weeks ago they got a call about a 2 1/2 month old girl that was going to be available for adoption. She is a legal risk placement because TPR (termination of parental rights) has not happened yet. The baby was removed from her mother after police were called about neglect. Apparently the mother spent an entire day with the baby in a bowling alley without feeding or changing her. The owners called the cops and the baby was removed. The mother is a 17 year old foster child who lived with the same family from 3-12 years old and when her foster family found out their income would drop once she was adopted they abandoned her. She was adopted by another family and then kicked out with the clothes on her back (I don't know why). When she went back to get stuff that she said was hers the family had her arrested for grand theft. She became a prostitute and somehow managed to have a healthy, non-drug addicted baby that she knows she can't care for. She has already asked for the baby to be adopted so there is little chance that this adoption will fall through. The judge on the case has been working with the mother her whole life and wants to expedite the adoption and try to break this cycle of neglected children. The mother is facing several criminal charges so is in hiding until she turns 18. I'm not sure why but if she is 18 the case worker can get her to sign the adoption papers without having to turn her over to the police.

Here is where me not getting excited comes in. The mother thinks she is pregnant again. Adam does not want another baby so soon, but would be the first person the new baby would be offered to. I am starting the classes on Aug 2nd and would have plenty of time to get a home study before the new baby (if it exists) is due. When Adam told me about that I immediately thought "I'll take the baby!"

There are a whole lot of ifs in this situation. If we complete the course and homestudy, if the girl is even pregnant, if the girl sticks around long enough for us to offer, if she doesn't try to keep this baby, if our case-worker will even help us with this as it's not his/her case. If, if, if.

But it gives me hope. There is a small possiblity that we could have an infant from birth, which I never would have thought could happen. Oh please, please let this be a possibility.

Regardless of the outcome - my heart breaks for that mother. What an awful, awful thing to do to a child. It doesn't sound like she is a bad person. She just has no idea how to take care of a baby and no one in the world to take care of her. I'd take her in if it was safe with my 4 year old.

I've actually thought about that - offering to foster a pregnant teenager. Not because I would want her baby, although I would adopt it if that was what she wanted, but because those girls have had shit piled on them their whole lives and someone should take care of them, dammit! Can you imagine being pregnant and 15 with no one that gave a damn if you lived or died?

I hate this system we have, it just seems to chew up children and spit them out. Sometimes the parents, too. Adam told me that the foster parents who originally had the baby were not certified for adoption, only foster care. Even though they loved the baby and wanted to keep her, they were not allowed to. So there is another heart-broken couple out there without their baby. It's just so fucked up.

At least all of this has been a nice distraction from hating my broken body and mourning the possible end of baby-making.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Giving up?

I’ve said that I am giving up on fertility treatments and moving on to foster adopt. This is the story behind that decision. If you know me in real life, please understand that these are things I don’t talk about, not even with my husband or therapist. Please don’t discuss anything you see here with anyone, not even me. If I want to talk about it, I will bring it up.

I’ve never gotten around to posting the details of my experience with IF and how my life has gone so far. I want to do that now because I feel like I have to justify my decision to stop fertility treatments after what seems like very little effort. I realize this is probably all in my head, but I still thought it would be helpful to have my readers understand where I am coming from. It also helps me to have all my thoughts and reasons laid out.

The journey so far stuff will take a long time to write so here are the cliff notes:

15/16 years old: diagnosed with severe hypothyroidism (hashimoto’s), goiter, and delayed onset of puberty. Finally began menstruating 3 months before turning 16, five years after developing breasts.

19 years old: put on birth control after a 3 month period, never having had a “normal” period. Periods became regular but debilitating.

21 years old: diagnosed with recurrent PID, no known cause. Several months of antibiotics cleared it up but abdominal pain continued. Endometriosis diagnosed after lap.

22-27 years old: no insurance, no boyfriend. Learn to live with horrible, unpredictable periods.

2001: rear-ended at 40 miles an hour, resulting in severe soft-tissue injury in back and neck. I’ve been in chronic pain since then, sometimes controllable with OTC meds.

28 years old (2004): married and ttc. Tried for over a year with no success. Started charting and using OPKs, conceived after 6 months of timed sex. Carried to term after a hard pregnancy and delivered a beautiful baby girl in 2006!

2008: dropped out of grad school, stopped bcp, got laid off, and moved in with MIL across the country.

2009: hubby and I find good jobs, finally have insurance, and move out of MIL’s. Start trying to get pregnant in earnest. Periods became even more erratic – luteal phase defect.

June - August 2009: tried metformin to regulate periods (suspected PCOS), it worked a little but the luteal phase was still too short. We tried 50 mg clomid and it worked!

December 2009: so much for that. Turns out I have MTHFR and we are REALLY lucky to have a healthy, living child. Our son Aiden had every neural tube defect there is and we chose to end the pregnancy with heavy, broken hearts.

April 2010: we decided to try again. I am on Neevo prenatal for the MTHFR. Further testing revealed no indications of PCOS so we went straight for the clomid when it became apparent that the luteal phase defect was still around. Two failed cycles later I have decided enough is enough.

Now, to the average infertile with multiple IUIs and IVFs under their belt, one unassisted and successful pregnancy and two failed clomid cycles may not seem like much. But here is where I think I am a little different. I had a bad childhood with abusive parents and lots of bad experiences. Having been a victim of childhood sexual abuse, it is very dangerous for me to have sex if I don’t feel like it. I didn’t even like sex until I met my husband. This makes timed sex extremely difficult to accomplish, especially after my existing sex drive took a nose dive after my daughter was born. So that is strike one.

My pregnancy with my daughter was awful. Due to the injury from the car accident I was in pain every day, often excruciating pain. I couldn’t take anything because I was pregnant so I tried to suck it up. Then I went into premature labor at 30 weeks. It was stopped with magnesium in the hospital but after that I had a very “irritable” uterus. I was unable to do much of anything for the rest of my pregnancy. After she was born I seriously didn’t want to ever be pregnant again. I did want more children. My husband and I are in careers that we love, but they don’t pay much and jobs are often not permanent and don’t usually come with benefits. This means that any kind of private adoption was completely out of the question. After much debate and weighing the options we decided that we would try for another baby of our own making. My fertility became even worse and we were so grateful to get pregnant with Aiden. We thought we were done. I was nervous that I would have another horrible pregnancy but willing to suffer for the chance of another baby. Of course we all know how that turned out. That was strike two.

So now I am left with a hole that I desperately want to fill, but I don’t know how I should go about doing it. I wanted to give pregnancy another try, mostly because I just didn’t want it to end this way. But I find I can’t keep doing this.

I have struggled with self-hatred my entire life. I was always told that I wasn’t good enough, and for many, many years I believed that. Now I have a little more self confidence and self worth, but it doesn’t take much to knock my feet out from under me. Trying to have sex when I am not in the mood feels like rape, even if my husband is not “making” me. It makes me feel dirty and angry and worthless. Maybe with many more years of therapy I could get over that, but it is my reality now. Charting feeds my self-hatred. Every day that my body doesn’t do what it is supposed to, I hate myself a little more. I can’t seem to separate the failure of my endocrine system from my self image and sense of self worth. I know this is a common problem in IF, but it is magnified by my existing insecurity and the remnants of my childhood. I think I am causing irreparable harm to my emotional well being by trying to force my body to do something it is clearly not good at. And I have been dealing with my endocrine and reproductive system far longer than I have been trying to get pregnant. I’m sick of it.

So I think this is strike three. Part of me is keeping hope alive for another baby of our making sometime in the future. Maybe I just have more healing to do. But the larger part doesn’t want to hear about hope, it wants to move on. I want to move on. I want to stop hating myself and this useless, broken body, this murderer of my only son.

Adoption was always what I planned to do, long before the IF and baby loss crap. So why does it feel like giving up?

I do wish I could have a chance at raising another baby, I so love infants. But mainly I just want a bigger family and I will be very happy to be able to give a lost child a home.

The plan for now is to ignore my cycles, have sex when I feel like it, and take the MAPP classes starting August 2nd. If by some miracle I get pregnant* before we get a placement that will be fantastic. If not, I will be working toward something equally worthwhile and not just obsessing over my failures.

I would love to hear from anyone that is considering foster-adopt or has already started the process.

*After all this angst and hand wringing I’m going to feel awfully stupid if I get pregnant without the clomid and charting (see, hope sneaks in no matter what I do).

the end of the virus from hell

I am finally mostly better. Still pretty stuffy but given how I felt last week, I'm happy about that. I'm very thankful my eyes weren't permanently damaged. They still get tired easily but I am able to read now.

I have a lot of writing and thinking to do about where I go from here so look for a long post when I can squeeze out some time for myself. Overall I am pretty sad this week. Everything is a reminder of what is missing and it's hard to give up on what I thought should happen now.

Being so very sick during a fairly momentous time in my life made everything seem a little unreal. I keep having to remind myself that the last cycle failed, that I'm not pregnant, that I have to be moving on now. The high fever I had for days caused some really bizarre dreams and it is still hard to remember what was real and what wasn't. Looking back I can't believe I was that sick and not in the hospital.

I wish I could be more coherent, I am still very sleep deprived and have no energy.

Thanks everyone for the support the last two weeks. When I was able to see I kept clicking back through the comments, they helped pull me through.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

still here, still really sick, still devastated

Not much else to say right now. I still can't read for long. My eyes are swollen and sore. I still haven't cried much, despite my mother's efforts on that end, but I still think this illness has just sapped everything out of me. I guess that's a blessing in a way, I can't feel how crushed I really am because I am still really hoping someone will put me out of my physical misery.

Oh - and I'm having a lovely endo-enhanced period on top of being sick with the virus from hell.

Thanks so much for all the support on my last post. It helps so much to know that everyone here understands, even if my family doesn't. Thank you.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'd be crying, if my head didn't hurt so badly

14 dpo, not pregnant.

This is the end. I'm not trying anything else. I don't have it in me. I wish we could afford going to an RE, but it's not going to happen. Off to foster-adopt we go.

I think being so sick is cushioning the blow. I am too weary and in pain to care about much else right now. Maybe tomorrow I can cry all day.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

yet another way my fucking body can kill a baby

High fever around 4 weeks can cause neural tube defect. Fuck.

I haven't taken a test yet, I'm just too sick. Cramps today, so who knows.

I can't do that again. I just can't. Please don't make me.

Deathly ill

- not that I'm actually dying, just that I sometimes wish I would. I haven't been this miserably sick in a long time. It is doubly frustrating right now because my temps are useless and I can't get a concentrated urine sample to test yet. I'm pretty sure I'm not pregnant and I have a feeling when this horrible disease wears off I will be devastated. In the meantime I'm sorry I can't keep up with everyone. My eyes are nearly swollen shut and a brass brand is playing in my head. The fever makes it hard to concentrate on anything also.

I hope everyone is doing okay, hopefully I'll be catching up in few days.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

déjà vu

This is going to be long because there is a lot of background, bear with me. Also – this blog has become my therapy so I apologize if things get too dark for some of my readers. It really helps me to put this out where I have a relatively anonymous audience. Free therapy!

I don’t think I have mentioned it much on here yet, but I had a very difficult childhood. My father was a “dry drunk”, which in AA speech is an alcoholic who isn’t drinking but has not sought any treatment and therefore still has all the behaviors of an alcoholic. My mother had a mental breakdown and became suicidal when her abusive mother died. I was 9 when she made her first of five suicide attempts. She spent most of 3 years in a mental institution and my sister and I were left with our abusive father and abusive older brother. My relationship with my mother was extremely combative until about the age of 16. I was always told that my behavior changed after having febrile seizures and being put on Phenobarbital at the age of 3. I was her “perfect, sweet little girl” before then. After, I was frequently out of control; hurting myself, damaging property, and getting into screaming and fighting matches with my parents. After a whole lot of therapy as an adult I finally realized that all my behaviors were the direct result of abusive and mentally unstable parents, not something wrong with me. I grew up knowing no one loved me for who I was (my father once accused me of causing my mother’s mental problems – I was 10) and always thought it was because I was being unlovable. So when I was old enough to realize how to play the game, I become what my mother wanted me to be. We became very close and I thought we had a great relationship because “I” was better. It took me many years to understand I was not actually better, I had just learned what was expected of me. I was so desperate to be loved that I went along with it. I again became her perfect, sweet little girl and for awhile I was happy.

After I had my daughter and my first bout with postpartum depression, I found the most amazing counselor. She wouldn’t let me make excuses for people like I always had. She wouldn’t let me say that something annoyed me; I had to say it made me angry. She was the first person to point out that how my mother treated me was very damaging. She helped me understand that no 3 year old can be held solely responsible for her own behavior. I am old enough, and healthy enough now to recognize where behaviors came from and change them. Once I started doing that I gained a vastly different perspective on my childhood, and a much different view of my mother. It’s not that I hate her now, although at times the memories make me want to scream at her, but let’s say that I am no longer looking through rose tinted glasses. She is a petty, spiteful woman who needs to be the eternal victim. Yes, she has had a hard, brutal life, but she has never taken any responsibility for her own actions or her own healing. Everything is always someone else’s fault.

I called her today to tell her my daughter was better (the fever broke yesterday – thank god). I have avoided talking to her much since Aiden died because I can’t stand listening to her complain now. Every single comment she makes is a complaint. Most of them are about what a terrible parent my sister in law is, and how awful her kids are. She lived with my brother until his wife had enough and kicked her out for getting in a fight with my 12 year old niece (seeing a pattern here?). She now lives near them and still visits often. I don’t much like my SIL, and I don’t think she is much of a parent, but my Mom is certainly one to talk. She has always been very critical of my brother’s kids. The girls don’t take any care in their appearance, they all run wild and won’t listen, and the oldest is a sociopath in the making, according to her. Today she said something that put me right back into the worst period of my childhood.

I must have run away a dozen times from the ages of 10 – 15. I usually got caught and brought back before the end of the day because I would get scared and go to a friend’s house. Their parents would call the cops and the cops would look at me, see no bruises, and cart me off home. One of these times my mother dropped me off at the mental hospital with only the clothes on my back and told the intake person that I was a runaway risk. That meant they put me in the high security area where there were video cameras in the bedrooms and no doors on the bathrooms. I was livid. She did that just to be mean. She knew I would only run away from home; that going to the mental hospital was a vacation from my life. She did that just to hurt me. The doctors even knew it. As soon as a psychiatrist saw me I was moved to the open ward. When she came to visit I was still angry and I refused to talk to her. In retaliation she told me I could not see my little sister anymore if I wasn’t going to be civil. I’m sure she phrased it so that she was protecting my sister. I loved my sister. We didn’t always get along but she was the only person in my family I loved and trusted. I broke. I begged her to come back and told her what she wanted to hear because I couldn’t lose my sister, I just couldn’t.

Today I was talking to my mother and she repeated this exact story, only this time it was my niece in the hospital. My niece was involuntarily committed 3 months ago after several violent episodes. I’m not living there, so I can’t say for sure, but I think my mom is responsible for a lot of the damage done to my niece. Every time my mom talks about her it is an eerie echo of my childhood. A (my niece) is never good enough, she is never clean enough, she is never nice enough, she never behaves, and she is unlovable. Judging from my childhood I’m sure my niece picked up quite well what my mother was dishing out.

Anyway, my niece is 17, locked in a residential facility where she has not progressed in treatment. This might mean that she will never be going home. Her mother brought her little brother to visit recently and has decided not to do that again. In the words of my mother, “A was so nasty that K (my SIL) decided not to bring B (my nephew) back when she visits, he doesn’t need to be exposed to that.” My niece dotes on her little brother, from what I understand. It may not be a perfectly healthy relationship, but it is a loving one. They are doing the exact same thing to her that my mother did to me. I guarantee that if I said something my mother would deny ever doing that to me and she would deny that is what is happening now. I don’t have the entire story – A reacted differently than I did to a troubled childhood, she could be a danger to her brother – but somehow I doubt it. I only get my mother’s side of the story. I hope my niece can find a way out of that toxic situation. I hope she can learn the things I did and take responsibility for her own happiness. And I hope to god my mother never gets a chance to ruin another child.

Oh – and the other reason I quickly got off the phone – my mother’s descriptions of what is “wrong” with my nephew, they bear an awful strong resemblance to how my daughter behaves. It sounds like my daughter and nephew are both strong willed, very active children. My mom can’t stand that apparently. She would crush their spirits if she had control of them. I can’t stand for her to complain about B’s behavior because it seems like she is criticizing my parenting also. After all, if my daughter acts like my nephew, who is so out of control, then I must also be doing something wrong. Damn her.

There is nothing wrong with my daughter. She has a beautiful spirit. Parenting her is challenging, but a complete joy. I won’t let my mother’s poison change that.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Breathing

My heart, she is still breathing. But dear god, we had a rough day. Kira was worse this morning. Her fever was higher and she was getting dehydrated and lethargic. Motrin and Tylenol have been knocking the fever down but it never stays down. I decided it was time for the ER. They had to torture her for over an HOUR to get enough blood for the tests they needed. After all that they found nothing. She may have an ear infection - her ears and throat were pretty red. I really hope that is it, because if this is a virus then the antibiotic will do nothing and she may not get better. I had to leave the room when they did the chest x-ray because I could be pregnant. I stood in the hallway, listening to her begging for me and to go home, and sobbed. She could not understand why we were hurting her so badly. After she wore herself out screaming and fighting she fell asleep sobbing in my arms, begging to go home in this hopeless little voice. I really have no idea how my husband's best friend dealt with her 3 year old son's leukemia, I really don't. I barely held it together today and she wasn't even admitted. I called my sister (a doctor) in hysterics. Not because I thought Kira was about to die of some rare disease, but because I just could not handle watching her go through that. Putting her through that. This is our fist hospital experience since Aiden died and apparently I am going to have issues with that for awhile. And I thought getting my MRI was tough.

I am typing this in the dark in my bedroom, listening to Kira's snoring, waiting for pauses. We tried to put her to bed 3 hours ago but she keeps waking up sobbing. That probably has something to do with her parents allowing strangers to stab her with needles over and over again. I finally put her in our bed for the night. I'm glad she's here. Even though I won't get any sleep, I will know right away she is okay. And I'll know if her fever spikes again before it gets too bad. I hate this. I want her well. I want to be able to deal with this without falling apart.

We could use some well wishes and prayers. I'm sure she'll be fine (liar) but a little positive energy directed our way couldn't hurt.

If I go back to work tomorrow it will be because she is better and I may not have a chance to post. Assume no news is good news.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fragile

You wouldn't know it from this blog, but most of the time I am okay, or at least come off that way. People tell me all the time that they are amazed that I'm so strong. They tell me they couldn't have made the decision we made out of love, that they couldn't have held themselves together so well for their living children. Sometimes I even believe them. Although when I do it is with the guilty feeling that I should feel worse. But tonight has shown me something. (nothing is wrong - just in my head)

I am incredibly fragile.

My faith that things will work out, that the world is fair, has been shattered. My belief that everyone I love will wake up in the morning is gone. It has become a mantra in my head, "Kira is breathing, Kira is breathing." I try very hard to not let this show. I try to not be overprotective, or clingy. I mostly succeed. But days like this make me realize that I am not strong. I am only one breath away from not living anymore. One breath contained in the tiny body of a precocious, beautiful, loving little 4 year old girl. My baby is sick, and I can't make her better, and for some reason that leads to constant thoughts of how I would deal with her dying. She's not very sick - just a somewhat high fever, and a very red eye that is worrisome. She'll be okay. But now I know that sometimes they are not okay. Sometimes they just stop breathing and no one ever knows why. I feel like Bluebeard's wife. I looked behind the locked door and now I can never erase that knowledge from my head.

I have to go check on my heart again. And figure out a way to get some sleep tonight.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

six months

Six months ago today I finally gave up on trying to sleep around 4am. My doctor came in a little before 6 to give me another dose of cytotec. She checked my cervix first and then told me to try a little push. She didn’t tell me it was time; I thought she was just trying to see if she could feel the head when I pushed. I pushed and she told me she felt him, to push again. I did and I felt him slide out of me. It was so easy. I was nearly completely numb from the epidural but that part I felt. It didn’t hurt at all. There was just a little pressure and he was gone from me. I remember the doctor saying in a very soft voice, “I have the baby, he came out still in the placenta so we’ll get him out and cleaned up and give him to you.” I wasn’t crying. The whole thing was a little unreal. The lights were still off, the nurse and my husband didn’t say a word. I was relieved that it was over, but scared to see what my poor little boy looked like. I remember the rest of the day in bits and pieces but what gets me today is that I forgot.

I did not realize today was six months until I was trying to catch up on a friend’s blog and read her loss story. I started thinking about my experience and suddenly realized today is the first. The first day of the month that marks a time when Aiden has been gone longer than he was here. I remember thinking at the beginning of this awful journey that the dates would always be hard. The 18th when we found out he was dying, the 30th when he did die, and the 1st when he was born. But that hasn’t been the case. I don’t notice the 18th, or the 30th. I sometimes forget the 1st. Just this morning I was thinking that I am doing a lot better than I think I should be. I feel like I have forgotten my son, like he was just a dream. In part I’m glad that I’m moving on because my daughter needs me, but doesn’t my son need me too? Doesn’t he need me to remember him? I’m the only one who will. What if I fail at that too? I keep thinking that I need to write his birth story here, so I don’t forget the details. I wonder if I haven’t done it because I don’t want to remember. Am I really doing okay, or is this just denial? I’ve been so focused on trying to get pregnant again, and I went back to work so quickly, that I just feel like I am sweeping Aiden under the rug. Just minutes before I realized today was the first I was planning a light-hearted blog entry about a recipe I tried last night. How is this my life? My musings on the merits of using cheese in a recipe are interrupted by the sickening realization that I forgot my dead son. On the six month anniversary of his birth.