Wednesday, October 2, 2013

So there was this little thing I forgot to mention . . .

My only comment from my last post made me realize that I never updated here about what was going on with Flower. After 3 involuntary commitments for suicidal/self injuring behavior, it was decided that she needed a residential treatment program. Since the middle of June she has been living at a residential treatment center (RTC) working on her anger management, depression, and attachment issues. Her tentative discharge date was October 21st but lately she has not been doing well. The main thing to remember with attachment challenged kids is that they can do great in situations where they are not required to form an emotional attachment. They are also great manipulators. We thought that she would play the system and that appears to be what she has done. She has been a model client most of the time. Her base behaviors that got her in that placement are still there, just subdued to a socially acceptable level. She comes home on passes every weekend and at first those went well. The last few have not been disastrous but it is clear she is not ready to be in the family and not continue her destructive behaviors.

It amazes me that all these professionals that work with these kids all the time don't see the manipulation. She is doing great in RTC so she must be getting better, right? Well, no. What she is doing great at is avoiding working on the things that led to her current problems. Until I brought it up last week the therapist hadn't even realized that she has avoided talking about her birth family the whole time she has been in treatment. How will she recover from trauma and abuse if she never processes it?

I think Flower has hit the point in her stay where she can't fake it and follow the rules anymore. Her only goal has been to get out. She knows what she needs to do and say to make it look like she is better. Fortunately for her she can only maintain that facade for a short period of time. I do want her home and part of the family again but not if she can't control her anger. I'm not so worried about our safety as I am about her future. She is on an advisement (similar to probation) for the battery charge from pushing my husband. If she gets in any more trouble the charges will be permanent and she will have trouble getting jobs. It is better for her to work through her issues in a safe place where her actions won't have life long consequences. I just wish she could see that and actually WANT to work on things. She still sees this treatment as something that was done to her, not something that was done for her.

In other news our 7 year old has been having increasing problems at school and daycare and her principal is pushing us to have her diagnosed ADHD. I am not convinced but trying to get services at public schools is a joke now. The only thing a high school rating means is that the kids are from well to do families and don't have problems. The test grades don't tell you how kids with issues are handled. For the most part, in my experience so far, they are shuffled off as quickly as possible. It's so sad and so frustrating.

On a good note, I just accepted a job that will be a big promotion and in the process found out that upper management were fighting over me! I had applied for three jobs and only one called me back. One of the ones that did not call me had wanted to interview me but was too busy. His boss is very angry that they missed the chance to hire me. This is the first time I have felt like a valued and competent employee. The new job is 3 hours away so we will be moving. I imagine that will be incredibly stressful but there are many more services where we are going and I can't wait to do real science again!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

3 months?!

I knew it had been awhile since I had posted, but three months? This is a good time to mention that lately I have been feeling like I will look back on this time in my life and just be grateful that its over. That makes me pretty sad because I should be able to enjoy Little Bird's two new teeth and her explorations with food. I should be watching my not so little Sunshine ease into the preteen years with her soccer and girl scouts and *gasp* "boyfriends". Instead I am just trying to get through each day and snag enough sleep to make it through the next, rarely feeling that I accomplished anything. I know I need to make some time for myself to recharge, somehow. I'm trying. In the meantime there is something I've always been told to do and always been too resentful to try. I am a bit of a hypocrite because I accuse my husband of being incredibly negative and yet I've never managed to do this.

I will be grateful.

I will be grateful I have a job, that my house is big enough for all of us, that we are all healthy, that my husband still loves me and wants to be with me, that my girls make little cards for me all the time, that Little Bird knows I'm her mom and doesn't want anyone else when I am around. I will be grateful my savings account is big enough to weather the type of storm we had in 2008, that I can move to where the jobs are and have a really good shot at a permanent career.

Last week my grandfather died and a good friend lost her 44 year old husband. It really does make you appreciate what you  have to see what you can lose. I could see that for awhile after Aiden died, but somehow lost site of it in the last couple of years.

I doubt I'll be on here much in the near future, I think I will be having lots of big changes that will suck up even more time, but I'll try to update when I can. I can't tell you how grateful I have been for the support of my readers. You healed me.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Would you do it again?

Someone on a support board asked everyone if they would adopt again, having adopted a child with trauma and attachment issues and knowing what that entails. I said no. Let me be clear, I in no way blame Flower for any of the things that led me to that answer. I blame the system, I blame myself, and I blame her birth family. I still love Flower and want the best for her, but if I knew before I met her what I know now, I think she would have been better off aging out and going back to her birth family.

Here is why I wouldn't do it again, knowing what I know now.

My husband and I recently discussed that our reasons for adopting in the first place are not even valid with the child we ended up with. We wanted to help (not rescue) a child in foster care who had no one to take care of them and help them once they turned 18. We had seen all the awful stories and scary statistics of what happens to the majority of the children who age out of foster care. We wanted to try to prevent that kind of outcome for at least one person. We wanted to give someone a chance at a better life. We were not expecting love and devotion, everlasting reward in heaven, or even any acknowledgement. We knew there was a good chance our efforts would be wasted but we wanted to try anyway. The problem is, this child has a family. She never should have been placed in foster care to begin with. Yes, there was some abuse, but only with her father. When she was placed with her mother the only issues were poverty. Her mother was given help to alleviate that and she was too lazy to follow through, but we really need to come up with a better solution than dissolving a family. I wish I had the link to it, but I read an article recently that stated kids would be better off going hungry every once in awhile than growing up in foster care. The damage done to my child was not done by her bio family directly. It was done by the foster care system; the system that would lose her for months at a time and shuffle her from home to home where the parents were incapable of dealing with her special needs, sending her back to be shuffled around again when the placement became too hard; the system that never bothered to address her learning problems because they always assumed someone else would; the system that let a family member adopt all the other siblings and not her, even though they had an abuse complaint against them; the system that didn't train us to handle her issues and outright lied about their severity. If it weren't for the 9 years in foster care I believe Flower would not have half the problems she does. She may have grown up uneducated and poor, but she would be able to have a relationship and be capable of learning. Now her future is looking extremely bleak. Because she has learned to have no empathy for people she will most likely end up in jail. This happened because she learned in foster care that no one would ever be there for her, no one would love her, and she has absolutely no control over her life. All she wants is to go back to her bio family so she refuses to attach to anyone else. I know that her problems will follow her there as well, but I think it would have made her happier in the end if she just aged out and went back to them. We are certain that is what she will do the minute she turns 18. I don't think it's the best choice she could make with her life, but I also don't think it would be catastrophic. Her mom is not any different than any other self absorbed, lazy, and enabling parent. Lots of people grow up that way and don't spend their adulthood in jail.

The other reason, and this is where I blame myself, is that I should have listened when people told me not to adopt out of birth order. We adopted an older child when we already had a young child in the home. We were told this was a bad idea because "those kids are bad, they will abuse the kids you have". I was appalled by this argument because I knew that not every kid in foster care was so messed up that they would hurt other children. I was right with Flower. She is not a bad person. She cares very much for her younger siblings and I don't think she would ever intentionally hurt a child. What I didn't realize is that there is other damage that can occur when you have an older child with truama and attachment issues. Because Flower operates emotionally at a much younger age we have to parent her differently than we do our bio children. A good example is that we don't make her do homework. We do make our 7 year old do homework and she doesn't understand why she has to follow different rules.  In addition to that Flower has a lot of very counterproductive behaviors that the  7 year old is beginning to mimic. Sunshine is about to get kicked out of her after school program because of this. It never occurred to me that we would be dealing with those behaviors in both kids. I thought we had done a good enough job with the 7 year old that she would know not to behave that way. Apparently I was very wrong. She sees Flower getting all of our attention when she throws big tantrums. I have yet to find a way to make Sunshine realize that Flower's behavior is not getting Flower what she wants. So now we have two children with behavior problems. With both parents working I can tell you that that is nearly impossible to manage.

We signed up for this and we will see it through. We won't give up on Flower, even when she gives up on us. We won't give up on each other either. Hopefully the progress we have made on our marriage these last few weeks will last and we will come out stronger. Hopefully Flower will one day realize we were just trying to help her. Hopefully she will decide she wants to have a better life and start doing what she needs to. In the meantime we will continue to find help for our family and do our best to protect the two youngest, who really had no say in all this. I know it is useless to look back; I just wish I could have been a little less stubborn and spared Sunshine and Little Bird all of this.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

weird flashback trigger

I just got my hair cut off and I didn't realize until I got home last night that the last time I did that was just after Aiden was stillborn. I had a sudden flash back of all the compliments I got and how shitty that made me feel when I just wanted someone to hold me and tell me how much it sucked that my baby died. I stood in the shower sobbing over my stupid hair. It's the first time I've cried (about this) in quite some time. I still miss him, everyday. I still find myself wishing this baby had been a boy and wondering what it would have been like to have a son to raise. I love this Little Bird with all my heart, but there is still the feeling of being cheated of something. I hope it never shows.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

adult juice boxes

If you haven't tried them yet, I am currently enjoying my 2nd "cup of wine". W.al.mart now sells a single serving cup of wine in 5 varieties. They are decent enough for the price and nice for a mom that can't keep a bottle of wine in the house because it will get stolen.

Things are pretty tough and I hope I am doing the right things. Flower is on the waiting list for a bed in residential and I'm praying she will be admitted before she has a chance to violate her probation. I don't know that I could have done anything differently, but if I'd known she would be arrested instead of committed when she pushed the Professor, I may not have called the police. She doesn't need to be in jail, that will only make everything worse. Now if she doesn't complete teen court she will be dealing with a life long consequence that will severely limit her career choices. So far she is not taking any of the legal stuff seriously. She has no cause and affect thinking and is incapable of relating her actions to consequences. Tonight she was yelling at me to shut up and get out of her face while filling out the study sheet from teen court that says she is not allowed to disrespect her parents. Ai yi yi.

Sunshine is picking up all of Flower's worst behaviors and on the fast track to some pretty serious consequences. I feel so guilty for not listening to the warnings about the influence a troubled older child would have on a younger one. I was so sure we had done a good enough job raising Sunshine that she would understand how not to behave. That is not the case. Saturday she threw a toy at me after declaring that I could not make her stay in her room. Consequences just don't seem to matter to her although she does still seem to care if I am disappointed in her. My brother dealt with an older sibling that went to residential and his younger daughter really improved while the troubled one was gone. Hopefully we will get the same result.

The youngest is doing great. Little bird is learning to roll over and got very mad today when she got stuck on her stomach with one arm pinned. She was inconsolable until I held her for a good 15 minutes. It did not help my mood that this was right when I realized my grill was catching on fire and I had to leave a screaming baby in the house with a defiant 7 year old while I dashed out to shut off the tank before the whole thing exploded. Needless to say we didn't have grilled chicken tonight.

I had to laugh because Sunshine got mad at me for scaring her when I screamed at her to get away from the window. She was standing there asking me why when I could see flames curling ever closer to the propane tank. For the love of god, child! This is why we tell you to listen to us the first time!

Hopefully this summer will prove to be a little more peaceful and Flower will get the help she needs.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ugh

I have very little time for myself so here is a bare bones update.

We are well and truly out of the honeymoon phase with Flower. She just keeps pushing and pushing, trying to prove that we are like everyone else in her life and we will give up on her. It's exhausting, at times terrifying, and so completely pointless. She is wrecking her future just to prove a point that she doesn't even realize she has the need to prove. Now Sunshine is copying her ridiculous, over the top tantrums and I just have no idea what to do about it. I react differently to Sunshine because she doesn't have a traumatic background. She doesn't have a good reason to act like that (other than all the changes and Flower acting out) so I find I have no patience for it and yell.

Little Bird is fantastic and a little spot of joy in everyone's life. I'm just praying all the turmoil and constant screaming aren't affecting her too badly. I'm hoping things will settle down before she is verbal and I'll have a chance to fix the damage to her and Sunshine before it's too late. I'm also hoping Flower will figure out who she is and realize she doesn't have to fight us. I just want her to have a chance to grow up and be happy with who she is.

I hope I can talk here again about the struggles of dealing with attachment issues. There just isn't enough information out there and I'm kind of floundering. No rest for the weary, though. I have to go pump because Professor had to feed Little Bird formula just so I could go to the store in time to get dinner made and now she won't wake up to nurse. Awesome.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Things I want to remember

Two months and some change has gone by so fast. With all the stress and worry I feel like I've missed all of it. But I was holding Little Bird yesterday and remembered some cute things she does that are starting to fade as she gets older.

When she smiles it lights up her whole face. You can be standing behind her and tell she is smiling because even her scalp will crinkle. She has started to laugh in the last couple of weeks but it took me awhile to realize it because it doesn't sound like a typical laugh. She makes this hilarious grunting noise, like hnnnn hnnnn. It's really freaking adorable and although I was thrilled to hear an actual giggle/shriek yesterday, I will miss the funny grunting. I wish I could get it on video. She does not seem to like being tickled. She only squirms and doesn't smile or laugh.

The cutest thing she does that has almost stopped is that when she is done nursing and pulls away she will purse her lips, wrinkle her forehead and stretch. I haven't managed to get a picture but it is incredibly cute. Her face gets all red and she looks like an angry little old man. She hasn't done it often because she will keep nursing until I make her stop most of the time. She thinks I'm her pacifier.

I also love to watch Flower and Sunshine with her. They love to make her smile and she adores them. I wish there were more happy things like that right now, but I'll take what I can get.

*Edited to add: I forgot to mention the "zombie baby". The first month and a half when she was hungry and I picked her up she would try to suck on my face. I joked that she was a zombie baby and trying to eat my face. She was so determined! She also makes this adorable little bird chirp in her sleep, it goes along great with her nickname. I can't believe how fast they change.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Families are hard"

I think we finally had a break through with Flower. She has gone to respite for the weekend twice and both times come back REALLY angry. She has a 'grass is greener' mentality about any new living arrangement. I'm sure it's a protective mechanism she has from being shuffled around in foster care. Any new place she goes is awesome and therefore the last place was horrible. She has to be glad to leave so she doesn't feel rejected, even though that never really works. She had a major meltdown when I told her she wouldn't be spending every weekend at the respite provider's house. I told her she is our family, not theirs, and she needs to spend time with us.  I told her she can't just run away from her problems. She cried that they understand her and they are like her and she fits in there, implying that none of that is true here. That is exactly what she said about us when she was transitioning from her last foster home. When she finally calmed down and talked to me she cried and yelled at me that families are hard. She doesn't know how to be in a real family because she has never been in one. I was amazed that she admitted that on her own. Most of the time she isn't willing to admit that her bio family was a mess and her parents did not take care of her.

I'm happy for the breakthrough, I hope it means she will become apart of our family. I'm also hoping our family is going to stay intact long enough for that to happen. The fights with Professor have gotten pretty bad. There is serious talk of a separation of some type. We are not planning one but he has asked me if I want him here and I said most of the time, which of course means there are some times I don't. He wanted to know if I want him to leave and I said no, I want him to help me fix this. After an hour of arguing he was still saying we didn't need marriage counseling so I told him I just couldn't do this anymore. I told him we are at a crisis point and it is too late for us to fix it ourselves. I said if he was not willing to involve a third party that I was not going to try anymore to save our marriage. What we are doing is not working. I can't give anymore without getting something in return. He said he would do anything to keep us together and asked what I need. I told him he had to find someone to help us fix our marriage and I would come. That was on Thursday. He hasn't done anything yet even though he's been home by himself. I, on the other hand, have been transporting 3 kids and trying to work. I'm not really sure he wants to save us. I'm hoping next week brings some kind of improvement. At least he is better now and can go back to work and the kids will be back in school. Spring break was hell for me and I've never been so happy for the end of a 'vacation'.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Little Bird is fine

The ultrasound didn't show anything suspicious. Her belly button is still abnormal and the doctor said it might form a granuloma in the future and need cosmetic surgery, but it is not anything we need to be worried about. I'm relieved that I don't have to worry about putting such a young baby under general anesthesia. Everything else is still just as bad. Professor is very sick so I'm back to single parent status. On my first week back at work I've been calling in sick almost every day. Now Sunshine probably has an ear infection from what's left of her illness. If I catch this crap I will crawl in a hole and let the whole world implode. I just.can't.take.anymore. Tonight I am seriously considering taking the baby and staying in a hotel for a couple of days. Just the kids not doing the dishes like I asked is about to push me over the edge.

I used to think I was a really strong person, that I could deal with almost anything. But I'm starting to feel so crushed by all this, and most of it isn't even the major catastrophes. It's just the day to day of trying to get to work, get home, make dinner, help with homework, clean up, and try to sleep.

Oh - and did I mention that because of a crappy daycare and the Professor not giving me a start date that we now have no daycare? He goes back to work on Monday and we have nowhere to put the baby. Come to think of it, I am enabling him by looking for another daycare. I should really just sit back and wait to see what he does. But then again, his first solution when I told him was to quit his job. I guess I have to decide which scenario would be the hardest for me. I wish I had a fucking partner instead of a fourth child. I'm so tired of this shit.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Oh Boy

My last post was pretty prophetic. I have thought almost every day that I really needed to post. Besides knowing there are some special people out there who are rooting for me and want updates, I need the outlet. Unfortunately, with the new baby and all the other problems I'm dealing with my blogging has taken back seat to my need to sleep. It sucks because I have no time to see a therapist and I desperately need one. Blogging has been a cheap form of therapy for me and I miss it.

Things are hard. Really fucking hard. So hard I find myself getting something close to panic attacks when I stop to think about how I can get out of this and realize I can't. I am living in a war zone. The fighting is continuous and only getting louder and more violent. No one has gotten hurt (yet) but the emotional toll is devastating all the same. I just can't imagine how people survive families where the fights are always physical as well.

My husband is not willing to work on the issues we have. He says I believe he can't do anything right and everything is his fault, nearly word for word what our traumatized teenage daughter says. Funny thing, though, when she says it my husband says she is pulling the "oh, woe is me" card, trying to get everyone to feel sorry for her. I called him on it and he denies that he says the same thing. I really need to record this stuff. The level of denial they both have is astounding.

I came to a couple of devastating realizations the other day. The fundamental problem is the the Professor HAS to be right. He cannot accept that he is mistaken, wrong, or responsible. That problem cannot be fixed unless he is willing to admit it is a problem, which he can't do because he can't admit the problem might lie with him. I don't see any hope in that situation for an improvement. There is only so much I can do to work around that attitude without damaging the children. I can't meet him where he is because it is borderline (and maybe sometimes over the borderline) abusive. I can't watch my kids grow up feeling that every step they make is the wrong one, that they are stupid and worthless, and that nothing they do will ever be good enough. I've lived that, it will destroy them. This led me to my second realization. Many people that don't understand adoption have suggested that we "get rid of" Flower because she is "damaged". Even if I agreed with that, which I emphatically don't, it wouldn't help. The same personality trait that keeps the Professor from bonding with her and causes all the fighting is also the same trait that is turning my sweet, funny, intelligent 6 year old into a raging spoiled brat. The way he parents there is no way my kids can grow up happy, confident, and secure. If he won't work on it then there is only one solution left to me besides watching the destruction. I can't alleviate the damage without causing more problems. I've seen what happens when parents undermine each other and the kids learn that the parents don't respect each other. There is no happy ending here if he won't get on board.

He asked me if I want him to leave. I don't, I want him to help me fix this, but no matter how many times we talk about this the ending is always the same. He's not good enough, he can't do anything right, the kids don't respect him, I don't back him up. I don't think he has ever said "I will try this new method" without prefacing it by saying "I know it won't work, but . . .". I don't have any idea how to combat that defeatist attitude and even our family therapist has said she doesn't think he will ever work on his issues or become the partner I need him to be.

Today was hell. We had an hour long argument about all this stuff before I went to work . When I got to work I called the doctor about my 6 week old's diarrhea and they wanted to see her. At the office they told us that she may have a birth defect that will require surgery. It isn't life threatening but the thought of putting a baby that small under general anesthesia has me all wound up. Not to mention the specter of a little boy with birth defects who never drew his first breath. Her ultrasound is tomorrow so I will update when I know more.

After we got home there was more arguing and then Flower and the Professor got into it again. The screaming (both of them) and throwing things (Flower) scared little Sunshine so I had Professor take Sunshine and Little Bird out for a while to let everyone calm down. I am certain one of these days these arguments will turn into fist fights and I will lose one or both of them.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Things that don't mix well: a new baby and a traumatized teen

I knew this was going to be very, very hard, and boy, was I right. Adding a new baby to the family with an attachment challenged and traumatized teen already on board is a little like buying a ticket on the Titanic. You might survive, but you are in for a hellish ride.

I had planned after adopting Flower that we would wait a year or two (depending on how things went with her) and then look into adopting a baby or toddler from foster care, possibly even domestic infant adoption. After 5 years of not getting pregnant on my own I was reasonably sure I would not be having another baby (insert hysterical laughter). I wanted to give Flower time to adjust to a new family and a chance to attach before adding another member. When I found out I was pregnant I was pretty angry at myself for being so selfish. I had thought about making sure I wouldn't get pregnant but I was not willing to give up completely. I'm sure a few years from now I will be able to fully appreciate our fantastic luck, but right now I still feel horribly guilty.

I was expecting Flower to react badly to having an infant in the house. I failed to anticipate just how badly that would be. She was fine the week we had the baby, but only because my brother came down after the incident when the Professor left for a day after an argument with her. My brother stayed for 2 weeks and made it a point to lavish attention on Flower. She thought he was the best thing since apple pie. The day after he left, when she was faced with exhausted parents and all the attention on the new baby, she totally lost it. For the next week and a half we had daily full on rages with cursing, screaming, throwing things and just general disrespect and defiance. She began skipping school, her lying and attempts at control got really out of hand and things just went downhill fast. I confess I just didn't deal with it because I was too exhausted from a very hard birth and having to care for a new baby. I wish my husband was more capable because this would have been a great time for them to bond, but of course they are like oil and fire together and he just made everything worse.

Things came to a head a couple of weeks ago. I can't go into the details of what happened but it led to Flower staying in the psych unit for a few days and lots of changes at home. The most drastic change is that Flower is no longer allowed contact with her biological family, even her siblings. This was by order of someone else, not our decision. I think it was cruel to cut her off from her siblings but I am glad biomom is no longer in the picture. Needless to say this is not sitting well with Flower and I suspect when it really sinks in she will have to process their loss all over again and her behaviors will make this month look like a picnic. There is talk of long term residential treatment, but the only place that can take her has a month and a half long waiting list. We aren't really sure that would help her anyway. It might give us a break but it won't help with her attachment and if she isn't willing to work on her issues, it won't help her heal. It could (and likely would) just make everything worse because she would feel like we were getting rid of her, just like everyone else did when things got hard. Unfortunately, we may not get a choice if the safety of our younger children becomes an issue.

Things have been calmer since she came home but I think it is only because she is afraid of losing more things in her life so she is keeping a tight lid on her anger. That lid is bound to blow, and when it does it will be ugly. The Professor has responded to her anger and attitude by cracking down. I think this is the worst time to do that. She has ended up a virtual prisoner at home with no healthy outlets for her emotional turmoil. We are getting pretty intensive intervention services from our adoption support team, but I don't think it's going to help unless the Professor and Flower are willing to change.

Things between me and the Professor are really strained. We are not on the same page when it comes to how to handle Flower. I'm not sure we are really in the same book. I'm still pretty upset about how much he has put on me when I'm least able to handle it. I am also really sick and tired of seeing the same behaviors in my supposedly mature husband that I am seeing in our very troubled 15 year old. He still won't listen to anything I or the therapists tell him. All he does is argue and lash out. He uses sarcasm and anger to get his feelings heard and takes every comment as a judgement on his worth as a person and his ability to parent. Even the therapist was visibly disgusted after our last session. I don't have a clue how to go about fixing things when I am the only one trying. I'm not trying to say I'm perfect, or even that I know what I'm doing. I know I have things to work on as well. The difference is that I'm willing to admit that and ask for help. I'm not fighting against the idea that I can't do this on my own. I know I don't have all the answers. I just wish to God he would even admit there are questions to ask.

On the plus side - the new baby (Little Bird) is doing great and growing like a weed. Breastfeeding has been very different this time around, but more on that later, If I get a chance to blog with all this craziness around here!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Birth Story

This is copied from an email I sent to my sister so if some things are out of date or just out of context, ignore them. I apparently gave birth to a koala bear. She will only really sleep curled up on my chest. Very hard to blog that way! There is lots going on with Flower that I need to talk about but I haven't found the time with both hands free. Maybe next week. For now, here is the birth story (with much oversharing of intimate body function details) for the curious.


I went to my chiropractor on Wednesday and started the damn contractions again. Right about the time &&&& got the car packed up to go to the hospital they stopped. I was up all night with them so when I did go to the hospital on Thursday to start the induction, I'd had about 2 hours of sleep. I was dilated 3cm so they just gave me pitocin. I was still contracting at that point, just not what I would have considered labor. I think if I had waited I would have done that for another day or two and then gone in to labor on my own. Of course by then I would have been a zombie so I'm not sure I regret it.

Labor kicked in hard about 11am and seemed really easy compared to ****'s, which I was stupid enough to mention. About 3pm or so things got really intense and they made me get out of the tub (God - I loved that thing, what a difference), thinking they had to call my doctor since she was 20 minutes away. At that point I was only a 5 or 6 though, so I was pretty disappointed. It wasn't long before I started feeling like pushing but my water hadn't broken yet and my cervix wasn't progressing. The doctor came by and broke my water and had me try a few pushes. That's when she discovered I had a ring scar on my cervix that she thought was preventing it opening all the way. I'm guessing that was from my endometrial biopsy, who knows. God bless my doctor. Rather than assume I wouldn't progress and do a c-section she spent almost 3 hours massaging my cervix and pushing it around the baby's head while I pushed. She was worried pushing not fully dilated would cause the cervix to swell so they made me stop pushing for awhile. That part was absolute hell. My body was ready to push - be damned what my cervix wanted. I literally could not stop. They kept yelling at me to not push and I really, really tried but it was impossible. I did a whole heck of a lot of screaming. I felt a lot better when they let me push but it went on forever. At some point my smart ass husband mentioned that it would be funny if Alida was waiting until 6 to be born because **** was born at six. It was only about 4 when he said this. I still want to kill him. I'm not sure exactly how long I pushed because I don't know when I started, but it was at least 2.5 hours, probably closer to 3. I had several moments I was sure I would never get that baby out and was past the point of thinking I couldn't do anymore around 6. The only thing that kept me trying is that I was afraid they would make me stop pushing while they got me prepped for a c-section and I just couldn't handle the thought of that much pain again. It paid off, though. At 630ish I was finally able to get her head out. Her shoulder was stuck so I ended up with an episiotomy (fucking ow), and both the doctors hands inside turning the baby (really fucking ow). There was a whole bunch more screaming. She was only stuck for a minute, the doc called it mild dystocia, and just needed a minute to get a good cry. She was plopped on my chest and trying to nurse within 5 minutes of delivery. That part was so amazing. The doula told me to let her try on her own and it was incredible watching her know just where to go and managing to get her floppy head in the right position. That right there made the no medication part worth it to me. Her response was world's better than ****'s and I wasn't stuck with paralyzed legs. All in all it was a worse delivery than ****'s even though it was shorter, but I was pretty happy with it for being on pitocin the whole time.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

She's here! Born screaming into Mom's arms.

We had a rough labor and are getting little sleep so the details will have to wait.

Please welcome Alida (little winged one). I'd love to share the middle name as well but I'm trying to keep this somewhat anonymous and her name is very unique. I may or may not leave the picture up.

Thank you, everyone, for all the support these last 3 years. I never thought to see the day I could say I had 3 kids (even though it's really 4).

7 lbs, 9 oz. 19 and 3/4 inches long. Born January 24th at 633pm.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Slight improvement

First of all, thanks for all the amazing support. Within 24 hours I had a local contact that has been through this, membership in an amazing and supportive group, and several leads on things to try to help our situation. What seemed so bleak the other day is now looking like we can survive it. I could not have been where I am today without this blog and the amazing women who comment and went out of their way to help a stranger.

I feel kind of bad for my last title and how harsh I was on my husband, but I am still pretty mad about how he handled things. He really does need to grow up some more and face his own failings but I now believe he understands that, which I didn't before.

One thing I didn't mean to imply (that I think I did) was that my husband had left for good. He didn't say he was never coming back, he said he wouldn't come back that night. I was furious about that because he knew I was not physically capable of taking care of a crises and I felt abandoned. I wasn't sure I wanted him to come back because I was sure things would keep going this way and I'd have a newborn in the house with all the screaming and escalating physical violence. After we both managed to calm down and actually talk instead of arguing, I realized he was even more devastated than I was because he thought he was losing his entire family and he didn't think he would survive that after losing our son.

While I was gone on appointments he came home to pick up some things, thinking that I didn't want him back (because I kind of implied that). He left a note for me and a note for Flower. He apologized profusely for losing his cool and tried to explain how his life and the way he grew up left him with some inappropriate defense mechanisms that were getting in the way of having healthy relationships. I've know for a long time that he had issues that he needed to work on and I've tried to get him to see that. I never realized, because he never told me, that he had listened and understood. Now it is just that he needs to figure out what to do about it. This gave me some hope that we could work this out, although I am still quite worried about him continuing the same behavior.

He also told me that he really thought the police were on the way and they would make him leave anyway. I tried to tell him during the crises that it would be better to talk to them and try to get things straightened out, but he wouldn't hear me. He had a friend in a similar situation that was told to leave so he was sure that is what would have happened. When I texted him that they weren't coming I was pretty angry and he assumed I didn't want him to come back. From what I wrote I can see his point. He tried to call and I didn't answer so he stayed away. Having this explanation made me feel a little less abandoned but I did make it clear that it was not okay for him to leave me to deal with all this right now. I told him I wanted him home and Flower did too. She even wrote him an apology and made some cookies to make up for fighting with him.

After hearing more of his story I wish the police had been called. We need some documentation that Flower is getting more violent and more willing to inflict harm instead of just threatening it. She was trying to kick him when he grabbed her arm and she has been throwing things at him. He told me he thought we would be okay with her because she only acts like that with him and calms down when it is just me. This has been the case but he had no way of knowing it would always be the case. I still think it was thoughtless and dangerous to leave me and sunshine alone with her. For that reason I am really reluctant to have both Flower and the Professor in the house without another adult after we bring the baby home and until I recover. Fortunately we have a solution for that. My brother has offered to stay for a couple of weeks. His daughter has very similar mental health issues to Flower's. My niece was never abused or in foster care, but she has similar rages and defiance and other difficult behaviors. A lesson for those that think adopted kids are disposable - they aren't the only ones that can cause havoc in families.

So anyway, things are improving and largely because of your support. Thank you so much for offering it. I'm probably staying home for now so I'm hoping I can write in more detail about our therapy and what we are going to try next.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

And the crap spouse of the year award goes to . . .

My husband left. He left his 9 month pregnant wife with a mentally ill and unstable teenager and a 6 year old, days away from having a baby.

I can't even wrap my mind around the enormity of that selfishness. I can't imagine how I'm going to do this all by myself. My sister is in Kuwait. I have no friends close enough and reliable enough that I would be comfortable calling. And anyway, what the hell are they going to do? I can't send Flower with anyone. Besides probably making her abandonment issues worse, I would be putting another family at risk. I really do think that she needs residential treatment but after what happened tonight that might be a hard sell to the people who can make those decisions.

I could probably find a family that could take Sunshine for a little while, but she would be traumatized and that will still leave me with a newborn in an unsafe house.

I've never been at such a loss. I don't see a way out of this mess that doesn't destroy at least one person. I don't understand why trying to do something good has caused so much damage. I suppose my over-riding desire for children was selfish and I should have taken Aiden as a sign that this wasn't meant to be.

The saddest thing about all this is that it is not Flower's fault. Sure, she has huge and very challenging issues. But if the Professor could act like an adult things would never have gotten so out of control. He started another argument with her over chores today. She immediately started screaming at him, calling names, and acted incredibly disrespectful. As always, he just kept taking the bait and wouldn't walk away. Anytime she wants a fight she knows right where to find it. Unfortunately this time it just went further than anyone meant it to. I didn't see what happened so I can't say who is being more truthful, but Flower claims the Professor twisted her arm trying to keep her from leaving her room. He claims he grabbed her arm to keep her from hitting him. Given that she has been throwing things at him lately I'm inclined to believe his version, but I was trying to tell him that if she was getting violent he needed to back away and call the police. Of course he wouldn't listen to me. He left the house to calm down and she called her biomom, telling her she was hurt and scared. Biomom, as she should have, told her to call the police. I was standing there and told her she could call them if she wanted to, if she really didn't feel safe, and she broke down. She lost all her anger in an instant and showed what she was really feeling, absolute terror. She said she was sorry, she didn't want Dad to leave, she was scared of being taken away or of us being taken away. I hugged her and told her she was not going to lose another family and she calmed down. (Yes, I know this sounds manipulative but you had to be there. I think the anger is the mask and the terror is the real thing).

Contrast that with the supposedly mentally stable adult who is supposed to be my partner and agreed to the risks of adopting a special needs child. He would not stop yelling at me on the phone and refused to come back inside. He said he couldn't live like this. He really doesn't think he did anything wrong or could have done something different. Despite knowing I've had 6 hours of sleep in the last 3 days and this kind of stress is very bad for me and the baby, he decided he wasn't coming back. He plans to pick up some stuff tomorrow when no one is home. I have no idea what he expects me to do when I go into labor.

I do know that she is triangulating and pitting us against each other. Kids from trauma are good at manipulating and she knows just how to get him to lose it. The problem I have with him is that we were trained to handle this and he will not use any of the tools we've been given. He continuously engages in pointless arguments with her and will not back down when things escalate. All he focuses on is how she disrespects him, how she yells at him, how she won't listen to him. It's all about how her behavior makes HIM feel and not about where that behavior comes from. I know I've made some mistakes and could have supported him better. None of that changes the fact that he is the adult and rather than deal with his issues and act like one, he just left. Believe me there have been days I've wanted to do that. There have even been days that I did leave for a few hours to get away from the fighting. I can't imaging doing that if it was dangerous for anyone. He put all of us at risk. I can't restrain Flower if she gets violent. I probably can't even protect Sunshine. And what the hell am I supposed to do with the two of them when I'm in the hospital for 2 to 4 days?

I really hope the counselor has some ideas tomorrow.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Exhaustion

I keep having this panicky feeling every morning when I get up lately that I just can't do this. I don't have the reserves to get through another day of going to work, going to appointments, running errands, coming home to chaos and trying to calm everyone down, making dinner, fighting with my spouse, fighting to get the 6 year old in bed, and then falling in to bed completely spent only to toss for hours.

Just last night my husband was yelling at the kids that I shouldn't be getting stressed out because it could put me in labor too soon. Ha. Apparently he hasn't gotten the memo that when your very, very stressed and 8 month pregnant wife calls you at work to ask you to take care of something, it is not wise to say "when I get to it".

I really don't know what to do with our situation. I have engaged all the help I can find. I am at the absolute limits of my physical abilities (probably beyond them if I'm being honest), and it isn't enough. I literally have some kind of appointment every day. Some are for me, many are for Flower or the family as a whole. Just the scheduling alone is exhausting me. I keep thinking if I can just hold everything together until the baby is born it will be okay. Then I remember I'll still be dealing with all this shit, but with no sleep and a very dependent infant (there is still a small part of my brain that says I won't have to worry about the baby part). I'm going to need residential treatment after all this.

Flower is threatening daily to drop out of school and run away. Either she or a boy she is probably having sex with broke down our side door the other day because she lost her house key. She also broke the frame on her bedroom door. The dryer outlet is fried and we can't call the landlord to fix it because if he sees the other damage we might get evicted.

Sunshine is in absolute hysterics that her dad and/or her big sister might leave and never come back. I think she is also very anxious about me having the baby because the last time I had a baby I disappeared for two days and came home very, very broken. The family counselor thinks we should set up individual counseling for her as well. I can't imagine how I could possibly fit that in.

Things are not calm around here, people. I will not be mentioning this week to my chiropractor, she may very well kidnap me and stash me in a hotel until I give birth.

I am close to my limit for stress but I did call in sick today so I could get some quiet and rest. Maybe I need to consider leaving work early, even if that would be a major financial burden.

I did just get a much needed perspective check - 3 years ago today I was holding a box instead of a baby and wondering how I would keep breathing. I think I'll take today over that day.