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.