Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday, where I put on my rose-colored glasses and get sappy..

So... B's been gone a month now. Yesterday we got to do a supercool video conference* with him. While waiting for our allotted 10 minutes, we got shuffled into a holding room with the other spouses and children. Several people asked me if it was the first time B would be able to see Princess Bean.

Well, no, PB was a week old when he left, so he was there when she was born...

One woman commented that she definitely wouldn't want to birth while her husband was deployed and said something along the lines of "I'd never let him do that" .. by 'that' I'm assuming she meant knock her up at a bad time.. hahaha.**

Ohhh yeah.. I love that stuff. Good ole Family Planning.

Remember that discussion?

I know I shouldn't get offended when people say things like that. Nobody knows better than I do that PB's birth could have been timed better... but I also know that the alternative could be not having Bean. If we'd decided that last October would produce an unbearable due date (and you know that discussion was on the table), then I wouldn't have Bean. I might have someone else, but it wouldn't be Bean. I might not have anyone at all. I am starting to believe that early fall has some sort of mythical fertility-enhancing properties for B.. so skipping the 'undesirable due date' cycles might just have meant missing our chance last year.

So when this discussion comes up, I want to stand up and scream that we're not stupid, or careless, we knew that getting pregnant in late October would mean that our baby would be born right before he left, but we just couldn't take a chance on skipping that cycle and missing our opportunity. And hey, thanks for reminding me how sucktastic it is that B only knows his daughter through pictures and emails. Or that PB knows her father's voice on the phone, but not the feel of his arms holding her, or the smell of his chest as she snuggles up there for a nap. Fan-freaking-tastic reminder.

Just before we were called back to talk to the B, another wife arrived carrying a baby approximately Bean's size. So... are you infertile also or just careless/stupid? I was so tempted.

.. and then there's the "ohh.. you have your boy and girl, how perfect". Yep, we think they're perfect also. We'd think they were perfect no matter what. It's no secret that I wanted Bean to be a girl... but it's also no secret that I'd have been thrilled if Bean were a boy.

There is often some asshat who assumes that G really wanted a brother (he did not, he was hoping for a sister from the beginning) and tells G that sisters can be fun, too. It's pretty common for this to prompt G to explain that he has a sister AND a brother. Recently one particularly ass-hat-ish person informed me that I needed another so we'd have two boys and two girls. W..T..F..?

That was seriously way more insulting than all the other 'next one' comments put together.

Just the thought of having another child some day is an emotional minefield. One that I'm certainly not prepared to discuss with a tactless stranger in the grocery line.. assuming, of course that I even knew how I felt about it. The farthest we've gotten at that discussion so far is the debate over whether we need birth control until we figure out what we're doing some day.

It is such a relief to be content. Years of charting, months of time being broken into two-week increments, so very many emotional highs and lows.. I like where I am now. Very much.

I guess that's my whole point. All the comments that point out to me that (they think) I should regret the timing of my Bean's birth, or the comments that imply that I'd be less happy with a boy-Bean, or even the people who think I should be looking ahead and thinking about 'the next' .. they make me realize more than ever that I'm at peace with circumstances, content where I am, and yes, downright happy about it. I know what it took to get to this place in my life and it is so wonderful to be able to really enjoy just being here.

*there's nothing that'll make a hormonal chick cry like watching an I-miss-my-daddy four year old get to see his dad and play a little paper scissors rock when they're thousands of miles apart.

**ohhh, she was such a new wife. veteran wives know that not all deployments are planned and that no matter when you 'plan' to give birth, underways happen, too.. so if you want to make sure that your military hubby is home for a birth, better wait til shore duty.. and even then, you gotta hope that an IA deployment doesn't pull him away for parts unknown. In short, there IS no planning for when he's home, just planning and hoping he'll be home then.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Older than my years...

As promised.. how I started to feel downright old...

I was at the grocery store the other day.. as I was wrangling the kids through the aisles, we happened to wander down the beer aisle*... and passed a man who was perusing the beer.. It made me remember the days when a friday evening trip to the grocery was to pick up beer and cigarettes... ahh.. nostalgia!

Not this particular Friday night, no sirree. I had a cart full of junk food. G & I had had a Very Bad Day and I wanted to celebrate the end of that Very Bad Day with a chocolate chip cookies, popcorn and various forms of junk food. Only since we didn't have any chooclate chip cookies (or chocolate chips to make 'em!), or popcorn OR junk food, we had to run to the store. So as I wheeled my whiny charges past the beer man, I contemplated the differences between a beer-soaked Friday night, and a Friday night where G & I will get hopped up on grape soda and potato chips.

And then I loaded the kids, and the sugar, into the minivan and headed home, singing along to the 'retro' 80s night on the radio.

Part of me misses the beer nights.

Most of me enjoys my grape soda and cookies.

But it does make me feel old.

This feeling like a grown-up, it's pretty new. I know that technically, parenthood makes you grow up.** And I did kinda grow up after having G. I did, after all, give up tequila shots and dancing on tables after his birth, so that's something, right?

But I still didn't really feel like a grown-up.

Somehow, that part happened some time after Princess Bean was born. I have no idea why, what changed that made me suddenly feel older than my years. I'll have to think on that part, and get back to you. For now, I'm going to go crank the oldies station and headbang along to a little retro 80's music, ok?

*what kind of grocery store puts the popcorn in the beer aisle? we spent 20 minutes wandering around before we found popcorn. I guess that's what I get for going to an unfamiliar grocery store. And being old.

**well.. it should, at least

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

am i that old yet??

"maybe some people can't get pregnant for a reason"

That's really high up on my list of ass-hat comments... but I confess, over the last few weeks, I've thought it more than once.. I was thinking it about myself (I'm not that big of an ass-hat that I'd justify it for anyone else), but still..

I've spent a lot of time thinking about my health, and feeling pretty old. The way-too-young resident at the emergency room a few weeks ago made the comment "wow, you've got a pretty interesting medical history" .. I hadn't really thought about it before then. I had just finished listing my chronic conditions, and allergies... there's a few of each of those, and it seems like with each year I age, I'm getting a little more added on to my list.

It didn't help that when I was talking to my mom, she commented that I'm on a lot of the same meds that my dad is on, or has been on. He's an overweight diabetic in his 50s, I'm a reasonably healthy not-too-overweight in my early 30s... and we're taking the same medications. He keeps a list of all his medications because there's too many to remember. If I were actually taking everything they prescribed for me* I'd need a list too. Damn.

On the bright side, my blood pressure has returned to normal. If you define normal as prehypertensive, that is. I can get my systolic number into normal range, but my diastolic is stubborn. I should be thrilled about that. The downside to that is that it's high-normal on medication. My doc, he wasn't kidding about wanting me on blood pressure meds long-term. At my visit the other day, he renewed my prescription for the next three months, and suggested I see a cardiologist. Ya know, when the doc starts throwing out terms like "cardiologist", I start getting depressed.

And then yesterday I watched one too many TV shows where otherwise healthy (and young!) people suddenly dropped dead from rare but serious complications of blood pressure. Listen to Dr. G lecture about how high blood pressure is a silent killer, often with no symptoms, and you too can question your mortality.

So it made me wonder for a short minute if perhaps the reason I had difficulty getting pregnant was because my body wasn't sure if could handle gestating the Bean... and then I looked at her, my sweet princess, and realized.. I wouldn't change it for the world. My docs aren't concerned for my health, they're looking at all this as manageable, no serious consequences. Probably, I should just appreciate what I've got, and stop worrying that every ache or twinge anywhere near my chest is a heart attack waiting to happen.

Hey, I wouldn't be me if I didn't worry endlessly, and for no reason...

Coming soon: More musings on my elderly status, complete with my thoughts on how it feels to be that woman who listens to the oldies station while tooling around town running grown-up errands in a minivan.

*I'm not advocating skipping necessary prescriptions. I just got sick of taking a dozen pills, and I was questioning just how many chemicals I wanted Princess Bean ingesting with her breastmilk. So I ditched the ones I no longer needed.

Friday, August 03, 2007

.. give it a vacation!

I read a lot about how American people work too hard/too much and don't take enough time off.. but no one ever seems to acknowledge the plight of the poor overworked uterus.

Hey, I'm totally not one of those slave-driving ute-bosses. Mine gets time off for bad behavior (courtesy of the anovulatory pcos cycles), and even with that, it negotiated an agreement where it only has to put in pregnancy-induced overtime every few years and then gets a year off afterwards (we call that the "lactational amenorrhea treaty").

You'd think it would treat me better, under the circumstances.

The Duggars use and abuse the ute, forcing it into gestation every other year or so, with barely a break in between.. and yet, it's still there practically jumping up and down waiting to be wrestled into service again.

Some day I'll figure out how they're doing it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Coming up for air...

I'm not usually one to publicly post pics of the family, but... since so many of you held my hand, sent emails and supported me through the more neurotic parts of my pregnancy, I wanted to show you my Bean.. the baby formerly known as RiceCake:

I didn't give many details when I announced her birth, so here's the short version - she was born after about 16 hours of labor (not constant - it stalled out a few times); the induction never happened, I went into labor a few hours before it was to start. I did get my v*bac, although I also got a lot more medical intervention than I thought I wanted. In the end, I really didn't care. Bean was 7 lbs, 2.8 ounces and 20" long (a full inch and nearly a pound more than G was, she still looked incredibly small to me). All those times that I worried during pregnancy because she wasn't moving much... that's just her personality. She's mellow and easy, and sleeps incredibly well - by a week old, she was sleeping a 6-8 hour stretch at night. I'm am in love, and in awe, and so very glad that she's here. I won't say the anxiety has completely disappeared, but it has changed.

In the week and a half since she was born, I've been pretty scarce. While I'd like to say that I was busy basking in the glow of new-motherhood, and being so overwhelmed with love for the babe that I was just unable to type, that would only be half of it. The other half:
~ We spent the first week busy with family stuff, trying to cram in as much baby-daddy time as we could before B left. He sailed on Monday, and it was so much harder than even I had imagined. Watching him kiss Bean goodbye was just heartbreaking, knowing that by the time he sees her again, she will have grown so much that she will be an entirely different child. It's not the first time I've ever seen B cry, but it was one of the more painful times.
~ after that, G celebrated his 4th birthday. This is the first time since his very first birthday where he had both his dad and his brother here. Come to think of it, it's the first time since then that he's had either of them here for his birthday, let alone both. He was as thrilled with that as he was with the transf*rmers that he got.
~ next... Bean's umbilical cord fell off early. Apparently it wasn't entirely healed, because yesterday it started to bleed. Since her pedi can't see her til next week, they suggested I visit the acute care clinic to have it examined, and Bean was introduced to the wonders of a walk-in medical clinic. It was my first solo trip with two kids. It was so much fun (ha!) that I am dreading tomorrow's scheduled trip to the grocery store. I never realized just how high-maintenance G really was til I had someone else to compare him to. Of the two, the newborn is far easier than the four-year-old. Never thought that would be the case.
~ and finally... When Bean was six days old, I started having some trouble with my blood pressure. That's still not fixed, but I'm learning to live with the perpetual headache, the random visual disturbances (it's like clomid all over again!) and the annoying feeling of something being 'not right'. This is nearly the exact same thing that happened after G's birth, although it went away much faster that time. At any rate, my trip to the ER today produced some real results - somehow, they found me an appointment with a real OB on Friday. Since the doc I saw last week wasn't an OB, she prescribed me the smallest possible dose of medication that might help me - it's not helping, but since I'm breastfeeding, I can't seem to get a prescription for anything stronger out of a non-OB. Hoping for better luck on Friday.
The good news is that they ruled out postpartum pre-eclampsia, and/or HELLP syndrome, so it's just my blood pressure. The bad news is that they think I'll need to be on blood pressure meds long-term this time. At this point, I just want to feel better... and hey, if I'm really searching for a sliver lining to this, I do have to admit that it's really taken my mind off of B leaving... and anything (that isn't life-threatening) that can make week 1 of a deployment easier is a welcome development.
Still, we're hoping that the upcoming week will be a little less eventful.