Mama Alone Time

This evening, my son is at my sister-in-law’s. My spouse is at work. What am I doing? Whatever I damn well please!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family more than anything. Being a mom is awesome. For the most part, it turns out that being a mom supersedes being an introvert (of course it does), and it is not difficult to put my child’s needs before my own. And I do sort of get alone time on the evenings when the spouse is working 2nd shift, because L goes to bed at 7pm. So I have some down time to my self. But I’m not totally free– I can’t leave the house. So every now and then, I start to get a bit twitchy for some real alone time, when I can really do whatever I want. Even if what I want is just to sit at home, anyway.

 

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In-home Medical Treatments

Well, here I am at almost 37 weeks pregnant. I kind of can’t believe that in about 3 weeks, our son will be born and I’ll have my body back to myself. But I can’t wait!! Aside from finally meeting our baby, I am so excited to be able to tie my shoes, wear my wedding rings again, wear normal clothes, not snore, eat sushi, drink wine, and be comfortable when I sleep. 

Between now and then, though, I’m getting iron treatments by IV to get my ferritin (iron stores) up. My doctor informed me that they were extremely low, and I was taking about the maximum amount of iron by oral supplement that a person can possibly absorb in a day. And my body apparently wasn’t absorbing it well enough. Therefore, the IV infusions. I have to get 5 infusions over the course of 14 days– two are done already. I’m actually glad to be doing it, because I was having a hard time taking all that iron (it’s hard on the stomach), and I was feeling pretty drained a lot of the time and having crazy restless legs. After 2 treatments, I already feel more energetic, and the restless legs seem to be a bit better too.

The thing I don’t care for about the IV infusions is that for some reason the nurse comes to my house to do it. I don’t know why– I’m certainly not homebound, and I would actually prefer to go to the clinic, but I wasn’t given another option. So a stranger comes to my house, brings a bunch of medical equipment, and puts an IV in my arm. 

Now, getting the IV isn’t exactly pleasant. The first time, I almost passed out. I think because she first had to take 2 vials of blood, and well, being anemic already, that made me a bit light headed. Once I got over that, the treatment was fine. My second treatment was better– she didn’t have to take blood and I didn’t almost pass out. She had to put it in my wrist because the doctor had just taken blood from the inside of my elbow that morning, and the IV hurt a bit more in the wrist than in the arm. But even the IV isn’t the most unpleasant part of this treatment.

The worst part is having a stranger in my house, making my dogs crazy, spreading her shit out everywhere, and requiring me to make small talk while the IV drips. Ugh. The first treatment was especially bad, because my spouse was sleeping, so I had to try to keep the dogs quiet… which didn’t work. For my second treatment, my husband was home and he took the dogs with him to the basement, which was much better. Also the first treatment was longer, due to my almost fainting and the fact that she had to do a bunch of paperwork for me. Finally, she brought all the stuff over on the first visit, and there was medical shit eeeevvverywhere. I did not care for that. Especially because she evidently dropped/lost a bag of caps or something that go to the IV. My husband found it and threw it away, but what if the dogs had found it first? And what if it was needles!!

Luckily, the second treatment went much better. The dogs were less annoying with my husband there. It wasn’t nearly as long of a visit, which meant less small talk. And we didn’t have to small talk the whole time, because she was doing some work on her computer while I was being infused. And she’d left all the pertinent medical crap at our house, so it was all contained in this one bag and wasn’t spread out everywhere. So as far as having a stranger in my house for an extended amount of time goes, it wasn’t so bad. But still. I’ll be glad when the next 3 treatments are done!

2013 in Review

I’ve seen several posts on Facebook about how terrible 2013 was for many people. I’m very sorry for everyone who had a rough year… but mine has been great! 2012 was more difficult for me, and I guess the first half of 2013 was a bit trying as well, but oeverall, the good definitely outweighs the bad.

January

On New Year’s Day, I turned 32. At that time I was undergoing fertility testing after 2+ years of trying to get pregnant with no luck. This was not very enjoyable. Fertility testing is painful, both physically and emotionally.

A good thing that happened in January was that we got the band together! I’d been wanting to try to form this group since Fest of 2012, and in January it finally came together, and I’m very happy it did!

February

In February we had our first practices with the band, and Rob and I took a trip to Mexico.

Being romanced by a pirate in Mexico

Being romanced by a pirate in Mexico

March

In March, Rob had a surgery that was designed to improve our fertility. I was pretty optimistic about the success of the surgery, but it was also difficult because it definitely was not guaranteed to help, and both of our doctors were already implying that IVF might be our best hope, which made it difficult to maintain my optimism. I was so proud of Rob though– he underwent the surgery very willingly and without any complaint.

In March my BFF also revealed to me that she was pregnant. Although I was of course really happy for her, I couldn’t help feeling simultaneously sad for myself– a most unpleasant state of affairs.

April

In April, we adopted our second dog, Gilly. I’m happy to report that things are still going great with him! Trip was jealous at first of his new little brother, and he still gets jealous over toys and cuddle time with us, but every day they are becoming more and more like a pack. They haven’t quite reached the point where they will cuddle together, but Trip will now tolerate Gilly being right next to him on the couch. He also gives Gilly kisses on the nose, which is pretty sweet. We’re still working with Gilly on his mouthing and jumping, but overall he’s a pretty well-behaved pup, and he is only 2, so he’s still a young thing.
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A Day in the Life of an Introvert

This is an account of a fictional but pretty typical day.

7:40 am: 

I stop for coffee on my way to work. Since I stop there frequently, I know the baristas.  At least, I know them by sight, and they know me (and my drink order!)– as far as I know they don’t know my name. I walk in and see that it’s the dark-haired girl making drinks. I only know her name because randomly they wore name tags for a couple of days. The dark-haired girl’s name tag read “emily.” I like her–she’s nice.

But do I rejoice that I will get to talk to her? Nope! Instead, all kinds of thoughts are running through my mind: When should I say hello– right when I see her? She looks busy. Should I say my drink order at the register, or do I assume that they remember it when I hand them my reusable mug?

I overhear another patron asking emily about her vacation. Do they know each other outside of the patron-barista relationship? How, in interactions that last a few minutes a day, did they get to the point where they know about each other’s lives? I don’t know how to do that– I can make conversation, but it’s restricted to the niceties and talk about the weather. Which, granted, in Minnesota is actually an interesting topic, but still.

At any rate, I have cordial but superficial interactions with the dude and the dark-haired girl as I go about getting my coffee. They make excellent coffee, which is an introvert’s best friend.

8:15 am:

I get to work and get settled in, and open up my email. There it is: a message from Auto Forward, with the subject line “Fwd: (612.XXX.XXXX) 01:18 Voice Message.” It’s a voicemail. Oh, crap on a cracker, I think as I put in my headphones to listen to it. As I listen, I evaluate whether I can justifiably respond by email instead of calling the person back. Maybe the caller will leave an email address in their message, thereby giving me permission to respond by email. No such luck. Or, maybe it’s one of my students, who has questions that require web links or attachments?  Nope, it’s a parent–strike two. Even worse, they don’t specify their questions in their message– it’s just “I have some questions about the Montpellier program.” So there’s no chance I can just call and hopefully leave the answers on their voicemail. No, there is simply no way around it– I am going to have to have a phone conversation.

As I pick up the phone and dial the number, I can feel my heartbeat speed up and my body temperature rise. Why! I know I will have the answers, and more often than not, the parents I speak to on the phone are pleasant and thank me for answering their questions. This is the case today– the mother I speak to tells me I’ve been very helpful and thanks me for my time. There’s no rational reason to be nervous, but there’s just something about this method of communication that causes me stress. It’s infuriating.

Reflections on Infertility

My best friend called me last night to tell me that she is pregnant. She was very sensitive about it—she knows how we’re struggling to conceive, and I’m sure she was apprehensive about telling me her good news. She was very encouraging, pointing out that in our lives we’ve had a tendency to unintentionally do everything at the same time, and that since she’s pregnant, I’m bound to get pregnant any day. It was very sweet of her, and I am happy for her, but the news was still very hard for me to hear. It makes me feel terrible because I wish I could be totally happy for her without contaminating it with selfish sadness for myself. But I can’t.

When I told my husband the news, I could tell he didn’t know how to react. He said, “That’s good…for her… I’m sorry.” 😀 He did his best, truly—I know I’m a barrel of contradictions. I told him basically what I said above, that it sucks because I am happy for her, but it’s tainted by my sadness for myself. He reacted to that by saying he’s sorry that “he’s the problem” and that he didn’t get checked out earlier, etc.

I can understand that—- I’m sure he’s feeling a little bit upset that it seems that our fertility issue is on his side. But there are two problems with this reaction. The first is that I don’t blame him at all for our fertility challenges. Even though they haven’t found anything amiss with me, I could still have an issue as well, and even if the issue is only on his side, it’s not his fault! It’s not like he tried to grow a varicocele, and he had the surgery willingly and without hesitation, so he’s doing all he can. So I don’t want him to feel like I blame him, because I completely do not!

The other issue with his reaction to my lukewarm sharing of my BFF’s good news is a bit more his ‘fault,’ but again I can’t really blame him… I am a confusing mess. But that at that moment, I really just needed support, not for him to make the issue about him. I just needed him to hold me and say something supportive and encouraging, like “It’s okay to feel how you feel and it doesn’t make you a bad friend.”

Mexico

We just got back from a vacation in Mexico. Neither of us had ever been there, and it was definitely different than anywhere else I’d ever traveled. I’d never been to a place that caters SO MUCH to American tourist. We stayed on Cozumel, and we couldn’t even find an ATM that would dispense pesos there– we could only get US dollars. Usually my travel advice is just to get money out of the ATM in local currency instead of bringing cash and paying exchange fees, but in this case that wasn’t the wisest idea– it was expensive to get money out of the ATM, and everyplace took US dollars anyway. Also sunscreen was super expensive! We didn’t bring any because we didn’t check luggage, but we considered buying it at the airport in Dallas inside security (where we had a layover), but thought it would be more expensive there than in Mexico. Boy were we wrong– it was like $15 for a normal-sized bottle– and in 5 days we nearly went through 2 bottles. So those are my two pieces of advise for anyone (Americans, anyway) traveling to any of the tourist meccas in Mexico– just bring a bunch of cash and plan to use US dollars, and bring sunscreen!

Aside from those two small inconveniences, the trip was great. We have a lot going on right now between my husband’s work issues and corresponding emotional distress, trying unsuccessfully to have a baby, etc, and both of us needed this vacation like we’d never needed one before. I feel amazingly rejuvenated.

Our first afternoon down there, Tuesday, it was a bit rainy, so instead of going to the beach or pool or anything, we went into the town, San Miguel, on Cozumel. Our hotel was about 10 minutes’ drive outside of town, and we did end up renting a car (we got a roped into a time share presentation, but it did get us a good deal on the car– $50 + 90 minutes of our time for the week). I liked the town a lot. My husband thought it seemed a bit unsafe, because outside of the tourist area it looks a little bit run down. But I reminded him that we weren’t in the US, and when we went on our excursion to Chichen Itza the next day, our tour guide, Mitch (who my spouse had a bit of a man crush on, haha), reiterated that. He told us the island is very safe, even though we might feel like it’s unsafe because places that look how parts of the island look would be considered slums in the US. Sad but true. Anyway, it reassured my spouse, which was good.

One of the first things we saw was these dogs standing on the roof in San Miguel and barking. It was awesome.