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.

 

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.
DSCN7060

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.

We no longer have 2 dogs

This is both sad and a relief. We had several incidents of biting; both my husband and I got bit several times, with about half of those breaking the skin. It was really scary because he didn’t give any warning signs like most dogs do… there was no growling, bearing of teeth, or snarling before he went in to full on biting mode. The first bite happened the day after we got him, when my husband was home alone with him for the first time. We have no idea what set him off, and it didn’t seem like aggression really, but my husband received 3 bites that day. We called the rescue that we got him from, and were informed that we had every right to surrender him back to the rescue… but that their policy is to euthanized dogs who have bitten a human. We both felt strongly that we didn’t want that to happen, and that since the obedience classes were starting in a few days, we’d at least give it a bit more time.

All was relatively well after that until Christmas day, when we were at my parents’ house and the smoke alarm went off. That set Odo off, out of fear I’m sure, but I received a bite on the arm (not a bad one, but it did break the skin slightly) and my spouse received a pretty bad bite on the chest. A few days later, he bit my husband again, luckily no skin breaks, but then the next day (New Years Eve) he came after me, again, with no discernible trigger. I received a bite on the leg (my jeans protected me and that one didn’t even leave a mark), on my breast (didn’t break the skin but there is a bruise) and on the arm (broke the skin in several places and looks pretty nasty).

New Dog

This past week has been very busy. We brought home a new puppy (pit bull/American bulldog mix) last Sunday, and man, I’d forgotten how much work a new dog can be! Our new puppy, Odo, is not even that young—he’s 7 months—but he and Trip together are kind of a handful!

The week was also difficult because, as is not unusual during times of stress, my spouse and I had a big fight. But we talked it out, and ultimately I think it will be good to have 2 dogs. Odo and Trip play really well together—they love wrestling, running in the yard and playing tug. One of the main reasons we got the second dog is that Trip has soo much energy (even though Odo’s the puppy, Trip is usually the one instigating the play!), and we just can’t take him to the park every day, which is the only thing that really tires him out. So far, it seems like Odo will help with that! Trip is still not sure about accepting Odo as a member of the pack, especially sharing cuddle time with him, but I think he’ll get there. It’s hard being an older sibling.

Odo’s a cutie pie. He loooves cuddling, and will immediately jump up on the couch next to me or the spouse when we sit down, curl up and go to sleep. (Trip doesn’t like that because he’s usually not fast enough to get a spot by the human, if there’s only one of us on the couch, or if we are both there, he seems to want his choice of human.) Odo also likes to cuddle under covers—we’ve been letting the dogs come up in our bed with me when the spouse leaves for work this past week, so we don’t have to re-kennel Odo or worry about them chewing stuff up downstairs. Odo jumps up into bed and tries to wiggle down under the covers . I’m kind of afraid he won’t be able to breathe, but it doesn’t seem to bother him.

Thanksgiving 2012

I didn’t really post anything Thanksgiving-related on Thanksgiving. This is because the status update thing on Facebook specifically asked, “What are you thankful for?” and everyone, like sheep, posted that they were thankful for friends, family, health, blah blah blah. I have no doubt that most people did it with the best of intentions, but it felt a little hollow and forced to me, so I refrained. But I am thankful for many things, which I will now enumerate:

Love
Dogs
My dog, in particular
Coffee
Chocolate
Friends
Family
The internet
Star Trek
Good health
A steady, decently-paying job that I mostly enjoy

Insurance that covers infertility treatment

Sunshine

Water
Air
My bed
Blankets
Warm clothes in the winter
Music
Poetry
Laughter
Fest
Emoticons
Travel
My house
President Obama
Blue states
And more

Thanksgiving was a bit weird this year. Thanksgiving day itself was fine; my spouse worked first shift (6:30am-2:30pm), for which he earned quadruple time and a paid day off on Friday, so that was cool. I had some “I time” in the morning and early afternoon, which I always appreciate. Then we went out to my parents’ house (just a 45 minute drive) for Thanksgiving dinner, which is typically very low key, as it’s usually just my spouse and I and my parents. This year was no different. And I was mainly over the cold that had been plaguing me for the last week and a half, and my spouse was on the upswing as well. Dinner was good, it was awesome hanging out with my parents, everything was fine. I also talked to my brother on the phone for a good while (which, for us, is probably like 15 minutes ).