Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Fertility (or Lack There of)

Fertility has constantly been on my mind for the past three years. My own fertility, or lack there of, to be exact. Some lucky couples have no trouble conceiving. We were not one of those couples. I always thought that we would decide to have a baby and bam, we would get pregnant right away. As usual, life is never how you think it will be.

Prior to being gifted with the beautiful lady baby, I had two ectopic pregnancies. Both happened in my right tube and both resulted in surgery. During the second surgery my whole tube had to be removed. I now like to call myself "One Tube Thea." My doctor was unable to determine the cause of my ectopics and we will probably never know. Besides that adventure in fertility, I also have low progesterone and to improve that I have to take clomid to conceive. Good times. Hello, mood swings, hot flashes, and bloating. Thank god the prize at the end is so amazing, because the process is tedious at best.

I feel like a huge percentage of people I know in their childbearing years have had trouble getting pregnant. A few weeks ago I was at the park with 5 other moms and four had been on fertility drugs at some point. Also, four had had at least one miscarriage. That really made me sit up and take notice. I am not alone in my struggles to get pregnant, so why did it so often feel like it? I think a big problem is that the subject of infertility is still very taboo in our society. Baby making is a very private affair and therefore getting help to baby make feels like it should be a secret too. There is also the factor that once people know you are trying, it becomes a constant barrage of questioning looks and glances at the belly. For someone who is less than svelte, I really didn't appreciate the latter. I have always been really open about our journey to parenthood in hopes that my story may help make someone else feel a little less alone. I understand the desire to keep the struggle private, but for me that made me feel like I was hiding something. Obviously it is hard to keep two surgeries a complete secret, but I didn't want to. Support made that time much easier. Hearing that other people went through really hard times and came out the other side as parents gave me hope.

I understand that a faction of people are never going to be comfortable talking about their baby having trials and tribulations. My wish is that no one is embarrassed about having fertility issues and that we  can all be honest about our struggles. Creating life shouldn't be taboo for goodness sake. It should be celebrated and supported.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Many Faces of Lady Baby

She's laughing and making a funny face. She's crying and stomping her feet. She's laughing and screeching. She's crying and head butting me. That all took place in approximately 2 minutes this afternoon. The winds of change blow through our house quite quickly these days, and if you blink you may get caught up in a storm you didn't see coming. I love my child, but damn. It is exhausting trying to keep up with a person who can't decide if they want to hug you or hit you, and sometimes they do both at the same time.

I think part of the problem is her highness cannot express herself very well yet. Therefore, she is often misunderstood. This leads to frustration, which 99% of the time leads to tears and/or tantrums. I try hard to understand, but when she says please and points in the general vicinity of the dining room, it is hard to pin down exactly what she wants. I can often be found dancing around like one of Bob Barker's beauties on speed, holding up different objects and trying to make them appealing to the contestant. All the while she is shaking her head and alternating between "no" and "meath" (the latter is her lispy version of please.) The whole scene would be funny, if I were not trying to head off the 337th storm of the day. (Or if it was some one else's kid.) Once I finally land upon the current object of her affection, she gives me a big smile and reaches her hands out and says "thine choo" (thank you). The real problems come when she is asking for something that she isn't going to get. Like the phone, or the keys ("keyth"), or a sharpie. I try the "distraction" method I keep hearing about, but that never seems to work. When I try to give her something else, it only further enrages her. So she cries and licks the floor, or throws herself down and lays there wailing, all because her mom is so hateful and never lets her have any fun. Oh little girl, if you only knew how many more times I will ruin your life in the next 18 years. The good news is that after she releases her anger into the world, it seems to dissipate and she becomes all happiness and light. Then we repeat the whole thing 3 minutes later over something else. I can only compare it to one of those crazy thunderstorms at the beach that blow up out of nowhere, last an hour, and then goes away just as quickly. However, it would be more accurate if said thunderstorm blew up 7 times in one day, demanding your full attention and jerking on your pants leg while screaming. My child is a tempest, a hurricane, a cyclone of emotion. Dear lord, help me now.

I find myself bribing her with things when we are in public to keep her happy and to keep the baby rage at bay. When she thrashes and refuses to bend her legs to sit in the cart at the Teeter, I use the free cookie to persuade her. When she goes into plank position and fights me when she doesn't want to get buckled in her car seat in a parking lot, I use the promise of paci to make her compliant. Am I proud that I have to resort to bribes? No. Do I care enough to stop and let her lose her @^#% everywhere we go? No. So I will provide her with incentives until she can comprehend verbal threats of punishment and fear me as the chief enforcer. Until then, its all about greasing the baby palm in an effort to keep things under control. Judge away supermoms, I am doing the best I can. I find that people don't like to hear screaming kids, especially when they are trying to peruse the produce in peace.

Fortunately, the passion swings both ways and when she is happy, she can light up a room with her smile. Much like a tiny Mary Tyler Moore. When she is grinning and happy it is hard to believe she can be so ornery. I love her throaty baby belly laugh that I am starting to hear more and more often. She finds lots about life hilarious, and when she laughs it makes me laugh. Nothing is more uplifting than hearing your child laugh. Many an afternoon when she is eating her snack, I can hear her and Ripley playing cat and mouse over a mum-mum. A teases the dog with her tasteless yet tantalizing cracker and the dog jumps for it and the child jerks her hand away and screams with laughter at her trickiness. The more worked up she gets laughing, the more worked up the dog gets. This goes on and on until either the dog snatches it or Priss finally hands it over willingly. Either way it keeps her entertained and happy long enough for me to empty the dishwasher or check my email.

Wouldn't it be great if you could get a onesie that was like a mood ring? With a mere glance at your toddler, you know what you are getting. If the onesie

Thursday, June 2, 2011

So Long Preschool, See you in the Fall

Today was the last day of preschool. One word sums up my feelings toward this momentous occasion. PANIC. I have to fill up the next three months with entertainment for a toddler. Insert scared face here.

I have savored every precious minute that my child has been in preschool. Those eight hours a week were awesome to do what I needed to do, which was usually work. Added bonus--she was so tired on school days that I would get a three hour nap out of her highness. Now, we are looking at a long stretch of calendar with days and days to be filled with....what? Three of those long summer weeks will be filled with beach trips, and we have several weekend excursions on the books, but that still leaves quite a few days to fill with life enriching activities. A's current favorite activity is walking up and down our front walk and crawling up and down the front porch stairs. While it is better than, say, watching paint dry, there is only so much of this that I can tolerate. I get very bored with this game, especially because it inevitably leads to me having visions of her falling and jacking up her sweet little face on our slate stairs. SO, we are going to need some new favorites around here.

In an effort to save some moolah, we have decided to forgo any organized activities like music or camps. The one exception is that she might do a few weeks of a morning camp while I do some in-office work. But other than that, it is all mommy and Alice, all the time. We will do the normal playing in the house, but a girl has to get out and see the world, and so does her kid. Thank goodness I have friends who also want to get their shawtys out of the house. I am praying for a plethora of play dates so we can both socialize with people other than each other. As cute as she is, Lady Baby's conversation skills are lacking, unless you speak toddlerese fluently. We are also going to bite the bullet and join the children's museum for the summer. The one here in Greensboro has a fun area for the waddling and toddling set to play in. Lots of mats and things to crawl over, under and through. Ride on toys and an outside garden area. Super funs. More importantly, super tiring. We are also going to take advantage of the great parks around and do lots of playing at those. Again, ability to exhaust a 17 month old is a key attribute of any activity.

Notice the running desire for my child to take great naps? Well, nap time for A is work time for me. If she doesn't sleep, I don't work. If I attempt to work while she is awake she thinks I am having secret fun on the computer and she desperately wants to be a part of it.  It is next to impossible to get anything done when she is around. The entire time I am sitting at the table working, she does this thing where she grabs my arm with her little tiny nails and pulls down in the exact same spot repeatedly. After about 346 times, it starts to sting. After 972 times, there is no skin left and I am very angry. In an effort to circumvent that injury and keep my sanity and paycheck, it is imperative Sassy Pants sleeps for minimum 2 hours. I really love 3. Dare to dream for four. It is rare but not total impossible, sort of like hitting the megamillion or seeing Bigfoot.

Besides the panic, I am also tentatively excited to do lots of fun summertime things. Like filling the baby pool in the driveway and splashing away. Eating ice cream in the evening after a long fun day. Watching my little one lumber around the playground, eager to use her new found freedom up on two feet. Picnics in the park with friends. Story time at the library. I am sure there will be many moments when sanity seems to be slipping away, but I will do my best to remember that in a few short years, she won't want to spend sacred summertime hours with her mom. She will be a kid who only wants to hang out with friends. So I will take advantage of now and enjoy it as much as possible. Especially those long, long naps.

The Family Pool


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