Tuesday, December 28, 2010


So after a week and a half, the family that took the furbaby in decided they didn't want to keep her. Too much on their plate, not a well-fenced enough yard. I am so disappointed. DH called me from work to tell me and to ask if there was any chance I had changed my mind about keeping her, seeing what he had gone through giving her up the first time and seeing how friendly and loving everyone thinks she is. No. I have not changed my mind. I don't want to live with her. But I know DH is going to beg and cry and that by being stubborn I'm taking away his best friend, basically. I feel like if I make him give the dog away to someone else I'm being a bad wife. If I allow her to stay I'm being a bad mom.

I felt such relief when I thought it was going to work out with this last family. Like I was looking forward to life again, I could eat, get things done, better for everyone, including the dogs, besides DH's initial grief. Which I thought he'd get over. My guilt subsided pretty quickly when I started getting reports about how she was doing. But now it's back. There's another friend that might take her but this one lives 3 hours away. How can I ask him to do this?

I offered to leave yesterday, like leave the marriage so he can keep his dog, but he's against divorce because of Dom. He doesn't want to be away from his son. He feels like I haven't left him a choice and he hates me for it. The thing is, I don't know if he'll ever forgive me and I may decide I've had enough of the silent treatment and the sleeping in different beds thing in a year or so. And I'd hate to have him say goodbye to his best friend and then we still don't work out. And I told him that. And he said it's one of those things where we won't know until we get there.

I keep wondering why I feel like my life has been frought with catastrophe lately. First the miscarriage/molar thing, then the CPC, now the dog and potential divorce. Am I creating misery for myself? DH keeps saying that if it's not one thing it's another with me. And that's been true for the last couple years. But it hasn't always been true. And like I said, the last couple weeks with the dog in a good home I've finally felt at peace. So maybe I'm not creating the problems, maybe I'm just a lightening rod for crap. I was going to say "extremely unlucky" but I am lucky. I have become a mom and that really is the most important thing. It just sucks when you've been through so much and then when you think it can't get any worse, it does. I think a lot of my readers can relate - a lot of us have had some f-ed up years. I appreciate your guys' support so much.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pulling myself from the rubble

It's been a little over two months since my last post but it feels like FOREVER. I thought I'd never post again. I did go into a pretty serious depression but not over the baby or what he's meant for my life. Does it count as PPD if it has entirely to do with something completely unrelated to the baby? I never really got over the dog incident. For those of you who haven't read the previous posts, one of my rescue dogs bit a guest at our house as he approached, this was about 4 weeks after Dom was born. The dog thought the guest was an intruder and was out of control and the worst happened. This was the second time she had bitten a person in 6 months. The first time she instigated a scuffle with a huge dog at the dog park and the owner of the other dog stuck her hand in to get her dog out and got bitten. My DH and I hired a professional trainer which helped, but the dog and her management was taking over our lives and causing a lot of fights between DH and I. I am convinced she has some pit bull in her and have heard one too many stories about pit bulls mauling or killing kids to be comfortable having an aggressive one in our house. DH thought he could handle her and everything that would go into keeping her and I just knew that he couldn't and him trying would not be fair to me or Dom because he would always be preoccupied with managing her. Plus I could see the innumerable fights that would occur between he and I. I know dogs. He doesn't. And I know how consistent and strict you have to be with them, especially if they're aggressive and think they're dominant. And he doesn't. He thinks "killing them with kindness" is a good tactic. As any dog person knows, it's not. And I knew I'd constantly have to be on his case to keep the dog headed in the right direction. And I don't want all of this for my life. So I stubbornly held to my position which wasn't even that harsh. I maintained that we needed to give the dog away, we don't have time to manage this problem and I was not willing to risk letting Dom get caught in any crossfire and I was imploring DH for three months to please PLEASE at least ask people he knew if they could take her. I told him I would not give her back to the shelter or have her put to sleep but please meet me halfway. He let me cry myself to sleep most nights and watched as I lost weight and downed more zoloft than I really wanted to take while breastfeeding and went to therapy appointments when I was supposed to be calling contractors about remodeling our kitchen. He was utterly unyielding because he loves this dog and didn't see any risk to the baby. Granted, she is very loving to people she knows, including Dom. But she's bitten two people. Not only do I not want Dom to get hurt, I don't want him living in a household where we all get pits in our stomachs every time someone comes over for fear that the dog will get aggressive. I don't want him to be subject to the stress the dog was causing in our marriage or our social lives. God forbid we all get attached to her and the authorities determine someday that she needs to be put down. This was not what I wanted for my life and I figured there had to be another option. Like giving her to someone who doesn't have kids or other dogs and who needs a watch dog or would like a running partner. DH would hear none of it and screamed in my face that he was giving up on me.

We started talking divorce.

This didn't help my depression. It's kind of a tragic irony. I LOVE dogs. I am the kind of person who takes in the most pathetic and helpless of animals. I didn't know if DH would be open to dogs when we first got together, but it turns out, he has a bigger heart than I do. I admire this about him, and yet it is this which has cost probably upwards of 10 years off my life from the stress and anxiety he and his heart have caused over the last few months.

I won't recount the details of our heated conversations here, but I disclosed them to a friend of mine who is getting her second masters in psychology and she said DH's behavior is easily classified as verbal abuse. He gets violent too, slams things together in my face - one time our smaller furbaby scrambled under our couch while DH was screaming at me, smacking his hands together, telling me (who was in tears telling him that I loved him) that he didn't love me and didn't want to be with me anymore. Later I couldn't find the little dog and finally found him stuck under that couch. He had wedged himself in to escape the madness and couldn't get himself out. I had to lift up the couch to get him free. Another time DH was throwing his arms around in anger in the dark and hit my leg, accidentally. It was definitely an accident...but what if it had been Dom? He has a temper that's a little out of control. And all because he didn't even want to ask around about a dog that was making me physically and psychologically ill. He kept telling me to work on my anxiety. Like that would make my fear for my son and his upbringing disappear.

Finally, after a lot of drama and weeks of accepting that I might soon be single and in need of a good lawyer, he did find a family to take the dog. They are really close friends, they live a half hour away, they know all about the dog's history, and they're really smart. In four days they did more for the dog in terms of training than we did in a year and a half plus $600 in professional training. We spent a day dropping her off and acclimating her to her new surroundings and new family, and when we left, DH cried. I've known him for 11 years and have only seen him cry two other times. Once when his mom died and again when his dad died. He wasn't kidding when he said he loved this dog and I almost turned back around to get her back.

But days have passed and he hasn't brought it up and I feel like I'm slowly healing. I know I did the right thing. But as the days pass I can't help but notice that our marriage is not healing. I feel like he meant what he said - he's given up on me, he only did it for Dom, he's afraid of being away from his son. He doesn't love me. There has been a theme in our relationship of him not really wanting to be in it. Before we started dating he maintained that he didn't want some girl messing up his life. When we first started dating he insisted that we be "friends with benefits," not really dating. And then we were together for seven years before he'd marry me. He didn't want kids. What have I been doing? I picked the wrong guy. We don't want the same things. All those cliche revelations are raining down upon me. And surprisingly, I'm ok. I still feel better than I did when we had the dog living under our roof. Dom has made me stronger. The only thing that keeps me in this house is the fear of being away from him even for a day. I do not want to share custody. I know he needs his dad, his dad loves him, he loves his dad. I'm just saying, if I could be guaranteed sole custody I'd have left weeks ago. His dad can visit. That's it.

Our unruly furbaby is on a trial run with this new family and while most of me prays every day that it will work out, another part hopes she comes back so he can have his dog and I can leave and use the dog as a reason not to give him an inch in a custody battle.

DH is like a co house manager right now. He helps around the house, helped me create a christmas for my family, and I went to his on christmas eve. But he doesn't sleep in our bed anymore, he calls our room my room. And he's weird about the baby. He hasn't changed a diaper since the hospital, I'm constantly letting him give Dom a bottle, but he gives up at the first sign of fussiness and I end up doing it. He's never bathed dom, never taken him for a walk. He's good with him when they play but it's always short-lived. He blames it on work. He's really buried himself in work lately. He booked four hours on christmas day. W.T.F?

I'm torn these days, I go back and forth about leaving. I'm angry that what should have been the best six months of my life has turned into such a nightmare. But I have not forgotten to soak in every blissful moment that I've had with Dom. I've been pretty good about compartmentalizing the depression over my relationship and home life and distinguishing it from my experience as a mother. I have not taken a second with Dom for granted and he remains the most amazing and wonderful thing I have ever been blessed to experience. Even on days when I've felt weak from weight loss and sick from panic, my heart has been full because I've looked into his face and been able to smile, because I didn't want him to see the sadness in my eyes. I've kept smiling for him. Everything is for him now. But somehow that hasn't crystalized in my mind the decision of whether to stay or go. I want to make the right decision and I have resigned myself to the fact that it will take time to reach it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pedi appointment from hell

Unfortunately I am not referring to a pedi-cure...even the worst pedi would be welcome these days. It's been longer than I care to admit.

Our pediatrician, who I actually like (which says a lot for him)...or liked...made a challenging day worse by turning into an insensitive a-hole. Everything started out fine until he did a hip check. Since Dom was breech, a couple doctors checked his hips manually (no scan) at the hospital when he was born. They were checked again at subsequent appointments, and no one ever raised an eyebrow. But now here we were at his two month appointment and all of the sudden the Dr. thinks he hears a hip click and refers us to a pediatric orthopedic specialist. Bummer, but I took it pretty well. It's fairly common among breech babies, the click doesn't automatically mean he has hip dysplasia, and even if he does, it's likely only to need a brace for a couple/few months and should be fixed forever after that. In the grand scheme of things (which I have been remarkably good at seeing since the CPC) - no big deal. Dom screamed when the pedi did the hip manipulations - I had never heard anything like it coming from Dom's little self and it made me so sad. But still, I understand these tests can't all be fun and games and wasn't blaming the Dr. too much at this point.

Then a fire alarm went off. Perfect. The entire human contents of the three-story medical complex had to be emptied out and not just to the parking lot, but actually was forced cross a busy intersection. It was around 90 degrees and a horrible inconvenience. Poor Dom was all undressed and stressed out from his hip test and I had to stuff him into his stroller as-is and maneuver him through the crowds hoping no one near us in the cattle call was sick or infectious. Plus, I had a coffee date with some girls from work which I desperately needed and started to wonder if it was going to happen at all. I would have just taken the opportunity to leave but Dom hadn't gotten his shots yet. He managed to fall asleep while we were outside and when the drill was over we made our way back to the exam room. This is where the Dr. turned into a total moron. He was now in a huge rush because the alarm had set him behind (which I had no sympathy for. Please, as if they're not always running 15-20 minutes behind anyway - my pet peeve in doctors offices, or with anyone I'm paying for is when they treat me like I'm in their way or wasting their time) so he shoves the needles into Dom's legs without explaining or disclosing anything about the vaccines he's administering and without obtaining my signature on the consent form which he completely forgot about. And then the worst - one of the vaccines, I can't remember which - is in drop form that goes down the baby's throat. The Dr. held Dom at a 45 degree angle and squirted the entire contents down his gullet. With the first drop Dom started choking, and not just coughing, he couldn't breathe or even cough for a count of a good 6 seconds. And for those long seconds he emitted no sound because he couldn't. He just struggled mightily, his face and lips turned purple and he had the most pained, desperate expression as he instinctively struggled for air. Instead of taking a break or lifting Dom more upright to help him swallow the stuff properly, the doctor just continued the administration of the liquid, stopping for nothing. I could barely keep my hands from whisking my son away to comfort him and get him breathing again. I was practically on top of the doctor, on my toes, braced with stress, it was awful for me out to see Dom in such immense discomfort and to see his agony being completely ignored by this jerk. It's not that I was afraid he'd pass out or die or anything, I knew he'd be fine eventually and again, I know it's not all supposed to be pleasant at these appointments, but this was an extraordinary and unnecessary disregard for Dom's comfort and it disgusted me. No Dr. would ever treat an adult this way. Even veterinarians treat their patients better than this. It was really ridiculous.

After Dom regained his color the Dr. remembered the consent form and, still flustered and darting around the office, realized he didn't have a pen and asked if I had one. "I think I have one in my purse," I said, and he looked annoyed and let out a huff as if he didn't want to wait for me to travel the four feet to my purse to retrieve it. Like he expected me to just happen to have a pen in my hand at the ready. I wasn't impressed.

I really do give people the benefit of the doubt when I first meet them. Whoever they are. I'm not one of those people that others have to prove themselves to. I truly expect people to be good natured, smart, reliable, professional, trustworthy, etc. and I treat them this way until they prove to me otherwise. At least this is how I've been for most of my life. But lately I feel myself changing. Becoming more cynical. Treating people as guilty until proven innocent. And it's experiences like this that have started to turn me in that direction.

We have an appointment to get Dom's hips checked by a specialist on the 25th. He'll be 2.5 months which is much older than I'm comfortable with for starting treatment if he does have dysplasia, but I've been assured that this is plenty early. I guess I have to trust the doctor despite what I've read on google. It would be nice if we could complete the treatment while I'm still home and can make sure the brace is worn correctly, but it looks like that's not in the cards for us. Which reminds me, I need to go schedule some meetings with daycares.

The dog thing last month really bothered me - it was thee thorn in my side. The one imperfection in my life that I lobbied to get rid of so that my life might be cleansed of inconvenience and discomfort and stress. But with this layered on top I'm getting more comfortable with the idea that life is just messy and stressful. Rarely do we really have it all together. There is always that 1-3% unfortunate category that we're going to fall into at any given time. That's why the fun moments in between, amongst the mess, are so important to seize, enjoy, and commit to our memories. Because we can't live dwelling on the imperfections and the worst-case scenarios. Well, we can, but it's no way to spend a life.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Some explaining to do

Sorry for the hiatus. I had kind of a minor life crisis and have been debating about whether I really have time and motivation to continue blogging. There are new things to focus my energy and time on for sure, but I sincerely and greatly value the support I get from this community, the camaraderie and perspective, everything I learn from all of you and your stories, and of course there's the therapeutic value of writing.

The minor life crisis has nothing to do with the baby. One of our rescue dogs is turning out to be a little overprotective - she gets fear-aggressive sometimes with strangers and most recently actually snapped at someone coming to visit and left a small bite mark. The person practically fell on her and was carrying a cane so there were some extenuating circumstances and all was forgiven, but I freaked out. The dog is totally safe with kids and great with the baby so I'm not worried about Dom. She's very loving once she gets to know a person and she's never bitten a stranger before. But she has demonstrated a fearfulness of men before...I just never thought she'd cross that line and bite someone. I'm worried that she will bite someone in public - the mailman or a skateboarder or someone that looks suspicious to her and that we'll then have the emotional and expensive and stressful experience of lawsuits and the dog possibly getting put down. We do not need a high-maintenance guard dog. I don't want to live with the stress of the possibility of something going wrong. Thing is, DH is addicted to her. He's so attached and refuses to even try to find her another home. He thinks I'm overreacting. He likes that she's a good guard dog. She obviously passed some behavior evaluation about a year ago in order to be deemed suitable for adoption. He threatened to divorce me before he'd let me give her away. Seriously he was ready to walk out. And he would. He has another house about a hundred miles north and a place to work up there. We had a HUGE fight and I've actually considered what life would look like apart.

I was so stressed out that I couldn't eat or sleep - which made me stress more because I was worried that my milk production would suffer and that I was letting these precious days with Dom go by and remained in a deep depression. I was panicked for days, having anxiety attacks. I went back on zoloft and we're getting a professional trainer for the dog and things are better. Having Dom to take care of has really pulled me through. I am so in love with him and there's nothing I wouldn't do for him. And no matter how incapacitated I felt in the last few weeks, I was still able to rise to the occasion of taking painstaking care of him, he's all the motivation I need to keep going. And that's good because right now he's all the motivation I have.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Number two

No, not that number two, though I could undoubtedly fill seven blog posts with those adventures. I'm talking about another baby.

I always envisioned having two - no more, no less. Close in age. DH wanted zero. Then I convinced him to have the one, and he thinks he wants to stop here, but is open to two...maybe. He typically lets me decide these kinds of things. That's how we ended up with the one in the first place. But he's begun to question the wisdom of some of my decisions recently since our second dog (that I insisted on) is turning out to be higher maintenance than we ever imagined. The first one was and continues to be a perfect angel. I pushed it too far this time, I admit it. The second one has made our lives exponentially more stressful for reasons we could not have seen coming. You don't really know what you're going to get when you adopt a dog. Same with having a kid - even moreso with a kid that you don't get to spend 20 minutes with before hand. I have a lot of faith in my gut feeling on this one though, I LOVE being a mom, I love taking care of a baby, I like the idea of giving Dom a sibling and having a slightly bigger family and avoiding the 'only child' syndrome.

I am, however, starting to consider the disadvantages and the possibility that not only do I not think I want to start trying again immediately but that I may be good with just the one. As B3thany Fr@nkel so aptly put it - this motherhood thing is "no joke" - and she doesn't know the half of it with her full time nurse, two personal assistants, and a work-from-home career. I remember thinking, briefly, when I was considering a second dog - why mess up a good thing? We are so happy, content, life is easy, why complicate it? Because I always complicate it. I have some kind of cosmic pull toward challenge, chaos, and stress. I think it's some deeply-rooted psychological phenomenon having to do with wanting to prove myself to my parents. I always convince myself that I want the impossibly difficult career that's way over my head, the hard-to-get bad boy, the second rescue dog. I don't listen to people telling me to take the easy way out because it sounds like the easy way out when really it's just a recognition of one's limits and how to make life comfortable. I've never listened and have paid a price. I don't like the career path I'm on and am constantly stressed out about one aspect or another of the life I've built. So it does give me pause when I recognize how headstrong I am about a second baby. Do I want it for the right reasons? Or because I think that I should be all and do all including the 'perfect' family?

Paired with this hesitation is the protocol I'm just now learning about for pregnancy-after-c-section. It's actually a protocol for consecutive pregnancies in general. When I first spoke to my OBG to schedule my 6 week post partum appointment she mentioned that we would talk at that appointment about what birth control I wanted to use. I was instantly irritated (to those who aren't familiar with my previous blog, I don't have a spectacular relationship with my OBG). She has this repulsive way of putting things that nixes any chance of discussion. She often makes decisions applicable to my body and my life and presents them to me in a way does not leave room for talking about pros and cons or risks and benefits. Like it's not open to discussion at all. This was one of those times. She didn't mention anything about why I would have to immediately go on BC or for how long or what the consequences could be if I didn't. She doesn't think the patient needs to know the details and that has always frustrated me about her. So I ask a littany of questions based on what I've read off the internet and heard from friends and she proceeds to criticize me for borrowing inaccurate or unreliable information. What else am I supposed to go on?

Anyway, it took a few minutes on babycenter to figure out that there are real reasons to wait to have a subsequent pregnancy. Even more reasons after a c/section. It makes sense, your body has been completely depleted. You have a six inch incision in three or four layers of the max stretching zone. DH told me I looked "too skinny" and tired last night - he was holding Dom and I pointed at the baby and said well, there's all my calcium, my protein, my nutrients, vitamins, energy, everything. Everything went into that little bundle. I get that there might not be enough left to create a whole other being right away. Now, in this day and age and region, nutrients are easy to come by - we civilized societies are a healthy people and kabillions of people have healthy back-to-back babies. So it doesn't seem to me like an impossibility, but I get that back-to-back may increase the risk of certain issues. In my research about SIDS I found that having a second baby right away increases the risk in that second baby. The waiting periods I keep hearing range from 9 months to two years. If you know me you know I am not someone who deals well with any degree of risk. I hate the unknown, I am a control freak. So I can wait.

I was trying on work clothes today, to try to gauge whether I'll ever be able to wear any of them again. As it turns out, DH is wrong. I am not too skinny. And as I got into the mindset that I will eventually have to march back into that office, it struck me that this would be the first time in my professional life that my day to day activities, my every thought and decision and action, will not be governed by the babymaking cycle. The waiting, the charting, the sex-on-demand, the more waiting, all the tests, putting off making plans, it's all very stressful and a sense of relief that washed over me when I realized that I'm currently free of all of it. Free of it and appreciative of that. The last two+ years of my life have been consumed, in the fullest sense of the word, by a desperation, a dissatisfaction, a want so bad it hurt, and finally, I have attained a sense of contentment. Happiness. And the focus has now shifted to my life as it is rather than what it is not. And while there are plenty of good reasons to have kids back-to-back, I think I am going to enjoy this break.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Time has passed, despite my best efforts

I have spent the better part of my life wishing it away in a sense. Wishing for time to pass quickly. Waiting for my 16th, 18th, 21st birthday. Waiting for the next summer break, for finals to be over, for vacations, to get the word on a new job, to get the bar over with. And more recently that wish has been more acute. Waiting to ovulate, waiting to see if DH will be on board when the time comes, waiting for the time to test and then waiting twelve weeks for that first ultrasound in 2009. I thought it would kill me. And then, as if the universe was chiding 'you ain't seen nothing yet' there became a wait to try again. And again I hadn't suffered enough and it became a wait to find out what was wrong with me? Was it cancer? And then a wait to recover. And then the mother of all waits to try again. Then, pregnant and waiting again, this time with angst and fear at the wheel, for each ultrasound, each test, each milestone, to find out - is he okay?

For the first time in years, and particularly in the last two years, I am wishing for time to slow down. I feel like a completely different person, I've never held 'the moments in between' in such regard. I want to live in them forever. They aren't without anxiety and they are plagued by sleep deprivation and back pain and isolation, but if I could do nothing else for the rest of my life I would be happy. I am happy. It's a strange transition, hoping for time to stop. And it's frustrating to have people telling you that having kids is like hitting fast forward on your life. And the absolutely constant reminders to remember every moment, take lots of pictures 'cause it all goes by so fast. I've tried that, every day I try - for example, the moments I tried to seize in the hospital, holding my tiny beautiful perfect newborn. Spending time alone with him, taking in his every movement, every feature, observing my every emotion, even when it was 4am and I'd had 6 hours of sleep in three days. Even then I prayed and yearned for time to stop like I've never hoped for anything before. But while this process and those times have taught me a lot about living in the moment, time still passed. Already he's not that tiny newborn anymore. I have a one-monther. And he's clearly grown. Which is great! But I already mourn the loss of those earlier moments.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I turned thirty exactly two weeks after my son was born. People love referring to this milestone as "dirty thirty," and friends and family insisted that I do something spectacular to mark the occasion. Instead I sat around the house with my mom who was still in town helping me recover from my c-section. I changed diapers and breastfed. I didn't even take a shower that day or get a nap in. I had a sip of chocolate infused port - but just a sip, I'm still scared to over-indulge while I'm feeding such a tiny newborn person who's liver is about the size of my thumbnail, if that. But it was my favorite birthday yet. The very best one. And I truthfully wasn't upset in the least that I was leaving my twenties. First of all, I really don't see the point in getting all worked up (be it excited or depressed) over birthdays after the age of 10 (and hopefully to that point it's nothing but excited). Second, I have achieved everything that I want in life. The important stuff, ya know? I have a husband that I love. A healthy beautiful little boy. A house. A job - albeit not one I love, but I have an ok, well-paying job and a marketable skill set, or so they told me in law school. Ok, so the job thing could use a little work, but I am happy with what I have achieved at this point. There was nothing for me to be upset over. I still have this running monologue in my head reminding me of how lucky I am - on my birthday I was still thrilled to be able to change the diapers of my own baby and have been every day since, I wouldn't be surprised if this high lasts the rest of my life. So the day passed with little fanfare, objectively speaking. But subjectively, I had the time of my life. Every day I am with my son is the time of my life.

Back to the job thing, it's actually kind of eating at me. With all the time I have to peruse the internet these days I have actually gone looking for a less demanding one (My current job requires ~10 hour days, some weekends, it's one of those law firm gigs where you're a slave to the billable hour). Not very seriously, just browsing to see what's out there. And there are some options I think I would like and that would accord me more time with my family, but that would also mean a 50% pay cut. Part of me thinks "seize the day," grab the opportunity, any chance to trade up in terms of happiness in your job is a good trade as long as you aren't being paid less than you're paying to daycare (while this may not be true for everyone, it's true for me because for me I don't think any job would beat SAHM). But the other, more responsible part of me thinks I should stay the course, do what I can in my current position given the new pressures on my time and see what happens. Milk the current paycheck for a while until 'they' either start suggesting that I find something new or I reach the point where I can't handle it anymore. I have a pretty serious work ethic, I'm kind of stubborn in that regard, so I bet I'll stick it out until I get 'iced' out because I have to leave every evening at 5:30. And then I'll gladly find something else to do. Why does the more responsible choice also seem kind of passive aggressive? Maybe because the more responsible choice isn't the most responsible choice...which would be to get my ass on the partner track...which is not going to happen. It's not worth it.

Anyway, back to my birthday. Not only wasn't I disappointed at being thirty, I also wasn't sad that no one made a big deal about it. My mom gave me a check. I don't even think my dad called me... I got some facebook well-wishes. That's about it. DH and I don't really do presents, and when we do, it entails telling each other what we want and sometimes we even end up shopping for our own gift which is always something we would have gotten around that time anyway. In other words, we don't really do gifts. We get things we need and rename them 'birthday presents' because they happen to be needed around the time of our birthdays. This year I 'gave' DH a pair of running shoes for his birthday. Nevermind that we didn't get them until three months after his birthday and that we went shopping for them together. One year, when we moved into our new house and didn't have a TV, I gave him a TV. A 73-incher that DH still insists was a gift to myself because I am a total addict. Most years we don't get each other anything at all. We are very low-key about holidays in general. No xmas presents. No big anniversary bashes or valentine's day celebrations, I'd say we're 'too practical' but I know that's what people say when they know they're bordering on sad and unromantic. It's more that we don't like receiving gifts that we don't really need paid for with our own pooled funds enough to make it worth trying to think up gifts to get each other with the same funds and we would rather spend the money on things we both agree that we need. It is a little unromantic though. Luckily DH spent the seven years that we dated discovering that jewelry was an easy win in the gift department (and we did do gifts back then) so the fact that I don't get gifts from him anymore isn't such a bummer in that respect.

Upon the birth of our baby I decided that, for my birthday, instead of a tattoo I'd settle for something less invasive and painful but perhaps just as predictable. An initial necklace. One of those little letters standing for your baby's first name, usually diamond (or CZ) encrusted. I found the one I wanted in both real ($450) and fake ($38) and decided the fake would be perfectly adequate. I'm a parent now. I may have spent $450 on a purse six months ago but it's time to get real. I have a house to pay off and a person to raise. It's not about me anymore. So I told DH my idea and he literally jumped off the couch and ran to get a little gold pendant his grandmother had given him years ago which actually bore our baby's initials - probably because our baby's initials are also DH's initials. I put it on a tiny, almost invisible gold chain and I have to say, it's grown on me. I don't wear a lot of gold which could be a problem but I'm actually a fan of the idea of having something more unique and meaningful than a roberto coin charm (not that I would turn one down)...but then again, those little letters are adorable and would go well with my usual jewelry style. I told him I'd use the one he gave me for when I wear gold and get the silver one - actually it's rhodium (which frankly, I think is the most underestimated of all jewelry metals) for when I wear silver. But I never did order the silver one. I don't know if I'm being responsible or more sentimental than usual, or if I'm just realizing that being 'cheap' isn't always being cheap, sometimes it's more of a sort of buhddist contentment with less crap which actually I could use a lesson in. But the verdict is out on whether I'm going to hit that "place order" button.

So all in all the day passed without much 'to-do.' And I was actually relieved. This whole year has been about me. At least the last nine months. I'm the only one in my circle of friends and in my family that was pregnant at the time. I was carrying my parents' first grandchild. DH was an only child so same there - although his parents are gone his (very large) extended family made a huge deal over the situation to the point of embarrasment. One of my friends said my baby shower was by far the nicest she'd ever been to and that it was more like a wedding than a shower. And this friend is preppy, so that's saying a lot. It was like a wedding. It was ridiculous. There are people in my family who have sent three plus different sets of baby gifts - like one when they found out about the pregnancy, one for the shower, one when he arrived, one when they came to visit... I have never been particularly good at being the center of attention. I don't like it as much as some people do - I get insecure and embarrassed, like who the F am I to deserve this ridiculous show. So as you can imagine, after almost a year of this, I've had enough of it being about me. I'm sick of myself. And I really didn't want people spending more money or time on me. There was just no need. If for no other reason than because I have everything I need. Figuratively and literally.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Formula is gross.

I've been exclusively breastfeeding for the three weeks since he arrived and lately have noticed some changes in Dom's behavior that have led me to think about supplementing. I am a believer in the whole 'breast is best' thing, but as is the case for the way I feel more generally about pregnancy, birth, and parenting, I don't feel the need to be a purist about it. I'm a huge fan of breastfeeding, but I'm not too conflicted about the idea of giving the baby formula as a supplement.

This week he went from going straight to sleep after every feeding to getting really fussy after being put down at least half the time. He'd seem sleepy at first so I'd put him in his crib only to discover via video monitor that a few minutes later he'd start sucking on his hands and smacking his lips. And then he'd start crying or fussing. Then wailing. So I'd try to breastfeed him more but I doubt (based on my experience pumping after feeding) that there was anything left. One of several things could be happening, I figure. He might still be hungry either because I'm not producing enough milk or because he's going through a growth-spurt and my supply hasn't caught up. He might be colicky, but I don't think so because he can be soothed pretty easily by putting a boob or a pacifier in his mouth or sometimes even just picking him up and talking to him. Finally, he might just be growing out of that newborn "amoeba" stage and actually require a little more awake time and stimulation, more attention - he may be realizing the difference between how nice it feels to be held and how lonely it feels to be left in his crib.

All signs pointed to 'still hungry' though because no matter what soothing, or distracting, or attention-giving steps we took he still ultimately reverted to sucking on whatever he could reach and fussing when he realized that none of those things was a boob. So I decided to fix him a bottle of formula last night. Some work friends mentioned a useful rule of thumb: If they still seem hungry after a feeding, try formula and if they drink more than 2oz they probably were hungry. If they drink less than that, there are probably other reasons for the fussing.

I chose Similac because I had a couple free samples. As unreasoned and uneducated as that rationale is, I actually hear it a lot. Genius campaign. Whoever figured out how to get those little canisters into every hospital giftbag and to mysteriously appear in the mailboxes of new moms everywhere is a genius. I've never gotten a free sample of any other types of formula which makes me wonder if Similac has some kind of injunction preventing it.

Anyway, I opened the can and just about puked. It smelled awful. I triple checked the expiration date, I knew I had examined the seal on the can just before opening, but there you have it. It smelled like rotting plastic. I couldn't believe that that's what it was supposed to smell like so I opened the second canister to compare. The second one was equally as nasty. I proceeded to mix it. Still smelled absolutely awful. By this time I felt a little sick. I started to wonder if I had stored it at the wrong temperature and what was I about to do to my poor tiny baby?! I tasted a few drops, not too bad. So I fed Dom a little. He wasn't into it. I tasted a little more, an actual sip this time. Undrinkable. I continued to worry that maybe it was tainted and pictured a story on the news about new recalls for potentially fatal contamination and then I googled and realized...this is normal. WTF?

I'm not sure what I expected, something like ensure I guess. Why not make it a little sweeter - babies need calories, right? Or make it at least neutral. Like milk. I don't expect them to throw in butter pecan flavoring or anything but it must be possible to make this stuff palatable. Anything less offensive than "toilet scum." Upon learning that formula really just tastes that bad it started to make sense that it would smell like crushed up vitamins and minerals. I also saw a few things online about how babies don't have taste buds or the nipple goes so far back in their throat that they don't taste anything. I don't know how plausible these explanations are but apparently masses of babies don't mind this funky stuff for one reason or another.

Like I said Dom wasn't into it. He got this scowly look on his face and spit the nipple out after a sip each time. He's had bottled breastmilk before so it wasn't the bottle. Either he was as grossed out as I was or he wasn't hungry or it was the wrong temperature - he was screaming by the time I got the bottle ready so it wasn't properly warmed. But again, he's had lukewarm breastmilk so I don't think the temperature explains everything either.

I had hoped that our first foray into formula would be more successful. This is only my second post of the new blog and I think I've already mentioned that I love wine. I have severe guilt about drinking and breastfeeding this early, however, and formula could help with that. DH also gets a kick out of feeding and pumping isn't working very well while I'm also breastfeeding round-the-clock so formula could help with that too. Not as a replacement for breastfeeding by any means but a couple times a week maybe. Now I'm not so sure. Perhaps we'll try again when I regain my stomach.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I am a mom. I am also a wife and a lawyer, I have two rescue dogs, I just turned 30, I love wine and I eat ice cream most days. This blog will doubtless touch on many of my characteristics but the common theme, the driving force will be my experience as a mom.

After a devastating pregnancy loss that was discovered at 12 weeks early in 2009, and a related diagnosis of GTD, a cancerous growth of placental cells which thankfully was easily treated and resolved with only mild treatment, I began the long journey of trying again which involved a six month wait to see if the GTD would crop up again. Fortunately, after that wait, DH and I soon found ourselves pregnant again. This new pregnancy was plagued by my own relentless anxiety, borne partially of my nature, partially of my trauma over our loss and the subsequent events, and partially of some "abnormalities" that were discovered along the way. We were informed at 19 weeks of a choroid plexus cyst (a soft marker for trisomy 18) and persistent breech starting at 34 weeks. I was fixated on the chance of a chromosomal abnormality but refused invasive diagnostic testing on the chance that it might be detrimental to the baby. Despite my greatest fears, our son was born healthy and I haven't looked back.

I've been a mom for 3 weeks and I could not be happier. It is everything I expected and wanted it to be. They say you are never prepared for parenthood, that you can't understand it until it happens. Maybe. But for the past few weeks I've felt like this was something I was born to do. Something I have always been destined for and I feel absolutely prepared to handle whatever comes. Maybe it's biological, maybe I'm still reeling from how lucky I feel and my heightened appreciation for parenthood after the difficulty we withstood to get here, but this new role of mine fits like a glove. I feel more confident than I have in any other role or job in my life. And I am happy. And if you knew me IRL or if you have read my previous blog, Babymaking 101, which details my TTC journey and pregnancy, you know happiness isn't easy to come by for me. I am a worrier. I am pessimistic. I insist on more information, even when more is less. I ruminate and fixate and obsess. I have a lot of difficulty living in the present and enjoying things for what they are, when they are. These are all things I have resolved to work on now that my son has arrived. I actually made this resolution while I was laying in bed in the c/section recovery room. So far so good.

I'd provide some kind of roadmap at this point but I'm not sure where this new journey will take me. And that is an exciting prospect. Welcome to my story.