Thursday, January 28, 2010

bipolar, just a little bit

Lately I feel so bipolar. One minute I'm in the depths of despair and the next?

The next I'm laughing hysterically at something and wondering how I have it so good.

I'm not used to feeling like this, and I hate it. I want not EVER to feel sad; I want to figure out how to accept all that's happened and just "move on".

Then, I was thinking that sometimes "moving on" is accepting your limitations, accepting where you are, accepting that "moving on" is also spending time being sad. Spending time being angry...being ambivalent.

I have been limiting the amount of blogs I read and still haven't "officially" come back onto Facebook. I signed on because I wanted to get ahold of an old friend, but have absolutely no desire to actually start reading status updates or wondering who is doing what.

Why, you ask?

Because it's too hard. It's too hard to be feeling totally great and then hop on there and see a breathtaking photo of one of the 9,392 new babies my dear friends have had. I used to think I was a total brat for not looking, but it's self-preservation, and it's what I have to do right now.

Listen, some days I think, "We are going to adopt!" and then I think, "The problem is figured out! Let's try again!" and then I think, "We are complete and fine just the way our family is now!" but most often I think,

"I need a beer and a reeeeeeeally bad Lifetime movie."

So that is where I am, and it's OK. 

....right?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dear Similac

Dear Similac,

In case you hadn't noticed, our country is currently in the throes of a nice and tidy little thing economists like to label "recession". I know you're a big company, and I know you have the dollars to hire someone for the sole purpose of making sure that women who have recently miscarried or had a stillbirth or, you know, had their baby die in their arms DO NOT GET YOUR GODFORSAKEN CANS OF FORMULA IN THE MAIL!

Really. It wouldn't be a hard job. You could hire the homeless lady outside of your corporate offices to sit and do this. She could even be drinking Smirnoff on the job, and she could still accomplish the task.

This is my idea, see: wherever you got a woman's name, check again before you send out the product to see if she has ended her subscription to that particular website/magazine. This is usually a good clue that something has gone awry with her pregnancy.

Hey! Did you know that not all pregnancies go "according to plan", as your adorable little pamphlet indicates? That sometimes, we cannot plan the pain that befalls us in the form of dead or deformed babies?

One other question, before signing off: was this particular can for the baby due in September 2009, or the one due in April 2010? There was also a contender due in July 2010.

I wish you had included a note indicating which baby the formula was intended for. I'm so confused.

I fed it to my 3 year old, who is no longer a baby, of course.

That's neither here nor there.

My husband and I did, however, enjoy the photographic portions of the enclosed pamphlet. I would advise you to leave the pregnant women romping around in skimpy bikinis in any and all subsequent pamphlets! I've never had such a good chuckle from the day's mail, and never has my husband looked more green in the face. It was quite an enjoyable thing to watch, his face turning all colors of the rainbow.

Anyway, if you see a woman has unsubscribed, it's a pretty good indication you should just keep the damn formula for yourself.

Either that, or I suppose you could run the risk of getting the poor, unsuspecting mailman shot in the mail bag by a neurotic woman wearing a bathrobe and holding a tommy gun.

Warmly,
Rachel

Sunday, January 24, 2010

you get me


I bought these shoes last night. My husband  really likes them. What is it with men and hooker boots?

Oh, and trust me: they might be Anne Klein, but I paid nowhere NEAR $137. I'm a cobra shopper, baby. Wait for it, wait for it, then STRIKE when the venom drips from the fangs. (Either that, or just go to the back of the shoe store and thank God that the size 11 you were cursing Him for 3 minutes ago is now the reason you are getting these great boots at a deeply discounted price.)

I wrote letters during church today. Scott doesn't believe me, but I can concentrate better that way. I can fill pages and pages full of frivolous tripe - I think with that talent, I could pass as an Obama speech writer.

Today Scott and I had a fight (yes we did, honey... it wasn't an argument, it was a FIGHT), and afterwards I took the kids to meet my parents at a salad bar place. 3 plates in hand, I told my dad I could handle it myself. WRONG. 

Shattered glass everywhere, broccoli florets and carrots on the walls, me telling myself, "do NOT cry. Rachel, DO NOT cry!" Dang it. Embarassing.

The guy in front of me said, "That could have happened to anyone."

I think that was the only thing stopping me from having a full-on sob-fest. I went over to him later with my bowl of ice cream and thanked him for not looking at me like I was a moron.

I love my children more than I love myself but sometimes I want FIVE minutes without a grimy little hand grabbing my arm.

You get me?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

1980s here we come


After my 2 hours ALONE at Hobby Lobby (thank you, in-laws!), Lucy and I are making these tonight.
Bring back any memories?
"After" pictures coming soon...




Monday, January 18, 2010

don't take your kids to the liquor store





The other night I hung out with a friend and her daughter, and then decided to go to the liquor store for some libations for Asher's birthday party. He was turning 3 on Saturday, and I REALLY didn't want to have to go to the liquor store in the morning. Judge as ye may.

Anyway, both kids in the back seat, we go RIGHT PAST THE LIQUOR STORE ON THE WAY HOME. I mean, it's practically a no-brainer, right?

Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Got the kids out of the car, and Asher starts asking if he is going to get a snack where we are going. I tell him this is a store for mommy, and he starts singing, "This is just for mommy. This is just for mommy."

I imagine him 35 years from now, sitting on various therapists' couches, telling them all about his Joan Crawford mother who drank from 4 PM on and never got out of her bathrobe.
Consequently, his only aspiration in life is to be the Holden Caufield of the 2030's. And, also, women won't touch him with a 10 foot pole, which is why I have no grandchildren and he puts kitten puzzles together as a hobby. His mother beat him with hangers and made him eat tacks, after all.
He wears a wife beater to bed, and also uses them as seat covers in his 1994 canary yellow Camaro.

Ah, where was I?

So, anyway, after explaining to my 3 year old that, "Yes, honey, we are going to the liquor store together," I saunter in like I own the place. Dirty looks from three different men, or maybe they are just checking me out, stains on my shirt and all.

Lucy starts touching each individual bottle, telling me the ones with the "pretty pictures" are the ones I should get. I am particularly interested in a really cheap pinot grigio when I spy Asher, wrestling with a 4-pack of Kahlua on the 2nd shelf.

"This is for KIDS!" he shouts triumphantly, lured in by bright yellows and reds. I scuttle on over, admonishing him in a not-very-nice voice that that is for mommy, too.

Another dirty look from a man who looks like he's spent one too many evenings with a woman named Betty Lou.

So, up to the front desk, where the woman keeps repeating something that rhymes with "cop" and rummaging around behind the counter for somethingi that's apparently out of sight.. I start to sweat a little bit underneath my bra and wonder if maybe it is ILLEGAL to bring children into a liquor store. I finally realize she is saying "lollipop", and instead of a gun she produces two lint-covered Dum-Dums.

The children cheer.

I pay for my sins ($20 for 3 bottles, definite sign of high class), and scuttle out the door.

After that, we go to the RedBox, where I rent "District 9" and Asher tells me the whole way home, "This isn't for kids, mom. This is bad. This is bad. This isn't for kids."











Lovely. Lovely. Lovely.

Can I count the partygoers as accomplices to the moral crime?
There wasn't a lick of alcohol left.


















Thursday, January 14, 2010

folding laundry

It was an OK day, and then the pregnancy announcement from a dear friend via the telephone. I am so happy for her, and yet. "Really, God? it just 'happens' for everyone else, and here I am, blowing fallopian tubes and serving as a waiting room for dying embryos. THANKS for that one, Big Guy."

Is it luck? Fate? Something I am failing to learn?

Every conversation a mine field, every interaction a drain.

I headed for the laundry and then started to fold laundry, deranged house wife that I am. I decided to turn on the television to the Christian music station.

Nicol Sponberg started to sing Resurrection.

I started to cry.

White nubs of a towel told my cheeks it would be OK, that crying is OK. 

Crying is good.

I think of Nicol and Greg and all they have been through and suddenly, 

I am fortified.

There is the reminder, the reminder like a balm to my weary soul, that I am not the only one. That though the world seems to go on and I wonder if I'm forgotten, I'm really not.

If they can go through that and still praise the God who gives and takes,

I can too.

yeah, I can, too.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

good

Deanne from the insurance company called me this morning at 7:24 to inform me that the insurance company is paying the balance of $12,564.51 IN FULL.

Woo hoo! Nothing like the power of persuasion, is there, kids? I wrote them a letter stating that if I had gone to another emergency room, I would have most likely arrived dead. AND I SURE CAN'T PAY $12,564.51 WHEN I'M PUSHING UP DAISIES! I also wrote that my fallopian tube was so full of embryonic tissues and nearly exploding that I was about to give it its own name:

Skyler !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, now that that's all cleared up, it's time to order some kitchen countertops! I have an appointment at 11:30 this morning to discuss corian vs. granite, though I do believe we have already chosen.

Last night Asher and I had a battle of wills, and I won. I cuddled him later, and he snuggled his little blanket and "Blueberry", his blanket bear. (Notice a theme here?) Tears still sliding down his cheeks, sniffling and shuddering, he stated, "Mama, you're good."

Yes, son, yes I am.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

not to

I hate going to the gym. I hate it.

Today the kids were hassling each other and hassling me, and we had to get out of the house.

Sometimes I feel a burning sensation in my heart and I have to flip up the top of me, like a Diet Dr. Pepper can, and make that little sound, or I just might explode. If I don't do that, I may hop onto babycenter.com and type, "Die, Bitches, Dieeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!"

I don't do that, though. I'm a good Christian girl.

I was pissed off due to more pregnancy announcements, and I rode that damn bike like my life depended on it. Kept upping the resistance, kept pushing through my anger.

During the bike ride from hell I was reading this book about the Amish, and one of the main characters was pregnant. I was about to throw the book into Barbie the Bimbo's head in front of me (she's probably pregnant, too), when the main character lost her baby at 14 weeks. I really, really started to like that book. Let's inject some realism into the situation, all right? Not everyone gets pregnant and gets that syrupy happy ending.

This is real life.

I was thinking today about the Nautilus 2000 rowing machine and the Prevcor treadmill and the muscle bending machine, whatever it's called. I don't use it, because the men who use it look like they're addicted to erection enhancing medications, and that sort of thing just isn't for me.

I wonder sometimes how these machines feel to be used so. Do they see 586 pound Patty coming in and say, "Ah, Dammit, Harry! If I had just been placed one machine over, she wouldn't have sat on me!"

Do they mind when the sweat from 10 different patrons seals itself to their handlebars?

Of course not.

They don't feel; they're inanimate objects.

And sometimes I think that would be nice, you know, the not-feeling thing.

Not to hate, not to love, not to know you are losing somebody.

Not to know how it feels when they stick around, or how it feels when they go.

Monday, January 11, 2010

brave

Tonight I am letting the kids eat pudding cups about 4 feet from the television. The kitchen is messy and I just had a wonderful conversation with a friend. We are so different, but our friendship just "works". It just does, and I don't question it. She asks all the right questions (just enough) and says all the right things and I just needed that today.

I read a blog today about a woman whose first child lived 28 days and then died of leukemia. Her child was born via c-section, and that c-section caused an infection that blocked the woman's tubes, so she can't have any more babies.

I read a blog today about a woman whose 2 month old died of Pertussis.

I read a blog today about a woman whose "big scan" turned into a nightmare. Her baby, her first girl after 3 boys, is dead.

I reread a blog today of a dear friend, she's expecting her 4th child. I think it's a girl.

I read the blog of another friend who is going through the pain and heartache of marital separation.

I read the blog today of a woman who is just sure she is the fattest woman in the universe.

I read, I read, I read.

Sometimes I wonder why I read. I think that, in the reading of it all, I feel connection. I stand in the shower and wonder what it all means as I idly peel off the sticker from the body wash container and wonder who is pounding on the bathroom door, and who is screaming.

I wonder how they are all brave, and if that cord runs in me, too.

Sometimes, being brave is being soft.

Sometimes, being brave is letting it out when I want to keep it in.

Sometimes, being brave is writing it all down, every word of it, and letting you see.

So, here.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

an explanation

Factor V Leiden is a blood clotting disorder that affects roughly 5% of the female population. And me.

I had to go to the doctor's yesterday morning to pick up some documentation for the insurance thing we're fighting. I was also getting antsy to hear from the doctor on what the blood work showed, so I stopped by to see her.

She sat me down in her office and went to get her computer. I was starting to panic because I was convinced she was going to tell me something horrible like I was HIV+, but I've always been a one-man kinda gal, and thought that was pretty unlikely since I'd been tested for it in the past. Still, why wouldn't she let a nurse give me the results?

The computer took forever to boot up and she kept swearing at it and I kept getting more and more nervous. 

Finally Old Bessie did its thing, and she started talking to me about C and S proteins and I was wishing I'd spent more time listening in Mr. Schnoebelen's chemistry class instead of spending the entire time trying to unsucessfully flirt with a football player. (The "C" grade didn't help matters much, either, as I think I forgot to pay attention somewhere between NaCl and Bromide.)

Anyway, where were we? Ah, yes...she said that my S protein was low, but since I have been recently pregnant, she'll have to test that again. She said the S protein usually goes back up after pregnancy has been over for awhile. If S protein is still low, it means I have a clotting disorder completely unrelated to the Factor V Leiden.

Then she said, the other thing you tested positive for was one mutation of the gene for Factor V Leiden. In my head I thought, "So much makes sense now." Factor V Leiden is a condition in which the blood clots TOO much. 5% of women have this gene, and if you have it you can't be on birth control or any other sort of medication that causes your blood to clot, because if it clots, you can end up with a blood clot in your lungs or brain that would kill you.

During pregnancy, many women with Factor V Leiden can suffer from recurrent miscarriages and stillbirth. The reason for the stillbirth is that Factor V Leiden can interfere with the blood passage between the placenta and the uterine wall, causing the blood to clot when it should be flowing freely. It's not as well-documented on how it could cause miscarriage in the early weeks, since there is no placenta doing any job then, but from what I've read, any child I have has a 50% chance of inheriting this characteristic from me. If a child I'm carrying has the gene as well, they may miscarry unless I am taking something that thins my blood.

The jaw-dropping thing about all of this is this: remember when I was absolutely crazy for Asher to be born early? I mean, even more so than when I was having Lucy, and she was the one with the birth defects? Well, my doctor explained that had I NOT had him early, he could easily have been stillborn. The placenta clots with Factor V Leiden, especially in late stages of pregnancy, if the woman's blood isn't being properly thinned. Or, the placenta tears away from the uterine wall. So, the fact that I was psychotic about getting him out MAY HAVE BEEN THE THING THAT SAVED HIM.

Mother's intuition? OCD? Who knows.

The even crazier thing is this: In the pathology reports we received regarding the placentas of Lucy and her twin, there was discovery made that in each placenta, there was unusual/abnormal blood clotting. The pathologist at the time stated that each baby was getting about 75% of the vital blood/nutrients/oxygen he or she was normally supposed to get. 

Are you following?

I tell people about the diagnosis and I will hear, "I'm sorry." You know what? I'm not sorry at all. To have an "explanation"? It's wonderful. Sure, it doesn't change anything. Lucy still has her birth defects and I have still lost 5 babies. But to know that I am extremely lucky to have two living children with an untreated Factor V Leiden diagnosis? That is really something. Having this new piece of information has really turned this whole thing on its head from, "I've lost four babies" to, "Logically, I really shouldn't have any." Just kind of humbling, I guess.

"I hope you realize how lucky you are to have had the outcomes that you have had with this blood clotting condition," the doctor said. She told me how she's had many cases where they didn't know Factor V Leiden was present and babies were stillborn...and mothers can die. She was surprised the clotting didn't totally clot off Lucy's placenta and cause even more damage.

OK, so here's the solution...from what I understand, and depending on the severity with which I have it, I would either take a baby aspirin a day to thin my blood (I know, crazy, right?), or I would have to take Heparin (a blood thinner) shots during my pregnancy.

So, a pregnancy is possible. 

It's just so crazy to have answers!

Am I missing anything? Anyone have any other information I missed? I'm still trying to sort all of this out.

As far as I know, no HIV+.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Factor V Leiden

Pensivegirl and Amanda win!

diagnosis

Houston, we have a diagnosis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I marched right up to the doctor's office and asked to see the doctor, with no appointment. She spent 25 minutes with me, explaining genetics and blood tests and whatnot. She also offered to write a letter to my insurance company. I LOVE HER!

Never thought I'd say this, but I am extremely joyful that I now have a reason for the pregnancy losses/other assorted fun, does that make sense?

OK, you all get to play doctor...birth defects in one twin, fetal demise in the other at 15 weeks, one normal pregnancy, two miscarriages at 6 weeks. (Apparently we don't count the ectopic, because those just *happen*.)

What's your diagnosis?

Prize for the correct diagnoser(s). No prize for whoever says that Scott and I are siblings, separated at birth, or that my paternal grandparents are cousins.

This oughta be good.

hope...

Last night I got a message from my doctor, telling me the blood test results were too complicated for a nurse to give to me. She said she would call me today.

Wonder what this means?

Waiting...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

drinking beer in the morning

Apparently Ed doesn't have much tact.

Ed is from the collections agency the hospital sicced on me because I haven't yet paid my $12,000 ectopic pregnancy surgery bill. Ed made me cry because he told me I am irresponsible in not paying it yet, and he told me he will have to send this to affect my credit score if I don't pay it.

Listen, Ed, love you and all, but you really need to learn some couth. Good thing I listen to Dave Ramsey, and good thing also I thought you were a telemarketer because you pronounced my name "Rah-chelle." Learn to read, Ed. Really.

So. I talked to the insurance people and they said the hospital I went to is out of network. If I had Medicare, it would all be paid. My insurance company paid the same amount that Medicare pays. But since I actually have insurance, I owe $12,000 extra? How fair is that?!

Anyone had a similar experience? What do I do?

I am drinking a Carlsberg Elephant and it is 9:32 am.

Classy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

10 daughters

The guy who came out to do an estimate on our countertops has 10 daughters, all biological, all born one at a time, ages 1 - 21.

When he saw my two, a boy and a girl, he said, "Man, you got a boy and a girl right away. You weren't messing around. How lucky is that?!" And at the same time I was thinking, "Man, you just pop out kids like sardines, how lucky is that?!"

I told him my story, and he told me that his one and only son was stillborn. He died the day before he was born from an undetected heart defect.

You just never know about people, you know?

Isn't life strange?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

3 pregnancy losses and a bit of incest

I have scoured my house from top to bottom. It is clean, people. In about 4 hours it won't be, because that is how cleaning goes.

I can't really explain how I am feeling, but I guess the best way to explain it would be this...peace. I *know* that this is where I am supposed to be right now, like it or not, and as much as you would think this would destroy me, it hasn't... it just hasn't. I had a friend who just suffered her third miscarriage (found out about it at 12 weeks, no less) tell me that she feels like she grows up a few years every time this happens. And I think that I feel the same way.

I have a renewed sense of wonder at the two children I have, how quickly they change and how I want to bottle up Asher's stink and the adorable way he sings "Twinkle Twinkle" and forgets the rest of the words.

At the way Lucy is OBSESSED with any sort of doll in any form, and will carry them around and make them talk to each other, organizing dances and weddings and, yes, even toilet sittings. It's sweet.

I just read a book that made me cry my eyes out: The Longest Trip Home, by John Grogan. It's a memoir about his childhood growing up with 3 siblings in a Catholic family, and it is hilarious. His parents remind me SO much of my own. I couldn't put the book down. The end is just beautiful, as he talks about his father's final days fighting cancer, and all that went on between them. It's the things in the days we all take for granted that we must stop and savor. I don't want to miss the beauty in these days by longing for tomorrow.

Does that make sense?

So. Last night I dreamt we went in to discuss the results from the testing, and the doctor shut the door, sat down and looked us both in our wee, beady little eyes:

"I hate to tell you this, but you two are actually siblings. We know you share at least one parent. This is why you've had issues in reproducing."

AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! What a nightmare! I immediately panicked and thought, "Does this mean we have to have a divorce? Now our children are products of incest! EWWWWWWWWW!"

So, my question to you: What if you found out, by some twist of fate, that you and your spouse shared a parent. What would you do?

Would you:

a. divorce
b. live together platonically and not tell anyone what you had discovered
c. carry on as usual
d. insert your own answer

Seriously, wouldn't that be a nightmare? Really, though, it might explain a lot. Once, at a family reunion, my dad's cousin tried to set me up with her SON.

Asher is stuffing vintage Strawberry Shortcake combs into his diaper and his sister wants them, so I suppose I must break up the fight.

Discuss.