Bronchitis, Mom Guilt, and Emotional Maturity

Yesterday I finally went to the doctor for myself for the constant sickness I’ve been dealing with. In the last few days things had intensified quickly and I was having some scary symptoms-shortness of breath after short walks, dizziness almost constantly, and a near inability to make it up my stairs. All plus  a really nasty cough had me concerned.

He listened to my lungs, you know, like a doctor does, and immediately said it sounded like my right lung was “impaired” and not operating at full strength. My pulse rate was high. I had a low grade fever. And alarmingly, before I left for the appointment, I had coughed up some grossness with more blood in it than I feel comfortable with.

I was slapped with the diagnosis of acute bronchitis with decreased lung function. He prescribed me steroids, an inhaler, antibiotics, and a reluctant psuedoephedrine with instructions to only take if I get desperate, and only half a pill.

After this I had to go get Charlie from Chief’s work. He took her with him so I didn’t have to take her to a doctors office unnecessarily in the middle of cold and flu season. After I picked her up we started the drive to the pharmacy to get my meds. I was quickly declining. I was feeling warmer and warmer even with the a/c in the car on. I had a light sweat going, and just a general sense of weakness. The rest of the night with Charlie was a huge battle. I mean, she’s a toddler, so that’s hard enough, but preparing her dinner nearly had me laying on the floor gasping for air-and it wasn’t exactly a gourmet meal. I had to crawl up the stairs next to her because standing up and climbing them made me so dizzy. Nursing her was exhausting for some reason that I can’t describe, and I was so relieved when she finally asked to get in bed. The downside was that she asked to get in bed with a package of diaper wipes.

Of course, I couldn’t let her do that, so I had to take them away and sub in a board book. This was not acceptable and she threw the biggest tantrum. My normally perfect bedtime baby was choosing that day, the worst day, to make bedtime hard. I was so. tired. that I considered just letting her out of bed and letting her run around upstairs until she basically passed out, but that was opening a can of worms I didn’t think I was prepared to deal with, so the best thing I could do was lay on the floor next to her, hoarsely singing one of her favorite songs until she calmed down enough and I could leave the room.

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more guilty than I have lately. Charlie is just being a toddler. This is normal behavior. Little disappointments are huge letdowns to toddlers. The tantrums have really been flowing lately. I’ve been frustrated with her and not doing a good job of hiding it. And last night in the grand scheme of things wasn’t that bad of a toddler day, but it felt awful because I was not up to the challenge of taking care of my child. That feels awful, and scary. Really scary.

Which brings me to this morning. I was awake from 12:45 am-6:30 am because Charlie woke up at 12:45 and I had to nurse her back to sleep. After that I could not stop coughing to save my life and ended up staying awake watching episodes of “This is Us” and building our revised budget on my macbook. When I woke up at 11:00 I felt, well, still not good. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I very reluctantly asked Chief if he thought he could miss work tonight to stay home and help me with Charlie. His answer was very simple:

“No.”

No other words, no explanation, no excuses. I just looked him in the eye and thought I saw….annoyance? I don’t know, it’s hard to say honestly. I just pulled away from him and walked into the kitchen to take my steroids and get something to eat with them despite an extreme lack of appetite. Soon after he left for school. I cold shouldered the hell out of him because my feelings were hurt pretty big time. I am really trying to be self sufficient as best I can, but this is the sickest I’ve ever been, save the stomach flu. After he left I sent him the following text message:

You have really hurt my feelings and I feel like you should know that instead of me sitting here angry at you all day, waiting for you to figure it out. It’s fine if you can’t miss work, but you didn’t even consider it and acted like I was asking for a lot. I can barely breathe walking up the stairs and have painful coughing fits every five minutes when I’m awake. I don’t think asking you for help was out of line considering you’re my husband. I’m really upset with you. I feel like an imposition to you, and that’s not right.

He immediately texted back:

That’s true that’s why I am going to call [senior master sergeant’s name] to take the night off

There was then a little back and forth about how I didn’t want him to do it if it would be a problem, I just didn’t want to be made like I was asking for something that was out of line from him. He told me it wasn’t out of line and it wouldn’t be a problem.

Guys…this is a whole new level of maturity for us. Usually I would just stew to the point of rage for when he got home to which he would totally shut down and not say anything. It would then turn into a huge fight where I’m bringing up everything he does that hurts my feelings on a regular basis (gunnysacking-not cool I know) and he would sit there not knowing what to say. Like if I didn’t know these text messages were ours, I wouldn’t have believed it possible of us.

So on that level I’m proud and happy, but my mom guilt is alive and well that I can’t handle this on my own, that I’m having to ask for help, and just in general, that I feel like I’m not being the best mom I can be to my daughter in an emotional sense. Anyone else ever feel that way?

Hope for the Hopeless

There are days that are so perfect as a parent that you want to shrink them down into a snow globe so that you can go back on the bad days, shake the globe up, and watch the glitter of a wonderful day with your child fall down all over you, making you sparkle with joy.

Yesterday was one of those days. Today. Was. Not.

Let’s rewind to last night. We had a family birthday dinner for my aunt and my grandma, and I had spent a few hours making Charlie and I matching outfits and y’all. YALL.  I don’t meant to toot my own horn, but it made a cute picture. Charlie loves getting new clothes. I have no idea where she gets that from, but that’s besides the point. Unfortunately, Charlie is sick again. AGAIN. As am I. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that we have been sick for the better part of this year. #thankstrump. Anyway, she had a hard time getting settled in to sleep. Chief had gone over to the old house to do some work while I got her down, and I ended up laying on the floor of her room with my phone screen turned all the way down so it didn’t keep her up, because she was really tired but didn’t want to go to sleep alone.

As I’m laying there, I get a message from a good friend that said “Can we talk soon?” And I said “Of course-is everything ok?” And she said “No, and it hasn’t been for a long time.”

I asked her if I could call her and she said no. I asked her if she wanted me to come and she said it was too far. We argued back and forth about it and she admitted she was drinking but she wasn’t going to hurt herself, because she wouldn’t do that to her children. I believed her, but it still didn’t sit right with me. I told her I would see her the next day, and then Chief and I decided together that I needed to go out there. At this point it was 10:00, and she lives 30 minutes away out in the country, but I couldn’t have lived with myself if I hadn’t gone.

So I drove out there, thinking at worst she had had a fight with her husband. I knew he wasn’t there because she told me she was all alone. I wish I could say that that was what had happened, but it was far worse. You’re going to hate me, but for her protection and to honor what she’s going through, I’m not going to divulge details here. The police are involved and might be involved further. When I got there she was almost falling down drunk. She told me what was happening but repeated herself many times and sobbed on and off.

Here’s what I’ll tell you-I wish to everything that by the time Charlie is a teenager social media has died a painful death. As much as I love it right now that she’s a cute little toddler baby-the horrible things that can happen when they get older kept me up all night. A family is literally being torn apart by the power of social media. Let that sink in. I stayed with her until she started to get sick. She came out of the bathroom after vomiting and said she needed to lie down and she wanted me to go home until my family. I stuck around without her knowledge in her living room until she had gone to sleep and then slipped out, locking the door behind me.

I went home to my husband, and my sweet baby girl, haunted by what is happening to one of my best friends. Honestly, the best outcome that can come from what she’s going through will still have lasting consequences for her family. The worst outcome will be devastating.

Some days I’m afraid of what I’ve done in becoming a parent. Today Charlie was frankly, a fucking nightmare. We went to the doctor this morning and apparently that just set her off for the whole day, because she screamed and cried and whined all day, to the point that when Chief finally let me know he was coming home and she was yanking on my shirt and whining again I actually started sobbing-like a wild animal. I sobbed for my friend that is going through absolute hell. I sobbed for myself who FELT like I was going through absolute hell even though obviously I wasn’t really. I sobbed out of exhaustion because I was so, so tired from the night before. I sobbed because I have no idea what to do-because there are no good answers for my friend. I sobbed because I was so relieved that Chief was coming home and I could get five minutes in my room by myself without a screaming child touching me.

He got home to me crying on the couch with a shockingly quiet and curious Charlie in my lap. She hasn’t seen me cry much and she didn’t seem to know what to think of it. He took her from me and I said I needed to go upstairs. He followed me up but I told him I didn’t want her to see me like this anymore than she already had, so he left. I put my headphones in and got under the blanket completely and let my music calm me. The last song I remember listening to was “Hope for the Hopeless”, by Fine Frenzy.

I don’t know if there is hope for my friend. I held her in my lap as she lost control last night and told her we could fix it, but honestly-I don’t know that we can. But I hope we can try. Because as a mother, I don’t know how she’ll survive this.

Thirteen Things on Thursday

I’m ripping off AndiePants and her Ten Things on a Tuesday idea, because I have one of those posts about a bunch of different things.

1. I talked to SIL today. She’s making it. She’s still, understandably, very sad, but said it’s getting better. She did have a hard time with a coworker who basically sent her an email with a bunch of bullshit instructions on how not to have a miscarriage. They included things like “take the elevator and not the stairs” and “make sure not to wear heels.” It made me want to email her myself and tell her what a fucking insensitive idiot she is. I assured SIL that she did NOTHING to cause this. Most miscarriages, especially this early on, can’t be blamed on anyone. They just happen.

2. SIL asked me a bunch of questions about IF testing and it occurred to me that I had forgotten so much, so I went back and read a lot of my blog from right before I got pregnant with Charlie. I realized several things, but one of them was that I think I used to be kind of funny and I feel like I’ve lost a lot of that in my writing, and I don’t quite know how to get it back. People tell me I’m funny on FB a lot, but it’s easier to funny with one and two line quips-that just comes naturally. I just feel like I’m probably not as entertaining as I once was, and sure, an IF blog isn’t really meant to be entertaining, but it doesn’t hurt.

3. Another thing I realized when reading my blog is that I haven’t thought about the basics of how my cycle works and symptoms and what not in a long time. A few weeks ago my boobs were really sore, especially nipples. I seriously didn’t even think about the fact that I had probably actually ovulated for once and was in the TWW (technically, though I wasn’t waiting on anything). I just assumed Charlie was being extra hard on them. It blows my mind that it never even occurred to me it could be the luteal phase, especially since three years ago that’s ALL I would be thinking about.

4. Things are really nice on well.butrin. Getting off of the effexo.r has been really hard though. Really hard. I got down to a quarter of a dose a day, then every other day, and then I tried to just stop, but by the end of day three I was so lightheaded I couldn’t stand it, so I took a dose. My strategy at this point is to go as long as I can without one and only take it if I have to, and surely eventually I’ll stop needing it. But well.butrin is wonderful. I feel so much better emotionally, I have no desire to eat my feelings anymore, it’s helping me lose weight really nicely, and my sex drive has bounced back from being in the basement on effex.or. Is it wrong to want to be on it forever?

5. I’ve been getting back into my sewing as I’ve been feeling better. In the last week I’ve made two outfits for Charlie and am already planning another one for tomorrow night. It keeps me from just lazing about, which is fine sometimes but I seriously need the creative outlet. I’m also working on a cross stitch project and have been doing 10-15 minutes of coloring before bed each night, and that helps to quiet my mind.

6. I’m working on a pretty huge project at the law firm-like a 100K project. So that’s pretty intimidating, but also, I’m kind of handling it like a bad ass boss, and it’s making me feel accomplished which I haven’t felt professionally since my child was born. I’m having to coordinate meetings with attorneys and vendors and product specialists, and they’re looking to me for my recommendations and professional opinion. It’s made me realize even more how much I miss working more than just a few hours a week, and how much I really, really want to work part time by the end of the year. Financially, we need it too, so it’s good that I want it.

7. The old house is finally coming along. Chief got all the flooring in the kitchen done. This weekend he’s working on painting cabinets and on Monday my step-dad is coming down and they’re going to install the cabinets and counter tops and hopefully get the appliances back in so that he can do the floors in the living room and we can get it back on the market.

8. I talked to our property manager and considering it’s going back on the market in March, he thinks it would be good to list it as for sale or rent and we’re TOTALLY down with that. March is a great time of year to try and sell a home in our area so I’m ridiculously hopeful for a sale, but I’m also just glad to cover all our bases. Obviously if it rents first we will take down the sale listing. I just need some income on it. We’ve lost literally thousands of dollars out of our yearly budget from it not being rented and that scares the shit out of me.

9. This sounds wrong, but my desire to go back to work is also really, really upping my desire to have another baby. Real honesty time: the idea of having another one while I was a mostly SAHM just really freaked me out, but if we have another one and I’m working part time it’ll be Chief and me doing a ton of it together, and I would actually have 20 hours out of the house to work and just be who I was before I had kids. Chief would be the primary daytime caregiver because he works nights. It would be a real role reversal for us. The problem with this is that I’m sure most employers would be reticent to hire a pregnant lady, so there’s that.

10. We got Charlie all signed up for MDO/Preschool next semester and we signed her up for the 3 days a week, which is their max. She loves it there so much. Like she isn’t even that excited to see me anymore when I pick her up. She smiles at me but then she goes back to playing like “Oh good-you’re here, Imma go back to pushing this baby vacuum around now.” This situation was key in the whole going back to work scenario, so I’m glad we got the three day slot. They shower her with love and you should see her haul at holidays-she came home with four or five bags full of valentines and crafts and little presents and snacks. We landed in such a good place there and I’m so grateful for it.

11. Things with my sister are surprisingly good now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still being very cautious with my trust and my heart and we’re not going to be best friends, but there does seem to be a tacit amount of peace between us, and we’ve even been able to even have some decent conversations. The big whopper is that today I gave her all of my frozen breastmilk for her baby goats. One of her momma goats isn’t producing enough and she was getting desperate. The milk had gone past when it could be donated to human babies and charlie won’t drink it, so at least it’s going to some babies out there. I saved one 6 ounce bag as a good luck charm, and now I have a deep freeze I can actually put food in which was my goal.

12. My mom is having a hysterectomy in April because her uterus is literally falling out. Literally. I didn’t even know that was a thing. She was working in the yard one day and said she suddenly felt like she had a tampon in, so she went to the doctor and he had to prop it back up in there (which sounds HORRIFIC) so he recommended they just remove it. She’s keeping everything else, but the uterus is going. She’s handling it well but I can tell she’s kind of sad about it, and I get that. It’s weird and hard and emotional for me in ways I didn’t expect, because my mom is really getting older and I’m starting to worry about her. Her blood pressure has started rising and she’s had some cholesterol issues. I’m at that point in my life where I’m going to be thinking about these things more and I didn’t expect it so soon, but my mom had me kind of late. She’ll be seventy when I’m in my early thirties. It’s just weird and hard. As hard as our relationship has been at times, she’s my mom, you know? She’s my mom. I can’t imagine my life without her, but lately I’ve been having to.

13. Finally at the end of March I’m going in for my pap and I’m considering asking for some CD3’s and CD 21’s just to see where I stand. I don’t want to start treatment, but I do just kind of want to see where we stand. I don’t know, is that crazy? I’m afraid that with that knowledge it will propel me back into crazy obsessive Librarian, and I like just being normal Librarian who just has sex with her husband when she wants to. so at least I have some time to think about it. And I can have an honest conversation with my OB about it too.

So that’s that for now.

Gone

She lost the babies. I feel so much sadder than I think I would have if this had been easy for me from the start, but at this point my emotions so so so don’t matter so I’m just trying to be as supportive as I can from 1000 miles away.

I’ve sent flowers and let her know that we are here for whatever they need. She said she didn’t want sympathy and just wants to try and stay upbeat. I encouraged her to let herself grieve but I didn’t want to be pushy.

This is not a territory I’ve been in before and I’m not sure what more to do. I’m open to suggestions.

Ok, Life-Could you cut me some slack?

My sister-in-law is naturally, spontaneously pregnant with triplets.

Triplets.

As you can imagine, there are some feelings about that. Let me say that I never ever want to have triplets. I have never wanted to have multiples. I was pretty insistent about that when we started fertility treatments and told the doctor to do as much as possible to just stimulate one egg. We only starting considering stimulating more than one after we had a few failures. But I digress.

So anyway. I don’t want multiples. I don’t. So why does this still hurt so much? I got over her being pregnant. I’ve already bought fabric to make baby clothes in unisex colors that should appeal to her because she’s a math teacher and I special ordered expensive math fabric. But hearing from my husband that she was having triplets was like being punched in the gut. I got the call from my husband right as Charlie poured a glass of ice water everywhere and started to scream at me about it, and after I got off the phone I yelled at her and felt so awful that we cuddled on the couch and I cried.

I messaged Molly at HoundMamas and as usual she was delightful and validated all of these hard and awful feelings for me and cheered me up enough that I gathered all my strength and put my big girl pants on and texted my SIL to congratulate her.

The other thing is that she’s measuring pretty far behind. She should have been between 8 and 10 weeks along based on how long her temps have been up, but the babies are only measuring at six weeks, and the doctor thinks she is actually seven weeks along. They didn’t see any heartbeats today so they’re going back in three weeks. Of course I’m hoping for the absolute best. She’s pretty freaked out understandably, so I don’t know if I should just hope for two heartbeats or what, so I’m just hedging my bets and hoping for the best outcome for everyone. I don’t really know much about how multiples affect growth, especially in the beginning, but the doctor acted like they couldn’t even really date the pregnancy today which just seemed weird.

Some of these rough feelings stem back to just my complicated and at times awful relationship with my in-laws to begin with. They didn’t want me to get pregnant with the first baby, and I’m sure they feel validated that SIL has one-upped me by getting pregnant with three. They have very little to do with Charlie. Of course they send her gifts and things at Christmas and her birthday, but they’ve only seen her a few times in her life (fine with me because I don’t like them, but I can tell it’s hard for my husband). They skipped her baptism, they skipped our baby shower….And all of that is on me. They don’t like me, they’ve made that very clear. Charlie gets enough love from my family and friends that it’s not like she’s missing out on much, but I know it bothers my husband.

But on that note, he didn’t understand why I was emotional about this today, so that kind of sucks. I know he’s a guy, but it’s like…weren’t you there for those three excruciating years of infertility treatments? And my surgery, and weight loss, and month after month of failure? Has he really just forgotten all of that?

Anyway, I’m now off to figure out how to get more of this fabric since it was a preorder… I might have to throw myself at the mercy of the vendor and see if they can scrounge up some more for me. Try not to judge my feels too harshly. Trust me, I already am.

Dear Charlie

Dear Charlie,

It is February 2nd, 2017. Unfortunately, our president is a mad man, but you don’t know that. Momma has been sick for about two weeks, but you don’t know that either. Momma and Daddy have been really, really worried lately. Worried about the world, the country, and our own place in both of those things as we navigate this unknown territory.

But you don’t know that.

Here’s what you know.

You have this super loud voice and you like to experiment with using it. People tell you you’re cute A LOT and you really like to hear that. You like your teachers and friends at Mother’s Day Out, but you like when momma comes to get you best. You know that if you hold out your hand to Bubba the labrador, and it has a goldfish cracker in it, he’ll lick your hand clean. You love that. You love to giggle at your dogs.

You know that momma doesn’t care if you splash water in the bathtub and some of it gets on her, but she’ll make a funny face anyway. You know that daddy has to leave a lot more often than momma does, and you really hate that. You know that when you come to visit grandma at work that grandma will let you play with her highlighters and paper at her desk. You know peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are meant to be dissected before being eaten. You know that momma hates it when you throw food on the floor, but you do it anyway.

You know that you get to nurse twice a day-before nap and before bed. You know that if the weather is nice and we’re not busy, momma will take you to the zoo. You know that you’re really not supposed to play with mommas phone, but you do it a lot anyway. You know that you love Sesame Street, but Elmo is your favorite. You know that Bruno Mars is the best music to dance to. You know how to take your diaper off and think it’s really funny to do so right after momma has put it on.

Here’s what you don’t know.

You don’t know that sometimes after you go to bed momma huddles under her covers and cries from the emotional weight and frustration of raising such a beautiful and strong willed child. You don’t know that sometimes, especially lately, momma feels so guilty for feeling ready to go back to work part time, because even though she loves you, momma misses her career and her independence. You don’t know that momma worries that you’re not talking very much and you’re almost 20 months old. You don’t know that it breaks momma’s heart that you still haven’t actually said “momma” or anything like it.

You don’t know how much thought goes into whether or not we should try to give you a brother or sister someday. You don’t know that momma has a really hard time loving her body the way it is, but she is trying really, really hard to set a good example for you about that. You don’t know that momma has had a taxing battle with her antidepressants these last few months, though maybe you’ve noticed that she’s finally starting to feel better, and she doesn’t have to sleep so much now.

You don’t know that momma cries because she can’t remember how it felt to hold you when you were only eight pounds, or ten, or even fifteen. You don’t know that even though momma is always ready for the quiet alone time she gets after she puts you down for the night, she always misses you and very often creeps into your room to watch you sleeping. You don’t know that even though people tell her she’s doing a good job, your momma doubts her mothering skills every single day.

Here’s what I hope you do know:

I hope you know that even on days like today where momma is frustrated with you and doesn’t know what to do, that she still loves you. I hope you know that just because momma sometimes gets upset, there is nothing wrong with you, because you see, even though momma knows you better than anyone else in her life, there is still so much she has to learn. I hope you know that every day of your existence on this planet you are wanted, you are important, and you are worthy. I hope you know that momma tries to make every single decision with what is best for you in mind.

I hope you know that you are momma’s truest love, even on the bad days. I hope you know that you are momma’s dream come to life, even when she’s crying. I hope you know that there are no words to describe your value in this world.

I hope you know you are loved.

Momma