About Me

I am an insane human being. I have been a wife for 15 plus years, and a mom for almost as long. I had 3 children early on...then struggled with life and IF and loss for 8 years. Thought our family was complete, so I compensated by adopting all the shelter pets. Then we were surprised that our luck changed. Our running total is Parents: 2, Kids: 5, Pets:4. My life is far from perfect, and much of our happiness was hard fought and won, from the death of a parent, job loss and marriage troubles, miscarriage and IF, we have been through it all, and dare I say we made it, with a lot of love and laughter, and not taking ourselves too seriously.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Deep Breath

That is what I keep reminding myself, although it doesn't seem to be working.

I am two hours away from a meeting with my son's teachers. It seems he is not doing well at his new school, at least academically. What I thought was just a meeting with one teacher had turned in to three teachers requesting to meet with us. I am terrified about what I am going to be told. I am also not in an emotionally great place right now, so I fear in my ability to hold myself together.

My baby turned 2 yesterday. It has been a very emotionally draining week for me to have this milestone happen. My head and my heart have finally come to the realization that baby boy is the last baby I will ever hold in my arms that I also held in my belly. And my heart, while rejoicing in all that I have and celebrating his beautiful little life, is also hurting from the loss and ending of never having this again. Of all the last firsts that have happened right before my eyes. Of all the last firsts I didn't even realize at the time that they were truly lasts. That maybe I would have taken better notes if I had realized it. If I would have taken more time.

So many mixed emotions with this realization of this ending. Gratitude that I even got to have them. Anger for the things that loss and infertility took away from me. All the time I lost in those years my body couldn't get it right. All the stress and anxiety and fear and sadness I experienced during pregnancy, waiting to see if my body could hold on. Feeling like I don't know who I am.

I have had to make parenting decisions this week that have broke my mom heart. This parenting gig ain't easy, that's for sure. That first year, well that's just cake
compared to the rest of it.

All of this stress has led to a lot of marital tension and issues. My husband and I aren't seeing eye to eye on some of it, and it is causing me to feel very isolated and alone, and also resentful. But of course I have absolutely no time where I can just sit and work through how I am feeling, so I have cried myself to sleep the past three nights. Today, I look like I have cried myself to sleep the past three nights that no amount of makeup is going to cover up. Between the bags and dark circles, red, swollen puffy eyes, hormonal stress breakouts, and stress-induced fever blister, I look about how I feel inside. I have been crying most of this morning, just feeling like an utter failure.

This week has been hard. Here's hoping things turn around soon.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Where I am

So it's been awhile since I have visited this space. We got through summer and back to school time is off to a good start. Life is completely ordinary, which is ok by me. I felt a little like I was fumbling through the summer...it's no easy feat to get everyone to cooperate and be on the same page to get out the door, especially considering the spread of ages. So I set the bar super low and don't try to be over-zealous in what I think i can accomplish in any one day, and it seems to work much better.

On my mind though, has been my inability to move forward from baby dreams. It's been on my heart so much, and I have been praying hard about it. Praying hard for God to take my desire for another child away. This past month was rough...I haven't felt like myself. I was definitely one rollercoaster of emotions. And then my period came a full week early and I bled heavier than I ever have, and it lasted for nearly 10 days, even overnight. Which is crazy because I don't know how I even had a lining left to bleed, considering my period before that was regular and not light or anything. A couple days it looked like a murder scene in the shower and I know I went through an entire box of super plus tampons. So I called my doctor, because what the hell this was too much blood.

He thinks it's just my hormones are haywire (possibly from extended nursing. My milk JUST dried up this past month despite only comfort nursing here and there for the last several months) but he also did mention scary things like D&C and Andenomyosis from multiple C-sections. Side note: google is not your friend. I went down a rabbit hole of scary shit. So now I am on Progesterone in hopes that it helps regulate things and keeps the bleeding at bay. I have had issues with low pro for several years and was the reason for my miscarriages, so it's not super surprising. Of course google has me paranoid, and given my age I also started panicking that maybe I am perimenopausal. My doctor said an easy solution would be bcps, but that he knows I am not ready to hang up the possibility of another child, which made me think. I would like to come to the conclusion that I am done having children on my own terms and not forced into it by age or otherwise. I know I am on the end of the age spectrum most likely, but I am just not ready to give it up. I don't really know what that means just yet. I am still processing and still trying to figure out exactly what happened this last cycle.

Worried that my cysts have returned amount all the other scary things google told me, I had my Ultrasound girl at work scan me over the weekend. The good news is no cysts or fibroids. My uterus is a normal size, and the endometrium didn't show signs of adenomyosis, and the lining was around 8mm (how I don't have a clue after all the bleeding and clotting I just finished with). She also picked out several follicles on the left side with a definite lead follie, although it definitely wasn't big enough just yet. So I still have eggs. And no pcos. So looking like it's definitely a hormonal issue. I need to get my hemaglobin rechecked for anemia, so I am going to ask for my thyroid to be rechecked as well. I have definitely been feeling a bit more stable since starting the Progesterone so hopefully I can get everything regulated and feeling more like myself. I don't know where we will go from here in the ttc department. I know that my husband was super worried and upset with the bleeding and the thinking our decision was made for us. But I can't see jumping back into treatments either. I will just pray on it and hope the answer reveals itself.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Random Thoughts for Friday

I have so much floating around in my head, so I thought it would be a good time to do a bullet post of randomness to start the weekend.

-On Friendship: Show up. Like seriously, if we make plans a week in advance, and it was YOUR idea, and YOU picked the date, freaking follow through. Don't make me have to chase you down to confirm and then have a b.s. Excuse as to why you can't make it after all. It makes me see how full of shit you are and that you really don't value our friendship. We are all busy...we are all on a budget...we all don't have enough hours in a day for everything.

-Also on old friendships...it kind of sucks when you realize how little you have in common anymore, how life choices and paths diverge so much that you become unrelateable. How much money and privilege play a big role in all of this. And geography.

-On projects: We currently have about 5 different projects that need to be done to our house/yard/property. 3 are bigger, more expensive things, and the other 2 are cheaper but still labor-intensive. Trying to finagle money and time and prioritize these projects is daunting and stressful. Luckily none of them are emergent, yet. But having these things hanging over my head is really bothersome.

-We celebrated our 17 year anniversary last week, and that itself feels like a major Win, since everywhere I turn there are stories of families breaking up. It has been no easy feat to get here, but it is definitely something I am very proud of.

-The current healthcare situation in the political arena has me beyond nervous, to the point I just feel like I need to stop watching the news again. Being in healthcare, I see firsthand all of the problems in our broken system, and some of the changes that are being bandied about don't make any sense for anyone. Granted, the ACA is far from perfect, but at least right now things are relatively stable. On a personal front, I get over $500 taken out of every paycheck, but at least I have some of the best Insurance coverage out there right now. I just don't understand why politicians can't just work together and make decisions that make sense for everyone. I don't give a crap which party you are with, I am with you if your proposals make valid sense, and right now I am not seeing that anywhere. I wish they would get a large panel of healthcare workers together to help guide them. Those of us that work in it can tell them exactly what they need to do to fix this mess.

-I just helped my teen navigate her first major work issue with her immediate manager. Unfortunately, her manager felt it appropriate to leave a highly unprofessional note to her staff in an attempt to bully everyone and not have to do her job, and left on vacation. Mind you, everyone that works under her are highschool kids and she is in her late 20s. I was furious and helped my teen (and by extension all the other teens who work there) go to a higher-up and helped highlight all the ways in which this wasn't ok. Luckily, my teen is part of a union, so there are a lot of strict policies in place to protect her rights and also guidelines for things like this. Also, the lady that hired my teen loves her and knows how hardworking she and the other kids are and so really has her back. But MAN, did I have to go all Mama-Bear. Like hell you are going to bully a bunch of highschool kids because you are bitter that a grocery store coffee shop is your end-game. (I am not implying that there is anything wrong with that job as your career if that's what you do, just that by the note and the way this girl acts you can tell she is stuck and bitter and mean about her situation.)

-My crazy niece is briefly in town with her long-time off and on boyfriend. He is in the military and a few years older than she is. She's 24 but just in the last year gotten her shit together and decided to go to school and do something with her life, and has realized that you can only party nonstop for so long and your parents are only gonna help you out of trouble so many times. This guy has cheated on her before and has also been married, so I really hope she knows what she is doing here. Her parents just met him last weekend, and this will be the first time we will all meet him. She's head over heels for this guy so I hope he continues to show up for her and doesn't break her heart.

-Speaking of siblings, my brother and his family are coming into town next week. We are so different and raise our kids very differently, and we always clash. Our kids aren't close because we don't see them much, and also because his kids act very snobby and my older kids have told me they don't really like to hang out with them because of that. I also hate the way they blow into town (or when my mom goes to visit) and they treat her like hired help. No joke my SIL will give my mom lists of stuff to do why she goes to nap. The week after next SIL will be away and my brother and all 5 of his kids will be staying with my mom. He might be working while he is up here, and I have a feeling he expects my mom will babysit. But she is a month post-op from a total hip replacement so she still can't handle small kids like that. My girls will be in a service camp all week otherwise I would send them over to help. My brother and his wife are very last minute, like all of a sudden they will have plans or ideas, they tend to spring stuff on people so they might get there and suddenly just peace out and leave my mom hanging with 5 kids. If I get involved there will be a fight (there ALWAYS is when I speak up) so I am going to make myself scarce that week. Sad, right? This is when my dad's absence is felt, because he would have none of this ish.

-Life is good. Despite my melancholic birthday post, life really is good. And usually I am too damn busy or tired to focus on how damn restless I can feel. I don't know what I thought my life would be like when I was pushing 40, but it's so crazy that this is it.

-I did get to have dinner with one of my closets friends from work this week. I've known her for 10 years now, and she has seen me at some of my very worst and although she is currently single and never got to have kids due to endo and fibroids that forced a hysterectomy, she is probably one of the most understanding and supportive people in my life. We had a couple drinks and lots of good conversation and food and it was just so nice. She's a cancer, too, so we just get each other. Actually, my work people are some of the closest people to me at this stage in my life, and I am more than ok with that. It makes the hard days less hard, and going to work a nice reprieve from the rest of the world.

-We finally painted my kitchen, after being here for 2 years! It was a canary yellow, but the appliances are black and it reminded me of a bumble bee and was really a harsh contrast. I got this darker gray color called Pewter (Behr) that had primer in it and my husband did it for me over my birthday weekend. It looks awesome. There wasn't a ton of wall space so it didn't take long. I would actually like this color for the master bedroom but there is SO much to paint in there we would need a whole weekend so that will probably be a good winter project.

Ok, that's all I got for now. Happy weekend!!

Monday, July 3, 2017

MicroBlog Mondays: 39

Today is my 39th birthday. The last year in this decade. I have been really having a difficult time in the last month or so, not because of this looming birthday, because I don't really care so much about age and numbers, but because...I don't know exactly. I can't quite put my finger on it.

It could be because for the last 17 years I have been living almost constantly in a loop of trying for a baby, or pregnant, or nursing, and now I have nursed my last baby and have stopped trying. I mean, yeah. Of course, it makes sense...I can't get pregnant on my own and going through treatments at age 39 when I have 5 living children just seems ridiculous. But then...who am I if I'm not trying for a baby or taking care of one???

I have this constant, anxious feeling. It may be time for some new ink or to drastically change my hair. Maybe I can find a way to channel all my energy into actually losing weight. I don't know. But I know that I feel weird and jumpy in my own skin. It is like all at once I feel like I have everything I need, but something is also missing. Or off. Maybe restless, even.

The past couple years have been really hard. I have put myself last for so long, sometimes not even making it on the list. Maybe it's time that changes. I have started by setting up some dinners out with friends. To reconnect. To breathe. To remind myself of who the hell I am apart from everything else.

So this is 39. If feels like such a strange place to be.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

And then there were two

My oldest (but not old) dog passed away over the weekend. It was sudden, and it happened fast. Within 2 hours of her getting sick, and in under 45 minutes of arriving at the emergency animal hospital, she died. We cried ourselves to sleep on the couch together that night. I am in shock, and beyond heartbroken, and just so, so, so sad. My big beautiful gentle giant baby is gone.

She is the second dog in my adult life I have lost. I miscarried and lost my first dog at the same time, so pet loss is especially traumatic for me, as I relive some of the worst times of my life. That is where I have been living the past couple of days.

Rest In Peace, my sweet, beautiful Karma. I love you.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Cobbling

I suppose I should try and cobble together some sort of updates-post type thing to break the silence. That is sort of how my life has felt lately-cobbled together. Smooshing small pieces of one and things together in a haphazard sort of way, all patchwork-like.

Life is good, really good. But also really hard. But as I told my teen yesterday, it is how you handle the hard that matters, and lean on those you love and God. And that is how I have been tying to live. I am not always successful. I could stand to have more calm and perspective in every moment, but I pray hard, and I try!

My teen recently got her first job! I helped her apply, coached her on following up and interviewing, and taking her to set up her own official checking account at the local credit union. I am walking through this with her in hopes that she learns financial responsibility and that just because you have a "magic" plastic card doesn't mean you go swipe-happy. I know I didn't really learn any of these skills at home or in school, and had to learn many things the hard way.

My job is going well. Well, the same as always. It's stable work that I love. Being in health care, there are so many issues that are national problems that all of us in the field can see but that haven't yet been really addressed or fixed by anyone in power to do so yet. All of the bad decisions over the years have led to a trickle down to the bottom, where we are essentially expected to give top notch, high rates care while being understaffed, under-supplied, and most certainly underpaid. Do more, give more, with much, much less. It is not just my hospital, it's everywhere in the US. It is really such a shame, and it is scary. Other countries have proven healthcare systems, I am not sure why the US can't get it right.

I think I mentioned here before that we are switching my 2 middle-schoolers to a different school in the fall. If I ever wondered if I was making the right decision, the school has given me numerous reasons over the past few months to know that I am right to leave. Much of it is political, in which the way they are running things and the decisions they are making. We have been at the school for 11 years now, and it is not the same school we started at. There were always things that could be improved upon, and a couple very poor teachers who just did the bare minimum, but the overall feel of the school is gone. Lots of things this year really fell through the cracks. And parents who were supposed to be in charge of things (think room moms and teacher aides) really dropped the ball and don't do the job they volunteered for, which means kids lost out. I can say that as someone who was highly involved every year in many aspects of the school and committees, from fundraising to room mom, to numerous events. I stepped away this year from doing that because I knew with 2 toddlers I couldn't commit to the time I did last year. I had 2 other moms who signed up to help so it shouldn't have been bad, but they literally didn't help do anything the entire year. The one mom signed up again this year and still has literally done nothing. I don't understand that. Why sign up if you are not going to be bothered?!? For a school we are paying money to attend, there are just too many things that are making me unhappy.

My 12 year old is excited to start the new school. She herself is tired of much of the nonsense going on at this school. For example, there was some issue of vandalism in the middle school bathroom. So the teachers locked the bathroom and said no one could use it until someone confessed. All the girls kept their feminine hygiene products in the bathroom, and were not allowed access because the teachers were too angry to listen. Of course my daughter had her period and needed to get her stuff that day. Dont worry-I took major issue with this. She is excited for all the new opportunities at the new school, and is anxious to be somewhere where the students aren't treated like little children. She has also decided she wants to be an actress and has been practicing her skills making YouTube videos. She would make a great lawyer, though because she likes to argue her case non-stop, and often has some very valid and well thought out points. The latest is that she wants to color her hair, and will be allowed to atbthe new school in the fall, but so far I am not convinced. I feel like that Ian something that can wait until high school.

My 11 year old son just got to go to his first NASCAR race a couple weekends ago. He has become a huge fan and got the tickets for Christmas. He had a ton of fun and has deemed the entire experience "being making my people". He got to stay at the campground overnight with my sister and brother in law, and really lived the atmosphere. His driver didn't win, but he still had an amazing time and we are trying to work out doing this again, though probably not this season. It is expensive and there are no local races so travel is involved. Plus, my sister is the one with a camper, and she lives out of state to begin with.

My smallest babes are good. Toddler Boy has such an explosive and volatile personality that it keeps me on my toes. Baby boy is a climber and in to everything. The dog food dishes and the dishwasher and his favorite things that I have no way to block or lock. We have decided that I will do a home-school nursery school for a bunch of reasons, so I am going to try to implement more structured time, somehow. I'm not good at one management at all. So we will see how that goes. We spend our days reading, playing with lots of different Legos and blocks, climbing and sliding, wrestling with the dogs, and exploring the outdoors and digging in the dirt. I try to do coloring/drawing/painting but Toddler boy will only do that for about 5 minutes before he has had enough, and Baby Boy just like eating and throwing crayons. I spend longer setting up and cleaning up than on the actual project. Toddler boy is a champ at all his puzzles, knows his letters, colors, shapes, and numbers, and can almost totally pedal his bike the correct direction. He is a head strong maniac who dominates all my time. In the best possible way (most of the time!)

With Mother's Day being this weekend, everyone asks me what I want or am going to do. Honestly, the answer is nothing. I would much rather have everyone in my life seem more appreciative Day to day, vs one day of whatever. I often feel overworked and underappreciated, which gets wearisome. I am going to get off work a little early so I can celebrate with my own mother. The following weekend I get to go away briefly overnight to a concert, and although I won't be totally kid-free, this is something that I want to do that I look forward to every year. I am nervous leaving the smaller ones overnight, because nighttime can be difficult if there is night-wakings, but for one night it will be ok. At least that is what I am telling myself!

Our new favorite game to play when it gets dark out is laser-light tag. I stand on the deck and shine the laser into the yard and the dogs and kids try and catch it, chase each other, and play tag with the dogs. It's freaking hilarious!


So that's life right now. The laundry and the dishes are endless. The job feels often thankless. The remotes and cordless phones are always missing, along with my sanity most days. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, so I try to live one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time, trying to focus on the little things.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

My Domperidone Experience: Getting Back to Breast

This story is super hard to write about, and I still carry a lot of shame and guilt over this. To this day the only other person who knows this story is my husband. But I feel like I need to tell it here.

Breastfeeding was going perfectly well right from the start, until sometime in the 4th to 5th month. Despite one wonky weigh-in during his 2 month appointment (which I blame on inconsistency with person weighing and how, sometimes they would say no clothes, sometimes clothes, always a diaper...) baby boy was doing well. He was always a very content baby from the start...Happy to be put down and look around, never complaining. I had seen him roll over both ways a couple times but he didn't seem interested in going anywhere. But during that 4th-5th month he was cutting his feeds short. He wasn't crying like he was still hungry, he only actually cried when I tried to keep putting him back on the breast. When I was at work I wasn't pumping as much as I had been, but I didn't think anything of it really. One day during his 5th month I just started to think he was kind of skinny-looking. All of my breastfed babies were long and lean, but he just looked...tiny. I felt like he had barely nursed that day, so I grabbed one of the sample cans of formula and a bottle...and when he saw the bottle he went nuts, crying and fussing. And he ate a ton. And I melted down. My baby was hungry and I was starving him. I am making light of it here, but trust me when I say it was bad. I was a hysterical, depressed mess for 3 straight days. I had enormous guilt and shame that I didn't notice sooner. What kind of mother was I?? I don't deserve to have these five children. I thought for sure people would judge me if they knew...she has too many kids, she can't handle it, her baby was barely eating and it took weeks for her to notice.

What happened? My best guess is that the bottle my husband was using was from my (at the time) 2 year old, and wasn't functioning properly. The baby was getting suuuuper fast feeds from the bottle, and went on a nursing strike, refusing to nurse after the initial let down of milk. He became lazy and didn't want to work for the milk. I noticed the first time I used that nipple that day that something was wrong, but I never gave him a bottle before that. I never even saw him drink from a bottle, so I couldn't catch it, and my husband obviously didn't. He just thought he was a fast drinker. All this is hindsight, of course. I also realized he had slowed down in his pooping and was pretty gassed, but those were all things that can be normal in a breastfed baby. It took me a little bit to put it all together.

After talking with Lactation nurses and googling everything, I decided I would order Domperidone and use that. Of course it's not approved in the US, but it's not unsafe as our friends in Canada have widely proved so I wasn't worried. And I was desperate. I wanted to feed my baby. I didn't want him to have bottles of formula. I wasn't ready for it to end like this. So while I waited on the Domperidone to arrive from Vanuatu, I basically didn't leave the house for 2 weeks. I nursed the baby, I supplemented with a bottle right after, and I pumped right after all of that, around the clock, usually every 2 hours. I was manic about it. I have no idea how I even found the time, looking back. But I did it. As far as plumping my baby up, I had 2 weeks until his 6 month check-up. I was on a mission to make sure he wasn't underweight. So we made his supplemental bottles calorie heavy with extra formula. I also beefed up any pumped breastmilk he got with formula. I also wasn't picky...we used all the different free cans I had gotten in the mail. He never had any issues with any of it. He visibly plumped up quickly, and had actually shot way up on the growth curve by that 6-month check-up just 2 short weeks later.

The domperidone came within that 2 weeks, and I immediately took a dose. It took me a few days to figure out how much to take and how often, but there is a ton of info online that helped me with this. Within a couple days my breast were becoming engorged again, my pumping output was much better so I knew I had milk. Now I just had to figure out how to convince my baby I had enough milk for him. The goal was being consistent about nursing and pumping, and I was quickly building up a huge freezer stash of milk. It only took about a month before his supplements were all breastmilk bottles. Slowly each day he would nurse longer and take less from the bottle until one day I was just able to nurse him again for a full feed and not need a bottle. I think he was around 7 months when that finally happened. I never would have been able to get my supply back if it weren't for the Domperidone.

About the Domperidone: I am not going to put my dosage on here because I am no doctor and didn't have any doctor in my life tell me how to take it. I was on and stayed on a higher-end dose because I didn't want my baby to go in another strike if he suddenly had to work for milk. It took a lot of work to earn his trust back, I certainly didn't want to jeopardize that. Domperidone works to increase breastmilk by raising your prolactin levels, which is why it can make non-post-pardum people lactate. Raised prolactin levels is actually a side-effect of the drug and not it's intended use. It is actually an anti-nausea medication that works by speeding up your GI system. The first time, and occasionally when I would take it, I would be running to the bathroom. I only had to use some Imodium once or twice. I most often noticed this on the first dose of the day. Another side-effect I experienced was weight gain. I'm not sure how it makes you gain weight when it rapidly empties your stomach (unless it makes you eat more?) but I gained quite a bit, all other things being equal. This happened despite a weight-loss program I had gone on right when starting this medication. I easily gained 30lbs, although it could have been 40. I don't own a scale, but know that I dropped quite a bit in the couple months after weaning down from the highest dose I was on, and I was still almost 20lbs over where I was when I first started taking it. From what I have read weight gain is more likely, and increases, the higher the dose. I also stopped getting my period, and my sex-drive took a nose-dive. Sex was uncomfortable because of the dryness. This doesn't last because every step down I took from the medication, the better things got, and all my "signs of fertility" and beginning to return. I actually think I just ovulated about 10 days ago, after dropping down to the last pill and then stopping completely within a week.

My baby is fine, thriving, and happy. Despite feeling absolutely horrible when all this started, I can now look back at pictures of him during that time and not melt down. He doesn't look like the starved baby I then thought he was at the time. He is still happy and smiling. But I will always hold mommy guilt that I didn't notice sooner that my milk tanked (or was tanking.)

But for anyone struggling, it is possible to get your baby back to breast. It is possible to fix your milk supply if you want to. Domperidone works and, for me, is safe.