Posts Tagged ‘guilt’

Chicken pox is my beer.

May 20, 2013

Yes, you read that right. Chicken pox is my beer. It makes me lose my inhibitions and live an awesome life.

We are naked in the front garden, running around in wild circles, waving at neighbours, making a nest for our Angry Birds. We are dancing unabashedly to the Moto Moto song, singing along that we like them big and chunky.

We are running up to the bath, empty two litre bottles (from my new sparkling water addiction, as I have not had Diet Coke in months now. Sob.) in hand, and that bathroom echoes laughter and science and splashes. Pouring into big bottles, hitting them on the sides to make water erupt upwards, working together to hang out, music pumping in the air.

We are on a pirate ship, Snort’s new-to-him bed, looking at maps and searching for treasure. We are wearing our pajamas to the drive thru, just to get out of the house and get a treat.

It’s silly, really. There is no reason every day cannot be like four days of holiday time. We have no school, no work, and no obligations that can’t be skipped. But for me, I think the chicken pox gives me a permission slip to just live like we want, with none of my guilt attached. It is a glorious reminder of all that unschooling/autonomous education/life can be, if only I relax and just let go now and then. When we follow the sun, when our days stretch before us with nowhere to go but here, we find new and exhilarating ways to fill the time.

We cut straws and stick the pieces in playdoh to make Angry Birds. We read books and nap in the afternoon to the soundtrack of Phineas and Ferb. We sit in the garden and look at ants, we call people up just to say hello, we trace out the spots on his body  like he’s a dalmatian or the night sky, covered in a thousand stars.

This first round of chicken pox brought joy and peace to my life.

You’d never know he was ill. Snort was his normal self, just covered in spots. Two nights were hell on earth, but the rest of the time was a welcome break from what has increasingly become an overflowing schedule. Now we are in limbo, waiting for the second outbreak of The Pox to hit our house. I don’t think it will be as relaxed or illness-free, somehow, mainly because Coconut is a very itchy child in general.

But I will not forget the lessons I’ve relearned from this first bout.

This week will be a reminder that we don’t HAVE to do anything. We CHOOSE to do things.

I’ve felt so overwhelmed by the amount of invitations to various playdates lately that I’ve literally stopped responding to texts and messages. I will get back to them all, but never did I imagine a life where we would have more social commitments than all those ‘socialised’ school children. 😉 My friends remind me I am a part of this family, of this journey, and if it is too much for me, then I deserve a say. I am grateful for all the people we know, all the choices of activities we have. I never thought it would happen like this, so quickly, and I am delighted and surprised by it.

But I am also grateful for last week, for that one hiatus where no one expected to see us, where we had nothing but time and everything to do with it.

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IVF tomfoolery.

September 29, 2012

Thank you, thank you. All the generous people who have given us money have not only helped financially, but emotionally. It has boosted me to see your names and know we have people supporting us. Now, I guess you want to know why we suddenly owe the clinic an additional four grand.

I’m still upset and not wanting to get myself more upset, so the brief version is that through a combination of my age (34), BMI (30), and the clinic’s poor monitoring that failed to catch that I needed a higher dose of drugs earlier, we have been told that eggsharing is no longer a given.

I was told I had three options.

One, abandon the cycle. Owe no more money.

Two, pay the four grand and proceed as if eggsharing. If they get enough eggs to share (we need a total of eight), then we give half to the recipient and are refunded the four grand.

Three, pay the four grand and proceed with full IVF, no eggsharing. The nurse told me this was the final price, then the doctor mentioned I’d have to pay for drugs, but she backed off when I said what the nurse said. So, yeah. Hopefully just four grand with this option, well, six in total.

Yikes.

None of these are terrific. Obviously option one is out. Options two and three are virtually the same thing, since I think it is very unlikely they will get enough eggs. I only had eight at 14mm or higher (though a further eight that were smaller, thanks to my pal the drug kerfuffle), and they like to see ten at the final scan. There is likely to be eggs in any woman’s follicles 80-90 percent of the time, so having the ten larger follicles gives them good odds with eggsharing.

I also only had one dose, today, of stimming hormones. I worry because normally there are two doses before the end of this phase….since apparently everyone fucking takes the meds at night, but we were told to take them whenever so chose morning. So I hope those eight will be large enough.

What decision have we come to? At this point, regardless of what a total shit I feel like for doing so, we are proceeding with full IVF. I will have the caveat that if a larger number of eggs than expected are harvested, we will go back to eggsharing. I can’t imagine what this poor woman is going through. She will have had a phone call yesterday explaining that things were not looking fantastic.

But even with eight eggs, knowing I am unlikely to be accepted as an egg sharer in future (unless I get back to my normal weight BMI. I am thirty pounds heavier this time than last.), and knowing we can’t afford another IVF cycle, we have to give ourselves the best chance. So more eggs equals better chance.

Because the other main deliberation has returned to the one embryo transfer versus two embryo transfer. Last time twins felt like a blessing, this time they feel like a risk. I think you all know I’d love another set of twins…would LOVE it…but TMD has very serious and sensible hesitations. She would prefer a single embryo transfer. More eggs mean a better chance to have a really good quality embryo.

Four years ago, only two of our embryos grew to what was considered ‘perfect.’. Snort and Coconut. That was four years ago when I responded well to meds. There is no way to predict the quality of my eggs this time since those hormones were not tested.

This decision is still up in the air. I would still prefer two babies to no baby, which is what we said last time. Only last time we actively hoped for twins, and that isn’t really the case this time. We have clarified that the day of the transfer (probably next Thursday if all goes well, please let it go well, let one fucking thing about this cycle go well!) we will find out beforehand about the quality of embryos. If none are fantastic we may transfer two. If one is fantastic, well, I don’t know. It’s a minor bone of contention between us, but I think ultimately TMD needs to have a large say in this. It’s her body that will doing this. Her lining is apparently ‘triple pattern.’ We are not sure what that means, but apparently it is really, really good.

So I don’t know. Any gentle or thoughtful feedback is welcomed.

Moving on, I take the trigger shot at eleven tonight. We have egg retrieval at eleven on Monday morning, despite my crazy hormonal challenging the doctor as to her decision. Overall I am nowhere as pleased with this clinic as our last. I think we would be looking at a very different outcome were we there. I don’t doubt my age and weight have impacted things, but I also am angry (bitter?) that I had no stimming scan until a week into the process. I’m also not pleased with the way the doctor spoke to me yesterday. But there is nothing to be done about any of these things except move forward.

With your help.

Thank you.

Every little 1.00 is more than part of our bus fare or blood tests. It is just a buoy in hard times. This cycle has been gruelling. I look forward to having the egg collection over and done with, even though I’m so scared we will have only a handful of eggs. I know it only takes one, but I’m a girl who likes to have good odds.

If you want a baby and are putting it off, if you are mid thirties, shit. Get your hormones checked, and think about me. My hormones still say I’m very fertile, and look how this all turned out. Consider single parenthood if you must. Because I have to say that even with the world’s two most loved children, it still hurts immeasurably to think that this is our last chance. When did we get old without earning any money? Ha.

The one good thing is that the trigger shot this time around is just a dial up pen. It’s what it sounds like. A thick pen with a needle on one end and medicine inside, sort of like an epipen. Last time we had to do science experiments with various vials, liquids, mixing meds, etc. It was hard. This one, though I admit I haven’t looked at the pen yet, promises to be yet another tiny subcutaneous injection in my bruised yet gorgeous belly. I hope it doesn’t sting, and I hope it doesn’t give me the tremendously awful stomach pains I had last time around, but either way, this is it.

All going well, my wife will have a baby or two in her body next week, and I hope that/those kid/s cling to her triple pattern. Do you hear that eggs? Cling.

Love to you all, and love to me, because right now I’m trying so hard not to beat myself up and blame myself for ruining everything.

Mummy guilt.

January 10, 2011

For me, being a mother often comes along with a large helping of guilt. Have I spent too much time checking my facebook, to the detriment of my babies? Should we be using our fluoride baby toothpaste? Every time we use the inhaler on Snort, is it fucking him up? Are we neglectful because we haven’t made that first dentist appointment yet?

Everything seems to come along with a heavy weight of responsibility. And our lazy way of living – no doubt it offers some benefits to our kids, but it also means he’s not had a ‘real’ haircut and their toenails aren’t cut as often as they should be.

I try to be easy on myself. I look at how Coconut and Snort are developing – so sunny, easygoing, great senses of humour, curious, loving, smart, etc – and know that I am doing something very, very right.

The one major thing I’ve felt guilty about is my lack of a driver’s license. Yesterday erased that.

I say to you now, with authority:

There is no way one single person can take 16 month old twins out alone. No way, no how. Well, unless they were going to be strapped in a pushchair the entire time.

All the fun of going out is exploring, letting them wander round, etc. They have very different styles – we went to our local garden centre this weekend. Coconut walked round and round and round, never stopping. Snort was trying to climb on shelves, examining flower food, etc. You need two adults.

We play it one adult per baby at the minute, and when we’re out I never see TMD. The babies will inevitably run for opposite ends, and you need to keep such a close eye on them – especially Snort.

So my guilt about not driving? Very much minimized.

We are missing out on attending twins club or other baby/toddler focused activities which I could handle on my own, though. Still, one thing at a time.

Everything comes with a balance, with good and bad. Twins miss out on a lot of experiences singletons would have (like going out on errands regularly, walking everywhere, etc) but have a whole wealth of experiences a non-twin would never have. Each experience offers a lot of positives, a lot of opportunities. I think it’s about seeing those things for what they are.

And, you know, eventually getting over my fear of failure and getting my fucking license already. I have one for Country A – getting a license there is like learning how to pour milk on cereal. To get one in Country B, you need to learn how to thresh grain and make your own cereal, glaze ceramics so you have a bowl, save your money to buy the cow to milk it, etc etc. Also how to do metalworking so you can fashion a spoon. An engraved spoon. Made of sterling silver.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have two teething babies. Coconut’s whole shirt is soaking wet from the drool. She’s only got four teeth to go (not counting the two year molars) – all canines. I think two are trying to come through now. Snort is missing all canines and molars (I think). Teething only gets more and more fun the older they are.

Breastfeeding twins.

September 8, 2009

Today is, quite possibly, the last day my children will receive my breastmilk. At exactly four weeks old, they are too young to get anything but the best from me. But the past month has made me search and explore what my idea of ‘the best’ is. It’s been painful, joy filled, confusing.

When the twins were born, they were both very healthy weights. By five days old, both had lost dangerous amounts of weight. This was due to a number of things we knew then, as well as discovered afterward. My past breast reduction did cause a problem with milk supply and delivery, my little boy has a tongue tie, my SPD was not healing because breastfeeding required me to stay in the same position most of the time. And there’s that word: time.

In a land without two infants, time is plentiful. (Or at least I imagine.) I have never had just one baby, so I have little to compare having two with. My mother in law is here again; she described caring for the twins as ‘relentless.’  A harsh word, perhaps, for something I embrace….but also true.

We were forced to stay in hospital because of the weight loss, and emergency measures put into place. We were forced to start topping up, which I resisted, cried about, felt like a failure because of. Words like ‘dehydration’ and ‘failure to thrive’ were said. So were words like, ‘You have done better at breastfeeding than most mums with only one.’ None of these words made me feel good. It was a huge responsibility for two mums with no idea what they were doing, really, to make emotional and demanding choices when there was so much at stake.

When we got home, the topping up lessened, and they lost weight again. We paid for a renowned lactation consultant to come to our home and help us; she was fabulous. She said we would need to continue topping up, taught us ways to make their feeding more efficient, spoke with me about ways to get them more breastmilk.

I felt very positive when she left, but it took fifty minutes to latch on my son that evening. I was in a huge amount of pain from the SPD, I was tired, I was emotional. We caved and gave them bottles, and my god, it was great. I felt like a sinner of the worst degree. Relief and regret were there in equal portions.

But: time.

In the three hour cycle that is an infant’s life (and ours were on a longer cycle at first, even), it is tough. If your babies are not synchronised, you breastfeed a baby, top that baby up, breastfeed another baby, top that baby up. Then you are expected to pump for twenty minutes. By the time you have done all of this, you have exactly twenty minutes before the whole schedule starts again. Sleeping, showering, eating, coherent thinking – there is no room for it.

If your babies ARE synchronised, well.

We need two adults for breastfeeding. Our little girl latched on excellently, but both babies were slow and sleepy feeders. And then there were the problems with my breasts. Feeding one baby required me to latch him/her on and stimulate them to keep them feeding; TMD was required to manipulate my breasts in various ways in order to encourage the milk to keep flowing. Imagine doing this for TWO babies at the same time; you cannot. It’s simply not possible. So our daughter would get ignored and often fall asleep at the breast, while our son required both of us to even latch him on.

I don’t want to write too much, because I feel like crying. My mother in law is out pushing the babies around the neighborhood right now. Just before they left, they each had the last bottle of expressed breastmilk. I wish I had been able to feed this to them both, to watch my body nourish them in this way for the last time.

I only pumped once yesterday. I did not pump today. I am still feeling slightly tortured about it; my breasts and heart ache.

But ‘best’? Best is a mother that can walk. Best is babies who are gaining weight and not at risk. Best is having time to cuddle and love the babies, not spending every minute of the day and night in a military operation, forcing the babies and my body together in a way that soothed us all emotionally, but left us all physically drained. Best is not weeping in the middle of the night because I cannot produce enough food for my children.

Two sessions of fifteen minute pumping a day takes about an hour in total. From this, I do not get enough milk to feed them even one full bottle. Not even half a bottle. It is a lot of time spent tied to an expensive machine while TMD cares for the babies.

I just ate a Snickers bar – my first peanuts in months. Does this mean I will not pump? I don’t see what carrying on the facade of one pump a day will do, it will only draw out my physical discomfort while not actually producing any real milk. In this struggle to do what is best for my children, I took drugs to increase my milk supply, I pumped hours and hours with a hospital grade pump, I cried on the phone to the lactation consultant again and again, I felt crazy and depleted and hopeful and crushed. I still feel many of these things, but in reality, I am now walking in the house without crutches. I am enjoying feeding my babies, talking and having little staring contests. TMD is able to feed her children as well. We have time to (occasionally) talk. At nighttime, we might have the chance to hold hands while we both sleep for half an hour.

I don’t know what ‘best’ is. I won’t pretend I didn’t want to exclusively breastfeed both babies until they were six months old and solids entered their mouths. I also won’t pretend that it wasn’t hard…and amazing.  In the hospital, before we realised they were losing too much weight, it was a joy. They slept on either side of me at night, we cuddled. I fed them and they fell asleep on my breasts, smiles milky and dribbling.  I loved breastfeeding my babies with a fierceness I could not have predicted.

Perhaps I made the decision to stop feeding at the breast too early; we had only been home a few days. Perhaps I was lazy in not pumping a zillion times a day, but I felt so much happier and connected to the babies and TMD when I spent time with them instead of that pump.

I teeter and totter, knowing that at this point the decision is made anyway.

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I’m sorry, babies. I feel like this is something best for me, but best for you? I only want to do everything out of love, to give you everything I can. It seems I reached my body and mind’s limit in this one area, but I hope it can help me expand what I can offer you in other ways. I love you both.

Forever.

I need to stop writing before I go into hysterics…not the fun kind, either.

June 19, 2009

Jesus, am I hormonal. Just read the comments left on my last entry and they got me crying. It’s nice to have reassurance that I am not a bad person for loving my babies and perhaps despairing of pregnancy at the moment. Of course there is a paradox – I cannot fucking WAIT for August and this part of the journey to be over, but at the same time more than anything I want their arrival to not happen until August is happily ticking away.

I want them to go to term more than I want my own pain to end.

I am also sort of upset because our wills are taking ages to sort out. We finally got the copies to proof in the post, and there was a letter to TMD informing her that it was ‘legal and right’ to refer to the babies as hers, thanks to a change in law. While the lawyer no doubt felt proud of himself for learning about the new law regarding lesbian couples, it pisses me off because that law only applies to infants conceived in or after April 2009. So, yet again, we need to go back to him to sort things out. The only reason we are getting wills in the first place is so that should something happen to me, the guardianship passes to her. The lawyer didn’t bother putting that in my will because he doesn’t seem to understand that TMD has no legal rights over the children at first.

It’s nice that he sees no distinction between us and any other married couple, but also fucking impractical and uninformed.

Whew. I talked myself out of the comment-tears and into lawyer-anger.

I don’t know. Today is still a rough day. I’ve gotten up a couple of times, and the weight of the babies pressing down on my hips is something quite extraordinary. While I was having a good cry in the shower this morning, TMD pointed out that the weight hurting my SPD is a good thing – because I ‘am doing such a good job, and the babies are growing big and healthy.’ She is right.

I still have a semi-irrational fear about being home alone, but at least the fear is now confined to me – what if I had to piss the couch? What if I fell?  This is more manageable than worrying that I’m suddenly going to shoot multiple babies out of my cootch onto the new carpeting.

I am so overwhelmed by the love and support shown to me/us via this blog, and I really can’t express what it means to have people there to cheer me on….and also tell me it’s okay to cry.

Fuck. Crying again. I just want to meet the babies. I just want to be able to walk without first worrying about how I shift positions on the couch, get up without my hips giving out, moving without the pelvic pain being something bordering intolerable. I think part of this is a disappointment that I am not prancing through a field of marigolds, wearing a floaty dress over my bump (I do love my bump) and smiling into the sun. I so wanted to love pregnancy. I have wanted to be pregnant for about seven years.

I dropped out of my PhD in 2003/2004 because we didn’t want to wait any more for children. For one reason or another, we did, and now they are here and growing. But I feel like I am failing at being pregnant. I know the important thing is staying pregnant, the babies being healthy and growing, etc. But I feel like the other side of pregnancy – the secret smiles and patting of my bump, the joy of feeling myself bloom, the freedom to be outdoors and outside with the babies in the bump – all of that is so rare.

I enjoy a two minute car trip to the fucking post office so much it makes me cry to think I once was able to actually leave the house without it being a big, special treat. I am missing out on all the things other pregnant women – particularly twin mums – complain about. Strangers coming up to touch your tummy without permission. Chatty bitches on trains telling you allllll about their pregnancies, which you really couldn’t care less about. Baby showers.

Argh.

Part of this is also impatience because I just want to meet the babies now, but I am afraid of jinxing things if I say that outloud.

Eight more weeks, eight more weeks.

I remember reading this blog when she only had seven weeks to go, and how quickly it seemed to fly by – at least from my perspective of blog reader! I know eight weeks is nothing, but it sure feels like an impossible amount of time sometimes. I’ve been told by the midwives and doctors that the pain is only going to continue to increase, and sometimes I wonder how that is possible. I suppose the pain is bearable, but it’s the narrowing of my life that is not. Even within the four walls of my own home, everything requires such an immense effort and it’s….tiring?

I also have not pooped since a true ass bomb explosion on Wednesday after returning from the hospital. I have never not pooped for this long in my life. The thing is, even if I felt like I had to, I have to negotiate how to get to the bathroom, try to breathe through the pain of sitting on the toilet and hanging around, etc etc.

Sorry if this is just sounding like a giant pity party. I know some fantastic people are still trying to get pregnant and being so brave and strong, and here I am whining because I am lucky enough to have two babies tucked safely inside me.

I just feel like…I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I don’t feel strong or brave enough to be more positive, I’m sorry I feel like I can’t bear another eight weeks, I’m sorry for feeling so overwhelmed by everything, I’m sorry for the amount of work TMD is doing to take care of me, the babies, the house, our life.  All I do is lie around and cry, or sleep, or moan.

I am constantly asking her for help. Can you please get me the ice pack? Can you hand me that box of tissues? Would you fucking just DIRECT the showerhead into my ass to rinse it – don’t you realise you are hitting my THIGH with the water?

I feel guilty.

Jesus. Now I’m sobbing. Great.