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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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Fear

Testing

The twins are napping, and for once, the house is so quiet I can hear the wind howling outside.

There are so many things to do. Laundry that needs to be started, floors that need to be mopped, toys that need to be picked up. Phone calls to be made, taxes to be started, dogs to be brushed/washed/walked or hell, even touched or spoken to with more than a “go lay down” when I nearly trip over them preparing lunch. I should make a budget, I should clean out the car (hey! I did one!), I should clean out the fridge, make a grocery list. Seriously, I could write an entire blog post on the things that are left undone.

Instead I sit here, staring at a blinking cursor.

Even when we went through infertility the thought of toddlers scared me. I wanted a baby. I was, in a way, afraid of toddlers. Now that I didn’t want toddlers, I was just unsure of how I would handle it. I can have a short fuse and very little patience if I’m in the wrong kind of mood. I really dislike HATE whining. I understand why it happens; the twins  are at an age where they want to exert more independence but don’t quite have the words to communicate that, so they cry. This morning, Abby threw a tantrum after she slipped and fell during a tantrum she was throwing because I took a long round peg out of her mouth so she wouldn’t hurt herself. Then, I laughed.

BUT I WANTED TO EAT THE DANGEROUS TOY AND THEN I GOT MAD AT YOU FOR TAKING IT AND FELL AND AHHHHHHH!!!
BUT I WANTED TO EAT THE DANGEROUS TOY AND THEN I GOT MAD AT YOU FOR TAKING IT AND FELL AND AHHHHHHH!!!

When she cried again for the 82738972348th time this morning, I had to take a deep breath.

I should pay more attention to them. I should read to them more.I should spend less time on this computer. I should make cutesy little crafts for them even though I am NOT a crafty person. I should be better at managing all of this. I should be constantly posting about how much I love my kids, all the time, especially after what we went through to have them. I should not feel a twinge of annoyance when they wake from a nap an hour early.

I should be honest and admit it isn’t always easy. Actually, I’m not even sure its the whining and crying that bothers me all that much. When other kids constantly whine and cry yes, I get annoyed, and sometimes when mine do I get annoyed, but really what I find I feel is guilt. Like I should be teaching them more words or somehow know how to stop it. But they are almost 2, they are going to have tantrums. I get that, logically, but emotionally I don’t always.

Sometimes I feel like life is testing me, and I have absolutely no idea how I am doing.

(I’m in) Double Trouble

One of my Speech Therapy kiddos was joined by his ABA therapist during his session yesterday. She, like many others, react to the fact that I have twins with a bit of shock. Though this time I didn’t get a comment as I’m carrying two toddlers out of daycare about how I have my hands full (literally – hold the door for me please). Instead, she told me she just one her own nine months ago, and to her, twin moms are like superheroes.

I’m not sure how I feel about the whole superhero thing, but as nervous as I was about how I’d balance twins, I’ve felt pretty pleased about the way I’ve handled things in general. Felt is the key word here. As we quickly approach the dreaded “terrible twos” and “threes that are way worse than twos”, I suddenly feel ill equipped.  I work with 2 and 3 year olds daily, dole out speech, language and tantrum advice often but more often than not feel completely lost as to what is the best was to go about the more difficult aspects of toddlerhood.

One of my two year olds yesterday decided that as he was leaving his therapy session would be THE BEST time to throw himself on the ground screaming. I see this daily of course so it doesn’t bother me, but poor mom was embarrassed and forced to scoop him off the floor with his voice still ringing in all of our ears.

Suddenly, I thought about the time in the not so distant future, when the two of them will undoubtedly decide that the middle of Target is an AWESOME time to throw a fit TOGETHER, and YES I REALIZE I’M GETTING AHEAD OF MYSELF BUT OMFG WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!?!!?

AHHHHHHH!!!

Half Marathon Training Run 1: Why Long Runs Save My Sanity

Most of the time I come off as a blunt, sarcastic, don’t-care-what-you-think person. The truth is, though, I can be pretty thin skinned and sensitive. I can take everything to heart. I’m extra hard on myself. I worry needlessly about what others think. Little things start to become big things and I obsess over little details or mistakes. I can feel like I’ve failed at all the things. Like it or not, this has been a part of who I am for many years, and I didn’t always deal with it well because I didn’t have a healthy coping mechanism. I have toughened up over the years and can usually catch myself before any major spiraling happens, but I spent much of high school and college depressed. Then one day (very long story short), feeling completely overwhelmed with stress and emotion, I ran out of my dorm. I ran down the street until I felt like I could not breathe. I made it probably a quarter of a mile before my lungs felt like they might explode, but the point was I didn’t feel as overwhelmed anymore. I had an outlet.

Fertile or infertile, motherhood is a challenge. My emotions have been a little up and down the last few weeks. The babies are going through a lot of developmental changes right now. We’ve hardly followed a schedule for the last 2-3 weeks. They are waking sometimes several times a night (one of the main signs of these Wonder Weeks leaps is less sleep). They are crankier. Its silly, but difficult not to sometimes take the extra crying as a sign I am not doing something right. I’m not sure how to handle all of these new things and still make sure they are fed, happy and well rested. I question working because of its impact on “the schedule”. I obsess over feeding times, nap times, bed times and wake times. Sometimes so much so that I am missing the babies, and by that I mean their giggles, babbles and rolls. Their faces as they eat bananas for the first time. The smile they give me when I go in the room to wake them up. I’m realizing that one day I’m going to wake up and realize that I’ve missed it all. I swore up and down that I would appreciate these miracles I have been given, and while I realize that you simply cannot appreciate EVERY moment, I also realize I am missing too much over these obsessions.

Yesterday I went for my first long run post super lame toe injury. Running has this way of taking my brain out of its obsessions and back more into reality. As the miles add up the fog clears, the tendency to react in raw emotion lessens, and I can really think logically through the issues. The truth is I personally believe schedules are important, but realistically, what schedule is the EXACT same day to day? Within these schedules we need a certain amount of flexibility – something I have been really lacking recently. And not just in reference to the babies and schedules.

I’d been looking forward to this run all week. I didn’t initially take it well when it was postponed one day, and then two. When I made it out the door, I felt like I was ready to take it on full force. Then, I got a stomach cramp. A stomach cramp that lasted 2.5 miles. For a moment it sucked the excitement of the run out of me but I instinctually pushed through knowing it wasn’t going to last forever. Low and behold, it didn’t. I took it easy, took short breaks when needed. I was able to pick up speed for the second half, and finished feeling triumphant. I hardly remembered the cramp happened at all.

I know there will continue to be tough times and constant changes in schedulesDeep down, I also know they won’t last forever and it won’t be the end of the world. Sometimes, though, I really need that reminder.

And when I do, I’ll go for a run.

Honest Thoughts on Motherhood (so far)

Disclaimer – this post contains my personal thoughts and experience with motherhood so far  -both good and bad. I in no way intend to make it sound as if I am complaining – however,  if you think this post may be a trigger to you you  may want to skip over it.

While lost in the depths of infertility, when I heard the phrase “motherhood is one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences” I admit I sometimes found myself sighing at the “hardest” part, swearing I would take every cry, shit and vomit in stride. I would be appreciative of the opportunity to simply be a mother. It is all I ever wanted, after all. I’m finding this to be both true and false. (And I do think I get a bit of extra leeway considering I’m mothering not one but two. Seriously, cut me a little slack)

I attribute both  my older age and experience with infertility for a higher level of patience. Part of it is the nature of twin-dom too, I think. I can only care for one baby at a time which means sometimes the other is going to cry. Until I get these milk issues sorted out, I can only feed one at a time which means sometimes one is going to wake up early and be mad. I get that getting out of the house takes an extra 20 minutes and that unless I feel like feeding in public my outings are limited to 2 hours tops- and that’s only if someone doesn’t decide to explosive poo through both their worn and back up outfit. I feel like I take all of this with as much stride as a woman with two babies possibly could. I truly believe that infertility makes mothering two babies easier. Not easy, mind you, easi-er.  As someone who worked both as a nanny and with babies and toddlers for the past few years I thought I understood that diaper rash happens, some babies spit up more than others, sometimes babies fuss even when you’ve checked everything off the list (diaper, food, temperature) etc. Some feeds are just going to suck. I expected that.

What I didn’t expect was that despite all of this knowledge, I was going to question my judgement anyway.

Let me just come out and say this outright: breastfeeding is hard. People told me that and I get it now. Its (so far) more often stressful than completely successful. My initial worry that I wouldn’t make enough milk for two babies turned out to be hysterical because I actually have the complete opposite problem: I seem to make too much, which results in the whole squirting the baby in the face problem I’ve joked about before (and do at times find genuinely funny). But it also causes other issues: it makes Miles gassy, it makes Abby spit up because it comes out so forcefully and the fullness often makes me ridiculously uncomfortable. Sometime in the middle of the night when I’m already tired, the thought of listening to my poor baby cry or cough just seems overwhelming.

Logically, both babies are healthy. Per the doctor, both are gaining weight appropriately. Per the millions of pages I’ve read (and my own professional knowledge) mild reflux is not a concern as long as babies are gaining and it doesn’t appear to cause lots of crying or pain. Squirming from gas could just as easily be from an immature digestive system as my supply issue. From what I’m told my supply should resolve itself sometime within the next month or two. Poor Abby’s sore bum is likely due to the ridiculous number of times they poop and is probably not due to some milk allergy. Sometimes lots of background, research and ability to find an answer at your fingertips is a bad thing. Logically, I understand all of this. Professionally I’d explain this to a concerned parent and tell them not to worry.

Emotionally, I tell myself not to expect the mother of the year award anytime soon. I wonder if I really am making the right decisions, if the reason why someone is crying is because of something I did or didn’t do. Because of something I should have known.

Logically, I understand that I’m doing the best I can with what I know. That it is and is going to be a lot of trial and error. That sometimes I’m going to mis judge hunger cues, or mix them up with “I need changed” cues or simply “I’m mad for no apparent reason” cues. That the babies are growing and gaining so obviously I have to be doing something right.

Emotionally sometimes I wonder if I’m cut out for this.

Its funny sometimes how you can understand something logically but the emotion tied to it is the complete opposite.

I look at these babies and feel simultaneously blessed and unworthy. I think I struggle a little more with my infertility history because I understand what it feels like to do nothing but wish for the problems I’m currently writing about. Because for some reason I feel like this means I shouldn’t ever be frustrated, confused or feel like I could use some support. Which is just plain silly, but doesn’t stop me from feeling that way.

I feel so happy to have the chance to be a mom – it really IS all I wanted. I tell Bryan often how amazing these babies are, how cute they are, how lucky I feel. Sometimes though, I feel like I am failing at the most important job I’ll ever have.

Welcome to motherhood.

Freaky Friday (and Being Kind to Myself)

I have not been super consistent with this plan to participate in Kindness Friday, and even though I’m naturally a couple days late I’m taking the better late than never approach.

In being so focused on reaching each milestone in this pregnancy, I seem to have forgotten to acknowledge something.

We are officially in the home stretch.

As in, we will have babies in 23 days or less.

I had planned to try to continue working full time until the end of April, however the physical stress of carrying 10lbs (or what I assume is 10lbs at this point) of baby  began to take a toll on my back and I was forced to stop a week early. Once I hit a point where I needed to leave work early twice in one week I knew it was time to stop. At my appt on Thursday I requested a doc note allowing me to begin maternity leave. Thankfully it was granted without an issue. I probably technically could have stopped that day but the OCD in me wanted to finish out an entire week and end on a Friday. (Plus I only work  a half day on Friday anyway)

Bryan pointed out that I seemed a bit crabby Friday morning and while I hadn’t felt particularly different, it was in the car on the way to work that I mentally acknowledged he may be right. The decision to stop working had been made somewhat short notice and suddenly it hit me that I was on my way to work for the last time. Well, I’m going back part time after the babies are here, so not the last time forever, but suddenly it hit me that shit.is.about.to.change.

Bryan and I have a brief conversation daily about that, usually consisting of me saying we are going to have two babies soon and commenting on how challenging its going to be, Bryan responding “piece of cake” and my asking if he really has any idea what we are in for. He laughs, swears he does, and then we move on.

Friday, though, it really hit me. My usual work routine? Done. Really everything about usual is beginning to turn into a different usual, and even though this is what we had fought for for three long years, I’ll admit that for just a few moments I started to panic – mostly about  my abilities to care for TWO babies simultaneously. In those moments I was not very kind to myself.

I understand that its natural to go through periods where one questions her ability to be a good mother. I had just been fairly confident about it (while admitting to myself that it was indeed going to be difficult and I would likely have periods where I felt like a failure) up until then. It has taken quite a few moments of refocusing in the last few days to not allow myself to fall into a tailspin of “WTF am I doing I have no idea what I’m doing what the hell was I thinking?” I’m using this blog post to serve as a reminder:

Motherhood is going to be hard.

But I can do it.

One day at a time. I worked as a nanny for a time. I work with kids. I can and will figure this out. I am absolutely capable of caring for two babies, and believe, at least in this case that if I couldn’t handle it, I wouldn’t have been blessed with two. Do I have any idea what I’m doing? A little, but not much. But who does?

I can do this.

And on the plus side, being home from work gives me time to brainstorm a post or two for National Infertility Awareness Week.

Also, if you are here from ICLW, welcome! We are currently expecting twins after IVF and 3 years of infertility sometime in the next 23 days. Feel free to visit the pages on our IVF cycle, or even pregnancy pics if you’re feeling up to it. There is also a page on our infertility history.

Time [for] Change

(my apologies if this is a bit jumpy)

I purposely went to bed late last night, but was up at 630 this morning anyway, my body thinking it was 730. Damn body clock.

I don’t sleep the same that I used to. That has changed. I used to be one who could fall asleep practically once I hit the pillow, and even though I’d tend to wake up a few times in the middle of the night, could always go right back to sleep. Now, it takes me 30-45 minutes to fall asleep and I’m finding it harder to fall back to sleep once I’ve had my 1st, 2nd or even 3rd bathroom break. Strangely so far it has not made me useless during the day, but is super frustrating at the time.

Last night I was restless, tossing and turning, unable to get comfortable. And not because of my stomach or any physical reason (that I could tell – it’s still a bit early for that I think), I simply could not get my body to calm down and rest. My mind jumping from one thing to another and my body responding in turn.

There are lots of big changes coming.

I am excited, but admittedly also scared. Sometimes, caught up in my anxieties -my mind wonders how these changes will affect me, our relationship, us as people. We are getting closer to the end of the first trimester, but not out of the woods yet. I wonder and worry about sleep, money, and whether we will be good parents. Whether we will have to deal with health problems having twins. How we will fare as a couple. I think that this is all normal, and deep down in my heart of hearts I know we will be fine.

I am happy and grateful to be here – we waited a long time and went through much heartache to get here. It is just that even the best things come with their own changes and anxieties. Sometimes I forget to take this one day at a time, to enjoy one day at at time, to worry about one day at a time. I get caught up in my own head. It makes me restless. People talk about the emotional ups and downs during pregnancy and I think mine manifests more as anxiety.

It is useless worry. Worry will not change anything, except perhaps for my mood. I seem to write about worry often, and it is worse with my Type A “want to be able to control everything” personality. Bryan and I had a conversation on Friday about essentially this same thing. The kicker is I know so many that would kill to worry about this rather than their own infertility. The irony is not lost on me.

I finally gave up going back to sleep (it is really 730 after all :)) and came downstairs for some breakfast (there is no waiting to eat for me nowadays!). I sat at my computer with my cereal still a little restless. And probably not coincidentally, I thought of the serenity prayer – a little piece of wisdom that makes a lot of sense.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

An Ode to Rollercoasters (metaphorically speaking)

The roller coaster ride does not end when you find out you are pregnant.

The last few weeks (and probably still for the next upcoming few) have been a mix of emotions including (this list is not all inclusive) joy, anxiety, worry, peace, happiness, fear, panic. Not to mention that I feel a little between two worlds with this blog right now – hovering between the realms of infertility and pregnancy. My intention has always been to keep writing about the journey no matter where it took us, pregnancy included. I just haven’t quite figured out how to do it – how to share the pregnancy journey while staying sensitive to those still battling. I’ve started to read blogs and be completely at a loss for words as to how to comment because I simply do not feel like I truly belong in either category.

At times I find myself thinking about a future baby shower, a growing belly (which, by the way, is already pooch-y), feeling the first kicks. Then I begin to panic when I wonder if we are equipped mentally and financially for TWO babies. (must.buy.two.of.everything! must.save.all.the.money!). Then I tell myself to stop getting too far ahead when we could still lose one…or both, and then I begin to picture the worst case scenario. It’s exhausting. Sometimes I am thankful for mild symptoms because it allows me to put it out of my head for bit when I’m making myself crazy (other than the constant eating and trips to the bathroom, anyway).  But other times it makes me worry something is wrong. And I think about blogging but stop myself because I don’t want it to sound like I’m complaining. Or that I am not thrilled. I am not trying to complain. I AM thrilled.This is just the way it is.

ADD brain doesn’t help – a couple days ago I put gas in my car and forgot to put the cap back on. Luckily Bryan was with me, noticed, and fixed it before I drove away with the gas cap dangling in wind.  I can now totally appreciate the fact that my gas cap is attached (I have NEVER done this before either!)

So to you, crazy emotions, An Ode:

Hooray, I am pregnant!

Holy shit, there’s two!

Man, I sure am hungry

Can I steal a bite from you?

Oh my can we afford this?

Don’t think too far ahead

The thought of something going wrong

It fills my heart with dread

The though of little heartbeats, though

That fills my heart with glee

I promise I’ll enjoy this

Just as soon as I go pee

What the Doctors Don’t Tell You

At some point during the IVF process, someone really needs to sit down with you and say, in addition to the procedural and medicinal explanations that undergoing an IVF will do strange things to you.  And the hormones may or may not be to blame. They also need to create some sort of IVF cycle friendly anti anxiety drug, and slip it into your progesterone. Seriously.

#1- IVF will make you get “The Crazy”. The crazy need to test early. With  Bryan working out of town, we see each other 2-3 times a month. He was home for my egg retrieval but had to go right back, and is taking a work trip at the end of this month. So, we decided to meet halfway for a night. I then had the wonderful  horrible  thought that hey! if I take a test and its positive, I can tell him in person!! So, despite my resolve the night before and the fact that it was 4 solid days early, I took a test, telling myself that if it was negative, it was still early so no big deal.

Wrong.

It was negative, and it was a big deal. Which leads us to

#2 – “The Crazy” will make you more dramatic. Not flip out screaming and shouting at the universe kind of big deal, but enough to leave me bummed for several hours and at one point convince myself this meant it didn’t work. We still don’t know the outcome of this of course, but clearly testing 4 days early and getting a negative does NOT mean it didn’t work. But that didn’t stop me from:

#3 -“The Crazy” will make you obsessively Google stupid crap – I left late because I spent 30 minutes Google-ing stupid stuff like “how many days post transfer BFP IVF”, mentally taking count of the people who said they got theirs later than 5 days after transfer, and inwardly cursing those who saw it earlier.  I might as well have Googled “is this going to work” because others’ outcomes will have ZERO effect on my own, however I still felt the need to compare. (I blame The Crazy)

#4 – “The Crazy” will make you obsess, period- Suddenly, I’m questioning whether I read all of the docs instructions correctly (I did), whether I was following all of them (I was), whether I was taking the right dosages at the right times (I was) and if I could have possibly done something to mess this up and cause a positive to not show up FOUR DAYS EARLY.

(Yes, Jeanette – I get it now.)

After a pedicure, some retail therapy, breakfast for dinner and and awesome shared dessert, I felt mostly normal. And while testing early was clearly not the best move on my part, it opened up some dialogue between Bryan and I and I left feeling much more peaceful about the whole thing – success or not. I think maybe I needed assurance that he was behind me and ok to move forward as long as it takes, if necessary. That isn’t to say that a negative blood test still won’t sting, but I have a plan now and it makes me feel better.

The kicker? I totally disregarded the early test after a positive failed to show up in, like, 30 seconds – which means I didn’t even wait out the full amount, and that my negative may or may not have actually been negative. But since I was being over dramatic (see #2) I assumed failure.

Still, there will be no more early testing for me. The night before at the earliest and I may just wait for my blood to be drawn.

Unless “The Crazy” gets to me again. (I totally think we should make a shirt that says something “I went through The Crazy and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.)

Rollercoaster

I feel like I’m a big fan of the analogies lately.

One of the (many) things I dislike about this experience with infertility, besides the obvious, is the emotional ups and downs. Generally, I love roller coasters, especially the high ones with the steepest hills. Unfortunately though, as I’ve gotten a bit older, I can’t run from ride to ride without feeling a little vertigo or spin around too many times without feeling slightly nauseous. I love the rides but have less tolerance.

As the months tick by, I have less tolerance. And the rides are getting old.

I have meant every word of the last few posts about living life more fully, letting go and doing things for Bryan and I.  I’m still super (nerd) excited about installing the floors and washing 21 towels  (I don’t even own 21 towels but I’ll find some!)  in our new super big high efficiency washing machine. I can’t wait to see if the allergen cycle really does remove pet dander and for fun I’ll probably throw a decorative pillow in the dryer’s steam cycle. The last several weeks, I’ve been more relaxed than I have been in over a year, and for me that is a big deal. I plan to continue this trend. By this point I get that  the disappointment, like the hills of a rollercoaster, are just temporary. At the same time, though, its still  part of the ride.

Another blogger posted recently about wishing for an off button. Though it isn’t in the same context, I get it. Sometimes, I want a hope off button. Because when hope doesn’t pan out, it leads to depression, jealousy and brief moments of wanting to admit defeat. (And wine drinking – but that one’s not so bad) Sometimes, hope sneaks up on you in the form of disappointment, because you don’t even realize until you’re disappointed that you were hoping in the first place. Sometimes, hope is the hardest hill to climb, the part of the ride that leaves you dizzy. But it’s also what keeps you getting back on the ride.

While I know logically that each dip isn’t forever, I still dread them, wondering if it’s ever finally going to work. If month after month of this kind of collision with disappointment is really worth it. If I”ll ever get to do more than just watch everyone else get off the ride. If I’m going to be left alone on this one-washing 21 towels used by 2 people and 2 dogs. I just want to enjoy the next ride with (what feels like) everyone else. Is that really too much to ask?

Regardless of what I think or say now, though, you’ll see me again in a few days, standing in the same line to sit in the same seat, hoping this time I’ll be in the front of the line.

Because I’m crazy, I love rollercoasters, and hope is what helps me get back on.

Wave to me as I climb up the hill.

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