Wednesday, 28 January 2015


I know I am not unique in my love-hate relationship with Facebook. 

For all of the posts that irk me - and my, oh my,  does that local mommy fb group that I'm a part of make me want to FREQUENTLY reach through my screen and give some people a hard finger flick right in between the eyes - sometimes, there's a little hidden gem in there.  I think those little gems are what keep me (and most of us?) coming back for more. 

I thought this was a great article about how postpartum depression isn't what a lot of people think it is. And how it isn't called just PPD anymore, it's called PPD/perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

It really made me reflect on my mood in a different way.  And see my irritability and mood swings more clearly.   Obviously, I'm not postpartum, but I think I'm something.  For years, I've known that something has been wrong with my moods.

It is something I went to see my doctor about a few years ago.  He had me fill out a couple surveys.  When I returned them to him, he told me that I had scored very high on the anxiety questionnaire.  At the time, it was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me, because I had thought that it was depression that was affecting my life the most, although I know they often go hand in hand.  My depression score wasn't much better.

He asked me to seek counselling before prescribing any medications to me.  I went to two sessions, felt a little better and then didn't go back basically because I was too cheap, and I always felt like my feelings were situational, and that meant that they could just *poof!* get better.   I was always focused on fixing what I thought was the root of my problem - infertility.

I was also anxious thinking about taking anything that could affect a healthy pregnancy, and my doctor's teeny comment about the small risks to a fetus was enough to make me think that taking a pill would not be a good idea, especially when we seemed to be facing such a steep uphill battle already in that department.

I was doing things that were thought to only have a little chance of increasing my chance of getting and staying pregnant.  I felt like I didn't want to add anything to the mountain.  I'm not saying this was a rational decision, but it's the one I made.

I told myself that things weren't that bad, and that if things got worse, then I would do something about it.  The problem was, that when things did get worse,  I wasn't able to ask for help.

For the most part, I could function, but certainly not thrive, with my anxiety, irritability and depression.  A few times every year, when something horrible happened in our reproductive lives, things would to grind to a halt for a few weeks.   I viewed this as situational depression, and that once I grieved, that I would be okay.

I didn't notice though, that slowly I stopped doing many of the things I loved.

Photography was one of those things.  A few years ago, I was taking classes, shooting regularly, and going out with groups of friends to take pictures.  I was taking pictures of my friends' young families and learning new ways of post processing.  

Now when I look back, I can see that when I hit a snag or a roadblock with my photography (and in other areas of my life), that it would stop me.  It didn't have to be a huge problem, just something that would frustrate me, and need a little persistence to get through, but I'd give up.  When I'd finally get around to shooting (or doing XYZ), all I could see were the many unresolved problems that I "couldn't" figure out.  It led me to be comfortable with being stagnant.  I'm embarrassed about that, and much of the other stuff I'm writing about here today.

I told myself, and I told D that that it was the hormonal roller coaster that made me this way.

Injecting maximum does of follistim one month, followed by a lupron shot the next.  I thought my symptoms were hormone based, and I think hubby told himself they were too.  He basically gave me a free pass, with a lot of empathy for several years.  God. I am lucky to have this man, and I feel badly that he has had to endure cohabiting with me at times.

I told myself that if we ever made it through to the other side, that these problems would melt away.  I think we both clinged to that hope.

To a certain degree, I was right!

Babykins coming into our lives has lifted such a weight off our shoulders.  He brings so much joy and we are so grateful for him every single day.  I still can't believe how lucky we are to call him our son.

And, without all of the hormonal manipulation, I definitely feel MUCH better.

The problem is, is that I still don't feel great how I think I should.  I'm realizing that there is still something wrong with my moods.

I try to pin point what it is caused by exactly, and I think it's a compound problem.  It's hard for me to sort out.  I believe that the major contributing factors are:

  • Sleep deprivation. 
  • Hormonal.  I still have premature ovarian failure, and my cycles are messed up.  When my period is approaching, I definitely feel more rage.   Hubby thinks my moods are only related to the 5 or so days before my period.  What he doesn't know is that I internalize many of my grumpy feelings before that time, and by the time I get to a few days before my period, that lots of times my emotions related to certain triggers are already at a boiling point. 
  • Learned behaviour and thought patterns.   I need to be more mindful of the negative thoughts that constantly swirl in my head. 
  • Caffeine. It is my comfort in a glass when my energy is low.  I notice I feel edgier when I drink it too often, and maybe at all. 
  • Vitamin deficiency.  I've been told again and again that my vitamin D, and sometimes my iron levels are low.  Confession: I haven't taken any vitamins since my last fertility cycle because I have a bit of a pill aversion.  It's time to tighten up my bootstraps on this one.  
  • Water intake - is not consistent.  Some days I barely drink any water. 
  • Refined carbs - are also my crutch and my comfort.  It's how I solve my problem when I'm feeling hangry. 
  • It's winter and we're cooped up!

I love my husband, and he doesn't deserve an irritable wife.  My son doesn't deserve that either.

So from today on, I'm going to be monitoring my moods via a mood tracker.  I'm just started my period, so I think it's a great time to start doing so.  I'm going to keep track of the things I mentioned above to see if I can pin point anything in particular.  Going back to my doctor is an option too.

The Hubbs, D-Man.

He's spent a lot of years propping me up, and getting me through infertility and loss.  I could not have made it through these past seven years with out him.  He has been my empathetic ear and my rock.   He functioned on many days that I didn't.  He kept a level head on many days that I didn't.  He worked hard through out it all to pay for our lifestyle and for the gagging amount we have spent on infertility treatments.

Now, that the baby is here, his anxiety has reached very high levels.  He worries immensely, especially about Babykins.

He thinks about things like one of us accidentally tripping down the stairs while holding the baby, and about SIDS a lot.  He thinks about the worst case scenario all.of.the.time.  He checks things that I do and it drives me crazy.  "Is he too hot?" "Is he too cold?", "Should he be sleeping with his face like that?", "The weather isn't great should you be driving with him?", "Let's not go anywhere, so people don't touch him and give him germs".  I feel like I worry about Babykins a fair bit, and that D's worries are over the top.

He has reminded me of his friend who died in high school.  He was an only child and D says that his parents never recovered.   He tells me that if something happened to Babykins that we wouldn't recover either.

He tells me that the worst case scenario has always happened to us (in the baby department) and so he's scared it's going to happen again.  The respiratory problems and hospitalization that Babykins has been though has only made these feelings so much more heightened.

D's anxiety and my irritability is a shitty combination to say the least.  I'm sure you can imagine.

He works from home, which is awesome in that he's able to be a very involved parent and spouse, but it also doesn't give us much time apart from each other either.    With the winter, and almost two months with a sick infant, (and with me fighting three colds since December), it's been a lot to handle.

We recently spent time with one of D's childhood friends who lives far away from us.  We only see him about once a year.   (Random side note: He's a chiropractor and did an adjustment on Babykins.  I never thought that would be something I would do, but it was honestly very harmless - the most aggressive thing that he did was hang the baby from his feet upside down to let the weight of his head adjust his spine.  He explained everything he was going to do very thoroughly before he did anything, and got our consent.   I'm not sure if it did much but it was very neat to watch the adjustment!).  Anyways, D said various things though out our visit with him that led him to say, "Holy cow! When did you start worrying so much? Where did D go?!?"  I told him I couldn't have agreed more.

D doesn't see his anxiety the same way I do.

My point is, I suppose that we are both still suffering a bit.   And I feel guilty about that.  We've been given everything we ever asked for now.  But, I also think we have allowed ourselves to suffer for much too long too.   We need to do something about it.  I'm going to start with myself.  I'm writing this here to hold myself accountable.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

My sister

My sister is pregnant, and expecting her little one in June. I am happy for her, especially because I worried that the same saddness spewing infertility that touched our lives may have affected hers too.  

Luckily, it didn't, and it "only" took them 8 months to conceive.  She said the month that she found out she was pregnant was the month she began to think that she might have infertility.  That was the month that we brought Babykins home. 

I had no idea they were trying.  Or "not preventing" as she puts it.  To an infertile, I feel like those are the practically the same thing. 

Last night we found out the baby's gender.  Babykins will have a boy cousin less than 8 months younger than him (he? I am confused about my grammar and I am much too lazy to look it up). 

I am excited that Babykins will have a cousin the same age as him.   I am excited to have the opportunity to share in our parenting experiences together. That is truly a dream come true, especially because our friends' kids were born 8.6 million years ago. 

Here's the problem though. My sister is becoming one of *those* preggos to me, and it's getting harder for me to ignore.  For example, she sends me weekly updates via text message about what size of fruit or veg she is now carrying.  I'm running out of responses. 

Her boyfriend created an oh-so-adorable video on facebook of a collaboration of family and friends' elated responses to their news. It was very touching and I cried happy tears when I watched it. And then, I swiftly had a little pang of something ugly and jealous in my heart. 

To be clear, I'm not jealous of her pregnancy.  I'm actually quite pleased that I didn't have to squish Babykins out of my vagina.  I'm jealous of her naivety.  Of her pure bare-faced happiness and confidence in her growing little navel orange, and perhaps in this world. 

Digging deep, I realize that I'm the most peeved that she maybe doesn't treat me as an infertile anymore. Yes, I am a mother.  But I also earned my nasty little infertile badge too. One does not replace the other. 

I want to be rid of these feelings. I have ignored them for a while, but they keep announcing their presence, louder each time.  So, I'm acknowledging them here, in the hope that they now can calm the freak down. 

I hear you, infertile feelings. I get it. I know why you are here. I am still very inferile.  I won't forget you. I will always remember my wounds and scars. I promised myself that I wouldn't forget and I won't.  But this is my sister, and my nephew.  Won't you please now get lost? 

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Another little bug

The little one seems to have a respiratory sensitivity, and as the doctor says, possibly asthma. 

He's been to the hospital and doctor a couple of times in the past couple of days due to his cold symptoms, wheezing, vomiting, and 105 degree fever!  An Xray showed no signsof pneumonia   (phew!). However, has bronchiolitis and probally RSV again. The doctor said there isn't immunity that's built if he's the virus already.  

He sure is
Initiating his newby parents! 

Luckily, he seems to be on the mend today. The fever has broken with the help of some meds. 

Now, I think I will keep him locked up in a little bubble now until June. Just joking. I think. 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Update on the past month and life with a 3 month old

He sleeps more predictably now, which makes a world of difference. My crank-o meter has been dialed way back to levels where I may even be suitable to cohabit with other people.

I am learning that predictable sleep, even if it's spread out is nice.

Babykins starts getting sleepy around dinner time. He feeds around 6pm, 9pm, 1am, 4am, and then wakes for the day around 5am.  

D and I have been doing shifts where he goes to bed super early (like 7, 8 or 9pm), and relieves me at 4am. He comes and gets me at 7:30am when he has to go to work. This has worked well because it gives him a solid chunk of sleep, and I am able to get some too. During 9pm- 4am Babykins (now) sleeps pretty soundly, with the exception of waking for his feedings. He has virtually outgrown his sleeping baby goat noises, which means that sleeping with him nearby or with the baby monitor on is actually possible. During my 4am to 7:30am chunk of sleep, I honestly feel like I blink and it's over.  In the morning I feel human now and I don't even need to drink coffee (which I am learning affects my moods too). 

To complicate the sleeping situation over the past month, Babykins has had his fair share of illnesses. 

Like when he was hospitalized in December for 3 days (!) at ten weeks old for a severe respiratory virus. Now that was scary.  He was choking on his phlem and was working so hard to breathe. We even had to call 911 one night because of the choking.  Needless to say, we will be taking a first aid class hopefully this winter or spring. 

Then after all of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, on the day we arrived home after being gone for a week we realized that Babykins was sick again.  It turned out that he had laryngitis. 

Watching a baby cry but not make a sound is such a weird thing. It might seem great, but it was a little tricky. Thankfully, Babykins isn't a huge crier anyways (he can really whine when he wants to but we can usually stop it from escalating). The laryngitis meant that he couldn't communicate with us, especially at night.  So we had to keep him very close so we would notice if he needed something. 

Daddy was able to dodge all of these little viruses, but I didn't escape them. 

Babykins has reflux too, which means that he is quite the little puker. He'll puke up what sometimes seems like half of his bottle hours after eating it. I do a lot of laundry and am very thankful that our couches are charcoal grey- eek.   

He doesn't seem to be in any pain from it, and he's gaining weight (he's almost 15lbs now!) so we have opted to not medicate him.  The side effects from the meds might be worse than the spitting up.  Thickened formula is an option that our paediatrician offered, but B has been on 4 different formulas (formulae? haha) already and we're reluctant to switch brands again, especially because the only thickened one we can find is a brand that didn't agree with him. 

All of this has given us quite the little initiation to parenthood. It's certainly doesn't even compare to some of the more severe and complex problems that many other parents have to cope with, but for us, it's still been something. 

Due to B's reflux and congestion, he's been sleeping mostly in a baby chair beside the couch, where we can watch him and he can be upright. He also loves to have a good ol' sleep on Mama's chest, and will sleep for about twice as long there as he usually does, if he's given the opportunity.  

Last night, we had our beat night ever- he slept from 9:30pm until 3:30am, woke for a feed and then slept more until 6:30! And it was in his crib and playpen. It was glorious!  We are hoping for him to be regularly   sleeping in his crib soon. 

At the end of our Christmas holidays, we met up with Carla and some of Carla and Mark's family. We had planned to see them sooner, but our visit got canceled because if Babykin's first illness. 

It was the first time that Carla would see Babykins since the hospital, and the first time that many of Babykins extended family would meet him.  Mark didn't come, apparently because he was upset with Carla's dad. 

It was a really great meeting for us.  We met at a restaurant in a hotel. We were the only ones there and they set up a big table for us. It was private and nice.  There were about 20 people there. Some gave us gifts, and everyone loved meeting the baby and I think us too. 

Afterwards, we set up a private page on Facebook to share pictures and notes with everyone. It's been a great way to update everyone all at once, and keep everything  somewhat private.  We will continue to text Carla extra pictures. 

At the meeting, we gave Carla a photo book of the days at the hospital.  Carla cried a few times throughout the 3 hour meeting. In hindsight, we should have met with her first, on a different day, so that she could just had some quiet time with Babykins in her own, and not have so many people around. She said she had no idea there were going to be so many people there, it was her Dad and Mark's Mom that did all of the inviting. 

Later in the afternoon, I met up with her in the bathroom when I went to change the baby's bum. We were the only ones there and I was so glad to finally have a few minutes alone with her. 
I asked her how she was doing. She said "it's hard" and tears streamed down her face.  My heart had been hurting for her all afternoon (and in many days leading up to this meeting).  Her beautiful blonde hair hadn't been washed.  She looked uncomfortable with her postpartum body. We hugged and I listened, but I wished that there was so much more that I could do to ease her burden. She has given so much to us, she has lifted the heavy blanket of grief, anger, isolation and sadness in our lives. I want to do the same for her...but I don't know how. 

Later, her father told D that she was having a rough time, but that she was still happy with the decision she made. It was a relief for us to hear that. I can only imagine how much harder things would be for her if she felt like she had made the wrong decision. 

We talked again about her coming to visit us in our home. She has said to us a few times that when she gets a car the first trip she wanted to take was to our house to visit Babykins.  We asked her if she liked the train. She said yes, and the next week we mailed her a gift card for two round trips to see us. We hope that she might take us up on the offer to visit and bring her sister, a friend, or whomever she wanted. It didn't sound like Mark would be coming (or driving them) any day soon.  We're not sure what his story is. 

On a different note, yesterday, I got an unexpected email. It was from an address that at first I didn't recognize, with a subject line of "hello". I thought it was spam, and I disregarded it, but then something made me reconsider and I opened it. 

It was an email from the very first couple who donated two embryos to us. She said she was sorry for not reaching out sooner. 

The last contact I had with them was an email telling them the transfer didn't work, and thanking them for what they had given us.  She said that she somehow felt that experience had linked us. She asked me what the last several years have been like for us. 

I responded to her, telling her in a couple paragraphs, just what the last five or so years were like, in the fertility department and otherwise. I told her about how things had changed. I sent her pictures of our beautiful son.  I thought about it and cried thinking about how if she had emailed me a six months sooner, how different my message would have been to her without our happy ending. 

We are so grateful for Carla and this little boy. 

Ps) Thank you for the suggestion of Bloglovin'. It took me a while to add all of my blogs but I am enjoying it!  This update was typed on my phone, please forgive the poor editing!