Thursday, October 30, 2008

Home Sweet Home

We are home finally. It is so nice. Husband went to work. Daughter was at daycare. Friend is here and helped with laundry and holding the baby. I got a nice shower and a nap. And tonight I get to sleep in my very own bed. Yeah!
The cultures never grew so it was just a nasty virus. He is all clear and seems glad to be home. Hoping he sleeps well so I can sleep well.
Daughter was excited to have me home too. Tomorrow is big day for her. Trick or treating at day care and then the fall festival at church. I will be home with Baby because we don't want him out in public for awhile. It is the first time I'll miss going with Daughter which is a bit sad. I made Husband promise to take a ton of pictures.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

An Update

Spinal tap is clear, blood work is clear, urine culture is clear and all the other cultures are not growing. So we think it is just a virus.........."just"...a REALLY bad virus. His temp is back down. He even slept a 3 and then a 2 hour stretch. I got to sleep too. The night nurses left the door ajar and rather than wake us to do temps, etc., they listened for us to wake and did their work then. It was so nice. We have been blessed with wonderful nurses here in the hospital. I napped today too.

Our friend arrived today. Wonderful to see her. Great to have adult conversation for awhile too. And I even got to hand off the Baby and go to the bathroom! My husband is feeling better and he says our Daughter is doing better too.

So assuming all is still well tomorrow, we get to go home. The doctor said he'd try to come here early so we could get home early. I'm ready. Husband has gotten 2 nights (and another tonight) of all-night sleep. So hopefully he'll be good to help with diapers and give me a break too.

Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We're in the Hospital

I'm typing this from the hospital bed with a sick Baby on my lap. Yesterday we had his follow up appt with the gastroenterologist. It went fine. Our pediatrician called us about his thyroid tests while we were on the way to the GI doctor. His levels were still a tiny bit high but coming down.The ped asked how he was and we said he was doing great.

The GI dilated him again - he has anal stenosis and so his sphinctor muscles are tight and need stretching. We left there and because Baby was so happy, Husband and I went to early voting and to eat. When we got home, Baby was starting to get fussy. We gave him his laxative and figured it was just from the appt. Then he got warm. I checked his temp and it was 100.1 rectally. Waited 20 minutes and checked again. Still high. By that time he was really fussy. I called the ped and they said to bring him in. On the way to the peds office, he cried with every movement and every bump in the road. He was really rigid and tense when we got there and screamed if you moved him.

The ped took blood and then a rectal temp - 101.4. So he sent us to the hospital immediately. He later told us that he had seen another baby earlier in the week with similar symptoms that had meningitis. We got here about 4 pm. They took a urine (catheter), more blood, spinal fluid and X-ray. I couldn't go with him except for the x-ray but I could hear him screaming. It was terrible.

I had texted a friend who texted back right as I was left alone in the room. They had taken Baby out for tests and Husband had run to get Daughter and get me some stuff since we figured I was going to be in the hospital awhile. Friend came right over and stayed awhile which was exactly what I needed. Then our pastor and wife came later.

We found out the spinal fluid is clear with pretty much rules out meningitis. The x-ray is clear and urine is clear too. So far cultures are not growing anything, so they suspect a virus. Whew! He is on 2 different IV antibiotics. Still feverish but it is down and he is nursing better. I have a bed in his room and they are feeding me. The nurses were in every hour to check his IV, antibiotics get temp, etc. So I've had zero sleep.

Husband and Daughter both have some sinus infection/cold but Baby has none of those symptoms. Husband dropped Daughter at daycare and ran over to work for a bit. Then he may go home and nap. We don't want him to get worn out and sicker.

A different friend is flying in Wed to stay through Sunday. This was planned weeks ago but the timing is perfect now. I can definitely use an extra set of hands.

Daughter was going through a clingy, jealous, "I want Mommy" phase before this and Daughter said she cried for me last night. Breaks my heart. But she'll come visit today. I was surprised they'd let her but they said it was fine.

We are here through Thursday morn at least. If all cultures clear by then, they'll figure it was a virus and not a bacterial infection.

So far this morning I'm okay. Husband came for a bit and I showered and ate. I've not slept so I should be exhausted by I'm not yet. Anxiety is back down for the most part, but I figure it will creep back up as I go stir crazy. I can see sunlight and trees from the hospital window though.

Sure would appreciate any prayers and good wishes you can send.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Once Upon a time - story of my dad - Part 4

Reflecting back, I have mixed feelings about my father and his women.

My sister once again moved out of my mother's house when I was off to college. She moved in with Jill - dad's ex-girlfriend. It was a roommate situation - Sister paid rent. Jill acted as a friend, but somewhat as a mother too. Jill opened up a bit to Sister about the abuse she had suffered while living with Dad. Sister talked a bit about the physical fights she and Dad would get into.

These discussions made the relationship between Dad and Rita more puzzling. In that relationship it seemed Rita was in control and wore the pants. Dad and Rita broke up in 2002 or 2003. I received a telephone call asking for me by my maiden name. It was dad. He explained that he and Rita had broken up. We talked some after that. I learned that the cards I sent yearly had not been received by him.

Dad and Sister met regularly and became close again. When Husband and I visited my sister, I got to see my dad. It was the first time in almost 10 years. I have to say that I did not like him. Dad was very material. He wanted to compare his wealth. He talked about his 50 acre horse farm, his job, his car, etc. He even asked where our vehicle was (we had it in the garage) because he wanted to know what we were driving. For every thing Sister or I said, he had to one-up us. Dad also cursed like a sailor. He had NEVER cursed when I was growing up. He talked negatively about Rita and about my mother. Sister had to remind him constantly not to talk like that in front of her children.

We learned that Rita was into some drug use. Dad had been into using marijuana in my infancy, but had given it up - or so I thought. Now I suspect he was using that and more. We also learned that Rita is bipolar and abuses her son's ADHD medication, especially his ritalin.

After six months or so, after having domestic violence orders taken out against him, after violating the orders and spending time in jail, Dad and Rita reconciled. Dad insisted that Sister and I welcome Rita with open arms. We told him that we were still adjusting to the idea of speaking with him. We didn't say that we would never want to speak with Rita - just asked for time. He refused. Dad said that it was "our job" to help Rita with her mental health issues - his reasoning was that since we (Sister, especially) had struggled with mental health issues, that we had an obligation to help Rita. When we refused, he cut off contact again, cursing and calling us names.

The next time I heard from Dad was a phone call at work to tell me his mother, my Nana, had died. My uncle had already called and so I just refused the phone call. I was five months pregnant. Sister and I flew up for the funeral. We saw Dad and Rita at the funeral home. Dad came over and awkwardly hugged me - I let him because I didn't want to make a scene. He was surprised to see that I was pregnant. Sister found an out and backed away from his hug. We ignored Rita. She started yelling and cussing and was taken outside. Then the service started. Most of the other sisters and brothers, and all my cousins sat together near the front. Some of us were on the floor or sharing seats because it was crowded. Anyone who wanted to speak could and several did. After the last prayer, my Dad walked up to the family - he had been sitting in the back, where a few other family members had ended up. He was bright red in the face and began yelling loudly about how he should have been saved a seat up front and he should have been the one to speak (as the oldest son there). It was embarrassing. He stormed out. Sister and I went back to my aunt's house where we were staying. There was a message on the machine from Dad calling Sister and I all sorts of names. "Bitch" being the main one. My aunt refused to let us hear all of it.

Thus ends the story of Dad. I've not had a real relationship with him in 16 years. I've not had any contact at all in 5 years. I suspect I may learn of his demise from my aunts/uncles (his sisters and brothers) but then again I might not.

I have some good memories of Dad - especially the early years. I loved the person he was at the lakehouse. We had great family times and spent lots of fun times together. Dad was a great planner of family fun times - it was just life in general that he sucked at.

I often wonder what happened to the children. I heard that the daughter had a child. I heard that the youngest was doing okay and was pretty sweet. My aunt (the one we stayed with during Nana's funeral) keeps in touch with Sister and I. My other aunt and uncle (Dad's youngest brother) doesn't speak with the rest of the family much anymore. It seems that Dad managed to split his siblings too. Which I find terribly sad.

This was not a hard series of posts to write. I used to miss my father, the person. Until our brief "reconciliation" - then I realized that he is not a very nice person and I don't really like him. That reunion, while painful, was healing. I have never felt the loss of a father figure as intensely as I did a mother figure. I do not know why - it's just the way it is. I have no desire to see him again or hear from him. The way I figure, he's had his chances and second chances. And so this is the END.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Once Upon a time - story of my dad - Part 3

Rita continued to alternate between her "mom" persona and her "friend" persona. One time I came home with a guy I had dated. Rita sat down in the kitchen and started talking, in sexually explicit terms, about things she and my dad did. I was mortified. Other times she chastised me for things I wore, saying they were too low cut.
One weekend I arrived back at my mother's house. Sister was visiting that weekend. Sister was very upset. Rita had gone through Sister's belongings and discovered birth control pills. Rita was outraged and insisting Sister and her boyfriend break up. Rita called and cursed out my mother too. I drove Sister home and for some reason Mom followed.
When we got there, Sister went upstairs. I asked to speak to Dad and we went downstairs. I told Dad that I didn't appreciate Rita's sex discussions or the way she spoke to us. Dad listened and said he'd take care of things and talk with Rita. It was a good conversation. I felt "grown up" for the way I handled the discussion. It is the one and only time I remember confronting my father about something and having a civilized, good conversation.
As we walked upstairs, we heard yelling. We ran upstairs. Sister and Rita were yelling. I'm not sure what happened, but Sister said she was leaving. Rita started throwing Sister's belongings off the balcony window. Then Dad got involved. The next thing I remember Dad is coming at me and I know he is going to hit me. I stiffened my back and for the first time ever stood up to him. I told him, "go ahead, but make it count, because you'll pay." He stopped short and did nothing.
The police were called. Rita was convinced that the years old restraining order Dad and Mom had against each other transferred to her place, and the fact that Mom was at the end of the driveway meant a violation of that Order. Sister and I took what we could and left. I drove home with Toilet who was very father-like (one of the few good memories I have of him) and Sister with Mom.
After that I got Sister enrolled in school and took her shopping for all the items she needed. All of Sister's belongings mysteriously "disappeared" and Rita claimed that Sister and her daughter shared so many things that it got comingled. A few weeks later we learned that Dad had met with a serious accident. While cutting down a tree, he fell out. After that, we didn't hear from Dad again. I firmly believe that "accident" was a warning to him about conversing with Sister and I.
Years passed. Sister and I kept up with Dad's side of the family, but not with Dad. I had to communicate with him some about financial stuff. It was always a bad experience. One time I called collect. When the operator asked to whom I wished to speak I gave Dad's full name. Rita got on the phone and blasted me for speaking disrespectfully by not calling him Dad.
I heard rumors that Dad adopted Rita's four children. I know Rita's sister and brother-in-law were victims of a murder-suicide (not the same family I had met). Dad and Rita took in their children - there were 2 or 3 I think. These children had mental issues and one ended up in the criminal system. Later Dad and Rita abandoned them with Social Services.
Dad and Rita briefly broke up and Dad reappeared in Sister and I's life. I've written about that before and won't repeat it here.
(to be continued).....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Once Upon a time - story of my dad - Part 2

I couldn't figure out why my Dad had wanted me to keep his marriage a secret from my mother. I didn't and Mom got a strange look when I told her about Rita. Later when I mentioned some of Rita's strange behaviors, Toilet made a comment about the behavior not being "abnormal for Shotzie." I was puzzled.

Toilet explained that Rita was a bartender/waitress at some of the biker bars that they (Toilet, his ex-wife, Mom and Dad) had frequented. She had a reputation of consuming lots of alcohol while working and swinging from the chandeliers - literally. Her nickname was Shotzie for her drink of choice. Apparently Shotzie had quite a "loose" reputation.

I filed this bit of information away.

One night about a month after the wedding, Mick's mother called and invited me to dinner. Remember that Mick's father was the brother of Rita's ex-husband. So Mick and my step-siblings were cousins. I agreed to come over.

Mick's parents sat me down and proceeded to tell me this bizarre story about Rita. I'll explain what I was told -- it's outrageous and I'm not sure what I believe and what I do not.

Rita was married two or three times before. No one was really sure which. There was also confusion about her real name, the spelling and her last names - which changed regularly with each marriage.

Her husband had a history of dying in strange ways. Mick's parents suspected mob connections. This wasn't totally unbelievable, given that I grew up in New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia. Mick's parents became concerned for their brother when he developed leukemia. He was quite weak and confined to bed. However, he apparently managed to drag himself out to the barn (quite a distance away) and either shoot or hang (can't remember) himself. There was an investigation in which Rita was suspected of killing her husband. However, Rita developed a relationship with the investigator and was cleared of wrongdoing. Later the investigator met with some injury too - a car accident I believe - and also died.

Mick's parents also asked me to be on the lookout for strange things involving the children. They believed the children had been physically and sexually abused. The girl child seemed to know more about sexuality than she should and Mick's parents suspected that she was being "farmed out" to Mom's boyfriends. They had reported things to Social Services but nothing was supported. They also said the boys were often bruised and injured in mysterious ways.

Mick's parents warned that Rita was manipulative. She had a way of thwarting the system. Despite owning a 50 acre horse farm and lots of valuable horses, the children received welfare money. The Christmas she and my dad met, the children had been signed up to be "adopted" by a church for the holidays. Each child received more presents than my sister and I combined. Rita and the children received life insurance from the death of the fathers and also social security. Rita could spin a story to get a handout every which way.

I left Mick's parents house confused about what to do. I tried to discreetly make inquiries. I tried to clarify with Rita exactly how many times she had been married, names of spouses, which child belonged to which man and other details.

Soon thereafter, the relationship majorly deteriorated........(to be continued)...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Once Upon a Time - story of my dad - part One

I realized that I've never written about why I don't see my father any longer. It's a wild tale -- more like a fairytale or fantasy story. I'm not sure how much I believe.

My parents divorced when I was 10. My father insisted on liberal visitation. We saw him every other weekend, and ever Tuesday and Thursday evening. That was quite frequent compared to all my other friends with divorced parents. Mom moved her new boyfriend (Toilet) in right away. Dad promised that Sister and I would always come first; he'd never date anyone we didn't like; we would always come first.

Dad dated some. We met one who was nice. She was Dutch and cooked great meals for us. She was older than he and had older children. The next lady we met turned into a long-term relationship. "Jill" moved in with Dad eventually. Jill did not have children and wasn't quite sure what to do with Sister and I. Jill was nice - just not motherly. She was very health conscious and limited our snacks and junk food when we visited.

For someone that had never had children, Jill was one of the more parental-like influences in my life. She very well could have been a great influence on my life had circumstances been different. When I dated a boy who was 3 1/2 years older than me, started sneaking out, etc, Jill was the one who made me be accountable for where I was and when I'd be back. When my personality totally changed, it was Jill who snooped through my stuff to determine if I was on drugs. It was Jill who raised concerns about Toilet to my Dad - although Dad ignored it. Jill also tried to talk to me about peer pressure, dressing less provocatively and my interactions with the boys I was dating.

Up until that point, Dad was an active father. He came to school events, kept up with our schooling and activities, and did things with us on weekends. We took family vacations every summer, visited extended family on holidays and typically went camping several times a year.

When I was 16/17, Sister decided to move in with Dad. Right before Sister moved in, Jill moved out. I'm wasn't sure why at the time. I later learned that Jill did not want my Sister to witness the physical abuse between she and my father. Dad went on a dating frenzy. He was out all the time. Jill moved out at the beginning of the summer. Right before Christmas, Dad called me. He wanted me to come meet him somewhere as soon as possible.

Dad had me meet him at a bar. He met me in the parking lot, got out of a strange car, came up to the window and indicated I should follow the car. He was giddy acting. So I followed him to a farmhouse. Sister was there. I was introduced to "Rita" and her four children. Dad had dated Rita a few times and decided to marry her -- in two weeks. He and Sister would be moving to Rita's house. Now, that was a great first introduction! I met my new step-mother, new weekend home and four new step-siblings in a matter of moments.

Sister and I saw Rita two or three times after that. She had four children. The first and fourth had the same father. The middle two had different fathers. They were younger than my sister and I. At that time, I was 17, Sister was 15, and the four kids were Boy 14, Girl 13, Boy 9 and Boy 3 (I think). Talk about starting over! Rita wanted Sister and I to come to the wedding, which was taking place out-of-state because there were no blood tests or waiting periods there. It was not well planned or organized. It was to take place quickly!

I arranged to switch work shifts and drove to Dad's house. I met Rita's ex-husband's brother, his wife, and their two children. Their oldest was named Mick and he was my age. I thought he was quite cute. We drove to the wedding chapel (think Las Vegas like) and to a restaurant. Then I had to get back to work. Rita sneakily suggested that Mick take me home. She winked at me and I thought that this new stepmother might be quite cool. Mick and I chatted and I learned that Rita had been married three or four times before. Mick didn't seem too taken with Rita. I thought at first it was because Rita wasn't with Mick's uncle anymore.

That weekend I visited. Rita asked if I would watch the kids so she and Dad could go out. I said sure. She suggested Mick and his brother come over too. So we ordered pizza and they all visited. Mick and I found time to sneak away and get to know each other a bit more. The next weekend I was asked to babysit again. I mentioned Mick might visit and Rita flipped out and said he wasn't invited. I was confused but said "okay." Then she and Dad came home early, to make sure Mick wasn't there. I didn't understand what had happened.

Rita was odd - one moment she wanted me to call her Mom. The next she wanted to be treated like a sister. One moment she was ultra-conservative. The next she was discussing she and my father's love life - in detail. One moment she was kind and sweet. The next her face would change and she'd be an angry witch.

Rita lived on a farm and raised Arabian horses for a living. She also barrel raced. I was ecstatic on learning this. I had always wanted a horse. I immediately wanted lessons, which she was glad to give. I also helped out with the other children and horse duties. One moment Rita was appreciative. The next she wanted me to get lost.

Rita and I clashed some. She wanted me to help with the younger children. Especially with homework and tutoring. But when I'd take an interest in their schoolwork and try to talk to the kids, she got irritated with me. She often wanted me to help out with the 3-year old. I loved the little guy and quickly developed a bond with him. He was desperate for attention and followed me everywhere. I grew concerned when bathing him. He had bruises all over. When I asked about them, Rita got aggravated. One day Rita and I got into a major argument. She wanted me to come out and help in the barn. However, I had just gotten the 3-year old down for a nap and was worried he would wander out of his room. She told me to lock him in his room. I refused - I would not lock him in his room and then go outside, across the large yard and into a barn. What if there was an emergency or fire? Rita got very upset and ordered me to do it. I refused. Later I spoke with my father and he took Rita's side. I was upset and vowed never to be put in the situation where I would have to lock a child in their room and leave the house.

That dispute was the beginning of the end of my relationship with Rita........(to be continued)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Never Good Enough

I am trying to find the balance between working too much and not working enough. Between continuing to recover from pregnancy/birth and being lazy. Between enjoying snuggles with my son and being too lazy to do anything besides lay on the couch with him. No matter where I fall on the spectrum I struggle with feelings of "not enough."

When Sister and I talk about our low self-esteem, we always talk about my father. He was horrible about comparing us. Sister was the "pretty one" but would "be so much prettier if she just dressed like a lady." I was the "smart one" but could "do better if I just tried harder." Growing up I was in the gifted and talented programs. There were typically 15 or so children in the classes. I was usually ranked 13th or so. I couldn't take pleasure for having made it to the G&T class or honors class. Rather I beat myself up for not being higher-ranked. In college, I took all my pre-req classes on an honors level and chose a difficult major. Instead of being pleased with my A/B average, I was upset for not graduating in the top 10 percent. I did graduate near the top of my law class. But it wasn't enough - I was upset that I didn't get offered a job with a big-tiered firm. My father pointed out all these things.
I've been reflecting lately on where this low self-esteem may have come from. I want to be sure I do not inadvertently pass it on to my children. My daughter has started making comments about how "she can't be Hannah Montana because she's not blond" and other innocent comments. But I want her to know she can be anything she wants.
Then I opened my email and the lightbulb went off. Sister and I chatted on the phone the other day and she asked if I'd email some new pictures of Baby. I said "sure" and so when I figured out my new camera, I did just that. I took three with the new camera and sent them to Mom and Sister - one of Baby, one of Daughter and one of Husband holding Baby.
I got a return email - Loved the pictures....need to see more...Would've been nice to see one of Mama, too.
My first thought - is anything ever good enough for you? My emails are too short - not enough details - missing something - whatever. All of a sudden I could hear comments she has made in the past. All sorts of comments like this. For instance, when I mentioned going to a breastfeeding group she said, "well I would have thought it would be more for first time moms." Which made me question whether I should go, instead of just enjoying myself and going. If I dare to complain, she diminishes my complaints as being frivolous. It's been like that for years.
Now I need to get beyond this. And figure out how to convince my daughter that she can be anything she wants.......well maybe not Hannah Montanna - I'm not into all that show business hype!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Time for an Update to My Blog

I decided to clean up the Blog list on the right-hand side. I've added some blogs and deleted ones that haven't posted in months or longer. I hope you'll check out the new additions.

Erin Merryn - I posted about her book awhile back. She actually commented. Then I found out she has a blog. So check it out here.

MSSC54- has commented on my blog a lot. With children and adopted children and grandchildren, lots of parenting insight to be found here.

Check out the new and improved Lynn at Ethereal Highway.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Intrusive thoughts - not so normal?

My thoughts of late –
I am holding Baby cradled in my arm with his head facing out. I walk too close to the brick wall and bang him up against the wall, scraping the top half of his head off.

I am walking down the stairs and fall, holding Baby. He bounces down the stairs, splitting open like a watermelon.

I wake up in the morning and he is cold and blue.

At the store, some crazy person grabs Baby out of my arm and runs off. I’m out of shape and can’t catch them.

Am I a bad mom for letting him cry for 5 minutes while I go to the bathroom? Or am I a bad mom if I don’t take time for myself? Or if I carry him into the bathroom and hold him the entire time (yes this is possible)?

Am I a bad mom when his crying annoys me after going on all day? Or a more relaxed, experienced mom, when I can stay calm after hours of crying?

I had these thoughts with my Daughter. I kept having thoughts of something happening to her. The thoughts started out with something happening to her – she rolled off the bed and fell on the floor. Then it progressed to my noticing/knowing but not doing anything – she rolled over, I saw her get close to the bed, I did nothing, she hit the floor. I got concerned at that point. When the thoughts got worse and turned to thoughts of me doing something (i.e. helping her roll off bed), I got really concerned and saw the doctor. I didn’t have the actual urge to do anything, but the thoughts alone were disturbing enough. I was ashamed of even thinking that way and was sure it made me a horrible mother. I swallowed the shame and saw the doctor. He prescribed zoloft. It was my first time on depression meds. I took them 6 months and stopped. That was the end of that – or so I thought.

I am on zoloft already now - have been on something throughout pregnancy. Husband has asked me how I am doing and I said "okay" because, after all, it's sure better than I've been in the past. The panic seems controlled (knock on wood) and it's always been dominant over the depression so I've never focused overly much on the depression.
But the above type thoughts are still there. And getting worse. I ventured onto the PPD sub-forum of a mommies board for some support. I started reading about “intrusive thoughts” and realized that the label fit what is running through my brain. The thoughts tend to go along with OCD in many respects, which I don’t have, although I do tend to have some compulsive tendencies which are re-surfacing a tad.

One poster on that board remarked that she thought that adults raised in neglectful/abusive environments grow up to become anxious adults. I think she is right. It’s a defensive mechanism developed out of coping with the childhood environment which required constant vigilance. The intrusive thoughts are often grounded in reality – things you really did have to worry about. As an adult, the vigilance isn’t needed and that is when the realization sets in that the thoughts you are having are now out of the ordinary, worrisome, and anxiety/panic-provoking.

I need to call my regular doctor and make an appointment for a general physical. I also need to get my flu shot and my pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine updated. I also have my 6 week midwife follow up in a few weeks. Either provider can up my prescription if I feel like I need it. I didn’t schedule any Therapy appointments after delivery and don’t have any scheduled in the future. It’s a surreal feeling after having appointments lined up for the past two years or so. I was hopeful that I would be okay without them, and didn’t feel any pressing issues on my mind three weeks ago. However, I may need to re-think that philosophy and make some appointments at least through this initial post-partum period. In the meantime, I continue to write here, trying to be open
and choke back the shame I feel with these thoughts.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's a Poop Party !!!

Yesterday we went to the chiropractor. He adjusted me and Baby. I then laid on the spinal table for awhile. Ahh. It was fabulous. I felt so much better. Baby did not go through his fussy/colicky period last evening. We both are going to follow up weekly for a bit.
Baby did still have his gassy pain periods though. We had our pediatric GI appt early this morning. The doctor confirmed that Baby has a condition that I can't pronounce or spell but basically means he has a small sphincter. I'll spare you the details but the doctor opened it a bit. There was some stool and blood. Baby cried. I cried. I nearly passed out. The doctor assured us the blood was a great sign as it meant Baby didn't have this other, more serious, condition. We all survived. We came home. Baby slept most all the way.
I dropped Husband off at home so he could go into work. Then Baby and I went to the pharmacy to get his prescription (laxative). We are to do that twice a day and then go back in 2 weeks.
We napped together (nice) and then I woke up to Baby making a noise he's never made before. I just knew he had a messy diaper. I was a POOP PARTY !!!!!!!!!!! I changed him. He went again. I changed him. He went again. We went through SIX diapers. I was laughing and crying and so happy. I've never been so happy to change diapers. Baby was not crying at all. He just laid there and smiled. He is now stretched out next to me, cooing, smiling and HAPPY !
Thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts. May there be many more messy diapers in my future! I promise not to complain.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tear Drops

My house is full of tear drops. Baby cries in pain. I cry in sympathy. Husband rants and raves. I cry in frustration. Daughter acts out, gets put in time out and cries.
For someone that never cried, I do a lot of it now. Several times a day. Baby is still not having bowel movements. We are going to a chiropractor today. Then a pediatric gastroenterologist tomorrow. We're praying on the one hand that it is nothing, or on the other hand that it is something that can be easily corrected. We just want answers and reassurance and a happy baby. I miss the times I spent with Daughter just hanging out, staring at her eyes and talking to her. I haven't gotten to do that with Baby. Except last night when, at 3 am, he was miserable and just laid his head on my chest and started at me with his big blue eyes and grunted in pain. Then I cried.
He finds some relief in being upright. With feet tucked under him. So he sleeps on me - propped on my chest. There is something nice about having him curled up with me. Although sleeping upright is taking a number on my back - hence the visit to the chiropractor - for him and me.
I'm plodding along - just acting by rote memory and doing one thing after another. Work keeps calling and wanting me to think - I can't. Not straight anyway. So they'll just have to wait.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Not Coherent

Who wrote that last entry? Must have been done in my sleep-deprived state. Or while I was still in that numb-controlled state I stay in when around Mom. The "paste a smiley face on" stage.

Last night I crashed about 9 pm. Little one let me sleep a decent stretch. Whew! I promptly woke up, wide awake to make sure he was still breathing. To have slept that long was odd. Then I realized that since he was screaming and crying, he was surely breathing. So there I was wide awake in the middle of the night.

I'm not having time to think much lately. Well I have time but not the brain power. I'm functioning on auto-pilot, going from one task to the next. But in the middle of the night, my thoughts tend to wander. Last night I was re-playing Mom's visit.

I found myself encouraging my daughter to do things, like hug Grandma, when she didn't want to. So I stopped. I could tell Mom was irritated. Mom kept wanting to give advice. And doing things that were annoying. For instance, she would come in while I was changing Baby's diaper. Sometimes I would need to change his entire outfit. While Baby doesn't have messy diapers, he's got great aim with the wet ones! I can change him pretty quickly now. He cries - most babies do. I talk and sing to him. But frankly, I want him to wake up. That's why I change his diaper before feeding him - so he'll eat good. Mom kept covering him up with a blanket so he'd not cry or be cold. He wasn't freezing. He was fine. I had to keep throwing the cover off so I could work around getting his diaper on and clothes on. It was like a comedy routine.

She also made comments about nursing - I mentioned going to a LLL meeting to get out and meet some other nursing moms. Also to get some support on figuring out how to use this sling-thing so I can get a free hand. Mom made a face and said, "well I would have thought that was more for first time moms."

Mom was also here when I got the bad phone call about work. She asked a ton of questions. It's a difficult situation to explain to someone outside the legal field and I wasn't in the mood to clarify. I didn't get any sympathy or "it will be okay" or anything. I did get a call from another partner who said his "sole purpose in calling was to tell me not to worry a bit. To enjoy the baby and not fret or get anxious." THAT is what I needed.

Mom is also not "into" older children. My Sister had told me about that. This is the first time I saw it. Mom wanted to hold the Baby - not as interested in playing with Daughter. So I took advantage of my free hands and played with Daughter. But she also wanted to play with Grandma. She's quite bossy sometimes - I let her stretch her boundaries when playing games. She thinks it is fun to play "mommy" or "teacher" and tell me (the daughter or student) what to do. I could tell Mom was annoyed.

Midway through the second day, I made a definite change and started parenting Daughter just as I would if no one were around. She was a bit hyper with a visitor. But she was also feeling her way around Grandma. She kept trying to do things with her that she does with her other Grammy (my MIL). I had to remember that she's not seen Grandma for an entire year almost. So Mom's expectation that Daughter will jump into her arms and hug her and let her brush her hair is just over the top. She was impressed at how smart Daughter is. That annoyed me too - I heard her saying the same things to Daughter that she said to me. I want Daughter to be smart and accomplished, but I don't want her entire value of herself to be wound up in her schoolwork and intellectual successes.

Last night I found myself recognizing all the feelings I had just trampled down while Mom was here. Irritation with her. Annoyed at her comments and facial expressions.
All in all it went okay. She emailed when she got home - raved about Baby and threw in a "of course I enjoyed playing with Daughter too."
I can't say I got anything out of Mom's visit - except childcare for 1 hour while I had to take Baby to doctor. But it didn't freak me out either. It is over for another year! And I'm not dwelling on it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Storms of Life - Mom and Baby Poop and Work

When it Rains, it Pours..........

First Storm - I survived Mom's visit. Yesterday was okay - she held the baby a lot and we chit-chatted some. She makes no effort to refrain from using "we" or "us." I just let it go. It didn't bother me as bad as it used too. Her cell phone rang at one point and it was Toilet. She got a look of anger and frustration and irritation and went outside. Then I could hear her say, "the number is in the phone book" in a real frustrated voice. Guess she was irritated for him calling. She mentioned some about money issues but that was about it.

Today was a bit more hectic. I was dealing with a very fussy baby (see below) and a 4 year old that is not listening well (some jealousy issues). We're working on it. But Mom was giving me looks every time Daughter didn't listen. One time Mom was coming Daughter's hair and I told her something. Daughter told me NO and I immediately piped up to tell her not to tell me NO when I told her to do or not do something. Mom started to say something but caught herself. Good for her.

Husband and I did, with much hesitation, leave Daughter with Mom for 1 hour while we ran Baby to the pediatrician (see below). We didn't want Daughter to be exposed to a doctor's germy waiting room and knew we wouldn't be able to fully focus on what the doctor was saying if she were there.

Daughter refused to hug Grandma - just blew kisses and hugs - when she left. I could tell Mom was tired and worn out and ready to leave. I was ready too. Daughter listens much better when there is no one else around - she, like any 4 year old, tends to show off in front of others.

So all in all, I survived.

Second Storm - onto the Baby poop Part - we had Baby's 2 week check-up yesterday and mentioned his lack of bowel movements. He's not had but one decent one at all. The doc examined him and his rectum is small/tight. So we were told to wait a week and see what happens but call if things got worse. He then stopped going at all and was acting like he was in horrible pain. We were up all night. So I called this morning and they got us back in. Now we're to do suppositories and have a referral to a pediatric GI doctor. It's stressing me out.

Husband is reacting the way he normally does in these situations. Looking for anyone and anything to blame, yelling and cussing. I'm retreating and crying -- not in front of anyone, of course. I have to stay calm because one of us needs to keep our head on straight.

I did the suppository today and he has gone a bit - still fussy though. VERY fussy. And my turn for a break is done.

Third Storm - work issues - I can't go into much detail but I could use some good thoughts, well wishes and prayers on this end too.

Between lack of sleep, a continuously crying baby, concern about baby's health, a jealous preschooler and defiant child, and work issues, I'm all stormed out and ready for some clear skies.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why I'm Letting Mom Come

Commenters have reminded me that I don't have to let Mom visit and that I'm in control of the terms and conditions. That's true. So, why am I letting her visit?

My mom is different now as compared to last pregnancy. Last pregnancy was when I cut off contact with Toilet. She and I stayed close - adjusted just like our family always does - ignore it and pretend there is no elephant in the room. Her comment to my announcement was "he's very hurt and upset but he'll honor your request. He just doesn't understand why you'd do it now when you've been close all these years." Blech.

This pregnancy is different. She's not been supportive during the pregnancy - not visited at all and has not seen me pregnant. She was calling every 3 weeks or so and not emailing. In the past few weeks, she's been different again. Now she's giddy on the phone. She calls every 2-3 days. She's more like the mom I remember - more motherly. I want to experience that again - even though I know that it won't last. And that it will hurt when it fades again.

As much as I know intellectually she will never change, there is some small part of me that hopes that a new, beautiful grandbaby can make her see what she is missing out on by staying with Toilet. Another part of me looks at him and wonders how on earth she, as a mother, can ever choose someone who hurts her children over her child.

I feel like I have to let her come. I am just not up to dealing with the ramifications of her not coming. The phone calls and emails and the guilt I know I'd feel. So in some ways, letting her come is a cop-out.

I did stay strong on having her come this week instead of last - but I'm regretting it now. Because there is a breastfeeding support group that day and an infant massage class I wanted to take. And Baby's 2 week appt is that morning. He'll get a shot and I hope he isn't fussy.

I'm having second thoughts about letting Daughter sleep in her room with Grandma. Our thought was for Mom to sleep in there and Daughter on the floor in her blow up mattress. I think we may just give mom the couch instead. Or move Daughter in our room and deal with her being woken up when Baby wakes up.

We'll have the smoking issues too. Unlike MIL and Sister who take advantage of Baby/Daughter being quiet and occupied to talk to me, encourage me to go nap, etc - Mom runs for the outside to smoke. Then it's a battle to get her to wash her hands. Luckily Daughter has become rigid in having people wash hands and use sanitizer. She'll chase you with the sanitizer bottle !! (love that girl!) And then the smell. Daughter asks her "Why do you smell funny?" It's choking. Two packs a day will do that.

This morning Daughter asked about Grandma and I said that Grandma was coming tomorrow. Again, the questions about her "husband" and if he was coming. We said No. She asked, "why" and I said "he's not nice." And she asked, "he's a bad guy, right?" Then she asked about Mom taking her somewhere to see him. I get the impression that our conversations about Toilet and about strangers have gotten intertwined and she's thinking on them and maybe having nightmares. Bastard - better not be in my daughter's dreams. I'll have to reconsider my vow not to kill him. In any event, we reminded Daughter that she'd never be alone with Grandma or go anywhere with her.

I just KNOW this is going to come up with my Mom. Can I blame my response on post-pregnancy hormones. I have no idea how to react except not to apologize at all. I keep telling myself - stay strong!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thinking Triggers

Most of my visitors have come and gone. Sister was here last weekend. MIL was here until Friday. We have our daily visits from Church folks bringing food (they are still feeding us and will through next Saturday - I LOVE my church !!!) I have a few friends that are giving me a few weeks before visiting. The only "big" visitor yet to come is my mother. Sigh....

Before Baby got here, Mom told me that she couldn't come that present week, and didn't have 2 days off in a row this past week. So she'd have to wait until the next. Her days off are Wed-Thurs each week. The first week Toilet was having heart surgery. The second week she was supposed to cover for someone. It worked out extraordinarily well. Baby came at a perfect time. Sister was able to come on the spur of the moment. Then MIL - and mom could wait. Then this past week, Mom announced that she didn't have to cover for someone. She hinted that she ought to be allowed to come visit - hinting I should tell MIL, who had already been here to keep Daughter when we were having baby, should wait. I didn't take the bait. Nope - I'll take my MIL over my mom any day. So I just kept my mouth shut.

So Mom is coming this week. She's started calling every day or two now that the baby is here. She is also whining about how she is sore and aching from working in her garden all week. That didn't make sense at first, until my Sister told me that Mom was afraid I was going to make her sleep on the floor. My in-laws choose to sleep on our air mattress sometimes. They would rather their son (my BIL who is autistic) take the bed and they don't like us giving up our room (we didn't insist they take it while I was pregnant). Anyway, Mom thought I might make her sleep on the air mattress. Actually I'm putting her in Daughter's room and Daughter will be on her air mattress on the floor in there - or in our room. Probably in our room. Not sure I can handle the thought of Daughter sleeping in there with Mom.

Daughter has been asking a lot about how people are related. She does, after all, have a whole new vocabulary - Sister, Brother, Son, etc. She wanted to know who Mom's husband was the other day. I guess I mentioned he was like a "stranger." So today in the car, Daughter asks, out of the blue, "Know what I'm thinking about?"

"No," I say, readying my ear for one of her stories.

"Well," she says, "I was thinking that I was at Walmart and Grandma's Husband came and wanted me to go with him. And Grandma had taken me there to meet him -- because he can't come to our house because he's a stranger and not nice. So she took me there and told me not to tell."

"WHAT?" I got very panicky and anxious and mumbled, "And THAT is why you'll never go anywhere with Grandma alone."

My husband, thank goodness, kept his cool and told Daughter that "Grandma is never to take you anywhere alone. If you ever do meet her husband, do you know what you do?" He reviewed stranger instructions - run to a store clerk, find a policeperson, etc.

I have no idea where that has come from. Daughter has also mentioned that the "Grandma who smells funny" is coming to visit. My mom smokes - a lot. It is in her clothes. I worry about Baby cuddling up with her to all that smoke. Mom also snores and has undiagnosed (because she won't get help) emphysema. She coughs all the time. Yet another reason Daughter won't sleep with her.

So between the comments on "smelling funny" and her "not nice, stranger husband" the conversations between Daughter and Mom ought to be fun........

Just because triggering me once wasn't enough, later on Daughter and I were playing Barbies. She was joking about Barbie's belly shirt and I told her that if she pulled her shirt up like that I'd blow air bubbles on her belly. So I did and she giggled. Then did the same to me. Then said, "now I'll get your ear." And before I could stop her, she did. I shuddered and told her "Don't do that - Mommy doesn't like it." She asked, "How come? What made you not like it?" I blew her off and changed the subject. Somehow I don't think...well Toilet used to.....was a good topic for her.

And because triggers come in 3s, I was thinking about today and realized it was the 4th. Toilet's two oldest daughters celebrate their birthdays today. One is seven days younger than me and the other is 2 years younger. I wonder where they are, what they are doing, and how they are coping with their memories. I wonder if, when Toilet or my Mom die, we'll somehow end up back in touch and compare our knowledge.

So, 4 days until Mom day - we also have a pediatrician appt that day. I am going to manage alone for Wed. Then keep Daughter home from school Thurs. Church isn't bringing a meal Wed....hmm wonder if Mom will cook. No -- it would be too much on her. Forget about her helping out by throwing in laundry or cleaning.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Checking in - Post-baby Recovery

Thought I'd check in. Things are going okay. We came home from the hospital last Friday. My MIL, FIL and BIL had been here caring for my daughter. MIL had left food and cleaned some. All the sheets were washed and changed and laundry done.
Sister came up late Friday night with my middle niece. She got up Saturday and took the girls to McDonalds and grocery shopping. Then she came home and cleaned the bathrooms and the entire house. DH took the girls to a festival and Sister held the baby for awhile while I napped. The next day Sister took the girls to a park and DH and I napped. Napping is good!
MIL came Tuesday night. Monday DH stayed home but he went back to work Tuesday. We are trying to work out a balance. He works so he needs more sleep at night. But I need some help and support at night too. Monday night he woke up when Baby woke. Daughter also woke and came into the room. She crawled into bed and I told DH to go take her back to her room. He walked into her room and fell asleep in her bed. Leaving me with Daughter and Baby. I was very irritated. We talked the next day about him needing to take care of Daughter when I'm busy with Baby.
Two nights ago Baby slept GREAT. I got a 2 1/2 hour stretch and then a 3 hour stretch and then a 2 hour nap. Last night was payback - I think we slept about 1 hour. DH escaped to couch - he says his neck hurt from holding Baby so much earlier. Baby slept on me a bit. He sleeps great if he is ON you. I'm getting a co-sleeper positioner for our bed this Saturday.
The Church has a list of people bringing us food every night for the next 1 1/2 weeks. It's lovely! And I'm getting lots of new foods to try.
DH and I have had lots of discussions about cutting back our activities for a few months. I thought we had sorted things out for the most part, although I fully expected that hunting would re-surface later. DH signed up to teach Sunday school, even though I asked him to hold off until January. He assured me that he had made arrangements to have others take over when baby arrived. I asked him to wait to start, but he didn't agree with that. Last Sunday none of us went to Church. Yesterday a church member dropped off food and DH said "see you Sunday." I looked at him funny and asked him later. DH says he enjoys teaching. I explained that there were lots of things I enjoyed that I've given up over the past 9 months and still more I'll give up while nursing. DH asked how long he was "expected" to give things up and I told him that there is a reason doctors have new moms limit activities for 6 weeks. DH was appalled at being asked to limit himself for 6 weeks. I told him I'd like to see us master getting all of us up and to church before he started teaching again. That was we can work on getting ready and out the door before worrying about being late. He agreed to get help for a "bit" but thinks it's just stupid to go to church and not teach -- what would people think? I predict the next issue will be exercise or hunting. I even said as much to DH. He didn't disagree - he wants to get back to the gym and hunting soon. The exercise I can see - if he can figure out how to do it and transport Daughter to/from daycare on time. I planned a hunting trip for him for Tgiv and he may just have to be satisfied with that. Well, not satisfied, but deal with it!
I'm enjoying nursing again, although it has it's challenges. I love the snuggle time and the feeling of empowerment - hey look at me and what I can do !! I like being able to soothe him like no one else can.
I was concerned about having a boy and dealing with "boy issues" but it's not been a problem at all. I've been "christened" as a mother of a boy - he's peed on me twice now. I've learned to cover things quick! DH hasn't learned yet - he got wet last night. We both laughed and praised Baby for his aim - right over his head and onto the floor. LOL
So far I'm having some small bouts of anxiety and depression. I'm on the look out and recognizing it. Trying to take a break at those times. Cry when I need too. Open up to DH and tell him what I need him to do. And keep up on sleep as best I can.
Now the little bugger who was up ALL NIGHT is still asleep on MIL's lap after 4 hours. I'm going to wake him up to nurse and snuggle. I think he has his nights and days mixed up - he wants to sleep all day and party at night!
The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is up here. Check it out.