Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Break

Merry Christmas, a few days late! I don't have our Christmas pictures uploaded yet, and I'm too lazy to go get my camera, so that will have to wait for another post. We had a fabulous Christmas and I hope everyone else did too!

I'm enjoying my time off of school. We're just hanging out - not too much to do! It's been very rainy here in the desert which is pretty rare, so we've been hunkering down at home since we don't really know what to do when water falls from the sky!

Since we've had so much at-home time, I decided that it's the perfect opportunity to try out cloth diapering. It's popular with a lot of my bloggy friends, and if they jumped off a bridge, I'd totally do it too. (J/k. Sort of.) So here we go!! I'm trying out the 5 diapers that I currently own - E's had his little bum covered in cloth all day today and so far, so good. They're all different brands so we'll have to see which becomes the favorite. Watch for some cloth diaper reviews and giveaways coming up in the next couple of months!

And that's that. We're just lying low. I hope everyone else is getting some down time to spend with their loved ones too!! Happy Holidays, everyone!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's That Time of Year!

I haven't gotten too into the holiday spirit for the last few years. I used to be a Christmas FREAK, and start listening to Christmas music in like September, AND celebrate Christmas in July. But life (at least my life!) has a way of wearing you down, and suddenly the holidays are a source of loneliness and anxiety rather than good will and cheer.

I'm trying to change that this year though. I really want Christmas to be fun for E, and since he's big enough this year to have a little bit of an understanding that something fun is going on, I figured no better time to start than the present! So today we went out and decorated B's grave for Christmas. It was a lot of fun picking out everything, and decorating. E even helped a little! Today he was the most well behaved at the cemetery than he ever has been before - I think it has to do with the fact that he can walk now, so he just toddled around while I did the decorating instead of whining like he usually does. It was so much fun with a happy boy!

Here are some pictures of the decorations! I saw a few other graves that looked like they had some Christmas-crazy family members too ;) So it's not just me!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pumping Milestone - 16 Months

I haven't written a ZOMG LOOK HOW LONG I'VE BEEN PUMPING!!! post since I hit a year. But I decided that I'd do one this month, because sixteen? Sounds like a very big number.

E is still drinking a lot of breast milk (around 30 ounces a day). That's kind of a lot for a 16 month old (even for a 13.5-adjusted-for-prematurity-month old). He's also been eating very little actual food, which is where the problem really lies. You know, "Food before one is just for fun!" Well, we've been there, done that, got the T-shirt and it's not fun and games anymore. He should be eating, especially because he's severely anemic. To the point that he was showing symptoms of anemia so I took him to the pediatrician to have his hemoglobin tested. It was quite low - lower then it had been when it was last checked (9 months old). Yep, definitely (very) anemic.

So the time has come.....

You thought I was going to say I'm quitting. BAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Nope.

The time has come to try pureed baby food again instead of the baby led weaning, because I've just got to get some iron into that boy. I'm giving him prescription iron drops and everything but I'd rather he get it from diet, so there we are. Breast milk is relatively low in iron but the amount that it does have is very absorbable so he can still have it if he wants.

In other pumping related news, this week I got my very first plugged duct. That's right, the first and only in 16 months. That's pretty dang lucky, if you ask me. It hurts enough to be really annoying. I'm doing warm compresses and showers and pumping like crazy, like I tell all those other people who get plugged ducts to do, but have never had to do myself. Hopefully it clears up soon, because I'll be pretty bummed if it turns into mastitis. I told my mom and she's all "That would be enough to make me wean!" and I'm all "Heck no, I'm hardcore."

Seriously though I'm hoping to make it through the winter still pumping. Since E doesn't qualify for Synagis this year I really want him to have the little immunity boost that the breast milk gives him. I don't really have a problem with keeping going until he's 2, unless it somehow becomes a huge inconvenience for me. I'm  pretty used to it by now so I don't really see that happening. We'll see. Stay tuned.

Disclaimer: I wrote this post when I should have been sleeping. Enough said. 

Pardon the Dust

My blog is getting a little dusty, as I'm totally swamped with finals. Sorry about that. Also, because I'm such a good student, I've been blowing off studying tonight and tinkering with my blog design (I suppose "design" is a strong word, since I'm just making it up as I go along. Design sounds professional. Which it's not.). So pardon the construction dust too. 

Only two more weeks of school... and then I get three weeks off! Woo hoo!! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fight For Preemies

Prior to the birth of my daughter, I knew nothing about preemies. I never dreamed I'd have her early. I'd had a previous early miscarriage, so I knew that the possibility of losing her before 12 weeks gestation was there. I thought once I hit the magical 12 week mark I was "safe" and would carry to term.

I was so wrong.

1 in 8 babies is born before 37 weeks (March of Dimes). One in eight. Before I had my preemies, I didn't know about the NICU. I didn't know about the tubes and the wires, the ventilator and the bililights. I thought it would be cute for the baby to come a little early, because it would be so small. 

I had no idea.

No idea what small was. No idea that small isn't cute. It's frightening. 

I've had two preemies. One was 26 weeks, and the other 29 weeks and 2 days. I have to add the two days, because with preemies, every hour in the womb counts.

26 weeks, 29 weeks 2 days. Both were very early. How do you measure that difference? How can you put a value on 3 weeks and 2 days in the womb?

B, Day 1. Born at 26 weeks. 

E, Day 1. Born at 29 weeks 2 days. 

The diaper on the left is a Pamper's Preemie sized diper. It's the size E's wearing in his picture. On the right, is a Pamper's micropreemie diaper. It's the size B's wearing in her pic. And it was huge on her. My BlackBerry is just for size reference.

E's NICU blood pressure cuff on top, B's on the bottom.

B's footprints vs. E's footprints. A quarter in the middle, for size reference.

This was E's birthday this year...

And this was B's. 

When I think of fighting for preemies, I think of preventing preemies. Medicine will never be able to create an equivalent to the womb. Even if B had lived, she would never have sailed through NICU like E did. 

So pregnant women: know the signs of preterm labor. Be pushy. Fight for every second, every hour more that you can give your child in your womb. Stay on bed rest. Do whatever it takes to keep that baby inside you for every second possible.

Because 3 little weeks and two measly days can make a life or death difference. 

Fight for every one. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, B!

Garland, a birthday hat, and a picture of her on the top of the shepherd's hook. And Also, PRINCESS balloons!

 A birthday card from E and Mommy, and a princess bucket to hold down the princess balloons.

I lit her candle and sang happy birthday, but E was getting really impatient. 


So we brought the cake home. 

I haven't eaten any yet. But I will :)

UPDATE: I ate some. It was white cake (which I knew), but it had RASPBERRY filling in the middle. YUM. It was a sweet little surprise.

Happy birthday, B. I wish you were here. I miss you more than words can say.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It Could Have Been Different

Two years ago, I stopped at a little emergency room in New Mexico. I had been having weird, consistent gassy sort of cramps, and I was only 26 weeks pregnant. I had never felt a contraction before, and I just wanted to make sure the baby was okay.

It was a tiny hospital. The nurses immediately "diagnosed" me with Braxton Hicks contractions ("Oh honey, when you're in real labor, you'll know"). My abdomen was palpated, fetal heart tones checked. The doctor was called and she repeated those two things, diagnosed me with Braxton Hicks contractions as a result of the long drive, and recommended drinking more water and frequent breaks to get up and walk around. I wasn't checked for dilation, I wasn't put on a toco monitor, I wasn't given a non-stress test. I had no idea what any of those things were. I couldn't possibly be in labor.

But I was. I was in labor. Hours later I gave birth to a baby girl. I came *this close* to having her in the toilet. I thought I needed to poop, but when I started throwing up I decided I needed to go back to the hospital. I thought I had appendicitis or something. I had no idea. No idea.

It could have been different. If that first hospital had provided standard of care, if they had checked me for cervical change, if they had administered tocolytics and corticosteroids, I might be throwing an actual birthday party sometime later this month. I would be looking at Christmas dresses, and buying baby dolls, and doing all of the fun things that come with raising a girl.

They didn't. So on my daughter's birthday, I'll be at the cemetery. I'll bring her a balloon and some flowers, and E and I will eat some cake. I'll try my best to remember what it was like to hold her in my arms, even though I didn't get to do so until she was dying. I'll pray for faith that there is an afterlife, because if I can't believe that I will get to hold her again, I won't be able to go on.

It didn't have to be this way.


When I was pleading with M to try to save our marriage the day I found out about the affair, one of the things I said to him was that we'd been through so much together. No one else would ever understand what it had been like to lose B, and how that had changed us.

I was right. 

No one will be celebrating B's birthday with E and I tomorrow. I didn't plan for a big production. I just thought my immediate family would remember, and be able to spare 30 minutes to come out to the cemetery, listen to a song and eat a piece of cake. That's it. Somehow, no one is available to do that. I just wrote a long whiny post enumerating the reasons why, but as I rambled on and on, I realized that I wasn't even upset about that. 

What I'm upset about is that this day should matter to someone else just as much as it does to me. B had a mother and a father, who held her while she died. I should have someone to lean on, to support, to grieve with. I'm desperately looking for that in the people around me, and I'm not finding it. Because it's not anyone else's responsibility but his. I'm feeling disappointed in the people around me, but it's displaced anger. I'm not mad at them. This cross isn't theirs to bear. I wish they were a little more supportive and a little more intuitive about how I might be feeling, but they're all doing the best they know how to do. But he isn't. He left us, he left me to grieve alone. 

Tomorrow also should have been our 3rd anniversary. When B, perfect little B, was born so unexpectedly on our first anniversary, I thought it was a sign that we were meant to be together. Cliche and corny, I know. But I did think that. I thought it meant that I had made the right decision to stay with him after the first time he cheated on me. I thought that it meant that God was blessing us with an extra special little baby (which of course he was) to raise together. 

I never dreamed it would end like this. With a dead baby and a deadbeat dad. 

So for today, I'm angry. But I'm going to try not to take it out on the people who won't be there to celebrate B's short life with me tomorrow. I'm going to try to direct the anger toward the person to whom it belongs. 

On November 10th

November 10, 2008. I was 25 weeks 6 days pregnant. I was heading across the country, looking forward to a new adventure. Moving for my husband's job. I remember filling out our rental application for our apartment a few days earlier - it asked if we anticipated having anyone else living with us in the next year. I proudly wrote, "Yes! Baby girl, due Feb 16, 2009!"

On November 10th, I didn't know what my daughter's name would be. I knew what her nickname would be, because I called her it in my head. But I wanted a "big" name that could be shortened. I was still thinking. But I had months. Ages.

On November 10th, I had no idea that the very next day, my life would change forever. That the essence of who I was, as a person, would change forever. That the world would change forever.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Please Help!

I have a very dear friend named Juli. We have been friends since middle school, and she's been there for me through everything. She is now an amazing wife and mother to two kids under two! I don't know how she does it. 

Juli's mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She needs to undergo 5 rounds of chemotherapy before she can even have surgery and as I'm sure you can imagine, the bills are piling up. 

Please head over to Juli's Etsy store. She is so creative and makes the cutest burp cloths, aprons, and car seat covers I've ever seen. All proceeds from her store are going directly to help pay for her mom's medical bills. I think what she's doing is so selfless - I can't imagine being a mom of two busy toddlers and wife to a grad student and still finding time to make all these things! This woman is amazing, you guys. 

If you have a baby shower to go to or need Christmas gifts, please check out her store!! You can get some Christmas shopping done and contribute to an amazing cause. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

That Time of Year

It's that time of year again. Most people start getting excited for the holidays.. for Thanksgiving and Christmas and all of the wonderful things that come with it. 

I was like that, once upon a time. 

But now, the passing of Halloween just sends me into a downward spiral. I can feel it happening and I can't stop it. 

My birthday. Oh, how I loathe it. It's coming up next week, and the past 5 years or so have brought awful things right around my birthday. I won't bore you by enumerating them; suffice it to say that I'm bracing for impact. Plus, I'll be 24, and that's getting pretty old to be a student, living with my mom, and being basically a loser. Blah.

B's birthday. Two days later, her angelversary. That brings such a mixed bag of loaded feelings, and I can't even describe it. Happy that I had her for the time I did, devastated that I lost her, feeling like whatever I do to commemorate isn't enough or is too much or is just not quite appropriate. She would be turning two this year. 

Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to this a little bit since E eats now, but other than that... meh. It stopped being a fun day when my parents split up (I was twelve) and this year my mom is giving me trouble about refusing to be in the same room as my sister. Last year she (the sister) ambushed me and I was not a happy camper about it. Yuck. 

Christmas. It will be a little fun - I already have most of E's presents (yay for thrift store finds!) and I'm happy with the quality and quantity, so that's good. We're not doing a big tree, because E is Mr. Destructo so my mom obviously doesn't want to risk her ornaments and things. Plus it's dangerous for him. That's fine but feels a little bah-humbug-y. We'll have a small ceramic tree that my mom has had since I was a little girl, so that's good. And again with the awkward family situation. Just ick. 

And New Year's. I totally thought I would be divorced and maybe even be dating by New Year's 2011, and neither of those events look like they're even remotely probable in the near future. So, 2010 fail. I did get 3 semesters of college done, which is good. Silver lining. 

All in all, I'm a total Scrooge after Halloween, you guys. I know it's stupid and awful, and I'm doing my darndest to try to at least put on a happy face. I've started some new anti anxiety meds for the whole thing, so hopefully that will keep me a tiny bit sane. Please forgive me if my updates are sparse or morose. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mother's Milkmate - Review and Giveaway!

I was so excited to have a chance to review the Mother's Milk Mate rack and bottle storage system!

When I got it in the mail, I couldn't wait to try it out to see how it worked for me. I had somewhat of an organizational system with my refrigerated bottles of breast milk, but it was kind of hard for my mom and other caregivers to figure out. Sometimes the fresh bottles would get taken out first, which wasn't a huge deal, but still kind of annoying.

I immediately washed all the bottles in hot, soapy water (I was just giddy about how many there were - the less often I have to wash bottles, the happier I am!) and set them out to dry. I cleared out all my regular bottles and transferred all the milk into the Mother's Milk Mate bottles, put the lids on, and put the rack and bottles in the fridge. I used quite a few bottles, since the Mother's Milk Mate bottles are 4 oz (well, you can squeeze 5 oz in, but they're marked to 4) and my Gerber bottles are (marked to) 5 oz. The size difference wasn't a big deal to me - generally with breast milk, the smaller portions you keep it in the better. It tends to safeguard against waste. Besides, smaller bottles are easier for independent little baby hands to hold themselves.

Let me go back a little bit and talk about the lids. They have two pieces - one fits inside the bottle, preventing spills, and the other is a regular screw on cap. It works soooo well. You'd think with the bottles being sideways and all that there would be a leak from time to time, but I haven't ever had one. Plus, I feel like it kind of "seals" off the milk so it stays a little fresher in the fridge. I really, really like the design of the lids.

Once I had all my milk stored in the rack, it was so easy to just grab the front bottle and know it was the right one. The set does come with little stickers to label the milk with the date, but I didn't bother with them because since E only takes bottles I knew we'd go through all the milk before it spoiled. Those would be very useful if your baby is only taking a bottle every now and then, though! Especially because - and I'm telling you this from experience - your breast milk changes composition throughout the course of the day. You do not want to be feeding your baby morning milk at night. That's the equivalent of your little one downing a shot of espresso right before bed.. and I don't know about you, but that's pretty much my worst nightmare. So those little stickers? Don't only write the date on those. Write the time. Trust me. (And if you're saying - Hey! Then why didn't you label your milk with the time? It's because I put my milk in the fridge in the order that it was pumped, and cycle through it in that order. So I don't need to. Ha. But I learned that lesson the hard way.)

The bottle mouth is the standard size - I was able to use any and all of the standard nipple/ring sets I had on them. I didn't have a problem with that at all. I also pumped directly into the bottles a couple of times - they fit just fine on my Medela pump and on my Lansinoh pump. That's definitely a perk!

Overall, the Mother's Milk Mate system is very convenient. It can even be kept in the freezer, for you moms who just have a few bottles pumped for Dad or whoever to feed once in awhile so you can sleep or go out for a couple of hours every now and then.

The only things that I wish were different are the quantity of the bottles and lids. I'm a master at losing things, so more lids are always a plus in my book. They give you one extra, with that in mind, but for an exclusive pumper who's dragging bottles around everywhere... they just get lost. So I would have appreciated two or three extra. But not a big deal. The set comes with the perfect number of bottles to fill the rack (10), which is a lot of bottles, but I found myself wishing I had the Mother's Milkmate On-The-Go Pack. It's an extra 6 bottles, and that would have allowed me to have a few bottles in the sink and still have the rack pretty much full. As it was, with me constantly taking bottles out, I didn't have enough of the Milkmate bottles clean to keep the rack full. I may just have to purchase it!

Want one for yourself? You can purchase one of your very own here!

If you're feeling lucky though, I have one fabulous Mother's Milkmate storage system to give away!!

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment telling me what your current milk organization system is like, or if you even have one!

Extra Entries:

- Follow my blog with Google Friend Connect

- Follow me on Twitter 

- Tweet the giveaway: " Pump, store, & feed from the same bottle! Win a milk storage system from Mother's Milkmate & @HauteSingleMama! #bfcafe  " (You can tweet twice a day, at least one hour apart)

Each worth one entry. Leave me a comment for each thing that you do! Don't forget your extra entries if you RSVP'd - leave comments for those too!

I was given a Mother's Milkmate milk storage system to keep. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions are honest and my own. 

Images from 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

McFatty Monday

It's another McFatty Monday!

I don't know if I've gained, or lost, or what. I'm still too scared to weigh myself, and I'm still in my fat pants. So that's never good.

Here's the thing I've discovered about myself. I'm a stress eater. When I get depressed, I just stop eating (hence the "divorce diet"). But when I'm stressed? I'm like carbs carbs carbs sugar sugar sugar more more more!!! And since my life is basically extremely stressful right now, I need to tackle that. Like yesterday.

So here are my goals for this week:

1. Eat breakfast every day. I am not a morning person, so this is not as simple as it sounds. If I get E and I out the door on time and we're both dressed and our hair is done, that's a success. I hardly ever take the time to feed myself or do anything else in the morning. So I've made this goal probably ten times this semester and haven't done it once. But this week? I'm all about the breakfast.

2. Drink more water. I've been slurping down diet pepsi in an obscenely overzealous manner lately. I never used to drink soda - only if I was eating out - but this single mom/student with a baby who wakes up 3 times  a night thing is killing me. So I need the caffeine. But I'm going to try to wean off of it a little and hopefully get energy by being more properly hydrated.

3. Wear jeans. This sounds dumb, but I tend to eat more when I wear stretchy pants. I really love stretchy loungy pants and luckily on my college campus I can get away with them. But when I wear jeans, it automatically reminds me that I want them to be getting looser and not tighter, so I tend to intuitively watch what I eat without having to over think it.

And I think that's about it, guys. Those seem like piddly goals, but I think a) they'll make a bigger difference than you think and b) that's all I can handle. Midterms are this week, so I'm not going to set the bar too high. I'm going nuts as it is.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

This day is so very near and dear to my heart. Through losing my two precious angels, I've come to know a community of the strongest women out there. Those who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death have known true heartbreak, yet they shine so brightly as examples of love, hope, and generosity. 

On October 15th, I remembered my babies by first heading out to B's grave. I hadn't been for too long, and I wanted to decorate for Halloween. E and I swung by the dollar store to get supplies, and then went to see his sissy! 

I lit my candles a little early, but quickly had to blow them out because E was all about getting over to them! Whoops! Didn't think that through...

I love this picture. So sweet. 

E was an awesome helper. He especially loved throwing the flowers around. The ones that fell off? Courtesy 
of E, lol! 

I think it turned out pretty cute! You can't tell from the picture, but the garland on the shepherd's hook is very sparkly in the sunlight. It's black with little orange pumpkins!

We also took a little bit of time to visit the other babies that rest near B. I picked out her burial plot specifically because it was by other babies, so I always like to say hello when I go and think about them and their mommies.

B usually gets all the attention on my blog, because I have a tangible memorial of her (plus I got to hold her in my arms, and it's just different), but later that night I took some time to remember my other precious angel. It was my first pregnancy, and I was so excited and nervous. It took me a good week after I got my positive pregnancy test to get used to the idea that I was having a baby, and I only got to keep her one week after that before I miscarried at 6 weeks. The thing I remember most about that pregnancy was right off the bat I was so tired. I literally would sleep all day, wake up for 4 or 5 hours, and go back to bed. It was so weird. Anyway, I just knew she was a girl (and I was right with my subsequent two pregnancies, so I have no reason to think I was wrong!). I wanted to name her Aimi (I was taking Japanese classes at the time, and when written in kanji, it's written with the symbol for "love" and "beauty" - 愛美

I lit my candles again at 7:00 for the Wave of Light. One for B, one for Mia. 

I love and miss you, my angels. I can't wait to hold you again.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

E's First Birthday

Today, E is exactly one year old - adjusted!! It's 365 days from my due date. Never mind the fact that a year ago, he'd been born for two and a half months, survived NICU, flown on a plane, and moved across the United States already! Anyway, this is a great milestone for me. I feel like he's "officially" one, and I can feel comfortable giving him all the one-year-old foods and stuff.

So since I just now uploaded the pictures from my camera, you get to see what we did on E's actual, non-adjusted birthday!

I decided not to have a huge party for him. I know a lot of people do, and I kind of felt like a lazy/bad mom, but I'm so glad that I did it this way. There will be so many other birthdays where he'll want friends over, and it was so special to have this one be so intimate. It was just me, my mom, and my step dad - his primary caregivers. I don't think he would have done well at a party either - he's pretty easily overstimulated and he would have been miserable, I think. Anyway, the way we did it was perfect for us.

I ordered him this shirt and hat from Sprinkles of Love on Etsy. He looked sooo precious. It was totally worth what I spent for it!!! I loved working with her and definitely recommend her store. If I can I'll be ordering him a 2nd birthday outfit too!

I made him a chocolate cake shaped like a bunny. We lit the candle, sang "Happy Birthday," and then just put it in front of him and let him have at it. It was soooo cute! 

I didn't have the foresight to take a picture of the cake with my actual camera before he dug into it (I had taken one with my phone).. .but there it is after he had demolished the bow tie a little bit. Cute, right? What's that? I should open a cake decorating business? I think so too.

After we got all cleaned up, we opened presents! E was more into eating the wrapping paper than tearing it.

 Eventually (with some help from Mama) he got his first ever birthday present opened - it was a lion walker that converts to a ride-on toy. He loves it!

More present opening... He loooved that curling ribbon! 

Playing with his walker! (My mom made me take his hat off. She thought the elastic looked uncomfortable, lol.)

He doesn't look particularly thrilled in any of the pictures because he had refused to nap at all that day. The poor kiddo was exhausted! Right after he played with his new toys for a bit, I took him upstairs for a bath and bed. 

I have to reiterate that I loved how low key it was. It was so nice to have it be just us. It will be so fun to have big parties for him in the future, but for the very first birthday I loved having him (almost) all to myself!!

Happy adjusted first birthday, E! I wish I'd been able to carry you 40 weeks so this would be your actual birthday, but I'm so proud of how well you've done despite your early entrance into the world! You've grown by leaps and bounds and I can't wait to watch how you change over the next year! 

I bought E's outfit from Sprinkles of Love on my own, and paid full price. She did not ask me to include her shop in my blog post - I really just loved her product so much that I wanted to give her a shout out. I was not compensated in any way, and this is my honest opinion.

More Milk Plus Winner!

So I FINALLY picked the winner for the More Milk Plus giveaway! Yay! And the winner is....

Comment #28, which was Tara!!!! Yay!!!!! I'll be tweeting/emailing you shortly! Congrats!

Note to self: figure out how to get posts to be numbered so I don't have to count them. Ahem.

Some of you entered so many times and I wish I had more bottles of this to give away. It's such amazing stuff and I'm not even just saying that because I got to review it. It totally saved my supply when E was still way too small to be weaned - it's just awesome. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mine and Nobody Else's

I got an email from my attorney today.

M is offering to terminate his parental rights in exchange for no child support, no alimony, not paying for my attorney's fees, and marital debt divided equally.

So basically, he walks away scot free, and I'm left with 99% of the responsibility and no help.

The thought of never having to see him again is awesome. The idea that I will never, ever have to turn E over to him and be sick with worry the whole time? Better than I can say. In many ways, it's what I was hoping for.

Now that I'm staring it in the face, though, I'm having a little bit of trouble with it. First of all, I feel like I've been screwed over. When I got back together with M, I had just rehabilitated my credit from the havoc my last boyfriend had caused. I married M and our financial situation was not ideal, and that was compounded by my pregnancies. He also cheated me out of my goals. I never wanted to have children until I was finished with school, and he talked me into it after his sister got pregnant. He convinced me that it would be better and healthier for me to have children young, and to go back to school once they were in school. I gave in. I wouldn't trade any of my babies for anything, but I do wish I was in a position to be able to provide for E. The way I planned to be. I made so many decisions based on the fact that he promised to be there, and he's just left me high and dry. I just feel so taken advantage of... violated... used.

Secondly, my heart breaks for E. What am I going to tell him when he gets older? How am I going to explain that money was more important to his father than he was? M can't undo relinquishing his rights. Once it's done, it's done forever. And he's making the decision like it's nothing. He's legally disowning him. Saying I have no rights to this child, nor do I have any obligation to him. I just... I have no idea how someone could do that. No idea.

And lastly, the thought of being the sole person responsible for this little life terrifies me. I know that I've been doing that all along, but there was the hope of financial support, at least. I'll legally be the only person in the world responsible for this precious child. Tonight, that feels like a lot of weight to bear. What if I can't do it? What if I can't provide for him? I'm just terrified. I don't have parents who can financially save me. It's just so staggering to be the only one.

So, I'm not sure what to make of it. My attorney said to call him on Monday. There's not too much I can do until then.

Tonight, I'm just wishing that I had someone to lean on. Some semblance of stability and security in my life.

But I don't. I just have E. And that's really wonderful. He's going to be all mine. No one can take him from me, not even for visitation. I just need to focus on that.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Scary and Damaged

Today, it has been exactly one year since I found out about M's affair.

That morning, I had been up every 3 hours with E (and I know it was every 3 hours, because he was still a preemie - 37 weeks - and I was setting an alarm to wake him to feed every 3 hours!). I thought M had to work at 5am (his schedule was very erratic) and he wasn't awake yet, so I decided to check his schedule on his BlackBerry. We were completely open with each other about our phones and passwords and things, so it wasn't weird or abnormal for me to do so.

I checked, and saw that he didn't work until noon or something, I can't remember. As I was exiting the calendar, I saw a new email account that I wasn't aware of. Not only was it new, it was in that transparent ghosty state, the kind that comes when you click "show hidden" - if you have a BlackBerry you know what I mean. I'm not sure if other phones do that. Anyway. I thought it was weird, but I wasn't too concerned - I thought maybe his regular email had gotten too filled with junk, or he wanted a "junk" account specifically for mandatory forms and stuff. Whatever. But I was curious, and I opened it.

There was one email. "Thank you for joining MySpace. Click here to activate your account..." Hmmm. He already had a MySpace, and he didn't use it much. I was starting to get suspicious, so I logged onto the new account. He had one friend - a girl. His profile picture was a picture of only his abs. His status was "I need to find a secret place...." Her status was "I wish I was with someone special..." and had that stupid mood smiley with the eyes that are hearts. Ugh. Those images are seared into my memory like it was yesterday.

I woke him up and said "Who is she?" For a minute he tried to act like he didn't know what I was talking about. I showed him his own MySpace page.

And then something in his face... I'll never forget that look. Kind of like... an angry... yet... defeated look. Like, "Well, the poop has hit the fan, so I'm just going to do whatever I want." It's extremely difficult to describe. But from the time he made that face, he turned into someone I no longer knew.

It was as if he didn't know me from Eve. My feelings no longer mattered, the past that we'd shared no longer mattered. The future we'd planned evaporated before my eyes.

I called my mom. Sobbing. "Mom, he did it again. Can I come home?"

I called his mom. "He did it again. I don't have anyone else to ask for help... can you come help me pack?"

He went to work. Like nothing was wrong.

I don't really remember the rest of that day. I called a friend and stayed the night at her house. She got up in the night with E so I could sleep. It was so sweet.

The next day I went back to our apartment. I asked M to speak with him privately, as his parents had already arrived. I begged him to work on this. I said that I knew that I had said I was going to leave, but we needed to try. For E. Please. Please. Please. He said no, he didn't think we'd ever get past it. I asked if I could at least go stay with his parents for awhile, four hours away. Try separating for awhile. See how it went. He said no, that's not going to work. You need to go home.

I asked one more time before I left. Again, the answer was no.

So, his parents took me to the airport. I took my baby on an airplane two weeks before his due date, during RSV season. It's a miracle he didn't get sick.

And that was that. It's already been a year. My baby is now a toddler, and I'm a year further in my education. Other than that, things haven't really changed. I'm not divorced. I live at home. I haven't been on a date.

But I'm a different person. I'm not the girl who woke up that morning, concerned about getting her beloved husband off to work. I don't even know her anymore.

I'm cynical and bitter. I'm independent and smart. I always doubt other people's intentions. I do things myself now - I don't wait for someone to save me. I've done more in the past year than I knew I could, and more than I ever thought I would have to.

And for E? It's totally worth it. All of it.

I didn't come out unscathed though. I'm afraid I'll always be this way. Scary. Damaged.

But who knows. In another year? I could be a completely different girl.

Monday, September 20, 2010

McFatty Monday

So I've known about McFatty Monday over at Heir To Blair, but I wasn't really sure how to join in. There wasn't a button or a linky or anything on her site. So trusty rusty old Google lead me to Heidi at It's Just Me..Heidi-D and it turns out she has a button and a linky and everything, apparently authorized by Blair herself. And I really love buttons and linkys, so here we go.

So I've kind of told this story before, but I'll go over it again. Really fast. I've kind of struggled with weight my whole life - I was a chubby preteen once I hit puberty. I slimmed out as I got more involved in ballet dancing, and felt pretty good about my body while I was dancing. I quit dancing at 16 (stupid, stupid, stupid) and weight crept back on after that. I packed on the pounds after I got back together with M (depression from basically quitting my life to accommodate his), and then I exacerbated that by getting pregnant - not one, not two, but three times within 16 months! I got pregnant in April of '08, had an early miscarriage, got pregnant in June with B, carried her for 26 weeks, gained 12 lbs after losing her, got pregnant with E in February '09 and was a total whale by the time I had him at 29 weeks. I didn't have a lot of time to worry about weight loss while he was in NICU, but I lost some weight just due to breastfeeding and not really having time to eat a ton. Then when everything happened with M, I quickly went on what I called the "Divorce Diet" - I was never hungry, I literally had to force myself to eat, and I dropped 30 lbs without even trying. It was sweet. 

Then, the shock started wearing off, and I went back to my old bad habits. I've been taking a pretty intense course load in school since summer semester, and I always feel like I concentrate better if I have a snack while I'm studying. This has lead to me gaining a little weight back, since I don't always reach for carrot sticks ;). I was doing really well at exercising for awhile, but my crazy class schedule in the summer derailed me from that, too. 

I feel disgusting, so it's time for me to stop making excuses and get back on track. Also? At some point, my divorce will be final, and I'd kind of like to start dating after that time comes. And it's not going to happen while I'm feeling the way I do right now. Blech. 

So this is me, recommitting. My basic plan right now is to restart the 30 Day Shred and choose to eat fruit and vegetables more often, and carbs less often (I eat WAY too much bread and sugar!). I'll check in each Monday to let you all know how the week went. 

If I don't? Throw rocks. Please. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Seriously? Seriously.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I'm having trouble with my pediatrician. At E's one year checkup, as she was getting closer to the diaper area, I started saying "E is uncircumcised. Everything I've read says that the foreskin should NOT be retracted until the child does it himself...." and I was cut off there, because that's when SHE RETRACTED HIS FORESKIN. I was speechless. She said "Yep! You're absolutely right, you don't need to be doing anything. His retracts pretty easily anyway, so he's fine."

What?! WHAT?!

Unfortunately, I'm not a very feisty person. I should have yelled at her to get her hands off of my son, and I probably would have had E shown any signs of discomfort. But he really didn't seem to notice at all... and I was really just stunned.

I got home and started asking on Twitter, and people were telling me to report the incident to the state licensing board. I did, and this is the response I recieved -

Ms. D:
I am an investigations supervisor with the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL).  I have reviewed your complaint regarding Dr. S.  While it is regrettable that Dr. S did not comply with you request (knowingly or unknowingly), the issue does not rise to a standard that would allow for a licensing action.  DOPL must show that a licensee has engaged in "gross misconduct" in order to seek a licensing sanction.  Also I spoke with our in-house medical person and they advised that to the best of their knowledge it is good practice to check the foreskin and in no way is it detrimental to the child.  However your complaint is important to us and will be kept in our files.

Larry Gooch
Investigations Supervisor, DOPL

Okay, so it doesn't allow for licensing action. I don't want her to lose her license to practice medicine - she's a good doctor other than this. 

But really? It may be good practice to "check" the foreskin, but retract it? It exposed the glans, although not ALL the way (I think - E's is the only uncircumcised penis I have experience with, and obviously I've never pulled the foreskin all the way back! I've never pulled on it at all....). I'm not sure what to think of this. Is this man wrong? Do I write him back and ask if by checking the foreskin he means to pull it back and expose the glans? Or do I just leave it alone and find a new doctor? 

Sigh. I'm so glad it didn't hurt him. If it had, I would be so much more upset than I already am. I'm annoyed. But if she had hurt my baby?! I'd be out for blood. 

One Year Ago Today... Part Deux

One year ago today E came home from the NICU at last. I can't remember what we did that morning, but I remember they told us he should be ready to go by 2 or 3 pm... so I'm sure we just got ready and went to get him! It was so surreal, and as we were driving away I felt like I was stealing him ;). I really did. I have no words for how amazing it was, so I'll just show you the pictures instead.

Last time pulling up to the hospital...

Last time going up those weird things....

This is the lobby where I would eat and take my breaks from NICU...

LAST picture with leads on!!!

Changing into his going home outfit...

I'm back there changing him, the nurse is getting his discharge papers all ready..

E's going home outfit! We bought it the day I got my BFP!

So excited to have our family together.... Little did I know ;)

I insisted on sitting in the back seat. To make sure he didn't quit breathing. Naturally.

Finally at home!! We had the crib side-carred -look how teeny he was in it! Also note the thermometer and nasal aspirator IN THE CRIB. Because I was taking his temp every 3 hours, and you never know when you'll have an emergency and need the nasal aspirator now. ;) #paranoidNICUmom!

And today? A year later? His dad is no longer in the picture. But he and I are the most perfect family ever.

Today I took him to daycare while I went to school, and I didn't worry that he was going to die from germ exposure. I also took him with me to the store - again, I didn't think twice about it. I haven't taken his temp for weeks, and I don't periodically count his respirations anymore. I don't strip him down and watch for retractions, and I only sometimes worry that he'll stop breathing in his sleep. He's a big, strong, healthy boy.. and I'm a little less paranoid.

So blessed, I'm telling you.