Sunday, January 31, 2010

Survival Mode Parent

Some of you may have noticed I have a button on my sidebar for Survival Mode Parent. It's a relatively new organization that I learned about on Twitter. Basically it's main function is to put parents whose child is in NICU or PICU in contact with a volunteer who can help with basic things such as laundry and meals.

As former NICU mom times two, I know how crazy that time is. Even during the times when your baby is stable, you're on edge. You do only what you absolutely HAVE to do in real life, and the rest of the time you're at the hospital. When E was in NICU, laundry went undone, we ate soooo much fast food, we had a really hard time managing our pets.. it was a mess. It would have helped so much to have someone around who had been there before, knew what we might need and was available to help with those small things.

Because of that, I just signed up to be a volunteer. I have been wanting to for awhile but have been hesitant because of my current situation. However, now that I kind of have my life going again, it's time! I was able to indicate that I can't provide pet care (I live with my mom - she wouldn't be too happy) or child care (I have enough trouble looking after E, and besides, I would hate to have to screen for sickness, and with E being a former preemie I'm paranoid about that). I would however, love to take meals, do a couple loads of laundry, or run errands for a family that needs some help.

I'm so glad that I finally decided to sign up... you should too. Seriously. GO!

Friday, January 29, 2010

I Got This!

After a very stressful first and second week of school, I got my first test score back from my Biology class. Ninety-six percent! Not too shabby! I felt good that I did so well when I got the score, but found myself rationalizing away my good grade. It was only the first test, they're bound to get harder. I got lucky. Things like that. Then this morning in the accompanying lab class, I was chatting with this other mom who is in the class (she has a five year old) and she asked me how I did on the test. I modestly told her I did 'okay,' and asked how she had done. She failed. Got a fifty-six percent.. It was then that I realized - it wasn't an easy test. It wasn't luck. I'm smart, I worked hard, and I earned that A. I ended up offering to study with that girl if E could come :).

I don't know why I've doubted myself for so long. In high school, I was very academic. Not like, nerdy academic, but I liked getting good grades. And I did. I could have gotten scholarships, gotten into a really good school. But I didn't know to apply, I didn't know how much it mattered. And after I got married, I lost all that drive, somehow. It's not that M was emotionally abusive. I don't know. Maybe he was. He was certainly manipulative. But he never told me he didn't believe in me or that I couldn't do things... he just didn't expect anything out of me. He didn't demean me, but he didn't build me up either. Actually, though, his actions or lack thereof probably don't have anything to do with it. After the first time he cheated on me, my confidence was shot. And when I married him anyway.. that sealed the deal. Not only did I feel inadequate as a girlfriend/wife, but I lost respect for myself. My dad cheated on my mom on three separate occasions. I swore to myself as a teenager that I would never, ever be as dumb as my mom was. I would never ever put up with infidelity - no second chances. And I let myself down. I repeated my mom's mistakes.

We are still talking about school though! :) Now that I'm back, it's the greatest feeling knowing that I've still got it. I can still achieve things, I can still do what I set my mind to. I'm finally starting to respect myself again. And it's fabulous.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I've felt very, very sad all day today. I'm not really sure why. Nothing happened.

Maybe it's stress from starting school, and now that things have kind of calmed down for the weekend it's hitting me how difficult this is going to be balancing a baby and school.

Or it could be because of the wacky dreams I had last night. The first one was really, really strange. M and I were still married, but he was with his girlfriend. The girlfriend didn't look how she looks in real life though - she looked like Megan Fox. But she was pregnant. Anyway. M and I were still married, but he was with her, but he and I were having an affair. Even though we were still married. Lol. Don't ask, it was weird. But strangely, it left me missing him.

The second one is a recurring dream that I've had probably 3 or 4 times since I was admitted to the hospital at 23 weeks with E. I'm in the hospital, on bed rest, but there's an isolette by my bed. In the isolette are 3 babies, still in their amniotic sacs. There's a really small one, a medium one, and a biggish one (relatively - they're all small). I'm supposed to be keeping them safe by staying on bed rest but one by one the amniotic sacs rupture - first the littlest one, then the medium one, and finally the big one. All the babies die, and there is nothing I can do. I can only assume that this is a fairly literal dream - the smallest baby being my miscarried baby, the middle one being B, and the big one being E. I wasn't able to protect any of them the way I was supposed to, although I got lucky with E and he lived. Anyway, I have it every so often and it's always disturbing.

Another possible reason for the sadness is that I've run out of Zoloft. It has only been two days though, and I hardly think it could be out of my system that fast. Regardless, I'm going to call my doctor on Monday and ask for another prescription. He only wrote me 3 months the first time and I just haven't gotten around to calling him since I've been so busy with school stuff. I simply adore Zoloft. I wish I'd been on it while I was married. I'd have been a much better wife. Maybe M wouldn't have cheated, I don't know. At the very least the house probably would have been cleaner and I might have stayed thinner. And those were the problems that M said he had so... who knows.

Also, it's nearing the first anniversary of B's due date. She should have been born on or around February 16th, 2009. I'm going to decorate her grave for Valentine's this weekend. All the anniversaries are hard though... thinking about all that could have, should have, might have been.

Friday, January 22, 2010

School - Week 1

Ahh... the first week of school.

Well, my first week. It was really the second week of school, but I missed the first due to various issues. Mostly due to financial aid. However, after a week of running around like a crazy woman trying to just. get. registered., I made it to my first class.

And it was awesome.

Well the class itself was average. It was fine. But being there? Awesome. Because I had worked my BUTT off to be there. I spent a week of trudging back and forth across campus through the rain (which is a big deal here in the desert, fyi) from financial aid to registration, from one professor's office to another's, wearing E in the Maya and heels on my feet, before everything was good to go. But I did it! I did it myself. No one helped, no one told me what I needed to do. I found out on my own what I needed, and I found the people I needed to find to get what I needed done, done.  And I did it with a baby on my hip and in heels. Tell me that's not fabulous.

And now I'm in class, tuition is paid, books are purchased, and I have a financial aid refund coming that is going to allow me to... drumroll... GET MY BLACKBERRY BACK!! WOOT!!!

What could be better?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Today I got a message from M, saying he's contacted an attorney here. He says he wants to make the divorce process go as quickly and smoothly as possible. Sure sure, fine. I didn't see that coming, but whatever. He also said that his attorney said that we need to come up with a joint custody agreement so he can have a relationship with E.

At those words, my heart started beating a million miles a minute. I think that's the closest I've come to having an actual panic attack. Joint custody. Those words... they put massive, massive fear into my heart.

Theoretically, I want E to have a relationship with his father. Realistically, it's like I don't even know his father. We were together for 3 years, but with how differently he's acting now I may as well have been knocked up during a one night stand. Up until three days before I found out about the affair, M was telling me that everything was fine and he was happy. We had a sex life (albeit a kind of boring one, thanks to bed rest and child birth - but we had one!). We didn't fight other than occasional tiffs or disagreements that were usually resolved within the hour. I just cannot describe well enough how right and normal everything seemed. Then BAM - I found out about his affair, and suddenly he was this different person. He took up smoking, he was rude, he was horrible. And I promise it wasn't just the way I saw him - it wasn't a matter of perception. He really changed. Ever since I left I've been discovering more and more lies that he's told.. not just lies, but lies about lies. Layers of lies. A tangled web of lies. I simply do not know this man. This is not the man I thought I married. This is not the man I had a child with. And thinking of turning my precious, precious E over to him for any length of time terrifies me.

It's not like I can tell myself that he's E's father, and he loves him just as much as I love him. I want to tell myself that. I've tried telling myself that. All night tonight, I've been telling myself that he wants joint custody because he loves E, not because he's out to get me. However, I'm simply not sure that's true. M wasn't a devoted father from the beginning. While E was in NICU, on M's days off, he never wanted to stay more than 4 hours or so. I was at the NICU for 10-12 hours a day every day that M worked. I didn't think too much of it at the time - I thought maybe post traumatic stress from losing B made it hard for him to be there, to hear the same alarms we heard while watching her vital signs plummet, knowing she was going to die. He didn't ever want to change diapers - and in the NICU, changing diapers is a big deal. Changing dipes and taking temps are pretty much the only things you can do for your preemie at first, so it's a reasonable reaction to jump at the chance. Not M. He had to be badgered into it by myself and the nurses. And I believe it happened roughly twice. Seriously. He hated kangaroo care. He swaddle-held when E was big enough, but not too often. I always offered to let him hold when he would come, because I was there so much more, but he usually let me. At the time I thought he was being nice, because he knew how hard it was for me to be away from E. Once we got home, it was the same. He did two feedings on separate days after we got home - both so I could get some sleep, both on his days off. When he would get off work I'd ask him if he wanted to hold E, to spend some time with him while I got some things done, and he would say he was too tired from work and just wanted to relax.

Then, once I found out about the affair, he sent us away so easily. I asked him if we could just separate for awhile - if I could stay with his parents or another family member, 4 hours away, and he said no. He didn't ask to keep E overnight the night before we left (I was staying with a friend). He hardly showed any emotion saying goodbye to E before we left for the airport. I just didn't understand it. I still don't.

And what's more, he doesn't know E. He doesn't know that E is a little ticklish under his ribs, and sometimes you can get him to giggle that way. He doesn't know that E hates baths if you just give him one, but if you get in with him he loves them. He doesn't know that E doesn't eat much in the mornings, but eats constantly in the evening, and that it's normal for him. He doesn't know that you can't put E in pajamas that cover his hands or he'll be up all night because he can't find his thumb. He doesn't know that when E starts to get too tired, he starts fighting sleep, and you have to lay him on your chest and give him his pacifier, and even though he still fusses when you do that, he'll be fast asleep in five minutes. He just doesn't know him. 

I fought so hard for this baby. I agonized through the first trimester, praying I wouldn't miscarry like I did my first pregnancy. I spent the second trimester so nervous that he was just going to fall out, or I was going to go into labor. I got progesterone shots once a week. They hurt, and made me crazy emotional (on top of regular pregnancy hormones!). (Sorry to any readers doing fertility treatments - I know a once a week shot is NOTHING!) I had an ultrasound probe up my hoo-hoo every two weeks. I spent six weeks on hospital bed rest. I didn't cheat. All my nurses always commented on how compliant I was - I was only up to go to the bathroom, and even though I was allowed to shower every day, I only showered every other day. When I showered every day I felt much more pelvic pressure and it made me nervous. I had IV's, and I had to wear these dumb things on my legs to prevent blood clots. I had to have NST's twice a day. I had constant contractions. Some were dang uncomfortable. I ate hospital food for six weeks! I took Procardia, and it gave me the headache from hell and made my face turn bright red. It lowered my blood pressure so when I did get up to go to the bathroom, I had to do so very slowly as not to pass out. I was given terbutaline a couple of times, and that is really nasty stuff. I had more cervical checks than you can imagine. I had to discuss my every bodily function with strangers twice a day, often with my husband in the room. It was humiliating. I was on Labor & Delivery, trying to sleep on a delivery table, for THREE DAYS because I was too far gone for Antepartum but my labor had stalled out. I had painful contractions every 20 minutes during those 3 days, and every 3-5 minutes for hours at a time during those days. I was on mag. I was given terb about 2 hours before I delivered. And after delivery, once they took E to NICU, the first thing I did was ask for a pump. In NICU, I stayed with him 10-12 hours a day. I pumped every 3 hours, often at bedside in the NICU. I talked to him. I kangarooed. When I wasn't allowed to hold him, I just sat and daydreamed. About all the things we would do together when he got big, because if I didn't, my thoughts told me he was going to die like B did. I cried every time I left him - I relived the horror of walking out of the hospital empty handed after B died every single night. And when he finally came home, I did it on my own. M didn't take any time off of work. I did all his care every 3 hours (I was a NICU mom, so he got diaper changes, temps, and feeds every 3 until he would wake for feeds, etc.) and I pumped every 3 hours, and did nursing practice at all daytime feedings before his bottle. That left next to NO time for sleep, and I was so tired I couldn't see straight. And when I found out about the affair, I begged M to work it out. Because I wanted E to have an intact family. I swore to myself that if he ever cheated again, I'd leave, no questions asked. But when it came down to it, my son was more important than my dignity.

And M? He is playing house with another woman and her children. But because he donated his sperm to make this exquisitely perfect child, he still has rights.

I'm terrified.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

No More 0-3

I put away all of E's 0-3 month size clothes today. I've been in denial, still squeezing him into them. He weighs 14 lbs. LOL. He's still short enough for them, so I could get away with it. The other day I found a really really cute sleeper that a friend sent me that was 3-6 months, and I put him in it thinking it would drown him. It fit perfectly.

So today, all the 0-3's went back into a box, and the 3-6's went into the drawers. I was completely unprepared for how emotional that was going to be for me. These were the clothes that I washed and put away while I was pregnant. The clothes I got ready for the little boy in my belly, while I still naively had so many hopes and dreams. I hoped that I would carry to term. I dreamed of having a family.. a mommy, a daddy, and a baby. If I had known what my life would be like by the time I put those clothes away.. I just wouldn't have believed it. I never ever thought I'd be storing them away in my mom's garage, for heaven's sake. Lol. I never thought that my son would grow up without his daddy, that his daddy would be playing house with some other family while we're alone.

I'm so glad I didn't know that then. Because when I was washing and hanging those clothes, I was happy.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Pumping Milestone - 5 months!

E is five months old today, which means I have been exclusively pumping for FIVE. MONTHS.

I am so proud of myself for making it this far. Anyone who has pumped exclusively knows that it's hard work. It's inconvenient, and time consuming, and just all around a big huge pain in the patooty.

But it's so gratifying looking at E - now over TEN POUNDS more than he weighed at birth - and to know that it's all compliments of mommy's milk.

We'll see how pumping goes once I start school and have like, a life. I'm still hoping to make it to at least a year.. so here's to 7 more months as a slave to the pump!!!