Archive for November, 2009


November 21, 2009

I just discovered BagMomma through Stirrup Queens – such sad and lovely writing.  This quote particularly moved me:

I don’t know where we’re going, but we will hold on to each other in the darkness and walk in circles if we have to.

We will find a path eventually.  And almost certainly, it will lead somewhere other than here.

But you can read the whole thing here.


Miscellaneous updates

November 19, 2009

I should probably make it clear that I think T-Cru is a nut job when it comes to his ideas about PPD.  I know that anti-depressants have probably saved millions of people’s lives, literally.  Honestly I think my lift in spirits this week had more to do with my hormones settling down after that post-weaning boomerang.  At the same time, I do think that food, exercise, and sleep have a huge impact on my moods and how I feel generally.  The sleep thing, well, we’re working on it; the food and exercise I have a little more control over.  Now I just need to have enough discipline to follow through.

T. and I have more or less sorted through our issue, although I’m not sure it’s totally resolved in my own mind.  But I take a looooong time to process my thoughts and emotions no matter what the situation.

I keep talking about calling the ob/gyn.  I wonder when I’ll actually do it?

The Tom Cruise Cure

November 16, 2009

I’m not planning a marathon viewing of his oeuvre, even though the soundtrack to “Top Gun” will always evoke my high school days.  I’m talking exercise and vitamins.  Actually, I’m taking a page from Ask Moxie’s advice for avoiding PPD.  Yesterday we picked up some fish oil supplements and a multivitamin with iron (I’ve been finishing up leftover bottles of prenatal vitamins, don’t know why I had so many lying around).  This morning after dropping V. off I went for a 20-minute walk in the sunshine.  I know it takes away from my work time, but what the hell.  I’m tired of feeling so down.  And, as I walked, I really did feel my spirits lift, at least for the moment.

Lavender and Milk

November 14, 2009

Tonight my breast wept tears of milk into the warm bathwater.  V. weaned herself two weeks ago – just stopped taking the breast.  The last time I nursed her was on a park bench with fallen leaves littering the ground around us.  She was sleepy, and the sky was cool and gray.  My parents and husband waited nearby for us to finish, looking at the little metal labels naming the shrubs and trees.

I was glad she stopped on her own, glad I didn’t have to force the issue.  My mother crushed hot peppers and dabbed them on her nipples to wean my little sister, who says she can still taste the bitter flavor of betrayal on her tongue.

I didn’t really know I was sad, too, until tonight.

When I got my period on Monday, my breasts started to feel tender and sore.  It felt like first trimester sensitivity.  I warded off my toddler’s elbows and knees as best I could, each bump more painful than the last.  Finally this afternoon I did some serious prodding and poking and felt a familiar hard lump near the left nipple – plugged ducts!  What?!  So, resignedly, I dusted off the Medela pump and waited until she fell asleep.


But first, first I need a glass of wine, and a warm lavender bath.  I ran on caffeine all day today and I need to unwind.  I get out the hand towel, the cream-colored candle that says “Peace” on one side, the New Yorker my husband picked up for me at Barnes & Noble.  I pour lavender bath salts into the the steaming water and ease myself in.  He comes in and sits on the toilet for a minute – “so you need some me time?” – then goes out to watch football on his laptop.  “I just need to relax,” I say.

I turn over on one side so that my left breast is completely submerged.  Again I start to probe and prod, and then to squeeze and massage.  It hurts.  I can clearly feel the “string of beads” the websites describe, hard and painful to the touch.  But it’s a good hurt.  Geez, they’re everywhere.  My intention is to loosen everything up as much as possible before I go to pump.  The mental image of the plastic mechanical contrivance, with its mindless pulsating hum, comes into my mind, and I think how much more pleasant this is, watching the steam rise in the light of the candle.  I soon realize that I’m staring at the word “Peace,” and, to my faint surprise, that is what I feel.  Peace.

I squeeze again, and, to even more surprise, see a white cloud of milk burst into the clear water.  This can only be good, right?  So I keep squeezing.  I think, absurdly, of James Herriot’s books about hardened Yorkshire Dales farmers doing just this with their cows – stripping the milk from the udders to keep them healthy.  But, I reason, this is something only I can do for myself.  Nobody else is going to do it for me.  So I squeeze again.  And, even more absurdly, the moment begins to feel holy.  It’s perfectly quiet, and I am alone.  My mind and spirit become quiet, and there is only the release of the pain and pressure of stagnant milk in my breasts.  It feels like my breast is crying tears of milk into the warm water.  I didn’t feel sad about weaning – but I guess apparently my body did.  And this is the sadness working its way out to where it won’t hurt anymore.

(And I didn’t even have to use the pump, after all.)


November 14, 2009

Hm, Tara may be onto something.  This is my 6th period post-partum, but it’s been the most hormonal so far.  Sore breasts, bloaty, low back cramps, the works.  And I suspect that the day V. quit nursing was the day I ovulated, so I’m wondering if there’s a connection there? 

Actually I just discovered today that I have a plugged duct on the left side!!!  Boooo!  I thought it was just hormonal soreness but apparently it’s more than that.  I guess I’ll just have to break out the pump again with a hot compress and hope that works.  What!!!

On the other hand, we just bought tix to see U2 next summer with a bunch of T’s cousins!  Who knows if we’ll actually make it to the concert or not (what with possibly being in ALBANIA and all) but if we can… we have tickets!


November 13, 2009

There’s something going on between me and T. that I won’t go into details on, but it’s definitely contributing to the sadness and I don’t know what to do about it.  I hope it will resolve soon.  I’m sorry I can’t say more – if this blog were truly anonymous I might – so I’m not sure what the point is of saying anything at all, except to say that maybe this is a situational depression rather than clinical.  I don’t know.  We’ll see I guess.

Depression, much?

November 13, 2009

When Mel asked us to make a wish in her comments, I read through all the ones before mine with alternating smiles and tears.  I think this was one of my favorite posts of all time.  Then I went to write my own wish, and to my surprise I found myself writing this:

I wish I didn’t hate my life.  I don’t know why I feel this way; I have everything I ever wanted, including my baby.  It’s just that most mornings I wake up thinking “I hate my life.”  I don’t know why.

I think I might be depressed.

I’ve been chalking it up to the sleep deprivation, to the stress of mothering while working on a graduate degree, to the daily challenges of balancing those two commitments with friendships and marriage.  But this ever-present sadness is starting to feel more like that Bad Time when I would sometimes stay in bed all day and cry.  When it felt like a dark, heavy cloud had settled in over me and there was no joy.

It’s not that bad, now.  There’s not the same degree of heaviness.  Not the same intensity of pain.  But there is a sadness that feels like it’s growing.

The visual image I have is of a stormy sky when the sun breaks through the clouds in what they call “God beams,” except I keep trying to get into the patch of sunlight but by the time I get there it’s always gone, the clouds have shifted again and there is only the dreary rain and mud.

Maybe I should stop and take stock once my period is over and once my head cold has abated, maybe I’ll feel better then. And if not, I’ll call my therapist and see what she can do for me.

CD1 again today

November 9, 2009

Since I’m not really writing this stuff down anywhere else – Cd1 today.   I feel a new resolution to call the  ob/gyn, since it has now been 6 months of unprotected sx since I got my period back.  I think we should have them do a SA again too.


I’m 36 and feeling old.

Uncertainty is not my favorite state of being

November 8, 2009

Sometimes, to figure out what I’m feeling, I have to look at what I’m doing.  Especially when what I’m doing goes contrary to what I say I want.

I say I want to try to conceive again, but I’m doing nothing to anticipate ovulation.  I’m not even temping.  I’m not peeing on sticks – except every once in a while.  I haven’t called the ob/gyn for an initial consultation, and I did nothing, really, to wean V.

Then V. weaned herself.  But that’s a story for another post.

So finally T. and I cuddled up for a good chat, and what I uncovered when I looked inside was a lot of fear.  I’m scared to try again.  I’m scared that I won’t be able to get pregnant, but I’m also scared that I will.  And why I’m scared of that has a lot to do with the uncertainty of our plans for next year.

T. is due for a year sabbatical from his university job, although a recent change in the sabbatical policy actually pushed his eligibility another year into the future.  However, we had agreed a few years ago that he would take 2010-2011 off, and we would go somewhere overseas for 1-2 years.  There’s a long backstory here that has to do with his frustrations at work and our desire to raise V. at least partly in another country, where she could learn a second language fluently and become a social misfit like we are (T. and I were both missionary kids).  But the upshot is that even if he can’t take a sabbatical for ’10-’11, we’re still taking the year off.

So he’s put in an application for a leave of absence, which means he needs to find a paying job to cover during that time.  Using his extensive contacts from the consulting work he does he found two possible gigs – one in Albania and one in Colombia.  And for a short time we thought there was a possibility in New Zealand as well, but that didn’t pan out.




We’ll need to make a decision soon; the hard part is that the details of each gig are different enough that it’s hard to weigh – apples and oranges – which is best.  I’m more partial to Colombia simply because I really want V. to learn Spanish, and I haven’t been doing a very consistent job of talking to her in Spanish at home for it to really stick.  But I’d also be happy going to Albania because it seems like a really interesting country, and we’d be able to visit a lot of other European countries easily, and I’ve never been to Europe apart from 10 days in England in 2003.

But… would I want to move to a foreign country while pregnant?

Our move would happen sometime between June and August of 2010.  So, if I were to get pregnant before the end of the year, I’d be due… well… right around then.

T’s philosophy, and the approach I adopted for TTC the first time, is to try, see what happens, and then based on what happens, work around things.  As we have come to understand all too well, the outcome is truly not in our hands.  We do what we can with the resources we have and then have to let it go.  The first time around, I didn’t care WHEN we got pregnant, no matter how inconvenient, I just wanted it.

But now, remembering what it felt like to be in a somewhat unstable home situation in the third trimester (had to move out of my apt. while the bathroom was being remodeled) and how I ended up on hospital bedrest due to the threat of pre-eclampsia, I feel very different about things.

T. pointed out that our parents did all kinds of moving around while they were having kids, and I pointed out in turn that they were then TEN YEARS younger than we are now (my in-laws, for example, moved to a new house the SAME WEEK that their second child was born).

I feel very protective of my potentially-pregnant future self.

I don’t want to pack up the house and move to another country while in the third trimester.

So we’ll see what happens, I guess… I’m acutely aware of my age, and T’s age, and that we don’t have much time (in fact, we may already have run out of time and I just don’t know it yet).  I have in the back of my mind a notion of international adoption.  We want another baby.  I just don’t know how it’s all going to work out.

just a funny

November 5, 2009

Last night T. and I were cuddling for a few minutes before bed, and I accidentally bumped him in a sensitive area.  “That’s ok,” he said.  “It’s a vestigial organ anyway.”

I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve laughed that hard for that long.