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Posts from the ‘Rants’ Category

Breast Feeding Basics & My “Weird Hormonal Problems”

05/08/2013

Belle

I had my first of two breastfeeding classes last night. It was very informative, and very uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable in the sense that we spent the entire time talking about boobs and watching the instructor demonstrate techniques with a fake stuffed boob and a baby doll with mouth agape, but uncomfortable in that I was the only pregnancy after infertility case and the instructor seemed to have zero training in tact.

I went into this class prepared to treat myself like all the other “normal” pregnant ladies. As hard as I work to be an activist for infertility awareness, sometimes you just want to blend into the crowd so you can focus on learning.

Things were ok until the trainer made a “joke” about her husband doing a breastfeeding session for her one night during which she never woke up. Two hours later she awoke with a start and instantly freaked out saying, “HE DIED!” And then the instructor and the other attendees started to laugh. Of course her baby was not dead!

As someone who has seen miscarriage, still birth and infant death over and over in this community this “joke” really burned. YOU NEVER MAKE LIGHT OF A BABY OR FETUS DYING. You just don’t. It’s the same as you never joke about your spouse dropping dead from a heart attack. You just don’t do that. I drew a deep breath and let the “joke” slide- determined that I would continue to pretend I’m “normal” and get as much from the class as possible.

Next on my list of very uncomfortable moments was when she went around the room asking each woman if she was going to stay home with their baby. I was the last in the circle and the ONLY person who will have to go back to work. One woman actually gasped when I said our baby would be going to childcare because we are moving to NYC where we have no family support. “Oh, well,” the instructor said to me and then turned to the others and cheered, “GO MOMS!”

I’m so not kidding. You guys, I would give my right foot to stay home with my child. (This is a huge statement because that damn right foot has been through hell after an injury and only recently stopped hurting). I would love nothing more than to stay home with Chicken until he/she goes to school, and then only work while s/he was away. And what is with the cheering for the other moms? Does the fact that I have to go back to work make me less a mom? I don’t think so.

This comment sent me to the bathroom to compose myself. I reminded myself that I was taking this class at a fancy studio with a lot of women with huge diamond rings on their fingers. Their husbands are not academics struggling to find tenured work. Even with all the help from the Professor’s family (and believe me, there is an embarrassing amount of help) we would not be able to afford my staying home long-term in NYC. So I let it go – we are different people from different socioeconomic groups.

And then the doozie came. The instructor said that breastfeeding very rarely fails due to true insufficient supply. She said only 5% of women have insufficient supply and the second a doctor labels you as having one you NEED to find a lactation consultant to evaluate your latch, feeding/pumping schedule, etc. Encouraging, right? Eh, then she went on to say “The only time you see a true insufficient supply is when there is some weird hormonal problem.” That’s a real quote, y’all. “Weird hormonal problem.”

I could not keep my mouth shut any longer.

“What exactly do you mean by weird hormonal problem?” I asked.

She kind of stumbled around not really saying anything so I continued, “For example, this is an IVF pregnancy (I point to my belly) and I have PCOS. Does PCOS count as a weird hormonal problem?”

“YES! Yes, that is a weird hormonal problem and… well, I don’t really know what to tell you accept good luck.”

WHAT? Are you kidding? You are  lactation consultant and you can’t give me any information on my “weird hormonal problem?” I asked a few more questions and when it became clear that I was not going to get any guidance from her I gave up and sat quietly for the remainder of the class. Maybe I’ll take myself and my “weird hormonal problems” to another breastfeeding class in hopes of finding some actual support.

PCOS not is an uncommon problem, nor is infertility. The way this “experienced and respected” lactation consultant acted towards them, though, makes me wonder if she has ever worked with an infertile before. Or do infertiles just check their baggage at the door once pregnancy is achieved and/or baby is born? I’m just not that kind of gal. I went through two years of mild struggle when compared to many other women in this community, all of whom went out of their way to support me during my journey. I feel it is my duty to give back to this community by sharing my story and raising awareness. Moments like last night are stark reminders of just how far we have to go before infertility is truly recognized and respected as a disease. I will not sit quietly again.

I’m not sure if I’ll return to the second part of this course. Most likely, I will because part two is the portion that talks about pumping and preparing those of us tragic figures who “must go back to work” to leave their child with another. I also think I’ll look into other breastfeeding classes in town and see if I can find some genuine support for my “weird hormonal problem.”  Last night I came home full of spit and fire, ready to pen this lady a letter and send it once we move to NYC. Luckily I was too tired and passed out with my lights on instead. I still might do this once I cool off a bit. Someone needs to bring her insensitivity to light, and remind her that one in eight couples struggle with infertility and I guaran-damn-tee that I’m not the first woman to sit through her class, miserably uncomfortable by her statements.

Do you have PCOS? Were you able to breastfeed successfully? Anyone else been made miserably uncomfortable in one of these classes? Did you stand up for yourself?

Disconnected

05/02/2013

Belle

I started Hypnobabies this week. The 30 minute guided meditations are making me increasingly aware of how I am failing to connect with this baby. The cd’s ask you to think about your baby, connect with your baby, imagine holding your baby and so on. Hard as I try, I just can’t connect like this and am really struggling to shake the feeling of failure.

I did not make this baby. I did not put this baby inside of me. I did not administer the medications that kept the baby thriving for the first 12 weeks. On ultrasound this baby does not resemble me in the least – it looks like my husband. This baby has hair (I did not). This baby has my husband’s legs, his nose, his face shape, his mouth. This baby was paid for by someone else (my in-laws who now jokingly refer to themselves as the “investors”). This baby was made by someone else with parts of me that were extracted in a painful, invasive way.

This baby just does not feel like mine and the cd’s are making it blatantly obvious that something inside of me is broken.

I don’t know if this is a normal feeling with an IVF pregnancy. No one has talked about feelings like these so I’ve been stuffing them away for a while now, trying to pretend like I get it and I’m ready for it. But I don’t and I’m not.

Today I’m exhausted, overwhelmed, questioning everything and, quite frankly, don’t know where to turn. My therapist has left the practice leaving me with another woman who does not understand the pain of infertility or loss. My husband is too consumed with work. I’m too embarrassed to bring this up with Dr. Shannon (who the hell feels this way anyways?) My parents will either give me the standard “you chose this path and now have to deal with the consequences” response or, worse, will blow it off as “just being hormonal.” Trust me, after years of PCOS and hormone imbalances I know what feeling hormonal is and this, this is not it.

I’m going out on a limb posting this, and I’ll be turning on comment moderation to spare myself the embarrassment of harsh words. Has anyone pregnant after IVF struggled with this sort of disconnect in the third trimester? What can I do to make it go away? I want to feel connected. I want to visualize myself holding my baby. I want to be a good mother and am so afraid these feelings are the first sign of parenting failure.

Tears (ranting)

04/01/2013

Belle

This post is going to be rough. Feel free to skip it. Tomorrow I’ll be back with some reflections on the second trimester now that I’m officially (I think) in the final stretch of pregnancy.

This move has me an absolute hormonal disaster. I can’t stop crying. We are having a really hard time finding a place to live that fits our budget in NYC.

Our first solution was to live in Jersey and we both commute to work. However, rents are not much cheaper in Jersey and we would need to keep our car – which is a pretty sizeable expense when you consider the cost of gas, insurance and repairs on an older vehicle. The Professor priced out the toll cost from Jersey to the Bronx where the he will be working and holy hell, it was over $3k a year. For one person. We also looked north of NYC in some communities a reader recommended but they are all priced out of our range, too.

It is actually cheapest for us to live in the Bronx where the Professor is close to work and Riverdale seems to be our best option. I actually really like everything I read about Riverdale and am pleased at what a quick commute it is into Manhattan (should I ever find work). But finding any rental in Riverdale that is $1,500 a month with two bedrooms and enough square footage for all the cats is damn near impossible. And then you have the issue of rent potentially being hiked each year. And broker fees to find the place. And blah blah blah. It starts to look bleak.

Out of desperation, the Professor called his parents and inquired on taking an interest free loan from them to use as a down payment because, hello, I’m a writer and he has been a student forever. We do not have money for a down payment. His parents are unbelievably generous and offered us a sizeable “loan” to be paid back interest free when we resell in four years. Glorious! There are actually a few co-ops in Riverdale in our price range, that allow pets, that offer 900 to 1,000 square feet and are in NICE areas! Are they luxurious  Gosh not at all, but a little paint can go a long way.

So we start to get excited, which is never a good idea when it comes to real estate.

Even with a hefty down payment from the Professor’s parents, we still might not qualify for a mortgage based on his salary alone. We’ll have a one month old at the time of moving – I literally CANNOT look for work right now. Then we started to research the legalities of a co-op and oh my gosh there are a lot of strings and risks involved. And buying into a co-op requires board approval, which requires an in person interview. Guess who will be too pregnant to travel and find a place to live if we were to get approved for a loan? This lady.

Pardon my French, but I’m a fucking wreck. I’m filled to the brim with hormones and my future is totally up in the air. Meanwhile, I’m tasked with selling all our shit so we can fit into a 900 square foot place that currently does not exist. Normally this would be really exciting; I love selling stuff. However, the Professor is a pack rat who feels sentimental attachment to every blue work shirt, every ancient guitar, every dirty tool, etc. that he has ever collected. Getting him to take the time to help me work through his stuff is impossible. This weekend we tackled the downstairs book shelves, which was a big accomplishment, but there are still a lot of books and we didn’t even make it to the upstairs book shelves. And that is just the books.

I’ve spent HOURS each day for the past two weeks photographing, writing descriptions and posting items to eBay and Craigslist. Toasters  crystal glassware, crock pot, kettles, dishes, luggage, etc are all online, waiting for a new home. Hours of time spent and you know what has actually sold? One fondue pot for $15, one coffee carafe for $7 and one piece of luggage for $40. That’s all. My living room, dining room and guest room look like a huge bomb went off in them and only three little things have actually sold. This is not boding well for the rest of the shit that has to go.

This weekend I lost it. We had a huge throw down over finances and horrible words were exchanged.  I actually broke a dish during this fight – something I’ve never done. My poor cat was so stressed that she ran upstairs and vomited her dinner all over the rug. I cried even more when I walked up to see her huddled in the bed. What a bad mommy.

Sunday I broke down again after the cats had been squabbling and I had checked eBay and found that our $40 waffle maker had been bid up to a  pathetic $1.04. How the hell am I supposed to pay for a move to New York when things are selling for a $1? The Professor tried to help but he only made me more angry and I ended up in the bathroom with the shower on while I sobbed.

It’s just too much. Too much change, too much risk, too many uncertain elements. I have a girlfriend who actually said to my face, “Can’t you just be happy that your husband has a job and you are pregnant?” Seriously? Do you think I’m not happy? I’m so thrilled that he found work, especially work at such a great university! I’m over the moon that I’m pregnant! But the fact that in a few short months we will be responsible for a tiny life and, as of now, we don’t even have a roof to put over our heads come August is fucking terrifying. Add in the normal third trimester anxieties of how I will care for this baby and if I’ll be a good mother and you’ve got a 24-7 basket case who can’t sleep and is experiencing heartburn like it is her job (can I claim that as income on a mortgage application?).

I’m trying to take steps to keep my anxiety in check. I’m handling a lot of legalities with the Professor’s mother right now that will help us when it comes time to find a loan. I talked to the Prof about nixing the eBay/Craigslist plan and just having one big ass garage sale the first weekend of May to clear out everything but tools and vehicles (those go in July after repairs are done and baby is here). He agreed, albeit with great hesitation at the prospect of having to include his “treasures” in the sale.

I made him PROMISE to walk with me every night to help with stress management. I’m taking extra steps to help our on-edge cats, who can so sense major change, with extra play sessions, lots of positive talk and rubs, and some doctor checkups to inquire on a mild anti-anxiety for all four a month before and a month after the move. Happier cats can only equal happier humans.

I told the Professor that after the garage sale I NEED to turn my attention to this baby. I have this intense urge to sleep and nest right now and I just don’t have the time to do it. I need my part of this deal to be done by early May so I can focus on baby so he/she can stay inside until full term. I want to spend my last few weeks of pregnancy on the couch making the mobile, I want to dye the cloth diapers I got to use as burp clothes, I want to refinish this dresser. I want a prenatal massage and to be fussed over. I need to read up some on what the hell you do with a newborn. In order to do all this, he needs to step up and HELP with this purge – not just shuffle things around and get distracted. He also needs to take some initiative with getting a mortgage or finding another viable option.

I know we will come through this ok; we always do. We came through infertility and loss.  We made it through the scary-ass uveitis days. We’ve made it through family drama, pet politics and dealing with an OCD wife. I know we’ll eventually find a place and somehow be able to afford it. I know I will find work once we are there that gives me some flexibility with baby. I know I am going to LOVE life in NYC once we get there and find our rhythm  Everything will work out, but right now, in the midst of such a big shit storm, it’s really hard to keep my big girl panties on.

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