Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How to celebrate your 35th Birthday in style....

So... I find myself at 20 weeks pregnant today...

Yeah, I can hardly believe it either! But, that is what my FF ticker says...and my doctor's chart. I promise to post a belly pic soon...probably this week. It is amazing how much bigger I am this time around. I LOOK like I am pregnant - never really did until the very end with Chris. So, this is turning into some fun now. :) I.E., I am finally enjoying this PG...especially with the inner-boxing sessions that put my mind at ease.

The "down" side, of course, is I turn 35 years old tomorrow...and officially receive the "Advanced Maternal Age" moniker at the doctors' offices now. Yeah me! I know, a number is a number. But, the new label - although not as bad as Habitual Aborter - is one I never really planned on having...

...But, God doesn't always like plans, now does He?

So, how does one celebrate one's 35 th birthday in style???

Having the in-law's move in, that's how!

Okay, to backtrack a little bit...

My FIL was a very, very sick man starting in 2002.

He is a Type II diabetic - and, for a very long time, chose to ignore it and not care for himself properly. His diabetes has led him to lose feeling in his feet - so, he did always take one precaution as to wear shoes or slippers all of the time.

...Except, of course, one fateful day in the early fall of 2002.

We had finally finished our post-Honeymoon "love nest" (aka, our new, hand-built apartment to save money instead of renting one) on my IL's home in early 2001 - Living room, kitchen, bathroom which added on above my IL's kitchen and bathroom. We kept DH's room growing up (one of the two only bedrooms in the house) as our bedroom (which was all we had for the first few years of our marriage - talk about me being accommodating!), which opened up to the kitchen. It was all we really needed at the time - having children was not really on the radar in the first few years of marriage.

The addition was done on our own - my FIL, DH, myself and anyone else who was handy with a nail gun and drywall helped with demolition and construction. It took a long, long time to get done, as you can probably tell: We married in 10/1998 - and the addition was started shortly before then. It was finally finished in early 2001...and we settled in. And, we thought everything was cleaned up from the construction - all scraps of wood, siding, nails, etc.

Except, we missed some construction staples.

My FIL walked out in the very early Fall of 2002 into the backyard with no shoes on to turn off the pool filter - and he stepped on a construction staple. But, since he had no feeling in his feet, he never felt it....and it remained there for 2-3 days until my MIL noticed it. And, of course, it was already infected - eventually spiraling him into a series of infections, including a massive MRSA infection, which caused him to lose the toes on his right foot. The wound, until just last year, refused to close... So, it has been years of doctors, surgeries, antibiotics, disability, unemployment for my IL's.

...And, years of doctor's bills, inability to pay the bills, and inability to pay the mortgage on the house they owned since 1973.

So, two years ago, a foreclosure notice was given...although never pressed. My FIL was employed by the town as a Lead Abatement Inspector for a federal governmental agency in the Summer of 2005 - and his ability to pay the bills and mortgage came back. So, we thought the house could be saved and the foreclosure lifted...

...But, that changed on January 7th, 2008 - when the mortgage company decided not to play nicey-nicey anymore...and an eviction notice was issued for them to be out by February 8th.

So, after 35 years of owning this home, they have to be out. Our early marriage memories will be gone now...as will all of the memories they have invested in that house. And, there is nothing we can do about it.

Long, drawn-out story, isn't it?

So, the past two weeks has been spent helping them pack/move/store all of their belongings (they plan to be out completely this weekend) - and pack/move/store all of the things DH never cleaned out since we moved into our home around the corner in June 2003.

The past couple of weeks has also been trying to help them figure where to go - move into DH's aunt's house across the street from us for a little while, find an apartment, etc.

My MIL does not want to move into her sister's house - it is very loud and busy and cramped as it is, since DH's grandmother is also living there (she had moved into our old apartment when we bought her house in 2003). BUT, it would be the most economical move for them to do that - no rent, no utility bills - so they can save money and straighten themselves out financially. Since she doesn't want to do that, that forces them into renting an apartment for $1500 or more (NJ is expensive)...but, that would not allow them to save money, pay bills off. It would force them into renting for probably the rest of their lives.

So (and you can call me a SUCKER later), I got into a discussion with DH about it was a shame we didn't have our third floor (full attic) finished yet - it would be more than enough room for them to live in for 6-12 months, until they could get themselves on their feet again. Living with them again would be a hard adjustment for all, especially with a new baby coming - but, we have done it before with much less room...and we could probably do it again for a short period of time.

I guess, what I am having a hard time justifying is the $$$ they will have to spend on rent - and not be able to save anything.

Anyway, conversation was continued last night with my ILs over for dinner - since my FIL works for the town, he has access to many contractors. And, these contractors can discount the work for him...and get the attic done (insulate, sheet rock, wire, install a small bathroom above the only bathroom in the house, finish/paint) in a fairly quick amount of time.

...The only concession we would make is we would switch our bedroom with Chris' current room since the stairway to the third floor is from our bedroom and, well, do you want your IL's coming through late at night??? Changing the rooms is no big deal - the thought had been there anyway, and the rooms are relative the same size (just different shape).

So, that is how I will be celebrating my 35th Birthday...preparing for construction and the IL's to invade our house for 6-12 months until they can either be in a position to buy something on their own or we can find a real 2-family in a town we would like to settle in a year or so from now (which was a plan we had in mind anyway).

Sound fun?

My therapist is going to have a field day with this tonight at our first session of the New Year!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rainbow bridges

Well, that church on my way into work had another good saying this week... Something that I am going to try to live by now:

"Don't let yesterday get in the way of living today"

I have been thinking about this quote all week... Thinking about how I have spent the past 18 weeks or so of this pregnancy living in the "yesterday" - my past of loss, worry, fear. Thinking about how I have kept relatively quiet on my blog, in my BGs and in my real life about this pregnancy, in fear that I would have to go back and un-tell everyone...in fear of replaying history and puncturing another hole in my heart.

...And, there are times now when the fear is still there.

In early December, I had a small e-mail exchange with Mel about moving my blog from the "Pregnancy Loss" list on her blog roll to "Pregnancy After Infertility or Loss." It was a big step at the time...as I just entered the 2nd trimester - a time when that nagging fear of loss should be gone. But, it wasn't gone for me at the time. And, although the fear was still present, I had to take small steps to accepting that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't lose this pregnancy after all.

With the "perk" of being high-risk (do we really want to call it that?) and getting the 3D u/s done yesterday (covered through insurance, thank goodness!), something changed that I can't quite explain.

...Maybe it was seeing this baby - the baby I feared so much talking to, rubbing my belly for in fear I was dooming his/her fate if I emitted any hope at all - as a real person for the first time yesterday: his face, heart, hands, toes, legs...everything in its right place, doing what he should be doing. Sure, I had u/s pics of Chris during his PG - but, never the 3D u/s pics where you could see every detail of what he will look like. That rush to my heart is without words...kind of akin to Dr. D announcing Chris was a boy when he was born almost 4 years ago...something I can always look back on fondly as E2 grows up.

...Maybe it was partly the most perfect rainbow I got to see on my way into work earlier this same week - start to finish - similar to this pic:


I never in my life saw any rainbow this perfect...this bright and beautiful...from beginning to end. It reminded me of another quote I saw shortly after I found out I was PG again...

"After the storm comes the rainbow"

The rainbow and the quotes had perfect timing... The rainbow, a perfect bridge from the sorrow I felt from losing my babies to the baby that refuses to let go, and the reminder that I can't allow myself to live in the past any longer. I need to celebrate what I have now...to be thankful, to dream, to live in the here and now.

I am hoping to archive from now on some of the good points of this pregnancy, as it goes on, now that I am finally becoming comfortable with it all. A good start would be actually showing what I look like now...about 10-12 pounds heavier with a tummy starting to show. I promise to do that sometime over the weekend...finally. It was something I had been avoiding.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Great things come in...

...Blue packages.

Yep, you guessed it. I will be outnumbered in my house:


But, we have healthy...growing perfectly on target for 18 weeks, 2 days with ten fingers, ten toes, perfect heart, perfect everything. We are happy....and so relieved, halfway through this pregnancy.

Now, we have to think about names... "C's" and "K's" since that is what we have in our little family. But, we have time for that...and won't decide specifically until he arrives into this world. However, it is a shame I can't reuse "Christopher" since, looking at the u/s pics, this little boy will look just like him (especially in the second pic):




And, here is a pic from when Chris was only six weeks old:


And, at 3 1/2 years old:


The resemblance is rather uncanny...even for siblings.

The one thing, though, that is left for worry is that although my cervix via u/s is nice and closed and measuring perfectly in length, the doctor at the MFM clinic wants me back in for another u/s in two weeks for a re-check. He could see via the u/s "trauma" to the cervix and asked if I had had surgery in the past. When I told him I was induced with Chris (Cervidil and balloon catheter to get to 4 cm's, then Pitocin to get to 10 cm's) and had two d&c's (which requires service dilation), he said it should be re-checked. So, I will be back for another view on 1/24. Thank goodness for insurance...it will be nice to see the little man again.

I think, finally, I can have some comfort in this pregnancy... E2 (or Elvis 2, since we called Chris "Elvis" while pregnant with him because we didn't find out the gender in that pregnancy) is perfect. He is healthy.

I couldn't ask for more, now could I?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Holding on...

Sorry to be so MIA - Blogging has been such an amazing outlet for me since my last miscarriage and not being able to get on here to vent (which, by the way, a major one is coming in this post!) has been a huge detriment. I can't believe I have not posted in almost a month. Things are just very crazy right now...and I am not sure when it will all come to an end.

Thanks to those who have e-mailed me to ask me how things are going and what's been happening. I appreciate immensely your thoughts and well wishes. Thank you for taking the time to check in.

Where to begin... where to begin...

The pregnancy is going just fine... At my last prenatal appoint on December 12th, the heartbeat was 144 bpm on doppler, which is about where Chris' heartbeat was from the second trimester forward. Not sure if that is a sign pointing toward gender or not...but, I will take it. Healthy and happy is all I want. My next appointment (Level II u/s) is not until January 10th - 8 days from today. That has become a major source of stress for me as of late, especially with the holidays and everyone now knowing what is going on. Going a whole month without any check-up has really thrown me (although it really shouldn't) and made me stress about every little normal thing. The fear of losing this baby has not left me, even with the very tiny kicks I am already feeling. I have yet to enjoy this pregnancy...and I just hate myself for it. I am 17 weeks, 1 day today - and I just don't feel connected. Every time something comes out of my mouth about the pregnancy - whether it be about when I plan to take maternity leave, what I want to do for the baby's room, what toys we need to refresh for a second use, what we need to borrow - I feel like I am dooming this pregnancy to fail. All I want is to enjoy this - love this baby as he/she deserves to be. Yet, I feel like I am watching this pregnancy pass through the eyes of a third party - like my pregnancy is taking place through someone else and I am only seeing glimpses of it. How much reassurance is it going to take for me to finally be able to enjoy the new beat-up sessions in the middle of the night? To be happy about finally beginning to show a little bit? To dream about how Chris will be as a big brother and how they will grow up together?

I should have moved on to being happy and secure in this pregnancy by now, but it just isn't happening and it is not fair. This pregnancy is the biggest miracle and wish come true, and it feels like it is slipping out between my fingers.

...And, although I am happy to be gaining the weight from this pregnancy, I am NOT happy with the fact that I gained 10 pounds already! If I keep cruising at this speed, I am going to gain the full 40 lbs back that I lost. I gained a healthy 27 pounds in my pregnancy with Chris, and I wanted to try to hover around that weight. But, it has been very hard keeping food away from my mouth this time around - it has been a very different pregnancy with less nausea and way more cravings... I am hoping that the weather warms up a bit soon so I can get out and walk a little of the weight off!

Work is also turning into a major worry:

First, we still have that crazy Associate Director here...albeit sporadically. Allegedly, her middle child had a major infection in the bone and had to be in the hospital on IV antibiotics for two weeks to clear it - this, after she took two weeks off for no reason until my Director sent her a letter telling her that she was to take this "leave" without pay and that she had to return on December 10th or her job would be terminated...then the "leave" turned into "doctor's orders" for either anxiety or high blood pressure. She is yet to produce the proper medical documentation about her child's illness...or her own. I hate to ever think that someone would be crazy enough to lie about their child's illness... If her child was in fact really sick, I pray that he is okay. But, the lies and tall-tales on her part keep coming...and the rest of us are left to pick up the work she is choosing not to do. But, we have to have all of our ducks in a row in order to terminate - and my Director is desperately trying to do just that.

Second, my Center Administrator is set to retire at the end of June - while I am out on maternity leave. This scares the hell out of me for several reasons: 1) She has been the ONLY Center Administrator here for the entire time I have worked here (9 1/2 years, plus a few months as a temp over the summer of 1996) and she knows how my programs run and is such a priceless back-up for me, and 2) Her replacement that she is proposing is someone I have heard from several people cannot be trusted and is very hard to work for; AKA, you cannot tell her anything personal or else she will use it against you with other people in the office.

It is still not clear who will be doing my work over the summer, especially with the unknowns going on with said Associate Director above. I have to begin looking at new insurance plans because my current insurance of 9 1/2 years is bring disbanded by the State...and I have to pick carefully because there are so many doctors involved in my pregnancy care, and of Chris and his PDD-NOS diagnosis. And, I am really tiring of the hour commute in/out of work after these 9 1/2 years...a commute that should only take 35 minutes without traffic - people are just freakin crazy driving in NJ.

Thinking of trying to change jobs right now is really impossible - I don't know what I want in a job, except I want closer to home and maybe the ability to work from home a couple of days a week (which my bosses promised when I returned from my leave with Chris, but had to rescind because of someone else in the office). And, now that we are in the New Year and my due date is practically in five months, trying to find a new job now is just not likely to happen. I am trying to keep my game-face on here, despite the hurdles, because my Director and Center Administrator, and the entire staff (minus the crazy Associate Director who, to my knowledge, doesn't even know about this PG) have just be wonderful through it all. I like working here, although I would much rather be a full time, stay at home mom. So, I am trying to stick it out until the fall, and then decide what to do.

Then, there is the issues still rolling around about what to do with Chris and school and his diagnosis of PDD-NOS. Hubby (which I will rant about very shortly) dropped the ball BIG TIME on this. I wanted our response in to the Child Study Team by mid- to end of November since we had the draft IEP and we had finally seen the placements offered first-hand - he did not send the response until December 20th, essentially guaranteeing no movement in his placement for January, which would have been a very natural transition from one program (his nursery school) to another. I kept asking Hubby about the letter - when was I going to see a draft of it, when was he sending it - and progress came in spurts until we got a letter from the child study team stating that they would close Chris' file unless they heard from us within 15 days of that letter. I blew my top at Hubby with that - HE wanted to write the letter, outlining all of the issues we had with the school district, the placements offered, how the choices of placements were extremely inappropriate because HE wanted to document the laws and how their suggestions in no way fit the laws. So, the letter finally got out...and, of course, there was no way we were going to hear from them over Christmas. We did get a request for a meeting with the child study team on Friday...which is good. But, there is more to go...and we are wasting Chris' precious time!

Luckily for us, Chris has made sooooo much progress with private speech therapy once a week - he is talking in complete sentences now, is jumping/hand-flapping less (except when extremely tired), is initiating conversations about things at school he does. It is wonderful to see how much he has grown up in the 4 months he has been in speech therapy. But, it is still not fair to him to make him wait this long...and I am pissed with Hubby on it.

....And, then there was the holidays....and the lack of rest and time with Chris, thanks to the Hubby.

Hubby is a wonderful man - in the grand scheme of things, he is the best of husbands and confidants and friends. But, as of late, since losing his last job in October, he is sliding and I don't recognize the man I married anymore.

Along with the long delay on getting the child study team letter done for Chris, I know he is not really pursuing finding a new job nearly as hard as he should be - he is waiting for the guy he worked for in between the last job and the one prior to that to make a good, permanent offer. BUT, I am just not sure I trust the guy...and that he will pay Hubby enough to justify the long hours and the still very long commute (a true hour from our house). Hubby has been on one - yes, ONE - interview since losing that last job, and the interview came from a job reference from a fellow attorney. He is not looking - I know he is not, and he doesn't seem to think I can see through the facade and the stories he has created for himself.

Also, I have been asking Hubby to get things finished in the new addition in the house for weeks now - since before Thanksgiving, when the majority of the work was done: like, the flooring in the new part of the living room, the flooring in the now-smaller front porch, the painting of the new front porch. And, you know what he did - despite knowing he is on the internet late a night or watching movies to all hours? He left it ALL for the weekend right before Christmas. Despite my asking him NOT to do that.

So, my house was torn apart for three days prior to Christmas, while my in-laws managed to arrange for the family piano to be delivered to our house over that same weekend without really asking me first...after which I had to clean from the mess of the work, clean the rest of the house, make sure Hubby got rid of his piles and piles of crap (he is a major pack-rat), make sure the rest of the Holiday shopping was done, try to prepare for my family coming over for dinner on Christmas. I was touching up painting he did in the front porch an hour before going to his aunt's house for Christmas Eve.

All of this last-minute work should not have happened.

The Christmas holidays were a blur...save for the pictures that are sitting in my e-mail right now that I will eventually post (there were some bright spots in there...of Chris and the other kids).

Of course, my brother from Texas - whom I have not spoken to in well over a year for various reasons, most specifically, his comments about my losses - just HAD to call Christmas Day and spread his "holiday cheer." He was, as usual, going on and on about how he is a better parent than his ex (although, his actions are what spurred the divorce in the first place) and how he has found God and how he can forgive but not forget - Uh, doesn't forgiving mean forgetting? So, I cut him short with the fact that I am expecting again and how I need to go since our parents were coming over for dinner and I needed to finish cooking...and a very half-hearted promise to call him sometime... Like that will happen any time soon.

Then, we had the post-holiday clean-up and preparation for a holiday dinner with Hubby's friends this past Sunday and the New Year's Eve party at our house. The New Year's party was so-so - had so much food, yet half the people who were supposed to come never bothered to tell me that they were now NOT coming....and then Hubby's family decided to skip out on New Year's Day at our house, which means I am left with food that is going to spoil.

I have ended up so frazzled because of it all, that I had an anxiety attack after everyone had left New Year's Eve night - alone at 2 AM, trying to sleep on the futon in the back bedroom so I didn't wake Chris, feeling like I was going to puke my brains out. ...And, I was not able to take the Xanex that has always worked to stop it.

...I am still recovering from it.

And, on top of it all...Hubby's car died on Interstate 78 on his way home from work before the New Year's Holiday last week. His engine blew in his 1993 Escort, essentially making it useless. So, we now have to find him a newer car while he is borrowing either my car on my carpool days or his father's. We knew we had to replace his car eventually...but not this soon.

I got one quiet day with Chris in the entire holiday break...and I am so upset and hurt about it and with my Hubby, I am without words. That should not have happened at all.

I know Hubby is depressed about his job situation - and the fact that he does not really want to be an attorney. This isn't the first time he has acted this way - just no to this extreme, to the point of having the stress affect me so much physically and emotionally. However, I had offered to him twice now to let us invest the money into getting him out of this career - there are a number of firms that can help attorneys get into new fields. Yet, he has not done that, nor has he been actively looking for a new job.

I have told him he needs to go back to his therapist - which he stopped going to after he got his last job. He has not done that either. So, I am making an end-run and asking my therapist to call his (they are colleagues) in the hope that a session can be set up soon...and maybe Hubby can start getting things back together.

I am so tired of trying to carry it all - the worry of this pregnancy being successful, taking care of the house, taking care of Chris and trying to get him the right services, working full time, balancing the holidays and the get-togethers, trying to make sure the bills are paid when he is not. He is not pulling his weight...and anything I have said, whether it be calmly or screaming like a banshee or in tears Christmas morning, is in one ear and out the other.

We have five months to get things together financially - I go out on maternity leave in early June and this leave will be unpaid except for the 6 weeks disability I am entitled to and two weeks sick time I have accumulated since my maternity leave with Chris. With that, if we want to stay on my insurance, we need to pay COBRA to keep it in effect for those three months. Only five months for him to settle either into a new job or straighten things out with the attorney he is working for right now - and, Hubby is just not seeing the urgency in that.

I don't know what to do about it now...and the stress it is putting on me. I can't take the Xanex right now...and my doc would prefer that I not go back on Lexapro to manage the stress...

...But, I have been through so many nights of insomnia now, and this anxiety last attack on New Year's Eve night, which I have not had since I started Lexapro the first time in mid-December 2006 - it is taking its toll on me. Eventually, this stress is going to affect this pregnancy...and I am so scared of that and what could happen because of it.

I can't make him do anything....especially where counseling and jobs are concerned. But, I am coming to my wits end with this, so much so that I was not a very pleasant person to be around when we went out to dinner with Zia and S last Friday night. I know dinner was a little uncomfortable that night...and I feel bad about it.

I am trying to hold on, but is getting harder and harder to do when Hubby is not trying at all, and everything is falling to me to try to scrape together. Everything is whirling past me right now...and I am enjoying nothing, especially this precious pregnancy and Chris.

We Hold On
by Rush

How many times
Do we tire of all the little battles
Threaten to call it quits
Tempted to cut and run

How many times
Do we weather out the stormy evenings
Long to slam the front door
Drive away into the setting sun

Keep going until dawn
How many times must another line be drawn
We could be down and gone
But we hold on

How many times
Do we chaff against the repetition
Straining against a fate
Measured out in coffee breaks

How many times
Do we swallow our ambition
Long to give up the same old way
Find another road to take

Keep holding on so long
'Cause there's a chance
that we might not be so wrong
We could be down and gone
But we hold on

How many times
Do we wonder if it's even worth it
There's got to be some other way
To get me through the day

But we hold on