#Microblog Mondays: Anti-Establishment

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Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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As the entire universe knows, yesterday was Mother’s Day. It was the first one I didn’t feel that impending dread, reminding me of what I don’t have. While technically, I still don’t have a baby in my arms, at 24 weeks with a baby in my womb I felt as though it was partly my day too.

Yet, I still felt a slight indifference towards this day that celebrates mothers (usually in the most traditional sense) and seemingly excludes all other women. Though it wasn’t the painful day for me that it has been in past years, I still held onto that disdain for it. Perhaps I am just bristling against the conformity, or holding on to the disdain for my fellow infertile sisters, but it wasn’t a day that I basked in, as a mother-to-be. I didn’t update my Facebook picture to one of my mom and I, nor did I post a sappy message to my mom (we don’t have that kind of relationship anyways). I sort of just ignored it, besides the obligatory cards to my mom, my “special” aunt and my grandma.

I wanted to say something poignant and inclusive on Facebook but I couldn’t find the right words without coming off as harsh and bitter, especially since most of my Facebook friends don’t know that I’m pregnant, so I just left it alone. A friend of mine came up with the perfect words, so I’ll use them here to send love, and hope you all made the best of the day.

Happy Mothers Day to all the strong, generous, beautiful ladies out there. Those who have children, those soon-to-be mamas, those who are trying, those who have lost, the mother figures, the friends who help a new mom who is still figuring it out, the women who open their hearts and love others children as if they were there own – this day is for you.

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Death & Taxes

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As I mentioned in my last post, I filed my taxes gleefully this year to receive a decent return due to the medical expenses for our IVF cycle. Taxes, are one of life’s inevitabilities, and unfortunately, as is death.

J’s maternal grandma passed away Monday, and though she was in the hospital for some medical problems she had been having, she seemed to be on the mend. She was in her mid 80’s but up until her recent hospital stay was still living on her own. So although the writing was on the wall, this was still an unexpected death. J’s parents and one of his brothers were, and still are, in Africa, having taken the trip because they had no reason to worry about grandma. J’s mom was planning on going to Ontario, where grandma lived, (as does the rest of his extended family) to help pack up her apartment and get her moved into the seniors lodge. Now we will all be going to attend her funeral.

She was J’s last living grandparent so he is mourning her loss specifically, as well as the collective loss of a generation of his family. He is also heartbroken that none of his grandparents will ever meet our contribution to the newest generation of his family. I had these same fears about my grandma, as she is on what seems like a rapid decline into dementia, but in all likelihood she will meet my daughter, and still know who we are at that point.

This latest death has made me think of my own family, which is a relatively small group of people. On my mom’s side we all fit into one house for holiday gatherings (albeit tight quarters), and live within an hours drive of each other. My dad’s side is even smaller, but I don’t see them at all, that’s a whole other thing. I was an “oopsie baby”, that my mom decided she wanted despite being unexpected. Her and my dad were not serious, and he is from B.C. so at the end of the summer, he went home and my mom prepared for life as a single parent. My dad was mostly uninvolved, as was both his and my mom’s choice. He sent cards, and usually called on my birthday but our relationship was stiff and awkward at best. We went to visit him in Vancouver when I was 4, and then to Victoria to see him and the rest of his (my) family (whom I had never met) when I was 13. That’s the last time I saw him, though we did still keep vaguely in touch up until the past several years. I did inform him I was getting married, though he was not invited to our wedding. That’s about the last time I remember having any contact (so nearly 5 years).

I don’t feel particularly sad about him not being around while I was growing up, I didn’t know what I was missing so I why would I be bothered (I know this isn’t the case with everyone). I grew up close to my mom’s sister (my aunt) and her husband (my uncle) played a key “father figure” role to me. Their kids, my cousins, are like brothers to me. I don’t feel like I missed out, my family just looked different from the average. Having said all that, now that I am about to become a mother, that means my dad will be a grandpa. I sort of feel like I should tell him. Truly he’s not a part of my life anymore, but that blood bond makes me feel some sort of obligation to him.

Then it got me thinking, I don’t know if his mom is still alive, or where either of them would be living. I used to get cards at Christmas and birthday from my grandma but eventually that stopped too. She was quite a spitfire, and I had no real reason to think she wouldn’t still be around. I don’t know her age, so I have no basis there, but none the less I wondered. My wondering took me to Facebook, because at one point my dad’s niece (my cousin) was suggested to me as a friend on Facebook. I don’t know how this connection was even made but I remember looking through her page, and then moving on and not thinking about it much past that.

My cousin is where I started my search again but her first name is common with multiple spellings and I couldn’t remember how she spells it. I know she lives (or did) in Washington state so I tried to use that as a parameter but had no luck. I tried my grandma, as I swear that last time I was on my cousins Facebook page, she had my (our) grandma as a “friend”. No luck. I moved on to my dad, not truly thinking he would have Facebook, from what little I know of him, he’s not really the type. I found someone with his name, in Vancouver, where I presumed he still lived but the photo was one from childhood so it was hard to be sure. I clicked on the link, and opened the profile photo. Well if it was him, it was what I would imagine him to look like as a kid (I look a lot like my dad, so I could see a resemblance even with this photo). I clicked again to see if there were any other photos, and there he was; my dad, present day, and looking rather old.

Once I found him, I was able to find his two sisters (one of whom now lives within a few hours drive of me) and my cousin. He didn’t have much on his page, my cousin had a bit more, my one aunt had her settings pretty locked down but the one closest to me shared a bit more. I found a post on her page from a few weeks back that said it had been 4 years since her mom died. I was surprised to read that my grandma had died less than a year after I got married. All this time, I just pictured her still living her life in Victoria.

So in a way, I lost a grandma this week as well. I am holding tight to my maternal grandma, but it’s like trying to clasp water in your hands, she’s slowly slipping away and there isn’t anything I can do about it.

I still haven’t decided what to do about my dad and the rest of that side of my family. I don’t feel like “friending” them on Facebook is the appropriate move, but it may end up being the only way I have of reaching them.

Why does it seem that family building has gotten more complicated than just having a child?

#Microblog Mondays: Infertility & Taxes

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Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.
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I suppose only one of those things is a true inevitability but in my life I’ve got both to deal with and usually neither makes me very happy.

But today, through the magic of science, I am 5 months pregnant with our baby girl. And because it cost us so much money to create her, Mr. Tax Man says I can have a nice fat refund. So suck on that, Infertility & Taxes!

Growing a Person is Weird

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Well, here we are at a bit over 22 weeks along, just hanging out. I get “used to” the fact that I am pregnant more and more every day. With the fact that my belly is ever-expanding and my organs are regularly being used a punching/kicking bags, I am reminded often. The kicks are still pretty small in that they don’t hurt but they are getting stronger, more often and I still marvel over it. I didn’t really consider how frequent they would be until she started kicking, and now she does kick pretty regularly throughout the day. I guess I sort of figured it would just be a few kicks here and there, but I am glad for the constant reassurance. It is a bit strange though, having a conversation with a client, meanwhile a little person is kicking me in the guts. J has felt a couple of kicks but she seems determined to not let him feel because she’ll stop kicking as soon as he puts his hand on my belly, or she’ll kick in a different spot. I wish he could know what it feels like from the inside because it is so crazy, and at times it makes me squeamish because it feels like she’s kicking me right in the cervix.

A couple of weekends ago, I caved and agreed to go visit my BIL and SIL a few hours away, and collect on all of the baby stuff they have offered us. There were ten boxes stacked in the living room when I arrived, and more out in the garage. I started to go through some of it to sort what I would and wouldn’t take but it got too overwhelming so we just took all of it and decided to sort it at my leisure at home. When we came home our car was loaded down with stuff, and I told J it was all a bit overwhelming for me because a) it feels too soon for all of this stuff b) I don’t want our house filled with “things” already.

We have a decent sized place (although it’s all one level with a small loft area) and we live pretty minimalistically (is that a word? Spell check tells me no…). Not that our place is barren but we don’t have a lot of knick-knacks or clutter, but we are also not the most tidy people so it gets messy quickly if we don’t keep on top of little messes. So clearly adding another person to the household is going to make things worse. We have limited storage space, and some of the items we took won’t even be useful until baby is quite a bit older. I would prefer to take what we need for now and then rotate it out when we need the other stuff, as she grows. I said this to J and he just acts like I’m being silly, he says we’ll need it eventually, or that they won’t want to store it for us forever. I suppose both of those points are true, but we just don’t have the space! Plus we don’t even have all of the stuff we will need just for infant-hood yet. It drives me a little bit crazy but I’m hoping eventually we will get everything more organized. For now the “nursery” is full of boxes, bags and other random baby items.

I caved and bought some crib bedding because I have been having an impossible time finding something that I like, that fits the image in my head. Which apparently is unrealistic. So I bought the best I could find, because it was all 25% off and I’m a sucker for a deal. Plus I can still return it if I change my mind. That was what sealed the deal, and gave me less anxiety in committing. We wanted to do a coral and navy color scheme, with nautical accents but nothing cartoon-y or childish (as stupid as that sounds for a child’s room), it ended up being more of a standard pink than coral specifically but c’est la vie. We’re still working on the glider, because I want one that is more of an armchair than the wooden rocker with padding. If I am going to spend hundreds of dollars on a chair, it is going to be functional, comfortable and fit the rest of our decor.

Overall, I feel sort of normal most of the time. I would forget that I was pregnant if it weren’t for the hunger, and the kicks from within. I still get headaches once in a while and they are worse than anything I’ve ever had pre-pregnancy but they are less often now which is a relief. My belly is definitely rounding out, and when I wear something fitted it is pretty obvious that I am pregnant and not just gaining weight around my middle. When I’m sitting at my desk, or from behind you would still never know but it’s definitely getting more apparent. My coworkers try to get a glimpse every day, to see what I’m wearing and how big the bump is getting, and comment on how I’m growing. I can understand people who don’t see me day-to-day commenting on my growing belly, but seriously people we still have another 4 months of this to go. The running commentary is getting a little tiresome. I sort of just ignore it now, don’t indulge them with any comments or showing off the bump. I wore an empire-waisted maxi dress yesterday and it did make me look über pregnant so of course multiple people had to tell me this. I know, it’s only going to get worse, and I would rather be in this position than where I was this time last year, but I don’t get why people feel the need to state the obvious. Sometimes I find people don’t look me in the eyes they look at my belly, or if I’m out and about I see the glances at my belly. Pregnancy is such a socially weird event/process.

Being that I don’t really feel pregnant all of the time, I sometimes don’t realise that despite feeling pretty good I do have limitations. I do tire a lot easier, if I spend time out and about running errands and such I find my back gets sore, my feet tire and I am just ready for a nap. I really need to keep up on my water intake because I’ve noticed my feet seem to be a bit swollen in the mornings. I still wear heels at work (not always but I haven’t stopped just because I’m pregnant). I did have a coworker ask me when I was going to start wearing more reasonable shoes (I have a lot of shoes, most of them with a standard 3″ heel). I told her I would when it was necessary. I have a desk job, so I can comfortably wear heels all day, I’ve relegated some of my more sky-high, less comfortable pairs to the back of the closet but I’m pregnant, not made of glass. I have a bit of a hate on for maternity clothes too, as I find they are mostly ugly, limited in choice and expensive. For clothes I may never wear again, I am trying to make my existing wardrobe work, which for the most part it is. The belly belt is my best friend, I can still wear all of my regular jeans and dress pants as it acts as an extender for the buttons and clips. Probably my best maternity purchase so far.

I had a bit of concern yesterday because I was having a constant pain in my lower right abdomen that was radiating out into my back and sort of around my hip and down my leg. I thought it might be round ligament pain but it was constant throughout the day, didn’t go away when I rested, or drank water. Then Dr. Google pointed me toward pelvic girdle pain, which sounded pretty accurate. Baby girl was kicking lots so I didn’t think anything was wrong with her but my pain was giving me some concern and I wasn’t sure how I would deal with that if it was going to continue the duration of this pregnancy. I did doppler her just because I had an uneasy feeling and we heard her heart thumping away at 155 bpm. Today the pain is gone, thankfully, and then one of my pregnancy apps had a little note for today talking about body changes

Pain in your back and hips? Your body is loosening all your ligaments up for labor, which could cause some discomfort.

I knew these changes were happening but the timing on my was perfect to reassure me that nothing was really wrong. I tried to stay calm yesterday and chalk it up to normal pregnancy related discomforts. I have an appointment with my OB on Wednesday so I can discuss any issues with her then.

J has convinced me that we should probably get started on some of the baby projects, shopping, ect. Despite the fact that we still have near 4 months left, he pointed out that the weekends will go by quickly as we have lots of summer plans already, plus I work at least 2 Saturdays a month. We have a dresser to refinish, we have to tile two bathrooms (not a baby related project, but needs to be done), plus lots of reorganization of “stuff”. We finally bit the bullet and bought a second storage unit to put into our parkade so that we can move more of the crap out of the house and downstairs. Things are moving forward, it’s scary, and exciting. Can’t wait to meet our baby girl, but enjoying the precious time we have before her arrival. It’s only been 3 years in the making…