Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Am Thankful For The Ability To Spell Thankful

Tis’ the season to reflect and give thanks.
I’ve avoided the 30 days of thanks bandwagon, because I'm a rebel.
Well, in my mind I am a leather jacket and motorcycle away from being a true rebel. 
In reality, meh, not so much.
Anywho….. somehow, I avoided droning on and on about what I am thankful for, until today.

I am thankful for the ability to spell thankful.
I am also thankful for being able to refrain from pointing out when it is spelled incorrectly, whilst others are thoughtfully posting about their thankfulness.

I am thankful the neighborhood skunk has built his den someplace other than right outside my living room windows.
Sure, it takes away the element of surprise every time we open a window; but my nose is much happier without that sort of excitement.

I am thankful for a child that loves me ‘to the Earth and back’.
Who wants to take the time to travel to the moon and back just to say ‘I love you’.
This kid is all about efficiency and I love her for it!

I am thankful for Matt Moneymaker.  Without him, the phrase  ‘It’s squatchy out there’  would never have entered my repertoire. You would be amazed how many places are squatchy!

I am thankful the sentence ‘But I made pie!’, got me through social media’s web-of-doom during the election season.

I am thankful for a husband that accepts my quirkiness without threatening to book me an extended stay in a padded room.
Wait....that actually sounds quite lovely.  Quiet, cushioned….somebody else cooks and cleans for me.  
Perhaps I rushed into being thankful about this.

I am thankful cell phone keyboards are impossibly small, and for autocorrect.
Without these challenges, I would be without daily laughs over ridiculous typos.
I also would never have thought to refer to The Hubster as The Lobster.

I am thankful I have functional OCD as opposed to the dysfunctional variety.
Excuse me while I go check that the stove is off and the toaster is unplugged, for the 5th time this morning…….

I am thankful for earplugs.
They saved my marriage.  Really.  I am not kidding.

I am thankful I am almost done typing ‘thankful’ because it is starting to look strange.

And finally, I am thankful no matter how crazy the day has been, it always starts with Coffee O’Clock and ends with Wine O’clock.

Happy Gobble Gobble Day everyone!
Enjoy, indulge, and remember to be thankful for the little things in life, and the big and little people that make us smile.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The World's Deities Are Doing A Fertility Dance For Me And Cheering On My Ovaries. True Story.

I’ve been uncommonly irritable lately.

Now, this could very well have something to do with the fertility tests and drugs I’ve dealt with lately.  
It’s no secret, I’m trying to get my dusty old eggs to produce a Chick Pea for the Chicklet.

Or, I could be a carton a day smoking habit and a bottle of whiskey away from being the neighborhood curmudgeon.

Is it wrong that I would not mind being the latter, just to use the word curmudgeon more often?

Riding the infertility roller coaster takes a toll, even when you are logical and happy enough to know it's possible pregnancy will not happen again, and having one spectacular Chicklet is more than enough blessing even if a Chick Pea is never conceived.

Infertility is a topic women don’t discuss openly, which I have never understood.
Is it because wanting something we cannot have naturally is selfish?
Is it because admitting we are having trouble would make us any less of a woman?
Is it because our society is obsessed with perfection?
Is it because some religions do not condone anything but the most natural of conception methods?
Is it because we were raised to talk about such matters in hushed tones, behind closed doors?

I vote for all of the above.

Wanting a child even when Mother Nature is being a stingy wench, is not selfish.
Is wanting laboratory produced anesthesia during a major surgery selfish?  
You don't NEED it - just like I don't NEED a baby; but darn, it would be awfully nice to have it. 
I am thankful for what I have and treasure it with all my being.

It does not make me any less of a woman. 
I still wear my bras and leopard print shoes with pride.

It does make me less than perfect.
But if you read my blog you are well aware of my feelings about the pressed khaki wearing perfect super-moms, and I happily accept my flaws, torn cape and all.  I just wish I had known I was not of the fertile-myrtle variety.  I would have had far fewer tense moments, before I was ready for crazy little people in my life.

Do I care what other religions think of medical intervention to try to jump-start my fertility?
Not one iota.  In fact, I am fairly sure all the world’s deities are doing a fertility dance for me and cheering on my ovaries.   If you feel differently, they might punish you with a severe case of indigestion.  Yeah, that’s right, it might not have been a bad batch of seafood…..Hey, you have your stories, and I have mine.

I do confess I suffer from ‘this should never be spoken out loud’ syndrome. 
This is a common WASPy New England thing, where we rarely discuss our shortcomings in public.  At least never in anything above a hushed whisper, to the very closest of friends and family.
Hush now.....

So here it is, my new battle cry ‘infertility sucks!’.
I think it is a topic that should be discussed more openly, with less shame.
I think women (and hey, men too, because you know, it’s not always the lady parts that are having problems), should bond together and support each other.

Did anyone else just get a visual of people stuck together with super glue, in supportive positions?  No?  Just me?

Let's take the stigma off infertility!  It should be a far less taboo subject.
And I might just be the crazy neighborhood curmudgeon to speak out and get the proverbial ball rolling……yes, yes I am…..

* Before the positivity brigade disperses to try to talk me off the ledge, please note I have heard pretty much every well-meaning ‘chin up buckaroo’ type response.  Although I appreciate the words of wisdom, after hearing them a few too many times, they are the infertility equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard.
I also am well aware wanting another child at my ‘advanced age’ is crazy.
But aren’t all parents crazy?  Who would willingly welcome a small crazy person who will scream all night, throw up and pee on you, and suck money out of your bank account like a starved tape worm, into your home?
A crazy person, and I just happen to be one.  Wearing my crazy flag proudly!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A big old bucket of crazy

(Part one – because there is a too much crazy out there for one blog entry)

Mental well-being, or the lack there of, is a pretty frequent topic in my life.
Insert sound effect here – cuckoo cuckoo cuckoo.

I tackle the topic with a grain of salt... and a few more, and well, a few more, until the rim of my glass is covered, and filled with a margarita.
Insert thought cloud here - mmmmmmm, margaritas 

Unfortunately, due to an incident involving extremely expired margarita mix, a couple of good friends, and nervous laughs of relief that one of us checked before pouring, I am low on margarita fixings.  So I’ll break this topic into more manageable segments.

Why are so many struggling with feelings of inadequacy these days? 
Why are we feeling guilt unless we’ve had a Rockwellian day? 
Even more bizarre, why are we blue even on the most perfect of days?

Have the pharmaceutical companies slipped something into our Scooby-snacks, in an effort to make us crave mood-stabilizing drugs?
Are aliens whispering negative words in our ears as we sleep?

Some days, the secret to consistent happiness seems as elusive as The Hubster’s treasured Sasquatch.

A topic often debated amongst friends and peers, 
and surely pays for a few mental health professional’s beach homes.
Darn, now I am blue, because I would really like a beach home.

Here's my take on the situation… it's all tied to the country’s obsession with guilt.
We are simply not allowed to do anything without somebody judging our emotions and saying
‘put on your big girl panties – you know, the ones with the ruffles – and deal with it.  There are people far worse off than you, in the world’.

Well, no shit Sherlock.
Thanks for the useless news flash.
Most of us are well aware, and understand we are better off than most.
But it does not lessen the validity of our unexplained or occasional case of the blues.

What’s upsetting you hunney bunney?
Gray hairs?  Suck it up buttercup.  Some don’t have hair.
Lack of sleep?  Get over it.  Some have chronic insomnia.
Overwhelmed with an unruly child?  Buck up buckaroo, you’re the one that chose to have one, and some cannot have kids.
Feeling sick?  Fuggettaboutit.  There are people with terminal illnesses out there.
Just blue for no reason?  At least you are not living in a cardboard box, with a family of fleas and expired margarita mix.

I'm compassionate towards those worse off, and fully acknowledge my temporary anxieties and blues may be over miniscule, and frivolous things as opposed to the true atrocities in the world…. yet still have a case of the blues.

We are no longer allowed to have occasional negative feelings.
Now, I am not talking about happiness vampires and chronic boo-hooers, looking for sympathy and sucking every last molecule of positivity out of the room like a black hole.

I'm talking about having a minor case of the blues on occasion, and wishing you could kick the feeling to the curb.
Shame shame shame.  Go feel bad about feeling bad.  While you are at it, call somebody else and make them feel guilty too.  Share the guilt and shame! 
Go medicate yourself because you have no right to feel blue.

You know what?  It’s fine to feel blue once in a while.  It happens.
It’s okay to get upset over something relatively small, and sulk for a little bit.
It is perfectly acceptable to have an occasional case of the blahs.
It's okay to laugh one minute at how silly you are being, and cry the next, because you just need to get it out.

It does not mean you are any less aware, compassionate, or rooted in reality, regarding the problems of the world.

Most of us that get the courage to express our battle with the blues, have been pro-active and made an effort to get over them.  It is not as if we are taking joy in wallowing in self-pity.

So, put on your big girl ruffle panties, grab a non-expired bottle of margarita mix, and ignore the guilt slingers.
Instead, lean on a few well padded 80's-style shoulders until the mood passes.

To sum things up, because I really need to get back to the great pajama debate – do I stay in them all day?  Or do I get dressed in less comfy clothing? - the entire thought that we need to be 100% happy, 100% of the time, is a big old bucket of crazy. 

And if you don't agree, I am designing personalized buckets in which to place your crazy, and donating them to the unfortunate souls in the world who live in denial of the validity of feeling blue once in a while. 

Please contact me with your name, address, and the amount of crazy you need to contain
(S, M, L, XL, or I have crazy oozing out of my ears, you had better custom design a barrel for me).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My personal stork is a stinking bum, with a damaged wing and in need of group therapy

Motherhood was not something I thought would be a part of my life.
I did not grow up pretending to be a mini mummy, or playing with dolls.
My younger sister paid the price of my distaste for babies.  For which I have had to apologize, multiple times.  
I could probably count the number of times I babysat on my fingers and a few toes, thanks to a traumatic babysitting episode with a strange young boy who liked to run around naked and talk about his private parts and their happiness.
I did not particularly care for kids, and definitely did not feel I needed any as a full time part of my life.

Then, I hit an age when most women are reaching the end of their child-bearing plans, and aliens came to visit me.  
I've never thought I could be much use for them, and pretty much wrote myself off the list of people they may want to abduct.  They must have needed the brain of a woman who did not want children though....maybe to replicate the emotion for their overpopulated planet?
Anyway, one night they came down and replaced my brain with that of a maternal woman, and
I WANTED A BABY!  Huh?  Yes, I. Wanted. A. Baby!

The Hubster was over the moon with this news, and instantly put in requests for twins or triplets.
His dream of fathering a basketball team was one step closer. 
*We will not discuss the lack of logic of basketball dreams for the children of two short people.  Nor my terror at the thought of multiple babies at once.
Every time he was late coming home, I feared he had located a witch doctor, working out of a Queens basement, who would ensure multiple splits of my eggs in exchange for a live chicken and a warm Gray's Papaya hot dog.

And so the practicing began.  Exciting and fun!

Mother Nature was feeling particularly snarky about my lack of previous enthusiasm on this topic, and made this process as difficult as possible without taking all of my hope away.
Or maybe it is because I had cursed her and told her to get back on her mood medication one too many times.
Either way, pregnancy did not come easy for me.

She looked through Stork resumes and picked from the bottom of the pile for us.  Lazy (check!), procrastinator (check!), a bum wing and a limp (check, and check!), legally blind and lost your glasses (this guy is freakin' perfect!).  You're hired!

I joke that if I had known exactly how infertile I was, I would have had far fewer tense moments waiting for a late 'friend' in the past.

Practicing became less fun and more work.  
Hours of research went into trying to self diagnose what we were doing wrong.

Life changes were made.
Supplements, stretches, exercises......monitors and peeing on sticks.

Awkward and inappropriate moments came up when asked when we were planning to have a baby, and what was taking us so long.  
Unsolicited advice was received about what we were probably doing wrong, and that we could always adopt.  Even a few touches of my belly and asking when I was due, when I wore apparently unflattering tops.
Always followed with respectful replies and lots of snark in my head.

A pregnancy that was not meant to be which broke us both for a while.

Friends announced their pregnancies with glee.
Strangers announced their pregnancies....some with joy and more annoyingly, some less than joyful and followed with the 'I don't know how it happened' statement.
It seemed like pregnant people were everywhere.

It finally happened, as cliche as it sounds, when we were least expecting it.
We had given up most hope and discussing fertility options we might want to discuss with my OBGYN.

One evening after cursing what I thought was the latest plague I picked up from riding the F Train daily, that magic extra line  faintly appeared on the test.
Hubster come here!  Now!
For the love of sanity....
Just come here, NOW!
Is this real? *smack on the head*
Repeated the test and it showed up again.
It was the most amazing and terrifying moment of our lives thus far.
Tears of joy, laughs and stunned silence as The Hubster and I basked in the news that we were going to be parents.

So began the life of our little Chick Pea.
One beautiful, perfect little person.
And one was enough.  No more.  Really.

But not really.....
Flash forward 5 years and I find myself ready to talk to the National Enquirer about my alien encounter because I've lost my mind and I want another one!
I'm at an age where I am having tests done that don't need to be done on 'the young', battling the gray hairs that multiply by the day, and am openly thrilled when people card me or say I look 10 years younger..... and I want to jump back on the crazy baby ride.

Are we crazy?  Most definitely.
Crazy does not casually walk by this family.  He stops in, unpacks his bags, pops open a bottle of wine, cleans out the refrigerator, snoops through the medicine cabinet, unbuttons his pants, and stays a while.

I've already written an apology note to Mother Nature, for all my snark, and requested a new Stork.  Or at the very least, put our current one on some happy pills, light a fire under him, and get him an appointment for lasik eye surgery.

I've also posted a warning that all women who get pregnant unintentionally, and are freaked out and 'don't know how it happened' either temporarily lose the ability to speak, or experience momentary amnesia of their situation.  Quite simply, because with age comes the security of the validity of my feelings, and I cannot guarantee my inner Honey Badger will not emerge in all her fury.
I'm only thinking of you, and your safety hunney.  Really.  Go away.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The 'girls' might be on the news tonight (AKA: Breast feeding and a baseball super-star)

Lately, I've heard a lot of chatter about Beyonce and Jay-Z.  
Today's rumor about closing off an entire floor, to include the NICU,
to allow them to host a private catered lunch in a hallway made me tilt my head and say
'they crazy-stupid-ridiculous whaaaat?!?!?'

I'd ignore this as hogwash; but have a personal story that leads me to believe something this
ludicrous really could have happened.

My daughter was born at a top-notch hospital in Manhattan, and was in the NICU.
Days after giving birth, via c-section, the lactation consultant, who had all the time in the
world for mothers with babies in the nursery but no time for NICU babies,
finally got around to helping me with breast feeding my child.  

*Side note:
I believe the universe was experimenting on just how far you can push a 1st time Mum
with a child in NICU by giving me raging hormones;
a ridiculously young Mum of 4 with no desire to see her baby and a smelly inconsiderate family
with children invading my space as a roommate;
and the lactation consultant who never had time for me;
oh..and a ride on the roller coaster of raging hormones...did I already mention those?

After days of pain management staff asking if I wanted this or that narcotic,
and me answering 'No thank you, Tylenol is fine; but I would not mind a glass of wine,
and could somebody please get the lactation specialist to see me', she finally arrived.

I walked down the hall with the consultant, who I secretly wanted to handcuff to me
because my hormones made me a crazy person and I feared if she walked away from me to ignore
my need for her help one more time, I just might have to jump her spider monkey style and
wrangle her down to the NICU. 
We skipped the elevators and she tells me they're not running because so-and-so baseball star 
*sparkle in her eyes*  is there.  
He made a large donation to the NICU and was on his media whore tour of the hospital at
that very moment.
I wondered how this made any difference in my world.
What the odds were that this was why she finally had time to go to the NICU, and wanted to say
unless he wants to come carry me down a few flights of stairs, this post-op c-section chick is
taking the elevator.
But knowing I had large doses of crazy raging inside of me, I kept my mouth closed in fear of what
might actually say.

We made it to the NICU and went through the regular ID check...times ten.
Again the voice in my head asked why security would be higher in the NICU for a baseball star.
I mean, wouldn't they care just as much about who enters the NICU regardless of who is
visiting that day?
The babies are just as precious as a baseball star, right?
I stifle the snark and walk the consultant to my baby's isolette and she looks at me like a
crazy person.  

In all fairness I was one.
Have I mentioned the raging roller coaster ride of hormones issue yet?

She looked at my baby and then at me several times before saying in her sweetest
you-are-a-crazy-person-and-look-like-you-may-snap-at-any-moment voice
'No dear, I mean your baby'.
I told her this was my baby and showed her my bracelet.  
I took a little moment of joy in how uncomfortable she was when gathering up the courage to
ask what the father's nationality was.
I'll be fair.
I am fair skinned, blond haired and blue eyed and my baby had jet black hair, was very red
(this is how jaundice appears on darker skinned babies), with very Asian features.
But we were in a city hospital in The Big Apple - the freaking melting pot of the country.
In this day and time, are mixed babies all that unusual?

I finally got that cleared up and she asked me to partially disrobe so she could help me.
Apparently there is an unspoken rule that it is common practice to lose all modesty in the NICU.
One boob is just like any other boob in that area.  Nobody cares about the size shape or color,
or that the shades might be open for all of Manhattan to take a peek.  
So, I dutifully flashed the room  while this woman tried to get my baby to drink.
We had trouble and there were many tears of frustration.

Then, all of a sudden, there were very bright lights coming down the hall.
I saw HUGE television cameras coming towards the room and taping EVERYTHING! 
2 NICU nurses flew Crouching tiger kung-fu style, to push partition screens and tried to give
me some privacy. 
But not before I gave the camera crew got a show for free.
I remained smashed in the corner with a screaming child
while my consultant made googly eyes at Mr. I have the power to shut down all business Baseball guy.
I contemplated letting the crazy out and screaming a bunch of nonsense and obscenities to clear
the room.  But I remained calm.
Partially out of the shock and horror that I might be on the news, half naked.

I suppose it made for an interesting story for my husband when he arrived.
'Hey babe, you missed 'the girls' making their film debut.'   
It's funny now; but back then, I was furious that all of us were so inconvenienced by a celebrity.
Really, are a bunch of hormonal, anxious mothers, and sleep deprived fathers, truly the group
you want to inconvenience?

So, take note Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Beware of the hormonal women.......  have I mentioned the raging hormones?
How could a woman who just gave birth not grasp this concept?
At the very least, gift them all with some wine.  It'll take the edge off and possibly take the crazy
down a few notches.

* I would like to add that the NICU staff at this hospital was superb, and the only reason I did not lose
my marbles completely during my stay.
And we got a bobble-head baseball star doll out of it.
It's a fair trade.
My dignity and modesty, and never being able to have the upper hand in movie deals by saying I have
never and will never appear on film naked.
.... all for a bobble-head.  Sure.......