Monday, November 30, 2009

"The Whining Puker" - Now What?

Well, here we are! I am now writing from "the other side" that I contemplated when I started this blog - I have completed another pregnancy after having experienced HG with my first term pregnancy. I praise the Lord that I did NOT develop HG with this baby (thank you, Zofran! and thank you, God!), though I did get good and sick.

My first term pregnancy was drug-free, due to my ignorance (didn't know there were anti-nausea drugs, and since I wasn't hospitalized, I didn't find out) and also due to the fact that we had no health insurance at the time. So... it was ugly. Very ugly. Not as ugly as many of you ladies have experienced, but very ugly. A place of utter darkness which is impossible to explain if you haven't been there and to which I hope never to return.

My second term pregnancy would have been worse if I had been again sans drugs... As I've said before, I could tell that it was worse because the nausea hit earlier and harder. I started getting nauseated at 3 weeks (as opposed to 5 weeks with #1), a full week before I could confirm a positive pregnancy test. By the time I did get a positive test, I had already needed to start front-line anti-nausea drugs. I don't even want to know what this pregnancy would have been like without Zofran.

So... I have faced my fears! I've done it again. But "facing my fears" doesn't mean that they're gone - they're still here as much as ever. I am very scared of getting pregnant again, and I intend to do all I can to prevent that. I regret it, but HG is not something to play around with. (I know of at least one HG mama who, as a providentialist - i.e. no birth control for any reason, ever - has experienced HG repeatedly - 6 or 7 times. I don't have that stamina.)

And so - what now? What do I do with this blog? I started this blog for two purposes: (1) to organize and publicize my research into natural remedies for HG (almost none of which worked, LOL!), and (2) to work through the spiritual issues and fallout I've dealt with in my Christian life as a result of HG.

Well, #1 is complete, and the result is - use Zofran!! lots of it!! LOL Natural methods may be great for lesser complaints, but for HG - go for drugs. (And this is coming from a natural-medicine-minded, homebirthing, midwife-loving, crunchy, granola-type!) Drugs are very, very good. Mmm.... Zofran.

#2 - Not complete, but in process. I'll write more about that later. Honestly, I don't think one can ever work through something like that, in terms of "I have all my answers" - but there's a time when one has to move on. At least partially. Again, I'll write more on that later.

Now that I've gotten into blogging (and LOVE it!), I'll always have a blog. But should it be this one? I can either turn this into my personal blog and keep it up, or I can start a personal blog and leave this one intact as an HG blog and just add HG-only things as they come up. The second option might be better in order to leave this blog intact as a resource for HG mamas. There aren't many HG blogs on the web - I only know of three, including this one. I'll have to think about it and come up with something.

Anyhow, this blog has been a wonderful experience for me. I'm so thankful for my friend Jennifer, who got me into blogging and encouraged me with her advice. I have loved connecting with the HG community and getting feedback on my thoughts - it has been so helpful. Hopefully there will be better treatment for HG in the future! (They'll probably discover that it can be totally prevented by drinking carrot juice pre-conception, or something ridiculous like that!)

And now... Off to bed! More when I have time!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Random Thoughts

A free moment to blog!! Woo hoo!

Hubby and son are off to the train museum, and baby is sleeping, so I actually have (*gasp*) free time! I'm going to try to keep it quick, though, because I want a nap too!

As I posted on my birth blog, our breastfeeding bootcamp with baby went terrifically well, and baby is now breastfeeding - he hasn't had a bottle in three weeks! Kudos to our awesome pediatrician, who saved the day with his advice.... he is awesome.

I find myself quite stressed at the moment... just like after the birth of our first son. The postpartum period is really hard for me - probably because I'm so wedded to routines and a clean house. I've loosened up a lot, but still... really, I've been stressed out ever since our first son was born. Evidently I'm not a parent by nature!

But there's also a lot going on in our lives. Our finances are in a near-crisis state, all the more so after I quit my job, but that (though stressful) is probably a good thing because it's forcing us to face our financial skeletons and bad habits and (hopefully!!!!) deal with them! But it's stressful, nonetheless.

Also, I'm trying hard to get a handle on parenting. Parenting has never, never, never been easy for me... I don't take easily to kids, and I had no experience with them prior to the birth of our baby. In fact, parenting has been a lesson in humility (probably also a good thing). Firstly because during my childhood, I was accustomed to being the best in school - easily and without effort. Parenting has been the direct opposite... I watch my friends easily pass me by on the most basic things! So I just watch them and do my best to imitate... but it's not easy! Secondly, because (like most childless couples, I think) I spent my child-free years thinking, "MY child will never act like THAT,".... well, I have been humbled!

Additionally, I'm trying to make up my mind on schooling options for our kiddos. We've thought "homeschooling" for years, but I am having to face the ugly and shameful truth.... I really, really, really DON'T want to homeschool. I've been dreading it for years, and now that it's just around the corner, I haven't yet gained that spark of enthusiasm that has made me do anything except cower with dread. So.... what now? I really don't want to do public, but we have no money for private (see above!!). So we're having to think. Hubby still wants to homeschool, but I'm doing my best to have us look at other options. However, that requires an entire shift in my thinking, as I've been thinking "homeschool" for years. And don't get me wrong - I am completely convinced that homeschooling is the best option out there. When we came to our current church, I met homeschooling families for the first time... and I was BLOWN AWAY!!! These kids are amazing!! I'd never seen anything like it. They're better socialized, better educated, less swayed by peer pressure and media, more able to think for themselves, more involved in the community, more involved in a wide variety of educational venues, not to mention having awesome relationships with their parents and siblings. That's where we got the idea! But the fact remains that I do not think that either I or my son is suited for homeschooling. I'm about ready to explode with stress as it is, and the thought of adding ANOTHER full-time job into the mix brings me to the verge of tears - not ecstasy. But the thought of giving his education into someone else's hands also terrifies me! Not to mention the realities of increased peer pressure, which is just terrifying. So... we'll see.

(Not to mention the fact that there is a whole cotillion of conservative Christians out there who militantly believe that homeschooling is the ONLY right option for Christian parents (or ANY parents), and that anyone who does anything else is living in sin and needs to repent and start homeschooling! My friend calls these the "homeschool Nazis," and I didn't know what she was talking about until I encountered them in a homeschool magazine I got! Ack! So now I'm saddled with "non-homeschooling mama guilt" as well! LOL!)

Another humbling experience for me lately (and enormous source of stress) has been the issue of submission in marriage. Feminists, don't get too riled! This is part and parcel of the conservative Christian life, and usually it works beautifully and easily. For example, my hubbie has the habit of signing up for martial arts classes... constantly. He gets super excited, buys all the gear, starts classes... and quits 2-4 weeks later. Fine. It's exasperating, but it doesn't directly involve me or my life. I just do my best to say, "Sure, dear!" and wait for him to get over it. Not too bad. But right now, DH is in the middle of making a rather large decision for our family that will greatly affect me and my life. And if it goes the way I think it will, I'm going to be very upset about it. For, say, 5 or 10 or 20 years or so. Minimum. But I do understand his reasons, and I'm willing (in an unwilling sort of way) to go along with it. I'm just really hoping that this is the right decision, because it involves almost everything I care about. I don't want to drag my feet and prevent what God wants for our life by interfering with DH's leadership.... but I don't want to have to deal with the fallout of a bad decision if this is not truly God's will and is just DH striking out on his own. So right now I'm just really praying for God's guidance for both of us, so that we'd be on the same page and have peace about whichever way the decision goes - and that we'd be going the right way! (If you don't believe in submission, please DON'T leave a comment telling me about it - I promise this is voluntary!)

A further note: When it's all over, will I be able to have the grace to move on without nagging continually and voicing ceaseless regrets? And will I have the further grace to put a "we" into it, as in "we have decided"? I always remember Anne, in "Anne's House of Dreams," disagreeing violently with Gilbert over a big decision, but after having realized the inevitable, graciously presenting the decision as "we think this is the best thing" when questioned by her neighbor about it. That's a big step of grace! That will be my challenge as well.

For the befuddled reader - sorry for being so vague! This is just my meandering ramblings, so pay no mind. Onward and upward....

In terms of HG, I still find myself torn in terms of birth control. I find myself unwilling to do anything permanent to end our reproductive life... but I know that I should. And I would NOT be happy to find myself pregnant! For one thing, I've got my hands full parenting two kidlets. For another thing, I was barely able to care for #1 while #2 was on the way - and that was on mega doses of Zofran and Unisom! Only God knows how #1 and #2 would be able to survive if a #3 was on the way. But I find (TMI alert ahead) that having the possibility of pregnancy is so terrifying that I don't want DH anywhere near me, and that just can't continue for the next 20 years. And regular forms of birth control just aren't sure enough to be sure! So we've got to find our answers soon.

Does that answer why I'm stressed?

With that in mind, here are the resolutions I've been working on:

(1) I am giving up the following - ironing (ha!), elaborate housekeeping (ha, ha!), elaborate hairstyles (ha, ha, ha!), and time-intensive cooking (ha, ha, ha, ha!)

(2) I am doing my best to keep my house only "reasonably clean" - that being, clean enough for my sanity. I can't stop housecleaning completely, because that drives me to the point of being so stressed that I can't think straight or talk civilly, but I'm trying to limit it to 20 minutes a day

(3) I'm trying to spend as much time as possible with my kids, playing and doing things with them

(4) I'm also trying to spend lots of time with them reading and going to the library

(5) I'm doing my best to use my crockpot almost every day, with super-easy recipes. Sorry, no time for anything else!

(6) I'm doing my best to (for now, *sob*!!) neglect my passion for birth subjects in order to focus on family until I get a handle on this parenting thing. I'm reading wildly on the subject (instead of having 5 birth books going at once) and also on the topics of education, homeschooling, etc.

(7) I'm working on potty training DS. At this point it is ridiculous - he is 3 1/2. I was always told that if I left him alone he'd potty train himself.... Well, it hasn't happened. He goes occasionally, but nothing consistent. It's definitely a power-ploy at this point. I got a book on the subject and am going to tackle it!

(8) I am working on learning effective parenting - through mentors, books, prayer, etc.

(9) I am working on rebuilding my spiritual life post-HG. It's time. I'll write more on this later on my HG blog, but really... I've just had to accept that I am not going to get the answers I want this side of Heaven. I'm just going to have to trust that there was a reason and that I will know it eventually.

(10) I'm also going to work on slowly rebuilding our life post-baby. With each baby, our social life has been reduced to nil - a year of either being seriously ill (#1) or feeling really yucky (#2), and a year of recovering from having a newborn! So our life is still pretty messed up - but I'm working back into things! Now that baby is 3 months old, I'm starting to think that there might be life after childbirth after all (I remember thinking the same thing at the same point last time!).

Okay, enough! Off to nap! I've had SO many thoughts, ideas, and blog entries (for both blogs) floating around in my mind for months, but just no time to write them out. Ack! Another source of stress! Oh well... life will get better soon. Hopefully some of our crises can resolve themselves so I can focus on only a couple sources of stress rather than a minefield of them, LOL!!

Love to everyone!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

9 weeks postpartum: Finally, a few minutes of free-time

Yes, I'm blogging! Don't get used to it, though.... this is a one-time thing.

So, a LONG story made very short....

We had to start supplementing baby's diet with pumped breastmilk due to dropping weight. Breastfeeding still didn't improve. We found out that baby had tongue-tie and got that corrected, but it was done so late that baby was already good and hooked on the bottle and stayed exclusively-bottlefed. I have thus been tied to the breastpump for the past seven weeks - it's hard work!! Not only is it really hard to work breastpumping around a toddler's schedule, but it's a big time commitment and also rough on one's social schedule (not that we have one at the moment!). If anyone out there is considering bottle-feeding as a "convenient alternative" - DON'T DO IT!!! It's a pain in the neck!!! More details later.

Anyhow, here we are. We've had two appointments with lactation consultants, spent a fortune in breastfeeding paraphernalia (pump rental, bottles, etc.), and are really no closer to getting back to breastfeeding. So today, on our pediatrician's advice, we are going cold turkey. No pumping, no bottle-feeding, no nothing - only breastfeeding. Needless to say, baby is NOT happy! (And neither am I, for that matter - engorgement like this is quite unpleasant!) But I have hopes that he will see the light and convert back. He needs to, or I shall go insane from this breast-pump schedule.

So today is the day, and hubbie and son are out running errands. I've taken a break from nursing-attempts to blog, and I need to get back to it. So... that's all for now! Too bad, because I have lots to write about - but it'll have to wait (for another month or so, most likely). Much love to all, and I'll check in when I can!!