The muse has descended, and her name is Little Miss Pissypants.

Despite being in a good mood lately, with the kid stuff going well and Law & Order/Cold Case/ER re-runs firmly established on UK daytime television, I've found myself stopping to think of all the things that annoy me. First of all, yes, I am that cynical and negative. Second, I am so self-absorbed as to think you care enough to read about them.

1) Disease. The past few weeks have been full of holiday cheer - The Dude's grandfather's rapid decline as a result of aggressive lung cancer despite never having picked up a cigarette, and my uncle's recent diagnosis of ALS, a disease so horrible I can barely fathom its equal.

2) Christmas cards. Other than my own blogging Christmas card exchange (naturally), I hate them. By the by, folks getting the cards with the mini photo album- my ass looks great in the hot pants. Anyway, what is the point to giving Christmas cards to people you see all the time? Can't I just wish them a Merry Christmas in person? This Christmas card bullshit was emphasised to me last week when I wrote out the cards for The Dude's family. I worried that a couple of them were left over cards from last year, and I was assured that no one would possibly remember what Christmas card was given a full year ago. Everyone except The Dude's Aunt Rudetta McRude of course. She was very quick to point out that we had in fact given her this very same card last year, and gee...wouldn't we like to invest in new Christmas cards so she doesn't have to suffer the indignity of getting the same card yet again?

3a) Peoples' perception of IVF, specifically, my IVF. As I mentioned awhile ago, I have gradually been edging out of the closet regarding my illustrious reproductive history. Three times now I have been smacked in the face with, "Wow, it worked the first time? Lucky you!" from women far more fertile than myself. Yeah, lucky me. IVF #1 did in fact work, but unfortunately 1 year of trying sans medication, 6 months of Clomid, and 4 cycles of IUI did not. But yes, lucky me indeed. You are qualified to say this to me if you have also been through this shit, but if you got knocked up thanks to a quick fumble after a bit too much wine at the Olive Garden, shut the fuck up. That's all I'm sayin...

b) When I tell you about my IVF, do not express regret at my troubles and then say, "I had a friend who did a couple of cycles of IVF. When I got pregnant the first time we tried (editor's note: this is a completely true account), I felt so bad because I don't have any trouble and it's so easy for me!" Ha! Thank you for telling me this! When someone tells you about something so personal and painful for them, please, tell them how you have had a completely opposite and positive experience. They love that.

4) Clueless men. I was watching a birth show today and a woman in labour asked for an epidural after her contractions became too painful. This woman's husband, clearly an asshole, said to the camera, "I don't want her to have an epidural. I'm disappointed in her. I wish she could just work through the pain." Oh no he didn't. I didn't have any drugs during my labour and delivery, but that was mainly because I didn't think I was going to have a baby anytime soon. By the time my contractions got so painful that I was ready to rip my spine out through my mouth it was too late and P. was on her way down the birth canal, all bags packed and ready to leave the comfort of my uterus. The Dude wasn't there for much of my contractions having been sent home by the midwife, but had he said anything remotely similar to that fuckwad above I think I would have ripped his testicles off with my bare hands.

5) Husbands with no tact. Yesterday I left the house to take P. on a quick walk in her stroller. As soon as I got to the sidewalk, The Dude shouted down to me from P.'s bedroom window about some random crap I can't remember. This is followed by the very loud statement, "Hey! That guy in the white van was just totally checking out your ass! He nearly crashed and everything! I'm not kidding, he was so staring at your ass!" I live in England. In a city in fact. A city with streets that have a lot of houses and apartment buildings crammed in a small space. Given the condensed nature of everything, people walk places. If you shout something like this from a 3rd story window, people will hear. At least 4 pedestrians were lucky enough to witness this event, and no doubt tried to sneak a look at this wagon I'm draggin'. For the record, please do recall my Mom's regular insistence that I have no ass at all. Yes, my Mom chooses to tell me this. All the time. The flatness of my ass is of primary importance to her it seems.

As a quick aside, I will tell you that contrary to my Mom's "Pru's butt is flat" theory, at least three times my ass has been the subject of compliment. The first time occurred when I was 18 and working in a sporting goods shop. I was reaching up with one of those long pole things to get a shirt off a high rack, and the customer I was helping leaned over and said, "Your ass looks really good in them jeans." You can imagine my joy that not only was someone commending me on my ass while I was at work, but it was from a person who would say "them jeans". It was a proud moment.

Time number two was just last year when I was at a cash machine. I was feeling fat, frumpy and like the muffintopping was crazy out of control. As I was entering my pin, some guy walked by slowly and said, "Hey, nice ass." Well, it was probably "Hey, nice arse.", but to-may-tos/to-mah-tos, right?

Point being - Mom says it's flat, but apparently at least some people think it's round.

6) The Us vs Them mentality: IF'ers and The Fertiles. As I'm sure you're all aware, a certain website has chosen to select a few IF blogs to pass comment on. Regardless of what you think on that matter, I was disappointed to see that many of the commenters on that site chose to point out how little infertility matters in the great scheme of things. Additionally, a lot of the commenters who expressed this opinion also saw fit to slag off the irrational nature of the infertile. I don't doubt that many of us would admit to being irrational. I'm sure many of the things I've said in the (nearly) two years of this blog's existence aren't necessarily popular, and I am the first to admit that I'm capable of being completely, utterly and absurdly irrational . However, I do find it strange that infertility is one of those subjects that people who have never experienced it still find themselves suited to pass judgment. For some reason it's still not viewed as a very serious issue, so I think many are quite casual about it. Shame.

Conversely, some of the commenters have a point when it comes to the irrational. Ever since I started reading IF blogs it has driven me batshit crazy how defensive some bloggers and their commenters can be. Post a slightly disagreeable, non troll-like comment about something that was said, and suddenly you have a group of infertiles on you like piranha. The commenter who hasn't kissed ass is insulted, innundated with emails if they haven't posted anonymously, and told how they don't understand. I don't think it really helps this perception of IF bloggers as crazed bitches. If I posted something that invited comments from people who didn't agree with me, fair play. I don't want rabid people jumping to my (or IFers as a whole) defense and thus hijacking my blog to serve the purpose of all the poor, misunderstood infertiles out there. Just to let you know in preparation for my post on the need to behead all women who can get pregnant without the aid of a petri dish.

Ahh...I feel better now. I must go fluff my ass in preparation for my Mom's arrival on Sunday. On with the fluffing.


Lessons learned and eff the man

First off, the card swap is in full swing. For those who didn't want to participate, it's your loss. Now you're going to miss seeing a picture of me in my naughty Santa outfit sucking on a lollipop in a most suggestive manner. Maybe next year.

So yesterday I went to have my hair cut for the first time since May. I had an appointment scheduled for Tuesday, July 18th, but that day turned into labour day rather than get-your-hair-cut-before-you-can-never-do-it-again day. I go to a really trendy hip place, despite being far from trendy or hip myself. My hair was washed by a teeny boy with emo hair, wearing beaten up Converses and some jelly bracelets. While I was leaning back into the sink, the dear boy asked me what I'd been up to so far that day. My response? Without hesitation, "Just looking after my four month old." Silence. Somehow 19 year old hipster kids don't know where to go after that reply. That gap between me and hip & trendy widened to Grand Canyon-like proportions from that point.

The set-up prior to this wasn't great anyway. At my first appointment at said salon way back in the day I aged 30 years just sitting in the chair. My stylist, a woman with a choppy, spiked concoction sitting atop her head, asked what I would be doing on Friday night. Clubbing? Pubbing? Going up to London? "Just a nice night in!" I chirped, hoping she would move on without a second thought as to what a loser I was. I resisted the urge to tell her that my perfect Friday night would involve a big mug of coffee or tea, flannel pyjamas, some Ben & Jerry's, and a made for TV movie from 1990 starring Meredith Baxter as a woman scorned, or a ballerina starving for her art, played by Kelly Martin. The channel featuring these movies, much like Lifetime (24 hours of made for TV movies from the 70s-mid 90s...awesome!) will be my downfall. I am truly old before my time.

Another thing I've learned is that it's never too early for your child to look at you as if you have lost all grasp on reality. I was singing Itsy Bitsy Spider for P. a few days ago, ensuring to make the spider movements with my hands, as well as signalling the rain and the upcoming sun. I'm thinking that I am planting a genius seed in her head so that she will be able to sing the song with ease from 8 months. Instead, she looked at me like she couldn't possibly be any more disgusted with me. It's the look I'm sure to get when she's 16 and brings a boyfriend (or girlfriend) home to hang out and I talk about how cute it was when she was 3 months old and crapped all over me when we were shopping. I've had a glimpse of her parental-induced mortified look, and I don't like it.

Now let's move on to how I'm sticking it to the man. It's more parenting nonsense, so beware.

Pacifiers - a neccessity in my life. My kid was born with reflux and needed to be soothed regularly in a way that I could not provide. She likes her dummy, but she does have plenty of dummy-free time when she's not fussing. At this week's mums and babies meet up some of the other mothers were congratulating another whose child has forsaken her pacifier recently in favour of her thumb. The talk was all about how evil the pacifier is and how thumb sucking is the better option. Uh, que? I know I would much prefer P. to have a pacifier, which she can be weaned off of, versus sucking her thumb, which can be a life-long habit. Pacifiers (to my knowledge) don't mess up your mouth, whereas long term thumb sucking does. I just sat there quietly, pretending that thumb sucking actually is a-ok and that I'm just an evil, careless mom that pops a dummy in her kid's mouth at the slightest hint of a cry.

Following the pacifier discussion was one involving whether we were going to go back to work once maternity leave was over. Yet again, I was the odd one out. Everyone else was either going to stay home forever and ever, or would only go back to work full-time. There were a lot of polite smiles and definite judging going on when I said I intended to go back to work. My Mom went back to work three months after both my brother and I were born. At times she even had two jobs and we turned out just fine. Well, I did anyway. Jury is still out on my brother.

I love P. dearly and I even like her now, but I'm still kind of anxious to get back to work. Call me a freak, but this SAHM business is just not me. I've tried to hack into my work email account just to get a sniff of work-related discussion. That is tragic, I know. I admit, I used to look down on SAHMs. I wondered how anyone would want to stay home with their kid(s), and debated as to whether or not that was considered work. Hell yes it is. Part of the reason I want to go back to work is that it manages to be less "work" than staying home with P. all day. I need a break!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go dangle P. out the window by her ears and then feed her some motor oil.


Last chance saloon

This is the last you'll hear from me on the holiday card topic. The deadline is on Wednesday (Dec 6). I need to hear from you by the time I get up on Thursday morning, which, knowing P. will be at about 8am UK time. 18 lovely ladies have signed up so far, so we're not doing too badly. At last count, the countries represented are Australia, US, Canada (1 brave soul!), and the UK (only me. boo).

C'mon...you know you want to...


Spare us the ETAs

I couldn't possibly create an ETA #4 for the previous post, because that would just be in bad taste not to mention very poor blogging etiquette.

I'm still harping on about the holiday card exchange, lest you think you're getting off easy. You know how sometimes you look at your stats and compare them to your comment tally and wonder why people are reading but not talking? Now I know there are people reading this, but only a handful (9 not counting myself) actually want to participate in the card exchange. To each their own and all that, but I just wanted to ensure that people aren't opting out for the wrong reasons.

If anyone is on the fence, please feel free to email me and I'll tell you who has signed up so far. They are bloggers you know, and they are safe, I promise. You can even visit their blogs to see that they are (reasonably) sane people. After that, I'll give you a lollipop and we can hug it out. C'mon, you know you want cards from around the world and the opportunity to hug it out with me.

Guess what? In a post entitled "Spare us the ETAs" I am going to do an ETA anyway. Bite me.

ETA: Someone just gave me a good idea regarding this card thing which had not occurred to me. Some people may be interested in participating but not want to surrender her personal details, which is perfectly understandable. If said person would like to send cards, just not receive, that is fine too! Just make sure you mention that fact in an email to me and I will make a note, then send the spreadsheet to you on the 7th along with the others doing an actual exchange.

Now, if perhaps I could just remember everything from the off so I don't have to utilise ETA...


The Power of Blog

With the passing of four months since the birth of P., as well as the one year anniversary of the retrieval/transfer of the embryo Enid/Betrand that evolved into P., I've been thinking a lot about the purpose of this blog. No, I will not be ruminating further on what sort of blog this is or whether I will continue blogging up to P.'s 40th birthday, as I know such posts have tested the devotion of even the most ardent BarrenAlbion reader. I'm such a drama queen.

Rather, I wonder where this blog stands in connection with my daughter. This blog will be two years old at the end of next month, and as I approach that landmark and that of the 200th post, I have been considering whether I will let P. read it when she's old enough. I am not speaking in the context of having the blog at that stage, but I would like to preserve my writing and the subsequent comments so she can see what my experience was like.

I remember rooting through my Mom's bedside table when I was 12 and stumbling across some of her childhood diaries. I took one at a time and retreated to my bedroom to devour the surely daring and adventurous tales of my Mom's youth. I was looking for "I made out furiously with Robert McNamara after stealing some Lucky Strikes from the General Store" (my Mom grew up in town with 10 people and a goat or some such). Instead, I got "I went to the fair today, rode the ferris wheel and won a stuffed rabbit. It was fun." Yawn.

This is not to say that P. would fare any better with my teenage diaries. I started a diary when I was 10, writing enticing entries about what I did on weekends and snow days (days off from school because of heavy snowfall for those who did not grow up in such climes). I occasionally got bitchy about people, going so far as to say about a friend of my best friend, "She's probably a child molester." I had no idea what it meant, but I guess I thought it sounded nasty. It's not exactly the most scathing insult you can give to an 11 year old. Hey, she bought my best friend a best friend necklace, which was essentially a declaration of war to this 10 year old. Additionally, all my entries at the time were signed, "Confidentially, Miranda", despite that not being my name.

At around 12 my musings mainly centred around being depressed, and my insistence the end of the world was nigh. The age of thirteen brought sunshine and light in the form of an obsession with a boy in my class, a crush which lasted the duration of my junior and high school years. Most of my diary entries were about him, and I'd rather like to forget the list I started in 10th grade which noted what said boy was wearing every day. Things got rather heated in the diary when Hot Boy started going out with Beak Girl, a tall, snobby blonde with a nose one could trip over. Unfortunately for my teenage self, Hot Boy was with Beak Girl for the rest of our time in school.

Post-high school ramblings were mainly about getting fat courtesy of your friendly neighbourhood endocrinological condition PCOS. I had to adapt to being no heavier than 110 lbs, to being considerably more. Once I met The Dude, my self-loathing extended to fertility issues as well. Five or six years of writing like that and I decided to share it with the world. A logical progression, no?

The parent-child dynamic leads most kids to only see their parents as the adults they know now. I know that prior to the covert reading of my Mom's diaries, she had no childhood or teenage years in my eyes. As far as I was concerned, she was born 42 years old with a bad perm. I want P. to have a strong sense of who I was before she knew me. Given all the naughty language and talk of sex and the onetime mention of The Dude as Ol' Wax Cock, she may have to wait a long while, but I do want her to read this eventually. Since I'll probably be playing Bingo and dusting off my Hummel figurines whilst watching my stories by the time she's old enough to read this, it will be refreshing for her to see that once upon a time her mother said things like "fuckwit".

On to a different subject entirely. Reading DD's post today gave me an idea. DD asked if anyone would like to exchange Holiday cards with her, and I thought it would be lovely if we could get a blogger card exchange thing going. A rather large scale, organised arrangement whereby bloggers can send and receive holiday cards from all over the place. I bounced this idea off The Dude, who thought it was hokey and cheesy as hell, but fuck him, he's a man and they are just like that.

So is this a feasible thing? My thoughts are that any interested parties can email me their name, postal address and blog address by a certain deadline and I will create a spreadsheet with all the info and email it back to all of those who emailed me. If a large number of people respond, I'll look to create groupings so that people don't feel obligated to send dozens of cards all over the world. My only suggestion would be that cards don't feature photos of kids or pregnant stomachs. All of us are at very different stages and I would hate for a fun and interesting gesture like this to turn into something negative.

Note that the operative word is "holiday", so this is certainly not centred around those who celebrate Christmas. If anyone thinks this is a good idea, please feel free to mention it on your own blogs, directing readers to my email address which can be found in my profile over there to your right.

Even if only 5 people are interested I will carry on because momma likes her some mail. I actually run downstairs every day to check the post, even if it only yields yet another offer for a loan with a low interest rate. A card from an actual real live person might push me over the edge of excitement, so watch out world.

ETA: For those rightly concerned with privacy, I do plan on ensuring everything is legit. I am only including fellow bloggers (sorry to the non-bloggers out there), and if I have any doubts I'll be sure to give the relevant persons a very intense interrogation involving small bits of wood, the offender's fingernails, and a very bright light. I understand if some of you are a bit paranoid, but the ladies who have signed up so far do not have criminal records, though some of them might be slightly eccentric.
ETA #2: I've set the deadline - Wednesday, 6 December. I plan on compiling the information as I go along, and I intend to send the spreadsheet out next Thursday. As the cards will be going to various points around the globe (so far Australia and of course UK), I want to ensure we allow enough time for them to get where they need to be.
ETA #3 (aka not very good at remembering to include shit): It has been suggested to me that perhaps we allow the sending of kid/belly photos if the recipient so chooses. In the email that you send me with your address and blog address, please let me know if you would or would not want to receive such photos. Feel free to say no, it's fine!


Self love

No, not that kind. Perverts.

Here is yet another meme. I can't help myself. Well, I suppose I can, but I'm in the midst of a subject draught at the moment so you're just going to have to suffer. I'm not in the manner of tagging people because I'm ignoring some, and I'm afraid that if I do tag some people and they never do it, that is an admission that they don't read me. My stats are wallowing in suck at the moment, so I don't think I can tolerate knowing for a fact that certain people have given up on me. I guess this is what happens when you do self-absorbed posts about what kind of blogger you are, like anyone but you give a shit.

Before I start my 8000th meme this year, here's another tangent. My use of "this is what happens when..." reminds me of something. The line "This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass" is uttered in one of my favourite movies, The Big Lebowski. I saw someone on TV the other day saying that they watched an edited network version of the movie (what's the point?) recently and the line was changed to "This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps." Quite similar to the original then. That is up there with the edited version of some Die Hard movie that was on TNT way back in the day. "Stupid motherfucker" became "Stupid melon farmer". Do the censors do this to be humorous? Can any of you contribute with what you may have heard in edited films?

Anyway, onto the meme. Since I'm not tagging, I welcome anyone to do to it if they are so inclined. Molly can do it on her toiletPod. I lifted this from Julia over at Major Bedhead. Blame her for my obsession with myself this time.

If your life were a soundtrack, what would the music be?

Here's how it works: Open your library (iTunes, winamp, media player, iPod). Put it on shuffle. Press play. For every question, type the song that's playing. New question - press the next button. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool !

Opening Credits: Sleep to Dream - Fiona Apple. Uh, I guess that would be better for the next question...

Waking Up: Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me - The Smiths. As it happens, another sleep theme! Go ZenMicro!

First Day of School: All These Things That I've Done - The Killers

Falling in Love: I Want the One I Can't Have - The Smiths. Weird. I didn't try that one either, and guess what - my first big crush (about 5 years duration) was on someone that had no interest in me whatsoever.

Breaking Up: Like a Friend - Pulp. Ok, now this is just eerie.

School formal: Christianssands - Tricky. Uh, my number one sex song, so no, no school formal there.

Life's Okay: Eskimo - Damien Rice

Mental Breakdown: I'm Alright Now - Johnny Cash. Again, creepy.

Why Can't We Be Friends: Discover - Tim Booth

Movin' Out: Pure Morning - Placebo

Getting Back Together: I Could Be Dreaming - Belle & Sebastian

Wedding: Just Like Heaven - The Cure. Heh.

Birth of a Child: Fell in Love with a Girl - White Stripes. It's official. My Zen has an evil eye.

Final Battle: Naughty Girl - Beyonce. Only I would have a Beyonce song as representative of my "Final battle"

Death Scene: What Can I Do? - Antony & the Johnsons

Funeral Song: KKK-Mart - Margaret Cho. Not so much a song, but a bit from Cho's stand-up about the KKK. Now that's the tone you want to set at a funeral.

End Credits: Drive On - Johnny Cash. Drive on indeed...

Now I'm off to take apart my Zen to see if it has a little being in it controlling its machinations.


Era of the Undefinable

First of all, enormous thank-yous to all who commented and sent emails regarding my last post. It means so much to me that there are other people out there that understand the agony that can be the first few months of your child's life. For those not fortunate to have gone through it themselves for whatever reason, I'm so pleased that you took the time to comment even if you didn't feel as if you could contribute with your own experiences. Just knowing that people care enough to say something is very moving. During the particularly rough times I was finding it difficult to get through each day, so each word gave me brief respite. Thank you so, so much.

Now, an update. P.'s body has appeared to adjust to the Gaviscon. In a bold move, we have recently upped her dosage as well now that she has gained some weight. To say she has become a different baby is a massive understatement. I now consider my days spent with her to be enjoyable rather than an exercise in torture, so that's always good when talking about your child. I try not to think that all of this could have happened months ago, because there is no point lingering on what could have been. The fact is that she's a happy baby now, and I'm a much more cheerful mother. Well, as cheerful as I'm capable of being anyway.

Moving on...today I came across a post at Jenn's regarding the nature of a blog once a baby (or babies as is the case with Jenn) is born. Pre-babies, Jenn wasn't keen on some blogs that had once been IF-centred but eventually descended into mommy blogs. I also felt that way before P was born, and I would often avoid new mommy blogs because I found them cloying and completely unrelatable. In some cases I wondered how these women could leave infertility behind so easily. Jenn and I find ourselves in a similar predicament - now we are on the other side, so have we become the dreaded mommy bloggers?

I hesitate to group myself in with mommy bloggers because I feel as if most of the members of that set are not cynical, jaded and pessimistic like me and where is the fun in that? However, I also acknowledge that I am a mother now, so chances are I will blog about my kid. I would love to consider myself an IF blogger, but I wouldn't have much to talk about. I had enough trouble finding stuff to talk about when I was going through treatment, so I think I'd really struggle to discuss many IF things now. I hope that any kid-related tales I do tell occasionally reflect my background as someone who knows what it's like in the trenches, but I can't see myself relating everything I write from now on to infertility.

I suppose my post from a month or so ago about masquerading as a fertile person has not inspired confidence as far as me keeping it real. I would like to clarify that at no point have I forgotten what it's like to be infertile. I feel like that woman every day, that the kid I look after is not really mine, but rather just a trainer baby for that one day when I may have one of my own. The post was written to say that for that brief, fleeting period of time in which I hang out with moms who have from-sex-babies rather than Creations by WHYBAML-babies, I like to pretend my insides aren't fucked up. It's so nice to do that if only for an hour every couple of weeks.

So what is this blog? I don't know. Maybe this is my opportunity to expand on other topics that this blog could include. I am an American expat living in the UK, and as of tomorrow, I will be an American expat living in the UK who has applied for residency status in Canada. I never really talk about my expat experience, because I know you usually come here for the swearing and stay for the infertility. As my infertility connection is only in retrospect at this point, maybe I should mix up the kid stuff with expat things every once in awhile. :::cue people exiting blog stage right:::

I like to think that even if I am classified as a mommy blog by some, it's from a perspective that is unique - that of a recovering infertile who refuses to elevate motherhood to a position of deification. I'm still me, and do not want to be defined solely as "mommy"...or "mummy" as I am here in the UK. I am soooooo not that girl. A long time ago in a blog post far, far away I wrote an entry entitled "So you reproduced successfully, what do you want, a fucking medal?". I stand by that statement now, so if you ever feel as if I'm crossing into that dangerous territory of mommyblogdom whereby I think the sun shines out of my childbirthing cooter, please, for the love of all that is holy, tell me to get off my pedestal.


Cliffs of insanity

I apologise in advance for the melodrama that is sure to plague this post. I'm not very good at writing emotional posts, as I always feel so self-conscious. In real life I'm not much of an emoter outside the comfort of my own home, and I hate hate hate crying in front of people other than The Dude. I guess this is why I'm so paranoid when I write about being sad or depressed, because I feel like it's just way too much drama. When I write like that, I think it comes off sounding like a diary entry by a very histrionic 13 year old. I'm very much a wipe away the tears and get on with it person, so to give in and express my emotions is difficult. Someone once commented on here that they felt as if I'm often holding back. I thought about that for awhile after I read it, and I'm sure that person is right. Of the 160+ posts I've done, only about 10 at most have a sad or depressed tone. Revealingly, a few of those posts have come post-P., despite the infertility issues I've written about here for almost two years.

I've arrived at the conclusion that I am so over motherhood right now. I spend my days lamenting the fact that I even bothered to go through everything to get to this. This is hell. I was starting to crawl out of the misery that I had been wallowing in for awhile, until it all started to go downhill again. P. started her medication to get rid of the GERD and for a day I had an almost-wonderful baby. Unfortunately the doctor neglected to mention that a side effect of these thickening agents is constipation. Glorious, glorious constipation. Constipation that makes my baby scream her head off enough all day to put all those colicky hours to shame. The constant screaming drives me to my bed, hiding under the duvet and crying uncontrollably. For the first time in years, today I wanted to do something to myself.

One night about five years ago, I locked myself in the bathroom and sat on the floor sobbing for two hours. At the time I was stuck in the same town in which I grew up, working a retail job I hated, and feeling as if my life was going absolutely nowhere. I hated my body, which is nothing new for me, but my self-hatred was at a peak thanks to the other things going on in my life. While sitting on the floor, I grabbed a razor, fully intending on cutting myself. I somehow rationalised to myself that by creating a strong physical pain, it would help alleviate, or at least diminish my immense emotional pain. Putting that in words makes it sound ridiculous, but I think anyone that has been in that position would fully understand what I'm saying.

I know near-cutting is just the cusp of what some people have experienced. Many women are cutters, not near-cutters, so this is where I feel very melodramatic. Why do I think my pain is so severe when I'm just someone who almost made a mistake?

Back to contemporary times. A couple of weeks ago I really thought the worst had passed. We were getting help for the GERD, and surely that was the problem, right? Maybe for once my baby would not be the one crying the entire time during one of my mums and baby group meetings. Perhaps I wouldn't spend every moment of my days trying to prevent P. from crying, and eventually I'd be able to relax. Not relax as in sit down and feel all the negative stuff disappear, but relax as in just have a period of time that I wasn't just waiting for the next set of wails to commence.

I have come to the conclusion that I definitely love P., I just don't like her most days. The Dude keeps irritating the hell out of me by saying, "This isn't her fault!", as if I believe that this three month old baby is orchestrating all of this just to piss me off. I am well aware that she cannot help crying in reaction to whatever it is she is feeling, but I am less and less able to deal with it and function normally. I don't have any sense of separation anxiety in the least. If someone in The Dude's family offered to take her off me for a day or a week I would be fine with that. I'm such a great mother.

I have been of the opinion since soon after P.'s birth that I wanted to go back to work. Now. I get a year of maternity leave, but I feel like I need to go back now to escape. I feel absolutely horrified for thinking this, as I know so many bloggers, including my dear friend Lumi, were completely eviscerated when they had to return to work after their piss poor excuses for maternity leave. Me, not so much. I had grand visions of what my time off would be like. Days would be filled with me bonding with P., playing with her, and just spending time loving and relishing her. Instead every day is a jittery day in which I pray she will only cry for 2 hours instead of 5. I'm not enjoying motherhood, not at all.

I've essentially stopped reading the blogs of women who gave birth around the same time as I did. Every single one is filled with adoration and ruminations on how much the mothers love the time they spend with their babies. As much as I am pleased for them, it is far too painful for me to realise that I am of a minority. I feel like an infertile reading the endless tales of women who got pregnant easily. Now I am the outsider again because I have a baby but I can't enjoy her. It seems like yet again other people have it so easily, i.e., what is to happen naturally happened for them and here I am with it all falling apart. Again.

I don't know what to do. Sometimes, well, most times recently, I just want to walk out the door and not come back. I feel guilty even committing these feelings to words, because in doing so it's all so much more real. I am at a dead end.



Today was one of the days that P. and I met up with our mums and babies group. We took a leisurely walk along the seafront and then went to a little cafe for cakes and hot drinks. In the midst of conversations about baby development, spousal sex demands, and crying fits, the topic of further children arose.

Prior to P.'s birth, The Dude and I believed we wanted two children. Now, we're not so sure anything but one would suit us. This parenting gig is far more demanding and draining than we anticipated, and merely thinking about another baby is enough to make The Dude look into DIY sterilisation. You know, since conception comes so easy to us.

Therein lies today's moment of clarity. To my knowledge, all of the other women in my group conceived naturally. I've not told them about P.'s petri dish past, but I think I will tell them at some stage if the situation presents itself again. I got so caught up in the conversation about whether or not we would try for another baby, that I actually *forgot* that this body doesn't just get pregnant by the way of the penis. I joined in the conversation as if a second child would just happen if we wanted it to. What the fuck? I didn't sit there, silent and resigned like I should have. I contributed as if my second child will follow in a couple years' time just as all of theirs will if that decision is made.

I shouldn't say this on what still may pass as an infertility blog, but I don't always remember. I have forgotten on more than one occasion that I'm not like the others. In discussions with The Dude regarding PruDude Offspring Part Deux I have said that after some time of trying naturally (hahahahaha) I want to go straight to IVF. No faffing about with Clomid or IUIs - just straight to the big guns. However, stick me in a group of happy little mummies and the years of trying unsuccessfully fall out of my head.

I hate myself for it, but then I think that perhaps this is my time to feel normal. I've felt like an outsider for so long, can I be punished for wanting to be included as one of "them" for just a little while? Why shouldn't I be allowed to forget all of the infertility-related depression, cooter wandings, immense quantity of drugs, and the agonies of a number of endless 2ww periods over a cup of coffee and slice of cake?


Victory for the dinks

P. had an appointment with the GP this morning in an attempt to sort out her possible GERD issues. GERD. GERD. Sorry. Anyway, a little history. P. was born weighing 5lbs 14 1/2 ozs and at her lowest weight went down to 5lbs 9 ozs. She is three months old on Thursday, and as of a week ago today, weighed 8lbs 9 ozs. At first, three pounds in almost three months seemed ok to me, until I realised that a lot of the babies in our mums and babies group have gained much more than that in a lot less time. The youngest baby is 6 weeks old and still weighs more than she does despite a birth weight of about 6 1/2lbs. I was browsing through blogs the other day and came across a 4 month old that weighs 21lbs! Shit. It's really odd to think that my child is just a month younger and yet weighs more than 12lbs less. P. gets weighed every two weeks due to the weight gain issues and her relative prematurity, and she only gained 3 ozs in the last two week period.

As far as the spitting up...well, it could hardly be referred to as such. I think it's more of a massive expulsion of stomach contents at regular intervals. Not only does P. throw up a lot of food right after eating, but she continues to expel liquid until her next feed when the cycle starts all over again. The poor kid has never even slept in her crib, and the Moses Basket has been rendered unusable for at least the past month. I have done all of the recommended things for babies with reflux problems: propped up the flat sleeping surfaces so they are at an angle, burped her during feeds, ensured that she is upright for at least 45 minutes after a feed, and anything else you can think of. None of it has even diminished the problem.

I went to today's appointment preparing for battle - GERD symptoms at the ready, just-fed baby ready to show the GP just how much she throws up, and the temperment of a person who is in no mood to be disregarded. I have told the Health Visitor and midwife multiple times that I suspected a reflux issue, and I have been to see the GP about it three times since P. was born. Last time the Health Visitor said, "I don't see it as much of a problem. It's not like she's losing weight." Uh, so do babies not need to gain weight now? They can stay at the same weight forever? Of course! Up to this stage they told me what I already knew. They brushed me off with the whole "Babies throw up!" piece of wisdom, which can go right along with, "Babies cry!" in the things I like to call, "Trite cliches people say that make you want to eviscerate them". Attempting to convince them that the amount she threw up was certainly not normal was fruitless.

I thought an argument was inevitable today when the GP seemed to imply that nothing was wrong with P. and that some infants just have reflux. Her perception seemed to be that I thought P. would need blood tests and an examination, and come to think of it, I should have shouted, "GERD!" as soon as I walked in the door so she knew what I was getting at from the outset. Since I thought the conversation was going in the direction of yet again no action taken to get rid of this problem, I started rattling off P.'s symptoms again and telling the GP that I was well-versed in GERD thanks to the internet. I'm sure doctors just love that. I imagine they instantly put up a wall when faced with the words, "I've been looking on the internet and..."

The GP eventually said the right things and will live to fill out more prescriptions. She prescribed Gaviscon Infant for P., which will be added to all of her bottles. As P.'s brilliant mama just found out, it obviously thickens the formula and as such the teats she has been using will not work. Heh. I had a very unhappy baby on my hands as I switched bottles and teats three times to find the right one. Teat. Teat. Teat.

In celebration of P.'s three month birthday as well as the hopeful alleviation of GERD symptoms, I present to you a happy Little Ms P.

GERD be gone!


Bad mutha

Funny story...I typed up a fairly admirable post about what I'm about to write about again and Blogger decided that it wasn't worth the time to publish. My creative juices flow so rarely these days I must take any opportunity to post when it strikes. That said, pardon me if this post is crap. I have every confidence that the earlier one was superior. Blogger bastards.

So, first of all I want to thank all of you for your wonderful comments to my last post. You have no idea how helpful they were. I feel so alone on the bad days and it does help to read genuine assertions that everything will be ok. I know the gist of a lot of the comments was that this rough period would pass, much like all the assvice I received before. The difference is that your comments are heartfelt, born of recent experience and lack the condescension I get from people in everyday life.

I've arrived at the conclusion that P. has colic and GERD, as commenter Jen suggested. Speaking of which - Jen, the link connected to your name is dead so would you mind emailing me? I have consistently told the Health Visitor, midwife and GP that I suspect GERD (fabulous name) and they have ignored me. It was confirmed today that P. is not gaining much weight at all, which, hey, lends creedence to what I have been saying for months. Imagine. I have an appointment with the GP next week to decide what to do next. I'll try to refrain from pushing the GERD agenda too much, but I really hope something can be done.

Jumping swiftly from my excellent diagnostic skills to my rather suspect parenting behaviour, I thought I'd put down in writing how I'm surely compromising my child's current and future well-being.

As mentioned previously, P. has turned into quite the crier. Morning, afternoon, early evening. Whatever. She's going to cry about it. Once all the traditional methods have been exhausted - rocking, swinging, happy time in the vibrating chair, cuddling, swaddling, back patting, etc., I have to resort to the devil in the form of a 42" wall-mounted plasma TV. I know, I know. You needn't tell me how naughty this is, I was raised on PBS and nature programmes, I know the evils of television. However, it calms her down almost immediately, and when your ears are ringing from having a baby wail in your ear for 20 minutes straight, you'd dangle her out the window by her toes if it meant she'd shut up for just a moment.

Our general protocol is to put on some good old fashioned hip hop and rap videos, so on with the quality parenting! I go right to MTV Base when the screaming commences, none of that adult contemporary John Mayer shit on VH1 and its various incarnations for us. P. shows a particular fondness for Jay-Z, Snoop, Kanye West and Missy Elliott. Basically, your average nearly 3 month old tastes. I cradle her facing the television, then do booty dances for the entirety of the videos. She really enjoys it and cries again when I stop because I'm too damn tired to continue. Some may question the wisdom of introducing the world of pimps, dropping it like its hot, and how to strong arm a ho to a child of her age. I say it's just preparation for the real world. I suppose a benefit is that the language is censored in the videos so it's only images of women shaking their badunkadunks that may influence future behaviour.

I ask you, what is wrong with a bit of badunkadunk?

NB: I desperately want to change the template of my blog. Any suggestions of someone who can help design one for me would be very much appreciated.


I want my money back

Readers be warned - this is a highly negative post on parenting, so if you think I should be eternally grateful for becoming a mother and love every second of it, keep walking before I upset you.

I've hit a rough patch. Nay, a very big, unending patch of particularly bad road. I have self-diagnosed myself as having Maternal Bipolar Disorder (MBD), a condition I think I have as now created. MBD is characterised by periods of mania in which this new mother thinks that she can actually carry off this whole parenting thing successfully. By gum, she may even be starting to take to the little creature! Unfortunately there is also a flip side, the depths in which this new mom is currently treading, hoping and praying that she doesn't drown.

The first six weeks were a struggle, but barring a few breakdowns here and there, I think I was coping rather well. The whole feeding issue was the primary problem, along with P's tendency to spit up in amounts I think are excessive. However, the past few weeks have signalled the emergence of a new baby - Hopper Hellbaby (this due to her resemblance when upset to Hopper from A Bug's Life) - one which cries almost every evening from 6pm-9pm. The only way to stop this hysterical crying is to take P. for a walk. Easy enough, right? As luck would have it, we live on the top floor of our building and I have to go up and down 4 flights of stairs with her carrier each way to get her stroller from the shed outside. Fortunately we live in an area in which it is nice to take twilight walks, but it's an immense pain in the ass to do this night in and night out. I will add that yesterday by the time we got to the twilight walk, we'd already been on two walks prior that day. I suppose it's great for the Pipgut, but I'd rather be in watching crap television.

Up to the past few days, the crying has been reserved for evenings, but today my girl really outdid herself. As I've mentioned previously, I get together regularly with a group of women from my antenatal class. I haven't been in a few weeks due to transport issues, so I was really looking forward to today's meeting. For once the person hosting it was within walking distance, so I packed up P., excited about finally meeting with other mothers for the first time in awhile.

Once we got there, I noticed immediately how much the other babies had grown. Though P. is the oldest, she is still the smallest. She is nearly 3lbs over her lowest weight (5lbs 9ozs), but even so is much more :::ahem::: "dinky" than the others, a fact which was pointed out to me by some of the mothers. You can imagine how pleased I was. I started to get over this and settle into the conversation when P. started crying. My child is small, but cries like a fucking banshee. I tried to calm her, but ended up having to leave the room so the other mothers could converse like adults do without being drowned out by the wailing P. I hung out in the kitchen, attempting to soothe her with all the ways I know how, but she wasn't having it. She screamed until her head nearly came off for 15 minutes before I gave up on trying to have a nice morning out and decided to go home. I made my apologies and made a quick exit with my most disagreeable baby.

So I've reached the end of my tether. The Dude comes home from work to an evening full of screaming baby, which isn't fun for him either. I spend most evenings either crying or moping around the flat in the vain hope that I'll wake up and have my old life back. It is a horrible, horrible thought to have, but I do often wonder if I've made a huge mistake.

I don't cry that often when I get really upset at this situation, but I feel like this is hopeless. In my late teens and early 20s I was sporadically treated for depression, so I'm hardly new to the concept of feeling like you will never emerge from the darkness. The Dude, bless him, genuinely worries that I will hurt myself. I have tried to reassure him that we have been together through many of my darker times and I've never been the self harming type, but I don't suppose that is altogether calming. I think he is further confused by the fact that on the good days, I am happy. I dare say I am nearly giddy with how good life can be - I get to stay home all day with a cheerful, smiling, beautiful baby, go for walks along the sea, watch repeats of Seinfeld and Frasier, listen to good music, and IM with my Cheese Wife. If the next day turns out to be a bad one, I'm wringing my hands and cursing the fact that I did IVF in the first place. Cue the upset that comes with feeling like a horrible mother for even thinking that, and I'm yet again a gibbering, crappy mothering mess.

I've thought about what would make me feel better, aside from a baby that isn't screaming constantly, and I don't know if there is an answer. When I have casually hinted to other people that all is not what it should be, I get the cursory, "Babies cry!" or "This too shall pass", as if it's just a little hiccup in my life that I should just get over. I wish it was that easy, because that last little comment would have changed a lot of the periods of extreme sadness and depression in my life. Maybe there isn't anything to be done or said. Perhaps I do need to just suck it up and soldier on. I don't know.

I need to come to terms with the fact that my situation is permanent. I have a child. I can't drop out or quit parenthood, much as I'd like to sometimes. With most things in life, you can abandon them if they become too much. I find it so daunting that I'm in this for the long haul. At the times when I'm at my lowest I really struggle to deal with this idea. I want to crawl out of my own skin and get away, but I can't. I have this responsibility, possibly the singular one in life you cannot shirk.

If anyone has any wisdom they would like to pass on to aid the maintenence of my sanity, I would welcome it. Here is to hoping that tomorrow is one of those little seen and much cherished manic days.


Suck on this

At long last, this is the breastfeeding post I've been talking about doing for about two months now. I'm sure that sentence will serve to drive away quite a few of you because who really gives a shit about breastfeeding if you're not doing it currently or very near to trying it? I wouldn't have before. Ah well. This is my catharsis, and I hope that at some stage a woman reads this and feels a little less guilty if she is unable to breastfeed. Yup, that's me...patron saint of disenfranchised breastfeeding failures everywhere.

I've already told some of the story when I discussed P.'s birth and labour tale. Though I tried constantly to get P. to latch on properly for the week we were in the hospital, it never worked. I ended up pumping and was confident that I would be able to keep this up for as long as necessary. The Dude went out and bought a fancy electronic pump, and by the time I was sent home I was gradually getting over the disappointment of not being able to breastfeed. I thought that I was doing the next best thing for the baby and it still proved that I was trying to make an effort for this to work, even if it was not by the most conventional means.

When you decide to exclusively pump, you walk into a world that requires you to be a slave to the vile little electric creature. Not only do you need to look after a new being that needs you all the time, you must find time to sit in a chair, squeeze your tit into the phlange (what a horrible word) and pump like hell for 30-45 minutes at least 6 times a day. Many pumping moms do it every 2 hours, but fuuuuuck that. I managed about 6 on most days and that was a major trial. Thinking of doing it twice that amount, well...my poor boobs are wincing at the mere thought.

Now, you would think that such dedication would demand respect, right? No such luck for the pumping ladies I'm afraid. Rather than being in awe of the sheer dedication required, all I heard was how I should be breastfeeding, and "Hey, have you thought about breastfeeding?". You know, that rather new invention? I mentioned how my Mom harped on about the breastfeeding issue, this despite the fact that she witnessed me chained to the pump in between changing dirty nappies, consoling a crying baby, and giving bottles. All of this on very little sleep.

Everyone had advice, and apparently even after 9 weeks of pumping, people still feel the need to weigh in. I took P. for her first round of immunisations yesterday, and the nurse just couldn't help herself. "This isn't my place, but have you tried breastfeeding again?", she said slyly before I punched her in her stupid face. If you don't feel it's your place, SHUT THE FUCK UP. My ears are ready to fall off with all the breastfeeding crap that comes from all directions. Everyone has an opinion, and for some strange reason they feel as if it is fine to judge me for my decision regarding my own child. The most amazing thing is that they must feel as if I care and want to hear what they have to say on breastfeeding. I don't! Please, keep it to yourselves because otherwise The Dude is forced to listen to my rants on the gung-ho breastfeeding contingent until he comes to the conclusion that there will be no second child because what if there are breastfeeding issues again? He would not be able to bear sitting through my extensive complaining sessions another time around. He doesn't have enough hours in his days.

The breastfeeding brigade would be most disappointed to learn that I have given up the pumping altogether as of yesterday. I am fearing the telephone conversation with my Mom when I break the news. I wasn't getting enough sleep given the need to pump every time P. fell asleep, so The Dude and I agreed that it was getting ridiculous. This move was precipitated by a 2am breakdown by yours truly because I had only managed to get about 4 hours of sleep in the previous 24 hour period. To think that further failed attempts at breastfeeding would yield an even more calamitous time...well, I'd rather not think of that.

Those people that think that breastfeeding should be done at all costs - I invite them to my house when it's midday, I'm not yet dressed, P. is crying hysterically and so am I. That is just a day when I've not slept and food has not even been taken into consideration. Imagine this scenario if I was still struggling to breastfeed or putting pressure on myself to keep up my milk supply and pump. If they would like to talk me down from the ledge each time it all gets too much, then I'll consider the dogged persistence it requires to stick with breastfeeding when there are difficulties.

What frustrated me more than my inability to do yet another basic female function (thanks body, a hearty "Fuck you!" to you too!) was the relentlessness of the rabid breastfeeding devotees. I already felt like a failure, and their insistence that P. and I should take to breastfeeding exaggerated that all the more. P.'s inability to latch on properly could have been due to her prematurity as well as her heart murmur. Often premature babies, even those that are slightly premature, have not yet developed the proper sucking mechanism to latch in the correct manner. Additionally, babies with heart murmurs are tested most during feeding as it requires twice the energy that the average newborn must commit to sucking at the breast. My poor kid had enough problems with these issues and the jaundice, she didn't need the countless stream of midwives calling her lazy because she couldn't get the hang of breastfeeding.

The cult of breastfeeding dictates that you must do this at all costs, or else you are depriving your child to the point of cruelty. Without breastmilk, your kid will be sickly, allergic to everything from dander to barbed wire, and won't be able to venture out of the house without his or her plastic bubble. This poor child will be riding the short bus while all the breastfed kids ride by in the big yellow bus to the school where they learn physics and calculus, leaving your kid struggling with basic mathematical concepts such as 2 + 4 = 6 at the age of 15.

I would have loved to have breastfed P. Would I trade it for bottle feeding and the time I spent pumping? Hell yes. In the limited time that I provided breastmilk for the bulk of her feeds I did feel as if I was helping her. However, when someone is incapable of carrying on with this, the last thing she needs is a guilt trip. I have enough self-imposed parenting guilt at this early stage to last a lifetime, so excuse me if I'm not keen on being told how I've already put my child at a disadvantage. Surely a new mother needs to be supported regardless rather than reminded constantly of her shortcomings?

This is just a heads up dear Statia, prepare yourself for the shitstorm that is ahead. Also, does anyone else giggle when faced with the word "teat"? No? Just me then...


Assclowns and Fuckwits

When you're infertile people constantly piss you off for various reasons. There is the regular spectre of assvice, Child Bores, Smug Pregnants, and that co-worker that chews crisps so loudly that one is driven to blissful thoughts of said co-worker's head on a spike. That was the basis of my blog pre-P., and let me tell you, this shit doesn't get any better. Sure, the irritating things are no longer centred around my lack of ability to have a child, but they are now replaced by my hang-ups as a new parent and recovered (however temporary) infertile.

Issue 1: The size of P. As some of you may recall, P. only weighed 5lbs 14ozs at birth. She was born at 36 weeks, so I think she was entitled to be born a bit on the small side. Somehow this means that people can constantly comment on how small she is. If I had a dollar for every time someone screeches, "Oh! She's such a dink!" or "She's a dinky little one, isn't she?", I'd have a blog on Typepad rather than Blogger and it would have a template much more interesting than this one.

I know these are just statements of fact. She is small. However, I don't need to be reminded of this all the time. I know I'm paranoid, but given our feeding issues and the fact that my body failed her then and my body was unable to provide her with a full gestation, being told how small she is feels like an admission of that failure. Some people, even family members, actually call her "Dink". This friggin' kid is going to have a complex way before I get a chance to fuck her up.

Issue 2: P.'s middle name. Yes, it is traditionally a boy's name. This does not preclude me from being able to give this name to my daughter. When she was born and her name was announced to family, both sides decided to enlighten us as to the traditional gender association of this name. We still hear it, and the birth certificate proves that she well and truly has this name now. My Mom went so far as to tell us that she "didn't mind" that we gave P. this middle name, as if it was ever up to her in the first place. Thanks Mom, you're all heart. Others have told us how much they like her first name, but "don't think they really care for" her middle name. Who tells new parents this? Well, our families obviously, but shit...do people have no tact?

Issue 3: Breastfeeding. Yep, that old thing again. I won't talk of how much I hate it, but I will mention the incredible assvice that comes at me from all sides. MIL found it her responsibility to tell me that P. probably wouldn't breastfeed because of nipple confusion, as if she's a qualified lactation consultant now. This was said to me multiple times after I had my horrible breastfeeding experiences, which of course have led to more feelings of failure. I spent countless hours trying to get P. to latch on before I introduced the bottle, you know, so she wouldn't starve, yet the simple answer was nipple confusion. Of course! A breakthrough!

My Mom factors into this segment of assclowns and fuckwittery as well because giving assvice is what moms do best, or mine anyway. My Mom was on the receiving end of tearful telephone calls from me about failing to breastfeed when I got out of the hospital, and knew that I had more or less come to terms with the fact that I could only provide breast milk for P. if I pumped. However, when she visited, this did not stop her from assailing me with breastfeeding advice despite my pleas to shut.the.fuck.up (said somewhat more politely...at first). I thought she got the hint after I shouted at her that I had done all this for every single feed in the hospital for a week. Altogether, I saw about 20 midwives who consulted on the problem in P.'s first week. My mother, unless she has a secret life I'm not aware of, is also not a lactation consultant. Perhaps she and my MIL can hit the road and offer crappy breastfeeding advice and wisdom to frazzled and depressed new moms.

Issue 4: Blue clothes does not equal boy. Yeah, I know babies all look the same. Boys, girls, who can tell? I went to high school with a few people of debatable gender, so I'm well aware that in the very early stages these things all look the same. Why can't girls wear blue? I sometimes put blue onesies on P., and when people ask how old my little boy is I of course set them straight. Well, you'd think I'd just committed the poor wee thing to a lifetime of therapy with my clothing choices because they look at me as if I am mad. Their eyes plead, "But she's a girl! Pink! Pink! Pink!" I think it's pathetic that we've been conditioned to start them off in such defined gender roles from birth. If my memory serves, it's the Victorians that are to be blamed for this. Uptight bastards.

Issue 5: Moms who lose the postnatal weight immediately. Good for them. The "but" comes in when they brag and marvel to other new moms at how quickly and easily the weight fell off. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been attending weekly meetings with the group from my antenatal class. I thought it would totally not be my scene, but so far, so good. However. There is always a "however" with me when I say something positive. Anyway, there is a woman in the group I will call Miss Priss. Miss Priss is a GP's wife, and well...she lives up to the cliche of the doctor's wife. I know there are some doctor's wives that blog and read my tripe as well, and I of course don't mean you.

So, Miss Priss shows up at a meeting a week and a half after giving birth. One of the other women mentions how fabulous Miss Priss looks so soon after having her baby. Miss Priss, barely able to contain her excitement, gives a big toothy smile and says, "I know! I was so surprised that my stomach went back to normal so quickly! Look, (:::lifts shirt to bare her stomach:::) it's flat! It must have been all the swimming I did when I was pregnant! My husband says that he's never seen a stomach so flat so soon after birth!" After vomiting into my massive, swollen cleavage, I quickly shoved one of the brownies on offer into my gaping maw. Who needs swimming and flat stomachs when you can enjoy moist brownies?

But really, who says these things when in the presence of women that still have baby guts? I call mine the Pipgut, and it doesn't seem to want to shift for anyone. I know eating brownies is not the answer, but this is what I do when faced with physical ideals. Where is the logic in that exactly? So, to change one of my favourite lines in Sex in the City: "Fuck that fucking face girl.", I will say, "Fuck that fucking stomach girl." I showed her. She may have a flat stomach less than two weeks postpartum, but I am foul-mouthed and eat brownies. Consider us even.

That's all I've got. I'm annoyed by many more things, but apparently my brain snuck out with the placenta during birth because I can't remember them. I'm sure more assclowns and fuckwits will surface soon, so stay tuned.


All is full of love

There are a few pregnant bloggers about at the moment, many of whom have blogged about the oft-blogged topic of survivor's guilt. I harped on about this myself in the beginning; I didn't feel as if I belonged in the IF camp, but I felt even more of an outsider when grouped with The Pregnants. I was fearful to convey that any guilt I felt arose from my fear of blogging about pregnancy, but not actually about being pregnant. I didn't want to come across as if I'd forgotton my IF roots by blathering on and on about pregnancy as if my Clomid, IUI and IVF cycles never existed. However, I suffered no guilt about the pregnancy itself, as my logic was (and is) that I worked hard for it and it finally happened for me. A note to other pregnant bloggers - that is nothing to feel guilty about.

So I skipped the survivor's guilt in the traditional sense. Now I'm experiencing a new incarnation of this dreaded affliction. My new guilt is two fold - it functions as a form of survivor's guilt, but it also moonlights as maternal guilt. I had a baby that took me 4 years of infertility treatment to meet. I agonised for all this time about how my body was failing me, and how I was failing my husband. I got pregnant, waxed poetic in my mind about how blissfully happy I would be once she arrived, and convinced myself that the lack of maternal instinct I so feared was actually a blinding maternal instinct that was merely latent. Imagine my surprise when the long-awaited baby arrived and the maternal instinct failed to kick in.

Though I have spent a large portion of the past few years of my life ignoring pregnant women and Child Bores, I have picked up that when a baby is born, love is instant. You gaze into your child's eyes and see everything you had ever wished for. This is obviously enhanced greatly within the infertile community, as hell, you went through physical and emotional agony for ages trying to get to this point. When P. was born she was given to me as soon as she came out. I held her on my chest, in complete amazement that this being was here and officially part of our lives. In retrospect, love never entered the equation. I would like to say that I was overwhelmed with adoration for the most perfect baby ever born, but all I noticed was the lack of that feeling.

The Dude was instantly smitten, and sensing that my maternal instinct had yet to kick in, repeatedly said, "Look at her. Just look at her, she's gorgeous", as if this idea would suddenly dawn on me and I'd spout sonnets about the beauty of my baby and my all-consuming love for her. I don't imagine that my hellacious week-long stay in the hospital aided in the bonding between P. and myself. I was frustrated at not being able to feed her, depressed that she was jaundiced for days, and forlorn that this was the start of my new life - a life I suddenly felt as if I didn't want after all.

Once I was home from the hospital, I started attending weekly coffee mornings held by the group of women in my antenatal class. P. was the first of the group to be born and the other women wanted to know all about my experiences. I told them all the factual stuff relating to labour and delivery, but avoided any flowery sentiments regarding my feelings toward P. When people would give me big, cheesy smiles and say, "Don't you just love her to bits?", I had to restrain myself from shrugging my shoulders and saying, "Yeah, she's alright I guess". You get reported for that sort of response in connection to your child, don't you?

Soon other babies were born to the women in my group and each get together was a jumble of women gushing about how much they loved their babies and how they would not hesitate a moment before going through it all again. "She was so worth it", "I fell in love instantly", and "I'd like at least 10 now!" were constant companions in the conversations and it made me feel as if I was a complete freak of maternal nature. I wondered if these women were just saying these things because they were obligated to, or if they genuinely felt that instantaneous bond with their new son or daughter. I couldn't decide if I was envious of them or resentful that this had come so easily to them.

It's unfortunate that you rarely hear that some women don't bond with their child immediately after birth. One of the few instances in which I've heard such feelings expressed was in relation to women with postnatal depression. It doesn't seem to be widely acknowledged that there are women out there not experiencing depression that might take more than 10 seconds to fully bond with their children.

I have never failed to calm P., to hold her and whisper to her that everything will be ok. I tell her that her mama will take care of her and make her feel better. Until recently, I did that out of obligation rather than hopeless adoration of my baby. I went through the motions because I didn't have a choice, and rarely did I feel as if this was my child to love unconditionally and eternally. I've spent much of my mothering time up to now ruing the loss of my previous life, the one I will never.have.again. No independence, no sleeping in, and no spontaneity. Ever.

This is what I wanted, right? A cute, cuddly baby who throws up in my cleavage at least twice a day? Check. I just didn't think I'd look at this baby and not connect with her any more than I would the child of a friend. After I was feeling this way for weeks, I stumbled upon the most fantastic post ever, courtesy of Morphing into Mama. This post has changed my life. I know it sounds dramatic, and I'm sure it is, but shit...how did I not find this earlier? There ARE women like me out there, we're not an urban myth of bad parenting!

MiM questions how it is possible to be in love with someone you have just met. It doesn't usually happen within the context of romantic love, so why is this any different? Yes, this tiny person is a product of you, but that doesn't mean you know who they are and who they will be from birth. For awhile they are just screaming little shitting leeches who occasionally allow you to get some much-needed sleep. There, that's me waxing poetic.

The more traditional of you will be pleased to know that I am slowly coming round. More and more P. is feeling like my own. It's taken nearly 8 weeks to get to this stage, but I'm getting there. I had an epiphany the other day when I was holding P. after a feed which gave me faith that I might actually love my little red-haired punk baby. She had her pacifier in (yes, I am that kind of parent and damn proud of it), looked me directly in the eyes and smiled. It was fleeting, but I've convinced myself that it was meant for me and not as a result of squeezing out a squirty poo or a tiny fart. I may be deluding myself, but I suppose if this is a step toward proper bonding, I'll take it. I'm not Catholic, lapsed or otherwise, so I can only take so much guilt.


There is no baby here today

I was going to write about my awful breastfeeding experiences and how I hate the "b" word now, but I'll give you all a break from my baby-related experiences for awhile lest you collectively start to jump ship. Instead, I've chosen to talk about me, me, me. You know, for a change.

I've written previously about my blog persona versus my real life self. I often think that those who read my blog would be severely disappointed in me in reality, as I think my blog persona is how I'd like to be in real life, as opposed to who I truly am. For instance, my language is not nearly so naughty. Based on Blog Pru, you'd think I went to the Al Swearengen School of Charm. Real Pru usually only swears in the presence of The Dude and Little Ms P. I do preface my swearing by shouting "EARMUFFS!" at P. in the hopes that she'll cover her ears and not be sullied by my foul language. I have had the good fortune to speak on the phone with another graduate of Al's School of Charm, my Cheese Wife, and neither one of us have sworn thus far. How we do it, I just don't know. For the record, Little Ms P's future MIL, Lumi, does maintain her blog persona in real life. Just hours after giving birth to the gorgeous Lucy, Lumi was all about the various uses of the word, "fuck". You gotta love that consistency.

So anyway, before I rattle on about myself in the form of two (yes, two!!) questionnaires that have circulated through the blogosphere lately, I'd like to know how representative you think your blog self is of you. Perhaps even some of you are more fascinating in real life than you are in your blogging life. Oh, how envious I am of you.

Questionnaire No. 1, courtesy of one Cheese Wife:

One book that changed your life: Wow, that's a tall order, isn't it? In what will be the start of a series of vague answers to this questionnaire, I can't say that any one book has changed my life. Corny as it sounds, I think my answer would be any books by Beverley Cleary and Judy Blume. Their books inspired me to have something to read with me at all times throughout my childhood. This often extended to cereal boxes and paint cans, but hey...that thirst for books was created, right? I will leave out my eventual, preteen love of the Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High series.

One book that you've read more than once: Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. I read it once, and subsequently read it again. I love me some Nabokov.

One book you would want on a desert island: Naked, by David Sedaris. If I'm stranded on a desert island I sure as hell want to have something to laugh about.

One book that made you laugh: See Sedaris, above. If you have not read any of David Sedaris' work, get thee self to Amazon right away. I first read Me Talk Pretty One Day in my college library between classes over a 2 day period. I got really cosy in a plump armchair and laughed until my eyes were devoid of any more tears and my stomach felt as if it would burst. I got a lot of strange looks from other people in the library, but my god was it ever worth it.

One book that made you cry: I've cried reading the newspaper, so it isn't much of a challenge to make me cry. Most recently, I suppose it was The Time Traveller's Wife. As someone who has the constant morbid thought that her spouse will die and leave her to raise a child alone, it really resonated with me. The entire book was tragic and depressing, which is just my style.

One book that you wish had been written: Not a book per se, but I always liked the work of Christopher Marlowe and wished he hadn't come to such an unfortunate end at the ripe old age of 29. I mean, the man wrote Dr Faustus and met his end via a knife above the eye. That's harsh. How can you not be intrigued by a man that is described on one website as a "rakehell"?

One book that you wish had never been written: Ann Coulter

The book that you are currently reading: Who has the time? It took me three weeks to read one newspaper. I have a bunch of books sitting in the bookcase begging to be read, but isn't that always the case?

One book that you have been meaning to read: Too many to count. I read the book reviews in the Guardian every weekend and lament that it will take me decades to read all that I would like to.

Questionnaire No. 2, stolen from Bri at Unwellness:

What songs would you have on your personal "meaningful mix" CD?

1) A favorite political track: This is hard already. I'll say Man in Black by Johnny Cash. Yeah, it's political. I think.

2) One of those tracks that make you dance on the dancefloor no matter what: If by "dancefloor" you mean my worn out nasty-ass carpet in my lounge, then it is Rockstar by N.E.R.D

3) The song you’d use to tell someone you love them: Speak to me Someone by Gene, and I have.

4) A song that has made you sit down and analyze its lyrics: I never read liner notes. I make up my own lyrics if I have any doubts.

5) A song that you like, that a two year old would like as well: Send Me on My Way by Rusted Root. I stole that from Bri, who in turn stole it from someone else. It's just that kinda song I guess.

6) A song that gives you an energy boost: Common People by Pulp

7) A song that you and your grandparents (would probably) like: I can't think of anything. My grandpa (the only grandparent I knew) was solely a wartime music kind of person. Chattanooga Choo Choo and all that.

8) A song that you really liked when you were 14-16, and still really like now: The Queen is Dead, by The Smiths. Well, anything by The Smiths.

9) A sad song that would be in the soundtrack of the movie about your life: Hurt, by Johnny Cash. I dare you not to cry.

10) A peppy song that would start the opening credits of the movie about your life: Me, peppy? Haha.

11) A good song from a genre of music that no one would guess that you liked: 99 Problems by Jay Z. I'm all about Jay Z.

12) A song that you think should have been playing when you were born: Ring of Fire, get it? Get it? Yeah...bad joke.

13) A favorite artist duo collaboration: Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, You Are My Sunshine. I know, another Johnny song. I can't help it, Johnny rules.

14) A favorite song that you completely disagree with (politically, morally, commonsenically,religiously etc.): This is hard. So hard, I don't have an answer.

15) The song that you like despite the fact your IQ level drops several points every time you listen to it: This list could go on and on. I am a total pop music whore. My most recent obsession is Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado. Love. that. song.

16) Your smooth song, for relaxing: The Sprout and the Bean, Joanna Newsom

17) A song you would send to someone you hate or are mad at: Untouchable Face, Ani DiFranco

18) A favorite track from an outfit considered a “super-group”: Bootylicious, Destiny's Child. Yay for Destiny's Child.

19) A song that makes you reminsce about good times with a family member: Blaze of Glory, Bon Jovi. I know. My brother and I shared the Young Guns II soundtrack on tape and would lay under his bunk bed and sing along. That, my friends, is the epitome of cool.

20) Your favorite song at this moment in time: When You Were Young, The Killers. The lead singer, Brandon Flowers, is rocking the Deadwood chic look in this video and for some reason I find this hot. Really hot.

Phew. I'm tired now. Please feel free to provide your own answers to these questions in the comments sections or on your own blogs. I need some diversions from sticking my tit in a pump and eeking out the small amount of milk I'm capable of producing. Help me out here.


Gaining one baby, losing one mind

Shit, it's been...I was going to say how many days since I last posted, but I'd need to know today's date in order to figure that tricky little 'cipher'n.

Thank you for all your wonderful comments regarding the previous post. I didn't stick the photos up in the hopes of garnering plaudits for my spawn, but rather I wanted to just post something and that's all I really had at the time. I can assure you that I am not one of those people that thinks her child is the most beautiful in the world and chooses to pass that belief on to everyone that crosses her path. Sure, she's cute, but none of you have seen her when she's drunk on milk and does her patented Infant Possessed eye movements. She rolls her eyes either back in her head or to the upper right, breathes heavily, and grunts like a rooting pig. I keep telling her she won't ever get no mans that way, but she persists.

So I promised you all a statement made by one of the midwives at the hospital which nearly left her without a head or attached arms. That comes toward the end of my story, but I promise I will tell you. I've let it go so long that I doubt anyone remembers or cares any longer. I like to recount it though to upset myself again, so I'll mention it anyway when I get to that stage.

Post-delivery I was fortunate to have some tearing and as such needed to be stitched up. As soon as there was mention of snatch stitching AND a swift snatch injection, I sucked on the gas & air like a hooker sucks on...nevermind. Prior to the commencement of the stitching, a midwife asked if she could put a suppository up my welcoming back passage. We all know of my history of having British healthcare providers shoving stuff up what is so eloquently referred to as the "back passage". Naturally I gave the midwife the go-ahead, as nothing was left holy at that point anyway. The Dude chirped, "Old pro at this Pru, aren't you?", which even in my hazy state I wondered what the midwives would make of this statement. Either they could have interpreted it to mean that I regularly underwent procedures in which suppositories were administered, or they thought that The Dude and I were quite experimental sexually and my back passage was well acquainted with fruits, vegetables, and small plastic instruments.

P. was sitting and bonding with The Dude in the corner of the room, something which I forgot as the procedure continued. By the time the midwives were done sewing me up, one of them said, "In a moment you can hold your baby again". I was completely floating with pink elephants and fluffy clouds at that point and had forgotten that I even had a child. I had to look over at The Dude and P. to verify that childbirth was the reason I had just endured labour, delivery, and snatch stitches. Up to that point, I suppose my drug-addled mind thought that I was there for the fun and games.

There wasn't any sleeping that night/morning, as P. wasn't too keen on the tit, but also wasn't satisfied with hunger. UK hospitals have a policy of keeping babies roomed with their mothers, which initially seems like a good idea. It was fantastic the first night, as I was able to spend some alone time with the little flat-nosed creature with minimal discomfort and the sleep-deprived craziness that would soon plague me.

Times changed quickly by the second night. P. still wasn't feeding and was also diagnosed with jaundice, finding herself relegated to an incubator for phototherapy treatment. I was calm about the jaundice after being assured that that most babies were afflicted, particularly premature babies. The cause of my hospital-induced insanity started from that point, as P. needed to eat sufficiently in order to flush out the jaundice and she wasn't feeding properly. She would latch on (though not correctly), but would fuss so much that one feed would take about an hour to an hour and a half. This usually would only require patience on the part of mother and child, but phototherapy is only helpful of the baby is exposed to the UV rays for an extended period of time. Obviously if your baby is feeding 6-7 times a day and taking over an hour each time to eat, that cuts into phototherapy which then leads to the baby needing to be in phototherapy for an even longer period.

The breastfeeding issue was attempted to be dealt with by numerous midwives. On any given shift there were about 8 on duty, and in all likelihood I saw most of them at least twice per shift. Every time P. was going to feed, I would buzz them so they could guide both myself and P. as to how to do this breastfeeding thing properly. Theories ranged from her prematurity to laziness on her part, and methods went from gentle coaxing to outright brutality with her head grabbed and shoved against my boob quite forcefully.

Sometimes P. would appear as if she was getting the hang of it, latch on, and suck for about 10 minutes. After that brief amount of time she would pull away and scream. Any further attempt to get her back on failed, and I would often be left crying in my bed while she cried in her cot beside me. Midwives would come in, advise me in the same ways they had previously, not understanding that I had tried all of it before with no success.

By day 4 P. was able to escape the phototherapy as her bilirubin numbers improved. Ordinarily mother and child would be able to be discharged at this stage, but as feeding was still problematic we were kept in. It is also around this time that I had what I thought was a breakthrough - a successful feed that lasted for 40 minutes. I was in absolute, toe-curling, mind-numbing pain for its entirety, but I thought that's what happened when she was latched on successfully. When she was done feeding, my nipple emerged from her mouth as flat as a pancake. I wanted to rip off my entire boob the pain was so great, but I felt such a sense of accomplishment for finally feeding my baby the way they are meant to be fed.

The next day saw my nipples sore and raw, and every movement that caused a brush of fabric against them was agony. The midwives tried to get me to breastfeed her again, but on the rare occasion she chose to latch on I wanted to throw her across the room as a reaction to the pain. The midwives coaxed me to continue, but I started sobbing after a 10 second attempt so I nixed that plan immediately.

This also marks the time when it was discovered that hey - she STILL had jaundice after all and as such would need to be back in phototherapy. Because breastfeeding was so not on, the midwives decided that she should be cup fed. For those not familiar, breast milk is expressed (well, in my case anyway) and poured into a small cup. The cup is tilted toward their mouths and they - in theory - lap up the milk like a cat. As you might presume, not only is this messy, but it is also very time consuming. P. would waste at least half of the precious breastmilk (when you have sore as fuck nipples and you pump 6 times a day, you better believe this shit is like gold dust) and take about 40 minutes to drink 30 mls. At first I was pleased to not have to struggle with attempting to breastfeed and the requisite breakdown it would lead to, but cup feeding was no joy.

I think I could have dealt with a lot of this better had I not felt so isolated and alone. I was stuck in a room of my own at the end of a corridor whose rooms had no occupants. Most nights I had to keep my windows shut so P.'s body temperature wouldn't dip whilst receiving phototherapy, so I didn't even have the comfort of the sounds of cars driving by or birds chirping. The Dude had to leave by 9.30pm every night, and at around 8.30pm I would start to panic because I knew his departure was impending. On two nights I was so inconsolable that he was going to ask to stay overnight as he believed I would hurt myself. There is no precedence for this, but I was about 20 kinds of crazy so I'm not surprised he thought something would happen. He buzzed some of the midwives, who would have just come on shift, hoping they could convince me that I was not a terrible mother and that breastfeeding was not the only answer. Unfortunately for the both of us, that never happened. Usually it was a well-intentioned midwife who would come in, pat my knee, and tell me that motherhood was hard. Who knew? I would sit there with snot pouring out of my nose and my face puffy with tears, listening to their drivel and wishing for their slow demise.

This happened for a few nights, and my reputation as the ward's crazy person spread to the morning staff as well. A couple of times I was greeted with, "I heard we had a rough night last night, eh love?", as if I had merely shed a few tears, wiped them away quickly and resolved to just get on with it. Every day from the second lot of phototherapy I was told that it could be the day we would go home. When it was found not to be the case, I would start to panic again and dread 9.30pm when I would yet again be alone and struggling.

By day 6 it seemed as if we might be going home. P.'s jaundice was dissipating to a satisfactory level, and with cup feeding supplemented by formula (also administered by cup), the midwives were happy that we could successfully feed her and avoid P.'s starvation. One midwife brought me a bottle of formula with a teat at one stage, and that set me off on a secret mission in which I decided to forgo the use of the cup and utilise bottles instead. A pediatrician, Dr McDreamy, came to visit P. to check and see if her jaundice had cleared up enough to allow her to go home.

Lest you think I had the hots for the pediatrician and anointed him with that nickname, I will say that it is in fact The Dude who decided this guy met the profile of a McDreamy. I think I even caught him gazing longingly at McDreamy with lust in his heart whilst McDreamy rambled on about bilirubin levels. The Dude has good taste though, I must admit. McDreamy was the kind of guy that could give you bad news (which he did), and you still want to hang out with him because he is just that damn cool. He was oozing with charisma as well, and I'm a sucker for a guy that can charm anyone. Damn you McDreamy, damn you.

So anyway, McDreamy got ready to tell us that we could pack up and get the fuck out of dodge, when he decided to listen to her heartbeat, you know, for kicks. He then told us that he detected a heart murmur, which of course meant that more tests would need to be done to test its severity. Cue me slitting both wrists with a shard of glass from the phototherapy lights, as I knew that tests meant processing time, which meant at least another day in my own personal ring of hell.

We were able to get her an ECG immediately after McDreamy's consultation, but naturally no one was around to interpret the results. I spent that night alone in my room with P. as per usual, smuggling in bottles of expressed milk and formula and convincing myself that she was a goner. The next day she was taken to the NICU for an echocardiogram, which, I can tell you, virtually assured me of her impending demise. It did not help that the echo took place in a room that is reserved for parents either grieving the death of a baby, or attempting to cope with having a very sick baby. In case that was not enough to make me paranoid that this was the end, there was a plaque on the wall to say that the room was created for parents by the Stillborn and Infant Death Society. Yeah, thanks for that.

The echo showed that P. does have a heart murmur, caused by a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). It seems that it is not something to be worried about at this stage, as it could resolve itself in time. She is to have an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist between 8-10 weeks, so prepare for me to be batshit crazy around that stage. Oh, the glories of being a worrier.

Anyway, post-echo we were able to go home. Before discharge, I was asking some of the midwives what I could do to encourage this breastfeeding thing, as I thought that I would be more comfortable attempting it again at home as opposed to in my time spent in the hospital. Here it comes ladies...the moment you have all been waiting for. One of the midwives, a woman I actually liked up to that stage said -

She said...brace yourselves...

"I think you just need to relax."

Oh no she didn't. Bitch told me to relax. See, you can't get away from it once you leave infertility behind you! It's not bad enough that you have to deal with that during years of infertility, oh no. It follows you to parenthood as well. It seems the remedy for being unable to breastfeed is the same as infertility. Somebody write this shit down.

I was pleased to be escaping that godforsaken place anyway, and that just cemented my desire to do so. Just motherfucking relax...pfft.

There is my sordid tale of my time spent in hospital. I'm pleased to have made it out without any grey hair or committing homicide on midwives hellbent on getting women to breastfeed regardless of their resulting instability. I plan on my next post being about my thoughts on culture and breastfeeding, and I swear if I get any pro-breastfeeding to the point of fanaticism comments, I might disembowel someone. You know, someone who deserves it.


The many moods of Little Ms P

I need a good few days to work through my next post given the emotions are still quite raw. Just thinking about it makes me anxious, and lord knows I've got enough issues at the moment. So, until the summary of doom goes live, here are some updated photos of Little Miss P. Yes, I have become one of those people. My most sincere apologies.

A rare moment of peacefulness. Any similarity to an Anne Geddes photo is purely accidental. Believe me. I know all that's missing is P. dressed as a beet or something.

I like to pretend this is a laugh. I'm sure it's just gas, or else she's squeezing out one of those delightful, noisy yellow poos that she's so fond of.

P. and her friend Brian. I don't know what he did to piss her off, but she's giving him hell for something. Our current caption is, "Brian! You ignorant fool! You shall suffer for this!"

Given it the old two fingers again. Punk 4 lyf and what not...

Ok, that's it. I'm done posting photos until she's 16 now. I promise the next post will include the offensive midwife comment. Brace yourselves.