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.