Friday, June 21, 2013

June 2013 PAIL Monthly Theme Post: Looking Back

(This post is part of PAIL Bloggers' Monthly Theme Post for June.  You can find other posts about this theme here.)

One advantage to having been a blogger for a few years is that I don't have to strain my brain to try and remember what I was doing this time last year, or two or three or four or more years ago.  I can simply look back at my blog(s) and figure it out.

This time last year, my sons were still pretty young: about five months old, three-and-a-half months adjusted age, since they were preemies.  I was back at work full time, and MM was home on FMLA leave with them, although he was preparing to go back to work as well.  Looking back at my blog, apparently my biggest challenges were back pain and my weight.  (These are still challenges.)

This time two years ago, I had just found out I was pregnant and did not yet know I was having twins.  (We had our suspicions, due to high beta numbers, but I didn't have my first ultrasound until early July.)

About three years ago, I wrote here about the crisis of confidence I was having in my life, brought on by infertility and uncertainty in the job I was in at the time.  I do remember that time as being a pretty low one for me.  That was during a time of "limbo" for us when we had recently found out that another treatment cycle had failed and we weren't sure what we were going to do next.

Four years ago, I was in the two week wait for what would turn out to be a failed treatment cycle.  That cycle was earlier on in our "journey," not long after we started intervention; it was only our second IUI with only Clomid and an hCG trigger.  Back in those days, I was still optimistic that we would just need "a little help" to get pregnant.  Ah, the naivete!  The optimism!

Five years ago at this time, MM and I were not yet married but were preparing to move in together.  We were house hunting in anticipation of buying a house together once he sold the house he owned and was living in at the time.

Six years ago at this time, I had relatively recently ended my engagement to my ex-fiance and accepted the job that brought me back to Phoenix. . . and indirectly led to my meeting MM.  )Actually, when I think about it, accepting that job offer indirectly led to almost everything in my current life: my husband, my children, my job.  Hmm.)

At that time, I do recall being pretty firmly convinced that I would likely never meet anyone else I wanted to marry while I was still young enough to have children.  Nonetheless, I had recently reconnected via the internet with a college ex-boyfriend I had always thought of as The One Who Got Away and was obsessing over that turn of events.  (I didn't know it at the time, but that situation would end up bringing me closure in a way that was wholly unanticipated.  A story that is complicated and completely deserving of another post of its own.  Suffice it to say: it was a very good thing we did not end up together.)

So in just six years' time, I have gone from a woman who was convinced she would never have a family to a married mother of two.  Life is funny.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Feeling down

  • I am feeling down and unmotivated to work today.  This is a bad state of affairs, especially when I am already behind on hours for the month due to having missed four half-days of work (equally two full days) due to doctor's appointments for my sons and my own migraines.  And this in a month in which billing all my required hours was already going to be difficult due to fact that there are only 20 workdays.  *sigh*
  • Factors contributing to my feeling down:
    • I had a migraine that lasted three days this week, and even this morning, I still woke up with a little residual pain, especially on the left side of my head and neck/shoulder.  I know that many migraine sufferers are plagued with headaches that last for days, but I (blessedly) am usually not.  In fact, I cannot recall another time when I have had a migraine that lasted more than 48 hours.  I exhausted all medicinal and non-medicinal remedies and still couldn't get rid of my headache.  It was awful.  Equally as bad as the pain and suffering was the fact that I couldn't figure out what caused this episode, or what caused it to continue.
    • Despite the fact that I began looking for another job in December 2012 and have interviewed for three jobs since that time, I am still working here, with no active applications anywhere at the moment.  It's been weeks since I've even seen anything I wanted to apply for.  I don't hate my field, but I am growing to really dislike my current position, and I really want to get out of it. . . but I am stuck, for a variety of reasons.  The primary reason is financial: our lifestyle is heavily dependent on the income I earn from this job.  Having said that, truth be told, even if I had a year's salary sitting in the bank that was earmarked for no other purpose, I likely would not quit this job, simply because doing so would not be a smart move for me professionally.  (We all know the conventional wisdom that it's easier to find a job when you already have one, and gaps on a resume can be hard to explain in an interview.)  Work is important to me, and I hate waking up each day dreading going in to the office.
    • MM has been talking for a while--ever since I was pregnant with the boys, actually--about wanting to move to a bigger house.  Long story, but now that the housing market has been improving in our area, he has begun doing some exploration in this regard.  This prompted me to email our mortgage broker yesterday, and what we found out from him was depressing.  In short, even if we could sell our house today, we could not buy another house of even equal value and have the same monthly payment we have now because mortgage rates have increased since we refinanced last December.  *sigh*  Looks like we will be staying put indefinitely.  Even though I am really not as keen to move as MM is, I had begun to think that a change and more space might be nice, and I never like the feeling of having options taken away from me.
  • On the positive side. . . 
    • We had dinner last night with a friend and her family who are in town for a few days.  I had not seen her in over a year and (for a variety of reasons) had never met her children, ages almost-4 and two-and-a-half.  We had a really nice evening, and the boys were extremely well-behaved.
    • I will be getting to see another out-of-town friend on Saturday when she and her husband and 3-year-old daughter are in town and meet us at the Children's Museum.
    • I will be seeing two friends while I am out of town for a business trip on Monday and Tuesday
    • I have a very busy week next week, and it's all work that I enjoy, is out of the office, and cannot be procrastinated away.
Here's to feeling better soon.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Toddlers are fun

(Caution:  children and parenting mentioned and discussed)

I often think that someone who knows me only through the things I write here might easily get the impression that I am a negative person when, in fact, that is not true.  Like anyone else, I have my moments of negativity and pessimism, and I think I am more pragmatic and logical than most women. . .but in the main, I am a happy and positive person.

I think the reason that more of the things I post here are negative than positive is because this blog is, in some ways, a repository for my negative thoughts and emotions.  Historically, this is the (virtual) place I have come when I have had thoughts and feelings I wanted to pour out that I didn't want to pour out to people in real life, for one reason or another.  Often, that reason was that those thoughts or feelings were uncharacteristically negative.

In addition to being the place I come to dump my negative thoughts and feelings, this blog has also become for me a chronicle of my life of sorts.  A limited chronicle, to be sure, but a record of my experiences nonetheless.

On that note, let me share that my sons are so fun!  Most mornings, they wake up laughing and "talking" to each other.  They are full of energy and are almost constantly in motion from the time they get up until the time they go to bed (apart from naptime).

They are understanding more and more of what we say to them and are making more attempts to communicate with us.  MJ says several words consistently and signs several words as well; it seems that he picks up a new sign every few days now.  AJ says only a few words but can sign several more and clearly understands a lot of what we say.  He has surprised us lately with busting out a couple of new signs we didn't realize he'd mastered.  (I have had some mild concern about the fact that AJ seems to be "behind" his brother, but he is quieter and mellower in general, and both our pediatrician and nanny seem to think he is on track for his age.)

In addition to the pleasure I get from seeing one of the boys sign a new word or hearing him say a new word, it is also great to be able to actually communicate with one another.  It's hard taking care of someone when you have to guess what they want and when they can't understand what you're asking of them.

We are often asked if the boys play together, and I'm not quite sure how to answer that question.  They do chase each other around, and MJ often tackles/hugs (not sure which) AJ and takes things from him that he is playing with.  They often hold hands while they are in the high chairs for meals and put food or sippy cups on each other's trays.  They "talk" and laugh at each other often.

In addition to the fun of watching them learn and develop, I really enjoy getting to act silly with them.  They love it when I sing 80s pop songs at the top of my lungs or make faces or give them "horsey" or "airplane" rides.  It's nice to have an excuse to do these things!

As well as enjoying the things the boys are currently learning and doing, being a parent has made me look forward to the future more than I had in a while prior to having them in my life because I know that the next stages in development will be just as fun to watch (in addition to having their own parenting challenges, yes, but focusing on the positive here).  MM and I often talk about how we look forward to introducing the boys to various activities and experiences.

We are so fortunate to have these little guys in our lives.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Memory loss

(Caution: children and parenthood mentioned)

Does anyone else notice that, since having children, your memory has gone down the tubes?

Pre-children, I had an excellent memory.  I would remember names, faces, things I needed to do, things I had read, things people told me, things that happened to me (and to others) years back.  I could rattle off facts and details and deadlines about my cases without looking them up.

Even while I was pregnant, I congratulated myself on not having developed problems with my memory, as so many other women report.  I did sometimes have difficulty concentrating, but I attributed that more to my extreme fatigue/exhaustion and constant nausea and heartburn than to my pregnancy itself.

Then my sons arrived, and with their arrival, my previously excellent memory departed.  At first, I chalked it up to lack of sleep.  But my sons have been sleeping through the night fairly consistently for some time now, so I can no longer use that excuse. . . and the problem seems to be getting worse instead of better.

Nowadays, I sometimes cannot even remember basic things without a reminder.  At work, this state of affairs isn't too much of a problem because law offices are set up to have safeguards in place to remind the lawyers of tasks and due dates (a safeguard against malpractice claims in a setting where nearly everyone is very busy all the time).  It's a mild inconvenience having to look up things I used to be able to remember, but it's workable.

At home, though, this is more of a problem for me.  I will go to the grocery store, and if I do so without a list (on which I tick off each item one by one as I find them), I will leave without the main thing(s) I went to buy.  I have forgotten to mail friends' birthday cards (or worse, cards to their children).  Right now, I have a baby gift that I have been carrying around in my car for over a month for which I keep forgetting to buy a mailer in which it will fit so I can mail it.  (It's a good thing I didn't buy a newborn-sized outfit; the baby has probably already outgrown that size by now!)

I have completely spaced on appointments.  I forgot my last hair appointment until I got the reminder on my Phone 30 minutes before (thank goodness for the iPhone and its calendar!).  I completely spaced a doctor's appointment earlier this week because I never set a reminder on my calendar, and I forgot to check the calendar that morning.  Didn't even remember I'd made the appointment until the office called me to tell me I'd missed it.

I also find that I cannot remember people I grew up with.  I grew up in a small town--population 5000-ish, only 350 kids in my entire high school--and I attended school with pretty much the same group of people from K through 12, so you would think I would be able to remember them.  Nope.  Every few months I will get a friend request on Fac.ebo.ok, or hear of someone from my hometown who died, and I have NO CLUE who this person is.  None.  Not even after other people who know the person (like my sister) try to jog my memory.

[Actually, I think the problem I describe in the last paragraph is related to a mental block I have about my hometown because, come to think of it, I had the same problem pre-pregnancy.  Hmm.  So maybe scratch that.]

One day last weekend, I actually forgot to put a diaper on one of my sons.  Yep.  I took them both in after breakfast to change out of their pajamas and into fresh diapers and clothes.  I changed and dressed MJ and then moved on to AJ.  A few minutes later, while playing with them in the living room, I picked up AJ and happened to pat his bottom. . . and noticed, hmm, there's no padding here.  That's because the poor guy was just wearing a romper with no diaper underneath!  (Thankfully, I realized this before he peed or pooped on the romper.)

MM jokes these days about how, once I leave the house in the morning, I will always come back in at least once to retrieve something I forgot. . . my iPhone, my lunch, the key to my car.  It's true.  And I can't even tell you how many times I have driven to work in the wrong car or driven off with the boys' car seats and stroller in the back, when our nanny will be needing them that day, without even noticing until I'm almost to the office.

I am not sure what the root of this problem is.  Stress?  Hormones?  Too many things on my mind?  Early onset dementia?

They say you give up a lot of your old life when you become a parent.  I guess my memory is just one of those things I've given up.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Where do I belong?

I have been on a semi-hiatus here, and it has continued at least in part because I'm not sure where I belong.

I wrote here nearly three years ago about sometimes feeling like a fraud in the infertility community, primarily because I/we never had an actual diagnosis but were simply "unexplained."  (In fact, my local RE told me once that he would consider me "subfertile" vs. "infertile.")

That feeling has resurfaced to an even greater degree since my unplanned pregnancy in March.  I mean, apparently I am/was able to get pregnant without intervention, despite 40 failed cycles of TTC.  Who knew?

At the same time, having conceived our sons through the use of donor eggs and IVF, I feel that my "journey to parenthood" is forever set apart from those who simply conceived through intercourse, with no medical assistance.  I mean, if someone uses IVF to conceive, strictly speaking, there is no need to ever tell your child this fact about his/her conception (any more than there would be a need to detail the sexual positions used or location of said conception if it were unassisted).  Not so with donor egg IVF.

If in no other lasting way, our family is different from those families in that my sons are not genetically related to me.  Given the growing ubiquity of genetic testing, this fact is something I likely could not conceal from my sons, even if I were of a mind to do so.  (And I'm not.)

Additionally, as I wrote about hereI don't think much about my (alleged) infertility any more now that our boys have arrived, and so the angst that spurred me to start this blog and to continue writing here are (mostly) gone.  For me, blogging has been both a chronicle of my experiences and a form of therapy and catharsis, as well as a way to connect with others going through similar experiences.  Nowadays, despite being a part of PAIL Bloggers and other online communities for parents after infertility, for reasons I can't quite articulate, I just don't feel the same camaraderie or esprit de corps or *something* most of the time.

These days, my biggest challenges seem to be spending the majority of my time away from my sons at a job I find mostly frustrating and lacking in personal fulfillment, and parenting two toddlers with limited language abilities and very different personalities.  So in those respects, maybe the place I belong is in a group of other full-time, working-outside-the-home mothers of twins?  I'm not aware of such a group--I haven't really made connections like this in my local Mothers of Multiples group--but I'm sure one exists.  Although I suspect that the other moms who would "fit into" this group would be like me: too busy and stressed for many get-togethers.

I still very much enjoy reading all my regular blogs and finding out what my friends in the ALI community are up to--even those who are now parenting, since that is the majority of those friends--but I somehow feel that the things I would choose to write about here, if I had the time and the inclination, would be things that would be of little-to-no interest to those same friends.

I don't know.  I hate posing questions to which I don't know the answers; I suppose that's the lawyer in me.

To sum up:  my sons are a joy, if sometimes also a challenge; my marriage and most of my other interpersonal relationships are going along relatively smoothly at present; and I have added looking for a new job to my already full-to-the-brim to-do list.  That's my life in a nutshell.