Wednesday, December 29, 2010

7 Going on 17

D and me are having such a good week. We're both off work, and we're both catching up on some much needed and deserved rest, and we're both working on renovating. Well, D is more than I am... she loves doing it, and I think it's kinda cool that I have a woman who is willing to try anything DIY related. She's talented :-)

On Christmas day, when we were over at my brother's house, his just-7-year-old and oldest of 4 kids ran off upstairs after losing it on her brother. My brother and wife are at the end of their rope with her, and it totally makes me sad to see. I can't imagine having 4 kids seven and under, and they're doing the best job they can, but along came a boy as number 3, and he is a tough kid to try to keep in check.

He is a sweet little thing, but as you can imagine, it's tough to be heard when you're living in a family of 6. He's got this endearing and absolutely relentless gruff little voice, which is all you can hear over dinner. The oldest, T, has always been a really good kid, but this year has started to act out. But so would I, if I was her... actually, I was her...

Though I don't know what it is like to be the oldest, I do know what it's like to have a brother who "ruins your life". My middle brother was horrible to me, and I endured years of pretty brutal "bugging" (reads full-on BULLYING, in retrospect). I've been locked in tuba cases (hence an intense fear of elevators). I've been pinned down and farted on with spread cheeks (lovely). I've been pinched and punched and scraped and treated like shit. He's an amazing man now, but he was quite a brutal older brother. If I complained about him, my parents would say one thing: "Just ignore him". That's all I was ever told...

And that's what T is being told to do. "Just ignore him." Your brother who, after you spend three hours setting up your Playmobile school, comes in and knocks it down with one speedy lap from Lightning McQueen. Your brother, who interrupts every one of your stories with his screams for attention. Your brother, who you have to come home from school right away to babysit because your mom is hard-up for help, is a tough kid to have in your life. At seven, you should be able to play, play, play. At seven, you shouldn't need to get grounded for not coming home after school because you wanted some time to yourself before starting your chores with the three younger kids...

It's really sad. My brother and his wife are doing the best they can, but this poor little chicky is stuck in this fucked-up world somewhere between playing with dolls or singing to Justin Beiber posters and having to look after a 7-month-old while her mom dashes out to get groceries.

On Christmas day, when I followed her up to her room, we had a chat about brothers. They can suck. I know - I had two. She just kept saying how frustrated she gets with him, and how her dad just tells her to "just ignore him"... and I had my little flashback. We had a heart to heart, and then I realized: this kid needs some serious alone time, with a hell of a lot of unconditional love.

So D and I took her on a date yesterday. We picked her up, took her out for pizza, went to see Megamind, then out for dessert and back home. She had an absolute blast, and it was amazing to see how excited she got (while totally trying to play it cool). D and I made a deal that, no matter how benign the conversation, we would not repeat anything she said to any member of her family, so that she can always trust us not to say anything. Obviously that goes within reason - if something drastic is said, we take it as it comes.

We had such an amazing time, and it made me realize that, although we are really active aunties, we spend time with the family as a unit - or at least the older girls together, but very rarely do we just hang out with one of them. It's so important. This kid, who thrives in everything she does, is so unhappy at home right now, and just needs some time to chill out and talk without having to talk over anyone.

I can't even imagine that household when all four kids are teenagers . D and I have already had numerous conversations at the large possibility that one of these four kids will live with us at some point in their childhood/adolescent lives, and we're okay with that. Every child should have a safe haven, and I'd be honoured if our home were to act as one for any child.

I'm a really lucky aunt.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Does this improve on silence?

I've been uninspired to write, feeling as though I have nothing to add to the blogosphere's conversation, especially when it comes to TTC or gay parenting or anything remotely associated with this blog title. It was funny too, with the timing: H2 commented on one of my posts, and because I was not familiar with the name, I clicked on her blogger profile and read her "About Me" and it is just a simple quote, which just took me in... one of those times where it felt like it was meant just for me. A quote from Sai Baba:

"Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?"

I was going to write just to write until I read that, and thought, "no, this really doesn't improve on the silence". And though I know it's writing and not speaking, I still feel like this is a place where I have a voice, regardless of how many people are here to "see" me speak. But I do feel that what I put on these pages count. Or should. Or, I don't know.

Christmas was great. D and I had a fabulous morning together spoiling each other, and then headed to my brother's for Christmas dinner with his wife and four kids, who we adore. [side note: I'm going to rename "D" and perhaps give myself and other "players" in my life a pseudonym, as it's more personal. Plus, I *love* Insert Metaphor's cast of characters...]

We had lots of laughs and lots of great feedback from the gifts we got the kids this year ~ I have to say, we are pretty amazing aunties when it comes to this kind of stuff... especially when our 5 year old niece says that the only thing she wants this year is a Jasmine Barbie, but guess what? There is no Jasmine Barbie in Canada. D even went to Washington State to see whether we could pick up a Jasmine Barbie, but she only comes in the Disney Princess Collection. Long story short: we got a Jasmine Barbie from the storage room at the Disney store from Disney World itself! (We didn't go all the way there, but fate had it that a Santa-like person just happened to be there at the right moment). Anyway, we spoiled the kids without breaking the bank.

Besides Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day, we don't really have many plans this season, which is good... I'm catching up on many months of under-sleeping, and especially as I'm weaning off the anti-anxieties (still no problems, knock on wood), this time is really important to me to just be good to myself, and my partner, and although we have an apartment to renovate, our selves need to revamp.

It seems like this year went extra fast, which is good. It's actually been a flippin' horrible year, and though we are doing well now, and have been for some months, I would not want to go through anything remotely close to what we've/I've been through this year.

I have high hopes for 2011. I really do. I'm hopeful for the conversation that D and I will be having soon about family. I hope that she still wants to do this. I've been really respectful and have followed through on my promise to let the subject go for three months. But January is coming up, and though I'm not going to jump on D at 12:01 a.m. on January 1st, I'm looking forward to starting up a conversation that I hope sets up the rest of the year.

In my head, she says yes and we run out the door to the fertility clinic. In reality, we have some things to think through: I am currently in a job that ends this summer, and I need to find a permanent job in order to put in my hours before I take maternity leave or even start fertility treatments. I need medical coverage, which I have now, but D doesn't, so when this job ends, that's a top priority (though anything to do with reproductive "help" is unfortunately not easily covered). We are moving in the summer, hopefully, back to the city and out of Suburbia, which, although has done us some good, has mostly made us realize that our lives and our hearts are in the city. That damn, ridiculously expensive and beautiful city...

My health too. I will be off my anti-anxieties faster than I'd originally thought, if things continue to go smoothly. But there is more tweaking to do. My chronic pain issues are SO close to being gone (yay!) but I still have a little bit more to go there too.

And I'm not forgetting my wonderful partner. I have no idea what, if anything, she envisions when she thinks of our journey towards making a family. I respect that she is most likely not as eager as I am, and that's okay. I've been spilling out fears and hopes here, and she - for all I know - really did take a full 3 month hiatus from even thinking about babies. And that's okay. That was the point, right?

I'm getting antsy, yes. I just want to know. I'm a planner. I'm a dreamer. I'm a worst-case-scenario kind of person, so any answer can help me move on. I look forward to the conversation, and I trust that it will happen organically. I don't want to push. I don't want to harp. I want D to want to talk about this. I just have to remind myself that she is not me, and she will not, understandably, be on the same page as me... but this time, I'm hoping for at least the same book.

I trust that next year will be "our" year. We are going into it in a healthy place, and I do have faith that, whatever is in the cards, is the right thing for both of us. In the meantime, I will breathe.

Gotta remember to breathe.


                 [photo credit]

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas!

I hope you are all having a fabulous day, enjoying family and each other...

Santa was awesome this year :-)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

So far, so good

Day 2, and I've actually had no trouble sleeping... knock on wood.

On Thursday, I went to pick up a different dose of the anti-anxieties that I'm attempting to come off. The pharmacist, who I know is just doing his job, pissed me off big-time. I hand him the prescription, he tells me to come back in two minutes, and just as I'm walking away to go pick up some Christmas stockings for our wee family (just D, me and the kittens this year), he calls me back, "Ma'am, you know this is a different dose than you usually get, right?". 

"Right. But it's in addition to the other dose... I'm weaning off the medication, so I'm going down by 0.25-0.5 mg per week at the beginning."

"Oh."

I go pick up the stockings and head back.


With his zitty little face, he calls me up to the counter by name, and then somehow lets the entire store know what I'm on by basically yelling out the name of the medication. I'm kind of used to that though. As much as it sucks, a lot of pharmacists do it. It wasn't that that got me.


"Um, so... can I ask what you are taking these anti-anxieties for?"


"Uhhhh, well, they help me sleep. But basically, at this point, it's because I'm dependent on them."

"How long have you been on them."


"Over a decade," I reply, thinking in my head 'probably for most of the time that you've been alive'.


"I don't know how much you know about this medication, but it's not usually recommended for long-term use."


"Yeah, that's why I'm coming off them."


"Your body has probably built up a tolerance to the medication, and it may not even be doing anything for you right now, except help you sleep."


"Yeah, that's what I said. And that's why I'm coming off them."


"Because your body will start to need more and more of them to work. And you don't want to take a higher dosage after this long."

"Yeah, that's why I'm coming off them."


"Okay, well if you have any questions..."


"I won't."


I'm not usually a bitch to others, but when I feel as though I'm being talked down to about something that I am extremely well-read and well-experienced in, I get a little pissy. 


I felt like saying, "You try to deal with having a major depressive disorder with psychosis, coupled with a panic disorder when you were 17, try to keep up the straight-A-student-MVP-ball-player-piano-festival-winner persona, as you literally think you're going crazy, and then talk to me about how I should use the drugs. You try being put in a psych ward at age 17-21, pretty much exclusively, wanting to die and not believing with an inch of yourself that you're going to live into adulthood. You try getting electrodes that tickle when they're stuck to your brain, a stick to bite down on shoved in your mouth, lying in a room of doctors and nurses - enough of them to hold you down while you shake and piss all over yourself - after they put you out and shock your brains three times a week "just to see" if anything "shifts" in your mood, and tell me about how to take my medication. You have a panic attacks every day where you forget how to breathe and think your chest is going to explode and have your world shatter down beside you... and then, you can talk to me about how to take my meds. 


But I didn't. I took the bag from him, walked out with my head up (not held high, but I tried), got in the car and started my mantra:


"I can do this. I will sleep. I will stay healthy. I am doing this for the health of my family. I can do this. I will sleep. I will stay healthy. I am doing this for the health of my family. I can do this. I will sleep. I will stay healthy. I am doing this for the health of my family."

I can do this.


2 days down... a few months to go.



Monday, December 13, 2010

Canada, my old friend, you've let me down....

I love living in Canada for many many reasons (including the fact that I am legally married to my partner). It is an incredible country with such diversity and - at least in my city - a place full of very accepting people.

But this sucks. It is illegal to buy eggs (and sperm???) in Canada, so many are resorting to going overseas to basically buy underprivileged women's uteri to carry babies. And it sucks not only for the ethical reasons, but because for a country that prides itself on freedom, democracy, and liberalism (despite our conservative leader, Stephen Harper), we should be able to get the help we need to reproduce, if we can't do it the old-fashioned way.


Quebec just announced that they would pay for fertility treatments for residents living in the province. All the other provinces and territories are miles behind the times, with this archaic notion that we need to make alternate methods of fertility illegal.


For someone who is not versed in U.S. law, do any U.S. states have the same legal issues? Or can you buy sperm without repercussions and a ten-year stint in jail?

The true north strong and free, my ass...


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Different Pages, Maybe Even Different Books

Do you know how hard it is not to make one comment pertaining to whether or not we're going to have a child when it's been decided that we aren't going to speak about it until January?

And I don't mean "Honey, do you still want to have kids?" I'm mean the "Yeah, our kid wouldn't be caught dead doing that" or "Can you imagine how cute it would be if our baby had that hat?" or "Our niece will be old enough to babysit by then". 

As some of you know, our therapist helped D and me decide to put off baby talk (any of it!) for three months. I agreed that it was a good idea (and still think it is, mostly). We're in the middle of the last month of this, and I've been doing well this whole time, but I'm about to explode. Part of why I blog is to get all of this out, and to write out my hopes and dreams, because I can't speak with my wife about them. Not yet...

I can't tell her that one of the main reason I am coming off anti-anxieties is because I'm thinking about pregnancy. I can't tell her that I'm putting away a certain amount of money a month to pay for fertility treatment. I can't tell her that whenever I see a baby, my uterus kicks me in my brain. I can't tell her that I've met some really great people online who I really connect with. And it is not because I'm hiding things from her, it's because I am keeping my part of the deal, but to be honest, it feels like I'm lying - or becoming really distant from her - because I can't share these things.

I'm just really looking forward to a month from now, when we will be talking about babies, and I hope that when I finally bring up the fact that I've been blogging, she doesn't freak out. I hope she realizes that this is beyond important to me. How do I explain that gut-wrenching desire that comes from the pit of my stomach and my heart at the same time, to someone who has never had one urge to carry a child. I don't think she has to be on the same page when it comes to level of excitement... I just hope that if we do go ahead with trying to have a baby, she will feel excited. I think she will. If having a baby is what she really wants, she will.

Is there anyone else out there that wants to / is / has carried a child with a partner that isn't as invested as you? How has it worked? Does it work?

We're planning on moving and a lot of the places we're looking at and can afford are one bedroom places. The fact that I can't turn to D and say "but where will the baby's room be?" is killing me...

Ugh, I hate this. I just want to know, so that I can celebrate or mourn. I feel entitled to that. And it's coming... in less than a month. I suppose I should be happy.

Patience is a bitch.

                    [photo credit]

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cleansing

I don't change, and I don't like it when people change things on me, but I realize that I'm really not liking my blog layout.

When I first started blogging, I thought this was a cool theme, but it's just so busy, the colours are drab, and I just don't like the way it looks at all.

Reading other blogs, I just love the simple, aesthetically pleasing white background ones with no whistles... so I think that's what I'm going to go for when I have some time to change things.

I figure I may as well do this while I have few readers... and hopefully I'll gain some more along the way!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Time to come off some meds...

                  [photo credit]

So, it's time to do some weaning. 

I've been on anti-anxieties for almost half my life, and I've decided that this month, I'm going to stop taking them. I am on a really low dose, and although they once really helped with my anxiety, I recognize that my dependence is mostly physical. The meds help me sleep, and sleep is one of the most important things for me to get to keep me from spiraling into a deep depression. They do very little - if anything - for my actual anxiety and mood.

Anti-anxiety medication is supposed to be prescribed for short-term use. Full stop. [The University of British Columbia published a media release on an interesting study about long-term use]. But when you're institutionalized as a teenager, with no real hope of getting out, I think doctors do whatever they can to treat you in the moment. And my moments were awful. I don't blame my docs; it's not like the anger and resentment I hold from receiving electro-convulsive (shock) therapy and losing 15 years of memory... this was something that was a quick-fix. I get it. I was dying. Or wanted to.

And now I'm not dying, nor do I want to. I'm doing this for me, but I'm also thinking long-term with medication and pregnancy. Out of the meds I'm on, this one is the one that I don't need for it's purpose, and it's one of the most harmful to a fetus. It's probably the best one to come off first. My plan is to come off the benzos completely, and cut down on the others (see my Happy Mommy, Happy Baby post for the logistics of what needs to happen / my ethical stand-point on medication and pregnancy). If I happen to be able to come off any other medication - all the better. But I also need to stay healthy.

I have some low-stress time coming up. I'm off work the week between Christmas and New Years, back at work for just over a week, and then off for a stay-cation for two weeks in January. This means that if I'm up in the middle of the night staring at the ceiling because I can't sleep, dealing with night sweats and little panic attacks, and god knows what else, it won't be as detrimental as it would be if I had to get up at 5:30 am every day to go to work. 

I'm scared. There has been two other occasions in my relatively recent past where I've attempted to come off some meds. One was pretty successful, despite the extremely low energy and the added 20 pounds. The other time was horrific. I was on disability assistance and in part-time school at the time; I locked myself in my apartment, letting only my then-roommate (who actually ended up being my partner for a year) come near me. I puked every day. I couldn't eat. I sweat through all of my clothes, but couldn't stop shivering. I didn't sleep for four weeks. I hallucinated. I punched through walls in frustration and broke my hand. And the sad part was, I totally shouldn't have come off that medication at that time of my life, but I told myself that being on it was a weakness. I fell into the stigma trap, knowing full well (theoretically) that I needed those meds as much as a diabetic needs insulin. But there's the age old debate...

When I was 20, I was on ten psychiatric medications at a time. I'm not exaggerating. I've always had treatment-resistant depression, but ironically, I was being over-treated. I don't remember life before Monday to Sunday pill boxes, taken morning and night. That's been my life. And still, even though I go out and do public speaking gigs where I talk to people about the stigma of mental illness, I still feel a sense of shame that I can't "just come off" my meds. 

It's more complicated than that.

So I'm taking it one step at a time, extremely strategically, and under the guidance of my awesome shrink. It will work, and I will be okay. It will be hard, but it's one step... and one step of many that I'm committed to take throughout this process.

With any luck, by Valentine's Day (or maybe sooner), I will be anti-anxiety free. And hopefully anxiety free.

Now that's a heart-racing, loving thought.

                [photo credit]

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fertility Acronyms for Dummies

It's done! 

A list of fertility acronyms and abbreviations explained is now a page on the side of my blog.


There are about 175 definitions to fertility and pregnancy acronyms - common, and some uncommon. I've left the comments open and will do so for a while in case I've left out some obvious ones, or if you think I should add some more, or, of course, if I'm way off-base with some of them. I'll review in a month or so and do any updates needed. Also, there are some that, even though I know the definition, I don't know what they mean, so maybe I'll do a little bit of research for some of the harder ones - but it was important for me to get the list out.

Hopefully this will help the other virgins to TTC (trying to conceive ;-) with their journey - and with reading everyone else's blogs and go "yeah, I know what she's talking about!"

Thanks to those who helped out with links, etc. This is obviously not an original idea, but I thought it would be nice to have one place to come for help.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

In the meantime...

While I am doing my research on fertility acronyms and abbreviations, with help from Amanda Mayfield and others, here's a snapshot of what my life looks like right now:

Roses from a kind-of romantic day last weekend, paint brush and paint for a slow-going kitchen update and a bucket with gloves to scrub the crap out of the kitchen walls and cabinets (not literally, thankfully).

And then there is this:


What is that, you ask? It's paint and duct tape on the kitchen counters with the sticky side up. Our lovely but drive-me-crazy kitten has just found out that she can jump up on the counters. And yes, that is her fur, stuck to the tape, from a failed jumping attempt. Mean? No... don't think so... conventional methods of training this little devil are just not working...

I look forward to baby-proofing my home. There is some really cute stuff out there - stuff that doesn't make you look like your house is falling apart.

There is an untapped market out there for kitty-proofing, I tell you...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

TTC, BFN, FSH, OPK... WTF? HELP!

I love all of your posts. Like, absolutely love them. I have so much to learn... no really - a bit more to learn than I thought!

Although I'm not yet completely on the true TTC journey (but then, when exactly does that start... with the idea? Decision? Plan? Action?), I am trying to read all about it. Through my blogging friends, I am learning much about fertility and all that goes along with this amazing stage, though with some difficulty.

What the hell do all the acronyms mean? Seriously!

So, this is what I'm proposing. I'm going to read some more, collect some acronyms from other blogs and from you and your comments to this post, and start a "Fertility Acronyms for Dummies" page on my blog, so that people like me - virgins to the TTC life (wrong choice of word?) - can understand what the f*ck you're saying... because I can imagine it's all very important stuff.

And I ain't no dummy. I haz an ed-joo-kay-shion... just not in pregnancy.

But I want to. 

So help me out? We could probably do better than this: