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Category Archives: Baby Plans

Hope

In the history of mankind there is only one emotion that I can think of that is both equally uplifting and equally cruel: hope.

Hope keeps you holding on to bad situations, wishing for things to improve.

Hope wakes you up in the morning, puts your feet on the ground, and makes your eyes stay open, when all you want is the sweet, obliterating, deep sleep of sadness.

Hope keeps you afloat when everything else tells you to give up and sink.

Hope teases a light at the end of the tunnel that may be escape, or it may be the train.

Hope puts one foot in front of the other, when all you want is to turn back.

For me hope can be an especially cruel companion. My vivid imagination allows me to see my dream played out, as if it was already happening.  My dream becomes so real, so tangible, that my hope is an after-thought, because the conclusion has already been reached.

I can envision the child in my arms. I can clearly see Connor in mainstream classroom.  I look around my home and I see what could be, not what is.  And it all fills me with joy.

I am a hopeful person.  I can’t help it.

So when life disappoints me, when it falls short of my visions, I feel betrayed by my own heart.  My hope pushes me to such heights of belief that when reality steps in I am shocked.

I don’t despair for long though, it’s truly not in my nature.

I see the good, I look for the bright side, and I always have hope.

The Conception Game

Similar to the dating game, the conception game appears to take a lot of preparation, but in the end, it’s just a guess.

Or at least it is for me.

My cycle is not what anyone would call regular.  It never has been.  That’s why I was on birth control for 14 years!  The only other time I’ve willingly gone off birth control was with Connor’s surprise conception….while I was on birth control.

Also like the dating game, this conception game feels very awkward.  I spent so many years trying to avoid getting pregnant that it seems now counter-intuitive to attempt conception!  Sure it’s what we want and what we’ve planned for and our lives are in a very good state right now to have a baby, but there’s this little voice inside me that keeps screaming “NO! Think of all the things you’ll be missing for the next 10 months!!! Think of all that wine waiting for you!”

I do love wine.

But the bigger part of me wants a baby.  The louder, larger voice sends up dozens of prayers each day asking for a baby, any kind of baby, just one for me.  I bargain, I plead, I try humbleness, but really it’s all just prayers for the same thing: a baby.

So I’m charting.  I monitor my cycle with the intensity of micro-biology engineers.  I also run through various symptoms every day: are my boobs bigger? is there any cramping? any food aversions? nausea? unnatural tiredness? overly frequent urination?

But on any given day I seem to have all of these! My boobs appear to be larger, but then they seem larger every month when I near the end of my cycle.  And yes there is cramping, but I also have cramping during PMS.  I am tired, nauseous and peeing frequently on any given day, pregnant or not! I have a 4-year-old who drags home every disease known to man on a regular basis.  So I could be pregnant or I could have the flu.  I could be pregnant or it could be PMS.  I could be pregnant or I just worked out after getting 4 hours of sleep due to my tossing and turning preschooler.

All that amounts to is that the symptoms don’t tell me anything.  I have to test.  So I start testing 10 days out, then 7, now 5, and still nothing.  With every test my hope rises to an apex, only to crash back to earth.  I have wasted more tests in the last two weeks than in the rest of my life combined!  Hope keeps me going, fear keeps me from testing today.  I’m afraid of being disappointed again, despite the fact that my rational mind knows that it’s still a little early to test, that I might not know for certain until the day my cycle is actually set to end.

But screw my rational mind! Seriously, I hate being rational.  I just want to have a positive test today.  Stupid game!!!

Le sigh….

Ok, I’ll try rational again now.  Here are the facts I remind myself of when I feel like marching into the Doctor’s office and demanding daily blood tests:

1. I’ve only been trying to conceive for two months.  Two months! That’ s nothing.  That’s just peanuts to the universe.

2. I already conceived once without even trying, so the chances of a second conception are good.

3. I haven’t reached the end of my menstrual cycle yet so I need to cool it.

4. It’s summer and if I wasn’t pregnant that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing what with 4th of July and BBQs and baseball games, etc.  Not a bad thing at all.  In fact it would be nice to enjoy some sushi and Kirin on a warm night, something I couldn’t do if pregnant.

5. I have my hands full with my ASD son.  Adding a possibly difficult pregnancy (if my last one was anything to go on) and a baby to the mix will be a challenge.   So there’s really no rush.

But like the dating game, I can choose to ignore the good candidates, the ones with reasonable answers and polite tones, and go for the bad boy with the attitude who makes no rational sense whatsoever.  I’ll try to pick one of those nice guys and stay on the stress-free side for a while, but we’ll see how long that lasts.

Disappearing Depression

The fact that I disappeared from the blogosphere again shouldn’t really be surprising.  I tend to do that every once in a while.  I get overwhelmed with real life, events, crazy schedules.  Sometimes I’m fighting a different battle.

This time around I was fighting my old nemesis: depression.  We have a long history, depression and I.  Diagnosed at 16, I’ve struggled to maintain control of my mental health.  For the most part, this is a war I win, though depression occasionally wins a battle.

So why did depression raise its ugly head this time?  It was my own doing, unfortunately.  The good news is that the husband and I are trying to get pregnant.  Yay!!  The bad news is that means attempting to wean off my antidepressants.  There are far too many worrisome studies out there about the relationship between mothers on antidepressants and autism risks in their children.  Here and here.  Given that I already have a child on the spectrum and I was on an anti-depressant for a few months during my first pregnancy, you can imagine my worry and my guilt!  My doctors and I are all committed to getting my off the drugs for this pregnancy, just in case.

But this is where things get dicey.

I weaned off the drugs too quickly.  I went from 20 milligrams to 10 over night.  My body did not like that.  In fact, it stopped reacting to the drugs.  It took about 10 days for depression and anxiety symptoms to set in.

At first it wasn’t too bad.  Sure I was a little more tired, a little more irritable, and lot more hungry, but those aren’t symptoms that couldn’t be explained away by PMS, really really bad PMS.  Then I started losing my temper with Connor.  My normally patient parenting style disappeared.  I felt fed up with him every day.  I had not interest in engaging in play.  I just wanted to plop him in front of the TV and be done with it.  But hey, that could just be explained away by saying I was juggling the needs of a special need child and tired.  Then one day I just started crying.  Someone had something totally innocuous and I just started to sob.  Something was wrong.

Back on the full dose of medication, I had to fight my way back to feeling normal.  It takes a few weeks for medication to work your system back up to an even keel, so in the mean time you’re stuck knowing that something is wrong and not being able to do anything about it but wait.  Like the saying “fake it til you make it” I had to spend many many days trying to get back to a place where I felt like myself again.  I started using Dr. Low’s method of handling my anxiety and depression.  I was back to spotting anxious behaviors, endorsing myself for trying, reminding myself of my averageness, etc. And like always, after a lot of hard work and a lot of self-reflection, I was able to get back to a good place.

The only downside now is that I still need to wean off my medication.  We’re doing a baby step approach now: 20 mg to 15 mg.  Then if I’m ok in a few weeks, we’ll try going down to 10 again.

I need to be ok, whether I’m on the medication or not.  There have been several studies that show mothers suffering depression during their pregnancy experience many different types of disadvantages as well. 

It kind of seems like I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t.

There are other things I can do to help my mood while I’m weaning off the drugs: light therapy, exercise, nutritional adjustments, spending time outside, regular therapy, etc.

It’s still scary, though.  Part of me hopes we get pregnant right away and the added hormones help my mood, like they did last time.  And part of me hopes it takes a while so I can get this medication thing worked out.

Either way, all I can do is my best, and hope that’s good enough for our future baby.