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Archive for June, 2008

Even the Best Parents…

When we were first given the ADHD diagnosis for the J-man, Dr. S. told us "A child with J’s profile will make even the best parents in the universe feel completely incompetent."

Yep.

We’re into week two of our medication trial and on our second medication.  The first medication MIGHT have been having some side effects.  We THINK.  But we’re not really sure.  I would have liked to have seen a few more days of the medication to be sure that it wasn’t just all a big coincidence.  But J refused to take it 3 days out of 6.  So no dice.  To get him to take it, we bribed him heavily, and on the days he didn’t take it… Oh the fits that ensued when the bribe was not forthcoming!  Absolutely indescribable! 

And so… we moved to a patch. And he’s VERY proud of his "sticker" which he knows he’s not allowed to take off and he knows he’s not allowed to show to anyone (it’s on his posterior, so showing it off would be quite rude). 

Day one of the patch we used 1/2 a patch and got limited feedback from school, so Saturday we moved to a full patch.  Well, we did NOT see our son that day at ALL.  We saw a withdrawn little boy who was listless and sad, tired and lonely.  Not at all our happy, bouncy little monster.  I did not like this little boy much at all.  I mean, I loved him, of course, but I missed my J-man.  Where had he gone?  Is this what I was doing to him?  I saw little glimmers of my beautiful boy whenever he got to do something physically active, but so long as he was sedentary, he was listless, withdrawn, quiet, introspective, sniffly, and sad.

Sunday we tried again with a whole patch, knowing he would have a very active day as we went out to visit Jess and her five little monkeys.  And he was totally fine.  He was calm, but happy.  He was a good listener.  He was active at appropriate times, but not out of control.  He played nicely.  He was animated.  He was a little bored when the other kids were asleep, but he generally had a GOOD time and was my J-man again.  It was awesome. 

Today?  We gave him a full patch again.  I called the school just now to see how he’s doing and he’s BOUNCING OFF WALLS.  Can’t sit still, can’t listen, can’t behave himself, can’t control his behavior, totally impulsive. 

I just. don’t.  know.  what.  to.  think.

His fits before and after the medicine take effect and wear off are completely out of control, but we’ll approach this with behavior management therapy.  This will take time.  But the medication?  I’m just… I’m at a total loss.  TOTAL LOSS.  I feel unbelievably incompetent.

UNBELIEVABLY INCOMPETENT.

Meanwhile, we’ve joined CHADD. I’ve got to-do lists. I’ve got a notebook started.  We’ve got reading lists.  What more can we do?

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A couple notes about my CD1 Post:

1.  I wasn’t assuming I wasn’t ovulating due solely to the fact that I’m nursing, though do bear in mind that this is not an unreasonable assumption, given that I’m providing milk for not one, but THREE babies.  Even though they are now getting a fair bit of solid food, and therefore taking far less milk, I’m still producing about 40+ ounces per day, I’d guess, which is more than enough to suppress ovulation.  Most women face issues with nursing not suppressing ovulation when their production dips as their babies start nursing less than full time.  That being said, I’m not relying on nursing being birth control.  My OB wasn’t saying that my periods were likely anovulatory because of the nursing; rather, he was saying they were likey anovulatory because I’ve almost never ovulated on my own in my entire life.  Why start now?

2.  I’ve taken OPK’s, and they’ve all been negative.  However, OPK’s are often unreliable for women with PCOS, so who knows whether that’s a useful data point?

3.  Someone suggested that my best bet might be to try and take advantage of this time for some natural babymaking.  It’s not for lack of trying, I’ll tell you that.  But even the months where all the stars were aligned and things have fallen into place for the timing to seem appropriate (based on when I assume ovulation would have happened IF it happened, even though I don’t have really reliable ways of telling for sure if it happened), not so much with the luck.

4.  I am in no way trying to prevent the babymaking from happening at this point (nor have I done anything to prevent it since the triplets were born), though I am not yet prepared to make a trip back to ye ol’ fertility clinic.  I expect to return sometime around when the triplets hit the one-year-adjusted mark.

5.  Finally, my original RE (whom I adored and would have stayed with forever, except she moved to an office much further away and much less convenient), had told me during my first (failed) pregnancy that I should expect some normal periods after I delivered, but that I would most certainly revert to my  anovulatory, irregular, unpredictable cycles after a several periods, so not to get too used to regularity.  This may be part of what she was talking about.  Admittedly, I had assumed that those regular, normal periods wouldn’t start until after I was done nursing, but apparently that part was optional. All I do know is that my body can’t figure out which way is up anymore and what it’s supposed to do.  That being said, my guess is that these normal, possibly ovulatory, periods won’t last forever.   And anyway, fat lot of good they’re doing.  Since anovulation wasn’t my *only* problem leading to fertility treatment, I don’t imagine it will make a whole huge difference in the long run, anyway.  I’m still betting on being back at the clinic in November or so and cycling in Jan/Feb-ish.

Edited to Add:
6.  You know, losing 70 pounds could also have something to do with the mysteriously appearing periods, though, again, you’d think that nursing triplets would give me the "get out of PMS free" card for at least a FEW months, right?  Anovulation wasn’t our only obstacle to me getting preggers, so this is unlikely to resolve my/our infertility issues all together, but it’s a nice thought.

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Seth and I sponsored kiddush this week at shul.*  We sponsored kiddush to thank the community for all the help that they’ve given us for the triplets over the last nine months.  This was the first opportunity we’ve had to do a kiddush, because we couldn’t bring the triplets out into public until after April, but once that wasn’t a factor, Seth was still in aveilus**.  So, at last, we held our kiddush in honor of the triplets, and they made their first official appearance in shul.

It was really nice to see everyone and to feel a part of my community once again.  I’ve felt quite isolated from the community for a long time, because, well…  when you live in an Orthodox Jewish community with a lot of young couples, all anyone does (or so it seems) is have babies.  All the time.  And I just couldn’t be around that for a long time, so I never went to shul, even with J (I’d have Seth take him).  Then last year I was on bed rest for the whole summer and couldn’t go even at the times I normally would have gone (Pesach, Shavuous, random kiddushes here and there) and then I was on hospital bed rest over Rosh Hashana so I didn’t even make it to shul then, and then I delivered the babies and was in the hospital still on Yom Kippur and then on Succos I was in the NICU with the babies… so all the things that normally would have brought me to shul regardless of how uncomfortable I felt…  well, I haven’t been there in a tremendously long time.  And I really did feel isolated, even though the community is VERY supportive of us and I’m on the shul board and I have really NO reason to feel at ALL like I’m not part of the community, since they’ve been so incredibly amazing to us. 

But that’s not the point of this post.

The point is, it was nice to be back, and in a positive, meaningful way, celebrating the expansion of our family.  And it was almost tarnished when a woman who I don’t really know (I don’t even know her name, and we’re in a VERY small shul, so it says a lot that I don’t even know her name) came up to me… she’s older, I’d say in her 70s or so, and she said, "Oh my best friend had triplets, and she was on fertility, you know, I was wondering, were you on fertility?" 

Oh my blood started to boil.  And I never, ever, ever make any sort of snappy remark when people ask me that, though I *always* wish that I had.  Normally I just say, "We had some help, but thank God we have three healthy babies, so it doesn’t really matter how they came to us."

Today I just could not do that.  It would have left me bitching and moaning about her for a long time, because THAT is what I would have remembered from today, instead of all the lovely thoughts and "mazel tovs" and "hellos" and "welcome backs" that I heard. 

So I took a deep breath and I smiled a sweet smile.  And I  said, "You know, I really don’t like to discuss it, because it’s really irrelevant.  We have three healthy babies, and that’s all I could ask for right now."

She didn’t get it; she said, "oh well, it doesn’t matter, but my friend, she was on fertility, and she…"  She didn’t get what I was trying to tell her, and I didn’t expect her to.  But I got an important lesson today.  I finally learned that I can stop and actually tell people to mind their own business when it comes to my reproductive history.  And while I feel badly for being rude to this woman, I’m unbelievably proud of myself for finally, finally, allowing myself a little bit of privacy on a matter which is no one’s business.***

And you know what?  The next time some random stranger asks me "do you mind if I ask if your triplets are natural?" I’m going to say, "You know, I really do mind.   That’s a matter that’s really between me and my husband."  Because now I know that I *can* say that without turning into a pillar of salt.  Go me.

__________________
*  Er, yeah.  I realize that I do this to you guys a lot… I throw out these words with no explanation and about half of you just know what I’m talking about, a dozen or so of you go and look it up, and the rest of you sit there wondering what kind of smoke I’m cracking.  So, "shul" is just another word for synagogue.  "Kiddush" is like a little mini luncheon after services Shabbos morning.  Um.  "Shabbos" is the Sabbath (Friday night through Saturday night).  Any questions?

**There I go again.  "Aveilus" is mourning.  Jews have several stages of mourning.  There’s the 7-day shiva period which you may remember me writing about when his father died last summer when I was pregnant.  Then there’s 30 days (inclusive of the 7 days of shiva) when the restrictions are lighter than those of shiva, but still quite abundant.  And then, (inclusive of those first 30 days) there are 11 months of mourning in which the mourner says kaddish (the mourner’s prayer) for the deceased at prayer services three times per day, and has several other restrictions placed upon him, such as, no buying new clothes (if possible), no attending celebratory gatherings, no um, well, other stuff.  What do I know? Thank God,  I’ve never been in mourning, so my knowledge here is, thankfully, limited.  Anyway, so Seth wouldn’t have been able to attend had we had a kiddush earlier, is my whole point.

***This is a particularly laughable point, because anyone who actually *knows* me knows that we had some, um, "help" in the reproductive department.  I’m very open about it, even though I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the entire world knowing my business, because I think it’s important for people to understand that this isn’t a scarlet letter to be worn with shame.  I don’t walk around (or shouldn’t walk around) feeling ashamed of my infertility.  It’s not a red letter I.  It’s a red pomegranate badge of courage.  This is one of the reasons that I don’t [normally] snap at people for asking me if I had fertility treatment… because I believe that people need to learn that this isn’t something shameful.  But I still believe that random strangers need to learn that not everyone is as willing to go down that road.  It’s really none of anyone’s business, unless I *make* it your business.

EDITED TO ADD:
1.  Credit must be given to my friend Corrine for the title line.  She’s far wittier than I.
2.  I forgot that I also set someone straight about the "natural" thing.  I said, "I don’t like the term ‘natural’ because ALL children are natural.  I prefer the term ‘spontaneous’…"  That particular woman was very sweet (and about my age) and said, "oh that’s a much better term!"

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So if you’ve been wondering why it is that I moved my blog, this is basically why.  Too many IRL folks that I didn’t want reading my blog had found my blog, which left me feeling like I really couldn’t talk about infertility-related things, which, HELLO? is what my blog’s purpose was in the first place.  Yes, it’s all fine and good that I have these beautiful triplets and amazing four year old now, but that’s not all this blog is about.  The original purpose for this blog was to work through my feelings about infertility and how it impacts my life and the world around me.

But, Karen?!  That’s all behind you now!  You don’t have to live with all that infertility crap anymore!  Your family is complete!  Two boys, two girls, what more could a girl ask for?  Oh, I know, it’s easy to think that, but I don’t think that way.  Maybe I should.  Maybe I’d be happier if I did.  But I never wanted one pregnancy and then my family building was done.  I never said I’d be done with four children (though, admittedly, I did originally have a general goal of four kids in mind).  Is it so much to ask that maybe I should get to have a singleton pregnancy without the hell that I went through with the triplet pregnancy?  Is it so much to ask that I should get to have as many kids as my little heart desires?  Is it so much to ask that I should get to have five million dollars?  Is it so much to ask that no one but my husband and I should dictate when we’re done building our family together?  Um, okay, so maybe only four million?

So yesterday I had this conversation with Jess:

Me:  I can’t do anything right, and I just want to cry.
Her:  Are you menstrual?
Me:  I don’t think so.  No.  Definitely not.  And I feel REALLY fat.  Like beached whale fat.
Her:  Okay, so you ARE PMSing.  So we’ll chalk it up to that, and see how you’re feeling tomorrow.
Me:  No I’m NOT!
*later*
Me:  Um, yeah, uh, so you’re smarter than me…
Her:  I *knew* it!

Funny thing is, we have this exact same conversation every single month.  I have a day where I can’t seem to do anything right, where I just want to cry over everything.  She accuses me of PMSing, I insist that can’t be right, next thing you know, I’m spotting.  And I *always* feel fatter than usual on PMS days. 

But here’s the thing…  Um.  I’m nursing.  Three babies.  And I’ve been doing so for 9 months.  And do you know how many periods I’ve had in those 9 months?  NINE.  Never in my life have I gotten nine periods in a row.  Never.  My OB remains convinced that these are anovulatory periods, but I am skeptical, because the hormonal ups and downs are SO accute, and the signs of ovulation at the right time are pretty darned obvious (even though, even when our timing has been just right, nothing has come of it).

And I just wonder if there will ever come a time in my life where I stop thinking of the first day of "full flow" of my period as "CD1".  Will it ever just be a nuisance that I brush off?  Or will it forever be a significant day in marked with sadness and fear, heartbreak and hope?  I understand, now (not that I didn’t before), why another blogging IFer friend of mine got a tubal ligation after her second child was born recently.  A lot of people didn’t understand why she would do such a thing after all she’d gone through to have children, but it makes sense.  It takes the significance, the pain, the frustration out of that day.  It’s not cycle day one, it’s just the first day of your period.  Still, I don’t think I could ever do it.  I hate the significance that CD1 has in my life, the power that it holds over my moods and my outlook, yet I love the hope that stretches out in front of it.  What could be more glorious?

I don’t really know where I’m going with this.  I’m technically not TTC right now, because I’m nursing, and theoretically I’m not ovulating because of that.  HAH!  But I do know that when I wean my babies (*sob!*), I’ll be heading back for ye old’ fertility clinic (for, say it with me people, single embryo transfers!), and I’ll be once again enmeshed in the mess of counting and waiting and hoping and wishing.  Right now I’m trying to pretend that I’m not doing that every month anyway, which is ridiculous, because, hello?  I have three nine month olds. 

I’m sorry if I seem greedy to those of you who haven’t made it to the other side yet.  That’s not what this is about.  It’s about the fact that the universe has no right to dictate to ANYONE when or whether they can have a child or another child or even yet another child.  I will love any children brought into my life.  I have more love to give children, why shouldn’t I be given that chance, just as I hope and pray that you, too, should be given that chance.  Preferably sooner than later.

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I am in such big trouble.
Abby figured it out first:

Then came Sammy:

And I’m thanking my lucky stars that Ellie (my GOOD one*) hasn’t figured it out yet.

Yeah, it’s time to lower those crib mattresses.

____________
*Remember, it’s very important, especially when you have multiples, that you should never, EVER, label your children.  Ellie is my good baby.

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I've got two new posts up at the new blog. Are you missing all the fun? Do you have the new URL? I'm not cross-posting anymore, now that NCLM is over, so email me for the new URL. You don't have to "apply", there are no special requirements. Just ask and ye shall receive!

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9 month appointment

Note: My blog has moved! This might be the last post I post directly in this blog as NCLM ends tomorrow, and that’s the main reason for my cross-posting. If you would like the new URL, please email me. There is no criteria for getting the new URL… I am handing it out willy-nilly, I just don’t want to post it directly. Also, Mel has it posted on the June 12 edition of the Lost and Found Connections Abound page for those of you who wrote to me and said you couldn’t find it on the lost and found page. So do EMAIL ME for the new URL if you haven’t already. My goal is to NOT lose a single lurker!


Can you believe my babies turned 9 months last week? They definitely did not ask my permission to get all growed up!
They’ve changed so much in the short time that I’ve been entrusted with their little lives – they’re not the fragile little beings that once rested in tiny little incubators, covered in tubes and wires. The noise I hear around them isn’t the beeping of their monitors anymore, it’s the gleeful squeals and happy giggles and excited babbling of healthy 9 month olds (7mos adjusted).
They are regular little people now, and it’s just fabulous. They are doing all kinds of baby-things. They are doing the combat-style crawling that babies do where they aren’t doing hands-and-knees crawling just yet. Abby and Sam will get up on their knees and rock:
(for some reason, I can’t get the YouTube video to properly embed here… the direct link is http://youtube.com/watch?v=eALdKd51RrM …. now it seems to be working, but I’m leaving the direct link here just in case!)
What else? Oh! They’re finally all on their charts! Their relevant stats are:
Sam: 18 lb, 14 oz (25th %ile); 27.5 inches long (25th %ile)
Eliana: 17 lb, 11 oz (30th %ile), 27 inches long (32nd %ile)
Abby: 16 lb, 10 oz (15th %ile), 26.75 inches long (24th %ile)
Between them, they have 8 teeth. Abby got her first two teeth about a month ago (on the bottom). Sam got his first two about two weeks ago. Ellie finally sprouted her first two on Friday. Sam and Abby both surprised me on Saturday by sprouting a top tooth as well. They are dangerous!
All in all, the 9 month check up went quite well. Dr. B said he was impressed with them and impressed with me. I am not certain what he meant by that, but it was nice to hear anyway. My babies certainly ARE impressive. They are doing really well and doing all the right things. They’re a little behind in where he’d like to see them with feeding skills and fine motor coordination (their feeding skills would be better if their fine motor skills were better), but this is not surprising given their prematurity.
When I was describing what each one was doing and what each baby was like, I said very clearly, “You should never label your children, particularly when you have multiples. Ellie’s the good one.” He laughed. 🙂 I told him that I have very easy babies and that it was about time… I’ve paid my dues with J (I adore J, of course, but low maintenance, he is NOT). He said not only did I pay my dues with J, I more than paid my dues with the early days of triplet parenthood. I guess I never really thought of it that way, but he reminded me that I had a longer-than average stay in the NICU for 33 week triplets, worked hard to breastfeed them (or, in Abby’s case at least provide her with breastmilk), had Ellie on a heart monitor for 45 days after coming home and then shortly after that had to start dealing with bi-weekly visits to the doctor for her failure to thrive.
Honestly, at the time, I never really thought of it as anything other than what I had to do. Looking back, I see how far we’ve come and I’m so grateful that I was discussing three perfectly healthy, happy, developing babies with him. Really? What more could I ask for?
Okay, I mean, I could ask for 26 hour days and five MILLION dollars, but that would just be greedy, considering the four amazing children I have.

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