Sunday, August 31, 2008

Because Sometimes We Need To Be Anonymous



This weekend, I've opened up my blog for an anonymous posting as part of HBM's Bitchin Bitchfest. I was drawn to this event because every once in a while we just need to rant/vent, but our own blogs aren't always a good place for it if we want to avoid upsetting family members and friends. I hope that the blogger I'm hosting feels better after writing this and that things work out for her and her daughter.

Mothers, Love Your Daughters

She was always the most responsible kid in the group. Trusted to be the “team babysitter” for the little brothers and sisters of her brothers baseball team mates. Always teachers pet, getting honor roll and straight A's. Until she turned 14. At 14 my little girl went into her room one night, and I have never seen her again.

I was a statistic of the 80's, I found out I was pregnant the day before my 18th birthday and told all my friends and family at my party at Chuck E Cheese, the year was 1986. I was young and stupid and lost custody of my daughter to my mother for almost 2 years. Thank God for family. When I got her back I was pregnant with her brother, so I understand that she never had my “attention”. Her father has never been active in her live, spending all of her life in and out of prison in another state. She has kept in touch with his side of the family but we'll touch on that more later.

After 14 the hatred and loathing and attitudes were in abundance on both of our parts. She hated me because I was her mother and I hated the person she had become. For her 16th birthday she wanted to get pregnant. WHAM! This was a smack up side my head and I literally dragged her into my room and made her sit and listen to me. I knew why she wanted a baby, I had been there myself. But she didn't want to hear it from me. “Let me make my own mistakes and learn form them!” “Why make the same mistakes I already made? At least make new ones!” Obviously us yelling at each other wasn't going to work. When I calmed down I looked her in the eyes and said “You want someone who will Love you, someone that will be yours, someone that you can be in charge of and responsible for and someone who will be there for you like I haven't no matter what and will always be a part of you?” “yes” she said in the smallest voice, I finally got to her. Still looking in her eyes “That was why I got pregnant with you, how's that working out for us?” I wish I could say we had a fabulous mother daughter moment and we hugged and have been bestest friends ever since. Yeah right. I can count on one hand the number of times my daughter has let me hug her in the last 10 years. But she did get the point I was trying to make.

Fast forward a couple of years. I find the phone number to W.I.C. On the desk and call her to see if there is something she wants to tell me. DUH! So now she is 18 and pregnant. During her pregnancy she breaks up with the father (thank God because he is an idiot, but that is another rant). The night before her baby shower he comes to my house when he knows she isn't home. He informs me that almost a year before, the two of them got married! They both lived in their respective homes and never told anyone. HOLY SHIT! Funnily enough I didn't freak out, I was more mad at him for telling me the night before the shower when I had so much to do, then with her for actually pulling this stupid stunt in the first place. Maybe I was just exasperated and figured that at least she wasn't doing drugs or drinking or hell I don't know what I was thinking.

Fast forward to last year. My adorable grand daughter is 2 and my daughter has been “steady” with a guy that I like for over a year. She is adamant about getting married and getting pregnant. He is like, we have a good thing why mess with it? Little do I know but she has been “conversing” with a cousin from her dad's side of the family and (are you sitting down?) “fallen in love with him”! Yes, you heard me correctly, she has fallen in love with her COUSIN!

In May of this year, while I was out of the country she married that cousin. Again without telling any family members and announcing it here on her website to the world. This is how I found out. Lovely! Shortly after this “wedding” a new post is put up on her blog, yep, this is how I found out she was pregnant! And the kicker? I get a text message a couple weeks later to say she is having TWINS! All of this happens just as I was leaving to go to BlogHer and by the time I got back, she had left the “husband” and was back with the other boyfriend from before. And oh yeah, moved back in to my house.

So just to recap, my daughter is going to be 22 in October, by that time she will have been married and divorced twice, have a 3 year old daughter and be 6 months pregnant with twins. Twins that were conceived with her first cousin.

Maybe this isn't a rant as much as my telling something that I have been afraid to tell. Is it wrong for me to be embarrassed by my own daughter? Is it wrong that I still secretly hope she will not carry these babies to term? I know it is, but I can't help but hope for that. I can't bring myself to be excited that I have two more grand children coming. I love my grand daughter beyond measure and pray that I can do the same for those to come.

My mother always told me that God doesn't give you more than He thinks you can handle. Well dammit, I wish He didn't think I was so frikkin strong all the time!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

STATUS

Today I had to call our medical insurance company because apparently, they weren't going to pay for a claim of mine until they verified that I did not have any other insurance - either primary or secondary. What? I've been covered through Daniel's insurance for almost five years and at least once/usually twice a year I have to go through this. When I asked the representative why they have to ask me this so frequently she told me that I'm covered through my spouse... and that my status could very easily change so they like to check AT LEAST twice a year, sometimes more.

What?

So, basically our insurance company has no faith in my marriage status. Nice. Thanks a lot for that vote of confidence big insurance company!

Since the rep "had me on the line" she went ahead and verified Zoe's status as well.

"Does Zoe have any other insurance yet, primary or secondary?"
"No. She's fifteen months old, she hasn't gotten around to getting any other insurance just yet."
"We just like to verify that your spouse is still covering her."
"Yeah. I expect he'll be covering her for at least 17 more years."

Seriously?! Insurance is great - I'm very thankful that we have the coverage we do, especially since I've had to go through periods in my life where I wasn't covered - but I hate the hoops we have to jump through to make sure claims are paid for. The lack of knowledge or tact that the representatives that I've dealt with in the past leaves my blood boiling... and that's not just the crazy pregnancy hormones.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What We're Getting Into

I think one of the most common things Daniel and I hear when people - mostly strangers - find out that we have another child on the way is "Wow! You're going to be busy!" This response usually makes us laugh and sometimes has us being kind of snarky talking about it after the fact. It's not that we blame people for saying it, but it's kind of up there on the annoying scale with "Wow! You sure are in for a lot of changes now that you're pregnant/having a baby!" Really? We sort of thought the hardest part was just getting pregnant and that having kids would be like a life long vacation that is without any obstacles and actually makes us money. Yawn.

We know people mean well when they laugh at how we will never sleep again and how we'll be changing two kids diapers indefinitely. We know it's hard to resist pointing out that it was practically yesterday when I was pregnant with Zoe. Ahem.

The thing is, and you're going to be shocked by our advanced concept of thought... are you ready? Being a parent isn't easy, duh! Aside from the fact that we don't know what it's like to actually have a toddler and a newborn at the same time, we do have a rough idea of what we were getting ourselves into. At this point in the game it's actually more helpful for us to focus on the joys of this pregnancy, on how Zoe will enjoy having a sibling, and how having two children will add to our lives exponentially - in love, laughter... and yes, bills and poop.

Not to say I don't understand the various responses. People want to commiserate; share what they've been through as parents. And I totally get that it may seem crazy that we're having another baby right now because sometimes I feel like we just brought Zoe home and now we're almost at the halfway mark of this pregnancy. It's wild! But we're still in this euphoric state right now and it feels good to ignore those thoughts of sleep deprivation because, well that sleep loss and stress is worth every single minute we get to spend with our kids.

Call me crazy, but I can't wait.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Plan

My ob/gyn and I have had a running joke since I was pregnant with Zoe. It would seem that I have found the "plan" that works best for me in my battle with losing weight: getting pregnant. Last month we touched on this again because as of that visit I had not gained a single pound for this pregnancy. In fact, since January of this year I've actually lost 40 pounds and for the most part I think it is directly from being pregnant and especially from being diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting that if you want to lose weight you should go get pregnant - although I have joked that all I need to do is get pregnant about three more times and I'll be looking HAWT. I'm also not suggesting that being diagnosed with diabetes - gestational or otherwise is not something to take very, very seriously because it is. Actually, my diabetes and my concern for how it will affect me and my children has been a catalyst for my weight loss and change in eating habits.

I did great when I was pregnant with Zoe. I'd have to go back and look at my notes, but I think for my entire pregnancy with her I only gained 10 pounds and that was at the very end. My doc wasn't concerned because, lets face it - as long as I was getting the nutrients we both needed I didn't need to gain any more. I lost those 10 pounds and more almost right after Zoe was born. Part of it was the extra blood and placenta, and part of it was the breastfeeding. I was looking better than I had in years and feeling great... and smug. So smug that I started loading up on my carbs again. I made up for lost time and embraced my pastas, rice and sweets. I used breastfeeding as an excuse because I needed to keep my calorie intake up and continued to do so after I stopped breastfeeding.

And then in January I had my eye opening experience that I needed to lose the weight I had gained if I wanted to be able to keep up with Zoe and be happy with my appearance. I put myself on Weight Watchers and lost about 15 pounds. But that weight soon came back after a few set backs and I lost my momentum again - until May 1st when we found out Finn was on the way. Right away I cut back on my carbs because I knew that the chances I'd have gestational diabetes again would be very high and I wanted our baby to be healthy.

When I was officially diagnosed I got even more proactive about it and started monitoring my blood glucose levels. I've been eating breakfast, lunch and dinner and two to three snacks per day. I don't drink juice. I stay away from soda for the most part and drink tons of water and crystal light. My portions are smaller and more well rounded and I feel more full and nourished after my meals than I did when I'd wolf down a cheeseburger and fries. I feel healthy and proud of what I'm doing and I'm glad that I'm setting a good example for Zoe.

I'm told that if I'm able to continue losing weight the way I've been doing that Finn and I will be all the more healthier. As long as I get enough carbs and get all the nourishment and vitamins that Finn and I need to be healthy, there is absolutely no harm in losing weight. That said, losing weight right now is not my goal - it's just an added benefit. I don't weigh myself on a daily basis. The only time I step on a scale is when I'm at my doctor's or diabetic counselor's office. I do not obsess. I do not stress. I won't beat myself up if/when I gain weight. I just take care of myself and Finn with the tools that I was given upon learning about diabetes.

So, yeah.... I don't plan on getting pregnant three more times. What I do plan on doing is continuing to behave as if I live with diabetes after Finn has joined us. The fact is, if I don't monitor my carbs and make an effort to continue to lose weight I will end up with diabetes and I will face various health issues as I get older.

This is the plan that works for me -
Count carbs, not calories.
Listen to my stomach when deciding how much to eat, not my brain.
Don't skip meals.
Don't waste carbs on juice, drink a lot of water.
Have a supportive husband, friends and family.

Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes is never easy, it's a lot of work.... but I do think I am grateful for this diagnoses and I am grateful for what it has taught me. I feel like I am more in control of my health than I ever have been and I feel good about that.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Family Budget Cuts

After sitting down this morning to do our biweekly budget, Daniel and I have bit the bullet and have made some promises to each other regarding our finances. We're doing fine, but we've been especially tight this summer. Between a recent wedding/family reunion and all the costs that went with that, gas costs, and unexpected high utility bills we're squeaking by without putting anything into savings. Honestly, we'd been doing so well on our $10/day budget and trying to use less energy around the house that I truly thought this pay period would be less tight. But, SURPRISE! A almost $500 PG&E bill surfaced today along with a big shot of reality that we have debts that just need to be paid off so that we can be less stressed biweekly and so we can get the things we need to be ready for our son.

In addition to further committing to spend less, I sent out a couple emails to some friends and family explaining our situation a little and what we're doing about it.

Here's an excerpt of what went to our parents and a few friends:

Daniel and I have just finished doing our finances for this pay period and have come to the realization that with the rising costs of food, gas, utilities and the upcoming arrival of Finnegan that we once again need to take a careful look at how we spend our funds. We are doing fine and do not want you to worry - the three, well - almost 4 of us are eating 3 square meals a day, paying all our bills on time and are happy. Zoe does not want for toys, books, entertainment or love and really, neither do her parents. We're truly blessed.... but we know we're about to embark on some large expenses in the next 6 months.

So... as much as it pains me to say it, we are calling a halt to our extra curricular spending. We might see a movie once a month for our sanity, but otherwise we're cutting costs. We're eating all of our meals at home and Daniel is "brown bagging it" unless his work supplies free lunch on a given day - we love those days! This means we're not going to be able to do presents for birthdays and the holidays for a while - at least until after Finn is here and we've paid off some more of our debt and feel more at ease with where we stand. We'll still get what we think Zoe needs and will of course give her the best Christmas we're able to but.... well, you know how it is.

The good news is:
We feel good that we've laid this out as a household rule.
We feel good about how this will help us in the end.
We do not feel like we really want for much - well, for nothing that is a necessity. ;)
We've always been able to make the best of even the most difficult situation and this is totally small potatoes comparatively speaking.
We're all happy and healthy.
AND..... The Zoe pictures will continue to be uploaded weekly to flickr for your enjoyment.


I was a little embarrassed to send this, but writing it out and putting it on the line relieved some of my stress instantly. And really, I know very few people who have not been in our situation or who live on much less. I think the important thing is we're accepting that we've been working very hard to spend less and we are identifying that for us to succeed we need to take even further steps.

Part of the reason I felt my morale go down in the last month was that one of our ways to control our budget was to not go out. This included me/us not meeting friends for coffee, lunch, dinner, etc. I stopped communicating with people partly because if I didn't call or email they wouldn't invite me out and I could avoid saying I couldn't afford it. If I didn't call or email I wouldn't feel bad for not inviting them over for lunch or dinner because even a pizza and drinks seems like too large of an expense right now. If I didn't call or email I wouldn't have to answer the "What have you guys been up to?" question with "Nothing. We're on a tight budget and we just hang at home these days."

But I'm tired of all that. I'm tired of not just telling friends where we stand and why I'm sad or out of the loop. Last weekend we cleaned the house a bit and I'm looking forward to our friends coming over to hang out. Maybe we can plan some potlucks, or maybe they can come over just to watch a movie, play a game, or visit. I'm thinking we'll figure something out and that the lack of funds won't even matter.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Cravings

With Zoe it was frozen yogurt, drumsticks - of the ice cream variety, Cocoa Pebbles/Krispies and spicy foods in general. In the third trimester, once I started injecting insulin at night - I think I had a chocolate chip cookie everyday just before bed... and it never hurt my numbers. I never sent Daniel on wild goose chases for crazy cravings because I just didn't really have them, although I do admit I did have strong urgings that we eat at specific places. Really, I played the "we can't eat Chinese food because the baby doesn't like it" card whenever needed.

With Finn, everything is different. I've had the occasional frozen yogurt, but it's lost it's magic. There's been no drumsticks, I've yet to have a warmed up cookie with a glass of milk and spicy food inevitably gives me painful heartburn. The Cocoa Pebbles I eat almost daily, but lately I've been wanting to do something slightly unorthodox with this sweet cereal.

I have an almost uncontrollable urge to put my Cocoa Pebbles between two pieces of my double fiber - lower carb bread and some peanut butter.

Since the beginning of this pregnancy I cannot resist a pickle and have no qualms eating one at any time of day. I love pickles!

A couple weeks ago I announced that what I really "needed" was some grilled chicken, whole grain rice, water chestnuts, snow peas and sprouts with soy sauce. Daniel was in shock because this was just not normal... next thing you know I'd start denouncing Mexican food and then the world would surely be coming to an end.

This evening I exclaimed I needed Doritos and cream cheese, stat. Daniel looked at me, "Really?" I ended up backing down because I just don't want to be tat wife who sends her husband out at nine o'clock at night for food and also, he offered to make me some dip that I could eat with some potato chips. So, he makes the dip for me and puts it in the fridge to set for a bit, but my craving for salt was fleeting and I ended up just eating my cereal.

You know everyone always says that every pregnancy is different and honestly, I never really believed it until I started finding out for myself. If my food cravings are any indication, we may be in for some surprises.

Friday, August 01, 2008

A New Day

I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for being so nice. Your comments and emails in response to my last post were very touching and made me a little bit teary. To have that support really means a lot to me.

As far as how I'm doing now... I'm great. I was on my way to being over my rough patch when I sat down and wrote what I did the other day and I think spilling my words onto the computer only helped in that process. I think what most of you said is absolutely correct: right now is an understandably stressful time in my life. Being a mom to a toddler is unpredictable and exhausting... and wonderful. Add being seventeen/almost eighteen weeks pregnant to that and you've got a plethora of hormones making you, well ME - an emotional mess.

I can sort of laugh about all the crying I did for a while there because at the beginning of this pregnancy I could not cry - I mean, not that I wanted to… but I couldn't cry. It was weird! For those of you who know me personally I am a self-professed "Cry Baby". I can be one of the strongest people you know and I'm sort of tough - ahem... but movies, Grey's Anatomy, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, sweet emails, heartfelt blog posts will turn me into a blubbering fool. Except not in the first eight to ten weeks of this pregnancy! And it was weird! So weird that I once exclaimed to Daniel after an especially emotional scene in the season finale of Grey's: Why am I not crying? What is wrong with me? I've got nothing, not even a tear! This is DEFINITELY a boy!" Weird. But hey, I was right... boy. I’m now pointing at my belly, just so you know.

And then all of a sudden it was like the flood gates opened and I was crying about everything. Then I thought, well maybe this IS a girl. But I was wrong. I was just tired and nervous and stressed and emotional. And even if I did feel slightly defeated by my emotions, I'm beginning to understand that it's time for me to just allow myself to run the gamut of emotions and quit putting unreasonable expectations on myself. Coming to that realization and just allowing myself to feel what I've been feeling without apologies has been freeing and I feel better already.

So, thanks for reading and being a part of it.