Thursday, April 28, 2011

let's talk about [not having any] s.e.x, baby

So, yesterday someone suggested that I might be in early menopause.


Let me tell you about it.

Yesterday was my last "Parent-Baby Group" at the hospital where Baby Girl was born.  (They call this "Parent-Baby Group" in an effort to be all PC and everything, but the truth is, it's just moms.  And babies.)  I didn't go to the 0-3 month group, because those were the months where I didn't feel much like doing things that started at a certain time.  I liked getting out of the house [read: I was often desperate to get out of the house] but I wanted to do that in my own sweet feet-dragging way, and not feel perpetually late to everything, which is what would have happened.  Also, my job involves a lot of people-time, and it was nice to be a little bit more solitary for awhile.

So I joined the 3-6 month group because a bunch of moms told me in effusive tones that I absooooluuuutely had to do this, it was the best thing ever, they met these women who are still their best friends even though their babies are all in high school now, etc.  I went.  It was okay, in the way that walking into the high school cafeteria and recognizing immediately that everyone else is already sitting with a group and you are the odd kid out is also, "okay."  Like in every group, there were some moms I connected with and others I didn't.  This was fine.

Yesterday, our topic was, "guilt and parenting."  We were supposed to write down all our guilt-triggers on a piece of paper, talk about them with the group, and then put them into a bucket which symbolized casting away this guilt.  I have never found this to work overly well, but it's a nice symbol.  We all re-hashed the things about which moms have felt guilty for a thousand years: sleeping methods, breast-vs-bottle feeding, to-work-or-not-to-work-outside-the-home, etc. 

My first guilt topic was this: I feel guilty that I don't feel guilty about liking my job and enjoying work.  (Did you follow that?  I know.)  This is a post for another time.

My second one was this: I feel guilty that I have absolutely, totally, 100%, no doubt, zip, zero, nada, NO sex drive whatsoever and (this is the guilt-inducing part) not much interest in doing anything about it. 

From what little I've read and heard on this topic, I feel like it's pretty normal for new moms to feel this way.  Breastfeeding depresses your estrogen supply, which means you aren't as interested or, um, capable.  Because of, you know, the fluid levels and the lubricating factors and the...yeah. You get it.

But infertility ups the ante on this, because it's not just that I've had no real desire since the baby was born: I was nauseous for, well, about the entire pregnancy, and on fertility drugs off-and-on for several years before that, and when you look back at it, it's about five years since I really had much sustained interest in this area.  Which is not to say that we haven't had sex in five years.  (I think my husband feels this way sometimes, but he would also admit that this is not quite the case.) 

So I talked about how this made me feel guilty, and all the other moms were nodding their heads in recognition, and then the group facilitator gave me some suggestions (which, oddly enough, just made me feel more guilty) and then she casually mentioned that "at your age, you might be peri-menopausal" which she said as if this was no big deal but was pretty much like hitting me in the face with a Mack truck, because my "age" is, in fact, THIRTY-EIGHT and if that's entering early menopause, then thanks a whole freaking lot lady, you've been very helpful.

Let me assure you (as I wish I had done to her, had I not been too shocked to say anything coherent) that I have had every fertility test in the book, so if I were entering early menopause, I would already know about it.  And my mom didn't start menopause until her early 60's, the same as her mother, so I'm not too worried.  Mostly, I wanted to slap this woman in the face.  I mean, I'm not opposed to menopause.  It happens to us all.  But maybe this is not the best thing to say to a woman with a 6-month old child who has just confided in you that she isn't much into Barry White music at the moment.  Maybe you could jump to something a little less drastic than, say, the end of her fertility and gradual slide into silver hair and polyester pants and a weekly game of bridge.  For which she will apparently need to get a babysitter for her kindergartner.

At what point do you think I should do something about this whole sex drive thing?  I mean, Group Facilitator Lady said sweetly that we could "be creative, it doesn't have to involve intercourse," to which I said, "yes, my husband is full of suggestions on that, it's not a lack of information I'm worried about here," but I really am wondering if there might be something wrong.  Like, can I take a pill for this? Because that would be great.  Because I do love my husband, and I miss that part of my life, and I'm not quite sure what to do about it.

Other than buy up some polyester pants and call it a day.

Thoughts?  Help!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

well, hello there, blog

Okay.  I should probably have some better-sounding excuse for dropping off the face of the earth these past few weeks, but all I've got is this: it was Easter, which, if you are a pastor, is a time of the year when absolutely nothing else gets done.  At.  All.  If you have the urgent need to clean something, please let me know, because I have got the house for you.

Baby Girl is doing well, apart from a few spectacular Nap Fail experiences like yesterday, wherein it took 90 minutes to get her down for what turned out to be a 20 minute morning nap.  Also, she is now rolling from back-to-front but has only done so for 1.) her grandparents and 2.) Harrison Ford, who happened to be on TV playing Indiana Jones at the time.  Normally, I don't let her watch TV, in case you are thinking of reporting me to the Child Development Authorities, but Harrison Ford is a slight exception.  I was upstairs throwing a load of towels into the laundry at the time. 

Last night I went to bed at 8:30pm.  Because, apparently, I am in the third grade.  It was awesome.

I went to Pa.nera for lunch yesterday and a creepy dude stared at me while I breastfed Baby Girl (under a cover, but still).  Then he said, "I bet she's a angel," (which, given that she had screamed for 90 minutes that morning was not exactly the analysis I was in the mood for) and as soon as he went to the counter to get his food, we hightailed it the heck out of there.

After three months of cobbling together childcare between friends and grandparents, Baby Giril will be starting at an official childcare center next week.  Mostly, I am relieved about this because it's been a little stressful to put things together (long story short, our initial childcare setup didn't work out, so we've been punting for awhile).  I am also nervous.  Probably no way around that.

I am so, so, so not a morning person.  At all.  But the big smile on your child's face when you lean over to pick them up - well, that puts a spark into the morning.  As does a big cup of coffee.

Our next adventure: Baby Girl starts sleeping in her own room, soon.  I am in denial about this.  Will keep you posted.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

baby hits the road

So, we survived our first family vacation.


No, not really.  (Well, I mean, we survived.  But it went better than I feared, actually.)  We took our girl on the Baby Victory Tour, which is what it feels like when you go visit a whole bunch o' family members who have not yet met the child.  The kind of vacation where, when you walk into a room, everyone immediately looks right past you and says, "Where's the baby?"  Which is okay with me.

We had a few challenges to face: we were visiting my husband's family, several of whom I had never met, and staying with his brother, which is kind of like staying with a brown-haired version of Glen.n Bec.k.  And given that I am a staunch NP.R listener, you can imagine what that's like for me.  We just tiptoe around anything involving religion and politics, and hope for the best.  Good thing we live hundreds of miles apart.

It all started with a spectacular Fail by one of our nation's lovely airlines, which kept us at the airport for a three-hour delay during our first attempt at Flight With Baby.  Which meant that we were trapped there during bedtime, and didn't get to our destination until nearly 1:00am, at which point we discovered that our luggage must have been kept outside for the whole duration of the delay, since the pack-and-play was soaking wet.  AWESOME.  I was pretty irritated by this, until we realized the next day that we were delayed because our original plane was busy ripping its roof open, and then the idea of a few hours' delay wasn't so bad.

A few years ago, this same brother and sister-in-law came to visit us over Christmas holidays.  We had been trying to get pregnant for three years.  I had just had a laparoscopy a few months earlier.  We had done two failed IUI cycles and were getting ready for our first IVF.  I was, to put it mildly, not in the mood to hear anything at all about pregnancy.  At.  All.  And my sister-in-law could do nothing but talk about "when we get pregnant," "when we have a baby," "when the baby comes," as if people can just, you know, have sex and then magically get pregnant which of course they can and probably THEY WILL DO IT ON THE FIRST CYCLE AND THEN I WILL HAVE TO JUMP OFF A BRIDGE.  We went wine tasting.  I did a lot of tasting.  Hangover not so tasty.

Flash forward to this past week.  We come into town with adorable Baby Girl.  They have been trying to get pregnant for about a year.  (I'm sure sister-in-law wanted to start earlier, but I swear to you, my brother-in-law is the cheapest person alive and probably had to be convinced that the expense of children was worthwhile.)  (Let me pause to say, I don't hate this guy, in spite of the stuff I've been writing here.  But we have nothing in common.  And he's hard to be around.)

All I could think was, what if they had come to visit us with a baby while we were trying to get pregnant?  Wouldn't it have felt like salt in the wound?  Should I acknowledge this?  Even though my sister-in-law is terribly shy and might not want to talk?  But if I ignore it, won't that feel heartless?  And be heartless, even worse?  What to do?

She and I and Baby Girl went shopping on Wednesday.  It was not the easiest experience, but gradually, she opened up.  It turns out that she had a miscarriage last month.  The truth is, of all the people who got pregnant while we were trying, the idea that they would have a baby before we would was the hardest for me.  It felt as if (and I know I am a terrible horrible no good very bad person for this, but I'm sure I'll have good company in hell) their having a baby would somehow validate their beliefs about God, with which I vehemently disagree.  As if their pregnancy would prove that their "we're right, everyone else is hellbound" theology was more effective than mine.  And I know, I get it, it's terrible.  But I suspect most infertile women feel this way about someone, that someplace deep down, you think to yourself, "as long as I get pregnant before she does, it will be okay."

That's long gone, of course.  Not an ounce of it left, and all I want for her is to have a child in whatever way possible.  I feel guilty about it, though.  I mean, I realize that my prayer to "please, please let me get pregnant first" was undoubtedly met by God with a big, "wow, is she screwed up if she thinks that's how this works," but there was a small piece of me, that Christmas weekend in 2008, that wished they would have a little trouble getting pregnant so they would understand how hard it was.  That's the part that makes me feel guilty.  And all I can do now is pray for them and trust that God is a million times more merciful than I am.

The rest of the trip was fine.  Topped off by yet another (non-roof-ripping-off) three-hour delay on the way home, which makes me want to never travel with a baby again.  She did wonderfully, though, for which I thank all the moms who told me to nurse her during takeoff.  Hats off to you, ladies: you're brilliant.

Bedtime tonight was a screamfest, certainly brought on by a week of schedule-free living for which we will now be paying the price.  It's good to be home.