Halfway Through The TWW. Or Maybe Not.

It should be 7dpo today, but I’ve increasingly felt that wasn’t quite right (it was Fertility Friend’s calculated date). I went back to my chart and had another look at my notes and I think it is a day out. Two reasons: I had ovulation pain the day after (and it always stops straight after O), and I had a temp dip at 5dpo, but most cycles I get a pronounced dip at 4dpo. Something to do with the way my body works I guess.

Anyway, I settled on manual override yesterday and set ovulation day to the 20th August, so I am 6dpo today and not 7dpo.

I’m a bit miserable about it as this cycle is already taking FOREVER.

Not only that, but it was DS2’s 3rd birthday at the weekend and I had the usual family stress to deal with. My own family wanted to visit at a different time of day to my in-laws, so we had people over from 9am to 9pm. That aside, my mum’s short term memory loss seems to be getting really bad and I’m worried she’s going to need to move into a care home environment. Things with my Dad have been a little strained and everyone in my family forgot our wedding anniversary (is that normal? I don’t even know whether to be offended).

I am so sad of always being disappointed by my parents not behaving like ‘proper’ parents. I know this rests with me and I need to remove my expectations, but it’s hard.

On top of that my oldest starts school – proper infant school – next week and I am feeling tearful and emotional.

It is such a huge milestone, like the end of my motherhood boot camp, and I wish I’d done some some things better and some things different and I’m worried about the friends he’ll make, how good his teacher will be, will they see his strengths, and all the usual stuff that probably every mother worries about when her first goes off to school.

And of course, it makes it so, so apparent that I have failed to create the close-aged family I dreamed of (I wanted them all at home before the oldest went to school).

Sigh – anyway, gotta go, my mother-in-law is calling round this morning. Will write more soon.

My Heart Check-Up

I had my cardiology appointment today, after seeing the GP about increasingly annoying “skipped beats” over the last year.

After an ECG and a heart ultrasound, the consultant saw me and told me my heart is perfectly healthy.

He says I am suffering from ventricular ectopic beats. They are very common and totally benign.

There is no heart murmur either.

Ectopic beats are often provoked by nicotine (nope), caffeine (two teas a day at most), fizzy drinks (nope), alcohol (hardly ever).

Oh, and stress.

Well, yes. I do get that. A bit.

Isn’t it funny how I keep expecting something terrible to be wrong with me, but I just keep getting told I am in perfect health??

So I started wondering.

Is everything down to stress?

Am I miscarrying because of stress?

Generic baby websites reassure women that stress doesn’t cause miscarriage.

But there is an interesting summary of studies here that say the opposite.

And a huge increase in miscarriage rate is seen in women exposed to rocket attacks in war zones.

Am I stressed?

Hell, yes I am.

I’ve been stressed for two years while trying for a baby, losing 5 pregnancies and simultaneously looking after two young children with zero support aside from my husband. I’ve lost two grandparents and my brother has been in and out of psychiatric wards. I’ve also found myself dealing with impossible emotions surfacing from my own childhood since becoming a parent myself.

I’m a control freak and a bit of a perfectionist.

So, I’m going to get an adrenal stress profile done and see what the results are.

And I am simply too tired, tonight, to write anything else.

Calling All Mums – How Do You Cope With The Stress?

Of parenting, I mean.

Note: I focus on the negative here because I am interested in whether or not it is like this for all mums. Obviously, among the wailing and naughtiness there are hugs and laughter. But most some days it seems like everything, everything is a battle.

People often say to me, having two boys close together, that my days must be busy/hard/tiring. No shit.

I actually think most people (both of our parents included) have no idea how hard it is.

I’ve been looking at my stress levels over the last two days (post to come about why, when I get a spare 2 mins), and I’ve pinpointed that most of my stress actually comes from trying to be (and often feeling like I am not) a decent mother.

Just this past Friday we ended up in A&E because DS2 slipped over while he was chasing DS1 upstairs, and he crashed his head into the bedpost in our bedroom. They had to glue him back together:

ds2

I walk around on red alert all the time because they seem hellbent on destruction – of themselves, each other and their environment.

They ride bikes looking backwards and laughing, they run looking sideways at each other, they pull each other over for fun. Did I mention the A&E trip after DS1 ate a dishwasher tablet? Or the time DS2 almost got run over while out with hubby? Or the times that DS1 thought it would be fun to stand on 6 month old DS2’s back when he was learning to crawl? Pushing each other off the bed? DS1 hauling DS2 out of his cot? DS1 leaning out of the upstairs window watching the cars go by?

They are 2.5 and 4.

What the hell will it be like in a year? Two years? 10 years?!

And have I mentioned the bickering and screaming? I haven’t??

Let me tell you about my day today.

Is this normal?

Because it’s damn well normal in this house, and I’m sure it’s driving me to an early grave.

7am.
I am woken by:
“Yes.”
“No.”
“Yes.”
“NO.”
“Yes.”
“NO!”
“Yes.”
“NOOOOO!!!! WAHHHHH!!!!!!”
from the boys shared room.

Lucky for me, I have a cardiologist appointment, so hubby does breakfast and holds the fort until I get home at 10:15am. Hubby goes off to work. I am alone.

I get the boys a snack and afterwards DS1 starts walking around burping loudly, and grinning. It’s his new thing, and it is horrible.

I make a cup of tea and we sit down to thread some beads on pipe cleaners and play with Play Doh. Unusual peace follows.

beads

At 11:15 the boys want to go outside and the sun is out, so we get out the bike and scooter. After 15 minutes DS1 is repeatedly telling DS2 “I’m gonna beat you,” which makes DS2 stop scootering each time and scream in protest (because he is smaller and slower).

bikes

After repeated requests I tell DS1 if he doesn’t stop that we will have to head home. DS1 does it again, DS2 screams, and we head home. DS1 shouts and drags his heels all the way back.

50 metres from our house, DS1 races ahead and DS2 is behind me. Both are out of reach. Suddenly they both teeter dangerously close to the curb just as two cars drive past. DS1’s wheels slips backwards down someone’s driveway into the road and I hesitate between the two of them for a split second with the impossible decision of which child to save from certain death. DS2 is at least not moving, so I run to DS1.

Back at the house, as my heartbeat slows back down to something approaching normal, we put the bike and scooter in the garage. DS2 then decides he wants to bring a dirty football from the garage into the house. I refuse and brace myself for meltdown. Amazingly, it doesn’t happen.

In the house I take off DS2’s shoes. DS1 asks me to take his shoes off as well (he is 4.5 years old). I tell him that it helps me when he takes his own shoes off. He asks three times and gets the same answer so eventually complies, but sulks by lying on the floor with his thumb in this mouth, kicking the xbox in the TV cabinet with his feet.

I read them some stories and then make lunch. I ask five times for them to put the beads on the table back into the bead pot and in the end they do it because I tell them I can’t give them their lunch until the table is clear.

We have lunch and I repeatedly have to tell both of them to stay in their seats while they are eating. DS2 gets a book from the bookshelf and brings it back to the table, “for teddy”. While I am talking to DS1, DS2 starts flicking through the book with ham and crumbs over his fingers. I ask him to leave the book to one side and DS1 burps loudly and smiles at me. I ask DS1 to say ‘excuse me’.

DS2 spits out a massive ball of chewed ham and I explain for the 100th time that small mouthfuls are easier to eat. DS2 burps again and smiles at me. I ask him to say ‘excuse me’.

I get them some yoghurt raisins and DS1 shouts “Yumayumayumayumayuma!!!” until DS2 screams at him to stop. I ignore this as they both settle down to eat the yoghurt raisins.

They get down from table and DS1 walks about burping and saying nothing. He is smiling. I know he’s trying hard to provoke a reaction, but I just repeat that he needs to say ‘excuse me’, which he does.

I stack the dishwasher, make some more tea, and read them a couple more stories. Then I tell them I am having 5 minutes to drink my hot tea. DS1 goes upstairs, takes off his clothes and puts his pyjamas on. He comes down to show me. He goes back up and puts another pair of pyjamas on. He knows that the husband doesn’t like him to keep getting clean clothes out. DS2 pushes his trousers half down and cries for me to take them off, which I do (because the alternative is screaming meltdown).

They start fighting over DS1’s jumper and who gets to use it as a cloak, tugging one end each and shouting. I am trying to decide what the hell to buy for dinner, and am reading a recipe book, but I can’t concentrate. DS2 is standing behind me and suddenly he screams because he’s now found another jumper and he can’t put it on by himself.

I jump at the shock of the scream and go upstairs for a self-imposed time-out to stop myself yelling at them. They come up and find me having a wee on the toilet.

I try to get them to return downstairs with me, but DS1 has turned out a drawer with a shoebox in it (that I’ve kept because it has a pair of shoes in it we will reuse) and DS2 wants to take the lid downstairs. I say no and put it back in the drawer. He starts screaming. I ignore him and start to walk downstairs but he protests even louder that I am leaving him behind. I stop and ask him if there is anything I can help him with. He says no and runs off to the bedroom. I go downstairs.

I go back to the recipe book. DS2 eventually comes down and then he starts taking cushions off the sofa and putting them on the stairs. I ask him to put them back on the sofa and he refuses. I am highly intolerant to dangerous things (like stuff on the stairs), and can feel the limits of my patience approaching. DS1 runs over and grabs the cushions from DS2 on the stairs, so he can put them back on the sofa. DS2 almost loses his balance and screams at DS1. I yell at both of them. DS2 starts crying.

I go back to the recipe book for the 3rd time because we need something for dinner.

Shopping list sorted, I get DS2 dressed for the second time. I tell DS1 he has to get himself dressed, since he chose to put his pyjamas on. He wails and moans and asks for help and cries, but eventually gets a top and trousers on.

We get in the car. DS2 stops halfway to the seat and tells me his zip is wrong. I ask if he wants it up or down. He says down. I unzip it. He screams he wants it up. I zip it back to where it was originally and grind my teeth together.

At the supermarket they run around like crazy, pretending to be sharks or crocodiles, while I pick up a handful of items. They narrowly avoid smashing their heads on other people’s trolleys and baskets. Fellow shoppers look either terrified, amused or annoyed. DS2 falls over at least three times, but seems unhurt. They need new toothbrushes so I show them a selection of four colours to choose from that are for ages 3-5. DS1 picks up Every. Other. Toothbrush on the entire shelf. I repeat at least four times that they have to choose from the ones I have shown them. DS1 eventually picks blue, DS2 picks green. They are happy for 10 minutes. After we have paid, DS2 has screaming meltdown because he realises he actually wanted a blue toothbrush. He wails “I want blue!!” 352 times between the car park and home and all the other shoppers look at me and think what a terrible mum I am.

At home DS2 wants to hold DS1’s blue toothbrush. I tell him DS1 won’t be happy if DS2 has the blue toothbrush so DS2 cries some more. I wonder what it must be like to spend a day without listening to the sound of your own children crying.

It’s 15:50, so I cave in early and put CBeebies telly on. I sit down to write this post, consume a disgusting amount of plain orange chocolate and then make the boys tea.

After tea, I sit with them at the table while they play with dinosaurs and we chat a little.

Bathtime. Not too bad today. DS1 pushes DS2 once and DS2 slaps DS1 on the back. I rate that as a success.

I get them out of the bath and while I am rinsing away the water they have a naked, screaming fight over DS1’s backpack, tugging a strap each.

They come downstairs with me while I get milk, stories and bedtime stuff. While I gather things together they wrestle on the floor and DS2 pushes DS1 into a toy box. There is a loud bang as DS1’s head hits the plastic, followed by lots of tears.

After comforting DS1 we all head back upstairs. DS1 chases DS2 into our bedroom (exactly how we ended up in A&E on Friday), and I walk in to find DS1 sitting on DS2, holding him down.

I separate them and send DS1 downstairs so I can do DS2’s bedtime in peace.

After stories and cuddles DS2 goes down OK, and as soon as I get downstairs the door goes (someone collecting an ebay item), I can’t find my keys and spill the contents of a kitchen shelf on the floor trying to get the spare key from behind a cup.

I smile and wave off the eBayer, acting as though I am a perfectly organised and composed mum of two.

I sit and give DS1 a cuddle for a few minutes (possibly more because I need it than him).

I survey the devastation in the house and kitchen, but decide dinner is more important. I cook chilli while DS1 chats to me, do a whirlwind tidy-up of the lounge and we are sat at the table calmly when the hubby walks in at 7:30pm.

Today was a reasonably good day.

Honestly. It can be much, much worse.

Questions:

  1. Is this what parenting is/was like for you?
  2. How the hell do you stop yourself losing your sanity on a daily basis?

We do not have parental help, so it’s just me, all day, every day.

And some days… well. You can imagine, right?

End note: Please do not ask me why on earth I want another baby. There are some things that cannot be explained, and as much as I find the chaos overwhelming, I love it and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

boys

 

An Everything Update

I usually like to keep my posts relevant to one or two themes, but I have seriously fallen behind on news, so thought I would pop my head up with a general update on how everything is going and let everyone know I haven’t had some kind of mental breakdown 😉

Phew – it’s been busy. Thankfully preschool has at last opened again so I get a little bit more time to myself starting this week. On Tuesday morning I was here alone in the house and it was like I’d booked myself into a spa – oh such peace and tranquility!

So without further ado, here’s where I’m at:

Running

I am still working through the couch to 5k plan. I’ve slowed right down on my runs – I find that I just can’t train every other day as it’s too tiring for my body. I am running every 2-3 days now, which means I’m not keeping up with the “weeks” in the plan, but I’m completing every training run and am currently due to run Week 5 Day 2. I am still loving it, and can really feel my fitness has increased at this point. Just 17 days left until my 5k!

Emotional Declutter

I’ve done lots and lots here and I definitely feel like it is making a difference – to my stress levels at least. From my previous list I have done the following:

  • Cut my hair short (love it, going shorter next time!)
  • Been meditating on evenings where I have time (4 longer sessions so far)
  • Read half of The Power of Now. I’m still on the fence about this book. I like the concepts, but the writing itself can be a bit awkward.
  • Kept on running 🙂
  • Had stone massage therapy. I wasn’t sure about this. It was relaxing at the time, but I had sore muscles afterwards for a few days. Apparently this is normal in massage, but I’m not sure I like that part of it! I’m not going back for more.
  • I’ve been trying to be more mindful, but this is really tough for me. I’ve downloaded a Sudoku game onto my iPhone and every time I start thinking about things that make me unhappy or stressed I’m playing a sudoku instead. It’s quite a simple tactic, but diverts my thinking 🙂
  • DH and I did our first kid-free-block at the weekend (one of us babysits while the other goes out and does whatever they want for 3 hours). It was amazing. We have no one on hand who can watch our boys, so we almost never get time out from being a parent. I went shopping, browsed a bookshop and sat and had a coffee – it was just lovely. We’re planning the same again this weekend.
  • Cancelled all my social engagements. What a wonderful, freeing, relaxing feeling! I had a couple of things coming up I was dreading and suddenly they are just all gone! Friends have been really understanding when I explained I was feeling really down.
  • Been a (slightly) more patient and happy mum. This is hard – my two boys are a whirlwind for 13 hours a day. However, I’ve tried to control my own reactions to things and to take more deep breaths. I feel far from perfect, but DS1 has been happier and more affectionate, so I think what little I have done has had a positive effect.

Things I have been less successful at: I’m still reading miscarriage/TTC forums, mindlessly surfing the web now and again, having the odd glass of wine and thinking about having a third baby (but see below).

I haven’t tackled any of my “emotional baggage” yet. I’m working up to that once I’m feeling like I’m consistently happier.

Finally I’ve been recording my stress levels each day – just assigning a number for how I think the day has gone, and it has definitely come down. It’s really nice to see that pattern and know that what I am doing is working.

Baby Number 3

Ah, the big one. Probably the biggest reason for everything – this blog, my tears and sadness and frustration. I’m currently half way through the first two weeks of my cycle, so this is my best time mentally – there’s all the potential of ovulation on the horizon and none of the worry about not being pregnant.

My friend had her baby last week and I visited them yesterday. I have to say I was really dreading it – I was worried it was going to leave me tearful and depressed. However, it was fine. In actual fact, the passing of the one year anniversary of my miscarriage has kind of given me a clear path ahead. There are no longer any dates I’m dreading. I think a part of me is actually moving towards acceptance that I may never have another baby. And surprisingly, that thought doesn’t fill me with such anguish. Sadness and grief, oh yes. But the torturous pain and loss I have been experiencing has faded into something more manageable. And if I’m truly, truly honest, there’s a part of me that feels a sense of relief that I don’t have to go through pregnancy, birth and the newborn exhaustion. My boys are growing so fast now, the baby-era is moving further and further into the past. I always knew I wanted my (three) children very close together, so as time passes, it moves me on from that yearning.

What am I going to do with this blog? I don’t know. I haven’t felt drawn to write on here for the last couple of weeks. Deciding what to do with it is going to be part of moving on, but I can’t make any decisions like that right now, so we’ll just carry on until I can.

I’m tentatively thinking that at some point soon, we need to not try. That’s the only way to stop the madness and I know it’s a massive massive decision after almost 17 months, but I can’t go down the “not trying not preventing” route. And I don’t want a surprise baby when my boys are older. It’s always been now or never. And so far there has been no “now” 🙁

Anyway, before I get too maudlin, I have one more piece of news:

A Book!

At the beginning of this week I sat myself down and realised I needed something else to focus on if I was going to move on from TTC. I needed more life for me instead of all of my life being centred around my children. Two children is a handful, but it’s not enough. If there is going to be no third baby, then I need something else to feel like I’m am really making the absolute most of my life and my time.

So I sat down and contacted a publisher with a book idea I’ve had knocking around for a while. It’s a technical text, so it combines writing with my technical skills and the ability to work from home.

To my astonishment, they replied back within two days and said they want to see a full proposal! A book outline and sample chapter from the middle of the book.

I was in total shock when they responded, and for the last two days have been reading, reading, reading, and mentally planning the proposal that I’m going to send back to them.

If they like it, and sign me on, this opportunity would be my absolute dream job. I have always wanted to write, ever since I was small. I don’t even care if no one buys it (although I’m sure the publisher would), just the fact that in my life I would have written and published a text would mean so much to me. Eeeee!!!

Anyway, because of that, I may be posting a little less frequently, at least until they reject my proposal, at which point I will be back in full force 😉

I’ll keep you all updated.

I am not a hugely spiritual person, but I feel almost as though something, somehow is sending this opportunity my way to balance out the year I’ve had. That the act of reaching out and trying to make something good happen for myself was answered because, actually, I really needed it.

I really needed something to help me move on and remind me that even when it looks as though you have reached a dead end, there are always other paths out there. You just have to find them.

Emotional Decluttering – A List of Things To Try

Well, I survived the weekend.

Just.

The one year anniversary of my miscarriage. The 2nd birthday of my beautiful boy. The socialising with family who drive me crazy, yet I still can’t help but love.

I am exhausted.

Seriously.

This has been the hardest week for me, mentally, in probably 10 years.

I feel as though I hit the bottom. I cried floods of tears. I yelled at my husband. I yelled at the kids. I sat with my head in my hands wondering how the hell to escape my own thoughts.

But now here we are. A new morning. A new start. All those milestones are gone now.

It’s time to start making myself happier.

Here are the things I have planned over the coming weeks and months, in no particular order:

  • Keep running (fitness and stress reduction)
  • See craniosacral therapist (let go of miscarriage)
  • Have stone massage therapy (stress reduction)
  • Daily meditation – at home and maybe join a course/class (stress reduction)
  • Reading list: The Power of Now, You Can Heal Your Life, The Emotionally Absent Mother (deal with emotional issues)
  • Try to be more mindful, spend time each day in the moment (stress reduction, emotional clutter)
  • Take turns with DH for 3-hour block of children-free time at weekends (stress reduction)
  • No alcohol (alcohol is a depressant)
  • Stop reading miscarriage/infertility forums (emotional clutter)
  • Stop mindless surfing online (emotional clutter)
  • Get hair cut short! (new start, no hiding behind my hair)
  • Cancel social engagements for next two months (stress reduction)
  • Record daily stress level (stress reduction: baseline and peak, each day, scale of 0-10)
  • Keep my house in order (calm clear environment)
  • Be a patient, happy mummy. Be present with my boys (happy boys = happy mummy)
  • Get the toilet, cupboard door, shelves and skirting board fixed upstairs (calm clear environment)
  • Take more time to look after myself and my appearance (care about my body)
  • Try not to spend all my time thinking about having a third baby (easier said than done)

Phew. I’ve already booked appointments here there and everywhere, and next week preschool starts again so I’ll have a little more free time – blogging and keeping up with the blogs I love has fallen by the wayside slightly over the summer.

I’ve been recording my stress levels for 6 days now and boy – I am WAY more uptight than I realised. I am literally in a state of permanent red-alert. Not sustainable and so bad for my body.

I did my first guided meditation last night and it immediately made me feel so much better. Just hoping I can fit everything in.

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