Putting my worry in it’s place

I’ve been feeling the fear again. The fear of losing my baby before I’ve ever gotten to hold her or hear her cry. These fears come and go. Right now they are stronger than they have been. I think it’s partly because I’ve been really lax about taking my Zo.loft and partly because I have something else going on that is causing me a lot of stress and so it helps to spin my anxieties out of control.

In my Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety Workbook they have an exercise for excessive worrying that really spoke to me. I’m going to do the exercise on here in hopes that it will help me, and maybe helps others that are having similar anxieties or worries about issues in their life that they can’t control.

Worry: My baby will be still born.

Ways  in which my worrying is PRODUCTIVE:

I research the topic and am more informed (which remind me that I have a very little chance of this happening to me).

I am more vigilant of the baby’s movements which might lead to me noticing something wrong in time to do something about it.

Ways in which my worrying is UNPRODUCTIVE or HARMFUL:

Manifests physically in negative ways that are harmful to my health and the baby’s health.

Exposes me and the baby to stress hormones.

Creates anxious thinking patterns that will continue into motherhood and allow me to be more anxious about things I can’t control then (train me to be a mother who worries obsessively over things she cannot control).

Keeps me from enjoying my pregnancy now.

Makes me exhausted and unable to participate in things that I want to be a part of.

Causes stress in my relationship and makes Mi.Vida suffer.

Wastes valuable time and energy that I really need to be using elsewhere.

The agony of worrying about this is in no way proportional to the actual chance of it happening.

In my attempts to find information I also find stories that make me sad, upset and more anxious.

*      *      *       *      *

Not surprisingly, there are many more unproductive and/or harmful consequences than productive ones. I already knew this but it helps to see them written there in lists, clear as can be. Also, it helps to really write out the ways in which my obsessive worrying hurts me. It does almost nothing to help and causes so much harm. I need to really take that into consideration when I feel the thoughts closing in, threatening to strangle me. I can either listen to them, feed them, give them credence or I can acknowledge them and breathe them away as I become more mindful of myself and the current moment. These are choices that I do have. My anxiety makes it harder to do the latter, but it is never impossible. I just have to make the choice. It’s true that losing my baby would be devastating and I can’t possibly imagine how I would survive. But thinking about it will not prepare me for that, so it does me no good. Instead I have to respect my worry and then place it aside, where it can’t hurt me, my family or my child.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – Even though I have a big grad school paper due this Sunday, I’m so glad it’s the weekend. Man did I ever need to get away from work!

My day off = TOTALLY worth it

Yesterday was a pretty good day. All in all I’m glad I took the day off. These are the reasons I think it was worthwhile for me to play hooky (in no particular order – actually in chronological order – kind of):

– I was able to support Mi.Vida for a change by driving to and from Sacramento yesterday. With all he does for me, if felt really good to do something for him.

– I enjoyed some great conversations (and some intense laughter) with Mi.Vida, whom I will hardly see this week or weekend.

– The breakfast sandwich at the cafe were I was working was SUPER YUMMY.

– I got most of this week’s grad school assignment done.

– Mi.Vida and I were able to stop at IKEA on the way home and we got a new wall shelf unit for the kitchen that will seriously help with space issues we are tackling. We also got many other things we need (and some things we didn’t – like a cat tent for Squeaks – hey it was her first birthday!).

Happy Birthday Squeaks!

– I had time to take a 1.5 hour walk in the sunshine in the park. It was nice. My hips are really bothering me a lot and I think my days of longer walks (more than 2 miles) are coming to an end. I also think I might have felt my first Braxton Hicks. They weren’t intense and didn’t stop me in my tracks, but the definitely slowed me down and my uterus felt quite hard while they were happening. It was interesting, to say the least.

– My sub ended up being a woman I haven’t had before and (drum roll please…) she speaks Spanish! I’ve already emailed me about being my long term sub at the end of this year and for first semester of next year. I hope she’s interested and can do it!

– It’s much easier to be at work today. I haven’t felt the need (or desire) to yell at anyone and it wasn’t even that hard to go back to class after lunch. Tomorrow I have THREE parties to host and I’m glad I had a day off this week to make up for the mayhem of 5th/6th and 7th/8th graders having a party day. It’s the WORST!!!!

So I really have no regrets about taking the day off. In fact I think it was a great idea. So there guilty conscious! I guess you really never had a chance, but it’s still nice to throw that back in your face!

BUENAS NOTICIAS – It’s after lunch and my back isn’t killing me yet. It’s amazing what not being at work for one day will do for my back pain. Even if it does show up again before the day is over, right now I’m enjoying its absence quite a bit.

March (ICLW) Madness

Hello ICLWers! I can’t believe it’s already March ICLW time. The months do fly by. I suppose now I need to give people a little back story into me and my TTC/pregnancy journey.

My blog name is Esperanza. I’m almost 30 and live in San Francisco with my partner Mi.Vida. We were going to get married but when Prop 8 was passed we decided to wait until California made it legal for everyone to get married. Instead we became domestic partners (in the city of San Francisco, as the state won’t let us do that because we’re not a same sex couple) in January of this year. We immediately started TTC after that.

I was already going to acupuncture and taking TCM herbs before we started TTC because of my history of amenorhea (no periods). I continued acupuncture and herbs along with charting and after a short six months was pregnant. Unfortunately a trip to the ER early in my pregnancy revealed that my baby we nestled snuggly in my left Fallopean tube, instead of my uterus. After an MVA (to determine for sure that I had an ectopic) I got two shots of methotrexate and was sent home. Two weeks of intense bleeding and  abdominal bloating later, I had started to heal physically. Emotionally I had a long way to go.

I was very lucky to find myself pregnant again in October, only four months after my ectopic. This pregnancy has been successful and I’ll be in my third trimester next week.

I know I’ve had a relatively easy journey through TTC, but it has been accompanied by much anxiety and depression (conditions I’ve suffered from since high school). I’ve turned to meditation, Buddhism, therapy and now Zo.loft to find some ability to cope. After a very rough first trimester fraught with anxiety and some lingering depression during my second trimester, I’m hoping the final third of my pregnancy will be easier. I’m so happy to be pregnant and am enjoying it immensely, but I can’t deny that I’ve struggled. Let’s just say I’m terrified to set up a nursery because I’m still worried something will happen before delivery.

As for the rest of my life, I’m a middle school Spanish teacher who is also in grad school. I have a cat I call Squeaks who brings me a lot of joy and happiness (and helped us through the tough summer after our ectopic with her kitten-y cuteness). I love being a part of the blogging community and read and comment on blogs daily. I hope you enjoy my blog! If you comment I will definitely check out yours and return the favor!

BUENAS NOTICIAS (Good News) – Mi.Vida comes home from Austin’s SXSW tonight. I can’t wait to see him!

A funk

I’ve come to an important realization recently – I am in a funk. A pretty intense one. It is definitely the kind of funk that can turn into a bout of depression if I’m not careful. I know these kinds of funks well, I’ve spent many a month and year in some gray, monotonous places. I have some tools at my disposal to try to combat how I’m feeling but it’s just so hard to be in the place at the moment. I’ve suffered bad episodes of depression on and off for years, since I was in high school. I’ve seen therapists and taking meds on and off and I know that I will continue to do so for the rest of my life (hopefully not the meds, but probably the therapists). I’m currently in therapy and it helps, I’m also currently taking Zo.loft (for anxiety and I guess now for depression) but I’m keeping myself at a low dose because of out of control weight gain. Anyway, it’s been a little rough and I’m hoping it doesn’t last for long.

Some things that I’m having an especially hard time dealing with while in my funky emotional state are:

  • The theft of my computer. I didn’t realize how much I depended on it until it was gone. The one we’re using from Mi.Vida’s website studio does not have the processing power, is very slow to change between applications (which I need to do a lot during grad school work), does not have Microsoft Office (which I need for grad school and work), does not have a microphone and camera (which I need for online grad school classes) and is just generally not nearly as nice as my machine was. I probably break down from the frustrating of having had my computer stolen about once a day. During most of those breakdowns, tears are shed. I want so badly just to get a new one but I just can’t justify spending the HUGE amount of money to do it. That is really what makes me frustrated, wanting so bad to replace it and not being able to (oh, and the fact that someone STOLE it in the first place).
  • Friend stuff. I’m realizing more and more that this is very much my own thing and not my friends. I keep trying to remind myself that my pregnancy is not that big of a deal to my friends and that their lives do not revolve around me during these nine months. It’s not that I really think they should, but sometimes my responses to what my friends do or say are somewhat based on my expectation that right now is a special time and my expectation that it will be treated accordingly. Of course that is really not true, not really. I mean it’s special for me, but its just something their friend is going through and doesn’t mean my wants and needs should become a top priority for them. In an attempt to show that I know everything is not all about me right now I did buy tickets to see my friend in NYC that couldn’t come out to see me. I’m happy to see her but worried about the financial decision to go out at all (thought the tix were very reasonable). I’m hoping it was a step in the right direction (away from me issues and towards my friends).  I’m still kind of struggling with a feeling of loneliness though, and I know I need to be the one to change that.
  • Finances. The computers being robbed and our plan to get a new (to us) car soon, have really got me thinking about finances. Man, we are in some trouble for next year. Between our sad little salaries and child care expenses we’re going to be sucking our savings dry. I know we can make much more responsible choices regarding money and we will, but the whole situation stresses me out. We’re going to keep writing down what we spend every month until the baby comes  (and then after the baby comes) and hopefully that will help us make changes in the right direction. Until then I need to not stress out about that which I cannot change – how little we make and how much child care will cost.
  • Grad School. I’ve been totally dropping the ball in my grad school class lately too. I didn’t show up for the last two classes (which were also the first two classes) and I’m so embarrassed. I’d love to have a good reason, but I didn’t read my email early enough to be at the first one and I totally forgot about the second. It’s no good. I’ve always been a responsible student and I just can’t believe how bad this looks. I’m nervous to talk to my professor tomorrow but I need to face the music. I hope this doesn’t mess up my final grade too much. The worst part is this is the Linguistics class I’ve been waiting to take – I love Linguistics, it was my major at Berkeley! I can’t believe I’ve been so irresponsible about it so far. It just makes me feel lousy.
  • Being busy. I have had so much work to do lately and so much tutoring, I just feel overwhelmed and tired all the time. Mi.Vida and I have been trying to see Shutter Island for FOUR WEEKS and every time I have to cancel because I have too many papers to grade or too much grad school work to do, or will be at tutoring for too long. It’s really starting to wear me down. I have to tutor because we need the money, and I have to grade papers because I have to give my students grades and I have to get this grad school class done because otherwise I’ll be doing it while I have a baby. There is nothing that can give, except my sanity I guess. I just wish I had a whole weekend where I didn’t have to do anything.
  • Back pain. I have been plagued by this mid back pain for the last three weeks and it’s driving me insane. I’ve gone to the chiropractor twice and a massage therapist twice (both of which are costing me a pretty penny) and there has been no improvement. I don’t know how to make it better. It makes work, chores and sleep very uncomfortable and puts me on edge all the time. If I have to deal with this for the rest of my pregnancy I’m going to really lose it.

So that is where I’ve been lately. I know that my mood is both being caused by some of these stressed and also, causing enhanced reactions to them (in which I tend to freak out and cry a lot). I’ve just gotten the book The Mindful Way through Depression and am looking forward to reading it and putting its ideas into practice. I really am so happy to be pregnant and so enjoying the experience, I don’t want it to be marred by a low grade depression like this. Hopefully between therapy, Zo.loft and being mindful of the present moment, I can get back to where I want to be.

In the meantime, I’m sorry I’ve been a bad blog writer and commenter. I promise to resume my old habits of more frequent commenting in the coming days. Also, thank you for all the kind comments about my pictures. I know they are hard to see for many people, but I can’t help but share them. I appreciate the people who say kind things about them, I really do. I know they would have torn my heart to pieces after my ectopic. You are stronger women than I. And please know that if you couldn’t handle them and did not comment I TOTALLY understand.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – I had some girl friends over for dinner yesterday and it was a lot of fun. Tonight I’m catching up on LOST with my sister and tomorrow I’m getting together with my SIL. I’m definitely keeping busy while Mi.Vida is away at SXSW!

26 Weeks

I know I’ve been a little down lately but I wanted to share something fun. Here are some picts of my baby bump at 26 weeks! A photographer actually came to our yoga studio yesterday and took professional shots of those of us who signed up. I’ll be getting my favorite for free and I promise I will share that when I do. For now, I have some amateur shots Mi.Vida and I took after the real photo shoot.

Buenas Noticias – After a lot of rain this past 2.5 months, we had a beautiful weekend. It was great to be out in the sun.

Feeling a bit forlorn

First of all, thank you so much for your kind comments about the break in. That was by far the most comments I’ve ever gotten on a blog post and it really helped to know that people out there cared about what happened to us.

I really don’t have much to report on that front. We’re still unsure how they got in. We have a new deadbolt on the door and we will be finding a different cleaning lady, one who is recommended to us by someone we know. I feel bad changing cleaning ladies, as I doubt she had anything to do with this, but with the bad timing of this happening only two months after we started using her… we just can’t take the risk. We definitely can’t afford to replace both laptops so we’ll probably be borrowing a desktop from Ben’s website studio and then buying one high powered laptop for us both to share. I don’t know where we’ll get the money for that one machine either.

We’re also looking at getting a new car (new to us at least). I can’t really put any money towards it, except the pay out from AAA on the last car (which ended up being more significant than we expected) so I feel bad saying much of anything about it. I think we should get an older, 2004 with low mileage for about $10,000. Because I drive so much, and we’d be driving with a baby a lot, Mi.Vida thinks we should get a newer, 2007 with almost no mileage for around $16,000. Again, I don’t feel like I can say much of anything because I feel so guilty that I can’t help pay for it. I know that our money is all basically shared at this point, but Mi.Vida’s savings is mostly from before we were together and I feel kind of guilty assuming it’s for us now. I know it is, and I know he wouldn’t think twice about it, but I still feel bad. And, that savings was going to go towards our down payment on a house some day, but I’m worried there won’t be anything left by then.

We’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of all our spending this month, to see how we’ll fair next year when we’re paying for full time childcare. So far we’ve already passed the amount we’ll have left after we’ve paid my SIL for being here 40 hours a week. I’m going to be getting a pay cut, but I also have a lot of credits to turn in so that might just make up for it, almost. We also don’t know how much childcare being tax deductible will help us out. I’ve heard we can even put the money away into a child care account that is never taxed in the first place. If that is the case it might make a significant difference because childcare will end up being a little less than 2/3 of my take home salary. I have to say, the finance side of having a baby is really starting to stress me out. It so doesn’t help that we lost the only things of value we ever owned and have to replace somehow.

I also got the bad news that one of my best friends can’t make it to the baby shower, and probably not at all before the baby is born. Even though I told her before that she didn’t need to come out (she lives all the way in NYC) for the shower I’ve been really upset to know that she actually isn’t. I can’t seem to figure out what about the situation makes me so sad. I think it’s more that she won’t be out at all to experience my pregnancy with me.

This is something I’ve wanted my whole life, it’s definitely the most significant thing to have happened to me ever (except for meeting and falling in love with Mi.Vida, but since we never formally got married there was not big event to mark that). I think I just really want to share it with people and it makes me sad when I can’t, or I feel like I don’t have many people to share it with. I also find myself thinking, I don’t have that one friend who you know, just KNOW, would be at your shower no matter what. I guess only some women are lucky enough to have that kind of best, best friend.

I had a friend like that when I was young but she lived far away. We kept in touch for years, even after we moved away from Hong Kong (where we met) to California and Washington. We’d talk on the phone for hours, visit each other every year. It was great. We had a falling out at the end of college and neither of us really put in the effort to fix the relationship. I’ve been trying to get a hold of her since the winter holidays but she’s only called back once. I’m beginning to think she either doesn’t have time to reconnect with me or just doesn’t want to. I told her in my last voice mail that if I didn’t hear from her I’d assume that was the case.

I feel like I have so many people I could eat dinner with, but not so many I could call about things like this, to talk about how I’m feeing right now. I feel like that is the problem. I could schedule dinners for the next two weeks straight and still have people to see, but I don’t have anyone to call when I’m driving home from work crying about some silly thing that has me super upset.

I want to clarify that I do have some wonderful best friends. One of my friends immediately emailed me to check in about my shitty week after she heard that the other friend couldn’t come out before June. That made me feel very loved and cared for.

I don’t know though. It somehow feels more complicated than it should be. I guess the problem is that I everything having to do with friendship also has to do primarily with emotions. I know my emotions do not always reflect reality. For example, I know that I have a lot of friends but I don’t always  feel like that is the case. I know if I needed to talk to someone, I have people I could call, but with schedules and time changes and not wanting to impose on people who have their own problems, I don’t feel like I can call many people when I’m upset. I don’t know if any of this makes sense. Sometimes I think I spend way too much time thinking about this stuff.

The reality is I’m an adult and adult relationships are different from relationships you have in high school, college, even right after college. I think part of this is just growing pains, not just growing into adulthood but also parenthood. And I keep reminding myself that sometimes things are quite the way you want them to be, and it can be difficult, but you just have to get through it. It doesn’t really make me feel any better about the current moment but it does help me put things into perspective.

And of course, I’m so happy to be pregnant and that brings me so much joy. I think that is actually part of why the friend thing is hurting me right now, because I am so happy about it and I don’t feel like I know how to share it with the people in my life. It’s hard when most of my friends are at such different places and have such different ideas about having children. I think I feel like people won’t be able to relate to how I feel. But maybe I’m not giving them the chance in the first place.

Well this turned into a long, rambling diatribe. I’m sorry if it didn’t make much sense, it doesn’t all add up in my head or heart either. I guess I’m just trying to get it out. Sometimes when I do that there is direction by the end. Today not so much. I guess it’s just a hard topic for me to navigate and will continue to be difficult for me. I know I’ll figure it out somehow though.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – The mother of one of my students brought me her collection of porcelain Care Bears gathered during her childhood. (I loved Care Bears as a child and after bringing just two to school, I now have two long windowsills full of Care Bears creating a rainbow of stuffed bear bottoms for all to see.) I thought it was so kind of her to pass on her collection to me. I’m excited to put them up in the nursery.


I guess it was a blessing in disguise that the Muni trains were delayed indefinitely yesterday and I didn’t hit any traffic so I could swing by and pick Mi.Vida up on his walk home from work. It was good luck because it meant we got home together (which we almost never do) and were there to support each other when we found out that our apartment had been burglarized.

We’re still not sure how they got in but they definitely left through the front door which was unlocked (and Mi.Vida swears he locked it when he left). There is no sign of forced entry and all the windows were locked that we could see. They took our two laptops, which were both quite expensive. That is all they took. It doesn’t even look like they looked at anything else and the reality is, the ten most expensive things left in the house probably don’t equal the value of one of those laptops.

We don’t have renters insurance so we’re just going to have to deal with the $4,000 it will take to replace them both. And of course there is all the data, pictures, music that was taken along with them. We both have external hard drives and have backed up our machines, but things will be lost for sure.

And of course there is the feeling of being vandalized. It’s so scary to think we don’t know how they got in. Thank goodness the cat is okay. Whenever I get bummed out I just remind myself of that and I feel much, much better.

Mi.Vida stayed home today until the locks were changed. I canceled my credit card (which showed up if you just typed a “4” in a credit card box in my browser) and all our passwords online. I still can’t really believe it even happened. Now my apartment doesn’t feel safe and we have another significant financial hurdle to overcome. I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed right now.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – Squeaks is safe and sound and that’s all that matters.