Begging for help

I’m deeply enmeshed in Isa’s six month to one year photo book. I always planned to work on is this week. What I didn’t plan was Shutterfly’s big sale, which ends Wednesday. So I need to finish our book, the abbreviated family version (of which multiple copies will be made) and the calendar by Wednesday, preferably by Sunday as the beginning of next week is kind of crazy.

Shutterfly has changed their photo book service. Now you have pretty much complete control over what you create. You can change layouts, adjust the sizes of the photo spaces, move them, delete them, add text, add stickers – it’s bascially super awesome. And super time intensive. It’s taking me ages to get through the book. Of course I’m uploading 200+ photos for every month, but still. It’s going to look sooooooooooo awesome when it’s done.

The calendar shouldn’t take too long but I know it will. I need to work, work, work until this is all done. For this reason I won’t be posting much on my blog for a couple of days, though there might be some fun pictures tomorrow.

In the meantime I need to beg for some help. Next month I’m writing my first piece for the mothers group publication that I’m copy editing for. It’s an 800 word reflection on a specific topic. The issue is about sex and my topic is sex after baby – most specifically the first time you have sex after birth. I offered to do it at my first ever magazine meeting. When they brought up the piece no one said a word. It was like crickets. I’ve always been so comfortable speaking about sex (I attribute that to my liberated college roommates and the feminine sexuality class they encouraged me to take in college) so I felt I’d be a good person to tackle the subject. Also, an 800 word reflection piece is a great way to show them what I can do (researched features still terrify me).

Of course now that I have a couple weeks to write the piece I’m totally flailing; I have NO IDEA what to write. So I’m asking all of you. When you were approaching the fateful first post-birth sexual encounter what did you want to know? If you haven’t experienced that yet, what do you think you’d want to know if you were in that position? Should I tackle the physical aspects or the emotional? Should I try to touch on both?  If you have any specific recommendations of what I should do please feel free to share them.

Really, any help you can give will be much appreciated.

I hope you’re all having a restful long weekend filled with tasty leftovers.

Confessional Fridays: TTA (and kind of terrified)

Remember how I was asking, just yesterday, Where do I go from here? Well on the family building front that question has me very conflicted.

On Saturday I popped the last little white pill from the last row in my last birth control pack. I’ve decided to stop taking even the mini-pill as it gives me pretty noticeable Melasma, which I hate. The minute my skin gets any sun, I develop dark blotches on my upper lip and around my eyes. Its supposed to be caused by increased estrogen (which is why many pregnant women get it and it’s also called the “pregnancy mask”) so I don’t know why I get it even when I’m on the progesterone-only pill, but I do. It doesn’t matter how much sunscreen I wear every day (I slather on a daily 30 or 50 SPF daily!) I still get it. It looks like I have a mustache.

So I’m going off BCP even though we’re not TTC yet.

In fact, I can’t even “accidentally” get pregnant (ha – the idea of this is still so ridiculousl to me) because I’m on a medication for my ADD and there have been no studies on how it affects human pregnancies (though studies have shown adverse affects on animal fetuses, whatever that means). So yeah, getting pregnant in the next two months, while I’m still taking this medication would be bad. And after that, it would probably be detrimental to my relationship if I got pregnant accidentally.

So we’re going to chart my temps and use the barrier method. Basically we’re TTA. And that seems very strange to me.

A part of me is really worried about going off BCP so long before we start TTC. As someone with unexplained amenorrhea, the most prudent move is to start trying immediately after stopping BCP as that is when you are most likely to continue ovulating. In the past, when they gave me three months of BCP to “jumpstart” my system I’d ovulate (or at least menstruate) for about three to five months before I stopped. Then I would never start again until the next round of BCP the next year.

When I was TTC I started acupuncture and a TCM diet BEFORE I went off BCP. I was trying to ensure that those three to five months right after I stopped birth control were optimal for a possible pregnancy. I continued acupuncture and TCM herbs and diets until I got my second BFP, about 11 months after I started trying. Those 11 months were the longest I’d gotten my period in over a ten years.

Of course I don’t know if I was ovulating all that time because of the acupuncture or the 2.5 years of continual BCP or a mixture of both. Or if it was just dumb luck.

I’m scared to stop BCP now when we’re not TTC for another five months. What if, by the time we’re start tying, I’m not having my period anymore? What if I then have to go on BCP for three months to kick start it? What if everything goes back the way it was before when I never ovulated.

I guess I’ll only know if I do it. I guess it’s possible my nine months of pregnancy jump started my reproductive organs in a more complete and long lasting way. Maybe I will have my period like clockwork from now until I’m taken over by the “change” later in life. Who knows?

All I know is for the next 5 months I’m charting to avoid. I will be checking for EGCM to know when not to have sex. I’ll be waiting for my temps to rise to know when it’s safe to have sex without pregnancy as a consequence. It’s all so foreign, so backwards. I can’t really wrap my head around it.

Sometimes I wonder if it will be hard to TTA. Will I want t throw caution to the wind (after I’m off my meds in July) and just go for it? I’m not sure, but I doubt it. While having my first child was something I wanted immediately, having my second feels different.

It feels different not because I know what I’m getting into, but because I realize how thoroughly I DO NOT know what I’m getting into. Before I had Isa I knew, in that vague and abstract way you can know something you haven’t experienced, that having a baby was hard work but I had no idea how it would affect me and my partner and our relationship. I had no idea how difficult it would be.

The discrepancy between how hard I thought it might be and how hard it actually is has taught me a lot. It has taught me that I cannot know how hard having a second child will be, especially when the first is still a toddler. It has proven that there are challenges I can’t, and won’t, anticipate. More than anything I know that I can in no way prepare myself for the strain it might put on me, and more importantly on my relationship.

Of course, I also didn’t know how amazing it could be. Even in my wildest fantasies (and I indulged in plenty of them) I could never have conceived of the joy and fulfillment my daughter would bring. Before meeting Isa I didn’t know what it meant to love someone so intensely and completely. I adore spending time with Isa and I’m eager to meet my (possible) future child(ren), to learn who they are and how they see the world.

There are so many more variables now. The temperament of a (possible) second child. The way Isa will react to him or her. The way they will interact with each other. It’s impossible to know what the family dynamics will be.

And of course there are the possible struggles, the possible losses. What will those be like when I have a child to care for? Will having Isa make it easier or more difficult? It will surely be very different to face those things when the journey is no longer my own, but my daughter’s as well.

So yeah, the whole TTA to TTC thing is exceedingly difficult to navigate with myriad variables and infinite unknowns. All I can do is make choices and deal with the consequences of those choices, whatever they may be. In the meantime I just wait.

Weekend Resolution Round-up #2

So here is a look at how I’m doing with my goals so far. It’s been three weeks since I last checked in. I’m hoping to do it on the 2nd and 4th weekend of the month from now on.

Let’s so how I did!

Eating my fruits and veggies. 😦 Same as last time. I had some good days but I also had some horrible days and the horrible days out numbered the good ones.

Cleaning the house. 😦 Pretty much same as last time. Maybe a little better. I did attempt to clean up some problem spots like my desk and our bedroom but it seems to be a two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. Or two steps forward, three steps back, which is no good at all.

Practicing mindfulness. 😦 😦 I did yin yoga maybe twice in the past three weeks. Not very good at all, but better than nothing.

Exercise. 🙂 I have run at least once a week for the last three weeks! Yay for me. I really want to run twice a week at least, but it’s hard right now to go after work as Isa sleeps later, until almost 5pm, and it’s still getting dark relatively early. I think I need to just suck it up and go for it one of these days and see what happens. Still, I’m VERY proud of my three weekend runs. They’ve been feeling great.

In bed by 10:30. 🙂 😦 Hey yo! I got in to bed by 10pm EVERY NIGHT this week! But I didn’t do it once the two weeks prior, so I guess I have to give myself a mediocre score. Hopefully I can keep it up and give myself a 🙂 next time.

Plan/grade papers. 🙂 I got progress reports out and that is no small feat. In the next weeks I will have a ton of grading to do with my Spanish classes. AH!

Mi.Vida time. 🙂 We’re still enjoying “our” time once a week, sometimes two! I know it’s not Mi.Vida’s ideal scenario, but I’m still pretty proud of it. I’m trying to embrace more spontaneous opportunities to show him how much I care, but it’s still a work in progress.

Saving money. 😦 We hardly ate out at all this month, which I’m pleased about. I was keeping my VISA bill down but in the past few days I’ve had to put a couple hundo on it. Not good. I also bought Isa way too many toys this month. I gotta keep that shit under control!

Working on my book. 😦 Again, this falls by the way side. But I did install Adobe CS4. Plus I bought a workbook on using Illustrator and have done the first lesson. Still, I need to do a lot more than that to get going on this. My new goal is one Illustrator lesson a week and keep reading about how to illustrating a children’s book.

Well, I erased three frowny faces this week, which means I did quite a bit better than last time! I’m actually very pleased about that. You know, if I weren’t keeping track of all of this I don’t think I’d realize whether or not I was doing better or worse at my goals. So maybe this check in thing will actually help me stay on track! We shall see.

For the last two weeks of February I’m going to focus most on getting to bed early (because I really felt better this week) and learning Illustrator. Wish me luck!

Confessional Fridays: I don’t wanna (the completed version)

Turns out I posted some unfinished version of this many hours ago. I have no idea what version that was. OOPS! Anyway, in case you get my posts via reader, here it is again, in it’s completed form:

I wrote that title and then I navigated away from the page. I came back and re-read what I had written and I laughed. I could write on numerous topics for that title. Here are just some of the posts that could follow the title of “I don’t wanna…”

… clean my house.

…. go to work.

… eat my veggies (more on this soon).

… grade papers.

… do my taxes.

… ever swipe my VISA at Babies R Us again.

… be a responsible spender.

The list goes on and on. In fact, the topic of this post might seem a little strange, surprising even. Because what I don’t wanna do is, take birth control.

Queue the snorts, muffled laughter and/or down right hysterics. Take birth control? you might think. I’m my own, unintended birth control, I WISH I had to TAKE something to not get pregnant, but I can do that all by my lonesome.

I get it. I really do.

I guess now would be the appropriate time to offer some back story. In the interest of keeping this brief I will use bullet points.

– Amenorreha from 18-26. Take BCP every couple of years to jump start menstruation but it never sticks.

– Meet Mi.Vida and take BCP for 2.5 years while we’re together.

– Me: VERY eager to start a family with Mi.Vida when we realize we’re in it for the long haul. Mi.Vida: not so much; the opposite, in fact. It takes us a while to come to an understanding.

– I start acupuncture/TCM diet/Chinese herbs before we start in an attempt to keep menstruating once I’m off the pill.

– Queue TTC with BBT charting, OPK sticks and timed intercourse.

– In the space of about a year we have one ectopic pregnancy and then quickly become pregnant with our daughter.

So back to birth control. Basically, I hate taking the pill. Of course it’s annoying to have to take it every day at the same time of day. And every three months I have to remember to order it before I run out. I also don’t like putting synthetic hormones in my body, altering the way it works. But my biggest complaint with BCP is that it decimates my libido.

And that is the other confession for my post. Some (most?) of the time, “I don’t wanna” also applies to sex. But it’s not really that I don’t want to have sex, it more like I don’t really care if we do. I know that sounds horrible to say, but it’s the truth. Well, not the whole truth. I mean, I do want to have sex because I feel great after we do it and I KNOW it makes our relationship better, deeper, closer. And it’s not like I don’t like to have sex, because I do. And once I get into it, I’m into it and I enjoy it very much. But before I’m in the throes of it, almost always I could take it or leave it, in equal measure. I just don’t have that drive inside of me. And I think it’s because of the pill, because I felt this way long before having my daughter.

Lately I’ve been needling Mi.Vida about not wanting to take the pill but I’ve never asked us to really look into possible alternatives. Last night and this morning we got into a little tiff about it. Today I sent Mi.Vida the following in an email:

Recently, since I’ve been trying hard to make “our time” a more important and integral part of our relationship, I wonder again if the pill has something to do with my decreased libido… Sometimes, when I feel so much pressure to make sure our sex life is healthy and thriving I can’t help but feel resentful that I’m taking something that could potentially make it harder for me to do that.

So that is where I’m coming from. I feel really stuck in the middle. On the one hand I know it’s the optimal form of birth control for us, on the other hand I think it might be making it difficult for me to be an enthusiastic participant in our sex life, which is also really important to our relationship. The fact that this is something that physically alters the workings of my body doesn’t help much.

When I say optimal, what I mean is most effective with the least amount of hassle. My go-to family planning alternative is charting to avoid (or whatever it’s called in Taking Charge of Your Fertility). Mi.Vida’s is condoms. Neither of us feels very enthusiastically about each other’s alternative (and Mi.Vida doesn’t feel very enthusiastically about his own, quite frankly).

Mi.Vida is very adamant about family planning. He does NOT want us to have a child before we’re “ready”. I’m not so worried about it, I think it would be kind of fun to just get pregnant while we’re really not trying. A part of me even thinks it’s silly to worry about it when so many months of perfectly timed intercourse with semen-friendly Pre-Seed yielded nothing. Mi.Vida could not disagree more. I know his is the responsible way to approach things but it’s just not what I feel in my heart. My take is that we’re in the “family planning” part of our lives, for me an unplanned BFP would be the best kind of surprise. For Mi.Vida it would just be unplanned, and possibly burdensome.

So that is where we are right now. I’ve decided I’ll look more into tempting to avoid and present my case to him when I’m ready. In the meantime, I’m renewing my prescription today or tomorrow for another three months of the pill. I guess I’m fine with whatever we decide as long as we’ve explored all our options.

In the meantime, can anyone recommend some effective aphrodisiacs?

And for all of you who are here for ICLW – welcome (and sorry for the sex talk)!


Confessional Fridays: Virgin Post

I know I said I’d be doing Freebie Friday and I want to. I hope to continue giving free stuff away, but as I fund Freebie Fridays myself and don’t always have the money to do so, I thought I’d have another kind of Friday – Confessional Fridays. I’ve been thinking about how there are so many things in my life I don’t share with people because I’m embarrassed or ashamed. I try not to keep those things off my blog, but many times they are small things that don’t warrant an entire post, but still define me and bring to light my expectations of myself and others. Right now, as a SAHM, I have all sorts of confessions to make about the state of my house, the state of my daughter’s room, the state of my partnership with Mi.Vida. As a mother who’s suffered a loss I have confessions to make about how I (STILL!) feel when I see pregnant women and completed families. As a mother who hopes to have more children I have confessions about fears and anxieties that still well up inside of me. As a blogger who’s made it to the proverbial “other side” I have confessions about guilty and confusion and desperate questions of “why me and not them?” I have tons of confessions to make, and when I become a working mom I’m sure I’ll have even more. So today marks the virgin “Confessional Fridays” post. Here goes…

~ I have changed the sheets on my bed exactly two times since my daughter was born. She just turned 5 months old and has spit up and had diapers leak in that bed over a dozen times. You can do the math.

~ I never clean my shower until it starts to get pink around the edges.

~ There are days I don’t eat a single fruit of vegetable. Many days. Even when pregnant and while breastfeeding. I am so ashamed of that.

~ My daughter has started crying for 1+ hours at a time at night and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT. It’s tearing me up inside. PS I LOATHE the Daylight Saving Time change (though I adore Daylight Saving Time – I think we should get rid of Standard time, frankly).

~ Right now I would rather sleep than have sex. (And not just right now, at this very moment, but “right now” in a more general, since-my-daughter-was-born-and-actually-even-before-when-I-was-pregnant, sense.

~ I sometimes feel jealousy towards other bloggers. (More on this next week).

~ I love trashy reality television (and I know that Khourt.ney Kar.dash.ian’s son is named Ma.son). The more pointless drama the better.

I guess that is good enough for the first Confessional Fridays post. I already have so many great confessions ready to go, starting with a real doozy next Friday. Stay tuned…

We did it

Well we did it. Today we finally did it. After much anxiety and fear about how it would feel, whether or not it would hurt, if it would be the same – we did it. We had sex. I was so nervous, so afraid it would be painful, would lack satisfaction. I was terrified it wouldn’t be what it used to be.

Obviously I have to tread carefully here. I have no desire to write about my sex life on my blog. But, I do feel like sex after pregnancy and vaginal birth is something that other women want to know about so I don’t want to omit it from my story. It’s an important part of new motherhood and I cannot pretend like it’s not a huge part of my life.

I can report that it didn’t hurt very much, hardly at all really. I did feel a little tender in some spots but that was very manageable. I had heard that dryness can be an issue while breastfeeding so we were proactive about that. As far as decreased sensation or things being “stretched” and therefor less stimulating, well that didn’t seem to be the case either. Basically it was just the way I remember it, and for that I’m so grateful.

I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’ve been so worried about this for so long, in the absence of that worry I feel free. I’m so relieved that this is not an issue. I’m so thrilled that things are back to normal.

I have to admit, it’s strange to be having sex just to have sex. It’s strange that it’s not timed, nor will it be, for the foreseeable future. It’s strange that there’s nothing I hope to gain from the encounter, nothing else I hope to accomplish. It’s strange for sex to feel consequence free.

The reality is, in the coming months I will be having sex for a reason. I will be having sex to nourish my relationship. I’ve read in multiple books that keeping up with your sex life is one of (possibly the most) important thing a couple can do after they have a baby. Having sex keeps you close, helps you each experience fulfillment, brings meaning to your relationship.

I’m sure there will be times when I don’t feel like having sex. Being the primary care giver to a helpless infant is not an aphrodisiac for anybody. But my relationship with Mi.Vida is very important to me and I intend to take care of it. If that means finding enthusiasm for sex when all I want is sleep, then enthusiasm I shall find.

I guess sex still does serve a purpose. Now it serves the purpose that probably got lost while were TTC. Now it’s meant to bring Mi.Vida and I closer together, keeping us happy, keeping us whole.

And now that I’ve done a test drive and I’m sure all my machinery is still running smoothly, I say – bring it on.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – We got the first two discs of Dexter Season 4 from Netflix and we’re already four episodes in. I LOVE THIS SHOW!!!