Saturday, February 28, 2009

Some parenting thoughts

Before I vent, let me preface this post by saying that I in no way think parenting is an easy job. Nor do I think I will be some stellar example of parenting perfection. And, for the most part, I think that I'm fairly open-minded most of the time. I don't stress much at the possibility of my eventual teenager having blue hair, intentionally ripped pants or being that token hippy or punk rock kid in my neighborhood, provided they clean it up a bit when they're with grandma and consistently treat others with respect. If he wears his baseball hat sideways, that's another issue, but that's a personal thing that drives me up the wall. I just want to raise my kids to be respectful with good heads on their shoulders.

This week I was at school with my 5th graders and noticed that one of my boys was wearing a shirt with two hands on it held up in capital L's as if holding an invisible camera. The phrase posted above it?

"Picture me caring".

On the same day, I noticed that one of my girls had writing on the behind of her sweats.

The very next day, another one of my boys came in wearing a shirt with a pair of eyes rolling upward and the following word:


Cue my rant of the week or month or whatever. Why the hell do parents allow children to have writing printed on their backsides and wear shirts with rude remarks on them??!!! Seriously...I've had enough of this. My students are 10 and 11 years old! Why do people think it's okay for young girls in our society to have attention intentionally drawn to their behinds? I don't get it. Have you taken a look lately in a kids' clothing store? A ton of stuff for the girls is more like outfits for teenagers or women that are just smaller. It makes me ill. And don't even get me started on the Playboy Bunny that has popped up on shirts, keychains and purses in recent years. I can't even begin to talk about that. Our society sexualizes our children younger than ever and then is baffled by why they are dealing with issues that kids previously struggled with much later in life. And so, early on in the words-on-a$s trend, I came to the conclusion that any daughters I may have will not be permitted to have any butt print of any kind. I don't care what it, justice, field hockey. No to all of it. Because I don't want my kid to think that's what's important in her life should be announced via her a$s.

The rude shirts thing annoys me even more. And you know that 10 and 11 year olds are not out shopping for their own clothes which means some dipsh!t parent is out with them, chuckling over the fact that they're about to drop $20 on a shirt that has a comment on it that would make me want to smack a child if the comment actually came out of their mouth. And the thing is, the kids who wear these shirts to school, let's just say that in my nine years of teaching, none of them are winning any awards for their outstanding dedication to their studies or positive attitude towards life in general.

And in the same respect, why are small children wearing clothing with statements like, "100% spoiled brat" or "diva"? I don't get it....if your kid's wearing it, it's generally because there is some ounce of truth to it that makes the shirt humorous to whoever purchased it. But really, what's funny about it? What compels you to advertise the fact that your child is currently struggling with behavior? It's normal for kids to go through difficult phases, but is it normal for parents to brag about it via a onesie like they hope it continues forever and ever?

I'm all for kids expressing their individuality and coming into their own. In fact, I think it's an important part of their development. But why aren't some parents providing a little more guidance in this department?

JackiJaguar steps off her soapbox, bringing her judgemental and harsh but completely honest rant to a close.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I feel like I never talk about anything baby...

My posts often seem to be about stuff that, while it has to do with the boy, are often not about the boy directly. So I need to take some time to chat about him....

Well, first off, he has a name. Benjamin Michael. My husband loves the name Benjamin and I do, too. However, I never brought the name up because I have a college ex by the same name, so I just assumed it was off limits and was fine with that. Eventually, Mr. Jaguar brought the name up and we both talked about our love of the name. So, Mr. Jaguar, being the confident man that he is, announced that he could care less that it's the same name as my ex and I decided that I could be on board with that kind of thinking. Some of my friends from college will probably have a field day with it and it's one more reason I'll never join Facebook, but it's all good.

So far, Ben is big. He measured 24 ounces back when the book said he was supposed to be 20 ounces. That's not so much, right? Except when you realize that's 20% larger than the book says. We had another ultrasound when the book said he should be between 1 3/4 and 2 pounds. He was 2 1/2 pounds. That's 25%+ larger than the book says. I know you're not supposed place a lot of faith on the u/s weights, but still, I hope to get this kid out via my vagina. I'm just saying. The whole thing is a little alarming. Makes me feel a little sore down there.

Sometimes, Ben gets the hiccups. It's the craziest, strangest thing.

Ben prefers to chill on my left side. He's breech right now and seems to be jabbing his little hiney out to the left of my belly button at all times. Nothing symmetrical about it. This also puts him in the perfect position to repeatedly kick me in my pubic area. Little feet just kicking straight down at me.

Ben's nursery is, ummm....coming along. I'll post more about that later. Let's just say it's going to be a very slow process. The windows just arrived as well as the interior door. Are you getting the idea?

I have my 1 hour glucose test tomorrow. Wish me luck. I do not have the sick days to take a half day off if I fail and have to go back for the 3 hour. I'm throwing up little glucose prayers to Baby Jesus.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Shades of blue

I've been looking over my posts and realized that I haven't said anything about the third trimester. I'm there! Who'da thunk it, huh? Still can't always even process the fact that I'm actually pregnant and here I am at 28 1/2 weeks.

I'm definitely back to being tired like in the first trimester. And as for the "2nd trimester burst of energy", I kinda rank that with other mythological beings like dragons and unicorns. The 2nd trimester could better be referred to as the "few months when you somewhat stay alert for the majority of the day." It's by no means a burst of energy, at least not for me. It's more like the trimester when you feel more like a regular human for a bit.

My head has been in a rough place these last couple weeks. I've been really tired and just generally stressed. While I'm so excited to meet our son, I'm beginning to have some anxiety about it. I had my first baby dream and it was definitely stress related. In the dream, he was in a sling but the sling was really like this deep duffle bag. And he was in the bottom of it, completely swaddled but the swaddle was wrapped all around his face. I was in a panic thinking he couldn't breathe and had died, but when I get him out of the duffle and the swaddle, he was just all red and sweaty. And in that moment of relief, I realized my baby was not cute at all. Doesn't that sound horrible? Like completely shallow? But in the dream, he didn't even look like a baby, he was like a little ugly man baby. Sorta like Danny Devito.

I'm also having a lot of money concerns but that's really not anything new. It's just that now those concerns are a little bigger because we will be a family of three instead of two. Pile on to that the fact that I don't get paid over the summer because I teach and well, I'm just really stressed. Every summer, I teach a summer program but obviously won't this season, so I'm worried. I squirrel away money where I can but it still worries me to no end. There are proactive steps I've taken to address the money issue. I tutor 3 hours per week to generate some extra income. I'm in school full-time earning my Masters' so that I will have a pay raise next year. But the problem is that doing those things while pregnant is exhausting and is making me even more stressed.

Finally, my school district is screwing me on my maternity leave, like completely illegally screwing me. My union is in the process of grieving this issue and my understanding is that if it does not get resolved, a federal lawsuit will be filed. Basically, the district is saying that, because I will not be in school in June to finish out the year and do not have enough sick days to cover me through the end of the year, they are not responsible for paying my health insurance for the summer. This goes against everything in our contract as well as the law in general, but my district has a tendency to do whatever they want and deal with those pesky details later on. So even though I will only be missing the last 4 1/2 weeks of the school year, they are requiring that I take a full 12 weeks of Family & Medical Leave time which will last me through July (assuming I can work up until my due date). Then I will be responsible for paying health insurance for the month of August for myself, my husband and the baby. The sooner I have to go out on maternity, the earlier my 12 weeks will be up and the more health insurance I will have to pay. Awesome, right? Hopefully, my union and district will resolve this before my maternity starts but I honestly am not hopeful at all. In the meantime, I need to suck it up and keep my mouth shut because I won't be tenured until next school year.

Where's my husband in all of this? I don't know really. Finances are a topic we generally struggle with communication wise and there's often a large wall between us on this issue. Sometimes, I think he doesn't talk about it because it stresses him out. But most of the time, I kinda think he just thinks it will all work out in the end because it always has in the past. I handle the finances and sometimes feel like he has too much faith in my to fix things that are not fixable without some major, major changes.

How could I forget? There have also been some major issues with my baby stuff that is too personal to explain on a blog. But the issues are driving a major wedge between me and my husband as well as making me pretty unenthusiastic about my shower. Don't get me wrong, I'm extremely grateful that people I love are going to come together to celebrate the birth of our child and shower us with the many things needed to have a baby, but the stress of the other issues is just making me wish we had gobs of money so that we could just go buy what we need and forget about all of it. With the stress of everything else going on, the shower issues are just becoming too much to handle.

So that's where I'm at...stressed, tired and often teary. But still really grateful that I'm pregnant.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

In honor of Valentine's Day

Before I begin this post, you should know that these words are not all mine. In fact, most of them are not. This post was created after several wonderful nesties spoke of the important stuff, both big and small, that their spouses do to help them survive and manage this adventure called infertility. So here goes…

This is for our other halves…our husbands, partners and lovers. Infertility is one hell of a ride and, without you, we may have demanded to be let off this crazy roller coaster early. While nobody can be all of the things on this list all of the time, you sure are a lot of them…

This is for the ones who join us on the couch for the sobfest. They listen for as long as we need and manage to say exactly what we need to hear.

The ones who exude positivity.

The ones who bring us Cheetos….or whatever else may be the snack du jour.

The ones who ask the doctor questions other men can’t even imagine speaking aloud.

The ones who cook for us on the nights we’d just as soon starve than get off the couch.

The ones who arrange their work and social schedules around injections, even when we could easily give ourselves the shot.

The ones who support our dreams.

The ones who aren’t embarrassed to talk to others about infertility.

The ones who know how to read our charts.

The ones who don’t speak of their fear of needles even though we know it’s true.

The ones who keep a cool head when our heads have exploded.

The ones who get up early after working late just to go with us to have blood drawn or an ultrasound.

The ones with the endless supply of hugs.

The ones who never laugh at any of the kooky ideas we’re willing to try to get pregnant.

The ones who are all too familiar with the sterile cup.

The ones who answer the phone when we know it's news from the RE's office and we just can't bear to hear it firsthand.

The ones who never comment on the extra mileage on the car because the RE’s office is an hour drive one way.

The ones who feel sad about our bruises.

The ones who are our endless cheerleaders.

The ones who don’t ever want us to feel alone on this crazy journey.

The ones who make us laugh…and laugh…and laugh.

The ones who show up for the IUIs.

The ones who know when the only thing they can do is hug us.

The ones who come to the endless appointments.

The ones who show up at those appointments with their questions written down ahead of time.

The ones who remind us to take our temp.

The ones who know just when to bring us flowers.

The ones who don’t point out when we’re having an irrational moment.

The ones who have the serious talks even when we know they don’t want to.

The ones who visit the dirty magazines room without complaint.

The ones who take their vitamins.

The ones who watch their alcohol and caffeine intake.

The ones who tell us we’re beautiful, regardless of our infertility weight gain.

The ones who bring us a little something special when we get our periods.

The ones who weather the moodiness of infertility meds like a champ.

The ones who love us unconditionally even though we feel “broken”.

The ones who don’t complain.

The ones who know when to cuddle up next to us for the pity party and when we need our space.

The ones who pack the igloo cooler for the day when we’re on bedrest.

The ones who are always there.

The ones who would rather be infertile with us than fertile with someone else.

The ones who will do whatever it takes.

The ones who one day will be the most amazing fathers.

Need something added to the list? Leave a comment and I'll be sure to do some editing.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Mr. Jaguar and I went to a 30th birthday party for a friend this past weekend. Besides the couple hosting the party, we weren't good friends with anybody there. It didn't really matter though, we had a nice time just the same.

But here's the thing. I was one of three visibly pregnant women there. Instead of being the infertile, unpregnant woman surrounded by bellies, I was one of the bellies. And the truth is, I felt like a fraud. It was like I was waiting for someone to come over and pull the pillow out from under my shirt and wave it around in the air all while shouting, "She's a fraud! The belly's a fake! She's an imposter! She's really infertile!" It amazes me how I can simultaneously feel so pregnant and unpregnant so often. It's been 26 weeks, I'm making all the preparations for our son to arrive and half the time I still can't believe there's a real, living baby inside me.

As I sat around chatting at the party, I found myself rewinding back in my head, recalling snippets of conversation from each woman throughout the evening in an attempt to be sure I wasn't in the room with another infertile, unintentionally but inevitably hurting her with my big bump. I was pretty sure that I was the only infertile gal at the shindig, but I couldn't shake the nagging worry that someone in the room was aching over three, joyful bellies. As the night wore on and pregnancies were discussed, I openly spoke about our infertility treatments, both for myself and for any shadow infertiles who may have been in the vicinity. I speak for myself for selfish reasons of alleviating self-imposed guilt but also to help lessen the stigma so many in our society place on infertility. I speak for others who, for whatever reasons of their own, haven't found or don't feel comfortable to use their voice and so that they know they're not alone in their quest for motherhood.

The whole night got me thinking about my niche as an infertile but pregnant woman. In counseling months ago, my therapist told me that I'm no longer infertile because I'm pregnant now. Infertile is simply a state of being. To be pregnant means that I'm therefore no longer infertile. You can't be both. I corrected her, informing her that my infertility is a huge part of me and it will remain that way regardless of the state of my uterus. And honestly, I wouldn't want to drop my infertility by the side of the road and just drive off. My infertility has been a journey with many lessons, both painful and rewarding.

About a year and a half ago, I participated in the Breast Cancer 3-Day. For those of you not familiar with it, it's a 60 mile walk over 3 days. Each walker is required to raise at least $2,900 to even show up. Just getting there is a project and, well, actually finishing all 60 miles is a major feat. Past walkers had explained to me what the weekend would be like beforehand, but there's no way to do it justice. It's one of those things that you just have to do for yourself to really "get it". Over the 3 days, I couldn't believe the support that everyone provided one another. The socks and bandaids that were passed around, the ice that was split up among water bottles when it briefly ran short in the 90 degree heat, the words of encouragement and the complete strangers that showed up along the course with signs cheering us on and giving out treats. I cried like a baby over those 3 days, sometimes from pain and exhaustion but often from being so overwhelmed by others' support.

At the end of the walk, we all meet in this large field. And then we wait. And we wait. And we wait. And that's fine because we're completely exhausted anyway so we're content with the idea of sitting for a while and most of us are probably just relieved we don't have to walk anywhere else. But why are we all waiting? Because closing ceremonies don't start until everybody gets there. So we wait by the finish line and we cheer for each walker as they cross over. Then we wait even longer. Why? Because we're waiting for the very last walker to finish. There are frequent announcements about how far away the final walker is from the finish line. Nobody's in a rush, nobody's frustrated. We just wait patiently.

And then she turns the corner and you can see her in the distance approaching. She's not walking alone though. Because every safety volunteer that has monitored the course for the last three days, greeting us with warm smiles and encouraging us, is there with her, forming a protective semi-circle around her as she takes her final steps. The crowd all gathers closer at the finish line as whispers that, "She's here," spread through the throngs of people.

The crowd goes wild for her. And, as I look around, I'm surrounded by a sea of tears and cheers as we welcome the last woman over the finish line. Complete strangers line up to hug her and congratulate her on getting there.

Pregnant and infertile can be mucky territory. We have a huge, bumpy barrier that now, in many ways, separates us from our other, infertile sisters. This issue comes up often on the Nest as women move from the infertility boards to "Success After Infertility" board. We want to remain active on the infertility boards. We've forged many friendships there and want to offer the same support that others have given us along the way. But at the same time, we know that some days the pregnancy tickers in our posts are the last thing someone needs to see. Our u/s pic might be too much for another infertile woman on a good day, let alone a bad one. Sometimes our words of hope, no matter how heartfelt, sting a bit. And that's just the way it is. And we understand. Because we were there, too.

But know one thing. Infertility is a lot like the 3 Day. As each infertile woman crosses over the finish line, the infertile sisters who have crossed before her are right there. Waiting, with open arms, cheering and shedding tears of joy for each woman to cross the finish line. And this is where we will remain, until our very last sister crosses over.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wobbling watermelon

Johnny: (approaches Billy and Baby) Hey cous, what's she doing here?

Billy: She came with me...she's with me.

Baby: I carried a watermelon.

(Johnny, unimpressed, exits scene to go dance with Penny)

Baby: (in digust) I carried a watermelon??!!

While I'm not actually carrying a watermelon, it sure looks like I am. This pic is from 25 weeks and 3 days, just a few days ago. Sorry, it's blurry. I didn't notice until just now. I actually think my body's a little funny looking in this picture.

Everybody keeps asking me lately how I'm feeling and, for the most part, I try to keep my answers peppy, but the truth is that my back pain is getting worse and worse. I'm having many moments of hobbling around briefly before I can get walking normally. I'm basically just trying to ignore it, but this is becoming a tougher and tougher task. It makes me feel very geriatric.

In related, very exciting news....we have 100 days left until we meet our son! That's right, 180 days down and 100 days to go. I can't believe it.