Planning My Parenthood

Six weeks after Rex was born, I got a prescription from my OB for birth control pills.  I asked for the prescription because I was not going to allow my husband to touch me unless I had that heddy concoction of hormones swirling around my bloodstream fearlessly defending my fort of womanhood.  I was so damn paranoid that my body, which up until very recently had refused to play along with the whole pregnancy thing, had finally gotten the message and was ready to be a baby-making factory. And I was not.

Photo Via Creative Commons M. Markus

Because for as many stories I heard before we had Rex about women getting pregnant after adopting or swimming in magical waters, I heard just as many after we had Rex of former infertiles who poo-pahd the warning to use birth control after having their babies because hellooooo, they were infertile, and then they got pregnant merely months after having their first baby.  I was in over my head with one infant and so I was not going to play the male factor infertility card for birth control. I was going to get the 100% Grade A effective birth control*.

Fast forward one year.  Rex is still a handful – why are children required to teethe at night? – but we’ve got the hang of the baby thing (just in time for the steep learning curve of the toddler thing) and we’re in a pretty good place.

And, I’ve been thinking about ditching the birth control pills.  Part of it is because I’m cheap. Part of it is that I’m tired of being the responsible one and having to remember to take a pill every night and then pick up a new pack each month.  Part of it is that I’m now 35, the age about which birth control pill commercials start writing warnings in tiny letters on the screen.  Part of it is that this particular birth control pill seems to be wanting to stretch things out longer and longer each month which is a real d(rag).

But, what about birth control? Mr. X has told me on multiple occasions that he wouldn’t mind an oops.  There is not an insignificant part of me that would be so thrilled to be able to spontaneously get pregnant. Just the two of us! No doctors! No drugs! But, what if the pregnancy worked and we actually had another child? The pregnancy lasts nine months, the parenting lasts a lifetime.  I can do another pregnancy, but another baby? That’s a totally different matter.

Via Creative Commons by IIGS

I know that while Mr. X would like another child, I would not.  So, I’m looking into other methods of birth control that don’t require much thought on either of our parts.  I’m really intrigued with Essure.  I actually saw posters for it at my OB’s office when I was visiting her pretty regularly while pregnant with Rex.  At the time, I didn’t pay much attention – birth control was so far from my mind – but once I did find out what exactly it did, I thought it was pretty interesting … and ironic.

Basically, they insert little pieces of plastic in your fallopian tubes and get the body to envelope them in scar tissue to prevent egg and sperm from meeting.  In other words, I would be getting back the blocked tubes I had before when I was diagnosed as infertile and for which I had surgery to correct. I wonder if my insurance company would be bright enough to figure out that I am asking them to pay to re-do what they paid to fix.

Essure seems like it would be ideal for me.  I would have reliable, hormone-free birth control without having something stuck in my uterus and without making Mr. X get snipped (seriously, what happened if I died and he wanted to have more children with another woman? I couldn’t cheat him out of that).  It would also allow me to still carry a child if I wanted to be a gestational surrogate (which I’ve thought about) or even through IVF again, if we decided that we had to have another one.

I haven’t made any decisions yet.  But, I really want to get off the hamster wheel of daily birth control and I don’t want to rely on Mr. X maintaining a low sperm count to keep Rex an only child.  And yet, this just seems so existentially wrong to be seeking out the very built-in birth control I worked really hard to get rid of. What to do?

*when taken properly, natch.

Rex’s Dollars and $ense

It’s rare that I mention or speak about how much money we spent to have Rex, either here or with people outside of the computer.  Part of it is because we didn’t really have financial issues in trying to have him, hence no drama.  But the other part is that I think it’s a little tacky to talk about the gargantuan wad of cash that we spent over the course of our five year epic saga to have a real live baby when so many couples in similar situations don’t have the means to take their journey as fas as ours went.

I will break that silence today, though, because those nifty ladies Lori and babysmiling asked me (and everyone else) to answer some tough questions about finances and infertility.  What is the effect of finances on the path that we chose to take in building our family?  What will I tell Rex when he’s older about how much money we spent to have him?

For us, finances were a consideration, but not a deciding factor in terms of how far we would go to have a baby.  This was partly because my tubal surgery, 6 IUIs and 1 IVF (including meds for most of those) were covered by insurance.   Between the write offs that my insurance company was able to negotiate with Dr. Uterus and our generous lifetime benefit, we didn’t feel the full financial heat until IVFs number 2 and 3 with Dr. Salsa.  Even then, though, Dr. Salsa had very competitive rates for IVF.  I even got him to give me a discount for IVF number 3 that resulted in Rex.  So, money was an object, but it wasn’t the only object.

With each additional cycle, and disappointment – either with a negative or worse a miscarriage – the question that we would ask ourselves was did we have the emotional resources to continue on, not the financial ones.  We had about hit the wall when we decided to do IVF #3.  We both knew that if it didn’t work that we were probably done.

Of course, since it was IVF # 3 that produced Rex, are we going to tell him how much he cost?  No more than we are going to give him a bill when he turns 18 for all of the food and expenses he’s cost growing up.  It’s part of doing business.  The reality was that we were not in that fortunate group of people who got pregnant for free.  I won’t lie and say that this didn’t bother me greatly because it did.

I will tell him, though, how fortunate we were to be able to afford all of the treatments because (insert Hallmark Channel music here) they resulted in him.  The baby I wanted for so long and who turned out to be even more fantastic and amazing and every other superlative adjective in the English language.   We wouldn’t have had HIM – not a baby, but HIM – if it hadn’t been for all that we did and to me, that’s priceless.

This doesn’t mean that we won’t joke to him every once in a while that we spent his inheritance trying to have him.  It will be just like the time when I was in college and received a post card from my parents in Europe that simply said: “Study harder. Inheritance fading fast.”

Grace in Small Things 4/17/2011

  1. Rex is 13 months old today.  It literally seems like just yesterday that he was slathering his face with green icing.  He celebrated his 13th month birthday by standing unassisted for about 5 seconds, before he realized that he was standing and plopped down.
  2. We took my parents to the airport this afternoon for the start of their summer exile.  It was much easier to say goodbye this year than last year.  There were no tears, just promises to have a good summer.  This is a promise I intend to keep.
  3. I am ridiculously excited about getting a coupon organizer that I can take with me to the grocery store.  Half the time I have coupons and don’t remember that I have them. Maybe now I will be able to make use of them and save some moolah. Gotta pay for the kitchen renovation!
  4. Some friends of ours just had their second baby.  I am thrilled for them and not the least bit jealous.  It feels amazing.
  5. I had dueling Crock Pots going this afternoon making the house smell fantastic. Meatloaf and Spanish rice.  Yum.

Grace in Small Things 4/16/2011

  1. Got woken up this morning with Rex climbing all over me.  The most fabulous way to wake up, bar none.
  2. G had his annual check up today at the Vet.  Is it wrong that my vet takes more time with my dog than my primary care physician does with me?  Is it even more wrong that the appointment cost less? The good news is that he’s old but in good health.
  3. Rex napped for an unheard of total of 2.5 hours today. Bravo!
  4. The sunburn acquired in Honduras while snorkeling is itching like crazy. Hopefully this means that we’re about at the end of the nasty part and the peeling and healing will begin soon.
  5. Just once, I want to be able to say “Live from New York, it’s Saturday NIIIGGGGGGGHHHT!”  on national television.

Grace in Small Things 4/15/2011

Posting early in anticipation of a computer sabbatical for the next day or so.

  1. It’s my parents wedding anniversary today.  39 years of wedded bliss that is so easy to remember because they thoughtfully got married on Tax Day.  Awww.
  2. I was reminded today of the great job my parents did when I was a kid in hiding my Easter basket in the house for me to find.  It was a ritual growing up that I had to hunt for my basket and one year they almost stumped me by putting it in the microwave.  I ended up begging for hot and cold clues to help me find it.  I suspect they gave in because they really just wanted to get to the chocolate rather than because I was still looking.
  3. Walked G this morning while listening to Poker Face by Lady Gaga.  I love that she rhymed “bluffin” with “muffin” and “glue-gunnin” but she was totally serious about it.
  4.  The most thinking I will have to do this evening is to decide what to have for dinner and what wine to pair with it and that is a fabulous thing.
  5. Got the babysitter booked for next Saturday night so that Mr. X and I can have date night.  It’s been a while since we’ve had a date night (well, giant vacation notwithstanding) so we’re really looking forward to the dinner and a movie option.  With summer around the corner, though, our repertoire of choices expands to include minor league baseball games and miniature golf.

Grace in Small Things 4/13/2011

  1. If I had to sum up how I felt today, it was … masterful.
  2. We finally had to snip a lock of Rex’s bangs off so that they wouldn’t get in his eyes.  I was surprised at how hard it was to snip it off. I felt like I was cutting an appendage off.  He didn’t notice, though. He was already screaming from being tired and wet.
  3. Rex is having PE tubes put in tomorrow.  Please keep all of us in your thoughts tomorrow. It’s going to be a long ass day.
  4. I’m finally admitting to myself that I’m not looking forward to my parents leaving next week for six months.  It’s been so wonderful having them around that going cold turkey will be rough. Admitting it, though, feels really good because now I can make plans to get over it.
  5. I was able to listen to Beethoven’s entire 9th Symphony on YouTube while at work.  It certainly helped with number 1.

Grace in Small Things 4/12/2011

It’s Back!!

  1. Eight years ago today, I married my best friend and have reaped the best benefits ever since.  I have never been more in love with my husband than I am now and I only see it getting better.
  2. I’m very much enjoying Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey.  It’s a fascinating look into how a restaurant kitchen works and I love watching him tell it like it is.
  3. Rex has started to try to climb in my lap and I AM LOVING IT.  I love to cuddle with him, but he’s such an independent little guy that he’s always squirming away to go exploring.  So, to have him actively trying to get in my lap is heaven.  I’m like a Venus Fly Trap, though, when he gets in my lap – my arms close and I begin to kiss him within an inch of his little blonde-curled life and he struggles to get away while I hold on to him dearly.
  4. I woke up in the middle of the night last night to find a gray rectangle of fur next to my pillow that vibrated when I petted it.  Kitty wedged himself between our pillows like he does just about everynight, except this time he was respecting Mr. X’s boundaries and not wedging his kitty butt in Mr. X’s face.
  5. My parents brought us a nice cold bottle of champagne to help us celebrate our anniversary.  The only problem with this plan is that Rex has reached the stage where he sees a glass and he wants a drink out of it.  We can no longer hold Rex in one arm and drink drinky-drinks out of glasses in the other.  He lunges for the glass and wants a taste.  I have tried to explain to him the dangers of underage drinking, but he doesn’t want to hear it. So, on the floor he went while we sat around sipping our champagne.  This arrangement suited him fine as he simply crawled under my chair to get to the window and had a fabulous time looking out on the backyard and trying to sit on the dog.

History, Herstory

I went to college in the deep, deep South of New Orleans as in if you went any further South, you would be in the Gulf of Mexico. Well, you had to still drive a ways, but that was more a function of the shitty roads down there than distance.   I moved there at age 18 years and six months to embark on my illustrious collegiate career after living for 14 years in the uptight, frigid (temperature and otherwise) and all around wretched mid-Atlantic.

By Sidereal via Flickr Creative Commons

In choosing Tulane, that illustrious alma mater of such luminaries as Jerry Springer, Newt Gingrich and Amy Carter, I yearned for the following: a) warm weather; b) warm weather and c) warm weather. It was indeed warm – saunas were cooler – and I was Dorothy in Oz having been deposited there at my wish by the good folks at US Airways. The same bastards who lost my luggage.  I flew Aeroflot to Moscow in 1992 and they didn’t lose my luggage.  There was duct tape on the wings of that lovely little Aeroflot jet and an engineer looking at parts of the engine quizzically, but they still managed to handle the bags.  How on earth did US Airways manage to do it on a domestic direct flight, the flight that took me to college? Almost 18 years later this still annoys me no end.

It was at Tulane during my sophomore year that I also came to know  an honest to Gawd Cajun Boy.   He had the accent, the cooking skills and the dance moves. He was so exotic to me being from the frigid uptight Northeast, yet by Louisiana standards, he was pretty normal.  Provocateur that I was, I let slip very early in our conversation that I was an atheist and he, being the Good Catholic that he was, reacted as if being hit with holy water.  I think he called me a heathen which made me laugh and just flustered him even more.  I was immediately smitten and I knew that he was interested too.    We got to know each other, he managed to look past the atheist thing and we sort of started to date, although it was more me chasing after him and him playing hard to get.  I knew deep down that we were never going to be together in the normal, boy/girl way because he had issues and I didn’t have the patience to deal with it.  But, the time I spent with him was some of my happiest in college.  After graduation, we kept in touch, but I was still harboring feelings for him and he had even more issues at that point, so I let him go.

I also let him go because I was embarrassed at how I had treated him sometimes in those days.  I see now that I was a very normal, typical 20-something who was still a little stunted socially and had trouble navigating the muddy waters of being friends with other people.  I never did anything cruel, but I wasn’t what I now consider to be a good friend.  So, I continued to feel badly about how I thought I had treated him.

We reconnected last year on Facebook and I had the opportunity several months ago to finally apologize for how I had treated him.  I didn’t know if he would respond, or if he did, what he would say and to be honest, I didn’t really care.  It was more important at that point to tell him.  He did respond, and rather than accept my apology, he gave one of his own for what he claimed was leading me on all of those years.  I just had to smile at this.  It was such a good reminder that what we consider to be a fault or problem is usually not even noticed by others.  Here I had spent several years not wanting to contact him because I felt badly about how I had treated him and he had spent that time thinking that he had led me on in college.

I thanked him for his apology while making sure that he understood that it was completely unnecessary because I knew that he was like that from the beginning and I accepted it.  I also told him that I knew he was hard to get and I eventually became happy just to be with him as a friend rather than anything more because I just enjoyed his company (oh, and did I mention that the boy could cook?).   I didn’t hear anything further from him, but I had to hope that his heart had been lightened a little just as mine had.

Has telling the truth brought you similar experiences? Please share.