Happy New Year! (Thank You.)

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. We’ve been hanging out with family, baking, and house hunting. I even started up with yoga again, which has done absolute wonders for my mood. I have felt incredible lately and I have TobyJoe to thank for breaking the inertia. Speaking of The Bean, I feel as though I’ve been paying so much attention to Emory or myself, that I have all but ignored TobyJoe. My new year’s resolution (if I were to actually make one) is to keep the people I love in higher regard. I owe Bean so much, so very much. He’s the first love of my life. Emory is the second. I have Toby to thank for giving me the second. I have Emory to thank for reminding me of the importance of relaxation.

I’m probably not going to get a chance to write much before Wednesday or Thursday. I had plans to write a “year in review” type of post, but it’s just not going to happen. There’s just too much going on right now. I do want to take a few minutes to thank everyone for sticking around (you poor souls). Thank you so much for being there for me this year. 2007 held some of the greatest moments of my life. It also held some of the most painful and life-altering. During the dark times, many of your voices helped me more than I can possibly say. I can’t thank you all enough. I wish I knew the words to let you know just how grateful I am. Thank you. I love you, man! (And I ain’t even been drinking.)

I will write more after the holiday, I promise. In the meantime, check out some of TobyJoe’s new pictures. He’s shooting film again and I couldn’t be more proud. Here’s a shot he took of me on vacation last year. I don’t even hate it! And here’s an absolute favorite of mine featuring my dad and my Pumpkin Pie.

Thank you all so very much. Here’s to you and yours.

xoxxo

I'm Finally a Crazy Nut!

I visited the specialist yesterday. I picked up my blood results beforehand from my primary care physician. The levels meant absolutely nothing to me. For example, I had no idea a low something-or-other equalled an overactive thyroid. My laymen guess would have been high equals high but lo and behold, those zany medical people have to confuse us normal folk with their fancy medical terms. Or something.

I began by apologizing. I was supposed to have one more blood test before visiting the specialist. My primary care doctor assumed he had time to do so since he didn’t think that I would get an appointment with the endocrinologist until after the holidays. That wasn’t the case due to a last minute cancelation. So I ended up visiting the endocrinologist before having that blood work done, hence the apologies. He interrupted me after a bit and said, “Well, Michele, say no more, clearly there’s a problem here. This isn’t normal at all.” Someone, other than myself, has finally decided I’m a Crazy Nut!

I had half a mind to have him write it down as such.

He did some testing which consisted of having me look in certain directions, show him my legs, my hands, my eyes. He also made me swallow a lot. He asked me a lot of questions about my behavior and my sleep patterns, my pain and my pregnancy. He prescribed to me some temporary medication in order to keep my manic behavior at a minimum. (Toby thanks him. This morning I woke up and didn’t immediately put him to work cleaning the house.)

The good news is, this could all be due to postpartum. (Just as many of you suggested here and via email.) He said that some women experience this after pregnancy and that it does sometime work itself out by 6 months. So, I may be coming down off crazy. The unsettling news is, if it is due to postpartum, that doesn’t explain the last six years to TobyJoe and, well, the last 10 to me. The doctor is going to run a few more tests to figure out if this is permanent or if it’ll work itself out over time.

The next step is to have a snapshot done of my thyroid, which is scheduled for the beginning of January. My thyroid stimulating hormone levels are low enough that he’s worried about my heart palpitations and my heart rate, hence the drug I was prescribed. It’s only purpose is to keep my heart from exploding. And I do feel calmer today. I haven’t had any sudden jolts or spasms and my heart feels pretty even. I even slept finally. (Usually, I wake up every other hour and have trouble falling back to sleep.)

The bad news (which I have come to terms with) is that I am no longer able to supply breast milk for Emory. But since my supply tanked from an already low supply, it’s not a huge change or surprise. He’s doing well. He’s strong, healthy, and I gave him almost five months worth of milk. I asked the doctor if hyperthyroidism could be responsible for my very low milk supply (10 oz now, 23 at my highest) and he said yes. Granted, things could have been different had Emory and I worked on a latch, but for whatever reason, we never got that worked out. Maybe my supply was too low and he became frustrated. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough (although I tried all the time back then and I continued trying up until about two weeks ago). I realize I have talked about this a lot (too much). I even said it’d be the last time I talked about it a hundred times before now. It’s hard to let go. Plus, I have received dozens and dozens of email (a beautiful one just yesterday) from mothers who have run into problems breastfeeding. Many have met nothing but nastiness from other women. A fact that will never stop shocking me. I can’t figure out why women do this to other women. I am reminded of a paragraph from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

“Most women had the one thing in common: they had great pain when they gave birth to their children. This should make a bond that held them all together; it should make them love and protect each other against the man-world. But is was not so. It seemed like their great birth pains shrank their hearts and their souls. They stuck together for only one thing: to trample on some other woman… whether it was by throwing stones or by mean gossip. It was the only kind of loyalty they seemed to have.”

Now, even I think that’s a little harsh, but you get the point.

I (what pumpers call) “hung up the horns” last night and I started to cry a little bit. I turned to TobyJoe and said, “If it’s this hard for me to put a pump away, it must be really difficult to wean a child.” (Breastfeeding mamas, you have my sympathies.)

I’ll know more in January. And I’m trying not to think about the possibility of having my thyroid irradiated because the thought of being away from Emory (and EVERYBODY) for several days makes me want to break down and cry in place. Right now. So, in the meantime, I’m going to smooch my baby boy, take care of myself, be nice to my husband and eat as much crap as I want. I fell off my diet due to this ravenous appetite and have managed to stay at 148. (I wonder… if I stay away from entire chocolate cakes, would I actually lose weight from all of this?)

This is so boring, these medical posts. So, I’ll leave you with this adorable picture of my two boys.

Thanks, y’all for dealing with my crap. xoxxo

Tuesdays with Murray (Chapter 26)

Whenever we first got Murray, he used to spend a lot of time standing on my belly. It worked out really well, because he grew as my belly grew. Every time I’d leave the house the moment I returned I’d say, “Murray! Want some scritches? Scritches?” (Pronounced Sker-etches.) He’d always meow from the depths of somewhere and come running.

After he’d position himself just so, I’d run my fingernails up and down both sides of his body. He’d lean in every now and again for a forehead kiss. His eyes would squeeze shut from all the love and sometimes, if I got him just right, he’d drool on me.

These daily meetings became something I really looked forward to. I used to say, “What are we going to do once my belly is gone? I’m going to have to drink a lot of beer to maintain this!” (Whenever I was in labor, I yearned for this such meeting.)

Now Murray is bigger and my belly is much smaller and all the beer in the world couldn’t get me to the size I was whenever I was pregnant. But Murray is determined to keep this going, as am I. I still yell, “Murray, want some SCRITCHES?” and he continues to crawl aboard. And he still drools on me. Now I bend my knees and put my feet up on the coffee table and he sits with his butt up against my thighs. And this works out well. He’s able to reach my face and I’m able to scratch his sides.

We’re a team, he and I.

Lately, I have felt kind of bad for Murray because most all of my time is spent holding or playing with Emory so whenever Murray decides it’s time to climb aboard, I’m not usually able to accommodate him. So, about a month ago, I made a deal with Murray and TobyJoe. Murray would get at least two SCRITCH meetings per day no matter what. This has worked. I try and do one in the morning before TobyJoe goes to work and one at night whenever he gets home. If that doesn’t work, I try and squeeze one in while Emory naps. And if that doesn’t work Murray squeezes himself in while I’m on the computer.

“Murray? Want some scritches? SCRITCHES?”

See? Here he comes.

Hyperthyroidism

I got my blood work results back today. My thyroid levels are elevated. They are elevated enough that my doctor is concerned. I need to visit an endocrinologist as soon as possible.

This explains so much. I have almost every symptom related to hyperthyroidism except for maybe the rapid weight loss. (Although, I did lose 35 pounds in 3 months.) I am manic. I do have a ravenous appetite. I have trouble sleeping. My muscles ache or don’t feel like working at all. (I think I may be confusing joint pain with muscle pain. We’re going to find out at my next visit.) I am winded walking up stairs. I get depressed too often and easily. The checklist is full of yeses. This explains so much, so very much.

But I’m worried about my future. I have no idea what this means or what drugs I may have to take. I have no idea if I can continue supplying breast milk for Emory. Knowing helps but knowing what to do is the next step and I’m worried about that.

In other news, Emory had another vaccination today. He barely even cried. This might be getting easier. We’ll find out whenever he wakes up from his long nap.

Also! I am proud to report that starting today, I will be writing three times a week for MamaPop. (You may have noticed the banner in the sidebar.) I’m really excited about this even though I am kind of autistic when it comes to celebrities. (I’m not even sure if that means what I want it to mean.) But I think I can hang with the rest of ‘em. I know stuff about other things. Anyway, please check out my first post! It’s about McDonald’s. Y’all know how I feel about McDonald’s.

Don't You… Forget About Me.

Being away from Emory was much harder than I imagined. I know that sentence made some people roll their eyes. Before I had Emory, I would have rolled my eyes so much so they probably would have fallen out. But it’s true. I had no idea how hard it would be to be away from him. I was away from him from 8:30 AM Friday morning until about 3:30 PM on Saturday and in that short time, I counted the minutes until I’d get to hold him again.

How do woman leave for longer periods? I’ve watched a few reality TV shows in my time, mainly Top Chef (which I adore). I watched a marathon of The Biggest Loser on Bravo last year while TobyJoe was away and I was one month pregnant. On both shows, at least once, a contestant had a break down, lamenting about how much they missed their children. I thought they were exaggerating at the time, making it up for the TV people. Now I get it.

And so, today, on this gloomy Sunday as my baby sleeps soundly next to my glowing monitor, I have a question. This one goes out to all the mothers and fathers out there. Have you ever left your babies behind before? If so, for how long? How old were they at the time? Was it hard? For those without kids, do you remember being left behind by your parents so they could win big in Vegas or sip cocktails in the Bahamas? Was it hard? Did you forget who they were when they got home?

Because that’s my biggest fear, that one day I’ll return home and Emory will look at me through confused eyes. I’ll arrive home again and he will no longer greet me with that great big smile.

Here She Goes Again

I love my son. I love him more than words can possibly say. Remember that as I continue with the bitching and moaning.

Months ago, we planned on going to Boston for the Barbarian Group holiday party. My parents were planning to drive to New York from Southern Jersey and watch the little man. We reserved a hotel room and train tickets. Up until today, my biggest complaint was that I haven’t had time to get my eyebrows waxed, my nails done, and a dress purchased. TobyJoe left this morning on the 8 AM train. I was planning on leaving tomorrow on the 10 AM train.

Well, the Northeast is currently getting blasted by snow, sleet, and rain. It’s not pretty out there. And I hear Boston is currently taking it up the ass without any lube.

When I was 22, I took a train to NYC from State College to visit friends. It was the great snowstorm of 96 (I think that was the year). Long, long story short, I got stuck on a train in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My parents (bless their sweet hearts) decided to relieve me of having to spend the night with two strangers in a hotel room. They decided to drive to Harrisburg from State College. They got 5 miles up the road and were hit from behind by a truck and pushed into the path of an oncoming snowplow. My father picked glass out of his hair and face for days to come.

I almost killed my parents. Luckily, they survived. But I still shudder when I think about the alternative. This is precisely why I will not allow them to drive to NYC just so I can go to a holiday party. (And if they do threaten to drive here, I’ll flat out refuse to go to Boston. I’ll lock them out as well. And keep them from Emory. Take that, mom and dad.)

But, MAN! am I ever saddened by this! And I want to kick the weather’s ass. We’re going to have to reschedule something because I need some time away from the baby. I know that once I’m away I’ll complain that I miss him, but I think that I need to miss him. Perhaps we’ll schedule something right around our anniversary on January 3rd (after we get kicked out of our apartment of course).

So, for the next 48 hours, it’s Emory and me alone at home during a snowstorm. I will now commence with overeating leftover birthday cake. I plan on putting on all 6 pounds I lost last month.

It’s a good thing I didn’t buy a dress.

Edited to add: My parents called from the turnpike. They are exiting to get to the Holland Tunnel. They didn’t call first, they drove against my wishes. Now I feel like a whiney bitch and a heartless one since they will arrive and all our doors will be locked.

Edited by Dad: We’re here and she let us in. Now we have full custody of Emory in an effort to keep him away from the crazy woman. We think she will head to Boston after all to spend some quality time with the Bean.

(Seriously, is it just awful up north or what?)

More on Vaccinations: Hib recall.

I have written about this before. I’ll probably never stop. This is why we can’t blindly trust our government or major pharmaceutical companies.

“Dougherty could not immediately say whether the contamination seen at the factory involves a virus or bacteria. She said if someone were vaccinated with a contaminated shot, “There is a risk they could develop an infection.” But she did not provide more details”

Thanks for the reassurance there, Dougherty. Thanks for clearing that up. The vagueness can mean one of two things, and both are troubling. Either they don’t know what the “infection” is or they think we’re too stupid to handle the truth. I want to know everything they know. Let me then make an informed decision. We’re not children, but these are our children they’re talking about.

I’m not against vaccines but I’m troubled by the fact that there aren’t perfect measures in place to make sure there are no contaminations, or weird additives. And I find it appalling that any state would make vaccinations mandatory especially if they don’t offer textbook explanations for any problems or side-effects that do arise. It’s no wonder why so many parents are wary of injecting their children with up to 23 shots by age two. Safety is something that needs to be worked out before suggesting it be mandatory.

Happiness and Health.

I lied about surprises. I planned a party for TobyJoe. It was held at a local tapas restaurant here in Brooklyn. I made a cake and at around 6:30, Emory and I packed everything into the car and headed out for an evening with friends. It was 100% awesome. It would have been 150% awesome had TobyJoe not shown up before everyone else. Guests were to arrive at 7 PM. TobyJoe arrived at 7:01. There were five of us there, five out of the 17 guests who would show up over the next couple of minutes. But none of that mattered because our friends are outstanding. I could not be more pleased with the people in my life. I am so unbelievably lucky. I feel so plump today, so grateful.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take any pictures because the spot on my body that once held a camera was reserved for our four month old baby boy. Emory was so good. He just sat there and smiled and then he fell asleep in my arms. I could not put him in the stroller without him waking up and wildly kicking his feet until I picked him up again. Emory is a very social baby. He has to be facing out when in the Bjorn. He doesn’t like to lie back in the stroller. A wrap (such as the Moby wrap) will not do. He has to be able to see everyone. (Incidentally, we have one unused Moby wrap if anyone wants it.)

He quickly became the life of the party even though it was meant to be for his father. Our beloved friend, Jen, took the only picture there is featuring all three of us.

I needed last night. I really did. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for me. And we discovered about two hours ago, it’s about to get even crazier. We might be out of a place to live because our landlord has decided to pull some crap that I still can’t get my head around. I’m actually unable to even write about it just yet. It’s too annoying, too heartless. It has us scrambling, looking at houses in upstate NY and NJ. I can’t think of a better way to spend our holiday. Bastards.

My health has been wacky as well. I visited my primary care doctor on Monday to discuss a few things. I have had some pretty serious joint pain. It began when I was 39 weeks pregnant. It’s gotten worse over the last couple of months. I have trouble lifting Emory, especially now that he’s getting bigger. It’s worse when I’m stationary, like when I first get up. My hands ache. My feet have trouble holding me up. I hobble to his bedroom and then I struggle to lift him. And my hips feel like they’re grinding one another at the bone. It’s not pleasant. And I’m worried that I am inheriting my mother (and grandmother’s) rheumatoid arthritis. The doctor drew blood. He’s checking for everything from Lyme Disease to thyroid problems, from rheumatoid all the way to Hepatitis A through Z. I am crossing my fingers I don’t have arthritis already.

My hair is starting to fall out. I heard that this would happen if I continued supplying breast milk. It’s happening. At the rate it’s falling out, I’m going to be bald by my 34th birthday in January.

The MOHs procedure is done and, yes, I am cancer free. But the stitches have caused me a great deal of frustration. It seems the internal stitches, the ones meant to dissolve on their own, did not. I spent almost a week watching a tiny white thread poke out of my skin. I would pull on it, and it wouldn’t give. I’d then cut it with scissors. Now, most people, most normal people, would have gone back to the doctor. Not me! I am a moron. I’m waiting until my face explodes. Contrary to how it appears in the photo I posted on Friday, my MOHs surgery has not healed as well as it should have. It hasn’t healed entirely at all.

I sound like I’m whining. I assure you, I am relatively happy these days. I could not have asked for a better baby.

I have the most amazing friends. I wish them days, years, decades full of happiness. My family is truly wonderful. And my husband is fantastic even if he does ruin surprise parties by not playing by the rules.

I’m happy. Now, if only we could find a safe place to live near the city, equipped with a pottery studio, a yoga studio, and a Quaker school. Help me get there, sweet life. Willya?