Archive for the ‘ Pregnancy ’ Category

A Goodbye to Blogging, and Many Thank-Yous

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Dear internet,

Well… it’s about that time.

I’ve been blogging for over four years, and for over a year here for Parents.  It’s been an interesting and, at times, a pretty amazing ride.  I’ve written about anything and everything, been on some awesome trips, received my share of hate mail, been published on and linked to from places like Yahoo!, Shine, and Time.com, and corresponded and shared my life with some pretty incredible people.

I have honestly enjoyed sharing my life with all of you.  Opening up about all of my experiences– the good, like giving birth to Caroline, graduating dental school, and finding a job… and the bad, like Caroline’s hospitalization, my postpartum depression, and my divorce– has been exciting, cathartic, therapeutic.  But with my new start here in a new state with a new job and a new home, the time has come for me to move on.

I’ll admit that part of it is that I’m simply burned out on the criticism and hateful email that I seem to get no matter what I write.  It is not easy to share as openly and publicly as I do, and I might just not have the backbone for some of the responses that I get anymore.  Having a job as a “real” dentist also means that I need to be a little more careful and professional about what I put out there on the internet, know what I mean?  I’ve always written whatever I feel about whatever’s on my mind, and if I have to constantly censor myself or worry about what I’m writing, then I’d rather just not write at all… or at least not write so publicly.  I also feel like I don’t have as much to say as I used to, and I really only enjoy blogging when I have something interesting to say.

I guess what it ultimately comes down to is, I just need my life to be a little more private right now.

I appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, all of you who have read and loved my blog, whether you’re a new or longtime reader; whether you’ve read occasionally or never missed a post.  Your kind words and support got me through some tough times, your advice helped me make some tough decisions, and what some of you have shared with me, in return for all I’ve shared, has touched my life as I hope I’ve managed to touch some of yours.  My favorite part has been the emails and comments I get from other single parents who have been inspired by what I’ve written to make changes in their lives, to go back to school, to move on, to find happiness again.  I’ve appreciated every word from you, more than you know.

Thanks for laughing and crying with me, everyone.  You might see me again on the internet someday, in a more anonymous or private space…you just might not know it’s me.

With love,

Julia…and Caroline

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Apparently, You *Can* Fail a Pregnancy Test.

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Last week, one of my single friends was worried that she might be pregnant.  She texted me in a panic, asking if I got cramps with my morning sickness, and I yelled at her to take a test, and she yelled back that she couldn’t in the middle of the week because she would be a mess at work if she was indeed pregnant.

Eventually, she finally got up the nerve to take the test.  Here are the texts we exchanged throughout her ordeal:

Her: Okay, I took a test.  It’s blank.

Me: Blank?  What do you mean, blank?  There’s no control line?

Her: Nope.  Blank.  I think the test is too old.

Me: Don’t those things take like 10 years to expire?  Exactly how long have you been taking pregnancy tests?

Her: Don’t judge.  Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that according to this test I’m not pregnant yet.

Me: I don’t think you understand what a pregnancy test does.

Her: Of course I do.  You pee on the stick and then you may or may not get pregnant.

Me: Oh.  See, this is why I have a kid.  I don’t know how this s–t works.

Her: Exactly.  If I had been around a few years ago, you might not have gotten knocked up.

Me: Look, would you just pee on another stick already?

(pause for about an hour)

Her: Okay, I got another test.

Me: And?

Her: Only test I’ve ever been happy to fail.

Me: Well, that’s a relief.  This calls for a drink!!

Her: Yeah.  After that first one was blank I was sure I was pregnant.  Probably with a ghost baby.  I didn’t remember having sex with a ghost, but then again I bet no one would, right?

Me: …I see you’ve started drinking without me.

Her: Yup.  Cheers.

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Start Here: My Story

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Mom and toddler

Hi!  I’m Julia, single mom to Caroline, age two, who I adore but did not plan for.  I got pregnant with her unexpectedly about halfway through dental school.  I was married at the time.  I continued with school until I went into preterm labor around 28 weeks, at which point I took a year off.  I went back to dental school in January 2010, when Caroline was 11 months old.  That summer, I filed for divorce from my husband, and our divorce was finalized this past February.  I finally graduated from dental school just last week.  My blog is about the challenges and joys of being a single mother and a dental student… and now that I’m done with school, a brand-new dentist.

I’ve been blogging for about three years and just moved all my old posts here to Parents (after much effort and HTML editing and breaking and fixing of tags, which probably would have been no big deal if I actually knew what a tag was, which I don’t). Since most of you reading this are probably new to my blog, I thought I’d put together a list of the posts that summarize my story the best. For the rest of you who already know me and followed me here… a little walk down memory lane. Or skip this post and wait for the new stuff!

Pick and choose and skip at will!

Shock: The day I found out I was pregnant.

The perils of unplanned pregnancy: The start of the troubles between me and Tyler.

Preterm WHAT??: Preterm labor begins at 28 weeks.

Suddenly a stay-at-home mom: Temporarily leaving school and going on bedrest.

It’s a girl!: Caroline is born at 36 weeks!

My birth story will have to wait: NICU trials and tribulations.

Birth story: This one’s self-explanatory.

A paper cut on the eye: Struggles with breastfeeding and pumping.

My “I-will-never’s”: It’s so much easier to parent before you actually become a parent.

See you in 10 minutes!”: I was so not a newborn kind of person.

Life is good: Just kidding, I was so totally a newborn kind of person. That day.

Whose leg do I have to hump to get a referral around here?: Issues with reflux.

Diagnosis: I am diagnosed with postpartum depression and PTSD.

Quitting time: I quit pumping in order to save my sanity.

Single mom’ing it: Tyler’s long and frequent absences take their toll.

I can do this: I return to dental school after my year at home.

Milestone anxiety: Caroline’s gross motor delay and resulting physical therapy.

May 16, 2010: Was once supposed to be my graduation day… but was still a good one.

Overly personal statement: Thoughts on having a baby during dental school.

I think I need to clarify: Explanation of my decision to file for divorce.

Empty: Tyler officially moves out.

Dear Caroline: A letter to my daughter about why I left her father.

“I don’t think she smiles like that”: Finding my happy place.

Off-limits: Struggles with dating after divorce.

Same team: My roller coaster plunges down again, and stories of divorce counseling.

Irretrievable breakdown: Our divorce is finalized.

“How do you do it all?”: Well, as it turns out, I really don’t.

That which angers you, controls you: I struggle with Tyler introducing his new girlfriend to Caroline.

Control freak: Continued struggles and introspection.

Alone: Thoughts on being single.

Prayer for my daughter: Reflections on what I want for my daughter, based on my own trainwreck of a personal life.

DMD… finally: My graduation from dental school… at last.

Whew. Long list. But it’s way shorter than reading all of my past posts. And if the past three years of my life have been anything, they’ve been eventful. Enjoy, and welcome to my blog!

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Diagnosis

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

I debated about whether or not I should blog about this, because I know that some people I know in real life read my blog. But I guess I’ve blogged about every other aspect of my pregnancy/motherhood, and what I’m about to say really isn’t anything to be ashamed of, so, here goes.

I’ve been feeling really crappy lately. I’m not sure when it started. I was feeling okay for awhile, or maybe I was just too busy and worried about Caroline to notice. I also kind of assumed that it was just a situational thing, because I had to make such a big adjustment in moving from school to staying at home, and all the other changes having a baby brings to your life. And, you know, it’s pretty isolating to stay at home with a baby when all of your friends are either far away or in an intense dental program… and none of them are even thinking about having babies of their own.

It wasn’t just that, though… ever since we brought Caroline home from the NICU, I’ve been having nightmares. Horrible dreams that she’s dead in the bed with me. I wake up several times a night from the same dream, digging frantically in the blankets for her because I’m convinced that she’s in there. And I think about the NICU and the midnight transfer in the ambulance all the time. I still cry about it every day. It was a traumatic experience, for sure, but still feeling like this just doesn’t seem normal to me. I was hoping that all this would go away with time, but it just… hasn’t.

So, I was going to my OB today anyway because I was having an issue with my IUD. I brought up my concerns with the nurse practitioner and she left the room for a long time. When she came back, she told me that the OB on call wanted me to go to a psychiatrist across the street, and that they could see me immediately. I went over there, feeling kind of like I had done something wrong and lost my recess.

I talked to the psychiatrist for a long time, over an hour. When she was done asking me questions (questions that included things like “can you tell me today’s date” and “what do apples and oranges have in common”… ummm… I’m not that far gone, lady), she put her clipboard down and said:

“I think you have moderate to severe postpartum depression. You went through a very traumatic experience, what with having your new baby in the hospital in uncertain condition, right in the middle of a mess of postpartum hormones and physical pain. You’ve had to continue struggling with her health and weight gain, and to give up breastfeeding for a much more mechanical, demanding way of feeding her. You’re continuing to torture yourself with all this pumping in order to try to live up to this unattainable ideal that our society has of the perfect mother, who gives her baby breastmilk, no matter what. You had to suddenly leave your program and all its activity and human interaction to stay at home with your baby, with no friends who understand what your new life is like. On top of it all, your pregnancy was unexpected, you say you were an anxious person to begin with, and depression runs in your family. How could you not be depressed?”

Well. I have to say, she heard me. It felt like a huge weight was lifted, that somebody understood me. I’ve sort of brought it up with Tyler and my mom, but Tyler just said “she’s healthy now, why is it still bothering you?” and my mom just gave me a look that I couldn’t quite read. So, it was such a relief just to have someone tell me that it was okay to feel sad. In general, I try not to think about any of that, because I don’t have time for self-pity and it doesn’t do anything for me anyway. But clearly ignoring it isn’t helping, so I have to try something else.

She suggested that I start two medications, check in with her over the phone while we’re in ND, start counseling once we get back, and quit pumping. I told her I was fine with all of that except the pumping, and that I just can’t quite do that yet, I’d feel too guilty. She went over to her desk, handed me a picture of a really pretty girl about my age, and said “this is my baby. I had to quit breastfeeding her after one month. And you know what? She’s fine. She’s great. How you feed your baby is just one tiny part of being a good mother. You’ve done everything you can for four months… do what’s best for you, but also know that maybe it’s time to give it up in order to focus on all the other very important pieces of the puzzle.”

So, that might be happening in the near future, I haven’t decided yet. All in all, I’m so glad that I said something to the nurse at the OB. Maybe the medication will help me feel more like myself. All I can do is try it, right? So… wish me luck!

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My Body, Postpartum (Dun Dun Dunnn)

Friday, May 1st, 2009

You knew this was coming from me eventually!

I expected having a baby to totally trash my body. I mean, it sounds horrible, right? Growing a 7ish-pound person in there and then pushing it out your vag, or having it pulled out through a cut in your belly? (Some days I still can’t believe I actually did that and lived to tell about it. It’s all very Alien.) I’ve never been good about weight gain. I tend to get very upset, so this was one of the things I was really worried about.

But I came through it pretty much unscathed, in the long run. I obsessed over my weight gain the entire pregnancy, but from the day I found out I was pregnant to the day I delivered, I gained an unexciting 28 pounds. (Keep in mind, though, that I delivered at exactly 8 months pregnant.) I somehow didn’t get any stretch marks, even though I have some from puberty so I know I’m predisposed to them. I’m still kind of chubby-looking, but most of the weight has come off without doing anything more than breastfeeding, eating reasonably, and halfheartedly jogging from time to time. (I’m about 5 pounds up from my pre-pregnancy weight, although I’ve lost a lot of muscle tone so that number sounds a lot better than it looks.)

A lot of the weight comes off directly after giving birth, and then it kind of stalls. I swear, at least 10 pounds of my weight must have been water, because about a week after giving birth I looked at my ankles in the shower and they were THERE again. I almost fell over in shock. They looked like sticks to me. I hadn’t seen them in so long.

Even with weight loss, though, your body ends up being shaped totally differently. Your hips spread, at least if you deliver vaginally (I can’t speak for the C-section mommas). Weight seems to be distributed differently. Your old jeans don’t have a prayer of fitting. I’ve also still got that sweet linea nigra running down my belly, along with an attractive little kangaroo pouch due to stretching of skin and muscle. Probably nothing that about a thousand situps couldn’t fix, if I ever had the motivation or energy to do them (I do not), although my belly button will probably always look slightly weird.

Overall, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined it to be. Which is good, because I am very vain and selfish like that. I’m hoping that by summertime I should be able to fit into my old clothes, because I really don’t want to have to buy a new wardrobe! (Well, okay, I do, but not because I’m too large for my old stuff.)

Still– it doesn’t help when “friends” say things like “Oh look! You have a butt now! You never used to have a butt.” (Insert Death Stare here. I’m getting a lot of use out of that thing lately.)

I’d post a “belly” picture, but Caroline is sleeping in the room that has the full-length mirror, and I don’t want to wake the beast. I can tell you, though, that it looks absolutely nothing like this… (Quit sucking it in, you bitch.)

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