32 means it takes me nearly a week to find time for my annual reflective piece and even then I really don’t have the time but I’m going to steal it from other things….
31 was probably my hardest adult year. It was certainly the best since my sweet sweet Sammy was added to my life but it was hard.
The thing about motherhood – at least for me – is that you lose yourself literally at least for a little while. While you’re pregnant your body changes and is taken over by a stranger and afterward this new extension of yourself demands a lot of attention – even more so when you exclusively breast feed.
I knew this from having Lucas but I’m a work at home mom with Sam so while I was back at work after 12 weeks with Lucas, this time around I was never too removed from work and am always with Sam. I love being with Sam and am grateful that I have that option/ability but it’s not all cupcakes and roses. I still have all the work demands of any full-time employed person the only difference is I don’t have dedicated working hours.
Since I am always with Sam I also always need to work and our quantity time together isn’t always quality and I feel very guilty about that. He also needs me more than Lucas did because for the most part I’m the only human he sees most of his waking hours.
We can’t afford daycare (and he’s one a wait-list even if we could) but my aunt is stepping in to be a two day nanny for a bit starting this week and I’m hoping it can help me address some of my time challenges.
The other big challenge I’ve spent time addressing has been my hormones and while this is a bit more personal than I get on the blog I think it’s an important PSA for women.
Prior to Lucas I was on the pill and it was great and I had no problems. Afterwards, I went on the mini pill and broke out into horrible hives, I assumed at the time I was allergic to progesterone and switched to a copper IUD. It worked great and no problems.
When I first became pregnant with Sam I broke out into hives and after he was born (the absolute worst torture I’ve experienced) and concluded my boys give me hives not necessarily progesterone. So when my OB suggested Mirena for shorter periods I thought 1. I don’t get periods while nursing and 2. But when I do, that sounds like a good deal.
Well I started spotting almost immediately and over the months it got more frequent and heavier. Periods suck as all women know so this was an annoyance I really couldn’t stand. I asked my OB about it and she said it was normal, I followed up and was told normal.
Meanwhile, at Sam’s pediatric appointments I failed EVERY post-partum depression survey (even as I tried to give answers that would let me pass) and his doctor sent my OB notes to follow up. A working mom, with two young kids, limited funds and no day care solutions who inevitably gets no sleep is stressed and yes depressed. And that’s what my response was. Yes I’m depressed, no I’m not going to harm myself or others, time will surely help resolve some of these issues.
One issue not being helped was weight gain or lack of weight loss. I went back to my old pants a couple months after Lucas was born. With Sam I still wear maternity clothes and can’t even fit in my old shirts that used to be big on me. On top of the other blows this one has been hard to swallow. Being an on-call all you can eat buffet takes its toll but it’s at least supposed to help you burn calories! I reasoned that age, sleep deprivation and a more sedentary life-style were the reasons that I’m a solid 20lbs+ above my average weight.
I accepted the spotting, depression and weight gain for six months, communicating with my OB about my periods, responding to her post-partum fail follow ups and obviously clocking in my weight at appointments. Then a couple weeks ago I thought perhaps it wasn’t just me maybe it was in part the IUD. I messaged my doctor a three sentence email that I have these three issues and could it be the Mirena, could I have it switched and what were her thoughts.
What followed was no email response, phone tag hell with nurses, then a response from a nurse saying they couldn’t get ahold of me (I called 4x in 12 hrs over 2 days) and which of the three were my issue. I was furious and decided I’d just make an appointment to get it removed if nothing else. I call to make that appointment and am told the SOONEST they could see me is mid-January! I was livid and depressed. I asked if the ER or Planned Parenthood was a better solution than my doctor. The scheduler felt for me and said I could fill a cancelled appointment the next day.
I arrived with what I thought was ample time to check in but there was a HUGE line. I get to check in and am told the doctor is an hour behind! Valuable work-time I don’t have to lose. When the nurse called me back she asked if my IUD had expired! She didn’t look at my chart to see I just had a baby, was having issues or anything. By the time the doctor (not my regular doctor) got to the room I was in tears. I’m not a crier but this medical stress was more than I needed in life.
She said they could switch me back to the copper the same day and then right before she’s about to do it she asked if I called to make sure my insurance covered the change. No one told me to call my insurance before this. I’ve rolled the dice because it was all too much and I just wanted to move on.
The good news is I feel like a cloud has been removed – the one you see in the commercials I guess. Life is still stressful/overwhelming and I don’t like that but I don’t feel consumed by it. I don’t know how much this peace of mind is costing me but if it isn’t billed by our insurance I’ll be writing a check to Planned Parenthood because even the OB said it would have been a cheaper, easier route. It’s sad that a fully insured individual would be better off at a non-profit but it’s also a reason why anyone who cares about women’s health should stand by Planned Parenthood.
I’m disappointed my OB, who I like, never thought to suggest that the IUD may be a contributing factor to my depression. I still won’t say 100% it is but I do know that a couple days ago Danny asked if I was doing better and that I looked like I was feeling better. He’s right but he’s also not perceptive so if he noticed I’m doing better I must have been doing really poorly.
The PSA is don’t rely on your medical provider. While I believe they have good intentions our health systems aren’t set up to really help so speak up, speak out and investigate solutions so your own medical issues.
As to 32, I have a few more months until I get myself back. I’ll nurse Sam until he’s 1 at least so I’m sharing my body and a lot of my time with that. I won’t wish any of it away because I see my big boy Lucas and know it all goes to quickly and that even these hard days are fleeting and will be sorely missed. But with the me-time I find I want to run a half-marathon, read and GOTV for 2020.
One thought on “I’m feeling 32….”
Carrie, My heart breaks for you as I read this piece. Thank you for sharing; I hope it was helpful to get all this out. Your insight about the state of our health care is spot-on, Being one’s own advocate (or having a strong voice beside you) is the way to ensure good health care. It sounds like you are taking positive steps toward healing. I am sorry you are going through such a stressful time.