My Flower Girl


Every member of our household exhaled in relief when my MIL, FIL and SIL left on Sunday. It’s not that it was a horrible visit… it was just too much chaos. I had reached the point where my MIL was driving me batshit crazy. She is so well-intentioned, but I was ready to have the toilet paper and paper towels on the holders the right way again. (She is an “under” person, and I am an “over” person.) The little things… they just get to you after a while. Especially when you’re exhausted.

Fun story: When I got home from work on Friday, the wood floor was slippery. Turns out she used Pledge (lemon scented furniture polish) as air freshener and sprayed it all over the house. I mean… I just… WHY?

For the wedding on Saturday, we were asked to have Charlotte there and ready for pictures at 2:30. The wedding started at 5. We cut her nap way short so we could get there on time. Then, they took a total of two pictures of Charlotte and both of them were at 4:30. So you can imagine how much fun it was to try to keep a 2 year old happy and CLEAN (in a delicate, light-colored dress) for hours. Also, her skin was not fond of her flower girl dress, and she broke out in a horrible rash all over her chest and back. That was fun.


It was an exhausting day. Charlotte never stopped. There were kids to play with and rocks to play in and trees to hide behind and an empty dance floor to run on. She was also overtired and still recovering from the Great Sickness, so as the day went on, there was meltdown after meltdown.


Charlotte asked for a snack shortly after we arrived. No problem—we came prepared with snacks up the wazoo. Naturally, she didn’t want any of the snacks we brought. She wanted cereal. We had raisins, applesauce, fruit cups, peanut butter crackers, veggie straws, honey graham goldfish crackers… none of that was acceptable. We made a desperate call to one of Catch’s aunts who hadn’t left yet, and she came through for us with a baggie of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (it was all she had!) that Charlotte did not allow out of her sight for the entire day/night. By the time we left there at 9 pm, Cinnamon Toast Crunch was pretty much the only thing she’d had to eat since noon. We ended up at a McDonald’s drive through after the wedding because Charlotte kept saying, “I need a burger? I need a burger?” So we got her a burger. She inhaled half of it and then fell asleep with the other half clutched in her hand like a lovey. When I tried to gently remove the burger from her grasp, she jerked her head up, gave me the DIRTIEST look and whispered, “I. Need. A. Burger.” Okay, kid. Understood.


I had grabbed some shoes out of my closet in a hurry before we left the house, and about an hour into chasing Charlotte while we waited for the photographer, my feet were KILLING me. I sat down to examine the damage, and realized that the shoes were absolutely shredding my feet. The backs of my heels were bleeding. It was awful. I grabbed the car keys in a hurry, walked the miserably painful two blocks to our car and peeled out of there hoping to find a drug store where I could buy some cheap black flip flops. I got lucky and there was a Payless shoe store just down the street. They had a pair of grey/silver flats that fit comfortably and I grabbed them and ran back to the wedding. I think the whole thing took me 15 minutes. Today, My feet are covered in bandages. Giant ones on the backs of my heels, blister bandaids on one baby toe and one big toe. Regular bandages on the other baby toe and big toe. My poor feet. I am going to BURN those shoes.


The bride and groom have a 5 month old baby girl. The morning of the wedding (at 4am!) they had to take her to the ER because she had a horrible ear infection. All day, she was either screaming or she was asleep. Our former nanny was on hand to be the baby whisperer and the two of them stayed locked up in the bridal suite all night. She never made it in a single photo. I feel so bad—they must be really bummed. When it was time for us to leave, we loaded up the baby’s car seat into our car so we could take nanny and baby home to grandma’s house for the rest of the night. The poor baby was crying and crying and Charlotte kept reaching for her and saying, “It’s okay, baby Amelia. I know.” Our hearts pretty much exploded. When we got to the house, we went in to help the nanny get settled. I had the baby in the rocking chair trying to comfort her, and Charlotte brought her a sheet of paper from a notepad. Amelia stopped crying immediately. She was thrilled by that sheet of paper. Charlotte was so pleased with herself. It was the sweetest thing.


Anyway, that is a lot of words to read and I commend you if you made it this far. In conclusion, I’ll just say that I kind of hope this is the last time our kid is ever asked to be a flower girl because that shit was EXHAUSTING. I’m proud of her, though. She made it about 2/3 of the way down the aisle before she stopped and burst into tears. The ring bearer was a year older than her, and he threw his pillow at his dad and ran the other way before he even reached the start of the aisle, so really—A+ for Charlotte.

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Embryos: To Keep or Not to Keep

I tried to post this yesterday, but it didn’t seem to show up in my feed, so I’m trying again!

Last week, a “Mr. Oliver” from our fertility clinic left me a vague voicemail message while I was at work requesting a call back. I returned his call immediately.

First off, let me just say that this dude’s voice is creepy. Actually, I really want you to hear how creepy his voice is so I just figured out how to export the file.

When I called, that voice answered the phone. “This is Mr. Oliver.” I cheerfully told him who I was and that I was returning his call. “Ahh yes, Molly.”

First off… if you’re not going to use your first name, why the hell are you using mine? Does that strike you as rude? It really rubbed me the wrong way.

Anyway, he launches into a spiel about how he’s calling to collect a total of something like $2,000 that we owe them before we’re sent to collections.

I was confused. We paid up front for everything we did with them. I asked him what it was for, and was told that we haven’t paid our embryo storage fees since 2014. And actually, 2017 is due soon, so he’ll just add that on now as well.

Um… backup. You are trying to collect three years’ worth of storage fees right this second? Huh? I’ve never even seen a bill! Not one single bill!

So, upon further (creepy) investigation, we discover that the clinic has our old address on file. Apparently, they have been sending invoices to our old address, so we never received them, therefor they were never paid.

Wait… that’s THREE YEARS of unpaid invoices. I am quite certain that at some point, someone returned a piece of mail to them. Not to mention that we had our mail forwarded from our old address for MONTHS after we moved, and we didn’t move until I was almost 8 months pregnant, so it’s not like we just finished with the services and took off. Also, they have 4 valid phone numbers and two valid email addresses for us. Heck, the guy called and I returned his call within minutes. We have even exchanged holiday cards with our doctor and she mailed me—to our NEW ADDRESS—a nice note after I sent her our birth announcement. Do not even attempt to tell me that you couldn’t find us for three damn years. That is a load of crap.

I am BEYOND pissed off.

I hung up on him. I shouldn’t have done that, but he caught me totally off guard and I was seeing red… not to mention that this subject is a bit emotional and, well… I just couldn’t. Especially with Mr. Creepy.

Naturally, I called Catch immediately after I got off the phone with the dude. She was angry too, and she said something to the effect of, “I’ll call them and pay the outstanding balance and we’ll just tell them to discard the rest of the embryos.”

Silence.

Guys, we are solidly one and done. I am happy with one child. I did not particularly enjoy pregnancy, my birth experience was kind of scary, recovery sucked, breastfeeding was awful, and postpartum overall was just a barrel of shit. Not to mention that having a second child means walking back into that fertility clinic and going through that all over again and I have less than zero desire to do that.

Even better, I really love having one kid. I love that I don’t have to try to juggle my very limited available hours to stretch between two kids who both need me. I love that someday, when daycare/preschool are done, we’ll have our disposable income back. I love that we’ll be able to afford to enjoy our lives if we only have one kid. I love that we’ll be able to give her opportunities that she wouldn’t have if she had a sibling. I really just love my kid. I feel complete. Any hesitation I have is simply that sometimes, I think she’d love having a sibling. But we can’t have another child for Charlotte. We have to do it for us. And frankly, “us” is really enjoying parenting an only.

So why is it that I can’t just agree that it’s time to let go of our embryos? Why does the thought of that render me totally incapable of speech?

I am going to be honest with you guys, and it’s a bit dark, but I’ve spent the last week tossing this around in my head. Maybe I’m the only person to ever have this thought, but I doubt it.

I’m afraid to discard our embryos because I am terrified of losing Charlotte and not being able to have another child. I hated all of that early stuff, but I love being a mom. I worship that kid. She is the most amazing gift. If anything ever happened to her, I would never recover… but I would still want to have the opportunity to actively mother another child. Especially a child who shares the same genes as my baby girl.

I know that’s all ass backwards and totally wrong, but feelings aren’t exactly logical or politically correct sometimes. Those frozen embryos are like a lifeline to my Charlotte.

Also, those embryos were hard fought. They were literally blood, sweat, tears and so, so much money. They are—quite literally—a part of me. It’s sort of hard for me to just check a box and decide I don’t want them anymore.

So what do we do now?

I realize that I can’t live in fear of losing my daughter. It’s not healthy. I don’t want to think about those embryos and feel like they’re some sort of insurance policy for motherhood. They’re not.

Logically, I know that if Catch and I decide later that we would like another child, we have options. We can foster. We can adopt. We will figure it out.

I think we’ve agreed to pay for one more year of storage. Just in case. Will we change our minds about having a second child? Doubtful. I guess I’d just rather regret wasting money on storage fees than regret not having those embryos.

Boom!

That was the sound of my head exploding.

We’re all sick. Catch and I have been fighting through it, but Charlotte was practically incapacitated for a week. It hit her HARD. That meant she couldn’t go to school, which meant that someone had to stay home from work, and after several missed days of work, we had to raise the white flag and summon my in-laws. (You know I was desperate because it was even my idea.)

They were already going to come up on Friday for a family wedding, so they came on Tuesday instead and are staying until Sunday. My SIL will also arrive from Colorado to stay with us for the weekend. So it’ll be 5 adults, one toddler, and two dogs sharing 1200 sq ft and one bathroom. FUN.

We sent the kiddo to school today (first time in a week) for a few hours. Just a half day. My in-laws will pick her up at noon so she can take a nice long nap and have a quiet afternoon at home. She still seemed pretty out of sorts to me this morning, but she didn’t have a fever and I decided to just give it a shot. She’s not a morning person on a good day, so she may have just needed some extra wake up time.

In the midst of all of that, my mom had to put her sweet 6 year old golden retriever down very unexpectedly. She went from fine to unable to function in the blink of an eye. It turns out she had a tumor attacking her spine. We haven’t told Charlotte yet, but she will be heartbroken. She loved Buffy so much. We all did. She was just the sweetest, most loving dog.

Speaking of dogs, Rolo stopped eating a few days ago. We didn’t think much of it because he goes through phases—he’s old. We usually just chalk it up to age. Then on Tuesday night Catch happened to check his teeth and saw a huge abscess in his gums. No wonder he couldn’t eat—he was in pain. A vet visit yesterday revealed that it’s not an abscess, it’s a tumor. A very irritated, painful tumor. The vet doesn’t think it’s cancerous, but we won’t know until it’s surgically removed and biopsied next week. Yay for vet bills.

And did I mention how pissed (literally) Twix is about Charlotte being in school and everyone being gone all day? She has decided to express her displeasure by peeing on every rug/carpeted room in the house every time we leave. She’s 11. She’s 100000% house trained. We have a doggie door. She is just acting out like a damn toddler. I have no idea what to do. Our whole freaking house smells like pee no matter how well we clean up. I am at my wit’s end.

I have nothing to wear to this wedding. Nothing fits me right now. I am totally at a loss. My MIL and SIL are so stylish and beautiful and I’m going to feel like tired (sick) mom frump next to them.

Charlotte is a flower girl, so we have to do the rehearsal on Friday night so she has a chance to practice. That means at least an hour in rush hour traffic with a toddler who’s still not quite 100%. Then we need to be at the venue for pictures by 2:30 on Saturday, which cuts right into nap time. She is going to be the cutest flower girl ever, but it’s going to be a long, hellish day.

Oh, and have I mentioned my foot? I fell a few weeks ago, and I’ve been pretty much unable to walk without severe pain since then. I’ve seen the doctor twice, they’ve done x-rays, and at this point all they can say is “give it time.” Just what you want to hear when you have a 2 year old to keep up with. It has felt a bit better the last few days, so I’m trying to be mindful and take it easy as much as possible.

We participated in a consignment sale last weekend, too, which meant a 3.5 hour volunteer shift for me on Sunday where I worked my ass off non-stop boxing up and moving the (heavy) boxed books in an un-air conditioned warehouse with a bad foot. Then I had to wander around and collect all of our un-sold stuff and wait in a never ending line to get out of there. I didn’t get home until 8:30 that night, and when I got home, Charlotte was asleep in our bed. Charlotte truly never sleeps in our bed. She was upset because we converted the crib to a toddler bed. It was great the first day. Then everything went to hell the second day. I ended up putting the crib back together on the third day. Bad timing. I don’t know what we were thinking.

Anyway, thank you for letting me vent. None of this stuff is the end of the world (well, losing Buffy really sucks), but when you pile it all together, it’s a lot. I’m so ready for life to get back to some semblance of normal. Soon. Really soon.

 

Friends

The other night, I told Catch about something in the blog world and her response was, “These people are not your real friends. You don’t even know them. You need to not care so much.”

In her defense, she’s being protective of me–of our family. She has experienced the effects of my anxiety/depression the past two years and her comments were reflective of that. She’s trying to minimize my worry.

The thing is that in this community, I do consider many of you to be my friends. Some of us are connected on social media. Some I email. Some I text. To me, you and your families are as real as anyone else in my life. We have supported each other through losses and gains and everything in between, and that has been an absolute gift that I truly cherish.

As Sammie posted yesterday, a family in our community has suffered a tremendous loss. Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare, and Cassie and Cherish are living that hell right now as they face the endless stretch of days ahead of them without their beautiful little boy, Leo.

I am struggling to find words to continue this because the enormity of Leo’s death is really beyond words. It’s wide-eyed, jaw dropped, weak knees, hug your baby closer, heart sinking sadness mixed with a desire to DO something. Anything. To help. To ease their pain. To lift them up. To shoulder some of their burden.

As the Ladd family struggles to make memorial plans for their baby boy, all I can do from a distance is donate my Starbucks money and share their story in the hopes that others will do the same. When your child dies, the last thing you should have to worry about is the expense.

Please consider donating to the Go Fund Me or Meal Train established for their family. They need it. This is how we can add some light to the darkest time in their lives. Believe me, I understand that we don’t all have money to give. Personally, I woke up to a zero (ZERO!!!!) dollar balance in my checking account this morning thanks to an error in my budgeting. If you can’t donate, maybe you can share their story by posting the link somewhere. Or maybe just drop by her blog and leave her some hearts to let them know that people out in the world are rooting for their family right now.