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The “D” Word

January 20, 2010 32 comments

The other night I took a step… a BIG step.  I said it out loud, I admitted it to myself and those around me.  After talking for a while with my mom and A, I had headed to bed.  I got on twitter again finally, after spending very little time on it in the last weeks, and I posted this:

just when i felt I had life in control… today it crumbles again. I am saying this for the first time to others… I am depressed

For some that might not be hard to say.  For me, it is.  I have always been the bubbly one, the goofy one, the HAPPY one.  I am the friend that is good for a laugh and a good time.  I am the one to cheer up others and be there for them.  And I feel like I have lost that part of me.  Each day is spent trying to survive, to find some bit of me inside, to deal with what life is handing me.  Emotionally, I am spent, I am exhausted, and I am lost.

When I started this blog, I didn’t plan for it to be so somber.  So, please, hang with me while I work through this.  I am on a journey and, unfortunately, the starting line isn’t quite where I thought it was.

I lead a very blessed life, I know that.  Especially when I see what is happening elsewhere in the world right now, the pain, the suffering, I am reminded even more.  But that is the thing with depression.  It isn’t about not appreciating what you have.  It isn’t about not being thankful.  I keep having to remind myself of that when I get angry because I can’t just “get over it” or “move on”.

Our Little Girl, Sydney

Our Little Girl

So, where did I lose myself?  When did the sadness overtake me?  Maybe it was lingering there for a while.  Maybe it was just at the edge of my mind.  But the day I lost my little girl, it took over.  Since the day of that ultrasound, I have tried to be myself, tried to heal.  But I can’t.  Nothing carries the significance it did before.  Nothing brings the same joy or laughter.  Nothing is as rewarding or fun.  God, am I really saying that?  I am blessed with a beautiful and healthy boy, but I am incomplete?  But I am.  I feel it every day.  I feel that void and can’t ignore it any longer.  The void weighs me down and makes everything more difficult.

At work, I have taken huge professional hits.  Of course all of this comes at a time I am being asked to grow and mature professionally.  How can someone do that when they are in survival mode?  How is it possible to grow when you are barely living?  These hits and stress add to the pain and the hurt.  They compound the already humbling realization that I can not handle the life before me.  And I cry.  At the office.  I weep because I can’t do it, I am less than I was and I am angry.

Last weekend A and I went to an event for his work.  It was just after one of these professional hits.  I felt broken in so many ways.  I felt as if I didn’t know myself any longer.  Although I know nearly all the people that would be there and enjoy them all, I had a lump in my throat.  And then it happened.  Just before we exit the car.  We end up talking about me, how he wants to help me.  How he wants to fix it.  FIX IT?  You mean, FIX ME!?  I have known I am broken but it tore me apart to think he may think I am a broken person too.  He explains that he just wants me to be happy.  Well, I am just so fucking sorry that I can’t be little miss sunshine for you!  And then I weep.  I cry because I know his desire for my happiness isn’t for him, but for me.  I know this, but what he says burns.  He tells me that he is worried that my being so concerned with getting pregnant is what is causing me to be so unhappy.  This just enrages me again!  I can’t tell you why.  I can’t explain why the idea of someone making me out to be a woman who desperately wants a baby infuriates me, but it does!  IT DOES!  Maybe it is because I am not supposed to be having to worry about this.  I am supposed to be finalizing my little girl’s nursery and planning for her to be born exactly one month from today.  I yell at him that I am depressed because I had it and lost it!  And I cry.  We talk for a while longer.  I know how much he loves me and just wants me to be happy.  Yes, happy… for me.  I wipe my tears, we enter the room and we say hello to his business partner and his newly pregnant wife.

Today I sat in the office of my OBGYN for my annual visit.  I cried.  I cried as she looked at me knowing the last time she saw me, the first time she met me, was as she told me my options for handling the baby that had died inside me.  I cried as I said the words. out loud. the “D” word.  As I told her about the last year.  I cried.  And then a few hours later I sat in the office of our Reproductive Endocrinologist.  A and he had fun teasing me about my assertion that I don’t want “him to get us pregnant”.  We all chuckled as I couldn’t quite explain myself.  We talked about options and then I cried again.  As I tried to form the words to explain that I can’t say I want another baby badly because to do so makes it real.  And then I have to deal with the fears.  The fear of loss again and that leading to more surgery and pain and procedures.  The fear of not being able to conceive on our own.  The fear of everything.  I cry as I try to explain this.

And then, tonight, I sit here and I cry.  February 19, one month from today.  It was supposed to be my dream come true.  I feel robbed of my story.  How perfect it was with a surprise pregnancy, the perfect results of the blood work and the perfect ultrasound!  My smile was so big and I was walking on clouds.  I felt so blessed and so honored to have had another baby pick me to be its mother.  And as quickly as she came into my life she was gone.  From perfect to gone.  And with her went my joy.  And with her went my heart.  And with her went a piece of me that I have not been able to heal.

So, yes, I am depressed.  It is destroying me.  It is wrecking havoc on my life.  I am a shadow of who I once was.  I am not a good friend right now.  I cry.  I yell.  I DO want a baby.  I feel robbed and cheated and angry.  Maybe for some this isn’t a big deal, but for me it is.  For me, my world is broken and I have no idea how to stop the flow of heartache.

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Bringing back diapers

November 22, 2009 19 comments

I wish I didn’t have to write this.  I am so upset and disappointed in myself.  If you read my last post you already know the back story to our toilet learning process with M.  It has been very frustrating because we have gotten mixed signals.  He will work with his preschool teacher on sitting on the potty, but not us.  He likes wearing big boy underwear, but won’t potty in the potty or anything else, including diapers at school.  And finally, he ended up hitting a wall on Friday.  It was like the holding it in thing at school was just physical training for the main event.

On Friday, as I mentioned in the last post, he had an accident at school at about 9am and then didn’t go the rest of the day even though he had a diaper on.  Well, here is the kicker… he went to bed that night without going potty, woke up dry, and was dry the whole next day.  Friday night he woke up at 1:30am wiggling and whining.  I tried to tell him to just go in his diapers, let it out.  I tried rubbing his tummy, etc.  He fell back to sleep, but did the same thing at 2:45am, 4:30am, and 6:00am.  Between him and A’s snoring, I only managed 4 hours of sleep.  I had to be up for a work retreat that morning so I headed out.  I was stunned when I got a call from A asking if I had changed M’s diaper before I left because it was still dry.  We agreed to have A talk to M and tell him that we are not going to work on the potty stuff for a while and that it is totally fine for him to use his diaper.

My mom picked him up later and brought him to Brown County where I was so they could spend the day and then stay the night at the hotel with me.  I kept calling to see if he would finally let loose.  By 4 pm he still hadn’t and I was freaked out.  He was still begging to change his diaper even if he was dry and would sometimes do the pee pee dance.  At this point I asked A to call our doctor and see what we should do.  His text back made my heart sink!

“Not good baby.  We need to take him to the ER.  He said it is unheard of that a 3year old could hold it for close to 24 hours.  It doesn’t happen.  If he hasn’t had a wet diaper then something else is up. It’s not a UTI either.  He said, with a UTI he would automatically have spasms and it would be coming out even if it hurt when it did.  He said we need to get him to the ER to have an ultrasound done.”

Now, please keep in mind that by this point it had actually been 33 hours since he had peed!  And a full 2 days since a bowel movement.  I read this in my retreat and was instantly in tears.  Being me, I had been talking to everyone about him so they all knew what was going on when they saw my face and heard me say ER.  I remember hearing one person say “Hold it together Crystal cause it won’t do him any good”.  I gathered my composure, grabbed my mom and M and we set out for the ER in Bloomington.

I was very thankful that it was a slow night there.  We got right in and they started gathering information.  They took us to a room and brought in a special bladder ultrasound to measure the amount of urine in his bladder.  We had to restrain him for this because he wouldn’t lay still.  I felt so horrible just because I knew he was scared.  At least I knew they weren’t hurting him.  After it was done, which was very quick, I picked him up.  Suddenly I felt warmth radiating from his diaper and I shouted “He’s peeing he’s peeing!!!”  Sure enough, he let totally loose as we all (even the Nurse Practitioner) did the pee pee dance.  I think it was a mixture of the relief of not being restrained and the slight vibration of the ultrasound tool that did it.  I was so relieved.  It was a miracle.  They basically laughed and said he should be fine.  The doctor that came to see us just before we left said that there is always one that will prove you wrong (about the other doc saying he couldn’t be holding it) and that that was some determination (you’re telling me!!).  He also mentioned that his own grandson is 4 and just became daytime potty trained.  I got what he was saying… don’t worry about backing off, it will happen.

When we got back to the hotel he began insisting that I change his diaper even though it was dry.  After 3 hours of this, (at 1am!) I decided to make the 2 hour drive home, just to change the scene if nothing else.  I am glad I followed my gut.  About 30 minutes into the trip he peed and pooped.  He then slept the rest of the night.  He did the same thing in the morning, but each time the insisting was for shorter amounts of time before he produced something.  So, I feel we are on the right track now.

Can you believe this?  A 3.5 year old so persistent and stubborn that he would withhold urinating for 34 hours!?!?!?!  I told you he is MORE!  During all of this I was a mess of guilt and frustration.  I was crying to my mother that I felt so bad but was doing all I could do.  There are just no books for a kid like him.  The only books that talk about strong-willed kids talk about discipline or just living with them and understanding them.  No one talks about the other things, like the weaning off things, toilet learning, sleeping alone, etc.  There are no guides for parents like me.  I looked at her and said “They don’t make a book for him!”.  She looked at me and said “Maybe you are supposed to write it”.  Wow… what an amazing and scary thought.  So, maybe I will one day.  Until then, I will share these experiences as openly and honestly as I can here.

We have decided to remove the underwear (unless he requests them) and just stick with diapers, forget the potty, and just let him be.  We told him that he can tell us if he ever wants to try, and after a few weeks will begin the discussion again.  But for now, we are taking a total break.  There is nothing like the ER for a wake up call.  It doesn’t matter when he does it, just that he does it in a way that builds him up as a person.  It has to be on his schedule and his pace.  No one else matters.  And until he is done, when people ask us if he is potty trained, I will be confident in saying that a trip to the ER puts it all in perspective so no, not just yet.

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EDIT: This post has been featured by Annie from PhDinParenting and Jennifer from Blogging ’bout Boys
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A whole new weaning… Diapers be gone!

November 21, 2009 12 comments

Oh where do I begin?  I just posted this to my twitter: “i have no idea what I am doing with this potty learning with my STUBBORN 3.5 boy. this is such a battle and I don’t want it to be.”  “NOTHING is working!!! He is so ready, but it is a power struggle. I am just done! My gentle parenting side isn’t finding anything works”  “Even “No Cry Potty Solution” says “sometimes you just have do it” just like when he used to fight teeth brushing and I had to hold him down”  “I hate hate hate that I can’t be the mommy I want to be!!!”  Can you sense my desperation??  Within moments I had 17 responses (can I tell you how much I LOVE my tweeps!? A shout out to them at the end…)

In order to really understand and offer advice, I need to give you the whole story since every kid is different.  So, get ready to know M better than you ever thought you would.

M is amazing!  I am about to talk about a lot of things that might seem negative and that is hard for a mommy to do, so I want to say that first.  I love and adore him and I am constantly amazed by him.  (here it is…) Buuuuttttttt, there are many parts of his personality that make him VERY difficult to parent.  Everything with him is an extreme.  M is just MORE.  He is MORE persistent, MORE stubborn, MORE independent, MORE active, MORE whiny, MORE clingy, MORE needy.  He is the poster child for “strong willed”.  I LOVE Dr. Sears, but I have a hard time when he talks about working with your child’s natural desire to please, because that part seems to be missing with M.  He is fairly defiant.  If you want him to do something, he is VERY likely to do the opposite even if he KNOWS he will receive a negative reaction.  Discipline with him has been just as difficult as potty learning because of these traits.  He seems to LOVE negative attention!  You can’t bribe him usually, everything just has to be on his terms.  He is also a perfectionist!  He wouldn’t let anyone but me, (not even A) see him on his new tricycle when he was 2.5 until he knew he had it down pat.

I learned VERY early that, because of these traits, potty learning would need to be handled carefully.  We did everything we could to make this an easy experience for him.  We have talked about what our bodies do, what our pee and poop are, how bathrooms work, etc.  We have allowed him in the room while we go, read many books, we have potty seats and a chair that he picked out.  We have sticker boards in each bathroom.  We have gently offered to take him to the bathroom and made it very non-pressure.  This has all been over the last year and a half.

He knows what he is supposed to do completely, so his issue isn’t preparedness with that. We have also had his friend from next door potty in front of him and encourage him (she is 6 months older).  He does say he is scared of the potty.  I don’t know why or where it came from.  He has never been afraid of the flush (still isn’t).  He told me one time about alligators in it.  So A got a book M has that shows how things work (love Usborne books!) and showed him how it worked.  We even took off the back of the toilet and showed him and we showed him how no alligator would fit in there.  He hasn’t said any more about that but still says he is scared.  I think he uses that sometimes as a resistance.

There have been a few short spurts (the most recent back in July) when he showed interest.  We would embrace it and encourage him gently.   In July, he would sit on the potty while I read book after book.  He never made any “deposits” and after a few days lost interest.  We took it as a sign he wasn’t ready and backed off to avoid any power struggle.

He started going to a daycare/preschool 2 days a week in Oct.  He is with 7 kids (ages 3-5) and is the only one not totally potty-trained.  I thought this would offer great encouragement.  He does sit on the potty there, several times a day.  He doesn’t like it but he does and counts to 30 with the teacher.  He even takes off his own pants and everything!!!!  But, never gets anything deposited.

2 weeks ago his teacher asked us to bring underwear for him.  He had an accident the first day and cried, but was proud of himself for being in big boy underwear (he even told me “I have accident just like my potty book!”).  At this point he would be diapers with underwear over them at home and during naps at school and then just underwear the rest of the day at school.  The next day he just didn’t pee all day!  They went ahead and left him in his underwear and when we got home and he was playing he had an accident and cried.

After that he started holding it for a LONG time… even WITH his diaper on.  At home we were still doing a diaper with underwear over it since he wouldn’t sit on the potty.  Well he would constantly be asking us to change him.  We think he would feel the need to pee and then hold  it and ask us to change him.  We tried to help him identify this as the feeling that means he needs to sit on the potty but he won’t do it at home!

Then this week came along.  He is only peeing 2 times per day!!  He is just holding it for a long time diaper or no diaper, until he can’t anymore.  He even went 3 days without a poop!!  So, we feel like we need to really get moving on this at home because it scares us.  He doesn’t want to go in his pants or diaper, so we HAVE to get him started on the potty!!!  His teacher felt that Weds. might have been too much pressure (when he finally did put a few drops in) so today she went to underwear with a diaper OVER them.  She said he was a so much better and was all involved with the day.  He even went to the bathroom himself, but still no deposits.  If he is so willing there, then why not at home or grandma’s?

So, how do you get a VERY stubborn 3.5 yo boy on a potty he will run from?  Hell if I know!  I had a total break down tonight and held him there.  It was awful. I am not proud of it and hated myself for it, but I am so freaked that he won’t potty!  (He only went once today at about 9am!!!!! And he didn’t poop all day.)  Of course it didn’t end well.  After I gave myself a time out I talked to him and this is what I told him… “When you were little you didn’t want to brush your teeth, but you had to or they would hurt.  So when you wouldn’t do it, mommy had to hold you down and do it anyways.  I didn’t like to do that, but I had to until you learned that you needed to do it.  This is the same thing.  You don’t want to use the potty, but you have to or your tummy will hurt.  So, until you decide you are going to do it yourself, I will have to take you to the potty and keep you there.  I will stay with you and snuggle you, but we are doing it no matter what, even if you cry.  So, I am going to count to three and then take you in there, sit you down and count to thirty.”  Then I slowly counted to three and carried him into the bathroom. He fought at first, but then it went well and we snuggled while I counted.  Nothing happened, but at this point I just need him to get used to the potty first, right?  Once he is getting used to it, he will be more relaxed and then try letting things out.  right?  After that, we let him pick a sticker and put it up.  He seemed a lot better, but I still feel lost.

So, please, ANY advice?!  We have done all we can.  Am I doing the right thing now??  Here is a list of all the things I can think of that we have tried:

  1. The big Lego when he made his first deposit, no matter how small
  2. Putting his diaper over his underwear (he just shuts down if you take diaper totally away for a few days it seems)
  3. Being consistent with what is happening at school
  4. let him pick his potty seats
  5. I even promised an iTouch when he stays daytime dry for a week (cheaper than diapers!!!!)
  6. sticker board for any attempt
  7. lots of praise for any try
  8. cheerios in the bowl
  9. pick out his own big boy undies
  10. books and conversations that he leads
  11. Been very positive about any accidents, etc
  12. tonight I assured him that being a big boy that uses the potty doesn’t mean he can’t snuggle or sit on our laps or be carried
  13. Made a big deal out of any attempt
  14. I even called my family doctor who I trust tremendously. I spoke to his nurses and they said to take the diapers away.

So, please, if you have a VERY VERY strong-willed child, I need any advice you have about ANYTHING!  But, seriously, please help me.  I have struggled as his mother since day one because his needs do not fit well with my personality.  I don’t get to be the mommy I always thought I would be because he needs something totally different.  It is hard and there are so many times when I feel completely unprepared and unqualified.  I wouldn’t trade him for the world.  I just need to keep learning how to be his best mommy.  So, please help me with that!!!

Thanks everyone!  And a special thanks to @jet_set @butterflysnbees @StayAtHomeMaven @Crunchynurse @LLeighMartin @Momalom @arlenetorres for your support and thoughts on Twitter!  If you are not following these folks, you should be!!

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