Falling behind

Yesterday and last night sucked so much that I’m seriously shocked I haven’t broken down in tears yet today.

 

A has been spending all day Wednesdays with her mother (her REAL mother, as it has been driven home to me that I am not her real mother). D picked her up last night, and she was inconsolable. She didn’t want to come into the house and she didn’t want me anywhere near her for most of the evening. After working 10+ hour days all this week, it was super frustrating to come home and not be wanted at all. Plus, the more time she spends with her mother, the more violent she becomes. As I was trying to help D get her up the stairs to put her to bed last night, she punched me in the head, hard enough to really hurt.

 

I managed to get to sleep without any sort of help (not medication – guided imagery or meditation), but was woken up at 12:30 by what I thought was A crying. It turns out it was one of the cats crying while dreaming (super cute, although annoying to be woken like that). I fell asleep again, only to have horrible dreams about my mother, and then be woken up at 3 by A actually crying. My alarm went off at 5 and I felt like a zombie.

 

Last weekend D and I were thinking that Lola might be nearing the end of her life. She was having awful accidents in the house every day, eating her poop (to hide it I guess), having 3-4 seizures a day, and spending all night stumbling around, pacing. She seemed so out of it. But starting Sunday, she snapped out of it and hasn’t really had a problem since. It’s so weird. She does seem to have a cyst or something like that on her elbow, but we’re having the vet look at it tomorrow when we go in to talk about her prognosis.

 

The boy dogs are becoming a real problem. Marley won’t stop picking fights with Apollo, and he’s so much smaller that he always loses. After a particularly bad fight Tuesday night, we came to the difficult decision to try to find him a new home. It’s breaking my heart, but the last two fights have ended badly.

 

As much as I love A, I’m ready for a simpler life. I’m tired of my life consisting entirely of commuting, working, taking care of someone else’s kid, and desperately trying to get all the things necessary for survival done. I haven’t exercised in forever, the laundry is taking over my bedroom, the house is a mess, the yard is a mess, the garage is a complete disaster. And least I get to go home today while the sun is still up.

Foster care is really hard

I’ve had a chance to take a wee bit more time off, and it’s been great. We went to a concert last Tuesday night (D bought me tickets for my birthday last year), and we both took Wednesday off to “recover”.  I had been completely exhausted from PMS, so it was nice to sleep in a little, drop the munchkin off at daycare, go climbing, have lunch, and have a nice leisurely day.

 

A note about my period: It has slooooowly been returning to normal over the last two years, since I was afflicted with Asherman’s. My cramps have subsided a little, so I can now get out of bed (with fairly heavy doses of pain meds), and the bleeding has increased to maybe 2.5 days of light flow.  My PMS, however, is out of control.  I turn into a raging lunatic for a week before my period starts, I’m completely exhausted to the point of being able to sleep for 10 hours a night while feeling like I haven’t slept at all, and I can’t climb the easiest routes at the gym or run even half a mile without feeling like I’m dying.  I really hate it.  At least it’s not permanent.  When it subsides, I’m back to running over a mile easily and climbing ever harder routes, which makes me happy.  I definitely was missing being active.

 

One of the things that may cut into my exercising time is the fact that A is now going to go to preschool at her mother’s outpatient program 2 mornings a week. I’m a little annoyed by this.  For one thing, it’s nowhere near her daycare.  If anyone had told us that this was going to happen, we probably would have looked for daycare closer to where the outpatient program was located, especially since our daycare is not super convenient for us in terms of getting to work on time after drop-off.  But preschool was sprung on me rather suddenly when they called me to sign her up, and told me that her mother wanted her to come 5 days a week!  It’s only three hours a day, so transportation is a HUGE problem.  I had to put my foot down and say that we were already doing SO MUCH, we weren’t going to do the transportation for preschool as well.  As of now, I have no idea if it’s starting this week or not (and I hope it is, because I’ve already made appointments for the time when I would normally be shuttling A around for a visit).  A will be going to preschool on a day when she normally has a 4-hour visit, so she will just stay with her mother all day, which means I won’t have my 4-hour block of time in the afternoon to exercise, clean the house, and work (but I won’t have to leave work at all that day, so I guess there’s that).  The other unfortunate thing is that we drop her off at daycare at 7am.  Then we commute 45 minutes to work.  The preschool is near our work, but doesn’t open until 8:30 and the program doesn’t start until 9.  So A’s mom will have to pick her up around 8:15 (after just over an hour at daycare), drive her to preschool, and then drive her back at noon, arriving at daycare in the middle of naptime.  It’s really not ideal AT ALL.  And it makes me kind of upset that A’s needs aren’t even considered in all of this.  On top of all of this, we were informed that the social worker plans to ask the judge for a 6-month extension of services for both parents, meaning we would keep A through October, well beyond the 1-year deadline for her being in a permanent home.

 

We also met with A’s brothers’ foster family this weekend. They are not an adoptive family, and the fact that the social worker keeps asking for extensions on reunification is making them nervous that reunification might fail.  They were happy to have the boys through the school year, but they been told the boys would be going back to their own family well before the end of summer, and they’re not happy about possibly having them through October (which the social worker apparently didn’t tell them about – they found out about it when I mentioned it to them).  They spoke to some other long-time foster families, and were told that the extension decreased the chances of reunification.  They knew we might be willing to adopt all four kids, and they wanted to know if perhaps we would take the boys this summer, so they could get to know us and have a home to stay in if reunification failed.  We knew this was a possibility, but we weren’t really prepared for it this soon!  There’s a meeting with the social worker today, so I guess we’ll know more later this week.  I’m very nervous about fitting so many more kids into our home, although I know we have the room.  But we have one special needs dog, one absolutely horrible dog, and two old cats (plus, one almost perfect dog and cat), in addition to all the extra stuff we’ve acquired after my mom’s death and D’s parents downsizing.  If they were all to stay with us permanently, assuming we would still get a government reimbursement for their care, at least D could afford to quit his job and be a stay-at-home dad, but I don’t think we’ll know anything about a permanent placement until the end of October at the earliest.  Thank goodness for paid family leave!  I think it will get us through until then.

 

Speaking of dogs… one of Lola’s meds just increased from $85/month to $183/month. Just one of her meds.  I almost started crying right there in the vet’s office.  The receptionist told me she had the vet tech call the pharmaceutical company to verify the price increase, because she couldn’t believe it either.  She said next time she would give us a prescription to take to a regular pharmacy, since the price increase is only for veterinary use of the medicine (WTF????).  I just priced it out at Costco, and unless they jack up their prices too, it will go back to $85/month.  But it’s getting harder and harder for us to afford our dog!  And Marley has turned into a nightmare of a dog.  He’s been peeing everywhere, stealing A’s food and toys, and trying to pick fights with Apollo.  He also figured out if he gets a running start, he can jump over the courtyard wall, and he ran away three times this weekend, forcing D or I to chase him across busy streets and corner him before carrying him home.  We can’t let him go out in the courtyard anymore, obviously.  I’m wondering if he would be better off with a different family, with an adult who’s home all day, and without another assertive male dog.  I love him, but I don’t know if our home is the best place for him anymore.  It makes me kind of sad.

 

And speaking of being sad, I’m going to see a grief counselor this week. While my feelings about my mom’s death are more than just grief, I think talking to someone will be a good first step.  The last 6 months have been pretty difficult for me overall, and I want to get back to the happy person I was before infertility and my mother’s decline and death.

Time off

Well, I think I know what I need, and that’s some time off.  Not just from work, but from responsibility too.  As in, the responsibility of taking care of a kid.

We had a babysitter Saturday night.  We went and tried a “new” vegetarian restaurant in downtown (it’s not really that new, I just never had the opportunity to go) and then met some friends for some awesome music.  It was heavenly.  And yesterday we both had the day off, but daycare was in session, so we went rock-climbing, had lunch, watched TV, and just overall had a fantastic day.  D is really getting into rock-climbing (FINALLY) and now I need to figure out how to fit a gym membership into our budget.  And I really need to find some time to exercise at home.  I’m not really a morning person, but evenings are so busy (and I’m usually pretty full from dinner and tired from the day).  Right now, I’ve been running during my lunch hour twice a week, climbing once a week (and I usually try to do 10 minutes of weights and 10 minutes of rowing in addition to about an hour of climbing), and lots of walking and taking the stairs.  I also want to add in biking during A’s Wednesday visits (in addition to practicing my fiddle, vacuuming the house, and catching up on paperwork – HAHAHAHAHA).  But as of right now, I’m pretty excited about how much exercise I’m managing to get with everything else going on.  I’m a much happier person when I have time to exercise, that’s for sure.

We planned our first camping trip of the year for this summer.  I’m hoping it won’t actually be the first camping trip, just the first one that’s being planned so far.  We’re going to Mammoth at the end of June.  It’s possible A may be home by then, in which case we’re going to do some serious rock-climbing and hiking.  If she’s still with us, it will probably be much more leisurely and involve lakes.  We’re only bringing Lola with us as far as dogs go, since we can’t really board her anymore.

And not being able to board Lola may be a huge problem for going to my best friends’ 40th birthday celebration this summer.  The location of the party doesn’t allow dogs.  We can’t board Lola, and I don’t know where we’ll leave her during the party.  We haven’t found lodging, which is already a big problem since they chose a ridiculously popular spot to have the celebration.  I hate to miss the celebration, but at the moment it’s causing me an awful lot of stress.

Insomnia

When I was younger (in my 20s), I suffered from insomnia.  For those of you who don’t know the ins and outs of it, there are several types of insomnia.  The kind I’ve suffered from is that when I wake in the middle of the night, I can’t get back to sleep.  I don’t have much of a problem falling asleep, since I’m usually exhausted, but if I wake up after having slept 4 hours or so, I can’t get back to sleep.  It’s especially bad if there’s any noise at all, and so I bought a super-silent clock for my room and I used to use a white noise machine on the rain setting, since I used to live in Oregon and I got so used to sleeping with the sound of rain that for a long time I couldn’t sleep without it.

For the last few years, I haven’t had any insomnia at all.  I think part of it is that I’m constantly exhausted from never getting enough sleep, and part of it is that I was finally happy with my life and was dealing with my anxiety pretty well.  But now it’s back.  I keep waking up, usually between 3:30 and 3:50, and not being able to get back to sleep.  And it sucks.

My anxiety and depression are looming again.  A is starting unsupervised visits with her mother this weekend, and it’s breaking my heart.  I dropped her off at her visit this week, and she was so excited to see her mom.  Of course, she was pretty happy to see me again when I came to pick her up, so at least I don’t feel entirely like chopped liver.  But I know she’s not staying, and I don’t know if I can do this again.  And I think of my poor husband and how badly he wants a child, and I’m the reason he can’t have one.  My failing ovaries and destroyed uterus are standing between him and his dream of a family.

And I lie there and think about how badly my relationship was going with my mom the last year, because I was so angry at her for so many things.  And yes, she did treat me pretty badly (a lot), but if I had known she had so little time left I would have just sucked it up.  But I couldn’t handle the thought of another 10-20 years of being treated like that by the one person in my life who was supposed to be there for me.  And now she’s gone, and I feel so bad.

Clarification

I want to clarify that my husband actually does a lot.  He looks after the dogs (although getting him to pick up poop can be a pain, and he hasn’t really walked them much in the last 4 months), and he spends a lot of time with A (mostly doing somewhat hands-off stuff so he can look at stuff on his tablet at the same time, but at least it frees me up to get other stuff done).  I think my biggest problem is our priorities.

For example, A’s CASA was coming for a visit last night.  Luckily, the dogs didn’t have ANY accidents at all during the day, so there wasn’t anything to clean up.  However, the kitchen was a complete disaster: dishes from the last few days were piled in the sink and scattered around.  D had cooked a steak for himself in the cast iron pan on Monday night and grease was splattered everywhere.  Every countertop had some sort of mess smeared on it, and half the countertops were completely covered in stuff.  It was a mess.  I was desperately trying to unload the clean dishes from the dishwasher, load up dirty dishes, clean the dishes that can’t go in the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, de-grease the stove (and walls and ceiling), gather up the recycling in one spot to take out, pile up the mail and paperwork and extra kids clothes and whatnot that were all over the place, and generally try to make it look like we’re not disgusting slobs (we’re not usually – but D will only do the dishes once a week or so, and I don’t have the energy to completely clean the kitchen before AND after cooking dinner).

A was having temper tantrum after temper tantrum because no one was helping her wash her hands for the zillionth time or change into the woman’s shirt that was in the bag of clothes her mother gave us for her (more on that in a second), and D asked me to drop what I was doing and go help her because he was doing something very, very important: vacuuming the kitchen floor.  Seriously.  First of all, the kitchen floor ALWAYS looks dirty because of the awful tile in there.  Second of all, the floor really didn’t need to be vacuumed at all, especially not compared to the incredible mess that was the rest of the kitchen.  So yeah, we definitely don’t see eye to eye on priorities, and I obviously think I’m right.

And I seriously don’t get what’s up with the stuff her mother gives us.  This is not the first time she’s given us a bag of clothes with really weird things in it.  The first one had used women’s underwear.  Clean, but still used.  Several times she’s given us used boys clothes and shoes that weren’t the right size and weren’t in good condition.  And honestly, some of the stuff that is the right size is horribly inappropriate for children.  It’s hard enough keeping her away from the modern world’s message that the only thing that matters is her looks, what with her father suggesting she should be a supermodel (because he couldn’t think of anything else a girl could grow up to be) and D’s family (and just about everyone else) constantly buying her materialistic crap, but then her mom buys her clothes that are more appropriate for a bachelorette party than a 2-year-old.  It’s a little frustrating, on top of the fact that both parents can easily go through 6 diapers and 50 wipes in a 2- or 4-hour visit (another thing I don’t get – how in the world are they using so much stuff???)

And the pool.  What a disaster.  The pool guy came yesterday.  I guess the good news is it’s not going to cost a fortune, because there’s nothing he can do.  There’s nothing wrong with the pump or filter, it’s just not working well because the pool is such a mess.  He recommended renting a pump, draining it, cleaning it, and starting over.  It’s a little time-consuming, but not too difficult.  The catch is that we can’t do it while the groundwater is so high (so really, we should have done it in the fall).  He recommended waiting at least three weeks after the first rain, but also warned us that once it warms up the pool will turn into much more of a swamp than it already is.  There’s no end to the rain in sight, and now that it’s not getting below freezing at night the mosquitos are going nuts, so we’ll be living with a mosquito-breeding pond in the backyard for a while longer.

Feeling trapped

I’m so exhausted today.  A has been refusing to go to sleep until after 9, despite us starting the whole bedtime routine around 7:30.  Last night, she was asleep at 9:15, but then awake again from10:20 to 11:30, and then again at either 12:05 or 1 (I’m legally blind without corrective lenses, and I couldn’t tell which clock hand was which and I didn’t feel like taking the time to get within a few inches of the wall clock).

Right now, I’m sort of re-evaluating my life.  I’ve found myself thinking the same thing over and over the last few days: “I can’t live like this anymore”.

Right now:

·         I hate my job.  I have no prospects for changing jobs, as I make too much money to switch jobs, and I’ve been out of my preferred field for longer than I worked in it.  It’s really a battle in the mornings to get out of bed.

·         I’m extremely lonely.  I have no friends nearby (everyone has moved away and/or had children and moved on with their lives), pretty much no family left, and no community as we know almost no one in the town where we’ve lived for the last year and a half.  My husband is here, but I can’t really just depend on him to be my only source of companionship, and he’s always talking about his dreams of going on amazing adventures… with his brothers (while I presumably stay behind and hold down the fort?).  And even if I had friends, I wouldn’t really have time for them, since I spend all my time working, commuting, and trying to keep my house from falling apart.

·         Our house is a disaster.  I have too much stuff.  D is incapable of putting things back where they belong or leaving any space I’ve cleared empty for very long.  My mother’s death has seriously exacerbated the problem, and the thought of dealing with all of my stuff AND all of her stuff makes me want to hide under the blankets for the rest of my life.  Or not come home from work (which is pretty bad, since I don’t even want to be at work).

·         Our pool is a swamp.  Luckily, this should be fixed (and hopefully won’t cost a fortune), but I don’t really have a long-term plan for taking care of it.  Same with the rest of the backyard, which has turned into a big mud-pit.  D and I don’t agree on what to do with it, and he wants to hire people for everything, which isn’t in the budget.  Meanwhile, the dogs poop, smush the poop into the mud, and then track everything through the house, if they even go outside to go potty.  We have to clean the floors every day.

·         I’m tired of commuting.  I leave the house by 6:15 every morning and don’t get home until 5:30 or so.  I’m tired all the time.  I never have time to exercise, I barely have time to cook, and no one ever cleans up.  D does the dishes once a week, which involves washing dishes that are in the sink and that’s it.  The rest of the kitchen is a disaster.

·         I can’t keep up with bills and appointments and house maintenance.  And I’m exhausted from trying.  And I feel like we keep getting farther into debt. I’m not sure what to do about the budget.  I would like D to have surgery to get the metal taken out of his ankle from when he broke (since it hurts him quite a bit), and I would love to get this lipoma in my forearm removed, since it also hurts a lot.  Plus, I really want someone to take a look at my ankle to see if there’s anything to be done about my osteoarthritis (although I know losing weight would help, but I don’t really have the time or motivation for that right now).  But I know we can’t afford it right now.

·         The foster care system is sapping my will to live.

·         I feel like I’ve given up everything in my life that I enjoyed and I’m honestly questioning why.  But I don’t know how to fix it.

Dreams

Last night I dreamed about my mom.  Only my sister and I could see or hear her in my dream, and we were trying to convince everyone else she was really there.  At one point, we were in her apartment and people started coming in to move everything out so the next tenant could move in, and it was really upsetting to me.  It honestly still doesn’t even feel real that she died.

I just had another conversation reminding me that I’m not really a mother.  I hate those conversations.  We have some new employees in the building.  I was in the kitchen heating up my lunch and talking to a coworker about A, and a new woman came in, and started talking about her firstborn and her second-born, and how one had to sleep with her, and one was more independent, and making comments about how the bobd “we” have with our children is a really amazing thing, and on and on and on.  I have no idea who she is, so I didn’t really say anything, but ugh.

In other TMI news, my period is slowly getting back to “normal” after the hysteroscopy that completely destroyed my uterus two years ago.  The first year after the surgery, i had very little blood and insane cramps with every period. For the last year, every cycle has brought a bit more blood and a tiny reduction in cramps.  I doubt I’ll ever heal enough to support a pregnancy, and no doctor in their right mind would allow me to do IVF, but it does make me feel a little better.

I also just read the news about the Independent Adoption Center.  That makes me 1) extremely nervous about trying to adopt privately, and 2) extremely angry at A) people who think infertiles should “just adopt” and B) fertiles who want to adopt out of some misguided need to do good (unless they’re adopting internationally, in which case, more power to them).  What a mess!  I already spoke to my sister about donating eggs in case we decide to pursue surrogacy, and she’s still on board.  I don’t know if a doctor would let us use her eggs, since she’s halfway to 39 (same as me!), but since we’re identical twins, it would essentially be like using my own eggs.  It would love for her to carry the child(ren) as well, but I totally understand that it’s a huge thing to ask, even though it would significantly ease the financial burden.  But first, I really need to get D on board with surrogacy in the first place.  Or childlessness in the Italian Alps!  I could handle spending the rest of my life in a beautiful mountain eating amazing food and hiking/biking/skiing every day.