Category Archives: Mental Case

*THE* REVIEWER

During a vacation in Vegas many years ago, I was walking down the corridor of the hotel we were staying at to get some ice. I saw what appeared to be a crumpled napkin on the floor. As I approached it, I could make out the distinct printed scrolls that frame a dollar bill. I picked it up (of course), and unwadded it. It wasn’t A dollar bill. It was a hundred dollar bill!

I scanned up and down the hallway. No one. It wasn’t in front of a hotel door, and I’m sorry but I’m not knocking on a hotel door at 11:30 p.m. to ask the person who may or may not be a hooker if she might have dropped a hundred dollar bill.

I couldn’t believe my good luck, stumbling upon a tiny treasure – a nugget of gold! I tucked it away in my pocket for later, selfishly not wanting to share countered by my desire to whoop it up in excitement when I returned to the hotel room.

The other day I stumbled once again on a bit a nugget. Should I share or keep it to myself? But it was just too good and I am so lame that surely I was probably just the last to know about it. Kind of like the FAIL Blog. I mean, I would see posts and tweets about someone doing something they thought was stupid and then appending the word “FAIL” to it and it took me forever to figure out what the fuck you all were even talking about!

I’m oblivious like that.

So I was checking out this Sophie teething giraffe that people are going ga-ga (literally) for. I remember seeing it when I was still pregnant with ZGirl and thinking, boy, that’s dumb, but with all the hype I had a renewed interest in it (I would drop $250 on a pair of Uggs if I had the money, even though I find them atrocious – just because I’m a lemming!).

sophieHere’s Sophie. Cute, huh? Amazon has it and while I think $20 is outrageous for a teether, I did pay about the same for one of those wooden teething rattles from etsy that doesn’t really rattle at all and is way too big to teeth on. A dud, really. Anyway…Sophie’s got a bunch of reviews, a vast majority of them positive. But I like to read the one-star reviews first to get to the heart of a problem, if there is one. That’s when I read this review:

A conspiracy in the making

I find it alarming just how many parents are praising this thing. As a parent, you want to protect your children. When learning about all the protective measures this toy takes, most parents would be on board. But I know better. I did a little under-the-microscope research and have reached some alarming conclusions about this toy.

First of all, the name “Sophie” (a nickname for “Sophia”) is of Greek origin. A little known fact is that the ancient Greeks oftentimes ate their young for food or sacrificed them to their many gods. Giving a baby toy a name that descends from a line of baby-eaters is puzzling.

Even more puzzling is the deliberate use of a giraffe. There are no records of a giraffe appearing in Greece in the wild. How then are we supposed to believe that this thing can be both Greek AND a giraffe if the combination is simply not possible?

This choice of species is even more alarming to anybody who has read the Greek epic “The Odyssey”. At one point in the story, Odysseus and his crew arrive on the shores of Africa and encounter none other than a giraffe. The giraffe was seen as a demonically tainted horse and struck fear into the hearts of Odysseus and his men.

Still not convinced? Look at the gallery of customer-submitted pictures. The majority of these photos feature a baby masticating the face of their Sophie toy. A cute gesture, or the only defense a baby has against the demonic animal? Think what you believe, but my research points towards the latter option.

At first I was like, wow! what kind of crack is this person smoking and where can I get me some?!

I couldn’t help myself. From there, I just had to follow the link to the reviewer, which if his name is any indication, “THE reviewer”, I should have known things were going to get interesting.

“THE reviewer” has reviewed 98 items and they go back to 2005. He even has an Amazon review of Amazon.com:

Minor Flaws….., January 23, 2006

yeah,I like this place. I like writing reviews and what not.
I have 2 complaints:
-editing reviews,whenever you do this you have to choose your rating for the product again,which gets annoying. If i want to change it, I’ll change it.

-recommendations could be a little better.

thats all I have to complain about.

Once I press “save” this becomes property of amazon.com….yay?

Maybe you just want it short and sweet and you need a review of a gallon of whole milk:

I gave this to my cat and now he thinks he is Supercat! you should see him try to fly and jump off telephone poles

But it looks like he took some time off in 2008 and then snapped (in more ways than one – see the following paragraph) right back into in 2009 (thank goodness!):

poulanNothing gets the job done like a Poulan Pro 400E!, July 23, 2009

Hi. Allow me to introduce myself. I live in a remote village located in the rural outskirts of Spain. It’s a nice little place, and me and my people have thrived there for countless generations.

Lately, however, an American agent of some sort has shown up. He seems to be looking for some missing girl judging from the picture he once showed us. Now, I’m not gonna lie, my people are aggressive. We’re not infected monsters or anything like that, we’re just aggressive. So, when the agent kept trying to break the language barrier and inform us of this missing girl, one of villagers kinda lashed out a little. I don’t think that justifies a gunshot to the head.

So, the agent gave up on communicating with us and is now just killing on sight. I took refuge in my barn and thought desperately of a way to dispose of this American. A few minutes later and I had devised a genius plan. I opened my tool shed and got out my Poulan Pro 400E. Just holding it made me feel stronger! And then, almost without thinking, I emptied out a nearby sack of flour and placed it over my head. I don’t know why I did this, but I realized how menacing I would look once I poked eye holes out of it.

There I was, with my Poulan Pro 400E, ready to bust some heads. Finding the American agent was easy, all I had to do was follow the sound of gunshots. I eventually found him capping my people outside the chief’s home. I revved up my Poulan Pro 400E and began my pursuit. The second he heard this baby running he got a terrified look on his face. He quickly switched his handgun out in favor of a machine gun and pointed it my way. Ha! Those puny bullets merely tickled my body! It was as if I had became three times stronger just by holding my Poulan Pro 400E. The agent ran out of ammunition and switched back to his handgun. This time he took careful aim at my sack-covered face. I was amazed, the flour sack provided protection from the bullets, so much that they didn’t even phase me.

As I approached ever nearer, the agent turned and headed upstairs. I can only assume he ran out of ammo and began searching for the many boxes of ammunition that we villagers like to randomly place. I followed his trail up the stairs and caught him with his back turned. This was it. I lunged as fast as I could towards him, and he turned around just a moment too late. He was now on the receiving end of my Poulan Pro 400E with a look of pure pain on his face. After seconds of futile resistance, his head was sawed off with a nice clean cut. It dropped and bounced on the floor, much like how his limp body did soon afterward.

That’s my story. What it all boils down to is this; No matter the situation, a good Poulan Pro 400E can always help. It most certainly helped me!

Who knew Amazon reviews could be the next blogging platform?

Damn. Really, Amazon? No RSS feed? Mark that down as another complaint.

You can take this link to all his reviews. If you don’t find something to giggle about, then you are dead inside…

EXORCISING THE FEAR

Fernando Schnabl lost his wife and five year old son when Flight 447 went down in the ocean earlier this summer. Did you know that he and his daughter boarded an earlier flight because of their fear of flying together “in case something happened”?

The fiery accident on New York’s Taconic Parkway took the lives of a 9, 7, 5 and 2 year old.

A local family’s two year old died after he drowned in the pool.

What happens to you when you read or hear about these tragic accidents?

Physically, I seize up in terror. I can feel my heart pound. My throat tightens up. I fight back tears. And then my mind does something so horrible that I can barely function: I imagine ZGirl or XBoy in that situation. Like right now, I’m doing it.

And that’s why I must write about it. It’s been happening a lot recently. It started one night shortly after the crash of 447 as I was just on the verge of falling asleep when suddenly the mental picture of my daughter’s lifeless and tiny body floating out there alone and cold came to me in searing imagery …I started to hyperventilate… even now, trying to describe the morbid thoughts, I am fighting to control myself, to breathe.

I must purge these thoughts. I have to find a way to banish these visions that send me to the bathroom retching in fear. I must face these mental demons before they consume me. My husband wants to go to the beach next year. A few months ago, I would have anticipated the chance to finally take a vacation. But now I have become so paranoid that all I could do was answer, “We’ll see.” I don’t want to get on a plane with my children. I can’t explain what is going on in my head to Mr. DD. He would only tell me that I’m worrying needlessly; enabling what was once a non-existent phobia.

Is this normal? Not just to fear the worst, but to imagine the worst? I feel paralyzed and that in some way, it’s a sick mind that allows imagery of such awfulness.

YOU (T)OR US (GET IT? UTERUS!)

Amid the chaos that is Nadja Suleman and the man formerly known as “her doctor” (once they find out who the hell s/he was) and Mom Logic’s decision to let someone ILLogical  spout off about how women who are pro-choice are hypocrites for mourning a miscarriage, I’m feeling a bit owly.

Everyone has a right to their opinion. I’m all about having my own opinion even if, and especially, if they aren’t necessarily popular opinions.

I was asked what I thought about Suleman by a friend tonight and I told her how I was pretty outraged by the whole thing. She said that it was completely irresponsible for a woman of already six children to have eight more when she clearly could not afford them. I had to defend Suleman on that point. There are hundreds of thousands of women who cannot “afford” to have any more children, or even the one(s) they have. Just look at our country’s overburdened welfare system and you will know it’s true. Let’s not even talk about the number of women  who prostitute themselves to feed their drug habit instead of investing in birth control or clean clothes and food for the babies that result. We can not enforce regulations fairly on moral beliefs.

Who is to say that Suleman now has TOO many babies? Some think two is too many. Take a look at what China was doing in the late 70’s as part of their population control policies. If that makes you wince, even just a little, then you would have to agree that no one has any business telling anyone else – regardless of their obvious level of CRAZY – that they are not allowed to have more than X number of children.

As for Gina’s post at Mom Logic. Besides an obvious ploy for increasing their technorati ranking, Gina’s statements are nothing more than an attempt to incite readers, to get a couple hundred of commenters expressing their outrage (or not). Again, Gina is entitled to her opinion and I won’t even give Mom Logic the benefit of a link. But I will tell you this: if Gina was someone I knew in real life and she said to my face,

If you are going to defend the right to abort babies, you don’t have the right to be upset when yours dies.

I’d punch that cunt right in the fucking face.

OCTOPUSSY

I would like to officially thank Nadya Suleman and her “doctor” for giving reproductive endocrinology, and all associated artificial reproductive therapies, a bad name. Or should I say, an even worse name.

Rest assured that her actions and decisions, and the actions and decisions made by her “doctor”, will significantly impact ART in the immediate future for all state-side REs, and unfortunately, their patients who are probably all just a tad less psychotic. Yes, I do think Nadya is psychologically deficient.

Nadya?

You SUCK.

Big time.

REACHING OUT

waterToday started off not good, not bad, just neutral. While getting ready I didn’t hear any yelling from Mr. DD, no crying from XBoy. By that alone, the scales should have been tipped to “good”.

So when Mr. DD said he didn’t complete XBoy’s reading slip to indicate a completion of his homework, and I asked why, he snap at me, “Because I didn’t!”

Even better, when I responded, “Why are you mad at me?” he replied, “Why not?” Since then, he hasn’t answered the phone or returned my messages.

If ZGirl hadn’t already been in the carseat, I would have clubbed him to death with it. I keep a very short shitlist and why he wants to be at the top of it right now is beyond me. He’s been an absentee parent for months now only making his presence known when he’s pissed off. XBoy is emotionally stunted and I resentfully and silently blame his Dad.

You know what? I could go on and on, but the reason I started this post was to explain why the pwp posts. After the shenanigans I faced when my pregnancy with Wolf was leaked at my place of employment, I was determined to keep any future pregnancy, and the means it was achieved, under my hat for as long as I could. It was my  business.

Protecting that information wasn’t because I was ashamed or embarrassed by our treatments or my pregnancy nor did I feel any of that information could come back to haunt me later. But now? I am compelled to protect my family from judgement.

Blogging has a major advantage and that is you can reach so many people in similar situations who simply “get it”. It didn’t bother me to share some of my most personal experiences, whether it was about my vaginal ultrasounds, my breast enlargement, or even just a little of my sex life. It was through these topics that I found women – and some men – who have gone, or are going through, similar situations and can share their stories, advice or just simply an internet ((((hug))).

I am now very torn between protecting our family’s privacy while we struggle through a painful situation to being very open because letting my guard down means possibly tapping into a whole new niche of bloggers who “get it”. I’m also worried that after knowing me for so long, that there’s a strange sense of loyalty that keeps you from telling me how I’m fucking things up.

That’s what I thought about last night. What if in my bias I am subconsciously leaving out information that you would immediately call bullshit on? Maybe that’s why I shared the above exchange between Mr. DD and myself. On the surface, in my public posts, everything looks rosy around here, but I can feel something dark and cold running deep below and I am very, very scared that unless we can safely surface, we will be swallowed bit by bit, until there’s nothing of US left.

I have to find the median between protecting my family from those who may not intentionally harm us but cannot mind their Ps&Qs to that of reaching out and confidently exposing myself to as much information and resources that’s best for all of us in the long run. Blogging kept me sane when we were trying to add to our family. I am now hoping, and maybe unreasonably so, it can help keep our family whole.

OPEN WOUNDS AND SALT

Many of you probably saw this postcard through Postsecret. Would you believe that even now, the sentiment is still true for me?

It was through our baptimsal classes that those feelings really came to a head. Here we were, participating in these classes out of necessity and tradition, not those of faith, sitting amongst several couples, many who were still pregnant and wanting to crawl out of my skin.

One of the exercises presented during the class was to think of a moment or event that completely shifted the dynamic of our marriage; something that made us closer. Mr. DD whispered to me that we should share our miscarriages and treatment with the group. I shook my head no. One, with the church frowning on IVF, I didn’t think it was a good idea to open that can of worms; and two, after the couple who were sponsoring the classes shared their miscarriage story, I just couldn’t.

Her story started like so many others: a heart beat that was too slow; a follow-up ultrasound to see what was happening to the baby, which was on her birthday; an immediate D&C. My heart went out to her knowing that the date she lost her son would never be forgotten. But then she said something that I just couldn’t relate to, that made me grit my teeth and curl my nails into my palm: There was a reason – a purpose – that her son died. Knowing he was in the Holy Mother’s arms gave meaning to his death.

Her announcement made me angry…and envious.

I wish I could have that kind of faith so I wouldn’t feel my heart constrict in jealousy when I see other pregnant women. I don’t even give them the benefit of the doubt, that it might have been difficult for them, too. I am not just jealous of how easy it probably was for them, but of how they get to complain about the pregnancy without guilt or judgement.

As I said in my last post, infertility has shadowed my views on just about everything around me. I don’t get the rose-colored glasses. Mine are peuce-green. Maybe now I’m just trying to excorcise all the infertilty demons and that’s why I’ve been writing about them again. I want to enjoy being a new mom as the days and weeks are floating away from me like the seeds of cotton trees. ZGirl turned 8 weeks on Wednesday. I go back to work in just three more. I don’t want to find myself so preoccupied with what could have been that I forget to stop and enjoy more of this:

no. 581 – Antepartum Depression for the Maybe Baby Believer?

After my last post and another OB visit to keep the infamous Dead Baby Thoughts at bay for another 24-48 hours, I stopped by my facebook account to update. One of the options you have with facebook is adding a little blurb about what you are doing or thinking at any particular time. I added that I was dealing with "antepartum depression", thinking I had come up with some original term; a spin on postpartum depression.

One of my friends wrote on my wall: Antepartum sucks.

Because someone actually got what I was feeling, I did a quick search on antepartum depression and realized that the term I thought was made up was in fact very real. I don’t know why I thought there was no such thing, but even more interesting was that in the two and half years I’ve been reading blogs, I don’t recall anyone ever mentioning it during their pregnancy.

I don’t believe it’s because no one has ever felt it. These bloggers used all the key phrases of depression yet rarely used the word "depression" except in relationship to postpartum depression. Now I’m not self-diagnosing myself, but to have something other than "survivor’s guilt" to blame for how I’ve been feeling makes me feel less of an emotional fraud.

This article was the first I read and when I reached the list of possible triggers of APD, I was both fearful of what I could be doing to Murdock; and hopeful that maybe my inability to commit any joy to this pregnancy could be reversed.

The triggers?

  • Relationship problems
  • Family or personal history of depression
  • Fertility treatments
  • Previous pregnancy loss
  • Stressful life events
  • Complications in pregnancy
  • History of abuse or trauma

The signs?

  • Persistent sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Loss of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
  • Recurring thoughts of death, suicide or hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Change in eating habits

I found it reassuring that for many, light therapy can be a literal life-saver, which makes me even more thankful that every night when I drive home from work I notice a little more day light. I’m also glad that I have another appointment with my OB next week at which time I will mention this to him. It may be nothing. It may be something.

*****************************

Just to give you an idea of how little APD is taken into consideration, typepad does not recognize the word "antepartum" but does "postpartum". Also, a google search of "antepartum depression" had 2,860 results while "postpartum depression" had 3,630,000 results.

*****************************

A special thank you to those of you who said, "screw those comments being turned off, I’m contacting DD anyway." Your words, whether virtual hugs or virtual bitch-slaps, are much appreciated.

no. 576 – It’s Not Free If It Will Cost You Your Sanity

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do through this blog is a PSA that warn others about filling out those promotional cards that you get from the doctor’s office and maternity/baby stores. Yesterday’s post triggered a reminder.

The first time I filled them out I was pregnant with XBoy. A tra-la-la-ing I went into my pregnancy with nary a concern. I was tickled to receive free diapers, formula, magazines, etc. It was free! Who doesn’t love FREE, even if it’s crap.

Then came Vivienne. I made it through the first trimester, but I really didn’t think anything about the hurdle except I was hoping I wouldn’t feel so shitty all the time. I went to The Metro to get myself some new maternity clothes. Stopped in at Satan’s Lair Mimi Maternity and when I went to pay for my purchase (a soft pink cardigan set – I remember it as if it were yesterday), they asked me some demographic data as well as my due date. Again, tra-la-fucking-la…

A week later I encountered the spotting. Vivienne was dead and probably had been as I was doling out her due date to a stranger who couldn’t care less. After my D&C, I was horrified when promotional items showed up in the mail. Not just that, but I had signed up on a website for weekly pregnancy updates and every time I sat down to the computer, I would get a "Your baby is now 17 weeks old!" "Your baby is now 18 weeks old!"

I don’t remember when I finally unsubscribed, but when I did, I was hit in the face yet again. By unsubscribing, they ask why, including, "Was there a miscarriage?" I clicked Yes and was sent automatically to those horrible chat boards ("Even though I was told to wait two cycles before trying again, I got pregnant right after my miscarriage!" "Sending you baby dust!" "They told me my baby had died but at a final ultrasound before the D&C, they found the heart beating again!").

I knew that those boards were not for me (The cynicism is strong in this one!). I never heard of a blog until we started fertility treatments six months later.

A really shitty lesson, trust me. So that’s why I don’t fill out the promo cards and I never will. Maybe my friends think I’m cuckoo for telling them to avoid them as well, but I do and I’ve told them why. I don’t care if they think I’m overly paranoid or borderline nuts. I’m happy to report that I’ve never had to say, "I told you so." Not that I would. I’m just sayin’…

no. 565 – In Need Of Reassurance

I’m not feeling particularly well today. Last night I was horribly constipated and bloated and barely managed to sit through supper at a restaurant with my in-laws while both my intestines and uterus cramped in protest. Particularly bothersome was Mr. DD’s nephew visiting from the south who thinks that he’s some football star in the making for this team, even though he’s not even ON the team. He put away a salad, onion rings, his pound-plus of steak, his hash browns, XBoy’s left-over steak sandwich, a boat dish of french fries and a boat dish of cottage fries. I’m sure he would have put away more if Mr. DD’s family didn’t have such "healthy" appetites.

This summer when he’s finally graduated from college, he’s going to watch with a mixture horror and disbelief as his body quickly melts into 300 pounds of fat since he will no longer have free access to the team’s work out equipment. It’s rather pathetic, really.

Add to it, my asthma is really sticking it to me. Symptoms can either get better, worse or stay the same when an asthmatic gets pregnant. Mine is worse. Every time I cough, I get a nasty pull in the abdomen. I see a hernia coming on if I’m not careful.

Take all that and add in even less breast tenderness, decreased appetite and noticeably absent Ass-Mouth today and I’m not feeling all warm and fuzzy about tomorrow marking 9 weeks. It’s only another week before my next scan to see if Murdock made it through the holidays.

Any actuaries out there want to calculate the odds of a heartbeat in another week? Is there actually a way to calibrate in 4 miscarriages (3 before 9 weeks) and a pregnancy at 40 with a 31 year old’s donated eggs?

Is it any surprise that I chant to myself, "PUP-O. PUP-O. PUP-O" as if I were in meditation?