Breakin’ It Down

Abortion – what is currently chaffing my ass right now is the argument by the Republicans and Tea Party who think there should be significantly less government involvement in our personal lives, i.e. Health Care Reform. Ironic considering that they also want to make women criminals for having an abortion. If that’s not getting too involved in my personal business, I don’t know what is.

C-sections – woman’s body and all that aside, what makes me nutty is there are those who – unintentionally, I’m sure – make me feel that I didn’t advocate myself strongly enough to work harder for a VBAC from my physician. My choice was made. It’s a done deal. I hate the phrase, “You should have…” I had no problem with recovery or breastfeeding because my OB was competent and WE made the best decision for me.

Home Births – I shudder at the thought. The cleaning up would be left to relatives and friends?? As if. I can’t imagine my son in 20 years walking his fiance through the house and proudly boasting, “and this is where my mother pushed me through her vagina!” if he’d been a home-birth baby. Plus? I don’t want to be the person who is thinking “You should have…” if there’s life-altering complications.

Breastfeeding – Gross. I don’t want to see your boobs, even if I’ve told you I do. I’m with the party that uses the argument, “pooping is natural too but I don’t want to see that either”. And no, I don’t need reminding that I had some success breastfeeding Aitch. I missed it when it was over, but I am SO grateful I didn’t have to continue it up through the time she was able to use words to ask for the boob.

Pacifiers – are for babies. Get that? B A B I E S. Not toddlers. I recently had a mom rub it in my face that her daughter, six months older than Aitch, was potty trained by Aitch’s age. It took all my willpower not to throw back in her face, “but at least I don’t stuff a ‘pacie’ in her face every time she whimpers because I know how to interact with my pants-shitting child.”

Co-sleeping – again, like home birthing, I think this is to the parent’s benefit and not the child’s. Especially if the parent is always complaining about how little sleep they got. “But at least my sweetie-pie slept like AN ANGEL! and is in a wonderful mood while I’m sucking back my seventh cup of coffee!” Here’s the deal: if ALL of you got quality sleep, you’d ALL be in good moods and therefore a better home environment.

Sleep Training (CIO) – goes with above. “I can’t STAND to hear my baby cry!” That says it all right there. Oh, and the same thing that gets said about pacifiers.

Vaccinations – Go get your kid vaccinated, mmkay? They may feel like shit for a day, but it’s better than them being dead forever.

Oh, and for circumcisions? We did just because it was the thing to do. Not for religious reasons. We did not discuss how he might feel as a boy without one in school around his peers. It’s just the norm. And even with the recent push to NOT circumcise, I still would make the same decision today.

But if you want to smoke crack, then hey, who am I to pass judgement?

I try to be open both in life and here on my blog. The anonymity of a blog made it easier to talk about dildo-shaped ultrasound wands and foreign masses growing on my butt because you don’t have to see the utter shame in my face. However, in real life, it’s easier to talk to my close friends about politics, religion and certain parenting choices because I chose to hang with friends who are generally of similar personalities.

For me, these two worlds rarely collide and intermingle. I do not share my rectal exam story with my IRL friends, nor do I discuss certain parenting preferences on my blog. When my friends share something deeply, DEEPLY personal (she shaves what where and with who wearing WTF??), I’m sorry, but I can’t ever look at her or her guest bathroom ever the same. As for discussing hot topics here, while I know most of you share very compatible views, there may be one or two that do not and despite me being mostly abrasive, I try at least to keep the readers I have even if no new ones are ever to be part of my future again.

Here’s just a handful of topics that I LOVE to talk about with my IRL friends and family that I wouldn’t dare try to cover here in a way that could be considered even remotely diplomatic:

  • Abortion
  • C-sections
  • Home Births
  • Breastfeeding
  • Pacifiers
  • Co-sleeping
  • Sleep Training (CIO)
  • Vaccinations

I would rather keep topics here fairly neutral rather than be oblivious to my on-line friends just for the sake of increasing traffic. Getting and keeping trolls for some bloggers seems to be like a badge of honor. They can keep on with their troll-trolling and incendiary statements. More power to them and all that jazz.

What topics, if any, do you refuse to discuss on your blog, if you have one? Or with your IRL friends?

The Herd Mentality

I use to check my stats daily until it become an obsession, especially during the glory days when the number of visits was steadily climbing – thanks to multiple miscarriages and failed fertility treatments. Oh, Angst. You are an addictive mistress.

After Aitch came home safely and I started carrying on about how cute she was and how easy things were and generally happy, visitors weren’t as many, but I was already weaning myself away from the stats. It kinda sucks, but heh, I guess that means my life wasn’t dramatic enough which meant I was somehow settling into a new normal.

I do check my wordpress stats when I log in. It’s not as comprehensive, but it clues me in to some of the more common search hits I get, many looking for c-section scar pictures. Why? Who knows. During my review of my stats, I realized with a start that the number of visits to my blog on Friday were the highest since moving to this new blog. Over 10x higher than average at approximately 250. Yes, my blog only gets about 25 hits a day. Go ahead and compare and gloat. A vast majority of them came from Stirrup Queens because my post about the MM was linked under Miscellaneous Support and Celebrations in her Lost and Found.

I think that is amazing how so many came by simply upon the request of one incredibly influential blogger. But…I have to admit that I was a bit befuddled by those numbers in addition to being humbled. Less than a handful of all those people who followed Mel’s link left a comment. Why would 250 people take the time to follow a link, arrive at my blog and then only 2% of those people take those extra seconds to leave a comment?

Is this just virtual rubber necking? Was the news of my melanoma nothing more than a fender bender, bloggystyle, where there are plenty of lookers but only one or two good samaritans willing to actually stop and find out if any help is needed? Maybe it’s because LFCA is usually reserved for reproductive-related news and my MM wasn’t anything that they could relate to? Was it simply because once they read the news, I had bored their brains into stillness and they were too incoherent to comment?

Now honestly, it’s not they didn’t comment because those that did are my friends and the ones I care about, but why in the world would you follow a  link knowing that it’s a link to someone who is needing a little virtual handholding and NOT be willing to follow through? I know for me, if there’s a link to a blog and if I know I just am not strong enough to give, I don’t even click it. That happens a lot to me when it’s a link about a miscarriage. I am no longer able to relive those painful memories…but that’s not possible in this case, right? All 250 visits from Stirrup Queen’s weren’t from people also suffering or recovering from MM, could they be?

So do you follow the links to other blogs when it’s a call for support? Once you follow that link, don’t you feel some kind of obligation to comment? This phenomenon has happened before and I’ve always wanted to ask, but haven’t for fear of sounding as if I’m complaining about being linked to, but damn, don’t you find that curious behavior?

The Graveyard of Dead Blogs

Remember how during the past couple of winters I had snow falling on my blog? It would seem that there needs to be a WP app that would have tumbleweeds occasionally drift and bounce by. It’s obvious that I really don’t know what I’m doing at this space. Let me elaborate: it’s obvious to ME that I don’t know what to do here anymore judging by my stats. Not that I care about that kind of drivel…pshaw.

When did I get to be such an awful blogger (and you can shut your pie-hole if you thought by responding, “You were never anything but!” that I would find that funny)? If what I’m feeling is what so many others who quit were feeling after they had a baby, they were smart to bow out gracefully while I choose to whimper and limp along.

Of course in some ways it’s wonderful that I’m so out of touch with what brought me here in the first place: infertility and miscarriage. But it also means that the community I loved and felt so much a part of has somehow slipped from my reach and there’s really been no niche I’ve felt comfortable in. When things were running at their peak, I never understood the appeal to lurking. But now? Oh, I totally get it. I also have a new appreciation for my son’s repeated lament to move back into the ‘burbs. It would be so much easier for me to transition into this new phase of my life: the one that means no more babies; the one that is bringing me at lightning speed to the half-century mark; the one where I’m trying to find a new career in a market that finds me past-my-prime; and one that I hate the most as far as physical appearances go.

I saw a facebook update by someone who also blogs that said, “I will not write just to have some filler during my off days and weeks, and if you’ve noticed MONTHS. I will write when the muse returns.”

This comes the day after I post something here without substance specifically to be a filler. Is filler necessary to keep myself out there or is it a detriment to you as a reader? Does it scream desperation or does it reassure you that yes, I’m still here – still alive? Is it better to blog of nothing every day or every other day or is it more interesting to see a post come up once a month – if that – that is filled with substance?

And most importantly, where do Blogs go to die?

Pierced

What may have been a million years ago, I was the assistant manager at a Claire’s store. You know? That place where girls ages 5 to 15 flock to get their jelly bracelets, scrunchies and rhinestone jewelry for the Winter Dance? Why yes, it was like one of the Circles of Hell.

One of my many responsibilities – besides nabbing a six year old for shoplifting a $1.99 ring by “dropping” it in her shoe – was piercing ears. I hated it. It was about that time that such stores were permitted to pierce the cartilage, that hard part of your upper ear. Did you know that cartilage crunches? Yeah, you would know that if you got your ear pierced in that way, but the person doing the piercing can hear it too.

Worse than that was the piercing of a newborn girls’ ears. I’m sure if you took a poll, parents are probably 50/50 on whether they would or have, but I’m in the 50 that wouldn’t. I don’t know if my opinion was influenced by my less than one year stint at Claire’s, but I’m certain it didn’t help. Mothers would bring in their wee itty bitty one week old sleeping baby (I noticed that the policy is now at least 4 months of age) and sign the paperwork and then with the help of one of the other staff members, we would each hold a piercing gun in our hand, lining up to the dot of ink we marked earlier to make sure the holes were level and equal, and then 3, 2, 1 – TRIGGER! and pray to god neither of us went early as to startle the baby suddenly which would result in an uneven pierce. The screaming that would emit from the newly pierced baby was heart-rending, even in my still-single and child-free state.

I love nibbling on my daughter’s ears (and my son’s when he forgets to block me during our wishing of goodnight to each other), and not having to worry about the click of a stud on my teeth or the back of an earing getting sucked in accidently. I can certainly see the appeal of adding a little “pretty” to your little girl, but…*sigh*….

I guess I’m looking forward to when my daughter reaches an age where she starts to notice earrings and then as a big surprise for her birthday or Christmas, we take her in and create that memory together, like my mom did with me when I had my ears pierced by the family doctor when I turned 16.

How old were you when (if) you got your ears pierced? Have you or would you pierce your baby’s, whether boy or girl since I’ve now seen baby boys’ ears pierced as well.

Stolen

If you haven’t heard by now about the utterly botched surrogacy arrangement between Amy Kehoe (mother) and Laschell Baker (surrogate), both of Michigan, then you’ve been living under a rock…or preparing for some kind upcoming holiday festivities. The short of it is after Amy Kehoe selected Laschell Baker as her surrogate, who then went on to deliver boy-girl twins, who then found out that Amy had a “history” of mental illness, who then decided that Kehoes were unfit to be parents so they arranged to null and void the surrogate contract and the twins were relinquished to Bakers.

That’s the short. Now for the long. Really, really long.

The nuances to this story are many and varied and all smack of hypocrisy and judgmental bullshit. Because of my google alerts set on “egg donor”, I received a notice about this gem on a message board the other day from a “mommy” site:

I’m not in the position to make judgment and I’m not making judgment, I’m just trying to understand WHY some people go to such lengths? I ask because I know someone who is personally going through this and I just don’t get it AT ALL. This might sound horrible to someone who can understand, but please know I’m not trying to be insensitive, I just really and truly don’t get it. I don’t understand how having a stranger egg and a stranger sperm donor and possibly a stranger surrogate is any different or “better” than adopting a baby that is essentially the same thing? The baby is from strangers too…what is the difference??????

Here’s me reading it, in case you want to pop into my head for a sec:

I’m not in the position to make judgment [then don’t] and I’m not making judgment [uh-oh, when someone says “I’m not making judgment”, you know they are], I’m just trying to understand WHY some people go to such lengths? I ask because I know someone who is personally going through this and I just don’t get it AT ALL [let me guess: you’ve told your friend that you don’t get it, right? In the spirit of honesty and forthrightedness?? Of course you did – pfft]. This might sound horrible to someone who can understand [there’s no “might” about it], but please know I’m not trying to be insensitive [you’re not trying hard enough], I just really and truly don’t get it [you’ve made that painfully clear already – more than once in fact]. I don’t understand […again?!...] how having a stranger egg and a stranger sperm donor [stranger than what?] and possibly a stranger surrogate [stranger than you, perhaps?] is any different or “better” than adopting a baby [that’s YOUR presumption] that is essentially the same [it is?? Anyone who has adopt care to interject] thing [she did NOT just refer to a baby as a “thing”, did she??]? The baby is from strangers too…what is the difference [I’m so flustered, I really have no idea!]??????

Baker says that being a good Christian is what prompted her to take the action and make the adoption (in most states, the parents must adopt their child(ren) from the surrogate) void. A quote from Baker, “I’m not going to be the one that’s going to feel guilty if something happens.”

So Laschell Baker, let me see if I understand this correctly: you don’t want to feel guilty IF something were to happen. You are referring to Kehoe’s mental illness – her CONTROLLED for eight years mental illness! – right?!? And you would rather worry about the “what ifs” then the harm and guilt you REALLY should be feeling now for taking Kehoes’ children away from them. And I don’t EVEN want to hear anyone bring up the fact that there’s no biological connection between Kehoes and her twins. It’s irrelevant. The only reason Baker was successful in her bid for the twins is because surrogacy laws and their contracts are basically unenforceable, not because of any biological connection or lack thereof.

So Baker considers her and her husband to be superior parents to any couple who have a history of mental illness. That means that Laschell Baker considers herself to be a better parent than either myself (mild depression) and a good many of you. What if Kehoe had any other kind of physical handicap or chronic illness? What if Amy was deaf or blind or was an amputee? While these would have been more obvious in their physical manifestation, would Laschell Baker felt as comfortable in her decision to consider Kehoe a POTENTIALLY unfit mother as she does now?

Let’s just make this an even more ridiculous argument, shall we? So again, Laschell made her judgment call based on “what ifs”, and she claims that she has no guilt now in her decision, right? She’s changing the twins’ names as a “way to leave the past behind”………as soon as she and her husband can pull together $320 in filing fees.

%*@$#@$&*&&*(&*^!!!!!!!!!

Translation? Ohmyfuckinggodyouhaveseriouslygottobeshittingmemotherfucker!!!!!!!

She’s changing those babies’ names in order to try to pretend that Kehoes were never the parents of those babies. While Baker claims they will someday tell the twins about Kehoes, I can’t even come up with the subject line of their story they will use without causing some kind of traumatic response from those kids:

Possible Future Explanation – The woman intended to be your mother was sick/had mental illness/crazy!

Possible Interpretation by the Children – People who are sick/have mental illnesses/crazy! cannot, should not, and will not make good parents.

Yeah. That works (make sure you read that with all the sarcastic intonation as you possibly can).

One last shaming smack to the Bakers: to disguise your stereotyping of people with mental illnesses, you try to hide behind the shield of “doing what’s best in the case of what if” and you used it to justify to yourself and others (who obviously are not buying it) the reason to take Amy and her husband’s children. What if someone came up to you and decided that since you can’t immediately put together $300 to try to closet the past, that you can’t afford to raise the twins much less the four other children you have and take away all six?

Determining who and what makes for good parents based on ignorant stereotyping always – ALWAYS – will bite you squarely on the ass.

Kehoes have since decided to stop the fight for custody of their twins. I will hope and hope and hope that they become parents again and prove to themselves what faultless parents they would have been to their first two children. I say “to themselves” because quite frankly, they don’t owe the world proof of their parenting abilities. The Bakers weren’t owed that right, but they stole it away much like they did those babies.

#28 – Dahm it to hell.

I don’t know what celebrity POS show I was watching, but one of the stories was about a set of identical triplets all pregnant at the same time. Not just any triplets. The Dahm Triplets of Playboy notoriety (NSFW). Or so I’ve read since I let my Playboy subscription expire years ago.

Apparently they’ve also shown up several times on The Doctors, which is due to one of them being married to the executive producer, who also happens to be the son of Dr. Phil. Keep the crazy in the family, and all that.

I love my sisters. I confide in them. One of my sisters was my Maid of Honor. But it would take a hell of a lot of liquor combined with illicit drugs to get us to strip naked and mutually admire each other’s boobs. And with them being identical, isn’t that the epitome of narcissism?

I never would have given the story another thought if it hadn’t been for the announcement that these three women are no more than eight weeks apart in their pregnancies.

Most days I feel like I’m freeing myself of the sticky web of bitterness that was spun from infertility. But literally in an instant, I am mentally right back where I was two years ago: entangled in angry bitterness.

 

#10 – Feedback on Feedback

I saw personalized zipper pulls on Try Handmade  that can hook onto your kid’s backpack or jacket and I thought they were a great idea. I contacted the etsy shop owner, let her know that I wanted our last name (so some weirdo won’t find my son’s jacket and call him by his first name…) and my cell phone number on a couple of pulls.

Within a week, I received them in the mail and added one to Aitch’s jacket and one to Doodicus’ jacket.

A week later, I found the Aitch’s pull in her car seat. Because they were made using a simple single metal loop (imagine the ends of a C squeezed together), it had worked itself open just enough for the thin medal to come off.

I went to Hobby Lobby and for a couple of dollars, I had a package of double loops, which are designed like a key ring, and I replaced the single loops in both the pulls. Now I know that if I forget to remove them before I throw the jackets in the wash, they have a better chance of coming out still intact.

Recently I was in my etsy account and saw that I still needed to post feedback for the shop owner. I’ve been dissatisfied in the past with a couple of previously purchased items from other shops, but have never bothered to provide feedback. This time, while I wasn’t wholly dissatisfied, I felt that my neutral feedback would be an opportunity to share how she could improve the product with a double- or even triple-loop ring.

So that’s what I did.

Within the day, I got an email back from her apologetic over my lack of 100% satisfaction, but passively noted how I could have returned the items for her to fix (which I was able to do on my own in a couple of minutes and for pennies). She told me how no one has ever lost a pull before (I find that impossible to believe. I just doubt anyone said anything and they just keep using a pair of needle-nose pliers to pinch the ends together repeatedly or their tags got lost and well…not much you can do about it then, is there?). She told me how important her feedback was to her and that she would happily refund my entire purchase price, just so I would change my feedback from neutral to positive.

I don’t want a refund. I didn’t pay much for them, and obviously, I got what I paid for. Overall, they met my needs; they just didn’t meet my standards. I altered them so that they would. For me, the issue should be over. It would seem that while she’s offering a full refund, she has not (to date) so it’s starting to feel like a payoff: you give me positive feedback and I’ll pay you for it. I subconsciously squirm in my seat with the idea.

I’ve never seen anything BUT 100% positive in any of the stores I’ve shopped. Have you ever given poor or neutral feedback on an etsy purchase? Would you change your feedback if you were me?

#9 – Grooming FAIL

It takes a lot to gross me out. Bring on your blood, guts, protruding bones and gory stitches. When my husband sent me pictures of the time he squished the fingernail clean out of his finger or how he sluiced his kneecap with a rogue piece of metal, while I may go, “Gross!” I don’t cringe or look away. Maybe part of that tolerance is related to growing up on a farm where one is exposed to all kinds of biological fluids, gore and generally the icky stuff on daily basis. I once watched in fascination when my dad took his pocketknife and plunged it into the abdomen of a grain-bloated calf and then stuck a piece of rubber tubing inside the hole to vent the bloat.

Gross, huh?

But this weekend I saw something that made my stomach lurch. The quaint expression, “I think I just threw up in my mouth,” while overused, captured the feeling of revulsion.

I went to an event this weekend that had a concession area set up with several tables for guests to sit and enjoy a moment to rest or a bite to eat. I was mowing through a sandwich when I scanned the tables around us. I watched as a middle-aged woman pulled a comb out of her purse, ran it through her thick, wavy hair, inspected the comb, and THEN removed the hairs from the teeth of the comb AND THEN sprinkle the newly acquired hairs ONTO THE FLOOR next to her table!!

Good god! Who does that kind of shit IN PUBLIC??! When I was describing this to a friend of mine, she asked, “Doesn’t it make you wonder what her car or house is like?” “Uh, no, not until now, thank you,” I answered, fighting a mild stomach heave.

What socially unacceptable grooming behaviors have you witnessed lately?

Halo or Horns

I’m a whiner, complainer, Negative Nellie, belly-acher. I bitch, piss and moan. About everything and anything. 90% of the time, I do all of it on-line.

Let’s call it Literary Farts, shall we? Not so silent and OH so deadly.

It’s then quite fascinating to read the updates of some of my friends, whether it’s through their blog, Facebook or Twitter, who are shiny happy people. Yes, they fart shafts of sunshine. So much so, I squint.

(say SQUINT several times…it doesn’t even look or sound like a real word, does it)

So, which one are you? A Whiner or a Wonderer? A Negative Nellie or a Sunshine Sally? Why do you think you are one over the other?

No, you cannot say you’re a little of both. If you’re waffling, pick what you are today.