Friday, November 4, 2011

At least he asked...

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you,
And when he speaks to you believe him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
~Kahlil Gibran

Hubber is what you might call a "High Functioning Alcoholic." What is a high functioning alcoholic? I'm so glad you asked. Hubber does not fit the stereotype of what most people think of when they hear the word "Alcoholic." He does not drink all the time. He does not hide bottles. He doesn't drink in the morning, or even every day. He has a great job and provides for his family. He doesn't drink at home, and he doesn't drink alone. He is not physically abusive. In fact, the majority of the time he is the kind, funny, intelligent, loving, sensitive, respectful, charming man I fell in love with. His alcoholism is the "hidden sword." However, once he starts drinking, it's out, and he rarely has the ability to stop until he is hammered. When he's hammered, he's like a completely different person.

The longest he has gone without drinking (in the four years that we have been together) was 5 months, after he quit his job DJ-ing at a local bar. That was 3 1/2 years ago. Since then his drinking goes in spurts. The worst it has been was immediately following the birth of our daughter 12 weeks ago. He had actually been drinking when he drove me to the hospital, not enough to be impaired, but had I had another option, I would have taken it. At that point he had been drinking 2-3 times a weeks pretty consistently. After she was born, however, it increased to 3-4 times a week. For several weeks in a row, he was drinking every. other. day. Aside from the emotional toll this took on me, dealing with his illogical mood swings while drunk, it took a financial toll as well, during a time when we were already stretched pretty thin, due to the birth of Bunny and my "maternity leave" which was really 5 weeks of 60% paid disability, 1 week of PTO, and 3 weeks of unpaid FMLA.

Since I started back to work, he has been doing better. Twice he went an entire week between benders, and last week he went a whole 8 days. He drank Monday, but he was home by 10:30, so looked at it as a minor setback. But then last night he had band practice. Historically, band practice is decidedly bad for his sobriety, or lack thereof. He almost always has at least one beer during practice, and this almost always makes him want more after. Last night he came home a little after 10pm. I was asleep with Bunny.

Hubber: I tried to call you like ten times.
Me: I didn't hear it.
Hubber: It went straight to voicemail.
Me: Well then, it must be dead... *looks at phone*... yep. It's dead.
Hubber: I want to go have a beer with John, but I wanted to ask if it's okay.
Me: *sigh*
Hubber: Is it not okay?
Me: It's never okay with me for you to go out drinking, especially on a weeknight.
Hubber: Just for an hour.
Me: You always say that, and it never is. It's already after ten. Even if you were really good, by your standards, you still wouldn't be home until after midnight.
Hubber: *smiles and sticks hand out to me* Deal! I'll be home before midnight.
Me: What? No deal. I did not say if you're before midnight.
Hubber: Fine. *takes Bunny's tiny hand and shakes it as she sleeps* I promise I'll be home before midnight.
Me: Don't start that. Do not make promises to Bunny that you can't keep. I don't care that she's still too young to know what's going on.
Hubber: I'm not. I'm going. But, just for an hour.
Me: Then why did you ask me if it was okay?
Hubber: At least I asked.
Me: No, you didn't. Because you didn't get the answer you wanted, and you're going to do it anyway. The words came out of your mouth, but they didn't mean anything.
Hubber: I didn't have to ask. I could have just gone.
Me: You might as well have.
Hubber: So you're saying I should have changed cars, snuck in without saying anything, and then left? No.
Me: No... I'm saying that you should have just come home and said. "I dropped off your car, I'm going back out." Because for all intents and purposes, that's what you did anyway.
Hubber: No. I asked.
Me: No, you didn't, because when I said no, you said you were doing it anyway. What that says to me, is that you don't care how I feel, so there was no point in asking to begin with.
Hubber: I wasn't asking permission, I just wanted your opinion.
Me: Well, I gave it to you.
Hubber: Whatever. Fine. It's all about you. It's your night mama. Whatever you say. Whatever mama wants. As always.

At which point he proceeded to stomp off to the bedroom, slamming doors as he went. He emerged in his pajamas and proceeded to complain loudly, but to himself. He'd already had a couple, although he never said as much. I can tell when he's been drinking, even when he's not outwardly intoxicated to the detection of others. There is the slightest shift in him, that I only I can perceive, even after only a couple beers. He was incredibly rude and condescending. It was grating, but at the end of the day, I decided I didn't mind. I wouldn't let myself be bothered. Because at the end of the day, it wasn't me he was really mad at, it was himself. I was the scape goat. I refused to react, and instead said "Thank you for staying," then was quiet until he came to me, took my hand, and said "How could I leave?"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Woo-Sah" goes the miPump

For the past 3 days in a row, I have been a breast-pumping ROCK STAR, pumping 9 1/2 ounces a day at work, AND breastfeeding on my lunch hour. I say this, not to brag, but because I have been struggling with pumping since I started back to work 2 1/2 weeks ago. I am still not exactly adjusted to this new arrangement. I have to pump pretty much constantly at work, and work one-handed. Luckily, I work in an office full of female nurses, so no one is bothered by this. Gradually, I am building my milk supply back to pre-work volume, so I thought I would share what appears to be working, or not working, for me.

There is a LOT of hooey on the inter-webs. Google "caffeine and breastfeeding" and you will get 9,999 results citing old-wives tales and personal anecdotes about how it will decrease your milk supply, and it's difficult to get down to the science. After my first couple days back at work (which were also my first couple days back to coffee) I noticed that I was pumping less than half the amount I had been in the week leading up to my return, and I was FREAKING. OUT. I asked myself, "what is different since I started back to work?" and I came up with "I started drinking coffee again." But I skipped over the glaringly obvious change since my return to work... I'd RETURNED to WORK.  There is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that caffeine in any form reduces milk production in lactating mothers. In fact, there actually is evidence that it increases production. The only drawback seeming to be that if your infant is sensitive to caffeine, it can cause some wakefulness and possibly fussiness. However, it would probably take a LOT of coffee (in excess of six cups/day) since less than 1% of the caffeine you consume actually makes it into your breast milk. I understand how the coffee milk-kill myth gets perpetuated though... I think a lot of women simultaneously resume work and coffee drinking, and the biggest milk buster is STRESS. You're stressed about leaving baby, you're stressed about work, and you're probably stressing yourself out even more, worrying about your milk-supply suffering, and consequently... your milk supply suffers. It's a horribly vicious cycle.

Don't skip breakfast. "Eating for Two" doesn't stop once the baby is on the outside. Although you never actually need to consume twice as much, you do need to consume about 400 extra calories both during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding.

Personally, once I started getting up a little earlier so that I wasn't rushing around, took time to nurse Bunny twice (once when she woke up, and once right before putting her in her car seat), my out-put went from barely 6 oz/day to over 9 oz/day. It's still not the 12+ oz/day I getting before I went back, but it's enough. BARELY, but it's enough.

I've found this site to be extraordinarily helpful. What didn't help? Worrying about not getting enough.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mommydom: Day 73

Working/Pumping Hell: Day 7

I only manage to pump 5 1/2 ounces for the whole day. I work through lunch, because I have to leave early to take Bunny to her 2 month check-up, and I don't have any PTO because they make you use it while on maternity leave. You're on FMLA and STD (short-term disability, perv), but you still have to use your PTO to supplement the 60% pay you get from STD up to 100%. Personally I think that should be optional. What if I'm totally okay with only getting paid 60% on leave, in exchange for not having to come in early/stay late/skip lunch when I get back?? Whatever.

So I leave work a little after 3:00, and the teacher informs me that Bunny is basically starving, because I'm ten minutes later than when I said I'd be picking her up, and the last time she ate was at 1:30. According to her report card, she only ate a total of 5 ounces all day... but I took 12 ounces with her in the morning, so how was there NO. MILK. LEFT when I went to put more in the freezer the next morning??? Did they just pour seven ounces of liquid white gold down the drain? I think I'm having a panic attack.

We get to the doctor's office and I plop my butt in a chair with Bunny, whip out the booby blanket, and proceed to feed Bunny (yes, BREASTFEED. IN PUBLIC. Aaaaaaaah!) much to the chagrin of the only two men in the waiting room (besides Hubber). Do I care? No. I'm covered, so Suck it, Fancy!
My starving baby is actually able to get FULL. That's how long we waited. Not that it wasn't worth it - our pediatrician is awesome sauce - but seriously? Why do they always tell you to be 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork when it only takes 2 minutes tops to actually fill it out, and then you still don't get in a room until 20 minutes after your appointment time?!

The appointment goes well, with Bunny landing middle of the road on all her measurements. Sometimes it's okay to be average. The doctor says so. But then it's time for the vaccinations... and for some reason, Bunny isn't the only one getting them. Seriously. Apparently, if the baby's caregiver(s) aren't up-to-date on their pertussis, the doctor's office can get up to two more vaccinations for adults for FREE. Lucky Hubber!

Mommy: Watch Daddy get his shot first, he'll show you it's not that bad.
Hubber: Actually, don't watch me. I'm kind of a pussy about shots.

That's right. My husband said "pussy" to a kiddie doctor.

Then it's time for Bunny's vacs. The first one, is for rotovirus, and it's a liquid they just squish in her mouth. She spits it out, but they say as long as it touches her tongue, she's protected. Alrighty. Next come the shots. For a split second, I thought we were going to breeze through it, because as this was Bunny's first experience with pain, it took her a moment to recognize what it was. However, halfway through the first injection, she realized that it hurt and started screaming bloody murder. Cue the Mommy tears - and there are two. more.

She was traumatized. In the end however, I popped a boob in her mouth and she forgot everything else. Too bad this technique has a limited life-span. I am not looking forward to the day it stops working.

You'll see...

I just discovered StumbleUpon. I thought it was a stupid idea when I first heard about it, but I was bored, so I decided to click "Stumble!" a few times...

And this is what I found.
Best. Blog. Evah. ...or for the 5 minutes it takes you to read the whopping 6 total posts. I'm serious.

Kids say some fucked up shit  the darnedest things.

You're welcome.

Haunted Voicemail

So creepy and random, that I had to share.

I left work early yesterday because Bunny had a doctor's appointment (which included her first vaccinations, but that's another post). My phone must have been ringing non-stop and totally annoying the rest of the office, because when I got here this morning, my phone was set to send all calls to voicemail, and I never do that. The problem is that because I was not the one to set my phone on voicemail, I didn't know it was, and I didn't realize it until I got my first call of the day and it went straight to voicemail.

I decided to check my voicemail. I'm pretty sure the light was already red before, but whatever.
There was only one voicemail to be heard, and I'm pretty sure it was left. by. a. ghost. It consisted of a very low, breathy voice which said, in one breath like a sigh, "Six, nine, six, eeeeiiiiight." That's it.

What the hell does that even mean???  It's too short to be a phone number for call back, and it didn't get cut off, because there is a pause before and after.

Thoughts? Interpretations?? I feel like my voicemail is trying to tell me something... 6968

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mommydom: Day 71 & 72

Bloggosphere: Day 4

So I thought Sunday (Day 71) was going to be glorious. The weather was supposed to be beautiful, Hubber had promised to get up and make me cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and I was going to my parents to hang out for the afternoon, which is one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend afternoon.

Hubber did not get up and make me cinnamon rolls. I waited until 12:30 and decided to make my own cinnamon rolls. Hubber did not get up until 1:30.

I did actually get to hang with my parents because we were in the neighborhood anyway to retrieve Hubber's car. We left his car at the band's practice space Friday night because Hubber had been drinking and, due to the fact that I'm breastfeeding and (obviously) was pregnant before that, I have been the de-facto DD for almost a YEAR.

What made Sunday decidedly NOT glorious was the way that it ended. I texted Hubber as Bunny and I were leaving my parents' house to let him know that we'd be home soon. A minute later, I got a phone call from him saying he was at the bar. This after I had just told him on the way to pick up his car how proud I was of him the last two weeks for controlling his drinking. Did he abstain? No. I don't even think that's possible for him anymore without AA or some sort of counseling (which he refuses to participate in). However, he did limit his drinking to Friday night and only Friday night, which meant that not only did he manage to go a whole week between binges (I can't even remember the last time that happened), but he kept his disruptive behavior confined to the weekend, when it wouldn't be nearly as disruptive. Apparently, the streak was over. I feel like maybe I jinxed it. I know that's not how it works, but it still feels that way. I should have kept my big mouth shut, but I hoped that by pointed out how much better he was doing, I would motivate him to improve even more, or at least hold steady. EPIC. FAIL. He didn't come home until 2:00am Monday morning, and kept me up until 4:00am.

That's how I started Day 72.

Working/Pumping Hell: Day 6

WOW wuzitired. It's VERY lucky that the daycare is only a mile from my house and my office is only two miles from daycare, because I got 3/4 of the way to daycare and realized that I left Bunny's breastmilk in the freezer at home.

When I got to daycare with the milk, the director informed me that they never received Bunny's health release from the doctor's office, which is required by law before they start. Great. Now I'm late, AND irresponsible. Plus, now I'm all frazzled and embarrassed, so whadidido? I forgot to sign her in. Double-whammy with the irresponsibility stick. Somehow I still managed to make it to the office on time. You're probably looking at my very impressive, uber professional map and wondering how on earth I could EVER be late for work, but you'd have to understand that the parking situation at work is bad that I have to park a mile away in the opposite direction from my house, and then take a shuttle bus to work. I can leave my house 45 minutes before I actually have to be at work, and still be late, despite the fact that it would only take me 30 minutes to walk there, if I had that kind of stamina. I don't.

To top it off, I was only able to pump 6 ounces, and Bunny drinks 12 ounces a day. *le sigh*

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mommydom: Day 69

Working/Pumping Hell: Day 5
Bloggosphere: Day 3

No, this day did not live up to it's Mommydom number... perv.

It was Friday, and I'm posting this on a Monday, so some detail may be lost, but you'll get the gist, I think.
It started off like a big steaming pile of shit.
Hubber *was* home to help with Bunny in the morning, but did so grudgingly, and minimally.
I found a once-heavy bottle-bank EMPTY, and calmly asked Hubber where the roughly 5 lbs of change had disappeared to. He took it to the bank. To start Bunny's savings account? No. To pad our checking account with $35.00 in change. REALLY?! I don't really think it's necessary to go into the nitty-gritty details of our recent financial hardship, but suffice it to say the the $35.00 he effectively STOLE from our daughter was not going to make a difference one way or the other. Does he not understand the concept of SAVING money? You put it aside, and you DON'T. TOUCH. IT. Cue psycho-mommy melt-down of monumental proportions. Hubber uninvited me to his band's show.
Bunny and Mommy both cried all the way to daycare. I continued to cry as I handed her off to her favorite teacher, and then half-way to work, at which point I phoned Hubber.

Hubber: Hello?
Mommy: I just called to say I love you.
Hubber: I love you too. I'm sorry.
Mommy: I'm sorry I yelled.
Hubber: It's okay. Look... I made a judgement call. I was trying to avoid borrowing that money from your folks. I'm sorry. I'll put it back when I get paid. How did it go at the day care?
Mommy: She was crying. I was crying. Another fabulous start to the day.
Hubber: It'll get better... and Hey! It's Friday!
Mommy: I know. I'm trying. It's just hard to leave her and it's harder when she cries.

So we made up just in time for me to get to work and have a construction worker tell me that I couldn't park in my usual spot, because it was construction parking now. I pointed out that it was not posted anywhere and left my car there.

From that point the day got better. I was able to pump 5 oz at work, got a delicious cupcake at the daycare on my lunch visit, Hubber had a great show, and Bunny and I were home, attached at the boob, and snuggled on the couch by 1:00 am... which is where we stayed for the next 24+ hours.

There were times during my maternity leave when I felt tethered to the couch, and dreamed of just twenty minutes to go to the bathroom/eat a bagel/take a shower without a baby attached to my boob. This week I got 40 hours of baby-free boobage, and I gotta say... it's not all it was cracked up to be.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mommydom, Day 68

Working/Pumping: Day 4
Bloggosphere: Day 2

Compared to the crying over spilt breastmilk of day 3, It was a good day. Hubber was home to help in the morning, and Bunny was all smiles. When I went for my lunch hour visit, she was asleep. She woke up to eat, and went right back to sleep in my arms. I had a nice chat with two of her teachers. Work went well, and I left as soon as I could to pick her up. Hubber made Tacos (George W. says "Tacos Rule!") and I was actually able to pump about 4 1/2 ounces. Not an eventful day, but in my world... that's a good thing.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mommydom: Day 67

Working/Pumping Hell: Day 3
Bloggosphere: Day 1

Since I'm starting this blog on day 3 of working/pumping, let me summarize days 1 and 2 for you...

Day 1:
Hysterical sobbing on the way to and from dropping off Bunny at daycare.
Mommy gets flu shot and gets smacked in the face by a brick wall of side-effects that feel suspiciously like a VERY. BAD. FLU.
Bunny doesn't sleep all day because the teachers don't understand that she has to be held AT. ALL. TIMES.
Mommy and Bunny go home, eat, and fall asleep watching TV.
Mommy wakes up at midnight and pumps 6 ounces.

Day 2:
Relatively uneventful... aside from the fact that Mommy gets to call Grandma and ask to borrow money because that last disability check never came and for some reason the daycare expects MONEY for the PRIVILEGE of raising MY child. Hubber leaves for business trip (a weekly occurrence.)
...Which brings me to Day 3.

Bunny did NOT want to wake up. She cried like I'd just told her I was adopting her out to wolverines every time I set her down to do anything to make either of presentable for the day looming before us. She cried when I put her in the carseat. She cried as we drove to daycare. So did I. She cried when I took her out of the carseat and gave her to the teacher. I cried all the way to work.
I thought things were starting to look up when I was able to pump 3 1/2 ounces at work mid morning, but then came lunch.
See, I like to go visit Bunny on my lunch hour and breastfeed. She's only a mile away, and it helps break up the day and lessen the separation anxiety... usually.
The visit went great! But as the clock ticked closer and closer to the time when I would have to leave her and go back to work, I felt panic begin to set in, and the rusty prison shiv began to prick my side.
I managed to keep myself somewhat composed, only a single tear escaping as I handed her off to one of the teachers... then high-tailed to the back door, flood gates breaking just as my hand hit the knob. I cried all the way back to work.
Did the day from hell stop there? Hell no.
After parking my car and composing myself, I began the trek back to the office. Halfway to the crosswalk, I realize my coat has a wet spot. I look down. It's because my bag has an even bigger wet spot. WHUCK?! I open my bag... Somehow, the upright and secure bottle of breastmilk from earlier had leaked all. over. everything. Not only is all that liquid gold GONE, but some of it has managed to get INSIDE the suction hoses, so that I can't pump any more until they somehow dry out. *I tried sucking the milk out. Apparently I suck at sucking. You can feel bad for my husband later.*
I had a meeting at work, so I was an hour late picking up Bunny from daycare.
Hubber did not come home from his business trip before heading to band practice. So... I didn't see him until 10:30pm, at which point he was every bit as exhausted and frustrated as I was, and we proceeded to take it out on each other. Lovely.
We formed a truce long enough to watch Ancient Aliens, then all three CRASHED for the night.

End Scene.
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