Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Telling the skids I'm pregnant!

Last week I finally hit the 12 week mark!!!! (Very big deal for anyone who knows what I went through over 6 months ago.)

We have been waiting to tell family and friends this time until the 12 week mark and that includes the skids. Since we have them 50/50 on a 5-2-2-5 plan we wanted to tell them at the start of a 5 day visit to give them time to take it all in with us and not just tell them and drop them off with their their negative mother.

My skids are SD14 and SS16 and they have always been clear that they are not supportive or happy about the idea of us having a baby. We told them last April that we were going to start trying, but they never knew about the last pregnancy and miscarriage so to them this would be the first time.

We had decided that we would sit down together and tell them. We always tell them big things together (ie: getting married, moving, etc.) and I just didn't feel ok with just DH telling them. So, we let them get home from school, do their homework, tell us about their day, and DH took SS driving. Before dinner we were all kinda hanging out around the table so they sat down and DH told them, "guys there is something we want to share with you and want you to be one of the first people to know...TS is pregnant and we are having a baby in August." Then SD says "hmmm, well congrats you guys..." and SS doesn't really say anything. Then SD says, "I kinda had a feeling, but didn't want to say anything. I did tell my friends a few weeks ago that I think my stepmom is pregnant." SS finally piped up and said, "well, I"m not happy about this, but you already know that...so I'm just hoping it's a boy so that I can do boy things with him".

We went on to have quite the discussion with them. Mostly things like making it clear that they will not be required to care for the baby and babysit unless they wanted to. That we wouldn't push our responsibility of the baby on them, but what we did require is that they are nice and they are open minded to having a brother or sister. My SS has said in the past that this wouldn't be a "REAL" brother or sister, but I finally got to use a friend's saying "well, a 1/2 a glass a milk is still milk right? So, a 1/2 brother or sister is still a brother or sister." He was like, "well, I guess you are right, but I don't know about this."

We gave them each an ultrasound pic, told them they can do whatever they want with it, but if they destroy it I better not see that. SD wanted to keep hers and SS gave it back saying "I really don't want this and don't want to destroy it."

Eventually we started joking around about stuff and then they started asking about my drinking and telling them how it was all fake and they asked if I've had cravings or been sick. They also wanted to know that if I start craving lots of ice cream if they will get some too :) We also told them that we are going to involve them in things, but we will not force them. That they will be invited to an ultrasound, they will be asked to help with names, baby room stuff, toys, etc but that we won't be shoving it down their throats. They already started talking about toys that the baby has to have and what they would like to do with the baby.

So, all in all it went well. I'm glad we told them together and we kept it upbeat and added a lot of humor to it. They immediately started texting all of their friends and then telling us they were saying congrats.

However, I don't think they told BM...they never called her last night and I think if they would have texted it to her she would have been blowing up their phones. Maybe they are dreading her finding out. Who knows. For now, we'll enjoy the peace and quiet and that everyone we love knows.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How I'm doing

So, it's been about 5 months since the Blighted Ovum/miscarriage/nightmare situation and I'm doing a lot better. 

At the time I thought I would never get over it, and while I'm no where near "over it" I have returned to what I believe is my old self.  About mid-September I decided I couldn't be upset and miserable anymore.  It was so depressing, but I didn't know how to get out of it.  My BFF suggested that since I've found so much help through stepmom forums/blogs to do the same thing in regards to IVF.  I did and have been very thankful to share my journey with some of those ladies.

I also decided to get my ass to the gym and work off the weight I had put on with all the medications and lack of exercise.  I set a goal and signed up for a running event before Thanksgiving and every morning started getting up at 4:45am to go to a spin class or to run.  I focused on it while out of town, I forced myself to do it every day.  And I can happily say that out of 2 months I only missed about 4 or 5 days.  As the miles and days passed my anger/resentment/sadness started to pass too. 

Things with my family have been much better.  I don't look at my skids anymore with resentment of their existence and in fact have been bonding with them more now than ever.  SS has turned 16 and has been having some crazy teen drama going on that he has felt comfortable to share with me.  Sometimes we sit and talk for hours about life.  My SD has recently gotten her first high school boyfriend and has been exploding with excitement and wanting to sit and talk about boys and if her feelings are normal, etc. 

My husband doesn't look at me like I might fall apart any minute anymore.  I hope that continues :)  We do have frozen embryos so we will try again soon and keep our fingers crossed.

Frankly the only major issue I've had lately is with my mother.  The woman can be such a bitch I can't stand it!  She texted me (yes, TEXTED, because my mom no longer knows how to actually dial a phone anymore) and asked me if I was pregnant because of a pic she saw on FB where she felt my belly was "filling out".  First of all, no.  Second of all, I just dropped 10 lbs and she's asking me this?  AND she's asking me this over a text message?  Really, after she knows everything I've been through?  I pretty much laid into her via text back and haven't spoken to her since.  She of course tried to turn it around on me, and even contacted my husband who told her she is in the wrong and needs to apologize.  Apology from my mother?  Yeah right!  The woman is the spitting image of BM (or would it really be the other way around), and has never seen the wrong she has ever done...she's always pointing fingers.  Probably why I despise BM so much and feel so bad for the skids because I know what it's like having a mother who is so self involved and so full of herself and excuses you could puke. I'm just glad she lives in another state so that I can avoid her as much as possible. 

We did have a bit of an issue with BM where she almost had to have back surgery and was laid up for a few weeks.  She immediately tried to get sympathy from my DH and went straight to the "what am I going to do about money" bit.  Um, how about calling someone who cares...like your own friends or family.  She apparently is back at work, actually at a new job, and things are fine.  We really hear nothing from her anymore unless it has to do with something she wants and I think she finally learned the word "NO" so it's been really quiet. 

All in all, things are good.  They aren't perfect, but it never is.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Movie: The Other Woman - My Official Review

Ok, so since this title had been going around a lot recently I had ordered it from the library and with hubby out of town I sat down tonight to watch it on my own.

Boy o boy, break out the Kleenex! I don't want to ruin the movie for anyone who has not seen it, but I am going to put a disclaimer that this movie is more about grieving the loss of a baby while also being part of a step family. I didn't think so much of the movie would surround that, but it did. So, warning to all of the other stepmoms who have recently lost babies like myself or those of you that are pregnant right now...be prepared.

There are so many things that are dead on for me in this movie that really have nothing to do with the fact that their relationship started as an affair. Things like how others might treat you different when they find out you are the "step"mom. How the kids repeat hurtful things BM says about you. How BM acts like you mean nothing, and how the skid thinks everything mom says is gospel and you are wrong. Also the skid loves to point out that her family is not his family. There were times I found myself thinking "yep, been there". I think it also shows that the skids aren't always out to be mean or hurtful to us, and that stepmoms and stepkids can make their own type of relationship.

What you see in this movie is a woman struggling as a stepmom and losing her first baby. She struggles with her stepson possibly even more so because of her loss. I would say that it is as close of an accurate portrayal of the situation as I've ever seen in a movie to how I have felt personally. I think that it is a movie that shows the ups and downs and people trying to find their way in all of this. The BM is portrayed much more harshly than the stepmom, but that's what people would assume anyway of a woman scorned right? A mega-bitch.

So, take my review with whatever you will. If you decide to see the movie I think that you will finish it with a lot of food for thought.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Awkward and insensitive

I'd like to put this out there as more of a public service announcement...

Just because my husband has kids doesn't mean it is open for constant discussion if I do or do not want to have my own kids.  It does not mean that you can ask me all the time if I plan to have my own kids and then give your opinion as to what you think I should do with MY life. 

It is also not necessary to ask a woman of a certain age (in my 30's) all the time about her plans for children.  Honestly, you have no idea what someone might be going through and don't feel like sharing that with you.

Over the past couple of days I have been asked close to 35 times...NO JOKE...something in regards to having kids.  "Hey, how's married life? How come you aren't pregnant by now?"  "So, what's the deal, are you guys going to have kids together or not?"  "Um, you wouldn't plan to have kids together with his only a few years from turning 18 would you?"  I'm here to tell you that these things are NONE of your business.  Seriously, if someone is going to have a baby...you'll know.  She'll either tell you or you will see her protruding belly.  Also, if she's not sharing the info with you...it's most likely because she doesn't want to tell you that kind of private information.

I told a friend a few years ago that she should never ask people about having kids because they could be trying to with poor results and the question could upset them further.  That it's not a question people should be asking.  Now that I am that person that seems to be getting asked ALL the time while trying to get through my own personal emotional nightmare...I want to scream at them, "yeah you stupid son of a bitch...we are spending thousands of dollars on IVF, and I had a miscarriage 2 months ago, but thanks for keeping the wound nice and fresh for me asshole."  Instead, I try to smile and say, "well, you know...if it happens it happens" and then go cry in private later.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

And now for the SS15 negative...

Last week I posted a positive about SS15, but then this weekend he said something that got me steaming.

Another stepmom friend of mine came over this weekend with her SD14 and newborn 3 month old son. Her and I were having a discussion about how hard a baby is and they truly require so much from you...how she misses having a hot meal, a long shower, sleep, etc. I said something like, "it really proves how much we sacrifice to have children". My SS says from across the room, "oh TS like you are really one to talk you've never had to sacrifice anything!". I take in what he just said and try to choose my words before going off in a fit of rage. I say, "excuse me? I haven't had to sacrifice anything? Are you serious? I have sacrificed my entire way of life for the 2 of you and you aren't even my kids. Don't you EVER say something like that to me ever again."

This happened 2 days ago and I'm still pissed about it. Is this really how they see us? As these women who what...had no life or something and wanted all this bullshit? That we just sat around waiting for a guy with a psycho ex and a few ungrateful kids to come along to make our lives insane? I swear, the past 4 years I have done more and SACRIFICED more for these kids than their own mother has/does. This just proves that unless you rip open your vagina and give birth all you are is just dad's sidekick.

I'm curious what you all feel you have sacrificed or given up by being a stepmom. Here's some of mine:

1) Giving up my house an hour away to live in the sticks so they could have 50/50 because mom wouldn't dare move. I have no friends in this town, no local places I like, and it takes me at least an hour to get to my office or airport instead of 15 minutes.
2) money, lots and lots of money (including lots of gas in my car for driving them all over the place)
3) being a newlywed without kids
4) a major decrease in my sex life
5) my individuality because I'm being compared to someone else all the time
6) a portion of my self esteem because I am never good enough no matter how hard I try
7) a clean house
8) being able to have privacy in my own home
9) knowing what it's like to start a family for the first time with someone
10) being able to create a baby by making love instead of with science because my husband had a vasectomy after already having 2 kids with a piece of shit woman

These are just 10 things and I will force myself to stop there or I could end up with 100.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

SS15 Positive

I had to share this...
My SS is almost 16 and learning how to drive. We have a 50/50 custody plan, and got the skids last night after 5 days. I was dreading it as usual because I never know how they are going to come back after being with their mom for 5 days.

Last night after dinner DH took him out driving. They come back about an hour later and I was in our bedroom. I asked DH how it went and he said "not good" that SS's driving was not good and that he yelled at him a couple of times. I felt bad but moved on doing my thing. A few minutes later I went to go move clothes from the washer to the dryer and SS asks me if he can talk to me outside. He is visibly upset. We go out back and he's shaking and on the verge of tears and starts telling me that he's having a hard time driving with dad and dad makes him so nervous. He tells me about what DH is doing that is freaking him out, "giving him too many directions at once, raising his voice, directing and not teaching". He says he is afraid to talk to DH about it because he is afraid he will get defensive. (this is true...DH can get really defensive if you tell him he's not doing something right). SS said it was so bad that he started crying and didnt want to drive back to the house. Which he didn't.

SS starts asking me what he should do, how he can make things better, and also tells me that he prefers driving with me because I'm calmer. He wants to know if I can go next time and see if he's overreacting about dad or if I have any other pointers. I told him I will go with them tonight and see. Then I talked to him about what my dad did when I was learning to drive and that I was scared shitless, that learning to drive is exciting and scary and you will have good days and bad days. At the end he said, "thanks for talking to me I feel a lot better."

I have to say that it felt really good that he wanted to talk to me. He didn't call his mom which is what he normally does. He actually seeker me out when he was scared and upset. I think this says a lot about how he views me, and it really put a smile on my face.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

IVF Update

I had taken a break from blogging for awhile to destress and focus on my personal life. This should explain my disappearance.  Even though I've been MIA for several months now, I wanted to post this very personal story in hopes that it might help someone in a current situation or in the future.

First, let me say that I apologize for how long this is going to be, but I am going to pack this full of probably too much information because I wish I might have read something like this a few years ago. Even if it was just informational.

For any of the newbies that doesn't know me I have been with my husband for almost 4 years and we got married last October. I just turned 33 (he is 37) and have SD14 and SS15 (almost 16) 50% of the time. I have a good relationship with my skids (although that did NOT happen overnight), but I have wanted my own kids. When I fell in love with DH I knew he had a vasectomy. I've heard of tons of people having it reversed so we didn't really think anything of it. We figured we'd have it reversed and try to have kids of our own when we are ready. Plain and simple right? Not quite. Very naive of us to think that. About 4 months or so after being married we decided to start talking to some doctors so we would know what kind of costs would be involved (insurance will not cover a reversal). We found out it would be about $7K+ to have a reversal. Now, here is what everyone needs to know. A "successful" reversal is when they can find sperm in the ejaculate. Any sperm...1 sperm, crappy sperm, whatever. Some doctors will say they have a "guarantee". The guarantee is to get sperm flowing at all. Period. This is also generally information from a urologist. His job is not to get you pregnant, it's to reverse a vasectomy. Also, some urologists will not tell you how crappy your chances can be depending on how long he's had it. In my case, his has been for 14 years. We decided to consult a recommended fertility doctor as well because if the reversal didn't work we'd have to go to IVF next. So, you are talking about $7K+ to maybe work, and then if not another $15K+ for one round of IVF.

We got our options from the fertility doctor. He agreed that if he just did a reversal our chances were slim. He asked us, "what is your end goal, to shoot sperm or to get pregnant?" Well, obviously to get pregnant. So, as unthrilled as I was about doing IVF based on our chances and the cost that is what we chose to do. Let me explain for anyone who has not done IVF. The BASE cost for IVF is about $9K. That does not include the drugs, does not include things like testing, freezing, removing DH's sperm, doesn't include how the eggs are fertilized. It only includes taking your eggs and putting the embryos back in. We sat down with all of our information and price sheets and came up with closer to $18K. The drugs are not cheap, but some offices have a connection with the UK where you can get them for 1/2 the price. Either way, there is not just one set of drugs but multiple types. For me, being 32 at the time and in great health, I was tested for everything under the sun (some insurance covered, but not all of it so that was about $500 more out of my pocket) and it was determined that I had good reproductive health. I started with a drug called Lupron in the begining of April. The drug puts your body into menopause so that you don't ovulate. That shot is a little diabetic needle that goes into your belly. Has to stay cold and has to be done around the same time every day. So makes travel/life a bitch. This drug also makes you crazy and gives you hot flashes. While on the lupron they give you a date as to when they will have you ovulate. About 14 days before that you start these growth hormone drugs (2 different ones) that go into your butt/hip area. They HURT LIKE HELL and leave lumps and sometimes massive soreness where you can't walk. You can't sleep on your sides. These drugs amp up the number of eggs you hope to produce giving you higher chances of fertilzing them. These are very hard to give to yourself so basically you and DH have to be sandwiched at the hip and he has to be able to be ok with giving shots. Luckily mine was. Not all are.  Eventually I did have to give myself quite a few of them because of scheduling.  It's possible, but it isn't easy.

You have to spend a lot of time at the Dr's office. Having tests and ultrasounds. The ultrasounds are internal and are to see how many follicles you have which helps indicate # of eggs. If there seems to be a good number they will schedule you for an egg retrival, if not, the whole thing gets cancelled and you have to start again.

If you move to the retrival stage they give you another huge ass shot called a trigger shot that makes you ovulate at a specific time and they schedule to take them right before that time happens. If you ovulate too soon...all is lost.  The scheduling rules your life and is very stressful because your body doesn't always want to do what it's supposed to at the exact times.

For us, I started all of the shots around April 8th and had my egg retrieval on May 24th. It's a hell of a lot of shots, sometimes 3 a day. Oh, but you aren't done yet. They got 12 eggs, 9 fertilized, and we had testing done (downs, etc) and only 4 were viable at the end of the day. So, on the 29th of May they implanted 2 and we froze 2. Freezing is about $2,000. $1,500 + $500 annual fee. Oh, and to mention that once you have them implanted and are pregnant you have to take Progesterone shots for 3 months! HUGE SHOTS of Olive Oil right into your butt/hip area. They leave lumps and hurt like hell. Those are expensive too, and they don't like to scare you about those until necessary, but I had no idea that after I was pregnant I would still have more shots! You have to wait 9 days to find out if anything took, but home pregnancy tests started showing positive around day 5! We got our Dr. confirmation with a blood test on June 7th. I was pregnant. Not sure if it was one or 2 but based on the hormone numbers they said it looked like one very healthy pregnancy, but could be 2. We had to wait until June 24th to have our first ultrasound to find out if it was one or 2. I was having all of the normal pregnancy symptoms: tired, sore boobs, acne. We drove to the doctor to see our baby's heartbeat and the whole time freaking out "what if it's 2". When we got there I was considered to be 6 1/2 weeks pregnant. (with IVF you are about 2 weeks along at the time of implant). They got me ready and they did the ultrasound. They found the sac, there was only one...yay, no twins. However...What happens next is the sadest thing that I could have imagined. They could not find the baby in the sac. No baby, no heartbeat. We were in shock. The Dr. explains that I'm pregnant, but that it could have implanted and then stopped growing at some point. He said it could be what is called a Blighted Ovum. Basically just a big old empty sac but no fetus. I immediately start balling, and he tells us we need to wait a week, have another ultrasound to be sure. That was the hardest week. Time went so slow and I had no idea what to think. I never had any cramps, no bleeding, nothing at all out of the ordinary. Everything was going perfect...so we thought. When we went back a week later there was no change, and the doctor scheduled me for a D&C the following week (last Friday).

Now, I'm sorry to tell this depressing story, and I know that this can happen (and does) to lots of people even trying to normally conceive. Miscarriages and Blighted Ovums happen all of the time. However, this is where the stepfamily part really comes in...

We had not told the kids yet that I was pregnant. We needed to be closer to the 12 week mark. My biggest fear was telling them, miscarrying, and them and BM jumping in joy over our loss. However, the fact we didn't tell them presents it's own issues now. I've had to have all these appts and tests and I've been in bed and sad. I have to try to fake being happy when they are around. Being 14 and 15 they are very perceptive and know when something is going on. The worst part of it all. I'm angy. I'm so angry that a piece of shit BM was able to just easily pop out 2 kids and then go on to treat them like shit. I'm jealous that my husband has 2 kids with someone else (which I wasn't jealous before...it was just part of life). Just seeing the kids makes me sick right now. I know it's not their fault, but I have all this anger/sadness/resentment about them even just being here. My husband doesn't understand why I don't want to hang out with them. It's hard for me to express that to him though. I mean, he is going through the loss too, but at the end of the day he still has kids and is a dad and I am not going to be a mom. He hasn't put his body through shots like a lab rat for 3 months just to try to have a kid. He hasn't had to lay there while they remove what you thought was going to be your first child. He's not left with 10 extra pounds of weight from the drugs and the fact you've had to lay off of exercise/certain foods/drinks/etc and put your entire life on hold for the past 3 months. In my logical brain I know that it's not his fault that he had a vasectomy and that he had kids with a crappy person before ever meeting me. It's not his kids fault that their mere presence makes me ill right now. But we've just spent close to $20K, and each frozen transfer is going to be another $5K including drugs. So, how much is this all going to cost? Will it ever work? What if it doesn't? Will it ruin my marriage? I'm so scared to try again, but I'm scared not to. I'm worried that now I want my own kids so bad that if I don't have them I will resent him forever for all of this.

I'm sharing this story so anyone considering having kids with a man who has a vasectomy gets all of their information sooner than later so that you know what you could be looking at if you plan to have kids together.  We are lucky enough to be able to afford the first round with paying for most of it and taking out a medical loan for the rest. Insurance in some states will cover some IVF treatments, but I think only 3 or 4 states. Most do not. They will cover some testing but not the actual IVF. Things I didn't even know or consider before all of this. I also had no idea how much IVF really was going to be. Everyone always talks about $10K. $10K is the bare minimum. Right now we are sitting at about $21K with everything including my D&C. Many people cannot afford IVF much less more than one try, and end up their only options of adopting, sperm donor, etc. Those are not options for us at this time.

I'm hoping that something works with the ones we have frozen because right now I'm feeling hopeless and empty. We are going on a week vacation with the kids soon, and I am hoping I can hold it together. My stepmom friends totally seem to understand why the kids are so upsetting to me right now, but my family and bio-mom type friends don't understand and think I'm being rude about them. I'm trying so hard to act "normal" around them, but I'm having a very rough time.

If anyone else has stories they would be willing to share to help me or any other ladies here, I would greatly appreciate it.