Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son

Items From Our Catalog


Hi, Internets.  I wrote you such a post yesterday!  Well, we can all believe it was wonderful, because the WP iPad app ate it, and only the good die young, right?  In the interest of posting something, anything, here are some items:

Current Events

  • Sugar did not get the promotion/new job she has been waiting to hear about since, oh, February-ish.  (The actual interview was in August, but that’s around when she started the application process.)  Waiting to hear has been a stressful situation for our family, and this news is, of course, even more stressful.  The job would have meant more money and the kind of title and responsibilities that make it easier to move to another good job elsewhere, so that sucks.  Then there’s the part where she is a great employee who has been in this small department for eight years, doing the work of this better job for most of a year, and generally feels pretty damn shafted right now.  “We sure hope you won’t take this as a reflection on how much we value your [tireless, underpaid-even-for-this-department, grant-money-attracting] work in your current position,” says her boss, who can eat ALL THE BAGS OF DICKS, as far as I am concerned.
  • Her boss gave her this news following a big meeting about how there would be a lot of work for the department in February.  She stayed after to tell him that he might need to assign extra staff to those projects, since we are expecting a baby at that time.  Nothing like getting additional rejection immediately after saying things like “I might need to take time off if it’s like last time, because my wife almost died.”
  • No, I don’t think that influenced his decision.  He is not a quick decider, just an asshole.
  • She isn’t getting fired, but it feels a little like that, because if they aren’t willing to promote her to management after eight years, yeah, it’s time to move on.
  • There has literally never been a better time to convince us to come be your neighbors!  Seriously, if you have connections in educational technology and/or public health, be in touch, huh?  We are open to leaving the city.  Probably not — full disclosure — for Indiana.
  • Sugar left early this morning to visit her parents for the weekend, so we get to be apart while processing all this.  Whee.

Democracy In Action

  • We voted in the NYC primary this week.  Sugar tried to weasel out of it by saying she wasn’t registered to a political party (required for primaries in this state), but ha ha, turns out there’s a website to check that kind of thing.  The Bean was putting up a fuss about going, but the return of the old voting machines (with LEVERS!) and the advent of never-seen-here-before STICKERS may have won him over for life.
  • I kind of can’t believe that in a field that included a lesbian and black man, I checked the box by yet another straight white guy’s name.  But, hey, at least he’s married to a lesbian.  And I’m married to a lesbian, myself!

Obstetrics and Midwifery

  • My appointment last week went well.  I saw the midwife again, and I wish she were an OB.  This practice has two CNMs who work with OB patients, but only the OBs deliver.  I’m not sure why this is the system, but I wish I could see this MW more often.  If nothing else, it was a nice break from grilling everyone about whether they are competent/emotionally stable, since I’ve already told her my deal.
  • I had told her about the postpartum anemia last time I saw her, but I hadn’t known for sure it was because of hemorrhage (as opposed to general pregnancy anemia).  I told her the numbers from the hospital records, and she said they would definitely have offered a transfusion.  That is reassuring, vis-a-vis hoping to not be that sick again.
  • She noted in my chart that I had had a postpartum hemorrhage, but said she thinks it is unlikely to recur, since it was probably mostly the septum doing the bleeding.  If a septum includes an artery, she says, “those things can really pump.”  I guess that explains why the doctors used up all the gauze in the room and the supply closet both, stuffing my vagina full of it and pulling it out again.  (Which hurt a surprising amount.)
  • I made a supposedly off-hand comment about how maybe none of this will matter anyway, if the placenta doesn’t move, since I’d end up with an automatic c-section.  She waved her hand, as if dismissing a joke.  “Please.  It’s marginal at sixteen weeks.  It will move.”  I think she is likely to be right, but this was still a nice antidote to my mother’s gloom on the subject.  (My mother generally seems to think I don’t take bad news sufficiently seriously, and so takes pains to impress upon me that bad news is bad.  I’m not sure where she got the impression that I am an optimist.)
  • The most surprising aspect of the appointment is that we did not have a fight or even a lengthy discussion about my plan to refuse the glucose tolerance screening this time around.  I told her how sick I had gotten last time, confirmed that I had eaten beforehand and still was neurologically wrecked for three days, and mentioned my low risk factors for gestational diabetes.  (I restrained myself from opening with what BS I think most of the things written about GD are, at least when it comes to bad outcomes among patients without pre-existing insulin resistance.  And since when is an episiotomy in the same category of outcome as a c-section, anyway?)  I was all set to argue, with data and citations and everything (thanks to Dr. J. F. Scientist and my mother), but she said, “We had a patient like you really recently.  Are you willing to do some monitoring at home?” I am — what’s a few more self-inflicted stab wounds for a fertility clinic veteran, am I right?  “I’ll bring it up at the OB meeting this week, but I’m sure it’s fine.  You’ll have to get a meter.”  And then she got out the doppler and we listened to Jackalope’s galloping heart.
  • I feel surprised, relieved, and perversely thwarted.  I have data, damn it!  Don’t you want to even look at it?  Please?
  • In general, the visit was reassuring on the “have I once again chosen insane care providers” front.

Addled Brain, My

  • I am somewhat bemused to report that the one thing that would have irritated me about that appointment, in other times, namely the MW referring to the amount of weight I’ve gained as “not bad,” didn’t bother me at all, except in an impersonal, cultural-political kind of way.  Huh.  I realized that I never gave them the “please don’t bug me about eating/my weight” talk that led Dr. Russian’s practice to label me as an active anorexic (and therefore interrogate me about my diet at every opportunity, FAIL), partly because they have never told me anything dumb like some imaginary, ideal amount of weight to program my animatronic body to gain without exceeding.  Funny, how not setting a person up to think her weight in under surveilance is helpful in the not-feeling-under-surveillance department.
  • However.
  • I am not doing so very well in the “putting that birth behind me” category (the one comment from my last appointment with this MW that, while meant kindly, did in fact rub me the wrong way).
  • And so.
  • I have decided to look for a therapist.
  • I have very mixed feelings about that.
  • Bunny mentioned in a comment a few posts ago that she wasn’t sure of my feelings about therapy except that I had been utterly enraged by the Baby Factory’s requirement that we see their counselor.  For the sake of clarity, my feelings about Our Dumb Appointment are not my feelings about therapy in general, but are more to do with the screening-for-parental-fitness nature of that requirement.  Eugenics is so pre-war, darling.
  • That’s not to say I have no issues with the idea of going into therapy, many of which are conveniently wrapped up in my feelings about my mother, who is a psychiatrist.
  1. I prefer the convenience of boring and annoying my family, friends, and readership.
  2. My previous experience with therapy (in college) was deeply pointless.  I now realize that might have had more to do with my therapist being a 22-year-old intern from Alma Mater’s social work school than with therapy as a whole.
  3. A lot of therapists, however, are tremendous flakes.  I imagine it’s not a majority, but admit it: it’s a visible group.
  4. Therapy is the town pastime here, in a way that makes me feel ooky.  Woody Allen is much closer to a documentarian than I had realized when living elsewhere.  I am not interested in a lifetime commitment, let alone such an expensive one.
  5. While I think SSRIs and the like are very useful in some cases, I am unconvinced they are all they are cracked up to be for many people.  No, I don’t think you should stop taking yours, but I don’t want to start taking them, either.
  • However, I have to admit that while all the processing I’ve done here and elsewhere has been tremendously helpful (and you have been, you really, really have), I’m getting to a point where I could use some more help.  As much as it feels like heresy to claim this about a vaginal birth that brought me a healthy baby, I am beginning to think that the initials P, T, S, and D are not entirely inappropriate here.  I look at diagnostic checklists, and it’s increasingly difficult to deny that a lot of those boxes have x’s.
  • Thinking of this as PTSD and therefore a cognitive issue rather than only my special snowflake feeeelings makes me think that maybe I should talk to someone who has actually studied this stuff. Which brings me to more sub-bullets!  Criteria:
  1. No generalized wading into my feelings in a global sense.  I am not interested in analyzing my whole life and my relationship to food and my mother and the military-industrial complex.  I have a goal (not completely losing my shit as I approach my due date) and a deadline (my due date).  No quagmires.
  2. No support groups.  I have those, in a virtual sense (Hi!), and in-person ones I think will only feed my sense that what happened to me was not bad enough to feel bad about.
  3. No well-meaning idiots.  Or, as a friend put it, “you mean you don’t think talking to someone with no idea about how birth works and what you were going through will help you deal with feeling traumatized be being surrounded by people who seemed to have no idea how birth works and what was going on for you?”
  4. No “natural”-birth fanatics.  None of what happened was the fault of the epidural or modern obstetrics as a whole, and furthermore, I am planning to go back to the hospital, so I will thank you not to freak me out about that.
  5. Here’s the deal-breaker: takes my insurance.  This is hard enough without feeling I am spending money we don’t have on such a self-indulgent project.
  • So far, I’ve called one person, who has an opening at a difficult time for childcare.  Contrary to my desire, I did not spend the rest of the day hiding under the covers, but lordy, this is harder than I thought.  I can’t believe so many people do it.

And now it is past time to run off to the hippie food coop and cut the cheese for a few hours.  I’m going to publish this anyway.  Verisimilitude, all that.  Links later.

14 thoughts on “Items From Our Catalog

  1. “And then I had a postpartum hemorrhage and nearly died and my doctor told me I was just imagining it and everyone felt that shitty after having a baby” = legit cause for feeling traumatized. You know my feelings on ‘all that matters is a healthy baby’. (What, parents don’t get to have feelings about the pain/ disappointment/ difficulties they endured? BULLSHIT. I STILL remember exactly how harrowing it was to lose my vision, before Bug was born, and it’s been four and a half YEARS.)

  2. P.S. I think you can probably get a meter for free – see here, here, and here. As far as I know this kind of thing is legit- it’s like a printer, they make more money off the strips than the meter.

  3. PTSD sounds completely appropriate, and I hope you find someone who takes your insurance, and can be no-nonsense about the whole situation. Also, who in no way resembles your mother.

    I like Madison, WI! Despite the weasel who is currently our governor, and the sad fact that MN and IA are so much more progressive on the marriage equality issue. Geez. Get with it, WI. But, the libraries are great and the people are nice, and you can escape the city without much effort and be in lovely rolling farmland. There are cows. Also beer, and cheese. Many CSA’s and a couple hippie co-ops. Oh, and houses are cheap compared to NY! And it’s closer to your (or Sugar’s?) family’s northern MI paradise spot. Potential employers: UW Madison, and Epic.

    Sorry to hear about the non-promotion, I hope Sugar finds something much better!

    • Let me emphatically endorse the hippie co-ops. Also the wonder that is the Wall Of Beer at Woodman’s. Plus, Madison has domestic partnerships (a poor relative of actual marriage, I know) and almost all the employers offer equal benefits for spouses or domestic partners! Our fairly nice, 1500-SF 3-bedroom house, with 2-car garage and a garden in the back, cost 165. Which will get you a parking space in NY for a few years, nu? Though, having lived in the Northeast, I do know what you’d be giving up. And MSN airport is GODAWFUL inconvenient, I tell you what. Though! Security is VERY FAST!

  4. PTSD sounds completely appropriate given what you went through. And I call BS on vaginal birth and healthy baby. You nearly died. There were POOLS of BLOOD. Come on, lady! Cut yourself a break. Pull up those big-girl pants and get yourself some help yo. That way, you can rock it with the Bean, part II-the sequel is born in February.

  5. As a LMSW I hear you on the therapy stuff so maybe looking for a therapist that uses a more cognitive behavioral approach or one that uses EMDR would be more approrpiate. My colleague at work is starting her own private practice, Nancy Perez, LCSW

  6. My therapist was recommended by my RE. Therapist’s husband is an ob/gyn. Really good place to process reproductive related traumas…

  7. Sorry to hear about the non-promotion. I’ve been there, and it does feel a lot like a firing. I hope something great comes Sugar’s way soon.

    Also hear you on the difficulty of a) accepting therapy as a useful tool on a personal level and b) finding a therapist who meets all of your criteria. I briefly saw a terrible therapist just before we began TTC. If I ever go back to therapy I’ll have to spend the first several months just processing my time with her.

  8. Seriously, what is the matter with people? I would like to slap Sugar’s boss upside the head. I would love to have you live next door, or even in our house, but since I’m not that crazy about the place that we live, I couldn’t in good conscience recommend the move, alas.

    I have always placed the label PTSD on your experience in my mind, and am surprised to hear that you have had even the slightest reluctance to do the same. You were injured, traumatized, could have died, and took a very long time to recover physically. I’m glad that you’re seeking help in whatever form it may come, and hope that you can find someone close, helpful, convenient, and insurance-accepting. Good luck!

  9. God I hate therapy. Hate, hate, hate. And for no good reason except that it always seems to wander off into the kinds of things I tell my friends anyway. I think having an older therapist helps a little–one my own age just doesn’t have the gravitas or something. Sucks about Sugar’s job–especially if they are going to try to give her even more extra work on top of the extra work and not pay for it. I doubt you all would be up for a return to Chicago, but it’s so pleasant here, and we have lots of cute gaybies for the Bean to play with!

  10. I think Alaska would be a hard sell. 🙂 And jobs are scarce unless you’re into government work or something to do with oil. So maybe not.

    Sorry to hear about Sugar’s job. I hope the perfect thing will come along and blow this opportunity out of the water. C got…let go from a job she hated about 8 years ago and even though it sucked for us at the time it sure was a good thing. I always dream of running into the psychopath who fired her (neglected to renew her contract, technically) and tell her what a wonderful thing it was for our family, thank you so much and also f*&% you. It’s a nice daydream.

  11. I’m sorry about Sugar’s non-promotion. It is really hard to go through the entire process of applying, interviewing, etc. etc. within your own organization to then get knocked back.

    Have you considered Canada? 🙂

    I have a friend who had a very very very bad first birth. She saw someone while pregnant with her second, and it helped a lot. I hope having someone professional listening can help you as well. In my experience good friends (online or otherwise) and family can only do so much.

  12. just wanted to chime in on above post from NYCphoenix: yes, CBT, yes EMDR. i wish my shrink took insurance b/c not only is she within walking distance, she specializes in all things pregnancy and fertility related. (how i found my way to her, i don’t know. clearly, it wasn’t because of any baby stuff.) anyway, email me if you want her info regardless because it sounds as though she does/knows exactly what you need. then again, anyone i’ve ever sent to her has hated her. likely because she’s refreshingly honest. ok, babbling…

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