Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Milestones, Baby Shopping, & The "Small" Stuff

This weekend marked several milestones for me.  First, as of July 23rd, we've been married for a year and a half, which also means that my first Diaversary is only a month away.  Then, on the 24th, I celebrated my 23rd birthday and the 12 week mark of my pregnancy.  According to the ParentsConnect Pregnancy Calendar, where you can view your little peanut in a 3D rotatable view,
Junior has doubled in size over the past two weeks and now weighs almost ½ ounce. He's also now around 2 ½ inches long, about the length of your pinky finger or a Vienna sausage, which, in a few months, will be indistinguishable from one another.
Interesting, right?  I think so, at least.  I start every day with an email that tells me what is going on that very day in my pregnancy, which I find fascinating.

I did some shopping for baby clothes this weekend with my mom at an outlet mall, which included The Children's Place, Gymboree, and Carter's stores.  I found a lot of adorable stuff, which I was eager to show off to my husband when we got home.  He was less impressed with the two outfits with dogs on them (because he usually despises anything pet-related anyway), but he loved the Carter's Microfleece Sleep & Play with a moose on it, as well as a onesie from Gymboree that says "My Daddy Drives a Big Truck" on the front.  We both also liked the Carter's Sherpa Pram with teddy bears on the footies and ears on the hood...who could resist a little baby bundled up in something so soft & cute?!

Yesterday I also got my scores from the Petunia Pickle Bottom Semi-Annual Online Outlet Sale in the mail, and I couldn't be happier.  From their Organic Layette collection, I got a Social Set and a Snuggle Set in gender-neutral-ish prints (which, of course, means picking the boy version, as my husband would kill me if I tried to dress our potential son in girly colors!).  I also got a set of their Swaddling Blankets (also made from organic cotton), and a Stroller Blanket that should match our red Britax B-Ready Stroller & Chaperone Car Seat, which we bought several months ago (pre-pregnancy) because we got them for about $350 cheaper than retail online.  We actually started buying baby gear last Christmas, because (a) we knew we'd need it anyway & (b) because it's all so expensive, we figured we might as well spread it out to make it easier on our wallet.  I'm all about bargain shopping (hence the outlet malls & sales), so my skills have been put to good use while buying baby stuff!

All of this shopping has helped me get more excited about everything as well.  As many of you know, I've struggled with not being able to truly enjoy my pregnancy due to all of the issues my family has been having lately.  I finally decided one day that although the problems were still going to be there, I could change how I let them affect me.  I realized that by not being happy, I was not only giving my sister exactly what she wants, but also making the devil very happy that I wasn't enjoying one of God's greatest blessings for us.  The next morning, I woke up feeling rested for the first time in a long while, and it felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  The issues with my sister continue every day, but now I choose to not let it all interfere with the feelings I have toward my pregnancy and our baby.  She's taken so much from me, but I refuse to allow her to take away my happiness.  After all, we'll only have this time with this child once, so we need to make the most out of it.

One thing that still bothers me, though, is when people (usually the same ones who encourage me not to let my sister's situation influence my feelings about our pregnancy) find out that my sister is having a girl, and make the comment that "Maybe [we'll] have a boy so that [my parents] will have one of each/so there will be less competition between us."  If it really doesn't matter that my sister is pregnant too, it follows that the gender of her child should not have any effect whatsoever on what we "should" or "shouldn't" have.  Furthermore, although I would be extremely happy with either a boy or a girl as long as they're healthy, I've always secretly wanted a girl.  I cried the day I found out what my sister was having because it felt like one more thing she had taken from me-especially because she's such a tomboy herself, and I've always been the girly girl.  I know she had no control over her baby's gender, but I still couldn't help but feel like it was another blow from the universe.  I tend to get bitter whenever people bring up the gender issue simply because everyone knows my sister is pregnant too, and the comparison is inevitable.  I end up just shutting down because I never want to hear the remarks that come with it, and I don't know how to respond when people push their opinions on me when I feel just the opposite.

I was listening to Carrie Underwood's sophomore album Carnival Ride the other day, and the lyrics to her song "So Small" really hit home:
It's so easy to get lost inside
a problem that seems so big at the time
it's like a river that's so wide
it swallows you whole
While you sit around thinking about what you can't change
and worrying about all the wrong things
time's flying by
moving so fast
you better make it count 'cause you can't get it back

Sometimes that mountain you've been climbing is just a grain of sand
What you've been up there searching for
forever is in your hands
When you figure out love is all that matters after all
It sure makes everything else
Seem so small
It was a good reminder of focusing on the important things in life, and realizing that sometimes the things that are bothering you really aren't that big in the grander scheme of things.  Every day is still a struggle, especially when I have to be around my sister, but I'm slowly making progress.  Everything that she does frustrates me to no end, but I've given up holding onto all of everyone else's problems because (a) I can't do anything to fix most of them & (b) it isn't fair for me to shoulder that burden when I have my own health and pregnancy to worry about.  We're supposed to have a "family meeting" to discuss it all, but it hasn't happened yet.  I don't know if it will do any good, because everything hinges on my dad withdrawing financial support, and I honestly don't see that happening anytime soon. 

The thing that bothers me most about it all is that a good portion of the things my parents have been paying for are far from being necessities.  She made the choice (against my parent's wishes/instructions) to apply for Medicaid as a secondary insurance to cover her hospital bills (my parents' policy is still her primary insurance), so I believe that if she is going to have the attitude that she can't pay those things on her own, she shouldn't have cable either.  Today, my mom and I saw the Dish Network people at her house installing the satellite.  She claims that she has it paid through the end of the month as a carry-over from her previous apartment, but the month is almost up, and she doesn't have a job!  It angers me to know that whenever it comes time to pay the bill, she'll be asking my parents for money again-money that they don't necessarily have, and obviously satellite tv is NOT a necessity!

I know that life isn't fair, but I fail to understand how there can be so many blatant injustices that happen even in our own families.  I hope that in raising our children, we can make an effort to treat them all equally, because I've experienced and witnessed what the alternative does to families.  I may have no control over the fact that I have diabetes, or that countless people have enabled my sister in ways I can't even begin to fathom, but I can do everything in my power make sure that my children have the best, healthiest life possible...And that's exactly what I plan to do.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pregnancy Ups & Downs

A few weeks ago, I shared the big news that we're going to have a baby(!).  Since then, it's been a whirlwind of pregnancy symptoms and the feelings that come along with the realization that our life is soon going to change in a major way.  I've wanted a baby for so long and for so bad that it hurt, so I've been trying to see the not-so-fun symptoms as a means to a wonderful end.  That first week when my blood sugars were so out of control, I told my husband that I'd gladly deal with anything as long as my blood sugars and health stayed in line, and so far, so good.

I've still had some wacky numbers and more highs than I'd like, but overall my level of control has been very good, with my average still in the 95-105 range.  I've given up feeling like I have a handle on this disease, though, because just when I think I have things down, it throws me for a loop again.  Instead, I've just been trying to keep a close eye on my numbers and changing my insulin rates accordingly...basically, what I've done all along, just on a much more frequent basis than usual!

Physically, I've felt pretty good aside from extreme exhaustion.  I have a very hard time keeping my eyes open most afternoons by at least 4:00, then I crash on the couch for a while when I get home.  Evenings are pretty much nonexistent for me, because I'm either halfway asleep on the couch or going to bed early.  I've had some nausea, but haven't actually been sick, so I guess that gives you mamas that had horrible morning sickness license to hate me-some of my friends do! =)

Emotionally, it's been up and down for me lately.  I am very truly thrilled that we're finally getting to experience the blessing of a baby for ourselves, but my sister's situation has made everything bittersweet.  I deleted my previous post about all of that, but in short, she got pregnant right before my appointment in May to see what my A1C was.  Due to our past history and her own problems, a lot of us believe that she got pregnant on purpose.  It was definitely a stab in the back for me, because I wanted a baby so badly but had been waiting to get my blood sugars as tightly controlled as possible before conception.  I'd been putting in a lot of the hard work, so May was the potential light at the end of the tunnel for me...then that happened.  Ours was supposed to be the first grandbaby in the family on my side, so I feel like she took something from me that was rightfully mine.

To add insult to injury, it's like she refuses to let me be happy.  People tell me all the time to not let her bother me and to just try and enjoy my pregnancy and prepare for our baby, but she's making that extremely hard to do.  Whenever anyone brings up my pregnancy or asks how I'm doing, she has to butt in and mention something about her being pregnant.  Example: I was talking to my high school friend's mom one day, and she was asking how I was feeling.  I was just telling her that I hadn't had any morning sickness yet when my sister walked up and proceeded to go on about how SHE'D been sick for the whole first FOUR MONTHS of HER pregnancy(!!!)  At that point, I just stopped talking and walked away, because what can you do?  She literally can't stand it when someone asks about my pregnancy without knowing that SHE'S PREGNANT TOO(!!!)

I honestly don't know how to deal with this situation, because the simple fact is that although I know I shouldn't let her bother me, she does.  She gets to me so bad that it's interfering with my ability to be happy about our blessings, which is really and truly sad.  I shouldn't have to feel like I can't bring up my pregnancy with anyone-I should be able to enjoy it just as much as (or more than) her, because our pregnancy is a blessing in every way.  Unlike her, I have a husband who loves and supports me and our baby, I waited until my diabetes was under control before conception, and we're completely independent financially-so we don't have to rely on my parents to buy everything for us.  That should all make me happy, but in reality, the latter fact makes me resent her even more...because while this should be our time of joy, my parents are totally consumed with buying her baby stuff & haven't been giving us the attention we deserve as a result.

Since I have a minor in Psychology, you would think I'd have figured a way around all of this by now...but I haven't.  I'm at a complete loss as to what to do to be completely happy despite her obvious desire to ensure otherwise.  It's created a rift between my parents and I (with whom I was extremely close before), and is a source of stress for literally everyone in our family (and some of the extended family).  All the while, she is incredibly self-absorbed and feels entitled to everything she receives, plus more.  She doesn't understand the impact her situation has had on everyone, nor does she care that her lack of a job (or plan/motivation to find one) has put a lot of unneeded financial strain on my parents, who recently bought a house in town to rent to her.  As the oldest sibling, I feel like it's my responsibility to fix the situation even though I know it's probably not possible for me to do so.  I worry about the impact it will have on my little brother, who will be taking some college classes as a junior in high school this year and will be graduating and going to college before long.  It seems like my parents are punishing him for my sister's mistakes by being stricter on him...which they also were on me.  There has been a long history of her getting away with anything she does, while my brother and I were always held to a different (higher) standard, both behaviorally and responsibility-wise.  It definitely isn't fair, but it's also hard for me to be in the position of trying to point this out to my parents without driving the wedge further between us.

I recently ordered a few books on the subject of family rifts, so hopefully they will give me some much-needed perspective on the situation.  If that doesn't work, I've been considering trying to find some counseling either through our church or with a licensed therapist, because I know it isn't fair to go on feeling like this when I should be getting excited about and preparing for our little one.