Archive for The grind


Pecking this out on my phone so it may not be long. Or complete. Or edited. But I figure I should update since a decision has been arrived upon and all that good stuff.

I saw Dr. Kidney yesterday and he concurs with Dr. Joints (my rheumy) that I should go back on Cellcept for the time being. He wants me to begin the weaning process so that I can switch meds before I come back to see him in a month. He also wrote me a ‘script for a new blood pressure med because he wants to get that under control as well.

Basically I’m on a shitty trajectory and the medical folk would like to get things under control before it all spirals to hell as it is wont to do. So that’s that.

On the work front I am trying to muster up the courage to talk to the boss man today and ask if it would be possible for me to work out a flex time arrangement. I think I will be candid with him about my current shitty health. I hate that in my mind it sounds like an excuse, because really it’s not right? I can’t feel like I’m being lazy because I’m unwilling to work myself into an early grave…and yet for some bizarre reason I do. Must be the Asian guilt.

bitch is back

I am feeling particularly tired and emotional tonight. My body is tired. And my brain is tired about thinking about my body and why it’s so unwieldy and uncooperative.

My body hurts. From my back to my fingers to my freaking teeth. Yes, my teeth hurt.

Not a good sign.

My blood pressure is a mess and my rheumy wants me to go back on blood pressure medication, but I think this would mean I have to wean T. As much as I can logically appreciate the benefits of the end of breastfeeding, the emotional side of me is a blubbering mess about it. Truthfully, our breastfeeding relationship has been at best, a love-hate relationship, but even so, the idea of having to stop now, before we are really ready is a bit gut-wrenching Probably more than it should be. But it feels like once again, a decision is being taken out of my hands and forced on me by my lupus.

Unfortunately as the days tick by and my health deteriorates, I may be running out of options very soon. My blood pressure has gotten scary high at certain points in the last few days and the fact that work has been extra stressful this week has sometimes made me wonder if I could be that urban legend of the person who drops dead in the middle of a stressful moment in the office.

Today I found myself making contingency plans for what happens to Paul and T if I suddenly die.

And so I know that if I have to give up breastfeeding, I have to. Because ultimately I have to be alive to be T’s mommy.

So yeah. I’m praying for a miracle but if nothing changes in the next couple weeks then I will have to make some changes around here.

Pillow talk

Typing this from my phone, in bed, with a sleeping baby attached to my ni.pple. We’ve been lying here like this for almost an hour and I’m so thankful that my bo.obs are still so comforting to him. And also that we’ve learned to nurse laying down.

My sweet little boy decided that since mommy was going back to work that it would be a good time for him to start sleeping 12 hours straight through the night (typically from 7-7 or thereabouts). That means I got at least 6 straight hours of sleep all week! 7 hours some nights. And given how exhausted I was even with that much sleep, I can’t imagine how awful I would have felt if he had still been going to bed at 10pm and waking at 1 or 2am, as he had been doing just a week earlier.

On day 2 of being back at work we also managed to solve the bottle problem. We realized that our little foodie wanted his milk served properly – at body temperature. He is now drinking 4.5 to 6 (!!!) ounces per feed, although sometimes he needs a break so the milk can be reheated to the proper temperature.

T seems to be adjusting to our new lives with relative ease. This makes me both happy and sad. The fact that T is so happy and well adjusted seems to have convinced my mom that maybe my parenting methods aren’t so ridiculous after all and that I do know what I’m doing! So that hasn’t turned out to be the huge issue I thought it would be as she has been mostly agreeable to do things my way as much as she can.

Towards the end of the week he did seem clingier to me at night, wanting to do a lot of comfort nursing before being put in his cosleeper, and my mom said he wanted to be held a lot more on Friday so I like to think that he did miss me and needed the weekend as much as I did.

you can’t go back again

So I’m going to take a stab at writing about going back to work, an event which is now scheduled to occur in less than two weeks. At that point it will have been five and a half months since I’ve set foot in my office, nine days before T was born. It was always going to feel weird going back after so much time away, but from what I understand a lot of “changes” have occurred during these months, people have been let go, moved groups, moved seats, and rumor has it that morale is not just low but nonexistent.

I’ll still be working in the same sales group but with two new (to me) senior team members. I’m hoping that months of being self-sufficient has primed them to continue to be somewhat self-reliant, and not, like a certain team member who sometimes made me feel sorry for his mother who was surely doing his laundry well into his college years.

My plan is to leave the office as early as possible so I can get home before 3pm and take T’s afternoon nap with him. We shall see.

Anyway, a lot of people comment that going back to work must feel “bittersweet” because as sad as I am about leaving T, it must be nice to be around adults and have adult conversation again right?

Erm, no, not particularly. I’m kind of totally fine discussing T’s poop patterns or feeding woes all day long with my other mom friends via text. I find myself with absolutely zero desire to go back to talking about yields, the basis, convexity, and the like all day long again. I know that many women appreciate the opportunity to use the “non-mommy” part of the brain but, personally, I think I’d be quite happy to leave it on the shelf for the next five years collecting dust.

I wanted to be a mom. And now, I am a mom and that is all I really have the desire to be. I love that I know T better than anyone else by far and I love that he wants me when he needs comfort (or bo.ob). This is everything I’ve ever wanted. Being a mom is hands-down the most meaningful thing I’ve ever done with my life.

It kills me that I have to now go back to work and pretend that it matters when I know it doesn’t.

Okay, okay, I know I need a few disclaimers and caveats here now, because yes, I am so lucky to have my job. And it is a good job. I work with good people and I have an amazing boss. On many levels I do really enjoy what I do, it is constantly pushing me to learn more and expand my knowledge base. It’s never boring.

But it isn’t raising my baby. And I feel like if I were doing something like, raising money for orphans in Rwanda or something, I could at least justify that I was doing something good for the world in lieu of raising my baby, but I’m not. There really is no feel good aspect of what I do from a “bettering the world” perspective. I work in an industry that’s about making money.

So I know you’re probably thinking right about now, “Why don’t you stop whining and just quit then?”

Sadly, it’s not really an option. I mean, it kind of is, but mostly it’s not.

Strictly speaking, yes, I could quit. We could make massive changes in our life, rent out the condo, move to the ‘burbs, drastically scale back the luxuries we allow ourselves. Paul makes enough money on his own that, yes, it is technically feasible.

But it really kind of isn’t. At least not right now. You see, I didn’t mention this, but the reason we were suddenly able to afford a night nanny back in February, was because I got a large raise and promotion, yes, while I was on maternity leave of all times. My boss made it pretty clear that it was meant to make the point that I was valued and they wanted me back (see what I mean about great boss?). Anyway, the result of all this is that I guess I’m sort of the primary breadwinner for the household now if we define “primary breadwinner” as the one who brings home 50% more than the other.

But that isn’t even the real reason I can’t leave, because even with that, it still sort of feels worth it to me to give it all up and spend all my time with my son.

The real reason is that I do want more babies. Which for me means inevitably expensive, specialist-packed, monitoring-filled pregnancies. Oh and possibly astronomically expensive NICU stays.

At least for now my company offers crazy good insurance whereby all my many (many) ultrasounds and labs were free (for me). My entire hospital stay for delivery cost me three figures out of pocket. Low three figures. Same for T’s 21-day NICU stay which involved doctors from every pediatric specialty (and a couple radiologists from UCSF). MRI’s, EEGs, ultrasounds, so much labwork they made him anemic (sad face)…you get the picture.

I cannot imagine how much my pregnancy through the end of T’s NICU stay would have put us into debt if not for the generous healthcare insurance provided by my company.

I know it’s not the most inspiring reason to keep working, but it just is what it is.

So I’m going back. And we’ll make the best of it. Like so many other mother’s before have, who didn’t really want to go back to work but had to and it wasn’t so bad after all.

it’s been awhile since i’ve used bullet points

  • I think I was a bit overenthusiastic with the pumping between nursing sessions and managed to pump myself right into the oversupply camp last week. Not the worst problem to have but still a problem when your baby starts crying because your milk is choking him and cries later because he’s filled up on foremilk which has made him super gassy. Luckily, in the age of Google, I’ve been able to get things to a much more manageable level by enduring a few uncomfortable days and scaling back the number of pumping sessions per day. I don’t know what made me think it was necessary to pump after every nursing session? However I’ve pumped so little in the past few days that I’m a little worried I’ve gone too far the other direction so I’m currently searching for a happy medium.

  • T’s platelets are fully in the normal range now, wahoo! Over 300k as of his blood draw yesterday – two pokes because the vein collapsed on the first one and holy mother of god it sucks balls to watch people stabbing your tiny (ok less tiny now) baby with needles and trying to draw blood out while he screams and looks at you like, “Why? Why do you let this happen to me?” Thankfully the clinic where he was drawn had Sweet-Ease which he likes and made the process more bearable. One of the nurses was so sweet and even remembered which room T had had his blood drawn last time and which arm it was from and the other nurse asked how she could possibly remember given how many draws they do a day (and it was almost a month ago!), and she said, “Because I remember Titus!” Aww…my lil guy is already working it with the ladies 😉

  • We are in Day 3 of the grandma experiment. Too soon to say how it’s going but me and my mom really know how to butt heads. I liked having the nanny who just took in what our preferences were and followed them and gave us suggestions but never made us feel like we HAD to take them. I know my mom has the best intentions and I feel bad that I haven’t been able to express that to her because I have all these other conflicting emotions about wanting to be clear that this kid is mine and I’m allowed to raise him my way and expect people caring for him to act accordingly. Anyway, I think all parties feel committed to trying it at least for this week but we’ll have to reevaluate at the end. Personally I’m liking the idea of me watching him a couple nights a week and just hire the nanny for maybe 2-3 nights which makes it a three figure check which doesn’t feel quite so bad for our bank account.

  • Technically my maternity leave ends in two weeks. I say technically because my rheumy has already indicated that he’ll fill out whatever paperwork needs to be filled out to have it extended by four weeks and I intend to ask my boss if I can use up four of my six weeks of vacation this year to tack onto the end of it. Still, the fact that I am technically supposed to be back at work in two short weeks has me freaking the fuck out (pardon the language but no other word can encapsulate how this is making me feel). I’m trying to soak in every moment of being with my baby boy. Even the screamy, squirmy moments. Even the days (like today) when he’s so fussy and refuses to be put down and I don’t even have time to pump or eat between feeding, changing and holding him. The idea of missing one single minute of his life is killing me. The thought of someone else, anyone else, taking care of my sweet baby boy makes my heart hurt. Before he was born I wondered how I’d feel about going back to work, whether I’d see it as a reprieve or if it would be completely and utterly crushing. I’m hoping I still have 10 weeks to go (please please please) but so far I’m definitely leaning towards the latter. If this is how I’m feeling now, I can’t imagine what my last day of maternity leave is going to be like. Lots of blubbering, wailing, gnashing of teeth, and squeezing my baby a little too tightly is probably a good guess.

  • Tonight I proclaimed to Paul that I love breastfeeding. I love looking down at T while he’s nursing and that he looks back up at me as though he’s studying my face. Because he was in the NICU for the first few weeks of his life I was really afraid that he wouldn’t know who I was, that I was someone special in his life and not just one of the many caretakers that have come and gone already. When we are having one of those nice long nursing sessions where I can hear his contented sighs between his swallows, his little hands resting gently on my chest, I feel like he knows that I am the person in this world who loves him more than anything. There is also this weird pride when I look at his multitude of fat rolls and creases all over his chubby little body that I’m the one nourishing him and boy does he look well-nourished!

  • Paul and I have already started thinking about #2. Obviously it won’t happen anytime soon, I think with a c-section it is recommended that you wait at least a year to let the uterus heal completely in addition to the issue about vitamin depletion, etc. But I guess even with all we went through with T, both of us feel strongly that we want another child. Having T and knowing how amazing he is has only reinforced that. Also, not going to lie, I would LOVE to be pregnant again.
  • it’s not all about my uterus

    ** As I’m sure even those of you who don’t give a crap about basketball are aware, the Miami Heat are the new champs of the NBA.  I spent most of the series thinking I was cheering for the Thunder and yet during the actual games cheering for plays made by the Heat.  It was all very confusing until Game 5 when Mike Miller rained down a barrage of three’s even though he could clearly barely walk up and down the court thanks to his old-man back.  That’s when I realized that although I preferred the Thunder stars (KD, Westbrook and Ibaka in particular, Harden needs to shave his beard and then maybe) I can’t stand a lot of their role players.  (Two words: Derek Fisher.  ‘Nuff said.)  The opposite is true of Miami, I love their role players (c’mon, Haslem, Turiaf, Battier, Chalmers, Cole, and Miller with his Gatorade commercial worthy Game 5, what’s not to love about all those guys?) and at the end of the day, I’m a gal that loves role players.  To me, they make up the heart of the team and they are always overlooked despite the fact that a role player is almost always the difference maker in winning a championship.  Stars will do their thang, it’s the role players and their gutsy, no glory performances that make the difference.  What can I say?  I’m a dirty work gal, and I prefer the dirty work players of Miami to those on the Thunder.  So even though I thought I wanted the Thunder to win, I find myself overjoyed for all the players who contributed to the Miami win.  Well done boys.  And just like when the Giants won the World Series a couple years ago, I really, really love that moment when the win sinks in and grown men turn into little boys.  It always makes me smile (unless it’s the Lakers, of course).

    ** Have you guys heard about those little monsters that bullied a 68-year old grandma on the school bus?  I admit, I couldn’t watch more than a few seconds of the video without wanting to burst out into tears.  Reading the descriptions of the things that were said were bad enough.  One of my friends said the dreaded phrase, “kids being kids” and I completely lost it at him.  If that is “kids being kids” then kids must be vile little creatures.  I get kids bullying other kids, but what has happened to our society that kids have the nerve to bully a senior citizen?  My first thought was, wow, I hope their parents are completely ashamed of themselves.  Of course, the sad fact is, they’re probably not.  How else could they have raised such disgusting, disrespectful, foul-mouthed little creatures?  I read in an ABC article that one of the father’s said he thinks his son has been punished enough.  Well, it’s exactly that kind of attitude that has let your son turn into an adult-size asshole right before your eyes.  If that was my kid?  First of all, I’d be asking what I did wrong, and second, I would be marching my child over to Mrs. Klein’s house and tell him he better get down on his hands and knees and beg for forgiveness.  I would also be doing everything I could to apologize (in person, none of this writing a letter and sending it through the news media bullshit) to that poor lady and her family.  And you better believe, every single video game cartridge memory card my kid owned would be deleted immediately, not to mention grounding for the entire summer (or maybe until they graduate from high school).  But again, I doubt any of that will happen to these kids because their parents are probably too busy telling them it’s not their fault.  Thank goodness the little twerps were dumb enough to film the whole thing themselves and put it up on the internet of their own accord, thinking it would be just hilarious.  At least now Mrs. Klein will have enough money to retire and never have to be within five feet of those awful “children” again. Here is the best article I’ve read so far on the whole thing.

    ** My friend Lian pointed out this Atlantic Magazine article to me entitled Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.  I found it fascinating, particularly in that the reasons Slaughter gave for why it is difficult for women with families to succeed in the world of international relations are directly applicable to the field I work in.  Long hours in the office?  Check.  Frequent travel?  Check.  Inflexible schedules?  Check.  And let’s face it, Wall Street is still very much an “ol’ boys club.”  I consider myself lucky that I work in a San Francisco branch office because the work-life balance here is leaps and bounds better than it would be if I were in NYC, but even in SF there is the pressure to put in facetime and never take time off unless you absolutely have to.  For example, I get four weeks of vacation each year but haven’t even come close to taking that amount of time off.  Last year I rolled over the maximum allowed ten days and right now I’m sitting on 26 days of vacation time.  I’ve recently started thinking long and hard about what direction my career will take if this pregnancy is successful and I have yet to come up with any answers.  There are only a handful of women in the office who have a role similar to mine and only ONE that has a child.  The one that does have a child is much older than I am, had her child only very recently (I have never asked but my guess is she plans to have only one, given her age) and was already extremely senior in the firm before she got pregnant.  Most of the men I work with have children, but they also almost all have stay at home (or work from home) wives.  I don’t really have anyone to look to for how to be the kind of working mother I’d like to be if I stay within my current position, and I do find that somewhat upsetting.  I think there are a lot of ways that I could easily do my job at least part of the time from home, but I don’t know if the culture of my job (not just at my firm, but across the entire street) would be open to that.  Hopefully (there’s that word again!) this will be something I actually get to try to figure out in 8 months or so.


    Things happen in God’s time.

    This is what I tell myself.  What I repeat over and over again in my head, even though I’m not sure I can honestly say I feel it in my heart.

    I’m sick of myself, I’m sick of replaying the same old thoughts, sick of feeling the same thing when I wake up every day.

    This morning I responded to a work email that included a group based out of Asia.  I immediately received back no less than three “out of office” messages proclaiming that the receipient was out on maternity leave.  Three different people.  In a country with one of the lowest birth rates in the world.  Three women in one team, in my company, out on maternity leave, at the same time.  A group I never interact with and yet had to email this morning in reply to a completely stupid question that they didn’t even actually need to get me involved in.

    Seriously, Universe?  What the fuck?


    i don’t know why i do this to myself

    I’m so upset right now and it’s my own fault.  I’m upset with myself.  Again.  Upset to the point that I can’t help the tears of anger.

    I wish it would help to throw things, to shout every cuss word I know or can make up, to put my fist through a wall.

    But none of it is going to help or change a thing.

    I got my blood taken this weekend, and it went well.  I went in expecting things to be, at worst, unchanged from my last check which showed things to be stable (not improving but stable at acceptable levels).  I’ve been feeling really good, well as good as I’ve felt in a long time.  No aches and pains to speak of, decent energy levels, everything pointed to things being good.

    And they were.  Well at least the first few tests I’ve gotten back showed things actually improving this time which got my mind spinning with thoughts of maybe, maybe being able to get pregnant next year.

    Then there was today.  Today where ironically I went to a women’s networking event put together by my company.  An event where they talked a lot (mostly) about how to balance having children with the challenges of a male-dominated, time-sucking industry.  And I somehow ended up in a seat (next to my client) where the sun was blasting in directly onto me during almost the entire three hour event.

    I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t bring myself to excuse myself, to move to another seat out of the sun, because I was worried how it would look and what my client would think.

    And an hour later I’m already paying for it.  The joints in my arms and legs hurt.  I feel exhausted.  I do have a sunburn on my legs even though supposedly glass is supposed to at least block UVB rays which cause sunburn (lucky me, I googled after the event that UVA rays cause the most issue for people with lupus and yup, you guessed it, UVA goes through glass).

    So basically I’m fucked.  I fucked myself.  I fucked myself ONCE AGAIN and probably set myself back at least another few months if not longer all for my fucking job.

    Fuck this shit.

    I don’t even know what else to say.

    Is this a sign??!?  Because it feels like a sign.

    Only I don’t know where it’s pointing.

    All I know is right now?  I hate myself.

    Unsurprisingly, all the stress was for naught.

    The hubs withdrew himself from the running for the position today, I don’t have all the details but basically he found out the pay would not be enough, at least not to start.  Their money is tied up due to the “pending matter” so the potential is still there, but really it was a stretch in terms of our finances even with the assumption that he’d get a small pay raise, there’s really no way we can responsibly make it work if he actually has to take a paycut to start.  Or else we’d have to accept being 400 miles apart for at least a couple of years which I don’t think either of us are willing to do at this point in our lives.

    So once again I sit here red-faced, and completely embarassed at how incapable I am of trusting God to guide us when He has never failed me before.

    And, yet another reminder of how little real control I have over anything, we had yet another round of you-know-what’s at work today.

    reality bites

    All that positivity I was feeling last week?

    Gone.  Totally gone.

    On Sunday after service I was actually wondering if perhaps God wasn’t trying to tell me that I should be content at my job, that even though it can be REALLY tough to be a Christian in this environment, that was exactly the reason I needed to stay.  The sermon was about how we can glorify God in everything we do.  I thought it was speaking to me.  I thought it was a sign.

    Now I have another sign.  I feel terrible.  Physically terrible.  I shouldn’t even be sitting up typing this right now since my arms are aching up into my shoulder blades.  My back hurts.  My knees hurt.  My kidneys ache.  Everything hurts.

    I’m exhausted, I feel anemic.  And sadly, I know what that feels like.  It feels like this.  And this feels like another big fucking flare coming on.

    And I’m pissed.  I’m pissed at myself for not knowing my limits.  I’m pissed that once again, just when I was feeling better and hopeful about my health and reproductive possibilities for the future, this is happening again.  I’m pissed that I did this to my own body for a fucking paycheck.  I’m just…so…pissed…at me.

    Last week I went out to a baseball game with a client.  I didn’t really want to go but my senior guy wanted me to come.  It felt like the sunniest freaking day of the summer.  I brought a big hat, I covered myself with my jacket even though I was sweating.  But I should have known that I should have told them I needed to go inside.  That I couldn’t be in that kind of sun even if I was all covered up.  But I didn’t because I was afraid of how it would look.  And now this.

    And of course this was probably the most stressful week for the markets since I’ve started in my new role.  Of course.  And of course one of my senior guys was out so I had to put so much more pressure on myself than I normally do (which is still probably too much).  Of course.  And of course, I can’t take time off even though that’s probably the one and only thing that can stave off this flare right now.  Such is the nature of what I do.

    I don’t know why I do this to myself or how much longer it can go on.  I really don’t.

    I’m dreading going to the doctor.  I don’t want to.  I’m going to up my steroids and hope that helps.