To control or not to control

For the first time since 2005, I've got to think about birth control of all things. I was on the Pill back in 2005 when Moo and I decided to become parents. If you'll remember, it took us two years, constant monitoring of my cycles, two Ovarian cysts and 3 months of Metformin to achieve pregnancy. Not the kind of long hard trip that some folks go through, but long and tiring and aggravating.

So when I went to House O' Babies for my 6 week check-up a few month ago, midwife Lois was ready to talk birth control. To that point, I knew a couple of things. I knew I didn't want to go back on the pill. I was on the pill from the age of 19 until 35 to make me actually have a period and I just didn't want to deal with it. First 6 months I was on the pill, I lost 30 pounds and while that sound fairly tempting, I lost weight because I was nauseous all the time.

Second thing, I'd decided I wasn't going to go on birth control. I'd gotten pregnant because I'd used the tactics of Taking Charge of Your Fertility (TCOYF) to understand my best chances at fertility. Also it had taken medical intervention for us to get pregnant. So I figured that getting pregnant spontaneously was a distant possibility.

So knowing that I didn't want to use medical intervention, I went ahead and discussed BC options with Lois - basically to shut her up. She came up with Nuvaring after I told her I didn't want to go back on the pill (She first recommended Mirena, but said it might be more difficult to insert since I didn't labor or dilate). Then she gave me a prescription and 3 samples of the ring.

Fast forward a couple of weeks of unprotected lovin' and Manda's paranoid. Still no period. No signs of fertility ala TCOYF. Nothing. Reassurances from What to Expect When Your Expecting and Dr Google that it can take up to 24 WEEKS before menstruation returns after delivery.

Decide it can't hurt to try Nuvaring. Application is amazingly easy. Moo takes a "whatever you want to do babe, I'll support you" attitude.

Fast forward almost another two weeks and last night I'm peeing on a stick to allay my fears that despite everything, I'm pregnant.

Yes, people. I peed on a stick.

Why did I pee on a stick? Well I'm tired. Could be that I'm tired cause I'm a new mom, don't get the best sleep, stayed up late almost every night over the weekend.

Also I'm nauseous. Yes, it's a known side effect of the Nuvaring. It's also something I do when it's time for my period. I was also sick as a dog during the first trimester so I feel slightly vindicated for this one.

I am happy to say that the test was negative. Now, on with our show.

More shameless exploitation of my kid - Vicious Monster Edition

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What's happening now...

The last few weeks have been kind of a roller coaster.

First of all, we had a freakin' baby! My brain still has trouble wrapping around that idea. I mean she's here. She's so damn cute and she makes my heart melt with a smile. If you had told me this time last year that I'd have a 2 month old baby, I'd have asked you what you were smoking. I was so discouraged with the whole fertility issue and we were seriously talking about giving up on the idea of having our own child.

So she's here and I couldn't be happier. But her coming has caused us to take a closer look at some other issues in our life.

First issue, Moo and I have made some serious headway into becoming debt-free. I've been listening to Dave Ramsey for a couple of years ago and while I don't agree with everything he says, I feel like he's spot on that debt is crippling this country. Moo and I have been steadily working on becoming debt-free since last Christmas and we paid off a heck of a lot of our debt prior to Phoebe's birth. We've only got a few things left to pay and we decided to, in Dave Ramsey's words, "Drink the Kool-Aid" and do something crazy. That crazy was selling Moo's car.

Moo has had a VW Beetle since we got married back in 2000. He owned a black one then and he decided to trade it in and get a red convertible Beetle in 2005. This thing is the most fun vehicle in the world, but has been nothing but a world of trouble. It's been in and out of the shop since we bought it with sensor issues, computer problems, strange warning lights, you name it. The sheer aggravation of this thing was enough to make Moo start thinking of getting rid of it a few months ago. But right around Labor Day, we got something in the mail from the local VW dealer saying that his particular year was in high demand. So we went over and talked to them. They offered him almost twice what was owed on it and we're paying off a couple of major debts with the proceeds.

Next, I got a notice the other day that a small pension that I had at a previous employer was shutting down and I needed to make a decision on how I wanted my funds to be dealt with. I could let it roll to the new fund where it wouldn't earn more than 1% yearly, I could roll it to an IRA where the market would affect it - and since the market sucks right now, I didn't think that was a good idea or I could take it as a lump sum. Of course, being a former tax professional, I knew there were tax implications related to taking it as a lump sum, but paying off the remainder of our debt except for a small loan and our house seemed to be the most prudent thing to do. So I didn't have any problem signing the paperwork to get the lump sum processed. So basically, during the month of September, we have all but eliminated our debt.

Money issues leads me to the biggest change except for the baby. I decided a few days ago to quit my job and stay home with Phoebe full time. I had been thinking of doing this since I was about 4 months pregnant, but wasn't sure how we could do it. While Moo makes almost twice what I make and what he makes is nothing to sneeze at, our debts were such that it would have been incredibly tight around here. However, with our debts disappearing at a rapid rate, and after calculating child care costs, rising gas prices and other incidentals, it just makes more sense to stay home.

This was a really hard step for me. I had some incredibly good friends at my job and I enjoyed 75% of my job. I hated the stupid things like commuting 30 miles one way and increasing jackassery by top management (not the locals - I liked my boss and his boss), but the folks there were great and the customers were great.

But I'm not just going to be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), I'm going to be a WAHM or work-at-home-mom. I had played around with starting my own business last year, but decided that I didn't want to do retail. For one thing, keeping inventory in my dining room kinda sucked. I was able to sell all my inventory and I may tinker with some retail as a fun outlet, but my main business will be to use my HR and administrative skills in a virtual environment. I've been seeking a good place to do this and have been doing some freelance recruiting while I get the rest of my business going.

There's some other stuff that I want to talk about and I will in the next few days, but I think you can see that my life has changed in so many ways in the last couple of months... and I wouldn't trade my life for anything.

Now, some more cute exploitation :)

Shameless Exploitation of Cute

I took Phoebe to the pediatrician last Thursday and she's doing just great. She's up to 12-1/2 pounds and is 23-1/2 inches long - in the 85th percentile where she's been since she was born.

We're eating 3-4 ounces every 2-1/2 to 3 hours and we mostly sleep through the night (well until 4:30 or 5AM but since we get up at 5, I think it counts).

While we were there, Phoebe got shots - a lot of them! I was nervous about this. I was allergic to the DTP as a child and ran such high fevers that I never completed the whole course. As a result, I got whooping cough when I was 12 - not a fun experience. And that fun continues a long time - they don't tell you that the "whoop" can continue for the rest of your life. For example, I got a bad case of bronchitis back in the spring and started coughing really bad - yep, you guessed it, I started "whooping". It hurts like hell and when I was a kid, it scared me really badly.

Phoebe got her shots and hasn't had any kind of reaction. Not even a little spike in temp... The DTP has been replaced with DTaP which is supposed to have a lot fewer reactions.

And now, the shameless exploitation part. Moo got me a flip video camera as a shower present and I've been having fun capturing little parts of Phoebe's day.

You'll see more cute later this week... too much might run your blood sugar up too much!

What makes my heart melt...

Things I said I'd never do - or how I use that salt as I eat my words...

I'm imagining this will be the first in a continuing series where I detail things I said I'd never do as a parent. Until you've had a newborn screaming at you, you don't really know what you'll do and I imagine that as I go, the word "newborn" will be replaced by infant, toddler, preschooler, etc.

So here's the first thing:

I will never use a pacifier to calm my child.

Ha! This one was dead at the hospital. The hospital where Phoebe was born readily used pacifiers and taught Moo and I several tricks to make her take it when she was really upset.

My mother told two stories about her hatred of pacifiers. The first, involved me. I was about 2 weeks old and my parents gave me a pacifier to settle me down. These were the old fashioned ones that were totally made of brown rubber including the ring, mouth guard, etc. I had been pulling it out of my mouth and screaming, so my Dad - in his infinite wisdom - cut off the ring making it the first ringless pacifier. He didn't count on his daughter being creative at 2 weeks.

Mom said she was on the phone with a favorite aunt while I was in my bassinet a few feet away. She said that I was noisily sucking on the pacifier when I suddenly became quiet. Mother was paranoid even then and decided I was too quiet. She checked on me and I had the ENTIRE pacifier in my mouth - nipple and guard. She said my eyes were bulging slightly and I was turning blue - obviously I hadn't figured out how to breathe out of my nose - and she had to pry my mouth open a little to slide her finger in to pop out the pacifier. I was instantly pissed and cried for hours. From that day, my parents never used another pacifier.

The second story involved our next door neighbor.

Noelle was exactly one month younger than I. She was also addicted to her pacifier. She had to have one at all times to the point of shrieking hysterically that she'd lost her "passy" at my FIFTH birthday party. Her parents literally had decorative bowls around their house filled with pacifiers. Should a passy not be found - like in the middle of the night - her father would go rushing to the nearest all night drugstore (not an easy feat in 1975) to get another. My parents expressed their disgust of Noelle's passy addiction by furtively stuffing their pockets with all the pacifiers they found at the neighbors house and then throwing them away. I, too, was guilty of hiding Noelle's passys - mainly cause she was such a little brat about them.

As for my use of Pacifiers with Phoebe - well, sometimes she likes them, sometimes not. Last night, she was really fussy and wanted nothing to do with a pacifier. Only laying on my chest would calm her down. But sometimes, if she gets really agitated, we swaddle her tightly (how long does that work?!?) and pop the pacifier in her mouth. She'll calm down and go to sleep.

So what have you said you'd never do, but did?