Steal My Identity, Please

Things get misplaced in our house a lot. Certain people never put things back in their proper places, and chaos ensues whenever the person in charge of handling things needs the misplaced item.

Usually my husband is at fault for losing things. Check books, bills, important documents. He’s lost his social security card and Little Man’s birth certificate before. He replaced the former and we found the latter.

As you can imagine, with my tendency to be a bit high strung (to put it lightly), I don’t tend to react well when items are misplaced. Well, now I’ve lost something. Somethings, actually. And it’s one of the biggest fuck-ups of my life thanks to the potential outcomes this loss could have.

We have four safes in our house. No, we don’t have that many valuable objects by a long shot. One has a few coins and stamps and other miscellaneous things I collected as a kid; one has random objects of sentimental value my husband has picked up along the way; another has letters; and the last has things that really belong in a safe–my guns, credit cards, bullets, and medications.

That’s what it has now. It used to also (occasionally) have our passports, birth certificates, Social Security cards, and marriage license.

Yes, “used.”

Prior to a month or so ago, when I finally got Baby Girl’s birth certificate, these personal items were scattered in various places throughout the house. If you wanted, say, my birth certificate and Little Man’s Social Security card, you’d have to go on a treasure hunt. You might find one item in the letters safe and the other item in my husband’s desk.

And when BG’s birth certificate came in, I had a great idea–“why don’t I collect these items, put them all in an envelope, and put them in the one important safe. That way they’ll be all together. And if we need one of the items, we’ll just take the envelope, keep everything together, and do whatever we need and put the envelope back when we’re done.”

I now see what an idiot I was. Keeping everything, all the items needed to prove our identities, get credit, etc., in one place? Sigh.

A couple weeks ago, Sam and I set out to the bank to open a savings account for BG. We’d been sticking all of her money in a fancy cup that’s on display in the kitchen (not in the safe, because what sense would that make?). Now that we had her birth certificate, it was time to give her the real thing.

I got the envelope full of important documents and off we went. I was so fucking nervous that something was going to happen to it. I realized then how stupid it was to carry everything at once–what if?! As it turned out, the bank was busy and we couldn’t get in to see anyone about opening the account, so we decided to try another day.

Yesterday I went to get something out of the important safe. And I realized the big envelope wasn’t in there.

Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit. 

We’ve searched everywhere. We’ve looked in the car, all over the house, and that fucking envelope is nowhere to be found. As you can imagine, I was freaking the hell out.

“Gah, I hate myself, I’ve pretty much told all the thieves in there world, ‘here, let me making it really fucking simple to steal our identities!'” I told Sam in tears. “I mean, I have possibly ruined our kids’ futures!”

Sam tried to console me. “Maybe I was the one who lost it,” he suggested.

“No, I didn’t trust you to hold the envelope,” I told him.

More freaking out ensued. Anxiety attack. We searched again. Nothing. More anxiety and tears. I have no idea how I could have lost it, considering how freaked out I was about carrying it to the bank. Even on the way home, I had it clutched in my hands, worrying over it. And I have absolutely no memory of doing anything with it afterwards. It’s so fucking weird.

“Look, you either left it in the car and it got stuck in some trash or you brought it inside and it got mistaken as trash and thrown away. I doubt any thief is going to go through our trash and find that envelope,” Sam said.

“Then why do you shred all of the bills with our names and account numbers?” I countered.

He was silent for a moment. “Well, I don’t want to make it easy for anyone to get, either.”

“Exactly. And I made it easy as hell. Someone’s gonna find it, get lines of credit in our names, the kids’ names, then everyone’s credit will be ruined, they won’t be able to get student loans, get a house…someone could see the kids’ ages and come kidnap them and sell them, since they have all the proper ID,” I continued ranting.

Sam disappeared for a little while and called me into our bedroom, where he was typing up something on the computer. “Look, here’s a list of all the documents missing and how we need to go about getting them. Doesn’t that help?” he asked.

“No. I knew within five minutes what we’d have to do to get them all replaced. Why would that help?” (Yes, you’re probably right to think “Poor Sam.”)

He sighed. “Think about what’s likely to happen. It’s not likely that someone’s gonna find that envelope and steal our identities or come kidnap our kids.”

“I don’t care about likely. I care about what’s possible.”

Sam continued to try to calm me down. “Look, we’ll get these things replaced. I’ll get the kids added to our credit tracker online, that way if anyone tries to open accounts in their names we can stop it automatically. It’ll be okay. Try not to worry.”

After that, Sam talked me into going out by myself for a while to calm down. I went out to grab a bite of dinner and drove around for an hour or so. It helped. Later last night, Sam and I talked again after the kids went to bed.

“Thanks for being so nice about it,” I said.

“Why would you thank me for being nice? It was a mistake. Mistakes happen.”

I don’t make those kind of mistakes. And if it had been you, you know I’d still be pissed at you. I got pissed when you couldn’t find Little Man’s birth certificate for an hour.” To state the painfully obvious, he is by far the better half in our relationship.

“Yeah, well, we’re different people. It was a mistake and everything’s probably going to be okay. We’ll just keep an eye on things and if something happens, we’ll handle it,” Sam said.

I was hoping that those damn papers would turn up somewhere today, since sometimes it’s easy to overlook things when upset, but no such luck. I know that everyone is prone to screwing up–lord knows I have more than my fair share of fuck ups–but I’m baffled by this one.

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An Open Letter To Anxiety

Dear Anxiety,

You’re a bastard.

I’ve repeatedly tried breaking up with you, but being the son of a bitch you are, you just keep hanging around.

It’s bad enough when you show up during social situations or other times during my waking hours (like where the kids are concerned), but now you’re coming around a lot at night again?

You suck.

For a while, we had a bit of an understanding about you staying away after my head hit the pillows. The Zoloft and the sleep pills were pretty effective at keeping you away or otherwise occupied more often than not.

But then they went away.

I’ll give you credit–you tried staying away for a little while. But then you slowly edged your way back into my nightlife. You showed up in my dreams again, whereas the (sometimes little) sleep I did get was mostly dreamless. I liked that. I’m not a fan of dreams that take me back to places I’ve pushed away to the back of my mind. I don’t like the other dreams that have a number of horrible things happening to me or my loved ones that make me wake up feeling terrified, either.

I could deal with that, since (baby stuff aside), I was doing better sleeping overall. If that was the only place you showed up at night, then I was willing to let that slide.

But that wasn’t enough for you.

Then you decided that you really missed the good old days where you had me awake for hours after I laid down. Am I really that good company? I have a decent enough sense of humor, but considering that I prefer keeping to myself to the point that my husband thinks I have a future as a recluse, I wouldn’t think so.

Whatever it is, you really like being around me now after I lay down. Even though I clutch a pillow over my head to block out all noise and light, something I’ve done since I was a little kid, you still have me hearing little noises that make me automatically think someone is either in the house or is breaking in and that we’re all about to die. Of course when I remove the pillow and look around, I find nothing. I even discover that the pillow was blocking my hubby’s snoring and the loud air conditioner, things I didn’t hear, even though I heard the other slight noise.

Another trick you seem fond of is manipulating the light. When I remove the pillow to look around sometimes, it seems like shadows change slightly, which obviously means someone is in the house and is ready to hurt us. But, of course, that hasn’t been the case so far.

I’m kinda getting sick of your company. If I’m going to stay awake for three or four hours after I lay down, I’d rather be doing something useful or fun, like reading. Mostly, I’d rather get a good night’s sleep so the next day isn’t off for me, so I can be the mom and wife I need to be. But you’re a greedy little bastard, aren’t you? I (unwillingly) gave you an inch, and you took a mile.

It’s time to break up again, and this time for good. I’d love it if you would not only take a hike at nighttime, but if you’d leave all other areas of my life as well. You see, I know these little fears you plant in my mind don’t make sense, that certain fears happening aren’t probable, even. Since being fairly smart is one thing I’ve always taken pride in, you being around and making me think things that aren’t remotely logical absolutely eats at me. If you can’t leave on your own, then I’m gonna let the psychiatrist know that you’re up to your antics again when I see her in a couple of months.

And it’s not you, it’s me. I’m just not the kind of person who responds well to things like you.

E

Slipping And A-Sliding

After about a solid month of being in either a fantastic mood or really good mood, things are finally feeling familiar again.

And by familiar, I mean shitty.

I’ve shied away from blogging as much as I usually do (which means maybe I’m posting a normal amount) because trying to force the happy face online and in person is a bit much, but fuck it.

I wonder how much the fear of one’s mood crashing in the back of one’s mind could contribute to a mood slippage. Or make it happen sooner, anyway. Hmm.

“Things haven’t been right with you all week,” Sam told me on Saturday night after I snapped at him over something trivial, as I had been doing the past couple of days.

Well, no, they haven’t, as my lovely mood chart confirmed. Over the past week things have been nosediving. I guess I should be happy that I had a nice little run–and I am–but it’s also frustrating to know how good I could feel versus how I actually feel.

I hate that, though–the snapping at people. It’s one thing to be in my own personal sorta hell because of my moods, but taking it out on others? Not good. And even when I do refrain from being snappy or grouchy, I wonder if they sense how much I’m seething underneath, how much darkness is there.

I know this will pass eventually and then I’ll be back at…something. I’m not quite sure what normal is for me yet. But for now I’m trying not to let those thoughts consume me again, push those feelings away as much as I can. According to the shrink, this shouldn’t be as rough as in the past or last as long, so here’s hoping she’s right.

On a somewhat related note, the new mood chart app I switched over to several weeks ago, called T2 Mood Tracker, has yielded interesting info. You can track several moods or even input your own stuff. I did this to track hypomania (along with depression and anxiety), since the mood tracker I was using only let you say things were good or bad. Not enough information.

Anyway, this tracker shows that my anxiety and depression symptoms are almost always inline with each other. When the anxiety is low, the depression symptoms are low. When the anxiety is high, the depression symptoms are also high. What does this mean to me? I dunno just yet, but thought it was interesting.

Warning Label: Not A Bitch

I met my best friend J through my husband–he was good friends with her fiance. J and I didn’t hit it off very quickly. In fact, it was about five years before we got to be good friends. We didn’t see them that often except for the occasional party, and it’s kinda hard to get close with people when passing out is involved (hey, I was in college!). Plus, we didn’t live in the same town for about four of those years.

So, a few years down the road, when my hubby and I moved back to our current town, we started doing things with J and her husband occasionally. J and I became friendly, but not close.

On Christmas morning of that year when we started doing non-drunken things together, I got a text that said “Merry Christmas, love you guys!” from an unknown number. I replied back with “I don’t know who this is, but Merry Christmas.” And then I got a text back saying that it was J.

“Why is she texting me?” I asked my husband. I thought it was a little weird to be getting a text from someone that I didn’t talk to outside of seeing her when we did occasional non-drunken things together.

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My husband didn’t think this was so weird. “Aren’t y’all friends?”

“I dunno. Sort of. Not really. We don’t talk outside of when we get together to go out for supper.”

“Well, maybe this is her way of reaching out and saying she wants to be friends,” Sam suggested.

He was right. Well, maybe that isn’t what she intended, maybe she thought we were friends all along, but now we’re besties.

A couple of years after being pretty close, we were at their house at a little get together where a lot of drinking was involved. Another girl there, who I’m fairly close with now, made a rather drunken revelation. After telling me that J had mentioned my hearing–that I wasn’t being rude if I didn’t answer something–she told me something else:

“J also told me not to be put off by you because you really aren’t a bitch, just to give you some time to warm up! I’m glad I did, because I loooooove youuuuuuu!”

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I couldn’t find anything relevant, but thought this was funny.

She thought this was hilarious. So did drunk me. But the next morning, I asked my husband, “Do I really come across as a bitch when I first meet people?”

He didn’t answer for a minute. “Um…do you think you come across as a bitch?”

“Come on, tell me the truth.”

“Well, you know how you get really nervous around people and don’t talk much? I can see how some people might construe that as you being a bitch. Others probably think you’re being snooty by not talking. Especially when you don’t hear them and they think you’re ignoring them…it’s kinda funny.”

Okay, then.

Social anxiety or not, I generally don’t like talking to people. Or not the typical talking that consists mainly of small talk. But I wouldn’t have considered myself bitchy–just intolerant of small talk. And being intolerant of small talk is apparently not something that others pick up on since people are always trying to chat when I’m out. No amount of avoiding eye contact and pretending to look at something on my phone seems to help.

“Don’t worry about it,” Sam told me. “She’s just being protective of you.”

I found out a couple weeks ago that I’m not the only person J is protective of–she’s also very protective of our good friend A. When people first meet A, they think he’s an asshole of epic proportions. That’s what Sam and I thought at first, too, but after we got to know him, we found out that he really isn’t. He just rubs people the wrong way at first. Anyway, I teased J about my bitch warning label, and she told me that she has started telling new people that A isn’t really an asshole, to just get to know him.

“I love you guys. I am protective–I want other people to get to know you like I do.”

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Baby Girl’s Birth Story

In less than a week, I’ll have a one-year-old. As such, I wanted to take the time to sit down and write out her birth story, from the time we decided to try for a baby to, well, having the baby. This is really more for myself, hence the length (so I don’t forget too many details later), but you’re welcome to read about Baby Girl’s journey to this world.


To sound all clichey, it’s hard to believe how fast this year has gone by. Or that it has been almost two years since we decided to try for another kid.

My husband was not sold on trying to have another kid. He didn’t really embrace the idea of another kid until after the positive pregnancy test. At that point we had Little Man and two losses, both of which hit Sam really hard. Not that they wouldn’t hit anyone hard, but he’s one of those guys who takes it super hard when he sees his wife struggling, when he can’t do anything to fix things. So on top of his own grief, there was that, making things tougher for him.

I understood why he was hesitant. I was hesitant too, but I was still willing to risk the possibility of further pain to have another kid.

“How many times are you willing to try?” I asked him after he finally agreed. With a 33 percent success rate at that point, I had already accepted that we would probably have a loss.

“What? Just once. If we lose that one, I don’t want to try again. What were you thinking?”

“Three times.”

He shook his head. “No, that’s too much.”

“Let’s just see how things go.”

After I had my IUD out, I figured it would take a while to get pregnant, since what I read indicated 6 to 12 months on average before conception. Not for us–it took two months of trying before that positive pregnancy test (and the five more after it, just to make sure). The only “issue” with getting pregnant so quickly was Zoloft. My OB had suggested I drop Zoloft and stay on Wellbutrin, and I had been decreasing the dosage but hadn’t weaned off completely since I thought I had time, so I had to rush that.

We had an ultrasound at 6 weeks to make sure the baby was where she needed to be (not ectopic, I suppose). We also got to hear the heartbeat. That evening, we told Little Man he was going to be a big brother and showed him the ultrasound picture of the tiny little peanut. He was excited beyond words.

About two weeks later, we had the first scare. Spotting–lots of it, plus cramping. I was devastated. With my history, I was sure there was no way that I’d have that much spotting and still be okay. I cursed myself for telling Little Man, for putting that pain on him.

My husband called the doctor the next morning and they saw me immediately. They did an ultrasound and said everything looked fine. He did a blood test go check my HCG levels and they were as they should be.

We were able to breathe. For about a week. Then I started spotting again, and even more this time. Once again, devastation. This is really it, I thought.

Since it was Friday night, I couldn’t see the doctor, but my OB put in a blood test order at the local hospital for the next morning. I had stopped spotting the next morning, but was still very scared. After Little Man’s early baseball game, I had the blood drawn and waited. Finally the on-call OB messaged me to let me know things looked good.

I was back at the OB’s office the following Monday morning where he checked things, did another ultrasound, and confirmed that things were fine.

The next few weeks were scare-free, and we made it to the second trimester. I informed my husband what the chances of a successful pregnancy were at that point. Not that this truly mattered since I was 18 weeks when I miscarried Baby N, but it was something.

It was around that time that we got the results of the Harmony test, which is a blood test that checks for Down syndrome, plus Trisomy 18 and 13. Our doctor had recommended this test since Baby N had Down syndrome.

“It doesn’t matter if the baby has Down syndrome,” my husband had informed the OB.

“I know that, but it’s good to know so you can prepare yourselves. This test also tells you the gender a few weeks sooner than the ultrasound would.”

We got the call on my husband’s birthday. Everything was fine. And the sex–you know that by now, a girl.

Another easy couple of weeks went by and then that was the last that the pregnancy would be relatively stress-free.

At around 16 weeks along, we got the results of the AFP screen during an ultrasound with the maternal-fetal medicine specialist we had seen for an earlier ultrasound. The ultrasound tech kept commenting on how the baby’s spine looked normal, which we thought was weird. And then the doctor came in, took a look at things, and said that he didn’t think it was likely that our baby had spina bifida, but that he couldn’t rule out something being wrong with her brain because he couldn’t get a good picture.

Wait, what?!

We obviously hadn’t been given the results yet, but result of the screen was 1:6. This was way high. So high, the doctor said, that there had to be something wrong, even if it wasn’t spina bifida.

To add to that, her size wasn’t where it should be. We were told to come in for the level two ultrasounds every three weeks to keep an eye on things. So once again we were panicking, and there wasn’t a thing we could do, other than do research online to make ourselves feel worse (okay,was the one doing the research).

At the next appointment, BG’s size had dropped even more. The specialist didn’t see anything wrong with her brain, but again reminded us that something had to be wrong. Likely something with the placenta.

This continued. The next appointment the specialist advised us to be ready for her to come at “any moment.” This was around 23 weeks and you know what the likelihood of survival is at that point. Add to that her small size and, well–more fear. Lots of it. So then we were both doing a ton of reading on preemie babies, trying to get an idea of what to expect if she was born suddenly.

At a point, we went to ultrasounds every two weeks, and then I started NSTs twice per week. (This is when you’re strapped up to a monitor and they keep an eye on the baby’s heart rate and try to get the baby to respond to stimuli. When all else failed–except for one big scare that landed us at the hospital at 36 weeks–playing Hey Jude would get her moving.)

All throughout the pregnancy, Baby Girl stayed small for her size. Each time we had an ultrasound, we were informed of how her size had continued to drop for what was expected that that week. We were constantly informed of risks, things that could go wrong, etc. The pregnancy was one big anxiety fest. Near the end, she dropped off to slightly below the 10th percentile, which was Not Good. The specialist said he was taking her at 39 weeks.

And wouldn’t you know our sweet girl was breech? They kept hoping she’d move, but no–she sat up like a little queen on her throne (hello, Heartburn City!). At shortly before 38 weeks, we had to decide whether to let them move her manually or to schedule a c-section. I so did not want a c-section. I asked my OB (one of four I had seen) what to do, who said that it was up to me. I know this is kinda the standard answer after providing me with my options, but still.

This lady was pregnant. I looked at her belly. “What would you do if you were in the same situation as me?” I wanted to know. I trusted this particular OB implicitly–there was just something about her that exuded intelligence, among other things (she was extremely kind to LM when he’d go to appointments with me, always taking the time to answer his many questions).

Without hesitating, she said she’d get the c-section, so that’s what we did. I researched c-sections, death rates, etc. in the week before the surgery. I was convinced that I would die, because anxiety.

We had to be at the hospital at 5AM on a Monday morning. We left the house at 3:30. I had slept two hours thanks to crazy nerves. I was pissy at Sam for being able to sleep so soundly and considered kicking him so he could join my anxiety fest, but decided that he should probably be alert enough to actually drive us to the hospital.

After we got there, we went through the surgery prep and all that. The anesthesiologist went over things for the spinal. “Why are you flagged as a psych patient? You don’t seem crazy.” Cue the embarrassment. I explained things. “They like to flag everyone with that shit, like it’s such a big deal to get depressed and have anxiety?”

And then he explained that I would carefully have to lay back on the operating table after getting the spinal and not fall off. “It’s small and if you’re not careful, you’ll go right off, and that won’t be good.”

As soon as he left, the tears began. “I can’t even walk to the fridge without tripping!” I wailed to Sam. “I’m gonna fall off the table!” My supportive husband laughed and laughed.

And then I went into the operating room. I quickly found out that real life c-sections were nothing like the ones on TV. I thought I’d get more…modesty…than what I got with LM (where I was disappointed that I didn’t have a sheet over my knees), but no. Everything was on full display. Oh my god, the bright lights and all the people. While all my junk was on display. Talk about being uncomfortable.

Everything went fine with the spinal–the sweet OB that I had first seen to get my IUD removed held my hands through it–and I had to wait for Sam to be allowed to come back.

The anesthesiologist took over the hand holding for the OB who needed to get to prepping stuff I guess, and I was shaking like hell from the spinal. Finally my husband came in and took over the hand holding and the show was on the road. I was a little peeved that I couldn’t watch the procedure, which took a shockingly little amount of time. I could smell something burning and a few minutes later, someone said they were about to take her out.

I couldn’t feel the pressure that I was supposed to feel, but I knew when she was out by the look on my husband’s face, which made me start crying. I got a glimpse of her when they took her to be weighed and all that and all I could see was a snowflake white baby.

“Is she an albino?” I called out, which had Sam laughing. Nope, she wasn’t an albino, that was vernix.

Finally–minutes later–she was put on my chest. And oh my god, she was so tiny. Beautiful, but so tiny. Her brother weighed almost 8 pounds–she was 5.5 and almost three inches shorter. That doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but it really is. He felt big and sturdy in my arms, where she felt like a fragile little hummingbird of a thing.

True to form, we got a birth scare, which was that her blood sugar was super low. They wanted to give her a high calorie formula, so we did, despite our plans to breastfeed only (lol, every time I tried to get her to latch she’d act like I was trying to feed her poison and get mad). Her little heel was spotted in pricks from her blood sugar being checked, which caused Little Man to later chew out a poor CNA who had nothing to do with this.

At one point they took her to the warmer, warning us that if her blood sugar dropped much more, she’d go to NICU and that there was the risk of seizures and worse.

And then, the blood sugar went up suddenly, and all was well.

The day after she was born, the super sweet OB came in to check me out and informed me that Baby Girl’s umbilical cord had been wrapped around her neck three times. That hit me like a ton of bricks, realizing how things could have ended. No wonder she hadn’t moved from breech. I was so freaking happy that we didn’t go for moving her from the breech position. Best case scenario from that, I imagine, would have been an emergency c-section. Worst case? I don’t even want to think about it.

It amazes me that, despite all we went through–the constant fear, the tests, etc., that we’re here today with a healthy, beautiful Baby Girl. She’s still a little on the small side, and was often behind on her milestones at checkups, but she’s healthy and such a blessing.