March 23, 2012 at 8:47 am | Posted in Battles (aka: toddlerhood), Heartbreak, Infertility, motherhood | 8 Comments

I finally got a chance to talk with my sister in depth on Wednesday, after a couple of cryptic texts about how she wanted to disappear and couldn’t handle the work drama.

She’s as okay as you can be after having two failed embryo transfers which you paid for out of pocket. Which is completely unexplained, by the way. Embryos looked great, her uterus lining is great (and no, she doesn’t have any structural issues with hers, thankfully), hormone levels from the meds were fine. It just didn’t work.

They’re both really low on hope right now.

And when she asked me, Serenity – what was it that finally made it WORK for you guys? it nearly broke my heart to tell her the truth.

I don’t KNOW what worked. Even a month ago I would have sworn it was the assisted hatching and antibiotics. But now, well. I don’t really KNOW what worked.

I wish I could have given her that hope back.

And then I am enraged all over again. Honestly, this is worse for me to handle than my OWN infertility. Because I fight losing battles. Maybe not always willingly, but my whole life I’ve never backed down just because I’m going to lose. I’d take on my mother no matter what the issue was when we were kids; fight her even though she would NEVER see the truth of my words.

My sister was the sensitive kid who took the blame for shit she didn’t do in order to have peace. She was the one who would cry and hide when the anger in our house was too much. She was the one who always looked up to me, pointed out all my good qualities, made me feel like I was strong and good and smart.

I know, she’s a grown woman, and very, very strong. Stronger in some ways than I’ll ever be. But what I’ve always loved about her is her ability to see past the bad stuff into the good. And hearing her so hopeless brings the big sister out in me – angry at the circumstances and wanting to DO something to protect her.

My brother has turned out to be an amazing guy, by the way. Having my niece softened him; he’s kind and empathetic and, like me, wanting to DO something to help our sister. He emailed me on Facebook the day after asking my opinion – whether sending flowers would be too much of a reminder of what didn’t work. And we both agreed that God was being a d!ck to her.

I just wish I could make it WORK and have her get pregnant and bring home a baby. It’s really not fair.


On the potty training stuff?

I got an email from my blog friend Rachel a couple of nights ago with a link to this article.

Now, see, I am a BIG believer in root cause. I know that if I am sick, there was something I did (get a virus, maybe not washing my hands enough) or didn’t do (wasn’t exposed to this particular virus before, low on sleep, etc.) that made it so that I got sick. I know there’s a REASON why our embryos aren’t implanting in my uterus, even though there isn’t a test to tell us the exact why.

And behaviorally, I know that I do things for a REASON. I might not know why at the time, but there’s always something underneath.

So in parenting, I really try and see past the behavior to the cause. Tantrums, for example, are worse when Lucky is hungry and tired. When he stalls to get out of the house, it’s sometimes because I have been lacking in giving him enough attention and one on one playtime.

So when something’s going on with my kid, I really try and read a lot of stuff around cause of the behavior. Because maybe there’s something I haven’t thought about.

This sentence in the article stopped me. “Accidents and bed-wetting have the same root cause: chronically holding poop or pee or both. A rectal poop mass squishes the bladder and messes with its nerves; holding pee thickens the bladder wall, shrinking the bladderโ€™s capacity to hold urine and triggering hiccuplike contractions. The upshot: wet undies and bed sheets.”

Not because I think he’s constipated. But. Lucky’s underwear are wet at some point EVERY DAY. Sometimes just a little spot. Other times a lot. But enough volume that it seems like it’s a little tiny hiccup of pee.

And two nights ago, when I pointed it out that he smelled like pee, and he checked his underwear? He said, Oh. I didn’t know they were wet.

(Now, granted, that could be a lie. He’s been experimenting lately. But he said it so matter-of-factly that I remember being surprised that he didn’t know he had to go.)

But still. Lucky has never really had constipation issues like EVER; even with his 7 string-cheese-sticks-a-day habit, he pooped regularly. I can’t say that for SURE, of course, lately anyway, because he doesn’t let us in the bathroom with him now. Generally I only KNOW he’s pooped if he’s got track marks in his underwear.

(Which, OMG, SO GROSS.)

But, you know, I don’t know for sure. And I recall wondering last weekend, before even seeing this article, when the last time he had gone WAS. I mean, on the weekends, you can tell if he goes into the bathroom and stays there for a while. He went on Sunday, but I’m nearly certain he didn’t on Friday. Or Saturday. Maybe, though. And the accidents have really ramped up this week, as is his sensitivity around USING the potty; enough that his teacher at school is talking about putting a sticker chart in the bathroom to get him to use the potty.

And all of a sudden, I wondered.

What if the control issues are a RESULT of having accidents, not a cause?

What if his refusal to use the potty is because he’s giving up on it, because he’s embarrassed he keeps wetting his pants? What if we’re wrong, and his not caring about being wet is a defense mechanism?

What if he really CAN’T control it?

I sat with it for a while. Talked with Charlie Brown, who doesn’t really think constipation is an issue, and instead thinks it’s purely a control thing – Lucky doesn’t want to take time out to use the potty, so he holds it too long and has an accident. Which is totally possible.

It’s also possible that Lucky’s trigger is peeing in his pants a little in order to realize he has to go to the bathroom.

It’s also possible that there’s something physically wrong too.

So I asked Charlie straight out if he would be mad at me if I called the pediatrician to check. That maybe he’s right, and there’s no physical cause, but from the article, it seems like an easy test – an x-ray. But that I felt pretty strongly that, when information comes up for us to consider that there’s a physical cause for a behavioral issue, it was our responsibility to rule it out to ensure we KNOW it’s behavioral. And if I was off base, I trusted Lucky’s pediatrician to tell me that.

Charlie told me to go ahead. So I called. And the pediatrician acknowledged that yes, constipation could cause bladder issues, and it was an easy test. So if we wanted to get him an x-ray she was happy to put the order in.

So we’ll go in on Monday.

I don’t KNOW what I believe with this stuff.

What I know, is that yesterday morning, Lucky came out of the bathroom first thing in the morning, and told Charlie Brown excitedly, Daddy, my underwear are dry! And I want him to know that this is something he can DO – keep his underwear dry for the day.

It’s always hard, as a parent, to know if you’re overthinking things. Especially now; he’s full of negotiation and trying to get his way. And there are days where I really think he wishes he was still back in diapers so he didn’t have to stop playing. In fact, a couple of days ago, when I told him to use the potty, he told me, But Mommy, I just WENT! And I told him that it’s how it works. You go when you HAVE to, not when you want to. And for the rest of his life, whenever he had to use the bathroom, he was going to have to stop what he was doing and use the potty.

Total Mom buzzkill.

So yeah, I don’t have any answers. I’m feeling better, though, to know that we might be ruling out a potential underlying REASON, though.

I’d just really hate to assume that he has control over it when he may not. And we’ve been dealing with the issue for so long now, that it’s hard for Charlie Brown AND I to react neutrally. I’m so tired of laundry, and making sure he has two changes of clothing every day for daycare, and everything smelling like pee all the time. I’d love to get past this and move on and not have to THINK about it anymore.



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  1. I remember after our first IVF failed and our two FETs failed and I wanted to give up my f/s saying to me that sometimes it just doesn’t work, and we don’t know why, and you have to just keep trying (if you can stomach it) because sometimes you get lucky. (Or get Lucky, in your case. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    He still mixed it up for our second round- five day rather than three day transfer, and different drug protocol. But I know he was trying to prepare me for the possibility that it might not work again. Because even with the best odds, it’s still just a chance, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

    This would have manifestly NOT been helpful to me when I was in the trenches. And we were also paying out of pocket. But I guess I would want to give your sister some hope that sometimes it just doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work the next time.

    But in the meantime, it really sucks.

    FWIW, I had a chat with my stepfather this weekend and he was talking about potty training, because my stepsister is going to axe the diapers with her two-and-a-half year old at Easter (she is dry at daycare and just doesn’t use the potty at home), and he said that boys are SO much worse than girls at refusing to go when they need to. He has so many memories of watching my stepbrother flat out refusing to acknowledge that he needed to go, because he didn’t want to stop playing with his cars, even though he would be practically crossing his legs to hold it.

    I think you are right to check for an underlying physical cause. But I also think it is entirely possible that Lucky just doesn’t want to take time out of his day, in which case you may have to police it more. But what do I know.


  2. So my son is a major poop withholder. It started even before we were heavily potty training because of illness, but although we’ve been using underwear for about a month now, he’s never pooped on the potty (he’s 3 and a month). He waits until he has a diaper on at naptime or at night. This past fall, after he got backed up, we had to put him on a laxative, and he still takes it, although a smaller dose, daily. When you mentioned “track marks” in his underwear, that is a hallmark sign of withholding. TMI, but the extra poop stretches out the colon, and then more liquidy stuff seeps around the mass. Kids can’t control this exit, and it can leave the track marks. it’s called encopresis. After we started with the laxative, it took 4-5 days, and then he pooped seven times over a 24 hour period and the track marks stopped. Since then, he’s been on a daily dose of laxative and we’re keeping at a level where he is pooping about once a day. So it may not be a wiping issue at all. I think it’s great you’re getting this checked out further. Thanks for sharing the article too. While my son still have frequent accidents (right now, we’ve had about one a day), I am going to continue to keep a close eye on bowel movements and see how they may relate to peeing accidents! I’m also going to read the book.

    I’m sorry about your sister.

  3. You know, there is the potty training issue itself, and then there is your frustration with the potty training. Regardless of what the doctor finds, going to the doctor should relieve your frustration a bit – either you know it’s not really Lucky’s fault, or you know you are working hard to do the right thing. But I agree with you about root causes. It calms me down a lot (or a little) when J is having a tantrum, if I think about the root cause. Because there always is one, and it’s always logical, even if the behavior is wrong.

    And I’m so sorry about your sister. It’s hard to watch someone you love suffer like that, especially if you are the big sibling.

    But I was thinking, and I wanted to say, that your sister doesn’t deserve a baby more than you just because she’s a social worker, or religious, or whatever. You can be sad for her, of course, but she’s not more deserving than you. Just wanted to be sure you knew. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I have no potty training experience so I can’t offer any advice on that front. I just wanted to say I am so sorry to hear what your sister is going through. And I agree with Deborah – vocation and religious affiliation doesn’t make anyone more or less deserving of being a mother. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  5. Not to be “I can top your pee issues,” but I will admit this is all giving me terrible flashbacks. XBoy was still having accidents in 3rd grade. We STILL take medication so he can have dry nights. It sucks, but after all these years we do know why.

    Do you remember when we did this testing? If they suggest a VCUG for your son, PLEASE, please get a hold of me prior to it. It wasn’t “painless” like they had led us to believe.

  6. We are going through the same thing with our almost 4 year old. You could count on one hand the number of accidents she had even during early potty training. But all of a sudden it has become an issue. The wet panties, the “I don’t know how it happend, the pee just came out”, the messes. It is all very frustrating, but I have read where getting upset with them will do nothing and it is just a phase. I am also one to think that something HAS to be wrong. Why else would you be doing this now? I will be very interested to see what you find out tomorrow.

  7. Cam pretty much flips out every time I ask him to go potty. NOMAMAINOPOTTY!!!! Sigh. He went potty 2 times on Saturday. I can’t go that long without peeing. But I don’t want it to be a fight either – and he doesn’t have accidents, do I don’t push it.

  8. I am so very sorry for your sister. I am big sister so I can relate to your the way you feel seeing your baby sis hurting. Wishing her healing and the best of luck on her IF journey
    I am so very sorry for your sister. I am big sister so I can relate to your the way you feel seeing your baby sis hurting. Wishing her healing and the best of luck on her IF journey

    I think that you are doing the right thing trying to find answers about the PT issues. As a mother its hard to see our kids struggling with some milestones. Lyla never learned to ride her bike, first she wasnt interested, then she tried and she couldnt and she got anxious seeing that all the other kids could already ride their bikes so she did not even wanted to try anymore. 2 weeks ago she asked me “mommy, do you think I can learn?” … I encouraged her , weve been trying just the two of us with no luck but today she did it!!! I could see her confidence growing!!

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