8.01.2008

Not Pregnant.

For the last two weeks I was pregnant.

And now I'm not.

Because I never was pregnant.

The situation was so incredibly improbable considering the circumstances, that had I been pregnant, I should have been sainted and my silhouette spotted on barn walls and pieces of toast in South America for years to come. And yet every fiber of my body, every cell I had, every neuron and mitochondrion and DNA strand said pregnant.

The boobs were enormous. I was crampy. I was devouring every carb in site, including some sort of wrapped Little Debbie brownie thing that tasted like sugar and ass. I started having those wacky, vivid dreams--first that I won Top Chef, next that Schmutzie was running a really nice little bake shop in the West Village and invited me in for scones. I was bloated. I was exhausted. But above all, I was terrified. Because if this wasn't the return of the PMS from hell, something I hadn't experienced since before Thalia was born, then it was something very very not good at all.

For the last two weeks, every waking moment and most that should have been devoted to sleeping, were directed towards the question of What To Do. (And so apologies to all people I have encountered recently who may have found me to be distracted or manic or detached or all of the above.) I tried to weigh the pros and cons of having a third child, twisting them and contorting them every way, trying to make the columns line up.

The columns weren't lining up.

It's not to say that people don't live wonderful fulfilling lives with three or more kids every day. But I know that I just can't handle another pregnancy. I just can't. I did not make a particularly good baby transport system, as my sister-in-law Lexi (a third child herself) put it, between the bedrest and the depression and the feelings of being fat and slow and stupid and ugly and irrelevant. As I teeter at the brink of forty, I fear I would be even worse off. To say nothing of the existing struggles in our relationship, the challenges in our lives, the financial burdens we have right now - a pregnancy would surely push us over the edge.

I drank a whole lot of wine this week.

"You know your limits," said the one friend I confided in, who may have just talked me off an actual ledge with her words. I know my limits. I know our limits.

So I started to consider the options. And none of them were pretty.

We mostly think of unwanted pregnancies as the bane of the young and single. But to be a parent pushing forty, relatively responsible and in a committed relationship--I will simply say that is its own fresh hell. I can't elaborate right now without this turning political. And I don't want it to be political. It's personal. I debated whether to share it at all, except that it's been so consuming, I fear if I don't get it out, it will eat me alive.

It's over now. I am feeling emotionally battered.

I am going to have to deal with the fact that my nearly debilitating PMDD has returned after a four-year respite. I may end up on Wellbutrin again and eating my weight in donuts before it's all over.

But for now, I'm going to hug my kids so tightly and thank the universe for them, then take them to Rye Playland. Where I can push through the cramps, get myself some cotton candy, and go on every single ride in the park.


76 Comments:

Blogger I am the MOM said...

I know exactly how you feel. Take it easy this weekend and enjoy the joys of it.

8/1/08, 9:36 AM  
Anonymous WickedStepMom said...

I have PMDD too and it can be hell. I hope you rest well this weekend!

8/1/08, 10:13 AM  
Blogger RuthWells said...

"I don't want it to be political. It's personal."

This should be on a bumper sticker. RIGHT ON.

As for the PMDD, have you tried acupuncture? It's very effective at treating most menstrual issues, and the several women I know who've tried it have had dramatic results.

8/1/08, 10:18 AM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

I get it and I feel for you. Take care of yourself Liz. :)

8/1/08, 10:18 AM  
Blogger CheekySweetie said...

I totally get the no-more-babies thing. We have four, and I wouldn't give one of them back, but my god, FOUR kids....plus ft work, ft school and rebuilding a marriage....it's a bitch of a thing to balance. Family solidarity does not come often...this is a family of six different personalities, plus my mom right now, pulling in different directions. I would seriously consider having a nervous breakdown if I got pregnant. Which means I'm too terrified to do anything that could result in an accidental one most of the time. *sigh*

So, PMDD sucks. But at least it isn't going to be hitting you every single day for the next 18+ years, like our kids do ha!

8/1/08, 10:19 AM  
Blogger Immoral Matriarch said...

I've heard that PMDD is awful, I'm very sorry.

Thank you for sharing this definitely personal, not political thing with us, and I hope you feel better soon!

8/1/08, 10:24 AM  
Blogger ~Kat~ said...

sorry to hear that- is there nothing you can do? Besides wine that is?

my thoughts are with you... and your two perfect, complete girls.

8/1/08, 10:33 AM  
OpenID FishyGirl said...

Thinking of you, Liz. Be kind to yourself.

8/1/08, 10:56 AM  
Anonymous monica @ transplanting me said...

i hope you have a very relaxing weekend. be gentle with yourself.

8/1/08, 11:02 AM  
Blogger Lady M said...

Enjoy that cotton candy and another glass of wine (maybe not together though). I'm glad that you didn't need to make harder choices. Hugs to your girls!

8/1/08, 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anissa@Hope4Peyton said...

Be forgiving of yourself and know that you would have made the right decision....whatever was right for you. It's not political, it's your life!

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful, emotional piece of yourself.

8/1/08, 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

"The columns weren't lining up."

This really hit home for me. I'm pregnant with my third and every day is a struggle to figure out how it's going to work. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy about having the baby. But that doesn't mean that it's not scary as hell trying to make the columns line up.

8/1/08, 11:21 AM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

. . .and maybe get Nate to a urologist? That surgery is a piece of cake and is so worth it if you are really and truly 'done'. A 4th would have done my uterus and me in.

As far as PMDD, I had it BAD after #3, and was very close to some pharmaceutical help. I'm sorry for you b/c it is such a very REAL, very scary condition. Hugs to you. Although I sometimes wonder 'what if' we had a 4th, I know that I am at the 'right' number for us. I'll get a dog when the kids really stop needing me.

8/1/08, 11:26 AM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

I'm glad you're okay.

And from one of those people whose image should be appearing on pieces of toast, I echo FOM. Urologist, posthaste.

8/1/08, 11:33 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

Urologist or Mirena. 5 years of birth control, less period, no remembering (I sound like a commerical)

http://www.mirena-us.com/index.html?WT.srch=1

8/1/08, 11:37 AM  
Blogger Lora said...

Welcome to the club. Mine just made it's return last month, complete with crying in a meeting in front of the MAYOR of my MAJOR EAST COAST CITY and taking the next day off to stuff myself senseless with pasta topped with lots of parmesan and sugar. Yes, sugar. Don't judge- it's fantastic. I marched myself straight to the Gyn and she gave me Yaz. We'll see if that works before moving on to the bigger and badder pills.

8/1/08, 11:53 AM  
Blogger Nutmeg said...

Good luck.

I have my PMDD back after 2+ years of respite. It seems like that's about all a pregnancy buys you.

Hormone pills have only ever made it worse and Wellbutrin and then Lexapro have helped. I advise against lexapro unless you want to be starving constantly and/or have a preexisting anxiety disorder that you also want to medicate.

I feel your pain. A second would not, at this time, line up for me and I had the same wondering about my situation a couple of months ago.

8/1/08, 12:00 PM  
Blogger Assertagirl said...

I'm glad you decided to share...it's not always the young and single women who struggle with these decisions, and I'm also glad you highlighted that fact.

Hope you're feeling better soon.

8/1/08, 12:10 PM  
Blogger Karen Sugarpants said...

I'm glad you're feeling better and sure hope things continue to get better. Hugs to you.

8/1/08, 12:40 PM  
Blogger cecily_techuan said...

Wow. I'm just through the 1st year with my first baby, and I'm terrified of the 2nd one, although I know that in another year or so, I'll do it. Also, my period just returned after nursing for so long, and I forgot what mental/emotional misery it brings. I don't know if I'd be diagnosed with PMDD, but I can imagine that it's no fun at all. Take care of yourself, enjoy your girls, and rest. Glad that you didn't have to take any of your ruminations about what to do into the real.

8/1/08, 12:59 PM  
Blogger jennster said...

love.you.
and you know what's best for you and your family. only you do- although others will weigh in on it and tell you what you should do, etc. they don't have to live your life, pay your bills, deal with your emotions, etc.
hugs.

8/1/08, 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been going through this off and on during this entire 4th pregnancy. And I WANTED a 4th. Just not NOW. It's been an absolute nightmare. Some days the only thing that gets me through is that I WILL feel about this child the way I feel about my other three. I will never tell anyone who knows me what I'm going through because I don't ever want my baby to think that he/she was a "mistake". As the youngest that weapon was wielded too often by my siblings.

8/1/08, 1:22 PM  
Blogger Little Read Hen said...

Oh man. So sorry. Hang in there.

8/1/08, 2:00 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I'm watching a similar situation unfold very close to me, although she didn't - couldn't - wouldn't pursue the more controversial solution because of a million bad reasons. Now she's past the time when that solution is a realistic option for her, so she'll have the baby and will live with the consequences and... well. We'll see.

I'm glad you're not pregnant. No one should have to make those choices.

8/1/08, 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Motherhood Uncensored said...

I think it's super brave to put out the fact that you know your limits and that it might not have included a 3rd child.

Doing the right thing (at least in my book -- flame away people) has a lot to do with doing what's RIGHT for you and your family.

And what Fishy Girl said -- Be Kind to Yourself.

8/1/08, 2:29 PM  
Blogger Fear and Parenting said...

Thanks for sharing your brutal honesty. I can appreciate the stress of losing the man-on-man defense strategy to a third child. I love my kids, but I know my limits would have been crossed had we gone from two to three.

8/1/08, 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Lisa V said...

When my second child was 9 months old, I thought I was pregnant. I REALLY didn't want to be pregnant, wasn't sure at all we wanted more children and really didn't want more children then.

The really difficult thing is that we were infertile. We tried to have a baby for several years, suffered 6 miscarriages. We adopted our first child, then had surgery and I was able to have our second.

I couldn't believe that I was in a place that I would consider terminating a pregnancy, but I was. Luckily, it turned out to be a false alarm.

But yeah, no one ever talks about how unplanned pregnancy impacts the life of a lot of women, not just the young and single.

8/1/08, 3:01 PM  
Blogger caramama said...

I have heard that PMDD is awful. I'm sorry you are going through it. But I'm glad you didn't have to make a harder choice.

Hugs to you, Liz!

8/1/08, 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Redneck Mommy said...

Thanks for sharing this with us, Liz.

Having been there, before (albeit years ago) I completely understood what you were feeling, going through.

I heart you.

8/1/08, 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Asha {Parent Hacks} said...

It's not FAIR that we have to deal with hormonal craziness after we get through puberty and pregnancy. NOT FAIR.

I'm wishing you well, Liz -- it's amazing the emotional places parenting take us to (and many of those places we don't want to go). xoxo

8/1/08, 4:11 PM  
Blogger Elisa said...

I've had those so-unlikely-it's-almost-immaculate-conception type of pregnancies too. Hysterical pregnancies, they are called. I wonder why? Could it be because the mere thought of having a 3rd child caused mayor bipolar symptoms? But hey, at least for 2 weeks you had an excuse to stuff yourself with brownies and imaginary scones.
BTW, do let me know if Schmutzie opens a bakery - I pet her scones would have note with bits of nonsense on them, like fortune cookies.

8/1/08, 4:19 PM  
Blogger Mr Lady said...

I have three kids. One of them came after the first two were in school. We call her whoops.

We also debated, and debated hard, all of our options. Luckily, I was 29. It was a slightly easier decision. But still, when you start getting pregnant at 22, when you plan on having your 20's in your 40's, any shift in that plan is hard.

Long story short, I hear you. I totally understand. Big hugs.

8/1/08, 4:26 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

Sharing is a hell of a lot harder than it sounds - just ask my two year old. I'm glad you are sharing AND taking care of yourself because I need to read you to keep smart and stuff (oh yes, I'm totally selfish).

8/1/08, 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Claire said...

I'm on Yaz, which is for women with PMDD, and it's clearly not working for me. I still cry if any little detail of my life isn't the way I wanted it to be. The boyfriend is amazingly patient, but it's making us both crazy.

8/1/08, 4:36 PM  
Blogger Elisa said...

BTW, sorry for the typos on my post (*major, *bet, *notes).

BTW#2: I tapped you for an award!

8/1/08, 6:06 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I've heard some good things about Mirena.

But hugs to you for being so distressed for so long. I'm glad it's over. This post definitely took courage. You're wonderful.

8/1/08, 6:27 PM  
Blogger Craving Baby said...

Glad to know that it all worked out. Hope you start feeling better soon and can get your PMDD under control.

Send me your extra baby dust!

Take Care

~CravingBaby
www.cravingbaby.com

8/1/08, 7:58 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I just had my Mirena taken out (in hopes that my "teenage" acne and giant where-did-that-come-from spare tire will clear up). But now I'm experiencing the fresh panic of "please don't let me get pregnant, please don't let me get pregnant". That was the beauty of Mirena. That and no periods.

8/1/08, 8:21 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

It comes right down to doing what's best for you and your family. But that's really easy to say, isn't it? If I was in that position I'd probably have gorged myself to death on those Little Debbie brownie things.

Which, btw, I happen to like. ;)

8/1/08, 8:37 PM  
Blogger J at www.jellyjules.com said...

As to unwanted/unplanned pregnancies being the realm of the young and unmarried, my mind goes back to earlier generations, before birth control.

My great-great grandmother had more kids than she wanted, got pregnant every time she turned around, so she stopped having sex with her husband. How would that be? My great grandmother had 5 children in 6 years, and finally wrote to her brother (a doctor) in desperation, asking his advice. He told her what to do, then told her to burn the letter, because he could be arrested for it. I have to assume the letter was explaining the rhythm method, but who knows. Not me.

Anyway, I'm glad you're not pregnant when you don't want to be, and I'm hoping if this is PMDD, that you can find a great solution SOON.

8/1/08, 8:51 PM  
Blogger Amy Jo said...

So I'm not the only one.

Thinking of you tonight...

8/1/08, 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Karen (miscmum) said...

Take care of yourself. Sorry I can't add anything more sage than that, but I do mean it. x

8/1/08, 10:28 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I'm sorry your PMDD has returned, but I'm glad you didn't have to make a difficult choice. I battled the same decision with our 3rd. I'm glad now that I have him. But if I got pregnant again I would consider other options as well. Hang in there!

8/1/08, 10:38 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that. I've never had PMDD, but I know from others how horrible it can be. (And I once had to duck when a good friend was suffering and threw something at me when I cracked a joke.) Hope it isn't as serious as it used to be, and you can find some way to cope with it.

(Although when I started to read this I wondered if the magical fertile waters of BlogHer had struck again. )

8/2/08, 12:27 AM  
Blogger Tracey said...

I'm so sorry you've had such a rough time...

8/2/08, 9:13 AM  
Blogger Pecos Blue said...

Wow it always hard going through that. Hope you feel better soon. I am going to try acupuncture of bad PMS and hope it will help.


I am also doing my first giveaway for a kids super hero cape. If you have time come check it out.

Erin

8/2/08, 10:19 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I want to thank you. Yes, thank you. I read your post and cried for you. My heart goes out to you...and to be more educated, I googled PMDD - WOW... for months I have been suffering - and I have gone to the doctors complaining of strange sympotoms and issues - blood work has been done - nothing - now I am almost certain I have PMDD. After my second child I had PPA and a bit of it after the third, and then with my return of my period a few months back, I have been suffering like crazy. Thank you for sharing your struggle -thank you for being honest and true in your post - and giving me strength and knowledge.

Senidng you lots of support and hugs.

8/2/08, 11:27 AM  
Blogger Mandy said...

As someone in week 12 of an unexpected third pregnancy, I could relate to this post. I am still struggling with, "Um, what the frack are we thinking??!"

I hope your next month's cycle goes a little easier on you!

8/2/08, 11:30 AM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I haven't had bad PMS ever, so I would have been in the same headspace about possibly being pregnant. There is just simply no room in our lives for a third. But I think that it would be wholly different to consider "options" in your/our position than as a young singleton. I think it would feel different, and even for someone committed to a woman's right to choose, I would really question myself as to whether it was okay for me. Still, your friend is right about limits. And you are right about it not being about politics. It's about you. I hope they have some good PMDD remedies now - no one needs that every month!

8/2/08, 1:33 PM  
Blogger Munchkins and Music said...

Glad your are feeling better! I just saw your blog today for the first time. Glad I stopped by!

8/2/08, 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I'm so sorry Liz.

As a fellow PMDD sufferer I feel this pain. I don't know if it would work for you but the Serafem has changed my life.

8/2/08, 4:35 PM  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

I am sorry to hear it.

8/2/08, 4:58 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Oh, friend. I so understand, in ways that aren't exactly the same, but sympathetic, if that makes sense.

XOXOXOXOXOX

8/2/08, 10:20 PM  
Blogger susan said...

I know exactly how you feel. I get this every month. It starts the day I ovulate and torments me for 14 days. It's hell for me because I'd kind of like a second child, but I swear my husband celebrates every month.

8/2/08, 11:44 PM  
Blogger Zip n Tizzy said...

I had the same thing happen to me last year when my youngest was just a little older than Sage. I was SURE I was pregnant, and so relieved when I was not. It is a scary place to be in, when you've already had the family you want and have to face all the changes adding one more would create. In a way the not being pregnant, but still facing all of those decisions, makes you VERY clear on how you feel about having a third. It confirms that you're happy with two.
Ahhh... that's a sigh of relief.

8/3/08, 12:07 AM  
Blogger Builder Mama said...

About two months ago I had the same thing. And while I would love another baby, my husband is dead-set against it and honestly I don't think either my body or mind could handle another child. I spent two weeks going crazy wondering if I was pregnant but too chickenshit to take the test. I guess I didn't want to know until I had wrapped my mind around the possibility and figured out what to do, if that makes any sense.

Anyhow, thanks for sharing. And like everyone else said, be kind to yourself.

8/3/08, 6:29 PM  
Anonymous ilinap said...

I will be 40 next month and feared I was pregnant recently. It ate my up and made me seem like a lost zombie to everyone who encountered me. I am barely a sane mother to two; I can only imagine how ill fit I am to have three. Thankfully, it was a fluke. Hell, the pregnancy would have been a fluke. Mac Daddy got snipped two years ago!

Hang in there.

8/3/08, 8:42 PM  
Blogger PunditMom said...

In a way, I wish I was pregnant, tho' I know I am too old. But I know the feeling of wondering whether I am and whether I should be and what is going to be.

In any event, I'm there for you. :)

8/3/08, 10:33 PM  
Blogger Mamalang said...

Please do not take this as passing judgement. I feel you. I, personally, had no choices when I found out I was pregnant with the third. I was almost out of my first trimester already, and it took me until the day he was born to figure out how to deal with it. He's 5 1/2 now...and I love him more than I could ever have imagined. But I still remember that time with fear. And we were so certain that we were completely, totally done, that we both had surgery.

8/4/08, 11:11 AM  
Blogger ALM said...

Totally know how you feel - on the PMDD & the "what if I'm pregnant" too.

I've found that my PMS got MUCH worse when I turned 40 (43 now).

8/4/08, 1:07 PM  
Anonymous Alexis said...

I'm sorry you've been having such a rough time! I've experienced a lot of what you're talking about, and it's not fun and not easy.

Have you ever tried Evening Primrose Oil? I have a cousin who says it changed her life.

And my sister has an AMAZING acupuncturist in NYC, if you want a recommendation...

8/4/08, 2:55 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

Nothing wrong with knowing your limits - physically and mentally.

My PMDD likes to come and go too, fooling me to think my husband's vasectomy has reversed itself. Oh, those are good days . . . not.

8/4/08, 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

Oh honey, I'm so feeling you right now. I had a pregnancy scare last year when I was about to turn 40 and I was terrified. As for the PMDD, it could just be your hormones adjusting after having Sage. If you do need to go back on Wellbutrin for PMDD, then so be it. We all need a little help from time to time. {{Liz}}

8/4/08, 5:01 PM  
Blogger Old MD Girl said...

Mirena = good.

You could also go for a hysterectomy.

Both options would solve the PMDD AND the pregnancy issue.

I totally plan to use a Mirena when I'm done with the babies.

8/4/08, 8:38 PM  
Blogger PunditMom said...

I'm sorry I am just now reading this. Intermittent internet access at the beach is my explanation. I'm sorry I'm not there to give you a big hug.

xoxo

8/4/08, 10:21 PM  
Blogger Tracee said...

One word - vasectomy. It's wonderful. No 3rd child for me either.

8/4/08, 11:26 PM  
Blogger zdoodlebub said...

Dude, my soul has been composing a post like for six months...since we thought we might be having a third and every fiber of my being was screaming NO! Despite the amazingness of my other two.

8/5/08, 1:52 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Wellbutrin is the savior of my neurotransmitters. It's been a few years since I've been on it, but it was a miracle for me. Also, it comes with the added bonus of weight loss as a side effect. Can it get much better? Seriously, the PMDD blows. I hope it's something that can be regulated for you.

8/5/08, 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Molly (Tacky Princess at White Trash Mom.com) said...

You are brave and true, and I greatly admire your courage. Hang in there. And you know what? You would have done what was right for your family.

8/6/08, 1:44 AM  
Blogger AnotherMomCreation said...

I have just read your post and all the comments. I have a few things to say, don't feel guilty. Its your body and you would do what you need to do to keep your family sane. That being said, either get your tubes tied like now or get hubby in for the big V (though they should call it the little v, cause really its such a tiny operation). Second, I had PMDD with #2 and went on YAZ, it was a saviour for me. No craziness, no weight gain, no psycho momma.
I saw someone posted about Mirena, don't do it. I know of 2 people who got pregnant with Mirena...

I am glad you know now that you are not pregnant, and hope you can take steps to make that an impossibility so that you never have to worry like that again.

8/6/08, 10:34 AM  
Blogger Ali said...

i can't believe i missed this post.
i am so sorry i missed it.

there is NOTHING wrong with knowing your limits. nothing. and you shouldn't feel bad about knowing your body and freaking out. i would be freaking out too.

and no shame in having to go back on the wellburtrin if you need it.

ps? i have a mirena iud. i LOVE LOVE LOVE it. no periods at all.

HUGS, my friend, HUGS. big, huge ones!

8/7/08, 1:25 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

A very courageous post.

8/11/08, 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I am just coming across your blog, but I felt like commenting because this situation hits close to home for me.
I am young(ish) and single (though with a boyfriend), and I just made the decision to terminate a pregnancy.

It's good to see that this kind of thing is never an easy decision. It was really hard for us. I knew I wanted to terminate, but I also know that I really want to be a mother, and felt lucky to be able to conceive at all, given the numbers of people with infertility (it was one time unprotected!). Also, my boyfriend wanted to keep it more than I did.
I still feel sad about it, and probably won't feel okay until I do have a baby when the timing is better.

I don't have any real point, I just want to say thanks for sharing.

8/12/08, 3:40 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Anon, glad you found some comfort here.

You may never feel totally "okay" with it. But that doesn't mean it wasn't the right decision for you. I wish you the best of luck.

8/12/08, 3:49 PM  
Blogger califmom said...

I feel ya sistah. PMDD bites. Do what you need to do to stay as sane as possible.

8/14/08, 12:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is only one sure way to avoid getting pregmant other than giving up intimacy-one of you has to get clipped. Literal clips can be inserted on your husband, in case there's a change of mind later. Don't wait-it would be very unfair to all of your kids to have one you don't want!

8/21/08, 10:55 PM  

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