Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Step Son- The Infertility Angle

I can't tell you how hard it is to be raising someone else's kid while going through infertility. It's unreal. If infertility is hard you can double that emotional difficulty if you are also raining someone else's kid. All the sacrifice...none of the joy. I know that sounds harsh but when you are raising a difficult teenager (is there any other kind?)there is no joy. Just survival. Keep in mind that he lived with us full-time and Mr. Peeveme traveled a lot.

Until I came into the picture Mr. Peeveme never really parented Noland. He lived on the other side of the country and when Nolan was visiting he would stay with his grandparents and Mr. Peeveme would show up for dinner then go out or go home and Nolan would sleep at his grandparents house. When Mr. Peeveme and I got engaged I began to push for Mr. Peevme to be the one Nolan stayed with when he was visiting. He'd go to his grandparents for the day while Mr. Peeveme was working but would eat dinner/sleep at Mr. Peeveme's house. Mr. Peeveme really needed to be more of a father to Noland at least for the few weeks a year he was here. I was worried my MIL would hate me because I was taking her grandson away from her...turns out she literally praised God for me. She knew Nolan needed his dad but what surprised me is that she also said that he needed me. Once he moved here she told me that since I had come around she could see a change in Nolan. He seemed happier although I'm not sure that is the right word. Maybe more at ease, secure.

I looked forward to building our family.

When Nolan came to live with us we had already been TTC for a few months. Then the months of charting, the testing, 7 failed clomid cycles and 2 injectable cycles.

In addition to the resentment that comes with raising someone eles's kid while not being able to have your own, the lack of privacy in my own home was the hardest thing. Think about doing all your infertility stuff and trying to keep it private from someone living in your home. Logistically and emotionally it's very difficult.

Keeping my medicines hidden away, voice-mail messages from my RE, I couldn't even have an argument, sex or a good cry in my own home without being very aware that I had to be very quiet.

I remember one ironic moment when Noland was 17(ironic and horrific). Mr. Peeveme was away. I went out to the garage to go to work and I found a used condom in the floor. I called Mr. Peeveme and told him. When I got home that night it was gone (thanks goodness...soooo don't want to have THAT conversation with my step-son). But it's ironic...I'm desperately trying to get pregnant and my step-son is trying to prevent getting his girlfriend pregnanct. At least he was using a condom.

Side story: I was also very pissed that his girlfriend was at our house when we were not home and having sex in our house. Her parents had a rule that Nolan could not be at her house if they were not there. We made the same rule. So when Mr. Peeveme spoke to Nolan about the condom he mentioned that she was not to be here and he was not to be there if there were no parents home. Nolan told Mr. Peeveme that her parents didn't mind anymore. Mr. Peeveme asked him how he knew that. Noland confidently informed Mr. Peeveme, "They made that rule before they knew me. Now they like me". Of course, there was no change of the rule (I spoke with her mom to confirm...but I did not mention the condom). It was just Nolan thinking he's so charming, embellishing, lying.

When I finally got pregnant and had a baby I had no privacy. Trying to breastfeed, bond, etc. No time alone. His mother, who lived with her boyfriend nearby would not let him stay for more than one night. Her live-in boyfriend had once made the comment to me that Nolan was not a very good house guest. I wanted to have a week to myself to heal, learn to breastfeed, bond. I'd be up multiple times a night with the baby and had no place to go. I left my bedroom because Mr. Peeveme was sleeping. I could not go in the family room because Noland's was room adjacent and the noise woke him up. I'd sit in the kitchen. It may seem like a small thing but I really wanted to be able to sit on a comfortable sofa and watch a little TV in the middle of the night while breastfeeding a colicky baby. Instead I was sitting on a hard chair in the kitchen.

When Piccolina was born he simply ignored her. He absolutely never acknowledged her existence. Never looked at her, used her name, asked about her, and was put-out anytime we had to stop listening to his long "I'm so great" stories to tend to her. I can see a 6 year old being jealous that but a 16 year old? I don't expect a teenage boy to take an interest in a baby but there was something very wrong with his behavior;the way he absolutely ignored her existence. It's one thing to not be that interested but another thing to completely ignore a baby. Mr. Peeveme would purposely walk near Noland while holding her and Noland would leave the room. Nolan's grandparents, aunt, my parents all found it very disturbing. I actually didn't care that much. It just confirmed what I already knew about Nolan: he has emotional and character issues that run very deep.

When we were trying for number 2....more Dr.s appointments, medicines/needles to hide (which is hard to do for medicines that need refrigeration). When I had a miscarriage at home I had to stifle my cries of pain and anguish. That day I went to work, came home and cooked dinner then excused myself from the table to go upstairs and had a miscarriage as quietly as I could. During those m/c months (took about a month between the time I found out I would m/c and the actual m/c plus another 6 weeks before my HCG was down to 0) I was depressed, angry, short tempered, you know, your basic sad chick and I had no privacy to mourn.

It's not Nolan's fault that I'm infertile. It's not his fault that his mom cares more about her boyfriend than him but I can't tell you how hard it is to help parent someone else's messed-up kid while I am trying desperately to have my own. Resentment is impossible to avoid.

I think I will always feel robbed of my privacy both when I was infertile and when I was a new mom. Again, not Nolan's fault...it;s just the way it was but his lying, manipulation, weirdness abotu the baby didn't help this situation. He;s not responsible for his mothers' irresponsibility or my infertility but he is responsible for his own behaviors.

It was not a good time for any of us. Things seem to be getting better though. I am pregnant (YEA!)and when we told Nolan while he was visiting in December he actually said with real sincerity (I can tell when he's bullshitting) "Oh, wow, Congratulations".

He has found a good job; no small thing in this economy. He just moved into a new apartment. So it looks like with this baby I will have some privacy.


Ophelia said...

I'm sorry for everything you've been through. I'm sure that having a difficult step-son has only compounded those issues.

Hooray for privacy and your new baby on the way! I'm truly happy for you :)

Parenthood For Me said...

That sounds very difficult. I am sorry you feel "robbed" of your private time. Are you the person whose husband speaks Italian? I can't remember but I know you call your daughter piccolina

Peeveme said...

Yes, Dh does speak Italian and I can fake it really well.

musicmakermomma said...

So glad things seem to be turning around for Nolan and all of you. What a nightmare to have the new baby with all the other stuff going on. I hope this time it all goes so much smoother.

Renovation Girl said...

Glad things are going well for Nolan, but wow!!! when he was living there. It was hard doing treatments with my own toddler around, but at least he would never remember it. I can't imagine going through all of that with someone in the house-ugh!!!!

tonya said...

I have so much respect for you; there is always more going on in life that we see at the surface.

From what you describe, it seems that Nolan has (at very least, understatement of the year??) a type of social deficit disorder. My daughter has this to some degree, and we work very hard to try to build those social skills that are vital to any relationship. I worry that it won't be enough.

I am glad that you have the chance for some privacy this time around, and that things are going well this week. It is nice to catch a break now and then (and you certainly deserve it!).