Joyeux Anniversaire…

… to my blog!

This month (three days ago to be exact) marks my “Blogiversary” or “Blog Birthday”, whatever you want to call it.

I’ve really enjoyed blogging and the many wonderful people I’ve met, but it also marks four years since my first loss… wow.

Four whole years. Seriously?

I remember how time moved so.slow. It seemed like some days would never end. I would cry on my way to work, and cry on the drive home. I’d cry on the weekends. So many tears. It feels like so long ago.

And now….

It’s all different.

And now I have McLovin. He is my amazing little boy, an amazing little soul. With a charming little smile that melts my heart. Watching him grow, learn and change everyday is a gift and I do not take it for granted.

The happiness he brings is always at the forefront, but I still think of the babies I lost every day. The grief and pain is muted now, but it’s there. And the memory of when it was fresh and loud and all consuming is there, but I don’t call upon those memories often. It’s enough for me to know they are there.

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Signs

Back in 2014, after my first loss and before my second, my best friend M and I went to visit a psychic medium. I wrote about it briefly here. She wanted to connect with her father, and I was just flailing and wanting anything – I didn’t think I’d hear from my baby but would take whatever the universe would throw out. It was a really cool experience and my grandfather, who passed away in 2002 when I was 18, came through. I was skeptical going in to it, and am a skeptic by nature – I like facts and proof and things I can see/touch/hear for myself. I left convinced though.

Last month while we were in Florida I took McLovin for a walk at a shopping center near our hotel. My conference was done for the day, The Husband was golfing, it was a beautiful day and I wanted to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. It was a nice outdoor center, and as we were walking along the sidewalk I felt an itch on my left elbow. I looked, and a ladybug was there. I then immediately remembered that it was February 13, the anniversary of my grandfather’s passing – 16 years that day. That afternoon.  I’m so glad I was in that space, that frame of mind, to recognize that sign.

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Memories

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God.

~Aeschylus

Memories hit me when I least expect it, or sometimes on days like today when I do expect it, and I still lose myself in them. But the types of memories are changing.

During the first procedure when I was laying on the bed. I had said my goodbye to The Husband and it was just me, the doctor, nurse and anesthesiologist. In two days it will be four years since this happened, but when I call it up it plays back in my mind like a familiar movie. I was nervous and scared and sad – I had never had stitches, never mind being put under. I looked around and said ‘I’m scared’ and the nurse, Stephanie, grabbed my hand and said “It’s okay” and that is the last thing I remember.

During the second procedure, laying in the same room. Dr. R looked at my ruby ring and mentioned how pretty it is. I told her why I bought it – for our first baby, who would have been due the past July. I remember her sad smile and the look in her eyes. A few months ago I wrote her a letter, because I never thanked her. It may seem odd to thank the doctor who ended two of your wanted pregnancies, but I was thankful I had the choice and a highly skilled doctor to perform the procedures. If not for that choice and doctors like her, where would I have been? I don’t know. So I wrote her to express that to her.

Before the third procedure, laying in the bed. Telling the nurse, Caitlin, how thirsty and hungry I was. Wondering how long the delay would last. She told me that when I was out of the procedure and awake she would have toast and coffee or tea waiting for me – I asked for tea. She said she makes amazing tea and it would be the best tea I ever had. It was. Occasionally, when making my nightly cup of tea, I think of her. Seeing Dr. T a few minutes later – a few minutes after the calming medications had kicked in – and telling her how nice her teeth were – so straight, so white and I hadn’t noticed until then.

I remember laying in bed four years ago tonight. So nervous, so sad. The Husband came in and kneeled by the bed to talk to me, trying his best to be optimistic. Telling me that maybe I was just dehydrated, or maybe the baby was just in a bad position, or maybe the ultrasound tech didn’t know what she was doing. I remember laying there curled up, staring at the television. I knew it wasn’t any of that. I knew the next day wouldn’t bring me good news. I just knew. He doesn’t remember the date but I do.

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Words Aren’t Enough

My heart hurts tonight. I am laying in bed, wanting to sleep and simultaneously wanting to refresh my Twitter feed watching for news.

I imagine being one of those 17 mothers or fathers, sending my child off to school in the morning then later that day… finding out as my child texts me, or calls me I fear. Maybe seeing it on the news myself, or a phone call from friends or family. Horrified.

When will something, anything, change? Isn’t trying something to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again better than doing nothing? It’s not too soon to talk about it – it’s too late.

I am sad for those kids, those parents, teachers family and friends. Why won’t anybody do anything? The reality is nowhere is safe. Not a school, or church, or movie theatre or airport or grocery store or concert. I am weary of reading these stories over and over and the repetitive, auto-responses over and over. Why, why, why? Can’t we do better?

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Advice Please! (Part Deux)

Here I am, looking for tips and tricks from my blog friends again! And, again, it has to do with traveling.

We are taking McLovin on his first “vacation” – vacation for him and The Husband, but a work trip for me. They are accompanying me this time as The Husband has family and friends in the area where we the conference is being held. So McLovin is taking his first plane ride and having his first hotel stay experience!

Naturally I am stressed as this involves insuring proper sleeping arrangements, renting a car, traveling with the car seat and stroller, flying with him (and hoping he has a good experience on the plane), navigating the airport and a different city while toting The Husband and a toddler (because, I don’t know about anyone else’s partner, but my husband needs me to tell him where to go and what to do when we travel.)

So, any tips and tricks on how to do this without losing my sanity and insuring McLovin’s needs are being met? I think I am most nervous about HOW MUCH we have to bring on the plane and dragging it all through the airports – namely car seat and stroller as they are bulky, along with The Husband’s golf clubs 🙄 – and trying to keep McLovin on the semblance of a “routine” while also trying to enjoy warmer weather and a faux-vacation (faux-cation?) during my down time.

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The Second Worst Question

The first time someone broached the subject of having a sibling for McLovin he was only a week old. It was Thanksgiving 2016 and it was The Husband’s grandmother and it went something like this:

“Do you think you’ll have another baby”?

“We’re just trying to get to know McLovin and enjoy him for now.”

“Oh okay, well, you know my brothers have many great-grandkids and I have only one now that McLovin’s here.”

“Okay!”

He was only a week old at the time! I thought it absurd that anyone would even ask after only one week. I thought I’d have at least a year before people would ask that. Well, now that year has come and gone and for sure the question gets raised more frequently.  Most people in our lives don’t know our full story or really understand what they are asking of us when they broach the subject; it’s an intrusive question regardless, but they don’t understand how painful it is for people with IF/RPL history. And they aren’t mind readers so I can’t fault them for not knowing what happened with us in the past and how the question tugs at all those feelings I try to bottle up so neatly.

I was just out to dinner last week with a good friend and it came up, and now it seems I’m noticing those pesky pregnancy announcements more and more again. For awhile they seemed to roll off my back but now they are starting to give me a little pause again – not so much because they hurt or sting in the same way they used to (some still do depending on who or the circumstances, most don’t), but because they make me think about my own future and what I want it to look like. I will be labeled with the wonderful “Advanced Maternal Age” in less than two months, and The Husband is pushing 40, and so I am feeling that bit of anxiety – it took over three years for McLovin to happen and if it goes that way again I would rather get cracking sooner rather than later at trying.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it organically or that I didn’t want another child. If my “perfect plan” from 2013 had worked out I would have two children by now and be done with trying. Now I feel like I fought and clawed for McLovin and I am, metaphorically, tired (and sometimes literally physically tired too because he doesn’t always sleep the best.) If there was a guarantee that I’d have the same pregnancy experience as with McLovin – same number of appointments, same anxiety, same fears – and the same childbirth experience – I would do it again right now. But there is no guarantee and with our history I have to be prepared for the idea that I may experience more loss. Can I deal with those scenarios again? Can I deal with the emotions and fallout of those losses and care for McLovin? Would it hurt more or less with him here?

I also have feelings and fears about how to possibly parent a second child or parenting two children that may need a post of their own. I just love McLovin so much and the one on one time, and being able to focus on him and enjoy his little personality.  I love that he is still nursing and the thought of it ending brings me to tears. I know people can breastfeed through pregnancy and tandem nurse but the thought of losing that feels like too much sometimes.  It’s been one of my favorite parts of motherhood, which I didn’t expect going into it.  I guess it’s just fear of the unknown and change; obviously people very successfully parent more than one child and have loving relationships with each child so it can be done and perhaps I shouldn’t worry about that so much.

When I think about this all I also feel what I’ve deemed to be “RPL Survivor’s Guilt”. At times when I think of trying for a second living child the thought pops up in my mind that I should just be happy with my one beautiful amazing son and it’s selfish of me to even think of having another; I should just count my lucky stars that, just when I was almost ready to give up or give in and look to donor material, McLovin made his arrival. That there are so many couples still in the trenches and that thinking of a second is a slap in the face and greedy. On the bad days during the struggle I would look at friends or acquaintances with three or four kids and think them greedy; is it now greedy of me to desire another?

We still don’t have our genetic test results back either. They now have McLovin’s sample and have extracted his DNA and are now comparing to the samples from each of our three losses to see if he carries the “candidate” or not. I suppose it would be nice to have this information before trying again, but we tried and had McLovin before the “candidate” was even discovered so at this point I’m not sure what difference it would even make.

Hoping that everyone’s start to 2018 has gone well. For those that are still struggling and still waiting for their miracle, I hope it comes to you in 2018.

Currently watching: The Crown

Currently reading: Dispatches From the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival by Anderson Cooper

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Mele Kalikimaka III

No, I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth.

We’ve moved in to our new home and are closing on the sale of our old home early next month. Packing, moving and unpacking is tough – add a one year old in to the mix and it’s even tougher. We are hosting Christmas lunch at our new house and I’ve been grocery shopping, Christmas shopping and unpacking – along with a full time job. My free time is sleeping at night, but this will pass. The worst of it will be over come Monday…

Come Monday, it’ll be alright….

I digress.

Before I wrote this I read some of my posts about Christmas from years past. I remember the pain, I remember the heartache but it seems so long ago. Four years ago I spent Christmas pregnant with my first pregnancy; that was the only Christmas I was pregnant. I don’t remember that Christmas well and I don’t have any pictures from that year. I have pictures from almost every other year but that one.

It almost feels like I’ve left that part of me behind, the “me” from that year. It felt that way when we moved this month too –  moved out of our first house as a married couple, we lived almost all of our ups and downs as a couple there. We brought our first dog home there. I found out I was pregnant with all four pregnancies there. I spent that terrible last night there. I cried in sadness there, I screamed out of anger there, I hoped throughout my pregnancy with McLovin there, and we brought McLovin home there. It was his first home. It was the place where I was “with” my other babies – even though they were never born alive they were with me, in me, there. Some people might think it’d be easy to move on, and get away from the bad memories. And in a way it does feel good to be out of the place where we lived through those bad moments but it’s also kind of bittersweet. Will their souls find me here?

The holidays can be difficult and sometimes we need reminders to be kind to ourselves and to allow ourselves the space we need. The pregnancy announcements, birth announcements, cute family photos were always tough (and sometimes still sting) but more so over the holidays. Skip the party if you need to; stay home and play hooky or play sick. Personally I hate driving to three or four places/parties over the 24 hours and so I’m not doing it this year. It’s my holiday too and I need to make traditions for my family and it doesn’t necessarily involve pleasing everyone I know. I don’t want to upset anyone, but I also owe it to myself and The Husband and McLovin to make the holiday happy and easy for them. And I don’t think McLovin would be happy being dragged from place to place all day, so I am saying NO!

So here is your reminder – be kind to yourself.

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A Trip Around the Sun

My amazing little miracle man turned one year old last week. This has been the most wonderful, challenging, joyful, tiring, happiest year. And the fun continues with some exciting changes coming soon for our family (We bought a new {new for us anyway} house and are moving! And in the process of selling our current house! Busy times for sure.)

I love you, McLovin. Thank you for showing up and being you.

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You Stay Classy, San Diego

My first business trip post-McLovin has come and gone! I am happy to report that, logistically, the pumping in the air/on the road wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. I left my house at 4AM on Sunday morning and was home at 7AM Friday morning after taking the red eye home Thursday night.

Sunday was an extremely EXHAUSTING day – I had a six hour flight from Boston to San Diego and was dealing with jet lag and missing my baby. I pumped in the air on Sunday – I was not comfortable whipping all my gear out in my seat so I used one of the bathrooms at the back of the plane. I let the flight attendants know I would be in there for a while and why so as not to raise concerns, and, of course, we hit a patch of turbulence about 5 minutes later. Oh well. But it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated.

I requested a fridge in my room when I made my hotel reservations so it was there and waiting for me. It was a mini fridge with no freezer so I couldn’t freeze anything, but luckily my trip was just short enough that it didn’t reach the point where I’d have to freeze it or dump it. Pumping in the hotel was a breeze and the only small hiccup was that I didn’t pack any soap, brush or other tool to use for cleaning my pump equipment and bottles – I forgot the adapters for my pump parts so I could not pump directly in the storage bags and was using the bottles (lucky I thought to pack them!).  Lucky for me there was a CVS a few blocks from the hotel and I could pick up what I needed.

The part I was most worried about was getting the milk home – I had five days worth by the time of my return flight Thursday night so obviously WELL above the 3oz. travel limit. I was able to carry it all on with me – I packed a fold up soft sided cooler and it was just large enough for all my bags of milk, two bags of ice and two ice packs. When I went through TSA I told the guy what was in the cooler and he did set it aside so he could do “additional inspections” – basically it consisted of him opening the cooler, taking out the bags of milk, looking at the bags of milk and ice packs, and putting it all back and sending me on my way. I had to dump my ice there but stopped at a restaurant in the terminal and they refilled my ice bags. By the time I got home most of the ice melted but the milk was still cool so it got the job done.

So, traveling and pumping was a new adventure. McLovin is one month shy of his first birthday so I was not about to stop breastfeeding or pumping for this trip, not when we’re so close to a year and I’m glad I managed to keep going. I did not get to pump as often as I would have liked and my schedule was a bit wacky and off from how often I usually pump/nurse at home – what with the conference, dinners, and time change. But I got the job done and it seemed that my body regulated again once I got home.

And no, he did not wean, which was one of my fears. 🙂 His sleep got a little wacky, and he gave The Husband some difficulty during the night, but we all made it through. I think the first day and the last day were the worst for missing McLovin – as the flight took off I thought to myself  “WHAT AM I DOING???” and as I was waiting to board Thursday night I thought to myself “WHY DID I AGREE TO GO AWAY FOR SO LONG?”

All in all I am glad I went. I met some nice people during the conference and I got some GOOD sleep in the hotel what with no sleeping dog in the bed shaking during her dreams and no McLovin to give me the occasional early wake up call at 4am – and it felt like the hotel had the most amazing comforter and pillows 😉 I can also now check San Diego off my travel list – this was my first visit to the West Coast and I enjoyed checking out the city during my free time, swimming in the Pacific, and visiting the zoo (although I rushed the zoo because I was leaving that night and had limited time.)

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An Email, Annotated

Hi girls! (I haven’t heard from you in almost a year. Is this some sort of pregnancy email?)

Hope you all enjoyed summer and sunshine, and now fall festivities! My favorite! (Enough with the small talk. get to the point. I’m just going to skip over a few lines until I see the “p” word.)

I saw E recently and was saying how I think of you all often. I could never have gotten through that time without your support. (Yeah, I know. That’s not what this email is about though. And if you think of us so often WHY is it the only time you reach out is when you’re announcing a pregnancy or a birth? Don’t hear from you otherwise.) 

I wanted to let you know that I’m due to have a baby boy in March. We’re very excited. But anxiety also goes a long way in this process. (Yep, there it is. Knew it. Three babies in three years, you’re 3 for 4 and I’m 1 for 4. I suck. Also I shouldn’t be keeping track like this. What is wrong with me? So ungrateful.)

Hope to hear from you and how you’re doing. (You’re my Facebook friend, so look me up if you want to know.)
Xo
K

Yes, I’m a bitch.

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