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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Advice Please!

As the title of this post suggests, I am looking for advice from my readers and friends! I will be leaving later this month for my first post-McLovin work trip. With taking a red eye home I will be away from him a total of five nights. I am trying not to focus on the emotional aspects surrounding this trip and am instead trying to focus on logistics, as I am still breastfeeding/pumping.

Any tips, tricks, advice for a breastfeeding mother who is traveling cross country? I’ve looked in to Milk Stork and FedEx cold shipping and they are pricey – I may end up using one of those services, however, I am also considering trying to just bring the milk home in a cooler in my checked luggage and/or carry on. I’ll have five days worth. Does TSA really give people that much of a hassle? I really don’t know what to expect as I’ve never done this before nor have I traveled with anyone who has had milk with them.

McLovin will be ~11 months while I’m away. I’ve made it this.close to a year of breastfeeding and pumping, and I’m not going to give up now. Travel be damned!

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Food for Thought

I received an email today from our genetic counselor, and the final question gave me pause – “Can you pinpoint anything in particular that helped you cope? I am always looking for insight, feedback and ways to coach students through supporting couples.”

I had a take a timeout from my indignant outrage over ridiculous statements from our president and the people in my social media feed sharing ridiculous memes. #TakeAKnee. And I’m still not sure I have an answer yet.

A major outlet for me was this blog, obviously. The simple act of getting my thoughts written and out of me, so to speak, helped. IRL I am much more reserved and not particularly verbose, and I haven’t shared much of this journey, the real in-depth feelings and emotions, with people in my every day life. Not many people know that I lost three babies, not just the one.  Sharing my journey here, and reading about other people’s journeys, was real eye opening and an immense help. And having The Husband’s support, obviously, it’s hard to get by without your partner. I think that goes without saying.

I’m am atheist and wasn’t relying on any deep faith, scripture or belief in a deity to help guide me. I didn’t go to a therapist. I didn’t have genetic testing results to help make decisions any easier (and, for those keeping track, two years after my last loss I still don’t have those damn results back yet).

I don’t feel like I have a real good answer to the question. I thought perhaps writing about it would help point me towards an answer, a thought, something. How does anyone cope through anything? How are the people in Puerto Rico or the Caribbean coping right now with their homes and livelihoods devastated? How do the families of service men and women overseas cope? How do the people of South Korea and Japan cope with an unstable neighbor who might or might not obliterate them? I guess you just do what you have to do.

It was just following a feeling in my gut that it wasn’t over and to keep going. Maybe it was belief in that helped me through.

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*Rolls eyes*

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Anderson Cooper was me this morning.

So, I wake up this morning and do a big stretch, and grab my cell phone off the nightstand and turn it on. Today’s a holiday, and The Husband and I both have it off from work. On days when we are both off he handles the morning duties when McLovin wakes up, as I handle it during the work week. McLovin was nice to us and let us sleep in until 7am! Whoo!

I digress.

I check my email (is it sad that is one of the first things I do when I wake up if I’m not running in to McLovin’s room to greet him?) and then log in to my Facebook, and lo and behold am greeted by the news that THERE IS A THIRD ROYAL BABY! I swear, there were ten posts about it right in a row – People, AP News, some of my friends.

Perhaps this is my bitter recurrent pregnancy loss self talking, but who cares? I don’t live in the UK, the “Royal Family” means nothing to me. They aren’t my royals. I don’t care to see it splashed around everywhere. And now we’ll get to see how perfect “The Duchess” looks in all of her maternity wear, and she’ll hardly gain any weight and look amazing  the whole time. And in a few months their cute, perfect little family will be even cuter. Gag.

I guess maybe I’m especially sensitive to it because September is a hard-ish month around these parts – yes, fall is coming and Patriots football season is starting and our wedding anniversary is this month, but I also lost two of my pregnancies in September (September 11th and 18th to be exact.) And, she of the group text message hostage situation announced on Facebook earlier this week that she is 30 weeks pregnant with her second daughter. Her first child wasn’t even one year old and she was pregnant again. I wonder what it’s like to just have healthy pregnancies one after another like that?

I spent the morning doing landscaping yard work with The Husband while McLovin napped, as we are moving forward with putting our house on the market and wanted the yard to look good for pictures. Excuse my tired, cranky, bitter post. Hopefully after some alone time in a nice hot shower and a good think I’ll have a bit more perspective.

Until then, memes!

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Life Lately

Life Lately:

  • Still on the house hunt. We’ve been to several open houses, several private showings. We put an offer in on a house, but unfortunately our offer was rejected (although it was highest) because we had the contingency of selling our current house. As it happens my mother and step-father were thinking of selling and downsizing, as they don’t require 2+ acres of land, a pool and three bedrooms any longer. It’s in our hometown and we’ve always wanted to move back there, so it is looking like we are going to be buying that house, the house I grew up in. Still working out the details.
  • My boss has asked me about going on my first trip post-maternity leave. It’s clear across the country and I’d be gone four nights. I knew the this would happen eventually, but still my stomach dropped and I felt a sense of panic when she first brought it up. She made it clear that, it is not required and she understands I have obligations at home now, but she wanted to give me the opportunity to travel and network at this trade event especially because it’s a fun location. I want to go, because although I hate flying I do enjoy traveling and visiting new places. But now I have McLovin and the thought of leaving him makes me want to cry. We are still breastfeeding. He is still waking once a night. I am still pumping. I know all of these things can be managed, and The Husband would do fine caring for him, and we’d still have our daytime caregivers to help, etc. etc. But I so enjoy breastfeeding and I don’t want him to suddenly wean and never nurse again because I am not there, or have my supply drop or something because I am away. Obviously I would still have to pump, and again I know it’s totally do-able and there are plenty of websites that have great advice on this sort of thing, but I still worry. And just being away, and not being able to hold him or hug him every day. I know sooner or later the time will come where we will be apart, whether a sleepover at his grandmother’s or at a friend’s or work travel or leisure travel, and I will have to deal with it eventually. Is it better to do it now while he’s still young-ish or wait until he’s a bit older? I don’t know. I will supposed to do this same trip back in October 2014, and even had it booked – but then I went through my second pregnancy loss/D&E, went out on medical leave for two weeks after because I wasn’t ready to return to work, and when I came back my boss gave me the out – saying I didn’t have to go if I wasn’t ready after my procedure (she didn’t know what I was even pregnant or what happened, I just told her it was a “medical situation”). I took the out and cancelled the trip then. Last year I couldn’t go because my doctor didn’t want me to travel so late in my pregnancy (I was 34 weeks at the time.) So now this is my third crack at it and I kind of feel like I should go, and I would have already said yes if not for McLovin.
  • The Husband leaves for his destination wedding this weekend. McLovin and I are staying home. There has been all sorts of additional drama, from being told that he would be sharing a room with other groomsmen to then being told the bride’s family didn’t reserve enough rooms and The Husband was on his own (he’s not even staying at the same hotel as everyone else now), to not being given the correct itinerary for when the events were taking place, to being told he’d have a free day to golf and now he wont and ridiculously expensive suit and shoes to purchase. Oh yeah, and his aunt has evidently been butting heads with the bride and doesn’t approve of their first dance song. I am just sick of hearing about it and ready for it to be over!! I will say I feel less bothered by it now then I did last year, but I still feel bad for The Husband that he was dragged in to all of this and doesn’t like to say “No.” I am not looking forward to having one less set of hands to help me at night but we’ll manage.
  • Currently reading: Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. How do I get any reading done? While I’m pumping at work or during McLovin’s morning nap on my days off.
  • We went on our Martha’s Vineyard vacation last month. So fun. We did it all with McLovin – visited the alpacas, The Flying Horses Carousel, the beach, ate lunch on the porch at the Chilmark Store, visited Menemsha, Nancy’s, Donovan’s Reef sans Donovan (sad face!), Back Door Donuts, Gay Head Cliffs, shopped (a lot), and visited our stone at the Children’s Memorial at the Edgartown Lighthouse. That last activity was very bittersweet. McLovin is obviously too young to understand, but I talked to him about it and what it means to us, and how we don’t have a site where our babies are buried but we consider the Lighthouse to be that place where we can go to “visit them”, so to speak. We had a blast and have already booked our rental for next year!

 

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Words Matter

I think I made clear my feelings, before and after the election of 2016, with no room for ambiguity. Since the inauguration I’ve vacillated between feelings of anger and sadness at what has been transpiring across the country. From backing out of the Paris Agreement, to announcing a Transgender Ban in the military,  Travel Ban, to the philosophy of letting the ACA “implode”, to the Twitter rants and lies after lies after lies… I’ve felt mostly anger. I have had so many thoughts bouncing in my head recently and I’m going to try and put them here, and hope it makes some sort of sense.

Now I just feel sadness.  How could my fellow country-men elect someone with no empathy, no sense of justice, no humility? The erratic behavior? And the moral equivocation after the events in Charlottesville? The “wink wink” to the white supremacists, the employing of folks like Steve Bannon, the violent rhetoric? Emboldening fringe hate groups? I am sad and disgusted beyond belief.

It’s now at the point where I have trouble maintaining relationships with family and friends who I know voted for and/or continue to support this man. To sell away your sense of moral decency for a few extra bucks in their pay check. It’s not “just politics” to me – it speaks to your world view and what you value. I can’t get past that some people I know and love would have such a high tolerance for bigotry and hatred. Nobody should be surprised about the turmoil that occurred this past weekend and his actions since then – if you paid attention to his words during the campaign and to the people he surrounds himself with, it was crystal clear then and is crystal clear now. No surprises. He has never given any indication that he would pivot or start acting “more presidential” so to vote for him in hopes that it would happen was a fool’s errand.

My son is white. He is already beginning his life with that “white male privilege.” Every day I put thought in to how I can raise him to be a good man and to care for others, empathize with them and be considerate of them – people of different faiths, people of different cultures, people who don’t have his advantages. When I see what happened in Charlottesville and I see how the “man” elected to the highest office in the land behaves and the words that come out of his mouth, I feel sad. Shouldn’t a president be a role model, or at least be a decent human being? Shouldn’t he have a moral compass and inspire people, challenge them to be better? My answer is YES – absolutely they should be. Unfortunately right now that is not the case, and won’t be anytime soon. I am sad that he is inheriting a world where this is happening – where people voted for someone, to the highest office of the land no less, who condones this behavior. I am sad that I have friends and coworkers who are Jewish, LGBTQIA, black, who might be feeling unsafe or living with worry, wondering why the man elected to represent them can’t support them and has abandoned them.

Then I come home from work, and say “Hi McLovin” as I walk through the door… and he turns in sees me and smiles, then grunts as he army crawls to me as quick as he can. And I pick him up and hug him, and tell him I love him. My heart melts and the world seems less harsh, less sad for a moment. I guess these moments of love, and using my voice to speak up for the injustices I see, are the best I can do for him and the future I want for him right now.

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1,095

Today is the three year “anniversary” of my first due date.

It’s different this year, for sure, with McLovin here. I still feel cheated, I still feel a longing. But the edges are a little smoother, it’s less bitter and more bittersweet. I don’t feel like laying in bed and shutting out the world like I have in the past.

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I now know what I missed out on. Every child is different, and I think I probably mother McLovin differently than I would have if I hadn’t experienced loss, so I’m sure the experience I am having now is not the experience I would have had then. But I now know what it feels like to see my child smile at me. I now know what it feels like to see my child army crawl. I now know what it feels like to come home from work and see my child smile and squeal and reach out to me. I now know what it feels like to go through the same bed time routine every night and never feel bored with it. I know what it feels like to watch him sleep on the monitor. I know what it feels like to love a living child.

And it makes me sad that I didn’t get to experience this with my first three babies. Why? Why were they not able to survive? Why was I not able to love them like this? Why did they not get the chance to be someone and live a life? McLovin is everything to me, and he’s done so much to heal me, and I love him so very, very much. But the scars will always be there. He doesn’t replace the three babies I lost and he doesn’t make the memories or scars disappear.

I realize that, there’s no way all three of them could have all been born live. The timing is way off. I realize that McLovin would not be here if my third pregnancy had been viable and resulted in a child. I realize that my second baby would not have been conceived if my first baby had been viable.

It’s still a hard day. July 21st will always be a day seared in my brain. I see boys around three years of age and I wonder (because I always felt my first baby was a boy.)

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Thought of the Night

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I’ve become a big fan of The Milk Meg. Just enough facts, insight and humor to keep me entertained.

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