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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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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SaveSave

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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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