Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Change Within (part 2 of 2)

So now I have wound back to the original post I never wrote, and that pertains to blogs written by mothers who have experienced infant loss. Given my new-found identification with the mothers of the world, you can imagine where I am going with this.

Several Blogger Bingo participants came from blogs that fell into this category. The list wasn’t sorted, so you never knew what you would find when you clicked onto someone’s blog for the first time. The first infant loss blog I encountered took my breath away. Literally. I think I stopped breathing for a moment. There was a picture of a mom holding her beautiful baby girl, and a subtitle explaining she’d had to say goodbye to that sweet girl after only a few short weeks.

And then there was another, and another, and I became overwhelmed by the grief these women have experienced.

I never wrote about this because I didn’t know how, and I still don’t, really. I don’t know the right language. I don’t know how to respectfully explain the emotions their blogs elicited or convey my empathy without it sounding like I think for a single second that I know how they feel. I know that my stopping breathing for one moment is nothing compared to their feeling that they may never breathe again, and I know that my minute or hour or afternoon of discomfort is nothing compared to what they have experienced and will continue to walk through. I wanted to read their blogs. I wanted to bear witness to their experience – one that rattles my core in the most terrible of ways – but I found that I couldn’t. I do not know the depth and breadth of their pain, but my imagining of it cut so fiercely that I found I couldn’t visit anymore.

So let’s just say it – I have some boundary issues. I’m aware of this, but I think my ability to identify with other people’s stories can be as much a strength as it is a weakness. I just have to be careful to maintain power over it. When I was about 10 years old, my dad gave me a thirty-second synopsis of Sop.hie’s Choice and I became completely hysterical. I cried and cried and cried. After I watched The Gree.n Mile for the first (and only) time, I was queasy and tearful for days. I’ve become better at managing this as I’ve grown up, but becoming Elliot’s mom triggered some back-sliding in this department. When it comes to children, there is no separation for me. I want all children to be treated well and have their needs met. I want all parents to be able to protect and care for their children, and see their children thrive. When this doesn’t happen, for any of a great number of reasons, I lose perspective and the emotions wash right over me.

I just re-read this post and I’m left wondering what the point of it all is. Unfortunately, I committed myself with that whole “post 1 of 2” bit yesterday, so it’s going up, but I apologize for taking up your time with these ramblings. It’s a change I’ve noted, and perhaps other new moms have found something similar (which would be interesting to hear about in the comments section, hint hint), but I’m afraid I’m still too "in it" to offer any useful insight or wisdom. It simply is for me right now. So… yeah.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Change Within (part 1 of 2)

A million years ago when I was doing Blogger Bingo, I wrote this post and alluded to another one I never got around to. This is mostly because I never felt I could do it justice, but something happened today that made me wish I’d written it, so that I could piggy-back on it. It’s hard to piggy-back on a post you never wrote. Blast.

So, let’s do this in reverse order, shall we? The bank across the street from my office was robbed this afternoon. For the rest of the day, the parking lot was full of police vans and dogs and yellow crime scene tape and the whole bit. I went online looking for information about what happened and nothing has hit the internet yet. But, I did find this story, which was quite the feel-good read. Three cheers for judges who honor same-sex families, even when a former member of that family refuses to do so. I also found a terrible story I won’t link to about something awful a person did to a child, and, like the total idiot that I am, I clicked on it. I knew better, but for some inexplicable reason, I did it anyway. So now I’m sitting here feeling sad and sick and wishing I could visit a certain someone in jail and inflict some extraordinary form of torture. (Any of you who know, or even suspect, what I do for a living should be able to appreciate how out of character this kind of punitive thinking is for me.) All of this brings me to a change I have seen in myself since becoming a mother. The change has a few separate but related parts:

First, I want all good things for all children everywhere - not in a trite or cliche way, but in a deep and emotional way, and not only the Big Things beauty pageant queens talk about (world peace, an end to hunger, and so on). The Big Things are obvious and go without saying because we all want them – always have, always will. And knowing we don’t even have those makes my desire for the more subtle things even more ridiculous, but I still want them. I want every kid to have soft pajamas and books with colorful pictures in them. I want kids to have food they like to eat and toys to play with in the bathtub. Every child I hear, read or think about becomes Elliot in my mind, and I want the same good things for them as I do for him.

More than that, I think, I want moms everywhere to be able to give their children these things. Becoming a mother has made me profoundly sensitive to the desire to provide your children with the best of everything. I find myself at a loss for words in expressing my empathy for moms who are unable to do so. I feel so in tune to the struggle of mothers now. When I think about poverty, hunger or violence, I instantly identify with the mothers and I feel real grief over the barriers they face in providing their children with security and comfort. This is not to say I don’t feel for the children, too. Of course I do, but I always have. The change, for me, is in my new-found identification with the mothers and the second layer that adds to my understanding of the world we live in. I have been familiar with the cliché about children causing your heart to exist outside of your body for a long time now, but I couldn’t fully appreciate its magnitude until Elliot came along.

And on that note, I have to leave this for now. If I don't post what I have, this will just fall into the pile of unfinished blog posts in my draft folder (4 already there at the moment, FYI, all written and not posted in the last 2 weeks) so I'm posting what I have, but I promise to pick it up again soon, as I still haven't made it back to the Blogger-Bingo-post-that-wasn't.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays, Part Two (With Pics)

Lest I ever doubt that all we went through to get pregnant was worth it, here are the pictures we had the privilege of sending out in our holiday cards this year:

And this is what Christmas morning looked like for us:

I hope you are all enjoying a warm and restful holiday season. We've been mostly off-line at my parents' house for the past week but we're headed home tomorrow and I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone!

Happy Holidays, Part One (TTC Safe)

Last night, as I wrapped Elliot in a towel after his bath, I told him he was my Christmas-wish-come-true.

We started TTC in October of 2006 and I spent the next two Christmases aching for him and one more feeling his kicks, heavy with anticipation. This year, I'm at a loss for words to describe how wonderful it feels to have him here with us at last.

The extra warmth of this year reminds me of how difficult the ones to come before it were. To those of you still waiting, my heart is with you and I hope things are brighter for you when the next holiday season rolls around.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Croup = Terrible and scary and exhausting.

One night down. Hopefully not many more to go. :-(

Thursday, December 10, 2009

EWCM = junk mail

I’m ovulating, or so my body would have me believe. I’m on day 2 of the most perfect EWCM a girl could hope for. I am surprised (and frankly, amused) to note how much its presence irritates me. I was unprepared for how my status as an IVF vet would make me resentful of my body’s fertility signs.

When we were TTC, I welcomed each month’s EWCM and the renewed hope it brought. This was going to be our month! Sure we’d had a dozen BFNs, but this time would be different! Look how normal and textbook and fertile I am! *sigh* I couldn’t fully appreciate how futile all those IUIs were at the time. Sure I had days of feeling like it would never work, especially after each BFN, but by the time the EWCM rolled around, I had licked my wounds and hopped back on the optimism wagon (read: crazy train). The point is, I loved seeing EWCM when we were TTC. In addition to the false (but cherished) hope it sparked, it meant that in the next couple of days, we’d actually get to DO something instead of waiting or waiting or waiting to wait.

And then I got pregnant, and the monthly EWCM went away.

Now it has returned, but I have no use for it. The longed-for baby is here, no thanks to my EWCM, and its visits do nothing but remind me of an unfulfilled promise. Now that I have no hope to mask my disillusionment, I view my EWCM as an unkind joke; as false advertising. My body is saying “Look how fertile I am! You could totally get pregnant right now!” And to that I say… bullshit. You couldn’t get me pregnant then and you can’t now. My body just doesn’t work like that, despite all the months and years I tried to prove that it did.

I find it funny that I’m more irked by the arrival of EWCM than AF. I suspect it’s because AF is what she is – no betrayals there. I didn’t enjoy her presence when I was TTC and I don’t enjoy it now. EWCM, on the other hand, is like a snake. It came month after month after month, seducing me with promises of a BFP and the subsequent baby bump. Its presence now reminds me of the years I spent asking my body for something it never delivered and aside from being bitter about that, I’m also embarrassed at having been the dummy that fell for it month after month after month.

I wish there was a “do not call” list for fertility signs. I’d sign my body up in a heartbeat, and I doubt I’m the only one. At the very least, I’d like to post a “no solicitation” sign. Maybe a tattoo? EWCM, you had your chance. You blew it. I’m sticking with science from here on out!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's cross pollination day!

So before you read this post, take a look at the list of bloggers participating today. Then as you read, you can try to figure out who the guest blogger is!


I was contemplating unfinished projects this week. I have an entire closet full of them. I have a sweater that I started knitting in 1999 or 2000. Still not finished (mostly because I think I don't have quite enough yarn). I have a baby blanket that just needs its border. I have a 2 foot high stack of recipes that I'm going to make someday. I have a box full of photos that need to go in an album - not a scrapbook, even, just an album. I can't complete shoving photos in slots.

Sometimes I don't finish projects because I lose interest. Sometimes I don't finish projects because I don't have the right materials. Sometimes I'm just lazy. I don't get terribly concerned about finishing projects, because I know life is a marathon and not a sprint. Either things will get finished or they won't.

I have one project that's been on my agenda for 5 years. I don't know if I'll be able to finish this project to my satisfaction. The project takes little of my time, but much of my attention. The project is building my family. I am the proud mom of a charming, funny, smart, obstinate, 3 year old cutie pie. She is my world. I am lucky to have her. But I can't put aside my desire for another child.

I feel like my family is not complete. My husband does not agree, although he has agreed to doing anything I want to do to make another baby. That's really quite amusing, because he has NO idea what additional intervention would entail. He likes to complain about my hormonal rages now. If I need a chuckle*, I just imagine his surprise at my mood swings if I were to start injecting myself with hormones. Since I am now 40, I know that my time is limited (although, according to the latest news reports, I have 10-15 more years!). I know that I am short on eggs. I know that I will not put my husband, myself, and, by extension, my daughter through the craziness that is IVF. In the next few months, I will have to reconcile myself to leaving this particular project unfinished. And since my husband is currently halfway around the world, I will have only one more chance to try before my 41st birthday. Unless this last chance worked.

Meanwhile, I guess I'll work on one of those other unfinished projects...anyone need a baby blanket? The baby for whom I was making it is now 2.

*If I ever need a chuckle in general, my husband is a good source. For instance, he recently told me that his few hours of non-sleeping on the hospital recliner were much more painful than my labor, because it's not like I pushed or anything, and I got an epidural. And the bed. Let's not forget that I got the bed. I was literally laid out on the floor for 20 minutes, laughing at the ridiculousness of those statements.
Welllll? Who do you think it is? It may be a tough one if you're like me and tend to hang out in your (our) own part of the blogosphere, but if you think you know who it is, leave your guess in the comments section and we'll all oooh and aaah at how well-traveled you are! :-) Then, click here to head over to the guest poster's blog and read what I wrote for today. Be sure to poke around a bit while you're there. I had a lot of fun catching up on her adventures!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I have a whole bunch of things I want to post about and no time to do it in. Here are a few off the top: We survived Elliot's first fever although I'm a little nervous he has an ear infection brewing. Our house is torn up because we decided to do some massive renovations two weeks before Christmas - sensible, no? We got a surprise $1800 bill from the RE this week and we're wondering if we'll EVER be able to stop giving them money. I also have a hysterical story I'd love to tell about how I was offered a "job" cleaning and decorating gravesites. I really will try to get to that last one.

In the meantime, here is something really exciting: Tomorrow is cross-pollination day! That means that another blogger will be guest posting here, and I'll be guest posting on her blog. I have her post all ready to go (because she is on the ball and sent it to me days ago, unlike me who slipped mine under her door like five minutes ago, you know, a mere hour and a half before it's due) and I think it will give you a chuckle, so be sure to check back  to read it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day #266

I've been sleeping off my NaBloPoMo hangover by taking a posting holiday, as you may have noticed. Actually, I've mostly just been sleeping, due to a nasty cold that had me laid up most of the week. I generously shared it with Elliot and his temperature has been fluctuating between 99 and 102 degrees for the last two days. Poor kid. I'm feeling really lucky that we made it this far (almost 9 months!) without an illness of note, but it's still hard to see him feeling lousy. I called him in sick for school today for the first time. That's right, I'm someone's mom. I can call someone in sick to school. Weird.

Anyway, on to what I came here to post about... It's time for another episode of Insignificant Milestones That People Outside of the IF Blogosphere Would (Righteously) Make Fun Of!

Today is Elliot's "Out Longer Than In" day. He has been in our world for 266 days, which is one more day than the 265 he spent in the womb. It's hard to believe he's been here for the length of a full-term pregnancy. It has gone so, sooo fast. Much faster than the 265 days, it seems. Last week, I realized we needed to start thinking about what we want to do for his first birthday. *gulp* Why don't we just hand over the car keys already?!

M was holding our sweet, sick boy tonight (stripped down to a diaper to allow his fever to vent) and he just looked so giant to me. He looks (and acts) more and more like a little boy every day. He is furniture walking with ease now and I'm sure he'll be doing the real thing before we know it. His personality seems to unfold by the minute, and as soon as we notice he's picked up a new skill, he's already working on the next one. I just can't believe how fast it's all happening.

He loves the Christmas tree. I can't wait to see what he thinks of the rest of the fanfare.