Sunday, June 21, 2015

Over the line

Needless to say, life has been busy. Birdie and Bean are doing really well. Bean is actually starting school in the fall, which I can't wrap my head around, but it's happening so I guess I better. Birdie is 2 now and is all kinds of feisty. She's still medicated three times a day for her heart condition, but we haven't had any flair ups and that's a relief. We're still trying to figure out everything that's happening in her body. She has problems with eczema and gas for one thing. We're trying different dietary restrictions but it's hard to figure out. It seems that it isn't bad enough for anyone in the medical world to care, but when you're kid is itchy all the time, it's hard to feel the same.

As far as itches go, I've got the baby itch again. I want another one. Badly. It feels like the whole world around me is getting pregnant (literally, at least five of my friends are either pregnant or have recently given birth) and I sit here, once again, infertile. Only this time I'm over the dreaded line. I turned 35 a month or so ago and have been feeling every bit of my advanced maternal age since. I feel infertile again. I always feel infertile, but obviously it's at its worst when I actually want to be getting pregnant. I know in my heart that if it doesn't happen, I have two beautiful children and will be a very happy mama, but I would be lying if I didn't say that my heart aches a little when I think about not having any more.

I've thought about going back to the RE but Birdie is still nursing a few times a day and she said she wouldn't do anything while I was breastfeeding. I weaned Bean so that we could try to get pregnant again and it was so hard. Bean didn't seem to mind though so that made it slightly easier. Birdie on the other hand would not be so easy going about it. So I keep putting it off. There's a part of me that doesn't want to go back at all. I want to just try and I may have to reach the breaking point where I will really have to decide how badly I want to be pregnant again before I can go either way. It's such a hard process to go through. I just can't decide.

I've also started researching more. I've been reading so much about PCOS and Hypothyroidism. I've been trying to read about MTHFR but there definitely isn't as much information about there. I'm frustrated and angry right now about all of it. I feel like my doctors have been treating my symptoms and not actually trying to figure out what's going on in my body. I feel like there are possible alternative treatments that I could have been doing this whole time. I feel like an idiot for not looking into all of it sooner. Now here I sit, over the line, and I feel like I wasted so much time. Now, none of it may work and it all may be a mute point, but I can't help feeling the frustration and anger.

I'm in a good place overall though. I have two healthy girls who are the light of my life. I just hate that I'm hiding from all the pregnant people in the world. I hate that I actually grimaced when my friend told me she was pregnant. What kind of a person does that?? I feel like such a jerk. But I also feel like my time is running out and I'm just not sure I'm ready to give up on that part of my life yet. So there's anxiety of course and every pregnant belly out there reminds me of it. I'm feeling old and forever infertile, and I missed the place where I could say all of those things and someone would understand.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I’ve been trying to figure out how it got to be November already and how a few weeks away from the blog turned into months away.  It all started when Bean became very fearful just after her birthday.  We moved her to her new bedroom, without really realizing how happy she was in the nursery.  She was excited for the new room and it seemed like all was well, so we moved her into her new room and moved Birdie out of our room into the nursery.  Within a week, there was a complete breakdown.  Bean became fearful of everything and had to be with one of us at all times.  She was terrified to sleep alone.  At first I thought she just wanted to get her way to a degree, but when I really watched her I saw the fear.  I saw myself as a child.  I was very fearful and hated nighttime.  I didn’t want the same for Bean.  We spent two years working so hard to make sleep a happy thing for her and avoiding crying it out and such, only to hit that point at three.

We tried everything.  Positive things, negative things.  Everything we could think of.  I remember one of my saddest and most desperate parenting moments when I had no idea what to do.  We had tried everything, even having one of us sleep in her room with her, and nothing was working.  I was completely in over my head, and those moments are usually the ones that lead to parenting choices you regret.  I told Bean we were taking away all of her toys and books if she didn’t go to bed and sleep.  She still refused.  She happily spent the night helping us box up everything she owned because that was better to her then sleeping.  As hubby helped her fill the last boxes because we felt like we had to follow through once the threat was made, I lay on the living room floor crying.  I felt so lost.

A few weeks of sad, desperate times ended up leading to a complete lifestyle change for us.  We moved both girls back into our bedroom.  I figured out how to make it so they could nap together during the day.  At first I had to be there whenever Bean slept.  I took work into the room during naptime and went to bed at 8:30 every night.  Slowly, very slowly things got better.  We have finally reached the point where Bean will go to bed without an adult there and will nap in the nursery without anyone, including Birdie.  It’s been a long road, but we’ve gotten somewhat back to where we used to be and without all the sadness. 

On top of our struggles with Bean, Birdie has had her own challenges.  Sleep was tricky for Bean, but it’s been really difficult to figure out Birdie.  At first I thought she might have reflux but without any solid evidence, besides her waking up at night sad and uncomfortable, I was reluctant to medicate her, which was the only way our doctor could figure out if it was reflux or not.  There were nights were Birdie was waking up every hour, all night long.  Not because she wanted to be held, half the time it seemed like exactly the opposite.  The conclusion I finally came to is that she has really bad gas.  I’m still trying to get someone to take this more seriously and help us figure out why at almost 9 months of age she is waking regularly with terrible gas pains, but mostly I get some comment about how all babies have gas.  I plan to force the issue once again at her 9-month appointment.

Add to that the fact that she started having some episodes of shaking while falling asleep, which lead to multiple EEG’s to rule out seizures, and that she is very active and began crawling before 7 months of age, and I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed.  So on top of Bean coming into our room, I’ve also ended up spending most nights with Birdie in bed with me.  It has been the only way that I’ve gotten any amount of sleep and, while at first it made me very, very nervous, I’m quite content with the whole situation now.

All of this to say, I have been absent.  Absent from the blog and absent from life as I used to know it.  I have finally reached a point where I can see out of the fog of the day to day.  Where I can stop and take a breath.  I could go on and on here about the journey that the last six months has been (holy cow, six months), and I’m sure I’ll get into it more and more in the future.   Right now though, at this moment, the journey that we’ve been on since then, since Birdie was born really, has brought me to a place where I feel more content and happy with my life then I could have imagined.  I feel more secure in myself as a mother and a person.  My confidence has grown and while I still may not be getting as much sleep as I would like, I feel as far from absent in this life as I possibly could.  I’m quite present in this new place I’ve ended up and very happy to be here.  So it’s about time I started being present here again too.  If anyone is still out there, thanks for stopping by.  I’ve been keeping up with everyone the best I can and have been thinking about you all in your difficult and joyful moments even if I haven’t been able to tell you.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Infertility Guilt

I wrote this post at the beginning of June and haven't had time to finish it or write anything since. I didn't publish it then for one big reason. Guilt. Infertility guilt. Because on the long days or nights when the hard job of being a mama wears me out I can't admit it. I know what it's like to be on the other side wishing I could be a worn out mama. Finding little sympathy for others who were in my current shoes. And I remember all that now and in the middle of those dark sleepless nights when I long for a few minutes sleep. I push all of these feelings to a place that doesn't see the light of day. But now I have to offer them to you as an explanation as to where I've been. Where I am. I'm lost in mamahood. Missing my release of writing as I type this all quickly from my phone with a sleeping baby in the other arm. I miss this place and I hope to find my way back soon. Until then, here are the words from my guilt stricken heart:

I've been lost in a sea of sleepless nights these days. Birdie has followed in her sisters footsteps and our road to a nights sleep keeps getting longer and longer. We start the process in the early evening and I sit here now just before 11 waiting to see if the repeated wake ups are letting up and she's finally falling into deeper sleep or if I'll be up for awhile still. She's also decided that daddy is no longer allowed to soothe her. Only mama will do.

I love being a mama. I love being a stay at home mama. But I am human and I need some amount of rest. Some time to recharge my batteries. And that's been hard to find as of late. I'm tired, worn out, frustrated, you name it. And it makes me sad. It makes me sad because I love rocking Birdie. I love holding my sweet baby who I know won't be this age for long. I love the way she smells and the way she feels in my arms. I love the moments when she's not quite in a deep sleep yet and all the sudden starts laughing hysterically. I wish I knew what she was laughing at. But when I've been doing it all evening after a full day with both girls, I forget how much I love it. I just want a break or sleep or something. And I don't want it to be that way.

But that's reality isn't it. Motherhood is a lot of hard work. It has huge payoffs for sure and you would never hear me saying that it isn't worth every second of it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Growing older

It's official.  Bean is 3 years old.  Birdie is 3 months old.  And in 3 days, I'll be 33 years old.  So many threes.  Time is marching along.  We had a wonderful party for Bean on Saturday at our local park.  She played outside for hours on end, mostly with the grown ups who she seems to prefer to children.  We ate lots of food and I got to catch up with some folks that I haven't seen in a long time.  Birdie was a real champ.  She was her happy self the whole time and I even managed to get her two little naps in the midst of all the fun.

Three of my dearest friends, who are considered family at this point, were all here for the weekend and we had a wonderful time.  They helped (and so did Bean) paint the play room/guest room that will soon be Bean's room.  It's now a lovely shade of blue that she chose herself and we've been busily putting in new furniture and trying to move a lot of her toys with tiny pieces up there, as I know that Birdie will be on the move before we know it.

I'm not sure how I feel about all of it.  I know that I'm going to blink and the next thing I know I'll be planning Birdie's first birthday or Bean's fourth.  I'm rather happy about the fact that Bean's birthday is so close to mine.  I've been able to erase mine to a certain extent.  Between her birthday and mother's day (which is all about the grandma's at this point), my birthday kind of slips through the cracks and I'm ok with that.

It's not that I have huge issues with growing older in general, although I do have some anxiety about actually getting old. I do however have issues with my 30's.  In the beginning it was because I was fast approaching my 30's with no babies in sight.  Now it's the dreaded 35.  I'm nervous about trying to continue growing our family past 35 if it comes to that.  I feel like if my chances are limited now, they're only going to get worse then.  I also just think it's strange that I'm in my 30's at all.  I don't feel like it.  I feel like I just left college a few years ago.  I graduated on my birthday and so I always think of college when that day comes around.  It feels like yesterday and a decade ago at the same time.

Yesterday Bean and I were attempting to play with our pet rabbit.  She was having none of it.  I told Bean that we had to leave her alone if she wanted.  That she was an old lady and that she deserved as much.  Bean immediately started to get upset at the idea of our rabbit being old.  I couldn't figure out where it was coming from because death is not a subject we've discussed with her at this point.  Once the tears slowed, she was able to tell me that when things get old, we get rid of them and they go to live with someone else, and she didn't want that to happen to our rabbit.  She was clearly thinking of some of the old toys/clothes/etc that I donated and/or consigned.  I explained that while that's true with some things, the things that are truly special to us we never get rid of, not matter how old they are.

It made me think because I saw a clear equation with what she was saying to death.  And that felt peaceful to me in a certain way.  I'll be totally honest here.  Death scares me.  I grew up in a religious family, going to church.  I believe in life after death, but I don't know anything about it and the unknown scares me.  The idea of being away from the people I love for however long, scares me.  The idea of not being there for my girls, terrifies me.  I only hope I'm lucky enough to get old first.  That we all are.  But somehow thinking of it in those terms, that we get to a place in life where we aren't needed anymore and we go on to be somewhere else where we are, it felt easier.  And that no matter what, to the people that we were truly special to, we will never really be gone.

I'm not sure how this post about celebrating life turned into one about death.  Maybe because they're always intertwined.  Maybe because I popped over to Mel's post in the middle of writing this one.  I'm not sure.  As hard as it is to watch the time flying by though sometimes, I'm thankful for it.  I'm thankful for birthday's.  For watching my girls change and grow.  Because I'm not ready for the alternative for any of us.  I still feel needed here and I certainly know that they are.  So I'm thankful for another year, for growing older, and for being here long enough for the next step to not seem so scary anymore.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Things are changing around here

Change is a funny thing.  It's something that can be so exciting and so terrifying at the same time.  So much good can come from change and most times it's a sign of forward progress, but the old is comfortable.  It's what we're used to.  It's hard to let go of sometimes.

Hubby and Bean are out taking the puppy for a walk and Birdie is sleeping peacefully in her swing.  I just got done walking through the nursery in a quiet house.  Which is strange these days.  It's strange to call it the nursery again.  I've thought of it as Bean's room for so long now.  She's been sleeping in that room for almost two and a half years.  She spent the first six months in our room, and then she moved into her own room full time.  We plan to do the same for Birdie and she's almost three months old now. Bean's birthday is next week and it seemed like a natural time to move her from her room the nursery, into her big girl room.

The room she'll be moving too is our extra bedroom, which is currently half guest room half play room. We set it up that way so that when Bean did get ready to move in there, it might be more enticing.  And it seems to have worked.  She's excited to sleep in a big bed.  She's chosen a paint color for the walls and yesterday we went shopping and got new blankets, curtains, and some furniture for the rest of the room.  It will truly be her room when it's all done and the nursery will be empty of the things that are just hers.  For a few months, the nursery will be empty period.  No longer Beans, not yet Birdies.

It's strange, because I'm excited for Bean.  I'm excited that she's looking forward to this new room.  That she's going to be three and seems like such a big girl.  But at the same time, she's going to be three and she's such a big girl!  When did that happen?  In the blink of an eye she went from my baby girl, to this little person with so much personality of her own.  She amazes me every day.  So it makes me a little anxious to have her moving on and leaving that baby part of her life behind.

It really shouldn't.  It's not like the nursery will be empty for long. Birdie is quickly growing herself and will soon be ready to be a little farther away from us at night time.  I might not be ready, but she will.  She'll move into the nursery and while several practical things will be easier, like the fact that we can get ready for bed in our own bathroom instead of Beans, without the fear of waking a baby, I'm sure this will be another transition that will be a little difficult for me.

I wonder sometimes if this is just as hard for fertile mamas.  When I stop and think about my babies growing, many times I can't help but think about our family and if it will ever grow again.  I don't feel like Birdie is my last baby.  I don't have any sense that when things are happening with her, that it will be the last time I experience it.  But it could very well be.  More babies aren't a guarantee in this house, no matter how much they would be loved or wanted.

And so when Bean moves to her big girl room and Birdie moves to the nursery, the house will be full.  All three of our bedrooms will have a person sleeping in them every night.  I can't tell you how full that makes my heart feel.  I love that our little house is filling with babies.  That was just a dream a few years ago.  I just can't believe how fast they're growing.  And I can't help but wonder if we'll be lucky enough in a few years to be setting up bunk beds in Beans room, which will no longer be Beans room but instead will be Bean and Birdies room.  Or if we'll be selling the crib, repurposing the cabinet that we use for a changing table, and painting the walls in the nursery to make it into a big girl room also.  It's hard to know what the future will bring.  More change, I'm sure of that.  So for the next week I'm going to enjoy the fact that Bean's still in the nursery, Birdie is still in our bedroom, and future babies are still a dream in my heart.  And I'll try not to think about the fact that my babies are growing so quickly.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Join the Movement...As a Parent

As many of you know, it's National Infertility Awareness Week and Resolve is asking bloggers in the community to talk about being more active in bringing change to the infertility landscape.  This is a topic that I think about a lot.  I want to be a voice in that landscape and I really want to help make change.

One of the things that I wish had been different for me in my infertility journey was support.  I wish I had reached out for support when we were in the thick of it.  My closest friends weren't at a place where they were having children and knew what kind of emotions went into that.  The people we knew who were having kids, had no idea what it was like to want kids and not be able to have them.  Our families certainly didn't make the process easier, and often said the worst thing they could in a given situation.  Hubby was and always has been my biggest support.  But outside of that, I felt very alone.  I didn't feel like anyone understood, cared, knew how to help me, or even wanted to help me.

I should have reached out for support at that point and found a group or a therapist or something.  I didn't.  I didn't even realize how low a point I was at until I wasn't at it anymore.  But I wish it had been different.  So now I try harder to know when I need support and go looking for it.  As an infertile parent, I started to realize that I still needed support.  Infertility has left me forever changed.  I was not "cured" once I had a child.  I am a different parent because of the process that it took for me to get here.  Some of that is very positive, some of it gives me great anxiety.  I still see the need to be supported by other people who understand the journey we went on to parenthood.

That's one of the reasons I started this blog.  I've read blogs in the ALI community for a long time.  I never commented.  I felt a huge connection to these people and they helped me in a lot of ways, but I never told them.  I wish that I had.  I'm so thankful that I started the blog when I did.  The connection that I've found with other people around the country and world has been amazing.  It has made me long for the ability to be with those people face to face though.  To sit down and have a cup of coffee, watch our kids play, and talk about life as an infertile parent.

So about two years ago, I started looking for support groups for infertile parents.  I figured there had to be one.  I started with Resolve and looked at their support groups.  All of the support groups and services that I could find were for people going through the process of trying to have children or living child free.  I found one page with some information about pregnancy after infertility, and that was kind of it.  Everyone in the ALI community knows that infertility doesn't end with a baby, but I couldn't figure out how to find support once I had one.

That's when I decided to start my own group.  I was really nervous to put myself out there, but I put a notice up online advertising a play/support group for people who had gone through the process of infertility or adoption to start their families.  I knew there had to be more people out there like me and I was right.  At our first meeting three other moms got together and while the little ones played, we talked about what we'd been through, how it had changed us, and what we were like as parents because of it.  It was really wonderful.  Unfortunately, it never got much farther off the ground.  We met more times over the next year or so, but the group never really grew.

The main problem that I had was figuring out how to get the word out.  I knew there had to be other parents out there like me, lots of them, but I didn't know how to reach them.  I tried some local bulletin boards but I knew the place where they all potentially could be, was kind of untouchable.  The reproductive endocrinologist.  I couldn't figure out a way to get the word out through my doctor without being hurtful to all of the people still trying to start their families and needing support with that.  And so life got busy and, reluctantly, I threw in the towel.

Luckily I gained a really wonderful friend through the process, but I feel like this is something that needs to happen.  We need to physically have a place for infertile parents to find each other, to talk about our past and how that has effected our present.  To support each other if we choose to continue growing our families.  Even just to sit down and watch the little people running around in the back yard and all marvel together at what miracles they are.  That is such a moment of healing for me, that the power it could have when multiplied is astounding.

My challenge to myself is to try again.  To join the movement and not let this hiccup that I ran into stop me.  I believe this is something that needs to happen.  I believe this is something that a national organization like Resolve could benefit from.  I also believe that I was a little afraid to put myself out there in a big way and really get it off the ground and spread the word.  That's my challenge and where one of my passions about joining the movement stems from.  I have a need to find other people who can relate to my situation as an infertile parent.  I want to talk to them, see their face, and be able to lean on each other.  And I know there have to be other people out there like me, itching to join that movement too.  Think of what we could accomplish together.  Not just as support for each other, but as a voice for infertility for all of those still struggling to start a family. (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Your thoughts on siblings

I've been trying to figure out, for the last three years, how you create a positive relationship between siblings.  I ask everyone that I know.  Unfortunately, it seems like I don't know that many people who have a really strong relationship with their sibling.  So I keep asking.  

I have one brother.  He's three years older then I am and we are like night and day.  Growing up we were the best friends and worst enemies at the same time.  We got in some all out brawls.  I resented him a lot because he was clearly my moms favorite.  I can't tell you really how he felt about me.  Since we've become adults we've mostly kept to ourselves.  We talk several times a year and see each other maybe once a year.  I don't lean on him or share with him or anything like that.  Mostly I talk to him when I need to discuss something about our parents.  And that makes me sad sometimes.   But I have been lucky enough to find people in my life who feel like my siblings, even if none of the blood in our veins is the same.  So I don't dwell on it.

Hubby has one older brother too.  His relationship is much the same as mine except more complicated.  I'll leave it at that because that's his story to tell, not mine.  Needless to say though, neither of us have stellar sibling relationships and we've spent a lot of time trying to figure out why.  My closets friends have siblings but none of them are really close.  When I meet people who are close with their siblings, I end up asking too many questions I'm sure.  They may feel like I'm interrogating them but I'm just so at a loss.  How does that happen?  Is it something parents create?  Is it just a difference in the family as a whole or the siblings?  I want to know more details, mostly because I want to do everything in my power to help Bean and Birdie really care about each other and want to spend time together.  

So if you are willing, help me out please, and answer a few questions.

1) Do you have any siblings?  Are they the same gender or different?  What is the age difference?

2) What kind of a relationship do you feel like you have with your siblings?  Do you have a clear picture as to how that came about?

3) No matter what kind of relationship you have, do you feel like your parents did do something to foster that or could they have done something to make it different?

4) Feel free to share anything else that you'd like.

I find the whole subject so curious.  I know that there are people out there who talk to their siblings all the time, do things together, and are a regular part of each others lives.  I just don't know those people!  Please help!