Telling Rebecca

My kid is no dummy.  There have been a few times that she has looked at me sideways.  She has questioned why I haven’t had wine repeatedly.  She tried to catch us and ask if she would have a sibling by the time she is 13.  (Her bday is May, baby will be here April.)  We wanted to wait a bit longer to share the news with her because she is a kid, a girl, a young lady who can’t hold secrets is really what I’m saying.

I had ordered her a big sister shirt but it was slow to be shipped.  Instead, we sat her down one night and told her we needed to have a discussion.  You could tell she was trying to read our faces.  I handed her an envelope and told her to open it.  It had the ultrasound pictures in it.  The first thing she said was “I knew it! You weren’t drinking wine! I knew it!”  Then she stared at me like the baby might come crawling out any minute or perhaps I grew a third head suddenly.

It was slowly sinking in.

She did some bouncing around, she squealed and then we went to dinner.  That is where the questions started and have yet to stop.  At one point she simply stated, “I’m going to have a lot of questions about this.”  I understand kid.

Some of the best have been:

Will you have it Duggar style?  Like, in the bath tub, at home, with everyone? (Referring to the 19 Kids and Counting show on TLC.)

If I’m with you when you go into labor is there some sort of waiting room for kids or can Dad come get me?  I don’t want to see the “stuff.”  (Thank God her Dad lives literally 4 blocks from the hospital.)

How fat are you going to get?

Can you feel it moving yet?

Where does it pee at?

Can I go with when we find out what it is and if I go does it involve yucky stuff?

Are we still going on vacation next year?

Why do your boobs hurt?

Can you go swimming with me?

How much room is it going to take up in the backseat? (The girl travels heavy I tell ya.)

We aren’t going to turn weird and get a mini-van are we? (Hell, no.  No offense to you mini-van drivers.)

Are you sure I won’t have to share my birthday month?

Do I have to share any parts of my room with this baby?

How exactly did you know you were pregnant?

And it has gone on and on and on from there….

We will tell our parents (finally) this weekend.  She is ready to bust at the seams to share the news.

 

 

How Far Do You Support?

I went through my divorce.  I struggled through moments, I cried, I laughed, I changed, I learned and it happened.  I did not skip parts, ignore parts, pretend it didn’t happen or back pedal in that divorce.

I did it the best way I knew how.  I did what worked for me and I am ever so grateful that my divorce was amicable.  Amicable enough to even use the same lawyer and go out to lunch together after the judge announced us no longer husband and wife.

Not everyone gets that, I understand.  And let me say, everyone’s divorce is different.

Years later here I am with a friend in my house and her three children.  Her arms are covered in bruises from her husband.  We sat in a lawyer’s office this morning and she was all over the board.  I sat there getting frustrated.  Just what did she want exactly?  What are her goals?  Ten years I’ve listened to them two yell, fight and carry on.  I’ve supported her, given her places to stay and bit my tongue.  Now they are in my house, living on my bank account and she wants to find an easier route then actually going through it.

And she looks at me like I have no clue what I’m talking about.

I want to scream at her.  Shake her.  Tell her what reality is.  I could go on and on but here is where I am at.  I’m sitting in a chair next to her, pregnant.  I have a job I’m late getting to.  I have a beautiful, brand new house that I got up early to clean this morning because there are 4 extra people and a puppy staying there.  I have a Husband that will come home tonight that I will be happy to see.  You see, I worked hard for that.  Damn hard.  So while I will be supportive of friends when is enough, enough? When do your morals win out?  When do you tell your friend she is going to have to learn the hard way?  I’ve already done it.  I’ve been there.  I feel the stress today, stress that isn’t mine because I remember those days all to well but these aren’t my days.  No, they are hers.

It is a funny thing, being the already divorced person.  I completely understand the steps but no, I will not do it for another person.  The other thing I’m realizing, I can no longer be supportive of a toxic situation someone chooses to put them selves in daily.  It is exhausting.

July 23, 2014 – The second half of my day.

If you haven’t read the first half, you should.

 

I went home from work that day at warp speed.  The dog and I retreated to the bathroom with more tests and I started peeing while she started attacking flying wrappers.  We lined those positive tests up and I was more convinced this was true.  I had math to do.  How the hell did this happen?!  I was clearly in shock.  I pulled out my app, crossed out some nights, figured in when doctor appointments were, what happened when, carried the one, decided that night was laughable sex and that night rocked, so that night was obviously it.  We managed to get pregnant that night.  I did more math, okay I googled, and came up with an approximate due date.  Just like that we have a plan from A to B.  Or more like from today till April 3rd.

I stared at the calendar.  We can manage a third anniversary trip that involves adult drinks and a beach, with friends after this kid comes around.  I made a mental note.  Timing looked good.

The dog stared at me and was clearly feeding off my anxiety so I figured we should remain calm until the Husband came home.  Mostly, remain normal.  I called him with my best “everything is normal” tone.  He said he would be extra late getting home from work.  I burst into tears.  It wasn’t anything near the “normal” I was going for.  He called back five minutes later to make sure I was okay, apparently I was acting irrational.

I took the dog for a long walk, we came home and did yoga, we sat outside and read a book.  I paced.  I watched my DVR.  I paced.  I did more yoga.  I needed a glass of wine.  Oh, wait! Last night was the last time I would drink for 9 months. I hit the panic button.  I watched the clock.  The dog stared at me.

The Husband finally walked in the door a little after 10:30 pm.  Normally my ass would have happily been in bed but I was perched on the couch.  The dog jumped for him and he asked how my day was.  I didn’t give this moment a ton of thought to be honest.  Some do this big, grand, tell their Husband they are going to be a Daddy from Pinterest thing but I hadn’t thought that far ahead.  I had done too much math and peeing for the day.  My brain was full.

I went with the first thing that came out of my mouth “I didn’t know last night was going to be my last glass of wine for nine months!” Apparently I went with my first concern and started tearing up.

He stood there and started smiling.  “Does this mean you are pregnant?”

I pulled out the millions of pee sticks and the dog stood proudly next to them.  Yep, this meant I was pregnant.  We sat on the couch in a bit of shock and talked.  There were tears.  (from me)  There was laughing.  (from him)  We then went to bed and before we went to sleep the last thing we discussed was how nothing would be as we have known it again.

The following night we ceremoniously sat outside on the back deck and I had my official last glass of wine until next April.

 

 

July 23, 2014 – The first half of the day.

There is this funny thing that happens when you spend months trying to conceive.  You will spend every month noticing the tiniest symptoms and will try to mentally turn them into pregnancy symptoms.  At least that is what I have been doing.  I would blame this or that and eventually take a pregnancy test which would be followed by my period no less than 5 minutes later.  Or so it seemed.  It was like a horrible running joke.

Last Monday, July 21, I was doing just that.  I wrote off the month of July because basically, my doc said too.  Sure, there was an egg on each side but the viable side was way to small for anything and the good egg was on the broken right side. She wasn’t even bothering with a trigger shot.  We would see what August held for us.  So then Tuesday rolled around and I was telling my Husband that I was having cramps that went on for days and clearly this new fertility drug had some side effects.  It was also making me a bit emotional, which was new, because I’m the least emotional girl.  I don’t get PMS, I don’t get hormonal, nothing.  I know, I’m weird.  But here I was ready to cry in the middle of the furniture store because I couldn’t find chairs I wanted.  My Husband looked at me like I had lost my mind.  He offered me wine.

By Wednesday morning, July 23, I was still having cramps and figured my period would surely come in time to annoy my boating weekend.  Wait, every weekend is boating weekend, so either way it sucks.  I figured I would just get the routine negative pregnancy test out of the way before I left for work.  I peed, the dog sat and stared, I set it on the counter and went to find shoes.  I forgot about the test and came back 15 minutes later.  I stared.  I said “holy shit!”  I got the box out.  I read the directions.  I compared pictures on the box to the picture on the stick.  I sat down.  The dog tried to eat the pregnancy test.  I said “holy shit!” some more.  I walked in circles and went back  to comparepictures again.

That test said I was pregnant.

Pregnant.

22 months of nothing and now pregnant.  On the month I shouldn’t get pregnant.  Impossible.

Pregnant.

But I had to go to work.

Pregnant, that is what it said, right?!

I don’t think I remember that drive to work.  I don’t think I remember much of what I did that day at work because I spent most of the day on this emotional roller coaster that I did not expect.  I went to Target at lunch to buy a million more tests because surely that test at home was wrong . Surely I need to pee on 50 more to make sure.  I also bought hair ties at Target with my tests because suddenly, buying just those tests, over lunch, seemed weird.  So hair ties and pregnancy tests.  I even bought the kind that are digital that flat-out say “pregnant” or “not pregnant.”  I felt like I needed to make this as simple as possible because suddenly my brain wasn’t functioning.  I couldn’t handle double lines or plus and minus signs.  It all seemed like math and I couldn’t solve for X in a moment like this.

That emotional roller coaster, that was real.  That was unexpected.  I felt like crying.  I felt like laughing.  I felt happy, sad, joy, scared, freaked, confused….you name it, it happened that day.  I didn’t want to talk to the Husband on the phone because I was afraid I would blurt it out.  I called my doctor and they ordered me in for blood tests.  Then my brain started on chances of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancies and everything else my doctor had warned me about.

Like I said, emotional.  And that was just the first half of that day.

But after 22 months of infertility, I was pregnant.

 

 

 

Happy 12th Birthday

Rebecca-

Happy 12th birthday!  For some reason I am really excited about you turning 12 this year.  Perhaps it is the fact that this past year you have really started to become more of a teenager.  Not that I am trying to make you grow up any faster but I am starting to learn how to love this new phase of life for you instead of being scared to death of it.  A few weeks ago you sat on your bedroom floor and played with your Barbies and the next day you offered to help me fold laundry.  The funny thing is, you don’t “help” with laundry like you did when you were little.  You can now fold towels to perfection and you put them away in the right spot.  It may seem minor to you but these are the little things that make me realize it is full speed ahead.

This was the first year your relationships have really changed with some of your boy friends.  You used to love to play with the boys and have slumber parties with them while building forts. (The downside of all my friends having boys.) I find you sticking to my side more when we are out with them and you look at them like they are noise covered in dirt.  The age gap is becoming more apparent and  your patience with them is thinning.  You look at it more as babysitting them than hanging out with them.

This past year you have also struggled with girls your age.  I think this is just something about this age level in general.  The claws come out and general meanness is something you are learning to deal with.  You have struggled with the fact that not everyone wants to simply get along and unfortunately I have had a lot of conversations with you that this is only the beginning.  There have been many talks about sticking up for yourself, dealing with bullies, not being a bully, walking away from situations, avoiding negative people and being a positive person.  I cannot tell you how many times I have to tell myself to take my own advice because we all struggle with this and I think kids are dealing with this at a younger and younger age.  And when you walk into school I pray that we have done everything right and given you the tools to handle situations.

Speaking of a million talks.  We have also started having more grown up talks about becoming a young lady in general.  I try to squeeze them in whenever possible and you are going to read this years from now and roll your eyes but you don’t roll your eyes now.  We talk about hormones and when girls start that time of the month.  You have announced that you are sure one of your friends at school gets her period because one day she is mean and the next she is nice.  So, we have a bit more talking on the difference between PMS, hormones and what an actual period is but we are getting there:)

Onto better things, this was the year we moved into our new home.  It took you some time and I know you still miss the apartment but you love this house.  You love having a yard, Fenway and your own bathroom.  You love sitting on the back deck with us and talking late at night.  We have slowly been decorating your room and you have made it into a rather cool tween room.  All blues and beach themed, it is pretty laid back and non obnoxious after a few compromises.  I know the hardest part about moving into this house was the fact that this house doesn’t have memories of your Dad and I in it.  One night when I went in to check on you before I went to bed, you were sound asleep and were curled up with two framed pictures.  One was of you and your Dad after one of his baseball games and the other was a picture of the three of us when you were about 18 months old.  You offered up a reason to me one day saying it fills the new room with Dad, like the apartment had.  You feel safer with that picture when you sleep and I’m not going to tell you no.

This past year you have also literally grown so much.  You have wanted nothing more than to be as tall as me and you officially are.  All giraffe arms and legs.  For a split second you wore the same shoe size as me but then those kept growing.  We have officially left the kids section and are now having to dig through some juniors stuff at the store.  There are even a few things in my closet that you can fit into.  I am totally fine with this right now because it is so much cheaper! It is also fun to see you get more of your own grown up style.  Gone are the days of little dresses and tiny shoes for sure!

You have spent a lot of time back at the farm this past year and your uncle and my Hubby have been teaching you about guns every time.  Normally you always sat on the sidelines but not anymore.  You are a pretty good aim with a 22 gauge at a beer can.  They also got you your first pink BB gun that you keep under your bed.  I have a feeling that BB gun isn’t going to satisfy you for too long as you have been eyeing a pink rifle at the store.  I’m sure a few more pleads and your uncle will buy that for you too.  You just aren’t to sure about actually hunting with him yet.  You are quite the well-rounded country girl.

In the past few months I’ve noticed how much more you are in to conversation.  You offer up much more than 2 word answers in response to questions or general conversation. You actually ask how my day went, remember details and follow up later.  You are also cracking us up with your quick remarks back at us.  It is just more and more of a personality coming out.

Part of a parents job is looking like we know what we are doing when half the time we have no clue.  We are winging this together most days and I think things are turning out okay.  I’m so proud of the young lady you have become and can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.

We love you.  Happy Birthday.

 

 

Outside the Box: Definition of a Mother

It was your chubby hands that I was running my fingers over.  Not the chubby hands that most Mom’s remember of their infant, it was your 3, almost 4-year-old, hands.  I was trying to memorize them, the feel, the contour.  The right one I held, the left one was clutching a red balloon you got at the restaurant we just left.  There are moments that happen in our lives that are the most basic and mundane and for some reason my gut was telling me this was anything but ordinary.

From the outside we may have looked like a normal family, we weren’t.  Going down the familiar highway, I sat next to your car seat in the back seat of the truck.  My stomach turning, in knots.  Fighting back tears and losing the battle as some would fall down my face.  Your Dad driving, sunglasses hiding his own eyes, glancing my way in the rearview mirror.  We were silent as we drove.  I look back at those moments and wonder how we went through all that and yet couldn’t manage to keep our marriage together. The toughest times were yet to come to us and we were only 23 and 24 years old ourselves, thrown on a ride we didn’t ask for with no exit.

We knew our world was going to change that night and it did.  What was about to happen, well, if I knew, I would have had him pull over so we could stop it all but unfortunately time stops for no one and the future was coming straight at us.  We held you for the first time when you were 6 weeks old and life just happened from there.  You gave us sleepless nights, you took your first steps towards us, you gave us your first words and stretched those arms for us when you needed soothing.  You were ours and we were yours.

I prayed in the back seat of the truck that night that I would see you again.  I prayed to God for strength, for hope, for this to all go away.  I prayed that if He just kept you with us, made this okay, that I wouldn’t ask for another child.  All I needed was you.  I just needed this not to be the last time I held those chubby hands.  I had never been so scared but we were going to drop you off with your biological Mother.  We had done it before and we knew what would happen but this night was different.  We had called upon lawyers and drawn up papers.  We had to give you up to get you back and prayed you would be okay.

It went how we thought.  There were tears, screaming, arms reaching for us, and legs kicking.  You hardly knew her and acted out every time you were with her.  My Grandparents stood in the same room and the line was drawn in the sand.  They weren’t the Grandparents of my childhood.  They were making me and your Dad out to be the enemy.  Turning my back and walking out that night was one of the hardest moments of my life.  We both lost it in the truck.  I have no idea how we safely drove home that night, into the darkness, further away from those chubby hands.

To this day, when your 11-year-old hand reaches for mine, I think of that ride in the backseat of the truck.  I don’t take any day or moment with you for granted and send up a prayer, thanking God, for keeping you in my life.  When I see you hug your Dad, I thank God for putting that man in both of out lives.  Without him, I wouldn’t have made it through those years of court or nights of emptiness.  I am grateful that too much time didn’t pass with my Grandparents and we were able to find peace.  Through every negative pregnancy test I have taken in the past 19 months, I thank God I still have you and I wonder if the deal I made with Him that night in the truck is payment he took and you are the only baby I’ll have.

There are many definitions of a mother these days but I feel like many are left out and they deserve that recognition.  There are many fathers out there who are the mothers for their kids.  There are some out there who have outlived their children.  There are many that never got to hold their own child but heard their beating heart.  Some were able to hold their child but for a very short time.  There are some who feel they should be mothers in their hearts but are never able to.  There are some that may not be able to be with their child everyday but their thoughts are. These mothers come in different forms and have to bear difference circumstances.  For these mothers, this mother’s day, I applaud you.  I understand you.  My heart goes out to you.  May you see the joy of what was, is and can be in your own circumstance.

To my little girl, from chubby hands to a young lady, you taught me how to fight for what was right, no matter the circumstances.  You made me a person that can stand up to fear and fight it with faith, hope and passion.  You made me what no one else has, you made me a Mom in our own definition.  For that, I am eternally grateful.

 

Support Help

In the past few months I’ve begun to realize how going down this infertility road is a lot like my divorce road.  There are these odd similarities that I would have never thought about.  One of them is the elephant in the room.  When I was going through my divorce some people didn’t want to acknowledge it or they were completely unsupportive.  The same rings true while trying to get pregnant.  How do you support a friend/couple going through infertility?  What do you say without saying something really hurtful? There are a few ways to support someone in their infertility journey.

1) Don’t be afraid of the topic.  Some people may want to talk about it and some may not be comfortable with it.  ASK.  For me, I don’t mind talking about it and sometimes it just lets me vent to someone who isn’t my Husband. When people seem to purposely ignore the baby topic then things become uncomfortable.

2) Listen and let her know you care.  If your friend is open to talking about it then she probably just needs you to listen.  Check in with her from time to time and just ask her how she is doing.  If you know she had an appointment just calling and asking how it went goes a long ways.

3) Don’t hate on her choices.  There is an ongoing list of infertility options from drugs to holistic means.  Your friend is probably carefully researching and agonizing over these choices with her spouse and doctor.  She doesn’t really care about what you heard on Dr. Oz or read in Glamour.  Just try to be supportive instead of critical.

4) Watch your words.  This is probably the most important.  There are just phrases that you should really think about before you speak them and I’ve heard most of them.  Just stop trying and it will happen. (No, it will definitely not happen if we stop trying.)  Relax. (Why didn’t I think of that?) It will happen, when it happens.  (Yes, but for some it doesn’t happen without a little more assistance.)  Just go have crazy sex. (If that was the answer I would have been knocked up that summer I turned 21.)  Maybe it isn’t your time.  (According to my fertility app it is.)  You are still young. (And one day I won’ t be.)

5) Respect that the second time around is just as hard as the first.  A good friend of mine is ready to start her second go at becoming pregnant and it shouldn’t matter that she already is blessed with twins. Infertility is hard no matter where you are at with it and that woman/Mammas feelings should be respected either way.

6) Don’t leave your friend out from your pregnancy news! Don’t think that your friend doesn’t want to hear your great news or share in the baby showers and celebration.  It has been hard for me to hear about some people becoming pregnant but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy for them.

7) Everyone’s timeline is different. Your friend has to wait for certain moments for drugs, tests and procedures.  Timing every single month can be crucial and it takes time.  If your friend doesn’t want to commit to a vacation, wedding or other plans with you 6 months down the road it is because that couple doesn’t know where they might be at in their journey.  It isn’t because they are trying to ignore you.

For those that have had problems TTC, what would you find helpful?