18 Weeks- Questions

I have always asked the same questions to my pregnant friends throughout the years.  To be on the other end of it is so interesting.  I think I find it odd to have the focus on me to be quite honest.  Or the fact that after trying for so long and then keeping things to ourselves, it is strange to have people ask pointed, very personal questions about your pregnancy and soon-to-be-parenting.  It was different when we were planning a wedding or building a house.  The questions don’t get overly personal then and they are mostly fun but this is a whole new ballgame.

Sure you get your basic questions from people who I really don’t mind answering…..

Are you finding out what you are having? Yes! May 27th!

What do you think it is? A girl.  Literally everyone’s guess is girl, except for my FIL’s.  It also helps to have a friend who is a well-known psychic, who also has never been wrong on anything in my life.  This would be a first for him if it isn’t a girl.

What do you want? The correct answer here is to always say “To have a healthy baby.” Eyeroll, no shit.  Instead my answer is to say a puppy, possibly panda. 

How do you feel?  Good and I am so grateful for that.

Do you have cravings? I’m embarrassed to say it the blueberry Eggo waffles.  You know, the processed kind from a box. Could be worse. 

Have you bought anything yet?  A few outfits and one print for the nursery. If it isn’t a girl then our friend’s baby is getting some kick ass summer clothes!  When I spot diapers on sale, I grab a box or two of those.

Then the tables can turn quickly.  People will ask the following questions that will throw me off and make me double-check that they are literally talking to me.  Once I answer, half the people will then insert their own judgmental answer. Truth be told, it does not bother me when close friends ask me these questions.  It is the people who don’t know me on a personal level that bug me.

I’m quickly learning that being pregnant means people feel there are no boundaries with you.  Take for instance, when they try to touch you.  Why the fuck are you touching me?  I have smacked so many hands away and will continue to do so.  I don’t know where those hands have been.  And I have no shame, I grabbed a friends boob right as she grabbed my stomach.  Fair play. And these are only people I know, what happens when it is complete strangers going for the larger bump? If you know me in real life, you know my filter is broken a lot.

How much weight have you gained?  How much weight have yooooou gained?  

Are you even eating enough?  Yes, My doctor and I have my diet under control and are not concerned with my weight.

What is your birth plan?  To have a baby.

Are you getting an epidural? Are you doing this naturally? Are you going to a hospital?  I’m doing this with Rum and under a doctors supervision.

How often are you peeing? When my bladder tells me to. 

Are you feeling up to having sex much?  Are you offering?

Was this planned?  Does it matter?

Did they check for twins?  Why? Do I look like I’m having twins?

Are you guys excited? I would hope so!

I know it will get worse the more I show.  I’ve heard horror stories from friends.  I guess at this point you just have to chuckle.  What are the most ridiculous things you have been asked when pregnant?

 

 

 

 

 

First Babies R Us Venture-Travel System

This weekend we went to Home Depot three times and Lowes once.  That adds up to hours of my life that I will never get back and truck loads of stuff brought back to my house.  Yes, we are those people in pro-parking with things so loaded down and strapped in you really wonder what the hell is happening back at their house.  Then we fold ourselves into the front seat and head home, hoping nothing flies off the truck bed and wondering why we don’t just bring the trailer every time.

Since we weren’t busy enough with that we thought it would be a good time to wander in to Babies R Us for the first time.  Why not?!  I have a few items that I have researched and have assumed they are the ones I want (car seat and stroller) but I wanted to actually go in to the store and touch them with my hands first.  With summer holiday’s coming up, the sales tend to follow.  I don’t want to miss out on the sales because we are too busy with the basement and are then paying full price for the larger, pricey items.

We have a few concerns and desires on our car seat/stroller system.  I honestly think baby items differ from family to family based on where you live, what you are using them for and your budget options.  Due to the high safety ratings I narrowed the brand down to Chicco.  Also, I’m not a big person and wanted a less bulky stroller and lighter car seat which Chicco also offered us some better options for.  Thirdly, we wanted a stroller that could easily be gate checked when we traveled.  My Husband had a few of his own needs when it came to strollers.  We needed one that was more narrow and less cumbersome as my Husband has PTSD issues in crowds and fighting a crowd with a bulky stroller is not fun.  Chicco has a lightweight plus stroller that fits all of the must have items for us.

So there we found ourselves in Babies R Us, early on a Sunday morning.  I parked myself on a shelf while my Husband took apart a bunch of strollers and car seats and then put them back together.  Knowing this is how his brain works, I just let him go.  He declared half of the items complete shit and asked why they weren’t built by NASA or the military.  Sales people didn’t dare come near us or question him and I promise you he left everything as he found it.

In the end, my internet research was worth it and everyone is happy with the decision.  We found our way to the rocking chairs to sit and debate on what was left to purchase on the basement list.  Multi-tasking, that is what we are good at.  At least we can shut our parents up and say yes, we have looked at baby items!  Now to wait for the sales.  No one said having a baby was cheap!

17 Weeks- Contractors

At 17 weeks pregnant I have discovered my tailbone.  Let me explain.  A few weeks ago, my tailbone felt like I had landed on it funny.  I mentioned it to my doc who said that was normal and blamed hormones.  No problem.  Sitting all day, at work, it has progressively gotten worse.  As in, I am reminded daily I have a tailbone, something I didn’t think about often in my pre-pregnancy days.  I’ve been more mindful to get up and walk around more during the day and try to adjust myself a bit more in my chair.  While annoying, it isn’t the end of the world and it is more minor in the evenings as I am on the go more with walks and yoga. Not a huge complaint but the first thing that has really bothered me with this pregnancy.

About a week ago I felt like I finally got a bump and it depends on the time of day with how big I look.  I’ve gained a total of 2lbs and lost my lower abs.  My sister likes to make comments, especially in the evenings, laughing at how weird it is for her to see me with a bit of a belly.  I’ve always had a flat stomach and this cracks her up.  If it was anyone else I would deck them, for her I will let it go:)  Some of my pants seem tighter and I’m a bit self-conscious in tighter shirts right now but I’m not noticeable to people who don’t know I’m actually pregnant.  I can tell you though, naked, I am pregnant, no doubt about it.  But alas I don’t think I can just walk around naked, even though it would be so much easier. Clothes, I have come to realize, are so uncomfortable when pregnant.

I think I can say I have actually felt the baby move this week as well.  My doc asked last week and I felt stupid answering no but she made me feel better saying it wasn’t until she was 22 weeks pregnant (with twins) that she realized what she was feeling.  I will occasionally feel a flip or flutter, more during yoga or when I’m leaning forward, and I’m just going to assume that is baby letting me know it is there.  If not, it is a fart on the move.

At this point I can say we are no closer to being ready for a baby than we were when we first found out.  In fact, some may think, (and have said) we have gone in reverse. The nursery isn’t filling with baby stuff but with loads of my sister’s stuff, as she keeps hauling more stuff in, with anticipation of her big move. We gave in to have contractors come in to do some of the work in the basement as we are just plain under a time constraint and the Husband is working 70-80 hour weeks.  So our house is full of contractors.  And dust.  Lots of dust.  And instead of trips to Babies R Us, we go to Home Depot.  Like, every day.  I should do commercials for them.  It should also be noted that as a pregnant person I am very grateful that Home Depot has very clean, nice bathrooms (Way better than our Babies R Us)  and large carts that I can sit on while my Husband takes forever to make decisions.

To add to the fun we are going through hell to close on our rental house.  That required us throwing a new roof on the damn place, followed by more contractors there to finish a few details.  What I’m saying is my day is filled with contractors, dust, paint samples, floor samples, etc. and not with the ability to think about cribs yet.  I haven’t slowed down and I’m fine with that.  It makes the pregnancy go by faster.

Since the day the Husband and I have met we have always had several projects in the air.  We never do one thing at a time so I guess we are just going to stick with that.  I feel very fortunate I haven’t had to put the brakes on myself yet.  I just drag around more water to drink and some extra granola bars.   Plus, life would feel lame if it was quiet and we just watched the clock tick by for 23 more weeks waiting for baby’s arrival.

 

 

To Become a Stay at Home Mom or Not

Some discussions have come up in our house recently that I never thought I would have with my Husband.  A discussion that involves my career versus staying at home once we have a baby in the house.  Staying at home.  A stay at home Mom.  All things I never thought I would contemplate.  I always assumed I would have a baby, take the appropriate maternity leave and go back to my job.  After some recent discussions though, things may change.

When I was fired from my job a little over a year ago, I was lucky to find a place with an old friend.  The thing was, it was right back in insurance, where I have been for a long time and have forever disliked.  But this job was a band-aid and has worked well for where I have been at in my life.  I have been the only employee, I come and go as I please, I take whatever time off I need/want, I spend endless hours on Pinterest when it is slow and in return when there is work to be done I do it and do it well.  All of the flexibility has helped with the endless doctors appointments and the time off needed from the miscarriage.  I didn’t have to worry about PTO or anything else which gave me the time to just focus on my Husband and I.  Taking that bit of stress off my plate was huge.  In return for all that flexibility, I have made a lot less than what I’m worth.  Not because he doesn’t want to pay me more but he just can’t afford to.

While the job has been nice, it is running its course for numerous reasons I don’t want to list out.  My Husband asked a very loaded question one night “Do you really think you want to go back to this job after maternity leave?”  Then he broke down my shit pay, versus gas/day care and followed it up with  “Do you really want to go back to this job, drop our baby off at day care and only come home with X amount of money to show for it?”

Crickets.

Also, reality check.

And you guys, he wasn’t trying to be mean but just made me look at the obvious.  Sure, I could go back to working insurance for the bigger corporations and make the money I’m worth after the baby comes.  I can work the 8-5, pay daycare and gas, and still have money left over with no problem.  It isn’t out of the question.  The problem is, I’m right back at ground zero of hating what I do, insurance, a job I’m burnt out on.  And how hard would it be to go back to corporate 8-5 after all this flexibility I have had?!

Which leads us to me staying at home.  It isn’t that I’m against it, I’ve just never thought it would be for me.  After a lot of discussion I realized I don’t think it would be for me simply out of fear.  I want to be more than just a Mom in life.  I know some people are totally fine having that be their only title and I commend those people but that scares the shit out of me.  I need more.  I look at people who have all their kids off to school, none at home, and they seem confused, standing there with their hands in their pockets, wondering what to do next.  I fear that day.  I’m also worried about being that Mom that hands the kids off to the Husband as soon as he walks in the door screaming “I had this kid all day, it is yours now!” with hatred in my voice.

All these, simple fears.

I voiced those fears to not only my Husband but a friend recently who laughed, saying I would be the last person to do that.  That friend also considered smacking me upside the head out of jealousy.  We talked a lot about how I have raised Rebecca and how my ex and I handled her when she was a little one.  And you know what, we handled it just fine. I didn’t “lose” myself and I was more than just a Mom, still am.  It is all what you make of it.

I could find the time to write more if I stay at home because that is the one thing that eludes me in the office everyday.  I can’t find creativity with people screaming in between moments about their ID cards.  With all the infertility issues, I have held off on becoming a certified yoga teacher.  I could do that.  I can find a part-time gig doing something that still gives me my own time.  Essentially, while I look at is as losing myself, I could actually end up finding myself.  This “what do I want to be when I grow up” thing has haunted me for some time now.

It is the first of many discussions we are going to have about it.  There are many things that go into making this choice.  Most importantly, the Husband and I have to do it in a way that works for us and our family.  For now, the door is open and the topic is on the table, where it goes from here I don’t think we will know until we get there.

 

This is Our Story, Our Family

Begin Rebecca’s story here.

I can truly tell you that I am fucked up by Rebecca’s journey. I never want her to read that sentence and feel she did something wrong though. I wouldn’t trade it for anything but my life is not normal. I gave up a lot of dreams to stick with her. A child that was merely place in my arms one day, has altered the entire course of our lives. I don’t get the opportunity to share the simple “Mommy” conversations. My arms ache when other parents want a vacation from their kids, I want a vacation with mine. I get it is two different worlds but I ache for the chance to have parenting “normal.”

That may sound horrible. I never want Rebecca to think she was anything less but I can’t wait to have another little girl. Not for a chance at a redo but a chance to not have to share it all. A chance to not have anything taken away from me. A chance to not lay in bed missing the weight in my arms and a chance for the fear to subside. A chance to not have to get a hug from someone else’s child because I miss mine extra that day. It is something that I think both the Ex and I have learned to bury, we deal with it in our own private time. We can still share a simple look or text and just know. No one cares anymore about the steps we go through, our friends think it is annoying by this point when they are trying to plan things. In their world they get a babysitter, in our world we would rather figure out who gets Saturday night Disney shows with her.

I feel my next child will suffer as part of all of this. As in I don’t want her/him out of my sight. The chance to make decisions, just my Husband and I. The chance to start from the beginning and not have the stress. When people mention the stress of a newborn and everything that comes with it, I want to laugh. Yes, it is true, but it could be so much worse. I want to shake them and ask if they know how lucky they are?! I want the chance to not be questioned as a parent.

I’m ready for the normalcy that everyone else has experienced around having a baby.

Yes, the Ex became an Ex after a few years of marriage gave way to the knowledge that we weren’t meant to be together.  On a simple December day, after very civil proceedings, the Ex and I walked together into a court room to dissolve our marriage. We both re-married to very understanding people who jumped on board with raising Rebecca and respect our crazy version of family.

Over the years the Ex and I came up with our own terms of parenting.  No, we aren’t the normal family but what  is normal by this day? We are two blond-haired, blue-eyed people with a hispanic kid.  Most people assume I got knocked up in High School by some illegal and the Ex was so grand as to accept my oopsy.  You think I’m joking?  Check yourself the next time you glance at parents and question the child they have with them.  Oh, but then people would want an explanation like I owe them something.  The easiest answer has been to say she was adopted and they nod like they half believe me because what college kids adopted a baby?  Then we say we share custody and it is a long story.  Somehow this is more believable for most.

The biggest problem is, everyone has an opinion and after 13 years of this, we don’t feel anyone has a right to an opinion on this.  They haven’t walked in our footsteps, they haven’t fought our battle, they don’t deserve an opinion.  Yes, I know I get defensive but I think I have earned that right.

We have been nothing but straight with Rebecca on everything that happened and at 13 she is pretty smart about it.  She knows the mental issues her bio Mom has. She knows one day she can sit and pull out the dusty old box to read all the papers that hold more than she may ever want to know.  She calls my Ex Dad now and me by my name as her bio Mom practically beat her over the head till she quit calling me Mom. In our quiet moments, to this day, she reminds me she has a Mom that gave birth to her and the one that saved her.  That moment right there is enough to get me through every moment where I want to drill people in the face for questioning what degree of a parent I am.  The Ex and I have been judged by all.  I didn’t actually give birth, we don’t have her 24/7 to this day, and on and on.  We have heard it all and I’m sure we won’t hear the end.  We learned a long time ago to ignore it and move on.

Rebecca explains her story differently depending on the situation.  She will keep it basic or elaborate like we own a foreign country that she is entitled to one day.  She always handles it with more grace than we do.  We get our feelings hurt a bit more by this point than she does.

We are just like any other parents carrying around a great amount of worry over raising a child.  My Aunt slowly dissolved out of Rebecca’s life after her own divorce from my Uncle.  My Uncle has slowly worked himself further out of her life as well, even though primary custody resides with him until she is 18.  Her bio Mom has kept herself out of jail, remained drug free, and cleaned up quite a bit but still does not hold a job and is plagued with mental problems.  For that reason alone she is not capable of regaining custody of Rebecca.  Bio Mom has been able to retain more time with her now that Rebecca is old enough to handle her own. The rest of the time she goes between my Ex and I. The same rules apply at each home.  If you are grounded at one, you are grounded at the other. Phone calls go around for school conferences or anytime we have to make a visit to the principal’s office.  Some say the kid has it rough but the kid also has it damn good, she doesn’t know any different. She has more of a family than most kids do even if it has to be spread out amongst different homes.  She really does love it.

The years have not stayed simple for us though.  The schedule is ever-changing.  There are a million people to check in with.  Plans are all last-minute and I hate going too long without seeing her.  Just imagine for a moment sharing your child with others.  Not truly having a say but having all the same worry.

Since that court date the Ex and I have remained strong, aside from a few falters during our divorce, we have never wavered as a team on this.  Thank God.  You guys, it is hard.  It is the hardest fucking thing ever.  I can not wait for that child to graduate High School.  We are still doing the same thing we have been doing since the day we left court, getting up every day and doing it again.  That is what parenting is to us.  And this is our story.

 

“It Is During Our Darkest Moments That We Must Focus to See the Light.”

Start here for Rebecca’s story

Box by box we put our life away.  Tucked neatly into bubble wrap to head to a place we were both dreading.  An apartment that neither of us wanted but it was the only option.  We were sure it would only be a short six months and we would get it together and buy a house.  I just didn’t know at the time it would be 5 years later and the Ex would be moving into our dream home with another woman while I stayed behind in that dreaded apartment to face our divorce.

He had to practically stuff me in the truck with the last of our stuff.  My broom hitting me in the head, the fish in a bowl between my feet and my gecko lizard on my lap.  I just let it all go as we drove away from that house.  He rubbed my arm to console me as we bounced down the gravel driveway and told me it would be okay.  In reality we hit the end of the driveway and he was crying too.  The first night in that apartment we laid in bed crying for everything.  Crying for the loss of our young adulthood, crying for the loss of our friends, crying for the home we loved, the baby that held us together and crying for the fact that our dreams were crashing around us faster than we could handle.

But life goes on, right?

We got up the next day and unpacked.  I slowly started going back to the office more and we entertained our families with wedding talk.  And most importantly, we were finally able to integrate Rebecca back into our lives.  Day by day until she was finally settled back into her bed and sleeping soundly.  She would spend her first several trips walking around touching all of her toys, like she thought they were gone for forever.  She acted as though no time had passed but we knew better, it passed and things changed.  We didn’t call the shots any longer and my Aunt and Uncle were  separating, divorce pending.  A schedule was set up to pass her back and forth and their divorce proceeded as our wedding neared.

The thing is, just like that, those 14 months of fighting became non-existent to everyone.   The truth is I wanted someone to scream with me how it wasn’t fair.  I wanted someone to tear apart every moment with me like you do a bad break-up.  I wanted anything.  The Ex and I couldn’t do it with one another anymore.  I think we felt guilt or inadvertently placed guilt on the other.  Blame placement.  Whatever you want to call it.  The only thing people would say was how great it was my Aunt and Uncle were for stepping up.  I didn’t need an award but I was deflated.

I think there did become a point in this that the Ex and I got back to the basics but only after Rebecca was back in our lives.  That glue, there it was again.  Someone to fight for.  It wasn’t life as it was before but we thought, surely we should be grateful.

So on September 16, 2006 we woke to our wedding day.  We were married, outside, in between bad storms that swept through, while the Ex carried Rebecca down the aisle.  She rode away from the ceremony in the back seat of the Mustang with us, strapped in her car seat while we went down the highway holding hands in the front seat.  She danced our first dance with us and sat on his lap while we ate at our reception.  We smiled and drank champagne.  We looked the perfect part because I think that is what everyone needed to see in us by that point.

I would like to say if life re-wound and we didn’t have her come in our lives that we still would have gotten married.  I really wish I could think that we would have because I can’t imagine us not being married for the time we were.  Without that time together I wouldn’t be with the wonderful man I am now.   Then again, I could argue the opposite.  What if she never came into our lives and we didn’t have the stress that drove us to change?  It just goes to show the journey life gives us and how fate has a way of doing its own thing.

The Aftermath

I realize in the movies or TV shows, when a big dramatic ending is over, usually that means the end completely.  They don’t show the actors going home and dealing with the aftermath.  No one thinks about that part.  Everyone assumes life as usual but it isn’t like that.

After we walked out of that courtroom there was a whole new nightmare that needed to unfold.  Perhaps you did not recognize the fact that when that judge gave my Aunt and Uncle custody, we got nothing.  Granted, the most important point of court was to get Rebecca out of the situation she was in and keep her safe, which she was, but not with us.  Not the people she knew as Mom and Dad who had raised her.

We were left with nothing. Just emptiness.

No, no one shows what it feels like to walk into an empty house and wonder what is next after your life has been consumed with one thing for so long.  I remember my Ex and I just walking in our home and sitting there in the middle of the floor with nothing left to say.  We were exhausted.  An empty room, with toys collecting dust, baby dolls left uncuddled, clothes in drawers slowly being outgrown, and books closed to the world.  Our house felt empty, our house felt empty, we were empty.

In a few brief talks, my Aunt and Uncle explained that they would work with us to be able to see Rebecca.  After they got settled with her.  Full custody went to them and nothing to the Bio Mom.  That was it.

Four days later our landlord walked in and with tears in his eyes he gave us 30 days to move.  His niece was fresh out of rehab and had gotten custody of her baby back.  She needed a place to stay.  Our place was it.  Talk about a sucker punch.  Where was our break?

In a haze of full depression the Ex shoved himself deeper into work while I rotated my days with packing or crying.  I can look back now and tell you I was depressed, I should have talked to someone but I would walk out the door and fake a smile.  Everyone was trying to do the same back because no one knew what to say.  Hell, by that point no one understood hardly.  The Ex and I were once again alone but it was to fight through a fog that we had no way to navigate through.  We had no direction, no plan, no guidance.

Enter our family.

Enter the wedding.

Oh, yea.  We were engaged.

It seemed everyone was tired of the doom and gloom so what better way to supposedly cheer us up than to throw us head strong into wedding planning.  Step by step they tried drawing us away from the pink elephant in the room and we were like kids needed to be told what to do.  We just followed when our only concern was needing to figure out what the fuck just happened to us and when would we see our Rebecca again?

Instead a date 4 months down the road was picked while wedding dresses and flowers became the new topic.  A topic I just wasn’t into.  It was all the Ex and I could do to just stay afloat because we were drowning fast.  We were back to leaning on one another but that was also a problem, looking back, I don’t think we knew who WE were as a couple any longer.  Here it was 4 years later and we didn’t have our glue.  Not that we were going to talk about that though, we were faking smiles for everyone, so why not just do it with each other.  Nothing was right with our world and we were drowning.