Baby’s First Christmas

It looks like the holiday’s are officially over here and the dead of winter is setting in.  Last Sunday, I reluctantly took down the Christmas tree, the lights, the garland, and the nativity scene.  I tucked away all five of baby’s first Christmas ornaments along with baby’s first Christmas stocking.  As I carried it all back down to storage, I found it so sad.  The past couple of weeks and even the past month have been full of wonderful memories that complete what has been baby’s first Christmas, a time that only happens once.

Let me back up.  My sister had the past two weeks off of work.  Which I took full advantage of.  Not only did she want extra cuddle time with the baby, I needed to get out of the house and fight the crowds without the baby.  I finished my Christmas shopping, got an overdue pedicure, wandered through Target clearance, got my hair done, my eyebrows waxed and my Husband and I went to the comedy club with some friends.  The whole time I knew my daughter was safely at home, with someone who knew her schedule just as well as her father and I do.  That right there, priceless.

We traveled from family Christmas to family Christmas where Cora met all of her extended family.  This included her first trip to Grandma’s house, through a horrible snowstorm, that we counted 67 people in the ditch on the way.  We went out to eat way too much to celebrate every damn birthday we have in December.  We took Cora to see Santa and binged watched Hawaii 5-0 on Netflix.  Somedays didn’t require getting out of our pajamas.

In the middle of it all Cora decided to go from waking up twice a night to just once a night.  Her schedule slowly becoming more defined.  And then suddenly she found us hilarious.  The kind of hilarious where she has the biggest, gummy smile and laughs, coos and tells us stories.  She also decided to throw us for a loop and instead of increasing how much she eats at once, she would just like to eat the same amount more often.  Meaning she wants to eat every two hours instead of three, which makes traveling or going anywhere quite difficult.

On Christmas Eve I kept trying to convince myself that I wasn’t getting sick but my body had other ideas.  By Christmas night, I was going to bed early with Cora and fighting a cold, while wondering how to not pass it along to her.  Turns out, it happened anyways.  A trip to the doctor to tell me there wasn’t much we could do for her and we found ourselves on the couch every night sleeping.  Her right next to me in the inclined bassinet, humidifier running.  Baby’s first cold on baby’s first Christmas.  Which in turn meant we had to cancel our New Years Eve party and settle for a family dinner out only to head home to go to bed early.  I saw 2015 leave us and 2016 arrive as I was trying to keep the dog from barking at the fireworks, making sure the baby didn’t wake up from the barking and yelling at my Husband to quit snoring.

I slowed down.  I let things go.  I only took on what I could manage.  I was lazy when it felt right, worked out when it felt right, drank too much wine and sat every night thanking God that I could lay under the Christmas tree and stare at the lights with my daughter.  Cora won’t remember any of the memories her Dad and I have of this Christmas.  She will see the pictures and we will tell her the stories one day.  We will tell her that it was magical and just what it should have been.

I hope a little bit of Christmas magic found its way to each of your homes and I hope 2016 holds even more for you all.

38 Weeks – Perspective on Parenting

As the days drew closer and closer to our wedding date, three years ago, people offered up all sorts of advice.  Some I found quite amusing seeing as I had already been married and divorced.  My Husband started to get annoyed by some of the age old comments and advice and was ready for the wedding itself to come and go so he didn’t have to hear it anymore.  Mainly he was tired of hearing how his life was soon to be over and I was tired of hearing how eventually this marriage would be no different from my first.  It was a lot of the “Oh, you just wait.”

I remember having many conversations about this with my Husband prior to our wedding.  Everyone has a different perspective to share about marriage.  Some don’t have the best perspective to share due to their experience and others do have valid points to the advice that they give.  Truth be told my Husband and I have managed marriage pretty well on our own terms.  His life did not end when he said “I do.”  He didn’t lose his right to speak or have an opinion and I didn’t take away his toys.  In turn, this marriage is nothing like my last and I don’t regret getting married for a second time.  I will never say marriage is easy but I like to keep in mind the good days and not the nights where I’m yelling at him to once again take out the trash.

Parenting is much like this.  You spend 9 months with a growing belly, instead of just a sparkling new diamond on your finger, and everyone wants to offer you advice.  Unfortunately, once again, a lot of that advice ends with how your life will never be the same and it is essentially over.  Along the way we have found who among our friends is in the supportive circle and who just wants us to join their pity party.  And remember, this isn’t my first rodeo at parenting so I don’t want to hear the “Oh, you just wait.”  Once again, I’m not saying parenting is easy but I like to remember all the good days with Rebecca and not the nights she puked up bottle after bottle on me because holy acid reflux.

Remember that perspective thing?  It keeps happening every time a life event happens and my Husband and I are going into this parenting thing on our own terms.  And you know what, I don’t think our life is going to end.  I don’t think our lives are going to be over.  We are not going into parenting together freaked out, concerned and stressed.  But that is our household.  Our family.  How we handle things.  Which may be different from your story, your household, your marriage, your newborn phase.  And that is okay.

Everyone talks about supporting one another but do we?  We stand on the outside of someones home assuming we know whats going on in the inside.  It feels like people are watching to see your marriage fail so they can say I told you so.  It feels like they are watching your parenting to say I told you so.

I know my Husband and I will weather tough times in our marriage just as we will weather tough times in parenting, just as we have weathered tough times in this pregnancy but that is what we signed up for.  There are good days and bad days, not the end of days.  We did not sign up for unicorns shitting out glitter.  We are choosing to be positive about what is in our near future because we have been on the flip side.  We have also watched a lot of our friends go through some incredibly hard times in parenting lately.  Things that no parent should have to do and decisions that no parent should have to make.  It has given us perspective.  Yes, even perspective on not getting such a long shower and having some sleepless nights because life could be worse and these phases end.

We all have a platform on our blogs to vent, to discuss, ask questions, and show support.  I have blogged in real terms, to me,  what my pregnancy has been like for me and my Husband, knowing damn well what the alternative is.  Prior to my pregnancy, I have written about my marriage, in real terms and prior to that I wrote about my divorce in real terms.  I will continue to write about our journey in parenting, not covered in glitter and edited photos but real life for us.  Outside of this pregnancy story I have shared with you, I have still carried on with a life, friendships, marriage and managed to get my laundry done.  This pregnancy has not stopped our lives from happening.

So here is to the next phase in our lives and the next phase in the lives of many of you who read this.  Go into that phase how you choose to and make it a happy positive one.  We are lucky to have this opportunity.  Just remember, the bad days will pass, and your life is not over.  A new chapter is just beginning to add to your story.

Hitting a Brick Wall

Coming up on 35 weeks and I’m not going to sugar coat this for you- I’m done, I hate pregnancy, I’m tired of renting out my body and I’m hitting a brick wall.  Also, I want a cold glass of chardonnay and I want it yesterday.  I have no idea how my Husband will ever talk me into this pregnancy bit again.

Last night I could not quit itching, I could not get comfortable, I was over tired, felt huge and the hormones were kicking my ass.  I started crying and couldn’t quit.  1am sitting in bed sobbing.  I just gave in to it all while my Husband snored away from the couch, where he had fallen asleep watching TV earlier.  And in that moment I hated all men for not having their own damn uterus.  He got up at 3:30am to leave for work and I probably won’t see him till about 8pm tonight.  We will maybe get a chance for a quick phone call during the day and I will be lucky to get a few, short texts in return to the many I will knowingly send him today.  Basically, we are on two different pages right now.

His company is hitting the ground running before the snow flies and working 80-90 hour weeks and will start throwing in working some Saturdays.  (Yea, we think it is cute when you complain about a 10 hour day.)  The time he is home on the weekends we are trying to play crazy catch up and working on the basement.  Meanwhile I’m left to run the house and survive the last few weeks of pregnancy on my own.  Neither of us can help the timing or the situation but at a time when I’m starting to feel like I really need support in this pregnancy and someone to help out, he can’t.  I know he fully would if he could but basically I’m on my own.

The thing is, I’m used to this season of busy work.   It is always annoying and I miss my Husband more at this time of year but it has never come with a belly that makes it near impossible to do things or a body that just says no to being pushed.  I’m trying to dig deep and find a balance for these last couple of weeks.

This is the final stretch in the workout, the race, the game, where you hurt and want to give up but you can’t.  Instead I just have to find a way to get to the finish line.  I have to learn to give in a little bit more, be grateful for how far I have come, accept what is, know this won’t be forever, eat the damn cookies without worrying about the calories and find the positive moments.  And if I have to, then I need to learn to ugly cry when it feels right so it doesn’t all build up.

 

The Vacation-Dominican Republic

The day of my surgery I was in a hospital bed emailing my travel agent.  We needed a vacation.  Whenever life gets really tough for me, I take flight.  I run somewhere that I can breathe and take a step back.  By just booking a trip it gives me something to focus on.  Not that I’m trying to run from dealing with life in general but I need to go to a  place where I know I can find myself again.  The ocean does it for me every time.  So we booked the next place on our travel list and the first week in December we left the beginnings of holiday chaos behind for 82 degrees and a beach.

I was stressed before we left.  A stress that left me feeling like I couldn’t get a grip on anything.  I couldn’t even get excited for my trip because life was happening and details that I couldn’t get to were sending me over the edge.  I didn’t get a manicure, I didn’t get a wax, I didn’t swing in for a few tanning bed sessions, I didn’t acknowledge the state of my toes and I didn’t bother shopping for anything new and fun to wear.  I threw old swimsuits in a bag along with my go-to summer dresses and a bottle of nail polish and called it good.  My Husband questioned why I, for once, didn’t over pack.

There is that moment when you get on a plane and turn off your phone for an entire week, that moment, that is where I exhaled that early morning.  I exhaled for the first time in a long time.  There was nothing I could do about anything at that point.  If it wasn’t taken care of or finished then it would have to wait until we got back.  We unplugged.  I found the first mimosa I could at our layover and sipped it happily.  I looked at my Husband and truly smiled at him.

I know we all say it on vacations or at least we should, we found ourselves again on this vacation.  I look at our pictures and can see we look five years younger.  The stress of the past couple of months slowly faded from our faces.  The color came back to us and not just in the form of a tan.

During the day we spent our time at the beach and I couldn’t even bother to read a book.  I just sat, soaking up the sun, listening to the ocean, drinking rum.  Just being still.  Every evening we sat on our balcony and talked, the stress so far behind us.  There wasn’t the ghost of a baby in the room with us and I didn’t feel like people were walking on egg shells around me.  There was no Facebook to throw another pregnancy announcement in my face or any other social media to remind me that I should be nearing the end of my second trimester.  Instead I was fine being in the moment with my Husband.  I was fine with being us and not keeping track of time.  I was fine keeping life simple and unapologetic.

Here is the thing about coming back to reality though.  The beach doesn’t solve everything. Yes, it gave us space in between breaths that we needed.  But, it doesn’t take away this ache of how I miss my baby, a feeling I never thought I would have and can’t explain.  It didn’t give me an answer on what to do next.  That is okay though because there are no answers and only time will get us where we need to be next.  This trip just gave us a new starting point.

 

Losing the “Busy” Excuse

Last night a friend of mine rang and I let it go to voicemail since we were sitting down for dinner.  Once I listened to her voicemail she had listed out her schedule for the week and how “busy” she would be and how “busy” life is and so on.  If I could try to find time to call her in between her millions of things, that would be great.  I have been the one trying to get ahold of her for a couple of weeks now.  It wasn’t just for any reason, it was to tell her I was pregnant so she didn’t have to learn the news from Facebook.  But time was running out.  I shot her a picture that we are planning on posting to FB and she immediately called me.  I guess she wasn’t so busy after all.

I’m not trying to pick on my friend but I am using her as an example.  The Husband and I have been purposely trying to ban the “busy” excuse from our daily lives.  In this day where we have every means of communication available to us at our finger tips, we sure do think of a lot of excuses to not be able to call Grandma or a friend we haven’t spoken with in a couple of months.  I’m tired of getting the excuse from friends and I sure don’t want to give it back to them.

Unfortunately, as much as we live in a “busy” society, we also live in a society that doesn’t seem to know how to say “no” from time to time.  My Husband started saying “no” to side jobs.  They are great money but woah are they time-consuming and cause some serious stress.  It was adding to the busy excuse as well.  The second he started saying “no” he felt much better.  After he said it a few times it got easier and freed up time to do what he wanted to do.

Sure, some of the things that make us busy we can’t say no to.  Sometimes are lives really and truly are busy.  But the rest of it….really?  Why do we even feel the need to make the excuse?  Isn’t it a good thing to be busy, to have friends want to call and meet up, to have weekends filled with family activities, stay-cations, mini trips, long trips, or even lazy days filled with movie marathons?  That means you are alive, not busy.  That means you are doing something with your life.  You are finding purpose.  Why not enjoy it instead of rushing through it?

By losing the “busy” excuse in our summer (and saying no!) I cannot express how much more we seemed to live in the moment.  I can honestly tell you we took every minute we possibly could out of our summer and made every effort to make time stand still and summer last a bit longer.  We really aren’t busy right now, we are just indulging daily in life.

My Fertility Balance

This month I was supposed to start Clomid but I don’t know if it is going to happen.  You see, once you start Clomid on this calculated day, then you have to go in for an ultrasound on another calculated day and if my period shows up when it is supposed to, well, I’ll be busy on the second calculated day.  As in, we have a vacation planned with Rebecca, things booked, time off requested.

Insert gasps from many.

Some may even say I’m crazy.

For a lot of people trying to conceive can take over their lives.  Everything is a timing matter and I’m not saying we haven’t had to juggle and put somethings on hold but I will only take it so far.  I just cannot do the deed when I have a raging sinus infection and no voice, nor am I telling my child otherwise for a vacation.

When we started down this road we didn’t want to become that crazy couple who forgot to enjoy life happening right now.  We are still enjoying the start of our marriage!  I’m not giving up drinking wine, working out, and a million other things that people told me to stop doing to increase my chances of having a baby.  I didn’t want our marriage to start suffering or become hyper focused on this one thing, so this is not our only topic of conversation.  We try to have sex that isn’t just on a calculated day but on an uncalculated day on the new trampoline because isn’t that what everyone jokes about doing.  We are not saving every penny for endless fertility treatments but are looking at boats because we know how far we are going to take this.

I’m not saying I don’t care, I do.  There are the good days, bad days, learning curves, tears and frustration.  We want this and going through this has only, thankfully, strengthened our marriage.  We just don’t want this to become our entire world but merely a part of it.  Most importantly, this is stressful and I need to keep some sort of balance and control with it all for my sanity.  So we choose carefully, weigh our options and go with that.  The rest we just have to accept.

 

Feeling is Healing

I let myself lose it a bit.  I like to keep control but sometimes I do believe you just have to give into it all and break down.  I threw faith, positivity, and any give a damn right out the window.  I gave in to a bottle of wine on my deck, while it rained and stayed under the blanket, crying.  I lost it all over again when my Husband came home from work and I took some of my anger out on him.

It has been 18 months since we have started trying to conceive and for some reason I mentally snapped a bit yesterday.  After 9 days of a late period and negative pregnancy tests, I scheduled my HSG test and texted the Hubby that I was nervous.  His reply, an hour later, was “I bet.”  To be fair I have a rule that we don’t talk about serious stuff or fight via text.  It was something that should have been a conversation once we got home that night but in the moment I needed reassurance and it was lost via text and I started to spiral.

This can feel like a one sided battle as a woman some days.  No matter what my Husband does, I’m the one who has to watch days, pee on sticks, go to the appointments, get poked at and so on.  The luck of being a woman really and it is only the beginning.  All this means the topic is in the front of my mind more often than his and I begin to feel like I’m shouldering all the responsibility.  Compound that with the fact that all household stuff falls to me right now, my brain feels full while I feel like all he does is go to work and come home.  It all feels a bit unbalanced even though in the grand scheme of things that isn’t how it really is.

The good thing about just finally falling apart is there is only one direction to take things the next morning and that is up.  You would have thought I would remember some of these tricks from when I was going through my divorce.  There are the good days and the bad days and sometimes you just have to cry it out, talk it out and put your big girl panties back on the next day.  Which is what today is.