The Week in Review

on 30 March 2015

We're 1 week into having 3 kids and so far so good.  Of course, I didn't get home until Thursday, and I'm in copious amounts of pain, so mostly we do a lot of this:






I need to tell you the story of Her Birth, it has some harrowing moments, but I'm really tired.  I was worried before she was born that I couldn't remember anything about taking care of a newborn, and now I know why.  Because you never get to sleep, so you can't remember anything once it's over.  I promise I'm getting there.

Introducing...

on 23 March 2015

Miss Margaret Alice.



She was born at 9:17 after a long toil on the part of the anesthesiologists.  It's a thrilling tale, but not for the faint of heart and so I shall skip it.  For now.

They let me hold her while they were...um...reassembling things.  I didn't get to do that with my Boy or Girl, so of course I laid there and cried and cried.  She's our tiniest daughter tipping the scales at only 7 pounds 9 ounces, and of course she lost close to a pound in the hospital before my milk came in and we came home.  So none of her clothes (or diapers for that matter) fit her.

But she is an absolute joy.  The Boy and the Girl are already in love with her.  And I can't stop mooning over her.  So please forgive me if it takes a while for me to share...


Growing a Miracle

on 20 March 2015

I've really struggled with this story.  I'm still not quite sure how to tell it, and maybe it's one of those things you only learn by doing, so I'll just try.  I'll probably hate it, but I'm going to try all the same.

Why try?  Because infertility is one of those things that is so deeply personal and painful that no one really talks about it, but strangely, the more others talk about it, the more reassuring it is for the people going through it.

Some background:

Chris and I have what is known as secondary infertility, which means that we were fine getting pregnant with the Boy, but something shifted after his birth which pushed us into Infertile Grounds.  It took us about 2 years to get pregnant with the Girl, and then more than 2 years to get pregnant with t'other Girl. 

During my Girl's delivery, the doctor made note of an excess of scar tissue all around my uterus and fallopian tubes, and it was significant enough that he mentioned it to us in recovery.  He recommended that we not wait for so long before seeking medical attention, there were tests that could be done and minimally invasive procedures that might help. 

So we concentrated on our two darling babes and tried not to worry too much about the future.

Time passed, about a year and a half, and I started to worry more because I'm not gettin' any younger over here.  So in the fall of 2013, I finally screwed up my courage to go to the doctor.  I started with my OB/GYN and she referred me to the Fertility Clinic (because they're the people with the necessary equipment to run the requisite tests etc. etc. etc.).

Then came January.  January of 2014 was when things started to fall apart.  My Grandma passed away on the 21st, and then 2 days later I had to go to the Fertility clinic for a decidedly unpleasant HsG. 

Let's not talk about the specifics of that particular procedure, but rather the results.  They got some lovely images of just how messed up I am on the inside.  It was a banner day for my self-esteem, let me just assure you of that.  And with those images, came rather concrete proof that statistically we weren't likely to ever have any more children.

And when we met with our physician, he expressed a considerable degree of surprise that we had ever conceived our Girl, which is nice.  We already saw her as a miracle, and to have that confirmed by a fertility specialist is nice.  But it's not very reassuring when you're hoping to have more children.  Chris and I stepped on to the elevator to leave the clinic and I cried and cried and cried.

We had consented to have a laproscopic procedure to "attempt" to "restore anatomy" (I revised it to "Fix or Evict") to my ineffective tubes in the hopes that they would indeed be able to make them functional again (or at least not painful).  It was scheduled for March 20th.  And because Chris is occasionally crazy, he used our credit card reward points to book us on a cruise the weekend BEFORE that charming procedure.

So we spent the weekend in the Caribbean, and then came home and I had that little surgery.   

After the surgery, the physician (whom I have come to think of as my own personal Dementor, because he sucked all the hope and happiness out of me) informed us that they were NOT able to restore anatomy, but rather had to remove the offending tube.  The other tube was in tact, but whether it was functional remained to be seen.  He was very honest about the likelihood that we would become pregnant without IVF or some such other intervention, but the odds were absolutely against us.

Now, Chris and I have no moral problem with IVF, or other treatments for infertility.  We just didn't feel like they were good choices for our family.  So we resigned ourselves to our small family, we tried to be grateful for the two amazing kids that we have, and we tried to let go.  I sank into a funk of fairly epic proportions, that wasn't helped by packing up our entire apartment and shifting it into a storage unit and then shuffling around to various locations all summer long.  But oddly, it was helped by Chris' decision to reapply to med school.  It gave us this Big Thing to work towards together.  It focused our attention and gave us a measurable goal to work towards.

And then at the end of July, I was trying to organize everything for our mortgage, and trying to keep my kids from making my sister and her kids crazy, and I was weird.  Grouchy, depressed, tired, anxious and just...weird.  My sister asked me one morning, "Are you pregnant?"  And I scoffed and snorted and said, "Not likely."  But then realized that my period was 4 days late, and I'm never late.  But I chalked it up to stress and took the kids hiking in the hopes that fresh air and dirt and rocks and trees would clear my head.

Two days later I bought a test because...well, I needed to know.  I didn't feel particularly pregnant.  I knew that statistically, it wasn't likely, but also not strictly impossible.  We were taking care of Hogan, so I got up early one morning and took it, and then couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry that it was positive.

***

I know that everyone believes different things, but this is my blog, and my story and so I'm going to do something that I don't often do.  I'm going to tell you outright that there is no other word for this particular pregnancy, than a Miracle.  I know there are people who don't believe in God, or if they do, they don't believe that He works miracles any more.  And to those people, I say, I have some lovely pictures of what my insides look like and the testimony of people who have gone to school for 15 years to study pregnancy and childbirth and they say this Baby wouldn't couldn't shouldn't happen.  And yet.  She did.   We've known from the very beginning that she is a miracle.

***

This pregnancy has been a strange burden to carry.  We moved a week after we found out that we were pregnant, and I've never moved pregnant before.  Sherry kept bossing me around and telling me not to lift anything, not to carry anything, to sit down, to take it easy.  And she could tell you, women in my family don't take it easy gracefully.  So I had some issues early on and we worried that we were miscarrying, but then things got better. 

And 12 weeks later we heard her heartbeat.

And a couple of weeks after that, they told us we were having another daughter.

I kept waiting for the anxiety to dissipate, to feel confident that everything would be fine, but I never have.  I have been more anxious and fearful through this pregnancy than I was in either of the others (and that's saying something because I'm a rather anxious person).  The only explanation I can think of, is that we're so aware that her existence is a miracle, I feel this weight of responsibility to NOT screw this up.

It is a strange thing to be so aware that you're carrying a miracle under your own skin.  And believe me, we know enough about the fragility of human reproduction to believe that all of our kids are miracles, but with cold, hard photographs of what we're working with, she's just different. 

I find it strange that she's due the week after the year mark of that sad, little surgery.  It's been such a strange year, such a strange journey that we've been on.  In some ways I feel like this Girl has already made our family a stronger and more unified force, which is strange since she isn't technically HERE yet.

I fully expected Chris to be distant and uninvolved in this pregnancy (he was absolutely convinced with the Girl that something or everything would go wrong and we would lose her.  To the extent that it wasn't until the delivery room that he said, "Holy cow!  We're going to have TWO kids!"), but he hasn't been.  He's thoroughly enjoyed talking to her and feeling her move.  He loves to come home at night and poke and prod her to wake her up and get her moving and then he laughs at her acrobatics.  Acrobatics that are becoming increasingly painful for the Mama since space is limited in there.  He loves to tease the kids and throw out these truly strange names and ask them if that's what we should name their baby sister.  And they laugh and say, "NO!"

The kids are so excited you would think that Christmas has come all over again.  The Girl shouts (at least once a day), "MY BABY SISTER IS ALMOST HERE!"  She loves to remind me of all the things she's excited to share with her sister, her stuffies and lollypops and cookies and blackberries.  (I try to gently remind her that it will be a while before her sister will need ANY of those things.) And my Boy tells me all the things he's going to do for her, things he's going to teach her and ways he's going to look out for her.  It really is the sweetest thing.

I'm still worried.  As painful as her acrobatics are, I'm grateful for them because I know it means she's still alive and ok.  I want to see her.  I want to hold her and watch her breathing in and out.  I want to know that she's ok.  I want to know that we'll get to take her home and watch her grow up.  And I think part of what makes me so anxious is that, I can't know those things.  Love is a gamble.  It's always a gamble.  Sometimes it works out beautifully and it transforms who we are and the life we lead and the choices we make.  And sometimes it destroys everything in its wake, it breaks hearts and bones and lives and homes. 

For now, I'm trying to breathe deeply and have faith.