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A motherhood moment

This is a story about toddler vomit. I'll try to go easy on the gory details, but if you're not interested in reading about how vomit was involved in one of favorite mom moments, this is your warning.

On Sunday, we had family over and Mo had a busy evening playing with her cousins and eating lots of junk. She went to bed late, but fell asleep quickly. About 45 minutes later, I heard her whimpering. On the monitor I could see her sitting up in bed, but she wasn't crying and she wasn't moving. Mike went up to check on her, but only stood outside her door and left when he didn't hear anything. But I knew something was up. Mother's intuition I guess. I walked into her room, and in the dark I ran my hand over her hair. It came away wet. And chunky.

Poor girl had thrown up all over her bed and herself. It was disgusting. But it was also so precious. Mo was so calm and sweet, she didn't cry or act upset. She was just confused and quiet, and trusted that I would take care of her. 

I bathed her, and kept her warm, and reassured her all along that everything was fine. When she vomited again a couple hours later, we repeated the process, and then she fell asleep in my bed (this NEVER happens!). It was a special moment, the whole thing. It's exactly how I pictured motherhood: being the one who takes charge and comforts.

I hope I will always be that person for Mo.


Florida or(and) Bust!

In early January, my brother in law told me he wanted to send my sister to Florida in February for her birthday. He couldn't get the time off work, but would I like to go with her? He'd buy my ticket.

Hmm, let me think... YES!

Later, I realized that if I wasn't pregnant in January, I'd be in Florida during my ovulation in February. That put more pressure on January, which, as we know, didn't work out. But I decided it was OK. I can't put my whole life on hold while I try to conceive, and besides, a week in the sun would do me good. I would relax, think about something other than work, motherhood and getting pregnant for a change. I thought maybe taking a month off would, ultimately, be a good thing even though it was a little frustrating.

We flew out Monday afternoon, and our first full day, Tuesday, was great. We slept in, sat by the pool, ate lunch in the sun, shopped, took a nap, and went out to dinner. I felt a little off all day, not nauseous but something. Then I woke up around midnight and vomited for hours. Then the diarrhea set in.

I spent all day Wednesday emptying my body of every drop of fluid and every bit of energy. I felt absolutely awful, and at 3:00 I decided it was time to seek help. We went to urgent care and waited forever, only to be told that I needed IV fluids (duh) and they don't do that there. Off to the ER I went. After fluids and some anti-nausea meds (and several more hours), I was feeling mostly better.

Thursday I felt great, totally recovered. We hopped in our convertible and drove to Sanibel Island to stay with some of my sister's in-laws. I ate normal food and felt good. Until I went to bed.

Then I woke up at 4:00 with more vomiting and diarrhea. I was very sick all day. I still felt sick on our flight back Saturday, and on our 4 hour drive through a snow storm home from the airport. 

On top of all the vacation-ruining illness, I also couldn't escape work. My job usually lets me get away for a week here and there, but it was bad timing this time around. I kept getting bothered with work stuff.

What I'm saying is: my vacation was not a vacation. It was not very relaxing or refreshing, and now I missed a month of trying to get pregnant for what? 

I'm grateful for the opportunity to get out of town. I know getting sick on vacation is a first world problem, but I just want a do over! Or I want to magically be pregnat this month. I deserve a sweet little surprise right?


No surprise here: I'm still not pregnant

In case anyone was waiting for the outcome of this cliffhanger: I'm not pregnant. It didn't come as a surprise, as you may have gathered in that last post, but it was still a huge disappointment. I had to go to work the day I found out, and I had a very full day. I thought that might be a good distraction, but instead I kept sneaking off to cry in the bathroom.

I've spent a lot of time crying on bathroom floors lately.

To make matters worse, my day ended with a leadership meeting. It was the first time we were all together since my boss told me privately that she was pregnant, and at the start of the meeting it occurred to me that she would probably share her news with everyone that day. I spent the whole meeting bracing myself for that moment. When it finally came, I stared at my phone with tears in my eyes, hoping nobody was paying any attention to me, while everyone did the usual "pregnancy news" chatter. I must have been pretty successful at tuning them all out because later a colleague made reference to something someone said in the wake of the news and I had no idea what she was talking about. The second the meeting ended, I ran out of the room, grabbed my purse and coat, and went home even though it was a half hour earlier than I usually leave. I just had to get out of there. I'd rather cry on the drive home than on the bathroom floor again.

Amazingly, I feel lighter now that I know. I'm angry and sad and severly disappointed, but at least I know. I deal better with knowledge than the unknown. I've already started looking ahead, figuring out my next possible opportunity to try, my next possible due date. I'm back in the part of the process where I can do something instead of just wait and wonder. It's the waiting and wondering that kills me. Honestly, I can mostly handle having a baby a little later than I had hoped, but the thought of living through the hell that is the two week wait again (and maybe again and again and again) scares me.

I made an appointment with my OB for later this month. I know it's only been two months of failed attempts, but I've been here before. Before my first pregnancy I spent almost a year before finally figuring out that there was something wrong, that there was something I could have been doing to fix the problem. I was so angry that I wasted so much time during which I could have been DOING SOMETHING! So I'm going to remind my doctor about that, and remind her that I've had two losses, and that I'm 34, and ask if there is anything else I could be doing. If there is anything we should be looking into or considering. I don't want to find out in 6 months that I could have been doing something now.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: thank god for Mo. Not only am I thankful to have her at all, but I'm especially thankful for who she is. She is always happy, always full of life and radiating joy. She makes it easy on me when I'm down. And she lifts me up just by how she lives and loves life. I live vicariously through her and her pure, innocent, and unblemished happiness.


An (un)happy ending?

I really thought I might be pregnant this month. Everything was in perfect order. When I lost my "May baby" I did the math and realized there was a good chance I could get pregnant again in January and have an October baby. I fell in love with that idea for many reasons:

  • My mother's birthday is in October, and so was my great grandmother's. There is a family ring, an opal, October's birth stone, that was recently passed down to my mother when my great grandma passed away. Because my mom didn't have any children in October, the idea was that the ring would go to a grandchild born in October. So far there have been none. I loved the idea of that ring.

  • My first pregnancy loss happened in January, and then a year later I had Mo in January. It was poetic in a way. My recent miscarriage was in October, so wouldn't it be poetic if I had a baby this October?

  • There is a lot that goes on in our lives at different points of the year, and fitting a baby into and then indefinitely celebrating birthdays during those times would be difficult. After two losses and so many months of my life spent struggling to get pregnant, I could never be the the kind of person who is picky about when I get pregnant or have a baby. But an October baby was very appealing in the grand scheme of our lives.

  • I will be out of town during my fertile period in February, which means if I didn't get pregnant in January, I'd have to wait two months to try again. In the life of someone who desperately wants another baby and who has already lost five months due to a miscarriage, that is unfathomable.

So there was a lot riding on getting pregnant this month. I religiously tested with ovulation predictors for a week and a half, waiting for prime time, and we timed everything just as we should. And let's just say there were ample opportunities for it to work. Then I spent 11 days in purgatory, waiting and wondering. 

I researched the best tests for predicting early pregnancy, and devoured information on how soon I was likely to get a positive read if I was indeed pregnant. And then yesterday morning, 11 days past ovulation and 4 days before my expected period, I woke up at my sister's house, where I was spending part of the weekend to distract myself from the waiting, with a desperate need to just know already. It was before anyone else was awake, and I grabbed one of the First Response Early Result tests I had with me. According to those tests, they are 96% accurate 4 days before a period. Whatever the test said was likely to be the truth.

Two nights before, Thursday night, I couldn't sleep, so I grabbed a pen and paper and sketched a vision board. I drew my hopes: A pregnancy test with two lines and the date 1-24-15 written on it. A pregnant me. A baby and the word October. An opal ring. A stick figure family portrait of Mike, Mo, and myself with a baby in my arms.

As I waited for the test results, sitting on the floor in my sister's bathroom, I pictured that vision board. In my mind's eye I saw two lines on the test sitting next to me. I steadied my breathing as best I could for three minutes, and then I looked.

One line.


I know there's a chance it's not accurate, that it was just too early to test. That maybe I really am pregnant. But I don't dare to go there. That has not been my life - in my experience, I don't get the surprise happy ending when things look grim. I don't just mean that in a woe-is-me kind of way; I have a track record to prove it.

When I was trying to conceive the first time around, I had many missed periods. I'd go days thinking maybe this time I really am pregnant! And I never was. I was always not pregnant. It wasn't until we figured out I wasn't ovulating and I got on Clomid that I got pregnant.

With my first pregnancy, I started spotting very early. Every one told me, including the doctors and the internet, that it could very easily be nothing. This was totally normal and everything is probably fine. But it wasn't fine, it was an ectopic pregnancy.

With my most recent pregnancy, when I had that first ultrasound and the baby was measuring small and there was no heartbeat, I was told that it's probably nothing to worry about. Maybe it's just too early, maybe you're not quite as far along as you thought. I googled the crap out of my situation and found an abudance of happy endings. But I didn't get one for myself. I miscarried.

Yes, I had a very happy ending with Mo. But there was never a point where things didn't look good. I found out I was pregnant with my first test, I never had any spotting, ultrasounds were all good, she was always healthy and so was I.

I'm thankful for that happy ending, but my point is that when things are dismal, at least in the world of trying to conceive, they don't turn around for me. The bad news doesn't (surprise!) turn into good news.

I haven't completely given up hope because what are we without hope? But I'm not letting myself fantasize about a happy ending, and I'm not letting myself google other people's happy endings. I've already starting calculating the next opportunity we'll have to conceive, and when that baby might be born, and what that could mean for our lives. 

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. That's the best I can do.


My Mo is two years old

Two years ago, I gave birth to a baby. I. Gave birth. To a baby. It was a miracle, it was incredible, it was a life changer. That 6 pound 15.5 ounce wiggly baby is now a slender, curly-headed two year old with energy to spare. 

The first year flew by, it was a blur of emotion and milk, fatigue and diapers. But the second year went even faster. We settled into parenthood, we built routines, Mo became more independent, an active participant in our family. And the time just disappeared. Only yesterday we were celebrating her first birthday, and in a flash came spring, summer, fall and here we are again. She's two.

I've documented a lot about Mo here, but many of you have never met her. On her second birthday, let me tell you a little bit about what you'd notice about Mo if you ever did meet her.

The thing you'd notice first about, upon meeting her, is that she is happy. Children are often pretty carefree if we allow them to be, but they are also often easily bothered. They don't understand the world and its rules and that can be frustrating. Mo doesn't really care, she just loves life. She is not only content but happy in almost any situation. The other day we were at swim class with my sister and nephew. In the locker room, Mo got a little frustrated - no crying or screaming or yelling - just a little agitated because she wanted me to hold her, not put her down to get her dressed. I was frustrated with her because I was dripping and cold and just wanted cooperation. I mentioned it my sister later and said, "You just saw us at our worst!" and she thought it was pretty funny that that was Mo at her worst - such a minor blip in her otherwise constantly uplifting mood - but it really doesn't get worse than that. Not right now at least. She's just so easily happy.

She is all smiles and dancing and laughter.

The other thing you would notice is her love for people. When we sent invitations to family for her party this weekend, we mentioned that gifts were not necessary. Not only because she truly needs nothing, but because Mo's favorite gift is company. She loves to be around people, she loves a good party. When someone visits, she gives them her full attention, she crawls in their lap, shows them her drawings, offers them hugs. When lots of people visit, she buzzes around the room, bringing smiles to everyone. I am an introvert. I get energized from quiet, alone time. Mo is an extrovert. She is energized by the energy of others. She doesn't need to be the center of attention, she's not a showboater, but one of the first things people say about her is "she's so social." I think that is a gift to all of us.

You'd also notice Mo's armful of...things. She finds great joy in her stuffed animals, and has quite the collection that she loves more than any other toys. Right now she's latched on to four things in particular: Pump, the pink blanket she got at birth and took a liking to awhile ago; Foofoo or Puppy, the little scrap of a stuffed animal she got on her first birthday and has loved every since; Tot (or, the grey kitten she received at Christmas; and now this odd, pink stuffed dog she found in the bottom of the stuffed animal pile the other day. I have no idea where that last one even came from. Every morning, as soon as we walk into her room, Mo scrambles to collect these items and struggles to keep a hold on all of them, and they all come downstairs with us. We used to try to keep them in her crib so they didn't get lost, but then she got sick and we let her keep her lovies, and we haven't attempted to break the habit. I love watching her toddle around the house with an arm full of these dirty scraps of fabric that she adores. When she gets hurt, she wants her mama and she wants her Pump. And her Foofoo. And usually her Tot and the dog, too.

You'd notice that she loves affection. There was a time she wasn't very cuddly, but now she loves a good cuddle. Shecrawls into my lap all the time to snuggle under a blanket with me. She'll frequently turn and give me hugs for no apparent reason other than she loves me and wants me to know. I cherish those hugs. She has still been having the occasional nightmare, and when I go to her and pick her up, she wraps herself around me and burrows in until she falls asleep again. And then I hold her quietly and breathe her in and thank everyone and everything that she's mine. I cherish those moments too.

You'd probably also notice how much she means to me. In my struggles following my recent miscarriage, I've come to appreciate what I have in Mo even more than I did before. My road to Mo was long and bumpy and painful, and when she was born, I knew how lucky I was. I've known that every day of her life. I didn't think I needed to learn that again, I don't know why this miscarriage happened, but it did reinforce the blessing I have in Mo. I was reminded that if she is all I'll ever have, that would be enough. She is more than enough.

My daughter is my love and my light. Before her, if I had read that sentence from another mother, my eyes would have slid right past it. Yeah yeah, mothers love their kids, we all know. But now I get it. She is a part of me, and I can't believe she's been in my life for two years. If you were to meet her, I'm confident you'd be glad she was part of yours, too.

Mo cowboy hat