Thursday, October 25, 2012

once upon a time

A few people commented to me about Monday's post that my line "This will be our only child . . ." jumped out at them.

"You don't plan on having another?" seems to be the question these days. (Yes, even now as Miss K has barely reached the four-month mark and we are still waiting for finalization.)

The short answer is no. We don't plan on having another.

When we started trying to grow our family, I had a plan. A vision. Most of us do. I wanted two kids, maybe three. I wanted to space them out so that they would only be, at most, three years apart. I wanted a boy, and then a girl, so that our daughter would have an older brother. Something I always wanted.

Looking back, I think it's funny how we paint these pictures in our heads of how things will be. I don't know about some of you, but my imaginary family building started early on - way before Joey was in the picture. We plan our lives: how many kids we have, what their names will be, what they will look like, etc.

And then when our dream doesn't become reality, we throw it away. We ban all of that fairy-tale nonsense, and we focus instead on getting that ONE healthy, living child.

The dream is dead. My dream. I can't put my finger on an exact time or date, but it's been dead for a while, and I have no intention of bringing it back.

The last four years, we have tirelessly worked toward becoming parents. Our entire marriage, that's all we've done. Now that we've achieved our goal, we want to do something we've neglected a little bit over these last four years: live our lives. We want to travel, and bring Miss K with us on our adventures. We want to bring back all of the happiness that faded away with infertility. We want to be able to have fun.

I used to worry about having an only child. I worried about socialization. Not having enough entertainment. Not being grounded. But now I realize that it's my job to take care of these things - not the job of a sibling. Daycare already gives her plenty of socialization and entertainment. She has cousins and friends that she will be able to interact with as she gets older. And while she'll certainly be spoiled to an extent (she already is), we will also make sure that she has realistic expectations about life.

Is part of me disappointed that my original dream of having a big family won't become reality? Maybe. But I can't imagine going through everything all over again, both emotionally and financially. I don't want to drain our souls or our bank account for the sake of another child.

Instead we are going to focus on giving Miss K - and our little family - the best life possible.

Monday, October 22, 2012

hanging on

This is a baby-related post. Please feel free to skip if you are not comfortable reading.

We had a busy weekend filled with a 5k walk, college football, and a visit to a local pumpkin patch - fun times with family and friends. The next two weekends are also jam packed, and I'm finding myself at a loss for how to manage my free time. Work is WORK from the time I get to my desk until the time I leave, and I don't want to do any more of it when I get home (including work around the house). Everything from blogging to freelance has sort of been thrown to the side.

Part of me wants to make a "don't do anything on the weekends except play catch up" vow from the beginning of November until the new year, but I also know that's impossible with the holidays coming up. Holidays = more visiting with family and friends, more holiday parties, etc. Not that any of those are bad things, but I'm starting to wonder when this house is going to get a thorough cleaning. Or when I'm going to get to the rest of my thank-you notes. Or when I'm going to shave my legs again (yeah, I went there).

I wish there were more hours in the day to get things done. But, since that isn't likely to happen, I'm focusing on spending as much time as I can with K. I keep reminding myself that this is likely it. This will be our only child, and this will be the only chance I get to spend with her as a baby. Someone at work put it perfectly: "You can't bottle it up and save it." No, I can't. So, as much as I wish life wasn't as hectic, and as much as I want to get more sleep, I can't say I'm not appreciating these moments.

I'm just drinking a lot more caffeine - and spending a lot less time on my hair!

Friday, October 12, 2012

the moment when i felt like sandra fluke

Most of you probably remember the remarks made by Rush Limbaugh at the beginning of the year regarding Sandra Fluke - the Georgetown University law student who spoke on behalf of women's reproductive rights.

There's a clear divide in this country over women's health and whether the government can or should get involved in the choices we make regarding reproduction. I've always found it interesting that the party who claims to want small government would like at least part of that government to be big enough to invade my uterus. But I don't usually talk about this on my blog. It's a touchy subject. There are many women in the infertility community who feel passionately about the topic of abortion because they are unable to conceive. I can understand how it may be difficult for them to grasp why someone else would want to end a child's life when they so desperately want to start a child's life. Yet, I also want to draw attention to the fact that women's reproductive health goes beyond abortion. It's a broad topic - one that is often shoved into a box marked "Roe vs. Wade."

On the occasions when I have written about my political beliefs regarding reproductive rights on this blog, I've experienced my fair share of backlash. In other words, I'm no stranger to name calling. I've had people comment that they do not think I deserve to be a parent because of my beliefs. I've been called repulsive.

But it wasn't until last night when, for the first time, I finally felt just a tiny piece of what Fluke must have felt when she was called a slut many months ago.

I was engaged in a political debate on my mom's Facebook page. Those who know me personally know that my mom is a Republican. I am a Democrat. (So see, we aren't all raised to be bleeding-heart liberals. I became one on my own.) The debate grew heated, as it often does. I wrote things, as did others, that began to press the buttons of those on the opposite side of our beliefs.

Finally, I wrote what I thought would be my final "two cents" on why I felt that President Obama had my best interest at heart when it comes to healthcare:

But it wasn't the last word:

I was - as many of you can imagine - livid. There were a number of responses I wanted to write in that moment. I wanted to make a snarky remark about getting an abortion on my lunch break after my nail appointment. I wanted to call him way worse words than I ended up using. In the end, this was all that came out:

And it's in this moment when I felt like Fluke: a woman painted with a stereotype for my personal and political beliefs. Apparently, voting for President Obama made me a woman dependent on government to take care of my birth control and pay for my abortions.

Make no mistake: I am a Democrat. Yes, there are policies that are part of the liberal agenda I don't agree with, but I largely vote left because of my personal healthcare journey. I'm a 27-year-old woman who has had more than one scare with breast, ovarian, and cervical cancers, and I am voting for President Obama because he will respect my reproductive rights. Just because I am a Democrat doesn't mean that I am "pro-abortion" (who is pro-abortion?) or that I have ever received an abortion (not like it's anyone's business, but I haven't). It doesn't mean that I expect the government to pay for my birth control. It simply means that I am voting for what I feel will protect my own health in the coming years. It means that I expect the government to stay out of my right to take birth control in the first place. I am voting for my daughter's health, because I never want to see her go through the hell I've been through to get the basic preventive care I need for my health conditions. I don't want her to waste time fighting for insurance to cover medical procedures or medication. I want her choose not only what happens to her body, but for which beliefs and organizations she would like to advocate. I didn't have the luxury of choice. I advocate for these policies because these policies are me.

I regret calling Rob an asshole. But I don't regret standing up for my body. I've said it time and time again: we have to be our own advocates for our reproductive health. And part of being my own advocate is voting for the presidential candidate that will respect and support my journey.

I'm leaving the comments open. Let the name calling begin. This time, I'm ready for it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

sleep deprived and slacking

This is a baby-related post. Please feel free to skip if you are not comfortable reading.

I'm happy to report that, in the last couple of weeks, I've gotten better about being the paranoid mom who calls daycare and obsesses over the webcam. I'm not saying that leaving her all day is easy, it's just become easier. The teachers at daycare seem to love her (I think she's one of the lower maintenance babies in the room), and I have to say that I'm enjoying my time at work/getting a paycheck again.

Sleep seems to be a problem lately. At first we thought teething might be starting, but now I'm not so sure. All I know is that there's a lot of slobber, a lot of "hands in the mouth" action, and not so much sleeping going on at night - though she seems to be getting better during the day with her naps. Who knows. I guess we'll be able to tell if/when a tooth makes an appearance.

I still haven't quite gotten the hang of time management, which leaves my blog sometimes at the bottom of the to-do list. So please bear with me. I have some posts in the works, I promise. For now, update me on what's going on in your world(s). I don't get to read and comment on other blogs as much as I'd like to these days. What am I missing out on? Fill me in!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

it's a miracle . . . or is it?

Recently, several women have confided in me that, much to their surprise, they are pregnant. Each of these women is a member of the ALI community. In the midst of their news, the Huffington Post published an article (you can read an excerpt here) about miracle pregnancies after infertility treatments.

If you would have asked me a year ago how I would feel if I got pregnant after failed infertility treatments, whether this pregnancy would occur before or after our adoption, I would have told you "overjoyed." Isn't that what we are supposed to feel after years of failure? We're supposed to be happy for this gift - this miracle of life that is so unexpected.

If you were to ask my now how I would feel if I experienced a surprise pregnancy, I would have a much different reaction.

Part of me would be terrified that it wouldn't work. I've spent years being told that my reproductive system doesn't work properly. That I have a disease which attacks perfectly healthy cells. It wouldn't be easy to spend nine months on "Cloud 9" thinking that everything will turn out perfectly. All of us who've been through infertility and loss know better. We know not only the statistics about our own bodies, but we've watched other members of our community struggle first hand.

The other part of me might be a little angry. I'm not supposed to be pregnant, I would think. When you spend as much time as we do thinking that your life will turn out one way, and it suddenly takes a much different direction, it's easy to feel disappointment or frustration. Add on to that the fact that doctors have most likely told you pregnancy is "impossible," and it's understandable why you wouldn't necessarily be overjoyed at the news. Instead, you'd be looking for a different doctor!

Before, when I wanted to carry a baby so badly I could hardly see straight, I would have accepted anything handed to me. However, when I came to the realization that I was okay with not getting pregnant, I began to see why not every pregnancy was as joyful as outsiders wanted it to be. The article in the Huffington Post paints, for the most part, this beautiful picture of what these surprise pregnancies should feel like. Sadly, for some women, the reality is much different. Yes, it's a happy time. It's also a scary and confusing time - one that will need to be navigated with the help of a support system who understands the concerns these mothers-to-be have about their health and their unexpected change in family dynamics.

I know that each of these women will be absolutely amazing mothers. Two of them are already parenting children who are going to make wonderful older siblings. But I also understand their fears. I can't imagine what it's like to be in their shoes, yet I know that each of them will be okay. They are incredibly strong women who have made it through the worst in infertility and loss. If they can get through that, they can handle any other obstacle that comes their way.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

3 months

This is a baby-related post. Please feel free to skip if you are not comfortable reading.

K turned three months old today!

Weight & Length: We don't have a 3 month wellness visit, but the last time she was at the doctor (two weeks ago), she was 22 inches long (up from 21 inches at 2 months and in the 10-25%). Her weight at that visit was 9 lbs. 3.5 oz. (up from 8 lbs. 8.5 oz. at 2 months and in the 5-10%), but it's obviously way more than that by now. We'll have to take her unofficial weight on the scale at home. :)

Sleeping: She is sleeping through the night occasionally now. When she does wake up, it's still just one time and it's usually between 2 and 4 am. I think daycare has helped with her sleep, because she comes home completely worn out. She's still not napping well all the time, but it's getting better. We're also trying to let her nap unswaddled as much as she'll let us to get her used to it.

Eating: Eating has improved a lot. She's now averaging 3 oz. each feed, and sometimes she'll go over that (nothing above 4, though). She's also a much happier eater now that we have the reflux under control. No more screaming fits during or after bottles. Yay!

Diapers: We are still using bumGenius 4.0s at home, but daycare will only do disposable. So we are using Huggies Natural Care there, and she's still in a size 1.

Clothing: Clothes that are 0-3 months are starting to fit a little snug, but 3 month clothes are still fitting nicely.

Hair: K's hair is getting an auburn tint to it, which I absolutely LOVE. She still has a bald spot on the back of her head (she's had it since birth), but the pediatrician swears that will go away. Above it, her hair is thin, but below it her hair is much thicker - so it looks like she has a mullet. Poor girl

Eyes: Still dark brown and gorgeous!

Personality: Oh, she has personality all right. What a sassy pants. But she's such a HAPPY sassy pants. She smiles a lot, and she's started laughing a little bit in the last month (as much as she can "laugh" at her age - it kind of sounds like a squeak/wheeze). When she's not smiling, she's focusing very intently on things. Her expressions amaze me, and I wish I could know what she's thinking. We still think she is going to be social, as she loves to be out and about and she "talks" a lot. She'll even respond back to you when you reply to her. It's adorable. She's also now obsessed with her hands and feet. Both go toward her mouth at all times - especially her hands (she hasn't quite figured out how to get her feet in there yet). She's extremely grabby, though mostly with her own face. We've had several face-scratching incidents in the last week or two. She loves books a lot, too, as we read to her almost every night.

Milestones & Firsts: Over the last month, she's had her first laugh. She can now hold weight on her legs and she pushes off like she wants to take off and run. She also pushes when she's on her belly like she is trying to crawl. She can get herself into a push-up position and hold her head steady. She's rolling from her tummy to back regularly now, and still working on getting the art of the back to tummy roll (she's done it before, but she's still working on it as a "regular" thing). She of course had her first day at school this month. She also had her first visit to Disney this past Saturday when my mom and I took her to Animal Kingdom, and she was completely mesmerized by all of the scenery. I can't wait to take her during Christmas to see the lights at Hollywood Studios.

It's surreal to me that a quarter of her first year is now over, but I have to say, I'm looking forward to the coming months because there's nothing I've wanted more than to celebrate all of the "first" holidays with my child. I've waited a long time for this, and I'm going to enjoy every single minute of it!