a new place to write

as i type this out, it’s still so surreal that i’ve been handed this insanely wonderful gift.  this opportunity is one that has so many layers to it, so much potential for good and healing.  let me start from the beginning….

see, i’ve been writing for as long as i can remember.  i won the young author’s competition in elementary school and got to meet steven kellogg, the celebrated children’s author.  i won an essay contest in middle school and in college, i wrote the arts and leisure section for our school newspaper.  i also had a professor use my paper as a model for future students in his subsequent classes as an excellent example of rhetoric.  i’ve always been passionate about writing.  it’s always been a release for me, a way to express my innermost pain, happiness, anxieties, fears.

although i’d been commended for my writing often, i never truly believed i was any good at it.  i never had confidence in my ability to write or convey my emotions.  i just thought i had good grammar and mechanics so teachers liked my work.  low self-esteem was my sidekick, and it still is far too frequently.  i started blogging about four years back or so? i can’t remember.  at first, it was just family reading and a friend or two.  once i started using twitter, i found lots of bloggers that i loved and connected with and my readership grew.  that’s about when my low self-esteem and fear of rejection showed up and started whispering in my ear and slowly eroding any ballooning confidence i was finding in my writing.  my posts became more infrequent, yet i was getting more readers.  what was going on here?  was my writing really okay, or was that nagging, condescending voice in my head correct?

when i finally decided to get back to blogging, i knew my old space would no longer work.  the title, desperately seeking silence, didn’t represent the person that i had become.  in our struggle to conceive our third baby, i’d become thankful for the noise and chaos because it meant that we had children living in our home.  that’s how this space came to be.  my writing evolved as well, because i felt more at ease in my new space, it felt more like my virtual heart and soul.  i started seeing calls for writers from large blogs that had contributing writers, like simple mom, a deeper story, etc.  i always wanted to apply, every single time i’d see that some blog was seeking new writing talent.  i actually went so far as to fill out the entire application for the disney social media moms contest, only to leave it languishing in my drafts folder.

then we lost our baby.

everything changed.  i wasn’t going to stand on the edge and look down any longer.  i was determined to jump, and not just once but at every opportunity i was presented with.  we live this crazy, beautiful, painful, fruitful life only once.  we get one time to do this, one try.  i knew that i had to fight that demon on my back that refused to allow me growth in my writing and in many other areas of my life as well.  i wasn’t going to let it win anymore.  when i saw that still standing - the amazing community for those that have suffered infertility and baby loss – was looking for contributors, i wrote the admission email to franchesca (the editor) and never looked back.  i spilled my soul in that email.  i spoke my truth, even the ugly parts that i’d usually omit for fear of judgment.  i let it all hang loose, and then i crossed my fingers and hoped that they’d choose me, honor me with a position among their insanely talented writers.

and i got it.  i am a new writer at still standing.

i think i checked my email every few minutes for hours waiting for a response.  i was sure i wasn’t going to get one of the positions, but something inside me couldn’t help but to check for that inevitable “thank you for your interest, but we didn’t choose you” email.  the very next day, franchesca sent me an email that i had to read several times before my mind could grasp what it was saying.  it said they wanted me, tricia, to write for them.  even after i screamed the news at papa, i went back at least ten times to see if i had missed something, if maybe i had misunderstood and the email really said that while they loved my writing, they’d let me know if it was definite.  but the email never changed, it always said they thought i’d be a “perfect fit” at still standing.  the letters didn’t somehow conspire against me when i closed the email, running around and switching places, forming words that added up to a big, fat “no” instead of a definitive “yes”.

my bio is up on the contributor page if you’d like to see it.  it’s alphabetical by first name, so i’m towards the bottom.  i urge you to read all the bios, because this community has some of the most talented and soulful writers i’ve ever encountered.  angie yingst, beth morey, devan mcguinness, lindsey of stillborn and still breathing, jessica watson, and so many others.  i am honored to be included in this group of men and women, all of us with a little one (or ones) that whispers in the wind and says hello in every rainbow.  we are among the babylost and we write not only for our own sanity, but to give those that are newly suffering hope that you can survive and move on.  that you can feel happiness again, and that while the pain never goes away, it evolves and morphs into a welcome partner on this road that we travel.  it is our child, our lost one, that lives in that pain.

i hope you’ll start reading still standing, even if you’ve never suffered through a loss.  there’s much to be learned from these incredible people.

onto the next

no baby here.  my monthly visitor arrived, a perfect 28 days after my last one.

adam and i are hooked on the show “fringe”.  we started it on netflix a few weeks ago after making our way through several other shows that were recommended to us.  i’m not a sic-fi fan at all, other than j.j. abrams’ shows like “lost” and now “fringe” (i am a complete “lost” junkie, like, bought the box set with all the secret messages and hidden things).  when i saw that “fringe” was done by j.j. abrams, i had to see what it was all about and we’ve been sucked in ever since.

the premise revolves around an FBI agent that is part of the fringe division, a department of the FBI that deals with paranormal or otherwise unexplainable events.  her name is olivia, and olivia works with a man that has recently been released from a mental institution named walter bishop.  walter’s son, peter, is his guardian and is an MIT drop-out.  walter is a brilliant scientist that worked with a man named william bell, and together they tested out a psychotropic drug (cortexaphan) on children at a daycare center without parental consent.  he was sent away to the institution after his lab assistant was killed in a fire in his lab at harvard some 17 years prior.

anyway, you find out in the second season that there is a parallel universe, and the drug that walter bishop tested out on the children was meant to help them cross over into this parallel universe.  it’s revealed that olivia herself was one of the children that was subjected to the cortexaphan trials, and she was the child that showed the most promise in regards to crossing over, though it never actually happened. at the close of the second season, olivia does cross over, and faces william bell who has taken refuge in the alternate universe.  he tells her that she is the only one that can save her universe from complete destruction.

a parallel universe.  a universe exactly like ours, but slightly different.  for example, in the show, the olivia in our world has a living sister and niece; in the parallel universe, olivia’s sister died during childbirth, and her niece died as well.  could you imagine?  a completely different plane of existence, happening right in front of our eyes but absent from our conscience.  i wonder what that would be like.

maybe in the parallel universe, i’m still pregnant.  i’m almost 29 weeks, with a big baby bump that i look at lovingly and run my hands over all day long, enjoying every second of my longed-for third pregnancy.  in this parallel universe, papa talks to the baby every night, in the still darkness of our bedroom while the boys slumber peacefully beside us.  the boys feel the baby kick and laugh when they feel the rolling limbs under their hands.  we all go to the beach and i wear my bathing suit and watch the baby reach out for the sun as it hits my belly.

maybe there, i still thank god everyday for the gift of that baby.  maybe i’m not sad and aching and hurt and angry.  i’m not like that everyday here, but it’s inevitably a part of my life now.  it can’t be avoided when you lose a baby.  i don’t revel in those moments of pain, but i can’t ignore them.  the me over there isn’t a part of that club yet.

in the show, walter bishop created a window of sorts that can actually give a glimpse into the parallel universe.  it looks just like a regular window, but once it’s activated, it’s like looking at that exact place in time, but in the parallel plane of existence.  in one scene, you see walter pointing the window at his deceased son’s bed and when he turns the window on, you see his son sitting on the bed, still very much alive in the parallel universe.

if i had a window into that world, i’d take my window into the bathroom and face it at the mirror.  i’d turn it on and i’d see myself still pregnant, the pregnant me on the other side.  i’d see the me over there taking a “belly shot” and i’d take a mental picture of my beautiful bump so that i could always know what could’ve been.  i’d watch as the other me felt for a kick and then called over papa to feel our sweet baby dancing from within me.

if only i could live over there.

summer

i can’t believe henry is done with first grade.  i blinked and he grew up.  i remember his first birthday, how when anyone asked how old he was, he yelled excitedly, “OOONNNEEE!” he spoke really early, and because he was my firstborn, i thought that was normal.  then ezra came along and wasn’t really saying anything at all by his first birthday and i realized that henry was quite the smart cookie.

henry was, and still is, very sensitive.  yelling upsets him to this day, so it’s a good thing we don’t yell in our house very often.  i grew up with a fair amount of yelling, which is what happens when your dad is a douchebag.  adam’s family never yelled, and i knew that i didn’t want yelling, so it worked out well for our gentle little firstborn.  henry is very cognizant of the feelings of others, and he feels terrible when he inadvertently hurts someone’s feelings or physically hurts them in the course of playing.  he’s a good soul, my little man.

he just turned seven and it felt like i crossed over into this other parenting world:  the one where your baby is closer to the preteen years than to toddlerhood.  it made me feel old, and very sad.  but it also made me feel so proud of him, because he’s becoming such an amazingly kind human being, and that’s all i want:  a happy and kind child.  for his birthday, we took him to disney world and he got to swim with the dolphins at discovery cove.  he was beyond thrilled, it was something he’d been begging to do since adam and i had done it when he was three.  adam had surprised me for my birthday and mother’s day that year, and henry has been dying to go ever since.  the minimum age for the program we wanted to do with him was seven, so we made sure to book our reservation months in advance.  and it just happened that his day to swim with the dolphins was his ACTUAL seventh birthday.  cue angels singing.

so we had a pretty great start to the summer months.  swimming with dolphins and hanging out at disney, then coming back to the last week of school.  in florida, the summer is my favorite time of year and not because it’s so hot you actually think you’re living in Gehenna.  no, it’s because ALL THE SNOWBIRDS ARE GONE! that means we can go to a restaurant without waiting and getting dirty looks because ezra is yelling at the top of his lungs.  it means no traffic and no snowbirds going five miles per hour in the left lane because they can’t find the walmart.  it means empty beaches and a quiet town.  i loathe how hot it is, i mean, LOATHE IT.  but that’s the price you pay for peace here, i guess.  you can usually find us inside or in water, those are the only two options.

i can’t end this post without a little update on my womb.  i’m currently in my first two week wait, and i’m not very hopeful that i’ll see a positive.  i expect absolutely nothing at this point, but i don’t think we timed our baby-making appropriately.  i buy OPKs in bulk so that i can test twice a day (fyi:  that’s how you can catch your surge if you haven’t been able to by only testing once per day), so i saw my tests progressively getting darker.  i assumed that i would ovulate on friday, may 24th but i think i tested on that night and got a very dark positive.  which means i most likely ovulated on may 25th, not the 24th.  i have no idea why i didn’t mark on my chart which night i got that dark positive, maybe because i took the test late on either the night of the 24th or the 25th.  for someone that is desperate for another baby, i am a terrible TTCer.  so here we are on june 1st and i’m either 7 or 8DPO.  i tested this morning and got a negative which would be right if i’m 7DPO.  i’m pretty sure that i got that dark positive OPK on friday night, so that would make me 7DPO.  i’ve had cramps, which is really odd for me because i don’t get cramps anymore.  i used to get them, but that was before i had endometriosis removed in between my pregnancies with henry and ezra.  it’s been years since i’ve had any cramps at all.  i’ve had some odd symptoms but i think when you’re just aching to be pregnant, you overanalyze every single twinge, feeling, or sign.

i’m probably not pregnant.  that makes me sad.  but i knew i wouldn’t be so lucky as to conceive right after a loss.  i’m not that person, good things like that don’t just happen to me.  so there you go, an update.  i’m hoping this summer brings lots of fun for the kids, and peace for me.  i’m tired of wearing this sadness around like an old bra.  it’s annoying but i just can’t get rid of it.  it’s like an old friend, the only reminder i have of the baby we lost.  i’m tired of being jealous, of being annoyed when i see a pregnant woman with a bunch of kids already.  i’m tired of hearing about women that get their kids taken away by the state only to get pregnant again. i’m tired of hearing about all the ways that my life sucks right now.

so here’s to summer.  please let it be a change in the wind of my life.

 

 

the state of things

people keep asking me how i’m doing.  texts from well-meaning friends.  voicemail messages left by people that i can assume are a bit relieved that i didn’t answer.  because no one knows quite what to say.  some days i’m okay, and looking at ezra’s blonde ringlets bounce as he runs is enough.  or henry’s gap-toothed smile and sweet stories are enough.  and other days, nothing is enough.  not reading my devotional or watching the boys play or an embrace from papa.  it’s such a strange bedfellow, this grief.  it’s sneaky, like a transparent twin that you can’t see so you think it’s gone.  but it’s never gone, just silent for a little while.  then i’ll be walking in target and see a pregnant woman and it’s all i can do not to scream right there in the middle of the candle aisle.

 

anything surrounding the creation of a new life is pretty much avoided like the plague right now.  not because i’m not happy for these friends that have wombs filled with life.  but my empty womb, my defective home for the baby that died, aches to see theirs full.  some days, i feel normal.  there are days that go by and i have my coffee and play with ezra and we have dinner and all go to bed, and i don’t even think about the fact that i should be almost 22 weeks pregnant.  other days, my emptiness feels like a black hole right in the center of my being.  like in a cartoon, when a giant cannon goes through the antagonist and all that’s left in it’s wake is a hole the viewer can see right through.  like that.  i feel like i’m walking around with a gaping hole in my midsection.

 

i have become the cautionary tale, the worst case scenario (but not really the worst case because it wasn’t really a baby, it was a fetus and it never really lived anyway-people really think like this and it makes me want to spit fire until i realize they don’t know.  they’ve never lost a baby.)  i’m the car accident that you pass by and you have to look because that’s what humans do. it’s why in the hours and days after i lost the baby, i had over one hundred people want to follow me on instagram and around twenty ask to follow me on facebook.  we can’t help it, we want to watch the tragedy unfold.  before i lost a baby, i did the same thing.  i wanted to know what happened, i wanted to hear the story.  maybe because i thought that if i faced their tragedy, if i made myself familiar with their loss, it would immunize me against my own.  maybe i thought that if i felt sorry for them and left a comment on their blog telling them how sorry i was, it would be like an insurance policy with god and he’d prevent it from happening to me. see, god? i extended my hand to this poor woman, and i prayed for her and i read her story so she doesn’t feel so alone.  so now i can be spared from the same fate, right, god?

 

but she doesn’t feel less alone just because i read her blog, and following a grief-stricken mother’s journey didn’t immunize me against losing a baby.  i’ve become the friend of a friend that lost a baby.  that mom that went to her 19-week gender scan and found out her baby had been dead for five weeks.  i’m that story now.  people will recite it and not even realize that they’re talking about a real person, a mama of two boys that sits here writing this as her two-year old wants to nurse and her six-year old asks why she cries alone at night in the living room.  at least my baby will live on in the repetition of our story.

 

all i want to do is move on. i hate being that sad, miserable person that can’t control her emotions and yells at her kids because she can’t handle just normal, everyday kid stuff.  i hate that i’m not pregnant anymore.  i hate that pregnancy will never be the same again.  it’ll never be this joyful, beautiful time where we think of names and look at cute clothes and imagine whether the baby will look like ezra or henry or none of us.  the only thing that will ease this awful pain and searing hurt is time and getting pregnant again.  i’d heard that about miscarriage and loss:  that getting pregnant again is really the only real, tangible way to move on.  i felt that way immediately.  the day after we lost the baby, all i could think about was conceiving again and then i’d immediately feel guilty for thinking of a new baby when the one we’d just lost was barely gone.  i scoured the internet for forums that had information on pregnancy after loss, how fast it could happen safely, stories of successful pregnancies after miscarriage.  like one of those forums held this golden ticket, a key that would unlock the door to my happy, glowing future.  like somewhere amongst the stories of pain and infertility and stillbirth, i’d find that one person that said, “this is what i did and now i’ve had four babies since my miscarriage, and i got pregnant the day after it happened.”  i want to find the book that tells me how to skip the bleeding and the anger and the impatience and the jealousy and the terrible irony of wearing a pad when i should be 22 weeks pregnant.  i just want to move on.

 

so how am i doing?  i’m surviving.  please know that your text messages and emails and calls are comforting to my soul.  i can’t tell you how much i appreciate those of you that have reached out to me.  but know that my answer will most likely be that i’m okay, hopeful, looking forward.  and know that i’m lying but only because you don’t really want to know how i am.  that i’m broken and barely hanging on.  that i feel like a leper, and everyone around me avoids me like the plague for fear that they’ll catch what i have and lose their baby, too.  that i am angry and hurting and wish that i could sleep for the next three months.

 

that all i want in the world is my baby back in my womb, safe, alive.

 

update:  there are moms that have lost babies and i’ve left comments on their blogs because i TRULY DO love them so very much and it physically hurt me when they lost their babies.  please know that my heart DOES AND DID hurt for their losses, and when i talk about following the story of a loss to immunize myself against my own loss, i mean that i may have thought that subconsciously.  NEVER would i read and comment on another mother’s tragedy with the intention of hoping to save myself.  i have friends that have lost babies and when i left a comment, it was with tears streaming down my face and a feeling of hopelessness, not with a selfish heart looking for salvation.

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hope

yesterday morning, i woke up feeling terrible.  nauseous, very nauseous, and tired.  i just felt awful.

 

at our house, the doppler has become a nightly occurrence.  papa comes home and we all gather around the couch and we listen to the baby’s heartbeat.  when i woke up in such a funk, i decided that a nice little listen in on the baby would be just the remedy for the dark cloud that was surrounding me, physically and mentally.

 

i couldn’t find it.

 

i’m 16 weeks along, and i’ve been able to find that heartbeat every single day without fail.  it usually takes me less than 30 seconds and we’re hearing the swishy sounds of a tiny heart beating fiercely from my womb.  it’s been a given for almost six weeks now.  at first, i wasn’t worried because i’ve heard of this happening and my midwife had trouble finding the heartbeat at my 13 week appointment.  i decided to put away the doppler, eat something, and try again later.

 

after i took ezra outside, i tried again.  no heartbeat.

 

i started to panic.  just a little bit initially, but this immense sense of doom and fear came over me so quickly and so violently, it nearly brought me to the ground.  the thoughts whirling around my head were absolutely heinous.

 

“you didn’t deserve this baby anyway.”

“see? you can’t trust god.  he doesn’t care about you.”

“this is your fault.”

 

i put the doppler away, by this point hysterically crying, and tried to forget about the whole ordeal.  then, like any human would do these days, i went to the almighty google.  hundreds upon hundreds of stories, just like mine, were found on pages from every site, every community, every forum.  some women found their doctor unable to find the heartbeat at 16 weeks, some much later.  ultrasounds later confirmed that baby was just fine, and was hiding from the doppler in the safety of mama’s very roomy womb.  sites stated how baby is still tiny, and has lots of room to move around and that around the 15 week mark, baby DOES start moving around much more.  my fears seemed to be assuaged, if only temporarily.  those horrible thoughts were unrelenting, creeping in every minute and presenting me with new reasons to fear, new tragic possibilities to meditate on.

 

i went to bed that night, and i could feel baby move.  i felt so much better.  but the thoughts swept my momentary happiness away, telling me that maybe i wasn’t feeling the baby at all.  maybe it was gas.  maybe i was so desperate for reassurance, i was fooling myself into thinking those flutters were baby when they weren’t.  i fell asleep, not sure what i felt.

 

this morning, after the boys and papa had left for a bike ride, i took out the doppler and looked again.  no heartbeat.

 

i fell to the floor in heaps of sobs and tears, begging God to help me.  i pleaded with the Lord to give me some sign that this baby was okay.  i haven’t been feeling regular movement anyway because my uterus is tilted, and i may have an anterior placenta.  so movement isn’t something i can rely on to soothe my frantic mind. i went into the bedroom, i laid down on my left side.  i pulled out my ipad and decided to do my she reads truth for the day.  the devotional content spoke about how He is our hope, the Lord is the source of our hope and it is never-ending.  here’s a direct quote:

 

“we’ve all felt it – the uncertainty, pain or fear that leaves us on the brink of despair.  perhaps you are feeling it today as you rise to meet what greets you.  we close our eyes and drink in the truth like water:  He is our hope.”

 

whoa.

 

after the devotional content is different pieces of scripture to read, pieces that relate to the devotional lesson but also serve as an excellent way to dive into scripture everyday when you might not otherwise.  the very last reading was from Romans 8:22-25:

 

“all around us we observe a pregnant creation.  the difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs.  but it’s not only around us; it’s within us.  the spirit of God is arousing us within.  we’re also feeling birth pangs.  these sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance.  that is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother.  we are enlarged in the waiting. we, of course, don’t see what is enlarging in us.  but the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”

 

double whoa.

 

after trying to remain calm all day, yet silently being tortured by my thoughts, i decided i needed a hot shower to make me feel better.  i got into the shower, and i started thinking about yesterday’s scripture from the “my daily bread” app.  the app gives you a story and accompanying scripture each day of the year to ponder on and pray about.  yesterday’s was about false idols, about how dangerous they are, poisonous to the soul.  then, i started ruminating on today’s she reads truth devotional and a lightbulb went off.

 

i had placed my faith, my trust, my hope, in that doppler.  not in the lord.

 

as soon as i had this realization, it was like 1,000 tons of relief washed over me through that hot water.  i had depended on that doppler, and then on the internet, to tell me how my baby was, to make me feel safe and secure, not the Lord.   i was trusting this piece of machinery and strangers on the web to give me peace, i had made these things my hope instead of God.  the Lord was trying to turn my eyes back to Him, to remind me who I thanked almost four months ago when i fell to my knees in that bathroom in praise.  i had trusted the Lord to give me another child, but then i forgot to trust Him with that baby as it grew in my womb.  this baby is His, it’s only on loan to us.  and those voices of paralyzing fear and terror?  the enemy, of course.  if i would’ve had my trust in God instead of a doppler or a website, it wouldn’t have been an issue.  not finding the heartbeat wouldn’t have shaken me, and i wouldn’t have been defenseless to the lies the enemy was whispering in my ear, over and over again.  after getting pregnant with this sweet blessing, i fell off the spiritual wagon and this was a little message from the Lord telling me where my trust must lie.  where my peace and security find their home.

 

i’m going in this week to check everything out, per my midwife’s suggestion.  in my heart, i feel that this baby is perfectly fine.  but even if this baby isn’t okay, i have to remember where my hope lies:  with Him.  and there’s nothing more life-giving than that.

 

 

 

 

nursing while pregnant

i love nursing my babies.  with henry, it came quite easily.  no latch issues, no supply issues, just a baby that latched on in the delivery room and dubbed me the nickname “the natural” with the nurses.  with ezra, it wasn’t so easy.   in the hospital, he latched on easily but would unlatch and scream.  when we got home, he started losing weight and i deduced that i had an overactive letdown.  with the use of a nipple shield, ezra started nursing like a champ and gaining weight again (he lost a lot that first week).  we weaned off the shield in a little over two weeks, and he never had any issues after that.

 

i desperately wanted to get pregnant without weaning ezra.  i wasn’t going to wean ezra just so i could have another baby.  he is a baby, and self-weaning was always my plan for him.  even after months of trying with no success, i couldn’t bring myself to wean him.  i am so very glad i didn’t.

 

we conceived baby #3 when ezra was 23 months old.  i found out right before ezra’s second birthday that i was pregnant.  i wrote a post all about it.   my heart overflowed with thanks and love and excitement at the idea of this new baby, but i was just as excited that i’d get to try tandem nursing.  see, i’ve always seen tandem nursing as such a beautiful way to introduce the older baby to the younger one.  a way for them to bond, in the comfort of mama’s arms, sharing the milk they both are so very fond of.  i have a few friends that are currently tandem nursing and seeing their pictures just melts me.  i think it’s a stellar way to get two babies comfortable with one another, to show the older nursling that he isn’t lost in the shuffle or removed from his place in mama’s life.

 

now, i’m well-aware of the fact that many women aren’t able to nurse through their pregnancy, that the nursling weans somewhere along the line for one reason or another.  pain while nursing and pregnant is NO JOKE.  i had pain initially, but it faded pretty quickly.  i’m 16 weeks today, and in the last week or so, the pain upon ezra latching has become pretty bad.  but it’s nothing that i can’t handle, and he’s still enjoying nursing so i’m okay with holding my breath for a second so he can latch on.  i don’t have much milk left, but there’s still something in there because i can still manually express milk.  i’m thinking that whatever is there is minimal, because the sensations i’m feeling lately while nursing him are akin to those i’ve heard that accompany “dry nursing,” or nursing when no milk is present (so basically just nursing to pacify).  we didn’t give ezra a pacifier, while we had them in the house, he didn’t take to them and we had gone through such a journey with henry and his binky, we decided to forgo the binky altogether with ezra.  i’m so thankful for that decision now, because i truly believe it will aid in my goal of getting to tandem nurse.  ezra pacifies by nursing, not by using a binky, so even if the milk is gone he still nurses to pacify and that means he’ll likely keep nursing regardless of my supply evaporating.

 

i’m  happy to say that nursing while pregnant hasn’t been too bad at all for us.  ezra actually increased his nursing at the beginning of my pregnancy, and now he’s nursing as much as he ever has.  he still nursing to sleep at night, and on the rare occasion he naps (both my boys stopped napping altogether at two, so that was awesome).  he still nurses throughout the night, several times, though not for long each time.  ezra nurses during the day whenever he feels like it, and i love when he does because he crawls into my lap and positions himself like he would nurse as an infant.

 

my suggestion to mothers that are nursing and want to get pregnant, and want to continue nursing through the pregnancy is to do it. try it out.  it may not work for you, but it may not be that bad.  every situation and nursing relationship is intimate and the details particular to that duo.  i will say that there’s no reason to force weaning if it’s not in your heart.  i desperately wanted another baby, but i also wanted ezra to nurse until he felt he was done.  i had to wait, and wait i did.  it took me so much longer to conceive this sweet soul than it did with both boys, but i can now say on the other side of my struggle to conceive while nursing, that it was well worth it.  if i had weaned ezra and still had not been able to conceive, i would’ve been devastated.  truly.  so although my dreams didn’t become reality in the time frame that i desired, they came to fruition in the most beautiful way and i’m so grateful for that.  who knows?  if i would’ve conceived earlier, maybe ezra would have weaned.  the younger a baby is when you conceive, the more likely it is that baby will wean.

 

all things in good time.  everything happens for a reason.  all those cliches are true, as much as i hate to admit it.

15 weeks

15 weeks already.  really?  when did that happen?

 

each pregnancy seems to move forward more quickly than it’s predecessor, not stopping or slowing, so i’m trying to enjoy every moment.  i know this isn’t our last but because each pregnancy is a different experience, a chance to really get comfortable in your own skin and feel fully the awe and amazement that growing new life brings, i want to stew in that.  in this baby’s pregnancy, this baby’s time in my womb, this baby’s turn to change our lives.  even through my “morning” sickness, i still was happy.  sick, but happy.  i’m feeling movement, but because my uterus is a bit anterior, i don’t feel them as early as some other third time mamas would.  but i do feel this little being and love when it moves just so, saying hi from the inside.

 

ezra points to my belly and says, “bebeeee” which melts me to my core.  henry says he’s not excited when strangers or people he’s not familiar with ask, but when family asks or people he loves, he’ll openly admit that he’s very excited for his baby sister to get here.  yes, henry is convinced there’s a baby girl in there.  he also thought ezra was a boy, so who knows?  really, there’s a 50/50 shot he’s right so it’s not some mystical, intuitive miracle of brotherhood that he correctly predicted ezra.  i think there’s a part of me that wants to believe him, but i can’t.  i can’t even think this is a baby girl.

 

with henry, i knew.  there was never any doubt in my mind that i was carrying our first, precious baby boy.  i wanted a boy and was thrilled that it was, and it was confirmed at our 20-week ultrasound.  it was no surprise to me, but papa was so excited.  he said he didn’t want to believe me because he wanted a boy so badly.  he didn’t want to jinx it.  papa so desperately longed for a little boy, a buddy to watch spring training games with, teach baseball and basketball to, go fishing with.  so he refused to believe me in his heart of hearts, and hid away his longing in a pocket of his soul that no one knew about, and he rarely looked into.

 

maybe i want a baby girl so badly, that i can’t even utter the words that it might be one.  or maybe it’s because i’m utterly terrified of having a girl.  i’m terrified of having a daughter that causes me the pain i caused my mother in my teen years, and in my early twenties.  i’m terrified of her having all the worst parts of me:  my insecurity, my fears, my addictive tendencies, my pessimism, my impatience.  i’m terrified of her being….me.

 

i don’t know if i can be a mother to a girl, not like i can be a mother to a boy.  i’m terrified of failing a daughter, and maybe that is why i’ve always said i’d love to have a gaggle of boys.  that i’ve always claimed to not want a girl.  that both times, when we found out the gender of the life growing inside me, i was so relieved and happy it was a boy.  with ezra, i had bleeding at 11 weeks, so an ultrasound was done at my OB’s office when i was 12 weeks.  the ultrasound tech, that claimed that she was excellent at determining gender early and had a stellar track record, told us that we were having a girl.  she was 90% sure and told us she was well-known for her abilities.

 

then our sweet baby girl sprouted a penis by the 20-week ultrasound.  but between week 12 and week 20, i bought baby girl clothes and precious girly things.  and the entire time, in the back of my head, it didn’t feel right.  i never, ever truly released into the excitement, let it overcome me and ride it’s waves of elation.  i just knew that the baby i was carrying wasn’t who we thought it was.  it wasn’t, and i’m so thankful that it was our amazing free spirit, ezra atticus.  maybe it was that i was so afraid that it was a girl, i couldn’t let myself love the idea:  a baby girl in my arms, in our life.  maybe i had no idea what the hell was going on in there, just that if it was actually a girl, i wasn’t prepared and denial was my coping mechanism.  either way, it all leads me to where i am now.

 

at the beginning of this pregnancy, i was sure  we were having boy number three.  certain, in fact.  but as this pregnancy progresses, something is changing.  my soul feels like it’s doing some major transformational work right now.  could this tiny precious be a girl?  maybe my heart is changing to show me the way to girl-mamahood.  because when i type that this may be a sweet baby girl?  i’m not scared.  there’s a peace there that hasn’t been, as recently as a few weeks ago.  maybe god is preparing my heart and soul for a girl.  maybe he’s preparing me for something else entirely.  maybe this is the change a third child brings, turning it all on it’s end, upside-down and twisted around.  all i know is that this baby is going to be loved and welcomed and i’m so happy that this being is with me.  i’m lucky.  boy or girl, as long as our baby is healthy, all i am is blessed.  i love my boys and being a boy-mom, but god will give me whatever i need to be a mother to this baby, whoever he or she is.  i may not have it now, i may not have it as i’m going into labor.  but i know that god won’t give me something i can’t handle without his grace and peace to surround me and envelop me when the time comes.

 

we’ve waited so long for you, sweet angel.  whoever you are, you are perfect and our love for you overflows and overwhelms us.

heartbeat

when i was pregnant with ezra, adam and i decided to invest in a doppler.  with henry, we’d bought one of those cheap ones you can find at babies ‘r us and all it did was annoy us with it’s staticky noise and uselessness.  after learning our lesson with the cheap one, we sprung for the expensive, medical doppler that i’d found on amazon.  i had to purchase transmission gel, this was the real deal.  in fact, after buying it, we noticed that my obstetrician had the exact same one.  it gave me hope that this one would really work.

 

i’ll never forget when we found ezra’s heartbeat the first time.  from inside my still tiny womb, the loud and strong sound of a beating heart.  a baby.  we already loved this little being, but hearing his heartbeat, it was like a song.  his song to us, in the only words he had:  beats in his heart.  with no other way to communicate with us, no other way to ease our fears, this was his way of telling us, “i’m here, i’m okay, be still.”  it was beautiful and moving and amazing.  i would listen to him whenever i was having a bad day, or just needed reassurance because i couldn’t yet feel his body move within mine.  it was truly the best purchase we’d ever made.  you can’t put a price on knowing that your baby is full of life, pumping blood, living peacefully inside your womb.

 

at this point, i’m about 11 weeks along.  usually, you can find a heartbeat with a doppler around 12 weeks.  many times, doctors/midwives will try and find the heartbeat earlier on with the doppler and often, they can’t.  once you hit about 12 weeks, it becomes much easier because they baby is bigger and therefore not as tricky to find.  we pulled out the doppler a few weeks ago, and couldn’t find the heartbeat.  i knew it was far too early, but there was a glimmer of hope inside me that i’d get lucky (that should’ve been my first clue:  i never, ever get lucky.  ever.)  i wasn’t scared that we didn’t find baby’s heartbeat, but i was a little disappointed even though i knew it was a long-shot.

 

two nights ago, papa and i had gone to dinner for our date night and when we got back, my bladder was full.  see, adam had done all sorts of research after our failed attempt at finding the heartbeat and had discovered that it’s easier if 1) your bladder is full, and 2) you use more transmission gel than you think is appropriate.  i figured that it was the perfect time because i really had to pee.  i laid down, squirted some gel on my belly, and started searching.  i just had a robe on because i was planning on getting into pajamas, so ezra thought me lying on the couch with my boobs exposed was an invitation for him to nurse.  he came running up to me, clapping, and latched on while standing up next to me.  i let him for a minute, then papa distracted him with something so i could continue on my noble quest.  i moved the wand around, back and forth, through the gel, and back again.  i crossed my pelvis, up and down, around and around.  nothing.  papa suggested that i use more gel, but in previous instances when i’d used too much gel, it seemed like it would create static on the doppler.  i begrudgingly squirted more of the cold goo onto my pelvis and then it happened….i found it.

 

ba dump, ba dump, ba dump, ba dump.

 

papa came from behind the kitchen, henry ran from the other side of the living room.

 

ba dump, ba dump, ba dump, ba dump.

 

ezra was by my head, he was talking in his special language to me, excitement oozing from his voice yet he didn’t know why.

 

ba dump, ba dump, ba dump, ba dump.

 

it brought us all together, quiet, awed, amazed, relieved.  how just a sound, a thumping heart just doing it’s job can bring a group of people that love each other together, peacefully, quietly.  how a sound can symbolize so much.  a new life, vitality, a baby, dreams and hopes and a new voice with a new soul that we haven’t met yet.  it’s the first contact, the first tangible discovery of the existence of this sweet being you’ve longed for and hoped for and waited so long for.  we listened forever.  papa recorded it on his iphone camera, but he was so excited, shaking initially, he accidentally took five pictures of my nakedness lying on the couch in the open robe (they were deleted).  i think i’ve watched that video about ten million times.  i added a clip from the video to my facebook page, so if you’d like to hear the baby’s heartbeat and ezra speaking in ezranese, add me and you can.

 

 

 

 

miracles and new beginnings

hello, friends.  this is my new blog adventure, and i’m so very thrilled to finally be here.  i feel like i shed an old layer of funky, heavy skin that was trapping me underneath the oppressiveness of it’s weight.  so many things have happened between then and now, between a few years ago and today.  i’ve transformed, evolved, mutated.  i’m a completely different wife and mother, and i love myself for the very first time in my life.

 

i left the old blog behind because it wasn’t me anymore, and even the title was misrepresenting the intentions of my heart.  desperately seeking silence, really?  i’m desperately seeking the chaos of a house with three little people in it, the cries of a newborn, the yearning little voice of a mama-needy toddler.  silence isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, you know.  it’s fantastic in small doses, but too much of it and you can’t decipher the sweet peace and contentment that the voices of your loved ones create.  when ezra turned 13 months old, my cycle returned.  for many months-unbeknownst to me-i was suffering from a luteal phase defect that i believe was the result of ezra’s near-constant nursing.    it wasn’t until four or five months into our trying-to-conceive journey that i made the realization and started taking homeopathic steps to remedy the LPD.  i tried everything:  a B-complex, Vitex, Dong Quai, wild yam root, natural progesterone cream.  you name it, i tried it.  but none of it was working, and month after month, i’d get to about eight or nine days post ovulation and aunt flo would return.  it would break me, tear at me, rip my already diminishing hope to shreds.  my desire to grow our family was so fierce, so all-encompassing, that i kept at it and had this “never give up” attitude.  in the madness of my trying-to-conceive experience, i failed to see what was truly happening in both my mind and more importantly, my soul:  i was trying to control something that was far beyond my control.  my refusal to give up the fight, to hand the reins over to the One that could heal all hurts, was the  reason that we weren’t getting pregnant.

 

and then in november, i quit.  after peeing on the billionth pregnancy test of 2012 and seeing yet another negative, i literally and figuratively gave up.  i threw out my ovulation predictor sticks, i threw out my charts, i tossed the basal thermometer in a deeply hidden corner of the bathroom closet.   now, i had “given up” a few times in our TTC journey but never had i actually felt in my heart that i was giving up control.  i mean, i’d say i was done but i’d still be peeing on OPKs the day after my period ended.  but in november, my heart and head were completely done.  there wasn’t a bone in my poor body that wasn’t oozing the freedom that came from truly letting go of this seemingly impossible dream.  i started working out again, started thinking about possibly training for a half-marathon again.  i started trying to purge the house of the clutter that was threatening to take over and make us a “hoarders” episode.  i started cleaning out the cobwebs in the neglected places in my soul, the heart rooms that you don’t venture into for fear of never leaving again.  i started a bible study and really started getting back into the Word.  i started talking to my Savior, and really trying to listen for His answers and leadings.

 

two weeks ago, i had gone outside to get my mail and my neighbor was outside.  she hugged ezra as he ran off to kick the ball in the front yard, and she asked me what was wrong with my face.  i had no idea what she was talking about.  she said it seemed like i had some sort of rash, a reaction of some sort that was causing my face to look, well, rashy.  i told her i didn’t change anything recently and that maybe it was just a sunburn from walking so much lately.  ezra and i went back inside and i text messaged my sister wives (there are four of us that are the best of friends and we call each other sister wives, mainly because we love each other so much and also because we each would take care of a different need in a polygamous marriage.  wow, crazy how much we thought about this.)  i told them what my neighbor had said, and added that to me, it didn’t look like a rash but that i had spray-tanned just my face and failed to blend the edges.  it was so strange, my face had this weird brownish, reddish tinge to it that didn’t look like a rash OR a sunburn.  one best friend, sarah, mentioned melasma (also called “pregnancy mask”) to which i responded with an emoticon of a smiley face that was hysterically laughing, say ing that there was no way in hell i was pregnant.  my other bestie, rachel, said that she was bummed because she thought maybe this was my fun way of telling the girls that we were expecting.  we had a good laugh about it and i put the phone down after a few more messages from the girls.

 

i went into the closet and searched for the one, lone pregnancy test that i knew i had stashed in my bathroom months and months before.  i thought that maybe one day, i could take it after i’d already found out that i was pregnant and smile to see the two lines again.  it was a dollar store test.  i peed in a little tupperware cup and dropped some urine onto the little testing kit.  ezra was wanting to nurse, so i went into the living room to nurse him for a second and grab my phone because i’d heard it yelling at me for some reason or another.  well-aware of the fact that there was no possible way this test could be positive, i ventured back into the bathroom to ease the girls’ suspicions that i had a pregnancy mask.

 

i will never forget seeing those two lines.

 

i fell onto my knees in that bathroom and cried out to the Lord.  i thanked God over and over and over again.  ezra clapped.  my whole body was shaking.  i just kept saying, “oh my God, oh my God.”  it was like a dream, nothing felt real.  i felt like i had to be in some crazy dream.  i ran to the store and grabbed a box of digital tests because when you want to know if you’re really pregnant, you pull out the big guns.  i ran back inside, ezra on my hip, and tested the same urine that i had used for the dollar store test.  it wasn’t one minute before that beautiful word flashed in my face:  pregnant.

 

so this, my dear friends, is my new home for my new family.  it’s a place where i’ll share my life with you:  the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the painful and the joyous.  i’m a bohemian mama with an old soul, and i’m so happy to begin this new journey here, with you all.   happy holidays, and may the new year bring you all the miraculous and the magical that happens every single day if we’d only allow the eyes of our heart to recognize it.