Silence

I have been so silent in the blog world lately, but my life has been filled with: 

– the softest baby hands 

– Adrian giggles and crinkly-smile eyes

– sweet “hmmmm, hmmmm, hmmmm” sleep sounds

– the best cry face around, complete with a lower lip pout

– chunky, adorable thighs

– lots of love gazing in both directions 

Life is full. It’s gorgeous. I watch the golden sunrise when I am up way too early snuggling with my little guy. Stealing nectar this season couldn’t be easier. I am falling more in love every day, and even the challenges are life-giving. I have all of you – in your various stages of ravel or unravel – in my thoughts as we navigate the same and different wavelengths. I pray every person gets to experience a Big Love like this with whatever it is that fills you up entirely. Peace wishes in this holiday season to all. 

October 15

When I gave birth to Adrian this summer I thought, “Is there anyone in this hospital delivering an angel like I did three years ago (minus one week)?” When I heard screams from other women in labor, I prayed for everyone’s safety. When I heard babies crying, I hoped no  woman was hearing those cries who was going home unexpectedly without a crying baby of her own. I even heard a cart being rolled down the hallway very quickly – almost in a run – and it tore me up inside to think about the reason the cart (possibly containing a baby, of course) would be in such a rush to get somewhere. 

When I learned that Adrian had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck during delivery, I was so thankful I had a doctor I trusted so thoroughly. There was a part of me that couldn’t even address it, though, because the scenario scared me as I could have lost him so quickly in those moments when my doctor was cutting his cord so he could breathe. 

And, now, sometimes I remain completely shocked at the horror of delivering my son who had already passed – the four days in the hospital waiting to deliver…the excruciating contractions without an epidural…the reality that I couldn’t change no matter how much time passed or how many tears I cried…

And to know so many women have a similar story. I literally know so many of them now. They go on to put themselves through pregnancy again in the hopes of a miracle…like I did, I am realizing as I type this. What brave women we are to deal with this knock-us-out loss that we aren’t supposed to talk about and somehow keep living – and even keep having babies. And even then, some of these subsequent babies make it into this world breathing and, for women like me, so many of these babies don’t. 

So today, I remember the pain. I remember that you can’t grieve if you never loved in the first place. I honor all of you brave humans that have risked it all for love. Sometimes the most common things are the most unbelievable, whether it is life or whether it is death. Because of these memories that I pause for today in a special way, I will always have a deep gratitude for my Adrian that I don’t believe I could have felt without loving and knowing my other four little lost ones.

Today, yes, I remember the pain, but I also remember all the love, especially as I cuddle and kiss my little, chubby, healthy three-month-old sweetheart. 

Dear Boobs…

Dear Boobs:

It’s time to get real. I am going to hurt your feelings and probably cause both of us to cringe with my honesty, but it has to be said. Please get a life of your own. You are infringing entirely too much on mine. I still love you, but you have become too needy. 

You used to be so agreeable, beautiful even. Soft, painfree, an acceptable size…I regret that I probably took you guys for granted. I know I am full of judgement, but you hardly resemble the old you in personality or looks! You used to just go with the flow, not asking for too much time or attention, but now…

Oh but now… 

Now, you demand to be cradled – but not too tightly – constantly. Too much hugging, and you get all tight and bothered – constipated – clogging our precious milk and holding it hostage. Too little swaddling and you throb. Come to think about it, you throb with too much hugging as well. I am breaking the bank trying to find out what amount of physical support is just right for you in various situations (e.g. sleep, a day out on the town, or a leisurely, neighborhood walk…).

You have been very sick (three infections in 8 weeks). I am keeping very good care of you, but you refuse to be healthy for a stretch of time. Treatment for one thing (with nasty antibiotics) begets infection (thrush) and so the cycle goes on. Many supplements have been added to my diet every day in hopes of preventing the previously mentioned plugged ducts and bacterial infections. You require vinegar rinses; soothing and sometimes medical applications; and absorbent pads layered with anti-chaffing pads. Oh, but yes, if the chaffing pads are resuable – I have just learned DON’T. Better to throw away each time or just use good old kitchen Saran Wrap because at least that is disposable and most hygienic. 

Because of your pickiness, I am exclusively pumping milk for my little boy which is like feeding him twice all day and night long. This cuts into my time previously reserved for many other things (like sleeping, eating, showering, or unloading the dishwasher), so I am not too happy with you. You demand to be emptied every three to four hours, regardless if my little one sleeps 2 or 6 hours. And could you at least coordinate schedules with him to maximize my time in between feeding activities?  That makes me hate you a little bit. I think I can still love you and hate you at the same time.

But then, Dear Finicky Boobs, you also don’t heal. You don’t heal under all of those layers of protective wraps and lotions, despite the extra like 20 pills of supplements I am taking daily. And so you want to be air dried. But, how do you expect me to dry you out when I am trying to keep you as clean as possible and have lots and lots of guests in my home and my new infant wants to constantly be held?! Why do you have to be located on my chest, my chest that is best for holding my son – my son that hasn’t mastered control over his jerky movements or over the English language that I might otherwise use to warn him of his thrashy, pain-inducing bats at your boobalicious territory?! Be honest, are you just jealous of my newborn human? 

And back to your former beauty. I am sorry, but I am going to go here and offend you. You used to be perky-ish, monotone, and smooth. Post-jealousy, you are now veiny,  monstrous in size, red everywhere from stretch marks (and sometimes mastitis), and torn up from breastfeeding attempts. I cringe thinking about your current visual state. When you are full, you are achy and quick to leak milk. (By the way, I especially did not appreciate this new way of tantruming while trying on bras at the store. It was especially difficult to keep drips of that precious fluid off the merchandise and simultaneously off the dressing room floor while debating your new size and particulars of comfort.) Not an attractive quality, Dear Breasts. This attention seeking is not endearing.

I am exhausted from worrying about your health. I am tired of trying to find bras and shirts in which you will be contained. You are big, ugly, and only minimally functional. Oh but that…in that function of feeding my child, I am eternally grateful. So I have to love you still. For all your whining, crying (milk), and fit throwing, you are somehow keeping the most precious human in my life alive, completely healthy, and even thriving. Oh, I love you, Dear Boobs. I thank you. I love you the most (did I say that already?)…even though I really do hate you a little.

XO (begrudgingly),

Stealing Nectar 

Miraculous Living

I have tried to write a baby update a few times now, and it seems that all I have to report are boring things about breastfeeding issues, losing pregnancy weight, diaper fiascos, gazing at my beautiful son for hours on end…basically, the new parenting stuff I think is pretty typical.

So, what I need to say: even though I am in a fog of responsibility and sleeplessness, life has never been better. The minute Adrian was born it seemed like he had been here forever. He just fit. I know the instant bond isn’t every parent’s experience, but – happily – my husband and I felt it. We actually commented – after an hour or two in the hospital with him – “How was he not here yesterday?!”

After 27 hours of labor that included an extremely difficult 2 hours of pushing, he arrived healthy and beautiful. These first weeks have been a cliche: harder and more incredible than I thought possible. 

Basically, even though I knew I have wanted a child for many years now, I feel so much more comfortable and excited to have him here than I thought I would. I prepared myself not to bond instantly, to anticipate how hard it would be, and to think about other, more negative, aspects of being tied down with a child. But, although it’s been physically very taxing (battling a couple infections, a fever, and sleepless nights), emotionally it’s been life-giving, miraculous, and sweeter than I thought possible. 

Now I know why parents are always encouraging people to start having kids. It’s amazing! I strongly feel people should have whatever type of family/non-family they desire (if possible, of course), but I now understand why there is so much encouragement to those on the fence about parenting. It’s an experience like none other and, so far for me, incredibly fulfilling.

To have Son Three right beside me, healthy, (snoring!) and so darn adorable…I once again feel the luckiest. All the years of miscarriages and what those do to your body and spirit seem less painful now somehow. And as I write that, I KNOW I am the luckiest because I know some of you reading this will not be validated in this way. And I weep with you. Truly. I definitely understand as I walked away from trying to conceive for nearly a full year before this fifth pregnancy. My heart will always be with those struggling to complete their families. 

My greatest wish is that my story can provide hope for someone struggling to see the way out of infertility and/or loss. I got to the point I was definitely okay not having a biological child – which provided huge peace for me – and, now I promise to all of you I will never take for granted the fact that I get to experience this. Truly, I am living a miracle. 

Adam’s Angelversary #3

Today is the third anniversary of the birth of my sleeping child, A.G. The sting of his death always comes back as I remember him, but today I also get to be grateful for a new year full of new beginnings.

I spent a portion of this morning on my veranda with Son Three on my chest. Deep, primal gratitude soaked up the moment. As much as the birth of Adrian thrills me, there is also the sad longing for what could have been with A.G. Each moment I get with Adrian reminds me of what I missed with A.G. since this earth was not part of his soul’s journey. 

Things I never thought about missing out on with A.G. are now part of my thoughts. These do not come to me in desperation. I do accept his death as his natural way. But, these thoughts come to me with interest – curiosity – and sadness that is entirely human. Would he have looked like his brother? I suspect his personality would have been calmer and a little sweeter (not to say Adrian isn’t a good or sweet baby because he is!). 

Anyway, I just didn’t want to miss the occasion to remember my dear A.G. on his day. Life feels more paradoxical today than normal – sweeter, sadder, and more peaceful in some ways too. Today, I am thankful for both of my boys and what they continue teaching me. 

Quick Baby Update – 37 Weeks

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We have made it to 37 weeks! We are over the moon excited! I am still feeling great and Son Three is doing wonderfully each time we check in on him with the doctor. He moves around day and night and the wiggle worm was head down, but now has flipped and is transverse…so we are hoping he keeps doing his gymnastics and gets back into place before labor!

Minor symptoms include (I find it very hard to complain about anything when we are so joyful to get this experience!) insomnia, some heartburn, tiredness, restless legs…but I am still enjoying walks with my pup and my adorable hubby and trying to make it to the gym twice a week still. So, this is a powerful, happy time. I feel incredibly grateful for feeling so well and being healthy this late in the pregnancy. I really am embracing every moment because I know how lucky I am to be experiencing this phase of womanhood.

My husband and I┬áhave taken some birth classes together and have now talked to my doctor about our birth plan (where I clearly stated that as long as the child is born healthy we are NOT going to fret any details!). The birth class was good, but I had some residual sadness about A.G., Son One, that I had to work through over the next day or so after the class. There are always funny moments like when the teacher says “induction can take up to 24 hours” and I know from experience you can quadruple that number when your body knows it is months too soon. I decided to keep that to myself and not freak out any new moms.

All in all, I feel like I am processing the emotions in a healthy way, considering all the baggage I could be bringing into this process. I now see how not being pregnant from Fall 2014 to Fall 2015 was such a good thing for my healing process…I needed that time to just NOT have more miscarriages and learn that I was going to be okay with or without a biological child. I always knew that actually, but when you are actively trying to have one and losing babies, it’s hard to keep that truth at the forefront of your mind.

Anyway, this is getting longer than planned, so I will just say: we are all healthy, we are all happy, and we are all grateful in my corner of the world. Life is soooo good…and it took a long time to feel that again.