July, My Teacher

It’s another July now. I hardly recollect the date on the calendar, but an old feeling of emptying all of my insides holds me hostage. Now, July is meant to celebrate my oldest earth child, but that fact doesn’t quite replace the other fact that I lost my A.G. officially July 27 almost 5 years ago.

In short, July may always be a month of grief. The last day of June ticks by and suddenly I am in the flood of memories, tears, and longing. I see my two beautiful earth sons and – in a way that hasn’t presented itself in other months – there seems to be someone missing now.

Not just someone: A.G. …the child that makes me hesitate when I almost tell Adrian he’s the oldest child…the one who’s memory cuts me off mid-sentence when I almost say, “your only brother” referring to Luca. I find myself rewording all my similar-minded sentences to frame a vague reality – not committing to a reality with or without additional brothers and sisters for my earth children. I haven’t decided how I will communicate that yet.

I find my mind wandering to family photos that will never be with more bodies present. I sit on the couch with my husband and boys and fill in A.G.’s missing silhouette on the still vacant couch cushion. I think of the home we are building and the extra bedroom we have upstairs, silently mourning not just A.G. this time, but all of the “missed earth connections” I will call them – pregnancy related and adoption related.

Luca is over 5 months old now, and I think my brain is just trying to integrate this post-family planning stage – the one where I have two, incredibly amazing boys – with the reality that I can never resurrect these other missed connections. I think as long as I was stuck in family planning mode, there was a piece of me that didn’t have to fully face all of the loss. As I don’t foresee anymore children, I now have to acknowledge that 100 percent. The failed adoptions stay that way. I also know 4 out of 6 of our pregnancies ended in loss. Period.

All of this is to say that while I will forever remain on an incredible high because I get to raise these two miracle boys, I also can’t forget the pain of the journey. It hurts. But, in the end, that’s where the compassion remains. That’s where I find my deepest hopes for my other loves walking any kind of similar journey.

So…July. Its a month of grief, but also it’s my teacher of compassion, resilience, and grace for myself and others. It’s my darkest month and my first miracle month. It continues to teach me that I can’t ever fill in my closest companions with all I have been through, but also that it’s not necessary for a deep friendship to remain. It just requires more acceptance from them and from me. So, hello July, my companion. Here we go again.

Well Hello Son Four

The littlest one was born 1.25.18, three weeks early, because of an emergency induction. While my story can never be without a little unexpected drama, we are all well and healthy, living this dream. I wanted to make sure to post in case anyone stumbles upon this blog and needs extra assurance that miracles truly do happen, even to those of us who might have felt relatively hopeless at a time.

There are still no logical reasons for all the troubles and the two miracles, but here we are. Anything can happen – and this anything can be sweeter than you could ever imagine. Stay hopeful and flexible, my fellow travelers! My love is with you.

Son Four

I have realized this blog was used primarily as therapy and I need it less right now. This didn’t become clear until I was busy living instead of working hard not to drown. So, with that acknowledgement of my absence in this space, I will proceed to give more details on my spoiler alert title…

Son Four is expected Valentine’s Day 2018! A biological, genetically healthy (as far as a simple blood test can show), baby boy…and this news almost makes me feel like an infertility and loss fake (almost). 

In a crazy turn of events, sometime after giving away all of my maternity clothes and stopping exclusively pumping because I had two deep freezers full of milk (which I don’t recommend to anyone – it was insanity), I suppose I felt enough like my own self to commit myself to the crazy process all over again. Adrian started sleeping through the night consistently, and almost simultaneously, I got pregnant again (when he was around 10 months old). 

I suppose the only way to explain it is that Adrian is more scrumptious than I ever could have imagined and, after our adoption agency got debarred last December, having another biological child actually seemed less uphill and maybe better for everyone being considered. After all, I have learned how complex adoption really is and that my current family dynamic might not be the ideal I thought it was for an adopted child. There is a lot more I could unpack there, but I am quite unqualified and will leave it to those with much more experience to have the voice on that.

So, stealing nectar is hardly necessary right now. The nectar flows from my life and the gratitude I have for it. I might get to give Adrian a brother at the end of this. I am working a little, but still get to be with Adrian almost every day. My family is healthy. Within five years, my life has plummeted to depths I couldn’t have imagined and now is resurfacing with a stronger, more grateful me with so much to look forward to in a short time…and much to hope for even further ahead.

Alternative Paths

Today is a day to consider alternatives. In an alternative universe, my sweet Adam Gabriel may have turned three today (which was his due date). We would be celebrating this bouncing little man and all he would have become thus far. We may have been watching A.G. and Adrian interacting and growing their brotherly love right in front of us, making our joyful parenting hearts leap right out in front of us in that cartoon-thumping, sappy way. 

Instead, today my husband had a surgery follow-up appointment (small surgery – he is fine) and we entered the same hospital complex where I gave birth to A.G.’s still body and left him 3.5 years ago. As we passed the labor and delivery unit, I commented on how there is still a photo of him at the hospital that the staff promised we could pick up if we ever felt we wanted it. (And I am coming around to recognizing a desire for it, but it has yet to outgrow my fear/sadness of making that phone call to ask for it. What do I say? “Ummmm, yes, my name is X and 3.5 years ago I had a baby…a miscarriage…a…and, well, I was told there might still be a picture of him….? Do you know who might know about that? Could you transfer me….? Thanks…”


So, getting back on point…today is a day of reflection. This year, I still know I am okay. I accept his journey was not supposed to be with us for longer than it was. I still feel sadness when I think of him and miss him deeply. I continue to be thankful for my time with him…and amazed that I truly feel like I knew him. It’s a day of reaffirming truths and disappointments. It’s a day to remember how much he changed me.

Tonight, I let Adrian snuggle with me for an extra moment before putting him in his crib for bed. I squeezed him close to me and kissed his chubby cheeks, knowing how special it is that I get to be with him today and every day. He is this truly happy, charming child who smiles with his eyes; loves to giggle and squeal; and lunges with his little arms, trying to pet our dog (who still wants little-to-nothing to do with this imposter). 

Adrian doesn’t take away the pain of losing our other pregnancies. There is no replacement for losing A.G. and the others, and having dates all around the calendar that give me sorrowful twinges when they pass by. But, he does give me so much happiness and a reason to appreciate every day in a way I didn’t know I would ever get to experience. I have said this before, but I will not take this gift for granted. I know the struggle, the grief, and the confusion of infertility and loss, and I will savor every second of this alternative path – the one where I have a healthy biological son I get to watch grow, learn, and thrive. The grass is greener right here, right now…and although we didn’t eat a cake topped with three birthday candles today, this day is worth celebrating.

Christmas 2016

My family celebrates Christmas and we are on the way to see relatives on my husband’s side somewhere nice and warm. But, right now…? I am in the family bathroom of an airport, pumping way passed my preferred time, where I can hear my little boy’s cry coming from the pit of chairs across the hall from my current location. We just got word that his cousins (that have already arrived) have all gotten sick, but not to worry because it is probably just from motion sickness/the airplane. (Eeeeek! We hope so!!!) 

We have golf clubs, a stroller, a car seat and base, a cooler for taking extra breastmilk home at the end of the week, and all of the other usual items you need for adults and children for a few days in the sun. I hate clutter and extra stuff, so it makes me anxious to try and travel with so many items. 

I think one of the reasons I haven’t written much lately is because I feel like my life is just a big cliche now. I mean, I just spent a paragraph listing all of the stuff I have with me for this trip, and it bores me to write about it, yet I have real emotion behind these mundane circumstances. Anxiety, exhaustion, annoyance…But, however typical it is, I am really living in it. And it’s this living that makes me so fulfilled.

What I mean is that, for example, I feed my child…and there isn’t much to say about that. But, oh my, the pleasure of seeing him pause to smile or giggle at me. That’s where the lights turn on. I watch him play on the floor with his toys or just observe his joy at rolling over and over. I babysat a lot growing up and often it was pretty boring. But now there is so much meaning for me behind every block picked up or pacifier (yes, we use those) brought to his mouth by himself. And this is motherhood.

Being a mom, my husband says he has to go to the bathroom when we arrive here, so he goes while we wait. Then we pass through the gate and I find a bathroom to change my son’s diaper. And, then, about a half hour later, I finally get to do the thing I hate most, but have to do today…pump so my son has a bottle or two of milk for the plane. I don’t say this with any resentful emotion behind my words; I just mention it because it is interesting how universal it is for a mom to flip a switch the day her son or daughter is born and then not be first on the list anymore. Aside from the bathroom example, my husband is never first on the list either. I think most days he and I both feel like our needs come in last. But that’s just parenting. We still do a lot for ourselves, but there isn’t time or resources to take care like previously. And neither of us would trade this circumstance for even one day. 

The Christmas story is about a traveling family. The parents did the best they could to care for their son the night he was born. It wasn’t glamorous, but it was perfect. That’s how I feel most days. Like I am living the life of so many others all over the world, and it is spectacular in its ordinary way.