Monday, September 27, 2010

No Words

I am sitting at my computer while the kids watch Kung Fu Panda, in tears.  I just logged in to do some new house stuff, and my inbox was full of emails and comments to my previous post.  As I sat here and read each one, first one tear came and then another until I am a blubbering mess.

You all shared so much of your own stories or just gave me words of support, words to tell me that I am not alone.  And from the first one I read through the very last, it was like a giant hug.  And I really appreciated it.  I mean, really.  This is one of the hardest things and the words you have all shared, from Mrs. J. encouraging me to try a WW meeting, to JenJen voicing the thing that is hard to hear and say but true (that just because our children died doesnt give us license to drown our pain in food- or any other vice for that matter) to those of you like Hope's Mom saying that you understand because you are there to and Sprogblogger who, like me, is married to a thin-even-though-I-eat-a-pound-of-M&Ms man, it really helped.  It made me feel like there is another side to this door.  And, even though I dont know most of you IRL and may never meet you other than on the web, you gave me strength today and the freedom to cry and let out this self hate and self disgust and self loathing that has become a part of my insides every day.  You let me dump the soda I was drinking down the sink and walk away from the donut bag.

Thank you.

Really.  Thank you.

What We Need To See

Sometimes, even though we know something, we need to see it in order to make it real.

Sometimes, even though we can see something clearly, it isnt until we see it in an embarrassing light, that we really see it.

I had to buy jeans last month.  I had two pair and one pair ripped, so I figured, as winter is approaching I'll probably need something warmer than my pajama pants, so time to buy jeans.  We drove out to the outlets so Peter could buy some things and he pushed the kids around in their stroller so I could hit up a store for women.  For "real women" as their slogan says.  But let's be honest, we could say "full figured" and we'd all still know it's a euphemism for bigger girls.  But I digress...

In my mind, I go there for the bras.  I've been well endowed with false advertising (which I tend to think of my boobs as, since I am a believer that their true purpose was breastmilk production and they fell short on that job!) in or around the 44DD mark.  Not too many places sell boulder-holders that support and last longer than a month, so I've been shopping at LB for years, ever since VS told me they didnt have my size.  But I never thought of myself as "plus" sized.  Big boned, but not fat.

I picked up two pair of pants, one in the size I wasnt happy about being, and one in the next larger size (you know, just in case).  The latter fit.  Barely.  I wanted to cry.  I bought three pair of the bigger jeans and got out of the store as quickly as I could, Peter close behind.  He said all the right things, that it was just a number (and a crazy number at that- he hates the way women's clothes are sized, but dare I tell him that you couldnt tell a woman she was a size 30 and expect her to be happy, even though a 30 inch waist is nothing to be sad about), that I was beautiful, that he loved me no matter that I had put on a few pounds since college.  (It's more than a few, but he's sweet for still thinking of it that way).

When my dress for the wedding was ordered, it was ordered in a size I wasnt happy about, but the sales woman told me, as she wrote down the size, not to worry.  "Wedding and bridesmaids gowns are always sized way larger than real sizes."  Of course!  Not to worry!  I'm not that fat!  But, I smiled, nodded, and agreed.  And ordered away.  Yesterday, the dress barely fit.  (No one's dress fit well; we were carb-loading the night before like we had a marathon to run...  Probably not the best choice!)  I had to go sans-bra because it would close with my strapless on.  That resulted in me feeling quite a bit more showy than I'd hoped, and constantly adjusting my dress.  But, we all laughed, it's the way those dresses are!  It wasn't us!  It was the tailoring!

And, given we were beautiful.
I mean, really.  Have you seen a nicer looking, United Nations'esque group of bridesmaids?  And, to top it off, we all get along really well.  (And, if you are wondering, we seriously did have quite the mesh of backgrounds: Indian, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Korean, and my St. Patrick's Day self.  For women who, on the surface, may seem different, I've never found a cooler group of women to call friends.)

But, seeing the picture tonight, really brought me face to face with a face that I've been struggling to face.

I'm not this girl anymore.

My waist isn't 29 inches.  I dont weigh 150lbs.  My pants size is not single digits and I sure as hell can't fit into a pair of Peter's old pants.

Yes, I've spent years pregnant, but I haven't been for a year.  And, I'm ashamed to say, I've gained back most of the weight I lost right after Bobby and Maya were born.  Training for the Tri didn't inspire weight loss, either.  It toned a few things, but that's it.

Weight gain in spite of a healthy diet and exercise, and having a difficult time getting rid of it, is a prime symptom of PCOS.  But, let's face it, I can't blame PCOS alone when I'm the one turning to food for comfort.  I can't blame this $&@(#*$&#(*$&(#@% disease (even though I REALLY want to) when I'm the one drinking soda after soda, popping back a bag of mini donuts, and eating God-Knows-What (for the few meals I do it).  My body is alternating between starvation mode (because I dont eat when I should) and GAINWEIGHT mode (because I eat crap when I do eat).  I havent been to the gym in forever.  I have run less than a half dozen times since the Tri (almost 2 months ago).

And this, this isnt PCOS's fault.  It's mine.

And I have such a self loathing about it.

And, because I'm so angry internally, it is coming out in my every day life.  My patience is thin, and my marriage is suffering because of my personal animosity.  Peter has the patience of a saint, but I'm not sure how much more of my Irish Temper/Weight Anger he can take with a smile.  Nor should he have to.  I've such a short fuse because of this self hatred.

And, more than wanting to drop "a few" pounds, I want to be a positive role model for Bobby and Maya- especially Maya.  I struggled with a good body image (even though my weight was fine) all through high school; I dont want that for her.  I dont want her to see a mother who is constantly at war with the scale (and the size of her jeans).

I have no will power.  I can work out when I have a race goal, but otherwise, I'm a couch potato.  And food. I love food.  Wait, i LOVE food.  I love to cook and I have no desire to make it into something healthier.  I want to eat what I want, when I want it.

And this is bad.  For a multitude of reasons.

Well, Peter just came downstairs and gave me a dirty look for being on the computer when I'm supposed to be cleaning the kitchen.  And he's right.  I need to get my butt up and do something other than blog and watch football.  Especially since he just started a load of laundry.

But I needed to get this off my chest.  I dont know where it will go, but I know it's probably going to be a recurring them until I can get my $h!t together.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Leaving Them Alone

As much as it hurt, we left the babies alone for most of the day yesterday.   It's crazy, when you think that we left them alone for much of their first two months on earth, that now, the idea is so foreign.  But I didnt have a choice then; I have that choice now.

Peter and I were both in the bridal party of dear friends of ours who married yesterday (incidentally on the 11th year marker of our wedding, which sometimes get's missed in light of our earlier anniversary celebrations, LOL). I left the house at 7am and Peter left around 10am; we returned at a quarter of 11pm last night.  And, although I had a great time with "the girls" and the wedding was beautiful, I missed them.  So very much.

My MIL and the "aunties" (what Peter affectionately nicknamed Sarah and her sister, Beth) came and spent the day.  For a three hour stretch, the preteen daughter of a friend who just trained to be a babysitter, came as well. The kids had a blast and didnt melt down until nighttime, when their bedtime routine was thrown off.  When I talked to Sarah she said, "it's obvious they miss you".  The feeling was mutual.  Coming home and seeing Bobby draped across his grandmother and Maya passed out on the mattress we put in the dining room, my heart melted.  I couldnt rip my gown off and wash my face quick enough.  For ease, I'd already dismantled my hair in the car.  I just wanted them in my arms.

Which happened around 3am, when Maya woke up crying.  I ran to her and,when she saw me, she clapped her hands and smiled.  At me.  At her mommy.  I scooped her up and she kissed me on the cheek and hugged my neck.  God, is there any better feeling in the world?  I took her back to bed with me and she was asleep before I even laid down.  And we coslept happily there until the sun broke through the window.

We missed our 5K this morning, but I dont care.  It was worth it for the extra snuggles with Maya, and for the smile and kiss that Bobby greeted me with when he woke up and Peter brought him in.

I missed them.  But seeing them see me, that was almost worth it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Review: Fashion to Figure

I was contacted earlier in the month by Fashion to Figure, a clothing company for full-figured women.  Although I'm not fashionista, I'm also not one to turn down cute clothes either!  They were gracious enough to invite me to review one of their products, and sent out a Lined Dolman Sweater.

From the picture and information, I was thinking that this wasnt something I'd normally wear, but I'm game for new things, and I waited anxiously for it to arrive.  After they confirmed the order, it arrived within a few days (I was actually surprised by the speed of shipping, considering they were giving it to me for free).  I opened it and it looked very much like the picture you see.  The outer fabric was very breezy and the undershirt was a form fitting tank.  The bottom of the shirt had elastic, which gave me pause, because, in my head, I could see it riding up and me constantly tugging it down.  The label said handwash only (which, let's be honest, with infants in house AINT GONNA HAPPEN) so, I tossed that bad boy in with my delicates on the gentle cycle and decided to see what happened!  I inspected it post wash and it looked great- no issues.  I hung it by the hang staps to dry.  The next morning (I washed it around 9pm), it was still damp, so, even though it should be laid flat to dry, I tossed it in the dryer on the low heat setting and, 15 minutes later, it was perfect.  And, still, no issues with the fabric. Score 1 for the shirt!   I put it on and was pleasantly surprised.  It didnt ride up and stayed where I put it- even when I was moving furniture!  I spent the entire day visiting with my dad, moving furniture from my house, and later that evening, had a girls night- and the shirt looked great the entire time!  The only negative I found was that, since I am curvy and have an hour glass figure, the shirt hid that.  But, the flip side is that it hid my tummy- which is never a bad thing.  It was comfortable and, even though you wouldnt think it, the fabric was very breathable.  It dressed up a pair of jeans when I needed it to, but it was comfortable enough to be a workhorse.  It didnt snag when I played with babies on the floor or lugged a china cabinet from my dining room to the POD in my backyard.  Overall, I was extremely pleased and it's already washed (and hang drying) for my next adventure!  Highly recommended!

(Please note: this item was received free of charge, a $22 value, along with free shipping, a $9.50 value, in exchange for a review on my blog.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

22 Months

I can't believe it's been 22 months since our sweet cuddlebug came into this world and left it so soon after.  Happy 22 month birthday, Alexander.  Love you...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Happy First Birthday to my nephew, Ben!

(from June 2010, when we visited)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy Fall!

Autumn is here!  My favorite season.  September through November have been my favorite months for as long as I can remember (and the last few years added dates to make them even better).  I love Halloween (it was always a big to-do in our house growing up.)  I love the crisp air and the smell of wood burning fires and fresh apple cider (warm... mmm... even better...)  I love long sleeves over tank tops (although you'd never know it), sweaters over blouses, and jeans over shorts.  I love the way the fog turns to ice on the windows...  The way the sun dips a little lower in the sky...  The way the wheel of the year continues to turn.  I like to feel like I can start over and renew and refresh.  That I can toss out the old around Halloween and being anew at Christmas.  That it is a time most cultures were brought face to face with the knowledge that we are dust and to dust we will return, and remembered their beloved dead.  September... when Bobby and Maya were born (albeit 2 weeks early to be considered truly within "fall" but I dont care!).  October... when Nicholas and Sophia were conceived. November... when Alexander was born. Good months...  Blessed months.

Technically, astronomically, the fall equinox isnt until tomorrow, at around 11pm EDT.  But, to make things easier, our calendars observe all the equinoxes and solstices on the 21st of their given months.  (They can range anywhere from the 20th through the 23rd astronomically.)  Besides, tomorrow is my nephew's birthday, so I'm posting about fall today!  To learn more about the equinox, you can click here.

Equinox.  Equal.  Balance.  A time of balance.  How I want that.  How we all could use a little more balance in our lives.

As the kids get older and more independent (which seems to happen a little more every single day), I am reminded that one of the most important things I can do for them is give them a balanced life.  Which right now means balancing tv with playtime or balancing breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.  Or balancing who sleeps on my left and who on my right during naptime.  But teaching them balance, and how to keep that balance in their lives, that is the true work.  And I suppose, it will be one of the true measures of my success as a parent once they are older.

I feel my life slipping out of balance.  I walk through the valley as time passes.  I wait for the sun to set in a western sky.  I look for an equinox.  I wrote those words years ago.  And, still, how true they are.  Trying to balance myself: the person the world sees with the person I am.  My hidden truths and my voice.  My light and my dark.  Balance.  True, unadulterated balance.

I find I am more at peace when I meditate, when I let myself feel completely and without my guard up, when I pray, when I blend movement and mind in yoga, when I take my cultural and ancestral traditions and mix them with my current lifestyle.  And yet, still... Is it just too much work?  Is it easier to pretend and cast things by the wayside?

I don't know.  But I want that balance back.  There are a few moments in time that I can look at and say "Balance."  But they are few and far between.  But it is never too late to try again.

Never. Too. Late.

Perhaps this fall I will find my lack of balance fading away and, as winter approaches, I can find myself anew.  Renewed.  Refocused.  Refreshed.


But for now... Balance.  An equinox.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Inappropriate Comments

So, we all get inappropriate comments, but here's something I just had to share.

I'm in a wedding next weekend, so while the menfolk (Peter included) were having their bachelor party, us ladies and the babies met at the cookie shop, then did a late lunch before hanging out for a few hours.  (We'd already had a bridal tea, bridal shower, and bachelorette party.  This was just a fun afternoon!)  So, several folks bought cookies and divided them and put them in the middle of the table to share.  As we are sitting there, talking and eating, there are two women behind us; one is probably in her mid-40s, the other in her late-50s to early-60s.  They get up to leave and have to walk by our table.  The older of the women stops and says that she has 8 year old b/g twin grandchildren and asks how old the kids are.  Then she looks at our table (keep in mind, there are 5 of us plus Bobby and Maya), and says "You guys must really like cookies."  Really?  It's a cookie shop.  And, if five of us are eating a dozen cookies, that's like, 2.5 cookies a piece!

But that isn't the kicker.  So, her friend says "Oh, I have 5 year old twins.  This is such a great age."  I smile, say they are fun, and, as these two are about out the door, turn back to our table.  The older of the two lets her friend pass and then says "At one time, twins were just so special, but now I see them everywhere."  I say that, yes, we've met quite a number of twins when we are out.  (Although, even though I didnt say it, I think they are still special!)  She replies, "Well, it's because you girls are waiting so long to get pregnant." And then leaves!

You girls?  Our table ranged in ages from 18-early 30s.  Or was that for twin mothers in general?  But since she directed it in my direction, I actually said (albeit after the door closed) "I'm 30!  It's not like I'm old!"  We got a riot out of it, but geez!  Who thinks it is okay to say that?  Funny of funnies... I dont know if she was implying that older women are naturally more likely to release more than one egg and, thus, have twins, or if she was implying that older women have reproductive issues and due to medication or IVF are more likely to mother multiples.  I'm assuming the latter, but I'll never know!

Maybe I should cover up my gray hair afterall! (Just kidding...)


I'm struggling to find time to post.  I'm packing up stuff and loading it during my free time, which isnt much, and right now, and packing up the library where my desk and stuff was.  So, once I get stuff organized and dont feel like I have so much to do, I'll get back to posting.  As it is, I'm cantoring the 7:30 Mass and needed to sit at my computer and listen to my music, so I had a few free moments to post and catch up.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

12 Month Check-Ups

(I'm sorry I havent had a chance to recap the birthday party... I will... When I have time!)

We took Bobby and Maya for their developmental check up yesterday (for 12months chronological; they will get a 12 month adjusted in December).  This is the second time they have had a developmental check-up.  They went at 6 months old for the initial scoring, and, because they didnt qualify either by the NICU clinic or the county intermediate unit for any early-intervention services, we have not seen anyone since.  The NICU Developmental Clinic is a 2 part clinic.  For babies who need/qualify for services, it is free, ongoing therapy to help bring premature infants up to their chronological milestones over the course of the first 6 years of life.  For babies who dont qualify for services/need services, they see the kids every 6 months (except they see them on both their 12 mo chronological and 12mo adjusted birthdays) to garner statistics of how babies born at X gestation and taken care of by our hospital NICU (and the 2 sister NICUs of the health system) are doing.  It also allows the specialists to identify if delays occur later (typically within the first 2 years) so that babies who may not have needed services initially, can get the help they need should they need it.  

On communication and verbal, Bobby and Maya scored 14-16 months!!!!!!!!!  On all others, they averaged 12 months (they score them in ranges and both ranged 8mo-12mo.  For example, because Maya is not really interested in walking around, she scored 8-9 months for her gross motor skills, but because she was very interested and intrigued by every little object and picking them up, she scored 11-12months for her fine motor skills; Bobby was the reverse, as he wanted to do nothing but pull himself up and walk around, so his gross were 11-12mo and his fine, since he really could have cared less about picking up objects if he could try and walk to another object!, were 8mo-9mo.)).  What is notable about this is that they normally do NOT score above their adjusted, neurological age (which, for them, is 9mo).  We could not be more happy!  

The therapists were very interested in the Montessori homeschooling we are doing, and I was able to share some information with them, which I'm hoping can be useful for other parents.  There is a lot available online, and there are some very good books out there.  I've already packed a lot of my materials, but I know I have some other things I want to give them when we go back in December for the 12mo adjusted check-up.

They also had their 12mo checkup at their ped, and Bobby weighs 23lb10oz, was 31in long, and his head circum was off the chart for his age, LOL (he has Daddy's noggin).  Maya was 7lbs lighter at 16lb10oz and (I think) 27 or 29 inches (the card is in my purse...).  Both are growing with the curve (even though Maya is at the bottom of the chart), but the doctor was very happy.  She thinks Maya just may be petite, and says she has full term babies who are her size, so not to worry as long as she is staying on her growth curve, which she is.  Bobby is in 12mo-18mo clothes, and Maya is 9mo-12mo, so they are both growing well!  (They are viewed on their chronological age chart, not their adjusted chart.  If their ages were adjusted to 9mo, Maya is at the top and Bobby is off.  Since size was never a problem and the kids were meeting their chronological milestones, our pediatrician has never adjusted their age.)  They received the MMR vaccine, which they both hated.  Peter doesnt normally see the vaccinations, as he's usually at work, and I think it just broke his heart to watch them cry for a solid 5 minutes because it hurt.  They go back next week for the Varicella vaccine. Some of you may know that we had initially opted to not do the Chicken Pox vaccine; we changed our minds after we realized that some of the folks closest to them couldnt receive the Shingles vaccine because of the risk of exposing the kids.  After researching the vaccine some more, while it still wasnt on a "Yes, we think they NEED this", we opted to give it to them, as a public health issue (their public, not necessarily the public at large).  However, we did decide to not give it in combination with the MMR shot.  They go back at 14mo and 15mo for their 2 flu shots.  Fun times...  After no shots for months, I dont think the kids are going to like us very much this fall...

For the last few weeks, the kids have been changing their schedule.  I have a post up at the homeschooling blog that talks about their new schedule.  Life is ever-changing... In a good way. :)

I promise... Birthday pictures (and videos!) soon, but I will leave you with a few of my favorites... 

Happy Birthday!

Visiting Uncle Robert's grave before the beach

Maya touching the ocean for the 1st time

Bobby touching the ocean for the 1st time

Family Photo: Spring Lake, NJ

Yum- Chocolate Cake!

First Birthday Party, 9/11/10

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday, Bobby & Maya!

So... Here we are... 365 days from where we were.  And now, Bobby and Maya are a year old.  I dont even know what to say.    I know I will post later with how we spend the day, but for now, thank you- each and every one of you- for the endless prayers and support you gave us through our entire journey, especially during the trying times.  This year has gone by so fast, and I can't believe we are here already.

Happy Birthday, Bobby.  My baby boy.  My sweet bruiser of a son.  When you look at me with those big brown eyes and give me one of your famous sloppy kisses, my heart melts completely.  I am so taken with you.

Happy Birthday, Maya.  My precious girl.  My loveable, cuddlable, piece of sweetness on earth.  When you clap because you are so happy to see me or leap into my arms from everyone else, it causes my breath to catch. I cannot imagine life without you.

Thank you, God, for these miracles...  Life wouldn't have been the same without them.  Without all of them.  I wouldn't have known that.  I wouldn't have wanted to have known it.  But thank you for making sure we were able to love and have them all.

Happy Birthday, babies!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

52 and 1

52 weeks ago today... on a beautiful September Thursday... I went into labor with Bobby and Maya, and they were born a few hours later.

It seems only fitting that CD1 is today as well (a 5 week cycle).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mother!

Today is the day we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary!  The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated on December 8th and, then, nine months later, we have the Nativity of Mother of God.  So...  Happy Birthday, Blessed Mother. :)

I've always felt close to the Virgin Mary.  Growing up non-Catholic, it was one of the things that really drew me to the Catholic Church...  When I took some time off in my early marriage, it was the Blessed Mother that pulled me back.  And, especially after Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander died, it was Mary that held my hand while I tried to understand.  Now, she is the one that pats my back after an especially trying day, when I feel like a MACK truck ran over me, and the kids are still full of energy.  I often find myself uttering the words "Blessed Mother, mother ME now!"  or "Give me strength!".   I often let myself remember of the story of the Finding of Jesus in the Temple, and how harried she must have been after three days of searching and wondering where He'd gone, only to find him perfectly safe and educating the educators...  Was she pissed?  Was she just so relieved that her anger flew out the window (if it was there at all)?  Was she just happy he was okay (and happy)?

When I ask Peter "When was I the most patient and relaxed?", his answer is always the same.  When I commuted to work on the train, I prayed the Rosary every day.  It was my private "me" time and, truly, my life was a more peaceful one.  There are a few events that happened over those two years and, looking back, if I hadn't been at that place in my life, I can only imagine how different some things could have turned out.  Even now, on the days I pray the Rosary (which I aspire to every day), I find that I have more patience for all life throws at me.  And, I feel more at "peace".  Which isn't something easy to come by!

When asked (or criticized) about Marian devotion, it is hard to explain the differences between devotion and worship, or why a love of Mary is critical (to Catholics) to a love of Christ.  I heard one clergyman explain that just as we have pictures of our own parents and friends, it wouldnt make sense to not have pictures of Jesus's parents and friends, but it goes beyond that.  It is about having a spiritual Mother...  I love Peter; I love my children; but the love I have for my mom is different.  It's always been different from the love I have for my dad or anyone else.  She's mom.  She's who I want to go to when I'm sad or dont feel good.  Even as an adult, when I'm sick, I often say to Peter "I wish my mom were here."  Not because he isn't capable, but because no one can play substitution for mom.  In faith, Mother brings us closer to the Great Divine.  Not as a substitute for it, but as a path towards it.  As a fountain of understanding, and as a source of hope that we are all worthy of it.

Mary reminds me that life doesnt have to be as I planned it for it to be the way it was meant to be.  That even miracles come with the promise of rocky roads ahead.  That great happiness can only be achieved when we open ourselves to the ultimate sorrow.

That an orphaned mother can survive.  That her heart will go on beating and her lungs will go on breathing, even when her child's no longer does.  Even when she is crushed beyond compare.

As our priest said today, all birthday's should be celebrated, young and old.  All should be remembered, because they remind us of the day that an innocent life with the capacity to change the world was born.

And such it is.

Babies 4 Rent

A response to all of the "I don't see how you do it! I know that I couldn't!" comments... The sign should read "Babies for Rent. Mommy just couldn't do it anymore and needs a vacation."

(I'm kidding, of course!  This picture was inspired by a blog I saw a while back, regarding the dumb things people say to twin mothers. Priceless, I tell you!)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Just Enjoying Myself...

Sunday was a beautiful day here.  There was a cool breeze and it was the perfect day to be outside.  The kids and I went for a three mile walk, then came home and I put their playpens in the backyard.  They had a blast (and Bobby loved being able to watch the cars go by!)

Last Thursday, we had Maya's appointment with Dr Garg, her retinologist.  It was another great visit; her eyes are fine.  Retinas are flat and attached, and he saw no scar tissue.  We are now officially yearly patients! Both Bobby and Maya will have their annual ophthalmology appointment in March, but otherwise, things are well on the vision front!  We have their yearly developmental clinic appointment on the 14th, along with their 12 month check up (and then a vaccine-only appointment a week later), so, all-in-all, September is a crazy busy month and, I think, will continue to be for years to come!  Plus, it's when Peter and I have dental appointments!

We were at BJs over the weekend and found these great little portable boosters.  They were $20, so we bought two, since we thought we could use them when we go out (because I'm not always a huge fan of the high chairs we encounter) or when we visit.  Well... We LOVE them!!  They work so well, and we've used them at restaurants and at home!  They are actually at our kitchen table right now!  The kids have had their breakfast there this week and, besides being much easier than strapping them into their high chairs (which are in our dining room... On the other side of the house...), they are quick to wipe down and dont require an additional table (since they use the table we are all sitting at).  They worked great when we had milkshakes and then took them to a supermarket restaurant where we had to sit on tall bar stools.  My MIL was so impressed that she went and bought the last 2 they had for her house!  Which will be great because we always have to take their BebePods when they watch the kids, so she can feed them easily.  But, if you like to eat and want to take your kids with you, I highly recommend the boosters.  They are lifesavers!

Peter got me a gift. :)  Now, I love gifts, but I really love thoughtful ones.  I have a minor bag addiction that I dont usually fulfill because, let's face it, it's not like I need a bag anymore than I need a new pair of shoes (I dont... Really...)  But, for a few years, I've had my eye on this handbag (in black) and the matching wallet.  Obviously, I wasnt going to pay for something that nuts- especially when I think of just how many B & M clothes or snacks, etc, it would buy.  Well... We have a CK Outlet near us (and the prices are, surprisingly, comparable to Target if you wait and use the coupons that they text or email you), which is where Peter gets his clothes.  And, yesterday, instead of just picking up some pants and a shirt, I ended up walking around with a new handbag and wallet! :)   The bag is big enough that I can carry some emergency baby items in the middle section and it doesnt even bulge!  (Or impede me loading the rest of my life in the bag!).  The best part...  It was dirt cheap!  Like, again, Target (my favorite mainstream store) inexpensive!  I know it's kind of nuts, but every time I look at the handbag, I get this stupid koolaid smile.  (On a funny note, what do the folks that CK designs for keep in their wallets?  Because, as cute as it is, I had to trim down my already trimmed down wallet...  I mean, really???  I would have thought those people carried way more plastic than I do!! But it's cute!)

Well... Time to get naptime on the road!  I hear tired babies in my midsts!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Deep Thoughts

So I've really thought about it... A lot... And, to say the comments from that person's page don't bother me would be a lie.  Because, really, who likes to hear trash about themselves.  But, in a day of thinking, I've come to several conclusions.

First, I actually kind of feel sorry for the person.  I read through some of her pages (I know...  Everyone would say that was a waste of my time) and found out that, although she is my age and wants eight kids, she is currently celibate.  That has to be painful.  To want a family but to not be active towards one.  On top of that, I found a few contradictions (like infertility treatments should only be for people who are older or ill and need help conceiving, yet she considers my PCOS not an illness worthy of fertility treatments.)  And this got me thinking.  Most people believe infertility to be something you just move on from.  They dont view it as a disease.  And, therefore, it is easy to say "Just live childless" or "Just adopt" (which, I take offense to because there should never be a "just" in front of adopt, as though it is some substandard option).  But infertility is a problem and should be treated as such.

Would we tell the woman with breast cancer to just "deal" with her misshapen breasts or make harsh comments if she opted for breast augmentation?  Or, if someone lost their hair to alopecia, would we make fun of them for choosing to wear a wig?  Of course not...  Because they are sick and these are valid treatments for their psyches and for what the disease robs of them.

I have Hashimoto's- should I forgo my medication?  PCOS took my menstrual cycle and ovulation away; FSH injections gave me them back.  It is a medication for a disease.  And, yes, I was able to conceive and am grateful for that, but treating a disease is one of the benefits of modern medicine.  I had surgery to correct my IC, which is a physical condition.  Why wouldn't I?  Why wouldn't someone with cataracts have eye surgery?  It's not different.  These are diseases and conditions and their treatments.  Pregnancy doesn't make a difference if you are trying to repair things that are broken in your body.

The writer seems to have a problem with young marriage and people under 35 actively trying to conceive.  I make no apologies for being a young bride.  It was the best decision I ever made.  Her argument is, if it is the real thing, then why not wait a while.  My parents dated for years and divorced after 20.  My best friend waited until she was out of college after several years of dating and divorced after 9.  Waiting doesnt prolong marriage any more than early marriage does.  I've been with Peter since 1998 and I wouldnt change one thing.  The struggles of being married young only strengthened us, as did growing up, in many ways, did.  I'm grateful for that.  As to trying to conceive from the moment of our marriage, we knew we wanted a family and that I would struggle to conceive due to my amenorrhea.  Since we werent sure how long conceiving would take, we started early.  And yes, we dont believe in birth control (another source of contention with the writer).

I was 27 when I met Dr. Lee.  Considering fertility is considered to nose dive around 28, this doesn't seem overly young to me.  I'd accomplished what I wanted professionally and I was ready to be a housewife and stay-at-home mother.  Contrary to the writer's obvious bias against those choices, they are that: my choices.  I choose to stay at home.  It wasn't forced on me, nor should it be forced on anyone.  She diagnosed my illness and prescribed a treatment which worked and found us pregnant.  Unfortunately, my IC was an underlying condition that was left untreated and ended in the loss of our pregnancy.  With my first trimester losses, we dont know the causes because, unfortunately, miscarriages prior to 8 weeks are common and there is a lack of understanding regarding the cause.  It pains me that my IC wasn't treatable until I became pregnant with Bobby and Maya, but I am grateful every day that it was and I was able to carry them as far as I did.

The writer makes a fairly large deal out of my losses and that, perhaps, God was telling me that I shouldnt have biological children.  Wow... To think that all it takes is fertility treatments to circumvent God...  I now know what to do whenever I want to go "one up" on God- medical science!  The God I believe in is more powerful than that; if I werent meant to conceive, then I never would have.  End of story.  We all know people who have undergone serious fertility treatments (and I dont consider medication "serious" fertility treatments) without success.  So, it does happen.  Science cant answer all of our questions or fix all of our illnesses.  But to say that God doesnt want something and our doing it made it possible?  I dont believe that.  And, until she or I talk to God in person, neither of us will know what God can do, cant do, or wants.  If we believe that God is the architect of life, then all life comes from him.  Regardless of whether that conception took place with or without assistance.

Yes, adoption makes you a parent, just like birthing a child does.  And yes, we plan to adopt.  In fact, we were working with an agency.  But, in addition to expensive, our agency required a mandatory waiting period after the birth of a child, so our file had to be put as inactive.  And, although it will be money well spent, the treatment for my PCOS was fully covered by my insurance, which made that option an easier one.  In the end, we are all related anyway and biology means very little.

And, as to waiting a year or however long in between conception, I didnt notice a medical degree or a residency in gynecology and obstetrics after this woman's name, so I think I'll stick with both my RE and OB, who are members of ACOG, and both advised three months after any 12 week pregnancy.  The March of Dimes lists after one menstrual cycle, which seems to be in agreement with both the CDC and ACOG.  They also say that the woman should feel emotionally able to continue.  For some women, this might mean never, and for some, it might mean right away.  My doctors, both, had psych consults with us and decided we were well enough emotionally to continue.  Again, I view their medical expertise with a little more than the grain of salt that I view the opinion of someone who doesn't know me.

The writer also has some opinions regarding my religious beliefs.  Religion and spirituality are personal choices and, while the world will probably never fully agree, to assault the head of one's church (while, at the same time, professing your diehard belief to your own faith) is insulting, and, honestly, a little immature.  But, as the sign on the church I passed yesterday said: "Forgive your enemies: it messes with their heads."

It is clear that this woman has never gone through the loss of a pregnancy, and, God willing, she never will.  But, as countless medical professionals will point out, our children start showing physical characteristics once their features begin forming.  And, any psychologist will tell you, that naming your child, holding your child, and taking as many photos and momentos of your child- REGARDLESS of when they die, will make your grief and your healing easier.  As to why we couldnt baptize our first trimester children.  Unfortunately, due to their embryonic state, there was nothing of their bodies that we could save to bury, cremate or baptize.  In addition, our faith believes that baptism is a sacrament for the living, hence, our our five children who were born alive were given the Rite of (Catholic) Christian Baptism.  As baptized Catholics, our three children who died after baptism were entitled to a funeral or memorial Mass.  Nicholas, Sophia, Alexander, Bobby, and Maya were ALL born in the technical second trimester.  And, until the moment they exited my womb, they were all medically considered fetuses (which is from the 8th week, when the baby exits the embryonic period, to birth).  It is a sad truth that, in spite of all medicine has accomplished, it is impossible to save babies born in the early part of the second trimester.  Yet, that does not negate any short lives that they are possible to have outside the womb.  Yes, eyes may be fused shut and lungs may be incapable of long term breathing.  However, a moment of life is a moment of life, and is something to be celebrated and remembered.

Miscarriage.  Stillbirth.  Infant Death.  It bothers the writer that I differentiate between my miscarried (first trimester) babies and my second trimester babies who passed after their brief lives outside the womb.  She argues that babies born prior to 20 weeks are miscarriages; and, as hard as it is for many of us to accept,  babies born prior to 20 weeks who show no sign of life are not considered stillborn by the medical establishment and are considered miscarried children.  If my babies had passed before birth, it would kill me to think of them as "miscarriages", although it would be medically accurate.  However, due to their circumstances, they are considered to have died in infancy.  Would they have died in spite of medical treatment, sadly yes because their bodies were not equipped for outside of the womb.  But grief isnt measured in timelines or words.  It's measured by love; and not one of us can compare or contrast the grief of another person with our own.  It is too unique to do so.

Friends, we shouldnt judge this woman for her lack of compassion and understanding, or by her ignorance, be cause she doesnt know any better.  We can call her tactless and believe what she is saying is cruel, but, really, do any of us know how we would feel had we not had these experiences ourselves?  We hope that we would be understanding of those around us, but do we really know what we would think inside?  She is putting to words what she feels, the same as many of us.  It hurts because we know the flip side of her writings- what it is like to long for a child and to be faced with losing that child way too soon.

When I met my husband and he explained that his family had special dinners of remembrance on my brother-in-law's birthday and deathday, I found it odd.  I couldnt understand. At one time, I think I may have even told him I found it a little morbid.  I just couldnt understand how healing remembering could be.  He talked to me for hours about how remembering brought solace to his soul.  And, while I wish that none of us had to know how true that is, he's right.  Remembering my children is a light in darkness for me.  I would never wish that away.  I would never stop simply because someone else doesnt understand.  Because, until they have a reason to, they may never be able to.

I dont know why, of all the blogs on life and death, she stumbled upon mine and chose to write about it.  And, it really doesnt matter.  Perhaps by the compassion we show- to each other AND to her- we can give a deeper insight into the world that we live in and the lives we carry on after loss and heartbreak.  Forgiveness isnt easy; but it isnt about the other person.  It's about ourselves and what makes us who we are.

Thank you for jumping to my defense and for your outpouring of support.  Every time I think that my blogging life may be coming to an end, you guys show me what this is all about.  We have choices: we can be quiet in our journeys and struggles, and allow people to believe that miscarriage and loss and infertility are things to be ashamed of.  Our we can be open in our journeys and struggles and let others like us know they are not alone.  That path is not without bumps.  It's not without negative thoughts from others or without fear about what others may think.  But the only way we will ever take the stigma away from grief and infertility is to stand up for ourselves and to not feel shame.  We have nothing to be sorry for.  Our illness doesnt define us.

And the words of others don't either.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Why do people do this?  I mean, really?  Like you have that little in your life that you need to write stuff like this?

The sad thing is, I believe in free speech...  Even when it is disgusting.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Park

There is a park near Peter's job.  It's a township park, near the local police, and they have this awesome castle for the kids to play in.  There's a little food station, lots of picnic tables, the local pool, and paved multiuse trails.  There's even a bandshell.  All in all, it's a great little park, only about two minutes from where Peter's building.

When he first got his job there, we would drive by the park and talk about how great it would be, once we had kids and could meet there during they day.  I'd pack a lunch, pick him up, and we'd nosh on one of the picnic tables before taking the kids to the castle or the swings.  When I was pregnant with Nicholas and Sophia, I actually drove through there, with Peter's mom, to show her all the neat things we'd be able to do with Peter on his lunch break.

It took thirty one months, but we finally had lunch in that park.  With our children.  And we played with them on the swings afterwards.

Thirty one months ago, I was pregnant with Nicholas and Sophia.  I was off work that day, and Peter's mom and I did some running around and shopping.  We drove through the park.  I showed her the castle and pointed to the food hut, closed due to it being winter.  I even remember there was one mom there with her little one, who was bundled up from head to toe and tottering around on a little tricycle of some sort.  The day was grey and cold, and rain and snow loomed on the horizon.  And I was happy. So happy.  I pointed out the castle, we oohed and ahhed over the child playing, and gushed about how it would be when we brought Nick and Sophie there... How we could lay out blankets in the shade and just relax with Peter on his lunch break.

And then, I went home and took a nap.  And Peter came home from work, and joined me, and we cuddled for a blissful hour until I got up to go to the store and make dinner...  And the rain preceding the snow started.  And I delivered a sweet baby boy... My oldest son...  My Nicholas.

And we never took them to that park.  And I had no desire to ever go to that park again.

When we were looking at buying houses, one of the towns we looked at shares this park.  So, I went back, to see how the trails were and to enjoy the beauty the park had to offer.  I took the kids to the swings and walked with them through the castle.  I met up with other moms there.

And yesterday, for the first time, Peter and I had lunch there with Bobby and Maya.  And, then we played on the swings.  Today, his mom came with me and the five of us had lunch and played.

And, as I watched them laughing and pushing Bobby and Maya on the swings, my heart was struck with that pain... 31 months... This was the life I saw.  This was the life I thought I'd have.  My sweet boy/girl twins being pushed by their daddy or their grandparent or their aunt or I or someone...  In the park... Pushed by their dad on his lunch break...  In the summer heat or the fall breeze... This was the life I saw.

And, God, how it hurt.  How it hurt to know that it was the life I thought I'd have in the summer of 2008- not the summer of 2010.  The life I thought I'd have with Nicholas and Sophia- not Bobby and Maya, who I'd not even imagined at that point because I was still wrapping my head around their older brother and sister.  This life of the happy couple and their two happy babies...

I couldnt breathe for a moment.  Their laughter filled my head and their smiles my heart and it was the only thing that kept me standing up because the pain was like a knife slicing through my core.  But I said nothing, did nothing, just stood there, watching them swing, until Peter took my hand and pulled me to him.  Because, I'm sure, he felt it too.  That sting that comes when the day is perfectly beautiful and life is how you, at one time, imagined it to be.

Now, it is the same and yet different.

And always will be.

And I wouldnt- couldnt- imagine it any other way.

But it still hurts.