Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Blogger Baby Shower (with pics)

On Valentine's Day, I was COMPLETELY surprised to show up to my own baby shower put together by bloggers I've known for 7 years. 

Weeks ahead of time, my hubby (who knew about the whole thing from the get-go) told me not to make plans for Valentine's Day.  Financially, things were really not looking so hot come February, so I told him not to bother with our "secret getaway" and that I'd be happy to just watch a movie at home over a nice, home-cooked meal (that hopefully he would cook, haha... just kidding... no I'm not).  But he was adamant.  No, we were going to do this, it was a little far away, but it was "already paid for." 

Ugh.  Far away?  How far away?  3 hours???!!  What??  My pregnant butt and bladder were definitely not gung-ho about the idea, but I kept telling myself my husband went to all this trouble to plan a surprise BabyMoon for me, and so I am going to look forward to it!!  So, I did :)

As we were driving, I was still frankly amazed that I hadn't figured out where we were going, yet.  I'm not easy to surprise.  For some crazy reason, I became convinced we were going to an indoor water park (um, yes, I'm crazy) and kept asking if I had to put on a bathing suit.  (Uhhhhhh, have you noticed I'm 7 months pregnant, dear sweet husband???  What part of 3rd Trimester in a bathing suit in a public watering hole sounded appealing to you when you booked this thing?  But... I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO IT!)  He kept assuring me I did not have to put on a bathing suit, nor wear my long johns (skiing was my other crazy idea - I'm not a great skier NOT pregnant, let alone now when I fall over putting on my shoes, ok, clogs.)

So we kept on driving as I kept on stewing silently trying to figure out where we were going and what we'd be doing.  The more I guessed, the happier he seemed to get that I truly had no idea.

As we got closer, I thought I recognized some landmarks - "Hey, wait... I've seen that before..." and I even asked if we were near Sew's mom's house in MD (where we had been for my goddaughter, Hannah Grace's baptism).  "No, we're in PA," was the answer.  He had evidently crossed the state border while keeping me preoccupied, so I believed him!

But then we got to the driveway.  Immediately I recognized the house, and with blue balloons all over the mailbox, it could only mean one thing.  I broke down into an uncontrollable sob as we pulled in the driveway, just SO TOUCHED that this was actually happening, for me... for ME??  The one who stood convinced there would never be a baby TO shower???  It was crazy.  And it got crazier.

Entering the home, I was greeted by the beautiful hostess, none other than Sew Infertile/Sew Hormonal/Sew What (lol) along with Jeremiah 29:11, Mrs. Mike (first time actually meeting this amazing woman, by the way!), and Finding Joy in Every Journey.  Apparently the Bubonic Plague was going around and so some other attendees could not make it, and all the kiddos had to stay home and vomit on their daddies :(  (Happy Valentine's Day!)  It was just such an honor to see all of these beautiful faces, putting their families and lives on hold for a day, to celebrate my precious son.  Overwhelming doesn't even begin to describe it.

 
 
But if I thought I was overwhelmed already, I was in for it.  As I walked around the corner, I saw a spread of delicious, homemade food, and beyond it, a sea of blue tablecloths, blue cupcakes, blue wrapped gifts, blue monkey confetti (I may have discovered a monkey fetish during this pregnancy), blue bootie favors,... the list just went on and on, and my eyes couldn't even take it all in!  (And, can I just say, Sew's Mom?  She's Sew on crack.  Every detail, and I do mean EVERY detail was accounted for, and everything was hand-made.  Unbelievable.)

 
 
 
 
 
While still recuperating from the initial shock of the day, I began to open what seemed like an endless cascade of gifts, with the theme of "baby library."  Not one repeat, and baby TCIE is going to be one well-read baby, not to mention well-dressed in monkey bowties, safari animal sweat suits, baseball clothes, and adorable onesies, and hopefully also well-bathed with washcloths, towels, and bath toys :)  Mama TCIE (uh, what did I just write??) is also going to be well-read with breastfeeding and parenting books, and, of course, what Yankee fan Mama of a baby conceived during Jeter's last season would be set without...
 
(who else but JellyBelly?)
 


There were a number of group gifts, as well:
 
 
 
 

Along with an adorable "bassinet" made of baby blankets, towels, washcloths (with monkeys on them!!) and diapers, made by Sew's Mom and sisters. 
 
And then the very last gift to be opened... also from Sew's Mom.  A sewing book with images of all different kinds of baptism gowns, with this page earmarked:
 


 
along with a note stating that she will be MAKING MY BABY'S BAPTISM GOWN from this pattern, and embroidering the Pater Noster along the bottom hem.  Um, EXCUSEMEWHAT?!?!?!?!  Am I dreaming???
 
It's probably a good thing that I opened a particular gift first, and not last.  Because I was just so emotionally and spiritually FULL by the end of the day.  And yet, while the entire day, and everyone who was there physically and in spirit, will forever remain in my heart as part of one of the very best memories of my life, the first gift I opened I believe captures exactly what that day, and all of you, means to me.
 
 
 
 
Bam.  The significance of this framed original artwork (by Sew's Mom) hit me immediately, and I couldn't hold back the tears... because it hit me, right then and there... This Cross I Embrace was never barren:
 
 
My heart is so full.
 
Thank you, all of you, for being a part of my journey.
 

 
 
 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Just Some Random Pregnancy Thoughts - and Adopt-a-Blogger Update

I keep meaning to do more, well, meaningful posts but then I just don't.  So, there's that.

Also, before I forget, if you are a childless blogger and have not yet been chosen for Adopt-A-Blogger, please leave a comment here and we will pick up again next month.  Additionally, if you are a childless blogger who has been adopted before but is still struggling to conceive or adopt, leave a comment and let me know - we will keep the prayer campaign going as long as it takes :)

Back to baby.  He is just. awesome.  I am loving every minute of his life so far, even when it's uncomfortable.  He continues to amaze me with just how calming his presence has been in my life, things that would keep me up at night with worry or anxiety are no longer having that effect, partly because I have been working on that, myself, but mostly because he is is father's son - and is just absolutely the sweetest, most calming little baby I could have hoped for.  I just LOVE that through no influence of mine, he is already his own little person with his own special gifts and special personality and temperament.  He's a night owl, for sure, and he LOVES good food :)  He does disco dancing after every bowl of delicious bone broth.  He's had hiccups twice that I've been able to feel, and I always feel so bad for him since I hate the hiccups, myself!!

Because, who doesn't like their preggo belly shots with a couple of pitbulls?

I am just over 29 weeks, now.  I've been off progesterone since 23 weeks or so, when my levels had been in Zone 3 on vaginal suppositories, alone.  (Was able to discontinue injectables around 14 weeks.)  A month after discontinuing the vaginal progesterone, my level was still Zone 3 :)  So, just monthly checks now in Feb and March and we're good to go!

My Vitamin D level which the midwives check each Trimester was 114, lol!  The high end of the range is 100, so I guess I can decrease my 4,000units per day in winter.  I attribute this to my Vitamin K2 supplement, which helps the body TREMENDOUSLY to absorb Vitamin D3 better.  When I wasn't on the K2 supplement (I had run out) and was taking 2,000units of D3, my level was 58 back in September.

My sleep has been getting a bit better with essential oil use.  I've been researching and finally decided to bite the bullet and start investing in essential oils last month - and diffusers and topical application have really made a difference!  I'll likely be posting more about EOs after the baby arrives (what, with all the free time I'll have, and all.  Between popping bon-bons and my soap operas.)

I am so, so in love with this little boy, and cannot wait to continue to get to know him and learn more about him.  OH! and NAME.  We've had some inquiries about that, and the name will be revealed after delivery.  As you can imagine, we've had a couple of names picked out for close to a decade, already, but our boy name changed a little bit because it seemed to be a better fit for this boy.  So, stay tuned!  Sorry to disappoint!

That's all for now.  Yes.  It appears my blog has become one of those blogs.  Yikes.  The horror!  Hopefully something of a bit more substance soon!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Personhood

Baby TCIE:

 5 weeks gestation, 3 weeks since conception (earlier than most abortions)
 
27 weeks 2 days gestation, 25 weeks 2 days since conception, most assuredly "viable" outside the womb with medical support
 
 
These are pictures of the SAME PERSON.  The first picture shows a gestational sac, only.  You cannot see him... but he's there.  In fact, his heart is already beating!  But it's too small for ultrasound to detect, yet.  In about 5-6 more days, you'd see him.  But, just because you cannot see him, doesn't mean he doesn't exist, nor that he is in any way a DIFFERENT PERSON than the one you see in the second picture.  That's still him!  Now the entire screen is taken up by his smooched face!!  It's impossible to get his whole body in one image.  You can even see his eyelashes!!!  (Isn't that wild?!)  He also gave us a big yawn during this ultrasound.  A yawn.  Something people do.  PEOPLE.  Here it is:
 
 video
 
 
 
Today we remember the over 55.5 million PEOPLE who have died since Roe vs. Wade was passed (including, on a much smaller scale, the mothers who died as a result of abortion).  Please join me in a moment of silence in remembrance of these beautiful souls, and for those who survived abortion (mothers, Drs, "health"care providers, and even some children!) we pray for complete healing as they live in the aftermath every single day.
 
 
Baby TCIE says, "Oy!  How hard is it to see I'm a person just like the rest of you?!  I think I'll go back to sleep, now."

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I Didn't Know What I Was Missing - But I Knew It

Pregnancy after 8 years of infertility... it's funny how it's not as strange of a transition as I always envisioned it would be.  For whatever reason, to me, this just feels so natural, like once egg and sperm met and implanted in the uterus, my body just said, "YESSSSSSS!!!  THAT'S what we're talking about!!  We got it from here, ovaries, testicles.  Carry on."

Motherhood, similar in some ways, and completely different in others.  It may have given the impression to other mothers that I have been downplaying, or minimizing the sacrifices and sufferings of motherhood.  It also is not lost on me that there is a TON I haven't yet experienced, and I cannot possibly understand until I live through it, when it comes to motherhood.  However, I find that my history of childlessness despite all efforts at fertility, adoption, and foster care gives me a unique vantage point on this front. 

I'm not an expert at pregnancy.  Nor at motherhood.  And, I never will be!  But, I am constantly reminded of how little I know of motherhood suffering, how little I understand of other mothers' struggles... which is just so different than was my experience through infertility and childlessness.  Amongst others who knew exactly what infertility felt like, many at the early stages, many at the "veteran" stages, I found that there existed a common ground of encouragement.  Some of us knew the heartache of miscarriage (myself not included), while others the heartache of never having conceived.  Some of us knew the pain of marital distress, loss of financial stability, health issues that seemed to never get better, only worse, all because of infertility - while others who may have been earlier in their journey only knew the relentless hope that came each month, only to come crashing down into a despair that would make you want to quit your job and move far, far away (somewhere with palm trees, and lots of alcohol).  And yet, despite our different stages, our different sufferings, throughout my infertility journey I only saw support, and a willingness to allow each woman to feel her own feelings, despite how different they may have been from another's. 

Infertility is incredibly, incredibly personal, as a life experience.  Even within the couple, the husband and the wife will often go through very different journeys.  That fact seemed so readily recognized, and honored by all of us in the trenches.  So far, my experience with motherhood has not been the same.

It's almost an unwritten oath, to "one up" any mother with younger children.  "Oh, you're only 2 months pregnant and feel nauseous, now?  Just wait until you're 8 or 9, you'll be so much more uncomfortable!!"  "You think you're sleep-deprived, now with your 4 month old?  Ha!  My 3 year old STILL doesn't sleep through the night, and comes and pees in my bed routinely!"  "Potty training, eh?  Ahhh, I miss those days.  That was EASY compared to raising a pre-teen!"  And so on, and so forth.  Rather than become offended by comments like these (truly, I'm not!) I tend to look at it inquisitively, wondering about our society and why these incredibly normal everyday interactions are so incredibly normal.  Obviously I speak from experience when I say that through a cross like infertility, you NEED support, helpful advice, encouragement, and understanding from those who are there and have been there.  But is it not the same in motherhood?  Sure, there are all kinds of Support Groups for Moms out there, throw a stone and you're bound to hit one.  But there seems to be an underlying sentiment of justification, comparison, and insecurity in motherhood, which does make complete sense to me.  If infertility is a personal experience, of course motherhood is, too!  But just as with infertility, there are common feelings that all those in the group have, and I think those 3 may be among the top.

As women, we all want to know that we're doing the best we can.  That is something we share across the board.  And, for those of us who desire children so strongly, and for those who have them already, we know we would do just about anything for their well-being.

Crossing over, for me, wasn't the out of body, Twilight Zone experience I thought it would be.  Instead, I find that my thoughts, desires, and personal experiences with my own pregnancy and (very early) motherhood are so full of hope and promise, it overwhelms me.  I've also discovered that infertility has made me so much less sensitive to those who cannot understand my personal experience with motherhood, thus far.  Infertility, in essence, has made me the mother I am today, and the mother I will continue to be in the future.

Perhaps something only those who have carried the cross of infertility/childlessness can appreciate, but that should be understood by all, is that the immense, uncontrollable, heart-bleeding desire for children is not all about the child.  It is, rather, a yearning for a new, unimaginable suffering.  We desire the unknown, that which we cannot possibly understand, yet.  We crave a way in which to serve God, daily, through the thankless, tiring, unending job of being a mother - sacrificing ourselves in ways we cannot fathom.  Sleepless nights with screaming babies, biting until our nipples bleed, running fevers at 2am, never, ever getting a break... we're SURE that's just the beginning of it - and we want more!  We have no earthly idea what we're missing.  But we know it.

We have no earthly idea what we're missing. 

But we know it.

And that, my friends, is where the sting penetrates the most, piercing the heart of all mothers-in-waiting.  We don't wear rose-colored glasses.  We don't envision a perfect life, void of all problems and worries, with angelic, never-pooping always-sleeping children.  We envision a life unknown.  A life unrealized.  A life we only hope one day to be lucky enough to experience.

And once we do - or, more fittingly, once I did?  I knew that my experience through pregnancy and motherhood would not be the same as anyone else's.  Just as my experience through infertility was not the same as anyone else's.  I recognize, and honor other mothers in their daily sufferings, and I recognize and honor my own (yes, I have them!!), but mostly, I recognize and honor the fact that I will continue to experience all of this in an incredibly personal way.  And that way will always, always be guided by the lessons I learned through my 8 years of infertility and childlessness.  Sleepless nights?  They suck!  I've had many, already, and I can't even hear my kid, yet!  But the fact that I had no idea I'd be losing sleep and having insomnia since early first Trimester?  That is the realization of my desire - my desire to live the unknown, to offer myself as a mother in sacrifices I didn't even know about.  It doesn't make the sleep deprivation better.  It makes it part of my answered prayer.

There will, I am certain of it, be more and more and more of these moments every single day as I move forward through my journey in motherhood.  And I'll be surprised, likely by all of them.

When I was childless, I didn't know what I was missing.

But I knew it.

And now, I just wait in wonder for the next big sacrifice, the next opportunity to give more of myself - the next way in which my prayer is being answered.