Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Assumption of Mary - 10th Consecration

This year, at the culmination of my 10th Consecration to Mary for the Solemnity of the Assumption, I of course cannot help but remember how this date has been so powerful in my life, and my relationship with the Blessed Mother.  With our wedding being chosen around the date of the Assumption, we also celebrate our anniversary each year at the time of our renewal Consecration.  Throughout our infertility journey, there were a few times the date has had considerable importance, namely:

When I gave Mary the gift of my fertility (stopped charting)

Meeting Father Mike, and being prayed over, for a miracle of conception

and then, of course,

Finding Out...

So, other than the beauty of being able to renew my "gift" of Robbie to Mary every year on August 15th, I will now always remember it was the day she chose to show us the long-awaited gift she played a part in :)

Hail, Bright Star of Ocean,
God's own mother blessed.
Ever sinless virgin
Gate of heavenly rest.
Taking that sweet Ave
which from Gabriel came
Peace confirm within us
Changing Eva's name.
Break the captive's fetters
Light on blindness pour,
All our ills expelling
Every bliss implore.
Show thyself a Mother.
May the Word divine
born for us thy Infant
hear our prayers through thine.
Virgin all excelling,
mildest of the mild,
freed from guilt- preserve us
pure and undefiled.
Keep our life all spotless,
Make our way secure,
til we find in Jesus
joy forevermore.
Through the highest heaven,
to the Almighty Three,
Father, Son, and Spirit
one same glory be.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

It Wasn't Robbie

I think I know now why I had insomnia throughout the entire pregnancy with Robbie...

this kid can sleep like nobody's business.  He's repaying me now for the sleepless 9 months in utero ;)

Yes, I realize writing a post about it will now undo everything and he will never again sleep so beautifully, especially since he's closely approaching the dreaded "4 month sleep regression" time.

But, from birth, as soon as my supply was in and he was eating well, he was waking only 1-2 times overnight, it was down to only 1 wake around 7weeks, and then, magically overnight into the morning of July 4th (11.5 weeks), Happy Independence Day to Mommy, baby started sleeping 12 hour stretches with no wakes!!

It was amazing to watch him change his feeding patterns to accommodate for no night feeds.  How his little body and my body work so perfectly together just astounds me!  He started feeding for longer periods of time (20-30minutes, especially in the morning), and going about 2.5-3 hours only between feeds, which makes perfect sense given that he now needs to eat more and sleep less during the day.  My supply likewise adjusted IMMEDIATELY.  I definitely had some major engorgement going on the morning of July 4th, but instantaneously they adjusted to the new schedule.

So, aside from very early on during the whole nursing dilemma, Mama has been pretty well rested!  I know.  I'm counting my blessings.  I'm also knocking on all of the wood I can find.

But I write this not to brag.  OK, maybe to brag a little.  But mostly, to touch upon the bigger concept that you never know what you're gonna get.  One of the first things I always envisioned about life with my infant was sleepless nights, holding my baby, feeding my baby, and soothing my baby at some ungodly hour I had heretofore only seen in college.  During my 8 long years of waiting, this thought burned in my soul, as a desire, a need, and then, a fading dream, revived only with the surprise pregnancy. 
But my infant?  Well, he just hasn't needed that.  Sure, his needs may change as he continues to grow.  But the vision of my newborn just did not pan out that way.

random not-my-baby

Because, it wasn't Robbie I envisioned all those years.  When I dreamt of rocking my newborn back to sleep for the 5th time that evening, making pots (plural) of coffee before the crack of dawn, I wasn't dreaming about Robbie, but some other baby... or, not even a baby, but a symbol.  It was the illusion, the dream, the hope that I clung to on the darkest of days, and it was those hopes that faded as time continued to pass, and I gave up.

Only, it wasn't Robbie I was giving up on. 

It was never about Robbie.  It was about me.

My journey, my cross to embrace, my growth in my relationship with God - the life He had in store for me wasn't to wallow in the loss of what could have been, but to cherish what is in this very moment.  I admit, I didn't always do that.  It's incredibly hard to do when your vision is so different from the reality.  But if we allow ourselves to envision something far worse, just for an instant, we can come to a better understanding, and a greater appreciation, for what is.

I knew nothing of Robbie.  His life is not my blessing - it's his.  His life has made me a mother, and my role as his mother is what my present moment in this journey is now about.  But his life is his own, and his journey, his crosses in life, his relationship with God - that is all his.

It wasn't Robbie I prayed for all these years.  And yet, through the miracle of Robbie's life, my prayers continued to be answered (they had already been answered in other intangible ways) as I became a physical mother.  But he is not my doing.  Neither his temperament, nor his love of sleep, nor his humor, nor the crazy way his Lord of the Dance legs flail about during diaper changes, can be attributed to my mind's eye during those 8 years of thinking about "my baby."  He was, and always has been, only God's design.

So, it may not have been Robbie I had planned for, prayed for, yearned for, and envisioned.  But it was Robbie God planned for.  And I definitely wouldn't have it any other way.  Particularly since he's such a good sleeper ;)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Miss Him

I'll admit it.  Readily.  I didn't understand.  I really didn't.  I would see women with their babies desiring, nay, yearning for another pregnancy.  And I didn't get it.  Secondary infertility, to me, was more than just a misnomer - it was quite frankly, a tad silly.  I mean, for me it was always about motherhood.  However a child came to me, my mothering heart would be healed forever of infertility.  That I knew.  And, I was right.  Forever healed.  Robbie has made me a mother and nothing that ever happens in the future can take that away.  But the intense, and I mean intense craving for life in my womb again has completely taken me by surprise.

I do feel that I owe an apology to those women I previously did not understand.  And simultaneously, I feel I owe an apology to the still-childless women, as now my sentiments expressed publicly will likely cause the same reaction for them as they used to cause in me just a year ago.  Here I sit, with my still-fresh-outta-utero baby, yearning for pregnancy again.  In fact, I believe the first words out of my mouth after delivering Robbie (after "Let me see him!") were "I want another one!"  (Not to be confused with "I want a different one!" Hahaha.)  How could I be so selfish?  How could I not "just be happy" with the incredible blessing I have been given?

Well, let me explain what I've come to understand about this yearning in my own situation.  First of all, I am happier than I have ever been in my entire life.  Happier, more enthusiastic, more pleasant... just in general a much cheerier disposition than ever before.    Life is FAR from perfect.  In fact, there's some pretty crazy sh*t going down on a fairly regular basis, and motherhood hasn't turned everything into sunshine and rainbows.  (I do have unicorns flying out of my butt, but honestly, it's not all it's cracked up to be... the horns... ouch.)  But the perspective... THAT has made the world of difference.  There's an incredible amount of gratitude and appreciation for the miracle of life (not just Robbie's, but my own) that fills my heart every day.  Does it make every moment of every day easier? Actually, yes and no.  There are hardships to motherhood, most of which I had already heard about and been prepared for as much as you can prepare for something you've never experienced.  But, knowing these moments, these days, these weeks are so fleeting - and that my life, my husband's life, my son's life, is a beautiful gift... yes, it does make it much easier to get through.  Motherhood didn't give me this perspective, by the way.  Infertility did.

And so, why would I feel the need for MORE blessings?  The way I'm seeing it, it's not so much a greedy hoarding #givemeallthebabies mentality (even though I have written that, um, a lot all over social media), as much as it is a craving to be in that ever-present, ever-conscious state of miracle: pregnancy.  I miss being pregnant.  I do.  I tell Mr TCIE all the time.  And when I tried to dissect the emotion (because, well, that's what I do), I realized it wasn't *just* about being pregnant.  It was about being pregnant with Robbie.

I miss being pregnant with Robbie.

Right now, I am at his beck and call 24/7.  My body supplies him with food, with warmth, with comfort, with assistance in getting to sleep, with changing of diapers, with transportation, and providing places and things for entertainment, relaxation, and safety.  I am always "on."  And I love it.  But I will never be able to provide all of those things in quite the same way as I was when he was within me.  Furthermore, I will never be as close to him as I was when he was within me.

A famous blogger, Hebrews 11:1 (I'm calling her famous so she'll send me an invite to view her now-private blog, since I haven't read blogs in, oh, about 27 months give or take) said to me recently that the reason women always say they want to eat their babies is because that way they can have them INSIDE, and closer to them than they are on the OUTSIDE.  Yup.  So true.  That, and have you seen these baby rolls?

I could eat those all. day. long.

So, for a multitude of reasons, I miss my baby, my Robbie, on the inside.  And I now totally get the almost incontrollable urge to have more, and more, and more babies growing in my belly. 

I'm curious - was it the same for those of you who adopted your first child?  Because I imagine, though different, there are many similarities, and perhaps that high of the first time your child is in your arms is likewise intoxicating to the point you want to say #matchmewithallthebabies :) 

But truly, my heart is just so full of love that I want every woman who desires this to be able to experience it for themselves, with its own nuances and special moments unique to you - and Robbie and I pray for all childless couples every night, especially those who have walked this journey with us for so long (you know who you are ;) )

I miss him like crazy.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

One Year Ago (yesterday)

One year ago, on July 13th, 2014, I was starting my 28-trillionth cycle.  I had no earthly idea that that would be the last period I'd see for a long time.  I could never have imagined that it would be THAT cycle I would conceive.

One year ago, on July 13th, I was starting my 9th consecutive Consecration to Mary, a 33-day prayer culminating on the Feast of the Assumption.  Beginning a prayer, and beginning a cycle that would end in two glorious *mysteries* on August 15th.  (See video)

One year ago, we were in the midst of battling Mr TCIE's PTSD, low testosterone, depression, and a never-ending cascade of health issues in the midst of his mother dying of cancer.  And one year ago, we were resigned to the fact that both conception and adoption were absolutely off the table, at least for a few years.

One year ago, the world looked so different through the same eyes. 

And one year later, those eyes are beholding things they never would have believed they'd be seeing EVER, let alone exactly one year later.

My boy, born 9 months to the day after that fateful July 13th, 2014, now 3 months old on July 13th, 2015:

My daily "pump" of Mama's Milk:
My stash of "pre-loved fluff" cloth diapers, freshly stripped and sanitized (words previously completely foreign to me):

And as I begin this year's Consecration, I keep a very different, yet very familiar intention in my heart. 

Mary has been such a powerful intercessor for this family, and I pray she holds all of yours close, too.