Saturday, 21 September 2013

Six Months - a Letter to Bug

Hello, my sweet little Bug.

You are now six months old. I can't believe that half a year has passed already!  It seems like such a short amount of time, and yet it encompasses your entire life to date.  It is truly amazing to think about how much you have changed since you entered this world just six short months ago. You have grown from a tiny, relatively unresponsive bundle of cuteness into a sweet, funny, and engaging little boy.  Your eyes, once unfocused, are now bright and alert, taking in the world around you. Your movements, once seemingly random and uncoordinated, are becoming more focused and intentional. You reach for things now, grasp them and study them - and then invariably try to eat them. You are so keen to interact with everyone and everything that you encounter.
You have changed so much in the past month alone.  You have been sitting up unassisted for the past couple of weeks. I was so surprised and proud of you when you did it for the first time! I was sitting behind you in your bedroom, holding you up while you played with your toys.  You reached forward to grab something, and then just sat straight up by yourself! I started clapping and cheering you on, and you just looked at me as if to say, "What? So I'm sitting up. You do it all the time - what's the big deal?" Daddy works from home, so he was able to come in and share this "first" with you too. He was (and always is) so proud of you my little Darling. We both are.

You have graduated from a diet of breast milk only to one that so far consists of rice cereal, sweet potatoes, peas and butternut squash. I introduce a new food to you every 4 or 5 days. You LOVE to eat! You didn't quite know what to make of your first bite, which was of a homemade sweet potato puree. It didn't take you long though to decide that food was the best thing since, well, milk. After a few bites, you started to literally vibrate with excitement every time the spoon approached your mouth. Two weeks later, you are still doing this! It is the cutest thing. I put you in your highchair while I prepare your food. As soon as you see me take your little bowl out of the cupboard, you smile and start to bounce. You bang the table between bites, as if to say, "Come on Mom, hurry up!" You even seemed to enjoy peas, although you were a bit put off by the grainy texture.  Sorry kid. It's a result of the food being homemade, rather than coming from a jar. You'll get used to it.

You have made great progress in the nap department.  You have finally started to sleep other than in my arms! I admit, this development is very bittersweet. I know that it is necessary, as I will be going back to work soon, and will not be here to hold you while you slumber. I didn't want you to have to suffer through the transition while at daycare, without me being there to comfort you and help you adjust. So, I had to force the issue. While I am relieved and proud that you are doing so well, I am also sad. I love holding you while you sleep.  It is one of my very favorite things to do in this world. I now often find myself staring at your sweet face on the video monitor, wishing that you still needed me to hold you, if only for a little while longer. I know that this is better for you, and of course that's ultimately all that matters. I will get used to it.  I will never stop missing those moments with you though.

I imagine that I will feel something very similar on many occasions in the years to come. I am torn between two very powerful emotions when it comes to you, my love.  On the one hand, I want time to stop - or at least slow to a snail's pace. I love everything about this time in our lives, and I don't want it to end. I don't want to go back to go back to work, and leave you to the care of strangers. I don't want you to stop needing me. I don't want you to stop being my sweet little baby boy. I don't want you to grow up.
On the other hand, I can't wait to watch you grow up! I am so looking forward to raising you my Darling. I can't wait until you can talk to me. I am excited to hear the sound of your voice, and to know and share your thoughts, dreams, hopes and fears.  I am looking forward to building sand castles with you, teaching you how to ride a bike, baking cookies with you, and helping you with your homework. I can't wait to meet the man that you will become.
Ultimately, it is this latter wish that trumps all else.  I want you to grow up. I want to be the best mother that I can be to you in that process, and to help you become the best (and happiest) possible version of yourself.  
I can't tell what the future holds, my sweet Bug, but I can promise you this.  I will always be there beside you, ready to take your hand. I will always put your interests above all else. I will always strive to be the best mother that I can.  And I will always, always love you my Darling. More than anything. No matter what.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Please Don't Let Me Forget...

A few random things that I want to remember, forever:

  1. The way you look when you are sleeping in my arms;
  2. The way you sometimes keep "sucking" after I de-latch you when you are asleep;
  3. The way you reach out and explore my face with your little hands - and the look of wonder on your face when you do so;
  4. The way your face lights up when I laugh;
  5. How excited you get when I cheer you on (after you do something new for example), and how you then try to repeat whatever it was that got the cheer, over and over;
  6. How you giggle when I shake my head over you so that my hair brushes your face;
  7. The way you reach out and play with (or try to eat?) your books now when I read to you at night;
  8. The way you sometimes "talk" to me now, very insistently, and in a voice that is almost whisper quiet;
  9. The way you smile as soon as you see me, after being held by someone else;
  10. The weight of your little head resting against my chest, on my shoulder, or on my arm, after you have fallen asleep;
  11. The look on your face when you see or experience something new and exciting for the first time - a mixture of wonder, confusion, and amazement;
  12. Your tiny, chubby little  feet;
  13. Your sweet gummy smile;
  14. Your adorable belly laughs (which are most common when I pull a onesie over your head, strap you into the jolly jumper, or tickle your belly and chest); and
  15. The way you look at me sometimes....I just know that in that moment, you are trying to tell me how much you love me. It melts my heart.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

A Letter to my Sweet Samuel

Hello, my sweet little Darling.

As I write this letter to you, you are lying in my arms, fast asleep.   This is how you take most of your naps at this point. You fall asleep while I am feeding you. If I try to move you to your crib or swing once you have fallen asleep, you wake up and protest, even if your position was hardly disturbed in the process. It is as if you can immediately sense the change in temperature, the sudden absence of my heartbeat against you.

People keep telling me that I should not let you nap in my arms anymore, and that I should insist that you start sleeping in your crib during the day.  I know that at some point soon, I will have to listen to them.  You need to learn to nap independently of me at some point, as I will be returning to work in January and will therefore no longer be able to hold you as you fall asleep every afternoon.  I should also really be using the time that you are asleep during the day to get things done around the house. Your Daddy has been very patient with the current state of affairs, but really, I do need to keep this place a little cleaner.  

 I know that they are right, and yet, I can’t bring myself to push the issue too much just yet.  Holding you in my arms, feeling your chest rise and fall against me, staring at your sweet face while you dream – there are no words to describe how content and at peace I am in these moments.  I wish that I could capture them somehow, and bottle them up, so that I could relive them over and over again.

You often smile while you are sleeping.  My heart melts every single time.  Last week, you actually had a laughing fit in your sleep.  You suddenly starting cracking up – big, loud belly laughs – but you did not open your eyes. You kept sleeping, and smiling.   I hope that your dreams always bring you that much joy.  

To be sure, you are not always quite that happy when you are awake.  Like both of your parents, you have a very strong personality, and you insist on making your opinions and feelings known. The problem, of course, is that you cannot yet speak, and therefore, we do not always understand what you are trying to tell us.  This leads to certain frustration for you. I am actually starting to teach you sign language, so that you can hopefully begin to communicate effectively with us about some things before you develop the ability to speak.  You already smile when I make the sign for milk. I’m not sure if you understand the association yet, or if you just like watching me move my hands around and smile at you. It really makes no difference to me at this point. Anything that brings a smile to your face makes me happy.

Your Daddy and I spent the day with you today.  We make a point of spending at least one full day together as a family every single week.  Because it is summer right now, we generally spend it outside.  We take you to the zoo, for walks down on the boardwalk, and to the park in the valley by our home.  Today we took you to a different park, where you got to play in a swing for the first time. You weren’t quite big enough for it yet, so I kept my hand on your back while we swung you carefully, and your daddy took photos. Daddy is as persistent in attempting to capture as many of our moments together as I am. 

You loved the swing! You smiled and laughed the entire time.

You are still a little small to play with much of the other playground equipment. Daddy did take you over to sit on the slides though. 

                                               (I couldn't get you to look at me or the camera for the life of me!)

 We also took you swimming for the first time today! We had a feeling that you would like it, as you love your baths, and always have.  We were not wrong.  You were adorable, as always.  The look on your face when your toes touched the water for the first time was priceless. Thankfully, Daddy was there with his video camera to capture the entire thing!

I hope that we have many, many more days like today my darling.  Your Daddy and I both love you more than you will ever know.  We are both so very, very grateful for every day, night, hour and moment that we have with you. Even when you are a total fussbutt. J  You are the light of our lives – our sunshine.  The moment that you were born, you became our reason for waking up in the morning, for eating, and for breathing.  You are our world.

And with that my love, I will leave you for now. You are beginning to stir.  It is time to play with you, to talk to you, and to listen to you as you “talk” to me. To return your smiles, and try to elicit your laughter. It is time for more of those moments that I will forever wish that I could relive.

I love you my sweet darling, my little Bug.  More than anything. I always will, no matter what.


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

I'm Back!

I'm back!

To running, that is. :).

I reached a personal milestone a couple of weeks ago, running just under 6k for the first time in more than a year. I've been running similar distances consistently several times a week since then.

I know that 6k is not much for many runners, but it is still a major milestone for me, after not having run at all for well over a year.  It feels so great to finally be getting back into it!

Running is one of my favorite things to do. There are the obvious physical and health benefits that come along with it. More important for me though is the way that running makes me feel. After I finish a good run, I feel like I am on top of the world. It is such a great, natural high. Running also clears my mind, and allows me to work out any stress or anxiety (which I am prone to).  It feels almost as if I have taken a shower on the inside, if that makes any sense.  I feel refreshed, energized, and at peace.

Given how I feel about running, you can imagine how disappointed I was to have to stop running when I started fertility treatments last spring.  It probably would have been fine to keep up with it through that process, but a then-recent loss had made me very paranoid. I just couldn't go through that again. So, I stopped running.  I might have picked it up again once I became pregnant, but as you know from reading this blog, my pregnancy ended up being very complicated and high risk. I wasn't able to walk around much, let alone run.

The fact that my pregnancy was complicated and stressful made me miss the release and calming effect of running that much more.  You know how some women miss coffee, wine, sushi, etc., while pregnant? I missed running. (And beer. Lol)

I was so, so happy to be able to get back into it postpartum.  Because I hadn't run at all for so long though, I had to start slowly, roughly following a popular couch to 5k training program.

And now, finally, I'm back. :)

My distances will obviously increase from here on in, as will my pace.  But it just feels so damned good to get in good runs again on a regular basis, even if I'm still a ways away from my personal bests.

That's it. That was the only point of this post.

So much of what I think, do and write about now is about my sweet Samuel. This post was all about me. And I'm okay with that. :)

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

These are the Days...

It has been a while since I posted an update - sorry for that! Time just gets away from me so much more easily now I guess. I am almost always either busy entertaining and interacting with Bug, or enjoying some much needed downtime, which usually involves a baby sleeping in my arms (yeah, I still haven't pushed the nap issue yet). I often think about this blog, and lament my failure to keep it updated. I want to keep a record of this time - of what he was doing, and how I felt in these early days. I want to do everything that I can to help me remember every little detail, as I am quite certain that these are the best days of my life. I'm doing a very poor job so far, I know. I'm finally starting to really feel like myself again though, and am therefore hopeful that I will do better from this point forward.

Samuel is almost 4 and 1/2 months old. This has to be my favorite period with him so far. He is so alert, and keen on discovering and interacting with the world around him.  He grasps and plays with his toys now, and is always looking around for me if I am not in his line of sight.  He is quick with his smiles, and is pretty determined to make his opinions known, either by cooing, babbling, or (less frequently) crying.  He loves "standing", and will often fuss until I help him up.  He supports his own weight - I just help him balance.  He is a hyper little character. I am convinced he will be an early mover.  We will see I guess!

Although he is definitely still not a fan of being on his belly, he does seem to hate tummy time a little less now.  He will still cry after a few minutes, unless he's naked. Then he is fine for a while.  Strange, I know.

To be honest, I wasn't sure how I'd take to being at home all day with a little one, after being focused on my education and career for so long.  But, I am happy to say that I absolutely love it so far.  He is my favorite person, and I treasure our days together.  I try to get out of the house with him at least once a day, even if only to run an errand or two.  More often, I take him down for a walk in the valley near our home, or over to a nearby park.  He seems to like the bus and subway, and so I am taking him downtown more and more often.  We have also been out to a few mommy group meet ups, and out for lunch with a few women and babies who we have met through those groups and online.
My husband is still very busy with work, so we are on our own most days during the week. However, he makes sure to set aside at least one full day a week for family time (in addition to most evenings). We've been to the zoo a few times, the park, and for walks down on the boardwalk along the waterfront. We are also often out to friends' houses for barbecues, etc. But it's the days that we spend alone together as a family that I really love.

  I love those days. I believe that Samuel does too.  I think that his daddy is already his hero. :).
He is still a mommy's boy though.
I hope that he always will be, no matter how big his world becomes.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Cliche, but True

They really do grow up too fast.

 Bug is only 7 weeks old, and yet already I can see him changing and growing, and leaving the newborn stage behind.  His newborn clothes haven't fit for weeks.  (I admit that I shed a tear or two the first time I realized that he had outgrown them.). He is more alert every day, and is starting to try to communicate other than by crying (making vowel sounds, etc).  He can clearly see and focus on things that are much farther away now. He has amazing head and neck control, and can sit up (against something) without needing his head to be supported at all.  And the smiles! They are my favorite part of every day.

I absolutely love that he is becoming more interactive.  I also admit that part of me can't wait until he outgrows his fussiness a bit (okay, a lot).  Still though, it makes me sad to see him growing so quickly.  I love his little baby cuddles, the little noises that he makes, the way that he smells.  I love that look of wonder in his eyes as he studies my face.  His tiny little toes make my heart melt.  I have rarely been more content or at peace than I am when I am nursing him - it is as if at that moment at least, there is nothing else in the world that matters to either of us.

As weird as it may sound, I also kind of love that he needs me so much.  That I am his world right now.  As he is mine.

So, while I am certainly enjoying watching my son grow and develop, I admit that part of me is sad to see my little baby changing and growing so quickly.

Before I know it, he will no longer insist on napping only in my arms.   Nursing while nestled against me will no longer be his favorite way to spend his time.   He will not need me quite so much.  His world will grow exponentially, and I will only be a small part of it.

I guess I am just experiencing what countless other parents have gone through and lamented before me.  It may be cliche, but it is also true - they really do grow up too fast.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Six and a Half Weeks

Samuel is six and a half weeks old. I can't believe it has been that long!  At the same time though, life without him feels like a lifetime ago.  Certainly, our lives will never be the same, so in that sense, life without him WAS another lifetime.   He is the centre of our world now - everything revolves around him, his needs and well- being.

So, how have these past six weeks gone you might ask?  Well, it has certainly been an adventure!  We are both smitten with our beautiful, sweet boy, and feel so lucky to have him in our lives.  Truly, we are blessed.  Taking care of this sweet, precious little child is a privilege that I know I will never take for granted.

On a practical level, we are finally starting to settle into a bit of a routine, which is wonderful.  You see, as precious as our little Bug is, he has been a handful since the day he was born.  :). He did not sleep at first - at least, not anywhere other than in our arms.  He refused to lie flat, so we ordered a Rock n Play from the States (don't even get me started on the exorbitant shipping charges!). He would sleep in that, but only for an hour at a time, tops.  Nights were fun! Right around five weeks, we implemented a bedtime routine, started working harder to reinforce the difference between day and night (e.g. lights, noise), and started regulating how much he slept during the day (flame away, it worked).  Almost immediately, he started sleeping for longer stretches at night.  He is now up to starting with a good 4 hour stretch, then following that with one or two 1 to 3 hour stretches, usually for a toal of about 7.5 hours of sleep (broken up by 1-3 wakings).  We are ecstatic!

He still refuses to nap anywhere but in my arms.  I know that is not sustainable, but for now I admit that I don't fight it too much.  Holding him while he dozes is one of the most amazing feelings I have ever experienced, and I know that I will miss it desperately when he outgrows it.  I will start pushing the issue more soon, I promise. :)

He continues to be a very fussy little baby.  From what I have read though, the fussiness should be peaking right about now, after which it should gradually get better, usually by about 3 to 4 months.  We are holding onto that.  In the meantime, we are enjoying the smiles that we do get, which are truly magical and heart-melting.  I still tear up when he does it.

Welcoming this little angel into our lives has been nothing short of life changing.  Sure, it's been challenging, and I'm sure it will always be in one way or another.  But I can't imagine my life without him now.  I really can't.  He means more to me than everyone  and everything else in this world, combined. I honestly just can't articulate the joy he has brought to us.  We are so, so blessed.

And seriously, he is pretty cute!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Early Lessons

Some things I have learned in my almost-three-weeks of motherhood:

1.  All of the parenting books and advice in the world cannot actually prepare you for the first weeks of motherhood.

2.  Sleep deprivation is infinitely more difficult to cope with when you realize that you may ever actually have an opportunity to sleep well again.  It is very different from lost sleep when you know and can look forward to catching up with a good eight hours after exams/work/ whatever else is keeping you up passes.

3.  Some babies do not like to be put down.  Ever.  Period.

4.  It's amazing what you can accomplish one-handed when you don't have a choice.

5.  After a bath, Bug will almost always have an explosive poop.  The only question is whether he will then also pee on me and himself while I try to clean him up.

6.  Babies can pee in the own ears.  Seriously.

7.  A clean sleeper will invariably lead to spit up within half an hour, if not minutes.

8.  Growth spurts suck.  Literally.

9.  You cannot "sleep when baby sleeps" if baby refuses to sleep anywhere other than on you.

10.  Poop and pee and lack of sleep notwithstanding, you have never known a love like the one you will feel for your child.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


My little Bug is finally here! Samuel James was born on March 19, 2013 after 33 hours of labor. He is precious and amazing, and words simply cannot express how smitten I am. 

Delivery was difficult and downright scary at one point - his heart rate began to dip into the 40s (yes, the 40s) during contractions. I didn't know what was going on at the time, only that all of a sudden there were no less than ten doctors in the room, including high risk specialists who I recognized, and cardio specialists (his heart rare had been high or "tacky" throughout the last six or so hours of labor). I was told the baby needed out NOW, and to push, push, PUSH without breaks. Vacuum suction was used because it was so urgent that he be born right away. I was so terrified! It felt truly surreal. But in the end, all was okay, and my little Bug was born healthy and beautiful after just 30 minutes of pushing. I suffered numerous tears because of the speed at which he was delivered (things weren't given a chance to stretch out), but obviously that was totally worth it.

I have a baby. He made it out alive and well. I still can't quite believe it. :)

I'm not going to lie, the past two weeks have been very difficult. I had problems breastfeeding which were eventually resolved by use of a shield, Bug refuses to sleep lying down AT ALL, ever, and he is a bit colicky (he may have reflux). We are in survival mode, and functioning on less than 2 hours of sleep per day. I may do a post about this later. Through it all though I have not lost sight of just how blessed I am. I love him so, so, so much. I didn't know it was possible to feel such love before I met him. What I thought was "love" before cant even compare.

On that note, I have a diaper to change. I actually love doing that, because I get to play with his little toes when I do. He hates it. Lol

Anyway....more later. When I find a way to get a bit more sleep!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Any Time Now!

I am so ready to meet this little man! 
Don't get me wrong, he can take all the time he needs - I am not in a rush to push him out before he is ready.  I'm not doing anything to try to induce labour.  I'm just becoming very, very excited at this point.  My due date is 11 days away! 
I was 50% effaced at my appointment on Friday, but "not very" dilated.  My OB did say that he is down extremely low, and that she could feel his head.  In her words, "he's ready to come out."  It's just a matter of time.  :)
We are almost ready now too.  We are almost unpacked, and the nursery is almost finished.  We don't have paintings or photos up yet, either in the nursery, or the rest of the home.  We are still waiting for the wall art for the baby's room to be delivered, so there is not much we can do there.  While it would have been nice to have one of those picture-perfect nurseries waiting for him before he arrives, I'm sure he won't notice, or mind.  He will be sleeping in our room for the first few months anyway.
Even though the room is not quite ready, I thought I would post a few photos of the things that are in place.  I'll post photos of the complete nursery when the final touches (wall art, curtains, etc) have been added.
First, here is a before shot.  My husband and I spent hours staring at those samples, and made no less than three runs out for more over the course of a weekend.  Everything looked green for some reason!  We had 10 samples up on the wall before we were finally able to make a decision.

Here is the crib - I love the bedding!

This is one of two dressers, which were purchased by my mother-in-law when she was pregnant with my husband.  They were in his bedroom until he was a teenager.  They were understandably a bit beaten up, and a really ugly shade of light brown - she had them refinished for us, to match his crib.  This photo really doesn't capture how beautiful they are!  They are solid wood, and the grains in the wood are just stunning with the finish, which has a hint of cherry to it.  Anyway, here is one of them:

And finally, here is the glider.  It was ridiculously expensive, but so comfortable and hopefully, totally worth it.  I love that it doesn't look like a glider or rocker, and that it has a locking mechanism (safer for our cats).  It will also recline flat, with a foot rest that pops out.  We plan to move it into the living area once it has served its purpose in the nursery. 

That is pretty much what we have done in the nursery so far.  I know that it doesn't look like much yet, but I think it will come together nicely.  I also think that we have made pretty good progress, given that we just moved in in January!

 Now it is really just a matter of waiting for Bug to make his debut.  :)

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

38 Weeks! Holy Cow.

Well, as of tomorrow anyway!  I seriously can't believe that I have made it this far, and that I am about to have a baby!

He seems rather anxious to make his debut.  I haven't had an internal yet, but I did have a NST yesterday as a result of his heart rate being very elevated during an ultrasound (he was moving like crazy).  The nurse asked me several times, "Are you sure you can't feel that?"  I couldn't feel a thing, but apparenty I was having contractions.  Mild, for sure, and nothing to indicate that I was (or was about to be) in actual labour.  Still, contractions! 

Knowing that made this all seem very real. 

I am also told that he has moved down very low.  It often feels as if he is literally digging at my cervix. 

He could decide to join us at any time! 

I am ready to meet him.  :)  I mean, I'm not ready - the nursery isn't done, we still haven't finished unpacking - but I am ready in every way that really matters.  The important items are in place - ie. the crib, bassinet, diapers, wipes, etc.  We will be able to feed him, soothe him, bathe him, and put him down to sleep safely and comfortably.  The rest is just details.

And I am ready to be a mother! 

Actually, that statement is totally misleading.  I already am a mother.  I have been since I first learned that a little life was growing inside me last year - our angel baby.  I have been a mother to this little Bug since he was conceived. 

What I really mean to say then, is that I am ready to meet my son.  :)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Still here!

It has been quite a while since I posted an update - I apologize for that! Things have just gotten so crazy, I haven't had much time to reflect.  Given that it has been a month and a half since my last post, I figured that I would force myself to sit down and put something together.  So, here is my update...

We moved in January, which made for a pretty crazy month.  Note to self: do not move at 6 months pregnant ever.again.!.  It was seriously not a great decision on our part.  I wasn't able to help much (other than with some packing), and my poor (and amazing) husband did most of it.  We are very lucky to have a great set of friends, many of whom showed up on moving day to help us as well.    It is amazing how much stuff  you can accumulate after living with someone for almost 10 years!  In any event, we did it, and are now still in the process of unpacking.  Most of my restrictions have been lifted, so I can help more now, which is great.  It is still slow-going, but we will get there.

The nursery however, is another story.  Nothing is done.  Nada.  Zilch.  It has not even been painted.  That is starting to stress me out, with 4 weeks to go until our little guy's anticipated debut.  I feel like it should be picture perfect and ready to go now.  We have most of the stuff purchased and/or en route, so it is really just a matter of painting and getting everything together once it gets here. My husband has promised to tackle it this week.  The man really has been a saint through all of this.

I have been off work for almost two weeks now, at my doctor's insistence.  My fluid was low during a a growth scan a few weeks ago.  Given the history of this pregnancy and the fact that I am still spotting consistenty, my doctor decided that I should stop working at 34 weeks.  I'm not complaining!  I am very fortunate to have a great short term disability insurance policy, such that I am still getting paid a decent portion of my salary while I am off. I can certainly use the time to get things together.

I am being monitored very closely now, with weekly ultrasounds, weekly appointments with my OB (which I think is normal at this point anyway?) and a high risk specialist who is overseeing the pregnancy via my OB.  As usual, Samuel is doing extremely well, in spite of all of the complications and issues that have arisen through the course of this pregnancy.  He continues to measure ahead, but his lead is shrinking, which I am told is normal and healthy.  He was in the 60th percentile last week.  The ultrasound techs always comment on how much hair he appears to have. :) I love seeing him every week, and am extremely grateful for the extra reassurance that this level of scrutinty and monitoring provides.

As for me, I am feeling great.  I have the usual third trimester discomforts, including exhaustion, sore feet and back, heartburn, etc.  You will never hear me complaining about any of it though! I am just so, so thankful to be pregnant with this baby boy, and to have made it this far. I can't believe that we will get to meet him in less than a month!! Just the thought makes me smile, every time!

Now if I can just get the nursery ready in time..... :)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Reflecting on 2012

I do not generally revere New Years Eve or New Years day, mostly because I have never really been able to grasp what is so special about it, other than it being another excuse to celebrate and do something special with friends and loved ones.  In my view, a new year starts every single day - every single second, in fact.  In that sense, New Years is no different from any other day of the year, except that it marks the end (and beginning) of the calendar year.
That said, I do sometimes take the opportunity on New Years to reflect on the past 12 months, and to give some thought to how I want or anticipate the next 12 months to go.  I did just that last year, on January 1, 2012.  In retrospect, it is amazing how wrong I was.  2012 was nothing like we had expected.
I started 2012 full of hope, and plans.  We had been trying to conceive since September 2011, and did not yet know that we had been successful in creating a little life together in December.  Dreaming about starting our family was therefore my focus last New Years.  I knew nothing about miscarriage or fertility problems (other than that I suspected that I had low progesterone), and gave no thought whatsoever to the possibility that once I became pregnant, there might be any outcome other than a bouncing baby in my arms nine months later.
I also began 2012 somewhat resigned to the fact that I would be "stuck" in my then-current job forever.  I was a commercial litigator at the time.  While I loved (and still love) law from an academic perspective, I had come to realize over the course of my 6 year career that a private litigation practice did not make me happy.  In fact, in some ways, I hated it.  It was however all that I was trained to do.  After 7 years of school and tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, I felt trapped.  When we decided to start our family, I knew at that point that the time for making a drastic career change had passed.  We needed the stability and financial security that my position provided.  We could not afford to forgo my salary while I went back to school.  While I was willing to accept a salary cut in exchange for happiness, I had not yet found an alternate position or career opportunity that I felt would provide that trade off.  I had therefore accepted that I would return to my position as a litigator after taking no more than a few months of maternity leave following the birth of our first child.
 As I said, 2012 turned out very differently than I had expected. 
 In January 2012, we found out that I was pregnant.  We were shocked, as I had experienced what I thought was my period in December, in that I bled for a week, right on schedule.  As we tried again in what we thought was a new cycle in January, we could not figure out why I was not ovulating "on schedule", despite the fact that I continued to get postive ovulation test readings every day.  I started to bleed/spot after sex, which had become painful because my breasts literally felt like they were going to fall off.  So, against all logic, I took a test.  As I said, we were shocked to see two pink lines.  Shocked, and absolutely elated.
 Sadly though, the spotting continued.  I had several ultrasounds, where I saw our seemingly normal and healthy child, with a strong heartbeat each time.  There was no explanation for the bleeding; all we could do was hope and pray.  It was not enough.  We said goodbye to our angel baby in our home in late January, 2012. 
 I had thought that I had experienced pain and loss in my life before last year, and that I understood what it meant to have your heart broken.  I was wrong.  Nothing compared or can compare to the loss of a child, even when that child is still the size of a raspberry, growing inside you.  My entire world fell apart.  My heart was literally broken.
 Several days later, I received an email from a company that I had applied for a job with the previous August.  To say that it was my dream job is not an exageration.  I had coveted the position for years, however, there had been no openings for a long time.  I still checked their website weekly, and when I saw the posting, I could not get my resume out quickly enough. I went through the interview process, but had heard nothing from them for many weeks.  I had assumed and accepted that the job had gone to someone else.  Again, I was wrong.  Just days after losing our first child, I was offered my dream job - and the opportunity to escape a life that I had felt forced to accept.  It was such a bittersweet time.  I do believe though that that opportunity ultimately did help me heal (or hide) from the pain of our loss.
 Given that I was starting a new job, and not just any job, but THE job, we decided to put trying to conceive on hold for a few months while I settled in.  I also needed that time to mourn my first baby.  I was just not ready to try again so quickly.
 In the interim, we underwent fertility testing at the insistence of my doctor, who refused to deal with the progesterone deficiency without first running a full battery of tests.  The news was not good (although I certainly recognize that it could have been worse).  As I suspected, I was diagnosed with low progesterone.  I was also diagnosed with low ovarian reserve.  My husband had very low sperm motility, and a varicoscele. 
 We decided that in the circumstances, we couldn't wait any longer.  We therefore began trying again with the assistance of our fertility clinic, including one monitored natural cycle, one unmedicated IUI, and one cycle of Gonal-f.  That last cycle gave us our BFP.
 As you know from reading this blog, our second pregnancy did not go smoothly.  We had our second miscarriage early on, when we lost Bug's twin.  The hematoma and constant bleeding thereafter resulted in this pregnancy being by far the most difficult experience of my life.  To be falling ever more deeply in love with this child inside you, all the while knowing that you had a strong chance of losing him at any time....well, that was tough. 
 So here I sit again, reflecting on the last 12 months, and giving some thought to the future.  In the end, while 2012 brought more heartache than I could ever have anticipated, it also brought great joy, and good fortune.  We are so very blessed that through our love for each other (and with a little medical help), we were able to create yet another prescious life, who has thrived despite all odds.  Our relationship with each other has also grown stronger, as we faced the loss of two babies and the ever-present threat of losing Bug together.  The fact that I was lucky enough to finally find happiness and fulfillment in my career is an added and very meaningful bonus.
 As for looking ahead to 2013, well, I have I have very high hopes.  While I know that life can turn out very differently than you anticipate, I refuse to enter this year with anything but hope, faith and optimism.  I can't wait to meet our son, and to begin this new chapter in our lives together, as a family.