Friday, August 31, 2012

Ready To Be Me

During my last 2ww after FET, I was anything but optimistic. I had just suffered a miscarriage following a roller coaster IVF and my heart was still raw and couldn't fathom anything good happening for me. Chad and I both spent most of those two weeks bracing ourselves for disappointment and heartbreak. We truly had very little hope that this FET had really worked. Finally we realized we needed to escape and just be us, if only for a moment. So we sailed off for a short island getaway to take a breath and release some anxiety the day before beta. While we were there we took a moment to make a wish in a little fountain tucked into a hidden courtyard. My beta was less than 24 hours away so we held hands, tossed our penny in and felt our very first ray of hope. That short 2 day trip was the first time I felt really like the me I was before infertility. If only for a moment, I could just be.

Two years later we journeyed to that island again this time with the amazing little girl that was born as a result of the very same FET we had been so worried would fail. And of course we revisited that hopeful fountain. It was so amazing to experience that mini vacation again but this time with her there to enjoy it with us. She delighted in all of the new sights and sounds and we delighted in seeing them again through her eyes. And having so much traveling with her already under our belts and so much more to come, we are excited about the many opportunities to see old places become new again as we experience them as parents for the first time. 

Next week though, we are taking a truly groundbreaking trip: the first since Snow Pea was born for which she won't be joining us. I am kinda, sorta freaking out about being away from my baby girl for the first time since she was born. But I am also kinda looking forward to the break from parenting. Don't get me wrong, I love being a stay at home mom and wouldn't change that for anything right now, but it gets exhausting. Really exhausting. And the idea of a having few days to not worry about why my child is whining and whether I am a terrible mother for giving in to said whines sounds pretty nice right now. 

I feel so incredibly conflicted for even thinking I need a break and not just for the reasons you might think. Yes of course, part of it is because I want to be with my daughter and I know that I will without a doubt miss her immensely. I can't imagine missing 4 entire days of her life. But I also feel like I somehow don't deserve to feel tired or worn out. I mean what do I really do to warrant the need for a "break"? Yeah, I'm a stay at home mom, but I'm no heroine. I rarely cook, my house is always a mess and as much as I adore my girl I also find myself occasionally overwhelmed with the demands that come with full-time caregiving. I feel like there are so many more women and men out there giving more, doing more- moms and dads who work and still have the same responsibilities I do when it comes to grocery shopping, laundry washing and dinner making. There are moms who meal plan and have their crock pots set up, ready for the night's meal as they put together homemade, educational activities for their tots, while I rely on a day full of the same store bought toys, trips to the library for storytime and puzzling over what to make for dinner about 5 minutes before we should be eating it. I try to convince myself that the "pinterest" world of crafts, homemade meals, perfect exercise schedules and cleaning schedules isn't really an accurate picture of what happens in other people's homes, but it is hard to believe I'm not the only slacker sometimes. If I can't even keep up with my own to-do list, what exactly do I need a break from?

Then of course there is the infertility thing. I wanted this more than anything in the entire world. I still do. I truly do love being a parent and not in a passive way. The thought is consciously in my head at least once a day. Every time I try to do something that used to be easy that is now instead a struggle to keep my toddler from running into traffic or throwing a tantrum, I can't help but realize how much more I enjoy having a demanding baby making it impossible for me to eat my dinner while it's hot than I ever did actually eating said dinner. But that doesn't mean I don't ever want to eat a hot meal again. And maybe even have a glass of wine to go with it once in a while and some uninterrupted adult conversation while I'm at it. It's this crazy internal debate that I go through constantly. I have so much fun being a mom and I am so grateful for it but I also just want to be me sometimes without having to think for two people. I love it but no matter how great it is, it can be draining. That thinking for two people thing is what gets really hard. My brain feels like complete mush by the end of the day. 

I miss "me" stuff. I need more of it. I realized I am kind of losing myself to the toddler routine. I get out every day, I have tons of friends to interact with- both parents and not, I am not shutting myself away by any means but I still feel like I often lose sight of what makes me, me. My 30th birthday is coming up and since I was 23 I have been planning to throw an epic 80s Prom to celebrate. But in the past few months, it has started to sound like too much work and I have lost excitement for it. Part of it I think is that I really do have a lot of other things to plan and prepare for and this party really will take some work, but I also realized I haven't been excited because I haven't been in touch with the part of me that wanted this in the first place. I haven't listened to own music in ages because my CD player and pandora station is always blasting The Wiggles or Laurie Berkner. As much as I love the kids tunes Eliana and I jam out to, I need to rock out to my music again too. That used to be a huge part of me. I spent my entire pregnancy and Snow Pea's 1st year belting Journey, REO Speedwagon and Depeche Mode into a hairbrush to get psyched up for planning my birthday bash, but now that she has reached toddlerhood I've caved to playing "Shake My Sillies Out" a thousand times a day to keep her happy. 

I know it is probably selfish and that I probably don't actually need or deserve it, but I still really want a break. I want to spend time with my husband without us both having to divide our attention. I want to be able to put all of my energy into something that I really want to do. Of course, I'm sure I will barely remember any of these feelings this time next week when I'm missing my baby and counting the moments until I can with her again. But hopefully, just like that 2ww escape trip, I will find that moment that will snap my brain out of whatever funk it might be in and I will come home feeling refreshed and recharged and ready to be the best mom and the best me that I can be.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Help Wanted!

The word of the month is BUSY! Holy full schedule, Batman! Despite having three different posts floating through my head this month I have actually written exactly zero of them and now that I am finally sitting down, the words escape me, so instead I'm claiming my right as a blogger to use this space to decompress and beg for advice on a few exciting upcoming events. 

First up, we are moving! Chad and I moved to California just before we began our IVF journey 3 years ago and chose to rent a cute 2 bedroom apartment with the intention of becoming a family of three. Now that we have finally filled our second bedroom with a much longed-for child, we have realized that it won't be long until we're ready to begin the journey to baby #2 and will need a bigger space. After much searching, we found the PERFECT 3 bedroom house in our favorite neighborhood and we can't wait to move in and get settled into our new space. I am kind of freaking out about the actual moving part though since we will be doing it with a toddler in tow. She knows her home, her room, her neighborhood and now we are taking her out of all of that. How will she react? Will she have a hard time adjusting? And how the heck am I going to manage the actual logistics of getting her stuff moved and set up? Should I hire a babysitter for the day? If you have ever moved with a child any advice or tips to make the process as painless as possible would be VERY appreciated. We get our keys on the 1st but the lease at our current place isn't up until the 25th, so we have some time to play with. 

We do however, have to give up a good chunk of that time for a pre-planned getaway with my best friend and her boyfriend to celebrate her 30th birthday. Just after Labor Day, we will be packing up for train trip up the coast to Portland, Oregon. We are really excited to get away with some good friends and explore a new city however I am also kinda nervous about the first ever trip we are taking away from Snow Pea! Eek! My in-laws will be arriving a few days before we leave to hang out and then stay with E while we are away. I trust them completely and I know she will have a blast with them, it's me I'm worried about. In the 16 months since she was born, the longest I have been away from her is about 4 hours and now I am getting ready to embark on a trip away for over 4 days! ACK! Please, please, please if you have any words of wisdom to share that might help me enjoy this trip and keep my "I miss my baby tears" at a minimum, I would be thrilled to hear them. I am thinking that with us being gone it might be easiest on Eliana if we keep most of her things in our old place until we get back rather than trying to move before we leave. However, since she will be spending time with her grandparents maybe the new place would provide a neutral, new territory that will make feel more comfortable with following their guidance? She has one regular babysitter and has always gone to her house and done very well. of course if we move before we will have zero time to actually set up and get settled before we leave for Portland. To move before or after? Thoughts?

Finally, and perhaps the most exciting, We're going to NYC! In the days after I learned about winning Resolve's Hope Award for Best Blog, Chad and I pondered whether we could make a trip to the Big Apple to attend The Night of Hope happen. And I am ecstatic that our trip is completely booked and we are definitely going! I am beyond thrilled to make another trip to what is hands down my favorite city on the planet and to bring my amazing baby girl along to experience it too. My friends think we're crazy for bringing a toddler to the city but I figure thousands of people are raising toddlers in the very same neighborhoods we will be spending a mere 5 days in. People do it everyday so obviously NYC with a toddler is completely do-able. But I would still love any tips, tricks or advice from anyone who has visited or lives in New York on navigating the city with a toddler. What attractions are worth bringing her to and which should we skip? How manageable is the subway with a little one? What do I need to know that I am probably completely forgetting? What do I need to bring and what should I leave at home? My awesome in-laws are saving the day yet again by staying in the city with us and babysitting while we attend the Night of Hope. So the big stuff is taken care thanks to their amazing generosity.

Whew! That is just a snippet of all the big, exciting stuff I've been working on lately. In addition to all of that, I am still working toward my grad school application, planning a trip to Texas to visit my brother-in-law's family after our newest nephew is born next month, planning my epically huge 30th birthday bash in December and getting ready for a visit from my mom who arrives here the day after tomorrow. I wish she could stay longer but I plan to make the most of the long weekend we are spending with her. It will be nice to give my brain a short break from planning and researching and just enjoying time together. So while my brain is on vacation please feel free to fill in and share any and all words of wisdom on any of these upcoming events. The blog and twitter community has always been one of my favorite sources of great firsthand information and you have no idea how much I appreciate your input!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's a Major Award!

I still can't believe it. I am just so blown away and overjoyed and excited! This is huge! My blog post for this year's National Infertility Awareness Week ( you can find it here) has been awarded RESOLVE's Hope Award for Best Blog! I WON A MAJOR AWARD! A national award from the most important infertility organization in the country. I still haven't recovered from the shock that out of nearly 300 posts this year, mine was nominated as one of five finalists. I read each of the other nominated blog posts and found such incredible women with amazing writing in each. Being included in that group of women in itself just blows me away, but to actually be voted by all of you as the award winner, I'm honored! I'm thrilled! I'm so incredibly grateful!

A little over two years ago I began blogging as an outlet to talk about what I was going through in my quest to be a mom. I had only just begun that journey then. I hadn't been fully diagnosed or begun any sort of treatment. No one in my real life knew what I was going through. It felt too scary, too personal to share. Through this blog I sorted out my feelings as I went through IVF, miscarriage, FET and pregnancy. I have delved into the hopes as well as the anxieties and fears of each of these experiences in a way that I couldn't in "real life". I have also been incredibly fortunate to receive an overwhelming amount of love and support from a community of strong women and men facing struggles similar to my own. And from that support and the self-reflection gained by sharing my experiences, I gained strength- Strength to face each new step of the journey, no matter how frightening or overwhelming. Strength to finally "come out" with my infertility and my loss to anyone and everyone that I know. Strength to speak up and advocate for others in the ALI community, to stand by them and hold their hands as they have done for me.

Becoming a parent shifted my role in this community considerably but I have still always felt that I am very much a part of it, that I still have a voice here, a perspective worthy of contribution. I still care deeply about those still in the trenches and try to do my best to support them through their cycles, losses, adoptions, child-free decisions and everything in between. I have also developed a passion for spreading awareness and an understanding of infertility and involuntary childlessness to those outside our of community and it is with these goals as well as my ongoing need to work through my own emotions on parenting after infertility that I continue to consider myself an infertility blogger. I am so grateful to still be a voice in this community and although many of my parenting posts go unread by those who need that distance, I know that it doesn't change that we are still there for each other, still members of this same undesirable club.

I have never been a superstar blogger. I have a pretty basic (read:boring) design, I can barely keep up with a few posts a month, I only have a handful of regular readers and even fewer comments each time I post. I have always done my best to be honest and thoughtful every time I write, but ultimately I think my blog is a pretty quiet, humble corner of the internet and that's fine by me. Which is why I am still so incredibly blown away and humbled to be awarded with RESOLVE's Hope Award for Best Blog. I just can't thank those of you who voted for me enough. It is truly an honor to be a part of the collective voice of this community. But I am not the only award winner for this years Night of Hope. Please take the time to visit RESOLVE and learn about the other amazing advocates, volunteers and organizations making a difference in the lives of those with infertility by going here:

This blog has given me so much. I always knew it would be an outlet for my emotions, but I never dreamed it would also be a catalyst for so much growth and strength. Thank you so much for every bit of support you all have given me. This award is incredible, I am beyond at excited to receive such a major award, but knowing I have so much love out there from all of you means even more.