Monday, February 28, 2011

The Wisdom of Experience

I have to be honest. For the last several months, anytime we talked about having another baby, the part that gave me anxiety was trying to figure out how to handle two kiddos at once. But the pregnancy part seemed like a breeze. I mean, I had done it before, right? And not to brag but I had a ridiculously easy pregnancy the first time around. Aside from a little bit of heartburn in my third trimester, I wouldn't have even known I was pregnant except for the little kicks and punches from the tiny hitchhiker. (Okay, I guess that is a little bit of bragging.)

I guess it only makes sense then that this pregnancy would be completely different from the last. For starters, I am tired all of the time. I know you are thinking "well, duh!" and you are right except that last time I didn't notice being this worn out. Of course, I was also still working 40-50 hours a week at a moderately stressful job so it's possible that I didn't notice any additional fatigue because I was always tired anyway. But this time, I swear I am ready for a nap as soon as Ben goes down. And quite honestly, I could probably use one in the morning as well!

I noticed last week that my hips were sore. I have also read about this as a symptom, but it seems awfully early to already be happening. Besides, I already have what you might call a plump figure. So, really Hips? You aren't already wide enough?! Not to mention that I have already carried one baby so shouldn't you already be in position or whatever?

My most distressing symptom to date is the nausea. I never had morning sickness the first time around. (Yes, I know, you probably hate me now and are thinking of clicking away from this page. Before you go, let me assure you that I am making up for it this time!) I was never sick with Ben. In fact, I felt great. I slept great, I woke up happy, life was good. This time, I am waking up to pee, I am always hot, and I am nauseous the minute I try to eat anything. I should probably admit that it may have something to do with the fact that what I am often putting in my mouth is typically not something that meets the nutritional requirements for an expectant mother. But I can't help it, sometimes a cookie is the quickest, closest thing to my grasp! I guess I should be grateful that the nausea hasn't morphed in to actual vomiting (knock wood), not to say that it couldn't or won't. Just that it hasn't gotten there yet.

I guess the bottom line is that I know nothing about pregnancy. I am starting to suspect that every pregnancy is different. Which leads me to the obvious and frightening conclusion that every baby is also different. So as cocky as I am now thinking I will know exactly what to do because I have done it before, I will really be the same old basket case googling "newborn sleep patterns" and "how much crying is normal" at 3am.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I love taking a test I can pass...

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a whiny entry about fertility treatments and how unfair my life was. I don't know if anyone read it, but if you did, I apologize for my pity party. I was still despondent the day after I posted my woes. I took a pregnancy test anyway because I wanted to confirm what my body had already told me so I could feel crappy and then move on. I am not sure that makes any sense but in my head it did at the time.

So I got out of bed bright and early with a full bladder and peed on the stick like a good little patient. To add insult to my injury - nothing happened! No hourglass in the little window. No "Not pregnant". No lines or plus signs. Nothing! The darn test was busted! Now, in the companies defense, I did have a vague memory of buying the box of pregnancy tests as part of a order and that it may have been delivered when the temperatures were less than balmy. Perhaps even snowing. A lot. In any case, I called the company but their help desk wasn't yet open. Ben was waking up so I shoved the package in a drawer and went about the business of getting our day started.

Later that morning, while waiting for my shower to heat up, I finally got around to calling the company. The lady was super nice and offered to send me a new test. (I don't know if you know but when you are going through fertility treatments, you use a lot of pregnancy tests!) She also explained that the error with the test was likely the result of a dead battery and wouldn't affect the other tests in the box. So, I went ahead and peed on another stick. This time the hour glass appeared.  And then this:

I debated posting about this on the World Wide Web (does anyone still call it that?) because of my own silly superstitions and also the whole "anonymous blog but what if I get discovered" anxiety. We haven't told our family or friends yet except for one or two very close, trustworthy folks. However, I use this blog to post about all things mom-related in our day to day life. Editing out this little surprise was making it hard to find topics to post about so I have decided to through caution to the wind, knock on wood, cross my fingers, and pray that I am not about to set a big ol' jinx on myself. 

We are beyond excited to become a family of four and my head is swimming with all of the things that need to happen between now and the time the stork gets here. We plan to tell our families in a few weeks at Ben's birthday. I am excited but also have mixed feelings - a little anxiety because it's still earlier than I would normally want to tell people and also a little guilt because it's Ben's party and I don't want to steal the focus from him. But because we live far away from our families, this is a rare occasion where we can tell everyone in person. I hope it won't be too traumatic for him. And if it is, he can always process it in therapy in twenty years. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

100th Post

This is my one hundredth post! I know all of you seasoned bloggers out there are probably giggling because you are on post 15,000 or something incredible like that, but I am still proud of my mini milestone. I started this blog to document what it was like to be Ben's mama and I think I have done a fair job so far. I am glad to be able to go back and read some of the funny or frustrating struggles over the last year. It's hard to believe that my little baby will be two in just a few more weeks.

The next few months will be full of many big changes. Ben has already started asking about the potty. He continues to ask to sit on the potty though he doesn't appear concerned with whether or not he actually has to go potty. But, it's a start! We will also be moving to a "big boy bed" in the next several months as well as moving from the nursery to Ben's own "big boy room".

We debated for the last several weeks about toddler beds versus twin beds. Which one would give more support, which one was more fiscally sound of a purchase, which one was safer for Ben, which was easier to get in and out of. Even more so because I was torn between buying him a big, plastic Buzz Lightyear toddler bed (that I knew he would adore but I wasn't a big fan of) and buying a nicer wooden twin bed with some adorable Curious George bedding. I want to tell you that we weighed all of the pros and cons like all good parents and finally made a well-informed and confident decision. The reality is that a sale on the bedding at Pottery Barn Kids made the decision for us. So we are going to go for it with the twin, but I fully expect to be posting lots of "silly me" type posts this summer when Ben decides that the bed is too big and won't stay in it. Whatever - at least his room will be cute.

Friday, February 18, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 117)

I started this blog as a way to record all of the great "mom" moments and to remember all the little minutia of raising my toddler which I am likely to forget when he is a moody teenager. But lately my blog has been a lot of navel gazing and not a whole lot of cute toddler moments. So toddler moments is this week's theme!

1) Ben is obsessed with the potty. Not going potty. Just sitting on it. He has yet to pee on it but frequently asks to "go potty". He then sits bare-butted on his potty chair and reads Boynton books until he gets bored and declares he is "done".

2) He likes to hide in the "cornuh" and runs to the space between the wall and the television. He then laughs maniacally while we pretend to look for him until he pops out from hiding and says "boo!" It's a great game.

3) Ben has recently begun jumping. Or rather lifting one leg emphatically and shouting "Jump! Jump!" I don't think he knows that he's not actually jumping and he's so ecstatic by it that I am sure not going to tell him.

4) The nap wars have continued on. He no longer wants to be rocked before his nap time or bed time. He demands "bed!" as soon as the lights are off and the book is over. As a result he is not relaxed and prefers to stomp around in the crib and throw everything out of it. I went to check on him and try rocking him earlier this afternoon and was greeted by the sight of all of the blankets and stuffed friends on the floor. He had one leg swung over the side of the crib and a huge grin on his face. It's only a matter of time until a successful jailbreak.

5) The Spring thaw has started. Or if not, there is at least a little "Spring teaser" outside. Ben has been wanting to run, jump and play (of course) so today I caved and we went outside for a walk. It was still chilly out and so our walk consisted mainly of walking up and down our street. While we were out we heard a cawing and Ben said "Mo-kee"! I laughed in spite of myself and pointed out the bird. Perhaps we need to spend more time outside?

6) We recently watched Bambi. I was apprehensive but thought he might enjoy the woodland critters. Both the husband and I watched him carefully during the scenes with the hunter but the message appeared to go right over his head. In fact, Bambi is a big hit. He frequently points at the tv, puts on his grumpiest face and demands "Watch Bambi Again!" Needless to say, this tactic is not very successful but very funny.

7) Ben got a Cabbage Patch doll from my in-laws for Valentine's Day. I wanted him to have a doll so he could get used to the idea of having a baby in the house for the purposes of a future sibling. Initially he hugged the little baby and carried it around. But after about 20 minutes, he lost interest. Now it seems that he has developed a fear of the doll. Whenever I try to hand it to him, he whimpers and shrinks away. This does not bode well for future offspring!

Click here for more quick takes!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Birthday Monster

The Birthday Monsters are in town. Not really, but they are on their way. My in-laws have already confessed to buying a couple of extravagant gifts for Ben's birthday and my parents are not much better. Everyone wants ideas for what to give him. Surveying my living room filled with toy detritus, I am tempted to say "donations to his favorite charity".

I think toys are important and I love that we have such generous family members, but I also feel overwhelmed by the idea of even more things that flash and beep in my house. Not to mention my general feeling that giving him everything he wants will eventually make him feel like he should always have everything that catches his eye. I know that grandparents are there to spoil. All of the grandparents consistently remind me of this. But, this also means that if they do all the fun gift buying/spoiling, it's up to mom and dad to do all the practical buying. Like the training potty. And the toddler dish ware. And the big boy bed. Not things we necessarily want to spend money on, but things that are needed all the same.

The real struggle for me is how to make room for all this stuff? Is it wasteful to donate things that we just received as Christmas presents? Even if they never get played with? Is it better to box it all up and save it for a rainy day? As any good pack rat will tell you - the "what ifs" make it hard to part with a lot of junk. What if I need that again? What if Ben decides he wants to play with it 6 months from now? What if the next baby would have liked it? What if we meet someone else who could use it? The reality is (at least in this house) out of sight, out of mind. Once stuff gets boxed up, odds are we will not even remember that we own it. In which case, it could then be donated, right? This seems like an easier plan to me than trying to turn the tide known as the will of the grandparents. I might as well spit in the wind. Perhaps when the Birthday Monsters arrive, I will pretend we are not home.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Drawing Board

I wanted to write something funny and witty today. I wanted to blog about a funny Ben moment or a silly mom moment or a sweet husband moment. But I don't have it in me. I don't know why but this whole day has been a struggle. I have continued to fight against a feeling of melancholy that has no real source. Or maybe it does. Because this weekend is when my cycle ends and the next one begins. So this highly emotional feeling of about-to-break might really just be the regularly scheduled hormone surge that comes right before the cramps and the backache. Which means we are back to the drawing board and starting another cycle of IUI.

When I think about the "dog and pony show" that is fertility treatment, I feel a little weary about having to start over. But an IUI compared to something more hardcore like IVF is really not that big of a deal. It took a couple of tries for our first so I fully expect it to take at least a couple for a second. I don't know why I feel so despondent about it. I mean, I knew it was unlikely to be a "once and done" sort of thing. Of course, there is still this 3 year-old girl in me who stomps her feet and shouts "It's not fair! It's not fair!" when she thinks of other womens effortless pregnancies. I still sometimes get frustrated that things can't just happen naturally for us and worse, there is no good reason for why that might be. That we still have to fight and struggle so hard for something that a lot of other people don't even really "try" at. I have to remind myself that I am already blessed with one child which is more than some women ever get.

The thing is that this time seemed perfect. It really seemed like all the stars were lining up for us. The procedure timing was off but then it wasn't. The scheduling was last minute and a sitter seemed unlikely but there she was. So, I guess a tiny whisper of hope started in me that said "It's a sign". And suddenly everything was a sign. Until now, when it's not. And the only real sign is that spot of blood or the two blue lines on the stick.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Last Wednesday was my Grandfather's birthday. He would have been 76 years old. He has been gone almost three years and I still find it odd to not be buying and mailing him a birthday card. He still fills my mind in ways that I can't comprehend. When things are going poorly, I find myself wondering what he would say or what he would tell me to do. The other night I had a disturbing dream involving running away from some evil something while carrying Ben and trying to protect him. In my dream, I asked myself  "What would Grandpa do if he were here?" and in my gut, I knew - he would try to protect us.

Dr. Seuss said "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened". I really love that message but it's hard sometimes to live it. My grandfather was a retired police officer, he was opinionated, forceful and stubborn. He was a driving force in our family and the relative I was closest to. He kept my secrets and gave me advice (whether I wanted it or not). Most importantly, he gave me unconditional love and support. On the night my husband proposed, I only made two phone calls. I called my father and then I called my grandparents. I woke them out of a dead sleep because of the time difference but they were overjoyed to hear my news.

Sometimes I feel sad to know that my son will never meet the person who had such an influence in his mother's life. The man he is named after. Even more so that my Grandfather never got to meet Benjamin. I didn't get pregnant until three months after he passed away. I feel certain that he would have liked Ben and probably doted on him similarly to the way he spoiled me as a child. Similarly to the way that Benjamin's own grandfather, my father in law, dotes on him. And that gives me solace and makes me smile.

My father-in-law is an incredibly kind and generous man. He is warm and he is wise. He shows mercy and caring to others even in situations where common sense might say otherwise. He is a man that I hope my son can grow to be like. Better still, Benjamin adores him. "Papa" was one of his first words and one that he says frequently. When my in-laws visit, Ben is always within an arm's length of his papa. Nothing causes him more distress than if Papa goes somewhere that he cannot go. So, my patient father-in-law takes care to make sure that doesn't happen very often. As a result, whether he is doing repairs around our house or digging in the yard, Ben is right there with him.

I will always miss my Grandpa. I suspect that on his 96th birthday, I will feel the same as I did on his 76th. I will always be a little sad that he and Ben never met. But, Ben has his own grandpa who he adores and who adores him (as only a grandpa can). His own person to tell secrets to and share stories, who will teach him, love him unconditionally and protect him from the world. And that makes it easier to smile.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow kidding!

Everyone I know is up in arms about the snow. The blizzard of 2011. The snowpacolypse. Whatever. Maybe it's because I am from the Midwest but it really doesn't phase me. If anything, I am glad for the blizzard. My husband's work closed early so he was able to come home and hang out with us before the roads got too crazy. I have been assaulted by some sort of head cold/respiratory virus thing so the timing couldn't have been better to have extra help around the house. I put Ben down for his nap and took one myself and then when he got up, he played with his dad and I resumed napping. Neither Ben nor my husband are ill so I have been doing my very best to stay away from them and not contaminate either one of them (lots and lots of hand washing!) I am not so arrogant as to think God put this blizzard in my path to provide me extra assistance when I would need it the most, but I am sure glad things fell in to place the way they did. I am still feeling pretty awful and I have a date with a bottle of Nyquil and my down comforter. Hopefully by the time the storm clears, this illness will have also gone it's merry way.

Stay warm, fellow bloggers!