Making peace with it

Since M was born I get asked when we’re going to have another. It seems that friends and family seem to feel that having her has somehow reset our fertility issues. It’s been awkward. Often, I shrug it off and say “not now” when really all I want to say is “not ever” and “not by choice”.

S and I had a pretty significant heart to heart after M was born. I expressed concern that I’d like another child but worry that I will not be able to carry. S expressed concern that bed rest wouldn’t be feasible a second time around and that ultimately he doesn’t know if he can handle other losses.

We have no guarantee. It took us 4 pregnancies and 5 lost babies to bring M home. It took a cerclage, boatloads of medication and supplements and 160 days of bed rest to bring this little bundle home. Can I honestly do that again? Probably not.

2f8057061293782de8f6560422b79409

At my 6 week post partum visit I met with my MFM and asked her questions about future pregnancies. She was very clear that I could carry another child but that I should go into another pregnancy armed with the reality that at some point I will need to be placed on strict bed rest. I cannot even imagine.

We’d love to give M a sibling. But, how can I bring home a sibling when I’m not even sure I can manage to get that baby here safely. With M, we knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into when we decided to forge ahead with trying to conceive. Now, having M home with us I’m terrified that trying to bring home a rainbow sibling will somehow prevent me from being the best mommy I can be.

And the losses. I just cannot deal with another loss. I feel as though I’ve dealt with my fair share and now that we’re slightly removed from trying to conceive I see just how destructive and emotionally scarring that whole experience was for us. I’m scared – I do not want to be back there.

I’ve been swaying back and forth with my decision to be one and done for weeks. I sometimes look at M and think “you’re all I need baby girl” then moments later I get a tightening feeling in my chest and I worry that she needs a sibling and that I’m just not able to give her that. So many very fucked up emotions.

I needed to admit to myself  and the the world that we’re 99% one and done. Holding this in and not acknowledging that this is likely where we stop trying is something I needed to do. Admitting to it makes it real but beyond this it gives me the opportunity to accept it, grieve for the family I thought I’d have but never will and accept this new normal moving forward.

Some days though, I wish that the number of children I want to have wasn’t dictated by the fact that my uterus is so fucked up that it kills babies.

I wish that the choice was mine.

Advertisements

Brining home a rainbow baby

In the first days and weeks following M’s birth I caught myself googling “does my baby love me?” more often than I’d like to admit. She was home and healthy but I walked around with this nagging feeling that my rainbow didn’t love me. I’d carried her for 40 weeks and in that time I’d imagined that bringing her home would be far more emotional – that she’d get here and I’d feel as though she’d completed our family. Sure, I loved her and felt as though she was meant to be here all along but there was something unexplainable missing. I felt like my baby hated me.

Via googling I realized that I wasn’t alone. There were clearly mamas out there who felt fulfilled and loved from the very first moment but there were also other mothers like me who weren’t sure if this tiny little human felt the same sort of love they did. I’ve blogged about how difficult it was for me to bond to M. Couple my bonding issues with this scary feeling that my own child hated me and I became a frantic mess waiting for something, anything, tangible proof that this tiny little miracle knew I was her mommy and that she loved me as much as I loved her.

il_570xN.303180288

The truth is, the newborn stage is hard. Babies are completely oblivious to what is going on around them. Sure, they know who their mama’s are because they’ve got an amazing sense of smell but in terms of positive reinforcement, there just isn’t anything. M literally ate, peed, pooped and slept for the first 4 weeks of her life. When she was awake it was as if she wasn’t here with us. She would stare at me blankly unable to communicate any emotion and it was just so damn hard and I’m sure that this lack of emotional connection only amplified the feeling that I wasn’t bonding which created a viscous cycle of guilt because holy shit I’d waited for so long to get here and now I was questioning everything.

Things really started to change when she hit 6 weeks old. She became more alert and far more away of her surroundings. She started to smile socially and clearly knew that I was her mommy which made me realize how worth it everything was. It sucks that we had such a rough start but it’s an honest account of how difficult the first couple of weeks were. I’d love to say that things went smoothly from the get go but that simply wasn’t the case for us.

Bringing home a baby is hard. Brining home a rainbow baby is even harder. There’s nothing easy about any of this and although it’s the most difficult thing I’ve had to do thus far she’s worth every second of doubt, fear and anxiety.

Dream Big

Since we finalized on the new house I’ve caught myself searching Pinterest for living room ideas. I feel like we need a change. When we got married 6 years ago we bought massive dark furniture. Dark couch, dark end tables, dark entertainment unit. Dark everything really. Our current house isn’t the brightest and combine that with the dark decor and the house didn’t really have a light and airy feeling. The new place is far brighter but the new layout doesn’t really fit with our massive pieces. Mom is moving with us and will occupy the basement apartment and decided that she’d like to take our stuff since it works well with her space. So, I now need to buy new couches, decorative tables and entertainment unit. We’re planning to keep our dining table and sideboard, bedroom furniture and appliances. But, we’re basically starting over when it comes to the living room and overall decor of the house.

These are a few of my favourite living room looks. I love these but recreating them will depend totally on the cost since we’ve got a really small budget for this project.

0effd259401065beb7d5050826f788d6

Love love love the blue accents and how bright this looks!

a8c89daf804455993f107ddc0097c07f

A huge oversized arm chair is something I’ve been pining for. I’m hoping we can find a living room set that looks something like this within our budget!

6aa7a34a015700870c0835eab6c55e2d

I love the big flower arrangements. They add some color and liveliness to the space!

We found out yesterday that we’re officially the new owners of the house! The mortgage approval letter finally arrived and the house is now officially ours! I swung by with our inspector for a second look at the soffit over the garage and since everything looked great we’re done with all these details. Now, our next steps are to set up appointments for the title transfer and to book the move – 60 days to go!

Definitions

A conversation with our realtor sparked a pretty interesting conversation in our household. It all started the day of the home inspection when our agent asked me if I was planning to go back to work soon or if I would be a stay at home mom. When I told him I had put my career on hold to stay home with baby girl he immediately laughed and said “then you’re going to have an immaculate home”.

76289544ede8bf5446c46283b2624da5

Back at home, S and I started to discuss the definition of a stay at home mom. Does staying at home with your kids automatically include extra responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning, laundry? Does being a stay at home mom mean strictly tending to baby and the rest of the household tasks get divided evenly between the parents? How is a stay at home mom or dad defined? What are the responsibilities attached to being one?

S struggled to understand why I was so irritated with the statement and initially I wasn’t really sure either. I know that the assumption that I keep a clean house because I’m home rubbed me the wrong way. S knows what my days look like and sometimes I don’t have the energy to do much more than keep M happy and clean. Other days though, I find myself craving a little separation from the constant baby talk, dirty diapers and feedings so to clear my head I’ll clean the bathroom, kitchen or do laundry when baby girl sleeps. In our house things get done by whoever is available to do them instead of one person being expected to. There have been weeks where M is extra needy and cleaning is at the very bottom of my priority list – those weeks S pitches in on the weekend and we get the cleaning done together.

Generally though, I tend to keep things organized to prevent the house from looking like a tornado disaster zone. On good days, the laundry gets done, the kitchen is cleaned and tidy and our floors are vacuumed or swept. On bad days, my husband gets home around 6pm to find  a huge mess. It all depends on how my day with M went.

It’s just hard to digest the notion that being a stay at home mom somehow automatically extends my responsibilities beyond just taking care of M. It’s not fair to assume that I’ve got the time to feed, clean, play and mind M and then squeeze in heavy cleaning. I mean I’d love to get it all done but some days it’s just impossible.

Truthfully though, I do tend to do about 70% of the cleaning in any given week. Not so much because I’m expected to but because I like to get it over with before the weekend so I can spend time with my baby and husband on the weekend without having to do chores. Seriously, nothing sucks more than spending Saturday afternoon scrubbing the toilet when I could be outside taking a walk with my little family. Me doing it has far more to do with wanting to get it done and enjoy the weekend than feeling obligated to. S made it very clear during that conversation that he has zero expectations when it comes to anything outside the realm of taking care of baby and that he could care less if I get to cleaning the bathroom, floor or kitchen.

I do know however that perceptions of what responsibilities belong to the stay at home parent vary from person to person, family to family and unit to unit. I did some googling to get an idea how other parents feel about it and was pleased to see that there is a pretty healthy discussion going on about what really constitutes a stay at home parent. Some feel that stay-at-home automatically includes responsibilities above and beyond parenting while others argue that being a stay at home parent involves solely parenting children.

Both camps had very valid arguments to support their positions but for us what works is me doing what I can. Some weeks it’s less, other weeks it’s more – I take it day by day I guess!