Everything

I’m in a bit of a dark hole.

I am thankful for a brand new year. I’ve actually made resolutions for this year, as last year I decided I ought to just “survive”.

But I am struggling, and I have been for some now time. I find that I prefer to be at work (work!) or hidden away in my bed with dim light and a book. I prefer to be distracted.

Her bright smile on that little, perfect face—I bottle it up and allow my heart to flutter and beam with light for a brief moment.

“She is my sunshine, my only sunshine. She makes me happy when skies are g r e y …”

But I’m stuck in this place I hate being stuck in. There’s a weight on my heart and in my gut.

Part of me feels ashamed for struggling like this. To me, I have *everything. To others, whom I know are still fighting for their babies, I have little right to be sad.

I told Rowan the other day, “Mommy isn’t allowed to be sad. I have you! I promise you don’t make Mommy sad, but—sometimes—Mommy is just sad.” Her Daddy says to me, “No, you’re allowed to be sad.”

I mean, I’m still “surviving”. Getting out of bed sucks, but that’s primarily because it’s still dark outside at 7 a.m.

Rowan doesn’t quite sleep through the entire night yet. (And, no, I really don’t care, and I’m not concerned.) She needs little intermissions throughout the night. They are brief—a bottle or a pacifier—but, still, it does interrupt my rest, so I find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning sometimes.

But—I still maintain my promise to myself to run four days per week. I owe it to myself to rest, and I owe it to myself to run.

My work is fine, and my home is picked up.

Rowan endures a million kisses each day and has so much fun with her friends while Mommy and Daddy go to work. Rowan and I enjoy mornings together. I pump and enjoy my morning coffee while she plays her favorite game of throwing all her toys “overboard” her crib. I change her diaper and pick out the perfect outfit for the day—if only it’s just a Monday. Her hair either remains with that beautiful curl on top, or I comb her hair into an adorable miniature ponytail.

Her Daddy says to me, “She’s obsessed with you.” My heart melts; part of me hopes it’s true, but most of me knows it’s true. My beautiful baby is my whole, entire world.

Rowan doesn’t take my tone very seriously. I use the word “no” and tell her what to do—as opposed to ask her. She offers me her huge, Mary-like smile, and it’s all over from there. I suppose I just don’t have the right tone. I will have to work on that. Most importantly, I want my Rowan to know that—while Mommy is the “boss”—Mommy is also her confidant, her biggest fan, a space of unconditional love.

I offer her “oohs” and “awws” when I change her diaper and discover a “big-girl poop”. This child has ruined me.

Here I write as a therapeutic method to deal with my feelings, depression, etc., and—yet—she is my favorite topic! She and her poop!

*No, not literally everything. I have suffered great losses … $40,000+ and the bills continue; three separate moments of pregnancy; two heart beats; two birth certificates; one death certificate; and one child—don’t quite add up. But for the sake of my sisters still fighting, I have everything, and I know it.

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There comes a time …

There comes a time in every girl’s life … when she starts her period.

It’s exciting. It’s also physically and emotionally uncomfortable. It’s just new and different.

I felt kind of vulnerable because I was on the younger end of my peers who “got” her period earlier than most. I felt a little isolated; I didn’t feel more mature, but I guess I was, at least physically…? I don’t know … a whole host of emotions really, which I guess is kind of the point. Hormones and emotions.

Nurses ask when the first day of my last period was. I tell them it was waaaaaaay back when in March 2014. But it was so much more than a period, emotionally. I even call it a “fake” period because it was induced by birth control pill-withdrawal after a two-week menstrual cycle. I barely even bled; my nurses were just trying to sync me up with Mary + intended mommies. I’d been holding up the show, so I did a quick “run-through” before spotting then preparing my lining …

My last “real” period was during Valentine’s Day 2014. I remember it well because I actually bled through my pants and onto my desk chair at work. My [male] boss saw my chair and inquired, but I literally did not think it was actually blood. Surely it couldn’t have been. But it was. And he knew it before I did. Aaaaaand it was pretty mortifying.

So, as I recall the first day of my last cycle in March of last year, I can’t help but acknowledge how much hope my heart held. Even though it had been and was broken, I prayed and begged for it to be THE last period. I so desperately wanted it to mark the end of hopeless and the beginning of my dreams coming true.

And it *did. It was the last period.

Today I got my period.

I went to the ladies’ room while holding Rowan. And then I saw it.

I looked into my baby’s eyes with some tears in mine and said to her, “Rowie, Mommy got her period!”

Today was monumental for reasons I’m still sorting out in my heart …

*Statements like these can never be completely true because of the place in my dreams and heart I hold for Emmanuelle.

September

She grins from ear to ear when her eyes meet mine. She is sunshine, and she is perfect.

I am preparing for a very difficult season. I can’t believe my Emmanuelle is so far away from me; I can’t believe it has almost been a year. How dare time pass so quickly. How dare she be a distant memory. She is not distant to me.

How very quickly we forget.

We prepare for celebration. We strategize and contemplate the logistics and decorations and food of an event to celebrate a person’s first birthday.

Damn straight.

This occasion will not be remembered by Her Majesty – THE babe-turned-one-year-old whom we celebrate.

“It’s really for the parents.”

Rowan has put my heart back together. I look at photos of her and wish I could tell her that I did not realize how truly broken-hearted I was before I had her. I mean, I walked around with a shattered heart, but I live now. I live.

I shower my baby with kisses and affection. I shower her with constant affirmations and speak often of her beauty. This child would have an ego one size too big if she could comprehend my words.

How do I raise a young girl who knows her self-worth, yet does not inhabit an entitled attitude? I hope to serve as a role model; I know she will see me as the definition of “woman”. I want that definition to contain words like “compassionate; gracious; hard-working; independent; polite.”

I know how to love this child, but how do I raise her?

That’s all for now I suppose. More later, hopefully…

Breathe

I hold her close ‘neath the covers.

I feel her breathe; her body rises and falls.

I hear her breathe. She’s a top notch breather, my friends! A champion.

It’s hard to believe that this delicate girl required assistance ever … at all.

She breathes in and out. So natural. So involuntary.

*I have a confession to make …

It seems I’ve known her for five months, but – yet – she’s a completely different person from the stunning fetus displayed in her magnificent isolette. 

I stared at her today and almost told her Daddy, “There she is, that face. That look. Emmanuelle.” The resemblance. I did not want to bring him heartache; I kept it to myself. But I saw her.

I saw you, my darling.

I wish I could have her … because she’s my baby. We created her, our dancing Emmanuelle.

I want to know what she’d look like. I want to know what it’d be like … because that’s how it was supposed to be.

Lord, I miss her. 

My Rowan is the light of my life.

Oh, the heart. The matters of the heart.

*Co-sleeping: Something I never thought I’d do.

Unfinished

6.12.14

My booboo babies, I remember when I first started to feel your presence.

And now you look like little, precious humans. You have blessed me! You have brought me so much joy!

Your daddy says I am lighter now. He says that he doesn’t have to carry so much of my burden anymore; he can let his mind wander and question the world just like he always has. He finds it entertaining! I would have to disagree.

You have a good daddy. He does little things here and there for Mommy that just melts my heart—makes my day a little bit easier.

I am so happy you’re finally here. I knew you would bring me happiness. I can’t believe I get to feel this every day.

1.9.15

There’s very little significance associated with today …

… except that it is the ninth of the month.

I just hope she didn’t suffer. I hope she didn’t suffer in my womb. I hope Jesus numbed her discomfort in Room 15.

1.28.15

It’s a blessing to just be … after three years of infertility.

This winter I am not preparing for an IVF cycle. My first began two years ago.

My mother remarked how nice it must be to come home from work and spend time with our daughter … our baby.

No shots. No meds. No IVF.

We’re in family mode now—not at a stand-still. Our life isn’t on hold anymore. Our dreams have come true. Our hearts ache too, but for a very good *reason—she’s worth it.

I still hurt, and **it still stings—but the weight is gone. The heaviness is lifted.

After all the times I asked God, “When is this going to be over?”

I just want this to be over.

It’s over—done. I’m living it now. I’m living now.

It’s quite simple actually. *blessed*

*Emmanuelle

**infertility

Joy wakes me up in the middle of the night—because she’s hungry and is ready for her “diddy” to be changed. She eats well now—rarely turns blue.

Joy welcomes me in the morning and rests with her daddy while I go running. I have joy when I run—she’s mine; I no longer just daydream about her.

My running is going well; four mornings per week, I log some miles. Pumping is a phenomenal work out. *wink* I’ve reached my pre-pregnancy weight; in fact, I’m about five pounds lighter. *confident mamacita* I wear a bit more eye make-up these days; I put in a little more effort. Because I’m a mother, and it makes me feel beautiful.

Joy.

She keeps me on my toes and bursts my heart. There aren’t enough kisses. Her eyes couldn’t be more bright.

Her wardrobe is PINK. We cannot escape it; pink suits her complexion.

She talks about everything—sleeping, playing, stretching, eating—but she’s quiet too. A content little girl with those big eyes. Physically, she is very strong. And her strawberry hair grows—a head of peach fuzz after her baths.

WHICH SHE LOVES.

My little water princess for sure. She belongs in Nana’s Floridian pool.

My Papa is not well. Please, please pray for him. I want him to stay with us; he has lived a long life. I am grateful for his longevity and the memories created, but I want him to stay with us.

I pray for his comfort. I pray that he knows he is deeply loved and cherished.

My sweet Papa.

The Crisis

In a moment of perceived “crisis” I literally ask myself, “Is someone going to die?”

The answer is often no.

But that means nothing, I suppose. It means nothing to those whom I see nearly every day … and they still can’t just say, “Oh by the way, I’m sorry you lost your daughter.”

Heartless.

I don’t expect the world to stop turning because I can’t have Emmanuelle here with me. My world stopped—yes—but life keeps moving.

I started crying at work yesterday. I pictured her sweet face, and it was just too much.

That’s my crisis.

I place my head in my hands, crying, hysterical. “I’m so screwed right now.” My husband comes home from work and—like a hero—rescues his damsel in distress while our baby wants nothing more than for me to hold her. She wants her mother to hold her, but I deal with the crisis. It’s the crisis that must be dealt with—NOW.

I close my eyes and picture Room 15. “I am not in Room 15 right now. No one is going to die. On the spectrum of crises, this just isn’t one.”

And what really ticks me off is that the crisis receives more attention, more tears, more anxiety, more elevated blood pressures than it ought to.

Time is of the essence.

I race against time to solve the crisis.

Her doctors raced against time to save her life.

And guess what—world that keeps on moving? I solved the crisis. I nearly fell apart, but with mascara-stained cheeks, the mother of all crises has been solved.

But I still don’t get to have her.

Ode to Rowan

You were created on April 11.

Who could have known something so perfect would spark life on that blessed Friday?

I remember that day. I remember the phone call, my love.

You were one of the six.

We pieced you together, Rowan. What a stunning puzzle you are.

Our masterpiece. You are so beautiful. How did I get you? How did I find your Mary piece? How did I become so very lucky?

I love you. You are my joy, Rowan.

I ask loved ones, “Does she know I’m her mommy?”

They say yes, and I know it’s true. I just like to hear them say it.

I could not have created something so remarkable if I tried. Thank you Jesus.

Her eyes are HUGE. They look grey – perfect. Her button nose and its rosiness. Her lashes are noticeably long – not the norm for a peaches and cream ginger. Speaking of which, her complexion …

She is flawless.

She looks pretty in pink. She really does; it’s perfect.

I mustn’t begin to describe her temperament; I’m drowning in love.

Dainty with spunk. She’s my petite princess.

My flower.

My everything.