Fall

WARNING: This content might make you blush if you are part of my family or I am part of yours … or if Christian Grey makes you blush in NOT a good way.

A November Night

I peered into a bassinet and saw a full-term baby. My baby was a girl, and she resembled Rowan. Through a translucent, heavenly membrane—only a dream can produce—I saw Rowan with her father. Rowan was as she is now—a spunky, beautiful toddler. These two were in their own little world—separate from mine. I was occupied in my world with my full-term Rowan-resembling baby girl. I had nothing to offer them, over there, in that moment. Rowan was happy, healthy, and well taken care of by her daddy. Within those moments, my new baby consumed me—that world was hers and mine.

*Nine.

I placed my new baby upon my breast, and she latched on perfectly. I felt that pull on my breast and the sweet relief of my milk releasing. Following those moments, I placed my new baby upon my second breast.

All was perfect and easy and heart-warming. She was not pale or discolored; she was ripe and beautiful. There was no darkness, no syringes, no chaos. We were not in Room 14; we were in Heaven. My new baby was a healthy, precious, six-pound baby; she was not just 1.5 pounds.

And when I awoke, my heart did not hurt; I did not wish to fall back to sleep. My heart was at peace, and I felt happy. I felt grateful for this beautiful gift I was given in my sleep.

I was grateful to find healing. I need much more healing, as I’ve neglected my heart for too long.

Flashback to October

She lost herself. Somewhere between the inability to conceive a child, the money she didn’t have to conceive a child; somewhere between the shots, the egg retrievals, the lack of control over her own body and happiness. She lost herself somewhere between her very first, ill-fated pregnancy and the blood that poured out of her while tears streamed down her face. She was lost and did not understand who she was when she realized her babies could not be conceived by her. Pieces of her died when the happiest months of her life were taken too soon as her body proved unable to fulfill the needs of her babies in her womb. Her heart migrated from numb to shattered to bitter because her baby died that morning. And she was not her anymore.

She put one foot in front of the other. Saggy, unflattering leggings. Unattractive, over-sized t-shirts with milk stains. The frizzy buns. With her shoulders slumped, with her broken heart, living in fear and desperation, she just put one fucking foot in front of the other and gave the universe her middle finger for torturing her in such harsh, hellish ways.

730 days of this was too long to endure this grief. But what will “talking” to someone do? Could there possibly be any medication that could help? Was she depressed, or was her happiness doomed because her baby died? I mean, how does one carry on, and who really cares anyway? Of course her heart was hardened; of course she wanted to hurt those closest to her; of course she didn’t need anyone. She was dead inside. But—this girl carried a fire with her, a fire she always had. Deep down inside, there was a desire to burn bright. Her heart was numb; the next best thing was a drug.

The feeling he gave her was intoxicating. His kindness and flattery—she took the bait. With each **encounter, her fire burned a little brighter. What a sick drug; so addictive that she turned her back on her family—on her husband.

She’d hit the bottom. Absolutely rock bottom.

He craved her body, and she craved those feelings. A woman’s body can be so convincing, and she was that woman. A Queen. She was so heavily desired—until she wasn’t worth it anymore, because he loved someone else. Of course he did; he loved someone who was so unlike her. She was no longer worth the effort. What a stupid girl. What a stupid girl for being so smart but falling for a player. The hard crash and withdrawal from this drug left her feeling used, rejected, broken. How cruel of her to break her own heart—to betray the one who loved her the deepest and the hardest. She betrayed the man who touched her body in all the right ways and gave her more pleasure than anyone ever could, finding secret places with his body and making her cry out of pleasure. She left the man who studied her—inside and out—and cherished every ounce of her.

Present Day

I finally surrendered.

I’ve been seeing a counselor for about six weeks now, and it is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. In addition, my medication has been adjusted, and I feel grateful for what I have versus angry for what I don’t have. My heart carries hope and has softened. I feel the depths of my emotions—the overwhelming, romantic love I have for my husband. My counselor has encouraged me to look at him differently; to feel him differently. She’s encouraged me to study my daughter’s beautiful face and embrace her touch when she hugs me or even rests her little arm on mine.

My counselor has advised me to live in fun. To have fun and be silly—live in my baby girl’s world for a bit each day. I asked her how I should heal my marriage. She knows our foundation is strong; she smiled and said, “Start with fun. Go have fun with your husband.”

We have spoiled our marriage rotten! Expensive dates; words of affection and admiration. Gifts and obsession and “I miss yous” … and—the best sex of my life.

Our bed hosts our dirtiness, our filth. Oh, if our walls could talk. The pleasure; the vulnerability. His body; his eyes. He yearns for me and takes my breath away. I’m obsessed with his sex; it builds my confidence and heals pieces of my heart. He is smitten with me and lights my fire.

I am happy today, and I will work hard every day of my life to maintain this spirit. I am grateful to have finally hit the bottom—for there is nowhere else to go but up.

*I was born and she died on the ninth—a day that belongs to her and me.

**Sexting; a single make-out session with some heavy petting.

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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.

82 Days

We have a 6-pound 12-ounce little princess who is keeping us on our toes, no doubt!

I was told preemies LOVE to be held and snuggled A LOT. I think my husband can attest to that. He has spent hours doing so …

My beloved let me sleep in this morning. Mommy ate some breakfast (chocolate cake) and took her medication (antibiotics for a UTI that must be chopped into a million little pieces). Now Rowie is just hanging out at the breast for however long she wants. Well – until it’s time to get ready for her eye exam.

Rowan has been home for two days now after spending 82 days in the NICU. I’m not as scared as I thought I’d be. Having her in a “normal” newborn environment sans wires and monitors – it makes sense. Of course, before I lay me down to sleep I check for her neck/head placement; her coloring; I check for moving air beneath her nostrils on that adorable button nose. I do this several times; I also rearrange any cloth near her neck. “Do not obstruct my baby’s airway, swaddle blanket. D’ya hear?”

I mean, Rowan and we spend very little time sleeping at the same time, so the hours of not monitoring her airway, coloring, etc. are few.

She de-sats, gets a little ahead of herself during feeds. And that damn reflux. But we know her well and how to help her recover. “Earth to Rowie.” We watch the blue turn back to pink, and it’s a beautiful thing, I tell you!

I can tell you she has the best daddy ever. I can tell you I have the best parenthood companion ever. Patience. Grace. Selflessness. Endurance. I don’t know – that’s our recipe I guess.

Grandma and Papa have been visiting us, keeping us company in the evenings and bringing us real food for dinner. I love them. Thank God for them and grandparents in general. My mother-in-law is traveling here for a three-week stay. She’ll arrive on Sunday, just in time for Mommy and Daddy to go back to work and make that money. Well, Daddy’s been working, supporting his girls like a champ. He took this week off for the homecoming of his little princess. Thank Jesus, I could NOT do this alone.

I will miss my Rowie, but – it’s weird. I’m used to not having her with me 24/7. That’s what an 11-week + 5-day NICU stay will do to you. I’m going to go ahead and call it grace. I can’t deal with emotions of that nature right now.

Sarabi has been phenomenal. We have had Rowan’s swings and hospital blankets in our living room for quite some time now. She has been trained that those items – and that scent – is off limits. She is very slow to approach Rowan.

I remember walking into our bedroom – where Sarabi currently resides – with Rowan and Daddy on Rowie’s homecoming day. Sarabi’s ears perked right up. It was really sweet; not aggressive, but she was just very curious. I have a good feeling about these two. 🙂

And so it’s New Year’s Eve. My New Year’s wish for the last four holidays has been what I hold in my arms and heart today. Thank you Heavenly Father. Finally …

There’s not really an adjective to describe 2014. January-April: Hope. May-September: Joy. October-December: Joy/Brokenness/Fear.

January 17, April 11, April 16, April 22, April 29, May 1, May 9, September 29, October 8, October 9, December 29 …

Those days define my year. My 2014.

I have hope because the joy I carried in 2014 remains with me. I have my husband and my girls, don’t I? My heart is content. The pain of 2014 were incapsulated into just days. Those days are over; I don’t have to live them again.

Of course there is an enduring ache in my heart for Emmanuelle, but that is her place. She will not be forgotten. There is no closure or healing when you lose your baby. I can still have joy amongst that ache though. I choose to have joy, though my baby is with Jesus.

In the darkness last night, I looked at Rowan in her bassinet. I saw Emmanuelle’s face. When Rowan smiles in her sleep, I wonder if she’s dreaming of her sister.

Our suffering was never welcomed, but – boy – has it taught us how to cling to the good stuff. We let go of the small stuff, even the medium-sized stuff. Life is messy. But where there is love, there’s a lot of hope for tomorrow.

And I’ve got a lot of love.

The Theme is Pink!

I traveled to my hometown of Colorado Springs, CO, for a little getaway and, of course, my baby shower!

September 6th (of this year) was full of pink and full of joy! I celebrated with mothers; aunts; women who have watched me grow up; women who have prayed for me. It was perfect. A day to celebrate my babies and reflect on my journey – it was beautiful. My mother decorated with objects from my childhood – decor from my little girl room growing up. The dresses on display are those she sewed for me – and there are A LOT more dresses she made for me that will be given to my daughters! What a wonderful trip it was for my husband and me! It was difficult to say, “See you soon,” last night and this morning to our loved ones, just as it always is. I have a suitcase full of baby girl clothes. We are excited to prepare their nursery! We are excited for this season. I will never forget this season and what brought me here. 

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The Hearts I’ve Gained

Certainly the dust has settled a bit. The first trimester changes and daily reminders of nausea and not-so-content blood sugar levels have begun to stabilize.

Back then, my mama told me there are seasons of hardship and grief. But she reminded me there are seasons of joy too.

This is my season of joy. I am joyful. I wake up every morning to a dream come true. I carry my babies with me wherever I go.

And though I am joyful, I fear that something is—in fact—missing. Am I faking it? Must I remind myself how my babies were conceived? Must I doubt myself … the mother I am to them … how much of them are mine?

Does it really matter? In my heart and mind, I know I am just as much their mother as my mother is mine. And I can tell you this, the people who matter—it certainly doesn’t matter to them.

There is power in creating babies. I acknowledge that. When I chose my husband, I also chose him as the father of my children. He chose me too. There is power in legacy.

I suffer a great loss … but what I’ve gained. Oh, Jesus, what I’ve gained.

It is a difficult and unique teeter totter game my heart often engages in. And my babies—they will be LOVED. My fear is not in who they are … all four inches of them and their preciousness.

My fear is learning how to heal and cope with what I have lost. There is guilt. Am I allowed to still grieve my loss, or is that selfish?

My loss is inevitable, though. There’s nothing I could have done; there’s nothing more I can do. Regret doesn’t haunt me, and I thank Heavenly Father for that. This is my story; this is how I became a mother.

I’ll be damned if I’m not a mother! Hey, you—fear, regret, loss, grief—I’ll be damned if you strip my title from me!

My journey toward motherhood is not second best. It is the best for me. I have conquered my infertility. I am victorious!

The Lord hath taken away—but He has also given me more than I asked.

He changed my heart. I will carry these lessons I’ve learned throughout my life.

Inside me I carry my husband’s babies. You know, when you’re 19 years old too shy to look into the eyes of your future husband, you just don’t think about what that man will give you. He. has. given. me. everything. No one else can love me like that. I am blessed to be loved so passionately and desperately by that man.

He gave me two! Jesus, all I began to fight for was one. All I’d asked you for was one. But—no—He gave me two. It just doesn’t get any better. I am blessed. My heart is full. My belly is full of two beating hearts!

So, as the dust has begun to settle, there are moments. I am fragile; my mental health is fragile. Sure, my mind is doing the best it can on its own*. But I believe this grief is real; I think that’s okay. Where’s the self-help book to heal? I’m swimming through these emotions on my own, in my heart and mind.

And I have faith I’ll get there. And while I’m on my way, I’ll live in the joy of two beating hearts in my belly.

I’ll live in the joy that I’m finally a mother.

*I have suffered from depression/anxiety most of my life. It is clear to medical professionals, loved ones, and me that antidepressants are necessary to provide me with a more fulfilling life. My psychiatrist, my husband, and I have chosen for me not to take antidepressants while pregnant, though, because of the potential health risks to my babies. I am very at peace with this decision. But, as my husband says, “Once those babies are out, we’re mainlining that shit.” I can’t disagree with him.

S & P

Sometimes I think I’m kind of lucky.

Do you ever look at Facebook or Instagram or whatever and read about or see true love? How does that make you feel?

I love it because I have it. I celebrate it because it’s wonderful.

I have that love. I’m pretty damn lucky.

My relationship isn’t dysfunctional or forced. Of course, we argue and have growing pains. Bluh, bluh, bluh; I’m not trying to write about that now.

Yesterday, my second oldest brother posted a Facebook status celebrating his one year “love” anniversary. He’s been married to this lovely young lady for six months now (actually, exactly six months tomorrow). He’s been through his fair share of hell in the love department for sure. But he’s found someone he loves passionately and obsessively; he’s found someone who reciprocates that love. That’s all I want for anyone; that’s all I want for the people I love.

I’ve had that kind of love for nearly seven years now, so I know it when I see it. I’m not an expert, have many more years to go, but—I think I have a clue after all we’ve been through. 😉

Some people may say that kind of passion will dwindle with time. That it inevitably has to dwindle because that’s how life is. I’m not so sure about that.

I love it when my mom tells me my dad is her best friend.

I love it when my dad says disturbingly gross things to my mom. Okay, I don’t actually love witnessing these displays of lust affection, but I appreciate knowing they occur—I guess.

But after nearly 40 years of marriage, it has to dwindle, right?

Not for the lucky ones.

And—yes—I do think it’s more than luck. It takes a lot of loyalty and selflessness. To me, these two things are love. Sure, we all have our selfish moments. Sometimes we choose to be selfish and don’t really give a damn because that’s what we need—or just really, really want.

And in my opinion—more power to you if you’re loyal and selfless toward the people you love. I mean, that’s admirable, not a bad thing. Can I get an Amen?

So, even if it’s not luck—you deserve it. You deserve the love you’ve worked for. The love you’ve searched for—because you desire it, you treasure it, you nurture it.

So, unlike all the Facebook pregnancy announcements that sting my heart, I love the ones that show love. That brag on love. Good for you—keep on keepin’ on.

Feel free to remind me how lucky I am.

The Fake Laugh

My husband has identified my fake laugh.

Sometimes I just need silence, and he shuts up. Quickly.

But some people just don’t get it. Some people say really stupid things at the wrong time.

There’s one specific ultrasound tech whom I loathe. I swear she’s going to walk into the exam room one day, and I’m just going to say, “I can’t handle it today. Where’s Kim … or Dr. L evens … or anyone else but you?”

Like, she’s just one of those people whom I don’t get, and she definitely doesn’t get me.

Before I elaborate on our pointless correspondence this morning, let me be upfront.

It’s Monday morning, and it snowed last night. Besides the fact that I’m so over this winter, I just don’t really like scraping off my car at 7 a.m. I don’t really feel like driving 30 minutes to the doctor, especially when I feel like my uterine lining is just growing in vain. What else? Do you really want to know? Well, it would have been nice to use the restroom—like, the restroom—so I didn’t feel bloated for the first two hours of my Monday. I’m a little tired, but not too much. I mean, I don’t really have a case of the Mondays or anything. The estrogen running through my body probably saved my morning to be honest with you.

What I’m trying to say is that—yes—my mood could have influenced my lack of tolerance with this ultrasound tech, but—in all honestly—I was okay this morning.

She walks in the room, and the first thing she says is:

Tracy just said you look like the real-life Strawberry Shortcake!

Me: Fake laugh. (Do you really think Tracy wanted you to pass on that observation of hers? Would you like to know what you look like?)

I wouldn’t say I’m self-conscious about my size, but people have said those kinds of things to me all my life. I just think it’s kind of inappropriate and ignorant. It just really annoys me. Like, shut up. Just shut the f*** up.

Let’s see, what happened next?

She jammed Mr. Wandy up there, and I winced. WTF, lady? We all know that once Mr. Wandy slams into our goodies, it’s all over from there. Nope—we can’t recover from this, Mr. Wandy. My stomach is empty; it’s 8 a.m.; now I’m annoyed. I don’t care how gentle you are from this moment forward, my ladies don’t like you, and I’m feeling nauseated.

She asked when my transfer is. I told her I have no idea because Mary has a cyst.

Oh, so she hasn’t even started her medication yet?

Just measure my lining, you idiot.

Well, my uterus looks really good with a lining of about 8.5. I can’t complain. At least I know Delestrogen does the trick. Mary’s cyst grew between last Thursday and yesterday. Her doctor has reason to believe her estrogen level might be peaking. They are going to bring her in one more time—on Wednesday—and either she’ll be ready to go, or we will “press the reset button” as they like to say. I have to remind myself that this isn’t the end of the world. Because it’s not—I guess.

After the exam, she asked, “What number are you? One, two, or three?” As in, what’s my recipient status …

I told her I was the secondary recipient.

Her: “Oh good. So you’ll get something. I always feel bad for the third recipient.”

Oh good, I’ll get something? And—dear Lord—I hope you don’t actually tell the third recipient you feel bad for her. Knowing you, you probably do.

Shut up. Just shut the f***up.

Funky

What is wrong with me today?

I think my anxiety is desperately trying to outshine my Lexapro.

I’m on the verge of a meltdown … but more just in a funk.

I’m irritable and sensitive today. I just feel weird.

Leave me alone. Don’t talk to me.

My husband just poked me in the bum, and I’m laying in bed resting on the heating pad. I’m trying desperately not to mess with my fingers. (I have a disgusting finger-/nail-biting habit that I’m currently trying to break).

Surely I’m not anxious because my home is filthy right now. Maybe I’m the tiniest bit anxious about my dermatology appointment next week..? I like to get annual skin checks because I’m a ginger. I don’t think I’m too scared though, right?

Maybe this all has to do with something BIG happening in three weeks.

Who knows.

I’m just exhausted …

And I really want to bathe Sarabi tomorrow, but I don’t know how I’m going to easily accomplish that.

These are the things weighing me down.

And then there’s that project at work …

I think I just need some me time. I need an outlet for this anxiety. I’ll conquer my world tomorrow, I suppose.