Bedtime Rituals

From about 8 months until a few months ago, Abbie was a piece of cake to put down. When I was nursing, I would nurse her and she would go right to sleep. And when I quit nursing at 17 months, she dropped to one nap, so she was exhausted at bedtime and went to sleep no problem at 6:30 (or earlier!). But the last few months she has finally demanded a routine from us. Books! Rocking! More Books! So many things.

It’s easiest for Tom (he gets away with two books, then “snuggles or night night”!), so he is usually in charge of bedtime. But some nights he has meetings, so the privilege goes to me. And let me tell you, Abbie delights is demanding MORE from her mama. Endless books. Then we must bounce on the yoga ball (I used this every day when she was a newborn and showed it to her a few months ago and now it is a MUST DO every night), and if I slow down for some reason she starts bouncing up and down to remind me of my job. Then, I try to put her down but she will have none of it. So I rock her in the rocking chair, and she clings to me as I rock her over and over and over again.

***

When we moved into this house five years ago, the room next to ours was painted for a little girl. We kept it that way, but I kept the door shut most of the time because it hurt to look in it. About six months into fertility treatments, I started going in there to pray. I would sit on the floor while the light shone through the window and I would pray and pray and plead for life to be growing in me. Cycle after cycle, those prayers were unanswered, but I kept going in there to believe that they one day would be.

And then when we got our first positive pregnancy tests, I brought them into the room and laid them on the windowsill to ensure that they were indeed positive. And when that pregnancy ended, I brought the tests in to see if the line was fading so we could move on.

Those days were hard. Those prayers were painful. The room was so empty.

***

And so when Abbie clings to me as I try to put her down, I pick her back up and rock her. And I breathe in the miracle of this life that almost wasn’t. Endless rocking in the glider is a pure bliss compared to the rocking I did on my knees when I begged and cried and pleaded for a child. This room is full of LIFE now, life that wants me and needs me and loves her mama.

And oh how I love this little ball of life and light.

A year ago today

A year ago today, I went to IVF training with my beautiful friend Susan. I geeked out on all the science info and dutifully took notes for her. We are such a fun pair, the two of us, opposite in so many ways. But it’s those opposite ways that have helped us support each other the most over the years. 

A year ago today, we had no idea how this journey would end for her. There were so many factors against her being a mother. But they had raised the money, and they had this shot at IVF.

If you have learned anything from reading my story over the last few months, it’s that you want as many embryos as possible coming out of IVF. Anything can go wrong, even with the most beautiful of embryos. 

Susan ended up with one embryo. All our hopes hinged upon that embryo.

It was a few months before she was ready to transfer it, because she was so afraid it wouldn’t work. And while I tried to be her positive friend during that time, I was terrified myself. A world without Susan as a mother seemed so empty and dark, and she was one failed transfer away from that happening. 

But it didn’t fail. That embryo is currently a wiggly baby boy in her womb, ready to make his entrance into the world. 

Oh, the difference that a year makes! 

Writing

It’s January, which is when my blog hosting fees are due. And with it comes the reminder that if I’m going to pay for this blog, I need to use this blog.

Writing is hard work, but it is also therapeutic. It helps me sort through the chaos in my mind and formulate my beliefs. Living in my head isn’t an easy thing, but putting words on paper helps make it more bearable.

So I’m going to try to be a better steward of both my blog and my complicated thoughts and write more.

As for life lately, well it has been understandably dark. Miscarriage is a horrible process to go through; the hormones and the grief feel overwhelming. I knew that all of December would be dark, and I trudged through it as best I could (while loving my little ball of light as best I could as well). And now we are in January, and it feels a little bit better. We are closer to being able to transfer another embryo, and I’m so ready to begin moving forward.

Of course, transferring another embryo is terrifying. All six of our embryos were supposed to be fantastic quality. So have we now gone through the unexpected “bad” ones of the batch? I hope so. We discussed transferring two, and for awhile I insisted that we would. But after having one (glorious but high maintenance) child, I just don’t think I could handle two. Transferring two increases the chances of us having one, but the odds of twins are greater than 50%. And my mental health isn’t what it needs to be to handle twins. I wish it was, but it’s not.

So we will transfer one and hope it works. If it doesn’t, we transfer another. We have four more, all great quality. The idea of going through four transfers terrifies me, but we will take it one step at a time.

I am plagued by our inability to know exactly what went wrong. Since I passed the baby in Texas, we weren’t able to have it tested. I wish I knew if it was a genetic defect undetected by the testing we had done on the embryo (this is most likely) or if it was something that I did. Did I carry Abbie too much? Should I have cut out caffeine completely (how does one do that with a toddler)? Was I on too many supplements? Not enough? Should I have kept up with acupuncture? There is no way to know. So I keep plodding along, trying my best to manage the millions of thoughts that run through my brain on a daily basis.

It is hard being an analytical person. Even at two, I can see Abbie’s brain working just like mine, her mind struggling to take everything in, her eyebrows furrowing at new things. Her emotions running out of control in the same way that mine do when things just don’t seem right (some of this comes with being two, but it doesn’t seem all that much different at thirty five). I hope I can raise her to use her mind well, to love herself even when she drives herself crazy. To know that thinking is a good thing, even when it feels like your thoughts are drowning you.

And I hope I can help her to find a creative outlet for her thoughts so that she never feels trapped or alone in that beautiful mind of hers. Writing is one way I can do that for myself. So I will start writing more, whether people read it or not. But I appreciate all of you who read.