Long overdue update

Abbie is 11 weeks old! Two whole months have passed since I’ve updated.

One month!

One month!

Two months!

Two months!

 

She looks so much like her daddy. But a little bit like me. She especially has my cheeks.

Tom, top left. Me, top right.

Tom, top left. Me, top right.

No escaping those cheeks.

Abbie (L) and me (R). No escaping those cheeks.

We were told she might lose her hair. But nope, still growing strong. It’s getting blonder, and I’m curious to see if it will become white blonde like Tom’s hair was or stay dirty blonde like mine.

She celebrated her first Easter by wearing the sweetest little dress and looking like an angel. While last Easter was heavy on the mourning for us, this Easter was sweet celebration. So much can change in a year!

Easter dress

Our Easter miracle

At our last appointment, she weighed 12 lbs 4 oz, on a steady gaining pattern of 1 oz or more per day. She is exclusively fed breastmilk, though currently more from the bottle than breast. We had some good weeks of exclusive nursing, but then she entered a fussier period and staged a nursing strike. The ups and downs of that have not been easy on me (we have been seeing a Lactation Consultant for help). I’m thankful I’m producing enough milk, and I’m thankful that pumping is easy for me. I get enough for 2 full feedings in a 10 minute pumping session, so I spend less than an hour a day pumping. However, the fact that I get so much so fast is one of the reasons she staged her nursing strike. No one likes a fire hydrant of milk. Dr. Brown takes it much slower, and like her daddy, she is a sucker for a highly engineered product. A couple times a day, I try to catch her shortly after I’ve pumped and while she is sleepy, and I can usually get her to nurse then. I figure if I can keep her latching on a couple times a day, then we will have more options as we ride out my oversupply and her picky nature. I’m not ready to give it up, and I really hope I don’t have to.

She loves Dr. Brown's bottles. And swaddles. And Daddy.

She loves Dr. Brown’s bottles. And swaddles. And Daddy.

 

March was fairly insane, because Tom had major surgery at the beginning of the month. We had been planning for this surgery for over a year, so we knew it was coming and would be around Abbie’s birth or first weeks of her life. And we were thankful to have his mom in for two weeks helping out. But it was still an overwhelming and difficult transition for this very tired mama. We made it, though, and Tom has recovered nicely. He was cleared for physical activity at his last appointment, so I’m easing him back into diaper changes and bottle washing and baby bathing.

I have returned to work, though I am so very, very lucky to be able to work from home now. Because I didn’t have to return to the office, I have enjoyed getting back to the daily routine. I really enjoy what I do, and I get so much more done in my home office! And I still get to spend so much time with Abbie. I’m not sure this would have been possible if we had gotten pregnant any earlier– being at my job for three years helped me to fight for this transition. It’s just one of the ways that all the crap gets worked to good in life. We waited so long for her, and yet she seems to have come at the perfect time.

***

It is National Infertility Awareness Week. Even as a mother, I don’t need this event to remember my infertility. Every day is colored by our years in those trenches. I wonder what motherhood would be like without our years of infertility. I imagine there is less wonder, but also less guilt. Or maybe just different wonder and different guilt. I love this girl and I hate myself when I don’t love her enough. And I love giving all my time to her, but I hate myself when I want a break. I know that every minute might be my only minute with a child this age. Though we have high hopes of more children, we know there are no guarantees of that. So every moment in time is that much more important. And that sometimes makes me panicky, because I can’t possibly absorb it all or enjoy it enough. Especially when it involves 3 am and a lot of screaming. Or nursing strikes that break my heart.

I have also spent more time than I would have imagined mourning last year’s miscarriage. There was so much I couldn’t deal with then, so much that didn’t feel real. But Abbie makes it real. Those two embryos could have been children with chubby thighs and cheeks. But they weren’t. And that whole pregnancy was so traumatic, the ups and downs of each ultrasound. Seeing death on a screen. Watching a heart beat one week and the next week, nothing. I feel so grateful for my miracle baby. And yet I still feel jealous when someone has a good first ultrasound. I don’t want others to experience that grief, but I also wonder why we had to have such a grief-filled first pregnancy. It colored everything about my pregnancy with Abbie; every ultrasound brought us back to the past, where our hopes were dashed over and over again.

As Easter reminds us each year, life is a mixture of death and resurrection. Infertility is one of those deaths, a broken piece of creation that torments thousands of women like me. And yet, my infertile years were scattered with life and growth, and I’m thankful for what they made me. And I’m thankful that my crushed hopes were brought back to life in this beautiful daughter of mine.

For every women still fighting for their miracle, I pray for comfort and peace and resurrected hope. And for those of you who know couples struggling through infertility, I encourage you to listen to them and support them as they navigate this journey. A listening and compassionate ear is worth more than you could know.

 

***

I will end with more pictures of Abbie. For even more, follow me on instagram (rebeccarich05)! I’m much better at posting pictures than I am at updating this blog.

 

Me and my bunny girl

Me and my bunny girl

Smiles!

Smiles!

Kisses

Kisses

 

Such a big girl!

Such a big girl!

 

Lil' chunk

Lil’ chunk

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    Her Easter dress is beyond adorable!! And that is awesome that you can pump so efficiently- that sounds much better than the 30 minute marathon sessions some people apparently experience!! I totally relate to feeling extra pressure to enjoy EVERY SINGLE MINUTE because it may be the only time I’ll ever get to experience ____ with a baby…some minutes are easier than others to appreciate extra-deeply!! 🙂

  2. says

    It’s good to read accounts of motherhood after infertility because despite the fact that I’m still in the midst of infertility, I somehow relate. Sometimes there’s a fear of how on earth would I cope with a baby and with the lack of sleep, particularly when I have MS and get so tired. Then I feel guilty for thinking that because I do so desperately want a baby. Then I feel guilty because maybe I don’t want it enough (until the next time I cry and then I know that I really do!) It’s good to have the freedom to consider that motherhood isn’t a perfect, “and they all lived happily ever after without anymore problems” ending. Because although it’s obviously amazing and Abbie is so very cute, it still has its challenges. Sometimes I feel scared because I think that if I do have a child one day and it’s hard, that people will throw in my face how much I wanted that. And I do want it, but it still will be challenging. Hope that makes sense? It’s good when those on the infertility rollercoaster go on to have babies and continue to talk about this issue. I know that infertility has changed me and that won’t go away even if I do go on to have a baby. Thank you for your words of encouragement in this post and for remembering those of still going round and round the rollercoaster.

    • Rebecca says

      Yes, I get this so much. I remember stressing about how we would afford or handle a baby while in the midst of infertility treatments. The urge to be a mother does not make a lot of sense, so when you think about logically, it can be hard to know exactly why you are torturing yourself to achieve something that will be so hard. And going through infertility doesn’t magically make you better able to handle a newborn- if anything you go into it more emotionally and physically exhausted! I’ve lost all naïveté, so I’m much less prone to just assume everything will be ok. However, I’ve also suffered to the point of knowing that Jesus will always be there, and I do think that has made me a more relaxed and gracious mother. I pray you get to experience it soon and feel full freedom to both love and hate it all in the same moments!

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