Abbie is 11 weeks old! Two whole months have passed since I’ve updated.
She looks so much like her daddy. But a little bit like me. She especially has my 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!
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.
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.