Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Dark Cloud

I am forever grateful for the people in my life who stand by me, give their ear when I need to vent, provide support and lend me strength when mine has run out. These wonderful people are in my real life and online life (and no less real of course). They are friends I see nearly everyday, hardly at all and family. 

I could never have survived grieving my twins with out them. I even learned to start to enjoy this new, surprising, pregnancy when I wasn't sure I could. And now that we have received unexpected news, I imagine I will continue to lean on them for strength and support.

A week ago we found out the results of our first trimester screening and the odds were not in our favor. True to our statistical bad luck, we confirmed what was feared...this baby boy has Downs Syndrome. On top of a scary diagnosis, the hormone levels and NT measurements can't get much worse. Paired with my crappy history of preterm labor, the outlook is kind of bleak. While my doctor tells us it is impossible to tell exactly how this baby will be affected, my instincts scream "prepare for the worst." My doctor also mentioned she would be surprised if I did not miscarry or if I made it to full term (or viably close)...but it is possible. Not exactly confidence inspiring. She is an amazing doctor and I know, despite how negative she sounds, she truly wants the best for us and never fails to be honest. I wouldn't want a doctor willing to tell me everything will be fine when that is unlikely.

Processing this news is an impossible task. I alternate between anger, numbness and tears. I am not sure how much more bad news I can take. After all we've been through and all we know could is too much. Thank goodness for a broad support network, therapy, an amazing husband and a smiley baby boy. All of them keep me (or remind me) to stay in the present and keep breathing.

I have more questions than there are answers. There is no way to know what is going to happen. I don't want to accept that, but I must learn how to. Come what may, the journey ahead is going to be difficult at best. 

I told a friend that I feel like Eeyore...where ever I go and what ever I do there is a dark cloud hanging over me. Sometimes it hangs back far enough I forget it is following me. Other times it is on top of me like a fog, and sometimes it is a lightening storm shocking me with every step. Whether it is grief, bad news or general crap circumstances...that cloud just won't go away. Thankfully my support network is my umbrella, providing a little bit of shelter from the storm. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sleep, Or lack there of...

Maxwell has never been a superstar sleeper. A beast of my own making I'm sure, but it has gotten ridiculous.

Over the summer we fell into a routine where he woke up and needed resettling 2-3 times a night. Not ideal, but not horrible either. And then he started daycare...

I don't know if it is a sleep regression, a response to daytime separation anxiety or some blend of the two. Maxwell's night waking has increased to approx 5-6 times a night. Yeah- fabulous for a teacher who is supposed to be functioning and responsible.

I knew illness would be a part of going to daycare, but my poor boy has been sick and or teething since he started almost a month ago. This weekend brought about a doozy of a cold...croup and even worse sleep habits. He refuses to be put in his crib and only sleeps for more than an hour if I holding him. 

I am exhausted and frustrated..,I know this will pass. It certainly can't continue. Sleep training is under consideration because I can't function not to mention it can't be good for him either.

I actually miss the nights with 2-3 wake ups. A baby that sleeps through the night is my dream must be awesome.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Every 9/11 I try to find joy in spite of my heavy heart. On that day in 2001 NYC was my home, I should have been mere blocks from Ground Zero,but thankfully wasn't. I could see and smell the smoke from my apartment. 

My tradition has, since the day my world turned upside down, to be aware of what I am most grateful. In the days after 9/11/01 I was grateful to be released from jury duty early, that my sister in law was ok despite being in a building too close for comfort, and most of all that my best friend since kindergarten had just started law school in Pennsylvania and left her paralegal job (which she often worked over night or went in really early) in one of the World Trade Center Towers.

This year I am grateful for my baby loss momma know me like no others (even if you don't know me all that well, if at all). I am grateful for your support during this wild new pregnancy and remind me that it's ok and "normal" for us to feel uneasy and freaked out considering all that we have been through. 

My art students today also brought me great joy and so much to be thankful for. My students are young (grades k-2) and are blissfully ignorant of horror associated with 9/11. These kids were barely a twinkle in their parents' eye. It is so bizarre that not a single student today was born yet.

Of course I grateful for my sons. William, Ethan & Maxwell have all taught me what a mother's love truly, pain, peace, heartache and so much more.   

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Identity Crisis

This post is as hard to write as it will be for some to read (particularly anyone that has experienced infertility or issues with getting pregnant). So, I apologize in advance and consider yourself warned. 

Hearing pregnancy announcements, particularly unplanned pregnancies, have been a kick to the gut since about 3 months after we first started trying to get pregnant. It definitely got worse after we got my unknown infertility combined with the hubby's mediocre swimmers and worse still after William and Ethan died. Every announcement was a painful reminder of what my body couldn't do right on its own...get pregnant without assistance or carry my babies to term. As a result I am very sensitive to the affect of pregnancy announcements. 

And here is where I am having a bit of an identity crisis...and trouble sharing our news because I am indeed pregnant. And the kicker is it was not planned. I'm not sure how it was possible but it happened. 

I will preface everything I  about to write with I am grateful and this baby is very much wanted. Let there be no mistake in that. There is a lot of surprise, confusion and fear which takes a person to crazy town every so often and I know that is where most of my mixed up thoughts come from.

With Maxwell just turning one, another baby wasn't a topic if conversation other than, yeah, maybe some day we'll try a last round of IVF. I am completely freaking out about how another baby is going to fit into the mix with a toddler that will not yet be two. The logistics of it all are too much to think about.

I can't quite reconcile my infertile self with  the reality of an unplanned pregnancy. I had accepted my fate...pregnancy was not something that could "just happen." We would need help. I found a sense of security in the planning involved in an IVF cycle. But a surprise like this...just getting pregnant randomly has destroyed that identity, the sense of security and what I thought I knew about myself. 

And then there is my history of loss, preterm labor and premature water breaking. I am a wreck thinking about how this new baby has such a small chance of arriving without issue. With all I know it's hard not to freak out. I am officially the master of the short end of statistics. Make something improbable and somehow I will be that improbable case.

I can't help but feel a little detached and a hefty dose of denial that this is's sad, but true, that my confidence in this pregnancy resulting in a live baby is almost nil. I fully expect to have a miscarriage or something else to go wrong because that is the kind of luck I have. No pregnancy bliss here.

Of course, the universe saw what I wrote in a previous post about my babies, past and potentially future, being from the same IVF retrieval and thought that was hilarious. This baby is not from "the batch" and I worried that my comfort in the thought all my babies would be batch mates would change how I feel about this baby. I am letting go of that slowly but surely...I have to.

The final kicker,  mother lode of stress and heart ache is estimated due date is 3 days before William and Ethan's due date. That means that every pregnancy milestone is nearly identical to least until 24 weeks when they made their far too early arrival. The anxiety and tears this realization has brought about shakes me to my core. Yes every pregnancy is different, especially this one, but this is just too much to not freak out about. The week surrounding December 4th is going to be incredibly difficult this year, even more so than usual. 

So there it is...if you've made it this far I hope I haven't offended, hurt feelings or lost your support. I think I need it more than ever.