Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Insomnia

It's been almost two years, and I never thought I'd be dealing with this still: insomnia.

My friend Jeanne has mentioned a few medical issues that could pertain to my ridiculous wide-eyes that insist on seeing 2 am every night, er, morning.

Whatever is causing it... It has changed. It used to be that I couldn't sleep because every time I tried, I would have a nightmare about Maddy dying... Usually in the form of her falling into a black ocean and disappearing forever. (For those of you who have been on cruises, imagine having your child jump off the banister in the middle of the night... And that's how my nightmares were.)

A little later it became more about the fact that I wasn't grieving as I needed during the day. (Really, I stuffed it quite often.) so then it would come overflowing out at night... Usually on my blog.

Gradually, it became nothing about grief, or Olivia, or my subsequent losses. It just... Became. It just was.

I wasn't up thinking about anything in particular. I just wascup.

I think of my babies every day. Not intentionally... I don't sit around crying anymore... Or at least really not often. I don't put on my "grieving pandora station" i created that always brings me to my proverbial knees.

And yet... Here I am. Up almost all night long.

Anyone have suggestions?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A shadow

I should be right around 6 months pregnant right now.

It's easy to remember because Elliott was due only 5 days in the month before Maddy was due (Maddy was due January 20th, Elliott was due January 15.)

So 5 years ago this month, I was 6 months pregnant with Maddy, we moved into our current house, and I went on bedrest for the first time.

I remember how I felt. I remember which maternity clothes I was wearing. I remember approximately how big I was at this point.

I remember going through Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with a big belly, lots of contractions, bedrest, and lots of expectation.

This year, the January due date still looms in my mind. Except this one is empty. This one holds no great expectations.

With our loss of Olivia, I was very caught up in the timeline. I always knew which week I should be on. I was painfully aware of others who were traversing through the milestones with a live baby in their belly. I hated myself for it, but I was insanely jealous. And insanely angry that it couldn't be me.

With Caleb, I intentionally did not allow myself to dwell on which week I'd be on. To be honest, I really just did my best to suck it up and take it like a big girl. I had times of jealousy, but those were tempered with the knowledge that my relationship with that pregnant person would move on, I would come to love their baby, and and my feelings were normal and would eventually subside.

Intentionally forgetting the milestones has been harder to accomplish this time around.

I realize that I was ONLY 5 weeks along. Barely pregnant, as some would put it. (As though people would say you were barely engaged or barely married ... But that's for another blog.) But maybe because that week that I knew I was pregnant was going so RIGHT, I really thought this was it. I don't know why, but I really thought I was getting a baby out of the deal.

I have not mourned this baby like I did with Olivia. I have not spent endless nights crying, pouring my heart over my blog, or telling everyone about my loss.

I have made myself do things before I was really ready. I made myself move forward before I could fully think about what (or who) I was moving FROM.

But this experience has been like a phantom for me. My baby is gone, flushed down a toilet at a gas station. And yet the pregnancy, in my heart, lives on as a shadow. Something that hints at what is real, what should have been. But is clouded, dark, and has no tangible form.

I cannot tell you how often I remind myself of how early I was. That it was a mistake to get attached, a mistake to care. That it is silly to name this baby. That truly, I am the only one who cares for his life, the only one who mourns what it could have been.

And yet, this shadow on my heart remains.

Baby Elliott ... You may not have been with me long. And maybe you didn't get the mourning you deserved. But I can tell you that I really did love you. I really did want you. And i'm really, really sad that January 15 will come ... But you never will.

Love you always,

Momma

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's complicated

I think I'm pregnant.

But I'm probably not.

And that's exactly what I tell myself over, and over, and over again.

Your boobs really aren't THAT sore. And I'm pretty sure they were more sore yesterday, so that means you're not pregnant.

You're always this thirsty. (Not.)

That's not pregnancy nose. That's completely normal to gag at the smell of a chicken coop, when every once else seems to be just fine. And it's normal to think your clean drinking glasses smell weird, too. And for all the sudden not to be able to stand the smell of your kids' breath. (Right??)

You can't be pregnant. You have insomnia. If you were pregnant, you'd be dead asleep by 8.

You can't be pregnant. You weren't trying hard enough. You weren't doing enough RIGHT things. You weren't taking a prenatal. (Goodness, should I start??)

 You can't be pregnant. Because you ALWAYS think you're pregnant. And only 4 times have you been right. And only 1 time have you brought home a baby.

Which brings me to number 2 . . .

Even if you were pregnant, what gives? More than likely -- I'll bet somewhere around 99% -- you'll only be pregnant for a few short weeks. If that. You'll battle hope v. realism every day. Until the bleeding starts. Or the pain starts. Or your breasts feel less tender. Or the ultrasound screen comes up empty (again.) Or your hcg levels start to drop. Or your tube ruptures. Or. Or. Or. Or. Or.

None of the scenarios obsessively playing about in my head right now are about a live baby.

It's more like, what the heck am I supposed to do with another loss? How can I protect my heart? What if I just pretend I don't care? Will it hurt less then? What if I expect it? What if I tell no one?What if I tell everyone? How can my family deal with more bad news? What if the test is negative, and all this obsession is really for nothing?

And why the heck did we have unprotected sex to begin with?

And why the heck am I secretly willing that pregnancy test in a week to come out positive -- even when I know the outcome likely won't be?

And when the heck did all this get to be so dang complicated??

Ps. I wasn't pregnant.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The comparison trap

Today, a momma friend and I had a playdate (aka, Let our kids run wild for a bit while we enjoy a moment of sanity and coffee.) My house looked worse for wear, but it was a nice break for my soul.

Our conversation was very enlightening.

Really, your kids hit you in the face, too? I thought to myself as we talked.

You're kidding? I'm not the only one that has a hard time keeping up vacuuming?

Your kids won't eat a bite? Mine won't STOP eating, and it's driving me nutso.

And, maybe the not-so-expected . . .

So checking Facebook makes you a little crazy, too? Funny, I thought it was just me.

See, if you don't know me, you wouldn't know that I'm crazy-sensitive to Facebook posts on pregnancy. Now, given the fact that I'm in my early thirties, and people are popping kids out like skittles, I can't really get away from it. Some days most days, my newsfeed is completely full of pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, pregnancy complaints, ultrasound photos, belly shots, labor statuses and "Look, they've arrived" photos.

I once blogged that checking my newsfeed was akin to walking through a minefield. People didn't like that post so much. I guess they thought I was trying to compare innocent pregnancies and babies to a war field intent on obliterating people to pieces. So . . . on second thought . . . maybe not the best word picture.

But emotionally -- it CAN be like a minefield. It's like taking a beautiful stroll . . . everything looks calm, peaceful and innocent. And then BAM. Something blindsides you. And maybe it just hits you where you're sensitive. Or, maybe, it derails you for the entire day.

And since sometimes, I tend to think of myself as the center of a microcosm (aka, really, the universe), I thought it was JUST ME. (Don't we all?)

Until my friend said, "You know. I'm tired of seeing statuses about food. About what nutritious food my friends are eating and feeding their kids. Or what Skakeology program they are doing that is getting them in shape. I'm tired of seeing updates on losing that baby weight."

Now here is my super cute friend, who's way more in shape than I am, and her newsfeed keeps poking at her, like someone pokes at a bruise. Because she may be in shape -- but like she said, When is it enough? When have I lost ENOUGH weight? What if I look fine, but don't have that 6-pack I used to have? What if I like to go to McDonald's? What if I didn't lose weight as fast as the others? Do they look at me, and think, Gee -- she really could lose another 10 pounds?

And there it is.

See, Facebook is awesome for the really cool things. Like keeping in touch with old friends. Sharing photos with faraway relatives. Networking for your business, sharing thought-provoking blogs and articles, and meeting friends online who are going through exactly what you are going through.

But it's also the perfect setup for the perfect trap.

Comparison.

And I have a feeling, most of us are caught up in it. Especially us moms.

Checking Facebook is like "comparing everyone else's highlight reels to your behind-the-scenes," as a wise woman once said. And we all know the behind-the-scenes is not always pretty. Not always post worthy.

And instead of assuming everyone else has those same not-so-pretty behind-the-scenes, we falsely assume that their "status du jour" accurately represents their entire life.

That cute baby photo?



Maybe it conveys the idea that our little sinker is always this cute at meal time. That my life consists of going from one cute picture-perfect moment to another.

But that wouldn't be the whole story. Or even the right story.

It doesn't tell how this little miss had developmental delays causing her to eat at a 6-month level, instead of at a 12-month level. It doesn't explain that the reason she's eating Cheerios was because it was one of the only foods she would tolerate that was not a puree. It doesn't show the total frustration that often still consumes both baby and parents when it comes to food.

It doesn't show that the only reason she's in this house, getting the picture taken by yours truly, is because she is a ward of the state.

It also doesn't show how much our family went through (and how many babies didn't make it) on our path to become this little girl's forever family.

There always is so much behind the scenes, isn't there?

So what do you do when you find yourself on either side of the comparison trap?

I don't have any easy answers.

But for me, I've dealt with it this way . . .

When I know I'm feeling particularly vulnerable (to baby announcements or even clean house announcements or "I feel pretty amazing as a mom" announcements) I simply don't check my newsfeed. I'll admit, I keep posting. And perhaps selfishly, keep reading what comments people leave on my posts. But I don't go browsing through other people's lives when I know it's a matter of time before I'll say, "OUCH! That kinda hurt!"


I also try really hard to not take things personally. Their awesome day, or amazingly clean house, or rock-star worthy vacation is NOT MEANT to say anything about ME. It's not about me at all. And the moment I try to put myself in the equation, I take away any beauty that truly is in their post.

By that same token, I've stopped expecting people NOT to post. And instead, expect them TO post. The only thing I can really do is just take responsibility for my feelings, and take control of my Facebook time to meet my needs. Sometimes that means I block someone's updates JUST while they're pregnant -- and check in on their page on really good days. Sometimes that just means I take a mini FB vacation.

If I'm still thinking clearly by this point, instead of nursing the wounds of pricking my soul on that awful comparison trap, I make myself say all the things I'm grateful for. Gratitude has ridiculous healing powers for our hearts.

And if I'm really brave, I'll share some of those behind-the-scenes moments. Like this:

Screaming. Ehhhhh... not so cute.

Laundry. The bane of my existence. (Oh, that and dishes.)

What do you do you even do with this? Maddy's in there.
But finding her is like playing Where's Waldo?

Notice how my husband and I kinda look, well, dead?
(Maddy took this pic by the way. I didn't have any energy to hold up my hand.)

And last, I remind myself constantly of some of the wisest words ever shared with me.

"Curiosity did not kill the cat . . .

"Comparison did."

And I, for one, don't want to be that cat.

What do you do when you find yourself comparing? How do you get out of that trap and find gratitude in what you have? How do you navigate your Facebook "minefield"?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Snapshots

Little miss trying out arbonne's new baby bath...


They are all so cute. Hard to pick just one!!


Oh, and Maddy's bed when we went in to check on her. I left her with 5 books to look at and 1 stuffed animal. Not sure how she even got under the covers!

Some snuggles with daddy post bath.

And, last but not least... These awesome tie-dye cupcakes we made for my second cousin's birthday.























Friday, October 4, 2013

Moving -->

Today we met our new (7th) social worker.

She was nice enough. She didn't seem as awkward coming over as some of the other social workers were (the state workers that is.)

It turns out that she is brand-new to adoption. She spent a few years at CPS, but we are her very first adoption case. And not only is she new, but she let me in on a little secret .... Her supervisor is also brand-new.

Sigh. Not quite what I was hoping to hear.

She was nice enough. And believe it or not, I did have my house almost entirely picked up (minus a few dishes from breakfast in the kitchen). She asked if little miss was easy... I quickly said no. Then she said, "So was Maddy easy?"

"Ummmm. Nope. Definitely not. My family doesn't really DO easy."

Just to make a point, Maddy had the most ginormous fit which included hitting and kicking me when our social worker was there.

The social worker commented that I was very patient. To be honest, I was thinking... "do I even have a choice?" I could either be super impatient, and lead a miserable existence because I deal with fits a lot in my life. Or I could be impatient in front of this brand new woman who will have a big say in our lives.

I don't think so.

So, I think I kept things together as well as I could.

I did notice I got a little bit grumpy toward the end of our appointment. But i think that was for three reasons. 1) I'm just tired of explaining everything over, and over and over again. I'm ready for someone to know us, know what's going on, and just be in the loop. We were just getting to that point with the previous worker, and I'm not ready to make the switch. 2) I was just waiting for her to ask about our miscarriages. She asked if maddy was our bio kid. And so then I just was on edge, waiting. I know my miscarriages have to be in the file. I'm required to tell them every time I have one.

So when is she going to open that can of worms?

3) Both girls were quite active, and I was having a hard time concentrating on the information she was trying to give me.

At the end of the appointment, I just sighed thinking, "Well, at least we have our agency's social worker. She knows what's going on, and she'll help me through this whole process."


Except, I found out later that day that she is leaving our agency this week.

So, it's up to God. All of this legal paperwork intimidates me. Newbie asked me to fill out a form I already filled out; and we went back and forth a few times on if I filled out the right thing. I want someone I feel like I can just trust to walk me through this process (which is why we have an agency to begin with.) I don't
want us ALL to be new!

And yet. We'll be switching social workers on both the state and the agency side at the same time for the FOURTH time in 7 months. Sigh (again.)

I don't mean to sound negative.

It's just that this whole process is hard to go through, and I'm ready for it to be over. I'm ready for her to be ours. Little Miss ----- Lewis.

Oh, and btw, if you wondered why I call her little miss, it's because I can't use her real name on social media or internet. But she does have one. :)

I am ready for her to be mine. I'm ready to be done with social workers, and agencies, and people in and out of our homes, and having to sign as "guardian" or "foster parent" instead of "mom." I'm ready to just move forward.

And honestly, I feel that way in so many ways in my life.

I shared with a friend today that I feel like secondary infertility and pregnancy loss has infiltrated me to my core.

Lately, I've been feeling infertile as a mom. Infertile as a business person. Infertile as a homemaker.

It's as though this idea that I start things I'm incapable of finishing ... Or that I can't achieve what my heart yearns for... has colored my whole world.

I am soooooo tired of crying. I'm so tired of grieving. I'm so tried of feeling incomplete and not enough.

I'm frankly just over it.

I'm trying really hard to come to terms with the fact that where we're at just might be it. I know I can't handle another loss right now. I feel like it would rip me apart.

So the only thing to do is move forward.

Keep plugging away at this adoption. Look forward to February 5, our next court date. Keep working on supporting women through my support group. Grow my team. Invest in myself. Make personal care a big priority. Set goals again, and stop being so afraid of falling short. Savor the family of four that I have. And be ever grateful for the loving man God has placed in my life, who I wouldn't trade for the world.

So. Raise your (proverbial) glasses girls. Here's to moving forward.

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