I miss writing here. I think about writing daily then the day escapes me as does the week and before I know it almost two weeks have gone by since my last post.
We had probably the best Thanksgiving ever this year. It was my two sets of aunts/uncles, my cousin and her husband and their son (who is 18 mos older than my older son) and us. The aunt that hosted is arguably the best cook in our family (and I come from a family of good cooks) and all components of the meal were delectable. Conversation was easy-breezy and there was NO drama. I cannot recall ever having a drama free holiday in my adult life so that is really saying something.
I don’t even know what my parents/sister did, but I imagine they did whatever it was together.
I’m over two weeks into the doubling of the dosage of Prozac I take. It is so hard to explain how I’m feeling but realistically euphoric comes to mind. It is not a manic state, but my mood is always good, there is always hope (even alongside the daily stressors of life) and I can’t recall the last time I raised my voice, snapped at my husband or older son, or that anything actually riled me. I am grateful to my core to have had my life and marriage saved by this medication. That is not an overstatement. With almost 3 months between me and my darkest of days, I can see quite clearly where I and we were headed. I feel like I have been spared a disastrous end.
Baby G will be one in 3 weeks. ONE! So, in addition to the general gearing up for Christmas (our tree will be delivered on Saturday which means that if it isn’t raining, we will decorate our house, both inside and out), I’m planning his first birthday party. I am hoping it will be a casual fete at our home with only a handful of close friends. I am unsure if I will even mention it to my family. It might just be easier not to but I can decide on Christmas Eve if I want to as the entire family has been invited to my aunt’s annual Christmas Eve party .
Since writing this post, I am happy to report that I’ve lost 10#. It hasn’t been easy and I am hungry a lot of the time, but I am hell bent on losing this weight and regaining the leaner body I am more comfortable in. The accountability of tracking and weighing in weekly at Weight Watchers has been helpful, but the tactics it took me almost 18 months to learn the last time I endeavored to lose a significant amount of weight, I’m employing now. In addition to continuing to work-out consistently, I probably eat 50% less than I was eating. Given my age, thyroid condition, and perimenopausal state, it is what I have to do in order to see any loss. We no longer eat red meat due to my husband’s gout, I have no artifically sweetened anything (which means I’ve also maintained my break-up with Diet Coke), we eat a lot of ground turkey, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. I try to eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch most days which really helps and I don’t eat anything after dinner (which means that I usually go from 6 PM to 7AM without anything to eat/drink. This has been key). I’ve needed to retrain myself, but I am quite the concious eater without being obsessed about food.
The changes in my relationship to and with food have been dramatic. I can go into the grocery store hungry and not give in to temptation to scarf down a bag of Cheeto-s, have a candy bar to ‘hold me over’, or eat anything from the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or Starbucks (each of the grocery stores I frequent has one or the other in-store). I can go to Target, buy my older son a soft pretzel and not have any of it. I can go to the movies with my husband (or a friend, as I did both last weekend) and not have anything from the concession. I can go through the McDonald’s drive-thru to pick something up for my husband for lunch (he likes their grilled chicken wrap) or for my older son and not buy anything for myself in favor of making myself something at home. I can have lunch out with a friend, make a healthy choice and then eat only 1/2 of what I ordered.
Again, it is NOT easy but it is about choices and I am chosing new behaviors over old. I don’t feel deprived (I consumed an entire quadruple berry-peach pie, by myself, over a 5 day period last week (the pie was a gift) but chose to have it AS my meal instead of in addition TO my meal. I have real cream with my morning coffee and eat real peanut butter almost daily. We can go out for pizza by the slice and I will have one slice (instead of three). I enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with a piece of pecan pie, weighed-in the following day and still managed a .8# loss.
What is most on my mind is what I am going to do for work and when. While I know what my professional talents are, I have no clue how I’m going to put them back to work.
It’s true that I always wanted to have two children. I’m not sure why that is or how the notion of how many kids one wants to have comes into focus, but that is how I thought it’d be. It’s likely a matter of finances and since public school isn’t an option where we live, I must have felt somewhat constrained by the high cost of living in So CA.
During my struggle with infertility, I saw the family I hoped for with my mind’s eye. I held on to a feeling of contentment that I thought I’d have, mothering two children. I caught glimpses of what I thought our family life would be but they were so fleeting that when I blinked they were lost. It is very hard to hold onto that which hasn’t come to be for very long.
And now, I’m struck over and over, daily for sure, with an almost feeling of deja vu, only it’s not so much repeating something I may have lived before, but something I longed to live. When I acknowledge it happening, I call it a what it’s all about moment.
Because of my husband’s work schedule and the need for young children to eat early, we don’t always eat together but we try to (even if that means I feed the kids but we’re still hanging out at the table when my husband gets home and he eats while we catch up on the events of the day) and when we are all seated around our table, bantering about his day or our son’s day or what Baby G did, it’s a what it’s all about moment.
Or, when I’m making weekend breakfast, maybe scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast, and my older son and husband are setting the table while the baby is crawling around the kitchen floor, I’ll turn and see things as they are unfolding and think, this is what it’s all about.
Or, when I need a quick minute to wash dishes or fold laundry or take the trash out and I ask my older son if the baby can join him in his room for a bit (we have this little chair with a tray that contains him) and I overhear him singing to his brother or reading him a story or explaining the Lego he is building, that’s what it is all about.
Or, like last weekend, when we went to play mini-golf with some friends and they invited us over for dinner afterward, and we were following them back to their house and my older son was looking at their van ahead of us and said, “they’ve got a family of 4 just like us”, that is what it’s all about.
Or, like today, when the sales girl at the MAC counter at the new Bloomingdale’s was commenting on how adorable Baby G was and she asked if he was my first to which I replied no, I have an older son who’s in school, and she said, ‘you’re lucky’ and I think to myself she has NO idea how true that is, that’s what it is all about.
Or, as I’m planning Christmas gifts and I get to not only discuss with my older son what he might like and why, but I get to think of filling two stockings, buy Baby G some things from Santa, AND get to plan a first birthday party again. That’s what it is all about.
Or, when we’re in our backyard and I’m pushing a very contented baby in his swing and his big brother comes over wanting to push him and stops the swing long enough to plant a kiss on his baby brother’s forehead, that’s what it is all about.
Or, when we’re at the park and my older son is circling the path on his bike while my husband watches him and I am pushing Baby G in a bucket swing and there we are, all together at the park, that is what it is all about.
Or, it can be something as mundane as washing the boys clothes, which I do together in one load, and then folding them while they are still warm. There are two stacks of children’s cloths, the first of which I will put away in the baby’s room and the second of which I’ll put away in my older son’s room. Two children’s bedrooms each with their own things, that’s what it’s all about.
There is immense and deep-boned gratitude in my daily life as we live the embodiment of the dream of our family. I think about those I know IRL and URL who are struggling to have their first or build or complete their families in the face of an infertility diagnosis. That something that comes so easily to 90% of the trying to conceive population should be fraught with such difficulty for the rest of us is unfair to the nth degree. If you are in the trenches and you can stay the course, do so, for you, too, should have your what it’s all about moments.
I have had no time to write or even consider writing. The time change threw us for a loop and still, a week later, the boys are waking up early (before 6), so by 8 PM I am ready for bed.
I am not so much a fan of laundry list posts, but, in the interest of time and to document for myself, here goes:
after conferring with my primary care physician, we decided to increase (double) my dose of Prozac for really no other reason than I hit some kind of plateau, feeling no better or no worse. I continue to be so thankful that this remedy exists because I am worlds away from the dark hole I was in a mere two months ago. There is no bickering with my husband, I’m not irritable or overwhelmed, I am hopeful and planning for the future, and I am sleeping. Side benefit, I have not had ONE hot flash in at least 6 weeks.
I re-joined Weight Watchers. Prior to doing so, I am happy to report that I lost 5# by using My Fitness Pal to track what I was eating. Not so astonishingly, I was nearing almost 2,000 calories/day (which clearly maintains my weight) and just shaving calories off every day has helped. I am, once again, conscious about what I’m eating. WW was offering a promotion which I decided to take advantage of. I’m not sure, really, if I am cut out for it any longer (just trying to find one meeting a week at a time a can commit to attending has been a challenge) but know that I need the accountability of weekly weigh-ins to get me started.
Baby G is awesome. He is crawling and cruising everywhere (which, at almost 26# is helpful), had 4 teeth, and regularly sleeps from 7:30 – 5:45/6. He mostly eats what we eat but will still have the occasional puree pouch. We’ve done little in the way of baby proofing and something I repeat umpteen times/day now is, “No, no, no, no, that’s not for babies”. It came, then, as a hilarious surprise, when his first words were “no, no, no, no” said in protest (he didn’t want his diaper changed or he didn’t want me to take away the door stop he was chewing on or he didn’t want to ‘walk’ with me). My husband did not believe me so I told him to try to walk with Baby G and the baby sat down while saying “no, no, no, no”. So cute. Next up, ‘mama’.
Had my older son’s first parent-teacher conference. I have reserved judgement as to his teacher’s abilities and what I view to be the sometimes combative way the administrators respond to benign requests, but the conference itself went well. My son has endeared himself to her which is helpful since he has been prone to emotional outbursts and she has been working with him. She is attuned to how smart he is and how to challenge him and we agreed on working together to develop his emotional maturity.
We attended the school’s annual family dinner night (a casual buffet catered by a local Italian restaurant). We are starting to make friends, figure out who’s who, and I had a play date at a park today with one of the moms of a boy my son likes. She is a New Yorker, down to earth, and newly appointed the Board. She provided some context and framework that helped me piece together some of what I’ve been observing. She is the only woman on the 10 member board which I find odd (and unacceptable).
Halloween was a blast. I was thrilled that we met up with friends early enough that Baby G could join us. My older son LOVES trick or treating (even if he doesn’t really love candy) and I love that he loves it (I could do without Halloween myself). We go to a street in the sleepy town where my uncle lives that attracts 10,000 kids in the course of the night. The houses are elaborately decorated, the street is closed to traffic, and it is FUN!
I miss this space, miss having the time to think about what to write, miss the camaraderie that comes from the comments I receive. I’ve been thinking about my post-infertile life, the ‘shoulds’ of parenting, what my next step with my birth mother will be, how we’ll navigate the upcoming holidays, what my next career might be and would like to write about all of it.
Until next time, I must leave you with a tid-bit I learned about how to eat an apple. We now all eat our apples this way (minus the seeds, of course) and this is what my apple waste looks like:
In June, 2010, when my older son was just over 3 years old, I endeavored to lose 40# (I really needed to lose closer to 50, but set my sights on 40 which was more than I’d ever needed to lose in my life) by joining Weight Watchers for the first time. It took me well over a year to lose 46# and by January, 2012, after being on a plateau for a few months maintaining my loss, I quit WW and prepared to cycle again. By the time I got pregnant in May, 2012, I’d gained 5 lbs, which, after undergoing 2 FETs, wasn’t too bad.
Over the course of my pregnancy, I gained back almost all the weight I lost and I naively thought that once I delivered, over time, I’d return to my pre-pregnancy weight. Only, that’s not what happened at all. I weigh almost as much (5 pounds less) than I did when I started WW.
I’m a size 14 now and I cannot stand it another minute. I look and feel my best when I am a 10/12 which means I need to lose 40# to get there. What sealed my self-loathing was this image of my body as we prepared to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary Saturday night:
I do not want to return to WW. When the program changed mid-way through my first run, my weight loss slowed considerably. Even though I believe that their program is the best for losing and maintaining one’s weight loss, I do not want to spend $43/mo for a plan that I know I need to modify. What I learned during my first go round with WW was something I learned with every other attempt to lose weight in my life, I need to consume 1,200 calories/day and no more than 1,400 even a couple of days a week in order to lose .5-1.0#/week.
I believe that losing weight and then maintaining the loss requires a sustainable lifestyle change. That change, requires a committed mindset. At 47, perimenopausal and hypothyroid, I KNOW the deck is stacked against me and that even a .5# loss per week is going to be hard. But, I can’t keep doing what I am doing and expecting different results. By summer, 2014, I want to be a size 12. PERIOD.
I’m reading Bethenny Frankel’s book, Naturally Thin which is a very interesting read. She talks about “food noise” and how, especially as overweight women, our self worth and our mood is dependent on our almost hourly relationship with food. I’m good if I have an apple instead of a bag of Cheetos or I’m bad if I eat an entire brownie.
Just like infertility noise, the all consuming loop that comes along with cycling (when will my period start, how long til I can cycle again, what will my protocol be, what will we do differently, how many eggs will we get, how many will fertilize, how many will we transfer, on and on), food noise is consuming my thoughts and wrecking my life. As the chief meal preparer in our home, it is up to me what we eat and certainly what I eat in a given day. And, it’s not that I eat unhealthily, I just eat TOO MUCH.
I could go on and on beating myself up here about being at this weight AGAIN and how daunting it feels to need to lose it. Instead, I’m going to go back to reading her book and trying to get in the mindset of food is fuel for my body, I need to only eat when I’m hungry and make good choices, and not overeat (she has a tenet which says, taste everything but eat nothing, which I totally get), and I need to devise meal plans that support that goal. I also need accountability, which is the greatest aspect of WW, so I am going to chronicle my weekly weight fluctuations here, every Monday. I’m also going to begin using My Fitness Pal to track my calories.
I commented to a friend who had gastric bypass surgery that I wish there was something similar for folks that needed to lose less than 50#. What I’m jealous of that’s a result of the surgery, is that she isn’t hungry. Hunger fuels my overeating and sometimes poor choices. I want to be at a place where I’m not constantly thinking about food, either what I’ve just eaten or what I’m going to eat next or what I’m going to make for dinner or how I’m not going to eat anything after dinner. Noise. So.much.noise.
If you have tips or strategies or recipes you’d like to share, especially for easy weeknight meals, please do. I need the support that will be missing from not attending WW meetings.
Today is my 10th wedding anniversary. I am relieved that I am still married given the dark times I just crawled through. Without exaggeration, I wasn’t sure we’d be together to celebrate, that is the grip that depression had on me.
Yet, here we are, married ten years, together almost 14. It’s the longest love relationship of my life. I have learned more about love in the last year than at any other time in my life. In my view, the depths of love, the thick and thin of it, can only be known when tested. Love is easy when life is humming along and you are in sync with your partner. But how do you fare when and in the aftermath of the shit hitting the fan?
I thought our struggle to complete our family was the most difficult time in our relationship. When I didn’t think a second child would happen for us and when my husband would have been fine with our family as it was if it didn’t, I thought that impasse was hard. But, no, hard would come after baby #2 was born. The trough of the valley would blindside me, hitting me unawares at a time when I should have been basking in the after glow of finally reaching the promised land. But, life. Life can be a bitch.
I am so grateful to have chosen my husband as my life partner. There is a symbiosis to our relationship, a particular way that we fit together. And, now we are part of something bigger than ourselves, we are this family of four navigating what it means to be just that, our family, completed.
Prior to actually getting engaged, I picked out my stone and solitaire setting. For our 10th anniversary, my husband took our older son to visit our jeweler and my boys designed a new setting and had my stone re-set. I thought he was going to give it to me tomorrow night, at our celebratory dinner, but he teased me by picking it up yesterday and telling me I could open it or wait. I wanted to wait. I wanted to open it at dinner when we were alone. But, like the proverbial kid in a candy store, I could not contain myself. It is exquisitely beautiful made even more lovely because my boys designed it just for me.
One of our wedding songs was Marcia Ball’s, The Power of Love. The lyrics resonate even more today, have even deeper meaning, than on our special day 10 years ago. I leave them with you.
That it’s a miracle
That I found you
And made you mine
And it’s a miracle
That love can grow
In so little time
And I thank you every day
In so many ways
I just can’t get over
the power of love
The power of love
Can move a mountain
Nothing can move me
and I feel the power
when we touch
and I love you
I love you so much
I just can’t get over
the power of love
In my life
I’ve had so much happiness
But the greatest joy
That I’ve ever known
But the fulfillment
Of every woman’s dream
To find love
And call it my own
And our love grows everyday
In so many ways
I just can’t get over
the power of love
The power of love
Can move a mountain
Ah nothing can move me
I feel the power when we touch
and I love you
I love you so much
I just can’t get over
the power of love
Finally, BlogHer announced the location and dates of the 2014 conference: San Jose, CA, July 24-26, 2014. It is BlogHer’s 10th anniversary and in order to create a truly memorable event, tickets will be capped at 2,500.
I always knew I wanted to be a mother, or, perhaps better said, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be one. Given my challenging relationship with my own mom and that I was adopted, I created a folder in my mind of the kind of mom I hoped to one day be and of the family I hoped to one day have.
When I met the man who would become my husband, the picture of a real family came into clearer focus. I thought it was upon me, not a far away dream. Only, infertility would change all that. There is something about having to s-t-r-u-g-g-l-e to start one’s family that feeds the idea of becoming a parent, that cements the dream, that makes the longing more palpable, that etches the picture of future children deeply on our hearts.
My journey to building and completing my family took one decade. It took 1/4 of my life, 25% of my time on earth and almost all my resourcefulness and tenacity, pushing forward in the face of increasing odds, climbing up from despair and heartbreak, to finally realize what I had only imagined with my mind’s eye.
Even though the path to our older son was hard, the road to our younger son was far more difficult. My unwavering perseverance was fueled by what my heart wanted. Some may have thought me foolhardy, but my heart wanted what it wanted and I was in a perpetual state of unease and unrest without it and in pursuit of it.
And now, being a mother to these two amazing little humans, is what those dreams were made of. My breath catches and tears form when the reality of that long held fantasy plays out in front of me. There are real life moments that were once only a hopeful passing thought, that happen and feel almost like deja-vu. I am so fortunate, so grateful, so relieved to finally be able to enjoy the things I wanted so badly to be a part of my life, our lives, and my experience as a woman, a mother.
I think of those still steeped in the quagmire of their infertility diagnosis, of the fear, the heartache and heartbreak, the worry, the longing and the yearning. Each person’s story is their own and their path is unique to them. There is a process that we each must go through and there is no way to predict the outcome. But for anyone who is pursuing any form of ART to create or complete their family, I want to share some recent cherished moments with the hope that they will fuel you, bolster you, and bring you cheer. Stay the course, whatever that may be for you.
Yesterday, Baby G crawled out the front door as his daddy and big brother were getting ready to leave for the day. He lost his balance and took a face plant into the hard cold stone patio. He scraped his lip, began to bleed and cry. I scooped him up to soothe and comfort him and saw that my older son was crying, too. The sight of his baby brother hurt made him hurt, too. It was so raw and tender, his concern for his brother.
Often when I need to make dinner, I ask my older son to be with the baby in my room. Last night, as I was in the kitchen assembling chicken rollatini, I heard squeals of laughter as Baby G was reeling from his big brother’s antics. H goes out of his way to make his baby brother laugh and the sound of their joy, my boys, made me teary.
I have the good fortune of finally being able to make weekday breakfast for us all and we are able to eat together at the table before my husband takes our older son to school and goes off to work himself. It struck me, just this morning, as I was busily preparing breakfasts, that this is what it is all about. The almost mundane act of fixing meals is momentous to me, to sit down together as a family of four. A family of four, finally. The magnitude of that fills me with conscious contentment.
Even now, almost 10 months into our life together, I sometimes can’t believe that Baby G is here. My breath catches when I remember that he was once a frozen embryo and but for the particular sequence of events that played out in my life, he may never have become my son. It is profound.
While there are many firsts ahead for both of my sons, there will be my firsts, too. My first Halloween dressing two young children. Our first Thanksgiving together with SO much to be thankful for. Our first Christmas, when last year Baby G was still inside of me, mere hours from making his arrival. Planning birthday parties for two kids. Our first vacation as a family of four. All of the life events I wished and yearned for are my reality now.