New Goals

Over the last four and a half years, and almost 1200 posts, I’ve written about wanting a lot of things. And over the past four and a half years, I’ve achieved most of those things, at least the most important. On January 4th of next year I will get married and with that act I will be able to say that all my biggest dreams have come true, and I wonder, what does one do with her life when has everything she ever hoped for? What do you work for when it’s all been achieved?

I like goals. I like to strive for things, to plan strategies and then execute them. I like to look back on what I’ve done with a sense of pride. I am personally fulfilled by my achievements, they buoy me when times are tough.

I’m not really sure what I’ll do when I have all the most important things I ever wanted. I have a man that I love and we’re in a committed relationship (soon to be legal! Woot!) We have two beautiful children. We have a house in the city (this still seems insane to me, almost as insane as the second kid thing). We have the life we always wanted, or at least the life I always wanted. We’re living the dream. My dream.

So now, what do I do? I suppose I just live this life. This is why I wanted it, right? So I could live it? And that is what I mean to do. To live this life with gratitude and gusto. To never take it for granted. To find happiness in all these things my heart desired, because if I can’t find happiness in this life, certainly I don’t deserve it.

I can tell I’ll still need focus, something to strive for. Now that I have all the most important things, I need to decide what else I want. I think I have, too. I think I know what I want to do. Every year, I want to focus on one thing, to work on something, to cultivate it. This coming year, the first calendar year of my desired life, I want to work on patience. It seems the perfect focus for my first year as a mother of two and so that is what I will work on, that is what I will strive for. Patience.

I want to be more patient, with my daughter, with my son, with my partner, with myself. I need to be patient with this body that is so slow to return to its former shape (and may never look like it did ever again). I need to be patient with my daughter as she makes this difficult transition and struggles with feelings that a 3.5 year old doesn’t understand. I need to be patient with my partner as he learns how to be a father of two children, as he learns to live with even less time for himself and his pursuits. I need to be patient with my son, as he begins to assert his independence, as he figures out who he is and how he fits into this family that already existed before he was even born. I need to be patient with myself as I struggle to give my children the care they deserve while also caring for myself. I need to patient with my students who don’t understand what my life is like at home, or why I’m so tired or how much I crave just a little bit of silence. I have to patient with the person trying to parallel park when I’m in a hurry or the pedestrian meandering across the street when I’m late picking my daughter up from school. I need to be patient.

In being patient I will give myself space, I will carve out small moments of time for myself and my family, I will make fewer mistakes, I will regret fewer reactions. In being patient I will find happiness, I will be content, I will appreciate more, I will find acceptance.

And so now, on the cusp of the rest of my wonderful life, I choose patience, at least for this year. And next year, when I know what I else need to be happy, I will work on that. Hopefully, as I commit myself to being the person I want to be, I will better appreciate this life I’ve always wanted, that I’m so, so fortunate to have.

Our New Normal

It turns out that BOTH of us prefer bottle feeding. We switched to Dr. Brown’s bottles and now most feedings go a lot smoother. There is still a feeding here and there that doesn’t go well but mostly it’s smooth sailing. Monito can also keep a pacifier in his mouth now, at least relatively well. Things are moving forward and we’re both a lot happier. When I think about trying out breastfeeding one last time at the end of this two weeks I cringe. I just don’t want to go back to the pain and frustration of trying to breastfeed. Especially when my thrush seems to be getting exponentially worse with the antibiotics.

The other night Monito reached out and grabbed my thumb while he was eating. It was such a sweet moment and it solidified the choice I’ve made. This whole saga has been a really big deal for me. Making this choice, finding acceptance, realizing I’m happier now, it has been an important journey for me, one I’m now very grateful I experienced. I have learned more about myself in the past few weeks than I have in a long time. It’s been so eye opening.

And in the middle of it sits this amazing little man, this miracle. In the end he’s all that matters. I’m glad I haven’t lost sight of that.




One of the things I’m most excited about this time around is the ability to purge all my stuff as I’m done with it. With my first child I spent so much time packing everything away and carefully storing it at my own house or at my parents’ or in-laws’ houses. This time I can get rid of everything as soon as I’m done using it, and surprisingly, the purging has already begun.

I spent this afternoon going through my maternity clothes, packing some clothes to take to a consignment store, others to return to a friend and still others to keep here because I’m still using them (and probably will be for a while). I have three giant IKEA bags full of all the girls clothes I was keeping at my in-laws house in case I had another girl and needed them again. Now all those clothes are headed to a friend who has a daughter 2.5 years younger than my own. Seriously, this friend could get by without ever buying her daughter an article of clothing, that is how much I’m sending her way.

I even started packing up gender neutral/boy baby clothes to pass on. I was given a bunch of newborn clothes that Monito never even fit into and now even some of his 0-3 month clothing doesn’t fit, especially not with the cloth diapers we use. So already I’m folding up the tiny baby clothes and putting them in bags for others to enjoy. It’s bitter sweet to be sure, knowing I’ll never need those tiny clothes again, but it’s also freeing. Everything we grow out of can be given away or sold. I’m so relieved that I no longer have to worry about saving anything for an uncertain future. It can disappear forever and I won’t have to think about it again.

And so I go through things constantly, making piles and moving stuff out of my house. It’s cathartic in so many ways, and it helps me work through the reality that this is it, our last child, the last time we get to experience all these things. It’s hard and it’s easy. It feels great and it terrifies me, just like most everything else in life.

Moving On

I didn’t do a very good job of documenting when things happened during my first pregnancy. There were many times during my second pregnancy when I wished I could look back and see how something had gone the first time so I could compare.

Today, 16 days after birth, I seem to have finally stopped bleeding. I was wondering if that was about how long it took after my first birth and then I thought I should write it down this time, then I’d have it documented somewhere, so I could know for the next time.

Except I was struck by the realization that there won’t be a next time. I will never be pregnant again.

I’m too close to my last pregnancy to register what that means just yet. It doesn’t make me sad or wistful or angry or upset. It just is right now, and that’s okay. There are moments where I try to remember what it was like to have a giant belly, to feel my baby kicking inside me, but already those corporeal sensations are fading. I can remember it with my head but not with my body. And I will never feel those things again.

Toward the end of my pregnancy, when I seemed to be losing my mucus plug in fits and starts every day for three weeks, I couldn’t help but compare what I saw on my toilet paper to cervical mucus, the texture and consistency of which I was acutely aware of every time I wiped for months and years on end. Even then, at the end of my pregnancy, I was aware of the fact that I’ll never have to look at the toilet paper again. I’ll never have to care what is coming out of my vajajay and what it might mean for my chances at getting pregnant. I won’t even have to care about when I get my period. That time in my life is behind me. I can officially move on.

So far, as I’ve contemplated leaving the family building portion of my life behind, I’ve only considered the daily minutia. I came across my BBT thermometer the other day and unceremoniously threw it in the trash. When I stored an extra tube of Pre-Seed I did so because it seemed a shame to throw it away and I can always use a little extra grease on my wheels anyway. Yesterday I deleted my temperature tracking app off my phone. Last week I moved a huge box of books on TTC, infertility, adoption, miscarriage and loss into Monito’s room, with plans to organize them for a giveaway post in this space. Every time I open the kitchen cupboard I move another supplement to the pile of bottles I have to go through, deciding which I’ll keep and which I’ll throw away. Slowly but surely I’m sifting through the remnants of that time in my life, categorizing them and preparing to let them go.

What will it be like, for the weeks and months to pass without waiting and wondering if my period will come? What will it be like to never have to worry about miscarriage or pregnancy loss ever again? What will daily life look like without all those tiny moments dedicated to tracking my fertility, or lack there of? Who will I be without all those little actions to give my life meaning? What will I do with all the time and space–mentally, emotionally and physically–that is made available now that I’m not dedicating so much of myself to building my family?

I can’t really imagine who it is I will be now that TTC and infertility don’t define me, don’t define my days, weeks, months and years. I can’t really wrap my head around a life in which I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’ll have a child. My fertility has been an ever present cause of stress and anxiety since I stopped having my period in my teens; for the first time in my life, I don’t have to worry about how it may affect my future. I’m done having children. My diminished ovarian reserve is not something that can affect my life anymore. Or at least, it can’t affect the shape of my family. It’s time for me to move on from this hugely important chapter. It’s time for me to figure out what living means now that I have all the things I was hoping for. My life was paused and someone pressed the play button; how will my story play out now that a huge part of it is no longer on hold?

I wonder how long I’ll notice the absence of all those little things that defined my days. Maybe, by the time I’ve fallen into a new routine–one that orbits my perfect family of four–they won’t even be missed. Or maybe their absence will strike me at random times, like when I happen to see a big glob of EWCM on my toilet paper and it sends a little thrill of opportunity through me. I’m sure eventually I’ll forget about all the little rituals that kept me sane, that made me feel like I was doing something productive, something proactive. I’ll forget what the horrible TCM herbs tasted like. I’ll let the names of all the supplements fade away and I’ll forget why I know what Vitex is and what it’s used for. I won’t be able to recite what CD I usually ovulated on and on what DPO I expected to get my period.

Maybe some day, I’ll have to go back and read old blog posts to remember how much of my life was dedicated to TTC. Maybe someday, I’ll take for granted this perfect family I thought I’d never have.

Untethering Ties to the Past

I know things have been a little ranty around here and I apologize for that. I think my problem is that things are actually really nice right now, so my inherent anxiety issues are asserting themselves in future situations that aren’t even relevent yet.

Oh, and my daughter has been quite a handful lately and I’m constantly wondering how I’ll manage her and a baby, when I can’t seem to manage her all by herself. (I know, I know, I’ve written this a bazillion times. Want to know how many times I’ve thought it?)

But today I’ll be talking about something else entirely. No rants on Wednesday!

One of the things I have on my to-do list this summer is to clean up the back bedroom/office/elliptical space so that it will be ready for a few things we need to do with it soon. First it will be the place we store our new memory foam mattress for a few days while it airs out (I got seduced by a Groupon deal, it was probably a huge mistake). Then it will probably house our old bed until I can get it down to my parents’ house. And finally it will be the temporary home for the twin bed we plan to get early so that Mi.Vida can sleep on it when the baby is born and he needs to get some real rest. (Of couse eventually it will be where the baby sleeps, but I can’t really wrap my head about that possibility at the moment. 😉

Right now the room is a depository for all sorts of shit we just don’t want to deal with. Two things that have been in there basically since we moved in (ahem, almost a year ago) were Costco bags of crap from the office space at our old apartment. Today I tackled both bags and found that one was filled with keepsakes from various trips in my life along with photographs that spanned ten or fifteen years. Within 30 minutes I had recycled 99% of the contents of the bag, including piles and piles of photographs from my college years, and before.

Now I have always considered myself a sentimental horder. I used to develop rolls and rolls of photographs, always getting doubles because I believed you could never have too many copies of, well, anything. When I went on vacation I saved receipts and pamphlets and brochures and napkins and coasters and anything else with the name of where we were or that offered proof what we had done. I used to paste these keepsakes, along with the hundreds of photos into elaborately decorated scrapbooks, creating detailed records of my most memorable experiences.

{My mom swears I have five boxes of shit like this in her garage. I think it will be clear what I plan to do with that stuff by the end of this post, or the next paragraph.}

Today I threw out two sizable bags full of the remnants of two different trips, one was a car trip around the country I took with a roommate after I graduated from college and the other was from a trip around Europe I took with my sister when she graduated from high school.

I have kept these bags of memorabilia, plus the boxes of random photos for years, a decade actually. Every time I moved or cleaned out my stuff, I decided they had to stay; even during our last crazy move when I was determined to get rid of all non-essentials. And yet today I was relieved to throw then into the recycle bin. I have absolutely no regrets even knowing that I’d never have those specific links to those specific memories, ever again.

And I have to wonder why now? Why can I throw these things away so nonchalantly when in the past I grasped to them almost desperately? Why do I no longer feel the need to preserve these windows into my college years?

I guess the truth is that most of the time I wouldn’t mind shuttering those windows permanently.

I don’t know if this is just part of growing up and becoming an adult, but I no longer feel the need to relive the more carefree years of my youth. My high school and college years were so entrenched in major depressive episodes that I’d rather forget most of it. And while the pictures I threw away mostly highlight the good moments that I do want to remember, looking at them I can’t help be relive the difficult times as well; it’s like the darkness of my depression lingers in the background, casting a shadow across the spotlight of smiling faces I’m supposed to see.

The truth is, those years were like every year, a complicated mix of good and bad, of joys and triumphs I want to remember and tears and failures I want to forget. I have a few albums with the photos I thought to file away at the time–I can look back and shake my head at the horrible short hair cuts I sported and marvel at the insane Halloween costumes I tried to pull off. I have records of what that time was like, but I don’t need to keep every single picture from those years. All the extras that were languishing in that bag needed to go. They were more a weight pulling down my present than a tether to some idealized past.

I guess what it comes down to is I’m not that wedded to the past anymore. I really like my life and I’m pretty overwhelmed just trying to keep up with my day to day existence. I don’t have a lot of reasons to look back into the past; there are no answers there for the problems I now face. I’ve learned what I’ve learned. Those experiences absolutely shaped who I am today, but they don’t require any more of my time than they’ve already been allotted. I lived that life and now I’m living this life. And while I’ll always cherish my scrapbooks and photo albums, the rest of it is best left to fall away. I need the space–physically, mentally and emotionally–to dwell in the present, to nurture my family, the one I was dreaming about when all those pictures were taken, when all I wanted was to live the life I have now.

What is your modus operandi when it comes to photos and memorabilia? Has it changed over the years or stayed the same?

On Healing

“This was once Mazama, I kept reminding myself. This was once a moutain that stood nearly 12,000 feet tall and then had its heart removed. This was once a wasteland of lava and pumice and ash. This was once an empty bowl that took hundreds of years to fill. But hard as I tried, I couldn’t’ see them in my mind’s eye. Not the mountain or the wasteland or the empty bowl. They simply were not there anymore. There was only the stillness and silence of that water: what a mountain and a wasteland and an empty bowl turned into after the healing began.”

– Cheryl Stayed, Wild

Magnifying Glass

Pregnancy makes me anxious. I hate that I so desperately want a certain outcome and I have no control over ensuring that outcome. I hate that I love this baby so much and yet could so easily lose it. I hate that there are never any guarantees, not even when you’re 39 weeks. Not even after your baby is born.

The thing is, what I hate about pregnancy is really what I hate about life. It’s all the same things that make life so terrifying, pregnancy just puts a magnifying glass to them because the chances of losing what you love are so much higher when you’re pregnant. Pregnancy is just this intense reminder that we don’t have any control of the most important aspects of our life. We could lose our jobs, our home, our health, our loved ones, at any moment. We don’t fixate on it much because the chances are so small, but they are there, in the background, always taunting us.

The challenge of life is to accept the uncertainty and embrace–no, not just embrace but to really love–life anyway. The challenge of life is to live without fear of what might happen, to just be in the present moment without dwelling in the past or trying to determine the future. For me, that is a really difficult challenge.

Pregnancy takes the realization that we’re not in control and magnifies it. It’s so hard to realize we’re not in control. We think that we are. We work really hard and achieve our goals (mostly). We so rarely–if at all–have the rug pulled out from under us. It’s easy to assume that we are affecting real change in our lives. And of course cause and effect happens–working hard usually does offer its rewards. But there is this undercurrent that pushes us along and we don’t have any control over that. It can be almost imperceptible, especially if it’s pushing us in exactly the way we hope to go. It only becomes a palpable thing when that current pushes us off our chosen path, like with infertility, or when it sends us careening off a waterfall, as it feel like when we suffer a loss. Then we are forced to recognize that current–be it God or fate or the universe or just life, whatever you like to call it–and accept that we can’t do anything to fight it.

Pregnancy makes me anxious. I hate the constant reminder that nothing I hold dear is safe, that anything I love could be taken away, at any moment. For nine months that reality will be front and center, dictating the way I think and feel. It will be a pulsing force, unavoidable, impossible to ignore.

I hope I can use these nine months to work on accepting the uncertainty of life. To embrace all that I have without the fear of losing it. Because I have so much, so very, very much. My life is over following with love and abundance.

And even if I lose this pregnancy that will still be the case.


{Progesterone supplement update: I just wanted to let you all know that I decided to take progesterone. I got about two weeks worth from a ggmg mom through the forums. A blog reader in the area also sent me about two weeks worth and another friend did the same. So I have most of what I need already. Today my OB said she’d order me some so I’ll fill that Rx too (for a cheap co-pay) and use what I need of that and then hopefully send it someone else’s way when I don’t need what is left! Thank you all for your advice on all this. I really appreciate everyone’s input.}