Posted in Baby, family, Health, life, Mom, Thoughts

Grieving For Two

When you have a child, you think about all the little things that will change. You try and mentally prepare yourself for different situations. Think about how you might handle them. But there are so many to prepare for. You can’t possibly think of them all. And you only realize it when you find yourself faced with one.

We lost a family member yesterday. My step-father. He fought a battle that not many could have endured. But somehow, he did. His desire to keep going was always because of his grandchildren. He had big plans for them. He was going to take them places, or plant a garden, or start an orchard. Something. But thats, without a doubt, why he persevered the way that he did. For as long as he did. He didn’t want to miss an opportunity with any of them. And maybe it’s just me, but he seemed to have a special bond with my son. His pal.

I think that’s why his death is so hard. You never want your loved ones to suffer. You never want them to live a life less than. And as his health declined rapidly over the last few weeks, those around him started the grieving process. But, for me, it was different this time.

Not only am I grieving for myself. For the man I had known all my life. A man who was kind, generous, and a constant dreamer. But I grieving for my son.

Nikola loved his Pa. He loved him so so much. I have never known a baby to sit so contently for hours on someone’s lap, but he did. He loved it. Nikola would sit an listen to his Pa talk about all the adventures they were going to go on since he was born. He would look up at him, eyes wide, and just take it all in. Never wiggling, never crying. Just sitting and watching.

I think that what’s making this so hard. Knowing how much Nikola loved him. And while he is just a baby.- Only 14 months, I know that he knows something is different. We were at my mom’s on Sunday, Barry was already in hospice, and Nikola looked at her and said “Papa.” And he said it again this morning when he was playing with a toy Barry had gotten him. He’s a smart little boy.

And so, this is one of the things. One of the things that is different now. I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t think about it. But, here we are. Barry didn’t want people to be sad. He said many times in the last couple weeks that he had lived an incredible life and did all the things he wanted to do. And I think we can find comfort in that.

Posted in Baby, family, Inspirations, life, Mom, Pregnancy, Thoughts

Extra-Ordinary Love, part 2

Nikola has always been an affectionate baby but lately he seems to have an agenda when dolling out kisses. He has learned that if he gives you a kiss and then asks or points to something, he’s more apt to get it. Whether it be a set of keys you’re fairly certain he’ll lose or if he wants you to play Baby Shark for the umteenth time. With his chubby little hands, knuckle dimples and all, he’ll grab either side of your face and pull you towards his. His mouth open as wide as a largemouth bass. And then, there it is. The kiss that makes you melt, over and over again.

He knows exactly how to manipulate your heart strings. He is smart and perfectly mischievous in the most adorable way. And it’s one of the things I love most about him.

The most masterful linguist, the most articulate wordsmith, wouldn’t be able to scratch the surface of the feeling that is loving your child. It is indescribable in every way. What it means. How it feels. It’s depth, It’s reach. It’s pull. All of it. It is entirely different from every other kind of love that exists. And I understand how incredibly lucky I am to feel it all day, every day.

You don’t know what unconditional love is. You may say you do, but if you don’t have a child, you don’t know what that is. But when you experience it, it is the most fulfilling ever. ”    Regina King

Posted in Baby, blogging, family, Health, life, Mom

Time Management for Mothers: How to include time for Self-Care?

To be very clear, this is not your traditional “how-to” post. I am looking for an answer, not providing one. This is a question that I am sending out into the void hoping for some insight. This concept is something I’m having a hard time getting my head around. I’m not trying to be a martyr. I’m not trying to convince myself or others of what a selfless mother I am. I simply can not figure out what it means and how to do it.

Is getting a haircut self-care? I think it might be. I haven’t one in almost a year. And I DESPERATELY need one. And when I go over the excuses in my head as to why, it really boils down to time. And perhaps a smidge of laziness.

Is going to the doctor considered self-care? Perhaps. If so, I have indulged in that twice this week. I put it off last week and my illness got worse. Why didn’t I go when I first started feeling under the weather? Nikola had been sick and it was inevitable that I was going to get it. As a mom, I think it may just be commonplace that your primary focus is “I’ll be fine. Let’s get baby healthy.” And now, here I am. sick with a virus that has wreaked havoc on my respiratory and digestive system the likes of which I have never seen or experienced. And due to the contagiousness of the virus my mother had to come and pick up Nikola and take him to her house for a couple of days. This is the first time I haven’t been with him overnight and it has been hard. Is having a “night off” from your baby in order to recuperate self-care?

A few months ago, I posted about some terrible migraines I was having. I received messages from friends with helpful tips and one in particular from an accomplished Yoga Therapist with an offer to come in for an appointment. It was so kind and generous of her to reach out. And I wanted to go. I wanted to make an appointment so badly. But I just couldn’t figure out how to move that appointment to the top of my priority list. For whatever reason.

Time management as a mother has got to be one of trickiest parts of the title. Am I willing to sacrifice time with my son on Saturday to go get a haircut, or to go get a massage, maybe go to the movies? There has been this meme floating around that says something like “Society expects women to mother like they don’t work and work like they’re not a mother.” I have a full-time job that I love. By the time I pick up Nikola at daycare and get home its 5:30pm. Nikola has imposed on himself a strict bedtime of 7:00pm. He just passes out, every night, at that time. So Monday through Friday, I get one and half hours with him. That ain’t a lot. I miss him all day long, and then I miss him when he goes to bed. So, when Saturday and Sunday come along, I just don’t want to NOT be with him. There have been so so many weeks where I’ve said “I’m going to go to the movies this weekend. Have some alone time.” but when the weekend rolls around, those plans have gone out the window. I no longer want to go.

Today, there is such an emphasis on self-care. The importance of it, and I believe it is important. This blog is my main source of it. And even then, I can’t find the time or energy to write a post. While I have 23 posts saved to my “draft” folder. The time and energy it takes to complete, edit and post seems daunting. Even impossible. So, how do you all do it? How do you make time for yourself? What kind of priority do you put on your own self-care? I’m looking forward to reading your comments.

Posted in Baby, Career, family, Fertility, Health, life, Mom, Pregnancy, Thoughts

Pregnancy and the accompanying​ anecdotes.

I’m pregnant.  After 2 years and 11 months of trying, my husband and I finally got a positive pregnancy test.  We spent a lot of money on sticks that I had to pee on, went to doctors, had fertility tests (all came back fine), and even tried in vitro.  All with no luck.  But, as of 2 days ago, we are 17 weeks pregnant.

We found out the morning of October 11th.  The day we left for our trip to Macedonia.  I was about 5 days late at that point.  I’m a superstitious person and after not just months, but literally years of getting excited every 28 days, and taking a test early only to be disappointed, I resolved to wait.  Wait until I was really late, like reeeaallly late.  I didn’t want to jinx it.  My husband Kruno was getting more and more excited as those late days passed by.  When I did take the test, I didn’t tell him what I was doing.  It came back positive almost immediately.  I called for him to come to the bathroom.  Drudgingly, he came. He thought I needed him in to kill a bug.  I showed him the test and excitement ensued.

The last 17 weeks have been enlightening.  I learn something new every day.  About my body, my abilities or lack thereof, and places I can, all of sudden, no longer comfortably reach because of my growing size.

And with every minute of research I’ve done since that positive test, I’ve become more and more aware that I know nothing about pregnancy, labor, and perhaps even babies.  And I’d like to share with you all some of the more interesting revelations I’ve had.

 

WHATS HAPPENING TO ME???

This question came early and often.  Google became my most used app.  How could I have been so clueless?  In movies and TV, pregnant women are portrayed in a certain 10c18pway.   Emotional. Vomiting, Bitchy.  I thought I was mentally prepared for all of it, but the other symptoms and the pure intensity hit me like a wrecking ball

I get so emotional, baby…

The first to rear its ugly head was the elevated hormones.  I’m an emotional person to begin with.  But I naively thought “How much worse could this get?”  Well… Let me tell ya.

Every emotion I feel, I feel it times a hundred, maybe even a thousand.  If I’m sad, it borders on devastation.  If I’m angry, watch out. But the most notable change is that I am loving harder.  I love people HARD.  Wicked hard. Over this past holiday, I looked at my young nephews, I just wanted to grab them and not let go.  I wanted to look them square in the eyes and say sternly ” I love you, dammit!”  (Picture Rhett Butler saying that to Scarlet O’Hara in “Gone with the wind”. But, I thought better of it.  The boys are young and I didn’t want to scare the shit out of them.)  And when I left my grandmothers house to come back home, I cried for a long time.  She lives just a few hours away. I can go see her any weekend.  And as I’m typing this, thinking about how much I love these people and how much I miss them, I’m crying.  I’m a mess.

And my crying has changed. The act of it itself.  These crying spells last forever.  My tears have even gotten bigger.   The amount of fluid that is falling from my eyeballs is astounding.  My tears are the size of nickles, I kid you not.  Isn’t that weird?  Has anyone else experienced that while pregnant?  And because of all these things.  The dehydration from the size and quantity of tears, and the ease at which I cry, I have had to completely change how and when I view things.  For example, I’m spending far less time on Facebook these days.  I used to love watching the heart-warming videos. that would populate my newsfeed.  But no more. I can’t risk it. I also haven’t been able to watch several episodes of “This is us”.  I watched a few at the beginning of the season, but when I saw the previews of the one where Kate has a miscarriage, all bets were off.  Now the second part of the season is supposed to start and I’m in a pickle.  Do I devote an entire day to catching up on the season?  Let’s do that math:  4 episodes I missed = 4 hours of viewing. + 2 hours of crying time (conservatively) + 1 hour of recuperation to let the puffiness in my face dissipate.  That’s a big commitment.

 

My body is a wonderland

No, no it isn’t.  While it is mystifying me these days, I don’t think that’s what John Mayer meant.  You can read Pinterest posts, join the community group chats in your pregnancy apps and read “What to expect when you’re expecting” all you want, but I guarantee you, something is going to happen that will throw you for a loop.  From my albeit brief experience, I’ve come to realize that it’s important to use the mentioned resources as merely a guideline.  Most of my symptoms have occurred earlier than normal.

 

One of the most notable and noticeable changes were that things errrr… grew a bit quicker than I would’ve expected.  Below is a screenshot of a conversation I had with a group of friends about my husband noticing a change.
Pregnancy convo
My clothes got tighter right off the bat.  And I thought “Ok, no big deal.  This was expected  I’ll go buy some new clothes.”  But it isn’t that easy.  Nothing fits right.  Nothing.  I’m not big enough for maternity clothes, but my stomach is too big for regular clothes.  Everything I own at this point is frumpy.    And because of the heightened emotions, the ill-fitting clothing sends me into a spiral of self-consciousness and frustration.  There are days that I can’t even look in the mirror before I leave for work.  Those days are the “Fuck it” days.  And they are happening more frequently as the pregnancy progresses.
One other thing that I started noticing recently was my walk has changed.  I used to have a confident stride.  I don’t know why considering how clumsy I am, but I did.  I used to be able to comfortably wear heels up to a certain height. But that’s all gone now.  As the day goes on, and I get to feeling less and less comfortable, my walk transforms.  Slowly, subtly, into a waddle.  At work by 4 pm, as I go to and from the printer I notice my body shifting from side to side, with a brief but significant settle in each step.  I will immediately correct it, but I know deep down that it’s going to come to a point when I’m no longer am able to.  It is inevitable.  The waddle is coming.

Don’t you, forget about me

“Of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most”.  Mark Twain must have stolen this from his wife when she was pregnant.  People talk about pregnancy brain often.  But nothing prepares you for it.  I am not just forgetting things, but I’m thinking I do things or say things that I don’t.  “Didn’t I tell you that?” has become my most used sentence recently.  A few weeks ago I had mentioned to my boss that I had forgotten to text some family members back recently.  She was understandably concerned whereas my job is mostly following up with clients and remembering things.  I assured her that I only let it affect my home life.  And that is the truth. I noticed that this was starting to happen, so the moment I leave work, I totally shut off my brain.  So far, it seems to be working. While this doesn’t thrill my husband, it’s a sacrifice we’ll have to make until I figure something else out. I haven’t written a post in a really long time.  Not because I didn’t have anything to write, or I was too busy. I have been conserving all of my brain cells for work.  This post, in fact, has taken an exceptionally long time.  I’ve been storing up for weeks to finish it.  Now, I’m no neurologist but I think there might be some logic to it.

The end

While this is only a short list of the symptoms I’ve experienced, these are what has struck me as funny.  I think it’s important to keep levity at the forefront.  Because what awaits us at the end is going to be the most momentous experience of our lives. We are so excited to be parents and I am excited to share our little stories throughout the process. S