Friday, January 27, 2012

Now what do I do?

It's a girl!

I don't know nothin' 'bout raisin' no girls! OK I am one, so I know a little bit about it, but ribbons and bows and ponytails will all be new to me. Dollies and barbies and make-up to follow. Boys calling up, teenage drama, paying for a wedding, all this and more!

I have always wanted a daughter. I love my mom so much and we have great times talking, and shopping for one hour before quitting that nonsense, and sending mushy cards. I adored my Grandma and so looked forward to hearing her say, "Well look who's here!" whenever we came to visit. She took me to have my "colors done" and always enjoyed my fashion sense when I actually had one.

And oh, being a Daddy's girl and having him call me "Amy girl," and watching him come to my dance recitals as well as my swim meets which were certainly more "interesting" for him. I'm sad that our little girl won't have her Papa Bruce here on earth to wrap around her finger. I'm certain he would happily attend some more ballet recitals.

Yet believe it or not, and I'm a little surprised, I'm sad that my baby boy days are over! I feel a niggling sense of loss that I won't have another baby boy to love his mama to pieces. LB was so mad last night when we told him the baby was a girl and not a boy. He won't get to have a baby brother to show the ropes. But can you imagine how sweet they will be with a baby sister? They'll be going off to college when she is in middle school and I can just picture their homecomings and giving their baby sister major teasing and big love.

So we're dreaming a little bit now. I don't know how to have a baby girl, but I know we'll learn. There are so many boys in our lives and our neighborhood I have a feeling this little pink bundle is going to get a lot of love and attention.

Now if I can just win over her big brother LB who would rather eat his pizza then talk about a little sister...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bittersweet day.

I had a best friend. She was beautiful and funny and smart. She saw me through some hard times and I her. Then she died, last year on this date. The world is a little grayer without her, and yet I am so thankful to have known her. I have laughed and cried for her today and I am so sad that she is not here to be my earthly friend any more. I believe I will see her again some day in heaven, but it still hurts.

And yet tomorrow is the Big Day. Excitement mingles with the sadness of what today marks in history. Tomorrow we'll hear "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!" and the world will shine a lighter brighter. Which will it be? Johnna would be glad that something joyous is coming despite the sadness of this day, January 25th.

Looks like the majority vote girl! We'll see. Johnna sure loved boys, and then she had her daughters. I wonder if she already knows what kind of baby this will be. No matter what, we'll have a lot to look forward to.

You know I'll let you know! Now off to Dominos for another "Mommy is too tired to cook" meal. :-)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

When our first-born was first born.

We were in shock. What's this? A baby? And we take him home, like by ourselves, and then what? No kidding.

We'd tried for over three years to get pregnant and finally had enough tests and needles and catheters. We moved on to adoption in October of 2005 and exactly 364 days later, on our 4th anniversary, got The Call!

BB came home 16 days after that and we were parents.

It was very hard. We loved him from the first minute we set eyes on him but it did take me a month and a half or so to really bond with him and feel like Mommy. It only took one projectile vomiting onto my shoulder and one night terror, and that's when I knew that I would die for this boy - he was my baby.

And her baby. BB had a first mother, a birth mother. I worried about her. Was she OK? Was she heartbroken? Would she regret her decision? Our adoption agency advised her and us that it might be an easier adjustment if we spent 4-6 weeks without contact in order to get used to our roles.

About five weeks later we met at Thanksgiving. K had been holding BB and then gave him to me. That's when he puked all over me. She laughed, we laughed. It was like my Christening. We have enjoyed a great relationship over these past five years. We see her as often as we can manage it, and it's not enough.

We were totally unprepared for the nitty gritty of parenting. We were totally prepared for the grateful and loving feelings we had. We were totally prepared for cute outfits and late-night feedings. We were not prepared to put that baby in a stroller and wear circles in our flooring trying to get him to sleep. We weren't prepared for Randy to be up at 3am trying to put together a baby papasan chair in order that the boy may sleep (that didn't work). We weren't prepared to travel with a newborn who wouldn't take a pacifier but screamed without it.

We had so many warm, loving moments and also many "What were we thinking" ones! It's hard to go from a well-rested family of two to a sleep deprived family of three in just two short weeks. Looking back, the most salient memories are taking him to church for the first time, his first overalls, being able to participate in Mommy discussions, and all of the meals our friends graciously brought us! But I do remember with equal clarity screaming at the top of my lungs, "Go to sleeep!" and the time I thought to myself, "Please don't let Cathy Anderson be standing outside my door right now with her lovely meal after hearing me scream at my sweet, fussy baby." She wasn't. (Hooray.)

Newborns are not easy for me. I value my sleep and sanity too much. My favorite age with BB was from about 10 months on, when I began to see his funny, inquisitive personality emerge. By then I was out-to-here pregnant with LB! That is another story still to come. You'll have to come back to hear.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I think it's official!

Granted, evening belly is always bigger than morning belly, but I think I've officially popped out. This is me at 17 weeks pregnant, awaiting the big gender reveal in less than two weeks!

So am I still infertile?

Yes and no. I think once you've been through a world-altering experience like infertility, it never totally goes away. I spent 4 years of my life feeling like I was unable to do what a woman is "supposed to" do - have babies. It's now been 5 years since those longing-filled, childless days, and the deep feelings have faded to heartfelt memories - present but not acute; scar but not an open wound.

I was not vocal at all about my pregnancy with LB on this blog five years ago. It felt to me like I was giving a slap in the face to my IF sisters still waiting. I think a lot of us IF gals feel that way when our dreams of pregnancy or parenting are being fulfilled - like it's something we shouldn't talk about too much because we remember how much hurt it brought to us when we were hearing about others' fulfilled dreams.

But then I began to wonder if that silence somehow diminishes the miracles that are children. There are many kinds of miracles, not just children, that's not what I mean. But somehow I felt like I could celebrate LB less because he was our biological child and BB more because he was adopted. That's funny, because people always seem to think that parents favor biological children over adopted children, and here I was making a much bigger deal over BB's adoption than LB's birth. I felt way more comfortable rejoicing publicly over BB.

So now it's five years later and I'm obviously not keeping silent about this pregnancy. I guess maybe because I've been parenting now for five years and have come to learn wholeheartedly that all children are a blessing no matter how they come into this world or into one's family. I am very excited to welcome a new baby into my family. It's a great family. Welcome, Babykins!

Please don't think that I am through being sensitive toward women experiencing infertility. It's an extremely difficult, life-changing experience and the last thing I want to do is add to someone's pain! I know it's hard to hear about sometimes, and I also know that I can only be responsible for my feelings and responses, not those of others. I bore the burden of infertility for years, and it was hard. It's not my personal burden any more, but infertility ministry is still a passion of mine. I still want to cushion others' feelings as best I can. But I can't always. I probably will be a thorn in someone's flesh at some point. That's where God's love and comfort come in - where humans' fail.

So what do you think? If you experienced infertility and are now parenting, do you still feel infertile? What do you do about those feelings? How do you honor your children while still being sensitive to your waiting friends or friends who are families of two and whose lives don't revolve around feeding, clothing, and teaching young children in their home? Talk amongst yourselves.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Am I too old?

Apparently not - I'm pregnant, aren't I?

I was at the park today with some moms that were of course much, much younger than me ;o) (30s), one of whom is pregnant and due in April. We talked about age a little and which MOPS we'll try to go to so we're not the only ones who remember VHS tapes, and how unimportant maternity fashion is to us.

Of course I know that I am a little older than most moms, but there are plenty of us late 30's and early 40's moms out there. So we went on and watched our kids play as we talked, and eventually a couple with a 20-month-old baby boy came to the sand area. The mom was obviously pregnant and about as far along as me as far as I could tell. After awhile the family walked behind us and the mom said, "How old ARE you"?"

She didn't really. But my friend did say with a smile after the woman had walked by, "She's not in our age group," and she probably wasn't. It just made me giggle. It's nice to have a kindred spirit.

That all being said, I don't feel like an older mom. I'm just a mom doing the best I can. I have plenty of mom friends who are a decade or more younger than me, and some of us have a lot in common. Some of us don't, and that's fine too. I don't feel awkward around young moms, but I do like to joke about it. I might as well, I earned my age and I get to poke fun of myself if I want to.

Sure there are risks at having a baby after 40, but there are always risks. We've decided not to do any screening for genetic abnormalities - we'll find out soon enough. With Andrew we did a few of those tests for peace of mind, but at my age the risk of a false positive is significant and I'd rather not spend the rest of my pregnancy worried about what problems our baby may or may not have. At our big ultrasound on the 26th any major abnormalities will be noticeable and we can investigate further then if we want to. But I know we wouldn't terminate so really, what's the point.

Morbid much? Not really. Just letting ya'll know that we trust the Lord and what He has planned for us. We've learned well enough that we are not in control of our fertility or our children's characteristics beyond basic responsibility, and that is the beauty of trusting in God and the perfection of our eternal, permanent home.

How old are you, anyway?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Pink or Blue? Take my poll to the right!

Do I want a girl? Yes.


I just went to kiss my boys goodnight. Daddy is the greatest and puts the boys to bed 90 percent of the time, tonight being no exception (except maybe Randy is the exception, he's such an expert tucker-inner), and I can't imagine loving another baby like I love them. BB was so sleepy tonight he just said, "Ni-night, Mommy," and drifted off. LB, however, held on to me and patted my back.

He patted my back like I was the baby and he was taking care of me. Boys love their mamas. How can I resist another one of those?

I went for a midwife appointment today and she checked for the heartbeat on the doppler. It was 152. According to wives-tales, that might just indicate a girl. Or a boy! Ha! I already have two boys, though, so won't I have another one? Remember I only birthed one of those boys, though, so statistically my chances of having a girl are...50/50. I don't know much about math, but I got that one.

Although the probability right now that I am having one or the other is 100%. Gender is determined by 16 weeks. If they'd done an ultrasound today they could have told us pink or blue. Now we'll just have to wait for three weeks until the next Big Reveal!

What do you think? Sugar and spice or snakes and snails?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I'm back!

Big brothers.

Bloggy Bloggerson, here with big news. I'm pregnant. I'm 41, my boys are about to start Kindergarten one year after the other, and we'll have a new baby in da house this summer. OK, I'm up for it!

I assume most people who I haven't talked to in awhile figure we'd been TTC for however long for this baby. Nope. A few years ago, on our way to the horse races, we had a discussion about letting God plan our family (you know, like the Duggars but without 20 children). Randy said, "Ixnay on the ormay ildrenchay," not in those exact words. That was fine with me, two little toddlers under the age of 3 felt like plenty!

I wasn't quite ready to totally give up the idea of ever having more children, although age and fertility were not on our side, but we pretty much figured we were done. Without going into too much detail, we were careful(ish) about timing and let it be. We were content with two.

Whenever a friend or acquaintance announced a pregnancy or birth we laughed, "Good luck with that, friend!" we thought as we slept through the night. Midnight trips to the bathroom for me made me think, "I'm so glad I get to go right back to bed instead of tending to a baby now." Laugh we did - right up until October 17.

October 12 was our 9th anniversary. We went to have Thai food and play Trivial Pursuit at the coffee shop. The Thai food was very spicy, which typically doesn't bother me, but aside from the burning tongue it made my heart race. This is not a typical reaction for me with spicy food. I thought, "Eh, probably nothing."

On Saturday we went to Sea World and on the way out the door Randy said, "I need to take the Pack N' Play to Goodwill to get it out of our garage." By this point I figured I was about three days late, which isn't typical for me, either. I was beginning to wonder, and figured I'd better know for sure before Mr. Standridge carted off the baby's bed.

The next day I had big plans to buy a Home Pregnancy Test from the grocery store. When I found out I was pregnant with Andrew I tested in the bathroom of the Bank of America, so this time I figured I would wait until I got home for the Big Reveal. And a big reveal it was.

Many women plan sweet, elaborate ways to tell their husband they are expecting. There were no sweet elaborations for me this time - last time either, for that matter. Both of these pregnancies were so surprising to me I was still in shock when I told my Dear Husband, who was equally shocked each time, perhaps this time more that last.

After puttering around in the kitchen in a pregnant haze, and after initially planning to tell him after the boys had gone to bed, I couldn't take it any longer. I asked him to go outside with me for a minute so I could talk to him about something. "Something" - um, yeah.

I cried. I did cross my mind that he would not be happy. But he's such a champ, he just hugged me and told me he loved me. An unplanned pregnancy, at our age? It makes me giggle just thinking about it. Our God is a funny God. We wore around the idea for about a week before we really embraced it. Not that we were upset, but it was a shift in plans for us.

There was one night a few days after I found out that I was crying my little hormonal eyes out in the bedroom when Randy came in and asked what was wrong. "I ruined our family," I said. We had a good thing going and it was now going to change. Mixed emotions ran rampant. Now though, I think, what a sweet little family this baby will be born into.

Our boys are so excited about being big brothers. Erik wants a baby sister named Emily or a baby brother named Elliott. Andrew wants a baby brother named KooPoo. I think maybe we'll stick with a more classic name, though. With Andrew, we didn't find out what kind of baby he was going to be until the minute he was born. This time I think we're going to find out. I'll start a poll. We'd love to have a little girl of course, but I think this time I care less about that than I did with either of our boys. Plus, boys sure love their mamas!

So here we are, 16 weeks pregnant and doing fine. The end of this month we will find out pink or blue. Welcome back to my blog - times they are a'changing.