I Dare You…

Darn it Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood! I swear this summer they have played the New Baby episode on PBS what feels like every single day. PBS is our only cartoon channel so it’s hard to avoid while Etta is eating her breakfast in the morning.  It’s a wonderful episode, don’t get me wrong; however, it sparks a lot of emotion from this Mama and it also sparks a lot of questions from E.  As I watch her watch the episode with such curiosity and happiness, I can’t help see a bit of sadness in her eyes too and see her imagining having a baby of her own…she may be little, but I know she feels the void of not having a sibling.  It just makes me sad.  Very, very, very sad.

I dare you to try and explain SI to a 3 year old who desperately wants a brother or sister.  It’s heart breaking and always ends in me being a blubbering mess.  E looks at me with her big eyes and sadly says, “Mama, I wish I had a brother or sister.”  You have no idea how much this stabs at my heart.  I’m literally dying over here people. It literally takes my breath away (and not in a good way).  It just hurts so bad!  In the best way I know how, I explain to E that “Mama and Daddy are trying so hard to give her a brother or sister but it just isn’t working.”  E always has the answers and says, “Mama, well babies are at the hospital, you just have to go there and get one.”  I then say, “Oh sweetie, I wish it were that easy but we can’t just go to the hospital and get a baby.” I typically get the “Why Mama?” and say,  “Mommy and Daddy have to make a baby together.”  Then E says, “Ok, lets make one today, I will get my paper and my glue and my colors.”  Thankfully this brings a little big of laughter through the tears for me, but then I think to myself-oh, how I wish it were that easy.

It’s only going to get more difficult for E when she starts school in September. She will make friends who will talk about their siblings and I know the Teachers will talk a lot about family and what makes a family.  Obviously a big part of a family is brother’s and sisters.  I am just not quite sure how to deal with this when we need to cross this hurdle.   I just know she’s going to have even more questions and the want to be a big sister will be stronger then it is now.  I hate seeing the disappointment on her face.  I hate being the one disappointing her. I know exactly what I will be robbing her of if we can never make her dream and our dream for her a reality.  How does one deal with this?  I surely don’t know if I ever will be able to if we can’t.

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It happens over night…

It seems like my itty bitty baby girl turned into a big girl in a blink of an eye.  She’s going on a full week and 3 days of wearing big girl underpants (except when we are in the car, run errands, etc).  The biggest news is she is finally telling us when she has to go to the bathroom. This is something she hasn’t done before.  We previously were setting a timer for every hour and just crossed our fingers we didn’t miss our chances when it was time for her to go (which worked some of the time and not others of course).  Last week she was playing at the neighbors house and there is a full yard between ours and the yard she was playing in.  My husband said she all of a sudden just stopped and booked it all the way back to our house.  By the time my husband got to the house, E had gone to the bathroom at our house IN THE TOILET all by herself (I missed this one because I was mowing our lawn).  We are just so happy something is clicking with this potty training business.  I’d say this is one of the many joys of parenting because lets face it, potty training has been very hard with E!

We’ve been struggling with potty training her for quite some time now and everyone said, “don’t push her, one day she’ll wake up and she’ll decide to just do it.”  Of course, I continued to fret over her NOT using the potty and we continued to PUSH.  Cripes, I had introduced her to potty training at about 18 months (way to early, I know).  I mean what did those people know anyways?!  Well, those people were right.  She woke up last Monday and decided she was going to wear underwear IF Mama gave her chocolate chips after she went potty.  Look at my little lady telling me how to bribe her-as if the answer to getting her to potty was as easy as giving her chocolate chips this whole time (I previously, had been giving her M&M’s and/or Tootsie rolls)!  Which by the way, chocolate chips quickly turned into hershey chocolate kisses after potty instead.

So, yes…it seemed this happened over night and I couldn’t be more proud of the progress we are making with this milestone.  I am even more excited because when she turned 3, I was really thinking she wouldn’t be potty trained by September.  It’s been my hope that she was, because then she can start 3K 2 days a week for the year.  If she wasn’t potty trained by September she wouldn’t be able to go to 3K.  I know she has her entire life for school BUT E has been home with me since she was a baby.  There’s been no day care and rarely much time apart from me.  I am very excited for her to go to 3K so she can make new friends, learn new things, form relationships with other adults and learn some independence away from me (*tears*).  I just want her to keep thriving and I just know she would just love 3K.  If she keeps going at this rate, we will have succeeded and she’ll get to go to school.  This makes my heart very happy!

Potty training, by the way, has been my least favorite thing to do so far as a parent.  I may have mentioned this in a previous post.  It’s just down right frustrating and messy and let me tell you the messes come when you seem to be the least prepared for them to come.  I am the first to admit, it’s the least patient I have ever been as a parent too!  However, knowing what I know now…I shouldn’t have stressed over it as much as I did and I should have listened to the more “well seasoned” parents when they told me not to push and not to fret over it.  You better believe the best advice I will give to the next parent who asks me on tips about potty training will be:  “Don’t fret, don’t push them.  It happens over night.  One day they wake up and just decide to do it….on their own terms, in their own way.”  I can’t wait to get the eye roll and the “uh-huh, sure” just like the many of you got from me when you told me the same thing.  Children are simply amazing and truly do all go at their own pace.  It’s official-E won’t be in diapers in College, uffda! Big relief!

My reality is hard to swallow though, my baby officially is NOT a baby anymore. I have a little girl who wears underwear. Wow! I’m not quite sure how I feel about this, but ready or not–it is here.  One thing I do know is that I am so ready to have another baby.  Ironically, I am actually really looking forward to doing this all over again, even the part I’ve disliked the most, potty training!  I’m a bit more seasoned now at least!

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Courage Doesn’t Always Roar…

Struggling silently with something that no one can actually see can be hard and hard to understand.  On the outside I smile and nothing appears to be wrong but on the inside I’m a mess and you’d never be able to tell that I have had to find a lot of courage to plaster that smile on my face.  For instance, Wednesdays are library day for Miss E.  I love taking her there because she loves books and reading. The library is always filled with new adventure for her and also opportunity to learn new things.  The look on her face when she discovers something new or even the look on her face when she remembers something that she already learned and applies it right then and there is priceless and I love being able to experience that joy with her.

However, going there also poses a feeling opposite of joy-heartache.

Heartache happens daily of course in this SI journey.  However, I find myself needing to be courageous at the library as it never fails this triggers me and I do everything to gain strength, compose myself, and fight back tears.  There is this overwhelming constant reminder of what is missing in my life at the library-a second child. A few things I notice as I sit at lap sit with E that tug at my heart are A) There are a lot of expectant mothers.  Most of these women were at the library with their first child along with me when I had been taking E to Baby Time. These women are either expecting a 2nd child or have had a 2nd child already or have had a second and are expecting a third or are on their 3rd child already.  Crazy to think in the time that I’ve been trying I could have had 2 babies and be halfway pregnant with a 4th B) E is one of the few kids in her story hour who doesn’t have a sibling(s) sitting next to her and C) I am either asked by one of these women if I plan on having more children or E looks at me with her  big beautiful eyes and sadly says, “Mama, I wish I had a brother or sister to sit by, look at that cute little baby I wish I had a baby or why don’t you have a baby in your belly?”

It’s hard.  Nothing about this has been easy.  The library is not the only place I am triggered either.  Every time I leave my house I am faced with a new obstacle that causes some pretty overwhelming emotions.  Even when I stay at my house it’s there.  Who am I kidding, it’s over taken me and is there all the time!  You may not see the courage it takes to get through these moments-but let me tell you it takes all my energy to muster up that smile that you see on my face, especially when on the inside I am in so much emotional pain.

I just ask that you don’t judge me for feeling this way because if you’ve never gone through SI you really don’t understand what I am going through fully.   I ask that you don’t tell me to be grateful for the child I already have because you have no idea how grateful I am for my miracle and probably more grateful then some because SI has truly opened my eyes to how lucky we are and what a blessing every child truly is. I want to remind you that because I have one, does not take that burning desire in my heart to have another away.  I want to give my first baby the gift of a sibling.  I ask that you don’t tell me to get a hobby as I already have many.  I ask that you don’t tell me to relax and it will happen.  It’s a medical condition and it’s not going to just fix itself by relaxation.  I ask that you don’t tell me to stop trying and it will happen because there is no shutting off your heart and the desire to be a mom again.  Don’t joke around and tell me I can have your children because I’d would gladly take them in a heartbeat. Don’t complain to me about your children or being pregnant because I’d give anything to be in your shoes.  Don’t tell me to just be happy because the weight of this has been heavier then you can imagine and most days I am lucky to even have matching clothes on because my head, heart and body feels so unglued.  Please just ask me how I am doing without advice or your opinion of what I should do or how I should feel, give me a big hug, and listen to me as I pour my heart out and maybe shed some tears.  Sometimes your actions can just be louder then your words when it comes to supporting us through this and you have no idea how much your support really does mean to me.

Everyday has been a struggle for me in this and here we are 23 months later and I keep putting one foot in front of the other. Someway, somehow I’m doing it.  I’m trying and it takes a ginormous amount of silent courage to do so.  This has been by far a very difficult time in my life that has created other side issues as well.  My point of writing this was to just remind you that not everything is visible to the eye so please consider that before judging someone.  We may not know they are even struggling.  We all deserve kindness and a helping hand and you never know how your support can affect someone in a positive way.  It could be life changing.

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My other point of writing this can be summed up here:

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Thank you for reading this, it means a lot to me and please know even though you may not be able to see it.  We need your support now more then ever.

Struggling

We all struggle because we are human.  If it is one big lesson I have learned dealing with SI it is to not minimize someones struggle-whether that be big or small.  What may seem like no big thing to you could be huge in the eyes of the person trying to overcome it.  I am no one to judge.  The cards I have been dealt are not life or death, but honestly some days it sure does feel like it.  A silent struggle can be just as awful as one that is seen plain as day.  This struggle in my life has been a huge eye opener for me in many ways.  Maybe this is why God placed this struggle in my life-to open my eyes, open my heart, and to help me become a more understanding and compassionate individual.  I may be learning lessons from my struggle, but surely that doesn’t make my circumstances any easier.

I am struggling right now with the emotional side of infertility and how to balance this one glitch in my life with well, life in general. SI has been traumatizing for me and life-changing.  It seems as though I am living my life through a lens and all around me I am reminded of my struggle.  It’s everywhere.  There is no escaping it.  After many tests, 23 months of trying for baby #2, taking many medications, having 4 failed IUI’s…all I have to show for it is an aching heart, a stack of medical bills, debt up to my ears because of SI, more gray hairs and extra wrinkles and an enormous amount of unanswered questions.  It’s been all consuming.  Day in and day out I live with the almost unbearable emotions that SI has left me with and the weight on my shoulders is heavy.  The uncertainty of it all and what to do next is hard.  I am just really struggling.

I just feel like I can’t catch a break from the stress of it all.  Outlets that I have to relieve stress, only relieve it initially and then I am swimming back in this reality again and I just can’t seem to get my head above the water right now.  It’s stressful on my marriage.  It’s stressful on my relationships with others.  It puts strain on our finances.  It is stressful going out in public or to family/friend gatherings.  It is stressful going to doctor appointments.  There are days I just don’t even want to get out of bed or leave the house because of the anxiety I get when I face the outside world…I mean every aspect of my stress right now is ultimately the cause of SI.  I seriously feel like I am going crazy sometimes or like my head and heart are just going to explode.  Every month that I do not get pregnant I feel is a loss for me and I grieve. There is just no escaping this world I am living.  Imagine losing someone you love and having to experience the day of their funeral month after month after month-it’s just emotionally draining and I know no one wants to go through that.  I’m not choosing this struggle, but for some reason it has chosen me.  It really is just depressing and the heartache is overwhelming me.

I wish I could find a new perspective, or think more positively, or even just have an ounce more hope.  At this time, I just can’t.  I don’t think it is fair for anyone to expect me to either. I don’t have the strength or energy at this point.  I am eternally grateful for E and I am reminded daily of how lucky we are to have her in our lives-she’s our miracle baby.  However,  I can’t shut off this aching desire in my heart to have another baby. Sadly, sometimes I pray for this desire in my heart to just shut off.  If it shuts off then I would be able to move on from this. I also pray for contentment in having only one child  Who am I fooling though?  Ever since I was little I knew I wanted babies and a big family.  This isn’t something that will just go away for me.  I will always want to give E a brother or a sister.  The thought of her growing up without a sibling is heart wrenching.

The emotional side of this is so hard.  It’s complex, and few understand what me and my husband are going through.  The struggle certainly is real though, even if it can’t be seen.  I can’t speak fully for my husband but I know it’s taking it’s toll on us both, probably stronger then ever.  It’s a cruel and very repetitive cycle and one that we don’t have any control over-we are doing all we can possibly do at this point and that still isn’t changing anything.  How do you swallow those pills?  It’s just so defeating.

I am broken.  I am lost.  I am sad.  I am frustrated.  I am angry.  I am stressed.  I am overwhelmed.  I am grief-stricken.  I am sick to my stomach.  I am struggling.

This is just getting to be too much for me…for us.  I don’t want to give up on our dreams, but I don’t want to struggle with this anymore.

“It’s hard to wait around for something you know may never happen; but it’s harder to give up when you know it’s everything you want.”