Popping In Once More

Hi, friends. Is there anyone still reading this blog, which now lives in a very quiet corner of the internet?

Well, if there is, here’s a quick update:

  • The baby I once coined Twinkle, our fourth child, is now nearly fifteen months old. She still doesn’t have much hair, just got her tenth tooth, isn’t walking yet, babbles all the time but doesn’t say many “real words” (trying not to worry), and she gets into ev.ery.thing. She is also one of the happiest babies I’ve ever known and I wish she could stay little a while longer.
  • We’re kinda-sorta trying to have another baby. I want one desperately. Just one more. My husband doesn’t and won’t agree to using Clomid, but has agreed to trying without. The likelihood of it happening without Clomid is slim, so I’m still hoping he’ll change his mind, but either way, we’re back on this road again and I have so many feelings about it. I know it sounds like an embarrassment of riches to be asking for a 5th child. I also know I’m probably just begging for more heartache and disappointment. I wish so many things could be different, but they’re not, and so this is what it is. We’ll see what the future holds, I guess.
  • I recently had my first piece published at Her View From Home: “You’re a Once in a Lifetime Friend.” If you’re interested, please read and/or share. I’d love your support!
  • I have started blogging as my real self on a new blog: Living on Coffee & Prayer. I’m not sure how often I’ll be writing, but you’ll find personal essays and poetry there when the mood strikes. Because Waiting to Expand is anonymous, any mention of it on the new blog will be politely deleted, but I would love for you to come over and say hello and follow along if you’d like!

If you’re still here, thank you. I miss my old blogging friends and send love to you all!

She’s Here

Our fourth child, our third daughter, arrived eleven days ago.

Isabel*Joycie*Grayce was born on June 1st at 4:53 a.m. in a natural hospital birth. She weighed 8lbs 6oz and measured 20.5 inches long. She was six days overdue, covered in vernix, had almost a completely bald little head, and her eyes were bright and alert. Her sweetness was apparent instantly. In every way, she is perfect.

It’s hard to accept that she is our last child. I’m still not sure she is, though my husband adamantly disagrees. But that’s another story for another day.

Today, I am savoring every moment. The snuggles. The sleepy sighs. The dreamy smiles. Her tiny, precious weight against my chest.

These are the best days of my life and I am treasuring every one of them.

The Power of Love

It’s 4:30am here on the west coast and I am awake, watching the royal wedding with the rest of the world. The bishop just finished his sermon on the power of love and now “Stand by Me” is being sung by the choir and I just want to cry all the tears.

Weddings make me cry. Young love and new beginnings make me cry. My enduring fascination and love for the royal family makes me cry. And pregnancy hormones make me cry.

I’m a mess.

A mess mostly because I’m just so thankful that I, too, get to know the power of love. All good things in my life began with falling in love with my husband and, now, we have three children whom give us more joy and love than we ever could have imagined. It’s a whole new level of love.

A love that will be taken a step further even as we prepare to welcome Baby #4 very soon. I’m exactly a week away from my due date and, given our journey and my lifelong dream of having a large family, it is incredible, and surreal, and magical, and bittersweet, and everything in between.

View More: http://penguin-pictures.pass.us/robinson-2018

And though, as ever, I worry that something will happen between now and this baby’s lively entrance into the world, I am trusting it will all work out. And I am so excited to meet this child. Though closing this chapter of our lives is a mixed bag of emotions, this baby is the missing puzzle piece we’ve been waiting for all along. This baby will complete our family and, in this moment, I can hardly even believe this is real life. It seems that, no so long ago, I wondered if I would ever have one, or two, children. And now we are about to welcome our fourth. A dream come true. My own little fairytale. I will pop in once more after the birth to give the baby stats.

Oh, and one more thing…

It’s a girl!!!

And so it begins (again)…

It’s been a while since I showed my face here (so to speak), I know. I’m just not sure this is the right place for me anymore. Most of my blogging buddies of 2012-13 have moved on, thankfully every last one of them with a baby in their arms (I think). I miss them, but am over-the-moon that they are not stuck in this space of infertility and loss and grief and desperation forever. That’s not to say everyone makes it out of this space, of course. But I’m thankful most do, however hard the journey may be.

All of that to say, my corner of the online world is not the same without them, and not the same now that I have a handful of kids instead of just one. It’s weird to be an infertile blogger and trying to have a baby, all the while there are three children screaming “Mom! Mom! Mom!” from the next room as I write. I recently searched for blogs with a writer who was in a similar situation — trying to have a third or fourth or fifth baby. Do you know how many I found? NONE. Not a single one. And maybe I didn’t look hard enough, but clearly they are few and far between.

And so I don’t know if I’ll continue coming here. Maybe I will, as a journal, meant for me and no one else. Maybe I’ll pop in for an update once in a purple moon. But I imagine there will be a lot of silence from here on out.

And yet, there are a few of you out there, some frequent commenters and other shadow-lurkers, who have read and followed this blog faithfully. First, I say thank you. And as a sign of my gratitude and devotion, I’ll leave you with this:

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Let me just say that it’s still early. I’m not yet 5 weeks. And I’m scared. But just as a blogging friend-turned-in-real-life-friend warned me against earlier this week, I’m trying very, very hard not to let my fear steal my joy away. Today, I’m pregnant. And today, I’m utterly thankful, so happy, and hoping with all I’ve got that, in 8-9 months, there will be a healthy baby in my arms and, finally, our family will be complete.

What a day that will be.

I Was Wrong

Here is what I know now:

I thought I had my body figured out, sort of.

I thought that I knew what to expect, sort of.

I believed that because lightning struck once, it just might strike again.

I was arrogant; I was cocky.

I really did think that baby #4 was a given.

And I thought that, even if I didn’t get pregnant with my one lucky post-weaning ovulation, I was at peace with taking Clomid again. No big deal.

But now, as I stand here on the eve of swallowing my first Clomid pill in many years, I know just how wrong I was about it all.

Déjà vu

It’s déjà vu, these blank ovulation tests, the waiting and the impatience, the cycle of hope and disappointment.

Heart pounding when I take my temperature in the morning, anticipating that maybe this morning it will rise, fearing that this morning it will drop.

Obsessing over fertility charts past and present, searching for a reason to have hope, right here, right now.

Analyzing my cervical mucous every evening.

Having sex all.the.time.

Spinning my wheels and getting nowhere.

Déjà vu.

I’m still waiting for my one lucky post-weaning ovulation. That’s new. I’ve always ovulated, on my own, about three weeks after fully weaning my baby. It’s been almost six weeks now.

I had a reason to hope last week. Cervix was high and very soft. Tons of EWCM. OPK’s were getting darker (never positive). And then — nothing. All signs disappeared. A false start.

Déjà vu.

Anger at my body for failing me. Sadness that my body is so broken.

Sadness that my one chance to do this naturally is slipping away.

Sadness that this can’t be easier, that I can’t be like “everyone else.”

Sadness that there may be many more months ahead filled with sadness.

Sadness that the sadness has filled me already.

So, so much sadness.

Déjà vu.

Dropping to my knees in quiet prayer.

Fighting against what almost seems inevitable now — endless cycles of progesterone and Clomid.

Bracing myself for the pain, for the disappointment, for the frustration, for much more sadness.

Déjà vu.

Knowing, with great conviction now, that I want this baby I am waiting for. It’s déjà vu. Nothing like feeling like something may be out of your reach to make you realize how desperately you want it, eh? Déjà vu.

And to make you realize that, if you ever get it, it will be the last time. Definitively. Because you — because I — can’t do this anymore. I’m ready to be done. That’s new, too.

But most of it?

An ongoing, itchy, painful déjà vu.

And yet, the hope for another kind of déjà vu — one filled with positive pregnancy tests and skin stretched across a growing belly — persists.

I will do this over and over if I have to. I will live this déjà vu.

Renewed determination. Hope that won’t die. Letting go and having faith.

The most beautiful part of my déjà vu.

 

The Sacrificial Lamb

He loves to nurse.

I mean, what sweet, plush, toddling being doesn’t love to snuggle up to Mama and be nourished while he tugs her hair and rests his head against her warm chest?

But this kid — my kid — loves to nurse. When he sees me walking towards his bedroom, where we do all of our breastfeeding these days, he starts laughing and nearly skipping as he leads the way. He then enthusiastically pats the chair I always sit in and hands me the Boppy pillow. And when he latches on, his eyes roll into the back of his strawberry blond-haired head and he releases the softest sigh. Sometimes he falls asleep. Sometimes he signs “milk” to me over and over. Sometimes he tugs on my hair or tries to put his finger in my ear/mouth/nose/eye/all of the above.

Often, we play a game while he drinks. I ask him question after question — Are you happy? Are you funny? Are you special? Do you love me? Do I love you? — and he nods his head to each one. He has started nodding before I even ask him anything. And sometimes he smiles or laugh. Sometimes he mumbles something. But he never lets go of my nipple.

He loves to nurse.

For a while, I was in turmoil over the decision to wean him. I didn’t want to. It was physically uncomfortable at best, leaving me breathless, and deeply painful at worst, sending spasms throughout my body whenever I even thought about it. I wasn’t ready and he was showing no signs that he was either. But you know me — I’ve always wanted at least one more kid and my desire to move forward with that somehow, though just barely, won the battle with my desire to keep nursing. And so every five days, I cut out another nursing or pumping session. And every five days, my breasts and my heart ache once again.

In some ways, it feels like I am choosing one child over another. Choosing a child whose face I have never seen, whose weight I have never felt against my chest. Choosing a child with no name, a child who hasn’t been born, a child who hasn’t even been conceived. I am choosing the idea of this child, this fantasy, over my sweet, living, breathing son who gently lays his head upon our dog and laughs at everything I do. My poor baby. My sweet sacrificial lamb.

But that could just be a mix of my anxiety and my hormones talking. I have been known to be a little melodramatic when those two come together.

Either way, it’s times like these when I wish so hard that my body worked differently, worked better, and that some way, I could magically fall pregnant with those elusive unicorn babies I’ve read about in the dreamiest fairy tales, without having to sacrifice anything at all.

Wouldn’t that be something?