Tag Archive | sisters

Odds ‘n’ Ends: Symptoms and Friend Updates

** pregnancy post **

I find I’m doing a lot more of these kind of posts lately because I have so many little things that I want tell all of you, but nothing that requires a post of its own. I guess that’s good? But maybe it’s utterly boring to all of you. Sorry if that’s so!

Anyways, on to the bullet points:

  • I’ve had some symptoms weirdly resurface over the last week or two. Like, I’m tired. All the time. I was doing well with one nap a day, but now I’m back to two most days. Also, I’ve had 3-4 periods of nausea and one morning of vomiting recently. Um, I thought my 1st trimester was over??? And I’ve been surprised to find that I am breathless after a short walk down the street and can no longer comfortably tie my shoes or get up after sitting on the floor without a significant struggle. This is all par for the course, I suppose, but I never had any of this discomfort so soon while preggers with Cupcake. I was lucky to get to about 38 weeks then before I felt hugely pregnant. Now? Not so much.
  • I also think my pregnancy hormones are in full swing. I’ve been so irritable lately. Everything makes me cranky. And I’ve been terribly weepy. I’ve cried five times over the last week or so, all for pretty silly reasons. Yesterday, it was because my husband couldn’t meet me for lunch. On Sunday, it was because my coupon at JoAnn’s Fabrics had expired the day before. I am a bit of a mess. And poor, poor Honey. I pity that man for having to put up with me.
  • Remember my friend Lillian? Her little babe has a heartbeat! She is due Feb 6, about four months after Skittle should arrive. Yay!
  • I also learned another close friend, Linn, is pregnant. Supposedly. I say that because, while I love her to death and her intentions are always good, I cannot always trust what she says. She has a long history of embellishing the truth and telling stories for attention. For example, six months after my miscarriage last year, she miscarried. And six months after I was diagnosed with PCOS, she was too. And now here we are, almost six months since I got pregnant, and she just learned she’s pregnant too. And the way in which she learned she’s pregnant? By the doctor just feeling her cervix, and no urine or blood tests to follow? Um…yeah. That is super believable. So only time will tell if she’s really pregnant. I kind of believe she is (maybe because I’m just an idiot myself), but I just cannot believe everything that has led up to it. Call me a bad friend if you must.
  • I still haven’t heard from Kat. Maybe I never will, after all. But even if I do, I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes her another week or two to get back to me.
  • Sometimes my sis says things that irritate the heck out of me. To be fair, she never says them to my face, but her recent Facebook posts have really gotten under my skin. A month or two ago, she posted something like, “Just spilled a day’s worth of pumped breast milk all over. Worst. Feeling. Ever.” And last week: “Have to return to work in a few days after a long maternity leave. Leaving my daughter will be the hardest day of my life.” I get her point and I do know being a new mom is tough, but really, sis? I mean, seriously??? Worst feeling ever?  Hardest day of her life? Good grief. I think she’s had it way too easy if that’s the worst she’s ever experienced. Maybe she should try walking in one of our shoes for a time. Know what I mean, friends?

Okay, that’s it. Sorry for the complaining. I’m in that kind of mood lately. Hope all of you are well and good. Wishing you a pleasant end to your week and a fantabulous weekend to follow! xo

Advertisements

Meeting my Niece

I am one of those crazy people who dig road trips, but I was unsure whether I was going to love the one we went on yesterday to see my sister and her new baby. For one, it was a long way to drive (over two hours) for a short time to visit. We planned to stay only an hour or two, so as not to overwhelm Sis with too much company while also trying to adjust to being a new mommy. In addition, my daughter was in some sort of mood yesterday and an extended time in a car with a crabby two-year-old is not exactly a party. And also, most importantly really, I have purposely spent very little time around newborns since my miscarriage last year. I did not know if my heart would fare well in seeing my tiny niece and knowing that, right now, Teddy Graham would be about three months old.

But all in all, it went well. Cupcake wanted little to do with her new cousin and was only worried that the baby might steal her cup of orange juice. She spent most of the time chasing the cat around the house, with my husband following close behind. Poor kitty. Poor Honey. And me? I was okay. My niece is small and beautiful. I held her from the moment I arrived to almost the moment we left. She stared into my eyes, wide awake, for a good while and eventually fell asleep as I rocked her gently. She didn’t say a peep the whole time we were there. And I am ashamed to admit that it wasn’t until the drive home that I even thought about Teddy. I don’t know if this makes me a horrible mom, or if it just means I am finally on my way to some sort of healing.

And one other thing…as I held my niece, I was surprised by how natural it felt. How right. There have been times recently when I have wondered if I would even know how to take care of a newborn again. If I would know what to do, or how to hold one, or rock one, or love one. It seems so long ago that Cupcake was that small. But I was reminded that, somehow, mothering a baby is like riding a bike. You just never forget how to do it.

And I am so glad that, finally, I have something to be confident in.

IMG_5334

I have a niece.

Yesterday, at 38 weeks pregnant, my sister delivered her baby. It’s a girl, though none of us knew that until the birth. She has the same middle name as Cupcake, which makes me grumble a little, but whatever. I waited on pins and needles all day yesterday, and then finally at 8pm, my brother-in-law phoned with the news. And after I said my congratulations and wished them all well, gave them all my love, did and said all the things I was supposed to, I hung up and felt my chest rip open with immense sadness.

It was completely unexpected and I can’t quite explain it. But I think it has something to do with this: my sister wanted a little girl desperately. So much so that she talked of adopting one down the road if she never had the chance to give birth to one. She would watch my daughter longingly and say wistfully, “This is why I want a girl so much.” So I should be happy — thrilled — for her, shouldn’t I? But you know what? In that moment, as I heard the news, I was not. I think a part of me wanted her to have a boy because then, I would still have the one thing that she wanted the most.

My sister’s life is not perfect. I know this. She has struggled with cutting herself, bulimia, depression, anxiety, and was taking meds for all of this until she got pregnant. She and her husband also have an enormous amount of debt (more debt than our house is worth!). But beyond that, I have always coveted what she has. A better house. A Master’s degree. A childhood that is not shadowed by sexual abuse. A father she respects and has a good relationship with. Fertility. It’s not fair that so many things have come so easy for her and, here again, she got exactly what she wanted: a baby girl. It’s just not fair and, instead of being happy for her, I felt sorry for myself.

I know this makes me a horrible sister. I know it puts me in a very ugly light and it feels like a brave thing to do to admit to how I feel. A very big part of wanted to ignore these feelings, or lie about them, but this is the one place I am completely honest, with myself and with everyone else. I am not proud of the way I felt, but I make no excuses for it either. It is what it is. My relationship with Sis is so complicated and I am just beginning to realize all the pain that still lies under the surface and all the muck there is to wade through before I am truly healed.

But please, make no mistake: I will still love this niece of mine. I hold no contempt towards her or her mother. Even today, with a little distance from the news, I am feeling better, happier, more ready to embrace the addition to our very unique family. Next weekend, we will take a road trip to meet the baby. I am excited to do so, but anxious as well. I am not sure what kind of hard feelings holding a newborn will bring up for me. It will, in fact, be my first time holding a baby since my loss and seems like a very big step to take.

My one consolation in all of this is the baby that continues to flourish inside of me. Skittle is the one who is holding me together right now, keeping my heart from being too heavy, allowing me to welcome my niece with joy. I heard the heartbeat with the doppler again today and so I can now face another baby shower this weekend with hope and relief. I am happy to carry this baby for thirty more weeks or so (please please please let it be thirty), but I cannot wait to hold this child in my arms. Hearing my sister’s birth story has only made me more desperate for another of my own. For my own child to enter this world in the same health and great expectation. I want that with every cell in my body. And I know I can do anything, I can get through this pregnancy and a cousin’s shower and holding a newborn that isn’t mine, as long as Skittle is okay.

And right now, s/he is and so I will go on.

Telling My Sister

This weekend, I delivered our news to my sister.

I was nervous and my voice was shaking as I told her. I think I was afraid that, because I hadn’t responded in the way she had wanted me to when she gave me the same news, that she would only offer a lukewarm “congratulations”  as some sort of punishment. It is not beneath her to hold a grudge. But, mercifully, she responded in the way I had hoped she would: with unrestrained joy, delight, and excitement. She has sent me two e-mails since then expressing how happy she is for us.

For that, I am relieved and thankful. But I just hope that she realizes this doesn’t change everything. It doesn’t mean I am suddenly a fertile like she is, or that the pain caused by infertility has been erased. It doesn’t mean I get to enjoy a carefree, easy pregnancy like she has had. It doesn’t mean I miss or love the baby we lost, our precious Teddy Graham, any less. It really doesn’t mean anything, except that there is hope.

After hanging up the phone, I felt panic start to rise in my chest. Had I just cursed everything? Would telling my news to the one person who made my loss so difficult mean another loss is inevitable? I know it’s silly. I don’t even believe the universe works that way. But I guess this is what your mind does when you want something this much. All logic and reason go out the window.

After talking with my sis, I also have felt some guilt about my own reaction when she revealed she was pregnant to me. Was I too hard on her? Was my mediocre response unfair, or mean? But I know the two situations can’t really be compared. I had just lost a child, dammit. I had the right to still be hurting, to be unable to feel joy when I felt such sorrow. Can you tell I’ve done a lot of silent justifying to myself over the last couple days?

In other news, I had my husband deliver a dozen and a half cupcakes to our fertility clinic today. My graduation was last Friday and, even though I worried that this step, too, would somehow jinx this pregnancy (will these thoughts ever end?!), I wanted to say thank you. To be honest — they really didn’t do much for me. They monitored my cycles, but there was never any progress when I went in. I took Clomid, but I could have done that through my OB. I never had the chance to do a trigger shot or use my Follistim, so I can’t say the clinic actually helped me get pregnant. But they offered a great deal of support and encouragement when I needed it, I made some friends there, and they did allow me to come in three weeks in a row to check on Skittle. I guess you could say they gave me peace of mind and hope, which is surely something.

Or maybe, it’s everything.

Bridging the Gap

Well, things with my sister are improving I think. I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year (as of January) since my first e-mail from her. Since I first learned that she existed. What a journey we have been on since that day… (If you’re new here, you can click on the “my sis” category on the right to get the whole scoop!)

The weekend before last, she came for my daughter’s birthday party. One of the few who did, which meant a lot to me. It was the first time I had seen her since learning that she’s pregnant. She’s 23 weeks now and her belly is getting big. Not all of it is baby weight, but she looks beautiful anyhow. And happy. Which made me realize that I miss feeling and looking happy. Just blissfully happy. Those were good days when I didn’t have this dark cloud of infertility and loss looming.

But anyways…I was scared for Sissy’s visit. Scared of how much it might hurt, and scared that things might be awkward. Scared that I wouldn’t act like a good sister and scared that I might lose my composure. But it went okay. No…it went extraordinarily well. While things may never be completely the same between us, never as carefree or as light-hearted, I am beginning to believe that we can and will survive this turmoil we’ve endured. That she will still be my sister when the day is done.

While she was here, we chatted, we laughed. She read stories to Cupcake. We planned for next Christmas. We dreamed about our children, the cousins, growing up together. We gossiped about my father-in-law (who was stressing me out). And I asked all the good sisterly questions, like:

How are you feeling?

Are you feeling much movement?

What names have you chosen?

Do you think it’s a boy or a girl?

Where are you registered?

Who will be in the delivery room with you?

We talked a lot about her baby, but mostly because I brought it up. I asked, partly because I felt obligated to and partly because I really wanted to know. I’m a bit of a masochist that way. And while it stung to hear all of it, it was easier to take than I feared. I imagine that’s because I know what it’s like to experience it. I’ve been there, walked every step of the long road of pregnancy. If I didn’t have Cupcake? I’d be more lost and bitter towards her than I care to admit.

She also made brief mention of my loss in the time that she was here. I had a candle burning for Teddy Graham during the party and the votive holder has his name and a butterfly on it. She commented on how pretty it is and asked why I chose a butterfly. And later, I heard her telling my mom how bad she feels that this has to be so hard for me. Which made my heart swell just a little with affection for her. My sis is not good about talking about these things on her own. Even though I have told her several times that I want her to bring it up, to ask about it, to let me know she’s thinking of me and has not forgotten my pain, I think she is either too self-involved or too afraid of misspeaking, or of having no words at all. But when given the opportunity, she will take it, and I can appreciate that.

Up next? Her baby shower in January and then Baby’s arrival in March, both of which I know will be emotional, trying experiences for me that will leave me drained of all energy for days. My constant hope is that I will be growing my own tiny seed of a baby by then, but even if not, I’ll be there for her.  I’ll be there because that’s what sisters must do. And because not every “only child” is so lucky to discover a long-lost sibling of which she has always dreamed. I have been given a gift, and I must treasure it or lose it completely.

Updates

There’s a few things I’ve been wanting to update all my bloggie friends on. Let’s do it with bullet points:

  • Metformin: I’m still on it, 1000mg/day, and I’m happy to report I have felt no side effects whatsoever. Like, absolutely none. I also do not know that I have seen any improvements in my menstrual cycles, but I will continue with it (possibly increasing the dosage) for a few more months in hopes that it just may take a while to really go to work.
  • My BBT: Ever since determining that it was stress causing such erratic shifts in my temp, I have implemented down-time (10-30 minutes) into my daily schedule, morning, afternoon, and right before bed. And it seems to be helping! While still not completely stable, my temp is no longer having the low dives and high spikes every damn day. I haven’t seen it go above 97.6 in over a week! And maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I like to think this is actually something over which I had a teensy tiny bit of control.
  • My sis: Yesterday, I logged onto Facebook after breakfast to see a pregnancy announcement from my sister, her husband, AND her mom. Oh joy. I was ill-prepared and it made me cranky and weepy all morning. I had really thought my sis might warn me before she did that. I was wrong.
  • My cycle:  I had thought I might get a positive OPK today, but I was wrong about that too. It’s CD20 and I’m still waiting and growing increasingly impatient and anxious. The second OPK line does seem to be getting darker and I am now seeing EWCM and feeling the pressure and tenderness in my lower abdomen (completely normal for me) that indicates ovulation, so I think we’re close. I hope. But I’m also afraid of hope, so I’m trying to prepare myself for the possibility that it might not happen at all. And I’m simultaneously fearing that it will happen and it’s so late in my cycle, I’ll inevitably miscarry again. It’s kind of a catch-22 at this point. Why couldn’t I just have ovulated on day 14 like last time?! (But, of course, we know how well that cycle ended.)

So that’s what’s new (or not) with me in TTC-land. I’m hoping I have some actual news to report soon! And I’m not talking about a BFP. All I really want in this very moment is a positive test of a different kind. But I’m no good at waiting. No good at all.

Letting Go and Holding On

I have already shared this quote but I think it’s worth repeating:

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”  — Havelock Ellis

Couldn’t this be understood in so many ways?  It could be speaking to each of us about this God-awful road we are all marching down — about the place that faith and hope have in all of it. If you have faith, sometimes you have to let things go. You have to believe God or some other higher power will take care of it all. It’s out of your control. And yet, you have to hold on too. You have to keep hoping. If you give up hope, you give up everything, don’t you?

Or it could mean knowing when to keep fighting, to keep forging ahead, to keep believing in the dream we all covet…that little bundle of joy. But then, isn’t there a time when we might need to move on, either to the next treatment or to a new way of living, perhaps without the child we have been praying for? (Is this sort of “letting go” and moving on even possible? I don’t know that it ever could be for me.)  It’s a fine, careful balance indeed.

But this quote also means something else to me. It’s about my relationship with my sister. I will not be letting go of her anytime soon. I know that now, after my conversation with her yesterday. It went as good as I could have hoped for. I think we both hung up feeling like we each had our turn to say what we wanted, that we’d been heard, and that there is still a chance to heal things between us.

As sams at what a day for a daydream suggested, I had a list (a long list, I might add) of talking points for our discussion. And yet, in the end, most of it went unsaid. Some of it, I felt, was petty, some of it water under the bridge, some of it things I needed to let go, some of it too hard to bring up. But I said what I needed to, I think. I feel satisfied.

Mostly, I talked about my pain (thanks, Daryl, for that suggestion) — about how much infertility and miscarriage hurt, about how I am never free from the ache and grief they have both caused me. I wanted her to know that there is nothing she can say or do that can make it better, but that there are things that can make it worse. I did tell her I felt abandoned in the days after my miscarriage. That it hurt me so deeply a part of me had been trying to punish her for it all these months. That I just need her to be more sensitive and gentle with my heart. And I apologized for being so hard on her, for having such high expectations of her, for holding things against her when I have always known that her intentions were nothing but good.

And she thanked me for the gift I sent and told me how much it hurt to hear that I couldn’t be happy for her (which, I will tell you now, I never said…but it’s all about perspective and interpretation, isn’t it?) and she said that she feels like she’s in such a tough place because she doesn’t know what to say to me anymore. She doesn’t want to be insensitive, but she also doesn’t want to hide her happiness. She doesn’t want to keep bringing up what I’m going through because she thinks that’s cruel, but she doesn’t want me to think that by not talking about, she doesn’t care. Both valid points, and so I explained to her my expectations on both accounts. One thing she did not say was “I’m sorry.” Not once. I did, she didn’t, but I guess that is another thing I will have to let go. I had hoped for an apology for her lack of support when I lost Teddy Graham, and for not handling these last few weeks very well, but we hardly talked about those things and she did not offer anything of the sort. That’s something I just have to accept, I guess. If there is one thing I have learned about my sister in the last few months, it is that she is rarely wrong. She is the one who is always the victim. The one who is always owed the apology. The one who has been hurt so deeply. It is never the other way around.

We talked about her pregnancy, too, and about my infertility and fear for what is around the corner, and we both agreed to just be kinder to each other. More supportive. And to give one another the benefit of the doubt going forward. After all, neither one of us means to do any harm. It was not a perfect conversation — I’m realizing as I type this how much I failed to say that I probably should have — but it was successful. We cleared the air (mostly) and I felt better afterwards. I think she did, too.

And so we are holding on. We’re still trying to figure this sister thing out, but we do need each other. And so, if I want this relationship to flourish, I will have to let go of the anger, the pain she has inflicted, the things she has said and done or failed to say or do. I will have to pick my battles and let go of the small stuff, everything that doesn’t matter, so it doesn’t fracture what we have. I will have to forgive. It’s a process and it will take time and I’m still learning how to do it…but I do believe it can be done.

A carefully orchestrated dance between letting go and holding on…it really is a fine art, isn’t it? One I will probably be practicing for the rest of my life.