No Guarantees

::Looks around::

It’s been awhile since I wrote anything here. That’s because my blog got hacked and I couldn’t log in and then when I hired someone amazing to help, she found buggy wonky files all OVER the place. It’s like my blog got Ebola. It was a process, but we think it’s all clean now.

In the past week or so, my mind has been in over-drive which means I was sort of an anxiety ball without my blog to vent on. Sure, sure I could have hand-written my thoughts or opened a document and typed there, but this little “new post” window has been my therapy couch for the pat 7+ years, and I just don’t do as well writing elsewhere.

I know. I’m weird.

Anyway, one of the big things on my mind has been baby #3.

Today is the day of the Big Ultrasound.

Everyone asks, “are you going to find out the sex of the baby?”

The short answer is yes.

The longer answer is, yes, but we are most concerned with the health of the baby.

I know everyone says that–shoot, we were those people with our last two pregnancies–but most people are first and foremost excited about seeing the baby and/or finding out the sex. Everyone knows that the real reason for the ultrasound is to check on the babies growth and well-being, but because it seems like the health of the baby by 19-20 weeks becomes presumed and just SEEING the baby becomes the bigger deal.

Like I said, even with the loss of pregnancies, we felt pretty safe by 20 weeks in our past two pregnancies with the boys. We were most excited to see our little baby and find out about his parts.  With Eddie I thought we were having a girl. With Charlie, I knew it had to be a boy from the minute I got the positive pregnancy test.

Once I made it past the first trimester, I wasn’t really that concerned that anything could go wrong.

A year ago, we lost my niece, Bella. She was born asleep because she had Turner Syndrome, something my brother-in-law and sister-in-law found out at their 20-week ultrasound.

No, I am not necessarily afraid that our baby has Turner Syndrome, but I have been reminded that getting to the 20-week ultrasound is not a guarantee of a healthy baby. Just because my check ups have been find–we hear the heart, I’m measuring correctly (ok, a week early…but that was how it was with both boys), and I feel ok.  That is still no guarantee our baby is healthy and Ok.

This entire pregnancy has felt different, and for me “different” means bad. At least that is where my brain goes. It’s strange because I was WAY sicker with Charlie and way more moody with Eddie, but somehow this pregnancy makes me nervous.  Maybe it’s because we keep saying it’s the last, and I am afraid that I am jinxing it (even though I don’t believe in jinxes). Maybe the baby isn’t a boy (like I predict), so the pregnancy is different.  Maybe it’s all in my over-analyzing head.

Whatever the reason for it, I am nervous for this ultrasound.

I quite honestly do not care if we are having another little dude or if we are getting a girl (although truth be told I will be SHOCKED if it’s a girl). I really just want to know everything is Ok. Everything looks normal.

I’ve been afraid to get any baby stuff out or look at what we need or what needs to be cleaned, because I am scared.  Even as I type this I can feel that little guy (or girl) moving around, so why can’t I shake the worries?

It will all be cleared up at 3:30pm today, though.

And I will share here…after we let family know.

So far I think boy, Cortney thinks boy, Eddie is hoping girl, and Charlie doesn’t want a baby to take his room.

Someone will be right. Let’s pray it’s not Charlie.

even more changes

I’ve mentioned that there is a THING that has been really blocking my writing lately as well as making life, well, a bit difficult for me lately.

We’ve known about this THING since July 5:

2014-07-05 12.17.11

Because of my history of miscarriage, we kept it quiet from most people other than family and very very close friends until August 1st when we saw this:

2014-08-01 15.37.32-1At 8 weeks, healthy as can be with a heartbeat of 177.

And then we were still quiet because I wanted to tell my new principal before he found out via the social media grapevine.

But now he knows.

And so do you.

12.5 weeks and healthy, although the first trimester was full of nausea and vomit and exhaustion (I am sure that explains some of my cancelled plans, facebook statuses, and lameness over the past couple months).

Due March 13 (yes, Charlie’s birthday), 2015.

 

plus one

I have always dreamed of having four boys.

Cortney is happy with the two we have, but is willing to go for one more baby.

Eddie wants a sister so badly that he begs for one daily.

Charlie hates to share and is fiercely jealous when another baby is in my arms.

Three against one, Bird. Sorry.

I guess this means Sluiter Nation is currently in negotiations about increasing the population from 4 to 5.

Of course with me, it’s not as easy as “we want to have another baby, so let’s get pregnant now…weeeeee!!!”  Unfortunately we have a million things we have to consider; the first of which is when would my maternity leave fall in the school year and will I have enough sick days that I can take the full twelve weeks off paid?

We really can’t afford for me to be off unpaid, and mentally fewer than twelve weeks of maternity leave are just not Ok, Charlie’s birth date was idea since the twelve weeks off butted up against twelve more weeks off for summer break. Six months home with my little guy was perfect for me.

We also have to think about my medication. Currently I am on a pretty high dose of Celexa for my depression. My OB would like to see me cut that dose in half at LEAST until my 12th week of pregnancy. We already know from when I was pregnant with Charlie that I can’t wean off completely. I guess I’m going to be discussing this with my therapist at my next appointment and then with the prescribing doc if necessary.

And of course there is my age. I’m thirty-five, almost thirty-six, which means that I am now considered “advanced maternal age.” On top of all the other risks and issues I have with staying pregnant, there is now a higher risk of the baby having issues.

Yet we feel our family is not quite complete.

I have SO many thoughts and feelings about what this will do to our family and the changes we will have to make. I’ve discussed with my therapist all the depression stuff that could (probably will) happen with another baby. There is a lot going on in my heart and mind…and probably Cortney’s too.

But we agree: it’s almost time for another.

And so we pray for that little one who we do not yet know.

I mean, there’s room on this couch for one more, yes?

adding one more?

noise

There is so much noise lately.

It comes from every direction.

No one told me being an adult is so hard on the senses.

I’ve found myself complaining of headaches and backaches and neck aches a lot lately.

I think it’s from the noise.

Even when I turn everything off, it’s still in my head. So loud.

The noise is loudest when it’s quiet, I find.

During the school day when teenagers are being teenagery and in the evening when a preschooler is being preschoolery and a toddler is being toddlery, the noise isn’t so loud. It’s drowned out by immediacy of life.

But in the quiet of my planner period, my commute, my quiet time lying with Eddie while he falls asleep, my head fills with it.

Noise.

Static.

Yelling and shouting and vying for attention.

Anger and frustration and joy and excitement and overwhelm and worry and pride and anticipation and grief.

Oh the grief.

Memories are loud.

They scream in your heart and make you feel all over again the things you thought were past and gone and not coming back.

The pain, the writhing, the labor for…empty arms, empty heart.

Grief is the loudest of the noise.

Scratching and tearing demanding to be the center and then just sitting there in the middle of it all like dead weight.

Resurfacing to drown me.

The noise is so so loud when you’re an adult.

I want to go back to that warm place of being a child where the noise of the adult world is so far above me, it doesn’t make it to my ears or heart.

That place with dinner waiting on the table, two parents tucking me in, and no note of death or pain or worry in my ear.

I want the safety and silence of childhood back.

Because being an adult is too loud.

It hurts too much.

In honor of Infant Loss and Remembrance Day, I lit my candle for the two I have in heaven (snuggled there next to a picture of their little brother, Eddie) and for my niece, Bella. Who went home too this past week.

In honor of Infant Loss and Remembrance Day, I lit my candle for the two I have in heaven (snuggled there next to a picture of their little brother, Eddie) and for my niece, Bella. Who went home too this past week to be held in the arms of her Papa Steve in Heaven.

***Updated (9:21am 10/16/13)*** I just got word that Arabella Elizabeth Sluiter was delivered at 2:20am this morning weighing 1 lb, 3oz. She will always be loved and remembered.

Bump, Bump

Yesterday was Eddie’s birthday. I don’t have my mind sorted out yet about how in the world he could already be four, so I can’t talk about that yet.

What I can do, is travel back in time with you.  Back to my days when Eddie…and Charlie…still called my uterus home.  When they used my organs as soccer balls.

Two summers ago, when we were trying to get pregnant with Charlie, my friend, Shell, did a link up called Rock the Bump, so I showed everyone what I looked like pregnant with Eddie.

She is doing it again this year, so I thought I would do a bump comparison of sorts.  You can watch the ever-changing picture/decoration behind me too.

 

And so it begins.  I look so much more excited and not so tired while pregnant with Eddie.

And so it begins. I look so much more excited and not so tired while pregnant with Eddie.

Six months...poking out a bit more with Charlie.

Six months…poking out a bit more with Charlie.

 

Oh dear. I was just not good during my pregnancy with Charlie. It's like I am wearing that antenatal depression right out there.

Oh dear. I was just not good during my pregnancy with Charlie. It’s like I am wearing that antenatal depression right out there.

8 months is apparently the month where I give up. Also? HOT MESS.

8 months is apparently the month where I give up. Also? HOT MESS.

 

BAM! 9 months! I start to resemble a person again...but only because I know the end is so darn close!

BAM! 9 months! I start to resemble a person again…but only because I know the end is so darn close!

The night before Charlie was born.  I am READY!

The night before Charlie was born. I am READY!

I think the moral here is that you are more tired with the second pregnancy because you have the results from the first pregnancy running around under your feet.

Want to see more glowing pregnant mommas?  Clicky the badge below and check them out!

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I’m also over at The Writer Revived today talking about the things I realize about becoming a stay at home mom for the summer. I would love it if you would head over and give it a read!
Don’t forget that Google Reader is going away July 5! 

because of them

Oh November, you bring with you such a mixed bag of emotions and moods and thoughts for me.

I love fall.  I do. I love crisp leaves and pumpkin spice lattes and leggings with boots and scarves.

But you make it so hard to really love those things with all the other stuff you bring with them.

With daylight savings time, you make my world darker, making me consider a SAD lamp every year. But I am cheap and delusional that I can get away without any SAD this year.

You also bring the end of the first marking period at work with it’s fluster of GET ALL THE THINGS DONE NOW week, so you know, stress and anxiety kicks in.

You also have the election.  Even when it’s a non-presidential election year, there is still something that we are supposed to vote for and people get jazzed up and political commercials take over the TV where there should be commercials for erectile disorder and tampons.  You know, light topics. And try as I might to ignore it, know my own beliefs and not get sucked into the opposing view, I do anyway.

And then there is that other thing about November.

That thing that was supposed to happen five years ago, but didn’t.  And then again four years ago, but didn’t.

I never know how to talk about my miscarriages.

I think I am in the minority of miscarriage survivors when I say that I don’t think of them as people that weren’t.  At least not most of the time.

I think about how our life would have been different if, five years ago, we started our family.  And I like to think that the spirits that were possibly in those small balls of cells…if there were souls in them…are in heaven with Cort’s dad.

But I don’t think of them as ever being full-fledged babies.

I don’t think of them looking like anything.

I don’t think of them and wonder about their futures…because they weren’t meant to have one.  That was not the plan.

That sounds harsh, doesn’t it?  It sounds cruel and insensitive.

I don’t think that about other people’s miscarriage.  Especially those who have suffered so many and have never had the blessing of a full term baby.

I read in my devotions not that long ago that everyone has a purpose in this world.  The ones who die young fulfilled their purpose quickly…even if we don’t know that purpose.  If the purpose is never revealed to us, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one.

I try not to play the “why” game.

I gave up on that game when Cort’s dad died.  There just wasn’t an answer that I was allowed to know.

I mean, I can conjecture from what I see has become of our life and how certain things wouldn’t be as they are without those tragedies, but I can’t say that was for sure the purpose of losing two pregnancies.

As I told my therapist last week, I never even thought of them as babies.

I’ve tried to.  I’ve called them babies, but after having Eddie and Charlie, that just didn’t feel right to me.

The first never progressed past a couple cell divisions before it quit.  It was my body that didn’t get that message.  My bodythought it was pregnant.  Had my body not mixed up that message, it would have passed without me ever knowing it was a miscarriage.

The second was a small dot on a screen.  But we never saw a heartbeat.

However, if I am being honest here, even seeing Eddie’s heartbeat for the first time didn’t convince me he was a real baby.  I know now that was probably a defense mechanism on my part.  And I am in no way saying anything about when I believe life starts (goodness knows I don’t want to start THAT debate here…this is about me and my experience only), I just don’t really grieve those lives that never were anymore.

I have a small box next to my bed with two hearts in it that represent those two pregnancies.

They were hugely important in my life.

The first convinced me I did, in fact, want to be a mother.

The second showed me my own strength and that I could get through physical pain that was greater than anything I ever thought I could endure.

Both pregnancies opened my eyes to who I am…a person I didn’t know I was.  A woman who was stronger and braver than I knew.

Both pregnancies are a puzzle piece to how our family was shaped.  How our attitudes toward loving each other fiercely and not holding grudges was fashioned.  How our persistent to be open in communication and our love for one another was created.

I know that those losses created an urgency of love and appreciation and living in the moment with those we love.

I know I am different because of them.  I know Cort is too.

I know Eddie and Charlie are seen through different eyes and loved with different hearts than they would had their not been loss before them.

But I don’t spend my November thinking about babies who weren’t born in this month.

And now, with the addition of my sweet new niece, Maria last weekend and the other niece, Lilly due in a couple weeks, I have two babies births to celebrate this month.

I don’t forget what I lost, but I don’t mourn it anymore either.

Instead I say a prayer of gratitude for all I have been blessed with despite the losses we have endured.

And we just are.

 

taking care of me FOR me

My friends hate me.

Actually, what they hate is that whenever I get pregnant, I lose weight.

No really.  I do.

It’s because I am by far the most healthiest when I am pregnant.

With Eddie, the minute I found out he was in there baking, I became incredibly self-conscious about what I was putting in my body since, you know, it was going in HIS body too. {and truth be told, after losing two pregnancies, I was hyper-sensitive about keeping Eddie in there at all costs}.

Either way, I only gained 19 pounds when I was pregnant with Eddie.

With Charlie I gained ZERO pounds.  Actually, I gained some weight in my 2nd tri, but it came off in my third.  I gave birth two pounds below my weight when I conceived the little Bird.

People were astounded.

Continue reading…

my hearts

These guys {and their dad} are my whole life.

But there was a time just over five years ago when I wasn’t sure I ever wanted kids.  It wasn’t just me.  Cort was in agreement with me.  We loved being just the two of us.  We had been married for a year and a half, were getting quite close to turning 30,  but all of our discussions about kids ended in,Not now. Just….not now.

Then one day in 2007 I took a pregnancy test because I was late.

I haven’t been able to write about that short pregnancy.  Mostly because I still can’t let go of thinking it’s abrupt ending was my fault.

The thing about that pregnancy, it convinced us that we wanted…very badly, in fact…to be parents.

The following year, I found myself pregnant again with almost the exact same due date as the year before.

This time we wanted it from the beginning.  We prayed and timidly allowed ourselves to be excited.

But it was no use.  We lost it.  I lost it.

I try so hard not to think about those little hearts.  Those little ones who did not make it.

It seems…fruitless.  Is that the right word?  I don’t even know.  It seems ungrateful.  There. That is better.

It seems ungrateful to dwell on the Lost Ones.

I mean, would I have my boys if I had them?

I can’t imagine our life without Eddie and Charlie.  They are meant to be our sons.  I know this just from looking at them.  They were meant to be here with us.

So why the first two?  Were they just random glitches?  Not meant to be thought of?  Not meant to be dreamed about?  Not…anything?

I can’t believe that either.

No, just because neither made it past “embryo” doesn’t mean they weren’t something.

Recently Cort and I were talking about his dad (I know this seems off topic, but bear with me) and how he would be so tickled about all his grandkids and seeing his own children become parents.

Sometimes on the happiest, most fun days with our boys and Cort’s siblings, he will get the saddest thinking about all his dad is missing.

I held his hand and told him something I had been keeping in my heart for a few years:

I believe our first babies are in heaven in order to give your dad some grandkids to play with right now.

Cort squeezed my hand and I knew he was struggling against tears.  He told me he liked that and I was probably right.

I don’t think of those miscarriages often anymore, but those unborn babies sit in my heart.  They were part of me even if for a short time.

Too many of my friends know of this pain, but one friend in particular has suffered this (more times than I have) and has become my heart buddy. No matter her struggles and pain, she remembers my fight too.  She never discounts my pain because it is “less” than hers.  She knows pain is pain.  And she knows I am fiercely praying for her with every beat of my heart.

She wrote a post about her five hearts who are not with her.

I cried. She is so strong. SO. DAMN. STRONG.

And do you know what she did?  She sent me two of my own hearts.

This past week I bought them a little “box” and now they reside on my nightstand.

I know it’s weird to say, but having those hearts right there, next to our family picture, next to where I sleep…it’s like they are home.

Something in my heart settled down the day those hearts arrived in the mail.

I held them in my hand today during nap time.

I closed my hand around them and felt their cool hardness.

And I quietly thanked them for my boys.

Without them I would not have Eddie and Charlie.

I would not have my boys.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.”  ~Proverbs 3: 5-6

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Don’t forget about the minted giveaway I have going on over here!

And read about how I know NOTHING about Canada over here.

being washed

A breeze scattered a couple papers on my desk.

I looked up from my room supervisor’s manual and saw that a student must have opened the window during our in-room break during State Testing.

As I realigned my papers, it blew in again.

It wasn’t cold, but it it couldn’t be called warm either.

It had a hint to it.  A secret it carried.  Something it wanted to share, but didn’t know how.

If I closed my eyes and concentrated while letting it wash past me, I could almost touch it.

Warming earth.

Green stems just below the soil’s surface.

Buds waiting in branches.

I stood to roam the room and as I glanced to see that everyone was working on the correct test, and I heard the song of the robin.

A change of season.

Newness.

 

 

Posts that I Didn’t Read

Oops.

This week got away from me.

I think I read like one thing all week and it was probably just a joke that someone posted on facebook.

So I have nothing to BOOM about today.

I DID have my second to the last OB visit yesterday.

I am measuring at 40 weeks (I am really 37.5 weeks), but that is what happened with Eddie too.

Everything else looks good.

I am going on record as guessing Charlie’s birth weight to be 8 lbs, 10 oz.since he will be born at 39 weeks, but is measuring big.

(Eddie was 9lbs, 8 oz and born on his due date, by the way)

Do you have a guess?

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Other places to find my writing from this week:

I reviewed the book The Book Thief on Katie’s Bookcase.

I have a post about Eating Real Food on Borderless News and Views today.

 

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