Another Miscarriage: Missing My Magic Baby

I’m 3 for 4 now.  Three healthy, beautiful children, and as of yesterday, 4 miscarriages.  This pregnancy was utterly unexpected, which may be why I feel so lost now.  After my littlest was born 15 months and one day after the birth of my middle child, I told my husband I was DONE.  I was happy, gloriously happy and luckier than I ever thought I’d be, and 100% sure that no more children were coming out of this body.  My husband was to get a vasectomy, and fast.

But, as men will do when it comes to snipping the goods, he dragged his feet, and kept dragging and dragging.  Fast forward 18 months.  We used the calendaring method, and the old pull out method, which seemed like birth control for two married idiots in their mid 30’s.  Then, one day I realized I was a few days late, and an unsure feeling crept into my belly.

I’m never late, always 1-2 days early, so I wondered, but pushed such ludicrous thoughts out of my mind (hello!  we were using ‘birth control’).  My very challenging teenager was taking up all my energy, and then my poor husband accidentally backed the car over our cat, and the world stopped for a couple days while we (a very costly vet) tried to save her.  By the time the dust settled, I was at least 4 days late, and supposed to pick the dead kitty up at the vet that afternoon to bury her.  However, I just couldn’t NOT take a pregnancy test first.  Except, the only ones I had expired back in 2014, cause I never planned on getting pregnant ever again.  I peed on it anyway.

TWO PINK LINES!!  WTH!?  Utterly stunned.  But those tests were soooooo expired!  And, really no way (birth control!).  In a state of disbelief, I dropped my little ones at grandma’s, so I could go get the kitty, but couldn’t help stopping at the pharmacy to purchase an (unexpired) pregnancy test.  I picked up the kitty, and went home to pee on a stick and dig a hole.  TWO BLUE LINES!  I felt like throwing up, but wasn’t sure if it was the burying of the cat or the result of the test.  I was so excited!  I was so terrified!  I was so happy!  I had to call my husband.  I had been so adamant about not having any more children that I needed him to know and understand.  Those two pink lines made me fall in love again.  I loved this baby so much!  I wanted him/her, I could hardly wait to hold him/her and know him/her and kiss him/her.

My husband thought I would be crushed.  His first words were, “I’m so sorry honey!”  Mine were, “I’m not.”


The cheapie expired test.


The real deal.

He was thrilled.  We planned, we talked about our previous miscarriages, but we were both so sure this baby was going to be born, that we didn’t give it a second.  Our little Magic Baby, I called her in my head.  I bought her a little bunny rabbit the size of my palm as her first snuggy, and I wore it in my shirt at bed time.  I had a baby name list on Nameberry, I had narrowed names down for a boy or girl, but we were pretty sure she was a girl, based on how fierce I was feeling.  We were scanning craigslist to buy baby stuff again (I sold everything after our last little one).  We had even told a few friends/family.  We were feeling so stunned by the joy and surprise that we were so sure this pregnancy was going to end with our little precious bundle warm and safe in our arms.

But that was not to be.  Yesterday, I woke up and took a pregnancy test, because I’m obsessive about doing that almost every day during my first trimester (the old, cheap, expired ones that still work!).  And I got a Positive!  Two pink lines!  Yes, all good.  Then I wiped, and the toilet paper was pink.  My heart dropped.  Doom entered my chest.  I wiped again: pink.  I tried not to freak out.  I wasn’t feeling crampy at all.  I told my husband that I wasn’t feeling well as we got our two littles ready for swim class.  His eyes were worried. We were 5 weeks, 4 days pregnant.

The morning went on, and the leaking continued: more brown/pink blood.  An occasional twinge of cramping, but so faint, I did not want to believe it.  But by the afternoon, the blood was bright red, and I was so depressed I was laying in bed.  The cramps were uncomfortable, I took an Alieve to not feel the unfairness of it.

It’s so ridiculous, all the things you think when you are having a miscarriage, whether it’s your first, or your fourth.

  1. Maybe I was pregnant with twins, and I still have a baby hanging on in there.  Maybe all hope is not lost (hang on baby).  [It happens, its beautiful and heartbreaking, Look, and Here]. 
  2. I Googled 5-6 weeks pregant and pink/brown discharge and look at all the posts from people who had the same thing, or even legit BLEEDING, and did not lose the baby!  This could happen, this could be me!  Maybe this is just my confused uterus thinking it needs to have a period, and my baby is still hanging on strong (hold tight baby).
  3. Is this really considered bleeding?  I haven’t soaked a pad or anything, I’ve had worse periods, so maybe it’s going to stop any minute and this is just a false alarm and my baby is fine (hold on baby).
  4. My cramps aren’t really bad at all, they say you have to have bright red blood and cramping to be having a MC.  This blood is not bright red, and the cramps are weak, so maybe I’m not actually having one (please, please)?

On and on it continues.  After four miscarriages, I still google to look for stories of other women who went on to have healthy children after having first trimester bleeding.  Those stories are out there (not sure if they’re real, or if someone is making a lot of money on them as click-bait, we moms want it to be true SO BAD).

Nevertheless, here I am, no baby in my belly, as I planned for the last 1.5 years, but missing the baby that was in my belly terribly.  I want her back so bad.  My husband wants to try again now, but it’s only because we miss HER, not because it makes any sense whatsoever to have another child.  I don’t blame him.  A huge part of me wants to try to get pregnant again.  It must be the heartbreak talking.  I’m missing my Magic Baby terribly tonight.

Hillary Clinton’s hormones have nothing to do with her qualifications to be President

Hillary Clinton’s hormones have nothing to do with her qualifications to be President

Dr. Jen Gunter

Time magazine published this article about why Hillary Clinton is the perfect age to run for president.

clinton

The author, Dr. Holland who is a psychiatrist, chose not to focus on Ms. Clinton’s vast political experience or her education but rather on Ms. Clinton’s menopausal status.

Yes, you read that right, when it comes to qualifications for President of the United States menopause trumps a Yale law degree, eight years as a senator from New York, and four years as Secretary of State.

While it is fair to write about a candidates health, it is nothing short of a twisted combination of misogyny, a desire to plug an upcoming book, and a misunderstanding of the endocrine system (i.e. hormones)  to write and publish such an article.

No one ever writes about manopause and politicians

First of all, and I can’t say this loudly enough, no one EVER writes articles about the testosterone…

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The First Three Months of Pregnancy Blow, and Where is My Spidey Smell?

Yes, they blow.  This is not to say that I am not thrilled to be pregnant, because I am (deep down inside where there is energy for “thrilled”), truly.  But, to be real – I feel like sh*t, I have no energy whatsoever, I’m queazy all day, and all I want to do is lay in bed and be still so my stomach doesn’t hate me.  But my little 7 month-old daughter won’t let me, she wants to eat, play, be read to, go outside, and all that crap.  And she has recently decided that naps aren’t really her thing, so she fights me to take them – even though she’s super fussy and rubbing her little eyes raw.  Thirty-45 minutes after I get her to sleep, her beautiful eyes snap open and she looks at me like, “mom! what did I miss?”.  Ugh, I had just fallen asleep myself . . .


Shhh!  Almost asleep. 

This pregnancy is – knock on wood – not as bad as my pregnancy with W.  With her I was so ill, I hardly ate for 12 weeks.  I made my husband wait at least an hour before getting near me after showering because the soapy clean smell of him was so strong it made me gag.  I refused to eat meat, and the smell of it cooking sent me outside.  (I became a vegetarian when I was pregnant with K, when the smell of cooking beef suddenly became equated with burning flesh – pregnancy hormones, hello!  Since then, I had worked my way back to eating chicken/fish – until W.)  My husband started cooking only vegetarian, and still, the aroma of cooking had me upstairs in bed with the blankets over my head: grilled onions – ick, rosemary – bleh, oregano – barf, garlic – i just threw up a little in my mouth. Often, I just ate a slice of toast or a pb&j and went to bed.  Our 12 yo son started looking at me like he didn’t want to get too close, whatever it was might be catching.  I felt like a wild animal.  Smells drove me crazy, I swear I could pick out a smell from across the room that no one else even noticed.  And I was exhausted; I would come home from work and fall asleep the minute I hit the couch.  Thank goodness for my husband.  Without him, my oldest would have had 3 months of grilled cheese for dinner and unlimited media time, cause I’d be sleeping.

This time around, I’m not half as sick (yet), and I can’t seem to smell any better than a regular human, thankfully.  It makes me nervous, like something is wrong, or maybe I’m just having a boy.  I try to stay positive.  I’m still so worried about a miscarriage, but I’m taking my 100 mg Progesterone nightly, so fingers double crossed that this baby stays with us and grows strong and healthy.

Im looking forward to 12 weeks, when this dreadful tiredness and nausea will magically disappear! 

Fingers crossed for a healthy pregnancy for me and all you newly pregnant mommas out there!

SAHM: Going to Work is Awesome

I’m a SAHM, sort of.  I work as a restaurant manager on Wednesday nights from 4pm to midnight.  I pick-up one half-day substitute teaching shift each week when it’s available (almost every week).  Otherwise, you will find me with my baby daughter and teenage son.  I love my children.  I love being a mostly-SAHM.  I love providing and baking and making a safe and warm home for my kids.  I feel so lucky to be able to be present to see them grow every day.  But let’s face it, going to work is awesome.

My Wednesday night getaway is brilliant.  To be away from the needs of my family, however much I love them, is critical.  Sure, I have to “manage” other people, but no one is going to starve or die or have a meltdown if I screw up at work.  Well, someone might be a little hungry . . .  I get to see the people I have worked with for the past fifteen years, whom I love.  I get to have adult conversations.  I get to use my brain to solve adult problems.  I get to do physical work without a baby on my hip.  I get to fix my hair and wear makeup.  I get to walk out of the house BY MYSELF!  I get to take my mom-sweats off and put my grown-woman-in-charge-pants on.  I love it.

I substitute teach for the fun of it, which I know sounds crazy to most people.  I like kids.  I particularly like older-middle and high-school kids.  (Sixth graders are crazy, and elementary kids have waaaay too much energy).  There is a vibrancy and a hopefulness about highschool-ers, they are on the brink of everything, and life is so full and open.  Middle schoolers have a sweet innocent/knowingness about them; they are still so young, but barely.  I enjoy going into the schools and getting an insider view of what my own kids are dealing with.  I love talking to the students about life, about their teachers, about assignments, and I love listening to the conversations that happen in the last few minutes of class, when they think no one can hear them.  And did I mention I get to wear real clothes and leave the house?

I am so grateful to have what is – for me – the best of both worlds.  Even though Thursday morning comes all too soon, and sometimes kids are brats to the substitute, and my husband is starting to act like my restaurant shift is a ‘night-out’ because he knows how much I enjoy it. I’ll take it. 

So, here’s to Wednesday night, and to all the creative ways you SAHM and SAHD’s get out of the house and do something for yourselves!  May you find your own ways to rejuvenate so you can keep taking care of those babies!

The Quiet Ticking of the Clock

My first child was born 13.5 years ago, when I was 20.  I got pregnant while using a condom, no shit.  No one wants to believe that, but it’s TRUE.  I got pregnant with a condom. Something went wrong, probably user error, or the condom was old and had been in some wallet pocket getting sat on for years, because when it was removed, it was ripped and leaking.  My BF looked at me with the ‘oh shit’ look and held it out.  I glanced from the leaking slip of latex in his hand to his dumbstruck face, shrugged and said, “What are the odds?”  As in, don’t worry.  As in, it’s so unlikely, it shouldn’t even be a thought.  As in, puh-leaz, it’s not going to happen.  As in, I’m hungry, let’s go get some lunch.  Fast forward 6 weeks and no period later, and you guessed it – I’m Pregnant.

When my husband and I decided to start trying to conceive our second baby (first bio baby for him), I was nearly 31 years old and more than ready.  I had convinced him to stop using protection for the previous year, hoping that we’d get lucky.  I was so fertile with my first baby that I got pregnant WHILE using protection, for goodness sake!  This was going to be easy.  But, after a full year of just-having-fun-unprotected-sex, we had yet to see that coveted double pink line.  We  didn’t worry about it too much, but decided to start paying attention to fertility periods and having planned sex during a specific 10-day span.  I wasn’t getting any younger, and I knew B wanted to have two more children, for a grand total of three.  I began to notice the quiet ticking of the clock.

We had planned sex for the next year.  Some months, we were more diligent than others.  Some months I felt bitter about having to plan sex, and it made me not want to do it.  I was still secretly hoping for the fun-sex-accident-baby.  But nothing was happening.  I started wondering if there was something wrong with me?  I was pushing 32, maybe something had gone amiss?  Maybe I wasn’t ovulating?  Maybe B had slow swimmers?  Maybe we just weren’t compatible for making babies?  Maybe we needed to see a specialist?

Meanwhile, many of our friends were getting pregnant and having babies willy nilly.  Our favorite neighbors had had baby #1 and were pregnant with baby #2, while I was still planning our sex calendar, complete with “fertility period alerts” for B.  Ugh.  We finally coughed up the dough to see a fertility specialist.  We did the cheapest test first, and B had a semen analysis (one of the most uncomfortable experiences of his life – ejaculating into a cup with a fill line in some weird office with magazine pictures of women).  His swimmers were fast and dense, the morphology better than average, and there were no other abnormalities.  Looking at him, we should have been expecting baby #2 by now as well.

Which meant I was the problem.  Me.  The infertile one.  The broken one.  I felt suddenly old and betrayed by my body.  I imagined my ovaries as dried up desert wastelands.  I cursed my hormones as dysfunctional machinery.  I imagined the pH of my vagina to be so acidic, it killed sperm on contact.  I pictured my cervix as a tightly closed fist, incapable of letting anything past.  I knew my reproductive system as faithless and failing.  I was desolate and angry.

We signed me up for my first fertility test, a transvaginal ultrasound, and a fertility consultation.  According to the doctor, there was no reason for me to be having any problems.  I had conceived before, I was healthy, B’s swimmers were good, nothing looked amiss on the outside.  We went into a procedure room for the ultrasound.  It was awkward and uncomfortable to have an ultrasound wand up your vagina for a look around, but everything looked normal.  We saw plenty of dark spots in my ovaries that were ovum, ready to be released and meet their sperm.  Again, there seemed to be no reason we were not pregnant yet.  The doctor reinforced me and said not to worry, and to keep trying.  He gave me the paperwork to call to schedule a hysterosalpingogram, if I wanted further testing.

I went home and tried to relax.  For the next few months, we didn’t think too hard about timing sex, but it was never far from my mind.  I find it utterly ludicrous that people expect you to “stop worrying about it” when you’ve been trying to conceive for 20+ months with nothing to show for it.  There is no stopping worry, it’s always on your mind.  Every month, when your period is due in a week, 5 days, 3 days, and there are already 15 negative pregnancy tests in the trash.  There is no stopping worry, just like there is no stopping hope.

I did become pregnant within the next few months, but I miscarried at 7 weeks, 4 days. It was heartbreaking, and the first of three MC’s before my successful pregnancy.  The worry never stopped, but my baby girl arrived healthy and strong, two years after fertility testing, as the clock tick, tick, ticked away. 

On Feminism and Middle Schoolers and Why Princesses Kick Ass 

A Conversation on Feminism with my Teenage Son

Background: A few nights prior to the following conversation, during dinner, my husband mentioned a news headline he read regarding backlash against Emma Thompson after her UN speech on feminism.  I didn’t know anything about it at the time, and my husband had just read the headline.  My son K had heard something about it at school, and our conversation was brief and expressed our disgust with anyone who would disparage equality between women and men.  (This was before I knew how misogynistic and threatening the backlash was, and before I had watched the speech.  I brought this issue back to the table once I had more facts, but that’s another story.)

A couple days after the initial conversation, during our nightly dog-walk, K brought up the subject of feminism again, in the typical roundabout way of teens.

Me: So, you still don’t want to go to the Homecoming game on Friday?

K: No.  I don’t have a date.  I don’t really like anyone right now.

Me: Well, maybe you can just go with friends?

K: No, all my friends that are going have a date.

Me: Maybe you could ask a girl friend to go with, just as friends?

K: Naw, people don’t really do that.  Plus, it’d be way too expensive.

Me: What do you mean?  For the tickets and some food?

K:  Yah, and the mum.  Girls want expensive mums . . . (We keep walking and he’s quiet for a moment.)  You know, some of my friends think about feminism in a way that I don’t agree with, but I can kinda see where they’re coming from.

Me: Like what?

K: Like you know how it’s supposed to be equal between men and women?  Well, they say it’s not equal.  Guys have to ask girls out, not the other way around.  Guys have to buy dinner and pay for everything.  The girls at my school expect gifts and stuff from their boyfriends.  My guy friends say that if it’s supposed to be equal, equal pay and equal treatment, the girls need to step it up.  They need to ask guys out, they need to pay for things, they need to buy their own food or tickets or whatever, or sometimes buy both . . .  I don’t really agree with them, but I can see where they’re coming from.

Me: Hmmm . . .

We walk on, and I am lost in thought.  I think about how it was when I was in eighth grade – just like this, nothing’s changed (shocking!).  I think about how it’s all chivalry and princesses, and waiting for prince charming for many girls in middle school, and how difficult, frustrating and confusing it must be for boys to be expected to play that role.  Then I think about the other side of the coin, that girls are just as smart or smarter than many of the boys in their classes, how they take leadership roles as readily (as I’ve seen as a substitute teacher), and how they’re just as capable as their male peers when  it comes to any of the everyday tasks of middle school.  I think about what a mixed message that must be for boys, girls who seem to be powerful and capable, but who simultaneously seem to want to appear helpless or in need of ‘rescue’.  All this is jumbled up in my head, but I try to (simply) put this into words for K.

Me: Yeah, I can sort of see where they’re coming from, too.  That’s not really equal.  You know, it’s all chivalry and knights of the round table in middle school, and girls romanticize that.  But when they get older, it’ll be different.  They’ll want to pay half, they won’t want to be coddled and rescued.  They’ll find their independence and their power, and want to be an equal contributor in the relationship.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t buy a girl dinner and pamper her every so often – it’s just that it shouldn’t be the expectation. (In my head is the line: “nor should you expect anything from her, no matter how much money you spend on her!” but I decide to save that talk for another time.)  As you get into high school, some girls will become more independent.  And one of these days, a girl will ask you out and may even want to pay for your dinner.

K: Ha ha.  That would be nice.  You know that video game Destiny that I was telling you about . . .

Thinking back on this conversation, I realize what mixed messages we send to these kids about feminism and male/female ‘roles’.

A Facebook conversation pops into my mind.  A friend posts, in exasperation:  “Please, people, stop calling your daughters Princesses!  You’re not doing them any favors!”  At the time, I was pregnant with my daughter (and reading a lot of Phillipa Gregory), and I thought, The notion of a princess as a damsel in distress is all wrong.  Being a princess is a terrible job with very high expectations, and it’s hard work!  

I hope that by the time my daughter is in eighth grade, she will feel empowered to ask a boy out if she wants to, and that she wouldn’t tolerate being coddled.  I’m going to teach her to change a tire, and her dad will teach her to cook.  I’m going to teach her that being pampered by the one you love is a sweet treat, not the norm, and that both partners need to do the pampering.  She’ll know that her man can think of her as his princess, and she may be her daddy’s and my princess, but princesses are powerful, highly educated, empathetic leaders with courage.  Princesses kick ass.


Princess Catherine of Aragon

Big Brother, Big Sister Gift for Your T(w)een

Only Child: Expired!  You have been promoted!

If you’re about to have a baby and your oldest is a teen or tween, you may be looking for a big brother/sister gift for your firstborn.  Here is one idea:

You Have Bee Promoted
Big Brother Box
The following five items can be placed into a box that you create.  Decorate it to make it special, cheesy, or fancy – whatever your style.  Feel free to modify the items to better fit your t(w)een:

  1. Earplugs!  These are meant to be funny and useful.  Babies cry a lot.  We used these from LiveMusic, because our son is taking drum lessons as well.  They have worked to muffle bass and baby screams.
  2. Gift cards to favorite places: this can get expensive, so whatever is in your budget. Doesn’t take much $ to munch out at FroYo or Taco Bell!
  3. “Get out of the House FREE” cards.  These are simple index cards with punch-out squares marked.  You can offer a variety of things.  A trip to the mall?  Movies?  The arcade?  A bookstore?  Pick the places your oldest likes to go and give them a ‘ticket’ to get there (with you, and without the baby if possible).
  4. A few pictures of you with him/her when he/she was born and some baby photos of you adoring him/her (a sweet reminder that they were once in the new baby’s shoes).  This can work even for teenage boys, who may protest the sappiness.  Underneath that mature, too-cool front, they need to feel loved as much as anyone.
  5. A letter to your t(w)een: This is personal to you – you can tell them about when they were born, tell them a story about you, remind them that things will be different for a while but you’ll always be there for them, etc.  Make it your own, and write from the heart; say whatever you feel will be the most important things to say during such a transition.  (I wrote a letter to K to be opened when he is 26, the age he will be when his little sister is the age HE is now.)

*An alternate idea is a photo memory book: scrapbook, apple-book, or photo album. This can be a loving memoir of your life so far with your firstborn!  We saved this one for the big 1-3 birthday, but the birth of a sibling is just as monumental. Have fun and good luck!

No More Only Child!

I gave birth to my second baby thirteen years and four months after giving birth to my first.  Needless to say, for the child that will always be my baby boy, this was going to be a big adjustment.

A lot of speculation occurred around what our son thought life would be like with a new sibling, a little sister so much younger than himself.  Our son’s first bit of research started when my husband and I announced we were going to try to have another child (long before we were successful).  He was about ten then and started polling his friends with little siblings.  His conclusion?  That all the (regulatory) attention would be off of him (yay!), and we would be so busy with the new one, that he could fly under the radar and essentially play video games all day long and eat cheetoes for dinner.  With that in mind, he gave us his blessing.

That attitude made it through the end of his fifth grade year, and into the summer, but once the holiday season came around, he discovered a new downside to siblings: half the Christmas presents.  Oh, oh, no.  No, never mind.  Sharing?  What?  Why would I want to do that?  This child had never had to share anything in his life (outside of school): not his parents’ attention, his toys, his food, clothes, his space in the car, on the couch, or at the dinner table.  The world was his world and he did not want it to end.  Of course not.  Who would?  The little brother/sister idea became tainted.  He asserted that he did not want a little sibling after all.  No thank you. 

My husband and I listened with a smile and tried not to laugh at some of the horror stories he told.  A friend’s little brother who ruins his gaming device by shoving a cookie into the disk hole (the terror!).  Another little brother who screams ‘woe is me’ at the top of his lungs every time he is in time-out – which is funny at first, but always ends up giving everyone a headache.

By the time I was pregnant with our daughter, K was 12 and had a good sense of humor.  We joked about the idea of a baby’s presents eating into his Christmas loot – eyes rolling. My husband and I laughed to ourselves and thought, ‘oh, how the world will change for you, our son.’  

It couldn’t have happened soon enough.  No matter how much we exposed our only-child to others, put him in situations where he had to think of others’ needs and share, no matter how many cousins and neighbors and sleepovers he had – nothing can slap that selfish omni-importance out of a person like the ever-constant presence of an irritating, needy sibling.  I was looking forward to it with the glee of a mom who looks forward to any ‘hardship’ she knows will make her child stronger, evil laugh aside. 

While I knew that having a sibling would be a positive aspect in his life in the long run, I also felt apprehensive about his short-term feelings of love and security.  Middle school is rough in any situation, much less entering eighth grade with a new baby sister.  I searched the internet for ideas and advice, and found very little.  I pocketed the good advice, discovered the term ‘split-mom’, and trudged on.

This blog is my first attempt to (publicly) wade through the parenting of two kids born more than a decade apart.  The trials, the growing pains, and the failures. Here we go!

Good luck to all you split-parents out there, and to your (future) expired-only-children!