The Journey to a Little One to Call Our Own

One gal's experiences dealing with IF, pregnancy, the birth of our first son, parenthood, and doing it all over again with our second son... here is our journey.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

T Minus 5 Days

Thanks for your comments on my last post, ladies.  After re-reading it, I think I was a bit fired up... maybe for all good reasons, but maybe I shouldn't let it bother me like I do.  Regardless, I am happy to call this little place on the internet my home.

Next Tuesday, I return to work after 12 weeks of maternity leave.  In some ways, it feels like a lot longer since I've been at work, and in other ways, the time absolutely flew by.

After having Max, I absolutely cringed thinking about going back to work.  I was pretty emotional - after spending a ton of blissful, new mother time with my first little baby, it absolutely killed me to hand him over to his daycare provider (who we love) and jump in the car and go back to my stressful, 40-50 hour a week career.  December 2011 was when Max started daycare, and during the first day I went back to work, I vowed to do two things ASAP:

1. Figure out how to spend more time with my kid during the week, and allow him to have more time with his mama

2. Keep a career that I love, but figure out a different way to do it

Financially, I can not quit my job.  We need at least a portion of my salary.  I wouldn't want to quit because I truly love my role, and we have seen SO many benefits to Max attending daycare and making friends... I would never want him not to have that experience.

However, I did figure out a solution that will work best for me, my kids, and our lives.  I am working Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays at 60% of my salary, with Thursdays and Fridays to spend with my kids.  I know I will need to be planful with my Thursdays and Fridays... I am starting to put together our routine of things the boys and I will do.  Both days each week will include activities for the three of us to do together, and time for me to get some basics done around the house so that we don't have to spend precious family weekend time to get things done (laundry, cleaning, etc.).

Although Mr. D is supportive, I can tell he's a bit skeptical about how this is going to work.  He keeps asking me if I am ready to have both of the kids by myself two days per week, and if, from a budget perspective, we are SURE that we are in a good spot.  I am trying my best to calm his concerns, but the truth is, I am willing to give up just about anything to make this work.  I am sure I will have more learnings/thoughts about it as we transition to our new routine.

This new arrangement is making the idea of going back to work much more digestible this time around.  I am actually looking forward to going back, not dreading the crazy hours and never seeing my children during the week.

T minus 5 days left of maternity leave, and it's not feeling like an end.  It's feeling more like a transition, and I love it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

When You're Not Sure How You Fit

Okay, so it's likely no surprise to anyone reading my blog that I'm having a struggle with myself and this blog.  I post 1-4 times per month, when I used to post much more frequently.  I think I am struggling with what I've heard from a lot of my blogger friends who are parenting after IF... I'm just not sure where I fit in.  I absolutely still relate to IF bloggers, but now also relate to other types of bloggers.  For awhile, I brushed my not-sure-where-I-fit thoughts aside, thinking, even though I started this blog when I was focused on one thing - conceiving - I knew that I would continue if we were ever fortunate enough to have children.

Take the title of my blog: The Journey to a Little One to Call Our Own.  I picked this title very deliberately when I started by blog 3 years ago.  I wanted to document the journey Mr. D and I would take as we attempted to have a child/children.  I remember thinking, "Gosh, if I am fortunate enough to have a baby, does this title still work?"  For me, the answer was yes.

So, while I've been thinking about what's next for my blog, I read a post yesterday from a fellow blogger I've been following for at least a year.  I just removed her blog from my list of blogs I follow because, frankly, of how upset it made me.  I commented on her blog several times - during the time I've followed her, she's been through IUIs, IVFs, a miscarriage, and is now expecting her first child.  I don't recall her ever commenting on my blog, which is absolutely fine.  I don't follow blogs only if they follow me... I always enjoyed her writing style, and I truly, truly was interested in supporting her journey - through all the ups and downs.

She posted something to the effect of feeling betrayed by commenters on her blog if they were in a different place than she was.  She mentioned that when she was TTC, she didn't like getting comments on her blog from people who were pregnant or parenting... even if the comment was nice (which, she acknowledged that the comments were very kind).

It kind of pissed me off, and I'm not entirely sure why.  This community is so diverse with different people dealing with all different struggles - some have achieved what they set out for, and some have not.  And some have picked up additional struggles along the way that they didn't foresee when they started blogging.  We're all here for the support of whomever is interested in following along.

I feel that I still belong here in the community, but this blogger really made me question HOW I fit.  I certainly don't want to be making anyone feel badly about when I reach out to support them... but, even as I type that, I question it.  I mean, does it even matter where support comes from if you open yourself up on a blog that is available for all to see?

I don't know... I don't like having to define where, how, and why my blog fits in.  I guess I don't fit in into a specific, certain place.

I'm not sure where I am going with all of this babbling.  I think I just needed to get my feelings out there.

For now, this blog is my home, wherever it fits.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Choice of a Different Life

When I was pregnant with Max, I remember hearing, over and over, from multiple family members and friends, in so many words, something to the effect of:

"You'll never be able to prepare yourself."

Never be able to prepare yourself to have a child, that is.  People say there's nothing that can prepare you, there's no way to mentally situate yourself for the journey that is parenthood.

I don't really believe that.  I think there is a lot that can be done.  

Of course, for those fortunate enough to have the basics situated - clothing, food, a stable home, love - getting everything prepared for a child to join a family can happen more easily.  If a child is wanted - truly wanted - I think it's pretty easy to make the argument that the child will be loved and welcomed into the home. 

But what I've been thinking about lately is how to prepare for the complete personal life-shift that occurs when a child is brought into the world.

It's a choice: to attempt to create a family with a child or children.  And for those of us who are successful in building their family with a child, we are choosing a completely different life than what we've known to this point.

For Mr. D and me, it was a choice of being open to change a lifestyle that we knew and were comfortable with.  When we found out we were expecting Max, of course we prepared... we did everything we could to prepare what we could so that we felt we were giving our son the best we possibly could.  And, truly, we did a pretty good job.  We had all of the necessities Max required, our hearts were prepared to love our son and raise him to the best of our abilities, and we knew our routines would alter to accommodate the new person in our lives.

But what we couldn't prepare for is the completely different life that we were embarking upon.  No longer were we able to do basic things that we used to - run to the store to pick up groceries, stay at work late to finish up a project, talk on the phone with a friend for an hour, figure out dinner plans last-minute, decide to grab a drink after work with co-workers... and the list goes on.

Of course, these are things Mr. D and I happily gave up when we welcomed our little guy... we knew parenthood would change our routines.

But what we still talk about is how much our core lives have shifted.  We care about different things, we talk about different things... different things are important to us now.  It's almost like we lived a life before our first born that was 100% different than the life we started after our child was born.  We are wholeheartedly happy with the choice we made to shift our lives in this way, but this would be my advice to those thinking about having a child:

Be ready to completely give up what is important to you now in order to start a life as a parent.

Okay, so I know that sounds harsh.  And I know that some parents keep a very similar lifestyle to the one they had before their child was born... and that's awesome.  I am all about maintaining consistency, and if something is important to someone, by all means, they should continue to engage in that activity.  But knowing that parenting could shift priorities in a way that non-parents may not have experienced... that would be the advice I would offer.

Mr. D's friend/co-worker told him that he and his fiancĂ© are going to try and conceive as soon as they are married in August.  This is the type of couple that goes out for dinner every night, stays out late, spends a ton of money, and overall... lives a pretty carefree lifestyle.  While I think it's fantastic that they want to have children, I can't help but think about the incredible life shift they are going to experience if and when a child joins their lives.  Mr. D was talking to his friend about how much our lives have changed since our kids were born, and his friend seemed totally confused.  He couldn't seem to grasp why things are so different... why wouldn't we just get a babysitter when we want to go out for dinner?  And why can't we just pack up the kids and run errands all weekend?  Of course we could do these things... and sometimes we do.  But our core lives are so incredibly different now, that all of these things require pre-planning, intentional conversation about what we are doing, etc.

The choice of a different life is one Mr. D and I made wholeheartedly with eyes wide open.  For those determining if parenthood is a choice they want to make, I recommend determining if they are ready to give up a life they've known to embark upon a new journey.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Second Born, But Not Second Thought

I finally can grasp the reality of non-first-born children kind of getting the shaft.  I saw it happen in my own family: I was first-born, and my sister, who is 6 years younger than me, kind of took a backseat.  Not that my parents didn't love my sister - they absolutely did and still do - but the older sibling required more attention.  And I see myself following the exact same pattern.

Here's what I mean.  People keep asking me how the baby is doing, which is so kind of them.

Is he a good eater?  Does he sleep well?  What developmental milestones has he reached?  Is he a good baby?

Here is what my response has sounded like: "Thank you for asking.  The baby's good.  He eats, he sleeps, and he's growing well."

Now, I am 100% positive I was asked these same questions with Max.  The difference is, my response then was similar to: "Oh, thank you so much for asking and taking an interest in my baby!  He is doing so well.  He loves to eat... can you believe he eats 4 ounces every couple of hours?  He's such a big boy.  He just loves to eat.  And he is an amazing sleeper - he sleeps in his chair or bassinet for naps, and in his own crib overnight.  Ever since he was 6 weeks, he has pretty much slept through the night, which has been so awesome.  He is 98% for weight, and 99% for height.  You can see that he has a big head... he's just overall a big baby!  At least he's proportionate.  He tends to get fussy at night around 5pm and cries until about 8pm.  I think it might be gas.  His pediatrician thinks he is growing beautifully.  Did I tell you about the sensitive formula we started him on?  Let me tell you...."  And on and on and on.

I don't mean to paint the picture that I was an annoying, think-my-baby-is-perfect mom.  I don't think I was.  I truly didn't brag about Max - although he really was an awesome baby.  I'd been through too much IF shit to know better... I never wanted to be that person who started raving about her perfect little baby in front of someone who really didn't want to hear all the details.  I've always been pretty sensitive about that - so much, in fact, that some of my friends and family have asked me why I seem so reserved when talking about my kids.  I just remember what it feels like to not need to hear about every single detail about a kid... there are some things that, frankly, can stay private.

It's just... Max was my first born.  Everything was an adventure.  Everything was a learning.  And if people really wanted to know details, there was a lot I could share.

This time around is so different.  I couldn't tell you how much Mason weighs right now... I know he's healthy, per his last pediatrician visit last week.  I'm not really sure how many ounces of formula and breast milk he eats every day... we just feed him when he's hungry.  And his fussy time?  Well, not too sure about that, either... I think it's in the evenings, but we are so busy dealing with Max (getting him dinner, brushing teeth, off to bed) that I only realize Mason is crying when I pick him up to bounce him on my shoulder around the house.

My point of all this rambling is: I now know how second children (or third, fourth, whatever) are pretty much along for the ride.  Max was the center of our universe, and frankly, he still is... he's a toddler.  He's needy.  He talks and runs and throws tantrums... all of which demand our attention.  Mason also is needy, but in a different way.  We've been through this before, so he kind of tags along with whatever we are doing as a family.  I don't mean to imply that we aren't paying attention to Mason... we most certainly are.  There are many newborn/infant needs that simply can't go unnoticed - the frequent feedings, diaper changes, etc.  But all of that is now taken as a grain of salt as we focus more of our attention on our toddler.  After we had Max, every feeding, every diaper change, every new milestone... it was our whole world.

Mason may be my second born, but he was never a second thought in my mind.  He might just be along for the ride for awhile.