We’re Having a Baby…Soon!

The past nine months seem to have flown by in a blur of school drop-offs, field trips, swim lessons, field trips, birthday parties, holidays and grocery shopping.

I remember the days when I could blog often. I miss those days. Or do I? Though the days are busy, they are satisfying and they are our new normal.

But here we are. Home stretch. Just a few more weeks to go.

WE ARE HAVING ANOTHER BABY.

I mean, we know it’s going to happen, sooner than later. We knew this was the end result. But it floors me every time.

Now that we’re used to kids with no diapers, that go to school all day and sleep all night (well, for the most part).

Kids that can do things for themselves, like brush their teeth, get dressed and tie their shoes (not that they do ANY of that without being hollered at for at least 20 minutes every morning).

Now we will be re-entering the world of diapers and non-stop nursing and nap schedules and no sleep.

Too late to think we’re crazy now.

Not much has been different about this pregnancy than Isora’s really. Baby Boy seems to have the same amount of excessive movement, which is a little frightening since Isora hasn’t stop moving since she was in utero. Should be interesting to have another busy body in the family. And by interesting I mean “Oh my God! Can’t one of you just sit still?!”

He has also graced me with the same amount of nausea and all-day sickness, perhaps even longer than his sisters did. Thankfully that stopped just in time for 24-7 heartburn to begin. I am popping Papaya Enzyme tablets like it’s my job.

Thankfully I started back at our beloved chiropractor JUST before the sciatic nerve pain really kicked in. Bi-weekly adjustments seem to be keeping the pain away for the most part.

And now it’s just a matter of not feeling comfortable, well, anywhere. Walking feels good as long as I have been recently adjusted, but I can’t do for long stretches without feeling like I can’t breathe.

Sitting is a challenge, particularly in the car and at the dinner table. I can’t sit close enough to make either activity comfortable.

Laying and sleeping has become an all-together nightmare. I have to “lay down” propped up by ALL the pillows to be vertical enough that the heartburn stays at bay long enough for a stretch of sleep. If I should dare to roll clumsily over onto one hip or another, shooting hip pains AND heartburn wake me up, if my miniscule bladder hasn’t already woken me first. I am *this* close to taking to sleeping in the new glider chair in the nursery just to get a decent chunk of sleep.

But Miracle of Life, right?! LOL

But in all seriousness, I am so thankful for how completely normal and unremarkable this pregnancy has been. After the loss of Miles and Boo and the horrible pregnancies with both of them, I didn’t know what this journey would be like.

I have often been worried that this pregnancy would have been shadowed by sadness or guilt or pain. And it certainly has had its moments. But for the most part, it has been healing, life affirming, just exactly what I needed to accept the losses and to move forward into this new phase of parenthood.

This pregnancy has also made me more bold. Made me want to do all the things I’ve never done while pregnant before. Like maternity photos.

I’ve never felt glowing or beautiful when pregnant. I’ve always felt massive and zit-covered and awkward.

But this time, despite being infinitely larger than any other previously pregnancy, I feel good about my body. My face isn’t covered in pimples (thanks Kelsey and Rodan + Fields). And even though I’m waddling, I don’t feel that clumsy (no falls down the stairs or out of the shower this time thankfully).

So I decided to go for it, and book a maternity session with my friend and über-talented photographer Jessica. I told her I wanted to feel like some kind of glowy, ethereal, fertility goddess. And she more than delivered.

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I mean WHOA. I am in love with this image. Can’t wait to see the others fully edited. She is just so creative and made me look like I was glowing from within.

Suddenly we’re close enough to meeting our son that the panic has begun to set in about just when and how labor will go down. There is the fear of the unknown that has crept in, and while I’m trying to shake it off, I think it is just inevitable.

But instead of freaking out about it, I will take a deep breath, look at this picture, and try to be this woman. Peaceful, serene and so incredibly thankful for the squirmy little man that will soon change our lives forever.

Our Rainbow of Hope

It has been a long, tough year for our family. One full of tremendous loss and heartbreak.

One year ago today we lost our 14 week pregnancy with baby Miles. The trauma of that event echoed yet again last March when we lost our 8 week pregnancy with baby Boo.

And just as we were getting to our feet and attempting to get to some kind of new normalcy and acceptance we were rocked by the loss of my Grandmother Rose, my FIL Larry and my Grandfather Verlin, all gone within 6 weeks of one another.

To say the last 12 months have been difficult is an understatement. It has been a constant lesson in how to accept and manage grief while getting up every morning, putting one foot in front of the other and moving on. A lesson in living in the moment while acknowledging the accumulative pain of the days before.

But get up every day I have. Staying strong and positive for these two amazing girls that we are fortunate enough to be responsible for.

And there have been wonderful moments throughout the past year.

Our first family trip to Disney World with Grandma Linda and Auntie Kylara.

Finally buying our family cottages in Oscoda and spending nearly a month on Lake Huron, relaxing and enjoying family time.

Starting two new schools this fall and having two children in love with school and learning.

And now, the most joyful experience yet, becoming pregnant again.

That’s right. PREGNANT. AGAIN.

View More: http://lemaephotography.pass.us/mansour

I’m 12 weeks along now, and this past Wednesday we had our first appointment with our midwife Audra (also the midwife who caught Isora and carried for us during both Miles’ and Boo’s pregnancies). And while we went into the appointment very guarded in our optimism, we were absolutely blessed with the most amazing experience. A immediate, loud and reassuringly steady heartbeat.

It was the moment we have been waiting for. The moment we knew that this little life was in fact the rainbow we’ve been waiting for. It was the moment we knew that it was time to tell the world.

The moment that our rainbow is materializing and growing stronger and more vibrant.

For those that haven’t heard the term, a Rainbow Baby is a baby born after the pain, or storm, of a loss. The saying goes “After every storm, there is a rainbow of hope” and this baby is indeed our great hope.

It was a real struggle for me to decide whether or not to share this information right away or to wait until now. Our families have known since the beginning but we haven’t told everyone yet because in a way it felt right to hold this little flame of hope ourselves and nurture it within our family.

Hearing the heartbeat and knowing that such a good rate, between the 140’s and 150’s, was just what we needed for our guarded optimism to stop cowering in fear about what has happened and stand up and walk into what could be.

This pregnancy has been quite rough. In reality, being pregnant for 9 of the last 15 months has, in and of itself, been horrible. Being nauseous and exhausted for three months now, again, has really taken its toll. And every time someone has said “Well being sick is a good sign” I have to bite my tongue from saying what bullshit that Old Wive’s Tale is, since I’ve been this sick every time, regardless of the outcome.

It’s been hard to express how awful I’ve been feeling without sounding like a constant complainer. But in all honesty, I have only recently felt well enough to be up and around for more than an hour at a time. Previously if I wasn’t laying down I would have been beyond sick and in tears from not feeling well.

And maybe the cruelest aversion of all? I absolutely cannot stand bacon. The smell, the texture, the sight, even the thought of bacon makes me retch. Can you believe it? It’s completely bizarre.

Doing housework or cooking, when its all you can do to stand up with vomiting, has been all but non-existent. Resorting to watching an incredible amount of Netflix and Disney Junior on Isora’s afternoons home alone with me. There are weeks were I haven’t been to the grocery store or put away the laundry because I’m simply not able.

But you know what? This is what it is for right now.

Don’t feel bad for me, or for the rest of my little family. Michael is more than pulling his fair share of the load and the kids are perfectly fine and beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of a new little brother or sister arriving next spring.

And the most exciting part, beyond getting close to my second trimester and potentially putting the nausea behind me?

Thanks to the marvels of modern technology and DNA testing we will know the gender of this little one very VERY soon. And my bestie Leslie is receiving the results and helping to plan a gender reveal party, something we’ve never done, but being as this will be our last baby, we figured why not celebrate every last aspect of this pregnancy, right?

So while today is a day we will never forget, and some tears may still be shed for the lives and potential that was lost, today I want to also be thankful and happy about the little one that potential of what is to come.

Ok but Not Ok: Life in the Aftermath of Two Miscarriages

It’s been 6 weeks since Baby Boo went to the stars. And while the pain of loss is not as sharp as those first few weeks I am still in a state of grief that is hard to explain.

So many people ask “How are you?” or “Are you ok?” or even “How’s life?”

I try to be honest without being a downer, cause no one likes a complainer, but really, how does one answer a question like that?

Usually to an acquaintance or stranger I say “I’m doing alright, just taking a while to recover physically”. That’s enough information to satisfy those that are just being polite but anyone asking such a basic question probably won’t feel comfortable hearing the real answer. And that’s fine, I know that not everyone is living with this grief or sadness, and I certainly don’t expect everyone to be in this grief space with me.

But to those that know and ask “How are you, really?” or “How is your heart?” or better yet “I know this month is going to be hard for you, if you want to talk, I’m here.” Those folks? They get the real answer.

I’m alive but I’m not sure that I’m ok. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m not.

I’m still very sad. I miss the babies I’ll never know. But more than that, I’m angry, so very very angry. It’s an angry that I can’t tamp down or cool off from deep inside my heart. So much pain and unknown and blame stemming from my own body that I feel has turned on me, has become unreliable and frail. My poor girls are the ones that get the brunt of the angry, more often than not, and it’s just not ok. And the puppy. Oh the puppy. Perhaps the timing of getting a puppy in the middle of this rage wasn’t very good. I know he’s a puppy but man. He pushes every single button.

I don’t know how else to go through this grief without trudging through the anger.

There are just so many “What Could Have Been” scenarios and questions linger in my mind every day. It feels like all we planned, all our future, is in this state of suspension, on hold, waiting for the next shoe to drop.

As if all that we waited for, wanted, hoped for, has been lost and we are hesitantly rebuilding on shaky ground.

It’s May. We were supposed to be bringing Miles into the world in May. Not that I could forget, but I received a letter from DHS about reporting my baby’s birth as soon as it occurs. No really. That happened. Think there’s a withdrawal form that states “My Baby Died, You Heartless Assholes?” But apparently it’s my job, not the physician’s job to alert Medicaid of my losses.

And then there are the thoughts that I should be safely half way through the second trimester with Boo. But my womb has been emptied, time and again, and Boo is fading from memory, too soon to have been more than wishful thinking.

I’m not sure what’s worse. Knowing that this month I should have been having a baby, knowing this month I should still be pregnant or knowing that I am not pregnant nor will I be anytime soon. It just all sucks.

And there are so many babies these days. So. Many. Babies. It feels like all of my friends are either pregnant or just had babies. I love them all. I really do. But every time I hold a baby that’s not mine it’s all I can do to not break down sobbing. WHY ISN’T THIS MY BABY I’M HOLDING?

Some days are just so overwhelming that life is just hard. I know I’m not alone in that thought. But the sadness and anger take hold some days and it’s just…impossible.

But I’m still here.

I’m alive.

Working on being well.

Struggling. But trying.

And I’ll never stop trying.

I owe it to myself. I owe it to my girls. I owe it to Michael.

I owe it to all of you that have been there, have sent flowers, have send food, have given hugs, books, cards and art.

I owe it to Miles and Boo and my other babies in the stars.

So next week, we’re going to Disney World. First time for Michael, Cedella, Isora AND my youngest sister Kylara. I will make the best of it. We will have a good time in the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

And I will continue to put one foot in front of the other and move forward, even if I’m wiping tears off my face, because that’s all I know how to do in the face of grief.

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The gorgeous flowers we received. From L to R, from the managers at Goldfish Swim School, Robyn and Jen F. They were so very very lovely and filled my heart with your thoughts every time I looked at them. Thank you.

 

This beautiful little piece of art, from my beautiful friend Kate, is called 'In The  Stars'. Oh my heart. This is so perfect.

This beautiful piece of art, from my beautiful friend Kate, is called ‘In The Stars’. Oh my heart. This is so perfect.