brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

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I’ve had a large number of miscarriages since having Nikola (and some prior to him), which is one of the more frustrating forms of infertility. I can GET pregnant, obviously. I can’t STAY pregnant. Is it hormonal? Chromosomal? Something else? Who can say! Investigative tests can be really expensive and often don’t reveal anything anyway. I’m 36 and the age gap between Nikola and any hypothetical siblings is only increasing, and I made the decision recently to let go of the dream of a larger family, of another baby, of a sibling for Nikola.

It’s both sad and a relief.

I’ve never been a fan of infants, although I adore toddlers and get a big kick out of little kids.

Niko was out of school for almost two weeks due to a series of serious illnesses. Last Friday was his first day back in a while, and a gorgeous day to boot. After school let out I let him run around on the playground for over an hour. One of his friends kept touching base with his mom and baby sister. One heart melting moment included him touching foreheads with the giggling girl and exchanging smooches. All I could think of was how much I wanted that for my family, for Nikola. It was this sour, painful moment. But it passed quickly.

More than that brief pain, I mostly felt sympathy for the woman, juggling an early toddler who wasn’t quite walking and wanted to crawl around an unsuitable area (a paved surface covered in dirt, grit, broken glass, etc or a grassy area that was mostly mud and dog poop– thanks dog owners who bring their dogs onto school property where kids play and run and let your dogs crap there and don’t clean it up! Awesome!) and be anywhere but in her mom’s arms. And as much as I’d like another kid in my life, a sibling for Nikola, I am so so glad I don’t have to deal with a baby.

I’ve started thinking about the expenses of another kid, and how we’re able to give Niko more… more books, more toys, more museum memberships, mini boxes of cereal and juice boxes and other tiny little indulgent luxuries.

I’m starting to not just adjust to having only one child, but to prefer it.

(Having made this decision, of course, my period was then over a week late. Thanks body! You suck!)

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

IN THIS BLOG POST I discuss miscarriage in general and my own uterine activity specifically.

If you don’t want to deal with either, scroll on past or whatever you need to do.

i have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Uterine Fibroids, and Endometriosis. Any one of those things can and do negatively impact pregnancy. You combine the three of them, though, and you wind up with me feeling incredibly lucky that I have a kid at all. I’ve also had a lot of failed pregnancies. One was pretty awful, a miscarriage in the early part of the second trimester that left me in a pretty deep Depression for over a month and also left me terrified through my entire pregnancy with Niko that he’d, like, fall out… especially if I pooped too hard. YOU GUYS I WAS AFRAID TO POOP. It’s been four years since he was born, though, and we’ve been more or less trying to have another kid for three of those years, and… I don’t think it’s going to happen.

I’ve had several miscarriages ranging from “faint positive sign at 4 weeks followed immediately by cramps and heavy bleeding” to “period 7 weeks late with no positive sign WHOOPS HELLO ELEVATOR SCENE FROM THE SHINING” to “strong positive HA HA NO PSYCH” to the most recent “faint positive at 8 weeks, evacuation of uterine contents a week later.” I’m on the tail end of that one right now, and it generally sucks (I especially resent having over a month of nausea with nothing to show for it) but I’m over all sad with a small s and not falling into anything deeper. I’m at the stage where I’m just… ready for the intermittent cramps and bleeding to end once and for all so I can go about my life again.

And then last night I had the worst dreams a formerly pregnant person can have.

Basically, I had a series of dreams where I discovered that I hadn’t really had a miscarriage and WHOOPS time for the baby to come! And I didn’t have any baby stuff, but that was ok I could handle it; and I didn’t know where Nesko was, but that’s ok I could handle it; and I didn’t have a doctor lined up, but that’s ok, I can handle it; and I didn’t have anyone to watch Niko but that’s ok, I can handle it. So most of the HELLO HAVE A BABY anxiety dreams I normally have? The anxiety wasn’t there. All that was there was a tiny, perfect little baby; so heavy and squirmy and smelling of milk and Johnson & Johnson shampoo and lotion. And I held that tiny little baby girl and I fell in love SO HARD, you guys, so hard, with all my heart and soul and guts and every bit of my being. And I looked at her and at Niko and at Nesko (who showed up I guess) and we were all together and my family was finally complete.

I had several dreams like this.

And each time I fell in love all over again, and each time I woke up and it was obviously all a dream and I was so sad.

I don’t have that baby.

In addition to my internal issues I’m 34.

I will probably not be having another baby.

Our family’s going to have to be complete the way it is right now.

I’m feeling kind of down about that.

My jerk brain really isn’t helping at all.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the Christmas Season can officially begin.

Ugh.

Because Niko is only 3 1/2, we don’t really have any solid Christmas traditions for him yet. Everything’s still kind of up in the air. Especially since my Christmas traditions and Nesko’s Christmas traditions are so vastly different in many respects (mine involved no tree until very close to Christmas day, taking it down on the 26th, and lots of Mass; his involves very little religion and an entirely different date). We know from past experience that putting a tree up soon after Thanksgiving and leaving it up until Orthodox Christmas triggers a lot of mental distress in me. So we’ve talked about doing non-tree decorating and then putting the actual tree up later.

Our current plan involves cleaning and prepping the house but not doing any decorating until after Nesko’s Slava, which is St Nikolas, on December 19. That weekend we can decorate and put the tree up and be all CHRISTMAS! YAY! and then leave everything up until the weekend after January 7th, which is Orthodox Christmas. We will probably do Christmas Stockings and one gift (or maybe gifts with my parents) in December, but save most of the unwrapping and celebration for January. Honestly, if I can spend the 25th sitting on my ass eating Pad Thai with glass noodles and watching shitty movies, I’ll be happy. Nesko has to work, of course, so we couldn’t really do anything big if we wanted to.

Speaking of stockings and Santa, I think one family tradition we’re going to establish is that Santa only brings small things, things that will fit in a stocking. I grew up with a kind of unhealthy Christmas gift-giving situation, and I really want to keep the emphasis of Christmas off of gifts and onto stuff like family togetherness blah blah blah. Among his stocking gifts this year will be a bunch of tumbled semi-precious stones because he’s still really into rocks and pretty things. I don’t know if he’s quite up to one of those open-it-yourself geode kits, especially as he managed to destroy one geode I gave him.

How do you handle Christmas, if you celebrate it? How do you blend differing family traditions? Does Santa visit your house? How do you manage Santa gifts?

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December 2015

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