Wednesday, December 11, 2013

22w4d - The Family Grows

Holy emotional shit storm. Yesterday, December 10th at 10:10 AM, I became an aunt to a beautiful baby girl. 8 lbs 1 oz, 21 long, long inches.  7 months and 9 days after the announcement that sent me reeling for so long. 2 days after my first due date. I wish I could say that in the moment, none of it mattered. I am not proud. My mom and I paced the hall outside of the delivery room until we heard her first cries. Immediately, we both bawled. We cried, while she cried, for the total miracle of your own daughter/sister having her own healthy baby. I cried too for the distance this pregnancy put between us, even while I was in the midst of my own. I flipped back and forth between elation and this difficult feeling of longing, a childish response of "this should have been me." I hate to admit those feelings. It was not my time. It was a miracle, my family had grown by a whole perfect human being.

Those feelings dissipated entirely once I got to meet her. Really, she is possibly the most beautiful little girl in the world. She has a shocking amount of thick, dark brown hair and rosebud lips. I couldn't stop touching her impossibly soft cheeks and belly and holding on to her feet. She will know me as "that giant that won't stop poking me." I spent the day my newly larger family. Mostly we stared and commented on how much she looked like a member of our immediate family. Halfway across the country, my brother-in-law's family commented on how much she looked like their family. They are wrong. She is totally one of us. Smushy, rosy lips are our trademark. It's hilarious how narcissistic newborns make us. We are so quick to claim their every feature as our own. I really do think she looks like a hybrid between me and my sister as newborns because me-me-me-me-me. That's what babies do to us. We become so vainly introspective as we gaze into their every-baby-could-have-been-switched-at-birth faces.

My sister was a total trouper. Her water broke on Monday afternoon with nary another sign of impending labor. Once at the hospital, they started her on Pitocin which led to a completely sleepless night. At 6:15 am she was 3 cm dilated. Only 2.5 hours later she was fully dilated and evicting that kid. No sleep, no pain meds, 1.5 hours of pushing. She's like a Navy Seal of childbirth.

I stayed until early evening and then drove back home to the city. I gushed on the phone to friends (hands free, safety first) and then sat in traffic and allowed anxiety set in. Seriously, I hate that I did this and that I continue to let myself go to these dark places. It seems so selfish. I am sometimes incapable of reason and seeing the big picture. My heart started aching. Surely, it would not go so perfectly for me. Bad things happen to me - this is my default, stupid, dark place mantra. I will never get my boy. I will go into early labor. I will lose him. April will never come (unlikely). Maybe he will be born but not healthy, not beautiful like his cousin. Will my family gush over him as much since he's a boy and not a rosebud-lipped girl? Send in the men in white coats. I'm sure there's a perfectly lovely asylum where I can convalesce for the rest of my pregnancy, preferably in a medically-induced coma. These are the fucking thoughts that circled my mind last night and this morning. I hate them. I hate those thoughts. They represent the worst of me and the worst of two years of infertility. I am ashamed that I can't just revel in the love and awe I feel for my niece and enjoy this wonderful, healthy pregnancy that I've been blessed with. To clarify, I do get those moments of peace, wonder and happiness. I experienced that nearly all day yesterday with my niece and sister and didn't fall apart until I was alone in the car. On weekend mornings, when I sit around reading, sipping a cup of tea, and feel and see my boy bopping around inside, I am there: totally in love and in the moment. He and I feel natural and meant to be. I just can't always cling on to that. I bought a Christmas ornament for him and hung it on our tree. I visit it as my reminder of how good I have it and how real he is. Fake babies do not have Christmas ornaments, right? We call our boy "Pindakaas," the Dutch word for peanut butter, because...because why not? Pin for short. We remain miles apart on names and I am a bit concerned that he will forever be known as Pindakaas. I suppose there are worse names. Pin's ornament is a piece of toast with peanut butter and two banana slices on it (J and I are clearly the bananas - one of us more than the other). Impossibly cute, like my fetus. Handcrafted affirmations in felt.

TGIE - Thank God for Etsy

I am going over to my sister's house after work to welcome them home and eat my mom's home cooking. As soon as I'm there, I'll be madly in love again. I will feel like that the whole time I'm there. I will possibly/probably melt down in the car. And then I'll pull myself together, feel my baby boy squirming, and will be fine. And then not. And then fine again. Possibly until April.

I'll leave you with a photo of my family's new perfect love.

Look at those sweet lips and that head of hair. Could you die?


  1. Congratulations on your beautiful niece. You have such a flair for writing so honestly and in such a riveting way. Thank you for your truths. Stay strong! xoxo

  2. She's a beautiful baby...and don't worry, you're also going to have a beautiful baby in a few short months. I totally get how you feel and I really do believe there is such a thing as PTSD for fertility patients - especially those of us that have pregnancies and babies after miscarriages. I struggle with it myself on a near daily basis. But you will get there and your baby will be born and he will be perfect and everyone will fall all over him too. I just know it.

    1. I too am a huge believer in infertility PTSD. It's a traumatic experience like anything else. Thanks for making me feel a little less crazy (or admitting you're as nuts as me).

  3. I've come to just accept that those feelings will never go away, but they will perhaps diminish. I'm counting on it.

    What a beautiful niece you have there, congrats!

    And um, hello, I LOVE that ornament. I may need one for myself. That Etsy! So full of adorable things.

    1. They do diminish. And then every once in a while something happens and they hit you on the head.

      You for sure need a similar ornament! The same woman who made mine made this and I think you need it, even if you don't have a tree this year. Our peanut butter ornament lived on our refrigerator for a week. Very festive.