Wow. This regular blogging thing is proving more and more difficult. When I started I had planned to write at least once a week. To recap and vent, to share the ups and downs of regular life. To meditate on my week and share where I found my glitter… if any. Sometimes when we don’t look for it, we can’t find any. It’s hard to be mindful and intentional to look for those little bits of glitter each day, isn’t it?
Well I’m back. And I can’t promise how often I’ll be blogging in the future. I will be around for sure, but as we near the due date for our new babe I realize life will just become even more insane and I have a lot more to juggle. Forgive me if the blog takes an even further back seat.
All that to say, it’s been wild. Our family has been busy finding new routine, adjusting to the crazy cold snap (we all knew it was coming, but whoa, my body was refusing that adjustment for a little while. December was so balmy, almost spring like until the week of Christmas).
This year Andrew and I had set aside two days, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to spend just with our little family. We knew by creating this boundary it may cause some overlap with extended family time, which made it really hard. But I’m so grateful we stuck to our guns and protected the time we needed to focus on the meaning of Christmas and our own growing family. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season and jumping from place to place, usually on someone else’s schedule, usually affecting our children. And then we expect our kids to behave and be grateful when they’re overtired, overstimulated and over sugared. I get overwhelmed at Christmas – and somehow I expect my children to be on their best behaviour, without a break in-between…. So this year I provided that break, for all our sakes and WOW. We actually love each other, we actually enjoyed EVERY SINGLE DAY of celebrating Christmas. Usually at this point I’m a stressed out mess finding myself thinking (or saying) “Thank GOD that’s over.” and I hated that I felt that way about Christmas. So we made a “sanity protection bubble” of time, and I’m sticking to it every year because it just made us slow down and enjoy each other. My kids could play with the toys they got before getting even more. We sat. We read. We cuddled. We slept. And I’m fully ready and excited for New Years (even though I didn’t make any plans and am now scrambling because I was afraid I’d be burnt out like every other year… so if you have something going on… let me know?)
A few other things have happened since I’ve written last. We went to see Middle C’s doc in the middle of December. In the past I’ve always found we’re told “typically this happens at this point” and I plan for that change, I look forward to the progress and expect it on the time frame the average child would anticipate it. And I’m often disappointed. So I’ve learned to expect no change, anticipate “disappointment” so that if they actually mean what they said and we get to progress it’s a pleasant surprise. And that’s exactly what happened this last time!! I was shocked. Middle C’s left foot is looking so good she only has to wear her AFO brace at bedtime now. WHAT?! We still have to make an appointment after Easter to follow up and take another look at progress (this is a lifetime check-in she will basically have to do until she’s fully grown, and possibly even longer). And the doc did mention he wasn’t seeing her right foot flex quite as much as he’d like so come spring we will be discussing the possibility of doing surgeries on that side as well… but for now we will celebrate the small freedom we do have. And be so grateful winter boots fit and we don’t have to pack the brace everywhere we go! So that’s definitely a [pretty large] chunk of glitter.
Middle C was also accepted into a pre k program and we have subsidy because of all her medical things. Glitter!! It’s SO HARD to find positives to having physical issues, but this is definitely one of them. Having an AMAZING pre k program available to us and completely paid for. We switched her from a preschool program at a local rec centre where she was the awkward big kid (have you ever seen Miranda Hart? She plays Chummy in Call the Midwife… well my daughter is not larger for her age, but when you’re five in a group closer to 3 you look like Chummy towering over the others). Now she’s in a group who are all closer to her age, she’s learned how to write the letters in her name and we are working on the challenge of recognizing the difference between blue and green and other school type things. We are SO excited for her!
I’m also 4 weeks (ish) away from meeting Elouise’s little sister. Today, one year ago we announced that we were expecting Elouise. Today one year ago I got many congratulations and in roughly four weeks from today, a year ago, I found out I lost that sweet girl, and her lifeless body had to be removed from my own to prevent any infection or complications. This year we anticipate meeting her sibling. And I’m nervous. It’s been strange having a pregnancy after loss, especially that we made our loss and process so public. It’s been interesting (and painful) to hear how people assumed that because I now house a healthy, live baby that Elouise’s death means less. Or that I’m “over it” because of a new pregnancy. It’s been challenging having so many dates overlap in bizarre ways. It really messes with my head and I’m still so scared. I find if there are moments when I don’t feel Peaches moving I start to panic. I dream about miscarriage/still birth or early infant loss at least twice a week. I over analyze every activity, drink, snack, lotion etc because I don’t want to bring harm or have any reason to blame myself if something were to go wrong. Even now. I’ve been struggling with some infections – which isn’t uncommon for me during pregnancy – which cause a lot of contractions. Some that are so strong they wake me from sleep. Contractions freak me out. They mess with my calm and again I find I over analyze. Sometimes I want it to be real, for labour to start so I can hold my baby. But logic wins and I remember how terrifying it was when Little Man was born at 37 weeks and I truly didn’t think I was bringing him home. They say girls are tougher, they fight harder and generally don’t struggle as much with prematurity or NICU stays, but I still would have to jump that hurdle if we did have this baby early. So we wait, I breathe through the contractions, use the bathroom, always check for blood and can usually calm down. But I am anxious to meet her.
People ask if I’m excited. Yes. I’m excited. I’m excited that we’ve made it this far. I’m excited that I can feel her move. I’m excited that if nothing horrible happens she is viable and would have a good chance to do well even if she came early. I’m excited to meet her. To see what colour her hair is, if she has any. I’m excited to not be pregnant anymore. My body hurts. I’ve been pregnant pretty much for 13 months. But instead of excited I feel mostly nervous. Anxious. Scared. Like I wish I could fast forward, but also rewind. Pause. Life isn’t easy. Everyone experiences suffering. And we fall into the trap of comparing our suffering to others. And somehow we miss the point. If we stop looking at how their suffering HAS to be easier than ours, or how dare the currently pregnant lady still complain about missing her miscarried baby – when other moms struggle with miscarriage and aren’t pregnant, or are dealing with infertility…. If we start looking for the little specks of glitter we are blessed with in our own lives, even amongst the suffering and encourage others to do the same (I am NOT suggesting you minimize their pain and suffering. Listen to them, let them grieve and encourage them to not become bitter… they have to find their own glitter). Inspire people because of your story. Because even though you are going through suffering, you refuse to let it beat you, you find your glitter. And be real.
There’s a difference between grief and bitterness. There’s a difference between pasting on a smile and saying you’re fine – when you’re not, and finding glitter – even though you aren’t fine. I didn’t share my darkest moments and darkest thoughts with absolutely everyone – Andrew held that role. And I couldn’t ask for a better partner. He never judged me, never condemned me. He has me, he supports me and he steps up when I’m feeling beaten down. He doesn’t tell me to get over the loss of Elouise and start being grateful for Peaches. It’s not that simple. Everything is different. Find your person, or people. Let them inspire you to find your glitter.