Finding Peace in the “What’s Next?”

Finding Peace After Miscarriage in the "What's Next?" Photo: White family of man, woman and one baby standing in front of red cliffs (top); White family of man, woman, and two kids blocking the woman standing in front of red cliffs (bottom)

The last time we visited Red Rocks National Monument, we were in mourning.

Two and a half years ago, my husband and I were reeling from a doctor’s appointment the week before as we were visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Las Vegas. At that appointment, we found out that the child-to-be I thought I was pregnant with had stopped developing. I was supposed to be ten weeks pregnant; the child-to-be’s heart seemed to have stopped at seven weeks. Rather than delaying our vacation, I chose to wait to get the D&C.

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My Post-Baby Bathing Suit

My Post-Baby Bathing Suit. When I was looking for a bathing suit after my second son was born, I was actually looking for so much more. (Photo: Black and white striped bathing suit on a checked comforter.)

I stood in Target, looking for something on the shelves that they never carried and never will. In theory, I was there for a bathing suit. My first post-baby bathing suit since my second son arrived in the world. As I hadn’t lost the baby weight yet, I needed one so that I’d be ready for a family trip to Cape Cod. But like so many bathing suit searches, it was about much more than a piece of fabric.

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Birth Stories Part II: My Younger Son

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This week, I’m going to be telling the stories of how Sprout and Little Bird were born. For two babies born in the same place in the same way, the births of my two sons could not have been more different.

No one was ready for my second son’s arrival.

Three and a half weeks before my due date, I told my doctor, “I’m having some pains.” I didn’t think much of it because I had some face-twisting Braxton Hicks false contractions earlier. Nonetheless, I didn’t want to take any chances. I was going to travel New Jersey to attend my grandmother’s funeral that weekend, and didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks.

Looking up between my legs after checking me, the doctor said, “You shouldn’t travel. You’re already four centimeters dilated.”

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Birth Stories Part I: My Older Son

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This week, I’m going to be telling the stories of how Sprout and Little Bird were born. For two babies born in the same place in the same way, the births of my two sons could not have been more different.

It was three days after Sprout’s due date. My abdomen kept getting rock hard. The feeling was sporadic, but I had been more than a centimeter dilated a few days earlier. Just in case, I called my family.

“I think I might be going into labor,” I said. They must have heard, “I am going to have the baby right this minute,” because they traveled down to see us as fast as possible.

But when they arrived seven hours later, I wasn’t in labor. That night, I still wasn’t in labor. The next day, still not in labor.

Instead of greeting a beautiful baby, my parents, in-laws and sister-in-law were just sitting around, staring at my belly.

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Guest Post on Pregnant Chicken: The Seven Stages of Picking a Name for Your Baby

While the physical discomfort was bad, the most stressful thing for me about pregnancy was picking a freaking name for the baby. (Especially this time around, when Little Bird’s labor was bizarrely quick. But that’s a story for another time.) As I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggles with this, I wrote a guest post called the Seven Stages of Picking a Name for Your Baby for Pregnant Chicken.

Besides labor, picking a name is one of the hardest things about having a baby. It’s rumored that there are couples who have a name for each gender picked out before conception. But for the rest of us, it’s a process fraught with uncertainty, frustration and confusion. We also kind of hope those prepared parents’ kid changes their name during a quarter-life crisis. While not everyone goes through these, here are seven common stages of naming a baby:

Read the rest at Pregnant Chicken! (While you’re there, check out their Is It Safe? series. Brilliant.)

The Agony and the Ecstasy of the Third Trimester

Note: I started this essay before Little Bird was born, but thought I’d finish it off even though the third trimester is now thoroughly over! Content note: pregnancy loss / miscarriage, pregnancy complications

The Agony and Ecstasy of the Third Trimester

The most dreaded era of pregnancy: the third trimester. But even though it could be a slog at times, my third trimester was also the best part of my whole pregnancy.

Of course, I dealt with a variety of physical discomfort. From retaining enough fluid that my wedding ring hadn’t fit for months to the baby being in possibly the least comfortable positions possible, it was damn painful. I think he enjoyed sitting on my kidneys and doing upside down push-ups on my hip bones. The Braxton hicks contractions – oh, the Braxton Hicks! The “irritable uterus,” where it gets ineffably hard for long periods at a time, made its return. The lack of sleep was a killer, especially the fact that I woke up every time I tried to turn over.

But despite all that, my mental and emotional health was much more solid than it was any other time in my pregnancy.

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Guest Post at Good Mother Project: Unexpected Complications

Trigger Warning: Miscarriage, pregnancy loss, pregnancy complications

As I mentioned a few months ago, I had some significant complications with my pregnancy. In my tenth week, I had substantial bleeding – enough to go to the emergency room.  I recount this experience in a guest post called Unexpected Complications at the Good Mother Project, from the initial discovery to the lifting of the restrictions.  (This essay was originally written over a month ago, so we now know that the true resolution was actually wonderful.)

At the ten-week mark in my pregnancy, I was lying on the living room couch, still recovering from putting my toddler son to bed. Suddenly, I felt a bubble and then wetness. Running to the bathroom, I saw blood. My breath faltered and then emerged in gasps.

Read the rest of the post at the Good Mother Project.

Welcome to the World, Little Bird

Babies are incredible at beautifully mucking up whatever plans you have for them. While his brother was five days late, our new munchkin arrived on Friday, a full three and a half weeks early! (I had been telling everyone, “Well, even if he’s earlier than his brother, he’ll still just be on time.” Ha!) Of course, I had been telling Sprout that his brother would arrive in spring, “when the flowers start blooming and the trees get their buds.” I thought with unseasonably warm weather, that the baby would be late weeks in comparison, but he turned out to be right on time.

Welcome to the World, Little Bird!

Despite him arriving much earlier than planned and faster than anticipated, both of us are doing well. (His birth was actually a bit dramatic, but I’ll tell that story later.) He was a little on the small side, but is eating fairly regularly. He’s a lot more sleepy than his brother was, but that’s common for early babies and Sprout slept very little for a newborn anyway. Sprout stayed with a friend during the delivery, but was thrilled when Chris’s parents arrived and showed him the picture of his brother and I. I was worried he would be negative – and there’s still plenty of time for mixed feelings – but it was a good sign.

But the baby’s entrance threw me for a loop, planning wise. Thankfully, we have most of the essentials for him – crib, mattress, sheets, clothes, car seat, changing pad – although we’re still waiting on his rocking chair to be delivered. But there are a couple of items at work I really wanted to wrap up before leaving for 10 weeks. And I had a whole schedule of blog posts that I intended to write and have here at the ready. So much for that idea.

Considering all that, it’s going to be a bit quiet around here for a while, even though it won’t be so quiet in our house.

Most importantly, welcome to the world, my beautiful baby boy, my Little Bird.

A Day in the Life During the Third Trimester

Life is very different in the third trimester of pregnancy than it is during any other time in life. Here’s a bit of insight into how a normal day has been going for me:

A Day in the Life During the Third Trimester1:00 AM: Wake up to go to the bathroom.

3:00 AM: Wake up again to go to the bathroom. Scoop water into my mouth with my eyes closed because I’m inordinately thirsty.

6:35 AM: Alarm blares. Attempt to turn over. Eventually flop onto back, then wiggle onto my right side and lurch my legs over the side of the bed.

6:43 AM: Catch a glimpse of my hands. Realize that my left hand is currently three times fatter than the right. Stupid fluid retention.

6:45 AM: Get in the shower. Thank God for solitude and hot water.

7:05 AM: A little voice cries “Mommy mommy mommy!” After checking to see if Sprout’s pajamas are damp (this child does 90% of his peeing at night), lift him up and change his diaper. Send him into our bedroom to wake up my husband.

7:10 AM: Peek into the bedroom to see them snuggling in bed. Climb under the sheets for a few moments of wiggly bliss.

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7 Ways to Prepare Your Child for a New Baby

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Becoming an older sibling is a huge transition, especially for a toddler who can’t fully grasp what that means. With Sprout gaining a baby brother in less than a month and a half (!), we’ve been working to get him ready for this major event. Unfortunately, it’s hard for us to take his viewpoint on this – I’m an only child and Chris doesn’t remember his sister being born.

So here’s some of the best advice we’ve gathered from articles and our own ideas, along  with how we’re applying it:

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