Pictures Speak a Thousand Words

Tracie’s Story

Sometimes pictures speak a thousand words..

Check out more of her story:

Breathe. Smile. Congratulate.

My next guest have taught me to watch my words… How many times have I told moms “You should have another!”, ” When will you try again?” I have said these things all in good faith but for some women these things said cause pain and hurt more than we will ever know.

Natalie’s Story

Breathe. Smile. Congratulate. Try to be as genuine as possible, as strong as possible, as excited as possible and then when alone, cry. For those that don’t struggle with fertility, where they can “accidentally” get pregnant, or get pregnant every time they plan it, it’s hard for them to understand the anguish of wanting a child, but not being able to make one, no matter how hard one tries. Infertility is different than being jealous of someone’s job promotion, or their beautiful house. It’s something that no matter how hard I work, no matter how well I try, it just won’t happen. That thought, that reality is crushing. I’ve been told numerous times to “keep trying”, “don’t give up”, and “keep hoping”. I know these are well wishes, said in an awkward situation as I stare with envy and tears lining my eyes at their pregnant figure, or their squishy newborn nursing at the breast. And I, for a moment, for a heartbeat, do continue to hope, to wish, to desire for a child. And that’s the worst part. Where logic, science and the past 2 years of trying tell me, it’s not going to happen, the quiet, resilient part of me is still hoping it will. Month after month, when I fail to bleed, I let myself think, well, maybe this is finally it. Oh yes, that headache I had, or that unexplained food craving. I must be pregnant. And I’ll test. And it will be negative. But for those 3 minutes of waiting, I feel so hopeful, that this time, this time my body will finally grace me with what I desire most…another child.
Wait. I have a child. So why am I complaining? Because infertility isn’t just about those that can’t have any biloigcal children. Infertility is not being able to give my son a sibling. Not being able to fill the void in my heart that only babies can fill. I love my son, without limits. He is my everything. I’m not one of those parents who ever complains about him being difficult or how I just need a “break”. In fact, I’ve never left him other than when I have to work. I haven’t been on a date with my husband since before my son was born. I don’t feel the need to. I’m too busy memorizing the way the silk of his curly long hair feels on my face when he snuggles with me. I’m busy photographing every messy face and art project. I’m busy looking at him at 2 and 29 and 86 and 41 and 17. I see his whole life, who he will be and who he will love and how he will change the world. In every moment I look at him, because I love him beyond description. But that doesn’t take away the heart ache, the emptiness, the longing, the hurt of wanting another baby. And actually, I want more than another. I want 3 or 4 more babies. That’s my desire. A large family that borders on crazy because 6 people under one roof is a lot of work and a lot of fun, and a lot of love. People will say I should be happy with what I have. And I am. But it doesn’t take away the pain of a dying dream. It doesn’t lessen the sting of wanting what I can’t have…while I watch others around me having their 3rd, 4thor 5th child. It makes me want to scream out “WHY CAN’T THAT BE MY LIFE?” And then in the middle of feeling like I’m breaking, my son will come up and wrap his delicious chubby toddler arms around me and breathe his milky breath on my face and say “Oh Mama” and I’m brought back to the present.

People say shitty things. When faced with a tough situation, what can one offer but the standard fare of, “If it’s meant to be, it will happen”. “The timing isn’t right, but it will be soon”. “You should just be grateful for what you do have”. And the ones that make me the most upset are the words spoken with religious authority, such as “God only gives you what you can handle”, “It must not be in God’s plans for you” and “God doesn’t make mistakes”. I don’t believe in any of those things. I see babies that are born to mothers and fathers that don’t want them, that are burdened by the idea of another child. I see children born to drug users and children that are abused. So why can’t I, on my terms, have a child when I desire one? Why was my first child born at an inopportune time? Because these are the things divined by a God that lets children be born into hate filled homes, or in poverty where running water doesn’t exist, but I can’t have more easily(or maybe even ever) and I’m supposed to find comfort in this “plan”? I do not mean to dismiss those that find comfort in statements like that, or who are religious. I just feel that instead of using your God, or your blanket cover statements, just tell the person who is struggling with infertility, with great sincerity, “I’m sorry, this must be really hard for you. I can’t imagine how that must make you feel.” But I think one of the worst parts of being infertile, is watching people try to hide their fertility from me. I have friends who wait until they can no longer physically hide their new life growing inside them. With remorse and tears, they explain that they know how much I want a baby and they didn’t want to hurt my feelings. It’s a very bittersweet when this happens. I understand the desire to protect my tender heart, but fearing telling me, makes me feel horrible.
Infertility makes it so I can’t look at my son’s baby pictures with joy. It’s bittersweet. I may never have another baby again. I don’t look forward to his “milestones” because to me, it’s a marking of time gone of his childhood, just a reminder that his time being small is fleeting and that I may never again enjoy those things with another child. I think about the fun I had, the frustrations I had, the love I had growing up with a brother. I want that for my son. For him to be challenged and mad and best friends and worst enemies with his brother(s) or sisters(s). I ache for that for him, for me, for my husband. I want to go to bed at night, tired but with a full house of family. I don’t feel complete. I don’t get to choose when I get pregnant again. I don’t get to choose when I’m done. I’m at the mercy of my body or fate or God or whatever label you apply. I don’t get to choose and I’m not okay with it. I try to ground myself in what good I do have. In the way my son’s curly hair blows in the wind, the sound of his laughter, the way the split in his front teeth look just like my dad’s…all the things that just make him timeless and precious to me. But it’s somehow not enough. And I feel horrible for saying that. I have so much love and I ache to feel a baby inside me, growing and evolving into a spirit, an essence, a life force. To birth that baby and hold him or her to my breast and looking at them for the first time, to fall in endless love with the person I grew.

But these thoughts and more are all the things I’m not allowed to talk about. People ask me all the time “Is it time for another one?” and “Are you trying for another baby” or “You should really give that boy a sibling”. I could cry, I could scream, I could fake a smile, or I can tell the truth. None of the options are appealing, but when I tell the truth, “We’ve been trying for a long time, it’s not working”, it makes people uncomfortable. They will ask or think about what’s wrong with you, or your husband. They’ll offer advice like, “Maybe if you lose some weight” or “My girlfriend went through the EXACT same thing” and you have to endure their well-meaning but ill-gotten words. Then you get the label of “having trouble” and people will start to not want to tell you about their pregnancies or hesitate to tell you to try and make it easier. There isn’t anything easy about this. But talking about it openly, it the first step to making it at least tolerable.

So I’m going to go “snug” my baby, as he likes to call snuggling. I’m going to memorize the curve of his nose and marvel over his sweet smile, as I daydream about the man I’m raising. He is more wonderful that sunshine, and it’s my hope that he grows up knowing how very loved and very wanted he is and how I couldn’t have dreamed a better son. And I will tell my body to accept the love I have for her, that she was fertile once before and we can do it again. And maybe with some luck and some baby dust, we will have another love or loves growing someday.

 

Learn more about Infertility here

Hope

When it came to having my boys I never realized how blessed I was… Me living in my very naive world truly thought when you get married you have kids…. I thought getting pregnant was as simple as it sounded. Cadden  was conceived very fast and Lyam after even suffering from an ectopic pregnancy and loosing a tube was conceived right in that same months time.  Yet for 1 in 8 couples is not that easy to conceive those couples are dealing with infertility. Dealing with sounds so shallow as if I had a band aid to put on the problem it would be fixed. Yet to say suffering a fellow mom pointed out that suffering may not be the correct word after she shared she has went thru 13 pregnancies.  Her words:

I could not put a word to those 4+ years of hell if I tried. I think the only reason I came through alive was believing in the HOPE that it would all be worth it. ……….”   Tracie.

This week I will be sharing the stories of moms and families (that I know) that infertility has affected. All in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week.

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Josie’s Story

All I’ve ever wanted to be was a Mom. I babysat, I was a nanny, I worked with preschoolers, I loved it all. I had no idea that my dream would be so hard to turn into a reality.

I met my husband in the fall of 2001, and he had the most adorable toddler I had ever seen. One of the things that attracted me to him was the fact that he was such a great Dad. It was evident how much he loved his son, he did everything with him. It took no time at all to fall in love with both of them.

We got married on April 22, 2006 and we couldn’t wait to get started on building our family. We were young, I was only 26, he was 30, but it just wasn’t happening. I worked up the courage to discuss my concerns with my OB/GYN and she agreed there were some things worth looking in to. It started with some blood work, an ultrasound, and some clomid. She ordered a semen analysis for my husband. It only took 2 rounds of clomid for her to tell me that she thought we should see a Reproductive Endocrinologist. We went straight to the doctor she recommended, he had an opening that was just a few weeks out.
The day came and I was a mess the whole drive to the appointment, I even had to stop in the bathroom before we got to the floor the RE was on because I thought I was going to throw up. He was kind and spent a lot of time going over our charts and asking us questions about everything from our family history to our sex life. It was embarrassing, but I didn’t care as long as it meant we were working toward our goal of being parents. He started us on some new drugs and we did a few cycles of Intrauterine insemination (IUI). Shockingly, the first cycle of IUI worked and we were thrilled! After all that time, we were finally going to be parents. The elation didn’t last very long, just a few short weeks after, I started bleeding and it was confirmed that I had miscarried. My sweet OB never had me wait in the waiting room with all the other pregnant women, she just let me go straight back to a room. She cried with me and held my hand. I was so sad, but something had finally worked and I wasn’t about to give up now. Back to the RE we went. We outgrew him and went to a new one. New doctor means new ideas, new procedures, new protocols. We did everything we could, until I just couldn’t do it anymore.

We kept at it a long time, and I’ve gotta say, it never ever gets easier. You learn about the nurses, the lab techs, the doctors, their families, what coffee they like, what they do in their free time. You drive to 6 am lab appointments, inject yourself with hormones regardless of where you are at the time, you fake smile through everyone else’s pregnancy announcements just trying to hold it in long enough to get out of there so you can sob. It gets harder by the day, you change course, but you never give up. You can’t, because every day you’re one day closer to your baby.

We had failed cycles, we lost babies, I stayed in bed every single year on Mothers Day and cried until I couldn’t breathe. I blamed myself for not making my husband a father again, like he deserved. My heart broke over and over again.

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Infertility changes who you are.

When we decided to stop treatments for a little bit to give me some time to get some strength back, we reevaluated what we were trying to accomplish and decided to look into adoption. I had a new fire in me and spent a lot of time researching agencies and types of adoption and trying to decide what was right for me. We talked to adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents, and agencies and decided to move ahead with domestic infant adoption.

We were matched with an expectant mom in October of 2009 and our son was born in December of that same year. We have an open adoption with his birthparents and numerous members of his biological family and wouldn’t have it any other way. He has been the biggest blessing and we would go through every single heartbreak and failure again if it meant being his parents. It’s not how we thought we would get here, but we can’t imagine it any other way now.

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Please let me Parent……. or in others words shut the bleep up!!!

So I have some friends who have received an all expenses paid trip to STFU Island. Its a beautiful Island that’s smack in the middle of NOYB ocean. How did they receive this trip by giving me their horrible stories of how they know someone who parents like me and how their kids are all messed up. Or … the worse offense going against something I told my child that they could do or out right telling my child what to do ( I don’t mean like my kid was going to get hit by a car and you told me kid to move that I understand I mean going against what I allow my children to do in my home and telling them no, basically causing confusion.)

TFG-Parenting

Oh and before I get started if you are wondering if you are on that STFU trip here are some signs….. if you haven’t heard from me in months… if you have been limited in what you can see on my Facebook or have discovered you have been deleted… If I have seen you at Target made eye contact and grabbed  my kids and ran the other way before you could say “Hi”… Yes you then are on that beautiful island.

Our parenting in our household is a mixture of things… My husband who grew up in a very authoritative home sometimes uses that parenting on the kids .. In which he gets his head bit off and gets and hour long lecture about how kids are people too.  Yet this doesn’t happen much unless He gets overwhelmed.  We take quite a bit from Attachment parenting…we co sleep ( yes all four of us in a queen size bed.), gentle discipline, baby-wear, etc. Then which surprises mainly my family we have a set of our own rules… The boys don’t have a normal bed time ( ranging from 10 to midnight we go by their natural clock ), they are free range during the day ( currently as a type my oldest is on the patio with no jacket and in boots throwing snow off the patio screaming), Cadden jumps off tables, he picks what he wants to wear now and eats. He would love to pick whether or not he takes a nap but then if no nap he turns into a monster. This works for us. Yet we have kept it a secret until now. Unless you were my friend L calling me at midnight you would never know these things about us. It had gotten so bad that I started to notice my husband would change his parenting when out and about to avoid getting judge or hearing stupids comments. Well after having a serious talk we have come to the agreement to stop pleasing everyone else and to finally please us.

We don’t teach the boys to say please and Thank you we lead by example.. .. yet Cadden knows how to say thank you.. he is still working on the other parts. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t have manners or never will he is learning at his own pace. I refuse to make him say sorry. I may suggest a hug and explain what he did was wrong but I refuse to sit there an make him say he is sorry when it will only end up with a half ass sorry and by this time the victim could care less all they want to do is see how many toys they can shove into their mouth before their mom finds out. Oh and my two year old says oh sh#T. We have watched what we say around him any more because of this yet I have a cute story… Cadden was walking and decided to run on our floors which are wood. He was sliding and couldn’t stop which resulted in him stubbing his toe. When this happened my husband and I clearly heard him say ” oh sh!t! bad wall” in which he hit it, than came to us to kiss his toe. So many may not agree with the actions that he took but at least he said the truth and how he really felt. Something that some of us adults have a hard time doing.

I honestly don’t care how others parent… If you cio with your kids I may not agree with it but there is nothing I can do. So be it. Yet it amazes me the balls people grow when they decide they need to point blank criticize your parenting in front of you. Some Examples

When we tell people oh we have no crib we co sleep with our kids:

“Oh really you do? Well I know parents who did that and they ended up with a 8 year old in their bed you need to get those kids out now!”

“How do you have sex… you must never have sex!” – Side note these people end up on STFU Island right away. First why does my sex life involve you. I find it completely creepy that you would just straight out ask me about my sex life like that. Second there are other places to have sex other than a bed… get creative people.

We Exclusively Breastfeed:

“Oh you need to get that baby on a bottle.” – OK.. Lyam is not given a bottle for the very reason it became a trap for breastfeeding with Cadden. I don’t want to go back down that road. To friends and family who say this please seriously stop. Its not funny at this point… I am seriously ready to tell off the next person who says it.

We had a lady come up to us in the store and tell us basically Lyam was spoiled because he was being held all the time. At this point I was so worn out from the crying he had been doing at the time and was happy he was some what calm. I could have clawed her flip-pin eyes out.

We don’t spank.. Yet was told by a “well meaning” family member that in order for our boys to mind us that we need to start early. To not spare the rod. Don’t even get me started. …..

Oh and over time I have come to realize that there are different styles that others will use to criticize you or give you advice….

Styles one may use to criticize

The questioner: This person will use the form of a question to criticize. It may come off as just a innocent question but I promise its not.  They will then after you answer that question throw in how much better their child is than yours. ex. ” oh Billy isn’t potty trained and he is how old 3?” you as the parent ” no he isn’t he loves the convince of being able to pee and poop on the go” Them ” oh well Bella was potty trained by the time she was one no scraping off poop for me!!”

The New source one:This person has way to much time on their hands they for some reason much only search out the stories that pertain your type of parenting  and how it produces murderers. ex. “oh don’t you co sleep? well I read in the paper the other day that some guy was murdering women. When they looked into how he was brought up turns out he slept with his parents!”

The Adviser: They notice something your child is doing and offer “heartfelt advice”. ex. “I notice that your daughter is still on a bottle… cut the nipple if they cry they will get over it.”

Childless people: Have no kids yet feel the need to tell you how you should parent.

These are the four I run into the most I am sure their are plenty more out there!

What I am saying in a nut shell is please let me parent.. you may not like my parenting stye or think I am doing everything all wrong … yet if you do please say this behind my back.. because I really don’t want to hear it.  I am actually at the point if anyone finds the need to tell me how my kids will suck growing up or how their kids or parenting are so much better I may just yell “shut up” like the crazy woman I am.

Though if you absolutely feel the need to get your suggestions or stories about how I will fail parenting please drop then in my suggestion box. In which I will drink and then read then light on fire.

Still not convinced try reading this Think you know it all?

Birthdays, Dogs, babywearing and Diapers.

Oh what a week and weekend it has been. So much has happened!!! Here are a few things:

We added another to the family!!!

No we did not have another baby nor are expecting another baby… we human baby that is. We welcomed our baby girl Akilah into our home last Sunday. 54 pounds and 22 inches tall. Yes she is a dog.

She is a Siberian Husky and she is pretty awesome. She is great around kids ( Cadden rides her) and is just soo sweet. Her only draw back… she pulls on a leash like crazy.. which means training classes. She one walks will pull me down the block though she has gotten WAY better. Though at times I think of really cutting down on our gas use and getting her a sleigh to pull the hubby in to work. Yes we still at this moment have snow on the group mid April. Only in Minnesota!! Oh by the way our two cats Bella and Olivia are still pissed at the idea of the dog. Apparently they think they should have had a say in this choice. At the current moment they are on their perch staring down at the dog. What they have been doing all week. We need a cat whisperer.

Birthday Boy

I officially have a two year old. I swear he was born just yesterday!!!!! for his birthday he received the food item of his choosing and we just spent some quality time together. I hugged him extra tight after learning of the Boston marathon Bombings which happened the same day. My prayers are with those who were all involved. Cadden at the moment is loving the new dog and they have become best buds!

Babywearing!!!!

So I did a Babywearing Demo at Morning Star Birth Center during their mothers tea. I had an awesome time!!!!!! Met some great mothers and talked babywearing. Morning Star was the Birth Center our youngest was born at!!! I have so much love towards the midwives and staff there!!!

Diapers (Cloth)

So this weekend was the Great Cloth Diaper Change!!!! Which I was super excited about! I represented Minnesota Cloth diapering Mommies and did a Babywearing Demo! Well thanks to awesome moms Christina and Amanda they took over as I dealt with a toddler melt down ( don’t you just love those?). So for my non cloth diapering people wondering what the heck is GCDC. Its where a bunch of cloth diapering parents change their child’s cloth diaper all at the same time and then hold them up in the air. This happens all over the world at the same time to hopefully break last years record. This year MCDM teamed up with All Things Diapers to host the event which went well!

Enjoying lunch with some mamas along with L enjoying lunch too
Mrs A with her adorable baby B

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I had an awesome past week. Hope you did too! Now off to prepare for Monday.

The 10 dollar Booby Trap

When I look at my breastfeeding relationship with my youngest son Lyam, I can’t help but smile. 7 month strong and going. Not only have I been able to supply milk for him but I have fed five other babies with my milk. Yes I milk share and I am very proud of this. I think of it as paying back the moms who helped me out when my Oldest needed donated breast milk.

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Yet looking back on my breastfeeding experience with my oldest Cadden…. I still to this day want to cry over it. We battled thrush for ever ( 6 months, I still blame it on the antibiotics I had received for a full day due to being strep B positive), horrible acid reflux, cutting out almost every food. Then having an ectopic pregnancy when Cadden was about 6 months was just the beginning of the end. The hospital we were at refused to give me a pump so I could keep my supply up. Then when I got home a confused Cadden just being distracted with oh he must not want me anymore. I spent every second pumping… getting 2 ounces of milk during pumping was a reason to celebrate.  I almost murdered my husband when he spilled and ounce of my milk. Yes that’s how desperate I was. Do to my dwindling supply we ended up supplementing… it first started with a bottle here and there, then turned into a bottle three times a day until Cadden hit 8 Months. I have nothing against formula or moms who choose to use it. Yet I really felt it wasn’t for Cadden.. This was proven to be true when He hit a year and would throw up every bottle… that’s when we turned to donated breast milk.. It worked. My husband who thought I was nuts… now he will tell anyone donated breast milk is awesome.

I today know that pumping never tells you your true supply never. That your true supply shows through your baby. Enough wet diapers? enough dirty? baby thriving? Then your baby is fine and so is your supply. I didn’t think there was a product for this until my friend Susan posted a picture

milk

Now does anyone see a problem with this product? It looks very innocent and looks like it may be great but look at the three simple steps. With step one being pump and measure milk.  By following those three simple steps in all reality could change or end your breastfeeding relationship forever.

Yes I said it forever. If I had taken this test with Cadden our breastfeeding relationship would have ended probably the first month or so… I was a horrible pumper and Cadden was always on the small side… he was 10 pounds almost hitting 5 months old.  I would have probably seen this test at Target ( love that store!!) taken it and be told “you suck at breastfeeding.” OK not in those words but you know what I mean. I would have stopped right there said whats the point and switched over to formula.

Now do I think The UPSpringBaby made this product on purpose with the goal of making moms feel like crap? No I honestly don’t. There would have been moms who used it and told hey you rock your supply is great. I mean on their own website they had a pretty great list:

Helps moms continue breastfeeding by telling them:

  • How much breast milk you make
  • If your breast milk supply is low, normal or high
  • How to increase breast milk supply
  • Whether your baby’s weight gain is low, normal or high
  • What your specific breastfeeding issues are
  • How to overcome breastfeeding issues so you can keep breastfeeding

Yet this $10 test isn’t even worth the money because obviously during their research that their great scientist were doing they clearly missed breastfeeding 101 : PUMPING NEVER TELLS YOU YOUR SUPPLY… NO MATER WHAT TEST YOU BUY!!!!

By even suggesting it does is hurting a mom having doubts!

See there was a huge group of awesome moms who knew this and they went on upspringbaby’s page to complain to tell them “Hey your scientist were wrong!!! ” How did the page respond… They took down their Facebook page….. in my world that’s a huge don’t ever do.  Yes you may think is sucks that moms are complaining but I honestly wish they would have come out and addressed the issue.

I am hoping when UpSringBaby comes back online they have a very well thought out response. Maybe even take the product off the market. Yet until then I will stalk Facebook to see when they get back online. As to moms who are having problems… Here are some free resources for you!

http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb.html

Kelly Mom

The Pump Station

Happy Feeding!!!

kelly mom