Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Happy Holidaze

It's that time of year.  You know what I mean.  When a flurry of family blusters in to town.  When Aunty so-and-so and Grandma such-and-such make their once a year concoction that is bound to add inches to your waist and take years off your life.  When every germy hand wants to squeeze your baby and somehow, you wind up sicker that everyone else.

Holiday time has always felt a bit ominous to me.  While I was still in school, I was consumed with end of the semester papers and studying for finals.  Working in retail meant your feet were sore from Black Friday to New Year's Day - and you always arrived late or had to leave a festive gathering early to get to the mall.... to work.  As a fundraiser?? Don't get me started on the pressure this time of year brings - people estimate that anywhere from 35%-50% of a nonprofit's charitable contributions come in during November and December.  Nothing like a bit of stress and intimidation to make you a bit grinchy.

But now, I'm a mom.  And I suspect this year will be much different.

I'm hoping Cam can enjoy a little bit of the healthier Thanksgiving fare - I think I'll puree a little bit of turkey with fresh cranberry sauce and maybe give him a small taste of sweet potato pie.  Already, I'm wondering what to fill his stocking with and what little toys he'll be excited to find under the tree.  I'm sure he'll enjoy the boxes, wrapping paper and bows much more that any little gift he'll receive.  He'll probably visit his great grandparents and get spoiled by his older cousins.  I can't wait till he gets to play with his first snow (aunt Erica already bought him a snowsuit to play in!) and make snow angels with Brian and snow doggies with Mowgli.

While Brian and I aren't practicing any particular religion, we do think it's important for Cameron to understand and feel the spirit of the season - sharing, generosity, love, gathering, giving, growing, a little bit of indulging and being grateful for the joy in your life.  Even though he's little and won't remember any of this, I will.... and I want to share all of my joy and my love and my gratefulness with him and Brian (and Mowgli too!)

If I started to write about all the things I'm thankful for, this blog post would never end.  So I'll say this - really, I'm thankful for everything.  You have to take the bad with the good.  The bad makes the good great and the bitter makes for the sweetest sweet moments.  I am thankful for everything.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy

"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." - Melody Beattie


Monday, November 7, 2011

Risky Business

A caveat:

I have started writing this blog post at least 5 times over the last 7 months.  And each time I tried, I didn't have the words to say what I meant.  It's possible I still don't.  But, discussing this aspect of my new normal helps with grieving the loss of something I always thought I'd have. On we go......

When Brian and I had been married about a year or so, some sort of switch flipped - and many of our family members, friends and acquaintances wanted to know when we were going to have a baby.  Similarly, when Cameron turned about 6 months, people started to inquire when we were going to have baby #2.  Perhaps this is just a way to make conversation or get the scoop on someone's family plans.  I always thought I'd have two or three children and I probably still will - just not the way I'd imagined. 

As you may recall (via an earlier blog post), my first cardiologist suggested that Brian and I not get pregnant again.  There's so little information available on SCAD survivors and the risk is unknown.  My OB initially had a different take - he suggested to wait a few years and see where science goes.  Over the summer, Brian and I decided that we would most likely adopt, but weren't quite ready for a "permanent" birth control option.  So in July, I had a copper IUD implanted.  This seemed to be the best way to go - little maintenance, no hormones and super effective.  There was practically no chance we'd have an unplanned pregnancy.  When I visited my OB at the end of September for a regular check up, my IUD was removed because it had spontaneously dislodged itself..... Believe me when I say this was awfully frustrating.  I felt like I was doing everything right - taking my medicine, eating healthy, exercising - and now, the best birth control option had gone out the window.  Cameron and I cried all the way home - he was tired and I was absolutely miserable.  My doctor had suggested, because I can't have surgery on my current meds, that a vasectomy would be the best choice at this point.  Is this what "for better or for worse" means?  When we chose the IUD, we purposefully DIDN'T choose a vasectomy - if anything ever happens to me, I want Brian to at least have the ability/choice/option to have his own children with someone else.  For those of you who are thinking "Oh, vasectomies are reversible"..... seriously - no one goes into a vasectomy thinking "hey, I can always change this."  So, we haven't taken any permanent action and honestly, I'm not sure how we'll proceed.

So, about getting pregnant.  When I saw my second (and current) cardiologist, I was surprised.  He seemed to be the first doctor uninterested in telling me what to do.  "Pregnancy is a very personal decision" he said.  " You have to decide what risk you're comfortable with.  I can't tell you that you'll absolutely have another heart attack... on the other hand, I can't say it absolutely wouldn't happen again.  We just don't know."  He went on to say that if we decided to get pregnant again, that his team would do all the research necessary to make it the safest experience possible.  The decision is ours.  I think about how lucky I am to still be here and to have a healthy, strong, beautiful son.  So, I'm not okay with the risk.  I'm not okay with the possibility of getting pregnant again and putting my life/new baby's life at risk or the risk of not being around for the husband and baby I do have.  Pending a miracle medical breakthrough, I choose not to get pregnant again. 

It is a hard choice.  And I'm grieving the loss of this baby(ies) I won't carry.  Sometimes it seems so silly because I am truly so excited to adopt baby girl Siebert.  I think Cameron (like Mowgli :)  ) is going to be the best big brother, to any little sibling.  When I see cheery pregnant women, I get crabby.  It's awful, but it's true.  I am jealous - which is SO ridiculous because my pregnancy was far from comfortable!  You always want the things you can't have.  I know this isn't the same as someone who "can't" get pregnant.  Ugh, but it still totally stinks.  Brian and I make pretty,healthy babies!!  If not for one untimely heart attack, we could make so many more pretty, healthy babies.

Cameron is changing every day - he's becoming this little boy right before my eyes. He loves to be tossed about and to play rough.  He laughs when Mowgli licks his face and even more when he gets a fistful of Mowgli's fur.  He loves to stretch his legs and stand, even though he has yet to crawl.  I am so happy to be here for these things. 

Every day, the sense of loss I feel seems to get smaller and smaller.  Over this past weekend, my grandpa gave my stomach a good hard pinch and asked when I was going to give him a great granddaughter.  To my surprise, I laughed (and meant it!) and told him he'd have to give me another year or two.  Right now, I am happy with my house full of boys.

“Don’t think about the future. Just be here now. Don’t think about the past. Just be here now.” ― Ram Dass