Sunday, December 16, 2012


Do you remember your time in Kindergarten?

I do.

I remember my teacher, Mrs. D'Maio. She was blond and young. When I close my eyes and think about her now, I remember her as warm and with a big smile.

Did I feel safe, I'm sure I did. Or maybe it wasn't that I didn't feel safe but rather I wasn't scared.  I'm not sure I would have been able to verbalize the idea of safety as a 5 year old.

I remember two bad things that happened that year.

1. I didn't get to be Snow White in the school play. I was cast as the Mirror on the Wall. My mom and I always joked that it was because the little girl who was cast as snow white had a mother who could sew and I did not.

2. I once convinced the staff that I was allowed to walk home alone and didn't need to wait in the car line. I was so happy that the crossing guard picked me to push the button to change the light to green, I never noticed my mom racing to the intersection. You see, I wasn't allowed to walk home alone. I was supposed to be in the car line. My mom pulled up to school and I wasn't there, where I was supposed to be. 

This is what every child should take away from kindergarten. One or two blips on the radar or maybe a little separation anxiety in the beginning, perhaps an unfortunate bathroom miss after too much juice, even learning that in kindergarten, not everyone wins.

What no child should ever take away is fear. Fear of huddling in a closet or being led out of your safe haven with your eyes closed and your hands on your best friend's shoulders. No child should ever hear gun shot in their own school hallways or their parking lots end up like a staging area of a war zone.  

But that is exactly what happened to those children at Sandy Hook. As a parent, I can hardly look at the images without crying. I am struck by how young they are. Most still have a baby-ish face. Although, I'm sure if you told any one of them that, they'd promptly correct you and inform you that they are big kids, not babies. When I first read the story online, I was stunned. I continued to read the news on my computer while Toddler T watched The Cat in the Hat. I tried to fight back my tears as I didn't want to alarm him.  I wanted to hold him and hug him and promise out loud that I would never let him be hurt. Unfortunatly, he would have been annoyed to be interrupted from watching his show and the reality is, Is that a promise that I can make as a parent?

My brain was trying to take it all in while my heart was breaking right there. I could not imagine any worse thing for a parent to be forced to endure. I have found that these images invade my sleep and make my thoughts bounce around my head like a ping pong ball.

That is my reaction as a parent. 

My reaction as a social worker is much, much darker. I know the statistics, there will be an increase in divorce, substance abuse, nightmares, clear cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There will be families that move away and those that stay. There will be siblings who, for the rest of their lives will feel guilty that they couldn't save their younger brother or sister. There will be parents who raced off to work with a quick kiss and will beg God for the chance for one more hug. 

This ripple effect will be so far reaching and so intense. 

The debates on gun control and reform to the mental health system are getting revved up again.  I have my own opinions on both, but am reluctant to put them out there. I'll wait until some more information becomes available about what the nature of the gunman's mental illness was or was not. 

In the meantime, my heart and prayers will be with the parents, siblings and families of those beautiful children, teachers and staff members as they walk through this unbelievable tragedy. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Making a list and checking it twice

Santa is coming and this little elf has been very organized this season. I'm proud to  say that I can check all but two items off my list. I have even wrapped sent presents home with my nieces at Thanksgiving. I'm almost done with the stocking stuffers and I even picked up a gift for Toddler T 'from' the baby. Our tree is decorated, stockings hung, Christmas cards have been sent and tomorrow we will go to get a picture with Santa.

I like a plan. I like to be organized. I had some panic that I would have this baby early and there would be no Christmas for Toddler T. It makes me feel much more relieved to know that regardless of what happens, he will wake up on Christmas morning with a plethora of presents from the hospital gift shop.

This is an example of when being an organized planner works for me.

The following is when being an organized planner blows up in my face.

36 week appointment and the signing of consent forms for my repeat c-section.

Toddler T and I went to my appointment and I went back to the scheduling office to sign off on my consent forms. It seems that there has been a big miscommunication for the past 18 weeks and I'm scheduled to have the c-section done by a doctor that up until 2:15pm today, didn't even know existed.  I'm meeting with Dr. MissesTheMark next week to try and figure out what we are doing. It seems that I'm having a change of heart in that I'd rather have a doctor that I know (regardless of the fact that we might not always mesh personality wise) than a total stranger.

The distress was written all over my face and the poor scheduler asked me if I was going to cry. To be honest, I thought I might. I have had this planned in my head for a loooong time. 12/31/12 - 6:30am with Dr. MissesTheMark. Done and Done.  I pulled it together and told the scheduler that it is what it is and I'm not going to become unglued over this... I just needed to rework this in my head.

Sometimes I wonder why I can't be more easy going. Its just so not in my nature.  At all.

Friday, December 7, 2012

35 weeks and not quite 35 days

35/35 - a big milestone in pregnancy. In plain English, it means that you are 35 weeks along in your pregnancy with only 35 days left to go. I realized this week, that I am 35 weeks, but due to my scheduled c-section... I have less than 35 days to go.


This time is flying by and, as with anything related to the infertility world, comes with mixed emotions. I struggle with even putting this out there, lest I seem ungrateful. But from my heart, this is what I am feeling. I am feeling a mix of emotions that range from excited to nervous to scared to happy to sad. The closer I get to meet my sweet boy, the more I mourn the idea of this being our last pregnancy. I had a conversation with my mom the other morning and talked to her about this.  I know that in life, we get no guarantees and that no one is 'owed' anything. But the very idea of adding to your family in a non-medical and intimate way just feels right.  Its what we were taught would happen (especially in a Catholic School) Procreating by way of a team of specialists is hard and it takes a toll on one's overall outlook on pregnancy and fertility. Ok, at least it took a toll on mine.

Where am I going with this.... It is so hard to articulate. I am blessed and grateful beyond all belief that our Hail Mary attempt at IVF worked. But as this pregnancy is coming to a close, I find myself thinking about my two ectopic pregnancies and 2 embryos that never made it.  I wonder when I will feel closure with this chapter of my life. Will it be with the birth of Tiny T? Or will I always have a heavy heart when I think about our journey through the world of secondary infertility. I often think about what will help me gain this elusive closure? Is it fair to put the pressure of my needs on the birth of a baby? Will I one day gain acceptance about the idea of completing our family with two children. And as I even type out those words, I realize how greedy that makes me sound. The goal of fertility treatments is to end treatment with the birth of a healthy baby. I'm so close to the finish line but still struggle with all that we have been through.

I do believe that time heals all wounds, to a degree. I do believe this will be the case for me. I only have to look back at entries I made this time last year to see how different of a place I am in.  I am no longer in that dark place of uncertainty and anger. I am embracing idea of the arrival of my second child  and working through the other emotions. 

As I sit here, I can feel the baby kick. And I know, that I will never lose sight of the fact that this tiny movement is nothing short of a miracle.