Wednesday, November 23, 2016

10 Months of Thanks

For the first time in 5 years, it is so easy to give thanks.  I've said it many times, but the holidays just grow weary as each year ticks away when you are dealing with infertility.  It's a road that gets lonelier and lonelier the longer you stay on it because less of your friends can relate as they turn their focus on their 1, 2, 3... children.

Holidays are about family, and I've always been blessed with wonderful in-laws and out-laws (my side).  But even with wonderful families, it's just been that elephant in the room.  A sulky, sad, and embittered elephant at that.  And it's never been about not appreciating what I had, because I have always tried. But when the one thing you want, that comes so easily and naturally for the majority of people totally eludes you, it's hard to swallow the bitterness and focus on your blessings. The hole in your heart is just too raw.

Last year, I was preoccupied with being pregnant, and it was blissful.  I was so very blessed and fortunate to have such an easy pregnancy after the mighty struggle it took to get there.  Now I'm just so incredibly thankful.

It's easy to say I'm thankful for Matthew, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.

I am thankful for the perspective that infertility gave me, both in life and as a parent.  I'm thankful for the ability to let the small stuff go, and just enjoy the miracle of Matt. 

I am thankful for my better half who fulfills me, completes me, cheers me and is just the best teammate to have as we tackle this parenting thing.

I am thankful for my parents and in-laws who supported us in every way imaginable as BJ and I continued on despite what seemed impossible.

I am thankful for my best friend and her ear as she has been with me through all of the thick and thin of my life and continues to be a constant source of knowledge and comfort.

I am thankful for the Fertility Center and every single person at that clinic.  When we were at our rock bottom, they were there with their hands out-stretched.

I am thankful for the honor of being James Matthew's mother.  It is such a privilege that I do not take lightly.  I love you, Matt-moo, more than words can ever express.  It is truly an honor to be the person you reach towards and say "Mama" (even if you call other women "mama" 😉). I hope after your teenage years, when you kinda start liking us again, that you'll be glad we got you, too.

In the midst of what has so far been a pretty awful week, it doesn't take much looking back to realize how truly blessed I am.

So tomorrow I look forward to Matt being the star of the show.  I've waited a long time to have a baby shoving mashed potatoes in his face. Hopefully his stomach will be over whatever has it so upset today, and he'll get to gum all the tasty foods.

Peace, Love, and Happy Food Hangovers!

Mary Katherine & Matt

Matt Facts:

Weight: 17lbs 2oz
Height: 2'4.5ish
Teeth: 0, but I believe we'll have at least 1 at our next update...
Favorite Comfort item:  Dada or Mama...he's really not too attached to any one thing just yet.
Favorite food:  Dog kibble, sweet potatoes, carrot cake and whatever he can feed himself.
Favorite toy:  His V-tech Sit-to-Stand Walker...unfortunately ours seems to have a short that makes it go off every 15 seconds whether he's near it or not.  Thank goodness for off-switches.
New skills:  Clapping, waving hi and bye,  cruisin-for-a-bruisin, stair-climbing, sticking the entire end of electronic devices in his mouth, and catching every bug that comes his way (yeah for breastfed babies...oh, wait), standing and stepping unassisted but with rapid failures, and falling.
Words:  Mama, Dada, Bah-bah (Bye-bye with a drawal), Hi, Lala and nanana (you know...just conversation filler)
Future Career:  Mechanical engineer.  He's all about wheels and gears and things that spin.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

9 Months...OR When the Miracle Eats Dog Kibble little ball of energy is 9 months old!!! He's been outside as long as he was on the inside (literally, since he was 3 weeks early plus had a bonus week on the outside in a petri dish...).   What a crazy 18 months it has been.

Matt is just funny.  His personality is really beginning to come out, and I think we scored in that department.  He's pensive and introspective.  He studies new things carefully.  Yet he loves to have fun and enjoys being silly.  He's not a pleaser.  He does things on his own time after much thought and consideration.  He seems to be a little introverted, which I totally get. He's also pretty chatty with us, but less so in public. In fact our babysitter asked me if he was talking yet, and I was floored, because he's not usually quiet for very long.  I asked him to tell her "Bye-Bye" and he immediately said bye-bye. She was just as shocked as I was when she asked me if he was talking yet...*sigh*  This does not bode well for school, I fear.

He FINALLY clapped yesterday for the first time.  We actually took a rare and ever elusive nap and he woke up before me because I found him lying on his back studying each of his hands.  They were approximately a body width apart and had assumed an appropriate pre-"pat-a-cake" position.  He carefully brought his hands together and pulled them apart, then tried a little faster and got a little sound. I'm so very proud.  He refuses to clap for BJ, however...

His other skills include finding toys hidden under a blanket. Chasing kitties and golden retrievers. French kissing golden doodles. Speed crawling, waving bye-bye and feeding himself are also much more precise than they were during his 8th month.  Precise but not always accurate...

I make most of Matt's baby food because it kinda skeeves me out to eat 3 year old bananas. So anyway, I'm happily buzzing around the kitchen steaming this and blending that into some concoction for my toothless miracle when I hear his palms happily slap across the kitchen in a speed crawl.  He loves to splash in Emma's water bowl, so I make my way over there and try to distract him with a toy before returning to blending.  I don't hear anything for a while, so I glance back to Emma's bowls to see my little miracle baby eating dog food while I'm making homemade, hippie-approved baby food because Gerber is poison...So anyway...Gerber's probably fine...

We've also enjoyed eliciting those baby belly laughs.  Matt is not a free laugher....

It actually takes work. And things he found funny a couple of days may barely muster a smirk today. So when we do find something that evokes those throw his head back baby giggles, IT.IS.AMAZING!  It's definitely one of those 'we could have missed this' moments.

The pain of infertility is erosive to your soul, yet having a child after going through infertility is truly inconceivable. After over 5 years, I had no idea I could not hurt this much, or be this happy, or have so much to look forward to in life.  So when Matt giggles, the heavens open up and my heart fills with a joy I had no idea could exist.  And then I become overwhelmed with the thought of 'Wow, we could have missed this.' It is entirely possible that all of this could have eluded us, and my heart fills again.

So when people say Matt was worth the wait, they honestly have no idea.  He's not just worth it, he exceeds all of that pain with a sense of peace.  A peace that soothes my soul, and helps me look back with a sense of understanding.  He's an answer to so many prayers, hopes, desires. He's simply a miracle.  I couldn't appreciate this as much as I do without having gone through such an arduous journey, and I would never want to have a child without that level of appreciation.

And that same miracle...well, he eats dog food sometimes, too. :)

Matt Facts:

Height:  2' 3 1/4" for 13th percentile
Weight:  16 lbs, 13 oz... 8th percentile
Teeth: 0
Fave Food:  Cheerios are amazing...and Lucifer the kitty likes them, too!
Fave Toy:  Wheels...or anything that spins: squeaky frog toy
Fave Word: Bah-Bah-Bah (Bye); dew-dew-dew (No translation), La-la (Yadda-yadda); din-din-din (no translation);
Fave Activity:  Playing in a water table, AKA Emma's elevated water bowl; readjusting the wine fridge settings; Petting the kitties; playing in his tunnel.
Favorite Comfort Item: Mama & Dada...Wubba Nubs be out (Matt's parenting credits to us)
Future Career:  Wine connoisseur. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

I'm a $&^t Mom

I'm a ****ty mother, and I'm perfectly okay with it.  I own it, even.

My friend, who also struggled to conceive, and I were having a conversation about how we spent so much time and energy and studying on how to conceive, what should be happening to our bodies, what shouldn't....and then we finally became pregnant and we poured through every possible scenario, read every article, and second guessed everything we knew even as experienced women's health nurses...

So when we finally gave birth to our children, and they lived through the squishy not doing much stage we were completely burned out.  Well, I'm burned out...and over it.  I've done everything in my power to get Matt some point the whole thriving thing is going to have to be on him...cuz I just want to enjoy him.

This, for me has translated into having no clue what my baby is supposed to be doing when.  Hell if I know what milestones Matt is supposed to be achieving.  I'm not even sure if what he's doing sometimes is considered a skill.  Like is downward dog position a milestone?  It's not that I don't care...but honestly, I don't really care that much. I have thought about purchasing What to Expect the First Year, but then I don't buy it because....meh....  Matt is healthy, thriving, doing new things occasionally, and HAPPY. So he doesn't clap yet, but he gets excited and bounces up down and smiles when we clap at him and thinks he's just great.  That seems more important. But dammit, why can't he clap?

He really wants to eat, but he has no teeth, but he also hates thicker purees...but he screams at me when I eat and paws at the food within his reach, so he gets a little chunk.  Allergies be damned.  He even had she crab soup when we went to the beach a few weeks ago and he loved it...and he lived. So shellfish, dairy, and alcohol all in one shot...Mom of the year, right here!!!!  Most of the food we give him ends up in Emma's stomach, so it's win-win-win.  Matt scores "real people" food, Emma score's "real people food", and Mom and Dad score on the clean-up. #parentingtrifecta

I'll think Matt is developing fine, even maybe a little ahead, but then I get a questionnaire from our pediatrician that asks things like "Does Matt follow commands?"  Well, um, I don't know what kind of life other people lead, but I don't have very high expectations as far as my almost 9 month old performing tasks at my request. I just don't live that life.  Matt is precious, but I'd hardly call him reliable, so I don't plan my day thinking "What could I have Matt do?"  Along those lines, I've not asked him to do a lot.  I mean he has about a 50% chance of coming when I call his name...But seriously, 9 month olds are supposed to follow commands? Really?

Another of these "tasks" was "Will Matt play nursery games like Pat-a-cake or So-Big or Peek-a-boo at your prompting, but without you gesturing?" All I can picture is Matt staring at a blank wall playing peek-a-boo and thinking how creepy that would be.  I mean I'd be worried about him if he did...isn't that how Poltergeist started? Also, have you ever gone up to another human or even a dog and said "High Five" w/out extending your hand.  So why would Matt just spontaneously play Pat-a-cake?  Apparently Matt is woefully behind in communication skills, and it's my fault.  I've not asked him to fetch, clean his room, make dinner, plus I didn't even know So Big was a "nursery game", but then again, I am a shit mom...

I am kinda getting worried about Matt not being able to clap.  Or "pat-a-cake" as they call clapping in babyland.  It's super frustrating. We're in intense clapping training, but the closest we've gotten is waving both hands in a parallel fashion, thus never making contact with each other.  I'm not asking for perfection here, but honestly I'm starting to worry about his corpus callosum...

I say I'm not asking for perfection, but I really want Matt to get a perfect score on this questionnaire...It's a direct measure of my parenting skills.  And apparently anything less than perfection to me is basically shit, hence the clapping training camp.  But as my best friend, Matt's godmother, kindly reminded me...does Matt really need to be able to clap to be a Wal-Mart greeter?

No, no he does I guess even if he doesn't make a perfect score...he'll at least still have opportunities thanks to Sam Walton.  #Mericuh

Peace, Love and Wal-Mart Greetings from Matt,

Mary Katherine

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Belated Birthday Post

For 5 and a half years, this was my life.  More than the hurtful comments, the unhelpful suggestions, the pregnancy announcements from people who either weren't trying or tried for 2 seconds, the pregnancy announcements from same-age peers for their 2nd and 3rd babies, nothing can touch the feeling of failing your husband.

Even when male factor infertility is the issue, you as the woman cannot carry that baby.  You cannot bear your spouse's child.  It leaves you feeling empty, sad, and worthless. You are barren. It feels as sad and lonely as that word sounds.  It feels like failing, even when your husband doesn't see it that way.  You feel like you are failing at being a woman.

I would pretend to not notice BJ playing with our friend's kids while at the same time taking in every moment. Letting it sear itself into my soul.  I would tell myself this was why we needed to keep trying because he was just so wonderful with children.  So patient, kind, appropriately fun at whatever age he was thrown and just plain good.  He is the kind of guy you would meet for 5 minutes and not hesitate to leave your kid playing with him at the party while you went and fetched some food or something to drink.  It's just so easy for him.

Unlike me, I just felt so awkward.  I had no baby experience. When I held other people's babies I felt like I was being stared at, or worse, pitied.

Fast forward to this miracle:

I'll be honest, as amazing as BJ was with other people's children, I had no idea how it would translate into fatherhood.  He by far has exceeded all expectations, and he's got it harder than a lot of working dad's.  He works all day, and then comes home to be a single father when I work night shift.  When I work day shift he has to single dad it again, and get Matt ready himself, drops him off, and pick the kid up to be single dad for a few more hours until I get home.

And that's just what he has to do...  He continues to astonish me with just what a wonderful father he's become. His attention to Matt, his ability to soothe him leaves me jealous at times.  I love listening to BJ read to Matt. I love the baby giggles BJ generates.  He goes above and beyond for this kiddo.  He doesn't just love Matthew, he cherishes him.  And Matt's eyes light up when he comes home, and it melts my heart every.single.time.

BJ, Happy Birthday.  This kid loves you to the moon and back, and so does your wife.  I didn't think it would be possible to love you any more than I already did, but I do.  You are an outstanding father and a better husband than I deserve.  I hope your birthday was as happy as Matt is to see you.

Peace, Love, and Baby Daddies,

Mary Katherine. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

8 Months & Killing It!

Matt-moo, the miracle man is 8 months old now.  It is crazy how fast it has gone, and crazy how much more excitement there is to come!  BJ and I are still enamored with everything his little self does.  He seems to be turning into quite a playful little thing.  He seems to think he's 8 months going on 18.  He's pretty sure he should be doing whatever we are doing.  Whether that's drinking wine, eating the remote control, operating an iPad, or studying with a laptop for an online pharmacology  or community banking exam, he will attempt to duplicate your actions. I'm sad his parents are so boring, lol.

Grampa teaching Matt the lyrics to Rocky Top. 
He's had another healthy month.  No shots or exams or anything too exciting.  Well, he did have a 2nd flu shot, and he handled it like a champ.  He was more mad that he was being held down than anything.

His Grammy did say, that he's the worst diaper-change of all the babies she has ever cared for (which has been a few more than just Brother Matt and myself).  It truly is a wrestling match.  You put him on his back and he gets a message to turn over and crawl away, NOW.  He doesn't care if his full of poo diaper is halfway hanging off, he must exit the situation immediately.  We try laying toys, diapers, wipes, oversized coffee table books that weigh more than him (I'm kidding!) on his chest to distract him, and this has approximately a 17% success rate.  Mostly, I change his diapers with him standing as if he's about to get frisked and moderate success.


He is cruising pretty successfully now.  I hope he doesn't walk too soon, although, I don't really know what difference it will make as he's already into EVERYTHING.  He has turbo crawl speed which I can hear him go into anywhere in our house. His little palms go slap-slap-slap against the hardwood.  The cats are not very excited about his new-found speed.  But it's also amazing because he'll be at your feet. You'll look at the TV b/c Brangelina divorce news and all the sudden he's in the kitchen with both hands in Emma's water bowl, which happens to be one of his favorite past times.  Oh, and he's not picky...he'll happily stick his hands in your drinks, too.  So basically he's a beverage ruining Ninja.  As I'm typing this, he's figured out how to stand up and scoot his Sit to Stand walker thing...I don't think he's going to be like his Mama and not walk until he's 15 months old.  You're welcome, Grampa. (My dad is still embarrassed for me because of how old I was when I started walking.)

Matt's other favorite activities include toe-sucking, chit-chatting, and yoga...Well downward dog position while making strawberry noises...

Matt Facts
Height:  2'3" give or take. He won't be measured again until his 9 month appointment
Weight:  Just under 17 lbs according to our scale. So about 14th percentile.
Toofers:  0 and holding
Fave Food:  Boob juice, Bananas, Arrowroot cookies, and She-Crab soup (I know...BAD MOM)
Fave Toy: The one in his hands.  He's pretty sweet about it, actually. Ok so sometimes it's the one in your hands...even though he has another one...
Fave Comfort Item:  Mama and Dada - Wubbanubs are kinda out at the moment.
Sounds: Mama, Dada, Bah-bah, la-la, nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh, ha, blub-blub, Ah, Deeb-ah-deeb. 
They don't have meaning to us, yet, but the nuh-nuh-nuh is his fussing word. So he associates meaning to some I think. 
Mad Baby Skills: Cruising, Speed Crawling, Climbing stairs, Pincher grasp, splashing, 
Future Career:  Yogi - Maybe a comedic one. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

7 Months of Gooberishness

Um, who stole my infant and replaced it with the cutest hob-goblin, ever? I have a legit crawling, cruising, thieving, jibber-jabbering, incontinent mini-adult. He's cute and he knows it.

So baby-proofing is happening. We may end up looking like Nerf sponsored our house, but everyday, Matt seems to have a new scratch or bump on him. He mostly seems to tolerate it well. He seems to cry out in frustration more than pain. He will fall and get upset, or it will sound like he had a skull crushing bop on his head, enough to make me jump, and just be like "what's the big deal?" I'm so blessed in so many ways, so to have a pretty even keel babester is just beyond what I ever deserved.

His favorite word of the moment is tongue clicking. I'm not sure where he learned Kiswahili, but he's very adept at it. He may be telling us very important things in tongue-clicking, strawberries, and La-la-la's. Although he kinda sounds like he's mocking us when he says it..."Hey, Matthew, how was your day?" "La-la-la click pffffffft." "Oh, really?" "Hee." So basically he's already pretty sure we're full of it.

I'm just unpacking this bowl for you, Mom, no big!

I love this little mischief maker. I'm just so happy this little soul ended up in our care. I'm loving all my moments with him, and I can't wait to see what he does next. 

Our animals are still petrified of this little tyrant. He wants to "love" them so bad, but they panic and run for the hills. Love to Matt is pulling your hair/fur, so I get where they are coming from, but it's still a little exaggerated. We are working on soft hands, but that grasp reflex is still so strong!!!!

We are still primarily breastfeeding and eating purées, except when he steals food out of my hand. 

He still spits out anything solid, and occasionally thicker purées, but ice cream is fine...OMG... I should probably be all upset about this, but as a "more mature parent" I'm like "meh". Plus just getting it away from him to take his shirt off ruptured the eardrums of everyone in a 10 foot radius...I'm gonna be such a bad, mom...*sigh*. 

Whatever...I could be worse. He still hasn't been to prison...yet...

Peace, love, and hobgoblins,

Mary Katherine & Matt

Height (Or lack of):  26" 10th percentile...He shrank...not really...but oops
Weight: 16 lbs. 5 oz  19th percentile..shrimpin' up.
Head: 16 7/8" 23rd-ish percentile...
Fave food: Boob juice, mangos and BANANA!
Fave Hobby:  Crack cocaine. We aren't sure who is supplier is, but when I find them, I will kill them.  Seriously...his favorite hobby is becoming wild man at 10:30 pm.  He laughs, giggles, rolls all over the place until he crashes.  I thought babies slept...
Fave sport: Graeco-Roman diaper changing. I need at least 4 hands to change his diaper...and we never do it on a raised surface anymore. But he is  super good at this sport. As soon as he hears the first Velcro tab, he's off!!! And he always wins points for riding time as he manages to spend more time above your hands. I've gotten pretty good at blind Velcro-ing diaper tabs. 
Fave Book: all the edible ones
Fave Toy: rattles and things that go bang when you whack them!
Fave comfort item: Mama or Dada
Predicted career: demolition specialist

Monday, August 1, 2016

6 Months of Matt-moo

*sigh* This kid...aside from being in that adorable, chatty, toe-sucking Gerber stage, he is just amazing.

How did he become 6 months old?  Six months was an eternity in fertility treatments and yet, it seems to be going so quickly now.  I love it, cherish it and hope that my Matt continues to allow me to snuggle him for a little while longer.  "They are only little once..." is pretty much the theme to my parenting.

He reaches for me now, and that my friends, has sealed the deal. Any doubts about how I was doing, who I was to him, and even genetics...GONE. *POOF*.  The only thing that matters to Matt is that I reach back for his outstretched arms, and believe me, I do every.single.time.

Seriously, I didn't think I was having any issues with the egg donation situation, but now I understand how it simply doesn't matter. I get it, now.  Those little hands pointed toward me make my world go around.  He reaches out to me not caring about the number of genes we do or don't share.  He just simply needs his Mama, and that person is Me.

I finally understand what my mother meant about not understanding how much she loved me until I had kids of my own.  But, I also had no idea what it felt like to be loved back. The way his eyes light up in the morning, just because I'm there.  The way he smiles those gummy little smiles. I am just smitten. Those things are the superglue that put my heart back together after so many disappointments.

Seriously, to think I could have missed out on this over my stupid ovaries, I cannot even imagine living out my life with never getting to experience this. It makes my heart hurt even more for my sisters in infertility.  I hope they know how hard I pray for them, and that I don't take any of this for granted.

We enjoyed having him with us at the beach.  He loved the sand and the water. I think I do have a little water bug, which is exciting to me, because I loved water as a child. He just kicks and bats his hands while smiling. Super cute! Maybe he'll be a swimmer?

It is serious work shoveling sand up your bathing suit!

The eating thing is going okay.  We are still super into puree's and not much for the baby lead weaning thing.  They need a lot more dexterity than Matt has at this point. I still hand him chunks of stuff to suck on or chew on, but he seems to choke when he manages to get it in his I'm like "NOPE".  So I continue to make his baby food purees and for the most part he seems to like it.  Especially bananas!

We are seeing glimmers of his personality.  For the most part, he's pretty chill about new things, places, people.  He is, however, busy. Very busy.  And he still makes up his schedule on the fly, and I don't understand.  Sometimes he'll take 15 to 20 minute naps and crash all night, other times he'll take a 2 hour nap and party like it's 1999 from 3 am on.  He's so much fun to play with now.  He loves to do whatever you are doing.  He finds new features on my phone everyday.  He loves books, especially their taste.

He also loves his pets. Unfortunately, the feelings aren't quite mutual yet.  Emma does like purees so when one goes splat, that is a help, but she doesn't really associate Matt with those yet.  Matt loves to "pet" aka grab with baby vice grip the kitties and Emma.  Emma just gets her feelings hurt and runs away looking at us like, "how dare you let it hurt me?" Lucifer is kinda like "oh, crap" but yet his curiosity keeps him coming back for more.  Gaius is actually the most "warm" or lazy...however you want to interpret it.  He just looks at me like "how dare you let this disgusting floor troll touch me. I will show both of you by standing my ground!" None of them have shown the slightest bit of aggression which is surprising because, you know, cats.  But Matt is just infatuated with everything they do...and the cats are a bit fascinated with him.  But until Matt can be trained to open a can, he's somewhat useless to them.  Emma licks Matt because she gets positive attention for it.  We know, Emma.  You aren't fooling us...

"I earned this vacation!" 

First time eating carrots.

Matt Facts:
Weight:  16lbs and some change on our scale
Height:  Itty (we couldn't get in to see his pediatrician until 8/8 for his 6 month appointment).
Fave Toy:  Sophie the Giraffe is taking a slight lead which is better than Tim the Lazy V-Tech Truck Driver who stops to make friends while on the job...Don't worry, we tell Matt that isn't realistic.
Fave Comfort Item:  Any of his WubbaNubs, and Mama
Fave Food:  Boob Juice and BANANA!!!
Fave Book:  The one in his mouth.
Least fave food:  Green Beans are Yuck!
Teeth: No teeth...I saw them on a 32ish weeks ultrasound, so I'm pretty sure they are there...
Future Occupation:  We've gone from teeth to an interest in noses as well, so I'm thinking otolaryngologist.

Peace, Love, and Sand Monsters,

Mary Katherine & Matt