Today my son turned one, which makes me feel both nostalgic and grateful. Grateful because there was once upon a time, I thought this day would never come. I thought I’d share a little bit about my parenting journey and a few things I have learned that goes beyond discipline.
Our Journey to Becoming Parents
In 2012, I had no idea how hard it was to become pregnant. I had no idea that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I had no idea that so many couples silently struggle with infertility – until of course, I was one of them. On March 20th, 2014 – following, a year and a half of ovulation kits, disappointment, and hopelessness, I finally saw those two beautiful blue lines indicating I was pregnant. Unfortunately, it was then that I learned not all pregnancies resulted in a baby. Following this loss, we had the painful misfortune of experiencing two subsequent miscarriages and on the road to IVF. Like a cruel joke -- each loss we experienced, fell on our previous pregnancy’s due date.
I’ll never forget seeing my daughter’s heartbeat for the first time and the doctor sharing her due date of June 2nd, 2016. June 2nd, was a difficult day – it was the due date of my second pregnancy and the day I learned, I had miscarried for the third time. I shared with my doctor the significance of the date. “Circle of life,” she said. “Yes, yes it is.”
My daughter, true to form, ended up arriving almost a week before her due to date. Thankfully, infertility had prepared me to be okay with the unexpected. I was induced with no chance of delivering my baby girl naturally. Thankfully, she came into this world via C-section, healthy and happily and for that, I am so incredibly grateful. Also, I can proudly say, I may be one of my only friends who does not pee their pants when they laugh too hard.
Weeks after my daughter’s first birthday, we decided to visit our IVF doctor to discuss a fall embryo transfer. June 13th, 2017, I went in for cycle day 1 ultrasound. The ultrasound tech, who I had found to be quite irritating at the clinic, told me I had no mature follicles and looked as though I was developing PCOS. “Great,” I thought – another thing to add to the list.
The next month, I was gearing up for my first weekend away to celebrate a dear friend’s wedding. My husband was on a guiding trip and out of cell phone service range. That week though, I felt something that I had never felt before – nausea. It seemed to come on completely unexpectedly. There I was, walking my daughter and dog on the beach…. “Could I be pregnant?”
And by some kind of miracle, I was. Unable to call my husband, I texted him a picture of the positive pregnancy test and wrote, “You better not be dead.” When he called me several days later, he was just as confused as I was. Of course, we were happy but we were in shock and scared. All those years of heartache, it was hard to wrap our heads around the idea that this was real.
His due date was March 19th, 2018 – almost 4 years to the day of my first positive pregnancy test. When my husband told me he wanted to name him, Bodhi, I resisted. However, when I googled the meaning of the name, I learned the Buddhist refer to Bodhi as the end of the “circle of life.” It was perfect. And, like his sister, Bodhi arrived a week early on March 12th via C-section. When the nurse laid him on me for the first time, it finally set in that we had made a miracle.
What Infertility Has Taught Me
When I first became a mom, random strangers and friends alike would comment that I did not seem like a first time mom and that I seemed “so relaxed.” The compliment always made me chuckle because there is nothing about me that is wired to be “relaxed.” In fact, prior to kids, no one ever described as such. I was the person who worried about things that I had no need to worry about and stressed over work assignments even if I was obnoxiously prepared. However, if there was something wonderful that came out of infertility it was that it gave me perspective. I learned how to be “present”, to focus on gratitude, and to laugh at daily mishaps verses letting it ruin what is another day on this wonderful earth. Sure, I get frustrated, annoyed, and want to scream some days– and, I do. At the same time, the experience has taught me to accept these feelings, acknowledge they are there without judgement, and kindly allow myself to move on.
I will say I owe a lot of this to meditation. Once again, before infertility, you would have never have found me meditating. Despite, my years of preaching it to my clients and attempting to teach it in a session or in group – I hated it. I found it boring. I was restless and could not get my overactive brain to shut off. Then, I started seeing a therapist and like most therapists, she had recommended I start meditating. I confessed and shared that I had been a fraud and truthfully hated it. And, that’s when she introduced me to the “15 minute mind hack.” This daily ritual, gave me something positive to focus on and now it seems my brain automatically goes towards focusing on compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, and the present. It also allowed me to dream about two future blessings verses staying stuck in my hopelessness.
For more information on the “15 minute mind hack” visit here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waYNEDZxEPY&list=PL6SrvfRLF2AKEhgexM1SNJk01OTHBiXot&index=15
What My Kids Have Taught Me
My daughter taught me that the best things in life are always worth the fight and struggle. I also never knew how fun balloons could be or that playing on the beach in the sand is not just a summer activity. My son has showed me that life is full of wonderful surprises and he is definitely one of them. His laugh will break hearts because it is just that adorable. The journey that we took to meet our two little miracles has filled me with so much gratitude. I believe that this gratitude allows me to get through those really tough parenting moments – like when your 1 year old daughter has two major blow outs on a plane and on you. Or, the time, you locked yourself out of your house with two children that are starving and need their diapers changed. Oh and my favorite, the time your husband broke his foot one month before you are due with your second child and you have to snow blow the driveway. Life is filled with so many “ups and downs.” Parenting is hard. We can so easily lose perspective when all those mounting pressures seem to be upon us and we feel as though there is no break in sight. But, the joy and the sheer gift that these little ones are is something that can clear a cloudy day.
Bodhi’s First Birthday
Today, my son turned one. My husband also had sinus surgery and my son had an evaluation to fix his posterior tongue tie (And, yes, it took us a year to figure out). Today was also voting day in town and of course, I had to work. By the way, writing this, I still have to take my jacket off from when I picked the kids up from daycare. When my husband finally got home with my mother-in-law from Boston, we drove over to the polls just before they closed to cast our vote. As we were leaving, I spotted free mini-cupcakes. Yes, I took several cupcakes and when we arrived home, I found the “one” candle my co-worker had given me and placed it on one of the free cupcakes, I yanked at the polls. Happy Birthday, Bodhi. While, I can’t promise that next year will be any better, I can assure you that every day, we celebrate you and all the wonderful laughs and smiles you share with us each and every day. Love, Mom