What most of you do not know because I have not yet shared is that we recently experienced a loss. Back over the summer in August I found out I was pregnant with baby #2. It was a whirlwind and exciting news. I was extremely nervous and anxious when I first found out as it happened so fast but gradually I started getting more excited. We told our immediate family members and I told people at work (mainly because I was feeling winded and extremely tired). Right before my daughter turned 2 in September I started bleeding. About 6 weeks into the pregnancy I lost it. It was devastating. We were planning on telling the rest of the family that weekend at Bree's party about the pregnancy but we never had to as I lost it before that.
I ended up going to the hospital because of the bleeding and because I couldn't wait 2 days to repeat blood tests to confirm what I already expected. I couldn't make it through the wonder and anxiety about what was going on. I had some bleeding with Bree but everything was fine. Doctor called it implantation bleeding but this was different. The ER doctor thinks that I lost the baby way before I even started bleeding based on the HCG levels in my blood test.
I always planned on sharing this story with people but never knew the right time. Now that October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, I felt now is the perfect time to share. See I haven't wanted to talk about it because it gets me sad. After this happened I was not the same and at times still don't feel like the same. Everything has been a trigger for my anxiety; the people I work with, certain places, certain times of day. My grief will hit sometimes out of nowhere and I would just cry. For a while like clockwork I was crying on my way home from work. My anxiety has been, and at times still is so bad that I can't breathe. I work for a hospice so I know about grief. I also work with people that know about grief and they were all so kind and wanted to check in on me and showed they cared. The problem was that all the attention, questions about how I was feeling, the "I'm sorry's" made me feel sadder and made me quieter and put up a bigger wall. I didn't know how to talk to people. I should also mention that the hospice I work for is associated with a couple hospitals in the area and one of those hospitals was the one I went to so whenever I pass it or have to go inside, it is a trigger. I didn't know what to do except wait for the feelings to subside until a nurse at work told me she had a miscarriage in the past and she had a very hard time. She said she found a support group and it really helped her. So I looked into going to options....
See not only did I never expect to experience this but I never expected to feel the way I did. I never understood how someone going through a miscarriage can grieve so badly. How can you be sad over a baby you never had, that you never met, that never lived outside of you. In my case I barely had the baby at all. How could it effect me this much? It does though. I am sure part of it is just the complete shock to my body with the change in hormones. My emotions were up and down. I was anxious about having the baby and then as soon as I come to terms and get excited it gets taken from me. And, also, I felt the baby. No, I did not feel it kicking or moving around but I felt the symptoms. I felt pregnant and felt everything that comes with it. I just knew.....
I also knew that if I couldn't relate to this feeling until having experienced one that the people around me couldn't relate or fully understand either. I felt isolated and alone. I ended up finding a support group at the hospital near me and the group is called SHARE. I have only gone to one so far because they meet 2x/month but I felt a sense of relief after my first session. I found others going through this. I found a safe place I could be heard and fully understood. I had a sense of hope that this isn't the end of the road for me and our attempts at another baby it was just a road block. My anxiety, although still prevalent at times, has really gotten better. My anxiety is no longer about this loss but just something I am prone to experience at times and have experienced prior to this loss. We are still trying for another baby. As I sit and write this I have received my period and it did not happen for us this month, but you know what I am ok with it. I didn't feel pregnant like I did last month (call me crazy if you want but I knew with Bree and I knew this last time) so I wasn't as anxious this month about whether I am or am not. I am trying to let go and let whatever will be, be.
I am writing this because I want others to know they are not alone. I want others who are experiencing this right now, who experienced this recently like me, or experienced it a long time ago that it is heartbreaking. I am here. We are a community. Sometimes this happens and there isn't a reason, although we may really want one. Also know there are support groups and maybe you can find some help and peace in one like I am experiencing now. If you need help finding one by you, let me know. I am a social worker by trade so this is what I do. I have learned to be resourceful. The SHARE group is a nationwide group. The hospitals I work with have their SHARE groups and that is where I attend. They have a walk coming up this month as well. There are people out there for you and have a story as well. Don't be afraid to reach out to me if you need it.
I am going to start this with saying something obvious...being a parent is HARD. It is so hard. You have this little human that you love with all your heart that it hurts, but these sweet faces also know how to press your buttons. They will hug you one minute and scream at you the next. They don't want to listen. This is mostly due to the fact that they are trying to find their own independence and learning boundaries and the thought of being told no gets them upset. Time management is hard. Organization is damn near impossible. A clean house? Well maybe it can stay clean for an hour if you are lucky. It is exhausting. Who would have thought that in my 30's I would be having screaming matches with a 2 yr old, having to bribe and barter with a toddler. It is anxiety provoking. I freak out inside everytime she goes up and down the stairs for fear that she will fall yet have to put on a calm presence and praise her when she accomplishes the task. It can be overwhelming. I really have no control.
You are the parent, you make the rules and your kids have to abide by them. Yea, that is probably the common idea amongst non parents, but good luck putting that into action. Yea I set the rules. Yea I try to enforce them. My kid tries to break them and in the end I usually cave just a bit. When they are little they do not yet know the rules, are learning them and do not always like them. There is no rationale developed and they are emotional latchkeys.
I have no control over my time. It is hard to schedule anything because Bree may need to take a nap at that or maybe she should be taking a nap but decided she is just going to fight us the whole time. Bree is hungry when she is hungry and not when I tell her she should be. Bree has to be changed when she goes to the bathroom and it is not always at the most convenient times. You are not in control just because you are the adult.
As the kids get older then you start giving them more independence and they are better able to understand what the rules are. They are also old enough to break them on purpose and know better. They are better able to lie and be deceitful. You are still not in control.
Your house becomes a wreck. Their rooms will look the way the want it to look. They will leave their clothes everywhere. They will play the music you hate and decorate it in a way you would never choose. Where is your control? When they are young your house is a mess of toys. We try to get Bree to clean up at the end of the night, but at 2 she cannot do it by herself and her attention span is subpar so it is usually us parents having to pick everything up. Sometimes it is only us because Bree wants to kick and scream. Where is our control? Bree is in control.
Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade being a parent for the world All the headaches and chaos is worth every single smile they make. It is worth it with every hug, every kiss, every I love you. Every cuddle session brings as much as joy winning the lottery. That intense love that you feel for this little person is worth every headache, every tear, every time you feel like giving up, every hair you pull out of your head, every anxiety pill you need to inhale, every sore throat from a screaming match, and every sleepless night. Being a mom is my favorite job in the world and nothing could make me want to give it up.
Now let me show you what my house looks like in a typical day. This was the inspiration behind this post.
Good luck to all you parents out there.
So Bree started "school a" today. Ok it's not really school but 1 day a week (half day basically) of play time and activities in a day care setting. It is at a local church called "Parent's Day Out". Normally my father in law watches Bree 4 days a week but we wanted to give him a break as well as bring Bree into a socialization setting. Bree isn't really around other kids much. We wanted to get her around other kids and be able to just have a different environment. This is a great program because it is also very reasonably priced. Paying $100/day for a day care setting is just not in our budget right now. We saw the program on Friday for the first time so we could meet the instructor, see the set up, and see how Bree does in the environment. Bree loved all the slides and liked the instructor enough that she asked to get picked up by her. I felt secure that this is a good place.
Today was the start! I was and have been super excited for her to go to this, but also part of me was feeling nervous. How would she do? Would she behave? Will she have fun and try to play with the other kids? Someone I don't really know will be changing my kid's diaper? Aaahhhhh!! So many thoughts run through your head as a parent. She is only 2 so she cannot tell me if someone did something they aren't supposed to. At this point she also doesn't understand what is right and wrong anyways. I also know I can't live in complete fear or make Bree feel like she needs to be fearful. I want her to go through life being cautious and careful but not always afraid. Who wants to live afraid all the time?
Back over a month ago we bought a Peppa Pig backpack for the occasion. I understand Bree won't be having books to bring home but there are a few things she will need to carry like a change in clothes, change in shoes, diapers, wipes, and her lunch. Plus Bree likes the backpack and getting to carry it for school so I bought it. She liked having it on her back.
As you can see, Bree walked into the school with such excitement! Bree recognized the place as we were entering. When we walked in, she knew exactly where to go. She immediately went to the toys are started playing. No crying or anxiety about me leaving but still able to come give me hug and kiss goodbye. I was allowed to text the instructor to check on Bree during the day. Part of me wanted to but the other part felt that I needed to try to trust, needed to let go a bit because one day when she goes to regular school I won't be able to text the teacher about how Bree is doing. I was naturally very excited for 1pm to come so I can go pick her up!
She did so good today! She has to work on sharing (but so does every kid at the age of 2). She looked exhausted from playing so hard. She did great at her activity and made a tree out of her hand! Now I understand the sappiness of homemade art from your kids. This picture is so precious to me it's as if it is made out of real gold. These moments are truly precious but also bittersweet. As she grows I have the excitement of watching her learn and do new things but also know she is getting closer to the day when she will fly the nest and not need me as much. I am trying to hold on to as much childhood as I can. She just went to her first day of "school" and will never have a very first day of school again. She will have a first day of a certain grade but this day came and gone.
Please stop growing little one....
So now that Bree is turning 2, we decided it was time to break the pacifier habit. She would look for it every time she was going to sleep at night or taking a nap. She would ask for her bear (not the one in the picture) and paci. When she was around the age of 1 she weaned herself off of it a bit where she would only really need it at sleep time but not need it the rest of the day for comfort. We had a feeling it would be a rough habit to break, and were we right about that! We were ready for this to be over. We were tired of losing it and having to scurry to find one of them somewhere so she could fall asleep. We were tired of getting up in the middle of the night, sometimes multiple times, to give her the dropped paci. We all needed to work on a better night sleep.
Friday night was the first night without the paci and it was very difficult. Bree did NOT want to sleep. It was at least a good half hour of Bree screaming herself to sleep. She asked for it a couple times before bed but not really at all during the screaming process, but you can tell she was uncomfortable. The good thing though is that she slept all night. We didn't hear her wake up in the middle of the night looking for a dropped pacifier because it wasn't there.
Day 2 was a bit rough. The was the first time trying to nap without paci and it didn't matter how tired she was, Bree just would not nap. We tried and tried and she just refused. Eventually we just gave up and she ended up not having a nap at all on Saturday. Saturday night was much easier than Friday night. She yelled for a few minutes but then went to sleep. She may have also just still been so tired from the day that she didn't have the energy to fight it. With not having a nap she just did not have much energy to fight the sleep at night.
Sunday was another rough day. She screamed probably almost an hr and trying to find every excuse how to get us in her room and ask to get out. Eventually we just gave up and took her to the park and to lunch and by the time we got home she was so tired she didn't have the energy to fight anymore. Sunday night again was another fight. Probably a good 20-30min of screaming before quieted down and quieted down. At this point Bree is not asking for her paci but is still having a rough go at falling asleep.
Thank goodness for the long weekend, which is why we chose Labor day weekend so we can have that one extra night of training and sleep to work on this. Monday nap time went a little better. Her nap is getting later so she can get more tire and fight it less. She did cry for a few minutes but she quieted pretty quickly and eventually fell asleep. Phew!!
Monday nights and Tuesday nights were much easier ventures. Monday she was quiet but was up for probably a good hour playing with her stuffed friends and singing with them. At this point, if it soothes her and she is quiet then we are fine with it. At one point she cried and wanted her blanket on and her butterfly mobile on and after that she fell asleep pretty quickly. Tuesday night she talked and played for a much shorter period of time.
I think at this point she has officially broken the paci habit. Finally!! We knew it would be a long and hard road of this (only 3 days but it feels like forever), but I think it was worth it in the end. She has been sleeping all night and we have too!!