Tuesday, August 18, 2009


The Cub is one. A full year. JD thinks it flew by. I don't think it did so much as the birthday snuck up on us. Either way, he is beautiful and gorgeous, and more expressive and able every day.

I tried to explain to a friend what I was feeling on Cub's birthday, and it all seemed a strange mess. I am, apparently, still wondering whether he is here to stay, as betrayed by relief-like feelings on the cuff of the day. Which, you know, make so very little sense. Since, of course, there's never a line getting to which guarantees continued sunshine and ponies of various sizes and colors.

And then there's also the part where I am not anywhere near being done processing the pregnancy. Which, I have to say, is annoyiiiiiiing-- would've made for a much nicer rhetorical device had I cleaned, sorted and aired out all that stuff by now. For one, I would've been able to perhaps speak intelligently on this momentous occasion. For another, headspace is at a premium around these parts, and I really do need it back-- I have a job to find, and my current one to finish up in a spectacularly competent manner assuring me glowing letters of recommendation for years to come.

The celebration on the actual day was very low key-- a couple of babies for the ultra-social Cub to share germs with, plus their parents to share chips and hamburgers with us. My parents arrive Thursday, and there will be a family celebration Sunday. To mark the year since his homecoming from NICU, as I said to my mom who would've preferred to have come this past weekend, but had to change plans to also accommodate my FIL's big round birthday party.

So we are now in the anniversary of the week the Cub spent in NICU last year. As transient as that experience was, it's also apparently indelible, at least so far. I don't know whether it will get better in future years. But for now, out to dinner with friends Sunday, drinking a toast to the Cub, JD and I both knew exactly where we were that time a year before-- in the kid's NICU room, me asking the neonatalogist what else they had in their arsenal, should things keep going in the wrong direction, as they had been all day, and JD pacing the room or crouching in the chair, hearing not a word of what was being said around him.

It's something that we in DBL learn early, and notice often-- a good day for one is sure to be a disaster for someone else. When he was born, the Cub wasn't due for another three plus weeks, and short of his scheduled induction date by more than two weeks. It wasn't supposed to be his birthday. But it was supposed to be another baby girl's, half a world away. Had things gone to plan for them, that beautiful girl's mother would've spent this past weekend fussing over the details of the most perfect birthday ever. But they didn't. And so instead over the past year Sally and Simon have been learning to live without their first-born daughter, Hope. Please stop by and remember with them.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Show and Tell: Self-portraits in shadows and water

It's been a while since last I participated in Mel's Show and Tell. So long, in fact, that in the meantime it has moved from Sundays to Thursdays. So we now rejoin this lovely community tradition, already way the hell in progress.

The Cub is turning one this Saturday. Still a bit surreal. A lot surreal, actually. It's blatantly obvious that the only thing keeping him from trading in his baby designation, which looks on him like nothing so much as one of those onesies, overstretched from use and fitting, still, only because of the use and attendant overstretching, that the thing keeping him from trading it in for the otherwise way more appropriate toddler one is that he, you know, refuses to actually toddle unassisted. Even in just the last week, sudden and impressive development of hand-to-mouth coordination, and now-- desire to eat with a spoon. So to look at him, yes, a year is about right. But in the abstract spaces of my head it's a lot more like a year? already? really? wow... All adult and complete-sentence-like of me, I know.

I know what I was doing a year ago. I know, too, that in my head, I am not yet done processing that pregnancy. I am working on it, though. There are things yet to say. But today seems like a good day to look at pictures.

I took these, with a friend's point and shoot, last year at the shore. 55 weeks ago, days before ending up in PTL and on bedrest.

I got a chance to download these from that friend's camera only recently. They are all electrons, from start to finish-- from being taken with a digital camera to being, now, stored on a hard drive. And yet to me they have the feel of those old black and white family photos, of events and people long ago.

If you want to see what the other kids are showing, summer break be damned, please stop by Mel's place for the master list.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I actually figured all of this out a while ago (though, as is usual these days, didn't so much post), but a post today at Beruriah's brought it up again. It's about timing. People with babies the Cub's age, plus/minus a few months in either direction are pregnant again. Not overwhelming numbers of them, but enough for me do a gut check.

I've never made a secret on this here blog of the fact that I want to raise three children. In my before life, I was going to aim for a rather short age gap between the younger two-- two and a half years or so, give or take. In my after life, I was considering an even shorter gap, mostly because I didn't want Monkey to be too terribly older than the youngest. I am eight years older than my sister-- it works and has worked for the duration. I wasn't so sure about longer gaps. By the time I'd had the Cub, though, I was pretty clear I needed a break from this pregnancy thing. Told my MFM I won't be back for at least a year, probably more.

At some point I started to push my mental target for the "next time" ever further out. Factoring in things like the job market (blows; also on academic calendar-- matters both for being able to interview and for being able to start and finish at least my first year at whatever my next job might end up being), and talking to adults who've had longer age gaps with their siblings, and to parents of kids with longer gaps. Monkey, by the by, has started asking a few months ago. And really? The nerve on that kid! Oh, she also thinks eight is a good number. Ha! Told her that ain't happening.

But all of this was happening sort of on low boil in the background, with the occasional eruptions of "I am so not ready yet!" here and there. Until, that is, Christina found herself somewhat unexpectedly pregnant again. You see, Christina was due last year a day after me. The Cub was born shy of 37 weeks, but the lovely miss Cate went almost all the way to the due date. So, you know, when it's Christina who turns up pregnant now, it really rocks my world. I think I even told her in my comment that I can't imagine being there myself right now.

And then. Then I thought about it. The Cub was 11 months old when Christina found out. Which just happens to be three days longer than the interval between when A was born and when we found ourselves in possession of a piece of plastic with two lines in a window. So... ahem... right.

It seems that the actual operative idea here is that I can't imagine, am not ready to do that again. And I really think it's not about the distinction of doing it with or without a baby already at home-- I think for me it's much more about the stress of the pregnancy itself.

My pregnancy with the Cub was hard. Emotionally hard (DUH) but also objectively complicated. (There are things to say about that, and I will say them, hopefully soon.) I am also still incredibly overweight-- weight of two pregnancies (on top of extra ten still hanging around since Monkey), less a few pounds now, thanks to my friend metformin. And I need to lose a hell of a lot more before it's not insane to start piling fresh new pounds on.

I am finding comfort in that again above. It's like I forget that before A died and was born, I was actually pregnant with him. Not forget forget-- I can tell you all kinds of dates and facts about that pregnancy, but sort of dissociate from it, as if it too lives in the before. The again is soothing, a reminder that my body has been through a whole lot in the past little over three years, and that there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that fact.

So that's my new internal refrain, whenever I learn of someone else going another round with only a short break: "I did that last time. And right now I am just not ready to do it again." Somehow this feels both more honest and more reassuring to me than my old tune of "wow-- I can't even imagine doing that now."

ETA: It just occurred to me that even though I certainly don't assume a good outcome when I think of a future pregnancy (either in attaining one in the first place or in maintaining it to the point of a take home baby), talking about it in terms of "doing" might be read by someone as if I in fact assume. I think "attempt" would've been more precise. As in "I did that last time. And right now I am just not ready to attempt it again."

Monday, August 10, 2009


I remember reading bereaved bloggers whose tragedy came before my own talk about how people forget, how friends say inconsiderate things, how time comes, sooner for some, later for others, when people grow tired of accommodating your new self, the one still (or permanently?) sensitive and raw in many places, when they want you to have gotten "over it" already.

And what I thought about that was "not MY friends." Not the friends who dropped everything and came to stand by us. Not the friends who called, and brought food, and asked to see the pictures, and let me talk about how beautiful A was. Not my friends, who, when pregnancy came up as a topic, always and deliberately included my pregnancy with A in these conversations. Surely these people wouldn't forget, or displace, or expect me to revert to my unaffected, my "before" self.

Um... yeah. I am still processing not so much the careless remark from this year's shore trip (it has been apologized for), as the aftershocks of finding out what some of our friends really think. Processing and thinking. Thinking about duty over at Glow, about what we owe others, and what others owe us. Please feel free to stop by and add to the conversation.