A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Friday, March 9, 2012

How Things Should End; or, Self-Definitions [edited]

Before Smudgie was born, I thought I knew how this story was going to end. I had that final post all planned out well into my third trimester: a picture of a baby, the title "Paradise," an offering of thanks to those who followed my story, the words "The End."

A little grandiose? Probably. But it felt fitting. This blog was the story of my journey to have a baby and I always thought it should end with that baby in my arms.

But when Smudgie was born that no longer felt right. Those who had followed me, cheering me on for years, deserved a little more of this special boy than that. And perhaps my understanding of what my story had always been changed: not the journey to this baby, which was special and complete. But the story of my experience with infertility and loss--which is most certainly not complete.

So I continue (somewhat haphazardly) to blog. While parenting. After infertility. (See where I'm going with this?)

But it's not truly "parenting after infertility." Our infertility doesn't feel over and done with but rather gloriously halted for a happy breath. And so this blog, too, as you may have noticed, is catching its breath, pausing for a space in the parenting bubble before getting back to the infertility plains, where hopes rise and crash, where expectations and dreams twist and change.

Or maybe it's not that at all. Maybe, strangely, I have simply discovered that while infertility was something I needed to process, to write about, parenting is something I simply want to live. I guess that's how I know I'm an infertility blogger-- the stories that engaged me, the posts I crafted in my head for days before typing them out, were always stories of loss, not triumph. Parenting is a rich, wonderful waterfall of mingled exhilaration and fear and discovery and tedium that certainly deserves its chroniclers. I just don't think I'm one of them.

[edited: I guess I got a little too poetic for my own good. This isn't goodbye, certainly not. Just an explanation of where I see myself in light of the recent ALI community brouhaha. And an explanation of why my blog is the way it is: quiet now, likely more talkative in the future.]

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dream Houses; or, Sublimation

*WARNING-- To my friends struggling to conceive Baby #1: Don't read this unless you're in a good place*

I've been a bit of a mess the last few days: edgy, irritable, tense, twitchy. A lot of it boils down to a very New York concern that's occupying much of the "worry space" I used to reserve for TTC. Yes, I am talking about real estate.

I stop at every realtor's office in our neighborhood and scan the listings of condos and coops for sale. I trawl through the New York Times real estate webpage. I work out hypothetical budgets on online mortgage calculators, trying to figure out how much we can afford if we sell our current apartment for X or how much we'll need to save to have a down payment of Y.

Oh, did I mention that we're not moving? We have a two bedroom. It's just the right size, just the right location, just the right monthly cost. We're really happy here. We don't want to leave.

But I've become obsessed with trying to figure out how we'll be able to afford a larger place in a few years' time. Which neighborhoods I'd be willing to live in. I start to worry that we'll miss out on IT--the perfect place to raise our family, in just the right spot at just the right price.

Meanwhile, I have no idea where I'll be working when I finish my degree. I've always known it makes no sense for us to buy another apartment until I get a job and we know where I'm commuting to. I've just fallen so in love with life in this happy place, with my happy mama-to-a-Brooklyn-baby existence, and I want to do whatever I can to prolong it. I worry about my life not taking the shape I dream it will.

I suspect I'm worrying about apartments instead of about my uterus. When I lift the covers off this real estate obsession and peek at what's underneath, I start wondering about how much time we'll have to save or enjoy life here before we "have" to move. Which means before I have another baby. And I have no way of answering that question because I have no idea when we'll have another baby or how we'll conceive said baby. I don't believe I have any control over that. (The more I look into New York City real estate prices, the less ability I seem to have over that, as well).

Oh, did I mention I took a pregnancy test the other week? I haven't had my period yet, but I was feeling off and there was a faint possibility that could be it and I had a test sitting in the bathroom, so I took it. And I sat there watching it change with my heart in my throat. Wanting to NOT be pregnant. Wanting to not have to move, not have to take time away from my precious boy, not have to worry about miscarriages again. Wanting to just be in this happy place where I've found myself.

I got my wish. False alarm. I felt guilty for the relief. I worried I will one day look back on that morning and hate myself for feeling relieved.

I want to finish my dissertation. (Heck, I want to *start* my dissertation). I want to live here in this lovely place and take my bubba to swim classes and music classes and the park and playdates with his friends. I want to soak up every drop of firstborn-baby goodness. If I could be one of those women who thinks to herself, "I'd like to get pregnant in April 2000-whatever" and have it come true, I would most likely not be thinking about conceiving again for a few years.

But I'm not one of those women. And I one day want to have another baby. I want to have another baby without trying to have another baby. I never want to look at another basel body thermometer again. Or another CBEFM test strip. I'd like to avoid more trips to that sterile, glassy, eighth-floor doctor's office, if I possibly can.

What will happen? How will our family grow? Will our family grow? How can I envision a future that feels so out of my grasp? How can I let go of my need to envision it in order to love this life I'm so lucky to have found? (And I do love it, so very much and so very much of the time).

How can I stop researching real estate?