What is motherhood?  


When I first embarked on this journey to motherhood five years ago at the fertility office I had a totally different view of motherhood.

I remember all the happy times growing up with my mom and siblings.  She loved us unconditionally.

I saw all the pictures mothers posted of their loved little ones on Instagram and Facebook.  Everything looked “picture perfect”

Don’t be fooled by these pictures.  It is definitely not all sunshine and rainbows…

Don’t get me wrong I would go through anything for my child, some days are just harder than others.  Some days are amazing.  And some make me question “what the heck am I doing??”

Here’s a set of real pictures that I believe show every side of motherhood for me:

Motherhood is..

Putting your one week old, freshly out of the NICU in the cutest onesie for newborn pictures and he is completely unimpressed…


It is hoping he doesn’t poo, pee, or puke on your wedding gown just so you can get that perfect picture.  We did.  And the only thing that got pooped on, peed on, AND puked on was me 😳

 wedding dress with no poo

It is never being able to dress your child in yellow again after having to return to the NICU because his Bilirubin score jumped up over 19

never wear yellow again

It is being super excited for your child to meet his godfather only for him to be completely unimpressed

meeting the godfather

It is being so excited to pick up your child from daycare at 6 weeks old because you’ve never been away from him for that many hours before (thank you USA for shitty maternity leave…)

saving baby from first day of daycare

It is being the cause of his first cut and first real tear

being the cause of his first cut and first tear

It is hating bath time

loving bath time

It is pouting when he does “the lip” but it is the cutest little sad face ever

the lip
It is hoping he doesn’t explosive poo while in his white baptism suit that he completely despised

hating baptism suit

I may look composed here, but don’t be fooled…I was scared to death since he didn’t poop yet and was cranky all day.  Thank God the priest bored him to sleep!!

It is trying to see if he really is allergic to milk by reintroducing it only to end up experiencing the week of never ending poo and rashes.  FU milk allergy.

the week of poo

Motherhood is being scared seeing triple digits on the thermometer…
Or texting pictures of what looks like hives to your mom and the doctor out of fear that it just may be a flesh eating bacteria.  Trust me, it is not
But even though you are scared and now sick yourself, the only thing that stops the crying is snuggling with mommy 
Motherhood is a challenge you need to face head on.  Cooing and smiles are not constant…sometimes it is just non stop screaming because your baby cannot tell you what he needs but you try anything and everything in an attempt to calm him down.  Is he hungry? Is he wet? Is he too hot?  Is he too cold?  Does he have a fever?  Is this teething?  But nothing stops the screaming sometimes.


Eventually things calm down.  This is not an everyday thing, but it is real.  It happens. What makes it better are days like this


And this


And this


But be warned…there are days that you are trapped under a baby and need a drink so bad you take an awkward picture of yourself and text it to daddy to show the severity of your thirst in order to hurry the drink fetching up #notashamed


It is watching your baby discover his love for oatmeal and not being able to feed him fast enough (or clean enough)…

Or completely despise everything you put in his mouth that day because he didn’t nap…

tired feedings
It is also the very real possibility that he will poop in the high chair…which almost always ends up in a blowout.  No lie.


  

There are days that my patience is definitely tested but it all fades away and is always replaced by the beauty you see on Instagram

Screams are replaced with smiles

  

He will start learning things that will continually amaze you and make you realize that one day he won’t need you

Motherhood is a lifelong thing, But they won’t be little for long so take advantage of the mommy snuggles as much as possible…one day you will have your last snuggle and you won’t realize it until it has already happened… Dirty floors can wait, you’ll be cleaning them forever…baby snuggles don’t last as long.



  

And through it all, you must learn to look back and laugh at all the times you pulled your hair out or went to bed crying from the stress us mothers have because how can you not just smile and giggle at the cutest fucking face in the whole world.  And he is all yours.

When that day finally comes when you realize you had your last snuggle, just close your eyes and think of when you first made eye contact.  This is where the phrase “love at first sight” has true meaning.

first eye contact
I’m sure I’ll post a part 2 of this as time moves on, but I’ll be enjoying the good and the crazy because it doesn’t last forever.  Monday will make 6 months for us and I need to take advantage of this as much as I can.

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July 24, 2014 & March 21, 2015 – two dates that changed my life forever


I don’t talk about this much ever since it was such a life changing experience, but looking death in the face has changed me.  Many people do not know that right after the birth of baby Joey I had an internal hemorrhage so bad I almost bled out.  They rushed me away and left Joe and my mother in a room covered in my blood that was described to me as looking like a murder scene with a nurse stating they would do their best to save me.

I felt my life pouring out of me.  I kept falling in and out of consciousness.  I was so cold.  At one point I closed my eyes as they were working on me and putting a line in for a transfusion.  I had a vision of my angels.  They were so cute.  My BOB was the exact image of Joey as he looks right now and I keep thinking of how he is just how I dreamed.   My perfect little angel.

Our angels were looking out for us that night.  They told me to go home and meet my baby.  They watched after Joey in the NiCU.

I remember waking up cold and confused thinking I can’t NOT fight for something I’ve worked so hard to get.  I pushed myself to respond to the staff of doctors as they were prepping me for emergency surgery.  I remember praying to God that he allow me to stay with my new little family.  All of a sudden, I felt at peace.  My doctor waited and said the bleeding had stopped and to hold off on the surgery until she could assess the situation.  A few minutes later she was certain they had the bleeding under control and she said how close I was to, at the very minimum, losing my uterus.

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of being reintroduced to our last frozen embryo so I felt the need to share why I will fight as hard as I possibly can for my child.  It is not only because he has been the one thing we wanted through 5 years on fertility treatments but also the one thing that made me fight for my own life.  I promise to give this little man the best I can give him, forever and always.

xoxo

Baby Joey Embryo


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

6 days before

3/21/2015 - 7:22pm, our son is born

3/21/2015 – 7:22pm, our son is born

image

image
  

3.5 Month update


Have you ever felt like the days were all meshing together and it was just one long crazy day of everything crammed all into one thousand hour day?  That’s been my life lately.  School started up again last week and the days are somehow melding together.  So much so that I am literally forgetting what day it is.  With work being super busy because of the move and the new hires being not totally up to speed, I’ve been putting almost 60 hours a week in, while taking care of my son, and NOW I have returned to my graduate program!

Some call me crazy…but you know what?  I’m determined probably crazy.  Certifiable at that.  Thank God for Joe, though.  He’s been trying to find ways to keep baby entertained in the evening so I can get my school work done and take a shower so I don’t stink!  He’s out with him right now, as a matter of fact, and I finished today’s school work early enough to quickly write a blog post!  (Thanks Joseph!!)

I must say, the baby has been so great with this transition to almost 100% working from home.  He adheres strictly to his schedule and I can actually set a clock to how perfectly he does!  3 hours on the nose between feedings.  Half hour nap between each feeding with the exception of his second feeding where he’ll take a nice 2 hour nap, play time before and after bottle, tummy time about an hour before feedings (to work out any extra gas, or puke, and obviously to strengthen his muscles), Zantac 3x day and prune juice twice a day.  His poops are becoming more regular now.  His reflux is under control.  His feedings have been upped in ounces to now 6oz (after it is all mixed up).  He has transitioned almost fully to Gentlease from Nutramigen as it doesn’t appear to be affecting his reflux now that he’s more active and his tummy muscles are so strong.  His colic has drastically reduced.  Teething is eminent as there is so. much. drool.  I actually just ordered him a baltic amber necklace as I have some friends who shared personal stories and I am just convinced to at least give it a try…there’s no harm in trying especially if it makes for a more pleasant baby!

I just wanted to give you all an update…I didn’t disappear, I am just a little loco with how busy my schedule is!  Only a year and a half more of this triple duty and then I can start paving way for our baby to have everything he could ever want.  He is the light of our lives and deserves everything we can give him.

xoxox

Here’s some more pictures of the many faces of Joey to enjoy until I can write again 🙂


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

2 year angelversary 


it is so hard to believe that today marks the 2 year angelversary of our first baby BOB.  We watched him grow, heard his heart beat, watched him move, and fell so deeply in love with him but he was never able to stay with us.  Today was a bittersweet day spending the day celebrating Father’s Day and it being baby Joey’s 3 month birthday all while feeling the sadness of our first angel.  He was definitely with us today, I could feel it.  I miss him oh so much but I will see him again one day ❤️

I am not a martyr


These words keep repeating over and over in my head.  “You are not a martyr other people have lost children, other people have had a hard time getting pregnant.”

Yes, other people have lost children.  Yes, other people have difficulties getting and sustaining a pregnancy.  I never said I was a martyr, rather I’d call it an advocate.  So what if I am open about publicly discussing something so emotional or even simply acknowledging that these events occurred in my life rather than keeping my feelings inside to kill me bit by bit.  Everyone handles situations in their own way, this is how I handle what has happened to me, to us…by talking and writing and holding my angels in my heart and acknowledging that this was a long hard battle to get our miracle baby.

I am not a martyr, but I am not going to keep my mouth shut because you don’t feel I am special enough to share my struggles.  Sometimes I need to talk and I have helped a lot of people in doing so…maybe one day someone can help me much like I have helped others.  I will not hold back my feelings because you don’t think what I went through is worthy enough to deserve your compassion.

I am not a martyr but I deserve to be able to speak about what happened to me much like you are free to speak your mind without a filter whenever you so choose and expect everyone to not get offended.

I am done being treated like garbage.  I am done living my life in fear.  I am done being depressed over being treated wrongfully by people who are supposed to be there for me.

I need to make some changes for the good of my family…it’s going to be a long and difficult process but we need positivity back in our lives or I am afraid I will have a breakdown.

Mother’s Day reflection – here’s to the infertiles and angel mommies


I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for the happy Mother’s Day texts, calls, cards, and messages.  It truly is a blessing to be the mom to this little miracle.

One thing I did notice is there were a lot of people wishing me a happy “first” Mother’s Day and while I do really appreciate just the thought I just wanted to let you know that this is not my first Mother’s Day.  I’ve been a mother for quite some time now.  I’ve been a mother since I had the desire to have a child of my own.  If you ask my grandfather, he will tell you I had the word “Mom” written on my forehead for the last 6 years as he knew that is what I was destined to be.  I’m also a mother to three wonderful angels who I think about and feel every single day.  Even though these babies found their home in heaven, I am still their mother…they just were too perfect to be placed here on earth but rather they will play with all the other angel children up in heaven and will be waiting at the gates for me to finally hold them when it is my time.

My little Joey is a true gift and I can’t wait for him to call me mama.  I will protect him from as much evil in this world as I can.  I will teach him the true meaning of family.  I will show him what love is and how you express it.  I have the arms to hold him and hug him, the chest for him to calm in, the lips to give him tons of kisses, and the neck for him to snuggle his head up to but I also have a heart that houses his angel brothers and the dreams they always find their way in to and that is why this is NOT my first Mother’s Day.

Mother’s day is not about physically birthing a child, it’s the emotion, the physical bond, the love, and the fight.  There are many mothers in this world that, although they did physically birth a child, do not deserve to be called a mother while there are so many women who would give anything to be able to do what they did while the bad “mothers” take it for granted and abuse/neglect/take advantage of their child[ren].  These women who yearn to be in their shoes are the real mothers because of their desire.  They dream of what their future child may look like, how they would raise them, and what kind of a man/woman they would turn out to be.  They swear by their last breath that they would give anything, including their own life, to just be called “mommy” by their very own child.  I know this because I was there for five years.  Jealous.  Angry.  Depressed.   All while still dreaming of my future and staying strong because I knew I couldn’t give up on my dream no matter how many times I was knocked down, no matter how many failed IVF cycles and no matter how many times I heard the words “I’m so sorry, there’s no heart beat anymore.”  It takes a strong person to be able to keep on pushing to fight for their dream and while some may eventually achieve it, there are still so many who are left empty handed and broken.  These women deserve to be recognized for their strength especially on a day that many suffer through but put on a strong face so as not to raise attention to themselves because they have never been able to let anyone in on the pain they go through on a daily basis.

I would like to wish all the angel mommies and those trying so desperately to have a child to hold a happy Mother’s Day as well…you have a love that will never be replicated and that makes you a mom as well.  I know today is a sad day for you but you also deserve to celebrate because you ARE an amazing mom.  A strong mom.  A mom that has so much love for something that can’t be seen with the eye…yet.  You are a mom that can put on a strong face for others and help comfort others because you have had one hell of a hard ride and you know real pain.  Raw emotional pain.  Pain that, to me, was far worse than childbirth.  Infertility and child loss are shoes I wish no one to ever have to wear but you wear them…and so do I.  So happy Mother’s Day to you as well.  Celebrate your strength and your love because you deserve to be recognized, too, as a mother in her own right.  A mother of what was, what has yet to be, and unfortunately of what may never be…but still with the same desire, the same love, and the same strength that others should be envious of.

I also wanted to share a special poem with the angel mommies as I read it religiously even when it is not Mother’s Day…sometimes I just need to read it to get through a particularly difficult day.

What Makes a Mother
By Jennifer Wasik 
Written with love for all the Mother’s missing their babies  
I thought of you and closed my eyes
and prayed to God today
I asked, “what makes a Mother”?
And I know I heard Him say,
A Mother has a baby,
This we know is true.
But, God, can you be a Mother
when your baby’s not with you?”Yes you can!”, He replied
with confidence in His voice,
“I give many women babies,
when they leave is not their choice.
Some I send for a lifetime
and others for a day
And some I send to feel your womb
but there’s no need to stay.”I just don’t understand this God,
I want my baby here.”

He took a breath,
and cleared His throat,
and then I saw a tear.
I wish I could show you
what your child is doing here.

If you could see your child smile
with other children and say,
“We go to earth to learn our lessons
of love and life and fear,
but My Mommy loved me oh so much
I got to come straight here!”
I feel so lucky to have a Mom who had so much love for me
I learned my lesson very quick
My Mommy set me free.
I miss my Mommy oh so much
but I visit her each day
When she goes to sleep
on her pillow’s where I lay.

I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
and whisper in her ear,
Mommy don’t be sad today
I’m your baby and I’m here.”

So you see my dear sweet one,
your children are okay
Your babies are here in My home
and this is where they’ll stay.
They’ll wait for you with Me
until your lesson is through.
And on that day that you come home
they’ll be at the gates for you.

So now you see
what makes a Mother
It’s the feeling in your heart
It’s the love you had so much of
right from the very start.

Though some on earth may not realize
that you are a Mother until their time is done.
They’ll be up here with me one day
and know you’re the best one.

51_Baby Cutri

An angel in the book of life wrote down my baby's birth. Then whispered as she closed the book "too beautiful for earth" ~author unknown ~ I love you very much, my angels

An angel in the book of life wrote down my baby’s birth. Then whispered as she closed the book “too beautiful for earth” ~author unknown ~ I love you very much, my angels

Eat, Sleep, Poop and Repeat! Baby C’s first month.


I can’t believe it’s been a month since baby made his overly dramatic entrance into this world!  What a crazy last 4 weeks it has been between being separated from him, finally getting to officially meet him in a coherent state of mind, taking him home, having to return him to the NICU, bringing him home AGAIN, learning how to take care of him, and finding out that my boobs don’t know how to boob.  There’s been happy days and sad days, crazy days and calm days, days with no poop and days with more poop than any one person can handle.  I wouldn’t trade any of these days for the world because at the end of the day, the little man who built this new and much more exciting roller coaster we are currently riding is our son.  It’s been so many years since we embarked on the first roller coaster and I’m happy to say that the ART/IVF ride is officially closed for maintenance…it may be reopened again in the future but only time will tell as that was one of the scariest rides I have ever been on in my entire life.

So where do I start?  A lot has happened in the last month that it is hard to find a good place to begin explaining this new chapter of my life.  I am now an Earth Mommy!  I have had lots of experience changing diapers so that was no biggie to me, but to Joe it was a little scary at first…I’m happy to say that he QUICKLY adapted.  He still has some incidents of getting pee everywhere or just last night baby pooped mid diaper change (it was HILARIOUS btw) but he’s a diapering champ right now as long as he remembers to grab the pee pee tee pee and look for his facial expression telling him he’s pooping lol – but at 2am who’s really paying attention?  By the way, Darling…if you’re reading this…I cleaned the poop off the wall.  You’re welcome.

Speaking of 2am…this baby is a great sleeper for his age.  From the beginning he did two 4 hour stretches back to back at night, 2am being the wake up to get changed and fed time so it’s not like we are up all hours of the night.  We’ve had a couple 5-6 hour stretches mixed in there, too!  There was only one bad night that he just wouldn’t calm down and fall asleep, but it was because of gas and the formula he was on causing him to be a little backed up.  Yes, I said formula…remember I said my boobs forgot how to boob?  I know breast is best but that didn’t work out the way I wanted to so please don’t judge.  At baby’s 2 weeks of age my boobs just decided they had enough and threw in the white breast pad.  They couldn’t deal.  After never having that skin to skin right after delivery, being separated from him for 27 hours after delivery, the nurses preventing me from seeing him as much as I wanted, never being taught how to use a breast pump rather one just being thrown at me in the hospital, going home without baby, finally getting baby home and being told we need to make sure he eats and poops to help with the jaundice (which meant I had to pump and bottle feed to ensure he was taking in enough milk), him returning to the NICU because of increased jaundice, and all the stress I went through, my boobs just said “FU” and gave up.  I was REALLY upset at first, I felt like a failure to my baby…but now I see it as a blessing in disguise.  The formula they had him on in the NICU helped him get better, now we can closely monitor his eating and expulsion and he sleeps longer than with breast milk.  We had a bout of constipation where we had to incorporate dark karo syrup to help move things along (1 tsp mixed in with his formula per doctor’s orders) but we had to do it every day because he could never get things going on his own and the karo caused explosions which I can’t imagine was comfortable at all for baby.  I felt so bad.  So we changed him to GentleEase and that’s been amazing.  He’s eating regularly and pooping on his own!

The first 2 weeks of baby’s life he did not do a lot of anything but eating, sleeping, pooping, and peeing…he was pretty calm and rarely made a peep.  The third week he was a little more alert and gaining his muscle strength.  So many people told us we had a very strong baby!  In the fourth week he really started to get more attentive and is now awake a lot more during the day.  He’s been pretty gassy so the awake part has it’s fair share of crying but we’ve discovered some ways to remedy that.  Laying on his belly for tummy time is a good gas relief, as is working his legs like a bicycle.  This morning I discovered that having him stand up (not all babies will be able to do that this young but his leg muscles are incredible) helps him push more air out and that helps with the fussiness.  He’s also a HUGE fan of the yoga ball and loves when I bounce on it with him in tow.  I swear he’s going to make me a smaller size than before I was pregnant…I ordered my bridesmaid dress on Saturday and I had to order two sizes down from my pre-pregnancy dress size from this particular store!

Yesterday we had his 1 month check up and he weighed in at 9lb7oz and was measured at 22 inches.  That’s 3 inches taller than his birth height and 2lbs 6oz more than his birth weight.  Although being a very early “full term” baby, he’s measuring quite high on the growth charts already!  I have a feeling he’s going to be a tall dark and handsome man!  He also has this bruise-like spot that goes across his butt since birth and it turns out it is not a bruise, it is called a Mongolian Spot and is very common for babies with a darker complexion and lightens as he gets older.  It is already a little lighter but it should be pretty invisible in a few years.  That’s his Italian complexion coming through.  He is already so much tanner than me and it makes me so jealous…he definitely didn’t inherit my skin tone!  The older he gets the more he looks like his daddy but I see my nose and maybe my upper lip on him…the only thing I hope is he gets my hair!  I want to see dark curls on him!

Bath time is interesting lol.  We had to wait until he was almost 3 weeks old to give him his first real bath because his umbilical cord just did not want to fall off.  It took forever!  It was a really thick cord, too. His circumcision healed before his cord fell off!  He hated his first bath even though we made the bathroom SO warm to keep him happy but then learned that putting a towel under him so he feels secure and not slippery helps as well as draping a warm washcloth over his front while bathing him to help him feel warm and safe.  Those have been VALUABLE tricks and he has not screamed during bath time since…but the transition of going INTO and OUT OF the bathtub has been a little touchy lol.  He just does not like to be naked.  Once I get him in his towel he starts to calm down and we rock a little while drying and he settles down and knows it is time to eat and go to bed.  He’s such a good boy when it comes down to knowing what comes next in the order of things to do…I recently adjusted his eating schedule, rather than upping his intake to keep up with his growth I just increased the frequency and literally 2 feedings and he was already adjusted like a clock!  He was at 4 oz every 4 hours and rather than upping the feeding by an ounce I changed the feeding to every three hours and that allows for him to sleep a little longer at night by feeding more throughout the day.  Last night it worked like a charm and he did a 5 and 4 hour stretch back to back.

There’s so much that has happened it is hard to think of what to write!  I guess I’ll just have to write more frequently when I discover something new or learn a new trick with baby!  I’m also going to transition this blog from an infertility blog to a “what happens when you beat infertility”/”Mommy” blog…I just have to figure out a way to make the transition seamless so bear with me as I try to play with WordPress 🙂

This child is already loved by so many people, but who can resist him?  He’s fucking adorable!

He has taken two trips to Scranton already to meet my family and be spoiled with cuddles and kisses!  I do feel alone sometimes, though.  I can’t be in Scranton all the time and we don’t get much company here.  It just makes me homesick, that’s all.  I have my little family now and that’s all I need…well…I’d really like to win the lottery and move my new little family and the rest of my family somewhere warm 🙂

Here is baby’s first monthly picture!  Enjoy while I figure out this whole mommy thing!

1 month